PERSONAL DIARY (Oct 2019): Back to gaming, and Birthdays…

October was all about Birthdays and gaming, oh my…

In stark contrast to September’s craziness, October has seen me jumping back into gaming in a big way, helped immensely by the wonderful folk at BM York! and other gaming friends. Oh, and the curious happenstance that my birthday also fell in October!

Of course, November is now upon us, and I have a very busy month ahead: MidCon is happening this weekend (8th-10th Nov), and then there’s the UK’s first ever Protospiel Nottingham (23rd Nov) just a fortnight later, so that’s half my gaming for the month already tied up…

Incidentally, I had a great time at MidCon last year (and wrote about it in The SPIRIT #3), and am really looking forward to doing it all again this time round. And am hoping to get Star Trek: Ascendancy back to the table again, too!  One of the exciting things about MidCon is that it’s the first major UK convention after Essen, and because it takes place just a few weeks later, you’re guaranteed to see a great many of the newest titles being played everywhere you turn… Alongside the usual motley assortment of 18xx classics, Terraforming variants, and the odd game of Azul or (curiously, last year) Great Western Trail


Anyway, how was October, m’laddo?

You’ll recall from my last update that Nanty Narking arrived early in October, meaning all the KS stuff I backed last year continues to trickle in to keep me occupied with ‘new stuff’ every single month in 2019 thus far!  Apparently Tainted Grail has also now been dispatched, so I’m hopeful this will arrive before the end of November, just to wrap up what has already been a great year for KS deliveries!

Having the chance to attend both the BM York! meets in October meant I got to play a wide selection of games this month, some I perhaps wouldn’t ordinarily bother with: Underwater Cities was… erm… underwhelming, actually, but games like Azul, Camel Up, Codenames, Dixit, For Sale, Majesty, Medici, and Quadropolis remain perennial faves for many, I suspect.

I also got several games I own to the table, including more Barrage, more Undaunted: Normandy (which is growing on me with every play), and yes, new-toy Nanty Narking has already had quite a few outings, too!


I was introduced to a few other games, as well, including Villagers (which I quite like), and Food Chain Magnate (which shares some mechanical overlap with Villagers, weirdly, but is also pretty good), albeit the latter runs a tad too long for what it is, imho.

Of all the games I played this month, I have to say that I had a hilarious time playing through the full Junk Art campaign (yup, all 10 variants), and Reiner Knizia’s Samurai proved to be one of the biggest and most pleasant surprises of the month: it’s been decades since I last played Samurai but I enjoyed this a lot, and it reminded me of just how classic and timeless this design remains. I’d really like my own copy, but am not overly keen on the 2015 FFG release, preferring the wooden bits and ‘feel’ of the Rio Grande version… Donations welcome! 😉



I also had an impromptu ‘Playtesting Day’ of sorts, too…

Yes, really!  For the first time in a while, I finally got the opportunity to spend some time with Paul Willcox (co-designer of FlickFleet an excellent dexterity-based space combat game, btw), and we got the opportunity to try a heap of ideas and play the heck out of some of my own game designs: Aliens Ate My Planet! got lots of love, and we’re still tweaking a few things here and there with Roman Trader, but all told, ’twas a cracking day, frankly!

Oh yes, and guess what I received for my birthday from Paul and my fellow gamers?  A new, pristine, hot-off-the-press launch-day copy of Marvel Champions: The Card Game — an LCG (Living Card Game) I was already tempted by, but a tad unsure about, too: I’m well aware that collecting expansions for this sort of thing can become a compulsive longer-term addiction, and sure enough, have already got my eye on the Green Goblin expansion. Ye Gods, what have they gone and got me into, now!  Lol


October Temptation List

Arguably, any of the titles I listed in my Essen 2019 Preview could qualify here, but I think we can cut it down a tad more than that…

Throne of Allegoria (from
Pax Transhumanity (Sierra Madre)
Cooper Island (Frosted Games)






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