Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Review: The Very Hungry Caterpillar Card Game

It was the lil'un's birthday last week, and one of her presents was the Very Hungry Caterpillar card game. We sat down as a family to play it with her, and well, let's see shall we...

The cards are You start with 5 cards each, and the idea of the game is to work through the week, by playing the cards with the days of the week marked showing what the caterpillar ate that day in the story. If you don't have the card you need, then you either pick one from the pile, or play the Sunday wildcard, that resets back to Monday. You win by getting rid of all your cards, and having a butterfly card. The stated goal of the game, apart from being 'fun' is to teach kids the days of the week.

The strength of this game is in it's theme, and how well the card game matches the book. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, like all the great kids books, is a very simple story well told. The cards are all decorated with images from the book with the original Eric Carle artwork that we all know and love, and this is very appealing, as all kids love this book. It even takes me back to reading it as a kid. Very pretty.

The idea is that you play through your hand, learning the days of the week as you go, then win when the only card you have left is a butterfly card, just like in the story. However, this is where this game falls apart. The simplicity of the story works against us here, as the designers have stuck to the script to the detriment of the play-ability of the game. We've played through it 4 times, on two of those games, we couldn't actually play to get a winner, and of one of those, I forced the game to work due to not shuffling the deck after having gone through the pack completely once. So of the 4 games, only once came out at a natural conclusion with a clear winner. The winning of the game is pure luck, with no skill involved.

Sunday is a wild card, when you can't play anything else, you play a Sunday card, and you reset back to Monday. In reality though, all this does is reset the blocked play to another day. It's fine to have more Sunday cards, but if there are just the same number of Monday cards to all the others, you hit a wall with Monday instead. You end up running through all your Sunday resets early in the game, then being completely stuck unable to complete the game. This leads to frustration in the big'un, who gets the rules and wants to play through, and boredom in the lil'un, who, although the game is supposed to be for 3+, just isn't old enough for the rules as written, who then wanders off to do something else.

The other clunky mechanic is the butterfly card. You need one to win, but if you draw more than one, you put the other one back in the pile (it is not stated where). This just seems inelegant to me. I know there want to make it a mechanic to get the butterfly, and there are only 4 in the game, but having to put it back in the pile once you have one seems not to be the best way to make this happen.

Overall, a poorly thought out game, with no real draw. The cards are pretty, and could be used for a matching game, but the rules are broken to the point that you'd have to start from scratch rather than house-rule some fixes, although we are going to try with making the Sunday card a Wildcard that can replace any day, but doesn't reset the game to Monday. The box is pretty, and the illustrations are fun, but there are better ways to teach your kids the days of the week. Finally, the game is supposed to be for 3+, but the reading of the days of the days of the week is beyond most 3 year old. Lil'un is now 4, and she lost interest quickly. Don't bother buying this one.

The game on Boardgamegeek.com where it was given 3.59/10. Which I think is a fair score.
Buy it, or don't, on amazon.ca.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Le Zonion

I would like to pass on to you all, the socal media co-ordonates of another local artist and friend, who has recently launched himself into the ethernet.

The man behind this is one of the voices behind the previously mentioned Geeks of the North podcast.

Meet "Le Zonion", first stop is his website and blog, and there's also a page to like on facebook. Go check it out, to see some great painting, and some wonderful scenery and custom built gaming tables, as well as some sculpting (especially of the eponymous Zonion, pictured here).

Friday, February 20, 2015

New Sherlock Holmes Story Discovered

I was rather excited by this, and as such, I thought it would be something you , my reading public, may be interested in. There has been a new Sherlock Holmes story discovered, the first such discovery in 80 years. I'm not talking about one of the excellent novels of recent writing by modern authors, but by the Great Arhtur Conan Doyle himself!

I found the transcript, and posted it on my other blog, as it seemed more apt there. Please click through and have a read. The whole story of how it was found can be seen there too, so I won't rehash the same lonks here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Holiday Book Buying

I always receive amazon vouchers for Christmas from some of my relatives, and this is a gift that I am always happy to get. This year, I used them to good hobby effect, with all three purchases being hobby related.

The first one was


Color, by Betty Edwards.

This was the recommendation of Meg Maples at her Masterclass, as the book to use to understand colour theory. I have yet to dive into this one, so I'll be holding back on further comment until I get a chance to read through it.

Lion Rampant, by Daniel Mersey

I've been aware of a steady increase in the number of blog posts relating to this game, with people using various medieval armies, as well as fantasy armies to play the game (Dwarves seem to be particularly popular). For one such excellent review, I'll point you to the Dice Bag Lady's blog. All this points to a good game with a healthy following. It will also give me another use for the Bretonnian and Empire armies I have, especially since I have been using a Medieval historic theme for my Bretonnians. It will also give me an excuse to buy into more Scottish minis, especially the Claymore Islander figs. Claymore have even released army bundles just for me! Now there's a forum for the game too, to go learn more about the rules.


Bannockburn 1314, Robert Bruce's Greatest Victory, by Peter Armstrong

My interest in this battle has been simmering away in the background, pretty much since for ever, being Scots born, however, with last year being the 700th anniversary of the battle, and the release of the rule set above, I finally bought this so I could learn more about it. Of this set of books, this is the one I read first, and it is a great example of the Osprey campaign series, and gave me lots of ideas as to what I want to do to make Lion Rampant forces for Medieval Scots and English to batter lumps out of each other over the table top.

In one final piece of news, in an attempt to make a little money from this blog, I joined as an Amazon Associate, so buy clicking on any of these links to buy these books (in the titles), you'll be doing a little to help fund my book buying habit. I will not become a millionaire through this by any means, but every little I earn is something I didn't make before, and for that, I am very thankful. I figures this was an inoffensive means of monetizing this site, as I'm not a fan of ads everywhere. Even if you don't buy aything, at least give me some clicks, so I can sit back and watch the pennies roll in!

In fact, I've gone back through my old book posts, and updated all of the links, so if you were thinking about buying any of the books I have mentioned before (even the free ones) now is the time to go do it.

If any of you have had experience of this system , or others like it, let me know what you think.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Khador Caster Challenge: February, Vladimir, the Dark Prince of Umbrey

After having finished Zerkova, I had started to paint up Irusk as the next caster, but after playing a game of Warmachinea couple of weeks ago, where I fielded my Khador for the first time in a very long time (so long in fact, that many of the players at the store were unaware I had a Khador army, to them I was a Legion/Menoth player), and played and enjoyed my game with eVlad, I decided that Vlad was the way to go. Since my eVlad is not completely assembled, I dusted off pVlad. That is not a metaphorical dusting off either, this guy had been primed way back when he was originally released in 2005, and I literally had to clean the thick layer of dust off of his cloak before painting him!

This is the Variant version of Vladimir, the Dark Prince of Umbrey, after there was much outcry to resculpt the original version, which was a very early sculpt from Privateer Press, and is quite frankly lacking in charm. This version was originally released, with some of the proceeds from the sale going to Hurricane Katrina Relief.

His face is rather hidden, and hard to get to between those massive shoulder pads, but since the shoulders are clearly the focal point of this mini, I decided to spend the time getting them right, rather than the facial features,

Now that I have the paint scheme down for his armour, I can go and assemble the epic version, and get on with painting him, as he is a lot more fun to play with on the table. Afterall, the challenge to paint these guys up is with the intention of playing my Khador more too. I may even try to sign up for the next league at my FLGS with them, as I hear it's going to be a lot of fun!

To have this mini pull a double shift, I went with a winter base, that way he count's for this month's colore ton monde entry too. I went with the traditional PVA glue and baking soda mix, which worked perfectly when dry-brushed on the cloak, but didn't work so well on the base, as I had not base coated white, or blue, so the black of the base showed through. After that, I put a thin layer of white and blue paint, to cover the darkness of the PVA-Baking soda mix, then added some Army Painter snow flock. The result looks messy, and I don't like it, but for this month, it'll do, and I can always re-base him later.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Colore ton Monde, February, Baby it's Cold Outside!

It's the beginning of the month again, and the results from January's challenge have been posted on Facebook here, and my entry can be seen in greater detail here. February is a short month, so let'S get cracking on with the challenge!

The challenge for February is as follows.

* Y fait frette ! *
L'hiver est bien entamé. Le froid et la neige sont notre lot pour le prochain mois au minimum. Pour février, nous vous invitons à peindre un modèle hivernal, que ce soit son thème ou son schéma de couleur qui rappellent nos blanches campagnes.

* It's Baltic out there!! *

Winter is well underway. The cold and snow are our lot for the next month at least. For February, we invite you to paint a winter model, whether its theme or color scheme reminiscent of our white campaigns.

It would be very easy to just do one of my Khador Casters, and call it a day, however, the one I am nearly finished is not particularly wintery, save for a little snow on his base, which is a bit of a cop out I feel. I should however, stick with Khador, and do something else, as I intend for this to be the year of Khador in more ways than just with my caster challenge.