Thursday, 21 March 2013

Games for Kids - Fluxx

 It’s been hard to sit my siblings down for a game of anything of late but we found ourselves waiting for my parents to return home one night so I jumped on the chance to demonstrate on of my favourite casual card games to them.

Fluxx is a card game designed by a group of mathematicians in which the rules, goals and cards you play with constantly change. Confused? I shall explain.  

The core edition of Fluxx
starts out with just two basic rules; these are on a card placed in the centre of the table at the start of the game: each player draws one card off the deck, and plays one card during his turn.
The deck its self contains four types of cards in the core game: New Rule, Action, Keeper and Goal cards:

  • New Rule cards can be played to change the rules or add other rules. Examples are “Draw 2”, “Play 3”, “Reverse Order “or even “Inflation” (formerly X=X+1), which increases numerals on other cards played (so Draw 2 becomes Draw 3).
  • Action cards, which allow the player to do one-time things like steal cards or eliminate rules. Examples are “Draw 2 and use 'em”,” Jackpot!” to draw three cards instantly, “Let's Do That Again”, allowing the player to search the trash pile and replay a card, and “Rules Reset”, which removes all new rules in play.
  • Keeper cards, which are used to meet the Goals below. Examples are “Bread”, “Dreams”, and “Peace”. Keepers are played in front of the players so they are clearly visible.
  • Goal cards, which define what is required to win. Most Goals require pairs of Keeper cards: for example, Appliances requires the Toaster and Television Keepers, and Squishy Chocolate requires Chocolate and The Sun.
    A few Goals are different: for example All You Need Is Love requires the Love as the player's only Keeper in play and 10 Cards In Hand requires the player's hand to be the largest one and at least 10 cards. In standard play, only one Goal can be in play at a time (though the New Rule card Double Agenda allows two Goals to be in play at once, with a win being made by satisfying either Goal's requirements).

There are many other versions of Fluxx with additional card types and some where the cards have sub-rules included on them. We did not play one of these version we played old school.
I explained the rules to my sisters and they seemed pretty happy with them and began the first turn. Things went smoothly but as always happens with Fluxx soon we were drawing 5 cards a turn and playing our whole hand. My sister managed on about turn 8 to pull out the keepers “Bread” and “Toaster” with the goal “Toast” (which you will not be surprised takes both these keepers) smugly she placed the cards down and the game was over, after about 5 minutes.

N.B. this is worth mentioning actually, on the box for Fluxx its self it states play time as 2 minutes to 30 minutes. The two minutes is conservative I’ve seen players win in turn 1. This is part of what makes it fun and an amazing pub game (even with the kids, keeps them quite).

We proceeded to play a few more quick games and they both understood the game really well. My youngest sister struggled with some of the one shot Action cards as she wasn’t quite sure when to play them and often ended up having to show me her hand and ask if any were appropriate but other than these she said she really enjoyed it and my other sister has borrowed my “Star Fluxx” (Flux in space) to play in quiet moments at school (which is impressive for a teenage “One Direction” fan). So overall Fluxx has the child seal of approval.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Malifaux on a Budget - Plastic Crews

 So my apologies that it’s been such a long time since I did one of these, or blogged at all for that matter but setting up the Hobbynomicon has eaten into a lot of my time. If you do ever miss me, we have some great articles over there, focusing on introductions to systems at the minute and other “on a budget” articles for Warmachine and Hordes, if you're that way inclined.

Many of you may notice I've looked at one of the new plastic Malifaux crews before. When they were first released I looked at "Dark Debts" and found it one of my easier crews to write for; because of how new the "Ten Thunders" faction is there aren't many models out for them yet. Also Wyrd seem to have made a very concerted effort to give each master a selection of in theme models that have great synergy with each other. Of course the masters are free to hire from any where within their own faction or the Ten Thunders faction depending of which of their guises your taking the invaders in.

In this article I'll cover two of the Ten Thunders masters starting with their Mistress Misaki in her new incarnation, and move on to the new Arcanist muscle crew led by Mei Feng. Next time I'll cover Yan Lo and Lucas McCabe while you can find Dark Debts here.

So "The Thunder".

The Thunder Box Set 
The Box
Price - £22.50/$35
Soul Stone amount -29
The crew like all the new plastic box sets (except Dark Debts) contains, the master (Misaki), their totem (Shang), a heavy hitting minion (Ototo) and three of their themed lesser minions (Torakage). This is a pretty solid crew already, with some pretty brutal combat prowess and a few tricks in the form of the Torakage's smoke bombs and "Mistaken Identity" which allows them to switch places with a friendly model (allowing you to teleport you two heavy hitters across the board into a fresh combat). The soul stone cost included in the box is amazing and each model earns its points (in my opinion). But how do we fill the last 6 points to get us to the magic 35?


Price - £6.80/$11
Soul Stone amount - 6
Misaki's mentor looks a little frail at first glance but her rules are a different matter. The first thing to mention is that Yamaziko is one of the few minions with the use soulstone ability, combined with Misaki's ability to steal soul stones and you have a powerful combo indeed. She is a consummate utility character, able to give Mikaski fast (she already has reckless but you don't want her taking a wound a turn), she's able to negate a charge bonus, she can force your opponent to reveal one of their schemes, dish out a high rate of damage, let you draw cards when an opponent does, and finally heal friendly models. That's right shes a Swiss army knife in a long robe and you'd be insane to buy the Thunder box set without her. 

N.B. - The Thunder box set will play perfectly well like this for the very reasonable sum of £29.30, however there is another way.

Ten Thunders Archer (3 pack)

Price - £12.50/$21
Soul Stone amount - 6 each

There is a divide in Ten Thunders players. Those that archer, and those that Torakage. The archers are one of the best range units in the game; able to focus for a single action, make their bows blast, do high damage or give slow (with the aid of a spell) and for a (0) action they can give them selves a positive to hit.
Many players take a mix or archers and Torakage. Malifaux on a Budget says go with the Torakage, but for only £12.50 extra I had to give you guys the option. £41.80 gets you the lot and a 53 SS pool to pick from.

Leaving the pure Ten Thunders behind we'll look at the first of their dual faction counterparts. The Rail Crew.

Rail Crew Box Set 
The Box
Price - £22.50/$35
Soul Stone amount -25

Mei Feng is a butt kicking machine thanks to some very interesting mechanics she moves across the board juggling opponents like a character from Street Fighter. Able to hop between the rail workers with a (1) action spell (one that casting expert makes an easy choice to cast) she will teleport 5" at a time and strike at any opponent she reaches, (not too bad I hear you say) combine this with the fact that most of her triggers allow her to punch you again (or punch you without even using an action) and you'll begin to get it. She can also hide in a cloud of smoke, draw a card when she kills someone and give her self armour 2, Mei Feng is not one to mess with in combat. 
The rail workers themselves are pretty tough, slow to die and able to give their replacement limbs some nice abilities they'll hold their own against most minions, but their main purpose it to help their mistress. Kang (the big guy, you can see in the picture) is a front line buffer. While not to shabby in a fight himself, his real powers lie in buffing allies when they're near him or once he's killed an enemy. He'll also keep your rail workers in the fight longer by forcing them to rally and himself in the fight longer as he has regeneration of the same number as the turn!

But I hear you cry what can we add to these close combat monsters to improve them? Feast your eyes on these...

Metal Gamin (3 pack)

Price - £12.70/$21
Soul Stone amount -5 (each)

These recent releases from Wyrd are the best body guards in Malifaux. Able to activate with the model they're protecting (nominated at the start of the game, for this crew Mei Feng), they have high armour can rush into to save their target, heal themselves and take wounds for their targeted model. Importantly for a Mei Feng crew they can be used as way points for rail walker, meaning more butt kicking fun. 
With one to spare you can choose you two favourite or take your games up to 40 SS.

Adding the Metal Gamin takes us to £35.20 which makes for another very cheap crew, that's hard hitting and survivable, they also have a great personal scheme where you build a railway across the board. This is not only great fun but means your models will be spread out ... which is where Mei Feng wants them.

That's it for this time, please feel free to leave feedback as usual, and please, please, please check out the Hobbynomicon if you haven't already. Our web editors been working really hard to make the place look amazing.