Friday, November 30, 2012


Apologies for not being present the last few months but life has thrown me some curve balls. I hope
to have them resolved soon and will return with more crabby madness and silly crap with bad photoshopping images and alleged comedy.

In the mean time, I have updated the links section. One Angry Gamer's blog is now Hudson's Hideout. Check him out -- he is the best gaming blogger in the bloggershere (yes, I used that word -- get over yourself and get into the correct century you Luddites).

See you all soon!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

D&D Adventure Board Game System

Some days ago I had the distinct privilege to try out Wizards of the Coast’s D&D Adventure board game system at One Angry Gamer’s place. Joining in was his squeeze Lady Baker.

The D&D Adventure board game system is a series of high end co-operative games (Wrath of Ashardalon, Castle Ravenloft, The Legend of Drizzt) where players use pre-generated characters and a randomly generated board to beat monster encounters and fulfill scenario objectives.

Having heard a lot about this system, I was anxious to try it out. I am happy to report it seems to be a solid system supported by good mechanics and giving players important choices to make and plan their tactics accordingly.

We played two games, both of which combined all the board game sets into one huge cavern and dungeon romp (Angry at work). The scenario stipulated we had to kill 15 monsters before our team took three player kills (expending three healing surges) plus the first death afterwards. I will report on the first game since it didn’t last very long. In fact, it was a disaster.

We choose our stalwart group:

I took the goofy and dimwitted barbarian Wulfgar:

Lady Baker chose the grumpy and hemorrhoid afflicted dwarf fighter Bruenor:

Angry picked the sassy rogue Kat (and say it all together now: “Because rogues are badass!”):

To begin the game you place your figures on the aptly named start tile.

And then it begins. Drawing cards, fighting random creatures, and trying to survive wicked events all aimed at killing the characters. It’s relentless and uncompromising. And a hell of a lot of fun.

And speaking of wicked events, Wulfy took a misstep:

Although causing no damage, this event separated him from the group and the fighter and rogue took a lot of hits from monsters. Before they knew it, they were nearly out of healing surges and hadn’t even moved four tiles into the cavern!

Pushing their luck, the group had to kill some monsters and fast. Wulf charged a flaming skeleton and Kat followed. The only problem was our hottie rogue moved alongside a volcanic vent. Now Angry knew this could be an issue but figured that the only way the vent could harm his rogue was if the event came up by pulling a card from the encounter deck. Since it was still pretty thick, what were the chances of that one card coming up?


Anyway, play proceeded south rather quickly and Kat finally succumbed to her wounds. Since we were out of healing surges we lost the game.

In closing, this game system is quite challenging due to its random nature. However, that does not mean it’s a bad design. What the system does and does well is it really forces players to think and plan their strategies very carefully. Thoughtful play should always be lauded.

Overall, we had a great time and I am pleased to say we won the second game.

Until next time, may the crabs be with you!

Monday, August 6, 2012


Greetings Crab-fans! Sorry for the absence of posts of late, but I was recovering from surgery (cancer is the gift that keeps on giving even after you cut it out). However, I am well on the mend so it’s time for another exciting and riveting AAR!

A few weeks ago, my pal One Angry Gamer stopped by the crab shack for a quick game of  Runebound by Fantasy Flight Games And by quick I mean about seven and a half hours of fun.

Here’s how the board was set up:

This time we decided to use one of the expansions decks that change the victory conditions. We decided on the Crown of the Elder Kings. This expansion directly pits the players against each other as they try to gather a specific group of powerful allies. The first player to do so can claim right to the Crown thus forcing the other player to attack these allies first one after the other and then the player himself – all without resting or regaining wounds.  

But then add into the mix that this expansion is really tough as well. Thus, you have the making of a great challenge!

So, we chose our characters. Who would be willing to take on this great and noble quest? Angry took the sleazy and easy:

And I chose the stalwart and true but somewhat dense:

The game basically consists of moving around the board and uncovering encounters thereby gaining gold and gear and leveling up your character and getting ready for the climatic face off.

But as the game commences, the challenges become increasingly more difficult. And as stated before the Crown of the Elder King expansion really amped up the difficulty level.

As you can see on the card above “The ultimate test of a leader’s worth is how he faces death”. Well Angry’s goth-demon chick Red had the first real crack at showing what she was made of. And she did:

But as the game went on, Angry recovered and quickly rolled on rapidly gathering the powerful allies he needed.

Realizing I was getting outmatched physically and gear-wise, I decided to simply beef up my character for the final showdown hoping I could somehow triumph over great odds. Angry was getting confident as victory seemed within grasp.

But then fate turned on him like bad egg salad. I somehow managed to quickly collect the allies I needed, thus forcing the showdown.

And although Angry’s character did quickly dispense with my allies, she was no match for my barbarian and down she went. Planning had paid off for me!

It was a fun game. Angry always provides a great challenge and is really smart about his tactics. He's also a good sport and always a gentleman (no rules lawyer he!). And although long, the time just flew by which is always a hallmark of a well designed game. We are hoping to play the big box jungle expansion Mists of Zanaga soon.

Until then, may the Crabs be with you!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

This is the end... Games Workshop, Warhammer Fantasy, Warhammer 40K

Much has been stated, written, shouted, and screamed about Games Workshop and their business practices. Whether you like them or not they are the premiere company that produces lavish miniatures and gaming rules covering many genres and scales. The prevailing attitude is you either deal with them or you don’t. Love  them or leave them.  

Well, I am no longer dealing. Others of course are free to do as they will and more power to them and that’s the great aspect of this hobby is that there’s room for everyone to do their own thing.

Or not to. And that’s why I’m bidding GW farewell. Rather than launch into a prattling diatribe, here are my reasons written as succinctly as possible:

Price Increases. With the recent across the board price increases and subsequent release of Warhammer 40K sixth edition, it was seemingly felt by a great many gamers that a line had been crossed by Games Workshop this time.  Prices were already getting out of hand. I mean who would really pay $49.50 for this:

Obnoxious sales associates at GW stores. If you have ever stepped into one of their retail stores, the experience is literally like you are buying a car circa 1954. Sales associates will swarm all over you and WILL NOT LEAVE YOU ALONE even after repeated statements that you wish to browse or just be left alone. If I wanted attention like that I would slather myself in chum and dive into Amity waters with Matt Hooper.

Unbalanced gameplay. This one is completely subjective but since this is my space I can say whatever the hell I want. Having played the various incarnations over the years, I think Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40k is designed to be unbalanced. It is also my belief that this was done on purpose to promote more product buying. If one side gets a more powerful unit then just simply go out and purchase more units to counter. Or wait until your side gets a newly produced unit that can match that other one. Regardless, its buy buy buy. Well now its bye bye bye for me. Also, is it me or does it seem that these games are simply line up your forces on opposite sides of the board and rush to the center as quickly as possible and then slug it out? Stonewall Jackson would be appalled. Or even McClellan.

Finecast. This was truly the breaking point for me. After purchasing a Finecast model, there were several flaws in it. Okay, that happens. I exchanged it and got another one. And guess what? More flaws – worse than the first model. After another exchange I finally inquired what the story was with this new and improved miniature manufacturing process. I was told by an associate that GW is fully aware of the issues and has no plans to fix them but encourages exchanges. Huh? What about my time and gas money being wasted?  If that’s an actual business practice then whoever dreamed that up probably thought New Coke was a grand idea.

So this is goodbye to GW. That is not to say that I won’t play games made by other companies using their intellectual properties. Fantasy Flight Games does a great job with the Warhammer Fantasy license with their fine card game Warhammer Invasion.  Check it out sometime. And feel secure in the knowledge that you can play Warhammer Invasion with just the core set – you never have to buy anything else if you don’t want to and the game plays fine.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

And now for something completely different...

For all the things that Mrs. Crabby puts up with, it was time for a night out of gaming fun, Mrs. Crabby Style. Where did we end up? The Wandering Dragon? Games Plus? The smelly Gaming Goat?

No.  Instead:

Hey, it's still gaming and we broke even!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Arkham Horror: Never let a Magician do man's job!

A few nights ago One Angry Gamer and I got together at The Wandering Dragon Game Store in Plainfield IL to play some Arkham Horror by Fantasy Flight Games.

For those unfamiliar with the game or the source material, Arkham Horror is a board game based on the works of pulp writer H.P. Lovecraft It is a cooperative game that pits the players against the old gods and their minions trying to invade earth by coming through dimensional gates. The players must stop this by closing the gates quickly or Arkham will be overrun and there will be no stopping them. Since it is horror based, sanity and losing your marbles is an important facet of the game as it was in Lovecraft writings. For more information on this great game, check out Boardgame Geek:

Now then, for our game.

Here’s the picturesque (???), sleepy (???) town of Arkham. Kinda like Mayberry if Clive Barker was the city planner.

Angry wanted to be the Dexter Drake the Magician (because that character  is of course “badass”).

I chose the Indy rip off character Monterey Jack.

Here was the game’s big boss that we randomly chose: 

If we didn’t close and seal six gates before Arkham was overrun with monsters we would have to confront this Old One in hand to hand combat (NOT A GOOD IDEA).

Immediately Angry’s Magician Dexter was faced with a nearby gate but it had a pretty tough monster guarding it. Since you have to either kill the monster or sneak past it there was some debate as to whether or not he should attempt this or not. Still, the game calls for quick action or else so off he went.

With predictable results:

Meanwhile, Indy, err Monterey actually accomplished something and closed a gate.

See Dexter next to him on the left? He’s in Arkham Asylum getting psychiatric help. He did that even before the game.

And sadly, things went downhill rather rapidly. One bad event caused a huge influx of monsters that our hapless heroes were unable to kill thus triggering the fight with Nylar. And since the game had just started we did not have near enough gear to stand a chance.

Thus the world was overrun. Monterey decided to join the cult of Cthulhu (“Throw me the Kool-Aid and I'll throw you the idol!”) while our Magician friend started a profitable mail order business selling...

Although the game was short we had a hoot playing it. The mechanics are easy to pickup and game flow is smooth and suspenseful. It's pretty hard to win with just two players but considering the subject matter that just lends to the fun.

Footnote: The Wandering Dragon is an excellent game store. The owner is a nice guy who understands what gamers want and don’t want in a game store. Great selection of games too! Truly a gem establishment! Worth the drive just to see it.