Origins 2016 – Video Round Up Part 2

Hey folks! Now that I’m back from Ohio I’ve had plenty of time to finish off the remaining videos from Origins 2016. Thank you to all the folks who took time out at the show to speak with me, and thank to all of you lot for watching the videos over on The Little Metal Television channel on YouTube. Of course, if you like them, clicking the Subscribe channel is a lovely thing. Here’s the second and final batch from the show floor!

The personal experience with the trading world is different for everybody. These experiences cannot be imitated or mimicked by another person for each and every person has something different and unique to experience with the trading platform of their choice. This is a field that teaches and enriches every single trader with a distinctive learning and it is for this reason that traders are requested to have their trades here personally. Of course, the blogs and recommendations online would help a trader in choosing his path but it is his experiences and hands-on here that would help in understanding this field better than what has been heard from the other`s experience.

Crypto secrets

  • Try to justify and add value to your choices. It is very important to be a smart trader in this field because there are frauds and cheats very much present here and it is very easy for a trader to get trapped in the nets of fraudulent trading software. So try to always justify your choice of trading platform with the maximum back-ups and be sure that you are in safe hands and in a safe trading activity. Do not let your choices ruin your money and trading interests.
  • An investment in the trading field is a very profitable one but do not get greedy with the returns. This field always tries to attract and allure the traders to make more investments and this might sometime be deceiving too. So always try to see and investigate what you can afford to lose and invest accordingly so that you are not disappointed when the results are out. So invest only that much that can be lost without a trouble.
  • Goals need to be set a little high, for only when you reach out to the skies would you at least land reaching for the stars. Of course, this might look a little too much when described in words for this statement means different levels to different traders. And each trader should set achievable goals to the limit he can stretch himself to.
  • Pay heed and attention to the mistakes committed and try not to repeat the same. These are all good opportunities to experience and learn to get better in the trading field and to know how and how not to be here.

All these can be followed meticulously when you decide to trade with systems like the crypto robot 365 which presents all options and opportunities for having a great trading experience.

Run The Jewels – Crossing review

If you look back over recent reviews here on The Little Metal Dog Show, you’ll see that things have taken something of a lighter tone – work is crazy busy, and there’s always a lot going on, so finding the time to settle in for four hours of something like Through The Ages is a rare occurrence. Thankfully there are many great games out there that offer an interesting play experience in a much shorter period of time, and I’ve found that my shelves grow increasingly heavy with these small boxes. Sure, I still love a deep, multi-hour game, but quick playtimes can often be fun too. Enter Crossing from Asmodee, a game packled with bluff and potential cruelty wrapped up in a cutesy package that’s perfect for family game night.

Automation would change the way you trade

We talk about automation as a threat to jobs. There is more to automation than just the replacement of human resources. Automation done right would perfectly complement the human efforts. The same effects also apply to automation in trading. There are two main ways in which you can automate your trading activities. One is the full-fledged automation where you would hand over the whole control to a trading bot and then allow the bot to take decisions. The other is to automate just parts of the trading process while still holding the control to yourself.

Automation for the new traders

Automation has a different meaning depending on the skills and knowledge of the trader. The purpose for which the trader is looking for automation is also something that cannot be ignored. When you are totally new to trading in cryptocurrencies you might take some time to understand how to analyze the market. During that time you spend on research if you still would like to make some profits then there are trading bots that come with full autopilot mode.

In these trading bots, you would start by creating an account. The trading bot would then allow your trading account and would function as the trader. It would depend on the code that supports it and performs a technical analysis of the market. The efficiency of a crypto trading bot would depend on the creator, the strategies that are fed in the code. The bots would run round the clock, keep looking for the patterns that form in the market and then pick signals from the patterns and make decisions based on the decision making strategy designed.

Automation for the professional traders

The experienced traders would use automation very differently. Some prefer keeping the decision making authority to themselves. Using a fully automated bot would not give the transparency of understanding the chosen parameters or technical indicators. But with partial automation, the trader would be able to automate order placement and market analysis. The trader himself can then decide the best technical indicators to use for the decisions being taken.

So what should you really choose?

If you plan to rely on one bot for a long time making sure that you understand the flexibility it offers. When you use crypt trading bots like Crypto VIP Club, you have the advantage of customizing your trading strategies. These bots are designed so as to be used by beginners and professionals alike.

It’s a very daft world we find ourselves in, with various fantastical races battling for control of mystical gems. Each player represents the leader of one of the groups, and play begins with the placing of special mushroom tiles in the middle of the table. These need to easily accessible to everyone and there will always be one less tile than there are players – so, should you have the maximum six people sat around the table, there’ll be five mushrooms in the centre.

Before you begin, each tile is then stocked with two random gems taken from the included bag – there are sixty in there, and the game ends on the round when the last ones are removed. Gems will score you points at the end of the game. Red, Blue and Yellow ones will get a single point apiece, but a set of each of the three will be traded in for five points at the end of the game. The White gems score two points for every one collected. But how do you get them?

Crossing Play

Such shiny stuff. So cute to look at. And so much potential for anger and rage…

Well… pointing, mainly. Lots of pointing. For the first round, the players count to three, and on three everyone must point to one of the mushrooms. If you’re the only person pointing at one of the tiles, congratulations! You claim the gems for your own and place them on your character’s tile, gloating with the knowledge of being a unique and special person. If you happened to choose a mushroom that someone else also selected, you’re out of luck; no gems for you this turn. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though.

You see, when the round ends, more gems are drawn from the bag. An empty mushroom gains two, just like the start of the game. However, any central tile that already had gems on it gains an extra one from the bag, and these can quickly stock up, becoming more and more alluring at the game continues. From the second round onwards, players also have a couple of extra options, by way of pointing at an opponent’s tile to steal an entire stash and boost their own, or cover their collected booty and hide it away, protected from thieves for the rest of the game. Choosing this option sees you sit out of the next round though, leaving the available mushrooms open for braver (or more reckless) players.

So far, so simple, but there’s another level to Crossing that elevates it above simply collecting shiny tokens. In this game, table talk isn’t just allowed, it’s positively encouraged, meaning that deals and promises can be made at any time. That doesn’t mean that you have to stick to what you’ve agreed with other players, though. In fact, the game truly comes into its own when you pick your battles, forming useful alliances at just the right time and then stabbing your now quite annoyed friends in the back, just so you can get your hands on a few valuable gems. The extra points that you get from collecting a set of Blue, Red and Yellow gems can be well worth a couple of rounds of working together, only to see this alliance crumble when you steal the stuff you’ve ‘helped’ them accrue over the last five minutes.

Crossing hits that same mark as the excellent Skull (aka Skull and Roses) for me – light enough to explain to newcomers in a couple of minutes, but with just enough meat on the bones to warrant multiple plays in the same evening. It has the same twin markers of bluff and deception built into its DNA, and playing regularly with the same people will see them develop tells that you’ll find yourself constantly looking out for. Keeping an eye on what gems folks have already collected will prove constantly useful, as this is as much as game of awareness as it is reaction – a swift eye between rounds is as vital as a quick hand switching from one tile to another when you spot someone else going for it.

While there’s not a massive amount of stuff in the box, what is in there is nicely put together. The art is pretty throughout, the rulebook clear and concise, and the tiles are thick so they’ll last through plenty of poking and prodding – just what you’d expect from Asmodee, who are putting out a string of beautifully produced games over these past couple of years. My only issues are that playing requires a minimum of three players, and with six around the table the whole thing can be over before you even feel like you got started – however, with four or five, it’s an ideal end of the night palette cleanser that shows a darker side than you may initially expect.

Crossing was designed by Yoshiteru Shinohara (and is only his second game, according to BGG). It was released by Asmodee in 2016, though was originally self published under the name of Xing back in 2013. Between three and six people can play, with games taking around fifteen minutes or so. It’s on sale from the good folks at Funagain Games for $25 and is well worth checking out.

Never Ending Story – Ilios review

Oh man, The Iliad. It brings back weird memories for me, of schooldays when I thought I was clever because I was reading Homer and listening to The Smiths when everyone else was outside playing football and actually having fun with other people. Eh, whatever, I was having fun in my own, lonesome way. Plus I liked hanging out in the library, because occasionally folks would stumble in and we could play RPGs. Yay for the more antisocial members of my school!Learn where a crypto bot fits in your investment strategy

If you are a new investor you might already have a lot running through your mind. There is one main confusion that every new investor normally has and that is the choice of the right investment plans. If you would like to totally give up control then there are some managed funds that you can consider. But you might have to forget about your funds for the entire tenure and there is no talk about liquidity. So if you are going to be a smart investor you should really consider diversifying your portfolio and plan to mix and match managed and self-managed funds. The thought about investing in equities or cryptocurrencies, the thoughts about becoming a trader should not daunt you anymore. You can learn and sharpen your trading skills with the various online resources. And to up the ante, there are numerous trading bots as well. If you are one among the millions who chose to make the smart move of investing in cryptocurrencies then you have some good news to cherish- cryptocurrencies are here to stay.

How would a trading bot assist a new trader?

If you are new to crypto trading then you would definitely benefit from having assistance. In most cases shadowing someone who has all the information would be a great way to learn and grow. You would be able to do the same thing with a trading bot. Crypto bots like Crypto VIP Club are designed with sophisticated algorithms running on the inside. But this complication doesn’t necessarily have to worry you because all you are exposed to, is a super-clean layout where you simply see the market status and the decisions being taken. When you shadow a trading bot you would be able to notice the way it takes decisions. Though you cannot really get deep into the strategies being followed and the parameters being chosen to take the decisions you can still view the decisions being taken.

There are advanced algorithms designed to perform technical analysis with the real-time data from the market. With inbuilt risk management features, these bots can work on minimizing the risks and increasing the profits. The best aspect of such reliable bots is that they are programmed to analyze and predict the results based on a large variety of indicators instead of relying simply on a bunch of parameters and miscalculating the results. So without having to spend time or efforts, you can be assured of a steady source of income from crypto trading if you choose a crypto trading bot.

However annoying a teen I may have been, the story of The Iliad is still one that I enjoy. The battles, the heroes and villains, the siege of Troy… it remains an incredible tale, even moreso when paired with The Odyssey. Of course, many game designers have drawn inspiration from these legendary tales, the latest of which was developed by Eliot Hochberg; his new creation that recently funded over on Kickstarter is called Ilios, and it’s really rather splendid. One thing though – if you’re looking at a game that will evoke stories of high adventure and embittered gods, this may not entirely be the one for you. That’s not to say that Ilios is bad – not at all, it’s actually excellent – but it’s abstract in the extreme, almost to the point of themeless.
That’s not a problem though – abstracts are much loved by a lot of gamers; look at the GIPF series, for example, and the company responsible for Ilios are also the folks behind another game I really enjoyed, Cartography, so there’s certainly a track record for quality there. Like most games in the abstract genre, Iliosattempts to capture the classic concept of ‘moments to learn, but a lifetime to master’, but does it achieve this lofty goal? Well, first things first – how does it play?
Pretty straightforward, as it turns out. A grid of squares is your battlefield – my prototype copy came with a 7×7 sheet, but the rulebook suggests a 6×6 set-up, or 4×4 for a quicker game. Between two and four people can play, each one represented by an army of coloured discs that will track your plays as well as what areas of the board you currently control. The only other components in the game are a selection of thirty-five wooden Warrior Tiles (of which there are five different types for use during standard play) and one further set of four Iron Weapon tiles that are used to start the proceedings. Each player takes one and placed them on the board, determining where future tiles can be placed for at least the first round…
Each turn sees players choosing from one of three tiles in their hand, which is then placed on one of the empty squares on the grid. The only rules regarding placement is that at least one of the arrows on a tile must be pointing towards a square occupied by an opponent or one of those Iron Weapon tiles that begin the game. Once a tile is in play, anything its arrows point to are ‘attacked’ – in other words, you replace the current coloured disc on enemy tiles with one of your own. You then mark the tile you’ve just played with a disc of your own and, should any tiles now be completely surrounded by a combination of discs, tiles, or the board edge, you get to claim it for yourself (leaving your disc behind to show your feat of strength!), scoring the points shown at the end of the game.

IMG_0483

Placing this ‘1’ tile means you get to seize the 10-point Iron Weapons token – vital if you’re going to crush your enemies before you!

And so it continues – place a tile, switch out coloured discs, occasionally claim a tile for points, then draw back to three tiles – until there are no open squares left on the board. Points are tallied and the highest scorer wins… and that’s very much it, so it definitely satisfies the quick learning time criteria.
As for the ‘lifetime to master’ bit? Well, the games I’ve played of Ilios have been challenging and are often very close, but I get the feeling that if I were to be facing off against someone who had a lot more experience I’d be getting destroyed on a regular basis. While it doesn’t feel like the game suffers from the problem of being solvable (which is an issue some abstract titles can suffer from), greater experience will most certainly pay off as you learn little strategies that can give you an edge in play. The fact that you can also play with between two and four people as well as switch up the size of the board means that there is plenty of variance in Ilios – a smaller board with a larger amount of players leads to an incredibly cut-throat game, while more space means there’s more room to breath and consider your options. It’s a refreshing approach to abstract gaming, and each different game set-up does indeed manage to feel a little different. Sure, the general premise is always going to be the same, but the mix of player count and board size does keep things fresh.
Now, with all that said, I know in my heart that I not everyone will get into Ilios. While yes, I enjoyed playing Ilios, a large amount of gamers out there who will immediately turn it down simply because it’s an abstract affair. However, I encourage you to keep an open mind and give this rather charming game a shot – after all, pretty much every game deserves to be played (unless you’re talking about that bloody awful Doctor Who Trivia Game we reviewed a couple of years back). With even a four-player game taking around twenty minutes, it’s a quick brain-burner that the right group will really enjoy – just make sure that you’re a part of it!

Little Metal Dog Show – Episode 2.3 – Battlestations!

In this new run of the podcast, I am going to be VERY selective about the games that I choose to talk about that are currently on Kickstarter. In all honesty, towards the end of the first series, I felt like the focus was very heavily skewed towards crowdfunding, and while it was great speaking to people about their games, it could sometimes feel like a bit of a shill. This time around though you’ll be hearing a lot less from the KS-sphere, and if someone does happen to have a game currently seeking funding, having them appear on the show will be a pretty bloody good sign that you should probably go ahead and check it out.

Crypto trading – the growing popularity and the rise of crypto bots

You might have already heard about the tough competition that the crypto bots are giving to the crypto traders out there. Cryptocurrency came as a concept that had a potential for materialization. But little did the world expect that it would soon grow to be one big sensation. And in this age where the fear of missing out is driving people of all generations to try out everything that is new in the market the cryptocurrency trend is growing explosively.

Crypto trading started simply because the currency system of cryptocurrencies fluctuates very similar to that of the fiat currency system. When people noticed that the currency system in general fluctuates this was identified as a great option for trading. And then came the forex trading system. And now with cryptocurrencies operating without too many dependencies as with the general currency system, there is nothing to stop the value changes in these currencies. There is an ever-increasing demand. Businesses around the world are now accepting cryptocurrency payments. With all these happening the value of cryptocurrencies and the trading opportunities in these currencies have also been steadily increasing. So crypto trading is now found to be one of the most dependable trading windows for the beginners who do not know where to start.

Crypto bots- and the real scenario

Getting to the topic of crypto bots- they are now everywhere. While major world countries are discussing the need for regulations on cryptocurrencies in general and in crypto trading there is a long lineup of crypto bots that are penetrating the market and making their mark. Do crypto bots really work? Yes, they do- if not all of them, at least there are a handful of reliable trading bots that help the early stage investors in cryptocurrencies.

How do the crypto bots make the traders’ job simpler?

Most crypto bots like Crypto VIP Club work without having to download any software. These are offered as web-based applications that anyone who knows to use a computer can operate. In a few clicks, you would be able to sign up and create an account. And then in another few clicks, you would then be able to make your deposits and withdrawals. The rest of the job would be taken care of by the trading bot. These bots are designed to take care of the analysis of the market and thus they are designed to be good at making market predictions.

Enter the bold Jeff Siadek! His magnum opus, Battlestations, was originally released back in 2004 and certainly has a unique and special place in the hearts and minds of many gamers and designers in our community. Part role playing game, part board game, it puts players not just in a spaceship hurtling through the galaxy, but makes that galaxy a living, breathing thing that actively wants to ruin your day by killing you (or at least forcing you to respawn your consciousness in the body of a new clone). In a game where literally anything can happen at the discretion of a lone player acting as the enemy, how long can you and your teammates survive the inky blackness of space? And what happens when a much loved game gets a much-deserved reboot over a decade down the line?

Find out for yourself in this interview with Jeff Siadek – which you can get on iTunes or directly from this here link: http://traffic.libsyn.com/littlemetaldogshow/LMD_Episode_2_3_Jeff_Siadek.mp3 – and check out the game on Kickstarter! It runs through until Thursday, March 3rd, and can be found at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/search?utf8=&term=battlestations

As ever, thanks for listening!

Sweet Little Mystery: Codenames review (Czech Games Edition)

Party games still have that curious stigma about them, despite the leaps and bounds that the genre has taken over the past few years. Even with the rise of the juggernaut that is Cards Against Humanity (as well as the insane amount of copycat rip-offs that are still being released some three years after CAH first debuted) the vast majority of people, especially those who wouldn’t refer to themselves as gamers, will still harken back to to the dark era of Trivial Pursuitwhen it comes to playing something in a group that is deemed accessible by all. For many games companies out there, managing to tap into that market is something of a dream, but with the right alignment of stars, Czech Games Edition could well be in with the best chance of making the leap to mainstream success.

Crypto trading bots – what they do and what they don’t do

Crypto trading has been a trend that is becoming irresistible. Traders who trade with other trading instruments and even those who have never traded have gained a special liking towards crypto trading. The advent of the crypto bot trend is one major reason behind this. If you are new to crypto trading there are some basic bots like Crypto Code which are designed to be used in few simple steps.

It is perfectly alright to give the trading bots a try. But it is important to know how to use the trading bots, where to use them and where not to use them. The truth is that if you learn to strike the perfect balance then crypto bots are truly useful.

Where to use a crypto bot

If trading is your major source of income, if you are a professional trader then you might be spending a lot of time on it. With a lot of time for crypto trading, you can retain the decision making the task to yourself. You could simply automate the currency mining process or the placement of orders. But if you rely on trading as a passive source of income then you can definitely give crypto bots a try. Some crypto bots talk about making you a millionaire in a matter of days. This would be an unrealistic expectation to build.

Limitations of crypto bots

Even the best crypto bots come with some limitations. They are reliant on the code that is written. Bugs in the code would often be ruled out when the code is tested. But, as with other software tools, there are some glitches that might come up only when the real-time market data is being fed into the system. And the testing that is done to identify the effectiveness of the bot would be based on historical data which is not always a good indicator of the market data. The indicators used by the bot to take decisions would also determine how accurate the predictions are. If the bot has sophisticated machine learning algorithms with the option to select the most relevant features then this limitation is overcome. But there are very few bots in the market that come with machine learning or self-learning capabilities.

So know what the chosen crypto bot really offers and then set your goals based on the features and capabilities. This would help you plan your finances and know the financial goals to set.

There’s already a lot of love out there for Vlaada Chvatil’s latest game, Codenames, and frankly you’re not going to hear much dissent from The Little Metal Dog Show on this one. I first got to check it out at this year’s UK Games Expo where the game immediately was the subject of a fair amount of buzz – while not many people got to actually play it over the weekend, those who did manage to get around the table with the prototype were quick to extol its merits. Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait too long for the actual release as copies were released at Gen Con 2015 and – of course – I was there to grab one on day one.

It is certainly something of a departure from Vlaada’s usual output. Codenamesdoesn’t have the complexity of Dungeon Lords or Space Alert, but for those who complain about its straightforward nature (and there’s been a small but vocal minority who have criticised the game’s simplicity), I’d say that they should remember that designers who stick with doing the same old stuff every time – medium to heavy eurogames in the case of Chvatil – generally end up seeing a marked drop in the quality of their output unless they start switching things up a bit. And don’t forget, he’s got previous experience with working on lighter material – the rather lovely Pictomania was released only four years ago, so the guy’s able to create interesting gameplay experiences without having to put together a usable 32-page rulebook as well.

Two groups are required to play Codenames, with a minimum of two per side – there are rules for a single-side, two player game, but two folks sat at a table really doesn’t constitute a party, does it? In the middle of the table sits a five-by-five grid of hobbit sized cards, each of which have a unique single word upon them – the codenames that give the game its title. These cards represent the agents that must be found by the teams, as well as unsuspecting members of the public and [dun-dun-duuunnnnnnn] an assasin that will ruin your day if they’re discovered (or at least this round of the game). From these two groups, each must elect a Spymaster who will lead the play; everyone else are the Spies who will be guessing at the codenames that are being alluded to.

Before play starts, the two Spymasters secretly check out a square Key Card that shows the positions of each team’s agents in the field of play. Flashes of either red or blue are dotted around the outside of this card, determining the side that will go first – both teams are looking for eight agents, but the team that goes first have their advantage somewhat nullified by the fact they’re also seeking a ninth double-agent.

In this case, the Blue Team are going first, but their advantage is lessened somewhat by having to find nine agents versus the Red Team's eight.

In this case, the Blue Team are going first, but their advantage is lessened somewhat by having to find nine agents versus the Red Team’s eight.

Agents are hunted down by the Spymaster for the active team saying exactly two things – a word and a number. The word must refer to at least one of your agents’ codenames, as shown on the positional Key Card, and the number is the amount of cards you’re looking your team to ‘contact’. So, let’s have some examples!

You could have an agent in play called Honey, which you could signal by saying “Sweet: One”. With that clue, you’re hoping that your team will make the mental connection and touch the card with Honey written upon it – that physical action must happen, by the way, or else the call isn’t official – but the trick to Codenames is to combine your clues to include more than a single agent. For example, if you happened to also have an agent called Hive, your clue could be “Bees: Two” – that single word can be linked to both Honey and Hive, and your teammates can contact each agent one by one, hopefully swinging the game in your favour.

If your team have successfully made contact with an agent on your side, the Spymaster takes one of the slightly-larger-than-hobbit-sized tiles of their colour and covers the correctly chosen name. This success allows the team to choose again, with up to one more attempt than the number uttered by the Spymaster for that side – so, that “Bees: Two” clue could lead to up to three selections by a team, assuming they get each choice correct.

Using the Key Card above, Blue Team could give the clue of "Animals: Four", but that risks the Assassin hidden under Lion being chosen, losing you the game. Much safer saying "Marine: Three" and hoping your team choose Shark, Whale and Ray! Three in one turn is pretty decent!

Using the Key Card above, Blue Team could give the clue of “Animals: Four”, but that risks the Assassin hidden under Lion being chosen, losing you the game. Much safer saying “Marine: Three” and hoping your team choose Shark, Whale and Ray! Three in one turn is still pretty decent!

An incorrect choice, resulting in either of a member of the public or – even worse – an agent from the opposing side getting picked, means that those cards must be covered by the necessary tiles and the team’s turn ends immediately, with play switching to the other side. Worst of all, if the Assassin is somehow selected, the team who chose it loses straight away and the Spymaster kicks themselves for giving a clue daft enough to include a cold-blooded killer in their midst. This little wrinkle in the game really does add an element of danger to playing Codenames, especially when both sides have made a few correct calls and the amount of options on the table grow fewer and fewer.

As you can see, rules-wise this is very simple little affair, but like all good party games there are a couple of elements that make things shine. There’s a delightful agony when you’re stuck watching your team consider your clue, then go in the completely different direction to what you thought you were on about; the Spymaster must not say ANYTHING apart from their single word clue and the number of cards, and even pulling anguished faces is frowned upon by the rulebook. You must remain stony faced, even if the other folks at the table are wandering down some ludicrous mental cul-de-sac and are getting dangerously close to tapping the Assassin’s name, throwing the game away despite your hard work.

From the opposite side, playing as one of the selectors is equally as entertaining; constantly trying to remember previous clues, making links between the slowly decreasing words on the table in front of you… it’s a lot of fun. There’s also the fantastic feeling of managing to correctly choose a set of names from a particularly good clue that links three or more cards in play – it’s a rarity but man, when your entire team is working perfectly in tandem, it’s utterly glorious.

Now, there’s always going to be a section of the population who simply won’t get on with how the game works. Links can end up being very tenuous and I’ve been involved in a couple of games where players simply don’t understand the Spymaster’s thought processes, but I find this to honestly be part of the fun. Codenames‘ scalability works very well – you can dumb down your clues a low as you need to, picking off agents on your side one by one, and there’ll always be a tipping point where the options have been pared back so much that you should (should!) be able to make a link between a couple of those still remaining in play. Managing to have your side pick up on this and choose two or more correct agents on one turn really does swing things your way quite drastically, and after a couple of games of relatively simplistic play to feel your way around how the whole thing works, you’ll soon find the Spymasters really striving to call out bigger and braver clues.

Production is relatively simple, but CGE have really pushed the boat out on the amount of included content to ensure plenty of replayability. With two-hundred double-sided codename cards in the box, the potential available combinations are huge. Expansions are surely being planned, and will hopefully be as inexpensive as this initial release – copies are available for a mere $20, making Codenames one of the real bargains of 2015. Even if your regular group maxes out at four players, I can’t recommend this one highly enough, but if you manage to get together with larger amounts of players once in a while, you won’t regret adding Codenames to your collection. I’ve found that more players means more confusion, and that leads to some truly entertaining discussions about what the Spymasters could be thinking about. It’s part Password, part Minesweeper, part mental torture, and you need to get yourself a copy of what will inevitably be one of the Games of the Year – you’ll honestly have a blast.

Barbarism Begins At Home – Imperial Settlers review

If you follow me on Twitter you’ll probably know that I’m in the middle of a move to the US. Everything is up in the air; I’m officially homeless, staying with friends as we grind through the slow process of immigration. All my stuff is in boxes – my games collection, my books, my consoles and my Mac… everything is just waiting to go across the ocean. Just before the packing, I was getting into the video game Civilisation V again and, cruelly, it has temporarily been taken from me. So sad. In the meantime, I need to get my civ-building fix from cardboard and the game collections of friends. And what have we been playing a lot of? The splendid Imperial Settlers from Portal Games, time and again.

Understanding in depth about crypto robots

It’s been only a few years the crypto robots has been officially released to the market. It is an automated trading system to carry out cryptocurrency transactions.  They offer many services to the traders.

Ways in which crypto robots can help you

  • Cryptorobots helps you to set the trade amount for each trade.
  • You can choose the cryptocurrencies which you wish to trade in using the crypto robots.  The digital currencies include bitcoin, litecoin, ethereum, etc.
  • You can decide on which indicators you need to use for trading. If you decide on more than one indicator, it should be agreed before the trading begins.
  • The crypto robots can transact multiple trades at a given point in
  • You have the decision power to decide on the timeframe which the robots should use like long, medium or short.

Hence, with the above-mentioned settings, you can have a complete control. The system has quite a lot more to offer.  This robot also lets you carry out transactions using manual trades.  Other key features of the system are:

  • Lets you to regulate stop-loss protection
  • Leverage multiplier is designed to make more profits
  • Enables the user to set the profit

Thus these automated trading systems offer you the complete control.  They will run in active internet connection in any browser or you can download the mobile app to use it on your mobile phone. Crypto code is one such trading system which is the most accurate and efficient.

Signing up with the robots

It is easy and free to set up an account with the crypto robots. Just visit the website and click on the tab mentioned ‘create account’.  All you need to do is listed below.

  • Enter the name
  • Set a password
  • Provide an email address
  • Enter the phone number
  • Deposit an initial amount as a deposit which will be used for transactions
  • Set your preferences
  • Begin trading

Advantages of trading in cryptocurrency

  • There is no need to download the software. As long as you have an internet connection, everything can be done through the browser
  • Customer care team would be available for you to address all your queries 24/7. The team has been given thorough training to assist you and to offer you high-quality service
  • Only legit and authentic brokers are partnered with you
  • You can deal with different digital currencies at a time

Why so much love for it from me? Well, I enjoy any game that is based around a well-crafted engine, and Imperial Settlers really puts its focus into ensuring that everything works beautifully. With an easy to grasp set of rules, over the course of the game’s five rounds you’ll start off small with just a couple of cards and a handful of resources that are used in order to make your side the most dominant around. You’ll also begin with a long cardboard punch-out which your tableau will be built around that also lets you know what resources you’ll pull in at the start of a round from a selection of wood, stone, fruit, meeples, cards, gold, swords and shields.

Each turn you get to do one thing – and that’s it. However, while sometimes that one thing may simple like sending a couple of your dudes off to fetch some stone, depending on how things go for you, you may end up triggering a glorious chain of events that will make your opponents either look on impressed or glare at you with a barely concealed rage. It’s that kind of game, where those who are able to make their engines run smoothest will invariably come out victorious. The best way to learn how to do this, of course, is to play – just expect to get your arse handed to you in your first few plays as you try to figure out what’s going on.

Cards! Hooray. I may have forgotten to take photos, so thank you to The Innocent on BGG for this one.

Cards! Hooray. I may have forgotten to take photos, so thank you to The Innocent on BGG for this one.

Four civilisations are represented in the base game – Barbarians, Romans, Egyptians and Japan – with each of them having their own small deck of cards. Every card represents a location that’s exclusive to the civilisation but there’s also a larger central deck that all players can draw from; your personal deck is just for you, though. Every card has a cost that needs to be paid to add it to your tableau, normally a mix of wood and stone, but some also have a little house on them, meaning you’ll need to sacrifice one of your locations that’s either been destroyed (we’ll cover that shortly) or is taken straight from your hand, losing you a valuable card in a game where it can be very tricky to get hold of them.

Said cards will be one of three types: either Production, Feature or Action. Production ones are nice and straightforward: at the start of a round they add to the resources you gain but also give you them the moment you play the card. Actions need to be triggered, usually at the cost of a meeple or resource, but will generally pull in either something useful (like more meeples and resources!) or get you a few points. Features are invariable the trickier things to work with, often being the cards that serve as the links that make your turns splendidly convoluted or allow you to say “…and I score ten points off this one!” at the end of a game. The best civilisations will normally comprise of a decent mix of these card types, but it’s entirely possible to win using whatever set-up you manage to put together – really, victory falls to the player who reacts the best to what everyone else is doing.

By reacting, I really mean “attacking someone else’s locations with the swords you collect”. Two sword resources will be enough to force an opponents to flip one of their cards over, losing their precious cog in their machine that will inevitably cause their downfall (if you’ve planned it right). Shields (or meeples acting as Samurai if you’re playing as Japan) can be used to up this to a requirement of three swords (more if you stack them) but at the end of every round, EVERYTHING is removed from the cards you have in play – but you’ll have destroyed something well before then, won’t you? Oh, and you may also get bonus resources from doing this too, as long as the targeted card has a reward for razing it.

This is what you should be aiming for. This is what I generally don't end up doing. (Thanks to The Innocent again for the image.)

This is what you should be aiming for. This is what I generally don’t end up doing. (Thanks to The Innocent again for the image.)

There are so many little things that put Imperial Settlers head and shoulders above other Civ style games; you can boost your Production by making deals and tucking cards upside-down atop your tableau. You can wreck cards from your own layout if you’re short of resources. You can use meeples to go grab stuff too. Basically, the game puts an incredible amount of control into your hands – you do what you want to do, either focusing on your own buildings or eagerly eyeing someone else’s. Each civilisation feels and plays very differently, but all it takes is reading through a few cards to check up on what special buildings they all offer and you’re immediately up to speed.

No messing – Imperial Settlers is a bloody brilliant game. Ignacy Trzewiczek has created a simple game which still somehow manages to give the players a huge amount of strategies when they’re creating their own little dynasties. It’s a lovely game to look at with a cute graphic style throughout – seriously, the dumpy little buggers that are seen all over the cards are ace, and there are lovely details throughout, my personal favourite being the weeping family on the Ruins card… I am nothing if not cruel. Everything in Imperial Settlers hits the right buttons for me – it’s a streamlined work of greatness which, when I get to play it, is just so bloody pleasing that I want to bring it out again and again. When I get to the US, this will be the first game I buy – oh yes.

Imperial Settlers was released in 2014 through Portal Games. Between one and four can play (because yes, there’s a single player version of the game built in which is also excellent) with games taking around 30-45 minutes. Yes, not only is it great, it doesn’t outstay its welcome! A copy will set you back £35, though you can get it for under £30 at Gameslore. There’s also an expansion called Why Can’t We Be Friends which I’m yet to try out, but reports from other, more experienced players say that it’s well worth getting. So yes. You should do that. Oh, and follow designer Ignacy Trzewiczek on Twitter! Do that too!

Glory Box – Vault Wars review

I don’t watch that much TV – most of the time Netflix is babbling away in the background with some strange movie or other – but I do have something of a weakness for a little show called Storage Wars. The premise is simple: people bid on abandoned storage lockers in immense warehouses, having only had a cursory glance at the contents inside. Whatever they find inside is theirs to do with as they please, but most sell what they discover and many of the people on the show seem to make a reasonable living out of it, even is what turns up most of the time is crap.

Cryptocurrencies – The global currency

When the cryptocurrencies became the global financial player they initially gained a negative reputation.   There were many scams and frauds reported initially. However, everything changed now and it has gained legitimacy. Business and people started accepting the cryptocurrencies and it is looked upon as a commodity and an investment. There are many benefits associated with these digital currencies and listed below are few of them.

Benefits of using cryptocurrency

Owned completely by the account holder- It just takes an instant for the banks to freeze the accounts at certain times.  You will be able to access the funds only when you meet the requirements laid down by the financial institution.  It will be quite a disastrous situation for business than the individuals.  When you hold the cryptocurrencies, you actually own them because of the blockchain technology.  The value might fluctuate in the market since there is quite a lot of speculation happening in the market, but still, they are owned by those who possess them.

Global currency- The cryptocurrency can be purchased and sold by anyone who has access to internet currency.  Entering the market is easy and can be done by ordinary people too. The crypto robots which are the automated trading system can help you buy or sell cryptocurrencies. It does not matter which part of the world you are from.   To access these crypto robots like crypto code can easily be done through a web browser.  All the instructions are given on the website which can be clearly understood by anyone.

New market niches- More and more business organizations are making these cryptocurrencies as their primary currency.  It is convenient when they transact with the organization of different nations.   These digital currencies have been able to create a niche in the financial market.  The companies have more potential gains than the risks when trading with cryptocurrencies.

In order for these currencies to get more acceptance, more regulations and rules have to be squeaked in. The government of many nations is working together to increase some regulations to control any fraudulent activities.  You should be aware of the changing implications when you begin trading in the cryptocurrencies. No doubt it is going to be a great phenomenon and will rule the global market in coming days.  Business organizations and people will be keener to use the digital currency rather than the normal one.  The digital currency will surely take over the financial market in future.

The main thrust of the show, of course, is when something is found that is collectable or valuable – of if the buyer’s really lucky, both. A good score can set them up for ages, and in an industry where hundreds of dollars can be thrown away on a few crates of nothing on a seemingly regular basis, that’s very useful indeed. The show even spawned a not-very-good game of its own but Floodgate Games have taken the theme and amped it up somewhat. Vault Wars is currently on Kickstarter, and it’s one of the finest auction games I’ve played in a long time.

A thematic sequel to their also excellent Epic Resort, Vault Wars is all about what happens when fantasy heroes go off to battle monsters… but don’t come back. There’s a lot of stuff hidden away in their lockers and if there’s no-one to claim them, the island’s denizens throw them open for anyone to buy – as long as you’ve got the funds, you could pick yourself up some rather interesting items. There’s also the risk of buying a lot of junk, true, but you’ll have a bit of information before you put your money down.

Up to sixteen different vaults are available, and before play begins there’s a drafting round where players choose the ones that will be used in the game. You also start with a bit of money, of course, and a couple of ‘Aspiring Hero’ cards – you get a bonus at the end of the whole game, but only for one of them. Think of them looking to get hold of some useful gear so they can go on their own adventures, only at a bargain rate. If they manage to turn up a fistful of jewels in the meantime, even better!

At the start of a round, players choose one of the vaults from their hands. Each one of these will skew the way the auction for that round will work and some can even be claimed as items to add to your collection. In order from lowest to highest, players take turns being the Auction Master but before the fun starts we need to give out a little information about what’s in the current vault. The Auction Master pulls some cards from the Items deck, as decreed by the vault card, and gets to look at them all – they’re the one selling it, after all. You’ll then flip cards face up, the amount of which is also on the vault card, then pass the remaining ones around the other players. They get to randomly check out some of them so they have a little information about what they’re potentially going to buy… and then the battle begins.

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One of the 16 Vaults in the game – the red chest shows the contents, yellow how many get revealed, and blue is the Peek number. Rules for the auction are below!

The first bid is made by the Auction Master themselves, but after this they have no involvement in the round. Any rules on the vault card itself must be followed, but generally the normal bidding process is followed; you can either bid higher or choose to pass. Should everyone pass, the highest bidder hands their money over to the Auction Master; however, if they happen to win with their opening bid, the money goes to the bank. It’s pretty easy to run low on funds in Vault Wars, but thankfully at the end of a round you can sell some of the items you’ve picked up to get a bit more ready cash – but what kind of stuff can you find?

Mostly, you’ll pick Junk. Actual cards called Junk that will disappoint you greatly, these will fill up your pile of items that you claim from the vaults. I’ve managed to bid up some huge collections, take the cards, sure that I’m getting an handful of awesome… and get nothing but a stack of crap. Junk does have a use – you can use (a lot of) it to pay some rather hefty storage fees at the end of each round in lieu of gold, – but most of the time you’ll be looking for sets of armour that comes in Dwarven, Dragon and Elven flavours as well as different Gems. The more of a single Gem type you collect, the more points you will get at the end of a game. There are also Artifacts that bestow pretty useful abilities which will be fought over, especially in early rounds.

Of course, you may be broke but not want to get rid of your valuable items! Thankfully, payday loans are available on the island and a quick visit to the Loan Shark will get a bit more money in your pocket. The only trouble is that you must take a Corruption Token too, guaranteeing negative points when all is said and done. In a game where money can become quite scarce early on, choosing whether or not to bite the bullet and lose a fair chunk of points is a big decision – really, you should be looking to play carefully and conserve funds but all it takes is one person at your table to decide to play fast and loose with their cash… then the table can easily go full tilt (in a good way – after all, what’s an auction game without at least one round where things are bid far beyond their actual worth?).

I’ve found that many auction games are affected by the people you’re playing with, moreso than any other genre out there, but Vault Wars is certainly one of the best. Things are tempered by having each vault play out in a slightly different way, and having them come out randomly means that you really need to plan when they’re revealed at the start of a round. Players who want to blow through their money are discouraged from doing so with the joint risk of not only losing points but also potentially picking up a load of junk. It’s one of the most well balanced releases in the field of auction-based games, and certainly as enjoyable as my current favourite, For Sale.

However, where For Sale is a simple, straightforward affair, Vault Wars is a bit more complex and requires planning, forward thinking and no small amount of bluff. Designer Jon Gilmour – probably best known for his epic Dead of Winterfrom Plaid Hat Games – has scaled things back somewhat for this new game, but it’s no less entertaining and is tight as anything. The game also looks cool, using the same artists as its big brother Epic Resort, but even playing with the prototype version of the game has been a bloody wonderful experience. The end release can only be better, especially the deluxe version that comes with metal coins that are on the KS page.

Yes, it's a render, but it's a pretty render.

The Final Game (Yes, it’s a render, but it’s a pretty render.)

In short, Vault Wars is an absolute bloody pleasure. An hour of roaring at friends, accusing them of deception, while all the time you’ve been lying through your teeth as you scrabble for every coin and every point available to you. All this for a mere $20? It deserves a place in that bag that you always keep by the door, stocked with games for emergencies – everyone has one of those, yes? Just as long as when you get the game you don’t leave it in a vault on some paradise island. Throw your money down, now. You’ll have more fun with this than your First Season DVD of Storage Wars, that’s for certain.

Bombtrack – Railways of the World review

The Judge returns once again, this time not to check out something brand new, but to look to one of Eagle Games’ biggest sellers instead! Fancy some old-school networking? Time to pick up a copy of Railways of the World – if your back can handle it!

Getting a clear idea about the cryptocurrency CFD trading

Since the launch of cryptocurrencies, many investors have been drawn towards it.  The cryptocurrency is a new kind of digital currency that is based on the peer-to-peer system. It is also known as virtual currency.  The cryptocurrencies are completely decentralized and are totally independent of the central bank or government control. Participants in the cryptocurrency market can directly deal with each other without any involvement of a third party like banks and other financial institutions.

More information about cryptocurrency

These currencies use cryptography which allows the data to be protected and encrypted. It uses the digital signature which is a combination of a public and private key.  Actually, the keys are asymmetrical numbers that are paired together.  Only the public key will be shared with others while the private is known only to you.

Blockchain technology

The blockchain technology allows the exchange and storage of information in the most transparent and secure way without the control of any central organization. It is just like a huge database with public ledger which gathers all the information of the exchange that takes place between the traders.  The transaction cannot be deleted or modified once it enters the blockchain.  One of the unique features of this network is that it is not controlled or owned by any particular organization or a person.   In fact, is it’s the traders who maintain the network and this is process is known as mining.

Benefits of CFD

Make profit without owning asset- Many people are now making use of the CFDs on cryptocurrencies as it allows the users to make a profit with the difference in closing and opening price without really owning the asset.  With CFDs, you can trade on the cryptocurrencies without directly selling or buying the cryptocurrencies. If you feel it is too much complicated for you, you can begin with taking the help of crypto robots like Ethereum code to conduct transactions on your behalf.

Profit from falling and rising markets-With CFDs you profit from falling and rising markets. It means you will be able to earn money in both the situations irrespective of the fact that price rise or decline.

Liquidity of few cryptocurrencies is limited- At times, you may find it hard to sell or buy them.  You can close or open your positions quite instantaneously without owning any digital currency.

Trading in the cryptocurrency CFDs is the best way to be a part of the digital currency market.

Gamers, as a breed, are always being swept along in the continual, unending, irresistible Cult of the New. Myself included, by the way. I’m not only a registered, card carrying member – I also have a commemorative t-shirt and have started the fan club. I love new games, as do my gaming groups, so I don’t get as many opportunities to revisit some of my favourites as perhaps I would like.

There are exceptions. Terra Mystica is an evergreen and so is the subject of today’s review – Railways of the World.

When discussing this classic “pick up and deliver game” it’s almost a cliché to begin comparing this with Age of Steam and Steam – they’re all from to the same original Martin Wallace design, after all. However, I haven’t played either of those, so in a refreshing break from tradition, they shan’t be mentioned again!

What I do know is that Railways of the World is my second favourite logistics game. (Roads and Boats is best. Review to come…) Simply put, players take turns constructing track to connect cities together and deliver goods cubes from their random starting location towards a destination city. There are a few interesting wrinkles – you have to pay money to build anything and you begin with zero cash. Until you start scoring points, your income each round is also zero, and to gain points you have to deliver goods on your track. You see the problem?

Fortunately, debt is your friend. Loans (or bonds), can be taken to provide a cash influx to get you started – but may never be totally paid off. Once you take this cash (bestowed upon you by an Age of Steam-era payday loans company) [You said you wouldn’t mention it! – Michael] you are indebted to pay £1 per bond after every round of play. That millstone around your neck may have been an attractive charm to begin with, but by the end of the game, you’re lugging around a significant chunk of Stonehenge.

Does this sound stressful? Good, because it is – the positive kind of stressful though. You could play slowly and build up your infrastructure in a fiscally conscientious manner – were it not for the competition of your other players. Acting like gold hungry ’49ers, players will be scrambling to be the first player to deliver the limited number of cubes, identify profitable network routes, and hoping they can get it done before someone gets in the way.

RotW Play

This is all great fun, satisfying, challenging and a giant, ever-changing puzzle. It also looks gorgeous. Railways has been over-produced within an inch of its life. Rail links are marked with brightly coloured, detailed, plastic trains. The timer for the game is the number of cities that have been emptied of cubes. How should we mark these? A cardboard chit? Or a giant plastic water tower? Yep! It’s the latter. The boards also deserve special mention as they are attractive, graphically clear and HUGE. Currently available are Europe, Great Britain, Canada, Mexico and the East and Western US. You can also choose to play a transcontinental variant by putting the East and West maps together, though for this you will need to hire a small village hall or community centre (not included.)

Any negatives? Well, the random card draws of “cool stuff” or specific, point giving tasks are deliberately overpowered and can give you a huge boost – particularly at the start of the game. That said, the auction for turn order at the start of each round deals with most of those problems. “Taking that card would be great, but how much is it worth for me?” is a question that often comes up. Bidding the right amount at the right time to claim these is another key part of the race to victory.

The game claims it plays up to six, depending on the map. Ordinarily, games that say this are dirty, little liars and force players into lengthy, painful experiences. Railways, because of its micro-turns, is actually very good about preventing downtime and is great (though quite different) with all numbers of players. Play Europe with five or six and you have a super tight, cutthroat, knife fight in a phone box. Play The Western US with two and you could conceivably never meet each other.

I love Railways of the World. It is challenging, highly competitive and most importantly a whole heap of fun. A few steps up from Ticket to Ride, not as long or complex as the 18xx series – Railways hits the sweet spot for me, and guarantees a place on my collection, not least as an immovable object standing in the way of the irresistible force of the cult of the new.

Railways of the World is currently published by Eagle Games. Designed by Martin Wallace and Glenn Drover, it was originally released back in 2005. Between two and six players can get around the table, but be sure that it’s a bloody big one! Thanks to The Judge for his write-up, and be sure to follow him on Twitter today!

Believe In Me – Faith: The Sci-Fi RPG review

OK. It’s been a while, but I think it’s time to get back on the horse – and why not do it with a game from a genre that I don’t actually get to play that much: RPGs? While I do love that immersive, let’s get together and tell ourselves a story way of playing, it’s actually pretty hard to pin me down and play anything more than a one-off run most of the time. We’re all busy people, and with a whole room filled with games (or, at this moment, a couple of pallets due to make their way to the USA), there’s always that desire for more. In the four hours that we could spend playing part – part! – of an RPG setting or campaign, we could crack out a bunch of small to medium sized games and have a whole load of fun.

Earn money effortlessly through cryptocurrency trading

Trading in cryptocurrencies works exactly same like the normal currency, but instead of buying and selling normal currencies like US dollars or euros, here the traders sell and buy cryptocurrencies like litecoin, ethereum or bitcoin. For instance, you will bet on the changing value of price between bitcoin and US dollar or else the changing price difference between different cryptocurrencies.

If you feel the value of bitcoin will rise up, then you will have to go ‘long’. On the other hand, if you feel the value of bitcoin will decrease, then you will have to ‘short’ it.  Actually you are not buying the digital currency, instead, the user is only placing the order.

Making profit through cryptocurrency

To begin with the trading, you need to deposit some money into the account.  When you place the bet correctly, the amount in the account will increase.  Whenever the bet goes wrong, your money in the account decreases. You will be able to magnify the profits with leverage.  Using the crypto robots like Ethereum code, the chance of losing money will reduce as they take accurate decisions.

For instance, say you have a placed a 1000 dollars trade on any digital currencies increase in price without the leverage. If the price is increased by 10% when compared to dollars, your profit will be 100 dollars. On the other hand, if you have conducted the transaction with 10:1 leverage then you would have earned a profit of 10 times more.

The price movements along with the leverage can easily produce substantial returns for you.

Benefits of entering the cryptocurrency market

Fast exchanges and cheap fees- For every trade in the forex market, the exchange platform will take a commission for the services provided. This is quite inevitable. Trading in cryptocurrencies differ from the normal currency, fees to conduct trading of cryptocurrencies are way cheaper than the bank transfer fees and credit card fees. The market trading rate to conduct digital currency trading is less than the forex trading transaction charges.

Extreme volatility-The traders make a huge profit when the value of the price currency takes huge price strides upwards. The cryptocurrencies usually have large movements in price. While it escalates the risk involved, you can make a huge profit with little investment.

Open all day- Commodities and stocks can be traded only during the business hours and also only for 5 days in a week. However, the cryptocurrencies can be traded anywhere and anytime.

Not that I’m saying a good RPG isn’t fun, not at all. In my wee sabbatical away from the LMDS keyboard I’ve spent a fair few hours looking through the finally released new edition of D&D (the three main books and the first campaign) and I can see already that it’ll be splendid. However, sometimes I want a few robots and lasers in my collectively told story, but outside of a rare Warforged wandering about, they’re not exactly Dungeons & Dragons fodder. As if by magic (or by science, really), something new and shiny landed in my lap called Faith that has managed to scratch that itch in a marvellous way, and surprise! It’s on Kickstarter now.

Some of you may be aware of an older game called Shadowrun that mixed the worlds of the fantastic and scientific to create a very interesting product. I was a big fan of it when I was a kid, reading the main book until its spine was cracked and pages dog-eared, but could never convince anyone to play the damn thing because, in the eyes of my friends, it was a little too far out there. Faith, to me at least, feels a little reminiscent with its world of hyper-futurism mixed with actual gods who are out for only one thing – dominance. This is no game of players assuming such roles though; in Faith, while the gods do exist, they can only affect the world through manipulation of their believers. It’s an interesting concept, having these incredibly powerful beings fight for control of the mortal realm where, in actuality, they’re impotent and can do nothing without our assistance. Of course, giving them that belief and help is good for us, the players, too – we get to mess about with physics-breaking abilities and ludicrous weaponry.

Our story lies in the far future, with a battered and bruised humanity attempting to recover from being enslaved by the Corvo, a universal race that pretty much controlled a network of wormholes called the Labyrinth – at least until another bunch called the Iz’kal showed up. With two huge forces primed to wipe each other out, mutually assured destruction was backed away from in the form of a peace treaty that is relatively stable – and that’s where we come in. Armed only with a specially modified Poker deck, players will attempt to carve their own story from the universe of Faith, with a little godly assistance and clever card play. The rules of how to actually play the game are beautifully simple, condensed down to a simple two pages; most of the time, if you want to do something you can just consult with the GM and you’ll be able to do it. I love this kind of game, though if you’re the kind of GM who likes to be in full control of your party, I’d suggest you stay well away from Faith. It rewards creativity, welcoming free-flowing thought and explanation, and having someone in control of the game who enjoys this kind of play is essential – there’s no room for ‘rocks fall, everyone dies’ in the Labyrinth.

This isn’t just about letting your imagination get away with anything though. The game is broken down into Scenes (which feel rather like a speedier version of D&D 4E’s encounters) where you begin with seven cards drawn from your deck – new Scenes begin whenever the GM decides though, so with that necessarily liberal person at the helm you shouldn’t run low too often. When the story befits it, cards will be played from your hand to trigger and boost Skills that should help you get out of a tricky situation or assist you as needed, with the highest scoring player (or GM!) making the call on what happens. Rather than go into detail, I urge you to check out the quickstart rules – seriously, they’re only two pages – which explain how actions from hacking into computers to punching someone’s nose in breaks down.

Damn, that's a LOT of stuff.

Damn, that’s a LOT of stuff.

Everything in Faith is card driven, from the deck that you draw from to the weapons and items that your character has in their possession. The set I was sent out is representative of what will be included in the proposed initial release, and should it succeed I promise that you’re going to get an awful lot of stuff in there. A huge variety of loadouts should see you and your fellow players fit to deal with any situation, and even if you don’t have the right gear to hand the game allows you to think around a problem as much as shoot right through it. With the cards in your hand being the things that will essentially decide your destiny, Faithgives you the option to plan ahead rather than rely on a random dice roll, so with a good team of people around the table this could well be one of the most creatively entertaining RPG systems around.

As with any RPG though, the game lives and dies with that group. As much as I said that Faith requires a fairly liberal GM to run the thing, I would suggest that you also need a pretty creative group of players too. Playing the game requires the unlearning of a lot of standard RPG rules, but if you give yourself over to Faith you’ll find that it’s a very satisfying system that can offer a group plenty of entertainment. In recent years, the big Role Playing Games have focused more on the dice roll than the storytelling, but Faith looks to pull that back towards a game of imagination where the system doesn’t get in the way of the fun.

It also helps that the creative team behind the game have created a huge amount of material for you to work with. To begin with, the art that’s seen throughout the game is beautiful; from the biggest set pieces in the rulebooks to the smallest details on the equipment cards, Faith has already had a huge amount of investment put into it. The graphic design throughout is clear so players can refer to their abilities and skills quickly, and as you play and grow, tokens are used to keep track of enhancements that you develop. It’s a very clean system, and it’s plain to see that a huge amount of thought has been put into making Faith as easy to use as possible. Even the GM’s book, though packed with the details you’d expect to need when running an entire universe, is simple enough to get into, making the whole product pretty impressive all round.

With a focus on discussion, group play and imagination, Faith certainly deserves a shot at the RPG big time. It feels very different to previous systems I’ve played with, so that alone deserves some level of recognition, but the fact that everything works so well means I’ll certainly recommend it. As with any RPG, the previously mentioned caveat remains – you definitely need a playgroup willing to give something new a shot – but who wouldn’t want to play something that gives you such freedom? Trying this one was a pleasure, and I can’t wait to see how the final product turns out.

Faith: The Sci Fi RPG is on Kickstarter until March 12th, 2015. Designed by Carlos Gómez, Helio de Grado & Mauricio Gómez with art by Milan Nikolic, Aleksandra Bilic and Aleksa Bracic, it will be published by Burning Games with a prospective delivery date of October 2015 – so… Essen. Everything you need to play is included in the £46 level, though you can pick up a deck for as little as £14 if you want to support the campaign. Which you do. Yes.

Bitches Brew – Alchemists review

Welcome, dear reader, to the Little Metal Laboratory. This is no place of clean lines and white tiling as far as the eye can see though – instead, we are shrouded in darkness as we really don’t want to see the blood, and the smoke from the explosions often leave the room as black as night. Our lab is a place of alchemical tinkering, and we are bloody awesome at it – especially when you’ve got a game as good as CGE’s Alchemists sat upon our table.

Cryptocurrency market –A promise of alternative income

Over the last few years, cryptocurrency has been steadily gaining its popularity and people have started realizing its true value.  Initially, people found it quite unfamiliar just like when the credit card was introduced in early days.

Now there are many cryptocurrencies in the market like ethereum, litecoin, bitcoin, etc.  All these currencies use the blockchain technology which makes it safe.

How the trading in cryptocurrency market is better than any other market

Protects from fraudulent activities- The cryptocurrencies are digital, hence it cannot be reversed or counterfeited by anyone.

Immediate settlement- When you purchase a real estate, it involves many people like lawyers, brokers, notary and so on. Also, the process is quite lengthy, drafting of the agreement, payment of fees, etc. In trading of cryptocurrency, it is designed to eliminate the third party. Whenever you use crypto robots, it is more quick and easy. The most popular one in the market is Ethereum code which helps all the people irrespective whether the user is experienced or a newcomer to smoothly conduct transactions.

Accessibility- There are millions of people who use the internet and mobile phone who do not have any access to the traditional exchange.  However, this is not the case of dealing in cryptocurrency.  All the people who have an internet connection can enter the market and conduct trading. It is quite easily accessible.

Free of cost- There are no transaction fees involved in the case of cryptocurrency trading. You can enter the market free of cost.  The miners are paid by the network. All you have to do is to register yourself on the official website and start trading.

No identity theft- In the case of cryptocurrency, it uses the ‘push’ mechanism, wherein the user will send exactly what he wants to the concerned recipient or merchant without giving any further information.  In case of credit cards, it uses pull mechanism, wherein the recipient initiates the payment which in turn pulls the required amount from the account.

With all the good reviews available online about the ease in trading and the profit earning capability, cryptocurrency is sure will make a huge mark on the global economy. It is attracting thousands of people each year to the market and is able to help people to earn money effortlessly.  It is definitely a good alternative income for the people as you don’t have to sit glued to the computer screen whole day.

Designed by Matúš Kotry for between two and four players (though a fifth person can be accommodated, more on that later), this was CGE’s big release for Essen 2014 – and it’s definitely big as that box is packed out. With gloriously overproduced lab areas for each aspiring Alchemist, fistfuls of tokens, a couple of boards and a healthy amount of cards, you can see where much of the hefty price point has gone. As always, the art is fantastic too – the team truly know how to put a great looking game together.

But what of the gameplay? Well, this isn’t just about looking to turn lead into gold; Alchemists wants players to do an awful lot more than something as simple as that. Your main task is one of deduction, working out what results combinations of different ingredients will lead to and being amongst the first to publish your findings. Points scored will build your reputation, allowing you to sell potions to passing travellers that can then be invested in magical items, pulling in yet more points at the end of the game. However, we’re getting ahead of ourselves… before we become the most respected people in our industry, we need to put the work in. It’s time to get experimenting!

The beautiful board! It's double-sided, so choose the correct side before playing. Rounds start in the bottom right corner, then go clockwise around the board.

The beautiful board! It’s double-sided, so choose the correct side before playing. Rounds start in the bottom right corner, then go clockwise around the board.

Alchemists uses an action point system, with each player using cubes in their colours to mark what they’d like to do during rounds on the larger of the two boards. As each round is played through, players will perform their actions in strict order which is decided at the start of a round – the earlier you choose to go, the fewer bonus items (Ingredients and Favours) you’ll receive. Of course, going earlier means you’ll get first picks on each of the different actions, so it’s the traditional balancing act seen in many Eurogames.

So, what can you do? From the very first round, gathering Ingredients is first on your list, allowing you to pull cards from a face-up selection or going for whatever mystery object sits on the top of the draw deck. After that, you have the opportunity to sell ingredients that you’ve procured, the money from which you can then spend on picking up precious (and often highly useful, rule-bending) artefacts. Ingredient combinations can then either be tested on a helpless student or yourself, the results of which are tracked in your own personal laboratory. Taking the form of a large triangle of circular spaces, you’ll place a token at the space where the two ingredients you mixed cross over – pop your result in the space and you’ll be a little closer to deducing exactly what each ingredient contributes to the mix! All of this is then followed by some clean-up before moving on to the next round.

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It’s probably easier to show off how the lab looks, so here we go. The game’s eight ingredients are lined up along the bottom, and whatever result you get from the app should be placed in the crossover spot. You then mark off your deductions on the sheets that are included in the box. (Thanks to Mathias Heilmann for the photo)

At the start of round two, new options are opened up; the previously mentioned travellers appear, seeking potions that will need to be mixed fresh (read: spend a combination of two cards to get gold). You also get the opportunity to publish theories on what you believe each ingredient adds to a mix as well as debunk the concepts laid out by others, and it’s these two action that will (hopefully) pull in the big reputation boosts at the end of the game – assuming you’re correct in your publications, of course. How the ingredients’ results are defined is random every time you play, but thankfully we are people of science, so we get to use our smartphones!

Yes, the fingers of technology have crept onto the tabletop in a legitimate way once more. Players can use the free Alchemists app (available on both iOS and Android) to tap on the action they wish to use, then take a snap of the two ingredients they’re combining. Depending on what action you’re performing – either Sell Potion, Debunk Theory, Test on Student or Drink Potion – a different symbol will appear onscreen to give you your result. It’s an innovative way of introducing technology into gaming, and though it’s recommended that people use the Smartphone Solution System (© Michael, 2014) it’s far from intrusive. You only need one device for all players, though people can use their own by inputting a four-letter code before play begins, ensuring everyone gets the same results – a relatively simple thing, but it just made things work so smoothly around the table. Should no-one have an iPhone or whatever on them, you can rope in a fifth person who calculates results for the players using an included piece of convoluted cardboard stuffed with tokens that I assume 99.9% of Alchemists’ owners will never use, ever.

Over the course of six rounds the game plays out with everyone initially trying to work out the effects of each ingredient, then swiftly moves onto the ‘everyone racing to publish and debunk theories’ side of things around halfway through the game. On the final round, a new action appears to replace the testing and drinking potions spots; here you get to prove your mastery of the science by stating what potion type you’ll create, then actually do it by once again spending the ingredients. Success pulls in more reputation points while failure means losing them, along with the realisation that you’ve probably screwed up the very last part of the game – the big reveal.

All the publishing done throughout the game will see players dropping tokens on the eight ingredients. While these are placed face down, they do show the player colour, so you can keep track of who is working on what; however, once things are wrapping up, these are all flipped to reveal just how committed the players were to their findings. If you’re totally sure, you can put a token down to score you five points, while a little less conviction can still net you three. There are also tokens that will score nothing, but they’re useful to throw the other Alchemists off your tracks – we’re nothing if not sneaky as we skulk around our labs. Once the smoke clears, the highest scorer is declared the winner… and that’s the whole thing.

Alchemists, frankly, is my up there amongst my favourite games of the year – definitely top three, and depending on how my mood takes me, often the number one. It’s beautiful, challenging, meaty, nasty, deduction-filled, glorious Game of the Year worthy brilliance. The whole package is quality, from the traditional over-produced touch of CGE to the awesome gameplay by Matus Kotry that has been tightened to within an inch of its life, and every time I sit at my table to play Alchemists it never fails to impress. New players are impressed by the accessibility; it takes only two rounds into your first game to know exactly what to do. Experienced players understand that the game has depth, but never feel that they’re in trouble with the admittedly tricky way things work in Alchemists. Add in the lovely, seamless way that the smartphone app integrates with the game and there’s no wonder it’s won so many fans since hitting Essen 2014 with a bang. Just like what happens when you combine that Raven Feather with a little Mandrake Root…

Alchemists was designed by Matúš Kotry and was published by CGE in 2014. Between two and four can play with games taking around 90-120 minutes. One thing to note: the first printing of the game had result tokens that were ever so slightly too large for the tracking boards, but CGE asked all owners to get in touch with them so smaller replacements could be sent out. These arrived nice and promptly and the game is now pretty much as perfectly produced as it could be. Nice work, CGE! Now, go get yourself a copy!