Track Meet – The best and worst of scoring tracks

Originally posted on Formal Ferret Games:

My newest game The Networks has a scoring track. It’s been a bit of a pain at times, but it’s let me do things I wouldn’t be have been easily able to do otherwise. It’s also made me think a lot about what makes a good and bad scoring track. Let’s check out some theory and practice behind this humble component.

A scoring track, at its simplest, is a track that allows players to keep some value of theirs (usually their score)visible and public to all the other players. Plenty of games use them. Here’s an example of a very good scoring track, Stone Age.

Image credit: BGG user “vekoma”

Here are a few reasons why this is an excellent scoring track:

  • It is a circuit. If you need to go from 95 points to 100, you just lap around the 0.
  • It goes from 0-99. Players who lap…

View original 1,221 more words

Monthly Game Talks: June 2015 !


Read on for the “Monthly Game Talks” post of June 2015.

I believe that pretty clean and organized around the house. I don’t like to have things laying around and make sure that each item has a spot to put it away. When you live in an apartment, you’re kind of obliged to work that way if you want to keep your interior clean. That said … if you ask my wife she’ll probably tell you that I’m all the time leaving some gaming “stuff” in the living room.

Let’s clarify the word “stuff” and be more specific: admittedly, I leave my miniatures, brushes, paint material in a few boxes (= mostly game expansion boxes converted into temporary storage boxes) in the open.


Why is it that I leave them around ? Well, aside from the fact that I do like to look at them because after all – I did spent some money on it – it also reminds me that eventually I have to paint them. When you have the entire collection of Zombicide, Imperial Assault, Arcadia Quest, Talisman, Cadwallon City of Thieves, Dark Darker Darkest amongst others .. that gives you a whooping 1000+ mini’s to paint !


So most of them are actually already with a white/black primer coat. That was the easy part (right!); spending a few hours outside, spraying them with 3 or 4 cans of Army Painter. Now, I’m actually at the base-coating step for almost all of them. Ah, if it was so easy to have just a magical spray to base-coat them too !


I recently acquired a few extra different paints from Citadel – I went for a bit of everything from the dry-brushing products (for which I’m not that convinced to be honest) to the glaze products (which are really a big plus ! Go for it). Citadel has a package with all the dry-brushing paints into 1 box for a price about ~30€ . Based on the advise of a friend, I took them home .. but found out they are really “dry” in the pot and I get on my pencil a cluttery “blob” that I end up anyhow wiping up on my tissue. So probably I missed something out there on the usage of those. For now, I’m really not convinced at all.


So we’re playing at my place regularly and my friends see those mini’s hanging around in their boxes and ask me how it’s going forward (or not) with the paint job. I start telling them that it’s going pretty well (ok maybe I’m not really on track with my initial schedule, true …) and I hope to finish off soon.

The truth is that I also needed to invest in the right material – yes, it is costly to do some painting – if you want to have an “easy life”. You will go for some extra shades colors and ready-made washes, not because you have to, but because it’s makes it easier and speed up your painting process. I just bought the Warpaints Quickshade Ink Set and I have to see this does wonders. I really encourage you this investment to avoid having all the time the same dark effect on your miniatures.


Some of my friends who are not painting at all ask the question; but once painted do you still dare to take them in your hands to play them ? And what about the storage, do you buy special foam inserts for your boxes ?

My answer is pretty upfront and I tell them; games with miniatures are exactly fun for that purpose; being able to manipulate the miniatures over the board ! Hell, otherwise I’ll go for a good euro-style workers placement game with wooden cubes and carton tiles. So, to protect them, I apply a varnish transparent layer (matte or shiny depending on which effect I would prefer) with an Army Painter or Citadel spray can. I actually also bought some transparent varnish from the hobbyshop that works pretty well too.

It’s at that point that we start the discussion about the dreaded Dullcote Frost problem that most of you painters must have experiences sooner or later. Spending hours painting to end up with an ugly frostly look at the last step of your painting process is just an awful miserable experience that will haunt you for days !

Well, not anymore … because looking around on the web, I found on the blog of Nice manners for a thief an eye-opener life-saver post.

His explanation over there stands in 5 words: Usage Of Olive Oil Spray. Read on the excerpt:

Take that ruined mini and spray it down on both sides.  It doesn’t take a lot, but you want it coated for best results.  I recommend doing it over the sink for easy cleanup. […]

Once you’ve coated the model, rub it down with a soft cloth or shammy.  You can just use your fingers, but a cloth will allow you to easily get into the nooks and crannies.  You’ll see the color start to return immediately.  You’ll also get that glossy shine back – like before you sprayed it. […]

At this point, you might decide, “screw Dullcoting it.  I’ll take the shine over frost,” and I wouldn’t blame you.  After all, there’s nothing like rework for taking the joy out of a task.  However, you can absolutely re-apply Dullcote once the oil has a day to dry, and it will work as intended.

I can tell you that this neat trick is worth gold and took away my fear of screwing up my painting last step ! Although his blog has not been updated since a while, take a look around and check out the pictures of his painted figurines. Really nice job done !

You’ll find on the web many articles about proactively avoiding this frosting effect once you’re done applying the varnish layer. Basically, people will tell you to place your miniatures under a hot (desk-) lamp or use your hairdryer. That is certainly also a good preventive action to keep in mind.

Origins Game Fair 2015 Awards


The Origins Game Fair is now over. Like every year the  Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design (AAGAD) which is  peer based network of gaming industry professionals whose mission is to promote innovation and excellence in design and production of games and game related materials published their annual awards.

Here is the list of winners:

Best Board Game: Sheriff of Nottingham

Best Card Game:  Splendor

Best Children’s, Family, & Party Game:  The Hare and the Tortoise

Best Collectible Card Game: Magic: the Gathering Khans of Tarkir

Best Game Accessory:  Wings of Glory Mat (from Ares Games)

Best Historical Board Game: Heroes of Normandie

Best Role Playing Game: Dungeon & Dragons Players Handbook


Where to play in Brussels on Tuesdays ?

letsplaytogetherIt’s Tuesday night and there is nothing interesting to watch on TV, you’ve seen all the Netflix movies and with better weather you can again travel around the city till late ! How about joining Let’s Play Together for boardgames ?

Did you know that Let’s Play Together (Facebook Page) is hosting their “Apero-Jeux”gaming sessions on Tuesdays in various locations of the city: Belga Café, Potemkine, Bar Du Matin.


Too lazy to go out on a week night ? Alright, then try out on Sunday afternoon the “Des crêpes et des jeux  from 15H30-18H00 and move over to the Game Lab from 17H00 – 22H00.

Affiche Bardumatin_4


A fresh announcement from Days of Wonder indicating that they are partnering up with Space Cowboys to bring the 2014 SdJ nominee (amongst other prizes), Splendor to iOS, Android, and Steam !

For those who don’t know the game here is a brief game summary:

  • A game for 2-4 players that plays in about 30 minutes. The material is of good quality; 90 cards (40 cards of level 1, 30 cards of level 2, 20 cards of level 3) and also heavy (poker format) coins. About 35 gem stones are also in the box.
  • The game background is about players being wealthy Renaissance merchants, acquire mines and transportation, hire artisans and woo the nobility. Create the most fantastic jewelry to become the best-known merchant of them all! Players will acquire precious stones to trade them for development cards. Use development cards to acquire more gem stones. Use your gems and gold to create the most fantastic jewelry, and appeal to the nobles to gain the prestige you need to win.

A while back, Days of Wonder opened a Beta Testing form on their website under their customer support page. So this means the game is probably already developed. We know that DoW has already proven they can rock it on tablets with Ticket to Ride and Small World 2. Now we need to wait for the release normally scheduled this summer.


Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous

The PaizoCon 2015 is just behind us ! It took place during the Memorial Day in the US. It is the eighth PaizoCon since its inception and, for the first time at four days in length in a new larger venue. That said, the best thing about PaizoCon is that it’s a relatively small convention where you get to spend time interacting with the staff and game creators.

Some events, such as gaming sessions with Paizo staff as game masters, are in high demand, but have limited seating, so these events are distributed via lottery. There was also first-come-first-served system on the Paizo website. There are numerous unscheduled events like the a Reaper Miniatures Paint ‘n’ Take where participants paint and keep a free miniature, a Pathfinder Online MMO demo room, Dungeon Delve mini roleplaying adventures, and of course the Paizo store where you can meet industry artists, authors, and third party vendors as well as purchase merchandise.


What I was particularly interested in is the brand new products of Wrath of the Righteous that kicks off the new season of Organized Play for the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game from Paizo Publishing.

The new Wrath of the Righteous box is a new core box game, being able to be played all on its own without having to own other Pathfinder Adventure Card Game sets. The set comes with over 500 cards of all types, from boons to monsters and let’s not forget the barriers. It also has seven character classes, several of them are brand new (arcanist, summoner, inquisitor, cavalier).

In this season, players will battle against all manner of demons and cultists as they work to close the demonic and hellish Worldwound. The demon lord Deskari will stop at nothing to take over the world and only the players are there to stop him and his seemingly endless tide of minions. An example of the Fiendish Minotaur henchmen here below.


Wrath of the Righteous starts easier than the other Pathfinder Adventure card games but quickly gets tough. It is designed with the same six-part adventure in mind. The game comes with the first part of the adventure and additional packs can be purchased as they are released. The game feels like a high-level quest with a path for heroic characters doing amazing deeds and pursuing mythic adventures.

For fans of the Pathfinder card game, Wrath of the Righteous delivers more of the same gaming goodness but with enough additional features to keep things extremely interesting. For fans of the roleplaying game, it is fun to play through the same adventure in a different capacity as a card game.

New Gaming Location in Brussels: Green Lab

Green Lab is a Gin & Absinth Bar at the end of Avenue Louise just before the “Bois de la Cambre” that is transformed every Sunday in a Game Lab with the association Let’s Play Together ! We’ll start with a monthly event over there to see how it’s working and if people like the place we will accelerate the cadence of the sessions.

How does it work ?

Option 1: You bring your game ! Post in the COMMENTS of this event the name of the game + number of players for which you will host a table. I’ll add your table on the list.

Option 2: You join an open table ! Mention in the comments below which game/table you would like to join ! I’ll add you to this table (first come first served) until it’s complete.

Make sure to register on our Meetup Group calendar to join our upcoming sessions.

Quarterly Newsletter – Spring 2015

Hello Boardgamers !

It’s time for our quarterly newsletter. We’re well into the Spring and that means some news and changes for our Meetup group ! Grab your tea or coffee and read on …

Alright, let’s start with the (now usual) update around the life in our group. To start with, some of you heard that soon there will be an additional very special boardgamer in our group; Ozana & myself will be first-time parents early August 2015 and it’s a little baby girl that has her room already decorated with Winnie The Pooh and a few meeples here and there ! We’re expanding the family and therefore I’m now expanding my gaming library with kids boardgames for age 0-3. Who would have thought so !

For some, what started as a simple “let’s fill my Thursday night empty agenda spot” ended up in a much more than that. We have a growing friendly relationship between the BGM event organizers of the Meetup. Boardgame Monkeys was born on 1st June 2013 with boardgames and some of you are there since the very beginning ! With the passion & energy of the organizers we are keeping this group alive & kicking. I believe that I do thank the organizers in every newsletter, but it just shows how grateful and how important that role is.

We currently have 13 Event Organizers (me included) on our Meetup, with a few new people promoted in the last 3 months: Hugo, SvenT, Kenny, Bart G . You should look out for their sessions and make sure to attend.

Almost two years huh ? Since the very beginning there are 4 key people sharing the experience with me:

•    Cindy (Joined June 21, 2013): Play with her and you’ll discover her ever changing manicure week over week ! From computer chips (those were impressive!) to little butterflies, when Cindy is not having her nails done, she’s also running around cities (and I mean literally !) since she recently acquired some supersonic athletic sport shoes ! Her enthusiasm to try out all types of games, her help at the table going through the rules  and her focus on making the best moves make it’s  a great boardgames player at the table.

•    Filip (Joined June 21, 2013): Coincidently joined the same day as Cindy but has a very different profile than her. Filip is probably less outspoken than a few others, but get to know him and you’ll realize he’s not only a very smart player but also a dangerous character to play against. Under the “I’ll do you no harm don’t worry” attitude, he can built up an entire strategy that will be your downfall. He’s painting miniatures (like a few others in the group) and you can always ask him about his outstanding Reaper Mini collection that’s still pending a paint job. Did you know that Filip used to run Pathfinder Society sessions. He must have all the available books from Paizo in his library !

•    David (Joined June 27, 2013):  Don’t bother looking for the best place to have a beer in Brussels, just ask him ! He knows more about beers and cafés than most of us for a simple reason; he’s also co-organizer of the Brussels Bar Trek Meetup group. Who said you cannot combine a good beer with boardgames ? From strategic workers placement games to an almighty dungeon crawler Overlord, David is a fiercy opponent for which you should not get fouled.

•    Wouter (Joined July 15, 2013): Just look out for him on the top of a mountain somewhere in France or Spain; he’s an avid climber who’s also a partner in crime for the Brussels Games Festival (putting his programming talent into the (new upcoming) website of the festival). When he’s not on a mountain, you’ll find him living actually in front of my house, no kidding ! That said, having a busy agenda, I believe we mostly at some gaming events. You never know what’s the next move he’s preparing behind his beard !

I will not cover every organizer in this newsletter – let’s keep some for the next one – but oh boy … I don’t even know where to start with Oliver (Joined October 18, 2013 ) who’s the record breaking event organizers of us all. I actually think he must be just having a room somewhere in the basement of La Table Food & Games to learn week after week all the rules of new games. We also have Marina and Mathijs to talk about … More next time .. I promise.

We had 160 events in the last 2 years with the leadership team counting 13 organizers.  We have banned 4 people and I have removed 22 people last quarter due to inactivity and (3 or more) no-shows. We have 459 members (as we speak). With a clear increase in the last 3 months.

Out of this total, we have about 15 % who’s counted as active members. This actually means that we have more and more people not only joining the Meetup but also attending events (we raised from 10 % -> 15% active members in the last 3 months).

Did you know that you can see all the past newsletters on our Meetup forum (yes we do have a forum on the Meetup group) ? For those of you who are new but interested in the life of our group, you can always have a reading over here­. In the last newsletter, I promised to organize a few activities – so it’s my duty to report on the status:

Additional locations to play games: DELIVERED
I got the request from many of you to find additional days & locations to play boardgames. I managed to enlarge our possibilities joining the association Let’s Play Together who’s hosting various (party games) events in a few bars of the capital. This is how we went to the flamingo for a few Tuesday sessions in the last months.

Unfortunately, the Flamingo decided to stop hosting those Tuesday sessions (reason why you did not see an invite in April). Good news is that we can migrate over to another nice place called the Potemkine Bar in Saint Gilles (right in front of the Porte de Hal metro station). They have 3 different rooms over there and can adapt the level of music independently in each room. You’ll find some people playing also “heavier” boardgames and not only party games. Going forward, I have a conflicting agenda on Tuesdays and won’t be able to attend myself, but Let’s Play Together has also an English speaking organizer in the Potemkine, so I will schedule nonetheless the sessions. Let’s start with a Monthly event and take it from there.

We will also start a monthly event on Sundays at the Green Bar which is specialized in Absinth and Gin ! From 5PM – 9PM you’ll be able to drink & play in this nice bar located at the end of the Avenue Louise (near the Bois De La Cambre). Easy access by tram from the Louise metro station. I’m looking forward to discover this place with you. The next event is already scheduled on 31th May.

• Pathfinder ACG Adventure: DELIVERED
This one does happen as we speak, we started in January and are currently at the campaign 3 (in total there are 6 campaigns). I’ve been playing this one first with the BGM co-organizers to see if a long-run campaign can work out via Meetup.

We slowed down the number of sessions to 1x/month at the moment, but still plan to finish it this year. You haven’t see much of this going on, because I cannot run a 2nd group in parallel (like I initially wanted to) because it’s too complex to separate the card decks. Concretely, this means I will first finish off this group 1 campaign before I can launch a group 2. If you’re interested in joining this group, send me a private message via Meetup ! I will organize a dry-run session for potential candidates for a new campaign.

• The “New to Boardgames” – Session: RE-SCHEDULED
This was supposed to be scheduled in January, but when I saw a lot of new people joining – I decided it’s better to post-pone this session for a later date for the benefit of all. I will host a session on 11th June at La Table Food & Games.

This educative session will be about the types of games out there, how to pick one for your audience, how to read rules and teach them when you host a gaming table. With some practical exercises. Mark the date if you’re new in the group and/or if you want to be successful at explaining games to family & friends.

• Time Masters Tournament: RE-SCHEDULED
This one is still in our boxes – I have now recuperated all the English versions of the games to be able to run a special night with 10 tables (so up to 40 players). I’m currently discussing with Let’s Play Together to organize this one at the Potemkine Bar – Tentative date is 23th June still to be confirmed.

• 2 Players Gaming Session: POSTPONED
Truth is that between the moment I had this idea and the implementation of it into an event, I’ve sold many of my 2 players games. This means I cannot bring along a lot of games, but I can setup an event where people bring their game along. Maybe you guys have also some LCG games you wish to put on the table ? This one will be post-poned to the month of July.

• Pandemic Survival Campaign: CANCELLED
Was scheduled for March but felt through the cracks … for a simple reason: doing a survival campaign is much more complex than expected (I talked with Filosofia – French Editor of the game – about how to do this but we didn’t agree on the terms).

We have a few boxes of the game but it’s not enough to setup a solid campaign. I will have to push this one out till the Brussels Games Festival that will host a real Pandemic Survival event organized by Filosofia themselves.

As you can see, some stuff was delivered, other stuff rescheduled and some postponed or cancelled; all-in-all we actually had quite a few sessions in the last months. True, not all what I mentioned in the previous newsletter, but I’ve put on the table more than 8 new games in events of the past 3 months. For me the overall balance remains on the positive side.

In the coming months you’ll have a few festivals coming up. Boardgames festivals are always fun to attend because you meet people and make new friends, discover and play games and can also buy some new or second hand games for a good price to complete your collection. Here are 3 important dates coming up :

13-14 June: Paris est Ludique (Link­). This happens « outdoor » and you have all the publishers from France that will be present. It’s worth going if you can find somebody for car-pooling. I will drive down to Paris on Saturday 12th June and should have a few spots in my car.

20-21 June: Zomerspel 2015 (Link­). Gent is for a weekend the big playground for games & fun with both indoor and outdoor activities. Wouter and myself will go by car, book your spot if you want to ride along with us.

15-16 August: Brussels Games Festival 2015 (Link­) . This THE event to mark down in your agenda. Not only because Boardgame Monkeys is officially supporting the festival (through Cindy, David, Filip, PG, Wouter being part of the BGF staff) but simply because it’s in the heart of Brussels – with the Outpost & La Table Food & Games as central location of the event. We expect you to join us for a 32-hours non-stop gaming experience ! (ok, you are allowed to go home and sleep if it’s reeeaally needed ). Hé! no driving there – it’s at your doorsteps ! So join us – we’ll definitively have some gaming tables going on.

Other activities will take place in the coming weeks of May, you can almost play every week – hereby an overview:

6th May: Filigranes Gaming Night. Starting in May, the Filigranes bookshop will host a monthly session (on Wednesdays) at La Table Food & Games. We are more than welcome to join this free event although the organizers are French speaking, we will manage with some English tables.

24th May: Monopoly Regional  Championship. Admittedly, monopoly is a bit “old school”, it’s still the game that is the most sold in the world ! There are nice prizes for the winners of this free tournament that will take place at the Outpost Gamecenter in Brussels. Pre-registration needed by email: .

The Thursday “afterwork sessions” are continuing with Oliver hosting a table of Seasons (7th May), Emily hosting a 7 Wonders table (15th May – to be confirmed) and PG hosting a table of Wiraqocha (21th May). The first Green Lab session as mentioned above will take place on 31th May.

I’ve got some requests in the past months asking me for advice on which games to choose from when you’re a beginner. Likewise, some people asked me also how I stay up to date on what’s out there to be released soon.

I’ll put you below a few links of English websites I regularly visit to get some updates. It’s certainly not the entire collection of places I get news from, but should help you kick off your info gathering.

•­ (for all French news)

A few reviewers & blogs I follow:


This a wrap for this quarter, happy gaming & see you soon at the table !

Pierre-Gilles (PG)