Thursday, 11 May 2017

Review - Jim Henson's Labyrinth: The Board Game

Designed by Alessio Cavatore
Published by River Horse Ltd
For 1-5 players (but really 1-4 players) aged 6 to adult


The box art for Jim Henson's Labyrinth: The Board Game, showing the titular maze.


I want to start this review by saying, "Thank you," to two people who will never read it: Jim Henson and David Bowie.

I want to say, "Thank you," for the immeasurable joy they brought into my life.

I want to say, "Thank you," for being two people who made the world better by being a part of it.

But most of all, I want to say, "Thank you," because I really want to start my review by saying something positive. Lord knows, from this point out, I'm not going to have a lot of opportunities, because...

(Spoilers...)

Jim Henson's Labyrinth: The Board Game is terrible.

In fact, I'd go further than that. I would say it's a failure.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

With a Little Help from My Friends

I'm taking a quick break from your (ir)regular (not exactly) scheduled programme to talk a little bit about Always Board Never Boring as a product. Bear with me here, I'll try to keep it brief...

A selection of board games owned by the reviewer Always Board Never Boring.


I started this blog back in 2012, with the intention of using it to catalogue my collection of out-of-production board games. Since then, I've expanded the remit considerably, and I've published articles on many new and old games. Recently I've ended up talking quite a lot about Games Workshop products and started introducing more articles relating to hobby aspects such as painting and miniature conversions.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Shadow War: Armageddon - Building a Cadian Kill Team

Having previously published my thoughts on building space marine scout and ork boyz kill teams, I thought I would make a trilogy (I'm into that sort of thing) with a piece on cadian kill teams.This is ostensibly because the rules book that came in the Shadow War: Armageddon starter box included rules for those three factions; but the main reason is I just happened to have a unit of 10 cadians lying around from years ago, which I was intending to use in Space Hulk.

Fortunately, I have a bit of a fondness for the humble cadians anyway. I think they represent Games Workshop at their satirical best. There's something darkly funny and harrowingly bleak about over-the-top heroes that look like they've stepped out of propaganda posters leading a near limitless number of cattle-like soldiers into a meat grinder with the intentions of drowning the enemy in the resulting slurry.

It's also a concept that gives 40K it's most recognisably human element. These poor bastards aren't superhuman gene-spliced warrior monks or blood-hungry aliens. They're just people.

Just us.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Shadow War: Armageddon - Building an Ork Boyz Kill Team

I know I haven't put up any new reviews on my site for a little while. I apologise for that, but I've been far too distracted with Shadow War: Armageddon to think about anything else. I'll try to rectify that in the next few days, but for now, I'm just going to keep banging on about this game. Sorry if it's getting old. Indulge me for a while...

So, Games Workshop have just announced the preorders for the Shadow War: Armageddon rules book. It's an updated version (yeah, really) of the book that came in the starter box (which they aren't reprinting). This is great news for anybody who already has a lot of miniatures and terrain. Probably not such great news for anyone looking for an easy way into the game, as they are facing a hefty price tag by the time they've purchased the rules, some terrain, and some miniatures.

Anybody lucky enough to get a copy of the starter set, probably isn't going to worry too much about the new rules book either. The extra content comprises rules for extra kill teams that Games Workshop already made available for free download, and they didn't even bother making the new edition a hardback, which would have definitely encouraged me to plonk another £25 on top of what I have already spent.

Anyway, I digress. In fact, I've digressed to the point where I realise I've completely forgotten my point. Bear with me a moment...

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Shadow War: Armageddon - Building a Space Marine Scout Kill Team

Considering the amount of Games Workshop products I cover on my blog, it probably looks like I'm a miniatures gamer at heart; but I still consider myself a boardgamer first and foremost. I do paint, and I do occasionally play tabletop skirmish games such as (the sadly discontinued) Anima Tactics, but I'm usually more at home with something "complete": A game in a box.

That being said, Shadow War: Armageddon is my kind of jam.

Of course, it's not really surprising. I loved Necromunda back in the day, and as an iteration of that system, Shadow War is a fantastic slice of grimdark fun. It excels in so many ways at so many things; and includes lots of stuff I really enjoy about games in general.

I'm not sure I've ever mentioned this, but when I was a kid one of my favourite things to do was create characters for game systems. I made countless heroes for Advanced HeroQuest, and spent hours creating generals for Warhammer Fantasy Battle. I even used to create characters for roleplaying games I never played. Many of my creations never saw battle, but that wasn't really the point. The creation was key.

It's no wonder I became a writer.

Throughout my life, the things that have often "spoken" to me let me tap into that same creativity, such as video games where you create a party of heroes, equip them with weapons, and develop them over time. One of my favourite things in Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower is learning new skills and gradually evolving the way in which my hero fights.

And now there's Shadow War.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Shadow War: Armageddon - Scoping Out the Landscape

When I purchased my copy of Shadow War: Armageddon, I wasn't planning on writing a series of articles. However, the nature of the beast means that's exactly what's ended up happening. The launch of the game comes with a hell of a lot of baggage, and I felt it was all a bit too much to squeeze into a review. So, the other day I talked about the bloody mess of Armageddon's launch. Today, I'm going to talk about Armageddon's terrain.

For many people, the terrain is going to be the most important thing about the game. I certainly believe it's the most important thing about the game as far as Games Workshop is concerned. And I'll say this now: It's lovely.

It's huge, surprisingly heavy, imposing, incredibly detailed, and you can put it together in almost limitless combinations.

It's hard not to be impressed by it all: The gantries stand 5 inches tall; there's a furnace that's 4 inches across. And there's loads of it:

Shadow War: Armageddon scenery


It's terrain to get excited about. And I never get excited about terrain.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Shadow War: Armageddon - Look At What You Could Have Won

This is a warning: What follows is not an unboxing or a review. It's a healthy dose of personal opinion by somebody with an inflated sense of self-importance. I will be reviewing the game at a later date; but by posting this article first, I can focus my review on the actual game and not the shit show surrounding its launch.

Space Hulk, Dreadfleet, and Shadow War: Armageddon boxes, stacked for comparison.


So, here I am with my brand new copy of Shadow War: Armageddon. I should be excited. I kinda am excited.

But I'm a bit depressed too.

For anyone who hasn't been keeping up with current events, Armageddon is a revamped version of Games Workshop's classic game of gang warfare, Necromunda. It was hyped to heck and back, and went up for preorder at 10am on April 1st.

It sold out at 10:10am.

And it wasn't an April Fools joke.

Review - Gangs of Commorragh

Published by Games Workshop
For 2 players, aged 12 to adult


Gangs of Commorragh


Sometimes it's tough being a Games Workshop supporter. I've never known a company move so quickly. They move so damned fast this isn't even the introduction I had planned when I started putting my notes together for the high-octane, high-speed, high-flying, high... er... scoring Gangs of Commorragh.

The original introduction is already out of date.

In fact, this revised introduction is also out of date. More on that in a moment.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Review - Warhammer Quest: Shadows Over Hammerhal

Published by Games Workshop
For 2-5 players, aged 12 to adult

Shadows Over Hammerhal


Once upon a time (and I only mention that because all good stories start that way) there was a world of arcane lore and monsters. It was a harsh, cruel world where only the strong survived, and war was without end.

No. I don't mean high school.

This was a tough world. A violent world. Yet it was also a world of humour, where amidst the horror of war you could find something laugh-out-loud hilarious.

And it was also a world of beauty. It was a world where you could battle through the shit and the pain, and in the heart of darkness find a small glimmer of something so wonderful it made everything worth fighting for.

No. I really don't mean high school.

This was not our world, and yet in some ways, it was not so very different. This world was the Old World. The world of Warhammer Fantasy Battle.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Painting Guide - Brimstone Horrors

I have always said I am primarily a gamer. I'm not even secondarily a hobbyist. I really like painting miniatures, but I find assembling them a chore; and honestly, I have very little time for painting. Still, I do paint, and...

Yeah...

I'm not great.

I think they call it "tabletop quality."

So, if I'm not a skilled artist, why have I had the audacity to write a painting guide?

Simple really. I sort of wanted to show that anyone can do this, and it doesn't just have to involve a base undercoat and a tin of Army Painter Quickshade. (Not that there's anything wrong with dipping miniatures either.) But also, I thought it might be fun to show people how I flounder through this stuff.

I'm not so much going to guide you as I'm going to flail around wildly, leaving a broken trail to show where I've been as a warning for anyone else.

Oh, and by the way, if people are interested in this sort of thing, I'm toying with the idea of making it a semi-regular feature (not that anything on this blog is even close to regular). It's a little bit different to my normal content. Tangents and conversations about the biscuits I was eating while I painted these miniatures will be kept to a minimum.

I have to stress that this is not a guide for anyone even remotely confident with a brush. But if you're thinking about giving painting a go, this is how I painted my cute little Brimstone Horrors from Games Workshop's Silver Tower.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Review - Catacombs (First Edition)

Designed by Ryan Amos, Marc Kelsey, and Aron West
Published by Sands of Time Games
For 2-5 players, aged 12 to adult


Catacombs box cover


My hands are basically screwed.

Have I ever mentioned that?

They randomly betray me, flinging things across the room. Last month I had to remove electrical outlets from my wall to drain them because a full cup of tea escaped my fumbling grasp, and not long after that I bounced one of my best friends freshly painted space marines off the table. It wouldn't have been so bad, but it was his first go at painting miniatures for about two decades. Fortunately, those space marines are a lot more robust than some people give them credit for. I guess they have to be if they're going to survive in the grim-dark future of the Warhammer universe.

And this is my hands under normal conditions. If it starts to get cold, they straight up stop working altogether.

My rubbish hands take the full blame for my inability to learn to play the guitar (my lack of persistence is completely unrelated, I assure you), and also for my heavy reliance on ink washes and drybrushing to make my painted miniatures look even halfway decent.

They're also why I'm not overly keen on dexterity games.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Review - Fireteam Zero: The Africa Cycle

Designed by Mike Langlois and Christian Leonhard
Published by Emergent Games
For 1 to 4 players, aged 14 to adult


Fireteam Zero: The Africa Cycle


They say that "a change is as good as a rest." I guess "they" don't work for Fireteam Zero, because as far as those hardened war vets are concerned, it's more a case of "no rest for the wicked." The Fireteam Zero base game threw them into the heart of enemy territory, into villages swarming with alien entities, and even into the bowels of the corrupted earth. Each mission was a gruelling battle of attrition against an unstoppable, immeasurable foe; and always the fate of humankind was in the balance. After all that, a chance to soak up the rays on a relaxing tour of Africa probably sounded like a great idea.

But this is no vacation. There are no margaritas on the beach for Sarge and his motley crew, and you can scratch any idea of a rest.

Sarge would probably put it best: "Same shit, different day."

And indeed, the new Africa Cycle expansion for one of my all-time favourite games is very much more of the same. But shit?

Not even close.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Review - Horus Heresy: Burning of Prospero

Published by Games Workshop
For 2 players, aged 12 to adult



Oh, hi there. Come on in. Sit down. You've just caught me thumbing through some of the old paperwork in my filing cabinet...

What do you mean, "You don't have any paperwork... or a filing cabinet"?

Just go with it. It's an intro skit.

So, I'm flicking back through some of my old reviews. Do pull up a chair. Hold on, this looks promising... Ah, yes. My review of Deathwatch: Overkill. This is what I wanted. Let me read an excerpt: