Saturday 23 December 2017

Review - Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas Trading Card Game

Designed by Andrew Parks and Zev Shlasinger
Published by NECA
For 2 or more players

The Nightmare Before Christmas TCG box.

Ah, Christmas... It's a time to reflect on the past; it's a time to look to the future (it's only just begun, after all); but let's be honest, most of all it's a time to unwrap presents.



Bloody Hell, that's a corny intro. I'll be expecting a visit from Krampus after that.

Moving swiftly on...

Friday 24 November 2017

Review - Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire

Published by Games Workshop
For 2 players (up to 4 by purchasing additional components), aged 12 to adult

Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire

I was a Games Workshop kid.

I fell in love with the company's particular brand of grim-dark humour at an early age, and spent most of my time assembling and painting miniatures, theory-crafting armies for battles I never fought, and playing board games like HeroQuest, Warhammer Quest, and Talisman.

But there was a short period when Magic: The Gathering became a bit of a thing. I was still at school at the time, and quickly coming to the realisation that trying to sneak 3,000-points worth of metal goblins into the library wasn't working out. I was in search of some other way to pass the time between the point I'd finished my Dairylea sandwich and the point when the school bell signaled another humiliating afternoon of double P.E.

Magic was the perfect time-waster.

Monday 30 October 2017

Review - Goosebumps: Terror in the Graveyard

Designed by Craig Van Ness
Published by Waddingtons
For 2-4 players, aged 7 to beyond the grave

Goosebumps Terror in the Graveyard board game box art, showing the headless ghost preparing to strike.

Recently I've been spending a lot of time trying to get a new YouTube channel off the ground. I'd never really intended to start doing videos, but it just sort of happened, and now I'm just another victim of the machine: A disembodied voice in the vast expanse of the Internet, wailing, "Look at me!"

If I'm honest, I'm not good with cameras. I don't like having my picture taken, I don't like being the centre of attention, and even just recording my voice fills me with anxiety. I've always been more comfortable writing. It's no wonder I became a novelist; even less of a wonder I became a freelance content provider so I could lock myself away at home and project myself onto the world from the comparative safety of my computer.

Sunday 1 October 2017

Review - Fireteam Zero: The Europe Cycle

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

Fireteam Zero: The Europe Cycle

Regulars to my blog may have noticed things have been a bit quiet around here lately. Part of the reason was I needed a bit of time to take stock following what can only be described as a disastrous attempt to carve out a little niche on Patreon. Part of the reason was I needed a bit of time to get my new YouTube channel off the ground. However, the main reason was I simply didn't have any time at all.

Sunday 6 August 2017

Review - Warhammer 40,000 (First Strike)

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

Warhammer 40,000: First Strike cover art

Back in 1989, I was walking through a local branch of WH Smith when a magazine caught my eye. It was called White Dwarf, and the cover featured some kind of astronaut in white armour, desperately fending off four-armed aliens in the wreck of a spaceship. I couldn't count out my pocket money quick enough.

I must have read that magazine a hundred times. I studied every piece of artwork. I marvelled over every painted miniature. I wrote my own stories about the unusual characters you could order by post from the catalogue section in the back.

I was nine years old. And I was instantly hooked.

Thursday 27 July 2017

Review - EleMental

Designed by Chris McCann
Published by Minds United Ltd
For 2 players, aged 10 to adult

EleMental board game

"Since the beginning of Time the elements have raged across space, possessed with unfathomable cosmic energy, creating and destroying, battling eternally in an infinite theatre of existence."

So begins the rules for EleMental, a game so utterly pretentious you're at risk of disappearing up your own bottom just by reading the rules out loud. And let's make no bones about it, EleMental is incredibly pretentious. It may have a name that sounds like a 1980s comedy-crime television series about a girl called Ellie cracking tough cases with her psychic powers, and it may look like several bits of foamcore glued together, but Minds United (the creators and publishers) really thought they were on to something special here.

Monday 24 July 2017

Patreon, YouTube, and Facebook... Oh My!

Hey everybody

I realise it's been a bit quiet around these parts recently, but Always Board Never Boring is a little bit like a swan: On the surface, everything is calm and serene, and it doesn't look like much is happening. But underneath...

Underneath, I'm a seething ball of hatred that wants to break your arm.


That doesn't seem right.

Okay. So, the point is, there haven't been many updates here on the blog recently, but that doesn't mean I haven't been a busy little beaver...


I thought I was a swan.

I shouldn't do these updates when I'm tired.

I'll start again...

Hey everybody! Want to know what I've been up to recently. The answer is, "Loadsa stuff."

First of all, I've been trying to get my Patreon up and running. So far, running isn't really the right word. Limping isn't really the right word either.

Lying down for a nap?

I dunno. I poked it with a stick earlier and it let out a faint groan.

Wednesday 28 June 2017

Review - Cluedo Super Sleuth

Designed by Anthony E. Pratt
Published by Waddingtons
For 2 to 6 players, aged 10 to adult

Cluedo Super Sleuth

"The rules of an intriguing and interesting game, must inevitably seem to be slightly boring..."

And so begins the rules book for Cluedo Super Sleuth. It's an... unusual... gambit, but let's ignore the growing sense of dread and press on.

Thursday 22 June 2017

Review - Gloom of Kilforth

Designed by Tristan Hall
Published by Hall or Nothing
For 1-4 players, aged 13 to adult

Moody title art from the cover of the Gloom of Kilforth rules book.

Anyone who has visited my blog before probably knows that, if I have a weakness (apart from custard creams), it's thematic, fantasy board games. Dungeon crawlers, card games, miniature skirmish games: I'm not fussy. But I'm particularly partial to overland adventure games. You know, the games like Talisman, where you get to take a hero into a magical land, and then wander around hitting monsters and taking their stuff. Usually for reasons.

Sunday 11 June 2017

Painting Guide - Kingdom Death: Monster (Survivors)

Last week I published a simple guide for painting the monsters from Kingdom Death: Monster to look like carved bone. After sharing the guide on Board Game Geek, someone asked about the technique I used for painting the survivors to look like stone statues. Never one to answer a question succinctly, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to rustle up another guide. This, ladies and gentlemen, is that guide...

Kingdom Death: Monster painted survivors

Tuesday 6 June 2017

Painting Guide - Kingdom Death: Monster (Monsters)

If you've read my review for Kingdom Death: Monster (and I see no reason why you wouldn't have, because it's awesome) then you know that the the miniatures remind me of statues or chess pieces, moved around by the whims of a monstrous deity.

The best thing about this idea is it meant I was able to paint up my miniatures very quickly and easily. I painted all of the survivors to look like they were carved in stone, and I painted all of the monsters to look like they were carved in bone. The result is a set of miniatures with a classical appearance that I think is totally in-keeping with the atmosphere of the game.

The lion from Kingdom Death: Monster, painted to look like bone.

Recently, I finished off the massive phoenix bigature, which has been sitting on my top shelf for a little while. I thought I might as well snap a few photos and share the process here, although frankly, that process is so simple it's a bit insulting to put it into a guide.

Thursday 1 June 2017

Review - Shadow War: Armageddon

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

Artwork from the front cover of Shadow War: Armageddon.

Well, it's official (and by official, I mean I've said it, which means it's not really official, but this is my blog so I'm treating it as such)... Games Workshop screwed up. Shadow War: Armageddon is a disaster.

And no, I don't mean Games Workshop went and did a Dreadfleet, and produced something that people refused to buy. I am quite certain that from a business perspective, the game's been something of a success. I certainly don't mean it's a disaster in terms of the long-term impact on the company's reputation either. They seem to have weathered any cries of dissent without any significant long-term impact on who they are and what they do.

I don't even mean a disaster for me personally.

But it's still a disaster.

Sunday 28 May 2017

Painting Guide - One Minute Walls

Before we begin, I have a minor confession... this isn't a guide for painting walls in one minute. I just needed a catchy title to grab your attention. However, this is a guide for an incredibly fast way to paint any stone scenery for tabletop miniatures games, including houses, ruins, statues, and pillars, so I thought the title was close enough.

And, you know... it's a painting guide... I'm allowed a little creative licence, aren't I?

This is only my second painting article, and I'm still playing with the format. My first effort was a bit difficult to follow, and the pictures weren't great. Let's see if I can do better this time, as we step through the process for painting a wonderful wonderwall.

(Dammit. Wonderwall. That's the title I should have used.)

Close up photograph showing the detail on a painted Games Workshop wall.

Why are we painting a wall? Because Games Workshop's Age of Sigmar skirmish rules hit stores yesterday, and while I'm waiting for my copy to arrive in the post I thought it was time to finish off some of the old scenery bits I had lying around. This is actually a section of wall from the bloody lovely Fortified Manor kit, which I've had for years. The painting process for this component is very simple, so if you already have experience with painting miniatures, you probably won't find anything new or interesting here (sorry!).

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...


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...

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

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...


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 first edition box art

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

The Horus Heresy: Burning of Prospero

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: