The Lost Lighthouse Reviews: Pictomania


My friends seemed a bit unenthusiastic when I first described Pictomania. I can tell you now, that changed after the first round!

Many times it’s been described as “pictionary on steroids”, and I have to say it’s an apt description. It’s a multitakers dream game!

The basics of the game sees you set out 6 cards, ranging from easy to extra difficult, each card has 7 similar things on it. Each player then gets a secret pair of cards to tell them what they will be (attempting) to draw. Green cards (easy) are quite straight forward. They can be stuff like spoon or fork, but on another card it says pitchfork! So you have to make sure you differentiate between the two for your sake, and the other players!


Can you guess which one I've drawn?

Once you are all ready, you begin drawing your item but at the same time, you are guessing other peoples! You all have numbered cards of your colour that you place stack next to other peoples drawings. The quicker you guess someone’s, the more points you get. But once you place a card, it stays. So if you muck it up it means you’ve used your guess of that number!

If you get your guess cards down first then you can pick up tokens that give you bonus points at the end of the round. Problem is, if people can’t guess your drawing (because maybe you’ve rushed it so you could guess other people’s first) then you earn negative points!

It’s a nice feeling that by people guessing your drawing correctly, you get points and they get points.

Drawing a football is easy right? How about red? Seriously, draw red without using words or numbers. It’s crazy!


I love these tiny sponges!

We had SO much fun with Pictomania. I think it’s suitable for nearly anyone. We had joys of guessing dodgy drawings and the crys of laughter at the down-right offensive ones.

I’d highly suggest picking Pictomania up.


The Lost Lighthouse Reviews: Forbidden Stars

“This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but with a whimper”. Now, T.S. Elliot was a smart cookie, but he got it wrong here. The (many) worlds will end with a metric f**k ton of Orks, Chaos, Marines and Eldar ripping them apart with orbital bombardments. On the grim, dark future, there is no whimpering!

Forbidden Stars, where do I start? I could say “amazing components, exquisite board, and a great rules set” but when it comes to Fantasy Flight Games, it tends to be a given. Forbidden Stars is all those things and more, don’t get me wrong. The game pieces look like they could perfectly fit into epic or battlefleet gothic. FFG are not letting down the 40k license, they are representing! I particularly like the “titan” sized pieces.


Oh, I almost forgot the board. You know I saying everything in this game is beautiful? Well the tiles are even nicer! They look like a wonderfully painted star chart. Almost too whimsical for the 40k universe.


Now lets not praise this game too much, it has its flaws, but all games do. With FFGs recent 2 book system (one for the core rules, the other for referencing in-game), the initial read through can be a bit arduous. Over all I like the 2 book system for longevity but doesn’t do much for the first game. Secondly, to me the combat system seems a bit fractured. Trying to explain it to people was the most difficult part. Again, after a few actual combats it sinks in and works. Sadly, messing up your first few combats might screw you over for the rest of the game, and it’s not a short game at that! But I’m nit-picking. I do love this game.

The game is split into 3 phases. The planning phase, the operation phase and the refresh phase.

The planning phase is pretty self explanatory. Each player plans their moves for phase two. You do this by selecting one of your order tiles and placing it on a tile. The cool bit is, someone else can place there order on top of yours. Meaning you can’t resolve your order until they resolve their one that’s on top. Evan player puts down 4 order tiles, you get two copies of each order.

Order consist of the following (I’ve written a very basic summary):

1) Deploy. You build units, then structures. Structures include factories (you need these to build units), bastions (fortifications to help you hold worlds) and cities (needed to make the bigger and more killinger units!)

2) Strategize. Lets you upgrade your orders and improve your combat deck

3) Dominate. You harvest any assets your friendly worlds have. Such as extra money, reinforcements and forge tokens (you need these to build to best two units). You also get to activate your special faction power.

4) Advance. This is your move order. I found movement to be a little confusing at first, but after a couple of games I got it. Basically, if worlds are adjacent your troops can move to them. But if there is a void section (open space) you need to have a friendly ship in that space to allow them to move through it.

The Refresh phase sees you collecting materiel (Forbidden Stars currency), rallying units and, the coolest bit, moving the warp storms. These little strips of hell can make or break your plans! No units can move through them, so they may stop your invasion in a heart beat.

Your aim for the game is to pick up little objective tokens (which is the first step of the refresh phase). If you pick up as many as there are players, you win the game.


I highly recommend this game. It’s awesome! Even if you’re not a fan of the 40k universe, it’s worth it!


The Lost Lighthouse Reviews: Sheriff Of Nottingham


Publishers: Arcane Wonders

Designers: Sergio Halaban & Andre Zatz

Plays: 1-5

Run Time: 60 Minutes 

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a board game review. To be honest, I’d over done it. Board game, after board game. Buying a game, playing it once, then throwing on the shelf with the overs, in pursuit of the next one that would change my life! So I calmed it down. I introduced a “one in, one out” policy. It was so I would really appreciate the games I had and also stop my spending curve!

Wow! That was a long way round to get to the point I wanted to make. Sheriff Of Nottingham had to be on my shelf! I won’t tell you what poor game I sold to make room for this gem (Ticket To Ride The Card Game) but let me tell you right off, it was worth it.

Sheriff Of Nottingham is primarily a bluffing game, but Arcane Wonders have come at it with a different angle. Not only do you get to try to lie to your friends, square in the face, you can also, just, pay them off!

You are all merchants trying to get goods through the sheriff’s customs office. Some legal, some not so. It’s completely up to you what you want to try to sneak in. Play it safe and stock up on apples, or be one of those rogue traders trying to sneak some illegal pepper through! You bastards and your illegal pepper, I don’t want any of that muck in my city! Just plain old boring food for me please.

I see that sneaky pepper!

             I See That Sneaky Pepper!

Each round of the game, players (merchants) have to pick some item cards up, decide what they want to put in their bag (closing the little popper on the bag is close to sexual) and passing it to the sheriff. Each turn there’s a different sheriff. When a merchant passes their bag to the sheriff, they have to look him or her square in the eye and tell them what’s in their bag (possibly “forgetting” that illegal pepper popped in). Then the sheriff has to decide wether or not to inspect the merchant’s goods (like you mum does most nights). If they find nothing illegal, then the sheriff has to pay the merchant’s a fine for holding them up, if they do have something illegal stuffed in their bag (like your mum on the other nights) then the merchant has to pay a fine to the sheriff. Who ever has the most assets (a combo of money and goods) at the end of the game, wins

He's A Royal Rooster And He Knows It.

He’s A Royal Rooster And He Knows It.

It’s as simple as that! The game lasts around an hour or quicker if the players have played before. Which means you can get two or three games of it in a night, or once as part of a multi-game night.

One thing that is a bit annoying in this game is calculating the points at the end, but thankfully you can download a really good free app that helps with this. I’d highly suggest doing that.

This is a great game. I love it. I think the main reason I love it (other than the sexual bags) is having to look a mate in the eyes and lie! Because I laugh every time. Wether I’m lying or not! I’d definitely pick it up.

If you like the sound of it then you can through Element Games for under £25!


The Lost Lighthouse Reviews: Star Wars Armada

What a box! No, I’m not talking about your mum, I’m talking about Fantasy Flight Game’s Star Wars Armada. It’s a beast. Once again, not your mum. There’s no hiding this on the bus home from your LGS, and why should you! You should proudly shout, at the top of your lungs “I’m king of this fucking bus!”

Enough with the silliness, what’s this game like? Well, once you’ve done with the new box smell, you can admire the beautiful components. A common ritual for me with FFG products. I challenge you not to rip the Star Destroyer straight out its plastic coffin and bask in its glory. The rebel ships deserve the same treatment. Then you see the squadrons…Oh. Ok, so on face value, the squadrons are a bit of a let down, but I’m quietly confident that after a lick of paint, they will be fine. They are basically just counters after all. Everything else is the standard, great quality that you  pay for with FFG. The manoeuvre stick thingy is mental. It’s hard not to sit there just clicking and moving it like a steam punk snake.

The 2 rule books included are very well laid out and gets you playing very quickly, and like X-Wing, it’s very intuitive after a few turns. That’s right, I mentioned it. The big old elephant in the room. Ok, that time I was talking about your mum. I’ll talk about the 2 games similarities later.

The turns themselves are split over 4 phases. The 1st phase is the Command Phase, where players secretly choose their ships special actions. The bigger the ship, the further you have to plan with the larger ships planning 3 turns ahead! To represent the slow reactive nature of the big capital bastards. The 2nd phase is the ship phase, in which you alternately activate capital ships. The 3rd phase is where your squadrons move or shoot and lastly the 4th phase is a standard refresh stage. Then wash, rinse, repeat.

I found the most important thing to get right was the speed of your ships. Get that wrong and you’ll find your most important ships out the battle for long periods of time. Dealing with squadrons is also vital. Leaving X-Wings too long near your ships and you’ll find them with no shields rather quickly.

Is this just X-Wing, tarted up and given a new lease of life? No. Well I don’t think so. I found the skills you need to be a good X-Wing player, are similar to the skills you’ll need to master in Armada, but you go about it different ways, and you have new elements to think about. Armada is more refined, more intricate, dare I say it, more fun. This coming from a guy who really enjoys X-Wing. I find Armada more of a war game than X-Wing, which is maybe why I enjoy it more. And, possibly, why others won’t.

So, do you need both X-Wing and Armada? Of course not. Will you buy both X-Wing and Armada? Probably. I’m happy to say, both games are fantastic and deserve space on your shelves. Though you might need to extend it for Armada!

If you fancy picking up a copy, you can from Element Games


D&D Tales – Hoard of the Dragon Queen


Adam continues his descent into roleplaying games in a new D&D campaign

Last year, along with some friends up in London, I tried Dungeons & Dragons for the first time. Clearly I was looking for the final feather in my nerd cap, the last nerd scout badge I needed, or some third terrible made up idiom. We checked out The Lost Mines of Phandelver Starter Set adventure from the new 5th edition D&D, using pre-rolled character sheets that we clumsily made up backgrounds for. We made it through almost unscathed, with only one character dying in the final confrontation due entirely to one of our number being evil and untrustworthy.

So after our first attempt at a Dungeons & Dragons (you didn’t read my tales of that adventure? Start here!), all of us were locked in for a more regular game. We were locked in for Hoard of the Dragon Queen. We all took some time with our Player’s Handbooks to carefully decide on our new characters, met up over drinks in busy central London pubs and poured over them, discussing our new backgrounds while others at tables around us talked about work or X-Voice or Strictly Come Splash. Then we all started rolling for our characters.

We actually ended up with a pretty eclectic, interesting and well rounded group. Our adventuring company is 8 strong – potentially quite crowded, but the chances of everyone being able to make a session is fairly low, especially as we scheduled them fortnightly. I decided to be boring, and created another human character. Essentially a poorly made Red Sonja clone, my character ‘Red’ (I should be a writer, my imagination is so vivid and original) is a human barbarian, the sole survivor from an Iluksan hunting tribe that was annihilated by orcs led by the war chief Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka (I can steal ideas from more than one source, that one is from Warhammer 40K). 7 days after burying her father, his grave marker twisted into the shape of a hilt, formed of strong wood stained with blood. Pulling it from the grave, she now wields the +1 longsword ‘Yggdrasil’ alongside her trusty greataxe. Swearing a blood vengeance against the orc chief who destroyed her home and her tribe, she heads south from The Lurkwood to hunt them, and to drink and brawl with anyone who looks at her wrong.

Red sonja

Joining up with Red is a fairly multicultural mix of characters. Ravoprax is a dragonborn druid, shouldering guilt from failing to save his clan from a black dragon and the cultists following it. ナウシカ (Nausicaä) is a half-Genasi (genie) bard, with a penchant for serenading. Carnicula Vorator is a wood elf sorcerer who hates music, Artin Holderhek is a dwarf fighter whose player actually knows what gender their character is this time. Eldo Timbers Cracklebang is a forest gnome cleric, who naively pledges his loyalty to Talos, a tempest god he doesn’t realise is evil. Daria Do’Urden is a half drow (dark elf) monk who likes roundhouse kicks. Amber Braunanvil is a mountain dwarf ranger, who will regularly be late for any session so will take on a position of a ringer. Possibly more than half of us have a ‘clan killed, seeking vengeance’ back story. I imagine it is a fairly tried and true formula for D&D.

Those of us that were at the first session when we rolled our stats (I rolled very well, presumably to balance out how badly I’ll roll during the actual game) were thrown in to a mini game where we could all fight in an arena. In a random town I’m not sure we were told the name of, the annual Summer’s Day Fair was on. In the middle in a tent was the ‘Ring of Punchfight’, with a pit that had been set up for All Vs. All combat tended to by top class healers that can bring anyone back from even death – so no holds barred. The prize was 100 gold and a flagon on unending ale, so Red’s interest as a barbarian and lover of alcohol in all its forms was piqued. We all took up position in the arena full of holes, a gorge with a bridge and with strange gates on the outside.

finn root

Ravoprax attacked first, firing a poison spray at Red but missing. I rolled a natural 20, so she responded by cutting him in half with her great axe. Eldo Timbers Cracklebang cast a fog spell over the whole pit, rendering it the worst spectator event ever. Nausicaä severely damaged Red with discordant whisper, and then put her to sleep with a follow up spell, while Artin Holderhek and Carnicula Vorator scrapped in a tower in the middle of the area. Eldo killed them both with a thunderwave attack, and then the strange gates opened and lava poured out. The sound of the gates woke up the groggy Red, just before the lava reached her, and she sprinted towards Nausicaä, flinging a hand axe at them and causing them to tumble in to a pit. Before she could turn or hide, Eldo finished her off with raging light, engulfing her in a bright pillar.

With the fight over, and everyone put back together and brought back by the healers, Eldo was given the option of choosing what never-ending fluid would be in his flagon. For reasons I’m sure will never become clear, he chose dragon’s blood. I don’t know how a substance like the blood of an ancient monster could be constantly replenished in a flask, but then again I don’t think I quite understand the physics of how it would work with ale or wine either. Magic. Got it.

So that was the first session of many into our new campaign, to give us an idea of how our new characters function and interact. Next time, we start the Hoard off the Dragon Queen story. Join us for that soon!


So it’s All Come Down to This… Owlbears and Dragons

Adam has started playing Dungeons and Dragons with some friends in London. Here is his account of their first epic journey.

At the start of our fourth session, we all hit Level 3 and were able to pick what sub-classes we wanted to go with. For fighters we were given the option of two martial archetypes: Champion or Eldritch Knight. Deano went with Eldritch Knight, which allowed him to pick a couple of basic spells. As there are two fighters in our group, and picking the same thing would be boring, I went with the Champion martial archetype, granting me improved critical hits – now a natural roll of 19 or 20 will score a critical hit in combat, and that improves even more in higher levels. King Roberto has been practicing his stabbing, and it has paid off!  As rogues, Bubbles chose the Assassin subclass, and Tiny chose to go with thief (because he is a thieving thief), Paladin Rick went down the Path of Devotion (which sounds like a euphemism), and Lordi and Samuel arrived late so we didn’t bother picking their subclasses until next time.

Back in the pub, after a full night of rest, we set about finding some more information about where to go next. King Roberto “questioned” a man that was very similar but not at all the same guy he threatened to stab back in the first session. Regardless, threats worked again. We got leads on nearby Thundertree where Mt. Hootenanny recent erupted and zombies killed the townsfolk, Old Owl Well, Cragmoor Castle where Glass-Staff apparently fled to (and someone wanted us to take care of him and clear the castle), and Coney Island. The problem with writing down joke names for everything is that you rarely remember the proper names later on. Nor do you care. We also spoke to a Sister Gabriel, who wanted us to head to Coney Island to look for the spellbook of Mr Bojangles. There we would find the Banshee Agatha. Banshees sound like fun, so we headed that way.

On the way we were attacked by an Owlbear (Half owl, half bear, all Owlbear). After we dispatched it, with King Roberto finishing it off by ramming a javelin through it’s throat (fast becoming his go-to move – ranged stabbing), we discovered it had been magically shacked. Animal cruelty, so mutilating it was a kindness. Sort of. Propping it up as some sort of meat puppet to ward off attackers while we slept is probably a bit more difficult to justify.

cousin it

We then wasted ages trying to sort out a problem Lordi had developed during the end of the last dungeon, which I forgot to mention. They drank a potion that granted them invisibility, but simultaneously caused all the hair on their body to grow rapidly resulting in a Cousin Itt look (that no one could actually see). Everyone took it in turns at this point (about a full in-game day after the problem arose, not really a priority) to permanently remove the hair, most of which resulted in damage to Lordi. After a lot of pissing around, a dragon suddenly appeared above us. As a mighty level 3 Champion, Roberto started to ponder the implications of attempting to stab the dragon, but thought better of it. For now. The dragon, named Venomfang, did not attack but did mock the goody-two-shoes-paladin-in-training Rick. He departed, indicating that it wasn’t the last we would see of him.


Arriving at Coney Island, Lordi ignored the rest of the group and tried to confront the Banshee (while Tiny sneaked in to steal something), going about as well as you would expect. Failing to brashly convince Agatha to give up Mr. Bojangles’ book, Lordi was ignored by the Banshee who haughtily told us that the necromancer Seeroff had the book. Giving no more help, the Banshee left. With nothing else to do there, and no more leads, the party headed out of Coney Island and up a worn path.

We came to Old Owl Well, where we saw a large tent and a ruined tower nearby, found to be full of zombies. An aura of dark magic indicated that a necromancer was inside the tent, so Deano attempted to fake Venomfang’s voice to scare him. It failed, as Deano doesn’t actually sound like a dragon, but the necromancer did not attack anyway. We ask about Cragmoor Castle, and he agreed to tell us if we head to the nearby Wyvern Tor (not a name that filled me with anything other than dread) to murder a group of orcs with extreme prejudice, bringing back their ears as proof. Not opposed to wholesale murder for a man who desecrates and summons the dead, we headed off.

A guard outside the cave where the orcs are holed up was quickly and silently dispatched with an arrow to the face by Bubbles, very much taking to that new role of Assassin. Then we set to preparing to fight numerous orcs (and a troll apparently). As we did this Lordi, for reasons totally unknown to everyone, fluttered in some sort of weird love note to the orc leader into the cave, alerting them to our presence. Rick and Deano attempted once again to throw the rope of light between them, to cover the entrance of the cave so we could pick the orcs off. It fails, again, as Ser “Dropper” Deano fumbled the catch, again. The orcs were seconds from the entrance, troll in the lead…

… and we had to call it a night. It was a week night, and everyone had to get back across London to their various homes, very much restricted by the fact that main form of public transport in the capital of this country stops at around midnight. Big ol’ rumble as soon as we start next time!



Check out part 5 here!

The Lost Lighthouse Reviews: Machi Koro


Ever wondered what the Japanese consider ‘priority buildings’ when they begin construction of a new town? Well wait no more! Machi Koro has hit our shores, with help from IDW Games and Pandasaurus Games. Designed by Masao Suganuma and art by Noboru Hotta.

The first thing that struck me when I had Machi Koro in my hands was the fantastic art styling. I’m sure all Nintendo fans would love it, it genuinely makes me happy just to look at the box.

The game rules itself could not be simpler, in fact I’ll place this helpful video right here:

In the simplest form, you roll a dice and if that number matches one of you establishments then you earn money. You then use this money to buy other establishments which in turn can earn you more money. You follow this till you have enough money to construct the 4 key establishments that win you the game. While the rules are simple, winning is far from. Commit to a bad strategy and your friends will be earning the big bucks, leaving you alone, crying in your 4 wheat fields. It’s all about adapting.

This game, for me, is a must have. It’s fast, simple but difficult to master. A great beer and pretzel game. I’m very much looking forward to the upcoming Harbour expansion.

Lastly, to answer the question I started with in this review, I believe priority buildings are ranches and cheese factories! They always make me a mint. Dairylea must be raking it in!

Gary Hennessey

The Lost Lighthouse Reviews: Blueprints

Hello again board gamers or bored gamers, see what I did there, ahaha…

So, I’m back doing a review for The Lost Lighthouse and a one I promise will be more positive than Takenoko.

“What is Blueprints then?” I hear you ask so inquisitively. Blueprints is a little dice game where you put yourself in the roll of an architect crossed with a builder using the games namesake, Blueprints.
The interesting thing right off the bat with this game is that many people hearing “dice game” may be thinking that it’s all about the rolling of them like in Yahtzee and so many other games.

Dice are rolled, but in this each die has another different and quite interesting purpose, to make a building. How many of us have sat there stacking our dice, making little forts in between opponents’ turns in a long game? Well Blueprints takes that silliness and uses it as nifty little mechanic.

Before we delve into the mechanics of Blueprints with any detail and trust me there is very little in the sense of details you need to know, let’s do that typical review examination of what you get for your money.
For around the twenty quid mark, Blueprints is a small game box containing 32 dice all of which are reasonably chunky and of good quality. Not to complain about other games specifically but there are a few games out there that use dice as an important part and the quality is just not there, poorly printed pips, bad material, well don’t worry about any of that, this game has not gone one of those issues and is fantastic. You can see where your cash is going and this is good being the main component.

Four little card screens with good thickness and nice print are inside which having the scoring rules on the inside is a useful reminder for the players. Next are the actual blueprints and points cards, these are slightly smaller than typical playing cards but are clear and again well printed.
The final piece of card is a scoring board, which is that lovely thick stuff with the slight texture to it that nice board games tend to have, again this is well printed and again totally fits within the aesthetic.

After that there is not much else, bar your typical rules manual, which for Blueprints is a quad fold piece of paper with great diagrams and keeps into the aesthetic of the game itself.
Finally, there is a blue felt dice bag that isn’t as soft as I would like but really does not matter. The bag too seems sturdy and of a good quality, great for sausage fingers.
All in all some dice, some screens, some cards and some scoring bits.
Blueprints uses its tiny box very well, not hard to pack away but a full box and each component is very nice so much so, you can feel and see the quality.

photo 1

Green Dice Are Green Material, Transparent Are Glass and Orange Are…Wood. Maybe They Should Of Been Brown

Back from the contents and into the rules.
We all know what comes in this box and the concept of it, but how does it play?
Blueprints is quick and simple, but like the best board games it also has great depth and fits a lot different gaming styles the people you are playing with might have.
First, after each player of which the game plays from two to four, grabs their screen and every dice is poured into the bag.
Between the 32 dice Blueprints gives you they are divided into four groups of eight.
These four groups represent building materials, black dice are stone, clear dice are glass, green dice are recyclable materials and lastly orange, which I assumed they really wanted as brown, is wood.

Each player gets a blueprint that they hide behind the screen, which has a top down and three-dimensional picture to show what they (might) aim to build with six dice they will eventually get.

Two of these are then randomly pulled out and rolled (it doesn‘t matter who does this) and go onto the scoreboard, if a pair of the same colour are rolled, another die is picked until you get something different.
What these represent by being on the board is the most in-demand materials, what this is in the actual game is the tie-breaker and instantly a clever mechanic as now the in-demand dice are harder to come by with only 7 of each left in the bag.

After the in-demand materials are decided a handful (the number is according to the amount of players) of dice is rolled, each of them is then picked, replaced by a new one and the bag is passed on around the table.

At this point is where I should explain the scoring briefly.
Each of the four colours has a different scoring mechanic, green are better in mass to show your commitment to saving the planet a single die scores barely anything where as a building completely built from this is worth fifteen times more (or each single one is 2.5 times more for the pendants like me out there).
Wood seems to represent a frame; it is worth more the more dice that are touching it.
Stone, the black dice, are worth more the higher they are in the building and lastly glass is the simplest of understanding the scoring, the top face of the die is how much it is worth, easy.
When each die is grabbed it stays the face it was showing and is placed anywhere within the blueprints two by three boundary and once all six dice are placed and their totals added up the last little bonus you can get is fulfilling your Blueprint.

photo 2

Blueprint Cards Help Score You Points But Don’t Have To Follow It.

However, as I say, this is a bonus and not something you have to do.

This in itself is clever. Do you make the blueprint for that bonus or should just start stacking the black dice that keep turning up.
Again, maybe you could finish the Blueprint but hey, that Orange die fits snugly between things including another orange that your score will skyrocket.

This as a mechanic is great, for the beginner there is no need for trying to think too hard early on about the maths, following the blueprint is simple, grabbing those glass sixes is safe and all is good.

Maybe “the comedian” of the group has decided to stack all six in a tower; if the stone dice keep coming up, they actually might win with it. However, maybe they are “extra funny” and they just made their building shaped like a phallus.

The one issue I know many people will see here with the hidden scoring is the fact that turning a die isn’t hard to do in a small space and therefore cheating could be easy unless someone has kept track of each colour and number picked.
To that, I say the problem here is not the game but the players. If you have people you play with who you think will cheat, why are you playing them? So do not worry.

Anyway, once each player’s score is totalled up the gold, silver and bronze cards get handed out with any ties in points dictated by those “in-demand” ones rolled earlier.
This is not it though as were the Gold to Bronze cards award points that will determine an overall winner after three rounds there are also four other cards that can be awarded to one player each round.
First off, an award that is perfect for that comedian named the “Skyscraper prize” where they need to stack five or more.
Along with these are using five of the same material (colour), four of the same number face and lastly having your dice show from one to six.

This scoring mechanic is where sneakiness comes in, the “griefer”, the backstabber this is their playground.
The quiet genius, this is also perfect for them.

For the latter player, they can quietly pick their die each round, possibly acting that the reason they keep taking sixes is just that they are the colour they need, “well this glass is worth the most”, secretly attempting to score the “Structural Integrity” prize for having four of the same by the end.

The former, the cheeky git sees the player to his left has been taking black dice all game and notices that supplies are running dry so cuts them off stopping them from getting the “materials prize”.

This is where the game keeps you hooked, has you wanting to play again and gives this extremely simplistic piece of fun a huge amount of depth.

As I hinted earlier, your building score gets you these victory and bonus cards and there is not just one round played but three.
This itself does a couple of things, first it cuts the variance down a little as the first round “loser” is the person to go first next so is less likely to be screwed over by bad rolls or those colours they wanted never coming around to them.
Also it means for the newer player maybe their initial building is poorly made, worth very little but after seeing what scored high they can both understand and plan next round better all the while not having to play a ridiculous amount of catch up.

Three rounds takes twenty to thirty minutes to play, you never get confused whether it’s time to finish or if you are on round two as there is only three of each victory card so if any pile has run dry you know what has happened.
Twenty minutes gone and you just want to play again; you shake your fist as your opponent piped you on ties with that one extra in-demand die.
You realise now where you went wrong and you know you can do better.
Maybe, just maybe, you want to see some more blueprints and roll some more dice.

This game for twenty good old British pounds sterling is a bargain a brilliant short, fast, beautiful, simple yet deep game that can fill a gap on a board games evening, be a good opener for some less board game savvy friends or just a really good chance to play something when you are strapped for time.

Thanks again for reading, hope you enjoy Blueprints too.


The Tabletop Project: Ep1. Crossbows?!

Welcome one and all to ‘The Tabletop Project’. This is the first, and possibly last, episode of a new podcast from The Lost Lighthouse. Don’t worry your sweaty breeches, this will not replace or conflict with The (not)Weekly Rapture.

This is a new podcast hosted by Gary and some of his close tabletop gaming friends Chris Tomlin, Jan Proudley, Joe Hadfield and Aaron Bailey. We decided their was a gap in the market for a gaming podcast, as no one has done one of those right? Well I’ve never heard of another one. We will be discussing everything tabletop based and also going on many a tangent along the way.

This episode we introduce ourselves and talk about MCC, Warmachine and Hordes, Netrunner, Dropzone Commander and a few GW things. We have decided that from episode 2 we will have one ‘main’ subject, and few secondary ones.

Hope you enjoy the ‘cast and if you didn’t, please don’t stop listening to the normal transmission!

Download this episode (right click and save)


The Lost Lighthouse Reviews: Arctic Scavengers

What a beautiful week of weather we’ve had. What’s that? It’s snowing. Oh, I’m sure it will pass. Ok it’s been 4 months and it’s still coming down out there. It’s cool I’m sure everyone will keep calm. Ok, well someone just hit me with a shovel to get the last of the tinned peaches in the supermarket. I might need to hire some thugs to protect me. If only I had 6 food or medicine!


So, what the hell am I going on about? Arctic Scavengers of course. A deck builder for 2-5 by Robert Kyle Gabhart and recently re-published by Rio Grande Games. You may be forgiven for waking past this game in your local store. The box is a little bland and bleak, but what it holds will have you accepting thugs and mercenaries with open arms, while leaving helpless refugees freezing to death in the arctic tundra for hours on end. Now I don’t mean this is a long game, the box suggests 45-60 mins,I think the first game will set you back a bit longer but overall I agree with the box. What I mean is you’ll want to play it over and over!


The basic premise of the game is that you’re a tribes leader in 2097 during the next ice age. You all have an identical starting deck of a few scavengers, a brawler, a shovel, a spear and a wad of useless refugees. You have 3 phases. First off is the draw phase, where you discard your current hand and draw back up to 5. Then you have the resource gathering phase. This is where you look at your hand and decide what you’re going to send your crew to do, will you send your scavenger into the junk deck to dig out some useful medkits or pills, but he might end up with just junk. Maybe it’s best to save him for the skirmish, but he doesn’t have a weapon! Ok, well I’m going to send two of them out to hunt so I can hire another brawler. You’ve always got to be looking a few steps ahead. Last off, and my favourite concept in the game, is phase 3, the skirmish! Any cards you have left over from phase 2 you commit to the skirmish. Nearly every card has a fight value, except refugees. Who ever has the highest overall fight value gets the top card from the contested resource deck which holds gems that might win you the game like tribes families and wolf packs! Fucking wolf packs bro! After all the contested resources have been won, the game is over and you add up the amount of tribes people you have in the deck, the one with the most wins.

The basic game is good fun the game doesn’t stop giving there, oh no! The box itself holds HQ expansion which consists of 4 extra modules. I love games that seamlessly bolts on new features as you go. It’s make them easy to teach new players, then add the modules and you’ve made it more tactful for veteran scavengers.

I think this has become my go-to deck builder. Theme and mechanics flow effortlessly into a great game. Go get it or you’ll be left out in the cold! Sorry