Saturday, 10 March 2018

634 - 'Gangs of Rome' and 'Blood Red Skies'

This week, I got to try two interesting new games, both of which I was most excited to experience!
This won't be a review so much as my personal reflections. Put simply - both were very clever...

Gangs of Rome
NB: these are extant Roman figures -
NOT the (as-yet unassembled) official
GoR minis, but they ARE on the proper
GoR jigsaw bases.
I've looked into this quite a lot, and I'm pleased to say that it played much as I had anticipated it would: it's a cracking little game and really characterful with a brilliant range of possibilities and some very clever ideas. We played it without added layers of complexity (like blessings, fighter origins or the gods of the underworld) and it was still enjoyably challenging.
My hapless band advance...
The storytelling element, the use of the [Roman numeric] dice, the interplay with the Mobs and the way in which equipment can be changed around. Also, the random elements: those who know me know that I love randomness in games. The '3D' element is very cool too, although we didn't get to use it.
My gracious opponent was
disgustingly lucky throughout.
Less keen on:
The fiddliness of the jigsaw bases: they really are very fiddly, and I honestly think that the health score could be tracked more efficiently on the card - keep the bases for tracking who's who. Also, the confusion of which value is used for which thing (I kept thinking my fighter with a health score of 7 also had an attack score of 7 -this proved costly!)...but that's something I'd get used to in time.
A great internal balance to the mechanic, and I'll be amazed if I don't invest in a gang. Amazed.
"Infamy! Infamy!"
- all is lost as Lurcio's house
is burnt to the ground.

Blood Red Skies

This game hasn't shipped yet, so I was very lucky to be able to play one of the advance copies. The box and books are presented in a lovingly '40s aesthetic and the tokens etc. are attractive and robust.
Not so photogenic, I'm afraid.
The brilliantly simple 'advantaged/neutral/disadvantaged' mechanism and the flight stands designed to show this really, really clearly. Very clever. Also, the quick-reference guide to the sequence of play is excellent. The miniature planes were certainly fit for purpose (if not super exciting), and it's a good tactical game - like X-Wing, you really really need to think ahead [something I'm not great at!].
The game is also really swift, as you don't fight to the death!
"Tally ho!" Mixin' it up
Less keen on:
The name. Seriously? - Blood Red Skies? C'mon.  
Also, the stands - whilst both cool and robust - lack heft: they're moved and nudged waaaay too easily, especially if you're used to the relative solidity of X-Wing. A pity. The rules are maybe not as crystal clear as they could be, either - visually very stylish, but not super intuitive at times. That said, I didn't get much beyond an in-game glance at them.
Oh, and I think the cost for buy-in is pretty steep.
Squiffy's gone for a Burton!
He's in the drink!
I can't see myself ever buying this, but it's really good fun to play.

Well then. I played two new games and lost both of them, but what a blast! Also, how pleasing to plough through two games...of an evening!

Until next time,

- D.


  1. Glad you had fun, two games in one evening? Unheard of in this age! But the big attention getter for me with this post are the dice with Roman Numerals; those are so cool!

    1. Hi, Neverness! :)

      Ha! Thanks.

      Yes - I was amazed when Guy suggested it, but yup - done and dusted.

      The dice are brilliant. I was wondering how the designers would manage to peddle this detail, BUT they very cleverly use them for two core mechanics: (1) any roll with a 'v' is usually a success (i.e. IV, V, VI... AKA 4+),
      and (2) they're used to randomly activate the 'mob' stands. They stay still unless they roll one of the 'v's, in which case they move that amount of inches in the direction in which the V is pointing!

  2. Nice looking games, impressive mats....

    1. Merci!

      Yeah, Guy's mats often make a real difference.

  3. GoR is yet another era that i refuse to start collecting. Just too many. Bloody projects so far! :D

    Shame about BRS tho. Also, 1/200 is smaller than FoW aeroplanes! Not really good value if you ask me.

    O well.

    Thanks for sharing mate!

    1. BRS is good. It's tactical, original and swift.

      But its buy-in is high, and the expansion packs REALLY steep. Unpainted, too. Too hard to justify.



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