In a new regular monthly feature our bloggers share the best moments in gaming of the last month. Games are all about the stories we create with the other players so we would love to hear your memorable stories too!
Jim Cohen - Father's Day is All About ME!
This month we have been playing a lot of new games thanks to Father’s Day and my children knowing that there really is nothing else I want or will tolerate as a gift!
This year, amongst others, I was kindly given Isle of Cats. This was a game I had missed during Kickstarter but had subtly hinted its availability on Zatu to my wife leading up to Father’s Day! The theme of the game had not really pulled me in enough during the Kickstarter, but the mechanics intrigued me and the feedback from players who did back it was very strong.
When I opened my present to see this awesome game, I was obviously very excited, but this was not my moment of the month. When my kids eagerly popped out the hundreds of components as I sipped my morning tea in bed, this also was not my moment of the month. Even learning the game by watching the great online videos and reading the rules (which I love) was not my moment of the month. Nor was finding out it had a family mode to play with my children with ease, the excitement of our first game, or the fun we had with the many subsequent plays. No. My gaming moment of the month came from my fifth game with Isle of Cats; a two-player battle with my seven-year-old son.
Coming to the middle of game, on face value, it appeared like I was way ahead. I felt a bad about this as it was his first time with the full adult rule and my third time. He was doing ok, but seemingly making terrible choices laying his cats on his boat and had so much exposed spaces and so many rats still present. This loses you a lot of points. I slowed down my play and tried to help him catch up, but he seemed unconcerned and strangely happy with his situation.
When it came to scoring; which is similar to games like Five Tribes and Queendomino where you run through multiple areas of scoring using a well-designed score pad; I was running away with it. Until it came to a point where we scored our secret missions. One of which my son had, unbeknownst to me, gave two points for every exposed rat. A card I did not know even existed (there are a lot of cards!) He took a massive haul with this and was absolutely delighted to get the win because of it. It was a big reveal moment that absolutely thrilled him. His little face lit up with the joy of knowing he had bested his old man with cunning strategy and planning. I could not have been happier! He is obviously grounded for a week now.
Rob Wright - Game Friends
My gaming moment of the month is not about a plan that comes together or pulling off an awesome bluff. It’s about what I love most about this hobby: reaching out and making contact.
Back when the lock down was a relative novelty and the sun was actually shining, people (myself included) would leave things outside their house for people to take – books that had been read, DVDs watched, even games played. It was a nice gesture and gave the whole thing a sense of community. One day on my prescribed hour-of-exercise, I saw that someone had left some things on their wall – some sci-fi annuals, an RPG book and… the Don’t Get Got promo that had been distributed at AireCon (as it turned out, the last games convention of the year)! Here lived a fellow gamer, only a handful of doors away from me.
I mulled over the thought for a good few weeks – should I approach this person and risk looking a bit… weird, or should I just carry on and try to ignore the fact that a player of games lived right there on my doorstep?
Well, dear reader, suffice to say that this month I plucked up the courage to write a self-effacing note extending the hand of kinship through games and setting up some play once the whole thing was over and posted it through the person’s door – what did I have to lose? True, I may have experienced a certain amount of premature social anxiety, but what was done was done. Then, barely a couple of hours later, a card was popped through my door with the gentleman in question’s details – a connection had been made!
We are yet to meet face to face; we’ve exchanged texts about games we’ve got and would like to play, how our solo efforts have been going and even a few games of Can’t Stop on Board Game Arena. I hope to meet soon, though, because it’s not about the winning – it’s about the playing and the being with others.
Plus, I suck at winning.
Gavin Hudson - 'Letting' a 6 Year Old Win
One of the things that was put on hold due to coronavirus was my monthly family game night with my sister, her husband and the kids. Thanks to the ‘bubble’ rule, it is back! I usually take up a selection of games, including one child friendly game that my nephew can play with us. Or we get the Junk Art out and just build so my niece can get involved too. Then after the kids have gone to bed we play something a bit more meaty; this month I failed miserably at Grimm Masquerade, but finally got my revenge on my sister for the drubbing she gave me at Blood Rage last time.
In the morning I was playing Seikatsu solo with my coffee. My nephew was hovering looking interested. Now the box says 10+ and he’s only six, but it’s essentially a matching game so I offered him a go. It took him a few turns to understand and to think about getting points without giving me points. I didn’t tell him where to put tiles, but I asked him to look again if I could see a more advantageous spot – he was a bit slap happy with the koi ponds.
Being six, he’s at the age where losing can be crushing and put him off playing something. So, when it got to scoring, I was preparing to dampen the blow. I scored mine first and when I reached a high score I saw his bottom lip go. I just hoped it would be close when we scored his. Thankfully, it was. He won by six. I let him win of course. Yeah, I let him win. Regardless, the joy of seeing his misery turn to excitement as his little wooden flower neared and passed mine was better than winning any game.
Ryan Hemming - Squishy Orcs
Lockdown has led me to become enveloped by my miniature painting hobby. Specifically, Warhammer 40K has kept me busy for hours, but playing the game itself has been difficult during "these unprecedented times".
As a result, TableTop Simulator has been the medium in which I've vented all my pent up gaming energy. Warhammer Kill Team, the small scale skirmish game, plays rather well on the platform. Sadly, I do not. I have habitually lost all of my head-to-head battles on there, but gosh darn it if I'm not determined.
This month saw my first digital victory. My army comprised mostly of Flayed Ones, one of the skeletal automatons of the Necron army. These bad boys are infected with the Flayer Virus, which fills a person with an insatiable, cannibalistic hunger. As Necrons can't ingest food, these units have been driven to madness and drape themselves in the flesh they can't consume.
The battle was a massacre. I didn't lose a single unit. I rushed into close range against his squad of squishy Orcs and eviscerated the lot of them. The resilience of my units against the scrap-like orc weapons was a brutal combination.
Normally I prefer close victories - the type that get your pulse up. That would normally be my choice for this type of post, but it was just so relieved that I won a game. It confirmed that I didn't have some sort of innate flaw that prevented me from achieving the victory that I oh-so-desperately wanted. I wasn't broken. Awesome.
Will Moffat - Adequate Cover
I am very excited to be one of the people to be contributing to Zatu’s first ever Gaming Moment of the Month feature! With only 21 plays logged, June was my most fallow month since March 2019 – but the old phrase, “it’s quality, not quantity” springs to mind when I look back over June.
With a slight relaxation of the pandemic lockdown rules I invited a friend over on numerous occasions for some socially distanced games of Star Wars X-Wing in my garden studio. Indeed X-wing ended up as my most-played game of the month, with five battles on three separate evenings. Overall I ended up with three defeats and two victories, and it is in one of those victories that I surprised my opponent and did something he was not expecting in order to gain a surprise win.
I am known amongst my X-Wing buddies as someone who charges straight into battle, usually flying my ships straight at the opposition in what is known by frequent flyers as “jousting”. They see me as a straightforward (possibly simple) player who will take any opportunity to get a shot in, even if retreating and coming back later when better positioned might be the better option.
My Imperial squadron of a TIE Fighter, TIE Interceptor, TIE Advanced and TIE Defender, which I affectionately call the “Carré Magique” (French for Magic Square) began the month with a defeat to my friend’s Rebel flyers. But later in the month I was flying Carré Magique again and while entering the final round of the game I surmised I might have a small lead. So instead of swinging my TIEs around to attack the X-Wing and Y-Wing who were pursuing them, I flew my TIE Fighter into the distance to get out of range and tucked my TIE Advanced behind a debris cloud – he took a shot at the TIE Advanced but the debris provided adequate cover and I won the battle 79-65!
After the game he said he had never considered that I would effectively run away! But going against my instincts and doing something totally out of character ensured a very sweet victory and was definitely my gaming moment of the month!