11 December 2017

Civilization: A new dawn boardgame review

Civilization: A new dawn is the latest "Civilization" themed boardgame released to date. The game is only a couple of days old, we stumbled upon this by watching a review online and then seeing it the same day in the local store. I really liked what I saw in the video review as it looked like a more fast paced and streamlined version of the other civilization game by Fantasy Flight Games (Civilization: The board game) which though a good game can be a bit much to teach and play with new gamers. 

This version of Civilization is a fast paced streamlined version of the basic ideas that make a Civilization game: expand territory through spreading of your own culture, building wonders and several different ways to win the game through culture, military and exploration (not so much economy in this game).
First of all, compared to most of Fantasy Flight Games recent releases the game is in the cheaper end of the mid-range spectrum. In Sweden it goes for roughly 450 SEK / 50 USD. When you open the box there are not that many components to sort and setup on the table - which again lends for a game you can break open late in the evening or as part of a boardgame marathon. 

The components are really good looking, the game comes with 8 leaders, and components for up to 4 players. The map tiles are hex based but come in assembled segments of which you piece together several to form the map depending on the number of players taking part in the game. The idea of map segments containing multiple spaces too makes for a super fast setup. Cards and plastic pieces are great looking with vibrant pastel colors. The printed terrain on the tiles is good looking, and the map tiles come with starting positions for natural resources and also spawn points for barbarian camp.
The only thing that could have been better in the component department are the two dice you get with the game, which I find ugly and sort of out of
place - easily replaced with something from your own collection though.

Now what made me pick this game up was the design ideas that merge a lot of different elements into fast paced, easy to learn and easy to remember rules. Some of these ideas are improvements of other ideas already out there in different games, but I think
Civilization: A new dawn manages to pull off some excellent design in terms of rules.

First of all, a turn is composed of each player playing - 1 - action. The actions can be described as: moving trade caravans, fighting and reinforcing your defenses, improving science and picking new research, building cities or wonders and spreading your own culture on the map. But instead of players just having a list of these 5 actions to pick from, the actions are instead represented by cards (one for each type of action). The cards are placed in front of the player below a cardboard bar showing two things, terrain features and a printed number.

There is an elegant mechanic at work here, in that when you play an action you simply pick a card, do what it says and move it to the end of the row (space with number 1 printed on it). This moves other cards towards the number 5 slot. The slots determine how powerful a card is, which makes much of the gameplay revolve around timing when to play which action for maximum benefit or to minimize risks. Combining the power from the printed number,  you also have the printed terrain type (grasslands [1], hills [2], forest [3], desert [4] and mountain [5]. This also tells you the difficulty level of traversing terrain types, expanding culture and fighting in said terrain.

For instance, if you want to activate your trade caravan card happening to be located on space 3 on your track it means that your caravans are able to move across the map - but only through spaces of equal or lower difficulty rating as your current card slot. This works for combat in a similar fashion, where tokens and cities get a defense value based on the terrain value.

08 December 2017

The blog is saved!!!

With help from one of my readers, a friend at work and a mindblowing online tool I managed to save my blog away from being killed by the new Photobucket terms.

I registered a new host with one.com, also registering the domain "anatolisgameroom.com" for future use. Copied my entire Photobucket catalogue of 22.000+ pictures, uploaded it all in identical folders at one.com and used "Blogger Find & Replace" tool to swap the image links in over 1400 blog posts in just under 20 minutes!

It is a huge sigh of relief. I was ready to abandon this altogether, even felt that purchasing my new camera was made pointless.

I checked and it all looks like it is working, I don't think i lost anything major in terms of content. During testing of the swap procedure there were problems where picture links were swapped but thumbnails remained locked to photobucket. This was solved by running the tool again to cover both http and https links.

The blog seems to load things slightly slower, but on the other hand - pictures are shown without resize (unless I uploaded them resized). This is because my photobucket was resizing pictures while the one.com host does show them in full size. Now you can enjoy a very large amount of posts with better pictures!

I still can't believe I made it, I will take a day to process this and then start uploading new content using my new host.

Thanks for the support!

03 December 2017

Transfer of content in progress - fingers crossed it will work

After some great help from my readers, especially Geir Aalberg, I am in the progress of transferring all pictures from Photobucket to Google Photos (purchased the 100gb storage) and will use a tool to replace all photobucket links with new links automatically.

Will see if this can be done today, otherwise I will keep working with this during the week. It's a huge undertaking as I have over 22.000 pictures on photobucket that are blog related...

But with the tools, bulk downloading and link replacement it will at least be done within reasonable time and not require single photo donwload/upload/link/re-editing of every single picture I have.

Also, my new camera arrived this friday, it's a small and cheap thing but the picture quality was better than imagined and it has a stabilizer function. So as soon as the whole project of transfering content from photobucket to blogger is done I will start uploading stuff again!


27 November 2017

The blog is not dead - yet?

Hi all,

I have not posted content for the past couple of months, it's not that I do not play miniature wargames or have a ton of new boardgames to review. The main reason for the radio silence is problems with my new cell phone camera on my Samsung 5. Someone at Samsung thought it would be a good idea to remove the image stabilizer for the camera... which means the pictures come out blurry or unfocused 70% of the time.

A few days ago I ordered a new compact camera for the sake of my blog. So that should solve the lack of content.

HOWEVER!? Then I get an email from Photobucket that tells me that my subscription to the 20gb account that I've had since the creation of this blog is no longer going to be renewed and they urge me to subscribe to a bigger and more expensive subscription model.
That would not be really bad news until I read what you get for your money. Unless you buy the most expensive subscription for 400 USD !!! You will not be able to hotlink pictures to sites, blogs, forums etc. This will basically kill my blog as we know it.

Unless you fork over 400USD you will not be able to hotlink pictures, and if I do not renew my photobucket account by February 2018 it will revert to the "free" account with a bandwidth limit of 2gb which I know from experience means that the pictures will stop working after a week (give or take a few days).

This is quite depressing, there is no way I'm going to be taken hostage by Photobucket and pay 400USD to be allowed to post pictures on my own blog. I've looked into alternatives, and I may subscribe to Google+ photo account which seems like a reasonably priced alternative and hopefully less greedy.

However, I have honestly no clue what will happen to my old content after February.... years of blog posts, reviews, pictures etc will most likely cease to function properly :-(

So just a heads up. I'm working on a solution for the future, but things may go missing during the transition...

02 September 2017

Ghoul pack painted up and pictures of undead horde

Last undead models to be painted up (at least for now) are 20 plastic ghouls from Mantic Games. I trimmed away all the spikes from legs, torsos and arms and think this provide a better look.

These too were speed painted, using Black, Bone white and White primer followed by dark brown, red and purple washes for the skin tone. I really just wanted to paint the mass of undead as fast as possible. The paintjob quality is far from my usual work, but I think they look good enought on the table in larger groups.

Anyway, now I have a nice big horde of undead in my collection to be used for several different games!

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