• James Hewlett

Pretty Good Friday


Today was the start of a nice long four day weekend thanks to the double bank holiday.

I had absolutely nothing planned and was happy to keep it that way.

I didn’t want to waste the beautiful weather though so I tidied up the garden a bit more, cutting the grass again and trimming back the bushes either side of my back doors. They open fully again without being pushed in by the foliage, it’s great.

Because I was so happy with how the garden was looking I asked friends if anyone wanted to come hang out but I think everyone with a garden was having the same idea and it was turning into a kind of, “No, my garden is lovely you should come here,” Mexican stand off. The others were either at work or a pub garden and I can’t afford to do the latter unfortunately.

I was quite content just chilling out at home though.

After being outside for a bit I came back in and laid out on the couch, still in the sun but a little cooler then being directly in it. I read through the rule book for a game I had forgotten I had preordered.

I bought it way back before Sara and I split (and I had some money!) and it was intended to be a birthday present for her.

Silver lining is that now I have it and don’t need to wait until June to play it.

Journeys in Middle-Earth is a Lord of the Rings game from Fantasy Flight Games. They have the licence to most big franchises and generally make great games. All the Star Wars tabletop stuff you see me talk about is them, as are all the Lovecraft, ‘Arkham’ games, Game of Thrones and a ton of others.

Their Lord of the Rings licence is based on Tolkien’s books more than the movies so the imagery isn’t always what you would expect as I think for most people when they think of Legolas now they see the long blonde hair of Orlando Bloom instead of the dark hair shown on this games character card.

It also allows them to take advantage of ancillary materials from the appendices, unfinished tales and other books.

The game itself plays similarly to a couple of other FFG games; Star Wars Imperial Assault, Descent and the only one of the three in my collection, Mansions of Madness. It is a co-operative, story driven adventure game and feels like it has taken what the designers learnt making those previous games and fine tuned every detail. They’ve joined the growing number of developers to ditch any dice rolling and while the skill card deck in this is still more random than in something like Gloomhaven, it still feels more customisable than simply rolling and hoping to score a hit.

Speaking of customisation, that plays into this game as you progress forward. Instead of choosing one off scenarios like in Mansions of Madness, you start a campaign and each game is an adventure that processes you through, win or lose. This is all neatly tracked by the companion app that is required to play and feels like has been developed full alongside the board game proper as opposed to added later or as part of a second edition.

The app doesn’t just act as a games master, controlling enemy movement and revealing where the next map tiles need to be placed, it also tracks your progression and experience allowing you to ‘level up your characters and improve your items and skill decks used for a number of actions throughout the game.

I’ve played two games of it so far and am really enjoying it. If I have more to say later I’ll probably dedicate a whole post to it.

Besides that it’s been a very chilled out kind of day. I’d normally be fast asleep by now (it’s twenty to one in the morning that I’m writing this, so I guess this post is going up late!) but just having a day to do whatever I want at my own pace has been so relaxing that I’m not even flagging yet.

I should probably go to sleep soon though, I don’t want to sleep though tomorrow.

#bankholiday #dayoff #rest #relaxation #boardgames #garden #housework #house #sun #sunshine #spring #easter

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