A Heretic’s Birthday!

Last Wednesday was my birthday.  So yeah, it’s over for another year.  And I’m older (like, I just turned 36.  Yay. 

But the upside is that I got several new games!!!  I also got a chance to play one “new hotness” game on my birthday!  So let’s talk about the good stuff!!!

What I got…

I made it very clear to Gwen that all I wanted for my birthday and Father’s Day was games.  I printed out my wishlist from BGG and even had specific games ranked in order, even within each category (you know, like “Must have” and “Love to have”).  She did a great job in then buying both for herself and for my mother-in-law, and this is what I got:

Dice Town
Cyclades
Catacombs
Peloponnes
Dominion: Seaside

I also picked up Beowulf: The Legend from Kenny, and a gift certificate to Indie Press Revolution from TomG, which I used to subsidize purchase of the RPG’s With Great Power and Serial Homicide Unit.  I also plan on using some of my other birthday money (mainly from my parents and Gwen’s grandparents) to buy Fresco (the #1 game on my list), since the online retailer that Gwen used didn’t have it in stock.  

Unfortunately, the wooden pieces in my copy of Catacombs are infested with mold, which is a pretty significant problem for them according to the forums at BGG.  But Sands of Time Games already has a replacement program set up for the affected games, and I should get new pieces in 6-8 weeks.  I went ahead and cleaned off the pieces with Clorox wipes and applied the stickers, so hopefully they’ll be okay and not be too nasty or anything before my replacements arrive.  

Horus Heresy

For my birthday, I always make it a habit to take the day off.  So I made some plans to meet with Kenny to get in a game or two of something that we probably wouldn’t play on a Tuesday night. 

Our first challenge was in finding a place to play, since our FLGS doesn’t open up until 4pm nowadays.  We actually decided to try out the local library, and found an isolated corner in the “Local History” wing where no one else was around.  The rest of the library was pretty full, but most of the people were on the internet or in the kids section, so we were pretty isolated.

Kenny, a big Warhammer 40k fan, had bought Horus Heresy back when it came out, and had only found one chance to play it so far.  So we decided to start off with it, and spent the next 30 minutes getting out lots of cardboard and plastic bits.  The game’s board looks really cool, with all these painted plastic inserts that stick up through holes in the cardboard, all Game-of-Life style.  Unfortunately, the plastic areas on the board weren’t very practical for play, because you couldn’t fit everything that you needed into them.  And the fact that they were shaped meant that a lot of the miniatures were sitting at angles or leaning all over each other.

Speaking of the miniatures, they looked really nice as well.  It was a little hard to tell the difference between warbands and cultists, but everything else looked great and was very easily discernable.  The cards were all of good quality and well-designed, and the  other components were at the usually high standard that you can expect from Fantasy Flight.


Kenny was still a little sketchy about the rules himself, but he did a pretty good job of explaining them to me.  I had heard a great and comprehensive review of it on the D6 Generation, so that helped as well.  I decided to play Horus and the forces of Chaos, so I got to start off with some orbital bombardment and loyalty checks.  I didn’t get a lot of results from them, but they’re still a really cool and thematic component of the game.

My first actions were to land more forces at the two spaceports that I already controlled.  When Kenny got back initiative, he made an alpha strike on one of the spaceports, but I had a demon horde unit there, and got lucky enough in the draw to have a card that routed a few of his tank divisions.  I had also wounded one of his Titans in my orbital bombardment, so I was able to take it out pretty soon as well.  In the end, though, only Angron survived to defend the area. 


 Kenny was all, “Aw, shucks!” after Horus slipped through his fingers…

On my initiative, I spent more effort to bring in more forces to shore up Angron’s position and to start a battle for a third spaceport, which I eventually won.  Kenny was nervous about my chances to win a spaceport victory, so he then responded by bringing an overwhelming force including the Emperor of Man and Sanguinius up to the Vengeful Spirit to try and cut the head off my chaos serpent.

What followed then was some searching through the rules as I desperately sought a way for Horus to flee from the ship and join the battle down on the ground.  Our conclusion was that he should be able to land with any Port Landing, which I then played to get him out harm’s way.  Thankfully, Kenny hadn’t been able to press his advantage, but I was then able to make an assault against the final spaceport and take it away for the win!

Horus Heresy was a lot of fun.  I liked pretty much everything about it, even some of the things that I’ve heard criticized about it before.  The initiative track is a really cool way of determining turn order and in balancing out the relative strength of actions.  But the Strategic portion of the board is also really cool, because planning ahead almost always gives an advantage either in cost or effect, which again feels very thematic.  I even liked the card-based combat, which really captured the relative strength of various forces, while still allowing for some really cool special actions and requiring a real component of hand management.

I probably need to download the rules and read them myself, just to help me better internalize gameplay.  But as of now, I’d still be up for playing this or any of the other scenarios should the opportunity arise.   


The forces of Chaos claim all four spaceports, sealing off access to Terra and winning the battle for mankind!

Unfortunately, because of getting a late start and with how long it took to setup, explain, play, and look up rules, we didn’t have the chance to get in anything else.  So the game-playing portion of my birthday was over, but the eat-yerself-silly-at-Maggiano’s portion was just beginning, and it was fun too.

9 Comments


  1. Sorry again about the huge lateness – but I’m glad you enjoyed HH. I’m like you in that I really need to internalize the actual rules a lot more before I can really start messing around with the strategy of the game, but I think it’s a hoot nonetheless. I love the initiative track mechanic, and I like the card-based combat for clearly favoring the larger force while still (occasionally) leaving space for luck and smart play to reward the smaller group.

    Also, by ‘winning the battle for mankind’ you realize you mean ‘dooming Terra and probably big ol’ chunks of the Empire to the cruel domination of the Chaos Powers,’ don’t you?

  2. Chris Norwood

    Yeah, the cool thing about that card-driven combat is that the bigger force will win (as you said), but there are still chances for the smaller force to force some sort of minor victory or concession (as I did when I routed your tank divisions in that first big battle).  Sometimes, you still get smashed to bits, but there’s always a chance of pulling off something cool.

    And yeah, whatever.  You know the fluff; I just know how to kick yer butt!  


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