Saturday, 30 April 2016

Kickstarter #3

Lets keep this going

So, week number 3.  I'm amazed people still read these posts, but I'm going to keep going.  As soon as I get 1000 views on the site I will try and come up with something interesting to do.  Anyway, some things on Kickstarter that I think are worth looking at.

Legends of the Mist - Kids love Tiger Games

Darn it I hate when there isn't a good picture I can use.

Anyway, Legends of the Mist looks like a combination of a lot of games all thrown together into something which just looks ever so pretty.  I do like pretty looking games.

I spotted this though because it seems to borrow a core mechanic from another game, one which I own and love a hell of a lot.  That game is called Roll for the Galaxy, and basically it involves a lot of custom dice, rolled and organised behind a board and then revealed to allow you to perform certain actions.  What sets Legends of the Mist aside is that it appears that you then interact with each other very heavily based on your results.  That is possibly the only thing that Roll of the Galaxy doesn't do.  RotG is very self centred in its play style, you can't really do a lot to stop your opponent doing what they want to do.  So to see a roll and reveal (can I trademark that as a Genre name?) type game like this, which is much more interactive.. sounds cool.

There are also tile placement and worker placement aspects, which RotG does have, but again this time it is a single central area rather than in isolation.  Plus you can attack tiles, buy extra dice, win extra dice.  There seems to be a lot to it.

The last thing is the theme, because I really do love things which have a bit of Asian theme about them.  Legend of the 5 Rings and Tsuro spring to mind, and the theme of those games and this one are quite rich.  I'm not sure how well the theme will work, pretty sure a game like this could be set with any background and it would work, but I do like the artwork.

Check it out here.

Rifts for Savage Worlds - Shane Hensley

Rifts was a game that perhaps a lot of people have heard of but never really played.  It falls into the category of post "event" earth, started by a nuclear war which just happens to fall under the perfect conditions for the energy released to be trapped by earth's ley lines.  This in turn causes more natural disasters, more death, more energy... rinse and repeat.  Ultimately the amount of energy is enough to cause rifts to open in the Multiverse and all manner of stuff can get to earth from pretty much every type of reality imaginable.  Oh and Atlantis rises again.. just cus.

Basically everything isn't all roses at all on Earth, as more or less everything you can imagine can get here.  Now, we are slightly lucky, because before the war there was a golden age of humanity.  Everyone worked together, science and technology are in over drive and things are pretty amazing.  Sadly everything goes wrong (Canada, America and Mexico get together in a big war ready alliance and start the aforementioned problems), as these things tend to do.  So now, with all our shiny tech we have to deal with all these problems.  Of course with all the Ley Line energy kicking around suddenly magic is back in the picture too.

There are a lot of games like this, Cyberpunk and Shadowrun spring to mind, though the premise of those is different (and Cyberpunk is less with the magic, k thanks).  Thing is Rifts went for High Tech rather than Punk tech.  All the power suits look like something out of a Mecha Anime.  Weapons are, quite frankly, ridiculous (Mega Damage!).  Light sabers are pretty much there is spirit and the game has this Golden Age of technology feel, with the darkness coming simply from the weird creatures and the evils of mankind.  It certainly has its place.

I played Rifts once, someone did a really odd demo type game when I was at school and we were basically all players in a really odd sports game where we could beat each other up or score goals.. nice to know that idea hasn't ever died out.  It was a lot of fun, not sure how it will fit with Savage Worlds, but it will be interesting to see.

Have a look here.

Town of Salem the Card Game - BlackMedia Games

I can say for a start, this looks like it heavily based off of Werewolf - quite an old game where people got hidden roles and then had to either eliminate the other players or work out who the bad guy was.  Town of Salem seems to up the ante a little by making it so each of the good and bad roles can do different things to each other.

I certainly don't think that is a bad thing.

In general, I probably wouldn't go for a game like this.  I've not really played and enjoyed Werewolf before, because there is a lot of player elimination in the game, but I have a feeling Salem has its advantages over that.  For a start the bad guys can end up killing off each other.. which is just funny.  Plus there seems to be a bit more of a lean towards each side winning rather than one person winning.  Werewolf, for all its popularity, generally involved the good guys winning or that one solitary Werewolf getting to the end and winning alone.

It looks quite good, the cards are a little cartoony, but I've never really had an issue with that.  Certainly can see this being fun, in the same way as lots of people tell me Werewolf is with the right group.  Anyway have a look here.

Thats all folks

So thats it for this weekend.  I wasn't actually planning to do one this weekend, but needs must and all that.  As with previous posts, I don't do this with any pre-arranged plugs or samples of the product.  This is all perpetrated from looking at the Kickstarter pages and watching any videos on the site.  If anyone would like me to do a review of a product they are Kickstarting I would not say no... just so you know.

Friday, 29 April 2016

On social anxiety and gaming

The smallest straw

I should be in a field right now, in fact I was only a few hours ago getting ready for the first CP event of the year.

Now I'm at home.

The smallest straw can break someone with social anxiety and as a gamer it can have some seriously negative effects.  The straw this time was that the tent I had bought with me didn't have any poles.  It meant to stay I would need to share with someone or sleep in my car.  I had offers of somewhere to stay, but I just couldn't.  I needed my space, somewhere to relax and spread out, somewhere if I needed a break no one would come and interrupt me.  In the end, regardless of the obvious solutions I'm now at home, missing the first CP event of the year.

I don't know if everyone knows of the Spoon theory on anxiety and depression, but I'm linking it here.

Read it?  Go, please, it'll make sense I promise.

You see today I didn't have many spoons.  I'd not slept well, I'd stayed up late for no good reason, I knew this weekend was going to involve me being involved in a lot of plot, and that I had a lot of rituals to perform.  Basically a lot of spotlight moments I didn't necessarily feel ready for.  It was also the first big event I was going to alone in 5 years (guess why, if you don't already know).  It was also the first time I was going to be in the same place as the person I used to go to events with (got it now?).  Each of those things is another spoon gone.  So that tent took the last spoon I had and I realised I couldn't stay.

Thing is, I met my ex-wife (there we go), albeit briefly.  It was fine, perhaps if I'd done that to start with I would have got some spoons back, but that happened after I already decided to go.  Once you have lost that motivation, once anxiety has taken over, very little gets around it.

The thing is, its now doing the other side of things.  I'm at home and all I'm telling myself is that I've failed, I've let people down.  I now want to be back down there, working things out, sorting somewhere to stay, but I don't think I can face it.  I don't think people will understand.

Why is this important to gaming?  Because I think it can be a solution to an extent.  Gaming breaks people out of the normal, the standard of day to day life.  In the right doses, if it is something you want to do, than you can break out of needing those spoons.  It'll give you the social confidence, and it can make you realise that there are people out there you can get along with.

Its amazing how good I can feel at events, at tournaments, or just seeing people.

Its also true that it can be soul destroying, because sometimes anxiety will win.  Especially when you are in a field with hundreds of people, and all you want is a sanctum to get away from it all.  That is me, today, wishing I was in a field, full of nerds, and realising just a little bit of fore sight and I would be there now.  So to break my social anxiety I'm writing it down instead, not to justify my running away, but to remove it all from my head.

Of course what I now need to do is work out something to get me out of the house this weekend so I don't just Hermit.. Hermitting is a terrible idea right now, even if its the easiest thing to do.

So, all those people that are gamers, I'm afraid to say that a lot of the people you know (because I think social anxiety is very high in our niche group) are probably suffers of social anxiety.  Remember that the guy across from you probably has burnt a lot of spoons just to get out to the event or tournament you are at.  Hopefully, if nothing else, it will help you realise what you are doing for them is being around and helping them realise they can cope in a social situation, and the nicer you can be the less spoons they will have to burn to get through the day.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Reviews and Recommendations

War Gamer Gadgets

Actually time for a review I think, specifically in this case four different reviews.  I've recently been buying up accessories for Guild Ball, outside of the normal Steam Forged supplied tokens and the like.  There is a huge market for extra measuring templates, tokens and the like, so after getting my officially mercandise (in the form of the influence and status markers), I decided to have a look around for a few things I felt would be really handy.  So without further a due.

AoE Templates - Counter attack bases

One of the main things that I couldn't get from Steamforged (they were part of the Kickstarter counter set, but aren't in retail) were AoE markers.  Now I play Alchemists, so I have a bit of a need for AoE markers.  I'm planning on playing Smoke as my main captain, so I go from needing some, to needing rather a lot.

There are a lot of places that do AoE markers, some look really good, but only Counter attack bases seemed to mark off all the points I wanted.  Firstly that they didn't have additional "effect" bits, and by this I mean extra bits of plastic flames or the like in the middle.  Thats just a personal preference.  Secondly that the outer edge was small, as they need to fit over models, so if they are thick edged you get less space into which models can fit.  Finally they needed to have good colour options so I can see what I'm barfing onto the table at any given time.

These are lovely strong transparent plastic, that isn't going to take up too much space on the field, and not only are they multicoloured they also have the effect written on them in case I'm being ultra dense.  Which happens a lot.  Counter attack bases also sent these out really quickly, and to add an extra star to their name, I realised I needed 2 more than I had ordered, so I did an extra order and paid the extra packing.  I promptly got a refund and everything got sent out together.  Really nice of them, even though I was willing to suffer for my stupidity.  I now have 2 Burning, 4 Poison and 4 Cover AoE rings, because Smoke is quite prone to outputting these things.

Status Tokens - Broken Egg Games

I saw these on a Battlehammer Video.  I had to have them.  These are just beautiful little tokens they really are.

There are plenty of reasons and plenty of games that require status tokens.  In fact the Guild Ball set by Broken Egg Games are easily useful for Malifaux, and a slightly expanded range is available for Warmahordes as well.  Within the, frankly cheap on the wallet, set you get 5 of each of the main 4 status markers for Guild ball (poison, burning, bleeding and knockdown).  They are so well made, using clear plastic with double side printed backgrounds.  You get get versions that lie down, or if you like some with small bases that stand up.  I went with the standing versions because, well they look good.

I managed to snap one of the bases in two, but as luck would have it there were 2 spare in the packets I had received, so there really wasn't an issue.  All I will say is if the peg won't fit in the hole don't try and force it in... *cough*,  A careful bit of sanding down and they will fit together fine.  The blood tokens needed a little bit of superglue just to make sure they won't fall apart when you pick them up, and I needed to do the same for the odd one or two of the others, but mostly they don't need anything on them to hold them together.

Sadly I've not found the perfect UK supplier for these.  However, ordering from Broken Egg directly was a piece of cake, the shipping cost in minimal and they arrived within a week.  Can't ask for more really.

Movement/Range templates - Art of War Studios

Tape measures are bad, ok.

I will admit I don't fully understand the above statement, but I do realise that in a lot of circles the age of using a tape measure is gone.  I can understand the reasoning too; its harder to get the tape measure into place to actually measure accurately, there is always a bigger fault factor, and more importantly bending a tape measure makes it longer, so curved moves firstly increase the amount you move at that time, and slowly every measurement is wrong.

There are a lot of movement widgets out there, but they tend to cap out at around 5" or 6".  So I wanted a few things to sort out 8" ranges without having to chain together widgets, and also some smaller ranges so I didn't have to fit a whole widget onto the board to see if I'm in range.  Art of War Studios thankfully have a decent option here, and they look good, are made of hard plastic and come in Guild Ball team colours.

They are also quite thin, meaning they take up less space.  I can probably use them like normal widgets and do standing up on end manoeuvres to get models about the board.  I considered the metal multipart measures, but couldn't find a good range that were available in the UK, and generally I prefer trying to buy in the UK as you never know about shipping.  These fitted the bill for me, and was more than happy to get them.. along with

Guild Ball tournament tray - Art of War Studios

I've not bothered with display/tournament trays before.  Now this is partly because I've not gone to a lot of tournaments before.  Its is also because with Malifaux I would take my entire bulk collection of Neverborn with me and one tray is not enough.  If I were a better player perhaps it would be, as I would have a core set of models and one, may be two masters I would use all the time, but I was happy to use my foam carry case and packed everything in.

With Guild Ball at the very most I need space for 8 players and a ball.  Obviously a carry case is better for getting to the event, but once there the tray will be perfect.

I wanted something that would fit everything, and with the Art of War Studios tournament tray I "almost" manage it.  The difference here, to every other design I have seen is the layout, and the functionality.

Layout wise, this is the first try I saw that had the extra token tray to the right hand side (as photographed).  This space is divided up so that you can carry and separate off each of the tokens you may have spent a bit of money on that week... to the left of the main space is the standard card and tape (etc) space that appears on most boards and then in the middle is a blank area, with nothing in it to hold models.

Instead you get a separate board and 4 tabs.  Once in place you get a pretty standard model tray, but the tabs can be removed (so long as you don't glue them down, and apply a reasonable amount of pressure from below) and the tray can then be outfitted with a different centre board.  This means the tray can be fitted with a Malifaux tray, X-Wing Tray, or Infinity Tray.  I have none of the extra trays, but I can pick them up at a later date if I feel I need them.

Putting it together was simple, even for me, and while I did use a bit of glue to just make sure a sharp knock won't make it fall apart, I don't think it is actually needed.  As with Counter attack bases and Broken Egg Games, delivery of the items took all of a week, so I was really impressed.  In fact from order to dispatch it took only a couple of days (and that was over a weekend too), so its mostly royal mail I have to say took their time over sorting things out.

Looking Forward

There are, as with any game I want to tournament with, a few more things to pick up (most likely).  If nothing else I need to get a soft foam transportation box, as I find metal chips easily within my battlefoam bag.  However, very happy so far, and (ignoring the fact the below shows Malifaux models, my Guild ball are still on the painting desk) I think I have most of what I need to start doing some Tournaments.  Each of these items though can easily be used in many other games, so I look forward to getting some actual game time in soon.

A bit of Nostalgia #2


Monday, and it seems to me a good time to look back at an old game once again.  This time I'm going to look at Battletech.

Oh boy, where to start with a game like this.  It is fair to say that Battletech is a beast of a game, one of those grand old monoliths where seeing the beginning is like an archaeological dig, and seeing the end involves some sort of time machine,  If you are as old as I am, then you already know that Battletech really is an ancient artifact, something which is now whispered in dark alcoves as, possibly, being the start of many peoples love of wargaming, may be even the beginning of skirmish gaming.  It was innovative and at the same time tactically complex.  It has, unfortunately in my opinion, been bashed around and in some cases altered beyond reproach by companies that bought up the IP when Fasa fell down, but it does deserve a lot of credit for what it once was (and you can play the Battletech:Classic system now which does maintain the old version of the game).

Battletech, at its heart, was a combat game pitting giant walking tanks against each other.  It's scope was expanded over time to include power armoured soldiers, tanks, aircraft and orbital dropships, but the Battlemechs were always the bread and butter of the game.  Using Hexagonal maps to allow players to work out movement and firing arcs, there was also no need for masses of scenary, and games could easily be played on a small table space.  More map sheets allowed for bigger games, but in general most of the time players would have 3-4 mechs (and may be a few other things on the map).

One of the best things about the game was that it introduced the idea of having separate record sheets for each of the Mechs you were using.  This included locational hit boxes, a variety of different states, and the weapon load out of each Mech.  Before the days of Apps, Battletech had a wide range of open source PC software that allowed you to print out the record sheets and then away you could go.  Bring in the Clan's (see below) and you could even customise the Mech's with different loadouts.  This was heavily written into the background why these guys had better Mech's, and the customisation was a big factor for them.  Now it is all explained lower down, but having never been a competitive game (Battletech was solely a social/scenario type game), this meant the person playing against the Clans was never really sure what they were fighting against.

As mentioned above, damage was location based, so you could blow bits of the Mech off, and to make that even better, the loadouts where recorded as being in certain locations, so weapons or heat sinks could fall off.  In addition firing some of the better weapons would generate heat, and if you let that get to high the Mech could overload and even explode.  There was so much to balance and think of, can you cool down fast enough?  Should you just Alpha Strike and then try and ditch heat over time, or take things easy, chip away at the enemy with weapon fire you can cope with in terms of heat.

Even though it was a good game, the thing that dragged most people into Battletech was the story line.  I don't think the concept of War game based literature would have held for so long if Battletech hadn't done so much.  There is an immense back catalogue of books written within the universe.  It all came from the initial story arch made by Fasa, and part of the problem with some of the more recent versions of the game is it took the story in a direction most fans of the original game just couldn't stomach.  Fasa's background starts quite simple.  The Galaxy is split into grand empires ruled by Noble families.  Since the fall of the last grand alliance of all the families (called the Star League), the Inner Sphere has been in a near continual state of war.  Battlemechs are archaic weapons, barely understood, and certainly nearly impossible to build, simply due to the erosion of manufacturing facilitates from warfare.  With just the core game, you can either play as a member of one of the Inner Sphere empire defence forces, or as wily Mercs trying to make a living.  As the game expanded, a sudden strike, from beyond the bounds of the Inner Spehere, by the Clan's throws everything in to turmoil.  The Inner Sphere has to band together or be swept aside by the near Alien levels of technology that the Clans possess.  A new Star League must be formed or all will be lost.

That was just the back drop, to what became a massively rich world.  Hundreds of books, mostly very well written, came out from a wide range of authors.  The origins of the Clans was revealed, new hidden powers emerged, and everything just kept moving at such a pace that you never knew everything that was going on, yet didn't ever feel lost.  Roleplay games were released allowing you to play as the individual Mech pilots (to varying degrees of success), there were so many computer games that appeared all of which just felt right and played so well.  It even got its own cartoon, which I watched religiously as a kid during the mid 90s.

I don't know how I would feel approaching this game now, if I didn't have the background of growing up with it.  Sure I could get hooked on the newer computer games, and I would probably be quite interested in the record sheet system, but it has become difficult to get the models (Ironwind now make them, but you could find them in most gaming shops at one point), the Heroclix version would probably put me off (though I might cope with the extended timeline story they have for it then), and the fact that its an old hex map "boardgame" might well not quite be as exciting as things like Malifaux and GuildBall.. but for me, if Man O'War got me to realise that large open scale war games could have much more tactical content, it was Battletech that made me realise just how good a War Game could be.  It forms a major bench mark that all other games I play now have to surpass for me to want to play it long term, a bench mark that Warhammer 40k has never even got close to.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Kick the bucket

Kickstarter review week #2

So I'm back a week (and a day) later with three more kickstarter reviews.  As per last time, I don't have any insider benefits for this, I don't get freebies, these are literally things I have had a look at and I think are quite good.  This week will be three new kickstarters, from this week, which sadly I just can't throw money at, but in many cases kind of wish I could.

Dark Souls the Board Game - Steamforged

I'm going to start with the big hitter from this week.  Dark Souls TBG was funded within 3 minutes of the project going live, and with 22 days left to go has already reached £1.3m.

I'm not sure I can really say much more on the funding side of things, basically this is really quite impressive, its the sort of thing I expect from CMON products, and Steamforged (creators of Guild Ball) I think would not have expected this sort of rapid run.  That said, it is Dark Souls, and plenty of people are in the market for more things set in this meta.

It's not a game I have ever played, so this might explain why it hasn't jumped out at me to put money into.  I'm pretty sure there are plenty of people, who I know, that will be psyched out for this game.  It is a fairly good Board Game genre to work in (tile based dungeon adventure), and from everything I have seen and heard it is really well put together, and the minis are top top quality again.  Its certainly worth a look, and 14,500 backers (at time of writing) can't all be wrong?  Have a look here.

Tabletop Terrain and Trays - Mini Duels

If I hadn't just bought something for Guild Ball I would be getting into this kickstarter.

Not just a kickstarter for Guild Ball trays though, Mini Duels are running a new range of trays and mdf terrain through Kickstarter, and they look really good.  Now, I'm not really going to explain too much about the terrain, I want to concentrate on the tray, and this is because I think they have a really clever idea here.

Most trays are designed for the models, and have generally got a little bit more on them to add in cards, or similar.  I've just paid for a tray which includes a little bit more than that, so that there is space for tokens as well (little pots on one side for want of a better term), and when it arrives I may well do a review.  Mini Duels have taken it further, but building the tray up a little and adding a draw underneath.  The draw can then be divided up as you like, to include all of the extra tokens you need.

I think this is fantastic.  In fact I think the only step up from this would be to magnetise the tray, put a lid on the top, and then you have a full carry box for the models.  That might be taking it too far though (trays are designed mostly for tournaments, so you can move quickly between tables).

There is a wide range of options, they even have a magnetised top variant for 40k players, which just doesn't need the slots that other games needs.  The X-Wing version is ultra thin and the templates hide away under the tray in what can best be described as a school desk flip lid style (or you can get a deeper tray with the draw as well if you prefer).  A really cool design idea, and as said before, if I hadn't just spent money on one, I would get these.

Cavern Tavern - Final Frontier Games

I never got why people played the restaurant app games on phones.  The ones where you run around fulfilling orders and making sure you did everything on time.  They always struck me as something that didn't have the legs to be played over and over.  However, turn that into a board game, with win conditions and a bit of competition and I can see that being a lot of fun.

Thus, we have Cavern Tavern on the list, because it is basically that game.  Dice based, worker placement, running around fulfilling orders, while at the same time rating out your opponents to the boss to try and make sure they lose some points for lazy work ethics.

I think the main thing here is that this looks really good.  I like the fact that its going to be a cut-throat competitive game, and honestly worker placement games are usually good fun, because the tactical side of interrupting or impeding people can be a great laugh.  I can also see this working for people who like to game "in character", I certainly know a few people like that, and I would really love to be able to get this game.  Its already funded, so I would have to guess that it'll be something I can pick up later in my local hobby store.  I certainly hope so.

Though I wouldn't say no to this as a birthday present... just saying.  Though tell me if you do because I get paid before this KS ends and I might just bite next month.

Wrap up

So thats it this week.  I couldn't quite find a fourth for this one.  I said, last time, that the aim was to talk about things I really found interesting and would take off, and while there are plenty of interesting things on Kickstarter at the moment, these were the three that I really thought can and should go far.  In fact, this week I have two projects which are always well on their way to being seen in store soon.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Cthulhu Fhtagn!

The Children of the Night

I promised this a while ago, the work, and life, got in the way.

This is my second look at the content that has been released for the Mythos kickstarter.  I'm going to look here at some of the other models that they have announced with the project, as well as some things that are on the main Paranoid Miniature website.  For want of a better term, I'm seeing these as Campaign Factions.  By that, I mean they look like they are there for more of a story telling set of games rather than the straight faction on faction "standard games".  I don't know for certain if this is true, but looking at all the standard factions, the composition of the first box set they have shown doesn't seem to have the same layout (a mix of characters), and I therefore feel in standard games these campaign factions wouldn't quite fit right.

It's all guess work, I've not got any sort of insider information on Mythos, unfortunately.

Custos Crypta

I love the idea on these.  Basically go back to Ancient Egypt and the times of the Pharoahs.  Back then there were these somewhat ravaneous little insects that would eat their way through anything that was in their way.  The Egyptians would gather these critters together and use them, as far as I can tell, as a bit of a shock weapon.  The useful thing about them, other than the rather drastic and totalitarian way in which they could deal with a problem, was that they are able to reproduce without any sort of fancy breeding.  Every insect would lay a perfect clutch of eggs before dying, and a new generation would quickly hatch.

So, being relatively self sustaining, given a food source, these fellas were put in to the Pharoah's tomes as a defence mechanism (along with a few slaves to make sure dinner was on hand).  Once clear of the main course the new generations started snacking on each other, and while the intelligence of the species has devolved to a hunter prey level, they have adapted over time into something bigger than they were before.

Roll forward to the time of Mythos, and humanity has been its usual greedy self.  Open tomes has brought more food to the Custos Crypta, and also a way out into the wider world.

As you can see from the picture we have renders for these.  You get 5 Grubs and 1 Guardian model in the set.  I'd be interested to see if these play as a standard faction, or if they are designed for the storytelling campaign and roleplay games.

The Order of the Enlightened Path

A Cthulhu game would not be a proper game if there weren't a bunch of Cultists.  Thankfully Mythos has that in the Order of the Enlightened Path.

There is nothing on the main website for these guys other than the pictures, but we are going to get a Cultist model as part of backing the kickstarter, and you can see here that it really is a very nice model.  Certainly looks like the kind of gentleman you wouldn't want to meet on a dark night out, but I have a feeling they might well be plenty of these ones around.  I would have to say that I feel a cultist set could easily be used as a full faction, but they aren't listed as a faction on the Paranoid Miniatures website, so thats why I have included them here.  I think it is fair to say that these guys "want" the big ancient people devouring gods to rise from their dark slumber, they just have that style of sociopath about them.  Definitely interested to see what they are like.

The Sea Queen

Definitely a good reason to go look at the Paranoid Miniatures website.  The Sea Queen has a well written story over there, and we get to learn a lot about her.

The Sea Queen is one of the children of the main bad guy (that would be Cthulhu for those not quite awake yet).  The first chosen, by the mad god with too many tentacles, to awake and start harvesting the human race.  She has been given a humanoid form, something she understands but is none to happy about, so that she can blend in (a little) and start having her fill.

I'm not sure if this will be a box set of multiple models, or just her.  The back story suggests she won't exactly be a push over, and so I'm leaning towards her being a solo model.  She is deeply tied to the Hidden Ones faction, as they are her minions/children, so part of me thinks that for a campaign or roleplay encounter you could throw her in with the Hidden Ones and see what comes of it.

She already has a prototype model out, and there are pictures of that on the Kickstarter. So, again, it is well worth while looking on there to see some of the things they have produced.

Thoughts so far..

As things stand I've only been reviewing the planned models.  I've looked at artwork and background stories, and if they have been released I've also mentioned the test models and the stat cards.  My initial thoughts are that Mythos is going to be a very impressive looking game.  The test models are really good for a small company, and the art work really does fit in with the style of Cthulhu.  I'm really impressed with how the Wildborne look, and I really want them to come out so I can add them to my collection once the game is funded.  I also like the idea that Paranoid are going to support the Campaign and Roleplay style of games with some specific models that won't necessarily be seen in the straight off games.  Now for me, once the models grab my attention I will, and have, happily fund the project, because ultimately they are the things I will have in my hands and store on my display shelves.

Of course the thing to look at next, will be the rules.  I'll take a nose at them in the coming weeks (they are available, as they stand, on the kickstarter page).

For now though, if you like the models, go have a look at the kickstarter and start burning your wallet.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

In Lovecraft's Shadow

In the Vault

One blog every couple of days, thats what I promised myself.  I would only update the blog once every couple of days.  Apparently not.

Today, I'm going to look at Mythos again, because erm ma gawd look at all the lovely stuff that is going to be coming out with this game.  I've already put this on my Kickstarters to look at this week, and without any real shock I have put some money on the table and made sure I'm going to claim two of the faction boxes when the game gets funded (because it will, after only a couple of days its over 75% of the way there).  So with that in mind, its off to Paranoid Miniature website to see what they plan to make.  In general you can get most of this from the Kickstarter page, but without too much surprise they have only put the first couple of factions onto the Kickstarter, and I would assume the others will open up the more the funding increases.  So lets start with the two "factions" that are in the Kick Starter, and then work our way onwards from there

The Priory faction

Outwardly these are the good guys, humanity's last defence from the darkness that is ever present, and ever hungry for those sweet sweet humanoid shaped snacks.

This is the one faction, so far, that they have released 3d renders for, and I have to say the models look pretty sweet.  The Leader, Professor Zarchary Lazarus, looks like a really nice model, but the star of the box is definitely going to be the Egyptian Golem Marahal.  Now from what I can tell, which isn't much, these guys basically tread the line between using whatever means they can to stop evil in its tracks, while constantly trying to maintain their own humanity.  A lot of the insanities for these models are based around initially working as a team, and then when they snap they start thinking their own side is out to get them and they become solo nightmares.  The prime example of that appears to be Abigail, who when sane gets a bonus for being near the Professor, but when she loses her grasp on reality will start getting a negative instead.  Bertie gets to be a bit of a nutter with a flame thrower, obviously that doesn't go well if his sanity goes, and the Cat has the ghost of a dead Egyptian priest in it.. obviously.

It looks to me like this is more of a ranged/casting team, though it does have the odd obvious beat stick in there.  There is plenty of casting, and as I said before, quite a few mechanisms for the models working well together until they lose their marbles.

Hidden Ones faction

So for all the good the Priory do, the Hidden Ones are pretty much trying to do the opposite.  Now, unlike the usual approach where these are just bad people doing bad things, with Mythos we get to see something new.  These aren't "people", these are actual sea monsters and in the vast majority of cases they have come up on dry land and hijacked some poor persons body so that they can go and run riot.  Well, not the giant crab, obviously the giant crab is just doing his own thing minding his own business.  You know, the kind of guy who just wants to do a days work, have a few beers and have the respect he deserves.  I mean can't you just see it in his eyes, its all he wants.

Ahem.  So we have here a leader in the Dockland Queen, who goes a bit mental if the Crab or her fish/person hybrid gets stomped on.  Basically if you kill either of them she gets to mark the killer and then just open up on them.  The fish/person steals mythos from your opponent, which is a resource to allow people to get extra actions at the cost of sanity.  Then there is Molly, who is possessed by something, but I can't see what it is in the artwork.  Either way she basically seems to be a melee monster, who can heal people, and cast spells.  I mean I say she is a melee monster, but that's purely based on one ability which means anything she is touching at the end of her activation has to make a combat roll or take damage.  And finally there is the poor sailor who has an octopus on his neck.  Doesn't go insane anymore, but you can flip between the sailor having control or the octopus, and you get different abilities from each.

These do look a little bit more like a beater faction, getting up close and personal, and not really caring as much about what their mates are doing and where they are.  I have a feeling Molly might well be a bit of a star in this pack, so long as she can stay upright for long enough.  There are some aspects which make the Dockland Queen react when her "children" are killed, but it is a solo puncher faction from the outside perspective.

And there is more..

So these are the two factions on the Kickstarter right now, but looking over at Paranoid Miniatures Website we can see that there are actually another 3 lined up by the looks of things.  No idea what they do, but lets have a little look anyway

Wildborne faction

These are the witches of old come back to save the world, and teach humanity a bit of humility in the process.  It looks like it is going to be a faction based on leaders with spell casting abilities and then half-human beat sticks.  There is also a mix of animals in there as well.  The first thing I would note is that the leaders image looks quite gothic/vampiric rather than pointy hats or druidic, and I do like that for a Cthulhu style game.  The half-human beaters are also a lot of fun, especially when you read the back story and find out that they used to be people, who were tested to see if they could be part of the "coven" and failed, getting turned into monsters instead so they are still useful.  There is also a hint that the people who get tested don't always volunteer to join in the first place.

Going just off the pictures, the Wildborne are going to be a very impressive looking force.  The Goat is just brilliant.  I'm not sure I would put all the eyes all over him, I would be tempted to just go with the half-human half giant ram, and avoid making him look anything other than the sort of Monster mother nature would come up with.  The centaur type monster is really cool, and probably where my idea of how they play comes from.

Complete and utter guess here, but I would probably guess these will be the hit and run faction, building up conditions on enemies, and then diving in and running away before they get hit back.

The Brotherhood faction

I hope that Mythos gets enough funding to include these in the game otherwise we will never hear the end of it from Straw.  They are Werewolves Wendigo, or at least some of them are.  The rest are cops, and not all of them are good.  The Leader is a Wendigo who can control his shifting, and on the sly has been the chief of the police force in the game's urban centre.  No one seems to mind when some of the local crooks go missing after all, and the Wendigo can keep themselves fed in the meantime.  The mascot is some sort of Wolf Hound super dog, while the cop that looks after the dog is a serial killer (which, as hobbies go, is generally not viewed as kosher) and wants to become a Wendigo after "accidently" seeing his boss turn and get all gore faced.  There is also the police chief's half brother who is stuck in Wendigo form and is pretty much mad to begin with because of that.  Then finally the Brotherhood rounds out with the rookie cop sniper who hasn't got a clue that he is surrounded buy all these skin shifting psychopaths, and you need to read his story on the site to realise just how messed up that really is.  Don't worry son, you'll find the bear that did it one day...

Picture wise, I'm not sure they jump out of the page at me yet.  I have a feeling these will be best shown off by the models that come out rather than the concept art.  I will say I prefer the drawing of the leader where the remain of his human hand aren't sticking out.  Personally if they are skin shifters then the hand would change rather than the Wendigo sort of slicing his way out, but again, as with the Goat that is my opinion rather than a criticism.  I think the fluff for these guys makes them cool through and through though, so thats enough for me.

Looks to me like these are going to be mental melee beasts, with a long ranged support, and a leader who can swap between supporting at range and then jumping into melee in Wendigo form to really lay in some hurt.  My guess is, to make them different from The Hidden Ones, these guys will either be a little slower and take time to get in, or need to work as a pack to get the best out of them.

The Travellers faction

There is only artwork for these guys at the moment, but if these guys end up on the KS and are fully funded I will definitely be looking at picking them up.  Just from a guess, we have a circus Ring Master, who has a bad case of needing to eat a burger or two (he'd be right at home with the Morticians), a rather hefty looking Strong Man, and then quite possibly a few demons.  You know, the lighthearted sort of things you would expect with a circus.  Fun for the whole family, so long as you can stop little Jonny getting eaten along the way.

No back story so far means I can't even begin to guess what they do, but part of me hope they are the complicated, messing about with Mythos, or activation orders, or some such.  I'd love to have a group who are basically all mad already, and the flip side is like the blaze of glory side, very low down on the track, but when they are about to die they really go bonkers.

And is there more?

Yes, yes there is.  I'm not going to include them here though.  All I will say is it looks like there are a further 3 boxes of miniature somewhere down the line as well.  However, they don't look like they are factions, now that I look at them in more detail.  So I'm going to split them off into a separate blog (hmm, do I do that later or tomorrow?).  I have a feeling they fit more into the Campaign/Roleplay settings that Paranoid are going to set up, with a special set of scenarios that call for one player to have the "team" of heroes and a GM running the special monsters for each game.  I'll try and explain that another time.

Monday, 18 April 2016

A bit of nostalgia

Man O'War

Time for a little bit of nostalgia on my Monday morning.

I'm going to kick off a little bit of a review of "old" games, some of which I hope will be coming back soon via the renewal of Games Workshop's specialist games range.  The first of the games I'm going to look at is probably the least likely to come back, and that makes me quite sad.

Man O'War came about long before GW decided to release Battlefleet Gothic, but you would be forgiven for assuming it was the same game just set within the Fantasy arc of Warhammer.  You would, however, not be entirely correct in your assumption.  You see there was a lot more to Man O'War, and personally I think a lot of the reasons why BFG stuck around far more as a cult classic in comparison is because MoW had a lot more complexity, and to an extent, a lot more of a kid aesthetic to it.  The models were a lot less refined, and you marked out damage to your ship on a relatively small silhouette of each ship, will little burning markers or explosions.

The thing is though, it was tactically far more complicated.  Sailing into or with the wind made a massive difference to the way your ship could move.  Getting weapons lined up to do the most damage was a pain for some of the factions, and everything was brutal one way or another.  Throw into that the need/want to have a magic system, some of which did damage, but mostly included abilities to stall enemy ships or get yours up the board faster.  This was one hell of an overloaded game, but it carried it all so well.

I remember my first fleet, a high elf corsair fleet, being swift and deadly with ridiculous front firing bolt throwers, and more speed going with the wind than I could really handle.  Mad dashes and the ability to do 90 degree turns even with the bigger warships.  They were a lot of fun to play.  That was until I got my Bretonnian fleet and everything else went out the window.  The Bretonnians were just plan devastating.  Sailing between an enemy line normally meant there was nothing left to threaten you.  It was just so silly, and so much fun.

Sadly, I don't think this game will see a new light with the revived specialist games.  With Warhammer Fantasy battle pretty much being a dead franchise as far as GW are concerned, and with the fact that MoW never really got the cult following of games like BFG, Mordheim or Necromunda, I just don't believe MoW will be refreshed for the new era of GW specialist products.  I think that is a massive shame, I really do.  So the question is, are there games out there that can fill the gap, I'm going general fleet combat here rather than fixing it to Fantasy..

The answer is not really, not with the same jovial nature that MoW had.  The closest that did exist was Uncharted Seas, by Spartan Games, but that went the way of the Dodo as well in the last couple of years.  Spartan still have Dystopian Wars, which does get the naval side of things going, and isn't just plain Historical re-writes.  It throws in a heavy pinch of Steam Punk and Sci-Fi and I did play this extensively when I was getting back into war games a couple of years ago.  It doesn't have a huge Uk following, finding games is difficult at best.  This more or less leaves you with games like Age of Sail, if you want a naval game.  Being a Historical war gaming system you will find a lot more people that play it.  Its just one of those things that has picked up will with the WW2 wargamers (etc), and does attempt the "realistic" gaming process quite well.  Its just not MoW, and for me that is a shame.

If I could ask for GW to make 4 specialist games MoW would be on the list, alongside BFG, Mordheim and Necromunda.  I know people claim we have had MoW back when Dreadfleet was produced, but it just wasn't the same game in any way shape or form.  Man O'War showed me that wargaming wasn't just run forward, bucket of dice, with mass models.  It gave me the chance to experience what a tactical game could be like if you had far more to consider each turn.  I loved it, I wish I still had a copy.  I certainly can't afford the £150 price tags that a box set goes for these days.

In fact I think Man O'War sneaks into my top 5 war games of all time.  I'm pretty sure only one GW game beats it as well, if that.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Kick Starting

All about that Myth

So I've decided that once a week I'm going to trawl through kickstarter and put out a few (likely 4) mentions for projects that really excite me, even if financially I probably can't afford to do many (if any) of them.  Now, its important to note I'm not getting anything for doing this.  I mean this blog is pretty much not promoted in any way outside my own Twitter and Facebook (and the odd re-tweet here and there from The Battlehammer).  I've not played/playtested/been sent free demos of any of them.  Not that I would say no to any of that sort of thing.. just saying.

Either way, this weekend has been Salute and one of the first things I'm going to put the word out on (even if the audience is small) will definitely be something from there.  I just wish I could have gone and had a go.

Mythos - Paranoid Minatures

So the first thing I am going to highlight is Mythos, and I'm going to be honest here, I'm definitely going to be throwing money at this (even though I should be saving right now).  There are plenty of reasons, so lets break them down.

1 - Its a Cthulhu war game.  So, its not going to contain the actual monsters from the Lovecraft universe, or at least it doesn't now, and I would assume that is down to IP reasons, but there is going to be a lot of Cthulhu reference and certainly a flavour with some of the mechanics in the game (such as Sanity).  Now I've read more or less the vast majority of H.P. Lovecraft's mythos books.  They are dark, sinister books, which while very weighty to read, are some of the best out of this world horror books that were ever written.  I hate reading, and I genuinely despise horror, so the fact that I have gone through these books probably says something.  I've run Cthulhu adventures at Student National Roleplay competitions, I love the board games I've had a chance to play, I've even painted up some of the models for someone else, but the idea of a war game that is trying to capture some of that intrigues me.

2 - The combat sounds... interesting.  Now I say that having absolutely no experience of it, but they have tried, in essence, to stop combat being a gaurenteed you hit me I hit you system.  In any combat action both players roll, based on either an offensive or defensive stat, and then the winner deals damage.  So a good defence and you actually get to put in some pay back.  Its an interesting idea, I've really got no idea if it works, but I would love to see it come through.  I've always disliked the fact that the only way to make a character good in combat has been to tank them up, lots of armour, lots of health and it always feels like they then just sit there like a wall and get ground down.  I can see this system allowing for models that go bounding into combat and then defend by actually being good at hitting back before they get hurt, however if they miss that defensive hit they are fragile and fall over.  Could be fun.

3 - They are combining a role-play system into the game.  Its about time someone tried this.  I mean come on, we are moving individual characters around a table, wouldn't it be cool if we could do a battle and then the following night the guy is running around with a bunch of other characters trying to solve the next mystery and opening things up for the next epic fight.  Yes, I can see problems with it.  I mean, for a start a role play group of say 6 characters, either thats 6 guys running in one battle, with they GM doing a full army on the other.. or its 6 full battles between sessions for the GM.  Eeep.  Also people will say that a lot of RPGs now have Miniature aspects, but its not quite the same as a well rounded war game.  I just hope it doesn't feel overloaded or tacked on to the side.  Its going to be an difficult balancing act.

Ok so super excited about this, I will be getting a box set (I may well go for the bugs).  The models look pretty good from the render and I really hope they turn out well and the rules are good.  Go check it out.

Instant Aliens - R. Pelius Cook

I have to admit this one is here for the simple fact that it sounds really odd, and yet I can kind of see where the creator is coming from.  I'm pretty certain I wouldn't get any use of out it, but some people will.

Instant Aliens is basically a recipe book for creating Alien life in your Sci-Fi RPG games.  Now for the most part this is not going to be something you would use if you play those games in pre-generated, self contained universes (such as Star Wars).  However, if you are one of those people who homebrews their Sci-Fi games then this might well be of use.

You see when most people make a new alien race for their games, I would imagine most people come up with the fairly standard humanoid shapes.  This PDF is going to help you diversify your alien life forms.  Its a mix and match set of descriptors to allow you to come up with much more range and scope for what your xenos are like and what they can do.  With enough backing they are also going to release a book to build the actual galaxy itself in the same mix and match way.

As I said, not something I would go for, but it did jump out at me.  Have a look here.

Skuttle! - Blue Beard Entertainment

Well, the first thing I will say about this is the guy that has made it has Blue hair and a Blue Beard.  Go watch the video and come back here later.

Done.. ok

So what jumped out at me here was the art work.  I quite like it.  The game is designed to be played with kids and when you are going to do a game about Pirates this is kid friendly then I think they pretty much hit the design work on the head here.

Game play also sounds really simple.  Its a race to 21 (it basically uses a standard deck of cards, so for the most part cards are worth what you'd expect in terms of points), but the cards can also be used to hamper your opponents (2-3 players).  In addition high cards don't score points but instead have long term effects, and finally you can either play or draw each turn so there isn't going to be some sort of long chain of card use and no body gets to do anything about it.

Looks good if you need to find a simple, quick game that is going to be friendly to more or less every age range.

Great Scott! - Sinister Fish Games

I'm a big fan of card games.  I also like games which make you have to think of silly things.  Great Scott looks like an amazing game, and if it wasn't ending before my next pay day (and Mythos wasn't competing with it) this would get my money in a heartbeat.

Its also made by folk in Lincoln, which is basically just down the road from me and I where I go to work (not for these guys, but still).

It only has 17 days left on its kick starter and it really isn't far off being funded, so please go fund it if you have the spare £16.

So the actual game.  Well you basically draft cards, each one a component of your new amazing invention, and once the drafting is done you do what you can to combine the components into your device.  You then have to explain what the device is, scoring points for combining cards, colour of card, and even the alliteration of the full name.  The thing is, the components aren't quite what you would expect.  Perhaps you were slightly foolish to build that Immense Crocodile Powered Dynamic Dispenser, but now you have to explain to everyone how it works.  Good luck.

Honestly I am torn on this, I quite like the sound of it, but... I really shouldn't put money on more than one thing each month.  Anyway, that's number 4, so go have a look.

Again, I hope you like the idea.  I'll try and throw these out every week if enough things catch my eye.  I would imagine it will appear on Saturdays so long as I'm not doing anything else.  Plus if anyone would like me to review these games, or models... well you know, I'm quite happy to have a look in advance.. well it was worth a try.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Guild Ball, and the Northern Invasion

Never played Guild Ball, but...

I've played Guild Ball!!

Probably most people wouldn't see that as a major step, but to me it was, and for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, the fact that I was getting tired of war gaming again and this completely resolved the issue and gave me a new thing to aim at, play more and enjoy.

Secondly, because I had to get out of the house.  Again, might not sound like much, but as someone who has quite bad depression, and is going through a rough time (Not going to put it on here, people who are on my Facebook friends list know, there are a few I've talked to in person, bit its not going on here).  I went down to Thetford, home of The Battlehammer, and joined in with their Northern Invasion.

Can I just say, on the record right now, Parker and Straw are two of the nicest guys I have ever met.  Right from the start it was as if they had known me for ages and just wanted to chat, have a laugh and find out what was going on.. and it was ace, just amazing to be there.

Anyway, I got to play Guild Ball, 4 games over the course of the day.  I played against Engineers (Chris), another Alchemist Team (Parker), Fish (Grant) and Morticians (Straw).  Every game was fun, every player made me laugh and everything was cinematic and I can really see why the guys at The Battlehammer love this game so much.  I get 2 Wins, 1 Draw and 1 Loss out of the day, which I would say is pretty good, considering they were my first games.. of Guild Ball.

And that is kind of the thing that I didn't get away with.  Fairly early on people realised this wasn't my first run at a tactical skirmish game, and that I was probably someone who did tournamenting somewhere else.  Now, I'll say right now, I wasn't trying to get away with that.  It honestly didn't twig to me when I said I'd never played Guild Ball before to mention I'd get into the top 100 Malifaux players last year (I got my numbers wrong on the day, but looking back I hit 87th in the UK very briefly before rapidly dropping back down).  In the first GB Game I played I more or less didn't know what I was doing, but I picked it up pretty quickly in my opinion, and I kind of hope no one was taking it easy on me after that.  I'm very much looking forward to finding my level in GB.

My overall thoughts on Guild Ball are pretty simple, its a really well constructed, easy to learn, complex to master Skirmish War Game.  The limited player pool really helps it feel portable and great to play on the fly.  8 Models don't take up a lot of carry space after all.  It certainly has enough to it to make it good in a tournament setting, and other than the fact I need to speed up some of my play (Midas takes a lot of attention) putting the game on the clock didn't make me panic or worry as I wasn't burning massive amounts of time with each "turn" like you do with Warmahordes.  In fact it almost made the game feel more pacey and to an extent "better".

I highly recommend this game, in fact I would massively recommend it.

Also go watch The Battlehammer on seriously go watch them!

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Game Development 101

It all starts with an idea

So as mentioned in my first post, which thankfully wasn't my last as it happens, I'm intrigued at the idea of creating my own war gaming rules set.

Lets face it, anyone who wants to do that is special on a very very basic level.  I'm looking at both Straw and Parker here.

The truth of the matter for me is it all comes from a set of die I have at home that I have never used for their true intentions.  These, somewhat special die, are called FATE or Fudge dice, and they are simple D6 without any numbers on them.  Instead there are 2 + symbols, 2 - symbols and 2 blanks sides.  The system they are designed for uses them to basically determine luck.

I look at them every now and then and think "I bet those could be used for a war game".  I mean surely luck is as good a measure of success in a game as just raw numbers right?

Now I think this is a perfectly reasonable idea at its core, and I reckon I can make something of it as a system, but there are a few things that I need to sort out.  Clearly I've got a start point with the mechanics (though see below for why I have a lot to do on that front).  I know I only want it to be a skirmish sized game (nothing more than 8 models a side), and I am kind of trying to work out a genre which isn't overly touched by the market, but would allow for people to use models they already own rather than (certainly at the moment) having to consider the idea of model design and manufacture.  Lets face it I'm doing this on my own and I certainly don't have the finances or artistic skill to get this going on my lonesome.

So, in essence, we really are at the start of this whole idea.

However, I have my dice, and I think the first thing to do is put down on paper roughly how you want this to work.  Time to get out the old mathematics and work out if Fate dice are any use for a war game.  Well the answer is likely, Yes, but....

Most games go with the idea of a target number and if you get that at least once then you succeed at what you want to do.  I don't have numbers so target numbers go out the window.  So the game has to work on the luck side of the dice.

A single dice has a 33% chance of being positive, neutral, or negative.  Two Die are pretty much the same, but you get an 11% chance of a double plus or double negative.  I look at that and realise this could be quite good.  A stronger model gets more die and therefore a chance of getting double positive, however they also get a chance of double negative and the doesn't make sense.  As you add more dice you get higher grades of success and failure, but as it happens the chance to get a neutral result drops a little as well.  It all sounds cool, but its the fact that as you get a better chance to get a really good result you are also equally likely to get a really bad result.  Can I get around that and make it more interesting.  And what do those results actually mean.

I'm going to tackle that last bit first, because I have a decent idea for that.  So each model will have a luck table (ok so this is for damage because we know that is what most of us think about in a game), each slot in the table will relate to either a positive, neutral or negative value.  Better results higher up, yadda yadda.  So what you roll in terms of luck is how well you have "hit" the target.  Seems simple enough.  In a similar way to Guild Ball certain results will give you certain triggers to do something even more interesting.  However, I can also include triggers on Negative results which actually impede the attacking model (the big oaf with the overly large sword fluffs the blow so bad they fall over failing to control the weight of the weapon).  And yes, I want this to be as cinematic a game as possible.

So how to handle the whole probably/luck thing.  I have two ideas here and I need to work them out.

1) Give "trained" models inbuilt + or ++ to their attacks, meaning they offset the bad results.  Defensive/Nimble models could have inbuilt - or -- to attacks made against them.

2) Make the tables so that the "trained" models have positive results (some damage etc) down within the negative sections.

I think I need to play with this.  I personally feel the later means that trained models have no hope at all of getting bad results.  In essence even with a bad roll and everything stacked against them the table will mean they get something good out of it most of the time.  I think the modifier still means there is a chance, even if it is smaller, of falling into that bad area of the table.

Number of die being rolled then has its own interesting considerations.  I think small models (or weapons) get less die, so unless you have a really well trained model they just can't do as much, but the small size also means the deviation on what they do is reduced, smaller is more consistent in essence.  Larger models/weapons give more die, meaning you get the chance for bigger results, but if you aren't trained you also have a higher chance of getting things terribly wrong.

It's an idea at least.

The Bugbear in the Room

Or why I don't like VP in Tournament Play

Ok so thats a lie, but I have seen problems with VP being used in Tournament scoring systems and I really want to highlight why.

Clearly you need to judge positions in a tournament, and the normal way of doing this is to score points based on a win/lose/draw scale.  In almost every situation, given enough games, you will get a winner out of this situation.  Generally speaking though, below the outright winner will be a lot of players all with the same score.  So the best way to resolve this is to work out how well each player did during all of their games combined.

This year, with any hope, I will be able to get to a selection of Guild Ball tournaments.  I'm also hoping to repeat last year a little bit and do some Malifaux tournaments as well.  I have to get back into the top 100 somehow after all.  However, I feel I'm going to enjoy Guild Ball more, and the simple reason is the way in which VP tiebreaking is worked out.

I might be wrong, but so far everything I have see shows that Guild Ball uses total VP as a means to deal with ties.  This encourages play which maximises the amount the player does, drives them to score as much as they can and generally, from what I can tell, means that the games are played with a high risk, high entertainment mantra.  I would imagine this is only amplified at the top level, with games going to the wire and being very tense, with a feeling that they can go either way at all times (unless someone is being very unlucky or their game is cancelled out by an excellent opponent).

More importantly I have a feeling here that it promotes the concept of a good fun game for both players.

Now, before I get going on this rant section, I would like to point out that I love Malifaux as a game.  I think its a hell of a lot of fun when played in the right spirit, and this is therefore where the problem lies.  You see, Malifaux uses a VP differential as a means to break ties.  Scoring big isn't the answer, making sure you score well and your opponent doesn't score a thing, that is the key to doing well.  At the lower levels of the tournament pool this doesn't matter much, you probably don't know (I certainly didn't) how to stop your opponent scoring, so it just ends up being a fun chase for the high points.  The higher up the tables you go, however, the more malicious (yes a strong term I know) the games become.  You stop caring about if its a good game for both players, what you are after is that crushing win where smashing your opponent into the floor is the pinnacle of the player.  If you happen to be pulled against these ranked players in the first round, then I'm sorry, but you are going to be sore and unable to walk.

Its a cutthroat affair.  To be a high ranked player you need to build up that tactical viciousness, and don't get me wrong I understand that entirely, but I actually feel it damages the game to put an emphasis on how well you can suppress your opponent.  I don't know about anyone else, but I find failing my plans due to bad luck, but still having an entertaining game where everyone has a chance makes my day go far better than just not having the option to even try due to flat denial.

Please don't misunderstand though, Guild Ball has plenty of situations where my opponent will do what they can to get in the way of what I want to do, and I may feel like I'm a spectator to their game, but the thing is getting the ball, going for goals and the like are a mutual task and again its only being done because they need those things to get points as well.  If I ever felt like the reason my opponent went in for the tackle was not so they could score, but just to stop me having a chance at all even though I'm already going to lose, then I might get the same angst, but so far it hasn't happened.

Malifaux is a great game, I just don't think I could ever be the kind of player, that in a winning position, would deliberately shut down my opponent.  I wonder if running a Tournament where points scores are more important than points difference.  Would this change the spirit of the games?  Would it be better, more fun, just a little less oppressive for the newer/weaker players?

What do you think?

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Brace for Impact

Battlefleet Gothic Armada

I'm currently sat at work (I know, why am I on here when I should be doing my actual job), and at the back of my mind is the fact that I have purposefully left my computer on at home.

The monumental waste of electricity is down to one simple reason, I'm desperately hoping that today is the day that the Eldar Corsairs are released onto the Battlefleet Gothic Armada beta.  Then all hope of me ever going to bed this evening will be lost, and Khaine's Avatar will be soaked in the blood of my enemies. *Cough*

I've had the game for a while now, jumping on the Open Beta as part of a pre-order bonus.  Since picking it up I've been happily building a Chaos fleet, all lovingly given different Marks of Chaos.  I've thrown ships around like wrecking balls with the Ork Pirates.  But deep down, in my guts, I have just been waiting for the Eldar fleet to arrive.  Even through all the crashes and the fact that my PC seems to be dying (the crashes are probably my computers fault not the games), this has been the saving grace that has made me stick with the game.

I played Battlefleet Gothic when it first came out.  I was an Eldar player in Gothic.  I didn't care for my beloved Dark Angels or Tyranids (though models weren't initially out for them, when they did show up they didn't even get a look in).  The speed of the Eldar, the clever little move, fire, move runs they could do.  I loved the snipping, darting little ambushes they could perform, along with the general hit and run approaches they could make.  Yes, if I got shot I was dead.  If someone managed to hit me with a boarding action I was no better than a pair of soiled pants, but I didn't care.  I was a daring and wily Eldar Corsair, and it was just fantastic.  It also helped that they were some of the most beautiful ships in the game.  Then of course they will be with Orks, Chaos and those Emperor bothering Imperials around.

So here I am, at work, and I just hope that the Eldar are out soon.  It strikes me that getting them to work with the mechanics of the game is going to be difficult, head on attacks aren't exactly fast moving ambushes in BFG:A, but I just want them to work.  In a game which is beautifully made, tactically fun, and simple in its controls and play, I just hope and pray that my beloved Eldar ships will shine.

If I'm not seen for a few weeks you might know why.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Lets try this again

So its fair to say I'm not that great at maintaining a blog.

Must Try Harder!


I suppose there might be people out there, its quite quiet though.

So yeah, I'm a Big Grumpy Gamer, you can decide where the pauses are in that title.  If you want to know my credentials for that title then we are going to have to go back a bit.  I've been "Gaming" for more or less 24 years now, and its not just some niche for me.  I'm not a video gamer, or a role player, or a war gamer.  I do the whole thing, and there might even been some CCGs and Board Games thrown into the mix to spice things up a little.  I am the ubiquitous Geek/Nerd.  Let's say I spread the love all around.

So thats basically what this blog is going to be about.  I'm going to be talking Board Games (I'm going to put a review up for all the board games I own, which is around about 60 games currently), Roleplay games (LARP included), CCGs, Video Games (PC mostly, I might stretch to the XBone from time to time), and Wargaming (Guild Ball, Malifaux, Dystopian wars... plenty).  It'll likely be reviews for the most part, may be a little bit of self indulgent (or self loathing) tournament chatter, plot thoughts, and possibly even game design (I want to make a war game that uses Fate die, I'm sure it can be done).

Plus there might be some painting on here, when I get around to doing more with my own, or other peoples, models.

Yup thats enough..  I'd imagine this will be the last post I do.

See ya!