Saturday, 30 September 2017

The Resurrection

Well its been nearly two months, but its time for another post on here.  I've actually got a lot to say.  Even more I have a lot to do at the moment.  This post, in part, is going to be partly a snap shot of the last month, so I hope people don't mind indulging me.  There is, a little bit of a love in at the end as well.  Sorry.

I'm a Dad

So the first thing to note is that in the last 5 weeks I became a Dad.  My life has, for obvious reasons, been a little on hold and Gaming has taken a sensible hit in order to fit everything in.  That post 2 months ago where I planned to do more gaming.. well not just yet hey.  However, Hackett Jnr came along on the 28th August, at a pretty big 10lb 15. 

Yes, it is easily the hardest thing I've ever done, and as of yet I would say the hard times have outweighed the good.  I wouldn't change it for the world though.

Thing is it also has made me set plans in motion which weren't there before, or perhaps have been in the back of my mind.  So, lets start seeing what is now in the pipeline.

Grumpy Gamers

So, at the beginning of last month I said I might like to do a podcast.  Well as it happens I have recorded a podcast, but as it happens it probably won't see the light of day.  I recorded it before the little one was born, so there are a few things which are now out of date in there and I want to change.  More importantly there was some news in there which is now totally out of date.  See more about that later.

So Episode 0 of Grumpy Gamers is on hold for now, but the plan is to record a new episode soon and get it out into the airways.  My original aim was to have two different series, one for Guild Ball and one for Wild West Exodus, but instead I'm going to focus on a single series which can concentrate on Guild Ball, but wander off piste from time to time when the mood takes me (or whoever is on with me, if I get guests).  Now this is partly because I'm probably going to get more time to play Guild Ball than anything else, but you will see soon enough in this post that there are going to be other things I want to talk about.

Paragons of War

Way, way back when I talked about writing my own set of wargaming rules, and an idea I had for how to do the combat.  Yeah, well that went in the bin shortly afterwards, but the idea of writing my own rule set didn't ever go away.

Well, I'm actually writing something now.  I'm pretty much certain it'll fall into the homebrew category, and potentially no one other than me and some nebulous opponent will play it (or even see it.  I am satisfied with that state of affairs, its actually been nice to just come up with ideas and get them onto paper.  I'm going to use the blog to drop a couple of spoilers (rather than my facebook page which has already had some ramblings).  Clearly I'm also going to be looking for a couple of things moving forward.  I'm not going to be able to look at creating a miniature range, all of this has to be based on people using other models from other systems and suppliers.  However, I would like to put together a professional looking rulebook, so some artists would be handy.  I've also got the basic idea of background as well, but fleshing out the world (or as it happens worlds) would be really nice.

The basic idea of background.. well... (I make no claims this is 100% original content, I had to start somewhere).

The Paragons have existed since time began, beings without compare to anything else in the stable realms.  While we have named each of them and their sphere of influence, these concepts mean little to them.  What we do know, is that over time, each one has visited the realms and left their mark in some way.  To them, we are little more than ants, easily pushed aside in the hunt for more power and more control over the unformed mists.

Eons ago the Paragons were held in sway by one of their own.  It was only the Paragon of Life who had the strength to claim the unformed, unstable realms, and weave them into new worlds full of beings both intelligent and animal.  As Life created new worlds its power grew, each realm within its domain feeding it the power needed to subjugate its brethren.  Those creatures it created were cared for, in a way.  We were allowed to spread on our worlds, on our own terms, for all Life needed was for us to Live.  The Immortals of the past, aspects of the Paragon of Life, were granted powers by their mother, and lived forever.

The day the Paragon of Death appeared from the mist changed everything.  Life was cut down, unaware of what Death was capable of, and the balance of power was forever broken.


Ok so enough self aggrandizing, now for a little bit of a thank you (to people who have no idea who I am).  When I first started this blog I made a pass away comment about how a small game called Dystopian Wars got be back into wargaming.  It was a lot of fun, reminded me of Man O'War and frankly just wasn't a Games Workshop money making machine.

Sadly Spartan Games went under last month.  This was part of my podcast, and how sad I was about the loss of Dystopian Wars, Firestorm Armada and the various spin offs. 

Now, I personally think a lot of the reason this happened was because they just kept expanding their range without really thinking about the quality of it, if they could support that big a range, and finally if the customer base was there to do it.  In either case, it would appear production capacity wasn't in a position to match requirements, and financial income wasn't being generated by outgoing miniatures and games.

I have to say last month I was disappointed.  I've not played Dystopian Wars for a long time, but it was the game that got me into what non-GW companies had to offer, and my gaming has been better because of it.


Now another game I've not played enough of is Wild West Exodus v2, but the main thing here is that a new company (Warcradle) picked up an older game, gave it a bit of a brush up and frankly came up with a lovely game.  I decided to write a little bit for their blog, which they kindly posted, and then baby (and also moving house) stopped me doing more.

However, I have to now say that Warcradle are one of my favourite companies ever and I wish I could work for them (without having to move, that would be perfect).

See, they very recently announced that they have purchased the rights to Dystopian Wars, Firestorm Armada, I assume all of the Halo titles, plus the various spin off from all of these games.  I didn't spot if they also have the rights to Uncharted Seas (Spartan's old fantasy ship game), but if they have that is also outstanding.

Oh to be able to work on just one of these titles.  Playing games is clearly a passion of mine, but working on a game is frankly a dream.  This is one of the reasons for doing Paragons of War.  However, a game that got me back into wargaming, or at least one of the titles from the first small company I really was interested in...

My two pence worth, not that Warcradle have to listen to me, but cut the range down.  That is on all of the games.  Personally, I wouldn't just cut down each faction I would cut out entire factions.  Well not for Halo, there are only two factions in that.  But DW and FA both had to many models in too many factions.  IF they could be cut back, and then the remaining factions concentrated into very specific and specialised "styles", then I really do think these sorts of games can't do very very well going forwards.

Oh and the rulebooks.. sort out where the rules are in the rulebooks.  They were great games, but you needed a research degree to know how to index the rulebooks.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Just a Game

So what's next?

It's been a while, oh Internet of things.  In fact it has almost been a year since I posted on here (other than the recent dose of salt of course).  It would be very easy to get into a whole post on why the blog was abandoned, and then bring it back around to why I'm here today, resurrecting the dead.. sorry thread.  It would be very easy wouldn't it.

However, lets go with the abridged version.. I got through the divorce, ended up drifting off the gaming scene (because I couldn't be bothered trying to find a gaming group I could get to.. or at least played on weekends), I struggled to keep the blog going on my own, discovered someone was already in my life that meant a lot to me, and in the next week or so I will becoming a father for the first time.  Things sort of just happened and this blog wasn't one of them.

Basically... I forgot.

The last few months have become something of a blur, and yet in the middle of all of it came the unabashed desire to actually get off my weighty frame (re: backside) and start gaming again.  I've still, not really, managed to do that of course, but its bought the blog back to the table.

Concentrated for more flavour

There is, clearly, going to be a small bundle of (*Insert personally appropriate definition*) coming along soon and so I'm not promising regular updates.  However, in order to make sure I do get back on track the new and improved (and present) Big Grumpy Gamer blog is going to be a bit more concentrated and a little more fixed.

I'm going to, personally, be focused on two games in the next few months.  The first of these is going to be Guild Ball, and this site is more or less going to be dedicated to it.  I might show you the odd thing I pick up from Kickstarter, but I'm not going to be doing the weekly trawl to show people what I like.  If nothing else, that took a lot of time and I didn't get anything out of it.

When I do get around to it there will be painting information, rules posts, possible match reports and lots and lots of general chatter about teams and the like.  I was going to focus on the Alchemist's when I first started, and I still have them.  I may even revert back to them, but in the next month or so I'll be moving to the new Farmer's Guild.  This will be what I take to tournaments and probably will end up with a lot of "stuff" as I get going with my new Guild.

IF, and its a pretty big IF at the moment, I can get myself going on the blog then I will also resurrect the idea of a Podcast or a YouTube set of match reports.  However, I don't intend on doing that alone... more on that later.

On that point - Can I please point people at the following:

The Battlehammer - These guys pretty much have kept me going for a while.  Potentially keeping me interested in gaming in general, but have also become very close friends.  Seriously.. these guys are awesome

Don't touch the Beard - One of those people I've been connected to by utter chance several times over in the past (yet never met in person).  His Match report style is awesome and a lot of fun.  If you haven't already go watch (People from CP, I insist you go watch these.. especially if you remember High King Tristan).

Singled Out - My Guild Ball podcast of choice at the moment.  A lot of fun, really good content, really good way of explaining and outlining how they are finding the game.  Well, when Jason isn't talking over people of course...

Oh and I'm sure people spotted that Guild Ball will be the first of the two games I will be playing.  The other is going to be Wild West Exodus.  I'm not sure how much content will go on here though, as I've volunteered to write stuff for the official Wild West Exodus blog.  What I put there won't be on here, but you may see the odd thing appear over here if the mood takes me.  In a similar vein to Guild Ball, there is also always the chance I'd move onto Podcast or YouTube if I can.

And in the vein of linking people I think are pretty important in my gaming world

Sarah Cawkwell - So Sarah will probably be aghast at being linked.. probably.  Sarah writes an excellent array of short stories and full novels.  Part of her work is on Wild West Exodus 2nd Ed, and I really look forward to getting my hands on the first book she is doing for them.. and the 2nd Ed book of course, in which Sarah as been quite busy I believe.

If you happen to be local

So here is the hiccup, I still haven't managed to do anything in terms of "regular" gaming.  The fairer and smarter half has pointed out that this is something I should fix.  I know.. I'm very very lucky.  So I'm hoping to get something sorted out for around every other week (and the odd tournament).

I'm hoping I can start getting myself over to Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster or even Barnsley soon enough.  I will need to get past the self confidence and chronic anxiety mind you.  I'm also hoping people might be able to come and game over here (or I can drive.. this is a thing.. Parker/Straw can attest to this.  In fact I need to get down there again.. once the baby is here though).

The Podcast and YouTube stuff though.. well I'm hoping someone local might well be interested in joining me is something silly like that.  As noted before, doing the blog on my own actually became more daunting than I want to admit, and if nothing else comes of this it's that I'd quite like to open the Big Grumpy Gamer site up to other contributers (perhaps to bring in other games, now I'm not).

So yeah, if you play Guild Ball, or Wild West Exodus, and happen to want some one to have a game against let me know..

Friday, 28 July 2017

Been burnt once before

Nearly a year

Its been nearly a year of not posting on my blog.  Yet something has appeared which has brought me to resurrect the old stomping ground.

The Big Grumpy Gamer is back (I'm very very salty right now).

If this is truly a return I shall post something later about why the long absence, but I'm really here to put down some initial thought and feelings.  I can't help it, its all come about because of the Guild Ball errata.  Actually, its all come about from changes to the Alchemists.  Yes, they are my team (when I play), so it is entirely possibly to say I'm being petty.  As such, let me add clarification:

I don't mind Midas and Vitriol being balanced downwards, they needed it.
I will still play the game and play Alchemists (for now)
I don't know if I will swap out characters, because I've not played with the changes.  Everything I say now is initial reactions, I'm just confused about the choice(s) that have been made.

So based on the above: Yes, I don't like the changes (actually its one above all others) but I won't be burning all my models on a tea tray in the back garden.


So the captain got hit hard.  He has lost a lot from his card and some of it is a bit nasty.

Actually he got what he deserved and I only really care about one part.  In all these changes are pretty reasonable.

1. He lost Supershot... well with it he could have a 4/10" kick and that's just bonkers.  So I'm ok with this.  Its not like he isn't super maneuverable anyway.
2. He lost Lightfooted... ok so he is a little less maneuverable, but lets think about this for a second.  He can perform teamwork actions for 1 less, so dodging on a pass or on receiving is still there.  Now all this loss means is he can't run over rough ground without cost (unless you use a momentum point of course and considering teamwork actions are more or less free this isn't really a big tax now is it).  I'm fine with this.
3. Lure of Gold is once per turn rather than one per team mate per turn.  Its a painful change, picking how to use this is now tougher, but actually I never really considered using this a lot anyway when I first saw it.  Certainly I wasn't going to be burning influence on it, and I have a lot of things to do with his playbook results most of the time.
4. Promise of Fortune no longer gives +1 armour.. well that's annoying.  Its not earth shatteringly annoying, but still.  Midas used to have more in his arsenal to keep the ball and basically this is another nail in that coffin.  Yes 5+ Def is still good, so I'm not protesting too much, but this is about the only really hard change to live with.

I'm ok with Midas being like this though.  It's painful, but not punitive.  Lure of Gold is less effective, but I'm not sure how well used it was anyway.


So first things first, she still needed work to downscale her and after really thinking things through I'm ok with most of what has happened.  I'll go with the ok stuff first

1. She has lost the option of doing +1 dmg, once, on a target in cover.  Sure, I mean it used to be all the time, I coped with it going down to once, so losing it is alright I guess.  Basically it's sort of clear she was doing too much damage and this is a fine way to get her back to being a striker
2. The same applies to the move of her 3 damage result up one with the push dodge going down one.  It's a better fit for a model that shouldn't be getting into a scrap as often anymore.
3. The other reason she shouldn't get into a scrap is she comes on with less health now is she is taken out.  But wait

Been burnt once before

Vitriol has lost her +2"/+2" move when she starts in cover and gained "Been burnt once before".  A 2" move when she starts her activation in melee range of someone who is burning or poisoned.

I just don't get this and I will try to explain why.  I doubt anyone from Steamforged will read this, after all I'm venting, but in the off chance they do I would love to know some of the way this came about/went through testing.. anything to just quash these fears I have.

I need to split this into two parts:

Via opposing players - 80% of the time, with only 10 health, Vitriol will not want to be ending a turn next to an enemy player.  So if positioned correctly Vit shouldn't ever get this dodge.. ever.  We've already said a lot of the changes stop her being a fighter and more of a striker, so by choice I will never get this bonus.

The rest of the time things get messy and complicated, so bare with me.  I'm going to do a lot of situations here.

She has the ball, and in the last turn was attacked but not killed (clone, counter attack, etc).  In the next turn you go first and can get her to the goal.  Well I won't be dodging because I need momentum so the chance goes.

She doesn't have the ball, but ended next to a model that does... see above, I can't dodge because I need the ball and momentum.

If at any point in any situation (I have the ball or not), the model next to me has a condition, and I am going second then I would be amazed if my opponent doesn't generate momentum and clear the condition of the model I'm next to.  Thus... no dodge.  This is a similar issue to the original S1 and S2 version of OG Katalyst.  Without being able to apply conditions himself, the set up involved to get the bonus (Kat was damage, but Vit is the dodge) is so easy to counter for the opponent that they will never get to see the bonus happen.  Well not via opponents anyway.  Oh and because Vit's can only happen at the beginning of her activation it wouldn't matter anyway if she could apply one or the other, it would be too late.

Via her own team - So Vit's ability can come from any model, not just enemies.  This means S3 OG Katalyst (who is always on fire) or Crucible (who can be on fire, poisoned, or both) can be used to trigger Vit's dodge... so long as they are within 2" of her.

Hang on.. if I kick I want Vit doing the kick, to make her speed a threat to get the ball back.. so there is no way Kat or Crucible are close enough.. ok so this can't happen then.

If I receive, or later in the game than this option of using a team mate is pretty strong.  In fact this is how I would play it.. but:

Vit is far faster than either of those players.  So she has to slow down in order to get her 2" dodge from them.. that doesn't seem right.  Also Kat wants to be in the fight.. which Vit really doesn't want anymore.  Crucible doesn't want to be in the fight, but she does want to be close to it.  Better, but Vit is still an easier target.  More importantly she isn't off doing what she is designed to do, which is be a striker.  Either I have to have Vit going slow and getting to places she doesn't want to me.  Or I have to use my Lure of Gold on Kat or Crucible to make sure they keep up with Vit.. meaning Midas has to be nearby and the two fighting orientated models aren't where they really should be.

My opinions matter little

So I'm truly accepting of the fact that I haven't tested these changes.  I assume that these changes are tested in full flow of a competitive game as well as set up situations to see what would happen with the skills if the stars align for it.  My mind may change of BBoB once I have used it a bit.. but I wonder if Vitriol would be any different if they just removed BBoB all together as well.  I don't think it has the impact or use it should have in the harsh light of a first read though.  If I'm proven wrong, that would be a nice surprise right now.