April 28, 2014

Hobby Burn-Out?

It feels like I haven't accomplished much hobby-wise lately. It's not entirely true, but that's how it feels. I have been able to play a few games recently, mainly SuperSystem and Lords of Waterdeep. I've also been in comic book mode lately, largely due to the my games of SuperSystem.

After our games last week, I dug through my copious amounts of Heroclix figures, as well as putting together some lists of teams or characters that I'd like to work on. Other than big lists of crap though, I've accomplished nothing there in terms of building or painting stuff.

I think some of my malaise is also caused by some of the disappointments on Kickstarter. The folks in charge of SuperSystem cancelled their campaign for 4th Edition with about two days left to go. I already discussed this a bit last week, but it was disheartening because the cancellation seemed so strangely timed, and the reasons for it were pretty lame.

On the plus side of that cancellation, it left me with some funds available to pledge on the Sentinel Tactics board game. I had been watching it, as I love the card game...but I didn't want to stretch myself too thin. The reality is that I've put too much money into campaign pledges and thus ended up with way more stuff than I'll likely ever be able to paint, build or play. Perhaps I'm feeling a bit of a KS-hangover, and I know that there is a ton more stuff still on the way.

Another disappointment of the week has been the recent fuck-around that folks are getting from IELLO, in regards to their Guardians Chronicles campaign. That game's campaign finished over a year ago! The models and game shown during the campaign looked really good, and now that we're starting to see IELLO's true colours (yellow seems pretty damned accurate here), I feel bad that I pledged, let alone the fact that I pimped the campaign a bit and convinced other folks to plunk down their cash too.

I still think the game looks pretty fun, but if the miniatures we get look like the latest samples we were shown in update #83...well... I wanted those miniatures not just for that game, but for other comic-book / superhero gaming mashups. Now I'm not even sure if we'll get the game at all! I do know that no matter what happens, I won't be supporting IELLO as a publisher in the future and I'm sure I'm not going to be the only one out there.

Over the weekend I thought I would finally get one of my Zuzzy mats finished and work on some Heroclix repaints. That turned out to be a bad idea. I spilled acetone on the kitchen table which fucked over the finish (so I'll have to strip and re-stain it), and the black wash that I was trying to use on the broken blacktop wouldn't adhere in the low spaces after three coats, even after the mat was cleaned!

I'm taking a hobby break this week, because well...I'm tired.

April 23, 2014

SuperSystem 4th Edition is...not coming

While the Kickstarter campaign for SuperSystem 4th Edition was still running earlier this week we got together to play a game of 3rd Ed. I stat-ed up some characters to play with and we set up the table.

I chose to play the Legion of Super-Villains: Saturn Queen, Cosmic King and Lightning Lord. William was playing Exiles: Blink, Nocturne and Sasquatch. Starting off the game Lightning Lord grabbed Cosmic King and flew up over a building to keep an eye on the Exiles. Sasquatch moved up and Nocturne ran towards another building and hid in the shadows. Saturn Queen and Cosmic King moved over towards a lower building to avoid Blink's cowardly hit-and-run maneuvers.

The following round Saturn Queen lands a mental attack against Sasquatch but isn't able to slow her down. Nocturne stays in the shadows and fires some hex-bolts at Lightning Lord with no success. Cosmic King moves towards the source of the hex-bolts but is unable to determine their exact origin. Sasquatch charges up to the building under Lighting Lord, which provides a little cover against his lightning attack. Blink again makes a cowardly hit-and-run attack, this time causing some damage to Saturn Queen.

Knowing she's in trouble, Saturn Queen makes a desperate attempt to dominate Sasquatch's mind and succeeds! The Exiles scramble to take down the Queen before Sasquatch turns on them, but her resolve allows her to remain standing and in control of the white beast. Lightning Lord and Cosmic King move up in hopes of flanking the stealthy Nocturne. Blink is simply too fast and erratic to be worth pursuing. As the round ends Sasquatch snarls, turns and charges Nocturne, landing a near fatal blow on her teammate!

Blink once again teleports in, this time finishing off the Saturn Queen. The Cosmic King takes advantage of the confusion and lands a lucky strike against Sasquatch and drains her powers...leaving her almost completely defenceless! Seeing the trouble Blink pops in to rescue Sasquatch. Nocturne draws Lightning Lord's fire as he hovers over the trees.

We had to call the game due to time, but at the end both Nocturne and Lightning Lord were nearly KO'd. I think the Exiles would have won the day based on Blink's huge mobility. I simply couldn't hit her with all of that teleporting.

The character powers worked out pretty well, but we discussed a few tweaks to make them feel more suitable. Most notably were the strength values on my characters. I had only give the king and queen 3s there, which should most definitely be 4s. Blink's hyper-movement should be switched to use her mind instead of her agility, to slow her down just a bit. All in all though it was a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to making some more characters, and perhaps next time I'll try the 4th edition beta rules instead.

The following day I was asked to run a game for another local miniature player, so we set up some Alpha Flight vs Dr. Doom!

Post Script

Those of you who might have been interested pledging in the 4th Edition campaign are sadly out of luck. The creators canceled funding earlier today saying they didn't feel they would reach their funding goal and wanted to 'go out on their own terms' rather than let the campaign run its last few days.

Having supported a large number of projects in the past few years, I think this was a mistake. If the project hadn't met its goal, no harm would have been done as the campaign would simply end. However, most campaigns really ramp up during the last three to five days and often make almost half of their total cash in that time span.

With three days left they were over 3/4 of the way to their $12,000 goal and I'm absolutely certain it would have succeeded. In my opinion it seems like fear of failing, rather than anything else. I don't know the situation, only the creators know that...but calling it quits just before the finish line feels pretty un-heroic to me.

April 22, 2014

Star Trek Attack Wing - Wave 4 Introduces Three New Factions

The recently-released set of expansions brings us the USS Voyager, as well as the first ships for the Borg, Kazon and Species 8472. With my preference for playing pure fleets, I thought I'd take a quick look at what this means for players like me. I'll focus on the 90-point build suggested for "The Collective" organized play events.

The Borg

Let's start with the Borg, as I feel they'll likely be the new favourite of a lot of players. The named sphere clocks in at 40 points. If you add all of the goodies that come in the box with it you end up with the following 80 point list:

Borg Sphere 4270 w/
- Tactical Drone
- Borg Ablative Hull Armor
- Borg Tractor Beam
- Seven of Nine
- Feedback Pulse
- Cutting Beam

If you add a flagship or another 10-point resource you have a very maneuverable monster to add your 30-point booster contents to. If your venue is still allowing Admiral's Orders (which I hope it isn't) you have even more options.

You could add a second sphere and strip down the tech you have on each, but I don't see the need to purchase a second sphere when we will have another Borg release coming out in the next wave. Putting a cube and a sphere together into a 90-point lists will probably be a challenge.

The Kazon

Not having watched a lot of Voyager I don't know the Kazon well. However, you could make a faction pure 90-point list, which I think would look something like this:

- Nistrim Raider w/ Culluh, Kazon Raiding Party, Seska, Masking Circuitry and Photonic Charges
- Kazon Raider w/ Rettik, Kazon Raiding Party, Tierna and Photonic Charges
- Kazon Raider w/ Kazon Raiding Party

I don't see this list being very good, simply because at best your ships are rolling 3 attack dice in range 1-2. You'd also have to buy three copies of this expansion to even try it. At 100 points you could swap things around to get another copy of photonic charges on the third ship, or add a flagship resource which might help. I'd be temped to borrow a few ships/dials to try this out, but it's unlikely it would pack much punch in organized play.

On the other hand, the ships are decently maneuverable so if you could use that to your advantage you might be able to make good use of your Kazon raiding parties. Rolling low numbers of attack dice will make this very challenging.

Species 8472

Another challenge here. If we were working at 100-points you could squeeze two bio-ships into the build. At 90-points a fully loaded ship clocks in at 82 points:

Bioship Alpha w/ Pilot & The Weak Will Perish, Bio-Electric Interference, Extraordinary Immune Response, Quantum Singularity, Energy Blast and Energy Focusing Ship.

Of course with only one ship in your build, and at 82-points you can't afford a flagship resource. You'd have to drop something, or use a cheaper resource like the tokens or attack die (which might not be a bad option). Not knowing what you'll get in your booster, taking the Energy Focusing Ship upgrade might end up being a waste. I'd likely go for a very light two ship 90-point build instead.

- Bioship Alpha w/ Pilot and Extraordinary Immune Response
- Species 8472 Bioship w/ Extraordinary Immune Response

With six attack on both ships and a little insurance from the upgrades you should have enough longevity to inflict some damage. I'm not sure if it would stand up to a Borg sphere, but right now I'm uncertain there's much that can. I'm tempted to purchase another Bioship, simply because I think they look really cool. When playing casual games I usually play 100-point fleets, and with 120-point being the new level for "The Collective" you can really squeeze some more firepower in.

I won't be buying duplicates of any ships until I've had a chance to try them out. If for some reason I decide to (or am able to) test any of the lists above I'll be sure to post back with my results!

April 16, 2014

Quick game of Strange Aeons: Treasure Hunt

Had some time yesterday work to with Uncle Mike on more 2nd Ed stuff for Strange Aeons. Mike and I played through the "Treasure Hunt" scenario. I love the deep one model from Uncle Mike's Worldwide but haven't painted mine yet so I provided the mat, Mike provided the scenery and models. We both agreed that the table looked awesome.

The Threshold deployed first, meaning the deep one had to start farther away that I would have liked. That river looked refreshing however, so he jumped right in on his way to a Lovecrafty snack.

Footsteps on the bridge echoed through the river waters, distracting the deep one from his easy meal. Unfortunately for the scaly beast, the agent on the bridge hates deep ones, and won the combat...allowing him to retreat from the dripping claws.

Blinded by hunger, the deep one foolishly pursued the agent. In the ensuing combat he was unable to catch the slippery agent and cold blood was spilled.

Capitalizing on the distraction, the threshold leader lined up a shot from across the river. Caught out in the open the deep one was fatally wounded (thanks to a critical hit from a double-barrel shotgun!) and the threshold was victorious.

The game was over a lot faster than I'd expected, and certainly not with the result I had hoped for. My first mistake was mixing up who was the leader of Mike's list. I thought it was the fellow with the shotgun, but he was the hater of deep ones. That gave him the chance to survive in close combat, provided he rolled well. Surprisingly (especially since we're talking about Uncle Mike here) those dice were coming up sixes!

I perpetuated my mistake by going after the hateful agent a second time, in hopes of killing him then mopping up the rest of the crew at my leisure. As you saw above that just didn't pan out for me.

A fun game nonetheless, and I know Mike was sweating as we put the board together. The potential for his agents getting maimed or murdered was exceptionally high. I'll get those pesky kids next time.

We also had a really good chat about some new monsters that I can't wait to try out. I'll have to keep those beasties a secret for now though...I don't want my cult membership revoked!

April 15, 2014

Innocent Bystanders: Modern Civilians

Every game world should be inhabited by people. A lot of games simply ignore the fact that anyone (alien or otherwise) other than the combatants exist. In some games it simply makes sense. For example, in Warhammer 40k would either army care about harming innocent bystanders? More often than not the answer would probably be, "No."

In other games civilians are not only present, but important. SuperSystem or combatants in Pulp City need citizens to serve and protect, or enslave and destroy. With that in mind I needed me some collateral to damage.

I found these figures from the SuperFigs line last fall. The batch of ten figures was a very reasonable $15 and I'd very much like to find the other two packs that were produced. The sculpts are simple, and in some cases not that great, but have enough style that they look good on the table. Painting them took longer than I'd like. The faces and hands on some of them look rather muppet-ish, especially the baby in the stroller and the kid with the teddy bear.

I didn't bother keeping any paint recipes for these ones. Laarni did a fair bit painting on the base coats, and I helped with some of the smaller details like eyes and buckles. Some various washes and a different paint job on the bases completed the work. It would have taken longer and I was glad for her help. She also seemed to enjoy painting something "normal" like a girl wearing a dress. All things considered though I think they turned out nicely. They'll certainly serve the purpose I have in mind for them!

April 08, 2014

Star Trek: Attack Wing - Prepare to be Assimilated

I was able to play in two Month 6 events of the "Dominion War" organized play series for Star Trek: Attack Wing last month. I was a distant second for a DS9 model at the venue I host at, and had no chance of winning at the other. I simply hadn't been able to go to enough tournaments at the second event to garner enough points. All that is in the past however, as the Borg are coming!

Oddly enough, the preview for the first Borg expansion didn't show up on Wizkids website like all the previous ones, but rather on startrek.com. If you want to read the whole preview for the expansion click here. The sphere is a pricey ship points-wise, and seems pretty powerful, but I think the Borg should be powerful. They're the f-ing Borg!

Yeah, still sounds Swedish, but these are nasty cybernetic swedes that you don't want to hang out with!

Anyway, I wasn't I regular watcher of "Voyager" so I don't think I ever saw the sphere on TV, just the little one at the beginning of "First Contact."

The ship itself looks pretty good, and I think that scenarios included in the Borg expansions will be a lot of fun!

It's difficult to talk about the cards until I use them. I've found that my opinions of the cards and abilities change quite a bit after I try them out in a few combination. Some of the stuff sounds very good but ends up being too situational, or costs too many points to really be worthwhile. Other stuff can be tougher to make work but when it does...(take another look at those Energy Dissipators for the Breen, they're way nastier than you think).

We have a few months break in the storyline Organized Play events until we start fighting over the Delta Quadrant, but I'm really looking forward to it. I might even have to go back and try watching some more "Voyager," but really what I want to do is recreate the battle of Wolf-359. I'll have to wait for the Borg cube expansion to be released for that. Until then, I'll get my affairs in order before the assimilation ships arrive.

You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

April 05, 2014


I painted these for the girlfriend a few weeks ago and put together a little shadow box display for her birthday. They went over extremely well and she said I should post a picture of them. They're on 25mm magnetic round bases and are removable from the display. Before you ask...no I can't tell you where I got them, it's a secret!

Yellow...such a great looking colour, such a huge pain in the arse to make look good!

Scourged Forest 2x3 Gaming Mat

What seems like a long, long time ago...I received some of these 6'x4' mats for my birthday (nope, not last year's). They're really good looking but the size makes them difficult to paint in my house. The only way I can do that is to put both of my large folding tables out together, push most of the living room furniture out of the way and try not to get paint on the floor. I've got my Broken Blacktop mat about halfway done...but that's not what I'm here to talk about today.

A few days ago I stopped in at Trilogy with the intent of picking up a Gale Force 9 mat for playing Star Trek: Attack Wing on. They were supposed to have gotten some in stock, and I was happy to find that the rumours were true. Looking around the shop a little more I saw that they had a "Scourged Forest" 2'x3' Zuzzy mat. I have a 6'x4' one, but since I've been playing a lot of Strange Aeons lately and all of my home-built scenery is of the grass-and-trees variety I decided to buy it.

The price was a fair bit higher than what you'd pay from the manufacturer direct. On the other hand, there is no need to pay for shipping, and Zuzzy is notorious for taking a long, long, long time to deliver the product. (Yes I'm speaking from experience.)

Anyway, I finally got a sunny afternoon and was able to finish painting this thing up. Here's a look at the whole mat all finished.

I didn't take any in-progress pictures, but I did try to keep track of what paints I used (I'm using cheap craft paints from Michael's). I figured if it turned out well, I'd know sort of how to reproduce it. If it turned out badly, I'd know what not to do.

Here's the basic recipe:

1) 2:1 mix of Forest Moss and Burnt Umber, mixed into a wash and applied liberally over the entire mat. This is the most time consuming part, because I had to wait overnight for the paint to dry. The result was very pleasing however, as the brown paint settled in the lowest areas leaving the higher spots a nice dark green.
2) Dry brushed the stones with Medium Gray
3) Painted the trees with Dark Brown and the exposed areas (where there was no bark) with Parchment.
4) Applied a wash of Burnt Umber onto the areas that looked like flattened grass or leaves.
5) 1:1 mix of Burnt Umber and Black on the broken ground. It looked like dried mud, but I didn't want to paint it that way, so I thought I'd aim for a stone / scree of some kind.
6) Applied a wash of GW Devlan Mud to all of the trees.
7) Put down a liberal dry brushing of Forest Moss on all of the grassy areas. I was careful to leave it a little patchy. I didn't want to cover up that nice base coat completely.
8) 1:1 mix of Burnt Umber and Burnt Sienna dry brushed onto the leaf areas.
9) Dry brushed the grass again with Grass Green. I paid a lot of attention to the highest areas this time.
10) Dry brushed Parchment on the leaf areas.
11) Heavy dry brushing of the stones with Dove Gray. Much lighter use of the same colour on the trees and leaf areas.

I might go back over it with a spray sealer of some kind, but at the moment I don't have one. I'm really happy with the results. The details on this mat (and the others I have) are excellent. If you want one though, I recommend trying to find one locally, rather than ordering direct.

I'll leave you with a couple shots of some of the detail areas.