June 30, 2014

Sedition Wars - Wave 2 Thoughts

Whew it's been a while since I've cracked open my box of Sedition Wars. I think the last time I set it up to play was in September back at Fallcon 2013. That's not to say it's a bad game, but I'll admit that I experienced some frustration with the original rules and the rapid number of "no this is the last and latest rules update" coming out of Studio McVey.

In fact, the folks over at the Esoteric Order of Gamers have provided a set of cards and rules summary that, in my opinion, is far superior in layout and brevity than the actual rules from the publisher. However I digress, I'm here to talk about the second wave of models sent to backers of the original Kickstarter campaign.

I've had these mostly constructed for a while now (you'll have to forgive the lack of photos today, sorry). So just what did I receive?

- Vokker Dargu
- Jade Lily
- Dead Space dude and strain version

The Strain:
- bone crabs

- Ramirez and strain version
- Hurley mini-bots (6 figures)
- Command team (Morgan Vade, Akosha, Barker Zosa, Kara in crazy armour suit)

- Calamity crew (4 figures)
- Hexen and strain version
- Keegan Kor
- Ridley and strain version
- THI suit

When I received them I was happy enough, and overall I'm fine with sculpting and detail of the figures as a whole. As many others have mentioned however, the scaling on these is quite a bit smaller than the original release. I'd go so far as to say that these figures are near true 25mm scale, as opposed to 28mm. As such, they're usable in the game, but they do stand out when mixed in with the wave 1 models and that's rather a shame. Whatever the reasoning behind the change, it's too bad the scaling doesn't all match.

I also received the scenery box for the game, which has lots of great pieces in it, and will take quite a while to paint up. This pack is definitely worth picking up if you like the base game! Unike everything else from my Sedition Wars collection, I haven't even gotten as far as priming it grey. Even so, it looks really good.

The latest update from Studio McVey about the game was about a month ago. They'd released a beta of the single player rules, which I've not bothered to look at yet. I'll wait until they're 'final' before I bother with them. In the meantime I have a few more wave 2 figures to build and prime, then everything will be playable. I have no idea when I'll get around to actually painting it, but I would like to play some time before year's end.

June 26, 2014

"The Arena"

Last night I ran the Star Trek: Attack Wing OP event "The Arena" at Trilogy Games. With the prospect of huge amounts of Borg firepower in the space battle, and the knowing value of high captain skill on the planet, building a fleet list that I would enjoy playing proved to be quite the challenge.

As I generally prefer to play pure faction, I decided to bring a Klingon fleet. I knew that in all likelihood I'd be outmatched on the planet by the likes of Kirk, Picard and Gul Dukat. The Klingons always love a good up-close-and-personal fight however, so off we went.

Klingons-in-the-Arena (100pts)

- Vor'cha class w/ Chang and Klag
- K'T'Inga class w/ Koloth
- B'Rel class w/ Martok (8-skill)
- IKS Somraw w/ generic captain

My plan was relatively simple: spend the first few turns moving three of the ships towards the planet and trying to keep it between myself and my opponent. In the first round Martok would grant a captain an extra action to cloak, sensor echo or target lock if necessary. Chang would break off and head directly for the opposing fleet's second- or third-ranked ship in order to attack or maybe disable their captain.

With some luck all of my captains would survive to take part in the planet battle and at least have a few resources to work with. Win or lose on the planet I should have two or even three ships still alive to hopefully outnumber my opponents with.

The Klingon ships have good mobility so I'd be in decent shape against everything, except the Borg. Not being able to get behind them and out of arc would very likely be my death. Worst case scenario my fleet could play chicken until time was called and I could win on points. Not  a very honourable tactic for Klingons, I know...

We only had three attendees including myself, which is a shame in my opinion. The local player base for Attack Wing is much larger than that, and the store helps me put on a nice tourney. If you're interested in playing the game in a fun and casual setting, you really should come down to Trilogy for our next event.

Anyway, for the first round I had the bye so I watched a four ship Federation fleet face off against a single fully-loaded, mixed-faction Borg cube, complete with a stacked sideboard! The Federation captains (Janeway, Sulu, Ransom and Data) jousted briefly with the cube before winning the planet battle. Having lost Weyoun, the Borg summoned the Queen and some Breen energy dissipators onto their ship. The Federation did a good job focusing their fire and eventually took the cube down. Twenty five point of damage to destroy that cube...holy crap.

Second round saw my fleet up against the Federation. My plan worked out well before the planet battle. I was able to collect two resources for Martok to use, only losing my Somraw to a lucky shot in round three. The planet battle went badly for me, as both Koloth and Chang rolled all blanks not once, but TWICE each. Ending up with no surviving captains I was put at a large disadvantage. In the final round however I has able to destroy Janeway on the Excelsior giving me the win in points, 29 to 18.

The third round was me vs. the Borg cube. It went exactly as I imagined. One-shot to destroy the Somraw. The next round was Koloth's turn (he would have survived if not for the console fire). I won the captain's battle, but two rounds of shooting saw Chang taken out, and another two hits saw Martok's ship destroyed. Admittedly I wasn't rolling well, on average only hitting with about 1 in 3 attack dice. On the other hand, a loaded Borg cube with Alexander, the Borg queen, and two ablative armour upgrades is extremely tough to kill. As I said, that's going to take 25 damage to destroy.

If all of my ships were firing each round I had 16 attack dice total. I'd need two full rounds of shooting and have to hit with 78% of my attack dice to actually take it out in those two rounds. My attack dice would have to be very hot for that to happen. Not to mention that the cube having access to battle stations from Alexander, on top of the normal target locks, means they're hitting with almost all their dice every shot. Even a cloaked ship isn't going to evade that kind of damage output for very long.

Oddly enough, after three games played, each player had the same record: 1 win, 1 loss, 1 bye. So it came down to points...a Federation victory!

I'll finish off with some parting thoughts on the Borg, having faced two faction mixed fleets in two different tournaments. They're very, very powerful; especially powerful when mixing other faction upgrades and captains. Do I think they're TOO powerful? No. Do I want to ban them or restrict them? No. In my opinion I think they're much like cloaking early in the game. I feel it's simply a matter of the players needing to adapt to a new challenge. My opinion may change in the future, but for now I'll reserve judgement.

June 23, 2014

Western Gaming in Blackwater Gulch!

For those of you in various parts of the globe, July here is quite an interesting time due to the Calgary Stampede taking over for a few weeks. There are free pancake breakfasts daily all over the city, barbecue parties, concerts, and all kinds of great stuff going on. If you ever want to party for 10+ days, the Stampede can help you out with that. Don't believe me, click here.

Having grown up on an actual farm, I think the "costume cowboys" are rather entertaining. Putting on boots and a hat does not make one a cowboy, but it's all in good fun. On the other hand...the costume cowgirls are A-OK with me. Working downtown during Stampede does have some visual appeal to be sure.

Wait, I was going to talk about gaming wasn't I? Yes, yes, I do have some kind of point here.

Another gamer friend and I have fired up a few games of Blackwater Gulch to countdown to Stampede. If possible I think we'd like to build up a western town game board and run a day of gaming during Stampede at one of the local shops. In that vein we've played a few games to get the rules sorted out.

The first game used two gangs I wrote up from the free rules available from Gangfight Games. The downloaded book available now is different than the one I have, but it's still cool that the rules for the game are available for free! Both of these gangs clocked in somewhere around $385 in game money. That means they are both pretty powerful. We played the rescue scenario, so I started with one of my members being held hostage near the hangin' tree.

The Quick(ly) Dead.

Last man standing, Carlos Sangre, to the rescue.

Outgunned by Carlos, Deputy Henkel recovers his nerve.

Turncoat Kevin gets shot in the back by the Deputy. Carlos guns Henkel down and leaves the battlefield alone.

For our second game we decided to try out the free add-on campaign rules. After both reading through them we decided to bump up some things so that the gangs didn't start out as total schlubs. We played the "This Town Ain't Big Enough" scenario. The table looked great because Rick had tons of buildings and fences to work with. We even added in some basic scatter rules for the horses, so that they'd move around if there was any gunfire near them.

I didn't take as many photos for this game (I was too busy having fun).

The post-game results system was interesting, but a little disappointing that the loser doesn't really get anything. While workable I think the campaign system could end up taking a long time before your gangs really get anywhere; especially since your professionals and leader all start out with 1s, just like your henchmen. It's really likely that your good characters are going to die without judicious use of your leader's luck dice.

All in all however, I can't wait to play more games, and I've started building some laser-cut western buildings I've had in the hobby pile for quite some time. Stay tuned for more updates on those as I get things moving along!

June 22, 2014

Birthday Haul (Sorta)

I arrived home from a vacation a little while back and smartly enough, I had booked a couple of extra days off so that I could recover from any possible jet-lag. Also, I really didn't feel like going to work on my birthday. I had to run some errands in the morning, and on my way home I decided to stop in at Revolution Games to pick up some goodies. I figured I might as well get a present I knew I'd like for myself, just in case! I didn't end up with any new games, but did find plenty of expansions.

I haven't played any of them yet, but I really hope to do so soon!

My aunt also dropped in from out of town while I was post-vacationing. I had shipped some stuff to her place to save some postage fees during the past year. I was also planning go to pick it up myself, but hadn't been able to make the timing work. I'd forgotten just how much stuff was waiting for me. It was like Christmas all over again (or more birthday presents), once again courtesy of my own wallet.

The biggest single item in there was the AT-43 Initiation Box. I've played a few games of AT-43 in the past and really enjoyed it. The universe is a genius way to make sci-fi WW2 not actually be WW2. I thought I should track down a starter box of my very own, and it's finally arrived. What a huge box full of stuff. A lot of that stuff is AIR, but it's still pretty cool. Maybe with the starter rules I can actually figure out how to play a decent game without someone else's help.

Next up were some out-of-print, discount board games. I own the other three HeroCard board games and have been pleasantly surprised at how good they are. Naturally I wanted to have the rest of the line. I was able to pick up the expansion packs for the games locally even though I was unable to get the actual games, until now. These had to be shipped to a US address, because for some reason the Amazon sellers wouldn't ship top secret board game materials north of the border. WTF?

Last, but by no means least, was a HUGE assortment of Tannhauser expansions. When you look at the photos you'll see that I'm not exaggerating in the slightest. This batch of joy was ordered from Miniature Market last summer at a whopping 50% discount! At the time they didn't have everything I was missing, but it was very close. The few items I wasn't able to get in this order I've since picked up locally or online, and now I consider myself very lucky to own the entire game line. Behold with envy my internet minions!

Now if only I had another vacation booked to crack into all of these wonderful new toys...

June 17, 2014

A Different Kind of Tabletop Gaming

Today I come to regale you with tales of something very different than my normal posts, but still technically tabletop games! This time I'm going to be talking about one of my favourite sports: HOCKEY.

Part 1)

My workmates and I sometimes get together during Friday lunch hours to play card or board games.With the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs in full swing my brain was most definitely in 'hockey mode' so I suggested we play a game of Big League Hockey Manager, with the included "Stanley Cup" expansion!

This game is tough to play in an hour, but we did our best to crank through it. Knowing we were limited in time we played to three match wins rather than five. This was the first time we had used the expansion and everyone agreed that it added a lot to the game.

Konrad and Sonja ended up as the two finalists, playing Pittsburgh and San Jose respectively. The Penguins pulled out to an early 3-0 series lead, but some savvy coaching of the Sharks saw them make a series of it when they won the next three games. Tied 3-3 Sonja's Sharks weren't able to keep the win streak going and they ended up losing in game seven in overtime. Konrad celebrated by lofting the cup while Sonja weeps in mournful sadness.

Part 2)

A few weekends back I was told about a new toy store that was opening up. They had a promotion during their opening weekend where you could get 25% off of any one item you purchased, so we went to check it out.

The store was quite busy and had a good selection of boys and girls toys, ranging from dress up and puzzles all the way through science and magic kits. We spent a good half hour and were on our way out, but something caught my eye...

I had never heard of Stiga Stanley Cup Hockey before.  As a kid I had always wanted a tabletop hockey game, but never had one. The big tabletop game box included two Canadian NHL teams: the Montreal Canadiens (in white) and the Toronto Maple Leafs (in blue).

Also included in the box are all the accessories like the score trackers, two pucks and some plexiglass for the ends of the ice. The board was pretty easy to put together and I have to say that it looks great all assembled. My biggest concern with it is simply: where the heck do I put it?! It certainly isn't going to fit back in the original box.

The store also had some additional teams and the players are fully interchangeable so I bought the Calgary Flames and the Boston Bruins. I would have grabbed an Edmonton Oilers team rather than Boston, if they'd had one, so that I could play out the "Battle of Alberta." Instead I had to settle for the Flames vs. the Habs so that I can replay the '89 Cup Finals.  Finally I added a set of replacement pucks, just in case (the cat makes off with it at some point).

I haven't had a chance to play a proper game yet but we did give it a brief go on Sunday afternoon and it was loads of fun. The real hockey season might be over, but the playoffs at my house are just getting started!

June 16, 2014

Strange Aeons v2 Game Report

Last week I had a chance to play a quick game of Strange Aeons v2 with Uncle Mike. I didn't have a Threshold list, so I quickly put one together and we rolled off a scenario, "Escape...Into Danger!" I had forgotten my phone so all I can provide is a briefly play-by-play of the action:

- Mike's cultists (high priest, shotgun, mad midget and pistol cultists) set up near mid-table for good positions to shoot / attack from. My agents first move was to bring everyone all up into cover.  My female agent tried to activate her psychic powers. I hit my psychic guess and had her clairvoyance unlocked for the game. She used it on my boss to get give him an extra action to shoot at the midget...he missed.
- The high priest casts barrier on the shotgun cultist, who lands a minor injury on Jackson. The resulting morale checks are passed by everyone except my boss, who goes face down. The cleaver-wielding midget charges him and causes a major injury. Two rounds in and I'm already down to half strength. My chances to make it off the opposite table edge aren't looking good.
- Luckily one of my two remaining agents has lieutenant so I can still nominate all of my models. They make a run to the east table edge, away from the cultists and into some cover. The cultists follow in a move to cut them off.
- Mad midget moves over from the centre of the table and gets blasted in the face. The nearby pistol cultist who is blocking the Threshold's path goes face up after failing his morale check.
- Both agent's guns jam in the next round, and the lieutenant is left exposed after failing his shot. The psychic agent is smart enough to stay in cover while the high priest tries to fry Loamy with eldritch energy. I taunt Mike's dice saying he'll fail the roll, which he does.
- I nominate again and Loamy runs in to finish off  the pistol cultist rolling on the ground. Psychic girl moves up to stay within range and mind controls Loamy so that he can clear his weapon. The shotgun cultist moves into range from behind, but misses. The high priest moves to cut the agents off and casts final spell to compel my psychic agent, but has no actions left to make her do anything.
- Loamy makes a dash for the table edge and is able to escape. My psychic agent fails her next activation and can't move, but overcomes the compel on her second. With only that one move she ends up about a half inch shy of the table edge. The high priest charges her and causes another major injury.
One game, one loss...but oh so close!

When I created my new list I tried to make them similar to my v1 Threshold list. Starting out with only 15 points I wasn't able to include my dynamite-carrying agent, but he's waiting in reserve should anyone die and I get to re-equip.

One new thing in this version of the game is rolling psychic powers when you create your agents. I was lucky enough to not only get one, but also get to choose which power to take. Pyrokinesis was the obvious choice, but felt too much like 'Liz Sherman' from Hellboy so I went with clairvoyance instead.

During the game you only have a 20% chance of guessing which psychic card your opponent has selected. I (amazingly) guessed the correct card and was able to use the power twice. That was good, thematic fun and the power actually turned out to be quite useful. I would have loved to make that hit with my leader early in the game. It would have swung the odds much more in my favour.

Remember how I said I was trying to match my v1 Threshold list? Those two major injuries I ended up with after the game turn into crippled for for my leader (which is exactly what he had before). My psychic female agent ended up with "poor health." After only a single game and I ended up with pretty much two of the worst injuries I could have rolled without the agents dying, and my list is pretty much right back to where I was in v1.

Good times, lots of fun. I can't wait for the next game!

June 03, 2014

More Star Trek: Attack Wing Thoughts

Tholian Web

A few weeks ago I posted up my planned fleet list for the "Tholian Web" event. When I found out that my regular venue wasn't able to get the kit I resigned myself to not getting to try the fleet list. If you want a quick recap, it was two Bajoran scouts, a Defiant-class and some Federation fighters. The full list and my thoughts about it can be found here.

Pleasantly enough, I had a chance to run this fleet at Sentry Box's event last Monday!

The first match put me up against a two-ship Federation build that made quick work of my Bajoran ships. The Defiant class survived long enough to take out Picard's ship, and with time called, my fighters took out the second ship with just enough damage to take down its last remaining hull point.

The second match was against a fully loaded Voyager clocking in at 98 points. I wasn't quite sure what to make of the build. It had some good tools and those 10-dice torpedoes are scary. However, the attack using said torpedoes ended up rolling ONE hit on a total of eleven dice. Yes, you read that right. That attack would certainly have destroyed any one of my ships, but ended up being evaded. With my superior numbers I had the Voyager down to only a few hull when she got sliced in half by the web.

Match number three put me up against a two-sphere Borg build. This was pretty much what I'd expected to see, with a side board (loaded with Picard), Dukat and not much else. Those base-6 attacks in a full 360 degree arc, with free battlestations every round, were devastating. I concentrated my fire on the Picard sphere and had it near death but simply couldn't withstand those attacks for long.

The second prize ship went to the fourth place player in a roll-off. He's always a great sport, so I was happy to see him get it.

More DS9 Goodness

A few days later Trilogy Games hosted a second event for a Deep Space Nine model! Due to scheduling conflicts I wasn't able to host it, so I wanted to say thanks to Lewis for running the event and congratulations to Jason on his victory. Additional thanks go to Chris at Trilogy for putting up such a great prize for the measly cost of a booster for entry.

The Arena / The Collective

Teri has got some fab preview videos up for the prizes from both "The Arena" event, as well as some of the blind booster contents from the Collective series. Some of that stuff is looking amazing, so go to her channel and see what's coming up.

Later this month I'll be announcing the next event at Trilogy and might even tip my fleet plans for the event.