Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Stark Heroes I Unboxing [Song of Ice and Fire Miniatures Game]

Grabbed a random expansion box from the pile, and figured I'd do some unboxing pictures of its contents.  Today's box will be the Stark Heroes I box.  I'll grab a Lannister box for tomorrow!

To start, let's look at the front of the box.
So somber.  So imposing.  The back of the box.
Just because I'm sure it's hard to read, the contents are:
  • 6 Miniatures
  • 34 Cards
    • 2 Unit Cards
    • 5 Attachment Cards
    • 24 Tactic Cards
    • 3 NCU Cards
  • 1 Movement Tray
What awaits us when we open the box...

Nicely packaged.

Let's start by looking at the miniatures.  Apologies for the blurry pictures.  I'm working (slowly) to improve on my methods!

First up, we have Howland Reed.
Now Eddard Stark, holding Ice.
I really like how he looks so calm and collected, instead of looking like he's on the warpath.  Would've felt really out of place, otherwise.

Next up, we have Rodrick Cassel.
Summer.
Bran and Hodor- they are a decent amount larger than their comrades.
The model does seem to lean, which I don't think is intended.  I'll have to fix that at some point.

Finally, we have Brynden Tully (the Blackfish).
These miniatures look pretty good, and certainly better up close than the pictures give them credit for.

The two units cards.
 
I haven't read the rules yet, so it doesn't mean anything to me yet, but these really do look awesome!

Aaaand finally, the various cards (I'll spare you a picture of the movement tray).

 
 
 
I think a lot of these cards were shown at various parts of the campaign, so probably aren't much of a surprise.  They are very nice quality, if you haven't actually had a chance to see them in person!

Anyway, that's all for this showing.  Tune in soon, and I'll open one of the Lannister boxes!

Monday, July 16, 2018

A Song of Ice & Fire Miniature Game Starter Set Unboxing

Had a very large shipment arrive on Friday!

VERY large shipment.  On Saturday, another large shipment (about the size of the box on the bottom) arrived, with a terrain pack (I'll do a picture of that later).  Seems my Kickstarter reward for A Song of Ice & Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game has finally arrived!

This is pretty exciting for all of the backers of the game, and with the retail release coming next month, it's looking to be a pretty exciting time for fans of the series.

I figured I'd do some posts about the contents of the game and various expansions, in case anyone is interested.  So, let's start with the Starter Set!
 Good looking box, with a lot of depth (as you can see in the first photo.  Opening up, we are presented with this:
 That is a rulebook, which looks very interesting...
A bunch of tokens and terrain (which will be largely replaced by the terrain set that I'll show in a later post).
I believe the item on top of this is the Tactics Board, which is a unique element in this game.  Looking under these, we start to see the miniatures included.
Quite a lot in here.  We see a pack of cards with Unit Cards (and a terrain card).

There are 9 Combat Cards included in the game.  Packed under those were 10 Objective cards.
Also included are a bunch of dice- 10 black dice, and a white d3 die!
There are plenty more cards included in this game, clearly.
Included in this are 4 NCU (Non-Combat Unit) Cards, 14 Attachment Cards, 52 Tactics Cards, 12 Siege Cards, and 20 Secret Mission Cards (according to the rulebook).  Looks like there will be a lot of depth to this game!
A whole lot of movement trays- 1 solo tray, 7 infantry, and 1 cavalry.
And of course, the game comes with a BUNCH of miniatures.  The quality of the plastic for these is quite nice, and they really do seem to hold quite a lot of detail.  Very nicely done!

Let's look at some of the Stark ones first (48 total).
Looking at one of the plastic containers in the box, with a bunch of Stark miniatures.
A Stark Outrider
Banner for the Stark Sworn Swords
A Stark Sworn Sword Captain, a Sworn Sword, an Umber Berserker, Greatjon Umber, and Catelyn Stark
And now we'll take a look at some of the Lannister ones (55 total).
Assault Veteran, Mountain's Man, Lannister Guardsman, Ser Gregor Clegane, and Tyrion Lannister
Apparently I got tired of taking pictures?  Anyway, there's a lot of great stuff in this box, and it looks like it will be a blast when I finally get into it.  I know Dan, locally, got into the Kickstarter as well, so I should have an opponent.  I'll make sure to post when I play!

Next time, I'll open up and expansion, and we'll see what's inside!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Played some Shadespire!

So I've been trying out Shadespire, and after three games, I have to say I'm pretty impressed!

I went into the games having read all the rules, glanced over a few of the cards, and honestly, had quite a few concerns, some of which trying it out have allayed.

I'd like to talk about what I was concerned about pre-game, and my thoughts after three games (one of which was three player).

The game is too simple
I read the rules, and really, the game didn't wow me after that.  You get four activations, can move or attack (or both), or do other things.  Attacks are just roll dice for both sides, check for crits, if tied, check for relevant symbols, do damage.

During play, I noticed that although the rules are really as simple as they seem, the interplay of actions during the battle phase, and the positioning of models on the boards really seem to create enough depth.  Given that, the simplicity in the rules is almost a positive- you don't want to get bogged down with them while playing- you want to play the game, roll some dice, and get into the parts where your decisions matter.  Makes sense.
Movement doesn't matter
I was really concerned about this- it looked like once you charged, you basically just sat there swinging at each other until a model was gone, then you moved into your next battle.  In three games, this hasn't been the case though.  Moving has been extremely important, and positioning to deny a charge, or prepare for appropriate supports has actually seemed to be quite valuable.  This becomes evident with the cards that allow any sort of movement- Sidestep from the Core Set seemed to completely destroy a plan I was setting up, for instance.  So three twgames in, I'm not too worried about this.

Do the symbols on the dice matter?
Let me do this by example.  Obryn the Bold is starting next to Targor.  Obryn the Bold rolls two dice, needing hammers on the attack.  Targor gets 1 dice, needing an arrow, to get any form of defense.  A successful attack kills the model. 

But wait!  Crits are more important.  If Obryn rolls a crit, and Targor doesn't, it will be a hit, regardless.  If Targor rolls a crit, but Obryn doesn't, it's a miss, regardless of what's on the roll.

Each dice has one side that counts as a Critical, as well as sides with symbols for the different attack and defense types, as well as symbols for when your fighter is being supported (either on attack or defense).  But really, these symbols are almost irrelevant when you look at the critical symbols.

For some hard numbers- normally, Obryn hits about 59% of the time.  If Targor's dice had NOTHING but that one Critical symbol on it, Obryn would hit about 65% of the time.  Six percent is one in sixteen, or so.

Most things in the game start with a single defense die.  Some can gain a second when getting inspired, or through other means.  And this sort of crit thing really feels most evident with the defense die.

I've run the numbers for quite a few simulations- I realize it's not as dire as I initially thought... but man, it is something that I still wonder about.  More games will be enlightening here.

Deck Building
I honestly started out by thinking that deck building wouldn't be very satisfying.  You essentially are building two decks with 32 cards total, all as singletons.  I figured the lack of variety would make me lose interest quick.  I'm very pleased to learn how wrong I was.  A brief check of decks online (here) shows several different, interesting builds for each of the warbands.  There are some overlap between some decks for the same warband, but the variety of objective choices in the decks seems very telling of very interesting build choices when constructing the deck.
Also, despite the singleton nature of deck building, there are a lot of subtle (and not so subtle) ways to get some consistency out of your decks.  For instance, the Earth Shakes for the Chosen Axes can double as a second copy of Sidestep, or as a second copy of Distraction, from the Core Set.  The point is- if there are effects you want in duplicate in your deck, there are likely ways to get them.

The fact they are releasing a card expansion pretty soon, to me, further reinforces this.  If deck building weren't interesting, would there really be a market for a bunch of cards to add to your decks?  Of course not.

The Bottom Line
Honestly, I've been very impressed with Shadespire.  As a big fan of the LCGs from FFG, I really appreciate the way they are releasing cards, and the variety of deck building choices has me eager to find more chances to play.  The miniatures are top notch, as always with GW.  The mechanics of the game are very smooth and easy to teach and play.  This is a game that I can see easily finding time to play as a filler for conventions or even other gaming hangouts, and one I look forward to expanding my collection with in the future.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Assembled an army for a new game [Rune Wars]

I just finished assembling the Daqan starter army from the Core box, and hopefully will put this on the table on July 12th against Walt.

I have to say, I've assembled a lot of minis in my day, but I did not enjoy assembling these one bit.  They aren't complicated at all (most things are 2-3 pieces, and they fit pretty well), but the mold lines were kind of a pain, and the minis feel... soft, I guess?  I'm not sure.  I did find myself damaging a few (nothing too major), something I don't tend to do.

Anyway, we'll see how the game is.  If it's good, I can forgive annoying models.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Assembled some Shadespire!

So my birthday was back on the 21st of June, and my mother-in-law gave me some money, which I used to buy some new stuff!

One of those things was Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire, a game which seems really popular.  For me, personally, it has potential to be a big hit.  It has miniatures, which I love.  And it involves building a deck, which I also love!  It's a double win!

The minis are really easy to assemble- you don't need glue to put them together, but I filed and glued them anyway.
That's the two warbands from the Core Set, and also the Chosen Axes warband.

I'll be giving this a try tomorrow- using the starter decks for the two starter warbands to start.  We may try some deck building, meaning the Chosen Axes may have a fairly random deck run with it.  We'll see, but I'm super looking forward to it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Made my first Brawl deck! [Magic: The Gathering]

Boom!

After hearing about the format, I couldn't wait to give it a try!  I finally sat down and built a deck, using Temmet, Vizier of Naktamun as my Commander.

I figure I'll try using it and God-Pharaoh's gift to recur a bunch of big scary creatures, like Zetalpa and Goring Ceratops, and a some control and search effects.  Figure it'll be a good intro to the format for me.  Hopefully I get to try it tomorrow!

I won't bother with a decklist right now, as it is probably garbage.  But hey, eventually if I find something that works, I'll post it up :)

Monday, June 11, 2018

Battle Report, Minions vs Mercenaries, 4/12/18 [Warmahordes]

Whew, took a long time to post this!  Lots going on in my life, so having time to sit in front of the computer has been tough.  But hey, finally have it written up and posted.

This game was against Joey again.  I wanted to put some new stuff on the table, and figured I'd try a caster I haven't used in MkIII- Jaga-Jaga.  To further my effort to try something new, I decided to finally try another Minions theme.  I don't own enough Farrow to actually do the Thornfall Alliance, so with a few last minute purchases, I went with a Will Work for Food list.

https://conflictchamber.com/#cb201b_-0PjP4c4djTjMjWk7jSbOjV7Fk64n2N

Minion Army - 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Will Work for Food

[Jaga-Jaga 1] Jaga-Jaga, the Death Charmer [+27]
 - Blackhide Wrastler [16]
 - Bull Snapper [5]
 - Dracodile [36]
 - Ironback Spitter [14]
 - Gatorman Soul Slave [0(5)]
Croak Hunter [3]
Gatorman Husk [3]
Gatorman Witch Doctor [4]
Kwaak Slickspine & Gub, Croak Sorcerers [4]
Rorsh [15]
Thrullg [0(5)]
Totem Hunter [0(6)]
Swamp Gobbers Bellows Crew [2]

Plenty of stuff new to me in this list.  Like I said, I have never tried Jaga-Jaga in any edition of the game, let alone the current one.  The Gatorman Husk was a new purchase for this game (as I needed to fill the final three points).  And Rorsh/Brine were a completely new model for me, also purchased the day of the game (you may notice the lack of assembly on them in pictures below).

I also bought new dice for this game.  I'm sick of my old dice.
Anything more exciting than a picture of DICE?

Joey took his usual list:

https://conflictchamber.com/#c6201b_-0mb_9494949393it98iriripipiEhX

Mercenary Army - 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Hammer Strike

[Ossrum 1] General Ossrum [+28]
 - Ghordson Driller [10]
 - Ghordson Driller [10]
 - Ghordson Driller [10]
 - Grundback Gunner [6]
 - Grundback Gunner [6]
Hammerfall High Shield Gun Corps (max) [16]
 - Hammerfall High Shield Officer & Standard [0(5)]
Horgenhold Artillery Corps [0(6)]
Horgenhold Artillery Corps [0(6)]
Horgenhold Forge Guard (min) [10]
Horgenhold Forge Guard (min) [10]
Tactical Arcanist Corps [7]
Hammerfall Siege Crawler [18]

Pretty solid, dependable list.

We rolled up The Pit II, and per the usual, I lost the roll to go first (and Joey elected to have me go first).

Deployment:
Minion Deployment


Mercenary Deployment
I had my Husk Ambush onto the board from my left (Joey's right) right next to one of his unit of Forge Guard.

Turn 1:
I run everything forward, trying to keep the Dracodile out of range of the Siege Crawler (I don't want to deal with Stagger quite yet).  Jaga-Jaga casts Battle Host, and casts Death Wind on the Wrastler, and advances forward.
Joey moves his Dwarfs ever so slowly forward.  I think they are running, but it's hard to tell *chuckle*.

Ossrum puts Fire for Effect on one of the Artillery, Snipe on the Battle Engine, and advances up behind the wall on his side of the board.  The FFE'd Artillery takes a shot at the Spitter, and deals four damage.  Joey then spends a few minutes thinking about how he's going to handle the Dracodile, who can really screw with his Siege Crawler (with the spray).  He decides that having the Siege Engine staying too far back isn't going to help him, and moves it forward to shoot at the Spitter as well, dealing an additional four damage, and Staggering it.

Turn 2:
The Husk ambushes on Joey's side of the board, on my left, and manages to kill a Forge Guard.  The Totem Hunter then kills another, and sprints behind the building where he can't be seen.

The Dracodile heads up, sprays the Battle Engine for 10 damage, as well as Blinding it.  One less thing to deal with on my next turn.  The Croak Hunter in the center begins to try to chip away at that High Shield unit, and kills one.  Thrullg deals a few damage to the Gunner who ventured up to the forest, and I put a smoke screen on my right with the Swamp Gobbers to get Rorsh and Brine a bit closer to the action.

Joey starts hit turn by dropping Snipe off the Battle Engine (who can't shoot anyway), and allocating two focus to a Driller.  Joey's primary goal this turn is to drop the Dracodile, and he juggles Fire For Effect onto the Artillery pieces, shoots at the Dracodile with both Artillery pieces, Ossrum, and charges a unit of Forge Guard and a Driller into it.... but it stays standing (although not by much).  Elsewhere, the High Shields and a Gunner attempt to handle Rorsh, but the killing shot causes him to go Tough, which keeps him alive and impossible to shoot, meaning Brine is going to be able to get into the action on my turn.

Realizing he can't kill the Dracodile with his remaining pieces, Joey attempts to handle some of the support pieces, shooting at Kwaak, but only dealing two, but managing to kill Thrullg with his other unit of Forge Guard.

Turn 3:
I get to work, since everything in my army is basically where it needs to be.  The Spitter kills two Forge Guard, The Wrastler kills a Driller and badly damages another, who the Dracodile finishes off (although critically, I can't get a spray off to blind anything).  Brine charges into the Gun Corps, killing a few.  The Totem Hunter gets to work on one of the Artillery.

Really, even with getting basically optimal work from everyone (thanks to Jaga-Jaga's Signs and Portents), I don't really feel like I've taken a big chunk from his army.  Ugh.
Ossrum upkeeps Fire for Effect, allocates a few to the remaining Driller, and the artillery takes a shot at the Dracodile, doing some damage.  That's enough for the one remaining Driller to charge it, killing it.  He has a few focus remaining, and uses it to attack the Wrastler, dealing a few damage.

His artillery attempts to clear the Totem Hunter off them, but are unable to, so Ossrum moves backwards to kill the Totem Hunter, then casts Bullet Dodger on himself.

The Gun Corps figure their best bet to handle Brine is large CMAs, and attempt one... but roll double ones and miss.  However, they are saved from stressing too much, as the nearby Gunner has no problem killing Rorsh (I think some unengaged Gun Corps shot at him first, to remove the fury he was holding).

With the Dracodile gone, the two Forge Guard in the left hand unit charge the Dracodile, killing it, and the game is basically over except for cleanup (which Joey manages to do next turn).

Minions lose!

Thoughts:
I figured this would probably be an uphill battle, as I was running a caster I haven't used before (Jaga-Jaga), and a new theme.  But even with experience... I don't know how I could win against Hammerstrike with this theme.  It just doesn't seem to generate the volume of attacks I would need to handle all the bodies.  I suppose for this matchup, I'll need to stick with Blindwater Congregation for the Hammerstrike matchup, and try WWFF against other opponents.  It'd probably be better if I had some more lesser warlocks as well, which I'm working on ordering. 

I rolled well, didn't play too too terribly, I think, so I just got outplayed and out-attritioned, which I can live with.  I really liked Jaga-Jaga, even though she didn't really do all that much but cast S&P every turn.  But heck, I really loved having that available.  I don't know that I missed many attacks at all this game!

I've played two more games since this post, both against Rob, only one of which was played to conclusion (against Primal Terrors).  I am slowly getting my Minions 'tournament pair' fully completed, and once that's done, I'll work to getting a new army up and running- so look out for that in the near-ish future.