Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Gaming from January 22nd, 2013

Played a few games on the 22nd against Rob.

First game up was Malifaux.  I took my normal Lilith list.  Rob was interested in trying out the post-errata Hamelin, and therefore took the following list:

Hamelin the Plagued -- 4 Pool
Hoarcat Pride
Hoarcat Pride
Malifaux Rat
Malifaux Rat
Malifaux Rat
Nix, the Bull Terrier
Rat Catcher
The Stolen

Using the Hoarcat Prides was a bit of a surprise, but seeing as how my experience with Hamelin was short (and frankly, unpleasant), I guess I should be expecting anything.

We flipped for Strategies.  Mine was Reconnoiter (control quarters of the board), Rob's was Plant Evidence (take (1) Interact actions on terrain on my side of the board).  Overall, I felt that the Strategies were in my favor- I have been trying to spread out my forces, which I think is important for success, and I don't think coming across the board quickly is part of Hamelin's ideal plan.

Schemes were next.  Rob's schemes were Bodyguard (Hamelin), and Plague on Malifaux (basically, turn my guys into rats).  I chose Bodyguard (Lilith) and Breakthrough (have more guys in his deployment zone at the end of the game than he does).  Off we go!

Turn 1:
I win Initiative.  I have my Terror Tot, Lelu, and Lilitu run off to my left, into a set of ruins.  Lilith moves over to my right, throwing down an Illusory Forest, and the Mature Nephilim hops over to join her.  Tuco takes a potshot at Hamelin, misses, and moves to join the group on my left.

Rob's activations were spent moving his models forward, generally, although he summoned a Stolen which he moved towards Tuco.

Turn 2:
Rob won the Initiative, flipping the Red Joker, I believe.  Rob started the turn by having Hamelin summon another Stolen, then walking back towards his corner. 

I activated Tuco next, and decided that with Hamelin backing up, Nix was the next best target.  I shot at him, and did 2 damage (but see the post-game thoughts, below), before backing Tuco out of threat range.

Nix activated next, and he Herded the rats forward, and moved a little forward himself.

We both waste a few activations, jockeying for position (Hamelin's crew generally moving a little more forward, and Lilith and the Mature Nephilim swinging out more to my left), before I finally activate Lilitu, and walk her up, and throw a Lure on a Malifaux Rat.  The rat failed to resist, got pulled foward into Lilitu's melee range, and she killed it.  Since I had pulled the rat away from Nix's Aura, the rat couldn't respawn, and this was an unpleasant (albeit small at the time) turn of events for Rob.  Lilitu ended her activation throwing a Lure at Hamelin, which forced Rob to use a card to resist (although truthfully, he could have ignored it, but it never hurts to be careful).  Rob decided to plug the gap in the ruins with Malifaux Rats, hoping to prevent future Lure shenanigans.

At turn end, I was feeling pretty good.  Lilith and the Mature Nephilim were in okay position, and weren't in danger at the moment.  In the ruins, my four models were more than capable of holding off a few rats, I figured.  If I could hold on my left, I was hoping to send Lilith and the Mature into Rob's backfield, and start doing some more significant damage.

Turn 3:
I won Initiative. I start with activating Lilith and Lelu (using Companion), and the end result is that the Rat Catcher is Lured forward and killed.  Rob has the Malifaux Rats respond by sacrificing a bunch of them to summon another Rat Catcher.

Unfortunately, the Rat Catcher is close enough to Tuco that I shoot him, deal several points of damage, and put a poison counter on him, which (with one health remaining) kills him his next activation, which Rob took immediately to force me to activate another model.

I decide it's time to get up into the action, have Lilith use Brood Mother on the Mature Nephilim (giving the Mature Nephilim the next activation after Lilith), and charge Lilith into the nearest Hoarcat Pride.  Unfortunately, my flipping wasn't very good, and the cards in my hand weren't much better, and I only deal a moderate amount of damage, leaving it alive.

The Mature follows up by charging the other Hoarcat and hits, but I trigger Knock Aside, and charge into Nix instead, killing him and ending engaged with the last Malifaux Rat.  Things are starting to look a little bleak for Rob, but with a smile on his face, he makes a move to try to even it up.

First, Hamelin activates, and after several casts, finally makes Lilith Insignificant.  No matter the result of his final activations, at least Lilith won't count for my victory conditions.  He follows this up by having his Hoarcats Prides get close to me, and successively cast Devour, hoping to snatch up Lilith, and have her Sacrificed.  Several failed attempts later, Rob looks at the board state, and concedes. 

It indeed started to look bad for him- Lilith could've handled the Hoarcats decently well, and Lure plus all my melee should have been enough to bring Hamelin down, I thought.  With that said, even without Rats, Hamelin's various tricks could've still made the game a challenge, I thought.  Still, Rob conceded, and that's the game.

Well, there were several things going on here, but we should start with the thing we did obviously wrong, and this is something I didn't know about Hamelin and Nix- they are spirits!  That means they take half damage from non-magical attacks.  Turns out, I don't have many options on that front, meaning Nix may have survived, and taking Hamelin down would've been a lot tougher.  It may have been enough to change the game, truthfully, and will be something to remember for next time.

Hamelin's changes are pretty huge.  Rob's initial impression was that the changes were perhaps too much, and although there may be some truth there, it's definitely a very different model on the board than the first time I played against him.  He needs to be up near the action (so that his Nihilism aura can help out), and he needs to be up there with Nix backing up his Rats' rush into combat.  Rob moved Hamelin back during the second turn, I'm assuming to protect him from what he perceived was my Mature Nephilim and Lilith getting too close, when really he needed to get up there and depend on his Stolen to keep him alive.

The game wasn't long enough to really get a feel for my play- overall I thought I played alright, although I did get a little bottled up in the Ruins- partially because I ran Tuco into them instead of leaving him out to be a pain in Rob's backside.  I need to do a better job of keeping him out and fighting, I guess.

We ended the night by getting about halfway through a game of Dreadball.  Having finally gotten everyone assembled, I taught Rob the rules, and we began playing.  I took no notes, because I was trying to keep the game moving, although the basic events were that I quickly went up +6 using the Orx, but Rob fought back, and we ended the game with me up +2 with about 7 Rushes left, and Rob with the definite momentum.

After my short experience with the game, I have to say that I really do quite like it- it's very fluid, and the action doesn't have any resets, which is nice.  Getting the occasional extra action from various cards is VERY helpful (I used cards to score both of my 3 point strikes), and although the ref didn't play any part of our game, I like the fouling mechanics, and look forward to games where they actually matter.

Anyway, thanks for reading!

Monday, January 21, 2013

New Warhammer: Invasion Podcast

I haven't done a good job of mentioning podcasts when they are created, but I will be trying to, from now on.

There's a new Warhammer:Invasion podcast out there: WINVASION.  I don't know that there's every been a Warhammer podcast, making it the only game without one, so I'm really excited to see it in action, and can't wait to hear some episodes!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Dreadball minis assembled!

Just a small note.  Finally got all of my Dreadball miniatures assembled, meaning I should be breaking this out on Tuesday.  Really looking forward to playing this!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Battle for the Old World Spoilers (Warhammer: Invasion)

Unique Orc Legend
3 Cost (2 Loyalty)
1 Power Kingdom/Quest, 2 Power Battlefield
3 Hit Points
Forced: When this legend enters play, you must burn 3 zones instead of 2 in order to win for the rest of the game.
Action: When this legend attacks, play a non-Epic Spell Orc tactic from your hand for free.

Da Great Waaagh!
Unique Orc Quest
0 Cost (3 Loyalty) 
Play in any opponent's zone under your control.
When you assign combat damage to this zone, you may place any number of that combat damage on this quest instead.
Forced: When the 3rd damage token is placed here, sacrifice this quest to gain an additional battlefield phase this turn after the current battlefield phase.

Mob O' Hutz
Orc Support
1 Cost (1 Loyalty)
1 Power
If you control a non-Orc card, sacrifice this card.

Ded Scary Boy
Orc Unit
3 Cost (1 Loyalty)
1 Power
3 Hit Points
Orc only.  Ambush 2.
Action: When this unit ambushes, it takes 1 damage.  Then, units with no damage lose 2 Power until the end of the phase.

Iron Defenders
Dwarf Unit
2 Cost (1 Loyalty)
1 Power
2 Hit Points
Dwarf only.  Ambush 1.
Action: When this unit ambushes, it gains Toughness 2 until the end of the phase.

Dead-Eye Cannon Crew
Dwarf Unit
5 Cost (2 Loyalty)
3 Power
4 Hit Points
War Machine.
Battlefield only.
Action: When this unit attacks, sacrifice X developments to destroy target non-Attachment support card in the attacked zone.  X is the support card's cost.

Reiksguard Elite
Empire Unit
3 Cost (2 Loyalty)
2 Power
1 Hit Point
Elite. Knight.
Battlefield only.
This unit gains +1 hit point for every experience attached to it.
Action: When this unit attacks or defends, attach 1 experience to it.

Devoted to Taal
Empire Tactic
0 Cost (1 Loyalty)
Action: Take target experience attached to a unit or legend you control into your hand.  Then, attach this card facedown to that unit or legend as an experience.

Chapterhouse Stables
Empire Support
3 Cost (1 Loyalty)
1 Power
Lower the cost of the first Knight unit you play each turn by 1.

Unique High Elf Unit
4 Cost (2 Loyalty)
2 Power
3 Hit Points
Elite. Ranger.
Action: When this unit attacks, put 1 resource token on it.  Then, deal X indirect damage to target opponent.  X is the number of resource tokens on this unit.

Nagarythe Warrior
High Elf Unit
4 Cost (2 Loyalty)
2 Power
3 Hit Points
Elite. Ranger.
High Elf only.  Ambush 2.
Action: When this unit ambushes, deal 1 damage to each damaged unit.

Hidden Outpost
High Elf Support
3 Cost (1 Support)
1 Power
Lower the Ambush cost of the first card you ambush each turn by 1.

Norse Clansman
Chaos Unit
3 Cost (1 Loyalty)
1 Power
3 Hit Points
Forced: When this unit is opposed in combat, discard the top card of your deck.  If the discarded card is a unit, deal 1 uncancellable damage to target attacking or defending unit.

Power of Chaos
Chaos Tactic
0 Cost (5 Loyalty)
Action: Until the end of the turn, you may play any number of Limited cards. (Paying all costs)

Summoning Tower
Chaos Support
2 Cost (2 Loyalty)
1 Power
Action: When this zone is attacked, sacrifice a unit in this zone to put a Chaos unit of equal or lower cost into play from your hand into this zone.

Slave Hunter
Dark Elf Unit
3 Cost (1 Loyalty)
1 Power
2 Hit Points
Action: When this unit survives an attack on an opponent's zone, sacrifice it to take control of target non-unique unit in that zone.  Move that unit to your corresponding zone.

Captured Mind
Dark Elf Tactic
1 Cost (3 Loyalty)
Action: Examine target opponent's hand.  Then, you may play a unit from that opponent's hand (paying its printed cost but ignoring its loyalty) into any of your eligible zones under your control.

Hag Graef Mine
Dark Elf Support
3 Cost (1 Loyalty)
1 Power
Action: Corrupt a unit you control but do not own to (choose one): draw X cards, or gain X resources.  X is that unit's loyalty.

Pegasus Knight
Neutral Unit
4 Cost
2 Power
4 Hit Points
Bretonnian. Knight.
Order only.  Battlefield only.
Action: When you declare attackers, you may declare this unit as an attacker against a different zone.

Bonegrinder Giant
Neutral Unit
5 Cost
3 Power
4 Hit Points
Destruction only. Battlefield only.
While this unit is attacking alone, you may assign damage to your opponent's capital before assigning damage to defending units.

Battle for the Old World Contents (Warhammer:Invasion)

41 Wurrzag (x3)
42 Da Great Waaagh! (x3)
43 Mob O' Hutz (x3)
44 Ded Scary Boy (x3)
45 Iron Defenders (x3)
46 Dead-Eye Cannon Crew (x3)
47 Reiksguard Elite (x3)
48 Devoted to Taal (x3)
49 Chapterhouse Stables (x3)
50 Lilea (x3)
51 Nagarythe Warrior (x3)
52 Hidden Outpost (x3)
53 Norse Clansman (x3)
54 Power of Chaos (x3)
55 Summoning Tower (x3)
56 Slave Hunter (x3)
57 Captured Mind (x3)
58 Hag Graef Mine (x3)
59 Pegasus Knight (x3)
60 Bonegrinder Giant (x3)

Hamelin Errata'd!

I admit, I'm a little behind, but still: great news!

I won't say I had enough experience facing him to think he was actually broken, but there certainly were several things I disliked about him after my first time facing him, especially while using Neverborn.  Given that even the poster described them as overdue, I don't think I'm alone here.

For the most part, these are a thing of the past.  Let's see what changed:

Indiscriminant Void is much simpler, and I believe was changed to stop some funky interactions with other models.  I'm not sure, but I don't think it'll change his play a whole lot.  Instead of him being placed and sacrificing a Stolen, the Stolen is just sacrificed, Hamelin stays put, and heals up.

Nihilism is basically an aura now, which is awesome, but hurts him a little, because now he'll have to be near the objectives in order to claim them- the rats can't do it themselves.

Bully was taken away, and replaced with Ruffian, which is a badly needed balance mechanism- now Gremlins and the like CAN target Hamelin, they just have to pass a WP -> 13 duel to do so.

Fate is Meaningless (Model ignores any modifiers to its flips during its next action) was turned into a (1) action (formerly (0)).  I feel like this probably wasn't needed, especially since Useless Toy is still a (0) action, and overall probably more useful.

Haunting Melody changed to Wp->14 Duel is helpful, going against the Combat Duel total could have really sucked.

Overall, seems like a decent set of changes, at the very least making him a 'reasonable' matchup for Gremlins, plus a lot of other nice things to keep him in check.

Nix also gets the Nihilism aura, which again, is a nice balance mechanism, and gives Hamelin a way to win scenarios without necessarily being RIGHT THERE.  Sweet Taste of Failure also only works on enemy models- a pretty nice change, since you generally aren't worried about Malifaux Rats failing duels, therefore Nix has to get close to use it.

Abandon has been removed from the Stolen.  No longer can they make a model insignificant for basically no cost to the Hamelin crew (since he can create Stolen with a (1) action).

I've not seen the Rat-Catcher in action, but he's changed to be no longer Insignificant, but allowed to be added to Hamelin's crew via Affinity, and now, instead of freely killing Rats (which would give them infinite activations!), he can make them lose Slow.  Still, a really nice ability for rats, but no longer feeling sort of ridiculous.

The Malifaux Rat, I felt, was the biggest problem with the Hamelin crew.  They've changed quite a bit.  No more -Wp combat trigger for them.  No more Instinctual.  No free positive flip modifier.  No more ability to remove Corpse and Scrap counters (why?).  Instead, if an enemy model is in contact with 3 or more Malifaux Rats, that model is -2 Df and -2 Wp.  This still has a very thematic feel (swarms of rats slowing your opponent down), but is not a permanent effect.  Also, combined with the Rat-Catcher, players will still get a lot of mileage out of the Rats and get more attacks, I'm guessing.  The biggest change, for me, is their new rule: They're Just Rats.  Other friendly models can't bring them to less than 1 WD, and can't be Summoned again if killed during it's own activation.  Black Blood now kills rats dead!  No more infinite activations!  Huzzah!  Seriously though, I feel this is a fantastic improvement.

Overall, it looks like Hamelin DOES maintain his feel and style (which is what made Rob interested in him anyway), but made him more in line with other Masters in the game.  Truthfully, seems like very good changes, and certainly for the good of the game.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

What else is out there that might count as an LCG?

So, at the moment, FFG produces 6 great LCGs, but like any gamer, I always want more.

So naturally, the question is- what else is available?

Well, what sort of things do I want in a card game?  Deck-building is a major key.  Heck, half the work you do in getting better as a player is in designing new, awesome decks.  Of course, the second part of that is drawing- the randomization (and optimization) of what comes off the top of your deck is fairly important, at least to me.  Finally, card games can eventually become stale without expansions.  I feel like occasional (doesn't have to be monthly) expansions to the game really add a lot to the game, by creating a steadily shifting meta.  You'll have to regularly go back and adjust your deck to handle the new environment you're playing in.

Of course, the better the rules, the better the game, but without these things in some way, it's hard to count the game as an LCG.

So, the question from before.  What else is available?

The first game I thought of was Frontline General: Spearpoint.  In this one, you have deckbuilding- you have a number of points you're allowed to spend on your deck, and you construct it using those points.  The issue is that the decks are mutually exclusive.  If you have a German deck, you build with only the German cards.  Same with the American cards. You do have good draw rules, and the game itself is fantastic (and I have some posts on my Cardboard Warriors blog about it), but it also doesn't have very frequent expansions, and some of the 'expansions' aren't compatible with the base game (the 1987 expansion in the future, for instance).  Good game, but not really LCG material.

Mage Wars is another interesting one, and it's one that cardgamedb has started supporting.  You have deck building (I believe based off a points system as well, although I'm not sure).  You have what could be yearly expansions (depending on what the company decides to do).  I've never played the game, but it's got a heavy boardgame component (you move cards around a board, as I understand it).  There is no card draw, again, as I understand it- you'll choose two cards from your deck each turn.  I'm interested in playing this, but the jury is still out for me on whether this would be an LCG or just a card-based boardgame.

PURGE: Sins of Science was a recent successful Kickstarter campaign and one that caught my interest, but I didn't back because, well, I'm poor.  It had deckbuilding, it had expansions (at least a few), but apparently the card draw was a little different, but I'm not sure how.  This may qualify, but we'll see how it goes before I really try picking it up.  I hear the rulebook is a mess, for example.

Elemental Clash is another one that has potential.  Deck building, desire for future expansions, it looks like it could be good.  I've heard it described as a mix between super-simple Magic the Gathering, Call of Cthulhu, and Battletech, but primarily Magic in mechanics.  To me, that's not a big deal- I really enjoyed Magic, and would continue to play if it wasn't for the random boosters.  I worry that the game will be TOO simple, but I'll wait and see- maybe the expansions will add some additional complexity to the game.

I've also heard Shadowfist is moving to this format, which is supposed to start this upcoming year (although I see you can get the starter now?), which will certainly bear investigation, especially as they seem to be slowly reprinting cards from the CCG era into the expansions.

So, anyone else have any ideas for games, either currently out or in the future, that might be LCG-like?

Did you guys back the Up Front Kickstarter?

Obviously, this is about 2 weeks too late, but still, it's worth noting the success of the Up Front Kickstarter, which easily hit 10x its funding goal, and had a ton of great stretch rewards.

First, regarding Up Front- I've only played it twice at a friend's house, but man, I had a great time.  Couple that with all the options you got from even a fairly basic bid- how could you not hop on the bandwagon and pick this up?  This game gives you a lot of tactical choices, and on top of that, it's really fun.  I'm pretty excited to just have this available again.

Perhaps more importantly is the success of Kickstarter in funding these out of print wargames, or even wargames in general.  Now, without talking about miniature games, there doesn't seem to be a lot of wargame ideas on Kickstarter these days.  Frontline General: Spearpoint 1943 Map Expansion was a successful campaign, and certainly is a wargame.  Battle Tank: Escape from Giant Robot Island certainly wasn't something historically driven, but seemed like a wargame... but wasn't doing very well before it was cancelled.

Now, several big publishers (GMT and MMP for instance) take a very similar approach to this when getting funding for upcoming games, by taking preorders, and charging when the game gets close to production, but I'm really surprised more small designers/companies aren't using Kickstater, given that good looking games really should have no problem making their funding.

Personally, I would love to see a reprint of AH's Gunslinger or Breakout: Normandy.  Heck, there are tons of AH games I'd love to see.  What about Magic Realm? 

The point is, I really hope that the success of Up Front gives wargame designers, especially ones that aren't being published by one of the big companies, the chance to use Kickstarter to see their creations come true.  We want to see them come out as much as you do, in most cases.

If anyone hears about some other wargame related campaigns, please- let me know!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Malifaux Battle Report, 1/8/13 - First minis game of 2013!

Played Rob in Malifaux last Tuesday, over at DropZone.  I had finally assembled Lelu and Lilitu, so was pretty excited to finally have my 'goal' 35 Soulstone list up and running.

We flipped for our strategy, and ended with Shared Deliver a Message- basically, a member of our crew had to take a (2) action within 2" of the opponent's master.  The earlier we did it, the better.

My list:

Lilith, Mother of Monsters -- 5 Pool
Mature Nephilim
Terror Tot Nephilim

I chose to announce Bodyguard (Lilith) and Breakthrough as my Schemes.

Rob's list (I think):

Rasputina -- 6 Pool
Essence of Power
Blessed of December
Ice Gamin
Ice Gamin
Ice Golem
Silent One

Rob's schemes were Bodyguard (Rasputina) and Sabotage, both of which he announced.

We actually had a decent amount of terrain on the table, looking like a nice outpost town.

Turn 1:

I win initiative, and we basically all walk towards the middle of the board, getting into position.  I had Tuco over on Rob's far left, hoping to get a little behind him and cause some annoyance.  Rob threw up some Ice Pillars right in the middle of the board, and I gladly had Lilith walk up and kill one of them.  We ended the turn pretty far apart... but definitely close enough that next turn was going to get ugly.

Turn 2:

Rob won Initiative, and sends an Ice Gamin forward and has him turn into a statue (making him really easy to hit, but much more difficult to damage).

I have Tuco activate from the side, Veil up, and Run and Gun back, shooting at the Ice Gamin.  After a decent flip, Rob decides to play the Red Joker from his hand to cause me to miss.  I give him one of my 'huh?' stares, which he ignores, and we move on.  For the record: it turns out I didn't explain my abilities correctly, and when I said Run and Gun let's me shoot then get a charge move, it wasn't clear that it wasn't an actual charge.  I really need to work on this, to save poor Rob his high cards sometimes ;).

The rest of the turn involves me moving pretty much centrally to the table, around the ice pillar that's left (which my Terror Tot fails to kill), and Lilith walking up and dropping an Illusory Forest in front of my forces, then using my Mature Nephilim to carry Lilith back to safety.

Rob's activations involved him moving forward as well, and throwing Ice Pillars off to my left you can see the edge of one of them in the following picture.  He then had the Blessed of December move into the cover the Ice Pillars provided.  I was a little concerned about this- but for the wrong reason.  I had this feeling that he was going to have the Blessed use his Jump, and get into position for a really early message delivery.  Turns out... not so much.

Turn 3:

Rob wins Initiative, and again sends his Ice Gamin up to statue.

I, again, have Tuco Veil and Run and Gun, and finally get a hit (my first EVER hit with Tuco), putting two damage on the dastardly Ice Gamin.  Then, Tuco runs behind cover.

Rob advances his Ice Golem up, parking him just past the far right of the Illusory Forest (from my perspective).

The Terror Tot finally manages to kill the Ice Pillar facing me.  Now, you might be thinking, "Hey Asmo, isn't it only Breakable 3?  Your Terror Tot kills is on a 4+ flip?".  You're right.  It took the Terror Tot three tries (one last turn).  That was a tough pillar of ice.

Rob's Silent One advances next to the Ice Golem, and does it's healing thing, helping the poor Ice Gamin.

I finally get in on the action, and activate Lilitu and Lelu.  Lilitu begins casting Lure on the Ice Golem, and after several casts, have moved the Ice Golem close enough forward that Lilitu can attack it, and on doing so, fails to hit it.  Lelu follows up with a vicious charge, and again, I fail to hit.  Not such good flipping this turn.

Rasputina activates, and throws Ice Pillars in front of Lilith and the Mature Nephilim, most likely to prevent both of them from being able to charge (and probably kill) the Ice Golem this turn.

I, of course, am perfectly happy sending Lilith forward to kill Ice Pillars, killing one, then move back and use Brood Mother to activate the Mature Nephilim, who charges up and kills the Silent One and an Ice Gamin.  I'm pretty happy with this, of course...

...until Rob activates his Blessed of December, who Jumps forward and Sabotages the building he had targeted (and then moving into the back of the Mature, hoping to damage it next turn).  I find myself ending Turn three down 4-2 (we're each +2 because of the Bodyguard Scheme). 

Turn 4:

I win initiative, and promptly activate my Mature Nephilim, who quickly dispatches the Blessed of December, and attempts to attack the Ice Golem with his last action, but deals almost no damage.

Rob activates his Ice Golem, and finds himself having no problems hitting, dealing quite a bit of damage to the Mature Nephilim, but not quite killing him.

I have a bit of an issue here, unfortunately, as killing the Ice Golem will cause it to explode, bringing my dear Mature Nephilim down to like 2 Wounds, meaning it'd be easy to bring down.  However, I can't afford NOT to kill it, activate Lelu, and do so, damaging quite a bit of my models.

Rasputina wastes no time taking advantage of things, and flings some spells, killing the Mature Nephilim and damaging my Lelu, which his Essence of Power quickly finishes off.

With Lelu gone, my Lilitu is in a bad spot, and I figure my best bet to give myself a shot at the endgame is to move Lilith forward, sacrifice four Soulstones for two Blood Counters, and hope to summon a Lelu, sacrificing my Terror Tot.  Lilith moves up, does so, and Lilith easily makes the flip, giving me back my Lelu.

I've put myself into a pretty good position, overall.  Rob is down to just an Ice Gamin, Rasputina, and the Essence of Power, where I still have Lilith, Lelu and Lilitu, and Tuco.  If I can get to him, it's a decent match-up.

Turn 5:

This turn was fairly unremarkable.  Rob moves his guys back, to hide behind the building, and I move forward, trying to close the distance.  Lilith also throws an Illusory Forest off to my left, just in case Rob tries to go over there and fling spells at me... again.

Turn 6:

Rob wins the initiative, moves Rasputina out from behind the building, and tries to throw spells at Lilith, but is just out of range.

I'm salivating at this point, since Lilith is FAST.  And, she has the Fast Ability, so go figure.  I walk Lilith forward, and charge in, swinging happily, and deal pretty weak damage to Rasputina, and end Lilith's activation, pretty pleased with how things are turning out.

Then Rob activates his Ice Gamin, delivers the message to my now REALLY close Lilith, and goes up 7-2.  Bastard tricked me!

*sigh.  I'm a little displeased at this turn of events, but to my credit, I think I only swore once.  I do some thinking.  I'm actually right where I want to be- up in his grill.  I still outnumber him, and should have no issues killing Rasputina, I think, if the game goes another turn.  Fine, that denies him his other Scheme, keeping him to five points.  If I keep Lilith alive (not too hard to do), and get all of my guys into the zone, I can get up to four points, which is better than being shut out.  Of course, that involves the game lasting another turn- I'm not close enough with most of my guys to get them into the deployment zone this turn.  Still... 5-4 is still a loss.  Then I remember- Oh!  I can deliver a message too!  That would tie us up, and frankly, that's the best I can do at this point.

So... everything moves forward, hoping to get in on the action early next turn.  If there is a next turn.

We flip to continue the game (needing a 10+), and thankfully we flip a 12.  Whew!  One more turn.

Turn 7:

I win initiative.  I'm stuck having Lilith activate, and using Brood Mother on Lilitu.  I can't have Lilith attack Rasputina yet, because that would make me unable to deliver the message, so Lilith herself delivers it, bringing the score up to 7-3, then I swing with my last action, and almost kill Rasputina, but thankfully Lilitu is there to help, killing Rasputina AND the Ice Gamin, removing all of the Arcanists from the board.

My guys all move into Rob's deployment zone, and we end the game, tied 5-5.


Well, that was certainly a tough game.  Rob seems to have gotten a handle on Rasputina, and although I think I have a decent handle on Lilith, she's so one-dimensional that it's hard to really handle some of these games.  I mean, Rob knows my game plan right away- he just needs to keep me at range long enough to beat me into submission.

Of course, I still have some new options I can try with Lilith, to maybe add some surprises.  There were a couple of times I thought about Transpositioning the Mature Nephilim into a place, and using Brood Mother early to get a decent charge into Rasputina.  I don't know how viable something like that is (it might just be a way to make Rasputina spend Soulstones early to save herself), but it's something I should try.

I also could try running Nekima or the Black Blood Shaman, which could give me some fun in-game choices.

Still, I'm having a blast with Lilith as is, and Rob seems to be having a great time with Rasputina.  At this rate though, he's going to be stomping me pretty soon!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Finally broke out Star Wars...

... and gotta say, I really loved it.

I was concerned that the game didn't 'feel' like Star Wars, that the quick movement from your deck would make the individual cards less important, and frankly, that I might not like the mechanics, but after one game, I don't have nearly the same level of concern.

Of course, that's after only one game, so who knows how I will feel after more games, but man, I'm certainly excited to keep trying.

On a side note, I played by finally going to LCG night at Games and Stuff in Glen Burnie, which is every Thursday.  It was pretty cool, and gets a good sized crowd.  They were mostly playing Star Wars (although Rob got into a game of Call of Cthulhu with one of the guys there).  I brought my Warhammer: Invasion cards in the hopes that someone would randomly ask about it... no luck though.  Assuming I can go semi-regularly (and I hope to), I'll keep at it!

Played a wargame!

This past Sunday, while I was working my part time job, I actually took a wargame to work, read the rules, and played it.

The game was Red Winter, from GMT Games, covering the Battle of Tolvajarvi during the Winter War.  Finnish troops versus Soviet troops is always something I'm interested in, and I was (and still am) really looking forward to getting into this game.

I didn't take any pictures (not allowed to bring anything like that to work), but I did take a few notes, so although I won't bore you with a full battle report, I'll jot down a few things.

I played the tutorial scenario, First Folly, which is just an introduction to the mechanics of moving and attacking, with 9 Soviet units attacking the Finnish town of Hirvasvaara, defended by a total of 6 units, 5 of which are reduced.

In playing the scenario, I decided to basically throw the Soviets at the Finnish position, trusting their strength of numbers to carry the day.  They couldn't quite get there on the first turn, but would start the attacking on the second turn.  With Finns, I tried to spread out from the town, hoping to at least slow the Soviets down a turn (the scenario ends after 3 turns, or when one side loses two units).

Upon arriving, the Russians launched a strong attack against the first reduced infantry unit, which was hampered a little by the Finnish Off-board artillery (which gets a bonus firing into any hex where multiple units are stacked), but then the Finnish couldn't really accomplish anything on their own turn, and were easily swept aside (a 6:1 attack on the town sealed the fate).

Really, this is just an intro game, so I'm not too concerned about optimizing my play for either side for this particular case, but I did learn a lot of things that should help me in future games.

First, I tried early on to have the Finnish units roll for Recovery.  On a '6', they regain a step.  At times, I'm sure I'll make good use of this, but it seems like I may be better served Digging In when I need to defend somewhere, and using the favorable column shift to either keep me in place, or have me retreat less (losses may generally be taken as either step losses, or hexes retreated, for those who don't know).

Second, as the Finns, I really need to use their additional mobility to assault.  I may be finding myself outgunned quite a bit in game, and the favorable column shift on assaults (due to Finnish SMGs) might be vital.

Third, I forgot a lot of rules, but the big one is the double Combat Strength for certain units on defense.  Throwing that Finnish MG in the town would have really helped, since its Combat Strength goes to 8, creating a fairly decent defensive position.

Fourth, and finally, I really have to think how I'm going to use my off-board artillery and ranged attacks (for both sides).  The only real clear lines of sight are over the giant frozen lake(s), so the direct ranged attack learning can wait until then, but the artillery is very important (as the Russians), and occasional worth using (as the Finnish).  You only have limited ammo for each side, so you can't really just waste the shots (although in this scenario, the Russian can just fire every chance), and as the Finnish, their guns are so weak, they may only be useful for trying to blunt an attack (by dropping a Suppression marker on the target).  I'll need quite a few games to get the hang of this.

I'm quite eager to put this back on the table, and maybe try my hand at the first 'real' scenario, where the Night rules are used- an important part of the battle, from what I gather.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

X-Wing battle reports from 12/18/12

Managed to get a few 100 point games of X-Wing in prior to the holidays, and figured I'd post about them.

First game, I played against Rob, and I took the Rebels.  This was our first time playing at 100 points, so we were both really excited about this.  I don't know what list Rob took (since he was using my miniatures, it's possible he took the list I took in the second game, but I can't recall).  My list:

Biggs Darklighter (X-Wing) w/ R2-D2.
Red Squadron Pilot (X-Wing) w/ R2 Astromech
Red Squadron Pilot (X-Wing) w/ R2 Astromech
Red Squadron Pilot (X-Wing)

The goal here is to have Biggs take the punishment early, playing defensively (since all TIEs that can shoot at him HAVE to shoot at him), hoping R2-D2 can help keep him alive, and use the 3 firepower of the X-Wings to carry the day.

For added excitement, we added an asteroid field (another new addition for us).  Certainly something that we kept in mind.

Off we go!

Turn 1:
Basically, we move moved straight up into the middle of the board. He evaded with all his TIEs, I used Focus with all my X-Wings, and we ended up too far out of range to shoot.

Turn 2:
As you can see, Rob turned slightly away, probably hoping to avoid having his fleet too split up by the asteroids.  On this turn, my squad basically turned into his fleet, while he maneuvered his squad into a much more compact formation.

Shooting begins, and Rob finds a lot of success, quickly dropping Biggs' shields, and although I manage to take the shields off his TIE Advanced, his numbers are telling, and he kills Biggs, then drops another hit on one of my X-Wings. 

Apparently having Biggs be the mandatory target of every enemy fighter is a bad idea when you move him within range 1.  Who knew?  Lesson for next time- don't LEAD with Biggs.  However, having Biggs there did allow me to use Target Lock (as you can see from the picture) without too much concern, so this sort of strategy could definitely work, I think.

Turn 3:
It's hard to explain our maneuver... err... strategy here.  We basically become entangled, although I do a decent job of keeping formation.  Unfortunately, Rob gets his guys to surround me pretty much fully, which isn't so good.

Shooting starts.  I quickly tear apart Rob's TIE Advanced, but unfortunately lose ANOTHER X-Wing, and the shields off my other two are completely shot off.


At this point, the person I had been planning to play (BK) arrived, and Rob wanted to go and play Malifaux (despite having a good time playing this).  I was outnumbered 2-5, and things weren't looking good, so we decided to call it.  Still, shortened as it was, I had a really good time.

So, on to game 2!

BK received a bunch of X-Wing stuff from his awesome friends, and was extra excited to play a game, and wanted to play the Rebels.  This was even more interesting, because he had never seen the Empire win, and I was definitely looking forward to correcting that.  Of course, had he arrived to see Rob's squad in action, this 'correction' would've already taken place.

My list:

Howlrunner (TIE Fighter) w/ Squad Leader
Mauler Mithel (TIE Fighter) w/ Determination
Academy Pilot (TIE Fighter)
Academy Pilot (TIE Fighter)
Academy Pilot (TIE Fighter)
Tempest Squadron Pilot (TIE Advanced) w/ Cluster Missiles.

Six Fighters should easily give me a numerical advantage, and if I keep Howlrunner alive, I can get a lot of mileage out of even the most basic of Empire starfighters.  In this game, I was smart enough to keep Howlrunner in the second wave, and not 'leading the charge', so to speak.  I'm not sure how best to use the TIE Advanced, which is why he's included.  Figure I need to practice.

BK built his own list, and eager to see some different ships in action, took some Y-Wings:

Biggs Darklighter (X-Wing) w/ R2-D2
Rookie Pilot (X-Wing)
Gold Squadron (Y-Wing) w/ Ion Cannon Turret
Gray Squadron (Y-Wing) w/ Ion Cannon Turret

Turn 1:
Basically, as it seems with every game, everyone just moved forward towards the middle, pretty much straight ahead.  Very exciting.

Turn 2:
I again move everyone straight forward, and throw a target lock on Biggs.  BK basically moved towards me as well, meaning our first shots of the game were going to be at nearly point blank range.

Our shooting goes into action, and I unload- Biggs dies, the Gold Squadron pilot loses two shields, and in return, I take almost no damage, aside from Mauler Mithel, who takes a hit from an Ion Cannon (meaning he'll be moving slowly forward next turn). 

Turn 3:
I scatter, trying to avoid the asteroids, and BK slowly turns his squad around.

I really have nothing I can shoot at, since I had to scatter, and couldn't really loop back yet.  BK's Ion Cannons have 360 degree range, however, and manage to hit Howlrunner with an Ion Cannon.  His X-Wing, which had drove forward and turned around, managed to get a second hit on Mauler Mithel as well.

For now, I'm out of position, and spread out, but thankfully, I haven't lost anyone yet, and I outnumber BK 2-1.  If I can reform, and get another attack run, I was sure I could end this game.

Turn 4:
With  Howlrunner under the effects of an Ion Cannon, I really can't reform how I'd like, so I again spread out a little, and get into position to reform the following turn- but at least this turn, I get my ships facing the correct way.  BK's Y-Wings continue their slow turn around, depending on their Ion Cannons to do the shooting, regardless of facing.

We start trading blows, again.  I manage to get a lucky critical hit on the Gold Squadron pilot, and take off his secondary weapon (the Ion Cannon), and take a shield off the Grey Squadron Y-Wing.  Howlrunner takes a second point of damage, however, but considering how out of position I am, I think the damage is pretty light.

Turn 5:
Both sides re-engage.  I get my guys back into a better position... but then, so does BK, and again, we'll be taking most of our shots at Range band 1.

We start trading blows, and sadly, I come out a little worse than BK this time around- Howlrunner dies.  Since I'm depending on him to make my Academy Pilots effective, this hurts, and the damage I deal in return (3 Hull hits on the Grey Squadron Y-Wing, and knocking off the shields of the remaining X-Wing) is substantial, but doesn't end with a dead Rebel ship.

Turn 6:
At this close a range, both of us basically keep up the pressure.  I flip most of my ships around, and keep shooting.

This still isn't favorable though- another of my TIE Fighters dies, and I deal 3 hull damage to the Gold Squadron Y-Wing... still not killing it.  I'm down to a 4-3 numerical advantage, although most of my ships are pristine, and BK's are not.

Turn 7:
We again close in, and again trade blows at close range.

This time, the shooting is a bit more favorable.  I lose my TIE Advanced, but BK loses his Gold Squadron Y-Wing. 

And... I didn't take notes past this point, for some reason.  Basically though, by the end of Turn 9, it was over, and I had rid this sector of the Rebel scum.  I'm pretty sure I lost another TIE Fighter, however, meaning I would've had only 2 TIEs on the table.

Some thoughts:
I really enjoy this game- it's fast, the miniatures are great, and of course, I love the Star Wars theme.

I was lucky to be able to play a game with each side, because I actually managed to get SOME feel for the tactics of each.  I think my next game with the Rebels will go better, especially if I keep Biggs out of Range 1 from my enemy early on, where I can hopefully get some really good shots without losing much (hopefully keeping Biggs alive in the process).  Doing this with Howlrunner worked, although I wasn't able to get away from the Ion Cannons, really.

The asteroids were a fun addition.  I didn't really make note of them in the battle reports (because I took really shoddy notes, I guess), but I was stuck driving through them a couple of times, especially late in the game.  I believe I only took a single damage from them, however.  Running the extra ships makes it difficult to get all your TIEs into good positions without going through the asteroids.

Hopefully, I'll get this back on the table again soon!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Hope everyone had Happy Holidays and a great New Year's Day celebration!

I toyed with the idea of throwing up some resolutions again this year, as I did, what, two years ago?  Something like that.  Of course, that year, I believe I went 0/10 on the resolution report card at the end of the year.  So I won't bother making resolutions, at least officially (except for a few personal, non-blog ones).

However, with that said, I do have some goals for this blog, and for the miniature hobby in general for the upcoming year.  First, I have some great idea for blog posts and random articles to post on here.  Nothing earth-shattering, I'm sure, but various things that would probably be good reads to someone.  In addition to that, I'm hoping to still stay on top of my battle reports once a week (although I still have a pre-Christmas battle report to throw up, covering some X-Wing games).

For the hobby itself, I've done a decent job of coming home and spending at least 15 minutes a night working on miniatures.  With all the new projects I'm working on (including my new acquisition of Dreadball- thanks Rob! :-) ), it does mean I'm not only making lots of progress, but that I'm actually slowly getting close to finishing painting some models.  That's VERY exciting.  However, doing worthless weekly updates about my progress wastes everyone's time, including the only person who probably reads it- me.  I'll post at the end of the month all the progress I've made that month for whatever games I've worked on.  Of course, since I'd like to post twice a week, that means I'll need to generate actual content... which I'm working on :).

Finally, it looks like I've got a fairly consistent schedule for gaming, once a week at a minimum.  Assuming that continues, I look forward to playing a lot of great games this year!