Sunday, December 30, 2018

Gameplay Summary of 2018

With the year winding down, and with there being a good chance I don't play any more games for the year, I wanted to look back over my year of gaming briefly.

First, let's look at the ten games I played the most this year:
  1. Splendor - 31 plays
  2. Magic: The Gathering - 30 plays
  3. Warhammer Underworlds - 23 plays
  4. Settlers of Catan - 16 plays
  5. Warmachine/Hordes - 14 plays
  6. Codenames - 14 plays
  7. Android: Netrunner - 13 plays
  8. Mutant: Year Zero - 13 plays
  9. Ticket to Ride - 10 plays
  10. Lost Cities - 8 plays
I played a lot of different games this year only one time, but these are interesting to look at.  A lot of my gaming lately is with friends who are new gamers, and with my wife becoming more interested in gaming, I am playing a larger amount of "light" games like Splendor, Catan, and Ticket to Ride.

For RPGs, my play this year was limited to those 13 sessions of Mutant: Year Zero, and a single session of Technoir.  Overall, it's kind of a shame.  I don't love Mutant: Year Zero- I dislike the setting, and I strongly dislike the system itself.  Yet, that's what Rob chose to run, so I'm playing through it.  Technoir is interesting, but I don't have enough experience to know how I like it long term.  I wish I had gotten a bit more variety here, maybe with some of the systems I'm actually interested in.

For card games, my gaming exposure this year was pretty limited.  Sure, Magic got a moderate amount of plays, but Netrunner basically died of, and we barely touched Arkham Horror this year.  I did play some Star Wars: Destiny, but after selling that off, I won't likely play it ever again.  I tried Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions for a bit, and I may give it more attention at some point.  Eric expressed interest in the Star Wars LCG, too, which also got on the table.  Overall though, the amount of different games I've played this year in this category is WAY WAY down.

Miniature gaming is finally picking up for me again.  Warhammer Underworlds is helping, as it is so quick to get games in that we can easily put it on the table.  I've rediscovered my love of Warmachine and Hordes as well, exciting me to get it played.  Kill Team, a recent release, also saw the table a few times.  But the others- Malifaux, Armada, and X-Wing- they did not get on the table nearly as much this year as I'd have liked.

For straight tabletop board wargames, not a single game had more than one play.  I did get a few played this year- Battle of Five Armies, Blitz!, Star Fleet Battles, and Strike of the Eagle.  This was hindered by limits to my time and inability to have a cat-safe space available.  Hopefully the near year will see an improvement here as well.

Finally, the board games that don't fit the above categories.  Overall, I think I've been growing here.  My wife's interest in board games really helps.  And what's more fun then sitting down to share something you love with someone you love?  The fact she has friends that are enjoying it just gives me more opportunities to play, and combine that with my friends?  The future for getting games in this category played is bright indeed!

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Weekly-ish summary for week ending 12/29/18

This has been a pretty hectic month, with the holiday and all.  I did manage to get some work done on the basement, however! It is fully primed (twice!), and we've set up wire shelving in one part, where all of my card game boxes have started to get organized.  Progress is being made!

I want to make a brief mention of a friend's blog- Boardgame Strategist.  This is written by a local friend, Dan, where he discusses his thoughts on improving gameplay for a variety of boardgames.  Take a look!

Games Played
  • Warhammer Underworlds - Six games, all against my brother, Matt.  The first three games were basically teaching games, where Matt was able to get more experience with the game and the rules.  I used it to good effect, however, and managed to get a little bit of practice with the Thorns of the Briar Queen.  Matt then proceeded to get all of the available product, and showed up this past Wednesday to play.  Game one, I ran Spiteclaw's Swarm against his Sepulchral Guard.  Matt, having neither used the Guard, nor seen them in action, basically lost on setup- he put the Warden too far forward, and I was able to kill him before the first turn was over.  Unable to resurrect his Petitioners, he parked two of them on objectives, and sent the named guys forward.  I keep killing them, and end up winning 13-5.  Game two, I again run the Skaven, and Matt drops Steelheart's Champions.  He used a deck he found online, and came out playing aggressive.  I kill two of the members, losing a few myself, but then I pull my warband back away from his, and score a bunch of objectives.  I end up winning 10-6.  I point out to Matt that he is likely running a defensive deck- coming forward should be secondary to scoring his objectives, which are designed around keeping his guys healthy.  Final game, I switch to the Cursebreakers, and he keeps running the Champions.  He plays more defensively, but leaves one of his guys too far forward, and I kill it.  He attempts to enact vengeance, but leaves Stormsire on one health.  I manage to get Stormsire back, however, and pull everything too far away for him to do anything to me, and manage to win, 9-6.
  • Settlers of Catan - One game, against Marina, Christian, Megan, and Andre.  A pretty interesting game- Andre decided to go after Marina the entire game, which led to her trying to get revenge, and ended up with them unable to really compete for first place.  Christian and Megan race for the win, and Megan eventually gets what she needs to win.
  • KeyForge: Call of the Archons - One game, against Matt.  This was my first time trying this game, which has been extremely popular.  It has fairly common mechanics, with the distribution scheme being the most interesting draw.  Overall, it was fine.  I don't love it, but I suppose I could consider buying a deck in order to play it with interested people.  Maybe.  I end up defeating Matt in our game.
  • Warhammer 40K: Kill Team - One game, I take the Gellerpox Infected with three Nightmare Hulks and a Nurgling dude against Matt's Genestealer heavy Tyranids.  I take quite a beating, but I can't get models to the objectives, and Matt can.  Even though I do eventually kill quite a few of his models, he is able to outnumber me in quite a few battles, kill some Nightmare Hulks, and outscore me heavily.  He ends up crushing me, something like 19-4.
  • Mutant Year Zero - One session.  This is with Rob as our GM, and we had myself, Dan, and Mark as the players.  In this campaign, I am playing as Lug, a Bruiser.  This session, I manage to kill some spiders, and we make contact with a woman in the north, who will help us in our battle with the Singing Monolith. 
  • Hordes - One game against Joey.  I run my Maelok Blindwater Congregation list against Joey running his Ossrum Hammer Strike list.  I make a bad mistake, letting him score three control points on the bottom of turn two.  I respond by putting a unit of Gatormen Posse into each zone, and begin going for attrition.  We trade pieces, but in general, I'm getting good value out of my trades.  He is forced to commit Ossrum to try to clear the zone on my left, and when he does, I kill him, and win.
New Arrivals
  • Necromunda: Underhive.  My wife bought this for me as a Christmas gift, as I had been eyeing it for some time.  I played Necromunda in college, and am really excited to try the new version.
  • Saipan & Tinian: Island War Series, Volume I.  This is a re-release from Legion Wargames, a company I frequently by wargames from.  Small company plus a pacific theater wargame?  How could I pass that up?
  • Armies of the Hobbit, for the Middle-Earth Strategy Battle Game.  I stopped playing the previous version of the game before all of the Hobbit material was released, so I'm pretty excited to have all the rules and point costs for the Hobbit-relevant models.  As I try to get back into this game, I'll eventually pick up an army from this book, I'm sure.
  • A Bog Trog Mist Speaker and a Gremlin Swarm for Hordes.  These are going to be additions to my Rask Will Work for Food list.  A support solo and a great flag-scoring solo.
  • Destroyers starter box for Monsterpocalypse.  I already had the Protectors starter, but I wanted the included map, and really- I played Lords of Cthul so much that I consider myself more of a Destroyers player anyway.
  • Deadpool vs the World.  This was another gift from my wife.  A bit random, but hey, more casual games is never a bad thing for when we have guests!
  • Buffy Battles for VS 2PCG.  Two new teams, ten new Main Characters, and a bunch of new cards to add the Photographic Universe.  I really wish I had chances to play this game.
  • Space Marine Adventures: Labyrinth of the Necrons.  I bought this because it looked like a fun game to play with my nephews and niece- it is a cooperative game that has miniatures I can have the kids paint, and we can all play together, and looks interesting enough that their parents would play.
Miniature Assembly/Painting
  • I finished the assembly of the Gellerpox Infected for Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team.  I put them on the table, as well!
  • Finished the December issue of White Dwarf.  What a fantastic issue- lots of new rules and variants in addition to all the regular articles.  The January issue is looking to be very impressive as well!
  • Continued reading Anna Karenina.  Finished part five of eight.  Fantastic book.
  • Finished the Overlight RPG core rulebook.  Seems pretty interesting, but I wish they had more content out, I have so many questions.  With that said, I may try running this next year!
  • Started Spear of Ultramar, a part of the Black Library novella series.  So far, it is unimpressive.
  • Started and completed The Blooded Rose, a part of the Black Library novella series.  I was very impressed with this- I haven't read very much fiction about the Sisters of Battle, and this was very good.  Well written with an interesting plot.  
  • Started and completed Auric Gods, a part of the Black Library novella series.  This one is a story dealing with the Adeptus Custodes, another group I've never read fiction for.  Once again, a very very interesting tale!  I'm really finding these novellas to be a great value, overall! 
  • Finally, started and finished Steel Daemon, another of novellas.  This follows the story of a Cadian tank regiment.  This, once again, was fantastic.  If you haven't tried the novellas, you should!

Friday, December 28, 2018

Kings of War: Vanguard Unboxing (from Kickstarter)

A bit delayed, as I've had this in my hands for some time and I've already seen these in the shop.  But for anyone interested, I figured I'd show a bit about the game and the components.  This is going to be part one of covering what was included, and I don't expect I will need more than a second article.

The rulebook has a nice look.
Came with a nice marker to identify me as a Kickstarter backer.  How nice!  The rules themselves seem pretty straightforward at first glance- you generate Power at the start of the turn in order to power special abilities, then take turns activating models for movement, combat, and the like.  There's an included campaign system that looks interesting.  Looks like it will be quick, and a lot of fun!  The challenge, of course, will be finding people to play against.

Other components included:
 A BUNCH of cards, for the various units in the game.  Many are for included models, some are for models not included (nor in the rulebook at the moment!).
 A sheet of counters.
A paper gaming mat, that looks to be 3'x3'.

And then we move onto the miniatures.  In this article, I'll show two of the warbands I've received.

First, we have the Basileans.
What came with my Basilean warband.  Dice, bases, a box with resin miniatures, and a bunch of other miniatures.

To start, I received two packages with these sprues:
I believe these make up the Men-at-Arms.

And I received three packages with these sprues:
These look to be the Sergeants, Paladin Defenders, Sisterhood, Sisterhood Scouts, and the Panthers.  Quite a nice collection of miniatures, although quite a bunch of the plastics are bent.  Shouldn't be too much trouble to fix, when I get there.

We come to the box:
Pretty clear what is included.
 A choice of heads and arms for the Ogre is a nice inclusion.
Overall, the resins look great!  A very nice level of detail on these, although they'll be significant work to get that far, I think.

Next, we have the Nightstalkers warband.
 As before, I received two of these sprues...
 Which are the Scarecrows and Spectres. 

I received three bags of these...
 Which are Phantoms, Horrors, Reapers, Buthers, and Shadowhounds.  Very interesting looking minis!

Another box happily telling me what is included.
 The Mind Screech:
 And finally, the Shade:

So there you have it- some pictures of the unassembled minis for two of the warbands.  I'll work to get the rest of the stuff photographed and loaded up early in the new year.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Weekly Summary for Week Ending 12/8/18

Alright, dog-sitting ended Tuesday, which means I started getting back into my gaming routine somewhat.  No work got done on the basement, which is a big limit on what and how much I actually do, but progress will be made shortly.

Games Played
  • Warhammer Underworlds - Three games against BK.  I built some new decks, and assembled some new warbands, and too them to the table against BK at Gritty Goblin Games, my first time playing at that store.  BK used Stormsire's Cursebreakers in all three games.  Game 1, I used Spiteclaw's Swarm (Skaven), with a primarily objective focused deck.  I get some early objectives, but after arming Skritch with Swirling Halberd (letting me attack multiple enemies), I spend the rest of the game missing every attack, and lose 9-14.  Game two, I feel like I play a bit better, my dice are better, and I actually do smart things like running away from fights that I can't win, and win 9-4.  Final game, I switch to Thorns of the Briar Queen.  I actually think I play pretty well, moving all of my Chainrasps up into position, aside from a turn where BK and I spend attack after attack to no effect.  BK's deck just proves to be better, and he turns what I think is a slight advantage to me into a massive advantage for him, scoring a bunch to end the game, depriving me of a bunch of pieces, and I lose 4-10.
    End of Turn 1 in our first game.  I end up losing.
  • Terror in Meeple City - one game against Christian.  This is a dexterity game of monsters destroying a city.  I end up losing, but we definitely do a number on the city.  Let me post a before and 'in progress' picture:
    Before the first moves of the game.

New Arrivals
  • December issue of White Dwarf magazine.  Lots of new content for some of their games, so I'm pretty excited to read it.
Miniature Assembly/Painting
  • Assembled the Skaven and Nighthaunt warbands for Warhammer Underworlds.  Then played them in a game!
  • Worked on the Gellerpox Infected for Warhammer 40K: Kill Team.  Assembling two more Hullbreakers.  I might get a chance to play them next week.
  • Finished the November issue of White Dwarf.
  • Began reading the Overlight RPG Core book.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Weekly Summary for week ending 12/01/18

This was a week where I continued work on the basement (my eventual gaming den), and was given a surprise dog-sitting assignment, which has, once again, slowed me down in my hobby life.  With luck, maybe I can get a week where I have no abnormal commitments, and can get some stuff done!

Games Played
  • Massive Darkness - Two games.  Rob and I restarted the story mode that we had tried to play when MD first came out, some time ago.  With a re-read of the rules, integrating all of the expansions, and preparing properly, we had some pretty good games.  We played the first scenario twice, losing the first time, but replaying it with some slightly better gear, and finally succeeded.  I am going to be using Mila, who can leg swipe enemies, dealing non-action damage at times, and taking the Shadow Barbarian class.  So I'm great at dealing damage, and have decent defense without armor.  Rob is taking Ajax, the Dark Magician, who could resurrect friendly heroes (although it's a bit tough to do with only two players).  He is taking the Sorcerer class, giving him some bonuses to his Magic attacks. 
New Arrivals
  • The core rulebook and the GM Screen for the Overlight RPG. I am going to be running an RPG campaign some day, hopefully in the near future.  More on this when that gets closer to happening.
  • A unit of Black Ogrun Boarding Party for Warmachine.  I know there's a bit more doom and gloom the last two days, with Will Pagani announcing his departure.  I try to stay positive, and that means I'll continue buying PP models for the games I enjoy.
  • Mini Expansion #6: Professionals, for Millennium Blades.  We enjoyed the game the one time we played, so I wanted to make sure I have all the currently released expansions.
  • Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress.  My brother expressed interest in this.  I'm interested in this.  My friends have some interest in this.  I mean, how could I resist?  It looks like a ton of fun.  I still haven't opened it, but man, once that basement is set up, I'll be having some people over to play this.
Miniature Assembly/Painting
  • None
  • Read up through the halfway point in Anna Karenina.
  • Started reading the November issue of White Dwarf.