Sunday, 31 August 2014

A solitary Bothan who has no inention of dying!

Hello people.

This Wednesday night we got back to a bit if Star Wars EotE action with a change of venue and an updated cast. Moving to casa Oddleg, Ian has had to drop out for the foreseeable while Ryan has moved further afield with the plan being for him to continue with Google Hangout.

Meanwhile Jon had rejoined the group, as Tanner Voss a Human Force Sensitive Slicer, with Rich also likely to be recruited, probably as his favoured cousin of Chewy.

Picking up from last time out the boys had two leads outstanding at Sal's Salvage and with a Bothan fixer of some repute. Sal sent 7s a message reminding him of the favour owed, to Sal, and suggesting that he may have found something that they'd want. The rest of the lads not trusting anything that 7s thought was a good idea decided that they were going to see the fixer!

Said contact was identified as Furzt Van Weston a dilettante of some repute and a known regular at the Bothawai Bothan Revue Bar a high class Gentle-persons establishment on the higher floors. As such the lads dropped back to HI-HI for some more presentable duds, sans armour, at which point they also traded in R4, who continued to work on the hack, for Tanner. There wasn't a long teary goodbye seen with 7s :)

Leaving the heavy artillery at home, though Sin was still toting mini-arsenal, they made their way to the Revue Bar and dropped Van Weston's name with security.....who showed them to the security scan.
Rob tossed his blaster in a locker, 7s wasn't carrying while Tanner tried sneaking in his Data Slice.....and failed with some major Advantage...........which put the scanner on the fritz for Sin to stroll through with his pistol, electro knuckles, knife and stun grenade!
A more formal dress code!
Escorted inside the chaps were informed that they had 45 minutes to err.....kill before Van Weston would be able to see them so what to do?
- Sin found himself an hangers on game of Sabacc and after a couple of hands won big , rather narking off a fellow patron only to loose most of his stash a few hands later.
- Tanner just HAD to find himself an panel to hack......ANY panel. Using Sin's bad looser as cover he managed to get into the main system locating a mystery un-named set of files but no dice in the time that he had.
-  7s actually had a good idea sending mug-shots of various bigwigs back to HI-HI for identification. He didn't even get caught, though Tanner's efforts helped out.
- Perit sat at the bar having a drink and acting as lookout
Appearances can be deceptive!
Getting in to see Furzt he came across as a dilettante extraordinaire with a leary get up and even learier "companions". Once alone the lads went for a fairly aggressive negotiation strategy. headed by the "brains trust" of Sin and 7s....... Opening with the line of "we know what you've been up to" with only partial information and / or recall probably isn't the best idea when dealing with someone who makes their living in shady circumstances primarily by their wits when they likely know a bit more than you :/

Five minutes later the tables and the line of questioning had entirely turned as Van Weston switched the questions around the group to disrupt their unprepared bluff. Very soon 7s bottom lip relay was at full oscillation "I don't like him very much". Not a problem really as I'm fairly the sure the feeling was mutual!

Strangely it took Tanner, as new boy, to step in and clear the air by coming clean about what they knew and by that method;
- The data files to be sold via Von Weston are currently in R4 who is back at HI-HI
- HI-HI don't, currently, know about Kanto's extra curricular activity or the files within R4
- HI-HI don't, currently, know that Jared is the power behind Kanto's hacking throne

As such Van Weston suggested that there are a number of options available with three sets of "merchandise" the data files, Kanto and Jared and a number of interested parties to trade with and through. That's a myriad of potential options.

Ushered out to consider their options and return the next evening, the lads have some serious thinking to do. Not always their strongest suit :)

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Welcome to the DARK side

So Tuesday night just gone at Enfield Gamers I had a plan!

Such as it was I'd arranged to play Mr Christian at both STAW and SW-XW. I haven't played much of the former recently and wanted to get some table time with my Dominion to try out the Jem H'Dar big boys. I also wanted a proper game of SW-XW to get a better feel for the game and how it functions differently to STAW.

In short we managed the former but the latter as to be honest I was having too much fun.
Handing me his card folder Mr C had me sort out my own fleet. The first thing that struck me was the variation on offer. Each ship variant not only comes with a different level of pilot but also quite often a different set of upgrade options.
Going Imperial and with Scum and Villainy in my head I had to have a Slave 1 and then filled out on basic TIEs with a couple of named variants in Howlrunner for the swarm boost and A N Other for his critical hit ability. 

Happy enough with a big boy and four grunts I faced off against two X-Wings and a HWK-90. I immediately smelled a rat, an elite build rat that Mr C has a rep for.......and I was right!

Have to admit that I really enjoyed the game and learnt quite a bit;
- The bank manoeuvres are a bit shorter than with STAW
- The fighters are far more manoeuvrable, as expected, which makes dogfighting a fair bit more challenging
- The big base ships take a bit more thought to manoeuvre, the footprint makes a BIG difference
- The game feels like it's much more about the ships than the upgrades
- The upgrades are far more basic and as such less abusable than with STAW

Admittedly this was my first proper game and as such these are as much my impressions as facts but I'm gnarly enough to have a good idea. In short I'm pleasantly surprised ;)
 
As to the game itself Mr C had employed his superior experience to deploy his asteroids, you have three each, as tightly as possible to screen himself from me and make life more difficult for Slave 1.

Once engaged it was pretty much about keeping my swarm together and getting as much focused firepower as possible. It was noticeable that Firepower levels are lower and Agility that bit higher, once again as you'd expect for a dogfighting game. As such there's far less emphasis on Alpha-Strike than STAW, i.e. one-shot kills. As a result this seems to place much more emphasis on manoeuvre and dogfighting.

Happily I took to the differences easily enough and soon had Mr C down to just Wedge Antilles who technically just flew off the table on a K-Turn but we played on at which point he twisted and turned until he finished me off. 

It was a good example of elite build vs mini-swarm and I can see how much variation you can get into a 100 point build and still remain competitive.

So Scum and Villany then! I keep find myself reading through Z-Wing Miniatures Game blog preview, which has plenty of good comment.Released on December 15th I'm fairly sure what I'm after for Christmas :)

Wagon ROLL!!

Afternoon all,

As threatened the Bank Holiday has allowed some bonus brush-time whcih I've put to decent use finishing off an M3 Halftrack that I got for my birthday some weeks ago. Built and painted to go with my Commandos I've head-swapped the driver and applied the relevant stowage.

Another enjoyable paint and build it's certainly a sturdy and well thought out kit with plenty of options. Almost a bit of a shame to spoil my Brit only list but it comes in cheaper than a pair of Bren Carriers with capacity for an extra two chaps, which allows for D Section (Assault) to pick up another 2 troopers. Bit of a no brainer really.

Anyway, another 4 Painting Points and I really need to get down to the Infantry squads!

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Blowing up the House

Hello people,

Something of busy week elsewhere has meant that not a lot of hobby-love has come my way with only a couple of games of Boss Monster to keep me going (cue smallest violin in the world).

I have however previously finished off a scenery project, as a bit of variation to my brush-time. Amongst a group bundle of BA loveliness picked up from Salute was Warlord's Ruined Hamlet set. Feeling the need to do something a little less standard I wanted to put together some bigger pieces than you normally see rather than three generic weekend break chalets.

Now I have to admit that the planning process was based entirely on two bits of random hardboard I and laying around and simply clipping everything off the sprues and seeing what I could do with them. I worked on the two bigger pieces making an effort have internal walls, doors and the like. Nothing on the scale of a manor but something "practical". The remaining odds and sods were inevitably mounted on some plasticard for a weekend break chalet! Coffee stirrer floorboards and the various rubble chunks finished the job.

It tried to keep things natural for the paint scheme and went for plenty of weathering rather than Normandy white to try and extend their use over a number of theatres and eras. The corner pieces feel very European but I'm sure you might find the odd example in North America, the Dutch Quarter perhaps?

Anyway, I'm grabbing 15 Painting Points for this lot and hopefully the Bank holiday will bring a few more :)

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Showcase: Star Wars - X Wing

Hello people, the possibly long awaited second installment of the series. 

I'm already diverging a touch as I don't play SW-XW so thus is a relatively second account based on a couple of games that I've sat in on and a few chats about how it differs from STAW, which I do play.

A few weeks ago I went without a game down at the club one Tuesday night and sat on the end of the table as Mr C and Shado tried out an Epic game with the Tantive IV making an appearance.

First off the mechanics of the game are the Flightpath system that features in STAW with the same Action system and stat setup. So far so good and my expectation was that it would be more maneuver with a touch less firepower. Again so far so good.

I've previously commented that I felt STAW has more variation across its five factions and a host of independents but a more abused meta. I recently discovered that SW-XW has even less of an issue as a lot of pilots and upgrades are strictly ship specific. I've come to the conclusion at this makes the SW-XW meta far more stable which would seem to mean that further waves of releases can be developed far more as envisaged rather than being abused to cover the balanced weaknesses. More and more I find myself readign through the latest release fluff.

It is still "just" two factions going at each other and there seems to be far less scenario play, especially at events. I have however noticed a steady schedule of more focused releases and was impressed, when I sat in, by the sheer variety of ships, there seem to be far less obvious choices.
EDIT: Sourcing links I notice the announcement of a third, Scum and Villany faction.


Showcase: Star Wars - X-Wing: (Fantasy Flight)

Fast and visceral, X-Wing puts you in the middle of fierce Star Wars firefights. Use each craft’s unique maneuver dial to secretly plot its movement action for each turn. After each player has locked in his movement decisions, the dials are revealed and ships are moved starting with the lowest skilled pilots. Pepper the enemy with blaster fire as you rush into the dogfight, or move into combat range slowly, attaining deadly target locks before you launch a devastating attack. No matter your plan of attack, you’ll be in total control throughout the tense action.
The Good;
FlightPath™ and the wider SW-XW mechanic is a strong, simple one qualifying for the "minutes to learn, a lifetime to master" stamp of approval.
- The IP is very well managed with the character of Star Wars and all your favourite characters and scenes, from the books as well as the films, well represented focusing on the original trilogy.
- The Meta is equally as well managed and far less abusable. Release waves are well balanced introducing new tactics and strategies.
- Epic Play expands the game and brings the big ships into the game in a managable way strengthening the strategic side of the game and fleetbuilding.

The Bad;
- It's still just two sides and surely that has a limited scope, even Scum and Villany can only add so much. Thankfully there are no Gungans just yet :)
- There's somethign of a lack of organised play outside of fan run stuff  with most games and tournaments seemingly straight shoot-ups amongst the asteroid field.
- It's a good touch more expensive than STAW once you start getting into the bigger ships with a Tantive IV RRPing at £75.

My Ugly;
This is the game I rejected to play STAW instead feeling that STAW was more "rounded" as a game. In hindsight I stand by that but now feel that SW-XW is the more balanced game and has developed into a much more complete game.
Sounds like I'm trying to talk myself into it.......would want some scenario play though :)


Sunday, 10 August 2014

Nut and BOLTs

Evening All,

This week I have mainly been playing Bolt Action, thinking about Bolt Action variants and playing what we thought was a Bolt Action variant.....but isn't!!

Tuesday night down at Enfield Gamers myself and Ian got in a game of BA with my Commandos taking on his French at the Top Secret scenario. Taking on a more numerous opponent with a pair of artillery pieces, armoured car and light tank was something a bit new so I concentrated on going after the objective.
 Keeping back the carriers for a couple of turns I was forced to make a flanking run with them by Turn 3 but did pretty well with them. Even though they got tonked eventually they let Ponsonby-Smyth almost make off with the objective only to get sniped at which point Spatchcock grabbed it and ran. Rolling for the 7th turn he didn't quite get the chance to make it away but very close.
To represent the objective we used a Cthulu dice and quickly decided that it was the Necronomicon! This set me to thinking about how easy it would be to twist BA to Wierd War II. Flicking the net the other day I stumbled across a blog detailing a BA version of the Red Skull so pretty easily would be the answer.......interesting!! Possibly a refocus for St Peytersburg??

Moving on, myself and Rich have been trying out the Alpha ruleset for Gates of Anatares. It's taken a few games to start getting a grip on how the game is and more importantly what it isn't. Despite various rumours it's not a return to early versions of 40K and more pertinently it's REALLY not BA re-skinned!

Other than sharing the Order Dice and Pin system a lot of the core mechanics are substantially different.
As an example being in area cover doesn't make it harder to hit the target but makes them more difficult to kill, i.e gives a cover save bolted on top of "toughness" and armour (resilience+armour+cover).
The effect is that you can still hit, and crucially pin, with less chance of a kill aka suppression of the target.
It took me a while to catch on to this whilst also dealing with a D10 system, drones and exotic equipment all within an Alpha ruleset. For a while I was thinking that it was a simple mechanic made fiddly but that was to misunderstand.
The other thing to GoA shares with BA is the necessity to use proper tactics and make co-ordinated use of your force!

Same again Tuesday night!

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Burning Down the House!!

Once again last Wednesday was EotE night with another slight change of cast as Sindori emerged from his extra long Bacta-Bath while Agenai got an Obligation related call from his and so was temporarily unavailable for the evening.

So, after last time out the chaps finally got round to letting themselves into Ronsons, which took a little longer than expected....

Rolling round to the back door 7's was already taking an instant dislike to R4-X2, "bucket of bolts" was muttered a few time, demoting their super-hacker droid to gaurd duty and the grunt work. Faced with a rear door and a roller shuttered storage unit 7's  did work out that the door had a holo-shielded panel and even managed to NOT set off the attendant alarms.
Eventually busting into the storage unit, thanks to R4, 7s deactivated the holo-shield and all of the shop's Mag locks. Hacking the lock Sindori took point, checking whether the alarm system had been deactivated, NOPE, and then wandering in anyway!
Sin and Perit got on with a quick bit of "asset liberation" while 7s tried to engage hacker-mode on Jared's workstation, leaving R4 out back on lookout duty. A couple of botched Computer checks later Sindori had noticed heavy footed movement in the lobby and remembered to old War Droid which was now advancing toward the security airlock....which operated on Mag locks.....

Once the lads had R4 re-engage the Mag locks they set to him to work on Jared's workstation while they returned to "asset liberation" and 7s took cover.......behind R4's position. After an ominous set of whirrings War Droid smashed its way through the security screen just as R4 caught a load of feedback and shot backwards from a rapidly forming short circuit.
Everyone paused waiting to see what happened next..........7s, the protocol / medical droid, opened fire on War Droid (set to stun, which apparently makes a difference!)............to quickly catch an enhanced return. It wouldn't have been so bad but he'd already pulled a load of Strain getting in so he hit the floor with a clang. Sin and Perit had meanwhile collected a variety of specialist ammo plus a sniper scope and pistol kit respectively and headed for the back door. leaving 7s to it!

That left just R4 to try and collect 7s on his way out. It didn't look good as he deployed his grapple attachment on the way past.........for a big bunch of Success to send sparks flying as he dragged 7s down the road. Sin and Perit meanwhile tag-teamed War Droid, whilst catching some return Auto-Fire to bring him down and rupture a fuel cell.....adding significant fuel to a recently started fire.

With Tinsons grilling nicely the lads found a backstreet noodle bar to heal up while R4 brought 7's back up online and worked through the data packets he'd downloaded. In short;
- Kanto had been employed by Ronsons to upgrade thier data security
- Jared was the real hacker, Kanto set him hacking "games"
- Kanto found something interesting, "special projects", attempting to blackmail Ronsons
- Kanto was setting up a deal to sell Intel to a local Fixer

So all in all, not too bad a result with at least two out of three of the lads playing to their strengths. I'm sure you can work out the remaining member! So who's a "rusty bucket of bolts" now then ;)