Wednesday, 26 March 2014

What would Jason Statham do?

Evening people.

Last night was the latest instalment of Enfield Gamers narrative Zombiecide campaign. With a few extra bodies in the mix there were seven of us playing, which  gave scope for a touch of in-cooperative play ;)

While Mr C and Shado represented the Committee Of Cooperative Statistics (COCS) myself and Shaun established the Peoples Republic of Do-What-You-Want (PROD) ;) Soon it was a classic battle of stats vs gut feeling with our three compatriots torn between each manifesto. Toe the statistical line or stick it to da' Man (dice gods). 
Snowy Leopards!! ahem.......

The rally crys were much stronger from PROD and soon focused on the cinematic theme of the game. Jon was playing Rick, who is basically Jason Statham so up went the cry "What would Jason Statham do?". Damien was playing Derek who was quickly given a midlands accent, while I had Woody Harrelson who legged it to the pimp mobile and started shooting.

Back to the game the scenario turned tough quickly with COCS sneaking through the buildings, both female characters, while PROD jumped into a patrol car performing doughnuts and drive-bys with wild abandon. In the end it was the PROD pro-mayhem agenda that somehow won through whilst COCS got jumped by a horde of walkers given bonus actions, while Jon / Jason watched on with a steely look of revenge in his eye!

Following a final flurry of road-rage and flying lead we just about edged the scenario though Rob died once, becoming a Zom-Vivor and Mr C died twice, becoming worm food.
All in all a good night and a highly enjoyable game. I still think drive-bys are a bit strong and not sure about Zom-Vivors, surely the other guys would just cap them?, but all good gory fun that adds spice. There was even talk of assigning by characters by looks and personality, now there's a can of worms!!

Snowy Leopards!!

Monday, 24 March 2014

Second Contact

So, back to it with EotE last Wednesday we almost manged a full turn out with four of the chaps in attendance.

After a brief recap and the decision to retain the Team Delta assistance the penny finally dropped from the previous sessions heavy hints the chaps dropped back in on Tinsons Town Tech to have a chat with Jared the slightly Austin, super-nerd, does strong theory calls in his head teenager! Sigh!!

First off they got Jared to hook 7-UP-0 to the droid maintenance rig, though 7s rolled such bad Perception that he pretty much walked straight into it! As such we took a brief detour in 7's MYSTERY DEVICE that seems to be some sort of advanced independent data drive that 7's probably doesn't even know about.......,probably;)

Moving on it soon became clear that Jared is a little bit Neo when it comes to computer code but knows right from wrong in a relatively child-like black from white manner. As such the chaps convinced him to check Kanto's files and then hack Ronson's firewall "to help Kanto" but wouldn't make bank transfers to numbered accounts "to help Kanto". The end result was a new door code which would open any door in Ronsons whilst locking all others. They also learnt that Kanto was alive in a detention cell, was being moved in the morning and got a partial site map before the firewall almost caught them......potentially :)

Heading back to the Cantina the chaps met up with their D girl, Oskara and set about planning a slick, mean extraction Op. Said briefing started with a slap up the head for 7s from Oskara as he holo projected their intel onto their table in the middle of the bar! A few more fails and it would have been through the PA but not quite this time! The schooling continued with the nature of corporate extractions and their interface with blaster stun settings! Hired Goons have a certain asset value don't you know. Blue sky thinking often involves planned extraction routes.....apparently ;)

So, as Team Zeta crept up to the back door for 24:00 Oskara elected to act as Tail End Charlie and play sentry.......probably ;)

Bang on Zero Hour the back door was popped and the boys went to work. Faced with a Security Sergeant, a Tech tinkering with his loader and a couple of workers the guy with the armour piercing tranq gun shot the unarmoured tech while the blaster boys peppered Sarge's body armour fairly ineffectually! As is his want Sindori left the Stun bolts at home and got a fair few live ones back for his trouble. Agneci went for a mix as the Stun option didn't seem to yielding immediate results. If only he could negate  that pesky body armour........
With the maintenance bay clear Team Zeta moved into the main vehicle bay and repeated the mix of blaster, stun and tranq fire. As programmed their code locked down the rear door, just as security klaxons started to sound! 7's didn't manage any shooting, fancy or otherwise, instead spending his actions patching Sin's rapidly spreading blaster-tan eventually picking up a dropped blaster pistol........oh my!

Like Hannibal I love it when a plan comes together! Maybe next time out a half baked one might turn up.........potentially ;)

Saturday, 22 March 2014

The Simple Life

Afternoon all,

Once again I am soon to love abode and as such am soon to pack up the toys, paints and brushes for a week or so.

Before all of that I've been spending the day putting together my recently acquired Warlord Commandos for Bolt Action. Proper multi-part these chaps so taking a decent bit of work but it's a real pleasure, they're lovely figures and I want to get the most of them.

To accompany Bridge at Remgagen is on and I even managed to stumble across the original Starl Trek Khan episode earlier.

Good stuff :)

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Undiscovered Country

Hello people,

Something a little different last night down at Enfield Gamers as myself Mr C and Rich C played out a hunch I had to do something a bit different with STAW. Don't get me wrong I'm enjoying the OP play but having played through a few of the scenarios that come with the ships I felt there was a lot more potential out there, especially multi-player.

So, I had a vaguely cunning plan and we spent the evening playtesting it until it actually worked!

Any such scenario needs a decent objective to fight over, preferably an interactive, in this case Deep Space 9. In our case we used the OP template and stats with the pylons firing but not the 360 central bank. As such there were blind spots to hide in, adding an element of manoeuvre. Later we also added four satellites equidistant form the station (we'll get to that one!).

All scenarios need victory conditions and in our case the idea was to have a number of them randomly distributed so as to keep everyone guessing to a certain extent, we had;
1. Teleport Cisco off of DS9 and escape off any board edge
2. Destroy one ship from each enemy fleet
3. Destroy the three pylons (Agility 3, Hull 2)
4. Fly over each satellite to collect Intel and escape with one ship off any board edge
NOTE: We decided that no-one would destroy DS9 as the idea was to be able to take control of it.

In our game two objectives were completed on the same turn as I whisked Cisco off the table just before Mr C claimed a Dominion Patrol Ship to go with my B'Rel

In short, this set-up worked but next time we'd look at doing thing a bit differently as it became fairly obvious pretty quickly who had which missions.
Basically you should have X number of objectives where X = number of player + 2. Each player has a deck of X objectives and randomly draws two of them.
As such, each player has two chances to win with the possibility of multiple players going after the same objective. It's also more difficult to second guess what your opponents are up to!

Something a bit different and multi-player. Please feel free to give it a go, more than happy for any feedback

Monday, 17 March 2014

Kick It!!

Evening People,

Have to admit that I was determined to ignore this one given people's various Mantic KS experiences but when I saw what Jake had come up with and what was on offer I rolled over quicker than a weeble on a windy day! Yeah, went for Rampage, at $150, as well because the whole Sponsor thing looks like a really cool twist.

When I refer to the Mantic KS experience in all honesty it wasn't so much mine as much as others. All subjective I appreciate but as someone who missed the original KS I picked up the Deluxe version (4 teams of 10) and then piggybacked onto others for season 2 and 3 and seemed to come out ahead of those original KS backers.

I'm honestly not looking to get into the debate about KS as a pre-order device / delays / business model etc. With KS in general I think both sides of the fence have learnt a lot about expectation and how to manage that. The BIG THING here is that I absolutely love DB as a game and can see me playing it well into my infirmity.

My comment was more that this time I felt that I could leave the KS alone and then pick up stuff as and when I wanted and not loose out or maybe even be a bit ahead. But when the KS launched I was really impressed with where DB-Ex was going and really wanted to be a part of it. If anything it was possibly even something of a back-handed compliment ;)

Having said all that I've found it remarkably easy to leave the daily update e-mails alone. I know I'm getting a good deal but then so are Mantic. As an ex GW chap I know that its all about the additional sales so I'm going nowhere near the add-ons! I know that at some I'm going get a big ol' pile of TOYS. Right now I'm not so worried about which toys, though the shark-man MVP is proper cool!!

Like I say, its about managing expectation. Right now I've made an investment :/ Come back in six months and I'm sure I'll be frothing like a good 'un :)

Sunday, 16 March 2014

A Beautiful Day to be Out.... a school hall in Sidcup!

Myself and Rich took a trip south of the Thames this afternoon to the Skirmish Wargames and Toy Soldiers show in said South London suburb. 

Veterans of many such local shows it was definitely a twice around with a tea break in between type of event. Rich had found our morning out on a Facebook Wargames Diary group, which I really must find.

Not to knock but it was one hall of games and another of traders with a B&B tacked on. Half of each of each were somewhat hastily knocked together. Not such an issue with a game but many of the traders seemed to little more than random piles of vaguely mutilated lead and plastic, with the usual proportion of GW hand-offs. I suppose with E-Bay, internet sellers and Kickstarter there's an obvious trickle effect.

The actual traders stood out with a nice variety of quality product, predominantly skirmish in nature rather than "traditional" big game. I did wonder if this "said" anything about the state of the hobby but then I'm sure, but not convinced, that Salute will "speak" otherwise.

Between us we picked up a few bits for Bolt Action, a box of multi part plastic Commandos for myself. Again, gone for us are the days of turning up at a show with a shopping list and folding on the hip. £20 was a justifiable purchase for the upcoming escalation campaign at the club. After all I DO have a $150 Dreadball Extreme pledge to honor!

Anyway, a pleasant day out and a nice bit of variation for the painting table. I had hovered over the Gurkhas, Finns, Siberian Veterrans and Bersagliari before seeing sense.

It would seem that I've left the notion for grand projects behind as well. Not so worried about that one :)

Thursday, 13 March 2014

The H.U.M.A.N Touch

Hello again people,

A rather late AAR but after a couple of cancellations we cracked on with Star Wars EoTE last Wednesday. Moving on from last time out we broke one of our cardinal rules and went ahead with just 3 of 5 players.

We'd previously discussed the option of using NPCs to fill the void as and when necessary. The current employment as one of HI-HI's alternative action teams allows another team member, with the required skillset, to provide assistance as and when required. The downside is the loss of the Human skills of thought, logic, inspiration and pure dumb luck.
Having missed two consecutive sessions we though it was worth giving a go!
With 7-UP-0 still inside Ronsons Heay Chemicals all on his lonesome I required independent planing as they'd worked out that open comms might not be the best idea! 7s decided to try his, relatively untrained, arm at a touch of hacking. Easing his way in to the HR systems he ascertained the staff numbers and shifts, split between production and security, before moving on to the supply database. Finding a number of sub-folders including Medical, Detention and Armoury the dice went against him and he was caught red-handed. His explanation of ordering paper towels for the Armoury did not cut much ice....

Meanwhile the guy outside played the waiting and watching game for a while, until Ronson's recently heightened security relented, before Agenai went back for 7's......just as the paper towel story was unravelling ;)

So, plenty of Perception and Charm rolls later Agenai is stood in Ronson's maintenance bay, with a number of heavily armed types and no blaster, as one of their tech's runs through 7's short term memory and hardware to establich if he's a super-slicer planted in their midst. No worries there then!
What they DO find is a mysterious sealed bio-ware unit with NO OBVIOUS FUNCTION deep in 7's ermm.......bowels?
As a bonus Agenai's keen Perception skills established the pattern of the personal security codes of Ronson's security keypads, clocking several individual codes, though unfortunately clocked himself in the process.
Retiring to the local cantina the boys took stock as they looked to work out their next move. This proved difficult for all involved. As a GM I'll give a certain amount, remind, jog, throw the odd bone but I won't cheat the "reality" of the

With an NPC within the group there's the temptation to abuse that position. I also feel that said NPC can easily be viewed by the players as a mouthpiece of the GM, thus making any utterance overtly prophetic.

Anyway, big words aside the experiment seemed somewhat inconclusive. I don't think it's a definite no-no but a very definite skill to use. A full turn-out is far more preferable.

Hopefully next time out!

Showcase: Star Trek Attack Wing

Hello people,

It's been a bit "emotional" recently, involving a brief bit of unplanned surgery (in an uncomfortable place), but that's all dealt with now and I have a few recovery days at home which means a bit of bonus TOYS-time.

So far this has involved a fair bit of Red Dead Redemption - Undead Nightmare, which makes a lot more sense now having played the license in order. Being a bit between project I've also had a bit of a sort-out of the pile and a clean-up of the painting station. My Moria troll has turned up but a shortage of green stuff means that he isn't in one piece yet.

What I have been doing recently is playing a fair bit of STAW, Star Wars Attack Wing, which has been becoming one of my games of choice, and inspired what might become a semi regular Showcase set of posts. We'll see.

Showcase: Star Trek Attack Wing (Wizkids)

Star Trek: Attack Wing is a tactical space combat HeroClix miniatures game, featuring collectible pre-painted ships from the Star Trek Universe. Utilizing the FlightPath™ maneuver system, command your fleet in space combat & customize your ship with a Captain, crew, weapons and tech upgrades.

Players engage in exploration and combat, traversing sprawling Star Trek space maps made available via an in-store Organized Play program. As commander, players have the ability to customize, upgrade, and assign famous crewmembers to their fleets, which feature ships from the series' prominent empires and forces as well as special stats and abilities, and unique maneuvers on separate Combat Dials.

The Good;

FlightPath™ and the wider STAW 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 the respective factions coming through well. Klingons have flying guns, Feds are very adaptable, Romulans are stealth orientated.
- Wizkids are providing plenty of support with Organised Play events packed full of participation goodies as well as winner prizes.
- The release waves are fairly even and keeps the meta fresh with constantly evolving forces and tactics.
- Price point is pretty good. £100 will set you up very well and you can do it for less than that. At just over a £10 per ship it's decent value and something you can manage well.

The Bad;
- The meta tends to lean towards power combos and lists more than other games and tends to dominate the OP scene. The ease with which you can mix factions can inspire a fair bit of Nerd-Rage.
- The OP prize structure is nice but some of the stuff is a bit too good and creates something of an armss race via E-Bay which doesn't sit well with many.
- The release schedule and OP packs have been subject to regular delay and lack of availability with some territories favoured over others. Once again E-Bay types have taken advantage
My Ugly;
This is a game that I initially steered away from unconvinced by the game itself and not being the biggest Trek-head, much more a Star-gamer. However, playing a few games of both STAW and X-Wing changed my mind. As much as I might have preferred it the other way round I feel that STAW is by far the more rounded game, offering more variation of strategy and tactics across a number of levels.

Most of all it's a good fun game that has converted an anti-Trek sceptic in to regular OP play and owner of the "Kirk" films box set. I still don't like Next-Gen, no game's that good ;), but that's fun because I at least get to try and space Ol Slaphead and the Bearded Gitbag!

Happy days!

Monday, 3 March 2014

Filthy Little Urchins!!

Hello people, As threatened, just a quick one for the SAGA / LOTR Gobbos in the required Hollywood I'm a bad guy so therefore I'm British, in fact the lower down the scale I drop the more Pearly Kings and Queens I get.
Anyway, 11 figures for 22 PPs. Really lovely figures, it's a shame that so many of them out there have been treated as little more than dross........

Not the greatest shots somehow but somehow suitable. The Moria Troll is in the post, the wallet is straining at it's payday leash. Well shall see :)

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Running with the Hordes

Evening people,

The LOTR / SAGA Goblin Levy have just been washed so hopefully that should be another fistful of PPs tomorrow night and a completed 6 point force. I've really enjoyed this project, and especially painting the LOTR figures to the point that I'm already looking to expand the force.

An unarmoured Moria Troll with spear is 95% sourced from E-Bay while I've also been eyeing up some Warg Riders, they're just such lovely figures! I also dropped into GW Enfield on the way home from footy this afternoon to do a bit of research as I've also been eyeing up the Hunter Orcs, foot and mounted, to add a bit of variation to the force.

Going back to my recent rant, the newer figures are cool but I'm not sure why they're "worth" £5 and £7 a box more for the same number of figures :/ What was really cool was the chat that I had with Dan, the Manager, about what I was doing with them and what I was looking at. He mentioned the Half-Ogres in the Harad and Umbar range, that I wasn't even aware of! Checking them out on the website lead to a few more possibles;
How good are these? Excellent add on / command figures. Nice call Dan, really enjoyed the chat, you really got what I was after. If only a felt the same way about your employer.

Unfortunately Wednesday was another bust for Star Wars: EotE but instead we cracked the seal on Zombiecide: Prison Break. Setting up the tutorial we expected a fairly easy run breaking into the prison. Yeahh........not so much!!

A first turn Abomination didn't really help but the real step up is with the missions. As you would expect with a Prison security is paramount so we needed to go find the let us into the exercise yard full of shamblers. On the run pretty quickly we soon learned the power of the drive-by / zombie-ram which quickly drove up the kill count, and a such the Z-count!

The other twist are the Zombi-vor rules. Two of our guys went down only to get back up wild-eyed and suddenly far more durable. The same happened Tuesday night with the club ZC campaign. I haven't read the rules myself and am fairly sure we were doing it right but it does initially seem a bit strong.

Admittedly without our super-charged Z-Boys we would have been guaranteed zombie-chow and otherwise couldn't have touched the Abo. I can see the fluff point that whilst "on the turn" you might go all roid-tastic but I'm not so sure the rest of the party wouldn't be a touch wary of their newly resurrected buddies.
But hey, its a Zom-pocalypse..........and a game :) Good fun!!

GW Anonymous

My name's (EX-COMMUNICATUS) and I'm an ex GW employee.

For those in the know I managed GW Enfield from about 2000 to 2004. If I wanted to be glib I'd say something like "but I feel much better now" but that would be doing a disservice to too much and too many. Like many others I genuinely enjoyed the vast majority of my time within the Evil Empire with many great memories of customers, colleagues  and carnage across the gaming tables.

For me I decided to move on when I realised that to be better at my job I had to separate my time in the store from my hobby, which was the very thing that had got me in their in the first place. In the past ten years I've moved on without GW whilst GW has, quite rightfully, moved on without me. Neither of us should feel bad or spill any tears. I've got a far better hobby now and I do feel much better thank you ;)

As these pages attest the GW hobby isn't my thing anymore, for many reasons, but as many recovered addicts do I still feel the itch at times and keep an eye on the old girls progress through the warp. I still drop into a store every now and then and am fairly religious as far as paint and brushes are concerned. They're just a bit too much in my blood, possibly literally, and the colour wheels too ingrained into my psyche. (I'm also partially colour blind but have learnt GW shades to the nth degree)

The last month has been a bit seismic with profit warnings, the death of White Dwarf (fat, bloated and gouty) the sidelining of Finecast (thank the Ominissiah) and a multitude of corporate restructurings. There has, as always, been a great deal of gnashing, wailing and doomsaying from the (virtual) hobby masses, as might be their right but at the end of the millennium it's all just toy soldiers.....really, it is! 

For me it'll never happen again, the price in time as well as money is far too high for a set of games with a meta that I barely even recognise, let alone want to be a part of. The figures still do the job, all too well, and I regularly devour others blog entries that prove oh so tempting.

But then I read an article about the lastest Taumon, Tau with Daemon allies, tearing up the tourney scene and I let it go. New STC constructs are "discovered" according to the accountant rather than the artificer.

It seems to be what it's all about these days, even Fantasy is all Monstrous Creatures and Arcane Fulcrums from what I can tell. Every army has to have an entry for everything and even if it doesn't just borrow someone else's!

Generally I'm pretty live and let live and think a lot of hobbyists should get over themselves. You DO have a choice, you DO have the ability to vote with your feet. Kickstarters and the myriad of smaller games producers are taking chunks out of GW with high quality product on every level. I subscribe to the view that GW itself has indirectly stimulated this growth in high quality alternatives. They have to be to get people's money because that's what they expect these days, what a lot them were brought up on.
With the death of White Dwarf even as an agnostic doubter I'd rather see GW they something new than just more of the same. For that they do actually deserve some credit (not as painful as I thought!). The latest issue with the Imperial Knights is the best one yet, though it does kind of bat for both sides of my personal row with myself ;)

For me what I can't hack is the disembowelment of the ethos, mentality and background that I grew up with and cut my teeth on. I'm obviously getting a bit long in the fang because GW can do what they like with their IP, what I don't like is them fecking about with mine!

I DO realise how that probably comes across and YES and somewhat old-school with this one but I'm far from the only ranter here. A good mate and fellow escapee posted this recently and I couldn't agree more;

Was playing Bolt Action the other day, using US 101st, and they are proper elite troopers. Got me thinking, and talking to my opponents, about 40K and why I hate it so much. Forget about the company, and the crap they pull: the game is......just bland. My 'elite' space wolves die by the bucket loads. Over the years I have massacred whole legions of Chaos Space Marines. The fluff has ZERO relevance anymore. Look at Deadzone. It's like 3 pages of colour text. And it works. the game IS about a Deadzone containment. 40k? It's just a line battle where the winner has the most AP1 weapons. All the background fluff, and i DO still love it, gets it's coat and leaves once the game starts.

The thing that REALLY gets me is that the current state of affairs wasn't always so, or at least not how I remember it. It just feels so horrifically unnecessary. But then at least some of that could be me?! Just this month I've pledged $50 to the Pulp City KS, because a good mate I trust says its good and the figures are awesome, and $150 to Dreadball Extreme because it's a cool twist on a game that I already know that I'll be playing for years.

Thank you very much for listening, RANT OVER. I don't think anyone WANTS to see GW go down (I can't be learning a new set of paints!) I just don't want the hobby of my youth to curl up and die :/