Saturday, December 7, 2013

My Little Pony CCG Review and How To

Not like I need it but this is my license to post ponies. I have just returned from the MLP CCG pre release event. It was fabulous. I got all kinds of fun swag but the best part was my wife went with me and definitely did better than me (though not in her card pulls).

CCGs usually aren’t my thing, I like nice thick cardboard that is predictable when bought, non of this blind bag stuff. Why did I get into this game then? Because friendship is F*&^ing Magic. 

 Anyway hot off the presses I shall be recounting the tales of playing with the ponies. And by that I mean I shall give you the low down of the rules and show of my shiny ultra rare Big Macintosh card!

So lets start with the basics. How do I win at friendship? Well you generally solve problems until someone reaches 15 points (Not 14!). But watch out, those nare do wells the trouble-makers are poised to stand in your way! 
Anyway you build a deck. If I recall correctly it was at least 45 cards worth of deck, then you get 10 problems together (why do I feel like Twighlight in Lesson Zero when I do this?). You also cant have more than three cards of any one type in your deck and no more than 2 of any problem. 

 After that you find an opponent, which may be easier than you think judging by the turnout at my game store (I'm always up for a Skype game). After that you say a few nice words to each other and begin (Be social! Say appropriate things and help each other out when need be! We are Bronies and Pegasisters not Yu! GI! Oh! kids)

So first you put your Mane character ( I see what they did there) next to your draw deck. Your problem deck goes on your upper right. You must go through the problem deck before starting and pick one of your start problems to get things rolling. This card is placed face up  on your problem deck.

This is the basic board layout. I got this nice paper mat at the event! 
Your Mane character is very important. She starts the game in play at home. She also has a condition on her where she can become Boosted (20% cooler!). This is really important because it lets you have more ponies at home and gives you more pony power in an easy way! 
Rarity is shown on her start side. Rainbow dash is on her Boosted side.
The pony power is in the upper right.

What does home mean? Are you too good for your home? Well some ponies are. See you can have a number of ponies in your home space that is equal to what your Mane character gives you. If you ever exceed this (such as when ponies return from solving a problem) you must dismiss them (discard). Sorry Dashy, I have HAD it with you breaking windows in my library.

Turns are broken down into:

The ready phase
The trouble maker phase
The Main phase (mane? Why not!)
And finally the score phase.

Ready phase:
This is easy, you draw a card and make ready all your exhausted cards (untapp your tapped cards, they can’t say that though because MTG has copyrighted that phrase (Tapped means turned sideways, and untapped means placing them in a normal way).

And finally get your actions tokens.

You get a number of action tokens based on THE HIGHEST SCORE of both players. So if you have three points and your opponent has 10 points, you both get 4 action tokens. If you have 4 points and your opponent has 4 points you both get 3 action tokens. There is a happy little chart and handy little cards to keep track of both scores and who gets what. 

This is the "slider" that is mentioned. It is simply
two cards on top of each other. The left column is your score 
and the right is how many AP each person gets if your score is the highest.
Just move it up and down as needed.
If you don’t use all your action points in one phase, they will carry over into the next turn or  you can use them for events. Ya, I am gonna let that sink in a little. AP carry over. BOOM. Deal with it.

Trouble maker phase:
This one is tricky! So first I am going to talk about trouble makers. These little devils get played for 1 AP (action points) and are played face down during the Mane phase. On your next turn they will get flipped over during the trouble maker phase and will try to prevent your opponent from confronting a problem on their next turn. This is also the phase where you get to choose if you want to confront them for being jerks. If you do there is a Faceoff. I will get into this later. 

His power is in the upper right, and the points you
 get for defeating him are in the middle portion....
Stupid tribble. 

If you win the faceoff trouble maker is discarded and you score the points the trouble maker is worth located in the middle left of the card.

If the trouble maker wins the face off, one pony at the problem becomes exhausted (turned sideways).

Exhausted ponies cannot add their pony power towards solving problems of face offs! 

Trouble makers are played on problems. If those problems go away, they do too (unless they are still face down).

Mane phase:
This is where you play cards and move ponies places. You play a card by paying its cost ( located on the left side inside a white circle) in Action points. In addition to the AP cost you must have the resources required for the card in play. This number is located bellow the cost circle. You can play ponies onto problems or onto your home space. You can also play events if those events say Main Phase on them. 

Her pony power is in the upper right (2 / kindness) 
Her cost is in the left bubble (3) and you must have 2 kindness out
(bellow the cost) to play her.  

If you play a resource that resource is generally played onto something. These are like equipment and do not go away until the card they are played on goes away, or your opponent forces you to dismiss them (discard).

If you want to move a pony from your home to a problem or from one problem to another you must pay 2 action points. Gotta trot over to that big ol problem and get er done. Some ponies have a cool ability called swift which lets them do it for 1 AP.

Events are played when they say they can be played. They will tell you what phase to play them in.

You can also play trouble makers for 1 AP. These go on your opponents side of a problem. Your opponent cannot confront the problem that trouble maker is at ( as long as he is flipped up) until the trouble maker is defeated in a face off. 

Score phase:

This is Button’s Mom’s favorite phase. No. That was wrong. 

This is the phase where you score points. Here you look at both problems and see if you have enough ponies at that problem to confront it. If you do, and you are the first to confront the problem, you score 1 point for confronting the problem plus whatever amount of bonus points there are at that problem. If you are not the first to confront it you just get one point. You cannot confront a problem if a trouble maker is present on your side.

Your opponent needs 8 of any pony power to solve this problem. 
You need 4 honesty and 3 non honesty.

You then looks across the problem to see if there are any other ponies over there ready to throw down with two years of tap and 3 of Jazz dance.

The problems stay in play until there is a face off at the problems. This can happen in one of two ways: A single face off or a double.

Here one person confronts the problem and scores a point but on the opponents side, they also have enough pony power to solve the problem. When this is the case both you and your opponent flip the top card from your decks. You take the power of that card (top Right number) and add it to your pony power (the power value of each pony found at the problem). The winner gets to score points equal to the bonus points of that problem. The problem is then discarded and a new one is flipped.

Here you have a face off. On one side you have 6 loyalty pony power, 
and on the other you have 8 pony power (we are ignoring that awesome owl who should
go in EVERY deck). You will add the power of the card you flip to both totals to see who wins. 


A word about problems:
A problem has two sides. The side with a number containing no element of harmony faces your opponent while the other side faces you. You each must meet your given power requirement in order to confront that problem. A problem will stay in play –allowing points to generate from it – until there is a face off. 

Double face off!
Here is where it gets complicated. A double face off happens if someone scores points from both problems. This can be a DEVESTATING turn of events. This will even happen if there are no ponies on the other side. If this happens do the following: 

1: Do not panic!
2: Grab your towel!
3: Add up the pony power on each side of the problems. One for you and one for your opponent.
4: Flip the top card of your deck while your opponent does the same.
5: Add the power of that card (again top right) to your pony power total.
6: Highest number wins the face off. Redraw on ties.

The winner gets bonus points equal to the highest bonus point number of either of the two problems. (not both bonus points). So if there is one problem with 3 bonus points and one with 1, the winner gets three points for winning the face off.

7: All ponies go home and a new problem is flipped onto both decks.

When doing this trouble makers are ignored. Remember though, this only happens if someone scores points from BOTH your problem and your opponents.

So here is the thing about this whole score phase.
You get points for these things in this order: 

Confronting the problem: 1 point
Being the first to confront the problem: Bonus point value
Winning a face off: Bonus points value.

These points can add up real face. I thought I was going to win one game then my opponent scored 8 points… A poor friend of mine had a 10 point score on him! 

Ya that's pretty much the look  on my face.
Ok so I think that is the gist of things, if not all of it. It’s not so bad once you get going and play a few games. Having played with a few of the decks and messed with some of them I can tell you the permutations are vast. Lots of viable options here Mr. Sirlin. Not a lot of OP either, with the exception of Rarity's fabulous hat, most things are balanced pretty well.

This thing, oh my Celestia this thing...Who knew a hat
could be so powerful. Just be glad she didn't make a whole dress.

Lots of fun too, which surprised me. The card game is non violent and really echos what the show and comic books try to do ( personally I think the comics are better than the show!). Here we have a rare beast. A Cartoon to CCG that comes with depth of play, fun and aesthetics. This game will appeal to many generations and if you’re a Brony like me, it’s a must play.

My only wish is that it wasn’t collectable. But at least I got my Big Mac. Now if I can only track down a Vinyl Scratch and Derpy…. 

Yeeup, your jealous.
Anyway, Until next time; I am Brony, resistance is futile.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Krosmaster Arena: A Review


Welcome back! This article has taken me longer than I wanted to write, but I am glad it did because there is another Krosmaster Kickstarter up! And now: Krosmaster Arena!

And it. Is. Adorable. So what does that mean? That’s right, never trust anything that cute because it is probably trying to kill you.

Ya that's blood on her hands...

Everything about this game is adorable, from the cardboard scenery to the figures. Thankfully, the quality of product is first class as well, from the art and heftiness to the pre pained paint jobs. The terrain is fantastic, yet simple and inexpensive. You get some good quality for your money. For those wondering how big the miniatures are they are about Inquisitor sized (look at me dating myself).

Jems Blond is gonna light you up.

The company also, mercifully, made this game buy what you want. Across the pond in France (where it was originally released) these things are blind box. That Hellish experience will elude us over here in the states though, we can peek on into to clear polymer windowed packaging and know exactly what we are getting. The stats to all figures are also available for public view on the Krossmaster website, so you can pre plan what to buy if your are not a completionist. If you are, I am sorry (just be glad they are not blind Box). 

I was skeptical about this game at first. Then I played it and was lost forever. (That seems to happen a lot with me hu?) The game play won me over and made me super sad about missing the Kickstarter. Thankfully, because of a good friend, I obtained most of the promos!

The game itself is pretty deceptive. The rules are easy and the adorableness of everything masks the darker side of the figures. And here is the really crazy thing; you can play it online. Yes welcome to online gaming, the scariest place on the internet. I don’t do that though so the only information I will give you on that is that each figure comes with a code to unlock that character in the online game. There that’s all, moving away from the internet now…

Ok but how do I play this sickeningly cute game?

Pretty easy. You can choose among multiple methods for team building. The first is the ever present constructed. Make a team from what you have, or what you can borrow. The second is that you can draft any way you want from a pool of available figures. And the final method is random! (No one plays like that, that’s crazy talk!)

Constructing a team is easy. In the upper right corner of the figure is its point cost in Gallons of Glory. Generally you can assemble a team who’s total Gallons of Glory equal 12, though any predetermined amount is acceptable (I suspect that it may unbalance other game elements though). 

The best 4 Gallons of Glory you will spend.

Playing is a simple matter. Each player alternates turns. The turn is broken down into the following steps. 

1: First you roll for tension. Rolling for tension lets you assign the resurlts of the two dice you roll to your characters for special abilities. The other option is that you can trade them in for Kama Coins (Which are money within the game). Watch out though, if you roll doubles the demons that are forcing you to fight for their pleasure (no really, that’s what is going on…) will take away one Gallon of Glory from each person.

2: You activate your characters in initiative order. The initiative is found on the upper left of the character card in front of a lighting bolt. Characters always activate in the same order. If there is a tie, you get to pick who goes first but that order cannot be altered for the rest of the game.

So activation, lets get into that. A character has three stats in the top of the card. From left to right they are: Movement (green diamond), Health (red heart), and finally action points (blue star). 

Movement is obviously how many squares you can move. Hold on there though, this ain’t Heroclix. You can’t move diagonally. You also can’t count range from a diagonal. You also cannot move through trees and bushes. And that exciting paragraph is how you

Spending action points is a little more complicated. You can spend them to pick up coins, one AP per coin, to punch people (everyone has a generic 5 AP close combat ability that does 1 damage), to purchase something from the shop, or to use an ability.

The abilities are the rows below the stat bar. The little box on the left indicates range. It also denotes if you can increase range need line of sight or other special things. I am not getting into that because we have a lot more to do! Suffice to say there is a nice symbol set that eliminates the need for a lot of text. The large circle on the right indicates how much damage that spell will do ( if it does anything at all). Next to that is a blue star indicating the amount of action points you must spend to use that spell. The text within the bar describes any extra effects the spell has in addition to damage. The text is pretty self explanatory


Its pretty easy. If you have line of site and range to a target you can attack them. To do so you roll one die (two if you have the critical ability). For each burst or wild face you roll you do 1 damage. You add that damage to the base damage or the attack/spell you used. That is how much damage you inflict. The defender then rolls one die (two if they have armor) and for every wild or shield they roll they subtract that much from the attackers damage and take the rest of the attackers total in wounds.  If you reach 0 health your character is dead. 

From right to left: Boot (dodge), Lock, Burst, Wild.

When a figure dies the controller takes an amount of Gallons of Glory from their stock (you start with 6) equal to the character's Gallons cost and gives it to their opponent. If you reach 0 Gallons of Glory or have no figures on the board you lose. Game over man, game over!

A few other things 

One of these two things is more deadly than the other...

So if that were just the game it would be a little boring. The really cool thing about this game is that you can buy power ups in game. If a character is standing on a shop square on their turn you can spend 1 AP to purchase a power up you can afford.

The shop square. It's an evil enchanter, it does evil dances, it puts you in trances!

At each tier there are two face up power ups and two face downs. You can purchase any of the 4 for their cost at any of the three tiers. The power ups can be permanent equipment, one shots, or turn long buffs. These are often the key to winning the game (Jems Blond + Pyro Boost = Watch the world burn.)

Back to posting ponies, deal with it.

There is a lock / zone of control rule in this game as well. It works pretty much the same way as attacking does (with locks and boots instead of bursts and shields) but if you fail to break away you lose all MP and AP. Pretty harsh but you can usually break away.

You can also use scenery to your advantage or simply destroy it. This adds some interesting game play. Boxes can even boost your range!


Yup, your jealous.
The downside to this game is that there are a few cheesy pieces (Nox I am looking at you.) For the most part though, there are some good counter balances to it. It’s also difficult to transport when you start getting lots of figs. There are some options but they are generally expensive. I build my own storage for the box but with the new Frigost coming out I will have to come up with a new solution.

This is Nox. He is a jerk. If you see him, just start crying.

The promos can be frustrating too. For people who did not get in on the Kickstarter there really isn’t a good, cheap way to get them. Thankfully there is a Kickstarter for the Frigost expansion going on right now! It will last until December 15th so go get it if your interested. Some of the tiers are GREAT for new players.

All in all this game rocks. It’s simple and has many permutations of play. There are good ways to house rule broken things and generally al pieces are viable options for play. I recommend getting into this game for anyone in that wonderful limbo land that I live in where table top skirmish games meet board games. Currently Krosmaster stands as  one the games that finds its way out of my closet the most.

Eye Candy:

Here we go! I painted stuff? No way! 

You can't take the sky from me (sedition wars minis). 
 Ripley and Riddic. Yes Please. 

So until next time all you readers out their in internet land  keep filling those Gallons of Glory (while we wait for the drunken pandas from Wakfu!) Antizombie signing off. 

Also here is this: 

Monday, September 23, 2013

SDE Von Drakk and The Nyan

What a horrible night for a curse.

Hey everyone (who is still reading this) I am back and boy am I excited. So many games and things have happened recently! I even got an anonymous benefactor (even if the benefit is small). Anyway today’s installment is brought to you by the ever present Super Dungeon Explore!, specifically the Von Drakk expansion. 

“Well that’s not new.” You say? Well also up on the docket is the new Nyan Nyan hero fresh from the shipping box it came from!

“Well what about The Caverns Of Roxxor expansion?” you ask. Well, as much as I loved that expansion (Link, Mario and Peach? Yes please!) I felt that it was more of the same – although the fire beetle was a game change (seriously though, that guy is a huge jerk).

 That is clearly the legendary hero with the Minish Cap.

What Von Drakk brings to the table is more viable options for the Consul and the Heroes. If I had to pick only one expansion currently available I would choose Von Drakk. And here is why:

Werewolves and Vampires

He ate team Edward... and that other team.

I mean yes please. Here we have two more shape changing pieces. Before we had only Angry bear, now we have a couple more – including one for the consul’s use. I find these figures to be the more challenging to play. People automatically want to wolf out or go all angry bear on someone, but it is not always the best option. Pieces like Van Wildeing and Deep Root druid give players a lot of viable options (for more on viable options read some of David Sirlin’s Blog) making the game more interesting.

More Viable Options for the consul

Apparently YOLO doesn't apply to these guys.

So, before I get into a couple choice pieces I need to direct you to the dungeon effect of Von Drakk. When a hero destroys a spawn point you rotate the tile. Wow. It may not seem like much but let me remind you that when you are the heroes in SDE, you are working against the clock. A good placement by the Consul player is going to seriously slow down those heroes, possibly allowing the boss to spawn while spawn points are still in play.

Well rounded and devastating denizens

Frodo didn't survive his trip to Crystalia...

These guys are sick! They really force the heroes to play smart while allowing a shrewd Consul player an opportunity to totally wreck a party. The witches can use potions to turn you into a frog? OMFG. Let me repeat that. A denizen gets an offensive potion that can cripple a hero.
            The spider is no slouch either. Being able to spray slow against a heroic party can be awful. I have been on the receiving end of this and it is not pretty. It’s all about that clock thing again. Any wounds this guy does are just bonuses. The spider’s large base and slow spray attack is almost guaranteed to lock down those heroes.
            The skull bats aren’t too bad either if you use them properly. Making a hero vulnerable to a magic attack can be the extra little boost the consul needs!

Themed Hero play 

Remember, never trust anything that cute. The one on the right
will strait up wolf out on you.

No more random parties, now you can play legitimately themed parties of heroes. You can even give them a respectable back story. Now this isn’t a mechanical thing, but any one who knows me or reads this blog knows I love the ambiance of a game more than the actual game play ( unless your rules system happens to be anime tactics'…).

And finally the sculpts

 We want you! We want you! We want you as a new recruit!
Wow. Best sculpts yet. These things are fantastic. It might just be a personal thing but I think these are the best sculpts yet from the SDE line at Soda Pop Miniatures. I have really enjoyed painted them (though I still have a few left). I could recommend this expansion simply for the sculpts. Sure they are just skeletons for the most part, but they are seriously the best skeletons ever.

That's what I am going to look like when the new
Zelda game comes out in November.

When you get this set out of the box and add it to your game you are going to be wowed. I certainly was. Not going to lie, Roxxor was a disappointment, to the point where I almost didn’t pick this one up. Boy am I glad I did. If you’re a fan of the SDE I really recommend this set. Now if we can just get some cool new tiles! Hear that Soda Pop? I am inundated with models to paint (Serenity crew from Seditions Wars, Bushido Stuff, the SDE Stuff I haven’t finished, ect.), I need more boards to wander aimlessly through. Please give us some more boards, maybe a castle theme and a wooded theme?


Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na, Nyan Nyan. Nyan Nyan. Nyan Nyan!

Recently at Gen Con this little gem was released to the general populous (you can still pick it up at cool mini or not and at Soda Pop. Don't know how much longer though). I personally love it. I mean who ever heard of an anime themed anything without an obligatory cat girl (It’s a cat girl! Throw stuff at it!). Not only is it a fantastic sculpt but the rules are sick. She is going to be a nice replacement for your Riftling Rouge. Pounce and 9 lives are things that will just make the consul cry. 

Just in case you haven't seen the Original.

Thankfully, despite the awesome power contained within the Von Drakk Expansion and the Nyan Nyan, the original set and Roxxor expansion are still viable options for any player. Keeping previous sets viable is something that many games fail to do well (I’m looking at  you Wizkids!). I am thankful that this is the case with SDE. Otherwise, I couldn’t play with all my well painted toys. I look forward to seeing the what the next expansion holds (though it looks like it holds Plants, Centaurs and Killer bunnies). 

What does the future hold?

The future holds, I hope, at least three more reviews: Krosmaster Arena (OMG I cant. Stop. Playing.), Bushido, and Arena Rex. However, Come January I will be taking a hiatus from this blog because I GOT INTO GRAD SCHOOL! I shall be a master of SCIENCE! 

I also know how magnets work.

The bad news is 9 classes of hard science a semester, so no time to write for you. Though, given my track record of updating this blog, you may not even notice…

Finally some eye candy. I have been busy despite not updating so check it out!

This blog just got 20% cooler
I can die happy now that I have my very own Rabbite.
Yup that's a Tengu! N-N-N-NINJA!

And finally, it's hammer time.

 Until next time all you readers out there in internet land, keep slinging those paints and exploring new games! Antizombie signing off!

Next time: