Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and the like.

Mery Christmas all!

 These cute little reindeer bite! but right now are just catching snowflakes.

I hope your all having a wonderful season. I also hope that you find many fun games under your tree this year. I want to thank everyone for a great year for this blog (granted it's only year). Thank you all for visiting and I hope to have many more exciting things for you next year! Until then here is my Christmas playlist:

Oi to the world - No Doubt
Last Christmas - Wham
Christmastime - Smashing pumpkings
Baby it's cold outside - Glee Version
My Little Drum - Vince Garaldi Trio ( Snoopy's band)
Some song by rockapella
You're a mean one Mr. Grinch - Sixpence Non-The-Richer ( good luck finding that one)
Christmas for Two - Sixpence Non-The -Richer
Skating                 - Vince Garaldi Trio
Christmas( Baby Please Come Home) - Death Cab for Cutie
Welcome Christmas  - Glee version
Christmas Song  - Dave Mathews
Christmas is comming  - Vince Garaldi Trio

Thanks for making me smile everyone!

Peace out and may all your holiday gaming be great!
Steve ( still lost in a dungeon)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pocket Kung Fu!

This is another one of those games that I have been waiting for for quite a while. I remember the game in it's infancy; paper cards with sharpie marks on them and small scraps of paper to represent items. Even playing like that I loved it. We had countless rules debates and brainstorming in order to help the creator out. Thankfully Jason's vision has finally become a reality. While, you can't necessarily carry it around in your wallet - as was originally intended - the game turned out wonderfully. It is nice to see a finished product of this quality and originality.

The Game
The game it self is very easy to play and learn. Basically each player picks a fighter, and then you take turns pivoting and leaping in order to strike your opponents in one of their vulnerable areas. For being such a simple concept it is amazingly original and fun.

For terrain you just use whatever you have lying around! coffee cups, books, flashlights, miniatures, secret government document's on flash drives, petri dishes containing Ebola, - you know whatever. These are the objects in the room your characters are fighting. There is a cool move in the game called "Flow like water" that allows your character to gain an extra action if they touch a room object. This is suppose to represent your character running and jumping off a wall and the like. It's a lot of fun when you imagine it as your playing.

With regards to strategy the game relies on your ability to judge distance and perform many spacial manipulations in your mind. The game utilizes positioning and movement for pretty much every aspect of it's design. That is to say nothing is left to chance. Your fate is in your own hands, not the dice, not the cards, you.

There are three types of movement in the game that you can use to position your character for the deadly strike. The most basic is the pivot. You simply place your finger on one of the dots on your character's card and spin. Easy enough.
Moving Crane's card forward the length of the rules card is a leap. You can also leap sideways but you only go the width of the card.

The second kind of movmenet is leaping. For this you take your rules referance card and place it next to your card and move your character one card length directly forward, or sideways.

The fourth type of movement is knock back. This is bad if it happens to you. Here your character must be hit by an opponent. you are then essentially forced to leap in the opposite direction of where the character you were hit by. You leap a number of times equal to your damage taken.
Tiger has struck Crane's vulnerable area doing 2 damage

Some Specifics

Your character card will have a number of things on it. The numbers in your corner are the points that you can do damage with, the numbers represent how much. Your character must manuver and touch another character's colored space ( not the black space) with one of these points to inflic damage.

The numbers in the center of your card represent your characters actions and life. The actions are how many movements you can take during a turn.

 Don't be like Aku. Fight your own battles.

The colored area around the edge of the card is your vulnerable point and the black is your block points. If your character is struck on the colored borders of their card they are damaged. If struck in the black no damaged is done.

To win you simply have to reduce your opponent to 0 life or knock them off the table!

Ring out !

There are a few special attacks too. These are wonderful flavor and can be used in only specific circumstances. They have fun names like "chase the humming bird" and the like. They add a little extra umph to the rule set and are super fun when you acutally get to use them.

The good

This game is fun. Period. It is also easy. Period. Original, yup. Since there aren't that many mechanics anyone can play and it also supports any number of players. You can play teams, or free for all.  The game is also quick. You can finish with experianced players in 10-15 minutes. I have had games go for only 5 minutes ( WATCHA my Kung Fu is strong!).

Price is good too. While you only need one set, for under 20 USD you can get both! So easy entrance and quick gaming makes for something that you will definitely get more than your money's worth out of.

The Bad?
Not much really. This game was never designed to be a competitive or tournament play game. It is too fidgety. That is perhaps it's greatest weakness. Since you are moving cards with cards and pivoting things can get a little fidgety. As long as you aren't a jerk though this won't be a problem. I doubt this game will attract that crowd anyway though. There are no power combos or ways to totally spam out your opponent. Just a level playing field. Sorry "that guy", this game probably isn't for you.

That's me! 

 I love it. I am biased though, I mean the character "leaping Eagle" is suppose to be me. How can I not think this game is great. Through no urging of the creator I am going to do something that i don't usually do, I am going to tell you to GO BUY THIS GAME. You can get set one here, and set two here. This is a grass roots game support the indy game designer! In fact, if you buy it and have rules questions, leave a comment and I will shoot you Jason's email if you have rules questions. You can bother the creator directly. Aren't too many games that you can do that hu?

Finally I wanted to give some props to Jason. The game design was all him, the art too. He was a one man game creating machine. He thought of, designed and produced an amazingly effective game. Not an easy feat to do. So Jason this one is for you:

Well until next time I am signing off. Keep jumping those walls ( and popping those Soda's Super Dungeon Explore waaaaaaaaa)

Steve (your local Kung Fu Master)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Super Dungeon Explore for the Novice

So part of my blog is to try to help people out with their modeling and painting. Through my various going ons and contacts I have noticed that a large part of the Super Dungeon Explore crowd happens to be board gamers who may have a limited modeling experience. This instalment brings you some helpful tips and advice for the general assembly and painting of your Super Dungeon Explore game.

Step one: Cut a hole in the box.... 

That is to say make sure you have everything. There are a lot of peices in those little bags. So lay out all the pieces and make sure you have them all ( use the assembly guide bellow to make sure your peices are all there). Then make sure you have all the cards and boards and such. Despite the awesomeness of this product sometimes mistakes are made. It's nothing to get upset about though because Soda Pop Miniatures will help you out if your missing things. Just go to their website and send em an email and there "info" address. Sometimes Deke gives out his too so they can get you squared away.
It's dangerous to build alone, take this!

Now that you have all your pieces....

Time to get started! Find some music or a movie you've seen before because this is gonna take a while.
Next get some tools together. I recommend the following for all your assembly needs: Exacto with fresh blades, Super Glue (buy some at CVS or Rite Aid cuase it's cheep like the budget!), Small files ( you can acutally find a nice set at the dollar store), Liquid or solid green stuff, and-if you can get a hold of it- Insta Set.
So now that you have all your tools find some time and patience. 

Now we can begin assembling. I am going to focus on a hero or two to systematically show you how to get the most out of these models. If you have any questions regarding assembly check out the nice assembly chart I posted above. 

 Flash makes Angry Bear ANGRY!! 

This stuff is the bane of my existance. It can ruin models and paint jobs. Basically what it is is excess plastic or metal that remains on the model after casting but is not acutally part of the sculpt. Failure to remove it can cause models to look horrific and paint jobs to be ruined. It is often across an area of the model that is very important or intricate too.

That little white glob on the otherwise gray druid is flash.

Pick a model you want to assemble and gather all of it's pieces. Inspect each on for any flash it may have. Look along the center lines of the model and on weapons, arms, feet ect. To get rid of flash simply take a file and file it down, or if it is in a tiny area you can shave it off with your exacto blades (just watch your fingures). 


Now that all the flash is gone we are going to assemble whatever model you have chosen (it's up to you!). Wash your pieces in soapy water and dry them nice and thorough. Now use your super glue to glue them together according to the assembly guide.

Some of the pieces may not stick together too well. Thankfully you have some options. The easiest is insta- set. Just glue your pieces, hold them together and give a little squirt of this stuff and it will set instantly. If you don't have Insta-Set you can simply put glue on both ends of the pieces and then put a small drop of Elmers glue on one of the ends. Then stick them together. Hold for a little while and that Elmers glue should give you the extra stick you need to keep things together.

Putty style green stuff works as well. Just mix the yellow and blue together (keeping it wet) till it's green. Then put glue on both ends an stick some of the Green Stuff on one part and stick the pieces together. You may have to shave some green stuff off the joint because it smooshed out. 

Gaps can really get to the new modeler. They are a pain. Thankfully I have the ansewer. Green Stuff! Liquid or Putty style. 

This is a gap (look where the arm meets the hand on the axe): 
To fill it we just apply some liquid green stuff (or putty, but putty will require some manipulation) via brush till we have filled what we want filled. 

Use a clean damp brush to smooth out any areas that are a little unweildy. 

You can do this with the bases too! get rid of those gaps make your models look good! 
IF you want to maintain the stone texture just take a dental tool or toothpick and kind of trace some stone lines in the green stuff once it's started to set. Keep it damp during sculpting!

There you have it you have an assembled modeled that is together, flash free and with gaps filled !  Now on to some simple painting advice. 


I am not going to go too far in depth with this part. I am just going to offer some basic beginer things. There are some schools of thought that it is not a good idea to assemble your mini before you paint it. I think this school of thought is generally wrong, especially for novice hobbyists. So don't be afraid to get all those little guys assembled first so you can just through down and play.

1) Prime it! if you don't do this you are dumb and deserve it when your paint falls off your model. Utilize a hobby primer, you can use black or white but i prefer black. It is more forgiving. I will give tips for both though. Check out this brush thralls run down of priming. You don't need the fancy gun though, just keep it about six inches away from your model and get as much of it as you can. If you miss some things just go in with that color of paint and fill in. I use spray primer but there is also brush on primer. 
2) Get your materials! I recomend the following: a size 1 or size 0 round tiped brush ( pointer the better), water, paints : if you primed black pick up some GW foundation paints, if you primed white pick up some GW washes. 
Painting tips: 

As a begginer do not expect this: 
I have been painting for a little while. The only way you get to level up in the painting world is through practice. You will be a success if you do the following: 

1) Keep your colors clean. That is to say if her hair is suppose to be red make sure her hair is red, and her face does not have any red on it. Keep the colors where they are suppose to go. 

2) You have good coverage. Sometimes a paint color won't always cover up the primer completly. You will see streaks through the paint. If this happens make sure you apply another coat. keep doing this until the color is there and the primer is not. 

3) your paint is smooth. beginers tend to put too much paint on their brush. Make sure you add water to dilute your paint to around the consistancy of skim milk ( maybe a little thicker) then apply. This may cause the streaking i talked about earlier but if you add a few more coats you will have a nice color. 

4) You take care of your tools. Keep your brush clean!!! make sure paint doesn't get above the halfway mark of the bristles. This will eventually RUIN your brush.  

If you want to try hi-lighting as a beginner

This is how you do it: first pretend your good, smooth, complete base coat of color is a square. What you will do now is simply picture a smaller square inside of that original square. Than you will mix your original color with a little bit of white to achieve a slightly lighter color. Then you apply that color to the smaller square inside of the original box.

So finally don't get discouraged while painting. It takes a while and I consider someone a good painter who simply paints and keeps trying. I promise if you keep it up you will get better. In fact if you paint all the Super Dungeon Explore miniatures you will probably end up better than many painters out there simply because you have so much experience. Don't use my blog as your primary painting resource either. There are so many Youtube tutorials and great painting forums out there you have all the information you need to succeed.

Putting some time and effort into your super dungeon explore stuff will really pay off in the end. The game is awesome but it is epically awesome when you have well put together and painted minis. Good luck! 

That's all I got for now. I have a box of the new Quarriors expansion in front of me so I am gonna sign off now. If you have any questions leave em in the comments. I always try to respond. 

Peace out, 
Steve (your guide to the scary dungeons of Crystalia)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Super Dungeon Explore - THE UNBOXING!

It's here! It's here! It's here! It's here! It's here! It's here! It's here! It's here! It's here! It's here! It's here! It's here! It's here! It's here! It's here! It's here! It's here! It's here! It's here! It's here! It's here! It's here! It's here! It's here! It's here! It's here! And it's sitting in a box right here next to me! In a box! That I opened!

Ok, deep breathe. Breathe in, Breathe out. Super Dungeon Explore has finally hit my doorstep courtesy of the Warstore. So for all you soda popping, coin slinging, deep diving dungeon explores I will show you exactally what is in this oh so magical box.

First of all it is sturdy and hefty. You will have no trouble storing your stuff in this guy. It will last for a good long time. Nice thick easy sealing cardboard.

As you can see there are nice little cardboard flaps that will tuck into the game box making for easy and reliable storage. Going a little deeper in to SDE we get past the rule book and find the dungeon tiles.
You get five double sided dungeon tiles about 12 inches by 12 inches. You also get another one that allows you to track the progress of your adventure and gives you a place where you can place the Loot, Treasure and Adventure effects. There are two styles of dungeon tile: illuminated cave and lava palace. A closer look at a dungeon tile gives you this:
At this level of the box we also see the beautiful thick cardboard counters. Lots of them. Counters for everything. All the effects!

Next up we get to the bones of the box which contains the  miniatures, cards and dice.

 Your gonna find yourself with about 45 beautifully cast plastic models that are about 32mm scale (chibi of course).

The bases are also relief stone. This is super cool especially for the non hobbiest who picks up this game. If you want to fill in any gaps in the bases or models utilizing some liquid green stuff would do the job quick for you.

The Dice that are found in the game are super high quality and truly reflect that clean arcade style that Soda Pop Miniatures is going for.
The cards have great art on them too. You get a lot of the cards since you need them for the monsters, heroes, treasure and dungeon effects.
Now that i have exhibited the content of the box for you all I want to talk a little about the rule book. I love this thing. The art in it is fantabulous. The diagrams and charts are great learning tools and the instructinos are very easy to read ( and easy to play). The thing that really caught my attention was the map of "Crystalia" in the front. While the name is reminicent of the Simpson's "Equalia"that was thought up by Lisa, it is still super sweet.

The quick referance was also a welcome page in the rule book. This is something that is not usually done to this effect. I really do feel like I opened up the booklet from a video game with this rule book. Love it.
That is the box. I will probably post a review of the game again ( even though i have the old review back from January)- Oh no! Candy look out!

Crash! Bang! Kapow!

Never mind. Guess I should have warned the Kobolds...

This Month: 
Wow. This is a huge month for gaming. So let me put the things that have been or will be released this month: 

Quarriors expansion 
Legend of Zelda: Skyward sword
Super Dungeon Explore 
Puppet wars stuff (ok late last month) 
Assasins creed: Revelatoins

And finally are you ready for this? Pocket Kung Fu. That's right the game I have been waiting for for 2 or so years and the game you have probbaly never heard of is finally being released. The creator was very thankful for my help devloping it so he even made me a character. Needless to say, as soon as i get permision once it's released I will be throwing down a review of this jive dish. 

One MORE thing! 
I saw this and thought I should share it with everyone I can. This is a deathbattle between Starscream of the decepticons and Rainbow Dash from My Little Ponies. 
Until next time all you Jive cats, this is Leaping Eagle signing off!
- Steve

Thursday, November 3, 2011

More Puppets!

I'm board and all my plans were canceled today. So here are some puppets because that is all I have been painting lately (because it is easy). Also added a few new blog links you might like (Hi Daughters of the Emperor and Garden Ninja!). Now onto fan service.

His name is Coffee Beans. Trust him, he's a doctor.

Fire + Stuffing = Scary! 

 Gene Simmons? Is that you?

Undead hookers anyone?

And now a Death battle. Why? Why not?
I'm going to go do something else now. 


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Puppet Mayhem! - Part Deux!

For a quick game replicate this board
Who can't stop playing this damn game? Me that's who! Anyway having had a few more weeks and games behind me I thought this game deserved another word or two. It seems this game is one that really deserves a few weeks of game play. Usually with games like this one can play 2-4 games and get a sense of what is going on, strategy and basic game management. While you might be able to grasp some basic strategy and rules there are quite a few more levels to this game that only extra game play and experience can expose.

So first of all let's talk about the board make up. The pattern book the game comes with is a good one, but something I failed to talk about in my previous post was the rules for making up your own board on the fly. This is an element that really lends re playability and fun to the game. Creating the boards can be a lot of fun and doing it on the fly makes the eventual game to be played very interesting. It also adds an extra level of strategy to things. In fact this feature very much mimics the beginnings set up phases of many table top skirmish games.

 Don't taze me bro!

Another wonderful little gem to be discovered in the pattern book are the alternate scenarios. While I have not tried them yet I have read through them and they seem great fun. The versatility of the scenarios in combination with random board construction will really give this game a long run with regards to gaming groups.

This game can haz it! Wow. When I played my first few games I really coudn't even see the level of stratagy involved behind this game. Now having constructed a few shoeboxes and played more games it unfolded before me like an oragami sculpture designed by the MIT club.

First off all, unlike Malifaux you do not reshuffle your cards after a full turn. This means you really have to decide how you use your cards in every phase. Proper management of cards and utilization of turn options will yield a much more successful player. However, seeing the proper management and options is the real difficulty. This lends a giant learning curve to the game that makes this very enjoyable.

This is my new toybox I built. Free hand painted the suits in the corners. Its got magnets to hold the top on.
List building is another twisty turny road this game has. Sure you can design the list with your master's suit as the majority of your peices, but if you have good resource managment skills and keep track of a few things you can design a real nasty box of toys with a good variety of animation requirements. The ability to utilize a list like this can really catch an opponent off guard.

Finally play option strategy. This is another great big bag of cats. There is so much you can do here. Looking at the big picture is the only options here. If you start to micromanage one or two pieces you end up losing because your puppets will eventually die. It is vitally important to a players success that they are aware of all their options during an animation round.

All in all my opinion of this game has drastically improved the more I play it. This is not a quality that is easily seen in a game. So kudos to Wyrd for making a game that can stick around for a long haul.

A word about my balance issues with the game
I have had a lot of questions about this from people so let me get into a few specifics. I only really have problems with 3 peices in this game. Thankfully, only one is available for general release currently so lets start with her.

Pandora. I have played her more than any other master so far and I can honestly say this: she is not as potent as other masters and does not function as well with out of suit pieces in relation to other masters. Get her woes and masks and she is significantly better. Unfortunately without them she is basically a tempest in a teacup, that is to say her powers are generally neutered. I still love playing her though even without her preferred stuff. Good management of your primary toybox will make up for her shortcomings if your a good player. I also love her BYOB ability.

The hooded rider and Pokey Viktoria are the other too. Thankfully, while they are legal pieces, they are not officially released. Each one has one power that makes them far too powerful for general game play.

The Hooded Rider is the worst. He gains powerful +1 for each move he makes durring an animation. This means he can one hit a 4 stiched puppet since he has sprint. Not cool. He is basically shelved until fixed as far as I am concerned. A better route would be too allow the controlling player to add whatever suit they want to his defense when he is attacked and give him powerful +1 if he moves during an animation.

VIki is an easy fix I think. He teleport power is powerful but I think it's one of her free actions that really gets her in the broken bin. Basically you give her a free action and she can make an attack. This means that you can discard an animation card and let her attack without animating her. Very no. A possible fix may be that there is a clause in the ability that states it may only be used when she is being animated or if she is not exauseted. Either option might bring Viki down to a human (puppet) level.

Thankfully these two aren't released yet and Wyrd still has some time to fix these two before generally release so I am not too upset. Those guys are always very receptive to players and are already listening.

So people have been coming to my blog lately. That is really cool. Thank you. So if any of you readers out there in internet land want me to review something let me know. I am always open to suggestions, especially if any of you readers happen to be creators and want to send me your game or product. I am always happy to try new games and I seem to have a regular time to play and review new games lately. I also seem to be able to get my grubby little paws on new games as well.

Anyway until next time, drop a train on em Edgar!
Steve (this episode brought to you by the letter Strongbad)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Puppet Mayhem!

Cute little minis that like to rip out their own stuffing? Yes, please. This is another game I was trying to avoid. Unfortunately, I managed to get my hands on a few of the miniatures and painted them up. Then I got my hands on some more ( including some of the LEs) and painted some more up. Then I just picked up the game because, well I had all the pieces everyone was looking for.
Snuggles here enjoys long walks on the beach and diet tab soda
Puppet wars is a game that takes place in the world of Malifaux. Specifically, the game takes place on the bayou workbench of one Zoraida. She is essentially the Baba Yaga of the Malifaux-verse. Basically, the voodoo puppets of other Malifaux characters come to life and wage a war against each other. Don’t worry though, some needle and thread will make it all better.

What you get

Opening a new game is a magical experience. The smell, the packaging the shinies. Well this box has all of that. This is another, of the ever increasingly popular, self contained miniature board games.

The game comes with 18 very nice metal, unpainted miniatures, a 12inch x 12 inch board (small but very acestically appealing), the stat cards for the puppets, 2 specialty puppet decks of cards ( they can double as simple poker decks), and plastic and cardboard counters. The miniatures included make for a perfect 2 player game since you get 2 master, 4 sidekicks and 10 pawns. To scale up to a 3 or 4 player game you need to get the master expansion pack.

On par with the rest of Wyrd’s products the puppet wars minis are the reason to buy this game. They are beautifully crafted and well thought out. Little buggers are downright adorable too. You will not find too many miniatures in this style or quality anywhere else. Honestly, they are just fun to paint too. They go quick and have all the detail you could want. Despite their small size you can do some pretty fun things with the puppets in this box.

How it is done

Normally I do this section myself. However a friend of mine on the Wyrd forums put together a very nice and comprehensive Youtube rules synopsis and I have been given permission to share the videos with you.

Part 1 

Part 2 

List Building

I really like using these videos to learn to play. Unfortunately, I found the rule book rather difficult to lean from. I have played a number of games and only now do really feel like I understand the intricacies of the rules. Thankfully rules queries are readily answered on the Wyrd forums allowing for easy access to any information you may need for the game.

A Few Other things

Wyrd has been doing some very interesting things with regards to releasing pieces for this game. Currently there are 4 “expansion packs” out. One is the masters pack, which contains some sidekicks, pawns and two master puppets. The others are simply assorted minis that can support any of the 5 suits available.

Also, even though the packs are not randomized there is still an element of collectibility in this game. There is a chase Teddie pawn that can be found once in every 10 booster packs. There are 5 different versions of this character too. Thankfully I managed to get my hands on a few through a shadowy benefactor.
I'm home alone?! AHHHHHHHH!
My Thoughts

My first few tries I did not especially enjoy this game. When you are swimming through a game’s rules and it does not flow quickly things can go downhill. Thankfully I did not give up on this. I found that the more games I played the more I enjoyed Puppet Wars.

Wyrd does a good job with their games in terms of rules evolution. There are always people trying to break good games so, the fellows at wyrd make sure their rules continue to evolve through a game’s life. The company even added a section specifically for this game on their forums.
 How does she swing that sword...?

One thing that I find tragic about this game is that it really requires each individual to have their own collection of miniatures. It is difficult for two people to open the box and simply start playing since there is only a certain number of miniatures available between the two of them. Thus for an ideal play situation there should be private pools of miniatures available for each player so they do not have to draft from the miniatures available.

This problem especially puts a crimp on doing a multiplayer game. The master expansion pack comes with an additional two masters. However, if you do not have supporting pieces from the other non-random “booster packs” some people can be at a serious disadvantage.
There are also a few figures that seem to be slightly off balance. Some are very powerful and some very week. Normally you could just say hey that’s how things go, but the differences are notable and sometimes they apply to the master puppets themselves. This causes for unfortunate disparities between the suits/factions. 

All in all I enjoy this game though. Wyrd has put out a lot of support for it and is very much behind it. Playing for fun this is a very enjoyable game. It is another ground breaker in the new realm of hobby-board games in the vein of Super Dungeon Explore, and Dread Fleet. This is certainly a genre that I have been enjoying and one that seems to be the next step in evolution from the miniature skirmish game.
Due to power gaming I think this game is one that should probably not see competitive play. However, in the casual arena it has quite a bit of potential. Between the miniatures, the compact nature of the game, and the downright fun of concept this is a game worth checking out, even if you end up drafting from your friends miniature collection.

Hope you guys enjoyed the eye candy. So until next time all you readers out in internet land, keep on sewing those buttons!

Steve ( puppet warlord)