Thursday, February 16, 2012

Blood Bowl - Guess I am a little late

 The original Fantasy Football

So I learned how to play Blood Bowl today. I don't really feel the need to write a review of it though. I mean come on, it's Blood Bowl. This is a game that can make the laziest of GW gamer paint an entire force, including side line pieces! It's been out since 1986 and honestly, it's still doing well.

I guess it is ok that I arrived a little late to this one, I mean I was three when it came out. Not exactly a coherent age for Blood Bowl. I was just lucky if I didn't fall down the stairs back then. I mean this game has been around for ever and there are still avid league players. I know a guy who doesn't paint anything, but he has a fully painted Blood Bowl team.

Anyway, Scott runs one of these active leagues. In fact, he has 18 of the 21 teams available. He can in fact supply an entire league. Thus, Scott was the logical person to teach me blood bowl in the intermittent time between when we get our Rusted Heroes campaign going (never thought I would be saying that).

Yes Scott and I are that awesome.

Anyway Scott and I had a rousing game of Blood Bowl. I played the Skaven (because I have always wanted to play them but never wanted to paint the hordes of rats needed to), and Scott played the ambling dwarves (though his primary team are the Orcs). The game ended in a tie since it was slow going and we both had to go after both halves were played. I had a wonderful time playing, it's truly a great game. Except for one thing. 

Gimpy. Number 11. The reason for this blog post. Gimpy the rat plays as a lineman for the Albion Squirrels ( an homage to my Alma Mater and what their football team SHOULD have been called).
This is Gimpy, he can go F*** himself. I painted him tonight.

Gimpy had a good start to the game. He knocked out a few Dwarves, made some pockets and was generally mediocre. He was in a great position to be noticed by no one. To remain forever unpainted. Then the last quarter of the last half started, it was tied one to one. A Dwarf got blindsided and fumbled the ball. Then an intrepid thrower dodged into open field, ran forward, grabbed the ball (next to two dwarves) and threw a  perfect long pass to the wide open Gimpy. Then gimpy dropped the ball.
Well there was only one dwarf to stop the ol' Gimp and he ran up and knocked both himself and gimpy down. Gimpy then stood up and tried to grab the ball, and dropped it... 
Then another dwarf hit gimpy and knocked him down. 
But Gimpy got up! He dodged onto the ball despite the dwarf next to him! He picked up the ball despite the dwarf next to him! and then he fell flat on his face and the half was over... 
 Stupid rat. Dumb, stupid, stupid *expletive deleted* rat! 
The endzone was right there, you had three turns!!  

Thus Gimpy went down in infamy. Scott and I were roaring as I rolled 1 after 1 after 1 and getting funny looks from the customers. Gimpy's failure was so epic Scott let me take him home and paint him. And I did. 
All in all my Blood Bowl experience was a good one. I plan to join the league and never pass to gimpy again. Gimpy dropped more balls than the Colts! So if you have not played Blood Bowl go find a grizzly veteran and give it a shot. It is a good ol' time and is a quality game. Feel the 80's goodness and your retro paint job on! 
Eye Candy 
As promised here is some more eye candy! 
Sir Lessen Lordbane (Rusted Heroes)
 Sir Zien the Lion 

 and finaly a Bard Mousling! 

Until next time all you readers out there in internet land, don't drop the ball!

-Steve (a Detroit Lions fan. No seriously, I am.)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Rusted Heroes - A review because you've never heard of this one!

Photo courtesy of Rusted Heroes website

"So Scott, next Thursday how about we try out some Rusted Heroes?"
"What the hell is that?"
"It's this miniature game I got off of a trade from barter town."
"Hu, sure why not.
"Let's bring some star wars minis just in case we decide to give up on it"
"Sounds good, we'll play some Rusted Heroes [said sarcastically] on Thursday."

So I went home and waited for our next gaming session to roll around. In the meantime I decided to assemble the miniatures. I figured, since I am going to review it on my blog I might as well assemble the damn things even if, I figured, I was never going to use them again.

 Captain badass of the Order of the Rose

This is the first place I was surprised. I had previously only glanced at the miniatures, but, as most of you know, the intimate and often frustrating experience of assembling miniatures forces one to take a closer look at a model. These were surprisingly dynamic, yet simple in their design. And Angry Bear wasn't angry because there was almost no flash. Wasn't always a fan of some of the detailing of the faces but that is just a stylistic qualm, the sculpting was certainly not poor. I would place these miniatures well above the average reaper sculpt.

 Photo courtesy of Rusted Heroes website
That Hydra is in their miniature line too, quite awesome!

Well then I read the rules. Surprise number two! Upon reading the one page rules pamphlet I found myself thinking, "This game is everything I thought Anima Tactics should be." Ya that was a shocker. Here is this little unknown game that has been hanging out since 2006 and it seemed to have solid rules with interesting sculpts. I mean sure, in the face of Studio Mcvey, Kingdom Death and Dark Horse Miniatures they may not be the best models ever; but if you compare them to Reaper, Games Workshop, or Kings of War they are way up near the top. In the words of Lewis Black, "And then I was confused." 

My world view shifted a little bit right then and there. At this point you might say, "How do you know I haven't heard of this game?" Well I know because there are only, including me and Scott, 18 people on their forums.
When you think of Scott just picture this.

So on to Thursday. Time to throw down and see if the metal matches up to my theory. Scott and I had a fierce battle. I the Dragon Knights and Scott the Order of the Rose. The battle raged, first I had the upper hand, then Scott, then back to me. We hooted as we made initiative rolls while classic rock played in the background. Eventually the dust cleared, no really that is how the end of the game felt. The body of the game like a giant explosion and when the dust cleared you waited to see who, if any one, would walk out of the cloud. Well unfortunately for me it was Scott.

 Sir Lessen held out for a good long time against this force and even did some damage!

Scott's reply to the game was "Wow, I didn't expect that". Then Scott decided to buy the Norse Invaders. Then we got to thinking and talking about the game. In the end we did not say, this game is good, or this game is bad like we usually did. No, this is a nice little game. In the end we decided to run a 5 week campaign with special scenarios, and each week we would be required to paint up a new mini in our force or count an unpainted model as a casualty at the beginning of the round.

So I guess I should tell you how the game is played. 

It is based on a D10 system (ten sided die, DUH!). When you get in base base contact you can roll a D10 and see if it matches the enemies modified AR (Armor Value, not so Duh). If it does you hit and the opponent can choose to defend or take the hit. If they defend they roll a die and succeed in evading the attack if the number matches the modified attack roll.

 My boy Rathar's card

If you did hit you roll another D10 and compare it to the base AR of your victim. For every point you exceed the AR you do one point of damage. Most guys have between 6 and 10 wounds they can take. A lot like Anima Tactics right?

You are so wrong you just got kicked by this cat.

Wrong. And here is why. In Tactics you generally needed to get a 10 on the die if your opponent dodged. So it takes a long boring time to hit your opponent and do anything. Imagine in Heroclix or D&D if you needed a crit to hit anything at all on any side, pretty frickin boring! In Rusted Heroes the numbers of pretty well balanced. The max armor I have seen is a 6, and since that is with a shield, you only get a 5 when avoiding damage. Some guys have lower so it doesn't take an hour to hit your opponent, but it is also not easy since there are few modifiers to the attack roll (damage is another story). Defending is also well balanced since you have to meet the attackers roll instead of adding to your own armor. Cool Cool.

Each character gets two activation points when they activate. These points can be used to move or attack, ect, ect. You can also use the points to defend ( so obviously there is resource management involved). If your guy has a shield he has an extra die that can be used once to defend, this is cool because you do not have to use up AP when defending. Pretty cool mechanic. Initiative is rolled each turn like in most good games and then they ol' alternate activation of untits kick in.

Those are the basics but here is how the creator plays it (thank you YouTube).

The Pieces

This is a game where each character gets a card. This seems to be an ongoing trend in skirmish games. Get a character get a card with them. Not too bad, and this game utilizes this idea very well. The rules for the character are all on the card, and nothing too extraneous.

The MVP of the game, he was definitely promoted.

The special "powers" characters have are simple and well balanced. Nothing more than, "Hey I have a big ass sword and when I hit you with it I will probably cause internal bleeding!" So the equipment just grants bonuses to, primarily, damage rolls. Nothing felt crazy, super human, or off balance. Just knights hitting each other. Best part was, the bonuses still felt fun

Ok but how many figures do I need to play?

Uhhhhhhhh, less than 7. There isn't much you need outside the starter sets, or if your like Scott and me, you need nothing more! As far as I can tell you can only buy these minis off of Ebay or the Rusted Heroes website unless you are super local to the games creator. No worries though this means you get to support indy games!

What would I fix? 

Hmmmmm, not much. I think the only things i would really fix would be to include some counters with the characters to keep track of actions and expand the rule book. I would also clear up some of the language on the cards, sometimes it is confusing.... Oh. My. Gosh. A miniature game with poorly proofed rules/ final product? That NEVER happens! Ya, sure. I won't blame them much for that because my grammar not good is. (In fact I will dangle a preposition right off a frickin' building if I want to and ain't no one gonna stop me.)

So I rate this game as fun with a capital FUN. Get some friends together and get a group going. Low entrance cost, lots of living playability. Do it. Cause i said so. You know, unless you don't want to.

Sorry for the lack of eye candy!

As I end this post I want to apologize for the lack of eye candy. I have not been able to paint as much as I would like to lately. I promise I will post a little more when I get the chance. I of course am going to be working on the Rusted Heroes stuff but also have some Reaper mouslings and MERCs minis in the works.

Until next time all you readers out there in internet land, this is Antizombie ( now with buisness cards) signing off.

-Steve (coming to a theater near you!)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Temple Con - The DL, some mini reviews, and stuff!

Just got back from Temple con and boy are my apostles tired!


Anyway about two weeks ago I decided to go to temple con to help out the guys at Cool Mini Or Not. Found a ride and made my way down there. I am super glad that i did too! This steampunk convention may be kind of small but it certainly packs a punch.  I got to do a ton of Super Dungeon Explore Demos for people, as well as some dark age demos too. I in turn participated in a lot of demos as the demoee and hung out with some super cool people.

So Let's start off with the Cool Mini Or Not stuff because that is where i spent most of my time. 

We did a TON of awesome demoing. Super Dungeon Explore was a great hit with people (as usual). We managed to sell about 15 copies of the game too. All kinds of people came up to demo, women, men, children, we even had a monkey! My painted 3 player set drew them in by the droves.

While the consul never won the heroes sure had a good time!

There will also be a super cool video going up once the Soda Pop Miniatures website finishes getting revamped. Check in there often because it - is - epic.

I was also given the privilege of doing some Dark Age Demoing. This game has been out for a while, and while it may not have the following of Warmachine, it certainly deserves it's fair share of followers. The game has a solid battle system and rules mechanic that revolves around low D20 rolls. It also has the increasingly popular alternating of unit activations.

Extravagant board designed seemed to be a theme at this convention. 
Much to my delight

I learned the rules in about 10 minutes which means it is a good game. The rules are complex enough to be fun but not so much as to be cumbersome. The demos went well with everyone and good times were had by all, except this Bane who was mobbed by the spear slaves...
Don't you hate it when underlings decide to grow a pair?

We also had Relic Knights being demoed there. Aren't you excited? All those beautiful Soda Pop Miniatures are going to get rules and you can beat each other up with them! It is a very unique game in that there is no "round" per se. You can repeatedly activate the same model over and over. There are also no dice, just a custom deck of "elemental" cards. You use these cards to perform actions and press attacks. It is also interesting in that when a model activates it has 2 movement phases, often with different movement values. The game is designed to play on a 3x3 table and promises to attrack a large number of players. 
Since I am poor and haven't painted any of these we had to use unpainted models. Boooo. 
But no worries the models are still amazing!

Seeing the Relic Knight models up close certainly made me want them. I will undoutably be purchasing a Calico Kate force once some other things get up and running.

The Real Star of this Convention was Warmachine. They basically had warmachine tournements running 24/7. In fact the guys who helped me get down there and let me share their room played in the team tournement. 

Sadly my compatriots who I was rooting for (Nate: Kahdor, Allen: Cryx, and Matt: Everblight) Did not do so well in the comp. Though we had an 80s montage and Burger King Crowns which ended their losing streak. 

There was also big Warmachine news announced here. While I was not present I heard that they announced "Colossal" jacks. Giant faction specific warjacks ( even one for mercs) that will be between 18-20 points to field. Everyone wet themselves when this was announced. I am just sad I did not get a picture. These are a few of the names for the jacks Kahdor: The Conquest, Cryx: The Kraken, Cygnar: The Galleon, and one called the Hyperion that was probably for Menoth.

While the Trolls were no problem for Nate,
he forgot his wardog's leash in the last game.

All in all though privateer did a great job at the convention. There was always someone playing warmachine, at all hours. They were in the grand ballroom, in the foyay and everywhere else. I even found Dirty Meg there! 

There were demos everywhere too. Far and away though the demo I am most glad I did was the Mercs demo. This game is pretty cool. It operates on a small board and only utilizes 5 miniatures for a game. Each faction only has 6 miniatures available to it with a 7th on the way. 
 I really want to find these GF9 mats, they were great.

The game operates very simply. You use the cards to move your guys so no tape measure required. Each guy gets an initiative roll each round so it's always a different activation order. The game utilizes D10s for the actions and everything else. It is a quick dirty game. Probably the coolest thing about it though is how you use the cards to move. Basically each AP your guy has allows it to move its base to one of the other card grooves. 

 Fit the card to your mini's base and then 
move it to one of the other base grooves.

Anyway it was lots of good fun. These are the guys I got to use for my demo. 

 Sniper, demo, and assault leader.

The other demo that I participated in was Spoils. This is a CCG that is just awesome. There are 5 factions and it was designed by old magic pros who wanted to take the luck out of magic. And this they did well! It has been around for a while but does not suffer from the glut of expansions that most CCGs do. Currently there are only one or two cards banned in constructed play so you can still use the old cards you bought. Granted there are only about 5 expansions (maybe 4). Anyway I participated in two drafts and a constructed event and got lots of swag from my new friend Dan. 

This guy was Great to hang out with. I met a ton of Spoils players and all where stand up gentle men. So if anyone wants to get a game of it in with me I have a couple of decks now as well as some micromagig tokens!

There were tons of other demos around the con too that I didn't get to. Firestorm Armada, warmachine/hordes, some indy games like Apocalypse where among them. All in all there was tons to do. 
I also got to meet some great artists there too! While there were a lot of vendors two stood out for me. I met Kristen and Kendra on Saturday and Sunday. 

Kendra was actually responsible for Valente's "September's Key" jewlery inspired by The Girl Who Cirumnavigated Fairyland. She had tons of beautiful keys she has made and does other things as well. She is a local artist and is acutally involved with my LGS Pandemonium as well. 
Three of Kendra's favorite keys.

Kirsten's jewlery is a little bit more classical and multipurpose. She is currently working on the mechanical/natural juxtoposition. Her pieces are subdued and quite nice. 

 A piece Kirsten did called Evolution.

So here is a shout out to both of them. Kendra's website is here and Kirsten's is here. They will also be at Anime Boston sharing a vendor's booth if anyone wants to go check out there stuff. Personally had I more money I would certainly pick something up by them for me or my wife. Support local artists! 

I had a great time at temple con. Giving a big shout out to Kevin and Ross from CMON. I had a great time with those guys and all the other volunteers I worked with. We had a public party in the grand foyer that was quite fun and just generally good hangings out.

Also if you ever get the chance the Holiday Inn I stayed at was first class! I love hotels and this one was great. Temple con was a wonderfully relaxing time that really de-stressed me. If you get the chance go check it out next year. It is super fun. 

Until next time all you readers out there in internet land, I am signing off. 

-Steve ( filling the boiler of his warjack)