Friday, April 20, 2012

Flash Duel

I wasn't even aware that this game came out until Pax East. Thanks to a nice discount from my Yomi tournament winnings I managed to get my hands on this hot in demand game. Mr. David Sirlin has done it again with this one. Balance, re-playability and super cute fun.

So let's get right to it! Fast and furious just like the game. Basically the game is simulating two characters in the Sirlin universe engaging in a practice duel on a beautiful bridge. There are over 500,000 different combinations of characters you can play due to the inclusion of clockwork mode.

What do you get?
You get this!

That's right, 20 characters. 10 you haven't seen in game before. 
There will be a Yomi expansion soon....

You get 3 cards for each of the 20 characters, two 25 card number decks, the Deathstrike Dragon deck, a double sided high quality board, a travel version of the board, 4 tokens for characters, a token for the dragon, and 5 Win token. You can actually carry the travel version around in the deck box. Coming in at 35 USD this is the cheapest analogue Sirlin game you can get. Pretty good price as far as I am concerned.

So let's do this thing!

Woah Woah Woah. We need the rules first. Good thing it will be done in a Flash...

*crickets chirp*

Ok not funny. Anyway how do you play?

After you choose your fighter you start on either side of the board.

 Each character has 3 ability cards. They can use one ability per player turn. 
One ability will regenerate when it's that player's turn. So use them wisely.

Each player draws 5 cards from the same 25 card deck. The deck is made up of 25 cards each having a 1-5 numerical value with 5 of each number in it. Then on your turn you can do one of four things.

1) Move: you play a numbered card and move that many spaces forward or backwards.
2) Attack: You play a card that is numbered the exact distance between your opponent and you (not counting your space). You may play from 1 -5 of the same numbered card ( two three cards, three 1 cards ect.)
3) Dashing Strike: You play two cards, one to move and one to attack.

Chibi Lum the gambling panda? Yes please!

When you get attacked you must block. To block you must throw down the same numbered card your opponent used to attack you. No more no less. If they played 2 cards on the attack, or 3, you must play that many cards of the same number. Due to the deck composition, unless you have an ability that helps you, you cannot block a 3 card strike.

If you are attacked via a dashing strike you have another option. You may retreat. If you do you simply play a card instead of blocking and move backwards that many spaces. Then on your next turn, unless your character has an ability to let you do something, you simply draw up to your 5 card hand and pass your turn.

At the end of your turn you draw up to a 5 card hand.

If the deck runs out then you go to tie breaker rules, and the round is over. Tie breaking is usually simply who advanced along the bridge the farthest. So don't cower in the corner! 

Easy peasy. All you have to do is win 3/5 rounds. When you win a round you get a win token. It is quite satisfying.

Playing Modes:
Hooooo dang. Where do I even start. You can play this game so many different ways.
This is the dragon. Apparently he is a jerk.

-With the pre-made characters
-Team battles
-Play against the dragon in co-opt mode or traitor mode
-Play with a custom designed character.

I will be perfectly honest. I have not played a lot of different ways. I have been having so much fun playing through the pre-made characters that I have been content with that. I suspect dragon mode is coming up soon though.

What would I change?

The only thing I would change about this game are the counters. I suspect that the only reason for that is that I am a miniature gamer. I want mini figs of the characters I can paint. I would pay for that, hear that Sirlin Games? I will buy that ****t if you make it. Otherwise I would have preferred simple flat cardboard with a small image of the characters on it. For the custom characters maybe just a question mark or blank ones you can drawn on.

Otherwise, here is to you Mr. Sirlin. Keep designing the crap out of stuff and keepin it real. Your stuff rocks. Yes I am a fanboy, but that should say something about the games his company produces.

Until Next time all you readers out there in interweb land, keep mashing your buttons and using those quarters ( wait, what do you mean there aren't any arcades anymore? WTF!)


Monday, April 16, 2012

Pax East

Hey all. I think I finally recovered from my term paper and Pax East. Thus I bring you, with great fanfare, my thoughts, pictures and fun times at Pax East. It's getting bigger, and if you can't go I guess this is the next best thing (Unless of course you, you know, like video games more than analogue stuff).


My Journey began quite suddenly a month before Pax East when I decided to help my home boys ( and girls) from Cool Mini or not out. These guys are so much fun plus they got me in for free ( I even got to wear the coveted exhibitor badge for a little while so I could come in early and stay late for break down).

I have to tell you, the gaming convention is way cool before and after hours. The booths are all empty and all the exhibitors are hanging out with the press and playing each others games. You sooooo wish you were as cool as me right now.

Anyway I started my time out with the CMON guys at their booth. Anna, Travis, Ross, and Kevin were great. I brought my Super Dungeon Explore stuff to demo with and I actually got tired of people saying I was a good painter. That's right, those are my minis in that case!

This is how you know you've made it. 
When your miniatures end up in the Cool Mini or Not cases at a con.

Anyway I did rapid fire demos of Super dungeon explore and Relic Knights for people during my shifts. They seemed to enjoy it and I even got to kill a few Heroes (which if you are a consul player is one of the greater joys in life). We had some really great minis at the booth, and I even acquired a few relic knights minis.

You don't want to hear about my demos though, you want the hot cosplay girls right? 

Ross got really excited when Jessica said Hi to him at the CMON booth. 
But he had a fanboy moment so he didn't get a pic with her.

Too bad, Jessica Nigiri (did I spell that right?) was told to put on clothes and go somewhere else by Pax East people who have a strict no revealing clothing policy for "booth babes" (sorry to fling that term around Anna). But I must say these megaman cosplayers were my absolute favorite costumes (possibly ever!). They even had light up blasters and other LED bits!

Rock Man and Roll mega babes.

Some Ghost Busters made an appearance too just in case any pesky ghouls were around. Good thing too considering the Stay Puft Marshmellow man was wandering around. 

I ain't afraid of no ghost (Zombies are terrifying though!)

The video game area was always hopping. The league of Legends booth was packed to the brim with narrated battles on big screens and people wanting exclusive skins. I tracked down a few for my friends (since I don't play) and while doing so found $11 on the floor. Score! instant Karma, just add intentions. 

I was really excited to play this game called "Dino Go Home" but it really let me down. So I headed over to the Nintendo booth and tried out Kid Icarus 3-D. Awesome. If I played anything more than Galaga on my 3DS I would probably buy it....

Kid Icarus here was a great cosplayer. F you Medusa!

The Aliens booth was pretty cool too. 

I'd bring you more but I had a strict no lines policy at Pax 
and there was a very large line.

There was a great vendor there too. I wanted to buy something from them but I just didn't have the funds. Go check out there T shirts and pins. My favorite is a Zelda shirt that looks like the cover to the Giving Tree. It has Link under the tree and it says "The Deku Tree". They are here.

Geek Chic was also there sporting, as usual, the most amazing furniture I have ever seen. I would never do their products justice so just go check it out.

Now the stuff I really want to talk about.

The gaming area. Wow. This place was packed all the time. I didn't really understand what Pax East meant to gaming distributors. Apparently it is primarily used to recruit new players to games. New demographic and all. Talking to the guys at Steve Jackson Games I learned they only lose money going to Pax East. They don't sell anything, they just go to demo. That is some powerful branding right there.

Speaking of Steve Jackson Games, it is rare that I can bring you a truly inside scoop but here it is!

So Ogre was the very first game designed by Steve Jackson. He put it out in 1977. It is a two player game. One person controls a literal army and the other a single, very large ogre. They fight. It is epic. And everything in it (according to my sources) was very balanced. 
Anyway Ogre is slated for release. It is going to be a $100 dollar game that is packed to the brim with stuff! In fact there is so much stuff in it currently that the company will be losing thousands of dollars. Steve doesn't care though, in fact, he loves the game so much he wants to put MORE in the box. It is probably even going to go up on kickstarter for all you fanboys who might want to help the game out. No matter what happens though, Ogre promises to be a good release and definitely worth the money you put into it. Sorry I don't have any pictures for you but it wasn't at the con. Here are some Dino Hunt dice though! 
Dino Hunt, by Steve Jackson Games. Don't get stepped on.

Guess who I got to meet at the con. Nope, wrong. I met David Sirlin! The master mind behind Yomi, Puzzle Strike and Flash Duel! This guy is like my board game hero. He is totally indy and takes great care to balance his games.

On that note I managed to observe the Puzzle Strike tournament where my friend did abysmally ( you know who you are :P ) and then I almost won the Yomi tournament with Setsuki- speed of the fox!

 Ya it's from flash duel, wanna fight about it?

I was taken down by a first class gentleman named Noah who Agragared me (agragarargarararg). A shout out to Nate as well for his wonderful mirror dueling skills, all our games came down to single digit point values. I used the prize money to pick up Sirlin's newest game, Flash Duel. I'll be reviewing that soon so I won't say anything other than it is fast. It is also popular, so popular it sold out very quickly much to the fans' chagrin.

Sadly, I did not get a picture with Mr. Sirlin, he was only there Friday. Thankfully I did get him to sign my copy of Flash Duel!

Also got to demo Miskatonic School for Girls. Basically you and your friends at the all girl school are trying to stave off the insanity forced upon you by faculty who are actually poorly disguised elderich horrors. This was a fun quirky card game. It is a deck building game where your opponents basically build your deck. It's not a matter of who loses/goes insane, it's a matter of who does it the slowest. I had a great time playing this game and ended up with a copy utilizing my awesome connections.

You will lose your sanity. Just try to do it slower than others.

Well that was my time at Pax. I had a lot of fun, if you can get down to Pax East do it, it's definitly worth it if you don't spend all your time in line. As I was walking out the door (after helping to break down) I noticed this little gem of a cosplayer too. 

So long until next year Pink Ranger. Fly that Pterodactyl Zord high.

One thing I learned while at Pax East was that I am, at my heart, a retro gamer. My favorite video game booth was the stand up arcade console booth. I got to play Galaga, Extreme Asteroids, as well as some others. All for free. Yup, the arcade experience for free, with no lines. Guess everyone else was too busy waiting in line to play the Assassin's Creed demo. Atari and NES forever.

Until Next time all you readers out there in Internet land, keep on gaming. Be it analogue or video, it's all good in the hood. 

- Steve (Voltron is the better)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Relic Knights! - Commin' at ya!

Stupid, freaking Kevin. I wasn't gonna touch this game. I was absolutely determined. Kevin is the head designer for Relic Knights. I work with him a lot when I do demos with the Cool Mini or Not crew. Well he along with Owen taught me how to play Relic Knights so that I could demo it. Well I didn't just get the demo stuff, I got the down and dirty lowdown!

This is Kevin. If you see him at a convention, punch him in the arm for me and say, 
"That's for designing an awesome game that I now have to play."

Crap...Now I am going to have to paint up another army or two ....

Every time I play a new skirmish game I think to myself, "So why is this so different than all the others?" Usually the answer I get is, "Well not too much." With Relic Knights that just wasn't the case though. If other miniature games are the Final Fantasy 3 battle engine, then Relic Knights is the Final Fantasy 12 battle engine. Fast, fluid and realistic.

 Goin my way ugly?

So, without furthur ado I give you some demo rules to Relic Knights. 

Like Super Dungeon Explore, Relic Knights feels like a video game. You have a dashboard of normal sized cards that represent your characters, these cards display some basic stats like movement, melee attack, ranged attack and psychic attack. They also have a little bit more info on them. Basically these cards serve as placeholders so you know who is acting and who will be acting.

 Notice the dual stats on the card. The first stat is a double movement stat, the next are card draws for a melee, ranged and psycic attack stat when using them offensivly. The second number in each combat stat column is used to draw cards if your being attacked by that type.

There are three areas unofficially called; The at bat slot, the standby slot, and the dugout.

When it is your turn to activate a character (the game has alternating activations) you activate the character in your "at bat slot". When that character is done, you move the activated character's card to the 'dugout' with the rest of your army cards. Then you move the "standby slot" character to the "at bat" position. Then you pick a character in your "dugout" and move them to the "standby" slot. This character can be the same character that just activated!

That is a BIG gun...

Do you know what this means? It means that there is no "turn". There is just continuous activations! That just happened. Your mind is blown. You can simply cycle through two characters over and over. It's pretty cool once you get things moving in the game. It gives combat, movement and game play a very realistic feel.

Ok deep breathe. Time to tell you more, cause it keeps commin' original.

 The ladies of the raceway, sans their Relic Knight.

 Anyway how does combat and actioning work? Basically it is a game of resource management. Each player has a deck of resource cards. These cards usually have a big color and a little color on them. A big color is worth 2 of that resource, and a little one is worth 1. In order to use an attack, or action you must pay a certain amount of certain resources. Once you do you then draw cards equal to that combat stat/action stat (melee, ranged or psychic). The defender also draws cards equal to the second combat stat on the card. After this some attacks can be "pressed" do do additional things. You must pay the resources to actives the press ability. Finally the defender can respond with a defense ability that costs, you guessed it, resources! Finally at the end of the action each player discards down to 6 cards.

 mmmm resources

Funny thing about this game is there are only two ways to get more cards in your hand; act/be acted on, or forfeit your characters action ( each character gets one) to discard cards you don't want and draw up to 6.

So now your thinking hu? that's pretty cool. But wait! there is more!


Each character has TWO movement phases! There is a double movement stat, each character can move the first one, then act, then move the second one! I think this is a very important aspect of the game. In skirmish games movement is key, and it is always so static in most games. I feel that this aspect of the game will really lend it self well to strategy and make the game very rewarding to creative players.

Oh yes, one more thing. There are no deployment zones. BAM that just happened. That's right you take turns placing characters on the board with the only restriction being that they cannot be too near objectives and they must be no closer than 8 inches to an enemy. 

Squad Make up

So here is a little inside info I gathered up for everyone. Each squad will consist of it's leader and there troops. The leader is either one of the "Relic Knights"- people on giant robot things, or a "Questing Knight". Then based on the color of that Knight you can take other troops that are in line with that color. For instance Calico Kate can take squall and the Iron Chef because they share the same orange resource color. Personally I picked up Kisa and Scratch this weekend along with the girl with giant scissors to go with my Fiammetta that I already own ( they are all yellow).

Ok So this has been in development for EVER, when will it be released? 

Quarter three baby (September/Augustish), along with the Super Dungeon Explore Expansion "Dungeons of Roxor". Just in time for, you guessed it, Gen Con (I am crying because I am too poor to go this year...). Whatever though, I am seriously looking forward to this one. So, more painting for me....

I have so many blog posts to write!
I have a LOT to write about. So expect a few updates in the near future. Among the great things I have to write about are: Steve Jackson's Ogre (the inside scoop), Miskatonic School for Girls, Flash Duel, Pax East, and of course, Quarriors. 

Eye Candy

Due to secret squirrel circumstances I have been inspired to finish up my puppets. Without further ado I present more of them, the custom Teddy is an homage to my friend on the Wyrd Forums, PandaDirector.

Until next time everyone, keep popping those tops and chuggin that soda!

Steve (looking for a giant mech to battle in...)

Quick note about the Relic Knight pictures. All Relic Knight models were painted up by the one and only John Cadice of Soda Pop Miniatures. Now I know John is a much better painter than this but these are great considering he banged em out the night before Gama in a Vegas hotel room.