Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Dark Souls Kickstarter

Well, it's landed – the new Steamforged Kickstarter and it funded in 3 minutes! That's surely CMoN territory!

Based on the video game series Dark Souls, the board game is playable solo or up to 4 players. It sounds mighty intriguing but at £80 entry point you're going to have to be committed.

It has to be said though that there are some amazing miniatures in here – it's very, very tempting but I can't afford a box of matches right now so it's not really an option, lol!

Sunday, 17 April 2016

My Salute 2016

So we made it in one piece to Salute yesterday (despite the rather bad roadworks on the way in).

Unlike previous years we jumped straight in with the purchasing – there was a limited edition Guild Ball model for Bull's team that he wanted so we had to make sure they didn't sell out.

I picked up the GB Season 2 rulebook (I don't have a hard copy of the rules so that justified that purchase) and the new Butcher's captain Fillet (because, well it's a Butchers model!). We saw the new Hunters Guild starter set but weren't tempted – though Bull picked up an entire Union team as part of a deal.

Steamforged were showcasing a new game that launches on Kickstarter later this week – Dark Soul. No idea what it is about other than it had a couple of players running around a very small board seemingly being chased by a rather large demon-knight type fella. I guess we'll see on Wednesday what it's all about.

We noticed there was a much broader range of punters at this years show – a lot more women/children/families there. It felt busier than normal and a bit more spacious but I can't say for certain. There were few demo games that caught our attention this year – some nice Frostgrave boards, a rather awesome 'printed perspex over a lightbox' space board.

I was glad to see Element Games there as they are my favourite online retailer right now. Alas their product range on the stand was quite poor, especially compared to Wayland and Troll Trader, so I didn't spend any money with them in the end.

I did have a couple of other purchases that I was looking out for. Despite being deep into developing my Project Hood game, I had a flash of inspiration last week and have developed a new mechanic for a sci-fi game. I thought I could make use of some of the Infinity models and spent some time looking for anything suitable. Randomly I ended up with some sci-fi nuns.

I also discovered that last week that I don't own any D8 or D12 dice, so that had to be rectified as part of this new project too!

Alas I managed to miss the Blogger meet up – we were chatting to Craig from Critical Mass (who I haven't seen since the show last year) for ages and before we knew it time had run away from us. In fact I didn't see any familiar faces wandering around this year which was odd – maybe I wasn't paying attention. I can't believe I missed the return of Fran the Angry Lurker!

Anyway, it felt quite low-key compared to last year (though that might be my own doing) but I still managed to come away with some goodies and enjoyed a few hours in the big smoke!

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

How To Design A Faction Logo

I thought I'd post this graphic (below) as a visual reference to show part of the behind the scenes process involved in developing a faction logo for games (or anything really). In this case the logo in question is for the Nanomei faction from Anvil Eight's board game Aetherium.

We went through a similar process many times during the creation of the original Aetherium game box. It's easy to come up with something quickly, but if time is spent and thought given to a logo like this you can develop something far better than your initial sketches might suggest.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Do You Remember The Castle?

Tabletop Workshop's plastic castle

You may remember about 18 months ago I was waxing lyrical about a new range of plastic scenery that I'd recently 'discovered'. Tabletop Workshop created a series of kits that were perfect for my Medieval gaming. Alas not long after I'd invested some birthday money in their rather fantastic plastic castle kit the website disappeared and their Facebook page fell silent.

I never did get around to building much after the blog posts about it, but it's always been in the back of my mind as a project waiting in the wings. I think many people were rather sad that such an innovative company with a great product range should have fallen by the wayside.

Only last week, whilst tidying up the spare room I found the castle box and it reminded me I have a very exciting project in store.

Warlord Games' new Citadel

However, lo and behold this morning I discover that Warlord Games are releasing their new Citadel model… a model that looks remarkably, exactly the same as the Tabletop Workshop Castle!

They're also telling us that separate walls, towers and gatehouses will become available very soon.

Could this be time to resurrect my castle project? Is the gatehouse they're talking about is the famed gatehouse that TW were developing right before they disappeared?

Needless to say, Warlord haven't mentioned TW at all giving the impression it's their doing. Regardless, if it means that this kit becomes available again then I'm all for it!

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

The Underhive Gaming Group

I decided last month to be proactive with the gaming. The gaming friends that I'm in touch with are somewhat scattered around Kent and we never get together en masse – in fact some have never met each other. I created a group on Facebook and managed to get everyone commenting. I also booked our first gaming day into the diary for April 2nd and we had a blast!

First of all thank you to Bull and Mr Awdry, the stalwart gamers, for coming over and leading the charge. We were joined by two peeps who have appeared on this blog before, Chris and Ryan (Malifaux Fugs is back!). I've called our little gaming group The Underhive as a tribute to the gaming group Bull had back in Tunbridge Wells many moons ago, where I turned up as a 40k newbie and was introduced to Necromunda for the first time.

I decided we should start nice and slow with Zombicide: Black Plague and it proved to be the perfect choice. Bull and Michael are fellow Black Plague backers so needed no introduction, Chris has been over and played BP before and Ryan is an original Zombicide addict it seems.

Ryan was a late arrival, so the four of us started with the first game, racking up what was a relatively easy win (though with Zombicide veteran Bull leading it was not surprising). As expected there were some comedy moments, like Chris being unable to open any doors with his character Samson (dwarves are clearly too short to reach the door handles!).

We jumped straight into a second game just as Ryan arrived. He took a little while to acclimatise to the dice as Anny was unable to hit anything for three turns. Chris had to leave early, so after a spot of lunch the four survivors shared out the extra characters and carried on. Alas things went south and Clovis found he was unable to outrun the Abomination – mission failed. Undeterred we reset things and went again, this time a smooth running machine.

A few rash decisions by yours truly towards the end put a question mark over our success but faith in the dice got us through (above) and we strolled to the exit for our second win of the day.

Fantastic day I think it's fair to say. Everyone said how great it was to finally get a group together after almost years of talking about it. Let's hope this is the first of many!

Friday, 1 April 2016

Playtest, Playtest, Playtest

March was a month to forget and so I've hit the ground running in April – I've spent the morning doing the first serious playtest of my Project Hood game (no joke!).

Writing (and re-writing) these rules is what has got me through the last few months with my marbles still intact. Having this one project to focus on allowed me to drum up positive energy whilst the hurricane of the day to day swirled around me. These rules may not be any good but it's already been a very worthwhile project.

Things had reached a point where I needed to test the basic ruleset and game concepts. It's all well and good writing it all out nicely but if it plays like crap then you've wasted a lot of time. Like all battle plans, things tend to go awry when contact is made with the enemy.

I have been collating ideas since 2012, when the game took the form of a historical skirmish game, and even since January this year things have changed dramatically. These rules are currently in their third incarnation (that's Jon Pertwee by my recollection) and have moved on from their Dark Crucible heritage.

As I have already discussed in an older post, each character in the game has a Hero Level and this dictates their quality and importance in-game. Level 4 characters are the Legends and one of these will usually lead your warband. Next we have Champions who are Level 3, Elite Troops are Level 2 then the Level 1 Followers. There is a Level Zero and that is reserved for non-combatants.

Today's game was a fairly large event. Both sides consisted of a Level 4 leader, two Level 3 Champions and six Level 2 Troops. Obviously playing both sides creates a rather unrealistic game as there are no surprises but today's playtest was about some of the key mechanics.

For the Sherwood side we had Robert Loxley 'The Hood', John Lyttle 'The Giant', Marian Fitzwalter 'The Maiden' and six Sherwood Rangers.

The Nottingham side consisted of Guy de Gisburne 'The Raven', Phillip Mark 'The Sheriff', Simeon Carfax 'The Captain', three Soldiers with swords and shields plus three Soldiers with crossbows.

The table was set up in a balanced way, although there was a lot of open space, giving Sherwood an advantage with their bows. In addition, according to my Excel spreadsheet that calculates points values, Sherwood also had an advantage fielding more expensive Rangers over Nottingham Soldiers. Would it really make a difference?

Both sides were dealt their Hero Cards and immediately red flags were raised about some of the opening rules. I carried on, making notes as I went.

Nottingham plodded across the table to the edge of the village (the basic objective being a King of the Hill type event around the Hay cart in the middle). Sherwood divided into three groups, going right, left and down the middle. They managed to get off a few bow shots early on, but the cover given by the village walls was proving to be an issue (or maybe the dice were cold).

Shots were exchanged and the odd wound inflicted. Not wanting the game to descend into a shootout across the town square I started to be a little rash with my movement actions, throwing people into no-mans land to reach the objective.

The Giant (left), The Maiden (right) and The Hood (bottom) surround the hapless Captain Carfax (centre)

Marian was the first to the centre of the table, but was quickly charged by Captain Carfax. He managed to inflict a couple of wounds but then the big boys jumped in. The Giant and The Hood leaped over the wall and surrounded Carfax. He was now in a world of hurt and support couldn't get to him in time. He managed to parry a lot of the damage but still took 12 wounds – he should only have in the region of 6 but I kept rolling anyway to see how it panned out!

The superior strength of Carfax's opponents and the additional support models were having a massive effect on the number of dice being rolled against him. It was an unstoppable tide of hurtiness!

Before long, models from both sides were jumping in to support and the game descended into a large melee in the middle of the table. This was great for working out some of the melee issues and how someone like The Raven, who should be the master of everything melee orientated, was unable to hit a thing! He made up for it later by almost killing a Ranger outright in a single round of combat – devastating, and not a re-roll in sight.

John 'The Giant' takes on Gisburne with his (rather short) quarterstaff

At the beginning of a turn, Gisburne played one of his Hero Cards, switching places with a Soldier nearby. This brought him into melee with The Giant and oh boy did they go at it!

As much as The Raven lay down the Hits, The Giant was batting them away. When it came time for John to retaliate he managed to roll big and inflicted 4 wounds on the Nottingham legend – even a supporting Ranger managed to sneak in a cheeky Hit.

By the end of Turn 4 things were pretty much over. Nottingham had lost their leader, one of the champions and three soldiers. Sherwood had taken a few wounds but were still at full numbers and this was starting to have a massive effect on the Initiative phase of the game.

The now defunct character cards – everything is a changin'!

So a great game in all. Lots learned about the rules (lots forgotten too but that's the nature of first games). A few things need to change regarding modifiers in combat and individual character special rules. I love the initiative phase of the game, not seen or heard of anything like it, but am concerned it's a bit clunky and heavy going. The character cards (above) will need to change significantly again in order to accommodate the rule revisions but that's fun too.

Two things top the list of things discovered today – I probably started too big for my opening game and I got myself and bit confused and bogged down with 18 characters to look after… but OMG do you get to roll a lot of dice!!


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