Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Oh Flip...

Life moves on and situations change.  Toomuchlead towers is having to relocate, once again, and this reflects a sad change of circumstances personally; but one I am dealing with as best I can.  In the short term it means gaming opportunities are limited to those of the board and card orientation whilst I get a new apartment, broadband service and everything else arranged.  

Still, no point moping.

On a note I'm told is not as selfish as it sounds in my head, I've been able to reconnect with a lot of friends, both gaming and non-gaming and my social life by necessity and as an unexpected benefit has exploded.  In the last couple of weeks I've played numerous games, including Splendor, Five Tribes, Spyfall, Magic: The Gathering, Eight Minute Empire and others.

Two stood to getting Photo's at the time and so I guess get a little more discussion.  Firstly Carcassone: Wheel of Fortune. 

Let's Spin that Wheel!...
Basically it is standard Carcassonne (you can see my 'review' of the game Here if you are not familiar with it), but with a mid game bonus scoring mechanic inserted thanks to the massive central wheel tile that starts the game.  You can play meeples to tiles as normal or to the wheel as a sort of bet on outcomes.  when tles with a wheel number are drawn the spin marker moves that number of places and the resultant wheel position is scored.

This added a very random element, but one I was fortunate to reap the rewards of.  In game I found myself with three large unfinished cities full of bonus points and ordinarily these would have got me very little, but thanks to good fortune on the wheel they scored me mid-game bonus points repeatedly, and so I ended up a runaway winner having achieved very little in real terms.  Is this a good expansion? I don't know, I think it took a lot of planning away from the game in favour of luck.  But it could be a good option for less skilful players to even up the scores.

Secondly I came across a solo game that feels like a modern day Patience-killer.

Flip City is a simple little card game that uses just 6 different cards.  However each card is double sided with the opposite face being an upgraded version of the top face.  You play cards from your hand to a 'Push your Luck' mechanism, whereby you can stop at any time, unless a card says otherwise looking to earn money to buy more cards or to accrue points or cards in front of you in a turn to win.  You play from the deck rather than a hand of cards so the choice is rather like a version of Blackjack; yes you can see what is coming, but if you draw that card and under it is negative card you have to play you can still go bust easily.

Flipping cards is an option instead of buying new ones, and this allows more victory points of better special rules to come into play.  Although the game works as a 2-4 player game, my one play in that format seemed a little slow, whereas the solo variant I've already had five or six games of, with only one win, and in this context it becomes a thirty card game which you could tuck in a pocket for train journeys or other downtime moments.  I think it shines in solo mode (and is pretty tough to win).

With no internet at home for the next two weeks, I'm sure it'll see more play.

In the mean time, apologies if it's a bit thin on content over here; back to normal soon.

Yet again...

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Zombies and Stormtroopers

Saturday I had a long standing appointment for a day of gaming with Jim and John, the second part of our Imperial Assault campaign and other games were arranged.  At various points beforehand the timing had looked to be inconvenient bordering on the impossible - as much in the way of gaming has been of late, again - but somehow it came to pass and a tonic it was indeed.

Doing fun, stimulating, challenging or plain silly things with board games and toy soldiers is truly good for my soul.

As I arrived early we cracked out a favourite filler of mine before digging in to the big stuff.  Guilds of Cadwallon:
I thrashed him, it was embarrassing really...
 It's a game with simple elements that hark back to noughts and crosses/tic tac toe and yet offer far more decision process and engagement with the game.  Not simply chance.  Plus it takes two minutes to explain and 15 to play.  A nice warm up.

Given the next few hours would be devoted to a couple of games of Zombicide.


Zombicide takes all the elements of an old skool dungeon crawler and sets it to a Zombie movie backdrop.  We each took two characters and began with a simple scenario to contain radioactive zombies.  Ideal to learn the rules, which essentially boil down to move on or two sectors on the board, search if you're in rooms to find equipment and or fight; rolling D6 to hit.  There is nothing rocket science in the game but for some simple zombie themed fun it doesn't need it.

There are some smart mechanics regarding the upgrading of characters and the heightening of threat in the game, in effect as characters go up a level over the course of a few rounds of play this also triggers increased volumes of undead appearing.  It works well and encourages team play to make sure that the more powerful characters don't increase the risk levels to fatal proportions.

Having wrapped up the opening scenario we went on to one of the larger maps and a task of making it from one side of the board to the other.  By the end things were getting rather busy:

Players top right, Zombies everywhere else...  
 Still we managed to coordinate, despite getting stuck on a zombie spawn point for a number of turns, and everyone survived.  Hoorah!

Next up in our epic session was Smallworld.  Which I forgot to photograph, but saw me get sterling service from my civilisations of Alchemical Skeletons and Diplomatic Halflings.  Timing is everything in Smallworld, and I think mine was as good as it could be leading to a close result at the last.  (Full disclosure, I can't recall if I actually won or was second.)

Finally, we wound up with our feature presentation; Star Wars Imperial Assault.  Today's was a side mission and the one that came up was rescuing Luke from the clutches of the Empire.

 I sense his Presence.
Escorting Luke through a procession of readily killed Stormtroopers was easy enough for the guys, and their newly painted character models certainly motivated them to do better than in the first mission.  But when lord Vader appeared at the end of the scenario they thought their number was up!  Fortunately for them I went easy on them and let Vader's anger get the better of him, he went straight for the heroes, permitting Luke to sneak around the back of the garage and blast his way through to the T-16 and get away.

A real success for the players.  They made a decent amount of cash, gained new skills and perhaps riled the empire more than their first encounter.

A nice day away from present stresses and strains, and I look forward to the next one.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

More Plastic Crack Incoming for Frostgrave

It's a set of Rules I've yet to buy, but fear I will very soon.  And now I spot new plastic models are on their way:

Chaos?  Anyone...
Information is scarce but seems to be a November release...

Monday, August 10, 2015

Age of Sigmar - Round II

Age of Sigmar is bedding in, but still proving divisive.  There are those who like it for what it is, and by GW standards of the last decade or two it certainly is a breath of fresh air*, whilst others despise it with a passion for not being their cherished flawed monstrosity of a game and for committing the cardinal sin of killing its' parents.  Personally I lean towards the former group, but doubt I would play a game unless someone specifically asked me to.  Well the other week long-time opponent Ross asked to give it a try, so I guess it was time for game two of AoS.

Due to a little lack of communication (that and the fact my life is all over the place at the minute**) I only brought one army, Ross' armies not yet being unpacked after a recent move.  Still with the small forces required to get AoS going I was easily able to split my Dogs of War into two modest 'Empire' armies.  We laid out some terrain on the table and deployed.

The battlefield for the evening
 Ross took the force to the top left in White and Red liveries, with a unit of Knights, some Crossbowmen, some Swordsmen a Wizard and a General on a (rather Small) Griffon (AKA Cecil the flying lion).  My host was in Greens and Blues mostly and featured Halfling (AKA Empire) Hunters, Crossbowmen, a dozen Spearmen, a cannon, a wizard and a Karl Franz on his warhorse (looking suspiciously Bretonnian, but you know, proxies).

So essentially it was a shooty list against a hitty list.  Would Ross be able to hit hard enough, or would fire-power prove victorious.

Ross tries to smile through the pain
 Ross got first turn and tried to approach my lines, using the cover as best he could.  As every piece of scenery was in some way special Ross found the approach offered both advantages and challenges.

Time to start shooting...
For my part I had all the scary terrain to defend, including arcane areas where sacrificing my men could've helped in battle.  Probably a bad idea with units of a minimum size though.  My plan was quickly to shoot down as many of my enemies as possible before their inevitable charge.

I began by concentrating fire on the knights who were covering the advance of Ross' crossbows.  I got two turns on the bounce, so knowing rules permitted such dirty tricks as shooting up a target with one unit, then charging another into combat with another I pumped all I could into the knights in the hope of softening them up enough for my weedy spearmen to tackle..

Get em there's only two left
 This proved easy for them, as the knights had already endured two bursts of cannon fire as well as a hail of bolts and arrows.  At the same time the concentration of spell fire from my wizard and a follow up charge from Karl did for the swordsmen on Ross' left.  At this stage Ross was ready to throw in the towel,
Team red on the back foot
 Ross moved his crossbows towards the centre, hoping to get away from the cannon.  Cecil charged the spears and wolfed down five or six of them with ease.  The rest soon fled.

By now I was having to divide my fire with the heavy stuff focusing on Cecil, and the lighter stuff clearing away the infantry.  Ross' wizard hung back in the graveyard, out of range and sight.  A wounded Cecil nevertheless landed in the trees on the flank of the Halfling hunters; clearly hungry...

This wall can't save us from flying beasties.
 Cecil attacked the nasty 'obbitses and gobbled up a whole bunch of them, battle shock saw to the rest.

 For the next couple of turns it was a case of laying as much fire as possible into the Griffonoid in the hope if finishing it off first.  But Ross' wizard did a grand task of bolstering it with healing spells from the safety of the graveyard. Cecil picked off my General and then the last of the crossbowmen.  Leaving me just with an artilleryman and a wizard.  Ross was able to use the generic wizard magic to finish off my cannon, and then Cecil did what Cecil liked most of all to do....

Omm nom nom nom.
And that is how I lose.

For the second outing 'Sigmar many of my first impressions were confirmed.  The game is enjoyable if played in an informal, non-competitive, narrative fashion. Most of our fun in play was derived from the natural storytelling deriving from the incidents on board.  Tactically it was shallow compared to Warhammer, but unit cooperation and interplay is stronger than it first appears on paper.
But again, for a game with only 30 or so models per side, it was slow.  Even if you excluded the general chit-chat and the learning of the rules, it took some ninety minutes to play the game.  Two and a half hours in effect as we played.  Really, far too long for such a small skirmish.  It makes little sense in a way.  I remain bemused by how simple a set of rules can play so slowly; I can only conclude it is the Warscroll special rules slowing things down.

With a few more games it could well get swifter, but if this was at the loss of the narrative aspects of play that injected a lot of enjoyment into the game, I doubt there'd be enough of the game left to either challenge or entertain.  I don't envisage playing these rules in any other way than as a casual system for friendly, laid back gaming.

This second battle was fun, but also showed how powerful large monsters and heroes can be. Ross though the game over when the bulk of his army died in two turns, but perhaps forgot the over 33% of the wounds of his force resided in his last two models.  The Griffon proved, enormously powerful, and with nothing to match it toe-to-toe I was utterly dependent on taking it down with artillery.

Build matching lists, or at least those of the same general composition and this would be fine, but for 'Comp' this could lead to chalk and cheese lists.  I suppose the intention is that scenarios and 'Sudden Death' rules would compensate for this, but that is not a guarantee.

Still, in and of itself, this was a nice way to pass the time, and although it is still a long way from my favourite game I would continue to play AoS if people wanted to.

Just not too often.

*Note:  Your health may be at risk by prolonged exposure to 'Games Workshop Air(TM)', may contain traces of Chaos and price gouging.

**Not a topic for the blog folks

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Dungeon Dwellers

During my hiatus of the blog last year, I did initially do some painting still, but I left wargaming subjects largely behind.  What little I did was mostly from my big box of Reaper Bones miniatures, acquired back in 2013.  I've subsequently opted to pick up some of series III via a mate, and will see these at some point next year!

I digress.  The intention was to put together the makings of a classic dungeon delve - retro styled adventuring using a clone of D&D called Swords and Wizardry; which I could've saved for a Friday Freebie, as you can download the rules for nothing HERE.

(C) Mythmere Games
Of course any dungeon needs populating with monsters and critters, not to forget some NPC's and of course the heroes.  More on the latter in another post, but here at least is the start of my menagerie of evil:

Come into my dungeon please
 You know, I wouldn't trust this lady.  After a cameo some months back, this model's finally finished.

A Flesh Golem and Giant Rats

Classically styled Goblins

Their boss, a huge Orc

He get's two shots, lucky fella!

A pair of Lizardmen guard an altar

My Mummy and two Zombies

A Demonic Hound and a Giant Scorpion

Lovely, harmless Kobolds

Harryhausen-esque Skeletons
Not a bad start, though I certainly need a foul necromancer to go with this lot, and maybe a Troll or similar.  That should be plenty to keep some fresh faced heroes busy shouldn't it.

I've opted for a detailed paint job but with retro touches like not basing to speak of and as it turned out a slightly satiny varnish.  I had a blast painting these, even if some did take rather a long time to finish.  

But who will face these denizens of the world's darker recesses?