Tag Archives: Games

It’s Tragic


magic_logoI know what you’re thinking “wow, these guys are still alive?” Yes it’s been a very long time since anything got posted here. As explained before, we’re not gaming as much as we have done previously, nor meeting up as often either. This of course, has the knock on effect that there’s less to blog about, despite the fact that the gaming world is still alive with all kinds of wonderful goings on and new games/releases that keep us all excited individually. I’ve found new gold in the likes of Godslayer, Star Trek Attack Wing and the X-wing miniatures game. Anticipation from pledging for Deadzone. As well as over the weekend, a revisit to an old classic.

 

Wikipedia reliably informs me that Magic: The Gathering came onto the scene in 1993, I can remember playing it from about 1995 and remember things like the Arabian Nights expansion, the Ice Age block and white bordered cards. Every now and again we trot out the cards for a few games and I occasionally purchase one of the premade decks as a little bit of fun.

After playing a game of Star Trek Attack Wing and a spot of lunch we had a three way game of Magic between yours truly, the always dreaded Gribblin and erstwhile gaming companion nBreaker. No-one else had brought any cards so I had to hunt around for my decks, cunningly hidden inside a Lorwyn fatpack deck box. I took a premade Green/Black guild deck, Gribblin took an older Ravnica Blue/Black deck which left nBreaker to suffer horribly with my pure White deck that I’d constructed myself from the 2013 Deckbuilder’s Tool Kit. nBreaker then proceeded to win both games we had. Hurray for the deckbuilder I say!

So, is this alone worthy of a blog post? Not really, what did pique my blogging interest was how simple and deep Magic can be. In the second game Gribblin had been swampwalking his way over my life total. While I was pretty safe behind some meaty creatures I was pretty badly mana starved considering the number of turns we’d played. My win condition was always going to be about removing enemy creatures and then pummeling the player to death but as it had taken me so long to get anything like a third of my land out the other players were suitably reinforced too. Gribblin was using his deck to burn through nBreakers library while he was waiting for a couple of spells to try to romp his own creatures through Gribblins defences. So it was that Gribblin had two untapped creatures left to defend after taking another chunk from nBreaker’s deck. In my turn I drew and had one of those lovely cards that lets you search through your graveyard and grab something from it. I’d been left on a single lifepoint from the swampwalkers so I was pretty much going to lose. I pulled the Murder card back from my Graveyard that I’d used to prevent some damage earlier. I killed one of Gribblin’s untapped critters, then used another card to remove his Belltower Sphinx which had been poised to block anyone all game and hurt their library to boot. Thus, with his defences gone and all his mana tapped, I sent EVERYTHING! Twenty-one points of damage everything. The look on his face was priceless. He’d gone from being a mere few turns away from glory to a single round of beatdown.

We all had a good chuckle about it and I think it did a bit to revive our interest in the old gal, especially considering how well my own constructed deck had actually worked against the others, in the end netting a win from both games. I might have to have another look and see if there’s something else I can come up with from cards that would actually be legal in a standard format now as I actually quite enjoy building my own decks and seeing how they do. The good thing is that this is a game that doesn’t require a whole lot of stuff, you can play with a standard bought deck, but the layers and complexity are there if you want it. I look forward to Gribblin getting his own back, but as he blew up my Klingons earlier, I thought it fair recompense.

 

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6 Inch Move Review – Hawk Wargames Cityscape


Cityscape_website_1_mediumMore grist for the Dropzone mill today as we take a look at the Cityscape terrain set from Hawk Wargames. When Carabus and I took a trip to visit Hawk and playtest the game prior to release we got to use the display terrain that we’d seen at Salute and that was in all the artwork. Dave explained about the customisation of the tiles and that they were going to be a premium product not designed for general consumption. I don’t think anyone was expecting it to be quite as expensive as it was, but there we go. Hawk also did release a lot of their terrain as free downloads which is more than a lot of other companies do.

Still, with a 10mm scale game rather than the far more prevalent 28mm we’re used to dealing with getting the right terrain means getting something in fresh rather than reusing something bought years ago. I’d seen the cityscape on Hawk’s website but not really given it a thought, I mean, a 6′ x 4′ battlefield for £30, can’t be all that good can it? As we kind of experience a gaming drought post Salute last year things around the floating citadel just didn’t play out as we’d all hoped. This meant that we didn’t get to see our DzC stuff on the table, nor show it off to anyone else as we had planned to do.

So it was that when we went to Salute this year Dropzone Commander wasn’t really on our radar. We planned on stopping by and checking in with Dave but not much else other than that. Fate it seems like to give us a good nudge every now and again. Gribblin and nBreaker got to enjoy a demo game, suitably impressed they bought in, as we knew they would. However, we also got to see the Cityscape up close and personal. It may only be card but it’s of a very high quality and looked excellent. Free buildings from the kit were being handed out on the stand too so we got to have a quick look at what they were like. For £30 this seemed like a steal now that I’d clapped eyes on the things so I picked one up to give us a battlefield that would be compliant with the scale, the objective based nature of the game and friendly on the wallet.

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First up I need to tell you that the thing is heavy! We’ve actually got two of the things so I spent a lot of time with plastic bag handles trying to sever my fingers through the afternoon. This will also mean that we can have more than one game going at a time, or just use a really huge battlefield in a multiplayer game. When you open the box up everything is nice and securely padded with bubble wrap and it does feel like a meaty package. When you open it up you’re treated to all the flat packed buildings, pre-scored to make for easy assembly. I spent a couple of hours on Saturday putting the whole thing together. There’s a large stack of double-sided base tiles to use too. You may be better off choosing a layout and then gluing these to a board to give them some stability and stop them from moving on the table although obviously you’ll then have to store yet more terrain boards.

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That really is a wad of card you get. Each building just pops open, the roof is then glued down to make the structure rigid, each wall then has a fold on top where you fold down a small flap to “warp” over the top to give you a lip to stop stuff falling off as well as make things look prettier than just having bare white card. I used common, run of the mill PVA to glue mine together. Not watered down, just fresh out of the bottle. I applied this liberally to the roof tabs and also to the flaps. If you want to save yourself a lot of time sat still holding things then I’ll pass on a tip we got from Bex at the show, use bull-dog clips! I put forward exhibit A to show you how I did it;

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This works really well and I found that the glue stuck very quickly using this method. I only had the one pack of clips, which wasn’t a problem but I’d suggest people get two if they want to try assembly in this way as it would have just been a nicer experience if I wasn’t taking them off and using them again on the same walls of some of the larger buildings.

The only problem I see with the whole thing is that the buildings are probably going to easily be knocked about a little when gaming. Now this is nothing new but as this terrain is so light in individual pieces I can see this being more of an issue than with other, heavier terrain pieces, but for the price I’m not sure you can really argue against it.

We’re hoping to have a game using it very soon, if I’m feeling generous I might even take some piccies of it in use. However, from an assembly point of view and seeing it all together I must say that this really is a bargain and a very nice set, for the price you’d pay for a single kit from other manufacturers you have a full battlefield to play over. I am really looking forward to using it. Although I might let some of the other guys have a go at assembling the other set so I can get on with getting my army painted.

 

6 Inch Move Review: Super Dungeon Explore


As you can probably tell from the dearth of things on the blog recently, the good folks at 6 Inch Move have been rather busy doing lots of things other than gaming. Yes there have things that could be blogged about, however, in the interest of keeping things civil I’ve refrained a lot from posting about how I’ve had to sell my wife and daughter to African organ farmers to afford the latest stuff from “Plastic-crack Peddlers of Nottingham” (TM).

Despite the excitement building up to the release of Dropzone Commander and then 6th edition 40k landing as well things have been very quiet in the gaming halls of the floating citadel. This is a situation that we all would like to correct as gaming is what we do and it’s nice to get together and throw down with some dice from time to time. With that in mind and the rather obvious title of the post here, one can no doubt work out what happened. Due to some rather fantastic aligning of planetary bodies, not to mention sacrificing many delicious virgins, we managed to put together two evenings of gaming over this past weekend.

Super Dungeon Explore has been on my radar for a while now, it’s certainly not the cheapest of boxes which is the primary reason why I’ve not tossed some cash at Soda Pop and grabbed a copy myself. Luckily for me though, nBreaker grabbed the box and its first expansion a while ago and I’ve been itching to try it out and see it it’s as good as it looks.

For those unaware of this particular dungeon-delving delight it’s offered by Soda Pop Miniatures authors of the recent Relic Knights Kickstarter (which due to shortage of funds I couldn’t support myself) and manufacturer of some really nice anime inspired models. Super Dungeon Explore (hereafter shortened to SDE) is a game inspired by Japanese RPGs of old. You can play with up to 5 players and a 6th plays the various dungeon denizens. There are various game boards that you use to construct the dungeon according to how many heroes there are in your party. Between the first expansion and the core game there is a hero for everyone. I’ve managed to play through the game three times over the weekend, trying a different hero each time and I have to say that I love the Rogue. Each hero has their own abilities and stat card and you really benefit off creating a varied party. We tried an all melee party once and it didn’t go so well, but I mainly put that down to Servitob playing as the dungeon and his dice never run cold so we were up against it from the start.

The purpose of the game is to kill the spawn points that allow the dungeon denizens to enter the dungeon and then try to kill you. There is one spawn point per board with the number of boards in play equal to the number of heroes you’re using. As the heroes make kills and get wounded by the bad guys there is a power track that allows the dungeon controller to bring in more stuff per turn or, at certain pre-determined points, spawn a mini-boss and then the main dungeon boss. In the core set, this would be Starfire the Dragon. There are treasure chests to plunder and loot that can be claimed by defeating the nasties assaulting you. Whether playing as a hero or the dungeon there’s stuff for you to get and chances for you to win the game. The dungeon player isn’t just a drone scripted into what he’s doing but a fully functioning player hellbent on the heroes destruction.

Each hero and dungeon nasty has a card that gives it a movement and action value. Movement determines how many squares you can move and action points are there for you to activate abilities or lay the smack down depending on your preference and situation. At the start of each turn one hero rolls off against the dungeon to see who gets to go first, if the hero wins then that hero has to go first, if he loses the dungeon inevitably brings the pain. The dungeon can only activate so much stuff at once before the next hero in line gets to go so you’ve got plenty of opportunity try to clear some trash out before you get swamped. What we did notice is that with a couple of heroes having area-of-effect abilities, these are very nice to have. There are natural choke points that happen in the game and while this quickly accelerates the power metre to spawn the boss it also provides a good way to quickly remove threats, we found them well worth taking if you like those heroes that have it.

In our first game we messed up some of the rules and this left everyone feeling a bit “meh” about it. However, after another read through and some forum trawling our second and third games went much better and everyone enjoyed it with our concerns banished. It takes a couple of hours to get through a 3 player game and it doesn’t take long before your heroes are going back and forth with Kobolds and Dragonlings, kitting themselves out in extra armour and weapons that boost their abilities before daring to try and get rid of the nasty Dragon.

The dice mechanics are nice and simple, providing the chance to heal yourself and others as well as crumping the enemies you face. Each hero has a potion (or two) that they can use either on themselves or others to increase their prowess. It really is worth noting that you want to communicate and act as a team. If people get greedy or selfish, going after treasure chests or over-extending, then the dungeon can really hurt you. In our last game I looted a Resurrection Charm on my Ember Mage. I kept it myself (loot can be handed out around the party) to resurrect another character should they die (we had all died in the previous game). However, what this meant was that the dungeon player *shakes fist at Servitob* sent everything my way as I was, rather stupidly, at the front of things as well. If the heroes play together then they can be really powerful and tough to take down, they are not invincible however.

There are three colours of dice that are used for making attacks or defending from them, as well as being used for various skills. Loot and treasure can boost the number of them you roll as well as giving you extra action points or straight up bonuses to rolls. The mechanics of this are wonderfully simple and very easily picked up. Because you don’t use the same tiles from game to game (you can if you want) and the heroes you use are likely to change (there are no must-take heroes) there is a lot of replayability, especially with someone taking the role of the bad guys, you can rotate that around as you want. The Dragon boss is suitably nasty but can be taken down with co-ordination and planning. It might take a few rounds too. While things seem really simple on the surface when you actually play it and start to think about the game there is a lot of veiled strategy involved with how you do things. Do you wade in and AOE all the bad guys, getting loot quickly but also accelerating the power gauge to bring in bigger and nastier monsters, or clear a path for others of your party to come in and do their thing?

The models for the monsters and heroes themselves are fantastic. Everything is done is a super-deformed chibi style which I really like. nBreaker is doing a good job of getting them painted too so we’ll end up with something that looks as good as it plays by the time they’re finished. If you’re looking for a fun game that doesn’t take itself too seriously and be played in an evening then you could do a lot worse than take a look at SDE, it certainly got a big thumbs up from all of us!

 

Dropzone Commander – The Countdown Starts Here!


Yesterday was the last day for pre-orders to guarantee shipping on July 23rd! That means that we are now less than two weeks away from seeing possibly the most talked about tabletop game in the world right now actually hitting store shelves and spreading across gaming tables everywhere.

As for what I myself have done, there was some last-minute panic with some unexpected potential expenditures that have cleared up and left me actually in the right spot to place my own order. I only got to do it last night (and therefore hopefully snag my goodies day one) but I did manage to order the UCM Premium Mega Army and a couple of rule books. Why more than one book you ask? Because a certain someone *cough*Carabus*cough* was so excited about buying their models they forgot they needed the rules to go with them!

It’ll be interesting to see if we get any new titbits of information as the game gets closer and closer to the release date. It’s really nice to be so close now after all the months of waiting.

A Wild Dropzone Commander Appears……


…and sadly rather than a friendly Pikachu or conflagration of doom spewing Charizard I’m stuck with a pokeball full of Carabus! Of course I jest, he knows I wouldn’t go into battle without him.

The subject of today’s post is somewhat of an echo of what Phil from the Shell Case posted up over the weekend. I’ll start out by saying it was a genuine pleasure to meet both him and Lee, as well as being able to have a good banter about all things gaming. The reason that the four of us were suddenly thrust together in suburbia was a rather out of the blue invite from Dave at Hawk Wargames to have a tour of Hawk HQ and get our hands on the goodies and see the game for ourselves.

Not ones to pass up an opportunity to drive half way across the country with an eye-watering early start; Carabus and myself fired up the thrusters on the floating citadel and went on a merry jaunt southwards. Upon arriving we got to fawn over the painted models again that we’d seen at Salute. Amid scattered parts, print outs and various books DzC comes to life in Dave’s office. Before I even talk about the game itself I’ll just have to say that Dropzone Commander deserves to be a roaring success if for nothing else than the amount of blood, sweat, tears and torture of his long-suffering girlfriend that has gone into realising something that most of us within the gaming fraternity do nothing but dream of. We were regaled with tales of just what Dave has sacrificed to bring his vision to we eager and ever-hungry gamers and I’ll doff my hat to him for the tremendous efforts he’s expended.

Getting up close and personal with the models was once again a joy, we got to see the unpainted as well as painted versions, including some of the variants we’ll be seeing once the rulebook hits the shelves. It’s all looking rather stunning and it’s really evident how much thought has gone into production of the range.

However, you didn’t come all this way over here to read 400 words of me babbling on about what a dashing young fellow he is or what a nice chap he is for putting up with us all for the day and letting us fondle his goodies. I know you’re all itching to find out about the game from people who have had first hand experience with playing it!

I imagine that the easiest way to try to explain it is by comparing it to another war game, something that will evoke in you the idea about how it really plays, perhaps 40k with its vast buckets of dice rolling, Epic 40,000 with its detachments and world ending weaponry. So dear readership I give you the game that is closest to Dropzone Commander……… Chess!

WOAH THERE!!! Before you go bolting out the door let me explain! This is not a bad thing! Obviously it’s not really chess, however, thinking about our experience this really does fit as an analogy. Chess has the alternating activations, immense strategic depth and endless re-playability. The only thing chess is missing is cool aliens and massive lightning farts that are designed to kill all humans. In our game of UCM vs The Scourge we got to see the large army deals face off against once another. We had played what is apparently the default scenario to capture objectives scattered around the board. I have to say that despite enjoying plonking down the UCM infantry and capturing our closest objective turn 1, watching the Scourge zip across the board and start hitting the middle ground in the same turn was more than a trifle disconcerting.

We spent a lot of time discussing the game as our turns went on, we even got to give some input into the rules and some changes to the cards that we’ll be waiting to see if they make it into the final edit. Just as chess is a game of individual skirmishes and long-term strategy so is DzC. We’ve obviously only had one game but you really need to think about how and where you are going to apply your forces. Each army list gives you plenty of choice about what to take in a battlegroup and the battlegroup compositions themselves (as well as the limit of what each unit can do) should mean there isn’t a chance to unbalance a force. Dave has been really careful about ensuring that it’s not possible to take an army that wipes the floor with another in a couple of turns. In our game, despite the first few turns looking like the game was heavily weighted in the favour of the Scourge a little luck and some good strategy on our part (or all luck if you talk to our opponents) allowed us to walk away with the win in the final turn. Things did go back and forth and things were only decided at what was virtually the last throw of the dice. As we assaulted enemy held buildings, tried to evac our own objectives while the building was literally coming down around the ears of our troops we were also constantly aware of having to ensure that we had our dropships in the right place to provide evac to our troops. The Scourge didn’t make it easy after their flyers made an attack run to eliminate an APC that was carrying one of our objectives and headed for the table edge.

The Desolator made its presence felt late in the game by cutting a large swathe through our AA battery and tank formation (as well as dropping a breeze block from a nearby building on the head of one of its own infantry bases), even with such a huge loss to a lot of our strength putting some thought into the order of our activations and where and when to move our forces played into our hands to pull out a win. DzC is a game that is going to reward someone who can plan ahead. You’re going to deploy your forces and want to be in a place to support and evacuate them when the moment is right without exposing things to too much of the enemy’s fire.

For our game things went the full six turns and after speaking with Dave that’s apparently how the vast majority of games turn out. I think this is tremendous as I am sure that all of us have favourite memories of those games that went down to the last shake of the dice. Dave has asked us very kindly to not go into specifics but after having played I hope you’ll trust my judgement that this is a very different game to that which most of us are going to be used to. Hence my chess analogy.

So, I guess you’re wondering what we were given in order for us to wax lyrical about Hawk Wargames’ first foray into the market? In all honesty, not a thing. Here is a chap that is proud of what he’s done and wants to give something to the community that will ultimately make this game a success or not. I feel very privileged to have been invited along to try it out and it has cemented the fact that I’ll be adding it into my repertoire. If you want to know just how much fun we had I’ll tell you here and now that I’m planning on grabbing the UCM Mega Army set myself. It was always going to be about the rules for me and if they were good enough or not to warrant me forking out the cash to play. After I’ve seen it in action I’m happy to say I had a lot of fun and I can imagine that people wanting a departure from a lot of the other small-scale games on offer are going to have fun with it too.

What’s not to like? Stunning models and a tight ruleset. Not only does Dave deserve all the success he can get due to his hard work and Herculean efforts but also because he has a solid product on his hands that shouldn’t just be lost in the myriad systems clamouring for gamers attentions these days.

Not only did we get a nice trip out in the car, we got to play a new game before most other people as well as meeting some genuinely nice blokes. It more than makes up for the fact that I was awake for 20 hours! If you were sitting on the fence about getting into DzC let me give you a nudge that sends you on your way to a new and enjoyable experience. Sure it’s expensive but I can see me having a lot of fun with it.

Two Weeks to go!


I understand that some folks might be bored stupid by the amount of stuff we’ve had showcasing Hawk Wargames’ incoming DropZone Commander offering. However, as I was sitting here in a typical Friday afternoon waiting for beer o’clock stupor it occurred to me that there are only two weeks left until the pre-orders go live!

As I’ve been considering what I want to spent my miniatures budget on when I get paid next week I may have to hold out to see what’s on the horizon for our current major interest.

Are you eagerly awaiting more details of the latest in 10mm sci-fi? Let us know which faction you find the most interesting!