First play, new 40K

Eight editions and I’m still rocking the 1986 beakies. Anyway, I’ve never been a serious player, but dan and I gave the new edition a spin last weekend.

8th ed. is very streamlined with very simple mechanics where once there was a lot of fiddly stuff. Gone are templates for flamers, explosions and the like and they are replaced with a flat or rolled number of hits to the unit in question.  You can premeasure ANYTHING which is one of the things that made 8th Edition Warhammer Fantasy better than all previous versions.  All this simplification was likely to improve speed of play and allow for very large battles.  At just over 1000 points for the game, it was plenty large for my tastes.

Command points are a new thing to 40K 8th edition, something borrowed from AT-43 and I believe they are now in Bolt Action as well. In the new 40K, they allow a reroll of a die when expended at certain points, pretty much like Blood Bowl.

One very interesting thing we used were the new “Open War” cards that lay out a scenario’s objectives, special rules, terrain and the like without rolling on various charts.  These were pretty neat and would work for any edition of the game.

So how did the game go?  It was a ‘grab the objective’ game except that the objective didn’t show up until turn 3.  While I was able to get some casualties on the Eldar, the main thing for me was holding off teleporting on my Terminators until after the objective dropped.  It’s unlikely anyone will get Terminators off an objective in a couple turns. Dan’s rolling was TERRIBLE so there wasn’t much he could do in the end.

Close combat, which is a big thing in 40K despite all the guns, is similar to the old games (chargers attack first, then defenders attack back) except that failing morale checks means removing more casualties as if everything was like the undead from WFB.  This is a pretty elegant solution to remove ALL instances of units running away, rallying and then coming back into the game.  That said we had two close combats that went on and on round after round for awhile, with no clear winner.

I do not like that small arms fire can damage heavy vehicles (i.e.: non open topped or light transport vehicles) so that’s really odd to have someone shooting a bolt pistol at a Land Raider and have it do damage, but that’s my only real beef with the game.

Overall while I like 2nd Edition 40K the best (which fuels Necromunda and Gorkamorka), 8th is very sweet in it’s simplicity without devolving into the Age of Sigmar level.


Firepro Wrestling World coming to steam!

One of my favorite games for the Sega Saturn was Fire Pro Six Man Scramble.  I bought six controllers for the console just to force people that came to the kung fu house (usually not to play video games, but to get loaded and go out and have a place to crash within walking distance of various drinking and dance establishments) to play it over and over.  Firepro was made by a video game school in Japan originally and has continued on from there.

While 2D and cartoonish, the game is extremely technical to play with vary harsh timing on the grabs and throws.  In addition to the wrestling, you can not only create wrestlers, leagues, tournaments and stuff but you can program wrestlers AI as well. The depth of the customization is simply madness. This has screamed to be a PC game for a LOOONG time now, and here it is (in early access).

Also, this version has EIGHT-man battle royales, so dude, yeah.

EVO 2017 streaming this weekend

Baiken from GG xrd 2 showing some legs

This weekend is EVO in Las Vegas and everything will be streamed.  I always catch the finals matches of Guilty Gear, Blazblue and any King of Fighters that are on the docket later on YouTube, but there is a ton of, and I would hazard to say most, of the brilliant play is in the non final matches, when players are not super nervous and not playing it safe. And yes there is Teeken and Street fighter too.

More info at shacknews

Steam Sale gem – Domina

A bit like GLADIUS from back in the day except without all the 3D graphics and a lot more death; you are the head of a household trying to make money and gain glory buy the purchasing and equipping of other human beings for them to fight to the death in various arena’s.   5$ on steam I don’t think you can go wrong.

I haven’t played enough to really know the game at all, but it’s quite addicting at first blush and has very silly events.  My only beef with it is that multi-gladiator fights don’t seem to be implemented all that well, with the gladiators all running into a big mosh in the middle of the arena and suddenly some are dead.


Big Day for Gaming

Today was a big day for the nerd gaming with Free RPG day which included a new Runequest quickstart, new DCC adventure, the intentionally controversial Vaginas are Magic from lotfp and while I’m not a Pathfinder fan, there was a quickstart for STARFINDER, a new space game from Paizo.

In addition to the RPG goodness, it was the official release of the new version of Warhammer 40,000 in it’s 8th edition.

The 40K book looks incredible, as you would expect from 2017 GW. I had a short talk with Dan about the rules and they look good–it does not seem like they age of sigmared that shit up as was feared. I’m looking forward to breaking out my 1987 beakies and having a go at some point.

The Free RPG stuff Matt and I grabbed up was a trove of goodness. Swords Against Owlbears for 13th Age looks boss, the new Runequest adventure is SOLID Glorantha, though I wasn’t able to make heads or tails of the magic system after a short perusal. The DCC adventure is cool, but what’s best is that the quickstart has the character creation rules in a module format! So I won’t need to lug around the big book all the time nor pass it around the table to get all sorts of greasy hands all over it and spilled beer/bong water.

Finally there is Vagina’s are Magic. While it’s silly and fun, the important bit is the update to the LotFP magic system. It’s similar to the playtest packet that came out awhile back in that no spells have levels. In addition, spellcasters can keep casting spells but have a danger with every cast over their level each day to have a miscast, which can be horrible as you would expect from LotFP. While the spells in the book are cool, what has to happen now is that ALL the other spells in the game will need a miscast chart appended to each one. This will make the LotFP book nearly double in size with 1 page for each spell in the game (much like DCC). VAM may be just testing the water before going that far with the magic descriptions for the core lotfp spells. Looking forward to trying this out.

For me, I got a chance to run Feng Shui 2 (with a new adventure I wrote that will get posted to the blog eventually) and today I got to play FASERIP after a gap of about 30 years!

Dad’s guide to the Pokemon CCG

This game has been around a long time and has survived as a CCG for nearly as long as MTG.    I’ve played it with the kids and it’s actually a fine game but there are traps when buying cards/playing. I’m not going to go into kids scamming cards off each other in kindergarten and grades above, that’s the subject of another post (i.e.: how did my 6  year old get about 60$ worth of EX foils when he had a couple packs of cards to start?).  What I am going to go over is how to save money and have fun with the game while your kids are interested in it (likely age 5-9 or so). While this is potentially a CCG money pit, Pokemon is not a video game or some iOS bullshit, even though it is still an indoor thing for kids, so it should be encouraged over other indoor activities just like pen and paper RPG’s should be.

First, there is a LOT of stuff in the big box stores that kids will want you to buy for them. They will ask for a “TIN” which is a tin box with some cards in it.  They will ask for trainer boxes which are bigger boxes with cards in them.  They will ask you for EX and MEGA EX pokemon cards they see in the store. Expect it, but don’t buckle.

This is because the way kids play in school is to slap down the best pokemon they have and compare it’s damage to another pokemon’s health and call it a day.  The big EX’s and GX’s have large numbers on them (some of them at least) so the kids want those.  They also look cool, foil, distorted hyper anime art, etc.  This is fine and if your kids want to keep doing that, there’s nothing wrong with it, but that means they will only want a few cards (all EX’s) and there’s no point in buying packs — those are VERY rare in the packs.  Buy them singles they want for as cheap as you can and you’re done.

However, if your kids want to actually play the game, there is more to it.  If you’ve played any CCG or even deck builder, it’s pretty simple:

  • decks are 60 cards exactly.
  • You have to attach energy cards to pokemon to get them to fire off their damage powers. These are also uncommon in random packs.
  • You play to 6 points (represented by prize cards). Each point is acquired by destroying enemy pokemon.
  • One pokemon is ‘active’ as in it can attack and up to 6 others are ‘benched.’ Normally only the active pokemon can be attacked or attack.
  • You have to flip a damn coin a LOT during the games.  Little kids can’t physically do this, so use a six sided die instead.

Now, there are a lot of buying options and I flat out recommend not buying Tins, not buying boosters, not buying the “theme” decks and not buying trainer boxes unless your kids get super hardcore and even then, maybe buy singles.  The decks you can build and play using the cards from any one of these sources will suck to play and not be fun for anyone.  I wasted some money there (probably about 30$ all told) before I realized this looking at tournament decks online.  Their composition was VERY different from the Theme deck I have…and very different from what comes in the packs you get.

Instead of all the various stuff on the shelves at Target or Walmart, you want to buy the Battle Arena decks.  These are usually two decks in a pyramid type box that are full on ready to play out of the box.  These is pricey right out of the gate (about 30$), but in contrast to the boring Theme decks or random card packs, each one is tuned up with an economic and combat engine centered around a single EX type pokemon (each deck has two of these cards) that work very well and are fun in play.  While nothing to the level of tournament decks, the Battle Arena decks emulate their structure and solve the critical problem with the “theme’ decks and tins and boosters in that they have WAY too many pokemon compared to other cards.  Perusing actual decks, you need only about 12 pokemon in a 60 card deck, about 12 energy cards to fuel them and the rest are the cards the kids just throw on the ground when they get them out of a pack: Trainer cards.  Trainers are the gasoline that fuels a deck: extra card draws, denial, flipping pokemon from the bench to the active area, moving energy around — all the critical stuff you need to do to make the attacking pokemon effective and the deck efficient.

We have the (above) Keldeo vs Reyquaza deck and it’s a solid competition between them.  There are two other battle arena decks out there (another one coming in a few months) so your kids will have something to select among what looks cool.  While it won’t be easy, it’s possible to switch out the EX and pokemon of specific types with another GX and other pokemons, leaving the trainers in place to support the deck.  If your punk kids have SPECIFIC GX’s they want to run, this may be the only way.

It will take a bit for your kids to grok the combo/engine in each of the battle arena decks, but when they do, they will know how to set it up and then later, how to block the other punk kid’s combos if possible. This leads to a lot of exploration of depth that would take months or years of just playing with stuff out of the tins or theme decks.  Most importantly, it will make you as the parent NOT BORED instead of terribly BORED with the game.  They still may just slap pokemon down on the table when they are at school, but at home you will have fun with the real deal.

Lastly, sleeve the cards.   While this may seem lame to the kids, it helps them shuffle and handle the cards and it keeps what could be a 30-50$ card from being destroyed and driven into the mud on the playground, or lost and spilled upon under a car seat (both of which I’ve seen first hand).

That said, you may have a kid or kids that just do not like the game when actually played for real, but still want the cards to look at.   This is OK too, but due to their desire for ALL GX/EX foils, can get very expensive.

Weekend links and Gloomhaven impressions

This was a busy ass week, but I got a game in of Gloomhaven which is… interesting.   It’s definitely not a game I would want to own or try to get people to play (or read the rules) but it was pretty fun.  Gloomhaven is a mash up of Kingdom Death and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3rd edition with all the cards-as-actions and tons of counters for everything;  except instead of an RPG, all adventures are pre-codefied in maps that unlock as you play.  Classes unlock as you play as well which is interesting.   While I don’t think it’s especially good after the first play, it’s still worth giving a good college try.

Comparing it to another similar, recent game: The Others, it’s the opposite in that the basic Gloomhaven gameplay is clunky and card driven, while the Others is very smooth and streamlined.  However, the Others has zero as a campaign mode and is replayable only in that you can play through different missions with different hero teams.  The lack of a Campaign mode in The Others really hurts the game, while the campaign mode in Gloomhaven makes a rather lackluster miniatures combat game much more exciting to play.

Anyway, here’s some other interesting stuff from the interweb tubes this week:

New 8th ed 40K FAQ.  I love some of the questions (and answers): basically people are asking if they are planning on AOS’ing 40k.  Seems not.

Freemium ios games are the worst of the worst trash mobile gaming has to offer, but there are exceptions.

An AWESOME rundown of the launch of the original Warhammer 40K.  I read this and then started re-reading it right away.

And another GW-based post about 1989.  That was when I was totally into the Warhammer stuff full bore (as full bore as a highschool kid could be) and it lasted until 1993 or so when we started playing too much Jyhad and MTG (and still a lot of talisman).