Pit People early access!

This weekend with gaming was all about PIT PEOPLE which went into early access Friday.    The game has all the craziness you will expect from Behemoth and it’s basically a turn based warband fighting game where you go around a strange post-apocalyptic map and fight things and complete quests.  It’s quite simple to play as in you don’t have to tell your guys who or what to attack, you simply move them around the battlefield and they do their thing if they are at the correct distance from an enemy.   We haven’t seen much yet, having just opened up the Pit itself for fighting, but though it seems simple at first, it’s looking like there is a lot to the game.

So far we have seen only three ‘classes’ of characters: cupcakes (healers), beefys (big dudes) and normal guys.  The normal guys can be made into either tanks, ranged or ‘big’ weapon fighters based on the equipment you give them.  You can also put helmets on your guys, which helps vs sharp weapons but not against clubs and stuff, there isn’t armor per-se, just shields (big and small) and helmets.   Characters can only carry so much stuff, hence you can’t give a guy a huge weapon and then a shield as well.

Items are ridiculous where one character will attack with a pool stick or axe and another with “just cheese.”  Shields seem to be crazy as well and I’ve seen license plates, bits of concrete, a canteen?? and I think a sandwich.  Graphically, everything is so dense that it will take awhile to pick up on all the references to the older games in the building and strange Behemoth Universe.

I’m not sure yet why you would do this, but you can capture a bunch of characters/monsters in the game.  Since so far at least we can only use five guys and they never die as long as you don’t get TPK’ed, it’s not like Fire Emblem where you collect guys and it’s a big deal when one of them bites the dust, especially if you don’t have someone to fit that role anymore. It may be just for the aesthetics, or possibly for different configurations of teams to go on certain missions (capture team, anti-flying team, etc.).  Since it says you can get 500 guys, it must be something big in the game.  We’ve just got the stock guys and one beefy so far.

This morning we unlocked the PIT, which is the spot where you can go in and fight in the arena vs various warbands of creatures.  Not sure how it works but you fight on! until all your guys are dead and then get a score of some kind.  It’s a way to unlock a bunch of weapons and aesthetic rather than out on the map, so cool.  I think the characters level up even if they get killed in the PIT as well, so it may be a good place to power level before hitting the quests.  I’m not sure what the leveling DOES though yet!

If you like Disgaea and FFT and Soul Nomad and the World Eaters type games, so far this is pretty great.

 

So long 2016!

Running Man

2016 was a busy year, but not totally insane like 2012 or 2013.  I got some good gaming in,  not as much RPG playing as I would have liked with only the 13th Age game really going strong.  The GM for the Strahd game never held another session after two, and we just couldn’t get Runequest/Mythras going again after a couple sessions, though the PVP gladiator game was fantastic.

Board game play was pretty much Dungeon Quest revised this year and shockingly it’s a game that everyone enjoys that has played.  What’s more it’s a board game emulation of old school D&D with rapid death from traps, terrible calamities and the like. Who knew?  With the GW/FF split, best pick this one up quick-like.

The big game from CMON this year was the Others. We played several times, but while beautiful and well designed, it has the quarterback problem in games with more than two players.  There’s just no reason to play it more than two and really this is not a multiplayer game.  The lack of connection between scenarios was a bit of a miss as well.   For two players though, it’s great.   I did not get to play enough Blood Rage (can you have enough?) Dead of Winter, Struggle of Empires, Study in Emerald or Eclipse this year.

My new board game of the year has to go to Game of Thrones: Iron Throne.  Great implementation of the Cosmic Encounter rules, let’s hope there is an expansion with the remaining factions!  This year, I expected to like INIS a lot, or Scythe but wasn’t really a fan of either.  Scythe is a beautiful game (like INIS) but while it seems like a war game, it’s really one of those Keyflower/Hegemony/Francis Drake style point accrual and worker placement games.  I’d just rather bust out Eclipse instead of Scythe and Blood Rage instead of INIS.

Video games are going to be biased towards what I am playing at the end of the year here.  I just started playing DOOM and it’s quite WOW, I can see why many people have chosen it for the video game of  2016 hands down.  Notable games this year include the redux of Master of Orion, Stellaris also in the 4X space pysse genre, I am really digging both Guilty Gear Revelator and Blazblue: Chronophantasma extend as well.  Game of the year for video games for me personally has to go to Attila Total War by far.  TW games are probably my favorite computer game, and we were at a low low with the original release of Rome 2 and all it’s bugs, but CA has certainly come back from the brink and not only fixed that game but came out with one of the best TW games right after.

2017

I’m working on a few things, including a Lamentations of the Flame Princess adventure though it really won’t matter the system (it’s been playtested so far in 5th Edition).  I’ve got a Feng Shui adventure that I have written but just need to finish the playtesting.  Lastly I’m working on a campaign adventure that I will probably do in Mythras, but maybe Lamentations.

In terms of running games, other than 13th Age, I’ll likely give Dungeon Crawl Classics a go as soon as the 4th Edition book comes from the mail man next month.  Really looking forward to that from the Feeder/Flaming Carrot perspective.  Must be played with the right group though!

Looking at getting in on a game as a player in FASERIP, which I haven’t played since the 80’s and I wouldn’t mind someone running Strahd in 5E as well, or any of the good big modules.

Let’s start the year off right with a reading of The Shunned House by HPL read by Wayne June.

Fuckstarters 2016 edition

A year ago I posted about fucked kickstarters that I made the terrible mistake of backing. I want to post again because some of them have become unfucked, made progress or are now even more fucked than before. I backed a couple more since and I want to add one I’m really sad about being fucked as well.

First let’s get Star Citizen out of the way. From the Kickstarter viewpoint, there hasn’t been an update since 2013: that’s almost THREE YEARS and no updates. I realize there are other channels they are going through, but my policy is this: deliver me your finished game and we’ll call it a day. Based on kickstarter, this has never happened, and the backers on kickstarter have been abandoned. The last time I installed anything Star Citizen it did not work at all. There have been big articles on the internet the last couple months on issues surrounding development– bottom line is: I kickstarted this game and haven’t been contacted via kickstarter for three years.  Poster child of Fucked.

Second, River City Ransom. This is fucked as it’s shockingly late at this point (2014), and updates aren’t looking very good for completion. This is not an easy game to make but you know who did it? Behemoth with the Castle Crashers! It can be done. Where is it? is it Fucked forever?

Third, Exalted 3. There’s no book. Nothing has come in my mail box. The rules are out in PDF form and despite them not being all that great, (what did we expect, seriously….) they are better than 2E’s.  The art, even with all that budget, ALL that fucking budget, is weak compared to 2E though.  Those things aren’t the issue, the issue is that I don’t have the book I paid for nearly four years ago. Fucked.

Fourth, Bulldogs! 2nd edition.  It’s a year late now.  I shouldn’t have backed this as it uses FATE, which we had a brief affair with for five sessions or so, and like everyone else, we realized that FATE quickly becomes a total waste of time.  FATE is useful in that it influenced other games, but itself is just not worth bothering with.  Despite that, I like the Bulldogs! universe and adventures– it just needs a better system to go along with it (Mythras? Sci Fi 13th Age?  Numenera???).  Fucked.

Fifth, Thirteenth Age in Glorantha.  While I don’t think I would ever game using Runequest in Glorantha as a GM, I’ve played some con games and am intrigued by the setting due to King of Dragon Pass.  This is over a year late!  What’s the deal? FUCKED.

Last is going to be nearly a year late, and that’s the 4th Edition of Dungeon Crawl Classics.  I talked to Goodman at Gencon and saw the proof version of the book and had a fucking orgasm right there over it. It is a massive tome. Ridiculous really.  Technically this is a fucked kickstarter, but like 13th Age Glorantha, it’s just real fucking late: it will happen.

Here are kickstarters that have become UNFUCKED in the last year.

Moongha Invaders – this took a long, long time to come, but it did and it’s a great game.  If you can find this, for sure pick it up.  It’s a Martin Wallace jewel.  UNFUCKED.

Double Six dice rollers.  Came late in 2015.  Great dice, was just very late. UNFUCKED.

 

Attila is the Dark Souls of Total War Games

I was home sick a couple weeks ago on a Monday and decided to give Attila Total War another go.  I played it for awhile when it first came out and it was just too hard to get into at the time.  After a fairly static and easy time (for the most part) with Rome 2, Attila and is insanity incarnate for a 4X game, a true successor to Rome: Barbarian Invasion from back in the day, and it’s  fucking awesome.

There are a few very hard Total War games, most are pretty easy to play, even on the hard or very hard difficulty.  Of the ones I’ve played, Attila and Shogun 2 rank up there, with maybe Napoleon in there somewhere.   The main thing about these three games is that your imperial designs are not pre-determined at all in the face of all the shit that will be going on in the game.   In Shogun 2, even if you made a move to attack your neighbor, the other neighbors will instantly pounce and attack your stronghold, so you needed to be patient to start to be able to build up a group of provinces.  And if you do, you will likely attract attention of the larger factions that will swat you like a fly early on.   Attila is similar.  Even if you play as one of the three big empires (eastern and western Rome, Huns) you still have a tough time of  it with both the Roman empires collapsing on all sides, and the Huns in one big horde to begin with.  If you play as one of the minor factions, you will be lucky to even survive a few years with some really pissed off neighbors.  In Rome 2 and other TW games, factions nearby typically have to get ‘triggered’ before they come after you.  You don’t start in a massive war with the Achaemenid  Persian empire and all their allies at the beginning of the game in Rome 2 for instance.  In Attila, you basically start at war with all the big factions and are surrounded by pyssed off little factions.  While some of them get weaker over time, some do not.  If you yourself are a little faction (like the Franks or Jutes) it is essentially a street fight to see who is going to survive long enough to even interact with the larger factions.  This is golden.

Getting hit with a giant stone is no fun.

Yes, Shogun 2 is a hard game, but what happens in Attila that makes Shogun 2 a bit of a cakewalk is the fact that factions pushed out of their homelands will become hordes and start ravaging wherever they are in order to raid for money, or try to find an unprotected city or village to take over and settle down: and that could just as well be yours as anyone else’s!  You can be sure that your conquests will create these hordes, but even worse, the conquests of others will fire these guys up as well, especially as the Huns move West.  Everything will be going OK and then bam!, two hordes show up on your doorstep and either need to be dealt with, or just waited out, accepting the path of destruction that they will cut through everything.  The Hunnic hordes are different as they do not peter out, but get stronger and stronger until Attila himself is killed at which time they become normal hordes.  Since horse archers are the absolute best unit in the game, the Hunnic hordes are very, very difficult to deal with.

The weather is another factor in the game, as in Climate Change.  During the early Dark Ages, the northern hemisphere got colder and places like Greenland, Iceland and Northern Germany became places that could support far fewer people than centuries before.  This happens during campaign game, making anything north of Italy subject to severe winters and reduced crop yields.  Think you have your food shortages handled after 15 or 20 turns?  Nope.   This has the effect of forcing everyone south and west to grab up the arable land.

Lastly, a rather new mechanic for TW games is razing settlements.  Basically if you, or your opponents, win a siege battle against one of your settlements, they can completely destroy it, so that it has to be recolonized entirely.  Much like bombing planets in MOO, this has horrifying potential if you are backstabbed by an ally or have an angry horde come over the horizon.  The Caledonians in my campaign were reduced to a single fleet that I ignored. It ended up in Southern Britain and destroyed two of my provinces before I caught and slaughtered them.  Thankfully, the viking reavers will rarely Raze, hoping only to pillage so that they can come back the next year and do it again.

I started play as the Saxons and I think I had to restart 4-5 times before I was able to even survive past the first few years.   You begin with the Franks and Langobards nearly at war with you from the outset, and all of the northern pre-viking factions aiming directly where you know you need to go:  Britain.

Spear fuchery

Over the campaign, I was able to make some friends with the proto-vikings in the north and solidify my hold on Britain and Fresia (Belgium).  The South of Europe and East were in total chaos with everyone just running away from the huns.  Nearly all of eastern Europe, including Italy, was a complete wasteland.  The Western Roman Empire was stuck in southern Spain and many of the major migratory factions (Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Vandals) were hiding in Northern Africa.  Eventually my expansion met with the Hunnic horde and they declared war and it was on!  Saxons vs Huns, just like it was supposed to be.

What’s unique about Attila is that this scenario may not have happened.  While the Huns always attack, they may have spent most of their time vs the Eastern Romans and never came into Europe, or the Visigoths or Vandals may have created an empire strong enough in central Europe that was able to hold them off.   This not knowing what the fuck will happen is a major draw.

You go girl

Overall, like Rome: Barbarian Invasion of old, after suffering through the early difficulty and realizing the TYPE of game that it is, I like Attila more than Rome 2 and it could be one of the best Total War games. While I really enjoy the classical battles vs the Macedonians, Persians and Gauls, the absolute chaos as well as the remorseless destruction of the Western Roman Empire over the course of the game, just puts Attila as one of those special Total War games that will get years of play.  It doesn’t hold your hand and it lays out it’s challenges early on and says: here they are, see if you can handle it.

This is the body of Attila himself!

Dawn of War 3

There’s been teasers for DOW 2 and the like and now footage is coming out so the game must be hitting in Winter/Spring 2017 or the hype machine wouldn’t be this fired up yet.  I must say I’m pretty excited for this one.  I played a lot of DOW 1 as it’s in the BEST RTS lineage of Warcraft 3 > Company of Heroes > Dawn of War (a lineage that Blizzard has since abandoned for the very boring Starcraft 2 style).  Below is a run down of the factions and main characters in each. It’s the best three of course: Orks, Eldar and Marines.

On Holiday!

Fuck yeah.  I may have to work a bit next week (from home) but otherwise I’m off for the rest of the year.    It will go too fast, I will get nothing I wanted to get done DONE, but I’ll at least get to try.   We’ve had a bit of a snowmagedon here in Wisconsin and so I leave you with this, SNOWBEAST 1977.

General plans are to try to play a 6-man Blood Rage game, play something Martin Wallace (probably Struggle of Empires or Moongha Invaders), paint some miniatures, play some Warhammer 9th Age (am I allowed to say that in the same phrase), get some more time in with Attila Total War and Guilty Gear XRD Revelator.

and lastly, run a D&D game with the kids.  They probably aren’t ready, but what the heck.