I got to play a 3-player Frostgrave game over the holiday and it was pretty good. It’s a game ALL about your wizard and needs very few dice types (mostly a D20 is all you need). Each player makes a warband that consists of a wizard, wizard apprentice and ‘soldiers’ which could be anything really.
Wizards have a spell school that is their primary school, and a secondary and teriary that they can draw spells from. Each spell has a casting value (like WFB or Mordheim) and wizards have to hit that on a D20+level to case the spells. If you ever play, remember this part and that you are LOW LEVEL wizard. Take spell you can cast often, and don’t pick ones that have high casting numbers!
The play unfolds in initiative order but with phases for each type of character. Wizards go first (all player’s wizards), then apprentices, then soldiers and finally monsters. Once all four groups have gone, the turn is over.
Combat is simple and while similar to the Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle game which is a D6 roll off between fighters, with ties going to the higher fight value, Frostgrave uses a D20! What’s more the fight bonus differences between different fighters is not very high. Even in a fight where someone has a +2 over another fighter really is not too good– it’s essentially just a roll off between the fighters.
Once a hit is scored, if the original die roll is over the character’s armor value they take some damage in hit points, like D&D. It’s a very swingy system and you can lose by lots even if you have superior fighters, which can be frustrating for some.
Overall the game is all about the spells and the magic. Since it was our first play, we chose spells that were far too high level for our wizards, and suffered for it with not a ton of spells hitting the table.
So after one play, I would put Frostgrave as better than Mordheim due to Mordheim’s bollocks combat system but it’s not as good as Necromunda. It’s a tough call with Lord of the Rings but I think Frostgrave wins out because it has the campaign setting.
Overall the book is cheap and you can use whatever mini’s you have lying around. The system is simple enough where you won’t have to totally start from scratch with the rules if there is a long time between plays. Likely worth buying.
Right after the sleep deprivation of the LAN I am going through some sleep deprivation problems due to suddenly having a cat in heat inside the house (better than outside where there is a risk of her getting fucked silly and spawning). This is one of those unique things in life that you remember FOREVER because it’s just so nuts. the last time this happened to me I was about 20 years old and in college with a new cat. Lucky for me and my gf at the time, the cat got outside a few of the nights so everyone could sleep a bit and did not get knocked up. Before that incident, it was common when I grew up for cats to be humping under the dining room table while we trying to eat breakfast cereals.
Just how loud it is is what amazes me and that it goes on and on and on and on and on. I’ve said this since I learned the word fuck as a child: FUCKING CATS!
Last weekend was a LAN weekend. Man it’s been awhile, some suspect a decade or more. We did it up in the basement of scooter’s abode and it was gibbing madness. Some of these games I hadn’t played in a looooong time so here’s a run down of my feels here in 2017.
We played a mess of FPS games, originally thinking we would run the gauntlet of Doom all the way to new Doom. We almost did, but there were games we skipped (and one we shoulda skipped!).
Always a great time, but not great when you have more than four players as the monsters aren’t fun to play as. Interesting? Yes, but you end up looking at the respawn screen a lot more than if you are one of the survivors.
We gave this a try at the LAN and got pretty confused by the maps and environment. This is one that is likely better not at a LAN and just in normal internet play.
While unbalanced weapon-wise Quake is an amazing death match game STILL in 2017. We used the RUNE mod which has runes lying around that you can pick up that give you X2 damage, damage resistance, rapid fire (not my favorite) and regeneration. I would argue that Quake still has some of the best Death match maps ever made.
We tried to get BRUTAL DOOM up and running and it desynched constantly. While we didn’t deathmatch this, it was fun for the hour or so we were able to actually play. Brutal DOOM is something to check out for sure.
The penultimate death-match FPS. While many have tried, nothing has come close to how good this game is for straight up death match. With the weapon balance that Quake lacks and some really awesome DM levels, I think we played this the most out of any of the FPS games over the weekend. It just shows that it’s not the graphics that make a good DM game at all.
I didn’t get on this, but people said it was a good time. We played this because we could not get Battlefield Bad Company 2 working for everyone, which was too bad.
Playing Quake, Quake 3, UT3 and OG Doom just before trying newDoom showed how awful the death match for the New Doom really is. Great single player, amazing graphics still makes newDoom a fantastic game, but don’t bother at all with the death match. It feels like you are inside a robot suit slowly moving and turning around. It’s not even worth trying out to see how bad it is.
I got a single round of Vehicle CTF with maurice!Bastard and it was great. While UT3 is not a very good Death match game compared to nearly all other games (it’s still better than NewDoom), I’ve always found it’s Vehicle CTF to be absolutely superb. Totally insane vehicles, very fast movement speed across large maps and the whole bevy of weapons that UT brings to the table makes me wish I had the chance to play this more.
We played three RTS games and all three were enjoyed, though one for very different reasons for the other two.
This is on the cusp of being a good game, and certainly it’s fun for a bit. However there is just so much going on and you are spread out over so many areas (planets and strategic layers) with your units and buildings that it makes it an unmanageable mess. We got in a few games of this vs the bots and after winning easily on normal, we tried it on hard and it was comedy. The bots ended up nuking our commanders on a planet we had total control over. Overall, fun but the game devolves into ALL orbital combat after awhile. There’s minutia and counters here, but it is all just a unit-flood steamroll of some sort in the end.
The best RTS had to get busted out. We played coop again vs the bots and I forget that this has a very steep learning curve to it with the heroes and creeping and total disregard for the base-defense that other RTS games rely on. I also forgot nearly everything I had known about the game and played terribly, but still, really fun game– especially the battles.
People begged to bust this out and..was a total joke. We jumped into the game with 5 players and two of the commanders were D-cannon’ed within the first minute. RTS games have come a long, long way. While Starcraft, due to updates, stands the test of time with it’s controls and UI, Total Annihilation does not at all. As compelling as it was in the 90’s it just is not any more. Frankly if you want the TA feels, Supreme Commander is the way to go these days.
We got in some Torchlight 2 both Hardcore Elite and non-Hardcore Veteran. While the chance of permadeath is fun, the MASS hitpoints the enemies have in Elite multiplayer makes it slower than I really like in my TL2 madness.
So yes, we should do it again but bring some candles or votives or something for the rump gasping. There’s only so much bad air a basement can hold before spontaneous human combustion sets in.
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.
Haven’t even finished reading it yet so this is just a couple pictures. Needless to say, if you are a fan of Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Moldvay B/X and/or Dungeon Crawl Classics, 2016 was an amazing year.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.