Game Hole Con tomorrow

Matt and I and others are off to Game Hole Con tomorrow for some 5E, wandering around and a game with Tom Wham. Should be great fun and I am bringing the new Cosmic Encounter / Game of Thrones mash up board game to boot. See you there, fuckers.


Blood Bowl stuff!

Here we are, 13? 14 years since the last officially published version of Blood Bowl and finally a new edition is nearing release.

Stuff from the unboxing:

Watch that. Templates are plastic for scatter. Comes with 12 players per team, so you’ll need another sprue for an entire team of 16. The minis can be put together without plastic glue. The bases are BIGGER than we are used to but they have pegs for the balls! The pitch is pretty much awesome and double sided. That’s the main thing people have had to make from scratch if they couldn’t find an old version. Looks beautiful.

Odd and cool stuff:

Comes with a D16 dice for generating players getting hit with stuff, so no more chits!

Biggest thing is the RETURN of the special play cards. I loved these from the original game though they did cause problems in tournament play (serious tournament play that is). The design of these is critical.

All in all:
Fucking awesome.

Fantasy Flight and GW – there goes Talisman

Fantasy Flight and GW are no longer working together.  The announcement is here.  


Basically the only thing I really care about is that Talisman will go out of print again. I will have to care for my stuff instead of abusing it as this level of support for Talisman we probably will NEVER SEE AGAIN. I just picked up the Harbinger Expansion to make sure I had everything (except Dragons) that was out for 4th Edition.

Other stuff that was good from FF: Chaos in the Old World,  Dungeonquest (updated version, not the first FF version) and Chaos Marauders.   Dracula was cool, but not my favorite game.  Other stuff, like the 40K and Fantasy CCG’s, the 40K Talisman version and Blood Bowl manager were all totally forgettable.

RPG wise, this is going to fucking sting for people that liked the 40K RPG.  Since it was closer to WFRP and had a TON of support from FF, I can see people weeping about this.  It wasn’t anything I was interested in, but I can see this as a loss.

FF not having the WFRP licence anymore is FUCKING GREAT as the 3rd edition of the game was an experiment gone wrong. Yes, it had some very very good adventures (witches song and the new version of the enemy within are notable examples); yes, it begot Edge of Empire which is a fine game attached to a boring ass license, but WFRP still is one of my favorite RPG settings and 3rd edition with all it’s pieces and chits and crap was just too much to deal with.  I’m fully aware that both 1st and 2nd edition’s rules are not great as well, but you can play it with the book, some paper and pencils and regular D&D dice….  GW: Give the WFRP license to DESIGN MECHANISM and be done with it.

Thoughts on The Others (aka the Xmen vs Cthulhu board game)

The big ass the Others Box was waiting for me when I got home from GENCON (pretty nice timing there) and I’ve played four times now with three very different groups of people.  I know some that read this may not have gotten their kickstarts– I’m sad for you, truly I am.  That waiting SUCKS ASS!

I was the SIN player three times, and played as Faith agents once.  This is not a review (won’t review a game unless I’ve played it at least 10 times), but some feelings about the game and it’s mechanics, both because I do not normally like this style of game generally, and because it is a MONSTER.  The Others will draw you in with it’s beautiful art (Adrian Smith), solid graphic design and cool miniatures, but does the gameplay match the aesthetic quality that it’s worth buying? I think so, but it’s not for everyone.  Unlike Blood Rage, which is one of the best board games ever made, not everyone on the planet will like The Others.

What is the game like?  One side plays as the Faith agents (the Xmen) and one player plays as a SIN (Cthulhu).  The game is played on a small, fully revealed map filled with monsters.  The Faith player has to complete a mission tree to win the game, and the SIN player has to kill off most of the Faith team (4 kills out of 7 members).  The missions involve killing certain monsters, rescuing people or gaining objects.  Each ‘story’ has an initial mission, then other missions after the first one is completed that the players can choose from.   This is complicated further by a type of story: Terror, Corruption or Redemption, which determines the type of bad stuff that happens during the game.


How does it play?  Unlike Dead of Winter where players have their own objectives, there is no real need to have multiple people playing the Faith team.  The Others is essentially a 2-side, 2-player game.  However, managing all the Faith team members can be a chore and just like in an RPG when planning an ambush or get-away, multiple heads are better than one.  I think the game is best with three (two Faith players controlling two Faith Agents each, one Sin player), BUT, if you only have one friend to play with, The Others will be JUST FINE.

I’m going to compare the game play itself with Descent and Advanced Heroquest, which are similar to The Others in that you have a GM that is trying to kill the players.  Descent though, while fun, is a mass of details, a total mess of counters and tracking all this shit everywhere. AHQ is a random dungeon crawl that can really drag with the totally random map.  The Others stands on the shoulders of Decent, Doom the board game and Advanced Hero Quest in that it strips out all the bullshit you don’t need present in those games.  Especially as the SIN player where you control all the monsters and events, it’s surprisingly easy to run and play.  The Faith players, mechanically, have it very easy as well and can concentrate on WHAT they need to do and not crap on their sheet.

First Mission ready to roll.
First Mission ready to roll.

Faith Agents can take 2 actions in a round and actions, like the new XCOM, consist of moving and attacking or attacking and moving, with ‘attacking’ being replaced with ‘cleansing’ when needed to put out fires or destroy corruption. n The board is full of hazards, so moving around can be costly– no move is done without careful thought (unless you are the guys that demo’ed the game before I did at Gencon, as you were not putting any thought in).

The SINS player can only react to an Agent’s move/attack, and can only effect that acting Agent and none other, so there is a dynamic risk reward there.  We’ve had multiple games where a hapless agent went in to complete a mission knowing she (looking at you Morgana) would immediately be swarmed and killed.

Faith characters consist of the following:

  • Health Track
  • Corruption Track
  • Special Power
  • Fight value
  • Skill value

That’s it!  The Xmen… I mean Faith agents can pick up items that add a few special effects (mostly just more dice) but running a single Faith team member or ALL of them at once is no problem as there’s not too much to keep track of.

There are four ‘classes’ (Bruiser, Shooter, Fixer, Leader) that equate to your standard thief, tank, caster, buffer and you must have two of each class and one leader to make up your team. Each agent breaks a rule in the game in some way and there are a LOT of them.  Six full teams (Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma, Omega, Sons of Ragnarok) exist with all the expansions and a group of extras that can be a full team themselves.  That’s just under 50 agents…lots of asymmetry for you there.

As SIN, you have a bunch of other stuff to deal with, but it’s not super complicated.  You move the monsters and play little trick cards and remember the effects of your SIN on the game and the Apocalypse card.  Probably the most complicated period is the end game where there could be members of the Hell Club, the Avatar, Controller, Abominations and Acolytes all on the table with multiple Apocalypse cards out to remember effects from. All in all, I feel that it plays REAL SMOOTH either side with very few burrs.

Play itself is exciting, with nearly every agent and monster move making a ton of difference.  There’s very few slough-off plays for either side where nothing happens.  Due to the Apocalypse track, the Faith side is always pushing ahead as it gets much unpleasant for them about turn 3 on.

Overall I would describe the play of the game as fairly fast and clean, with the only lags being when Faith players discuss what to do next, which they should and need to do throughout the game.  Like games with an antagonistic GM, such as Fury of Dracula, it can be tough as SIN not to fuck up and accidentally hand the players the win, but ever game seemed fairly close.

The game takes about 3 hours for a single story.  I think if we play more games, this will get shorter and may even hit between 1-2 hours.

Hell Club (grin) making an appearance!
Hell Club (grin) making an appearance!

Lastly, The Others has a lot of stuff out for it with it’s initial release, the box it came in dwarfed the Blood Rage box which I now keep in a massive pelican case so I can take it to work gaming club, people’s houses and stuff.  I’ve humped that fucker 2 miles walking in mid-winter from the bus stop and that wasn’t fun.  The Others has even more stuff– a mountain of miniatures and boxes. What should you buy? What should you not buy until you’ve played a bunch of games and know your group likes it?

The base set is FINE to start with, but get extra dice if you can.  +3 for both sin and faith dice is really essential.  You can play through the entire seven stories with just this set. It may be better to do this with just the Alpha team so Faith players don’t go insane with choices of Agents until they know what the fuck is going down.

Most of the expansions are additional Faith team members and the remaining seven Sin boxes (5 others).  All five remaining Sins have a box with two types of miniatures and the cards that go along with them.  Given multiple plays, your players may be able to put together a Faith team that can deal with your normal Sin choice (say Pride or Sloth that come in the main box) so you have a ton of choices to shake that up.  For simplicity, I have run Pride every time, which is a good learning tool to punish the players for going alone about the city, but I’m ready for LUST or SLOTH next.

Faith boxes have full teams that you can jump in with that likely synergize with each other in some way.  Most of the big Faith team boxes have extra stuff, like monsters (Hell Club members mostly), new city tiles, more cards or the dice bags.  I would say get at least one of the team boxes, probably Sons of Ragnarok biker gang (7 characters, no other bullshit so it’s probably cheaper than the other boxes) or the Beta team.   I did not get the Delta or Gamma team addons and I’m not regretting it at this point, but I may.  Gamma is probably the team I would get next.

Gamma team.
Gamma team.

The Apocalypse box adds an 8th story into the mix with massive miniatures.  You can probably wait on this until after you’ve played all the stories in the main game.

For those of you looking to pair down your collections and not buy massive games there’s a LOT of boxes of stuff with the Others to fill your shelves and unless you are going to replace Descent + expansions with this game, you may need a larger board game purge to fit it in your house!

There you go, after unpacking a lot of this massive CMON kickstarter and playing a handful of times, that’s what I think of the game.  Bottom line is, I was worried that I would not like the game as I do not like Descent very much (why I kickstarted Massive Darkness I just don’t know…) and The Others was better than I thought it would be.


New Fantasy Flight GOT game based on Cosmic Encounter


The current big Fantasy Flight Game of Thrones board game is just OK, definitely not my favorite area control/war game engine.  It could and should have just been a direct heir to Avalon Hill’s Dune board game with the dials and treachery cards,  unfortunately, FF wasted that on their derivative space kitty sci fi setting with Rex, complaining the whole time that they couldn’t get the Dune license to remake the classic while to GOT one was right there!

I suspected the new GOT board game may be that Dune remake we’ve been waiting for, but it looks just like Cosmic Encounter, which is not a bad thing since Cosmic is the best board game ever made.  Should be out by end of the year, and may have a demo at gencon.

More info here.


The OTHERs will eventually come

After a pretty long wait, backers got an email from CMON about the OTHERS, which is a game by the design team that brought you such games as BLOOD RAGE (my pick for 2015’s best board game by FAR).  It’s a big game with a lot of miniatures as is CMON’s purview.  It’s been a bit late, but like Blood Rage, not terribly so.   The game is apparently on the boats from the China manufacturers as we sit here.  With Blood Rage, I actually TRACKED the boats coming in as I was peeved that I did not pick up a second copy at GENCON and had to wait months to actually play it.  I was overly excited and Blood Rage, as many of you know because I’ve made nearly everyone play it, was worth the wait.

The Others I just can’t tell yet how great it will be, but fuck…while I was amazed at the Blood Rage kickstarter and vast amount of stuff you get– the OTHERS is ridiculous.  I couldn’t afford to get all the add ons either.  And where would I put them? The boxes do look great though…

The (addon) good guys.

I’m a huge sucker for Adrian Smith’s art.   Look at that shit!

The bad guys
The bad guys

Free RPG day 2016 and sharting for the win

Free RPG day was good this year.  Perfect weather and two places in town that were hosting it.  There was TOO much good stuff to choose from so tough choices had to be made.  We ended up getting SLUGS! of course, which is a ridiculous Lamentations of the Flame Princess spoof (yes, it has some good monsters in it, but the intro– teeing off on all non DIY publishers in a Donald Trump style diatribe must be read to be believed), The Derelict, a Cthulhu adventure, the Nights Black Agents/13th Age combo (the 13th Age adventure looks pretty good too) and the obligatory Dungeon Crawl Classics adventure.  All of it kick ass stuff that will get some use (except the Nights Black Agents– we don’t play that) even if we just read it.

Why attack the Xmas slug? Why???
Why attack the Xmas slug? Why???


After the whirlwind of game and comic shops in the morning, Keneda (in town for the weekend), Sensless, Okyo and I got together and play Talisman with the Cataclysm expansion– with the new board only and not any other big boards. This meant no dungeon, no city, no Highlands and no Woodlands.

We did include the REAPER expansion cards (not the reaper himself) as I feel this expansion at least is absolutely essential.  There were a few Frostmarch and Sacred Pool cards included cause we were sort of drunken by the time we started sorting to no ill effect.

Cataclysm, being a new main board an all, has some surprises.  Gone are the standard places visited for healing, FATE and buying stuff. Instead there are areas where you draw new cards called “denizens” who represent effects from the old board, but randomized around.  If the denizen originally belonged in the space you drew her, she will stay, otherwise they are one-shot cards.  For example if you draw the BARMAID in the graveyard, she won’t stay but she’ll stay if she’s in the Tavern or Village.  Cool stuff.

We also played with the new crown of command as the goal rather than the random center cards, which is more deadly for everybody as the person on the crown can be killed using it as well.

We played at first with only Cataclysm characters (draw one rather than the usual three and choose), then when one would die, replacements were randomized from the whole deck of characters as normal (draw 2 and choose, die again, draw only one, die again and you’re out!)


Pyssed up again.
Pyssed up again, post pestilence, pre shart.

Here were the first set of characters:

Sensless: MUTANT

Me: Black Knight

Okyo: Arcane Scion

Keneda: Scavenger

This was a LONG game, about 1.5 hours per player.  Why?  We got drunk and were at least slightly drunk the whole time– with the game initiated via a shot of Jeppsom’s Malort for all and then beers.  There was a lot of side saddle talk and wandering outside.  Luckily no pinners or it would have ended prematurely with unconsciousness.

Despite the drunkeness and length, there was some excitement at the table.  I’ve ripped on 4th edition despite it being my preferred edition of Talisman on account of it’s lack of deadliness,  mostly due to FATE points saving the day all the fucking time, but we had more characters driven into the mud this game than any recent games I can remember.   Cataclysm has some nastiness and by the third turn or so, an event came along and ripped all the fate from all players,  so things were very risky risky.

After fate was gone, there was TOADAGE.  The mutant met the wizard denizen and was promptly toaded. He lived long enough to land on his ‘stuff’ space and encounter the wizard again– and get TOADED again.  There was another wizard that finally put the hapless toad-mutant to rest–and was replaced by the Barbarian!

More Toadage ensued as my black knight was toaded by the same Wizard denizen as the Mutant and didn’t survive; becoming toad-meat for a giant spider.  A lucky draw got me the ELEMENTALIST.

Without FATE, we were all running weak and lifeless with no easy access to the chapel or city and naughty instead of nice denizens about.  Pestilence came at just the right time and took out the Barbarian and Scavenger for their trouble. Keneda was on her last character–the Assassin.

The mid-game was long– maybe 3 hours long and the arcane scion was slowly building up, but refused to go to the middle.  I got pumped quick with the Elementalist (not hard to do) and made a run for the middle, got lucky making it up but suffered badly at the Lich (replaced death on the STRENGTH side of the center region) and had only a single health going into the crown of command.

The command spell destroyed the Assassin and another character I can’t remember that replaced the Scavenger, but it wasn’t enough for my Elementalist, especially after the sharting.  Right before the final turn to get to the middle, Okyo gambled and lost and had to run to the bathroom.  He came back and despite the Elementalist at the crown of command, despite the humidity and Malort and Schlitz and underwear in the outdoors trash can, the Arcane Scion made it to the crown of command with a single life left as well and won the combat handily vs the Elementalist for the final win.

It was a good, albeit slow game.  Cutting out all the expansions was a really good idea for this one, as there was a ton of new stuff in Cataclysm. I think I’d like to play it a few more times with just that set, the base adventure deck plus

Since in Cataclysm, no one knows where to go to get stuff until the denizens come out, it’s tough to get healed, get fate and buy weapons/armor.  This is quite a shift from the old board where you know just where to go to get refilled.

a winner is you.
a winner is you.

Tobal 2 and Virtua Fighter 5

We played a surprising amount of both VF5 and Tobal 2.  I just couldn’t get the hang of Tobal again, even with Ill Goga and Gren and failed miserably.  My timing was WAY off.  Matt, however, was all over it with Epon whopping ass.

Despite my love for Tobal, VF is the better game, with a shocking amount of incredibly nuanced characters and simply the best fight engine there is.  It still looks GORGEOUS and caused a lot of yelling (same with Tobal) when the physics or throwing engines showed something spectacular (guaranteed throws and some of the reversals in VF are amazing to watch).  Fighters are a million times more fun when you are all sitting around playing, on a console or arcade machine.  This is why EVO and all those cons have such a strong following.  Playing online is OK, but face to face with the crying out and yelling is where it’s at.


I’d like to imagine this day was like a typical Saturday in 1996-2000 or so, before everything changed.  Those four years were (sad as it seems now) formative madness to the extreme.


After 19 years, it hit the table again.  Read that again– 19 years.  I found a penny in one of the Necromunda boxes that was shiny new– from 1996.  It’s amazing that:

  1. This hasn’t been played forever
  2. I still have all this stuff and it hasn’t been destroyed somehow
  3. it’s in pretty good shape
  4. and I remember the exact point when we stopped playing it and I packed up the hive terrain from the ping pong/gaming table for good wonder if that would be the last time we played and it was.

Enough reminiscing.  We played for about 10 hours yesterday, with breaks for lunch and dinner, but only got in about 3-4 games per player– so i’m not of the mind Necromunda is a short game any more– it can take a long time.  I would really not recommend more than 2 games in a day as it’s just too much to process and plan between games in addition to the shootings themselves.

Set up of all the terrain. Luckily I had enough bulkheads!
Set up of all the terrain. Luckily I had enough bulkheads!

Since I had them painted, I played as the Cawdors again.  The models are OK, but unfortunately the Cawdors are a bit of a close combat gang– and none of the ganger models have close combat weapons!

Here is my initial buy for the Transanal Eviceration gang.

  • Leader with Chainsword, bolt pistol and frag grenades.
  • Heavy with Heavy Stubber
  • Heavy with Flamer
  • 2 Juves with Autopistols (and knives)
  • Ganger with Shotgun (manstopper, scatter, solid)
  • Ganger with Lasgun
  • Ganger with 2 autopistols and frag grenades
  • 2 Gangers with Autoguns

This gives you 5 gangers to harvest your territories, a leader who can hammer in close combat and a second back up close combat guy, along with a lot of stuff to flush people out of cover (frag grenades, flamer, shotgun).  While I do believe the heavy stubber sucks, it’s only 120 points, can shoot across the whole board, and you will get a lucky roll from time to time to make it worthwhile.  No one has armor, so don’t bother with the heavy bolter until later.  The flamer is amazing (but we forgot that it requires an ammo roll after every shot…).

Lasguns are the most boring weapon in the warhammer universe, but they are super reliable and shoot far.  Autoguns are nearly as good with their +1 to hit at close range, but they go out of action far easier.

My territories were crap, but I did get Vents which lets you place guys around the board after set up– yet I NEVER remembered to use it.

In the four games, overall my leader had the most ‘kills’ with the flamer heavy second most.  The leader was able to get into close combat with a bunch of enemies in two games and tore them up (except for a lucky juve) and that’s because of the chainsword. Swords are cheap and allow parrys, which cut down on some of the swingy rolls your enemy might have against you. Well worthwhile.

There were three other gangs getting on on the good shootings:

Hate Boat– a Delaque gang of unpainted (but primed) minis

Vaginal Force 1 – Eschers (obviously)

The Crustables – a Van Saar gang represented by the excellent and drool worthy miniatures from the new Dark Millenium 40K box set. If you have any interest in Necromunda, these are definitely worth picking up.  They would do in a pinch for any gang, but would especially fit as Cawdors with their masks.

The first game was the Hate Boat vs the Crustables and I’ll admit that my grip on the rules was loose.  Things were going against the Hate Boat after the Crustables got into good shooting position far above their cover and they got to explore the falling rules fully. Hate Boat had to make multiple bottle rolls, but in the end it was Crustables that bottled out on their first roll!

Lots of guys having a lie down.
Lots of guys having a lie down.

My first game was being ambushed by the Crustables, a fitting beginning for Transanal.  Luckily, I was able to position a few groups of my gangers to ambush the Crustables.  After a few turns it was obvious that the Crustables ambush was turning into a bloodbath, with 3-4 gang members on each side out of action, including the Crustable’s leader who had been burned by a flamer. After a turn or 2 more, the Crustable’s bottled out and ran for the vents.

Ambushed! note the mix of AT-43 and 40K terrain.

My heavy about to get beaten down-- cause he can't hit with that stubber!

My heavy about to get beaten down– cause he can’t hit with that stubber!

Couple things to remember about Necromunda that I had forgotten.  First your gangers aren’t the bravest and will run away pretty quick when things go south nearby. Second, shooting into cover is pretty difficult.  You can start to have to take bottle checks when a mere 2-3 of your guys are out of action.

The Crustables gang leader crawling through a pool of his own blood and urea after getting hit with a flamer.
The Crustables gang leader crawling through a pool of his own blood and urea after getting hit with a flamer.

A good time for sure and a game that should probably be played a bit more than once in 20 years.