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.

 

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).

 

Frostgrave thoughts

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.

Genconnery 2016

we are at the last real day of the con, Sunday being mop up and all that.  It’s crowded as fuck, with long lines and smells and bumping into huge backpacks.  We are staying at the Alexander which is a hike from the con, but real shi shi and has tons of room for gaming.  I made the mistake of getting new shoes before the con and my feet are fucked with blisters– so bad I have to wear flip flops for likely a week!

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We got in a great Runequest game with a Roman legion in pre colonization North America.  I got to play the Others for a bit (should be at my house today!) and picked up Bloodborne the card game which plays ok.  Otherwise I haven’t bought much stuff, instead we’ve been eating like kings of the earth.

I ran my Lamentations of the flame princess event yesterday and it was good.  I had only one player who was pretty much half asleep the whole time who did manage to wake up and free Calcidus the bad wizard from his salt circle.  He then left the game shortly after as the other players then had to clean up that mess which nearly ended in a TPK.

We played LotFP later that day with steve, but that deserves its own write up.

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…

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The (addon) good guys.

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

The bad guys
The bad guys

Necromunda – Cawdor vs Eschers

Got in a good shooting yesterday with the Scavengers scenario.   Matt had a brand new Eschers gang vs my dead-hard Cawdor (with 4 games under their belt) and it was a bit of a slaughter, though in the end, both gangs had to start taking bottle tests which was surprising.  The core issue was that the Eschers were full on close combat, and they had to move across some areas where they got shot up bad.   Also, I had some crazy lucky rolling throughout the whole game.

Matt had the idea to use the Talisman cones (which are USELESS in Talisman) for the status of Overwatch, Running, etc. in Necromunda.  I’m going to pull those things out and throw them in next game.

The new weapon from the community rules I hadn’t experienced before was the heavy flamer.  That thing is super beast.

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Shotguns can work well on overwatch.

Shotguns can work well on overwatch.

 

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Things are about to get real nasty…

Warhammer inception interview with Rick Priestley

This is an excellent interview with Rick Priestley on the inception of Warhammer and 40K and those two big beautiful books from the 80’s that I still pour over from time to time (3rd edition Warhammer and 1st edition 40K that is).

With the release of Gates of Antares, which does not have the amazing aesthetic that 40K does (what with Jes Goodwin and John Blanche), we have Priestley’s seminal rule set for sci-fi gaming.

Good Quotes:

“The fact that the Space Marines were lauded as heroes within Games Workshop always amused me, because they’re brutal, but they’re also completely self-deceiving. The whole idea of the Emperor is that you don’t know whether he’s alive or dead. The whole Imperium might be running on superstition. There’s no guarantee that the Emperor is anything other than a corpse with a residual mental ability to direct spacecraft.

“It’s got some parallels with religious beliefs and principles, and I think a lot of that got missed and overwritten.”

And this:

“When you’re doing something something as wacky as a huge toy soldier game with goblins, it can be a bit of a tough sell. But when people can see how glorious it is, see the beautifully painted armies and all these people hooting and hollering and rolling dice, it gives you an instant idea of how much fun it is.”

And finally:

“The studio, the creative part of Games Workshop, had always been kept apart from the sales part of it. One thing Bryan said was that if the sales people got to be in charge of the studio, it would destroy the studio, and that’s exactly what happened.”

Necromunda community edition book

I took the 2015 Community PDF’s for Necromunda, slapped them together, threw on a front and back cover and a few weeks later here’s the book.  It took about 45 minutes to make and the rest was waiting for the mails.

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It’s not perfect, the text starts too low on the page, but nothing cuts off and the print reads perfectly.  I went for color because the community added rules and addendums are colored red throughout the text, and this is essential for plucking out the changes where  you think you know the rules.  This ran about 30$ plus shipping, so it wasn’t cheap, but now I can abuse this when we play rather than my actual books or shitty photocopies of the community edition with their goddamn staples falling out.

Back cover, I know it's not exactly Necromunda but you gotta love the bolter bitches!
Back cover, I know it’s not exactly Necromunda but you gotta love the bolter bitches!
Interior with color.
Interior with color.

Necromunda rumored to be the first Specialist Games project

Wow. I was thinking of dusting off the old Necromunda stuff for some holiday destruction in the underhive (not for nostalgia’s sake, but because it’s a great game that should be played!) and lo and behold not only are the rumors of Games Workshop’s Specialist Games returning true, but the newest rumor is that Necromunda is going to be the first on the slab for a remake/re release.

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Killing the Delaques– always a good plan.

Stuff I think they should update:

  • Make ‘hero’ characters have detailed advancement and have ‘gangers’ have simplistic advancement. This is just like Mordheim/Legends of the Old West and cuts down on the TON of book work between Necromunda games.
  • Add Vehicles. I was REAL sad that Gorkamorka was about Orks and not an expansion for Necromunda that added the Mad Max shit. Gorkamorka is a good game, but they missed the boat there. They could have had a space hulk with Orks on it crash into Necromunda if they wanted to add the Orks into a Necromunda vehicle expansion, but yeah.. odd decision that.
  • Two girl factions/ girls in the other gangs. It was odd that all the gangers are dudes in all factions except the beautifully sculpted (and fun to play) Eschers.
  • Let me use my old Miniatures. Just like Blood Bowl, I don’t mind changes on a team and new minis and will buy them, but if I have painted gangs of Necromunda, I want to be able to play them.
  • Better Spyrer models.  I have all the Spyrers, and they look like ass pretty much except for the Malcadons.
  • Vehicles? Did I say that already? Yeah.

So– I’m pumped for this. It will probably be out in a few years at the earliest but it’s great news, especially after this Age of Sigmar dreck.

Otherwise I’m taking a hard look at FROSTGRAVE from Osprey as something to replace the rather poorly designed Mordheim.

…and Blood Bowl was on the list of the four games Specialist with get to as well. That’s going to be a tough one since the fans are RABID about the rules, but needless to say with the quality of miniatures that GW has been putting out, that’s all they really need to do.

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