Blood Bowl – identification issues with the new minis

I got some Blood Bowl in last weekend, and it was my first game with the 2016 version of the game.   I know the game back and forth, but man it’s been awhile and I had to look up a few rules.   I forgot that dodging and picking up the ball are automagically +1 at all times and a couple little things here and there.

I used the humans and my homie had the orks.  We used the total stock 11 player teams that come in the box.  Suboptimal? oh yeah.  Still a fun match up? yep.

My complaints about the Human and Ork scupts proved to be true in game.  Even with the human team completely painted, it was nearly impossible to tell the Blitzers from the Lineman.  I like the lineman sculpts a lot for the humans and the thrower/catcher minis are totally fine but it’s critical that the blitzers are easily identified via their model on the pitch — and with the new human team they are not. Also, they are very BORING blitzers.

The Gary Morley humans from 1993 and the later human team by an unknown GM sculptor (~2004) have the blitzers in a different stance than the lineman and that helps a ton to sort out which is which during play.

The 2016 orks are a bit easier to tell apart except the Black Ork blockers and the Lineman look almost exactly the same. Multiple times during the game I had to ask: is that a Black Orc?  Again the 1993 version of the Ork team had very identifiable silhouettes for the Black Orc and Line orc miniatures– despite the fact that the lineman were not very good looking in that set.  The 1993 orc blitzers were awesome looking.  Unfortunately, the orcs in the new Blood Bowl are super-Sigmarized, that is, they look very much like their Age of Sigmar counterparts with their… ‘rock armor’ is definitely not Blood Bowl.

For the Humans, Forgeworld to the rescue with the two new blitzers in their ‘booster pack’ that actually look like blitzers!  With 4 of these, I think the human minis/team is quite good looking and functional, harkening back in terms of design to Ally Morrison’s human art in the original Blood Bowl rather than SIGMARIZING the miniatures like they did with the orcs.  These are great…

 

Aly Morrison – Harry the Hammer

All in all I think it’s a good set of blood bowl yet the newGW take on the miniatures is OK.  Importantly, there are tons of alternate BB miniatures for nearly all the teams out there– nearly a cottage industry.  These guys are where I got my Dark Elves from for the new version of the game.

Gencon 2018!

I headed down to Gencon on nearly a whim and it was pretty good. This means that I haven’t missed a Gencon since 1992.  That’s a LOT of Gencons.   This year I was trying to take a break after the insanity of the 50th anniversary last summer and all that, but broke down with both desire and some peer pressure from Matt.

Matt said it was his favorite Gencon ever as he got to game a lot and didn’t have to waste time on taking FAR too much time going out to eat, which is a massive timesink when you add it up.  Going to the RAM for lunch will take at least 2-3 hours minimum and then you are spun back into the Con drunk.

I only went on Saturday for reals and after wandering the hall a bit (trying not to buy anything this year), I got over to the CUBICLE 7 booth and had a chat with none other than Graeme Davis of WFRP fame who was showing off a binder with pages from 4th edition.  Mr. Davis, along with others, wrote the Enemy Within, Shadows over Boganhoffen, Rough Night at Three Feathers and many other great modules for one of the most important RPG’s ever.  WFRP 4 is going to be a merger of 1st and 2nd edition WFRP with nothing from Fantasy Flight’s 3rd edition (no funky dice or chits all over the place or cards for actions).  In addition, he has been tasked with writing the 4th edition Enemy Within in which, he said, would be surprises that help if players have played the 1st edition campaign as well as doing it closer to the original 1E edition.  Davis also co-wrote the 3rd edition version of the Enemy Within for Fantasy Flight.  Talking to Mr. Davis about this subject made the failed BIRD ride from downtown Milwaukee and drive down to Indy the night before totally worth it– the rest of the con was GRAVY.

After that WFRP fangasm, we got in another game of Rising Sun and I pulled out a win, which was the third in the row with different clans (the Fox, Butterfly and Turtle clans respectively).  I don’t usually win Blood Rage, though I love it, so I’m not sure how it’s happening with Rising Sun except via simple experience.  It’s becoming a favorite of the group.

I got in a game of Runequest (the new version from Chaosium) that was OK, the pre-gen character sheets were in the same format as the Free RPG day ones and they really sucked.  Please just list the fucking spells instead of saying “all common rune spells” so that the players, some who are totally new to RQ, have to go look them up in the book that they don’t have.  Another issue with RQ as a CON game is that it expects and demands vast knowledge of the Glorantha background, which, IMO is something to be slowly revealed over the course of a long campaign.  People aren’t going to know all the gods of the Glorantha pantheon– so don’t do CON scenarios that expect players to have that knowledge at all.   The scenario was a typical Glorantha one, with some Broo and some chaos getting all over the place and having to be cleaned up, but had a lot of stuff about the Lightbringers and Orlanthi stuff which all had to be explained in detail.  It was pretty good, but I just do not think Glorantha-based Runequest is much of a CON game.  System wise I miss the Mythras special effects in combat–they copied RQ6’s excellent Passions system: why didn’t they copy it’s superlative combat system as well?  The new RQ Glorantha book looks beautiful though, so should be picked up at some point.  They only had 200 at the CON for sale and I think they sold out pretty quick.

After RQ, I ran DCC for the gang in a very large hall of people and had to talk really loudly. I had to run down to the business center in the hotel in order to print off random characters for the game at the cost of 8$.  I need to remember to bring a huge stack of characters EVERYWHERE I go.   The session was pretty much proof that you can run DCC anywhere under very severe conditions.  I did Frozen in Time which is take on Expedition to the Barrier Peaks except all DCC.  We got fairly far into the module until people started to fall asleep on account of the hour and the drink.  That may be one to finish off.

Other than wandering the dealer hall a bit on Sunday and pestering Tom Babbey at his art booth, buying the obligatory DCC modules, that was pretty much my GENCON.

Some pictures.

I don’t know what these guys are supposed to be but Matt does.
Matt got this lady to do this for reasons I don’t know. He said it was some sort of explosion woman?
The guys playing the almost the best RPG.
The gaming halls were totally packed most of the time.
Rising Sun, pointing.

Confrontation Kickstarter in April

While I was looking for easy ways to fix a Succubus Golgoth busted off her base from AT-43, I found this little surprise out on the interweb tubes.

Note the word “CLASSIC” which likely means 3.5 Conf. and not the AT-43 based version that came out with the plastics.

Not much other information is out there, we’ll have to wait and see with April right around the corner here.

NECROMUNDA!!!!

We are getting real close people to release day for the new Necromunda. I picked up the November White Dwarf (and it’s a heavy fuckin mag) and I’m pretty pumped about the game. There’s a long interview with the developers about how they started out using 40K 8th (a good ruleset mind you) but it just didn’t quite fit so they made changes, the largest one being model to model turns rather than IGOYO that 40K and WFB have.

Now, I think that the 40K 2nd edition rules that power Necromunda1 and Gorkamorka are some of the best skirmish rules there are, and many have tried their hand at making something better with mixed results (Mordheim: no, LotR SBG: in some ways yes), so I have some hesitation about changing from 2E 40K… but I will certainly pick up the box set and go from there.

Needless to say, the models this time around are superlative. While the old models from 1995 were OK in most cases, some of the gangs looked pretty stupid in retrospect (the Van Saar). Yes, the Eschers (by Jes Goodwin) were excellent and I have a bunch of them. Getting a good look at the new ones I am quite impressed. The meatbag Goliaths are a massive improvement over the old models.

Where do I have some trepidation? First, this is going to be an expensive buy in to start with the core set and gang war– probably close to 200$ all told. Second, I haven’t been painting all that much in the last few years. My eyes (as predicted by my eye doctor) have gone to SHIT. While I have glasses to handle the mid and long distances, my close range is not too good. Yet, 10-15 models won’t be all that bad.  Lastly, the 3d terrain is going to be pricy, however, if you’ve seen my other posts on necromunda, I’ve got the old sets and the HULK (plus some AT-43 terrain) that should work just fine.

Yeahhhhh

Hate ?

I saw the box for the upcoming CMON game HATE last year (or maybe the year before) at GENCON  and I thought it looked like some sort of Scandinavian Motor Cycle gang war game– but it’s most certainly not that.   The core issue is that from the box alone you can’t tell what it’s based on.  This year, they had the miniatures and oh man they are awesome.  It looked like some sort of vikings vs giants type of game to me, but then I went ahead an looked up Adrian Smith/ HATE and it turns out it’s based on an absolutely gorgeous graphic novel by Adrian Smith— some sort of viking madness that looks very much like his work on Chaos Marauders from back in the day.  There are now two volumes and I have the first one coming Thursday to peruse that sweet viking art.

Who knows if the game is going to be good or not, but check out those minis!

Yep, that’s Hate alright.

Gencon 2017 – that’s a wrap!

It’s Sunday night and I’m beat.  We were up until 3am playing a cracking game of A Study In Emerald wherein MOUTH failed to disclose via his actions in game which faction he was on due to rather erratic play.  I was in the lead after destroying a couple royals but the Loyalists could have pulled out a win if they crushed my partner in restoration who was down to a single agent on the board.   Mouth, shockingly, played a card to push the Loyalist War Track up to 10, ending the game, at which time he revealed himself to be a Loyalist. This after murdering another Loyalist player’s agents with the Vampire (Matt’s).  Madness.

ASIE is a fantastic game, every time I play I get better at it and it gets more fun!

I spent some cash at the con, needless to say. Notable stuff I picked up: Decision at Elst, a Squad Leader starter kit campaign, SECRETS by Eric Lang, Ethnos, 1914 Quartermaster General and I went ahead and spent the 30$ to get the board game geek exclusive Blood Rage miniature (Hili).

I got to see CMON’s Rising Sun played, and saw someone walking around with a copy (they won it in a charity auction) so I think Rising Sun may be closer to shipping than we have info on from Kickstarter.   I also got to see Massive Darkness played, which, while I kickstarted it, I’m not totally sold on the co-operative gameplay yet.  Nice minis though right?

One odd game we got to play was Mr. MeeSeeks (from Rick and Morty) which is pretty great if you can play with girls and are drunk.  It is not an all-guys game WHATSOEVER.  I saw, but did not get to play Anatomy Park, also from Rick and Morty.

RPG’s were fun but a bit scarce this year.  I played in an excellent game of Mythras based on the 80’s sci fi world Luther Arkwright.   I’m going to pick up that book and see if it will work well for a BPRD style game.  We played as Luther, Rose, another sex-addict character from the graphic novel, the Avengers (emma peel, johnathan steed) and Dr. Who (8th) in a sort of murder mystery, find the bomb game with dueling psychics and science!  It was great fun.

My Mythras game was set in 1648 during the battle of Roicroi and the characters were Walloon deserters from a defeated tercio who fled into the town only to find it very strange indeed.  Everything ended with a double hendersen and I feel I did a good job for only two hours of play.

The following day I ran Sailors on the Starless Sea, a DCC funnel adventure) for a big and rotating group of people who got exceedingly drunk during the affair.  It was a lot of fun for me to try to manage the chaos, but it became too loud with the yelling for anyone to hear, so we didn’t get the adventure done on account of gin and the like.   Someday I will finish running that all the way through: it is a pivotal module for DCC fans.

My favorite new game of the Con is probably Ethnos, but I really like Quartermaster General 1914 as well.  We played about half a game of that and it clicked for all the players (too late at night though!).  We’ll see which of those get more play.  Ethnos with 6 players is really difficult to manage as a euro.

My favorite non-gaming thing was the Museum.  I hope they do that every year.  We get a mini one every Gary Con, but this was gencon big and had a ton of really cool stuff.

One thing my brother said on the way home was that Gencon is an anomaly from normal life because everyone is NICE.  Packed in to a dealer hall, destroyed bathrooms and feeding areas you’d thing there would be dickheads and fights and yelling (remember, a LOT of people are drunk and high at gencon, like any other convention) but I never saw a single thing that wasn’t nice.  That is really saying something, especially sitting in the Trump era where people seem to be going out of their way sometimes to be total cunts.

Pics are forthcoming.  Now back to the grind.

 

Necromunda news

Been a long time since we’ve heard anything about Necromunda out of GW.   This was posted today to the Warhammer Community.  Not a lot of details on the game itself, but you can see the minis.  Much bigger, on bigger bases.   Sort of like going from 25mm to 28mm heroic to 32mm.  Most of the original Necromunda line was good, but not great with the exception of the Eschers which appear to have been sculpted by Jes Goodwin himself.   I’m looking forward to seeing the rules.  Hopefully they don’t oversimplify (AOS) the game and leave it close to the original.  Like I’ve mentioned many times, I think the W40k 2nd edition close combat system absolutely rules and should have been used for Mordheim as well instead of what they came up with.  Let’s hope enough of 2E lives on in the new version.  In any case, we will get new minis and terrain!

Updated rumors:  Will have eshers and goliaths in the box, will not be IGOYG (i go you go) but will have IMPULSE move/act like AT-43.  Will have skill trees, etc.  Again this is just announced today.

Check here for where I got this info.

Beefcake

 

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.