Monday, September 30, 2013

Choptober - The List Playtesting!

With Choptober only a few days away, Victor and I finally managed to schedule in a game last week so we could have a practice with our armies. My Theory-Machine skills are sadly lacking so I need to put figures on the table to see if I can actually use their synergies. I also find that my first game or two of a tournament is marred by serious memory lapses resulting is missed shots during Kara’s Feat turn, so a warm-up game is essential for remembering how the list works.

I took:
Captain Kara Sloan
- Stormwall
- Defender
- Hunter
- Hunter

Journeyman Warcaster
Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator
Gobber Tinker

Greygore Boomhowler & Co.
- Captain Jonas Murdoch

Facing off against me was Ashlynn D'Elyse with a Nomad and Vanguard, Gun Mages with a Mule, Forge Guard, Nyss Hunters, Eiryss, Gorman, Lanyssa and Rhupert.

I took the centre of the battlefield, with Boomhowlers getting an Assault charge off on the Forge Guard, killing a few of them (damn Rhupert and his pipe!). The FG then counter charged and over the next couple of turns we ground each other out. I popped my feat and managed to achieve very little as I had placed Kara too far back and not planned out my moves particularly well, resulting in some lost shots. The Hunters skirmished on the right flank, trading shots with the Mule and Gun Mages, whilst the Journeyman took out Eiryss. Killing Eiryss was worth it, but two turns later (since I got cocky) the Journeyman was dead and the Stormwall lost the Arcane Shield (ultimately resulting in its death and the loss of the game). 

On the left flank the Nyss took up field position and peppered the Stormwall with arrows, and then the Nomad charged in and killed the Defender. The Stormwall killed the Nomad but lost time doing so thanks to Eiryss shooting it before her death. With the Arcane Shield down the Nyss charged in and knocked out the left side, then risked the free strikes to walk around to Kara and club her to death… If the Journeyman had retreated after killing Eiryss and survived (and by extension the Arcane Shield would have still been on the Stormwall) then the Stormwall would have been fully operation and capable of knocking out the last of Victors models, opening the door for Kara to safely shoot Ashlynn.

On the positive I learnt a few things and will (hopefully) get to try a slightly different list before this weekend:
Captain Kara Sloan
- Stormwall
- Hunter
- Hunter

Captain Arlan Strangewayes
Journeyman Warcaster
Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator

Arcane Tempest Gun Mages
- Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer
Greygore Boomhowler & Co.
- Captain Jonas Murdoch

Dropping the Defender and Tinker I get Arlan and a full unit of ATGM. Arlan is more reliable when it comes to repairing the Stormwall, and has a few tricks of his own. The loss of the Defender feels like a big hit given how good it’s gun is, however the ATGM will give me more flexibility (I feel) and can really benefit from Kara’s feat (with Crit Brutal shots) and her spell that gives them an extra dice for their first shot.

Either way I have a few days to get in a 2nd practice game in….  Luckily for me there are no painting requirements for Choptober (other than arc markings) since I am still painting stuff for work, so I’ll break my “no unpainted figures” rule and use this as an opportunity to get excited about Boomhowlers and hopefully make them a Christmas painting project.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

First Game Of Dust Tactics

I managed to get my first game of Dust Tactics in earlier in the week. Andrew was my designated mentor and with a 2 minute explanation we were up and running, throwing dice and moving units around.

It was a very quick game with a little over 100 points on each side. Basically enough for me to see how the game works without needing to get into too many details. Enough that I can now grab the rulebook and try to get my head around the finer points of Tactics. 

I learnt a few important points - it is fast, and it is very deadly! Just like Warmachine you need to have an understanding of what is facing up against you as a game can quickly turn against you if you let a Flamethrower get a shot off on your walker. The final result was a very marginal win to me, although I think Andrew might have been going soft on the newbie.

Based on what I have seen of the models and a brief chat with Paolo when he was in NZ earlier this year I am definitely excited about having a few more games and then checking out the Warfare rules. I am sure a couple of Pounders would look good in the same 1967 camo as my Flames Of War Israeli tanks!

Walkers keeping an eye on each other
Nothing like a good offence though!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

IKRPG: Cairnholm Campaign

Our office Iron Kingdoms RPG game kicked off a couple of weeks ago, with Sean running us through the "Fools Rush In" adventure which then spring boarded into his own campaign based around the city of Cairnholm in Ord. You can follow the antics here on Sean's website.

In the meantime I have largely abandoned my plans to have much of anything painted in time for Choptober, instead spending my time painting up my RPG figure (a wise choice since I never finished my figure for Sean's last 4th Ed D&D campaign). I started off with the IKRPG figure "Valeria Alvaro", cut away her hair, added part of a Warcaster backpack, re sculpted the hair and part of her scarf. The sculpting was not flash (definitely not one of my skills) but looked good enough once painted to turn the figure into Alexis, the Llaelese Warcaster/Pistolier. I also added the banner from the alternate sculpt of Ashlynn D'Elyse (which Victor had spare) to give her a distinctive look, as well as making it abundantly clear where her allegiance lies.

Next up I have a Vanguard that I bought for Zerkova's tier list that I will paint up for when/if Alexis acquires a 'jack of her own. My plan is to use the same airbrushing technique that I used on the flag, but then give it a good working over with some of the MiG and AK Interactive washes to give it a real battle worn look. Although that might have to wait a little while as I have some work painting that needs to be much higher up on the priority list!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Choptober 2013 - the planning

Recently a new event was added to the Auckland gaming calender with the announcement of Choptober - a 50 point, two list SR2013 WarmaHordes tournament in early October. Thanks to an important family event (my son's first birthday party) I pulled out of Call To Arms in Wellington - typically my last WarmaHordes event of the year - so I am keen to head along and get something new painted.

Digging through my piles of stuff I have picked a list that will require a fair amount of painting (bit of a worry since I have Israelis to paint for work as well as a Late War army for FlamesCon in late October) and still need to work out if I will field a second list.

The current plan is to stick with Kara Sloan as it easy and requires the least amount of painting compared with any other option.
Looks like Strangeways might be taking a break...

Captain Kara Sloan
Gobber Tinker (1 point of Stormwall repair seems too good to pass up on)

Journeyman Warcaster
Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator

Greygore Boomhowler & Co. - Boomhowler and 9 Grunts

with Captain Jonas Murdoch

The Negatives - The Stormwall, Tinker, Boomhowler and Murdoch are all unpainted (and in some cases unassembled!) and I have a grand total of six painting sessions to get them done. My plan is to keep it as simple as possible and accept that the lot will not be finished (breaking one of my Warmachine painting rules!) and instead just get the base colours on everything if possible and finish them off at my leisure some time next (?) year.

The Positives - once these figures are assembled I will have one Cygnar unit and one light jack to assemble and I will be 100% built with no models sitting in blisters or boxes, making it much simpler to add new things for any events in 2014. The other big one is that adding Boomhowler and his boys will make the list much harder as good players get in close and disassemble my regular Kara force, so having a big mob of 4+ Tough Trolls will help no end. Plus I get to have a go at painting Trollkin skin (in preparation of 2014: The Year of the Troll!)

The Twist - two lists eh.... maybe I should have a go at running eHaley... I've heard she is pretty legit  :D

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

High Command first look

One of the product releases I have been keeping an eye out for this year is High Command, the "collectible" Warmachine card game. This is one of the new Living Card Games (like the Star Wars and Netrunner) that all the cool kids seem to be putting on sale. I say "cool kids" as am an old school card gamer that started playing Magic back in the early 90's and enjoys the idea of buying boxes of outers and opening pack after pack looking for "rares" so this idea of buying a single booster pack every couple of months seems odd!

Victor and I sat down and had a look at the game last week. We had a quick read through of the rules which seemed surprisingly straight forward, with a lot of the complexity sitting on the cards just like Warmachine itself. If you have the PPDigital App you can download the rules to have a look. Sorting out the cards was a complete pain the nether regions with so many decks and sub decks! The cards were not sorted in any way that I could quickly discern and it took the two of us quite some time to organise them by faction and then by colour etc.

Decks all sorted out
Once the hard work was done we played through the quick start version in about 40 minutes and did not have any major issues that we could not quickly sort out with a brief look at the rules. We were a little perplexed by the lack of one card, although this has been errata'ed now (nothing like last minute changes in the design process). The game was fun, although Victor did win - he was playing Cryx so it was expected! I wont go into how the game plays etc as there is a great video from PP explaining everything so just watch that.

Once the game was complete I sorted the cards back into their decks. Another time consuming process that is for sure! I do like how the interior of the High Command box is organised though with enough slots to keep all of your mini decks organised and separated. Not sure how useful this is because it does seem like an awful waste of space for both packing/shipping, and for storage. It is still a very cool idea though and I take my hat off to whoever came up with it.

All sleeved up and sorted by colour
The other reason I think it was well planned is that once you put sleeves on the cards (as any self respecting card player would do within moments of opening the box) they fit quite snugly into the slots, making it more stable for transport etc. However I am still not convinced it is a great long term storage solution as it would be easier to buy a $5 card box and just store your decks in there.

There is one word of caution I would give if you are planning on sleeving your cards. The location deck (which you capture over the course of the game) can end up mixed into your Army Deck, which players could use to help with a little deck shuffling shenanigans if you just put a traditional clear card sleeve on. Simple solution... only play with friends and it is not an issue!

So, initial thoughts - game looks fun, plays fast (we have had a second game that took 35 minutes with full decks etc), has some cool mechanics, keen to play a multi player game sooner rather than later, but frustrating at the amount of faffing around tidying up after a game. I'd put this down as a fun diversion when you want to play something Warmachine related, but not Warmachine itself. The Hordes version is on sale later this year and perhaps this is the most telling point about the game, I am not sure I see the point in buying both the Warmachine and Hordes versions - pick whichever one floats your boat and go with that I say!