Tuesday, 30 June 2015

A Status Report

Eek! The new releases for Infinity are already revealed and I haven't written anything since the last news post. Better put something together so it looks better... kind of. Well, still being a bit busy and not being very good at blogging. However, I'm doing whatever hobby related things I have time for and I thought I'd tell you about what I have been doing and what I'm planning on doing.

Let's look at some painting first! You might remember I finished up the undead for Myth and I've since started on the Rathi (humanoid rats). I've also painted four heroes, most of the traps and the miniboss Conner. Here are some quick cellphone pics.

The Apprentice (mage), Acolyte (priest) and Soldier (warrior). They look a little glossy at the moment as I didn't shake the bottle enough, but that will be taken care of.
The Brigand (rogue). Actually a Rathi that broke from the oppressive rule of the Rat King and is now trying to
free his people from the Darkness. Very cool character!
Three of us in the middle of the No Rest for the Weary story quest. Sorry about the unpainted masses. :(

We've enjoyed playing Myth, although we're usually surprised at how long each session takes. Of course, it's very easy to trim it down to maneagable chunks but still. Something about the card driven combat makes for a lot of planning and thinking during play. Sure it will get faster with time though!

I've played a couple of games of Troyes which is a really neat board game where you take the roles of the powerful families of the city of Troyes during the middle ages. You need to protect the city at the same time as you try to bolster your own prestige and victory points while also constructing the great cathedral. It's a mix of worker placement and dice manipulation where the dice acts as your workers (higher being better). Very clever design and surprisingly thematic as well! Highly recommended!

After a much too long break I finally got to play a game of X-Wing again! It's been more than a year since last time and I really enjoyed taking my B-Wings out for a spin. My regular opponent Anders had brought an interesting list consisting of only two ships which... didn't fare well against the many cannons of the Bs. Was fun to get back into it and I really need to magnetize the rest of my Bs.

Speaking of getting to play old favourites, on Anders' birthday he wanted to play Chaos in the Old World with the Horned Rat expansion so I brought my painted set and proceeded to thrash my opponents soundly as father Nurgle! We also played Shogun (actually the first complete game for me) which was fun although I didn't do very well as I failed to focus on building upgrades.

During this my group has also started to plan for a... Necromunda campaign! I kind of go interested in it when I read the Inquisimunda rules and then when I found more fun stuff over at Yaktribe. It won't be overly large and we only have four or five players but I think we'll have fun with it! Not taking it very seriously and playing for the story rather than to win. We're organizing terrain and a homepage for the campaign as well as making miniature inventory and seeing which underhive denizens we might like to buy for the campaign (spiders!). It seems like we'll have some Van Saar, Orlocks, Delaque, Escher and my own Genestealer Cult to battle it out but this might change before we start. Might even decide to run two gangs each or something.

The Genestealer Cult is something I've always wanted to do and I managed to get hold of some old Magus and Hybrids models years back and finally decided to go all in when I came across the Malignancy from Macrocosm which are... perfect! To say the least. The problem with making the Cult before was getting some hybrid-ish looking models that weren't too monstrous or too mundane. Macrocosm strikes the right balance and I now have a bunch of brood brothers and later generation hybrids to use for my cult! Also, for you old school Squat lovers out there - have a look at their Digger Corps! I got the minis this past week and they're very nice. As soon as I get some bases from Fenris I'll be taking a break from Myth to get these guys painted.

So... that's been happening! What I'm looking forward to is getting my hands on the bunch of Dropzone Commander stuff I've got waiting for me at my FLGS. My friend Other Martin decided to get a core box of his own and will paint the UCM so I've taken it upon myself to become the grand commander of the Scourge forces. Looking forward to play with my giant murder crab!

I've also come to the conclusion that I need Star Wars: Imperial Assault in my collection so expect that in a future update. I also went from completely uniterested to very much would like to have when it comes to FFG's new 40k board game Forbidden Stars. I think it's mostly about the nostalgia about being able to use those epic and Battlefleet Gothic units I know so well again in a game. And perhaps also to simply be a part of the 40k setting in a way that I'm simply not anymore. I have no desire to play 40k and although I'm in many ways very very tired of the grimdark it also has a very special place in my heart.

Finally I just want to tell anyone who, for some insane reason, still hasn't seen Mad Max: Fury Road to go and do so. Now. Forget The Avengers or Jurassic World (even with Chris Pratt) or any other sci fi film to be released later this year - this is it. This is the best most visually stunning piece of art you'll see in 2015! It really has no right being this amazing, but it is. Go now!


Tuesday, 2 June 2015

May Releases for Infinity!

Hello there! It's been a while and some of you might have noticed that I missed posting the new Infinity releases for the last couple of months. The simple reason is life and baby getting in the way of hobby and blogging (although I have managed more hobbying than I thought I would!). The reason I put off posting the new minis was that I didn't feel I had time to jot down my own thoughts on the models as I liked. Still, I want to continue posting the news, but I've decided to simply keep my comments short so I can churn out one of these posts quickly. For now at least.

So let's have a look at what May brought us, shall we?

First up a Panoceania Croc Man with MULTI sniper rifle. Updated design looks good (the old one wasn't very popular) but I feel the bulking out of the model makes him look a bit like an action figure. Maybe it's the pose though. Still, I like the realistic design of Infinity minis so I'm not that keen on the big stompy boots.

Wow! The new Haqqislam Naffatun are simply awesome! While I think the old ones were fine from a model standpoint their design were a bit generic. These guys with their new visored helmet and distinctive chest armour really stand out and I think they look awesome! And while the chest is a little bulky it follows from the way the armour is constructed and their legs are normal sized. Really great box! I just want to get them for painting!

The new Nomad Intruder with HGM also suffers from the bulking out syndrome! I think the two new Intruders we already have (sniper and combi rifle) are among the best in the entire Infinity range so was a little sad to see this guy looking big and clumsy next to them. He has the same design except it's like he's made out of Duplo while the others are made out of Lego. Sure, cool. I just wish they'd kept the subtlety of the earlier sculpts.

I was really looking forward to the second Combined Army Umbra Legate as I really like the one in the CA starter. This guy though... I don't really know what to make of him. It's obviously a dynamic pose but I'm not really sure what's being conveyed. The twist of the torso and the flow of the robe suggest different things to me. Hmmm.. might very well be a mini that needs to be seen in the flesh. Undecided on this guy.

Finally we have Scylla & Drakios for ALEPH. I dearly dearly hope that this is all about bad photography and that Scylla (and Drakios to a lesser degree) looks a lot better in person! Please let it be so! The concept art was really good and Steel Phalanx could certainly do with another hacker (although, enough with the characters for a while. Yeah, CB?) but as I look at the photos of the model it simply looks weird to me. An uncomfortable looking pose, horn rimmed glasses like Dame Edna and that sword that seems to have been stuck into her hand for no other reason than "it was there". She just... don't work for me at all. As I'm set on building Steel Phalanx I'm sure I'll get her anyway and if the pics aren't lying and she looks weird then to I'll probably try and modify her enough to at least not have that strange pose. Perhaps make the glasses into sunglasses. Hmm...

So to summarize this month. Might be the first time since I've started playing Infinity that I'm actually mostly disappointed with a batch of releases. Yeah, I'm as shocked as you are! The Naffatun are truly awesome and really saves this month, but I think the crocman and intruder are average while the Legate is the ugly of the good, bad and ugly. Scylla though... I'm trying to keep hope alive in my heart...

I'm sure this was just a temporary dip though as March and April had some great releases like the 45th Highlanders, the Tiger Soldier, the Azrail and the Jaguars. Also, next month there's probably some Yu Jing goodness to look forward to! :D


Sunday, 17 May 2015

Periorbis - the Asteroid Mining Board Game

Alright, so you're anxiously waiting for Planetary Resources to go public so you can by stock and you're wondering when Deep Space Industries are going to jump on the social media bandwagon so you can get more of an asteroid mining fix. Yepp, been there done that. Doing that!

So of course, even though I wanted to avoid posting about Kickstarters for a bit, I simply can't resist telling you about Periorbis - a bonafide asteroid mining board game, by Gareth Newton-Williams! Originally it was actually called Asteroid Miner but had to change it as there was already a game with that name. A bit of a pity as I think a more straightforward name than Periorbis (although I actually like the name!) might attract a wider audience. Anyway...

Game content. Lots of stuff and very nice looking too!
It's an economic game where each player is head of a fledgling asteroid mining company and need to hire crew, prospect asteroids, negotiate contracts and then actually go to the big space rocks to bring home the bacon, or ore in this case. The different crew you hire are good at different things so while some might be better at actual mining, others are better off staying at the base researching better propulsion methods or overseeing the contract negotiations. It's a bit of a mix of worker placement, pick-up and deliver and economic engine building. When reading about it my first thought was "hmm, so kind of like Power Grid... in SPACE!" which is aweseme in pretty much every way possible!

Game board.
With that said it's certainly not a bleak clone or PG wannabe, but very much its own game. For those looking for that particular stand-out mechanic I'd say it's all about the asteroids and their different orbits. Above you have a picture of the Periorbis game board and as you can see the main element is the band of asteroids circling... the planet (as it's obviously not Earth). The orbits are separated by three distance (or delta-V if we want to be correct, and we do) bands and separated into 12 sectors. Each sector represent one turn of the game and you start at 1. The asteroids in the closest band in a sector represent the ones that are easiest to get to and are available with the starting technology. To get further out you need to research better propulsion. If you compare sector 1 and sector 2 you can see that things have switched around a bit - the teal asteroid that was further out is now closer in and the red one is nowhere to be seen at all! This really is a great way both to represent simplified yet relevant orbital mechanics AND to make a dynamic arena of fluctuating resources. I was impressed by what a simple solution Gareth used to create this both thematic and interesting mechanic.

The crew cards. Great hard sci-fi art and you can see the skill values at the bottom of the card.
I mentioned crew earlier and while you start with a few basic office drones you really want to try and nab some of the more skilled workers that are out there looking for job. This nicely ties into player order and the overall economics as they need to be payed each turn and the more skilled they are the more money they want. There's also the player board (below) where you house your workers (on the numberd spaces) and then send them to work in the different rooms like R&D and contract negotiation. That is, if you're not rocketing them around the solar system to a small lifeless boulder devoid of air and other pleasentries. Speaking of rockets, you use your crew as pilots to fly other crew (miners) around and then there are ore haulers that dock to the station where you're located and need to be filled up with ore in different configurations. Here's where the contract negotiations come in as you want a skilled negotiatior to get you a good deal and then be able to deliver the actual ore in as an effective way as possible. Yeah, you'll probably have to upgrade the cargo capacity of your mining ships so you can bring more or (and miners!) back. Lots to think about!

Player board.
I won't try and explain the entire game (I'll leave that to Rahdo, below), but I want to impress on you, my dear reader, that I think this is an impressive game not only because of the really great theme and evocative art but because of the actual mechanics! I come across kickstarters all the time that has great concepts and look beautiful but when you actually check under the hood it just seems to be a mess of cables and gears. Not so with Periorbis - this to me looks like a tight and very interesting economic game where competition is fierce and the scores great. If I came across this with the old euro setting of merchants in italy or farmers in medieval Germany I would STILL be all over it!

There's still a day and a half left to back, shipping to the US and within EU are included in the very reasonable price of £44/$66 for a copy of the game. Of course, it's also already funded but I'm sure some extra unlocked stretch goals wouldn't hurt!

I'll put Rahdo's runthrough and final thoughts here for your conveniance. Check out the run through if you want to know more of the actual mechanics, and the final thoughts if you just want to know what he thinks of the game.

No comments

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Painted Undead for MYTH

I don't know if I mentioned this, but with the recent MYTH Journeyman kickstarter that I backed I felt that i needed to get a good solid base for the game and hunted down a Captain level pledge from the original kickstarter. So now I've got a bunch of models waiting to be painted! Isn't that a change of pace... hehe!

Shamblers and lair.
I decided to start with the undead as they are the easiest minions to deal with for the heroes and since I really like the look of the miniboss Yardu - the undead giant. The minions were given a very basic paintjob of white undercoat followed by a black wash. Some brown wash for details here and there as well as picking out some features in grey/white but, besides weapons, that was pretty much it - very quick! I was going to clean them up more after the first wash but came to like the dirty look so went with it. Lair got pretty much the same treatment. Love the sculpts for these guys as they're very characterful (which goes for most of the MYTH stuff though).

Nasty Soulless with their nasty magic attacks!
The Soulless took the longest since they have several different things going on with a number of different colours and techniques needed. I was thinking about going heavier with the OSL from the staff, but in the end decided against it since it would simply add too much time. Happy with the way they look now.

Yeah, I know... full frontal and then from a sliiiiight angle. Hehe!
Yardu was fun to paint and I decided to go with some simple non-metallic metal and actually make it look a bit shiny rather than the usual rusty armour you see on undead usually. It's clear from the quests that Yardu is not simply a necromancer's puppet but an entity with his own agency. The idea is to reflect this in his (relatively) well kept weapons and armour; I imagine him sitting in some cave somewhere, polishing his sword and oiling his armour, making plans for the coming day...

These guys were great fun to paint! I think it has a lot to do with the art style as everything has a cartoony yet gritty feel to it. The sculpts are solid and while the details ar there they're sparse enough to make painting quick and easy. I could probably bang out a dozen of these faster than a single Infinity miniature (sure, at a lower standard, but still).

Nex up will be one of each hero and the traps since those will see a lot of play. Then I'll get started with the arachnids as I'm looking forward to getting the Terror with 1000 Legs on the table! I also have the orcs undercoated and when they're done it's time for the Tailless.

Of course, I'll be mixing it up with some Infinity and soon, hopefully, Dropzone Commander.

The whole gang!


Monday, 4 May 2015

May the Fourth Be With You!

Well, got to do something Star Warsy today, right? Here's my collection of Rebels ships for X-Wing. So far movie ships only, but I will be adding a YT-2400, an E-Wing and maybe a K-Wing or two later on.

Also, this picture really shows how glaringly obvious the clear flight stands are. I've been thinking about spraying them black for a while now which would make them blend in better with the space mat.

And I need to magnetize the other two B-Wings.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

A First Look at Dropfleet Commander!

Hello there, dear readers! I've been a bit absent around here as my analogue life has been a little hectic. There are some The One Ring reviews waiting to be published, some Infinity mini impressions as well as a bunch of other stuff. As things wind down here and we're back in Sweden I'll hopefully soon be back up to speed.

However, right now I want to talk to you about something really exciting and that is the upcoming spaceship battle game from Hawk Wargames called Dropfleet Commander. Or at least that seems to have become the official title after only being an internet moniker. Hawk Wargames is of course the producer of the 10mm sci fi wargame Dropzone Commander and that they have a spaceship game in the works has been known for a long time. It's also been known that Andy Chambers is the main designer behind it and as I think that he's one of the few innovative designers coming out of GW (and actually making good games while actually working for them!) it certainly made me pay attention. The last game designed by Chambers that I have played is Dust Warfare which I enjoy quite a bit.

Until now the details have been fairly sparse - having battles taking place around gravity wells rather than in deep space and most of them being centered around actually landing all those troops you play with in the ground game. Still, not much talk of mechanics and even less about what the actual ships will look like. Well... with one exception of course. For a couple of years now a huge spaceship model in 10mm scale has accompanied Hawk Wargames to various conventions. I'm sure you've seen it. If not, below are some pics courtesy of the great guys over at Orbital Bombardment (check out their podcast if you're interested in DzC!). The Avenger is a New Orleans class strike carrier in Dropfleet Commander and we have been told it's one of the smaller ships in the game. Each of the blue hangars contain an UCM Condor ready to drop.

So yeah, it's big. And now we finally know what a couple of other ships will look like, as well as the Avenger in fleet scale. At Salute Hawk Wargames brought some UCM models for the upcoming game and talked a lot more about the scope of the game and some of its mechanics. First, let's have a better look at the modes. There's a nice picture at the top of the page and here you have individual shots of the ships:

This is a Beijing class battleship and according to Dave this is about as large, or at least long, any of the ships will be. Some (dreadought!) will be more massive, but they won't get into "silly territory". I'm reeeeally glad to hear Hawk are actively taking a stand against the oversized monstrosoties from Spartan Games. Of course, speaking of oversized... those guns... they grate on my optic nerve!

Berlin class cruiser (in the middle). You can see that it, and the bb, have some big fixed forward gun.
Moscow class heavy cruiser.

And here's the New Orleans strike carrier in a slightly smaller format. I like how different it looks from the larger ships as it is meant to actually enter atmosphere and offload ground forces. More streamlined to not immediately burn up.
Paris class cruiser.

Apart from those cartoon looking guns on the larger ships I think they look really good and have style all of their own. While not super hard sci fi, they have more of a realistic feel to them than most other spaceship  models out there (not counting the guns of course). So we have the small New Orleans Strike Carrier that  drop troops from orbit, two different cruisers and a battleship.

Now the real juicy bit as far as I'm concerned is not the models but that talk about the actual gameplay, which sounds very intriguing! Here's an interview with Dave and Andy Chambers where we finally get to hear what the game will actually play like.

If you don't have the time to watch, here's the tl;dw:
  • It's a completely new rules system and NOT a re-skin of Dropzone Commander (hear that Spartan Games?!).
  • It's an Orbital Combat Game - not a deep space combat game. It will take place above a planet and a ground combat zone the size of France or Spain.
  • You interact with the ground and actually drop troops into cities while ground and space defences try and stop you.
  • There are three levels of play; high orbit, low orbit and atmosphere. 
  • Things move slowly in atmosphere - "like moving through soup".
  • You don't win by destroying the opposing fleet but by dropping enough ground forces.
  • Avenger is frigate size and although one of the smaller ships in the game it's about the largest that can enter atmosphere. Larger ships burn up if their orbit decay.
  • Points wise, similar to Battlefleet Gothic but the smaller ships have a lot more damage points (instead of just one).
  • Weapons don't have a range value (or rather, they're all infinite) but ships have a Scan value (the example given by Dave is 9") and a signature value and it seems like you add these together to see if you can hit. Larger ships have larger signatures of course, and it also goes up when using lots of energy (firing weapons, changing vector). You can also ping enemy ships or try to run silent to not get detected.
  • Missiles can only be taken out by counter measures when entering within actual Scan range. This seem to imply that missiles will be actual counters a la Battleflett Gothic. Missiles can and will be taken out by countermeasures automatically when fired at long ranges, so they only work up close (inside your own scan range).
  • Andy pointed out that he didn't want to make yet another Age of Sails in space, like BFG, but something more modern with the emphasis on ECM vs ECCM rather than broadsides (I heard Andy took inspiration from the old naval wargame Harpoon when designing this).
  • As for visual design Dave wants to really tie it all together and there are many small details in regards to this. Take the point defence lasers at the rear of the Avenger. They're just little nobs on the DfC model but if you look at the large 10mm model you see that they're actually the same cannons as the Orbital Defence Laser you can buy as a scenario model for Dropzone Commander. Very cool!
  • There was some mention of campaign play, but no solid info.
  • Release aimed for late 2015/early 2016, but Dave said he don't want to rush it.
And some additional info from Andy Chambers' Facebook page (thanks jgcpalmer from the Hawk forums):
  • It will have slightly more ships per side than Battle Fleet Gothic.
  • If everything goes to plan, there will be demos going on at GenCon.
  • Internal testing is going on right now, but there will be some external testing too, and Andy Chambers will "send up a flare" when the time comes.
  • Someone asked, "will the game have carriers and actual fighter/bomber miniatures?" and Andy Chambers replied "Of course!"
And finally from Hawk Wargames newsletter #40, mostly confirming the above, but with a couple of bits of new info:
  • Dropfleet will be an Orbital Combat game in which the vast majority of your games will take place in orbit above a planet's surface. The game has been designed for this from the ground up by Andy Chambers and is an entirely new and unique ruleset.
  • A typical gaming table is 4'x4' and will show the surface of a planet rather than the more typical 'starfield' style space combat table. The area covered will be around the size of a large European country/US State.
  • Delivering your troops to targets on the surface will be crucial for victory and most missions will be tactical and objective focused. Space stations, static defences, ground troops, cities and other scenery play an integral part in the game.
  • Three altitude layers (High Orbit, Low Orbit and Atmosphere) are present in games and have various effects. Only certain ships (such as Strike Carriers) can go atmospheric and each layer has advantages and disadvantages in different tactical situations.
  • Weapons range is neither absolute nor fixed. It can change based on the power of your ship's scanners, the enemy ship's signature and the enemy's actions (firing several weapons greatly increases a ships signature for example). Stealth is frequently crucial!
  • A framework for linking games of Dropfleet and Dropzone will be present in the rulebook, opening up many exciting possibilities for campaigns and narrative settings. 
  • We still have a lot of work to do on fleet balancing and sculpting before release although the core ruleset itself is 90% complete. At this point we anticipate a release date around the end of this year/early next year as none of us want to rush this exciting and ground-breaking project! Stay tuned for more information and previews throughout this year.
  • The image at the top of this article gives you an idea of the size comparisons between the various ship classes. A typical tournament-sized fleet will be around twice this size. 

That's about all the info I've been able to find and to me pretty much all of it sounds spot on what I want from a spaceship combat game. Sure, the planetary invasion bit wasn't on my wishlist per se, but I was desperately craving something other than lining up two fleets in deep space with some asteroids and a nebula for cover and this is certainly different! It also gives the game 3D space in a fairly elegant way without it getting too complex for large fleets of ships. 

I think it sounds really cool and I know for sure now that I won't be investing in Star Wars Armada until I know more about Dropfleet Commander. The scan and signature bit alone made me squeal in delight as it is one of my favourite parts in Lightning Strike. To also have this game be constructed from the beginning to integrate with ground game has me thinking that I'll finally be able to play out those large campaigns that I used to dream about doing with BFG and Epic back in the day.

Overall, this has gone from "need to know more, because it might be cool" to "this sounds almost to good to be true, and the models are fantastic as well!" which means I need to get my friends into Dropzone to kind of make them ready for Dropfleet. Hehe!

When I know more about it I'll let you know.

Oh, and don't forget that Fire Broadside is on Facebook now too. That's where I post most of the small newsy stuff as soon as I see it.

UPDATE: Check out Brückenkopf Online for some really great pics of the ships (like the one below)!