Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I've come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass...

At the Shoppe on Tuesday for the Call to Arms league for Warmachine our new guy, Alex, had on a T-Shirt from 'They Live'. We had a brief conversation on quotes on the movie and we got on back with our games (more later), but I got to thinking that night and today about that show.

For those that haven't seen it or don't remember it was a great piece from the early 80's. The hero, played by Roddy Piper and never named, is out of work like many folks of the time and is barely scrapping by day to day. Through being in the wrong place in the wrong time, Piper finds out that aliens have infested the upper crust of our society and are breeding humans to be content, fat, lazy, and worship the all mighty dollar. John Carpenter did a great job on the film for the time and Piper's performance was pretty good for an old wrestler.

The parallels with today's issues are just plain staggering and they have been gnawing at me all day long. The aliens are 'changing the atmosphere to be more like their own' (global warming), the economic down turn and the American fascination with materialism (This is your God on the currency), of course, 'Obey' in the hidden messages relating to the head in the sand attitude the nation had for sometime. I've just added it to my Netflix queue so I can see it again, but man, it has been riding on my mind today.

On the gaming front, I played about a dozen games of Pandemic solo as the Eldest was busy getting ready to head back to Colorado for spring break. For solo play you use the two player rules, but just play both sides. I think I was about 50% on the 'normal' setting and a few games, the viruses just exploded on me and it took longer to set the game then to play (lose). I'm hoping to set up an extra game night with the Eldest being out, just not sure the Other Half will be OK with it.

For Tuesday's Warmachine I played an epic Cain list:
Faction: Cygnar
Points: 744
Model Count: 26
Victory Points: 24

Captain Allister Caine with Squire and Ogrun Bokur body guard
Gun Mage Captain Adept
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages w/ Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer w/ a Hunter
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt
8 Sword Knights w/ Centurion and Sword Knight Officer & Standard Bearer w/ Centurion

Pretty fun list. It did well versus Adam's Ashleyn Steelhead list and Chris' eMadrick Troll list. I'll most likely play it at the tournament on Saturday.

That is it tonight. Lost is on in about 15 mins so I'm off to get... Lost. :)

And I'm all out of bubble gum

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

So, what are you playing?

On Sunday the gang got together for another round of the Thunderspire. We had solid turn out with the usual suspects in place. The party headed straight for the Well of Deamons to confront the Gnolls that were in kahoots with the rouge mage Paldemar. Rumor had it that a Gnoll cleric, Maldrick Scarmaker, was also going to reconsecrate the temple to Yeenoghu. The party encountered a nasty set of lurkers that was hard to take down, but did get through the Gnoll Defense force in place in the front of the temple pretty quickly.

After a rest to 'Ding' the party made it into temple proper and met three previous adventures that didn't fair as well. From them they learned what is transpiring and how to get past the magic barrier. Undaunted, the gang hit the first challenge and was surprised by the magic that was entrapped in the room. Teleporting heroes and raging pillars of doom messed up the standard plan of attack and made the team improvise a bit.

In all the night went pretty well. We got five solid encounters in the 7 or so hours of play. The one challenge encounter in the area (three fallen previous party) needed a lot of work. It just didn't flow and become more of a RPG conversation vice a challenge to earn xp. Come on, impress a ghost with a test of strength in the middle of the dungeon? Really?

"Lift this heavy weight three times! Oh your strong, here is a clue!"

Not to be mean, but that was just dumb. We did a bit of role play on it to get the salient points across, but the challenge 'as is' was just badly written. I'll need to do a better job of proofing it before we try another encounter like that.

On Monday, Privateer made the 'Big Announcement' that Warmachine Mk II was hitting the streets in 2010. I think this will be fine in the long run. Many of the ideas will help simplify the game and streamline the rules, but still keep the game its lovely combo-licious self. More to follow I am sure!

On other gaming fronts, I picked up a copy of Pandemic board game. I got to play a few games before the holidays and it is a great co-op game. I haven't gotten a chance to force the Eldest to play yet, but I think she will dig it when we do. We did play a few games of Race for the Galaxy and a game of Settlers of Catan Card Game. Both games were fun and the Eldest and I hadn't 'hung out' since she found some friends in the local area. Glad she found friends, now she just needs to learn to control the spending on going out.

Tuesday I got to go to The Game Shoppe and play two games of Warmachine in the Call to Arms league. I was second from the bottom from the previous weeks adventures and hoped to maybe get one win this week.

I played Adam a 500 point game to start. He had Magnus, 2 Renegades, Mangler, Crowes Cutthroats, and Iradians all under an Agenda contract. I had Lt. Cain and a Squire, GMA w/ the Dude and a Hunter, Sword Knights with a Cent, and Rupert. I had a great game. Systematically took out the Cutthroats with Arcane Inferno under snipe, then had a quick dual between Obliterators and Hunter rounds. Adam had some great uses for Magnus that usually don't get shown on the table and when they do usually don't work. He did two Rain of Steels that hit plus an Arcane Bolt. Totally shmushed Cain with arched spells FTW!

Second game was against Erik and his Khador list. We played 750 so I added Lady and Holt, an Ogrun, Lancer for Cain (?), Capt Finn, Trencher Chain Gun and Cannon (only things I had to add... Didn't have the rest of my stuff!). Erik ran Epic Sorsha with two winter guard units, one with UA, the other had Uncle Joesph for support, two mortars, full unit of demolishers, Gray Lords, Yuri the Axe and two compatriots and widow makers. I won this game on scenario. I kept mentioning the scenario conditions... Like a lot, but Erik didn't take actions to prevent me from securing the needed spaces. I felt kind of bad as his list was getting ready to steamroller right through my lines with little I could do to stop it.

No RPG this weekend as the gang is doing a Flames of War Doubles Tournament. I think I may get some painting done, but will most likely piss away the day. Maybe I'll work on the Runes of Gallidon adventure some more.

Watchmen in a week!

Connoisseur of Fine Games since 1967

Saturday, February 14, 2009

V-Day Away

Valentines Day is all but gone. The 'big' day didn't go as planned, but we did have a nice time. We made the Durham for the Chocolate expo, but afterwards we were pretty hungry and after a bit of driving around ended up at a great restaurant up on Dundee. Darios Brasserie is just a great place. The food for lunch (brunch) was the right price and very tasty. The 'Other Half' and I had been once before about a year ago and it was just as good this time. The best part of Darios is the beer! MMMmmm! Beer! They have an extensive beer selection from Belgium and France. I had Saint Bernardus Abt 12 which sits at around 10.5% alcohol. As I said the food was a good price for a fancy place, but be warned that the beer is a bit pricey... But then again you are paying for some of the best beer ever created. Next time I'm getting the Chimay!

After a leisurely lunch we decided we would hit the Art Museum on another day. We drove back home, stopping at Best Buy to pick up some tax software. So the 'Other Half' took a nap, I hit the taxes and got them all but done. Quick review tomorrow and that will wrap it up.

The only gaming input I have to day is from the Runes of Gallidon. It is an interesting concept were folks build their own character, adventure, pictures, to be included in a greater whole. They are using the Creative Commons license that will allow content creators to benefit from any published work. I'm going to try my hand at a 'mini-adventure' the trick being they want system 'agnostic' approach which is a bit tricky.

Sunday will see the next installment of the RPG group. Looking forward to a bit of mayhem.

Drinker of Beers

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

She's a Brick House...

Wow... Bad blogger not posting in over a week! Not a lot new in the gaming front. I was in sunny Dallas last week, spent Saturday at a bad demo day, and stayed home on Sunday. On Tuesday I got to start up the Call to Arms league for WM/HD. I got a 750 games against Jame's Brick Troll army and a 500 point game against Chris' Brick Troll army.

Short Version: A specialty shooting force of Cygnar versus a brick army, just don't cut it.

Ultra Short Version: Ouch!

I tried the Gun Mage Adept Unit w/ the Dude and a Hunter being marshaled in both lists. For those playing along with the home game, that is 90+27+88 = 205 points on the table. A heavy investment at 500, let alone 750. I need to refine their use, but I like the combo of the armor piercing Hunter firing twice with ricochet. Versus James, I just couldn't get the damage rolls to mount to a hill of beans, and versus Chris I misjudged the drunken Ogre's ability to engage the hunter on the first turn. It was all down hill from their.

On the D&D front, we plan to meet up on Sunday about 1300. Looking to have a good time and eat into the adventure some. Since our normal night is Saturday is Valentine's day this year, I opted for the change.

The 'Other Half' and I are, pending weather, going to the Durham Museum for the Chocolate Display, then head over to the Joslyn Art Museum to see the Art of the American West Collection. It is actually a pretty cool idea for V-Day as it gets out of the house and going around town and seeing something we normally don't do. Most likely grab lunch out too. I'll try to remember to pick up some flowers on Friday on the way home to seal the deal.

I've got a 750 tournament at the Shoppe on the 28th, followed by MonPoc "I Chomp NY" release. Hooker mentioned he might want to run the 750, which would give me the chance to play... I'll have to get a commitment out of him for that.

One last game item, many posts around the inter tubes about the War of the Ring. The one link I saw from someone that has play tested it said it is closer to Warmaster then Warhammer. Big battles in about 1.5 hours. The Warmaster system used a command and control, where a general gives orders to formations to move, charge, shoot, attack, etc. If a unit fails an order, then it just sits. If a leader fails an order, your 'movement' is done and you got to combats. Great system and I am hoping the WofR will follow most of the ideas. The game releases in April... I might get sucked into another big battle game. Dang!

I would up date you on my resolutions, but lets just say, they are not going so well. Oh well.

Breaker of Oaths

Sunday, February 1, 2009

It's a trap!

The gang meet on Saturday night for a go at the old D&D adventure thingy. :-) We had seven players at the table, usual suspects with the inclusion of Greg as a new join as a Dragonborn Paladin (Yes the second one in the party).

When we last left our intrepid adventures they had busted down the back door of the Drueger hold, fought their way through the guards and encountered the boss. That battle was gruesome with the boss able to inflict some heavy damage along the way. At the conclusion they had spent most of their daily powers and were down in the surge category.

Not having found the prisoners, they decided to press on a bit further and Splug, following a secret door behind the fire place discovered a small hidden treasure which he kept, then another door into the slave pits. The Drueger cleric and guards, not to mention the Spiny Devils were not too pleased to see the Goblin Thief and decided to act. The party then became involved in a scrum, with the poor caravan crew hiding out in the slave pits. The two front battle made it a going concern, with the Drueger cleric dropping Brimstone and other nastiness. In the end some cleaver foot work by the team lead to all the Drueger's no longer alive and the Devils, being well wounded, deciding that perhaps their are better ways to serve and departed.

Taking the slaves back to the Seven Pillar Hall, the gang was handed a note from a kobold telling them to meet to discuss their operations against the Druegers. Sensing a trap, the party put the reformed slaves up at the Halfmoon Inn with some help from Erra Halfmoon and departed for their meeting.

The party followed the provided map into a small side room of the Hall of Shadows. Looking cautiously for a trap, the party missed the large Bronze Warder 'lurking' behind the boulder. Oh, and his three Tiefling companions. A tougher battle then I thought ensued. Some early misses with critical daily powers really swung the battle in the wrong direction early. It was noted around the table that sub-par die rolls can go along way to making a tough battle down right hard. In this case the Bronze Warder was an AC 25... The party had, at the time, a 5th level Wizard, Thief, Ranger, 4th Level Warlord, 2nd Level Paladin x2, Thief. The numbers of attacks outbound were in the parties favor, but the defenders were at a disadvantage due to the lower level. It is amazing what two levels will do to a to hit number. In the end, Sliver the Ranger was the hero, finally getting his Twin Strike Mojo working and dropping a ton of arrows into the pesky Tieflings that were casting a real annoying fire ranged attack.

With the bad guys dispatched, the party found a pair of scrolls that indicate that the rouge Wizard, Padamare, is behind the trap and wishes to dispose of their bodies. Even though they just left the Inn, the party needed to debate an extended rest (Adventures are lazy SOBs), but decided to take the reformed slaves back to Fellcrest.

The return to Fellcrest was uneventful, but the party did gain a bit of experience for finding the prisoners and returning them safely as well as destroying the Bloodreavers. A rest was had, as were magic items transferred before the party returned to the Seven-Pillar Hall to prepare to battle Gnolls.


So the adventuring is going well, but I keep having this nagging feeling that I am taking to long to run folks through the adventure... Specifically that the encounters take too long. It may just be me. Some ideas that I think I'll try next time:
  • Enslave, I mean, enlist one of the players to run the initiative for me. I'll give him the critters and let them track. The Loft has a white board that is tailored made for that effort.
  • Roll Damage with the too hit. Zoltan, Eldecar, and Kaz'nak all do that already, but it may become game standard. The 'issue' will come with the double attack type of attacks like twin strike. Hmmm...
  • Pre-Stage the bad guy minis... I'll do my best to get the bad guys all bagged up and ready, vice hunt and peck for the ones I need.
To deal with the daily powers missing and how badly that swings the battle, I was thinking of allowing players to spend their action point to re-roll a missed attack roll or any roll for that matter. I don't know how that would swing the power of the party, but at the moment, at times, they usually seam under power versus the enemy. Maybe I'm over doing the enemy, but it doesn't look like it.

And on the entertainment front...

The other half and I went to go see The Wrestler on Sunday. Not sure what to say about this one. I hated the cinematography. I mean hated. It was too jittery, like the Blair Witch Project almost at times at the camera was perched over Micky Rourke. I had to leave twice because I thought I was going to hurl. That combined with I think that Mr. Rourke is highly over rated as an actor and the story, although interesting wasn't really what I would consider 'Oscar' quality it was just OK. It was fine (other then the wanting to puke parts), on the small screen, it might be better for my eyes to watch. The highlight was Marisa Tomei who was not only hot for a 40+ year old stripper :-p but also the better half of the acting. Anyways, I give it two out of four WWF championship belts.

Is it just me?