Thursday, April 30, 2009

Magnus Vs. eIrusk

Magnus looked across the field and muttered a curse.  The Four Star had been paying him well, but it wasn't enough to deal with Khador, especially that ass Irusk.  Every since his defeat last fall he carried that damn flag everywhere.  Supreme Kommander indeed.  Seemed Irusk was set to interdict the shipment of goods and he brought some reinforcements.  A full unit of Winter Guard to include those new rocket launchers and a Lieutenant and another flag.  Really, what is with the flags!  They were off to the left behind the outcrop of trees.  Irusk had a pair of 'Jacks, a Destroyer and a Kodiak that has seen some rough spots and seemed to be 'tuned' to Irusk...  Poor Bastard!  A mortar team was on the left of the Destroyer...  That would be a pain.   Glint caught his eye as he spied a set of Widowmaker snipers on the far right trees.   A few shadows blurred in the woods to the left, that could only mean one thing.  Manhunters, maybe even Yuri himself.  Magnus always liked Yuri, a bloodthirsty bastard after his own heart...  Too bad he was on the wrong side of the coin.

Magnus looked at his own forces hired for the job.  Some old faces he hadn't seen in years.  Sam and her Devil Dogs, along with an old Nomad that Sam had in tow.  He had brought a pair of his own Renegades and a Mangler to help himself and good old Boomhowler on his left.  Hadn't seen that old blue fart in years.   In step behind the Renegades, the old Master Gunner Dougal MacNaile, in his bare feet and out  on a bit of freelance. 

"Move it out boys!" Magnus yelled out.  He sent his thoughts out to the Renegades to run forward into position as he ensured that the Mangler was under the Iron Agenda before moving himself.  Both Sam and Boomhowler moved their teams at a full clip towards the enemy.

It was then that Irusk kicked his mules in gear...  Move forward they did, the whole lot, heck even Yuri popped out of the woods in attempt to charge, but ended up short against one of Sam's Dogs.  Shots to the far left confirmed the widowmakers were present as a some of Boomhowler's kin's famous constitution gave away. 

Sam's Dogs tried to step in range of those slug guns to shoot Yuri, but failed to connect...   That is going to hurt soon.  Mean while, Boomhowler ran forward and engaged those pesky widowers to keep them from shooting.   MacNaile gave the Renegades a bit of extra powder, and the damn things went flying.  A good chunk of Winter Guard were gone and the Destroyer was knocked over on his ass as well.  The Mangler charged in with his wrecking ball and took several might swings on the Kodiak, but only getting some minor damage.  It was now or never, so Magnus reached deep within and ordered the battlegroup to redeploy.  Both the Renegades back pedaled and the Mangler ran back to Magnus' aid.

The Manhunter's did their thing, moving in.  Yuri's new Thresher Axe took out four dogs in a single blow while his old buddy took another.  Sam shouted a few commands of encouragement and the reaming dogs stood fast.  As Magnus watched, the Winter Guard Bobbed and Weaved their way to engage the closest Renegade while the Kodiak charged in on the Mangler, making quick work of it.  The Mortar crew tossed a bomb out for effect and took a chunk off Mangus, while the widow makers tried to hit the Trolls with their wimpy swords.

Tides were changing and not for the better as Magnus could see his left flank become jelly.  Sam called up her Nomad and had his Caspian blade get the needed boost to take out Yuri, while the other dogs cornered the Manhuter's buddy and remove him from action.  Boomhowler belched out a scary song, forcing the Widowmakers to be afraid.   The Master Gunner, his duties done with the Renegades, ran to confront the Destroyer...  What was that damn fool doing!   The Renegade attacked the Kodiak and then Magnus charged over the wreckage of the Mangler  to finish it off.  It was a deadly spot, but something had to stop that thing.

Now things were getting interesting.  Irusk busted forward into the scene to finish off Sam's Nomad just off to Magnus' left.  That is just too close.  The Winter Guard focused attacks on the one remaining Renegade and took attacks with grapshot at the few remaining dogs.  The Widowmakers continued to be stuck in a odd battle between beast and man with neither being able to finish the other off.  The Destroyer stepped up and lobbed one last shell towards Magnus just to add insult to injury. 

Magnus began to sweat as he tried to puzzle his way out of this predicament.  No heavies left and only a damaged Renegade to control.  Oddly, the Master Gunner moved forward and shot the mortar team in half, then Boomhowler moved his kin to engage both the remaining mortar team member and the remaining Widowmakers and howled again in attempt to cause the panic.  No go this time.  Sam and her last two dogs took out the Winter Guard Lieutenant and a fried, but were not as useful as Magnus would have liked.     With nothing left to do, Magnus moved away from Irusk and tried to finish off the Destroyer, coming very close, but leaving the weapon arm remaining.   The gig looked to be up.

With little fanfare, the Destroyer, with a gentle push, swung at Magnus and took him down.  Magnus, as is his way, laid still in hopes that they would think he was dead, the contract was over, no need to die without a reason.  There would be other days.


In other news.  Nuke Con Game Day is coming Saturday.  I'm running and playing a few board games if your around.  No pressure good games.

Also, Carl from Springfield, MO got his War of the Ring site up and running.  Check out the site as it would be nice to generate a bit of discussion on some of the finer points.

Magnus go bye-bye

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Stern! Why he is nothing but...

Didn't do much today.  Weather was bad out and we really didn't get much accomplished except groceries.

I did play four solo games of Race for the Galaxy.  I wish there was an on-line version I could tap into.  I went 3-1 which is pretty good for me.  Here is a quick look at how it broke up:
  • Game one was Doom World vs. Robot's Damaged Alien Factory.  I won 29 to 24 using a VP build, which is usually pretty dangerous aganist the robot as it can usually out produce you. 
  • Game two was New Sparta vs. Epsilon Erandi.  Robot won 31 to 20.  I tried to beat the robot at getting planets out, but didn't have any thing to back up the scores.
  • Game three was Speratist Colony vs. New Sparta.  I won this game 41 to 39 using the military build strategy and New Galactic Order to get VP for military.
  • Game four was Anchient Race vs. Epsilon Erandi.  I took this one as well 46 to 33 with a strong Alien and New Galactic Order sweep.
New updates on the totals can be found here at the link.

I also spent sometime painting my War of the Rings while having Heavy Metal on in the background.  I hadn't seen it in years and it was pretty cheesy.  It seems many of my long time 'favoraties' are a bit cheesy now that time has passed.  Funny how that works.  

The unit that I am working on is my favoriate unit for the WotR Dwarves, the Ered Luin Rangers, and they are all but done.  The unit is finished and I'm touching up the command section with some details as they were conversions from other plastics.  The painting isn't great, but it will do for tabletop.  I'll post a pics later.  What makes Ered Luin Rangers so good?  Ambush and Master Pathfinder.  They can get on the other side, behind the lines.  I'm thinking of adding Gimli to the mix so I can 'Toss the Dwarf' as well as throw axes before the charge!

a low-down, double-dealing, backstabbing, larcenous perverted worm!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Mulch 0, JP 1

I beat Mulch at its own game.  I took off work a bit early and my shovel and I tore into Mulch like it was dead wood!  Take that you bastard!  The Other Half helped when she got home from work and we finished up the 'game of Mulch' at about 1830.

Not getting much gaming in this weekend.  I missed out on the road trip to Mage Con.  I haven't been in years, but the team up there puts on a good show.   I am going to try an be more proactive about the fall event and see if I can get that kitchen pass early.  Chris D. is doing blogging from on site if you wanted to keep up to date.  Look forward to hearing how the mega battle turns out.  Looks like WAY too many super-heavies!

In other news, it looks like those lucky goons going to GenCon this year will get a chance to see the newest faction for Warmachine.  How is this for a teaser?

The Retribution look to be the 'early release' event for GenCon...  Big questions remain on if it will be Mk I or Mk II out the door...  I think this was a sly ploy by Privateer.  Announcing a Mk II in March, they must have known that they would get a bit of a slow down in sales.  The Retribution Fan Boys (TM) will salivating to get these, regardless of rules set allowing they to weather any bad turn until Mk II hits the streets full force.

I 'might' get a game in this weekend...  I'll let you know.

Take that Mulch!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Not my type of game...


It isn't a very fun game.  Especially when you have 11 yards.  How much is a 11 yards of mulch?  It is as much as you can fill in a truck about this size, or an other words, a snot load.  Yesterday from about 2pm and again today from about 5pm The Other Half and I spent most of that time loading the wheel barrel and moving the mulch to the back, then spreading it around.  I am really glad that The Other Half is helping, because it would have slowed me WAY down if I had to load, dump and spread.  We are just over half way there and hope to get it done tomorrow night as the T-storms are working there way in over the weekend.  Either way it has got to get done and soon, I'm not sure my knees can take much more of it!

I did get two games of Race for the Galaxy in with the Elder.  The first game we tried the optional 'drafting' rules in the back of the expansion.  In this version you get two home worlds to choose from and you create a custom deck that you use for your pull and discard piles.  It took a lot longer to set up.  The Elder took the game 37:33 with this version.  She had a rapid build going on with a strong rebel flavor.  I was 'trying' for a run on the '6' cards, but didn't get enough bonus points for them.  The second game we played regular.  I got the Galactic Resort (2 goods for 3 VP) and the 3 point alien world (Toy Shop?) that gives you 2 VP for its good.  I x2 VP twice to take 20 VP, plus used the Merchant World to discard for 2 additional VP.  Took that game 39:23 I think.  I got a good lucky draw that allowed me to place it into play pretty quickly.

That is it for now.  I'll post more later if I get any games in this weekend.

RftG 4tw

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tuesday Games

I was late getting out of work due to the boss's, boss's boss being late in all his meetings.  The 1500 moved to 1600 which started 20 minutes late.  When we got set to go, he kicked out the group after us saying he didn't have time for them.  We planned for 30 minutes got 5.  Hmpf. 

I really wasn't in the mood for WM/HD so I conned Becky and Heath into a few games of Race for the Galaxy.  Heath took both games.  Game one was a cluster all the way around.  Heath had a rebellion strategy working while I had a bunch of windfalls, but no real cohesive point builder.  Becky was just trying to remember some of the finer points of the game.  I ended the game as quickly as I could, hoping to limit Heath's ability to build up points and was shy 3 VP.  Game two had Heath out the gate strong early.  He had some solid Alien cards and ended with a great hand with three '6' point cards in play and a bunch aliens.  Mega bonuses.  I had Alpha Centauri and tried for the browns, but couldn't pull a useful '6' pointer.  I did run a single x2 VP, but it was a drop in the bucket to Heath's 40+ VP.  Becky did much better and had a planet building machine with Improved Logistics (x2 Settle) and Terraforming Robots for the extra Settle Card.

Overall it was fun games.  It felt a bit disconnected at times, but Becky had to mind the store.  I really would like to get a few dozen more games in so I can get a better grasp of the multiplayer strategies.

Other then that, it has been quite.  Have a mess load of stuff going on at the house today.  Repair man for the bathroom, bug guys, and 11 yards of Mulch (That is 1/2 a dump truck)…  It will be a long and sore weekend.

Testing the Blog at a Distance

Saturday, April 18, 2009

One Month, New Life

So... Where to begin... You have seen my references to the 'Farewell Tour' that I have undertaken to local area restaurants and the assorted links to different medical procedures. Here is the skinny (pun intended).

In one month, 18 May, I will undergo Gastric Bypass Surgery. I'll be out of action for about three weeks depending on how the surgery goes and the post operation. It will suck up all my sick time at work plus an additional 8 days they are letting me go in the hole for.

Why am I doing this? Well, for those that actually know me can take a look and see that I am too heavy, for those that can't, lets just say I am on the wrong side of 300 lbs. My knees kill me when ever I stand or when I use the stairs. My back hurts every morning and gets wrenched easily. I have to make a serious conscious decision if/when I need to bend over/down for anything. Bending is just not done with out forethought. I'm on more medications then I care to be and I'm connected to a breathing machine every night to keep the apnea at bay.

The easy reaction is to say, 'Hey, just loose weight ya fat bastard!' and, well, I've tried. I've tried Weight Watchers, Body for Life, Low Carb/High Protein, slowing down, eating less, hitting the gym... I've tried and not been very successful at any of them for any length of time. I know what your suppose to do. It isn't rocket science after all. Eat 1500-1800 calories a day and work out for 30 minutes four times a week. But if your on the wrong side of the numbers... That is just damn hard.

Here is what I gain with the surgery. Immediate relief from all but one of my meds. That alone is going to reduce my monthly bills. The inability to over eat, which truth be told, is the main damn reason I am in this position. Eliminate 100% my chances of getting diabetes related to weight issues. In time, the ability to bend. 1/3 of my current body weight. With some effort, I hope to loose about 100 lbs and have a new eating pattern that is better for me and those around me. Without effort, the Doctor says that I should expect to loose 70-80 lbs.

It is just going to be hellish for a few weeks/months as this process gets going. Starting on the 8th, I've got to start a 'liquid' diet to help 'make room' for the surgery procedure. That is ten days of strained soups, protein shakes, and instant breakfast. Yummy. After the surgery, more of the same as the stitches in the stomach heal. As it heals, I'll get to start adding soft solids, then regular solids... The trick is that my 'new' stomach will only hold 3 oz of stuff, be it water or food and some foods (different for each person) just don't work any more.

As the weight starts to come off, I'll be at the gym in the morning (already started thanks to the Eldest schedule) to help speed the loss a bit along and re-gain some lost cardiovascular strength. I also hope to start a weight lifting routine a few months after the surgery.

It took over year of 'working' with different insurance companies, but finally switching to the government helped move the last of the road blocks along and get me going.

For my gaming life, I think it will be pretty light except for some solo games and a bit of computer activity. I am told that the surgery drains a lot out of you as you under go some pretty dramatic cutting and stitching so even the desk job is going to be a bit much for a few weeks. I think I'll MIA from Tuesday WM nights for at least a month and the Saturday D&D game may have a bit of an extra long gap between games.

Despite this being a 'gaming blog' I'll be posting updates on the procedure as well as some photos of progress... But have no fear faithful readers, games will still be part of the action, even if I'm not in the direct action for a bit of time.

So until the 18th, let those dice roll as they may and remember that if it ain't flat, it's cocked. :)

T-minus 30 days.

Saturday Gaming... Sort of :)

Saturday was light on gaming as I hung around the house or was out eating with The Other Half. For gaming I spent some time on Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword. With the 'newish' PC, I can play the larger maps with out too much sluggishness in the system. I'm on the brink of winning that game, but then I usually cheat and play on one of the lower settings too. :p

After dinner The Other Half and I sat down and played two games of Rummikub, a tile game based on the Rummy card game. We usually have a decent time as we play, although our styles of play are different as we seemed to be in reverse gear on acknowledging when we were done or still going. I went 0-2 the night on Rummikub as The Other Half took both games and left me with 1 and 3 tiles respectively. We don't keep score, but she did a good job of snuffing me tonight. While we play, I hook up the little notebook and we listen to Pandora Radio. She has a mixed channel of Symphonic Rock and my John Williams station. Pretty eclectic mix but good listening while we play games, besides, like she says, it's like a present each time a new song starts!

When we wrapped up, The Other Half went off to read and I broke out Race for the Galaxy for a few solo games. I did much better tonight having won 50% of my games (2-2). I've updated the spreadsheet for those statistic geeks. Not as exciting as following the baseball box scores for some, but just as good for others! :) I won, with of all things, Old Earth and New Sparta. The best part was that I only lost by a total of 3 VP with the two games I lost. The trick seems to be that you have to really engage early and not let the Robot develop a strong VP pool. Also I am pretty excited about the next set too. It comes out next month (I think) and will allow players to attack from one player to another bringing more direct player involvement then before.

Late add: Nuke-Con is running their games day, Aftershock, on 2 May. I've signed up to run Race for the Galaxy, Pandemic, and Formula D. No WM/HD, but if you want a fund day of gaming pretty cheap you can get the details from the Nuke-Con site. These folks do a lot of hard work to try and bring the different game groups together. I felt it would be fun to just do some boardgames this time around.

That is about it for the moment. I'll be posting another post shortly, but it is a different story and I did not want to cross the streams. And why don't we cross the streams?

It would be bad.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Restaurant Review: Espana


Tonight the Other Half and I went to Espana in Old Benson as part of my farewell tour of our favorite restaurants. Espana is a wonderful little Spanish Tapas restaurants. Tapas are small dishes, like little appetizer sized plates of various Mediterranean foods. The great thing about Tapas is you can order several things and get a different taste for each one. The Other Half and I have had Tapas in DC on a business trip before and here at Espana, both were good, with the DC version having a bit more of a yuppie feel vice the feel we got at Espana. Tapas is optimal when a party of 4-6 can go together as you get to try many different tastes and get a whole pitcher (or two) of Sangria.

Tonight we tried several dishes like our favorite Gambas al Ajillo (Shrimp with garlic and olive oil), Bolitos de Queso Fresco (Fresh mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes, basil, olive oil ), and one of my own likes Butifarra a la Parilla (Catalan style country sausage grilled. Slow beans, allioli). In addition Espana has a wonderful Sangria that is just a pleasure to drink with dinner. It is just the right combination of fruity and sweet with red wine that goes down very smooth.

If you need a nice restaurant for a small gathering or even a quite date for a couple, I can recommend Espana. It is on the pricey side if you go crazy on the orders, but that is to be expected given the 'style' of the place.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

50 Point Mk II Game

Hi de ho,

Tonight Phillip and I tried out the Mk II rules using a 50 point game. Let me start with saying that 50 points buys you alot more then you got in a 500 point game and very close +/- to a 750 point feel.

I ran the following:
Magnus w/ 2 Renegades & Talon
Sam & Devil Dogs (10) w/ Mangler & Mule
Boomhowler (6)
Gordman 'de Wolf
Ogrun Bokur

Phillip (from memory) ran:
Reznik w/ Vanquisher, Castigator, Revenger, Dervish, & Reckoner
3 Wracks
Exemplar Knights (10)
Choir (Max)
Sun Burst and Crew

Phillip had first turn and spent most of it advancing the line and I did the same, except for Bailock that took out of the Exemplars and Magnus cast Iron Aggression (Frenzy replacement) on the Mangler.

Round two the Sunburst crew shot at the Mangler that Sam was Marshaling and rolled an 11 for the blast damage on Sam to take her out of the game way to early. The Exemplars ran up closer to Boomhowler on one side. My turn two Bailock took another two Exemplars (the pattern starts) and the Boomhowler ordered a charge on a few others. The new Unit Commander of the Dogs (we will call him Bob) moved his team up and tried to CRA one of the Exemplars, but missed. Magnus had upkept Iron Agenda and gave three focus to one of the Renagades. MacDougle gave the same Renegade artillerist and let it fire away on the Vanquisher in the middle of the board. Did some good damage and three points to the Vassal hiding behind. Unfortunately, the Covenant was reading 'Thou Shalt Not Be Knocked Down' and did so every single round. The Mangler charged for free thanks to Iron Agenda towards the Castagator on the hill. A solid hit, but low damage followed. Mags cast the new Blur (100% better) on himself, but was till on fire from a previous Menoth attack. The Ogrun charged the Reckoner, but being that he is a shadow of his formal self, didn't do anything of note. Wash repeat with Talon who took a double shot from the Vanquisher thanks to the Vassel earlier.

Note: Hot Jack on Jack action is so much cooler in MkII. The 'Jacks don't need to usually boost to hit, but the extended usefulness of the 'Jacks helps them stick around. As an example the Mangler lasted about two turns longer then he should, doing full damage to the Castigator thanks to two movement boxes he had left.

Turn Three saw the Exemplar's charge Boomhowlers gang and the Bob's Devil Dogs. Lucky for me Rupert had Marched the Dogs and I only lost one while one of Boomers guys made his tough roll. The Menoth heavies squished the Ogrun and Talon. Not pretty. New choir rules had them spread across the line vice in single line back to the end. Raznik did some spells... I think...
MacDugal called for double rations and the Mule got a lucky Crit devastation on the Vanquisher and Reckoner throwing them back 5" and 6" respectively plus ran over two chior guys and the Vassal. The spent Renegade charged the Dervish and hurt it some. The other Renegade dropped another power 18 shell on the Vanquisher. In a MkI game, the Vanq and Reckoner would have been out, but the Mk II they are still viable and in the fight. Boomhowler charged the Reclaimer and a Exemplar, and tried to run a guy to the Sunburst, but the dang Reclaimer's 4" damage zone was in effect. Bailock took out two more Exemplar.

Turn Four had Resnik take out the last boxes of the Mangler, the Castigater run towards my line, the Vanquisher moved and shot and the Reckoner ran up. I could see the charge lane forming with Resnik, but didn't have much I could do. I ran Bob's Devil Dogs in the charge lane in a vain hope to clear out the way. I 'should' have popped my feat but forgot.

Final turn, Phillip cleaned the lane with a Castigator and Vanquisher then cast Engine of Destruction (+2 Spd, +4 MAT, +4 STR), which is WAY to cheap, for the benefit, especially with a Hierophant near by to drop the cost to one. In sweeps Reznik and with one MAT 11 attack destroys Magnus that had taken two fire test in the game. Ouch.

Overall it was a good game that swung both ways in the who was in charge side. Phillip started with some great advantages, but I took a good swipe of his flank and pushed his 'Jacks back to slow the advance. My only complaint and what I just submitted feedback on was Reznik's Engine of Destruction. For two focus he gets +2 SPD, +4 MAT, +4 STR. That is three major character stat bumps, two of them twice the norm and the largest cumulative bump I think in the game, let alone for two focus. To pull of the same thing for a Merc list, I would have to take multiple spells and/or abilities to gain an matching capability for one stat, let alone two or three. For example, I could give an Ogrun a client & charge a model that Aiyanna had cast Kiss of Lyiss (Ogrun now at +4 MAT and +4 DMG). If Ashlynn is the caster I can cast Quicken on the Ogrun for +2 Spd and achieve the same effect as Reznik's one spell at two focus. For those following along at home that is the combination of two special rules (Client, Powerful Charge), one Special action (Kiss of Lyiss) and one 3 focus spell (Quicken) or just cast Engine of Destruction for 2.

Anyways, I am still liking MkII very much and hope to run some sort of mini event to finalize the month.

Destruct the Engine

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hodpoge of suff...

A few quick things to set the day in motion.

Friday, the Other Half and I went to Sushi Japan for dinner. That in and of itself is nothing new, but given that I am on my Farewell Tour (more on this later) we took the opportunity to sit at the bar and let Chef Zac make what he wanted. Zac did a great job. I had some collar and Red Snapper which was great. The Other Half even liked the Poke and the Salmon Lomi Lomi which is saying something. We spent about two hours at the bar, I had a nice tall Kirin Ichiban that was quite yummy.

I watched 'They Live' after thinking about it last month. I was doing laundry while watching it, trying to get some of the Sunday chores done and all. Roddy Piper doesn't do a real great job as actor, does he? Keith David, as Frank, does a good job. The alley fight scene was great. I had forgotten that Meg Foster was in this. Here eyes are just freaky wrong to me, to the point of being spooky and distracting. I think she is scarier then Carnys, honest. The movie was fun and mindless, but John Carpenter's execution is just pretty blah. The story potential is great and I wouldn't be surprised to see this hit the remake marry-go-round. As with all good geekiness, check out these two videos. :)

Cripple Fight!

Finally, I got a note back from The Original Hot Carl. Seems WM Weekend will be in mid October and TBD on the whole integrate with another convention thing. On a side note, Carl is working on establishing a website dedicated to War of the Rings. it is called Epic Strike. It is very much a work in progress at this point, but he hopes to have a forum and blog like action to help grow the community to a great game.

Put on the glasses!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Saturday Gaming: Schism & War of the Ring


Saturday saw a huge chunk of gaming happen for me. I ran the Schism event for the Metamorphosis release and played Heath a game of War of the Rings. It was a long day of gaming, having to show at the Shoppe at 0930 to set up the Schism event and then playing Heath at 1800, but then the longest day of gaming is better then the shortest day of working! :)

Hordes Schism was a pretty fun event. It is a great break from the standard tournament setting that WM or Hordes follows as their isn't a set number of rounds and you continually fight game after game. We played from 1030 to 1630 with no lunch break. Most folks got about 5-7 games in which is all good. It is also the type of event you actually want an odd number of players as it makes it quicker to get someone on an open table once a game ends. Since we had an even number of players, I got to play ringer as the odd man out. I played Cygnar with the following two lists:

  • Commander Coleman Stryker w/ Squire, Lancer, Ol' Rowdy
  • Stormsmith
  • Arcane Tempest Gun Mages w/ Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer w/ Hunter
  • Captain Victoria Haley w/ Squire, Lancer, Centurion
  • Stormsmith
  • Arcane Tempest Gun Mages w/ > Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer
  • 8 Sword Knights w/ Sword Knight Officer & Standard Bearer
Of the two lists, I had much better success with the Haley list. The ATGM load on Stryker is just too heavy point wise with no real counter charge backup.

Each game played after the first has a defender and attacker with flags on the field that have to be protected/taken depending on what side of the table you are on. Primary objective is to have the most wins as Defender. Secondary objective is to capture or defend the most flags, have Warjacks/Warbeast survive, and paint a non-warcaster character. The tricky part of the Primary objective is that Defenders suffer "depletion" which saps away the strength of the army as you keep winning, making it extra hard to stay on game after game. The winners were as follows:
  • Smitty: Champion with four wins as defender. He wins by one extra win in the defender spot.
  • Sam from Lincoln: Flag Man! Captured nearly all the flags for every game except one, while winning three games as defender. No easy task.
  • Rich 'Constructs Rock' W.: Since the rules state that you don't count 'wild' in the survivor category and Constructs never go wild, even when the Warlock is killed, Rich racked up the points.
  • Joe 'Only guy with a mostly painted army' P.: The painting competition was for a non-warcaster, character model. Three guys had something that qualified. Joe's looked the best.
After the event Heath and I played a 1500 point game of War of the Rings. I got destroyed... To a Dwarf. The VP count wasn't even pretty being 12 to 3. Heath showed no mercy and played a solid strategic game that even overcame two failed charges in the second turn.
Here is my list:
  • Dwarf Warrior w/ HW & Shield - 2 Companies
  • Dwarf Warrior w/ Great Weapons - 2 Companies
  • Dwarf Ranger w/ Bows - 3 Companies
  • Vault Wardens - 3 Companies
  • Ered Luin Rangers - 2 Companies
  • King's Champion - Monster
  • Balin, Lord of Moria - Epic Hero
  • Gandalf the Grey
I set up the VW in the middle with both warriors on either side to provide flank protection. The Rangers w/ bows took a hill to shoot down things. The King's Champion was on my right flank and the Ered Luin Rangers were ambushing in a building also on the right. Heath set up from my left to right: Warg Riders, Huri-Ki Warriors, Crossbow Orcs, Pike Huri-Ki, Legendary Scout unit, Bezerkers, and Sappers.

I let Heath have priority first so I could see how he moved out and to let him get closer for my Magic actions. We both pretty much moved forward with the Warg Riders coming quick around the end. The Sappers occupied the building on the right in a hope to avoid fire to deliver their deadly cargo.

Heath and I both used alot more magic this go around. He found a good strategy to make my expensive Vault Wardens all but useless. In the end my big advantage in Defense was negated by Shield Breaker and Re-roll spells. Very painful. Things that did go well for me was eliminating the Scout Unit with a combination of magic and heroic charge, the Monster Charge from the King's Champion, and conducting an Heroic Duel with a unit Captain of the Pike Orcs. Things that didn't go well was counter magic and the lack of mobility. As much as I like the VW, I think I'll have to cut them down to one or two stands at 1500 and add more core units or an Eagle. For a 2000 game, I am thinking an Eagle is a must for the mobility and extra monster action.

That is all I got for tonight. They Live finally made it through the Netflix queue so I'll be watching that tomorrow in the morning and I'll post about dinner from Friday night that the Other Half and I had... It was very Yummy!

Mobility, Bah!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Review: Deadwood

A quick review.

The Other Half and I just finished watching Deadwood via netflix. This was a great series and we were both sad to see that it ended with out a proper conclusion.

Basics/Background: Deadwood tells the story of the founding and development of Deadwood, SD. Some of the characters utilized were real with fictional background while others were just fictional. The story centers on Al Swearengen (played very well by Ian McShane), a bar owner, pimp, and general bad guy, but with a streak of honor and a passion for his new town and his relationship to Seth Bullock (Tim Olyphant), straight as an arrow and first Sheriff of Deadwood.

Style: The writing for the show was incredible. At times the story felt as if it was Shakespeare with the complexity of the dialog between characters and even during soliloquies. Of note the use of cursing in the shows was often emphasized negatively, and I'll admit they drop a few dozen F-bombs a show, but I felt it wasn't as bad given the wild west feel. It is debatable if that language was used at the time, but it fit the writing and story as developed.

Plot: Over the three years of the series the plot twisted in several different directions as well as a dozen subplots running at the same time. The key theme that ran through all three seasons was Seth Bullock's love affair with Ms. Garret. Despite the relationship hitting its peak at the end of season one, the tie between them was always on the cusp of most misadventures in the town. The end of Season two say the arrival of Mr. George Hearst, played by Gearld McRaney, who will always be Rick Simon or Major Dad to me. Mr. Hearst's arrival and need to 'find the color' at any costs leads to a series of tense show downs that seemed to accumulate at the end of season three.

Character Development: Deadwood is all about the characters. From Swearenger's henchmen to Mr. Wu to the town itself, you see the characters grow and develop over the course of the seasons. If you are looking for a text book version of good characters and how to develop them, I think that Deadwood's cast and writers should be at the top of the list.

Geek Factor: Hmmm... This one is tough. I really liked the show, but it doesn't have any of the key items you would expect for a 'geek' show. No star ships, no lost Indian lore, no phantom of the opera... Just good old fashion westerns with solid characters and writing and foul language. Would many geeks enjoy this show? Yes, I think they would once they started watching, but alas, it isn't set on an asteroid base.

In the end I give it five out of five Dead Bill Hickoks. The only negative thing I can say is that I will never be able to hear the words "San Francisco" with out also hearing "Cock Sucker" thanks to Mr. Wu. Ruined... For Life...

San Francisco...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Hot Sabre Action

This may be old news for some of you, but I found it funny!

These are not the girls you are looking for

Field test the field test

On Tuesday, our normal WM night, a few of us tried a few small games of the new Mk II rules. I played two games, we decided that we should start small and we tried out the 25 point dual. This had two benefits. One it kept it to the two iconic items in the game, Jacks and Casters, and two the new warjack benefits were what we all were hoping would get a boost.

In both games I played Styker (6 'jack points) with Ol' Rowdy, Centurion, Lancer, Hunter (total of 30 points of Jacks)

Game one Phillip played Severious, Crusader, Character crusader, Repenter and shooty Menoth 'jack with the baseball bat. The game was good, except for the freaky bad damage dice rolls on each side of the table. Despite the bad rolls, the fire on Stryker burned him up in the end.

Second game was vs. Erik who played Kharchev, 2 Juggernauts, and Behemoth. This game was characterized by my inability to seal a deal. Loss for Cygnar.

Here are my general thoughts on the new warjack mechanics. I like them alot. To be more specific, their are a few items that I think make a huge difference in the game.
  • Crippled weapons - The new rule does not take the weapon out, but forces you to roll one dice less for an attack. For hot Jack on Jack action, this is pretty much a non issue, especially with Ol' Rowdy with MAT 8 vs. Khador Jacks. A '1' misses anyways, so why boost at this point. It kept the 'jack useful for a few turns, plus forced the enemy to 'finish the job' instead of ignoring the 'Jack
  • Crippled Movement, no longer forces 1" of movement. Just no charge/slam. This is great since it still gives you some mobility, especially in close quarters, but still gives the other guy the easier to hit.
  • All systems to kill. Again, this was great. It forces the enemy to keep resources on target to finish the job. Old Rowdy with only two movement boxes versus Khador Jacks is still going to get a single big ass POW 18 hit off, Better be careful.
Next week I hope to tackle the units. I think these changes are going to be bigger to the mind set, but I think it will be doable.

Loss of Flavor. This seems to be the current buzz. I get that and to a point I agree. PP seemed to have cut the wonderful unique flavor of some units a bit too deep in the quest to simplify the number of unique powers. Is it going to ruin the game? I don't think so. I think the 'flavor' will come back when the art/story/color comes back instead of a play test booklet. PP's stance seems to be that the 'faction' still has flavor, which it does, but players, to include me, still loved our unit/solo/caster special flavor that enamoured us with the Iron Kingdoms. Time will tell what the impact is going to be, but I don't see a 'big' change in MkII units to add those items back.

More to follow...

The Return of the Warjack!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Warmachine Mk II Field Test

What a busy few days in gaming town. Last Friday I get the War of the Ring book and Monday Privateer Press starts the Field Test for Warmachine MkII. If you haven't heard, Privateer is doing an 'open beta' for Mk II, hoping to find those ugly combos now before they have to errata them in the future! It is a great concept, but could have some costly repercussions by alienating players that don't like change.

The open field test provides every stat for every model made to date for Warmachine. If you have been interested in the game, it is a great chance to look over the new material and see what you think for free. Of course all the pretty graphics are gone, but that is OK for the moment.

I haven't digested the whole 67 page rule book yet, but here are some of the big things I noticed and think will affect the game greatly:
  • Point Restructure - We were warned that the point structure was going to change, but we had no clue the significant way it would happen. First off, casters are free and provide bonus points for warjacks. Second, the points for figs dropped by one order of magnitude give or take a point or two. So an Iron Clad use to run you 110 and know it runs 7. Regular Colman Stryker gets a 6 free Warjack points, so he only has to pay 1 point for the Iron Clad out of the game total.
  • Game Size - Fits nicely with the point restructure. They have removed the epic point structure, bring them to play at any value, but they have also changed the number of casters that can be fielded base on the type of game. For example you can play a Battle Royal at either 100, 125, or 150 points and take up to two warcasters in the mix, plus their free warjack points. So I Play Haley and Stryker at 100 point game, I can have 11 free points of warjacks and 100 points of other stuff.
  • Warjacks Get Better - All 'Jacks had a bump in MAT/RAT. This was needed. In addition they gain all their damage boxes. Mk1 required you to only loose three systems to be out of the game, but now you have to take the whole 'Jack out. Plus, loosing a system, only drops the number of dice you throw for damage (al'a Hordes) and not loose the system. This is a great move to make 'Jacks more valuable. In addition the 'Jacks gain a new focus ability. This leads to...
  • Focus: Shake Effect - Now your Caster and your 'Jack can spend a focus during the control phase to stand up and/or get rid of stationary. This is kind of huge. No more pop and drop or Icy Gaze being a end game if you are on the wrong end. It might cost you more, but it isn't the end.
  • Consolidated Standard Rules - They went all MonPoc on the icons. Not sure why, I think most of us can read fine, but it is their.
  • Unit Leaders - You can self promote a unit leader from a grunt when he dies.
  • Formation - A unit is in formation 'if' it is within the CMD of the Unit Leader. Those out do not receive orders and must move/run to try and get in formation. Those out at the end of a turn, must test or flee.
  • Fleeing - If a model/unit flees, it happens on your next activation, not in the maintenance phase and it must run not towards an enemy. Some discussion if you actually have to move the fleeing model.
I'm sure I'll have more later. Going to be trying these out on Tuesday (I hope) at the Shoppe to get a feel for the army construction and play.

Iron Clads Ho!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Review: Thunderspire Labyrinth

Saturday saw the gang finish up the Thunderspire Labyrinth adventure module from Wizards of the Coast. It took us sometime, mostly five or six sessions to complete, but that was over about two or three months do to our sporadic schedule. I thought I would provide my input to the world at large on the module. Some spoilers may be present, but lets be honest, the damn thing has been out for nine months and 'most' of you hard core games that are using the printed material ought to be way past this guy by now. :)

At the start the party consisted of 5th Level Human Wizard (Zoltan the Reformed), 4th Level Halfling Rogue (Eldecar), 3rd Level Goblin Rogue (Splug), 4th Level Elf Ranger (Sliver), 4th Level Dragonborn Warlord (Zarsathor). We were joined early on by a 3rd Level Dragonborn Paladin (Kaznak) and had sporadic guest appearances from a Human Ranger and a second Dragonborn Paladin.

We finished up with a 7th Level Wizard, Halfling Rogue, Elf Ranger, 6th Level Dragonborn Warlord, 5th Level Paladin and Goblin Rogue. In all not bad progress for the party. The party is, for the most part, a combat/tactical group. Role play, in the 'old school' since, is only present in a minimal way. I don't have a big issue with that as I think everyone really enjoys the combat and is trying in the role play category.

General: The module was constructed well. As with the new modules, it contains two booklets, one that lays the basics down for the adventure, has new monsters and has picture representation of some of the encounter areas. The second booklet has the write ups for each of the encounters using the standard Wizard of the Coast format. I thought the encounters were well balanced and provided the party plenty of opportunity to engage in their abilities.

  • The Maps: The provided map was very useful, as are most of them, for conducting encounters in those areas that are cinematic in nature. I also found that the encounter maps on each encounter were well developed and illustrated.
  • Tactical Encounters: I can not think of a single encounter that was way over the top. Even the big battle in the Well of Demons wasn't too powerful. On many encounters it was not uncommon to have multiple players drop, but the limited healing of the Wizard (multi-class Cleric), Warlord, and Paladin allowed the party to usually return to the battle.
  • Bronze Warder with Enigma of Vecna are a nasty combo! :)
  • The Maps: Wizards could have sprung for a second fold out map. It would have been nice to have the climatic end be on a map versus the evil wizard.
  • Tactical Encounters: The standard 'hope' is that the players can continue to push through encounter after encounter, but I've found that after two encounters the players are starting to get thin and a third gets to be real tough. Given the dungeon crawl environment, the players were going three and full rest, three, full rest... Which is what Wizards was trying to avoid from the older system of big encounter, full days rest... Three in a row 'should' only take about 40 mins in-game time, but they team was often spent. I think our longest string was five encounters, and even that took about an 1.5 hours of in-game time. Not sure if that is a product of the system or the module.
  • Skill Challenge Encounters: Well... This was the big shiny turd of the module. In two specific locations, a role play challenge encounter was set up, but they were very poorly executed. "The ghost is impressed by feats of strength. Do a DC25 str test to get his approval..." or something along those lines is just pretty lame. I think the challenge encounter can work, but it requires more prep time or thought then the ones included in this module.
  • Better Back Ground: I would have liked to see a better write up for the Mages that ran the seven pillar hall. It would have aided the play and role play between the characters with the NPC that were tasking them to accomplish. The 'blank' page was just too empty and I would have liked some meat in my stew.
Things I Learned:
  • Action Points: As I stated before, I am allowing the players to burn Action Points for re-rolls on missed attacks. This is to help alleviate the big daily missing syndrome. I think it has worked for the most part and I'll be keeping it in the campaign.
  • Skill Challenges: I 'think' that skill challenges are going to be key 'role play' motivators. I'll be using them to get the players to open up on the character and actions by giving a hidden bonus or penalty to the die roll based on their response. In other words, if a player, out of character, says I'm telling the ghost a story it would be a negative to the roll, but if the player, in-character, actually tells the story, then it would be a positive. The notion of 'X' success before 'Y' failures just seems hard to pull off with out a lot of useless die rolls.
Expansion: The module does a good job of giving potential growth opportunities within the module. Given the Spire's position you could go Trog hunting, Find the Witch, Explore Underdark, or take over the Seven Pillar Hall. Lots of growth.

: It was a solid module that could do with a bit of refining. I give it four out of five Vecna eyeballs.

Warder of Bronze

Friday, April 3, 2009

War of the Ring is Here! War of the Ring is Here!

After working a twelve hour day yesterday in service to the country (fourteen if you count the travel and gym time (Yes I went to the gym... I hurt... Another story...)) and a getting a big presentation done for work at noon, I choose to sneak out early to go pick up my copy of War of the Ring.

Not a full review, but a quick note that I'll be reading this for a bit of time. 328 pages of material will take some time to digest. It has a table of contents and an Index which are both welcome from the last GW book I purchased, going on four years now I guess. Some things I am looking forward to getting into more detail is the Fortunes and Fates as well as getting a better understanding of the Heroes actions and how to pull them off.

I also found out that the Dwarves get a Monster! King's Champion! He is pricey at 175, but gets a Fight of 8 and 3 attacks plus his own Might. Add in 'For the King' and he could get 6 attacks on his own w/ a charge while attacking first and having Very Hard to Kill. Mmmmm...

I'll post more as I digest!

"Axes of the Dwarves! The Dwarves are upon you!"