Sunday, June 28, 2009

Home again, home again...

Hey folks,

Thanks to the those that have been sending positive vibes and/or well wishes. It is always nice to know folks care!

Here is the latest. On Friday, my hemoglobin dropped down to 7.7, which is bad. The Doc thought most of it was dilution since the IV was pumping in massive liquids into my system. By 4 pm it was up to 9.2, which is better, but still a bit low. I snuck out of the transfusion, which is good, but the Doc couldn't find the source of the bleeding, which is bad.

After four test, two with nasty probes, and an arm that looks like a heroin addict's, the Doc decided that not much else we can do at this time. So he sent me home with instructions to go to the ER if it gets bad again. Modern medicine at its finest!

Friday night The Other Half got me home OK, took it easy and crashed pretty early. Saturday we finished putting the house back, with me not lifting anything over 25 lbs, just in case, but I was pretty light headed from time to time, especially if I bent over. Sunday, today, I am feeling better, not as light headed and the old BM wasn't bloody... Which, is a good thing, except I'll have to go back to work. :)

On gaming news, I am really, really bummed that I got sick because I missed the War of the Ring tournament down at the Shoppe. They only had three show up, which is a bummer. If I could have made it then we would have at least had a full round robin.

Tonight The Other Half and I played Rummicube and listened to Pandora. It was nice to sit around the table and have some blues guitar followed by symphonic metal. A nice evening. The Other Half took the evening 2-1.

On my other down time, I've been working on the super secret "Space Attack!" rule set and bouncing them off Steve. I think the general mechanics are in place, need to start looking at the Espionage and Research Cards next. If anyone is interested in a little open source development on this project (Read, Proof Read, Development, Art, Blabber, What Ever), let me know and I'll add you to distro. Doing it all in google docs at the moment, so you will need a google account I think.

That is about it, big update, not a lot of exciting news. Garage Sale next Friday. I know Rob is running a big Mega Battle for Flames of War on Saturday so no D&D. I'm hoping to put a marker on the table for the evening of the 11th. We can hope! :)

Jiggity Jig

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Back in the Hospital


Doc didn't find the bleeding in the two scopes, so I have been admitted back to the hospital. Kind of sucks. I've done a nuclear meds test for an hour plus and waiting for the results to see if they can find the source.

Not sure I'll be doing any gaming this weekend.

Breaking News - Nurse said no sign of leaking from the nuclear test... So... Observation over night with six hour test of my hemoglobin to see if I'm loosing blood still. If so they have some blood on reserve.

At least they have wi-fi and cable!

Human Pin Cushion!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sorry no gaming. :(

Well things just aren't working well these days. If you don't like TMI, then stop yourself now! You have been warned!

I had an Endoscope this morning looking for an ulcer in my new stomach and a source of the blood that I have been having in my poop. No Joy. Which is good, but also bad. I am now having a Colonoscopy Thursday morning to try and find the source. Kind of like the search of the source of the Nile, but with more poop and blood, at least my own.

If your over 40, and my guess is that most of you aren't then you might have experienced the joys of prepping for this little procedure. First you are 'suppose' to drink four liters of this vile concoction called GoLytely... Trust me you don't go lightly at all. Add to the fact that I just can't drink 8 oz in a 10min setting, what should be 2-3 hours of gross drinking has extended into the almost the 5th hour and I'm only half way through. Worst Night Ever!

I'll post if they find the cause of the blood. I hope they do and can fix it easy. I'm loosing ton of weight, but I'm also loosing ton of blood. Last hemoglobin count was down three points to a '9', after today, I'll be surprised if any blood is left. Whoa is me.

Bleed baby, bleed.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A little behind...

So I haven't posted in about a week. My bad.

Game front: Saturday we got to play D&D with the whole gang present. They are working their way through the Pyramid of Shadows and have defeated the first shard of the bad guy. Pretty combat intensive so far, just finishing up a big battle against the plant creatures!

Wellness front: The surgery recovery was going good until Tuesday. Seems I've developed a bleeding ulcer, which isn't too uncommon after surgery, but not the norm. I'm on some extra meds to help 'coat the stomach' that taste like blah. The upside is I am down 47 lbs to date and the Doc is happy with everything else. I'm tired again, but will try to get to work tomorrow. Good thing they are letting me go a bit negative for sick leave.

I hope to get some more game info out soonest!

Must get better

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The one where I play a miniature game...

On Tuesday, I went to The Game Shoppe and played a game of Warmachine with Dan because he had the day off. We threw down a 1000 point game that was really fun and swayed back and forth.

Dan played Khador with Irusk and Sorscha as his casters. Going from memory, he had Beast-09, Fenrris, Dragoon, Yuri and two buddies, a unit of Doom Reavers, Widowmakers, Kell Bailock, full unit of Demo Corp, Kuldon Lord w/ Maruder jack, War Dog w/ Sorscha, and the Grey Lords.

I played Mangus the Warlord and Gorten Grundback. Magnus had a bonded Mangler and 2 Renegades, one with a bond, and Gorten had Wroughthammer Rockram. Once again from memory, I also had Dirty Meg w/ a Mule, Thor Stienhammer w/ a Blaster, MacDougle, Alyana and Holt, Piper of Ord, a minimum unit of Steelheads and Hammerfall High Shields, Eiyrss and Kell Bailock.

I had the first turn and risked an obliterator on the perched Widowmakers but it missed horribly and otherwise advanced forward with Eiyrss swinging wide to the right. Dan took the opportunity to ping some Jacks, but no real damage as his forces began to swing around my left. Dan's Manhunter took an opportunity to beat up on the Blaster.

My second turn, I charged the Manhunter with the Steelheads and had Kell come out of the woods to shoot the second Manhunter in the face. That was satisfying. I spent the second obliterator shot at Fenrris, but it missed, only clipping him to knock him down. I moved up all of Magnus' battlegroup and popped 'Kill Box' to trap his Doom Reavers and his Beast09 (with Superiority on it!) and a few others. Meg's Mule shot and missed again, a theme that would repeat often. Gorten's little legs continued to move forward with the rest of the miniatures. Eiyrss continued her sprint down the right side of the board. Dan sent the Koldon Lord and Maurader and Grey Lords to the left to deal with Kell and Eiyrss, killing Eiyrss with the Grey Lords. The trapped Doom Reavers were still able to charge in on the Mangler and the Demo Corp that were not trapped had a boundless charge on one that charged the Wroghthammer and the rest attacked some Steelheads. I lost several (all but one) steelhead and a few Gun Shields to sniper fire.

Turn Three wasn't looking too good at the start, but it worked out well, to bad Dan's turn three was better. I used Gorten's Land Slide feat to move the Doom Reavers and some of the Demo Corp into better positions. With what is left of my Jacks and solos, we dropped a Mule shot on the Demo Corp with no crit. The loan Steelhead took out a damaged Demo due to the Def lost from Landslide. At the end of the turn I had taken the Widowmakers down to one, who passed the test, finished the Demo Corp, but only did one to the Doom Reavers. On Dan's turn, he used the Doom Reavers to clear a path for the Beast-09 which used boundless charge and the Supremacy speed boost to charge Magnus. It did a good job of finishing off Magnus and a few other things. By the end of the turn, Sorscha had moved around the woods and Icy Gazed everything I had left, which wasn't much.

My turn four consisted of a fleeing Holt and having him being chopped down by Doom Reaver. On the bottom of the fourth, Dan used Beast-09 and Sorsha to finally chop Gorton down to size... Even smaller size.

It was a great game, some epic struggles, but a good back into the game. Thanks Dan, tons of fun.

On other news I picked up the Attack! and Attack! Expansion at the Shoppe. Having played once and looking at the rules, I think a few house rules may be in order. First is to lower the Technology cost from 10 start to a 9 start so we can get some of those cool things into effect. Also the Technology stealing action card should allow the original owner to keep the tech... How do you forget to do something? Finally I think we need to look at some of the minor mods to the Democratic player. It just seems really hard/tough to pull off a win with the current constraints.

Beast-09 is poop!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Saturday Game and Attack

On Saturday the 'diminished' gang got together to play a board game as any D&D campaign group would have been depleted at least two major players. After we gathered and discussed, two options were available to play, the latest version of Axis and Allies or Attack!. Rob felt that if we played A&A without Steve that it may spell his doom and given the fact that I hadn't played Attack! and always looking for a new game, we opted for Attack! instead. I am glad we did!

Attack! is a military centric board game set on a map of the world. Each player randomly selects the 'type' of government they will play. These are broad general groups like Communism, Democracy, Monarchy, and Fascism. You don't play 'England' or 'Germany' but the technology is set at around 1941. This is one of the things I really liked is that Attack! doesn't 'force' you into playing the same old historically setting. You get to set up your own country on the map and aren't saddled with the traditional boundaries.

Additionally, I really liked the Political Action Cards as they add a 'covert' or soft war type feel to the game with out over burdening it with extra complexity. This also came through with the 'Political Blitz' which also allows for expansion of your sphere of influence sans combat.

There are three combat systems in the game, one of my minor beefs. They include land, naval and strategic bombing. Land combat uses a special set of D6 that has 1 blank, 1 infantry, 1 tank, 1 artillery, and 2 planes on its facing. You roll one die for each model fighting (two for the tank) and if a picture shows up of a unit you are fighting with, it kills an enemy. Attacker goes first and casualties are removed immediately. Pretty easy. Naval combat uses a set of cards that allows you to draw a battle line then ships fight ship to ship across battle lines simultaneously, rolling 2D6 and the high winning. We only did one of these and it seemed odd, why bother changing the system. Why not just add a second set of dice based on the naval units? Strategic Bombing is even more abstract, using all your planes, regardless of location, and allocating them to fighter/bomber roles while the defender picks how many are going to be fighters from his available pool. For this combat you roll 1 D6 and every '6' is a hit and the defender goes first. I think a standardized combat format would have helped vice having to always go to the book for something new.

For the game we played it took us about 3 or so hours to set up and finish. We did a bit of rules on the fly reading as it hadn't been played by those at the table in sometime. I set up in China and surrounding areas and got Monarchy, Mark was a communist in Germany, Eric had Communist in South America and Africa, Kyle had democracy eastern US and North Africa, and Rob ran the Fascist in NZ, Alaska, Saudi Arabia and New Guinea. Each government type has a different victory condition. Mine was to have control of land zones outside my capitals content. I did spend some time taking over a good chunk of southern Asia (3:45 mark) and then started to head towards the Australian islands. I bottled up 1/2 of Rob's countries using some fleets that gave me some good leeway to maneuver while using assassination to slow down his actions. (Sneaky!) Kyle had a tough time with Democratic... You actually loose VP for attacking neutrals, the only power that does so, which makes it really hard to expand unless you use the political cards/blitz functions or directly attack other players and its bonus VP comes from neutrals that are also democracy. By end game we only had about 8 or 9 neutrals left on the board. Communism, like Democracy gets bonuses from neutrals that are also Communist. Fascist bonuses come from attacking a country with at least three troop types and winning.

I ended up winning, mostly because of the extra countries I took in the pacific island/Australia area. Monarchy has the easiest road to tow for extra VP in my mind. Interested to see how the long time players strategize the Democracy.

In sort:
  • Not locked in historical sets, but scenarios exist to do so if you like
  • Several build options
  • Political/Covert play
  • Land combat quick and easy
  • Huge Board
  • Clearly defined end game that doesn't include killing every thing on the board
  • Two too many combat systems that could be streamlined
  • Board only has one map. Eagle actually paid to print on the back of the huge board, why not make up your own globe for a different game play?
  • Technology to hard to get... We only had one in our game
  • Might needs some balancing with the VP conditions
Overall I give Attack! a solid 13 out of 15 specialty Attack! D6. :)


Friday, June 5, 2009

Retribution of Scyrah


I really don't get a chance to follow the big boards at Privateer all that much. To many things to do and not enough time. I usually hit the Press Gang section to see if I am missing anything and I can follow up on any tid bits that are shared there. With Malific in Japan posting the pics of the August Retribution releases I guess it has caused quite the stir. The PP cycle is currently in squarely in the 'Doom' phase for many players that feel that the new stuff is just right out. I can see that, but then again, I also can see how a race that has extracted themselves from other races for nearly 1000 years would have developed different technology and different approach. An Ironclad and a Destroyer are the same basic 'Jack, with cultural emphasis modifying the fringes... More armor here, bigger axe there, leaner and faster here... but in the end, it is the same technology for all intensive purposes. Not so with the Retribution.

Here are some happy snaps:

First up the light 'Jacks or Myrmidon's as the Ion's call them. My guess is that these guys will be cast metal.

The Chimera appears to be a two open fist light. My guess is that either the blades under the arms or the funky vents on the shoulders do some sort of range attack. Just a guess.

Here is the Gorgon. Another light with two open fists and arm blades. This guy looks to be lighter in the armor chest area and doesn't have the funky vents on the shoulders. Arc Node? Something completely different... Most likely.

The last of the lights is the Griffon and it is the only one with a reach weapon and shield for the lights. Seems to be the same body style as the Chimera, but without the vents.

The coolest thing to date from the Retribution is the Heavies. These are plastic and they will be convertible between the different types. Hydra, Manticore, and Phoenix will have all the parts in the kit so you an choose the one you want.

I am hoping, at least looking at the Hyrda and Mantiore that a bit of mini magnets will allow for some swaps of weapons to give greater flexibility in the kits. The Phoenix's extra vents on the back (range again?) could be an issue with the magnet options. I am hopeful that this experiment will carry over to the rest of the WM range!

What remains of the pics are a warcaster, a solo from the IK range, and a unit.

I like the Warcaster. Kaelyssa has that 'Don't piss me off human' look to her. Plus she highlights the different takes I think we are going to see from the Retribution, in this case the shadows/mage hunter types. One of my favorite items is the armor on this particular model. It seems to carry the best part of the units we have seen while tying in what we have had in the past with Eiryss.

The Dawnguard Invictor are the first full unit we have seen. These guys appear to be medium armored range troops. The do suffer form Inflated Thigh Syndrome (ITS) which seems to be common theme for the Ions, but I think it fits them fine. What I really like are the two bare heads. I think that they help bring out the detail in the fig.

Some last thoughts. I really do not like the white paint job and glowing blue iconography. I hope that it is doing a dis-service to the miniature sculpture's efforts. Like many paint jobs, pictures can sometimes distort the truth of the miniature. It is my hope that this is true with these as well, but only time will tell.

So what do you think?

I'm past Doom!

Thursday Night Board Game Action

After some tactical Pestering, I got Steve and Eric to come over for a few board games on Thursday night. First off, big thanks to the guys... I needed the diversion. Also a big sorry. I know I was starting to get to the end of my battery life near 10ish and I think I just abruptly ushered you guys out with out much of a thanks. So... thanks again!

We started with Pandemic. Three handed went pretty good and we cured all the viruses on easy, but didn't get the eradication down before the lost outbreak. Steve had the Medic, Eric the Ops guy, and I had the Scientist. For the second game, The Eldest joined us and we played a four hand. I had Medic, Steve had the Dispatcher, Eric the Scientist, and The Eldest the Researcher. We won this one as well, but it was very close as we only had a few cards left in the player deck.

We broke out Race for the Galaxy next and played a four handed game. The Eldest smoked us as she had a strong military build with the Imperium and the Rebel bases. I had a good 2x VP build (10/ turn with three resources), but started too late and she quickly placed items to end game before I could generate too much VP. The Eldest retired in the lead and Steve and Eric and I played one more three hand. I didn't have snot for cards and Steve had a strong Military strategy. Eric did have a good Development concept, but the <6> cards just were not showing up for him. Steve took the game handily with Eric in second.

PP has pics out for the latest in Retribution. I'll post on those later.

Also -- Tabletop Gaming News is back! Go Zac!


Monday, June 1, 2009

Review: Level Up Issue 1

After my half day at work, I went by The Game Shoppe quickly.  It was actually the first time I had been by in about a month due to the surgery and stuff.  I had a few things in my in box to include the latest No Quarter Magazine, a few comics I'm currently enjoying (Steven King's The Stand and Dark Tower stories), and Level Up magazine from Goodman Games.  Due to an order mix up, I didn't get the first round ordered so I hadn't actually seen it until today.  Had a chance to read a bit and check out some sections and thought I would give you my thoughts...  You know...  Game content! :)  With out further ado...

The magazine gets an solid 'A' from me.  The cover itself is pretty cool with a picture of Demon Knight (from a template inside).  As wonderful as the cover art is in all its shininess, the interior art is a little more mundane, but I guess you need to show the good stuff on the outside! :)

The magazine seems to have several features that will be used in most (all?) issues.  These include
  • An adventure (5-7 encounters) - This months was a Hill Giant with some Ogres and Dinosaurs.  
  • A player character section that adds some new Paragon Paths and powers 
  • A Bestiary, which expands on the dinosaurs in the adventure
  • A Pantheon expansion, assuming it comes from a Goodman Games world.  It also include new feats, weapons, and Paragon Paths
  • Azagar's Advice a cute take from an imprisoned hobgoblin on what adventures do badly.  It also contains some interesiting feats for each tier that could provide some new fun. 
  • A GM Section.  This one provides 'templates' that you can apply to a creature to make it different.  In this case the demon/devil focus to create things like Demon Knights (Fear the Gnomic Demon Knight!), Hellbeasts, and Hellfire Adepts.  
  • Power Skins is an interesting concept where the flavor text and name of a power are changed to fit a campaign/player style.  Kind of 'techish' in a way, but it is a different approach.
  • An Encounter: A complex encounter with multiple skill checks and combat situation that is furnished with a detailed map.  This one looks pretty involved and is pretty interesting.
  • Short Reviews: Well...  This part was weak.  Really.  I like short reviews, no problem, but when the lowest thing you rank is 4 out of 6 or a 'Solid Product' your average score on the products you reviewed was a 5/6 or 'Great product, a must buy.  You shouldn't be playing with out this!'  Really?  Nothing sucked?  OK.
  • Tool Kit: a quick filler this time that give a quick way to give 'impressive names' to those old enemies.  I liked Tunderpants myself and I'll be sure to name the next Orc leader that!
  • Advise, in the form of Dar Archmage Abby...  Nothing earth shattering here, just the typical gaming advice column.
Not sure which of these will be present from month to month but it does look like a promising start to some solid 4E content.  Plus it is physical.  For being a tech guy, I just can't get my head around the PDF mags.  It is harder to read, I can't take it away from the desk unless I'm willing to pay a ton for printing cartridges.  

If you are a 4E player, or more importantly a 4E GM, consider Level Up, I think you will like it.

13 - 18

T + 14 and back to work... Sort of...


Went back to work today for 1/2 days.  I did go to the gym and hit the treadmill first, but it was very exhausting to be in the office despite not doing anything but clearing out my email boxes.  

Got home around 1300 and took a nap.  MMMmmm  Nap! :)

Other then that, not much new.  Hopefully get some gaming in this week.

must nap daily!