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Friday, November 1, 2013

Warhammer Quest and Star Command Updates

I never did get around to a follow-up post on Warhammer Quest. It's late now and I'm flying out to Hawaii tomorrow, but let me hit the points worth hitting. I had a brilliant first playthrough with the four basic characters. Even having used all but one downloadable characters (6 in all), I think the basic ones might be the best balanced. I found the Trollslayer flavorless and the Warrior Priest too unreliable to be of use. The Archmage was useful though, and in my recent playthrough I've been having fun with the Shadow archer-whatever and the fire mage. I haven't played with the new area, but from the description it looks like new tiles and enemies for the end-game, something WQ desperately needs. If you're looking into the downloads, I say skip the Trollslayer and Priest, but the rest of it has been good in my experience.

While I'm at it, Star Command has some new content. I haven't gotten to the new missions, but they did update the UI in some very useful ways. I honestly forget if I've mentioned this game on 2d6D or not, but it rocks inside and out. It is fun, funny and old skool hard--a rare combo these days indeed. Err, well it was hard for me until I leveled my doods and built up my ship. I'm actually thinking of restarting on a harder difficulty now. Still, it is a very demanding game in terms of tactics and dexterity. I strongly recommend it.

That's all I've got right now. I'll be back to posting when I'm back from vacation. Peace out 'til then!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Inquisition Codex: I'm More Torn than Space-Time on the Crone Worlds

Let me remind you that I am skeptical of everything that isn't a hot sandwich or a cold beer. I love the Inquisition as much as a (barely) decent human being can love a maniacally obsessive, paranoid, genocidal army of cyborgs and side-show freaks. The designs, the flavor, the endless room for character personality--there is so much going for them. I haven't seen any rumors on what will be in this book. But I'll take a wild stab at it not being the tome it could be--a book with the GKs and Sisters redone and with the Deathwatch given their place as well. All three Ordos that would be, Malleus, Hereticus and Xenos, all under one sadistic, yet happy roof.

This release all but crushes any of hope of that under the hard sole of a Munitorum-issued boot. I can't wait to see it because I long ago learned that you have to take what you get with GW. The artwork does look really cool and a lot of the rules for 6th edition armies have been good, flavorful even. But I haven't seen the new Sisters stuff and that is probably the best indicator for this book. Bottom line for myself though, is that I let myself get too attached to a rumor I saw earlier in the year.

Which leads me to: that rumored 28mm Inquisition skirmish game. That was the most exciting rumor I read in the second half of this year. I hadn't heard anything about it so when I saw this news I went looking and found this not-so-recent thread on Dakka Dakka about it. This digital codex is slated for next month. It could make for a very Inquisition November to have this and the skirmish game come out around the same time. On the other hand I also worry that the skirmish game could have been twisted warp lies sent drifting in the aether of the internet. Terra help us if that's true.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Last Weekend's Gaming Sans Pictures (D'oh!)

Unfortunately I have less to say about last weekend's gaming than I'd hoped. I hadn't known what exactly we were going to play and was surprised to find out I was supposed to field both armies. I didn't have any lists prepared for that and I only brought my Eldar. It was also a good deal later than we'd thought it would be when my buddy rode in. Still, we got a kill team-ish game in and had a great time. We sort of just eyeballed the points costs for some footdar squads and then put them in pairs. Then we rolled off on each pair and the winner got to choose one of the two squads. We didn't really pay attention to full squad sizes and we allowed combat squadding for all of them. A kill point to be awarded for the death of half a squad, or for a full combat squad. 1 Farseer each. I ended up with 7 Rangers, 3 Warp Spiders and 9 Guardians with a Shuriken Cannon. He got 5 Scorpions, 5 DAs and 4 Fire Dragons.

Honestly I thought I'd mop him up before he ever got near me and on the first turn it looked like that's what would happen. I layed out 4/5 Scorpions and it looked like I would kill off his DAs. But he rolled very well for his assault range on his Scorpion who got to kill off my heavy weapon. Then his DAs made about 12 4+ saves in a row and Battle Tranced behind my terrain to lay waste to me. We had a few combats that were dragging on when we called it. If he wasn't going to table me, it would be a boring 3 turn slapfest while we take turns rolling dice.

It made for a really fun game. I hadn't been on the receiving end of Battle Trance yet and I feel like it is the best army-wide rule you could ask for except maybe ATSKNF. It's fantastic for both defense and offense. This game was also only about the third time I've used my terrain (that this same friend actually did up for me) and it was pretty rad playing on it. Hopefully after my vacation next week in Hawaii (woo!) then finances and parenting time permitting, I might be able to have more of my doods out here to play on this killer table I almost never use. I'll try to actually get pictures next time too. Sorry!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Spotlight: Allan Carrasco

In case you haven't figured it out yet, I love Eldar. I had a good time playing Eldar vs Eldar over the weekend and I'll be posting something short about it this week, but just now a friend of mine shared an awesome CWE army on Facebook that I really wanted to share with you. It is by none other than the brilliant freelance sculptor, Allan Carrasco. You might know his work from Kingdom Death (NSFW). Everything he does is really gorgeous, so I'll just post a few pictures from his site and leave it to you to go check out his other work. Under "own works" in the "painting" link you can find some truly awe-inspiring stuff. Aside from the Eldar I'm partial to the Deathguard he did. Thanks to James for sharing this in the first place! Enjoy!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Gaming at Home in Nagano

I'm going to get to play some 40k this weekend and I don't even have to travel for it! A friend of mine is training up for the Mongolian Bike Challenge and as training he is biking all the way here from Ogaki. That's something like 180km if I'm not mistaken! He called me this morning at like 6:30 when he left and I acknowledged his departure with a groggy "Grhughrlllr gu huh." This should be a great time! I love the terrain I have but I haven't gotten to use it much as I live far out and have few visitors. He actually put most of it together for me and this will be his first time to play on it.

I think I'll throw my aspect warriors against him. If we do a second game I'll probably give him a Seer Council list. Since I don't own the Dark Eldar allies I wrote my current Council list with I'll put something else together, probably including Shining Spears and Warp Spiders.

This ought to be a really great time. I'll post about our gaming during the week, most like.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

I Need Worlds of Magic Greenlit, Let's Help Make that Happen

You won't hear me say often how fortunate I was to grow up with three older brothers, but when it comes to my exposure to awesome stuff as I was growing up, there's no denying it. Games were a real big part of all of that. It was my brothers and their friends who brought home Final Fantasy 1. It was my brothers who introduced me to Mike Pondsmith's Cyberpunk and my older brother's friend who first showed me the glory of F-Zero on SNES. And it was the second oldest of my bros who bought and carelessly left out Master of Magic where I could steal it and lose myself in its deep wells of badassery. 

If you're not familiar with Master of Magic (MoM), it is one of the seminal works of the 4X gaming genre. 4X stands for the four X's of eXplore, eXpand, eXploit and eXterminate, and it is essentially these four activities that make up the whole of the genre's gameplay. 

The 4X genre has withered away into a husk of it's former robust, mighty form. It is comprised of but a few recent titles, but luckily Wastelands Interactive is hard at work on a spiritual successor to MoM, Worlds of Magic. If you look at the features they're working hard to include, at the way they involve the dedicated fan base of the original in their development, at the way their game is almost flawlessly faithful to Master of Magic, it is clear that it is a game made for fans by fans. 

Unless it can't get greenlit because YOU wouldn't vote YES for it on Steam! Yeah, that's right I'm blaming YOU specifically for something that hasn't yet and might not even happen. All right not really, but this game will be seriously excellent if Wastelands Interactive can get the support they need to get the thing out. There is already a demo available and while it is clearly still in development, it is equally apparent that the developers are going in the right direction.

Basically the point is that I want to play this game really badly and I need you help to get this game onto my hard drive. C'mon, be bro. Err, a bro, not my bro. I"m not asking you to buy this so I can steal it off your desk. Just try the free demo and click yes that you'll buy it =)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

List-building: 1500 AspectDar

When I first got into Eldar it was the synergy required of aspect warriors, each operating at maximum efficiency and in perfect harmony, that had me falling in love with the flavor of the army. My first taste of Eldar gameplay was in Dawn of War and I found immediately that depending on the match up, my units either slayed or were slain. The steep learning curve and fierce tactical demands were exhilarating. When I first tried it with models I had a little success, and then far less as my opponent got used to my army. I found that in the face of sheer optimization and efficiency, our masterful warriors were just too pricey and not quite good enough to justify it. Well now we have a new book and have seen a lot of improvements for certain aspects--luckily they were the ones I already own and enjoy, so I have gone back to enjoying the Eldar play style that I think most embodies the harmony and calibration that drew me to the army in the first place. This list focuses on synergy, board control, overlapping target priority, and deceptive deployment:

--Farseer - Singing Spear 105

--8 Dire Avengers 249
  Wave Serpent - TL Scatter Laser, Shuriken Cannon, Holo-fields, Spirit stones
--10 Guardians with Bright Lance 110
--5 Rangers 60
--5 Rangers 60
--10 Striking Scorpions - Exarch w/ Scorpion's Claw and Crushing Blow 220
--9 Fire Dragons 343
  Wave Serpent - TL Scatter Laser, Shuriken Cannon, Holo-fields, Spirit stones

Fast Attack
5 Warp Spiders - 95
5 Warp Spiders - 95
5 Shining Spears - Exarch w/ Hit & Run and Star Lance 160

12 Kill Points, 4 Scoring Units and 1497 Total Points

It's not what I'm used to these days. It isn't especially heavy on the long-ranged firepower and doesn't have any dedicated anti-air. In lists I make, I generally try to have a couple of ways to deal with every threat in the game while keeping my units' movement speed roughly the same. 

Well this list has a huge variety of weapon ranges and movement speeds. Playing it means deploying smart. You have to make good use of infiltration on the Rangers and Scorpions. Using reserves with Spiders deep striking and Spears outflanking can cripple crucial enemy units mid-late game. The slow/immobile units are best used to hold back-field objectives and depending on the enemy's ability to close in on them they should be supported accordingly. Objectives can be used to split up the enemy force and then you can apply pressure with the right units.

Being a hybrid force, this army could easily get separated into small battle groups that would be easily destroyed. The key to playing it is to evaluate the opponent's ability to do that and not to overextend your units. None of the units are meant to suicide into the enemy, least of all the Fire Dragons who have a reputation for that kind of thing. With their new armor and a Farseer backing them up, they should delay their attack until absolutely necessary and deliver a crucial blow at a vital moment. They're too pricey and have great survivability with their new armor; they are wasted when thrown away on a single target. The Spiders and Spears can easily find themselves outnumbered in the enemy backfield and that is something that must be avoided as well.

I think this list has a solid chance against many opposing forces. It's far from a power build, but I have had some success with it already and find it to be a lot more strategically demanding (and rewarding) than my mech lists.

What are your thoughts? What style of Eldar do you prefer? How do you feel about playing aspect-heavy with the new book?

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Steam Sales Oct 3-7

Just a quick post about this week's Steam sales. Though I (probably) won't be getting Borderlands 2 because I'm completely addicted to War of the Roses right now, it's 66% off. But even better than that is that XCOM: Enemy Unknown is 75% off!

I've been playing XCOM since I was a little kid. I even played the original only about a year before the new one came out. Enemy Unknown is not only a great XCOM game, but if they'd finally release the source code for modding it would make an incredible template for any turn-based, skirmish system. I dreamed of a 40k mod almost constantly throughout my 100 hours of blissful gameplay. If you like games that are old-school hard, and if you want to really challenge your tactical thinking get this while it's cheap! Then after you've finished the awesome campaign mode, hit the multi-player assuming there are still people playing. It gets so incredibly intense. Seriously, the suspense and atmosphere created by the fog of war is nerve-wracking at times.

Just some notable video game news you might not have noticed if you don't log into Steam regularly. On another note, you may find me posting about War of the Roses sometime soon. I got into that game pretty late, but I'm stunned by how excellent it is.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Welcome to Wargaming 2013.9.21

The Welcome to Wargaming WiJ event was absolutely amazing. Everything from the hall to the tables to the players to the food to the prizes--just fantastic. I'll let the pictures do most of the talking this time, but even if each picture said 1,000 words they would fall short of telling what a great event it was.

Happened on this beauty while we were stuck in traffic.

Here are many of the tables just before we started rolling dice. We showed up late because the gate house was full of people and the guards were apparently not in much of a hurry (it's a military base, so everyone has to be signed in). I didn't finish getting pictures because games got started as I was snapping off shots. Had to rush to get my army out.

I thought Necromunda was going to be played on this table, but maybe it was Judge Dredd that got some time on it. Maybe someone from the group can correct me if I'm wrong.
Here's a huge and beautiful table for a game whose name I forget. In my blog list you can find a link to these fellas' blog. Their painting is just gorgeous, but my photos are taken from too far away to do them any justice.

 In the following two pics you can get the gist of how my first game went. I ran a list where I just crammed in all my aspect warriors, rangers and guardians. Well not all my Rangers. I have 29 of them now, but only 10 are painted. Anyway, it was an experimental list with much less long-ranged firepower than I'm used to bringing. My opponent was playing an experimental GK list with a very low body count, however, and my numbers and offensive power proved too much for his force. I didn't really have an MVP unit, but my Dragons, Scorpions, Rangers, Spiders and Spears all performed admirably. His MVP was easily Draigo. He ate a lot of shooting and broke my Dragon unit's Morale. His contending MVP unit was probably the Storm Raven. It wiped a 5 man Spider squad and seemed like it planned on bringing even more pain elsewhere on his next turn.

His GKs were beautifully painted. Traditional silver and Inquisition red, but you could tell he put the time in to do it up right.

Notice the conspicuous lack of Warp Spiders. Yeah, Dakka Ravens hurt.
Second game was against Tyranids. My opponent chose my competitive list rather than my experimental one and I got out my Forgedar. It's a mech list with a lot of S6 and S8AP2 shooting. In hindsight it was a worse match-up than even my first game, but again my opponent was an awesome guy and we had a good game of it nonetheless. He actually almost won anyway despite how tough a fast, shooty, mech army is to fight with a Nid list like his. When it came time for the dice to stop rolling he had his objective and I didn't have any. I won just barely through secondary objectives, but not through any forethought of my own. I wish I had close-ups of his Nids. They looked fabulous.

There are some things in reserves, but this is it for the most part.

Wine, beer and food all day with the entry fee. I don't eat while I play because I worry about my figs, but I did indulge a little in the drinks =)

We had a surprise special guest at our event! Through a fairly roundabout way, one of our gamers/organizers found out that Steve Parker, BL author of titles such as Gunheads and Deathwatch, lives in Japan. Well he was kind enough to come to our event, sign some books and sort of just hang out and chat. He's a really cool guy and an excellent conversationalist. It certainly helped kick off the Wargamers in Japan events.

As a side note, we raffled of that chainsword he's holding and I'm incredibly jealous of the guy who got it. He's one of fellas from Giant Hobby in Tokyo. Head on out to their shop if you want to see it. Or you know, I think you can order one from the internet.

And that was the first event we've held! Definitely a huge success and a start to something really great. There are going to be a lot of other awesome game days in the future and I hope to see even more of the Japan gamers at the next one. Thanks to everyone who put so much into making this event fantastic.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Spolight: Ryan Herbranson - Bronze Prize Diorama for Golden Demon Japan 2013

It seems that here in Japan the Golden Demon event was held yesterday and my friend Ryan over at Blood of Angels won the bronze prize for his amazing diorama. The competition must have been incredibly fierce because I absolutely love his work. There is some great background behind the scene too, but I don't see it on his blog so I'll ask him if I can copy/paste it from somewhere and then I'll edit it into this post. Posting about Welcome to Wargaming will just have to wait a little bit. This is too rad not to blog while it's hot =) Without further long-winded ado, here are pictures of his great submission. Congrats Ryan!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Welcome to Wargaming Weekend - Back at Craftworld My'house

Well I'm back home after an astonishing and astonishingly tiring weekend. The Wargamers in Japan event, Welcome to Wargaming, was a huge success with a lot of attendees. We had people playing napoleonic games, Space Hulk, Magic: The Gathering, Necromunda, Warmachine and some other stuff I'd never seen besides 40k. We had people representing from the US, Japan, France, Scotland and Italy if I recall, and maybe even more. We had a raffle with some cool figures and a really good-looking chainsword prop by a company whose name I forget. My friend (and gracious driver) also won the first place prize for the tournament. It was judged on the most fun opponent and I couldn't think of a more deserving individual. Steve Parker gave him a signed copy of his new book Deathwatch as a prize. What personal message did he request, you ask? "You look sexy in power armor!" Hahahah

There were a lot of great figures on the tables and even greater people playing them. I'll be blogging (read, bragging) about it this week. I got some pictures, but I'll borrow better ones from some of the guys in the group and share them. Luckily this is just the first of many events there will be. I'll be posting about others to come, so if you know anyone in Japan who wants to game and just doesn't know where to go for it, it is far from too late to get in on some really awesome events. Let them know and let's keep building on the great momentum we've got going.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Publishing Weekend Followed by Welcome to Wargaming Weekend

This weekend I finally published my children's book to Smashwords. It took a while to write, draw, paint and compile the thing. Still, it might have taken even longer to register for the international book numbers I needed to publish it how I wanted to. I'll post some details on my other blog, but for now I thought I'd share over here since my other audience has heard plenty through the facebook page. The kids that have read Bear with Me and those that have had it read to them have all loved it and asked it to be read a number of times in a row. The parents who have read it liked it too. I put a lot into making it appeal to both, because having become a dad this year I know what it's like to read kids' books that make me roll my eyes. Or that get boring to me quickly. Or that just kind of suck. It's pretty cheap at 3.99 and the first half is available as a free sample if you want to get a feel for the art. Really though, the story comes together at the end (as any story should). For now it is only available through Smashwords, but once it clears their vetter review it will be available through Apple, Sony, Kobo and Barnes & Noble. I'll be uploading to Amazon myself later this week. The Japanese version will be coming this week as well. Smashwords is best if you just want to show your support as the royalties rate is much better, but you do also get access to every available file format, so it's a win/win for us both.

On the 40k front, next weekend is the Welcome to Wargaming event! God I can't wait for it. There are going to be a lot of tables set up for a lot of different games. There will be representatives from a lot of the hobby shops in Japan and I heard that Steve Parker of Black Library fame will be around too! I'd love to get a chance to talk to him. I had no idea any of the BL authors live in Japan.

For gaming, I opted to play a little demo game of Necromunda and 3 games of 40k at 1500 points. I haven't played 40k in a while. The last games I did get in were with Seer Council/Dark Eldar mech list variants. I picked up a few new lessons with my favorite unit in the game. Allying in Dark Eldar and using Wave Serpents, War Walkers and GJBs lets me shoot pretty darn hard in addition to having a truly obscene beat stick.

Good lessons, but I'm not sure if they're one's I'll be leaning on next Saturday. I have three different lists in mind: two competitive ones and one that is experimental. The experimental one has lots of aspect warriors and a mix of vehicles. One competitive one is my Council DEldar list and the other is a mech list that is tough as nails. I forget how well I can pack everything up. I'm pretty sure I can bring all three and then play each once since there are three games (it's not a tourney).

I haven't been up to date on all the Space Marine rules, but from what I've heard they sound in line with the newer books. I'll have a look before the event, but I can't imagine a solid TAC Eldar list suddenly can't hang just because SMs got some price adjustments and new toys. It should be a great time!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Rumors: Space Marine Photo Dump

Here is a collection of all the new Space Marine photos I could scrounge up. Many of them came from Dakka and others from Pins of War, where you can find these photos of Tac Marines and Sternguard that I can't seem to steal shamelessly.

For my part, I'm none to impressed. I heard new Vanguard Vets and almost lost it because they have such potential. I do think they're the best of the bunch here, but from the GKs, Dark Vengeance chosen, DW Knights, and Death Company, I expected better. Especially from the Vanguard models. The poses are really disappointing to me. Especially when compared to that awesome PAGK kit where you get to have a guy stabbing through the skull of a Plaguebearer. It's a model so good it looks like a conversion, but isn't. The key to making amazing Vanguard Vets would have been in the momentum expressed by the poses, in my opinion. I do, however, like the Sternguard, tanks and the Libby a lot. Hope to see some good figures in the Sternguard kit as those photos surface.

Enjoy folks. I'll be around, but I'm on vacation and I'm trying to knock out that kids' book before I go back to work.