Thursday, 17 July 2014

D&D Fifth Ed. Starter Box

Another package waiting for me today when I arrived home from work; the D&D fifth edition starter box.  A bit of an impulse buy when I ordered it, but as it cost me just over a tenner, it won't break the bank. 

Initial impressions are that it's pretty standard fare; two A4 books, a 32 page rule book and 64 page adventure book, five pre-generated character sheets, one blank character sheet and, of course, a wee bag of funny sided dice!  The books are of decent quality; I do like the new art style they've taken and the dice are, well, dice.  The character sheets are just printed on cartridge paper, but as people are bound to copy them first, that's no big loss.

I haven't played D&D in a loooong time, so haven't the foggiest how the rules have changed, still seems pretty straight forward though.  There's a murmur going around our gaming group that we'll try and run the introductory adventure as a one off, so I'm holding off opening the adventure book for the moment!  Getting a roleplaying session in was one of my gaming resolutions this year, so fingers crossed we'll sort something out.

To be honest, I'm a little underwhelmed by the starter box, but I suspect that's because I have the Star Wars: Edge of Empire starter box, which has a) a lot more stuff in it and b) is a more polished starter product, in the sense that there's a clear logic to what to read first, what to do next and where to go to get more info (such as a second adventure from their website.)  This box is a very simple "here's your character, off you go" kind of affair.  Having said all that, the SW box retails at close to double the price of this one, so it's not an entirely fair comparison.

Happy enough with the box, not sure if I'll pick up any of the hardback rulebooks or not though, time will tell.

Also, why did they change this D&D to plain "fifth edition?" D&D Next was such a better name!

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Some Brief Star Wars Nostalgia!

Recently, I've been on a bit of a Star Wars kick, what with rewatching the movies, Droids, Ewoks (yes I know it was terrible,) the X-Wing tournament and the Star Wars card game. Flicking through YouTube, I came across this:

Now I can't even contemplate how much cash I dropped into this arcade machine when I was a kid (for you infants out there, arcade machines were how you played computer games before you had a computer in the house!)

I'll admit, it doesn't stand up well to the test of time, but this was cutting edge back in 1985! The arcade machine actually quoted the movie with a voice, not text - at the time, this was ground breaking!  My favourite quote from Jedi?  "Han will get that shield down, we gotta five him more time!"  I think this video is actually using an emulator or similar, as back in the day the game was a lot less forgiving!

Yes terrible, even worse than Droids, but, remember, not as bad as the Christmas Special!

This afternoon I spent a bit of time going through the photos from the X-Wing tournament and I'll hopefully get a couple posts in later in the week.  Until then...

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Assault at Imdaar Alpha

This weekend I'm off visiting a friend, Gaz, in Edinburgh.  As far as we've arranged, the agenda consists of lots of junk food, beers and games.  Looking forward to getting away from the 'Deen for a while and relaxing for a couple days.

On Saturday we've both signed up an X-Wing tournament at the Games Hub (which I've been to, but can't remember where it actually is.)  The tournament is part of the Assault at Imdaar Alpha event FFG are running to promote the next wave of releases for the game.  Hopefully we'll get a chance to break out my Tantive IV at some point too.

Tournaments aren't really high on the list of reasons why I game, the last one I went to was over two years ago, but they are a nice distraction and a good opportunity to get some games in against new people.  I've still not decided on what kind of squadron to field there, but I'm leaning towards a Moldy Crow/twin B-Wing list; it looks competitive, not too cheesy and kind of fun.  I'll try and take some pictures, but they'll just be with the phone as I've apparently lost my camera!

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Two New Babies

First off, a big congrats to my regular gaming buddy Adam and his wife on the birth of their new baby errr... no name yet, lets just say little baby B!  Very happy for all four of them, their cat counts as a person doesn't she, even if it means less gaming in the next few months (Me? Selfish? Never!)

Speaking of new arrivals, here's my latest addition:

About the same size as and tons more fun than a tiny wee pooping machine (only joking!)

The Rebel CR90 Corvette "Tantive IV" for X-Wing.  Most famous for the opening scene in A New Hope, the Tantive IV is in all three films, most notably getting swarmed by TIE Interceptors in Jedi.

It's an absoutely lovely mode, the paint job is on par with most of the recent X-Wing releases i.e. excellent for a pre-paint.  There's some lovely detailing work and it has a the usual weathered feel to it.  I can't deny being delighted by the fact the gun turrets swivel!  

I haven't even had a chance to look at the rules yet, something about energy and multiple attacks and destroying any other ship whose base you touch.  Nice! There is a mini-campaign booklet in the box, which is a suitable addition.  In Epic Play (the X-Wing rules where you can actually use this ship) the minimum points level is 300, a lot of points, but the scenario book pits you against a relatively small number of enemy ships, decent enough given the RRP of the Tantive IV!

I'm away visiting a friend in Auld Reekie next weekend; a fair bit of gaming should be involved and this guy is certainly the first thing I'll be packing!

Friday, 23 May 2014

I'm Back Baby.... Errr, Again.

Well, I guess that's long enough without posting on here.  To get the touchy feely stuff out of the way, life has simply been a little too stressful the last couple months to keep my normal routine, not just for blogging, but for a fair few other things.

The quick version is that I legally agreed to buy a house with my Mrs last year, but a few days after that she decided she didn't want to stay together any longer.  We couldn't get out of the house buy and neither of us wanted to live in the house on our own, so it was a very awkward and stressful twelve months.  Thankfully, March saw a lot of potential buyers view the place, we eventually managed to agreed a sale and it went through towards the end of April.

For the last couple weeks I've been enjoying the modest luxury of not worrying about the place (every time there was a strong wind, I was certain the tree in the garden would blow down through and go through the kitchen window!)  Still, the whole experience was pretty rough; lost a lot of money, had to leave my felis catus behind and it took a long time to come to terms with starting again at my age, but, thankfully, I think I've managed to get past that point now.  While I'm talking about this, I'd like to throw out a quick thanks to all my internet friends on the blogoshpere and elsewhere for their support (even if they didn't necessarily know they were offering it!)

Right, that's enough of that.

Managed a reasonable amount of gaming lately, obviously not enough though.  Played some FoG with the guys at the club; still an enjoyable game, but doesn't really grab me anymore. Scott at the club also ran a Romans vs Britons game using a new (to me) ruleset, the name of which escapes me.  A lot of fun, plus the fact that Scott doesn't run small games made it an enjoyable evening.  I also tried the Star Wars LCG by FFG, looks like a game with a lot of depth, but I'm waiting to find a regular opponent before I drop much cash on it.

I've also been on a bit of a buying splurge too; a ton of games have been added to the pile lately, notably:
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse.  This is a fixed deck, co-op cardgame which sees a group of superheroes joining forces to fight an evil supervillain.  The game itself is phenomenally simple, the rule book contains almost no rules, rather it just goes over the turn sequence and clarifies exactly what the different terms used mean. Instead, all the actions and abilities in the game are on the various hero, villain and environment cards; the game can be taught in literally less than five minutes. Sentinels is also supremely replayable, I have the base game and one expansion and have yet to play the same combination of heroes, villains and environments twice.  Lastly, the game doesn't use any existing IP; instead all the characters are original creations and it's very enjoyable reading the humorous fluff for each one.  My favorite hero so far is Fanatic, a crusading angel smiting her enemies, while the most entertaining villain is Baron Blade, a mad scientist determined to crash the moon into Earth!  An outstanding game.

  • Star Trek Attack Wing.  Right, here's the issue.  I already play and love X-Wing. ST:AW is essentially the same game... with worse models... and poorer quality cards... and with some fairly broken combinations.  So, what's the appeal?  It's STAR TREK BABY!  Yeah, I'm a fan boy, so even though the whole experience is less satisfying than X-Wing, it's still Klingons against the Dominion and that's just full of win.  I just received the first Borg ship in the mail today (Borg Sphere 4270) and, ooooh, tiny nerdgasm, Borg Cutting Beam, Seven of Nine, Regenerate, what's not to love!

  • Malifaux Second Edition.  A blast from the past this one, I was playing Malifaux not long after it's original release a few years ago.  A very thinky skirmish game, but also a lot of fun.  Sadly, the game suffered from far too many errors, erratas and updates and I ended up bailing on an otherwise fine game.  The last game I played involved us using the original rulebook, the errata, the faq, the new rules sheet and the pdf of the updated cards, simply too much faff to enjoy the game.

    I'm glad to say that M2E is a much better set of rules than the original, cleaner explanations of the key mechanics, less clutter and much better presentation. It's also been an excuse to pick up a couple of the new plastic Crew boxes LadyJ and Ramos and get some modelling in (I will get some painting done soon, I swear!)

I'm still pretty addicted to Android Netrunner, the most rewarding game I play with any regularity, but we're really struggling to get any kind of community together in Aberdeen.  Online, I use OCTGN whenever I can, so if anyone out there plays A:NR and uses OCTGN, feel free to get in touch (my username is Vladdd309.)

Been churning through the books recently too; I've adapted to reading three books at once now, based on what format (physical book, audiobook and Kindle,) compared to two (one factual and fiction.)  I listen to an audiobook on the commute, read the kindle in the house and a regular book everywhere else, especially the bath.  Currently reading the original Foundation trilogy by Asimov, forgotten just how good it is.  Expect a few Two Minute Reviews to follow soon.

It's that time of year again, the IPL is back (coom on the Kings XI!) as well as the Giro.  A few more weeks and I can start pretending again that I like tennis, then it's the Tour and the golf.  Not enough hours in the week!

Lastly, on a complete impulse, I bought a PS Vita in March.  I'm a Xbox fan, but haven't been able to either use the 360 I have much nor pick up the new console.  My laptop isn't up to playing a game so the Vita has been a godsend.  Notably, Killzone Mercenary has just been eating up the dead hour between ten and eleven at night and Wipeout is just as great as it was back in 1994!

Anyway, thanks to those of you have stuck around to read all this.  I'll try not to leave it so long until the next post!  S.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Dreadball Xtreme

Well, the Dreadball Xtreme Kickstarter has been live for a couple days now and has already garnered a smack-ton of cash.  Your truly and Mr B have jointly signed up to it, at a fairly hefty, but not ridiculous, level.

At the moment I'm reasonable happy with what's on offer, but, given the previous projects Mantic have launched this way, I'm expecting to see a lot more value added over the next three weeks.    Given how much we've collectivly dropped on the original Dreadball, it still's still a good deal so far.

Very little information is available about the actual gameplay, but the core seems to be the same as the original Dreadball game.  Dreadball was easily the best (miniatures) game I properly invested in last year and is one of those games that I would play without resevation.

One of the notable decisions Mantic have made is to move away from their heavy plastic (rastic?) figures to preassembled plastic miniatures.  If there's one thing that frustrated me about Deadzone, Dreadball and some of their other figure ranges, it's cleaning those hideous mouldlines and glueing the pieces together.  I've had Deadzone for a week now and have suffered through assembling a whole seven figures!  Hopefully this new material will be easier to work with.

The big draw for me so far is the customisable board; appropriate given that DB:X isn't played in a traditional arena, but in back streets, warehouses and prisons.  I'm also anticipating what new teams or races Mantic add into the mix.

Three weeks to go with eleven updates so far, looking forward to seeing what the final package will be.  Check out the Kickstarter here.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

What's in this box then?

After an interminable three hour meeting at work, I was really looking forward to this when I got home last night.

So what's in it then?  Well, it's my huge, extravagant and completely unnecessary Christmas splurge gift to myself; a big pile of Deadzone goodness.

Ok, justification time.  We can use the scenery for at least two games other than Deadzone itself.  I've only heard good things about the gameplay; plus it plays on a two foot square area, meeting the whole "game in a box thing" I've got going on at the moment.  Lastly, I wanted to drop some cash on myself, rather than solicitor bills and property management companies.  Job done.

By my count, that's 51 figures (with two still to come) added to the lead pile, twenty two sprues of scenery, plenty resin and plastic tokens and a whole new game to explore. Everything I'll every need to pick up... well, until the next wave of releases in March!

I read the core rules this morning and everything looks pretty straightforward to far. Deadzone ticks most of the boxes I look for; simple enough core rules, plenty of options and special rules, a nice dice rolling mechanic and plenty of player options, both in choosing your strike force and on the table.  Consider me happy!