Follow by Email

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

More Work On Terrain!

Man I've been getting work done!

So last night I kept going on getting the table ready. Before I did I wanted to see how much coverage I had done so far, so above you'll see a random layout I set up. I didn't set it up for gaming so to speak as it would probably be a bit more spread out and not concentrated on the center so much, and I'll also probably keep the green building in the back out of the set up.

I then took the Garden of Morr stuff that still needed to be painted out for priming and should have them ready to get started on Thursday or Friday.

I decided to put some finishing touches on the buildings and added in the Dreadstone Blight piece from GW. I'm only working on getting these up to tabletop standard, so for the buildings I painted the spires and doors.

I started off with a rough base coat of P3 Brass on all the spires, then hastily drybrushed with P3 Metal. I then heavily washed them with GW Agrax Earthshade. Quick and dirty, it gets the job done.

I also based the doors with P3 Sanguine base and heavily washed it with Agrax Earthshade. Not done by a mile, but good enough for Saturday.

I then decided to finish up the Dreadstone Blight terrain up to tabletop standard. I decided that painting the wood and skulls should get it up to snuff quickly enough. I basecoated the wood and skulls with VGC Opaque Heavy Brown, then highlighted it by adding in VMC Dark Sand and again with mostly just Dark Sand. Then I heavily washed the wood with GW Agrax Earthshade and picked out spots with GW Nuln Oil wash.

That's where I'm at so far. It's tough for me to stop working on something when it's not exactly up to my usual standard, but it's been really successful for me to just get something done in a fast manner. More pics to come as more progress is made!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Pegasus Buildings WIP

Hey folks!

Last night I continued working on the Pegasus buildings. I quickly knocked out some airbrush work to get them tabletop ready. Mostly I just used VMA Light Grey, then sprayed the roofs blue and green.

It was quick, and it was dirty. I had to power through my usual standard in favor of getting it done, overall it didn't end up too bad. I made sure to leave enough room for later improvement should I want, I could either wash it or use pigments and end it with a drybrush to clean it all up. I've still got to work on the spires but outside of that it should be good to go. I may have enough time to paint up the doors and lights.

Anyways, that's all, just a quick update on my progress!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Pegasus Buildings WIP... Along with some Relic Knights WIP

Greetings web people!

So over the weekend I decided to tackle some long awaited projects.

This coming Saturday is my local gaming store's grand opening for their new location and I wanted to have a good looking table done by then, that way we may be able to attract some new blood to our group! I was thinking of some options and remembered I have some incomplete buildings that have been dying to get painted.

I've had these Pegasus buildings for a long time now. They are a modular kit made in a Gothic style that fits right in for Warhammer or Malifaux, and they are great in that sense but terrible in another sense as they don't have roofs. One flat sheet of plastic roofing would have elevated this kit from cool to amazing, but you do get a lot for a relatively small price.

I started by cutting out large flat sheets of corrugated plasticard for the roof. I had to do some tricky stuff to get it to fit on the building with the spires getting in the way, but I feel like it worked out enough.

Then I dressed it up a bit with some strips of thicker plasticard, it helps clean it up and look a bit more professionally done. Upon closer inspection you can see my amateur work, though, as honestly I didn't care about it being too perfect and I'm not a patient person when it comes to scratch building.

I then got some cheap rattle can spray primer and got to work on painting. This is where I'm at so far, and I'm going to have to work a bit fast in order to get these done by Saturday. I won't concentrate at all on detail work, mostly just laying down a decent job of shading for the major parts - namely painting the stone and the roofs, while still figuring out how I want to paint the spires.

I also started painting a Relic Knights model, the above picture is where he's currently at. I'd been in a recent painting funk and haven't been very motivated to finish up any Malifaux models so I thought I should paint something different for a change. I really like this guy as he has a ton of character for what is essentially a one piece model. He's a stand out in a pretty cool line of miniatures and I've had a good time so far, now I'm just stumped on how I want to paint the pants. I've still got to black line the armor so I should be able to figure out what I want to do by the time I'm done with that step.

Although he's made for Relic Knights games he's too cool to not use him for other games. He could fit in with a Frostgrave warband, but mostly I think if I ever get to use Supersystem he'd be really awesome for it. He's definitely got a comic book vibe going.

Anyway, that's what I've been up to. Nothing completed but tons started, which is par for the course!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Austin Tourney 9/10/16 and some MERCS!

Hello internetters!

So last Saturday the Houston group came out in droves for the Austin Malifaux tournament. There was a whopping 19 participants, the biggest turnout I've had the pleasure of partaking in! Almost the whole Houston group came to represent and grow the community at Dragon's Lair and were 10 of the players for the tournament.

This was also the first tournament I played post-nerf for Leve and was curious to see how he was affected. I had only two practice games with him with his new limitations so I was kind of rusty on his playing, which can be blamed entirely on Parker Barrows. I anticipated seeing a lot of the new masters in this gathering, so my expectations on my games began slightly lower as I knew I'd face a lot of stuff I hadn't seen before - which is never a good thing in my experience. In fact all three games I played were against Wave 4 masters!

My first game was against an Austin native Patrick. He declared Ressers so I went with Leve out of comfort. I knew my other lists would have problems against summoning, especially my less-than-successful Parker crew (even with new changes I've been thinking of).

He used Reva, the new Resser master, and the entirety of her starter box, along with a Carrion Emissary. I used the same Leve list with the Mechanical Rider and Ashes & Dust. 

From what I recall it was Corner Deployment and Guard the Stash. Convict Labor, Covert Breakthrough, and others (man, I've really got to learn to bring my notes with me when I blog!) were the scheme pool. Obviously I chose Convict Labor and Covert Breakthrough.

The Mech Rider playing it safe...

So I learned a lot about Reva from this game. First off he had an upgrade that put a Corpse Candle 8" away from me, that alarmed me to say the least. She has an 18" range and can apparently fire from Candles so that was a big no-no in my head. I immediately kill it with Ashes & Dust and made an Abomination in its place for good measure. He slowly moved all his models toward the marker in front of him on my left while advancing his henchman Vincent St. Clair toward the other side with a Crooligan, both of whom had From the Shadows.

A little too close for comfort at the bottom...

Although not pictured I leapt my Necropunk on the other side of the building opposite of the Crooligan/Vincent. Either he was going to bite the bait or leave him alone, which also works for him placing schemes. I had one Flesh Construct walk behind Ashes while the other one and the Mech Rider went slowly up the middle, towing along two Waifs. Leve then used his (0) to teleport and kill Ashes to get a shot off on the closest Shieldbearer. I reduced him to zero wounds and didn't know that when they die they come back to full health as a spirit or something. Luckily my trigger that creates an Abomination wasn't wasted, as all it needs is to reduce the target to 0 health for it to work. So while he came back from the dead he was right next to an A-Bomb, who didn't allow for a corpse marker to come out either - which is a huge deal for Reva as she can shoot from them as well. This nifty little side effect turned out to be a huge factor in this game as it was denying his mechanic tremendously, as well as annoying him with free A-Bombs that stop (0) actions and deny suits to Ca actions.

Ashes getting ready to receive a lot of attention

I don't exactly remember the play by play so I'll sum it up as best as possible. The Carrion Emissary was doing a good job blocking off LOS and choke points with its markers. I completely forgot that it raises a Mindless Zombie at the end of the turn from the markers, and due to that miscalculation I didn't score from Convict Labor on turn 2. 

He spent a lot of resources killing Ashes and Dust only to see it resurface. It was the first time he'd seen either Leve or Ashes so it was quite a shock. Eventually he was able to kill it.

On turn two Leve was able to evaporate the Carrion Emissary in one activation. The right side saw the Necropunk running toward the enemy side unopposed while the Mech Rider, Flesh Construct and various summoned models kept Vincent busy. I was a bit worried about that side as Vincent was able to ignore damage reduction, which could end the Mech Rider, but overall he wasn't able to do much. Over the course of the game I think I summoned at least 6 Abominations and had an opportunity to merge them into a Desolation Engine, which up until that point I didn't believe would ever happen! Because I'd never done it before I completely forgot that I could. Those little buggers are such excellent speed bumps. 

In the end we only finished Turn 3 and I won 3-2. I completely spaced when I saw Covert Breakthrough and for some reason played it exactly like Leave Your Mark, so I ended up not scoring from CB at all. I've got to make sure that when I play I reread my schemes and make sure I'm working toward that goal the entire game. I have been doing better in my head when it comes to that, though. Almost every plan or action I take I make sure to ask myself, "Is this going to help me score?" and make sure that it does. It's actually a good thing to repeat to yourself before spending every AP.

My second game had me paired up against Clay. He's a buddy from Houston I play every so often, he's always a fun opponent since he puts up with my trash talk and shenanigans. He surprised me when he declared Guild as I had only seen his Outcasts out recently and even used Nelly the whole tournament (I think). This was yet another new master for me, so I kept using Leve.

It was standard deployment with Turf War as the Strategy. The pool had Convict Labor, Leave Your Mark, A Quick Murder and others. I actually changed up my list for this pool, since the previous week I kept thinking about schemes like Hunting Party and AQM being weak points for my Leve crew as I give up a lot of VP with it. I changed out Ashes and Dust for Sue and another Necropunk. I hadn't ever considered actually fielding Sue with Leve, only in theory. Sue could prove useful in Turf War against Nelly as I knew she had the ability to cheat in your damage flips so Burning was welcome. It was risky as I hadn't tested them together, but AQM with Ashes on the table may as well just be 3 free VP for my opponent.

I ended up taking AQM and LYM, as I hadn't had much luck with Convict Labor in Austin due to not finishing the game all the time. He had Gracie on his side, which from my experience tends to be very squishy against Leve. He also tends to go very far into the enemy board so I anticipated being in range with him fast.

After deploying my Necropunks on both table edges they moved up, while the center of my board also advanced. I actually put the Mech Rider a bit ahead to bait out some models, hopefully Gracie who was right in front of her, and made sure to save my good cards for her defense. He took the bait and lowered her wounds down to 5 but lived. Leve then shot into the combat and hit Gracie twice, lowering him down to one wound. The last hit randomized onto the Mech Rider, and with his trigger allowed her to make a melee attack to finish Gracie off. I scored 3 VP in turn one and got off to a good start.

In the end I won 10-7 and learned a ton about Nelly - mostly that she's annoying when coupled with Burt Jebson. The Henchman she comes with is actually pretty good, but luckily I was able to force him into using her as a scheme runner as I either tied up or killed his other scheme runners.

My last game was against Nick, who usually runs Jack Daw. He actually played Parker Barrows for the entire tournament, so I was glad I actually got to play against something I was very familiar with. He used the box and added Envy (ugh, he always uses this guy and he always gives me headaches) and Johan. At least Envy isn't as bad ass as he is with Jack Daw.

We had Flank Deployment with Reckoning as the strategy, so I used my first Leve list as he does pretty well in Reckoning - Viks get the first point extremely well, not so much afterward as there may not be much left :). The pool had Detonate the Charges, Convict Labor, Inspection, Leave Your Mark and Show of Force.

I honestly thought he chose Show of Force because he had upgrades on everything that could hold them!

I took Leave Your Mark and Detonate the Charges, I felt especially bold to not pick Convict Labor again. I wish I did though, it would have been much easier than I thought.

The Gang gets ready

So I figured he had taken Show of Force based on his list and most likely Detonate the Charges since he was using Parker. Being that I had the Mechanical Rider coupled with knowing how Parker tends to drop several of my own markers for me I took Detonate the Charges instead of Convict Labor. I felt that if I took CL all he'd have to do is hit me once to negate my scheme from range and didn't want to risk it, not to mention if he's close enough he can eat my markers.

Right after deployment

I knew he was going to rely on Envy a lot as he really loves that guy (I've yet to see him run a list without him) so I made sure to concentrate on using models that could take him out fast. I deployed Ashes as close to him as possible with Leve right behind, followed by a backup Flesh Construct, then put everyone else toward the other end. He used his Scout the Field move on his Bandidos and Mad Dog to spread out on the flanks, especially on my right. This made me hold back my Mech Rider significantly as I needed to make sure to have a solid Anchor in case I needed to swap sides for Leve.

It's about to get real...

He moved Envy to the corner of the closest building to get ready to blow stuff up. He had Parker, Mad Dog and Doc to his left and a single Bandido to his right. 

I see what you're doing there

In response I rushed Ashes up the left and the Flesh Construct in the middle. Leve then used his (0) to telepoort to Ashes after out-activating his crew and only managed to get Envy down to 2 wounds left - hard cover is Leveticus' bane and really makes me think about using Mad Dog as an anchor. I may just swap out the Mech Rider if the table is littered with cover now.

On the right I had the Mech Rider popping occasional shots to lay down markers and a Flesh Construct creeping up. The Necropunk acted as a speed bump until Johan started peeking his head out and he started to run away before dying. Even with the Mech Rider it's still hard to set up Detonate the Charges, I don't like having to leave models alive to perform my Schemes, and I think I may have mentioned that exact thing the LAST time I took this scheme, ugh.

Ashes reformed and killed Envy, then immediately afterward Leve used his (0) again to sacrifice Ashes for a teleport to kill Doc - I know how important that totem's healing is to the crew and wanted to get rid of it fast while contributing to Reckoning. Nick tried using Mad Dog's "Blow it to Hell" to negate Leve's cover but flipped a Black Joker, if that didn't happen I'm sure Leve would have been one Waif short for the rest of the game. Eventually Ashes reforms.

My Mech Rider and Waif (Left) about to make a huge mistake

On the other side I started to crumble. He moved Bandidos to the opposite corners for Inspection, something I didn't think about because I was so bent on him taking Show of Force. I couldn't quite get my marker placement right to get 3 VP from them alone so I had to wait a turn before scoring that. The Flesh Construct was taking a beating from Johan.

In the last turn I out-activated his crew by plenty and had Leve place a marker right next to Parker and Mad Dog, so I was finally in a position to get 3 VP from Detonate the Charges. I had been scoring Leave Your Mark so I wasn't worried about those markers. For some TERRIBLE REASON I decided to just move the rest of my models (by terrible, I mean NO GOOD). Because of this LITERALLY LAST SECOND decision I ended up arbitrarily moving my Mech Rider and Waif within range of one of his scheme markers. He then calls out Detonate the Charges. I then want to slap myself hard.

Because of that terrible, arbitrary last second decision I went from winning 6-5 to LOSING 6-7 because I gave up 2 VP. I couldn't believe myself. I gained nothing from those last move actions. I would have been fine staying where I was and not doing anything at all. I definitely let go of reminding myself, "Will this help score VP?" during those moves.

Needless to say I was very salty. Mind you, not at Nick, because he was a stellar player who did exactly what you should expect a tournament player to do and not correct my mistakes for me. I was very mad at myself, it's definitely one of those losses that will haunt me for a while.

So what started out as a pretty good day of good decisions and plays ended with one of the most amateur moves ever. It's okay, though, because in the end I know that these are the games that teach me the most and force me to always recognize situations like this and avoid them in the future.

I definitely need to work on my game time. I need to assess how much decision making I do and if I can trim down the time, because I definitely start to make bad decisions when I'm aware of the time in a game. It's the reason why I start of games strong and finish weak, probably.

A glimmer of hope in a bleak weekend

In other news my MERCS 2.0 book and cards came in! I've been waiting for a while for this and can't wait to dive in. I've read my cards for the faction changes and can say overall they're positive, it's definitely a change for the FCC House 9. The book is simply gorgeous. I've always loved the art style, and the layout is impressive. The updated fluff is very unique and engaging, plus the cover is spectacular. It may not be very busy but it sure does make me go ooooooooooooooooo ahhhhhhhhhh.

Anyway, that's it for now! Hopefully soon I'll do some more hobby related entries like painting, I've had a few ideas I've wanted to get on a model. Happy gaming!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Malifaux: Von Schill Completed

Hey you crazy people!

So yesterday I got a bug up my butt about not having painted in a while. It was less for lack of motivation, but more so of an overwhelming amount of stuff needing paint and causing hobby paralysis.

I decided to try to kick that motivation in the face and just get something done last night. I got to go home early and picked a model that didn't need any airbrush time, and found Von Schill as a candidate to get done. I pulled out the brushes and got to work, determined to get him to a completed standard before the end of the night.

What you see above is actually most of what he started as. The skin, hair and base were actually done yesterday but I forgot to take a before picture showing what was already started. I did my standard NMM silver spray for the metal parts. I decided to try something new and sprayed the cloth with VGA Electric Blue, keeping it as black as possible with only points of interest highlighted to the pure blue. I was inspired to try to emulate comic book style color, notably how they color blue/black with characters like Psylocke and Cable. Really that's all I got to when I started this model a month or two back.

For the skin I had some issues, especially when considering I was getting back on the painting horse. I found that even though I tried to clean the mold lines as best as possible there was still a good amount in the middle of both arms going down the entire length. I wanted to have more of a hard shading for the muscles and extensively used flesh wash, but this proved troublesome with the mold line. Also for some reason I wasn't getting my layers smooth and they were looking a lot less smooth than my usual fare, so this was definitely messing with my motivation.

I used Reaper Master Series Golden Skin trio along with GW Ogryn Flesh wash. For the hair I base coated with VGC Cold Grey, washed it with GW Nuln Oil, then highlighted with Cold Grey and mixed in VMC Dark Sand. Not my most elegant version of hair but it got the job done.

For the beard stubble I mixed Cold Grey and Golden Skin and glazed over the jaw area.

Here is where I started working on the leather using my usual red leather colors I've spoken about earlier. The paint from VMC doesn't seem to cover as well, at least with these colors, so it took a while to get even coverage I was happy with.

While I was getting those coats solid I started working on the base. I used a mix of grays mixed together with occasional Dark Sand to get varying colors on fast, then washed it with Browns, Grays and the occasional Stone Wash from Secret Weapon Miniatures, a sweet color (but dries satin/glossy).

Here is where I highlight the red leather by adding in Dark Sand to the mix. I also drybrushed the base to unify the color.

Here is where I heavily wash the leather with VMC Woodgrain.

After the Woodgrain wash I did selective washes using GW Nuln Oil. This helps add contrast and add richness to the color. I went a bit overboard with it on the shoulder pads but nothing terribly awful.

Just a few more details like the rope hanging on his side, the gold buckle and hilt, the NMM blackline and highlights, along with turquoise glazes. I admit I rushed through most of this part.

I also did the eyes and had somewhat of an easier time with him. This was also the first time I used a new lamp I recently got, it's one of those magnifying lamps with a light. It takes a bit getting used to as well as makes you hate your work since you can see every flaw!

Painting the base ring is the last part, and he's ready to go! Normally I would have taken more time to finish him, including actually finishing his cloth which I didn't touch at all from the base coat, but I just wanted to get him complete. His gloves are also going to change to Black instead of Brown as I think it will have more of an impact.

I do actually really love the way the Blue/Black turned out. The leather, not so much, as well as the NMM. But for a paint job I wasn't too thrilled about it didn't turn out too bad.

I just have to hit it with some matte varnish and he'll be ready for the table!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Tail Feathers Review

He's on my tail... this time literally

Hey-oooooo internet!

So last night Kristy and I got to try out my latest game, Tail Feathers!

This is a beautiful game made by Plaid Hat Games that takes place in the Mice and Mystics world, one that is reminiscent of Mouse Guard. In Tail Feathers you control a force of military mice that are just hell bent on wrecking that pretty tree of yours in the name of cuteness. The way they go about this destruction involves ground forces scurrying on branches and missions as well as piloting small birds that take to the skies to wreak havoc on each other. On the surface this is a cute game that appears to be a re-skinned take on pilot games like X-Wing and D&D Attack Wing, but once you dive deep into the cheese wheel you can see that it's got so much more going for it.

This battle is about to get... bird pun here

Before we got into this game we watched a video describing how to play the game. I highly suggest it because although it's a board game it is heavily influenced by wargame and dogfight mechanics, something that may not always be your cup of tea. Even for me it seemed tough to read through, not due to the instructions being terrible or anything, but because I already had preconceptions of how wargames work and it's like relearning how to ride a bike but you're given a unicycle.

I felt that I got the gist of how the game operates from it and set up the board using the first scenario, which is just a pitched battle with the single goal being to destroy each others' nests. We eliminated almost all the optional rules so that we could get a grip on the core concepts and introduce these rules bit by bit into future games. It's already a bit much to take in with just the core rules, but if you've played any wargames it is actually not difficult to go through, just difficult to put all together for your first turn. After the first turn though we went through it with ease.

In a nutshell the game consists of several phases. The first one involves selecting a mission that your ground forces will take part in. These missions range from infiltrating the enemy tree, shooting down birds in the sky, attacking other missions to keep them from succeeding and even a decoy mission meant to draw resources from your opponent. Once selected you place them close to the center of the board and dedicate a few ground forces to ensure that the mission succeeds.

The next phase involves activating your models. Tail Feathers uses an alternating activation system like Malifaux, with the exception being that if you have a unit with multiple models they all activate at once. This is where the bulk of the game takes place. You'll move around ground units on tree branches to prepare to shoot from them when enemies are in range, or move them close to the trunk to prepare for a possible invasion. Your birds and their pilots are moving around using templates (similar to X-Wing) and are a huge influence on the battlefield. These big guys are capable of attacking missions, ground units and other birds. 

The last phases involve resolving your missions and end of turn cleanup. Once you're done with all of that you restart from the beginning until you have a winner.

This turned into an epic chase to save the nest

At first it felt a bit overwhelming for me to grasp everything just from reading. Although I am a fan of having Intro and Advanced rules sets to introduce new players into a game, I hate the format for how it orders things in a rulebook. This tends to force you to flip back and forth throughout the book even when they are related rules. Tail Feathers tends to do a better job of this but it still made it hard for me to wrap my head around. It's a personal issue I believe as some people can learn the game faster that way, I just prefer to have everything in the order you should be experiencing it on the table. If a rule is involved with movement it should be in the movement section, but because mechanics like the Death Spiral are in optional advanced rules they are not together with the normal movement section. Although the format works to introduce players this makes it annoying to reference in future games sometimes. Like I said earlier, though, Tail Feathers does this much better than some rules I've read, like almost any game made by Fantasy Flight Games. FFG makes some of the most entertaining games, but man their rules love to hide important bits in random places. I'd say that Tail Feathers is definitely easier to learn by diving in rather than trying to understand every rule through reading before you play, and the video we watched helped that out immensely.

So now that I've gotten that bit out of the way, what are some good points? Well for starters this game is dripping with theme. And it's not just superficial to me either, some mechanics are simply brilliant as a game implementation and I get the impression that those mechanics were created to convey the theme rather than the other way around. Take falling leaves, for example. It's an advanced rule, and one we hadn't included yet in our game, but it is a very cool mechanic. The whole game revolves around your home tree, and what cooler way is there for mice to travel from tree to tree other than cutting off leaves and using them to float over the battlefield? The only other cooler way would be to hijack a bird and joust with him, but all the cool rats took those. Well this game took a concept that sounds like two kids are talking about what would be a cool game and made it functional with the tools they include.

This theme permeates the entirety of the game, and although it can be judged as form over function it really is the opposite. In recent discussions it has come up that a game, when wiped away of all its aesthetics, it should function as a fun game still. This game is a good example of aesthetics elevating the gameplay. Yes, the mechanics function well enough without all the shine added and would still be a very deep game without it, but cute little birds and mice fighting over trees while collecting berries and cheese makes it that much better, unlike using wood blocks and meeples or something.

The other great thing about this game is its depth and layers. In our game there was only one true goal, which was to destroy the other nest. How we went about it, though, is what made this a game that was very tense and filled with measures and counter measures. Kristy decided to go for the jugular from the start and chose the Siege mission, which if successful allows for a few of her ground mice to pop up directly on another tree. I decided to start withering away her flyers as soon as possible by using the Patrol mission, which if successful allows you to attack any flyer you want - which was important as she had three flyers to my two. On turn one she was immediately pushing the pace as my home tree was invaded, and the risk I took didn't pay off as it failed to injure my target, and I felt the pressure from the start. From that point I was desperately trying to fend off the birds from getting close by colliding with them and initiating Death Spirals, and ground forces couldn't be dedicated to missions as they needed to defend the home nest. My birds also had to try to stop missions from succeeding by swooping in attacking them, and it ended up being a wasted effort as Kristy used a decoy perfectly.

It felt like you had to stretch your resources to cover as many of your bases as possible, and you can never have enough coverage. This created way more tension than I've felt in an X-Wing game, because there were so many approaches you had to consider. If you considered the three main approaches - Birds, Ground, and Missions - it always felt like you only had enough to deal with two of the three at any time, which is a great thing. There may be some players who suffer from analysis paralysis when confronted with all the options you have, and Kristy was definitely getting a headache from all the decisions you had to consider. I would think that once you get through a few games the better options become more clear, or at least you develop a style you like that doesn't need to engage every option, so that your playing can become more streamlined and easier to think about.

Things are not looking good for these vermin

A lot of the gaps in gameplay get filled with the advanced rules set. Using leaves for transportation solves the issue of moving your models to other trees outside of a mission, and this adds a further wrinkle in what you dedicate your resources to during the turn (do I attack the mission or the rats on a leaf?). Dropped feathers help defend the model from additional ranged attacks, which is something desperately needed as I found ranged attacks to be very powerful and flexible. Action cards are probably a huge addition we need to add next, as they can possibly help balance the scales if things don't go your way.

So, enough glowing about, what are the issues?

For starters there are the flyers. They are beautiful models, and the pilots fit very well with each bird. But the tilting that's necessary for their movement can be cumbersome throughout the game. A few times they came off their stand and had to be reattached, and while tilting them you have to be very careful. When you're getting in a tight bunch there's a guarantee that you won't be able to place them perfectly where they should be, and god forbid you do a Death Spiral in the middle of a bunch of models and stuff.

The movement templates can also get in the way when you move through several other flyers. This issue happens in X-Wing, but in that game there are a few elegant solutions for placing the template accurately. But because they are on round bases it's a little tougher to get around, and they will definitely not be perfectly placed all the time. It's going to be tough to get exactly movements when you're flying between a lot of other models, and you'll have to hope your wings don't tip over other flyers. Between that, physically tilting the model, Death Spirals, etc., you're definitely going to have to be okay with models not being perfectly undisturbed. I don't see this becoming a tournament game or anything, so usually you're playing with friends who don't accuse you of cheating because when a model fell over you weren't facing exactly northeast by 2 degrees or something.

Another issue I had was with a few components. The tokens and templates printed on thick board were excellent and numerous, that's a good thing. The card stock they used for the mission cards is ridiculously thin. I dropped one on the floor and it took me a bit to be able to pick it back up again. These are cards you'll be using every turn of the game, I wish they printed them on the thick board instead. Other components were used with that same stock and it is terrible.

Also they only give you enough for a small two player game, If you're wanting to expand they give you the extra cards that are compatible with models from their other game, Mice and Mystics. As far as I can tell these are all ground units, meaning you are pretty limited on your bird and pilot options. If you're looking for a more grand scale of battle, or even just go beyond the one ground unit you have for one of the factions, you'll not be able to do so out of the box and will definitely have to buy something else. Since there aren't any released expansions for Tail Feathers yet your variety is limited to ground units, and buying another core set doesn't help as your heroes are unique and can't be duplicated from what I can tell.

I can't say anything about other flaws as I've only gotten one game under my belt. These flaws, however, do not detract from how excellent this game is and how much potential it has. It's definitely a brain bender as it gives you plenty of strategy to muck about in. It takes this strategy and wraps it in a clever aesthetic under the guise of a wargame. In our game Kristy didn't let up the pressure and ended up destroying my nest with hers untouched and we both had a blast with it. I highly suggest giving it a try!

Monday, August 29, 2016

10,000 Views! 100 Posts! Terrain! Frostgrave! Words! Emotions!

MERCS Shantyville

First off, this blog has finally hit 10,000 views! Thanks to everyone who stops by for a hobby fix. I know there are blogs out there who hit this probably monthly, but it's still a pretty cool milestone for a little ol' gamer like me. This is also my 100th post. This blog has always been something I did to simply track my hobby progress, it's an added bonus to hit achievements like this.

Anyway, lots of progress in terms of terrain. First off my buddy Mike and I had a hobby build day on Saturday. With his extensive know how and my good looks/charm we managed to get this thing built:

So much awesome...

Now when I say "we" I mean almost entirely "he," as this is his forte and I have little to no experience working with wood. We had been discussing doing something of a build last week and the topic of folding boards came up. A folding board is something I've wanted for about five years, ever since I first read about a build in the Privateer Press forums. I can't find the original link, but below is a picture of it:

I don't know who made it, but it's pretty spectacular

In that example he made the fold pretty seamless. The entire board is made up of Hirst Arts molds, which made it extremely heavy. It is semi-bare with more or less cosmetic elevation changes to add interest, but a Warmachine table is generally pretty void of terrain by necessity.

Not having much experience with wood working has kept my grand plans at bay, but Mike volunteered to put his knowledge to work. On Saturday we got a few materials and he went to town on the dead trees.

He had kept this idea as a prototype for future folding tables, trying to see if there were any snags or problems he'd come across. It seemed to go pretty smoothly and he had it done in about 4 hours time, which included going to buy materials and me distracting him as much as possible.

This thing turned out pretty sweet and is pretty heavy, which is something that comes with the territory. It's super strong, and I have no worries about carrying it around and falling apart or anything.

We made a 3x3 board, which is a good size to have as it's the most common size for the games we play. Also keeping it 3x3 lowers the weight to a minimum, as this thing is pretty heavy as it is and can take up the whole back seat of my car. It shouldn't have a problem for my trunk, though, I just have too many items in there to store this in right now.

I plan on making a Frostgrave inspired board with this and I am super excited. I'm picturing a frozen dockside city, complete with several elevations and resin water effects. I've spent a long time thinking about what I'd build on a folding table and I used to almost always picture a canal city, inspired by Carnevale boards (that game has such a cool aesthetic!), and a frozen version of that seems appropriate. It's most likely going to be composed mostly of pink insulation foam for all the layers and to keep it light. I also plan on using paint rather than flock for the snow effects. This keeps is much less messy and shouldn't rub off as much. Using an airbrush for snow drift effects and stippling on white should do the trick, and if need be I can add some extra stuff. If I can find an appropriate model it would be cool to have a sunken boat frozen in the water as well. This board can work for Frostgrave, Malifaux, and any other Fantasy based game or RPG easily so it works well as a prototype. Also shaping and sculpting stonework with pink foam is very easy so it keeps the barrier low on building skills.

Also I spent a bit of time punching out more cardboard from my Battle Systems Kickstarter and made another building. I quickly set up a MERCS table using the Shanty Town bits on my 2x3 mat from the Terminator game.

I'm still pretty over the moon about this terrain set. It works so well on so many levels - I quickly put this together with no real idea of what I wanted to make, I'd just put walls and stuff together bit by bit.

Also notice the Tail Feathers board game in the background, just got that one last week!

This stuff easily fills up a MERCS board, maybe a bit much for some but I don't see how it can cause much of a problem in a game. A few things here and there would make it more playable, like eliminating the railings in a few spots, but overall it's playable as it is.

I just love the visual interest it provides, not to mention this all packs away very quickly and is the opposite of heavy. I know that this is one of those things that should you see being played will instantly draw your attention. Terrain like this is what got me interested in the hobby in the first place, as to me the hobby has always been visuals above all other aspects. 

Another thing I had done over the weekend was get my Frostgrave warband together to figure out what I'd need to paint to finish it. I haven't seen some of these models in years as I had painted them over 6-7 years ago. They are still pretty interesting to look at and it's always stimulating to take a glance back and see how you've improved on painting over time. I've figured out that I only have to paint the apprentice and a warhound to have a finished warband, so one day I'll need to get to it. We have four or five players getting ready to jump in on this campaign, it's going to be a fun ride!

Anyway that's what I've been up to, until next time keep calm and paint on!