Monday, 15 September 2014

Mutant: Year Zero - English Release and Session Report Two

Mutant: Year Zero - Roleplaying at the End of Days.

Alright, now we're talking! As some of you might have heard Modiphius is publishing an English version of the excellent Swedish post-apocalyptic RPG Mutant: Year Zero later this year! After reading the game for the first time earlier this year it immediately felt like it would work perfectly well anywhere in the world as the setting is pretty much created as you explore. The whole idea is to start with a map of the city or area you live in yourself, put a grid over it and then simply start exploring its post-apocalyptic version! So I was hoping that it would someday be translated, and now here we are. The Free League has made a deal with Modiphius who will take care of the international distribution of the game.

For more discussions about Mutant: Year Zero there's a thread going over at, one over att RPGeek, one on Reddit. Then there's of course Modiphius Facebook page and The Free League English language forum (which hasn't really taken off yet though).

The English version will not come in a box but as a hardback book with Zone maps of New York and London for $54.99/£34.99 or as a starter bundle (at left) with the book, maps, cards and custom dice for $79.99/£49.99. I'm sure the cards will be available as charts in the books and you could easily use regular D6 instead of the custom ones, but I still think the starter bundle is a no-brainer! :D

Now, after a long intermission let's check back in with our mutated friends living in the wasteland of former Stockholm...

Spoiler warning for some parts of the M:0 setting.

They had just completed a, more or less, successful zone expedition to bring some more of the old technology to the Ark to learn from. On their way they discovered some mysterious hooded individuals who left a healthy looking baby out in the wastes.

The old tech they had brought with them raised the Ark's tech level a few steps and during the community meeting they also decided to start working on growing some simple crops. After some discussion the Ark community leaders came to the conclusion that the people who had left the baby needed to be investigated. Who are they? How could they bear children when the mutants couldn't? Why leave them out to die? There were many questions...

Since the strangers had moved away to the northeast it was decided that another expedition would be mounted to discover their whereabouts and try and see how they lived and maybe make contact with them. This time Yorgos, Lorentz and Pommax chose to go out alone, hoping to move quickly with only the three of them setting out. They took the same route as last time going east, although going around a sector where they had discovered that the Rot was extra potent.

When they arrived in sector H16, which they had only seen from a distance last time, they explored for a bit as it was apparently Rot free. They found a large metal tube with many seats in it that lay broken in a clearing. Inside were many skeletons and once they realized that it had been an old vehicle of some kind they put a lot of effort into getting inside the control room. It took some doing, but they made their way in and found what Yorgos explained was some kind of miracle pills that you could eat instead of sleeping! As they started to move out they saw someone moving among the trees and immediately hid in the old vehicle wreck. It turned out to be another mutant, similar to themselves, called Skald. Except Skald moved around the Zone and traded water to other people. This was the first time they had met and spoke to another mutant and they spent the rest of the day talking to him about what he'd seen and experienced out there.

When Lorentz asked the water trader if he knew the strange robed people he said he did and had in fact just traded with them. Skald always met them at the shoreline just east of the wreck they were in but knew that they lived somewhere across the water. The mutants decided to tell Skald of their own Ark and invited him to add it to his trade route.

The next day they bid him farewell and continued east, toward the water. They passed another wreck later during the day that looked liked it had cannons sticking out of it. It sure looked interesting, but Pommax had spotted a number of Zone Spooks moving about in a nearby building and not wanting to tangle with them again they took the long way around. As they came to the shoreline there were obvious signs of activity, although there was no one around at the moment. After some discussion on how to proceed it as decided they were to construct a simple junk raft and use it to cross the greenish water. If the construction didn't take too long they would also try to explore the small island in sector F17/F18.

After scavenging for some good material Yorgos could quickly put a seaworthy raft together and as they set out he pulled out an impressive looking piece of headwear that he had taken from one of the skeletons in cockpit of the wrecked vehicle. He certainly looked like a man you should obey! At least while at sea...

They went to the small island first and discovered that although there were a couple of intriguing looking buildings further in there were many small floating bubbles randomly moving about around them. They looked kind of like some odd jellyfish with long slimy tendrils hanging beneath them. They didn't seem aggressive but when Lorentz decided to poke on of them with his great junk axe the tendrils quickly wrapped around it and smoke appeared where they touched and an loud hissing sound came from the metal as it dissolved! Lorentz quickly let it go as more of the hovering bubbles moved toward the axe and the party made a hasty retreat back to the raft, fearing the loss of more valuable equipment.

Arriving at the other side they again saw that the area was used by other people and they even found two small and old, but functional, boats pulled up on the beach. Further inland was a number of smaller wooden buildings and one large white building with a high tower - perfect for some scouting, thought Pommax! As the group moved toward the white building Lorentz spotted a person standing nearby it, with his back turned to them. They hid behind an overturned car and watched the stranger intently. He didn't seem to be doing anything though as he simply stood there. His position was slightly odd though as it looked a little bit like he was leaning, but they couldn't see anything to lean against. Pommax suggested they try to sneak up on him. After all three against one should be enough in case of a fight, right?

So the three mutants started to move cautiously forward and as they did something began feeling... wrong, and the further they moved the worse it got! Yorgos was the first to actually realize what it was and pointed to the shadow from the tower up ahead that had suddenly started moving fast enough for them to see; the sun overhead moved faster than they had ever seen before and suddenly they noticed that the man ahead was actually moving, just very slowly. He wasn't leaning, he was simply taking a step forwad in what looked like super slow motion! Yorgos wanted to get out of there but Lorentz and Pommax thought that they were already half way there and might as well go all the way.

They pressed on but the further they went the quicker the sun moved up ahead. After 20 meters the sun had set and risen for a new day, all in the space of seconds. Another few meters in and the world around them was blinking as the day turned to night at an ever increasing speed. The man ahead seemed to be moving faster and was turning around to face them. Although they could't understand his slowed down speech his arm gestures seem to indicate that they should go back and the look of desperation and horror on the strangers face made Pommax and Lorentz realize that pressing on further might doom them all. As they turned around and started moving back again the blinking slowed down as the sun started to return to its normal behaviour again. But they could now see people moving about further away at incredible speed! It was impossible to see what they were actually doing but it looked like the mysterious robed figures and the moved around the mutants, sometimes pointing at them.

The robed people didn't seem interested enough to wait around however and when the mutants had finally moved back far enough for time to reassert itself they were nowhere to be seen. They retreated to a nearby building to try and make sense of what had just happened. Although they had just experienced a few minutes it seemed like weeks or months had passed by! When they left it was early spring with drifts of snow still left here and there, yet now it was warm and the trees were green. Yorgos was the only one dared to guess what this was, and it seemed to him that the old people had probably tried to build time machines to stop the war or the plague or whatever it was that had caused all this. Except the machine had obviously broken down and was out of control. Best to give this place a wide berth...

After some deliberation they continued north-east through a forest of stunted yet very green trees. It was Pommax who first spotted movement in a clearing ahead and motioned for the others to get down. As they crawled forward they could see a small shanty with a pen next to it containing some kind of creatures. A large mutant walked among them and seemed to be feeding the noisy beasts. The group watched for half an hour as the mutant moved around the place and noticed that he had a collar around his neck that was attached to a long chain that disappeared into the small hut. As the warm summer sun started to set a group of five robed people approached the hut from a small footpatch coming from the opposite side of the clearing. They briefly exchanged words with the mutant, who bowed his head and seemed cowed by their presence, and then entered the hut and didn't come out again.

The hut was very small and when noone had emerged after a couple of hours it seemed obvious to Yorgos that there was some kind of hidden underground room beneath it. Lorentz wanted to simply walk up to the mutant and talk to him, but Pommax and Yorgos prefered a more stealthy approach. In the end they waited until the large man went to sleep among the beasts he was set to look after. "Fitting for a slave" Pommax commented as they approached the hut. The inside was filled with all kinds of junk and debris. Most of it consisted of gardening tools in various state of disrepair but Lorentz found a metal canister full of something Yorgos called petrol that could be used for fuel. Yorgos also soon spotted a large box that looked like it had been moved back and forth recently. Beneath it they found a small metal hatch that led straight down a concrete shaft. A metal ladder provided access and before the mutant in the pen outside could wakeup they had all entered the shaft and closed the hatch above them.

The immediate darkness around the three mutants was suffocating and they soon lit Pommax's lamp and continued down a concrete corridor that seemed to be angled further downwards. Having walked for a few minutes they could see that there was a little bit of light coming from around a curve in the tunnel ahead. Pommax quickly put out his lamp and stealthily snuck ahead to scout it out. The tunnel ended in a door further down that had some kind of old world lamp above it that washed the walls in a sharp blueish light. Next to the door stood a robed figure, leaning on an improvised spear. He didn't notice Pommax who retreated to update the others. What followed was a long, but hushed, conversation on how to proceed. Should they simply bum rush him? Or try to talk to the man? Or snipe him from afar? Could the simply kill the man in cold blood?!

Lorentz and Yorgos were still discussing the pros and cons of a surprise rush when Pommax simply muttered something under his breath, readied his bow and stepped around the corner. The man barely had time to react before an arrow buried itself in his eye and he toppled over, blood pooling beneath him. "There. Now let's go" Pommax said to a furious Yorgos and a stunned Lorentz. The dead man was perhaps thinner than most of the people in the Ark but he had no apparent mutations which seemed odd to the three mutants. Everyone in the Ark except the Elder had some kind of mutation, even though some of them were more easy to spot than others. He didn't have any possessions beside a flat round piece of old tech that Yorgos identified as an advanced key of some sort. After investigating the box next to the door and using the flat round piece the door cam open in a woosh and hot air blew in their faces.

In stunned silence they walked into a huge round chamber many meters high. They were walking on some kind of metal platform that ran along the wall of the chamber and in the middle was a large cylinder with a pointy top that reached almost all the way to the ceiling. Steam rose along the cylinder and here and there large tubes coming from the wall were connected to it. "Yorgos, what the hell is this thing" Lorentz asked but the Gearhead simply walked over to the railing and looked down. Below them the cylinder continued and there was at least one more platform like the one they were standing on below them before the chambers proper floor. Yorgos turned around, "this my friends, is what created the Zone. This is a terrible weapon of the old age that could wipe out entire cities. And it seems to be working".

Deciding that this needed further exploration and not seeing another living being they continued down a stairwell to the second platform and then down a ladder to another, smaller platform. Just as they were investigating the giant missile further the woosh of door was heard and three robed persons came through it, a tall imposing looking woman and two men. As the two groups spotted each other everyone froze for a couple of seconds. Then everything happened at once. As Pommax reached for his pistol the tall woman simply snapped her fingers and he suddenly burst into flames! Yorgos fired a quick shot at the woman but missed and then had a extremely strong feeling of passiveness come over him and he simply dropped the gun and lay down on the floor. With a shout of defiance Lorentz pulled up the petrol and threw it towards the trio but the container was heavy and the opponents far away and it simply landed with a loud clang at the bottom of the shaft. The big enforcer looked at his companions - Pommax was still smoking and lay motionless on the floor while Yorgos was slowly rocking back and forth, staring emptily ahead of himself.  The woman smiled as she started walking towards Lorentz...

And that's where we'll leave our intrepid trio until next time! Again, I really should try and shorten these things so I can get more of them out in a timely manner. Hehe! And don't forget to have a look over at Modiphius M:0 site!

Oh, and also, we're having a baby within the next day or two so if I don't respond prompty to emails or in the comments section that's why. :)
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Thursday, 4 September 2014

Original Space Hulk Terminator Squad Done!

++Terminator squad Raphael, ready to move out++
So... here's something you don't see in these parts every day; a squad of newly painted GW minis (I think the last one was four years ago)! Of course, newly painted doesn't mean new as these guys have been waiting patiently for their turn for 25 years. With it being an anniversary and everything, I thought I'd paint a squad of 1989 Space Hulk plastic terminators! Actually, that's an after construction... I don't know why I decided to start this little project. It might because my 10 year old niece is turning into a little gamer and I thought Space Hulk would be a fun next step for her. Then again, I have a bunch of the original metal terminators that I painted to a, shall we say, acceptable standard back in the day. I don't know! Maybe it's the Oldhammer thing finally getting to me or me needing to take a little break from all the beautifully detailed, but delicate, Infinity minis. Whatever the reason I got five minis taken off my mountain of lead.

Does this look familiar to anyone? Oh, and the colours are all weird in these shots. Bad lighting..
Although I played Dark Angels way back when (actually before Deathwing, so all my DA terminators were dark green) I wanted to go with the original Space Hulk look so painted these as Blood Angels. The aim was to stay true to the original box art, which is pretty much the only place you'll find these particular type of terminator models depicted, but as I painted I made several adjustments here and there to make the model look less of something Barbapapa would turn into and more like a terminator. The largest deviation is probably the white/yellow boarders on the shoulder pads, but it felt needed to give the models a bit of definition. I kept the hazard stripes on the power glove as that's probably the best bit!

The terminators in the 1989 Space Hulk all came with these large whip antennae, which hasn't been seen before or since, but is kind of cool in a way. I really couldn't see you trying to make your way through tight tunnels with a damn banner on your back, but a whip antenna? Yeah, maybe. It does look fairly goofy with all of them having one though, so I snipped them off at differnt lengths, leaving it intact for the sergeant and two nubs for the flamer and corporal to kind of signify some enhanced communications gear or something. It helps them look less uniform anyway.

3D Roleplay Hobby Game? Back in the day when companies didn't really know how to label stuff like this. Still the best Space Hulk cover to date though. 2nd edition was especially crappy!
During my painting sessions I kept thinking about how these minis were created. I mean... they look quite
different from the metal ones! At first I thought maybe these were some early prototype that was later refined when done in metal, but seeing as GW used metal minis on the back of the box and in the rulebook, as well as all the art that looks nothing like the plastic termies this was clearly not the case. So they were made by a third party contracted by GW as they didn't have the capacity to make plastic minis of their own back then. This of course make sense and explains some of the discrepancies. Some of them probably come from the demands of the moulding; like the drooping shoulder pads for example. But I still don't understand where the antennae came from or why the stormbolter looks like a shoebox with two toilet paper rolls glued to it! Especially since the box front art clearly shows them with the proper looking gun. One thing they did nail though, was the helmet! It's pretty much spot on and really makes all the other little oddities about them not look so bad. Thanks to the helmet it's unmistakably a terminator. I quite like the power glove as well as it's huge and kind of clockwork-looking. The gun hand though... jeez.

Was it a rush job? I'm suspecting this as, again, the terminator minis seen on the back of the box are all metal. Perhaps the plastic company didn't get the stormbolter art in time and had to go with their shoebox placeholder! Pure speculation, but I kind of like this explanation. And for some reason I kind of like the boxbolter as well. It's cool in a very minimalistic and... boxy way. Another thing I don't quite get is why didn't they make some kind of sergeant clip-on sword, like the did the flamer?! There are two terminators per sprue and each of them get a flamer as well. Seems like a wasted opportunity not to make one of those into a sword. Perhaps there wasn't time...

Five little termies, jumping on the bed. One fell off and hit his termie head. So sergeant called the medic and the medic said, no more termies jumping on the bed!
Backside... a bit less detail. Just a bit!
These were intended to be a quick little project so I looked around for some speed paint Blood Angels tutorials and mixed with my own ideas I used the following: Army Painter Dragon Red spray, Averland Sunset for the yellow parts and follow with a Strong Tone wash. Highlight with Blood Red then Blood Red with some flesh colour mixed in. Be liberal with the highlights and don't be afraid of making them too light as we follow it with a Red Tone wash to bring them down. Yay! Then it's just Vallejo MC Black+Basalt Grey+Pale Greyblue for the black bits and Natural Metal followed by Badab Black wash followed by Silver highlights and done! Oh, and the yellow parts were highlighted back up with Averland Sunset followed by Averland Sunset+Pale Greyblue mix. For the bases I simply cut out some car wire mesh into little roundles that I sprayed black, glued on and drybrushed metal. Certainly helps making these rather simple minis pop a bit more. So that's that, quick and easy but with a reasonably good result!

Now, painting these did give me this idea to paint the rest of my Space Hulk stuff. I'm not sure I'll paint any more of the plastic termies (except a librarian or two) but I did put all my old metal ones in the bath to strip the of paint. Although I'm not really into Oldhammer I am intrigued by it and I often find the juxtaposition of old, often fairly rough (but characterful!), minis coupled with modern painting techniques really interesting! The idea I have right now is to paint my metal termies (about 10~15 or so) as Blood Angels as well and then maybe, maaaaybe get the Deathwing minis from Dark Vengeance to give a bit of a modern flair to the game as well. Then there are the genestealers and hybrids of course. The painted ones you can see in the pictures I probably did 15~20 years ago so could perhaps do with a touch up or two - especially the bases. I know I have a Magus and one or two metal hybrids scurried away somewhere as well, which should be a nice upgrade to the plastic ones.

Oh, and if some kind reader out there has a Blood Angel transfer sheet or so that is not needed I'd be happy to takt it off your hands! Sure, their emblem isn't too hard to pull off free hand, but these are supposed to be quick minis!

"Guys! Guuuuys!?"
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Tuesday, 26 August 2014

August Releases for Infinity!

Infinity August releases. A bit wider than usual...

So this month sees the relase of Operation: Icestorm and the Infinity frenzy is reaching a new high! Well, it's technically released this month but I don't expect it in stores until early/mid September. Anyway, exciting times indeed! However, this is not all as we have a couple of other releases as well. CB is counting the two new starter sets (Nomads and PanO) as well as the two limited edition minis in Operation: Icestorm as separate releases as far as six a moth is concerned so that leaves to spots so this will be a short post. Now, let's have a look at...

...the Mercenary Yojimbo! Look at him! Just look!! It's Toshirō Mifune on a motorbike!! This is a model I've been looking forward to for a long time. We already have Miyamoto Musashi (that's an homage to another great Japanese folk hero who have also been played by Mifune on film) but Yojimbo on a bike is even cooler. The mounted model and the bike itself looks great. Love the pose and the gear stowed on the back. The standing pose, which is a bonus in a way as it wasn't going to be included originally, is not quite as impressive as there's something that looks a little off to me. However, this is nitpicking and overall this is just a great looking box that I'm going to have to get my hands on! Also, you can never go wrong with Krazy Koalas.

The "second" release is the Tohaa Kotail who looks really cool, but simply can't measure up to Yojimbo. Tough luck, pal! This is a new symbiont armoured, twin combirifle wielding, 6-4 moving, holo-projectoring and superjumping troop type for N3. Sounds reeeeeally scary if you ask me! The model also looks badass enough to live up to that nasty sounding profile, I have to say. The mask is pretty sweet looking and the gunzerker style pose fits very well. Nice addition to the Tohaa lineup.

And then there are these guys and gals of course! But since I talked about them last month I'll simply leave this nice group photo here and move along. Just remember that the Reverend Custodier and the Father Knight are exclusive to the Icestorm box and won't be in the respective starter sets.

So yeah... good month! Although my individual favourite model is the bike riding Yojimbo my by far favourite release is the Operation: Icestorm box. The Nomads in particular are making my knees wobbly! :D

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Thursday, 21 August 2014

Star Wars Armada Impressions

Alright, so let's talk Star Wars Armada. A lot of people have been expecting FFG to release a capital ship focused starship combat game for some time and now it's finally here. Or announced at least. Seeing as X-Wing is fairly low complexity and is very much aimed at the casual gamer (as well as the hardcore!) I was a little weary that Armada might scale back on complexity as well, possibly loosing parts of what would make it interesting to me. However, after having read about it and watched Team Covenants demo game I have gone from cautiosly optimistic to fully rabid gundark! Ok, maybe not that far, but it has certainly availed most of my fears. Check out the video:

After the initial announcement I was surprised to see quite a bit of confusion and some angry rants over at BGG by X-Wing players who didn't understand the difference between the games and/or who thought FFG was just after a quick money grab. I guess having people not understanding the difference might be down to the fact that there are a lot more X-Wing players out there than people who play large scale starship combat games like Full Thrust or Firestorm: Armada. Still, I almost found it a little annoying that people expected a Star Trek Attack Wing when this was clearly something more ambitious. As you might have gathered the adherance to scale that FFG made such a bid deal about in X-Wing has gone out the window with all the ships being "relative scale". However, they still look right-ish so I don't really have much problem with it.

Box contents.

As some of you already know I'm a great fan of spaceship combat and even though I haven't played a fraction of all the games I want to play I'm always on the lookout for new stuff. You might remember my Wanted: More Spaceship Gaming article from a couple of years ago. That article is still relevant today as I have yet to find the "perfect" game. Of course, that will be very difficult as it depends on what I'm after at the moment; something rock hard like Attack Vector Tactical, or something much softer (and wetter!), like Firestorm: Armada. I'm mostly on the hard side of the fence these days but I know I will have trouble finding people to play those kinds of games with.

Now, while Armada is certainly not of the hard variety it still has enough interesting features to make me want to play it. Let's make a nice bullet point list to break it down:

  • Momentum. While not as detailed as in some other games we do have momentum to the ships and you will only be able to accelerate or decelerate by using a special order for it. Your momentum also decides how much turning you'll be able to do using the funky bendable stick. Simplified, sure but also very simple and quick!
  • Order planning. The larger the ship the longer you'll have to plan ahead. For the Victory SD in the core box you will make a stack of three orders of which you will use and then add one each turn, basically forcing you to plan three turns in advance all the time. The Nebulon B has to plan two turns in advance while the corvette can pick its order every turn. This is very cool! This basically combines written orders with ponderous command structure and/or ship design. Something I don't think I've seen before (although I'm sure it's out there).
  • Maneuvering. Fire arcs and range plays a big role and there doesn't seem to be a cookie cutter "always best" solution to every situation (like range band 2 in 1st edition of Firestorm: Armada). It all comes down to the ship firing and what it's firing at.
  • Fighters being interesting. I love how fighters and EXO armours are proper pieces in Lightning Strike and can be both upgraded and personalized as well as be a threat to almost anything on the table in the right circumstances. Armada seem to be doing something similar where fighters are more than simply tokens and you can have aces and properly screen your ships etc.
  • Customization. If X-Wing is anything to go by Armada will have a similar card system for putting your fleet together. I like how this system is very easy for the new player yet still rewarding for the veteran, trying to squeeze every bit of firepower out of his force!
  • Ease of use. While I'm not adverse to writing orders or having a datacard or tokens to keep track of FFG have become better and better at integrating this kind of stuff into their game hardware. In armada almost all the info tracking needed is done with various dials and tabs on the bases of the ships. Lovely!

All these things combined make for a game that I find highly interesting. Of course there are still a lot of things
that we don't know and I'm sure my thoughts on the game will change over time, but at the moment I'm pretty stoked! The Star Wars setting is probably the thing I care the least about, weirdly enough. I certainly don't dislike it but there are certainly other settings or concepts that I would find more interesting. Star Wars is also a bit limiting in that the number of factions are low as well as the number of different ships available. Still, it's perfectly servicable and I'm not complaining. I just find myself almost a little surprised that what I'm looking forward to with Star Wars Armada is the mechanics and not really the Star Wars bits. Hehe!

Image courtesy of Dice Tower News.
 The first wave will consist of the core box, which contains one Victory SD, one Nebulon B and one corvette plus a number of fighter stands, and separate releases of the same ships plus two more ships, similar to how X-Wing was released. The two additional ships will be the assault frigate mkII for the rebs and the Gladiator class SD for the imps. Both designs from the expanded universe, but I have no problem with this. While Star Wars fighters from the EU often look a little wonky and don't fit in all that well, the capital ship designs are usually a lot better and I quite like both of these. It seems like the frigate will be a larger ship for the rebs while the Gladiator will be about half the size of the Victory class. There will also be a pack of fighters for each faction and I'm happy to see that these will be a mix of different fighters including Y, A and B wings. Cool! You can see the frigate and some fighters below:

 Love the B-wings! Oh, and I REALLY hope the fighters are easily
detachable for painting. 
Image courtesy of Team Covenant.
Interceptors and TIE bombers for the imps, and the Gladiator SD looks pretty spiffy! Image courtesy of @twarnken.

So there you have it! I think Armada has a lot of potential and I'm eager to read more previews and hear more impressions from Gencon. While I really enjoy X-Wing I've always been more of a cap ship kind of person, and just imagine the kind of campaigns you could do by combining Armada, X-Wing and Imperial Assault! It would be teh awesome!! Haha! Well, that's all for now.

I'll be back later with Infinity news...


Friday, 15 August 2014

More Star Wars Goodness from FFG!

Alright, so the FFG Inflight Report had some interesting reveals! FFG seem to be the Star Wars company now. Of course, as they've handled the it very well so far I'm not complaining.

You've probably heard of Star Wars Armada by now, so I'll talk about that later and focus on the news from the seminar. What as me the most excited is the upcoming Star Wars Imperial Assault which is basically Descent in a Star Wars dressing. I felt sceptical at first but reading the anouncement and description page it certainly seem to bring some new stuff to the game; the main thing being the possibility of playing it as a two player skirmish game. What might be most interesting about this release is that it is in fact a proper board game (although with a skirmish component) which FFG didn't have the license for a couple of years ago. Apparently Christian Petersen was a bit cagey when this was brought up but I fully expect to see a slew of Star Wars board game in the future. Anyway, apart from it being a board game, the combination of Descent and Star Wars shouldn't come as a surprise as Descent 2 is their best selling board game and X-wing is their best selling game.

So why am I excited about a Descent re-theme? Well... because of the theme! Although I've actally come to enjoy the Terrinoth setting it can't really compare to Star Wars, especially when you focus on the original trilogy and do it as well as FFG does! There also seem to more focus on the roleplaying aspects of the game, which I like, but this could simply be the marketing speak making it look more interesting than it really is as Descent is very roleplay light. The two player skirmish mode is an interesting way of playing the game and if executed well I think it's a great way to get some use out of your game even when you can't pull together the full number of players (four rebs and one imperial player). So... now I'm considering if maybe I should try and offload my copy of Descent and get this instead. I guess future previews will help me decide. :)

Image courtesy of BGG.
Next up we have the next expansion for Eldritch Horror and it takes on my favourite Lovecraft novel: At the Mountains of Madness! This is both awesome and a bit frustrating at the same time. Awesome because I've always wanted to explore this setting in a bord game (not to mention roleplaying game!), but frustrating as I didn't really enjoy (my so far only game of) Eldritch Horror. Then again, perhaps a more focused expansion like this might be the thing to really make it click for me. It really comes down to how it's executed though. For me AtMoM is such a rich setting that it could easily be an entire board game in its own right! I'm guessing we'll get a smaller board to add to the main board, but if it turns out to be similar to the expansions for Arkham Horror, which suffered from lack of focus (Innsmouth notwithstanding), I think I'll be disappointed. Still, very excited to see FFG tackle this. Finally!

EDIT: Oops! Had missed the official announcement here. Here's the additional board:

Alright, back to Star Wars!

Image courtesy of Dice Tower News.
Ever since the launch of X-Wing I've had a kind of half expectation of seeing a
third pirate/scum/hutt faction and now here they are, the Scum and Villainy faction for X-Wing! Although I've already collected a sizable rebel force for the game, my Star Wars heart has always belonged to the smugglers and bounty hunters of the galaxy so I'm happy to see them getting their proper outing in the game. It seems like the first scum base box comes with one Y-wing and two Z-95s plus conversion cards for Slave I and HWK-290, which means I would have a pretty decent squadron with only that box. Later on we will see the Star Viper, the IG-2000 (seen at right) and the M3-A interceptor (called it!). I'd expect more of the SWG ships to turn up as they're all over the card and roleplaying game. Finally I might be able to get my own little Dunelizard! I loved that ship. So yeah, bounty hunters and pirates and hutts! Awesome!

EDIT: Here are some better pics, courtesy of El Taller. The Scyk look waaay too big and the Star Viper look waaay too small. Still, nice models. :)

Christian also talked a lot about digital integration and explained how it will work in forthcoming games. We've seen it in Xcom and to me it looks pretty neat. As far as I can tell you have an app that takes care of a lot of the "work" of playing a board game which should help both with keeping play time down and help make much smarter AI. Plus I guess the rulebooks will be a lot shorter when digital integration is used. I'm really excited to see this in future games and share few of the worries some doom mongers cry about over at BGG.

Finally there were the usual nice, but expected, announcements like more Netrunner (bringing a new faction?), two more factions for Battlelore and that the next force focused Star Wars rpg will drop in early 2015. They also showed some of the wave 1 ships for Star Wars Armada that look pretty neat, although I was a bit surprised not to see another rebel ship. Like I mentioned above, more on Armada in its own post later.

A pretty interesting inflight report. I must admit I'm a little sad that there are no news for FFGs own IPs. I would LOVE to see a new Twilight Imperium or something using that setting. Then again, when they actually have one of Twilight Imperium's main inspirations I guess that's where they'll put their money. Still, I like the look of both Armada and Imperial Assault so I won't complain.

More news as I read them.
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Friday, 8 August 2014

Gūijiă TAG Finally Done!

Gūijiă with a Gŭiláng sniper for scale.

Any of you elephants out there reading this blog might remember that I said that my Gūijiă TAG would be finished next week, back in November last year. Well, here we are nine months later and my baby is finally done! Hehe! Actually this is somewhat of a habit of mine when it comes to painting larger Infinity stuff. Both my Aragoto and my Sù-Jiàn were left half finished for months before I finally got around to squaring them out. Generally, I get tired of painting large models that require lots of detailing. My Dust Warfare mecha I knocked out in an evening or two, but those were also just spray, wash and drybrush - easy. For Infinity I want to try to do better than that.

Gundam decals for some extra detailing. Should get some more sheets, they're very useful!
Anyway, here she finally is. I think the Gūijiă is my favourite Infinity TAG design, it's not my favourite execution (that would be the Gecko) but I do love the Masamune style landmate thing that it has going for it. Many are turned off by the large flat thighs but I think that's most definitely a feature! There are however some problems with it. The two things that jump out at you from the get go is the ridiculously oversized gun and the sword. Really? A sword? When you have a gun that big?! I thought long and hard about modifying the gun, loosing the sword and then changing the pose so both hands would be on the gun, but it just seemed like too much work when I'm sure we'll see a resculpt of the Gūijiă sooner or later (perhaps sooner considering the upcoming Invincible sectorial). So I bit the bullet, glued on the sword and the four meter long gun and went to work!

I've taken inspiration from some other Gūijiă paint jobs I've seen as well as the works of Shirow Masamune. I wanted to get faaaaar away from the orange horror that is the studio paintjob (sorry Ángel!) and make it look more like a working machine than some cartoon... blob. The idea behind the colours is to evoke a kind of police/SWAT feeling and I think it workes fairly well.

That gun... *sigh*
With all of these large flat spaces this model really cries out for some nice airbrushing, but since I still don't have one I had to go at it with the old brush. I'm not entirely happy with the gradients as my feathering isn't good enough to do the thighs justice but, meh, what the hell. It looks good enough I think. I might go back and redo the sword some day though as it's pretty bland at the moment.

In any case I'm happy simply to finally have a TAG painted! Granted it's not one of those fancy "trick TAGs" like the Cutter with its TO camo or the Yoroi with its cute ambulatory mines, but it has solid stats and can bring a heavy grenade launcher and that is all I ask for. :)

Next up painting wise is probably some spaceships for Jovian Chronicles, but after that I think I might just get cracking on my remotes. Now that I have figured out the colour scheme...