Tuesday, 17 November 2015

A Look at Awaken and Designer Interview

Trying to fight off  a Colossus.
Now and then I get an email about kickstarter projects and creators who are interested in talking to me about writing about the project or making a preview or some such. Most of the time I politely turn these requests down as I tend to only write about kickstarters that I'm actively backing myself. However, I had to make an exception for the last email I received.

It was from one of the guys behind a project called Awaken (already funded) which turned out to be a dark fantasy roleplaying game developed by a team in Croatia and based on Slavic and Mediterranean folklore. This immediately caught my eye as I'm always looking for stuff outside the bog standard Anglic/Nordic based fantasy rpgs we're so used to. Also, when is the last time you heard of an rpg from Croatia?! This deserved further investigation.

I talked further with Zoltan Lečei, a Games Collective member and co-creator of the game, and sat down to read through the campaign and the quick start rules that are available and I am really impressed! The system used is heavily influenced by the original rules of White Wolf's World of Darkness roleplaying games although switched to a D6 base and modernized a bit. The basics are not groundbreaking as such but there are some really neat things going on like the Picture rule that gives you bonus dice, or lets you succeed automatically if you describe what you're doing really well and it makes sense in the fiction. This is something I've seen before and I imagine a lot of groups has it as an unspoken house rule, but it's always nice when a game explicitly rewards active player participation!

The other very cool thing is how combat works. You gather up your pool of dice from your Attributes and Skills and then decide how many you want to use for offence and how many for defence. All participants in the combat do the same thing and then everything takes place at once! Yes, you of course do it in sequence to avoid utter chaos, but there is no iniatiative roll and by a simple system of cancelling dice on a 1-to-1 basis (offence vs defence) you can quickly suss out what happened and who killed who. While I have yet to try it out in practice it seems really simple yet dynamic as it allows a player fluidly decide how to use the abilities of his characters depending on circumstances.

The setting is far from the tired tropes of D&D and seem fresh yet slightly familiar at the same time. I guess the idea of playing as a special group of people with powers no mere mortals possess is not uncommon in rpgs, but combining it with a completely different folklore than what most of us are used to combines to create something new. Oh, and the art! Did I tell you about the art? Because if I didn't I really should have because it's gorgeous! I'll sprinkle some in this article, but please head over to the kickstarter page for more.

Anyway, enough of my ramblings. I conducted a short Q&A with Zoltan through email, just to get a better feel for the game, and I thought I'd share it with you here:

Fire Broadside: Zoltan, the game looks beautiful, with an interesting setting and some clever use of dice pools. How did the idea for Awaken come about?

Zoltan: We've created the game full of local, Slavic and Mediterranean folklore because we ourselves (and I'm talking foremost about the co-creators, Marko and me) are fascinated by those elements, even to the point of having a hard rock band with local ethno and folk elements! That's why we thought it was only natural to create a game inspired by our surroundings and present it to the world. 

Regarding the system; as you can probably notice, Mark Rein-Hagen's point distribution system was a huge influence on us. We consider it easy and inspired method of creating the diverse characters without bowing to the strict and rigid rules.

While we were playing in our gaming groups, we would often use the system in various settings, just for it's flexibility. And after we started working on the game, we decided to create a similar system that could be versatile enough to allow people to focus on the game, story and role playing, without rule mongering. To reinforce that, we've decided to include one of the "more common house rules" (to quote one reddit user) as a part of the system itself, a possibility of rewarding the player with extra dice and bonuses for his creativity during the actual play - we call it "the picture rule" 

And to speed up the in game conflicts and combat, we've decided to test out the potential of throwing the dice in the same time and simply "reading" the course of the situation from the results (when I put it that way it looks like we're fortunetellers :D ) after subtracting the negated dice from the equation. 

FB: Sounds good! Before we go further, I need to ask about the art direction! The game looks stunning with great art from a number of artists. This is one thing I love about European role playing games, or simply European games in general - they're often beautiful looking in way that many American games simply... aren't. Often (not always!) in rpg's from the US it's much more function over form where art feels like an afterthought with pictures haphazardly inserted into the book whereas in Europe graphical design is just as important as the background or the rules. The art for Awaken has a kind of otherwordly, slightly dreamy feel to it that I think goes great with the setting. How much of the art is influenced by the setting and how much is the setting influenced by the art?

Z: Hey, thanks for the kind words! Our lead artist, Kristina, is the main reason for that slightly dreamy feel you describe. She is really good when it comes to transferring the atmosphere of a certain event or giving a breath of life to characters. I really don't know what to answer regarding the influences. We just clicked somehow; whenever we imagine something and describe what we would want, she always gets it in the first try! Either we're really good in describing or she is telepathic. But it's probably that she's just a great artist :D
But to be honest, some of her works which weren't specifically designed for the game really inspired us for parts of the setting, so I could probably say that you can find the both situations here.

FB: The game system is, as you say, strongly influenced by WoD but it seems to me like that there is more to it. The Vasalli, with their different orders and gifts, almost feel like WoD characters in their own right.

Z: Well, you could say that we share the similarities with the WoD system and world building. Maybe the elegance of it influenced us more than we know. I understand that orders and gifts could look like something out of WoD books, but it somehow came naturally. Since we didn't want to limit players with various character classes, we decided to at least give the option of belonging to some organization. And gifts are just the alternative to standard magic.

FB: You've mentioned Call of Cthulhu as an inspiration for the parts of the game connected to your character's willpower and sanity. There's not really much about it in the quick start rules, so would you care to tell us a little bit about it here?

Z: Yes, the quick start edition wasn't dealing with sanity much, we wanted the adventure in it to be a little more epic and less horror kind of a story. The sanity of a character is reflected in „Virtues“ part of a character sheet (Luck, Courage and Will) and in „Corruption“ part. It's a neat mechanic which could be used for various situations; from sanity shattering situations and horror stories to the drawbacks of too much power.

FB: This might be connected to the question above - the use of gifts can have severe drawbacks to the character and there's the risk of corruption. Spontaneously this makes me think of games like Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and Dragon Age where magic is inherantly dangerous to use. Or perhaps Werewolf where you run the risk of succumbing to the beast inside you. How does this come out in play?

Z: Yeah, it connects nicely. The Vasalli, as we imagined them, are the regular humans intensified; all the best what could be found in people and all the worst could potentially be found in one Vasall. Vasalli are stronger, tougher and smarter than average human. But they are also more susceptible to their desires and instinct. We imagined them as volatile characters which could be prime paragons of virtues that could turn into power corrupted beasts if they allow themselves too much. And that's the main reason behind the „corruption“ mechanics – as we know, power corrupts so we wanted to balance out the potentially great power which lies in Gifts with something equaly dangerous.

FB: The setting is arguably the most unique part of Awaken I think. It's just so refreshing to have a European fantasy setting that is not (semi) anglo-saxon or nordic in its makeup. Off the top of my head the only other setting with similar elements that I can think of is The Witcher. However, whereas The Witcher feels very down to earth (well, all being relative) and gritty, Awaken comes off as much more heroic, or perhaps extravagant. The art of course helps with this, but the rules and setting as well evoke much more of a dark high fantasy world that make me think of Elric of Melnibone. I'm not entirely sure where this rambling question is going, but I'd love to hear more about how the setting came about and what kind of "power level" (to use a very mundane turn of phrase) you envision for the characters.

Z: Ah, yes, the great Witcher series! Well, our setting was designed to be slightly more epic as you noticed. But we really didn't envision it to be too epic or high fantasy. Yes, there are various creatures in the woods and the darkness, but they aren't magical beasts; at least they aren't considered as such in the world of Awaken. On the other side, we have giant Colossi which were a pretty big deal once, and now are dying out. Then, you have the Vasalli of course. With all their gifts and plethora of abilities, they are somewhat epic, but still not in the high fantasy kind of way. We actually had some questions about the „power level“ of Awaken, and we feel that it could be played in different ways, all depending on the Narrator and players. But we prefer to play it (and the setting was mainly created that way) as a toned down fantasy; the wonders of the world and setting reflected mostly in the bizarre situations and character abilities.

FB: Moving back to the system for a bit. While it will be, for the most part, familiar to veteran roleplayers there are a couple of things that immediately stuck out to me. One was the Picture system, where if you describe something well enough the narrator gives you bonus dice, or even lets you succeed automatically! This is something I'm familiar with from Torchbearer/Mouse Guard and I think it's awesome! It's probably one of those things that many players kind of do anyway when they play, but having it in the rules make it much more of a tool for the players and generate better stories. You mentioned it growing from a house rule of yours, would you care to expand on that?

Z: It's just like you said! It's commonly used house rule, but we really did want to draw attention to the existence of it and emphasize that it's a good thing for developing role playing in the groups and sessions. And since we feel the game is pretty accessible to new players and game masters we wanted to incorporate it so people could get acquainted with that options even if that is their first encounter with tabletop gaming.

FB: The other really neat mechanic is how combat works. That everyone acts at once was interesting but what really got my whiskers twitching is that you generate your entire combat pool and then divide it between defence and offence. Something I haven't come across before. It's such a simple idea but through it mechanics that are often separate in other games are boiled down into one decision which I imagine will help both with speeding the game up and making it a lot more cinematic - depending on how many dice you use on what you can see exactly how your character is fighting. How did you come up with this combat system?

Z: Marko who is lead designer of mechanics was toying with various options. He really wanted to speed things up and to avoid the usual downtime during long combats. During one of mechanic testings, it just came to him that people could avoid all that and that we could emphasise the creativity and give freedom to narrators and players during the combat. Also; it's designed as a reflection of a real life combat; it's messy and dirty, there are no chess moves while fighting. Something goes wrong, something goes right, but nobody waits for the other to punch. Everything happens in the same time. That's why the rolling in the same time is used for the game. And the decision to split the pool between offense and defense is also natural; when in a fist fight, people usually know if they want to fight defensively or all out; so the split pools would mean various stances, openings, aggression, caution etc.

FB: Finally, to round off, what kind of future do you have in mind for Awaken? Lots of splatbooks covering the different factions, pre-written adventures and campaigns, sourcebooks for interesting places, monster manuals? What can we expect to see?

Z: There are some ideas what to do after the campaign, but we have to see the reactions after the product is finally released. Of course, the world is big, and there are some things we didn't put in the core rule book. And there are different perspectives on things happening in the setting of Awaken, so there is a lot of room for additional material, and there are a lot of ideas, but for now we want to put the core book out there and see where it leads us.

FB: It's great to hear about some of your thoughts on the design process. Thanks for joining me here at Fire Broadside, Zoltan!

Z: My pleasure!

So there you have it! As I said the game is already funded, but naturally more backers means more product lined up. Right now it's only three days left, so if you're the least intrigued about what you've read head on over and give it a further look!

Although I am not able to back the project at this time, I'm hoping to be able to have a look at it when the game is released to make proper review!
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Monday, 19 October 2015

Dropzone Commander Intro Scenario

Dropzone Commander Rapiers watching the skies...
Rapiers preparing to kill my dropships dead!
As I mentioned in my last post me and other Martin had a game of Dropzone Commander planned for the weekend. I had all my Scourge nicely painted but I had promised to paint the UCM part of the starter box as well as other Martin was too lazy to paint his own. ;)

Of course the intention was to do them gradually day by day but as I kept pushing it forward I found myself frantingly speed painting the night before the game! And the Legionaries actually ended up completely unpainted as I wanted to prepp them more before basecoating them. Oh well, they look... ok to game with and much better than unpainted models. Now I just need to touch up the details and finish them off so I have to nice looking demo armies.

For this battle I didn't get to use my entire Scourge army as none of us had enough UCM to make up the cost difference, so we instead played the solid intro scenario that comes in the two-player starter. It's very bare bones, but excellent to teach you the game. Basically there are three objective buildings set up in the middle of the table (center and each flank) - each objective that you control at the end of the game is worth 1VP while objectives moved off the board is worth 2VPs.

Dropzone Commander Scourge advancing
Reapers providing cover as a second Marauder dropship is preparing to unload its Hunter gravtanks.
As none of us had played before we simply got stuck in and while other Martin headed for the right flank building first I opted to rush my AA units into the middle of the table to create a no-go zone for his dropships. I followed this with infantry to the central (large!) building with my tanks providing cover. His AA went up the left flank while his tanks supported the infantry.

Dropzone Commander Condor dropping off Rapiers
The Rapiers were easily the UCM MVPs this game!
None of us managed to find any of the objectives and other Martin decided to send one of his squads in their Bear APC toward the objective on the left flank that neither of us had approached (as it was covered by his Rapier AA tanks). This seemed like it might not be a good idea, but in the spirit of trying new things they raced off down the road, passing in front of the large building where my two squads of Scourge infantry was frantically searching for the objective. This proved too tempting a target (and I was curious to try out the fabled Scourge plasma rifles) so I lined the walls with one of the squads and proceeded to blow up the Bear. A lucky roll on the Destroyed Vehicle table meant that the none of the legionaries inside survived either! Aww...

Dropzone Commander Scourge Warriors blowing up a Bear APC
One of my Warrior squads throwing fiery plasma death at a Bear APC far below.
My joy was cut short though as the UCM Rapiers (who have a HUGE gatling cannon that rolls lots of dice against infantry) and two Condor dropships opened up on the Scourge warriors they could spot in the windows. None survived. So we were each down to one squad each and none of us had yet to even find an objective, less making it off the table with it!

Dropzone Commander Scourge Reapers on the prowl
My Reapers waiting to pounce as soon as the enemy MBTs are taken out.
As this was going on the UCM Sabre tanks kept pummeling the central building while my Hunter gravtanks very unsuccessfully tried to take out the Rapier AA tanks who very successfully shot down two of my dropships! My own AA kept back as they were no match for the Sabres, however their dropship flew over and started spraying plasma at them, although it mostly splashed off their armour. It wasn't until my Hunters made a lightning raid to knock out two of the Sabres that my Reapers dared approach and blast two Condors out of the sky.

Dropzone Commander Scourge Hunters taking out the trash
After not doing any damage on the Rapiers the Hunters redeemed themselves by quickly destroying two Sabres.
On the fifth turn the Legionaries in the house on the right flank actually found the objective and hurriedly mounted up in their Bear APC which proceeded to race back toward their own lines. If the UCM could get it off the board other Martin was guaranteed the win as I still had to even find my first objective. As things started to look bleak (my Hunters were too far away to catch the Bear) my single surviving Marauder dropship saved the day by swooping in ahead of the Bear and blowing it to bits! While the Legionaries inside survived they were much too slow to make it out in time. Thank the jelly godess for guns on dropships! :D

Dropzone Commander UCM legionaries on the run
With their APC disabled the Legionaries are caught in the open with Reapers not far behind...
So what it came down to in the end was whether I would be able to find my objective or not. If I did it would end in a draw, otherwise a UCM victory. I had been searching for three turns but as I went for the large building it was tougher to find what I was looking for. However, on the very last turn I managed to finally roll a four - enough to find the objective - meaning the game ended in a draw. Yay!

We both had a good time and other Martin was really happy that playing had not resulted in an immediate headache, which was the norm back in the day of 40k and Fantasy. His comments after the game was that he felt it a little bit confusing to activate several different units in one activation, and that it was slightly frustrating not to be able to fire at aircraft without AA weapons. However he also mentioned that this was most likely down to us being completely new to the game and that things like this would feel natural after a bit more practice.

In fact he was enthused enough to immediately start talking about (finally) assembling and painting his own UCM and considering what to get to make it into a fun 1000 point army we could use next time. This is great as I think the snowball effect is very strong with DZC as the models are easy and fun to work with and quick to paint which boosts your motivation which makes you paint more units!

As for myself, I'll finish off the starter set UCM but after that I'm a little bit torn. I really would like to build up a 1000 point Resistance force but at the same time I could make a fun 1000 point UCM army for the same price as the Resistance starter. Hmm...

Oh, and we rounded off the day with a game of Infiltration. It's a game I've been wanting to pick up for a long time as I love the theme and I don't really have any push-your-luck games in my collection besides the original Drakborgen (Dragon Quest). What made me pull the trigger now was because of my recent reimmersion in Netrunner and the fact that the game is not featured on FFG's site anymore meaning it's more than likely going out of print soon, if it hasn't already. Designer Donald X. Vaccarino has said that if he wanted to release it again with another publisher it would go back to its original theme of crooks breaking into a bubblegum factory. A theme I'm not in the least keen on.

Playing Android: Infiltration
A playmat from Netrunner for that little bit of extra theme...
Anyway, three of us played (Anders was an observer during DZC) and one of us left the building early, while two of us pushed on. Other Martin ended up wounded on the second floor and had no choice but to try and look for a second exit while I raced back downstairs. Unfortunately I didn't make it out but was arrested in the foyer! Other Martin on the other hand found some Blackmail Files allowing him to escape with loads of data, clearly winning him the game. Fun and quick! Will play again soon. :)

That's all for today. More later...

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Thursday, 15 October 2015

And Believe me I am Still Alive!

Hello there dear readers! As things are wont to do my posting schedule and planned articles went out the window and I really haven't had the energy to write like a good little blogger. It's partly because of the proto-gamer of course, but also my enthusiasm for writing about new Infinity releases has lessened and meaning to keep to that schedule has meant that I haven't posted about other stuff I've been doing. It's not that I don't enjoy writing about Infinity news, but I feel that with my limited time I want to focus on stuff that is a bit more personal and unique.

So don't expect as much talk about the latest Infinity releases, but instead bask in the glory of my latest gaming achievements! Hopefully there will be more, but perhaps shorter, posts of what I've been up to lately as well as some reviews here and there. Business as usual. Kind of.

We didn't get very far...
To recap the past month... there's been some board gaming. We gave Legendary Encounters: Alien to my friend Anders and I've played a couple of games - still not won yet though. It's easy to grasp and quick-ish with a greath theme that doesn't quite click from a mechanical standpoint but still comes through enough to make it all very enjoyable.

EU won handily in this game as their economy engine simply crushed me and Anders.
I pulled out MERCS: Conflict again and I used some Fudge dice as proxy resource dice to be able to play more than two players. I've enjoyed the two player games, but three players brought an entirely new dimension to the game and it made me regret that I didn't spring for extra during the kickstarter! Also, I really like special dice... I think I need Roll for the Galaxy in my life.

Troyes about mid-game. You see all my VP-makers? All two of them? Yeah... that's why I didn't win.
Troyes made another appearance however I failed to really make a plan come together and ended up last. I was going to build lots on the cathedral, as that was my VP card, but in a surprise move it seemed like everyone had the same idea and I actually got less built than most of the other players. Lots of fun and brow furrowing though!

The keen-eyed among you might spot a painted Spriggan. I'll put up some decent pictures soon. Unfortunately I haven't got aound to painting the orcs yet though - these were kindly lent to me by Anna to supplement my game as the Razorfiend turned up.
With the release of Act I of Rise of the Revenant for MYTH that hit the table as well with four heroes against the undead hordes. The first tile was pretty brutal as we rolled an Agent as the first spawn and as we played really suboptimally for a few cycles. By the time we got to the third tile we had gotten our act together and made short work of the Revenant's cronies. At the very end our overly eager Soldier made the Razorfiend mini-boss spawn and all our actions cost double, which proved a little hectic! But clever play saw us through and we're now eagerly awaiting the next act.

Ryan Laukat - need more of his games!
There was also some Eight Minute Empire: Legends played and I like it better each time. It's very small and minimalistic but packs a lot of good decisionmaking in its 20~30 minute play time. Love it!

Jinteki doing what they do best! :D
Finally (and I think this will have the greatest repercussions) I managed to get Netrunner to the table, after over a year of no plays at all! And it's just... so good! I think I had forgotten or repressed how suberp a game it is, but I had so much fun just playing to games against my buddy Claes. First as a denial-y Jinteki: Replicating Perfection, which frustrated Claes no end, and then with a slightly wonky and very combo-y Chaos Theory deck. I pulled off two wins but that wasn't really important - simply playing the game is just... fun!

Chaos Theory had a slow start but once she started to Test Run/Scavenge her breaker suit together it was all gravy... 
Also the theme is great. The Android universe (first created by Kevin Wilson) is of course an amalgamation of lots of different cyberpunk and scifi themes and ideas, but it's been put together in a way that I think makes it far superior to other FFG settings like Twilight Imperium and Terrinoth. It has also been allowed to grow and evolve in different ways and I'm actually pretty excited to see what they could be doing with it in the future.

In fact I'm so excited that I've snagged myself a copy Infiltration, since it's bound to disappear fairly soon, and I'm also on the lookout for the original Android board game and the Android novels FFG released a few years back. Yes, I long to be steeped in Android from head to toe! Some of you might be surprised to hear that I'm looking to reacquiring Android as I gave it the proverbial last chance back in 2011. However, let me quote myself from that very article:
"Even though we talked about this being the last chance for Android in our group I don't actually think it was, the attractive elements are simply too many. I'm pretty sure that in a year's time from now some of us are going to thinking that maybe if we tried it just once more... then it might be really cool!"
While it ended up being more than a year (more like four) I proved myself right as I'm dying to get my hands on a copy. In fact, let me know if you want to get rid of yours (or the books!) - I need my Android fix! Hehe...

I've spent the last week catching up listening to the Run Last Click podcast. It's good stuff and quite funny to boot. I decided to listen from the beginning as I only have cards up to and including Honor and Profit and it's cool to hear their take on the cards as they came out. I also just made an account on so hit me up if you want to give a newbie a solid thrashing - I'm Beepluck over there.

If it seems like I've become addicted to Netrunner I think you might not be far off! Let's see what the future holds.

Time for these guys to enslave the last of humanity!
In other news, I'll be playing my first game of Dropzone Commander this weekend, which I'm really looking forward to! The DropFLEET Commander kickstarter will be launching at the end of October and I will be all over that like a Wraparound on an Atman! Everything I've seen of it so far has managed to tick so many of my boxes. Very excited for it! Just look at that Scourge ship below...

Speaking of kickstarters, the Infinity rpg by Modiphius has another three days left and has blown through a number of stretchgoals. I'm in it for the core books+all the PDFs. Originally I was actually a little hesitant about the whole thing, but when I saw that they'd made Justin Alexander the line developer for the Infinity rpg I was onboard immediately! Check out his blog, The Alexandrian, and I'm sure you'll realize why. Finally I'll simply mention the ongoing Scythe kickstarter. It blew through more than $500,000 during the first 24 hours so don't really need much help, but anway... it looks awesome and I need to sell more stuff to try and afford backing it. :)

And with that lovely looking Scourge cruiser it's time to go. I feel fantastic and I'm still alive...

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Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Painted Scourge army for Dropzone Commander!

Having spent some time magnetizing my little alien invader jellies I sat down with paint and brush to make them tabletop ready. You might have seen some teasers over on the Facebook page, but here is the complete army, as it stands right now, in all its glory! This is roughly 1100 points or so, but I have one more starter set to build and am planning on getting some Reaver gunships and Slayer heavy gravtanks to boost it. Probably some Vampires and maybe a Screamer to. Hmm...

Anyway, as I mentioned earlier I pretty much copied the studio scheme as it simply fits the Scourge so well. It is not actually the best looking colour scheme (for example these and these are actually better looking, I think) but with the strong and detailed setting information in the rulebook I wanted to paint them the way I kind of envisaged they would look if they were real and the purplish metal simply seemed more... right. At first I thought they'd end up looking boring but by the end I was very happy with how sinister they're looking.

Besides looking neat painting them like this is very, very quick which is always a plus in my book!

Of course all the relevant bits are magnetized so they can mount up, like so:

Dropzone Commander Scourge
Being able to do this is an important bit of DZC for me. It just looks awesome! 
Dropzone Commander Scourge Destroyers
Destroyers! Big buggers...
The Destroyers were fun to paint as they are large enough to give them decent detail. Great sculpt and very characterfull. Might have to get some Eviscerators soon.

Dropzone Commander Scourge Warriors and Invader
Warriors in Invaders.
Compared to the excellent metal Destroyers the plastic Warriors was quite a letdown. In fact I'd say the plastic infantry is the only lowpoint of the two player starter. They're perfectly adequate when you're some distance away but the are not very good sculpts close up. Still, some added scenery to the bases (made from cut up bits of sprue!) they certainly look the part when on the battlefield.

Dropzone Commander Scourge Prowlers
Prowlers, baby!
My favourite Scourge unit - the Prowlers! These were the first I assembled and the first I started painting. Love these guys! Eight is a decent number, but I think 16 sounds more Scourge like so expect to see more in the future.

Dropzone Commander Scourge Dropships
A Marauder and the Harbinger that is transporting the Oppressor. Both nice looking models (although my
Harby did have some bumps in the resin that I couldn't be bothered to fix). Two Intruder Alphas can be seen in the foreground.
Dropships, the lifeline of the entire army. I'll probably get another Harbinger soon as I'd really like to try some Stalkers in the future.

Dropzone Commander Scourge Hunters and Reapers
Hunters and Reapers.
The main gravtanks of the Scourge. On the Reapers I deviated slightly to paint the inner parts of the Arc Caster, giving it a blue/white hue to signify the electric discharge of the AA weapon. Also, I forgot to drill out the barrels on the Hunters! Need to correct this soon.

Dropzone Commander Scourge Oppressor
Oppressor and one of its many, many children...
Finally we have the giant doomcrab itself - the Oppressor! Although I really like the look of the Desolator (hello Reapers!) I knew I had to get the Oppressor as my first commander when I saw it released. Love how big and stompy and... weird it is! Looking forward to letting it loose on the front lines.

By the way, all the terrain in the pics here are from the two player starter set and I love that you can get an awesome looking table setup in a matter of minutes (or an hour or so if you want to glue the buildings like me). While proper modell terrain that is well painted does look better this paper stuff still looks very very good, as far as I'm concerned. I don't get why not more games do this - at the moment the ones that spring to mind is this and Infinity: Operation Icestorm. Also, I'm still waiting for my plastic modular DzC board that I kickstarted almost two years ago now. They're saying it should be here in September. Yeah.

Anyway, let's round off with some mood shots featuring that great scenery!

Dropzone Commander Scourge
Some Reapers and Prowlers deploy to secure the street for the Invaders.
Dropzone Commander Scourge
An Intruder Alpha pulls away just as it has deposited a squad of angry Destroyers into a building.
Dropzone Commander Scourge
Scourge warriors look down at the majestic view of their commander advancing towards the enemy.
Dropzone Commander Scourge
A Harbinger dropship approaching to pick up an Oppressor.

Next up I'll probably tackle the UCM in the starter so I can actually start doing some demo games.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Rules Reading!

Just a very quick update. For the past couple of weeks these are the different rulebooks I've been cycling through. Usually I'm reading the revised The One Ring (thanks Ville!) during breakfast and then Infinity when I get the chance during the day (skipping to points of interest rather than cover to cover) and then I get stuck in with Dropzone Commander after the proto-gamer has gone to sleep.

In fact, I just finished the DzC rulebook tonight, which I did read cover to cover, and I have to say I'm very, very impressed with it! I think it might be the best looking and most well presented miniatures rulebook I've come across in my gaming career. The miniature photos are spectacular, the fluff is good and actually interesting, the layout works well and the actual rules seem solid. In fact I was so impressed with the whole Dropzone Commander two player starter that I'll probably do a mini review of it pretty soon. I'm also in the process of painting my Scourge. I have of course already magnetized my giant Doom Crab!

As for Infinity I've played a couple of learning games with Claes who seem to enjoy it and is picking it up well. I think next time we'll try something with an actual scenario rather than just straight up annihilation as cool scenarios is what Infinity is all about. He's got his Haqq starter box assembled and awaiting some paint as well as a bunch of reinforcements still in blisters. I'm using my trusty Yu Jing but since I also have a number of units that need painting We might do some kind of painting/first battle deadline to motivate us and actually get the stuff up to snuff.

Finally, it's always a joy to read anything for The One Ring and although I've read through the first edition a number of times I was happy to go cover to cover with the revised. It's still the same game although some things have been tweaked (mainly Journeys) and the organization of the book has been improved. I did like the two book system but there were some issues with which rules were where etc.

Yeah... that's it. Just thought it was fun to talk some rules. What are you reading at the moment?

Oh, and don't forget that Fire Broadside is now on Facebook.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Infinity Prepp

Just a quick update to show that it's not only Dropzone Commander getting some love but good old Infinity as well. I love the remotes in Infinity so I'm a bit ashamed that I don't have a single one painted. I've had one of the Yaokongs prepped for ages as well as my two Pangguling.

However, I decided to rip the first Yakong apart and put it and it's sibling together properly, with magnets. I also bit the bullet and removed the 40mm bases from the Pangulings (and I was so happy when I mounted those properly!) to make them ready for the new 55mm base size. Yes, I know that is not strictly needed but what the hell, it'll look better going forward anyway. I'll probably do the same with the my single Aragoto and Guija TAG as well, but I don't know about the Sù-Jián - putting the mobility form on a 55mm base just looks so silly. Hmm...

Anyway, just wanted to make a quick post and show what's been happening. Two Yakongs, a spec-op, a Tiger Soldier, 'Neko' Oyama and a Zuyong ready for some paint! Also, as I'm writing this I realize that I have a Ninja and a Karakuri ready to go as well. Quite the line up!

I keep forgetting to plug my Facebook page, and I keep forgetting to make a proper button for it, but yeah, feel free to drop by and give Fire Broadside a like. :)
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