Friday, February 20, 2015

A Swine What?!?!

The Darkest Dungeon continues to entertain and surprise. I rarely buy into games early because I know that it is a huge risk. TDD drug me in because of the art work and side scrolling turned based combat more than anything. Initially I thought it was going to be too hard, but it isn't, BUT that could be because of the Stockholm-like relationship I have with Dark Souls.

Never the less it does have it's own flavor. The Warrens are filled with pig based monsters that are very disturbing. You have to play it to see it but the one that walks around on human arms while dangling a pair of pig legs under it is really on the high end of "wtf?!"

Then it does something like this...
...BEHOLD THE SWINEATAUR!!!

If you can't figure out which one it is I'm not going to tell you. That half Roman gladiator and half war boar is a delicious beast indeed! I would love it if they would release some card board stand ups of these fine creatures.

I killed it, then I killed another, and I killed a bunch more but no one leaves the Warrens without scars. I know this is basically shameful promotion for this game but I am not connected to it in anyway at all beyond being a player.  I cannot encourage you enough to go buy this game!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Imperial Knight and X-wing

I just finished a fairly large project. Okay I finished it last week but I am just getting to blog about it. My friend asked me to paint up his Imperial Knight which I gladly did. He also paid me which was another glad thing. He wanted House Taranis and I did my best to accurately produce the desired product, observe if you will...
You'll note he is NOT weathered. I don't weather a lot of my pieces instead allowing them to become weathered through use. Not exactly the same I know but I didn't want to impose weathering on his piece unless he requested it. 

Sorry the picture quality isn't better. Still using my iPhone potato. 
A top down view to give you some view of the shoulders. 
Sorry there is no front on picture, that was just so bad it wasn't worth posting at all. This took quite a lot of time and the decals were kind of hard to work with. I've done a lot of decals but several of these were decal within decal and that can be tricky. He did the sub-assemblies and you can't see it but he used magnets on the gun arm so that he could swap between guns allowing him to field both variants.

It was a very satisfying project over all and I did kind of hate to see it go out the door, but I have to admit I'm looking forward to facing it on the battlefield! 

I've never destroyed an Imperial Knight, wonder how that will feel? ;)

Also I've kind of had an overwhelming desire to play Star Wars X-wing out of no where and scrambled to trade for some pieces. On Sunday night I got a bunch of players together at the LGS and we had some epic space battles.


We played 50 point squadrons each and I took a Tie Phantom and Tie Fighter into the fray. I did okay, both of my ships survived. Which was pleasing since I had two other games that nighta nd both were horrible losses. I am really struggling with anger issues in my life right now. I don't mine losing, but I become furious with being so badly beaten I don't get to play. At some point you have to wonder who the hell balances this stuff when there are events like that in a game. I am at the point that I don't even want to win anymore. Just have fun and not want to hit something when the game is over. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Swine King

I have been slowly working my way through The Darkest Dungeon and I've finally defeated the first of three  Swine Kings...
...and if you're playing this game let me give you a hit. See that little bastard on the right, behind the absurdly gross Swine King...yeah him, don't hit him whatever you do.

Well until you kill the king then give him a little of his own medicine. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Plague Priest and Kung-Fu Fighting

I have been working my way through an Imperial Knight for a friend but while I've been doing that I have also been working on a couple of my own pieces.
Needless to say, THIS, and this fine miniature is a character for a friend of mine. He has a hobby of making "broken" characters which is to say he likes making characters that are extreme powerhouses within the limits of a role playing rules set. This is also called "min-maxing" and I don't have a problem with it as a game master. I want characters to be powerful and players to feel like they are getting something over on me. It makes it easier to draw them into traps and allows me to throw powerful monsters at them without hesitation. Originally he wanted me to dremmel down the army bracers but I didn't because I realized that if I did they would lose all definition. 

Also we have this...
A Plague Priest for my slowly growing collection of Skaven. Originally he was to be the start of a slow grow event but it kind of petered out. At the very least I got this guy completed and the next time my Skaven take to the field they will have another wizard with them. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Darkest Dungeon

The Darkest Dungeon by Red Hook Studios released for early access on steam yesterday and I cannot encourage you enough to go and buy this game and play it a lot.

Well that is if you like roleplaying games, great art, and challenge.

If not then, well, nothing to see here.

I've played about three or four hours of it so far so this would be classified as an early review of an early access game. I have been following Darkest Dungeon for over a year now waiting almost impatiently. I love turn based games and I love scary dark roleplaying games. The C'thulhuian over tones are something I also really appreciate in a game as well as the variety of strange characters you can play. Rather than rambling on I'll hit three specific things about the game that stands out.

Number 1: It is beautiful!
This is a screen capture from the game I was playing and you can see there is a lot on the screen but it is all done in "crow shaw" style art. I love this style of art and the mood it gives and this game is steeped in excellent examples of the style. You can find dozens of pictures of the game on line but I am posting this one to show that in play it holds up. Those were not doctored pre-release versions. Some people will point out that it is highly monochromatic and I will not disagree. I believe that is intentional and meant to affect your emotions giving you a blah feeling. This is a game of hopelessness (and over coming that hopelessness), struggle (and success), and fatigue (and recover) so the creators are probably trying to instill some of that in the player rather than just tell them about it.

Number 2: It is HARD.
The first thing that stands out is that healing is rare and hard to come by, and you need to heal both the body and the mind of your characters. A few characters have healing skills but these are only use able during battle. There are no healing potions or salves that I've encountered yet and while eating food does heal you it only heal 1 point (2 in some characters) and you need it should you become hungry during your adventures. To be fair this might be a little too hard. While I am a fan of challenge I am not a fan of insurmountable challenge. Dark Souls has taught me to be cautious with my resources Darkest Dungeon is not even letting me have resources to be cautious with. In general the damage is of a much higher put out than the recovery and is making it hard to progress or not feel like I'm going to lose all the time. I'm persevering though because I have hopes that past the initial challenge is a land of milk and honey: milk for my hit points an honey for my stress points.

Number 3: The characters are actually characters.
Even though it would be easy to point out the classic tropes (oh look a fighter!) it is really more valuable to realize that rather than try to avoid the tropes (which really you can't avoid) they have decided to develop the tropes into characters and they have done this well I think. Yes you have a cleric, but it is the Vestal in this game (implying a chaste character). You have your rangers but they are Bounty Hunters. You have your fighters but they are Crusaders. Then you have things like the Leper which is just...well its just cool to turn a leper into a viable character for an RPG. In fact the leper may be the MOST viable of all the characters considering his self sustaining nature. You get a roster of characters, which you need to replenish as they die, and they WILL die. So don't get attached to more than one or two. I am actively trying to build one or two up on the sacrifice of others.

Over all my first impressions of Darkest Dungeon are positive. I think there may be some game balance issues, but maybe not. Maybe Red Hook wants you to struggle hard, so hard that few complete the game. I'm no sure that is a viable marketing strategy but it certainly isn't new. You can find a bevy of hard as hell games that are played simply because it is hard. Dark Souls used to fall into that category but it's fear has been largely contained so that even the casual player can have fun with it.

There is literally another dozen things that I could add to this list; provision system, side scrolling exploration, the monsters alone! But I think it is best to impose a limit to my initial gushing. Final word is that you go play the game yourself though. Twenty dollars isn't much for a good game and this is a good game even if it isn't your cup of tea. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Warhammer Fantasy and the Dawn Battle

Always I want to play Warhammer. It was my first war game and it is my first war gaming love. The fantasy, the magic, the lizard men...all of it just jingles the kid in me. I still remember my days with the 5th edition starter box filled with Saurus Warriors, Skinks, and Bretonnians clashing over and over again. I lost a lot of those battles. In fact I don't think I won once the entire first year I played!

Greg is a good friend of mine who has been my opponent as long as I've been in battle. He has always played the stalwart Dwarf forces and I have always had a love for the cold blooded Lizardmen and last week we got together for 2,000 points of rumble!
Greg contemplates his tactics looking over the battle field at my massive Saurus Cohort.
I do not remember the exactly army lists but I can give you a general outline of both.

Lizardmen:

  • Quetxapopalotl the slann mage-priest
  • Krok'Itan the saurus scar-veteran
  • 40 saurus warriors cohort
  • two cohorts of skink skirmishers
  • a bastilodon with solar engine
  • my trusty and loyal stegadon
  • a pack of 2 salamanders
  • a cohort of 6 kroxigor
The Lizardmen battle line.

Dwarfs:
  • a lord with some kind of choppy axe
  • a thane on an oath stone
  • 30 hammerers
  • 30 warrirors
  • 10 thunderers
  • the usual suspects in the war machine department: bolt thrower, stone thrower, cannon ball thrower

The Dwarf battle line with their general over looking them.
I was honestly pretty intimidated by the Dwarf forces. Hammerers are no joke and great weapons are smashy good so I was not looking forward to that tangle. Also all those war machines can tear such large holes in the army and it's war beasts that you may not get to battle with them. I had high hopes for my Slann as I took lore master and had all the high magic spells and it looked like there would be several good uses for them in this battle.

The Early game was very much in Greg's favor. I had all kinds of magic dice but didn't have anything in range to use them on! I had to march my horde around the watch house in the middle of the battle field and the scenario rules put all my war beasts on my right flank instead of in the middle where they normally march. His war machines tore great rents in the stegadon and smashed a fourth of the horde of saurus warriors. My salamanders couldn't get their act together and did little to no damage and the skinks were inept as well. 



Mid game saw a little more action on my side but my magic dice suddenly dropped and I had no luck except bringing my saurus up in skill to compete with the Dwarf warriors when they clashed. The most interesting aspects mid game included my salamanders being destroyed piece meal by war machines and they shot up my stegadon which was terrible, but not fatal. The greatest part of the mid game was that challenges in the scrum in the middle. My saurus warrior horde with hero clashed with both the warriors and the hammerers. My champion and scar-veteran called out challenges and there were several excellent duels before his thane fell. 


The late game didn't get to happen. We had an interruption in the middle of the game and didn't get to play the last two turns which was a shame as ti was a great fight! The picture above was right before turn four and you can see my forty saurus block was significantly weakened and my kroxigor has been reduced to just two after loosing a fight with the hammerers who sent them packing. The stegadon did charge and stomp over the cannon there and eventually one of the skink units was able to eliminate the stone thrower. The game was still very much up in the air and I think the last couple turns would have seen a lot more carnage. 

I do so love Warhammer and i'm excited about the End Times and the possible new edition. The more I war game the more relaxed I become and more excited by just getting to play the game no matter what lol!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

D&D, My First Gaming Love

So my computer is dead, long live my computer! This means you're going to have to put up with potato quality pictures and if you don't like it you can...well...not like it. : /

I've been busy. Even though I haven't posted since October last year I have not been inactive in the hobby practice. I have finished painting a lot of models, even done a commission or two, and playing a lot of Dungeons & Dragons. My sons have really jumped into the game and every Saturday one son runs a home brew game out of the FLGS, on Sunday I run Adventure League which they both play in.

The new D&D is a wonderful game with no significant flaws in my opinion. The characters are powerful, the monsters are threatening, and the magic is fantastic. Just what you want out of a FRPG.
 We have a small vinyl wet erase game mat so I've been toying around with small dungeons that will fit precisely within the mat. I thought it was 25x25 but it turns out it's 25x22 which means I have to re calibrate every map I made lol!

 Here are a couple pictures of our game in progress. We try to represent battles on grids or fields to help with the tactical. The rules of D&D are so smooth that is allows for some very dynamic fights.
 A couple of our rumbleres, Ron on the right plays the archer themed fighter from the starter box and has leveled him to fifth creating what the party refers to as "the Machine-gun" since he shoots twice a round at +9 to hit and can pull off four shots with his extra action. On top of that with a critical hit on a 19 now he has the potential to do 72 damage should he max everything out.

Josh on the right fields a fantastic warlock/fighter multi-classed dragonborn that brings some serious hurt with his dual wielding and his spells. Unfortuantely he has a passive perception of 9, which means almost everything catches him off guard lol!
 Josh has a great set of hard foam painted tiles that we use most of the time, then we combine them with the 4th edition card tiles to create different levels. In this scene you can see the party stealing a dragon's egg on the left (Lilli Raulmore the Gnome necromancer and Rougen the halfing...Rogue) while being over watched by Nova (the Archer Fighter), Connor (the half-elf Cleric of some serious power), and Barash the dragonborn fighter-lock. They are just being ambushed by four kobolds who aggravated the roper in the middle of the area.
I like ambushes a lot :) Nothing like keeping the players on their toes!

On the painting side of things I've painted a commission of Death Wing for a friend and finished several rpg models and war game units of my own. My most recent is this one...
...a chaos chariot. I don't have a chaos army and I probably won't have one but I love the idea of a chariot being pulled by some powerful monster like this. I'm sure i'll find role playing or skirmish game uses for it as how could I not! How can you not find a use for a metal chariot pulled by a gorilla like monster with an insane warrior of chaos wielding a massive halberd!?!?

I'm hoping that this initiates a return to regular blogging. I would like to get at least one blog entry a week for the rest of the year. I've got a lot being painted on my hobby desk (if you look close you can see a finished Ultramarine captain) and with any luck i'll also get to share some interesting aspects of my role playing.

So, cross your fingers and may luck be on your dice! I'm back baby!

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