Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I Shall Call Him Steven...

...this guy dies tonight. Hang in for a report tomorrow.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Dark Souls or Why I'm Sweating.

No models today, although I do have a unit of Orks, a finished Choir of Menoth, and a bunch of wizards to post I've not gotten around to photographing them. Today is about Dark Souls and why you should play this game if you haven't.

Seriously.

I'm not one of those guys who throws out games and says you got to go play them because I think they're good. Everyone has different tastes and even on top of that I feel there is a certain amount of elan that goes into enjoying a game. A connection that you can't easily explain. There are some very good games out there such as Skyrim for example that I have played some, recognize their quality, and even enjoyed but they didn't drive me back to them. Dark Souls though, man, it is demanding of your attention.
Of course I will admit I am making some assumptions about my audience. These are;

  1. That you have some interest in fantasy gaming.
  2. That you are familiar with rpgs of their original form.
  3. That you don't mind a little challenge.
I don't feel these are inappropriate assumptions as this is a blog about fantasy (and scifi/historical) miniature war games and video games. That in mind I think a few things need to be said to really get what i'm talking about. Rather than rambling I think I can sum up why you should play this game in just a couple solid points although there are more, these in my humble opinion are the keys to this game.

Point One: The World is Alive Around You
This is a map of part of the game world and it is just teeming with a life of its own, a digital fauna if you will. As I have played the game so far I have slain dozens of undead of many variants. Valiantly defeated black knights of many forms. Slain a pair of gargoyles. Killed giant monsters. Shot huge mosquitoes out of the sky. And done a dozen other things from bashing in invisible walls to being carried by a gigantic raven (or crow) through the sky. This game is just so alive in ways other games are not. Part of this is the bonfires that serve as sort of check points/save spots for the game. Your character sits down at a bonfire and is slumped over, clearly exhausted, and outwardly over whelmed and you can kind feel for the poor bastard. You've been putting him through it, he's died numerous times, and he knows you're going to make him get up again and go out there and kill all the monsters he just killed which respawned when you had him sit down. I haven't played many games that make me feel empathy for my digital avatar, this is impressive in my book.

Point Two: The Feeling of Achievement.
This game is not necessarily "hard" per say. It is unforgiving though so if you err or make a dumb mistake it is going to exploit it violently, much to your chagrin. As soon as you make a mistake or a dumb choice you know it even before the ax (sometimes literally an ax  comes down. But wow, the small endorphin rush that you get when you accomplish a challenging task. Not just any challenging task either but generally one YOU decided to under take. An example is needed here...
...there are several black knights in the game and they are a very intimidating foe. Standing much taller than your character aggression and skill makes them something you go to tangle with early in the game and you regret very quickly when you do. They are part of the mini-boss system and when you kill one they don't come back (well...mostly). The first one I slew was in the Undead Burg and I actually jumped out of my chair and yelled at the T.V. "Yeah sucker eat it!"...this is not something I usually do with a video game. I mean I yell a lot sure, but I don't feel there is a personal challenge between me and that digital enemy. But Dark Souls man, oh baby, it is personal and you can feel it coming out of the screen. When you face down your first big enemy you can feel that "they" are planning on teaching you a lesson and nine times out of ten they do. Then it gets personal and you come back with a different mind set, one of getting even. So after all of that takes place and you win this feeling of accomplishment comes over you and you think to yourself, "I'm getting a grip on this game."

Usually that leads to about five to ten minutes of over confidence before something sticks something into your spleen and you are hack-hiking your way back to get your souls and humanity. 

I'm currently a level 41 cleric and i'm toting around a +5 divine mace, the very mace I started the game with even, and tooling around in chain mail with a funky steel helm. I can bring the hurt I tell you and I'm pretty far along in my combat skills and I don't mean that in a digital sense I mean my ability to read the game and know when to do what. I feel I've gotten quite deep into the game but I think i'm only like 35% or so in. So much left to do and explore. Still, all that advantage and the game regularly teaches me I'm not in a scaling challenge environment. You see something off in the distance you think looks dangerous? Well it is, and you're going to need to go up there and die before you know how to fight it.

So many ways to die...

So, anyway, go play it. You can get it cheap now and it is a great game. I haven't touched on all kinds of aspects  of it and if you don't mind a good fight and don't mind retracing your steps you're going to have a wonderful time.

But seriously...

...You are going to die so many times.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Reaper Bones Kickstarter Miniatures Case Review

That is a long title for a review, but I felt it was only appropriate to include the "Reaper Bones Kickstarter" bit as that is where it came from. I got my kickstarter reward about a week ago and honestly I was more excited to get the miniatures case than the miniatures themselves. I bought into the kickstarter because frankly if you had a hundred extra dollars, like fantasy (and scifi) miniatures, and didn't  you were a little nuts. It basically broke down to less than 50 cents a figure if I remember right and those prices really don't exist anymore.

So this is a review of the case, not the miniatures, because really they are all Reaper miniatures and I need to paint a couple before I could comment on the Bones... thing.
Basic picture of the case, this is the "top" as the bottom protrudes instead of indents. The case it locked by two sliding latches that can have a lock inserted to secure your figures from being stolen out of the case.
Opened for your inspection. Every time I have opened the case the top tray is in the lid like this, i'm not sure that would continue should it be filled with figures. If it would I can't help but feel that would be a little annoying as you would have to fidget with it every time to prevent those from falling out. 
There are three trays each has fifty spots for a figure. The trays are perforated in the middle and can be easily torn in half to make two smaller trays. I believe this would facilitate using half the case for a larger model or several large models.
Tape measure for size, each space is a little over an inch wide...
...and about an inch and a half tall...
...and the case is about 4 inches wide. 
Those stats aren't the best in the world unfortunately. It means a few things first being that the figure spaces are kind of small. Secondly that the case itself is kind of small and lacks any top cover padding so the top most tray will be bouncing off the plastic case. This isn't terrible, but it isn't best practice either.
Here the case is between a GW case on the left and a pistol case I bought from Walmart on the right. The GW case has spaces for only 96 figures. The pistol case has three layers of foam, two of which are egg shell style facing each other then a layer on the bottom that is designed to pull out pieces to better fit accessories. I have my entire Grey Knights army in the case which includes a Nemesis Dreadknight, a Razorback, 16 terminators, 6 power armored knights, and my inquisitor.
Here is an overlay comparison of the GW foam tray and the Reaper foam tray. You can see that a standard space marine fits into the tray just fine but an imperial guardsman with the communications backpack would facilitate some cutting but fits the GW tray okay so long as you put it away careful. 
Over all I think the case is "okay" so long as it's price is affordable when it comes out. The GW case is $57.75 and a nice case I think although that should be taken with a grain of salt as I'm not fond of the battle foam style cases. Using the pledge manager I swapped out Sofie for the case which was a 25 dollar swap and if this case really stays at 25 bucks I think it will be a solid case for war gamers and rpg players to invest in. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Obliteration!

Hey ho!

Been a while since I've put some models up on this here blog, eh? Well that ends RIGHT NOW!
I got these Obliterators in a trade and I will admit freely if I hadn't got them in a trade I would not have likely ever added them to my collection. The previous editions metals (which these are) ran about 22 bucks each and the current finecast models go for 52 dollars and I probably would not have invested that 52 dollars in 3 models even if they come in at 210 points. But fate had its way and they have signed up with my chaos lord (what ever his name is) and that gives me two heavy support choices.
The army was obtained in trade in mostly painted form at around 1k points with a terminator lord and three ten man squads of marines accompanied by a Defiler. I've added the dreadnought you can see in an earlier post and this Obliterator squad. I've got the DV box to further increase the army and the next unit I add will probably but the chosen from that box to give my lord a nice bodyguard.

Many times these guys are fielded as 3 heavy support choices, split them across the battlefield to use their significant firepower to blow tanks sky high while crouching in hard to reach places because of their small size...

...I think that is BEARDY personally...

...these guys will be taking to field as a cohesive unit and aggressively march at the foe blazing away. This is mostly because that is basically how I play most war games, I'm less of a strategist and more of a Viking.

On another front Dark Souls continues to intrigue me and draw my video game time to it. Right beside it on the shelf is Bioshock: Infinite and I am a good way into it but I am more interested in getting beaten down by large monsters or lucky strikes from hordes of undead. I chose the Cleric for my class and I am not so much struggling as over whelmed with healing abilities and lacking any strong range combat ability. I've put my foot into the Darkroot areas, I've rung the first bell, I've been killed in New Londo, and I'm working on getting my mace up to divine level so I can beat down the catacombs.

Havel though, oh man Havel.

Ouch.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Plague

Okay, so, I haven't posted in a bit because the week leading up to Easter my entire family got the flu which then evolved into bronchitis and we are pretty much just now recovering. I've just started to pick back up the paint brush and actually finished a unit of Obliterators last night that i'll post as soon as I can. That aside I'd like to throw this out there...
...this game came onto my radar when someplace on the internet I saw a comment from someone that was, "Dark Souls is the Castlevania of our age." This was an immediate prompt to look into finding a copy which I did relatively easily. Castlevania is arguably the best game series ever made and specifically SotN is so absurdly good I would smack someone who didn't agree it was a game worth the ages.
 That being said Dark Souls definitely has the right feel. There is this over all sense of pursuing a goal (so far as I understand it at this point I need to find two bells and ring them) but the world already exists and the player is kind of an invader. This game really reminds me of playing solo in an old school D&D module where there are things to discover and great monsters to defeat while rewarding caution and ingenuity.

It is really really hard though : /

...and daggone I wish there was a way to sell off excess inventory.

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