It has been a hard year for Cryx players. The best caster in the game, Asphyxious II, has been justifiably nerfed twice. Though its needed, it does not sting any less. Adding on top o that, we’ve not seen a new release in probably 12 months. I know: Hard is relative. However, we are starting to get some cool information coming through about what we will be in Vengance. Its been a trickle, but I’ll take it, and its hopefully going to come faster as Vengeance nears.

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Earlier this year I signed up for Project Orange Crush Hunger. The concept is for the community to volunteer to paint models of a given army in an orange theme of each painters choice, and then once the army is finished, its raffled off. The proceeds of the raffle go to hunger relief in conjunction with the years Foodmachine efforts. This, the third year, they’ve chosen to do an orange Convergence army.

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Earlier this year I signed up for Project Orange Crush Hunger. The concept is for the community to volunteer to paint models of a given army in an orange theme of each painters choice, and then once the army is finished, its raffled off. The proceeds of the raffle go to hunger relief in conjunction with the years Foodmachine efforts. This, the third year, they’ve chosen to do an orange Convergence army.

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The Malifaux Wave 2 beta has been running for about three weeks now. It was just updated today, as a matter of fact. The latest document is located here.
I’ve really been impressed, as I have said before, with the way Wyrd has really stepped up their game with this second edition. The first test-play of book 1 was very solid. It contained some new models, and moved some models around from other books to the First book, but otherwise was a simple redo of the rules and the first set of masters they created. It swung heavy from time to time, with some masters needing heavy tweaks or multiple passes, but was mostly just excellent play test feedback.

This second wave seems much more restrained. They seem to have learned from the first test and have really honed in on the models and what they want to do with them in each instance. They’ve been able to take the concept that they had in 1e and make it both playable and storydriven in 2e. There are small discrepancies here and there as any good game will have, but the overall effect has been very positive. I’ve been focusing on Guild, and only today did they get a really solid pass, with Hoffman being tooled around quite a bit. This pleases me, as I am starting to see what I am going to pick up with the pile of cash I made off my last little bit of GW stuff I had before I moved.

I mentioned before I am going to now have a McMourning Crew, but I am also really pleased for the McCabe crew as well. This wave of the test fills out the models I wanted to use with McMourning, and gives me McCabe.

I’m going to be able to field a pretty cool crew of Guild Guard now under McMourning, with Drill Sergeant Daschell, Hounds, Riflemen, Guardsmen, Trappers, and one of my favorite models, the Guild Guard Captain. They each layer buffs on each other, and can remove paralyze, which is one of the downsides to McMournings Nurses he likes to have come along. I’ve really got a cool theme for them I am going to put together somehow, and when they hit the field, its gonna be fun!
Well, at least after the first few times of me learning how they freaking work. I have a mind of Iron. It takes forever to scribe anything into it, but once its there, its there forever!

Sadly, I’ve been unable to really play the game due to my daughter being born, but its worth the trade off. I’ll sit on the sides, patiently reading updates about what and how the game is changing right before my very eyes.

This extended play test has given me much more hope about what the future hold for Wyrd. they say this will last three months, so maybe I can get a game or two in before it ends, but who knows.

So, its been quiet for a lot longer than I would like around here. I’ve been preparing for a number of major life events.
The wife and I had our daughter, and she’s an adorable little person, and If I have anything to do with it, a future nerd. She gets to make the final decision, but its pretty much all daddy does. Now, 10 days later, I will also be moving, and packing for that has been great fun. I apologize for the delays, but I feel its good reasons.

We’re just gonna get some general nerd comments out there, its gonna be a brief one.

I finished inferno, but have not started up on the Stronghold, the last of the Standard Campaigns. It was a good ride through inferno, and I look forward to finishing the game.

I picked up Puzzle and Dragons. Its Pokemon meets bejewled, and its my time-killer of choice lately.

I sorted through my old D&D notebooks. I’ve got maps and notes from 12+ years ago, and its some really cool stuff. My world has grown and expanded well past anything I’d imagined. Well, grown isn’t the right word. I’ve destroyed all but one of my civilizations, and that one is about to get a rude awakening. Also, the notes I was reading through made me realize: I’d never written a history for Tysis (the continent where all the action happens). When I originally created it back in ’95, it was an “as is” state. I’ve moved forward almost 30 years at this point, but I’ve only looked here and there at the history. Its time to rectify that.

I’m finally getting rid of a ton of my old GW models. I am pleased.

Warstore weekend is about to go down! Normally I’d be there to help out my buddies, but this newborn thing is pretty complicated, so I’ve bowed out for the year. Head up to northern Jersey if you get the chance. Most of my Convention Locals will be there, give em hell!

Malifaux Has edited and updated their 2e tracker with beta Wave 2! In it they have all the models of Malifaux that were not covered in the initial release. So, for me, I am getting my first look at Lucious, the new Neverborn/Guild Master (he’s been upgraded from Henchman in 1.5) and McCabe, the Guild/Ten Thunders Master. They both look fun, and perhaps a reason to pick up Lucious that I’d never had before, especially with the influx of money from the GW stuff. It also has Abuela Ortega and the Latiago Pistoleros, both of which are a favorite of mine. Oh, and the vast majority of the guild guard models that I had enjoyed in theory were in there as well, with the Drill Sergeant, Captain of the Guard, and Riflemen, among others. I really look forward to grabbing those and using them with McMourning. It makes only perfect sense.

That’s all I have for now. I’ll be trying to get in 3 times a week and see how that works out.

Jonathon

Skeltor from : http://dreddabrutallac.deviantart.com/art/Skeletor-166200008

Reaper is at it again.

Their bones miniatures, which are really good, are back on Kickstarter. This brings me both joy and sadness. I like the idea of getting some more models, but do the really need another Kickstarter?

I like the concept of Kickstarter. It is a unique way of getting direct to user funding, breaking the traditional model of investment funding. Why should any concept be tied to the stodgy tried and true concepts others have tried? Investors are notoriously closefisted with their money and generally unwilling to jump for new ideas. I like that it gets novel ideas into a marketplace that has the ability to bring creators and individual funders together. Direct funding is really inspiring and I think its use for expanding the genres that a tenured company can venture into, reaching sideways, can be a boon. I even think its really great for companies going to novel production methods that test the tried and true bedrock.

There are some exceptions, though. I’m not fond of big companies plumbing Kickstarter for their basic tenants. Certainly, if other funding avenues are not available, then I’m OK with it. But I really object to seeing large name companies pitching the same type of product they would have been able to sell normally to Kickstarter. I’m also opposed to something I’ve seen come more and more: rapid-fire Kickstarters. I don’t think Kickstarter should be used a your basic business model and before putting another project up, you should definitely deliver on the first.

So, its with mixed feelings that I have signed up for Bones II. I have backed the original Bones Kickstarter, Warmachine: Tactics, Wild West Exodus, and Relic Knights, and I have had different results from each one. Relic Knights is still not at my door, Wild West Exodus is currently on the block to be sold, and Warmachine: Tactics has just finished up. Bones did me right, though. It delivered my products a little late, but they were all in there. A Kickstarter success, my first!

So when I heard the about Bones II, I was excited. The bones models I got were fantastic if a little bendy but the value was enormous, and I felt that I was helping Reaper achieve what it couldn’t do without my help: make the bones line a success quickly. It would be a kickstart to their bones line allowing them to get deeper into production. but then they put up Bones II, and the more I thought about it, this second incarnation had me more than a little torn. while there are some fantastic sculpts that are coming to the bones line, I feel that going back to Kickstarter is a little disingenuous. Isn’t this what we did for you the first time? Weren’t you supposed to move forward with your line once we got you… Kickstarted?

I’ve pledged in, but only to see what type of models they’ll release, and maybe get some extras. The real hook for me the first go round was the piles of giants I could get. Oh, and that I would never need another hero model again. 240 some models for $100 was pretty phenomenal. This next one, with about 14 days left, is sitting around 135 models. Its just not as thrilling. The addons are pretty neat, but only in a conceptual manner. The hill giants are really the only ones I have a powerful desire for.

We will see how it all pans out, but I am really hoping that they get a little more strength before the end so that I can feel good about my money going to them. Its going to need a lot more than a few cool models this time.

The Inferno Campaign has been the second most enjoyable campaign of the game so far. Necropolis was a ranged powerhouse and easily my favorite, and Inferno is the opposite: a melee powerhouse with some of the most enjoyable mobs so far. They cover all the basic devil/demon tropes -cCerberus, succubus, pit fiends, maniacs, lumbering rampagers and swift tormented beasts are all represented in some way.

I played a magic hero with Necropolis, might with Haven, and magic with Sanctuary so it was time to return to might with Inferno. My experience with Haven was a little harrowing, and had really put me off the concept of might heroes, but as I’ve always said: I’ll try anything twice. I rolled up a might hero, and started off into the great unknown, hoping to not hate the game. This time, though, I was rewarded with an enjoyable experince right from the go. Having the experience of what didn’t work as a might hero in Haven really helped, as I was able to build a solid might hero right from the start.

Each campaign features four maps. On the first one, your limited to your basic three creatures, called Core Units. You might get an Elite level as well if your lucky. The second map allows you access to all of the Elites and Cores, and the third gives you access to Champion units. Each of these units has to be earned and found on the map. Sometimes its a simple stack hanging around that you recruit, and sometimes its a quest. Each creature has a basic form and an upgraded form, as well. The third map never gives you access to your Upgraded Champion; that is the purview of the fourth and final map. Whats so fun about the fourth map is that you get to have access to all your creatures from the get-go. You have to spend the time and resources to build their recruitment centers, but its up to you to pick and choose when to get what units.

Each recruitment center generates a certain amount of units each week, 7 turns, so preserving these is paramount. In the Necropolis and Haven campaigns you have access to replenishment with necromancy and healing respectively. In Sanctuary you just have a million-billion units so you care less about losses. In Inferno, you have no access to anything, and your units aren’t super-plentiful, but they hit plenty hard, and seem to have a decent amount of HP among them. Magic Heroes allow you to pummel your enemies with powerful spells, which is good for armies with weaker units like Necropolis and Sanctuary, but the hardier units of Inferno have really enjoyed the plentiful buffing that goes on with the might heroes. From the ability to counter-attack before being hit instead of after, to the ability that lets you summon extra guys based on the size of your army, to the ability to call out a unit to go immediately, might heroes have some very compelling abilities.

The style of play that Inferno has is a no-mercy, hit first, hit hard melee beating. They have only two Ranged units, one Core and one Elite, but they can’t hold down the fort for you unless you do some serious work on them. Instead, you summon a huge amount of extra demons and charge them into the face of the enemy until there is no enemy left. Speaking of summoning demons, each faction has its own unique ability and Inferno probably has the best. When you build the requisite amount of points, you can designate a place on the board where a new stack of one of your units will be summoned in a turn or two. This area of the board is impassible to all units much like a rock formations. It can also be destroyed with enemy attacks similar to how you can destroy castle walls. As a final benefit, it occupies the same space as the unit stack does. Placed properly, this will block enemy advances, funnel them into your stronger units, and distract enemies as they attack the portal. Its control, offense and defense all in one, and is by far the best ability that I’ve had so far.

As cool as the Inferno Campaign is there is a downfall. The main character, Kiril, is supremely effeminate and could be labeled with a strong Emo title. His voice is grating, he has a pet name for the demon in his head, and he is completely unphased by the two succubus who are hitting on him the whole time. Its a little strange and off putting, but who plays these games for the characterization, right?

On the last Sunday of September, I played a pair of games with Lord Exhumator Scaverous

He worked alright. That actually surprised me as I was 2-7 with that giant bastard. I’m not sure that list would have worked in a tournament, but it was definitely fun. It also had some glaring weaknesses that I only discovered once I played the list. Lets get into it.

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I’ve taken down the Sanctuary Campaign!
In roughly 1/2 the time it took me to grind through the Haven Campaign, I’ve managed to fight my way from a mage seeking refuge on the islands controlled by stereotyped naga to the home of my former husband and murder him. I am pleased.

Sanctuary plays with weaker mobs, larger stacks, and fewer hitpoints than both Haven and Necropolis. I always felt that I was on the back foot going into a fight. What did happen, though, was that I was able to play the game like I’d wanted to from the start: get in the enemies face, mix it up, and really not worry about the actual mob count. If a whole stack went down it would be just a few days before I was back up to snuff.

Each of the three factions I’ve played so far has had a very distinct playstyle.
Necropolis: Regenerating ranged powerhouses that have cheap foot troops to run interference.
Haven: Fast, fragile, elite troopers that do good damage, with a strong defensive bent.
Sanctuary: Slow, Fragile foot troopers that make up for their weak damage output in overwhelming numbers.

Each has played very different, despite every hero having both might and magic powers, and having access to similar powers within both might and magic. It has given the game a longevity it might not have otherwise.

The final map was difficult. It wasn’t Haven level ball breaking, but I did have to start over once, and I recieved a tip from my buddy that helped me roll the map.

The final map has both Haven and Inferno on the same map, with a neutral town in between. There is also a special quest to beat the mission without taking any haven towns that wasn’t the final keep with Gerhardt in it that I wanted to complete. The first go round I was super cautious. A giant demon and his army threaten you to come after him after you take your first town, but he is clearly super-powerful and outnumbers you significantly. He lets you keep the one town you take first, but the second and third town are both his, and he lets you know it by attacking with overwhelming force if you manage to capture either. However, he will not come out of his keep and attack you unless you are close enough that he can sortie out and return to base. If he comes out however, he destroys you. I played around him cautiously for over 10 months in game time before I gave up and started again.

There is a secret island base, way north through the waterways, that allows you to pick up an extra 2-3 weeks worth of creatures for a pretty cheap cost. Grabbing that allowed me to blitzkrieg the map once I’d restarted. I sent my second in command to get them while my main character torched everything between my starting village and the one town the demon would let me take. At this point in the game I was firing chain lightning at the top of every battle, and it would kill the whole opponents side. I’d gotten it at the end of the last map, where it was a little underwhelming. However, starting the map with it is completely brutal, but this only lasts a few weeks, a month at most, before everything starts having to many dudes to just blow away before they can harm you. With that knowledge in hand I waited for my second to get back from his recruitment mission. Once he’d returned I waited just a little more until the start of the next week, grabbed all the newly minted soldiers from both my towns, and then bolted straight towards the main badguy.

Each enemy group, when you hover over it, has a threat level. It goes, in order: Trivial – Low – Average – Modest – Severe – High -Deadly. Normally I would wait until something was at least average before attacking it as the losses I would suffer would be to great. The chain lightning had given me confidence, however, as it ripped down even severe threats for me without suffering a single loss. Emboldened, I attacked the demon in his volcano hideout. With the help of my friends from the north and my powerful early stage chain lightning, I tore him apart. I was most pleased! From that point on I had an upper hand. I had three, and then quickly thereafter four, towns and each was producing massive quantities of gold and troops. I was able to quickly beat the mini-boss and then the final boss.

While the final boss was uninteresting, the mini-boss took a few tries. She whips every square in her front arc and within her 4 square reach on her second activation every turn. It took a few goes at it, but I eventually found a solid strategy that enabled me to drop her without only some major losses among the ranged troopers.I simply ran around to her back without attacking the first turn, and then she’d not hair-whip and kill everyone. I was able to quickly replenish the ranged losses and go after the main boss, taking the level and the campaign.

Now, onto the Inferno Campaign, which I have been looking forward to for a while. Its got succubus, pit fiends, and cerebus!

Hogan, Hero of the Resistance, has triumphed over Sodaving, Kayazy overlord of Leryn!

With a little help from his friends, of course!

This weeks IKRPG game on Tuesday ( I know I’m late, its been crazy), Finally pitted the adventurers against Sodaving and his personal guards. Though the fight was quick, with Sodaving going down quickly, there was no lack of danger to our intrepid hero.

After being hauled up and over the edge of the culvert in which we had followed our friend Sev and having dispersed the pistol wraiths, we found Koldun Lord Lazar and his right and left hand ladies in charge of a fairly empty area. Sodaving and his lackeys were firmly under watch. It also turned out our employer, Niccoli, had fooled Lazar into believing he was the world famous Reinholdt, and was advising him. Lazar questioned who we were and what was going on. We informed him that we were wrongly accused prisoners of Sodaving, forced to fight for his pleasure while he was feeding information to the Golden Crucible rebels. To convince him, I produced a map that I had found before ever entering Leryn, and told him that Sodaving had given it to us, thinking that we were Golden Crucible allies, and was therefore working against Khadoran interest in Laele

I’m going to interrupt myself here, as this is a point of the story I am none too proud of. I like bringing down the bad guy, and I like doing it clean. Playing an honest thief/alchemist/spy has been a challenge, and its one of the parts of the game I have enjoyed the most. That I felt there was no real, legitimate, in-game way to take out the big dude without framing him for something he didn’t do, feels so out of character, and it will haunt Jerek for a long time. With no real evidence, and only lies, was there actually anything Sodaving was doing that we could have, if we tried harder, found to bring him down? I’m not sure, and I’ll never know. Sodaving is dead, Leryn is under Menite control, and we are back on the run. It is good to have brought him down, but would the Menites just done it for us. We will never know. Now back to our narrative.

Once I recounted the false narrative to Lazar, staring Sodaving in the eye the whole time, he knew he was done. He broke free, a pair of followers running with him, and vanished into the crowed. Our tracker Von, however, was able to watch the crowd and follow him. We pursued. He lead us into the sewers where we had first encountered him after a lengthy chase. When we finally caught up to him and his two lackeys, a crazy monster broke out of the water in ambush obviously allied with Sodaving. Sor and Lefty, his Laborjack armed with a drill and a mining pick, took the brunt of the Hunter’s wrath, with Von and Ivan, the Explorer and Doomreaver, up front as they were the fastest, drawing Sodavings attention. I was stuck in the middle. That was perfect, however, as I am an intellectual archetype character with command 6, meaning that I give +1 to hit and damage to all allies within 6″ of me.

The battle took place both sides of a raging sewage channel, and the bridge over top of it. Sodaving strode in first, laying huge amounts of damage into Ivan, and slapping Von as well. Ivan Returned a blow, but Von was stymied, having to shoot into melee while being in melee himself. The -8 that created was more than could be overcome, even for him. Sor and Lefty struck back at the Hunter and mauled him pretty severely: enough that he took a bit of refuge in the raging sewage in order to not be attacked by the duo again. Sodaving, having enough of Ivan’s sharpened door and really having it out for Hogan used his acrobatic skills, which were impressive for a terrifying murdering machine decked out in mechanica armor with huge axes, to roll between Ivan and Von. He looked me in the eyes, and their icy looks told me he was going to end me. He connected on his first hit and Ivan ate the attack for me, his only friend. He was unable to protect me from his second attack, and I dropped to three HP. The last attack, thankfully, missed and I dodged backward out of reach where I could spike an acid grenade on his face. However, I had to survive the round to do it, and Sodaving looked just fine at that point.

Until Lefty. Sor roared out to Lefty to charge Sodaving, and the ever faithful laborjack surged into combat with the deadly Kayazy prince. Though we all had had problems hitting him Lefty had death in his cortex, connecting with a grand overhand swing. His pick bit deep into Sodavings back and armor,who howled in pain as Lefty yanked the pick out with inhuman strength, ripping apart both mechanical apparatus and human muscle. The pain was obvious in his eyes, and though he was harmed, he looked far from dead.

When it got around to my turn, I dropped an acid bomb onto Sodaving. I used the scatter rules and attacked with a pow 12 to all in the area of the grenade, feeling I needed to do supreme damage to actually kill the villain, and not expecting my dice to be good enough to hit. Instead, after suffering from the attention of Ivan and the gentle caress of Lefty, the simple damage of the alchemical acid was enough to put him in the ground. He staggered over to the edge of the waterway, where a giant sewergator, lurking for a chance at a lucky meal, sprung out and ended him forever. The remaining minions and the Hunter were easily dispatched by my compatriots, and we limped out of the sewer to the chorus of the Menite faithful outside the walls. the Khadorans were about to be expelled. The Northern Crusade had arrived.