I’m just kinda going to go around the nerd world in a few minutes, there have been a ton of developmens I want to touch on that I’ve not been able to just sit down and rash out into a full post. It’d be perfect for a bite size nerd, If I wasn’t trying to paint every second I possibly could!

Warmachine Developments/Spoilers

Recently, there were released a number of excellent spoilers/previews from the next/last Privateer Press Anthology book.

From the already released Exigence:

The Skorne Aradus model.

Aradus Sentinal from Will Schick

Aradus Sentinal from Will Schick

The Gatorman Sacral Vault

Sacral Vault

The Doom that came to Infantry Armies

I think there is a ton of potential for both of these models to be in my armies. I really wish that I played either Circle or Legion, so that I could use the Sacral vault in that army as well, but thats not happening any time soon.  I really like the look of the Aradus, but the base-to-model ration is, as always, suitably Skorny. The guns it brings are a welcome addition to almost every Skorne army!

The Sacral Vault I am a little less thrilled about because I am gonna have to get a PG to paint that monstrosity up for me, and then trade them a painted model of equal value. Hopefully I can get this done before Lock and Load, where I play my gators.

There were also reveals, releases and spoilers on the jacks for three of the five factions that are going to be getting new character Jacks in the upcoming Reckoning book.

Dynamo, who’s just a monster from hell, was released, Moros was spoiled in the latest No Quarter, and Ruin has their rapid prototype model revealed. Honestly, Ruin determined my second Khadoran caster, and is allowing me to comfortably expand into a two list pair that is extremely cool to theory about. Moros is going to cause me no end of fits, when I play Skorne. For the vast majority of the time, however, I play Cryx, and I won’t need to worry about that little machine from hell. Dynamo is the model I am least enthused about, but that is probably because I don’t want to get shot in the face anymore. I just can’t take it.

Well, I probably can. I’m playing Fist.

Oh, Right. Pictures:

A really cool model, though in ret, so BOO!

A really cool model, though in ret, so BOO!

King Missile

King Missile

THE Khadoran Warjack of the Future.

THE Khadoran Warjack of the Future.

Seriously, look at that thing. He’s wearing a Warpwolf for a cloak!

The Complete Release of Infinity v. 3 or N3

When this initially came out, I was ecstatic, and I think I still am. This game has a ton of potential, and is a very, very well made game. That doesn’t mean its perfectly balanced or an extremely tight ruleset, though is it better than most.

They had originally said that Human Sphere and Campaign: Paradiso were going to be kept as is, but they have since recanted, in their own way. Now, with the release of the edited rules for the expansion books and all my models with new stats and rules again, I can feel the excitement creeping up on me.

Oh, and have I mentioned that all the rules are FREE

What you would need and want to assess the game are:
Basic Rulebook
Troop Profiles
Human Sphere Rules
Paradiso Rules

I really think its a game that most minis gamers will enjoy and find enjoyable, and you should try it out!

Malifaux Avatars

According to this post, Avatars are completely removed from the game of Malifaux. While there are various ways of saying it nicely, they are out. There are rules for using them in a campaign, which is adorable, and there are ways to use them as legal proxies, which I fail to see as a reason to purchase them, but they don’t mean anything. I think its a brave decision, but its even harder on me in the wake of the Infinity Profile Trim. Out of three games I play, only one has never removed a model willfully from the game. While it may be eclipsed by other models, I will always be able to field the models I purchased within the limits of the game. Infinity recently took some of the weapons and options away from certain troop profiles, removing some of my models from the game, and now Malifaux is doing the same. Thankfully, I’d never gotten my Perdita Avatar after the rules made her so derpy I never wanted her.

Going along with that, I understand their decision. Its 30+ models that need to be worked into their new style of game, and I don’t even think its possible, especially when your trying to get player feedback. Certian Players are going to want big, nasty, awesome centerpiece models, while others are going to want the choices of taking or not taking the model to be nearly automatic. I agree with the decision, but I don’t like it.

Conversions and Painting

After the success I had with my Bane Spartans, and the initial rush of the Ninja Nyss, I have expanded further outward with my desire to convert. Its not an overwhelming desire, but I do like the uniqueness it gives my army. The first thing I had decided was that I was going to turn my bane Knights into Samurai. That’s being done by a simple head and weapon swap, and I have actually built them and have em ready to go onto the new bodies when I get them. The second is the Bane Halberdiers. I use Steelhead Halberdiers from time to time in my  Cryx lists so I wanted them to match just a little. In order to accomplish that, I’ve decided to replace their halberd heads with Bane Axe heads and replace the Steelhead Bucket Helmet with Bane Knight heads. After I paint them up and get them matching the color scheme of the Cryx army, they’ll fit right in!

Painting is finally happening on my Skorne force. I’ve joined the Tale of Warmachine and Hordes Painting Group, and I have to paint five points of models every month in order to continue participating. To accomplish the monumental task, I’ve decided that I’m going to paint up the rest of my unpainted Skorne warlocks, and get using them on the table. First up is Rasheth, who I have to say, I am pretty proud of, for his spot. He’s sitting about 70% finished, and I look forward to having him finished!

You will also notice that my pictures suck less. Thankfully, the phone I have sucks less!

 

Nova Open and the ECR

Its about time for the NOVA Open and the East Coast Rumble to start getting ramped up, and I am looking forward to seeing a ton of people and getting some games in. Running and judging WMW qualifier events is no small task!

 

Last week, Corvus Belli worked together with Beasts of War to provide a sneak peak at the Infinity N3 rules that are on their way. I was able to gather up a few of them , but Friday proved to be the lions share of rules, going over Close Combat, Hacking and Weapons and Ammo, along with a two part battle report using a pile of the new rules. I spent last week talking about Infinity itself, and today, prompted by my experiences over the last few years, I want to ramble for a bit on the subject of edition changes within games.

It feels like, back when I was playing games as a younger man, that they never changed unless I wanted them too. Board games rarely changed, and D&D, at the time, was fairly stable. The first real change that I’d encountered was in MTG. While the sets pushed forward and added new and interesting events and cards, there was’t really a philosophical design change. The story followed the same characters, the same locations and felt almost eternal. With the end of The Weatherlight Saga and the departure from Dominaria, I felt betrayed, I felt lost. I didn’t want any part of this new game that had forced itself into the world that I had created for it. Now, with a changed world, new characters, and an inevitable change in philosophy upcoming, I snapped. I played the game at friends houses fairly regularly for a little bit, but the love had died off. I sold almost all my cards, keeping just a few here and there, and left the game.

during and after high school, I was also playing pen and pencil RPG’s, most notably D&D. My experience in MTG Still colored my opinions, and the change from 2nd to 3rd edition was one we did not embrace readily. It wasn’t until our group was introduced to the new edition by a friend who loved it deeply that we even gave it a shot, right before 3.5 came out. Again, we were convinced that the game we’d come to enjoy and love was being replaced with this foreign object that has the name and face of the game we still played, but the soul of it had changed, and the body had morphed into something wholly unrecognizable.

Shortly after my break with MTG, I was introduced to Warhammer 40K, a game that filled a similar void, that allowed me to nerd out with my friends and flexed my brain meat in methods that didn’t really get exercised with board games. I felt that I was making tactical and strategic decisions about the game on a scale that I’d not been able to with games like D&D. I spent and unknown amount of money and time on Warhammer. I poured many hours of creativity, thought and artistry into the hobby, eventually even getting a job at the local store and suckering in masses of people. Then, My first edition change with the game came, and man it was a doozy. I’d heard of the long ago days of Rogue Trader, and how it was a vastly different game and again the legends of the fabled Second Edition of the game, with complex and strange rules interactions. Now, Living in the age of Third edition, I was experiencing a toned down version of the game, streamlined to a basic, no frills game that allowed me to simply play. I’d built armies using all sorts of obscure and insane lists. Now, with the coming of fourth edition, I experienced something I’d never known before. Obsolescence. The army I had grown to love and enjoy playing the most, with which I had put tons of time and labor into converting and collecting, had been discontinued. This army was so specific I could never even pretend it was something different. I, as a player, had been tossed aside. I played the Fourth edition for a short time before being fired for Poisonous Thinking. Between being fired and having a favorite army discontinued, I’d quit Games Workshop games completely.

While I was playing these two games, I was also playing pen and pencil RPG’s, most notably D&D. My experience in MTG Still colored my opinions, and the change from 2nd to 3rd edition was one we did not embrace readily. It wasn’t until our group was introduced to the new edition by a friend who loved it deeply that we even gave it a shot, right before 3.5 came out.

 

While I was working at Games Workshop, I was introduced to this amazing miniatures game with a very different style of play than the one I was selling. A number of us all got into it at once. The game was over-the-top crazy! It has robots and undead and this new theme called Steampunk, with tokens and gadgets and all sorts of effects all over the field of play. The experience was as different from any wargame I’d played before or sense.  I’d fallen in love with a game in its first edition.

I hadn’t quite learned. I thought that FAQ’s and Errata would be enough to stem the tide of a new edition forever. I never thought there would be a day when the game would need to be looked at in such glaringly harsh light that it would need to be upended, rewritten, and brought back into line with what the creators and designers of the game really wanted. Inevitably, though, it happened. This time, though, was different from all the others. This time, there was an open, public beta test that gave us insight into how and why the changes were coming. This was the first I had heard of such things happening, and dove in deeply, submitting feedback and trying to balance a game myself.

This was a turning point in my understanding of how and why games go through changes. What had once been assumed to be an ever stable landscape of games, founded on a bedrock of impenetrable rules and infallible game designers was now show to be what it was. These games I played were created by gamers like myself and my friends, who had a great idea and decided to run with it. They would play-test it and enjoy it and hone it, but inevitably, mistakes would be made, loopholes would be left open, and strategies would be missed. Game design, especially now, is a quick turn around affair, with internal testing and outside playtesters doing their damnedest to try and iron out all the kinks and make a spectacular game.

But, as more and more gamers get a hold of a product, these seemingly small portions of the game that were missed become magnified and extrapolated. It is especially obvious in the United States, where the culture of taking any edge to win is so ingrained that we don’t even find it problematic. In general, Americans enjoy pushing the boundaries to win and enjoy pushing themselves to discover new and unintended loopholes and kinks that they can exploit to their benefit. This comes not just from our culture, it is almost who we are as gamers, brought up on video games and sports, where anything that isn’t explicitly called out is fair game. To take that a step further we were even encouraged to find that way around that lead us to victory. Built into Super Mario Brothers are the warp pipes that let us cheat out whole levels!

Many times, it is this wide exposure and popularity that leads to a streamlining and changing of a rules system. To some, this is the worst of the worst, and evidence that the game designers are pandering to the masses by making the game more palatable, more understandable, and easier to sell. While this sometimes may be true, I would instead counter with the fact that it is under this new weight of players that the game must be rebalanced. A player base is a much greater testing ground than anyone could possibly hope to achieve prior to release, and many times this player base will find and exploit a system in the rules that allows for victory at a much lower cost than one is used to. This is countered by a tactic or seldom used loophole, and the rabbit hole continues. After years of these cycles, the game is often at a point that no one could have ever intended when they launched the game or wrote the rules, and the change of edition is a come back home moment.

The big problem with players is that they have very little of that frame of reference, and even less of a problem with the problems in a game. Between a lack of perspective into game design and Edition Fatigue starting to lay thick, many people rile against the changes in edition not even as a necessary evil, but as a betrayal of trusts.

These changes never get easier, but these companies will never stop making them. In the last 5 years, I’ve seen D&D, Warmachine, Infinity, Malifaux, and Descent each change editions and rulebooks. Each release I have looked at with enjoyment, trepidation, excitement and anticipation. These events are going to happen, and if you think your playing in the final edition of a game, I envy your ability to look at the here and now without looking towards the future. Each of these games changed, sometimes in significant ways, from the edition that preceded them. Some, Like Malifaux, Warmachine, and the Most recent D&D, have changed for the better, adding and subtracting complexity and rules where needed. Descent and Infinity are, currently, mixed bags, with Descent going to far, and maybe infinity not going far enough.

I’ve found its best not to look at the game you love, the one you currently play, with rose colored glasses proclaiming it to be the best ever, but once an edition change is announced, take a critical look at the game your playing and see how it varies from what seems to be the goal of the game in the first book, and how it contrasts with its image from the outside. Take your time and try to get inside the head of the developers. Remember, they don’t want any model, unit, or rule to be a stinker. They want every option to be good, competitive, and worth considering. Every bad model they make is simply another model that they have to pay development, design and production to make that will very likely never, ever sell.

Well, perhaps until a new edition comes out. Then some of those scrap models will have life breathed into it once again, as I very much hope some of the Haqq models are this year.

 

 

 

Corvus Belli and Carlos continue to reveal new tidbits and whole rules around the new Edition of Infinity. Extremely late on Monday they revealed how retreat works, with an addition Tuesday as to how the new templates will work. Each of these portions of the rules has some very, very strange interactions in the last edition. Each of these rules needed serious work, and they got them. Continuing to build on the excitement of how Loss of Lieutenant works and the clarification and simplification of a number of issues, the new template rules and the new retreat rules are fantastic.

Retreat was always a funny beast in 2e. I never really suffered from it, but it was always on your mind. You’d have to keep track of how much of your army you lost, and what portion was left to loose before your army went into retreat and started acting weird. The new rules are extremely interesting to me, as morale and fleeing are very large parts of many miniatures games, but no player likes to see their models turn tail and run or collapse with feat. Instead, everyone wants their troops to behave in predictable, standard ways. Some game companies temper morale by eliminating it completely, which I am not a fan of, and some will simply try to have it exert a minimal effect.

The new strategy that Corvus Belli is enacting with N3, is one of mitigated failure. They’ve moved the retreat threshold backward to 75%, meaning that you have to have less than 25% of your points on the board in order to be in retreat. In a 300 point game, that’s 75 points or less on the table. Combined with what Carlos mentioned were longer games, this is likely to come up later in the game than it used to. In addition to being later in the game, they way retreat works varies based on certain skills they have.

Normal_impetuous_courage

 

The chart above gives a good concept of what is happening at two points in time: Loss of Lt. and the Retreat Status.

Normal units are units without any special skill mitigating these two very bad positions.

  • Loss of Lieutenant – Normal Troops become Irregular, and may generate only a single (Yellow) Impetuous order, which only they can use.
  • Retreat! – Normal Troops become Irregular, but they also become non-combative. This means that they may only move, dodge and be scared.

This is a large change from 2e, where any number of times I would have had to deal with troops retreating in place. The old rule was that these troops had to make a compulsory move towards their owning board edge. This is no longer the case. Many losses in the game can be mitigated by getting models that are retreating off the board edge, due to the fact that you don’t get points for what you’ve eliminated of the opponents, but what you’ve managed to save of your own squad.

Impetuous units are those troops who suffer from the Impetuous skill. They are generally uncontrollable, and tend to have other benefits that allow them to ignore or mitigate this rule, but it is here for completeness sake, a method I can get behind.

  • Loss of Lieutenant: Impetuous troops become Irregular, but also retain Impetuous (red orders).
  • Retreat: The Impetuous Order Phase (the “red” phase) no longer occurs during retreat, denying them a move, and during retreat they are both Impetuous and suffer from non-combative.

Courage: Troops with the Courage Ability suffer the discord of retreat and loss of a chain of command admirably. Instead of becoming non-combative, these troops become Irregular in both situations. This allows them to continue to act, albeit at a loss of effectiveness, while the rest of their unit gets their shit together. This ability, granted by all levels of martial arts, also allows a unit to perform a fighting retreat, attempting to get off the board and and save points.

Remote_Religious_Veteran

As the list goes down, the type of troop gets better and better.

Here we have Remote Presence, the Courage of the robot world. This operates with the same minimal downfalls and immense upside that comes with impetuous troops.

Regular Religious Troops.
As a Haqqislam player, I really look forward to using this profile. While in Loss of Lieutenant they suffer the same penalties as other factions, they refuse to retreat due to their overwhelming religious teachings. This allows them to generate a Green (standard) order, allowing them to both spend orders from the pool, and contribute orders to the pool as normal. This is truly amazing, allowing your troops to keep the fight going while the rest of the army retreats in good order. Oh, and one more thing: Religious Troops are not allowed to leave the table edge in a retreat situation. They will stick it out and sacrifice themselves to cover for the retreating troops.

Veteran Level 1
Veteran troopers are amazingly skilled and disciplined warriors. They have the ability to work together through the toughest of times and come out on tip. Neither Loss of Lieutenant or Retreat will cause them to break, and they will continue to function at full capacity no matter what the fight entails.

Finally, we have the baddest aliens in the known space.

Morats Morat

Not only do these guys retain their orders, they are also religious, meaning that they will never retreat off the board, they will always stay and fight, and they will keep fighting until they perish a glorious death. Its very interesting to me and I look forward to fighting them once again!

The other rules change, as part of an almost half-hour video, is the changes to template weapons. There are some very interesting changes here. Because I’ve not had a ton of experince with templates, I’ll just list the parts that seem important to me.

  1. All templates act the same. The only difference are terminal templates now exist. The simple difference between a standard blast and a terminal blast is that the template either exists, or is generated on hit.
  2. Templates ignore partial cover.
  3. If you can see the model who originated the Template, you may dodge the damage. This is a normal PH roll. The worst PH still had a 50/50 shot!
  4. If the model does not see the originator of the template, that model may still dodge, but at a -3.
  5. Templates cannot affect models that are completely blocked from LOS by terrain in between the template focus, ie, the point on the template with the hole, and the target.
  6. All models attacked may choose to ARO as normal, and all will a normal roll. Each troops results will have no effect on the next. You cannot eliminate a terminal Template (Missile Launcher, Shotgun) by being the target and succeeding in your ARO.
  7. A troop may place the tip of the template anywhere within their silhouette, but not next to it. This is true in all three directions. You can shoot it from your head, your toes or your chest, but not next to you, over you, or under you.
  8. Smoke Grenades are template weapons, and can be ARO’d as normal. He specifically calls out a model being targeted by smoke grenades nullifying their placement with a good ARO, but I’m not sure about targeting the ground.

Templates deserve their own entire post, but that’s all the time I’ve got right now! Hopefully tomorrow they have move videos and sneak peaks!

Its been relatively quiet on the Infinity front since their Gencon announcements, and its been trying to keep up the hype I had going for it when it was first announced. I was initially psyched to get some games in with my current line of models and rules, but that thought was quickly quashed by the portions of my brain that just want new stuff to come out.

Its not even just the new shiny syndrome, which I tend to suffer less from. Instead, its the promise of a better balanced and more intriguing gameplay. There are a number of things that I just don’t feel like playing against on the off chance that they could change. Instead, I’ll revel in the good news nuggets that they drop here and there and be very excited about the game.

Thankfully, I’ve been rewarded! You can now pre-order N3 Directly from Corvus Belli or through your local store. It is very pricey, honestly, approaching $77.00, but the mail rules are divided into two parts, so your paying for two books: The price of each is about $38.50 at that point, which I am more likely to pay. I’m not sure that I really like the concept of a split book, but it definitely has its selling points. Carlos mentions that he was approaching 400 pages in the standard rulebook, and that they had to cut it in half for it to be portable and useful. While I am not particularly in tune with the Fluff, and don’t necessarily want to pay for the fluff, I am willing to shell out the cash to have a nice, streamlined rules tome to take with me, and a neat, shelf-watching fluff book I can maybe sell off to someone.

Though, honestly, some people aren’t even going to want that, and will be able to update their entire collection on Jan 1 when the downloadable rules come out. The fact that there are even downloadable rules is a boon to their company and a nod to their fans. They want to make this game as easy and simple to get into as possible and having rules on line is exactly the way to do that. It also makes sense with their insanely high learning curve. Give the new people rules to be able to peruse and get excited about, and they will purchase models.

That announcement of the pre-order, along with its requisite exclusive miniature, has started off a week of announcements about the game, the news, and what is going to happen in December. One of the details they keep going over a decision that gives me pause every time I think about it. They keep mentioning that they are only replacing the first, core book. The other two rule books, Human Sphere and Campaign:Paradiso, are going to remain legal rule books, able to be used with the new edition. Except where they aren’t. Supposedly, all the profiles got tweaks, skills were revamped and rules were clarified. Even if none of that was true, the weapons got new range bands, and are invalid for the books. Its all very confusing to me, and makes my poor brain hurt.

In addition to the announcement of a pair of books, they have also announced a new mechanic for Infinity: Command Tokens. Command tokens are a spendable resource that each army starts the game with. Each army will generally have four, though some models or abilities may add or detract from that. These tokens, which you may only spend during your active turn, are used for a number of powerful in game effects and never replenish.

Command Tokens

You are not limited in how many you can use in a given turn, and sometimes  its very useful to have a number of them hanging around in order to save your bacon. Whats really fun about the tokens is that they have a variety of uses, and depending on the events over the course of the game, you will inevitably have a reason to use them. They also add an interesting element of control over some of the more notoriously random elements in the game, namely Doctor and Repair.

I am intrigued by the fact that this command token is how you recreate a fire team. This has stunning implications on Tohaa, as they can have multiple fire teams in a single army, and may have the need to reform more than one in a round. Where before this wasn’t possible (at least as far as I remember), you now can. This comes with risk, however, because you can only do that on two of your turns before you run out of Command Tokens.

It also allows a resource that Link Teams don’t really have a ton of access too. A vanilla army is extremely likely to use the tokens to leverage advantage, where an army with a link team will either conserve them against inevitable Link Team Deaths, or burn them and have the opponent take advantage. Its an incredibly interesting system, and I can’t wait to try it out, get frustrated, and swear to learn the game.

The more utilitarian uses for the tokens are ones that straight up offer re-rolls: Doctors and Repair via remote presence. Though each roll can be re rolled only once, it does represent an added chance of victory. This is something I really want to see in action, and see if it will affect my usage of Doctors in Haqq.

The final group is part of Order Manipulation, which I think is a grand Idea. Spending the tokens in this way gives you more control over your models/orders. These effects include: Turning an Irregular (only spendable on the generating troop) order into a standard order, removing a single model from the state of retreat, recover a possessed TAG, and move a model between combat groups. I really like all of these abilities as they make the game more manageable in previously untenable situations. Retreat, Loss of LT, Possessed TAGS and picked apart combat groups can be exceptionally frustrating to deal with, and I can see the immediate use in being able to spend an outside resource to mitigate them to a point.

Overall, I’m still really looking forward to seeing the new rules, stats and abilities. Its a good time to have played infinity!!!

 

I just picked up my delinquent copy of No Quarter 55 the other day, and I just heard the rumblings of a Theme Force for Dr. Arkadius, the mad scientist of the Thornfall alliance. This has got me thinking about theme forces, and what they do for all games, not just for Warmachine.

I started tabletop games playing Warhammer 40k, and in that game, there was a ton of theme built into every army. While every codex presented the vanilla force of the faction, they also had tons of themed forces you could run. Cadians, Evil Sunz, Black Templars, Biel Tan and specific Hive Fleets dictated your army selection and gave you different benefits for taking them. From the beginning, though, some were obviously considered more powerful than others, and certain books, especially campaign books, boosted it to a completely different level. I remember playing an army of Warp Spiders that was completely bonkers, and might have even been good if I could have proxied it to try it out. Instead, I ended up buying and owning the very characterful Lost and the Damned, which was dropped from the main lineup as soon as the Eye of Terror campaign was over.

The LaTD list was really powerful because it combined sepecific aspects of armies that were otherwise balanced separately into a single force, while limiting the forces that would normally be available to the main (Imperial Guard) force. This is the core of almost every themed army I’ve encountered. Its also why they have such a pull on the communities that they are involved in. If your allowed to run only your favorite model/unit in an army and get bonus’ for it, who wouldn’t?

But thats the rub, here. Most people don’t want to limit themselves because its creative, fluff filled, or interesting. Many people simply want bonuses to how a game functions for limiting themselves in their model choice. I don’t think theme forces really have a place, and though they are tempting, they are generally loose/loose for the communities they are part of.

Inherently, themes break the rules of the game in a drastic way that is extremely hard to balance correctly. This leads to themes that become either the default play style, or that are never used. They are simply black and white, with no gray in between. In Infinity, the use of sectorial armies, and by extension their link teams, is a large part of their discussion of list building and play strategy. I don’t vehemently hate them like I once did but I still cannot see why I wouldn’t just use them in every game, because the link teams are so extremely strong, in my opinion, that they can only be overcome by out-skilling your opponent, becoming a win-more button. Warmachine and Hordes have the signature theme lists for each caster, and sometimes more than one. These, too, I find moderately bothersome. These give various bonuses to the army you play because you restrict yourself in unit choice,  but sometimes the restriction is a moot point because the caster in question would only want to use those models anyway, thus rewarding the clear and normal build for a caster. I wouldn’t be against this if it was true for all of them, but many of them are fairly divergent from the normal way the game encourages you to play, and instead promote strange and janky army lists.

I think Malifaux does it the least wrong, but that’s because it has rules on the models cards that reward you for taking thematic models with them. The Ortegas have family, and the Drill Sergeant buffs models of the guardsman type. This form of theme building is interesting and more balanced to me because the model as it is intended has synergy with other specific models, thus rewarding you for taking them. It is build into the basic premise of the game instead of adding another layer of rules on top.

So, what do you think? Are themed lists and armies the way to go?

 

The NOVA open has come and gone, and with it a great burden off my shoulders. I didn’t manage to get my Cepahlyx painted in time, but I still threw down on the tabletop despite my constant judging. I managed to eke out wins in both games – one against Siege and one against Sorscha 2. It was great playing against Dan and Bill.

The events were packed all weekend, which amazed everyone involved. Here is the breakdown (from what I remember)

Thursday Tier Tournament: 37 players
Friday Team Tournament: 13 teams of 3 – 39 players
Friday Hardcore – 31 Players
Saturday SR2014 – 39 Players
Saturday Iron Gauntlet – 16 players
Sunday Masters – 16 players
Sunday Scrambles 21 players (of which 16 actually got to play, sad!)

That is a fantastic turnout for our fourth year, and a 100% year over year increase in attendance.

What really mattered, though, was that there were so few incidents. The players were, overall, excellent, and the level of competition was exceedingly good. We had pull from several states, and it really felt like it, as I saw lists that we just don’t see here in my meta. We pulled in over 80 players from around the region, and with an Official Iron Gauntlet Qualifier next year, I am thinking we can really become an excellent tournament.

That’s not to say that there weren’t hiccups. There are always things that can be done better, clearer and faster, and we are really looking into them but for the most part they were, while serious to the individual players, minor to the overall scheme. Tighten up communication about alternates, Make sure all the information is the same in the booklet, the primer, and the draft primer, and get the tournaments running in heats to save time.

What I heard that made me the happiest, though, was the direct, honest feedback from the players of the game. It ranged from effluent praise to frustrated critisism, but for the most part it was suggestions on how to make next year better and run smoothly. I got suggestions on what events to pair against each other, what sizes everyone liked, and how to get the most out of every tournament. Its great to know that the people you run these events for, the players of the tournaments, are just as invested as you are in an event. I can’t wait to see who makes it out for next years Iron Gauntlet and Warmachine Weekend Qualifiers!

But I’d be hard pressed not to include my favorite moment of the weekend, which happened not to be Warmachine, somehow. Instead it was when I saw Gutier from Corvus Belli sitting at the cafe and sat down to have a chat with him.  He was pleasant, energetic and extremely cool to talk to. Its good to know that I’m not the only one who gets so immersed in their own worlds that they become real.

I have to give a tip of my hat to both the Infinity guys and the Malifaux guys, who seemed to be running some awesome tournaments where everyone was enjoying themselves. I was sad to see the infinity guys pushed out and into their own small room, but they had some really awesome terrain. The Malifaux guys were just so exceedingly friendly and pleasant – though I knew nothing about their tournaments – that they were a blast to share space with.

Finally, I want to mention Greenman Designs, who make some really cool acrylic measuring templates and other tools. He was extremely enthusiastic and mentioned getting a whole line of warmachine stuff up and running, including some omni-measuring tools as well as sliding scatter template. My buddy has the first Cygnar Flavored one, and its really awesome. He even takes whatever custom design and can cut it out in whatever color you want – Color is independent of product, so you can always get what you want. His prices were reasonable, as well. Give him a look if you have a chance!

Till next time,

Jonathon

Gencon is like Nerd Christmas, and boy was it fun this year. Information poured in from every direction about every game I play and it was a glorious Thursday and Friday. Honestly, I am still trying to digest it, and some of the information still will be in its raw form.

Malifuax had the pre-release of its Crossroads book, which has both the Wave 2 models from the edition conversion, and some new models here and there. This is the one I’ve spent the least time Digesting. Gmort on the forum loaded up these daily congregations of pics, which I’ll just link here.

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4

There is some really cool art in there, and when the book and decks finally release, I look forward to playing some more Malifaux. The Beta wore me out just reading about it, so its nice to have that joy creeping backin.

Infinity, with its coming 3rd edition, had a ton of information to share as well. Almost all of it was revealed in a video Here.

I do like the Japanese dude on a bike, showing off the the new style bikes and the larger 55″ footprint

Yojimbo, I assume?

There is also an awesome pic of Bostria giving out one of the changes:

adding 15% to the retreat threshold for 3rd

We’ve also got some fantastic concept and 3d sculpts, and a ton of pictures of them, that they are working on.

Of course I focused my attention, though, on the Haqqialam, because its my faction, and I have to say: When I first saw the Jannisary model, I cried out that the jannisaries were fine. When I saw the HMG model, I was instantly corrected, that model is freaking great.

This guy!

I look forward to the new Hassassin with a Missile Launcher

One day, I'll play a Hassassin army

One day, I’ll play a Hassassin army

A new Kum Character

to go with the thousand bikes I am going to buy

to go with the thousand bikes I am going to buy

And  a resculpt of the Maghariba Guard

A bad ass machine, here

A bad ass machine, here

 

Finally, there are the Warmachine Gencon pre-releases, which came out like a flood last Thursday, as the store opened and the pre-release cards were unboxed.

Overall, I like them all. They have their own flavor and I really think that they will stand on their own once the Doom Cycle shakes out.

Bradigus is a caster after my own heart. He is a druid that plays well with wolds, which is the only thing I want in a Circle caster. One day, I’ll probably build an army for him.

Absylonia 2 is an intriguing model to me, with a host of strange spells and abilities. Most of the time when that happens its because I just don’t get it, and get suckered on the table. I look forward to facing her.

Helga is crazy-fun. I initially thought that Cyclone was Twister, and was exceedingly unimpressed. Simply changing that one spell makes her 1000% more fun. I approve!

Jaga Jaga is freaking bonkers! I really like both her new spells, Gravewind and Spellpiercer. Her feat, as well, is completely awesome, and I look forward to using it one day here soon.

Xerxis 2, being that I play Skorne, is going to be a blast to play. Mobility is a ton of fun, and his beast bond is exceedingly good. 13/19 with transfers and 19 HP is nothing to scoff at either. Ignite is good, but is nothing extra special, as Skorne has a ton of high end damage buffs. I do look forward to sending Tiberion some 11″ and outside 10″ of Xerxis area during the feat. Who knows, maybe I even use Fate Walker to get him back in his standard control area after the turn ends.

Till Next time!

Every year during con season, and especially before Gencon, there is a  storm of information around  each company, and what they are going to release. With Gencon right around the corner, we are starting to become overloaded with cool things coming out.

I’ll start with a game that I don’t follow at all, but I have heard has a huge following, some game called X-wing. They are releasing an Epic Scale, if you will, game called Armada, and it looks potentially really cool. I like the concept of spaceship naval and dogfighting, and I would really like a game that enables me to play out that type of fleet action. The starter box is pretty cool, I’m not going to lie, with three capital ships, one of which is a Star Destroyer, and a quartet of fighter squadrons, but if the game really doesn’t get past that size, I’ll loose interest exceedingly fast. I want something big, massive, and fun. I’ll be keeping my eye on this one!

Next, Malifaux has released its list of box sets, Nightmare model, and Miss-model that it will be releasing this year.

Lookit alla that!

Lookit alla that!

Wyrd has been converting its entire product line over to plastic since the introduction of M2E, and this is yet another step along the way, with new, plastic, sculpts and crew boxes for Lucius, Zorida, Kirai, Von Schill, the Dreamer, and Ophelia. Also, for each Gencon, they produce a nightmare model that is a huge, alternate sculpt of one of their current models. This year they’ve decided to go with the Whiskey Golem, and I can’t really blame them! It is huge, awesome, and completely insane. Finally, as a treat for all the people picking up these models as pre-releases, every year they have a Miss-model – something you get free at a certian threshold of dollars spent. This year, they have a fantastic looking Alt. Teddy, Miss Ery.

BadTeddyRender If I played anyone who could use Teddy, I’d be all over that. Instead, there is nothing that really grabs me this year, so I’ll just wait for neat things to come out for my limited palette of models.

Infinity, too, is releasing a convention model, though I don’t know whether or not its their first time. Its gaining a lot of talk about its appropriateness, which I don’t care one way or the other about, but the model is at least passable. I don’t think the model looks particularly like the model. I also don’t play a faction that can field her, so her view on my radar is small.

Infinity Cosplay Model

Infinity Cosplay Model

 

In addition to this model, they will also have a Penthesilea Bootleg for prerelease. The bootleg line of models are supposed to be a botique style model that is made in the sculptors spare time, with an eye towards fun and beauty. The new Kum bike on her is pretty awesome, but again its not a model I can use, so it sits in the realm of neat, but not to interested

PenthesileaBootleg

Bootleg model for Gencon

Not to be left out, Relic Knights, in conjunction with Secret Weapon Miniatures, is releasing a line of colored Esper crystals. While I think they are cool, and people will definitely find a use for them, I just can’t.

Espers!

Espers!

Honestly, I think they are really, really cool, I just won’t ever use ’em

Finally, we come to the game I’ve been concentrating on for the greater part of a year now, Warmachine and Hordes. They have a trend of having big releases at Gencon, and this year the rumor mill is churning that the new Hordes book, Exigence, will be available for the purchasing, and there are tons of whispers about what it will contain. As the event comes closer and closer, we get more and more information about the next work, and even have a few tidbits from the mouth of PP itself, and with PP abandoning its long-used concurrent release concept for a more asymmetric style anything is possible.  We’ve already been privy to a pile of rules: Lesser Warlocks Zaadesh, Una, and Horgle; the Moonhound Argus and Rotterhorn Griffon, Dozer and Smigg, Borka, Vengeance of the Rimeshaws, and Fyanna the Lash. We’ve seen a combination of model, art, and concept sketch on Bradigus Thorle, A Character Satyr, Xerxis on a Rhino, a Strange Skorne Bug, Beetle Warbeast Pack, Epic Absylonia, Zuriel, Wasp Warbeast Pack, Jagga Jagga, Maximus, Meat Grinder, Sacral Vault, Swamp Gobber River Pirates,  Helga the Conquerer,  Brightblades, Neraph, and unpainted models of Troll Bandits.

Thats a TON of models with no rules or even hints, and I think that’s really, really cool. There were a ton of models that we knew everything about before the book even came out for Vengeance, and a lot of people were upset, almost as many as were exceedingly happy! Leading up to Gencon, as I said, we have some spoilers as well that have appeared. Some are substantiated, and others, well, believe for yourself

  • New Skorne Unit, Praetorian Keltarii, hinted at buy the Exigence Cover, and revealed in a Picture

    New Skorne Unit!

    New Skorne Unit!

  • Bradigus Thorle has Synergy and Wold-only Battlegroup
  • an enormous pastebin of crazy rules
  • Helga the Conqueror has Dash and Defenders Ward

Even Privateer, though, can’t resist releasing limited edition miniatures for Gencon, and just a few days ago revealed that they will have their pinup model this year as well. The Blighted Bather, a blighted Nyss bathing in a Spawning vessel. I do have to say the Shredder duckie is awesomely cute!

Blood Bath!

Blood Bath!

We’ll see what else comes out at Gencon, and whats proved unfounded. I look forward to it, and all the insanity it brings!

A while back I mentioned that Infinity was going to have a new version of their game come out this year, and over the last few weeks, their has been a flurry of activity around what these changes will bring.

Infinity is sticking to the time tested version of edition change, and has already done all the work. Unlike Warmachine, Malifaux, D&D and numerous Kickstarters, there will be no public beta test of this edition. I think this is a bold move, in the modern age of minis games, but not one without its perks. The game is built buy a Spanish language company, but a large portion of its community are decidedly not. While this includes the USA, it has a broad appeal across Europe. This has created problems with translation to other languages, including English, obscuring the original intent of rules. The decision not to let the community test the product signals confidence in the product that they have,  it also signals that they don’t feel they need the community input to make a balanced, enjoyable game. It also shows that they feel they have achieved a very solid translation, and I hope that they have achieved that goal. I think one of the defining traits of a good minis game is the tightness of the rules set, and Infinity, while good, has a ton of growing room in the clarity department. I don’t like arguing over obscure or strangely interpreted rules in any system. I have high hopes for N3, something I try to keep myself from doing.

These are the changes I have found and/or been exposed to:

  • Combat Camo – What used to be an unopposed shot will now be an opposed shot, but the target suffers a -3 penalty on their return fire. Almost all the math shows that this is a nearly lateral change. Before, you could only shoot back, with no penalty, if the sniper completely missed, you now get a chance to defend yourself, but with a penalty. While it is a lateral change, it does make the game easier to explain and more enjoyable to the defender due to rolling v. not rolling.
  • Capped Modifiers: Supposedly, all modifiers are being capped at +12 and -12. I don’t think this is incredibly common, but in a game that can stock mods, making shots impossible is something to try and avoid.
  • Ranges are being changed, and though I don’t get the particulars and nuances of the numbers, many people smarter than me are extremely enthused. Changes of note
    • Double effective range of grenades, from 0-4″ to 0-8″
    • Double the bonus of the shotgun at short range (+6) which is the only gun to achieve the +6
    • HMG’s have reduced good ranges, making other guns stronger chouces.
    • Sniper Rifles are stronger at long range than they are now, and also the penatly maxes at -3, which X-Visors ignore.
  • Climbing: Climbing is now a long skill that does not require a roll, no longer being betrayed by the dice and plummeting to your death.
  • Discover gets a minor range buff, now being +0 at 8-36″
  • Measurement: Ranges are now measured from Edge to Edge, instead of Center to Edge.
  • Silhouette LOS – When determining LOS from/to a model, you may use a pre-determined silhouette instead of true LOS.
  • Inaction: A rule that allows you to activate a trooper/model but they don’t do anything. It just forces an opponent to declare ARO’s
  • MSV1:  reduces combat camo and TO camo by -3
  • Kinematika is a new skill, that adds 1 inch further with every ARO Dodge, and has levels
  • BTS: is now a positive stat, like all the rest.
  • Smoke: A model touching smoke is considered part of the smoke cloud its touching. I assume that it simply means that he is completely concealed, not that his base can conceal others.
  • And, my favorite change:
  • Loss of Lieutenant – The loss of your LT will no longer cripple your order pool and loose you a turn. Instead, each model becomes Irregular, only able to spend orders on themselves. Using the LT order will now also reveal the LT. You also get an auto-promote of a new LT
  • The dispersion template has been changed in N3 too, it now has ten scatter directions instead of eight – the 9/10 and 2/3 results have been ungrouped.
  • Finally, there are some significant changes to models points and stats here, but they are of factions that I don’t really understand the significance.

Every year about this time, I start gearing up for one of the larger events I run, the NOVA Open, a 4 day gaming convention in Crystal City, VA, just north of DC.

I’ve been Pressganging for almost three complete years now, and NOVA holds a special place in my heart, because its my Pressgang anniversary. Each year I’ve stepped up my involvement with running the events, and this year, I’ve been given the privilege of running the whole show. If I seem to come off as selling this years event, don’t worry, I am shamelessly.

the NOVA Open, as its name implies, is open to all sorts of gaming. There are 40k, Warhammer Fantasy, Bloodbowl, Flames of War, X-Wing, Infinity and Malifaux events going on all weekend as well as workshops and seminars to boot. Justin from Secret Weapon Miniatures has attended multiple years, as has Dan Cotrupe from Tectonic Craft Studios.Justin from Malifaux 2e will be on hand this year as well!

One of the things that makes the NOVA Open unique is the load of what they call Lemonade Raffles – Prizes for loosing games. For every game you loose, you get your name put into the drawing for the Lemonade Raffle, and if your name is picked you get a prize. Sometimes, its a fantastic price worth over a hundred dollars (I think, I seem to remember someone winning a colossal last year). This makes Warmachine, Malifaux and Infinity players extremely happy, as we play, and loose, many games over the course of the day.

Speaking of those games, there will be tons of tournaments to attend in every shape and style you can think of. While the official schedule is here, I’ll break down the Warmachine events.

Thursday:

4:00pm – Midnight : Tierany Tournament
– A 32 slot, 50 point,  Theme list tournament, requiring your army to be qualified for at least Tier 1 of the Warcaster or Warlocks Theme force. One list is required, with a second list optional, using the Top Table variant.This event uses the Deathclock timer, and will qualify the top 2 players for the masters on Sunday.

Friday

8:00am – 3:00pm:  NOVA Team Tournament
– a  35 point, 3 person team tournament. Each team will have designated themselves, however they desire, into Captain, First Lt., and Second Lt.. Each round, each Team will play the other team member of the same rank. Once during the tournament, the Captain can use the team feat and swap two players on his teams rank for the rest of the tournament. This Tournament uses the Top Table and Deathclock variants, and will qualify the entirety of the top 2 teams for Masters.

5:00pm – Midnight: Hardcore Tournament
-a 50 (corrected from the earlier 35) point, out of the book Hardcore tournament. That mweans 1 list, fully painted, Timed turns, Deathmatch Scenario tournament! Bring you’re A game and shoot for the Commendations: Vanquisher – Best Overall Record,  Master Craftsman – Best Painted Army (as judged by the NOVA Open Judges), Executioner – Most Army Points Destroyed, and Mage Hunter – Most Efficient Caster Kill. The top 2 players, determined by record and SOS will Qualify for masters.

Saturday

8:00am – 6:00pm – Steamroller 2014
– a 50 Point Steamroller with just a few variants. Deathclock Timing, Divide and Conquer (1) and Finals Table. The top 3 Players, as determined by record and SOS, will qualify for masters.

10:00am – 8:00pm – NOVA Open METAL FIST

An unofficial Iron Gauntlet event, following all the iron gauntlet rules.

7:00pm-Midnight – Who’s The Boss!
– Everyone favorite broken format! build a 41 point list and spin the wheel every round to see who the leader of your army is! Deathclock and Finals Table Variant! Other special rules are

The caster becomes a Friendly Faction model and gains all the benefits of being a caster of that game system. Focus and Fury manipulation of the caster will change as part of the army’s parent game system.
– Warjack and Warbeast text on the casters card will change as part of the army’s parent game system with the exception of offensive spells or offensive abilities. Offensive spells or abilities wording remains unchanged on the card.

–  Abilities and Spell effects on the caster cards that add Focus will remove Fury in a Hordes army.
–  Abilities and Spell effects on the caster cards that remove Fury will add Focus in a Warmachine army.
– Elite Cadre and similar abilities of the Warcaster/warlock are lost unless the defined models exist in the army they are playing for.
-Abilities/spells that heal/repair will change as part of the army’s parent game system.
– Animosity and Abilities that specify caster battlegroup types are removed from their card.

Sunday
10:00am onwards – Scrambles!
Fast moving 4 or 8 man tournaments, meant to be quick and have players perhaps play people that you’ve not played yet at NOVA. Submit your list and when we get the requisite number of people, we’ll start the tournament! Deathclock will be required to keep the tournaments moving, and we will be giving out prizes for each scrambles event!

10:00am – 6:00pm – Nova Masters
The culmination of the NOVA open, pitting the qualifiying winners from tournaments all weekend long against each other for the title of NOVA Master. Be prepared to play by the Masters Rule set: 3 lists, Divide and Conquer 1 and Deathclock timing.
The Qualifiers are as follows.

  • Tierany: 2
  • SR2014: 3
  • Team Tournament: Top Two Teams (6 players)
  • Hardcore: 2
  • Metal Fist: 3

There will be alternates, as described in the primer, so even if you don’t qualify, make sure to note that you could get in if someone doesn’t show!

We also will have a Kingmaker Tournament on Sunday for the High Command players, and will be having Iron Arena and all sorts of goodies to win via playing open games!

Caveat: We are still hammering out the final details, so there might be some minor changes here and there, once the final Primer comes out, that supersedes anything I’ve written here (which shouldn’t change much, honestly, if at all)

So, if you have the weekend of August 28th-30th free, consider taking a trip down to DC and playing awesome games of whatever system you play. Stop down by the Warmachine area, and we’ll give a demo to you if you’ve never played, or challenge a PG or anyone else. I’ll have my Cephalyx and hope to have them fully painted, looking for games between running events.  It’ll be an amazing time!

Feedback is encouraged, either through Twitter or Comments! Let me know what you think of the schedule!