On Sunday, I made a trade with a friend. This trade was probably much better for him than it was for me. I am now in the possession of a box of bane knights. Unpainted, unassembled bane knights.

What did I trade for this marvelous prize, you ask? What could I have given away for this particular wonder? How about painted, assembled bane knights?

That’s right. I have a problem.

I’ve done this a few times so far, and I’m really hoping that this time it will be just as good as the other two.

Last time I painted these models, I got about 2/3 the way through and just burned out. they are hard to assemble, they are full of detail, and they are pointing and sticking in every direction. They were hard to store, they were bending every way, and while I was painting them I was just burning out. I finished them, as best I could, and then called it a day. 4 years later, I’m ready to try again, I hope. I’ve got an idea of what I want to do with them, and I have a better grasp on color theory (Thanks, Meg!) and I think I can do magnitudes better to them. The pure bronze scheme I had for them just didn’t work at all. The black and bronze I used for the bane thralls works really well. Those same mentioned bane thralls were one of my units I got again and painted up a second time and the first go round was good, but the second is something I am really proud of.
I’m really hoping that this time I can assemble them in a manner that is easier to store, and I can paint them without burning out. Its along shot hope, but I’ve got it.

I’ll keep updating this as the project continues, but with the massive amount I am playing of Heroes 6, it might be a while. I’ll take pictures along the way, as well, and you can see where they stand.

The box of Pewter that will eventually be 10 banes

The box of Pewter that will eventually be 10 banes

Look at these bent lances, from the box!

Look at these bent lances, from the box!

after about 20 minutes of unbending

after about 20 minutes of unbending

The Sanctuary faction in Heroes 6 is pretty cool. I will say I was initially all bad mouth on the Sanctuary models, but after using them, I’m really fond of them. Sharks-at-Arms, Naga, Medusa, Water and snow spirits, and Frogmen? The Champion creature, each factions biggest and baddest, is the Kirin, which looks neat, has a huge hit pool, and comes out very fast.

It is much better than Haven, and almost on par with Necropolis in terms of fun factor. The elite naga troopers are pretty terrible which makes me sad though. The big problem is that they are on par with the Haven’s griffon troopers in terms of durability and damage output: which is to say both of them are 0. It is a huge disappointment for both of tthe units, as they are fantastic looking troopers. The upgraded Kenshi/Kensi is a four armed, katana wielding snake man! What is cooler than that? And Haven’s only Non-Humanoid creature is the Griffon, who leaps into the air and diving-assaults people! But both are extremely weak defensively, to the point where core units can break them apart, and their damage output against other elites just isn’t there either. Both have been relegated to the sidelines unless I could stack an enormous amount of them.

Also, My favorite unit, Coral Priestesses, get the hell shelled out of them by the opponent, causing me no end of grief. I only have one or two ranged units, and having one of them burned out by the opponent as fast as possible has been really frustrating.

I’ve made it to map 4, and I’m about to tear Gerharts heart out of his chest, which, for me, is just about as awesome as it gets. I also got to toy around with the Stronghold faction, in the last map, and that got me really pumped to play them.

A Couple Mid-game Observations

Extra Heroes seem redundant unless you need to transport armies. The Enemy armies are just to large for you to be splitting your troops

Chain Lightning seems like a game breaker, but It could just be a factor to try and get the area cleared better and easier.

Water as a spell school is terrible. Air is Amazing.

There are tons of ways to increase your Magic Power stat, but very few to raise you’re Might Power.

There is no good online Resource. Maybe I’ll make one.

Also, on Sunday I traded my perfectly fine, painted bane thralls for unpainted unassembled ones. This’ll be the 3rd time I have done this. I hope this one turns out as successful as the first two.

I got another game of Malifaux in last night.
I played my final Thursday night game against a Tara Crew with my Perdita Crew.
In that game, Perdita Ortega, Spanish gunslinger and Demon Hunter, was charged by an enormous Nothing Beast.
She calmly stared it straight in the eyes, drew her gun, and shot it once, killing it.

This type of evocative, powerful narrative that plays out on the tabletop with Malifaux is really what makes it shine among the other minis games. No other concentrates as much awesome and insanity in as tiny of nuggets. With no more than 20 models on the board, we were able to have an exciting game with clear rules and only a few disputes.
The Scenario was some sort of murder-fest, in which we had to kill two models in a single turn to score points.
The schemes were Protect Territory, Plant Explosives, Assassinate, Distract, and Line in the Sand.
I was trying to Protect Territory and Plant Explosives, and he was trying to Protect Territory and Distract. I managed to set up some explosives, while he managed to steal a point from me by using papa loco to kill himself and the Austringer. We both Protected a ton of territory.
In the end, we tied the game. Francisco the lone Ortega on the board, Facing down his totem, a death marshal, and a nightmare creature. It was glorious

I play the game very little, and am trying to learn the way it plays. Intrinsically woven into this game is the scheme and scenarios, that allow the game to be fun and fair with a semi-natural endpoint. The Endpoint is actually the one thing I dislike in the game. I have found that the organic endings created in Warmachine are much more satisfying than the forced end of game that both Infinity and Malifaux have.

However, it is mitigated somewhat by having enjoyable schemes and strategies. Figuring out what you have to do with your crew and how to manipulate your opponent and your objectives are something I find mentally enjoyable.

Currently, I don’t announce schemes, as I find it hard enough to learn the game itself without my opponent trying to screw me and working directly cross purpose. I know this lessens my chance to actually win the game. I’ll take my licks while learning so that when I take my training wheels off, I’m that much better.

From Reading a bit online, Diestra, one of the Upgrades for the Family, was one I was really ready to get my mitts on. I put it on Perdita, as she only has SH attacks, and therefore will always benefit from it. the [-] on SH defense flips is really, really helpful to Perdita, as it will almost always guarantee a hit. Which will allow her to pick the best poison with which to stamp out her opposition.
The Nothing Beast was one such model. With Point Blank adding rams on all attacks while engaged, and Critical Strike making each ram do +1 damage, I ate a soulstone, giving myself 2 rams, and then ended up cheating in a third. My damage was 2/4/5 bumped to 5/7/8. Given Papa Loco’s dynamite, I was sitting at a cheatable damage flip, and cheated in enough to kill the bugger in a single shot.

I don’t feel that this same activity would have gone on in M1e. One side or the other would have been rocked off the board before anyone was able to really get a cool groove on.

Nabing McMourning, and knowing that he wants to run a guild guard crew makes me pretty psyked to pick up some guild guard in the near future. Hopefully after the wave 2 field test I’ll have a better idea of what to take with him.

The game is fantastic, and every time I say it it feel a little better in my mind. More masters are definitely in my future!

This weekend was chock full of awesome gaming.

As I mentioned yesterday, I managed to beat Haven, and I’ve started Sanctuary in Heroes of Might and Magic VI.

This new campaign is full of terrible racist steyotypes and is poorly voiced with Asian accents that are just awful. 1930’s cringe worthy awful I can’t believe as I listen to it, that this actually made it past the publishers.

The creatures are cool, being a bunch of Asian mythology inspired themes like Frog-spirits, Sharks-at-Arms, Naga-warriors, and Naga Lightning Mages. The music is very oriental-inspired as well, and makes for a good dissonance with the rest of the levels I’ve been through. I’ve yet to make it deep, as I saved once I found my very first town, but I should dig a little deeper into the campaign tonight and see what happens.

Sunday, I made it over to a friends house to help him practice for a set of tournaments coming up. He’s a great player. He asked for Cryx specifically, so I game him the best we got.
Epic Asphyxious.

Here is the list:
Lich Lord Asphyxious
-Nightwretch x2

Bane Thralls x10
-Bane Thrall UA
Satyxis Blood Witches x10
-Blood Witch UA
Bile Thralls x10
Bane Knights x10

Saxon Orrik
Warwitch Siren x2
Bane Lord Tartarus
Necrotech and Scrap Thrall

Artificer General Nemo (3) got the best of me for two rounds, killing almost 50 models in one turn of shooting. He made a single (and I mean just one) mistake that cost him the game: not laying covering fire at his feet to prevent the bane thralls from charging stormwall. Parasite + 5 bane thralls later, stormwall is in the dirt, and my feating bane knights are free to take down the Thunderhead with two more popping the objective. I dominate one zone, control the other, and break an objective all in one turn: 4 points. If I get one more on his turn I win, so he goes for the assassination. He leaves me with two boxes. Its less disappointing than it seems for him, as hot rolls balanced cold, and it seemed about right. Doing 18 damage at dice -6 (even boosted) from 3 attack is 3 points off of average.

With the failed assassination run, he contests both zones, and has to hope for my banes to fail, which they thankfully did not. Victory Epic Asphyxious!

I’ve never played a betrayal game before yesterday, and it seems to me I was missing out on huge fun. I really need to get my group of friends to play a few of these.
Yesterday, I played Battlestar Galactica. In it there are about 7 ways to lose, and only one to win. The humans are pretty screwed. and its completely awesome.
Basically, the games goes as follows:
Players are handed, at the start of the game, a character and a loyalty card.
The character card has three abilities and three stats. The stats determine the type of cards that characters can draw. The loyalty cards have two phrases: You are not a Cylon, and You are a Cylon.
Key: Only half the Cylon/not Cylon deck is dealt out at the start of the game. Meaning that there is a distinct possibility that there are no Cylons to start the game.
Each player takes a turn, wandering about the Battlestar and the colony ship, and at the end of each turn a crisis happens. Most times, this is an event. Sometimes its a Cylon Attack featuring Giant Basestar’s, Raiders, and boarding parties.
The events each have a target number, and define what cards are used to succeed, and what are used to penalize. each player then contributes, in secret, any number of cards to the pot, that is then shuffled and totaled. If the success cards outnumber the failure cards, the crisis is averted, most of the time with no gain. If the crisis is failed, bad things happen, and one of the 7 ways to die ticks down. Cylons try to subtly bait out failures and humans try to succeed at these impossible tasks.
Its very hard for the Humans to win.

Both games went to the Cylons, with me dealing the deathblow as I revealed from the Shadows to end the game on game one, and then the two Cylons revealing themselves back to back and summoning a huge death fleet to destroy us as we tried to power up our FTL engine to make our final jump. We almost had it!

-Tio

Its been a quiet couple days, at least for Nerding.

It took me three more days to beat Haven in Heroes VI. It was a grinding and brutal affair that forced me to restart the map at least three times before I got the hang of it and took the map. It wasn’t easy. There is a group above ground and a group below ground that you have to defeat. Each group had its own way to come at me from angles that I couldn’t stop, and it forced me to make a very difficult decision: sacrifice the upper world. I went underground, and took the whole map down there, while there was only one way in and one way out. I left every town and fort above ground abandoned, and they were all eventually captured. However, the sacrifice allowed me to gain enough ground, and create an unassailable underground base from which to strike. I eventually took back everything I had lost above ground, which allowed enough production to assault and destroy the final boss. I was pleased with the overall decision. Haven was a grind, and I am glad its behind me. Now I’ll grab on to sanctuary.
Reminds me that I didn’t go over the Necropolis Campaign. I should get to that.

Thursday was football night for my poor Ravens. What a shellacking. Well, that’s what the 5th Preseason game is for.

More spoilers for Theros popped up, and its looking better and better. Its hard not to appeal to a person what loves Greek mythology, though. Augers, Oracles, Minotaurs, Gorgons and Hydras: Whats not to like!

Malifaux 2e Beta Test Part 2 can’t come fast enough. I’ve a great desire to see what Abuela, the Pistoleros, and the Pale Rider all can do in this new edition. I also want some more options to play, looking at Zorida and McMourning. Zorida as a theme I liked back in 1.5, and McMourning as a model that can run a pretty neat guild grew.

Finally, I got my Croak Hunter from Sweden! He came with some delicious candy, as well. Maybe I’ll get back to painting here shortly, It’d be a nice break. Its so nice outside, too. Good time to primer some models while the humidity is about 0%. Speaking of which…

I’m gonna prime some models, and then get some Warmachine games in. I’ll probably deconstruct them tomorrow.

-Tio

Man.
While it was brutally exhausting, I’ve not had a more enjoyable convention experience than this weekends NOVA Open.
So many tournaments were played, friends seen, and rulings made.
On a judging note: I don’t think I made a single incorrect call. HA! that feels good!

The weekend started on Friday, with a trip down to DC from North Baltimore County that took 2.5 hours, in traffic, in 90 degree heat, in my wrangler. Blech. I got to the Convention in order to start judging round 2 of the Team Tournament. That ran until 2 AM, but was a blast to oversee, with names such as Pants Off Dance off, Struggle Snuggle, and BBD. I had no horse in any race, but It was fantastic to see all 36 people going at it.
Got 4 hours of sleep and back at it, with the Who’s the Boss tournament in the morning, with hilarious matchups like Xerxis of Everblight, Absolonyia of Everblight, and Orsus Zoktavir – Butcher of Ios! I followed that up with a short lunch, and then right back at it for the featured open tournament of the con: Hardcore.

7 minute timed turns.
Fully Painted armies.
50 points.
70 minute total round timer.

Because it was fully painted, it was a stunning show of almost every army out there. I tool pictures every round, and they are located here if you have any interest in peeking at them. They are Phone pics, but if I am going to do this, I will most likely get an actual camera here soon.

With Hardcore over after 5 rounds at 2:00 am, it was back to bed, and then up and out by 7 to get coffee and start the Masters tournament. Each tournament had a number of top spots that qualified for the honor of the Masters in the morning. With no drops – A first ever in my experience – the tournament got underway at 9:00 with a big guns, badass lists, and to my surprise, an abundance of my faction: Cryx, who went on to do very well, getting all three top spots of the day.

It was a fantastic experince and I’m glad to be giving my con season a send off like that! I’ll be back in the saddle again about NOVA next year, once my daughter hits about 10 months.

Get NOVA Open results here

Malifaux: You finally got it right.

I played a game last night that was brutal, fun, in flavor and a fantastic experience. Nino and an Austringer got murdered by a Steamborg Executioner, Francisco got popped by a tiny-spider swarm, and Perdita, in my moment of mental weakness, got hacked in half by Joss.

But it was fun, and that was something I’d all but given up on before the 2e was announced. Now, I’ll admit that I am still very wary of Wyrds balance issues. Their history gives me pause, and until they come out with an original book, unavailable to a public playtest, that is actually balanced, I’m not going to be convinced they aren’t their own worst enemy. For right now, however, I am going to enjoy the hell out of their game. It feels balanced and fun, its got a back and forth that enables some really cool plays, and I’ll enjoy it while that lasts. I viciously, bitterly, intensely loathed the 1st edition of the game. It was horribly unbalanced; it was busted, it was, no lie, the worst game I’ve ever played. I fully understand why,supposedly, the new core rules book has sold more copied than every other rule book they ever made, because the game is a ton of fun now.

the best change they made, and the part of the game that truly enables fun, dynamic play, it is the scheme/scenario focus. Flipping for shared scheme, and then determining five scenarios (suit + number for two cards, and then Line in the Sand) of which you choose two is a really good method for enabling dynamism.. It allows you to play to your crews strengths and allows you to play of opponents possible weaknesses. the game is truly scenario focused, and it really benefits from it.

Upgrades are a concept I am still getting used to. I brought about 8 points worth of upgrades, and I think I got the most out of all of them… Except Nino. He got ate by a cyborg crab person on turn 2. He… He was not cool with that, and he didn’t get to use his upgrade. It is kinda contradictory, as well. Focusing gives him a 36″ range (double his 18″ normal range) rapid fire gives him 3 shots, but they both use up his whole set of AP. I will still debate this internally for a while, but I think its one I can easily drop. and having to balance the Upgrades, Soulstone Cache, and actual model count is an intriguing, strange thing. I believe I enjoy it.

This game, Its going to be a ton of fun if Wyrd doesn’t smash themselves in the face.

Ok, enough raving. Here’s what happened:

I brought a Crew of Spanish Demon-killer Gunsligers (The Ortega Family) – Perdiata, Nino, Papa Loco, Fancisco, Santiago, Perditats Totem an ensalved Nephalim, and a Guild Austinger.

My opponent brought a Cyborg Electromage and his entourage of Mineworkers and Steamfiters Union buddies – Ramos, Joss, Johan, Steamborg Executioner, a Pair of Electrospiders and a Brass electrospider.

We end up flipping a scheme for claiming table quarters: Pretty Standard. The key is, if you’re within 6″ of the Center point, you don’t count! Neat little twist on it.

We ended up flipping the folowing schemes:
Entourage: Get a Master or Henchman either to the enemys half of the board (1) or their Deployment (2)
Breakthrough: Put Scheme Markers within 6″ of their deployment zone
Spring the Trap: Place Markers within 4″ of the master, then reveal to gain that many points (up to 3)
The final one I don’t remeber. It wsan’t picked by either of us.
Line In the Sand is always available: Drop Scheme Markers along the center line
My buddy revealed Entourage (Ramos) and Line in the Sand. I didn’t reaveal anything, because I’m trying to feel out the crew, and didn’t want anything interfering with my learning process, and having the opposing crew try and directly interfere would have probably done that.

Perdita’s crew involves a ton of movement. Perdita can move up to 8″, Santiago can drag a friend 5″, the Totem can move one model 8″, and then use obey for another standard move. its a crew that does a ton of moving, a ton of shooting, and ferocious re-positioning. It was cool to use and see how it works.

The opponent had a crew that was brutally effective in combat. An axe wielding construct, a Giant cyborg-spider person with claws that literally clipped poor Ninos head off, and spider creatures that can join into a giant spider swarm that ate Francisco.

I ended up calling it at 11pm, tired and broken. He’d managed to swing the game to a point where I’d no longer be able to catch up on VP’s, and he held two table quarters for three turns, and had gotten Ramos into my DZ. I’d managed to attempt both of my schemes, but Perdita getting killed stalled that chance completely out. I dropped three tokens near his deployment, and I only needed to keep Perdita safe for one more turn, I stepped to close to Joss, and he tore me apart. The gamed ended at 6-3, but if the last turn had been played it would have been much less close.

Its a good day to own Malifaux. If you don’t know anything about it, check out Wyrds Website.

-Tio

The majority of the evening last night was spent Futzing around on various forums, solving a few puzzles of my own. Now that its done, though, there should be more time to nerd. A number of things popped up, that due to the way time flows linearly, I’ve not gotten to yet. I’ll address them soon enough, but here’s the short list.

Continue reading

Privateer Press Responds to Plastic Quality

This was something that impressed me, both from a community standpoint and from a company standpoint.

The problems with the plastics that PP has chosen to use have been causing gripes for some time. It was noticable in the live community, and has a really vocal component in the online forums. It has been harder and harder to blow the concern off, especially in person. Problems fitting and mold lines in places that make it hard to model are just a few of the legitimate problems that I’ve heard vented by my community just here in MD.

I’ve never really experienced the problems myself to be honest. But the problem is much to large to be ignored. This weekend, it came to a head

The thread is here

Its a long, civil discussion, 7 pages and counting, about the problems with the plastics. I was impressed with the levelheadedness of many of the posters when I perused it, but I figured that it’d just be another lost topic after a few bad seeds stepped in and ruined it for everyone. surprisingly, it never happened, and it continued through the weekend as a civil, polite discussion. I still considered that there would be no official response.

Then, yesterday, there was this

PP responds via Simon Berman, the Community Manager. The response is a little canned-sounding, but that is kinda the cost of working with a company. However, they responded with a concern for their customers, to a thread that was criticizing their product, on their own forum. Good for them!
They also didn’t lock it, which is doublegood.

As I said, I’m impressed. Glad to wear the black for em!

-Tio.

NOVA is upon us!
And it can only be a good thing!

The NOVA open is a Convention in Washington DC (NOthern VirginA) that draws a pretty large crowd. I’ve been PGing there for Privateer Press for the last two years, this being my third. I’ll be judging Tournaments, running Iron Arena, and generally working my ass of for two days. My buddies Brian and Brendan will be there way earlier than I will, arriving on Thursday morning. I’ll be heading out of work early to get there around 5, and run the first of my tournaments – I don’t honestly know what it is I’ll be running, but damn it, I’ve got my bag packed and ready to rock. 50 Objective markers, 50 flags, 16 circular scenarios, 16 rectangular, and more scenario sheets than you can shake a book at.

I’ll also be judging Hardcore, Masters, and anything else being run.

Its always awesome to see the Masters Tournaments. But sometimes it can be a bit disheartening to know that people you know well and root for to win the thing will drop after being beat. I’ve really been wondering if a single elimination style tournament would be better overall. There can be only one!

In addition to what I run, and what the Pressgangers are going to go out and do, there are a HOST of other activities: MTG tournaments, Painting and Hobby Seminars, Warhammer 40k and Fantasy tournaments, a Vendor hall. I almost forgot my Infinity buddies! They will be running tournaments to! SO MUCH TO DO!

Its all pretty damned impressive for a convention that is only 5 years old.

It is a bittersweet time for me, however. Its the last convention I am going to be able to run or even go to for a while, because my wife will be giving birth to our daughter in October. Normally I also travel out and do both the Warstore Weekend and the Colonial, but this year, it looks like its gonna be out of bounds. It happens! I’ll be using it to get caught up in painting.

As I was Putting this all together it looks like I’m just shilling a product, but its just happenstance that this is what is coming up when this starts. You’ll see!

If you have Any comments, write em, I’ll read.
Also, Help me define a style. This is so.. Bland, but I’ve yet to make it my own. Color changes, modifications, whatever!

Now, off to the Adventures of Jerek of Jord!

-Tio