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!

At last! I get to talk about one of my favorite games of all time!

XCOM!

Years ago, when I had just moved to Maryland, and started making friends, I got hooked on Xcom for the computer. I’d go over to my friends house, and we’d just watch the insanity that was the game unfold. We never beat the game together. Eventually I bought it for the PlayStation and beat it after many grueling hours. It is one of my favorite, and defining, moments in my gaming hobby. I’d only beat one, maybe two other games at that point: Mega Man 3, and Rayman. The games I beat before God of War came out could be counted on one hand. Now I have a strict policy of not buying games before I beat the one I am currently playing. Right now, that means that I have to beat Heroes of Might and Magic VI before XCOM:Enemy Within comes out. That there is going to be an epic task.

the revitalization of the XCOM series is something that is incredible for me, as it brings me back to the days of yore when all I had to do was shoot aliens in my free time. I enjoyed, nearly universally, the game that came out last year. I bought both DLC’s and thoroughly enjoyed them both. Slingshot gave me a chance not to have to repeat the same missions on my C/I run-through, and it really ups the difficulty and pace of the missions.

Now, with the concept of Enemy Within on the horizon, I’m re-psyched to play the game. I never made it through an I/I run, and I’d really like to give that a shot.

Some of the concepts that the game has going for it are strange to me. I’m not sure where the gene therapy thing is going, and meld is a strange concept. It seems to be a forced way for the game designers to tackle the primary, safest route to mission victory: Heavy fire base. Really, and the new alien types are a little odd. But armored dudes with huge weapons? Count me in. Especially if they can punch Sectoids so hard that they both fly backward into cars so hard that the cars explode.

I’m really looking forward to the game, and though its seems, from everything I can find, do be a stand alone, I’m OK with that, as long as it ends closer to where the original game ended, I’ll be really pleased. Here is hoping for a great game come November!

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.

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

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

Welcome Back.

This week has me really pumped. There are a ton of Nerd things coming up are nothing short of fantastic:
M2e Beta (part 2)
Theros Block (MTG)
Relic Knights Rules book and cards released
NOVA Open
I’ll dedicate a post to each of these things in turn in the next few days, but man is it a good feeling to have so many things to look forward to doing.

In addition, I’ve been playing Heroes of Might and Magic VI … Or Might and Magic:Heroes VI. I don’t know. Its dumb that they changed the name, or maybe even didn’t. No one seems to know.
Oh, Shit! X-Com Enemy Within! How could I have forgotten. Announced recently, and coming out in November, Its something I am really, really looking forward to.

-Tio