Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Forbidden Stars

Adrian, fg and I played a game of FFG's Forbidden Stars on Sunday.

I quite enjoyed the game, even though I came up last. The gameplay itself is a mix of 4X and "capture the flag": to win the game, you must capture a number of objective tokens equal to the number of players in the game - the catch is, each token is in a tile controlled by another player. It is easy to lose sight of the aim of the game and go on a traditional build-invade-conquer-build cycle, but while combat is necessary (and fun), in our game most of the time the objectives were captured because they were lightly-defended as the owning player had shifted his forces to invade another sector.

There are two noteworthy features to the game. One is the placement of the order counters. Players take turns placing order counters on the map sections to indicate the command they wish to execute during the turn; if there is already a tile on the section, you place your tile on top of that tile. The twist here is the orders are resolved from the top of the tile, so if you wish to gather resources from a sector and then build forces, you need to place the build tile *before* the gather tile! Also, as the tiles are resolved essentially in reverse order of placement, it is often better to place your order *after* your opponent has done so. For example, if you foresee an invasion on your sector and you wish to gather resources and then build up your forces, you should let the enemy place his invasion order counter *before* you place your tile - if you place your order before him, then the invasion order will be revealed and resolved, before you have a chance to build your forces.

The other interesting feature of the game is the combat, which utilises a combination of specialist dice and cards. Players draw a random hand of five combat cards and choose three to fight three rounds of combat, with each card played having some effect on the results. This adds strategy to the combat, making it more than just a dice fest.

As usual, the game components are excellent. The map art is especially impressive and captures the mood of 40K.

The game is excellent as it is, but I can easily imagine it being reskinned for a historical naval war, either for the age of sails, or even WW2. Hopefully we can get a 4-player game in in December.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Heavy Gear Caprice Mounts and Iron Wind and Reaper Chaos Warriors

I apologise for the scarcity of posts over the past few months, but I have been doing more RPGing than wargaming; but I have been painting.

These are the Caprice Mounts from the Heavy Gear kickstarter. They still need to be based, but the paint job is done. I painted them specifically with the mat that we are using for the game in mind, and I am quite pleased with the result.

These are the Chaos Warriors type I painted for our RPGs: twelve archers and twelve axemen from Iron Wind Metals, and two boss characters from Reaper. I shoot them on the 2D terrain tiles I use for RPGs because that was the main reason I bought and painted them. In our Dragon Age game they represented Hurlocks; in a Lone Wolf game they will likely represent Drakkarim. Of course they can be used in fantasy wargaming as generic Chaos Warriors too.

Continuing in the same theme, I am now painting twenty Frostgrave barbarians, with the short-term aim of using them as Avvar barbarians for the next arc in our Dragon Age campaign. I made the decision to paint them with white-and-black face and body paint as they are depicted in the computer game, which does make them a bit more specific and limit their use as historical figures. But the two test models I painted this weekend suggests that the white-and-black scheme does work in 28mm, so I will proceed as planned.

I will have a few months to paint the barbarians, because from the next session Jonn will take over as GM and continue our Shadowrun game, and after that fg will be making his GMing debut with Cubicle 7's Adventures in Middle Earth. I am pretty excited about both, and as much as I enjoy GMing, I welcome a break from having to do all the prep work before each session.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

DC Comics Dice Masters

With a couple of hours to while away this afternoon, fg and I decided to play a quick game of DC Comics Dice Masters.

The game is a "deck building" game with a bit of placement mechanics. You start by recruiting heroes/villains, and then deciding how many much resources to assign to each of the characters (in terms of number of dice). There are a few versions of each character, some with different cost to field, and each with different abilities. Each turn, you roll four dice to see how many points or sidekicks you generate - with the points you can put characters into your reserve pool and field them later, and with the sidekicks you can attack your opponent or defend yourself against his attack. Once fielded, the characters bring their powers into the combats.

The game components are very nice, and I am sure there are subtleties to the game we did not appreciate in our three games, the mechanics are too abstract for my idea of a battle between super-heroes and super-villains.

After the game fg and I looked at Cubicle 7's Adventures in Middle Earth which he bought. A quick perusal of the rules got me quite excited, and we are now planning to play the game after the next arc of my Dragon Age campaign (or the one after, depending on when the Loremaster's Guide is released). My character concept is a dwarf from the Iron Hills who is obsessed with the reconquest of Moria, and will spend the next few decades gaining knowledge and allies for this quest; hopefully he eventually goes with Balin to Moria and dies there after a few years, murdered by goblins.