Thursday, April 20, 2017

Close calls and forging ahead

Hello True Believers,

So here we are, smack dab in the middle of April. That was fast. Not that I had any goals to hit before now, but still, seems time is in a hurry to get somewhere.

Welcome to my random thoughts on gaming. I'll try to organize them a bit though.

Latest temptations from GW, Blood Bowl and Shadow Wars.
I have to say, I'm digging the new models for Blood Bowl. The orcs in particular look fantastic. In the past, I had tried Blood Bowl a few times, and even own a couple of iterations of the PC game. There is one constant with the game in that it throws me into a blind rage pretty much every time I play. Something about those darn block dice just trigger that inner barbarian. Looks fun, seems fun, going to cause me to have an aneurysm one day.
And now we have the "spiritual successor" to necromunda with the new Shadow War game. I haven't delved too much into this one. I have owned a necromunda gang since that game came out. And the whole "gang campaign" game seems like it should be fun. One thing always bothers me though, the dreaded WYSIWYG. In most cases, I'm all for it. However, in a game where a character/model may end up changing weapons several times...I can barely get the motivation to convert/paint a model once. Now you want me to cut it up after the fact just because they now have a bolter instead of an autogun?? Screw that. I get that you want to represent whether its a heavy weapon, standard, or a CC kind of model..I do. But there is no way I'm going to cut up my classic escher models just because of a gear change. So necromunda sits on the bench.

Spartan Games reaches late?
So I'm a big fan of Spartan Games. I love the models they come out with. I'm not so much of a fan of the rules sometimes...and definitely the sheer amount of games they keep pushing out, each one with little support. Well it seems they are trying to right their ship and have taken a big step with reaching out to the Firestorm fans. They've laid out their internal changes and a roadmap for the future. So it's a big "wait and see" with them. I hope the community hold their feet to the fire on this. They really need to change their ways if they want any hope of winning people back.

Leading the way for Flames of War v4
So I've invested in V4. I probably should have waited to see if the community would take hold of it first, but they suckered me in with the Africa focus. So now I'm going to see if I can help this game get some local traction. I think Flames is a great game, and I'm really hoping that V4 follows in that tradition. I'm going to go digging through my collection and see what forgotten DAK models are still in blisters and boxe and start working on them. I think I have a few units that are present in 4th that I had never used before. Also, the new command cards that were talked about might prove to let me use some of those units that were left out of the book. For instance, I could see a card that lets you bring Nebels instead of the 105s. At least that is what I'm hoping for. The best part is, assembling Flames units is normally pretty easy, so I will hopefully get a few done this weekend and then can add pics later. Hold your breath for that.....heh.

'Til next time...

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Flames are rising higher

Hello Sports Fans,

So March was a slow month...meh...I was sick for most of it. Seriously. I'm currently going on week four of a cold that still has its nasty hooks in me. I've almost forgotten what it feels like to be well. However, I didn't let it stop me from getting in my gaming.

Dungeons and Dragons Online
Yup, I'm playing the "bleep" out of this game. They recently added in the Dragonborn race (for free) and some additional content. I've already got two new characters made and running around having a blast. It doesn't matter that I've run the same quests 10 times or whatever. Whether it is solo play or getting together with my friends, it is fun and challenging. The new Reaper mode they added to the game is fantastic. It really cranks up the difficulty and keeps you on your toes. And there is actual reward for that added risk in the way of additional chests and reaper skill tree points. Now I do pay to be a VIP. For $30, I get three months of full content, lots of character slots, and 500 DDO points a month that I can spend on whatever. I consider it a bargain. The new dragonborn are really interesting, but not overpowered or out of balance. I replaced a  half-elf sorcerer that I was running with one. Now he looks way cooler, and will eventually get some nice buffs when I can spend points in the dragonborn tree. My daughter made a favored soul and it really got some nice boosts from the race tree.

I typically play Overwatch around 15-60 minutes on a typical day. Now I play quick matches almost exclusively. I want to play the game, not wait around for stuff and I'm a casual player. However, that being said, I still try to win when I play, and I expect the same from others. I can get worked up when I see people playing really poorly or just not doing what I want them to do. :) Seems silly when typed out loud, but there you have it, I'm human. So I play in small bits to keep working on my skills and hopefully become more tolerant. My daughter reminds me if my temper is not kept in check.

Flames of War
Yes, there is actual miniature games content in this update. My purchases this past month include the new v4 mid war rulebook, the free books from BF, and the first two army books for v4 (Desert Rats and DAK). I haven't talked a whole lot about v4 because to be honest, I wasn't sure how much I was going to get into it. First off, kudos to BF for producing quality stuff again. The new rulebooks are all hardback, reasonably priced ($25 or less per book), and well done. The free books were also well done (but not hardbacked). Now the reason I haven't jumped in to v4 with both feet is due to the initial info that popped out. You see I've been playing FoW since v2. I started out with DAK and the North African front has been my favorite theatre. I also own a desert rats force, I have a sizable Italian army as well, both Carri and Bersaglieri companies....the desert war is the shit. So I was super excited to hear that was the focus of the v4 release. But then the actual info came out and they gutted the armies. I say gutted, because as a vet gamer who owns a ton of stuff for these armies, over half of my units are gone. I was like, "where the F is my army??". I was all ready to rage against BF for what they did. But then in a moment of maturity and clarity, I realized what they did, the made the game accessible. They released with the new player in mind. I am not a new player. So I will have to be patient. But if you are a new player, you are a happy clam. You have an $80 boxed army that you can jump into with brand new plastic kits that are freaking cool. You have army books that do keep things simple, but still gives you options to expand and add more depth to your game play without asking you to become a historical expert in WWII. Plus, you are being fully supported with accessories and terrain right from the start. This is a great time to try out Flames of War if you previously haven't. As a veteran player, I get a bunch of new people to play against, and a new system to learn that brings new options of play. Yes, I will need to make adjustments, and I will have to wait before I can bring all my favorite toys, but hopefully I won't have to wait too long. And if I really miss them that much, then I can always bust out v3.

Flames of War has always been one of my favorite games. The rule set was always good, the armies well balanced*, and I loved how you could play for a close loss that still makes you feel like you accomplished something. All of that wrapped up in the knowledge that stuff like this actually happened and that this is history, not fantasy.

* as with all games, you can find a way to abuse them. However, I have always found that it was easier to make balanced games with FoW than most others.