Saturday, April 29, 2017

Relic Knights - Cerci Speed Circuit: Princess Malya, Mr. Tomn, and Pit Crew

I recently completed a few Cerci Speed Circuit miniatures for Relic Knights.  I once again used the dipping method, using just a few base colors and a simple color scheme.  I finished Princess Malya, Mr. Tomn, and Pit Crew, completing the models I wanted to paint from my faction starter for Cerci Speed Circuit.  Now that my Cerci models are complete, I plan on posting some complete cadre pictures soon.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Star Wars: Risk

I have played Star Wars: Risk a number of times now with my Dad - it's a great two-player game, and not like Risk at all. It's based on the old "Star Wars: Queen's Gambit" board game, but the theme is the attack on Death Star 2 from ROTJ. The designers also designed the classic Buffy the Vampire Slayer Boardgame (another great game) and like that game this is also a very fun and fast (30 minute play time) game with a great theme.

Our first game was much like the movie. Shield Generator came down, Death Star took out a few capital ships, Luke turned Vader, but the snub fighters (Y-Wings) destroyed the Death Star in the end. Rebels win. Second game was different - Luke was killed by Vader, Falcon blew up, and the Executor engaged the Rebel fleet head on. Rebels were delayed taking out the Shield Generator with simply terrible die-rolling, but finally did it -- just as the last Rebel Capital ship was destroyed. Still a mass of X-Wings and B-Wings still had a chance to take out the Death Star, but were annihilated before they could initiate the final attack run. Close, but Imperials win.

In the plays since, the Rebels have often won, but many of the games have been close.  At the end, when the Rebels need a "6" to blow up the Death Star, there are a number of fun "stand-up and pay attention" dice rolls being made.  It appears that the Rebels are favored balance-wise, but a run of bad die-rolls for the Rebels can balance things out quickly. A few simple rule modifications can also help balance things out.
Components could be better (thin cardboard and cards). There is a "Black" edition that upgrades some of the components from cardboard to models.  Its about $25 and sold at the big-box stores and Amazon too.  I highly recommend it as a good, fast two-player game.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Wen-Con 2017

Yesterday I was able to visit Wenatchee and attend Wen-Con for a few hours.  On Friday night I saw an advertisement in Leavenworth at the Krampus Kave, as my wife and I were spending the weekend nearby.

On Saturday morning, I arrived shortly after the doors opened at 10:00AM.  I enjoyed walking through the exhibition hall and visiting the vendors.  The floor was full of cos-players, and the exhibition hall included artists, game stores, comic shops, and a variety of other relevant pop-culture vendors.  My favorite was the film-accurate replica of the Back to the Future Delorean.  There was also a great Ghostbuster and a Star Wars Scout Trooper.  I enjoyed browsing the old miniatures and spent some time in the video gaming room.

It was a fun way to spend a few hours and I think Wen-Con had a great inaugural event to build upon for future years.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Flames of War - 7th Armored Division

A year or two ago I painted some US Army miniatures for Flames of War.  I painted the infantry up as the 7th Armored Division, with the primary color patch on the left shoulder.  I painted them fairly quickly, just basecoating the main colors and then using the dipping method for highlighting.  The tanks are pre-painted Sherman tanks from Point of Contact.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Winter Tabletop Gaming Scenery by "crowin16" (Ebay)

I was looking for some winter scenery for skirmish games such as 40K Kill Team, Age of Sigmar, (or even Frostgrave down the road).  On Ebay, I noticed a seller named crowin16 selling stone scenery using high-density foam.  I won one of his auctions and was very pleased with the quality and detail.  I completed the table with:
  • 3x3 foot winter mat, made from white felt (with sparkles) from Joann Fabric, and
  • Winter-themed evergreen trees from Michaels, (with small white felt mats to define the area terrain).
I'm hoping to try out Age of Sigmar using this board in the near future.  I'm also currently assembling some Chaos Space Marines for a Kill Team game down the road.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Batman Miniature Game - Bane vs. Batman

Strom and I played our first game of Knight Model's Batman miniatures game a few weeks ago.  The game uses 35mm miniatures and was released a few years ago.  Strom used Batman, and I took Bane.... 

Batman started out the melee using his Batclaw (grapple) to distance himself from Bane.  Once in position, Batman unleashed a volley of Batarangs, slightly wounding Bane.  Batman then closed in for the melee.

Bane took some punches from Batman early, but shrugged most of the damage off with his Desensitized skill, (allowing him to fight as normal after taking damage).  Bane struck back, wounding Batman.  It was a long, drawn-out battle - one to rival the infamous scene from the movie They Live.

Then - it happened.  With a sudden punch, Bane knocked down Batman to the ground with a lucky roll on the critical dice, (when the critical die matches one of the damage dice, it knocks the opponent down).  Bane prepared to finish Batman off.  However, as Bane strutted over for the finishing blow, Batman regained his footing, standing up, and attacked Bane with a swift kick.  

Bane fell to the ground, knocked-out.  Batman was victorious.

Overall, it was a good learning game to understand the basics of the rules.  Batman's defensive skill vs. Bane's power and toughness was a good match.  We are looking forward to learning the rules and introducing more models into future games.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Emerald City Comicon 2017

Image result for seven stranger things

On Sunday, my daughter and I took another trip into Seattle to attend Emerald City Comicon. This was our second time attending ECCC. This year it was held a month earlier and the signing booths and photo opportunities were moved to the Sheraton, allowing for more exhibits and artist alley space.

The biggest change from last year was that Rey from Star Wars was replaced by Eleven (from Stranger Things) as the most cosplayed character .  In fact, the highlight of the day was my daughter's photo with Millie Bobby Brown - Eleven from Stranger Things.

I caught a glance at a number of celebrities at the signing booths:
  • Anna Silk (Bo from Lost Girl),
  • Gates McFadden (Beverly Crusher from ST:TNG),
  • Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones... and Aquaman), and
  • many others, such as Stan Lee, Evangeline Lilly, Alice Cooper, and even Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter movies....
I was standing right next to Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) - in his scooter - on the main floor.  Vincent D’Onofrio (Wilson Fisk / Kingpin of Daredevil) passed right by me as he entered the photo area - it was fun to hear his interactions with his conventions escorts - very gentlemanly persona.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Relic Knights 2nd Edition Kickstarter - Upcoming Free Stretch Goals

So far the Relic Knights 2nd Edition Kickstarter is off to a good start.

As we enter the mid-way point of the campaign, the unlocking of stretch goals is starting to slow down. However, based on the spoiler sheet that was released earlier in the Kickstarter, we know that there are a number of planned Free stretch goals still to be announced.

I'm looking forward to the new stretch goals as we enter the weekend, and into the second week of the Kickstarter!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Soda Pop Miniatures: Relic Knights 2nd Edition Kickstarter

Soda Pop Miniatures started their Relic Knights 2nd Edition Kickstarter on Monday.  I have collected a number of the Relic Knights miniatures, but did not participate in the first Kickstarter by CoolMiniOrNot. As a result, this is basically a automatic pledge for me:

I listened to the Q&A that was posted on the rule changes, and it sounds like many rule changes were made to make the game more straight-forward and fix some broken mechanics.  One exciting piece of news is that backers who participate in the Beta by submitting at last three game reports will receive their name in the credits.  I may try to play a few games in response to this offer.

I'm excited to see what models are unlocked over the course of the campaign, and seeing all the new versions of current models are getting me anxious to finish painting my cadres before they get upgraded!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Relic Knights - Cerci Speed Circuit vs. Shattered Sword

Last weekend we pulled out my Cerci Speed Circuit and my daughter's Shattered Sword faction.  With the upcoming Kickstarter campaign for Relic Knights: 2nd Edition starting on Monday, I thought it would be great to try a 35 point encounter of Relic Knights with two painted factions.  Below is the battle report:


Cerci Speed Circuit (34 Points):
  • Marie-Claude and Esmee (13 Points)
  • Betty (10 Points)
  • Lug (11 Points)
Shattered Sword (34 Points):
  • Jeanne Romee and Gallant (14 Points)
  • Isabeau Durand (14 Points)
  • Purifiers [3] (6 Points)
35 Point Encounters are played to 8 Victory Points, and the flips for the objectives were the exact same for each side (potentially from a lack of shuffling with two brand-new, never-used Esper Decks):

Primary Condition (Objective) - worth 5 Victory Points:
  • Entropy - Tear It Down - destroy opponent's primary objective token, or both of opponent's secondary objective tokens.
Secondary Condition (Objective) - worth 3 Victory Points:
  • Entropy - Carnage - destroy three enemy units.

The 2x2 felt gaming mat was setup with stone castle terrain I purchased from a seller named crowin16 on Ebay, completed with custom-made Cthulhu and Valkyrie statues that I created.  I added some purple Gale Force Nine crystals, a few large trees, and a pond.  Each team placed its objective markers and units.

Relic Knights is unique in that there are no predefined deployment areas - units just need to be placed no closer than 9" from enemy units and enemy objective markers.

Early Game:

Each team went for the opponent's primary objective from the start.  Cerci relied on the combined damage of Lug, Betty, and Marie-Claude to damage the objective, while Shattered Sword used Jeanne's Guidon power to boost the damage that Isabeau did each turn.  The Purifiers worked to defend their objective, but were ultimately destroyed by a volley of fire from Betty, giving Cerci the first points of the game.

Cerci Speed Circuit - 1 Point
Shattered Sword - 0 Points


Cerci focused on destroying the primary objective, but Jeanne Romee kept compelling Betty and Lug away from the objective with Hearts & Minds, keeping them out of line of site and range of the objective.  Cerci destroyed the Shattered Sword primary objective (gaining 5 points), but missed out on gaining 2 points for "Lap Time" - its faction condition, because they exhausted their Esper Deck just one turn before.  One turn later, Isabeau's focused attacks destroyed the Cerci primary objective (for 5 points).

Cerci Speed Circuit - 6 Points
Shattered Sword - 5 Points



Isabeau ran to engage Betty, hoping to gain 3 points to win the game (1 for destroying a unit, and another 2 for accomplishing the "Justice" faction condition for Shattered Sword, which provides points for destroying a unit that defeats the first friendly unit).  Jeanne compelled enemy units away from Isabeau to allow her to focus her attacks against Betty.  Lug was defeated, taking redirected damage for Betty through her "Faithful" power, and giving Shattered Sword 1 additional point.

Cerci Speed Circuit - 6 Points
Shattered Sword - 6 Points


Isabeau's Mercy Strike, along with its Lifeleach press, allowed her to withstand attacks from both Betty and Marie-Claude while winnowing down Betty's health.  Jeanne supported Isabaeu, using her Guidon power to boost Isabeau's damage, and compelled Marie-Claude away from the fight.  As an Esper Master, Esmee used his Esper Cleaning ability to remove the Guidon marker, returning Isabeau's damage to normal.

But it was too late.  Lug was no longer around to act as a bodyguard to Betty.  Eventually, the damage output caught up to Cerci, and when Betty was defeated, Shattered Sword was victorious.

Cerci Speed Circuit - 6 Points
Shattered Sword - 9 Points (Win)


In all, it was a close game - down to just a turn's worth of difference in the outcome.  Cerci missed "Lap Time" by one turn, and they would have won the game early had they gained the extra 2 points from completing their primary condition.

Overall it was difficult for Shattered Sword to match the damage output of Ceri, with Marie-Claude, Betty, and Lug.  However, although Jeanne Romee can't attack directly, her support abilities - the ability to enhance damage and move opponents - had a big impact on the game.

I found Relic Knights to be a fun distraction from my normal miniature games.  The models are fun to paint, and the gameplay is unique, dynamic, and cinematic.  A small cadre game was exciting and fun to play.

I'm looking forward to the Kickstarter to see what it will offer....

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Pay Dirt

We've played Pay Dirt a few times over the last few months.  Pay Dirt is a worker placement game for up to five players and we've enjoyed it each time we've played.  There are three items to bid on each turn - claims to mine, equipment to process the claims, and workers to man the equipment.  I've been told that the characters in the game are from the TV show Gold Rush.

Each turn, you typically get one of the items to build your engine.  The objective is to produce gold pieces (which act as the victory points for the game, but can also be sold for cash to increase your ability to bid in the bidding phase).  The game has a great mechanic called the "Hardship Phase" to help prevent someone from running away if they are winning.

In all, I've enjoyed the game each time we've played. It is a good length game, with a well-paced middle and end game.  It has great components, although some of the smaller pieces are a bit fiddly.  I recommend it if you like engine-building and worker placement games.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Relic Knights - Cerci Speed Circuit: Marie-Claude and Esmee

A few months ago I finished Betty, Log, and a Pacer from the Cerci Speed Circuit faction of Relic Knights.  With the upcoming Relic Knights 2.0 Kickstarter campaign (at the end of this month), I decided to kick my painting into high gear on my remaining models using the dipping method.  I had already finished Esmee a few months ago, but I just completed Marie-Claude a few days ago.

Marie-Claude was quickly base-coated and then dipped using a new Polyshade mix.  It turns out that the new mix I used (Tudor) was way to dark.  I frantically washed the model under water, stripping away some of the dip, but also some of the paint (which hadn't completely dried).  I did my best to recover, but Marie-Claude is still pretty splotchy.  This is most apparent around her scarf, (which I modified for a little more modesty...).

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Eldar Alaitoc Ranger

Old, classic Alaitoc Ranger from the 1990s.  I painted this for my still unfinished Eldar Alaitoc army.  He is sometimes used as a proxy for Illic Nightspear.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Quartermaster General

Quartermaster General is a 2-6 player World War 2 strategy game that uses a card-driven mechanic.  Unlike most World War 2 games, it focuses on the logistics and importance of supply in warfare.  There are no dice, and battles (if you initiate them) are always victories (unless your opponent has planned for it by spending a card on a turn before the battle).  It is the newest addition to our twice-yearly father-son weekends.

I first saw this game back in 2014 when Ian Brody, the game's designer was showing it off at Gencon.  After its release, I bought it.  I brought it out for a gamenight for six-player session a few years back, but it seemed to bog down with that many players (probably due to it being its first play).  I enjoyed it and wanted to give it another try, this time with my dad as a two-player game.  I think the game really shines at two players - there is little downtime, and the action is fast and decisive.  There are options, and each game felt different based on the initial card draws and back-and-forth gameplay.

The only drawback was the score track, which if you forget a turn of scoring can have a significant effect on the end game.  I created a score track using Google Docs, which easily and quickly records the score each turn. The great thing is that it also acts as a record for each game played.  So far, we've played three games with the score trackers - two Allied victories and one Axis victory.

I look forward to playing it in the future, and recommend it for a great two-player experience.  If you are looking for a light-to-medium weight wargame that plays in about an hour, I suggest you pick it up.