Sunday, December 25, 2016

Friday, December 23, 2016

Five Tribes

Five Tribes is a multiplayer, Mancala-like worker-placement game (designed by Bruno Cathala) that we have played on more than a few occasions.  It was the 2014 Golden Geek Best Strategy Board Game winner and has received high praise from a number of boardgamers.  

Each turn you select a square and pickup the meeples on it, placing them one at a time on adjacent squares (making a path orthogonally around the board).  When you place the last meeple in a square, you get to take an action based on the color of that last meeple (and others matching that color in that square).

There are two aspects that I like about the game.  First, the bidding mechanic allows you to spend an amount of victory points to increase your chances of going first (in case you see a great combination or move to start the next turn). Second, I enjoy the brain-burning aspect of the game, in terms of the vast number of options and plays you can make each turn.

In general, it seems that there are different paths to victory and it is enjoyable to make a high-scoring play that others may have overlooked.  I recommend trying it out if you are looking for a mid-length four player game.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

15mm Superhero Gaming - The Legacy Character Sheet

The Legacy is a superhero aligned with S.H.I.E.L.D.  He often joins The Repulsers for missions where addition tactical support and firepower is required.  He excels at military tactics and strategy, and is often consulted before a mission to determine the best plan of attack.  He wears an early Iron Man prototype armor from Stark Industries.  His Mark 1.5 armor features only rudimentary weapons systems and can only sustain low-altitude flight for short periods of time.  Despite these limitations, his armor combined with his tactical expertise makes The Legacy a powerful ally.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Tabletop Gaming News Blog Network

Mezmaron's Lair is proud to announce that it is now a member of the Tabletop Gaming News Blog Network!   The TGN Blog Network is a central location to find interesting gaming material and articles from a selection of the many wargaming and painting blogs on the internet.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Conan the Barbarian

I painted a barbarian figure a few weeks ago, patterning it after a scene from the 1982 classic, Conan the Barbarian. Conan and his companions use white and black warpaint which is surprisingly effective at camouflaging them as they climb a rocky hillside into a secret entrance for Thulsa Doom's liar.

I figured that the same camo pattern would work with the snow, so went with a winter base option, similar to the Elsa and Anna figures I painted earlier.  I used Blood for the Blood God Citadel Technical paint from for the blood.

The figure is Traeg the Barbarian from Reaper Miniatures.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Star Wars Armada - MC-80 vs. ISDs

A few weeks ago, Strom and Juice came over early for a gamenight to get a game of Star Wars Armada in beforehand. I have purchased the starter set, but haven't yet broke it open.  This was just the third or so game played, and it was interesting to see the bigger capital ships going head to head.  We haven't played with the objective cards yet and I understand that they add much of the strategy to the game.  I'm mainly waiting for a 3rd faction - i.e. Scum & Villainy, before I jump fully into the game and break open my starter set.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Warhammer Quest Figures - Hingle McCringleberry and Skeletons

As mentioned earlier, we've started playing Warhammer Quest again after a twenty year break.  I've started to paint up each player's character, so we can play the game painted (which is always more fun and cinematic). Below are Hingle McCringleberry the Savage Orc and two skeleton minions for the Necromancer Feghor Blackfinger.

I used Kroma Crackle Media, mixed with Vallejo's Magic Blue for the base.  I waited until it dried completely, then I dry-brushed it with Vallejo Electric Blue.  I then painted on brown tone dip.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Flames of War Vietnam - Fair Fight

Over the weekend Strom and I played a game of Flames of War Vietnam.  The last Navy SEAL scenario we played took longer to setup than the actual gameplay, so we wanted to try a regular, normal Fair Fight this time.  I took the Americans, running this Infantry Company at 1000 points:
  • 35 Rifle Company HQ 
  • 150 Rifle Platoon 
  • 150 Rifle Platoon 
  • 145 Aeroscout Platoon (25th) 
  • 260 Field Artillery Battery 
  • 260 Field Artillery Battery 
Strom took his NVA and Local Forces.  I placed one platoon on each of the two objectives... and waited. Except on the first turn, where I ventured out to interrogate some villagers.  I succeeded on both rolls, removing them from the play.  The first of many fortunate rolls on my behalf.  Then I waited.  My White Team was used to harass and pick off stray teams as he moved carefully under the heavy jungle canopy toward the Americans.  Eventually, through my heavy artillery strikes and precision targeting by the Loaches, I forced his Local Forces team to run and regroup (off table reserves).  

He took out one Loach and I kept the other back to save for later, better opportunities.  My platoons were still hanging tough, concealed and dug-in in the tall grass and jungle.  As he approached, he threw three units at one of my platoons. The MGs and M-16s lit the units up, despite being pinned.  The next turn I unpinned and let the NVA have it.  One more NVA team removed off the table (and later brought back on from reserves).

Strom regrouped and prepared for a second wave.  This time softening up the Americans with some artillery strikes of his own.  Between assault waves, the medic saved a few teams, which helped in the upcoming firefight. After having to pull back for a moment to address a fake-out by my other platoon (they double-timed it in a race toward his unsecured objective), Strom's units were in position.  His second wave included three units, but again was repulsed due to the MGs.  Pushing near twenty turns, Strom resigned and the game was over.  

Victory to the Americans!  I do have to admit that my rolling was a major factor in my win - it was good when I needed it to be. I made critical rolls to unpin.  I also rolled well on my infantry saves consistently over a number of turns, (where just one bad turn of failed saves could have made for a disaster).

We are looking forward to playing some more Vietnam games before we assemble our Team Yankee forces.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower

A few weekends ago we tried out the new Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower.  Back in 1995, we played the original Warhammer Quest a number of times over the summer break.  We wondered if this new version would live up to the fond memories of that time.  We used some custom character templates I made to allow us to use original Warhammer Fantasy characters and models, (as we wanted to limit the new Age of Sigmar models).

In all, the game was fun, although very different from the classic.  There are good decisions and the turns can go by fairly fast.  Each character seemed unique and was fun to play.  The narrative structure of the game was appreciated, and help create a cinematic experience.  As for level of fun, most wanted to try the next scenario in future gaming sessions, so I declare that as success.

Friday, October 7, 2016

15mm Superhero Gaming - Bronze Basilisk Character Sheet

Bronze Basilisk is a new member of the The Repulsers superhero team. His helmet can emit a powerful red beam which delivers a massive force of energy. This beam is powerful enough to melt steel plates or demolish concrete or stone. The helmet can also varying the beam width, height, and intensity as needed.  While his straight-forward melee skills are adequate, he prefers to find a protected position and attack from long distances in order to provide covering fire for his allies.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Eldar Alaitoc Farseer

Farseer from the early 2000s.  I painted this for my still unfinished Eldar Alaitoc army.  Sometimes used as a proxy for Eldrad Ulthran.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

15mm Superhero Gaming - Star Flare Character Sheet

Star Flare is a mysterious female figure who commands fire, heat, and flame.  She says little, simply letting her actions speak to her wishes.  She hasn't yet joined a superhero team, but often appears to help out The Repulsers when assistance is needed.  Her power is matched only by her mystery.

Friday, September 2, 2016

She-Ra: Princess of Power Card Game

About nine months ago, I started work on a custom card game for my daughter who loves She-Ra: The Princess of Power.  After creating a template in Excel, using screen captures of She-Ra episodes from Hulu, and using my rudimentary Photoshop skills, the card images were complete last month.  Thankfully, Artscow had a sale on custom card decks a few weeks ago.  The three custom decks arrived from China earlier last week and we played for the first time a few nights ago.  The game is based loosely on the Star Wars CCG from the late 1990s.  We used just the basic rules, but each card has attributes for a more complicated game.  My daughters loved it, and we are looking forward to playing again soon.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Eldar Alaitoc Warlock

Warlock from the late 1990s.  I painted this more a decade ago for my still unfinished Eldar Alaitoc army.  I nicknamed him Gene Simmons.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Frostgrave - Elsa and Anna from Frozen

Last weekend I sat down to paint two miniatures I ordered from North Star Military Figures for Frostgrave.  The description is for Fire Elementalists to avoid potential legal action, (else Mickey Mouse "gonna' sue somebody").  Although they will work well for Frostgrave, I could use them for Warhammer Quest:  Silver Tower or Age of Sigmar....  I'm happy with how the snow bases turned out.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

JeffCon 2016 Recap

We held the annual JeffCon up at Jeff's cabin at Lake Kachess last weekend.  We always bring a mix of old classics and new games to try out.  Here are some of the games we played this year:
  • Colt Express - This was the 2015 Spiel des Jahres winner and I was excited to play it.  I wasn't expecting a pre-programmed move game, which I typically don't enjoy.  For what it is, it works well.  I enjoyed the random nature of the game, but also found it incredibly frustrating.  Part of the fun is the 3D cutout train, but I found it hard to see what was inside each car and would have preferred a normal board.  
  • Deception: Hong Kong - This is a social deduction game where the players need to pick a pair of cards out from a huge supply.  One of the players is assigned to be the murderer and selects two of his or her cards to be the targets.  There is a overseer who presents clues to the team so they can pick out the cards.  It was fun (and we were successful in finding the items most of the time), but the game could be much faster and straightforward than the rules as written.
  • Isle of Skye - This is a game I already reviewed.  I still enjoy it - good length of time, and hard decisions to make.  My only complaint is that if you make some bad decisions on bid prices early, it can be hard to recover.  However, the game does have a built in benefit if you are behind, which really helps.  On turn one, I had two great tiles, but each were purchased after my time to buy, so I ended up with no new tiles.  I did get extra cash, but was still playing catch up for the rest of the game
  • Dark Moon - I was hoping this could be a faster-playing Battlestar Galactica, but so far, it has been hard to replicate the fun associated with the old classic.  It feels a little clunky, but I'm hoping to get a full game as we needed to cut the last game off early.
  • Stockpile - This was the highlight of Jeffcon gaming this year.  This stock trading game is fast, fun, with good decisions.  It has some clever mechanics, and a great bidding mechanism.  It might replace Acquire as my favorite stock trading game.  The bidding phase makes the game really fun and interesting - there is bluffing and hard decisions to make.  My only suggestion would be a bidding mechanic for the character selections - I think some of the roles are more powerful than others.

Friday, August 12, 2016

15mm Superhero Gaming - Desert Rescue Session Report

Recently I ran a small 15mm Superhero gaming session for my daughter and nephew.  It had been more than a few months since our last session - Rise of the Dead and I was excited to use my Flames of War desert scenery.  Below are the details for this new adventure....

Desert Rescue

In the heart of the desert, Hydra agents have hidden away the captured Taffy Man deep in an underground bunker.  Nick Fury has selected two superheroes that will lead a clandestine rescue mission:  America Girl - leader of The Repulsers superhero team, and Plasma Man - its newest member.

*America Girl
*Plasma Man (and Minions)

Avengers (NPCs):
*The Vision

*Hydra Henchmen

The small team parachuted into the compound, avoiding being seen until the last minute.  They then descended into the secret facility by elevator.  Plasma Man summoned one Minion, and the team split up to find their extraction target.  They found some keys and hacked in the main computer before freeing Taffy Man from his cell.  Catoblepas attempted to block escape, but the team had found an auxiliary service elevator, and Taffy Man held off Catoblepas and the Hydra henchmen while the rescue team hacked the controls.  Now back on the surface, the team used the stolen keys to steal a Hydra vehicle.  Needing support, The Vision made an appearance to provide covering fire during the escape to freedom.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

15mm Superhero Gaming - Plasma Man (and Minions) Character Sheets

Plasma Man is an alien adventurer who has made it his mission to help humans and his fellow superheros fight evildoers.  He can command energy itself and is often accompanied by his small minions that help him in his noble quest.  He is the newest of all the members of The Repulsers superhero team.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

15mm Superhero Gaming - Ice Princess (and Snowflake) Character Sheets

The mysterious Ice Princess is a reluctant member of the The Repulsers superhero team.  She uses her cyrokinesis to summon her Ice Golem familiar, Snowflake.  Her ability to control the element of ice allows her to attack her enemies by hurling magical ice bolts and creating mystical blizzards of snow and ice.

Monday, July 4, 2016

15mm Superhero Gaming - America Girl Character Sheet

In the spirit of 4th of July, below is a patriotic custom character:

American Girl has many of Captain American's superpowers -- after getting a blood transfusion from him, she received many of the typical benefits of the Super-Soldier Serum.  She is the leader of the The Repulsers, a superhero team aligned with S.H.I.E.L.D.  She uses a vibranium alloy shield and bravely fights for liberty and freedom.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Isle of Skye

A few weekends ago Sund brought Isle of Skye, a tile-laying game from Mayfair Games, to our gamenight.  Not being a huge fan of Carcassonne, I was a little suspect.  However, there is much more going on in this 2-5 player game than the simple old classic.  I very much enjoyed how the scoring worked and what really made the game fun was the auction phase, where you have to make very difficult decisions on what price to place on two of your tiles.  Too high of a bid and you are forced to buy your own over-priced tile.  Too low, and another player gets a great deal.  The end game is frantic and even with all of us making some early less-than-optimal decisions while learning the rules, the score was quite close at the end.  With the myriad of different scoring options and tile placement, you will have a unique game each time.  I'm looking forward to playing it again.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

15mm Superhero Gaming - Taffy Man Character Sheet

The story of Leroy Taff is a cautionary tale.  Once a simple confectioner, Leroy lead a solitary life making candy.  But his attempt to bring life to his candy creations had dramatic effects that would forever alter his destiny.

One afternoon, after leaving his shop, Leroy saved an old Roma women from being hit by an out of control car.  For saving her life, she offered Leroy one wish.  Leroy explained that he wished he could bring "joie de vivre" to his taffy making craft.  The Roma woman nodded and provide Leroy a charm with specific instructions for completing a magic spell to fulfill his wish.

Due to an unfortunate translation error, instead of bringing the joy of life to Leroy's taffy, the attributes of taffy were bestowed upon the closest living thing - him.  Leroy found that he had gained extraordinary powers - the attributes of taffy itself.  Leroy found that he could contort and stretch his body into any shape.  From that day forward, Leroy was Taffy Man.

Below is... Taffy Man, an original character: