Friday, July 28, 2017

Shadow War: Armageddon - Kill Team Tomb World Terpagina

A few weeks ago I built a new Necron Kill Team for Shadow War: Armageddon, "Tomb World Terpagina".  I painted them fairly quickly, priming the Immortals silver and the Deathmarks grey before applying some simple base-coating and dipping them.

To build the team I used the Shadow War Zone website which lets you easily build and customize your Kill Team and also allows you to track its progression as it gains experience in battles.  I'm still looking forward to trying out the rules with either this squad or my Hive Fleet Kraken Kill Team, "Kraken Omega 3K3", that I build using the website a few weeks back.

Friday, July 21, 2017

JeffCon 2017 Recap

Last week was our (fifth annual) JeffCon up at Jeff's cabin at Lake Kachess.  Again we brought a mix of old classics and new games to try out. Here are some of the games we played this year
  • Kingdomino - This latest Bruno Cathala game was my top new game.  This Spiel des Jahres winner is fun, fast, and provides good choices for players to make.  It is a simple take on dominos, with players each building a 5x5 grid which scores points based on the number of crowns in a connected area, times the number of similar types in that connected area.
  • Machi Koro: Bright Lights, Big City - This was my prior day's purchase, as it was on sale at Target.  We had played the original game with expansions a few days before.  It is a fun, simple game, but the red and purple stealing cards seemed to drag on the end-game a little further than needed.
  • Cyclades - This is an old favorite, but this was the first time playing on the six-player map, with three teams of two.  I found that it changed the game by adding more conflict and more combat-focused, which I didn't enjoy.  The expansion added Kronos, and another way to initiate a battle.  The proximity of land-based neighbors made the game feel more like a wargame than a balanced builder.
  • Star Trek: Ascendancy - We played this for a second time, which provided a similar fun experience to the first game we played.  I'm looking forward to the long-delayed expansions.
  • Star Wars: X-Wing - We played a six-player deathmatch, with pre-defined squads of 30 points each (each player using only one ship).  The table was two mats long and we played to 10 points, (with 3 points for a kill and 1 point for a hit).  It was a fun way to experience the game, as it has been awhile since I have played it.
  • Risk: Legacy - We are now three games into our campaign and we just opened our first card pack.  As it is a Risk game, it has some drawbacks in mechanics and the payoff has been lacking.  Although the first few games have been fairly dull, we are hoping the legacy aspects bring some variety and fun to future games.  
  • Stockpile - This was the highlight of Jeffcon gaming last year. This stock trading game is still fun with its great bidding mechanism, but I'm starting to tire of it the more games I play.  There appear to be few choices to make other than during bidding and the price movement of stocks are very random and unpredictable.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Relic Knights - Black Diamond Cadre

Now that my Black Diamond cadre is complete, I'm pretty happy overall with the overall look -- especially based on the limited amount of time I spent painting them compared to other projects, (about a third of the time that it took to paint the smaller Cerci Speed Circuit cadre).

Leopold Magnus and Diamond Corps
Darkspace Iron Chef
Diamondback and M8-Blitz Auto-Tank
Sophia Drake and Black Dragons
One Shot

The time savings was mostly due the grey color scheme of Black Diamond which allowed me to prime and quickly highlight most of the models, with minimal need for fine detail, or the strong contrast in colors that I usually go for.  It also provides some incentive to choose similar approaches for other projects.  For example, I've considering different Space Marine chapters, and the Space Sharks ("Carcharodons Astra") have a simple gray color scheme that would work well with the same approach.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Star Wars Miniatures (West End Games) - Emperor and Royal Guards

Many years ago I bought some of West End Game's 25mm Star Wars miniatures, from their Star Wars Miniatures Battles game.  When I did, I painted up the Emperor and his Royal Guards first.  It was my first real experiment with painting highlights and with inking (the red on the Royal Guards).  The basing style is vintage 1990s Goblin Green with yellow/white highlights.  I based the figures on coins - nickles in the case of the miniatures below.

These models provided a good opportunity to test out different camera options and lighting, and below are photos using three different lighting methods for the same basic picture angle and composition.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Star Trek: Ascendancy

Image result for star trek ascendancy
A few weeks back, Juice, Strom and I played our first game of Star Trek: Ascendancy, a three-player game of space exploration, expansion, research, and combat by Gale Force Nine.

The game provides many different paths to victory, and one aspect we all enjoyed is that each faction plays differently and has unique benefits and drawbacks.  Juice played the Romulans and focused on technological advances.  Strom played the Klingons and built large fleets for expansion.  I played the peaceful Federation and drove hard toward a cultural victory through careful exploration and colonization.

I started with a lead in cultural points, which also act as victory points to end the game.  However, I ignored technological and military advances which eventually sealed my doom.  Just before what would have been the turn when I would have claimed victory, Juice used his warp technology to warp all the way across the universe to the Federation home spaces, which he conquered.  The Klingons soon followed suite and I ended up simply being the king-maker in deciding a Klingon/Romulan tie.

Overall, the game has good pacing and offers choices in how to build your empire.  I think the end game came a little too quickly, as advancements build exponentially upon prior advancements in culture and technology. It does have a strong Star Trek theme and the overall game mechanics work well.  It is one of the best three-player games I have played and I highly recommend it for that reason.  It appears that Gale Force Nine's additional player factions are soon being released as game expansions, after a long delay in production.