Thursday, December 19, 2013

Board Game Review: The Resistance

Plotting to overthrown evil governments and corporations is not that uncommon a theme in gaming but how often do you get to be one of the spies trying to crush the uprising?

In The Resistance by Indie Boards And Cards, the players take on the role of the member of a group trying to topple the tyrannical and corrupt government that has taken over the world.  Not all is as it seems though, as spies have infiltrated the group and threaten to stop them as they stand on the brink of victory.  Will you help defeat the tyrants or are you one of their pawns trying to bring down... the Resistance!

What's In The Box?
Cracking open the box, the first thing you'll find a set of nicely laid out instructions complete with examples of the entire turn process clearly laid out (always a plus in my opinion).  In addition to this there are also three double sided and illustrated play mats (which one you use depends on how many players there are), numerous tokens and markers made of very sturdy cardboard, and the various cards that you will use through out the game all printed on high quality material.  Add to this a tray liner which clearly separates the tokens and cards and you are looking a very polished looking game.

How Do You Win?
Winning is easy.  All the members of the Resistance have to do is succeed at three of five missions.  That'll be easy right?  It's not like there are spies that have infiltrated your group who will do everything in their power to make sure you don't succeed.  Oh wait...

How Do You Play?
The first thing to do is grab the play mat for your size group.  How many spies there are and how many people are required for each mission is all determined by the number of players, from two spies for a five player game up to four spies for a maxed out ten player game, and all of this is laid out on the play mats.  This also lets you know how many of each type of character card should be dealt out to the players.  Shuffle the character cards and then deal out one card face down to each player.  Once everyone has a character card, all the players should secretly look at their card to see which side they're actually on.  After everyone has looked at their character card the fun really begins.

First someone in the group should have everyone close their eyes.  Next the same person should tell the spies to open their eyes and look around so they known who their co-conspirators are.  After a few seconds, everyone should be told to close their eyes and then have everyone open their eyes so the game can begin!

One of the players is designated team leader and they get to choose who they want to send on the first mission.  Once the potential team members have been announced, the group has to vote on whether to accept the proposed team or reject it.  If the team is rejected, a new team leader is chosen and the process is repeated but be careful; if the team is rejected five times in a single round the Resistance looses!  Once the team is approved, then its time to send them on their mission.

Each member of the team is then given two mission cards face down, one a success card, the other a failure card.  These are used to vote whether the mission succeeds or fails.  Each team member secretly votes and hands their chosen mission card to the team leader who shuffles and then reveals the result.  Success means that the mission goes off without a hitch but if even one failure shows up the mission fails and someone who was on that mission was a spy.  Spies are the only ones who can choose to fail a mission so if a failure card shows up everyone who was on the mission is suddenly suspect!  Who can you really trust and who will sell you out to the authorities?  To make things even more interesting, the later missions require larger teams making failure that much more likely if you're not careful.  The game (and the mounting paranoia) continues until there are either three successful missions or three failures.

How Does It Measure Up?
The Resistance is a great party game as long as you don't take it too seriously.  I can see how you could over analyze everything as you try to figure out who the spies are but that's definitely not our style.  We tend to play it much looser, with accusations flying left, right, and center, and so far everyone we've played it with have had a blast.  I definitely recommend giving this one a try.  Until next time...

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Random Updates: Gamer Rage... AKA: Apparently You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Annoyed?

I can honestly say that the week leading up to Thanksgiving was one of the most hardcore weeks of gaming that we've had in a while.  Fourteen games just in seven days which I think might be a record for us this year.  Even crazier was the fact that eight of those games were just King of Tokyo!  Maybe it was just too much gamer goodness or a lack of caffeine that night or even just the aftereffects of a headache that had been lingering in the back of my melon for most of that time, but so it was that I descended into that rarefied state known as gamer rage... or so I'm told.

It was the tail end of this string of games and we were playing Resistance with some friends of ours.  For those of you who might be unfamiliar with the game, it involves looking at cards without your neighbors being able to see said same cards.  Great party game if you play it right and at some point I'll get off my butt and write a review of it but back to my point.  As for our group, there were a number of preteens and teens with all their youthful exuberance and sugar laden metabolisms but it was cool.  We were having fun throwing accusations around the table as we tried to bring down the corporation.  There were a couple of times that I noticed people almost literally bending their cards in half and so I asked people to please be careful with the cards and not bend them when they looked at them without actually singling anyone out.

After putting this out there several times I noticed one of the girls was almost crushing her card in her hand so I called her out on it.  I told her in a firm voice that I had mentioned what she was doing in passing a few times already and I asked her to please not crush the card in the future.  To me this was a completely reasonable request.  After all, it wasn't the fact that she was bending one of the cards in the game, it was the fact that she was doing something that I'd politely asked people to please not do. You'd think that this would resolve it right?


The next day, our friend texted my wife and asked where they could get a replacement for the game because she was so upset by what I'd said.  Personally I was and still am kind of stunned by this.  It had nothing to do with the fact that it was the game that I was annoyed, it was the simple fact that she was continuing to do something that I'd asked the group politely not to do.  If she was banging on the table or yelling in my ear and I'd said something would it have prompted the same reaction?

Sometimes I just don't got people.

So how about you folks out there?  Does anyone have a tale of gamer rage you'd like to share, either real or assumed?  I'd love to hear about it so go ahead and tell us about it in the comments below.  As for me, I think I need to have a cup of soothing camomile tea while I put together a game review for my next post.  Until next time...

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Random Updates: Aaaand I'm Back... Again...

So not much in the world of gaming for me for... how long has it been?  Wow, months now I think.  In fact looking back at my posts on the blog and things have been somewhat erratic about the past six months now.  There were a couple of months of very intensive gaming as we found a friendly local gaming store followed by a few months of much less after we found out that the local gaming store wasn't quite so friendly after all.

On the upside, we have added a number of games to our gaming collection which we've been having a lot of fun with lately.  I've also made some headway at breaking my miniature slump that started back in May.  At that time I had been working on assembling a Colonial/Victorian Science Fiction British army.  While I was making solid progress with this I was blindsided contradictory force composition requirements ("Try to be historically accurate but you can have lasers."  WTF?!?) and a total lack of interest in any sort of play testing to make the overall gaming experience better.  Thankfully an old friend of mine has recently renewed my interest in Malifaux so I've been working on completing the miniatures that I already have as can be seen with my post about my Ortega crew.  Sonnia Criid's crew is still also almost done (just one more Witchling to base) along with all but my Peacekeeper for my Guild supporting models.  Of course this would mean that my Malifaux minis are almost all painted so of course that means its time to pick up some more; enter Lady Justice!  Her's is the first of new Wyrd plastics that I've purchased and they look really impressive though really fiddly (and I thought that the Mobile Infantry from Mongoose were tricky!).

Thankfully all of this gives me a lot to post about, and now that I've finished playing the original Mass Effect for the first time I have some free time on my weekends again!  Huzzah!  Now I just need to start typing again and then slowly but surely there will be some new content here.  In the meantime, I've also started an Instagram account which I've been slightly more regular about updating lately (click and post... just makes life easier sometimes) so you can also check things out there.  In the meantime, expect more coming here on the blog soon.  Until next time...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Workbench: The Ortegas Ready For The Hunt

Back about a year ago I finally got around to starting work on my Ortega boxed set for Malifaux (here's the original post about it here...).  Unfortunately one thing lead to the other and the rest of this project was shelved as I still hadn't gotten around to getting a replacement for my original Nino which was missing some bits.  Well I finally got off my butt and got him taken care of so I could get the whole crew to the table.

I still haven't picked up the new 2nd edition rulebook so I'm not sure how the Ortegas will stack up from a soul stone point of view but I really like seeing the whole family together and ready for action. Wyrd Miniatures are loaded with as much character as detail making them a lot of fun to paint.

I still have a couple of more figures to finish up for my Guild faction but at the rate that I've been managing I should have all of them done before the end of the year, making this the second miniature faction that I will have completely painted for a system (my Cryx army for Warmachine being the first to earn this rare and esteemed honor...).  Of course I'm sure there is more that I'll be adding to the faction before too long but it's really exciting to see them complete.  Next up, Sonnia Criid and her Witch Hunters.  Until next time...

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Workbench: The Magical Circle Of Runic Goodness!

I happened to look at one of the games my daughter was playing on my wife's iPhone and was immediately taken by the artwork.  Apparently it was some kind of fantasy game were you are supposed to raise dragons or some such but there was this really cool ring of glowing runes that really caught my eye.  A quick sketch later and I was off to build my own magical runic gateway... thingee.

I'd originally planned on typing up a whole step by step tutorial on this project but unfortunately my inspiration got the better of me and before I knew it I was done!

Overall I'm really happy with how it turned out though I might go over the symbols carved into the stones to give them more of a glowing effect but we'll have to see.  I'd actually tried this for a couple of them but it didn't look quite right so I'm just going with the plain stone for now.

So what's it for?  Well, damned if I know but I've talked with the Munchkin about giving Song of Blades and Heroes a try and this seems like it would be a fun piece of terrain to throw onto the board.  When and if it happens, I'll be sure to type something up about it.  Until next time...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sunless Sea Kickstarter: Victorian Gothic Horror... On A Boat!

Years ago I stumbled across an online narrative game called Fallen London.  I still remember reading choose your own adventure books when I was a kid and this game was perfect to scratch that itch (without the ability to cheat and see which option is best... come on, you know you did it too!).  More that just the story, I also found the setting fascinating and mysterious! Here you are trapped in the Fallen city of London, consorting with Rubbery Men, Devils, and the Masters of the Bazaar as you try to discover what this place really is and how you got here.

Now the folks at Failbetter games are looking to spin off into new and unknowable directions with their Kickstarter for a 2D seafaring exploration and survival game they are developing.  Welcome, my delicious friend, to the Sunless Sea!

Setting out from Fallen London, you guide your vessel into the unknown waters of the Sunless Sea.  Will you find endless wonders or horrors beyond imagining?  There is no way of knowing as each game is a unique experience leading itself to massive re-playability especially when combined with the deep story engine that is wrapped into the game.

Visually this game also looks stunning with its use of lighting effects.  You are literally exploring a world with no sun so even that becomes a resource you must manage.  Do you blaze your prow-light at full strength and risk attracting the attentions of pirates and monsters or run with the light low and slowly drive your crew mad?

Gameplay Concept shot from Sunless Sea
What's even better is this game will be available for digital download with a pledge of a mere 10 pounds (which equates to roughly $16 USD currently...) which is an incredible bargain! Right now this Kickstarter has about two weeks left and is nearly funded so I definitely recommend hopping over and checking it out.  Until next time...

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Wrath of Kings Kickstarter: Yet More Goodness From Cool Mini Or Not

Since I had suck a pretty penny into the Relic Knights Kickstarter last year (which I'm unfortunately still waiting to receive...), CMoN sends me a heads up when they post new projects on Kickstater.  Most of them haven't really peaked my interest but their latest one... well, that's a different story.  It's time to get all fantastical and face the Wrath of Kings!

Set in the fantasy world of Arikania, five powerful kingdoms all struggle for the throne of the Ancient King.  An uneasy peace has existed between these powers but that is all about to change as their power hungry schemes lead the world into open war.

The miniatures for this game look really nice and each of the five factions has a very distinct look to them and from what I've read of the flavor all of the factions sound like they will have interesting stories behind them.  What I've seen of the game system looks pretty compelling as well as they've reduced combat to a single d10 roll rather than the usual two rolls (hit then damage) so games should flow along at a good pace.

As for the Kickstarter itself, its also driven ahead at a pretty steady pace.  Blowing through its $50k goal within the first day, it looks like it should meet all of its current stretch goals and maybe even a couple more beyond so all of the pledge levels give you a very respectable army that you will be able to play right from the start.

Unfortunately I'm not going to be able to back this one but I wanted to make sure to get it out there for people to see as it does look pretty cool IMO.  They are in the tail end of their drive though (only 10 days left as of this posting) so if you're going to check it out I'd suggest doing it soon.  Until next time...

Sunday, August 25, 2013

And There Go My Eardrums Again...

I recently picked up the Edge of the Empire Beginner Set and decided to see if there were any actual plays out there so that I could see how other people had run the game.  I wasn't really expecting to find anything but lo and behold, there was a podcast that covered it!  And then the screaming began but that's only to be expected with...

Focus: Dungeons and Dragons 4e actual play.
Audio Quality: Three and a half sonic screams.
Content Quality: Four tangerines.
Average Length: About an hour to an hour and a half
Release Schedule: weekly

I gotta be honest, I really wanted to hate this podcast.  Between the random screams and the sonic hyena laughs, my ears probably would have loved me more it I had just turned around and walked away but for some reason I listened to more... and then I got hooked.

As I mentioned, the first of their games that I listened to were a short series of Star Wars APs and that is just an absolute train wreck.  Between the players screaming about strange dice and them just running around  blindly attacking everything in sight all I could think was "WTF?"

Just to make my pain complete, I decided to check out their regular 4e feed to see just how bad it was in comparison.  I don't know if my senses had just been deadened from the previous exposure or I had been driven to the brink of madness but I actually kind of liked it.  The players have a much better handle on the rules in 4e so there is a lot less complaining about the dice and a lot more actual playing.  There are still a ton of tangents sprinkled liberally throughout the episodes and if you're listening on headphones you still need to watch out for those ear splitting moments, but overall this podcast has been a lot of fun to listen to and I'm looking forward to more.  Until next time...

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Random Reivew: Poppin' Up The Tees

While cruising through Facebook recently, I stumbled across an ad for Pop Up Tees.  I'd never seen them before but they were running a sale for some Star Wars and Firefly themed t-shirts and I decided I had to get a couple.

Rogue Leader and Best in the Verse
It took a little while for them to ship (they don't mail them until 7 to 12 business days after the current sale ends) but they finally arrived and I have to say they look really sweet.

Unfortunately there are some downsides to how Pop Up Tee works.  Apparently they run sales featuring certain shirts for a limited amount of time.  Once the sale ends, they start processing and shipping the orders which as I mentioned is not the fastest of processes.  Another downside is that once the sale ends I don't know when or if they offer those designs again so you need to swing by their site pretty regularly to see just what they are offering at that time.  Last but unfortunately not least, I did find some complaints about their customer service.  Personally I didn't have any trouble with them at all and I'm really happy with my shirts but I think its only fair to let people know that there have been some issues with them in the past.

Even with all this in mind, this is a site that I'm going to keep my eye on because I'm definitely interested in see what else they come out with.  Until next time...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Random Updates: Games On The Go!

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, we headed all the way across the country to visit my folks back in Vacationland.  We had a lot of fun visiting but let's face it, we're a gaming family at heart.  How could we travel all that way and not bring some games with us?  You'd think this would be easy enough... except for the whole luggage fee.  $25 per suitcase one way?  Really?  In the end I decided that the best option was to get them there the old fashioned way; stick 'em in the mail.  This sounds easy enough but how the heck do you fit it all in one box?

The answer... Zip Lock bags.

While some games out there use the space in their box very efficiently (Small World is a perfect example of this...) there are lots of others out there that come with some inherent dead space.  By packaging most of these games into Zip Locks and leaving their boxes we able to get all of these games into that box with a little bit of room to spare even!  Of course the key to doing something like this is making sure you label the bags so you can easily find all the components.  To make our lives even easier I also noted how many players can play in each and also how long each one takes.  While knowing this might not be a big deal if you are just hanging out with gamers, that extra bit of information can be priceless when non-gamers get into the mix.

Unfortunately we weren't able to put our games to as much use we'd hoped but the times that we did made it all worth it in my mind.  Of course I can't wait to break them out again with the gang back here in Vegas... once the games actually make it back here.  Helps to get them back into the mail a couple of days before you leave so they'll be there when you arrive.  Whoops!  Ah well, still cheaper than bringing another suitcase.  Until next time...

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Random Updates: Welcome From The Other Side Of The Country!

Anyone else notice that right after I post that there is more coming that nothing happened?  Yeah, well currently me and the family are on the other side of the country for a family reunion/vacation/look at where grew up trip.  It's been a ton of fun but the blog has been the last thing on my mind.  I have more planned for the future though so be sure to check back in a couple of weeks.  Until next time...

Friday, July 19, 2013

Workbench: Retouching The Wreckage

Back in 2004, Games Workshop released the Battle For Macragge boxed set for 4th edition.  I never picked up this set but I did get my hands on the crashed lander terrain piece that came with it.  I had originally done a really quick paint job on it so I could use it for a game of Starship Troopers but there was a serious emphasis on the "quick".  I brought it to the table a couple of times but its been years since I dug it out so its just been sitting around in all its bland glory.

Its not horrible looking, its just very... blah.  Of late though, I have started to experiment a little with weathering especially with picking out the sharp edges of things to create a worn look and this seemed like a good piece to give it a try with.  It also gave me a chance to work on my highlighting on a larger scale so I broke out the paints and gave it a shot.

Overall I'm very happy with the results.  By repainting the hull green it really makes the piece pop more and also gives a good contrast to the edging that I did.

I also hit the edges of the broken glass with some gray to make the breaks stand out a little more and added some color to a couple of the hoses coming out of the back of the wreckage.  Definitely a good start but I want to touch up the rest of the wreckage as visually its a really nice piece of terrain.  Until next time...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Random Updates: It's Quiet... Too Quiet

Wow.  It's been how long since I posted?  That's just crazy!!!

Regardless of my silence in the blog, things have definitely not been quiet here in Snowman's Land.  My Bones have arrived, I've bought a handful of new games, listened to a handful of new podcasts, and played a ton of games.

I just haven't written about any of it.  Whoopsy!  Guess its time to play catch up so come back soon!  There will be more on the Dispatch soon.  Until next time...

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Random Update: Bones and Badges! Sweet!!!

Lots of exciting stuff here in Snowman's Land, at least for me anyway.  This past week I earned my copper board game reviewer badge on for having five submitted reviews approved and today finding out that my Bones are on the way!  Just a whole lot of awesome!

The reviewer badge was actually one of my goals for this year though I don't remember if I actually posted it in my goals for the year.  Now I'm one of just over 2000 members of to have one of these badges so I have no idea just how common they are but its still something that I'm excited about.  Now I just need to write another 45 to earn the silver badge.  Probably have to wait until next year for that one.  Much closer on the horizon is the silver board game collector since I'm only twelve games away from that and it seems I'm finding at least one more game that I want to pick up every week.

As for the Bones, this means that its time to update my number of miniatures purchased for the year.  I decided when I pledged for this and Relic Knights that I would wait until I actually received them to add to my list which means my miniature purchases are about to go from a big old goose egg to 247 in one fell swoop.  Definitely time to get the brushes ready!  They should be arriving in all their boney goodness in a week so check back then for the unboxing!  Heck, I might even break out the video camera for this one!  Until next time...

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Random Updates: Super Trolling For The Win!

My wife woke me up today and asked me if I wanted to go to our new FLGS to play some games.

Yeah, that's pretty awesome all by itself but what happened while we were there was pure bonus hilarity.

We were playing a game of Unspeakable Words with Jody and Justin when two customers walked in.  Jody bowed out to help them and Justin took over her hand.  While they were looking around, another customer came into the store and started looking around as well.

A short time later, the first two guys were getting ready to leave when one of them stopped and mentioned that he was interested in the copy of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay that they had on the shelf but said he was going to have to wait until payday to get it.  Jody told him is was 30% right now but she wasn't sure how much longer the sale was going to be running.  You could tell he was really tempted but did the responsible thing and said he really needed to wait for now.

Of course we could have applauded his restraint and praised his responsible behavior...  but what fun would that be?  We all started joking about it, asking if he was sure?  What if someone else came and picked it up before then?  Having to eat ramen for a week to support your gaming habit isn't such a bad thing, is it?  We all had a good laugh and the third guy even got in on the act but the first guy stood his ground, bought what he came for and said he'd be back soon.

No sooner had they walked out of the store then the third guy grabbed the box, turned to the still closing door, called out "Thanks for not buying my game!" and handed it to Jody to ring up.  As it so happens, he had been in the week before and was looking at the game then but seeing that someone else was interested in picking it up was enough to get him to buy it.

We all applauded his epic hilarity as he walked out of the store, holding the game above his head in a pure expression of gaming triumph.  Truly epic.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Board Game Review: Red Dragon Inn 3

Most fantasy games out there focus on the quest.  Killing the dragon, finding that one special ring, defeating the forces of evil (or good, depending on your preference...).  This is all well and good but what about when the quest is over?  Well, that's when the real adventure begins!

In Red Dragon Inn by Slugfest Games, each player is a member of an adventuring company freshly returned from the dungeon.  With your coin purses bulging, its time to see who is the real champion as you proceed to drink each other under the table!

What's In The Box?
Before we look inside, the outside of the box needs a nod as well.  The box art is gorgeous, showing all the characters available in the game along with perhaps the most important person in the game, the wench (can't have a drinking game without the wench to bring you drinks!). This is especially nice as there are currently three versions of the game with a fourth that is currently on Kickstarter so you can make sure you grab the motley crew that most captures your eye.

Opening the box, there are the instructions in the full color glossy glory, a player mat and deck for each of the characters, a drink deck, some sturdy "gold" coins, and glass beads to track you alcohol and fortitude.  As an added plus, the tray liner is perfect for keeping all of the components neatly organized between games which is a major plus in my book.

How Do You Win?
You can win the game a couple of different ways.  The most obvious way is to drink your opponents under the table by plying them with drinks while "accidentally" smacking them in the head but you can also force an opponent out by taking all their money as well.  Most of this is tracked on your player mat.  As you get hurt, your fortitude goes down.  As you get drunk, your alcohol content goes up.  If the two even cross... well, lets just way that you character is enjoying a nap on the nice cool floor at that point.  In addition to this, you also have a stack of gold coins but be careful.  If you are out of money then its out to the stables with you!  So does anyone feel like gambling?  I'm in!

How Do You Play?
Each player takes a player mat and puts the red bead on 20 to indicate their health and a clear bead on 0 to indicate their alcohol content.  Then you choose the character you want, shuffle up their deck and place it on the space marked "Deck" on the mat.  Next each player gets ten gold while the drink pile is shuffled and each player is randomly given one drink card which is placed on the "Drink Me!" space on the mat.  Then place the Drink deck in the middle of the table where everyone can reach it.  Each player then draws seven cards for their starting and its time to start the game!

During your turn you first discard any cards you don't want then draw up to seven cards.  If your Deck runs out of cards when you are supposed to draw no worries!  Just shuffle your discard pile and keep on playing.

Next you may play one Action card from your hand.  Read out the title on the card, give the other players a chance to respond, then follow the instructions on the card.  Action cards tend to be the more powerful cards in your deck and this is when you unleash them on your opponents!  Of course you can also skip this phase if you want to, it just means you won't play an Action this turn.

The next phase is one of the most vital in the game.  After all, you can't have a drinking game without drinks!  Take the top card from the Drink Deck and put it on top of one of your other stalwart friends "Drink Me!" piles.  This is a perfect opportunity to share the love with your friends as you help them maintain their inebriated state or even just get revenge on someone that might have done something to you last turn.

Last but not least by a long shot is the Drink phase.  Take the top card from your "Drink Me!" pile and down the hatch it goes!  A word of warning though; if a player doesn't have any cards in their "Drink Me!" pile when they are supposed to drink, they start to sober up (also known as losing one alcohol content) which is why its always important to make sure you spread the booze in the previous phase.

Once you finish off your drink, your turn is over and the player to your left is up but that doesn't mean that you sit idly by while you wait for your turn.  In addition to the aforementioned Action cards, you also have Sometimes and Anytime cards in your hand.  Sometimes cards have certain conditions that need to be meet for them to be played (for example, maybe a card lets you block fortitude damage from another player's action or even smack them back in retaliation) while Anytime cards can be played yet then, anytime, even if they interrupt another action.  This usually won't stop the action but it adds a fun element to the game.  "Oh, Phrenk.  Before you smash Kaylin in the head could you tip the wench?  Thanks ever so much!"

While most this is very self explanatory, a quick mention does have to been given to Gambling.  This is an Action card that you can play on your turn and potentially the easiest way to help reallocate all of your friends gold.  Playing a "Gambling? I'm in!" card starts what is effectively a mini-game of gambling with the winner taking all the gold in the pot.  As an interesting touch, Slugfest Games have even made a separate game by the same name that you can break out to resolve the round.  I've never used this expansion but its sounds like a really interesting twist so I'm sure I'll pick it up eventually.

In addition to this, some of the later versions of the game (such as Red Dragon Inn 3) also add in some mechanics to add flavor to the various characters.  Phrenk the alchemist troll brews a different potion each turn while you never know just what kind of mood Kaylin's wolf while be in.  These add in some different effects on the game but the way that they are handled flows smoothly into the game play and really gives each character their own little flair.

How Does It Measure Up?
Red Dragon Inn 3 is great game that I highly recommend as it is so much fun to play.  In fact I think this is one of the only games where I have actively had a chance to take a player out of the game early and didn't do it because it was more fun to keep them around!  If you haven't had a chance to play this game, go buy it right now and give it a try; I really do think you'll love playing it.

Parting Shot...
I hope you've enjoyed this look at Red Dragon Inn 3 and remember that if you are reading this before June 18th there is still time to hop on over to Kickstarter and back Red Dragon Inn 4, not to mention get a couple of add-ons for a bargain!  If you have any comments or questions about the game I'd love to here them so go ahead and post them right in the comments and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.  Until next time...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Red Dragon Inn 4 Kickstarter: The Adventure's Complete So Its Time To Hit The Inn!

Yep, its time to talk about another Kickstarter.  Slugfest Games is in the last week of its Kickstarter for Red Dragon Inn 4 but there's still time to get in on the action!

For those of you that might not have heard of the game, the Red Dragon Inn series of games are about drinking your fellow adventurers under the table as you try to take all their gold in the process.  Each of the games can be played independently or you can mix and match across the various sets so the combinations are endless!  While the previous games have all featured various fantasy adventurers, Red Dragon 4 is hitting the high seas and introducing four members of the crew of the Crimson Drake.

The crew of the Crimson Drake and a sample of the awesome artwork that goes into these games!
On top of this, there are also two new characters that are being added the mix in the form of Cormac the Mighty and Witchdoctor Natyli.  These two are from the Red Dragon Inn Allies series which lets you add individual characters to expand your game rather than purchasing the whole thing all over again.

Having played two of the three current RDI games along with the first set of Allies, I can honestly say that these games are an absolute blast to play and I definitely recommend picking them up regardless of whether you support the Kickstarter but right now Slugfest Games is offering RDI 4 and the new Allies at a reduced price.  I am working on putting together a review of the Red Dragon series right now but this is a great buy and I wanted make sure I got the word out about the new expansion before the Kickstarter ends on June 18th.  So go check it out and I'll try to get my review up over the weekend for any of you that are still on the fence.  Until next time...

Friday, May 24, 2013

Workbench: Conquering The Bendy Figures Of Doom!!!

I sure that any of you out there that have bought CMG or most of the larger Fantasy Flight Games.  You crack open the box and see all those beautiful plastic pieces... that are more bent then a professional contortionist.  Most recently I ran into this problem with my new copy of Cadwallon: City of Thieves but after barely half an hour I was able to get them all back into their actual shape.

While some of them weren't too bad, there were a couple that were in serious need of fixing, as you can see here.

Of course I'd heard of using heating up some water, dropping them in and bending them back but I'd never tried it because I'd always thought of it on a large scale; grabbing a pot and heating it on the stove to do the bending.  It was a post I found on the Paizo forums that gave me the "Ah ha!" moment I needed to get this done quickly and efficiently (Thanks to Josh M. over there for the brilliant suggestion!).

Rather than use a pot on the stove top, he pointed out that you only actually need to heat up a coffee cup of water in the microwave for your typical sized figure (insert facepalm here with the question "Why didn't I think of that?!?"). He also said that the plastics that these kinds of figures are made out of have a kind of memory to them and that heating them will let them return to their "natural" state, after which you dunk them in cold water to cool the plastic and effectively reset the mini.  This last part I'd never heard of so I eagerly broke out some coffee cups to give it a try.

Thirty minutes and twenty miniatures later and things were looking amazing!

Just goes to show that sometimes you need to think of things on a smaller scale and it can work out perfectly.  Of course now that I had this done there was just the problem of keeping them looking the way that they are supposed to, but more on that later.  Until next time...

Friday, May 17, 2013

Man, The New Shiny Is So... Shiny!!! But... No...

Some of you might remember me mentioning the Robotech RPG Tactics Kickstarter a few weeks ago.  Now in its final days, they have raised over $860,000, almost $800,000 more than their original goal.  The Battle Cry level (which is their super tricked out level) now includes a ton of models and will be an incredible stepping stone for anyone looking to dive into this game head first.  Even the brief demo that they posted looks really good and seems to caught the fast paced feel of the anime

And I just can't bring myself to buy it.

I was all set to.  I'd pledged my money, I was checking daily (heck, even hourly for a couple of the goals!), I couldn't wait to get my grubby little mitts on it... but I just have to pass on this one.

Realistically, I'll have my Bones minis arriving in the next month or so plus I still have all the minis from the Relic Knights coming later this year as well.  I definitely have more than enough to paint right now. On top of that, the Robotech game is designed for a 4' x 6' table and it sounds between the unit speeds and ranges you really need it, but I haven't broken out my full size table in... heck, I think its been years now!  Most of the games that I play nowadays work well enough on my 2' x 3' mini table and I've just gotten used to games that are more compact.  Last but not least is the fact that all my terrain is 28mm.  Not that I have massive amounts of terrain but I definitely have a good selection to draw from but none of it is 6mm.

Count it up and that's a classic case of one, two, three strikes... you're out!

Of course I still might pick up some minis when it hits retail (just love the female Zentraedi power armor!!!) but other than that I just can't justify it.  Instead I'm going to buy a bunch of boardgames I play with the family.  After all, I never said I wasn't going to buy anything and the Red Dragon Inn and X-Wing just keep calling my name.  Until next time...

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Now I've Lost My Steam And My Thunder... How Very Steampunk!

I must say it's amazing how quickly you can go from a high level of interest to absolute indifference on something.  Not a week ago I was really excited about a VSF game that is scheduled for this weekend.  I trying to rattle the cages and get people to respond if they were coming to the game, I was posting information about unit composition and some special rules that were going to be used, I was even throwing together my own flyer just for the game (the HMS Gorgon from the previous post...).

Then there was yesterday.  Just wow.

To give a little perspective on this situation, this particular game is the one using Sharp Practice, a Napoleonic set of rules, for Space 1889, a Victorian science fiction setting.  There have been lots of issues in translating the rules, especially since there has been no play testing before the big club games which are also the only time this game is played.  Lets say that again.  No play testing.  At all.

Now the last game was not too bad overall.  In fact there was only one time when I was really getting annoyed at the overall situation which was a massive improvement over the first game this year in which I moved my troops six inches in four hours so I was really excited about this next game.

Then yesterday the person running the game sent out roughly a dozen emails about the game that happens in two days, including some rules changes that mean that a couple of the miniatures that I have in my meager army are now useless.  On top of this, he is trying to get everyone in the club to show up for the game that is using untested rules, bumping our headcount from a definite four to a possible eight, some of whom have never even played in the past two games.  On top of that, he included some experimental rules for using massive airships in the game... handy since he happens to have one and was just saying the other day how much he'd like to use it.  And did I mention there are untested rules for advanced weapons as well?

Needless to say my enthusiasm has promptly plummeted like a rock and I'm thinking that at this point I'm just not even going to bother going, especially because the organizer in one breath says that he wants people to try to stay as close to historically accurate units as possible to avoid giving the power gamers to much to play with and then in the next he says that you can have a unit of guys with lasers if you want.  And that was one massive run on sentence!  See what this has driven me too?!?

So the question is am I being unreasonable in thinking this is kind of ridiculous?  I'd love to know what you guys think so feel free to share your own opinions in the comments.  Thanks everyone and I look forward to hearing what you think!  Until next time...

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Workbench: Constructing the HMS Gorgon

For our upcoming Colonials game I had planned on fielding the new Baeliog armored tractor from ZombieSmith miniatures in addition to my Gauntlet.  Unfortunately after almost a month of waiting and several emails asking them what was happening with my order I finally just asked for a refund.  Unlike the rest of the process, they were very prompt with the refund but this left me without another vehicle to field with my troops.  In a flash of mad desperation, I decided to take the dive and start my construction of my first aeronef, the HMS Gorgon.

As you can see its not exactly pretty but its shaping up very well and I'm excited to get it finished up for the game next weekend.  So far I only have the basic hull built but I have more planned to add some detail to it that I think will look really sharp such as the steam boiler on the aft section and the fins that will attach to the struts going off the back.

As for armament there will be at least two scratch built maxims mounted on the walkway and a turret with twin quick fire cannons mounted on the underside.  And the really cool thing about the turret?

It actually rotates and the guns even elevate!  A minor detail (especially since its on the underside) but it was something I really wanted to make sure would work.  More on this soon but I thought I'd at least share what I've been working on.  Until next time...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Robotech RPG Tactics Kickstarter: Living The Dream Baby!

Back when I was a kid I stumbled across an RPG at our LGS that instantly caught my eye.

Then... the cover of the original Robotech RPG
At the time, I'd never even heard of Robotech but the concept of giant mecha tearing across the battlefield captivated me.  I even toyed with the idea of making a my own mass combat game but it never made it beyond a few counters.  Now a miniature game, that would really be awesome.  As it turns out I'm not the only one that thinks so.

And now... the cover of Robotech RPG Tactics
Just a week ago, Ninja Division and Palladium Books unveiled their Robotech RPG Tactics miniature game and within a day it had already blown past its funding goal.  Now over 500% funded with more undoubtedly still to come, its just a matter of seeing what they can do to expand their Kickstarter.

They have also posted a short game play demo and it looks pretty cool.  They only show the basic mechanics but they look like they've done a good job capturing the fast paced action of the series.

If you are a fan of the series then I definitely recommend you check this one out and even if you are new to the series I'd recommend taking a look.  The miniatures are looking pretty sweet and the Kickstarter is a great way to get into the game and save some money at the same time.  Until next time...

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Family Slumber Party For The Win!!!

A couple of months ago I was getting ready for work when my wife and daughter started busting out the popcorn and M&Ms.  Normally their not quite so happy to see me leave so I asked what was going on.  "We're having a slumber party," was the reply.  "We're going to watch movies, stay up late, and eat popcorn."

I thought this was an awesome idea and was really glad that my wife and daughter were going to have so much fun but part of me really wished that I could join in too.  Several vacation requests later, I finally was able to get the planets in alignment to get a day off and yesterday we had our family slumber party!

We started off the night with a game of Forbidden Island by Gamewright.

In this cooperative game, the players are all part of a team sent to the Forbidden Island to recover four artifacts.  This would be a easy enough task if only the island wasn't sinking!  We decided to make things a little harder for ourselves and started the game with the water at a higher level than normal which definitely made the game that much more intense but we still managed to pull out the win!

Next we dug into Small World Underground by Days of Wonder.

As this was only our second time playing (and my wife's first...), the game started a little slow but it definitely picked up as we went along.  Overall still loving this game though I can see how getting a handle on all the special powers could be a little tricky for new players.  And who dominated the depths of the Small World in the end?  Yet again the Munchkin managed to pull out the win... by one point!  Argh!!!  We definitely need a rematch!

After that, my wife decided to head to bed and the Munchkin and I crashed on the living room floor to watch Dinotopia on Netflix.

This miniseries from 2002 by Hallmark Entertainment (one of the companies behind Farscape...) tells the story of two boys who wind up stranded on an uncharted island inhabited by a lost civilization of humans and dinosaurs.  Fun series though unfortunately I fell asleep about halfway through the second episode.  Mental note... when you're going to stay up late, make sure you get more than four hours sleep the night before.  Still its an interesting setting and story so I'd recommend checking it out if you have a chance, especially if you have kids who love dinosaurs.

Overall, it was a great night with the family and I can't wait to do it again!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Trading One Homebrew For Another?

Next month one of the local gaming groups is having another game of Colonial Sharp Practice, this time involving that mysterious golden box that you should never look into.  You know the one...

The Ark with its Turkistan Tourism Board Welcoming Committee

While this does some like its going to be a lot of fun part of it does leave me a little uncertain.  Right now I'm still not sold on the idea of using the Sharp Practice rules for a Colonial setting.  I suppose it kind of worked for our last game in a very ham-fisted sort of way but I can't help but wonder if the next game is going to push it beyond the point of being manageable.  There is talk of Russian steam walkers and I will be adding another armored tractor to the mix plus who knows what else might show up at this point.  Hopefully we can muddle through but just in case I've started looking at some other systems out there, the first of which is G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. (short for Glorious Adventures in Science Loosely Involving Generally Historical Times).

Steam tractors, dinosaurs, and ostrich riders?  Sounds like an interesting combination to me!
After looking at the quick start rules on their website (which you can find here...) it seems like it covers all the bases that we are looking for but it's all based around a d20.  This just seems a little odd, especially since a lot of the rolls look like they could break down to a d10 without loosing too much detail so I'm going to do a small solo game to see how that pans out.  Admittedly this is effectively just trading one homebrew for another but I'm hoping that this minor switch with G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. works a little better than the complete overhaul we are attempting with Sharps.  Only time will tell but fingers crossed, right?  Until next time...

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Oh Boy, A New Box Of Shinies!!!

Well it's definitely been a while since I wrote anything but things have been just a little busy here in Snowman's Land.  Unfortunately barely any gaming to speak of but I just received a package from Miniature Market that I'm really excited about.  So what's in the box?  Let's take a look, shall we?

First up we have a Stormrage Shambler from the D & D minis line.  It's a little hard to tell in the plastic but this is a large organic tentacled beastie that I picked up for use in a Call of Cthulhu adventure that I put together.  Miniatures are not really necessary for CoC, but given my background I just couldn't resist picking some up.  For this particular adventure I actually picked up four of the Fantasy Flight CoC miniatures from Arkham Horror to represent the investigators but I was missing some good figures for the mythos critters I needed, in particular the dimensional shambler.  Since I originally picked up the investigators, Fantasy Flight has actually released a miniature for the shambler as well but I'm really not a fan of it so I decided to go for something a little different.  No idea when I'm actually going to be able to run this one but I'm sure I can find a use for this guy in a Fear and Faith scenario in the meantime.

Next up is Get Bit by Mayday Games.  This is a filler game about robots being eaten by a shark.  We've actually gotten this one to the table already but I'm not going to say any more because I'm going to try to get up a review of it next week.

After that we have reinforcements for Summoner Wars, specifically the Mountain Vargath and the Swamp Orcs.  The Munchkin and I have been waiting for this one for a while since we both like the Vargath so I can't wait to see just what their new troops are like.

Then we have one of the most popular games out there, Small World Underground by Days of Wonder.  Rather than getting the original, I decided to get Underworld first as I've heard some of its mechanics provide some interesting twists on the original mechanics.  I'm sure I'll still get the original soon enough though as this just looks like an awesome game.  Expect a review of this one soon as well.

Finally the is Cadwallon: City of Thieves by Fantasy Flight Games.  Set in the old Rackham universe, this game pits gangs against each other and the city watch as they try spirit away the most spoils before the end of the night.  I've had my eye on this one for a while but as soon as I mentioned playing as a bunch of thieves the Munchkin got really interested so I had to get it.  And yes, there will be a review of this one once we get it to the table as well.

Anyway, that's about it for now but I'm really excited to try all of these out.  Plus I've ordered another tank for my Colonials and I'll be doing a review of that once I have it in my grubby little paws as well and there is a new Kickstarter coming soon that... looks... AWESOME!!!  But more on that soon.  Until next time...

Monday, March 18, 2013

Workbench: Let Loose The Cards Of War!

Not too much has been happening around here lately but I was able to get some work done on cards for Sharp Practice.  In the game, cards are used to determine player order in the turn and also give you various bonuses throughout the game.  Sky Captain had thrown together some on his own but most of them were for the original Napoleonic setting so I decided to whip some together for our Colonial game.

To make these I used the Magic Set Editor program and just went with the MtG 8th edition format to keep things easy.  They are still lacking artwork but for now the rules are the most important part for now.  Now I just need to get a new color cartridge so I can print up the rest!  Until next time...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Workbench: I Say Professor, That Looks Smashing!

After some toiling away I managed to finish off my Gauntlet light tractor for my Colonial troops (this is my own name for the Crusader from Zombiesmith that I reviewed last week...) and I have to say that I'm really happy with how it turned out.

Of course I realized that I'd missed the inside of the tracks when I took this picture.  Whoopsy!
I know that I'd mentioned adding more weapons to this little armored beastie but while I typed up the battle report I realized that I'd made a pretty drastic mistake that seriously nerfed its effectiveness in the game.  In fact played correctly it would have been quite a bit more potent so I decided to leave it the way it is for now.  I might change my mind after the next game but that will all depend on how it fairs in the next battle.

In the meantime I am also planning on adding some "self motivating artillery pieces" to give my troops some additional support but more on those later.  Until next time...

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sharp Practice Battle Report: The Boxers Are Rebeling!

Last Saturday we gathered our Colonial troops at the table and launched ourselves into our new campaign setting of Turkistan!  With the political maps drawn up and brief write ups for all the powers involved it was time to get down to the business at hand!  In this case, troops led by myself and Sky Captain were moving in from the southern end of the board to relieve American troops in the north that were cut off by Chinese and German troops.  Meanwhile, the White Russian forces of the exile Tzar held position on the east side of the board with their guns (and cannons... can't forget the cannons...) at the ready.

The game is afoot!  (aka deployment is complete)
 For the first turn the card was flipped and my British troops sprang into action!  Well actually they more orderly marched into action but you get the idea.  In this case, my troops consisted of two sections of Kings Rifles led by my Captain on east side of the road and two supporting sections of Indian Sepoys on the far side of the road.

Right after my Big Man's card the card for the infernal devices was flipped and we got to see the iron behemoths grind into motion.  In addition to my light tank, we also had a Rolls Royce with a turret and a half track mounting with two turrets supporting the British troops.

Meanwhile, on the northern end of the board the German infernal drove up next to the American position and opened fire with its turret cannon and two side mounted machine guns! (This is part of the reason for my earlier post about my tank needing more guns.  Guess you could say I had a little machine gun envy going on.)

Thankfully the cover served them well and they were able to withstand the fusillade of fire with little ill effect.

Next in the flip was the Warlord Terrence with his motley mix of regular troops and Boxer rebels.  The Boxers charged the American position but managed to fall just short of their mark.

This left them in the perfect position for the Americans but there was little he could do to protect them at this point.  Meanwhile his two sections of regular troops moved over onto the hill overlooking the road to get themselves into a better position.

As luck would have it the Americans were next!  Captain Aaron was quick to have his troops open fire on the Boxers in front of him and was able to land an couple of devastating volleys though the Boxers remained unbroken.

The other American Marines tried to do anything to damage the German armored truck nearby but none of their weapons were able to put a dent in the steel monstrosity.

With this, the second tiffin was drown with ended the turn.  At this point any troops that had not activated yet had the option of firing.  This only left Comrade Alex with his sleeping bear to the east and Sky Captain with the remainder of the the Indian Sepoys but they were both content to see how things continued to develop.

Turn two opened with the infernal devices activating first so our little armored column continued its way down the road toward the Americans.  I was not liking the look of all the Russian forces overlooking our progress so I did the only logical thing; I jabbed the sleeping bear with a stick!

My Gauntlet tractor opened fire but due to cover I was barely able to have any effect on the two cannons on the roof beyond pissing them off royally (afterward we realized that this shouldn't have been the case but more on that later...).  Meanwhile the Rolls leading the charge took a cannon blast that sheared off the turret and the gunner's head with one shot!

The Americans then followed things up by loosing a withering volley against the Chinese forces.

One group of Boxers was broken and driven back while the other group and the regular troops were both badly shaken by the onslaught.

Next the Indian Sepoy under the command of Sky Captain were finally able to move and move they did!

Charging up the western side of the board, they quickly headed toward our actual objective of relieving the besiege American troops.  You know, the troops that were in the process of routing one of the attacking forces?  The poor Yanks definitely needed saving, let me tell you!

In another first for the game, Dastardly Dan finally got to activate his German minions!

They quickly moved along the eastern side of the road into cover and positioned themselves to bolster the crumbling Chinese front.

Next the mighty bear stirred in the east.  Quickly turning both of the cannons in my direction, the Russians let loose a volley that utterly decimated my tank!

The Indian Sepoy sections on the western side of the board moved next, continuing their rapid advance toward the American position and managed to set themselves up in an ideal position to deal with the remnants of one of the sections of Chinese rabble.

After this the second tiffin was drawn bringing turn two to a close.  With only the disorganized Chinese forces and my own British troops who were without a target, there was little that could be done as far as shooting so all we could do was brace ourselves for the next turn.

Turn three opened with the Russians activating first and who should arrive but the Russian cavalry!

Charging at a full gallop, both sections wheeled to the south and smashed right into one of my infantry sections.  Faced by the full brunt of twenty four cavalry men, my troops did the only logical thing; they ran!  As this happened, all of the Russian infantry also advanced and then opened fire on the remaining section up on the hill so they did the only logical thing; followed the first section off the board!

Next the Sepoy on the western side of the board opened fire on the already disorganized Chinese Boxers which broke them and sent them running for the hills.

This was followed by the second unit of Boxers charging toward the American position but once again they managed to have little effect on the entrenched Marines.

The Marines did not take this threat lightly though and responded with force!  The Marines on the roof and by the road drove back the rabble and the regular Chinese troops while the other half of the Marines broke cover and began moving south to meet up with the Sepoys.

This lead to the Chinese forces being devastated once again as the infernal devices activated next and Sky Captain did the only thing he could with the Rolls; plowed right into the Chinese regulars.

The regulars decided at that point that they'd had enough and headed for the hills as well, leaving the Americans with a clear path down the western edge of the board.

There were a few more volleys fired between the Sepoys and the Russians on the southern end of the board but at this point the battle was basically over.  And the victor was...  the American Marines and the British Empire!  Even with all of my British troops routed from the board and the White Russian forces swarming like angry bees we were able to achieve our objective of freeing up the Marines.

Overall, this game went much smoother than our attempt at the Big Hunt.  It really seemed like a lot of the kinks in the rules that were causing problems were hashed out between the two games and it seemed like we all really had a great time.  Heck, halfway through the game my face was hurting from laughing so much!  I am definitely looking forward to the next game which unfortunately isn't scheduled until May but I am hoping to be able to pick up a few smaller games in between now and then.  Until next time...

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Miniature Review: Damn It Man, We Need More Guns!

In addition to the regular troops that I was assembling for our Colonial games, we are also branching out into the Victorian Science Fiction genre as well.  For me the first thought was "Ah... steampunk!" so off I went to scour the interwebs to find something that would fit my needs.  A quick search turned up more than I'd expected but in the end I decided to go with a company I've purchased from before, Zombiesmith Miniatures.

While better known for their very cool Quar miniatures, they have also expanded their line to include some vehicles to go along with their 28mm troops.  Currently the choices are somewhat limited in this regard (okay, so there are only two choices but that's still a choice, right?) but the Crusader Light Tractor quickly caught my eye.  One paypal purchase later and it was on the way!

Kind of.

It did come and it was in good condition but unfortunately it took about two weeks to actually get here.  Then again I did order it at the tail end their annual sale so I'm sure that played into the time it took for them to get it shipped out to me.  Once it arrived I was quick to rip apart the package to see just what this little beastie looked like and see how its size compares to my British Troops.

Throwing down my Gauntlet! (aka Crusader light tractor by Zombiesmith miniatures)
The figure itself consists of four pieces of resin (two treads, one housing to attach the treads to the body, and the turret/body itself) with some metal detail bits as well. The resin casting is pretty clean though the underside of the tracks had some pretty bad flash on them and there was some bubbling on the bottom of the turret/body as well.  Even so the flash was easy enough to clean up and it was all on the bottom of the figure as well so its not like it was a glaring problem.

Attaching the metal bits (rungs on the side, the hatch, the cannon...) proved to be a little bit of work as I had to drill out some holes to get a solid attachment but even so I really like how it looks once it was assembled.

So why does it need more guns?  Well, that's more a comment from my experience with the tractor in our Sharp Practice game rather than a complaint about the miniature.  The figure only comes with one weapon mounted on it (some kind of small cannon mounted in the front of the turret/body) so I'm probably going to add a machine gun or two to the front as well just to supplement its firepower.  Even with this minor quibble, I'm really glad that I decided to pick this one up and I can't wait to paint it up and get it back to the table.  Until next time...