Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A relatively "new" direction...

I had meant to post this in December, since that's when all of this transpired. However, life seldom works out the way we plan.

I have been tremendously busy. Busy with rebuilding post-divorce. Busy balancing two jobs and quality time with my children. Busy with self-deconstruction/reconstruction. Because of this, I've had to take a long, hard look at my free time. Am I utilizing my free time to improve myself, and relax? If not, what can I do to fix that? Lately, the local Warmachine/Hordes players have either been meeting later and later at my local store, or have been meeting at a new location far to the south. It's become increasingly difficult to get games in. While I have never been a tournament player, one of my goals had been to regularly compete in local tournaments. Unfortunately, I've had to put this goal aside for a bit. Am I giving up on tabletop gaming? Certainly not. I tell myself this is just a break...a multi-year break, but still a break. Will I return? Yes.

This has given me an opportunity to paint more, since there's no pressure to get a model finished by that week's game. It's also given me time to pursue other interests. One of those has been a resurgence in my love of board-gaming. Meeting with friends for a pint of beer, a game, and some food...this is what I enjoy in life. This is truly relaxing. It's a shame I never had the chance to share this with my ex-wife. Perhaps the next one...or next ones, if I ever adopt Mormonism. This shift in pastimes has also opened up another opportunity for me...card games. Collectible card games. A coworker and I were discussing deck-building games. This conversation eventually led to a discussion about collectible games such as Pokemon and Magic. I mentioned that I used to play Magic, and one of my biggest regrets had been getting rid of my cards. In retrospect, I should have kept them. Sadly, hindsight can be a cruel, cruel mistress.

Whether it was fate, divine intervention, or just the holiday season, Miniature Market had a pre-Christmas sale. Two of the items on sale were the 2015 Magic core fat pack, and the holiday box for Khans of Tarkir. The deal was too good to pass up...

Oh, yes...the master is back!

It's been a while since I've played Magic. In fact, the last full set I had was from 1997. That is a very long time, and many new rules and abilities have come out. Still, having a coworker to play against during lunch should be fun.

Yes, this is sideways.

The fat pack comes with several boosters of the 2015 Core set, some other stuff, and a custom d20. Pretty good deal when it was on sale. In fact, I landed a Planeswalker. Liliana Vess. Overall, it was a solid haul.

The holiday box contained fewer packs, and is really just a fancy card storage box. It hold about three thousand cards, so it'll take me a long time to fill...

For some reason images are being uploaded sideways. I'd take the time to fix it, but no one reads this blog.

...or will it?


Since taking up Magic again with a coworker, seven other coworkers have gotten back into it. The pool of competition grows deep indeed.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Khador isn't a warjack faction.

Many, many people say Khador isn't a warjack faction. I think I've hit my threshold with that. Yes, it's true that Khador lacks many options that can benefit wajacks, especially when compared with other factions. Yes, we lack light warjacks, and arc nodes. Yes, our RAT is four, and our DEF is typically ten.

When I read that, I can see why people wouldn't consider Khador as a warjack-friendly faction. Damn.

I plan on changing that. Apart from finally getting off my ass and ordering my Black Dragon Iron Fang Pikemen, I will be running more warjacks. I will probably set aside the Conquest for a while, and pick up a few Berserkers. They are focus-efficient, since they run or charge for free. This allows me to use my focus for buffs/debuffs. Also, my dream of running pVlad with a ton of Berserkers needs to become a reality.

All of this is assuming I don't get sucked into Warhammer Fantasy. The end times, man. The end times...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Impressions on Warmachine: Tactics

About a year ago, I backed the Kickstarter for Warmachine: Tactics. It was pretty exciting to see it fully fund in less than a day. In fact, I believe it may have funded faster than Reaper's last Bones release. Either way, it was exciting to see a game that I was interested in, since Privateer Press' initial attempt was kind of lame. A lot of people I know went in for beta access, and many of the other bells and whistles. I was a bit more conservative, and opted for the art work, and alternative color scheme...because the 5th Border Legion is the shizz. The game was slated for release in August 2014, so I kind of forgot about it, especially since I didn't opt for beta access.

Fast-forward to this summer, and the announcement of beta access. I was excited because I knew the game was right around the corner. Then I heard that there would be a slight delay. I can live with that, since I'd rather have a finished product that was delayed, than an on-time product that sucks. However, Privateer Press announced that those who backed the project through Kickstarter, but didn't get beta access would get "Backer Access." Sort of a beta-lite?

I downloaded it, and jumped right into a PvP game against a friend (Khador vs Cryx). I was immediately impressed with the graphics. While not 100% perfect, the detail is still really good. I also loved the camera. It is very easy to use, and allows you to zoom in for all of the individual action, or out to take in the grand scale of a game. I was slightly disappointed that I could only choose Sorscha from the start. No offense to her, because she's a very good warcaster, but I prefer a more melee-centric warcaster. Still, she offered an interesting counter to my opponent's choice of Deneghra.

My initial warjack options were...interesting. I had the choice of a Juggernaut and a Marauder. I have honestly never used my Marauder in the tabletop game. In fact, it's not even assembled. Yes, people do seem to be a fan of it. I still prefer a Juggernaut or a Berserker hands down. I took a Juggernaut and a Marauder for the first game though. I planned on using the Marauder to block LOS, and to be a shield for Sorscha. I then turned my attention to infantry "units." Each character/warrior in the game is considered a "unit." It's not something I'm a fan of, because spells that affect a unit will only benefit/hinder a single character. I know it's a limitation of translating a tabletop game to a video game format, but it is still a little frustrating. Although, to compensate, units have some innate abilities that they would only receive through unit/weapon attachments in the tabletop version. For example, a Winter Guard unit has the option of a normal ranged attack, or the special "grape shot." In the tabletop version, they would only have the option of grape shot with a Winter Guard Standard Bearer. So, it's a weird trade-off, but it seems to work.

The game plays like a standard turn-based tactic game. In this, it's similar to the tabletop. Dice rolls are handled automatically. I'm sure that may piss off the purists, but I enjoyed it. Spells look really, really nice. Sorscha's Fog of War, and her feat were especially well done. I noticed a few bugs where defeated/dead characters disappeared from the game, but seemed to remain in other matches. I reported those bug, and I assume others have as well, so it shouldn't make it into the final version. I was bothered by the lack of chat options. Relying on Steam's in-game chat is frustrating, because I have to pause the game in order to interact. While it would be nice to have an integrated voice-chat option, I'd settle for text-based. Hell, even pre-scripted like in Hearthstone. I see the game as a great way to introduce people to the tabletop experience, but I can't do that if I can't communicate with them.

Overall, the game was fun. There are a few issues here and there, but many of them will be resolved as development on the game wraps up. For the others, it's easy to run a voice-chat server, and just invite an opponent into it. I'm eagerly anticipating the game's release, along with additional factions...and the eventual Hordes expansion.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Battle Report: Khador (pVlad) vs. Retribution of Scyrah (Rahn) - 50pts.

Yes, it's been far too long since I've posted anything. Divorce will do that to you. That being said, let's get to the battle report...

I had wanted to build a new eButcher list that incorporates my new Spriggan. However, it's been far too long since I've had a change to play, so I thought I'd fall back on my typical pVlad list. I tweaked it to include Malakov and a Conquest. The new normal for Warmahordes will be to field a colossal/gargantuan, so I might as well use mine. Plus, Malakov really makes it shine with his four focus and Redline spell.

My list consisted of the following:

  • Vladimir Tzepesci, The Dark Prince
    • War Dog
    • Drago
  • Kovnik Andrei Malakov
    • Conquest
  • Kovnik Jozef Grigorovich
  • Winter Guard Infantry (full)
    • Winter Guard Officer & Standard Bearer
    • Winter Guard Infantry Rocketeer
  • Yuri the Axe
  • Manhunter
  • Widowmakers
  • Widowmaker Marksman
  • Kell Bailoch
He was running this (I believe):
  • Adeptis Rahn
    • Chimera
    • Sylys Wyshnalyrr, the Seeker
  • Elara, Tyro of the Third Chamber
    • Hyperion
  • Dawnguard Sentinels
    • Dawnguard Sentinel Officer & Standard Bearer
  • House Shyeel Magister
  • House Shyeel Battle Mages
  • Eiryss, Angel of Retribution
  • Mage Hunter Assassin
  • Mage Hunter Assassin
  • Arcanist
I think there might have been another Arcanist, but I don't fully remember. Adding one more would bring that list to fifty points, so it was probably in there. Although, I might have a few of the units off. I'll find out, and update this post so it's more accurate. Honestly, I haven't played many games against Retribution. I know that they can be a real pain with their shields, and to never let the assassin get a good charge on you.

We rolled, and I won. I opted to go second. He placed an Assassin on each flank with Eiryss on one side of that, and the Battle Mages near the other. I have to say that I was fairly concerned at this point because I know I'm going to need to concentrate on taking them out. The Hyperion was in the center with the Sentinels on one side and the Chimera on the other. His warcaster was behind the colossal.

The terrain consisted of a few forests on the flanks, some hills, and one obstruction on a flank. We were playing the hardcore scenario, so the center was left open.

I deployed the Widowmakers, Yuri, and the Manhunter on the side with Eiryss and the Assassin. I then placed the Marksman and Kell on the side with the other Assassin and the Battle Mages. The rest kind of mirrored his with the Conquest in the middle, Malakov behind that, pVlad on the side with Drago and the dog, and the semi-Deathstar on the other side of the Conquest.


He ran nearly everything up into a better position, and walked the rest. He dropped Polarity Shield on the Hyperion, and used Telekinesis to move the Chimera into a better position. He popped Force Field, and ended his turn.

I ran Yuri and the Manhunter into the forest. I then moved the Widowmakers into a better position, and tried to take a few shots at the Sentinels. I was just short. The Marksman and Kell moved up, and took a few shots. Kell just barely missed the roll against DEF, but the Marksman took out a Sentinel. The WGI and company Bobbed & Weaved up. Kovnik Joe dropped Fearless and Tough on them. The Conquest moved up, and took a sounding shot at the Chimera. It just barely missed the mark. Since Force Field was up, he put the deviation direction towards pVlad and the dog. Luckily, I rolled low. Drago ran.


Shit got real, son. Spells were upkept. The Assassin charged Yuri, and killed him. He used Chain Blast through the Chimera to kill three of four Widowmakers. Luckily, I passed the command check. The other Assassin charged the Marksman...and missed. The Sentinels and Battle Mages repositioned. The Hyperion moved up into the zone, and Rahn inched his was around.

I had the Marksman move closer to the Assassin, and killed it. The remaining Widowmaker took out a Sentinel. I had the Marksman try to kill the other Assassin in melee. Sadly, with a MAT of four, he wasn't able to do much. Kell sacrificed his movement to take out to Battle Mages. The WGI moved in, and sprayed several Sentinels and a random Battle Mage. I took out his Standard Bearer with the spray too. I had pVlad cast Blood of Kings, then Boundless Charge on Drago. He then moved up with the War Dog leading. I had the Conquest run to reach the zone. Drago then activated and charged the Chimera. I was just barely out of melee with enough room for the Chimera to move around, and have LOS on pVlad.

At this point, I was pretty sure he had the game.


He asked if I wanted to just play it out, or if I wanted him to go for the assassination. I told him to play it like he plans for the upcoming Coal & Claw tournament in Dallas. He opted for assassination. He did not upkeep his spells. He then had the Assassin reposition, and was able to just barely tag Kovnik Joe. It was more than enough to slay the brave Kovnik. The Sentinels moved in to chop at the Conquest. They did a bit of damage, but nothing to really impact it. He then positioned the Chimera to have LOS to pVlad. Rahn then popped his feat, and the pain train rolled into the station...except, it didn't. With Blood of Kings up, he was unable to exceed my DEF. He blew all of his focus trying to get over my DEF, with no success. He then had the Battle Mages attack. Only one was able to hit pVlad, and did a measly one point of damage.

I took a deep breath, and allocated a focus to Drago, and had Malakov allocate three to the Conquest. I then had the Manhunter charge Eiryss and kill her. The last Widomaker took a shot at his Arcanist(?) and killed it. I had pVlad cast Blood of Kings, Boundless Charge on Drago, feat, then move up to kill a Sentinel. Since he has Blood Boon, he cast Wind Wall just because he could. Drago then charged Rahn, taking a free-strike from the Hyperion. The Hyperion did minor damage. Drago's first hit took Rahn to one box, and his second initial sealed the deal.

I'm still floored at what happened. If I had been playing a different warcaster, he would have been able to hit me, toss my warcaster into the Conquest, thus knocking it down. The Battle Mages would then have been able to kill me on his feat turn. This is why I love pVlad so much. He doesn't have the over-the-top aggression that the Butchers have, or the army support that you see in an Irusk or Sorscha. What he does have is the ability to become near-impossible to take out. Throw in Drago and the War Dog, and you have this little nugget of awesomesauce.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Malakov has arrived...

Kovnik Andrei up-and-coming star in the ever-expanding Khadoran Empire. He's young, he's arrogant, and like other Khador models, he has the potential to hit like a truck. Malakov is Khador's newest (and only) journeyman warcaster and is part of their new "Vengeance" expansion. I received mine as part of the kickstarter for the new Warmachine: Tactics game. The kickstarter offered different sculpts, which was a good incentive for me to pick it up.

As you can see, Privateer Press did not skimp on their packaging. Only the highest quality manila packaging for us high-quality Khador players. All joking aside, Privateer Press actually packs their miniatures very well. Their blisters are pretty solid, and handle shipping like a pro. I always keep mine in case I sell off any minis, and need to ship them.

He comes with the "gold bordering" so you know that he is limited edition. My Conquest has one as well, along with a regular card for everyday use. His stats are decent, but I am slightly disappointed by the low health. Although, I don't think he'll get much action on the front lines. For now, I'll be having him marshal a Conquest in my pVlad list. It allows Vlad and Drago to do what they do best, and have the Conquest back them up (especially with Malakov's Redline) if things get real.

He's a fairly solid model with no bends in the arm, and very little flash. The pose is pretty sweet as well.

There's also a limited edition coin, or as people who are desperate for attention call them: shinies

So...yup, that's about it. I'll be assembling and priming him this weekend, and looking over color schemes. I'll probably use the same colors for both Malakov and pIrusk. They both seem to have that similar military elitism.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Battle Report: High Command (Hordes)

Hot on the heels of High Command: Warmachine, comes High Command: Hordes. Overall, I've heard positive things about both card games, and recently picked up the Warmachine version for myself. A friend of mine was tapped to write up a review on the Hordes version for BoLS. We've logged some games, but tonight was a full four-player match, so I thought I'd write up my thoughts on it.

You have your choice of four different Hordes faction: Legion of Everblight, Skorne, Circle Orboros, and Trollbloods. Sadly, no love for the Minions fans. Privateer Press did a really good job of emulating the "feel" of the tabletop faction in High Command. Skorne Skorne. Your army cards are expensive, so you tend to be a little slow to develop. However, once you are ready to deploy, you hit like a truck and are difficult to remove. Legion is very similar to their tabletop counterpart. They have strong warbeasts, and are loaded with shenanigans...because they're cheaty. Circle is very close to the tabletop version. Army cards have a low cost, and you can move things around quickly. Trolls...well, we didn't actually play Trolls. Meh, I probably wasn't missing much.

So, I was able to get four people together. The faction breakdown looked like this:

  • Me - Circle Orboros
  • Jon - Legion of Everblight
  • Anthony - Skorne
  • BJ - Cryx

BJ wanted some of that hot, Cryx action, and there was no way I could refuse a follower of the Dragonfather.

The first few rounds were fairly typical. We covered the basic rules for Anthony and BJ. Forgot a few key rules, remembered a few rules, etc. I was able to pick up a bunch of cards for my deck, since Circle can be cheap. After that, all of us tried to start building some type of strategy. One of the things I like about the game is how you can tweak your strategy on the fly. You choose several decks to make up your army deck and reserves deck. Each one has slightly different cards. During the game, you have a fair amount of flexibility in what you choose to deploy. This can be beneficial as the game progresses and plans/strategies change.

Things picked up mid-game with Jon and I trying to contest each other's locations in order to prevent each other from winning. This worked well, but also allowed Anthony and BJ free reign of the remaining locations. Also, warlocks were now being deployed, and shit got real.

The final few rounds of the game went fast. We'd nearly used up our locations. The current Winds of War card allowed everyone to bank more than one card for the next turn. There was a tremendous amount of excitement over this. I had Mohsar waiting in the wings though, which would have caused everyone (besdies me) to discard two cards. This would have painted a huge target on my back, but I was hoping to screw up any late-game plans. Sadly, my plans did not work out. We ran out of location cards, and the game ended. After tallying the points, the results were the following:

  • Me - 19 points
  • Jon - 22 points
  • Anthony - 33 points
  • BJ - 32 points

So, while Jon and I were busy focusing on each other, Anthony and BJ quietly amassed a ton of victory points. I'll make sure to watch them more closely in the future. At the end of the day, High Command will never "replace" tabletop Warmachine/Hordes for me. It will be a great supplement though. I'm excited to see how the expansion sets add depth and replayability to the game.