Saturday, October 30, 2010

Early to bed, holy crap it's 11:00am!

Believe me, I am getting on track with my postings! Or at least I mean to.

Today I woke up late; realized I needed to go grocery shopping before work, or else I'd have nothing to eat until Monday; then went to work. I didn't even get a chance to pick up a new wireless router (I'm all corded-up like a barbarian!). Then after work I had to rush over to a Hallowe'en party. To get an idea as to how quickly I had to get to the party: I drove. Which meant that I couldn't drink. Now I'm no alcoholic, but I very much enjoy my vitamin 'A' (if ya catch my drift). So needless to say I got nothing done, and it's now 2:00am and I need to get up in six hours for work. Technically it's a Saturday, but my Fridays don't end until I've slept!

In hobby-related news: I've been trying to work out a system with the Reaper Master Series metallic paints, and it will still take more testing. As I said in a previous post: I'll do a review on them later. Right now? It's time to hit the ole bed-stack.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Hero' s Guide to Space Adventure... Are you a hero?

Not a heck of a lot to report today. I finished reading not one, but two, rulebooks! The first one was Urban War by Urban Mammoth (great company, silly name). I'm going to give a more detailed review on this game once I've actually played it, but to me it appears to be a heavily modified Warhammer 40,000 but with d10s and alternate activation. Now, I enjoy 40k, and I enjoy games like Warzone (of which the creators of Urban War were the creators) and I love Necromunda, so the marriage of these three (not valid in mosts states) should be great! I'll report on this in a month or so when all of my gaming buddies finish their stuff and we start playing.

Next, I read Battlestations published by Gorilla Games, which has been getting great reviews. Again, I'm going to give a better review on this once I've played it (hopefully in the next couple of weeks), and I'm very excited to, but I can say this right now... This is a terribly written rulebook. It takes for granted that you know certain rules that aren't explained until later, reading more like a rules compendium than a guide to teaching you how to play. The game also seems complex, with many different rules for similar things (and this is a Battletech fan, you're talking to). However, I imagine if it's good enough for Tom Vasel it's good enough for me.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Bumpy Road This

Two posts in a row complaining about a lack of posts isn't very professional. (Not that I'm doing this blog as a profession) I guess this is why I've whittled down my amount of blogging to just this one. Ironically, I got more "extra-curricular" stuff done when I was in school. If you think my blogging has been hit hard since I finished school in the beginning of August, just take a look at my painting, writing, reading, etc.

Without getting too personal here, (this is a gaming blog, not a LiveJournal®) my moments of free time have been taken up with a lot of self-contemplation, and boredom. Not the kind of boredom that is apparent, but one that sort of just sits there, behind you, causing your attention span to be tugged in many different directions; all the while making you wonder just what the hell is going on with you. I would take up projects, only to, days later, dump them. Now I'm not saying that I'm over this; just that I've recognized it, and that's the first step towards getting over it. Right now, I'm working on things one at a time, and learning to take things slowly, in order to approach them in a manageable manner.

For instance: While I'm in windy Victoria, BC until friday, I'm going to do a little bit of work on my Vampire: the Requiem campaign I'm taking my gaming group through. So far I think the experience has been good, though to be honest I haven't put in as much work as I'd like to. This will be one of the things that changes.

Another thing I'm approaching, is that I've streamlined my painting palette. Over the years I've used paints from Vallejo, Privateeer Press, Citadel Miniatures, Rackham (ugh!), Reaper, and Testors, all so that I can gauge what would be the best paints to use. Well, I've come to my conclusion. Are you ready? Too bad if you aren't; I'm going to tell you anyways. Once I get my Top 5 Roleplaying Games list out of the way, and my Top 10 Tabletop Miniatures Games out of the way, I plan on doing a breakdown of my opinions on the various paint lines. However, I've pared down the various paints to: P3 as the main line with Reaper Master Series for metallics, and Citadel washes and Foundation paints for specific works. Of course I'd be open to specific colors from other ranges as they're needed, but these three paint lines will form my painting palette for the foreseeable future.

Lastly, my gaming group (well... Three people out of my gaming group, not including myself) have decided to give Urban War a shot. I couldn't be more excited! I very much enjoyed VOID 1.1, and have been wanting to give its "successors" (Urban War and Metropolis) a shot since they came out (2003/2004-ish). I'm doing the Junkers (as it's an army I've been working on since the VOID 1.1 Gamebox) made mostly out of figures from the old VOID 1.1 Gamebox; another gamer is doing the Gladiators; a third the Viridians; and the last is doing Syntha. I can't wait until their models arrive from special order at STRATEGIES so we can begin the modeling. I'll be sure to document the saga extensively.

That's it for now. Thanks for bearing with me through this time of self-reflection (be thankful that you only saw the silence and neglect part of it), and get ready for more regular updates. In order to help order my involvement with this blog, it'll be updated every monday, wednesday, and friday. See you on wednesday!


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

All's Quiet

So problems on the Internet front the last two days prevented a post on Monday. I have a two-hour ferry ride to Vancouver Island today so I'll post Wednesday's post today, and who knows? I might get up to something on Thursday.


Friday, October 8, 2010

Of Elves

I guess once a day was a little ambitious for myself. Let's see if I can get into a schedule of every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

So in the last 24 hours I've built two very different model kits, despite them both being elves of some sort.

Here's the first one I built:

FANTASTIC is an understatement to this kit. Tons of heads, spikes, guns, and extras to add so much character to your squad. This is to say nothing of how easy it is to put together, and how seamlessly it all fits together. Truly, this is the reason I'm starting a Dark Eldar army, and I do not hesitate to claim that the Dark Eldar models are the greatest figures Games Workshop has ever produced!

BAM! There, I said it.

On the other hand:

These models were the worst I've ever had to put together. High Elves are a passion of mine, but this kit tested my skills as a modeller. Granted I received no instructions along with this kit, as it was part of a Black Box, which Games Workshop sends out to its stores and retail partners in order to display. In a Black Box they just send the sprues, and nothing more. Yet, all three of the Dark Eldar kits I put together were done with a little thought, but easily enough.

This fuckin' kit was brutal! Not only do certain arms go with certain weapons, but they also go with certain bodies! To top it off, the parts aren't numbered consecutively, nor are they numbered A1 to A2, etc. They're just numbered! Which would be fantastic if I had instructions. Besides this problem (which could easily be solved with instructions), the models didn't rank up as nicely as I expect with today's GW kits, and they are in awkward poses. The entire regiment looks like its bounding forth, which is pretty cool, if it wasn't that each figure was attached to his base by a tiny point on the tips of their forefoot. Overall, when put next to the Dark Eldar figures that are only a month off (and a month and a half after the release of these White Lions), they just don't compare; the Dark Eldar take the cake in almost every aspect. And this is coming from a lifelong Warhammer fan, and an even bigger High Elf fan.

More on RPGs later.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Top 5 Roleplaying Games: Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay

Beginning the list off is the trilogy of roleplaying games that take place in the 41st millennium: Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader, and Deathwatch by Games Workshop and Fantasy Flight Games.

To say that Dark Heresy was one of the most anticipated roleplaying games is putting it lightly. The collector's edition sold out within minutes, and I'm happy to say that one sits atop my gaming shelf like a terrible, black, monolith, lording over the other roleplaying games as if to dare them to match the deadliness and grit that this book eats for breakfast. Utilizing the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1st/2nd edition system, this game allows you to take on the role of an Inquisitor's acolyte, a member of the bridge crew on a Rogue Trader's vessel, or even one of the superhuman space-knights known as Space Marines as you explore a brutal, and horrifying future 38,000 years from now.

The system uses a d100 mechanic where you roll under a given statistic in order to succeed at various tasks. When it comes time to dish out damage, a damage is rolled (1 or more d10s with additional valued depending on the strength of the user or the viciousness of the weapon), and from it is subtracted a toughness value and an armor value, the sum of which determines the wounds inflicted. When your wound limit is reduced to below 0 you begin to take critical damage as determined by how below 0 you are as well as the type of weapon just used upon you. No critical hit is good, but many are better than others. These are truly vicious, however, resulting in loss of limb, organ failure, or death. The game is also location-based, allowing you to target arms, legs, bodies, or heads. Far from slowing down the game, this system allows for a detail often absent from many RPGs.

The universe, itself, is possibly one of the most characterful elements of the game. It's the 41st millennium, and 10,000 years ago a living God referred to only as The Emperor fell victim to the betrayal of his "son" Horus. While Horus succumbed to his injuries in the final battle, The Emperor was left in a death-like state. To preserve him, humanity stuck him in The Golden Throne: a city-sized life support system, that sustains his deathlike state. The Emperor is revered as a god by most of humanity, yet he does not interact physically with anyone. His will creates a psychic barrier that exists between reality and an alternate dimension known as The Warp. The Warp is filled with echos of every living thing, thought and emotion. It's also filled with hellish creatures known as Daemons and their foul gods (Slaanesh, Nurgle, Khorne, and Tzeentch) who try to destroy humanity.

Humanity, itself, is a medieval hierarchy of bureaucrats, governors, and aristocracy. At times it mimics the middle ages, while at others it appears to be an enlightenment-type society, though with none of the enlightenment's optimism or mistrust of religion. To add to the mix, a plethora of aliens exist to torment humanity. The majority of humanity mistrusts aliens and the government of the Imperium treats them with a genocidal rage and xenophobia that rivals any such feelings in our present era history. The most common aliens are the barbaric Space Orks, the enigmatic Eldar, their psychopathic cousins the Dark Eldar, the imperialistic Tau, and the infinite hordes of the Tyranids.

In Dark Heresy, you take on the role of a servant of an Inquisitor (the Imperiums' equivalent of both the FBI and the CIA), investigating rumors of dissent, heresy, or contact with aliens. You are little more than a citizen, who has shown some prowess in one aspect of law enforcement, or bureaucratic life, which presents a challenge as you are not powerful, but you show some heroic aptitude, and you have the backing of a powerful patron whose credentials strike fear into the hearts of your average citizen or even royalty. Combat in this game is not favorable, and is highly dangerous. Unlike in many sci-fi/fantasy RPGs, you can't always shrug off a gunshot, and if you don't possess the Dodge skill, you'd better wear armor, or stay out of trouble.

I like this game because you are an average citizen of the Imperium (or a cop, or grunt soldier) who has been drafted to serve the Emperor, and it can be dangerous, and creepy, often leading to the madness of your character as you assail the lairs of cultists, heretics, or (Emperor help you) go up against daemons.

Rogue Trader takes the power level of the 40K roleplaying games up a notch, putting you in command of your own starship (and also letting you take on the roles of more powerful characters), as you explore the unknown parts of our galaxy. Unlike Dark Heresy, you don't have much authority, except that you're a Rogue Trader, who is a type of nobility. Granted you command your own starship and you have a warrant of trade (a license allowing you to trade with worlds within the Imperium), but you operate between the laws, often trading with aliens and heretics, just so that you can make a buck. This is probably my favorite of the three games, as it gives you more powerful equipment and characters as in Dark Heresy (though not as powerful as in Deathwatch), and still pits you up against some of the most terrible things that come from outside the boundaries of Imperial rule. I'm also an explorer at heart, and the ability to explore the fringes of the galaxy (albeit in a fictional world) is too much to resist.

Deathwatch is the latest in the 40K roleplay series and allows you to take on the role of a Space Marine, a knight and favored warrior of the Emperor. In fact, each Space Marine carries a bit of the Emperor's blood and genes within their DNA. Millennia ago, the Emperor created these warriors and crafted his "sons" known as the primarchs. To each primarch he gave a legion of marines encoded with their (and by extension, the Emperor's) DNA. Each space marine reflects the emotions of their primarch (most primarchs are now long dead), and is a genetically-enhanced human warrior. This is the ultimate power level in the 41st millennium. In Deathwatch you are a space marine who has been taken from his chapter (the designation for a space marine legion), and recruited into the Deathwatch, an alien-hunting organization who operates (as in Dark Heresy) under the command of an Inquisitor.

In this game you and your fellow players go on military missions that require surgical strikes as opposed to full on attacks. You're not running in guns blazing, but figuring out tactical ways to complete your missions. While this game doesn't lend itself to the roleplaying situations that many RPGs do (I can't see a space marine bartering for a gun at a market, or trying to impress a planetary governor), you have to work with your squad (who are taken from different chapters that are sometimes at odds with each other), and interact with other characters in the game (space marines can't shoot their way through every problem). It uses the same system as the previous two versions of the game, but takes you from the alleyways and shadows of Imperial society and into the battlefield and war rooms of the Imperial war machine.

That's all for today. Tomorrow you'll get another one. If you want me to elaborate on any aspect of any of the games I describe, just say so in the comments section and I'll do my best to edit, and/or respond to your query. These posts are often unplanned and emulate myself chatting, ad lib, with you about my favorite games.


P.S. My spellcheck is wonky right now, and my ferry ride is almost over. While I pride myself on my writing skills and grammatical accuracy, I do tend to think and type quickly. I'll try again later, but please excuse any problems your eyes encounter.

Top 5 Roleplaying Games

So because I'm knee-deep in a Vampire: the Requiem campaign and loving every minute of it, I thought I'd begin the first part of a five part series on my favorite roleplaying games. I will publish one post a day detailing a favorite roleplaying game from my top 5 favorites.

Here's some caveats to the list: First, I will specify no editions of the roleplaying games. That is to say, I wont put D&D4 at one point in the list and AD&D in another. This is because I believe that any roleplaying edition has enough elements of any of its other editions so as to make this redundant. Also, a virtue of a game is its ability to withstand the test of time. For example, Monopoly (I know it's a boardgame) does not stand the test of time no matter which way you look at it, and is only playable during the Great Depression when people had nothing better to do.

Secondly, this list will suffer from the same deficiencies that other lists of its ilk do, and that is the fallacy of favoritism. While lists, by their very nature are a ranking of favorites in some regard, this list isn't to say that while I may place one RPG above another. I toyed with the idea of making a countdown list, but found that rankings present a plethora of problems that I just want to avoid. Also, it's like picking your favorite child. This is a list of my top 5 favorite roleplaying games of all time in no particular order. This is purely my choice, and preference, and in doing so I will present aspects of a roleplaying game I like and don't like. That will be this list's benefit to you, the reader, as opposed to being just a five-day rant about which games are cool.

So proceed to the next post to begin the list.