Thursday, December 11, 2014

Scion of Slaanesh

Keeper of Secrets: Finished!

This figure was a long time coming. I think I've owned this model for over eight years! Anyway, it's finished, and ready to lead my damned legions across the war-torn battlefields of the End Times.

Speaking of which, if you haven't gotten your hands on any of the End Times books—and who can blame you? They're impossible to find in hardcover—I strongly suggest you pick up the newly-added softcover ones. The stories are amazing (Nagash was a bit slow at the end). I've been reading them before bed, and I have to say, the last couple weeks I've been excited to get to bed.

Anyway, I now have a fully-painted 2000pt Legions of Chaos army. But am I going to stop there? Nope! In the (hopefully) rare chance that any of my champions turn into spawn I'll need to have a couple of those foul abominations on hand. I have two days to finish these two models. This is entirely doable.
It appears that I won't be finishing my daemonettes, which is a bit sad. It also means that if I have an opportunity to summon daemons, I'll have to use my old pewter plaguebearers. I love my old pewter plaguebearers, but they're a tad out of place in a Slaanesh army, no?

I'll keep y'all updated.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Warzone's Resurrection

I had my first game of Warzone a couple weeks ago and it was tons of fun!

For those of you who can move your eyes slightly to the right of this text you'll see that Warzone is in my top 3 miniatures games and has been in this position since I started playing it. It's not about to stop just 'cause another version has come out. 

Warzone: Resurrection is the fourth miniatures game to bear the name, and it lives up to its legacy. It's the same as it's always been: d20-based, action points (though with only 2 as standard instead of 3), squad-based, and powered by an alternate-activation system. The major differences to this version are the addition of a customized deck of cards and of save modifiers based on strength and type of weapon/attack. Some armors are more or less susceptible to certain types of weapons, and any strength higher than 10 gives a –1 to a model's save based on how high above 10 it is (i.e. a strength 11 attack gives the target a –1 save, a strength 15 a –5 save, etc in addition to any susceptibilities the armor may have to any weapon fired at it.).

Now the customized deck of cards I have yet to try (my opponent accidentally threw out his cards, so he couldn't build a deck), but I can't say I'm chomping at the bit to do so. The idea with Warzone: Resurrection is that if you want—and I suspect "official" tournaments will make this aspect mandatory—you can build a deck of various cards that will augment your army and/or hinder your opponent's à la Magic: the Gathering (however these cards are not collectible or randomly packaged in case that bugs you—I don't mind either way—and/or was an impediment to your decision to start this fantastic game). 

Here's what I'm talking about: You'll build your own deck of cards before the game. During the game you'll have a hand of cards that you'll be able to play them against your opponent. Even in the "Basic Game" (as the version, sans cards, is known) there are "resource cards" which, when tapped, allow your models to perform more actions (thus giving your models the "missing" 3rd action that 99% of units had in past editions), heal, or add a +1 bonus to hit. In the "advanced game" (as the version with the deck of cards is known) you can tap these resource cards to activate the cards you play from your hand.

I'm super-skeptical about cards in miniatures game beyond simply reference, of course (see Warmachine/Hordes). I think it adds an unneeded complexity to an already complex and customizable game. Not to mention that miniatures games are constantly being revised and errata'd and having to update an extra accessory can become confusing. This has already happened with Warzone, as Prodos (the company producing the game) has announced a set of replacement cards that will, at the time of this article, soon be available.

My opinion is to leave the card game mechanics to card games. You don't always need to put peanut butter in your chocolate. I know this sounds close-minded, or even grognard-ish (really, I'm not!), but I do need convincing whenever I see these two genres mix—and this is from  the mouth of a proud Magic player. Look, I promise that I'll give the "advanced version" a shot with an open mind, but I'm more than happy to stick with the "basic game" indefinitely as it really is the Warzone that I've always loved.

Anyway, if you like 28mm sci-fi games, there's no reason you shouldn't look into this game, after all, it's in my top 3. Here are some pictures of the game I played (and lost...):
My Brotherhood troopers advance on Dr. Diana's clone.

My poor Judicator died because we played the armor piercing rules wrong. You only subtract the "AVV" value of the weapon from the armor save of the vehicle, you don't also subtract the strength modifier.

I painted up an old Inquisitor model from 1st edition Warzone to use as my warlord. In Warzone: Resurrection you can create your own heroes using a set of character creation rules. I haven't named him yet. Those two glass beads are wounds... 

My opponent's Cybertronic troopers. Out of all the factions of the game Cybertronic got the biggest makeover in terms of models, and I couldn't be more pleased with them.

The doom of Squad Primus.
Up next on the painting docket: Brotherhood Inquisitors, Blessed Vestal Laura, and the Capitol starter box (my favorite faction!).


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Enter the Realm of Chaos, your nightmare has just begun

So the tournament I mentioned a month ago is a scant week away! By Slaanesh's studded boot, that's soon! What do I have left to do? Seemingly everything, of course.

I have to paint a Keeper of Secrets, for sure, and then everything else is extra. Painting the six knights, and battle standard bearer took longer than I'd hoped, but they're finally finished!

Here they are:

So now I just need to paint my Keeper of Secrets, then every point of my 2000pt army is ready for the tournament. The rest of the army could definitely use some touch-ups, and will get some after the tournament, but for now, they'll have to wait. 

Now I need to paint the auxiliary stuff that I mentioned last post: that is, the 20 Daemonettes, 2 Spawn, and Herald of Slaanesh. Here are some pics of the whole army including the stuff that needs to be finished:

This photo was taken before the BSB was finished.

This photo was taken before I really sat down and write my list. The Hellstriders of Slaanesh are not featured in the final draft of my army.

This photo was taken before the knights were painted.

Anyway, it's been awhile since I posted, and I've had a back-log of stuff to post about, so I apologize if this isn't up to the usual quality. There is some repetition, and run-on sentences, for sure. I'm just jacked-up from coffee, painting, heavy metal, and the need to be out the door in a half-hour.


Monday, November 3, 2014

The Nature of Chaos

The nature of Chaos is unpredictability. This is true both with small 'c' chaos, and big 'C' Legions of Chaos that I'll be fielding in a painted-only tournament this December.

My army is mostly painted, and when I say "mostly," I meant that it can take the field, and meet any painted requirement a tournament could throw at me. However, it's not done. Pole-arms on the chaos warriors aren't finished, and I don't think the claws and teeth on the warhounds have been sufficiently highlighted. They'll be done, of course, but it's still a job I have to do.

What I'm really concerned with is the unpredictability of Chaos, and what I need to get done for any eventualities that may occur. For instance: What if my champion manages to slay a monster or another champion and becomes a daemon prince? I'll need to have one of those ready. Worse yet, what if he becomes a spawn? I don't even own any of those. In the Legions of Chaos army (a combined force of Beastmen, Daemons, and Warriors of Chaos that was introduced in the new End Times: Glottkin book, which I will review later), you can also have a unit of daemons show up, or have a character become a herald of your chosen god (Slaanesh, natch). I own a herald of Slaanesh, but he/she/it's from a manufacturer that's not Citadel, and the tournament is held at a Games Workshop retail store. I also own a bunch of daemonettes which could be summoned, but in order to meet the "2d6+3" possibility, I'll need at least 15 painted (at least, because 12 could, hopefully, get rolled for the Winds of Magic more than once a game).

All this makes the Chaos armies my favorite to command. Besides being the most metal miniatures any company has ever designed, they also demand that you roll with the punches. If you want a dependable army stick with dwarfs, or one of the elf factions (which I also love), but if you want to feel the full brunt of Warhammer's joy, then armies like Chaos, or Orcs & Goblins, are for you.

Anyway, the tournament's 2000pts, which is a mercifully managable total. I think, really, the only thing that I'll have to put my effort into is the potential additions that I mentioned above. Now I just have to stay away from Star Trek on Netflix, and I'll be a-ok. I'll keep you updated.


Monday, October 6, 2014

What's Up?

In the original post, I erroneously refer to The Bloody Reaver in Dreadfleet as a Dark Elf Black Ark. It's actually the vampire dude's boat. There isn't a Dark Elf ship in Dreadfleet. I'm still going to do a bit of mixing between Dreadfleet and Man O' War, but I'll have to start with the dwarf ship, Grimnir's Thunder.

+++END EDIT+++

Let's keep this posting thing rollin'!

So what have I been up to lately? To start things off, I'm the proud owner of a (mostly) complete copy of Man O' War by Games Workshop. I've always wanted this game, but it went out of print just before I joined the GW hobby. I managed to acquire a copy for free, and the only thing it's missing are half of the plastic ships. The half that remain are unpainted, and in excellent condition. It came with a bunch of stuff from Plague Fleet, but not everything. So in my madness (and utter disregard for financial stability), I purchased a copy of Plague Fleet off of eBay.

I plan to slowly build up a collection of ships ("slowly" being the operative word, seeing as most of them go for $17 a ship once shipping's factored in), and play some games. This looks like one helluva game, and I'd love to get it to the table. Normally naval combat games bore the living hell out of me, but this one looks simple and customizable. Of course I can't expect others to start collecting ships, as their price and availability is somewhat prohibitive, but I have no problem making this a pet project. I think I'll begin with a Dark Elf fleet, as their ships seem abundant on eBay, and I plan to use the Black Ark from Dreadfleet in place of the original Black Ark (I mean, Black Arks are supposed to be huge, so it would be somewhat thematic if I used a ship that's in a bigger scale. I'm toying with the idea of doing something similar with the other ships from Dreadfleet. After all, I bought the damned game and need an excuse to get those ships painted. I'll see how the Black Ark turns out first, though).

I've also been working on my Americans for Bolt Action. This is an interesting paint project for me because I plan to dip the figures. As you may be able to tell from my lack of painting posts in the last little while, I haven't been inspired to paint much lately, and any attempts I've made to "dive right back in" have been met with the proverbial wall. I'm hoping by tackling a project that's simply base-coating a figure and dipping it into an instant-shading goop I'll be warmed-up to tackle a more involved project. I should also mention that the Warhammer club I frequent has been playing Bolt Action quite regularly, so there's even more inspiration. I, sadly, haven't attended the club in a couple months, so this is really killing multiple birds with one stone (good lord!).

I'm working on an original Cyberpunk RPG of my own design. Nothing much to say about it at the moment, but keep your eyes peeled.

As a perfect distraction to all these things, I bought, built, and primed my Capitol starter box for Warzone. I still have to finish my Brotherhood (which are so close to being finished), so this project probably won't see completion for a couple months.

And finally, this is something that's got me excited purely on speculation: Warhammer the End Times Chaos. I'm hoping this'll be my entry back into Warhammer. I've always loved Chaos in the Warhammer world, and if the rumors are true, and this book will allow me to integrate my Warriors of Chaos army with Beastmen, and Daemons, then I'm more on-board then ever. That's one of the changes I lament from the transition between 6th edition and 7th edition Warhammer is the separation of the Chaos factions. If I can stick them all back together again, then I imagine that I'll only want to from here on in.

Alright, that's it for now. I've had a remarkably infrequent stretch of three days off, and I plan to do even more hobbying tomorrow before I'm back in the coal mines that is game retail. Oh what a life!


Sunday, October 5, 2014

O brave new world, that has such games in't.

"Hey!" you exclaim, "I hate new stuff. Why're you changin' yer blog around?"
"Shaddap!" I say.

Nah, fer realz: I just thought that the sombre tone and title of "The Wargamer" seemed out of step with what I really do for fun. I wargame, that's for sure, but I also play boardgames, role-playing games, and card games.

Really, I wanted to call the blog "I Love Games," but the URL was apparently taken for that, so I went with "Playing Non-Stop," which is a clever take off of an expression ("Those neighbors have Van Halen's 'Panama' playing non-stop!"), and also a clever take off of a Kraftwerk song. I wanted to call it "I Love Games" because I do. I immerse myself in the gaming world, and a byproduct of that is a healthy respect for games designers. Mark Rosewater (of Magic: the Gathering fame), often describes Magic creator Richard Garfield as "loving games" whenever he mentions him in his articles or podcast. I respect both those men, and I guess the name kinda stuck. Oh well, at least now I can't be accused of comparing myself to Richard Garfield.

I'm also hoping this slight change in tone will encourage me to blog more. It's a bit ironic, though, that the things I'm concerning myself with the most at the moment are miniatures games, which were right up the alley of some blog called "The Wargamer." Anyway, they'll be the first things I most-likely mention on here.

Just thought I'd pop by to make another empty promise about blogging more, but at least the place got a face-lift, and it's nice to know that there's a reason for it, I imagine.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A-Dungeonin' and A-Dragonin'

As a follow-up to last week's post, I managed to get A0 Danger at Darkshelf Quarry to the table last night.

To recap: the intent was to try and run an AD&D module using the current D&D rules. The purpose of this was to show off the simplicity and flexibility of the current system, and to prove to myself that it could easily be done. I define "easily" as: the DM preparing the module as s/he would normally, making up the DCs on the fly (but adhering to the DC scales listed in the rulebook), and subbing out monsters as necessary, as AD&D stat blocks don't exactly transfer over. Pretty much, I wanted to show that the most work one would have to put into running an AD&D module for D&D would be finding the current rules for the monsters within.

Overall, it worked well. I was playing with my usual RPG group, which is made up of four other seasoned gamers, with more than 60 years of gaming experience between us. They'd never played the current version of D&D, and I'd say by the end of it they were impressed, which is another goal I had (the sneaky task of trying to convert my closest gaming friends to my favorite version of D&D yet). They even liked the module, though I had some complaints:

Too Long. I was under the impression that this adventure was written to fall in line with the other tournament modules, but without being a tournament module itself. Whether I was wrong in that assumption or not, it didn't fit within the four hours I wanted it to. I had to rush the ending. One member of my group suggested that I cut some rooms out of the dungeon, as tournament modules were written with the intent to see how far a party might get through the dungeon, rather than make an adventure that gives everyone the experience of an adventure from start to finish (the players also could've ended the adventure in half the time if they went to the guard house instead of into the mine). I think this works well within a tournament setting, but like I said last post, it's just not something I want to roll out for the session I'm going to be running at the games shop.

Too much hackin' 'n' slashin'. I'm not one of those gamers that turns their nose up at a good ole hack 'n' slash adventure, but there wasn't much to go on here other than sword swingin' and arrow loosin'. One of the players was playing a preacher-type cleric, who tried to convert some goblins to his faith, and that was fun to role-play, but another group (especially one made up of strangers, and therefore less-likely to go as far outside the box as my player did) might just as easily start an encounter with the goblins instead.

Not weird enough. If I'm going to run an AD&D-style adventure, I want it to be full of Appendix N nonsense, and craziness. I want eccentric wizards beseeching foul gods for power, and strange groups of monsters committing even stranger acts of terror upon small medieval towns. I guess DCC has spoiled me in that regard, by doing an amazing job of capturing the proto-D&D feel that's been bred out of the game (or recessed).

All-in-all, I've proven it can be done; you can run an AD&D module for D&D with only some monster stat blocks on hand, a tiny bit more work, and some improvisational skills (and the confidence to stand by what you change). I just now need to find a more suitable module.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Slave to the Game

I'm back!

Oh. These balloons are all deflated... Ah well.

This post is about the new D&D, and a game I'm prepping, so if you wanna read about that just skip to the text under the bold, linked, title further down. If you wanna read a bunch of boring stuff about how I've been doing nothing in the last six-and-a-half months, then read on!

So what have I been up to? Well, to be perfectly frank, not writing. I've hit a bit of a phase lately where all I want to do is watch police procedurals on Netflix (if you've never watched Twin Peaks, then you definitely should, and if you don't like Twin Peaks then I really can't do anything for you. Sorry), and play Hearthstone (I can't stand World of WarCraft, but this game is so good). I'm trying to fight my way out of this slump, which is really the only way to do it. Slumps like this can't be beat with time alone. I just regret that it's taken me this long. So what's worth writing about so much that I dusted off this old blog?

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition 

I'm not going to write a whole review here (or maybe even at all), but I have to say this this is quite possibly my favorite version of D&D yet. The rules are so simple to grasp, which is really what I want these days. I just finished a two-and-a-half year long Pathfinder campaign, and I can honestly say that while I'm still willing to play Pathfinder and D&D3, my days of DMing it are over, over, over. It's just too damn complex, and too damn high-powered.

I'm sure D&D will expand the game to a point where characters can turn invisible at will, and remain so forever, or that rangers will be able to fire five different magical arrows at once, but from what I gather these will be, mercifully, optional. The core of the game is an intuitive sword-and-sorcery system, that one will be able to season to taste. I, personally, will be taking a hard look at the rules for feats, before I agree to allow their use at my table, and while I love, love, love miniatures, I'm not running out the door to include their use either.

It's also a bit biased of myself to say that I'm a big fan of DM agency (fancy-schmancy way of saying the DM is always right and can veto stuff), but this edition seems to lean more towards that than 3rd or 4th edition, without going all the way to tyranny. I mean, it's shitty when you have a terrible DM and s/he's surrounding you with nothics like you're at some sort of nothic rave (really, Carmin?), or violating the "yes, and..." rule of improv every encounter, but for the most part, I like the DM to not be constrained by the rules. Whether I was valid in feeling that Pathfinder constrained me or not, it's just how I felt, and how I don't feel now with D&D.

So what next? I'll be running an event at the shop I work at soon that will involve D&D, and I've been wondering what adventure I'll run. Seeing as how Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC) launched me on the classic RPG kick that I've been riding high for the last little while, I thought I'd run an old AD&D module and see how well it converts to the new game. I'm betting my reputation as a world-class DM (and a handsome one at that) that it'll run like a dream. 

I'd be a fool not to give it a test-run, though. To that effect I'll be hosting a game next week to give it a dry run. It'll involve four players who have yet to play the new D&D so it'll be the perfect arena to work out the kinks. The adventure will be A0 Danger at Darkshelf Quarry.

You may be grasping your computer monitor and shaking it with fury. "You simp!" you scream, spittle turning your Linux display into a corona of prismatic light. "A0 is not part of the original 'Against the Slave Lords' arc, but a mere imitator!" Well now, settle down. Sure, it's an AD&D module written in 2013 (and a prequel at that), but it's written by Skip Williams who used to work at TSR in the late '70s, and who's written many D&D modules in the past and so I have the utmost confidence that this adventure will provide the AD&D experience I desire. Besides, unlike the other A-Series modules, this one isn't designed to be a tournament module. I don't have anything against tournament modules, it's just not something I want to run at this moment. Besides, I already bought the damn re-print, and so far I've run neither Jack nor Squat of it.

So what's the battle plan? I'm going to run the adventure as it's displayed in the book, and sub in the monster stats from the new game (which can be found in the Starter Box, and the last D&D Next playtest document). That's it! If anything strange comes up during the game I will take notes, and adjust as I see fit. Great Gygax! How easy does that sound? No more templates or charts that I have to adjust to ensure game balance (a nebulous term for RPGs if I've ever heard one). I'm free, folks! I'm free.

I'll let y'all know how it goes next week.