Author: DJ

Origins Game Fair 2017

Origins Game Fair 2017

Having gone to Adepticon for the first time this year, I thought it might be fun to hit up Origins since it’s fairly close to home and another big convention in the area.  Kyle and I decided to go for one day, Saturday, since neither of us would have to take any vacation time.  Kyle hadn’t been to Origins for quite a few years, so this would be a fun experience for both of us.  Neither of us were planning on playing anything or doing any events, but just hanging out and seeing what the convention has to offer.

We arrived a little early with enough time to get some really good parking, get our badges, and check out the gaming area before the exhibit hall opened.  I really enjoy checking out games that I don’t even play just for the look of the models and terrain they use.  Pretty much all the games look beautiful on the table and it’s also interesting to see the players interact with each other.  Once the hall opened up, we headed inside to make  a quick pass over all the exhibits.  Lots of exhibitors were doing specials, as you’d expect, and there were plenty of new games to play test.

Lately we’ve been discussing getting into a skirmish type game with a campaign, specifically Shadow War Armageddon.  At the Privateer Press booth, they had a first look at their new skirmish game, Company of Iron.  The models are normal Warmachine/Hordes models focusing more on infantry-type models and light warjacks/warbeasts.  The nice part is it doesn’t all depend on a caster to survive the whole fight as in the full game.  We didn’t get a look at the rules but the description on the back of the box sounds appealing for our skirmish game itch.

It only took about an hour or so to go through the whole exhibit hall quickly, so we switched over to the gaming hall.  Turns out there were a handful of vendors out there selling stuff as well.  Gale Force 9 had a big, big mat for their Firefly game, which my wife is a big fan.  They also had several expansion and upgrade packs for Firefly.  Fantasy Flight was running some smaller X-Wing games and demos with some Destiny stuff scheduled for the afternoon.  Kyle tried his hardest to talk me into the Destiny stuff. 😉  Back in the exhibit hall, we checked out some of the booths in a little more depth than our original first pass.  We did a demo for Guild Ball, another game we’ve been considering lately.  The gameplay is pretty fast-paced and the teams synergize well.  I enjoyed how with a little coordination, it’s not too terribly hard to get a goal and if one of your team members gets enough damage to “die”, they just come back on the next round.  I enjoyed the demo but don’t feel anywhere near comfortable enough after having played it to say if it’s a good game or not.  It’s fairly complicated but the figure cards do well with providing the relevant information.  I’m sure going over the rules a time or two will clear things up quite a bit, though.  The models look fantastic and there are a lot of choices for teams.

Later on we watched a demo of a tic-tac-toe variation that is still in Kickstarter.  It takes the basics of the game and makes it a little more interactive.  Instead of just placing your X or O on the board, your oppenent gets a chance to guess where you’re going.  If they guess right, you lose your turn.  So it pays off to be unpredictable.  The Kickstarter was funded long ago and went into Stretch Goals within 24 hours.  I went ahead of funded it to get a copy of the game plus all the extras.  Here’s a link to the Pocket Ops Kickstarter.

Later on we found an area where they were playing Wings of Glory.  I had seen this game before online but thought it was out of production.  At one point, FFG had aquired it and used it as the basis for X-Wing and then never really did much with Wings of Glory.  So Ares Games was able to get it back and began distributing it once again.  I picked up the starter box for World War 2.  The models are very cool looking WW2 era fighter planes with a handful of bombers including the iconic B17 Flying Fortress.  Gameplay is similar to X-Wing in how the bases and models look, but instead of a maneuver dial, players have a deck of cards to determine where the planes go.  Also instead of dice, planes are automatically hit by each other if they are in the firing arc and at the correct range.  But instead of doing standard damage each time, tokens are drawn at random and placed face-down on the plane’s card.  Only the pilot knows if it’s a 0, a 1, a 2, etc and only after there’s enough damage to destroy the airplane are the damage tokens revealed.  No more green dice to worry about. 🙂

All in all, it was a very fun day.  We spent about 11 hours at the event and 8 hours driving.  That made for a very long day and some sore feet but I would definitely go again.  I’m not sure if I would go for more than one day unless I was planning on playing in one of the events.  Conventions like this are great for seeing products and games that you wouldn’t normally take a second (or even first) look at or even know about.  Seeing games ranging from old ship of the line ships battling it out to full blown space battles.  We saw a 6mm game system where they’re literally just selling the rules and letting you build your own miniatures and design your own units.  From foam swords/shields to leather coats and outfits.  Funny T-shirts and fancy boxes to store your dice.  Scenary and terrain from do-it-yourself to professionally produced.  Origins was a fun convention to go to.  More general interest than Adepticon yet small enough you can see it all in a single day.

Painting in batch

Right now many of us are on a Runewars kick.  It’s a great game, it’s new, it’s fresh, and a lot of fun.  But the miniatures are unpainted.  Having played several other games where the miniatures are supplied unpainted, this didn’t feel like a major problem to me.  Not a problem, but a hurdle.  Runewars has A LOT of miniatures to paint.  A LOT.  And to most of us, this seems like a daunting task.  A lot of new Runewars players are coming from the X-Wing and Armada crowd where the miniatures are supplied painted.  This makes it so much easier to get involved in a game and aide in the immersion.  While Runewars plays just fine with unpainted figures, it sure makes the game look nice when both players come to the board painted.

As a human player, I have the equivalent  of 3 core sets and will soon have a couple of infantry command boxes and 4 more trays for cavalry.  For now we’ll focus on the 3 core sets.  That comes out to 48 infantry, 12 cavalry, 3 rune golems, and 1 hero.  That’s 64 figures to paint in total.  Painting one at a time, I would estimate would take about 2-3 hours.  That’s between 128 and 192 hours.  Assuming you can paint 10 hours a week, that’s almost 13 – 20 weeks or 3 – 5 months.  That’s a long time!  Granted people have different schedules and may be able to dedicate more or less painting time.

This isn’t meant to be discouraging, though I can see how it might be!  But there are options to make this go a little faster.  Personally, I don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to painting.  With a 2.5 year old and a newborn plus the burden of being on call 24/7 for work, my spare time is valuable.  This isn’t a complete list of things you can do, but it’s a list of things I do to significantly speed up my painting.  I paint in a batch so I’m doing multiple of the same type of model all at once.

1. Use an airbrush or prime with your base coat.  Most people at least prime with their base coat to speed up the paint job, but this is intended to be a beginner’s guide.  Personally I still like to prime with black (or grey) with an airbrush and then airbrush on the basecoat where it should go.  I’ve found that airbrushing goes really fast and dries much quicker than spray on primer.

2. Do a test model.  This will take longer than usual but it helps reduce the decision making part of painting.  Once you get a model painted up the way you like it (or close), be sure to take note of which colors were used and where.  This way when you paint the bulk of your models, you can reference the test model.  You won’t have to take a few minutes to decide which color would look good for a certain peice… just copy the test model and put yourself on autopilot.

3. One color at a time.  By doing many models at once, you can stick to the same color until every piece is done with that color.  The obvious benefit is that brush cleanup time will be reduced but it will also get your brain in a rhythm.  In Runewars, the infantry has only 4 different poses.  If you paint all 4 of the same poses at the same time, you’ll remember where the tricky spots are and what you’re likely to miss.

4. Base at the same time.  Same as before.  If you base all the models at the same time, you only have to get that material out once… for longer than usual, but only once!

Batch painting isn’t for everyone, since there are cons to doing it this way versus doing models one at a time or a tray at a time.  The biggest downside is it’s still easy to get overwelmed and hard to stay focused.  I initially did 15 spearmen at the same time and it almost drove me nuts.  So now I’m doing 32 spearmen at once… separated in groups of 16 but still all at once.  This time it’s going a little better because I take frequent breaks.

Overall starting to paint your Runewars miniatures may look like a difficult job, but it doesn’t have to be.  Remember that once you get your core set(s) painted, the upgrades will trickle in slow enough that it won’t be so bad later on.  But just because there are a lot of models doesn’t mean that in the end painting won’t be worth it.  The look on other players’ faces when they see your models is always fun to see.  Hopefully I’ve given you a few ideas to make this task a little easier!


A life changing event

Ok, so I’m not talking about any of the big life changing events but this was quite the change for my painting.  At Adepticon this year, I bought an airbrush, compressor, and a few accessories.  I had done some research about a year or so ago but decided it was way above my skill level and not worth it.  However during the last six months, I’ve started playing quite a few more miniatures games such as Team Yankee, Dropfleet Commander, and most recently Runewars.  With all those models to paint, I was looking at a daunting task to get them all painted.  Since I had no experience whatsoever with an airbrush, I sat down at a booth that had a demo station.  The guy doing the demos was pretty skilled and showed me the beginner model airbrush.  I had a hard time getting the hang of it.  The action was stiff and I just wasn’t getting the motion down.  After a few minutes of struggling, he handed me the more advanced model and I took to that like a fish to water.  I ended up purchasing the whole kit on a whim and it was a great decision!

I ended up with an Iwata Eclipse and Smart Jet compressor.  The Eclipse is a pretty popular airbrush with the pros so the quality speaks for itself.  For the compressor, I didn’t know too much but I did know I wanted one that wouldn’t have a problem keeping the pressure up.  The Smart Jet runs fast enough to keep up with high usage and has an automatic shutoff when the tank is full.  I’m by no means an expert on the subject, but this was my personal feeling when making this slightly educated decision.

A life changing event
A life changing event

Once I got home, I quickly set up the airbrush and compressor (and everything else) and started practicing with just air.  That got old pretty quick but it did help cement the hand/arm motion I was going for.  After watching several videos on cleaning, maintenance, and general use, I was prepared to tackle some test models.  Priming them was a cinch.  So much easier than a spray can and it dries much faster.  Changing colors took a while the first time around, but 20 minutes after priming I started base coating.  Base coating was also fast and much more accurate than I thought it would be.  I was afraid there would be a lot of overspray or spillover but I was able to control the airbrush flow enough that it looked pretty good.  Only a little bit of practicing was required until I felt pretty good about the whole process.

Since then, I’ve jumped over to painting my Runewars minatures.  I started off with a single test model and that went very well.  Which leads to my next great benefit of the airbrush: batching!  Once I figured out how I wanted my spearmen to look, I took out the next 15 models and began the process.  Within an hour and a half, I had 15 spearmen and the Runegolem primed and base coated.  All in all, it took around 5-6 hours to paint and base the 15 spearmen and Runegolem.  Not too bad if I say so myself!

Runewars — First taste

Runewars -- First taste

So last night I had my first real taste of the new Runewars Miniatures Game from Fantasy Flight Games.  Having received a copy in my Swag Bag from Adepticon, we were all eager to try it out.  As with most new games from FFG, there’s a “Learn to Play” section in the rulebook, so we headed there.  We set up a 3×3 area and laid out the minis as suggested in the rulebook and went at it.  Even though we did a demo at Adepticon, some things were left out and others were slightly less than correct, but at any rate we pressed onward.  I played as the humans while Kyle played the undead.

It didn’t feel like either of us had any real strategy other than LEARN TO PLAY, but why not have fun, right?  I began by charging my horsies straight at Kyle’s archers.  They can move really fast with a double move.  By doing this, it really limited where he could move his archers and set them up to be charged the next round.  I slow rolled by golem and my infantry in to engage his worm and hero while flanking his infantry with my own hero.

Turn 2 saw some decent action.  That’s where I charged into his archers and put the hurt on them while flanking his infantry with my hero and dealing significant damage to both.  My infantry engaged the worm and began working on it.  My golem unfortunately had nobody to play with and did nothing.  Turns 3, 4, and 5 were more of the same with my horsies finishing off the archers and dying to Kyle’s hero when they got flanked.  My own hero did more good work to his infantry and he eventually turned to face me… so no more extra die. 🙁  My own infantry finished off his worm and then moved in to finish off his infantry while my golem slowly made his way towards Kyle’s hero.  Depending on where the runes land, the golem can pack quite a punch.  But that’s only true if you can actually roll a damage.  Having missed at that attempt, my golem quickly died to his hero and my own hero and infantry could not make their way to land the remaining 2 wounds to his hero to finish off his team.

Runewars -- First taste

As with all “Learn to Play” scenarios, there’s no real balance and the overall goal is to learn the rules, figure out how things move, get a handle on the actions, and understand the interactions with the other models.  From this single event, I learned that my hero unit is very powerful with some good mobility.  She can fire at ranged at very low initiative and is an excellent flanker.  My horsies are pretty powerful but I should probably flank with them instead of running straight in.  An extra rank would help me a lot since I don’t tend to roll very well and re-rolls would surely help.  The golem wasn’t the big tanky unit I thought he would be.  He can only charge straight forward and can’t actually turn on the move.  He’s really slow, but has the potential to be super strong depending on which runes are up.  Don’t get me wrong, he’s got 4 armor so it takes a lot to land a wound, but he can only take 2 wounds.  The infantry are the work horses of the team, though.  They have decent charge, decent attack, and with the second rank have a re-roll which helps.

All in all, I really enjoy the humans.  Normally I prefer having some ranged models like the archers, but I don’t really care for how the undead look.  The undead have some nice mechanics but everything seems to balance out so far.  The calvary unit is my favorite so far.  They’re super fast and can hit like a truck.  My second favorite turned out to be the hero unit.  She’s a lot stronger than I thought she would be.  At first I only wanted to pit her against soft units but she can probably tank anything (released so far).  Plus her mobility is only second to the horsies.  I thought I would like the golem more, but his limited movement and rune dependant defense/attack made me re-think his rank.  Still a solid unit, though.

This weekend, Kyle and I plan to expand our armies and play an actual game!  Stay tuned for the battle report!


Adepticon 2017!

This was my first year going to Adepticon, so I had no idea what to expect. From talking with Kyle, I knew it would be primarily tabletop miniatures based, which is fine with me. The only other conference I have been to is GenCon, which is pretty big compared to Adepticon. This year was the 15th anniversary and since it was my first, I decided to go somewhat big. I upgraded my ticket to Premium in order to get the Swag Bag. The ticket being totally unncessessary but why not, right?

We decided to go Friday and Saturday of the 4-day event because of vacation schedules and whatnot, but since we weren’t planning to play in any tournaments, this was just fine. We found out that FFG had thrown in a copy of Runewars in the Swag Bags. Since Kyle and I had purchased a Swag Bag, we were understandibly excited. Upon arrival and after registration, we felt the natural “now what” after arriving to a conference for the first time. So we hit up the vendor hall. It was quite a bit bigger than I expected and all of the major vendors were there. It was really cool to be at a conference where almost every booth has something pertaining to my favorite part of the hobby.

After day one in the vendor hall and looking around at the games being played, several hundreds of dollar worth of mistakes were made so we settled in an area to play some board games and hang out until 2AM.

Day two was more of the same, also with a bit of gaming and more money spent. All in all, it was a very fun event. Lots of miniatures were purchased, play mats, terrain bits, and a whole airbrush system.

This is just an overview post of the event, more details to come later.

Getting started in Team Yankee

A few weeks ago, I began talking to my friend Kyle about another tabletop game called Team Yankee.  Team Yankee is similar to Flames of War but without the different eras of battle.  Team Yankee focuses on a “what if” scenario centered around the Cold War.  What if the Soviet Union attacked and the Cold War heated up?  Long story short, we decided to give it a try.  I began with the United States while Kyle started with the Soviet Union.  We finally had time to get our models assembled and had a chance to put them on the table.  Having no experience with Team Yankee or even Flames of War, I didn’t have hardly any idea what to do or expect.  Kyle was able to use his Flames of War experience to help me learn the game.

Game 1:  Starter boxes
We played our first game with just the contents of our starter boxes.  My 5 M1 Abrams tanks and 2 Cobra helicopters against Kyle’s 9 T-72 tanks and 2 Hind helicopters.  The Soviet tank teams rely on swarming while the USA uses advanced technology to come out on top.  In the case of our battle, this did not work for the USA.  Kyle’s Soviet team quickly swarmed around my M1s and they dropped like flies.  The M1s shot back, don’t get me wrong, but my limited grasp on the game and not using the advanced technology to my advantage led to the loss.

Game 2: 60 point army
USA force: 1 M1 HQ, 2 M1, 2 M1, 2 Cobra, 2 VAD, 3 M108 Artillery, 1 FIST, 3 M113 Mech Platoon with 3 rifleman+LAW and 2 Dragon.
Soviet Union force: 1 T-72 HQ, 4 T-72, 4 T-72, 2 HIND, 2 AA, 3 Artillery, 1 Forward Observer, 3 BMP with full mech platoon
We set up on a 4×4 table with 2 objectives on each side.  Soviets were attacking.  I split my M1s around either objectives, put my artillery in a corner, and my AA and APCs hiding as well.  Cobras loitering off the table.  Soviets set up similarly but Kyle moved much more aggressively.  I decided to turtle and hold my objectives.  This was a bad idea since the M1s are really good at moving and shooting.  We ended up missing a couple of game ending triggers but the Soviets ended up on top.  It was a fun battle and I learned quite a bit about the game.  At this point, we took a quick break for supper and regrouped for game 3.

Game 3: 60 point army, take 2.
I ended up dropping my artillery, FIST, and cobras to take a full M113 mech platoon, ITVs, and added an extra M1.  The Cobras performed remarkably but I was finding it difficult to get them in good positions on such a small table.  Since the ITVs have the same TOW missile, I hoped they would perform about as well.  Kyle’s army remained unchanged.  Before setting up, we moved the terrain around a bit to make it different.  This time, I would be the attacker.  During this game I tried to be more aggressive with my M1s.  I was able to take out a T-72 in the first round of shooting.  However in Kyle’s turn, he was able to take out one of my M1s that I foolishly left exposed.  I had originally intended to take my M113s straight to his objective but I feared the artillery and his BMP company.  So I opted to run away and try to rush towards the other one.  Kyle brought his air support on the table but they were dropped from the sky by my VADs.  This time my M1s were clustered together so they were able to properly defend against the T-72s.  My ITVs also did some good work against the T-72s.  I deployed the M113’s mech platoon to make quick work of the Soviet AA and then re-mounted to make tracks to the objective.  In the meantime, my other objective was about to be overrun.  My VADs headed that way to contest it and basically die in a hail of rocket and gun fire.  Once my M1s finished with the T-72s, they headed over to defend the objective while the rest of the force went on to conquer.  The M1s made quick work of the BMPs and then focused their efforts on the infantry.  In the meantime, the M113s took some serious damage from a single BMP unit and the artillery but enough of the unit survived that they were able to deploy their own Mech platoon and destroy the lone BMP and work on the artillery.

Overall it was a very fun day of gaming.  With 3 games played, we both learned a lot and now have some ideas and stuff for different terrain.  Our terrain solution was pretty cobbled together but it worked for what we were trying to do.  Hopefully next time we’ll have some better looking forests, trees, building, objectives, and maybe add in some hills.


2016 Summer Tournament

This last weekend was our Summer Tournament for the year, using the official FFG Summer Tournament kit (ironically enough).  Since waves 3 and 4 were released recently, we decided to make it a little interesting and require 1 ship from each wave in everyone’s build.  Going into the tournament, I tried to practice a few different fleets to figure out which combination I preferred but there wasn’t a lot of time to practice.  After playing a game and watching a few others with the Interdictor, I could see the potential but figuring out exactly how to fly it in a short amount of time wasn’t something I thought I could do.  So I settled on Rebels for this tournament.  Following the list requirements, I was obligated to use an MC80 Liberty and a Rebel Transport.  The Rebel Transport is a new class of ship, flotilla.  They are pretty small and are mostly support type ships, so little shield, little hull, and not a lot (if any) firepower.

My list consisted of the following.

MC80 Star Cruiser.  Mon Karen title, Dodanna, XI-7 Turbolasers, Spinal Armament, and Leading shots.
CR-90A with Jaina’s Light and Turbolaser reroute circuits
2x CR-90A with Turbolaser reroute circuits
GR-75 Transport with Bright Hope and Slicer Tools
6x A-Wing squadrons.
Total points 398 with Most Wanted, Hyperspace Assault, and Dangerous Territory.

My list originally had 2 CR-90s with TRC and 2 GR-75s.  The second Transport had Bomber Command and both had Expanded hangers.  This was to assist the 5 X-Wings with Jan Ors.  I was less than impressed with Bomber command on that build so I switched my squadrons to the most annoying ships (for my enemy) that I could find and decided to use them to slow down any enemy fighters and whittle them down with counter.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get to practice the recent list changes before the tournament.

Game 1: Brian and his dual MC80 Battle Cruisers.

I’ve played against Brian and his list before, but with my previous iteration.  I also knew he had more opportunities to practice his list since he settled on his long before I did.  I believe I came out on top in our last game, so I went in hoping to do it again but Brian is a very skilled player… and aggressive.  His bid was a point below mine so he opted for first player, picking Dangerous Territory from my objectives.  My opening moves were not very pretty.  In round two, I had pretty much given up two of my CR-90s to the front arc of his massive MC80.  I still had Jaina’s Light and my own MC80, now in range of his Mon Karen.  Since he had focused the CR-90s, I was able to put all my firepower into his Mon Karen and the Neb-B “Salvation” beside it.  Jaina’s light worked around behind the rest of the fleet.  I was able to destroy Salvation before it sank a double-arc shot into my own Mon Karen’s side and finish off his Mon Karen pretty quickly.  Slicer tools helped me limit his commands, keeping away concentrate fire commands and repairs.  At the end of the game, which almost went to time, I ended up taking down all but his second MC80 and I think one of the YT-1300 squadrons.  I ended up with 4 of the 6 tokens, starting me off with an 8 – 3 win.

Game 2: Dan, the only guy to bring an Imperial list.

This is only the second time I’ve played against Dan, who is also very skilled.  The first time I played him was GenCon where he beat me in the 3rd round of the tournament.  So this is payback time!  Like Brian, he also opted to go first with his 10 point bid and picked Dangerous Territory.  Dan’s list consisted of an Interdictor set up to repair itself and scramble targets, with two Gladiators (one being Demolisher), and rounded out his fleet with a Gonzanti with Comms Net (I think).  His squadrons were very synergistic with Darth Vader, Howlrunner, Dengar, and Soontir Fel.  Not many points in squadrons but very deadly.  Sensing I was going to lose the squadron battle, my mind went on the defensive side.  How to draw his fighters in close and protect my ships.  He also set up his Demolisher toward the middle of the board with the rest of the fleet to the side.  I used this to my advantage to attempt to bring down Demo first and then move on to bigger things.  Since the Interdictor’s guns aren’t THAT big, I wasn’t overly concerned with it.  I started off flying my CR-90’s very aggressively toward Demo.  I mis-judged the distance and ended up outside of red dice range.  This made my next turn worse since he was able to wait out my CR-90’s and that put 2 of my 3 in close range.  He took a side-arc shot at the front of a CR-90 and did some substantial damage to the front and put a couple damage cards on the hull, but it lived.  Doing what Demo does best, he flew in fast and took a second shot at the front of my Mon Karen.  Dan uses Assault Concussion Missiles on his Gladiators since it does damage to both sides in addition to the front zone.  Since Mon Karen is lightly shielded on the sides, this is bad.  Luckily, I sensed the danger early on and had an engineering command ready.  I was able to recover both side shields to prevent it from doing too much damage on the next turn.  As expected, he activated Demo first.  Luckily my MC80 survived.  Thanks to Slicer Tools, his Demo no longer had a Nav command so he couldn’t easily get away.  With my CR-90’s safe (for now) they headed towards the Interdictor cluster.  The annoying scatter from his flotilla kept it alive much longer than it should have been, but it eventually was destroyed.  My Mon Karen was able to finish off Demolisher before it could get away.  This gave me an early lead in the game.  However my Mon Karen was heavily damaged and couldn’t take much more pain.  Unfortunately it was heading straight towards Dan’s Interdictor and another Gladiator.  During round 4 (I believe), Mon Karen finally split apart and blew up.  My CR-90’s were able to finish off the Interdictor and my remaining A-Wings were still keeping the squadrons occupied.  This was a close and tense battle.  Dan picked up 3 tokens and I was only able to get 2.  We ended the game with me coming out on top with a 7 – 4 win.

Game 3: Corlin, also running Dodanna.

The first time I played Corlin was at my first store championship (I believe).  I didn’t expect to do well but he was the first person I played and had a great time with.  Just like last time, our fleets were somewhat similar once again.  Corlin was flying an MC80 with the Liberty title.  His fleet focus was on squadrons and was maxed out on squadron points.  Since my squadron answer was pretty weak, I was slightly concerned.  He considered going second but after realizing that I would get first and last activation, he decided to go first.  For the first time that day, someone picked a different objective.  Corlin picked Hyperspace Assault.  This objective is the only one I didn’t really want to play but didn’t have any better options in the Yellow category.  I set aside Jaina’s Light and two A-Wings.  I set up my MC80 towards the center to square off against his MC80.  He set up his Neb-B “Yavaris” to the far left (my left) edge and his GR-75 behind it.  Squadrons clustered around the smaller carriers.  I knew I didn’t have the juice to outright beat him in the squadron game so my plan was to divide and delay.  And hopefully Slice away some squadron tokens.  My CR-90’s faced the bulk of his squadrons and I put my A-Wings around my MC80.  I flew my CR-90’s in fast to keep his squadrons busy.  In all fairness, I hoped they would do a little damage but their fate was to die and keep the squadrons busy.  At 51 points each, I could give up 102 points and drop his MC80.  Since there were no squadrons to contend with, he flew his bombers toward the CR-90’s and kept his X-Wings with Jan near his MC80.  At the top of round 2, Jaina’s light exited Hyperspace near his Liberty.  This allowed me to attempt to tie down his X-Wings.  However Jan was doing a good job of preventing that.  As expected my CR-90’s began to die quickly to concentrated bomber fire.  I was able to do a little damage to Yavaris and the GR-75 before both CR-90s eventually gave up.  They definitely served their purpose because by now his bombers were back at his starting area and Yavaris was halfway across the field.  Without much aide from the bombers, my Mon Karen was able to quickly dispatch the Liberty before suffering much damage.  My A-Wings were cleaning up the X-Wings and almost had Jan taken care of until she ran away.  Surprisingly, I didn’t lose a single A-Wing in the fight.  I ended up losing all three CR-90’s and was unable to get enough damage on Yavaris (not for lack of trying).  We ended with an 7 – 4 win for me.

Going into Game 3, Corlin was the top player and 3 points ahead of me.  My win against him caused us to tie for first place at 22 tournament points.  But because he was able to get a 10-1 win on his first game with 400 MoV, he had a higher margin of victory and took first place in the tournament.

Overall it was a very fun day with some really great games.  Congratulations to Corlin for his first tournament win.  Maybe some day that will be me!

Mercs 2.0

While at GenCon, I picked up a new game called Mercs.  They just released the version 2.0 rules and new faction pieces, but the actual game has been around for a while.  Last night, Kyle and I got our first taste of the game.  He bought in on the original game, so he had a game mat to play on and a lot of other goodies.  Since we only got the miniatures a couple of days ago, neither one of us had much time to do anything with them other than get them glued and ready to go.

Mercs is a tactical shooter skirmish game.  It focuses on team tactics, maneuvering, and quick game play.  The nice thing is there are no upgrade cards, no point values for the characters, or anything like that.  A faction box comes with 10 soldiers and you can field up to 5 different soldiers.  Movement is also unique in that you don’t use a tape measure (although you can) or special movement templates.  Instead you use a card.  It has notches for inserting the soldier’s base to help you along your movement.  This makes buying into the game super easy.  Just pick up a faction box and you’re all set.

Like most games, turns are determined by initiative.  However in Mercs, initiative is determined every round.  At the start of every round, each soldier rolls a D10.  The value can be modified, depending on the soldier, but whatever number you get determines your position in the activation order.  Once all soldiers have their initiative rolled, the highest number goes first.  After that round is played out, initiative is rolled again.  In some cases, one player will activate 2 or 3 times before his opponent.  In other cases, one player will activate all miniatures before the other player.  This creates a very interesting and at times tense game play.

When a soldier activates, they get a few options for what to do.  Without going into too much detail, you can basically move, hold, or perform an action (such as combat).  Each character card has unique abilities for each soldier as well as their different stats.  These stats help determine how strong their attacks are, what special items they might be carrying such as grenades and medkits, and how strong their armor is.  In some cases, a soldier’s armor may be stronger than the attacker’s weapon, so it will completely prevent any damage.  However, if it successfully hits, the defender still has a roll a D10 to check if their armor breaks… which is bad for the defender.  With this mechanic, it allows even “weak” characters to do some good.

Last night, Kyle and I played our first game together.  He was a little familiar with the rules, which helped a lot, but we were still heavily relying on the rule book.  After a couple of hours, we were really starting to get a feel for how things work.  We ended up mainly focusing on the basic rules and will probably start trying to use more of the advanced rules in future games.  Kyle speculated that whoever can master those advanced rules first will do very well.

mercs2.0firstgameKyle played the GCC, which are basically “Judges” with guns.  Think Judge Dredd.  You have no idea how many times I heard “I am the LAW!” last night.  At any rate, I decided to play CCC.  The CCC is basically the US East of the Mississippi.  GCC have some really cool (or annoying) abilities, like preventing certain special things from working.  CCC have really strong armor that automatically repairs after 2 rounds.  CCC is also pretty well rounded, as far as firepower, movement, and armor strength.

Not knowing at all what I’m doing, I set up in a tight formation.  Kyle spread out a little bit.  Unfortunately we were so distracted by the game, that was the only picture I took.  I basically tried to hold the street with my heavy gunner and sniper while the troops took one of the buildings.  We had no objective other than to kill the other team.  After a couple of hours, we were getting the hang of things and putting some damage on to each other.  I eventually was down to my final soldier, the Leader, against Kyle’s heavy and sniper.  My leader was able to take a couple of shots at his sniper (in an elevated position) to take him out, leaving the leader and the heavy.  The heavy had broken armor and could not move, so we decided to call it there.  That and it was midnight.

Overall the game seems really fun and the tactics will require a lot of thought.  It’s not overly huge on planning so a reactive-type player will enjoy this as well.  Right now I’m still working on wrapping my head around all the rules.  In the next few days, I’ll probably get the rule book out and take some notes on the things that are confusing and re-write things into my own words to get a better understanding of the game.  Another thing I need to do is paint the bases.  In this game, the sides matter just as much as the rear.  So it pays to know where each zone is.

For the foreseeable future, I’ll be playing Mercs after Armada on Tuesday nights.  Anyone is welcome to join! 🙂



GenCon 2016 – Day 4

This year we decided to go all 4 days, since we would normally skip and go to church.  This worked out pretty well.  We arrived shortly after 9am in time to get registered for the X-Wing Epic Tournament.  The tournament started at 10am and was set to go for 3 hours and just 1 game with participation prizes.  Scott and I had our massive squadron ready to go.  Neither of us wanted to deal with the huge ships, so we went with smaller ships and planned on destroying opponent’s huge ships.  We brought 5 B-Wings, 4 K-Wings with Adv Slam, TLT, Cluster Bombs, and Extra Munitions, Fat Han, and Super Dash.  I controlled Han, Dash, and two of the K-Wings while Scott ran the B-Wings and the other two K-Wings.

We were slightly disappointed to find we were paired against another Rebel team without a huge ship, but we made the best out of it.  Of the 4 of us, I had the most experience with X-Wing but I hadn’t played in a while… let alone an epic game ever.  Our plan was to push the K-Wings out in front, drop bombs, and the use the B-Wings to take out any big ships they have while Han and Dash do what they do.  Simple plan.  It only kind of worked.  Our opponents had a fully loaded Ghost, B-Wing, E-Wing and Y-Wing as well as a couple of T-70 X-Wings, K-Wing, A-Wing, and Han Solo.  Scott squared off against the Ghost with his B-Wing swarm while I hoped to quickly dispatch the X, K, and A-wings and come around to assist.  This didn’t work so well.  We flew in hard and fast with our K-Wings.  One of mine lost all shields and one of Scott’s ended up getting destroyed by Corran’s double tap. Not a great start.  The next turn, I was able to get my heavy hitters closer to the action and take out his A-Wing.  We also dropped our first set of Cluster Bombs this round.  Scott’s B-Wing swarm got ioned and were in a little bit of trouble facing the Ghost head on.

The next round saw some serious action.  Dash took some serious damage while pumping out some hits of his own and Han was helping tear up the K-Wing.  Our K-Wings continued to move forward and I dropped a second set of bombs to force Poe over 2 of them.  Poe had R2-D2 and was able to regen some of his damage.  This round Scott was able to deal some serious damage to the Ghost, bringing the 0 agility ship down to 2 hull points remaining.  The next turn, there wasn’t enough room for Scott to K-turn his B-Wings and the Ghost was able to fly right past and keep them in his rear arc.  They were once again ioned and unable to do much.  Dash also limped along and ended up losing his final hull point.  At this point, I started to turn inwards to help Scott’s swarm.  The next round, the Ghost was starting to bank around after having deployed the Phantom.  The K-Wing and 1 X-wing were too far away and I needed Han to kill that Ghost.  Han moved in fast and used his upgraded engines to boost to range 2.  A hot 3-dice roll landed two hits and crit and brought the huge monster down.  We ended up taking out of lot of ships in the late game due to our high shield values.  Time was called at close to 2PM and we won by around 80 points.

Since the hall closed at 4PM, we decided to run in there and check out the games Rachel wanted to show me and make our last minute purchases.  We checked out what we wanted and bought a couple of games.  David was acting cranky and we decided it was time to head home.  We said goodbye to Scott and Kyrie since they had a long drive back to Missouri and were also leaving.

It was a fun GenCon and much more fun than last year.  It’s ironic that we were originally not planning on going this year but I’m glad we did.  Hopefully next year will be even better!