Sunday, December 31, 2017

Top 8 Reasons the Necromancer is Best

All you need to become immortal is meditation and fresh air.
Inspirobot can get you started in your career as a lich.
Earlier this month I mentioned that one emergent quality of the mystical realms is that there's always someone playing with dead bodies in a way that is really distasteful.  In each realm, it's a varying amount of work to make a meat-marionette, but the effect is generally similar.  Skeletons and Zombies, Vampires and Liches.

I can't imagine how a person gets drawn down the path of this particularly vile magic.  I'll assume it's down to dark spirits whispering vile things in the night.  I'm sure there are more...indelicate...motivations, but in either case I find the general practice of motivating dead flesh to be rather distasteful.  Serendipitous, as most of the Iron Seer's battle magic generally leaves very little to motivate anyway.

In Frostgrave, Necromancers will have a lot of options.  Death Mages of all ilk have Witch, Chronomancer and Summoner as aligned schools.  Thaumaturge is the opposed school, but with some levels sunk into some of the more useful spells there's no reason our necromancers can't use healing magic proficiently.

Top 8 Reasons the Necromancer is Best!
  1. Bone Dart
    • Good shooting attack (+5), but doesn't count as magical.
  2. Bones of the Earth
    • A line-of-sight control spell that targets a single model, holding fast until the target successfully fights it off.  The hands have Fight +0, but that could still hold you up for more than one turn - and it can do damage.
  3. Control Undead
    • A utility spell for commandeering undead you meet, whether from the scenario or a rival warband.  You may only have one undead creature 'controlled'.
  4. Raise Zombie
    • A staple for Death Mages.  Adds a Zombie to your warband, and is quite versatile.  It can be cast both in and out of the game, and does not count against your warband limit.  However, you can only have one 'raised' zombie at a time - however, it doesn't count as 'controlled'.
  5. Reveal Death
    • This spell stuns a target by showing him a 'vision' of his 'own death', causing him to miss his activation.  The casting number is 12, and the spell is contested by the target's Will.  It's only one activation, but at a crucial time a high roll could stop the enemy's plans in their tracks.
  6. Spell Eater
    • If successfully cast, you take one point of damage and cancel any one spell in play.  Not as good as a hard 'dispel' with the drawback but the casting number is only 12.  Recommended only to use when your back is to the wall, otherwise the damage might start to add up faster than you'd like.
  7. Steal Health
    • With a casting number of 10, it seems easy enough.  However, the enemy saves against the casting roll, or loses 3 life.  The caster gains 3 life, but it can't take him above starting.  Powerful sauce, especially as a sustained attack by both spellcasters in you warband.  This should be in any Necromancers repertoire.
  8. Strike Dead
    • One of the most powerful spells in the game!  Literally - it requires an 18 just to cast and the target must save vs. the casting roll or be reduced to zero Health.  However, it probably won't be most Necromancers' go-to in most situations.  You lose 1 life every time you attempt it, and you'll most likely want to empower this casting - in fact everyone will.  Powerful, but not ubiquitous.
For the villainous and deviant Necromancer, I'd pick Bone Dart and Bones of the Earth to start.  You get a good ranged attack, and can create little monsters to interfere with the enemy warband.  That leaves one slot for Raise Zombie, which is the quintessential Death Magic spell.  Pile in some other combat support spells for your minions and you're golden.

Speaking of minions, Necromancers aren't usually considered the least dangerous of magical practitioners.  The range of acceptable minions runs the gamut of choice, as the basic abilities of the Necromancer actually serves to make them fairly well rounded.  For myself, I just want to make some bad guy models to go with our resident Death Mage.  To that end, I know we'll have a few sinister looking Infantrymen, a Crow Master and an Assassin.  We'll see how the first games go before we animate any more...

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Rogue Stars

Rogue Stars by Osprey Publishing
Image: Osprey Publishing / Amazon
So, if you don't already know, I'm a huge fan of Osprey Wargames.  The rulesets that have come out since they launched the series are all superb.  There are some warts, but by and large they are very solid games.  The best part is that there are a lot of rulesets, and none of them require specific model ranges.  If you're playing Ronin, for instance, the samurai you use can be from any manufacturer.  By the virtue of being rulesets first and foremost, rather than glorified marketing campaigns, they have nearly all secured a place in my molten iron heart.

Rogue Stars is a game set in a vaguely presented sci-fi world, and this kind of thing I like a lot.  It fires the imagination in a lot of ways.  When I read rulesets like this, I find myself dreaming up a lot of cool new scenarios and excuses to pick up yet another set of toy soldiers.  However, I like to switch it up a lot, so I also think about how I can use the rules with the models I already own.  Rogue Stars is one of those rulesets that could see use in almost any sci-fi milieu.

Yet this is not a review of Rogue Stars.  It was released at the end of 2016, so there are plenty of those you can read.  Must Contain Minis and Blood and Spectacles have excellent pieces.  The rules could be challenging, if you aren't familiar with the conventions.  You can watch a battle report from Guerrilla Gaming here.

The reviewers and reporters there touched on some things that are neat about this game, and they are totally right.  I'm not rehashing all that here.  Instead this is about how I want to use this ruleset, and others like it.  You see, I've pretty much gotten to the point that all the miniatures and rules are pretty well interchangeable - and you can have a totally different experience with said ruleset simply by changing the models and narrative around it.

Unlike more public venues, you're going to see a lot of 'non-affiliated' rulesets pop up in Iron Seer campaigns.  I've talked about this at length, in-person and on other blogs, but with the size, length and scope in the new campaign era here I think there's never really been a better time to introduce this.  Rogue Stars will be the first such 'non-affiliated' ruleset to 'go-live' in a campaign as we add it to our ongoing Star Wars campaign.

I call it 'non-affiliated' because although it is not an official "BRAND X" product, the game itself fits it perfectly.  We happen to be playing a "BRAND X" campaign, and I've got this ruleset.  Foolish not to give it a go, out where everyone can take a stab at it and we can put the rules through the ringer.  For this game (and many like it) the setting simply doesn't matter, it's the ruleset that is the prize here.

Rogue Stars itself doesn't really have much of a setting anyway - and that's a good thing.  The absence of any truly specified setting actually seems to make it easier for certain kinds of gamers to "accept" the ruleset in a different milieu.  It's a strange phenomenon, to be sure, but we saw it a few years ago when the club began using Frostgrave as a ruleset for resolving Dungeons & Dragons conflicts in the Forgotten Realms.  However, gamers tend to be more insular than they'd like us to think they are and have a hard time accepting new things.  Osprey's book cost and generally low buy-in on these rulesets have gone a long way to soften that.

In my opinion, we as gamers need to start looking at rulesets outside of the brands we like that we can use in the milieu as we desire.  Diversify your ruleset collection, and play with it.  Most importantly, be open to the experience.  It's a game, and a hobby.  Nothing need be straightjacketed (except WYSIWYG).  In this way, you won't feel divorced from your favorite game / setting when they puke up yet another corporately mandated edition and you decide to retire to the Collector's Bin.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Frontline Gaming Snow-Covered Tundra

I got my first mat from Frontline Gaming this week.  It looks pretty cool.  It's the first mat I've purchased that is made of the mousepad material, so I was pretty excited to check it out.  We're spoiled for choice these days, and to be honest I think I've been more excited about getting some of the cool mats out there than getting models of late.

Front Line Gaming Delivery Bag
The packaging was both heavy duty and easy to get into - once I took a razor to it.  Take care at this step, kids.
I got this particular mat for Frostgrave, and have been waiting on it so I can get started flocking and finishing up that terrain set.  A lot of folks have opted for doing what you might call the 'metropolitan' area of the frozen city, but I thought it would be cooler to take it the outskirts...the frozen, snow-covered tundra.

Frontline Gaming Snow-Covered Tundra
I'm going to be using this mat for the Sword Coast as well.  Icewind Dale?  SURE THANG BRO...
In fact, I've got several pieces drying right now.  The blending on the mat is awesome, and I think I've done a pretty good job getting the basing on the Frostgrave ruins to match up well - but I think I'm going to give them a few inks before I let the snow fall and finish it up.  We'll be seeing those on the table and here on the blog pretty quick!

FLG Mat is flexible!
I assure you sir, this mat is very floppy.  Floppy indeed.
The material itself is very supple, more so than any other mat I've gotten so far except the latex Zuzzy mat.  At first, it was challenging to roll it up tightly, but I figured it out - it's not going to be tight.  Likewise, it's still floppy in all directions while it's in tube form...meaning it's not really simple to just pick up.  The flexibility of the material isn't really a problem, though as long as it's stored correctly.  It falls down on the table quite nice.

FLG Gaming Mat Tag
FLG also provided a heavy-duty tag for their mat, so I can tell which one is which at a glance.  It's a good thing, as it's quick to find in my darkened lair.
As far as storage goes, the mat has it's own case similar to my camera's tripod case.  Once it's rolled up, it can be stored vertically if hung - but I won't be setting it next to my other mat tubes.  It also doubles as a very convenient carrying case.  I'll probably just hollow out a space in the closet where I can hang these, because I'm sure I'll be picking up more Frontline Gaming mats as time wears me down.  I've already been scoping out several...

FLG Gaming Mat Carrying / Storage Case
Tiny hand and pretzel for scale only.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Top 8 Reasons the Thaumaturge is Best

Don't be demonic.
Inspirobot wants what is best for you.
As every good spellcaster knows, where ever it is possible to wield magic there will always be goons trying to summon demons and make zombies.  It's just a thing that happens.  It's an emergent quality of the mystical realms, like Rule #34.  There's always some pervert trying to sell his soul or playing with dead bodies in musty old crypt.

As it is a rule that there is always a creep, there is also the anti-creep.  It must be Rule #35.  Cleric, Holy Knight, Animist, Questor...etc.  Call it what you want, it's the same thing.  Healer, Protector, Banisher, Exorcist or Abjurer.  In Frostgrave, they are most often called Thaumaturge.

In Frostgrave, the wizards can pick up spells that are offensive, defensive and utility without compromising (except on higher casting numbers).  The Thaumaturge actually packs one of the most useful spell lists in the game.  Almost every spellcaster will want a piece of it, no matter what their specialty school.  The aligned schools for the Thaumaturge are Soothsayer, Sigilist and Illusionist.  The opposed school is Necromancer, rather than Summoner.

Yeah, boy.  You can still get your summonations on pretty easily.  Just make sure whatever you summon is kosher with whatever deity you worship or it could get pretty awkward...

Top 8 Reasons the Thaumaturge is Best!
  1. Banish
    • If your opponent is a Summoner, this can ruin his day.  ALL demons.  Remember that banishes your own demons...whether they be angels, demons, cthulhus or djinni. 
  2. Blinding Light
    • A surprisingly effective combat spell, this reduces your Fight score to +0 and your Move to 1.  Use on high Fight models to secure the edge for your warband.  Consider Empowering the spell with some Health to get a higher spellcasting score to make it harder for your opponent to shake it off in subsequent turns.
  3. Circle of Protection
    • Again, anti-demon spell makes it where they won't be engaging your spellcaster in hand to hand combat.  Situational, but absolute.
  4. Dispel
    • Essential to any spellcaster, it can cancel the effects of ONE spell.  Not summons, but anything else is fair game.  Use it to pull the rug out from under your opponent at the last minute.
  5. Heal
    • Essential, just like Dispel, to any spellcaster in the game.  Five points of health restored a pop, and with a basic cast number of 8 it's not even beyond Necromancers.
  6. Miraculous Cure
    • Regrow your fingers and your toes.  Helpful if you're prone to grievous and lasting injury.
  7. Restore Life
    • Casting number 20!  You only get one chance, and it has to be cast by your wizard.  Great spell, but we won't be seeing it a lot until someone has sunk 10 levels into it.
  8. Shield
    • Great armor builder.  2 points of Armor for the rest of the game, so fun for the whole warband!  Throw these out in the early game and get the advantage from the very beginning.
Unlike some of the others, starting a Thaumaturge seems pretty obvious to me.  Blinding Light, Dispel and Heal.  That gives you pretty much the best set of tools at the beginning of the game you could ask for, as you are able to really affect the outcome of any battle on the board by changing up scores and dispelling buff spells.

You'll probably want some heavy hitters like Infantrymen and Templars to really sock it to the enemy while you've got them Blinded and stripped of magic enhancements.  Missile troops could also come in handy, just remember your Heal spell is 'touch' range.  Really, in my opinion the Thaumaturge is one of the best spellcasters in the game.  Any high quality soldier is going to have a secure home in the warband, but I think I'm going to start with the high damage fellows.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Star Wars Miniatures

In the late 80's and 90's, West End Games had a very successful game called the Star Wars Roleplaying Game.  Grenadier produced a line of miniatures for it, and West End eventually produced rulebooks for Star Wars Miniature Battles in 1991.  Here's an article you can read on, because we're not talking about that today.

Back in 2004, the first set of Wizards of the Coast's Star Wars Miniatures game dropped, and I almost didn't notice at all.  I really wasn't very happy with prepaints at the time, as I've expressed before.  The game would run several years, with many releases.  You can peruse these and a great many other miniature sets at the Pre-Painted Plastic Minis Gallery.

Rebel Tech-Saboteurs
"Quickly, look like you're doing something!"
I'm a relative newcomer to Star Wars minis.  I've explained how in the last few years my view on prepaints has changed from nearly a decade and a half ago, and I'm surprised this line is still readily available.  After the Star Wars hype of 2015, X-Wing and Star Wars RPG ruled the game I started hunting these down to integrate into my existing figure collection.  A few years later and I've grown to love these ugly little critters.

Star Wars Imperial Hunter Troops
"We will now fire wildly in all directions!"
Imperial Assault from Fantasy Flight Games has revitalized the Star Wars miniatures "collection game" for me.  The new miniatures are very high quality, as FFG has already received praise for.  I haven't quite gotten around to painting mine, but I wanted to show they work quite nicely alongside their predecessors from Wizards of the Coast.

WotC vs FFG Mini Comparison
Wookiees and Imperial Royal Guard.  FFG (unpainted) vs. Wizards of the Coast (Pre-painted).
Unfortunately, the old Grenadier models for West End are closer to 25mm...maybe even smaller a bit.  I had a handful of the Grenadier Stormtroopers but they don't look very nice next to the newer models.  I looked for them, but they seem lost forever in the vault.

WotC vs FFG Mini Comparison
Bothan Commandos and Imperial Stormtroopers, (WotC vs FFG).
Now, what concerns me is Legion.  The next Star Wars game from FFG will be a proper miniatures battle game.  Fine right?  In fact that sounds great!

However, FFG has decided to use 32mm scale for the game.  While that might not sound like such a big deal (because it's not in most cases), we've actually seen what the new miniatures look like right next to FFG's other Star Wars line, Imperial Assault.

Star Wars Legion vs Imperial Assault Miniatures Scale Comparison
Picture by TallTonyB on the FFG Community Forum.
The discussion has been rolling on this for a while, and you can read about it on the FFG Community Forum where I found that picture.  I do not like this at all.  It's not that I don't like the miniatures, but the fact it will look jarring on the table to use any of the stuff I already have...which is a light investment. 

Part of the appeal of Imperial Assault was the fact it came with 28mm miniatures.  I understand FFG's drive to do this, to discourage use of WotC's old line with their new game...but that's a business decision.  Business decisions like that ruin games by chopping off momentum.

With the amount of other rulesets that are available to me, such as Rogue Stars, Rogue Planet, Tomorrow's War, etc...I don't feel compelled to buy into another Fantasy Flight excursion...and I was really looking forward to it until I saw this comparison shot.  I haven't counted Legion out yet...but I'm also not really as jazzed about it.

I've already got an investment in Star Wars miniatures - and there's more than enough to fill out my universe.  Changing the established scale on us is like asking us to change all our bases from 25mm round to 30mm rounds and all squares to equivalent rounds.  Especially considering FFG already sold me 28mm Stormtroopers, Darth Vader and whatnot.

Now, that's not to knock people looking forward to this - I understand.  Great for the newcomers.  However,  space is always a premium and Legion would have to take up space I could use for something else.  28mm to 32mm is not ENOUGH of a scale change to warrant investment, for me personally. 

Now, FFG - there's your challenge from the Iron Seer!  Give us a 6mm, 10mm or 15mm land battle game set in the Star Wars universe.  I'll be the first guy to buy a whole army of droid battle tanks.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Storm King's Thunder: Prepare to Die Edition [Part 3]

Storm King's Thunder: Prepare to Die Edition
*Updated 11/30/2017*

Warning:  SPOILERS ahead for Storm King's Thunder.

View Campaign Page.

3.1 Road to Yartar

In the wake of the attack on Triboar, the party becomes quite popular in town.  Not knowing what to do with the giant piece of metal the giants unearthed, but knowing it's valuable, the adventurers are at a loss as to what to do about it until Alaestra Ulgar and Urlam Stockspool offer to buy it and engage in a bidding war.  The party sells it to Alaestra for five thousand gold coins.

In addition, the other residents of Triboar approach the party for various reasons.  Darathra Shendrel, the Lord Protector of Triboar, gives the party a platinum badge bearing the insignia of the town.  She bids them to travel to Everlund and visit Danivarr's House.  There, they should talk to Dral Thelev.  No explicit reason was given.

Darz Helgar let's the players know that a dwarf cleaning stables in Xantharl's Keep might well be the wanted brigand known as the Weevil.  The bounty is rumored to be five thousand gold coins.  It might be worth checking out if the adventurers head that way.

Narth Tezrin, after figuring out the party's destination, asks them to deliver a crate of harnesses to Noanar's Hold, on the way to Silverymoon.  For a hundred gold, a horse and a cart the party agrees to make the delivery.  They are to pick up the cart on the morn they leave.

Urgala Meltimer tells the party that an old associate of hers owns a giant-slayer.  He lives in Zymorven Hall, and would probably part with it if they party told him they are fighting giants along the coast.  The party makes a note of this if they happen to move in that direction.

Othovir had a close call during the attack.  To show his gratitude, he tells the party about the Margaster family's hidden cache of magic in their estate in Silverymoon.  He gives details, and the party considers it.  Breaking the law in Silverymoon is not something anyone wants to get caught up in.

Ghelryn Foehammer almost died during the attack.  He was grateful, though taciturn.  He returned later having written a Letter of Recommendation for the party.  He bids them thanks, and tells the party to present the letter to King Morinn or Queen Tithmel should they find themselves in Citadel Felbarr.

The party finally sets out from Triboar to reach Silverymoon.  The first stop along the Evermoor trail is Yartar, a few days away.  Outside Triboar, the party encounters a group of travelers fleeing giants in the countryside.

The next day, the party comes upon a group of stone giants disassembling a stone tower, stone by stone.  The party decides to confront the giants, who hold fast, tossing stones from their tower, until Niv's ice storm spell finally spooks them and they run into the fields.  The party does not pursue.

When they get to Yartar, they are surprised.  A wretched hive of scum and villainy, corpses on the streets seem to go unattended.  The party passes through the river town as quickly as possible.

3.2 Yartar to Calling Horns

A days' ride from Yartar, they party encounters Lady Harriana Hawkwinter and her squire.  She had rescued two children, Elisa and Tomas, from a giant attack that their parents did not survive.  She asks the adventurers to take the children to the nearest town, as she wishes to pursue the giants.  The party takes custody of the two children.

They forage over the next three days, also running into some hunters along the road, before arriving in Calling Horns.  Tamalin Zoar warms to the party fairly quickly, and arranges to have the children seen to.  The party eats and rests well at the Calling Horns Inn, until later that night.

The party is awoken to strange sounds outside.  Starman investigated and found something trying to get into the horse stables.  Softhands, Briar and Berry all run outside and find themselves face to face with two trolls from the moors who want to get to that yummy horsemeat.

A short battle erupted that involved maniacal laughter and torches as choking hazards.  Tamalin offered the party a job rooting out the source of the trolls, but they declined as they were more interested in reaching Everlund.  The party set out at first light.

Shortly after leaving Calling Horns, they are ambushed by crag cats.  They are swiftly seen off, but the party proceeds more warily.  A few days later they arrive at Noanar's Hold at dusk.

3.3 Noannar's Hold to Everlund

Noanar's Hold is unsettling to the party.  The caretaker of the keep and the recipient of Narth's harnesses from the Lionshield Coster is named Amrath Mulnobar, and he makes it fairly clear that he doesn't want them hanging around.  As much is said by most of the folk in town.  It is suggested that they go to the White Hart Inn, and stay indoors at night.

By day the village is normal, but near dusk everyone went indoors immediately and it turned strangely quiet.  The party resolves to investigate.  Soon they hear the rumors surrounding the village...apparently, a hundred and fifty years ago there may have been some mass murder and serial killings going on under the guise of "hunts" organized by the nobles.  Ever since, the Hold has been in a steady decline.

The party begins investigating the "Hunt Lords" of Noanar's Hold.  They spend the next day going around the town, eventually spending several gold coins on the artisan socks made by a village wife.  They arrange to meet with the wife's husband, a hunter named Bryce.  When they meet him, he expresses his gratitude - that's a lot of money to drop on socks.  He tells the party about the Hunt Lords, but not much.  He says they shouldn't go poking around.

They hang around and manage to finally get a glimpse of one of the Hunt Lords.  He and his horse were obviously undead.  Their investigation concludes with the assumption that the arrangement is copacetic - the Hunt Lords actually serve to protect the tiny village of Noanar's Hold.

The party leaves for Everlund the following day.  They pass through Olostin's Hold, noting little about the village.  When they get to Everlund, they go directly to Danivarr's House and talk with the one-eyed half-orc Dral Thelev.  The half-orc is cordial, even foppish, and takes the party into an adjoining parlor and offers wine.  Briar takes the first sip and instantly disappears!

Dral explains that the wine instantly teleports the one who drinks it to the Moongleam Tower, the bastion of the Harpers in Everlund.  There, they find themselves in another parlor, filled with winged cats called tressym.  Krowen Valharrow, the caretaker, welcomes the party and shows them to a hidden teleportation circle within the tower.  There he explains the party can use any of the Harper's circles that connect cities along the Sword Coast:  Mirabar, Everlund, Neverwinter, Yartar, Loudwater and Waterdeep.

The party decides to continue overland to Silverymoon, but thank the Harpers' for their aid.  Just outside Everlund, the party encounters a frost giant simply standing by the road.  He is Harshnag, and he isn't hostile.

In fact, the giant explains he's on his way to a place called the Eye of the All-Father, and he's killing giants along the way.  The party agrees to accompany him, and Harshnag joins the party.  First stop is Silverymoon, and Harshnag will be waiting outside the city when the party is finished there.

Return to Storm King's Thunder: Prepare to Die Edition?

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Top 8 Reasons the Witch is Best

A little over halfway there.  The Witch is the sixth of the wizard schools we've covered so far, and it might not be the Hedge Wizard that refugees from the Old World might recognize.  No, the Witch of Frostgrave is a different beast entirely.  It can fit the niche of the druid, and for the longest time that's how I meant to model this warband.

Animals never go on strike.
No matter what wizard school you practice,
Inspirobot has memes made just for you.
Then I got the Bones "Wild West Oz" versions of the classic "Wizard of Oz" characters.  Glinda the Good seemed a lot scarier than the other model, which was more druidic in style.  Yes, Glinda's ditched the pinks.  And the Wicked Witch will be her apprentice.  However, this is the first school I officially assembled two warbands for.  One of which, sadly, will have to go to Ghost Archepelago for any love...

The aligned schools for the Witch are Enchanter, Necromancer and Summoner.  The opposed school is Soothsayer.  If you want a swarm of summoned creatures, the Witch is a great place to start.

Top 8 Reasons the VVitch is best!!
  1. Animal Companion
    • This is probably the most useful spell a Witch can grab, being an easy way to add a combatant to your party.  Two things to remember:  you can still Control Animal (the companion doesn't count) and you can have two - one with each spellcaster.  Early on this will be an important method of keeping up the warband.
  2. Brew Potion
    • Another great "out-of-game" spell for the Witch to use.  Just remember that under Dark Alchemy rules, the Apprentice can only create Lesser Potions - only a Wizard can create a Greater Potion.  Remember you can also store potions created with this spell in your Vault, amassing a supply.
  3. Control Animal
    • Useful defensive spell for disruption of other Animal Companions or some of the wildlife in Frostgrave.  Situational, but disruptive.
  4. Curse
    • While the -1 penalty stacks with successive Curses, this is probably something your Apprentice should be doing.  Use it to weigh down your opponent's best fighters, or the enemy wizard themselves if they put themselves in a good position to use it.  The Witch in particular lacks a good combat spell, but Curse steps into that role and actually proves quite nasty in the right circumstances.  Even a -2 can spell doom for enemy soldiers.
  5. Familiar
    • Who doesn't like extra HP?  Pretty much a permanent bonus to Health, so once you CAN cast it, do so and then just make sure you've always got the familiar going.
  6. Fog
    • Fog spells tend to stick around after they are cast, so successive castings can really disrupt spells and missile fire.  A staple defensive spell.
  7. Mud
    • Difficult ground on a 3" blast template.  Successive castings can really mire an opponent down, since the difficult ground penalty in Frostgrave is half movement!
  8. Poison Dart
    • Permanently rob a model of 1 action per turn.  It can be healed with magic, sure - but good luck with that, buddy.  Quite a remarkable offensive weapon, but ultimately like all the Witch spells you'll need some finesse, and adroit control over your soldiers.
The game with the Witch is one of gradually debilitating the enemy to the point he is vulnerable to whatever you want to throw at him - like thugs or animal companions.  The amount of grief a well-placed Witch can cause can seriously damage your opponent's battle plan simply because they stick around longer than spells cast from other schools, which in many cases give saves every turn.  The warband of the Witch is going to need to contain some heavy-hitters, because much of the fighting will be down to them whether the wizard is involved or not.  Combined arms is the way to go.

If it were me (and it usually is) I'd choose Animal Companion, Brew Potion and Poison Dart.  Animal Companion can count for up to 20% of your warband, if you like.  Brew Potion will set you up with a lot of tricks, which you'll need - but it's also a lot better if you're using Dark Alchemy, as the choice of potions is tweaked a bit.  As for Poison Dart - well it's a tough sell between that and Fog.  Too bad we don't have Poison Fog.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Pre-Painted D&D Miniatures

D&D Attack Wing
You can't fool Iron Seer by switching the bases around.
Some time ago (2003, to be exact), Wizards of the Coast started introducing their pre-painted miniatures lines for what was then the third edition of the Dungeons and Dragons game.  At the time, I was unhappy with WotC after their triumphant success with the D&D property.  You see, they had also just introduced the "3.5" edition.  I was seriously into some D&D, but my books that I already had worked just fine, you see.  I was in my early twenties, and finally got a taste of capitalism right in my hobby.

Around then I really decided to double down on miniatures games.  However, I had a real distaste for these prepaints.  They just were generally ... poor compared to my own work, or that of my homies.  In certain places where I lurked online, the sentiment was echoed - prepaints were an alien menace to be eradicated, with NO conversation.

I was so entrenched in the conventions of wargaming at the time, it was hard for me to see any 'use' for these miniatures, but now I see it as the hubris of youth.  You see, without any money or a real space to store lots of miniatures, as a young man I strived to obtain precisely what I thought I 'needed' to play 40k at any one time.

D&D Attack Wing - Frost Giant
Jarl Horn will be taking those Huggies...
and any cash you've got in the register.
Today, it's very different.  Of late, I've found myself more and more attracted to prepaints.  This is partially due to the fact that the re-launch of the line in 2014 had a vastly improved quality of production over the older generation...but that really started with Pathfinder Miniatures launch in 2012.   When those miniatures came out, our club was gifted a complete set with multiples as we started down an adventure path.  Honestly, that changed my mind entirely about what pre-paints could be, and even how they could be used.

I've started to be more open minded in my old age.  I devote a 'yooj' portion of my gaming budget to prepainted miniatures as far as X-Wing goes, but the plastic RP prepaints were more of a diversionary thing, a sort of 'supplement' to my normal miniature addiction.  However, as they began to stack up and I took up collecting Star Wars miniatures in general I began to see a much greater value for the humble prepaint.

I'm not so straitjacketed in my gaming these days.  Storage has always been an issue, and right now I'm about to pull everything out and rearrange terrain storage and plan what set of tables I'm actually going to keep and develop.  To tell the truth, my backlog is so great that if I hadn't changed my mind about prepaints I'd not have nearly the amount of cool dungeon monsters to menace adventurers with.

At some point I realized it didn't matter what quality they were, as long as there were recognizable, colorized(ish) and I didn't have to worry about them beyond making the purchase and remembering they were there.  Since both Star Wars and D&D have a rather distinct style, with lots of specific types of soldiers and monsters, it helps to have models that actually display the particular threat you wish to project on your players.

D&D Attack Wing - Red Dragon
Warning:  Trees may come into
focus quickly.
Let's talk about D&D Attack Wing.  First of all, it was cool.  Second of all, it's also easy to see how people were put off by it.  If the price point was 25-50% less than what it was (depending on the product) it would have been a much better sell...but that would have undercut Tyranny of Dragons prepaints, which were the exact same miniatures but on a different base.  So the Attack Wing models were sold as the premiums, mostly because you knew exactly what you were getting with each purchase. With the collectible aspect of the prepainted miniatures line, it wouldn't do to have miniatures (especially the larger ones, specifically dragons) that were the exact same floating around that were that easy to obtain.  The rarity would have been upset and so would collectors.

There just weren't that many Attack Wing collectors.

It's been discontinued since, but I'm still collecting it because we're still having fun with it.  If nothing else, it came with a lot of tokens and models that are going to be pulling exceptional duty around here.  I'm not as put off about 'mixing' models from one game or another anymore, and we've also got the D&D Miniatures Handbook to play with.

I didn't get to play Dungeon Command, but hopefully I'll remember to grab up a few of the sets before they get outrageously expensive.  I'm kinda in the process of doing that with Attack Wing, so we'll see how that turns out.  I should have grabbed those up when they were cheap.

As far as Chainmail goes, we've already been playing a D&D(ish) skirmish game.  The biggest issue is the grid, honestly.  Anyways, the Miniatures Handbook kinda solves all that for us.

I think if I had one thing I wanted, it would be a better points system that wasn't reliant on cards.  Yeah I know it's "impossible" to create a "balanced" system and that's why the Miniatures Handbook only gives us "guidelines"...but I think we'll be able to use whatever we like.  Attack wing is another story, but still - we've got plenty of dials and facing cards.  We could always create our own, and that's the best part.  After all, we've got a war to start in the Silver Marches...

Jake Reveals His Maneuver Dial
Remember:  Reveal your Maneuver Dial with the exact amount of panache that is appropriate to your opponent's misfortune.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Top 8 Reasons the Soothsayer is Best

People who can profit on instincts can manipulate the future.
Inspirobot will never manipulate your future. 
As I'm finishing up the first batch of Frostgrave models and terrain, I realize I want to talk about all the wizards in turn before I start cranking out the pics and we start the campaigning proper.  This warband will be more stylized, which is what I'm going for with most of them for this game.  I'm going to need to order some new basing materials for the terrain, as I've pretty well worked out how I'm going to base all the warbands but the terrain will take more than what I have on hand.

One of the best parts of gaming these days is being able to select which models you want to use from all the available sources.  The official Frostgrave models are great, but you can use whatever you want. That mentality needs to be more prevalent in our gaming, I feel.  How much more diversity would that add to the aesthetics of these things?  Keep diversity among your diversions, I say.

 I found some really cool models to use with a neat theme, and hopefully they'll look like they belong together when I finish in a few weeks.  I know I have found recently that although I don't mind which models are used, I am DONE with unpainted models in games.  I have also forbid myself to photograph unpainted models for this blog, with the exception being that the model is actually finished.  I may then present all pictures alongside each other as "in-progress" and "finished"...but other than that I can't bring myself to do it.  Must paint faster.

The aligned schools for Soothsayer are Thaumaturge, Chronomancer and Illusionist.  It is opposed to the Witch school.  The Soothsayer can be an irritating enemy to encounter, largely because their magic can confound even the most battle-hardened Elementalist.

Top 8 Reasons the Soothsayer is Best!
  1. Awareness
    • This is an easy one for your Apprentice to cast early in the game.  If you have it, take it - it amounts to a 5% increase in your chance to win the initiative each round.  Not much, but solid and an easy cast.
  2. Combat Awareness
    • This is a staple for the warband that wants to engage in combat.  Not too hard to cast, and beneficial to every soldier who'll be on the front line, as +2 Fight is pretty hefty.
  3. Forget Spell
    • Use to strip your opponents of their spells, obviously - but target their best spells.  This spell is actually pretty easy to cast, but remember it only applies to the spellcaster that is targeted.
  4. Mind Control
    • This spell puts a model under your control, as if it were in your warband, until the target can shake the effects.  Even if it lasts only a round or two, it can be a game changer.  A staple.
  5. Reveal Invisible
    • A secondary spell with a very real use, especially vs. irritating Illusionists or those spellcasters with the spell leveled up.
  6. Reveal Secret
    • An extra treasure, really close to your board edge.  Showing up already knowing where the good stuff is...well that seems like the way to go about it.
  7. Will Power
    • Another secondary spell with situational benefit, it's very useful for helping shrug off effects that are continuous (such as Mind Control) or if you know your opponent will attempt spells that require Will rolls, such as Forget Spell.
  8. Wizard Eye
    • Countless fun can be had with this gem.  Setting it up can be tricky, but invisibly smacking your opponent with targeted spells (like Forget Spell or Mind Control) while completely safe is the payoff.  Try it with a few different spells and you'll get the idea.
Awareness, Forget Spell and Mind Control.  Those are immediately the three I want to start with, as they have lower casting numbers and are functionally attack spells.  Supplement that with some lower cost spells from the allied schools  such as Heal or Monstrous Form and you're in business as a Fortune Teller.

For this warband I'm going to make sure I've got some lower cost models to represent the mendicants of the oracle's temple.  Thugs and Javelineers fit the bill, but you still need some beefcake.  To that end we'll add a Man-At-Arms and a Templar.  A Marksman will round out the warband, and I'll immediately set up an advice booth downtown in Frostgrave.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Space Gaming Mats

 In the last few years, we've gotten really spoiled for choice as far as setting up the battlefields we fight over.  It might surprise some of you newcomers, but up until just recently we've never had the top quality mats we have now.  My group has made due with flocked plywood, white and green sheets, and a green carpet (it's still here somewhere) before being able to really set up a nice looking game easily.  Easily being the keyword.

Today, I want to talk about space mats.

A crazy idea if you played any space games long ago, but now we have cheap, durable and nice looking mats available from a variety of retailers.  For the Cloak of the Sith, I chose Gale Force 9 to provide the backdrop of the battle.  They have a selection of great stuff I'm sure I'm going to get more of, and I selected two mats of different sizes that seemed to depict the same type of 'space'.  The 3x3 "Space Mat" and the 6'x3' Gas Giant.  You can check them out at GF9's online store.

Gale Force 9 Space Mat 3'x3'
3'x3' fits great on a medium size dining table.
Recently I've been  looking around for new mats for a lot of different games and warzone types, and I'm impressed at the staggering array of mats from all kinds of different companies.  I've got a few already, but they are kind of old and you can't even get some of them anymore.  We'll talk about those at a later date.  The most important takeaway is that I need more 3'x3' mats, because the big ones have been kind of out of style except for larger battle games.  Not the trend at all these days, and you can only find 6'x4' if you look specifically for them.

When you realize Darth Vader has a Target Lock...
"Then the Emperor has already won..."

Recently I was able to get a big game with lots of ships on the board, and we had to break out the 6'x3' Gas Giant for the first time.  Spectacular.  I look forward to seeing all sorts of spaceships get vaporized on this thing.

Gale Force 9 Gas Giant
On my 6'x5' table setup, there's actually a lot of room left for accoutrements.
My only real complaint with these mats is it's harder to photograph them.  Light sources can really cast a glare on it, and although that's no real issue you will have to jockey a little for a good shot off the cuff.  However, they are durable and resistant to liquids...and that's important when you flip out and spray your beer all over your enemy's face.

Recently, I was asked about a certain moon-like space station.  Gale Force 9, luckily, makes some nice products to fit that bill.  I'm surprised there's not a 6'x3' version of that map, but like I said...full size tables are going out of style.  Good for us it looks like two of those moon station maps will fit together pretty smoothly...

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Top 8 Reasons the Chronomancer is Best

Today we have another Frostgrave bit, because this is my jam right now.  Of all the wizards, you can deviate a lot with the models in the Chronomancer warband.  I've collected a bunch of different models from across several ranges, and I hope after painting they look like they belong to the same warband...but that's the point with the Chronomancer.  You can have stuff from all over the timeline, and since we don't really know that much about it let's just assume the timeline has whatever we need.

Time is just a machine planning to kill you.
Inspirobot knows what is in store for mankind.
Strangely, I haven't had much opportunity to see the Chronomancer in action.  Only one player brought one during the last campaign I played, and he was shut out pretty quickly.  I don't think that reflects on the caster, more like bad luck.  You all know how many (1)'s I roll.

That's just how I roll.

The aligned schools for the Chronomancer are Necromancer, Soothsayer and Elementalist.  The opposed school is Enchanter.  Now let's look at the bag of tricks the Timeriders bring...

Top 8 Reasons Chronomancer is Best!
  1. Crumble
    • It's a situational spell, but applications are quite useful.  Make a door to go through, or make a hole to fall through.  If you're inventive and use the terrain, you can use this to both attack the enemy and protect your own models.
  2. Decay
    • A powerful defensive spell you should use on heavy soldiers first, like Infantrymen and Templars.  This can easily turn a fight in your favor.
  3. Fast Act
    • The Chronomancer requires some finesse to make the best use of his spells, but this can be a nasty surprise for your enemy, especially late in the game.
  4. Fleet Feet
    • Great passive bonus for your soldiers who need to grab the goods.  A round or two and your spellcasters can create a big speed difference between the warbands.  A staple.
  5. Petrify
    • One of the most annoying spells ever, especially when it's leveled.  The target can still resist, but combinations of spells over the course of the game can really widen the gap between the warbands.  Taking actions away with this, even if it's resisted a few times, can cost your enemy the game when it comes down to the wire.
  6. Slow
    • Unlike Petrify, the target can still act...just not much.  If used on a model with low Will, it can persist for quite some time and add up those stolen actions.
  7. Time Store
    • can be super-fast in a burst of speed, taking 3 actions in a turn.  Combine with Fast Act for a sad opponent.
  8. Time Walk
    • More dangerous to attempt than Time Store, the benefit is also slightly better, allowing for a total of four actions over the course of the turn.  This is an awesome spell, but probably not something you want to cast until you've spent several levels on it.  However, after that - it will be a staple in the repertoire of the high level Chronomancer.
This one is hard for me, since I've not really played with many of these spells.  I have seen them in use, but the possible combinations are intriguing.  If it were me, I'd probably take Fleet Feet, Decay and Fast Act.  In the early campaign, you're going to have to fight for your supper and those spells will make it easier until you start to uncover more magic in the Frozen City.

For soldiers, Knights and Warhounds will even the odds as far as hand to hand goes.  I found a nice model for a Crow Master, and a really cool Bones model for the Assassin.  A Treasure Hunter will be the recipient of a Fleet Feet spell right off the bat and will make for a great chest-grabber.

Locked wooden and metal chests full of treasure, for clarification.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Storm King's Thunder: Prepare to Die Edition [Part 2]

Storm King's Thunder: Prepare to Die Edition
*Updated 10/27/2017*

Warning:  SPOILERS ahead for Storm King's Thunder.

View Campaign Page.

2.1 Triboar 

The party descends the cloud staircase from Zephyros' Tower, and makes their way into the town of Triboar.  Supposedly named after some guy in the olden days managed to kill three boars in one day nearby, the town is an agricultural community surrounded by farms and ranches.  The players remember that the ex-husband of the proprietor of the Lion's Share in Triboar perished in the attack on Nightstone, and find the shop right away to give her the bad news.

The players explore the town and meet various characters, including Narth Tezrin, who helps run the Lion's Share.  Ghelryn Foehammer is the crotchety dwarf smith from down the road, and Urgala Meltimer from the North Shield House, a respectable inn.  Othovir is the town harness maker but doesn't have much to say, and Darz Helgar is the creepy dude who rakes turds from yards.  After learning all this, the party makes arrangements to stay at the North Shield House, then immediately go to the nearest bar with a hole in the roof.

2.2 Attack on Triboar 

Suddenly, the town erupts in a great panic.  Sweeping forth from the northeast is a force of orcs, lead by two fire giants.  Orcs riding axebeaks sweep into town ahead of two squads of magmins and a group of orogs.  The axebeaks wreak havoc on the town, whose guards the Lord Protector had just dispatched to deal with threats out on the countryside.  Undefended, the town began to burn as the magmins began to torch fields and buildings.

The characters are unhappy with this, and Niv attracts the attention of one of the giants.  This earns him a boulder, which prompts his retreat from the battlefield for a few moments.  Total chaos breaks out as the town and adventurers rally to the defense.

The giants were after something, and seemed to follow some sort of magical divining rod into town to begin digging in the middle of Darz' field.  A bloody fight with orogs and the giants ensue, during which time Softhands disrupts their digging by dropping a darkness upon the dig site.  Starman gets everyone back in the fight, and in a torrent of rage, magic and dirty tricks the defenders of Triboar (incredibly) manage to kill the two giants and disperse the orc raiding party.

Afterward, the hole the giants were digging was found to contain a strange piece of manufactured adamantite about eleven feet long, almost free from the ground.

Return to Storm King's Thunder: Prepare to Die Edition?

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Top 8 Reasons the Illusionist is Best

The things we find beautiful are just the mistakes of Toxoplasmosis.
Inspirobot will help you cut through the delusions.
I've already collected a lot of miniatures that I've set aside for Frostgrave.  When I first started, I didn't intend to do every wizard as a full warband but as the Bones rolled in it became apparent that I could.  So I did.

I still have my eye on the official Frostgrave models, which came out later.  So I've moved some minis around to make room for Soldiers, Barbarians and Cultists, but it's still going to be a hundred models (not including bestiary or terrain).  However, that hundred models will be a blast to paint, as it will be more about painting characters than troopers.

For the Illusionist, I had some Bones models that I happened to have the corresponding translucents for.  Wizard, Apprentice and Captain.  Woot.  Now I can annoy my opponents with Invisibility.

My first wizard in any campaign was an Illusionist, and I had a lot of fun playing him as a scoundrel.  He's dead.  Still cool though.  The aligned schools for the Illusionist are Soothsayer,  Sigilist and Thaumaturge.  The neutral schools are Necromancer, Witch, Chronomancer, Summoner and Enchanter; the opposed school is Elementalist.  Interestingly, Illusionists are also known as Conjurors (along with many other derisive epithets).

Top 8 Reasons the Illusionist is Best!
  1. Beauty
    • This can actually cause a lot of disruption in the enemy battle line, especially if they've got a mean crush on (for) your wizard.  It won't work every time, but if you're being attacked by several enemies it can cause them to look stupid for a moment.
  2. Fool's Gold
    • This is an interesting spell you'll have to play with to get some true use out of.  When they get wise to your spell, try placing a REAL treasure well out of the way and send someone quick to go get it when your enemy is committed to the larger concentrations elsewhere on the board.
  3. Glow
    • Like most Illusionist spells, this is a solid support spell.  If your enemy forms a strong battle line, you may have to answer it in kind - and this can really turn the tide for your soldiers as +3 isn't a meagre bonus!
  4. Illusionary Soldier
    • Cast before every battle if you have nothing else to cast.  You have a good range of choice here, but remember the illusions aren't nearly as hardy as their corporeal counterparts and can't really do much.  But still.
  5. Invisibility
    • A staple for the Illusionist.  It has a great many applications, from approaching combat to escaping it.
  6. Monstrous Form
    • At first glance, this is very similar to Beauty but has a totally different effect.  It's good for getting enemies to move away from you, and even stopping a beatdown in progress.  However, it doesn't protect you from missiles or cause them to lose actions - but it's a better protection vs. melee.
  7. Teleport
    • Again, indispensable, no matter what school of wizardry you study.  It's a staple, and can't be ignored.
  8. Transpose
    • Slightly harder to cast successfully, Transpose can be used both offensively and defensively.  The ability to move ANY models is far out, but if used on the enemy there could be multiple Will rolls to resist.  That said, a successfully cast Transpose can really foul up enemy wizards and their plans.
Honestly, there's a lot of good stuff there...but remember you're starting at Level 1 and your apprentice can barely cast anything.  For my first three spells, I'm going with Glow, Invisibility and Teleport.  My wizard and her apprentice carry bows, and daggers as well, so I'll supplement the Glow advantage with other augmentation spells like Combat Awareness from the Soothsayer school.

I've also selected soldiers with higher move rates, and intend to run this warband like a team of thieves and rogues.  If at all possible, avoid combat and fire missiles with Archers while Thieves and Treasure Hunters grab the loot.  In and off the board in a hurry!!  Though I know combat can't be entirely avoided, it will be fun to see how this plays on the tabletop.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Top 5 Reasons Star Wars Armada Deserves Your Attention

Armada players in their native environment.
The test monkeys discover the hidden camera.
For years and years, Star Wars had been kind of a stale thing.  Like, since BEFORE the prequels, for those of you that remember.  It was X-Wing that got me back on the Star Wars hype train, and the Force Awakens trailer made me cry.  Before I saw it, of course.

Either way, I've always been a Star Wars fan, and I finally just accepted it a few years ago.  I finally saw how hard it was to have lived with that denial all my life.  My 'movie' was Return of the Jedi, and I was four years old when it came out.  I remember watching it on laserdisc in 1984 or something.  It made an impression, and I've had a lightsaber in my heart almost my entire life.  Figuratively.

#5 - Star Wars & FFG

Fantasy Flight Games must be commended on their Star Wars lines.  They dovetail nicely with each other and hit all the major beats - ship to ship combat at fighter and fleet scales, several RPG's covering facets of the universe, card games, board games and an upcoming miniatures wargame, Star Wars: Legion.

You can wage war at every level in the same universe, a feat that has only been matched by a few franchises.  Star Wars has never matched this impetus before, but now it's a cornerstone (or should be) of every gaming club.  Kudos to FFG, you knocked it out of the park.

#4 - More Complex Mechanics

Veteran gamers will enjoy the depth of the system, while simultaneously realizing it's not as complex as some other systems.  The mechanics are MORE complex, than say X-Wing, but not TOO complex to put off newcomers.  This gives Armada an appeal to a wider audience that goes beyond the Star Wars branding.

#3 - It's a Great Introduction to the Space Navy

Fleet-scale games require a little more imagination to get the most out of.  A lot of the movement and positioning has to be abstracted because of the sheer scale involved in the simulation, which is usually measured in kilometers.  To simulate the sluggishness of some ships, and the dependency upon support and distance, some different mechanics are utilized that might trip up some casual or X-Wing newcomers.  However, if you are introducing new players to different types of games all the time, Armada provides a quick jump off point to fleet scale space battles for newbies.  Everyone knows what a Star Destroyer is, and even if they aren't familiar with some of the ships or terminology if they are a budding gamer they'll quickly grasp the conventions and be able to take them along as they explore more complex rulesets.

#2 - Models & Dice

The models rock, end of story.  They are well-painted right out of the box, and you can have a ship ready to fight in a few minutes after purchasing it.  That alone is worth the price of admission.

However, the dice have got to be a selling point as well.  Many of us old-timers balked at having to use these colorful dice with strange symbols at first, but the novelty of them has grown on me.  These dice simplify the mechanics and playability by removing a lot of the math traditionally associated with combat calculations.

I think the dice mechanics, across all of FFG's Star Wars line, are the single most important thing that allows the games to attract and retain 'new' players, and by 'new' I mean brand new gamers.  The dice may have been off-putting at first, but they are colorful moving pieces whose symbols are easy to read and understand without any involved calculus or trigonometry.  Not that math is a bad thing.

#1 - Relative Snootiness

Yes.  It's a well known fact that if you play both Armada and X-Wing you are allowed to be snooty toward "X-Wing Only" plebes.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Top 5 Reasons X-Wing is Still Cool

So, I'm into Star Wars X-Wing.

Pish-posh, how does this belong on a miniatures wargames blog?  Well, the answer is self-evident - it's a wargame, with miniatures.  Realism aside.  We ARE playing Star Wars, after all.

Anyway, why should you care?

#5 - It's easy.

Like SO easy.  A few weeks after starting your collection you'll have a nice fleet, star mat, storage, yadda yadda.  Ok, so what I meant was it's easy to PLAY, to TEACH, and most of all to TRANSPORT.  So I guess really that's three reasons, but to me it's all the same.  You're welcome.

Star Wars X-Wing Rebel Fleet 2017
Rebels 2017

#4 - The Rebel Fleet

You need more X-Wings, alright cuz?  I always liked X-Wings - they are like, iconic or something.  Dead sexy, they are ... all in a formation and all...

Star Wars X-Wing Scum Fleet 2017
Scum 2017

#3 - The Scum Fleet

Really though, the entire scum fleet is sexier than the X-Wing.  I mean really.  Even that Y-Wing looks cool.  Also - turret squadrons rule.

Star Wars X-Wing Imperial Fleet 2017
Imperial 2017

#2 - The Imperial Fleet

Even my cat knows what a TIE fighter is and what it can do.  The quintessential villains of the Rebellion Era, the Galactic Empire is a freakshow of space nazi proportions destined to explode in nearly every game.  Every collection deserves a few handfuls.

#1 - Pew-Pew

By far the best reason to collect and play X-Wing is the fact that you now have a reason to make blaster and spaceship noises, so therefore do not need to make excuses anymore.  To anyone.  "The TIE itself entices one to vocalize."

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Top 4 Wargaming Genres

Engulfing inspiration creates your deeper self.
Inspirobot beckons you onward.
I'm keeping it real here.

In reality, you can break down setting genres and all the other stuff, but the truth is I have a lot of rulesets that I shuffle models between.  Sure, I collect a lot of models with specific games in mind, but I like models in general and sometimes get them because I like them.  As the lines between things blur, it's often better to compartmentalize.

For myself, I have organized all the genres, eras, scales and such into four easily discernible categories.  Yes, only four - despite all the little variations that will be contained within them.  This is really just to keep myself sane so I can easily find particular models and rules in my expansive collection, so don't take this as gospel.

It's just how things will be organized here for the time being.
  1. Historical
    • Any game set in the 19th Century or before, or a facsimile thereof.
  2. Modern
    • Any game set in the 20th or early 21st Centuries, or a facsimile thereof.
  3. Fantasy
    • Any historical setting with fantastic elements.
  4. Sci-Fi
    • Any modern setting with fantastic elements.

So, it's a little simplistic but it does the job.  All the games we're going to be playing with fall into one of those categories.  Further, the scale and setting does differentiate each game...but we'll get to that in due course.

Steampunk stuff will usually fall into fantasy, and Cthulhu horror will be Sci-Fi if it's set in the 20th century onward.  Dead Man's Hand is Historical, but Wild West Exodus is Fantasy.  Flames of War is Modern, but Konflikt '47 is Sci-Fi.  It's doesn't have thirty categories of games, but it fits all the subgenres neatly into these categories.  And if we can't have it nice and neat, do we really want it?