Some weekend reflections

weekend reflections 2

Hey everybody!
So here we are, another weekend closer to Christmas! Whether you celebrate the holiday season or not, I hope you’re nevertheless planning some awesome times for midwinter! Personally, I’m leaning quite heavily toward getting more time with Eldritch Horror. Last year, I had the core game, and it has become such a big favourite of mine in the last twelve months, I think it’s only fitting! Of course, we’re also expecting the expansion very soon, which is just far too many kinds of awesome! I’ve not been following the spoilers all that religiously – I’m waiting to have it in-hand before I begin to look at mechanics and whatnot, but the news has certainly been showing some very interesting things for us to look forward to!

EH03-GameLayout

I actually read At the Mountains of Madness around this time last year, as I like to read at least one Lovecraft tale at Christmas. Having now finished the book I’ve been reading, I’m considering something Weird next…

The big news at the minute, of course, is the release of Imperial Assault. Still being delivered, according to FFG’s website, my local game store apparently had it in stock this morning – is this the merger of FFG and Asmodee declaring itself? They did say they’d benefit from Asmodee’s distribution network in Europe, but while I’ve occasionally had stuff in hand here in the UK when our US cousins are still waiting, it’s never been something this big before… That said, I don’t actually have it in hand, as I’m kinda passing on this one for now. Long-time readers will know my struggles with getting other folks to play games like this, so I’m thinking I might as well concentrate my efforts (and finances!) on games such as Eldritch Horror, which can hit the tabletop without a massive production of getting people together for a game day. I’ve no doubt I’ll get it at some point, but anyway…

The only other thing to really excite me from FFG this past week is the second preview of Gates of Arkham, the next expansion for Elder Sign. Another one of those games that I really enjoy, Gates of Arkham takes the action out of the museum and onto the streets in a move that had some mixed reception from the community initially. However, this seems like a genuinely awesome move, and I’m finding myself really looking forward to this – not every board game expansion can claim that!

Gates of Arkham

Let’s move away from Lovecraftian board games for now – for a change, let’s look at what’s going on in Warhammer! Last weekend, I built up some more Necron Immortals, adding to the two vehicles that were primed and waiting for paint, and the bunch of Lizardmen stuff I’ve still got hanging around unpainted. Yeah. Well, these Immortals are important because it means I now have the minimum army size with which to play a game: namely, a HQ and two units of troops:

Necrons

Exciting, but I still haven’t managed to do anything with them. I’ve made a start with painting, kinda, but that’s as far as it goes. I’m still waiting for the new Codex, which is now purportedly coming in two weeks. Once that hits, I guess the world’ll be my lobster, but we’ll have to see how that goes.

However, I’ve hit a bit of a wall over the painting. I have over a dozen figures in various stages of painting – and I really dread to think how many I’ve got still in boxes! But I seem to have shuddered to a stop. So yesterday I made a real effort to get somewhere, and managed to put on the base coat for the Immortals’ Necrodermis and pauldrons, nothing too glamorous, but it’s a start I suppose…

Necrons

Got to start somewhere I suppose.

Despite these painting problems, I feel quite excited by what’s happening now in 40k, I must say! Last night, Shield of Baal: Exterminatus went up for pre-order on the Games Workshop website, and is inexplicably still available at the time I’m writing this! The conclusion to the Shield of Baal campaign, I really sat up and took notice when I came upon this little tidbit in the description:

– an explanation of how the Necrons of Cryptus awoke to lend their aid to the beleaguered world along with the fleet of Anrakyr the Traveller

Oh yes! Anrakyr, in case you’re wondering, is the chap with the Immortals in the picture above, and the first special character I built for the Necron army I’ve been amassing. I kinda like the fluff for this guy – travelling from Tomb World to Tomb World, waking up the slumbering Necrons, and taking a small detachment for his own from among the ranks as his pay.

As well as the campaign supplements, Shield of Baal has also been giving us novels from the Black Library, and today a new short story has gone up as an e-book: Word of the Silent King.

I’m hoping to get round to this later tonight. As I recall, the Silent King (Szarekh, to his friends) was the guy who entered into the pact with the C’tan that bought them immortality at the price of their souls and who, as a penance for getting his people into that mess, willingly died to see the Nectrontyr put into stasis. Though I might have gotten that wrong. Well, anyway, Szarekh strikes me as an interesting chap, as he seems incredibly sympathetic as far as these soulless soldiers go. Perhaps he will be the Necron Lord that is rumoured to accompany the Codex release. Well, we’ll see…

Dawn of the Jedi (0)

Hey folks!
Finally finished the novel Into the Void, a prequel of sorts to the Dawn of the Jedi series from Dark Horse, which I’ve recently written about here, here and here!

Dawn of the Jedi

Let’s get this out here now: the novel has almost exactly the same failings as the comic series, insofar as it categorically does not feel like a story from the ancient past of the Jedi. Rather, this book actually feels like it would be more at home in the Clone Wars era. Some of the scenes around the middle of the book, for instance, strongly recalled that specific conflict, for me. This doesn’t mean it’s a bad story, don’t get me wrong. The fact that it has the same failings as the comic lead me to believe this is a design failing of the era rather than a storytelling failing from the author. But anyway.

The book is chronologically the first to take place in the Star Wars (legends) universe, though was one of the last to be published before the story group decided it didn’t really happen. It follows the Je’daii Ranger Lanoree Brock on a mission to stop a madcap scheme that could spell doom for the entire Tython system. Adding to the pressure, the man at the head of said scheme is her brother Dalien, who has long been believed dead.

The story is actually really nicely told. It has a blend of past- and present-tense storytelling, with the odd setup of having the past tense for “now” and the present tense for Lanoree’s dreams and remembrances. A bit disorientating at first (as well as slightly annoying), it eventually settled into a really nice rhythm, and makes this one of the best pieces of writing to emerge from the universe.

There are some really nice sequences here, and we get to see a bit more of the system than we did in any of the comics. While it continually annoyed me to see how technological the galaxy was over 25000 years before the classic trilogy, if you concentrate on the story being told rather than the timeline conceit, you will no doubt enjoy it a lot more. As I said already, the sequence on Nox, where a manufacturing city sees an orbital bombardment, could have been lifted right out of the Clone Wars, with a Jedi attack on a Separatist factory world.

In fact, to my mind there are only two things that distinguish this era from others in the GFFA: Je’daii/Jedi use metal swords, and droids can’t speak (though some stutter, or something). But I’ve already whined about this in my first blog on the comics.

Towards the end of the novel, we begin to investigate the possibility of a Gree hypergate on Tython, and delve into the ruins of the Old City. The Gree are a species from the West End Games days of Star Wars, with some info on the Gree Enclave being published back in Adventure Journal #8 (from 1995). Subsequent sources have put the Gree prior to the Rakata in terms of galactic dominance, so it was nice to see some more of that joining-up. While we’re touring the ruins of the Old City, I had a really strong Lovecraftian vibe from the whole place, as Lebbon describes massive staircases much like we see in Call of Cthulhu, though the actual trek into the ruins was more reminiscent of the Yithian city from The Shadow Out of Time. This is something that I really enjoyed!

It’s a really good book, anyway, and one that I’m really glad that I’ve read. I’m just not too sure that I could call it an ancient tale of the Star Wars past…