Poised on the brink!

Afternoon everyone!
The festive season is nearly upon us! I have this week off work, fortunately, which marks I think the second time in my 11-year career that I’ve managed to book time off beforehand. I was hoping to use it to catch up with everything that has been going on, but as it happens, so far I don’t really seem to have gotten anywhere!

To start with, I’ve just now caught up with my degree work. Been hard-going, last week, studying the funeral oration of Pericles from Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War. Yes, it was just as good as it sounds. Interesting, don’t get me wrong, and some of the historiography of the speech was really good to learn, but heavy going, I must say. Which is probably why I abandoned it halfway through the week, and have only today finished up! Up next is Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, which is a play I’ve read a few times over the years. Aristophanes and I go way back, anyway, so I’m hoping that’ll be much easier to get through. For now, though, I’m supposedly on the Christmas break, so I’m intending to use my time to read up some of the background on the Peloponnesian War, having had the Donald Kagan book for years but never having gotten round to it…

Thucydides

I’ve finally finished building up the miniatures from the Shadows of Brimstone box set City of the Ancients, after about three weeks of vacillating over the whole thing. I’ve got to admit, they aren’t exactly fantastic sculpts, and they go together really badly – the trio of Night Terrors all have really bad joins along the arms, but that’s the best I could get them to fit. I’m not sure if I want to paint them, as the level of detail is nowhere near as good as Citadel plastic, and my one attempt at painting a board game piece isn’t exactly fabulous, but I’m faced with the option of having these models, or trying to make them look better by painting. I’ll see how it goes with the other projects I have on the go first, I suppose…

…because I’ve got a lot of painting projects that need to be dealt with – a Triarch Stalker, a Catacomb Command Barge, ten Immortals in varying stages of completion, three Crypteks the same, and a second Vargard Obyron (the first being an absolutely appalling finecast). While I have been slowly bringing the Immortals to completion, the only thing I’ve actually managed to do is complete the third of my Scarab Bases – voilà!

In an effort to try to be more proactive with my painting, I’ve been spending a lot of time online looking at various options and such, all in the name of inspiration (or, more accurately, procrastination). There’s a decent enough tumblr I can recommend, allthingswarhammer, which seems to scour instagram for anything that is tagged as warhammer, but along with relevant stuff, there can be some pretty weird posts on there! Tumblr is still one of my favourite things, anyway – you can follow me (if you like!) here, anyway!

However, you don’t need to go to tumblr for inspiration goodness! Roemer’s Workshop right here on WordPress is another excellent blog that I really like – not least because reading posts like this help to put my own addiction into perspective!

Necron Immortals

The second batch of Immortals (above) are coming on, too. I’ve tried to stick with the same colour scheme as for the first lot I painted, though changing the colour of the ‘warpaint’ on their faces, this time going for Zandri Dust. Once the bases are done, they’re pretty much ready if I’m honest, and I’ll be in the position where I have the minimum troops required to play the tabletop game! I’m guessing, though, that I won’t really have the time to do that before we’re well into January, by which time the Necron Codex is expected to hit. So it’s timed quite well, all told!

IMAG1767

Bravo to all of you who have realised that my writing this blog is just another way I’ve been procrastinating, anyway!

Crisis!

Hey folks, welcome to game day!
I was intending to have a truly mammoth blog ready for today, as a sort of Christmas-special game day blog or something, but real life has intruded and I’ve not been able to write anything up. So that’s been pushed up to the beginning of next year now, and instead I’m going to share some thoughts with you on a game expansion I tried out for the first time yesterday – the Crisis Expansion to DC Deck Building Game!

DC Crisis

Yes, it was only last week that I took you all through the main game, but what the hell. The Crisis Expansion Pack is the first proper expansion this game has seen, introducing some new heroes, new main deck cards, and two new modes of play. Pretty impressive, really! As I only played this for the first time yesterday, this will be more of a first thoughts style blog than anything else, at any rate.

So first, we have new superheroes – six of them, in fact:

DC Crisis

There are some really interesting abilities on these superheroes, four of which have been in the base set as Hero cards, the other two being supported with the new main deck cards:

DC Crisis

I didn’t use any of these when I played with the game, but it looks like there are a few interesting twists being added to the game here, nonetheless!

The first of the two new modes of play is Impossible Mode, which replaces the base game’s Super Villain deck with much tougher variants:

DC Crisis

You can see in the comparison above that the new super villains (the bottom four) are slightly more difficult to beat, but some of them also have more difficult first appearance-attacks, and grant better bonuses once you’ve defeated them.

The second, and to me, much more interesting new mode is Crisis Mode – more interesting, because you can now play DC solo! Crisis Mode is probably the bulk of this box, as you use the Super-Villains and the main deck cards, along with new Super Hero cards, and a new Crisis deck:

DC Crisis DC Crisis

The new mode of play is co-operative, and involves a few rules-changes, but these new Super Heroes support that by having benefits to your team-mates such as drawing extra cards, stacking your deck, etc. It also does away with the Victory Point conditions, and you win if you defeat 12 Super Villains, but lose if the main deck runs out. With the main deck therefore acting like a timer, there are twists added, such as adding the top of the main deck to the game at the start of your turn, but also the new Super Villains and, particularly, the Crisis cards add more cards from the main deck, trying to defeat you that way.

DC Crisis

These new cards are essentially the opposition here. They act almost as gate-keepers to the Super-Villains, as you need to defeat the Crisis card before you can attempt to defeat them. One of these cards in particular, Dimension Shift, can only be beaten if you reveal a card with cost of exactly 2 from the top of your deck. When I played this game yesterday, I was playing as Martian Manhunter, whose effect allows you to place a hero on top of your deck from your discard pile if you played two or more heroes that turn. You’d think it would be fairly straightforward to beat this card, therefore, given the number of heroes that cost 2, but no! It caused me to cycle through my deck repeatedly over about 45 minutes while I tried to get past it! Bah!

DC Crisis

For me, Crisis mode is awesome. Even setting aside the fact that it allows for solo play (always a winner with me, remember!), it adds an extra layer to the game that elevates it from being “just another deck-builder”. In fact, I would go so far as to say it begins to approach Marvel Legendary as an awesome game experience. See, while I do like deck-building games, they can tend to be very much of a muchness, and I usually like to have a good break between playing games with them as a result. However, when the deck-building aspect is suitably masked behind deeper mechanics, such as with Marvel or Arcana, then you focus more on a game experience and less on the purely nuts-and-bolts “I have this much currency in my hand, so can afford this card, which I place in my discard pile before doing it all over again”. It’s pretty exciting to note, of course, that this is explicitly Crisis Pack 1, so I’m hoping we see further packs that expand on the number of Crisis cards available, increasing the options for this mode of play!

It’s all about the levels, people!

Buy it from amazon:
Crisis Expansion Pack 1