Necromunda: going a bit tekky

Hey everybody,
Today I wanted to ramble on about Necromunda some more – specifically, about House Van Saar. I’ve been a big fan of House Van Saar for quite some time now – in fact, I think they could be said to have been my first Necromunda gang. Back in the dim and distant past of 2018, when they were first released, I painted up a gang of 6 which, at the time, I remember being quite pleased about. There was the leader, with his iconic energy shield and combi-melta; the rad-cannon guy, the plasma gun guy, and so on. The colour scheme was, in some ways, quite intricate as well, as I was painting each layer of armour in a different colour. Well, blimey, I’m not sure I want to go through with that for much longer!

House Van Saar

I’ve seen some amazing paint jobs online, and I think I might try to go with something a bit more muted and subdued, perhaps more appropriate for the Underhive!

My initial six-person gang is barely a legal force, if I take the leader, two champions, and three gangers (one upgraded to specialist), however it comes in at 1200 credits. I therefore need to get some more generic guys done, I think! Van Saar is the shooty gang, though, and even basic gangers have a ballistic skill of 3+, so they are correspondingly more expensive because of these better stats. At any rate, I have come up with a better starting gang that is ever so slightly over 1000 credits, although with seven gangers it should be a better mix from the off.

In the lore, House Van Saar has a functioning STC for lasguns, so is one of the richest Houses because they supply the Guard with weapons. However, the STC is leaking radiation, so their ganger bodies are a bit weakened as a result of this. I don’t know why it has really appealed to me, perhaps because I tend to play shooty armies in 40k, but I do like the whole lore and stuff around them. I also really like the aesthetic of the gang. I know a lot of people tend to dismiss them for being a bit too sci-fi or techy for the Underhive, but I think it kinda makes sense to have them stand out from the others. Indeed, when you look at the product range for the new Necromunda, I think everything has a really good, individual look now. When you look at the original Van Saar miniatures, the new line is basically a very good update to them, in my view!

House Van Saar

As I said, I want to try to do a different colour scheme for my peoples now, so I have started with the models that have been undercoated but nothing else. For a base, I’ve just painted over the whole model with Dark Reaper, but I’m currently torn over whether I want to go for a green/purple vibe that they have on the box, or whether instead for something a bit more interesting like the dark blue-grey base with then a splash of red or something, as an accent. Depending on how well that goes, I’m hoping that I can then just paint over the six that I already have done, though that could be a challenge that I’m not too keen for! As I will probably need more basic gangers built anyway, a big part of me is just thinking I might try to cut my losses and sell off what I have, then start again! 

I do have a lot of stuff that I would like to try to thin out this year, so I might see where I can get to with that. I suppose it would be nice to just start over, and not worry too much about stuff!

Van Saar, as one of the earlier of the original six House gangs, has had quite a bit of support from Forge World as well as the main plastic line, so that’s always nice to see. There are three champions in total, two of them come as a set (the guy with the cloak, and the woman with the servo-claw), and one with a lascannon and the cyberachnids. I do really like the latter, especially as the Champion has a vague look of RoboCop about him. Of course, the cost for him is quite insane – he can only take two cyberachnids, but maxed-out he comes in at 475 credits. The lascannon is quite a behemoth of a weapon, S10 AP-3 and D3, but with a 24” short range, I’m not sure it would ever be anything more than a gimmicky weapon. It gets a +1 bonus for long range, which is 48” – but if you’re on a table where that is possible, I would say you’re playing Necromunda wrong!

Cyberachnids are exotic beasts that are kinda interesting, with a venomous bite and web projector, which could be quite horrible in the right circumstances. They also have the Fearsome skill which they can transfer to their handler, so an enemy fighter will have to take a Willpower check before charging. They have the hilarious rule called Horrific, which means they can never be captured because “gangers of other Houses would just as soon not have (it) in their hide-out”. Exotic beasts aren’t something that I’ve had a lot of call for really, but I am really tempted to get this pack for them alone!

Finally from Forge World, there is the Arachni-Rig servo-suit brute, which is quite a costly piece of kit at 240 credits base, but it can also take a rad gun and/or a plasma gun, both of which together would bump it up to 360 credits! At first, I did wonder why I’d ever spend so much on something like this, when I could just get a champion wielding one of those guns for much less, but the brute can actually shoot twice, using each of its guns, which is pretty good. The guns are obviously cheaper as well, and you get the close combat ability that most other Van Saar don’t really have!

What else is there? Well, there’s the second gang box that came out in Wave Two (as I think of it), with the new champions and the prospects. The new champions are called Archeoteks, and while they are a little more expensive than the regular champion, they do have a slightly better stat line overall. They have some very interesting weapons options, though, including the rad beamer, which I think sounds very interesting! The close combat variant has a spider-rig, which almost makes them a mini arachni-rig, which I also like! The prospects are the guys on hover boards, Neoteks, and are mainly armed with laspistols and energy shields, although they can take lasguns, shock staves or plasma pistols, interestingly. I’m not entirely sure whether I’d arm them with shock staves, but it’s nice to know!

Prospects are an interesting addition to the roster, and one that I’ve also been looking at for my Goliaths recently. In terms of gang composition, they count as a Gang Fighter, same as a ganger and juve, so you can have almost as many as you like because they don’t tip the balance – normally, you can’t have more leaders/champions than you have gangers/juves, but adding in prospects to the latter means there’s more chance for variety in your basic gang. Of course, they have a juve statline, but they advance like juves as well, so you have a better chance of getting them better than you do with gangers. Also, the fact they have better weapons options can’t be overlooked! I think I’ll have to do a bit more a deep dive into the whole prospect thing in another blog, though, as this is already rambling on long enough! 

Suffice it to say, though, I am looking forward to getting more work done on these guys, especially once I have my colour scheme worked out and stuff. I think it’ll be good to have more options for playing the game fully painted (this will be the fifth gang that I’ll be painting, which is exciting!) so stay tuned for more updates on that!

More Champions

I just can’t seem to stop waffling on about Marvel Champions lately, can I?!

I’m very excited though, because I finally got round to reconstructing the Nebula precon deck, and so I’m just itching to give it a try…

Marvel Champions

I picked the deck up shortly before Christmas but, whereas I sleeved up the others I had got at the same time, Black Widow and Valkyrie, and have enjoyed both in their precon formats, I didn’t really have the same intent with Nebula, so stripped it down and filed her away. She’s not exactly a favourite character, but she comes with a Justice precon, and I think that is probably my favourite aspect, so she definitely has that going for her. Secondly, I’m not massively impressed with the other Justice Guardian, Venom, so I’m looking forward to trying her out at the earliest opportunity!

Unfortunately, I’m away for work next week, so I think my chances for card games will be slim to none, but at least it’ll give me time to plan some team-ups!

Marvel Champions

My current favourite team up has got to be Iron Man and War Machine, though. Iron Man is an aggro deck that can end up packing quite the whallop, it has to be said – in the game I played recently against Mysterio, I think he actually did about 18 points of damage to the second stage, bringing him incredibly low with just one hit. War Machine is the leadership precon, though I have now swapped a couple of cards as it didn’t seem to be running very well. In particular, he has a lot of high-cost cards without the Power of Leadership resource card, so I’ve put two of them in. It’s still one of my favourite combos to bring out a strong ally like Captain Marvel or Black Panther, beat up the villain a bit, then use Go Down Swinging to discard them, dealing 5 or 4 damage (respectively) as I do so. Glorious!

Anyway, next week may be quiet on the gaming front, but hopefully I’ll come back all the more energised for it!!

Marvel Champions: Red Skull rising

Hey everybody,
It’s the third weekly update for my games with Marvel Champions! This week hasn’t been particularly exciting in comparison with recent weeks, as I’ve not really found much time in the schedule to actually play much. However, I did play a game against the Red Skull, so I thought I’d still come here and write up some thoughts regardless!

Marvel Champions

I started to play the Rise of the Red Skull scenarios way back in January, playing through the first three scenarios in the same day when I had a mini-games day. I was using Black Widow and Hawkeye as my heroes, as it felt very appropriate for these scenarios. Crossbones was a very interesting villain to go up against, while Absorbing Man wasn’t entirely in the same league. Taskmaster could have been a lot better if I hadn’t rushed the scenario and missed out on what makes it interesting (rescuing captives), but I have since played that scenario with a different hero pairing and it has been really good. In fact, I’ve played through each of the three early scenarios with different heroes since my initial foray with Natasha and Clint, and had different experiences each time, which has been nice.

Marvel Champions

The fourth scenario is Zola, and he was a bit more of a challenge, especially with the amount of minions being thrown out from the encounter deck. However, Clint and Natasha prevailed, and in the end he wasn’t an impossible villain to face off against. I had been saving Red Skull though, as I think I had been building him up in my mind – the final boss of the campaign, and all that. I think the reputation isn’t entirely off the mark, although again, he wasn’t impossible to play against.

Marvel Champions

It’s interesting to look back on each of these villains, and see how they differ, etc. Crossbones is all about the weapons, it seems, whereas Absorbing Man requires a lot of pieces to fall into place to make him difficult – without the right cards in the right order, he isn’t particularly bad to go up against. Taskmaster can mimic hero attacks in the comics, and so here we have him as a very punishing villain, dishing out damage for a whole myriad of reasons, however he is overall not impossible. Zola was a bit scary, but I think I got lucky, and Red Skull has a lot going on, with the side schemes and everything, but again, I think I was lucky in that I was able to keep myself stabilized for long enough that I could then finally begin to fight back proper. 

This is probably the most satisfying collection / progression of villains that I have come across so far, between everything that it offers. Nothing feels impossible, and yet it’s also not a cakewalk, either. There are a lot of very real decisions that need to be made, and obviously things can be tweaked with the addition of modular sets to suit. But I was really pleased to play through the box and see how well put-together it all is. I think a lot of people perhaps malign it as the first proper campaign and so it doesn’t have the bells and whistles of later boxes, but it works really well for me, and the villains are pretty iconic to boot. All round, then, it’s a great box.

Marvel Champions

However, all that said, I wasn’t playing this as a campaign. Campaigns in Marvel Champions tend to be lacking, for me, and I think this is in part due to the exposure to Arkham Horror LCG that I have. See, if we’re comparing the two, Marvel Champions just doesn’t come close. There is an element of carry-over between the scenarios, and there are some cards that can be added to your deck as you go through, but in the main, I just don’t see them as worth the investment. I would rather keep this game as a sort of pick-up-and-play thing, and if I end up playing it consecutively as I have here, then that’s just fine.

For a few weeks now, I have thought about whether I could actually make use of the campaign cards in another fashion, because I think it’s a shame to have them and not do anything with them. The Red Skull cards are possibly the more interesting ones, and maybe even the easiest to do that with. There is a set of four Obligation cards that are shuffled into the player decks at specific points, which I find very interesting and could see myself using even outside of this expansion. These cards function like encounter treachery cards, but they’re in your deck and are effectively a dead draw, meaning the game is just a little bit more difficult. Also, we have the iconic “Zola’s Algorithm”, which I think has a place in almost any scenario!

Marvel Champions

There are also bonuses involved as well, including the ally heroes that are rescued from Taskmaster. I’m not sure I would necessarily use these, as they could make the game a little too skewed, but it would be worth thinking about for future games. 

Looking at the Red Skull campaign cards now, it seems pretty tame in comparison with later campaigns, which add a significant level of overlay to the game. I keep the Mad Titan’s Shadow stuff in the same box, and comparing the two is quite illuminating – first of all, there are many more campaign cards in that box, and they are a huge variety of obligations, allies, side schemes and treacheries, including another way to bring your Nemesis minion into play. The campaign system has definitely ramped up in the later boxes, though I had actually attempted the Thanos campaign and was still pretty underwhelmed, all told. It’s not that it’s bad, or not nice to have, I suppose – there’s just very little incentive to play the game as a campaign, as opposed to just playing it for what it is.

Marvel Champions

Necromunda Week: Battles in the Tunnels

Hey everybody,
Necromunda week has been fantastic so far, as I have caught up on all of my games in the ongoing Law & Misrule campaign. Ordinarily, I don’t think we’d have been able to play so many games, but fortunately the stars have aligned with no childcare issues for either of us to worry about!


For the third game, we went for a Tunnel Skirmish, with the objective being to take out as many enemy fighters as possible, scoring points for the type of fighter (3 for leader, 2 for champions and 1 for everybody else). Whoever had the most points was therefore the winner! 

As it was a tunnel skirmish, we decided to use the Gallowdark terrain that I had recently finished building up from the kill team box Into the Dark, as that leant itself quite nicely to tunnels and things, though as is often the case with these sorts of games, you end up not using a portion of the board as you’re just trying to get into close combat and beat each other up! The Subjugators are carrying shock staves, however, which are a versatile weapon that has an engagement range of 2” or something, which means they don’t actually get into base contact with my Goliaths. This is harsh, for me, because in Necromunda if you survive a close combat attack without getting seriously injured, you can make a reaction attack and fight back, even if you’ve already fought that turn. By keeping me at range, though, it has meant that I’ve had a bit of a rough time of things.


I can’t really complain too much, though, as I had bought a new champion for this battle, given that my current champion was in recovery following the last game. It seems to be quite powerful to be able to just buy a champion, but it seems perfectly legal, as the rules talk about simply hiring fighters as you would at gang creation. Interestingly, whenever a fighter dies and is removed from the roster, their equipment is kept in the stash, so you can hire a body but then give them the equipment that you already have on hand. So you don’t have to keep investing in new weapons as well. I think this will be useful as the game goes on, because I don’t have an infinite supply of Goliath models to build and paint – I can basically hire the ganger again, give him the equipment I already have, and hey presto, it’s like that fighter is back from the dead under a new name!

Interestingly, in this game one of my Intrigue cards was actually to resurrect a dead fighter, so I have chosen to bring back Luca. He comes back with -1 toughness, but with the Fearsome skill, presumably because he’s a walking corpse. Fearsome forces a willpower check prior to charging the model, and if the enemy fails this, they lose the rest of their activation. So I suppose that’s quite useful because I can be a bit more ballsy with him knowing that the patrolmen won’t necessarily want to charge into him. Luca also has a combat shotgun, which is a very good weapon to have (as far as I can tell!) so I want to keep him available to me if possible!

The game was very much wide open until the very end, when I narrowly managed to win 7-6. By claiming points for killing off gangers, I think I was a bit vulnerable because of my higher gang size – see, one of my rackets is the Promethium Guild Bond, which allows me to bring a free Bounty Hunter and two free Hive Scum to each game. So even with just five Goliath fighters on my side, I still had more models thanks to my supporting cast. It pretty much all came down to the finale, where the last remaining Subjugator patrolman bottled out and fled. Otherwise, we had both done really well to not bottle during the entire game, keeping our fighters, well, in the fight!


Again, though, due to the combination of Intrigues and Rackets that I now have, I was able to come off really well from this battle. I gained a total of 300 credits all told, most of which came from the Dead, Not Alive rule that my bounty hunter has. I had taken out the Subjugator Captain (more in a bit!) and so the bounty hunter can claim half the credits cost of that fighter, so with all the income I had from my rackets, plus the 110 credits from him, I did well. I also gained a good deal of reputation thanks to the Intrigues, and my surviving fighters all did pretty well for XP thanks to the brawling nature of this game.

For me, the highlight was using my new champion, Neri. I’ve equipped him with a flamer, which seemed an extravagance because it costs more than the champion himself, but despite a lacklustre performance to begin with, as he was out of range of everybody, he was able to roast the Subjugator Captain and set him on fire, causing him to go out of action as a result. He later went on to roast a random rookie cop, too, setting him on fire as well. Glorious stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree! At 265 credits, he’s my most expensive fighter, but I am quite pleased with his overall performance, so fingers crossed he continues to rack up the bodies!

During the post-battle sequence, however, we both took fighters to the doc, and both times, we rolled a 1 on the “medical escort” table and the model died! So I’ve lost Spiro, my grenade launcher guy. That’s a shame, as he was doing really well in the last game, though not quite so well this time. Being able to bring Luca back from the dead now means that I have six Goliath fighters, and 335 credits in the stash, so I have been buying yet more people!

I’ve bought a third champion, mainly because I wanted to make a guy with the rivet cannon but, as a heavy weapon, only a champion could carry it. To balance this, I’ve also bought another ganger, giving him a combat shotgun and spud-jacker. I now have all ten of my Goliath models built, then, so that’s that! I’m down to just 25 credits in the stash, and have two guys in the mortuary. However, my reputation is now at 12, so I can get a free Scabber hanger-on as well as not only having unrestricted access to the black market, but also gaining a 10% discount while I’m there! There’s all kinds of xenos weaponry or special ammo available there, I think I need to look into this some more, especially the ammo available.


Another of the post-battle steps is to capture enemy fighters, and as luck would have it, I captured one of the rookies! Capturing fighters is another post-game action, where if a gang has completely fled the field, their opponent can attempt to capture a random fighter. You add all the fighters who went out of action during the game to a 2D6 roll; if the number exceeds 11, then one of those fighters is captured and a random fighter card is drawn. We can trade captives back to their gang, or sell them to the Guilders, however the opposing gang must be able to attempt a rescue first.

This is what we’re going to do next game, to see how the Enforcers get on! At this point in the game, I think James is really struggling overall, without a great deal of credits and with a gang now mainly comprising of rookie cops. As such, my sort of Abitrator role is kicking in, as I don’t want the campaign to be miserable for him while I’m running away with things.

Necromunda Week: the campaign gets underway

Hey everybody,
I’m back with more Necromunda today, and it’s time to talk about the second game in my Law & Misrule campaign! The first game was really a bit of a taster, I suppose, and I’ve begun to think of it more as a prelude to the main event. I’m playing my Goliath gang, and James is playing as Enforcers, though for the first game he took his Orlocks out for a spin. The second game is therefore more like the first proper game in the campaign.


We were playing Experimental Testing for this game, a scenario from a recent issue of White Dwarf, where the attacker is trialling some stimms for a rogue doc, and so each time before they activate, they can roll a D6 and either suffer a flesh wound and lose their turn, gain an extra action for the turn, or suffer the flesh wound then get +1 to strength and movement for the turn. Each dose of stimms gives 1XP, though, so in a way it was a good scenario for the early game because it meant we could build up the experience of the gang. As it happens, I ended up being the attacker so was juicing up my boys quite a few times in the hope that I could level up! Flesh wounds lower the toughness of a fighter, but with Goliath starting as T4, I think we could pretty easily take one bad reaction without much thought. 

For this game, we also started playing “properly”, with the Intrigues and Rackets that are used in the campaign. The scenario ended when only one gang is left standing, and luckily I was able to keep enough fighters alive that I could claim the victory. However, I almost had an embarrassment of riches as I made out like a bandit on this one, between the intrigues and rackets that I had! I won a whole bunch of XP for everybody, however my champion went into recovery and two of my gangers actually died (more shortly!) but I also gained a total of 370 credits! This is in addition to the 70 that was in my stash because my starting gang was only 930 credits.


During the game of Necromunda, because you only have a small handful of fighters on the table, they can be quite difficult to outright kill. Whenever a successful wound goes through, for a regular one-wound fighter, you roll an injury dice, and apply the result. This has a 1 in 6 chance of killing him, but you’re more likely to either be seriously injured (whereupon you lie the model face down on the board, leaving them vulnerable to a coup de grace which will kill them), or suffer a flesh wound, which reduces the toughness as I mentioned before. When the fighter is T0, then they are removed. Being seriously injured, however, does have its complications, and can sometimes be quite painful as you can’t do anything with the fighter, except watch them bleed out over the rest of the battle. During the end phase of each round, there is a chance they can recover and stand back up, but I’ve known it before where a champion has spent the entire game just slowly dying in front of me, and it’s not great!

Anyway, during the game when a fighter goes Out of Action, you roll on a D66 table to see whether they suffer a lasting injury. This can range anything from just going into recovery, and missing the next battle, to a memorable death, perma-dying for the rest of the campaign. My champion went into recovery, but one of my gangers suffered a critical injury and would have died had I not taken him to the doc – well, as it happened, I decided to leave him succumb to his injury, as I wanted the credits for something else, and so he died as well. Finally, another ganger suffered a memorable death result, so he died in a blaze of glory, and that is that! Unfortunately, during a Law & Misrule campaign, when a fighter suffers a memorable death, the law-abiding player then has the option to claim a bounty on that fighter, so he ended up being worth 60 credits for James’ Enforcers!

I should say at this point, all of my fighters are named after characters in The Godfather. It started because I had painted up the Goliath bikers and had started calling them Mario and Luigi in my head, and it kinda went from there. So my leader is Vito, obviously, and we’ve got a breadth of gangers including Luca, Tonio, Carlo, and my champion (now in recovery) is Bruno. Luca, unfortunately, suffered the memorable death, while Fredo, despite impressing me during the Prison Break scenario by holding his own, even when he had three flesh wounds on him, bled out before I could take him to the doc.

Visiting the doc in Necromunda is also done in the post-battle sequence, and I often think it’s where a bit of the RPG stuff comes in. You have to pay 2D6x10 credits for the medical bill, but even then there’s a one-in-six chance the fighter will die anyway. 

During this battle, James lost three of his Palanite Subjugators, to have them replaced in the next game by three Rookies (juves). Seems to be a very powerful rule that they have, allowing for a replacement fighter for free. However, while I have got a whole bunch of credits and reputation now, mainly thanks to the 200 credits I gained from the “Clear the Smuggling Routes” intrigue card, James is really struggling, with three Subjugators (including his Captain) and three Rookies to replace the other losses. 

It really is pretty brutal in the Underhive!


Necromunda Week!

Hey everybody,
It’s Necromunda Week! I’ve been meaning to get round to talking about the Necromunda campaign that I’m playing in for a while now, and after game 3 at the weekend, I think the time is now!


I’m playing my Goliath gang in a Law & Misrule campaign with my buddy James, who started with his Orlocks but after game one switched to Enforcers. I’ll get to that shortly, though! Necromunda is a game that has been talked about so often here on the blog, though while I’ve talked about the Dominion campaign previously, I don’t think I’ve talked about the Law & Misrule campaign before. Law & Misrule was featured in the Book of Judgement, and was almost purpose-built to include the new Palanite Enforcers gang list. The campaign takes place, as all Necromunda campaigns seem to, over seven “weeks”, broken down into three weeks of fighting, then a week of downtime, then three more weeks of fighting. Whereas Dominion focuses on control of Territories, Law & Misrule features Rackets that we are fighting for control over. At the start of the campaign, each gang gets two of these Rackets which will give boons for having them, either in terms of bonuses or income. You then nominate an unclaimed Racket to fight over during the first phase, and the winner of the battle will claim it, in addition to any scenario bonuses. The second campaign phase then sees gangs fight to take over each other’s Rackets, as they try to gain more prestige and so on. Each Racket is linked to two others, and you gain enhanced boons for controlling either one or both of the linked Rackets; it should make for some interesting times in the second week, or even the first week as we seek to deny each other linked Rackets.

Interestingly, the rules for the campaign do allow for a mixture with the Dominion Territories, and it is suggested that they can be used side by side, as there are some Rackets that sit nicely alongside a thematic Territory.

Each gang also has an alignment, either law-abiding or outlaw, and this alignment will affect a lot of the campaign. Some Rackets give certain bonuses depending on your alignment, for example, and as you gain Reputation you have access to boons depending on your alignment. The main focus on this, however, is Intrigues, which I suppose is the other half of what makes this campaign. At the start of each battle, players each draw three Intrigues and keep them face-down. These will have a certain action that must be completed a set number of times; as soon as you have completed these actions, you can claim the Intrigue for a reward. However, Intrigues are tied to an alignment, so for example you may draw an outlaw Intrigue but you are law-abiding. Well, you can still complete it, but you must then perform an Alignment Check, rolling a number of dice as detailed on the card; any 1s will fail and you are “caught out”, forced to switch alignment and suffer a loss of 3 reputation. Some gangs cannot change their alignment, however, which means they suffer a loss of 5 reputation.


As I said before, James started by playing his Orlocks but after the first game decided he wanted to change to the Enforcers gang. I suppose I’m acting a bit like the arbitrator for the campaign as well as playing in it, as I have all the books and stuff, but it made thematic sense for his choice so we’ve just gone with it. The Orlock gang are all ex-cons, and the first scenario we played was Prison Break from Gang War III. However, the escape of the Orlocks has been noticed by the authorities, and so the Enforcers are chasing down my Goliath gang as they believe the House of Chains to have been behind the breakout. So we’re going along with that!

Necromunda is a game that is so much about the narrative, after all, so why wouldn’t we go along with it?

As the Palanite Enforcers are always a law-abiding gang and cannot switch alignment, I’ve decided that my Goliaths are an outlaw gang, which means we all have a bounty on our heads, which can potentially be claimed in the post-battle sequence.


It’s this sequence that I find to be almost as interesting as the game itself – it’s where much more of the RPG elements come into play, as we wrap-up from the body of the game and work out where we stand.

Following the first game, we decided that I could keep the bonuses almost like some kind of penalty for James switching gangs, however I’m a bit worried that this has put me too far forward already. After the first game, where the objective was for me to stop the Orlocks escaping, I managed to gain 1 experience for everybody, with a bonus two for my leader as he proved to be a monster taking a few enemy fighters out of action. We also gained four reputation, which is a very good start!

There are three currencies in the game, if you like: credits, XP and reputation. The first is obviously a literal currency, with which you buy stuff, including hiring bodies for your gang, whereas the others come into play in quite different ways. XP is earned most often by simply taking part in a battle, and gangers can gain additional XP by taking enemy fighters out of action. Sometimes there will be additional things that a fighter can do to gain XP as well. You then spend XP on advancements for your fighter – for leaders, champions, juves, prospects and specialists (basically, everybody not a ganger), you can use XP to purchase upgrades to your stats such as improving your weapon skill or ballistic skill, gaining skills, and so on. For a ganger, when you gain at least 6XP, you roll on a 2D6 table and gain the appropriate benefit which is similar to the above.


Finally, reputation has a couple of applications, most common being a level that allows you to hire hangers-on and brutes. So when you have between 1 and 4 reputation, you can hire one; between 5 and 9, you can hire two, and so on. Hiring the body will still cost credits, of course, but they can almost act like a bonus for your whole gang, depending on who you hire. Certainly, brutes are basically an additional fighter that will have very real in-game benefits.

In a Law & Misrule campaign, however, reputation has another use, determined by whether you are law-abiding or an outlaw. For my outlaw Goliaths, this is for stuff like discounts at the black market, or recruiting certain types of hangers-on for free, while law-abiding gangs can claim bounties on outlaw fighters, and recruit other types of hangers-on for free.

It’s a very intricate system, but it’s all pretty fascinating and I think we’re both really into it, so that always helps!


Anyway, now that we’ve had a few games in the campaign, I’ll be back later in the week to go through what has happened so far, and have a proper catch up moving forward. I think the fact we’ve been able to play so often recently is quite unprecedented, but hopefully we can keep the momentum going!

Another week with Marvel Champions

Hey everybody,
Just a quick catch-up with my Marvel Champions plays this week, as there haven’t been that many unfortunately! I have bought the Wolverine hero pack and Kang scenario pack, though, so will need to get them sleeved up and ready to play soon. Wolverine looks very powerful in aggression, and I’ve heard that he’s almost like playing on easy mode, so that’ll be interesting. I have been wanting to get the Kang pack for a while as well, but my LGS wasn’t able to get it so I’ve caved and picked it up from amazon, as I was getting some other bits anyway. There are now just eight hero packs left that I don’t have, which is a bit of a joke between me and my buddy Tony, who convinced me to get this last summer, as I distinctly remember telling him “I don’t think I’ll be buying everything for this game”… 

Marvel Champions

On Monday, I had a game with Quicksilver and Phoenix against Taskmaster, which was quite fun because I almost knew what to expect, after playing the scenario a while back. I did get to rescue Elektra from the captured heroes pile, so it was nice to get a bit more of a feel for that game. Quicksilver is a great hero to play, I enjoyed seeing all of the tiny actions build up over time, especially seeing how powerful it could be to ready over and over. I think that was quite a revelation. Phoenix still eludes me, though – I’m beginning to think Justice might not be the best build for her, truth be told. I’ve said before that I want to try to play heroes as they come, and by and large I think that’s made the game so much better for me overall, but there’s just something about Phoenix that I’m just not getting, or something. For now, though, I have actually swapped some of her cards around so that I have a few different things going on, so we’ll see how that goes.

Marvel Champions

On Tuesday, I had a very fun game, Gamora and Drax vs Thanos. I have only played against the big bloke once previously, and I think I played it wrong because I was dealing damage to him when he has the side scheme that prevents all damage in play from the off. So I was trying to pay more attention this time around, and make sure the victory was not hollow when it eventually came! Gamora is a very powerful hero, though – Thanos has 23 hit points in his second stage, and Gamora sliced through 12 of those in a single activation, thanks to a number of events and other effects kicking off one another.

Marvel Champions

Finally, on Wednesday, I played Drax and Rocket Racoon vs The Collector, and had a whale of a time. When I first played this scenario, I hated it, because I didn’t understand the effects and so it was over very quickly. As I now know, only permanent cards go into the collection; events, boost cards, resource cards, etc – all of these never enter play, and so cannot go in. Despite the fact that things got pretty hairy for me towards the end, especially when I had to flip Rocket to heal him because he was in danger of elimination, therefore losing my main thwarter, I was able to defeat the Collector with only 7 cards in the collection. So that was great! I think this one, and to a lesser extent Thanos as well, go to show how good the game can be when the familiarity is there. The game is intricate, for sure, but it’s not impossible; there’s a good amount of back-and-forth that makes for just a really fun time.

Marvel Champions

So as you can see, I’ve been doing a lot with Drax this week, after picking him up at the end of February. I’ve put off buying this deck for a long time, I think mainly because Protection isn’t really an aspect that I enjoy playing. I tend to go for the justice or aggro decks, it seems! However, I was actually really impressed with how Drax plays. His thing is Vengeance counters, which increase his ATK by one for each counter on him (to a max of +3). He gets a counter whenever he is attacked by the villain, and if a counter cannot be placed, he gets to draw a card. To off-set wanting to be attacked, he has 14 hit points, which is quite impressive (Venom is the second-best Guardian, with 12, just in case you were interested). If he ever flips to alter-ego, he loses the counters but gets to heal 2 points for each counter removed, so it can be quite useful sometimes to flip over. However, to avoid having to build that back, we have Mantis in the hero cards who can exhaust and heal three damage (although she takes one in return). He also gets one of those “I’m not dead” cards which sets his dial to 4 health when he would be defeated. Otherwise, his signature cards are mainly around the desire to be attacking and to be attacked.

He has a hand of 4 in hero form, which always bothers me about a hero, but the designers seem to have thought about this, and most of his deck is cheap cards, so you shouldn’t be faced with the possibility of not being able to play anything. There is also the fact that he will draw a card if you can’t place a Vengeance counter, and he has the upgrade Dwi Theet Mastery which allows him to draw a card when he makes an attack. Drax’s Knife gives him +1 attack, and Drax’s Other Knife gives him Retaliate 1, which is a really nice combo to have! The most expensive card in his kit is Knife Leap, which could be 0-cost if you have the full 3 vengeance counters on him, and gives him +5 ATK with Overkill and Piercing, which can be very useful. If he’s at full Vengeance, he’s already attacking for 4; with his Knife that’s 5, then Knife Leap makes him attack at 10.

For zero cost, he has Fight Me, Coward! which readies him and draws a card, then you get attacked. If you’re already at full Vengeance, you’re drawing two cards off that. If you survive the attack, you can then play Payback for 0 cost, which deals damage to the villain equal to your ATK after the villain has attacked you, so you can potentially deal out 15 damage on a turn there, providing you survive the villain’s attack back to you, of course! To help you survive, of course, he also has Parry, which prevents an amount of damage equal to double his ATK, and it also costs 0. Rounding out his specific cards is Intimidation, which allows you to remove threat from a scheme equal to your ATK, which gives some nice flexibility.

Drax comes in Protection, as I said, and there are some very useful cards in the precon that help with what he is trying to do. Subdue costs 1 resource, and gives an enemy -3ATK when it activates, and we also have Deflection, which can prevent up to 5 damage but requires you to discard cards from the top of your deck for each damage prevented. Good in a pinch, though it always triggers a little anxiety from me as I worry about discarding something I wanted! The gold-standard Protection card, of course, is the 0-cost Counter-Punch, which allows you to deal damage back to an enemy when you defend against their attack. Defending is never much fun, of course, because it leaves you exhausted for your turn and, depending on the cards you’re playing, that can be a turn off that puts you behind. Of course, Fight Me, Coward! will ready Drax, but he also has Indomitable in the deck to allow him to ready after he defends, so he won’t have to take a turn off if he does so. Imagine the scenario outlined before; he defends an attack, plays Counter-Punch to deal 5 damage, then readies with Indomitable, meaning he can then deal out that 15 damage in the turn after. That will almost kill Thanos, and will certainly kill Ronan.

Another nice trick is Hard Knocks, which deals 4 damage to an enemy and, if that enemy is defeated, gives Drax a tough status card. So he can kill off a minion using this card, get the tough card, play Fight Me, Coward! to initiate the villain to attack him, but take no damage from that attack thanks to the tough card, after which he can then fight back freely. A good early-game play to build up the Vengeance counters without risking damage, for sure!

Marvel Champions

Something that I do feel the deck is missing, though, is more resource generation. I’ve recently begun to think a lot about those upgrades that allow you to generate resources, which I used to overlook. I think this is proof of my strategies evolving, as I have moved away from trying to just rush a villain and kill him off as quickly as possible. True, I have mainly done this because I want to actually see more of the game, and not simply press on and gain victory in two or three turns! But wherever possible, I think it’s good to try and build up the board, so I might not instantly attack if I can get away with it, or I might flip between hero and alter-ego to allow a turn of scheming to in turn allow me to get some planning done.

I have swapped out some cards now, anyway, hopefully in a way that will improve some of the set-plays I’ve been thinking about with him. I’ve removed all copies of Deflection and of Leading Blow, replacing them with Shake It Off and Enhanced Physique. I’ve also done some minor tweaks, mainly to get a third Counter-Punch but also I’ve got one copy of The Power of Protection in, to help with resourcing issues that may arise. I’m not sure that I’d actually need it, though, but I thought I’d try it out and see how I get on. I’ve actually been through Groot as the other Protection Guardian, but I haven’t really found anything of further interest in there. Groot has a big theme around hit points and taking precise amounts of damage, which I don’t think really leans into Drax that much. He also seems to want to defend more often, whereas I don’t have enough ways to ready Drax to allow for all that, if I’m honest! I was thinking about swapping the Gamora ally for Rocket, but have decided I actually want to try playing Drax and Rocket together some more, so I’ll avoid that for now. The Gamora ally has the useful ability of getting event cards into your hand, and Drax has many of them in the deck, but I can’t help feeling she would have been better getting events back from the discard pile instead. Ah well!

Hopefully this has all been of some interest to you, anyway! I’m thinking about trying to write up a session report soon for the game, so we shall see how I get on with that!

Star Wars: The Card Game – a game of Jedi and Sith

Hey everybody,
I want to write a bit of a different style of blog today, a gaming session report with one of my favourite card games: the Star Wars LCG. I know, I’ve talked about this a lot last spring, but was ultimately unsuccessful in bringing the game to the table more than a couple of times. However, it remains one of my all-time favourite games, and so I have decided to just play both sides of the table myself. I happen to be one of those people who thinks the game is beautifully designed, and I’m such a huge fan of both this game and also the Star Wars universe that I was treating this much more like an opportunity to just immerse myself in the GFFA, and not thinking about trying to win as one side or another. The artwork is also out of this world, and consistently amazing, so that helps, too! As such, it worked out fairly well, making the best plays that I could with each round.

After playing against my wife with Rebel and Imperial decks, I thought instead I would go for some Jedi and Sith decks for this little venture, and see where they get me. So let’s take a look at what is on the table!

Star Wars LCG

The Jedi Deck

The Jedi are playing a fairly standard deck built from cards from the core set only, but which includes some really big names overall. The ten objective sets are:

A Hero’s Journey (2)
Forgotten Heroes (2)
In You Must Go (2)
Jedi Training (2)
The Secret of Yavin 4
Hit and Run

So we have two copies each of Luke, Ben and Yoda, with a whole bunch of Jedi in Hiding, and the like, which should give some utility during the game. Yoda in particular requires a few enhancement cards to give him some more power, although there aren’t as many within the deck to buff him too much. Could be an oversight, I guess we’ll see! But there is a part of me that thinks the main thrust of this deck is going to come from the number of bodies that can be fielded overall. I think this deck is going to see a lot of small-scale things that will add up over time, rather than having big flashy stuff going on all the time. Though I do like the fact there are four copies of Jedi Mind Trick here, which can help to drown the opponent in focus tokens as the game goes on!

The Sith Deck

This deck is a little more wide-ranging than the Jedi deck, as it includes cards from the deluxe expansion and the Hoth cycle. The ten objective sets are as follows:

Fall of the Jedi (2)
The Emperor’s Web (2)
Counsel of the Sith (2)
The Ghosts of the Dark Side (2)
Serve the Emperor
Shadows of Dathomir

There are some heavy-hitters in here, with Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine heading things up. Vader in particular is a great unit, albeit costing a hefty 5 resources. Every time the Dark Side player plays an event card, he deals one damage to a unit, and there are enough event cards in the deck that this should be getting quite a bit of value over the game. Palpatine in addition can return event cards from the discard pile to the hand, so even with a few events being played, it’s good to keep recycling things. I quite like the fact that there are four Force Choke events in here, which also deals one damage to a character or creature – so you can play the event for one damage, Vader deals one damage, when an objective is destroyed the Emperor can bring that event back into the hand, and we just do it all over again! There are also two copies of Heat of Battle, the fate card that deals one damage to a participating unit.

Star Wars LCG

Turn One

The game begins with the Dark Side playing a Sith Library for the additional resource, but options are limited this round so out comes a Force Wraith and it is committed to the Force.

Star Wars LCG

The Light Side player plays Jedi in Hiding and Believer in the Old Ways, and focuses both to strike at the Counsel of the Sith objective. No defenders are declared, so two damage plus a bonus unopposed damage are dealt.

The Force is with the DS player, however.

Star Wars LCG

Turn Two

DS player brings out Darth Vader and strikes, winning the edge battle and placing two damage on Hit and Run, plus a bonus damage for unopposed. Vader is then committed to the Force, as he has Elite so removes two tokens during the refresh phase regardless.

LS player brings out another Believer in the Old Ways, and a Guardian of Peace. The Jedi in Hiding is enhanced with Shi-Cho Training, which is reduced to 0 cost thanks to the effect on In You Must Go. Both the Believers are focused to strike, and the Force Wraith is declared as a defender. LS player wins the edge battle with two copies of Heat of Battle, destroying the Force Wraith. The LS player destroys Counsel of the Sith, winning their first objective card!

Turn Three

DS player comes back swinging. Plays a Force Shockwave to deal 1 damage to each enemy unit not currently committed to the Force, which is all of them; this destroys the Jedi in Hiding and each other unit is down to one hit point. Because he played a Sith event, Vader allows for an additional damage to be dealt to an enemy unit, destroying the Guardian of Peace. He then enhances the remaining Believers with Dark Memories, meaning they will die the next time they are focused.

Vader is then focused to strike, and destroys the Hit and Run objective. The DS dial moves up to 6.

Star Wars LCG

LS player refreshes and plays Luke Skywalker, who is immediately focused to strike at The Ghosts of the Dark Side. With no defenders, the attack goes through unopposed, but the DS player did play Heat of Battle in the edge stack, so Luke suffers one point of damage.

Star Wars LCG

Turn Four

The DS player remains in a very strong position, with another Sith Library allowing for six resources per phase. A Nightsister is brought out, and Vader is enhanced with his Lightsaber. He then plays a Force Choke to deal damage to Luke, dealing an additional damage thanks to Vader’s ability, which the LS player deflects to one of the Believers with Lightsaber Deflection. The Nightsister and Vader are then focused to strike at the Forgotten Heroes objective, dealing four damage thanks to the unopposed bonus. The Nightsister is committed to the Force to deal the final point of damage to the objective, claiming it for the DS.

Things aren’t looking that great for the LS!

Star Wars LCG

The turn begins with a Dagobah training grounds, finally giving some much needed resources. Yoda comes out for the LS as well, and as a final shot, he plays a Jedi Mind Trick on Vader to add an additional focus token to the Dark Lord. Luke is focused to strike and does so unopposed, destroying the Ghosts of the Dark Side objective for the second card. Yoda and the remaining Believer are committed to the Force to bring the balance of the Force to the light side.

Turn Five

The DS player draws Palpatine, and actually has the resources to play him, but decides instead to bring out another Force Wraith and a Dark Side Apprentice, to apply further pressure. The DS Apprentice and Force Wraith are focused to strike, and two damage is dealt to the Jedi Training objective, plus a bonus one for unopposed. The DS player then plays another Force Choke to deal 1 damage to Yoda, and kills him off with Vader’s ability.

The Force Wraith is then committed to the Force and, thanks to clearing away Yoda, and the fact the Wraith counts his icons in the Force struggle even when exhausted, the balance of the Force swings back to the DS.

It all comes down to this!

The LS player plays another Believer, and another Guardian of Peace, and uses Our Most Desperate Hour to place a shield token on Luke. Luke and the Believer are then focused to strike, with the Nightsister coming in to defend. The LS wins the edge battle, and with Target of Opportunity deals one damage to the objective, Serve the Emperor, and Heat of Battle destroys the Nightsister. Luke and the Believer then deal three damage to the objective between them, and a fourth point comes from being unopposed, meaning the third objective is destroyed and the LS win! 


I really enjoyed that, aside perhaps from the fact I was running back and forth between both sides of the table! As I said at the start, though, I had hoped merely to immerse myself in the game, and to enjoy it unfolding without really trying to outsmart myself, if that makes sense? I suppose it’s a bit like how I watch battle reports on youtube (when I have the time to do so, of course!) I wouldn’t necessarily root for one side or the other, I’m watching to see the cinematic moments of a game as it unfolds before me. As such, I think it worked quite well, anyway.

Something that I really enjoyed was seeing how things came together on both sides of the table. The Sith deck clearly had some idea of playing Vader then playing event cards to deal additional damage, and that worked out so well with Vader being able to clear off Yoda, and almost clearing off Luke. Indeed, the moment that Lightsaber Deflection was played to save Luke really was inspired! Some mistakes were definitely made – for example, why on earth did I feel the need to commit Vader to the Force? Even if he has Elite to remove both focus tokens he gets when striking, he doesn’t remove them until the start of the next round, when the Balance phase has already been and gone, so those Force icons have no meaning! Bah.

I really wasn’t expecting a Jedi win, though. I think I had worked it out in my head that the Force would stay with the Dark Side, and they’d just tick the Death Star dial up until the game ended. Being able to tip the balance back with Yoda was both entirely appropriate and a huge benefit, as it meant there was one turn when the dial only ticked up once. Being able to do this meant that the Jedi were somewhat able to stabilise and so the final round really did matter. That fate card dealing one point of damage to the objective was such an innocuous thing at the start of the fight though, because up until I realised I was unopposed and could place the fifth point of damage, I hadn’t actually realised the Jedi were able to win! So victory came entirely out of the blue and was a real surprise! 

Interestingly, the game actually took an hour to play like this, as well. I know I still had to look up some of the interactions and stuff, and try to remember all of the rules, but it didn’t seem to add on too laboriously by playing both sides of the table. That said, though, games of Star Wars LCG notoriously go quickly, in part because of the Death Star Dial timer that is baked in to the game. I almost wish there was a way to make things go slower, because there are so often aspects of the game that never seem to come up because it’s over so aggressively, like units defending (and actually surviving). All too often, it feels like the game comes down to a rush of “who can deal the most damage first” rather than any sense of building a plan and executing it.

That said, the game remains so unique, and the Star Wars flavour is really there. I think the fact that the Dark Side player can basically sit back and see what happens, picking his fights but otherwise just waiting for that dial to tick up, is quite interesting, really. The Light Side has got such an uphill struggle from the off, and simply must play aggressively, that it leads to a very interesting dynamic that is extremely evocative of the source material.

Just goes to show, I guess, that playing this way can still be a lot of fun! I hope that I can play it “properly” in the future, of course, but at least I know, even if I end up only ever playing against myself like this, it’s going to make for some interesting times.  

The Jedi deck seemed to be a little bit underpowered in comparison to the Sith deck, so I think it might be time to do some tinkering with it. Deckbuilding within Star Wars LCG is always a fascinating concept, of course, because of the objective set structure of the game.

Looking through the cards in the deck, I think there are possibly two sets that I could cut quite easily. The first one I looked at was The Secret of Yavin 4. The only card I actually want to keep out of this set is Lightsaber Deflection, which came in so useful during the game to keep Luke alive. However, with only one card out of the deck being “wanted”, I think it’s quite a straightforward thing to cut. I’ve replaced it with Self Preservation, which comes from the Hoth cycle (I’m still building decks up to this point, for the time being!) The objective itself grants units +1 Force icon for the Force struggle, which is very useful. The set has two units, who get better when the Force is with the Light side, but it’s really the other cards that I want from this set. Soresu Training is an enhancement that gives the target unit shielding and +1 damage capacity. Unwavering Resolve is an event that allows you to count a unit’s Force icons for the Force struggle without committing that unit to the Force, and even if the unit is exhausted. Finally, there’s another copy of Heat of Battle. So that should be a really impactful set.

Next, Hit and Run was pretty much only useful because of the Target of Opportunity fate card, but nothing else in the set really came into play. I’m therefore going to replace it with A Journey to Dagobah, which also has a copy of that fate card in there, but also has the Double Strike event which allows you to strike with a unit, then remove a focus token from it. That should allow for all types of shenanigans through the game. It also has Red Five, which has three blast damage icons on the card, so can deal a significant amount of damage to objectives when it comes out, especially as they’re not edge-dependent.

Now. My next dilemma is that I have four other objective sets in this deck, all in duplicate. The Luke objective set contains all sorts of useful cards, so I don’t want to get rid of that one any time soon. Jedi Training has got a lot of useful things as well, and the objective itself contributes one icon to the Force struggle, so I don’t really want to get rid of one of those either. That leaves the Yoda and the Obi-Wan sets. Yoda has some good bits, but the Obi-Wan set is mainly there for Heat of Battle and Jedi Mind Trick, which I’ve got from elsewhere in the deck as well, so I’m going to cut one of those sets for another copy of Self Preservation for the time being. It’s quite a difficult call of course, because I was very tempted by another copy of A Journey to Dagobah, but I also want to try Last Minute Rescue because there seems to be a lot of useful healing-type cards in that set, and I think they could have come in very useful during the game played today! However, I don’t want to go changing too much in this deck all at once.

The Sith deck seemed to function quite well, by comparison, so I don’t think it needs to have much in the way of tinkering just yet. Maybe in the fullness of time I’ll be swapping some bits and pieces in and out of there as well, but for now it can stay as it is.

So there we go, possibly my first “batrep” style of blog! I’m not sure if any of this was interesting, and certainly as the game has been dead for years, whether people still want to read this kind of thing! I think I might try it again soon with something like Marvel Champions, because that is a huge favourite for me at the moment!