First Look: Armada

Hey everybody!
Welcome to my not-quite May the Fourth Game Day! I couldn’t break what has become a hallowed tradition by posting this yesterday, of course, but I wanted to celebrate the occasion by taking a look at another Star Wars game. So without further ado, here are my first thoughts on the recently-released Armada!

I made the above video back when I picked up the game at the end of March, though it wasn’t until the end of April that I actually managed to play a game. Following that experience, I thought I’d come here and share some of my thoughts with you guys. You know you love it.

First of all, the ships are pretty great quality. Nothing new if you happen to be a X-Wing player, of course, but it’s definitely worth mentioning. Comparisons to X-Wing are inevitable, of course, but this game does actually feel like you’re more of an admiral in charge of your fleet, rather than a handful of ships dogfighting among some asteroids. There is a real sense of battle-planning and stuff here, which I was pretty surprised by if I’m honest.

I’ve got to be honest here, I’m not very good at strategy-type games – well, I told you about my last game of X-Wing, of course – but I did still enjoy this game. In the game I played, I took the Imperial side (naturally), and started the game awfully by driving my Star Destroyer into an asteroid field (naturally) and it just went downhill from there.

Armada

However, I have to say, while the capital ships look fantastic, that’s pretty much where it ends really. I mean, cards and tokens aside, I feel like all the care and attention went into making the capital ships look great, and the rest of it all looks just a bit meh. The starfighters are reminiscent of usual boardgame pieces, but there’s something about those command dials – and that goofy range-ruler-thing – that just seems cheap, somehow. All that grey plastic just doesn’t look good, and detracts from an otherwise good-looking game – for me, at least!

Armada

I enjoyed my one game I played with this, but if I’m completely honest, I don’t know if/when I’d play it again. When it was first announced, I was a bit apathetic about it, then back in December I grew a little more interested. But while I enjoyed it, I’m back to being a bit apathetic if I’m honest.

What about you guys?

Week off, day five

Hey everybody!
So here I am, at the end of the week – this has gone far too quickly! The last two day have been pretty much a whirlwind too, and not in a good way. But still, it’s always good to have the time to just do nothing, or very little at least!

Obviously, more games with Lord of the Rings LCG have been had – at this stage, it would’ve been rude not to, I’m sure you’ll agree! Yesterday I started on my campaign, of course, then today, this happened:

I had just the two games with the game today, To Catch an Orc and The Dunland Trap. It’s about time I played more of the newer ones, after all! To Catch an Orc is the second scenario in The Voice of Isengard, which I’d not played before, and I was soundly thrashed! Lots of locations locked me out of the game, so I couldn’t even try to catch him! Bah. The Dunland Trap is one I’ve played before, but lost as I had a hero die on me in stage 3B. Tragic times. This time it came down to the wire as Aragorn was one wound off dying too. Tough times!

I’m hoping to get to some more of the Ringmaker cycle soon, anyway!

Star Wars Armada

This morning, I popped into the local games store and picked up the new Armada, then this happened:

Video-making is something that I recently looked into, and is pretty fun, I must say! It’s nothing too fancy, don’t get me wrong, but it amuses me and passes the time!

Anyhow. Armada didn’t initially impress me, but then I kinda changed my mind following the GenCon demo, though seeing the actual game now, I’m a bit underwhelmed. The ships look nice, and the cards and tokens are the usual quality stuff, but I really dislike those dials, that movement template, the ship bases… it all just looks so – well, ugly. Clunky. Boring and grey. I dunno, it just doesn’t look as sleek as X-Wing. The game looks like it should play really well, with a lot of tactical stuff, but I’m currently thinking it might look horrible on the table. We’ll see how this all goes…

Dark Gothic

Last week was GAMA Trade Show in Las Vegas, with quite a lot of good stuff coming out from some of my favourite publishers. The one I was most interested in was Flying Frog Productions, as they have previously announced their year’s products there. This year, they had some really fun stuff for Shadows of Brimstone coming out, but also a new expansion for Dark Gothic. If you missed it, here’s the Dice Tower’s interview with the Hill brothers:

Colonial Horror has an almost Arkham Horror sound to it, and the box looks quite a good size, so I’m hoping we’ll see some really awesome content come through! New heroes, new villains? Hopefully!

IMAG2546

I’ve also been painting again! Well, a little. I’ve had these Ogres going on for ages now, and have kinda done some layers onto them and whatnot. The Ogre Bellower (I think that’s what he’s called? The one roughly in the bottom-centre there) I’ve given a darker purple in the face, to try and give the illusion that he’s actually bellowing, and such. Not entirely sure how this will all turn out, but I suppose we’ll see!

I popped into the local GW today to put my entry in for the Paint it Red competition, and while I was there was given a sneak preview at tomorrow’s White Dwarf, and the Adeptus Mechanicus goodness. The models do look really great, and I have been pretty tempted to get them and whatnot, though I was more impressed by both the Leadbelcher spray, and a new technical paint called Martian Ironearth, which is basically Agrellan Earth but with a rusty orange-like hue. The spray will be really useful once I get back to painting Necrons, so I’m thinking I’ll get some of that, and I’m always in the market for new types of paint, so definitely, yeah!

There are two new kits up for pre-order now, though I’m resisting. Having sold off a lot of stuff lately because I had too much, I’m not about to start adding back to the pile of shame! But if you’re interested, check them out here and here!

Skitarii Rangers

Off for the holidays!

Yep, I’m done for the festive period now!
It was my birthday on Thursday, and I’d bought the second Shield of Baal campaign book for myself, so picked that up today – that was exciting stuff! I mean: Necrons!

Shield of Baal Exterminatus

So far, I’ve been really enjoying this campaign. Of course, I’m still not a player of the game, as I’m taking my time with building up my Necron army while I wait for the new codex to hit (I think I’ve gone on about this for quite some time now), however I’ve been digesting the novellas that have been published to support all this bumph, and have so far been really impressed! I finished the Deathstorm novella this morning, which is one of the best tie-in stories I’ve ever read, to be honest! I also picked up the third novella in this series this morning, so once I’ve read that, I’ll be bringing some words of wisdom to you all on that!

Shield of Baal

On the subject of Warhammer, I’ve managed to do a little more painting today. I’ve currently got nearly twenty individual miniatures on the go, but have been finding it consistently difficult to get moving for any length of time with them. Today, anyway, I turned my attention to an idea for a scarab base that had excited me when it first came to me earlier in the month. I’ve not yet read Damnos, but I’ve nevertheless been somehow aware of the enmity between the Necrons and Ultramarines, so it really was a no-brainer to come up with the colour scheme…

Necron scarab base

The base colours are done, so I’m going to do some washing and highlighting soon (hopefully tomorrow), then glue those scarabs onto the poor bloke, and job done! For my second painting effort of a space marine, I don’t think it’s half bad, anyway!

Necrons

Imperial Assault

There was a minor flurry of releases from Fantasy Flight last week. Imperial Assault is probably the most notable here, of course – £80 of game, and it looks like you really get some bang for that buck! Down at my local games shop, the manager gave me a quick tour of the game on Wednesday – you basically get a game like Descent, with tiles and miniatures and cards and tokens, but then you get (I think) four rulebooks to suppose the other style of play, skirmish play. On top of that, you also get two mini-expansions, the Luke Skywalker ally pack, and the Darth Vader villain pack. These are apparently similar to the lieutenant packs for Descent, with cards for various bits as well as miniatures, which replace tokens in the main game.

It looks like an absolutely fantastic game, but kinda scares me as being a potential money-sink. It could just be due to the terms of their license agreement, but the game is also listed under “miniatures” rather than “board games” on FFG’s site, as X-Wing is, which makes me wonder if these ally/villain packs are going to be the de facto method of expansion… Hm! We’ll see if Santa has decided I’ve been a particularly good boy this year I suppose…

Mountains of Madness

Mountains of Madness has also been released, which kinda excites me much more than Imperial Assault – aside from the fact that it can be played solo, which is always exciting, I had the base game last xmas, so it’s a nice little repeat of that to have the first big-box expansion this year! It’s currently nestled under my tree, awaiting the big day, so I’m really very excited by this!

The next co-op scenario for Descent, Nature’s Ire, has also been made available, though it’ll most likely be a while before it makes its way over the Atlantic. Same for the next batch of Nightmare Scenarios for Lord of the Rings. I used to snap up the print-on-demand stuff as soon as it was released directly from the company, but postage has recently become ridiculous to get these things over here, so I’m now biding my time waiting for retailers in the UK to get them, though this seems to be taking much longer than usual…

Battlelore Hernfar Guardians

From new releases to new announcements, and we’ve seen a new preview for the upcoming Battlelore expansion, the Hernfar Guardians army pack. I’m not a big Daqan Lords fan, I admit, as I tend not to go for the Empire types where fantasy is concerned. However, I have lately begun to revise my position, and I’m looking forward to seeing this expansion hit the shelves. Of course, Battlelore is another of these games that is really lots of fun to play, but  never get to put on the table these days. So whether I rush to buy this – and the Warband of Scorn for the Uthuk, will remain to be seen…

Battlelore Hernfar Guardians

I was so impressed with the Imperial Raider news, of course, that I devoted an entire separate blog to it, but suffice it to say, I’m still getting fairly excited about X-Wing these days…

That actually brings me onto the subject of the other starship game from FFG, Armada. Take a moment, if you will, to refresh your memory of my earlier comments on the game…

However…

Let me take you back to Gen Con this August, where Armada was demo’d at the Fantasy Flight booth, a video that I didn’t even look at because I wasn’t feeling the love at that time:

First reaction, there are more nuances to this game than I was initially aware of. It’s not just a re-implemented X-Wing – while there are undeniably similarities to the earlier game, Armada does seem like it could be an enjoyable wargame rather than the dogfighting game of X-Wing. I mean, X-Wing feels like a really nice, well thought-out skirmish game between a group of starships, but Armada really succeeds with having the sense of the players being admirals in charge of rival fleets.

Star Wars Armada

I’ve been discussing it with the game store manager today, as he’s got his pre-orders up for the game, and I must admit, I’m beginning to think I’ll actually get it. Of course, whether I also get the expansion packs will remain to be seen, but they do look very pretty…

Star Wars Armada

The inevitable problem, of course, is scaring up someone who would be willing to play this game with me. My regular gaming buddy is no fan of X-Wing, so I doubt he’ll get into this one. It’s a hell of a lot of money to drop on something that might never actually see a play, of course, as well. So…hm. I’m at least feeling a lot more open to the idea of the game than I was in the summer, so that, if nothing else, is worth writing about!

A weekend ramble

Morning everyone!

Today’s the day the clocks go back here in the UK, so obviously I woke up at 2am. Bah!

It’s been a fairly lacklustre week, so far as gaming goes. I got to play a couple of games earlier in the week, which will feature here at some point in the coming weeks, no doubt – top of the list, of course, being Elder Sign, which is a great little game from Fantasy Flight that I’ve mentioned a couple of times lately, especially when the new expansion was announced not too long ago.

I’m finding myself seemingly unable to get the time for large-scale gaming lately though, and this saddens me quite a lot. Sticking with Cthulhu games, I’ve been feeling in the mood to play Eldritch Horror again lately, as I’ve not managed a game since May, when the expansion came out. So much for my summer of Yig, hey… Real life has got a lot to answer for! However, I suppose it doesn’t help that my usual gaming table for such big games has been taken over lately, by either the degree work or my painting adventures.

I haven’t really regaled you all with such things for a while, have I? Well, my painting miniatures has continued apace, with all of my updates being confined to tumblr. There is a link over on the right to my Necrons page, where I link to all of my tumblr posts as I make them, so you can always investigate further if you’re so inclined, anyway! This weekend, however, I’ve moved on to the first “big” model for my Necron army, the Tomb Stalker!

Necron Tomb Stalker

This is something that I got from Forge World earlier in the month, one of their resin kits. I’ve been painting the beast in segments, as it seems almost unnecessarily complicated, though I suppose all of the bits allow for greater customization and such. My original plan was to have the model swooping down onto a Space Marine, but during last night’s modelling this proved to be unfeasible (there are a lot of bits that go under the head, for instance, so the stalker needs to be raised up in the front anyway), so I’m now onto plan B.

Necron Tomb Stalker

I think it still looks pretty cool, however! There are twenty legs, each of which has a separate claw that needs to be attached, and an additional twenty “tertiary velocitators”, which are just small legs that I don’t think will be impacting much on the model’s final pose due to the fact they’re so small. Anyway. I originally had some terrain on the base, from which the stalker was swooping, but have since removed this as it was interfering with the pose. While my current plan doesn’t really call for any more terrain, just the Space Marine casualty, I think I may still do something when the time comes, as it could help to attach the model to the base.

Necron Tomb Stalker
Original base earlier yesterday

The whole thing should look pretty damn good when it’s done, anyway! The green carapace will be finished with a bit of a metallic look, along with the silver main body and gold details (such as the head) are intended to fit in well with the Lychguard colour scheme I have going on.

Necron Lychguard

The entire Necron army I have currently is also looking really good, I think! The recent additions include a squad of Deathmarks and some special characters. I’m quite pleased with my results, anyway – which you can see here!

In game news, anyway, there hasn’t been a great deal to write home about. We’ve had another preview of Imperial Assault, which talks about the missions and such, and looks like it’s shaping up into a great game. Like the campaigns in Descent, missions form an overarching series of games, but Imperial Assault also includes side missions, which are single-game affairs. Nice to see that the game will be supporting multiple styles of play, at any rate!

Armada has had another preview, also, though I must admit to being still less-than-enthused by this game. When it was announced back in August, I was slightly underwhelmed because I wanted a ground-based miniatures game, not another space battles game. Now that we have Imperial Assault on the horizon, of course, I had half-expected my opinion to change, but it really hasn’t. As it stands, I’m still feeling a bit meh about the game, so at this stage I won’t be dropping the £60 that amazon are currently asking for it (although I did do a double-take when looking at that, as I was expecting it to be more expensive!).

I think part of the reason for my reluctance to even entertain the thought of this game is down to having nobody to play it with. I got burned a little with X-Wing, which I have stopped buying for now, as I have managed to play it three times since its release nearly two years ago, all three of which games took place nearly two years ago. I dread to think how much I’ve actually spent on the game, and am seriously considering letting go on ebay, but I’ve sold games previously, only to berate myself for doing so, and then re-buying them anyway (Blood Bowl and Space Hulk: Death Angel are but two examples).

So, I think I’m going to avoid Armada for the time being, and likely won’t be rushing to buy it at release.

Something that has excited me this week, however, is the release of The Nin-In-Eilph, the latest addition to The Lord of the Rings. With all the hoopla surrounding The Road Darkens, it was almost possible to forget we were actually in the middle of an adventure pack cycle! So we have some interesting new cards coming our way, along with a quest that seems to be akin to The Dead Marshes but different. If that makes sense… It looks like it should be a really good game, anyway, so I’m looking forward to this.

The Nin-in-Eilph

To my eternal shame, however, I’ve not actually played any of the Ringmaker quests yet, and have only played the first scenario in Voice of Isengard once, back in March! How shocking. I should probably set aside a weekend to delve more thoroughly into Dunland.

I’m still feeling in a RPG mood, something that has been prevalent throughout the whole year, really. Bringing us back to Warhammer, I took delivery of The Outer Reach last week, a book I’d ordered weeks and weeks ago. If you checked the link, you’ll most likely see why – the Necron Overlord plastered all over the front should tell you all you need to know!

In the absence of a codex for the Necrons (that is, an updated codex), I’ve been hungry for knowledge of these guys that I’ve spent about two months building and painting, but The Outer Reach marks my first proper look at Necron stuff. The illustrations alone make this book invaluable for me, and indeed helped to inspire my golden Necron Overlord, but something that I particularly enjoyed was seeing RPG stats for almost the whole range of Games Workshop Necron models! Wonderful stuff. The secondary function of this book then began to appear for me, and I’ve been considering it as perhaps ‘my new RPG’.

The Outer Reach is a supplement for the Deathwatch role playing game, in which the players take on the roles of elite Space Marines from a variety of chapters, who have been pulled together to form a kill team and tasked with eliminating a xenos threat. The idea does sound pretty cool, and I imagine it would hook a lot of people in. Added to that is the fact that all of FFG’s roleplaying games for Warhammer 40k are compatible with each other, there is a whole slew of options! However, one of the strongest criticisms of the line I’ve read is that the actual role playing opportunities are somewhat minimal, as the game is very much forced along by the need to basically hunt out and exterminate enemies, with very little else involved. In that respect, I suppose something like Black Crusade (where you play Chaos Space Marines looking to corrupt people) or Dark Heresy (where you play members of the Inquisition looking to root out heresy) would be the more interesting option.

Each of these games has a starter adventure that you can try out, and that for Deathwatch is called Final Sanction. Having looked over the pdf, I think it might be worth taking a look at, especially given the pre-generated characters mean it’s very much a matter of gathering your people and your dice and playing the game. The recent flurry of Space Hulk interest might also help, as this adventure sees your kill team going after a genestealer infestation, much as in that game. Well, anyway, we’ll see.

Deathwatch

Also on the subject of Deathwatch, yesterday I read the short story The Infinite Tableau from the Deathwatch: Xenos Hunters. Again, I only got this because of the Necron connection. The story follows a kill team investigating the disappearance of a group of Adeptus Mechanicus (the technological subgroup in the Imperium) on an icy moon, and describes the horror they find when they get there. It’s pretty good; its appeal, for me, largely resting on an almost Lovecraftian Mountains-of-Madness feel as the kill team find the arcane piece of technology and so on. The story features the Necron special character Trazyn the Infinite, with some gore provided by a pack of Flayed Ones. Delightful!

I’m still reading Orion: The Vaults of Winter, on which I will provide more of a critique when I’m finished. For now, suffice it to say the story is heavy-going…

Anyway, I’m going to leave you with this video for Colt Express, a newly-released game of bandits fighting each other for the most loot…from a moving train…

The Armada is on its way

Star Wars Armada

Wow.

Looks like something really massive happened while I was asleep. And that wasn’t supposed to be a euphemism. FFG have announced a new starship miniatures game, with all manner of big guns coming, including the long-awaited (by X-Wing fans) Star Destroyer.

I feel a bit…underwhelmed. Admittedly, a lot of that comes from the fact that I really wanted a ground-based miniatures game, not another starship-based one. Looking through the announcement, it seems they’ve tried to make it to appeal directly to existing fans of X-Wing, as it seems to have a lot in common, yet different enough to call it an entirely new game.

Star Wars Armada

I don’t know. $100 for the core set also seems really pretty steep: the same price as Horus Heresy, but potentially less stuff? Hm. At least I have a few more months to decide, as it’s not due out until next year. Plus I’m assuming some GenCon demos will be videoed. I’ll no doubt get it, because it’s Star Wars of course, but I’m currently feeling quite sceptical about it… We shall see, I suppose!

Star Wars Armada

 

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