New stuff! And not-so new stuff!

Hey everybody!

It’s been a pretty quiet week for me this past week, as I wrestled with the last essay for the degree I’ve been doing for a while now. That being said, it doesn’t look like there’s been an awful lot of game stuff about – so that was a totally misleading title, huh?!

You guys seen this? It was announced a while back, of course, but I’ve been a bit ambivalent about it all, if I’m honest. I mean, I have everything for the first edition of A Game of Thrones LCG, so I’ve been thinking it unlikely I’d want to get a second edition. Looking at all this stuff, it doesn’t really look significantly different enough to warrant buying anew. What do you folks think? Anyone eager to replace their first edition?

Perhaps more interesting in the LCG world are the expansions announced for Call of Cthulhu and Lord of the Rings. First of all, The Thousand Young is looking really intriguing. While previous big box expansions have introduced either a new setting, or buffed one of the eight factions. This one seems to be doing both, as we get Shub-Niggurath cards themed around New Orleans! Fantastic, very much looking forward to getting this, even though I don’t play the faction!

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The Treachery of Rhudaur, the fourth pack in the Angmar Awakened cycle for Lord of the Rings, is looking great, too. As the article says, the cards in this cycle build on the Noldor theme, and those of this fourth pack really contribute to this. So far, I’m really impressed with how this makes the game feel like it has been really well-planned, as the Noldor theme of discarding cards for buffs has already been established three cycles back. The quest is also a good one, more Undead folks and shenanigans among the crumbling ruins of a keep. I seem to remember the quests getting better as the cycle moves on – at any rate, I’m looking forward to this!

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The third exciting thing in the LCG world is the announcement of the next cycle for Warhammer 40k: Conquest! The Planetfall cycle features cards that work off specific planet card icons, which should make for some interesting strategies. I’m quite surprised by this, as it will be featuring Tyranids following their arrival in The Great Devourer, though I’d kinda expected we’d see the Necron deluxe expansion first. Seems like the Necrons will be entering this game significantly behind the other races, unfortunately!

Speaking of Necrons…

Over the course of the weekend I’ve been doing more stuff with Necrons, following last weekend’s success with the Immortals. Lychguards are, of course, my absolute favourite Necron kit – the amazing poses you can get from these guys are just great. I’ve currently got two squads of these chaps – one with warscythes and one with hyperphase swords/dispersion shields. I hadn’t built up any of these guys since late last year, however, so it was nice to get back to these guys, and I’ve spent a few hours on both these and the tomb blades that I’ve had going on for a few weeks now.

Necron Lychguard

I’m trying to remember how I painted these up last time, as I want them to blend in with those I painted up previously. Something I’ve tried to go for with my Necrons is to have a shaded body for the Immortals, but a more shining body for the Lychguard – they are the bodyguards of the lords, after all! So I’ve left the Immortals with a Nuln Oil wash, but these Lychguard have also been “drybrushed” with Necron Compound (of course!) – I use the term loosely, of course, as rather than drybrushing as a highlighting technique, I’ve been using an almost polishing action to try and add that metallic matte finish to them. You can see one of my previous guys on the far right of the above picture, anyway – so far, they do seem to be blending, anyway!

I’ve also built up a fourth tomb blade from spare bits that I’d bought for that kitbash competition a few months back, as well as some other bits I’d managed to scrounge from ebay. Marvellous! So I’ve currently got two with tesla cannons and two with gauss blasters. The most recent addition is that with the golden sensor vane thing in the above shot.

I’m kinda enjoying this increased painting activity, I must say. I’m currently planning to do a Doomsday Ark as a summer project, but I’m also thinking of doing the Night Scythe soon as well. I’ve also got the Triarch Stalker built up and primed since before Christmas, so that’ll need some attention soon… I’m also interested in doing something with my Monolith. Oh, so much plastic!

New Games!

Hey folks!

Exciting times are afoot as we take a look at the latest round of updates and news coming from FFG this past week! Let’s delve right into it, starting with something that has me very excited: the next expansion for Eldritch Horror!

Eldritch Horror Strange Remnants

Strange Remnants is the second small-box expansion for the game, and appears to follow the example now set from Mountains of Madness by giving us something from left field. Rather than another mythos god to go up against, the ancient one in this expansion is Syzygy, the cosmic alignment. I find this still very fitting with Lovecraft, though, given his emphasis on “the stars align/are right” and whatnot, though like a lot of people, I was expecting something like Hastur or Nyarlathotep.

The expansion brings a “mystic ruins” encounter deck, which allows us to explore new parts of the board much like an expedition, from what I gather, and are linked to the main locations through new location cards for the main game. Always good when we get more to add in! We also have four new investigators, which I remember was a cause for disappointment in Forsaken Lore. However, I wouldn’t say it’s something I’d necessarily need from a small box.

Available in Q3 probably means no new big box this year, which, for me, is the only downside to this news! I’m very excited!

Talisman The Harbinger

Talisman is a game I don’t get to play too often, but really enjoy all the same, so it’s great to see a new expansion for this guy, too. I seem to remember a lot of talk, back when the fourth corner expansion had been announced, that the end would soon be nigh, but thankfully not! However, this expansion seems riven with doom and despair, as the players need to avoid the Harbinger and prevent the End Times! In this respect, it seems to be similar to the Reaper and the Blood Moon expansions, where you have a figure that interacts with the board and characters in a specified way. Interesting stuff, anyway, and definitely something to look forward to as the year goes on!

Star Wars Imperial Entanglements

Card games now, and Star Wars LCG has finally had the next deluxe expansion announced! Well, I talked about this a short while back, but it’s now here and beautiful! Focusing on the Empire and Smugglers, we’re getting lots of interesting stuff here, I must say. New Tarkin and new Chewbacca are showcased in the announcement, and look like they’re coming with some really powerful cards, so that should be interesting to see how the game changes once this hits in the third quarter.

Sadly, I still can’t convince people to play this one, and I can’t work out whether this is due to the fact the game isn’t very good, or if there are just better games out there. I remember a lot of talk about how people were more interested in Warhammer Conquest than this one, and I still feel that it was overshadowed by being launched so close to Android Netrunner. Given that they have the licence for Episode 7 material, I’m vaguely expecting to see a new card game launched to tie into that, and this one dropped. But anyway, it’s still one that I enjoy, and I still buy the Force packs for it in the hope that one day I can play it!

Lord of the Rings The Land of Shadow

No such trouble playing Lord of the Rings, which has had the next Saga expansion announced this week, mere days after the last one was released. It’s almost an embarrassment of riches! We’re back to Frodo and Sam, of course, as we follow the second half of The Two Towers.

I’m very excited about this one. I’ve always found the Gollum/Sméagol thing a tour de force in character development, and was particularly intrigued to see just how it has been implemented into this game. The answer, of course, is incredibly well! A double-sided enemy/objective-ally card, which can interact with the game for good or ill, this is something that I truly can’t wait to get my little hands on!

I’ve still only taken my first step in the Saga experience, of course, but we’re gearing up to a long Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK, with traditional weather for such (ie, rain), so I’m sure there’ll be ample opportunity to come closer to the fires of Mount Doom…

So…rotation…

Living Card Games.

I love these things. I play them all (when I can), so was looking forward to seeing just what the dramatic “state of the union” announcement was going to be at this year’s Worlds. I must say, I wasn’t quite expecting the news that came.

A New Stage of Growth

The idea of rotation, from a general standpoint, is actually pretty good. I mean, Call of Cthulhu has seven cycles under its belt, while A Game of Thrones has twelve, to say nothing of all the deluxe expansions. The buy-in for new players is pretty insane – I myself got into A Game of Thrones during its sixth cycle, and that was bad enough. But aside from issues of new-customer-appeal, I suppose coming at it from the other angle, it becomes hard to keep track of the game as it sprawls out in this way. However, I hope this doesn’t lead to the excuse for design sloppiness, whereby once a cycle goes out of rotation all the characters within it become fair-game for redesigns etc. Time will tell, I suppose, as the earliest rotation we’ll be seeing will come in a little over two years’ time, when Android Netrunner will see its Genesis cycle rotate out.

The one thing that I can empathise with is where competitive players bemoan the fact that they can’t play with certain cards because they’re out of rotation. However, as someone who doesn’t play in tournaments, it doesn’t really bother me all that much.

The second part of this announcement, however, is that A Game of Thrones will be seeing a second edition. Wow. Fantasy Flight has put a lot of content out to explain why they’re doing this – a letter from Nate French, the news article, and a description of 2nd edition – but I’m not entirely sure I’m convinced. Not that I have any sort of conspiracy theories, of course, but still. It seems like FFG are almost stuck in a holding pattern waiting for GRRM to write his next tome, then a flurry of new stuff hits the game, before then dying down to tiny tiny bit-parts, or another version of the big names. But that probably doesn’t mean anything.

I’m a bit annoyed though – or perhaps peeved would be a better way of putting it. Not that long ago, when I was looking at the cards for one of the new chapter packs, I was overcome with a real sense of depth as regards this game, and it suddenly felt like an important game in the history of games. (That is a really badly-written sentence, I know). As the very first LCG, it has that history to it, but the sense of strategy, of synergy, of depth of interaction and all these things, it really struck me as a proper card-player’s game.

I’ve read quite a bit of hate on the forums about this decision, but I don’t share those views. I’m sad to see the now-first edition end, but I’m also a bit relieved, as I’ve been spending far too much money on cards. I don’t think I’ll get second edition, as I enjoy first edition as it stands, so will definitely be buying the upcoming Wardens cycle as the last one, then leave it at that. I suppose my life isn’t big enough for two Games of Thrones, and I’m certainly not going to let first edition go to make room!

So…yeah… it feels a bit weird right now in the LCG community…

Ready for Takeoff!

Evening all!
Just a small post for Tuesday Games Day here at spalanz.com, a brief report on the latest news from Fantasy Flight about the Star Wars LCG. In case you missed it, they posted yesterday about the next expansion cycle, the Rogue Squadron cycle. Hobbie and Baron Fel have both been spoiled, along with some starship thief cards and such, so I’m guessing we’ll be seeing most of the roster from the Dark Horse Comics series and, probably, the novel series too. The starship thief cards have me also assuming Niles Ferrier will be making his appearance, though we’ll wait and see for that.

The new Pilot mechanic looks to be something they resurrected from the original Star Wars LCG design from 2011:

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Ah yes, remember this? Well, anyway. The Pilot mechanic is now something that allows you to attach the character to a vehicle as its pilot, which usually benefits the vehicle in a very specific way, though the Baron Fel card we’ve seen also provides an effect when he is used as a pilot, rather than just a unit.

It’s a nice idea, anyway, and definitely a nice little subtheme to have in the game. I’m hoping to get some games with this in soon, so hopefully before too long I’ll have more of an informed opinion on the actual game!

Anyhow. Enjoy the rest of your Tuesday, and I’ll be back soon with a look at another titan of the gaming world!