It’s the GAMA Trade Show 2017!

Hey everybody!
Well, it’s been an exciting week for games, as the GAMA Trade Show in Vegas showed off some really cool, really interesting things that have got me wanting to play more games! I’ve been trying to digest these things all week, so let’s take a look at some highlights!

First of all, it’s the return of Necromunda – it’s Shadow War: Armageddon! The internet seems to have been baying for the return of Necromunda ever since Games Workshop announced they would be producing specialist games back in the day, and while this clearly isn’t it, it’s probably the next best thing, I would think? I mean, Blood Bowl came back as Blood Bowl, and while Warhammer Quest did get the Age of Sigmar thing for Silver Tower, it still has the name. To produce a squad-based game like this and call it anything other than Necromunda just says that the original game isn’t going to be coming back any time soon. Though in the anniversary year of 40k, who knows if they’ll produce some kind of memorial edition?

At any rate, I think this is really cool, and I’m excited to get myself a copy! The fact that you can use other squads is obviously tailored for selling more miniatures, but I like the fact that you can customise your game experience right from the off, so that’s a big plus in my book!

GW were also showing off some of the new Kharadron Overlords at the show, which is a nice touch and they do look pretty great!

The biggest thing to come from the show is said to have been this new A Song of Ice and Fire tabletop miniatures game from Cool Mini Or Not. I enjoyed Battles of Westeros back in the day, and the Game of Thrones LCG is one of my favourites, but I don’t really think I’m going to take the plunge. I’ve noticed, in fact, that I’m leaning away from Westeros as time has gone on, mainly I think I’m just losing interest in the whole thing. I’ve talked about the books on this blog before, of course, and while the first three were really great, tightly-constructed yet deeply complex plots, the story seems to have gotten unwieldy for the sake of it. I’ve always preferred the books to the show anyway, but it seems that these things have become caricatures of themselves, as they seek to out-do expectations by being over the top and whatnot. A game on the subject, therefore, holds little appeal…

But what else has been going on in Vegas?

There are some interesting bits here at the Flying Frog booth, notably the looks at the Mission Packs for Shadows of Brimstone! I’m still a little bummed that I haven’t had anything beyond the base games delivered yet, but seeing those packs has gotten me once more interested in the game, and excited to see all of the rest of the content coming out for it all!

There are only two other games that have sparked my attention in this montage here (from the excellent Rodney Smith of Watch It Played – if you haven’t already, please go check out his youtube channel, it’s amazing) are Rise of Tribes and Meduris: Call of the Gods.

Meduris reminds me a lot like Stone Age, one of the resource-management games that feel like Settlers of Catan without being as rage-inducing. Rise of Tribes looks to have a similar feel, though I like the fact that it has a dice mechanic that determines your actions for the round, that sounds really nice and strategic… Meduris is out in the world now of course, while Rise of Tribes is going onto kickstarter in June, apparently, which is giving me some pause… I’m not the biggest fan of these things, after all, so we’ll have to see how this turns out!

Runewars Miniatures Game

Fantasy Flight also had a heavy showing of the Runewars miniatures game, which they seem to be pushing really quite heavily at the moment. While they still have some pretty big licences, such as Star Wars and Lovecraft, it strikes me that they’re really pushing this game out there to fill the gap left from parting with Games Workshop last month. The game is expected in April, but I have to say, the more I’m seeing of it, the less I’m thinking it’s going to be something I want. There are certainly some interesting things going on in this game, for sure, but I don’t think it will be worth making such a huge investment up front for something that only looks mildly interesting. Might have to wait for my local store to run a demo…

So yeah, that’s GAMA 2017, folks!

Forbidden Fortress!

Hey everybody!
Well I’m kinda gutted that my game day blog for yesterday didn’t upload – a (late) Halloween look at the Omens of Ice expansion for Elder Sign. Well, it’ll just have to be later now! It should be up on the blog next week instead.

In case you aren’t aware, though, Flying Frog Productions have now gone live with their second Kickstarter project, Forbidden Fortress! It’s a third core set for the Shadows of Brimstone line and, as the name suggests, it’s set in feudal Japan.

Shadows of Brimstone Forbidden Fortress

I went all-in on the Shadows of Brimstone kickstarter, and when the game finally arrived, I wasn’t what you’d call impressed with it all. I have played it a few times, and intend to give it the full game-day treatment here soon, but overall, it seemed a bit of a disappointment overall. I’m also one of these backers who hasn’t received all of the stuff, so that’s annoying. But anyway.

When FFP announced the Japanese arm of their dungeon-crawler at GenCon this year, I was hopeful that they would have learnt from the last campaign and this one would be a bit smoother. So far it’s been interesting, seeing the early bird levels work out much better than last time, for instance. The project was funded in just 4 minutes, which I find hilarious, but the stretch goals are still paced every 25k, and they’re blowing through them as they did in the last campaign. It does make me slightly worry!

Shadows of Brimstone Forbidden Fortress

I’m currently pledged in at Sumo level, which speaks as much to my appearance as to my trepidation over another game right now. I suppose if I had more experience with the earlier game, I might be better placed to know if I’d want to go all-in for it, but so far I’m just too much on the fence because I don’t really know how I feel about the original Shadows of Brimstone yet. I may end up changing for a Shogun-level pledge before the end, as it’s likely to be worth more in the long run. However, I don’t relish the fact of putting up so much money right now and then potentially waiting a few more years before getting everything. Might be worth my while to wait for retail.

I don’t know a lot about Japanese mythology, but I do have an interest in it, so I’m finding that most of my interest in the game overall is coming from this aspect than the actual game. I also don’t have a great deal of Japanese-themed games, Journey Wrath of Demons being a notable exception of course, so it’ll no doubt be good to have in the collection. Especially given how thematic FFP games tend to be.

So I guess we’ll see where the next month takes us. At first glance, it doesn’t look like FFP are changing their engine to any great degree, and the box is fully-compatible with the earlier boxes, so I guess no huge changes will be made at this stage. For me, though, it’s more a matter of quality of the materials than anything else. I guess we’ll see…

Are you backing Shadows of Brimstone: Forbidden Fortress? Let me know in the comments below!

Upcoming Games!

We’re rapidly heading towards Christmas, which can only mean one thing: big games are coming! Okay, so it probably means more than that, but still! There are a lot of interesting things on the horizon, some nearer than others, so I thought for today’s game day blog, I’d ramble a little about these upcoming delights!

Burning of Prospero

The Burning of Prospero is coming out this weekend, and it looks spectacular. Along with a mass of Mk-3 Space Marines, we’re getting some of the most exciting models to be released by Games Workshop in quite a while! I had the chance to look at the sprues at my local store on Saturday, and those Custodes and Sisters of Silence are both amazing. I was even surprised to find myself excited by the Space Wolves character – normally I don’t go in for those guys, but the level of detail on him was fantastic! Definitely looking forward to getting a hold of this one!

The preview video put out by GW last week spends a lot of time talking about the theme of the game, before really quickly glossing over the rules, which at first made me wonder if the substance is in the theme rather than the mechanics. I really like the idea of using more than just d6s in the game, but I think I’ll need to look through the box myself before forming a real opinion. It looks fantastic, but as a game, I’ll reserve judgement. Of course, most people will likely be buying this for the miniatures rather than to play the game, but I have heard some good stuff about Betrayal at Calth, so I think it would be good to look at it in both aspects. Being mark three marines, I’m not overly keen, so more so than with Calth, I’m thinking I’d probably keep this as an actual game. Though I may break out the Custodians and the Sisters for other purposes…!

I don’t think it’s technically right to call it an expansion or anything for last year’s Betrayal at Calth, but more another game – another starting point – in the Horus Heresy universe. And speaking of alternative starting points for games…

Shadows of Brimstone Forbidden Fortress

We’re also on the brink of the next game in the Shadows of Brimstone line from Flying Frog Productions: Forbidden Fortress! Turns out the wandering samurai hero class was a portent of things to come, as we delve into Feudal Japan and all sorts of weird goings-on there! We’ll be fighting Japanese spirits in the third core set for the game, which is kinda exciting that it can both be added to or used independently of the existing material. I also like the idea that they’re reviving one of the missed stretch goals, the Belly of the Beast other world, for this one.

However, Shadows of Brimstone has been a bit of a let-down for me, if I’m being completely honest. The latest update, which not only served to formally announce the upcoming kickstarter (after the GenCon reveal) but also detailed the ongoing work on several other aspects of the Brimstone stuff, such as the Blasted Wastes, and I’m feeling really excited for it once more. However, it’s been almost three years since the game was kickstarted, and almost two years since I took delivery of the two core sets. The game is okay, the components felt a bit rushed, but more than anything I’m kinda pissed that so much of this material is available to retail, while the actual backers have to either wait or pay more money to get. That attitude saddens me, though, because the kickstarter was so badly handled that the company made it too good of a deal, and so I completely understand that they’d want to make as much as they could off the stuff. But that knowledge doesn’t take the bad taste away for me.

Kickstarter in general has become something of a hazardous area for me in the last year or so, however, and I’m no longer willing to invest in anything from there, partially because of the poorly handled campaigns such as this or Journey, which is kinda sad really.

I’ll certainly be checking the campaign out, of course, and look out for my long-overdue game day blog on Shadows of Brimstone, which I intend to bring out early December!

Blood Bowl

I think most gamers are aware the quintessential Fantasy football game Blood Bowl is making its long-awaited return to miniature war gaming before Christmas, although if I’m honest, the first time I’ve shown genuine interest in the game was actually when I came to write this blog!

I’m a big fan of the card game from Fantasy Flight, Blood Bowl: Team Manager, so I’m not entirely ignoring this. However, certainly within my local area, enthusiasm for the game seems mostly driven by nostalgia for the original, which I can’t pretend to share.

I think the miniatures look really great, for sure, though unlike with pretty much any of the other games they’ve put out for me to see so far, these things don’t look like they’d translate into any other game system. I suppose the Orcs might, but they all look like they’re American football players, after all…

Overall, I’m not that convinced with this one, and might need to see more or even play a game or two before making my mind up on Blood Bowl. I’m sure it’ll be great, though it might just not be for me…

We’ve seen a lot of boxed games coming out of Nottingham this year, and it’s been a really great time to see Games Workshop returning to their roots of an actual workshop of games. While I’m not necessarily chomping at the bit for stuff like Epic or Necromunda, I hope that we’ll be seeing a lot of great stuff like Deathwatch: Overkill and Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower in the years to come!

GenCon 2016!

Hey everybody!
It’s GenCon 2016, the best four days in gaming, and this is my attempt to round up all of the stuff that I think looks particularly amazing as the weekend rolls on!

Warhammer 40k Death Masque

Let’s start with something not announced at the con, but is definitely worth a mention all the same – Death Masque, the new boxed game for Warhammer 40k that appears to be replacing the current intro box, Dark Vengeance. Games Workshop are really pushing Deathwatch stuff, it seems, following the Overkill boxed game earlier in the year. Along with the game, which features Harlequins vs Deathwatch Marines, they’ve got the new codex and data cards available for pre-order this weekend, to allow for quite the launch for the latest additions to the 40k line. I really like the whole Deathwatch idea and lore, so will no doubt be picking up the codex next weekend, though the box set might have to wait for a while. Especially seeing as how I’ve got so many other projects on the go!

Fantasy Flight Games are always the company I’m most interested in at GenCon, so let’s move on to see what they’re currently up to. In recent years, they’ve taken to making most of their announcements in the weeks leading up to the convention, saving just one or two showstoppers for the actual event itself, and 2016 is no different there. I’ve already talked about the new Star Wars dice game here, but let’s take a look at what else is going on…

Imperial Assault is getting a new small-box expansion later in the year, centred on Jabba’s Palace. Looks amazing, though this is a game I have unfortunately barely played, so I’m questioning the need to actually buy this when it launches. You can bet your ass, of course, if I manage to make this game into a regular thing, I’ll be snapping it up! Jabba is also one of the new hero/villain releases accompanying the game, as well as a new Luke Skywalker.

Mansions of Madness is a Descent-style game that I’ve owned for years but never gotten round to featuring on the blog. It’s a really great, thematic game, but there hadn’t been any news on it for a long time, until FFG announced the new second edition a couple of weeks ago. Looks to involve an app similar to the Road to Legend app for Descent, though I’m currently undecided – I’m not about to go buy the second edition, owning all of first edition anyway, but I’m not sure if it would be the same experience. The game launched at GenCon, anyway, and seems to be getting a lot of hype from folks across the internet, so there is that!

More exciting from my perspective is the new Arkham Horror LCG. I’d heard about this recently as a rumour, but the announcement last week really got me excited for what looks to be an awesome gameplay experience! Looks similar to Elder Sign in parts, though the RPG-like feel to the whole thing has got me incredibly excited, so this is definitely on the Christmas list!

Doom is a classic of the boardgame world, though I’ve never had the opportunity to play it previously. All I can say on this right now is, the miniatures look incredible! And speaking of miniatures…

Runewars Miniatures Game

I was honestly not expecting this, and I’m still not entirely recovered from my shock following yesterday’s announcement! The “original” Runewars is a game I’ve played but once, though it’s still fantastic, and I’ve been wanting to feature it on the blog for a while now. Set in the same universe as Rune Age and Battlelore, it’s a game I’d thought dead, especially given the popularity of Battlelore nowadays.

It’s not just the fact that this is a new game set in the Terrinoth universe, this is a huge deal for FFG. A rank-and-file miniatures war game is a huge thing for any company, and to see them do this really warms my heart, as it feels like we’re seeing more games that have that juggernaut feel to them from the company. Horus Heresy, Runewars, and Twilight Imperium are all games that fit the classic mould, and it looks like FFG are perhaps making a return to that style of game here.

Very exciting times are ahead, I feel!

What’s been going on at the In-Flight Report this year, then?

Interesting stuff there, looks like FFG are making a lot of these app-driven games since X-Com…

Announced a while back, Legend of the Five Rings has another year to go before it arrives, but that should allow for FFG to make it pretty awesome. I’m not slavering for it, but it’s probably going to be picked up when it comes out, so there is that! Any LCG from Fantasy Flight is amazing, after all!

Looks like a pair of “expansions” to second edition of Mansions of Madness, which feature content from the first edition core set and expansions. Seems like second edition might be worth looking into more deeply after all!

X-Wing Wave X

Wave 10 for X-Wing (sorry, Wave X!) is coming, with ships from Rebels and The Force Awakens. I’m genuinely surprised they’ve managed to keep going so long with this game, I thought they would have shifted to a cards-only supplement style of expansion before now!

This is here because I still can’t get over my shock!

I’ve been seeing a lot of positive vibes around this game across Twitter, so I’m thinking that I’ll definitely try it out once it’s released…

I still can’t get over this Runewars announcement…

While there was a lot of amazing stuff coming out of the In-Flight Report this year, I’m more surprised by what hasn’t been announced at GenCon this year – a new big box expansion for Eldritch Horror, and anything about Warhammer Quest the card game. I find this lack of anything fairly suspicious, so it’ll bear keeping an eye on in the future, I think…

But what about the other companies out there?

Star Wars and Carcassonne… I don’t even… I mean, why?! Carcassonne is a good game, but I feel that perhaps some of the expansions for the main game have shown just how far that game can be taken, so instead we’re getting a lot of re-skins, which I suppose are okay if you like the theme, but seriously, why don’t you just get the main game? Hm.

Legendary meets Buffy as the next IP @upperdeckent

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Having recently bought the boxset to rediscover my love for Buffy, this is perhaps some of the most exciting news to come out of Gen Con for me this year! A co-op game sounds super interesting, and I love the Legendary thing, so definitely going to snap this one up when it comes out, that’s for sure!

Mythic Battles Pantheon from Mythic Games/Monolith…#gencon2016

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Okay, so I had the game Mythic Battles, and I sold it after having never played it in the 2+ years of ownership. These miniatures look so incredibly beautiful, however, that I may have to keep an eye on this bad boy…

The Trederra invasion is on! (Brimstone)

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Flying Frog haven’t officially shared anything (yet), but a few people have been posting up pictures of the stuff they’re picking up as part of wave 1.5 of Shadows of Brimstone, and it does look kinda neat, I have to say. I’m still a bit bummed by the fact that I don’t have a lot of the stuff that I backed, but as many others have pointed out, the kickstarter was a hell of a deal, so I’m not complaining too loudly!

What’s very interesting, to me, is this news:

It’s interesting to me because I don’t have a lot of games with this theme, but it’s something I would like to explore in more depth. The fact that it’s going to be a kickstarter is not exactly getting my juices going, but y’know, I think FFP might have learnt from the Shadows of Brimstone experience, and perhaps things will be better this time around. I’m cautiously optimistic, though I might pass until it actually hits retail, so I guess we’ll see how things pan out. Of course, I’m quite sad they’ve had to put all of their other games on hold while they fulfill the SoB pledges, as I’m keen to see where they take Fortune & Glory, and A Touch of Evil, next!

Of course, FFP don’t have the only Oriental-themed game coming soon:

My favourite game designer, Eric Lang, has come up with, well…

…with beautiful minis, as always!

I should try to contain myself, though that might be very difficult!

That’s all for now! I’ll be updating here whenever I find more interesting stuff to share, so don’t think it’s over yet!

Weekend away, and other bits

Hey everybody!
I’m recently back from a weekend spent in the south of England, which was quite simply splendid! I went to Oxford for a long weekend, somewhere I haven’t been for years now, but it’s one of my all-time favourite places to be, so I was looking forward to that quite a lot! In the event, while I spent most of Sunday there, I don’t feel like I got to see enough of the place, having spent most of my time at the Ashmolean Museum, but even so, it’s a wonderful place, and I’m hoping that I can go back very soon!

I also went to Winchester, which has been on my to-do list for years now, but unfortunately was caught in the torrential rain on Monday, so didn’t hang around half as long as I should have. I managed to see the cathedral, and the statue of Alfred the Great, but sadly that was that! Thoroughly soaked, I abandoned the trip for another time – hopefully July!

I’d hoped to fit in so much while I was down there, but was sadly rained off. Even so, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of being back there. Winchester looks like a lovely place, and Oxford is almost a spiritual home for me, so I’ll be planning that return soon, anyway!

While I was there, I also finished reading Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor, which I actually posted about yesterday. It’s a tremendous book, and following my Heir to the Jedi excitement of last month, I feel on something of a Luke kick. Perhaps surprisingly, there aren’t that many stories that really showcase him, though, so I’ve resumed by reading with Darksaber, which will feature here soon, no doubt!

I’m a bit surprised that I haven’t really been playing many games lately. In fact, I haven’t done so at all this month! Perhaps explaining the somewhat rushed game day blog yesterday. I’ve arranged for another game of X-Wing on Friday, though, so if nothing else, there’ll be that to look forward to.

There hasn’t really been a great deal of news on the boardgame front lately – not that much that interests me, at any rate. Except, perhaps, for this:

Call of Cthulhu Mark of Madness

FFG are churning out the Call of Cthulhu deluxe boxes, that’s for sure! The Hastur faction’s box, looks like a lot of exciting stuff will be coming from this one when it arrives in the autumn! I enjoy running Hastur/Silver Twilight, so definitely looking forward to this one!

FFP have a new ad for the upcoming Caverns of Cynder expansion for Shadows of Brimstone, which is looking really nice! Only one new enemy for the world, though apparently the hellbats from the Jargono box will be usable as “lava bats”, so that’s interesting.

But yeah, otherwise it seems to have been a quiet time on the game front lately…

Happy Easter!

Hey everybody!
It’s a four-day weekend, which is always more than welcome in my book, and whether you’re celebrating Easter or just relaxing with as much chocolate as you can bodily cope with, I hope you’re having a great time so far! As for me, well, this has been happening…

Easter has long had strong ties to the Star Wars franchise for me, and every year I re-watch the original trilogy, usually accompanied by a re-read of a lot of the fiction from that point in the timeline. I am, of course, a massive Star Wars fan, and it was many Easters ago that I discovered the expanded universe of novels and comics. So my big plans will be, as per, a re-watch of the trilogy, interspersed with a lot of comics. Aw, yeah!

I’ve mentioned it before, but A New Hope is my favourite of all the movies. For a long time it was Return of the Jedi, but the original movie supplanted that a few years back now, mainly because it’s such a truly wonderful story.

Continue reading “Happy Easter!”

Ah, the weekend!

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Hey everyone!
The first week of the new year back at work is down, and it seems everything is back to normal for another eleven months. Joyous. Well it’s been a pretty slow week, as I’ve been trying to get caught up with the degree, which I finally got to this afternoon. But let’s take a look at some more interesting stuff…

Force and Destiny

Back in 2012, Fantasy Flight Games announced the model for their Star Wars RPG line, which took off the following year with Edge of the Empire, which allowed us to play on the galactic fringe as smugglers and colonists. Last year saw Age of Rebellion, which introduced the good people of the Rebellion to the system. Finally, 2015 will see the third “branch” of the system, Force and Destiny, which allows players to create Force-user characters. As with the previous games, the line is launched with the beginner game that will teach you the rules as you play. Wonderful! Now if I can just find enough people to get a game going…

Visions of Dawn

FFG have also announced a fifth Hero and Monster Collection for Descent, Visions of Dawn. I have nothing to say about this beyond – take a look at that manticore! Though I’m excited to see Nara the Fang enter the fray…

Drakon

Now this is very exciting. Drakon has been intriguing me for what seems like an age, but has been out of print for just as long, meaning it has been attracting ridiculous prices on the aftermarket. It seems like a really interesting game, though, a little reminiscent of Dungeonquest. With a new edition on the horizon, however, I’m hoping that finally I can investigate this thing!

I’ve played quite a lot of Shadows of Brimstone over the New Year weekend, and it’s really begun to grow on me now. I’ve spent some time in the Targa Plateau, and later exploring the swamps of Jargono with a couple of the characters from both sets, and it’s been a really enjoyable experience! I still think the town could do with some tweaks, but in the main, it’s pretty amazing!

Wonderful times! I’m intending to get some more games in soon, then I’ll feature the game in a full game-day blog!

I follow a tumblr, allthingswarhammer, which features pretty much anything that is tagged with #warhammer on instagram. Last week, I came across the above picture, which started the cogs whirring in my mind!

See, I haven’t painted anything since before Christmas, and have been feeling in something of a painting funk, lacking any sort of motivation to get anywhere. The Necrons have, therefore, been gathering dust in the corner. However, Ogres! These chaps really captured my imagination, along with the Yhetees, of course, so I popped along to the local games shop and got a box of Mounfang Cavalry. Taking pretty much the entire week to build them, I have to say I was very happy with the results!

I don’t know, they just look fun! The best part is that I’ve started painting again, though! Not very much so far, but still! I’m painting them with purple/lilac skin, a sort of Slaaneshi scheme. I think it looks pretty great so far, anyway! I’m glad to be painting again, as it has been very enjoyable, so…yeah…

Warhammer Ogre Kingdoms

And finally, I thought I’d leave you with a book recommendation!

There’s an excellent blog here on WordPress, Geekritique, which featured an upcoming look at the fantasy and sci-fi books of 2015 back on New Year’s Day. I can’t say all 25 of the blighters leapt off the, er, screen, but two of them certainly captured my interest enough to buy the first in the respective series, as shown in the tweet above. Well, I started reading Leviathan Wakes last weekend and have to say it’s been pretty damn awesome so far! What with everything else going on, and my usual snail’s-pace reading, I’m only just about halfway through, but I haven’t felt this energised about a novel for a long time, let me tell you! I’ve actually bought the second in the series already, it’s that promising! I think what I appreciate most about the story is the Philip K Dick-esque feel, a sort of noire-future, almost. It’s highly recommended, at any rate!