Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Frostgrave: It's Kinda Awesome.

So does your gaming group also have that one guy whom goes completely overboard with every new shiny game that comes along? Well, that guy is luckily not me as I do not have the extra disposable income that my overboard friend has so I will always wait to see a new game played in front of me before I make a decision to invest or not. I'm always skeptical of new games even though my gaming club had suddenly, out of nowhere, exploded with about 8 people picking up Frostgrave within a matter of weeks.

And there I was one day watching two of my friends playing a game of Frostgrave in front of me and from the very beginning I was impressed. Spells were being cast and combats being fought as two small warbands tried to out do the other and get away with as many treasures as they could on a 3'x 3' table filled with lots of ruins. The most impressive thing was the D20 mechanics of the game - they were so quick and simple yet they made a lot of sense so not to spoil any realism. But the most impressive thing is what happened last. After the game both friends started rolling on charts to see if fallen soldiers survived, how much treasure was earned, what magical items they found and then they calculated experience points to level up their wizards.

Yes, boys and girls, this is no typical skirmish wargame, this is a skirmish RPG where each game has consequences for the next game. You will get to lead your wizard and warband through a a whole campaign of games where mercenaries need to be paid, home bases have to be improved and wizards level up. And that's not all, because your gold is a very precious resource that must be carefully spent on magic items, spells, soldier replacement and filling reserve coffers for when things go badly.

Hey, what can I say? I'm hooked. A skirmish wargame with easy, yet likeable, rules and a campaign to be adventured through? Yes, please. As I write this post, my club is already into week two of  Frostgrave's Thaw of the Lich Lord campaign. Details on my wizard and warband to come.


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Back, But in a Dirty Casual Player Kind of Way

Welcome Back Kotter!
Yeah, it has been a long while since my last post and hello to anybody still watching this space. Just wanted to explain the long absence and it can be blamed on two things: a change to casual play and a dislike for 40K's current meta.

When I decided to turn into a dirty casual player it had the side effect of freeing me from having to keep up with all the new rules and releases that have been coming often and heavy for the past few years. Some people love that and some don't, I am part of the latter. So, that coupled with my distaste for the current bloated mess that is the 40K meta is in today, I found myself uninspired to post anything for the hobby in a way that I had done previously.

Fast forward to today and I am experiencing a resurgent interest in the 40K hobby as I have started to pick up the work on my Space Wolves and getting in a few games with friends. I think that going forward from now on I will post casual hobby stuff, some of it might just be stream of consciousness things, and most certainly I will not be posting anything too heavy. I leave the heavy stuff to the tournament guys and gals.

Happy wargaming.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Rise of Bolt Action? GW's Souring Taste

GW's Souring Taste

First, let me say this, GW is a big company and a big company's job is to make money especially when it has as many stock holders as GW has. In this pursuit, once stocks were starting to turn downward due to slacking sales two years ago, GW began the current product blitz that we have been living with ever since. They throw products at us and hope some of them stick and that we will buy them: new codices, supplements, books, models, lords of war, formations, etc. The faucet was opened full bore and the flow hasn't stopped yet.

So many new codices and formations have arrived and in such a short time that it has become a crazy soup we had to swim through to try and remember and to understand all the new rules/models/formations. Of course this appeals to some 40K players and I am happy for them. Then again, there is the others that just gave up trying to keep up.

With so many new models, including Forge World, being released - often with ever increasing price tags, that the game looks almost unrecognizable at times. Don't get me wrong, GW does sell fantastic models, top-notch in the industry today, but $400 for a new Tau super suit? Prices of normal models aren't getting any cheaper either.

Then there is Age of Sigmar. I was stoked for when it at first came out and bought a starter box. Then the AoS model blitz began and the sticker shock hit! Again, the models are AMAZING but five models for the price of a Terminator box? I'm left wondering how in the world any of those newbie wargamers that bought into the starter box would stick with a game that costs about 10 bucks per model? That is insanity.

While I still want to play 40K, (I love my Khorne, Space Wolves and Guard), I have serious doubts as to the future of the game if it continues on this current course. To a layman like me it appears that GW is flooding it's players with too much - too much of everything. When that happens things will eventually hit a critical mass and the whole system will come crashing down. I think I have hit my personal critical mass. GW is starting to taste sour, I have no more desire to be taunted into throwing buckets of money into the newest formation/super model of the month. Nope. No more, I feel dirty and used. Critical mass achieved.

What Can GW Do Differently

Well for starters, if GW would just slow down their crazy release schedule that would make a world of difference. If we saw a new codex every three months I think that would be a great pace for the game. And please, limit those nonsense formations! Back them down, make them fewer, too much of a good thing is a bad thing.

Rules wise GW could probably do with a much needed rulesbook diet, slim down those rules to a quicker, streamlined format and throw out the clunkier rules that slow down the game. Throwing less dice during the game is a good start. And what about getting rid of that rule where you have to remove the models closest to the shooting unit? It is much more efficient to just pluck out a model instead having to determine which is closest and such.

Oh and the prices. Heh. I understand GW has top quality models and part of the price goes into the making of the model but come on! We all know $10 per model is not realistic. I think as hobby people we will buy those expensive models we want (and we do) but give us time to buy them before throwing at us the very next week even more things we can't live without. We don't want to have to mortgage our houses to hobby with you GW, don't make us feel dirty and used like some crazy crack fiend being led down the path or ruin by a drug pusher.

The Rise of Bolt Action

Don't know if anybody else has noticed in their area or on the interwebs, but it seems to me that Bolt Action is a rising force in the wargaming scene. I think this is because of several factors:

  • 40K-like rules. Makes it very easy for 40K players to pick up the game mechanics and this is significant because a fair majority of wargamers are familiar with the 40K system.
  • Easy on the wallet. A rulebook, an army book, order dice and a 1000 point army will cost you maybe $225.
  • Fewer rules. The game is more streamlined than 40K and cuts down on rule confusion.
  • Uses points. From what I understand Bolt Action is the only historical wargame using points to ensure balanced games - or competitive games if that is what you like. Bolt Action lends itself easily to tournament play.
  • Huge model selection - Not only are the models much cheaper but they have a vast selection to chose from.
  • A shared game turn - Unlike 40K's rigid 'your turn, my turn' mechanic, Bolt Action turns consist of both players randomly activating units with order dice all in the same shared turn. IMHO, this is a more challenging and modern way to play a wargame.
  • No gotcha units/formations of the month - You aren't going to be seeing any super models/formations because there weren't any in WWII. Want to see a nazi super robot with a freak'n laser beam on it's head? Nope. Not going to happen.
  • Established interwebs community - Bolt Action has been around for about 3-4 years now and it has an established community you can jump right into. Of course it isn't huge like the 40K community but enough is there to keep you informed and entertained.
  • It's history - This points mileage might vary for some, but for those that enjoy history, especially WWII, you are in for a treat - Bolt Action will look and feel amazing on the wargaming table.
I'm sure I missed some good points but that is off the top of my head.

Check out this excellent guide if you are interested: Guide to Bolt Action for 40K Players.

Coming Soon in 2016


Battle Video Reports and more!