Friday, 22 April 2016

Oh no - and I had resisted for so long...

I did, I promise. I convinced myself Guild Ball looked shit, ignored it - ignored it again - still looked shit I persuaded myself. To avoid finding anything new to distract me from the current game/board game list I even avoided going to Salute. But that didn't stop the new group of guys from the club going and shelling out a shed load to get themselves kitted out with Season Two goodies.

THEN like the little weak puppy dog that I am I caved... big time. Maybe it's the fascination of sport themed games, can't seem to resist them. Guild Ball says it is a game of medieval Mob Football and as I have even participated in a few games in the last surviving examples of the game (up in Derbyshire when I was in my teens) it JUST had to be done, honest !

Guild Ball is a comparatively new game of just over a year old. In that year it has seen a phenomenal rise in popularity and now I am on the bandwagon wholesale it is fairly easy to see why. Matches take place on a three by three foot pitch using teams of six players (in a normal size game) and last one to two hours depending on how many victory points one plays up to. Figure wise they are about 30mm and gorgeous (if one can use such an adjective for little figures), they come with the required stat card you need for in-game play. Now all these can be downloaded from their site as paper models; but where is the fun in that?

Game play wise the mechanics are fairly simple, the complexity comes from the inter-play with the players abilities and 'plays'. There is a good mechanism for 'momentum' which adds to the play and helps to see who has the initiative the following turn. Running alongside this is the 'influence' mechanic - think action point that you can allocate.

Teams can be more 'footy' orientated, in which case you need to score to win, or more 'bashy' orientated, in which case you win by taking the opponents out. Goals are worth 4 points and putting a player out is 2 points - games are 8 or 12 points. Obviously you can make your team an all-round outfit.

I have plumpt for the Fisherman Guild, obviously due to the sea connection and the Brewers Guild, thought I would make them Aussies. Fishermen are fast and 'footy' orientated. Brewers are over refreshed and out for a good scrap (although Season 2 gives both options to be more 'all round'). Here are pictures of them both, obviously not my painting although I wish it was!

So, when my stuff all gets here I will give you an update... 
Quick update - now added the Hunters to my team lists. Damn I was kinda doing well, oh and of course a few of the sub players, some goals oh and a scoreboard and tokens and made a pitch. Scarey thing is I haven't played a game yet!!!!!

Oh well may as well keep digging this hole as it doesn't seem to be going away.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Playtesting, playtesting...

Excited to be back playtesting for the Big Giant Ed (Third Rock from the Sun anyone?) over at Two Hour Wargames. THW has been one of my favourite rules companies for a long, long time. For some reason I have found it hard to get people on board with the rules for extended periods. I think people tend to love the rules when I am running the games (and the rules always work way 'same side co-op) but seem to get the 'can't be arsed' mentality (they seem to think the charts will be hard work) when I am not by their side. Weird, but true unfortunately - most of the time one doesn't even need to look at the charts/rules once you get going, only referring to them when something new happens.

So, this all started when I volunteered to playtest his new WWI fighter rules which looked interesting - then Ed made the mistake of telling me he had a 5150 (his sci-fi rules) set of fighter rules.... What more needed to be said?

I modded them up quickly to use my Force Awakens X-Wing models and was off. To be honest you don't need models as the fighting environment is abstract - which makes sense because of the huge nuances you would really need to model 3D space combat. All that is really important is:

  • Are they within range?
  • Who has the tactical advantage? - whether this is spacial, speed related etc.
  • Who can turn this advantage into a clear shot?
  • Does the shot get through?
And these are the aspects of combat the rules deal with. Another awesome thing about any THW rules is they have built in solo systems. The fighter rules are a good example and I decided to run the Resistance and let the rules run the First Order fighters. PEF - stands for Potential Enemy Force and once I had rolled up my two wingman (I was playing Poe Dameron and chose the ACE ability for him alongside his Reputation - REP - of 5. The  two wingmen rolled Reps of 4 and I drew two random abilities). First order rolled on the NPP (non player pilot) charts and draw random abilities. 

Three PEF had to be resolved as the resistance fighters came out of hyperdrive to scout the area around the planet for First Order capital ships - who were presumed to have fighter screens in the system with them. 

Poe and his squadron arrive in system...

BB8's trill 'voice' came through Poe's earpiece - three blips on the scanners, the three of them peeled off to investigate. Minutes later Jessica's droid picked up the source - a malfunctioning probe droid wallowing around in the atmosphere. Accelerating towards the second blip they noticed it had moved and 'joined' with the third. They had no choice really - they pulled back into attack formation and went to investigate the remaining blip.

Game mechanics wise what had happened was - the three PEF were resolved in order. The first had been a false reading/alarm. The second had been a 'potential' which gives a stronger roll on the third try - which resulted in an enemy located result. When I rolled to see number and type of enemy it had the result of - same number of ships as own force and they all were medium fighters - in this case 3x Tie fighters).

Initiative was rolled to see who pulls a chance card first - First Order win but the card was not one they could use, so had no effect. 

Capt. Phasma rolled into attack Jessica Pava while Poe dived in towards Zeta pilot, leaving L'ulo's droid directing him to Omega pilot. Bolts of energy lit up the vacuum, the Ties manoeuvrability looking as if it would pay off on the first pass...

But Poe and BB8 rolled quickly to one side and turned in sharply, Zeta pilot desperately tried to evade but Poe had him centered in the targeting computer - a bolt of energy ripped through the Ties' wing, cracking across the view shield. Panic set in as the controls began to crackle, acrid smoke drifting up from them as a shrill alarm sounded in his headset - the pilot screamed into the mouth-piece - he was pulling out and returning to the hangar ship... Poe and BB8 congratulated each other and banked towards Phasma...

Game mechanics - Poe rolled 5 dice for his rep, I decided to add all five bonus dice and knew he would get one success auto (because of his ability). Zeta pilot rolled 3 for rep and NPPs always roll as many bonus dice as possible - in this case 3 - for a total of 6 dice. Bonus die count as successes (if rolled 1-3) as normal but one permanently loses any die which rolls a 6. Poe ended up with 2 more successes on the DOGFIGHT and went onto  the TAKING CONTROL table with +2d6. This set of rolls went badly for the Zeta pilot and Poe had a net 5 successes on the table. This meant they rolled a number of dice equal to their firepower (in this case 1) and needed to get 5 or less to cause a hit. Rolling a 4 a hit was made and the Tie lost one of its two hull points. The bad rolling for the Tie pilot continued when they had to check on the 'Continue on Table' - rolling 2 dice they needed a pass against their rep with just one; but they rolled 6,6 and headed for home. This meant that Poe could join in with the others at the start of the next round. 

Capt. Phasma saw Zeta One trailing vapour and making a run for it... She knew she had to try and even things up and banked hard towards one of the T-70s. The pilot tried to jink out of it but Phasma put the Tie's manoeuvrability and her skill to good use -  deft barrel roll saw her pull in behind - a stream of energy hit behind the droid which was situated behind the pilot. About to pull in for the kill Phasma saw the black T-70 banking in, she pulled out... Meanwhile L'ulo and the other Tie weaved around trying to gain any advantage...

Phasma only just moved onto the taking control table by virtue of the Tie adding a die to the pool because it had more THRUST - which in the game combines the speed and manoeuvrability of the ship - It ended with Phasma rolling one fire die needing 3 and making a hit! The X-Wing rolled to carry on on the 'Continue' table.  The next turn saw another Tie making a run, mainly because of the effect of having the first one running off... This left a 3 on 1 dogfight. Phasma pulled a 'debris' chance card - meaning they lost out (-1d6 on the dogfight table) as she had to avoid the asteroids..

 Phasma was determined to fight on, no resistance scum was going to escape.... NOOOoooo she'd been concentrating on that damn traitor Dameron and had to bank wildly to avoid the asteroid... the three T-70s pulled in behind her .... DAMN she accelerated, confident in the knowledge she could outrun them... If she got back quick enough to scramble another flight or two those scum would pay!

Poe banked - the droids communicating incessantly... this was the system, if Phasma was here so were the rest of the First Order fascists... time to bring in the big guns!

Monday, 4 April 2016

So where did that evening go?

Playing Star Realms with Shaun is the answer... What an awesome fun game in real life. I had been playing a lot on the app but it is so quick that one misses a lot of the subtleties and interaction. It is even better in real life.

Four games in we figured we were doing the 'draw cards' action on the cards from the wrong pile - which I blame my 4-0 losing streak on... Honest. After that I managed to make it 2-1 in my favour  - but all were very close games indeed.

I can see this keeping us going as a filler for quite a while! We still have 3 expansions to plough through :)

Watch this space...

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Star Realms... Damn you Wil Wheaton

Well I echo the words of our favourite Big Bang character, Wil Wheaton has cost me far too much money on games over the last few years. And here he goes again, a simple passing tweet about how good Star Realms coupled with the ease of one click Amazon Prime after playing the online version for a bit and I have a table full of cards!

Oh no - goes out the call from my loving, caring readers - don't buy another card game! But do not worry folks this one is different. Not a LCG or CCG really; it all comes in the box (and maybe a few expansions).

Never had a 'deck building game' and must admit it is more fun than I imagined. The phrase 'deck building' alludes to the fact that both players start with the same 'hand' and play with the same total deck. One then has to draw and get rid of cards to build up one's personal deck that one has to draw from. Then to throw something into mix in Star Realms you have to destroy your opponent by reducing their 'authority' rather than the normal building up of points.

Not even going to try and describe the game play but here is a screen shot from the online version:

Why do I think it will become a stable part of my gaming? Time - games take about 20 mins it says (online its more like 8-10). Cost - it's cheap and I have all I need for 2-4 players. Fun - it is GREAT but simple fun with the normal caveat of it being subtle and deep.

So there we are - another game in the bag, or should that be box?

Great art work is a big bonus

Zephyr Corp - preseason trip to Wayland spaceport

Holo Cast Whispers (HCW) sent its roving reporter with the Zephyr Corp team ship as a couple of their teams headed out to Wayland Space Port for a couple of preseason warm ups. Probably chosen to see how they would fair against human only teams (Wayland, being a space sport that deals mainly with 'purist nation' planets, has mainly human teams on its Tier One/Two rosters) the games were probably going to be well contested affairs.

First up was one of the reasons HCW sent a reporter - BEER MONEY's Number 7 was due for his first outing for a long, long time. His form was being monitored by all the Tier One teams coming into the new season - surely he was getting 'too old' to keep pulling out his stellar performances (which unless you are a BM supporter makes you hate him with a vengeance).

Well, he was on the pitch for the entire 14 rushes and did make an impact being a fundamental part of most of Beer Money's strikes.

However, it was generally agreed by all the HCW crew that he was not up to his normal self and was to blame for a couple of missed strike chances in what turned out to be a very close game. The Warrior Dolphins were just ahead for most of the game and managed to sneak out a very close win as they closed Beer Money down in the last few rushes. Probably one of the surprises of the pre season this newly promoted team look like they may make an impression in the coming season.

Number 7 makes a rare mistake...
Game two of the evening saw Zephyr's KUSA involved in one of the more thrilling matches we have seen for a long time. From the opening rush 3 pointer from the Kusa the game was end to end as both teams traded strikes. The main tactical problem for both teams was clearing the 4 point lane.

Both sides made mistakes on big plays and the game was tied coming into the final 3 rushes. The Kusa's throwing game was impressive and their striker was gutted as he missed a rush 13 four pointer. This left the game open for their opponents - but pressure got to their young striker and a fumbled pick up (which would have left him with an easy 1 pointer to win) ended the game. Being a preseason their was no sudden death and the fans were left thrilled - our reporter thought a draw was the most fitting result. Kusa, once they have learnt to use their phase ability better are going to be another tough team - we haven't seen such a solid speedy team for a long time.

All in all DB fans it looks like the upcoming season is going to be AWESOME.