Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Gencon 2014: day three

OK, let's get this put away before another month rolls in. Couple items to mention before we get back to the gaming.

Our hotel (the Crown Plaza) was pretty good, and very conveniently located. But the price you pay for that is a bunch of creepy statues all over the place. You know, like eerie ghosts appearing out of the corner of your eye.


So if you're ever in Indianapolis with a Doctor Who fan, you know where to stay.

As the con has been there for many years, some of the local restaurants really get into the spirit of things. Age of the geek, baby.

And one for fans of Parks and Recreation, while I am here.

Saturday was the day I skipped the Critical Mass demos, as Aaron and Maurice were kind enough to give me time to be ready for my tournament.

So it was all Protolene and Praesentia that day.

More Uncharted Seas, this time versus kaiju! Almost makes me wish I liked ship games. Almost.

And then, the event that would take the majority of my Saturday, the culmination of virtually hours of effort: the Bushido tournament.

What I done brought. Also known as, the figs from the Temple starter, plus two blisters. 

Turn one, I was up against Chris and his dastardly Cult of Yurei, the foul undead. Scenario was 'Keii,' and was slated to last six long rounds. 

With the fearsome Ikiryo in the backfield, and the Wraith sitting like an 400 lb. gorilla in the middle of the field, I knew I would have to move aggressively if I had a chance to dislodge them. Also, I had an (actual) 400 lb. gorilla of my own to send in. A few dice rolls go my way, and while I lose the Guardian, I also get the advantage by taking out their heavy hitters.

Above, the Gaki and the Nezumi (plus many rats) work to take down Yumi and score some last minute victory points, but the Temple take the day in the end. Whew!

Unrelated interlude! Blackwater Gulch being played at a nearby table!

On another table, the Silvermoon square off against the Cult. Danger abounds!

In some sort of symbolic coincidence, this is my only pic from game two that came out halfway decent. Hoj, of Dark Age tournament fame, brought some well-painted Ito to the table, and made quick work of my monks. Scenario was 'Ryodo,' and I just couldn't get anything done versus their pile of poison. We called it halfway through when we saw the way the wind was blowing.

Round three was a flashback: I drew Mr. Jack and his Savage Wave, my opponents from day one of the Dojo! Scenario was the Idols, a fan favorite, and we tucked in for an all-day beating.

Battle lines quickly form up, monsters everywhere.

Kenko, the monk with the iron fists, holds off against a Kaihei and a Giant Cave Bat. Which he does. For tuns on end. I couldn't fail a roll to save my life. He couldn't really significantly hurt them, but that wasn't what he was there for.

He holds the objective like a champion, and the remaining Temple forces come to pull his bacon out of the pan. A hard-fought win!

Inexplicably, my performance lands me in contention for the title, so I stick around for round four. I'm up against Anthony and his Savage Wave, many more Bakemono today. The final scenario, as teased by our Retainer? 'The Envoy.' It's... certainly something. You name the VIP on the enemy side, and they name a VIP on your side. Points are for getting your VIP off their side of the board, and/or eliminating their VIP. So it's a quick and brutal clusterfuck. Beautiful.

Team Greyscale

He picks Aiko, because who better to beat up than a slow, weak, and cowardly little girl?

Team Painted Well

On his side, I pick... one of the Bakemono. Who knows which one, I can't tell them apart. I think he was a Beater.

The board is a rocky mountain pass. So thematic! I send Kenko to the northeast to draw off the heavy hitters, and Yumi to the southeast on some sort of assassination black op.

This is, of course, a disaster. Yumi gets tied up, as does Kenko, but we did manage to spread outselves out far enough to let an Oni sneak in and plaster our VIP. On turn three. Sigh. 

I mean, don't get me wrong, it was a good game! And Robert was a true gentleman and a scholar. But that's a rough scenario (hence why our Retainer was excited to spring it on us.) I end up in fourth place, but I will take that any day of the week. My mission was to play a lot of Bushido, and that was accomplished. Good folks, good figs, good game.

I suspect I will take a few years off before returning to Gencon. It's fun, but it's a lot of people and a lot of money. And it'll be there when I am ready to go back. Back to the smaller local con scene, for me.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

pre-Zomtober post


Ah, autumn, when pumpkins and fake cobwebs appear in front of stores nationwide, there's a bit of a lovely chill in the air, and a gamer's thoughts turn to the undead. And for us, that can only mean... Zomtober.

Despite my faltering at the end of last year's event, I'm coming back for more. For the big list of upcoming eye candy, go here or here. As always it's not just about challenging myself to, you know, finish painting things, but also to drink in all the delicious inspiration from my fellow Zomtober participants. 

Now, I was toying with the idea of cheating this year and going with 15mm walkers, but it's been a 28mm kind of year, so let's go with this instead:

In proper zed fashion, there's plenty more where these come from.

My ambitious selection comes from last year's Zombicide II bounty. With so many wonderful pre-assembled, pre-based shamblers, how can you go wrong? They're perfect for any modern-era zombie game, such as 7ombie (or even the upcoming S.D.Z.A. that I know more than a couple of you are watching.)

No, I don't think I will get through all nine. I will definitely be aiming for four, anyhing after that will be icing on the rotting, fleshy cake.

I was so tempted to go for the grayscale black-and-white paint jobs, as seen elsewhere, but I think that might be ambitious for my deadlines. We'll see.

And while I have you here, don't forget that the Studio Miniatures kickstarter is entering the home stretch. I've put off picking up many of their zombies for far too long now, and this is a great opportunity to play catchup. Perfect for fans of certain TV shows, a popular horror video game, and certain classic movies. Check it out, you'll find something to tempt you.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Kickstarter stumping: Stonehaven Half-Orcs

OK, quick aside here. Stonehaven Miniatures is coming up to the deadline on their latest fantasy kickstarter, this one for a wide variety of half-orcs and other odds and ends.

I bring this up specifically because I have a couple pulp and Victorian scifi fans among my leadership. In the recent past, I also signed on for Wolsung, which is best described for me as "Shadowrun steampunk." It's a pulp Victorian scifi-fantasy setting, which includes among other things the Triad of the Lotus Dragon, an orcish immigrant criminal organization. And coincidentally enough, there's a number of figures in the Stonehaven offering that would be perfect for your demihuman VSF needs: the Nobleman, the Pistoleer, the Mechanist, the Scholar, and more. Stonehaven really shines in making highly characterful figures, each one practically writing their own story for you. Take a look, you'll see.

The kickstarter can be found here, and as of this posting has about 36 hours left. You can pick up the figs from their previous kickstarters here.

There's already plenty of backers, so I am not trying to push the kickstarter 'to the next level.' Nor is getting a huge number particularly a great deal, truth be told. It's a deal, but not an investment. The sole reason I am post this is because I think this company is great, they are putting out some figs unlike anyone else, they are very responsive to their customers, and I don't think enough people have heard about them. Plenty of reason to take the time out to spread the word.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Gencon 2014: day two

Friday! Up early a.m. for day two of Critical Mass demos. Today we used my Kaamados figs against Aaron's Protolene. We had four players, all of them into it again.

Things are about to get hairy.

Didn't get many pictures (that weren't blurry) unfortunately. The game was good, with an even back-and-forth. The Protolene seem like a more even match for my big guns, but it might just be his smaller-number-of-force-fields doing the talking there.

Also day two of my Bushido dojo action!

My game was a fun little skirmish against the Ito, played by a charming gentleman named Bill. 35 rice, we went for the Seigyo scenario. Scenarios in Bushido greatly improve thing, and you need to keep aware of what's going on and how you can tactically sore the scenario points to win things. It's hard thinking, but it's good hard thinking.

For example, this game quickly turned into 'how can I tactically keep the Ito from killing me.' 35 rice made for a nice quick game, and once things turn against you, you better redouble your efforts fast. I hope to learn how to do that soon. My take away from that game was that: walls are jerks, and the Ito are jerks. I conceded in turn four (out of six.)

Meanwhile, Maurice's Silvermoon were taking on those dreaded Oni.

Swung by Aaron's Hell Dorado tourney. I like the variable terrain setups. Gencon probably should have picked a non-pink tablecloth, in my opinion. Was real easy finding the table in the hall, however.

Wandered past this crazy huge 3D Robo Rally board.

I didn't take a lot of pictures in the dealer's hall this time around, because honestly, I could spend four days there and be happy. Lots to see, lots to do. Buying things immediately (Pandemic: Contagion,) planning to spend the rest of my con money (more Bushido,) planning things to buy later (Mice and Mystics, perhaps.)

Friday night was a tasty steak dinner at a lovely establishment. Pricey, yes, but worth it, and with a great crowd of friends.

Afterwards, back to the con and late night wandering around and taking pictures of other people's games. I am such a voyeur.

Dark Age! Always tempting. Very rich setting, and it strikes the right post-apocalyptic tones for me. (Albeit an apocalypse on an alien planet, but really, it's Mad Max-ish, that's all I need.) I was pretty much convinced to buy in to this game even before I saw these beautiful table setups.


Quite the scenic overview.

Speaking of lovely terrain, the fans behind Infinity never fail to impress.

You see.

Just table after table of this.

One of my other hobbies is taking a picture so I can remember to talk about some terrain or game I saw later, and then when I am actually going through the pics, having no idea why I singled out this game in particular. This was some sort of Death Race 2000 auto dueling game, with, like, cars and pedestrians to hit and what have you. Which appeals to me, sure, but why did I want to note this one specifically? Why?

Maurice was digging the All Quiet on the Martian Front boards.

I don't know why anyone would want to play something other than the tripods.

All in all, the Malifaux and Warmachine/Hordes boards were looking... unimpressive. This one was a standout, admittedly. But the whole play area was just... not inspirational. Especially because it was right next to...




I believe this was built for a Morat Prison Break scenario, which is a great idea. Infinity has a huge amount of fluff to their universe, in a good way. (Bonus: more here.

[The only reason Infinity is not as tempting as it could be, for me, is because there is a bit of intimidation factor getting into it at this point. If there was a casual/storyline circuit or something, I would be all in.]

This Infinity scenario I sought out while I was there because I actually tried to sign up for it, but didn't get a seat in time: "Raicho Initiation: command a Raicho in expanded close combat versus giant beasts of Ugarat to earn the right to wear Raicho Armor."

The beasts were from Mierce Miniatures, and are damn impressive in person.

Couple interesting Uncharted Seas games there. I am not into ship games, for whatever reason, but these looked neat.

A Savage Worlds factory raid, with sp00ky fog

One of the other events I was looking forward to at the convention was the premiere of the film version of Of Dice and Men. Full disclosure: I know a couple of the people responsible for bringing the movie to the big screen. However, as a guy who games a lot and watches a lot of movies, I can honestly say this is the best gaming movie so far. It not only is never condescending to games or gamers, but is the most honest explanation of why we gamers game, and what we really get out of it. Seriously, check it out, watch it with your significant other or close non-gamer friends. You won't regret it.

Walking back from the movie, wandered past this huge hall full of people playing Pathfinder. Past eleven at night, and going strong. Oh Gencon, you never cease to impress me.

Speaking of which, one of the Gencon staples is this large area packed with surplus gaming cards. Over the course of a couple days, people just sit around building these massive structures. Thereafter, people cough in a couple bucks for charity to be able to pitch coins at the constructions and knock things over. It's a little bit brilliant.

Soon: day three.