Saturday, June 26, 2010

Kroot? Seriously?

Our gaming group delved into Dark Heresy for a very brief bit ... and have now moved into Rogue Trader. I love Dark Heresy ... if its played as an investigative story driven game and not just a mindless hack and slash fest ... its darn good. As for Rogue Trader we just did session one and have session two planned for Sunday. It went well and I'm excited thus far.

I see that Fantasy Flight has announced the second race in the new Into the Storm supplement and ... I have to say ... I'm disappointed. I was stoked to hear that they were going to do Ork Freebooters ... I was like ... hrmmm ... I don't really see how they'd work WITH human rogue traders ... I guess if they have an all Ork crew or something ... sweet (I'm still hoping that is the way they are played ... if not its going to be ultra lame and very much against the fluff). Then they announce that the second race is Kroot?!?! Huh?!?!?!  Why???? I can see eventually doing Kroot ... ok ... ya they are kinda cool. But why not diversify a bit ... why Orks and Kroot??? I'm going to buy it ... I love Orks ... always have and I'd love to play an all Ork crew. From the looks of it they are going to have various Ork classes so it should be that way.

For some reason I've always seen the Kroot as a race of Gungans ... not so slapstick ... but none the less kinda contrived and out of place. Anyway ... I hope there are more ships and gear, etc. for the standard RT game and I hope the next book is out soon ... because this one is kinda ... meh. Hopefully the Ork stuff rocks though and once its out I change my mind :)  Anyway Jar Jar ... erm ... Kroot ... are comin at us soon. Hmmm ... wonder what the warsphere stats are ... lol ... naw that's too big and cool to be included.

Nostalgia for club mini gaming of olde ...

Best value for one's time and money ... in terms of gaming for the past decade I've vehemently and vociferously argued that the right kind of mini gaming took the cake when it came to that question. RPGs ... ya ya ... if you have the right kind of group they are great. But the barrier of entry is low on RPGs and to be blunt you get alot of odd ducks that aren't fun to game with in the ranks of RPG players. Store trolls ... jerk power gamers ... criminals ... lol. Board gaming ... well ... its a bit better ... but it suffers from many of the same problems that the RPGs do. You get a mixed bag of fans ... some people only care about winning and don't really like to socialize much during play. Then the new paradigm (thanks Fantasy Flight Games!) in board games verges on the collectible ... its turning into an expensive hobby if one doesn't already have a massive collection. If you have a good group of board game fans you can spread the costs ... but in my case (and in many game groups) I'm the host and I tend to have most of the games we play.

So for me personally mini games ... mostly GWs Warhammer 40,000 with some dabbling in WHFB, Necromunda, Warmachine ... has been what I've done. For six or seven years I had miniature gaming utopia ... I found a huge group of amazingly like minded mini gamers who loved the modeling, painting and backstory of the game as much as they did playing. There were few power gamers in our midst and we as a group kept them in check ... we ran balanced lists with alot of fun fluff lists. We had a traveling 40K RTT team where we'd go to other towns and play competitively. We went to every So. Cal GT and Gamesday as a big group. It was really an amazingly fun time ... I really miss it ... it was a golden age of gaming for me.

Over the past few years I've had a massive upheaval in my gaming life ... I've had to relocate to a new area. Had to search for new gaming comrades, etc. etc. However, even before that miniature gaming began to decline. I had always chalked it up to several key members of our old mini gaming club moving away (back around 2007-2008 our 40 person game club lost five of eight founding members in a one year period to relocation/corporate transfers/etc.). So our gaming group morphed into more of a "pan" gaming group ... we did more RPG, more board gaming, even some Xbox-LAN party stuff. It was just as fun honestly ... but it was different ... not really in a bad or a good way.

Since that time I've had to start from scratch in rebuilding a home gaming group and a gaming club. It was easiest to find people looking for a D&D group ... so I did that first. Then gradually we branched out into other RPG systems and then to board game nights. I have several members of the home game group and game club who are mini gamers ... yet I have really struggled to get that off the ground.

We have a really nice store here locally ... with a pretty big 40K group playing down there. But its all competitive players and an absentee owner who pays not attention to what is going on in the store. So its very cliquish and there is not one bit of anything that interests me about hanging out down there or playing that type of over competitive game. Its really not an environment conducive to recruiting club members/home gaming group members. But also every time I go in there ... and every time I read comments on BoLS, etc. etc. I realize just how much the GW hobby has changed since 2000. It really has me strongly questioning whether or not mini gaming is even viable for me at this point. I have no anger about it ... I'm just staring cold hard facts in the face ... and more and more asking myself the question ... is this a hobby that has anything to offer me anymore?

I've been looking to historicals, etc. as possible alternative ... but even there ... unless you have a group that will get into those systems along side you ... whats the point. 

Yet getting RPG groups together, getting board game groups together ... couldn't seem to be easier. I've found 30 people in a year who are cool to hang out with, laid back fun people who are interesting to talk to and idle away a Friday or Saturday evening over a board game or RPG with. So I'm seriously considering deep mothballing for all mini game related stuff ... a Stalin-esq purge of my mini collection via the ebay gulag to just convert those to board games and RPGs. Am I being to quick to judgment? Anyone out there having similar thoughts, or had experiences like mine and figured out a way past the great mini purge??

I'm just questioning the return on investment anymore ... not money ... there I think minis are king. I mean I'm playing with 15 and 20 year old models. When it comes to historicals ... I've seen people playing with minis from the 1960s ... just as useful today as when they were freshly painted for the first time. But time ... getting high quality mini gaming together is huge work. It just doesn't exist at stores anymore, I don't care what anyone out there says. For your preference perhaps you can find good mini gaming at stores ... but I do not like the randomness of players ... dealing with having to watch your minis as random people come by and pick them up ... kids ... etc. having to endure crappy terrain and either complete competitive players who cheat and could care less about whether or not your having fun ... or having to basically do what the store should be doing and demo the game to new players. I don't mind demoing honestly ... I've done my share of that and would happily at one of our club meetings or at my house for a friend. But the overall picture of mini gaming has really declined for me. I've come to realize that my experience in Las Vegas was very rare, we had the stars align for a brief time ... a really cool group of mini gamers came together and formed an amazing club ... but all good things come to an end.

I have tried for a year to re-ignite the flames of good mini gaming ... but I'm still standing over a wet patch of tinder ... no closer than I was a year ago.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The New Conan casting ... bad ... or really true to Howard's vision?

So whats the deal with the new Conan film?  There have been pictures floating around for months ... among others I've been following a great blog CROM! who has had it chronicled in detail for quite some time. But pictures of Jason Momoa are once again flying around the blog-o-sphere with typical internet comments (if you don't have something bad to say don't say anything ... net comment philosophy) ... chubby geeks making fun of the new Conan because he isn't as roided up as Arnie was in the late 70s. Well folks ... lets look at a few things shall we.  First lets look at the artwork representing Conan while Robert E. Howard was still alive.

In the 1960s artists like Frank Frazetta were depicting Conan as a much more muscular figure ... as the bounds of bodybuilding were pushed (thanks to human growth hormones) I guess that the concept of the male figure began to change somewhat.

The comic book era for Conan took the bigger more muscular look up into the post Arnold Schwarzenegger Conan film era. Where most people know Conan as a beefy, human growth hormone enhanced former Mr. Olympia type ... rather than the original more athletic Conan that Robert E. Howard envisioned 80 years ago. 

I personally think that Jason Momoa has A) more acting experience in related roles than Schwarzenegger did when he was cast in the role and B) has a look far truer to Howard's Conan than Schwarzenegger did. Also I think he did an ok job in Stargate Atlantis (by Arnie acting standards anyway). So why all the hate? Other than just pessimistic jerkiness ... few legitimate criticisms have been offered that I've seen. 

To me if people want to complain about something or predict failure on the basis of something about the film ... its the director Marcus Nispel who has done mostly B-film/horror film sequel  level work.

Again its ok to have nostalgia for the Arnie Conan ... I grew up on that stuff too ... I have fond memories of watching those movies as a kid with my dad. But I'm personally reserving judgment on the casting of Momoa ... at this point just because they didn't cast a bad accent roid freak in the role ... that to me means nothing ... if anything its a positive. I'm alot more concerned about story and production quality. At any rate if they do a good job and sort of reset the story a la Batman Begins ... then I'm stoked. I always love to see more fantasy films done and if these turn out decent ... wow ... we could be in for a trilogy (or more) of cool fantasy films based on the OG fantasy stories which along with Tolkien inspired most of the cool geeky shit we all know and love ...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Its official ... Skaven and High elves in the new WHFB starter box

It is official ... I know this has been making the rounds on the blog-o-sphere for quite some time now ... but here is GW's update on it for anyone who might have missed it. Indeed ... tis High Elves and Skaven. 

Incoming! The Island of Blood
The Warhammer world; it is a place riven by battle, where mighty armies clash for glory, honour or the entertainment of Dark Gods. Darkened skies, tortured by cataclysmic magics tear open and rain blood upon the ceaseless combatants and the landscape is wracked by the carnage around it. Trees writhe in mutated agony, lashing out with limb and branch and rivers flow thick with the corpses of the slain. All upon the land are consumed by the unending battle, an age of war in which victory and defeat hang in the balance.
Cast against this macabre tableau fight mighty armies -warriors by their million raise banners of defiance or icons of dismay, taking up arms in the clash for survival. Beleaguered and surrounded, the forces of Order fight desperately to stem the tide of the armies of Destruction. Delighting in the carnage and ruination, the Dark Gods look on.
The Island of Blood is but one battleground upon the face of the Warhammer world, a mystical and dangerous place that has been twisted and mutated by the warping power of Chaos. In ages past the Island of Blood was a battleground upon which armies have bled and died in the ageless battle for supremacy... and they will do so again. Soon.
The Island of Blood is the new boxed game for Warhammer and is released this September. Packed full of stunning plastic Citadel miniatures and containing all the rules, dice and templates you'll need to play, it's the essential purchase for fans of the Warhammer hobby.
Meanwhile, if you like the Battle for Skull Pass boxed game (and who wouldn't with all those Goblins and Dwarfs) then it only seems fair to point out that once the last few remaining copies are gone they're gone, and they're never coming back! Pick one up while stocks last.
In August we'll feature more information about The Island of Blood on and the full details will be released in September's White Dwarf.
If you can't wait until September to get your hands on the new rules then don't forget that the new Warhammer Rulebook and complete range of accessories are available to advance order by clicking on the image below.

Games Workshop Limited, a company incorporated in England and Wales. Games Workshop, Willow Road, Lenton, Nottingham, NG7 2WS, England, United Kingdom. Company number 1467092.
Copyright © Games Workshop Limited 2010 excepting all materials pertaining to the New Line theatrical productions: The Fellowship of The Ring; The Two Towers; and The Return of The King which are © MMX New Line Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved. All quotations from J.R.R. Tolkien's literary trilogy The Lord of the Rings (including any of the volumes thereof) © The Tolkien Estate 1954-55, 1966. All rights reserved. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King, and the names of the characters, items, events and places therein are trademarks of The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Middle-earth Enterprises, f/k/a Tolkien Enterprises under license to New Line Productions, Inc. and Games Workshop Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Games Workshop, the Games Workshop logo, 'Eavy Metal, Citadel and the Citadel device are either ®, ™ and/or © Games Workshop Ltd 2000-2010, variably registered in the UK and other countries around the world. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

$74.00 for a rulebook?? Huh??

Well well ... 74 bucks for a rulebook? 123 for the "gamers" edition?? GW is going off the deep end on their pricing. For the first time since I've been playing GW games I'm going to take a pass on a new rulebook release for either 40K or WHFB. I shall be waiting for the boxed set ... and if that is overpriced (I doubt it ... I assume it will be a nice loss leader as usual so I'll probably be in for a few honestly) I'll skip it too and just make a photocopy of a friends or something along those lines. Evil I know ... but I'm just done with outrageous pricing. I don't care if the book is 1000 pages and finely bound in acid free archival quality paper ... that price is entirely unjustified. The cost of printing on the book can't be more than $25.00 and I'd be surprised if it was even that high. 

I am very much looking for more competition in the mini game marketplace. GW has risen its prices to the point that now for sure there should be plenty of room. At those price points ... even a rube like me could compete ... if only I had some capital. But so many others are already jumping in ... like I've been harping over the past few months ... Viva La Revolution!! To Mantic and to Wargame Factory Plastics!! 

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Civil War ... a matter of scale

Well I hadn't watched the Civil War ... an old favorite Ken Burns documentary since I was in College working on my BA in history. For some reason I saw it pop up on Netflix and decided to watch it ... oddly just this morning netflix took it down again along with THE WAR which I didn't have a chance to see. 

Anyway beyond putting me into a  patriotic, nostalgically melancholic mood. Watching the nine episode film brought my mind back to history and Ken Burns films and finally buying and reading Shelby Foote's three volume history of the civil war ... it got me thinking about historical gaming and American Civil War historical gaming in particular. 

At present I'm trying to look up rule sets and consider scale. It seems like 15 MM might be a good way to go ... or even 10 MM ... given some of the large battles smaller scale might allow for more options. For me scale creates all sorts of issues ... I've never done much historical stuff other than a very brief flirtation with FOW a few years back so I have nothing other than 28 MM Warhammer 40K oriented terrain. As for terrain if I stick with 15 MM I could get some crossover with 15 MM WWII historical gaming and maybe some day Napoleonics though that seems like the ultimate historical gaming undertaking and I don't quite know if I'm ready for that. I think I'd like to do WWII, American Civil War and perhaps American War of Independence. Another confusing thing is it does seem like 20 MM is really popular for ACW too and that is a pretty unique scale. I suppose if I coupled the ACW stuff with an eventual move into AWI ... it might be worth the time, effort and monetary expenditure. That is another issue ... I'm not sitting on my cushy six figure income anymore ... being back to near starving student level income makes me wonder if ACW is doable in any scale ... lol. 

To further compound matters. It seems with all the companies putting out 28 MM stuff in plastic now ... that perhaps 28 MM is a viable scale for ACW/AWI. But I don't know really. 

As for rulesets ... I vaguely remember hearing about Jonny Reb and Mr. Lincoln's War. I've also heard of Honor and Glory and Charge! ... but I have no experience with any of them and have to admit I own none of them and short of perhaps picking one of the books up and glancing at them ... I haven't read them.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Dark Heresy Experiment

I've been running a Dark Heresy game ... (FINALLY ... I've wanted to for a few years but just never had the right group). I have some concerns about the system for example that combats look like they could be a bit wonky and that the rules looka bit too big and GURPs/RIFTS/Shadowrun-ish for my taste. But all in all  at least as far as the character creation night the system is performing great (lol which doesn't mean much really). 

I have six more sessions planned in my story arch and then its either on to chapter two or we might move into the Rogue Trader system. I try not to plan massive 50 week long campaigns ... over the years I've seen game after game aspire to do that only to go kaput after about 8 or so sessions. I feel that for pretty much any game planning for between 8 and 12 sessions is best. If you aspire to do more ... fine ... best of luck to you ... but I'd advise to at least do things in 8 to 12 session "chapters."  That is how I will run any standard RPG system.

Anyway Just thought I'd comment about how much fun the system is so far

The group is comprised of a Sister of Battle (power armor clad nuns with guns), a Guardsman (who is actually an Imperial Naval pilot ... we sort of hodge podged together something for him out of the guardsman class and its working well so far), an Imperial Psyker, an Arbite (40K cop basically) and a Tech Priest. The group is really balanced and if nothing else we all should get a pretty comprehensive look at the rules.

I am hoping to get really good idea of what the system can do and can't after this run. I'm planning to accelerate leveling a bit and move the group up to around rank 5 or 6 by the time we are done. I'm not a fan of just saying "ok start out at rank/level 5" with a game generally. I find that whenever I've done that as a player or GM people just don't have the buy in they normally do and the game just isn't as much fun. Yet languishing at low level ... yet again ... for yet another game didn't seem that much fun either. So we'll see how this all works out ... so far at least I'm having a blast :)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Funny stuff ... a friend told me about this today and I thought I'd share. Old skool video game style humor :)

Deathwatch RPG Cover ...

"Deathwatch is a roleplaying game set in the Warhammer 40KDeathwatch offers a brand new role-playing experience by focusing on elite, special-missions style action at the furthest fringes of Imperial space, involving some of the greatest heroes and deadliest opponents the Warhammer 40K universe has to offer! universe, where players take on the role of a member of the Adeptus Astartes - the devout, bio-engineered super-soldiers also known as Space Marines. Only the most exceptional candidates from the fighting forces of the Adeptus Astartes are invited to join the Deathwatch, and take on a new oath to safeguard the Imperium from the darkest of threats. United in this newly forged brotherhood, all Deathwatch Marines must learn to put aside their differences and work together to succeed in the most extraordinary operations - whether facing the threat of total annihilation when confronted by implacable alien foes, or fighting against the foul daemon menace that crawls forth hungrily from beyond the Warp."

Anyway here is the new cover ... I'm stoked! I'm currently running a Dark Heresy game and plan to transition any players who want into a Deathwatch character. I have plans for a September through November straight up Deathwatch game ... and then we'll be switching to Warhammer Fantasy for the winter. 
Anyway I'm really excited, I like Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader and all of the supplements and modules.


Well ... normally on Memorial Day weekend I'm down in LA at Strategicon ... that has been my routine for going on 8 or 9 years now ... but ... as I've moved up to Utah this past year ... a few friends from our former gaming group and I this past year talked about skipping out on the CON and just doing a crazy weekend of home gaming. That we did this past weekend ...

It was a blast and over the course of the weekend thanks to not only my friends Scott and Rob who trekked up from Las Vegas last Friday evening ... but to all the local gamers who I've met over the past year ... we pulled off a 25 person Micro/Home-Con. Several people crashed in my basement ... it was awesome and hilarious fun for an entire three day weekend!

We played:

Tunnels and Trolls
Awesome Adventures
Shadows Over Camelot
Zombie Fluxx
Do You Worship Cthulhu?
Danger Patrol
Battle Lore
Last Night on Earth
Puerto Rico
Settlers of Catan
San Juan
Zombie Dice
Cthulhu Dice

And probably half a dozen other games that either I didn't participate in because I was playing something else or BBQing/cooking/doing dishes, etc. etc.

I was really pleased because we pretty much ran games from 9 in the morning through the wee hours of from Friday through Sunday.

Friday is a haze to me ... lots of gaming ... board games, etc. I picked up my friends Scott and Rob from the airport.  We played Bang! and Last Night on earth that evening and stayed up BSing about games until well nearly 4 AM.

Saturday started at 9 AM with Awesome Adventures ... where the party had a pulpy jungle adventure culminating in a showdown with vile Nazi's at an ancient temple.  We had a big BBQ Saturday afternoon and did several large party games including a custom system my friend Scott created called "Do you worship Cthulhu?" Essentially its a variant of Werewolf/Mafia, etc. ... in this case evil Cthulhu cultists have infiltrated the small New Mexico town of Truth or Consequences (which is a real place). The players take on the rolls of various town residents who have randomized relationships with each other ... and all that plays into the game itself. The game can be played in groups of up to 15. We played four solid games of that Saturday eve followed by a rousing game of Shadows over Camelot.

Sunday we played Danger Patrol a really cool indie RPG that is still in Beta. Basically you play pulpy sci-fi heroes. Character generation is quick, combat is fast and hilarious. Its a very low GM prep game with many classic indie game elements and I encourage anyone who hasn't seen it to check it out ... the beta rules are up for free download ... give it a spin and give the author some feedback. We then played Mesopotamia and then rolled into a hilarious game of Tunnels and Trolls to finish out the evening. We were all pretty tired and the con ended around 2 AM that night.

It was an absolute BLAST and I really would like to do it again next year!!