Thursday, August 21, 2014

Nostalgia Thursday - Frozen Frazetta, Fields's Hackmaster Mod, & "&" #10

A few things to herald today including a video uploaded by Mickey Leach to his YouTube site showing off a diorama he fashioned back in the early 1990s with some Frazetta influence.  Enjoy!

Also, and I've already been crowing about this one, my buddy George Fields has a new Hackmaster release in the form of an adventure titled "Legacy of the Elm King" which is available here.

Finally, the industrious Eric Fabiaschi has reviewed the new "& Magazine" #10 and has the skinny on it for us here.

Focusing on the roots of current tabletop gaming
with an eye toward the last century and before.
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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wargaming Wednesday - Midgard (2007)

I mentioned recently on the Game Like a Viking Facebook page that we played Midgard (2007) on Saturday at the Burlington gameday hosted by Steve and Kifflie.  My Thursday regulars at Lake Geneva Games also plan to squeeze in a game of it prior to our ongoing 5E D&D Starter Set playthough Thursday afternoon.  Since that is officially the first Game Like a Viking Day, it seems only appropriate.

From the description on Board Game Geek:
In this area-control boardgame with a mythic Scandinavian theme, players draft cards to place their viking warriors and leaders in the different realms found in Norse mythology. Beware! Some regions will suffer Ragnarok, sending your pieces to Valhalla.

To add a bit to this summary, in Midgard (2007), "suffering" death from the "Doom" Ragnarok tokens and even being "displaced" into Valhalla are point-scoring good things in this game.  There are multiple ways to gain points and it behooves players to exploit all of them while, perhaps, exploiting more vigorously whichever one is presented by the draft cards as most advantageous.  It is not a bad strategy to draft cards that let you swoop into each area where Ragnarok has been predicted and allow it to destroy a great many of your Vikings.  There is a point to be had for each one dying in this manner and then they go to Valhalla.  You get an additional point for each one in Valhalla which are then returned to the Viking ship, where they are stored until you land them in one province or another.

The cards allow you to attack areas from other areas or your ship, to occupy areas that are open, and to collect tokens designating the three regions, sets of which score at the end of the game.  The tokens are also gained along the way for being around the board and it can't hurt to try and get four, five, or even six sets of them.  Pursue more of them and likely your ongoing game will suffer.  And as said, you do need to make sure you have your hand in all of the point scoring pies if only to curtail another player from completely dominating in any area.  Here's a video that does a good job of detailing quite a bit of the game but keep my advice in mind as the elements are all described.  Enjoy!

A closer examination of board and miniatures Wargaming.
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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Terrain Tuesday - 28mm Watchtower from Tabletop Workshop

Over on the Tabletop Workshop website, there is a new 28mm Watchtower and a ton of other great buildings to be had.  See more here.

For purposes here, the term Terrain is used broadly
to cover 3D and 2D maps, foam, felt, and such.
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Monday, August 18, 2014

Minis & Modeling Monday - Mini Painting 101 on Stone w/ Miniwargamer Jay

Over on his YouTube channel, Miniwargamer Jay has uploaded part 23 of his Miniature Painting 101 series on "Stone."  Enjoy.

A look at prepping and painting Miniatures,
crafting buildings and paper Models,
and other non-terrain stuff for the tabletop..
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Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Sunday Miscellanea - Mini-Castle in Pena Park

For a bit of inspiration, there's a mini-castle in Pena Park in Portugal.  I suppose someone could run a fun game using real mini-boats and figures around this castle.  Probably ought to stick with plastic that floats rather than pewter or lead though.  Read more about it here.

Essentially, a clearinghouse for topics on
not covered elsewhere or wanting a particular focus.
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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Systems Saturday - Spartacus: A Game of Blood & Treachery (2012)

Spartacus: A Game of Blood & Treachery (2012) is a game I have seen played a number of times over the last two years but had yet to get the chance to join in until this week.   There is a lot of scheming and backstabbing in this game and, much like the classic Diplomacy (1959) game, one should make this very clear up front, particularly when playing with friends you wish to keep as friends.  Some folks can take what happens in game personally, so it behooves folks to follow the precautions suggested.

That said, our gang had a very good time.  We played with the expansion which allowed us eight players.  Four of us were new to the game, one had played a few times, and the owner of the game was most experienced but not exceedingly so.  A couple of the players, those who had played before, slipped out into early but not insurmountable leads, but the rest of us caught up to respectable levels before all was over.  A new player actually won after both the veterans were nearly there themselves but beaten back.  Big thanks to the great folks at Lake Geneva Games for putting up with us a bit later than usual.

The description of the game from Board Game Geek:
In Spartacus: A Game of Blood & Treachery, an exciting game of twisted schemes and bloody combats inspired by the hit STARZ Original series, each player takes on the role of Dominus, head of a rising house in the ancient Roman city of Capua. Each house is competing for Influence to gain the favor of Rome. Through a combination of political schemes and glorious battles on the arena sands your house will rise in fame and stature. As Dominus, you have a variety of resources at your disposal. Guards protect you from schemes launched by rivals. Slaves run your household and earn gold. Gladiators compete to bring glory to themselves and influence to their Dominus.
Three main phases occur in each game round of Spartacus: A Game of Blood & Treachery.
The Intrigue Phase is when players launch their Schemes, hoping to raise their fortunes while undermining their rivals. Schemes and Reactions are represented by cards in the Intrigue Deck. Players wield their Influence to put their Schemes into play, often asking for (or bribing) another player’s help in hatching the most complex plots.
The Market Phase is when players buy, sell and trade Assets (Gladiators, Slaves, Equipment and Guards). Players also bid against each other to acquire new Assets at Auction. Wealth is not the only path to success as players bluff and bargain with each other to acquire the Assets they covet.
The Arena Phase is when the bloody games are held. Gladiators from two rival Houses are pitted against each other in a brutal fight for glory. The spectacles of the games are represented by miniature combat on the arena board. Fighters pit their Attack, Defense and Speed dice against one another to determine the victor. All players seek to increase their fortunes by betting on the outcome of the gruesome conflict. Fighters who emerge from the arena victorious gain Favor and their Dominus gain Influence.
The goal of the game is to become the most influential house in Capua, securing your family’s power for years to come. During the game, players will bribe, poison, betray, steal, blackmail, and undermine each other. Gold will change hands again and again to buy support, stay someone’s hand or influence their decisions. Will you be the honorable player whose word is their bond or the treacherous schemer whose alliances change with the wind?
For myself, the Intrigue phase presented some difficulty.  I kept balking at using one of my special abilities though in retrospect I needn't have been so sheepish.  It was someone else's special ability that allowed them to slip into a victory.  I would be surprised to find that a majority of games are won that way.  While Intrigue cards can be opposed, and even opposing Intrigue cards (Reaction cards) can be opposed by a couple of special cards, I don't recall seeing anything that can thwart a special (character) ability.  I can also see a number of games ending from arena combat but it seems to me the key is the Intrigue phase of the game.  I'll need to play some more to be sure.  Until then, keep your Dominus clean and active.

Systems Saturday on 
A look under the hood of various Games, Rules and Systems.
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Friday, August 15, 2014

Tabletopper Friday - Quarriors! Light vs. Dark (2014)

The games in the Quarriors line from Wiz Kids get some pretty good traction.  As dice games go, they are cleverly designed and bring some style to the table.  I recently played Quarriors! Light vs. Dark (2014).

This latest entry to the expansive string of Quarriors games adds more permutations to the sides of the dice and pulls the currency dice back from the building dice pool to try and address some of the issues in the previous incarnations.  The description follows from Board Game Geek:
In Quarriors! Light vs. Dark, players take on the roles of Quarriors, mighty mystical warriors who have the power to capture dangerous quarry from the untamed Wilds! They must conjure the mysterious powers of Quiddity, cast powerful spells, and summon their creatures to battle if they hope to overcome rivals and earn their rightful place as the Champion!
Quarriors! Light vs. Dark has the frenetic excitement of a dice battle game, with an added "deckbuilding" twist as players customize their dice pools during the game by using resources generated by their rolls.
Quarriors! Light vs. Dark can be played as a standalone game or used as an expansion for the Quarriors! base game.

We played it as a standalone and I think that gave me the best picture of the game and the new mechanics.  I'll need to play this a few more times to see if the changes turn me around on this dice game but, for me, if often feels like too many working parts for too little pay off.

Tabletopper Friday on 
Mostly about card games and board games,
unless they have a decidedly wargamey feel.
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