Saturday, 22 August 2015

Regular Gaming - Picking the Poison

I need to get out more, as since my kids were born I find I'm spending more time playtesting new games than actually playing "normally" (aka losing touch with reality.) As a result, I've made a list of games readily available locally, and have made a resolution to get in at least one game a fortnight.  Sadly, the list isn't compelling reading, and reminds me why I drifted away from club play.  I've ranked them #1-10, in order of appeal. 

 Almost Definitely
1. Infinity
My favourite to play, but I shiver to think of all the new rules I need to memorize to be competent in a competitive environment.  I have plenty of minis though (I could almost field a force for every faction) though I must admit only half is painted....  That said, it's a great game, and the models are so, so shiny. I'm pencilling in this as a definite. 

2. Dreadball
I simply don't know enough about it but I like the price point ($100) and potential to add new teams cheaply ($25ea).  I did love Bloodbowl though, so this goes high on the list of possibilities.  Off to the internet to research it more. 
3. Age of Sigmar
I can hear the jaws dropping.  But the new warscroll "bring whatever you want" system appeals, as does the free rules, and familiar, easily accessible system. Also, I had a paw through an AoS box set and as usual GW delivers good quality minis.  There's also the potential to pick up cheap minis on eBay from WFB players who quit in disgust.  In addition, minis can be used for Mordhiem.
The main argument against is the high cost of minis, something shared by....

4. Dropship Commander.
I like the combined arms gameplay, thought-out scenarios, and nice minis.  Quite a few folk have armies.  However it's relatively expensive, and at 10mm I don't really need another scale, especially as I already have bucketloads of much cheaper 15mm sci fi.  I'll probably hang out for Dropfleet Commander.

5. Flames of War
Basically all the list-building, power-gaming crap we love from 40K, in a WW2 package.  Fantasy WW2 at it's best.    But I do like 15mm WW2 tanks, and the starter set is reasonably priced.  Basically, I'm in it for the minis, but I guess I could force myself to play a game or two.  There's awareness, however it hasn't really taken off yet locally.

6.  Warmachine
I'll let you into a secret. I actually have a lot of Warmachine models, despite their increasingly GW-esque pricing.  They're fun to paint and have a lot of the over-the-top character of old-school GW (you know, when they didn't take themselves so seriously).  I mean, the undead pirates have possessed steam powered robots, lead by a dragon....  Whilst I'd love the excuse to drag out/paint more models, I don't particularly like the rules (unless I pretend I am playing a CCG and the alternative is joining the MtG crowd) nor the slog to memorize every combo/special rule.  I suspect, for me, Warmachine models will continue to serve their original purpose - as generic fantasy models with superior resale value.

7. Mordhiem
Yes, the system still has legs.  Why not Frostgrave? It's a good game, but to be honest I don't see any particular advantages over the 'original' to be worth selling it to others.  Cheap to get into, and lots of folks have spare warbands.  However, does tend to infer a weekly commitment to play I cannot always guarantee, which prevents it placing higher on this list.

8. Dark Age
Not wildly popular, but there's a few people with warbands kicking around. Since they've resculpted the dodgier minis, there's a few decent choices.  As a small skirmish game, it's cheap to get into. Also, I fancy the unique Dragyari faction to use for generic fantasy games. 

9.  Deadzone
I like the idea of more space fantasy models and space Skaven are cool.  I'm just not totally sold on the game mechanics, which just seem.... meh.  

10. Malifaux
There's a lot of momentum in the Malifaux world at the moment, and I do like the zany horror-steampunk-wild west vibe.  They've tidied up the rules.  Both the card mechanics and scenarios are good - but prolific special rules and combos and focus on named characters are the reason I drifted away from it years ago.  Also, the inevitable switch from metal to plastic does nothing for my enthusiasm.

No. Just....

Warhammer 40K
Nah.   Whilst I probably have enough old minis for a (small) Space Marine army, I just can't muster the enthusiasm to pretend to like it. That said, I suppose I could stretch to a game of Kill Team (#11) if it was on offer, though I haven't touched 40K since 5th ed.

Star Wars X-Wing/Armada
I took one look at the prices ($50-80 for a single plastic clix in some cases) and responded "are you serious?"  Not unless I suddenly win Lotto, and probably not even then.  There's overpriced, there's GW priced, and there's taking the p*ss.  And beyond it, is X-Wing/Armada.

As an aside, what is it with CCGs? They're insanely popular (outnumber local tabletop gamers 5:1), and also incredibly expensive.  I.e. it's not uncommon to see someone walk in and buy half dozen $20 "booster" packs, and I think I saw three MtG starters sold in an hour.  I'm going to investigate CCGs a little more as the "economy" of it interests me (and links to some other thoughts on "pay to win" I have had re: PC gaming).  I mean - $120 for a few bits of painted cardboard....  wow.  It's like the CCG companies create their own economy/monetary system where they can assign real $ values to pieces of paper... 


  1. Hi!

    I have to admit that I'm being sorely tempted by Dark Age at the moment too. The sculpts and whole post apocalyptic style is really great looking and I've just managed to grab one of the books for a bit of a bargain price so will be perusing it when it arrives!

    All the best!

    1. Some of the sculpts were exceptionally fugly but they've recently redone the most awkward ones. The low price point is attractive although the rules aren't particularly inspired (or at least the 1st ed rules I have)

  2. Instead of FOW play 15mm Battlegroup: Kursk or its other versions. :)

    1. Sadly this is a list of "pick up" games. Not a games I really "want" to play, but ones I can get a game easily.

    2. Yes, you start with the FOW and then convert them to a better system later after you get to know them. Mwahahahaha!

  3. I really like Dreadball too and can highly recommend it - fast and fun. Generally only an hour or so for a match so faster than Blood Bowl.

    If you want to play 15mm WW2 and don't have an existing FoW crowd, then I highly recommend the Battlegroup series of rules. You need far less minis and the rules are much better. And you don't end up with ridiculous tank and artillery parks on the table...

    1. I know almost anything is better than "40K WW2" but sadly I am limiting myself to stuff that you can easily get a game with, as opposed to what I actually prefer.

      None of these (apart from Infinity) would actually make my top 10 favourite games list, that's for sure,

    2. Well, at times we all have to play games that might not be our favourite choice, just so that we get a game in with others. As long as its a game you can live with, the social aspects make up for it.

  4. From the comments and your answers, I now understand better what this list aims at. So this is more a question than a comment. I have come to enjoy Saga recently, because there is a big crowd of people playing it, the rules are easy and fun, and the fan-made mod "A fantastic Saga" is really well made and worth a try. Is Saga not played near you or are you just bored by its Dark Age setting?

    In the latter case Id recommend the LotR and above mentioned Fantasy Mods.

    1. LoTR died here a long, long time ago. Sad, because I have a huge collection of minis I won off eBay. I wanted them for playing Battle Companies, but I cannot complete the warbands though, as the prices now are astronomical for stuff like Knights of Dol Amroth, Vault Wardens, Kataphracts etc)

      SAGA simply has no presence at all. Neither does Bolt Action. Mordheim surprisingly still survives. 40K seems far less popular than Malifaux (FOTM), Warmachine, the Star Wars games, and Infinity.

      I'm not looking to introduce new games systems - this is simply a list of popular games that people already play where I am guaranteed a game. NOT my list of favourite games. (I did post that up somewhere and trust me, not many here made it onto the list, apart from Infinity)

  5. "Basically all the list-building, power-gaming crap we love from 40K, in a WW2 package" Its all about who you play with... I have never had the Power-gaming crap in local Flames of War and we have a couple of guys who actually do hit their tournament circuit and do really well. I'll agree its not realistic World War II but real war sort of sucks I would actually rather play the Hollywood version.

    1. Of course it's all about who you play with.

      However there IS a specific type of game design that attracts a specific type of player. And FoW definitely falls into the 'that' category.

  6. Trying 40k 7th edition is probably a good idea since it plays very differently from 5th edition. I think it's a big improvement, particularly at the smaller end of things, like sub-1000pt games.

    1. 40K is, ironically, something of a minor game compared to the rest.... that said if I can pick up a 7th ed rules booklet (the ones that come in the box set) cheap off eBay I might....

  7. How about the new magic the gathering board game based off of heroscape?

    1. I'm just confining myself to games that are actually already played.

      I own and review LOTS of rules (see links on right) but I'm not interested in drumming up support for a new game, but rather picking one that is already supported/readily available where I live.

      Most of which I view with mixed feelings.

      ...Hence the "pick your poison" title.

  8. I really don't know what you mean about X-wing (I don't really know Armada)

    it costs $15 a figure. $100 is only for the largest ships in the game (Carrier, Tantive IV and Imperial Raider). Maybe slightly more expensive than GW, but the game plays at a much smaller scale (100 points standard game you're going to have maybe 7-8 ships tops with a swarm build. 4 ships is a median non-tank non-swarm build). Yo can spend $55 to get the core, and one pack giving you.

    I guess in short, the game is fun. If you know someone who plays it, play a game (the core set comes with enough stuff for 2 players).

    1. Also, their not "Clix" games. They use dials to track manuvers, but are not related to the *clix games by Games Wizards. (I'm pretty sure even the sister game Star Trek Attack Wing which is by Wizkids also uses the dials this way)

    2. I guess that might be written unclearly. I know you said "in some cases", but I guess what I'm trying to say is most of the ships are $15. So far, all my ships are, I have about 6 in each faction of the Imp and Reb.

    3. I know they aren't "WotC" clix - I thought they were ripped off Wings of War. I'm calling them clix because they're plastic prepaints.

      I don't see X Wing for sale at the store I visit, but the core Armada starter pack is $150 (and had only 3 ships); an assault frigate was ~$60, the smaller corellian frigate ~$30, and Imperial Star destroyers $80+.

      $50 for a playing piece is insane money, Maybe for the centrepiece unit of your army. But not as the standard price for a ship.

      Compared to similar products by Spartan Games and GZG, ships are 4-5x more expensive.

      I don't doubt they are fun games. But I'm not even remotely interested at those prices.

      As to a $15 X-Wing, I give you

      Yes, you read correctly. $1.25 each.

      Beautiful models. Metal. No trim or mold lines at all.

      (Btw, the paintjobs on the websites are a bit crap. Even my average paintjobs are better on these not-Vipers)

    4. I didn't realize Armada was that expensive. Shesh.
      Well, the licencing of Star Wars is going to be a factor of the price, like it or not, but $10 would be more fair for a pre-painted (Probably preferable for a game of this type, I'm assuming the figures are not painted) figure of that size.

      Fair enough about the price, I admit a lot of the ships I'm getting are free from doing surveys online, so price is less a factor for me. In the last month I''ve gotten 5 ships (3 expansions, which is worth about $55).

    5. Looking around, whoever's selling the Armadas Core at $150 is way overrselling the SRV. I see it for $60 on Amazon, and it's $100 on FFG's site, and FFG's site almost always (if not always) matches the prices the at least at my store. Still pretty expensive, but $150 is ridiculous markup.

    6. Oh, I see you live in Australia. That would explain it, since I've heard games, particularly imported board games can get expensive over there, so I guess that can't be helped.

    7. I'm not comparing Australian prices vs US/UK, but similar products available WITHIN Australia.

      Or if you want to remove the Australia factor from the equation, lest this obscure the issue:

      10 pounds (FFG plastic) vs .81 pounds (SB metal), 30 pounds (FFG plastic) vs 13 pounds (GZG metal).

      No matter which way it is sliced, FFG is charging an absolute premium for their product.

      People are paying it, so it's obviously not "too much" but I think it compares very poorly to other spaceship offerings.

      I think it compares badly even to boutique wargames.

      Infinity and Malifaux (which I regard as very pricey per mini) sell complete, table-worthy starter boxes for the less than the price of a single Armada ship.

  9. Replies
    1. Dude, I have two kids under two! Nothing occurs quickly or so clearcut!

      .....That said, my Dreadball teams have undergone a basecoat...

      ...I'm also re-reading the Infinity V3 rules. They've been cleaned up a LOT, but holy hell there's a lot of complex special rules. All 250 pages of them....

      ...and I'm putting a base layer on some Circle Orboros and Everblight Horde models which I'm unlikely ever to play with (but are fun to paint)

      ...and since this post I've experimented with various homebrew rules including my long-gestated Delta Vector space game, a spin-off starfighter game, one with rocket engine 2-man submarines and my Mordheim ripoff...

    2. Have you managed to play Dreadball yet? I'm guessing not, as I don't see a review. it's only become an urgent issue since I just noticed North Star have it heavily reduced at the moment (the 'Deluxe' version at £30, as well as 'Ultimate' for slightly less) - and probably not for long, as the sale only started on Monday, and almost everything's changed since then. The BGG discussion confuses me with multiple acronyms - a pet hate - comparing the merits of 'DBO' and 'DBX'...xxxx

      For what it's worth, comparisons, with blood Bowl don't mean a great deal to me, as my experience with it consists of one half, during which I managed a creditable 1-1 draw. I liked the concept of it, and enjoyed what I played of it.

      As a matter of fact, I probably won't buy it, as I've got other plans to bankrupt myself this week, with Super Dungeon Explore: the Forgotten King being top of the list, but it would be good to know more for future reference.

    3. I've kinda experimented with it, but not played proper games. My 10c - it is much faster flowing, more basketball/ice hockey than the more deliberate pace of Bloodbowl. So far, it looks like the best of the Mantic-replaces-GW line. For that price, I'd recommend it. Go ahead - you know you need it.

  10. Damn you! I'm heavily confused about the different versions - and particularly wondering where 'Extreme' fits in (North Star isn't listing it, at least in the sale); there doesn't even seem to be a BGG entry for 'Deluxe', though, unlike 'Ultimate' it does contain everything needed to play (you don't really need all those extra teams, do you...?)

    There are different qualities of board, too, according to BGG comments, and the photo only shows the box. Better shoot off an enquiry - they should be open now...

    1. Extreme is prison rules with more hodge-podge "underground" style teams.

      Ultimate is for 6 players (!) which sounds fun but I'm unlikely to every have that many opponents....

    2. Nor me. I'll be playing solo, which sadly makes a league a non-starter.

    3. As a teen, I used to play Bloodbowl solo in my own 8-team league(!).... I'd play (and record) two 4-team groups then have a semifinals and finals.

      No wonder I like skirmish games with progression/XP etc.

    4. I tried that with Subutteo, but am pretty sure I never finished. I had several teams, distinguished only by the sloppy paint jobs (the poses all being identical, aside from some goalkeepers and optional corner kick takers) I did, however, complete a World Cup tournament with a school friend, in which I, playing Brazil, lifted the Subutteo replica of the Jules Rimet trophy (bought for the purpose) after defeating France 5-3, albeit courtesy of a dubious penalty awarded by myself (as self-appointed referee) for a non-existent (actually nonsensical in retrospect) handball by the French goalkeeper. This, I believe, was in the same year the actual trophy was awarded to Brazil in perpetuity following their third tournament win. I discovered football and wargames more or less simultaneously, and didn't always see a clear distinction between the two. Perhaps Dreadball is the game I've been waiting for. You, on the other hand, have Aussie Rules, which, if I have heard correctly, requires little amendment to resemble warfare, though much the same could be said of cricket, as applied by some of your test sides.

  11. And it's on the way. Co-incidentally, the latest Northstar Newsletter has now arrived, and amongst the many snippets of um, news (much of it Frostgrave-related), is that Mantic now has the licence to do a Walking Dead game. I'm sure there's already been at least one, but maybe not a miniatures game per se.

    1. I always thought Zombicide had the market sewn up on that. All the boardgame-y folk I know rave about it....

  12. I've heard of that, but know little about it. Of course there are countless numbers of zombie-themed games, but the licence to the show - and, presumably, comic - will give Mantic's offering a boost, whatever its quality. I've just received, though not yet read, their own newsletter proudly carrying the announcement.

    I also received Dreadball today. The contents don't look too spectacular, though the rule book is certainly attractively produced. Now I just have to decide which current project(s) to let slip in order to spend time assembling the figures.

  13. Further investigation has revealed that the new game, scheduled for release late this year, will be titled The Walking Dead: All-out War. It is, for what it's worth, based on the comic series rather than the TV show, though as I've experienced the latter only through YouTube's Bad Lip Reading channel, I am not ideally placed to know what difference that may make. It is, by the way, a true miniatures game, rather than a board game with miniatures, à la Zombicide.