Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A PnP game - (Your Name Here) and the Argonauts

I like looking through boardgamegeek and checking out various geeklists.  In my latest foray I was perusing though some Print-and-Play geeklists and came across (Your Name Here) and the Argonauts (https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/128568/your-name-here-and-argonauts).  Its a free card game, requiring the 52 adventure cards and a six-sided die and a pencil/marker and some counters to represent your crew.

Essentially the game is you trying to survive through the deck of cards by allocating your crew members out to fight monsters and collect treasure, all with a Greek mythology theme.  If you make it through the deck with at least one remaining crew, you win....that round.  Yep, you get to level up the monsters you've beaten along with the treasure you've gathered as well as gain heroic deeds (more treasure, more crew, blessings, etc) so that you can dive right back into the deck to survive all the horrors again.

My first round I lost.  So I played a second, and won.  Some monsters and treasures were leveled up and I got another crew member and added a blessing, then played another round.  I won that one, leveled up and jumped in again.  And again, and again, and again.  I played TEN rounds, winning 5 and losing 5.  My daughter also joined the fun and tried it in "easy mode" (nothing leveled up).

The game is slightly addicting.  Just playing it once is meaningless.  When you start leveling up everything and adding more monsters/treasures/blessings, it gets harder and harder in a flash.  But don't get disheartened, you will still dive in for that next round despite losing three in a row because your Argonauts need a hero to lead them, even if you wind up sacrificing most of them to reach the end.

You don't need much to play.  Deck of their adventure cards, 6-sided die, the rules, and some tokens for the crew.  The cards also include your very own name tag.  Nifty!

Here was one of my most heartbreaking failed attempts.  I made it down to the last two cards of the deck but at that point had only one Argonaut remaining.  Treasures and monsters were getting too pricey to beat.
My daughter wanted to try the game in "easy mode" (no leveled up monsters or added cards)

In the end she hadn't lost a single Argonaut and was steamrolling through monsters.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Game night!

Finally, its board game night!

I was able to drag the kids in to play a couple games that I've been collecting for them to try.

First up is Fairy Tale in my Pocket (https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/83228/fairy-tale-my-pocket).  Its a spinoff of Zombie in my Pocket, with a more kid-friendly theme.  I printed out the black-and-white version with the intention of letting the kids color the drawings, but I guess they were not interested.  We took turns playing and eventually even won the game first time up.  It has a nice theme and the game is simple enough for the children to pick up relatively quick.  The game was donated off to the 10 year old girl as she was more interested in playing it again.

Everything is neat and compact to fit in your pocket (so its not just a catchy name!)

Next is Dungeon Delver (https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/113324/dungeon-delver).  This is a single player card game for kids.  I saved some ink and printed off the cards in black-and-white to try it out.  This game is very straight forward.  Pick a character then start flipping cards to get through the 'dungeon'.  You get items and face lots of monsters, the gameplay is simple yet effective.  We decided to add a little competitiveness to it by adding the point values of the monsters we've killed in the end if surviving.  Needless to say, I got the least amount of points out of the kids.

All you need is the rulesheet, deck of cards, and some dice.  Portable and easy to play.

As the kids wandered off, I pulled out Space Hulk: Death Angel.  I had to brush up on the rules before diving back into the game.  Unfortunately, it does not matter how many times I read the rules, it never seems like I am able to find any clues on how best to play.  My tactics must really stink.

The end of the first match.  I made it to the last location at least.  I was down to only 3 Space Marines by the time I got there though.  With all the swarms and Brood Lords, I had no chance.

The second match was a little better.  Most of the Space Marines survived to the third location.  Unlucky Events led to their ultimate demise despite all efforts.

As well, I'm preparing a new Rogue Stars team.  I got a box of Warhammer 40,000 Gretchin which look perfect as a band of Mercenaries or Pirates.  I will try for the max of 6 figures.  It might be challenging considering none of them are wearing armor, so all the experience points will be from weapons and traits.  

From left to right:  Gunslinger, Doktor, Ninja, Leader, Rifleman, Doofy

Monday, January 2, 2017

Rogue Stars - first game report

I have now played a game of Rogue Stars.  After having read the book twice, read multiple reviews, and watched a couple videos, I was confident enough to at least give it a shot.  I wish I had waited on the QRS that will be available soon, but I survived nonetheless and the book isn't damaged from too much flipping.

So I had two teams ready to go, both from the Infinity Operation Icestorm box set.  The Panoceania are the Star Cops and have the tactical discipline of Determined.  The Nomads are Pirates and have the tactical discipline of Hard to Kill.

The Nomads rolled highest on initiative so became the Attackers and rolled for the "Make it to the Ship Alive" Mission.  Panoceania are the Defenders and rolled for the Location of "Space Port" (very fitting) and the Complication of "They Said It Might Rain", then rolled for the Weather which turned out to be "Cold" (which only affects Reptiloids, so no big deal).

Here is the "Space Port" which oddly enough looks like the terrain from Infinity Operation Icestorm.  It mostly has the appearance of some large docking station.  The left side baseline is where the Attackers (Nomads) begin and must reach the spaceship gate on the far right side.

Here are the two Nomad troopers and their leader.

Here is the Nomad Ninja and Sister Soldier.

The Panoceania Star Cops positioned themselves to receive the naughty Pirate Nomads.

The Nomads tried to push towards the center.  The Star Cop trooper on the rooftop is pinned and loses his gun and the other trooper is knocked prone from a hail of fire.

The Panoceania Knight valiantly attempts to cut down the foes, but is sadly defeated by the deadly Ninja.

The Nomads keep running, trying to spread the Star Cops out and allow others to escape.

Deadly shooting fells two of the Pirate Nomads.

A Nomad trooper and the Ninja sprint for safety even as gunfire chases them.

Despite the best efforts of the Panoceania Star Cops, two of the Nomad Pirates escape in their starship.
After the Game:  The Nomad Pirates lost three of their teammates along the way.  Although when playing Star Cops you could declare them captured instead and play a Rescue mission to free them, I doubt the two remaining Pirates would have much luck.  So the three OOA characters are officially dead and they will be clones in the future.  The two surviving Nomads each received 3 XP; the Ninja spent his to upgrade to Weapon Master 3 and the trooper is banking his.

The Panoceania were able to stabilize their one OOA character, the Knight.  They received 9 XP for causing three OOA on the Nomads.  Both troopers gained Fast 1 and the remaining 3 XP is stored for the future.

In Conclusion:  In the beginning of the game there was a steep learning curve as to be expected.  As things went along I was able to pick up the flow easier.  It is a challenge playing solo, having to keep track of Reactions and all the markers can be a bit daunting, but I think with practice things will smooth out.  A QRS would help cut down on most of the book flipping, and a decent sheet that shows all your characters and their gear and for holding Stress/Pins/Wounds would be nice.

I lucked out on the Mission/Location/Complications.  I'm not sure if I could design some of the more bizarre choices listed.  But that would give me the excuse to do it.  Also the NPC creatures, I hope I have some suitable options.

And yes I do believe I will be playing it again.  It will be joining the other honorable mentions in my collection (ITEN, FUBAR, One Page Rules, etc.)  It just takes a bit more preparation, but I think it can be worth it.

Rogue Stars - the beginning

Rogue Stars published by Osprey and created by Andrea Sfiligoi, (https://ospreypublishing.com/rogue-stars), is a very dense skirmish game.  Not complex or overly difficult, just crammed with so much information in such a thin book.  I imagine if they had no page limit the book might have been 400+ pages easily.  I am not going to do a review of the game, as there are quite a few out there already and describe all the mechanics perfectly.  In fact, here is a video about how to play: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P71OHehKktk&t=104s)

Instead I will give my opinions and show what I have started on in preparation to play the game.

Here is the book in all its glory.  It is 64 pages of tightly compacted rpg-lite skirmish goodness.
The book is filled with characterful artwork (much like the cover) and overloaded with so many options, it really is a sandbox and you can design just about anything you want for your teams.  With all the missions, locations, and complications you will have plenty of exciting gaming in your future.

These "official" tokens/markers came from Andrea Sfiligoi himself via Ganesha Games (http://www.ganeshagames.net/product_info.php?cPath=1_58&products_id=311)
The game mechanics rely heavily on tokens and markers.  The majority of the negative reviews pertain to the use of tokens on a gaming table.  Its all about personal preference, as I don't mind using tokens and plan on putting them to the side on the characters' sheets.  Stress, Pins, and Wounds will be used most frequently, the rest of the shown markers are based on certain situations and will rarely come into play.

So I picked through my miniatures collection, trying to make a few random teams.  I was not prepared for how many options were available.  I kept adding and removing traits, weapons, and equipment.  The paper I was writing on is filled with scratches as I changed my mind so many times.  But once I settled into the rhythm of 'looking' at the miniature to decide what weapons/traits it has, things smoothed out some.

Deadzone Enforcers - Theme: Cyborgs, Tactical Discipline:  Opportunity Fire -  Captain (Power Armor, Molecular Slug Thrower, Vibroblade built-in, Veteran), Engineer (Light Power Armor, Assault Rifle, Tech 2, Neuro-jack Array), Heavy Gunner (Light Power Armor, Machine Gun), Trooper (Light Power Armor, Assault Rifle), Assault Trooper (Light Power Armor, Slug Pistol, Vibroblade)  - 201 XP total

Sedition Wars Vanguard - Theme:  Militia, Tactical Discipline:  Cool Under Fire - Sergeant (Light Combat Dress, Plasma Pistol, Vibroblade, Slug Pistol, Veteran, Weapon Master 3, Free Disengage), Sniper (Light Combat Dress, Musket w/ Accurate, Marksman 3, Stealth 1), Medic (Light Combat Dress, Slug Pistol, Molecular Slug Thrower, Medic 2), two Troopers (Light Power Armor, Assault Rifle, Marksman 1) - 201 XP total

Infinity Panoceania - Theme:  Star Cops, Tactical Discipline:  Determined - Repair Bot (Artificial, Nonreactive, Tech 2, Medic 3, Fast 2, Extra Legs 1, Zap Rifle, Neuro-jack Array), Father Knight (Monowire Scythe, Light Power Armor, Weapon Master 2, Veteran, Free Disengage, Electromag Shackles), Jumper (Assault Rifle, Light Power Armor, Slug Pistol, Jump Pack, Medic 1), two Troopers (Assault Rifle, Slug Pistol, Light Combat Dress, Medic 1) - 200 XP total

Infinity Nomads - Theme:  Pirates, Tactical Discipline:  Hard to Kill - Leader (Light Power Armor, Submachine Gun, Veteran, Marksman 2), Sister Knight (Light Combat Dress, Submachine Gun, Slug Pistol, Ambidexterity, Medic 1), Ninja (Light Combat Dress, Submachine Gun, Monowire Blade, Slug Pistol, Difficult Target 3, Weapon Master 2), two Troopers (Light Combat Dress, Submachine Gun, Slug Pistol, Tech 1, Medic 1) - 200 XP total

Reaper Bones Chronoscope - Theme:  Merchants, Tactical Discipline:  Opportunists - Captain (Kevlar, Powered Gauntlet, Molecular Slug Thrower, Veteran, Marksman 2), Engineer (Kevlar, Submachine Gun, Tech 3, Medic 3, Marksman 1), Twin Guy (Kevlar, Zap Pistol, Vibroblade, Fast 1, Weapon Master 3, Difficult Target 1, Marksman 2), Twin Girl (Kevlar, Zap Pistol, Monowire Blade, Fast 1, Weapon Master 3, Difficult Target 1, Marksman 2), Sister Penitent (Kevlar, Submachine Gun, Vibroblade, Weapon Master 3, Free Disengage, Marksman 2), Tome Raider (Kevlar, Submachine Gun, Submachine Gun, Ambidexterity, Fast 1, Difficult Target 1) - 200 XP total

As you can see, there is just so much variety in creating teams.  In my opinion, just like in roleplaying games, character creation is one of the best parts of the game and becomes a mini-game of its own.  I'm sure there are ways to 'break' this process to make ultimate soldiers and odd pairings, but if you stick with the WYSIWYG philosophy (that is: What You See Is What You Get) and design characters based on what they look like, then there won't be any problems.

Now I just need to play a game or two to really see how things work.

Miniature conversions and bitz-mashing

After receiving my Mantic Crazy Box 2016, I wound up with some miniatures that needed to be spruced up for some sci-fi skirmishing.  As well, there were some left-over bits itching to be glued together to make something.

Here was a Dreadball guy that I turned into a heavy machine gun toting beast.  It kinda reminds me of a Warzone HMG Trencher (http://www.displacedminiatures.com/images/3.img.1287691960ImperialHMG.JPG)

This Veer-myn Dreadball player received some weapons from his kin, now he can spread joy with toxic fire.

The Forge Father Dreadball player now has a little pistol and a HUGE axe (from Kings of War Salamanders).  Size matters when your entire race is shorter than everyone else.

And the Orc Dreadball player now has some cobbled together mega-ray-death-gun, prepare for loving.

I was able to make 'something' out of the random Mantic Battlezone stuff.  Its an industrial platform with crane and a staircase.  Hopefully it holds together.

Last, but not least, is the Forge Fathers' fast attack hover craft!

You can see an excited Forge Father piloting this odd craft.  It kinda has an aircraft carrier deck.

This view you can see the magma cannon and the anti-gravity boosters on the bottom of the craft.

This side has the autocannon.  Nothing spreads cheer faster than thousands of rounds of bullets.