Necromunda – Combat shotguns are probably one of the most versatile guns available when playing Zone Mortalis style Necromunda. Knowing you're going to get up close and personal against groups of enemy fighters means the shredder rounds will put in work. Template weapons in general are nasty because they pin you without having to "hit" against a close combat orientated gang like my Genestealer Cult it's devastating.Read More
Necromunda – Having played a few games with the gangs that came in the boxed set I decided it was time to branch out and experiment with the Genestealer Cult. I've always been a big fan and while I'm not using my Warhammer 40,000 Genestealer Cult until they get a new codex I can use the models I already own to build a pretty cool gang.Read More
Hell Dorado – Man, if there was ever a game I longed to get access to it was Hell Dorado. I remember back in 2003 when I was playing Chaos Marines for 3rd Edition Warhammer 40K and trying to figure out an excuse to buy some Hell Dorado minis for my force just so I could have them. The fact that it was a French company made it hard to get them at the time and the rules weren't available in English. The day I walked into my regular shop and saw them on the shelf I picked up two starters and the rules immediately.Read More
MERCs – At one point this was my go to skirmish game. The models and background were great. The movement and force selection mechanics were innovative. Everything seemed to be coming up roses. I loved this game so much I adapted the mechanics to do a Zombie version of the game.Read More
Judge Dredd – Before I went any further with my near future board I wanted to get a dry run of Judge Dredd in to make sure that it was going to be functional for the campaign my group is starting shortly. My big concerns were about the size of the buildings and how functional the removable roofs would be. I also was slightly concerned about my limited amount of scatter terrain on the board.
We're going to be running the campaign as multiplayer games rather than one-on-one so that added another level of concern to the functionality. Typically multiplayer tends to bend these types of systems to the breaking point however that's the way my group likes to play so we deal with and house rule anything that breaks the system.
We set up a three player game with each force clocking in at 500 credits. The forces included the Justice Department, Ape Gang (proxied), and a Lone Vigilante (MERCs Proxie). To test out the game we chose to just play last man standing and collect points for what you took out. Set up had two players in adjacent corners with the third in the center of the opposite side of the table (using a 3'x3').
The game progressed quickly with the Judges arresting a chimp early on, and then spending the rest of the game trying to keep up as the Apes converged on the apartment building where the lone vigalante was holed up. Ultimately the Apes won out with a single chimp facing off against the last judge standing, laser guns are no joke as they bypass most armour.
After the game I realized that I was referencing an older version of the pdf I had printed out and my other players had a newer version, slightly annoying as the newer version of the rules could have provided a different outcome but ultimately not a big deal for a trial run.
The system is fairly simple once you get the hang of it. Every model has 2 actions they can do each turn these can be movement, shooting, melee or special actions. You activate each model in your force and once they've all gone your opponent activates all their models.
Moving is the same as any other system you move up to your move stat. Average movement seems to start around 5" which can be increased on heroes when they level up.
Shooting is an opposed D10 roll where the shooter adds their shooting score and the target adds their agility, if the shooter is higher they hit. The target then takes an armor check rolling a D10 and adding their armor bonus subtracting the AP of the weapon if the result is 10 or greater they suffer no damage. If the score is less then ten they suffer damage equal to the damage stat of the weapon.
Melee is slightly different; it includes a move and then both models role their melee dice and add their melee bonus whoever scores the highest wins the combat. For every die that is higher than their opponents highest die they score a hit. Armor checks are the same as shooting. If a model is armed with a weapon that can parry you can force your opponent to re-roll a single dice. (which in our case changed the results of several close combat fights)
Special actions are all the things that add flavor to the game. They include attempting arrests, psi powers, hiding, jumping, alert status (overwatch essentially) etc. The offensive actions require opposed tests similar to shooting for the most part willpower vs. willpower. The other special actions are a catch all for anything else you want to do in the game, they also cover the needs of special scenarios and interacting with terrain.
After the battle you roll for your models that were taken out to see if they survived, were maimed etc. This includes charts for heroes and a simple 4+ roll for minions. The latest update to Block Wars includes a chart for models arrested while laying in a campaign.
Then depending on which campaign mode you're using you gain credits, the system in the core book gives each force a percentage increase for each battle. The Block Wars supplement introduces a territory system similar to Necromunda. After you cash in you can buy new recruits or better equipment.
I feel like the dry run went well, however as with any game that has the rules online as pdfs you have to keep up with the updates unless your group agrees to just use what ever you've printed out. The bonus with it being a free pdf is that Mongoose is actively making revisions to improve the game play experience and adding additional forces to the supplement as they create them.
Malifaux – Well June is here and Wyrd as promised has released the public beta for Malifaux 2.0. The new look of the game is interesting and I'm glad to see everything is starting to tie together with a similar look and feel. While it loses a bit of the charm the mismash of the original release, solid art direction wins with the new look.
Justin and Mack (new developers for Wyrd) have been making the rounds on all the podcasts that cover Malifaux to hype the new edition and ease fears that they ruined the game. Also in the latest Wyrd Chronicles their are several articles about the new direction.
To be honest Malifaux has fallen from my regular rotation as of late, I just haven't had time to run demos and getting up to the game store when there is yardwork and whatnot to be done on the weekends has severely limited my playtime. And what games I have been able to get in have been super secret because of my NDA, and play testing has really burned me out (I've been doing it since Book 2).
The new edition is different and ultimately I think the game will benefit from the simplified rules. The change to an upgrade system is a great way to avoid the glut of FAQ's they had to release every time a broken interaction reared its ugly head, (although to be fair some of the knee jerk FAQs caused more issues than they solved ... still gotta love that Wyrd pays attention) and most likely we'll see a banned list for any broken interactions and supplements in the Chronicles if models start to feel weak or overpowered.
From the public beta I can sum up Malifaux 2.0 as "less is more" there is definitely be less text on the cards which means more time spent playing and less time trying to figure out what you should do. I'm looking forward to the release of the new book and faction decks although I'm not sure I'll be investing in new models for the ones I already have unless the sculpts are utterly mind blowing.
Most of my playgroup (that actually still plays Malifaux) is split 50/50 about the new edition. Some of the guys are pissed that their broken combos are "gone" or that the lack of walls of text on the cards means there's no tactical depth. The rest of us are excited to see what the final product will be and look forward to being able to enjoy a fun setting again. (hopefully leaving the baggage of the last edition behind and looking to the future)
Yesterday I had the opportunity to try out MERCS, a tabletop miniature game. The system uses a D10 and an interesting card based movement gimmick. Being a skirmish style game you only have 5 models per side, at the moment each faction only has 6 and there are no point values associated with the models you just pick 5.
At the beginning of each turn you roll for initiative for each model on your side and then the highest score goes first and moves down the chain. In the event of a tie you reference a stat on the models card. Each model can chose to perform one action from a list on the quick reference card. For the most part this is either move or shoot. There are some special actions also available that add more depth to the game. Your movement number is the number of cards you can move. This is where the gimmick kicks in, each model has a stat card that has notches cut out of it. To move you place the card with the model in a notch and than move the model to another notch. Kinda cool but on a cluttered terrain heavy table it gets pretty awkward to accurately measure.
Cover is determined by levels, if you can't be seen you get a +3 to your evasivness and if you're partially obscured or snapped to cover your get a +1. Out in the open you get a negative.
When a model is shot if the strength equals or exceeds the armor value than the model suffers a wound (or more than one depending on the weapon) If you hit and don't exceed the armor value than the model has to test and see if their armor locks up. Which cause them to lose abilities and have negative modifiers.
During the demo I used the KemVar faction against the USCR. Just getting familiar with the rules the game seemed really imbalanced. The KemVar have special armor that always has them in cover, and if they're obscured or snapped to cover then they have full cover. Which meant the USCR player was unable to hit the models because even with modifiers it would require him to roll a 10 or higher. So his slow ponderous faction was plinked away by the speedier faction that he couldn't hit.
It seemed odd because if you can get the right modifiers you can auto-hit or auto-fail with no random chance or rolling a natural 10 equaling success or a natural 1 equaling failure. I suppose it could create a more tactical game but it seemed counter-intutitive to the way most games function.
The other oddity was the way the template system works. Having to roll against everything you hit (without some type of positive this is a friggin' template modifier) seemed odd as well. The USCR player unloaded his big template on my assassin and still need a 10 to hit him. Even with 3 dice he didn't come close and was charged, locked down and killed over the next two turns.
Of course one game is not enough to pass judgement, and I imagine there are more tactics and depth than what can be presented in a demo game, but based on the interactions we had during the game it seems like there may be some serious balance issues, further play is needed to make that determination.
I like the idea behind the game, the miniatures are great and as something to just pick up two factions or so I'd recommend it. It for nothing else than as a novelty to play once in a while. I don't know much about the company or their future plans but based on the current releases it seems to be a buy everything and you don't need anything else kind of game. Until I've seen and tried more games I'm gonna stay on the fence with this one.
Hell Dorado – I've always had and interest in this game as the models are amazing. I never really pursued getting any of them because the game was French (and we all know the track record for French games and their limited shelf life) and had no plans to be released in English. The game was picked up by Cipher Studios and is being released in English now. Currently there are quick start rules available on their site as well as downloadable cards. My local store just got in the starter boxes and they seem to be fairly popular. I guess a full rule book is due out later this year.
My friend Ben, was kind enough to run a demo of the game for me earlier this week. My initial thoughts are very positive. The combat system seems different and fun. Basically you never get to roll more than 5 dice depending on your combat stat, to hit you need to roll equal or higher than the opponents defense stat. If your combat is higher than 5 you re-roll misses. The number of hits references a chart and determines damage which is tracked on the models card. If a model has protection that is subtracted from the damage. Movement is pretty basic with models being able to move twice, move and do something else or move twice and attack with a penalty.
The initiative system is also interesting as it's based on a combination of your leadership and number of models. Activations are alternating, so I go with one than you go with one. If you have less models you can pass so as to avoid being being out activated by swarms etc.
Your leader also has command which can be used to ignore some effects, companion a model, or add up to 2 dice to a combat. This is similar to the focus mechanic in Warmachine, but a bit more forgiving as you apply it when needed not at the start of the turn.
Overall I find it to be an intriguing game deserving of more attention. I will definitely be picking up at least a starter box or two. I'm not sure I see this as a primary game but more of a change of pace game to keep your primary from becoming stale.