Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Opportunity Game for October

So on our open slot over the weekend we ended up playing through the beginner game for Force and Destiny. I won't go into too many details as it's a very linear "learn the game while having fun doing stuff" type of product, which means it's good for one run-through and then you're pretty much done. That's fine - it does what it says it will do. We played through it in about 4 hours. By the end everyone understood the system and was interested in doing more with it, albeit with their own characters and not pre-gens. The rust came off pretty quickly for me and I felt reasonably competent in running the system after my second time.

Side note: How does the game handle Jedi in the party? By making everyone a force user! Every "class" in F&D is a force-user, and for each of them one of the three specializations (sub-type) is tied to one of the lightsaber forms. I think it will give enough differentiation between mechanical capabilities to keep a full party of force-users happy. The main question there though is setting. Do I really want to run a party of say 3-6 characters that are all force users in the Rebellion era? Even the early, "rise of the empire" years right after Order 66? I'm not sure. I can see some possibilities but I think I'd be more likely to run that party during the Old Republic era. It just feels like a better fit to me.

An additional insight, for what it's worth: This system is the inverse of Marvel Heroic, which was the other candidate for the night.

  • With Marvel, the improv roleplaying is largely before the roll. "I can use this because of this and this because of this" etc. to assemble your pool and declare what you're trying to accomplish. Then once you roll it's mostly resolution of the resulting mechanics.  
  • With FFG Star Wars the die elements for the roll are pretty much determined by the rules: skills, stats, gear, difficulty/opposition, and effects of earlier rolls. The roleplaying/improvising comes afterwards, as you try to explain what the roll means. "Ok ... so I missed the trooper but I shot the gun out of his hand and my powerpack is out so I need to reload to fire again." - something like that. 

Both have their ups and downs. The Marvel version is a little more grounded in the character's capabilities and history and wild swings of the dice tend to be a better or worse version of what you planned to do. Star Wars is simpler to build a pool and roll but then the results could be all over the place regardless of what the character is about. Roll a bunch of advantages and suddenly your medic might become a trick shot artist. Roll a bunch of threat and your assassin may suddenly become a clumsy oaf. This is aside from success or failure! The results depend quite a bit on interpretation, there's not really a fixed list of what things have to be, but it can be tough to 1) figure out the roll, 2) come up with a result that fits the character, and 3) do this in a timely fashion.  Marvel feels more natural at this point and Star Wars more challenging but Marvel was pretty out there when it was new to me too.

So it was time well-spent with friends and kids. When we get another open session on the calendar, and we probably will get a few as we get into the holidays, we may do more of this and try out some characters of our own making. Or we may start Chapter two of "Modern Marvels" - we will just have to see.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Meme-tastic Monday

Yeah ... figure I'll give it a week,

Friday, October 21, 2016

40K Friday - Modular Eldar

I started this Eldar ramp-up late last year after puttering around with it two years ago. This time I stuck to it, focusing heavily on the Eldar in acquisition, painting, and playing this year. I'm not quite finished with them yet but I have a pretty solid set of pieces to use.

Acquired (and mostly painted!):

  • The "Ghost Host" - the wraith host formation of spiritseer, wraithknight, wraithlord, and wraithguard x3. That's 1000+ points and the core of my army in any sizable game.
  • The Reaper Host - an aspect host of 3 squads of dark reapers. The rear-area line-holders of the army. It's pricey to take all 3 squads at full strength so I adjust to either smaller squads or fewer squads depending on the situation.
  • The Big Guns - Area denial at its finest, this is a Vaul's wrath battery of 3 d-cannons. This is surprisingly inexpensive for what it can do, and at toughness 7 it's a tough unit, especially in cover. Thinking about putting the spiritseer or the fasrseer in it next time because of this.  
  • "Swords and Swoops" - A mix of scorpions, swooping hawks, and fire dragons in an aspect host. Depending on what I need for the next fight this gives me a lot of flexibility.
  • "Shuriken Storm" - 3 squads of dire avengers in wave serpents. This is still in development as I only have 2 serpents but it looks interesting so far. I also want to buff up to the full 30 avengers (I have 25 now) to get maximum firepower. That's 700-800 points alone so it may not get fielded all the time but it should be a fun option. It's either a shrine or an aspect host depending on how many I take. 

Reserves: a falcon, multiple wraithlords, a wraithguard squad, rangers, a war walker squadron, couple of farseers, and a vyper squadron. Some are painted, some are not. Most of these would end up as part of a CAD using some of the dire avengers as a core instead of the larger DA shrine.

Expansion: Not much! I could use a few more wave serpents. I might pick up a flyer to provide some air cover. I might pick up a couple more falcons as I am fascinated by the idea of deep-striking tanks full of troops. A second wraithknight is likely at some point - more as an option than as part of a plan to field two of the things.

Ruled Out: This will never be a jet bike army. The closest I will get to that is the vyper squadron and anyone playing them in the last few years knows that vypers are not exactly feared on the tabletop.

I've painted a lot of yellow already ...

Undecided: I have around 40 guardians, support weapons, and some warlocks. I am not sure if I want to make them part of the force and go full guardian host + add-ons. It is a potent force to have but I am not sure I am ever going to want to take a bunch of guardians over the units I have already completed. I used to think of them as essential to any "real" eldar army but I've loosened up on that in recent years.

They are also entirely unpainted so it's going to be a fair amount of work to get them ready. I do still have some inclination to make the old alien eldar into a fieldable force so I might go that direction. None of this is really a priority though. TBD in 2017 is what I would call it for now.

Next week: Think it's time for some pictures!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Attack of Opportunity

We have a session coming up where one of the usual Pathfinder players won' t be able to make it but Apprentice Who will be available. Since we won;t be able to run Pathfinder, I asked them what they'd like to do instead. My players actually said "what do you want to run?"

So, a limited run (with the holidays approaching) or a one-off session? Alright!

Leading candidates right now are beginning another chapter in our Marvel Heroic campaign or giving FFG Star Wars another try with a slightly different group than last time.

More to come!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Meme-tastic Monday

Luke Cage! Not a ton of memes but still some funny stuff:

The guys at "Texts from Superheros" are pretty good at this kind of thing:

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Triple Shot Thursday: Superhero TV

Busy week here but I have had time to catch three new shows for the fall:

The Tick - Amazon

There's just the one episode available for now but it is really funny. I was a fan of the comic book and the animated series (20 years ago now!) and liked the Patrick Warburton live action show, short-lived as it was. I wasn't sure about this one at first but by the end of the episode. Arthur has a better character angle in this version,  Jackie Earls Haley is The Terror, and the Tick is just as he should be. It was picked up for a ten episode run last month and those are supposed to be out next year. Really looking forward to this one.

Luke Cage - Netflix

I have loved the Daredevil series so far. I wasn't quite as impressed with Jessica Jones but still liked it. Now with Luke Cage I am hoping to see something interesting - a street level super with powers that is handled very different from DD. He's still a "fighting guy" if you want to look at it that way but to me there are a couple of key differences from Matt Murdock:

  • He doesn't wear a mask and he's not really hiding what he is from his friends. he doesn't have the secret identity problem. 
  • A fair part of Murdock's complications come from being injured regularly. Power Man shouldn't have that particular problem. 
So I think there are enough significant differences to make it interesting on its own. I've only watched the first episode (like I said - busy!) but I will be working in the rest over the next week or so. 

Supergirl - CW

I thought Season 1 was about as well-done as I would have expected from a network show about a sort of B-list superhero. I'm not trying to pick on her but I think she falls into the category of a lot of people are aware she exists and what she looks like but don't know much more than that. I mean, who are Kara's big enemies? What's her day job? Romantic interest? Things even non-comic fans can rattle off about Superman are pretty obscure for Supergirl. 

All that said I love most of the casting decisions and the storylines as well. Who knew we were going to get Martian Manhunter as a major cast member in a live action show? Now with Season 2 we get Superman as well - a fairly classic Superman as well. This first episode was really really cool for a long time superhero fan. 

The only thing I haven't liked as much is the whole DEO thing. Sure, it gives her a reason to team up with other people and fight aliens but there are a lot of ways to handle that. It's a little heavy-handed but not a deal-breaker for me. 

With the move to the CW and the potential for more crossovers with Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow the potential for this show is just amazing. It's a true comic-book style superhero universe on TV! Any or all of the characters could show up on any of the shows, and that's just too cool. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

40K Friday: Pretty Quiet

Not a ton to report on the 40K front. I picked up a nicely painted Fuegan for Blaster, more because it was a good deal than because of any request on his part. He was happy with it so that was a win.

I also picked up a nicely painted 5-squad of the old metal Wraithguard for my Iyanden army. I was trying to keep the new army to new/latest models only but it was a really good deal, they were already painted well (so no new work for me), and I have been thinking about picking up a fourth squad anyway for some flexibility with the Wraith Host anyway. My concern was that sometimes I may not want to take the Wraithblades but I pretty much have to right now to field the host. One more standard wraithcannon squad gives me more options and more options are good.

We haven't played much since school started back up. Football started back up too and we're trying to keep the Pathfinder game on track so that's cut into the mini-painting and playing time. We might work it in this weekend but we haven't planned it out just yet. We've played enough this year that I don't feel a ton of pressure to force in a game or keep it on a schedule so that's a positive change.

More on this next week.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Three from TV 2016 - Westworld, Ash, and the Flash

The new TV season has started up and I have managed to catch some of the stuff I was looking forward to seeing. Short takes after one episode:

  • Westworld - looks pretty interesting. It was a cool concept that was somewhat limited by the effects of the 70's and standards and practices of the 70's as well. Between modern effects, being on HBO, and drawing in a pretty impressive set of actors I think it has a ton of potential. There were some twists on the original in the first episode that indicate we're getting a different take on the story and that's just fine.

  • Ash vs. Evil Dead (Season 2): The first episode of the second season dives right in to what makes this show great. Comedy, over the top gore, and some genuine spookiness mix together into a truly fun 30 minutes. Unexpected greatness: Lee Majors as Ash's dad! Awesome!

  • Flash (Season 3): Flashpoint! A story I know little about! I was worried we were going to get another multi-episode alternate world/timeline arc but it seems that we're mostly getting back to the main timeline after this one episode. Clearly there are problems coming out of this one that will go on for a while to keep things interesting but we're not in Earth 2 or the past or the future. I admit, I'd like to see a season without a big focus on time travel or alternate earths, just Flash being a superhero and doing Flash stuff but I suppose time travel and parallel worlds is a chunk of what Flash does. They've done well with the first two seasons so I am comfortable they will do season 3 right too. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

A Hobby-Crossing Article: "Choice is wonderful. Homogeneity is horrible."

The whole game thing is one of my interests but not the only one. From one of my favorite car sites comes this article that describes how I feel about both. I have nothing to add to it, I just wanted to share - well said!

Meme-tastic Monday

Guess what started up last night?