Friday, June 6, 2014

40K Friday - Updates for a New Edition

I always suspected this would work and it couldn't be any more expensive

Apprentice Blaster kidnapped my rulebook over the weekend and will likely be holding on to it for another week. That makes it hard to noodle over the finer points of the rules and how it might affect my armies, but thankfully the internet hysterics are keeping the debate over those finer points alive and well for contemplation.

I'm mainly interested in how I should change up the armies that are still being built. My Crimson Fists, for example, are built around a core of three 10-man tactical squads in rhinos, plus some sternguard and some predators. That's not going to change because they're built and painted. I'm not going to suddenly try to convert them to an all-biker army just because that's the hot new thing. If I wanted to do that I'd just start a new White Scars force ... but I don't ... not yet. I suspect my still-under-construction Blood Angels will become my 7th edition obligatory marine army, assuming I can get the 6th edition Dark Angels finished this year. Maybe White Scars in 8th ...

My Chaos Marines are still under construction but I finally have the core force sorted out. Chaos Lord in terminator armor, a daemon prince, 3 units of plague marines, cultists, a unit of nurgle-marked bikers led by a sorcerer on a bike, some nurgle-marked spawn, a defiler, some havocs, some obliterators, a unit of terminators, 2 units of possessed, and a helbrute pretty much fill out the force. It's all very true to the lore as all of the marine infantry units and the bikers are in units of six, Nurgle's sacred number in the background. I may add a heldrake in there to finish out the fast attack slots, but other than that I already have everything, some of it is painted, and some of it is getting painted.

Dawn breaks and reveals a defiler sitting atop the Falcon - what will Han do?

How did 7th influence this? Well, with everything scoring now maxing out the troop slots dropped somewhat in priority. I still think it's good to have 3-4 super-scoring units and I have those with 18 plague marines and 30 cultists, but the "regular" chaos marines seemed superfluous. I dropped them.

The looser force structures and increased power of the psychic phase now mean I might drop the lord or shift him and the plague marines to a separate force in order to get both the daemon prince and the sorcerer into the same battle. Before that was only possible at 2,000 points - now I could do it any point level. I also have a second Nurgle-looking daemon prince. While I was thinking about using him more for my Chaos Daemons army, it makes some sense to look into expanding that second force org and using him here instead.

Vehicles are a tick or two tougher than in sixth, though most of the benefit goes to AV 13 or 14 targets. It still makes me feel a little better about including the defiler and a helbrute or two.

Termies and possessed were not highly regarded either but since they score now I think they have quite a bit more utility than they did. Nurgle possessed (and terminators) are fairly tough and once they clear an enemy off of an objective they can now hold it and defend it too.

Not drastic changes but the new rules have helped solidify my plans. More next week.

(You can see more of the impressive lego 40k force here.)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Mixed Emotions - The ETU Kickstarter for Savage Worlds

I debated posting this but decided I might as well share. Plus it's not about D&D, Pathfinder, or 40K so it might a nice breath of fresh air.

What do you do when a game system you really like runs a kickstarter for a supplement on a topic you care nothing about?

I really like Savage Worlds and almost everything that Pinnacle puts out interests me in some way. They've spent a lot of time publishing games with a fair amount of real history embedded in them (Deadlands, Weird Wars, Pirates) but with a twist to make them more interesting as a game. They've also done some interesting things with fantasy (Evernight) and superheroes (Necessary Evil) to the point that I'l take a look at pretty much anything they do. I own all of the original Hell on Earth books, almost all of the Deadlands books, almost all of the early Savage Worlds books, and quite a few of the later ones. I backed the Weird Wars Rome kickstarter and I am completely happy with the results.

That said I just can't get on board with this one. I'm working through why:

  • It clearly has a vision behind it - the descriptions so far seem cohesive and make a lot of sense.
  • It's set in Texas, modern-day-if-it-was-haunted Texas. That may be where my problem starts. 
  • It's set in a school. I know that's part of the problem.

Going in reverse order:

I've never been a fan of the high school RPG, whether it was the old Teenagers from Outer Space (the first one I can remember), the various superhero high school games, the Buffy RPG, or even a Trek game set at Starfleet Academy. This one is set in a university but that's really not all that different in effect. I've never really felt the need to revisit the teenage years in a game. When I was a junior high/high school kid I wanted to play grown-ups, not teenagers. When I was in college we never wanted to play high school or college kids. As an adult I've never felt the urge to go back there either. Clearly some people do, or  these kinds of games wouldn't exist but it's not my thing.

As a side note, I could see playing (and probably have at some point) the college professor or even a college student in a game that wasn't set in a school. I think I had an "academic" in an old Traveller game and I know I've used "student" as a secret identity/day job on some superhero characters over the years. The key factor there was that none of those games were set in or focused on a school - it was just a piece of their background.

As far as setting it in Texas, well, it's probably a little too close to home to be all that fantastic. I drive to and from parts of East Texas several times a year whether for summer lake visits or springtime car shows. I have friends out there. I'm talking an hour or two's drive from Dallas, and while that may seem exotic to someone from way out of state or in another country it's just not that exciting to me. Drop it back 150 years and then we might have something, but as a "now" setting it's just very plain in my eyes.

The fact that we've been looking at colleges for the Graduated Apprentice for two years and that there are a great number of "Directional Texas Universities" probably adds to the lack of the fantastic in my eyes as well. The thought of getting familiar with another school, even a fictional one, with monsters and cultists, just sounds like more work to me.

My personal lack of interest aside the game looks like it's well done. There are not a ton of games set in modern day Texas, and the "Pinebox" guys do seem to know the area well. I like the art style. Savage Worlds seems like a great system to do this in. They have some nifty "unlockables" - though they are based on number of backers and not amount pledged which seems like an odd way to do it, but if it works for them that's cool. Even the miniatures seem pretty useful for a modern game in general.

Working through this, as much as I like Savage Worlds in general, I just can't get on board with this one. I hope it's successful for Pinnacle and everyone on the team, but I won't be backing it. By talking about it here, maybe someone who otherwise would not have seen it will discover it and jump on board. Regardless, I will keep an eye out for the next one and hopefully it will be something I can support.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The End of the School Year Gaming Update

This is the last week of school for the Apprentices (except for the one who's already out) and I wanted to collect some thoughts on what we've done so far and what we might do over the summer.

RPG's so far: The thing here is "Pathfinder". We've been playing it a lot and we'e managed to finish book 1 of the Wrath of the Righteous with full intent to finish the whole thing. During the school year we also managed some Mutants and Masterminds and some ICONS, which I have not written up, but we've had a lot of fun with them. I have not been in as much of a superhero mood lately, and the boys haven't been asking for it. The last couple of months have been busy enough that keeping PF on track was about all we could do.

Miniatures: We were playing a fair amount of Star Trek Attack Wing, to the point that I went out and bough a nifty new space mat so we wouldn't have to play in the Paisley Nebula anymore and then the 40K news came out and blew Trek right off the table! I suspect we will get back to it over the summer but we've had a drastic slowdown. The new edition of 40K is the big dog here and I expect it to stay the big dog for the rest of the year. After watching Band of Brothers we've talked about getting into a WW2 miniatures game but the time and expense of building at least two new armies (in whatever scale) is just not that appealing to any of us right now. I think the plan for the summer is "finish what you have" and then we will see what next year brings.

Board and Card games: About all we've played consistently is Memoir 44 (there's our WW2 fix), while the boys play Magic and Heroclix fairly often among themselves. This is not our main thing but maybe we should do more here.

With graduations and first jobs and kids learning to drive we've done pretty well in keeping the fun stuff going.

Plans for the summer:

  • Keep Pathfinder going
  • Get our 40K armies and terrain tuned up and get them some exercise
  • See if STAW is a long-term thing or if it's just going to be a once-in-a-while game
  • Play some supers, even as a limited campaign
  •  Find time to play some Savage Worlds
The new edition of D&D will probably have an impact in there too but I'm not sure how much. The boys don't seem terribly interested as they're happy with what we have now. We will probably work in a test run of some kind at least.

I'd like to get the 4E game going again too but it's been a real challenge with schedules. Not sure how this will go but I'll keep trying. 

I'd also like to get a Trek game going, even if it's a limited run and just with the boys. I have extra copies of the LUG Trek TNG rulebook so it is possible. It's another "TBD" game. I just need a good idea and a mostly-clear weekend ... 

In between the usual swimming and movies and general time-wasting that's how I see the summer going.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Motivational Monday - Extended Graduation Edition

Yes, as hard as it may be to believe, there are still kids graduating high school ...

For Lady Blacksteel and I that's one down, three more to go.

While I snicker at the above, you can only play the cards you are dealt, and so far "school" is their biggest thing and unlike a lot of the rest of life there is a definite beginning and end and you can "finish" it with a clean sense of accomplishment.

I figured up that with all the kids, if everything goes well, we should have eight graduations over the next ten years. So we're going to have to get comfortable with all of this regardless.

So congratulations Red! The time as a horse mascot is done, the full-backpack-stair-climbing is done, and it's time to go look for the Coming Thing.

(I wonder if he'll get that reference?)

Regardless, Apprentice Red will still be making appearances here. He'll be here most of the summer and I expect he will be making frequent appearances here at the home base even afterwards so I'm sure I'll have something to write about that involves him.

After the ceremony Saturday and the party Sunday, hopefully the rest of us will be getting back on a more normal schedule as the rest of the kids finish up for the year. It's another change of seasons. Summer is coming!