25 August 2016

Rogue Gamer: Dungeons of Frostgrave 25 AUG 2016

Rogue Gamer: Dungeons of Frostgrave 25 AUG 2016: So we went back to the Frostgrave scene, but we tried to incorporate the Into the Breeding Pits dungeon rules this time. Now normally you s...

18 August 2016

Rogue Gamer: The silence of (the Tower of) the Frostgrave 18 AU...

Rogue Gamer: The silence of (the Tower of) the Frostgrave 18 AU...: So we tackled the Frostgrave scenario " The Silent Tower " today and whoa boy, it turned out to be a bloodbath again! It also ran...

04 August 2016

Review enjoy/hate #9 Frostgrave - miniatures in general too

After three games of Frosty Gravy I think I can comment on my experiences and how the system works. First some background from me & miniatures in general and then about my experiences with this new game.

Collecting

I collected Warhammer Fantasy Battle figures, Warhammer 40k and Lord of the Rings figures in the past. I also received a large number from my two brothers, especially my eldest brother who still collects and models them to an extent. Most of these hand me downs were for a particular board game called battle masters, as well as a number from old board games and whatnot. I collected a few thousand points worth of Space Marines for my sins, mostly between 2001-2006 or thereabouts. I tried to collect a Skaven army for Warhammer Fantasy but never got past the prices I had one regiment of basic rats and the Codex. I had quite a number of Lord of the Rings figures thanks to the magazine and I also bought a few Haradrim boxes which were cheap at the time. Usually I just bought whatever minis I wanted in the end, usually during school lunch time I'd grab a cheap booster pack of interesting figures, its how I ended up with an Eldar Avatar, Giants, Beastmen and a range of others.

Playing

Mostly Warhammer 40k, and even that only a dozen times or so. I also played a few of the Lord of the Rings scenarios provided in the collectible magazine, which is also how I got most of my miniatures in that. Never played WFB but would have liked to have run either a really colourful Chaos army or a really boring but sturdy musket heavy Dwarf or Imperial force. Anything that let me use old muskets and muzzle loaded cannons.

Frostgrave

You get a Wizard for free then an Apprentice (another, weaker spellcaster) for 200 gold, a Captain if you like for 100 gold and an assortment of others for your Warband. I usually buy Thugs, Thieves and Warhounds as they are all cheap and expendable. I also enjoy Archers, and had a Crossbowman to test one out. Of all the most expensive soldiers I bought a Marksman and he proved quite able at range and close up, probably the most versatile troop just slower. Ranged combat is brutal and at 24'' cover is vital, thankfully Frostgrave is so cluttered with terrain. Close combat is also vicious and generally favours numbers, though anything can happen.

Spells are vital in FG, allowing a range of different effects of you to use. You can summon zombies/constructs/animals/demons to aid in various roles, cast offensive spells to harm your opponents, cast buffs or healing spells and various other spells to control territory, change terrain, move around etc.

By itself, a good fun miniatures game with room for roleplay and customisation. Even better as a longer running campaign with fun emphasised and plenty of scope for tactics and trying new things and bringing different units to the table.

Game #1 

This was full of carnage - nine treasures I think to grab and not that much terrain, a good bit but not enough for FG. I had loads of cover and even climbed a tower with one of my archers and my Wizard leaped up there at one point. Y and Dave never played a miniatures game before but had enough gaming knowledge to fall back on that they were moving around and dealing damage straight away. We all shied away from each other and I managed to grab my three treasures easily enough, while Y got four I think and piled them up near her spawn area but kept going back in for more. Her forces were ultimately routed and some of her units carried a treasure or two off but left at least two up for grabs. Myself and Dave experienced the might of ranged attacks and my Warhounds succeeded in smashing into the side of him but it was messy and my Wizard teleported in only to be taken out. In the end I managed to get the most treasure out but suffered enough to realise FG is brutal at range or close up. This was also mainly just a demo so none of my Wizard's experience carried on - but that's OK, one of the things I loved about playing 1980's games like Space Hulk and 1990 Space Crusade is they at least assumed you'd continue on and play more scenarios.

Game #2

Probably the least brutal of the three games, it was with Ger and Donal and we started fresh with new wizards and warbands. We all had captains and apprentices of course. I elected to be an Elementalist this time, Donal went Necromancy and Ger was Summoning I think. Ger had little experience with miniatures but plenty with gaming at this point and was eager to learn and play and has the exact right mindset for this. Donal has plenty of experience across the field.

My Warhound pack plus Thief swung right to attack Donal but got caught up in all the terrain and he was being very cautious so I was perhaps too cautious too against him. My Wizard, Apprentice and Captain all had teams with them - Wizard and Apprentice just get XP and Treasure, while the Captain and the two Archers and Crossbow would be our base of fire and just kills anything that moved and provide cover etc etc. My two magical teams came up against elements of Ger's forces and the chaos in the middle but managed to lift our three treasures successfully. The Captain and his Archers were extremely effective, given that there was a lot of open space in the middle they really controlled it for the large part. Donal and Ger clashed a lot on their side of the table so I was lucky in a sense this time around.



Above is a (terrible) pic of second game. Note my Wizard and his two ranged helpers on the mosque thing on left, Wizard is third from left. My Captain is in the middle and to the right, in cover with a bow. A zombie has gone around the corner to get a treasure. That's my Apprentice team on the right, gathering another treasure. My Warhounds and Thief had already swept around the right side of the table, off camera. Ger's forces on the top left and Donal's peek out near the top and top right. Post game I got an Inn because I mistakenly thought I would get 13 slots for units, not 11 as it really allows. I would still probably buy it again though. I was lucky with experience from chests and spells cast and went to level 3 I think. I also bought a kennel for another Warhound and a Marksman for next time, all while still having 200+ gold left.

Game #3

I was mistaken this time starting off - 11 units total with Inn not 13, so I fielded 11 units but my magic users failed to create two zombies at the start. Poor placement meant my Apprentice was shot by one of Ger's archers at the start and it was a critical, putting him out of the game on the first turn. This was a huge mistake on my part and I really suffered in magical capability. My Wizard failed to cast any spells and was killed by one of the skeletons on the board by mid game, which was a disaster. I immediately began to downscale my operations, aiming for two of the central special treasures and the one treasure next to my spawn area.

Donal started in heavy cover and emerged strong, hitting myself and Ger very hard while he didn't seem to struggle against us but the randomly spawning skeletons seemed to favour him for some reason and were a major irritant. Ger was a strong presence across the field last time but this time he struggled a bit more but still grabbed his treasure and one major treasure. I finally got to send a pack of Warhounds around and crashed into Ger, and the wildly varying nature of the d20 meant that his Captain and a number of other units were killed in close combat - my WH were wiped out but at 10 gold each they were more than worth it. I could have shot at Ger's last unit with the chest as he was about to leave but then it would have certainly went to Donal so I let it go, and even then he had to evade Donal's Wizard shooting at him as he just got off the board.

Myself and Donal were probably most extensively fighting each other, our ranged units doing some horrific damage to both sides. It soon became clear that with Ger mostly wiped out and clearing the board first with two different treasures the end was near for me, with Donal still having most of his forces. My Captain and Marksman held their ground, with a mundane treasure near them. My Thief managed to get one major treasure off the board eventually and I nearly got another one with my Thug but a skeleton stopped that. Donal was soon surrounding my last three guys and had more troops on the way; I considered just trying to walk off board but my last three guys were rapidly wiped out and victory went to Donal.

Donal went up to level 9, Ger was somewhere behind that but my Wizard rolled a 1 on his recovery roll, killing him and ending my warband. Damn, but it was OK as I got to choose a new Wizard, Apprentice and Captain as well as the Warband. I am currently reading up on spells and going to come back as strong as I can. I'll definitely start with a light, numerous warband for my first return game but hopefully I can upgrade to new and interesting units later.

That last scenario was a bloodbath, with active NPCs randomly attacking their nearest target anyone was fair game. The d20 is good for this, it is distinctive yet it can be fickle. Most units can take a hit or two before going down but that's all, there isn't often a case of one unit taking several hits. I will definitely consider taking spells that control the terrain and battlefield more, as well as making sure to get some help carrying treasures (Zombie various other summons), outnumbering the foe and generally good spells like Leap, Heal etc.

01 August 2016

FMA Summerslam & Money in the Bank 2016 retrospective

Money in the Bank 2016

Disciple vs. Killalot 2.0 vs. Sketlon vs. Nulk Wulken

Sketlon endured punishment from all three wrestlers and managed to slip up the ladder and seize the briefcase.

Summerslam 2016

Ling vs Caflena (c) Singles match for Women's Championship

Against all odds Ling hit Caffy three times with a mighty slap and pinned for the win and her second title.

Elfgore & Iain vs Black Attack! (c) Hardcore Match for Hardcore Championship

The father and son combination beat down BA! with three sledgehammers and other devices before Elfgore pinned him for the win after a superkick. BA managed to hit both of the with bear hugs and iron claws but it was not enough.

Harpo (c) vs. Hitler for Earth Championship

Despite surprising the champion with a number of dirty tricks, Hitler went down despite a lot going in his favour, including a low blow which turned the tables to Adolf for a time.

Blacksmith vs Coldsmith Ironman match for vacant Necut Championship

The specialty of the former champion went in his favour as Goldsmith never turned up for this encounter and lost to Blacksmith 6 to 2.

ET & BBJ (c) vs Oz and Blackjaw special Tables match for Tag Titles

Both members of one team would have to be eliminated via table to win this match - Oz managed to defeat both of the Freaks! and secured the tag titles for his team. ET & BBJ are injured after their match.

20 July 2016

Review #8 T.I.M.E Stories: The Prophecy of Dragons redeux *spoilers*

Bit of a gap since the last time I posted but hell these posts are only for my memory and my loyal spambot fanbase.

Prophecy of Dragons I played with my brother's group in a single night and I have the record in another post. This is my second play through with Cathy and Royce from a few weeks ago.

I played the Elven Ranger, Royce the paladin with the re-roll and Cathy was the lady assassin. We had lay on hands from the paladin which costed no magic and were pretty tasty in combat overall. We started out in the inn as well, made sense to go there. We made the mistake of turning over the door card without the key but we would be coming back, Royce got the golden underwear item and I made contact with our employer; someone checked out the gambling but we left for the market.

In the market we didn't buy any armour and weapons but bought some assorted whatnots from the potion dealer. We also bought tools either here or at the castle plaza, wherever the cat merchant is. Most of the tools we bought we ended up not using at all.

On the docks Cathy followed the girl and managed to defeat the thugs by herself. Royce made contact with the Fighter's Guild and received the mage Rhom and directions to the fight path. They really wanted to go that way but I insisted we check all the mundane areas first before going down any particular path.

We investigated the castle plaza and then the Forest as we had run out of money. We gathered some herbs there and then went back to the castle plaza and sold them. At some point Royce had bought the fairy lantern and we had found two of the fairies in all this moving around; we went back to the inn and uncovered the thief path and the last fairy. We managed to acquire all three glyphs and then uncovered the Trululu path to the castle. This went straight to the portals, which we resolved after using all three glyphs. Then we received bonus time and moved onto part 2, the castle proper.

In the castle we had to backtrack between the various locations about twice each to get everything we needed to advance to the final dungeon. We had loads of time from the first part and the bonus time, all very generous for our party of three. The dungeon was interesting if a little uneventful and we came to the final boss.

I attacked the King himself, Cathy attacked the giant robot and Royce faced the other big monster guy. They easily dispatched their opponents and I asked if I could use our pink token to annihilate the king. They agreed and we had wiped out 3/5 enemies. We investigated the warp or rent or whatever and managed to seal that after a ton of rolls, most of them by Royce with his character's re-roll ability. We had acquired numerous items which allowed us to 'cast magic' otherwise we never would have solved that. We ignored the other two enemies in case we needed to get dice back, ultimately only one or two were locked away for rolling blanks.

We sealed the portal and won the game with an absurd amount of points, thanks in part to the decent number of enemies we felled and the wealth of time points and gold we had left over. It was definitely much easier than Marcy or Asylum and I really look forward to the Egyptian scenario now.

15 June 2016

Reviews of some shite I've enjoyed/hated over the last few months #7 Fallout New Vegas DLCs Honest Hearts - Dead Money - Old World Blues - Lonesome Road

This was my third time finishing Honest Hearts, second time finishing Old World Blues and first time ever beating Dead Money and Lonesome Road. I had got about halfway through the latter two before but got bored of Lonesome Road/Fallout in general and either stopped playing or used the option to walk back to the start and left it. Sierra Madre/Dead Money was really hard for my Guns girl so I had to give up after triggering the gala event, with my limbs broken, all meds gone and plenty of ghost people hunting for me.

This time was different, I had started playing an Unarmed/Melee/Explosives character who gradually used the Power Fist only. I usually ignore close combat/fisticuffs but I really, really enjoyed Unarmed and the Power Fist especially, and later the Saturnite Super-heated Fist. I enjoyed it even more than my run as a INT 1 CHA 1 Melee-focused tough guy.

Honest Hearts

Everyone's least favourite DLC. I had already racked up all the assorted achievements and challenges from my previous two playthroughs, so I decided to just power through this. I made sure to grab all the unique weapons and whatnot but made no special effort to stick around here too long. I agree with Nocturnal Rambler in that meeting the legend of the Burned Man himself robbed him of his Mystique, even though I quite liked his dark religious persona. I never really paid much heed to the Burned Man myth prior to this, then it's all you seem to hear about. There's not much here, the companions are intriguing but the quests are empty fetch quests and clearing out dungeons and monsters.
Both of the endings are kind of crappy.

Dead Money

I was worried that my playthrough might end here but I deliberately got the Them's Good Eatin' perk prior to doing this, allowing me to find Thin Red Paste and Blood Sausages on enemies, which are potent healing items. This helped a lot as I was playing Hardcore for the second time ever and really needed extra healing items. Also I was Unarmed primary and thought I may need to rely on the Holorifle or whatever.

Nope! It was much easier this time around, I used the Police Pistol to shoot out alarms and whatnot and convinced the three companions to work toward the Gala event. I had my limbs crippled numerous times (I had the Small Frame trait) but managed to hoard chips which allowed me to buy Doctor's Bags form the various vending machines. I almost never alerted any of the Holograms and beat all the Ghost People to death with the Bear Trap punch. The Casino was very easy to manage as well. I decided to defeat/confront Elijah in the Vault rather than trap him (I'll do that next time). I tried to grab all the gold bars and run but no joy. I will definitely have to do that next time.

Old World Blues

I really, really enjoyed playing this the first time and I also enjoyed it the second time. The Sink and all the AI there are great fun, though I didn't bother with all the fetch quests this time around. The Think Tank personalities are entertaining as well. Dr. Mobius is fantastic I loved everything about it, even if the constant hammy lines from him get a bit grating at times. I had no trouble doing this Unarmed either, though I used the Proton Axes to deal with robots. Probably my favourite of the lot. Some of the loot is amazing, such as the Saturnite Heated Fist and the Stealth Suit. The latter I would normally put away but I ended it using it extensively, not minding the resulting Med-X addiction. This was probably the most fun to play and you can really tell the designers had fun making it, it reminds one of those old films from the 1950's on where they tried to imagine what the future would be like.

Lonesome Road

I powered through this and even brought the Anti-Materiel Rifle and Fat Man to counter Death Claws and whatnot. Didn't need these as much but they really helped, especially the AM Rifle with Explosive Rounds. I could still use Paralyzing Palm in close combat VATS and beat up Tunnelers and Deathclaws that way. The main quest was just bizarre, I didn't really like it. I didn't hate it but I chose to just ignore whatever Ulysses said about my past and whatever his plan was, to nuke the route to Vegas apparently and thus both sides would lose? Whatever, I punched him five times and ate his flaming corpse. I elected to stop the launch and 'sacrifice' ED-E, as I had my own plans for how to end the game and I didn't need reputation hits at this stage.

Conclusion

Old World Blues still holds up and Dead Money is refreshing in that it requires you to set aside items you're used to. Honest Hearts is pretty but a little dull while Lonesome Road is not what its cracked up to be, but was fine for a linear DLC.

Probably rank the NV DLCS: OWB>DM>LR/HH

Also: (BS)>OA>PL>[TP]/MZ

And: (BS)>OWB>OA>DM>PL>LR/HH>MZ/[TP]


20 May 2016

Game report follow-up: T.I.M.E Stories The Marcy Case 1992 w/ C & R spoiler-tastic

We were extremely well-drilled from having played the Asylum the morning before. Cathy and Royce took turns managing the Item Deck. I managed the turn tracker and interpreted rules and general oversaw everything running smoothly.

Run #1

We started at the City Entrance and Cathy decided to save the copper fighting the zombie. I told her to fire her gun once here I think. She received a shotgun afterward! I went for the car boot while Royce tanked the zombies that you must fight. Trapper the Dog joining Royce for this fight only but stayed with Cathy for the rest of the game. I eventually liberated the convict (after checking out the dead policeman) and got the jury-rigged rocket.

Evoking zombie tropes, we elected to go to the police station first. We got a Marcy for our trouble, a cassette (I think), keys and the Gatling gun. I got that by shooting off the lock. Going into the room with the zombies is never palatable, especially when you have plenty of health packs.

The High School was next and Royce spoke to the gun nut and the guys hanging around. Cathy spoke to the fisherman and chose not to trade med kits to get him but she did go and siphon some gas. I was going to negotiate with the leader guy but we agreed to just threaten him instead and got to see where the Bunker was.

Royce really wanted to check out Bunker but myself and Cathy wanted to explore Hotel first. I received another Marcy for my trouble while Cathy shot up the lift and checked out upstairs rooms. She had the keys from the police station so found the helipad but we couldn't use it yet.

In the Forest Royce checked out the cabin and received another Marcy and something else here, the ax maybe. Cathy found a tape. I was attacked by the convict but just gave him all my handgun bullets, 5/6 were left. We went deeper into forest and found two bullets and two medkits, a picture of a couple and fought the big zombie.

The Church was the last of the mundane locations; Cathy spoke to the nurse, then went with Royce and got imprisoned by priest. I gave the picture to the man and received the lab location. We eventually got out of the fight in here. We had generated 7 noise tokens and for a moment I had thought we had to fight an undead wrestler but in fact we received a stroke of luck and nothing happened,

The Laboratory came next and Cathy received a scientist ally after fighting off some zombies with the help of Trapper. Royce got the antidote, which was a relief as we now had 3 girls we thought were Marcy who each had one infection token. I took both tapes and spent some time listening to both of them. We were able to rule out Hotel Marcy right there but did not have the other Marcy one of the tapes referred to.

Royce finally got to go to the Bunker and we had less than 10 TU left. We had every code crossed off, with the scientist with Cathy eliminating two and the other two codes we read were old somewhere (we checked the base cards and they were indeed months old). Myself and Royce unlocked the last Marcy who was referred to in the second tape. Cathy operated radio and lost 5 TU, then I reminded them of the +3TU token we got in Asylum which we used and then lost another 5TU, bringing us to 0 left. With our last action we read the correct one and received the state token required to get onto helipad.

Run #2

Same set up except this time we chose to start in the Police Station, finding one Marcy and everything else here. Neither the Church nor the High School were essential as we had the map tokens from last time so we skipped those entirely. We then went to the Forest and got the other correct Marcy girl. The Lab allowed us to get the scientist again and get the antidote. The City Entrance wasn't mandatory, Royce was against it but I wanted the convict after having skipped past his two ambush attempts. The Bunker was our last stop before the Hotel and Helipad and we got another Marcy for the laugh and the correct radio transmission.

In the Hotel we skipped past the Marcy there, into the lift and checked out the two rooms properly. I had the adult magazine from the last run so unlocked the safe which contained a note eliminating the Police Station Marcy, leaving just Forest Marcy. The Helipad beckoned and I gleefully flung the scientist at the zombie horde and we used the jury-rigged rocket to signal the attention of the helicopter. We handed them the Forest Marcy and won the game.

This being our second run we received 40 MP and 17 more for having that many TU left, allowing us to choose the pink token for the first time and a blue token to replace the one we lost from before. We still had the green token from last time. Cathy was excellent and on-form as the journalist lady, constantly moving toward things that appeared to require investigation while Royce jumped toward combat, having all the close combat dice. Having played it before I knew it was Forest Marcy from the beginning but insisted that we check everywhere and everything. I'm glad I didn't have to veto the River as the others did it out of hand as being too far away. Cathy did say we should just go there and check it out which we never got around to doing. They took TU loss seriously. We were a bit more liberal with guns but altogether clocked up a total of 10 noise tokens roughly, 7 and then like 3. We were lucky not to have met a horde or any other distractions in the Street encounters. I showed them afterward how brutal the River can be. Onward to the Prophecy of Dragons, maybe in another month or so. The other expansion is out already I think too.

Marcy Case still the best but there were a lot of things about Asylum I loved (and some things I hated).