Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Space Rocks Update!

W00t!  The folks at Space Rocks sent me a new Station to replace the misaligned one, as well as replacement asteroids and also a bonus set of space debris - essentially an entirely new set of Armada scenery.  The set arrived today, actually.  I'm pretty stoked and I can safely say they've got some pretty uber customer service!

Thanks, Space Rocks! :D

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Space Rocks!

Huzzah, my order from the fine folks at Space Rocks arrived today! It took a while to get here as there was a slight hiccup from Royal Mail (they returned a bunch of packages that included mine for no apparent reason), when it was resent, it only took a week to get here (and I can't complain about the free international shipping!).

 The goods arrived in excellent condition from shipping, and the space station was wrapped with care.  As you can see, included with the space station are a few asteroids and starship hulks consisting of parts of a Victory class Star Destroyer, a Nebulon-B, and a Corellian Corvette.

As far as the actual quality of the casts, I think they're pretty good.  Some air bubbles were found in some of the asteroids that looked like actual deformities rather than features and the debris had a couple of air bubbles that were easily sanded and painted into damage.  The station though was a solid chunk of resin that felt durable enough to survive the rigors of being poked and prodded on the table as well as being transported.  However, my station was sort of out of alignment - the vertical piece of its hull looked like the mold slipped slightly when the station was being cast.  It isn't really that noticeable on the table to be honest as the round part of the station's hull and the shadow it casts will obscure the flaw but it's a little puzzling how that got by quality assurance.

Regardless I quickly set about painting the ship debris to make them pop out more.  I gave them the same light drybrush I gave to the station to make them less dark, and then proceeded to paint some of the crevices in the hull to look like they were still aflame.  Unfortunately, I believe I've painted them a little too enthusiastically as it looks like the ships are all molten inside - however, I can always claim that the reactor cores on the ships had failed, thereby causing the insides to melt.  Thank goodness for sci-fi explanations.  :)

In any case, really looking forward to attaching these onto stands and putting them onto the field.  They will look awesome, and the station will too once I paint in little details like lights and maybe slap on a couple of decals!

Finally, another package from the UK arrived today in form of a few WWII era 20mm MDF buildings from Charlie Foxtrot Models.  I will probably be writing about that in the near future.  :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tournament Fun!

Quick update, here.  I had the pleasure of participating in a Star Wars: Armada tournament this weekend at The Magic Stronghold (organized by James Chen!), where many battles were to be had.  There were 10 players, with 6 Rebel players (including me) and 4 Empire players.  The results were somewhat to be expected, aligning with the belief that the Empire tends to be a bit more powerful.  Of the top 4 players on the leaderboard, 3 of them were Empire.  :P

I went in with a dual Assault Frigate MK II list (one with enhanced armaments, and gunnery crew, the other serving as a carrier with flight controllers and extended hangar), coupled with a CR90-B Dodonna's Pride armed with leading shots. 

I did decently considering the meta of Empire Gladiators doing quite well.  :)  It appears that the Star Wars: Armada tournament rules determines ranking via margin of victory, and as the Rebels tend to squeak by in their victories, the ruling further heavily favoured the Empire.  Don't get me wrong, I love the game but I sure hope they work out the apparent balance issues!

Here are some crappy photos (phone pics) from the tournament:

Saturday, August 8, 2015

A Rare Update

Wow.  Has it already been more than 2 years since the last update?  LOL

I've decided to take another stab at maintaining this as certainly there are always new and shiny things in the gaming world both analogue and digital to talk about, as well as maintaining a loose log of things I've played and opinions on gaming (as I have a pretty bad memory, myself :P).

So, what have I been up to lately then, in gaming terms?  I suppose I've been quite enamored with the recent Fantasy Flight Games release of Star Wars: Armada.  I don't know what it is with Star Wars, but that franchise sucks me in time and time again.  For those who've played FFG's X-Wing, there will be parts about it that are familiar, but SW:A uses an all new ruleset to accommodate the change in scale to capital ship engagements. 

All in all, not bad for such a ruleset.  While not as complex as Firestorm: Armada (which actually is very streamlined come to think of it, compared to something arcane like Starfleet Battles or Saganami Island Tactical Simulator) and having a "wargaming lite" feel, it still has enough strategic and tactical options to keep gameplay relatively fresh.  As a result of the relatively simple rules (which are only a few pages in length and can be downloaded under "Rules" here) can be learned quite quickly and games can be resolved much quickly than in other fleet based wargames.  Ship stats come on handy cards, and are also reflected on the stands themselves - they contain handy dials to help keep track of shields as well as display other basic info at a glance. 

Like most FFG games, SW:A does come with a lot of gaming paraphernalia like dials, counters, cards, and tokens but thankfully have not degenerated into Game of Thrones levels of insanity.  :)  The ship sculpts look really great and are for the most part pre-painted to an acceptable tabletop level but the starfighters are instead casted in an appropriate faction colour. 

One minor concern with this game however, is the fiddly nature of the game with respect to on-table components.  As convenient as the shield dials may be, there's a high probability there will be accidental bumps that put ships slightly out of position - the starfighters especially suffer badly from this problem as the dials are the size of their bases and are difficult to turn.  In addition, the maneuvering tool used to determine capital ship movement is made of relatively flimsy plastic and has a LOT of wiggle room, leading to potentially imprecise measurements - not to mention the fact that it can and will snag onto and knock other ships around.  The tool really needs to be adjustable to accommodate for different situations, but I suppose that's why FFG is selling the tool separately in the next wave of expansions. ;) 

In addition, the sheer number of ships and components will probably prove to be an annoyance to many.  I've managed to fit the core set and all of Wave 1 (plus duplicates of a couple of ships) into a Husky toolbox, but I can forsee myself looking for a better solution in the future.

Minor concerns aside, I feel that this is an excellent game that both wargaming veterans and n00bs will enjoy alike, as well as an excellent candidate for a "gateway wargame" to introduce others into the hobby.  If you feel so inclined, the link for the ruleset is again here, and a handy web based fleet generator can be found here

Friday, May 3, 2013

7 Wonders!

Hey folks, again, it's been a long time since the last post.  :P

I've been playing 7 Wonders a lot with my friends ever since I got introduced to it from my last workplace.  A big plus about the game is that it doesn't take too long to set up or play.  This makes it a great game to play when people want to try out multiple boardgames in a session, rather than play a marathon session of Arkham Horror.  :)  The drawback is that there is so much to explain at first and so many symbols to learn that to the new player it seems a lot to take in at once.  However, it usually only takes 1 game to get people up to speed - the concepts are really simple especially if you've played other strategy games before.

I do have to admit though, it does get repetitive if you play it too much, which was why I got the Cities expansion recently.  The addition of some new cards with cool properties adds some more depth to your strategy as well as a bit more of a random element.  I still think that the game probably plays best with 4 or 5 people, as the chances of you knowing what your opponents have in their hands as well as having a card come back into your hand are both lowered. As a result, decisions have a much higher importance and urgency.

Maybe I'll invest in some sleeves for the cards - the cards at my old workplace appeared to wear out quite easily and I've started seeing some slight damage to the edges of the cards in my set.  :(

Saturday, October 6, 2012


A few weeks ago, Zombicide, a boardgame Kickstarter project done by Cool Mini Or Not and Guillotine Games came in the mail.  I've played it a few times with different groups of people, and I think it's safe to say that it's a pretty decent boardgame with a heavy miniatures component.

The rules were pretty simple to grasp, and it took my players on average maybe 1 more game beyond the tutorial to get into the rhythm of the game.  If anything, players sometimes asked if they could do some more complicated things!  After playing with different numbers of players, it seems like an ideal group of people would be 4+ players.  I've tried it with 3, and it just wasn't as fun.  With more people involved, coming up with strategies and just laughing about the game in general took on a life of its own. Scenario wise, I think the game could have done better with a more continuous narrative campaign instead of a collection of standalones.  It would have also been cooler if the characters who have died via zombie could come back as zombies somehow, as getting killed off early left players feeling bored... Letting them move the zombies and pulling out encounter cards alleviates this somewhat, but some of my players would have liked the option to come back a turn or two later and try and hinder the players still left alive.

Character wise, there's a good variety of them and although some abilities may see kinda lame or stupid at first, but when used in the right situations it could actually be of great use to the team.  I think as the owner of the game, the most annoying aspect of playing is the setup and takedown.  There are so many pieces and miniatures, the game cries out for a better storage solution.  Some small ziplock bags should have been included to keep pieces sorted, and people complained about the excessive packaging used for the special heroes that came as a Kickstarter bonus.

All in all, it's a pretty good co-op multiplayer game,  Once the game is set up, the rounds go by pretty quickly, and before you know it a couple of hours pass by and many zombies get killed before you know it.  I give this game 3.5 chainsaws out of 5.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Once in a blue moon...

<Steps out of TARDIS>

Well, sorry about that.  I've been somewhat lax in updating for awhile... <coughs as he looks at the date of last post from 2011>  :)

I suppose I'll continue where I left off with updates on whatever happens to tickle my fancy!

New additions to the 317th Arborealis Regiment 

Over the last year I've been busy with my miniatures so a couple of interesting squads have been added in the meantime for my beloved 317th Arborealis Regiment...


Another view

Female Officers

Wark!! Chocobos!

"Canadian" veteran unit

Baneblade 1: "Ursula"

Baneblade 2: "Dauntless"


Quite happy with how they all turned out!  I don't win much on the field usually but it's still fun to play and play against.  Next up, probably some more veterans and another Valkyrie/Vendetta for my upcoming FoodHammer list. 

The Last Story:  Last swan song for the Wii?


I've also been playing through The Last Story for the Wii.  A work of the creator of Final Fantasy, Hironobu Sakaguchi, the game shows off its creator's Final Fantasy origins quite well.  In fact, I would argue too well.  Playing through the game's story, I got a very strong sense of deja vu.  Not only are all your usual JRPG tropes alive and well in the Last Story's universe, but at times I felt that Sakaguchi-san had unfortunately cut and pasted whole sections from various Final Fantasy games... Indeed, without getting into spoilers, you will know what I mean when certain plot devices and points and settings are essentially identical.  As much of a fan as I am of Final Fantasy, it was somewhat disappointing when I saw this - I liked the games these sections come from, but I would have preferred a more original experience!

Graphically, the Wii's lack of power shows.  After playing contemporary RPGS on the PC and the other consoles, The Last Story's graphics looked a lot more square and jagged in comparison.  For a Wii game though, it looked pretty good although the massive slowdowns and blurry textures overlaid with garish colours for magic circles during combat got annoying very quickly. 

Combat was fun, but a bit lacklustre in depth and 3rd person aiming felt clunky and gimmicky.  Unfortunately, the game had a tendency to pull me out of the experience when it comes to levelling.  I did not feel too challenged for most of the game, and instead of random encounters to grind your characters, frequently there were instead summoning circles that only required the player to stand in them and press a button to spawn enemies, as often as you like to grind for loot or XP.  You could use these summoning circles an unlimited amount of times, and although occasionally a stronger mob of monsters would spawn, they were usually a bunch of pushovers that gave an inordinate amount of XP that made you sometimes level up 3 levels in one go!  I suppose Mistwalker had intended on getting players to focus on the story instead of combat a bit more,but by unintentionally making combat so trivial and optional, a lot of the "meat", sense of urgency, and danger had inadvertently been removed.

Adding to the disappointment, the game was not as free-roaming as I would have liked - in fact many dungeons were pretty linear although the main town in the game was sufficiently large enough to sate my exploration urges. 

Still though, Nobuo Uematsu does an excellent job as usual with the soundtrack that manages to be both epic and modern yet distinct from his previous Final Fantasy work.  And the voice acting is hilarious!

All in all, I give this game a rating of 3 out of 5 story volumes.  A solid work given the limitations of the Wii's hardware, but I am left with the feeling that the game could have been so much more.