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