Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Infil's "A Killer Instinct Guide for SFIV Players"

I've been talking a lot about fighting games recently, including my own thoughts about Killer Instinct and it's future. One of the big issues I mentioned in that post is the need for more community resources, more outreach, and more knowledge sharing.

Ask, and ye shall receive. One of the most active members of the KI forums has recently posted up a website that does an absolutely fantastic job of explaining Killer Instinct in a way that is relatable to anyone familiar with Street Fighter IV (which by my count is....almost everyone currently following fighting games.)

But even if you're not familiar with SFIV, don't let that necessarily scare you away. Infil does a great job of explaining the ins and outs of KI in relatively plain terms, with helpful rollover callouts for specific jargon.

It's a great resource for anyone who is interested in KI to learn more about it (and a lot of the concepts are general enough to apply across many different fighting games,) so be sure to check it out:

http://ki.infil.net/

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Brawltimore 2015: Alternate Lists and Jank Tank

This post is going to round out my musings so far as a sort of dumping ground for all of the random thoughts and list ideas I've had that have a chance (please note: 1% is still a chance) of making it into one of my list sets come competition time.

Join me after the break for a look at a variety of lists. First up, Harkevich...

Monday, December 29, 2014

Unedited Footage of a Bear

Another awesome clip from Adult Swim, though this one is much less amusing than Too Many Cooks:

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Problem With Killer Instinct

What follows is a look at the current state of Killer Instinct (2013), some factors related to it's possible long term success or failure, and a cautionary note about loving something so much you slowly smother it to death.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Brawltimore 2015: 35 Point List Pair

Continuing from the last list discussion <link>, this time I'll be going over 35 point lists for the events during next years tournament circuit. Without further ado, lets get into it!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Sorscha2 vs. Kreoss3 - Gentlemen's Agreement

With the 2015 Brawltimore Season kicking off soon, I've been wanting to get in as much practice as I can before going to my first event in January. That's been tricky with the end-of-year holidays throwing off our normal gaming schedules, but happily our group was able to get together one last time before 2014 closes out.

I paired up with my friend who plays Protectorate and threw Sorscha2 into the fight to get some more practice with her and her list. Join me after the break for the full game report.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Brawltimore 2015: 50 Point List Pair

As mentioned recently, I'm probably going to be playing a lot more competitive Warmachine in 2015. There are a few "x factors" that are going to come up during the year - the inevitable debut of the official Steamroller 2015 rules, the eventual release of new models from Warmachine: Reckoning, and the looming possibility that I may snap at some point and throw myself into Convergence - but for the most part I think I can start to plan out how I'm going to approach the year.

"C'mon over! We've got enough Focus for EVERYONE!"
Join me after the break for another healthy round of list dojo and Steamroller theory.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Street Fighter V

Capcom dropped some interesting fighting game news at Sony's recent "Playstation Experience" event.

Capcom's first announcement was something players had suspected for awhile - based on the upcoming PS3/PS4 compatible Ultra Street Fighter 4 fightstick - Ultra Street Fighter 4 will receive a port to the Playstation 4. This is a neat announcement, especially since this release will come with all of the costume packs that have been included so far (and it should be dropping in time for Omega Mode to show up on the system, which will make it more appealing to a new audience).

Capcom's other big announcement was quite a bombshell: Street Fighter 5 is coming, and it will be console exclusive to the Playstation 4 (with a parallel PC release). It was doubly effective because it ended up being a leak - the YouTube release of the teaser trailer for SF5 ended up going live early, so the news broke earlier than expected and with no accompanying announcement or presentation from Capcom.

Image Source
This leak was a big bonus for the players, however, as Capcom decided to release an actual (early build) gameplay trailer in the slot they had originally planned for the teaser trailer. That gameplay trailer (which was eventually released in glorious 1080p/60fps) dropped some very interesting and exciting hints as to what players can expect from SF5.

Join me after the break for a discussion of what these reveals mean for Street Fighter - the series and the 5th installment in particular - and what it may mean for the fighting game community (FGC) as a whole).

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Descent: Journey Into Darkness Second Edition - Impressions

Our gaming group has been switching things up a bit over the past month or so. Instead of bouncing between different wargames we decided to break out one of the many interesting board games that have come out in the past few years. One of us picked up the Second Edition of Descent: Journeys Into the Dark and we decided it might be a fun change of pace to play through it's campaign (we played the First Edition version a few times but never consistently.)


We recently hit the halfway mark of the campaign, so I wanted to share my impressions from this version of the game. Join me after the break for those impressions.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Brawltimore 2015-2016 Season

Warmachine as a gaming hobby has been interesting for me over these past many years. Initially, we all started out playing it because it was an interesting new game system that seemed like it'd be a welcome change of pace from the games we were playing at the time (40K and Fantasy.)

Years later, the game has grown in ways I could never have imagined. One thing that still surprises me (in terms of how widely successful it was) is how much Warmachine has proven to be a strong, interesting competitive wargame. We're at the point where there are numerous huge tournaments happening across the U.S every year, the availability of internet communication is showing similar growth and competition in many other countries, and there are even multiple multi-national events every year (with the World Team Championship being the premier example for the past few years.)

If you would have told me 6 or so years ago that I'd be looking forward to what amounts to the Warmachine Olympics every year, I probably would have laughed. Now, I'm not even sure that'll be the biggest yearly Warmachine event in the next few years. The community continues to grow in amazing ways.

Join me after the break for some more musings, and what is apparently an early New Year's Resolution.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Pocket Rumble

After the initial flurry of Kickstarter madness passed, I've been very leery of investing in any more. A big part of that was my choice of projects to back - miniature wargames are finicky products to get off the ground, taste is very subjective, and its hard to always communicate intentions.

An area that I feel much more comfortable investing in (even though I haven't done it much) is in contributing to video game projects that catch my eye. I always had a nerd dream of developing video games, so I want to support those who have the gumption and drive to do so, but may be lacking the capital.

Some amazing games have come out of Kickstarter in the past year, and that trend doesn't look like it's letting up any time soon. One such game is nearing the end of it's funding, and although I usually don't feel the desire to schill for these things I wanted to put the shout out for this one:


This game is looking pretty slick, and the idea is great: a new game in the vein of the "blink and you missed it" excellent Neo Geo Pocket Color fighting games. The developers have some excellent ideas for how to create a portable fighting game that maintains the feel of playing a mechanically sound game, while also abstracting out what is necessary to allow it to play well with the often more limited controls on portable systems.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like they're going to hit any of their stretch goals so there won't be any 3DS or Vita ports for it promised right out of the gate, but I have a feeling that (considering it's kind of the ideal market for it) these guys will push for either or both of those platforms as soon as they can. 

So if you dig fighting games, portable games, or somehow shockingly both (the Venn diagram on that one is pretty narrow) check it out. This looks like a game to keep an eye on.

EDIT: And it's funded! Sadly they didn't get much beyond the base funding level, but at least they'll have enough to get the project off the ground. Hopefully future fundraising/PayPal donations/etc can give them some more capital to work with. The team has mentioned that they really want to get Story Mode implemented (and that goal wasn't far off,) and they've listened to backer feedback about various features (such as a 3DS port getting higher priority.)

We'll see how this project turns out. Hopefully by this time next year we'll all have a rumble in our pockets.

Er...

Yeah.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Why I Love: Etrian Odyssey

As is the case every year, my wife and I made the trek down south to spend a week or so with her family for Thanksgiving. Also as is the case every year, I brought along a game or two to keep me occupied. This time of year usually syncs up perfectly with the release of an interesting portable game, and this year was no different: Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth was set to release that week and with it being a mash up of two of my favorite games - modern Persona and Etrian Odyssey - I figured it'd be a great way to fill any down time.

In anticipation of this new game, I decided to fire up the latest Etrian Odyssey (Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan) to get back into the swing of the formula. I greatly enjoyed playing through it when it originally released and I thought it would be fun to take another crack at it with a different party.


Turns out, it was so much fun that I just played EO4 the whole vacation! I was really surprised at how much the game gripped me, especially since I've played through it once before (clearing everything short of the post-game dungeon.)

Having rediscovered my love of Etrian Odyssey, I wanted to take a look at what makes the series so appealing and endearing to me. Join me after the break for those musings.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Fall Gaming Round Up

As I discussed before, this fall has been absolutely lousy with quality game releases. Now that we're getting near the end of that release season, I wanted to give my impressions of the games I played.

Join me after the break for some game recommendations.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Point Cost Shifting and Model Redemption

Warmachine is at a dangerous place in it's release cycle: a new Hordes book has been released and is shaking up the meta a bit, while all the Warmachine armies sit unchanged since the last book update (note: this happens for Hordes as well, just on the opposite cycle.)

This phenomenon will naturally be resolved when new releases start flowing again, so it's not like the game is in any danger of imploding. What I find most interesting is that it is almost always during this period of time that talks of "Mk. 3", "Mk. 2 Remix", significant errata, etc, start cropping up.

The obvious explanation for this desire is that players get burned out on playing with and against the "same 'ol stuff", and thus seek to shake the system up in the most explicit way possible. While I do think this is part of it, I think there is an thought process which leads to that conclusion, and examining that thought process yields the root of the problem.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Interstellar


After having a week or so to digest Interstellar, my feelings are the same as after I first watched it: its a pretty good sci-fi movie, with awesome visuals, a fantastic soundtrack, and some fun (at least for me) concepts that it plays around with.

It tries a little too hard in places, but overall this movie is Nolan in fine form: a strong narrative voice, clear themes, and very impressive cinematography. More in-depth and spoiler-y thoughts after the break.

One last thing before venturing into spoiler territory: we saw this movie in IMAX, and I think it did make a difference. The already impressive visuals of some of the space travel sequences were astonishing on that huge screen, and the sound was used very effectively to pull you into the experience. The biggest downside is that the movie ends up being so damn loud in places that I walked out feeling half-deaf, but that aside it felt like money well spent.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Painting Log: Ototo

There is a phenomenon that I've encountered in all my years of painting miniatures, one that I should have a cute name for by now, but in the absence of a really good name I'll just refer to it as a "loomer."

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Warmachine: Reckoning Model Art Previews

The latest league vaults just opened up, and they hoarfed upon us some very interesting concept art for models that will be in Warmachine: Reckoning.

Join me after the break for the images, as well as some quick impressions.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Relic Knights - Noh In-Game Model Impressions

As a follow up to the recent game of Relic Knights I played, I wanted to sort out my thoughts on the models I used. With other battle reports I'd just toss that in at the tail end of the write up, but Relic Knights is a little weird (and sort of like Malifaux) in that not every game is going to be a good demonstration of what a model is capable of. And it's also not a game system where you necessarily build lists just to feature a specific model/combo (though I think RK lends itself to that a lot more than Malifaux does.)

With that in mind, and with the caveat that these impressions are based off of a whopping one game's experience, join me after the break for my thoughts about various Noh Empire models.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Relic Knights - Zineda (Noh) vs Leopold Magnus (Black Diamond)

I've mused before about the importance of having other game systems to rotate through as a way of relieving gaming fatigue. The upside of this approach is that you always have something to play - if you're bored/frustrated/burned out with what you've been playing, just switch it up!

The downside to this approach is that you can end up with systems you don't play very often and models that collect dust. I've tried to cull my model collection down to the games and armies that I'm most excited to paint and play. Even then, there are only so many hours to devote to gaming so some games are going to get more attention than others.

So when one of my gaming buddies brought up the prospect of dusting off the Relic Knights stuff we all bought, I happily agreed. Join me after the break for a recap of the game (this system defies the traditional battle report structure something fierce,) and impressions from my second full game of Relic Knights.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Painting Log: December Acolytes

The painting train continues a-rolling along. Both December Acolytes are finished, and with them all of the models I own for Rasputina's crew are painted! Now I just need to sit back and wait for the slow trickle of Wyrd releases to get around to releasing more "in theme" models.

Images and model thoughts after the break.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Too Many Cooks

This is the kind of random, bizarre, hilarious stuff that made me fall in love with Adult Swim back in the day. Video after the break.

Horns

I am something of a lapsed reader.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Hordes: Exigence Review - Wrap Up

The faction reviews for Hordes: Exigence are complete! For ease of reference, here are the links to each faction's review:
With all of those reviews complete, there are a few last things I wanted to touch on.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Hordes: Exigence Review - Minions

After reviewing the other four factions, it is now time to hit up the Minions releases from Hordes: Exigence. The grading criteria and scale (rated as 1 to 5 flail-chucks) are outlined in the Trollbloods review (first link in the previous sentence,) so lets get right into it!

Monday, November 3, 2014

John Wick

There is a phenomenon I'm running into more and more often nowadays: the question of "is it out yet?" This seems to happen most often with movies; between early reviews, rolling trailer releases, and weeks of promotions, I often find myself excited to see a movie, only to realize that it won't be out for another two weeks.

Such was the case with Interstellar, a movie my wife and I are very interested in seeing, but apparently doesn't come out until this week. Which was a damn shame, because we were all psyched up to go see it this past weekend. I'm not entirely sure why we thought the movie would be out (my guess is that the media buzz leading up to it's release tipped us off early,) but, due to a malfunction in my time machine, we had to bump our plans back a week.



A similar thing happened with the latest Keanu Reeves action movie, John Wick. I first read a (very positive) review of the movie around a month or so ago. For whatever reason - chalk it up to originally only seeing reviews on TV or reading them in newspapers/magazines - I'm conditioned to expect that, by the time I read a movie review, the movie is either out or will be out shortly. So when I read the review I expected John Wick to be in theaters, and I was excited to see it.

Apparently I had gotten a hold of an early review or something, because I was off by a few weeks. John Wick eventually released and more positive reviews came along. I was still interested in seeing it, though it being an action movie made it a difficult pitch for movie night.

Fortunately I managed to have some extra free time this past weekend, which allowed me to catch John Wick before it slid out of theaters.

And goddamn was that worth the money.

There isn't a lot to say about John Wick that hasn't been said elsewhere, but I'll add my praise to the pile all the same: it's one of the best action movies I've seen in awhile. If you're a fan of action movies and you've been looking for your fix, go see it ASAP. You will not regret this decision, and everyone behind John Wick deserves to have fistfuls of money thrown at them as a reward for bringing us this beautiful-terrible ballet of bullets and revenge.

That's the short version. Join me behind the break for extended impressions, some of which may be very vaguely spoiler-y in nature (though I won't be discussing anything you couldn't find in an average press release for the movie.)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Hordes: Exigence Review - Skorne

You should know the drill by now. Lets get to the last of the "big boy" factions, and the one that brought us the unerring symbol of authority that I've been using for the ratings system.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hordes: Exigence Review - Legion of Everblight

Continuing the train of faction reviews, today I'll be going over the relative greatness (or lack thereof) of each of the releases for the Legion of Everblight models. The reviewing process (in all of it's statistical validity and nuance) has been outlined previously, so lets just get right into it!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sorscha2 vs. Goreshade1 - What A Bastard

This past week saw our group taking a break from our Descent (Second Edition) campaign which meant it was time for some more Warmachine!

My friend had a Cryx list he's been wanting to get more practice in with, and I've been wanting to practice with a Cryx/infantry horde solution to pair with Irusk2, so we matched up against each other.

Without further ado (there will be much ado later,) lets get into the game!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Painting Log - Children of December Box Set

The painting train continues a-rolling. Now that my Khador is pretty much caught up to being fully painted (just some rarely used duplicates and the.....Bombardiers,) I want to try and get as much Malifaux stuff painted as possible before switching back to painting Warmachine.

In order to accomplish that, I've decided to pick a crew and paint everything I have that is associated with that crew. Painting up Malifaux crews is usually relatively quick - a full Malifaux crew can have fewer models in it than a single Warmachine infantry unit - and it's a very welcome change of pace.

The first crew I've decided to catch up on is Rasputina's crew, which means I've been spending the past few weeks painting ice critters. I'm very pleased with the result, especially for how quickly I managed to get them done:

Children of December Box Set with bases from Secret Weapon Miniatures

More thoughts after the break.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hordes: Exigence Review - Circle Orboros

Last time we covered the Trollblood releases from Hordes: Exigence. This time we'll be looking at the Circle Orboros releases.

As a quick reminder: each entry will be graded on a scale of 1 to 5 flail-chucks (in honor of Xerxis2's gift to weapon technology) for three factors - Efficacy, Meta Bending, and Coolness. As should be evident, all of these ratings are arbitrary and based off of my own opinion, so if you don't like it feel free to let me know why in the comments.

Full Circle review after the break. Fair warning: These entries may be longer on average than the Trollblood entries; I was originally planning on doing this review as one mega-article, and as a result I was trying to force myself to be brief. Now that I'm breaking it out by faction I'm likely to unleash more of the word-kraken.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hordes: Exigence Review - Trollbloods

Hordes: Exigence has been out for a little while now. Probably not long enough for any concrete ideas to have formed about the heretofore unknown entries, but definitely enough time to have digested the rules. As is tradition, that means its time to recap everything and see just how the gaming landscape looks after this latest release.


However, this review is probably going to be a little different than the expected review format. Here are the factors I'll be evaluating:

Efficacy: How well the model does it's "job." If it's a melee model, is it worth throwing into the fray? If its a shooting model, will it hit the broad side of a barn?

Meta Bending: Will this model inspire new list builds, or refine old list builds? Might this become a new list staple?

Coolness: Is the model idea cool? Does it try to do something interesting with it's design (regardless of if it succeeds or not)?

In honor of Xerxis' ascendance to prominence, gaining both an "Epic" tag and a cover art shot in the same book, I'll be rating each category on a scale of 1 to 5 using his fantastically, wonderfully impractical choice of weaponry: the mega-mace-chuck.

In an effort to keep things more easily readable, I'll be breaking each faction into it's own post. We'll be going in War Room listing order, so today we kick things off with Trollbloods. Review starts after the break!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Seasonal Changes

Anyone who's followed this blog for awhile has probably noticed the drop off in Warmachine/Hordes content over the past two weeks. This happens to me around the same time every year, though for different reasons. Sometimes I straight up burn out on the game, and other times I just need a bit of a break (which is more what's happening this year.)

During those periods I'll still play WM/H, but I usually seek out other games as a way to recharge my batteries. Nothing makes me appreciate what PP has been able to pull off - and maintain - with WM/H quite like stepping away and then coming back to it, so it's a cycle I embrace.

I've been working on Malifaux stuff recently (mostly painting) in preparation for the resurgence of Wave 3 of the M2E beta. Previously scheduled for...right around now, the final beta wave of M2E has been delayed until the start of next year in order to try and fine tune the Avatar rules as much as possible before the players get their hands on them again. As the Avatars were one of the more divisive topics of all the beta waves, this will likely be a big help in focusing on getting them to "final" state (instead of just "refined.") I'm very excited to play Malifaux again, so I'm looking forward to ramping that up as we move closer to next year.

My gaming group has also decided to take a break from playing our usual stable of miniatures games to play the Second Edition of Descent: Journeys Into the Dark. We had spent some time playing the previous edition, but it didn't really resonate with us. The Second Edition changed the game in some dramatic ways, and we're having a very fun time playing through a campaign. I'm hoping to share more thoughts about it in the future, though I want us to make it a little further along before I do so.

And then there are all the other games we have sitting around. I still have Relic Knights on deck for more games (having only played the one "real" game of it so far.) In a fit of sanity I sold off three of the factions I bought through the Kickstarter in order to fund a new video game console, but I still have one faction left - the Noh Empire, my favorite looking ones - and I'm still very much interested in playing more games with that system.

Our group also has some interest in Infinity, though it's maybe a third or so of the group. Still, the Third Edition of that game is sounding very interesting, and I mostly played it via 40K proxies (thanks to a friend who has a ton of semi-appropriate models) so it won't cost me anything to at least try it out. Bonus points if the new edition improves the game - Infinity wasn't a game I particularly disliked, but it definitely had/has some rough edges to iron out - and I'll be happy to play it a few times if the guys who are more into it want to throw it down on the table.

And of course there's the deluge of end of the year videogames that I'm more than happy to sit down and spend some time with. For as lean a year as 2013 was for exciting end-of-year content, 2014 looks to make that up with gusto. I've already got a decent pile of "must play" games going, and another three or four are coming out before years end.

Except for Destiny. Screw that game.

So if you're a regular reader, don't worry; more content is in the queue. It'll probably be a different flavor than usual for a little while, but it'll inevitably lap back around to WM/H in the near future (and things like battle reports will probably be sprinkled in here and there.) I have some thoughts to share about the Hordes: Exigence releases, which will hopefully go up soon.

I'm also sure we'll start to see stuff for Warmachine: Reckoning in the relatively near future - the first release from that cycle, the Cygnar Character Warjack, Dynamo, comes out in December - which will probably get my WM/H hype cycle started again.

Until then, I'm going to enjoy this brief break. I'm sure whatever PP comes up with will throw me into another dojo-frenzy, and you'll all get to see the mad outpouring that accompanies it.

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Killing

The Killing is a show I've had on my mind for awhile, but I didn't want to give my final verdict until finishing it. With the fourth and final season complete, I feel like I can finally vent the things that have been rumbling around in my mind for the past few weeks.


First, the short, spoiler-free version: I overall enjoyed the show. It has some serious high points and serious low points that balance each other out, and I think the net result is a very interesting show that's worth sitting through once. Moreover, the things that I didn't like may be entirely subjective, so if they don't bother you, you'll probably walk away with an even better impression of the show overall.

It's also a pretty quick watch - by the time I thought to check how far along we were I realized we were halfway through the 3rd season - so it's an easy show to throw on and get through in a week or two. And it also has the virtue of actually having a conclusion instead of being cancelled or having a hasty ending (though the 4th season does feel kind of abbreviated.)

As usual, more in depth and spoiler ridden thoughts after the break. Fair warning: I'm probably going to spoil the big reveals for seasons 3 and 4 during my ranting, so if you have any interest in watching the show, I'd recommend holding off until you've experienced it yourself.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Painting Log: Ogrun Bokor

The march to get "caught up" painting all of the models I regularly use in Khador is once again complete: the Ogrun Bokor is painted. I was worried there for a bit that, in the time it took me to paint the TAC and the Bokor, the Grolar kit would come out, but it turns out those worries were unfounded.

I could probably strip them and repaint them before that kit even shows up on the release calendar, but that's a different discussion entirely.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Weekend Gaming Reports

This past weekend a bunch of my friends headed over for our occasional "hey lets get everyone together and hang out" gaming events. Over the course of the day everyone got in two games. Here's how mine turned out.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Spoilers - The Remaining Hordes: Exigence Models

After many months of waiting the newest Hordes book has finally arrived. Well, not quite arrived. As is often the case, someone managed to get a sneak peak at Hordes: Exigence and there are spoilers floating around for the few unknown entries for each faction.

Lets take a look at the (reported) rules for these holdouts and see how each faction fared overall in the latest Hordes expansion. Allegedly.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Examining Alternate Butcher3 List Build Ideas

Kommander Zoktavir, The Butcher Unleashed (aka Butcher3) is one of the most interesting warcaster releases to come along for Khador in a very long time. His personal durability and killing power are off the charts, and he's been a welcome breath of fresh air for players seeking solutions to the Colossal problem (most specifically Stormwall, but Galleon, Earthbreaker, and Prime Axiom aren't super fun for a traditional Khador list to deal with either.)

Happiness is an axe that never stops swinging

Though he does have his weaknesses, Butcher3 is a very powerful warcaster. Along with that, he is a very potent solution to an issue that has been plaguing Khador players for awhile. As a result he's very popular in competitive play. A funny thing happened with him though.

When Butcher3 was first released (I want to say at Lock & Load 2013) it was like a bomb went off. Players were scrambling to come up with the best lists for him and counter-tech to mitigate him, all while he was screaming across the table and chopping everything up into itty bits.

Out of that chaos, one list rose up as the "best" Butcher3 list, and it has become very popular. However, that (and general exposure) has lead to a downturn in Butcher3 enthusiasm, as players begin to feel that he is "solved." His best list is known, and there are a number of dangerous countermeasures out there for him (though ironically not Countermeasures,) so players begin to wonder if he's really all that great or worthwhile.

I think this kind of cycle is natural in any competitive game. It's especially prevalent now that the Internet allows for much more information to be exchanged in a shorter time than it used to take. Players are much better equipped to discuss, show, and break down something like Butcher3, and as a result it can make things feel "figured out" even when they're still relatively new.

With all of that in mind, lets take a step back and re-evaluate some of the list builds commonly seen with Butcher3 and see if there isn't room to shake things up a bit (spoiler: there is.)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Destiny: Updated Impressions

Before I sat down to write my original post about Destiny, I wanted to make sure I gave the game some time to breathe; really let my thoughts settle. Any MMO style game takes some time to really get a feel for. I didn't want to kick out a bunch of first impressions that would be rendered invalid a short time later.

Well, it turns out I should have waited a little longer before typing anything up. After spending quite a bit of time playing the game this weekend - and having progressed up to level 25 overall - my feelings towards the game aren't quite so positive.

I still like the game. And there are a few things being patched soon - lower Strike boss health, engrams will no longer decrypt to lower rarity values - that will only make the game better. But there are a few things about the game that are starting to become issues, and I wanted to share those concerns to paint a full picture of Destiny and where it may be headed.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Destiny


Earlier this month, Bungie's epic gaming project Destiny dropped on current and last-gen consoles. The hype surrounding the game prior to release was high, but as seems to be the case with many hyped up releases, reviews have been mixed.

Reviewers struggled to answer the hard questions: Is it possible that Destiny is somehow less great than sliced bread? Can this bread deficiency be addressed in future content and patches? Does Bungie have their bread equalization plan in place, or are they unprepared to handle this yeasty debacle?

While I am not prepared to discuss how wonderful Destiny is relative to everyone's favorite means of sandwich construction, after a couple of weeks battling moon wizards I do feel comfortable discussing my thoughts on the game.

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Walk Among The Tombstones

This weekend my wife and I headed out to catch the latest Liam Neeson movie, A Walk Among The Tombstones. Suck it, The Maze Runner. You're not getting a goddamn dollar out of me.


First, a quickie, spoiler free review: I enjoyed it. I like it more the further removed I am from watching it (a good sign,) though it definitely isn't perfect.

Tombstones is sort of a semi-modern update to the old school style detective story. You have your damaged goods main character, working for an employer of dubious employ (in the 40's and 50's they were mobsters; the updated analog makes them all drug dealers.) You have your somewhat twisty investigation that reveals more than anyone initially let on. You have your noir-ish moments where you don't know who or what to trust. And I guess because test audiences couldn't handle 113 minutes of Neeson being gruff as hell, you have a young sidekick.

All of it is pretty standard stuff for the genre, but two things help raise it up from "mediocre" to "pretty good":

1) Neeson is great at playing damaged goods tough guys, and he does a tremendous amount of work elevating the character of Matthew Scudder beyond just another gumshoe. There are few actors who would have been able to handle the material as well, and a miscast here would have sunk the movie. Which would have been a damn shame because...

2) There aren't many movies like this around nowadays. You get a lot of serial killer movies, crime dramas, tough guy redemption stories, character vehicles, etc, but very few people are making detective story/noir thriller movies anymore. It's understandable, given the market - studios are banking on big, flashy movies to draw audiences in, two things which Tombstones definitely is not - but it's a damn shame for anyone who is a fan of that style of movie.

Because of that, I'm willing to cut Tombstones slack I may not have otherwise. Though even with that consideration, I think Tombstones still holds up fairly well.

I can readily recommend Tombstones to anyone who is looking for a detective/noir-style movie, with a double down bonus if you like Liam Neeson. This movie is fairly far removed from his recent action movie star stint, so don't expect him to come in guns blazing and faces punched. There are some fisticuffs and guns are indeed blazed in a few parts but Taken 3 this is not (and thank all of the gods for that.)

After the break I'll dive into some move elements of the movie that struck me. This is getting into spoiler territory, so anyone who hasn't watched the movie should beware. I'm not sure how far I'll get into deep spoilers but I'm probably going to reveal some things you're better off experiencing for the first time during the movie.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Painting Log: Tactical Arcanist Corps

After a few false starts and momentum stalls, I finally managed to finish painting the Tactical Arcanist Corps (TAC) that are finding their way into so many of my lists.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Irusk2 vs. Sevy1 - Ashes To Faces

Warmachine play is slowing a bit as my gaming cycle turns towards other games, but I'll still be getting table time in here and there. This past week gave me a chance to put Irusk2 on the table again, and I decided to change the list up a bit by dropping Conquest in favor of the Behemoth.

Will this new list configuration work out? Or will dropping Conquest prove to be a colossal mistake? Find out after the break!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Malifaux: ProTips

Malifaux is an odd game for me. It is a game I enjoy playing quite a bit, but due to the nature of the game I don't really enjoy theorycrafting for it as much. I find that when I go too far down that path I end up pre-constructing crews, and while that can work out alright you can also get seriously boned by an unfavorable Strategy/Scheme pool (you can still change, of course, but if I've committed to playing a certain set up I'm probably not willing to make the major adjustments necessary to compensate.)

The natural cycle of gaming is starting to push me back towards Malifaux. I'm sure I'll still be getting in Warmachine games here and there, but it's not going to be my primary goal for a little while. Normally I channel my excess gaming energy into posts here, but that hiccup with Malifaux makes it trickier to write about than Warmachine (which is very, very easy to prattle on about in the dojo.)

I think I've come up with some ideas though. Looking at the various Masters, how they'd approach a game (generally), and the crews they'd build (generally) is probably a good way to go, and it'll help me flesh out ideas that I have for the Masters and Factions I play.

The other idea, and the bulk of this post, is a set of ProTips that may help newer Malifaux players (or players transitioning from Warmachine to Malifaux.) I am by no means a Malifaux expert - the first edition of the game damn near made me quit it entirely, so I didn't play much then - but I have noticed some things as I've been playing that may be helpful.

As tempting as it is, I will not be using emoticons to
communicate my feelings on various models.
But that one for 0.5 covers certain ones very effectively.
Tips to follow after the break.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Importance of Secondary Armies and Games

I like to have variance in my hobbies (a shock based on the content I've written about, I know.) If I stay with any one thing too long consecutively I get...bored isn't the right term. Antsy? Wanderlust-y? Whatever you call it, I always feel a pull towards something similar but different after enough time. This usually goes in cycles, and if I tracked it the timeline would probably be fairly predictable.

Just like this page break.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Plastic Models

I've put together a ton of plastic models over the past few months. July was spent putting together a ton of Relic Knights models (all plastic), I've picked up a few Malifaux M2E kits, and I've recently started in on a Convergence of Cyriss army (after admiring it from afar for awhile.) Assembling different plastic models essentially back to back, made from different mediums and by different companies, has given me a much deeper appreciation of what makes a "good" plastic model.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Know Your Foe: Exigence Warlock "Lightning" Round

We are fast approaching the release of the next Hordes book - Exigence - and as part of the wonderful model release schedule PP ascribes to we now have full stats for all of the warlocks in that book. With that information at hand (the cards are in War Room for anyone using that app, and they may show up in a forthcoming No Quarter,) it's probably a good idea to do a quick review of what each new warlock is capable of, what to expect, and how likely you may be to see them.

One warlock (Epic Borka/Borka2) has been out long enough to see some legitimate table experience, but most of the rest are only a few weeks old at this point. As such, these evaluations are based on early impressions and gut reactions. Things may change as players become more experienced with these 'locks and unlock (har har) more of their potential, and there are the additional x-factors of theme list and other Exigence releases that may shake them up as well.

With those caveats in mind, lets take a look at 2014's contributions to the Hordes warlock lineup.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Know Your Foe: Exulon Thexus

This post marks the beginning of what will probably become a series of posts that detail what to expect from certain 'casters/'locks or factions in Warmachine/Hordes. Since most of the existing threats out there have been very well documented and discussed (on various forums, including the PP forums) I will probably be focusing on new 'casters as they come along. New 'casters have a much higher chance of being a "gotcha," especially in the early stages when everyone is still trying to figure them out (both the player and their opponent.)

For this first breakdown, I'll be going over the most recent addition to the line up of Mercenary warcasters: Exulon Thexus.
Hands down the best "atrophied-body brain overlord" around

Monday, August 18, 2014

Irusk2 vs Thexus - Weapon Masters

This week allowed me the chance to get a game of Warmachine in, and I decided to keep Irusk2 a-rollin'. My friend has been continuing his Cephalyx contract adventures with a Thexus list, and I was unsure if Irusk2 would be able to handle that list (especially since so much of my stuff relies on specific placement and Shield Wall for survival.)

After debating it for awhile I decided that, although you'd ideally want to drop something similar to an anti-Cryx list against the Cephalyx contract, their inclusion in Mercs makes that a much trickier proposition. I feel like Thexus is likely to show up alongside one of their colossal 'casters (either Bart/Galleon or Ossrum/Earthbreaker.) Unless you feel confident about your anti-Cryx list fighting one of those monster colossal lists (and I don't,) I think that you end up with a bit of list chicken. In this case I decided that I wanted to see how well Irusk2 could do against the Cephalyx, to see if I'd absolutely need to try and guess correctly during list selection, or if he can play through it.

Will things work out for Irusk2? Will Thexus float onto victory? Will Shield Wall actually ever factor into this game? Answers to all that and more after the break!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The End of The Summer Release Drought

Every year, without fail, there is a massive hole in the release list for video games around the summer months. This used to drive me crazy when I was younger; why wouldn't companies release games during the time when kids wanted them the most!?

Now that I'm older, I understand the phenomenon more clearly. And a different phenomenon has become apparent (which is much more damaging to my wallet.) Also, for the record, all of this pertains to dedicated video game consoles. PC is a platform I'm much less familiar with, and so I can't say for sure if these patterns hold up.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Painting Log: Malakov

I am by no means a fantastic painter. On my good days, I'd say I paint to a "high tabletop" standard (i.e. a little nicer than just slapping 3 colors on the model and calling it done.) I enjoy having painted models, so I try to paint everything I use with any frequency, and over the years I've even painted up plenty of things that now make sure my case won't blow away in the wind.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Irusk2 vs. Damiano - Conquest, Meet Conquest

As previously mentioned I'm moving into testing Irusk2 lists, which is a fun change of pace after so many games with Harkevich. My most recent game was squaring off against a friend of mine using Damiano, a Merc warcaster with a similar toolkit/support approach.

Who will emerge victorious in the battle between Conquest (the feat) and Conquest (the colossal)? Find out after the break!

Nanu-Nanu

A quick break from the usual topics.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Returning to Supreme Kommandant Irusk

Now that I've finally decided to move on from Harkevich for awhile, it's time to pick a new direction for list building and dojo. The upside is that a number of new and interesting options have come along in the span of time I spent playing Harkevich near-compulsively. The downside is that I need to pick a direction before I can go anywhere in the dojo, which has been a little tricky. First world 'caster choice problems, right?

After debating lots of options, I decided that I wanted to return to a 'caster I was just getting into when Harkevich came along and distracted me: Supreme Kommandant Irusk (i.e. epic Irusk, Irusk2.) Irusk2 is one of the Khador 'casters that you don't hear about a lot, which makes him a little more interesting to work with than the tried-and-true 'casters. At the same time, he doesn't necessarily suffer from the jank factor that makes some of the less played Khador 'casters stay that way.

Join me as I take another look at the Irusk that time forgot. Or, more accurately: the Irusk that players kind of gloss over.
The Best Irusk2 Art

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Relic Knights - First Game Impressions

After years of waiting and weeks of assembly (due to purchasing probably too many models,) I was finally able to get a legit (i.e. non-starter box game) of Relic Knights in last week!

As this was my first game, this recap will be less about tactics and strategy - I have zero feel for either in this system yet - and more about my impressions after finally trying out the game proper.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Snowpiercer

Snowpiercer is a movie that reminded me why we all pan for gold in the "now available" section of any given streaming video service: sometimes you find a nugget, and once in a rare while you'll find a vein.


Friday, July 25, 2014

The End of a Hamera

My recent game with Harkevich presented me with several insights on how Cephalyx play (which I plan on elaborating on at a different time,) and it put the final nail in the coffin for me with Harkevich. One needs to be able to recognize when a relationship isn't working out, and my long term fling with Harkevich has to come to an end, if nothing else for my sanity.

I'm sorry big guy. It's not me, it's you. We can still be friends, right?

The ring smelled of ham and beard 

Harkevich vs Exulon Thexus - Giving Up Ham

I played a game yesterday against a buddy of mine using Cephalyx. It was a decent game, albeit a bit one sided after the mid point. This game ended up being a tipping point for me, but more about that after the break.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Relic Knights - And Then There Were None

After many bourbon fueled hours of trimming flash and gluing, I am happy to finally be able to say that all of my Relic Knights models are assembled.

Well, that's not entirely true. Every faction set from the Kickstarter shipped with a few duplicate sets of models - in pretty much all cases it's extras of the non-character stuff you get in the Battle Box - and those are going to stay in their boxes for the time being. I'm sure I'll want the extra models later for flexibility/alternate cadre builds, but right now I don't have the stomach to glue together duplicates of anything.

I also have Candy, the Prismatic Relic Knight, but she's likewise staying in her box for the near future. The rules for creating a Prismatic/Void based cadre aren't terribly complicated, and I'm sure they're a fun way to make use of models from different factions at the same time, but I want to get some "normal" games in first.

With Shattered Sword PaladinsDoctrine, and Star Nebula Corsairs done, the Noh Empire were the only faction left to assemble. Pictures of the assembled models and impressions after the break.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Critical Hit Games Tournament Recap

This past weekend Critical Hit Games held a 35 point Steamroller tournament. 35 isn't my favorite point level, but I've been wanting to get out and play in more competitive events, so I figured I'd throw my hat in the ring.

The event ended up having a very solid turnout relative to the area and size of the store. 12 players, if I'm remembering correctly, which was enough to fill all of the available tables. Although we had enough players to go for 4 rounds, we ended up calling it after 3 since there was a clear winner (and of course most of us were brain melted by that point and willing to tap out.)

Before I get into any specifics: this was an absolutely excellent event. The PG'er that ran it did an excellent job, especially considering it was his first event. The rounds ran smoothly, the scenarios were clearly marked and set up, the round time was maintained and communicated clearly, and the whole event proceeded along at a nice, steady clip.

On top of that, the players that attended were an awesome bunch of guys to spend an afternoon with. Everyone I interacted with was very pleasant, spirits were high throughout the event, and all of my games were excellent experiences. The quality of players can absolutely make or break an event, and the excellence of everyone involved made this a great one to attend.

With all that out of the way, onto the recap! I'll try to keep it short, but there are 3 rounds worth of games to go through and it's still me and my love of words, so I promise nothing. Lists and game reports after the break.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Relic Knights Assembly - One To Go

The assembly continues. Someday I'll be finished, and I look forward to my children's children eventually playing a game with the model's I've assembled. I will glue the last one together on my deathbed.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Armchair Developer: Helping Out Man-O-War

Every Warmachine release cycle is an intoxicating experience. From the moment a new book is announced the world comes to life with all the possibilities. Every model you feel needs an improvement could finally see salvation; every problem you have may finally have a counter; a beloved warcaster may get a powerful new tool. Its very difficult to not get caught up in at least a little bit of hopeful excitement.

However, with that bliss comes some inevitable level of crushing disappointment. No matter how good a release cycle is, it's never going to be quite as good as you had dreamed it could be. Or, even worse: something you dreamed of actually became real, but it's rules suck or it's model is ugly as sin.

The best release cycles offset that disappointment with general quality. As a Khador player, the Vengeance release cycle contained almost nothing I had been hoping for (an Iron Fang solo was the only item on my list,) but the overall quality of the models is more than high enough (for me, that's "usable and fun" up to "amazing") that I almost don't care that none of my dream additions came through.

I said "almost." Every release cycle, the same dream goes unfulfilled.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Relic Knights Assembly - Two Down

The Relic Knights assembly festival continues. Pictures of more assembled models and thoughts about the line so far after the break.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Harkevich vs. Kreoss3 - Grolars In Dem Woods

After a few scheduling mishaps and a delay, I finally got a chance to put Harkevich on the table and test out a list I've had waiting for awhile (described here.)

I remembered to take pictures this time (with some helpful reminders from my friend) and I mostly took them at the right times. Mostly.

 Battle report, list thoughts, and more after the break.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Hell Freezes Over: Relic Knights Delivered

Relic Knights, published by Soda Pop Miniatures, started out as a boutique line of minis - no rules or game system, just some nice looking models for painters and hobbyists. I stumbled across them at one point and always found myself coming back to their models. Of all the companies out there producing miniatures, they were one of the few that did a good job of capturing an anime aesthetic, and some of the model designs were impressive.

So when SPM announced that they were going to be doing a Kickstarter for a tabletop game version of Relic Knights, I was on board. I shared the link with some friends who were likewise excited, and we all bought in (to varying degrees.) We were all super excited to play this new game, with these cool new models. 2013 was going to be an awesome year!

Anyone familiar with the Relic Knights Kickstarter knows just how wonderfully naive that thought was. It was the first Kickstarter for all of us, and we didn't know one golden rule of Kickstarter (at least when it comes to miniatures): the question is not if the project will be delayed, but how long.

More after the break.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Steamroller - Evaluating Harkevich Match Ups

It's Harkevich Season again, and as that's coinciding with an increased chance of playing in local tournaments I've been re-examining Harkevich in the context of SR 2014. Last time I went over some list theory and I came up with a list that I feel gives me a good, fun, playable list that can hopefully shine if paired well.

This time, I'll be match ups for my Harkevich list. The base for that discussion will be to look at what the Harkevich list does and doesn't match up well against, factoring in the faction's strength's and gameplan as a whole, and considering specific 'casters and lists that may pose additional or different challenges.

Harkevich match up discussion will contain 100% less Third Strike, and 100% less color.
Match up breakdowns after the jump.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Quick Hits and LTTP: Bastion

Bastion is a game that most people played when it came out waaaaaay back in July 2011. The game was pretty much universally praised for a variety of reasons: vibrant art style, excellent soundtrack, solid gameplay, and interesting narrator implementation.

For whatever reason, I didn't get around to playing Bastion until a week or so ago. And, just to add one more lump of praises onto the pile: this game is exactly as good as everyone says it is. Which is saying a lot considering how glowing a lot of the praise is.

Part of the reason I never picked the game up was because I thought it would be too simple or easy. I have attention span issues with games, and one of the best ways a game can keep me hooked it to have a compelling difficulty curve; if I feel challenged, I'll keep coming back. Most "action RPG" style games don't do a great job of maintaining that difficulty curve; once the novelty of the systems and setting wear off, the game usually becomes kind of rote.

Bastion circumvents this problem very cleverly by allowing the player to custom tune their difficulty. There are in-game settings (which are much more integrated and "fluffy" than I'm making it sound) that one can toggle to up the game's difficulty in different ways. For every toggle enabled, you get more EXP and "money" (I think in this game it's shards,) but more importantly you can set the difficulty of the game almost exactly where you want it.

So right about when I found myself at the point where I'd have gotten over the initial shock and awe phase of playing a new game, I was able to re-tune the difficulty, and pull myself right back in. Since I can change those setting almost on the fly, I can make sure the difficulty doesn't get too frustrating (so I won't rage quit or stall out,) or too easy. Combine that with a relatively short length (estimates put completing the main game at around 6.5 hours, which is appropriate for a game like this,) and Bastion will probably make it onto the increasingly short list of games I've actually played and completed.

Now that I'm playing the game, I also need to add my own gushing for the art, narrator, and the music. Other people have said plenty about these facets of the game, and I'm sure they're better equipped than I am to describe why they work so well. I'll just add that games usually don't impress me with visuals, narration, or music, and Bastion has absolutely wowed me with all three.

The soundtrack in particular is stunning. It's so fresh, interesting, and listenable, all while capturing the feel of the game and setting. I've had it downloaded since shortly after starting the game, and I can't stop listening to it. Video game soundtracks rarely have this much personality and quality (but I blame that more on the AAA nature of the current industry than any failings on music folks.)

So, if you haven't played Bastion yet, do it. It's one of the most remarkable games released in the past generation, and you can get it on just about anything. The only thing I don't like about Bastion is that it reminds me that Transistor is PS4/PC only (at least for now) and I only own an Xbone.

Also: pick up a copy of the soundtrack. Even if you don't play the game. If "Setting Sail, Coming Home" doesn't do at least a little something to/for you, get your ass to a doctor ASAP. Something is broken inside you.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Steamroller Theory - Harkevich

It's been about a month or so since I've written anything about Harkevich. No, I don't know how I've been able to keep that up either. But today the streak breaks, because I've been kicking around some thoughts regarding Harkevich and Steamroller play that I want to share/vent before my head explodes.

Chasing the dragon, after the break.
"How many of these can I fit into one case?"

Monday, June 23, 2014

Kaelyssa vs. Durgen - Spikes and Clocks

So apparently those winds of Malifaux that I thought were blowing have at least temporarily changed course. I'm sure I'll be getting some games in with that soon but for now Warmachine is still the order of the day. To try and keep my Retribution painting momentum up (painting units wounds my soul,) I broke out my one (1) Retribution list against a friend of mine running Durgen.

I wonder what's in his battlegroup? Lets all discover the shocking truth together, after the break.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

LTTP - Warmachine: High Command

In lieu of our usual gaming last week, a friend of mine picked up the original starter set for Warmachine: High Command. The thinking was that it'd be a nice change of pace for the weeks where we have an odd number of players (WM/H are almost impossible to play multiplayer unless you're doing teams,) and it'd be a different game to possibly squeak into the rotation for when folks aren't in the mood for the tabletop game.

As it turned out, we ended up with just two players (myself and the friend that purchased the game,) so we played a few games of 1v1 High Command. Impressions of the game after the break, including my theorycraft about playing the game multiplayer.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

E3 2014

E3 2014 is done, and as is the case every year it's left us all with a lot to digest. This year was an interesting one: Sony and Microsoft are battling against one another to win gamers over to their newest console while Nintendo struggles to find it's footing in the wake of Wii U's serious under performance.

Thoughts on each company's showing, as well as stand out games, after the break.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Vlad2 - End of Season Review

Similar to Harkevich, I'm not done with Vlad2. I really enjoy using him, and there are many more things I want to try with his lists (more on this in a bit.) However, the winds of Malifaux are blowing, so I'll probably be playing that a bit more here in the future. That's going to cut down on the WM time I get in and as a result Vlad2 may end up taking a break for a bit (I'm hoping to focus a bit more on Retribution, but that's also contingent on painting.)

So, also similar to Harkevich, I wanted to take a look back at my series of Vlad2 games and compile my thoughts. This post should serve as a good summary of my thoughts on Vlad2 up to this point, as well as hopefully giving some jumping off points when I get back to him (and/or give others ideas of things to try when they put him on the table.)

Review begins after the break.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Rise, Fall, and Future Relevancy of Kayazy

Kayazy (most specifically Assassins, but this discussion applies generally to Eliminators as well) are a very interesting unit to study the trend of. Here is a unit type that was beyond popular at one point (ubiquitous may be more accurate,) then due to meta changes has becomes so scarce that I've seen new players asking if they're "worth it" anymore.

Sometimes I forget this unit exits, and I own two of them!
This shift has been interesting to me for a few reasons:
  1. Although this has happened many times in the course of the Warmachine meta shifting (it's the nature of the beast, really,) few factions if any have felt a shift as hard as Khador did this one. When Kayazy were "it" they were the backbone of many lists and the inability to rely on that option (combined with other factors that forced further list revision/innovation) threw the Khador meta into a crisis of confidence it is only now recovering from.
  2. The change wasn't a "silver bullet" moment; no one release came out that caused the shift and it didn't seem like PP was specifically trying to address the issue of Iron Fleshed Kayazy running rampant. More that a series of releases did a lot to lessen the strength of light infantry, and the culmination of those releases is a meta where you cannot rely on light infantry to carry the day anymore (which likewise sounded the death knell of some formerly extremely potent list builds.)
  3. The shift led to less of a reduction and more of an outright abandonment of using the unit. This, to me, is the most surprising (and sometimes baffling moment.) While I understand not including Kayazy with high frequency, it's rare that you find them in Khador lists anymore. Even Eliminators, which are cheaper and less of an investment, haven't really been used much. A podcast I listened to recently (the inaugural episode of "C.R.A.") made an offhand comment that Kayazy are "a Merc unit now" and while I don't agree with the sentiment, I definitely see the trends supporting it.
So, what's the deal with Kayazy? How'd they'd go from meta skewing juggernauts to unwanted prom dates? And, possibly most importantly, is there any hope for future relevancy for them?

Join me after the break as I walk through the history and present of Kayazy (in relative brief) and attempt to answer those questions.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Vlad2 vs. Mohsar - Salt Mines

The Vlad2 game series continues, and apparently he's been doing a lot of skirmishing into Circle territory. This time he faces off against Mohsar, the Desertwalker on a table with many more trees than the previous game and markedly less desert. Someone in the Circle is trolling him and Cassius.

Salt fueled slugfest after the break.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Vlad2 vs. Cassius - Three Trees in The Desert

This past Monday was the grand opening of a new local game store: Bel Air Games. My friend and I headed over to check it out, and maybe get a game in if they had a table open.

Quick review of the store: its excellent. Lots of space, open area, and light; three things that most game stores severely lack. The staff (or all of the staff I met at least) were very friendly, and they seemed knowledgeable about the products in the store. The store has plenty of space for hobbying and gaming of all sorts (with tables for miniature wargaming, painting, and card games, as well as a room for P&P gaming.) It's definitely got a great base to work off of, and I'm looking forward to going there more in the future, especially for Warmachine events (which are rather lean in the half of the state I live in.)

Since we got there early, my friend and I were able to secure a table and get a game in. Report, picture (yes, singular,) and thoughts after the break.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Three Quick Movie Reviews

As part of vacationing recently, my wife and I watched three movies (great way to spend a flight): The Wolf of Wall Street, Her, and The Iceman.

Quick reviews/thoughts after the break for each movie, with possible spoilers so beware!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Minion Battle Engine Spoilers: Sacral Vault and Meat Thresher

Courtesy of this thread over on the Focus and Fury boards, here are some (very "grain of salt") spoilers for the upcoming Minion Battle Engines:

Sacral Vault: (Minion Gator Battle Engine)
SPD: 4
MAT:0
Rat: 5
Def: 9
Arm: 20
CMD: 10
20 health boxes

Gunfighter, Eyeless Sight

Weapon: Spectral Fury
Range: 12, RoF 1, Pow 13
Rapid Fire: d3
Deathly Dominion ( Bone Shaker on a gun). Costs 1 soul

Abilities:
Crypt of Souls: Gain 1 soul for each living model that is destroyed in its command area. If no souls are on it at the beginning of your Control Phase it gains d3 souls. Souls can be spent to boost attack and damage rolls.

Arcane Vortex: Spend a soul to negate a spell targeting the Vault or a model within 3'' of it.

Soul Sacrifice: Warlock can remove a soul to gain 1 fury point during the Warlock's activation [I'm assuming this is "at the start of" or something like that.]

Soul Storm: While this model has 1 or more soul tokens enemy models entering, or ending their activation within 2'' of the Vault take 1 damage."

Meat Thresher: (Minion Farrow Battle Engine)

COST - 9
FA - 2
Spd - 6
Str - 12
Mat - 6
Rat - 5
Def - 10
Arm - 19
CMD - 10 [maybe 12? Mostly irrelevant]

Inherent model special rules: Bulldoze/Ride-by/Weapon Platform

Chaingun:
ROF: 1
Range: 10 [maybe 12, not sure]
POW: 12
Special weapon rules: autofire 2d3

Crusher:
Reach? - NO
P/S: 16
Special weapon rules:
Blood reaper (on first melee atk, make an atk on all enemy models in LOS and in melee range)
Grinding Wheel (additional die on atk rolls vs small based models)
Knockdown (models hit are knocked down)
Trash (additional die on dmg rolls vs knocked down models)


Other things of note that I found in the thread:

- The Sacral Vault can hold a maximum of 5 Souls.

- Both Minion battle engines can only work in Pacts; they cannot be taken in other Faction armies.

-----

Both of those BEs sound pretty damn slick, and the Farrow one is honestly amazing if those are the final rules. Considering how much the Farrow are hurting for competitive options, I hope those spoilers are pretty close to the final rules (if not them exactly.)

The Sacral Vault seems like a cool, fun support piece that has some value in Gator lists. They don't need "strong" models quite as badly as the Farrow (having Gatormen as your core infantry choice is...pretty damn good,) but I think the Sacral Vault is good enough to be used without being an auto-include.

Rumor has it these models will be available at Lock and Load, so we'll see how accurate these spoilers are soon!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

More Giant Robot Battles - Harkevich vs. Sturgis

No matter what else I get into, I'll probably always cycle back around to playing Harkevich. I really like the kinds of lists he can run, and even though it can be pretty frustrating sometimes, the "fun" moments are amazing.
The Mechano-ham beckons...I must heed it's call


Since I had the good fortune of getting an extra game in last week, I wanted to try out my most recent Harkevich iteration again.

Full report and thoughts after the break.

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Battle of 8 and 9

Since I'm trying to ramp up excitement to paint more Retribution (and also because I haven't used them much after my initial foray,) I decided to break out my "starter" Retribution army for my weekly game. What follows is a game where both sides needed to roll a lot of 8's and 9's, and proceeded to so way more than either of us expected. Not at all to undermine the game; it was just a funny situation.

Full report after the break.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Karchev Quickie

Sadly, not the title of a new harlequin romance novel from Skull Island Expeditions (but I am open to writing it if PP sends me an email.)

This is reference to the list idea posited by Nigel Brooks in Muse on Minis Episode #171. That list tries to answer a question I've been unable to adequately resolve for a few years now:

How can one make a Karchev list that doesn't suck?

More after the break.

House Shyeel's Used Car Lot

This blog will probably read like a layer cake of trains of thought. You can tell whatever I've been thinking about for the past week/month based on the stream of posts I've kicked out.

"Two Retribution based posts in a row? Whatever is he thinking about?"

The answer shouldn't surprise anyone: my homebrew rules that answer the question of how would Harkevich run if he could use Retribution warjacks.

Seems okay, but does it come in red with crappier RAT?
I kid, I kid. Legit Retribution talk after the break.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Retribution - Where To Next?

I have a "first world miniature game problem": I don't know where the hell I'm going with my second Warmachine army.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Harkevich and Conquest - Reexamining The Pair

Conquest is a funny colossal. It's not an amazing, faction defining model like the Stormwall, Galleon, or Earthbreaker, but it's also not quite the janky fit that Judicator or most of the Gargantuans are. It exists in the state that PP was probably aiming for: good enough to take sometimes, but not so overwhelming good that it's your new "default" battlegroup choice.

Apparently a dedicated 'B' student
 (more after the break)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Butcher3 - First Two Games

After what feels like months of painting, I finished painting Butcher3 and his puppies this past week (probably would have gone a lot faster without Dark Souls 2 distracting me.) Part of that was to get him finished and in the case - I try very hard to not use unpainted models so that I stay motivated to paint the things I want to use - and part of that was because I was having some friends over that weekend and I wanted to use him in a couple of games back to back.

Here's a quick rundown of how those games went:

Game 1 - vs. Reznik2




Game 2 - vs. Directrix



Thanks for reading!

(Actual game reports and Butcher3 thoughts after the break)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Harkevich vs. Convergence - Robot Jox

I am deliciously close to finishing up painting Butcher3, so before I get him on the table and play in the sprinkler for awhile I wanted to sneak one more game in with Harkevich. There has been a bit of a surge in "warjack heavy Khador" discussion, which I think is a great direction to explore. As Jamie Perkins put it: it's not something every Khador list should be trying to do, but it's a very useful skew to have in the context of a 3 list format.

Of course, that discussion naturally led to some talk of Harkevich, and I was happy to see I wasn't alone in viewing Harkevich as a decent candidate for a 3 list set. Fellow long time Harkevich-er Mindless posted up a really interesting pair of lists, including one with a pair of Grolars that he tested out with positive results. That of course set me off on more Harkevich theorycrafting, and as luck would have it I had a game coming up that would let me try out whatever I came up with.

A rabbit hole approach to list construction and clash of the titans battle report after the jump.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Hannibal

As I continue the slow process of painting up Butcher 3 - so many skulls...I'm having 40K painting flashbacks - my wife and I are keeping up with a few choice shows: Veep, Game of Thrones, and Hannibal.

Show thoughts (spoiler free, with a focus on Hannibal impressions) after the break.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Harkevich - End of Season Review

After playing Harkevich for awhile, I feel like its a good time to sum up my thoughts and findings before I rotate in some new blood. I've been focusing more on him in the past year, and I've been playing him off and on since he came out, and I feel like I've learned some very valuable lessons worth cataloging.

Big 'ol wall of text to follow, after the break.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Harkevich Debuffs vs. Sturgis Stormwall

A large part of my recent Harkevich theorycrafting was based on the need to be able to deal with a Stormwall (or equally dominating colossal.) Scenario play feels difficult-to-impossible without wrecking it, so I've been trying to come up with a Harkevich list that I feel can actually threaten (or god willing, actually kill) a Stormwall. I tried the list out against my friend running a Reznik2 list with a Judicator, which was a fair test, but I was interested to see how it worked out specifically against Cygnar and Stormwall (since they present very specific challenges.)

The good news is, my friend who has been running Sturgis has also recently painted his Stormwall, so he was all about putting the big guy on the table. That gave me a chance to test out my list (unchanged from last time):

Kommander Harkevich, the Iron Wolf (*5pts)
* Black Ivan (10pts)
* Demolisher (9pts)
* Demolisher (9pts)
* Juggernaut (7pts)
* War dog (1pts)
Cylena Raefyll & Nyss Hunters (Cylena and 9 Grunts) (10pts)
* Koldun Kapitan Valachev (2pts)
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution (3pts)
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist (2pts)
Ragman (2pts)

Against this list:

Commander Dalin Sturgis (*6pts)
* Stormwall (19pts)
* Sylys Wyshnalyrr, the Seeker (2pts)
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts)
* Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer (2pts)
Black 13th Gun Mage Strike Team (4pts)
Horgenhold Forge Guard (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
Stormblade Infantry (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
Captain Arlan Strangewayes (2pts)
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution (3pts)
Journeyman Warcaster (3pts)
Ragman (2pts)

(Note: my friend had converted this list over from his previous non-Stormwall Sturgis list, and due to a mix up he ended up playing the game with a Stormblade UA that he didn't have in his list. It didn't make much difference, but I'll be mentioning it in the report so it's worth pointing out now.)

Report and thoughts after the break.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Game Report - Harkevich + Debuffs

As mentioned in my last big 'ol post about Harkevich, I thought I might get the chance to put those ideas to the test this week. Thankfully, that panned out, and I managed to get a game in with the list idea of using debuffs to make clamjacks less terrible against enemy armor. Report and thoughts after the break.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma and Killer Instinct Season One Finale

Hey, remember those fighting games? The other half of the title? I forgot I play those sometimes too; Dark Souls 2 has been devouring my video gaming time, and Warmachine continues to permeate my thoughts. But I do still fire up the fight stick now and again, and I'm hoping to up the frequency a little more as I near the end of Dark Souls 2 (its going to be very difficult to not dive right in to NG+.)

Addendum: Clamjack Damage Thoughts

As a quick follow up to the post yesterday about clamjack melee damage math, I wanted to clarify a few things.

With all the damage fixer Merc solos thrown into a list, this is something you could do with technically any 'caster. I think some lend itself much more to it than others, with Harkevich being one of the better ones due to consistency: his movement buff is consistent (and passive, so no order of activation issues,) he gives all of his warjacks Pathfinder, and he frequently has plenty of Focus he can hand out (relative to his Focus stat, anyway) due to a lack of any really "must cast" spells turn-by-turn. That is to say: while I think this concept could work well in other places, I think (hope?) that Harkevich is uniquely suited to make it work well.

One thing I find remarkable is that there is someone that can accomplish something similar - Butcher1 - but I've never seen anyone really try it. Most Butcher1 lists seem to have a Reach warjack or a shooting warjack, and I totally understand the logic behind that (Butcher1 needs all the threat range extension he can get.)

Clamjacks seem to go together with Butcher1 like peanut butter and jelly:

 - He has two innate damage fixers with Fury and his feat.
 - Both clamjacks (Devastator and Demolisher) have the ability to generate a lot of damage rolls, which makes them potentially great models to have around on the feat turn.
 - Butcher1 has zero ways to increase the threat range of his warjacks, so traditionally the answer is to bring warjacks that don't need to close for melee (guns) or have some additional threat built-in (Reach.) Clamjacks offer an alternative: put a model forward that your opponent is going to have a hard time killing (or is only going to kill with a large investment of resources) and either kill whatever they send in using that clamjack or kill it with something set up to counter-charge (usually trivial with Butcher1's ability to ramp up damage.)
 - For as clumsy as it can be, Full Throttle can be a fantastic spell in the right situations. The one that immediately leaps to mind is when you're sending a warjack in to deal with a DEF 12-14+ heavy (most commonly found on the Hordes side of things.) MAT 6 is a problem in that range because then you start to miss as much or more than you hit; the boosted attack rolls from Full Throttle do a lot to help that, and the free charge gives you some Focus efficiency. It gets even better if you can send multiple warjacks in (though this doesn't come up often) and with Butcher1's feat that turn can actually be scary.
 - With absolutely everything going, you could have a clamjack charging in (for free) with boosted attack rolls, making P+S 19 melee attacks that are essentially Weaponmaster attacks. That takes all of Butcher1's resources, but even P+S 19 Weaponmaster is enough to dirt nap most things.

Some math, similar to the last post:

Demolisher charging w/ Fury and Blood Frenzy vs. Stormwall w/Arcane Shield:
11 (charge attack) + 8 (other initial) + 8 (buy attack) + 8 (buy attack) = 35 damage

Not bad at all, all things considered. Without Arcane Shield:

Demolisher charging w/ Fury and Blood Frenzy vs. Stormwall (no Arcane Shield):
14 (charge attack) + 11 (other initial) + 11 (buy attack) + 11 (buy attack) = 47 damage +/- 1 damage (Eiryss2 Snipe shot)

That's an 85% dead Stormwall on average from just the Demolisher's attacks. Just about anything else you can throw at it on Butcher1's feat turn should be able to take it off the table.

The important thing isn't the damage itself (Butcher1 is a walking avatar of doing loads of damage,) but of the reliability of delivering that damage. A Demolisher under Butcher1 is slower and doesn't have Pathfinder (compared to Harkevich,) but it's still ARM 25, and with Butcher1's damage supplements you don't need to feed character models into the list to try and make up for it. Or you can toss one of them into the list and make it so that the Demolisher nearly kills the Stormwall the turn it charges in (any +2 damage buff puts you at around 55 damage.)

I feel like you can be much more audacious with clamjacks than you can with other Khador warjacks due to their high base ARM, and when you combine that audacity with a damage buff (as Butcher1 does) I think it lets you put a very direct, harder to remove threat up against a key target. And since you're running Butcher1, it's not like the rest of your list isn't a massive threat to their stuff as well (assuming you can get to melee.)

To sum up: I'm always surprised to see so few Butcher1 lists making use of clamjacks. I don't think you'd want to spam them per se, but one or two certainly seems like it has potential.