Thursday, April 30, 2015

Event Recap - 50 Point Steamroller at Bel Air Games

After what feels like forever, I managed to make it to another Brawltimore event this past weekend. It actually hasn't been that long, and I've had one or two others I potentially could have attended, but this one was best for my schedule, so I decided to stick to my guns. Join me after the break for a recap of how the games went, the event itself in brief, and thoughts about my next steps (along with some general Khador SR list theory).

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Mortal Kombat X - The Importance of Tone

Mortal Kombat X (read as "X", not "ten", even though this is the tenth game in the series) is the latest entry in the long running, (in)famously bloody fighting game franchise. Mortal Kombat (hereafter "MK") is a series that has been wildly inconsistent over the years (and that is a somewhat generous reading of some of those games). Although the last game - 2011's reboot of the franchise simply titled Mortal Kombat, but often referred to as MK9 to avoid confusion with the 1992 original - was very well regarded by series fans and well received in general, there was a very real concern that NetherRealm Studios (the modern development house for the series, hereafter "NRS") may not be able to follow it up successfully.

Those fears were allayed early on, as the preview gameplay footage of MKX showed a game that looked to be making positive strides forward in refining the MK fighting engine, while also adding new elements to the mix. The phrase "adding new elements" is often a cause for great concern with MK games - many times has the series added in new gameplay mechanics only to have them turn out to be shallow, clunky, or otherwise worthless - MKX's changes to the formula seemed to be coming from a more carefully considered design mentality. It also didn't hurt that two of the core ideas - the stamina meter and the variants system - are evolutions of earlier ideas; running from MK3 and (roughly) the fighting styles system used in Deception, Deadly Alliance, and Armageddon.

Skip ahead to April 2015, and now everyone has MKX in their grubby little mitts. The general critical consensus is markedly positive, fans seem to be enjoying it, and the competitive community is starting to really dig into it. By all measures it looks like NRS has done it again, producing a game that is just as good (in some ways, better) than it's previous offering. A significant feat considering the series checkered past; a particularly remarkable feat considering that the previous game was actually pretty damn good.

For what it's worth, I wholeheartedly add my endorsement to the pile. Mortal Kombat X is the best game in the series by a fair margin and, just as importantly, it compares favorably to other current, prominent fighting games. It's a lot of fun to play, it looks fantastic (especially considering how janky and bad the series has looked in the past), and it has a ton of single player content (along with passable-but-still-improving multiplayer). If you're on the fence about MKX and you're at all a fan of the franchise, fighting games, or quality games in general, I heavily encourage you to check it out.

What I find most interesting about MKX is what it represents. Independent of it's success or acceptance (though it seems to be getting a healthy amount of both), MKX embodies several significant changes for the franchise that are remarkable and interesting, particularly in light of the current video game industry. In many ways, MKX represents the right way to take an old franchise and reinvigorate it; something many developers are eager (and sometimes struggling) to do with properties that have fallen from public perception.

I could write a lot of words about MKX - and I might, because this game does a shocking number of things right - but for now I want to focus on one of the major factors that makes MKX work so damn well: it's ability to (finally) establish an effective, consistent tone for the Mortal Kombat universe. Join me after the break for musings on how the series has struggled with tone over the years, how MKX gets it right, and why that is so important.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Butcher3 vs. Mordikaar - Immoren Standoff

Though ever my heart may wander, I will always return to Warmachine. My friend and I were recently able to get in a game that allowed us to practice some tournament lists, and it was a helluva fight. Join me after the break for the game recap and another round of Ruin thoughts.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

TV Roundup: Winter 2014 - Spring 2015 Edition

It's been awhile since I've done any TV recaps, so I thought it was time to go over some shows I've watched in the past several many months.

Most of the time I experience TV shows while I'm painting. In light of that, I'm adding an additional review criteria: how painting friendly this show is. This metric doesn't have any reflection on the quality of the show; merely how compatible it is with painting/hobbying while you have it on.

The round up starts after the break!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Malifaux Crew Thoughts: Rail Crew

Our group is starting to work Malifaux back into our gaming cycle, which is something I'm excited about. While I have a lot of fun theorycrafting for Warmachine, I find that Malifaux is a game I tend to learn reactively: I need to actually be faced with a scenario/scheme situation with a given Master before I really start to think about crew composition, model applicability relative to the strat/scheme pool, synergy modules, etc.

For anyone looking to get good at Malifaux, take note: that is the worst time to finally be thinking about any of those things.

As I get more games in, I have more things to think about and share, so I'll (hopefully) be posting a bit more about Malifaux as I go through the crews I own. I ended up buying a lot of crews that didn't get played very much (I was one of the foolish Marcus faithful in M1E, though my perseverance was rewarded in spades in M2E), so I have a lot of models that I haven't explored much, if at all.

Last time, I shared my thoughts on Misaki and her crew. Continuing the Ten Thunders theme, I've been getting games in with Mei Feng and her Rail Crew box set (with various accompanying models), so join me after the break for my thoughts about her and her railworking buddies.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Winter 2014 - Spring 2015 Gaming Round Up

Most of my gaming energy has gone into tabletop games over the past few months - especially with all the Convergence and Wrath of Kings models I've had to put together. I've been taking breaks here and there to play some sweet (and at least one less-sweet) videogames, and I wanted to swing back and give some quick reviews.

Join me after the break for some possible game recommendations. And one entry that will probably be a lot of "damning with faint praise".

Friday, April 10, 2015

My Three Haleys

This image:

Combined with the following product listing (taken from the official PP release schedule):
"Major Prime Victoria Haley—Cygnar Epic Warcaster Unit"
Seems to indicate that Haley3 will be a warcaster unit of three Haleys: past (young scout Haley), present (the one we know and "love"), and future (floating tricked out grandma Haley).

It's impossible to guess at what that means - though I'm sure folks will be doing so right up until we get the rules for her in June - but however it shakes out, that is one of the coolest goddamn things I've seen this company come out with. I'm no big fan of Cygnar or Haley, but I can't deny a fantastic idea when I see it.

For my money, I don't expect this set of Haleys to operate that much differently than a normal warcaster unit. Though they could take this as an opportunity to take another crack at creating a 'caster that operates like the Witch Coven, but with the warcaster unit rules in place to streamline them.

Regardless of how she turns out, Haley3 (at least in concept) is another home run 'caster concept from a book that is brimming over with them (now that we know the new Protectorate 'caster is a gigantic Paladin). Reckoning is in, *ahem*, prime shape to be the best Warmachine book ever.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Painting Log: Mercenary Edition - Order Sergeants

Various model construction projects (Convergence, Wrath of Kings) and some serious video gaming (Bind of Issac is sooooo good) derailed my painting for a bit, but I'm getting back on track. Up next was a set of Order Sergeants as part of my continued painting Infinity for Infinity efforts.

Join me after the break to see how the second set of models came out, as well as a few paint recommendations for particularly problematic colors.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Returning to the Man-O-War Drakun

As I mentioned in the Reckoning cover art discussion, the release of Warmachine: Superiority was a big deal for me (and I'd imagine many Khador players as well). That book brought some very interesting, popular models to the table - Uhlans, back when they had 8 wounds each, the old Trample-Charging Spriggan, and the wonderfully undercosted Man-O-War Demo Corps - but there was one that stood out above the rest. A model so good that it took center stage on the cover, and shaped the Khador meta for the rest of Mk. 1:

Now with more plastic/resin!
The Man-O-War Drakun was an absolute monster of a solo, and it was very, very popular in Mk. 1. The Mk. 2 transition ironed out some of the insanity that was so common with Mk. 1 power solos, but it still left the Drakun with very good rules. I've recently come around to using the big guy again, and I'm starting to remember why I loved having it in lists in the first place.

Join me after the break for thoughts about the Man-O-War Drakun, it's place in the meta, and where it can be useful in your Khador lists.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Butcher3 vs. Grim2 - Ruin's First Outing

Like many other Khador players, I've been itching to proxy Ruin since it's rules were spoiled in NQ #59. It was that drive that pulled me back to Khador after dabbling in Convergence for a bit (terrible timing to try and move away from the reds...) so of course the first game I got was going to use a list with Ruin in it.

Join me after the break as I take Ruin out for it's first proxy game. And, of course, more Butcher3.