Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Farewell to Next Dimension Games

WFB 1000 point tournament at NDG from just 2 weekends ago.
Today Next Dimension Games announced they were closing their doors. I started helping out there in October - initially just painting up their scenery and then progressively working towards building the miniature hobby within the community, and eventually volunteering to take on their event schedule.
My friend Aaron Schmidt of Horror Show Miniatures teaching the nuances of working with green stuff.
Our hobby community at NDG had a lot of ambitious hobbyists, so I brought in local sculptor Aaron Schmidt to demonstrate sculpting with green stuff and he did a 2 hour presentation. I had started a rotating Tuesday board gaming night, and I ran a 1000 point WFB tournament. I had plans for many more events and classes, but it wasn't to be.
Zombicide Survivor painted by Ken Aponte.
Slowly but surely, people were starting to find the store, like Ken Aponte who came in to play Zombicide on the first Zombicide Game Night we ran. He bought Zombicide: Prison Outbreak that night, and a few days later came in to show off the survivors he had started painting. Before we knew it, he became a regular fixture like so many others were becoming, but it was too little too late I guess.
Ken Aponte and Nick Powell playing Super Dungeon Explore on one of our Tuesday Game Nights.
Over the months that I was at NDG I made friends with gamers and hobbyists and I hope they continue into the future. I'd love to revive the roots of 2ndCityWarzone by hosting regular gaming at my house with some new blood, and I swear I miss the days of owning my own store. I've learned a lot in the last 20 years since I had Adventures Unleashed in Buffalo, particularly from my years at GW, and think I could create an environment the gamers would really take to with engaging events. Maybe I might strive to make that a reality? Its something to consider.

In the meantime I need to focus on AdeptiCon in the immediate and Broken Contract in the months to come as I work towards launching a Kickstarter. So much to do and so little time.

For those looking for a deal. Next Dimension Games announced this:

As a thank you to everyone who has supported the store, we will be opening up the store this next Monday 3.24.14 and Tuesday 3.25.14 for anyone looking to pick up something at a great sale price. everything will be on sale for anywhere from 25% off MSRP or better.
This sale will be for all on hand merchandise.
NO special orders will be taken.
We will be open from noon - 8pm both days.
Thank you,
Nate


RIP Next Dimension Games. We hardly knew you.
-Nick

Monday, March 17, 2014

Two Weeks to AdeptiCon, Gaming, and Broken Contract

I've used this pic like 3 times. Myself and Eric Brose in the team tournament. Also pictured, Max and my old friend and team mate, Mike Nogle (who sadly won't be at Adepticon for the first time in like 8 years.)
 AdeptiCon is two weeks away and I'm feeling very unprepared. I have tables to finish, army lists to write, a scenario to prepare, and (theoretically) models to paint. I have to say that working on scenery non-stop at Next Dimension Games has given me serious hobby burn out. When I get home my hobby time is almost entirely Broken Contract related because I'm using a whole different set of "hobby muscles", focusing on writing and game design, or discussing the concept art.
Another re-used pic. The archers were not in my army list, but that spear unit with the Light Wizard aka Liche Priest was the unit that was decimated in its own Skullstorm.
I at least have had the joy of getting some gaming in. In addition to Tuesday night board gaming at Next Dimension Games, I ran a WFB tournament, and while they were playing their final round I got in another 1000 point game with my Tomb Kings - this time against Vampire Counts. On the first turn I tried to cast Sakhmet's Incantation of the Skullstorm using 6 dice and it of course blew up in my face devastating the skeleton unit my Liche Priest was in and forcing me to take evasive action with all of my other units to avoid the Skullstorm as it moved away. Somehow, I managed to come back from this cataclysmic mistake and still win the game. Once again, my star players were my Screaming Skull Catapults, and my Carrion weren't too shabby either. It was a fun game and I'm looking forward to playing against Ken Aponte again.
New Broken Contract logo by Sam Alcarez.
This week I made a pretty detailed post at the Broken Contract blog discussing the concept art for the Security Officers and how I decided to do some concept art of my own by taking Sam Alcarez's work and cutting it up with scissors and re-pasting it together to vary up the looks he's be working on. I feel like it was a pretty effective exercise so go check it out.
"Paper doll" of a Security Officer using pieces from 3 separate pieces of Sam Alcarez concept art.
Speaking of Broken Contract. Before I part for today, I want to mention I created accounts for all of your social media needs relating to Broken Contract. Follow Broken Contract on Facebook and/or Twitter. Thanks and more soon!

-Nick


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Weekend of Gaming Part 2 - WFB 'Its How You Use It'

Next weekend, Saturday March 8th is a small friendly tournament at Next Dimension Games using Adepticon's 'Its How You Use It' WFB Tournament guidelines. For those that don't know, the 'Its How You Use It' format is 1000 points, which in WFB is generally considered - "not a lot".

One of our regulars at NDG, Josh Raymond, was looking to get in a warm up game to see how his Warriors of Chaos might fare in the 1000 point arena. Originally we were going to play the game at NDG, but I couldn't swing the bus fare, so he graciously offered to make the drive out to my place.

Now its important to note that the last time my Tomb Kings hit the tabletop was 2 years ago at Adepticon's 'Its How You Use It' tournament that year. My knowledge of 8th Edition is pretty abysmal and I felt really guilty making Josh stand around for an hour while I made my army list and asked him a million questions. Finally, after muddling my way through making my list I was ready to go. I would be fielding a Tomb Prince, a Level 2 Liche Priest, 19 Skeletons with Hand Weapons and Shields, 19 Skeletons with Spears, 10 Skeleton Horsemen with Spears, 3 Carrion Birds, and 2 Screaming Skull Catapults.

The ensuing conflict was surprising to say the least. Early on in the game Josh charged through a forest into my Skeleton Cavalry on my flank with a unit of Chaos Warriors and a Chaos Gorebeast Chariot.
My Cavalry draw a combined charge through a forest. I ultimately lost the combat but it left his big unit of Chaos Warriors wide open.
Meanwhile my Skeletons with Hand to Hand Combat Weapons and Skeletons with Spears glared vacantly towards the oncoming Chaos Warriors. My Cavalry were quickly destroyed, but left a perfect target for my Skeletons with Hand Weapons as you can see the tempting flank in this shot.
These two units made a lot of 2" moves this way or that way to always be in the idea position to deal with Josh's forces.
To reduce the threat to my own flank, I hurled Screaming Skull after Screaming Skull into Josh's exposed units and Chaos Warriors and Gorebeast Chariot (proxied with a normal Chariot) fled the scene allowing my Skeleton Warriors and Carrion to beat up on the Chaos Warriors.
Catapult view of the fleeing enemies. You've got to love "Skulls of the Foe".
 Multiple times the Chaos Warriors, Gorebeast Chariot and Chaos Hounds were forced to panic and were kept at bay consistently the latter half of the game. It was a hard day to be a Warrior of Chaos.
Heading north to Kislev, Troll Country, or maybe Norsca. Regardless, they decided the deserts of Khemri were not for them.
All told, I played a solid game. My memory of WFB tactics is still solid and I made sure to make his charges difficult and to take advantage of his own exposure which helped win me the day. Though, my fighting skill was pathetic. The only thing that saved me was my constant use of charging two facings at the same time. It wouldn't have been enough though if it wasn't for my Screaming Skull Catapults which honestly won me the day. They started off slow the first couple turns, but later in the game the scored direct hit after direct hit absolutely punishing his lines. It was glorious, but not easily repeated. It just happened to be my day in the sun.

I really appreciate Josh coming over to get a game in. It reminded me that I genuinely miss playing WFB and that I should play it more than I do. two years between games is far too long.

-Nick

Shameless plug, if you haven't checked out the blog for the miniature board game I'm developing, go check it out. Its called Broken Contract.

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Weekend of Gaming Part 1 - 40K Zone Mortalis

I had a big weekend of gaming. So as not to overload you with photos all at once, we'll focus on Saturday's gaming. My friend Brian Parisi has volunteered to provide a couple of Zone Mortalis tables for the 40K Warzone Tournament at Adepticon this year. I hadn't seen them yet so we decided to make a day of trying them out and seeing if there were any tweaks that needed to be made in order to make them comply with my Stratagem List that goes along with the tournament. We spent a little while analyzing the pieces he constructed and then set up a suitable 3'x3' layout. At the 40K Warzone Tournament the players will be fielding 1000 point forces so 3'x3' is ample space for an hour and a half game.

We used last year's Zone Mortalis mission and deployed on 6" deployment zones on opposing sides. I took the Familiar Ground Stratagem which gave me Move Through Cover and Scout for all of my Infantry. In the picture below you can see my firebase, a Dreadnought castled with a Techmarine with Power Field Generator, backed up by a 6 man Devastator Squad. You can see two Adepticon poker chips in the shot, representing 2 of the 4 objectives in the mission. This grouping of models was sitting on a 3rd. You can also see a bulkhead dead straight ahead. Brian's army lurked largely on the other side.
This is about as much as you need to see of my army since everyone died in bloody slaughter.
Below are the forces on the other side of the bulkhead, including Chaos Terminators, Obliterators, and Cultists, among others.
A formidable battle line waiting to advance.
As a distraction I sent my valiant Scouts up a straight passage hugging the right flank of the board. Brian sent 2 Spawn up said flank to intercept them.
Scouts vs Spawn was not a fair match up. And to add insult to injury I dropped one of the Scouts when I got home from gaming and he broke in two.
My distraction was insufficient and though I thought I had a commanding view of the center of the board, Brian flooded the opposing quarter with Obliterators, Noise Marines, and Cultists evening out the domination of the objectives.
Overwhelmed is the only way I can describe how I felt.
Meanwhile, on my left flank, a seemingly inconsequential group of 6 Chaos Space Marines with the Mark of Slannesh moved up to threaten my own dominant quarter.
People cry about how useless Chaos Space Marines are. The might not be as points efficient as the other choices in the Codex, but they where superior to my Tacticals in every way.
While the Chaos Cultists held the back objective, Brian made his move on the center of the board while punishing me with fire from the Noise Marines.
I never put a dent in this squad. Their white armor looks fantastic against the brown backdrop though doesn't it?
Bringing up the rear, the Chaos Terminators smashed their way through the bulkhead, but I was so overwhelmed by the other 750 points of his army, he could have left them in his figure case.
This unit would have scared me if the rest of his army wasn't so effective that they were completely unnecessary and took no part in the game other than as more eye candy.
All told, the Angels of Absolution suffered indignity after indignity has he smashed his way through my squads of Tactical Marines. I ultimately ended up conceding as he had 3 objectives at the end of turn 5 and there was no way I could bounce back. It would have been disheartening if I wasn't playing against a beautiful army on beautiful tables. Okay, maybe it was still a "little" disheartening, but as you can tell from the pics I love the spectacle of wargaming and Brian delivers the goods. It was a pleasure playing against him and I hope everyone at the 40K Warzone Tournament appreciates the time and effort he put into these awesome tables.

Oh, and thanks to Brian and Mike for introducing me to Seven Wonders after the Zone Mortalis game. It was a good time. To be continued tomorrow with a recount of Sunday's gaming.

Also, check out Broken Contract Blog to see some great work in progress shots of the Security Officer concept sketches and an early incarnation of what might be the new Broken Contract logo.

-Nick

Monday, February 17, 2014

Broken Contract Artist Search and Other Ramblings

Concept art by Sam Alcarez
I put out a call for artists on Facebook and on this blog and a bunch of friends directed me to artist friends of theirs which I genuinely appreciate. One of those leads has already sent over 5 sketches. Sam Alcarez has taken the ball and run with it and I can't wait to show off what they can do. In a couple of days I'll re-post the Security Officer blurb on the Broken Contract Blog with some of Sam's Security Officer art. In the meantime, go over to the blog and read about Actions and Interruptions if you want to know more about how the game plays.

In other exciting news, Zombicide Gaming Night at Next Dimension was packed and we're looking forward to doing it again. Tomorrow night at Next Dimension we'll be playing Settlers of Catan. Also, today I got an e-mail from Brian Parisi showing off some bulkhead doors he created for the Zone Mortalis boards he's going to share with me for this year's 40K Warzone Tournament at Adepticon and they look great.

Speaking of which, the tweaked rules for this year are up on the Adepticon website now:

40K Warzone Tournament 2014 Rules

More soon!
-Nick

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Artist Wanted II - Character Concept Design Brief #1

Breaker Concept Sketch by Oliver Zavala.
A lot of people viewed the Artist Wanted Ad a few days ago and I got some responses. For those who might be interested but don't want to commit to anything, I created an initial "design brief" so that you can scribble something out at home or on your break at work and if you think its pretty cool you can send it my way via e-mail or a link to wherever you want to put it for viewing. Here's the specs:

Character Concept Design Brief #1
Ideally character concepts will show the character from head to toe. Any details or equipment that might need additional focus might need to be separated out or shown at a different angle. This will allow a sculptor to get a sense of the composition. Examples of this might be unusual/unique weapons, cool details like charms, logos, or something loosely concealed. The characters are described as having a gender identity, but that is a loose guide. In a co-ed indentured servant operated mining colony where everyone is on the same playing field, gender norms and roles would be blurred or thrown out the window. Depictions can be as ambiguous as you want them to be. Additionally, I mention on of the sketches to be a person of color. This is to encourage a diverse future where class is more important than race. There are some links to visual references at the end of the post.

Overview of Breakers vs Security Officers

Breakers
The Breakers are indentured servant miners. They are given the bare minimum to complete the job. Shovels, pick axes, the occasional head lamp and/or breather (mask). Their clothes would be pretty utilitarian, like the "Cool Hand Luke" workers, but occasionally with heavy duty overalls, like in this image - http://www.pinterest.com/pin/466826317596936722/ For the most part they're just disgruntled men and women who turn on their taskmasters. The important thing is for them to be dynamic, varied, and action packed. These are rioters.

Security Officers
They are poorly paid brutal security guards. The "western" looking prison chain gang guards from Cool Hand Luke are a good starting point. Give them a kevlar vest and a taser instead of rifles and it’s the right look. On the Concept References Pinterest there is an image of the riot cop with the riot shield and helmet but no armor to speak of. He's so bare and at risk - that's how I imagine the security officers. Throw a brimmed hat on him or something else to give him a little more western feel and he'd blend right in to the visual. Once again, they're trying to stop the miners from rioting and escaping the mines so they'd be action packed as well.

Where To Begin?
Ideally do a rough sketch of at least one Breaker and one Security Officer and send them to me and we can discuss the look and feel. If you’re really enthused you can do more, but this would be to show off that you have a good idea of the look and feel being discussed. This does not need to be finished work. Just a rough sketch to get a feel for the look.

Starting Character List

Breaker Characters
Gaylen: Gaylen is the daredevil of the group. A young agile female who is used by the IronSky Corp to get into tight areas to plant dynamite and other dangerous duties. She would be lightly equipped to not interfere with her mobility, but she’d have would have a breather with exposed eyes/upper face and some sort of head lamp. She carries concealed dynamite that she stole but could be depicted throwing it. She also carries a shovel.

Bickler: Bickler is the grizzled veteran in the mines. Formerly a soldier, he didn’t have the status, connections, or value to be kept in uniform as he aged. He was discharged and signed a contract as a miner and was dropped here. He should look older and a bit haggard, but solid. He carries a pick axe and a chip on his shoulder. He might have a headlamp, but he should have an exposed face to show his grizzled features.

Trest: Trest is the Genetically Modified Brute. He was engineered strictly for labor purposes and stands taller than a normal man and is more hulking. Trest is pure muscle and brawn. He carries a pneumatic drill (like a horizontally held jackhammer) and wears a gas mask and overalls. He’s unknowingly addicted to corporate supplied narcotics and is prone to violent outbursts.

Security Office Characters
Officer Moerta:  Moerta is a security guard equipped with a Shock Baton and Riot Shield. His head is exposed, but the lower part of his face should be covered with a breather. He is a person of color “just doing his job” and he is exceptional at close combat.

Officer Anlika: Anlika is the diplomatic Officer, more adept at talking through confrontations than violence. Anlika has short cropped hair, an arc pistol (high powered taser) and a standard baton. Visible empathy gives credence to her attempts at diplomacy but will have no qualms about taking down a Breaker if she has to.

Officer Hickley: Equipped with a Kevlar vest, Crowd Control Repeater (a larger sub machine gun with rubber bullets), a baton, and possibly a helmet or maybe just sunglasses. Officer Hickley is a sadistic authoritarian. He will fire indiscriminately into mobs, while shouting uncontrollably and then follow it up with some hearty kicks and cracks with his baton.

Have a go at these concepts or use it to spark your own and we’ll take it from there. There will be plenty more Characters to develop from here and an expanding universe of ideas.

You can find some helpful references here:

Thanks for reading! Send me your concepts. :)
-Nick

Monday, February 10, 2014

Artists Wanted for Broken Contract


I'm looking for up-and-coming and established artists willing to help me get my miniature board game off the ground. I need people willing to work with me to flesh out concept sketches to base miniature sculpts off of and I need finished character art, box art, and a logo to to take my game, Broken Contract, to the next stages of development.

At this point the rules are just about ready to enter Beta Testing by the general public, but if I'm going to be able to attract crowd funding through Kickstarter I'm going to have to have a much more polished presentation. To put it simply, before I can run a Kickstarter I really need some solid art and at least a few miniature sculpts.

Without a stockpile of funds to dole out for commissioned work I'm at a catch 22. I need the Kickstarter to acquire funds, but I need artists and sculptors to run a successful Kickstarter. What I really need are some people who are really interested in getting in on a project like this to build their portfolios and be willing to gamble on a later reward for work completed. Even still, it would need to be "on the cheap" for now (even in this "bill me later" scenario), and depending on how successful the Kickstarter might be would could potentially scale up.

Its a lot to ask, I know. Still, play testing has seemed to demonstrate that the rules are fun, and people seem to find the background engaging and full of opportunity. This project has legs, but I need some help to boost it to the next stage. Get in touch and let's help each other out.

So what's this game all about?

You can find out the basics here: Background Introduction
Here: Breakers
And here: Security Officers

But the condensed version of what you'd be drawing are rioting miners and the security officers that keep them in place in a dystopian sci-fi wild west setting. Imagine Cool Hand Luke meets Firefly as good points of reference. You can get a feel for some of the ideas by looking at my "Concept References" Pinterest.

If you, or someone you know, would be interested in this please get in touch and let's work something out. I'm determined to make this game a reality.

Thanks!
-Nick Baran
thirdxparty@hotmail.com