Wednesday, September 19, 2012

AWC Tournament #5 and Random 40K and Wreck-Age Photos and Goodness

Wreck-Age Stitchman (Stitch Woman technically) from their Demo Day at Brainstorm Comics.
This last week was a big week for gaming and hobby activity so this post is sort of long. I started out the week painting Warden Bikes for the tournament I was planning to attend Saturday and I was simultaneously working on a Step By Step article that I will hopefully post later this week. While I was cranking away on painting and prepping for the tournament I took a time out to run over to my friend Matt Sears' place to get a demo of Wreck-Age. It was a good time and you hopefully saw my last post hyping their game and Kickstarter. I talked a lot with Matt that Wednesday about the game and their plans for the rest of the 2012 and going into 2013. The next day I went to a Wreck-Age Demo Day they did at Brainstorm Comics here in Chicago. It was a rainy night and foot traffic was low so I managed to play the demo again and chat more with Matt and co-designer Anton Zaleski. After a lot of discussion there's a chance I'll get to help them out a bit more. I'm really intrigued by the game, its factions are interesting and game play is fast and furious. My only disappointment with the demo night was I was looking forward to meeting Brian from Gentleman's Ones who is the only designer on the project I haven't formally met yet. His Killzone boards at the last 2 years of Adepticon were absolutely gorgeous and as I am a huge hobby snob who appreciates the level of detail he puts into things, he just seems like a guy I'd want to game with sometime.

On Friday I feverishly painted that silly Warden Biker all day, worked on the aforementioned Step By Step some more and made my army list for the AWC Tournament.
Biker bitz in process. Slow and steady wins the race right?
Saturday morning Brian Parisi picked me up in Humboldt Park and I was wound up. I had to apologize before we even got down my block and out onto a major street because I had already blurted out 5 minutes of conversation in the span of 2. My mouth was working overtime and he seemed too tired for my level of energy. I reigned myself in and we made the 40 minute drive to the Battle Bunker at a more casual conversational pace.
Some of Brian Parisi's Daemons
We arrived and I was antsy to get started. Alan was waiting for more people to show up I think and I was wandering about checking out the armies. After a bit we finally got rolling and I was paired up with a gent named Tyler, aka Chubs. He was fielding a Space Wolves army and brought along an Achilles Land Raider, a gnarly Forgeworld construct that has a Thunderfire Cannon and sponson twin linked Multi-Meltas. Despite some terrifying use of the Thunderfire Cannon and the Prescience from his Librarian type dude, (Rune Priest?) he struggled at first as I made an astounding 23 out of 24 saves in his first Thunderfire Salvo. My luck couldn't possibly persist at that level of course, but that was an impressive moment. It was a fun and rowdy game and it really set the tone for the day for me. He was an absolute joy to play against. Despite amazing saves early on he managed to hold me off of the main objective and scored better on the secondary ones and I lost the game. It was a great game though because it never felt so lopsided that I was rolling dice for zero effect in the game and pulling off scores of my models every turn like I did in my first game last month. Anyway, Tyler is a guy I look forward to playing against again.
The beast - the Land Raider Achilles. That Thunderfire Cannon was making me make 20-30 saves per turn. 
Sharp looking Terminator Squad. I killed ALMOST all of them. Almost. In an unfluffy move they had Shrike attached. You know a guy is fun to play against when I can laugh and have a fantastic game while he's got Shrike in a Terminator squad. The hobby snob in me is looking back at that in head shaking disappointment. Chubs, how could you?!
This model was the best looking model in Chubs' force. What a gorgeous paint job? And he was humble enough to admit that it wasn't just his work - it was a tag team effort with a friend. Regardless, they make a good team. Beautiful.
My second game was against a Blood Angels army run by a guy named Greg that was all Jump Troops. He played them old school (Jump then Charge instead of Walk then Charge feet first by Jumping into combat) and thus, never took advantage of the new Hammer of Wrath ability. His Death Company came at the fore with waves of Assault Marines behind and then he used Deep Strike to land his Sanguinary Guard or whatever they are called behind my lines. I fought hard and it was a close game but ultimately I couldn't clear either of his killer units - the Death Company and Sanguinary Guard ,and even though I made a good show of it he parked Dante and his Guard on an objective last turn and took the game. It was a good game. Alas, I didn't take any pics.

Finally, we went onto game 3. I felt bad because Alan knew I was anxious to get rolling because I wanted to catch The Descendants at Riot Fest and they were scheduled to go on at 7:45. He fast tracked my game even though there was still one 2nd Round game going on. I played Greg Swanson and his Grey Knights. The game started off light hearted with Mysterious Forests affecting my squads with Brain Leaves and Razorwing attacks. As the game got moving though it became the most tense and competitive game of the day. I felt like we were more evenly matched and I was playing smarter. Well, sort of, you know except for having 1/3 of my army affected by Mysterious Forests. Regardless it was a fun game and I was doing pretty well around turns 3 and 4 and then everything went to hell in a hand basket. It was a fun game and by the end I was soundly out played. Somehow we got in 6 full turns before the dice told us we couldn't play anymore. He's another opponent I'd really like to play again. Also, he has a really sharp looking Grey Knights army and I regret not snapping a photo or two.

At the end of the day awards were handed out and Tyler got the Sportsmanship Award which I think he well deserved and I pulled Best Painted. Starting with this tournament they split off the Gift Cards from the Awards to spread the love around more and my ride, Brian, scored a GC at random. I was stoked for him. I also found out that I can't earn Best Painted Army twice in a season for the same army so part of me wants to drag out the Redemptors of Golinar or Gorgog Smashskull's Ork Klan to keep me excited about hitting the AWC Tournaments. My game play is so awful I face inevitable defeat against these hard core tournament guys so painting is all I have to cling to! The next tournament is 2000 points, so if I attend there is no way the Orks or Redemptors are coming with though. I have less than 1000 points of each painted at the moment and it would take me a year to get either of them to tournament ready in my opinion.
The question everyone who has seen this plaque has asked me, "Who's Ben Komets?" Well he appears to be a Golden Daemon Winner from Germany. I had no idea.
This is a picture of Ben Komets' work. The award title is flattering but WOW! I can't touch this level of hobby skill.
Right now I have an eclectic pile of Space Marine bitz on my table that I want to finish so that I can get some more squads complete. My Assault Squad has had 2 unfinished guys kicking around forever and I'd really like to get my 6 Devastators up to 10. Most importantly, I want to make some serious progress on my Wardens (Ravenwing) this month and do some touch up work on my existing models. Yesterday I filled out paperwork to hopefully get me more hours at the moving company I was just working as an independent contract with so that will slow down my painting but that's a good thing. Paying rent is more important.
Its a hodgepodge of bitz on the painting table but hopefully some completed models will come of it.
Before I end this epic length blog post I wanted to say that I talked to 2ndCityWarzone cohorts Eric Brose and Scott Kroll this weekend and Eric just picked up Dark Vengeance and Scott has been working on getting a home gaming table up and running. Maybe if we're lucky we'll hear from them again soon in blog form. We can hope!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Entering the Wreck-Age

Model's eye view of a Wreck-Age demo table. 
Today I finally got around to playing a demo of Wreck-Age, a table top skirmish game being developed by friends who only live 4 blocks away from my apartment here in Chicago. I had wanted to try out the game back at Adepticon but I had scheduled myself tightly with events and seminars and never had the time to watch more than a turn of some other intrigued hobbyist giving it a go.

Being that I'm a friend of Matt's, and he lives so close he offered to have me come by and get a Demo to check it out first hand. Now mind you, the couple of turns I saw at Adepticon seemed like a lot of guys just rolling around on the ground, but this didn't feel that way at all. Everything that took place felt quick and decisive.

To give you a sense of the narrative, we're in the 26th century and we're on a post-apocalyptic planet Earth. The table depicted the edge of a Staker settlement with a fence line in the center and a few buildings beyond. Scattered about were some trees and a stream but they were non-essential to what was taking place. We jumped right into the scenario. The Hy Planes Drifters, a designation for splintered tribes of nomadic bandits, were trying to bust their way into a Staker compound. Stakers are settlers who are trying to return to a sense of the normalcy of their civilized past.

She may be cute, but she rolls with a murderous tribe based on violent escaped criminals who will gladly enslave you if they don't kill you. But I guess some people are into that. 
I played as the Drifters and had 2 thugs with various guns and detonators that would trigger explosives carried by their 3 mistreated beasts of horrific burden, boars nicknamed Bacon Bombs.

The vegan in me felt dirty using animals as homing missiles, but its just a game and it is the apocalypse after all. If I'm playing despicable savages I might as well go all out, right?
Matt, my demonstrator, would defend the settlement with a line of 3 Stakers holding positions along the fences, and a lookout with a rifle atop a building. He tried to hit me with a bunch of rules figuring I'd want the full explanation but I stopped him and said, "just present my options as they become available and I'll learn as I go." My head is full of rules from a half dozen GW games and with all of the editions I've played its all a big mess in my head. No need for subtle nuances, lets just roll some dice and explore the narrative.
Matt, just tell me what to do, not the mechanics of doing it. ;) Oh , and this is some cool concept art from the Wreck-Age page.

We rolled to see who went first and I discovered that the system was a "I move a model, then you move a model" system. This is a big change from what I'm used to with GW and it was neat to see in action because I was engaged in the game from beginning to end.

I charged a boar forward, and a Staker shot at it, wounding it and slowing it down. Injuries actually have suppressive effects. My next two boars advanced and we shot at in turn with no injuries sustained. I moved one of my gunmen forward to get a better position and he managed to avoid return fire. My boars were in position to potentially blow up and take down the fences and the defenders behind them but I pressed the detonator and the old tech must have malfunctioned because none of the boars exploded.

We rolled for initiative for the 2nd round of the turn and each of our figures got to take additional actions. One of my boars jumped the fence and gored the crap out of a Staker, another got shot dead in his tracks, and the one that was wounded before fell short of clearing the fence and took more fire. This time though, when I pressed the detonator, my first boar was a dud, but the one in the middle blew up in action flick style with a 7" ball of fire and shrapnel, devastating the fences, obliterating my other boars, and pulping his defending Stakers.

Now all my Drifters had to do was flee the board to obtain reinforcements. The lookout with the rifle shot one of my guys in the back but my only remaining guy escaped unharmed to signal his marauding brothers in self serving destruction.
Perched on the roof of an out building she shot one of my remaining Drifters in the back.

I can't comment on the rules too much. It was a D6 system that used increasing and decreasing amounts of dice depending on your stats. If you have 3 Power you roll 3 dice when you use that stat. Your opponent rolls a relative number of dice based upon the relevant stat to counter with and unlike RISK where you use the raw numbers rolled, you need 4+ on each die to succeed unless there is a modifier of some sort. So most interactions between models rely on you hopefully rolling more 4+ rolls than your opponent. The important thing for the demo was that it was simple and quick. I'm not a mathematician so I don't know how balanced things are or how much sense they make beyond the simple abstraction of events. The important thing was that I rolled dice and I had fun. It was an engaging environment, my head was in the game the whole time because everything happened so fast, and cool crap happened.

This actually has me pumped to try my hand at getting some models painted and getting a proper game in to see how it plays outside the demo environment with someone telling me what to roll and what I can do. I can already think of all sorts of cool scenarios and story lines too. The factions are all pretty interesting and who doesn't like that Mad Max sort of vibe? Though, without vehicles it made me think more of The Road maybe?

Regardless, it was a fun diversion from GW games and played very differently. The models are true scale too and much less heroic in stature. Very cool.

Anyway, they are doing a Kickstarter and it only has 3 days left. They met their initial goals but I spent a long time talking to Matt and know they have a lot of cool ideas they'd like to explore. I know a lot of start up companies are around now, competing for a finite fan base and additionally a bunch of established companies are Kickstarting their projects simply because they can, but if you've got the spare capital and you want to see more variety in the table-top market, give them some love.

Meanwhile I'm going to paint up some of the cool models I've picked up so far so I can get that first real game in. -Nick

Wreck-Age Kickstarter

Monday, September 10, 2012

Distracted! Angels of Absolution Mix and Match Week.

Early last week I had a really hard time focusing. I went into the week knowing I had two weeks to get ready for the next AWC Tournament here in Chicagoland and I needed to come up with another 100 points. I do have more models than what I used in the last tournament, but I'd basically just be adding another Tactical Combat Squad. One of the things I learned at the last tournament is that my army doesn't have enough dedicated killing power that isn't just the modest boltgun. My army is basically a big blob of Tactical Squads without a lot of heavy weapons or close combat potential.
Some of the bitz that were staring me in the face when the week started that I completely ignored - a half complete Warden bike squad.
I had gotten back from the last tournament the week previous and spent a couple days using weathering powders on a Tactical Squad, a Dreadnought, and a Rhino. It dawned on me that I only had less than 3 weeks to get ready for the next tournament and I really needed to get something else done. I grabbed an unfinished Assault on Black Reach Dread that I figured I could plow through rather quickly. Then I realized it was going to take me longer than I planned. I finished the stage I was working on and then put him back in the drawer unit where my unfinished vehicles spend most of their time.
I spent a day and a half of the week making the Bleached Bone nice and opaque and then highlighted it with Screaming Skull and White Scar and then filed him back in one of my 3 AoA vehicle part drawers.
Then I thought to myself, "No one uses Techmarines, and a Techmarine would eat up that extra 100 points." I dragged out the Techmarine I started in the early 2000's to see if he was up to snuff and then I pulled out the 3 Servitors I had with him. They'd actually make a pretty threatening close combat unit so I decided to put them on the painting table and do some work on them. I worked on them all Tuesday and then thought, "What are you doing? You'll never get these done in time." Once again I completed the stage I was working on and then took them back off the table and shoved them back in the figure case where unfinished infantry reside while awaiting their turn on the painting table.
This is an old batch of conversions and paint jobs. The servitors used to have Blood Red pants but a year or so ago I dabbled with changing them to Graveyard Earth/Khaki to match the robes of my army. The whole group needs some serious work though some of the conversions are pretty cool. On Tuesday I worked on base-coating the back two servitors and covering over their red pants. I started switching over the Techmarine's robes to Graveyard Earth/Kommando Khaki from Bleached Bone/Bubonic Brown/Bestial Brown. Finally, I put some Chaos Black on areas that will eventually be metal on all the figures before I said, "Enough!" and put them back away in their carrying case.   

Last night I was thumbing through my Codex, the recent FAQ, and reflecting on the Veteran Squad Load Out thread on Bolter & Chainsword. I was moments away from pulling some robed leg/torso bitz I have cleaned up and ready for priming out of the aforementioned figure case and it dawned on me again, "Nick, what are you doing?" I needed to get myself focused on a more realistic goal.
Oooh Veterans! I definitely want a squad of these guys, but I have one started and one body cleaned. There was no way in hell I'd finish a squad that isn't even really started. I just paint way too slow.
You see, I started that Warden Bike Squad back in August and its halfway done. I could finish it in 2 weeks. I just need to force myself to focus and get it done. That's the problem with project A.D.D and the reason why its taken me 18 years to get where I'm at with the Angels - I just can't stay focused long enough to get a model done when there are so many models I want to add or complete. My energy is spread over 100+ unfinished projects.

Here's that bike squad again. They were staring at me all along and I just needed to get my head on straight. I'm just too easily distracted.
Over Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday I got focused and I turned some of that pile of bitz into this model here. This is my second complete biker and I'm fairly confident I can finish the 3rd and final necessary biker by this weekend's tournament.
Warden biker with Meltagun. I feel like I'm getting a better hang of the sword on black shield logo that I came up with for them.
I love the skull with the X on its head. Like I mentioned before the right shoulder pad with get a squad number when I get further along on the squad. Also, the mistake down by the front wheel wasn't fully covered because I know it will get covered by weathering effects, otherwise I'd never allow it to be shown on the internet as "complete" because I'm a nerd.
The final bike as of this morning. The legs are pretty much done. I need to put metal on the buttons onf the keypad and I need to put the Wardens logo on the knee pad. The Purity Seals also need script. The torso is about a 1/3 of the way done and same for the bike and backpack. His arms are still up in the air.
Alternately, the base is pretty much ready to go. I hope to have this model done by Thursday morning so I can work on my army list and send it off to the AWC Tournament Organizer.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Angels of Absolution - Dreadnought Eros

Going back to 2006 in the year before I moved to Chicago I came to visit my friend Anton who was living in Ukrainian Village at the time. We were going to our first Adepticon. I had decided I needed some long range firepower to make my army more competitive so I feverishly attempted to paint a dreadnought straight out of the box. There are no conversions and no extra details added. I got it done quickly and it looks sharp, but its just a plain old dread. This week I added some details to the base and I used weathering powders on the legs. At first the base looked "wrong" because as I weathered the feet it left giant dust prints just around them and nowhere else on the base. I had no choice but to weather the base some. I think it came out well. One of these days I'll add some purity seals and other honors but for now Eros will stay as is - former Tactical Marine of the 5th Company.
All the lenses are gemmed. Chapter Marking is on the right breast. His progenitor squad marking is on his left greave, His Company Marking is on his right greave. His name is worn on his sarcophagus.

Eros was grievously  wounded while serving in a Tactical Squad of the 5th Company, bears the mark of his origins, and will often serve side by side with his original squad.

Chapter Marking on the Missile Launcher.