Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Munchkin we will go, a Munchkin we will go!

Munchkin. You know the term, it's those min/maxing, rules loophole living, WAAC roleplayers. Well, sometimes that is. This last weekend I finally purchased Munchkin, as well as The Good, the Bad, and the Munchkin, as well as several of the booster packs for the Munchkin game. Steve Jackson Games came out with this game a number of years ago, and I had played it several times. It is a card game in which you delve into a dungeon to kill the monsters, steal the loot, oh... and stab your buddy.

The concept of the game revolves around the dungeon delve, but also the interaction between players to help or screw with the other players. It's a totally beer and pretzels kind of game, but hilarious fun. And I'd been wanting to get a copy of the base set for years.

At DieCon I happened to find a copy of the base game as well as the western version for 20% off on each, so I picked them up. All in the name of having a game that is fun to play and would be fun with the whole family. So I broke it out of the box, and taught my wife and kids (boys ages 8 & 10) how to play. It was pretty hot and sticky outside, so it was a good time to do that. Over the course of 3 hours I taught them to play as we played, and great fun was had by the whole family.

The upside(s) of this game:
Easy to learn mechanics
Funny to Hilarious card titles
Great game for 3-6 players
A ton of expansions (at last count 8 for the base game not counting the boosters)

The downside(s) of this game:
Occasional crude language in card titles (The Badass Boots being an example)
Needs a fair sized table after a while (you can end up with a TON of cards 'equiped')
The expansions are nearly as expensive as the base game (Munchkin $24.95, 6-7 of the expansions $19.95 each)

Overall I'd definitely recommend this game to anyone with a group of people they can spend a few hours gaming with that want a high on humor, light on seriousness, game to play. In the end it's a game that has 8 variants, the various themed sets can be mixed together to make even more themes (Space Munchkin + The Good, the Bad, and the Munchkin = Munchkin Firefly). And Steve Jackson Games is supporting all the versions with periodic expansions and 'booster packs' of new cards, reworked cards, and updated cards.

Getting to level 10 first was never so much fun, but SJG realized that sometimes you even need to be more EPIC! So they came out with free downloadable rules for playing to level 20. There are also other free downloads available from SJG, including FAQ's to variant rules.

Go ahead and try it out, you'll have fun playing and never regret the purchase!

(Images used without permission, but with no intent of infringement. Used to help promote the game)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

DieCon GT pics and commentary

I'd have gotten these up yesterday, but blogspot decided to not upload any of my pics due to maintenance... so... here we go again!

To start I have a couple of the boards that I liked. The City Fight board I LOVED... a lot of people didn't like it, but I wanted to be placed there every match!

This board was brought in by it was very interesting to see, and the test game I played on it was a brutal fight that pushed both me and my opponent to think in new ways. I enjoy boards like this, ones that aren't a flat plain with some buildings, hills, and forests. They make you think, and use tactics that are much different than just horizontal moves.

In contrast this board I liked because you see SO MANY green or brown boards, deserts, plains, forests, blah blah blah. Fighting on a board that looks like winter has hit is just a great change of pace. Sure, it's another typical set up for terrain, but theming it like this changes how you percieve the fight in the mind's eye.

Next up we have some of the armies that were at the GT. There were several GK armies, as well as a number of Space Wolf, Blood Angel, and other marines. There was one Tau list, and one Dark Eldar list (which I didn't get pics of... camera battery ran out...), and a few Ork lists. The person that took 1st place (if memory serves) played the Deathwing list with 36 th/ss termies and 3 typhoons, a hard hard list to deal with.

I didn't get a pic with his full army, there were at least 2 more gh packs to put on the display, but this shows how nice it looked nonetheless.

The one pic I got of my own army at the GT was of one of the fights... it has been entitled 'The Laziest Fight Ever!'

During the match, we had this fight come about... unfortunately the piece of terrain was at just the right angle that not a single one of our figs could stand, so they were all laid down and the fight rolled out. But the sight of them all lying there had us both cracking up about how lazy they all were. Great time, great time.

Later tonight I hope to get pics of my army up, but it might be tomorrow... not sure where I put the charger for the camera. So until then, have fun, roll the dice, and keep gaming!

Feel free to comment, I love to see other people's opinions!

Monday, June 6, 2011

My GT Results and thoughts on tournament issues.

DieCon and the Gateway Grand Tournament are now over, and much fun was had by several hundred people. The GT had 45 people in it, and a large variety of tables, with terrain ranging from snow to jungle. One of the boards was a really good city fight board, another in the second day was snow and ice with a river with moving ice flows. There were a few issues brought up about some scoring, but overall things worked out well.

Over the weekend I met new people, played fun games, and made some new friends. I never ran into anyone in the tourney that was being an asshat, or was just not fun to play against. There were issues with personality clashes, but they were kept relatively low key, which was nice as those issues didn't disrupt the tournament.

I had 3 wins (1 of which was very nearly a draw with 2 battle points difference) and 2 losses. Since I never had a chance to test my list before the convention, the only game I had with it was during open gaming the night before which I ended in a 6 round fight versus Black Templars with a narrow loss on a capture and control mission on the city fight board. If it hadn't gone on to the 6th round it would have been a tie.

During the GT I fought a Thundercav list, a Shrike hybrid list, and a hybrid Wolf List heavy on rhino/gh squads with a deathstar of Tcav. The hybrid wolf list was a VERY narrow victory with 18 battle points to 16 bp's. We had a 4 round meat grinder of a fight in the middle of the board that ended with no one controlling the primary objective of an item that only infantry could pick up, he pfisted my guy holding it in round 5 and round 6 stalemated with 3 Tcav left in the melee against 4 honour guard and 5 asm's with 2 furioso's tied up in it as well. Mephiston ran a GH squad off the table over 3 rounds, and kept 2 GH squads and a long fang squad busy trying to kill him in area terrain.

I also played 2 games against the same GT staffer as a spoiler, which shouldn't have happened. I wasn't mad about having to face him twice, but definitely feel that I shouldn't have had the 'buy' twice, and that someone else should have had it and me face another GT participant.

That actually brings up a good point to cover about tournaments. Buy's can happen in odd number of participant tourney's, the issue I have is how it is handled. Should the participant be given a win, yet still have a match against the opponent, maybe with a set battle point amount given? Or should they play the spoiler and get the vp's and bp's for the match with them? Honestly I'm not sure which way is better, the GT went with the second option, but I can completely agree with both ways of doing it.

Another issue that came up had to do with painting scoring, and sportsmanship scoring. But before I discuss that I'll give my opinions and take on paiting and sportsmanship scoring.

Painting scoring isn't a hard science, it can't be, even if you have the list of criterion for the scoring it is nearly impossible to actually max the score. This isn't a bad thing at all. The trouble comes in when you have only one or two people doing the scoring. Since it is a totally objective and highly subjective thing to score one or two people scoring can end up with some large discrepancies in the numbers. In this case we had one person who was very critical and one that wasn't nearly as hard nosed. Not a bad mix mind you. The trouble comes when the hard nosed scoring is done with a glance and maybe a more critical look at one unit or even just one fig. A lot of people complained about the fact that when the hard nosed judge looked their armies over that person literally picked up one fig and looked it over then scored and walked away. Or that he glanced at one unit for a minute or so, scored, then walked away. No asking about conversions, theme, etc. Just zoom in one a portion, score, and go. This, in my opinion, is a horrible way to do the job.

I agree, paint scoring shouldn't take 15-20 minutes per person, but only using 1-2 minutes is pretty rediculous. Plus not bothering to even ask about conversions, theme, why some things are painted in certain ways, definitely not fulfilling the judging job. It only takes a couple minutes to talk with the armies owner to find out important details which can effect scoring, so be willing to spend those few minutes.

Sportsmanship scoring is already a hotbed issue in  many locations. Adepticon has done what they could to reduce the issues with their bad/good/great scoring. I actually like that way of doing things. But we ran into an issue which a number of people found hinky with the GT scoring for this area. I will say that the trouble had nothing to do with the 0-10 point system used in the Gateway GT, it had to do with something that fudged not just the Sportsmanship scores, but also the painting scores.

Here is where we discuss the big issues...

At the end of round 5 all participants were asked to fill out a sheet which asked for players choice for best appearance for armies, and for who they felt was the best sportsman they played against. Now, in most cases I've known of, players choice for appearance was a totally seperate category from paint scores. In this case it wasn't, each 'vote' was added to the paint score for said persons army. Which pushed the maximum out of the 0-44 scored range. In this case we ended up with someone getting a 52. Then the number of 'votes' for who they felt was the best sportsman was added to the sportsmanship score from each of the five matches... you see the trouble here. We had 9+ people with maxed at 50 sportsmanship scores (another issue for later but I digress), which with the 'voting' spread into one with 53, several with 52, a few more with 51, and the rest of the 50's at 50. This particular additional score to the judged painting, as well as the boost to sportsmanship above and beyond the match scores from their opponent had a lot of people grumbling about the ways things might have been fixed by friends in the tourney, quite easily fixed, but no way to prove it at all.

In all honesty, players choice for appearance NEEDS to be a seperate category from judged and overall score altering painting scores. And having an additional 'who you think is the best sportsman' vote just throws things into the hinky area. They already got a score, and it is far to easy for someone that never even played someone to give them a boost to their score. If you end up with ties for winner, use some other score to get a winner. Lowest vp total, lowest bp total, etc. Just don't use a mechanic that can be abused by unscrupulous players (I AM NOT SAYING ANYONE CHEATED).

I'll be posting pics later of some of the armies and boards, as well as the pics I ran out of time to work on in photoshop of my own army.

Feel free to give comments about this post, I'd love to hear others opinions!

Until later!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Display Board

With only the addition of foliage clumps (grasses and ivy) as well as matte varnishing left to do, this is the display board I've been working on. This board was a situation in which the theory 'Less is More' really hit home for me. I limited the palette of colors to browns, greens, and grey. Overall it came out quite nicely, and the longest part was waiting for glue to dry.

I used non-diluted white glue to base the sand, then sprayed it down with watered down white glue. Once those dried a bit I added another spritz of watered down white glue, and more sand, with another layer of watered down glue over that. Needless to say it took about 5 hours to dry in the end, but it's basically solid (though there are a few spots that still seem detached).

First up are pics of the work at the midway point.

Overall the base coats, flocking, and sand came together well by the midpoint. (And yes, I really should sweep my driveway... dang tree and it's wierd puffy seeds...). The main issue at this point was that I couldn't get my big brush into all the crevasses, so I had to wait until everything dried to get in there with matching paint and a small brush to cover the pink insulating foam in some spots.

Next up are pics of the basically finished board.

Pic using flash, interior lighting was a bit iffy so took this one to help show things a little better.

In the end, I sprayed army painter rat fur on the stone areas. Did all the stone tiles and the larger stones in fortress grey. And touched up the darker brown/green with a highlight of randomly brushed P3 beast hide. I'll be adding some of the Army Painter tufts and their Poison Ivy to this to finish up before I hit it all with a liberal coating of Army Painter Matte Finish.

I use a mix of 2 types of sand (one coarse, one fine) as well as basic green flock for typical ground cover. It comes out nicely without to much 'grass' or to much 'dirt'. These pics all show how well it works together, and as a display base it isn't too over the top, so it doesn't detract from the miniatures displayed on it. That is a key thing with a display base, it shouldn't draw attention away from the figs, but help to highlight the figs with a nice background.

I'll have some pics of a few of the figs in my finalized army in a bit, just waiting on some matte finish to dry as I post this on my two dreads for the list. But I do have a request for the readers!

I need 8 names, NOT LATIN SOUNDING, for use on various miniatures in the army. So feel free to suggest a name or three, and I'll be freehanding the names onto scrolls on the figs in the morning (And I'll probably put up pics of the figs that get named with credit to the suggester of the name!)

Until later!

Feel free to comment, question, critique, etc!

DieCon GT prep nearly finished

I'll be posting a bit tonight about my final prep work for the DieCon GT this weekend. One of the things I've been working on the last few days has been a display board for the army. Since I got a REALLY good deal on some Luan (pricey plywood for those that haven't heard of it), it became a must do on the display board... hard to pass up $1 for a 2'x4' sheet of it, since it's $15 local for a 4'x4' or $32 local for a 4'x8'. The real pisser of it all was the cost of some custom mixed flat paint... $11 for a quart. Seriously, I used to work in a Lowe's paint department years back, but still, the cost has sky rocketed on paint in recent years. Back in the day (like 12-15 years ago) I'd have gotten the same amount for about $5. But I digress.

I've nearly finished all the work on the figs. Would have finished them weeks ago, but got a bug up my butt about some things and spent a lot more time than I should have working on some things than I should have. I'm still a bit unhappy about a few of the figs, but I'm blaming my 'must be perfect' attitude on working on personal figs for that... okay I have that attitude about every fig I work on.

At this point I have 1 fig that isn't nearly finished. But it should only take another hour or so to finish up... Mephiston. I've decided to go with my own interpretation of him in the color choices. He's obviously still a Blood Angel, but I'm using his non-armor areas to express things in my own ways. I'm still debating doing some free-hand work on his cloak, but with my wrist still giving me issues I'm not sure I could really do justice to the fig.

I was hoping over the last few weeks to get some table time with the list, but unfortunately life has been hectic with my kids nearing the end of school. So at this point I'm working TheoryHammer on using the army. I've used a list that is roughly similar at 1250 points, but the 2000 point list still hasn't had play time. This weekend will be a baptism in fire for the list, but I'm not expecting to have it perform horribly.

Tonight I'll have pics up of some of the army, as well as a middle of the work and end of the work pics of the display board.

This project has definitely taught me a few things though... deadlines suck when you have things throw the schedule out of whack... being overly picky about certain aspects of painting can throw your timetable out the window... less can be more, much more.

Until later!