Finished painting a Chun Li from the Street Fighter Heroclix set. Pleased that her face is now symmetrical. Looking at the pictures on the computer screen, I wish I had pulled a cleaner job on the effects for her lightning kick.
So I recently got into Heroclix. Ironically, the thing that appealed to me about the game was the fact that I would require no build and paint time whatsoever. Alas, the bug hit me and I decided to do some quick paint jobs on some Clix. I believe that because of how they come, I don't feel any pressure to try and paint these things to a high standard since anything I do would be an improvement to the assembly line paint jobs from some factory in China. But that reasoning is flawed since my metal minis don't have any paint on them, so wouldn't that mean anything I do to them is an improvement too? Regardless here they are! Happy gaming!!!
I'll be honest, for the longest time I viewed the bad to mediocre pre-paints and the gamble of buying blind boosters rather unappealing when it came to buying plastic minis such as D&D (under the old format), Heroclix, Mage Knight, etc. Top it off, I'm sure there was also a partial snobbish attitude pointed at it. "What? You play with those crappy looking things?" and then feel bad cuz a mini is leaning over funny or has bendy weapons. Can't say that anymore because I've bought into Heroclix due to the recent release of Street Fighter. Heroclix has also been the easiest and quickest game for me to round up friends to play. Much lower price point to get into it and they don't have to paint or put anything together. Toss in some neat licenses and you can usually tickle someone's fancy. I do have some gamer OCD kicking in and have already started doing some simple repaints but oh well, nice to know that I don't have to until I get around to doing it. Happy gaming folks!
Okay here's attempt #2! I posted my thoughts on Thriller Killer last Sunday but it was just so scattered and long that I felt tired just looking at how wordy it was.
So here's the just of it. Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of sitting around a coffee table with some great friends playing the part of three single-dimensional characters adhering to stereotypes that one might find on a college campus. I played the parts of: -The campus-drug dealer -The super sheltered, super religious freshman who basically labels anything secular as being of the devil -The pretend student that everyone sees on campus grounds playing ultimate frisbee and flag football that gets invited to all of the keggers.
Now let me get this out in the open, I am not a fan of the horror-slasher genre and all that I can recall off the top of my head involved a bit of the first "Scream" and "I Know What You Did Last Summer". So aside from a couple of things like racial tropes, I'm pretty oblivious to the whole thing.
Your characters are pretty much dagger fodder until you get to your last surviving character. Rules are simple and quick and what I loved about my experience is that it was all role-play and when you're rolling D6's, there's weight to it as someone is probably going to get effed up...or dead. "Character sheets had six lines. 1. Name 2. Stereotype 3. Unwise (how likely he/she will end up doing something stupid) 4. Unlucky 5. Undone (how easy it is for the character to freak out at the sign of danger) 6. Unharm (basically your hit points and a cool mechanic that involves your killed character transfering their starting score over to another surviving character with bonus Unharm points given out at the GM's discretion for creative descriptions of their death, resulting in your last survivor being pretty epic on the Unharm charts)
On topic with the Unharm points transferring to other characters, until someone is on their last character, the GM doesn't have to roll any dice and all rolls are made by PC's to avoid the cruel fate of stupidity, luck and lack of nerves. Once a player is down to his/her last character, only then will the GM have to roll on his abilities, that I believe are also the same "stats" types that the players have.
The biggest thing that I got out of the experience was that it truly felt like a group collaboration. And while having a character die prematurely might've been frustrating, there were many instances where you just want to set your guys up for trouble. What did I learn about B-rated slasher horror movies from this? It doesn't matter how far you run or drive off, the bad guy will follow you there, you can't win by shooting the murderer with a gun and that female characters always look sexy regardless of the circumstances that they're in.
Zero prep time on the players' parts as the longest part seemed to be for us to come up with names for our victims. Matt our GM, had three lines of notes for his prep. Easy as pie and if you're out for quick and twisted fun, I highly recommend Thriller Killer.
So last Sunday, I swung by my local comics and games store to play a long overdue game of Hordes. As we moved our toy monsters and soldiers around, shot the breeze, I began talking to my buddy Jason about the game Anima Tactics. Showed him the rulebook and he began looking at the gorgeous art but was still on the fence about jumping in but he did want to pick up something new. Then I pointed out a character and made the comparison to her looking a lot like Lady Gaga. "SOLD!" He bought a Dark Faction starter set then and there. The next day, we both pooled an online order to split the freight cost and he's also brought his brother on board. I'm looking forward to throwing down soon as this game is the closest I've seen to make me think that I'd be playing Final Fantasy on the tabletop.
The funny thing is, this excitement for Anima Tactics has put a huge surge on my time spent working on miniatures. You'd think I'd be prepping my Anima Tactics: Wissenchaft models but nooooo,I've been painting up my Hordes: Legion of Eveblight models and giving them all the love. This week has seen the most time spent at the hobby table than the last two-three months combined. :S
My gaming this weekend brings a one-shot Call of Cthulhu game and then a Hordes beat down. I'll let you know how it goes.
So we had originally planned to have our next Mouse Guard session take place today. Got the Facebook event set up, people clicking that they would attend and then TING, Matt recalled that it would be Mother's Day. Not wanting anyone at my table to potentially lose the running for son or daughter of the year, I called the session off. I took care of my Mothers Day "festivities" on Friday as my mom, flew out to my sister's place for her vacation yesterday. Happy Mothers day to any moms who might read this post. I saw Thor yesterday. Let me say that I enjoyed it. There were many lines that had the theater laughing without turning the movie into an all out comedy, the costumes and visuals of Asgard were absolutely gorgeous, Natalie Portman is hot and while the story didn't have a ton of layers to it, it just works. One thing I couldn't help but notice was whenever Thor, Sif and the Warriors three were all on the screen at the same time, I imagined to myself that this would be what D&D might look like as a film. Particularly in Paragon and Epic Tier.
Now I know that the bulk of the good folk who skim my blog don't play D&D 4E. Regardless, after flipping through Heroes of Shadow at my local store it was weird to see a book that had character options laid out more like Essentials but without that tag on the book AND in the large hardcover format. I'll be honest, my initial reaction was screw you WotC, you've now resolved to lying to your customer base by trying to sell an Essentials book to a non Essentials fan. I've picked up the Essentials Rules Compendium as it's the 4e rule set with all of the eratta. I haven't read anything from the Essentials DM Kit or Monsters Vault and am not sure how they might differ from the "standard" 4E DM Guides and Monster Manuals from a mechanical stand point. Is the Essentials line really 4.5? Not really. I see it as Wizards trying to make roping in the new guy less intimidating and with "simplified" leveling up that I guess is more akin to 1st Ed(?). Unfortunately, it seems like the end result was mostly just another line in the sand to be drawn for many. Personally, I've only experienced Essentials at Wednesday Night Encounters. The folk who play it love it. I've enjoyed it when I do go out to play. What needs to happen is for Essentials to stop being viewed by the players as another game but as another way for Character Classes to advance when they level up. But from my personal experience, I've never seen or actually heard about any table that has a combination of players who've built their characters from the Players Handbooks AND the Essentials books. The guilty forces in my opinion? The mindset of the optimizer/power gamer.
Oh look, it's raining. Meh oh well, just means it'll be depressing if I have to go outside. Well, to a mouse, that same rain drop is now the size of a basketball ball. Everyone has a concept of the dangers that are present in Mouse Guard because we simply take the things we know about "nature" and make it much much bigger. It makes for a solid foundation unlike the fantasy or fiction elements that fill our fantasy world. From a GM perspective, it's great to know that everyone at the table will probably know what I'm talking about since most of it is based on reality. This awareness came about as we talked about some of the over the top settings that have shown up in D&D and my friend Erin talking about how easy it is to just to do stuff in Mouse Guard whereas if presented an open sand box in Cartoon Action Hour she wasn't sure what all was available to her in the world of ________ (insert name of made up cartoon world).
I'm sure most of us have gone through periods where you just don't care about the games you're running and prepping for that next session feels like doing homework for a school assignment. I've been in that mode since January. Happened to me in D&D after Christmas and that ended. I thought about just dropping Mouse Guard before it even started when it became so hard to schedule that first session. Fortunately for me, two of my friends' enthusiasm to play kept me from just scrapping the idea. We finally all sat down to play after over a month of rescheduling. I'll be honest, up until the moment that we started to play, I was just kind of there. But once we started role-playing, I might have been the happiest guy in the world. Sure, prepping for a game can be a huge chore but to be able to escape into a make-believe world with them for a few hours makes it all worthwhile.
Sunday Sunday Sunday! I've been wanting to play Mouse Guard for quite awhile now and today it took place. I woke up, got ready, headed to the grocery store, went to my LFCGS to hang out for a bit with two friends who were playing Hordes before the store opened, picked up a friend and then off to the host's home. Haha actually, everyone who lives in that house (four people) is playing Mouse Guard; My buddy, his younger brother, his girlfriend and her best friend. To round out the patrol; two friends whom we know through the LFCGS. Erin made us a delicious brunch and after doing some finishing touches to our character gens, we were ready to play. While I've never ran anything as a DM/GM outside of D&D 4E, I was very pleased at how easy Mouse Guard is to prep. You essentially have the following things you can throw at the Guard Mice; Weather/Seasons, Wilderness, Other Mice and Wild Animals. The book recommends pitting two of the four at the patrol and have some twists on stand by. And when you scale things down to a mouse, EVERYTHING can be terrifying when a drop of rain is the size of your arm and Turtles are larger than tanks. While the party had good skills in its ranks, it was primarily was formed around getting as much drama between the players with much opportunity to cause trouble through curiosity, being naive and douchebaggery. Fortunately for us, playing with your characters' goals, beliefs, instincts and against them are beneficial to earning rewards in the Mouse Guard system. Heavy roleplay is highly encouraged in the mechanics itself and not being rules heavy and quite flexible in most areas. Those who are playing purely for character development, plot and atmosphere will not have to be afraid of a ton of rules crunch to play. The thing I found odd, is the amount of times that we had to flip through the book to check things out when you realize how few actual rules the game has. I had a lot of fun and it was great to be playing and not having half of the table try to break the game through the biggest uber combo that could come out during combat or making skill test versus obstacles. Playing out combat without the use of minis much to my surprise, is actually something I really enjoyed. All in all, a great experience and I'm looking forward to play again in two weeks and Erin's going to make waffles. I could go into details of the session but overall I just wanted to commit to getting my thoughts of the feel of the game.
Mouse Guard RPG Pros: -quick session prep -reward system really encourages roleplaying -passing AND failing skill checks contribute to advancing -non-gamers can have a blast playing without having to learn a lot of rules -conflicts easily turn into nail biters (in fact I was going to hold back and my players had to remind me that they're playing mice, and it was my job as the gm/ controller of the world to be constantly kicking the crap out of them)
Cons: -conflict rules can feel too abstract at times -from a D&D 4E background, I have to be careful not to let things potentially turn into a skill challenge by throwing out rolls against obstacles -conflict's inherent rock-paper-scissors mechanic is neat but feels awkward and makes it hard to want to do multiple types of conflicts at once
I had a discussion with a friend last Friday about gaming. He DM's the Heavy Metal D&D campaign that I played in from level 1 to 10. That campaign is still going strong. I mentioned to him that I was feeling pretty blah about RPGs. Kris responded that I should stick to one shots. Why? I'm in the zone when I'm passionate about my games or a certain aspect of it, and it really shows. When filler takes place, I'll just coast through it and play it out almost like taking care of formalities. Couple that with my extreme frustration with plot if player attendance isn't regular, it makes the thought of a long campaign seem like an ideal. The idea of doing one shots or campaigns that are done within three sessions do indeed make sense. I get to play out fresh ideas quickly. Cycle through player rosters and no one has to feel like they're giving up every other Saturday or whatever for an unknown amount of time. But the trade off... you don't get to build that level of character bond and backstory where it almost feels like you just got dumped by an ex when the DM kills your character.
Today, I go to my friends' place for brunch and we'll create characters for Mouse Guard while watching Buffy. We'll see how long we play this for and I have no clue what the scheduling for sessions will be like as only two of us have Monday to Friday work weeks. Regardless, I'm excited to get this going.
Mecha Musume or Mecha Shoujo is a style or genre of art most popular among anime/manga art styles that involve fusing a girl and machine. After looking at a thread on a gaming forum that I frequent, I decided to tackle this with the Warjacks from the Warmachine game. I refuse to do blatant anime styling and excessive and pointless fan service didn't come to me naturally. Hope you like. I had fun drawing this.
Well there's been a lot of talk and speculation on the blogosphere and among my friends at the local comic book store due to all the things that Wizards is cancelling, discontinuing and changing with D&D. I honestly don't know what to think about it. While it sucks that the business model doesn't seem to be working for their shareholders, etc I doubt it'll effect me too much unless I let people who are very passionate and vocal on the subject effect me. Yes, I've put in about $600 into 4E material over the last year and a bit but it still works as long as I still feel like playing the game and can find others who would too. The thing with the minis don't bother as I've never used the prepainted plastics for my own campaigns anyway. I'm however trying to figure out if I'm not too bothered because I'm a little meh about D&D at the moment or because I'm not allowing myself to get caught up in the speculations and change is bad side of things. Besides, most of the blogs I follow on here are from people who play older editions of the game. I look at blogs for the spirit of the game and for ideas, not rule mechanics. I'll worry about all this when someone WotC Officer barges into my house and tells me that I can't play blah blah blah because it's non-compliant with the current edition. Then I'll be looking to bust some heads.
So I was thinking of how I might get my Legion of Everblight models painted as quickly as possible without making them look like they were just dipped or like something from the pre-painted miniature department a la D&D or Heroclix. I'm thinking of painting my models to be metallic pieces as in gold, copper, bronze and silver. To me it'd be something I can achieve pretty quickly and at the same time have them look very distinct. There'd still some distinctions between skin, armour, etc.
I'm guessing that if I went this route, the deployment zone would look like a fancy chess set or a trophy cabinet.
We got dumped on in the snow department since Friday. Well, Sundays are traditionally what we lovingly call Craft Day at the store I go to but I'm not feeling like making the trek and risk having the Mustang get stuck while trying to get in or out of the parking lot. Think I'll be doing Craft Day at home today or having a solo "Nerd Sunday" reading an expansion book or by watching some Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Counted my stuff and I've got over a hundred Legion of Everblight minis that need to be painted. Will have to go on the quick and easy route if I ever dream to be able to boast an entirely painted army... Base coat, one highlight and one shading wash.
I'm noticing fewer and fewer New Year Resolutions being made among people that I know. I've personally never bothered to make them, but since I have a blog, why not.
My goals for 2011 gaming consist of: 1. Paint all of my Guild/Malifaux miniatures 2. Build a gaming board with full set of terrain for Malifaux 3. Play at least one game with my Anima Tactics stuff 4. Launch my Mouse Guard campaign 5. Assemble all of my Legion of Everblight miniatures 6. Actively read and post on the forums and blogs that I frequent instead of just wandering aimlessly through them and wasting precious time.
So what better way to welcome the New Year than by hanging out with some of my gamer friends and painting our little toy soldiers that we wage battle with? Well this afternoon I did just that as we watched the entire first season of Gargoyles. That's pretty much all I did there besides socializing. Some of the guys also played the Magic card game and a game of Warmachine was had. All in all a good day and I think it's time to make some lobster tail!
The figures are from my Guild faction for Malifaux. Starting with a Witchling Stalker, then Lady Justice and Sonia Crid the Witch Hunter.
Happy New Year my friends! May 2011 bring health, wealth and amazing gaming!