Author Archive

Trying out Twilight Imperium 3rd edition.. finally after 10 years.. and it’s a delight

Posted on November 12th, 2017 under , , , , , . Posted by

I noticed the 3rd edition of Twilight Imperium on game store shelves over 10 years ago given my love of space opera, but it’s reputation for being a 12 hour marathon game put me offThe box cover art is especially nice, and my eyes were always drawn to …

Painting the Warbands of Khorne Pt 1/2 Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne!

Posted on November 5th, 2017 under , , , , . Posted by

In the summer, I painted the opera-looking good guys of the Warhammer Age of Sigmar core set (as discussed here)and now, I recently decided to paint the bad guys, the Warbands of Khorne, from the core set.The Warbands of Khorne are devotees of the Chao…

Painting the Warbands of Khorne Pt 1/2 Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne!

Posted on November 5th, 2017 under , , , , . Posted by

In the summer, I painted the opera-looking good guys of the Warhammer Age of Sigmar core set (as discussed here)and now, I recently decided to paint the bad guys, the Warband of Khorne, from the core set.The Warbands of Khorne are devotees of the Chaos…

Unboxing: Deep Cut Studios Beach Mat

Posted on October 27th, 2017 under , , , , , . Posted by

They say good things comes in threes. Well, today, I got 3 things that are related and by some fluke, it came in all at once.First on the list today, I got the core rule book for Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago, which is set in the same gameverse as Fros…

Unboxing: Deep Cut Studios Beach Mat

Posted on October 27th, 2017 under , , , , , . Posted by

They say good things comes in threes. Well, today, I got 3 things that are related and by some fluke, it came in all at once.First on the list today, I got the core rule book for Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago, which is set in the same gameverse as Fros…

D&D Attack Wing is an enjoyable Flight Path game as expected

Posted on October 15th, 2017 under , , , , , , , , . Posted by

I bought Dungeons & Dragons: Attack Wing about 3 years ago, but only today I finally got around to playing it with my friend Jeff.  I only just discovered yesterday that the game is discontinued, so there’s that.I am well familiar with the Fli…

D&D Attack Wing is an enjoyable Flight Path game as expected

Posted on October 15th, 2017 under , , , , , , , , . Posted by

I bought Dungeons & Dragons: Attack Wing about 3 years ago, but only today I finally got around to playing it with my friend Jeff.  I only just discovered yesterday that the game is discontinued, so there’s that.I am well familiar with the Fli…

Quick update on some Canadian Thanksgiving gaming

Posted on October 8th, 2017 under , , , , , . Posted by

On this Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, my friends Jim, Jeff and I sat down to play the 3X game Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization, by Czech Games. I’ve discussed the game play of this Civ game before, so I won’t elaborate again on the mechan…

Quick update on some Canadian Thanksgiving gaming

Posted on October 8th, 2017 under , , , , , . Posted by

On this Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, my friends Jim, Jeff and I sat down to play the 3X game Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilizations, by Czech Games. I’ve discussed the game play of this Civ game before, so I won’t elaborate again on the mecha…

A quick look at the rule book Dracula’s America

Posted on September 27th, 2017 under , , , , , , . Posted by

I got in the mail today the skirmish rule book Dracula’s America: Shadows of the West, from Osprey Games.
Nice solid hardcover, glossy sturdy paper and 140 pages. Quality you would expect from Osprey. 

The premise of the book, to copy from BGG:

It is 1875, and Count Dracula is President of the United States of America.

In the wake of the Civil War, with the country struggling to regain its balance, Dracula seized power. 

The Count’s thralls assassinated President Lincoln and his entire administration in a single night and, in the ensuing chaos, their master made his move. Dominating the Senate, he declared himself President-for-Life, and now rules the Union with fear and an iron fist. His vampiric progeny, the Coven of the Red Hand, infest every strata of society, and enforce Dracula’s will with ruthless efficiency.

Drawn by the shadows gathering across the nation, secretive cults and evil creatures emerge from their lairs to thrive in the darkness of the new regime. Fleeing from the oppression and menace of the East, hordes of pioneers head to the West, hoping for a new life.

Dracula’s greed, however, knows no bounds, and his reach is long…

Dracula’s America: Shadows of the West is a skirmish game of gothic horror set in an alternate Old West. Secret wars rage across the country – from bustling boom-towns to the most remote wilderness – as cults and secret societies fight for power and survival. Players will throw their support behind one of these factions, and will lead a Posse in fast-paced, cinematic battles for dominance and survival.

Clearly, the author has been influenced by the movie Abraham Lincoln Vampire hunter, a move I enjoyed, especially the Confederate Vampires.

I am a history lover, and indeed, have a graduate degree in American history, specializing in exactly this period, from the antebellum period just before the Civil War to the Old West afterward. I know it very well and love it, and couldn’t resist buying the rule book.

In this gameverse, the Civil War drags on past 1865 and the South is fighting a guerilla war.  It seems Drac baby at this time wormed his way into Lincoln’s administration as an advisor until the President and his entire cabinet were assassinated in a single night mysteriously. Gallant Dracula, following Honest Abe’s last wishes,  assumes control of the country while laying blame on the Confederates.

Hell follows with him, as vampires from the Old World come to America in droves, presumably at the best of a certain Romanian count. They need to f.f.f.f.f.f.eed after all, and the Old West suddenly is seeing more refugees from the East Coast fleeing, with vampires following.

This is where the game lore becomes interesting.. There are both demonic and mystical cults and secret societies galore, battling it out in the Old West, along with the usual preachers, runaway slaves and hired guns.

There is the Twilight Order, an anti-evil secret society who remind me of the Templars..

 

to be thwarted by thralls of Dracula, called the Red Hand Coven


and allied (?) by a demonic cult, the Crossroads Cult, serving demonic masters masquerading as wealthy rail barons out East..

to be countered by native American Skinwalker tribes using shapeshifting magic (you just saw this coming a mile away)..

Let’s not forget the Dark Confederacy, who use necromancy so the South can rise again, in more ways than one, with the aid of ghostly Revenants.. 

Confederate necromancers! Love it!

On top of all these guys jostling for power, you got zombie and vampire outbreaks and a whole bestiary of minis to face, including of course, Sasquatch, the Chupacabra and the Jackalope.


Frostgrave, a popular Osprey skirmish campaign game, is downright plain compared to the premise of Dracula’s America what with the Vampiric cowboys, hellhounds and pale riders home on the range, and some magic.

In the campaign game, you generally have one of the above type warbands, called posses naturally enough, to go forth and battle, and level up and acquire dollars to buy equipment and members and hired guns (like the Carpathian Guard from the original Dracula novel). Unlike Frostgrave, where the goal of leveling up is for your wizard to ascend, there doesn’t appear to be an end goal in mind in Dracula’s America. I guess you level up until you get bored of the campaign, or retire your group, much like a traditional RPG. 

I thought for sure when I ordered the book that I would find steampunk tropes, but there aren’t any. The equipment in the game is Gothic. Miniatures come armed, in addition to shootin’ irons, dynamite, shotguns, etc, with Holy Water, Silver bullets and such.

In terms of game mechanics, the game uses “successes” (a common mechanic with such companies as Two Hour Wargames), with a success being a roll of 5 or better on one stat called “Grit”.  A miniature’s Grit is based on his level of expertise, novice, veteran or Hero. Novices roll on a d6, vets on a D8 and Heroes on a D10. Sounds simple enough and perhaps not as “swingy” as Frostgrave. 

Initiative in the game is based on a standard set of playing cards. When I read this, I thought for sure it was for use of the poker trope you see in Westerns, but it’s not. Each player has his own deck, and generally draws a hand on the number of minis on the board. To determine who goes first, players pick a card from their hand, with the higher number card going higher.. however, black cards always trump red cards, even if lower. 

In this example, the player with the Jack beats the player with the 5…

but in this example, the player with the 2 beats the player with the Jack.

This can be very interesting and the most interesting game mechanic that I can see. Initiative, which can be crucial, can be wild and very unpredictable, and harder I guess for opponents who are card counters.

I ordinarily am not a horror guy, but both my friend Jeff and I like the Old West background. Throw in magic and vampires, coupled with firearms, and the game looks interesting. The only thing holding me back from playing is that I don’t have Old West terrain, but I guess some cheap mdf buildings for the town Jail, Dry Goods store, etc, can solve that.

Very interesting rule book. I look forward to trying this out one day. 

A quick look at the rule book Dracula’s America

Posted on September 27th, 2017 under , , , , , , . Posted by

I got in the mail today the skirmish rule book Dracula’s America: Shadows of the West, from Osprey Games.
Nice solid hardcover, glossy sturdy paper and 140 pages. Quality you would expect from Osprey. 

The premise of the book, to copy from BGG:

It is 1875, and Count Dracula is President of the United States of America.

In the wake of the Civil War, with the country struggling to regain its balance, Dracula seized power. 

The Count’s thralls assassinated President Lincoln and his entire administration in a single night and, in the ensuing chaos, their master made his move. Dominating the Senate, he declared himself President-for-Life, and now rules the Union with fear and an iron fist. His vampiric progeny, the Coven of the Red Hand, infest every strata of society, and enforce Dracula’s will with ruthless efficiency.

Drawn by the shadows gathering across the nation, secretive cults and evil creatures emerge from their lairs to thrive in the darkness of the new regime. Fleeing from the oppression and menace of the East, hordes of pioneers head to the West, hoping for a new life.

Dracula’s greed, however, knows no bounds, and his reach is long…

Dracula’s America: Shadows of the West is a skirmish game of gothic horror set in an alternate Old West. Secret wars rage across the country – from bustling boom-towns to the most remote wilderness – as cults and secret societies fight for power and survival. Players will throw their support behind one of these factions, and will lead a Posse in fast-paced, cinematic battles for dominance and survival.

Clearly, the author has been influenced by the movie Abraham Lincoln Vampire hunter, a movie I enjoyed, especially the Confederate Vampires.

I am a history lover, and indeed, have a graduate degree in American history, specializing in exactly this period, from the antebellum period just before the Civil War to the Old West afterward. I know it very well and love it, and couldn’t resist buying the rule book.

In this gameverse, the Civil War drags on past 1865 and the South is fighting a guerilla war.  It seems Drac baby at this time wormed his way into Lincoln’s administration as an advisor until the President and his entire cabinet were assassinated in a single night mysteriously. Gallant Dracula, following Honest Abe’s last wishes,  assumes control of the country while laying blame on the Confederates.

Hell follows with him, as vampires from the Old World come to America in droves, presumably at the behest of a certain Romanian count. They need to f.f.f.f.f.f.eed after all, and the Old West suddenly is seeing more refugees from the East Coast fleeing, with vampires following.

This is where the game lore becomes interesting.. There are both demonic and mystical cults and secret societies galore, battling it out in the Old West, along with the usual preachers, runaway slaves and hired guns.

There is the Twilight Order, an anti-evil secret society who remind me of the Templars..

 

to be thwarted by thralls of Dracula, called the Red Hand Coven


and allied (?) by a demonic cult, the Crossroads Cult, serving demonic masters masquerading as wealthy rail barons out East..

,,,to be countered by native American Skinwalker tribes using shapeshifting magic (you just saw this coming a mile away)..

Let’s not forget the Dark Confederacy, who use necromancy so the South can rise again, in more ways than one, with the aid of ghostly Revenants.. 

Confederate necromancers! Love it!

On top of all these guys jostling for power, you got zombie and vampire outbreaks and a whole bestiary of minis to face, including of course, Sasquatch, the Chupacabra and the Jackalope.


Frostgrave, a popular Osprey skirmish campaign game, is downright plain compared to the premise of Dracula’s America what with the Vampiric cowboys, hellhounds and pale riders home on the range, and some magic.

In the campaign game, you generally have one of the above type of warbands, called posses naturally enough, to go forth and battle, and level up and acquire dollars to buy equipment and members and hired guns (like the Carpathian Guard from the original Dracula novel). Unlike Frostgrave, where the goal of leveling up is for your wizard to ascend, there doesn’t appear to be an end goal in mind in Dracula’s America, other than collecting victory points. More likely, you will level up until you get bored of the campaign, or retire your group, much like a traditional RPG. 

I thought for sure when I ordered the book that I would find steampunk tropes, but there aren’t any. The equipment in the game is Gothic. Miniatures come armed, in addition to shootin’ irons, dynamite, shotguns, etc, with Holy Water, Silver bullets and such.

In terms of game mechanics, the game uses “successes” (a common mechanic with such companies as Two Hour Wargames), with a success being a roll of 5 or better on one stat called “Grit”.  A miniature’s Grit is based on his level of expertise, novice, veteran or Hero. Novices roll on a d6, vets on a D8 and Heroes on a D10. Sounds simple enough and perhaps not as “swingy” as Frostgrave. 

Initiative in the game is based on a standard set of playing cards. When I read this, I thought for sure it was for use of the poker trope you see in Westerns, but it’s not. Each player has his own deck, and generally draws a hand on the number of minis on the board. To determine who goes first, players pick a card from their hand, with the higher number card going higher.. however, black cards always trump red cards, even if lower. 

In this example, the player with the Jack beats the player with the 5…

but in this example, the player with the 2 beats the player with the Jack.

This is the most interesting game mechanic that I can see. Initiative, which can be crucial, can be wild and very unpredictable, and harder I guess for opponents who are card counters.

I ordinarily am not a horror guy, but both my friend Jeff and I like the Old West background. Throw in magic and vampires, coupled with firearms, and the game looks interesting. The only thing holding me back from playing is that I don’t have Old West terrain, but I guess some cheap mdf buildings for the town Jail, Dry Goods store, etc, can solve that. 

Very interesting rule book. I look forward to trying this out one day. 

Acquired a large haul of terrain today at FMGCon 2017

Posted on September 23rd, 2017 under , , , , , . Posted by

My friends Jeff, Jim and I popped in to a local gaming convention today, FMGCon2017, or Field Marshal Gaming, in the small city of Oshawa, which is about an hour away from Toronto. The venue was in a Royal Canadian Air Force Reserve building that was r…

Acquired a large haul of terrain today at FMGCon 2017

Posted on September 23rd, 2017 under , , , , , . Posted by

My friends Jeff, Jim and I popped in to a local gaming convention today, FMGCon2017, or Field Marshal Gaming, in the small city of Oshawa, which is about an hour away from Toronto. The venue was in a Royal Canadian Air Force Reserve building that was r…

Unboxing: Battle Systems Sci-fi II Terrain (Kickstarter)

Posted on September 15th, 2017 under , , , . Posted by

Another of my kickstarters came in this week. Last week it was Battlestations II, and now (and not to be confused) Battle Systems II, which I completely forgot about. I shouldn’t have forgotten it, as I kickstarted it (one of 1,104 people worldwide) in…

Unboxing: Battle Systems Sci-fi II Terrain (Kickstarter)

Posted on September 15th, 2017 under , , , . Posted by

Another of my kickstarters came in this week. Last week it was Battlestations II, and now (and not to be confused) Battle Systems II, which I completely forgot about. I shouldn’t have forgotten it, as I kickstarted it (one of 1,104 people worldwide) in…

Unboxing: Battlestations II Second Edition (Kickstarter)

Posted on September 6th, 2017 under , , , . Posted by

My March 2016 Kickstarter of the second edition of Battlestations by Gorilla Games finally came in today, along with my stretch goal, a box of minis.

Battlestations, in case you don’t know is, to quote Boardgamegeek:

is a tabletop starship simulator – a multi-map board game that simultaneously features ship-action in space AND the events on board the ships involved in the conflicts. It is also a roleplaying game in which your characters grow throughout campaigns, picking up experience points, upgrades, and new abilities.

The game rules are very simple but they allow for complex RPG-like imaginative choices like teleporting to an enemy ship, hacking their helm controls and steering their ship towards a black hole before ejecting yourself out the air lock. Inside the box is an infinity of alien worlds to explore, rickety spacecrafts to upgrade, and a rowdy crew of lifelong comrades to adventure with.
One player takes on the role of “the enemy”, and works against the other players who are cooperating with each other.

The original game if I remember correctly, had 15mm minis, but the new kickstarter had it in 28mm, so I jumped in and got it.  Space battles *and* land based miniatures? How can you go wrong. 

The second edition box seems a lot bigger than the first edition, which is natural I suppose since it’s been scaled up, but also a lot heavier than the first box. 

Rules are nice and glossy.. 

 and apart from a couple of pages of rules..


it seems to be composed of a ton of scenarios, which I imagine, form an “rpg” campaign. 


The game’s weight seems to come from the bulk of the game box, which are counters and tiles.. I don’t recall ever seeing counters and tiles stacked so thick before. 


It is composed of the usual game counters




map tiles done very prettily I might add..






and good old fashion space map tiles for the space battles. 


There are the usual dice, cards, character sheet and meeples of course..


and the minis are in that soft plastic boardgame style, which is good enough I imagine… 

The gallant heroes I suppose..

 
The creatures look strange and plentiful..








This robot is retro cool enough that I am tempted to paint it just to see how well I can do the reflection of it’s egg-like glass head. 



The stretch goal extras I got were  more of the same..



I am a bit disappointed though to find only 1 ship mini.. not sure how you can have space combat with only 1 mini, but we’ll see..

I see though, that it’s linked to a tile…

Anyways, the game looks intriguing but we’ll see how it fares. 



Unboxing: Battlestations II (Second Edition) (Kickstarter)

Posted on September 6th, 2017 under , , , . Posted by

My March 2016 Kickstarter of the second edition of Battlestations by Gorilla Games finally came in today, along with my stretch goal, a box of minis.

Battlestations, in case you don’t know, to quote Boardgamegeek:

is a tabletop starship simulator – a multi-map board game that simultaneously features ship-action in space AND the events on board the ships involved in the conflicts. It is also a roleplaying game in which your characters grow throughout campaigns, picking up experience points, upgrades, and new abilities.

The game rules are very simple but they allow for complex RPG-like imaginative choices like teleporting to an enemy ship, hacking their helm controls and steering their ship towards a black hole before ejecting yourself out the air lock. Inside the box is an infinity of alien worlds to explore, rickety spacecrafts to upgrade, and a rowdy crew of lifelong comrades to adventure with.
One player takes on the role of “the enemy”, and works against the other players who are cooperating with each other.

The original game if I remember correctly, had 15mm minis, but the new kickstarter had it in 28mm, so I jumped in and got it.  Space battles *and* land based miniatures? How can you go wrong. 

The second edition box seems a lot bigger than the first edition, which is natural I suppose since it’s been scaled up, but also a lot heavier than the first box. 

Rules are nice and glossy.. 

 and apart from a couple of pages of rules..


it seems to be composed of a ton of scenarios, which I imagine, form an “rpg” campaign. 


The game’s weight seems to come from a ton of counters and tiles.. I don’t recall ever seeing counters and tiles stacked so thick before. 


It is composed of the usual game counters




map tiles done very prettily I might add..






and good old fashion space map tiles for the space battles. 


There are the usual dice, cards, character sheet and meeples of course..


and the minis are in that soft plastic boardgame style, which is good enough I imagine… 

The gallant heroes I suppose..

 
The creatures look strange and plentiful..








This robot is retro cool enough that I am tempted to paint it just to see how well I can do the reflection of it’s egg-like glass head. 



The stretch goal extras I got were more of the same..



I was a bit disappointed at first to find only 1 ship mini.. I was not sure how you can have space combat with only 1 mini, so I corresponded with the game designer through Kickstarter..

and sure enough, he told me to look again as he got the same query from two others. I looked hard again, a full five minutes through my minis and found it.. Very strange I missed it like that.

I see that ship stats are linked to a tile…

Anyways, the game looks intriguing but we’ll see how it fares. 



Playing Star Trek: Ascendancy with old friends like it was 1985 all over again

Posted on September 3rd, 2017 under , , , , , , , , . Posted by

These last couple of years, my friend Craig has been visiting my friend Jim and I from out of town on Labour Day weekend, a once a year happening only. The three of us over 30 years ago were avid players of FASA’s Star Trek RPG and were well immersed i…

Playing Star Trek: Ascendancy with old friends like it was 1985 all over again

Posted on September 3rd, 2017 under , , , , , , , . Posted by

These last couple of years, my friend Craig has been visiting my friend Jim and I from out of town on Labour Day weekend, a once a year happening only. The three of us over 30 years ago were avid players of FASA’s Star Trek RPG and were well immersed i…

My workbench: More industrial terrain built and painted

Posted on August 19th, 2017 under , , , . Posted by

I recently painted up some industrial terrain (as discussed here). I don’t have the energy just yet for GW’s complex Shadow War terrain, so I’m just sticking with the quick wins and continuing on with some more easy terrain..Speaking of Shadow War, I h…

My workbench: More industrial terrain built and painted

Posted on August 19th, 2017 under , , , . Posted by

I recently painted up some industrial terrain (as discussed here). I don’t have the energy just yet for GW’s complex Shadow War terrain, so I’m just sticking with the quick wins and continuing on with some more easy terrain..Speaking of Shadow War, I h…