Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Triton A1s

Even better models than the Triton A2s! Again, nothing amazing to say here though.

Monday, September 14, 2015


Infantry in DZC is just so small it's comical. Nothing amazing to say here.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #93

Stupid Diablo 3 has claimed my life again.

I'm going to be honest here: Painting and miniatures in general just haven't been a passion for me the last 3 weeks. School started for my son and it's been a rough transition to Kindergarten for him. Between challenges there and the stress of building the annual operating plan, my life has been pretty upside. I've fallen into a pit of booze and Diablo 3. A small amount of painting has gotten done, but very minor. My friends are sort of in a similar slump as well so it's sort of well timed.

So in an effort to get ourselves focused, we've set a goal to have 1500pts of DZC painted by Oct 13th. In that vein, let's see if I can focus on this specific army build...

DZC Paint Target:
2 Zeus - assembled
2 Ares - painting
2 Phobos - painting
8 Immortals - done
4 Junos - 2 done, 2 assembled
5 Neptunes - 3 done, 2 assembled
Hades - assembled
2 Helios - painting
2 Janus - done
2 Sirens - done (to be posted)
1 Triton A1 - done (to be posted)

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Review: Dropzone Commander

Figured it would be good to do this one too...

I like this game. I'm biased to like it for a few reasons. Also, I've only played 6 games of it so far, so my opinion might change in the future.

Dropzone Commander (DZC for short) is an epic-scale type game, using 10mm scale models and built around rapid deployment and sound strategic decisions. The games tend to have a rock-paper-scissors sort of dynamic in that there are aircraft, ground units and infantry, each with its own key value to the game.

What I Don't Like:
* No bases - Seriously, no models really have bases. This is a pain for things like determining movement and line of sight. Sure, they would ruin the aesthetic of the game, but it would tighten up the gameplay a lot. This is hands down my biggest complaint.
* Small models - 10mm scale is just weird to paint. Like weird hard. I've seen some pretty amazing paint jobs and would love to paint to that level, but it's really hard.
* Army building - This is just complicated to learn. It could probably be simpler, and in all fairness I get the purpose of it, but they really need an app to make this easier.
* Rules index - Their rule book index is terrible. Fortunately the rules are relatively compact to mitigate this, but learning the game is a real challenge.
* No cards - Come on! Seriously? Reference cards for models is just a de facto standard now!

What I like:
* Epic! - The battles represent a larger force. It's still a sort of skirmish, but they are battlegroups of models instead of the kind of stuff I've been playing with Warmachine or Malifaux.
* Tight rules - The rules aren't perfect, but they are relatively tournament worthy. Plus they have rules for when aircraft get shot out of the sky and crash, and for destroying buildings and such. I dig that.
* Different - This scratches a very different itch for me. The game has this very dynamic due to transports and dropships and how that can make everything move very quickly.
* Missions - The system for setting up missions works very cleanly and yet is very flexible. It might be my favorite aspect of the game so far.
* Strategic - I feel like the game allows for sound strategy to really take center stage rather than "this tricky models does X and wins".

Barriers to Playing:
Cost, painting, etc. But honestly, this company did something smart: They have faction starter boxes with a skirmish-level force for dirt cheap. It made jumping into the game ridiculously cheap, fast and easy.

Overall Summary
I dig this game. I'm looking forward to the next book and more releases and generally playing more of it.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Review: Age of Sigmar

At the request of a reader, here's my thoughts on Age of Sigmar. It's kinda long, so I've labeled sections in case you want to skip to specific parts.

First, let me say that I had played 1 game of 8th edition (which I can't say I was particularly fond of), and prior to that, had only played maybe 1 or 2 games of Warhammer Fantasy from some long ago edition around 20 years ago. I used to play a fair amount of 40k back those 20 years ago, but beyond that, my GW gaming experience is limited to all the fringe games like Space Hulk and Warhammer Quest. Thus my review here is more based on me primarily being a Warmachine player, so take it all with that context.

Actual Gameplay
For the 1 game I played, I played Skaven, only because I have a bunch of Skaven models. We actually played a starter scenario right before this as well just to get a grasp of the rules. But for the main event I rolled out a huge mountain of Skaven models. As you probably know though, there's no point amount for it. I think it amounted to something like 12 war scrolls worth of stuff deployed. My opponent (the fun and gracious Henry) played Orcs. During deployment Henry eventually stopped putting stuff down and chose the Sudden Death option where if he wiped out my Skavenslave horde of some 70 models, then he instantly wins.
The game was brutal, with a few ranged attacks before melee happened. Honestly, I was really impressed with the ratio of casualties due to melee vs ranged. So called "gun-line" armies might work in this game, but from what I can tell it's the grand melee that really gets things done.
During the course of the game it became obvious that if I left my mob of slaves in combat that they were going to easily get wiped out, so I executed a careful removal of casualties from the front to get them disengaged. Then I executed a tactical retreat with them and closed in the gap with my Rat Ogres and Clanrats. Eventually the tide of battle turned and I had the Orcs severely on the run by the time the game ended. I was victorious!

What I Didn't Like:
* Pointless Warscrolls - Skaven slaves as an example. The lack of a point system does make things weird. I'd NEVER take slaves again if I played. There are a number of war scrolls for units that are essentially useless in the game as far as I can tell.
* Warscroll options - It's still a bit too complicated in terms of options on a warscroll. Things like "do these rats have 1 reach weapon or 2 short weapons" or whatever configuration. I get the whole "model accurate" thing, but there's also options that are not represented by models. Lots of notes needed and it's complicated. And again, no points, so why wouldn't I just load up every option?
* Ambiguity - There's definitely some ambiguity in the rules when resolving certain things like wound assignment to multi-wound models, or having multiple different types of banners. Maybe this will all get tightened up later.
* Measuring - Yeah, not using bases to measure is just dumb. I'm sorry, but it just made the game more complicated rather than easier.
* Initiative - I'm still not sure whether I like the way you roll each round for initiative. It can cause a pretty hard sway. In generally this is a bit of a preference thing for me though and I just haven't played as many you-go-i-go type games.

What I liked:
* Placement - The whole taking turns putting additional stuff on the board is an amusing dynamic. I could literally write a whole article about why I think this is a brilliant system. It becomes a combination of list building and deployment all at once. It gives you the option to adapt to what your opponent is placing to thus have a more balanced game. You have to make hard decisions quickly. It steers the game away from "playbook list building" and more towards an adapt-on-the-fly strategy game which I really love. This is hands down my favorite thing about this game. Or perhaps tied for my favorite thing...
* Hellpit Abomination - Straight up, totally fun on the board. It wrecks the shit out of things. The big models like that really shine as fun in this game format.
* Rat Ogres - Cause like, they are crazy amusing. They have lots of features and flexibility. It was fun crashing them into Orcs and watching massive chaos ensue.
* Clanrats - Cause nothing says amusing like a massive mob of 50 Clanrats all together getting big bonuses. Seriously though, I do really enjoy the whole "it's a huge mob of models moving in something resembling a formation" thing. This is one of the pieces of Warhammer that always appealed to me. I can totally see people continuing to use movement trays for big units and just house-ruling their usage in this new game system.
* Moar dice - Rolling tons of dice is pretty amusing. This game is great for it when you get to melee.
* Close combat - The game really gets epic when you're piling in huge amounts of stuff and the close combat trade offs turn into a game of chicken. This actually becomes a pretty important aspect of the game in that choosing when to activate something can make or break your whole army if you aren't careful.
* Strategy - There's definitely some tactical aspects to the game in knowing when to withdraw/feint and when to commit or reposition. More on that below, but I think this is easily overlooked.

Barriers to Playing:
So let's talk about this. Switching from Warhammer 8th ed to this has a barrier in that it's a clearly different game requiring a whole new mindset. Also because the war scrolls aren't balanced on a point system it's a whole new way of approaching what to include in your army. Previously you'd build (assemble/convert/paint/etc) your models with a plan of building a specific list. Now when you show up for a game, you likely need to bring your entire model collection to be well prepared. Yes, that's my opinion here: To play "competitively" you need to bring every model you have so that you can have appropriate things to counter what your opponent puts on the table.
What are my personally barriers to playing this? There's a few and I'll admit that lots of these are just cause I'm stuck in my own little bias.
1) I'm heavily financially invested in Warmachine/Hordes already.
2) I prefer games with really tight rule sets. This game is not nearly as tight as I prefer.
3) There's no way I'm painting hundreds more models for this game. I can't even catch up on the other games I play.

Why All The Hate??
Honestly I don't get all the hate for this new game. Let's review a few points:
* The rules are free, and there's an app. They've made it accessible.
* It plays relatively smooth and quick, in my opinion.
* Every model that existed before is still playable.
* Nothing is preventing players from playing the existing 8th ed game also!
Seriously though, I think when you step back and look at it, this is actually a pretty good game for what it is. I personally think this game is better than 8th edition was, admittedly based on 1 playing of each. But in the end, AoS is it's own game, and should be treated that way.

Overall Summary
Do I like AoS? Yes.
Will I play it again? Maybe, but rarely.
This game could fill a miniatures gaming niche for me of large scale strategy battles which I don't have a game for today. I honestly felt like there's a good opportunity for proper strategy in this game after pulling off a feint with my slaves. Games that enable more proper strategy rather than just "I rolled a 6 on this spell and your unit blows up" are good in my book. I like strategy and planning in my games. In any case, I had fun and it was definitely worth trying out.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


3 of my 6 Neptunes are finished now!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Dropzone Update

Last night I played yet another game of DZC and had a good time. I lost the game (against Shaltari) but it was somewhat by design since I wanted my opponent (a bigger noob than me) to have a positive experience so I was helping him a bit along the way. Plus it helped me get a better understanding of how Shaltari work. That actually makes 5 games played at the starter box level now. I'm really looking forward to playing a 1000pt game to get the feel of using a commander and the command deck.

I've got more painted stuff finished but it needs photos still so I'll try to get those up in the next couple days. In the mean time, my 1000pt paint goal is as follows:
4 Neptunes, 2 Zeus, 2 Odins, 2 Juno A1s, 4 Immortals, 2 Triton A2s, 4 Janis.
At present I'm over halfway on that. My extended goal is to also have 2 Ares and 2 Phobos painted as well since that will fill out a fully painted starter box.

One last note about the game last night is that I got several compliments on my paint scheme and how cool the airbrush masking looked, especially on the finished Neptunes which are fairly large. It gets me excited to paint more!

Oh and a resource link is the web-based army builder for DZC located here which was built by the local Talon. I can't say how stoked I am to have a mobile device friendly army builder for this game.