Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Dungeon Saga

Dungeon Saga is a board game published by Mantic Games, of Mars Attacks and Kings of War fame. It's a 1 vs many dungeon crawler, similar to Fantasy Flight's Descent.  However, the game is more dungeon than saga.

This was my first experience with anything from Mantic.  I've leafed through the book for Kings of War, their version of Warhammer Fantasy Battle, and that seemed pretty cool.  I've seen the Mars Attacks game but that didn't interest me at all.  Honestly, the fact that I had no experience with Mantic was why I was looking forward to trying Dungeon Saga.

One thing I have heard about Mantic's board games is the mediocre component quality.  Dungeon Saga is definitely several cuts below the sort of thing you see from Fantasy Flight, Asmodee, and Cool Mini or Not.  The plastic miniatures were average sculpts at best (the hero figures) and poor at worst (the skeletons).  The artwork on the dungeon tiles was drab, and the cardboard itself kind of thin.  One interesting thing the game had was "furniture."  The doors, bookcases, and chests, instead of just being markers were made out of plastic.  While I thought that was a nice touch they looked something you'd get out of a bag of plastic toys bought from the supermarket.

As for the game itself it also comes off as second best to stuff like 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Crete 1941

Bought the latest issue of World at War magazine, part of the Strategy and Tactics family, and have been playing the game that comes with it, Crete 1941.

The game is a solitaire simulation of the German invasion of Crete in 1941, with the player controlling the Germans and the game system handling the various Anglo-Greek forces.    It features a point to point map of the island, and is divided into four large sectors which facilitate the staging of the German forces.  For example, in the staging phase of the game if you wanted to do an airborne assault on the Heraklion airfield, you would place the German paratroopers and transports in the "Heraklion Airborne Sector" space, and then move them to the airfield during the airdrop phase.

Besides the victory point track, there is a Allied Command Level track, ranging from 1-12.  Once a turn you roll two dice and if you exceed the Allied Command Level, then the Allies will begin to evacuate the island.  Once the evacuation is complete, you total up your victory points, which are awarded for eliminating allied units (evacuated units don't count, this is very important), and taken away for losing German ones.  You also get points for occupying airfields and ports and game's end.  Before this roll is made, you will increase the Allied Command Level one for every port and airfield still under Allied control or contested.

Combat is pretty simple.  Each unit has a combat factor, and if you roll equal to or under that number you score a hit.  All of the allied units are single-step, while the Germans are two.  The flip side of the allied units features UK and Greek flags, and facilitates the hidden status of those units until the Germans are in the same zone as they are or have gained intelligence in order to reveal them.  There are no movement factors on the counters since the allied units rarely move (one of the allied command events has their units moving into adjacent ports or airfields) and the Germans can move two spaces during their tactical movement phase.

There are numerous ways for your aircraft to be shot down.  Not only do any AA units in a point under attack get to attack each and every aircraft in the raid or drop, but when attacking in combat any roll of six will reduce a German air unit.  The Luftwaffe can either fly missions in support of the ground offensive or make strategic attacks against allied morale (these will reduce the Allied Command Level track)  or the Royal Navy.  Attacks against the Royal Navy reduce that track, which will make it less likely that the German amphibious operations will be intercepted.

Overall I really like the game.  I feel I've learned more about the battle from playing the game that I would have from just reading.  My only criticisms would be on what is typical of solitaire games (necessarily procedural rules and turn sequences) and magazine games (obvious errata and mistakes in the rules) in general.  The game really gives a great feel for the battle, and since I barely scraped by with a draw in my first play, I'm already thinking of what I can do differently to achieve a better outcome next time.

Speaking of reading, I was disappointed in the magazine article on Crete.  Funnily enough, I think the Wikipedia article on the battle is written much better, and has better pictures!  So if you're interested, I recommend buying the game version of the magazine.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Painting Update

Since one of the main purposes of me starting this blog was to give myself motivation to paint the miniatures I own, here's what I'm working on right now.

Bought this from the game store almost a year ago.  I think it was around $80, and you get two guns (a saker and demi-culverin, basically a big cannon and and a bigger cannon) along with a mortar.  What I really liked is you also get gabions and "wicker works" cast in resin.  I always see those in magazines and knew I wouldn't ever scratch build them myself, so I feel this was a pretty awesome deal.

The box also comes with the requisite crewmen, two of which you see here before being brushed with Minwax.

And here they are after.

I'm dying to get started on my Thirty Years War 15mm figures, but I swore that I would complete everything necessary for my next 28mm English Civil War game, which is going to be First Newbury.  These guns and the defenses are all I need, along with working up the army lists in Carnage and Glory.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Video Games

Way back when I started this blog, I intended on writing the occasional post on video games.  I haven't written anything about electronic gaming recently, not because of any kind of wargaming purity, but because I haven't really played any in awhile.  Until now.

I bought Star Wars Battlefront when it was released.  Basically it's Battlefield for Star Wars.

For some strange reason there are people who the above description isn't enough.  I've read and heard some negative reactions to the game.  Not really panning it, but more like, is this all there is?  I admit, being able to play a mutiplayer shooter set in the Star Wars universe is enough for me, period. Beyond that, I think that Battlefront is a great game in it's own right, if you like multiplayer shooters.  Or if you like Star Wars.  And if you like both, it's great.  So I think it's great.

Right now though I can't stop playing Assassin's Creed Syndicate.  It's actually preventing me from playing the other game I got for Christmas, Fallout 4.  I played about 1/3 of the way through the original Assassin's Creed, and played Brotherhood's multiplayer, but neither of those games hooked me like this one has.

Part of the reason is the setting, Victorian era London.  You play as Jacob and Evie Frye, and outside of the main story, you do missions for the likes of Dickens, Darwin, and Marx.  How awesome is that!

But the main reason I'm liking the game so much is how it's the best "feeling" one of the series, at least of the ones I've played.  The game's controls are only minimally frustrating, which is a compliment.  And having two characters makes for a nice split between the stealthy, hide in the shadows and slit everyone's throat approach compared to the going in, guns blazing, er, slit everyone's throat approach.

The game revolves around three axes:  The main story sequences, the aforementioned side missions, and the conquest of London.  Each sequence has a series of missions, ending in an elaborate assassination of a Templar (the main enemies in the Assassin's Creed games).  Each of the side mission's characters could be seen as sequences themselves, without the final assassination.  Finally, the conquest aspect of the game has you wrenching control of London borough by borough from the Blighters, a criminal gang under the dominance of the Templars, by completing various tasks in each borough.

There's a lot to the game.  I've played close to 25 hours or so by now, and I'm guessing there's at least 10 more hours of play left.  That's not counting all of the collectibles.  Might be awhile until I get to Fallout.