Monday, December 31, 2012

For Whom the Bell Tolls (A Touch of Evil)

During my trip to Kuhmo, we got to play A Touch of Evil twice with three players.

Here is a short summary of both games.

This was also the first time ever I got to play with The Coast -expansion.

However, first game was against the oldest foe in the book: The Vampire.

And, the game took six hours. Six. Hours. That blood-sucking bastard truly was the master of deception and avoiding combat.

Heroes that investigated mysteries involving residents of Shadowbrook were The Scarlet Shadow, Sara the Bright Witch and Thomas the Courier.

Game started a little on the wrong foot with Scarlet Shadow, since he got to play like 2 rounds, and then spent like 4-5 next turns knocked down. Drowned Dead sure are a nasty bunch for an unequipped hero!

Thomas didn't fare much better, though he got to play actual hero turns. The only hero who actually found anything useful from Location decks and killed minions was Sara, the Bright Witch.

Shadow Track moved excessively slowly, and during multiple times it could be moved back up a little.

However, the Vampire had an army of Evil Elders at his disposal. They were pretty much the reason why Heroes didn't want to start a Showdown.

But behold! Heroes are almost Screwed by a Suprise Showdown from cooperative chart, when Vampire attacks with about 16 dice (or more), scoring hits on 4+, thanks to Laying in Wait mystery card. Sara, the Bright Witch manages to pull herself through the fight, however... with one Wound remaining. What was achieved during that sorry encounter was, though, that most of Evil Elders that didn't have Darkest Secret (which were, by the way... Lord and Lady Hanbrook! Sounds like vampire aristocracy to me...) were killed.

Soon (about 45 minutes...) after this, the final confrontation happened at Monastery. Vampire did have impressive amount of Wounds, and still respectable amount of Fight Dice, but still, Sara the Bright Witch and Scarlet Shadow single-handedly dispatched the ancient beast.

A keg of gunpowder did help there, though. Also, Scarlet Shadow had the event card that made every roll of 1 count as two hits against vampires. He also had the gunpowder keg.

Boom, bye bye, Vampire!

Though to be honest, the Vampire got killed during last Showdown Fight Round where it was possible, barring good rolls. All wound prevention effects had been used, as well as all additional fight dice, except for "If I just could reach..." card for the gunpowder keg. Thomas, who had the card, was about to die, though, if Vampire would've only given him a stern glare.

Victory for the heroes!

Game 2:

Still, no fighting against villains from the Coast -expansion. Heroes were against the Reaper, which came with Hero Pack 2.

Heroes drawn were Harlow Morgan the Inventor, Doctor Edwards and Jack Sp... I mean Fellows.

And if those three learned anything, it was the fact that do not challenge death itself! Game was absolutely brutal.

How so?

Well, two Grim Spectres spawned. Next mystery phase three mystery cards were drawn. Cards were The Horror, The Hour is Late and Ominous Overture. So, for every Grim Spectre a die was rolled to see if additional mystery cards were drawn. Every Mystery Phase Shadow Track dropped by one. If 1 was rolled for movement, a mystery card was drawn instead of Event. Cooperative Mystery Phase Chart was rolled twice every round.

Bravely the Heroes managed to get rid of all of those cards, but it cost them 12 investigation, as well as one Daybreak -card.

After that courageous but futile fight the Shadow Track started an amazing speed-run towards 0. Jack Fellows was pretty much the only Hero that got anything useful done, and who could actually fight the Grim Spectres.

Marked for Death killed three town elders, and the rest were fleeing in flocks.

Once the Shadow Track was in the red zone, Heroes had to start looking for Reaper's lair. It was in Town Square, Coast.

Villain was rolling only 6 dice for its attacks, but thanks to Reapers rule of always scoring two hits for each succesful roll, it was a tough fight.

After first round of Showdown had passed (and all heroes miraculously survived!), Harlow Morgan was rolling a whopping 1 die for combat, and Doctor Edwards two or three. So everything pretty much rested on Jack's shoulders. And he really did well, dropping Reaper down to 9 wounds.

Also, game did not end because all heroes died. Game ended, when Reaper killed Reverend Harding, which made Shadow Track drop too much.

By this time Harlow Morgan and Doctor Edwards had already died.

Jack Fellows survives, maybe to avenge other fallen heroes!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Pillars of the Earth first time for a couple of years

... and how curious it is, how much you forget about game rules in such a time!

We had four players, and it was a blast.

Game went on with one of the players being in small to medium lead for the first four rounds (he really liked the monastery), and then a race during fifth and sixth rounds when one of the players scored a whopping 12 or more points!

Anyway, it was the very same game it has always been, with mathematic calculations becoming more and more important during later rounds, with last round being almost nothing but mathematics.

This made me think that the game could really use a little more randomness, and I began to wonder how fitting an expansion would be for Pillars of the Earth. One of the players said that he had actually seen one around, and I had to go and google it up.

Damn, I know what this household is getting as a present for next Christmas!

Final scoreboard, by the way, for this particular game was 46 for the winner, 42 for two other players and 35 for the underdog. So, quite close and rather exciting session.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

"I'm, like, completely ignoring you."

A couple of days ago I played a bit Warmachine.

It was a 35 point game with Steamroller 2012 scenario The Gauntlet.

I played following list with my Cryx:

Warwitch Deneghra
- Slayer
- Ripjaw
- Defiler

Cephalyx Overlords
2x Warwitch Sirens
Iron Lich Overseer
- Reaper
Pistol Wraith

And opponent had:
Epic Caine
- Ol' Rowdy

Arcane Tempest Gun Mages + Officer
- Defender
Minimum unit of Greygore Boomhowler & Co.
Epic Eiryss
Madelyn Corbeau

Opponent won starting roll, but decided to let me go first and pick side instead. Not a bad choice, when he'd get to score scenario points first. Also, his guns outranged mine. Which wasn't exactly a suprise, as I was playing Cryx.

First picture is taken from the end of Cygnar's first turn, and follow-up picture from the end of my second.

I decided to use Deneghra's feat there and then, because there was a real possibility of me not having enough of an army to make The Withering count on later turns. Only models that weren't under feat were jack marshaled Defender and Ol' Rowdy.

Damage I did was not very impressive. Two models dead from opposing side. However, Crippling Grasp was on Gun Mages, which meant that later I might actually hit against their otherwise godlike Defense.

Opponent didn't manage to do much, which usually happens during The Withering.

However, Defender missing corporeal Pistol Wraith with triple 1's and Ol' Rowdy failing to knock down Warwitch Siren with Tremor were some sort of an insult to injury, since both were unaffected by Deneghra's feat.

Eiryss, however, didn't mind much about the feat and disrupted Slayer.

On my next turn Pistol Wraith shot Gun Mage officer down and second shot tickled either a Boomhowler's company, or another model in Gun Mage unit, don't remember any more.

Eiryss messed up a Venoming of Caine as Ripjaw moved within 5" of her. Luckily Defiler could make up for the moronic move of Ripjaw, and the venom that could have melted Caine's heart made sludge out of Eiryss only.

Then, maybe next time when I face Ol' Rowdy I remember he has Counter Charge. Hapless Iron Lich Overseer moved on top of the little hill and wanted to claim one soul from the mercenary trollkin for Reaper to use later.

Well, turned out I didn't need to bring Ol' Rowdy to my lines with Reaper, it came just by itself, and made Overseer a sorry heap of scrap metal and necrotite fumes.

Though all was not lost! Ragman positioned himself so that both Slayer and Reaper would gain benefits of Death Field. However, Slayer attacked with Combo-Strike and rolled 4 or 5 for damage. With two dice. Yay.

Then Reaper came in with one focus loaded by a Warwitch Siren, and made two amazing damage rolls with two Helldriver attacks, leaving only Movement and Cortex intact on Rowdy. Could be that Movement was down too, but I'm not certain.

Well, I was afraid that this would be the turn when Caine used his feat upon Deneghra. She was sitting on two focus, so she was Defense 16 Armor 16 with 16 damage boxes left. Wow. I didn't realise that until now when I was writing this.

However, that was not to be. Caine did use his feat, but he opted to decimate pretty much everything but the Cryxian heavy warjacks and models with Stealth.

But he was without Focus now, and he just could not get rid of Arc Node of the Defiler.

With unsporty measurement of Control Area I found out that Caine was just within 12" of Deneghra, which is the range how far she can charge.

Problem was the one trollkin standing in between. She would have to charge exactly straight to Caine, he'd be left out of reach if she tried to shuffle even a little bit.

Looking at the pictures I can see that I had the keys to victory there, but order of operations was, again, messed up.

My two warwitches tried to poke Boomhowler to death, one with melee weapon (didn't hit) and one with Venom (hit but did no damage).

Then Slayer destroyed what was left of Ol' Rowdy, and Reaper tried to move into melee with the thrice damned trollkin.

If I was actually a good player, I would have first destroyed Rowdy with Slayer, moved Reaper up and dragged the trollkin out of way with Reaper.

Anyway, then Deneghra cast Scourge on Caine from about 1.75" away, which was autohit. Having failed to remove the trollkin from charge lane, Deneghra cast Venom on Caine instead, and did good damage in, something like 10 or the like.

Then Deneghra moves bravely as far away as was possible. I left her tip-toeing the Gauntlet zone, though as a hindsight, I should have gone to hug the Killbox instead and give opponent one damn control point.

Then comes opponents turn. Caine shakes himself up, moves forward and casts Gatecrasher, and just manages to get to Deneghra's back arc.

I find last picture to be somewhat hilarious. Both warcasters look like they're doing everything in their power to not notice the other.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

When New Player Comes

Am I really going to have some super-lame pun as topic whenever I play When Darkness Comes? Looks like it.

A few days ago there was a new experience on that game: a third player.

We two oldbies continued with our earlier characters Ninton Kanton and Rick Harrigan. This duo was bolstered with Amé Stinger and her dubious past as an anarchistic gang member.

We played the Out of the Frying Pan scenario, with few additions.

First, the D12 dice was a turn marker, and every time it was turned back to 12, every player took a failure token. If this happened four times, everyone lost.

Second, outside encounters were placed on ! -marks. Forests and starting tile were unaffected by this. Though forest thingy was house-ruled during game. After all, it would be rather weird to find a bad case of traffic that slows you down from a forest...

Of course, the "story" behind scenario tells us that there is this martial law going on within the village. I guess I didn't take that into account when deciding to use outside encounters in this game. After all, there were plenty of Civilians and Tough Guys around wandering the streets.

Also, all the police characters were found inside houses, which raised some questions about the state of this martial law. Had civilians actually claimed the streets and forced police inside?

During first rounds of the game, a peek through window by Amé and a good perception roll by Rick Harrigan told us that the whole frikkin' City Hall was full of zombies. Who had actually forced martial law on the village? Who was behind the schemes here?

Ah well.

Game went by without encountering almost no adversaries except Tough Guys on the streets. A lot of items and allies were found though, most of them from forest and/or streets.

So characters were quite well-equipped. But lack of true adversaries and a few unlucky Oh Crap -rolls (a mention here goes to Rick Harrigan, who spent two turns in a row just looking at the ceilings in one house because of Oh Crap -table rolls) meant that they didn't have too much Victory Points. Especially when no amount of additional dice and re-rolls actually gave results at times.

D12 had almost turned twice, when people started rushing around in attempt to find actual adversaries. And, eventually, they sure did.

The elder heroes Ninton Kanton and Rick Harrigan thought they could tackle anything alone, and ran alone to different tiles in the city (Ninton went to the City Hall, Rick to random places in Arkham campus area. That had a gun shop as a store-next-door. Go figure.)

Both of these pompous characters faced a D4K monsters. Which means you have to roll 4 same numbers with your dice roll to defeat the beast.

Ninton survived one round of combat, but was left with only one Defense/Health.

Then Rick faces his own adversary, and despite his handgun, he dies. Ninton dies too, since everyone takes one damage point when another character bites the dust, and he had only one health left.

So Amé is the only character left on board, with just one health remaining, and both damage tokens being unhealable.

Amé had impressive 7 Attack dice with her pistol and RMW skill, and had enough Victory Points to actually fight adversaries even with only one health left. That required that no random dice screw ever took place.

Well, dice screw came with first adversary she encountered. The very same adversary that had killed Rick.

So... everyone died.

I had thought that this games difficulty doesn't scale much when additional players join the fray, but when 2/3 of characters manage to kill themselves, it's a whole lot worse situation than when this happens with only 2 players.

Inspired by this I finally managed to compile a better skill table for players to use. The one behind character sheets gives next to no details on how the skills actually work and where they help. Also, when skills usage is scattered between 4-5 rule books and leaflets, it's a pain to check how they actually work. This was actually somewhat of a problem now with three players, when different situation and different skill interactions came up more often.

Enough of ramblings, waiting for next time.