Sunday, June 30, 2013

Almost a full working day (Talisman)

I was visiting Kuhmo, and here we had a 3 player Talisman.

Foolish as we were, we played with all available expansions, since it's somewhat of a custom to play first game with everything, while playing later games with a bit more streamlined system.

With three players, base game, Reaper, Werewolf, night/day card, Dragon King & inner dragon realm, Dungeon, Highlands and City the game took a little over 7 hours to play with only one break.

Again the game really did everything it could to drag the game on since character progress was somewhat slow this time around, at least for the first characters. But now I'm getting too far ahead...

Game started with Dragon Priestess, Magus and Merchant.

Dragon Priestess and Merchant started hoarding gold, and Merchant made quite a starting move - he acquired easily the panda called Lucky from Pet Menagerie, an a Warhorse as well from Stables. Shortly after Dragon Priestess got a Warhorse too. Magus didn't want to ride with anything else but his own chair.

 Only Magus got any actual Strenght/Craft additions for a long time, probably because nights were insanely long. Seemed like no-one was able to draw any Event cards to switch the time to day!

Days, when they did happen, were quite long too, but never as long as the nights...

Dragon Priestess bought the magic spellbook or whatever it is from Magic Emporium, and started to waste spells to no-end. This resulted in a cruel and bitter farewell, when Dragon Priestess mesmerized Lucky the panda from Merchant. Soon after that Merchant's downfall began - he drank away his warhorse, and finally succumbed to some dragon from Cadorus deck.

It was probably because Mephistopheles had turned him into an Evil merchant. All the negative thoughts killed him. A new character was drawn: the Bounty Hunter.

Magus didn't fare much better. He did start gaining respectable amounts of Craft, and in combat he already had Craft value of 11. But he was struggling at just one life for what seemed like an eternity - and then Dragon Priestess came and cast enough spells to make rolling dice pointless. She just walked by and toppled Magus' chair. The poor fellow just couldn't raise it any more. A new character was drawn: the Doomsayer.

One of the first items Doomsayer ever picked up was the Rod of Ruin, that was immediatly used to lower Dragon Priestess' Craft. Her Strenght was about 4, and Craft 6 then. Not at all impressive for 3.5 hours of play, and the rest of us just drew fresh characters!

The dragon scale heap was completely emptied around here and was reshuffled. During the whole course of game it was nearly used twice over - only a small handful remained when game finally ended.

Dragon Priestess went to Dungeon to gain some levels to laugh at any and all Dragon Kings she might encounter. To everyone's suprise, however, Doomsayer and Bounty Hunter took some fast forward in gaining Strenght or Craft. Bounty Hunter was quite quickly Strenght 10+ and Doomsayer Craft 10+, so Dragon Priestess' headstart was mitigated somewhat, and everyone had if not equal, at least some chances of trying to win.

A special mention goes to Bounty Hunter, who nearly died a second time, trekking in Highlands and Outer Region and various  Dragon Scales with only 1 life remaining. Yet, whenever a beast that should have killed him appeared, dice showed up either a Stand-Off (which bounty hunter automatically won) or outright victory for him.

In very late stage of the game it happened that entire Outer Region was filled with Dragon Scales. Never seen that one happen before...

But eventually Dragon Priestess was strong enough and went and beat up Lord of Darkness so bad that she appeared in Crown of Command.

She had drank Elixir of Rage, and Grilipus was the Dragon King at the moment. Thanks to the potion she sported Strenght 14, which made it next to impossible to lose the final fight.

So, after over 7 hours of playing, Dragon Priestess proved herself to be the equal or even superior to any Dragon King.

Hysterical laughter in response to very random happenings had started appearing in increasing frequency, so it was indeed better for the game to end now, less someone choked or something.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Asphyxious delivers

A little while ago I played a game of Warmachine through Vassal. It's already been too long since last "real" game, so I needed to get my fix.

I played Skorne, with following 50 point list:

Lord Tyrant Hexeris
- Bronzeback Titan
- Archidon
- Rhinodon
- Basilisk Krea

Maximum unit of Praetorian Swordsmen + Unit Attachment
Maximum unit of Paingiver Beast Handlers
Minimum unit of Cataphract Cetrati
Venator Flayer Cannon
Extoller Soulward
Orin Midwinter

And I sure lucked out when I saw my opponent: Asphyxious the Hellbringer & Vociferon! I always take some delight in getting to play against warcasters/warlocks that I have never ever played against.

Anyway, the list:

Asphyxious the Hellbringer & Vociferon
- Kraken
- Cankerworm

2x Maximum unit of Bane Knights
Minimum unit of Bane Thralls + Unit Attachment
Warwitch Siren

Scenario was randomised and was Outflank. Cryxians took the start, and first picture is taken from the end of Skorne turn 1. Scything Touch has been cast on Cankerworm, and Ashen Veil is on Asphyxious himself. Actually pretty good target choice, since I had zero non-living models in my army...

I intentionally pushed my forces a little too much forward, but I made a serious mistake in sacrificing Bronzeback in such a way. I would've rather lost Krea & Archidon instead.

To cut story short, Cankerworm and Kraken under Mobility (that horrible machine threats 14" during its activation!) destroyed Bronzeback. To Bronzeback's defense it was the last Focus from Kraken that took its sorry life. Kill Shot took down Extoller Soulward and two beast handlers.

All kinds of banes rushed forward and Asphyxious went to hide behind Kraken, unleashing his Feat.

On my turn I saw I had a 19 point monstrosity in middle of my whole army, and my dedicated heavy hitter was slowly burning in the aforementioned colossal's furnace. Still, I think I managed to play at least a decent turn.

During my turn Cryx lines lost Kraken and 14 Bane Knights.

Beast Handlers enraged all of my beasts, and Krea and Rhinodon charged Kraken right away. I think I could have done something more clever with Krea, but she was in Hexeris' way, and opponent didn't have any shooting (at least after this turn, I hoped) so she went to bite some tendrils. And did about 3 points of damage, too! Rhinodon fared a little better, and when Hexeris had charged it and spent 4 focus on attacks, it looked a whole lot less intimidating. Asphyxious, who was racking up souls, started to look nasty, though.

Hexeris obviously used his feat, too, turning any living or undead models into zombies under his control.

I attacked around 8-9 bane knights with my own models, all of whom were not in Hexeris' control area. Chain reaction from that yielded the net result of 14 dead knights, but it could have been a lot worse. Whenever I brought any of the feat-created zombies to attack Bane Thralls, the attacks utterly failed. Either they missed (2 times) or didn't break through armor (1 time). Yes, p+s 11 weapon master attack didn't break through Arm 15.

With all those bane thralls I had this devious plan of destroying them and then come & try to stab Asphyxious to back arc. Effectively p+s 13 weapon master attack against arm 18 should to at least something, even without a boost.

I also missed a couple attacks against Bane Knights, but such is to be expected, MAT 6 doesn't hit that reliably even DEF 12 models.

Cataphract Cetrati charge and one targets Kraken, one targets Bane Knight next to it, and one targets a Bane Knight in the right. Here I tried to make rightmost Cetrati kill their target, and their target go and kill knight close to Kraken, and its target go and hit Kraken, so the Cetrati who charged that particular bane knight would get to pick new target for his attack.

Well, obviously the part where rightmost bane knight managed to hit leftern bane knight, failed...

This resulted in a moment of shame.

Kraken had only three boxes left or so. The Bane Knight that leftern Cetrati killed walked and smote the colossal down.

Despite all the effort I put into it, it wasn't even my own model that destroyed the first colossal I ever managed to wreck!

But anyway.

Line of Sight was clear now to Asphyxious, and since it had already 14 or something souls, I really needed assassination right now. So, off Archidon went. First attack dealt 9 points in. Second attack maybe 8 or something. But since I had to boost just about everything (Asphyxious still had Ashen Veil on), Asphyxious had healed 6 points back in-between first and second attack.

Needless to say, I was waiting what would happen next turn with nothing but dread.

About the first model that activated was Asphyxious, who had 22 focus still after casting Mobility. When he walked away from Archidon's melee range, I jokingly said that "Please critical hit now". And I rolled 5, 5. Critical Pitch. And to make matters even more worse, Archidon managed to hit Cankerworm with Asphyxious, knocking them both down, and since they couldn't stand up in the same turn they got knocked down, the game went weird...

Archidon eventually fell to the charge of Bane Thralls, as well as half of Cataphract Cetrati. Praetorian Swordsmen were pretty much devastated, and even failed their command check. Both Officer and Standard Bearer died to a spray from Warwitch Siren. All in all the game should have ended there, but thanks to the fickleness of dice and heroism from Archidon, battle went on.

Hexeris stopped upkeeping Death March on Praetorian Swordsmen, though the marker is in the picture, trying to fool everyone.

Basilisk Krea had not been accustomed to being used in melee against colossals, it was still a bit baffled about it and thought that Rhinodon looked exactly like Kraken. Failing threshold check, she bit a whopping 12 damage to the heavy warbeast. That's probably one of the greatest things Krea ever really did.

I tried to get Praetorians away from Bane Knights melee range, but failed to do just that. They did regroup however, so unit leader was contesting the zone again.

Hexeris started pulling off curious beat back shenanigans. He killed some bane thralls in the process, and finally ended up dominating rightmost zone. Everything else formed a wall of flesh to protect Lord Tyrant. Orin Midwinter cast Null Magic so that at least pathfinder would be denied for Asphyxious.

Rhinodon tried to get into position to make Amuck thresher against bane thralls, but it pretty much failed because of rough terrain that Kraken's husk provided. It ended up making a couple of futile attacks against Cankerworm and a bane thrall.

Next turn it turned out that Asphyxious was just hugging the leftern zone.

Seems like I failed to take a picture from the end of opponents turn, but bane thralls & Asphyxious himself dispatched Krea bitten Rhinodon, and Cankerworm and a most of remaining bane thralls went to contest rightmost zone. It really didn't take too much effort to remove Praetorian Swordsmen I had contesting leftern zone, so Control Point situation was Cryx: 2 Skorne: 2.

On my turn, unexpected things continued to happen. Krea managed to pull off a slam attack against Asphyxious with her MAT 4, knocking Hellbringer 2" away, and most importantly, away from dominating leftern zone. Then Paingiver Beast Handler was, ahem, persuaded to run into random point right in the middle of enemy troops to deny points from Cryx.

Hexeris danced again with Beat Back, pushing Cankerworm away from right zone (wrecking it was just a bonus) and killing whatever was left of bane thralls. However, now I'm just wondering how the heck did I destroy the bane thralls that helped killing Rhinodon? They might actually be hiding beneath Kraken wreck marker.

Anyway, Control Points were Cryx: 2, Skorne: 4. I would actually win by scenario if I only had something that would be able to run to contest enemy zone and had enough military assets to clear my own zone.

But alas, it was not to be. Asphyxious thought that he had really, really had enough of this nonsense Skorne was pulling off against him all the time. Yanking souls from Vociferon he charged to a Cataphract Cetrati, killed him off and started buying attacks against Hexeris now he got Line of Sight to him. Hexeris transfered some 11 damage away, and then all it took were two hits to bring the Tyrant down.

This game was exciting as hell. I guess Asphyxious' new title delivered what it promised.

I must say that I would have felt a little bad if I had actually won, because it just seemed that Cryx deserved that victory. Random crazy dice rolls made game drag on for this long. But those few critical rolls made the game a memorable experience that was lots of fun to play. Victory didn't come easily to Cryx, and I got to play against a completely new warcaster.

Perfect, everything was just perfect.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

They Came from the City

I gathered myself and painted the remaining Talisman character from The City expansion: Elementalist.

It was no accident that it was left last - the small character looked so intimidating and time consuming to paint.

But I did it, and here they are:

Again pictures are poorly focused and all manner of unprofessional, but it gets the job done.

And since there has been a couple of expansions since last group hug, I put all currently released Talisman characters on the box and took a picture. There sure starts to be quite a lot of them.

That's all I guess for now.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Sentinel's "None Shall Pass" (Talisman)

And later we played a second game.

This time with Minstrel, Minotaur and Grave Robber.

It's kind of funny what you can find by grave robbing. I mean, the guy dug up at least Mephistopheles and some other more generic Devil.

Minotaur almot looked like a sure winner, thanks to its character progress. Well, it didn't really build up Strenght all that much, but main weakness of low Craft was undone when it gained Craft 4 and even 5 inn short order. After that it started pumping the iron on Strenght, too.

All the while Minstrel and Grave Robber were just struggling to survive. Both seemed to be unable to raise their Strenght. This was somewhat mitigated by a Unicorn that Grave Robber found, and later in the game Minstrel luckied out by finding both Ring (+1 Strenght & Craft) and Maiden (+2 Craft).

Minstrel did have a dark phase during his poetic career, though. Aforementioned Mephistopheles had turned him evil (Faust, anyone?), but shortly before or after hooking up with the Maiden he was absolved by succeeding at Warlock's Quest, turning back to Good alignment.

Minotaur wins a sort of prize for stubborness. He really really wanted to get through Sentinel.

Sentinel, however, just would not let it. Not when Minotaur was at Strenght 8. Not when it was at Strenght 9. Not even when it was at Strenght 10. At least not on the first try. Maybe Sentinel asked confusing riddles from Minotaur.

Anyway, once Minstrel found the Ring and Maiden his Craft started soaring up, raising to 10. His strenght was only 4, though, with only one animal companion.

Still, he tried to get into Inner Region. All went absolutely perfectly and fine up until he faced Pit Fiends. There were 3 of them, and those buggers stalled Minstrel for a short eternity. In fact Minstrel would have died there were it not for Armor that saved his songful arse a couple of times.

When he finally got to Crown of Command, alternative ending was Battle Royale.

Important statistics were: Grave Robber strenght 4 or 5, Craft 8. Minotaur: Strenght 10 or 11, Craft 6. Minstrel: Strenght 4, Craft 10. Yes, everyone had a Talisman by then.

Things looked pretty good for Minstrel, because he could declare attacks with Craft.

There were a couple of scary situations against Grave Robber (losing even once would've probably taken victory away from him) but thanks to amazing amount of Fate and being at least +2 against other characters finally made his songs famous.

Now everyone liked those, because Minstrel held the Crown of Command.

Cat Burglar Knows the Guild (Talisman)

I was visiting a friend in Helsinki who has Talisman.

So, what a perfect chance to play that game, since I would be staying for a few days.

This Talisman didn't have any expansions, though. And when I got all of them, I took what I could easily carry with me. That meant alternative endings and characters from all expansions, and decks they might need.

Expansions we could use were warlock quest cards and quest rewards, Reaper and Werewolf, and random alternative end.

Characters we got were Cat Burglar, Elementalist and Dragon Priestess.

It was truly a slow-grow game with none of the characters getting any especially awesome items or kills or anything. Whenever they could, the brave heroes took a severe beating from any enemy they could land on. This resulted in a situation where everyone was holding their breath at one life.

Curiously enough, no-one died there.

A special mention goes to Werewolf Juggling. Cat Burglar and Elementalist rolled 5's from Werewolf chart a few times too many, making the wolf look like a serious case of ADHD. And finally when the beast ended up trying to chew Cat Burglar with Strenght 8, it rolled 1 for its attack score and Cat Burglar rolled 6, just resulting in a stand-off. Cool thing, woofie.

Later it went and transformed Elementalist into a lycanthrope.

As I said, the game went on very slowly, but finally Cat Burglar got Craft around 8, and had this disgusting Gnome with her. This made it possible for her to try and reach the Crown.

Well, there was still the chance of facing any of those Strenght/Craft 12 bosses, right?

Nope, alternative ending was Thieves Guild, which was sort of fitting for Cat Burglar.

At least Elementalist had no gold at all, and neither of the other characters had more than 4 items.

After Cat Burglar got to the crown, the game went on for about 4 rounds.