Saturday, April 30, 2016

Casual Three Turn Avatar Facetank

(That's not what happened really, but it sure felt like it!)

Last Wednesday I played a 50 point game of Warmachine with:

Deneghra the Soul Weaver
- 2x Nightwretch
- Leviathan
- Nightmare

Maximum unit of Mechanithralls + 2x Brute Thrall + Skarlock Commander
Withershadow Combine
Ogrun Bokur
Orin Midwinter
Pistol Wraith
Necrotech & Scrap Thrall
Soul Trappers

Opponent had:

Feora, Priestess of Flame
- Devout
- Reckoner
- Avatar

Minimum unit of Choir of Menoth
Maximum unit of Exemplar Errants + Unit Attachment
Minimum unit of Flameguard Cleansers
Epic Eiryss
Exemplar Errant Seneschal
Covenant of Menoth
Vassal of Menoth
Vassal Mechanic

Scenario was Outflank and Cryx started game. The first picture is from the end of Protectorate turn two.

Opponent didn't have any anti-upkeep capability and their warjacks couldn't gain Pathfinder from anywhere. Always up for daring and unhealthy moves, I didn't spend any focus with Deneghra and advanced to the zone on right with Grave Wind on. Reckoner wouldn't be able to get a charge off, and even if it did only one heavy warjack didn't scare me that much. And the rest were just Exemplar Errants.


I should've seen it coming. Avatar of Menoth activated Menoth's gaze and ran to stop Deneghra on her tracks. Wall of Fire blocked Mechanithralls on the other side of the board.

Turn 3 was an interesting puzzle. Protectorate jacks were under Passage.

Deneghra used her feat and cast Mortality on Reckoner and filled Nightmare and Leviathan with focus points. She was left with five souls and seven focus.

Pistol Wraith tried to come and shoot Reckoner stationary, but Devout grabbed one of the shots.

Tremulus gave Puppet Master for Nightmare, and then it charged Reckoner. Reckoner had Enliven on, so Nightmare did a combo strike, which dealt some damage in. Remaining focus was used to buy attacks against Devout.

Orin Midwinter tried to make use of his lightning spell, which took one member of Choir of Menoth as collateral damage.

Next Leviathan activates and proceeds to shoot Reckoner dead. Whoops. Reckoner had Passage. Damn it. I figured the best I could do now was to shoot the Choir of Menoth. Only one remained.

Even Skarlock Commander tried to come and shoot Reckoner with Dark Fire, but the thing just wouldn't die. I think I broke the cortex, though. Some arm, too, but those were of no consequence when Mechanic rolled five or six for repairs.

Turn 3 Protectorate wrecks Nightmare. Feora advances to spray with flame throwers and feat. She missed first flamethrower, but second one hit it's target. There is one Nightwretch in the picture that's not showing. It's on far left. I think it lost everything but cortex by now. Eiryss had kept it disrupted for the whole game.

I think Avatar had rolled something three Focus points. It advanced to use Gaze of Menoth to immobilise even bigger portion of Cryx forces, and took a fully boosted swing at Deneghra. Attack dealt something like four points of damage.

Additional asualties that turn were Orin Midwinter and a Soul Trapper. Covenant had denied spellcasting.

Casualties at the start of my turn four were a ton of Mechanithralls. Luckily both Admonia and Skarlock Commander put out the fires.

So, Deneghra had twelve focus points. I planned on taking down Avatar this turn, yet again not paying attention for Enliven. I was desperate for souls, though.

A soul trapper ran to get as many enemy models within 10" of it as possible, and then Necrosurgeon advanced to make some new Mechanithralls. Thralls got a charge order. One charged Avatar of Menoth, one the Covenant and one decided to poke Mechanik. I figured that one Mechanithrall wouldn't kill Reckoner entirely, and even if it managed to break systems, Mechanik would just fix them back.

Other Mechanithralls tried to attack two Errants next to Leviathan.

Mechanithrall who charged Avatar triggered Enliven, so Avatar was now out of reach of Leviathan. Opponent kept one Errant alive near the Leviathan, probably to block a possible charge against Avatar. Couldn't kill that one. But two Errants had died within 10" of Soul Trapper. Deneghra activated and gave focus for Leviathan. She spent three focus on attacks against Avatar and destroyed the shield. I was too scared to continue buying attacks. I wanted at least Def 17 Arm 25. The Choir Priest didn't seem like it would be close enough to Avatar to make Deneghra too dead.

Since Leviathan didn't look like it'd make it to Avatar, I thought to try assassination instead. First Pistol Wraith who had miraculously survived last turn took a couple of aimed shots at Devout and made it stationary. Then Tremulus gave Puppet Master for Leviathan. Admonia tried to shoot Feora with Dark Fire, but I forget if it did anything.

Leviathan takes aiming bonus and shoots Feora twice. Not a dead Feora, but she has less than eight damage boxes remaining.

Turn 4 Avatar rolls only two focus points. It doesn't even bother with Deneghra and instead kills Ogrun Bokur and finalizes Leviathan that Reckoner had failed to wreck. Ogrun Bokur's death set Deneghra on fire.

Eiryss tries to run to engage Necrosurgeon. Feora clears the zone from Admonia, Pistol Wraith and Nightwretch with two sprays. Protectorate scored three scenario points. Yikes.

Turn 5 Cryx has only a few shambling dead on the board, none of which would be able to stand contesting either zone long enough. Nobody was able to charge Feora either because of the wall of fire.

So, my plan was thus: two Mechanithralls would kill Covenant and two Brute Thralls and a Mechanithrall would at least destroy Avatar's sword if not wreck the thing outright.

But I was too greedy.

One Brute charged an Exemplar Errant next to Deneghra (it wouldn't have got charge bonus anyway and needed to move from the way of another brute) and another got to Avatar. One Mechanithrall tried to charge Avatar, but I fumbled measurements with my shaky hands and didn't claim the charge bonus. And the sword was the only system they didn't break. And I didn't even get a soul for Deneghra. And Covenant didn't die, it was left with one hit box.

As a random added bonus, a Mechanithrall killed Eiryss.

Deneghra hadn't upkept Grave Wind because I thought I'd need all of her eight focus to deal with Feora. I would have really wanted that soul, though, for a Mortality.

But she had to take four free strikes from Exemplar Errants and one from Avatar and land on a spot that wasn't in melee with Avatar, within 8" of both Feora and Covenant. Things like this will get a lot easier to navigate after edition change...

However, Deneghra landed on correct spot and was left with three hit boxes after the free strikes and while under Fire continuous effect.

Her spray attack thankfully killed Covenant of Menoth, so Deneghra could try to cast Scourge on Feora.

Attack was a hit, and damage roll was something like fourteen, fifteen. That was enough to kill what was left of Feora. Phew.

Pretty exciting game from start to finish.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Never mind the hook

I really should have written these yesterday when I still remembered things.

Oh well. We continued Undercity with scenarios three and four.

In the third scenario we used epic crossbow thugs instead of regular ones.

Scenario had a weird start when the boss villains took just one step forward. Alchemist was able to throw a virtuoso AoE acid bomb on them, which killed the gobber boss outright.

Villains that were guarding the gate were easily dispatched, and the gobber guy was able to make INT check with some additional die skill and a boost. Gate opened easily, and the trollkin boss would be surrounded.

Situation looked so secure that the trollkin hero started long trek to get to side quest near entrance five. He found Misplaced Message or something like that there, which began a chain of some sort in the future scenarios.

Trollkin boss died in the dark alley before getting even to the gate opening. Alchemist snatched the package, which stopped patrols from building up. We still had plenty of time, and the board side that had the first Side Quest was almost cleared of any villains. We tried to get the first Side Quest also. It prolonged the game to very last possible turn, and last Even card would be an event that spawned villains. Alchemist gave the packet to Doorstop, and gobber tinker checked Side Quest. Of course it was some Drudge Thralls. Well, serves us well for abusing the scenario design.

We had some luck in the scenario when gobber opened the gate without alerting villains and Alchemist taking down one of the bosses on turn one. Perhaps that skews my opinion, but I don't think the scenario was completely thought through. After packet was picked up, additional villains appeared only sporadically, which in turn made it all too easy just to grind for experience points without much threat from possible consequences. My advice is to make every villain the most epic version available.

The patrol spawning system in this scenario was nice, though.

For the fourth scenario trollkin hero took Rusher (great strength option to walk two squares or charge three) and alchemist got concussion grenades (knock down all models in a square). We used epic sword thugs in this scenario in addition to epic crossbow thugs.

Rusher was amazing choice for this particular scenario. The crane hook that villain was controlling dealt massive damage, so heroes were in a hurry to get to the boss. If nothing would interfere, trollkin would be there in two turns.

But the all the plans fly off the window when you contact the enemy. Gun mage Canice got a feat card that gave +2 def for her, and she went to lure the hook to her top open up a pretty free lane for trollkin to run through. That she did, but somehow the villain boss managed to activate twice before the trollkin had time to activate. There was trollkin and Doorstep in the square where hook landed second time. Doorstop was knocked down, but trollkin was left standing because of some great strength option that gave him knock down immunity.

Trollkin started to rush forward to boss, and villains even made it easier for him to reach there. Counter charge feat card gave him an additional square of movement. He needed that, though. Because Rusher is a Great Strength ability option, he wouldn't be immune to knock down any more.

He did reach boss on turn three. I tried to be fancy with him and kill a crossbow thug in the square next to boss and enter boss square with Overtake feat card - but he missed both attacks.

Things looked pretty fine, and alchemist was greedily reaching for the side quest. Then I'm not sure what happened. Once trollkin started fight with boss the first heavy warjack appeared. And next one almost right after thanks to Impending Doom event, which rolled six extra points for the timer. Both warjacks started from the farthest corner of the board, so that was kind of a good thing. Though they would be activating just about always when you had to activate villains far from any hero.

Doorstop was taking heavy damage and gobber had to use most of his feat cards to repair the light jack.

Two especially bloodthirsty gobber villains slashed and sliced Canice. Only model that was relatively healthy was the alchemist, but he was stuck on the side quest and a couple of villains who had started chasing him. Side quest was, by the way, Cinder bomb that alchemist was not strong enough to carry.

Trollkin had to beat the scenario boss all alone and drag the hook to the gate all alone. If it wasn't for a couple of Backswing feat cards I don't know if he could have done it. But it was a victory for heroes anyway.

This was by far the most interesting scenario yet. Appearance ratio of villains vastly exceeds the killing potential of heroes - especially when one hero cannot reliably contribute to the removal of the spawns. Had the heavy warjacks spawned somewhere else, there could have been far more casualties than one empty revival potion.

Next time we're probably going to play the 4.5 scenario that's available for download on the Privateer Press website.

My hero statistics:
17xp in bank
Vendetta, Guardian, Rusher

1xp in bank
Skulk, Concussion grenades, Mad Bomber

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Deadzone 2

Last Sunday I played a few games of Deadzone second edition.

Three games took about four hours to play or so. Point sizes were 100, 150 and 200.

I played with X-Com '94 Plague faction.

My lists were:

100 points:

Stage 3A Leader

4x Stage 3Z zombies
Stage 3A trooper
Stage 2A

Stage 3A specialist with grenade launcher
Stage 3A specialist with HMG and extra ammo

150 points:

Same as 100 plus

- Chovar Psychic
- Stage 3A trooper with Frag grenade
- Stage 3A specialist with HMG

200 points:
Same as 150 plus

- Strider with Chainsaw
- +2x Stage 3Z zombies
- extra ammo for the second HMG specialists

Opponent played with Enforcers.

First two games were Recon missions.

I got only one uninformative picture from the first game, so I'll just try to sum it up briefly.

Shooting proved itself to be far more lethal than it used to be. I mean, Plague strike team was shooting Enforcers dead in this game... Though those were pretty much the only kill Plague got in that game. Enforcer shooting was even more deadly, and I lost Stage 2A very early. Throughout all these games there was an awkward trend of Plague trying to score an objective victory instead of wrecking face in melee combat. Perhaps Enforcers made it easy just by the virtue of having so few models on board.

However, having lost most of my actual fighting power to a few well placed shots, Stage 3Z zombies weren't ultimately enough to grind the required number of victory points.

Game 2:

In second game I had the Chovar psychic. Yet again a good shot nearly killed Chovar on first turn. One bullet must have cut through it's psychic membrane as it failed just about every Invigorate attempts it made during whole game.

Plague shooting results from last game proved to be anomalous, and one by one my specialists went to various vantage points just to die uselessly.

Stage 2A got into melee, but didn't do much. Zombies, on the other hand, were the masters of martial arts. Casualties were inflicted to both sides, and yet again I only had a few zombies shambling in the end. Game was a really close one. I think Enforcers had 11 victory points when Plague got to 12+ ... which, by the way, was incorrect victory point number for the point size of this game, so Plague victory can be questioned.

Game 3:

Scenario in this game was Search and Destroy.

Enforcer Sniper and Missile Launcher were terrible nuisances in this game. If I remember right, I finally nailed the Sniper who was on a tower about in the middle of the board by shooting it with two HMG's with extra ammo, Grenade Launcher and rifle from Stage 3A Leader, and activating some specialists again with Chovar. In this game Chovar was an amazing combo piece, by the way. For a long time that Sniper was my only kill, though here and there I scored lucky injuries.

By combining lots of command dice and Chovar skills and everything else that I had in my possession, I got Strider into melee with a pinned Enforcer. The Sectopod was probably bugged or something, because it just ran next to the Enforcer and... stared. Not even in an especially menacing manner.

And then Missile Launcher blasts it into a wreck. Just as planned.

Well, at least the Strider had drawn some activations away from Enforcers and bought time for Stage 2A Chryssalid to enter melee with the very same Missile Launcher guy. What ensued was one of the most iconic moments of X-Com: Enemy Unknown '94. I had the zombie contagion command die in reserve.

Enforcers were on an unlucky streak, and Stage 2A wreaked havoc in their lines, while meagre zombies were scoring points from the objectives. An honourable mention goes to the frag grenade carrying trooper. It tried to lob it on top of a building with Enforcers on it, but missed. I guess it didn't have the Time Units to throw the grenade after priming it. Grenade scattered to the very same cube where the enthusiastic little pyrotechnist was.

Enforcers couldn't kill the Stage 2A until it was too late. This time it was an honest victory for Plague.

- - -

So. What do I think of Deadzone second edition? From my point of view, the streamlining has been done quite well. I hadn't been an avid player of the first edition, and I never could quite grasp all the small details of different modifiers in different modes of attacks. Probably because not all of them were very intuitive. A lot of such confusion seems to be gone.

Battle cards had been a nice mechanic, but I think I can live without it. Only thing that bugs me is the loss of asymmetrical scenarios. Sure, they are optional there in the rulebook, but as far as I'm concerned, that aspect of the game was done better with cards.

Monday, April 25, 2016


Last Friday I played a 50 point practice game for the last Mk II tournament in which I'm going to participate.

My list was the same as earlier:

Deneghra the Soul Weaver
- Leviathan
- Nightmare
- Deathripper
- Nightwretch

Maximum unit of Satyxis Raiders + Sea Witch
Withershadow Combine
Ogrun Bokur
Pistol Wraith
Satyxis Captain
Necrotech & Scrap Thrall
Soul Trappers

Opponent had:

Intercessor Kreoss
- Reckoner
- Crusader
- Revenger

Minimum unit of Choir of Menoth
Maximum unit of Holy Zealots + Monolith Bearer
Maximum unit of Temple Flameguard + Unit Attachment

Scenario was Close Quarters and Protectorate started game. I forgot the foams that had Satyxis in them back in my apartment, so Drudge Thralls enter the battlefield in chainmail bikinis and battle heels.

Deneghra has Grave Wind on herself. I was being paranoid about Warpath. Revenger had ran forward so that Kreoss could try to cast Crevasse on Satyxis Raiders. Attack missed. Revenger had Enliven on.

Kreoss dropped Holy Ward from Temple Flameguard, so Deneghra used her feat to cast Mortality on them. She also allocated three focus for Leviathan.

Satyxis Raiders charged Revenger and used Power Swell. Two Satyxis ran to block Enliven movement, but one would need to take free strike from Holy Zealot. Zealot missed. First Satyxis also scored Critical Knockdown. Two Satyxis Raiders had charged Temple Flameguard (and passed their command check!) and killed two. I could have easily charged a few Flameguards had I trusted Satyxis to score anything else but sub-par rolls. Oh well.

Pistol Wraith shot a couple of Flameguards down. Leviathan tried to shoot Kreoss a little bit, because there were no other targets. Holy Zealots had used Greater Destiny.

Next turn opponent was rolling dice pretty badly. I lost only about half of the Satyxis, including Sea Witch. Impressive amount of firepower that Leviathan had taken in had not broken any systems at all. Fire continuous effect burned Cortex, though.

Despite minor losses I still felt like I didn't have the correct tools to beat Protectorate.

Nicia had charged Pistol Wraith or something on the right side of the board. Nicia was Nightmare's prey, so I made it top priority to kill her, so I'd be able to switch Prey to Holy Zealots and charge Crusader. Pistol Wraith had a soul token from previous turn, so I trusted it to deal with Nicia. And it did score a hit with boosted attack roll - only the damage wasn't enough to kill her. Needed six on two dice. Meh.

I didn't abort my plan, though I guess it would have been the best course of action in this situation. I had been desperate in my attempts to kill even just a few enemy infantry models to get souls for Deneghra, but no. Somehow all but one soul managed to avoid the Trappers, and that had to go into focus for Nightmare. I couldn't figure any other way to kill Nicia than to cast Scourge on her via Deathripper and boost the damage roll. That killed her, but I felt like a camp of four would be too weak protection for Deneghra. So she didn't cast Mortality on Crusader - especially when I was unsure if I had brought the arc node close enough. Such problems won't exist in Mk3 any more I guess.

Anyway, Nigthmare then charged Crusader and I realised that it was just about the last model that was activating. Either it would get the job done, or nobody would.

Without Mortality and without Prey chances looked slim, so I didn't bother boosting damage. I just hoped I would destroy some important system. Main melee hand, cortex, something! Nope. Damage rolls were okay, slightly above average, but damaged columns were so scattered that not even Movement broke down.

Well. I still had Soul Trapper and Leviathan left to activate. Leviathan filled the Trapper with one Zealot soul. Yay.

Then, obviously, both of my heavy warjacks died.

Well. I guess I would assassinate Kreoss, then. Ghost Walking Deathripper advanced into position.

Kreoss had already been damaged by Feedback from Satyxis Raiders. The last Satyxis Raider actually tried to score one additional Feedback point by charging Reckoner in the back arc. It was a critical knockdown, but no damage in, so no Feedback either.

I wanted Maelovus and Admonia to try and cast Dark Fire on Kreoss, and Puppet Master for Deneghra. Maelovus couldn't get in range and Admonia didn't hit or do damage.

Deneghra activated and cast Mortality and Scourge on Kreoss via Deathripper. Scourge missed, so I needed to use Puppet Master re-roll there and not in the damage portion of the attack. And damage was something like 1,3,4.

With a good damage roll from Scourge and fully boosted spray from Deneghra's mount could have done it, albeit with good rolls only. After such a low roll I didn't have the faith in POW 10 spray to kill effectively Arm 18 Kreoss. Deneghra left the rest of her focus for armor boost. Def 17, Arm 19 against a warcaster, Reckoner and Crusader. Bring it on!

They brought it on, and Deneghra died.

Well. I pretty much lost when I charged with unsupported Nightmare. I should have just cast the Mortality and take in a couple of Reckoner shots. But I was afraid of a lot of things at that point. I was afraid of Warpath somehow getting Reckoner in melee with Deneghra, I was afraid of those two potential Reckoner shots, I was afraid of Fire continuous effect on Deneghra... Def 15/Arm 19-20 is a stressful vital statistics for a huge base warcaster.


Yesterday I finished a couple of minor demons for Frostgrave or Plague Bearers for Mordheim or who knows what game systems in the future. Models are lemures from Reaper Bones range.

And they're hungry. Hungry for fun.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Cruor et Caedis Chapter IX

Earlier chapters:
Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII



And madness.

He was Jack Saturn, the ringmaster of world renown circus Cruor et Caedis.

He was... nothing. At least that's what his father would have said before. Not so much any longer. Not even when Jack saw him in his dreams or ghastly apparitions of troubling nature while awake. Constant high pitched shriek from the inanimate Siamese head of his brother had ceased to be a terrible reminder of nightmarish past. Rather it was an acknowledgement of triumph over their father.

Recent experiences had brought the crew's ability to greatly surpass any artistic merit his father had ever been able to make Cruor et Caedis achieve. The circus didn't perform their numbers any more, nor establish their carnival wherever they arrived. They lived art. They breathed art. They ate art. Hell, they even shat art. And when it came down to it, even their death was art.

And the world followed.

Something had been set loose upon the world in the sinister area that had been surging with strange power that had attracted many... gifted individuals to the same place at the same time. And now the dead were walking upon the earth in their current state of decay, creatures that were neither beast nor human had awakened and were traversing the same broken streets of the once great city as Cruor et Caedis was. Even time and space were on the verge of collapse, as not all doors were guaranteed to lead to next chamber.


And delirium.

And Jack knew very well how to navigate insanity.

If they had been humans once, this was no longer the case. They were Cruor et Caedis. When they became stranded in the frozen city, they needed to consume the flesh of the undead to keep themselves nourished. At first that had not been a very healthy thing to do. They also ate their fallen; this way no member of Cruor et Caedis would truly leave the crew. They were a continuous unity. Jack had needed to bolster the mental resilience of the circus so often with powers from beyond the mortal realm that others had grown nearly as great attunement to sinister presence in their mind and in their body as Jack had cultivated during his time as the ringmaster.

Getting possessed and re-possessed over and over again with or without willingness had left their souls leaking. This caused many kinds of unexpected and unnatural side effects. The acrobat twin brothers could no longer tell which one was which. Occasionally other members would find themselves looking through wrong pair of eyes. All thoughts were not their own. Sometimes they were coming from the person closest to them, if they were coming from any person at all. After cannibalizing their own dead, memories and thoughts of the deceased could briefly enter the attention of participants of the banquet. During their sleep, their identities and personalities were drifting through one physical vessel to another.

A true unison emerged from the shattering of the mind, a crack in the soul. How beautiful was that?

All of this, in turn, lead to a bodily unification. Though demonic powers were knitting wounds unnaturally fast, many of their brethren had received mortal wounds on stage. Somehow they had survived as long as they weren't too far from their kin. It was marvelous. And it was painful. To test the limits of their coherency, Jack had ordered himself to be flayed alive. That might be a terrific new circus freak number in the future - a man without a skin.

Resulting pain had been tolerable. Everyone else had tolerated and felt it as well. This had happened yesterday.

In this brief moment of respite Jack was smiling masochistically. Or maybe it was sadistic. Nobody would be able to tell.

And he didn't stop smiling until he encountered his brother and his other head, Ís. For Ís was smiling sadistically. Or maybe masochistically. Jack was not able to tell.

And Ís spoke: "Darling"

And Jack attacked Ís. That voice was no longer part of his life. He had killed that voice once, and would do so again if need be.

Frostgrave campaign game eleven

Last Thursday the Frostgrave campaign continued to Thaw of the Lich Lord scenario seven, Lair of the Ghoul King.

Ghoul King definitely hadn't thought this ambush through very well. I mean, both wizards were competing who'd get to lure the king to his warband! I decided to sacrifice my Captain in this attempt. She used Sprint trick of the trade and was the closest model to Ghoul King when the creature phase began.

There was this one pesky ghoul who fell from the ceiling. It single handedly killed my Bard (how can that be? She has beaten even enemy wizards!) and even tied up Jack. Jack had cast Possess on himself and he was carrying the Sword of Undead Slaying, and he had a friendly warband member in melee with the Ghoul. That's a +13 attack. And yet Jack didn't score a kill. Nonetheless it's quite rare to deal five damage points in to a target when you roll "2" for attack roll...

Anyway. This distraction combined with Ghoul King refusing to die made it look like Necromancer would snatch both treasures in the middle without any contest whatsoever. Loyal War Hound had to run to the throne to block treasure picks.

Necromancer warband got their very own elite ghoul to stall them, which probably saved war hound for a turn or two.

But the Ghoul King. I had Possessed Rangifer, my captain and barbarian beating him for multiple turns. I decided to use drastic methods and cast Plague of Insects on my own Treasure Hunter, who then ran within 1" of the Ghoul King. Of course the casting roll was 18 or so, so getting rid of it would be difficult. Eventually Ghoul King fell thanks to the -4 Fight from insects and it was the Captain who scored the kill. For a moment I was worried that she'd keep the Amulet to herself, thanks to Captains not giving back items that are given for them.

Well. Back home I kind of found it very fitting for the theme of my warband if Captain did steal the amulet. So I gave it to her anyway.

Once I had taken down the King, it looked like I overwhelmed Necromancer completely in the middle. Four treasure tokens and the amulet looked like they'd fall easily to my greedy hands. But how things change when you become too overconfident.

A couple of (finally) good damage rolls from enemy warband killed my Barbarian and Marksman. War hound had only one hit point remaining and Rangifer would soon be all alone versus three enemy models. Oh, sure, there was my Trasure Hunter with Plague of Insects on him... but I considered him useless. He was tying up two enemy soldiers with success, though.

If it hadn't been for the super ghoul that ate enemy Apprentice, I would have probably lost both treasures. I had started to fall back with Captain, as I didn't want to get her killed with the amulet. Ghouls had been slowing down and damaging my apprentice. Once Rangifer fell dead, both Jack and Adon tried to barrage a dense group of three enemy models and my own war hound with Elemental Ball. Results weren't too inspiring though both spells succeeded. Two models died. Only one enemy model, though.

Ranger went and picked up one of the treasures on the throne - just in time, as the Treasure Hunter who had Plague of Insects was finally put down.

I won a critical initiative and was able to Leap away with treasure carrying Ranger. Opponent had more than enough models to pick up the other treasure in the middle. Necromancer soldiers had also been pulling the levers to open doorways, and there was a door in both of our deployment zones. Game was pretty much over then, as the LoS was only 12" in this scenario. Both players seemed to be more interested in securing a treasure than to wreak havoc.

So, it was a clean 3-3 game. My warband had killed Ghoul King, Jack had escaped through a door and quite a few ghouls had been put down. Jack got 400 experience points from this scenario.

Treasure rolls were lackluster. I got 220 gold, a Grimoire of Spell Eater, a +1 damage modifier dagger and Quiver of the Soul Seeker.

Grimoire and dagger were sold right away, with Captain insisting on her share of the loot.

War Hound died from roster and Marksman and Rangifer need to miss next game. I bought Grimoire of Plane Walk for Jack.

- - -

Roster details:

Jack Saturn is level 33 with 3335 experience.
He has levelled fight by +3, Will by +3*, and health by +4.
Fleet Feet spell has been improved by +4, Elemental Ball by +3*, Leap by +2, Possess by +1, Spell Eater by +1, Imp by +1 and Fog by +3.
He has learned Plague of Insects, which has been improved by +2.
He has learned the Reveal Secret spell, which has been improved by +1.
He has learned Willpower spell, which has been improved by +1*.
He has learned Plane Walk spell.*

Home base is Inn with Crystal Ball, Sarcophagus of Healing, Carrier Pigeons (+0 gold) and Kennels

Vault has Magical two handed weapon (+1 damage modifier), 2x Sword of Undead Slaying, Magical bow (+2 damage modifier), Club of Battering
Amulet of the Ghoul King
Book of Rangifer
Ring of Power (1)
Eyes of Amoto
Fire Heart Gemstone
Horn of Hellfire
Grimoire: Poison Dart, Control Construct, Furious Quill, Enchant Weapon
Quiver of the Soul Seeker
Scroll of Planar Tear.

Unspent gold: 717.
(I've forgotten if I have included sold items to the collected gold, so I'll ditch it from these statistics from now on.)

Warband roster is worth 1400 gold (level 33 apprentice is 530) and includes:
(miss next game) Marksman
2x Treasure Hunter
War Hound (re-purchased)
(miss next game) Rangifer
Captain: +1 Move and Sprint trick (cost so far: 118 gold), leather armor, hand weapon and dagger, Amulet of the Ghoul King, 90 experience

Thursday, April 14, 2016

First impressions of the Undercity

Today I had a two player session of Undercity.

We played first two scenarios and it took a little bit over three hours to do that. Not too bad at all, considering I had only read the basic rules once and the second player had one solo game behind him.

I played with the trollkin bodyguard and the alchemist.

As I love the archetype behind a maniacal alchemist throwing explosive cocktails around, I played true to that archetype in the opening moves of the first scenario. Alchemist took Hoof it -move to throw the acid bomb on the group of villains who were hanging around the corpse players were supposed to investigate. Because acid bomb on clues and leads and evidence - why not? Well, I hadn't read my character sheet too carefully, as I was oblivious of being able to get three dice on all of the damage rolls...

Well, some experimental bombs are bound to be dud, I suppose.

I was playing quite carelessly throughout the mission, as I didn't really feel the heroes were in much of a danger. Four free strike hazards on the trollkin, for example... who cares?

Also, I wanted to end the game with style instead of playing it safe - the troll charged Rhulic boss with extra damage die from Great strength buff table and Mighty Blow feat card. That meant if I rolled high enough with four dice, my hero would one-hit boss. And he did. Yay.

Doorstop lived up to its name for the whole game, and gun mage went and snatched an orgoth artifact from side quest.

Each hero got five experience points, and I chose the Shield Guard advance for trollkin.

In second scenario I think I wasn't that reckless... at least until the very last turn.

Alchemist made good use out of acid bombs in this scenario. Trollkin made good use out of... well, nothing in this scenario. Even though gun mage knocked down the troll boss, my melee tank character was not able to cause even a single wound to the enemy - even with additional damage die and charge bonuses. Gun mage had shot a wound or two in to the troll, and my alchemist had to come and show my troll champ how melee weapons are to be used in the Undercity.

And my trollkin learned that, I guess... He did score a boss kill in that game. Against a knocked down Armour 11 gobber boss.

Doorstop lived up to its name for the whole game.

I tried to run to a side quest card when game was nearing end with my alchemist, but this resulted in a lucky crossbow shot incapacitating him.

Heroes got eight experience points from this scenario.

Alchemist got Skulk (stealth) and left three experience points in bank. He starts next game with only three health.

Trollkin had the shield guard card from last scenario and bought Vendetta from this scenario. He also left three experience points in bank.


The game definitely has it's pros and cons. I was left with a bit mixed feelings about the game.

For example, the experience progress feels a little underwhelming and streamlined. When experience pool is shared by all characters, it feels like the heroes don't develop as individuals. Their accomplishes and failures on board don't really affect themselves. I admit I'm a sucker for rules that make heroes develop distinct personalities. However, I understand why the experience isn't tracked individually. It cuts down book-keeping tremendously, and it's far easier to balance experience gain that way. I mean, for example, if most of the experience in a game is gained from killing things, it sucks to be a support character.

Second "problem" comes from the cooperative nature of the game. And the game truly is fully cooperative - a little too much. There is no incentive to be even a little bit selfish. That's not necessarily a bad thing in itself, so I'm not going to judge the game just yet from this viewpoint. But when a game has no competition between the players at all in any way, the difficulty has to be right. Odds need to feel overwhelming, there needs to be a sense of desperation so great that it makes up for the lack of competition between the players. First two scenarios did not have a satisfactory difficulty level, but a little bird told me that latter part of campaign is going to see a jump in difficulty.

Game mechanics, on the other hand, are quite good. Steady inflow of new villains in a good system here, and should lend itself well to that sense of desperation I was talking about earlier. The system how villains activate is well thought. It would be plain hell to keep track which villains have activated and which have not, so thankfully that is not required at all. Also, players can't plan around the activation order either as far as the villains go - as witnessed by the stray crossbow bolt that downed my alchemist in second scenario...

Lastly, I'm a little bit worried about the re-playability of the game. It's the same seven scenarios with the same four heroes with very little variation. Some additional heroes would work miracles in that regard. Maybe Widower's Wood and the upcoming expansion for Undercity will help there? Randomising the assets players have to beat the game is a really good way of adding re-play value to any cooperative game. In Arkham Horror and Touch of Evil you never know if you're going to be able to beat this particular ultimate evil with the current party composition - but those are the tools you have to work with.

Of course those games are somewhat different from The Undercity. Undercity has a span of seven linked missions, where Arkham Horror and Touch of Evil are just one-off games. Time investment for a completed "story arc", so to speak, is way different. You probably want to have more choice over your character and the progress of that character if you have to use him/her during multiple sessions.

But I'm not sure what I'm even talking about any more. Somewhere along the way this turned into writing random thoughts, based on two scenarios played.

To sum it up: the game has merits, but something keeps me a little cautious and needs additional play to make up my mind.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Lord Commander Stryker vs the Soul Weaver

Last Thursday I played a 50 point Warmachine game.

My list was:

Deneghra the Soul Weaver
- Leviathan
- Nightmare
- Deathripper
- Nightwretch

Maximum unit of Satyxis Raiders + Sea Witch
Withershadow Combine
Ogrun Bokur
Satyxis Captain
Necrotech & Scrap Thrall
Soul Trappers

Opponent had:

Lord Commander Stryker
- Lancer

Maximum unit of Storm Lances
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages + Officer
Maximum unit of Horgenhold Forge Guard + Murdoch
Aiyana & Holt
Archduke Runewood
Journeyman Warcaster
Maxwell Finn
Stormblade Captain
Harlan Versh

Scenario was Incursion and Cygnar started game. First picture is from the end of Cygnar turn two. I had left the flag on the right next to uncontested, and I had definitely not anticipated Stryker would use his feat this turn to take over flag on the left with Forge Guard, too. Rhupert had given them Tough.

I got to make a cheap trick by casting Mortality on Forge Guard with Skarlock and then killing a whole bunch of them with Satyxis. Pistol Wraith took down Murdoch. Yet again I forgot my plans when I got to kill some filthy dwarves. I had thought of controlling left flag with the Satyxis unit, but one of them just had to charge way past 4" area around the flag. Satyxis Captain was able to run to the flag, but most likely that just meant a dead Satyxis Captain.

I was afraid that Stryker would now make a suicidal charge with three Overload dice against Deneghra, so I tried to place my warjacks to threaten at least with free strikes if nothing else.

However, next tun it looked like I had (for once) placed my warcaster far enough from charges like this so Stryker ditched that plan. He cast Rebuke on Satyxis Raiders and tried to kill the Sea Witch - probably to give Gun Mages realistic chance to hit them.

Gun Mages either missed or didn't score damage for most of their activations. Storm Lances looked like a problem when they charged to Nightwretch. Or, well, one tried to and the rest just ran. Harlan Versh came to control the flag.

Though Satyxis wouldn't now charge Stryker thanks to Rebuke, I decided to go for the assassination anyway. Deathripper ran to position, and then Deneghra activated and flew on top of the hill just to look cool. She cast Mortality on Stryker, and then a boosted Scourge right after. She tried to spray Stryker with her ranged attack, but scored no damage.

Pistol Wraith took a shot at Stryker and boosted damage. Damage roll was 5,5,6 which killed the Cygnaran warcaster.

I know it isn't right, but I felt a little disappointed. I had wanted to knock Stryker down and make him Stationary.

Then I would have wanted to have Shadow Bind on him and Blind on him.

And then I would have wanted to curse him and his descendants down to seventh generation.

And then I would have even wanted to insult his dog.

And all of that wouldn't have been even remotely close to what the poster boy deserves.