Wednesday, June 29, 2016


I've been stalling the acquirement of The Cataclysm expansion for Talisman.

After all, Talisman gets rarely played these days and I somehow find this expansion a little dubious. I mean, are we going to see a new line of expansions that are expansions on top of expansions? Probably not, but this way of expanding game feels a little cheap. The Cataclysm could've been a stand-alone expansion and that would have been perfect, but now it's pretty much alternate centre board, while original centre continues to be mandatory.

Oh well.

The figures were, as far as board games go, gorgeous. They have been improving in quality for quite a while, and now the details are so sharp that models like Scavenger, Arcane Scion and Barbarian wouldn't gather dismissive looks if included in a full fledged miniatures game. Barbarian's sword is worthy of mention: it's not a flimsy, flaccid rubber baton that melts in the sunlight, as often longish, unsupported appendages are on board game figures.

Figures do 'suffer' from gigantism yet again when compared to earlier Talisman figures. Maybe it's because of the magical radiation that The Cataclysm brought.

Rules for new characters were a little off. Scavenger and Arcane Scion look to me like they're hideously overpowered. Black Knight also has the potential to be the premiere player character killer with little danger for himself, and yet his starting Strength / Craft ain't bad at all.

And that was pretty much everything. There were two plastic bags of cards, and of course the main board.

For the heavy price that this game expansion came with, I can't help but feel a little underwhelmed at least when it comes to physical content. And actual play experience, oh, let's wait for a year or two... (hopefully not)

Monday, June 27, 2016

Scaverous vs Reznik in the new edition

Yesterday I played first game of the new edition of Warmachine.

Traditionally we've played a game or two on my summer visit to Kuhmo with another player who's from here, but this time around we weren't present at the same time.

So it was time to blow the dust from Vassal engine and play a 10 point game.

I played:

Lord Exhumator Scaverous 1
- Erebus
- 2x Deathripper

Minimum unit of Bile Thralls

Opponent had:

High Executioner Servath Reznik 1
- Castigator
- Devout
- Dervish

Minimum unit of Choir of Menoth
2x Allegiant of Fist

We didn't use any scenarios in such a small game. Protectorate started. First picture is from the end of Cryx turn 1. So far Death Ward is on Erebus and Ignite is on Castigator (like it needs to ignite things any better...)

Second turn Protectorate advanced under spell shielded warjacks and warcasters, and defense 18 Allegiants of Fists.

Such magic protection was an intimidating prospect. I was afraid I wouldn't get any use out of Scaverous' feat at all until it was already too late. Witch Hound stopped me from planning any kind of an assassination with Erebus (I didn't think I'd be able to pull it off without -2 arm on Reznik) so instead I decided to waste my feat to destroy the Choir of Menoth. Lovely plan, but somehow I grossly overestimated the reach of AoE 4. Oh well. Used my feat to kill three choir boys.

Perhaps it was worth it anyway, since Feast of Worms gives soul tokens nowadays.

Bile Thralls activated next and did some futile sprays. I was sure I'd kill one Allegiant with a purge attack, but damage roll came up as double 1's. My warcaster's new ability, Knowledge of the Damned, came into good use in the first game with him.

I knew that charging Erebus to Castigator might be a very bad idea. Too often Cryxian jacks take an good chunk of health boxes away from an Arm 19 target, but fail to disable any important systems. But this time was different. Perhaps the dawn of new edition, or something. Charge damage roll was 10, second initial 9, first extra attack 6 and last attack 10. This wasn't enough to wreck the jack, but it was stationary now and - most importantly - had lost it's cortex.

Turn 3 Reznik casts Engine of Destruction and charges Erebus. Death Ward acted more like a Death Warrant because of Purgation. But still Reznik didn't destroy Erebus with three attacks. Reznik used his feat. Devout had already activated and had tried to injure Deathripper, but had failed in doing so. Lone choir priest gives extra damage for Dervish, who comes and punches Erebus twice, hitting with both attacks. Last attack scores the kill. Last remaining Allegiant knocked some six points off from Deathripper on the right, or something.

Exactly what I feared had now happened: I had lost Erebus, and opponent kind of nothing. Stationary Castigator without cortex had at least made Reznik commit himself far. So, now Reznik died or Cryx lost. Fortunately Reznik was within charge distance of Scaverous, who had eight focus this turn. Scaverous charged in and would hit with 6+. Scaverous went without attack boosts the whole run, and didn't miss a single time. Damage rolls (which I boosted) were quite excessive. A camp of two didn't help against rolls of 14+ and so.

But this simple and innocent game only led to the true test. I have to start thinking how to engineer my new and improved excel sheets...

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Frostgrave campaign game thirteen

Scenario was the Bone (stone) Wheel, where treasures were riding human ponies like a carousel, and there were two ticket inspector banshees around, too.

Scenario had an interesting deployment scheme, where players deployed in corners instead of along board edges. Additional scenarios like that would be most welcome, as it makes the board feel bigger.

We used random encounters in this scenario for some extra challenge. I was against Sigilist warband.

For some reason I didn't check my detailed notes here, and my wizard sheet was a bit of a mess. I remembered someone was supposed to miss a game, but I had marked two such soldiers. I wagered it was my ranger instead of my bard - and of course it was the other way around. Oh well, I suppose losing ranger hurts more.

It took quite a while before I started taking pictures. For example, there are no more banshees around at all. First one fell to a shot by my Marksman, who had Quiver of the Soul Seeker equipped. Second banshee went to torment Sigilist warband as it chose the worst possible direction to go. Something like six models had to take the Will check.

Sadly the wail did only a few stray points of damage here and there instead of anything that really mattered. Then it died to a barbarian with magic weapon, who was aided by Blood Crow. I guess well trained birds can distract incorporeal ghosts. Why not.

Now we're slowly getting to where first picture is. Rangibear has both Possess and Fleet Feet on, a combo that is replicated in the Barbarian also. A Treasure Hunter has Fleet Feet.

Two explosive cocktails have killed a war dog from between Rangifer and Captain. I don't think anyone else, other than the dog, took much damage.

The turning mechanism of the Bone Wheel was funny brought an additional treasure token close to my warband. Blood Crow that has often been blocking treasures had been called elsewhere, so Captain was able to take the third treasure. Random Encounter roll was 16+, but spawned only two Wild Dogs. But... they were dogs, after all. Caution is advised whenever dogs threaten you in Frostgrave.

Dogs spawned closer to me, and of course they started to approach my treasure carrying soldiers (a treasure hunter and rangifer)

Closer to the Bone Wheel some sigilist Treasure Hunters had been creeping to, perhaps, snatch the treasure from Captain, or just to cause general anxiety and uncertainty in the Circus.

Using Leap on Captain would have been too obvious and easy (even if there was Draining Word upon that spell), so Jack blasted both of the Treasure Hunters away with a well placed Elemental Ball. Or, that was the plan. Casting that spell almost dealt more damage to Jack than to the 'hunters. First one took nothing, but at least second one was wounded.

I didn't dare to bring Barbarian and the other Treasure Hunter to aid in the fight because there was enemy Barbarian behind the REAL threat: a war hound. Somebody needed to guard the bottleneck. So instead Bard and Apothecary came to protect Jack.

Adon the Apprentice cast Plague of Insects on the healthier enemy Treasure Hunter.

This plan backfired a little when the Treasure Hunter gave the penalties for my troops also, and once I brought Barbarian to the fight, road was opened up for enemy war hound or something. It could attack Apothecary with Apothecary having effective Fight -4. Somehow Apothecary still held fast.

After my Marksman fell the banshee, ranged attacks were jinxed for both warbands. Bone Darts really did nothing or did not succeed at all, and none of the mundane ranged attacks did damage, often rolling sub 5's.

And it was proved that Wild Dogs are not lesser dogs in any way compared to War Hounds. I thought that a Rangifer with Possess could attack one of them alone even if it was carrying a treasure. Wild Dog rolls 20. How else.

Now, the dogs were sent to their graves easily enough when Treasure Hunter came to help. But not before Rangifer actually suffered the "wounded" status. This was the moment when I finally stopped fooling around with my Wizard and Apprentice, and started casting Leap.

My wizard escaped the battle with four hit points remaining, and apprentice did the same with only one hit point remaining. I may have a problem with unnecessarily empowering spells...


Scenario was over and treasures had been evenly shared. Cruor et Caedis found 210 gold, Ring of Slow Fall, Grimoire of Miraculous Cure and Ivory Scroll of Familiar.

Now that is one pretty rad Ivory Scroll. After levelling Jack's hit points to maximum value, he can automatically begin with 22 health. Plague of Insects and Willpower spells gained a level.

Jack got 310 experience points. A War Hound was badly wounded, so it had to be put down. I got a new one right away, bringing my total benefit from Carrier Pigeons to two gold coins!

Captain took her share from gold again, this time taking a little bit more as she is level 1 now.

I bought a Grimoire of Planar Tear for future use.

Roster details:

Jack Saturn is level 38 with 3835 experience.
He has levelled fight by +3, Will by +3, and health by +6*.
Fleet Feet spell has been improved by +5, 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 +3*.
He has learned the Reveal Secret spell, which has been improved by +1.
He has learned Willpower spell, which has been improved by +2*.
He has learned Plane Walk spell.

Home base is Inn with Crystal Ball, Sarcophagus of Healing, Carrier Pigeons (+2 gold) and Kennels

Vault has Magical two handed weapon (+1 damage modifier), 3x Sword of Undead Slaying, Magical bow (+2 damage modifier), Club of Battering, Hand Weapon (+1 Fight)
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, Shield, Miraculous Cure, bought: Planar Tear
Quiver of the Soul Seeker
Scroll of Planar Tear
Ivory Scroll (Familiar)
Ring of Slow Fall

Unspent gold: 476.

Warband roster is worth 1450 gold (level 38 apprentice is 580) and includes:
Apprentice has Smashed Leg
2x Treasure Hunter
(re-hired) War Hound
Captain: Stat increase: +1 Move (cost so far: 160 gold), leather armor, sword of undead slaying and dagger, Amulet of the Ghoul King, 120 experience
- Tricks of the trade: Sprint, Furious Attack (+3F before attack rolls are made)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Undercity: the epilogue

Just came back from playing the last scenario of Undercity board game.

It was a big boss fight against Ambrose the Alchemist, who had been turning himself into a Cephalyx Monstrosity (people do that willingly?)

I bet it's pretty safe to say that our experience of the last scenario was unusual and unlikely.

The first event card that was drawn was Impending Doom (well, actually second event card that took effect was Impending Doom. Yup, two in a row after Canice put the other one last to the event deck), and that doom removed six health counters from one of the processors, placing them on Ambrose.

This in turn redirected the whole party to get to the second processor. Gadrek rushed forward for three spaces, so next turn he'd be within walking distance of the processor.

Next turn, after a particularly lucky re-roll from a feat card, Gadrek rolled 17 for the strength check, removing the processor completely. After it had pumped only one extra health for Ambrose.

Ambrose took his time emerging from his machinery. He had thirteen health combined. He had to fight the whole hero party alone, with a Cephalyx throwing some mind bolts in to the fray. Clearly the bosses had been caught by surprise, as Cephalyx with aimed ACC 7 shots wasn't able to land solid hit on Gadrek, and Ambrose missing his charge attack against the trollkin.

Quite a few villain spawns were to spaces one and six that were farthest away from action.

Rather soon Ambrose went down, with the Cephalyx following rapidly. Low armour values made it quite easy to make solid, two wound hits to the monstrosity.

Now, to be honest, Milo Boggs the alchemist took heavy damage and ended the scenario with only one hit point remaining. Gadrek, the trollkin hadn't been dodging every and all attacks by the bosses, and he was down to three hit points (from his original nine.)

Luck or no, the campaign conclusion felt a little anticlimatic. The building up of health for the main boss was building tension well enough, though we didn't experience it properly. Once Ambrose got loose, he mainly was just hitting hard. That was a pity, as the boss could have easily been made more interesting without adding crazy amounts of difficulty with the addition of some simple extra rule like Critical Pitch or something. That would've made the end fight less static also.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: mechanics of The Undercity are quite solid and entertaining. However, thanks to how the game (campaign) plays, scenario design should have been extra polished to make Undercity a truly great game. Now it hangs somewhere there in-between. At worst the scenarios have felt uninspired and repetitive, though at their best they have shown some nifty shenanigans that made them feel special.

Hopefully in the future the game gets the support it needs and deserves. Time will tell.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Star Realms

I'm not a big fan of deck building games, but Star Realms was a nice one.

We played one two player Star Realms game without any of the expansions. Rules were really simple. And since I was able to do it, I picked most straightforward brute force solution. This was mostly because my opening hand had five scout ships, and there was this battle station that cost five points.

Next I got a gunship from the same faction as the battle station, so I dealt steady damage to enemy from early on.

Since I wasn't really paying any notice to the concept of scrapping useless cards from your deck, my otherwise powerful military deck started to fall apart from middle to late game. My deck was like Soviet Union in space. It was sheer luck that I got some key cards to be used to crack opponent's brain world in critical intervals.

If opponent would've got the brain world a turn or two earlier, I think I would have lost. But for once being brutish solved problems. Maybe I should try it more often in various other games.

Monkey love

A whole weekend of rarities!

It's been a year and a half since last game of Gloom, it seems. Doesn't feel that long.

Anyway, we played one game of Gloom. Since it was a bit late already, the only expansions we used were the mystery cards for residences.

We had the Circus family at it again, the explorers that came with Unfortunate Expeditions and Blackwater Watch.

More memorable moments of this game was the story of the ape from explorer family. He spent his time drinking too much and trying to look for a little love. The queen did not quite enjoy the advances the ape was trying to commit, so in the end the ape was loathed by the court and cursed by the queen. And the little kid who was following ape around was guilty by association and was shunned by the whole society.

This time around the creepy clown was so sick of children that he escaped the circus to pursue other careers in the explorer family. Bopobodingo, pygmy shaman or something, was the replacement for clown. Sadly, the pygmy had wanted to act like a proper person from the civilised part of the world, and soon left the traditional wood mask and whatnot back in the wardrobe, trying to wear modern clothes. Oblivious as Bopobodingo was to the mysteries of ties, Bopo somehow managed to choke on one. Right before the last show. Maybe it wasn't an accident?

The midget opera singer was killed with kindness after constables had brought her to jail. Better not ask any questions here, now.

Tattooed woman, the last remaining member of the circus family, didn't think that circus was recoverable from recent hardships. She tried to run the circus as a hospital for a little while, but it just didn't feel right. She decided to leave it all behind with a forgery and a body snatching. Only true connection she had ever felt to any living thing had been the long since dead ape. She dug the ape up and escaped in a carriage, hopefully to a better life.

Maybe the ape found the love it was looking for. Just... a little too late.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Gathering Once in Five Years is Enough

I visited some friends last weekend, and we played some cards.

First game was a three player match of Magic the Gathering.

Even after all these years it was easy enough to remember game rules adequately. I didn't have a deck of my own, so I had a black/white enchantment deck from the host, and the others had some sort of mono-black vampire deck and a mono-blue token proliferation deck.

Game used Commander format rules.

My commander was some cheap zombie priest that could buy Spirit tokens into play.

In my opening hand I had Doomwake Giant and some other white, medium cost white archon or griffon or something that gave +1/+1 counters for each of my creatures for every enchantments I'd cast. Little did I understand how amazing they were together (Giant was an enchantment) combined with easy access to the spirit token commander.

Once my deck got the ball rolling, it was quite unstoppable - and both opposing players recognised this. It wasn't an easy game even when my deck had a great combo right from the start and both opposing players having less-than-ideal amount of mana. Black/white did win in the end, but only had five lives left from the original 40.

A notable mention was taking 14 damage from my own Doomwake Giant, that had a couple of +1/+1 tokens on it. Vampire deck cost some kind of "destroy creature" spell that made the destroyed creature deal damage to controlling player equal to it's strength + toughness.

I guess that's all.

Thursday, June 9, 2016


So, here's two imps, a treasure token and... for some unfathomable reason... a zombie mime.

If my Frostgrave wizard ever learns the "Raise Zombie" necromancer spell, this will be the model I will place on the table.

I hope Jack never learns the "Raise Zombie" spell.

The two imps are Hordling miniatures from Reaper Bones line and the mime is from Hasslefree miniatures.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Undercity scenario 6

Should have written this right away.

But last Thursday I played scenario six from the Undercity campaign.

It was this scenario where two alchemists were being shanghai'd to exit space, and once either has been freed, a Cephalyx would appear.

We were a greedy with both Side Quest spaces since they were kind of easily reached. I had great trust in the alchemist wiping out both villain parties that had an alchemist in them. Well, the other group went down just fine... but then things started to happen.

The trollkin tank had been beating the Cephalyx for a few turns once the last group of alchemist transporters arrived right next to the very same space. My alchemist is there and lobs Cinder bomb on the group, but rolls damage poorly. Not that even a successful attack would have killed the trollkin scout in one go anyway. Now, I hadn't been listening the rules for such interactions too well... the attack caused the group to activate, so the trollkin scout threw an axe at the alchemist, killing him before he had time to make the rest of his attacks. This was bad, as gun mage had been incapacitated already, and Doorstop was almost demolished.

Hero trollkin (was his name Gadrek? Well, he's Gadrek now, to differentiate from scout villain) has something like three hit boxes remaining. Doorstop gets wrecked, so heroes are down to Pog and nearly dead Gadrek.

Gadrek takes free strikes from Cephalyx and a Drudge to attack trollkin scout, and thankfully kills him and frees the alchemist, before tons of surrounding villains enter the space.

There is this brief moment, when all of the heroes are in the same space, with dozen or so enemies nearby. Milo Boggs and gun mage had been crawling there. Kind of a cinematic occasion. Should've brought camera to take a picture.

Two villains enter the space, but they do something like one damage to Gadrek. But now he's at two remaining, so he dies if he fails two hazard rolls when he charged back to deal with the Cephalyx...

He passed both. And he killed the Drudge Thrall in one hit, so Cephalyx didn't have any sacrificial pawn targets. And with a last possible attack he killed the Cephalyx, winning scenario for Blackwater Irregulars.

This was, by far, the closest game. It could have easily been a loss. Well, even if Gadrek would have died against the Cephalyx, Pog might have still been able to win the game if he'd have survived against charges made by enemies before he'd activate. That would have been quite epic indeed. But victory took just about every resource we had at our disposal. Well, perhaps we didn't make the best choices all of the time and a cinder bomb manoeuvre backfiring didn't exactly help either.

The Side Quests had rather bad rewards this time around (some extra experience and a poisoned blade that Pog wasn't able to lift from the ground), so maybe they were a bit of an unnecessary risk. But hey. Risks. Uncertain rewards. What could be better?

Next game will be the final scenario of The Undercity Campaign.