Category: Geekery

Geekery – Battletech Fan Fiction – Shards of the Galaxy

I made a thing!

http://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=54289.0

This is actually a project I began back in 2009. (Has it really been that long?) While I love the Battletech canon universe, and the factions and battles that take place in it, I also love creating something my own.

I dreamed up four major factions – disillusioned Lyrans, remnants of Clan Smoke Jaguar on the run, ComStar Explorer Corps deserters, and Magistracy of Canopus Merchants – as well as two or three minor ones – pirates, deserters of the major factions, mercenaries – that all converge on one system in the Deep Periphery around the time of the FedCom Civil War. Each has their own goals and desires, and they will come into conflict.

I have posted about 80% of what I originally wrote. Now I have the arduous task of writing more without notes. (I have no idea where I put my notes for this project…)

It’s already received great feedback on the Battletech forums. Go check it out and let me know what you think!

Until next time!…

Kickstarter I’m Backing – Thornwatch

And lo, the gaming gods didst smile upon the gamers, and there was much rejoicing!

Hello! And welcome back after a month or so hiatus. I return to blogging with a Kickstarter I have been anticipating for months, probably over a year: THORNWATCH.

Thornwatch Kickstarter

Over the past few years, Gabe and Tycho of Penny Arcade have created the Eyrewood, a mystical place where magical guardians, called the Thornwatch, patrol the enchanted woods and protect the denizens therein from creatures changed and mutated by the dark mystical force, the Ebb.

Along with the Guardians of the Thornwatch are the Lookouts, Guardians in training, and the Daughters, girls that are pulled into the Eyrewood and imbued with power.

I’ve been hooked since the debut of the Eyrewood as an idea, and then a full fledged universe with backstory, history, some recurring characters, and amazing monsters. It is such a neat concept outside of what we normally look at as fantasy. I love the art, especially for monsters like The Choir. Penny Arcade has made numerous online comics, as well as digital comics on Comixology.

Thornwatch Kickstarter 2

In the game, you choose one of five characters that come with their own 30 card deck. One person is the Judge (game master) and represents the Judging Wood. The Thornwatch players choose a mission, and then immediately get into the action on a comic-book style game board.

From the video on their Kickstarter, there is no leveling up as your are already a powerful master of your art as a Guardian of the Thornwatch.

I was fortunate enough to get a quick playtest game in at the Lone Shark Games booth at GenCon this year. My friends and I had a blast with just the quick, basic game the demo guy showed us. The card decks and how attacks and such were determined were fast paced and very easy to learn.

I backed at the $88 level. (If I backed at anything higher I think my wife would have a conniption.) I hope you, dear reader, will also back this Kickstarter, even if it’s at the $3 level…but I recommend getting the game. You and your friends will have hours of adventuring fun.

So head over to Kickstarter and check it out!

Until next time!…

(Note: All images herein are (C) Copyright Penny Arcade and Lone Shark Games. The images and references to their material is posted purely for this blog and is not intended for sale or any other profit making purpose.)

 

Geekery – Eisenhorn: Xenos Video Game by Pixel Hero Games

I don’t get to play a lot of video games these days. We have one TV in our home, and we work very hard to keep the kids’ screen time below 1 hour per day. In fact, that’s why we are moving our youngest to a new daycare that does zero screen time, while the current daycare has them watching movies 2+ hours per day. No 1 or 2 year old needs that much screen time.

But I digress.

Every now and again I will log in to my Steam account on my desktop (gaming computer) in order to play a quick game of Running With Rifles or Terreria, or hop on the Xbox One and knock out 30-45 minutes of Far Cry: Primal or Destiny.

Recently I was introduced to the most amazing game ever! (Well maybe not ever. But it’s pretty darn cool.) Pixel Hero Games has debuted Eisenhorn: Xenos, based off the best selling Warhammer 40K trilogy by Dan Abnett.

Eisenhorn

To really kick off this post, Abnett was the author that got me stuck in to Warhammer 40k, and the Eisenhorn Omnibus was the first Warhammer 40K book I purchased. I was immediately drawn into the world with Xeno, Malleus, Hereticus. And Abnett’s writing took me on a wild adventure with Gregor Eisenhorn and his Inquisitorial retinue. Every page had me on the edge of my seat, and I wrapped up the Eisenhorn Omnibus in just under two weeks. (Which reminds me I need to read it again.)

eisenhorn-01

The video game Eisenhorn: Xenos is true to the book. The story in the game follows right along with the book, with battle scenes and sneaking around. And Pixel Hero Games delivered on the Grimdark goodness of the Warhammer 40k universe. The environments are well built, and there are even times when one can look into the far distance.

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Gameplay is very linear. You are playing the story of Gregor Eisenhorn and his team straight out of the books. Some on the internet have complained about this. I won’t because I love it. In a world full of sandbox gaming, Eisenhorn: Xenos is refreshingly thematic.

There are also the complaints of last-generation graphics. Apparently it was also made to be played on the iPad? Again, not a big deal for me. Is it not the latest and greatest realistic graphics of newer games? It isn’t. I don’t care. It plays very well and is fun. That’s right, it’s fun without the latest graphics. Shocking, I know. I honestly don’t need the latest graphics for all my games. If I wanted Eisenhorn: Xenos to be super realistic and HD, I would demand they just make the movie/HBO series. The graphics in the video game work great for me.

The third-person-shooter set-up works well. I just got an additional person in my party, and the AI is pretty good. As you work through the game you gather gold which you can use to buy better weapons and such. Combat is real time, and you can use Gregor’s sword or gun/bolt pistol/etc. Of course, Eisenhorn is a psyker, and you are able to use some of his psychic abilities as you play and fight.

So far I am about 5% into the game. (I bought it last week. This should signal just how much time I actually have to play video games between work and family commitments.) I cannot wait to play further into the game, and see what else Pixel Hero Games has done with the universe of Warhammer 40k and with Gregor Eisenhorn’s story!

Have you played through the whole game yet? What are your thoughts on it?

Until next time!…

Gen Con 2016

It’s been over a week since Gen Con 2016 and I’m still recovering a bit from late nights playing games until 1:30AM/2AM.

It was a blast! I went with a group of friends from where I live in Nebraska from the 3rd to the 7th of August. While we were about 10 minutes away from the convention center, our hotel was right next to Highway 65 and we were able to zip in with no trouble.

Highlights

My big squees were Dropfleet Commander from Hawk Wargames, and the super-pre-alpha of the Battletech game from Harebrained Schemes.

I played in the Dropzone Commander tournament that Friday…and lost miserably. But was fun to play so much DZC at 1500pts.

Friday night of the convention I had the delightful opportunity to play a game of Red Dragon Inn and Dragon Flagon with Craig Gallant and Russ and Nicole Wakelin from The D6 Generation podcast, and their friend Bob. It was an awesome time! And it was great to meet face to face with a stellar podcast team that I’ve been following for over two years now.

Saturday I got the opportunity to demo Penny Arcade’s Thornwatch rpg game from Lone Shark Games. Really interesting system, and very fun! Cannot wait for the Print and Play and/or Kickstarter.

Other Stuff

There was a lot of other great stuff, too! Almost too much to mention. Like Weta Workshop’s new mech game, and neat games like Rumble in the Dungeon by Cool Mini Or Not, and the Portal game by Cryptozoic.

And of course there was awesome cosplay. The group that dressed up as Space Wolves were on point!

Conclusion

Like I said, we all had a blast, though we were pretty behind on sleep. And my lifting suffered (Mah gainz!). I cannot wait to go next year!

My plan for next year will be increased game playing. The vendor hall is super cool, but I didn’t play any Battletech (one demo of Alpha Strike). And I was hoping to try out a different RPG. And definitely getting a hotel right next to the hall. This driving thing in Indianapolis is for the birds.

Until next time…

Geekery – My Rediscovered Love of Dropzone Commander

Twas a glorious four days in August of 2014 when my wife, daughter, and brother made the long, arduous trek to Indianapolis, Indiana for Gen Con 2014.

I went.

I saw.

I gamed.

I have a blog post about it somewhere around here…

During the best four days in gaming in 2014, my brother and I went “halvsies” on the Dropzone Commander two-player starter box. I was immediately intrigued by the game with its miniatures engineered to fit together. Most of the dropships could actually carry the vehicles they were meant to. Everything fit perfectly. The designers are lifelong geeks, and they were, and still are, dedicated to that level of detail.

DZC 13

The universe itself is incredible. The story of Dropzone Commander begins with D+250 with humanity, under the United Colonies of Man, fighting the vile, parasitic Scourge to take back the fertile cradle worlds, the most important of which is Earth itself. In the midst of the chaos are the Resistance fighters on each world, some friendly to the UCM, some fighting for their own power. The clan-like Shaltari, once friends to humanity, now fight for their own aims. The Post Human Republic, a race of advanced humans, fight the UCM and the Scourge, but to what ends only they know.

DZC 10

The gameplay is awesome. It is fast and common sense, yet still dynamic enough to force the commander (player) to sit and think of their tactics, and overall strategy. I have played 700 point games in an hour and a half, and that is quite a few models on the board. I cannot wait to play larger 1,000 to 2,000 point games.

DZC 12

The group I play with doesn’t know the love and joy of Classic Battletech, but I constantly tell them that Dropzone Commander is what Battletech: Alpha Strike should have been. Not the models or the universe, of course, but the rules and playability. While I’m sure playing enough Alpha Strike will help keep the rules fresh in one’s mind, they are easily forgotten. I hadn’t played a game of Dropzone Commander in a year and a half, and I still remembered 90% of the rules. (It had been a busy year and a half, and all gaming went to the wayside with family, moving homes, our wedding, and work commitments.)

DZC 11

I wonder what would happen if Catalyst Game Labs got license to use the DZC system…

Things that make you go: hmm…

On top of it all, Hawk Wargames, the company that makes DZC, keeps their miniatures relatively cheap. I can get a handful of miniatures for $30-$40. This is great for a family man on a budget. I can slowly but surely build the army I want. It may take a month or two, but it’s not like Warhammer 40K where just one squad, or miniature, can wipe out a man’s gaming budget for the month. In fact, the cost of getting started in DZC is $44 for a starter set, which gives you from 540 to about 600 points, depending on the faction.

Even the books are cheap. I can get the first expansion book, “Reconquest: Phase 1”, for about $20 on Miniature Market. That’s a lot better than the $40-$60 I would drop for Battletech’s latest rulebooks.

Below are some pictures of my most recent game (two weeks ago) between my Scourge and an opponent’s UCM.

Though I lost, my Scourge put up one hell of a fight!

Hawk Wargames recently wrapped up a Kickstarter for their space ship battles game, Dropfleet Commander. The smallest ship carries 100 dropships. That is an insane scale. What’s even better is that Dropfleet Commander and Dropzone Commander will be playable together. Talk about epic scale!

I highly recommend Dropzone Commander to anyone who loves miniature wargames on a large scale.

And if you want a play a game with me, I am usually at the Game Shoppe in Bellevue, Nebraska on Thursday nights.

Until next time…

Kickstarter I’m Backing – Rail Raiders Infinite

I don’t normally back Kickstarters. My money tends to go to a specific amount of gaming each paycheck. Like recently, one paycheck went to purchase Saber Heavy Grav Tanks and Razorworms for my Scourge force for Dropzone Commander. Another paycheck went to purchase a Gekko Squadron for my Infinity Nomads. Having a family reduces miniature wargame spend significantly.

So when I do back a Kickstarter it is a special occasion.

To begin, let me ask you a few questions.

Do you like Firefly?

Do you like Wild West Exodus?

Do you like Chibis?

If you answered yes to all (or at least one) of those questions, then Rail Raiders Infinite is for you.

Rail Raiders Infinite is a table top miniature game from Soda Pop Miniatures and Ninja Division where you and your friends play as chibi raiders in a sci-fi western universe and attempt to rob a space train. (Right? Sure.) But beware! Law bots and marshals fill the train and will attempt to stop you. Do you have what it takes?

All salesmanship aside, this game looks like a blast. I am told Soda Pop Miniatures and Ninja Division put out some great games. I love the look and feel of this game. It is very Firefly-esque. And the law bots are something right out of Wild West Exodus. It looks fun and funny and I can’t wait to play it. (Maybe in October 2016? Sure. I’ll believe them…for now. Let’s just hope they’re not like Drake II…)

Even some of the raiders are hilarious. Stretch goal “Canton Cobb” is an ode to Jayne Cobb from Firefly, and “The Typhoon” is Vash the Stampede.

The train itself is a series of tiles. Instead of normal dice, the face of the dice are card faces (10, Jack, King, Queen, and Joker). And there are coins. Coins make every game better, right? Right.

It makes me smile. 🙂

Don’t believe me that this is a great game? (Or looks like a great game!?) Head over to Kickstarter and check it out now!

And give them $50.

Until next time!…

Geekery – My First Game of Dungeons and Dragons

Before last Wednesday (February 17th) I had never played a Tabletop RPG.

I had played plenty of video game RPGs. The Final Fantasy series. Skyrim. Balder’s Gate. World of Warcraft. Warhammer Online. Just to name a few.

And of course I’m a tabletop game player. Battletech, Warmachine, and Infinity are just some of my favorites. I’ve played Star Trek: Attack Wing, and the Star Wars fighter game. And I love board games like Takenoko.

But tabletop RPGs never attracted my attention. Maybe some of this was the stigma of the people who played tabletop RPGs – then again that same stigma is attached (or at least used to be) those who play miniature war-games.  For whatever reason I was just never interested in getting into tabletop RPGs.

That changed recently – and by recently I mean GenCon 2014. I decided I’d try to get RPG’ing a shot and went to a Shadowrun character creation seminar at GenCon ’14. It was interesting but I really should have gone to a RPG session seminar. While waiting to start the seminar I was talking to three guys that had just wrapped up playing some D&D 5th edition. At that time 5th edition was relatively new and they were ecstatic about it. On top of that, they broke the tabletop-RPG’er-mold. They looked like normal bros doing bro stuff. And if they were down for D&D, then I could be down, too.

Fast forward a little over 18 months later and my gaming group has been disbanded for a while. I was being a bad member myself and, though I paid my dues, I was not attending with any regularity. Other members were going regularly – but not paying dues. And overall the group had shrunk and money in the war chest wasn’t matching rent for the store front. The gaming group closed, and I was left flapping in the wind, tabletop game-wise.

Within the last two weeks I had begun to adamantly look for a new gaming venue. I need tabletop gaming like some people need to watch their favorite shows weekly. It’s both an escape, and a mental exercise that keeps my mentally sharp. Previewing the events at the local game shop (called The Game Shoppe) here in Bellevue, NE I saw there were D&D demo games every Wednesday. After about a year and a half, I was ready to try a tabletop RPG.

My wife lovingly gave me a lot of crap for it. 🙂

And so, February the 17th I ventured into the cold Nebraskan night to try Dungeons and Dragons.

Overall it was fun. I created a human barbarian named Lothar (of the Hill People) and played with two other people who had low-level characters. Our DM was asked by his group at the last minute to be the DM for the newer, lower level players, and so he was unprepared and had trouble reading the quest notes on the tablet he was using. But we killed some wild dogs and saved a tiefling adolescent, and killed some red-furred goats. I got 100XP out of the whole ordeal. The other players seemed like good guys and we quested decently together.

The group was very inviting and helpful. They offered assistance and resources (like miniatures and pencils) freely and made sure I generally felt welcomed.

I plan to go back this coming Wednesday in order to get more experience. Hopefully things are a little more organized and our DM a little more prepared, or at least ready to DM on the fly. If not, I can watch the group play and see how they play.

Next I may get into Battletech: A Time of War RPG. Who knows?

And if you’re in the Bellevue, NE area and want to game let me know!

Until next time!…