Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Thinking Cap: Is Randomness Necessary? Part 2

Warning!  Wall of text/deep philosophical content ahead!

Recently I've not had the opportunity to play Warmachine/Hordes, but instead I've been playing other games and I had a thought: is randomness really necessary for a game?  Yesterday, in Part 1, I started by looking at the kinds of mechanics that exist out there in various game formats that incur randomness.  Today I will look at a couple of games where there is limited - if any - randomness to see if we can answer the question that I've posed.  Lastly, I will share my thoughts about how a miniatures game could be fun without incorporating randomness.  I would first like to clarify that randomness is not the same as uncertaintyRandomness can change your desired action after the decision has been made, while uncertainty will affect your decision before you make it.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Thinking Cap: Is Randomness Necessary? Part 1

I've had the opportunity for the last couple of weeks to play lots of board games instead of my usual fill of Warmachine/Hordes.  While I certainly am starting to feel the "itch" to play some Warmahordes, it's been great experiencing other kinds of games that are fun in different ways.  Playing these games got me thinking - are dice necessary for a good wargame?  While Malifaux tried to remove dice from a miniatures game (by using a standard deck of cards instead), randomness and luck still play a significant role in the game.  My thought is whether or not it's possible to make or play a miniatures game in which randomness is not featured in the game mechanics?  In Part 1 I will share some of the mechanics out there and in Part 2 I will look at games that are out there that are fun without relying on high degrees of randomness or luck.

Friday, January 06, 2012

New Poll: Templecon Masters

Before I introduce our new poll, let's look at the results of the last poll which asked: Which Warmachine/Hordes Faction is your Favorite?  The results were a bit surprising to me, to be honest, let's take a look: 

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Editorial: Starting a new game

Back in 2004 one of my best friends got me interested in playing miniatures games when he brought over these plastic robots with guns.  These "Necrons" were really neat-looking and he told me about this game that involved pushing these models around on a table and there were rules which described their various abilities and what they could do.  After some convincing and a trip to the local game store, I found my interest piqued by these space bugs with living guns, known as Tyranids.  The rest is history, and I was hooked by miniatures games.

That same friend of mine still plays Warhammer 40k and his army collection has expanded over the years, but as I and our friends have moved on to play other games throughout the years, he has stubbornly stuck to playing 40k.  He's invested a lot of time and money into his armies and doesn't see a reason to stop.  I've been trying to get him to play Warmachine/Hordes because I think he will enjoy the game more, but he's been so resistant to changing.  This got me thinking about how to get someone into such an involved hobby like miniatures gaming, or getting someone to try a new game system like Warmachine/Hordes.  I think the key lies in the story of how I - and probably most you - got into gaming in the first place.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Editorial: Making Arkadius Work

I have recently signed-on to write for 3++ is the new black to contribute to the expansion of Warmachine/Hordes content.  I decided that since the main audience for the site has been relative newcomers to the game, that I would write an informative set of articles on making Dr. Arkadius work (part 1 can be found here), since he is a challenging warlock to play and a new player might get easily discouraged.  Hell, I was easily discouraged when I played him, and I'm not really a new player anymore.  This got me thinking: why is Dr. Arkadius so "bad" by Warmachine/Hordes standards?  What is needed to make him "good"?  I apologize in advance for the wall of text incoming, but feel free to scroll to the end if you want to see my list of what I think Dr. Arkadius needs.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

List Building: eVayl

It's been a while since I've done ye-olde-fashion list-building, so I figured I'd satisfy the itch today and discuss another warlock that's on my docket after Templecon: Vayl, Consul of Everblight.  Ever since I saw the artwork for her primal form, I was interested in Vayl.  She's such an interesting character for the Legion of Everblight and I seem to gravitate towards the spell-slinging types.  Naturally, Vayl is an interesting character to me, and when she went epic... hooo boy I was sold.  Not only is her model better-proportioned, but she has come to epitomize spell slinging.  Today I will be looking at her tier list, as I think that it is very strong and I believe it gives her access to all of the tools she needs for a brutal alpha-strike.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Warmachine/Hordes Glossary [Updated 7/10/12]

Like most popular hobbies, games, etc. there will be lots of acronyms as shortcuts, and Warmachine/Hordes is no exception.  For those of you who might be new to Warmachine/Hordes, there is some terminology out there that you might find confusing.  I've decided to compile a list of the terms and acronyms that I have come across in my time playing to share with you, with a gentle dose of humor thrown in for good measure.  I hope you enjoy!

Update: If you find an acronym that is not listed on here, please feel free to contribute it to the comments and I will add it to the list.  This is intended to be a "living document" for the community, so please feel free to contribute!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Templecon 2012 Scenario Table - Rules [Updated]

While the table is finally finished, there is one last thing that needs to be done with it before it's ready for Templecon: playtesting!  Any good scenario should be tested to make sure that any rules questions are resolved in advance so that players can focus on having fun instead of arguing or asking questions.  Today I will be transporting the table to the LGS where it will undergo some vigorous testing and I will sift through some questions and thoughts on the table.  While I know it looks great, I want it to be fun too!  Therefore, I have created a beta for the rules here that you may sift through them for any questions/comments!  The most up-to-date rules can be found here.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Templecon 2012 Scenario Table - Finished!

 It's taken some time, but it's finally finished!  The scenario table is done!  All that is left to do is some final touch-ups and it will be ready for playtesting.  I will let the pictures speak for themselves, as the girlfriend and I are very pleased with how it looks.  See for yourself!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Templecon 2012 Scenario Table - Painting

I apologize for the lack of an update yesterday.  The work on the table has been constant and productive and I lost track time.  I do have some more pictures today of the table, and we should be finished in time for the Thursday deadline, at which point I will bring the table to the LGS so that people can play the scenario. For now, here are the photos of some of the painted pieces to hopefully get you as excited as I am!  I apologize for the pictures, as I don't have my usual software here to fix up the photos better.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Templecon 2012 Scenario Table - Structures!

I hope everyone had a merry Christmas, and I hope all of you Jewish folk enjoy the rest of Hannukah.  Personally, I had a great Christmas, as my girlfriend gave me a Vallejo 72-color paint set with case (!).  Meanwhile, at SPG we've been busy at work on the scenario table for Templecon 2012!  The graveyard (as of yet unnamed) has been progressing nicely and today I have some teaser pictures to share with you about our progress thus far.  The current deadline is Thursday this week, so that it can be transported to the LGS for playtesting, and it looks like we are following along according to schedule.  Take a look!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Follow-up: More than just a business

I noticed recently that there was an interesting announcement made my Privateer Press regarding the Boneswarm model.  If you're not aware of what I'm talking about, let me provide some important backstory.  First, the Boneswarm is an old metal model from the old Iron Kingdoms line (made for the RPG) that has recently been made into a playable light warbeast for the Blindwater Congregation in Hordes: Domination (see my spoiler on it here).  There was some drama about the transition of this old Iron Kingdoms model into the Minions line because there was a significant price increase (which I discussed towards the end of this article) from $10 to $19.  Privateer Press has prided itself as being a company that stays connected to their player base, and this was a surprising move for them, and there were some unhappy customers.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cost of starting a new army

We've all seen them.  Price comparisons between Warmachine/Hordes and 40k.  However, since I am currently building a Trollbloods force, I am hyper-aware of how much a full force costs.  Granted, there are lots of sites out there that offer discounts or buyer-rewards programs, but at the end of the day, it's still quite expensive to start a new faction for any game system.  This has also become even more apparent for me as I pondered updating my Tyranid force to playable strength, thinking that Mawlocs might be a wise investment for dealing with tanks.  At any rate, today I wish to compare the cost of the 50 point Trollblood I will be starting, and a 1750 point Tyranid army - both of which I believe are the most expensive armies for their respective game systems.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Steamroller 2012 - Predictions

Having spent some time with the new Steamroller 2012 rules (in their final beta), I have developed some thoughts about what we will see in the tournament scene in 2012.  As usual, Templecon will be the major testbed for these new scenarios and rules, and will be expected to be the biggest Warmachine/Hordes tournament in the country, with Lock and Load being the only exception.  Additionally, I've heard rumors of Steamroller coming to the Penny Arcade Expo in Boston (PAX East) in the near future.  So what can we expect to see on the tables, and what do I predict we will see?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Templecon 2012 Scenario Table - Genesis

In the beginning there was nothing.  The foam was shapeless and void, lacking in any detail or meaning.

Work on the scenario table for Templecon 2012 has begun!  My girflriend and I have begun work on what is being tentatively called the "Graverobbers" scenario table.  Most of all of the materials have finally been gathered and work began in earnest last evening with the purchase of the foam necessary to create the surface onto which the rest of the details will be placed.  I have some pictures to show you all of how the project is progressing but first let's list the materials used in this project so you can follow along:

Monday, December 19, 2011

Editorial: The Ten Things Every Game Needs

Recently I read two great articles by Mark Rosewater.  Mark Rosewater is the lead game designer for Magic: The Gathering, and naturally has some great insights into what makes a great game.  M:TG has been one of the most successful games out there and clearly reigns as king among card games, second only to poker.  Since the game has many years of success - and is lots of fun - I really took his articles on Ten Things Every Game Needs (Part 1 and Part 2) to heart and thought it applied also to miniatures games out there that I have played.  I figured I would share his ten points summarized here, with how I think they apply to Warmachine/Hordes.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Steamroller 2012 - First Impressions

Today I participated in a 35 point Steamroller tournament using the 2012 Steamroller rules.  The organizer asked me not to share the actual rules on here, but I'm sure you can search somewhere on the internet to find the final beta of the rules.  Today's tournament focused on the "flanking" scenarios using reinforcements, so I figured I would weigh in on my impressions of the new steamroller rules.  Oh, and if anyone is wondering, I did not do too well today.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

List Building: Fiona the Black (50 points)

One of my other factions that I play is Mercenaries.  Specifically, I play the privateer mercenaries, and I started with Broadsides Bart.  There is one warcaster who has always piqued my interest and that is Fiona the Black.  She's a badass goth pirate chick that's not Skarre.  I love her artwork in the Mercenaries book and I love the idea of a manipulative denial warcaster, but I have struggled for a long time to figure out how does she win?  I have not played her yet because I have not felt confident in a list yet.  Her tier is kinda "meh" and I don't think it takes advantage of the many tools she has available, and the benefits from her tier list don't make up for that, in my opinion.  Last night I had a revelation, and I began building based upon my other list building articles, and I think I have a list that makes me feel a bit more confident.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Showcase: Stormguard

Okay, by now you're probably sick of all of the showcases, so the good news is that today's will be the last for a while... or at least until I finish painting what models are on my painting table.  Today I will showcase my two units of Stormguard!  What's great about taking pictures of my models is that I become hyper aware of what kind of damage they have taken in the time since I finished painting them.  Last night I made sure to go through and fix all of the little chips, dings, and minor paint spills.  I'm not the neatest painter, but I wanted them to look at least a bit better for you all.  Let's see how they turned out!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Homebrew: Nikolai, the Saint of Khador

I figured that you all might be starting to get of all of the showcases, so I figured I'd give you all a break before the last showcase.  So, in the true holiday spirit, I decided to once again make some homebrew rules for a character!  This time I present you with [what I think is] the Iron Kingdoms version of Jolly Ol' St. Nick!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Showcase: Cygnar Stormsmiths

Today I will continue the showcase of my Cygnar models by showing off the models that convinced me to play Cygnar in the first place: Stormsmiths!  Just like  most else Warmachine/Hordes related, I fell in love with the models first and then read their rules, only to find myself liking them more!  In particular what convinced me to start Cygnar was one model in particular: the Storm Tower!
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