Saturday, 24 December 2016

A Year in Review - A Cavalcade of Games

2016 is coming to an end. I can't say I'm sad o see it go; it's been a real something of a year.

With the end in sight, I figured I'd try to sum up what I've done, hobby-wise. Not least because I've actually been taking notes for the entire year. It's going to have to be split into parts, though, and I figured I's start with Games Played, and Models Painted, which'll make two posts. We'll see if I manage more.

First off, then, games played.

I have played five different miniatures games, and eight different board or card games (plus a few with family, rather than at the club). For clarity's sake, I will refer to game systems as games, and individual games played as sessions. It might only be clearer for me, but that's all that matters. really.

Miniatures games

Warmachine and Hordes

Yes, he's down to ARM 23, but on the other hand it doesn't help to break his arms anymore...

Yes, they might have been separate games at one point. I would argue they are no longer separate. For this purpose, it's also considerably more manageable to treat them as one game. I will also be referring to the whole package simply as Warmachine.

I have played twenty-four sessions of Warmachine. I have won precisely half.

For anyone who hadn't noticed, Warmachine came out with Mk III this summer. And all of my sessions have taken place after that. I have taken all my factions bar Cygnar out for a spin, and have played a majority of my available 'Casters, but have had by far the most games with Khador at eleven (of which five were wins).

Cygnar has not seen the field for two reasons. First, Privateer Press took everything interesting away from Kraye, who has always been my primary Cygnar 'Caster. Second, around half of my sessions have been against Believe (whom I won't dignify by calling my nemesis), who has been playing Cygnar exclusivley. So, to save us mirror matches, and everyone extra sessions against the swan-
huggers, I have left mine on the shelf. The January Errata might do something about the first, and even Believe might eventually grow tired of gun lines (or at least blue gun lines).

Guild Ball

I am still quite infatuated with the game of Guild Ball. It has gorgeous models, a good rules system and a responsive company behind it. By the year's end, I will own every available team, and be missing only the odd mini, as stuff ordered arrives.

What's that, you say? Harry might no longer be absolute trash? Interesting...

I have played eleven sessions of Guild Ball, and won seven. I've also run a small-scale demo that isn't counted in there.

Guild Ball had two new seasons (which aren't quite new editions, but get kind of close) drop during 2016, because of a change in the release schedule. Each has improved the game, and I am hoping that season three, which is semi-available and will be fully released in January, will get interest up after the drop-off caused by Mk III of Warmachine.

Konflikt 47

Warlord Games' verion of a Weird World War game, Konflikt 47 looked like a reasonable heir to Secrets of the Third Reich, which we tried to get going years back. With relatively available models and a system based on the (at least somewhat) popular Bolt Action rules, it seemed to outshine SotR's cool models and horrible rules.

Alas, it might not be for me.

I have two major gripes, I think. The first is the order system, the second the number of dice and modifiers.

Unlike most other miniatures games, those published by Warlord (that I know of) do not have a fixed turn order. Where GW and Privateer go with players alternating turns, and Steamforged and Wyrd go with alternating activations, Warlord go with activations distributed randomly. So a game with equally numerous sides could potentially alternate activations, but could also end up alternating trns, or anything in between. This is both a level of randomness that does not appeal to me, and a mechanic that handicaps elite forces, since they have fewer units, and are therefore more likely to have their opponent be able to chain activations.

Googling 'chain activation' gave weird results, so here is a picture of an explosion instead.

It is also a game that uses single D6 to resolve attacks, and stacks modifiers without ever allowing an attack to automatically miss. What this does, especially to high value attacks into high-value targets, is to emphasize the extremes of the dice bell-curve, meaning a few well-timed 6's can swing a game. This is obviously more or less true for all game systems that use dice, but Konflikt 47 does less to counteract this than the games I appreciate.

I did play a session and a half of it, though. The first had to be interrupted for real-life reasons, but we did play the other through to the end. Which took six hours. And that is likely the final nail in this coffin.


I have spoken before on Frostgrave, and why it, like Konflikt 47, probably does not have a future in my permanent lineup of game systems. I still played two sessions at the start of the year, a the tail-end of last year's campaign.

Little more needs to be said, really.

Flames of War

I have a Soviet army. Maybe one and a half. I played it against Germans. I won. I'd do it again.

Board and card games

Board. See what I did there?

Pathfinder adventure card game

The Pathfinder universe has seen multiple games spawned out of it. I've only tried the Munchkin version, and the adventure card game. When I write about Pathfinder, I will be referring to the latter.

We've managed to play through all three of the fully released boxes, and have started on the fourth, which is as of yet incomplete. In total, this has resulted in no less than eighty-four sessions of the game for me (though we've often managed more than one in an evening, so here, more thna anywhere else, I might be stretching the word 'session' a bit).

I believe we've lost no more than five of those sessions. We might be in need of a more difficult game...

It's still a fun game, though, and quite a few of those wins have been tight. It also puts exactly the right amount of strain on us for a weekday gaming night, not being overly complex, and being cooperative and relatively quick. If you have a group of a handful of people to play with regularly, you could do much worse than this.

Eldritch Horror    

Eldritch Horror is a cooperative board game (this will turn into a bit of a theme) in which you and your associates battle some unspeakable evil and try to keep it from devouring the world (also somewhat a recurring theme).

We did this eleven times during 2016. Some times we saved the world. Some times we did not. And when it comes down to it, when saving the world, one failure is really all it takes.

As a stand in for political commentary, have one of the Google results for 'very fluffy bunny'.

Mansions of Madness

Smaller in scale than Eldritch Horror, but set in the same universe and sharing much of the art and concepts (if few actual mechanics), Mansions of Madness has more of a narrative feel to it. The second edition added an app that surpassed our expectations, making a rather complicated setup process much simpler and, more importantly, faster.

We've played six sessions, clearing five scenarios, and due to the vagaries of the Insanity mechanic, I am in the lead with five wins, whereas one poor investigator has won what I believe to be zero times.

The rest

The Game of Thrones Living Card Game (which is a fricking mouthful, and no good for my blood pressure), Shadows of Brimstone (which is a Western/Lovecraftesque crossover dungeon crawler) and Zombicide (which is about killing zombies. Duh) round out my club-related gaming with four, three and one sessions respectively. Apart from that, I've knocked out a number of sessions of Elder Sign, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Codenames, Fluxx and a few others that gradually decline away from proper board games, with my wife and siblings. I haven't kept track of those though, so that'll have to do.

In conclusion, I've played almost a hundred and fifty game sessions at the club this year, which feels like respectable enough a number. For my next trick, I will try to get all the miniatures I've painted into a single post and - if I'm feeling really ambitious - a single photo.

Until then, ta, and DFTBA.

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