Heroes of 4.5

When I saw the listing for “Heroes of Shadow”, the new D&D book, I was excited for several reasons. First and foremost was that it was hardcover, second was that in a few WotC employees had said they were done with the Essentials line for the time be and would be heading back to the “normal” 4th edition. Keep in mind that I have all the “normal” 4th edition books and was dismayed when the Essentials came out and looks suspiciously like a 4.5.

As it turns out, “Heroes of Shadow” is in fact a Essentials book, no matter how you slice it. That’s not to say it won’t work with 4th Edition, it will after some tuning and toying, but it’s not meant for it. Needless to say this pisses me right the fuck off, pissed off to the point that I’m done. Really, REALLY, done. I’m not going to support WotC’s constant assault on my wallet anymore, it’s like GW all over again. It’s for the best anyway.

The part of this that really cooks my bacon is that WotC couldn’t be bothered to call it what it is, a new edition, it’s the same shit they pulled with 3.5 but at least it got a new number all its own.

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Holy shit, I like this game.

I spent the last few days building Anima models in preparation to play a few games today. I’m excited, I have poured through the rulebook and I think I have a pretty good grasp, time to throw some dice.

Admittedly I’m hoping that when I get some dice rolling all the little eccentricities of the special rules will work themselves out. Some of them seem fairly bizarre, but I’m sure in context of the game they will become clear.


Now several hours later and several games later I can say without a doubt that I love Anima Tactics. What a brilliant little game, we played games with 2 models and games with 4 models and they worked out great.

Army building is pretty straight forward, set a point value and do your best to meet it with super badass characters. The characters run about 50 points a model, so playing 100 points is going to get you 2 models, 200 and it’s 4, 300 gets 6, so on and so forth. While this is pretty straight forward, picking the right characters can make or break a game. There is no shortage of balance but again getting the right characters on the table together makes a big difference, and just because models are on the same side doesn’t mean they are going to work well together.

The game speed is fast and furious, there is little waiting for combat and once the models hit base to base the blood flies, even ranged combat is insanely mean. In fact the whole pacing of the game seems to be aimed at ending fast, which as much as that sounds like a bad thing it’s really a well thought out approach. If the players don’t get tired/bored while playing because the game is over so fast but without sacrificing the insanity of combat they will want to play again. At least that’s my theory anyway.

As we played through games and got a better grasp of the rules the game really came together into a solid, fast, and deadly game. Something I haven’t experienced in any other miniature based game. I was hoping to compare the play style of Anima to Warhammer, but I don’t think that’s gonna work, it’s so remarkably different that all I can say is if you don’t like Warhammer give Anima a shot.

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I’ve been doing it wrong . . . again.

The Fantasy Skirmish game has been lurking in the back of my head, primarily because of all its shortcomings. Mainly being overly complex for what I originally wanted and that’s why it hit the back burner for the better part of a year.

In that last year I have read countless miniature game rulebooks, at first to see what I was doing wrong, later because it’s fun for me. Anyway, I think I have come to a solid conclusion on where I went wrong and where I want it to go. Now I have to take it there but it would seem to be a much easier path than the one I was perusing before.

The new direction is simple, everybody is a special character with a couple of cool powers all their own. Some of them well be melee with either reach or hand weapons, ranged, magic, and special. Special will be characters that heal or place landmines or are war machine crew.  The game is to be played on a 4×4 table with terrain which as effects on LOS and movement.

That’s all for now I don’t wanna give away all my secrets just yet.


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Assault on the Ultimate Universe

I must be a late bloomer, or something equally as lame, because I have just started ready the other books in the Ultimate line of comics from Marvel. I’ve been reading The Ultimates since word go, it really is too damn good to pass up in case you’re wondering, but somehow Ultimate X-men and Ultimate Spider-man slipped under my radar. I imagine this was due to a been-there-done-that type thing, but I had never been a huge fan of The Avengers but Miller and Hitch was enough to catch my attention.

Anyway, after many suggestions not to read Ultimates 3 and Ultimatum because it was neither Miller nor Hitch, I did it anyway because it’s Jeph Loeb, of who I happen be a big fan. There is a catch to the fandom, Loeb writes very classic comic material, periodically he steps from form but always returns to the origin. It’s not a bad thing and certainly not a criticism, Loeb is great ate what he does, if you don’t believe me read Haunted Knight and Dark Victory. The real question was whether or not he could maintain the intensity and walk the razors edge that was so finely honed by Miller? Some said couldn’t and didn’t, and no matter how you slice it it wasn’t going to be an easy task.

What Loeb did do was twist the Ultimates and then the entire Ultimate Universe to his evil bidding. He stepped out of his box and delivered a vicious and ugly story that really did reshape the Ultimate U, while it wasn’t a revolutionary story and it did have it’s shortcomings, Ultimatum was just what the doctor ordered. Loeb killed major players in all the titles and took several million bystanders with them, it’s glorious. So yeah, I really enjoyed Ultimatum.

My enjoyment of Ultimatum is that it’s tight, it didn’t last years, just one summer and everything changed. It reminded me of the summer comic events of my youth but it came packing brass knuckles for the survivors and a chainsaw for the characters that didn’t make it. Something that can’t be said for the vast majority of events, either they’re too damn long or they don’t have a big enough effect for me to give a shit, or both.

Now that I’ve read Ultimatum I’m curious, what did I miss? That question has led me to start digging into the back catalog of the Ultimate U, so far I have not been let down and I absolutely recommend the first two volumes of Ultimate X-men and of course the entire run of The Ultimates.

I’ll keep you posted on my adventures.

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The miniature game plan

So many games so little interest in them, I know this comes up a lot but it’s something that’s always on my mind, I have too many miniature games sitting around. Some of these game have never seen the tabletop since I spent too much on them in the first place. I want to play them but I don’t seem to have time or I’m not making the time for them, either way it a bummer to have all these beautiful models and never use them.

Instead of getting rid of them like I have so many other models and games I think I need to make more time for them. I’ve always liked playing these types of games so I should just get out there and do it.

So here’s my priority list:
AE-WWII – I’m going to get my German force built, paint can come later but I wanna get them on a tabletop sooner rather than later.
Anima – This is such a small scale game it a wonder I haven’t gotten it together sooner, plus I have a couple of people interested in throwing down. Yeah, needless to say I need to get this ball rolling ASAP.

The other games are getting back burner treatment, all of them being too big to worry about or require a lot of reading to get the basics on the table. But I think I will go ahead and build my Judge Dredd themed AE-Bounty gang even if I’m not going to get them on the table, after all they’re fucking Judge and deserve some respect.

Now I have a game plan, time to follow threw.

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Junior ace apprentice update

I have been meaning to blog more but as you can tell that plan hasn’t really worked out, and for once it’s not because I don’t have anything to say. So on to the things I do have to say . . .

Ashley and I are gearing up for the move to Seattle, it had been bit bumpy along the way but it seems to be panning out now. This week we’re going to go look at some places that are within our price range, though the higher end to be sure, they are very conveniently located and one of them is the building Che lives in. The only continuing bummer is that I am going to have to leave a lot of stuff behind because of space constraints, so most of my comics are staying behind, though I have a sinister plan to put them at Che’s cause he would enjoy the fuck out of them and I doubt he would have an issue with them living on his shelf. Minor issue really, I can live without my comics and Warhammer, and the few other things that will live at my mom’s place till I make room for them.

If you haven’t read Name of the Wind by Rothfuss, it’s some amazing fantasy in the vein of Tolkien, Jordan, and Martin but without the bullshit. His use of words is rock solid and he poetic in flow, it’s smooth as silk. The story itself is rich with details and character development, it is amazingly satisfying. The quality is up there with Herbert’s Dune, a must read.

Yeah, I think that’s it . . .

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My buttons have been pushed.

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with RPGs, for everything I like about a system there is something that infuriates me. Sometimes the things that pushed my buttons weren’t the systems fault, a good system can go bad in the wrong hands, but most of the time it was the systems fault and thus the developers.

Fantasy Flight is really pushing hard on all my buttons. First they released Dark Heresy, a good idea and fantastic setting but the mechanics borrowed heavily from a very broken system, Warhammer Fantasy Battles 2nd edition. The biggest issues arose from the character creation, it took far to long for a character to become respectable fighter which, for me anyway, made it hard to care. I play RPGs to be a hero not a lackey, that was the problem with WFB and it never could get into that one either.

Then came Rogue Trader, a slight improved version of Dark Heresy, but still bogged down in poor character creation. Though it was better and a shorter path to hero status it didn’t fix enough of the problems from the previous titles to make me care. Both of these games lived in the Warhammer 40k universe, so playing a lowly Inquisitor’s henchman or an underpowered space pirate while the galaxy was full of menacing xenos and uber Space Marines just didn’t satisfy.

Needless to say when FFG announced Deathwatch I was pretty thrilled, finally I would get to play a Space Marine and all that that implied. The book delivered a lot but not enough to warrant FFG’s always high price tag, it seemed like a source book for Dark Heresy. After all the Deathwatch are just part of the Inquisition’s bag of tricks, again my irritation with the developers and FFG flared. But whatever, I had a game I liked, the glaring flaws had been fixed and I was ready to throw some dice.

Now FFG has announced Black Crusade, Deathwatch with a chaos paint job, so that’s another $60 for what should have been a source book for Deathwatch or better yet a source book for Dark Heresy. Consider my buttons pushed.

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