Monday, August 22, 2011

I Just Peed a Little...

I have this on Pre-order but want it now! Wow, does it look awesome!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Starshield Gaming Society Discovers the Rune Age and Enters the Mansions of Madness

 On Monday night five Starshield Gaming Society members got together for a night of tabletop game madness. While we waited for Brigid to arrive, Mage, Iczer, Weezoh, and I played a game of Rune Age. I had played many solo games and was eager to play it multi-player. I talked everyone into playing the "Resurgence of the Dragonlords" scenario as it was the one with which I was most familiar and was in a cooperative game kind of mood. 
Each player chose his faction: 

Mage took Waiqar the Undying, 

Iczer was piloting the Uthuk Y'llan,
Weezoh was the Latari Elves, 

and I was playing the Daqan Lords. 
After a brief tutorial, we jumped right in. The first couple of turns were learning experiences for the Starshielders, but after that, things started to flow with only a few rules questions throughout the remainder of the game. 

A little past mid-game, when we were a few cards into Stage II of the Event Deck, Waiqar the Undying made a play for the Objective. Thanks to the Warp-touched Attrition die, he failed the attack by 1 point! A dramatic highlight for sure.

Next the Uthuk Y'llan made a play for Dragonlord Ghox to bring a stop to his nagging ability and generated enough to have taken down the Objective if it had been his target! Another missed opportunity.

The Daqan Lords made a few paltry attempts and secured a Dragonlord who provided a bonus against the Objective, but in the end as pictured below, it was Waiqar the Undying who won the day with his second run at the Objective Dragonlord. Well-played, necromancer. Well-played.

By this time, Brigid had arrived (and sat in for Iczer while he ran to pick up Chipotle). Dinner was consumed and then all five of us dove into...

Weezoh took on the role of the Keeper for the game and had set it up under the cloth we used for Rune Age. So, the considerable set up involved with this game was done before our arrival, which allowed us to jump right into a game. We chose our characters and off we went. 
 Mage was playing a gun-toting tough guy, Joe Diamond; Iczer played the journalist, Gloria Goldberg; Brigid took on the role of dilletante, Jenny Barnes, and I, of course, chose the scholarly Harvey Walters for my character. His Warding Statue really came in handy. 

Having received what may just have been a posthumously sent letter from our friend, Mary. We quickly sped to the ominous convent on the hill where our friend was investigating before her disappearance.
We began exploring the creepy place immediately. It wasn't long before we discovered that the convent was swarming with robed cultists...

These cultists would frequently sacrifice themselves to summon these horrors...

Thank goodness I had found and learned a spell in my exploration of this cursed place. The spell was called the Shriveling Spell, and I used it to good effect against many of the enemies you see above. It even gave me the power to single-handedly destroy a summoned Shoggoth, pictured below:

As the game progressed, the madness caused by the Mythos and its followers began to take its toll. Joe Diamond was the first one to go completely mad and as you can see below. He began attacking poor Jenny Barnes. Jenny who had recently survived an attack by no less than 3 cultists, did not need the extra complication, to say the least.

In the midst of all the violence and madness, we still had to keep trying to solve the mystery of what ever happened to poor Mary. To do so, we had to unlock locks, and as you can see below, we also had to re-wire the aging convent's electrical system to open some doors. All very exhilarating and taxing to say the least.

Unfortunately, Harvey didn't survive too long after his Luck ran out. His Shriveling Spell and repeated attacks by creatures and people of the mythos sent him down the spiral to madness and eventually death.

After Harvey's demise, I took on the role of the scientist, Kate Winthrop, who was late to arrive on the scene. We found poor Mary, but by that time, it was too late. We had foiled the cultist's foul plans and prevented them from bringing unspeakable horrors onto our plane, but in their fury, they sought us out and murdered us.

An exciting and bittersweet ending to an awesome game. I am looking forward to another run at the Mansions in the future, but I am not sure it will turn out any different than it did.

After all, madness is what the Mythos do. "How many ages hence / Shall this our lofty scene be acted o'er, / In states unborn, and accents yet unknown!"

Overall, a tiring, but excellent night of games. Until next time, good reader, good gaming and have fun. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Enter the Rune Age: An Unboxing and First Solo Session Report

My copy of Rune Age came in the mail today. The folks at Miniature Market were very patient with my anticipation for this game (I can be a pain when I am waiting for games to release. I expect the same level of patience when Elder Sign releases, folks :) ), and I would like to thank them for their patience. Their customer service is excellent!

My expectations for this game were high as I have been waiting to enter the deck-building arena. When I saw Fantasy Flight was throwing their hat into the ring with this one, I jumped at it. I have played Dominion and Ascension (on a side note: I have Ascension for my iPad and love it. It is an awesome game on the iOS. I highly recommend it). I liked both, but I was looking for something more. Was this game it? Let's find out...

Max is always excited when a new game arrives. The box is a bit slimmer than the boxes for Call of Cthulhu Card Game and Warhammer: Invasion Card Game. 

Here's what you get in the box. The best thing about the packaging is the counters and cards come in ziplock bags. So, I don't have to break out any old Magic the Gathering pre-constructed boxes for storage. Yes, yes, I know it has the horrible cardboard insert. I am so over those. The Attrition Die is hiding under the insert by the way. You'll see it in all of its horrible glory below.

 Here is the initial set up for my solo game. 
I chose the The Daqan Lords (A union of lords, great in power and prestige, an ancient coalition held together by long tradition of nobility and rule of law. from the rulebook) as my faction. I, of course, plan on playing each of the other three factions to get a feel for them all. I will post the results of those games here as well.

I chose to play Resurgence of the Dragonlords scenario for my first game. There are four total scenarios in this set. Two of them can be played solo. Each of the scenarios caters to a certain play style: cooperative, confrontational, and two of them have a dash of both. 

 This is about half way through my first game. As you can tell, my Home card was feeling some pain. 

 I tried to defeat an Enemy from the Event deck on my turn, but the Attrition Die forced me to destroy two of my Footman, sending the rest to the discard pile. Just like my die from Death Angel: Space Hulk the Card Game, I think this die is Warp-touched as well...

At the endgame, the Dragonlord Phrynelex brought the coup de grace to my kingdom. It now lies in a burning ruin. Let's see if I can do better next time.

Final Thoughts: I love this game. It met my expectations and more. With the 4 factions and 4 scenarios, I think there is a lot there for me to play with many combinations to explore. Each of the scenarios seems to have its own feel. I will know more when I play them, of course, but just reading them was interesting and whetted my appetite to play them. 

Like most games, once I got the feel for the rules and got into the groove, the game played really fast, and I found myself trying to balance purchasing the many cards there are to buy with defeating the Enemies that were pouring out of the Event deck. I like having to make decisions and plan a strategy in my games. Rune Age  does not disappoint. 

Solo it is a good time, and I look forward to more games, including multi-player. So, I am looking forward to presenting it to my gaming group this Monday to see how they like it. Knowing them, I think they will enjoy this game immensely. Off to shuffle some more cards and smash some Dragonlords. 

Thanks for reading and until next time, good gaming!

The Call of SurfMonkey...

Last night SurfMonkey and I got together for our monthly game night. Even though, we got off to a late start, we had a great time cracking open The Call of Cthulhu Card Game. Yes, loyal readers will know that I received the game as a Christmas present. And yes, this is the first time it has seen play since then. However, it most definitely will not be the last. This game is different than most and to me, a most intricate game.

Our first game was a learn-as-we-go kind of game. SurfMonkey had chosen the Syndicate and Miskatonic factions for his deck. I chose Cthulhu and Hastur.

SurfMonkey didn't have the best draw. He didn't pull many characters, and I quickly gained the advantage, winning 2 story cards within a few turns. He tried a brief rally, but by then, it was too late. I won the day.

The second game was much more even, and we both had a better feel for the game. It was back and forth for a time, but in the end, he was victorious.

Our rubber match game was all SurfMonkey. He pulled a lot of low-cost cards while I had medium to high casting cards in mine (I had Cthulhu and Hastur in my hand at the end of the game). I just couldn't mount a proper challenge to his story-seeking characters. My Ghost wasn't enough to stave off his army. So, in the end, I fell, and SurfMonkey was triumphant.

This game has all kinds of things going on. I only have the Core Set, and could see myself using just it for years to come and not truly get a feel for the game as a whole. There are so many options. I like that!

I may acquire some expansions in the future, especially when autumn hits, as that is my favorite time for any Cthulhu gaming, but for now, just playing the Core Set is a great and fun experience.

Until next time, good readers, good gaming.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Return of Grog: A Mutants and Death Ray Guns Solo Campaign Part 2

No one knows exactly how many years have passed since the Great Clash, a time when fire rained from the sky, and mighty armies waged a devastating war, leaving the world a shattered and ruined husk of what it once was. 

Survivors struggled to make their way in a radically changed world that grew stranger and more dangerous as the forces unleashed by the Great Clash began to assert themselves in this new world that some have come to call the Ruined Earth. Mutants and mutated animals--some of which can only be described as monsters--arose alongside the creations of man that had survived the war, robots and androids free of their human masters, to roam the wastelands.

The Ruined Earth is a savage and toxic land where life is nasty, brutish, and short. A few have banded together in enclaves and communities for safety. Bands of intrepid explorers brave the ruins to find and locate usable artifacts of the ancients to give them the tools necessary to survive. More often than not, though, these explorers encounter other bands of explorers, all trying to survive as well. Inevitably, these encounters result in violence. Those who have the best technology, mutations, skills, and luck emerge victorious, and to the victors go the spoils. 

      When last we left our heroes, the massive mutated ape, Grog, had fled the battlefield while the Safehaven Seeker Squad stood triumphant. The Squad returned to Safehaven with some medical supplies of the Ancients and had a brief respite before the mayor of Safehaven sent them out to man the watchpost that guards the only passage into the valley that harbors Safehaven and its denizens. The members of the Squad would prefer exploring a ruin of the Ancients, looking for artifacts to serve their people, but they knew the meaning of loyalty and duty and followed the orders of their leader with no complaint. For indeed, those also serve who stand and wait. 

The Safehaven Seeker Squad
Team Leader: Thorin
Human    Quality: 2+  Combat: 2
Special Rules: Leader, Stealth, 1 Energy Cell, Force Field, Laser Rifle
Cara Killjoy
Human    Quality: 4+  Combat: 2
Special Rules: Hand to Hand Specialist, Defoliant Grenade, 4 Food

Gabriel Yen                                 
Human   Quality: 3+  Combat: 2           
Special Rules: NBC Suit, Flamethrower       

Mutant  Quality: 4+  Combat: 3
Special Rules: Mental Shield, Hand to Hand Specialist, Flak Jacket

Mutant  Quality: 4+  Combat: 4
Special Rules: Energy Adaptation, Danger Sense, Shotgun

The Savages: Mutant Marauders
Mutant  Quality: 4+  Combat: 3
Special Rules: Healing, Telekinetic Shield, Sharpshooter, Needler, Energy Cell

Mutant  Quality: 4+  Combat: 3
Special Rules: Poison Claws, HtH Specialist, Big, 4 Energy Cells

Mutant  Quality: 4+  Combat: 3
Special Rules: Tough, Free Disengage, Flak Jacket

Mutant Animal: Ape  Quality: 4+  Combat: 3
Special Rules: +2 Climbing, Superior Senses


Mutated Animal: Ape  Quality: 4+  Combat: 4
Special Rules: Big, 3 Food

The Field of Battle: The Safehaven Security Outpost

 The Safehaven Seeker Squad readies to repel the mutant threat

Grog and his goons charge onto the field of battle, thirsting for revenge

Round 1
      Toxic advances, the rest falter. 
     Gabriel and Shield move to into defensive positions before the marauders take over.

Round 2
     The marauders fail to get their movements together, and all of the Safehaven Squad are able to get into position.

Round 3
      Finally, Grog prods his group into action, and the battle is joined. The marauders advance a midst laser fire and shotgun blasts.

 Round 4
     Toxic makes his move, trying to circle around Thorin, but took a laser blast to the face and went down.
      Things heat up as the hand to hand specialists clash.

 Round 5
       Shield goes down under a vicious ape assault. Cara manages to retreat and regroup with the rest of her squad to make room for Gabriel to employ his flamethrower effectively. 
      Telestra moves into position to provide cover for her fellow mutants with her needler.

Round 6
      Telestra fires her needler at Thorin, but his forcefield holds. Gabriel manages to score a blow on Kruk,  so he can focus on Tuffest. Grog advances, ready to swing on Twitch.

Round 7
       Twitch's shotgun takes its toll on Telestra and Grog. Cara moves in and finishes Kruk while simultaneously aiding Gabriel who lands a horrific blow on Tuffest. The resilient mutant, however, is hurting but still very much in the fight.

Round 8
      Tuffest wades back in, sending Cara reeling. 
     Grog and Telestra recover. Grog is winding up for an attack on the entrenched Twitch while Telestra tries to take another shot at Thorin. However, her needler breaks as she fires. 
     And in two strange twists of fate, Thorin's energy cell runs dry just as he pulls the trigger to take Telestra down. 
      He quickly reloads, but his shot is ruined. And not a second later, Twitch's gun runs out of ammo as well! He desperately tries to load it as Grog is winding up.

Round 9
     Twitch managed to get his shotgun loaded and sent a blast at Grog, staggering him back. Thorin took a shot at the big guy and sent him ducking. 
    Tuffest easily dispatched Gabriel, sending Thorin and Twitch on a rout. Telestra healed Tuffest wounds.

Round 10
       Tuffest catches up with Thorin, and Twitch moves to aid his leader. Grog struggles to recover, guarded by Telestra.

Round 11: The Final Round
      Telestra runs to aid Tuffest and stabs Thorin; he takes his last breath. Tuffest ends Twitch with a gruesome blow to the head. Grog laughs in victory.

      The Safehaven Seeker Squad, triumphant once, now lays defeated upon the wasteland battlefield. The mutants dance in triumph over their corpses and make plans for more wanton destruction. They strip the Squad members of all of their gear, spoils of a terrific battle. Grog is satisfied by the cold dish that is vengeance. 

      Such is the fickle nature of the post-apocalyptic world. One day you are on top, the next, you are a rotting corpse fading into the sandy, wasted dirt. Such is life and death in the brutal world of... 

The Ruined Earth