Friday, September 13, 2013

Game Review of Star Trek Attack Wing!

Red alert! Raise shields! WizKids has released a tactical space combat game worthy of the Star Trek franchise with Star Trek: Attack Wing. I had the opportunity to get a few games in with Daniel over at Big Easy Comics and we had a really fun time. For those of you familiar with the X-Wing miniatures game from Fantasy Flight Games, Attack Wing will certainly feel and play like the same game. As it should, as WizKids has licensed the "Flight Path" game rules from FFG. This is a great rules set that has been adapted to many genres, and focuses on dogfight style aerial combat, as evident in the WWI aerial combat game Wings of War. Fantasy Flight did an excellent job of translating those rules into the Star Wars universe. So how well did WizKids do?

Pretty darn good.

In the game, players assign maneuvers to their fleet, activate their ships in an ascending initiative order and perform an Action if able, and then combat ensues. The game uses templates of various distance ranges and angles to position a ship, which requires some finesse and second guessing of your opponent to line up and attack vector. Combat is then resolved in descending initiative order, thus allowing ships that moved last to fire first, if they have a target. Once a target is in a ship's firing arc and within range of its weapons, the player rolls a number of 8 sided Attack dice as determined by the ship or any weapon upgrade cards. Once the number of critical and normal hits have been determined, the target rolls a number of 8 sided Agility (Defense) to negate the hits. Any hits that are not negated get through and either deplete the ship's shield value or are applied directly to the ship's hull. Once a ship's hull points are reduced to zero, the ship is destroyed. 

Unsurprisingly, I can't help but compare the two games to one another. They both have their strengths and weaknesses, but in the end these are very minor and do not detract from the enjoyment of playing. I really enjoyed how evocative the game is of the television series. Indeed, this is one of the games strengths: the sheer amount of lore and star ships WizKids can draw on. There are already 8 expansion ships available! Component wise, the game is acceptable if not unimpressive. The ships themselves are great sculpts, but the paint jobs leave a lot to be desired, especially when compared to the FFG miniatures. The WizKids painting is very Mage Knight-y. The card design and layout is great, but the imagery is stock photos we have all seen before. I think this is a missed opportunity. It would have been great to see some new art or images here. However, the rest of the game is decent and worth the price. 

Customizing your fleet is one of the best aspects of the game. Your ship's effectiveness is determined by her captain, her crew, and any upgrades you may purchase. Again, great flavor and translation here. The powers the fleets have access to depends on your faction.  For example, I loved how Attack Wing handles the Cloaking ability. So simple, yet a perfect representation of the technology translated into game mechanics. The Klingons and Romulans have access to cloaking ships, and a ship firing from cloak is dealing death! 

Game play is engaging and fun. Not overly complicated (or at all once you play your first few games) but there are enough tactical layers there to make Attack Wing worth the price of admission. For the same reasons I love X-Wing, dogfighting in space is very immersing. However, I feel there is a slight disconnect here as the rules were meant for smaller, one man craft, not enormous capital ships. It did feel odd trying to bring my Valdore around to line up her front arc. But, this mechanic is one of the games strengths, as planning and thinking ahead (and even second guessing your opponent) are paramount when executing a tactic. 

In short, if you are a fan of Star Trek, you should go out and purchase Star Trek Attack Wing. If you are a fan of aerial dogfighting combat games, go out and purchase Star Trek Attack Wing. If you are a fan of both, you really are doing yourself a disservice if you do not own this game. Go out and purchase Star Trek Attack Wing!

Star Trek Attack Wing is published by Wiz Kids with a MSRP of $39.99 for the Starter Box and $14.99 for the Expansion Packs. 

Strength and Honor, 


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Iron Maiden: The Convergence of Cyriss

In keeping with the resurgence of WARMACHINE game play, here is my Convergence of Cyriss battle box. This is a first for me, as I obtained and painted these models all in the same week. Thanks for the inspiration, Jeremy!

Strength and Honor


Game On!

So many things going on. Here is a quick status of what is in the Dojo gaming pipeline for the remainder of the year.

The Wretched Hivers Star Wars gaming group is in full swing. We are learning the nuances of the excellent X-Wing miniatures game and about to begin an Edge of the Empire roleplaying campaign.

WARMACHINE is undergoing a renaissance of sorts within the Dojo community. Many of us are dusting off our faction models and "learning" the game anew with some battle box games. Also up and coming around the shop is Infinity (though Jason and I jumped on the band wagon years ago).

D&D 4E is still rocking. I am running Encounters at Big Easy Comics in Mandeville. Still going strong after two years! I also am playing in Tyler and Caylon's excellent World of Allyria D&D setting. Lastly, I am running my Apple Crew through a great D&D adventure. We are all looking forward to the next incarnation of Dungeons & Dragons!

Speaking of Big Easy Comics, their Warhammer Fantasy league is clipping along nicely. Magic: The Gathering is as big as always. Soon BEC will be relocating to a larger store! More space for gaming! This will make our games of Warhammer 40,000 that much enjoyable! I am very spoiled in that I got both new codices for my beloved Dark Angels AND Eldar all in the same year! Look for posts on these great armies soon.

Speaking of game stores, check out Level Up gaming store. If you are in the Slidell area this is THE place for all your gaming needs. On the South Shore, check out +1 Gaming and Go 4 Games. Both stores have a lot to offer and are fantastic places to get your game on.

Netrunner is on deck (pun humor!) as well as Dystopian Wars and Drop Zone Commander. We have been itching to give these games a try and will soon have our chance. Also on deck is Freebooter's Fate. The campaign is winding down, but their excellent Indiegogo campaign has us all ready to throw down with our new shiny models.

Speaking of crowdsourcing, we have many Kickstarter irons in the fire. I recently received my Reaper Bones miniatures and am anxiously awaiting the Dwarven Forge Dungeon Tiles. Incursion has a starter going to help switch to plastic as well as Privateer Press WARMACHINE: Tactics video game. Pledge now!

Year of the Gear was an astounding success, and though we may have put aside our Heavy Gear minis for a while, I know once the Northern book is released, we will be quick to jump in. I know my NuCoal forces will be ready and waiting.

Finally, hopefully, this October, we can get our Mordheim warbands going again in a true Mordheim campaign. Here is hoping the third time is the charm!

Strength and Honor,


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Small, But Vicious, Dog!

Happy Halloween!

Ah, October. That magical month here in New Orleans when the weather gets cooler, the shadows get longer, and the leaves begin to turn. All this can only mean one other thing: Mordheim!

A lot has happened since Isaac. Here is a whirlwind wrap up of the past few weeks:

-The Shattered Sun Heavy Gear Blitz campaign is drawing to a close. We are in the single elimination tournament phase now. Who will claim dominance over the Bad lands?

-The Blood Bowl league is in full effect! Benson is heading up the charge on the pitch with some fantastic dugouts and awesome stadium terrain.

-Mordheim, City of the Damned campaign is underway! Which warband will emerge with the most Fortune and Glory (and wyrdstone)? Will it be the Skaven of Clan Eshin? The Witchhunters of Sigmar? Or will all succumb to the Rot of Father Nurgle?

-World of Warcraft: TCG is undergoing a renaissance of sorts! Check out the new class starters and throw down with a quick, fun, easy-to-play card game.

-Speaking of World of Warcraft, the Mists of Pandaria expansion is now live and open for adventure. The new Monk class is very rewarding and the new continent (and content) is beautifully rendered and is more engaging then ever. Roll a new Pandaren race character and check it out!

-Netrunner LCG has been released from FFG and it is nothing short of amazing! A more detailed review is forthcoming, but this game has exceeded any expectations I had for it and then some. Quality production value, fantastic, evocative art with a unique twist on a super fun game mechanic all set in the Android universe. Simply amazing!

-Magic:The Gathering Return to Ravnica is released and the new cards are just what everyone hoped for!

Dark Vengeance! The new Warhammer 40,000 starter box pitting the Dark Angles against the minions of the Chaos Marines is out is fantastically done! A win/win situation for me since I play both armies!

-Guild Wars 2 is also live and the land of Tyria is there to explore! This is a great game, unique game play and combat/questing mechanics all beautifully rendered make for a fantastic MMO.

Dungeons & Dragons Encounters! The new season of the D&D Encounters is in full swing on Wednesday nights. Kalistryx was betrayed by her entire party! However, they could not keep her down and Lolth had a trick or two installed for all who opposed her will. The third and final installment of the series involving the Drow and the machinations of the Spider Queen, Lolth, will be revealed in the War of Eternal Darkness!

As Year of the Gear begins to wind down, what is in store for our motley band of gamers next year?

The Dystopic Age is upon us! Dystopian Wars will be front and center in our gaming line up, mixing land and naval battles with the steam punk nature of the Victorian science fiction age.

Dropzone Commander! Also getting a bit of the spotlight next year will be Dropzone Commander from  Hawk Wargames. A 15mm science fiction game focusing on deploying and redeploying your forces as armies clash over drop zones and seek out victory.

Freebooters Fate! A fine game of skirmmish level combat is getting the spotlight as well. With some new war bands, an Indiegogo crowdsource project, and rules expansion, this game is shaping up to be a contender for a campaign!

In addition to the above, board gaming is also getting more attention. Lords of Waterdeep, Alien Frontier, Dungeon! and the Dungeon Command games are getting more play time. Darkest Night, the first Victory Point Games boxed game, has been released and had many positive reviews. Look forward to one from me soon!

On the painting table for me are the last models of my Nucoal Heavy Gear Blitz army (which is amazing), a Sisters of Battle army for 40k, and my Freebooters Fate Brotherhood warband. I am just finishing my Carnival of Chaos warband for Mordheim, and have been using the new Games Workshop paints. I am very impressed with their system, especially the texture paint for the bases. When combined with the wet palette technique I picked up from Henry, they are painting up very fast and appropriately "Nurgle-y".

So we have a lot of gaming projects in store for us over the next year. I am thankful many of which I have already collected over the years! All in all, we are having a great time coming together and having fun rolling dice and pushing toy soldiers around. I look forward to what lies ahead for our gaming group this next year!

See you next year, October! You were GREAT!

Strength and Honor,


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Shutting Down for TS Isaac

As a precaution, I will not be posting over the next few days due to the storm. Hopefully, Isaac will pass uneventfully and all can get back to normal. Until then, be safe everyone.

Strength and Honor,


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

D&D: Kalistryx and the Council of Spiders!

After a year of Dungeon Mastering D&D Encounters, I will be stepping down and playing as a character in the upcoming Encounters season, Council of Spiders. I will be playing a female Drow Hexblade (or Feyblade, as mine is more commonly known) named Kalistryx. However, she has a lot to prove!

My Most Esteemed Matron Baenre, 

It is with a disappointing heart that I write thee of my youngest daughter, Kalistryx. Her lack of prowess and ability as an acolyte Priestess of Lolth is most disconcerting. I did have high hopes that Kalistryx would follow in my footsteps, but that is not to be. Still, through some means of which she will not confess, Lolth has seen fit to bestow upon her some skill of that which may be still of use to you. It has become evident that Kali does indeed possess some arcane power, though its manifestation is quite...beneath a daughter of House Baenre. In simple terms, Kalistryx has embraced the powers of the warlock, and seems determined to prove her worth. I know not from where, but she has aquired a totem of power that summons to her a fiendish imp. Dreanix she calls him, and he seems to be the conduit for Lolth’s blessings. But her time has come. I shall not have a daughter of mine dally with such base magics without confirming she is worthy of Lolth’s graces. 

To this, I ask of thee, leave to set her upon a quest. A trial to prove her worth to Lolth, House Baenre, and to herself. It has come to my attention rumors are spreading within the City of a shift in power. As one Menzoberranzan’s founding families and ruling House, I find it an essential imperative to investigate and substantiate any such threats to you or our House’s position within the City. Normally, I would assign such preliminary tasks to one of our men or trusted slave, but in this case, in fact, I feel this would be an ample opportunity for Kali to prove to herself and to House Baenre she is worthy of her lineage. Should she fail in this, I will see her put to death. 

I humbly await your wisdom and guidance in this matter. 

Until then, your faithful and devoted daughter I remain, 


Kalistryx of House Baenre

More Badlands Battle Reports!

(This comms intercepted from Col. Von Shenk!)

"Do NOT Disseminate -- Destroy After Reading
Eyes Only *

Region 7 Action Report
NSF 1950,7,17 -- #24

Col. Williams
Deep Desert Defense Coordinator
Region 7, Barrington Basin
NuCoal Security Forces

As previously stated in the initial report (see NSF 1950,7,13 -- #16), Southern Belligerents were detected using space borne networks approximately 260km SSE ( 138.14.3 W, 11.2.4 S) of Nineveh.  A PAK interdiction squad was operating in the local area and was dispatched to deal with the threat.  Upon initial contact, it became clear that the Southern forces were attempting to knock out a hidden NuCoal defense communications relay station.

The South consisted of a 4 man Fire Support Squadron led by a King Cobra and a general purpose squad with 3 stripped down Jagers led by an Iguana (see NSF 1950,7,14 -- #23 for full details Southern forces in this engagement, analysis on Southern naming conventions, and suspected deployments).  Our forces consisted of an Urban Combat Squad (Chieftain, 2x Desert Vipers, 2x Hunters) and a HT-72 Firebolt.  There were additional forces associated with this patrol that were still en route when the on scene commander, Maj. Rico, engaged his forces to prevent loss of our communications assets.  The PAK forces initially engaged the Southern forces and the HT-72 destroyed one member and severely disabled another of the fire support squad.  That Heavy Tank was then targeted by the entire Southern Task force, and was crippled, with the loss of 3 crew members  (SSgt. Jack Turney, Cpl. John Tiner and PFC Johnny Reed.  Lt. Rick Buller survived in the turret).  Subsequently, 2 stripped down Jagers were destroyed by indirect fire from our Desert Vipers.  It is suspected that our incoming reinforcements (2x LHT-71, 2x LHT-67 and 2x HC-3A) were detected and the Southern forces withdrew, leaving the installation intact.

The success of the operation was evaluated as PAK 4, South 3.  (See NSF documents 'Force on Force Evaluation Criteria TN 1948' for standards on how this engagement was evaluated and NSF 1950,7,16 -- #19 for the details of this evaluation)

Two members of the South were killed during the engagement and one member of the Southern military was captured after the engagement.  The captured pilot was in a stripped down slave Jager and is currently being held by NuCoal Intelligence and is will be evaluated for a political amnesty claim.  Access to this prisoner is restricted.

The results of the engagement left 2x salvageable light gear power plants and various weapons and ammunition for slated for the NuCoal Salvage Korps (see NSK 1950,7,14 -- #4 for full list of salvage).  The HT-72 was damaged, taking a direct hit in the body, killing the three crew members.  With the power plant and weapons out of service, it was moved back to Port Arthur by Hover Ship.  The tank is listed for refit and is estimated to be ready for action by 1950,7,27.

A full inquiry into the action was entertained on TN 1950,7,16 and the engagement was necessary and the actions by Maj. Rico have been deemed commendable by PAK high command, despite the loss of three patriotic PAK soldiers.  Lt. Buller has been removed from service due to severe injuries, and is slated to be put on desk duty if he recovers.  He has also been nominated for a merit award as have the 3 deceased posthumously.  Maj. Rico and his gear squad have been nominated for a unit award.  For the full inquiry, including interviews, see NSF 1950,7,16 -- #19.

Forces are being maintained in the region until the relay station can be relocated as it is obvious the South is aware of the location of the station.  It is unclear as to the detection method or if they have intelligence.  Espionage is suspect.  NuCoal Intelligence has been contacted.

Col. Von Shenk
Rapid Reaction Force
Port Arthur Korps
NuCoal Security Forces
Eyes Only *Do NOT Disseminate -- Destroy After Reading"