Monday, October 13, 2014

A Foolish Consistency...

“A foolish consistency is the Hobgoblin of small minds.” Ralph Waldo Emerson


My hobby inclinations have been… evolving. I have, in fact, foresworn (for now) all interest in that certain monolithic company that was once the prime subject of this blog. What? I will admit that this change in events took some small persuasion. The requirements of Anvil Eight Games have consumed almost all my hobby time. Moreover, I admittedly offered some initial mental resistance to change, etc. and so on. But then… Emerson.


So fellow Anvil Eight Games personality Chris “one take” Tavonatti and I have increasingly immersed ourselves in Bolt Action! gloriousness. In my humble opinion, it is a great game -just wonderful. We have been having a gripping old time with it all. The rules are very easy for a reasonably experienced gamer, and every single conflict has been evocative, tense, and very, very closely fought.

And so we have instituted a weekly contention down at the FLGS. It's been a long time coming, but this beautiful game has certainly helped me get some hobby mojo back. Excellent stuff.


This particular game began well for my dedicated Brits. My regulars advanced up the middle and left flank.



The Paratroopers crept up the right flank and jumped the bridge objective with the help of a MMG.
  


The Regulars began to suffer from the strain and the constant, withering fire -also combined with a reckless level of German bravery.




Then the SS showed up in an armored vehicle and proceeded to crush all opposition. What was left of my British forces struggled to push back, but the SS were entirely too resolute.


The week before this particular engagement shown here, I had just watched Market Garden. Tremendous film. I remembered it dimly from years ago, but it was a real treat to come back to that film, as an adult, as an adult painting British Paratroopers, as an adult Sean Connery fan painting British Paratroopers (“didn’t you know that god is Scottish?” Ha. Class. Who else could deliver that line?). Those familiar with the film will recognize the relevance of my Paratroopers initially sweeping the Germans from the bridge, only to get pummeled by the late arrival of two SS squads with brutality in mind.

So it goes.

Stiff upper lip and all that. The boys are hoping for a better result this week. What-Ho!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What-ho, Squiffy!

CAPTION: Somewhere in England, 1944


The squadron leader enters an RAF officers' mess and takes off his helmet
Bovril: Morning, squadron leader.

Squadron Leader: What-ho, Squiffy.

Bovril: How was it?

Squadron Leader: Top hole. Bally Jerry pranged his kite right in the how's your father. Hairy blighter, dicky-birdied, feathered back on his Sammy, took a waspy, flipped over on his Betty Harper's and caught his can in the Bertie.

Bovril: Er, I'm afraid I don't quite follow you, squadron leader.

Squadron Leader: It's perfectly ordinary banter, Squiffy. Bally Jerry ... pranged his kite right in the how's yer father ... hairy blighter, dicky-birdied, feathered back on his Sammy, took a waspy, flipped over on his Betty Harper's and caught his can in the Bertie.

Bovril: No, I'm just not understanding banter at all well today. Give us it slower.

Squadron Leader: Banter's not the same if you say it slower, Squiffy.

Bovril: Hold on, then. (shouts) Wingco!

Wingco: Yes!

Bovril: Bend an ear to the squadron leader's banter for a sec, would you?

Wingco: Can do.

Bovril: Jolly good.

Wingco: Fire away.
 
Squadron Leader: (draws a deep breath and looks slightly uncertain, then starts even more deliberately then before) Bally Jerry ... pranged his kite ... right in the how's your father ... hairy blighter ... dicky-birdied ... ... feathered back on his Sammy ... took a waspy ... flipped over on his Betty Harper's ... and caught his can in the Bertie.

  
Wingco: ... No, don't understand that banter at all.

Squadron Leader: Something up with my banter, chaps?
A siren goes. The door bursts open and an out-of-breath young pilot rushes in in his flying gear.

Pilot: Bunch of monkeys on your ceiling, sir! Grab your egg and fours and let's get the bacon delivered.
General incomprehension. They look at each other

Wingco: Do you understand that?

Squadron Leader: No, didn't get a word of it.

Wingco: Sorry old man, we don't understand your banter.

Pilot: You know ... bally ten-penny ones dropping in the custard ... (searching for the words) um ... Charlie Choppers chucking a handful ...

Wingco: No, no ... sorry.

Bovril: Say it a bit slower, old chap.
Pilot: Slower banter, sir?

Wingco: Ra-ther!

Pilot: Um ... sausage squad up the blue end!

Squadron Leader: No, still don't get it.

Pilot: Um ... cabbage crates coming over the briny?

Squadron Leader: No.

Wingco, Pilot and Bovril: No, no ...
Stock film of a German bombing raid.


Which is to say that Chris T and I have been building and playing a fair amount of Bolt Action lately: my Brits v his Germans. Tremendous fun -and I've been quoting the above incessantly. What-ho!

Monday, September 15, 2014

BROKEN CONTRACT - by Nick Baran

Breaking a long silence here to direct your attention toward Nick Baran's very cool new game Broken Contract - now on KS. You might recognize Nick from 2nd City Warzone - or from the AdeptiCon scene.


Nick is a local legend with strong credentials. He's taken a very solid approach to his development of Broken Contract and I, for one, cannot wait to see it come to life. This is not your average kickstarter, and it's wonderfully refreshing to see the platform used the way it was intended. Broken Contract is a tremendously cool concept. Let's get behind it!


Nick has pulled back the curtain a bit to show the entire development and gaming process. Check out these updates for a well-rounded look at what is in store.






I'm dying to paint this big fella with the rocksaw. oh man.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The MASQUE!

Hi all! Today we finish our focus on the different program types in Aetherium with an in-depth look at one of the Nanomei's avatars, the elusive Masque.



Avatars are the third category of programs in Aetherium. They are the digital manifestations of the most skilled, powerful, talented, and well-equipped users in the world. Users who can manifest as avatars are a rare and talented breed of individual and, as such, the least common program in the game. A collectives is always lead by an avatar program. They are the most powerful pieces in the game, with a wide variety of abilities. Much like functions, there is a tool for every situation. Unlike all of the other programs in the game, avatars represent unique, one of a kind programs. It is perhaps best to think of them as named or special characters. 

The Masque is the most mysterious of the Nanomei's avatars. He simply seems to have conjured into existence ever since the inception of the Nanomei. From the very outset, he has been spotted lurking and leading from the shadows. No one knows his true identity or what his true motivations are. All people can say for sure is that he seems to be able to be in several places at once and is one of the most cunning opponents they have ever faced. Even other members of the Nanomei leadership know little about this ghost, but when he appears alongside Nanomei forces, he is the ultimate assassin.



In the game, the Masque is a damage-dealing powerhouse for the Nanomei. If we take a look at his data card we will see that being an avatar, the Masque has a CS value of 6, and his OC value of 3 means he can be pushed well beyond the capacity of most programs, allowing him to perform many actions in a single activation.

The Masque is a melee monster, and lacks any sort of ranged attack. While his attack profile has the challenging “crash” target symbol, you can see that his damage has the potential to spike very high. When combined with the disruption ability “backstab,” the Masque could do a potential maximum of 12 damage in a single strike! This can absolutely cripple (if not delete outright) just about any program in the game. 



Being a sneaky roguish type, both the “backstab” ability and one of his .EXEs, “skulk,” require the Masque to be in the back arc of his target. If he can manage it, watch out! The “skulk” .EXE allows the Masque to roll 2 extra dice instead of the usual 1, and with the possibility of 5 dice, the chance of rolling that sweet spot for damage is a very real threat! And when his capable CS and OC values are not enough to get behind an opponent, the .EXE “dopplewalk” allows the Masque to swap spaces with a friendly model within 7 squares. While your forces are engaged with the enemy, the Masque can appear around the back, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. 

His safeguard “shifting shadows” allows the Masque to transfer damage received to friendly models within 3 squares; so as long as you have troops to spare, you can keep him in the fight. His final trick “truly anonymous” is a once per game .EXE that triggers when he is deleted. If you have other programs still in play, you can choose to completely delete that program instead, and the Masque returns with a full stability grid!

As you can see, avatars bring a whole host of wild and wonderful powers to the Aetherium, and with multiple avatars for each faction to choose from, your possibilities are profound!

And there we have the basic introduction to the program types in the game.
Thank you again for your support and enthusiasm. See you tomorrow for the final moments of this kickstarter campaign! Glorious!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

THREE... TOV

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Greetings everyone! Today we continue our in-depth look at the different program types in Aetherium with a focus on one of the Nanomei's key functions: Tov.


Functions are the second tier of program in the game. Individuals that can manifest as functions exceed the average user not only in skill and raw talent, but also in quality of the equipment available to link with the Aetherium. Functions are always comprised of a single model and act as powerful solo pieces that have a wide range of abilities. Some functions are blunt force pieces, while others act as support units that require a bit more finesse to use to best effect.

Tov is one of the two core Nanomei functions in the starter box, so let’s have a closer look. 

Tov programs represent some of the most fanatical and wild members of the Nanomei. Many have an affinity for the flame, and can wield fire with lethal potential. 



As a function, Tov has a Cycle Speed (CS) value of 5 - better than a subroutine, but not as high as an avatar. Tov has a decent attack profile so, on average, a player can expect him to do some work. His range is 3, which means that he is not going to throw “hail mary” molotovs across the schema, but he does not have to be right on top of his target either.

Tov really starts to cause your opponent problems with his other abilities. His disruption effect requires one disruption cog so, much like the Picketers, it is reasonably reliable. When the disruption triggers, the target suffers from “burnout,” which is ongoing fire damage that your opponent rolls for at the start of the target’s activation. If Tov rolls multiple disruption cogs, he can ignite multiple targets on fire further increasing his damage output. 



His safeguard “for the cause” forces him to take an extra point of damage, but by doing so causes the attacker to suffer from 'burnout'. While this might not help keep Tov alive for very long, his stability grid tends to allow him to safely run this a few times during the game. Sometimes it will make your opponent think twice about attacking Tov, or only attack him with select programs.

Finally his .EXE, “firewall” allows a player to place 3 firewall tokens on the board. These are strategically significant because the firewalls block line of sight and hinder movement. When used correctly, a clever player can easily cut off the enemy, protect allies, block avenues of movement, and cause all sort of general nuisance. One of my favorite tactics is to use Tov's firewall to surround pylons or nodes that I control, and thus make the pylons harder for my opponent to reach or capture.

Well, that is all for today. We will have one more careful profile examination next time when we focus on one of the Nanomei's avatars: the elusive Masque!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

FOUR... House Ikaru and More!


We are getting close! Four more days left and only six more backers until Ikarus is unlocked. Tell you friends. Tell your friend’s friends.


Ikarus is one of my favorite miniatures in the range, so I am as excited as absolutely anyone here to see this model open. Even though the picture here does not show the final pose, he is an extraordinarily commanding figure. So cool. Keep up the excellent work, everyone. We are really excited by these final moments of the campaign and what is in store.

Friday, April 25, 2014

FIVE... and a Picketers Program Profile!


Hey everyone! Aetherium continues to gather steady momentum as we enter these final 5 day -absolutely fantastic. We are tremendously excited not only by the response so far, but also for the future that you have opened (and continue to unlock) for this game.
 
Today, we wanted to invest a little more time delving into the different program types in the game.



Units in Aetherium are referred to as programs. There are 3 types of programs in the game: Avatars, Functions, and Subroutines. Today we will be taking a look at one of the Nanomei subroutines that comes in the starter box, the Picketers.

Subroutines represent the 'squads' of Aetherium. They are the most simple of programs in the game, and are usually controlled by the most basic user. Sometimes, subroutines are automated programs that have been put into the system and run themselves on a basic set of parameters. All subroutines are comprised of multiple models, usually 2-5. Subroutines are further divided into 2 types; Segmented or Linked. 

Segmented subroutines each act as independent models in the game. Though they all act during the same in game activation, each model in a segmented program activates independently of the others. Each model can move, attack, and activate .EXEs during their activation. They also each have their own stability grid (health), and take damage separately from one another. Damage is never shared between them, and does not carry over to other models in the program. Even those with a low damage output can be dangerous, because each model in the program can make an attack. In the case of a program such as the Riot Grlz, it is rather like having 3 separate models in your collective, and that damage can add up fast!

Linked subroutines work more like traditional 'squads'. Each model represents part of a greater whole, a part of the program. During their activation, they move and fight together. One model is moved, and when its movement is complete, the rest of the program is placed in adjacent squares. When they attack, they only make one attack roll. They share one large stability grid. When a linked program takes enough damage models get removed, until the entire program is deleted.

Subroutines are further defined by a unique ability known as a 'coordination' skill. These are skills that generally trigger when multiple models from the same program are working together in some way, usually against the same target.

With that explained, lets take a closer look at one of the Nanomei's Linked Subroutines: The Picketers.


The Picketers act as type of tarpit unit for the Nanomei. Their attack profile isn't amazing, and they don't dish out a ton of damage, but they can interrupt the enemy and become quite the nuisance for your opponent. Their disruption ability 'riot' only requires one disruption cog to trigger, so it is fairly reliable. When the disruption ability triggers, it forces the target program to end the next activation adjacent to the picketers. This can cause enemy models to be pulled away form other potential targets in your collective, or if the picketers move away from the main battleline, you can force your opponent to follow you, thus pulling them away from the main fight.


Picketers excel in a support roll as well. With their coordination skill, if enough models are still in play, you can completely cancel out an enemy's safeguard, allowing your other programs to wreck havoc on that program. Their .EXE, 'strike', makes it harder for you opponent to move away from the picketers. Combined with 'riot', enemies will find themselves slowed down while engaging the picketers. Finally, their safeguard 'civilian ploy' can keep the picketers from suffering massive spikes of damage from a single attack. These abilities, when used in combination, open some a very cool level of strategic thinking in the game, one which has been used to very powerful and nuanced effect in our playtesting.

More tomorrow! In the mean time, keep up the tremendous work!

Great stuff!