18 months later (…or what was I thinking?)

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Although I tossed the idea around in my head for a long time it wasn’t until January of last year that I officially started this project.  A mix of Mage Knight, Mage Wars, BattleLore, Summoner Wars, etc. with miniatures. This week I wanted to zoom out and see where it currently is and take an assessment of what all I still need to do.  This is actually the first time I’ve gotten everything spread out at once and to be honest it’s kind of exciting and is re-energizing me to forge ahead with more.

I’m currently using some Heroscape hex terrain for the world map in order to get in more encounters and playtime.  I’m using the Hirst Arts cavern mold pieces for mountains and I’ve gutted a Disney monopoly board game that I picked up second-hand for cottages and castles along with some prototypes:

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This is the look and flavor I’m trying to achieve:

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The leaders enter the map where they battle to control cities in which they can purchase additional troops:

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They will conquer and control mines, mills, temples, etc. which will allow them to gather resources such as gold, lumber, stone, faith, mana for spells, etc.:

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They will encounter enemies as they explore:

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When an encounter occurs the battle between the armies (Earth Tribe and Cloud Tribe below) takes place on another board representing the battlefield:

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The cards keep track of individual troop statistics such as name and description, movement values, if they are melee or ranged, unit value (how many spaces they take up in the leaders army), attack rate and hit points.

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At this point I have not come up with a name for this game and I’m still working on a few issues such as battle mechanics (we’re close), the logistics of gathering components to cast spells and how to balance and counter balance the elemental factors.  For instance, how will fire and ice interact?  How will clay and lightning interact?

I’m leaning towards giving each tribe a set of values that include all the elements present but that are stronger in some while weaker in others depending on where they fall on the spectrum.  In other words the Magma Tribe will be higher in fire and earth, the Divine Tribe will be higher in Arcane and Runic and the Air Tribe will be higher in Lightning and Frost.

The Fire Tribe will have an advantage over the Water Tribe with a high attack rate but low defense and vice-verse with the Water Tribe over the Fire Tribe.  All in all I’m trying to create some drama that will affect which enemies you have advantages and disadvantages against and who you choose to battle.

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Thanks for dropping by,

Night Owl

 

Bakong

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Bakong by Asmodee Games, made in Germany and published in 2009, is a fun little filler game in the likes of the old classic Atari game from the 80’s: Pitfall.  In a nutshell the idea is to pillage and loot as many emerald crystals as possible from an ancient Cambodian Temple.  Along the way you will encounter obstacles that will assist or hinder your journey.

The game is set up with a starting tile, a temple tile, and 24 jungle tiles that connect them.  These octagon shaped jungles tiles are double-sided and are set up in a random path.

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Each player gets a rucksack player card and this manages your inventory.  The items that you acquire throughout the game are placed on this board but must fit in the allowed spaces.  If at some point you come across a better piece of equipment that won’t fit in your rucksack you may remove an item and put it back in the reserve for other players to use later to make room for the new item.  The outer pockets of the rucksack are for storing crystals.

Each player selects one piece of equipment at the beginning of the game.  Each item has special abilities to help you along the journey.  For instance,  if you have the rope in your inventory you can “swing over” the river tiles.  However, a  player without the rope will end his/her turn when they come to a river tile.  There is also a grapple hook, a first aid kit, a map, a compass and an explorers handbook, a machete and a torch.

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Movement is simple enough.  The first player rolls 2 six-sided dice.  For instance, I rolled a 2 and a 5.  I have two actions: flip a tile and move my pawn.  I can choose to flip the second tile ahead of me and move five tiles or flip the fifth tile ahead of me and move 2 tiles.

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Certain tiles will stop your progress unless you have certain items as explained above.  Some tiles will reward you with crystals and others will have no effect at all.  The object is to reach the temple first, loot the temple by getting jumbo crystal tiles worth 17, 12, etc. and return back to the start camp with the most crystals.

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Bakong is quick to learn, quick to play (20-30 min) with a great theme that is easily accessible for the whole family.  This is also a fantastic gateway game to share with friends that are new to gaming and seem a little intimidated by some of the heavier/crunchy euro’s out there.  My favorite thing about this game is the replayablilty factor.  There are enough variables that occur that I cannot imagine ever playing the same game twice.  A good balance of luck and strategy.  We’ll be playing more of this.

Thanks,

Night Owl

 

22nd Infantry Regiment

I was all excited and riding on the momentum of the Mormon Militia when I got these little fellas all primed up.  And…they sat there on the workstation and stared back at me…all unpainted…all 45+ of them.  And my fire fizzled, ugh.  But I rallied later in the week and sat in for a few marathon sessions and managed to get all but 10 of them done.   Now I remember why I like skirmish armies.  But the look of a battlefield full of companies and regiments all awaiting battle is just amazing so I plug on and have a new respect for some of the pictures I see from gaming conventions where the armies have 300-400 miniatures per side.

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Really not much different than the Confederates other than the colors which may or may not be 100% historically correct but good enough for me.

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Again, no basing yet as I’ve not committed to a set of rules but it looks like I’m leaning to a DBx style sabot that can be mounted up on an Impetus movement tray.  This will allow the Natives a little more freedom to move but still keep the formation look of the 1880’s.

Around here we’re trying (not very successfully yet,mind you) at getting back to our weekly winter board game night.  This week’s pick is a game called Quarto, published by a French company called Gigamic.  A simple game consisting of 16 high quality hardwood shaped pieces and a wooden board.

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This is one of those “quick to learn – long to master” abstract games that is great for filling in some extra time.  The object is really easy: to get four elements, or characteristics,  in a row.  The elements are tall, short, solid, hollow, square, round, dark and light colored.  Seems easy enough but the twist is that your opponent decides which piece you will play.

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So in the above picture my daughter has essentially won because any piece I choose for her to play will win by playing it in the center row, second circle down.  It will either be solid or hollow giving her the Quarto in a diagonal line.  A light colored piece would also win by playing it in the leftmost second circle up.  Easy enough, but for a more challenging game you can create a square of common elements as well as the lines giving you 9 extra ways to win.

I love games like this and wonder why we haven’t played it yet.  Time, never have time.  With winter rolling around again I am hoping we can get back to a schedule that allows it.

Thanks,

Night Owl

 

Some men take great pride in how much they spend, I, however, take great pride in how little I spend.

I remember reading this quote years ago and have always remembered it.  For the life of me I cannot locate where it originated.  My gut tells me either Benjamin Franklin or Henry David Thoreau .  If anyone recognizes it please let me know because it’s driving me crazy.

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When my not-so-local craft store was dropping the line of their IMEX 1/72 twin pack diorama miniatures for $3.59 I scooped up a half a dozen or so sets.

I have 2 sets of #523 Lewis and Clark Expedition,

2 sets of #508 Sioux Indians,

1 set each of #595 Union Infantry, #506 Confederate Infantry, #521 Pilgrims, and #522 Eastern Indians.

At 3 – 4 cents a miniature I think these will work great for this project.

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I’ve started out with the Pilgrims.  They will represent the Mormon Pioneers who are attempting to settle the Four Corners.  I will use these as defenders for a skirmish set up vs. the natives who are resisting the presence of white folks.

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I love that many of them are cast in farming poses because I also would like to set up a mini diorama, set in the middle of the table, as a objective point for a later skirmish involving Natives and 22nd Infantry.

The Natives objective will be to kidnap “X” amount of women, children, and livestock and kill as many men and Union soldiers as possible.

The Union’s objective is to prevent this and kill as many natives as possible.  Points will be issued accordingly in a series of campaigns.

This is all in my head and still evolving so more on that later.

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While trying to get into the whole wild west mood I managed to get in a game that I picked up recently called Wyatt Earp.  This is an older card game from Rio Grande Games.  It involves 7 of the most notorious outlaws such as Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Butch Cassidy and Wes Harding.  The object of the game is to collect as much reward money as possible.

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It’s a fun rummy based game with a few twist, action cards, and is light on the learning curve so it can be picked up easily by anyone.  Cards such as Bank Robbery, Fastest Gun, Hideout, and Stagecoach Robbery allow you to take additional actions or shut down an opponents ability to score his or her sets.  You need to “Shoot” to successfully take this action.  A wonderful mechanic that I really like is instead of rolling dice when you shoot you flip over the next card in the draw deck and it will either have a bullet hole in the lower left corner or not.  This determines if your shot was accurate and if the action was successful.

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Good stuff.  I will definitely be playing more of this game.

Well, that’s it for this week – thanks for stopping in.

Night Owl

 

World Map Hex Boards, Farm Houses & Dungeon Crawls…OH MY!

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It seems this past week has had me working on several projects simultaneously but not really making any progress on any of them.  “Waffling” was the term an old economics professor liked to use, although I prefer the term “prepping”.  I have a few things to post this week and hopefully they’ll all catch their stride now that some things are in place.  I could have posted them all as separate topics but why not throw everything on the table at once?  It is more fun that way right?

First is the DIY World Hex map:

This has been made using the same technique as the skirmish Battle Board but using a 1 inch hex instead of a 2 inch:

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Back during the holiday break my brother-in-law and I spent an afternoon creating a handful of little buildings using trim wood.  We used a band saw and a belt sander and came up with quite a little collection of village pieces.

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They’ve been sitting patiently waiting for their turn in the queue along with all the other projects.  These will be used as markers designating resource centers and city/skill upgrades for the game.

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I also received my resource tokens from  Mayday Games.  This is the King’s Deluxe Wooden Token Set and the Energy/Lightning Bolt Token set.  They will represent the resources stone, wood, gold and faith.

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Another project that I finished was the Linka Farm House:

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I took break last weekend and tried out some the rules I’m using to see if they transfer over to a dungeon crawl solo run.  Nothing too heavy, as it needs some adjustments for that setting, but I think it will work for a quick play set of rules or one for kids, families,  or those just getting into tabletop dungeon crawls.

 

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After posting all of this I suppose that I actually have made some progress.  The nice things about this blog is it does help to keep me focused and on track with where I’ve been, where I’m at, and where I’m going.   So my goal next week is to work on the World Map and get it to the point where I can start some play-testing on that side of the game.

Thanks for dropping by,

Night Owl

 

 

From the Shadows

I have to admit that the undead might be my favorite race.  Somehow they feed  my darker side and allow me to get in touch with all things morbid and unnatural.  I have been collecting undead miniatures for a while now and have built for them a display board.  Unfortunately, it proved not to be big enough as I still have 50+ Wargames Factory skeletons and 25 or so Mantic zombies to add to the mix.  It has always been an ongoing project that will probably never be completely finished so let me see what I can cull out of the goods for a skirmish army.

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I’ll start with the Skeletal Orcs from WOTC defunct Chainmail series.  They were supplied with a great axe but I lost one years ago and just recently added new arms and swords to one of them.

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Next I’ll use the Reaper Bones skeletons for Melee troops.  These little fellas have been block painted and dipped but still need weapon details painted.

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Next for the Healers will be Reaper spirits:

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For the mages I’ll use the old Games Workshop Tomb Kings banner bearer and the WOTC Chainmail Necromancer Ahmut.

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And finally for the Champion I’ll be using the Gamezone Vampire standard bearer.

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Like the demon army some of these will need to be repainted and/or touched up as they have had some use over time and they’ll all need to be rebased to 30MM rounds.

I’d like to maybe go with a crypt themed display board for this race but work off the existing graveyard theme.  The intention initially was to be able to use the displays as modular terrain and in the future races I would like to focus more on that.

Well, there you go .  This race will probably take a few weeks and I’ve got some good ideas for how to do the crypt display – is anyone else thinking Skyrim influence?

Thanks,

Night Owl

What’s the deal with these elements I keep refering to?

 

I have been tossing around a lot of ideas in my head for a while trying to create a world rooted in magic.  In my research I went down the road of Paganism,  earth magic and shamanism.  Touched on the idea of “bending” like that of the animated series Avatar.  Explored the world of witchcraft and the ways of the Wicca.  Meandered through the lore of Native American folklore and medicine men.  I drifted around the Mysticism of the ancient Asian religions.  I even ducked into the shadows of Voodoo magic and swamp alchemy for a bit.  And while none of them really encapsulated what I was searching for they all had parts that interested me.

Then I came across this graphic on Google search and thought it captured what I was looking for as it went beyond the four primary elements of air, fire, earth and water.  It is noted that wulfgard.net is no longer available so I don’t know much about it other than I really like the graphic.

 

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So the races I’ve been making are all based on some aspect of this chart.

  • Frost – Frost Barbarians
  • Magma – Demons
  • Lightning – Storm Elves
  • Divine – Human Inquisitors

Each tribe has the ability to access and utilize an elemental magic.  Some have gotten a good foothold on this while others are not quite there (wait until you see what the goblins are all about!).

On another note, I was able to get a few dry runs in.  It went pretty good and each game showed me what was working and what needed improvement.  This is all in the early stages so note cards and beads are the tools of choice at this point.

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I’m still on the fence as to whether or not I want the champion to be part of the combat or more of a General who sits back and enhances the troops on the battlefield with spells and bonuses.  As with all things it is still a work in progress.

Check in next week for a new Tribe.

Thanks for looking,

Night Owl