Category: Reviews

Chicago Way – Initial Thoughts

IMG_0633.jpgYou wanna know how to get Capone? They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. *That’s* the *Chicago* way! 

In an effort to get the pile on unplayed games reduced Matt and I were able to arrange an impromptu gaming session yesterday (thank the gods that our children get along so well) and we decided that we would break out Chicago Way.

We had been talking about playing this one for a while – Matt is a bit of a sucker for gangster games – and given that it is based on the Dead Mans Hand ruleset (one of our favourite cinematic games) we had high hopes for a fun afternoon.

The game has four different factions (Prohibition Agents, Police, Gangsters and Moonshiners) and Matt decided that he would play Prohibition Agents against my Gangsters led by the lovely and not at all psychopathic Dapper Dan.

As is usual for the first time that we play a game we didn’t actually read the rules beforehand so just picked what we thought we had cool models for.  This did lead to some stupid equipment mistakes on my part ($1500 for a Tommy Gun!!!!) and meant that we didn’t use the vehicle rules at all.  This was probably a mistake on our part given that the first sentence of the vehicle section is “Vehicles are a key part of The Chicago Way” but you live and learn and it gives us something new to try next game.

One of the big differences between this and DMH is that each game is just made up of a single scenario, rather than the 3 interlinked scenes of the earlier game.  To offset this, the game is very much designed around playing a campaign, similar to the campaign system in the second DMH book, Legends, which is focused around your gang gaining control of Chicago.  We ended up just deciding to have a straight shoot out type game so played the Massacre scenario with $10000 gangs.

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The table set up

I had Dapper Dan, Machine Gun Moll (Hitman) 3 Hoods and 3 Thugs.   Matt had Agent Smith, Tintin and a seemingly endless supply of Prohibition Agents.

At the end of the game Dapper Dan was in handcuffs (having been smashed in the face by the stock of a Tommy Gun) most of the crew were dead, Machine Gun Moll had fled the scene and I would have to put up with Matt endlessly crowing about smashing me.

As hoped the game had provided some excellent cinematic moments, my favourite being Moll opening up on 3 of the Prohibition Agents with her tommy gun.  I could just see the slow motion of the ejector port as the brass cartridge cases fell on the floor around her as she tried to rescue her man from the government lickspittles.  She failed, but that doesn’t make it less cinematic 🙂

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Dapper Dan and his crew down for the count

All in all it was excellent fun and we will be definitely playing a campaign of it later in the year.  If you like DMH then you owe it to yourself to give The Chicago Way a try, you probably won’t regret it.

You just fulfilled the first rule of law enforcement: make sure when your shift is over you go home alive. Here endeth the lesson.

Lets face it, I’m a complete geek, wargaming, xbox games and playing with lasers. I tried 3D printing but it made my head hurt. Flighty in the extreme, hobby projects last a couple of days before moving onto the next one

Do Look Back in Anger ;-)

As Mike has eluded too already, we normally do a retrospective of the year that is about to pass in to the mists of time – 2017. I also normally post something up on the Tanelorn Facebook Club page so I’ve taken a part of that and embellished it with artistic license for this blog. More of it will appear as an article about my hobby hopes for 2018.

It has to be said that we normally cover these retrospectives in a Fools Daily episode. The format of these episodes (yes we usually do at least 2 as we cover multiple peoples) is that Mike does the bestest and we get chastised and graded badly for our appalling efforts. The episode is normally linked to our published or recorded hobby hopes for the current year. I do miss recording and I think it’s something I (we) need to resurrect in 2018.

Overall 2017 was a good year hobby wise though as always, it could have been better. Hobby covers X things for me:-

  • Painting
  • Building
  • Playing at events
  • Playing in general at club and with gaming buddies
  • Any gaming related activites eg. Club, event. Gaming community, recording podcasts

So let’s take those in order.

Painting

My main aim for 2017 was to have a painted 1000pt British Bolt Action force. This hasn’t happened. I have a fully painted platoon, a partly painted platoon, an undercoated commando platoon, various painted small teams, HQ and NCO, undercoated Mortar and LMG team and base coat and washed vehicles (universal carriers, a Cromwell and a Humber recce vehicle). For me this is good but I would have liked to have a bit more discipline and finished painting the platoons and teams. I also wanted to finish my Epic Space Wolves force. This did not happen. One thing I did do though is correct the paint scheme on my terminators which will form the basis of the rest of the army when I get around to it. Unfortunately I painted yellow over a brown undercoat thinking that it would be a good thing with the brown allowing a shade in areas the yellow did not get too. Unfortunately the yellow over the brown gave a green tinged yellow to the whole army. With some work I’ve corrected that on two units of terminators.

Building

I feel that I have built a lot of stuff this year.

  • a small handful of Warmachine Cygnar figures to allow me to have some choice in the Warcasters that I play.
  • Dystopian Wars Austrians ships and flyers.
  • 1000pts of Adeptus Mechanicus and I am on the way to completing 1500 pts to allow me to play the new edition of 40k.
  • 700pts worth of an Isengard LoTR/Hobbit force
  • Various MDF terrain pieces for the club’s 40k campaign

Looking back at that list it doesn’t really seem a lot for a whole year. I think that part of this is due to my energy levels being low after coming home from work and lack of time due to other commitments, some of which are gaming related.

Playing at events, club and gaming buddies

I don’t believe that I have done a lot of playing at events this year. The Welsh Open in Cardiff at the South West Gaming Centre is the only event that springs to mind. I always enjoy this more from the social side of things but I always come away from the event with the same old conundrum of wanting to do better at the event but failing to accept that this is not achievable as I do not play H/WM enough to allow me to do this. I’ve lost interest in Malifaux so have not attended any events for this game. I wanted to attend a Bolt Action event but this passed me by due to lack of money for the Welsh BA event and being on holiday for Britcon. There was no Relic Knights this year for me as far as I can remember as the game is in flux at present and is due a new version in 2018. I did attend a Roots of Magic event which was fun with a handful of people. That was it. Comparted to previous years a very poor showing.

I regularly attended the club ie Tanelorn and we have started a 40k narrative campaign. There has been a huge buzz and interest in the game and with over 20 players signing up for the campaign, you can see that there is big buy in from the club. This meant that we had to invest in some new terrain to help support the campaign and the larger group of players playing 40k. Coupled with this the club had to move premises this year as our previous landlords decided to up our hall costs by over 200%. We are now at EXP Leisure which reminds me very much of the old Firestorm Games prior to the move to the South West Gaming Centre. It’s been an interesting year for the club and it really has been wonderful to see so many of the club members taking both and active interest and part in moving the club forward. There is very much an ownership of the club and I’m proud to have been a part of it.

As far as playing with my gaming buddies locally then that has continued with my mates Nigel and Nick. I have a regular game with Nick on a Friday night and this started with H/WM this year but we’ve spent a lot of time playing Bolt Action. More recently we’ve been playing 40k. BA is a great game as it’s tactical, has a narrative to it every time and is extremely cinematic. We are both enjoying 40k too at present especially with the Matched Play Missions in both the rule book and Chapter Approved now.

When I play Nigel I get to play different games. Guildball, Dystopian Wars, Mythos, play testing of the new edition of Relic Knights, board games and finally my introduction to Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit. LotR/Hobbit has been an interesting journey for me. I already had some figures and built extra to get me to a decent sized force. I’ve only had 3 games of this, the last being a 3 player scenario but have absolutely loved playing the game. Dystopian Wars featured heavily this year too and again this was a game that I got heavily in to. It provided a hugely cinematic experience for me and I loved the air/sea games. I backed the Spartan Games Kickstarter for a new version of the rules plus cards and a faction book. It was hugely disappointing to hear that Spartan Games went in to administration thus enforcing a pause on this new found love of their Dystopian War game. Thankfully I was one of the few that got some of my Kickstarter goods – namely the new rule book and cards. I’m missing a faction book. That is lost and the Dystopian World IP has now been purchased by Warcradle Studios, the people who bought Wild West Exodus from Battlefoam. It was a good buy IMHO – tying together the WWE and DW worlds in to one world – the Dystopian Era. I can only hope that the reboot of the game with the new owners will allow me to play this game again in 2018 or I will have to go and play the game again with the old set of rules or not at all. It’s interesting that at present I play no games using old sets of rules at all though we have talked about playing 3rd edition WFB.

I’ve definitely played a lot more board games this year than I have ever done before. Fuelled by Kickstarters that I had received sitting there gathering dust – notably The Others and Blood Rage. But because EXP Leisure has a good range of board games to play this would include Robo Rally, Colt Express and Camel Run!

I’ve loosely still been involved with community events. I had a hand in a Necromunda club event which was put on in association with Yaktribe Necromunda Community. Seeing some of the tables that these guys played on was really inspiring. There were 2 or 3 really beautiful tables. I’ve been helping EXP Leisure grow their table top activities and the club had helped out by lending it’s terrain for a 20+ played AoS event and a small Kings of War event too. The club didn’t run any events really this year. No Malifaux or Guildball events at all.

It doesn’t need me to say it but I’ve done very little recording of podcasts this year too. This is down to the same reasons as my lack of building, namely energy and time. It’s something I do miss.

Another thing that I should mention for 2017 is the great garage clear out which is still ongoing in terms of me ebaying stuff. This very nearly broke me and I came very close to giving up the hobby completely. Seeing that I had so much stuff accumulated over my 40 years in wargaming was demoralising. Whole armies collected and waiting to be actioned as a project. None (may be one) will see the light of day and need to go. It has helped fund my Ad Mech army though and I will have to continue to do this in 2018 – ebay stuff. The one positive thing is that stuff is more or less sorted out and in plastic Really Useful boxes as opposed to cardboard boxes where stuff could get lost and/or damaged.

Finally I should talk about my physical health. I’ve had various issues health wise these past 10 years. Operations for RSI on both hands thus allowing me to paint again. Last year an operation to correct De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis in my left hand – no smutty comments. I’ve also been suffering from Pustular psoriasis on my left foot. This has got to the stage where the heel and base of my foot cracks and it becomes extremely uncomfortable to walk and stand. I will be starting phototherapy for this in late Jan next year for a period of 3-4 months and if that does not work I will be administered some sort of drug that effects my immune system which I’m not happy with but I’ll take it one step at a time. I don’t think gaining 2 stone will help my foot and this is something I will be addressing in quarter 1 of 2018. I’m looking to drop 2 stone in that time period.

With all that said, I’m still positive about 2018 and am hoping that it will be a good year. As for 2017 I’m sure Mike would mark me as an E!

Do..Do..Do…the funky gibbon…..ooh..ooh..ooh

Mike and myself went on our much delayed trip to watch the latest instalment of the Planet of the Apes reboot – War for the Planet of the Apes.

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We had both enjoyed the 2 previous movies (Rise and Dawn) and, I think, both had high hopes that this one would be as good.

SPOILERS – if you haven’t seen it and don’t want to know what happens – bugger off!

The story picks up 15 years after the first movie with the Simian Flu apocalypse well established. The Apes are in the forest and the less pleasant humans from Dawn have called for help. A Special forces Colonel is hunting Caesar and his simian pals in the forest with a view of wiping them out.

Fights, death and gorillas ensue.

The movie has surprisingly little spoken dialogue and yet conveys a lot of feeling and touches on a lot of emotive themes. Throughout the duration of the film it has moments of Westerns, Racial/Slavery, War, Revenge and rites of passage.

Whether deliberately or not, it has heavy overtones of Apocalypse Now (with Woody Harrelson doing a passable Colonel Kurtz), Little Big Man/Man called Horse (with the Apes as the native Americans), Gladiator/Spartacus (Caesar seeking revenge) and even The Great Escape.

Despite there being some clearly derivative elements, and some scenery chewing by Woody Harrelson (why do bad guys insist in wearing sunglasses at night!!!?), I really enjoyed it. The performance of Andy Serkis/CGI as Caesar was astounding, often conveying emotion through nothing other than the breathing and eyes of the ape. I don’t know how, but surely it is time that Serkis’ work in motion capture acting is recognised by an awards body.

Well worth seeing, if you enjoyed the previous 2 Apes movies. Get your arse to the cinema and stop………..monkeying around.

Yeah, I know. Sorry.

Cuddles and violations of personal space,

M

x

@uberspoons

Baby Driver – ……and I say thank you for the music…..

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Went and saw Edgar Wright’s new movie this weekend at the flicks. I’m a fan of his and love all 3 of the Cornetto trilogy and Scott Pilgrim.

I’ll not do plot spoilers but if you don’t want to know anything, bugger off and watch it, then come back.

Its a story of a young criminal getaway driver and his trajectory through the story is a slightly cliched but well used – criminal has to do one last job before he gets to run away with the girl but things go wrong kinda deal.

Within the film, the music is a key driver (pardon the pun) for some of the action and there is a back story why. The film starts with a brilliantly choreographed music number with Baby (the lead character) moving through the streets to the music with a number of visual tags to the lyrics of the song. I though that it was brilliant but unfortunately it doesn’t carry all the way through the film. The music does continue to be a central character and the sound editing is particularly well managed with the gunfire and car sounds punctuating the soundtrack.

It has a good cast although the performances outside the young 2 leads seem fairly dialled in. I find it hard to consider Jamie Foxx as a bad guy without immediately thinking of him as Motherf**ker Jones from Horrible Bosses.

Despite all this, I really enjoyed it and would definitely see it again 7/10

@uberspoons

Splendour is Splendid

If you have listened to Episode 332 then you will have heard Conrad wax lyrical about Splendour and I, as is my impulsive want, went and picked up a copy on Amazon.  That arrived late last week it arrived and over the weekend I managed to persuade the family to give it a go.

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So pretty

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At its heart, this is a game of chip-collecting and card development, you are a merchant during the Renaissance trying to gain enough prestige to be pre-eminant amongst your peers.  To do this you buy mines, transport routes, shops and try and entice nobles to give you their blessing.  These are all represented by various cards that cost a certain amount of chips, where the chips represent gems

.In your turn you may carry out one (and only one) action.  These are

  1. Collect 3 different gems (you may only end a turn with 10 gems in hand)
  2. Take 2 of the same gem
  3. Buy a Card
  4. Reserve a Card (put it in your hand ready for purchase when you can afford it)

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To buy a card you just need to pay the cost listed in the bottom left and then you get to add it to you collection.  The cards are divided into 3 levels of cost and prestige – Lvl 1 cards often have no prestige value whereas the Lvl 3 cards can have up to 5 prestige per card.  Cards also have a gem in the top right.  This is effectively a free gem chip that never gets used up – you need these to make the higher level cards affordable.  Its all about starting small and building up.

Finally you can attract nobles

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Again these have a gem cost but you can’t spend chips on them.  If you build up enough prestige cards to match the printed requirement then that noble will automatically come to you, increasing your prestige and your chance to win.

First player to 15 prestige gets all the bragging rights – in our case it was Mrs Marshall and she is exploiting those bragging rights as much as she can.

So thats the mechanics of the game, but how did it feel?

Physically the game is good, cards etc. are nice with decent artwork.  The chips are a bit substandard and plasticky.  We would have liked actual plastic gems to give it that little bit of an extra feel as if you were handling treasure.  This post on BoardGameGeek gives some good suggestions for upgrading which I might invest in.

Gameplay wise it felt pretty good.  Halfway though I realised the strategy I was using wasn’t actually going to work so had to change gears quite rapidly and my eldest became disheartened halfway though as it looked like it was all going pear shaped for her but then a couple of cards flipped and her game turned around – she would have won if we went another turn.

We all felt that it had a lot of elements of Ticket to Ride in it (single action, need to play ahead, inadvertent blocking by taking the card that you desperately needed!!!) and as that is a family favourite that was always going to be a plus.

Game took about 45 minutes but now we know the rules I think it will get closer to 30 minutes a game which is pretty much spot on for us.

You can find Splendour at Amazon and I’m sure at other retailers.  Highly recomended.

 

Lets face it, I’m a complete geek, wargaming, xbox games and playing with lasers. I tried 3D printing but it made my head hurt. Flighty in the extreme, hobby projects last a couple of days before moving onto the next one