Also, Che Guevara and Frank Sinatra.
Two new head to heads are up at Miniature Market. The first is Gale Force 9’s new Tanks game, which I think is pretty swell. It is pretty much a ground-based X-Wing with WWII tanks. A lot of the game is familiar for X-Wing players, but it’s also somewhat simpler with WAY looser movement rules and a really cool way to express changes in accuracy (both targeting and being targeted) in relation to speed of movement. It’s really easy to play, my kids are totally into it right now and we’ve got ten of the tanks so we can run four or five each in a game. It’s a neat product because they are also model kits- yep, sprues and glue – so there’s an activity in putting them together that kids will dig as well. But they are a little tricky and there’s customization options, so they aren’t quite “easy” to assemble.
I really like it. Like Charlie says in the H2H, it doesn’t have much depth and it may not have much longevity in the “scene”, but I kind of don’t care. It’s a fun tank battler. We throw out the 3’x3’ green felt and some Heroscape terrain and have a blast.
The other H2H is Cuba Libre, this one with Dan Thurot. This is my first encounter with COIN, and I am freaking bananas for this game. It’s really kind of just a chromed-out area control game. But you have four different factions that do different things and have completely different agendas of varying degrees of codependency. And then there is this card activation thing that feels like an evolution of the classic Hermanian CDG system. I really like the subject matter, and I love the interplay between the factions. In some ways, it’s closer to Dune than just about anything else since. I’ve only played up to three players with one automaton, but the way it automates non-players is really well one even if it adds some complexity and time to the game. Can’t wait to dig into Falling Sky next and from there, I’ll probably wind up with all of the COIN titles if they are all as good as Cuba Libre.
I’ve got reviews for a couple more Stronghold games in the pipeline, the big winner (other than Animals on Board) is Steller Conflict. Who knew that Light Speed was getting reprinted?
The Summer of GW continues, I’ve got the “playing” article about Battle for Vedros on the way. But I’ve also been getting back into Space Hulk with a friend lately. I had not really looked at it in a while, and opening that box up again I was stunned once more with how freaking great that game’s production was. In 2016 money, it would probably be a $250 game. We’ve done the first three missions back and forth, really enjoying getting back to it again. Still one of the benchmark classics, regardless of a couple of sourpusses out there who scoff at either its dice rolling or its puzzle-y elements.
Playing Betrayal at Calth a bunch too. I think it may be the most underrated, unsung game in the hobby today. It’s awesome. I think back to all these years of wanting to play something “like” 40k but in a board game format and settling for less. But this is the real deal. I think it is brilliantly designed, economical, and almost defiantly simplistic. I love how it handles wargear- shooting and assaults mean that you total up weapons and ratings of everybody in a hex and roll it up. If you get a critical, you can choose one of the critical effects of the weapons you used. So you get these decisions to either strip the enemy of activation points with a bolter or treat the first model’s armor as 0 with a meltagun.
There's apparently another Calth-like game about the Battle of Prospero coming later this year.
I like how the Dreadnaught works as well. If you attack it, you draw a card that shows a hit location and its armor value. If you beat it and do enough wounds to reduce its stamina to 0, it takes permanent damage. You can even one-shot it if you are lucky.
Last night I played it solo and afterwards I decided- at 2 am- to start painting the Word Bearers I already primed red.
Zombicide Black Plague is also holding my interest well, and we’ve had a couple of fun 6 player games. It’s a total hack and slash, but it has just enough rulesy stuff to make it interesting and cool. I especially like how it escalates, with the end game usually finding the characters completely swamped or locked down by the horde. One of the things I always liked about Zombies!!! was that it captured the visual of a massive horde of zombies bearing down on the players and few zombie games have really done that since. But this one does.
It’s fun to take a chance on shooting into a space with friendly characters, more fun to go barreling in with two swords and try to chop through a building. I think Wulfsburg is essential more for the addition of powerful new items than for the wolfz. But they are cool enough and the Wolfbomination is nuts, he activates three times and can just completely wreck a character. At first I didn’t like how there is really only one combination to kill the Abomination/Wolfbomination…but now I love having an almost unkillable adversary on the board.
Very surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed it, thinking about getting more of it. Especially the Deadeye Archers.