Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Star Wars: X-Wing First Look

Hello again dear readers, 

This weekend I went and hung out with some of the guys from Hitting On 3s. I watched @John_Laird and Blood Angels Ben play in a team tournament put on by Adeptus North Texas and hung around at  Gunslinger Games in Dallas. Also there at the team tournament was Chuck (@fantasticgam3s) from Big Mek's Garage

Most importantly you can hear me on the podcast with the HO3S boys HERE.

Alright so the plugs are done. On to my new gaming experience!

Thanks to a kindly gamer named Will there at Gunslinger I got to check out X-Wing from Fantasy Flight Games. It was just as slick as I have come to expect from FFG. This is a well put together game, from the components, to the accessories, to the models, and even the rules as far as I can tell. 

Below you can see the squadron I took for a test drive, two X-Wings and a Y-Wing. Each ship is represented by a pilot card, each of which has varying degrees of skill and points cost as well as different abilities and upgrade options. We played the recommended 100 points, I was able to get two named characters, a mook, and a proton torpedo and astromech for all my fighters, as well as an ion cannon for the Y-Wing. 

Here are the miniature ships, to a good scale I think, they also are quite good for pre painted minis. Though both of us being big Star Wars geeks immediately wanted to start painting them with custom squad markings or those from famous squadrons of a Galaxy Far, Far Away. 

You can also see the maneuver dials above the ships,some tokens and spare upgrade cards, those are just small sample of the boatload of cool components in this game.  

So you select a squad worth an agreed points cost, above are the three I was able to get. Here are the five TIE fighters will was able to get, including two named characters as well as Darth Vader in a TIE Advanced. It was rather intimidating. 

In addition to Will's sweet Gungan submarine shirt, you can see the flight stands that all the fighters come with. They have interchangeable stat cards that slot in telling you the most relevant combat stats at a glance. They also have numbers that can be placed on the stand if you are running more than one of the generic pilots. 

Alright, this next shot will show a lot of the components and let me explain the rules a bit. 

Here the two squadrons are closing in with each other. There is a lot going on, and it is all kept rather orderly with the shit ton of tokens provided with game.
First is the Planning Phase, where you use one of the maneuver dials to select which movement template you will use. Those can be seen to the right. So you can go left, right, and forward in 1,2,3, or 4 inch increments. You can also do an Immelman, or a barrel roll if your ship is capable. 

 So you then reveal your maneuver selections and move pilots in alternating order from lowest pilot skill to highest. After you move you can perform an action that is indicated on your card. Such as Focus, which allows the eyeball symbols on the dice to count as hits, or acquire a Target Lock (the crosses next to ships) which can be spent to launch ordinance or re-roll any number of attack dice. There are other actions as well granted by abilities or equipment. 

After this you go to the combat phase, which is done from highest pilot skill to lowest. You roll whatever number of red attack dice( of course special ones with symbols, it is FFG) against whatever number of green defense dice your opponent is entitled to. This is a pretty simple system, but there is a lot more too it once you realize just how important actions are to success in the next combat phase. Planning is key. 

Finally just to underscore that planning bit here is where we ended up the next turn. If you overlap bases when the ship comes to rest, the moving ship cannot make an action and neither ship may shoot at the one it is in base contact with. So this was a right clusterfuck. All the TIEs basically focused on my Y-Wing and blew it up, and then I got my X-Wings around behind them with Immelman turns and put a few more points of damage on Vader before we had to end the game. 

So all in all, I am now planning on picking this up, they are even releasing 4 new ships soon, so you will have the choice between X-Wings, Y-Wings, A-Wings, and the Millennium Falcon, on the Rebel side. And regular TIE fighters, Advanced and Interceptors, as well as the Slave I for the Imperials. 
I am sure there are more ships to come, give me an E-Wing or an XJ to fight TIE Defenders and Coral Skippers. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Iron Kingdoms RPG.

Hey loyal readers,

I've been out of the loop for quite a while, since my last post I traveled to England, France, and Spain, started working as a substitute teacher and got several exciting game things. A Chaos look over and some list ideas are in the works for later too.

First of all, if anyone wants to hear about my travels, I could do a post, leave a comment or hit me up on twitter @bryce963.

Second, I LOVE Iron Kingdoms RPG!

Privateer Press has released an all in house roleplaying game based off of their popular Warmachine. I was a big fan of the Iron Kingdoms setting for 3(.5) D&D. But this one is pure Privateer through and through and it is wonderful.

You can find an intro adventure with quick start rules (actually most of the rules needed to play) and pre made characters with sheets HERE.

Anyone familiar with Warmachine/ Hordes will be able to pick up the resolution mechanic and most of the rules of the RPG almost instantly. Just like the wargames it is 2d6+ Stat to beat a target number. Simple but this lots of ways to modify and improve your chances though either character abilities, weapons and gear or player use of Feat Points.

The system, in particular combat, does track quite closely to WM/H. But it is a zoomed in, detailed, granular, and personal version. This can lead to people saying oh, it's just a miniatures game. Not exactly, there is a lot of support for non combat skills, actions, abilities, and roleplaying supported by mechanics.
Unlike 4e D&D, where there was a lot of tactical combat choice and flexibility, there wasn't much besides handwavery between combats. I like mechanics that augment roleplaying, and having a good foundation under a well done combat system is exactly what I want from an RPG.

A few features that I think are major selling points include character creation, Feat Points, the action economy, and cross compatibility. Along with an overall high quality product.

Very first however, the first 103 pages of the book are nothing but setting information and history.

Character Creation

You have the choice between 7 races (Human, Gobber, Dwarf, Iosan elf, Nyss elf, Ogrun, and Trollkin), 4 Archetypes (Gifted, Mighty, Skilled, and Intellectual), and 28 different careers. Only 8 careers are limited by race or national origin, and two of those allow multiple races.

You begin with a race, this gives you your starting attributes, racial maximum attributes, and any extra abilities.  Humans of course are well rounded, the different types of elves are not only thematically distinct but mechanically as well, Trollkin just won't stay dead, Ogrun are enormous and hulking, and Gobbers are slight and nimble if a bit below average.

Then you choose an archetype, which gives one ability such as a extra die on damage rolls from Mighty, the ability to use magic with Gifted, an extra attach with Skilled, or a +1 to Attack and Damage rolls for nearby allies with Intellectual .
The archetype also grants you access to a large menu of related abilities to further customize your character, these include things like; an additional spell, spending a feat point to get an additional die on attack rolls against a named enemy, moving after you strike an enemy in melee, or a personal favorite exchanging a feat point to create a situation on the fly to hamper your foes.

After this you choose 2 careers that give you abilities, skills both combat and utility, starting gear and cash and advancement options. These are not necessarily what your job is, they are descriptions for your skill set and background. So a Gunmage/ Soldier would be more defined by the arcane gunfighter aspect of his career, whereas an Aristocrat/ Duelist could be a young rake with daddy's money and something to prove, or the educated and skilled heir to a notable family who has studied the gentlemanly arts.

You have a huge amount of options to tailor your character to be just what you want them to be. Privateer also has more books on the way, the first deals with the Iron Kingdoms( the human territories the setting is based around), and others deal with the wilderness ( looking at you Hordes players), and other surrounding civilizations( elves, dwarfs, etc.). These books will no doubt expand the careers, races, archetype options and everything else from the core book. There will also be books that delve more into the magic, mechanika, warjacks and other technology that make the Iron Kingdoms such an interesting place.

Feat Points

These are essentially actions points from other settings done about as properly as they can be, the Bennies in Savage Worlds(especially Deadlands) are done just as well I think. In the above linked intro adventure the full list of Feat Point options is listed. Some highlights include, Heroic Dodge- halving the damage taken from an attack, Two Fister- being treated as having two weapon fighting and ambidexterity for a turn, re-rolling a failed roll, or gaining an additional quick action
These can be recharged when you score a critical (two of the same number on a roll), downing an enemy, or for suitably heroic or cool deeds. 


Again here is a nice use of the Warmachine mechanics but with more zoom and choices. You get a move and an action on your turn, before any special stuff. You move can be an advance( more your speed stat), or a run or charge, these are all just like the war game. The action is where things get fun and choosy, you can
take a full action, an attack and a quick action or two quick actions. Things start to get interesting here, reloading a gun is a quick action, so fire and reload your rifle, pulling a grenade pin is a quick action, so pull the pin and toss. But casting a spell is also a quick action, so you can shoot and cast, or cast twice. All of that in addition to moving.

Things really heat up when abilities from archetypes, gear, and careers start interacting with the actions. Granting you more, allowing you to do more with fewer actions, letting you get around restrictions on combining actions, etc. Finding ways to work with and exploit the actions is a mechanically rewarding expression of your characters abilities.

Cross Compatibility

As far as I can tell, you can easily fudge Warmachine and Hordes bad guys into IKRPG. Many of the abilities are similar, if not identical, and the operative combat stats are the same MAT, RAT, DEF, ARM, and damage rolls. The individual abilities of models might need some wiggling to make it fit, but not very much at all. Many of the details are covered somewhere in the RPG if they differ from the war game version, but there are not many of them. Most common weapons used on the table top are present in the RPG, if they even need that much detail for a combat encounter.

Most things can be reverse engineered from the war game to the RPG, the biggest problem I have found so far is what Warjacks would cost on the open market. Also, normal enemies with 1 box of damage on the table top would just have 4-5 general vitality in the RPG, no need for a damage spiral with mooks.

So in conclusion I really like this RPG, it takes the good parts of Warmachine(which is most of the game), and puts you into the drivers seat. You don't play with a squad of trenchers, you play a trencher, down on his luck working for a mercenary company. You don't have the officer use the Dig In order, you use your Dig In ability to dig a fox hole as a quick action and start firing at your foes.

So check out the free adventure which has most of the rules in it, look at all the good things the classes in the pregen characters can do, and hope your FLGS has a copy. Because IKRPG sold out at the manufacturer level about two weeks after release.