Thursday, January 30, 2014

Chess 2.0 .... C2E?

If the video above does not start up, here is a link to the page.

This certainly made me laugh, although C2E is not a fully accurate name it is eerily similar to other "updates" to fix bugs and make other games more accessible. They even have the "it's the same game with minor changes" claim in the video. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Gamers Lounge Special – Creature Caster

I'm not going to dive in too deep detail here, as this is a cross promotion to my podcast. Last night I was privileged to speak with Jeremy Glen of Creature Caster about his upcoming kickstarter. Jeremy was the driving force behind Ultraforge Miniatures, those large scale centerpiece models of Demons, Dragons, and Treemen you are jealous of when your opponent pulls them out. Well, Jeremy is back with a new venture, Creature Caster, and his models are reaching greater heights of detail! We talk about his new Digital Sculpting process and how the new process differs from physical sculpting. We also delve into his strategy and approach to using kickstarter and how the upcoming kickstarter will help him launch the new company.

I'm pretty excited for this kickstarter and want to help get the word out there. Jeremy also shared a great deal of insight into the transition from traditional miniature sculpting to CG sculpting. We can all see this is where the industry is headed and Jeremy shed some light on how things are changing.

Go check it out!!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Cost Comparison: WWX vs Malifaux vs Warmachine

Recently a friend of mine was discussing new games and general mini-wargaming topics with me and caught my attention with a semi-random comment. His claim was that the new Wild West Exodus (WWX) models and game were "awfully expensive" for what you get. This intrigued me, as I was involved in the kickstarter and had not really thought about the larger release cost of the game. Furthermore, I had picked up a couple random figures and did not feel they were overly expensive. I did realize I had no real idea how WWX compared on price to other games, so I thought I would go do some research (as I tend to do).

I wanted to compare somewhat similar games which is how I settled on Warmachine, WWX, and Malifaux. All three are using plastic or plastic and resin figures currently. Malifaux is aiming to replace thier metal line with plastic so I thought that was a good comparison. Beyond that, all three have what I would consider "reasonable" starters which should be able to get you to a playable level of force with only the starter box. They are also all within the Skirmish to Squad based game size, which I believe makes them comparable.

Having my choices limited down and the approach I wanted to use for comparison in mind I set out to gather some information and compare away.

Starter Sets

All three game systems sell single player starter sets. Warmachine and Malifaux contain all plastic models in their starters while WWX contains a mix of plastic and resin. I ranked them cheapest to most expensive with commentary.


Malifaux has a range of prices on their plastic starters, running from $35 through $45 in price. They all contain generally the same number of models with the count coming to 6 models in the starters. The Guild Judgement starter that I selected has 6 models and is at the top of the price range, coming in at $45. The models are all "man sized" models on 30mm bases and can be fielded in a Malifaux game for 33 points (including SS Pool but not counting the additional upgrades). The basic Malifaux game for M2E is recommended to be played at 50 points, so this comes in a bit shy. It can probably be brought up to snuff by adding in an additional model or adding a couple upgrades overall. However, it is likely to be in the same points limit as other plastic starter boxes.


Warmachine uses a single price for all of their starter sets, $49.99 (essentially $50). I did find it interesting that through the different starters the number of models in the starter ranged from between three plastic models and five plastic models. All the of Warmachine starters had at least one and often more large base (40mm or 50mm) models and only one to four "man sized" 30mm model in the set.  The Cryx starter had the largest number of models in the starter set of all the Warmachine starters, totaling up at 5 models. This starter totals up a 14 point force by the Warmachine system. Warmachine is commonly played at 50 points, leaving a tremendous amount of room to add more models before getting to the general "playable level". Once again, starter to starter box games will generally be at the same point level (within a couple points overall).

Wild West Exodus

WWX uses a single price for all thier currently released starters in the same fashion as Warmachine. This comes in at the most expensive starter set, ringing up to a total of $69.99 (essentially $70). All of the WWX starters have the same number of models in them, totaling 13 plastic and resin models. They are generally man sized (30mm) with the one current exception the Warrior Nation. The 13 models are the same profile across the available factions, including a Boss, Sidekick, Infantry Light Support, 5 Long Ranged hired Hands, and 5 Close Combat Hired Hands. The set pictures comes to a total of $595-points for hiring your posse. WWX is played at a number of defined levels, with $500-points and $750-points laid out as the skirmish levels and $1250-points currently being discussed for the tournament level. This leaves you in fairly good standing to play the game at a skirmish level and all the boxes are fairly well balanced against each other, with Enlightened as the aberration at $450-points for the starter box.

Groups of Models

All three game systems sell sets of multiple models for thier game which are produced in plastic. In all cases that I looked at I aimed to compare small based (30mm) models in sets.


Malifaux has set's of 3 models for some of thier repatable characters in the game. The Rotten Belle's are not only iconic Malifaux models but fit the theme of undead-like models across the three game systems. Malifaux had the cheapest set for a "group of models" box, but also had the smallest number of models. This was a tough comparison as they would be the most expensive if the numbers were similar. For this 3 model set Malifaux runs $21, coming in at a total of $7 per model.

Wild West Exodus

WWX came in the middle of the pack on a "group of models" purchase with a fairly standard price of $45.99 for 10 models. WWX had the most standard pricing and selection across their "group of models" selection, with $45.99 as the price across the factions. The Hired Hands set's for all factions come with 10 models in the box, bringing the per-model cost to the lowest point of $4.60 per model. The set pictured stuck with the undead theme, although the other hired hands set's are more detailed than the undead abominations pictures.


Warmachine had the highest price for a "group of models" purchase, coming in at $49.99. This is also a set of 10 models, bringing the per model total to $5.00 per model. This places them right in the middle when it comes to a per-model cost comparison when breaking up the group of models. Warmachines plastic squads are very detailed and compare equally with both other game systems.

Single Model Comparison

There was no simple way to do a direct single model comparison between the three games. Wyrd is currently not remotely started with converting their metal single models over to plastic, throwing the overall price comparison off. Warmachine still uses a mix of metal and plastic across thier range and Wild West Exodous is solidly using resin or plastic for their single models. Looking through the websites for all three games it appears that the general cost of a single man-sized model will range between $11 and $20. The price ranges and selections are fairly consistent across all three games, with nothing jumping out wildly as out of "the ordinary".


When comparing the three game systems I have come to the following conclusion (for myself).

Cheapest (kind of): It appears to me that Malifaux is the cheapest game system to get started in and pay at a basic "community" level. It certainly has the least models and fills in truly as a skirmish game. The rating as cheapest comes directly from the reduced number of models necessary to play, as on average Malifaux has the most expensive models when looking at the cost for a "general man sized model". Malifaux's starter set averaged $7.50 per model, their "group of model" single model cost stayed consistent at $7 per model,  then their single model was in the same range as the other games.

Middle (essentially): WWX comes in the middle of the road overall. While thier starter box was more expensive overall in raw dollars spent, it's per model cost of $5.38 per model was the lowest. The "group of model" single model cost of $4.60 per model dropped that average even lower, and the single models stayed in the same range as the other two games. WWX came in fairly close to being able to play at an acceptable level straight from their starter, and seems to be only slightly more than Malifaux for the least expansion necessary to get to a "regular" play level.

Most Expensive (really): Warmachine is pretty clearly the most expensive game of the three games compared. While the starter set rated in the middle for raw dollars spent, the per model cost was the highest at $10 per model. This price gets even steeper if you choose the 3 model starter set, bringing the per model cost to almost $17 per model. The $5 "group of models" single model cost goes a ways to balancing out the starter set costs, but then single models still sit in the same range with the other two games. What makes Warmachine so much more expensive is the simple distance of expansion necessary to get to the "publicly common" play level of 50 points. It requires a lot more buying in Warmachine to get to that level than either of the other two games.

Final Thoughts

Overall this was an interesting exercise for me, especially since I started without a strong expectation of what I would find. I hope that it's helpful for everyone reading this as well. I believe that over time players will spend similar amounts on miniature games regardless of the initial costs. The big question will be, what is the "bang for your buck" for that money spent. This is one of the motivators for my departure from GW games, as I no longer felt a positive "bang for my buck" in those games. I think in all three of these systems players will find once they reach a pretty common level they will gain the same "bang for their buck" regardless of the system.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

WWX - The games where it all just clicked

Tuesday nights have been my normal gaming night for years. Tuesdays shifted away from mini games for a while and have been Netrunner night, but have still filled my night out for gaming slot during the week. After months of a combination of board games, card games, and just not making it out (due to life and work) it was refreshing to return to a couple mini-games on the table on Tuesdays. John and I got to the store early and lined up to play games 5 and 6 Tuesday of this week.

I find it amusing that I have commented several times that it takes me about 6 games to really understand how a new model or new crew works. I'm not sure the reason why, but it's around game 6 that my brain fully clicks and how I play changes overall when I look at games before and after that point. This happened during game 6 and as such I ended up not taking more than 1 picture during the game. Thing's clicked into place across the board for me and the game swept past without me noticing the turn sequence and grabbing my camera. Here is the one picture I took, a nice shot of John's crew with Jesse James:

I did grab pictures of game 5, although not as completely as I would have liked. I thought it would be good to write about that game instead of game 6, partly due to the pictures and partly due to the scenario.

Game 5

Huzzah Hobbies was pretty busy despite the early hour John and I showed up, moving us to consider alternate terrain to the western train set we had used in the past. We grabbed some of the rough western canyon terrain and tried to approximate something resembling the terrain layout for Narrative Scenario #4 - The Raid.

This was an interesting scenario as it uses a couple rules that John and I were not familiar with. One of those was the Sentries rule which has the defender deploying specific models on the table with limited actions they can take. Another was reinforcements, allowing (or forcing in this case) certain models to not come onto the board until later in the game. We set-up the table with an approximation of a base for the Warrior Nation and the Outlaw's as the attackers. I was able to deploy any hired hands or sidekicks as Sentries at the begining of the game, needing to keep my Bosses and Underbosses in reserve. This was not so bad for me as I could deploy everything except Sitting Bull and Sky Spirit.

I deployed my sentries around the interior of my improvised fort in preparation for the outlaw attack. As a quick reminder, my list was:
  • Sitting Bull
  • Sky Spirit
  • Walks Looking
  • River
  • Marcus Cunningham
  • 3x Long Range Braves
John was the attacker so would be deploying all of his models onto the board. His goal was to move toward my base trying to stay out of sight and undetected as long as possible. I would be able to attempt to detect his models if they entered the LOS of one of my sentries, rolling a Marksmanship test with some modifiers. If his models were detected that would raise the alarm, immediately ending his turn and starting the next turn with me having the initiative. John also had to deploy his crew at least 28 inches away from any of my sentries. For this game John brought along:
  • Billy the Kid
  • Johny Ringo
  • Jane (Firely crew)
  • Simon (Firefly crew)
  • River (Firefly crew)
  • Dark Council Member
  • Shotgun Bandit
John ended up deploying the Dark Council, Jane, and the Shotgun Bandit on the right side of the board, Billy and Ringo on the left of the board, and River and Simon in the center in the open. This was not a bad choice as both River and Simon have the living spirit rule so would be unable to be spotted until they were within 8 inches of one of my models.

WWX Rule Note / Commentary: The scenarios in the rulebook all indicate an intention for a 6

Turn 1 & 2

Throughout turn 1 and 2 John moved his models forward trying to get close while staying out of sight. I spent the turns moving my models forward into position and then going on the lookout and hoping to spot him. during turn 2 John finally moved Billy to the top of a hill and I was able to spot him and raise the alarm. Although this was early in the turn for John, it still ended turn 2 and immediately jumped to Turn 3 with my automatically having initiative.

Turn 3

Turn 3 arriving allowed me to start "playing the game" instead of just wandering around looking for the enemy. I opened up with Cunningham tossing out some smoke so that Simon would not be able to take a good shot at him. John knew he was out of range and Simon chose not to shoot, following which I landed the smoke where I needed it for cover. John moved around and took some shots from the mountaintop with Billy, landing some hits on my braves who had attempted to take cover. I used an activation to bring on my reserves, rolling as necessary and bringing in Sky Spirit and Sitting Bull. Reserve models arrive with 1 less AP, leaving me only 2 AP to move them up into the protective smoke. Ringo moved onto the mountain near enough to protect Billy, and John's River and Simon positioned. I took some pot shots with my braves but was not in range of Ringo, and positined my own River and Walk's where I thought they would be most useful.

On the right side of the board Jane and the Shotgun Bandit moved forward with the Dark Council guy. Neither got into a good position to shoot at my brave on that side of the board, so positioned for next turn. My brave took some ineffective shots and the turn completed. I was concerned about the right side of the board as the shotgun would be a pretty rough weapon to hit my flank, and I have not really dealt with Jane in the past. I was happy to see the Dark Council on that side of the board as it really limited where the extra influence could be handed out.

Turn 4

I realized that John did not have anyone on the lookout and had no snipers for me to worry about in this game. This opened up some options for me when it came to activation order. I spent my remaining influence to grab initiative on turn 4 and started with Marcus, Sky Spirit, and Sitting Bull. Marcus moved the smoke forwrd on the board, giving me a better platform to base my attacks from. This was followed by Sky Spirit jumping up into the smoke and starting to shoot at Ringo. Two shots into Ringo forced Ringo to walk off the edge of the cliff due to his "must move forward" rule.

WWX Rule Note / Commentary:We would have done better realizing Ringo's rule earlier in the turn as it would have changed some of how things played. As it was, we both did not realize it until the end of the turn so we just adjust Ringo to where he should have been and moved on.
John spent the turn taking shots at Cunningham trying to take him down. Billy, Ringo, Simon, and Jane all snapped off shots and burned through a fair amount of my influence before John's attacks were exhausted. On the bright side for me, I was able to make enough armor rolls to successfully keep Cunningham alive.
WWX Rule Note / Commentary: Feedback from the battle reports and the podcast indicated that John and I were playing a much deadlier game than we should have been. I discussed in the previous battle report our misunderstanding on Lethal Hits. This was the first game where we played it correctly and it made a big difference to how the game felt. The results came out the same but the hit's felt much "softer" than in previous games, making the overall game feel less deadly.
On the right side of the board I tried to reposition my brave to bring some threat to John's models over there. To be fair, one brave was not a huge threat and even Walk's hiding around the corner did not appear to be a deterrent to the shotgun moving up the board. Jane took some shots at the brave, dumping some damage on his but not killing him.

John did point out that this was the first game we had played to date where nothing had died by the time we reached the end of Turn 4. We both attribute this to our new (and correct) understanding of the Lethal Hit rule and how it plays.

Turn 5

Despite the slower death pace through turn 4, Turn 5 was a bloody and deadly turn overall. during the start of the turn John was able to take out one of my braves on both the right and left sides of the board. I moved my River in and killed off his Simon, leaving a couple of his models in a vulnerable position to return strikes. Sitting Bull moved over and killed off the Shotgun Bandit and killed Jane with the Wolf-Blood Bandit unloading his shotgun into Jane. Sitting Bull then returned back across the board to clean up anything remaining in Turn 6. Walks moved forward and cleaned up both Ringo and John's River, moving back across the board to threaten Billy on turn 6. Things really turned against John on this turn, leaving me in a fantastic position to clean up on turn 6.

Turn 6 opened with my having initiative again and finishing off Billy with the initial decapitating attack from Walk's. With that wipeout, I grabbed a win.

Final Thoughts

This was an interesting scenario and I can see it being a lot of fun. I think the board would have worked better (and more to John's advantage) if we had used smaller pieces of scatter terrain in place of the larger canyon terrain we used. To be fair, that's what is recommended in the diagram and would have provided more positions for John's models to move forward under cover. I am not convinced the end of the game would have been different, but the early turns would have run a bit smoother allowing John to get a bit closer.

Playing with the Lethal Hit rule as intended extended the game out, making it less deadly overall. This is not a bad thing, although neither John nor I felt the game was "Too Deadly" previously. It allows some of the attacks to be resisted more, but the results of the attacks ended up to be the same. I find it most interesting that the game felt "more swingy" or "more erratic" than previously. The previous Lethal Hit rule we used meant that a single swing roll (rolling a lethal hit or a life saving dodge) was the biggest swing on the dice. Now the difference between rolling an armor save of a 2 vs a 7 makes a big difference on every armor roll. This makes more rolls in the game feel the swing of the wide number range on a D10.

I plan to talk a little about models and tactics moving forward on the blog. John and I talked a little bit about Sitting Bull and our experience compared to some internet comments about Geronimo and the comparison of the two. We both feel that Sitting Bull is a simply nasty boss, with truly nasty attacks and his Wolf Blood ability pushing him over the top. I need to get some experience playing Geronimo, but I am not sure I will find him to be as competitive as Sitting Bull. I have not yet had a reason to use Sitting Bulls Frenzy ability, allowing for additional attacks. His bite seems to be enough to kill many underbosses, sidekicks, and hired hands and then grant me a full activation of those models to deal damage to the opponents crew.

Lastly, we are still playing on a 4'x6' board but I see that moving down soon. Many of the scenarios need the full board to work but there are a handful which do not. I believe most (possibly all) of the competitive scenarios  can be easily moved down to a 4'x4' board without impacting the balance.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

WWX Game 3 - The one where Bill wins a game!

I was torn on which picture to use as the opening picture for this battle report. This is the report of the third game John and I played while learning Wild West Exodous. We went out to the store over the holiday and  used Huzzah Chris's wild west train terrain and ended up playing two back to back games. I recorded the third game but not the fourth. Back to the question of the opening picture, I was torn between Sky Spirit (who lived through the game) and Sitting Bull for this, siding with Sitting Bull. You should be able to determine why during the report.

We both wanted to use the western train terrain for the game, so after pulling that out we looked at the scenarios to determine which best fit what we were doing. We decided we could make it work out with Competitive Scenario #2 - King of the Hill, and proceeded to setup the board to approximate the in book diagram. There were some large buildings in the near center of the board which we used the train to reflect, then went with the larger buildings spaced out as displayed in the book. We got fairly close although it was tough matching the terrain.
WWX Rule Note / Commentary: The scenarios in the rulebook all indicate an intention for a 6' x 4' table to play on. John and I are playing at the $750-point level of game as we both prefer skirmish style games. Neither of us have vehicles and our only light support are the infantry style light support. We have kept to the 6'x4' table size so far but are finding with each game that the games are playing out within a 4'x4' space very comfortably. I suspect I might take a hand at rewriting some of the scenarios in the future with the board moving down to 4'x4' as one of the changes.
I fielded the same posse I have been bringing to learn all my games with. It's working for me, and is especially delivering to my expectation of being fairly balanced and good for learning. You can see pictures of the posse in the previous blog post.

John tried out a different list for this game (and the fourth game). This time he brought out his own copy of River, Billy, Johny Ringo, and a whole load of hired hands. His 750 Outlaw list was something along these lines:
  • Bill the Kid
  • Johny Ringo
  • River Flowing 
  • Sniper Bandit
  • Shotgun Bandit
  • 3x Close combat Bandits
  • 4x Long Range Bandits
This left him just shy of the $750-point limit and gave him tremendous activation control over my posse, but left him with only 6 influence to my 11.
WWX Rule Note / Commentary: Since this game we found out that the tool we have been using to build our posse's actually had the wrong price/hiring cost for River. The tool was using the price on the website, which does not match her higher price on the release card. River actually costs $125-points to hire instead of the $95-points. This put John over on his list, but no worries there as my lists are over as well.

We deployed split across the table, with Billy, Ringo, and River deploying on the left side of the train and John's sniper deploying on the right side of the train. The Dark Council member and a load of hired hands joined Billy on the left of the train while 4 of the hired hands deployed with the sniper on the right. In response I fielded my Dynamic Duo (River and Walks) on the left with the three braves while the rest of my posse (Cunningham, Sitting Bull, Sky Spirit) deployed on the right behind a building and out of sight.

Turn 1

Having the smaller posse gave me initiative on turn 1, which I used to open up with Cunningham, using a highly influenced (3 influence) roll to make sure he threw the smoke where I wanted it to go. Responding to my start on the right side of the board John activated two hired hands (and his Dark Council member) and moved them up the table on the same side. I responded by moving Sky Spirit up into the middle of the smoke and shooting at the sniper, making good use of his Spirit Aim ability to see out of the smoke. I wasn't able to take the sniper out but I scared him enough that John activated him and pulled him back toward his own deployment edge. Sitting Bull moved up the board to take cover within the smoke cloud and John shuffled around some more hired hands. I was surprised when John moved Billy, Ringo, and River across the board to the right side to engage Sitting Bull and Sky Spirit.

On the other side of the board I moved my braves forward, with one brave stopping to take a wild shot at one of the hired hands on the right side of the board. Range defeated me with that shot, making the attempt pointless. My Dynamic Duo moved up behind a building to position for the next turn and John moved his hired hands forward. At the end of the turn not much had died although I had put some damage on the PITA sniper John ha camped out. I was setup to start engaging turn 2 and was also close by the objectives with a plan on how to grab them at the end of the game.

Turn 2

The right side of the board exploded on Turn 2, turning John's hired hands into a bloody mess. Cunningham, Sky Spirit, and Sitting Bull all activated together as I knew I would be out activated regardless of what happened. I also wanted to take advantage of the forced activation for the Dark Council member, which limited John's return strike against me.
WWX Rule Note / Commentary: Dark Council members are effectively immortal but have a limiting rule built into their function. They must activate first, which limits the "acting model" activations to 2 non-dark-council models on the first turn opposed to 3.
Cunningham went first which dropped the smoke and pulled out the "on the lookout" shot from the sniper. The shot missed and I was able to move forward them burn some more influence to place the smoke back into an advantageous position. Continuing my simultaneous activation, Sky Spirit jumped back to the center of the smoke and unleashed a long range shot at the sniper, killing him. He then proceeded to take his ROF 3 shot and spread the damage out across two hired hands. Sitting Bull activated at the end of the sequence and moved forward, engaging two hired hands on the right side of the board. He proceeded to bite the head off one of the hired hands who (due to Wolf Blood) activated and shoot and kill one of the hired hands on the left side (near Sky Spirit). Sitting Bull then shifted slightly and bit the other hired hand with his full AP of attacks, killing her and having her unload her full activation of shots into Billy. I was very satisfied with the turn at that point.
John moved up with Billy and took some shots which were not terribly effective, and kept Johny Ringo hidden behind the train. Copying a trick/thought I had on the left side of the board, he placed River "on the lookout" to respond to Sitting Bull next turn.
WWX Rule Note / Commentary: We have since discovered that the game is far less dangerous that we have been playing. We were playing that a "Lethal Hit" could only benefit from the armor roll if that armor roll was a "Life Saving Dodge". We have discovered this is not in fact correct, even with a "Level Hit" a model still gets their armor roll, the "Lethal Hit" only negates in-built armor on the card.
On the left side of the board things side of the board John was having far more success, moving up and shooting at my braves to drop some damage on them. He dropped one brave and damaged the other two. Walk's moved around the house and killed off one of his bandits before moving back to safety. My braves took some wild shots that were mostly ineffective. The biggest moment of the left side of the board was when I realized that per our understanding of the rules for "On the Lookout" I could place any model on the lookout. As this allowed the model to use 1 AP out of sequence during the opponents turn, I could combine this with River and Walk's to some use. Both have the "Living Spirit" rule which says they cannot be seen outside of 8 inches. Each has a walk of 7 inches and a melee range (for their nastiest weapons) of 1 inch. This means River or Walks could interrupt a model shooting at them to walk forward and then attack them with a single strike before they get to shoot. Most times this is enough to kill the model the girls are attacking. This in mind, I placed River "On the Lookout".

At the end of turn 2 John pointed out to me that the game was essentially a foregone conclusion. Looking at the end of turn death toll had the appearance (and liklihood) that John would be unable to recover. Despite controlling activation turn 1 and 2, the Hired Hands just did not stand up to my Character heavy posse. 1 death on my side to 6 on his were just bad odds this early in the game.

Turn 3

Turn 3 kicked off with a nasty turn of events. I got initiative and declared a move with Sitting Bull. After moving 2 inches forward to engage Billy the Kid John interrupted my movement (leaving me 6 remaining) to move River up (with her "on the lookout") to attack Sitting Bull. He hit and I survived, allowing me to take a single return strike. I used my fangs and added 3 influence, rolling a "Lethal Hit" and John failed to "life saving Dodge". This killed River (see note above) which then gave me control for a full activation with her. I proceeded to use all of River's AP to attack Billy the Kid and killed him before she died. Sitting Bull (having removed 2 models without completing his first 8 inch move) then completed his 6 inches of movement to move into engagement range with the single Hired Hand remaining on the right side. Upon engaging the hired hand Sitting Bull proceeded to bite his head off, giving me another model to activate and take shots at Johny Ringo hiding behind the train. Sitting Bull then proceeded to use his second AP of the turn to move over and engage Ringo, taking another swipe with his claws (I was outside engagement with my fangs). Then he used his 3rd AP (after surviving Ringo's return attack) to fully attack Ringo and kill him.

John activated his Dark Council and remaining hired hand on the left of the board and tried to get some shots off on my braves. I activated Walks  and River, proceeding to walk through and kill the models they could reach, leaving a single hired hand and the council member in John's posse. At that point John was already activated so I moved Sky Spirit up behind the train and picked off the remaining hired hand with his long range "Spirit Aim" shot.

Three turns and the game was locked up, with my gaining a win through wiping John out. Even if we used the objectives, I controlled all three objectives definitively and would have won that was as well.

Final Thoughts

This was a bloody game and not much went John's way. The game is not as bloody as it appears here however, as we were playing with far deadlier "Lethal Hit" rules than intended. This was due to both John and I misinterpreting the meaning behind the "Lethal Hit" rule. I think the game would have the same result even playing that rule correctly, it just would have taken longer to get to the same conclusion.

Sitting Bull can be a really nasty model if he can get into your crew and kill models with his bite. The bite is pretty tough and he gets enough attacks to be able to bring down models. Even taking over an activation of a Hired Hands's is going to be effective to push out some additional damage. I like this ability as it's something I can work a bit of "trickery" into and try to plan for creating wow moments in the game.

I also like being able to use "On the Lookout" for melee models. It's going to be most effective for "living spirit" and similar ruled models, but may also be effective for general melee models. The trick will be hiding the "on the lookout" model so they can interrupt movement and engage the opposing model, then making sure the "initial engagement" attack is effective.

I am still concerned about the intention for the game to be bigger, as in army size bigger. I can see this competing with Warmachine/Hordes pretty easily as a squad sized game. This, combined with the ease of play at the skirmish level (6-10 models) put's it at a nice place in my opinion. It's that army scale size sneaking around the background that has me concerned. I would like to see the board size moved down to 4'x4' and the missions moved to objective wins with some mix of kill objectives. I will fairly caveat this comment saying I have not yet played a game with vehicles in it. I may find I enjoy the games when vehicles (light support and heavy support) are included, but I am skeptical.

Overall I am becoming more happy with the game the more I play. There are some small rules clarifications that are coming up but nothing I would not expect from other games. I feel this is actually clearer and more straight forward than other games, which is both a positive and a negative for me.

Monday, January 6, 2014

WWX - Warrior Nation Models

I have some updates to get completed on the blog for 2014, the first of which is to do some modification to the tracking spreadsheet. I decided to go another direction over the past weekend and spent some time using my new set of P3 paints on my new WWX models. I have already mentioned the initial Warrior Nation list I had created to learn games at a 750 point level with local gamer John. Well, I sat down this weekend and completed painting that posse up, took some pictures, then build the models I plan to paint next.

Sitting Bull is the Boss I am using to lead my posse. Through the kickstarter he was available with two different sculpts, both of which I received. The standing sculpt is the one model I ran into some bubbling in the resin, although it was not too horrible for someone who has worked with either Wyrd or Forgeworld resins. I was very happy with the models and they cleaned and assembled very easily. I took some inspiration for the color scheme (skin and fur) from Valander on the WWX boards, who's warrior nation models are fantastic. I am pretty happy with the way he came out. On the knives, I decided to go with a veined blue instead of a solid blue because I mistakenly thought Sitting Bull did not have the Spirit Aim or Spirit Edge special rules. I may go back and repaint them to be fully blue on the blades.

Walks Looking is quickly becoming one of my favorite models to play, and she was right up there when painting her. Apparently I have a preference for scantily clad women who are blind and beat you with knives or swords. I was interested to find out in the fluff from the rule book and from the comic book issue 3 that Walks is Sitting Bull's headstrong daughter. I initially attempted the slight glow around her eyes as is shows in the third issue of the comic but could not get it to look right. The attempt influenced my painting her clothes off white which left me with the brown leathers for her accessories, loincloth, and boots. I went with the light blue on her knives despite the fact she is missing spirit edge or spirit aim. She does have both Decapitate and Infected blades, so I think it will work out ok. The color works as a nice reminder that there are special rules for her attacks.

Sky Spirit was a great model to paint up. I spent some time looking for a good color scheme for wings, searching through some of the old GW Griffon pictures to find something I liked. At the end of the day I ended up "winging it" as I could not find something that matched the picture in my head. The wings came out close to what I was picturing and I am happy with them. Sky Spirit was one of the first models I got painted for WN and his blue bow accurately reflects his special rules for Spirit Aim on the bow.

I field two different Mercenary models in my Warrior Nation crew. Marcus Cunningham is the model that was created by the kickstarter "Mystery Backer" and then provided free of charge to all the kickstarter pledges of a certain level or above. I was in that group and looked forward to the model. Cunningham was a utter pain in the ass to assemble, coming in four pieces consisting of body, 2 separate arms, then the hammer and hands. This means that in order to get him together correctly it becomes an exercise in balancing the arms and hammer with the body in super glue while waiting for the whole thing to dry, hoping it stays aligned. I was really hoping to dislike the models rules so I would not be compelled to play him. Despite my frustration building (and then repairing him when his hammer snapped off), Cunninghams rules are actually very good and the model looks pretty cool once painted. I was a bit worried about the blue jeans coming out with the same look I achieved using GW paints. I was happy when I saw they actually end up a bit richer in color and I am very happy with their look. For those wondering Cunningham was part of the Warrior Nation who fought against his spirit guide while mid-way through the shape-change into a Rhino. Now he's a mercenary stuck mid-change.

One of the nice bonus's from the WWX kickstarter was the creation of the Wayward 8, a set of mercenary models based on the Firefly crew. Among the wayward 8 is River Flowing, who reflect River from the show. She has been given some Warrior Nation touches and added to the mercenary list. Her Tomahawk has the same rules on the weapon as Walks Looking, so I always knew the color to use there. I also knew I wanted to be fairly close on her hair and skin color to River from the movie and show. Beyond that were her Sword and Dress, of which the sword was easy. The sword has the RJ1027 rule, which I will be aiming to represent in on the models with painting them red. I got stuck on her dress and River was actually the last model of the posse I got painted. I did some research and found some pictures from Serenity the movie that I believe are the inspiration for the models sculpt. From those pictures I was able to draw out the dress colors and then fairly closely approximate it in a way I was happy with.

That brings us to the final three models in the posse, the Hired Hands. Hired Hands in WWX are the filler models, or the chaff that fill out a crew. They were originally explained to me as those random cowboys you see in westerns, the guys on the roofs or in the windows who are watching the stars of the movie walk down the street. In this case we have 3 ranged braves, which are from the Wave 1 Warrior Nation hired hands. I actually have 2 more of the long ranged braves and then 5 close combat braves still to paint off the sprue. The Hired Hands (along with the Wayward 8) are all plastic models on par with the new Wyrd Miniatures plastic quality. They go together nicely using plastic glue and are fantastic in holding detail. I found these to be very easy to clean and the lack of random "fiddly bits" was refreshing after working with Wyrd's plastics for the past year.

Overall I am happy to have a painted posse to put on the table regularly. Now that I have a basic set of painted models I can drop back to my "only play painted" self-commitment I have help to for a fair while. Here's a final look at the whole posse together, with the alternate Sitting Bull from above.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Wild West Exodus - The one where Bill and John learn to play

This is the story of John and I cracking out our brand new WWX models and trying to learn to play. Over the Christmas Holiday 2013 I made the decision to grab my assembled but as yet unpainted models and head out to Huzzah Hobbies for a game of WWX. I have not played a miniature wargame with unpainted models in a fairly long time, possibly as long as 2 years. I was torn: on the one hand I wanted to play with painted models but on the other hand I am a fairly slow painter.  All that considered, I was excited to begin learning this game so chose to head out with primed models.

John and I both discuss this and our second game, along with our views on WWX at that point (2 games in) on Gamers Lounge Ep. 81. It can be found over on the Gamers Lounge website.

As neither of us had played the game, and only John had actually read the rules, we decided to start with "Competitive Scenario #1 - Shoot Out". John and I had the run of the store so grabbing enough terrain for the 6' x 4' board was no problem. We tried to emulate the scenario diagram as closely as possible. Here is the board we ended up with:

John showed up with his outlaws. He had a good idea what I was bringing, specifically in the case of two melee models who are "invisible" at long range. With this in mind he did a little tailoring of his list to give him an advantage (shotguns). He also wanted to field his Firefly crew models, so he brought along:
  • Billy the Kid
  • Mal (Mercenary Firefly model)
  • Inara (Mercenary Firefly model)
  • Zoe (Mercenary Firefly model)
  • Shotgun Light Support
  • Dark Council Member
  • 3 or 4 Hired hands, mixed between long range and close combat

I brought along my Warrior Nation, the list I decided I would start learning with. This is the list I have used for all of my initial games, and is the list I am working on getting painted up first. The idea with this list was to provide a solid and fairly balanced mix of close combat and ranged. Added to that I wanted to add in some of the special rules in the game to get a feel for how they worked out.

The list I brought along was:
  • Sitting Bull
  • Sky Spirit
  • Walks Looking
  • Marcus Cunningham (mercenary)
  • River (Mercenary Firefly model)
  • 3x Long Ranged Braves (Hired hands)

This put John with more models to field, but only 7 influence overall plus the floating influence that the Dark Council model can hand out. I, on the other hand, should have had 11 influence but ended up only grabbing 8 due to a miscount on some of the early calculation I had done.


The game was setup with two rows of building lining what would effectively be a street in an old west town. There were a variety of obstacles and other minimal cover down the middle of the "street" but overall it was pretty open. You can see from the pictures above how we deployed, with John setting up a bit of a firing line and me setting up to run into said firing line. It was exactly like that, as a couple rules in WWX influenced my plan. (I swear I had a plan).

WWX Rule Note / Commentary: First, when deploying in WWX you can choose to deploy your models as if they had taken the "Taking Cover" action (where applicable) prior to the start of the game. Additionally, in this scenario the player who sets up second ends up going first. This meant that with the small number of models I not only had the advantage of seeing where John deployed his models, but also had initiative on the turn. 

My plan was to move my ranged braves up to the nearby fence and get them in position to cover the street. Following that I would move Sitting Bull and Cunninham into the street, trying to cross into engagement with John's models as quickly as possible. I wanted Sky Spirit to back up my shooting braves and have the Mean Girl Duo (River and Walks Looking) head across the board on the far right flank, then sweep into John's crew from that flank. See, it was a brilliant strategy!!!

You should be able to pick out how tough it is to break deployment habits from other games simply by looking at how I ended up deploying my models. Fail.....

Turn 1

It's been a week or so since I played this game, so much of the turn by turn sequences in the game will be more highlights than not. John and I both moved forward and took positions in cover closer to the street. We traded some shots here and there, but nothing substantial. John did drop an irradiating shot on one of my braves, then proceeded to shoot the same brave again and set him on fire. I was expecting a devestating round of death and it ended up not as bad as I expected. Through the turn John burned a fair bit of his influence to protect against shots from Sky Spirit while I spent none of mine. Sitting Bull and Cunningham moved forward to take some positions in cover and prepare for round 2.

WWX Rule Note / Commentary: I would come to learn about the value of smoke bombs in future games. Cunningham has smoke bombs and these are critical to allowing the Warrior Nation close combat monsters to move up the table and be effective. When you combine this with Sky Spirit's Spirit Aim ability it becomes huge.

WWX Rule Note / Commentary: Speaking of Sky Spirit, you'll notice his positioning in the picture above.... namely right out in the open. Sky Spirit has an ability called Spirit Aim, which effectively means the positioning above is completely useless and a bad tactical choice. Spirit Aim allows Sky Spirit to target without having LOS and with no negative modifiers to his shot. It took me 3 turns to realize how to use him right. There are some key elements of WWX that work different from other games and can be misleading when your playing it.

I grabbed a quick picture from Sitting Bull's POV at the end of the turn:

Turn 2 & 3

Each turn after the first starts with the initiative roll. Each player rolls a single dice for initiative and is able to use any remaining influence from the previous turn on that roll. Influence does not refresh until after the initiative stage.

John and I went into our first initiative roll with no idea how to use influence and ended up using it wrong. Basically I had not used any influence on turn 1 so had 8 influence to add to the roll while John came to the roll with only 2. John started with a 10 while I started with a 2. We then proceeded to trade influenced rerolls back and forth until John was out and I eventually won the initiative roll.

WWX Rule Note / Commentary: The way that John and I used influence on the initiative roll is completely the wrong way to do it in the game. After the game we asked the question on the WWX forums and had the developer help us learn how to do it correctly. Basically, each player can add their remaining influence to the initiative roll. After deciding how much influence to add, both players roll initiative. The player losing initiative can then reroll their dice as many times as they have influence, until they decide to stay on a roll. Once they choose a roll to stick with any remaining influence is lost. At that point the other player can re-roll up to the total influence they added to the roll. Once they choose to stay with a roll they also forfeit any remaining influence. If the initiative rolls are tied at that point then both players re-roll until the tie is broken, with that roll being the final result.

Moving into turn 2 and through turn 3 we were both a bit surprised at how quickly the encounter and action escalated. Sitting Bull charged forward and engaged Mal, Inara, and the hired hand. I had no grasp whatsoever on how the attacks actually worked with Sitting Bull and ended up rolling only 1/3 of his attacks overall. Despite this, I still hurt Mal and killed off the hired hand. Cunningham moved around the big rock on the left and tried to position for some turn 3 engagement, considering his slow speed. He did start to use Smoke during turn 3 to try and stay alive. Walks Looking ran into the street on the far right flank and tried to stab a hired hand, but missed and ran away to hide. John was far more successful on his turn, utilizing Zoe's ability to power up Mal and Mal's melee ability to kill off Sitting Bull. Billy ran out into the middle of the street and unloaded his shotgun into my hired hands, which combined with the variety of other shots to wipe them off the board.

Turn 4
On turn 4 things looked like they were starting to swing back in my direction. The Mean Girl duo of Walks Looking and River actually worked effectively during the turn. River moved through a window and into the ruined building, positioning to counter attack John's hired hands but staying out of sight. Walks Looking moved around the building and into engagement with a Hired Hand, who she proceeded to murder and then used her last action to move back behind the building. This kept them safe from the shotgun moving up the street toward them.

Cunningham moved forward to engage the hired hand hiding in John's deployment zone and did a number on him. He stayed alive with a single life remaining, but was stunned and knocked prone by Cunninhams attacks. Lastly Sky Spirit moved behind a building and took some Spirit Aim shots at Bill the Kid, killing the outlaw boss.

John used a very cool synergy with his models, activating Zoe and Mal at the same time and using Zoe's ability to give Mal an "immediate activation" which he used (with only 2 AP) to move out into the street and get LOS on Cunningham. Because the "immediate activation" did not count as his activation, he was then able to continue with his own activation, using 3 AP to shoot at Cunningham and knock him down to 3 life remaining and setting him on fire. This ended up being very effective.

Turn 5 & 6

Turns 5 and 6 wrapped the game up pretty effectively. I ended up failling an influenced roll to put out the fire on Cunningham and them failed the influenced armor roll, causing Cunningham to burn up in a blaze of glory. River and Walks both killed off the hired hands on thier side of the table and tried to pursue Mal, Inara, and Zoe as they withdrew down the street. The Mean Girl Duo could not close the deal and I ended up losing the game.

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed my first game of WWX. I found the rules to be fairly simple overall and very straight forward. Even in the situations where John and I ran into confusion it was pretty simple to make a guess and come up with a quick method that worked (and seemed to be a possible interpretation of the rules). I do not find WWX to be as complex as Malifaux Classic, although I find it to be more complex than 40K and WHFB. I enjoy complex games where the models can impact the game in dynamic ways, along with games that encourage combination of model abilities for increased synergy. I would say that WWX is very similar in complexity to the PP games (War Machine and Hordes), although I am unsure where I place it in relation to those games (slightly more or slightly less complex).

I can certainly see this as an enjoyable game, which is good since it's my primary mini game for the time being. As it's the new shiny I can see playing this more than WM/H currently. That may shift over time but for right now I am excited to see where things go.

I plan to post a briefer synopsis of my game 2 on Dakka Dakka, then post a similar to this post on game 3 later next week. Comments and Questions are always welcome!