Posts Tagged ‘sci-fi’

Joe, Ian and Brad are back, and this time they’re unboxing, reviewing and discussing the new Guardians of the Galaxy set for Heroclix. 

For the full, uncut play test footage: 

Doom

Posted: January 31, 2017 in Fantasy & Sci-Fi, Gaming
Tags: , , ,

I’ve always been a massive fan of the Doom franchise (barring the questionable movie tie-in) and I’ve enjoyed all of the games including FFG’s original Doom board game, which was based on Doom 3. So it is with great joy I see that hot on the heels of the 2016 Doom reboot (that is arguably one of the best videogames released last year), FFG have released a new board game to tie in with it.

My initial worries when first unboxing the game that this was just going to be rehash of the original Doom board game were quickly assuaged when I saw that the game mechanics had been altered, with more emphasis on action and speed than the original’s slow paced, scraping desperately for ammo feel. If the original game was made to feel like Doom 3, then the new game feels like the Doom reboot. It is also worth saying that as usual FFG have put some decent production values into the map tiles, tokens and especially the minis. The monsters all look brilliant and match their iconic looks from the most recent game, they are also correctly scaled so a Baron of Hell looms menacingly over a marine and the Cyber Demon looks truly terrifying to behold.


The game plays similarly to the likes of Imperial Assault but with some slight differences. Initiative and turn order in the game is drawn randomly from a deck so you don’t quite know who will action first, which adds a bit of chaos to the proceedings, as it can lead to you having to react on the fly when your initial strategy goes up in smoke. Actions and defence are also played out by the Marine action deck or Invader event deck, rather than having set moves and skills that you can play every turn. I liked this as it still provided strategy – as you had a selection of different moves that you could play to certain situation – but also adds a risk/reward feel to the game. You could have a bad hand that could make you take a gamble, which could then backfire as the Invader player draws a dodge card that would negate any damage you did.

Added features such as staggering and glory killing demons also add a risk and reward element to the proceedings; a Marine needs to place him or herself next to a demon to kill it outright when it is in low health which could place the Marine in a risky area, but is rewarded with bonus health and a random power through glory kill cards. Chuck in two campaigns with six missions each and custom variants for more experienced players and you have a game that gives good value for money and allows people to come up with their own scenarios if they wish.


Sadly, my playtime with the game did still feel like the Marines were the stronger team and therefore gameplay felt biased towards them, which is a shame as the game feels more competitive than typical dungeon crawl style games where the GM style player is normally weaker than the stronger hero characters. However, there are more abilities and strategies available to the Invader player that – once you get to grips with the role – can come up with some good kills and swarm the marine players.

This mild grumble aside, this game nails the feel of the videogame with fast and furious run and gun style action. Highly recommended if you are a fan of the franchise like myself, but still an enjoyable 4v1 action boardgame if you are not.

Blake Harmer is a regular contributor to The Crazy Train at The Gamescast at emotionally14.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @fucksakeblake, but there’s no real point in doing so.

inbalance

 WorldWar: In the Balance
By Harry Turtledove
Hodder

World War II seethes across the planet. Hostilities spread in ever-widening circles of destruction: Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Britain, France, Japan, Italy, Africa – the fate of the world hung in the balance. Then the real enemy arrives. Out of the skies comes an invasion force the like of which Earth has never known – and worldwar is truly joined. The invaders are inhuman and they are unstoppable. Their weaponry is overwhelming and their goal is simple: Fleetlord Atvar has arrived to claim Earth for the Empire…

An interesting title with which to kick off the first post on Suppressing Fire, yet certainly one that I hope will set the tone of military history, action, excitement and the occasional out-there, whacked-out bullshit that we’ve all come to know and love. In this 1994 action novel, Harry Turtledove moved from the old-and-tried questions of alternate history (“What is the South had won the American Civil War?”, “What if the Roman Empire was still standing today?”) and moves into stuff that no-one in their right mind has ever wondered before “What if aliens invaded during World War II?”.

In the Balance (the first in an eight part series) sets the scene for the war that follows, and introduces us to several key characters such as the sci-fi loving baseball player turned infantryman Sam Yeager, the Russian pilot Ludmila Gorbunova, and the disturbingly likable Panzer Commander Heinrich Jäger. Like all good military/historical fiction, this is a story about the people involved in the conflict, rather than the war itself.
Worldwar-9781400163946

 The Race – the lizard-like invading aliens – are cold, calculating and wonderfully rounded. They are not the faceless destructotrons of H.G. Well’s The War of the Worlds, but they have their own personalities, political aspirations, and shortcomings. They frequently underestimate the humans they are fighting, often at great cost. This leaves In the Balance feeling not like an apocalypse for mankind, but rather a conflict that may prove to be drawn out and costly, but it undeniably still winnable.

 The “cameos” from historical figures sometimes really work…sometimes don’t add a lot. General Patton comes off as the gung-ho enthusiastic lunatic we all know him to be, and Mordechai Anielewicz, one of the leaders during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising is a pivotal major character. However, the appearances by Churchill and Hitler feel a little tacked on. Of course, not having them appear could also be construed as an oversight, so there’s no way of winning there.

All in all, I love the action scenes, and I love all the characters. I’m definitely on board for the next book, and – hopefully – the whole series.