Posts Tagged ‘tabletop gaming’

The boys are back, to test out the new starter set!

And here’s the gameplay footage!

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Days Gone Bye is the first expansion proper for AOW, adding new rules and characters to the main game as well as widening the scope of both the gameplay and the theme.

The box contents follow a similar pattern to the Prelude to Woodbury set, including new minis, cards and terrain, but this time features a new 2′ x 2′ playmat and a small book of brand new rules.

The miniatures included are all characters taken from the first graphic novel (of the same name), and unsurprisingly, considering the expansion is subtitled “Atlanta Expansion”, are all characters found at the Atlanta camp at the start of the story. Dale, Allen, Donna and Jim are welcome additions to the AOW family, and once again are high quality single piece miniatures in hard plastic, with no cleaning or modelling required. Each comes with a survivor card, giving their stats and game rules. Also included are alternate stat cards for Sandra and Patrick from the core set, quite a pleasant surprise for what would otherwise be quite a throwaway part of the game. These turn the characters into hardened veterans, a much tougher proposal to face across a game board! As it turns out, this is to be a regular feature… More later!

 Other cards in this set include event cards for traps, unexpected fires, forest walkers (allowing previously unseen walkers to shamble out of the new forest scenery pieces) and a thunderstorm, which washes off the effects of the “Gory Clothes” equipment card and limits gun ranges. New supply cards are largely fire themed, both for starting them (molotovs) and putting them out (extinguishers) to tie in with the new rules introduced in this box. Terrain and markers include tents, woods, a campfire, and a special objective token in the shape of a bag of guns.

 The playmat is single sided once again, but matches up perfectly with the original to give you both an alternative and a larger playing area. However, rather than wasting the back of the map, this time it comes with a checklist for all the wave one minis, including walkers and “Mantic Point” exclusives (Which include bag of guns and Sheriffs badge tokens in hard plastic)! This is a nice touch but I’m not sure how useful it is; this is hardly a collect-and-swap-with-your-friends type game! Call me cynical, but it looks largely to be an advertising gimmick…

The rulebook is split into three parts. The opening section covers new rules for Repair and Smash! actions, handy for adding a bit more depth to scenarios if you get sick of basic supply hunting, and the “Flaming” keyword as well as “Burning” tokens. The latter represent the possibility of terrain and walkers catching fire, with fairly disastrous consequences for all cocerned. Burning undead can blunder around spreading their flames to nearby terrain, and cause extra damage in combat until doused. The only up-side is the possibility each round of a fiery walker falling prone, which puts out the flames, but leaves it vulnerable for a time. Best to keep your distance til then! The rest of this part covers terrain rules for the new tents and woods markers included, plus adding the RV (from the main box) into games using the scenery points rules. As Mantic are now producing a rather nice looking mdf RV, this will come in handy!

The main part of the book is taken up with a narrative campaign comprising of six scenarios, recreating the graphic novel story of Rick Grimes’ fight for survival, from the search for the bag of guns with Morgan to the undead “herd” attacking the Atlanta camp site. Each scenario gives a list of participants, special rules and victory conditions, plus a “Story Mode” section wirth details on how the games link together. The first five missions are solo games, but most can easily be played co-operatively, while the last is a two player duke-out between two main characters… The participants list for each includes the characters present at this point in the comic continuity, but also gives an alternate play version with notes on the points value available and the min/max number of survivors. All of the listed survivors not contained in this or the core set are taken from the booster boxes, available separately.

The final pages contain advanced rules, this time for custom survivors! Using download-and-print-able blank character cards you can now add your favourite miniatures, “missing” characters from the TV adaptation (who says you can’t have Daryl Dixon in this game…), or even yourself to the survival horror madness! Step-by-step instructions are included to guide you through the character creation system, with costings provided, along with plenty of explanation.


The rest of the Wave 1 releases consist of booster packs, basically character add-ons, all containing characters from the Days Gone Bye graphic novel: Shane, Morgan, Lori, Carol, Andrea, and “Rick on Horse”, all priced around £13 each. At first glance this appears a little steep, but on closer inspection the value becomes clearer. Most come with three miniatures: the named character on the box, a second survivor (either a support or opponent character), and a walker. The “Rick on horse” box just has the mini on horseback plus a walker, and there’s a walkers booster which just contains six extra minis to swell the hordes of the undead! All come with the relevant character cards and new equipment cards themed to the box, except the walkers, which get some useful equipment and additional event cards to make your games that much harder. As a nice added touch, some of the boxes also contain extra character cards with alternate versions of existing survivors on them, for instance Lori Grimes comes with a Carl “Trainee Sharpshooter” card to represent Carls progress as the story goes on.

It’s clear that Mantic are looking after their IP. The consistently high quality miniatures are well sculpted, and all of the characters from the comics are easily recognisable. I love that all the walkers are individual sculpts (except fot the booster box), and show no sign of doubling up, which gives the game a tabletop edge rather than a boardgame style generic monster feel. There are a few walker-versions of characters popping up too, handy for when a survivor dies and is re-animated:- More please!

The box feels like a real add-on this time. The whole rulebook is new, and the extra rules add plenty to your All Out War games, and although the campaign is mostly filled with solo games there are enough ideas to branch out into designing your own. The best part for me is the character creation rules: Allowing you to put additional characters into the game throws up a raft of opportunities! As long as Mantic stay relaxed about it (no cease-and-desist orders please!) you can adapt this easy to use and fun to play system to play out scenes from loads of your favourite films… So if the next set of equipment or supplies cards could include a crossbow, a chainsaw, a cricket bat and Winchester rifle, I would be extremely grateful! My first attempt at new characters seems to have worked out ok (with one minor mistake), look forward to using these in a game soon.

There are a few minor niggles. Glenn is listed in the campaign missions, but is actually a Wave 2 release. Not a big problem, seeing as Wave 2 is now out, but feels a bit of a mick-take. Hope it doesn’t happen in future releases… The “support” character type can be a bit of a pain. The actual effect of a support character appears on a different survivors card, meaning you might not get any bonus from the character until you buy another booster or box. There still doesn’t seem to be anyone for Liam (from the starter set) to support! On the other hand it can be quite clever when a single mini provides support to multiple other survivors. Also, you can make the powers up as you go along to suit your character creation if you like. Just remember to write it on the other card (my oops!)

All in all, a great set of releases, keeping the story theme and improving on an already strong system! Looking forward to future releases. 

Bring on Wave 2!

David Mustill


If there’s one thing all tabletop games need more of, it’s Wookiees. Can you imagine Mansions of Madness, but on Kashyyyk? Berserkers of Catan anyone? Hell, even Scrabble should make it an acceptable word if you ask me.

Equally as brilliant is the fact that the “Auzituck” Wookiee Gunship has come to X-Wing, and it’s brought a mixed bag of goodies with it. Physically, the Auzituck is a nice, small-based model, brimming with guns and engines. The paintwork is as good as normal, with some really cool tribal designs over the body.

In game terms, the Auzituck has three attack dice and and only one one defence, but with six hull and three shields, it isn’t going to fall apart quickly. This is helped by its choice of actions. As well as being able to Focus, it’s the first non-Epic ship to be able to perform the Reinforce action. When a ship reinforces either the front of back of itself, when attacked from that angle, it can add an extra evade result to its dice roll. Unlike an Evade token though, it doesn’t spend the token, and can re-use it each time it is attacked.

As well as this new function, it also boasts a 180 degree auxiliary firing arc, formerly only seen on the YV-666, making this the first small-based ship to boast such a wide attack arc.


This huge attack range is useful, as the ship has no way of turning in a hurry, the dial is fine, but features no k-turns, or any other type of “flips”. In terms of upgrades, the Gunship has two Crew slots, with three of the four available pilots able to take an Elite Pilot Talent.  As I just mentioned, the Auzituck comes with four pilots, two of them Unique. From the bottom up, “Kashyyyk Defender” is a 24 point, PS1 generic pilot. “Wookiee Liberator” is the PS3, 26 point version, which also comes with an EPT slot.
Lowhhrick is the unique PS5 pilot and his ability is causing a stir: “When another friendly ship at Range 1 is defending, you may spend 1 reinforce token. If you do, the defender adds 1 evade result.”

On it’s own, it’s a handy little trick, but it’s found a home in a frustrating little squadron called “Fair Ship Rebels 2.0” (At least that’s the “proper” name, a lot of players aren’t calling it anything so polite). Consisting of Lowhhrick, Biggs Darklighter, Captain Rex and Jess Pava, the list’s ability to share and negate incoming damage is almost unparalleled, as well as doing things like taking away the opponent’s attack dice. These types of builds come and go, and I always feel that you should just play whatever you want, this included, but I’ve played against this squad twice now, and neither game was a fun time. I can’t imagine that using it is much fun either.

Wullffwarro, on the other hand, is my type of pilot. The PS7 Wookie Gladiator gets an extra attack dice if he has no shields and at least one damage card, making him a dangerous ship to leave half alive. At thirty points, he’ll definitely give you some bang for your buck, even if he goes bang.


In terms of upgrades, this expansion comes with six, three of which are new to this pack. “Selflessness” is part of the previously mentioned FSR puzzle. A 1 point EPT, you may discard the upgrade when a friendly ship at range 1 is defending. If you do, your ship may absorb all of the uncanceled hits. “Wookiee Commandos” is a 1 point crew upgrade that takes two crew slots, and allows you to re-roll any Focus results whilst attacking. “Breech Specialist” costs one point and is another crew upgrade. It’s wording is quite intricate, so I’ll include the entire text: “When you are dealt a faceup Damage card, you may spend 1 reinforce token to flip it facedown (without resolving its effect). If you do, until the end of the round, when you are dealt a faceup Damage card, flip it facedown (without resolving its effect).”

It’s like Chewbacca’s pilot ability, which is nice and thematic. 

So, the Auzituck had found itself in one meta-level squad already, and that actually may hurt it. If it gets seen as “that ship from that squad”, it may not get used as much as its quality probably warrants. That said, I’ve seen two Gunships loaded with Tactitians teamed up with Braylen Stramm in a super-stressbot team that looks quite fun. I’m pretty sure Wullffwarro could make a good “glory in death” squad member, someone just needs to find the right recipe. 
Personally I like the ship, it’s fun to play with, and it looks good on the table.

One forward and focus until I lose the will to live/10

—-

Ömer Ibrahim is a regular contributor to Suppressing Fire and you can check out his modelling work on Facebook and Instagram.


Alien and Predator are two universes that have been aching for a decent tabletop game for so long. The Leading Edge Aliens game from the eighties is easily one of my favourite games ever, and I absolutely love the Legendary Encounters versions for both monsters.  Prodos’ AVP: The Hunt Begins (in its first edition, at least) is a game I had a love hate relationship with from the start.  

Okay, so for this review, I’m not going to talk about Prodos Games, how they completely messed up their Kickstarter for the game leaving several backers without their base sets nearly two years after the game first hit shop shelves (some backers still don’t have them), the debacle with the supposedly faithful first version of the dropship, the complaints people had with the poorly mixed resin in the first batch of figures, or any of the other myriad problems people have with them, and instead look at the game itself.


So, let’s assume Prodos are a bunch of okay dudes, and that you’ve just seen this game on the shelf, you’re a fan of Alien, Predator and or AVP, and you want to know whether or not the game is worth buying.  The answer is, a little annoyingly, yes, it absolutely is.  

All the complaints I had about the first edition of this game have been completely resolved by this second version.  The holes in the combat system that previously you could drive a Colonial Marines APC through have been completely patched, leaving a combat system that is – while perhaps a little over complex by modern standards – perfectly good at reflecting corridor fighting between the three factions.  It’s also completely rectified the stupid errors that snuck in (like the Aliens being susceptible to their own acid blood splatter; seriously, what was that about?). 

The points build system now actually makes sense, as a quick glance at the first edition rule book would show you that the forces contained in the starter set were, in fact, completely unbalanced.  Lastly, the Predator Smart-Disc has been given a proper Nerfing, which is great, because that thing was ridiculously overpowered.  


So, the game is set about the USS Theseus, a ship that is being used by the Predators as a spawning ground for Aliens for them to hunt, and then some Colonial Marines show up, and the shit hits the fan.  It’s a contrived set-up, but no-one really cares about the story for a frag-fest, and you can always come up with your own background if you want.  It doesn’t change anything on the tabletop.  

In terms of components, the rule book – while still far from perfect – is light years ahead of the first edition, so I can’t not be satisfied with it.  Errors are corrected, stats are fixed, and you can (usually) find what you’re looking for while you’re playing.  Some goofs and ambiguities exist, but nothing that you can’t house rule, or find an answer to on the superb online fandom the game has, especially on Facebook.  


The board sections I’m not so sold on. The original were grim and dark, much lie the colony in Aliens. These are a lot brighter, which is partly a good thing, as the originals were sometimes a little too dark, but the upshot is that they look a little more comic book like by comparison.  
The minis are bloody superb. All single cast, so there’s no assembly required, and super easy to paint. As a bonus, the scenic bases they’re mounted on are simply excellent.


Players use the starting forces, or points build a force of either Aliens, Predators or Marines, set the map up, find out what their missions are, and then set to it.  The game, once you get it underway, is very fast paced, with players taking it turns to activate one model and acting with them, before passing onto the the next player.  In terms of action and pacing, it’s much like something like Heroclix, and fans of that game would be likely to enjoy this one, too.  

AVP: The Hunt Begins is a weird one, because in terms of complexity, it’s easily up there with a proper wargame, such as Warhammer 40,000.  The options available to you are just as varied, for sure, and it’s a game you can really sink your teeth into it.  Want to build a campaign?  You can.  Want a one off rumble with some Predators against an AI Alien force.  You can do that.  You can make this an RPG or a frag-fest.  The extra minis available are superb, too, and who isn’t going to want to bolster their force with an Alien Queen or a Power Loader?

Ultimately, if you been holding off until now, or want to upgrade your first edition set to its full potential, this is the game you want.

Brad, Joe and Ian unbox, discuss, test and review the latest Fast Forces for Heroclix, the Marvel Knights set. Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones are joined by Elektra and The Punisher!

Plus, full, uncut gameplay!

Joe, Ian and Brad are back to discuss, unbox, test and review the Deadpool and the Mercs for Money Fast Forces set for Heroclix! Check out the review above, and check below for the uncut playtest footage: 

Brad and Ian are joined by special guest Rob Wade (of Emotionally14.Com) to unbox, discuss and review the DC Joker’s Wild set for Heroclix!


When comes to Star Wars: Armada, the massive dreadnoughts may be both the eye candy and the focus of play, but – much like the battles in the movies themselves, it’s the smaller, single-man fighters that can make the difference between victory and defeat. We’ve had all the usual suspects released in previous waves, so are these two new packs capable of offering something more, or is it time to get the barrel scrapers out?

The Rebel Fighter pack is led by the star of Star Wars: Rebels…the Ghost. Hera is the named pilot you get included, and she packs some pretty heavy guns, as well as a couple of extremely versatile abilities. Firstly, she has Rogue which allows the Ghost to move and attack during the squadron phase; but the Grit ability also allows the Ghost to move if it’s only engaged by a single squadron. The Ghost is built for big, heroic plays, which is exactly what you want to be ding with it. The cheaper version – the VCX-100 Freighter lacks the decent firepower of the Ghost, but it does have some nice…if more strategic and less combative abilities. 


Another vessel featured in Star Wars: Rebels is Ketsu Onyo in the Shadow Caster. Lacking the firepower of the Ghost, but featuring a few extra abilities, including the aforementioned Grit and Rogue, as well a being a Bomber. The cheaper version – the Lancer-Class Pursuit Craft is nice enough, but is just a Tesco Value Shadow Caster

The last ships included are the Z-95 Headhunters. Some people love Z-95s, but to me they’re just a cheaper, shoddier version of the X-Wing, and their debut in Star Wars: Armada has done little to change that opinion. At 7 points a squadron, you could use them to burn up some leftover points during squad building, but that’s about it. The only point of interest is that they possess the Swarm ability, which was previously only used by TIE Fighters and their ilk. How useful this ability will be to you depends on your playing style, but it could come in handy. 


The Imperial set similarly brings three new types of vehicle to Star Wars: Armada. The TIE Phantom originally appeared in the video game Star Wars: Rebel Assault II (nope, me neither) but has since develed a following among players of Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars: X-Wing. These possess the Cloak ability, which allows them to get in a bonus move at the end of the squadron phase, even if engaged. They also carry a decent amount of firepower; both anti-ship and anti-squadron. 

Another X-Wing favourite, the Lambda shuttle, is also now available. While far from a combative vessel, its use as an ECM plane role – which never really works in the scale X-Wing operates at, is considerably better handled here, allowing orders from ships to squadrons to be sent further and more efficiently than previously. 

Last but not least, and another X-Wing bad boy, the VT-49 Decimator has arrived, and it brings a serious shotgun blast of close range damage to the table. With the a heavy weapons at its disposal and the Rogue ability, this has the potential to be a serious Squadron destroyer – especially if they’re full of cheap and nasty Z-95s. 

While both of these sets are not as strong as the squadron releases we’ve seen in previous waves, they’re still definitely worth picking up. The Ghost and the Decimator are great fighters for more aggressive players, and the others definitely add flavour, if nothing else. Armada just keeps getting better and better. 

The Rebel Flighter Squardons II and Imperial Fighter Squadrons II packs are available now. A base set of Star Wars: Armada is required to use the contents. 

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Brad Harmer-Barnes is a games journalist and comedy writer from Kent, England, and has written for (among others) Miniature Wargames magazine, Fortress: Ameritrash, Emotionally14.com and Suppressing-Fire.Com, which he also edits. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @realbradhb

Most people consider 2016 to have been a pretty crappy year.  Whether it’s global politics not heading in the direction you would like, the deaths of many beloved celebrities, or that thing with the gorilla, it’s not been the best year ever.

What is has been, though, is a really strong year for tabletop gaming.  So, with that in mind, here are the best games to have come out in 2016.

BEST PRODUCTION VALUES

Mansions of Madness

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There have been some really great miniatures released this year – Zombicide: Black Plague has some amazing figures, cards, and miscellaneous play aids.  There has been some truly stellar artwork on cards (the Lord of the Rings: LCG artwork is always incredible). Mansions of Madness takes it this year, however, due to not only having incredible artwork on its box, in its rulebooks and on its cards, but due to the AI app (about which plenty has been written elsewhere, so there is no need to repeat it here) it also has its own sound effects, narration and music.

Truly staggering, beautiful and horrific, and easily the most immersive game released this year.

BEST CO-OP/SOLO GAME

Mansions of Madness

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Co-op games are easily my favourite types of game, and account for the vast majority of my collection. Marvel Legendary saw three expansions released this year – Civil War, Deadpool and Captain America – and they were all super fun, with the Deadpool pack being head and shoulders above the others. Zombicide: Black Plague was a fun, hack and slash co-op. Hostage Negotiator is one of the greatest solo experiences ever made.  However, this year it has to go to Mansions of Madness.  The AI acts as a GM, regulating hidden information, moving the bad guys, and keeping you guessing in ways that it is simply impossible for a traditional tabletop AI to do so.  Mansions of Madness is not just the best co-op/solo game of the year, it represents a huge leap forward for solo and co-op gaming as a sub-genre.

BEST FANTASY RELEASE

Zombicide: Black Plague

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There are two types of game that have to be extra special to make me sit up and pay attention – purely because they’re both ridiculously oversaturated markets – and that’s zombie games, and dungeon crawls.  Previously, I was struggling to find a better zombie game than Zombie Plague, and struggling to find a better dungeon crawl than Castle Ravenloft.  What Zombicide: Black Plague has managed to do is to create an identity all of its own by merging elements of both subgenres into an Army of Darkness-esque action romp.  Highly recommended.

BEST SCIENCE-FICTION RELEASE

Star Wars: Rebellion

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Star Wars: Rebellion may look like one of those facelift Risk variants that Hasbro craps out every Christmas, but what it actually is is a wargame custom made and built to feel like Star Wars.  Sure there are Star Destroyers, and ground troops, and territories, but it is a game about the smaller people who make the stories happen.  By keeping all the strategy of the mechanics focused on correctly using your handful of characters, it keeps the whole game character focused.  At no point does it feel like “I’m amassing by Star Destroyers over Nal Hutta”; it feels like “Governor Tarkin is taking command of the blockade over Nal Hutta.”.  You make a story as you play, and that is something I love so much.  Fantasy Flight Games have done nothing but truly great things with the Star Wars licence, but this is their crowing achievement so far.

BEST HORROR RELEASE

Mansions of Madness

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I’ve long maintained that while a boardgame can do tense, it’s virtually impossible for it to be truly scary – that’s the realm of RPGs, LARPs and video games.  You can’t quiet buy into the story on the same level that you can with those other mediums.  Even Space Hulk – the pinnacle of tension on the tabletop – is never truly scary in the way the true classics of the genre are. Mansions of Madness has bucked that trend.  Now things are hidden.  Things are surprising and startling.  You fear darkness.  You fear the unknown.  Mansions of Madness is an essential purchase for the dedicated horror gamer.


Brad Harmer-Barnes is a games journalist and comedy writer from Kent, England, and has written for (among others) Miniature Wargames magazine, Fortress: Ameritrash, Emotionally14.com and Suppressing-Fire.Com, which he also edits.  You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @realbradhb

Joe Crouch, Ian Harmer and Brad Harmer-Barnes get their hands on the latest Fast Forces set for Heroclix, and test out all the figures: