My 2014 from a gaming perspective!

Well, 2014 is almost at an end, and it hasn’t been terribly successful in terms of actually getting in many games, or actually getting much hobby done!  There were many grand plans for the year … and few of them have come together.  Next year needs to be a touch more realistic, I feel!

I still have plastic mountains of models that need to be assembled and painted!  If anything, the plastic mountain has grown significantly, with Orky enthusiasm.  None of my armies have actually reached the state I wanted to class as finished (with the possible exception of the Ultramarines!)  Though I’ve loved reading about Malifaux and Infinity, I haven’t painted my starting forces or played even a single game.  I do have a complete starter force for Retribution of Scyrah in Warmachine, but not managed to get that going either (though I am loving Warmachine Tactics on the laptop).  My major passion in 40K has been Orks for the last couple of months, and I’ve been gathering and planning an Ork Waargh (though that’s being somewhat derailed by the brilliant Blood Angels models being released right now, and enthusiasm for Silver Skulls!)

What has gone well?  #WAAC 2014 was amazing fun, with events around the country, and I’ve ended up with an brilliant range of gaming gear, from T-shirts, to dice, through to templates.  I painted some models that I think came out really, really well, and won a great book and a pro painting of my Bonesinger by Peter (@minimodelpaint), which is coming on amazingly well!  I’ve tried playing X-Wing, and absolutely loved it.

I’ve loved interacting with (and meeting some of) the #warmongers.  Twitter has been a brilliant hobby outlet for me, and that’s definitely going to continue!

I’ve got some brilliant hobby resources, with brilliant brushes from Gears & Games and Army Painter really making a difference, a full Army Painter set of paints in decent paint racks letting me dip in and out of painting to do little bits here and there around the demands of being a Dad – demands that are going to increase in 2015 with the arrival of another one in May! 🙂

I haven’t played much Xbox 360 for various logistical reasons over the year, but did manage to sneak in some Transformers and Halo, and completed Injustice!  I’m hoping I’ll get more video games in next year, with an Xbox One arriving for Xmas … Halo!  Destiny!  Titanfall!  There’s some amazing games coming out for the PC just now too – Satellite Reign as a long awaited “Syndicate” style game this week.  Elite Dangerous looks amazing, and comes out this week!  As mentioned, Warmachine Tactics is great.

I’d like to have reported much more hobby fun … but its been a cracking year.  I’ll try to follow this with my plans for 2015, and maybe write a summary of what I think the biggest changes have been in the hobby world in general.

More New Years Resolutions! Xbox 360 time!

Well, I’ve mentioned my hobby resolutions, which is based around 40K.  They aren’t alone, though – I’d like to fit in some time on the Xbox too!

I have a lot of games to play through … and there is no way I’ll get through many of them with a munchkin, wife and 40K taking up time!  So here are my quite limited goals:

Transformers – War for Cybertron

Really enjoying this, both for nostalgia and for a really fun game in its own right.  I’m a fair way through after Christmas, so I’d like to get this finished off!

Halo 4

I love the Halo games, so I’m not sure why this has taken me so long to get too!  It will be completed!

Mass Effect (1, 2 and 3)

I’ve done Mass Effect 1, but have 2 and 3 still to go.  Given how awesome they are and how much I enjoyed the first one, I think these are a must.

After these are done, I will have achieved my goals!  Huzzah!  There’s a load more I’d like to try, like bioshock 1 & 2, and Halo 5 should hit the xbox one at some point which will tempt me, but thats all bonus extras!

Hobby Progress for #WargamesWednesday!

Well, its time to catch everyone up with my hobby progress, and anything new I’ve spotted in the world of RPGs, wargames and video games!

I already posted about kicking off an Imperial Fists painting run!  It feels really good to get started.  I’m also working on sorting out my paint station (i’m trimming a cutting mat to cover the base of my big wooden paint station, while setting up my smaller plastic one to get started on the Fists.

I’ve been reading through the new Space Marines codex as well.  It is a really amazing codex on the whole – the history, the background, the chapter variations, it really holds together.  Its not perfect (the centurions are pretty dire), and as usually feels a bit overpowered compared to say Chaos Space Marines, but the level of integration into the whole   universe and depth of history is incredible!  Very excited at prospect of playing marines again, which I didn’t think would happen!

Really enjoying Injustice, on the Xbox 360 – great story, brilliant graphics.  About everything you could want in a beat em up, really!

Fingers crossed for some Stomtalons and sternguard 🙂

Campaign Fun for #WargamesWednesday

Just keeping up my regular posts to keep me thinking about wargaming and RPG fun, even when I don’t have a chance to play!  As you’ve probably spotted already, I’m setting up a mini-campaign with SaintAidan. I like a campaign feel to wargaming – every battle means a little bit more, and it stops being just a “1500pts battle” – you want to know how Captain Marcus of the Imperial Fists fares against his nemesis, Sorcerer Lord Tepemkau of the Thousand Sons, for example.  Although I haven’t actually done much, I’ve been really enjoying trying to put together an army for this campaign.  Currently, I’m looking at Imperial Fists with a Bastion, plus a small force of Silver Skulls with a prognosticar, tactical squad and Stormtalon, together with a small force of Eldar rangers, maybe with Ilic Nightspear as the eldar HQ.

On the Xbox, I finished the single player story mode of Injustice: Gods among us – really fun game!  Fighting games are easy to pick up and play, which is ideal for gaming with a munchkin taking up so much time.

On the PC, I managed to pick up the complete Total War line of games through Steam for very little – 75% off this deal with already fairly cheap games, so less than £20 for 7 games of wargaming strategic fun.  Huzzah!  Looking forward to Empire (building the British Empire) and Napoleon.  Very tempted to preorder the new Rome II as well!

RPG-wise I’ve been really enjoying reading about Numenera!

Dragon Age Review

Dragon Age is, quite simply, awesome!  I don’t want to give too much away in terms of spoilers, so I’ll just give the simple description of the story provided by Bioware – “You are a Grey Warden, one of the last of an ancient order of guardians who have defended the lands throughout the centuries. Betrayed and abandoned by a trusted general in a critical battle, you must hunt down the traitor and bring him to justice.”

So, if I’m not going to talk too much about the story, what am I going to talk about?  The graphics, the control system, and favorable and unfavorable comparisons to similar Xbox games – Mass Effect, Oblivion and Fable II.

First, the graphics.  I’ve got to say, I think the graphics are amazing.  The engine seems really solid, and maintains a deent pace even when the screen is loaded with enemies.  I’ve heard complaints that only the engine is used, and that FMV (full motion video) should have been used for cutscenes.  Personally, I prefer the consistency of style, especially with graphics that look this good anyway, but if you want fully endered cutscenes, you’ll hit a slight disappointment.  The game is 18 rated, and you’ll soon see why – it’s bloody!  Sword fights normally end up with your adventurers covered in bloodstains, and that adds to the feel of the game – its almost deliberately making you aware of the consequences of your actions, good and bad.

The control system can take some getting used to, and though I haven’t taken the path, I suspect it might be a little frustrating playing as a mage.  Essentially, you have two methods to activate items and talents or spells – you can work through a radial menu to find absolutely anything you can do, or you assign specific talents to the main coloured buttons on the controller (with the right trigger allowing a second set of options). Thats only 6 choices in total.  For fighter and rogue types, I don’t think thats too limiting, but for mages with a range of spells, it might prove more limiting.  The oddest thing I found was the use of the green button in combat to initiate standard attacks – once its started, you don’t need to button mash – it’ll keep going.  I’m used to having to click for every stroke, so that was odd at first, but really useful – it lets you step back, keep an eye on your whole team and work out special attacks without leaving your characters in trouble.

The voice acting is generally top notch, with the only disappointment being that youtr character is voiceless – they haven’t recorded all the options with all the possible voices for your character.  Thats mixed – I don’t mind it, but it can spoil the immersion.

The game will obviously be compared to various other roleplaying games.  Mass Effect is obviously science fiction rather than fantasy, but is unsurprisingly closest to Dragon Age in style, though I prefer the darker sweep and harder moral choices in Dragon Age.  If you liked Mass Effect, and don’t mind a fantasy setting, you’ll like this!

Fable II is possibly the closest comparison in many ways, with the dog and character development.  The main difference here is the adult tone of Dragon Age … in a grown up sense, rather than anything filthy 🙂 

Oblivion is a harder comparison.  Speaking for myself, I’m addicted to Dragon Age (my lady fair now refers to herself as an Xbox widow since Christmas), and I couldn’t get into Oblivion in the same way.  Dragon Age is heavily story driven – you have lots of paths through the game, and your choices matter, but the main readon to play is to find out what happens next, and you don’t really have the freedom to ignore the plot and wander off totally at random. Oblivion, on the other hand, has real freedom … but I find too much.  I get bored wandering around trying to work out what I should be doing – I prefer a higher level of story telling to sandboxing.   

In summary, this game is brilliant, and terribly addictive once you master the tactical combat interface, and stop trying to button mash on auto pilot!  Alan, I think you’d enjoy playing through this for story.  James, I’m not so sure its your cup of tea, as I know you favor a faster FPS type of game – but if you enjoyed Fable II I think you’ll like this.

Updates from London

Well, not a lot of painting has taken place in the pre christmas frenzy, but some gaming news.

First Blood Bowl is out for the Xbox. Its a little disappointing in some ways -the multiplayer is much (much, much!) easier for pickup games, but multiplayer leagues don’t seem possible, and you can’t customize your team and colours in the same way you can on the PC. Having said that, I’ve found it much more enjoyable to play single player thanks to the bigger screen, and the ease of multiplayer make up for the disadvantages. Its a great way to combine the Xbox hobbywith our Games Workshop fun 🙂

I’m still working on the world of Morania for some online D&D gaming fun, which should be interesting. 🙂 Its based on some concepts I’d put together when looking to write a novel, so hopefully you’ll find it reasonably fresh with enough background detail to entertain.

New gaming options have opened up a bit – Saint Aidan will probably be adopting my Chaos forces, and my Dad (Tazman) will be flying the Eldar cause once more, so some gaming will be happening over Christmas! Updates will of course be posted on the site! Sadder news is that my Tau and Necron forces have been retired to longer term storage for now, while I focus on getting a force of Blood Angels painted (including the Space Hulk terminators).