Saturday 19 March 2016

Aliens Vs Predator (AVP) Trial

Another week and another new game to try. This week Kev had been busy previously and had signed up for the Kickstarter for the AVP game and although there's been lots of disgruntlement about the lateness of the issuing of the game after funding, things appear to be rolling now (although Kev still hasn't got everything) and had enough of the bits to have a game. 

So myself, John E and Tim all had a shot of playing the game and Kev gamemastered. With myself taking the easy option and going the horde of Aliens, Tim the Marine's and John the Predators.

Though there appeared to be some dubiety over some of the rules, mainly in the clarity department, we all had a ball playing through the scenario which saw the Marines having to download some stuff from a location opposite their start point, the Predators had to scan three area's again far from their starting point, and the Aliens just had to kill five bodies worth, (the Predators counting as two).

The fun part of the game appears to be the random initiative each turn and the Environmental cards giving random effects around the 'ship' drawn by the player with initiative that turn. The first turn for example I drew a card which sealed all the doors on the ship for that turn 'due to a malfunction' and effectively sealed the Marine's in their starting point for the first turn. Other examples were the sprinklers going off, the doors randomly opening on a through of 1-4, gravity being 'suspended and so on.

We all had a hoot playing the game as we all didn't take it too seriously which I think suits the game immensely. John consistently threw high on the D20's, especially for Armour saves so his mega-powerful Predators didn't perform as well as they should, my Aliens on their headless charges into battle caused most of their damage by being eviscerated by some form of high tech weaponry from one enemy or another but managing to spray acidic blood on their hapless foe's in the moment of departure, and Tim's Marine's moved about the ship in a purposeful SWAT huddle and managed to avoid most of the mayhem.

Long of the short of it the Predators went down ignominiously and got bogged down by wading through puddles of acidic blood and died to an extraterrestrial but both the Aliens and the Marine's achieved their objectives.

The hard plastic playing pieces are very nice all round and although a bit on the gangly side for my tastes, are all exceedingly eye catching, (except the Flamethrower Marine who looks to be skipping).

A few things in the rules did seem a bit odd but most were down to the 'first play' of the game with a few clarifications being sought afterwards. The biggest thing to cause a bit of concern was the turn about initiative which meant that due to numbers the Aliens could move about the board unhindered and en-masse which did seem to give a fair bit of an advantage.

That said, we all had a fun game and look forward to play AVP again. Think that says all that needs to be said..

Saturday 12 March 2016

Song of Blades and Heroes (and really jammy dice rolling)

This weeks gaming experience was a try out of the fairly long standing rule set for ' A Song of Blades and Heroes'. I had obviously been aware of the rule set for quite some time but hadn't had the impetus to try out the rules until Tim at the club proposed a game for anyone to try (being a long standing fan of the rules).

Tim and a couple of his compatriots put on a couple of games and myself, Kev, Andy and Ric tried our hands at the scenario's the guys put up for trial, paced at the beginner level to sort out the rule basics.

The scenario I played a couple of times was a basic Catchers-catch-can with three bands dueling in a form of gladiatorial set up, bare arena and a big pit in the middle.

Kev taking a Human band, myself and Andy taking the roles of a couple of Dwarven groups with Tim umpiring the event. Ric and Sam et al, played a larger scope but smaller scale (15mm) barney set in a village. The objectives were to take out the opponents Warband Leaders by any means possible.

The first game was to say the least frustrating in that Kev and I were unable to beat Andy's group regardless in what we attempted to do as Andy proceeded to roll throughout the contest an obscene number of 6's, continually. The less said about this first game the better, other than to say I was taken out pretty quickly and not long after Kev, but we did get to know the basic sequence of play and picked this up pretty quickly.

As the first game was over pretty quickly, we played the scenario again, and just to be stubborn played the same bands again to see if Andy's luck would hold out but hopefully not.

As it was to prove, The jammy dice rolling did abate but slowly but this time Kev's band couldn't do much right and was quickly put to death with his leader going down surrounded by a mass of Dwarves. Heroic stuff.

In the end the two dwarf bands battled it out in a fairly even fashion and going down to four warriors each and toe to toe my band picked up a pace and managed to take down Andy's leader with a bit of luck.

In summary of the nights gaming, I found the Song of Blades and Heroes rules pretty easy to pick up (in the basic set up we had to trial) and I can see the appeal that it has to many gamers and the on-going depth and development with addition resources released, I can see that it would be a fine skirmish, or indeed larger fight, set of rules themed around what ever figures you have and as it is scenario driven, could lead to some interesting and memorable games. If this was the first rules of the genre you can across, you would probably stick with it.

However (you knew there would be a however), having played innumerable skirmish rulesets, some good and some bad, I don't see that it particularly offers anything extra or a flavour that is missing elsewhere. A matter of taste to the rules really. I did find a couple of the mechanics a bit jarring but that's down to what I'm used too and nothing really untoward at all. A more involved scenario I think would be in order to see how a more complex arrangement played out to get a better flavour of the rules is required.

A fun game for the night and thanks to Tim for putting on the evenings entertainment, no doubt a further adventure into the realm of SoBaH's will be due soon.

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