Thursday, January 15, 2015

Is Resistance Futile?

  Well, it's coming up to the third Saturday of the month, when our game group happens to play the Attack Wing OP events.  This month sees us play "The Endgame", where players have to both keep their ships alive and try to slip at least one away before the transwarp conduit is destroyed.  Just like the other scenarios in this series, the Borg that are involved are real jerks and players have to deal with THEM while also having to fight each other.  The rules for the scenario can be found here:

  But that's not what I really want to discuss.  Right now, we have a surprisingly robust core group of gamers for the this game, from Bud of Borg to Captain Charles of the Enterprise.  All of the factions are represented and all of the players are actually pretty skilled at the game.  But we've all realized something about Attack Wing- 

The game is not balanced!

  This isn't news to anyone who plays this game as the cries of "Cheeze!" abounded as the Borg were introduced.  Then the Federation were set up to match them and things started to spiral out of control.  It wasn't like the game was terribly balanced to begin with, but c'mon, man!  It was so bad that Wizkids produced the Admirals Orders, which were designed to give the outclassed fleets the opportunity to keep up.  But it didn't work and only exacerbated the Federation silliness, so they were quickly overridden after that OP.  

  Now, with the release of recent waves, it's so apparent that the fleets aren't terribly well-represented in some factions, meaning that the 'power creep' only got worse and worse with a seemingly random release schedule for every faction but the most powerful- Federation!  Wizkids attempted to rectify this with a suggested format for fleet building in tournaments.  We used this for the last two scenarios of this OP and there was much complaining about it.  I have much experience in FAQs and Composition as a TO (in the much more grueling world of wargaming), so my response to this is simple:

  It's meant to curtail the unrealistic advantage that certain fleets such as the Borg and especially the Federation have over the other fleets.  It prevents 'Dreadnoughts' that can completely dominate the game and there's little that Independent or Vulcan ships can do about it.  By requiring three ships and limiting the amount of upgrades, EVERYONE is equally screwed and it should bring a little more parity to the game.  

  Ironically enough, my biggest complainers were my Federation players, but I could always have some sympathy- Romulans finally got a dreadnought-class ship with the Reman Warbird and yet I couldn't use it with these rules myself!  They still didn't agree but complied with the restrictions, and then placed very well.  But we discussed it after the tourney and the group seemed to be fine with it, but didn't really want it either.  That leaves me with the question:

Do we use the restrictions or not?  

  Let me know what you guys think about these rules and whether the group should use them for this last scenario.  In the meantime, I want to make a 'Dreadnought League' that is literal space battles with no restrictions and just make a time of it.  But those things can come later...

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Dice and Cards and Dice and Cards and ...

I don't know if any of you have gotten a chance to try this game out, but I have to warn you that IT IS ADDICTING.  I have already spent a couple of C-bills on this game for nothing but a bunch and dice and cards.  But man is it cool!

Okay, so Dice Masters is like another Deck-Building game, but it's more about Dice-Building.  You set up a hand of heroes and villain cards and the take a number of dice to represent each one.  You roll the dice in your pile, starting with a number of simple power (sidekick) dice, and use whatever power is rolled to 'purchase' the hero dice from your cards, or action dice from the communal area.  Those 'purchased' dice and the expended energy to the discard pile, which are eventually cycled back into circulation and rerolled.  When a hero or villain die shows their stats instead of power, you must spend power to 'field' them and use them attack and block the other player's hero/villains. 

  The game is so simple to play that my wife actually enjoys it!  That's right, my wife, the anti-gamer, the stereotypical 'bitter wife', actually learned and played a few times!  (I know, I'm still impressed myself!)  The only problem with the game is that some cards become rare, while the rare and ultra-rare cards are exactly that.  This means, as with any collectible card, er, dice game, you will spend way more money than you expected.  And in the process, have waaaaaaaaaay too many dice.

  Admittedly, there is an advantage to that problem- it makes 'trading' so easy.  Since dice are so plentiful and also so restricted, gamers are willing to share their dice (and extra commons and uncommons) with each other for little or no exchange.  Really, it's because nobody wants to be saddled with all that extra, unusable crap that means absolutely nothing.  It's barely one step from just giving it away, and that's not a bad idea if it brings in some more gamers...

  Now, the current sets are Avengers vs. X-Men, and The Uncanny X-Men, definitely with a bit of a Marvel slant.  It's based on the comic books, not the movies, so there are many incarnations of each of the characters.  Anyone who knows me will tell you that I've dropped Marvel (except my Spidey 2099) and love my DC stuff, especially Supes!  Luckily for me, there's a new set coming out soon...

  Go pick the game up (the starter kit is only $20 and boosters are only a buck each, and they are SELF CONTAINED, meaning that you don't need the previous or upcoming sets to play!) and let me know what you think.  I love it and it's really fun and, most importantly, it's affordable!

Happy gaming!