Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Gencon Follow-up: My First Time in the Iron Arena!

If you were following a bit of my run up to Gencon posts, you might have noticed that within the last year I've really gotten back into Warmachine with my brother. Luckily for me, I had pretty much hung on to almost all of my minis from the Mark I version of the rules, including Cygnar, Trollbloods, and Mercs (mostly dwarves). Of course that didn't stop me from picking up a small force of Retribution (elves) as well, but that's more of a digression at this point.

We decided that we were going to try to play in the Iron Arena this year at Gencon. We had spent the last year playing between a half and full dozen games against each other trying to brush up on the rules, and we were having a TON of fun with it. Lots and lots.

Let me go over the format real quick, but Iron Arena is a unique way to play the game. Basically you purchase a ticket for the entire day (or days - 2 in our case). You report to the Privateer Press area and register yourself and what state/country your from. This part is important and you'll see in a bit why.

Then you play pick up games pretty much the whole day with other Iron Arena contenders! You can play any faction, any size game, any number of players, whatever your heart's desire.

For each game you play, for every hour, you can report the results, and you end up gaining skulls. You can earn skulls for playing 50 point games (the tournament standard), a fully-painted army, for playing on a scenario table, for playing someone from a different state or country from you, for playing an army composed of forces specifically designed for your warcaster/warlock (known as a "tier list" which basically grants special rules for your army on the condition that you limit the units you can build your army with), and several more things.

You can then spend your skulls on items like art prints, dice, measuring templates, and in the most skull-intensive items, "extreme" alternate sculpts of big models. It's a pretty great selection.

So the strategy here is two-fold. Obviously you want to play a fun list because all these games are for-fun. The other half though is to figure out how to maximize your skull income. That leads into the prep work for the con!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Gencon 2015 - Here are the games I played!

I thought as part of my Gencon 2015 recap it'd be fun for me to write (and hopefully you to read) a review of what games I played. I tried to take pictures of every game I played and in almost every way succeeded!

For the purpose of this post I'm leaving out London Dread which I wrote about in its own post. I'm also going to leave out a summary of the Warmachine games I got to play as I'm saving those for a future post about playing Warmachine at a convention like Gencon.

Those two disclaimers aside, here's what I played!

The first game (and not in order of what I played, just the first game I'm writing about) wasn't actually quite a game yet. Look to the right of this text right now. See that face on that little box? Those adorable GIGANTIC kitty eyes? All the folded up little boxy kitties on the table in front of it? This was my game that I most wanted to learn more about.

Kitty Tower doesn't have a lot of info out about it. It was at the IDW Games booth, and the only info that had to share was that the game is hopefully coming out next year with full rules. For now, it was as simple a game as could be - just stack a bunch of kitties! I played against my brother and sister to see who would get to the seventh kitty stacked. I'd like to think my experience with my own two kitties (who are notoriously difficult to stack in real life) gave me the experience I needed to win. At this point I'm hoping to get a lot more info about the game, but stacking cats? You had me at hello.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Gencon Impressions: London Dread

I survived Gencon (mostly) again once more this year. It was a great time, albeit a little different than normal since we were staying in a different hotel from years past and the Hopeless Wife couldn't attend. I've also heard murmurings that they set once more a brand new attendance record. For my two cents, it was definitely crowded at times, but Indy continues to adapt and offer new experiences for the ever-expanding crowds.

For my first post-Gecon post I wanted to focus on the game that excited us most coming away from the show. On Thursday my brother and sister, along with yours truly, got a chance to sit down for a full introduction session of a brand new game called London Dread by Plotmaker Games. To be honest, there's not a whole lot of information out there other than it's a Danish game and what I took away from playing it at Gencon.

First off, the game is a lot of fun from a first play-through. It's 100% cooperative. We played with four people, but apparently it plays 2 to 4. I imagine solo play is definitely possible, but there's a timing mechanism that makes that a TON of information for one player to handle.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Gencon Day Minus One!

So we made it to Indy and got all our event tickets and auction items entered in record time! It's been a great start for us this year, and I'm already full from our first real Con meal at the Ram.

I'm sitting in my hotel room right now doing the normal Wednesday night routine of looking through the convention catalog to see what's new this year. Honestly, not a lot is.

But that is not a bad thing. I've been coming to Gencon for over 15 years, and really one thing I've discovered is that it's a bit of a homecoming each year. I'm very comfortable knowing what to expect from the experience, and there is something really nice about that.

I'm already anticipating some of my favorite annual events like the first walk through the exhibitors hall, an annual game of Dread and Call of Cthulhu, and the Saturday night charity auction.

At the same time, I'm very excited for a brand new experience this year. I've finally got a painted Warmachine army and am really looking forward to getting trounced and learning how to be better by playing in the Iron Arena.

It should be a great couple days!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Gencon in one week!

I can't believe we're only one week away from Gencon. Thank God though, right? I've been frantically trying to paint up a 50 point Cygnar army for the Iron Arena on Friday and Saturday. This will be my first time playing Warmachine at Gencon in over ten years. I've been doing a lot of studying of the rules and have played some practice games with the Hopeless Brother, but I genuinely believe we're both ill-prepared. Aw well. It's a casual format, and I look forward to being schooled in the rules so I can actually learn some of the more nuanced rules.

Of course I'm excited for other things as well this year, but for the first time since she started going, the Hopeless Wife will not be joining us. It's going to be a big adjustment as she was my travel buddy as well, and so I don't really know what to expect this year. At the same time, while I'm excited to see lots of new things, I don't really have anything specific in mind that I'm hunting after.

I think I'm in a place where I'm just kind of a little out of the loop and thus open to discovering some new stuff. I don't know what I'm looking for, which in a way is a weird place for me to be. I've been into Warmachine/The Iron Kingdoms very heavily for about the last half year. I'm working on writing my own RPG, and I've had scant chance to actually play board games since last Gencon.

So where does that leave me? Well, I want to play some demos. One thing I'm actually wanting to try in specific is the second edition of the Game of Thrones LCG. The original CCG is was got me into card games, but they lost me with the LCG release since it really focused on multiplayer versus head-to-head. I'm hoping the new edition gives fun play to the "joust" format as it's known.

What else? I think I'd like to find a new RPG to read, something I've never heard of but with light rules and exciting setting. Something that grabs me right away with its originality. I don't know what that looks like, but I'll know it when I see it.

I do have a few RPG's I'l be playing as well, which I'm really looking forward to, including a game of Friday night Dread. Nothing better. Of course there's the Gencon Auction as well. That's a perennial favorite.

What are you excited for?

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Preparing for War! Basic Miniature Basing.

Hey fellow hopeless readers! Long-time no see. I realized I've been doing a lot of gaming stuff and not talking about it, which is of course a waste of perfectly good blogging material.

I haven't been doing nearly as much role playing in recent times simply because I've been away from my group since moving and don't have a bunch of possibilities locally. That being said, I've rerouted my gaming fuel into design and have been working on a few different games for a while. Maybe one day I'll finish one. Maybe.

In other news, I've gotten back into Warmachine big time, which was a game that I basically grew into a gamer with when I was younger. I've always loved the lore of the game and thought it would be great to play a Role Playing game in. Recently I ran the intro adventure from the Iron Kingdoms Unleashed Adventure Kit. I highly recommend it as everyone had a good time regardless of their familiarity with the setting.

I've also always wanted to be a good player. I've been doing a lot of research and following on general strategies nowadays. I'm not good, but I'm learning, and having a lot of fun doing it.

One thing I've always been terrible at and generally assumed I just had no skills in was painting miniatures. Lately the Hopeless Wife has given me some tips and tricks, and I've really taken to painting. Like to the point where I actually have some pieces I'm proud of and paint a bit each day. It's actually quite addicting.

One of my favorite parts of painting miniatures is getting the bases complete at the end. Each time I've done it it feels like it really ties the thing together. In Warmachine, every model generally has a front and back arc, so as you see the photos below you'll notice the bases are all colored.

I thought it might be useful for those of you who want to get into this part of the hobby to see just how crazy easy it is to do a simple, good-looking (in my opinion) base.

Step 1: Getting your materials together.

I go for a basic gravel/grass kind of terrain for my bases at the moment, and for that, you don't need much in the ways of materials.


Here's what you need:

  • Mod Podge - basically Elmer's glue that you can pour out, available anywhere hobby stuff is.
  • A Small Paper Plate - or something you don't mind glue drying on. You're going to pour a little bit of the Mod Podge onto this as your pallet, so to speak. 
  • A wide bowl - you're going to pour your basing material in there, so it helps to have enough room to maneuver the miniature.
  • An old paint brush - one you can have some control with but don't mind ruining.
  • Basing Material - for my stuff, I use Woodland Scenics Blended Turf (the green stuff) and Medium Ballast (the brown stuff) because I got it cheap from the Gencon Auction store. I believe this is actually a model train brand, so it shouldn't be too hard to find this stuff or something similar. There are tons of options out there for this ingredient. 
You'll of course need miniatures, which I have a picture of the four I did this morning at the top of this post! Pour a puddle of Hod Podge onto the plate, and you're ready for step 2!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Select Painting Competition Models from Gencon 2014

The Gamer Wife is a big fan of painting miniatures. It helps that she's a much better painter than myself, but we both appreciate a pretty mini. She likes her some speed painting as well, and if you're a hobbyist when it comes to miniatures, Gencon has a wonderful area with tons to do, including the fun paint-and-take where the group gives you a mini to keep and you can use all the supplies you might need to make it pretty!

I decided to take some photos again this year of the competition miniatures. Check out the photos below!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Gencon 2014 FFG Booth

We here at Hopeless Games are long time Fantasy Flight Games fans. They always steal the show at Gencon, and a big part of that is their skill at saving up some big announcements and then pacing themselves in the lead up to Gencon and, most importantly, their Friday afternoon In-Flight Report seminar where they get to the nitty gritty and first announce something big, usually their biggest game of the year.

Two years ago we got the Edge of the Empire beta rules announcement, and notoriously, everyone in attendance at the seminar got a copy. Last year we got some new games, but they gave us a disclaimer right at the beginning of the seminar not to get our hopes up for free stuff, but at least we got the announcement of the Age of Rebellion beta being releases (the second of their three-game Star Wars RPG series that all share the same mechanics but emphasize different kinds of Star Wars stories).

Anyhow, in the lead up to this Gencon we got two big announcements. Both made me really excited at first word and then when I dug a bit deeper, sadly found out the games wouldn't be for me. Great for some, but not for me. Keep reading after the jump for more info and tons of photos!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Gencon 2014 Privateer Press Booth

So in my last post I talked a bit bout how Warmachine is synonymous for Gencon with me, and that it's been the focus of more cons than not in my life. I'm not a competitive player and can't see myself ever getting into that mindset, but I have a really great time reading the fiction, thinking about painting different color schemes, and playing casual games with my brother.

As always, the Privateer Press booth at Gencon is one of the busiest every year with a wave of pre-release items available for purchase. The lines are always crazy as people clamor to get the hot new figures, and lucky for us, this was a Hordes year of releases. We'll probably eventually wander back into playing some Hordes, at least me with a good 35 points+ of Trollbloods from years back, but for now we're sticking with Warmachine.

Below you can find some of the models that were on displays at Privateer's booth, both studio models and some models for the P3 painting competition.











Saturday, August 9, 2014

Gencon Means War(machine)!

Wow has it been a while since I posted anything to The Hopeless Gamer, and for that I'm sorry. I decided enough was enough, and in anticipation of going to Gencon next week, it was time to get back into things.

I notoriously take a long time to get excited for Gencon every year. This will by my 14th Gencon in a row/ever, and finally, just a few days before setting off from Iowa to drive to Indy, the excitement is building up in my quite rapidly.

A big part of that is that my brother emailed me out of the blue the other day asking if I was interested in getting back into Warmachine for a bit. My first reaction was "absolutely" followed a few hours later, after flipping the house upside down to see what I still had of my Cygnar, Trollblood, and mercenary forces after three moves and years of absence from the game, was "hell yes!"

Since then, just last week, I have been in a whirlwind of getting myself acquainted with the Mark II rules, which was actually the last book I bought for the game, conveniently. I went to Privateer's site and ordered a bunch of updated character cards, and have been putting together some army lists.

My brother sold off his Protectorate and random Hordes stuff a few years ago, so he's diving back in fresh, but this time with Khador, and I'm absolutely stoked. I still have my templates, dice, focus markers, measuring tape, the whole deal, even down to my old army transports bag.

And all this is going to be packed up for Gencon, ironically, not to play in any official capacity, but just to get some gaming in with my brother. Sure we see each other several times of the year and play games, only living two hours apart, but there's just something special about Gencon for getting together with people and playing some good games.

For the first seven or eight Gencons I attended, it was synonymous with Warmachine and Privateer Press. I've been a loyal Cygnar player (when I was a player at all) the whole time, and I can't be more excited to get back into the game.

All this coming week I hope to be bringing you posts and lots of pictures from the convention, so be sure to check back from time to time. It's good to be blogging again!

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