Sunday, November 24, 2013

This Geek's Week...

- Worked a bit more on my Flames of War stuff.  I think I went a bit overboard on the chipping effect of my earlier two tanks so I went back a fixed them a little.  I also swapped the NSP flags on my commanders for the HG Panzer Division flags instead, mostly just to give them even more of an HG feeling and to separate them a bit more from the typical panzer company look.  It's also a bit easier to paint as well.  I've now got 3 tanks finished.

- Played a bit of War Thunder.  I've been taking a bit of break from it lately to spend a bit more time with my wife after my daughter goes to bed, instead of playing from 8 pm to 2 am like I was doing a week or so ago.

- I recently started watching "Girls und Panzer" and am really enjoying it.  I've seen clips before, but seeing as I'm in tank-mode lately, I've begun to watch it from start to finish.  Needless to say, I'm hooked!  I can already envision building a couple of model tanks based off the show... starting with the Panzer IV D.

- Played a few rounds of Hearthstone.

- Ran Sajan through the foxglove manor scenario from the Skinsaw Murders adventure pack.  This one was pretty easy, though I didn't end the scenario with any fancy new gear.

- Worked a brief bit on my last 3 Orc Dreadball players...

** As Thanksgiving Day is next week, I'll be out of town, so no gaming or geekery will probably happen.  Here's to hoping I have a better trip than last year!  (both myself and my daughter got extremely sick)  


Thursday, November 21, 2013

SPOILER FREE Book Review: Prince of Wolves (Pathfinder Tales)

Prince of Wolves
By Dave Gross

From the back of the book:
For half-elven Pathfinder Varian Jeggare and his devil-blooded bodyguard Radovan, things are rarely as they seem.  Yet not even the notorious crime-solving duo is prepared for what they find when a search for a missing Pathfinder takes them into the gothic and mist-shrouded mountains of Ustalav.  Beset on all sides by noble intrigue, mysterious locals, and the deadly creatures of the night, Varian and Radovan must use both sword and spell to track the strange rumors to their source and uncover a secret of unimaginable proportions, aided in their quest by a pack of sinister werewolves and a mysterious mute priestess.  But it'll take more than merely solving the mystery to finish this job.  For shadowy figures have taken note of the pair's investigations, and the forces of darkness are set on making sure neither mans get out of Ustalav alive...

Initial thoughts:
Since finishing "Nightglass" just prior to this one, I now have at least one book from the Pathfinder Tales to gauge this one off of.  I've always heard fans of the Warhammer Fantasy novels rave about the "Gotrek & Felix" series, although I never read them, my initial thought was that Jeggare & Radovan would end up being the Pathfinder equivalent of Gotrek & Felix.  With that in mind, the big question going into this one was: after finishing this one, would I want to read the next Jeggare & Radovan adventure?

The good:
First off, the characters were really well written.  They were each dynamic in their own ways, and the mixture of personalities just worked well.  They were believable as well.  The characters come from two wildly different backgrounds, and they definitely acted the parts through the whole novel.  The plot was pretty good as well, kept me guessing, several curves in there, and a few unseen surprises in there as well.  It also painted an interesting picture of Ustalav as well, and one of the things I always look for in a Pathfinder novel is whether or not I get a deeper understanding of the Pathfinder realm.

The not so good: (because nothing is perfect)
The first person perspective kind of threw me off a bit, especially in the opening chapters.  The reason being, it's hard to get into a new character when you read: "I did this..." or "I did that..." then the next chapter starts off the same way, with "I did this..." or 'I did that..." but it would be the other character this time around.  I found it initially a bit hard to figure which of the two characters was the "I", until I realized if one chapter dealt with Jaggare, then the next would be about Radovan's experiences.  Set the book down for too long (a few days, a week) and you could find yourself forgetting once again just who the "I did this..." would be referring to.  There were also some awkward instances where the character would be dictating, as if writing in his field journal, with the view of the reader as the recipient.  It never flowed well, and when it happened, it created some awkward situations as far as reading went.  Luckily, the author didn't keep it up through the whole novel, as I found it a bit distracting.  Finally, while I enjoyed the overall plot, it felt like several "mini encounters" that all came together for one big story.  I likened it to RPG storytelling, or something like the Pathfinder Adventure Card game where you move to a location, resolve an encounter, move to another location, resolve a new encounter.  It didn't bother me too much, but a few of those encounters could have been extended out, or fleshed out a bit more, even at the expense of losing one or two of those "minor encounters" in my opinion. 

Final thoughts:
All in all, I really enjoyed the book.  The characters were great.  I learned about Ustalav and the Pathfinder lore, and the plot was pretty unpredictable to say the least!  So, my initial question was: would I read another book featuring Jaggare & Radovan?  Well, my answer is a yes!  I'm looking forward to seeing if the author continues with the first person perspective he used in this one, and if there are any wonky, journal-like parts in the next one since he seemed to stop doing it about half way through this novel.  I'm looking forward to picking up "Master of Devils", the next book that follows these two characters!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

This Geek's Week...

- Finished up my first "test tank" for my FoW HG Panzer Division.  I'm sure I'll never be able to get game in, but at least I'm finally getting the stuff painted after they have been sitting on my shelf for over a year or two.  I've also finished up the first tank from my command section.

- Worked on my Orc dreadball team some more.  I have 7/10 done thus far.  I've also come up with the name for my Orc team, they are the.... wait for it... The GIRAFFES!  GIRAFFES!  GIRAFFES!  

- Played some more War Thunder.  I've started getting a little bit frustrated with the Germans in Arcade Battles due to the severe lack of physics, "furballs" of fighters, abundance of "Vultures" on my team, and the overall advantages to turn fighters in that mode, I really think I need to start moving towards playing Historic Battles more with my Germans.  That said, I recently had some good AB results with my 4/5 Americans, going 7-1 with top score in one game.

- Finished reading the Pathfinder novel: "Prince of Wolves".  Started reading a non-fiction book, "Anzio: Italy and the battle for Rome - 1944" by Lloyd Clark.

- Played a few rounds of Hearthstone.  I still stand by my thought that I cannot see myself really spending any money on it.  I also found myself growing a bit frustrated with it as well.  I'm winning a game, the opponent has no chance, and yet he won't just concede.  On the flipside, I do tend to concede early.  I see my opponent has the advantage, I know what's in my deck, I know he's got the game, so I concede.  Why waste another 10+ minutes on what I know to be a lost cause?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Initial forays into scenic model bases...

Son:  "How many cannons does it have?  2+ armor save?  Feel No pain?"
Dad: "No son, this isn't for some silly game!  This is modeling for the sake of modeling..."

    Incase you haven't been reading the last few weeks worth my "This Geek's Week...", aside from solo games of the Pathfinder Adventure card game, I've been unable to get any tabletop gaming in.  I show up to the LGS, and people are either getting ready to leave, don't have time, or just don't feel like playing anything.  It's been getting rather frustrating, as my time for gaming is limited, and when I manage to make it to the store I WANT TO GAME!  With that growing frustration in mind, I've decided to start moving away from gaming, and building new armies, and instead move towards building more traditional model kits, as well as the scenic bases to mount them on.  With that in mind, my first forays into this new hobby will be to take some of my unused gaming models, and to start experimenting with how to mount them.  Why have them just thrown on a shelf, or kept tucked away in a gaming bag, never to see the light of day, when I can mount them to a fancy base, and display them on a shelf properly!  These are my first two attempts: my Imperial Fists Rhino from Warhammer 40k, and my Panzer Auf 1-C from DUST.

This Geek's Week...

I herd U liek Mudkips...

- Been playing a bunch of War Thunder, as usual.  I think I need to just come to terms with the fact that I'm not all that good at the game.  I'm kind of a middle of the road player at best.  Sometimes I top the charts, but those time are few and far in between!  A funny little dialog happened in one match:
RandomPilot: "Are the bf 109's any good?"
Me (flying a bf 109): "I like mine, but they seem fragile"
RandomPilot: "I know, right?"
** I immediately drop behind a plane, who just happens to be "Randompilot" in a 109.  Two quick cannon shots from me and "RandomPilot" drops from the skies!
Me: "See, fragile! =P"

- Finished up the little diorama base for my Imperial Fist Rhino, and mounted the tank onto it.  I think it turned out pretty good, for a first attempt.  I think I may tackle a WWII plane next, maybe my favorite plane in War Thunder, a German BF 109 if I can find one.

- Been working on my Orc Dreadball team.  I've got about half the team finished.

- Ran Sajan through the first two scenarios of the new "Skinsaw Murders" adventure pack, "undead uprising" and "ghoul bait".  Since these were both undead themed, I restricted the monster decks to just skeletons, zombies, and ghouls.  My 3 year old daughter played the first scenario with me, her job was to flip the blessing deck, and to roll the dice, calling out the numbers.  (see, games can be educational!)  She did her best at trying to kill my character with her low die rolls.  It came down to the last card in the blessing deck, before I managed to kill the villain.  I played the second one by myself, and it went much smoother.  All in all, I'm really enjoying the overall theme of the scenarios.

- Started to finally paint some of my Flames of Wars stuff, after having it sit on the shelf for probably a year.  I'm blaming my recent love of War Thunder for this.  I've got my first test model all but finished.  For my Germans, I'm going with an HG Panzer Division.  In FoW, I'm making the allied invasion of Italy the main focus of my forces.

- Played a few rounds of World of Tanks.  1st one I got put into a higher tier bracket.  There's not much you can do against enemy tanks when your rounds just bounce off of em!  The second round, we lost via capping.  I did a bit a damage, and made my way, along with one other, to the enemy cap.  Only problem was, 2 enemies made it to our cap point, and the 2 friendlies that were close to our base decided to just drive off!  Finally in the last game, I took out 4 tanks before running into a tank I couldn't hurt.  I tried to work my way around him, to try and take some rear shots, but we ended up capping before I could make it.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

This Geek's Week...

- Been playing a TON of War Thunder.  (and staying up way too late in the process) I'm mainly focusing on flying German planes, but I've started flying the low tier American planes as well.  I'm still working out my aim issues.  I also gave "historic battles" a try, and while pretty hard, I honestly enjoyed it.

- Started playing the Hearthstone beta.  The game is just ok.  I enjoyed the WoW TCG back in the day, and even thought about picking it (along with the MMO) back up again, that is until I heard Cryptozoic lost the license from Blizzard.  That's what hearthstone is, a slightly modified, simplified (but still enjoyable), version of the old WoW TCG.  Despite it being a somewhat enjoyable game, they want you to spend $3 for 2 packs of digital cards, and there in lies the issue.  (as well to access some other features)  I enjoy the game, but I cannot bring myself to spend $3 for random, digital, data.  I'd spend $3 for physical cards, but not for something like this that isn't tangible.  That said, you can earn packs at a much slower pace by just playing.  Honestly, I'm not sure how well it will be received without some major incentive to keep playing and to buy packs.

- I recently decided to start taking some of my unused, larger gaming models, and mounting them into little displays/dioramas as you'd see regular modelers doing.  I've picked up some supplies, and so far have mounted one of my DUST Warfare walkers onto a base.  I'll also be mounting my Imperial Fists Rhino in a similar fashion.  From there, I'll probably start doing regular models of tanks and WWII planes instead of painting regular gaming models since lately I've not been getting much gaming in. (if you couldn't tell by these posts of late)

- Ran Valeros through a special "Halloween Themed", and it just proved too much for him!  Thus far, I've killed 2 characters, only Sajan has made it all the way through so far.  I also ordered the next adventure deck, the Skinsaw Murders.