Games We Play: Warhammer 40k

It has been two years and three weeks in the making to play our “first” game of Warhammer 40k. Approximately two years ago we bought our boy a Warhammer 40k boxed set because he likes the Tyranid (think bugs) Army and I after many years of working at a hobby shop as a “games guy” love to assemble, paint, and play Warhammer 40k, but hate the Tyranids.

warhammer-7Unfortunately two years ago he was not ready. Now he is. He has dilengently read the rules, he has painted (as 12 years do) many of his figures, and he has begun assembling them. Plus, because we did not have terrain, he built some (as you will see), out of Legos.

I will not, unlike in other game reports, explain the rules of Warhammer 40k. The rules are complex (at times needlessly so) and explaining them would be several blog posts. Instead, allow me to say that for our boy this is the most complicated game he has ever tried to learn. Warhammer 40k is a game that he will play for a long time and get a lot of enjoyment out of. There are and will be games he likes better, but this will stick with him for a long time to come.

warhammer-2Our “first” game (we played two years ago, but did not go well) was a mess. What is a mess? Constantly looking up rules, constantly referring to stats, and generally getting many of the wrinkles out when learning a complicated game. This was on both sides of the table.

With more preparation, such as having all of our units on easy to reach and read stat cards, would have helped. However, much was learn as you go situations such as what can a tyranid army do against a dreadnought? Turns out, not much for now. Or what exactly happens during an assault phase and so on. These wrinkles are not new to me, but to him major hurdles he had to learn to work through, such as finding a rule to prove your point. If he couldn’t find the rule, then the rule didn’t exist. I am very proud of him, this could have been a game that broke him. Instead he is working on his stat cards as I type this.

warhammer-5As for our game, I won, but not because of anything more than I had a dreadnought and he did not have any anti-armor weapons. He did not because I did not pay attention to the dreadnought stats which are like a tanks. If I had I would have counseled him to build units with anti-tank. As I did not pay attention, he didn’t. On the other side, I didn’t pay attention to how melee combat focused his army was so I only built a five man squad of assault marines.

warhammer-1The game went like this; we moved a lot. 🙂 Then I charged his genestealers after shooting them up. I won the combat or so I thought, then two (yes, two) genestealers killed most of my five man squad. Then my librarian (commander) died. Then his commander died. Then the dreadnought killed everything else while remaining immune to his actions. In another proud gamer dad moment, once I realized the situation I asked if he wanted to stop playing because it was not fair, he said nope he wanted to see what he could do and learn from that.

Did we have fun, yes. Will we keep playing, yes and games will get easier.

Games We Play: Tanks, Part 2

Previously, I wrote about our experiences with Tanks by Gale Force 9.

A quick recap, Tanks is a World War 2 Armor (read TANKS) skirmish game. The game is easy to learn, fast to play, and filled with options. The models are easy to assemble (there are instructions in the rule book, on Gale Force 9’s site, and really detailed instructions on Flames of War (they use the same models)), detailed, and fun to play with.

When I left off, I had ordered a Tiger tank for our girl, because you know, Tiger in the name. And then the Tiger arrived. Putting it mildly, the Tiger tank is a scary beast, just like in life.

tiger-tank-2This is her Tiger. She wanted it painted gold. When I wouldn’t do that she tried to get her mom and a friend to convince me to paint it pink camouflage. I declined and went menacing dark grey.

Shortly after her Tiger was dry we set up a 100 point game. On her side, a Panther, a JagdPanther, and her Tiger. On my side, four, count them four Sherman 76mm tanks. Even though the point values of our squads were even, I did not feel confident; her Tiger is “immune” to side shots and has a huge cannon.

tanks-in-actionTable arranged. Terrain in place. Tanks to their starting position and we were off. Not wasting anytime our girl rushed the center of the table establishing a commanding position. Except, her JagdPanther is an assault gun meaning it can only target tanks directly in front of it. None of my tanks were in front, but it was in front of three of mine.

BOOM! End of the first turn and one of her tanks is down. However, two of mine take a lot of damage.

Not willing to sit in the center of the table, she moved to one side isolating one of my Sherman tanks. The other three spent a turn maneuvering around a building and dead JagdPanther. Unlucky rolls on her part and lucky rolls on mine, my isolated tank survived-bruised, but alive.

Turn three, the Panther goes up in flames under the fire of three tanks, but before going out the Tiger and Panther tank out two of my tanks.

Last turn, she opts to keep the Tiger in place relying on armor and being able to reroll attack dice. I opt to remain in place because there is no place to go that does anything for me. Both of my tanks shoot; two very luck shots-four critical hits between them and the Tiger goes boom. Not before taking out an undamaged Sherman.

No gloat. A realization that if I had not gotten lucky, if odds had evened out, despite better maneuvering than her I would have lost due to the rather large and painful tank that a Tiger is. She spent the next ten minutes explaining to her brother how best to use the Tiger (he was up next) and vowing revenge. I fear her Tiger. I fear her Tiger so much I bought myself a Pershing, because you know Pershing…wait…because you know big cannon. 🙂


Games We Play: Tanks by Gale Force 9

Tanks by Gale Force 9 is an excellent skirmish World War 2 miniatures game.

The starter set Panther vs Sherman priced from 21 to 25 dollars is an excellent deal. Everything necessary is included in the box: 1 panther and 2 sherman tank models (assembly required); rulebook, cards, dice, and cardboard terrain.

The models are the same models used in Flames of War, meaning you can use the illustrated instructions at the back of the rulebook or you can go online for some very detailed and interesting variation assembly instructions. The Panther can be constructed as a Panther tank (recommended) or a JadgPanther. The Shermans have one body style and two turret variations (75 and 76 mm). This means in one box you get 1 German tank and 2 types of American Tank-place desired turret on body). Details are nice and assembly is a breeze especially for experienced builders.

If you have played any of the Attack Wing games then you have played Tanks. Using a modified Attack Wing system of movement games are extremely quick and to the point. Instead of movement dies and movement templates, each player has a movement arrow. Place the arrow against the tank in the desired direction you want the tank to move and move the tank. Tanks can move twice in a turn.

Shooting is rolling attack dice; 4, 5, and 6 are hits with 6’s becoming critical hits. The defending player rolls defense dice; 4, 5, and 6 cancel hits with 6’s canceling critical hits. A hit does one point of damage. A critical flips a damage card that has an effect, such as crew bailing and a damage amount from 0 to 3.

A turn is based on the initiative of the tanks and their commanders. Starting with movement, lowest initiative to highest. Then shooting, highest initiative to lowest. Ending with command phase where repairs are attempted and counters are cleaned up for the next turn.

When a take runs out of damage points, the tank is destroyed.

See, really quick and to the point.

We played best out of three games in under an hour. My girl (8-years old) loves tanks. She wanted a Tiger tank because…you know Tiger, but that was not in the box. So she choose the Shermans 76 mm. I got the Panther. I expected victory.

Game 1: Lucky hit causes my crew to bail out of the tank causing me a turn. Using that turn she blew up my tank with her tanks.

Game 2: Clever maneuvering on my part sends her tanks to the scrap yard. This game we use crew cards-add-ons to tanks increasing stats or making other actions easier, such as my commander who gave me a re-roll to crew bailing out. All crew and equipment cards require careful reading, as my commander bumped my attack stat to the point where other equipment I chose was unnecessary.

Game 3: Pissed, my girl demonstrates she is listening to my tactical lessons when she moves her tanks to cover each other. A slip up in movement allows me to get between her tanks and blow up one of them. A lucky shot to the ammunition on my tank gave her the win.

Today…her Tiger arrived in the mail…I sense a lot of losing in my immediate future. 🙂

Games We Played: Simon’s Cat & Star Wars Destiny

Welcome back games, oh how we have missed you.

Do not ask me why games disappeared for so long, but they did and try as we might it took until this weekend to play some games. This weekend saw two new games, Simon’s Cat and Star Wars Destiny along with us trying to finally wrap up Wrath of the Righteous.

Wrath was disastrous. I do not like the army cards in Wrath. An army card affects all players; each player must choose a check for their character from a list and unless something is listed twice, each check can only be chosen once. Further, the list of checks rarely seems to be in the advantage of the skills of the players. Suffice to say, the army cards hit us hard and kept hitting us hard all the way to the end where we had given up 10 turns earlier. Nothing worse, gaming wise, than when the table of players quits before the game ends. 😦

Onto the new games…

Simon’s Cat

simons-catDo you like cats? Do you like cutesy art of cats, dogs, and other thing? Do you like variations on Uno? If you answered yes to all three then you will love Simon’s Cat. Upfront, I know nothing about Simon Tofield and his Simon’s Cat YouTube series. I know games. I also know that our daughter loves games with cats and that is how we ended up with Simon’s Cat.

Match the number or color of the top card of a stack. That is all there is to Simon’s Cat by Steve Jackson Games. If you cannot make a match you get the stack, called a mess in front of you. The player with the most messes at the end of the game gets a Simon card. The player with the most Simon Cards after a few rounds is the loser. Our children 8 and 11 were bored and done with Simon’s Cat after 1 round. The match mechanic and nothing else to spice up play wore out its welcome real quick.

Star Wars Destiny

star-wars-destinyStar Wars, oversized illustrated dice, and cards with Star Wars imagery what more could a person ask for? A game that plays as well as it looks. And Star Wars Destiny by Fantasy Flight games is a good game. Unfortunately and this is no fault of Fantasy Flight Games, the demand is high enough that around here I could only find one of each starter deck. Online prices are appalling and look to stay that way long enough to be problematic. That aside…

Using the two starters (individually around 15 each), players take turns rolling dice, playing cards, and resolving the effects until one player is out of characters or out of cards.

Play starts with two characters and their associated dice, one location (one of which will be discarded before play), a deck of 30 cards (knock against the starters as they only come with 20 cards), and a pile of counters (shields, damage, and resources). Character cards come with the amount of damage they can suffer before being knocked out, an illustration of the sides of the dice rolled, and an ability. Dice are oversized with illustrations matching those on the cards. Each side is a symbol and a number or blank. Symbols and numbers rolled determine potential actions or damage done/prevented.

A round begins with straightening cards, putting dice on the cards, gathering two resource tokens, and drawing up to 5 cards. Then each player takes an action, such as rolling the dice on a character putting those dice into the pool of available dice, playing a card, or using the results on the dice for other actions such as dealing damage. Players take actions until both players pass consecutively, then a new round occurs.

If we can find more Star Wars Destiny there will be more written about it, as we really enjoyed our games. Even though the starter decks are shy 10 cards of a full deck, there are options for play style and I can see how with some additional cards and dice it could be a very fun game to play regularly.

TPK: Total Party Kill

While TPK may become a chapter title for Puddles and Whiskers, today or last night TPK was the end of our Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Rise of the Runelords marathon. All characters killed by Karzoug the Claimer, a title that made no sense until he claimed all of us.

TPKs are rare in PACG. Very rare. I believe this was our second or third. Usually some off the wall scenario or in this case totally bad luck. I understand that last scenarios for Adventure Paths are supposed to be challenging and this was, but this also has an element of luck that…luck screwed us, plain and simple.

A single stack of fourteen cards. Karzoug the villain, three henchmen: a dragon and two giants, and ten pieces of loot. Sounds pretty simple. Our goal, defeat Karzoug. The hitch, make that two hitches, each turn we must bury a card from our hand and Karzoug is not defeated until the entire deck is gone. In other words, the only way to defeat Karzoug is if he is the last card.

If things go well, such as only drawing Karzoug once or not at all until near the end then Into the Eye (the name of the scenario) should go like this:

  1. Bury a card
  2. Draw a boon, obtain the boon to be buried following turn or
  3. Draw a henchmen, defeat and move on

The hope being that enough boons are gained to offset the bury a card a turn and any damage. Our game went like this:

Draw Karzoug who has an ability, “Succeed at Constitution or Fortitude 15 check.” If you succeed, you only take 2 damage. I was the only character who had a chance at succeeding. If you fail, take 1d4 +1 damage. And that is where the wheels fell of the adventure wagon. Karzoug and his enslaved Blue Dragon, who has a similar ability NUKED us…well more the other players than me.

It was a draw between who went out first, the alchemist or the sorceress. Regardless that left me to fight Karzoug one last time. Suffice to say the game ended like this…


So, now what?

Well, we replay the scenario and hope for better draw. Like I said, TPKs are rare.

And then what, if Into the Eye is the last scenario what will we do? Talk has turned to playing through Wrath of the Righteous, something that has not happened yet. Some of us have played through Adventure Deck 3. Having looked up the FAQ for the set, the big issue that made us quit has been addressed, thus with some trepidation, we are looking that way. After that…Mummy’s Mask or turning Wrath into Adventure Deck 7 for our Rise characters.

For those looking or hoping for more Puddles and Whiskers, they will be returning. I have another revision or two to go before I am happy with how the opening looks. Plus, I am enjoying writing about the duo and am adding to the story. I was about to say tail. 🙂


I’m So Excited!!!!

The kitchen is open for food.

Boxtopolis continues to fall.

And is there such a thing as a fancy bar?

These questions and many more will or may get addressed in today’s issue of Adventures In Unpacking.

My kitchen is at a state where I can begin to cook regularly. I cannot express how excited and happy this has made me. I could, but I would have to use vulgarity and I am not that guy…oh who am I kidding, I had a full-on Kitchen Works Chubby once the last plate was stacked. Is everything where I want it, not yet but I know where my cooking equipment is, I know where my ingredients are, and best of all I found my spice racks.

Already I am planning the first series of meals. After the obligatory rice will be a dish of cold noodles. Then I want to…oh my I forgot to mention this, my wok. I found my wok, five years in storage because the stove at the college did not work with my wok. This stove, WOKABLE! Wok Chubby!!!! So after the rice and cold noodles, practice my woking skills. I am so excited.

Obviously, Boxtopolis continues be taken down. The kitchen alone was 12 boxes and that does not include the 3 boxes of cookbooks. Next up would be games, but I unpacked many of them first in the hope of gaming this weekend, even thought I only had a place for 5 of them. Which five, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Krosmaster Arena and Quest, Star Wars Rebellion, Rivet Wars, and Munchkin, of course. 🙂 With the kitchen table assembled we have a place to eat and game.

In a few moments I will start unpacking books and putting them on shelves. This will clear space for me to start working. Remember back when I graduated and had goals? Yeah, I don’t remember that time either. Yet, I am told I had goals as such, once the books are on shelves there will be space enough for me to put in a desk and start…what is it I do again?


Are you sure?

Why that degree does include the word write. Hmmm…I will have to take your word.

Food, Games, and some life. Sounds like things are heading towards center again. As part of that process, it took two days of sweltering muggy heat to figure out how to cool this place out. When hot and muggy apply fans is usually the answer, but that made things worse. Today, I turned the fans around, so that they sucked the air out, after I woke up from passing out from holding my breath (I didn’t want to assfixIate), I immediately noticed home is much cooler. Ahhhh.

Lastly, a friend of ours has been invited to go to a fancy bar while on vacation. The friend has no idea what a fancy bar is. I tried to explain that fancy bar was code for either place with boobs and wings or wings and banana hammocks. Our friend insists that the person who invited them to the fancy bar would not go to a place with wings. So I ask, is there such a thing as a fancy bar? Lets ask The Todd from Scrubs.



The Fall of Boxtopolis

Good morning.

Another gorgeous morning…with the exception of the fan hitting the floor and the sunlight streaming through the one crack in the blinds straight into my eyes and brain…those are minor things, its a good morning. One last day to clean up the old place and then like every other place I have ever lived, I will forget the address and move on. 🙂

Here, it is one box at a time. Despite labels, admittedly I got lazier and lazier with labels as the packing stretched onto the horizon, there have been many “what the…?!” moments unpacking. I finally found the dishes, in a box labeled, “kitchen stuff.” At least the box labeled, “spices duh” had spices, but no spice rack. Ugh!

I am up and running as far as being online and being able to start writing. An awesome component of this place, I have a space to write in. Yes, my own space. There is a window to look out on days when I am stuck or it is too cold to sit outside and write. There is no door, but I don’t care because there is more than enough space for all of my books, which has not happened for a long time. Of course I need some bookshelves first…which box were they in?

Overall, everyone is happier here. Now I know this will change with time as everyone moves from “must leave here” into “now that we are here.” But for right now, even as Boxtopolis is being torn down and nobody understands my box labeling system (not even me), we are happier. We stand on our deck and marvel at how different it feels to have a yard. The kids spend time outside.

My only concern now when they step outside is which one will fall down running around. No more worries about some fucktard speeding through the court. Hell, none of the bullshit involving the court at all. I look out any window and I see signs of nature before I see a road or car. Yesterday and today while putting away mislabeled boxes of “kitchen stuff,” I watched birds hopping around on the trees, doing bird things.

First meal, mac-n-cheese…out of a box. Actually, the first meal was the steak and corn cooked on the grill, but I did not cook that, I was moving stuff. So, mac-n-cheese was the first thing I cooked here. When I find the rice, I am cooking a large batch. Time to get this place smelling like good food. Good food means home and nobody is hungry.

Games, at least those we play and those we want to start playing have been found and unpacked. This weekend should see some game play for the first time in several months. I know it will because everyone is chomping at the bit. I have not had helpers unpacking dishes, but I had several helpers unpacking the four Pathfinder Adventure Card Game boxes. We do have our priorities around here.