13 Mar 2015

To Play on the Table (part 5) - Table Top

So I looked at five popular games this week.

EDIT: Here is the link to part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4 of this weeks breakdowns for the more popular games on the table.

I know a missed quite a few: Dystopian Wars, Firestorm Armada, Flames of War, Bolt Gun, Relic Knight, Batman Miniatures Games, Dropzone Commander, Warhammer Fantasy, Dreadzone, Kings of War, Bushido, Malifaux, Wild West Exodus, Heavy Gear, etc... the list goes on and on.

I'm thinking of doing this again once I've jumped into a few other games - wallet shudders. Many of the above are very cheap and some not so much. Maybe by next year - again it also depends on if I can get more game time in.

So outside of cost lets rate the other stuff that each games has:

The scoring that I'm using -

FAIL – Failed in all aspects
WEEK – Did not meet the standard
BRONZE – Met the standard
SILVER – Exceeded the standard
GOLD – Perfect, set the standard


Warhammer 40K

Warhammer 40,000 is the big daddy and the original game for many a player. With a regular, varied, and widespread tournament scene it’s sad to see that Warhammer 40k lacks Organized play. Their last major event was the 13th Black Crusade in 2003. There is no regular support to local game stores – there are limits on what they can sell as a matter of fact. The flagship stores have strange hours and limited hours. Even though the 40k IP is very popular there is very littler synergy with other 40k products. Space Hulk is a great way to get some nice Terminator minis but outside of that, the game and the miniatures do not synergise well with the various RPG’s, Card Games, and smaller specialist games. The rules are expensive with a costly codex for each faction. Last but not least the legally aggressive behaviour of Games Workshop to sue or put out Cease and Desist orders to 3rd party designers for miniature accessories and terrain is comical.

Organized Play
Competitive Community
Accessible Rule Set
Quality of Miniature
3rd Party Support
Synergy with other products
Setting
FAIL
BRONZE
WEAK
BRONZE
FAIL
WEAK
GOLD

FUN: SILVER

As much as the game can be fun – 40k is not well supported and is the most expensive game on the market. It may be the granddaddy of the hobby but it’s showing its age. There is also the issue with "the army of the month" balance issues. When I ask folks about their best and worst all time games – most of the worst games given stem from a game of 40k due to the rampant balance issues. Add in the high cost to play and Warhammer 40,000 is not doing so well. If it wasn't due to the large player base and the great IP Warhammer 40k would be at FAIL. I don't want them to fail but unless they change the way they due buisness they may falter and implode and the hobby would be lesser for that loss.

Final Score: WEAK

***

WarMachine

WarMachine is one of two games set in the Iron Kingdoms setting using the same basic gameplay rules with the other game in the setting Hordes. Both games are fully compatible and interchangeable. When new minis a released, a player does not need to wait for the new book, instead each miniature comes with a card that sports all rules that apply to that miniature making releasing miniatures and new models very easy. Privateer Press publishes an annual free rule set for organized play such as leagues and tournaments. There are three official sanctioned tournament styles for varying degree of competitive play. Also the miniatures can be used for the in house published RPG, IKRPG – Full Metal Fantasy and Unleashed, where close to 95% of the rules come from the table top game. Each year also sports three to four seasons of events that starting with this year include input for the table top game, the card game, and came with a RPG scenario that affect event earnings. Privateer Press have set the standard for Organized play, Competitive play and Synergy between products.

Organized Play
Competitive Community
Accessible Rule Set
Quality of Miniature
3rd Party Support
Synergy with other products
Setting
GOLD
GOLD
SILVER
SILVER
BRONZE
GOLD
GOLD

FUN: GOLD

There is a reason WarMachine (and Hordes) are doing very well. Unseating the giant that is Games Workshop in this hobby is a feat. It helps when GW is doing poorly but you have to be a successful venture in your own right and Privateer Press is not only doing better they are putting into place a higher expectation that players in the hobby now expect from the other companies and games. They have expanded with some short stories and full on novels and have really pushed the setting forward with the IKRPG books.

Final Score: GOLD

***

Infinity

I loved Mordeheim by Games Workshop, the small model count, skirmish game with more detailed rules set astandard for me for fun and great gameplay. Corvus Beli broke those rules when they decided to give the rules of their brilliant game away for free. Now entering thing third edition they have been setting the standard for free rules, free army electronic army builders, and quality of miniatures. Each month a half dozen or less miniatures are released and each one is a wonder to behold in sculpt and paint job. Each miniature has a dynamic pose and shows character simply by the sculpt. With an RPG on the way that is said in allow players to switch from table top to RPG on the fly with little conversion the first expansion is looking like a great move forward to the young company. Due to the small number of miniature needed to play but the large number of terrain features, there has been a explosion of official and unofficial 3rd  party products for 28mm sci-fi terrain to support games like Infinity. The official partners get included in the photos within the rule book and the site while the unofficial producers of terrain and miniature accessories are able to hold their own. Warsena, one of the official partners just released official rules – approved by CB, for all of their terrain that is online for free… Oh and the dynamic and creative gameplay that Infinity is known for is standard setting.

Organized Play
Competitive Community
Accessible Rule Set
Quality of Miniature
3rd Party Support
Synergy with other products
Setting
SILVER
SILVER
GOLD
GOLD
GOLD
N/A
GOLD

FUN: GOLD

As Infinity comes forward with 3D printing and the steady stream of new minis and upgraded miniatures continue to convert the model fanatics in the hobby, the game snatches folks in with a free of rules that seems simple but quick reveal a large depth allowing for some of the best gaming moments in the hobby. Next to Warhammer 40k, that have one of the more indepth settings in the hobby with plenty of detail and plenty to do in setting.

Final Score: GOLD

***

MERCS

MERCs feels like the little guy that could, the American dream of miniature games since Privateer Press broke out into the mainstream and is no longer considered indie. MERCs is a fast paced, simple game that requires very little in terms of space, time, and effort to get into. Only the rule book is needed for the advanced rules, which you don’t need to play with… for some factions at least. A single 6 miniature box and the purchase of only one more miniature per faction makes it easy for MERCs player to have more than one faction, bought painted, and ready to play right off the bat. No other game comes at such a cost. Army building is easy – pick your miniatures and play. No point cost, no min or max number of units. MERCs is easy and simple and once a game gets going players find it hard to fault some of the more simple gameplay mechanics when they are deep into the fun and already thinking of the next match.

Organized Play
Competitive Community
Accessible Rule Set
Quality of Miniature
3rd Party Support
Synergy with other products
Setting
WEAK
FAIL
SILVER
SILVER
WEAK
SILVER
BRONZE

FUN: SILVER

MERCs is not perfect, it’s fun and easy to play. Requires little space and terrain. The unique card measurement system may seem silly at first but it quickly converts folks once they start playing. As players await the 2nd edition rules, the new RECCON board game (which uses the same miniatures), the dice game and the upcoming RPG rules (which are in Alpha and free online), MERCs is already shaping up to play well within its own sphere. MERCS is a rising game, slowly sometimes but rising none the less and it’s a fun time.

Final Score: SILVER

***

Anima Tactics

Anima Tactics is a game I have not played hence the N/A score in fun. Yet finding the rules online for free, being able to use the minis with some work with the RPG and sporting some very pretty miniatures, Anima Tactics is on my radar when I started this project. My largest issue is that there is more support for games like Bushido, Malifaux, and a half dozen other games within my meta when it seems that Anima Tactics would do very well. Ottawa has one of (if not the) oldest English anime loving populations outside of Japan. I was hoping I’d see more of this game around but I find most events outside of Ottawa and sadly outside of Canada.


Organized Play
Competitive Community
Accessible Rule Set
Quality of Miniature
3rd Party Support
Synergy with other products
Setting
FAIL
WEAK
SILVER
SILVER
WEAK
BRONZE
BRONZE

FUN: N/A

It’s hard to judge with the week presence within my area but Anima Tactics looks like such an accessable game that I am still on the block to order a starter and some minis simply so I can use them for other games if I don’t get enough of the Anima Tactics game played.

Final Score: BRONZE

***

So that's it for this week - talk to you later with more regular posts.

- Cheers

Dozer