Sunday, October 14, 2012

On My Radar: Kickstarter, Descent 2, and Fall In 2012

You know what's hard? Working a full-time IT job, doing the various and sundry things related to owning a house and keeping sanity with a spouse, grabbing big chunks of your free-time (mostly on weekends) to design your complex wargame, and squeezing in reading time wherever you can. It leaves scant time for blogging. Such is life.  

The gaming world hasn't stopped spitting out chunks of news just because I've neglected to write about it. Nope, it just keeps expanding so fast, it's getting damn hard to keep up with it all. So what's cropped up on my gaming radar of late?


Kickstarter has become something of an addiction for me. I bought in to 3 different Kickstarter campaigns over the past few months: Mantic's Kings of War fantasy battle wargame and new miniatures, the Goal System: Delves dungeon skirmish role-playing game and some neat-looking pre-painted dungeon terrain, and the unbelievably successful Reaper Bones plastic miniatures campaign which raised close to 3.5 million dollars. I'm excited about all 3 of them, and I'm confident that they'll all turn out to be great.

Opinions vary on whether Kickstarter is a temporary fad or the wave of the future. I believe it's the future, and I think it's a fantastic way for the little-guy to gauge interest in a creative idea and fund it without going broke. It's also beneficial for the more established companies looking to expand their offerings, while limiting their initial financial risk.

Kickstarter has opened up the world to a flood of more good ideas, more innovative products, and simply more viewpoints. Just like the millions of writers and broadcasters that now have a voice thanks to the ease of blogging and podcasting, Kickstarter is making small business more accessible to the masses. I do not doubt that there will be some lame ideas and some failures along the way; that's the nature of business. But in the big scheme of things, more choices and more chances at success is a WIN for society.

My only problem with Kickstarter is that it's so darn addicting. I find myself wanting to fund lots of things, but my wallet usually grabs me by the collar and shouts into my ear "What the hell are you doing Steve, if you donate to that game we might be eating dirt all next week!" You need to be choosy. After shelling out $500 on the aforementioned games/minis, I had to cool my jets. I ended up passing on Dreadball (which looks superb by the way), new miniature ranges by Red Box Games and Center Stage Miniatures, the Gauntlet of Fools and DungeonCraft board games, and the Fantacide skirmish miniatures game. All looked great, and they were all funded, so at least there was a happy ending.

I haven't jumped in yet, but the miniatures for Dominion of the Gods (by Comfy Chair) look absolutely fantastic, so my non-spending resolve is teetering as we speak. The Storm the Castle board game also looks pretty cool. Ah Kickstarter, you sultry temptress!


Despite being a big fan of dungeon crawls and fantasy adventure games, I have never played the much-loved classic board game, Descent, by Fantasy Flight Games. Time has always been the deciding factor with that game. Most people claim that a typical game of Descent takes 3 or 4 hours to play to conclusion, and frankly when I have that much time to game I'll opt to fill it by playing a mass-battle miniatures wargame such as Sword of Severnia, or several skirmish battles using Song of Blades & Heroes, SAGA, Gnome Wars, or something along those lines.

So it is with much curiosity that I read about the new 2nd Edition of Descent. There's a really nice review of Descent 2nd Edition over at the Game Informer web-site, which I recommend checking out. The thing that most excites me about the new version is that it has been streamlined and plays much faster. Being able to finish an adventure in 90 minutes to 2 hours has greatly increased my enthusiasm for trying this game out.

I'm not buying Descent just yet. I have to see how Goal System: Delves works out for my group. I like playing with my own 28mm painted minis and dungeon terrain, and the role-playing feel of that game, at least from what I've previewed so far. And with my limited time for gaming, I cannot really justify owning BOTH games, since Descent isn't exactly a drop in the bucket price-wise. But still, the new version of Descent really intrigues me. If you've played the new version, I would love to hear your thoughts, so leave a comment on this blog.

FALL IN 2012

I recently pre-registered for Fall In 2012, the autumn miniature wargames convention held in Lancaster, Pennsylvania that's hosted by HMGS East. Of the 3 conventions that HMGS East runs, this one has the smallest crowds and is the most laid back, but I always enjoy it. For me, it's the last major game convention of the calendar year, and last chance to go buy some toys in person before the inevitable holiday crush.

At this point, I'm still not sure which of my buddies are officially going to attend, so I'm keeping my plans loose and flexible for now. The only thing I'm doing for sure is some shopping. But what should I buy? When you've been involved in the wargaming hobby for as long as I have, it's no longer a question of NEED, but rather a matter of WANT.

I'm swimming in unpainted figures, so that's never a big focus of mine at these shows, but dammit if there aren't some fantastic new ranges that have caught my eye. Those Fireforge plastic knights are stunning! And the goodies from Otherworld, Gripping Beast, Eureka, and Brigade (Gnome Wars) are always tempting. But what I really want is... hmmm... that's a darn, good question. What do I want?

Well, let's see... SAGA dice... Secrets of Wargame Design book (by Wally Simon)... Dux Bellorum (dark age rules) is a no-brainer must-buy.... and the Dux Brittaniarum rules by Too Fat Lardies are very tempting as well... I could really use a nice wide bridge and church, or maybe some dark age houses/huts, and will be checking out Miniature Building Authority and Architects of War for possible options... very tempted to take the plunge on some yetis (wendigo) from Crocodile Games, as my norse-style fantasy army could use them...

Though I probably won't find it at a wargames show, the King of Tokyo giant monster battle game is high on my list.

And last but not least, nicely painted fantasy or dark age / medieval minis are always #1 priority for me, since my painting time is very limited (gotta work on improving that in 2013).

Anyway, stay tuned for my FALL IN report in mid-November, and hopefully I'll take more pictures this time!