Monday, February 9, 2015

Netrunner Tourney Part 2

Round 2 begins and I shuffled up Gabe and prepared to make some daring runs on John's Core Weyland. This is another instance where my inexperience as a Runner cost me dearly. I grew reckless and face-checked not one, but TWO Archers which means that my key breakers were trashed. Loosing Yog meant that the Enigma behind Archer was made of solid gold, especially considering how much cash it would take for me to break Archer with either Faerie or Femme. I have to say that John leveraged a Chimera over Archives to perfect effect, never once feeling the sting from the 2 cred tax due to plentiful transactions taking place. This game ended due to time, but the results were never really in doubt.

On the flip side John is running his Chaos Theory against my PE, a matchup that I feel pretty good about. This was the only game that Diversified Portfolio every really felt worth it, but the problem was that by the time I had 9 (yes 9!) remotes going, money wasn't an issue anyways. Also, I was already worried about the time issue with my Jinteki deck sort of sitting back and waiting for the runner to flatline himself and playing against a Shaper meant that we would no doubt run into some difficulties.

The game seemed to be going well for me when I was able to kill some key programs early on with a lucky Aggressive Secretary, including his first turn Magnum Opus and breakers. I love Mushin No Shin. It is HANDS DOWN my favorite card right now. We were tied when the timer was ticking down, so I knew I'd need to make a move. I dropped Nesei and a Junebug, then next turn knew that I needed to advance the Nesei once in order to score it next turn. I checked my ever-growing remotes to see if I could advance 2 other cards to make the choice almost impossible for John on what to run, but alas, all of my other traps and Ronins were gone so it was just the Nesei and Junebug. Then I made a mistake. I advanced Junebug twice while only going once on Nesei which signalled that Junebug was a trap. John chose wisely and ran Nesei giving him the timed win. Lesson learned: make the Agenda identical or don't make the move!

John was a fun opponent and I look forward to more games with him soon. He's fairly local and we have both just really started into Netrunner. Don't be fooled by his claims of being a beginner though. It's clear that Jon has a LOT of experience with card games and an intuitive grasp of the interactions on the table in front of him. He's just the sort of opponent that can help me elevate my game.

For the last round, I'm paired close to the bottom having only won a single game. This takes a lot of pressure off and allows me to relax. I'm playing the TO, who is also named Jon. He brings out his Jinteki: PE and we begin the most embarrassing game of Netrunner I've ever played. His first turn is Ice, Ice, Op (maybe hedge). I proceed to play two cards and Sneakdoor.... You might see where this is going. I run. I effing run. Last click. With two cards in my hand. Against Jinteki. I know better. I really do. I've warned Lisa about this MANY TIMES. I got greedy. SNARE. I'm dead, turn 1, and I freaking know better. The sad thing is that Jon held no Agendas in hand and had not one but TWO Snares waiting for me. Sigh.

Last game of the tournament is against Reyna. I love this deck and have seen a similar one played by Steven (sp?) of Team Covenant in several videos. I know the score, he'll choke me out of cash and keep me that way while floating tags. I have a single Scorch which I'm hoping will show up. My first turn though, I Ice R&D. Big mistake. Whatever that Ice was (Pup maybe) should have been over HQ. For whatever reason I just did not see the first turn Siphon coming. I should say that Cambridge Jinteki doesn't need a lot of cash to run. Certainly less than HB or NBN fast advance. But it does need to stay on at least 4 credits to threaten Snare at all times. After the first turn Siphon with ample Joshua B. clicks to keep Jon's hand full and an ever-growing Medium that he ALWAYS used to dig as deep as possible, the game was over pretty quickly. Jon played the deck amazingly well and I was happy to see it in action. I just wish I hadn't been the one worked over by it.

With my time in the tournament officially over, we played a couple practice games. The two I remember had me returning the first turn win favor by successfully using Sneakdoor to nab 7 points out of his hand against his NEXT big ice deck. I also managed to get a win against the same deck after being Howlered into a Janus and taking 4 brain damage. Inside Job is just amazing against a big ice deck like this, as is just sitting back and making money until you're ready to make the big run.

Overall I had a blast! It was such a great group of players and I was happy to meet people from Richmond and Hampton Roads, as I don't mind having to drive a bit every once in a while for a game. Jon did a great job running everything and keeping everyone in the spirit of fun and sportsmanlike play. I probably came in last place, but the participation prize was an alt art Plascrete which is now in Gabe to replace the Crash Space (which was my poor man's armor anyways!).

Thanks to all of the players who showed up and made this such a great event, Jon for running, and congrats to El for his win! I know he was excited about his new play mat.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Netrunner Tournament, Williamsburg Muster 2/6/15 Part 1

It's Netrunner time! I figured a good way to do my first ANR (Android: Netrunner) blog post would be to talk about my ANR firsts. This tournament was my first for ANR. It was the first time I have played against someone other than Lisa. It was only my second time playing as a runner. It was my first chance to meet local ANR players and connect with them to set up future gaming. And this my friends, was my true purpose in attending. Which is good, because I performed horribly!

A quick word about the Muster. It's small. I tend to catagorize conventions according to size based on Local<Regional<National/International. For the SF Bay Area a local convention would be something like Celesticon (in that Celesticon is fairly new and has that local con feel). A regional con would be DundraCon or KublaCon. These are what I'm most used to. A few thousand gamers across every type of hobby gaming you might typically see at any given game store (and some you won't see). The only national event I have experience with is Adepticon, but I hope to attend GenCon eventually. Friday night at the Muster was kind of a culture shock. There were only a few dozen people there tops, and most were engaged in historical wargaming. It seems that WWII was the popular favorite. Flames of War seemed to be heavily represented.

Ok, back to ANR. Up first, my decklists. Keep in mind that I only own a single Core set, Honor and Profit, Opening Moves, and Future Proof. This means a lot of my deckbuilding choices were dictated by what I owned, giving this experience more of a CCG feel for me rather than the inclusive feeling one would usually get from an LCG.

Corp- Jinteki: Personal Evolution (Cambridge Style)

The Future Perfect x3
Nisei MkII x3
House of Knives x3
Philotic Entanglement x1

Jackson Howard x3 ***
Psychic Field x3
Ronin x3
Snare x3
Shi.Kyu x2
Project Junebug x2
Aggressive Secretary x1 **

Hedge Fund x3
Mushin No Shin x3
Neural EMP x2
Diversified Portfolio x2
Scorched Earth x1 ****

Pup x3
Eli 1.0 x3 ***
Enigma x2
Ice Wall x2 **
Komainu x1

You can see the deck that mine is based on at
There are also videos showing how it's played. Essentially, it runs light taxing ice and horizontal remotes to create a situation where the runner is more likely to hit a trap than something vital. I feel that the key piece missing from my deck is Gila Hands Arcology. This agenda is far more clutch in this deck than I had originally given it credit (no pun intended) for. Being able to score 3/1s puts pressure on the runner to hit unadvanced remotes, something my deck was SORELY lacking. They only had to run Mushined cards and eat the occasional trap while pressuring R&D with multi access. All of the games I lost (which was all of them) were do to R&D pulls by the runner.

Runner- Gabriel Santiago

Inside Job x3
Sure Gamble x3
Special Order x3
Easy Mark x3
Infiltration x3
Legwork x2
Acoount Siphon x2
Hostage x2
The Maker's Eye x1 **

Desperado x1
Logos x1

Bank Job x2
Security Testing x2
Mr. Li x1
John Masanori x1
Crash Space x1

Corroder x2 ****
Faerie x2
Yog.0 x2 **
Datasucker x2 **
Sneakdoor Beta x2
Femme Fatale x1
Mimic x1 *
Crypsis x1
Medium x1 ***

Those more familiar with net lists will no doubt recognize that I'm missing a key piece to my runner deck as well. Namely, the right IDENTITY FOR THE DECK. Yeah, this is an Andromeda deck starring Gabe. I've noticed that Gabe relies too much on running centrals, which are iced up immediately with no amount of Sneakdooring able to get me through. Without running 3 Desperado I simply don't have the MU to pull off Sneakdoor AND the breakers I need to consistently get through to HQ. Also, money was a problem the entire tourney for me. I think the only change I'd make for that is to drop one Security Testing and an Easy Mark for 2x Daily Casts. Dropping an Infiltration and Legwork for two Dirty Laundry would help a lot too (it would also help increase the usefullness of my remaining Sec Testing). I have to say that I was dissapointed in Medium, but Maker's Eye and Inside Job were always happy draws for me.

Round 1
This being both my first ANR tourney and experience with players I'd never met before, I was quite nervous going into the first round. This means that the details of the matches are a bit fuzzy, especially Game 1. My opponent, Steven, brought Jinteki:RP and Andromeda with Stealth breakers. We kicked off the first game with me at the helm of my runner deck, which probably added to my discomfort in hindsight. I had every opportunity to suggest that I play corp first, but since I was trying to stay loose and caual while being full of jitters meant that we flipped for it.

I was able to get a few good scores early on, including an NAPD that probably greatly contributed to me winning this game. He scored TWO Nesei, making things look really, hopelessly grim for me. I managed to make enough key runs to burn the tokens off, but of course that allowed him to score. I think it helped that he had an Eli as his outermost ice on HQ, so I could just bounce for a click and proceed to spend the rest of my turn focusing on the remotes. He had a great drip economy going with three Mental Health and a Sundew, but was spending the coins as fast as they were coming in.

It all came down to a final run in a very close game. Heading into his scoring remote, he chose to rez a piece of ice for 3 (I think maybe Enigma). I used Yog to get through for free and ended up face-to-face with Ash. By spending the credits to rez, he wasn't able to beat me on the trace and I scored TFP for the win. Had it been the NAPD from earlier (he said he had the choice of the two at the time he installed the NAPD) I would not have been able to beat Ash AND score, and he would have easily won on his next turn. It's a shame that I won through a mistake, but that's the learning experience part of playing in a tournament.

I'm feeling pretty good going into the switch. I'm MUCH more comfortable playing corp and Steven said that he was as well. I'm sure there's a lesson to be learned here about overconfidence....

I let Steven know that my PE deck could make for long games on occasion, and apologized for that. He knew that he'd have to play aggressively and score just enough to land the timed win. Once again, it all came down to the last run. I think I'm sitting on two points and he's on one. He makes an easy run into R&D, I pop Jackson to reduce Agenda density and he gets to see two. First card: keep, second card... Nesei MkII. Damn. The card below was a Snare. And get this. HE ONLY HAS A SINGLE CARD LEFT. I don't mean just his grip either. I mean AT ALL. So take a look at the original Cambridge list. Now look at mine. Nesei isn't in his list. Instead, he runs Fetal AI. With that swap, I would have won.

It's all good though, since I had two VERY close games against a great opponent. They were very fun to play and really helped me relax about the rest of the tournament, although I wish I'd brought a faster Corp deck as time would clearly be a big factor.

I think I'll wrap it up here, and finish up with Rounds 2 and 3 in another post. Thanks for reading!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Taghmata Procrastinarium coming online

Well it's been a while since my last post but I haven't forgotten my humble blog! This time around I thought I'd chance gears a bit and talk about some Horus Heresy. I've been working to build the last few models that I need for the Adepticon 30k Zone Mortalis event. Perhaps first then, my list:

Magos Dominus
Rad/Irad Cleanser, Volkite Serpenta
90 points

Myrmidon Secutors x3
2 Graviton, 2 Maxim bolters, 2 Phased Plasma-fusils
210 points

Thallax Cohort x3
Lightning Gun, 2x Chainblades
170 points

Fast Attack (HAH!)
Tarantula Sentry gun battery
Heavy Bolters
30 points

So that's it. Eight models total for 500 points. A marine army at that size can usually fit one HQ, 1 Tac squad, and a dreadnaught, with maybe 5 specialist troops or so. I'm hoping the Secutors can do some decent damage and let the Thallax sit back and win the game for me, but 500 points is SO SMALL for HH games that I'm just not sure who could possibly bring enough units for objective games.

All of the modles in my list are Forge World, with the exception of the Tarantula Turret. I'm hoping they'll let me use the bottom of a Thunderfire Cannon with a Razorback turret on top. Otherwise I'll be playing down 30 points.

As far as assembly goes I have to admit that I'm having trouble, which has led to frustration, which has lead to procrastination. For starters though, I began by soaking all of the pieces in soapy (dish detergent) water. Then I go over them with more soap and a toothbrush. Then of course I rinse. I specifically bought a metal strainer so that parts wouldn't fall down the drain, and it's been quite handy to have. Once rinsed I let everything dry on paper towels for at least a night (usually a week because I get distracted).

A word here about working with resin: it is toxic, but not as much as we have made it out to be in the distant past of The Independent Characters. I do use a simple dust mask when I'm doing a lot of filing. Usually this is when cleaning up around the feet or base.

The Thallax Cohort has been one of the most frustrating hobby experieces I've ever had. Since I glued the arms without testing the power cables, I was left to bend them after the fact. I used both the hair dryer and hot water techniques to do this. Both have their drawbacks. The hair dryer was tough to manage due to not having enough hands and arms to move things around quickly. The hot water meant that I have to dry the pieces before I could glue them. In the end, a fair amount of shaving, fudging, and swearing were all required to achieve an "acceptable" result that I can live with.

The other discouraging part so far has been gluing the shoulder pads onto the Secutors. The pads themselves don't have any slotted areas, despite the shoulders having a small raised square. One model also has a hose that prevents the shoulder pad from fitting into place. I'll have to trim the pad a bit, which makes me nervous and therefore more likely to stall.

Hopefully I can pick up some momentum soon. March 21st will be here before you know it!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Ranger progress & WIP pics

Got a little quiet for the blog, as I wanted to get some progress in before my next post. I also wanted to make sure that I had plenty of pictures to go along with the post.

Before I begin, I'd like to strongly encourage those inclined to do so to please leave comments at the bottom. As a beginner to the blogosphere and painting I'm open to constructive criticism and tips. If people would prefer to interact on Facebook, I can set up a blog page so that you can get updates and comment there instead. Let me know what you think!

Ok on to the meaty goodness. I wanted to show my progress through a squad of British Rangers. In this case they are the North Star metal figures and I am painting them as FIW Roger's Rangers. I'm SURE I'll be using these guys in my AWI games as well. Try not to let the mocassins and facing colors bother you too much. ;)

To start, I have cleaned the figures as best I can (you always notice extra flash after priming!). I should note that I have very few complaints about these figs, but one is that the ramrods didn't cast completely on most of the models. I bought brass rod to fix them, but the results aren't worth the effort in my opinion.

Once the models are clean, I prime them grey. If I have some black primer left (oh the humanity!) I'd start with that and do a basic zenithal prime with the grey. The dudes come out looking like so:
I regret that in my haste I glued them to their bases AFTER priming, but it won't ultimately make that much of a difference.

Now I'm ready to begin basecoating. On these fine chaps I began with their coats and trousers (perhaps breeches?). A very basic basecoat of a single color straight out of the pot (gasp!).
From here I worked from the inside out. This means I worked on their shirts, skin, moccasins, and so on. The last bit are the straps and details such as the wampum belt.
They don't really look like much at this point. Very cartoony and toy-like. I tried to keep the pallet consistent across these figures and the Native Americans I had already completed.
Now for the magic. Those in the audience with delicate sensibilities should look away, as the next step comes perilously close to the dreaded "Dip" method. Won't someone please think of the children?! I know some might consider this a lazy approach, but I've been REALLY happy with the results and plan to continue using Army Painter shades until such time as I start painting like a big boy. In the meantime, here's what our woodsmen look like after being completely drenched in Strong Tone:

Already these fellows look a million times better, and wouldn't be TOO ashamed to put them on the table (after some basing). However, I've found that with just a bit more work we can achieve so much more for our troops, and I intend to do just that. After I wait a million years for the wash to dry that is....

Again, please feel free to leave comments at the bottom (duh). Remember, this isn't necessarily a "How To" guide so much as a "How I Did It" guide. Thanks for reading!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Wargames Factory AWI kits

People don't tend to believe me when I talk about the quality of the newest line of Wargames Factor plastic kits: the American War for Independence (AWI). I can understand why. I bought a box of Shock Troops years ago, and while the price was amazing for what you get there is certainly no doubt that the quality does not match something like the GW Cadian kits. I also own boxes of both Vikings and Samurai by WGF. Both of these lines have their own issues as well. Some of the Viking weapons are small, the samurai in general are a bit dinky, and both of them need the weapons to be glued into their hands. While this certainly gives a lot of flexibility it can be a total pain and often doesn't look quite right. So believe me when I say that while happy with WGF, I am no fanboy. Now with that preface I must declare that the AWI range are some of the nicest plastic models I have ever seen!

There are a number of reasons I believe this to be the case:
1. The detail is sharp, crisp, and plentiful. We're talking raised buttons, smooth cloth waves and folds, and plenty of differentiation between peices. There are some exceptions (around the cartridge boxes and boyonet scabbards), but in general the raised details are obvious and therefore easy for even a beginning painter like myself to pick out.

2. Head options galore! Each kit comes with a ton of heads. The British have options for tricorns, left side cocked, jockey caps, and grenadiers. The Continentals get tricorns, jockey caps, "Tarleton" helmets (for making Washington's Life Guard), and uncocked felt. It looks like the Militia box (which I don't yet own) also has several options including knit stocking caps. by mixing and matching these options you can create a HUGE number of combinations between all of the kits.

3. Variety of poses. Now this can be seen as both a pro and a con depending on your gaming system. For a game like Black Powder, it probably looks better to have most of your figures at the same point in their drill (militia excepted of course!). You wouldn't be able to pull that off with just one of these kits. For a game like Muskets and Tomahawks though, the variety of poses works perfectly for the skirmish scale and flavor of the game.

All of these bulds were created with just the Continentals kit!

4. Color instruction sheets. Each kit comes with a color coded sheet that shows you which pieces are used for every pose. For instance the drummer might be all of the "M" bits on the sprue, and the picture would show them all as, let's say green. That makes it simple to find them on the sprue and to make sure I'm not missing anything. Oh yeah, and the bits are labeled on the sprue as well. ;)

I obviously think these kits are amazing, but I also feel that they're perfect for someone who is interesting in playing Muskets and Tomahawks. The continental kit alone can make over 300 points of an American force. Throw in a militia box for not only militia but also riflemen and you have a diverse and LARGE force that is quick to assemble (for plastics) and quick to paint.

Here's a few more WIP Brits just so you can get an idea of the variety from each box. Remember there's only a single box of British troops out, but you can build so many units!

 Also, here's a quick pic of my North Star metal Rangers. I'm still getting a handle on the photography end of things, so bear with me.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

3.. 2.. 1.. Let's jam!

Well folks, it's time to get this show on the road! I promised myself I'd start posting as soon as I had a keyboard and here we are. I'd really like to use this blog as a way to keep myself productive (if not focussed HA!). This will also be my way of sharing what I'm up to with friends across the country (world?). So to start off with, I'd like to show some of the progress I've made on some minis since moving back to the East Coast:

I also have 6 Rangers fully completed, but have yet to grab some pics of them. For now, I'm trying to finish a decent sized force for both British and Americans to do a demo game for a friend at Adepticon. I know I can get everything assembled by then, but painted may be a different story....

Also in the queue for Adepticon is my Mechanicum army for the Zone Mortalis event. Being only 500 points means that my force is actually 7 models: 1 Magos, 3 Thallax, and 3 Secutors. Still, I'd like to have these guys looking nice, so I'll be building the Magos and Secutors so that I can paint them all at once. I will need to find a new source of primer though. I've come to rely on the OSH primer pretty heavily and have run out of black. Hopefully my newfound enthusiasm for Android: Netrunner won't keep me from getting my minis projects completed on time!