Saturday, 11 February 2017

The Glory of D&D

Welcome, to a somewhat rambling yet glorious honouring post dedicated to one of the most iconic tabletop games of all time. 

Dungeons and Dragons.

Over the last few years it has regained an incredibly popular following like much of the tabletop scene. Geek and Sundry has helped with its Critical Role series, a weekly show starring voice actors playing Dungeons and Dragons and putting on an entertaining 3-4 hour session. Stranger Things has also placed the game in the public eye after capturing the imaginations of millions on Netflix. Celebrities like Vin Diesel, the late Robin Williams and Kevin Smith also among those being fans.

Its popularity is also strong at our club, the Gwent Reavers. We've gained new members through it, after myself, Gav and Bam started the Mines of Phandelver around a year and a half ago. Its always been something I've personally been interested in, just didn't realise others were too. So we got together and now we have three different sessions run by three different Dungeon Masters going on currently. And thats with a variety of different players too. Some have come to the dark side of tabletop gaming, be it miniature games or board games, some are dedicated to the D20 and the roleplaying aspect. 

So what about Dungeons and Dragons is so captivating? The depth of narrative and background are certainly an aspect that draws people in. There is such a wealth of information out there, be it tips to playing, background to set your adventures in and even guides as to how to create your own world. 

This leads on to being able to create. Like open world videogames you have a lot more ability to do what you want, even more so in tabletop roleplay as it really is just your own imagination that limits you. Not only do your stories get told, but those of the players who create characters that are a huge part of the stories being told. In fact, when dm'ing my own campaign I try to let the players tell the story while guiding them through certain events. You can plan how a certain event will play out, for example how a battle will go with a great beast but the players will always come up with ways that surprise you as a DM and have those events change. Its incredibly fascinating to see how your friends will solve different problems and ace different creatures in battle. 

One other side of D&D that is probably its strongest appeal, is the social side of it. Getting together with your mates to act out these crazy adventures is something you will absolutely love. Running jokes, how you remember certain events and recall those moments is something you have to experience. From deceiving a huge amount of cultists into following us to get out of a Dragon Cult camp, to new interesting ways to pull a kobolds body apart like a christmas cracker its been an absolute joy to partake in the game. 

Being a sufferer of insomnia, creating and adapting stories and guiding players through them has been fantastic. Character development is interesting to watch and hopefully as we play through sessions each player will see their characters grow, and not just through stat building and gaining new skills and feats. Having the characters personalities develop in front of you is incredibly rewarding as a dungeon master. 

Even though many times things you write about and plan for a session may not always happen, its still rewarding to be able to come up with these ideas, even if they never come to light. I've written backgrounds for npc's that the players have hardly talked too, but its helped me to put myself into their shoes better and react and talk more as I feel they should, and hopefully that comes across to the players immersing them even more.

In the future I may share certain ideas about the stories I've created on this blog, things that happen during sessions with other DM's (possibly even their own accounts if I can bribe them with rations and gold) and even ideas for you to use in your adventures.

Dungeons and Dragons, and many other tabletop RPG's are a hugely enjoyable and engrossing thing to do with your mates, whether you play or run the session. Go and try your hand, and have some of the best fun you'll have while rolling dice with your friends.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

The Fractured Imperium

Call the internet plumber for the leaks are out. Roboute Guilliman, the Primarch of the Ultramarines and having been in stasis for thousands of years, is back. With him comes a new Grey Knights (bore) Grand Master and much more excitedly, Cypher.

Cypher looks impressive, and it will be interesting to see where the story lies for these characters. In one of the leaked pictures from White Dwarf, Cypher stands next to both Guilliman and the GKGM even though he was once thought a heretic. The Dark Angels will likely still think this, but my narrative head is beaming with ideas. A couple of other pictures leaked held some very intriguing text. One mentioned that some in the Imperium would be incredibly suspicious that Roboute has been brought from the dead, while the Primarch himself is dismayed at the state of the Imperium. This makes me wonder... will the Imperium split? 

Think about it, not for thousands of years have the Imperium had a figure to look upon as a leader. The High Lords of Terra are mysterious, the Emperor is but a corpse held alive but machinery, who do they look upon? Roboute. However, with the Emperor being revered as a God Guilliman may not agree with many of the Imperiums rules, hence a possible civil war. Depending on rumours with how this Gathering Storm continues we could see the fracture of the Imperium of Man.

Cypher working with Roboute, is he trying to tell the primarch that the emperor needs to be killed to be reborn? Vulkan could be used as evidence and a potential future release down the line. However, due to the many cults and factions many will not allow this and I can see a brutal war breaking out amongst the Imperium. Rumours abound that the Gathering Storm after this third instalment could see Vect return, along with Mortarion in his Daemon Prince form and a new envisioning of Abbadon, which is well needed. Will they perhaps work together to create an even bigger divide of the Imperium, taking advantage of the inner turmoil? Perhaps Cypher even is creating this discord, its always been said he creates a lot of discord and would suit his character. 

The splitting of the Imperium would be huge. Space Marines no longer allying with other factions like the Grey Knights or the Ordo Hereticus, Imperial Guard could be stuck in the middle, Primarchs vs High Lords of Terra. Having the story arc for Warhammer 40,000 move along after so many years is exciting, so many possibly story lines could be closed, expanded and started that this time next year we could be talking about the fringes of the Imperium battling the empires of the Eldar, Tau and Renegades. Perhaps the Tyranids will evolve and become a republic, leading the other races into a new age of prosperity. Yeah, and Jokearo might fly out of my butt.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Many Moons Have Passed....

Well its been a while hasn't it? Probably not far off a year to be honest since I've posted on this glorious blog. Well, this time I won't be making promises to keep posting regular, as its not worked for me before. But there is hope I will! So far 2017 has been good gaming wise, and it follows a strong 2016. The Gwent Reavers, the gaming club I am part of, has had a good time with gaming and it looks to continue. Many board games have been played, 40k once again is being played, Age of Sigmar is picking up some serous momentum with members and other new games are taking root like Blood Bowl an Tanks.

We've had some new members too which is great, fresh blood is always good to sacrifice in the name of the blood god! Lewis and Adam are both in a similar spot where they've always been interested in the hobby but its only now they're starting to get stuck in and its great to see the enthusiasm. Another new member Patrick is also incredibly enthusiastic about his Necrons and its good to see some 40k kicking of again. I need to get my Genestealer Cult painted up and my Space Marines are also itching for some games... perhaps the setting of Fall of Cadia will be a good place to shoot some bolters and launch some assaults. 

As I mentioned Age of Sigmar is taking off at club although I'm the least enthusiastic about it seeming as I annot get any luck when playing! I've got Khorne Daemons, and heres how the blood thirter looks so far having started painting him yesterday. Trying to get a bit of a blend on the wings, shall be going over it with a wash and seeing how it looks 

If theres something that has got everyones attention at club, its the old faithful roleplaying game, Dungeons and Dragons. We currently have three different sessions at club with various dungeon masters and players, and every session is going well. I'm currently running Out of the Abyss, which is set in the Underdark. The story so far has been a little of my own creation, where a Derro called Buppido, who is in the book and is convinced he is an insane god of murder has killed a couple of the parties allies and they've gone to chase him down. I'll report more on this in another post as theres a lot to speak of! 

Something I've been working on occasionally over the last year is a small warband for an Inquisitor 28 style idea. Blanchitsu is one of my favourite parts of White Dwarf and above is a picture of two models I've melded together. .A large gun servitor on the left, and an adeptus mechanicus chef on the right, complete with power spatula, krootox burgers and some kind of sausage. Green stuff chefs hat too which I was proud of! I'm looking to add more when I can and get some interesting bits to play with.

Over Xmas club stalwart Morg picked up Scythe and its a really interesting game. I find the larger games a bit intimidating to play and really need to get myself in the mood to play them, but from what I have played its a really good game. Some interesting mechanics, a theme thats not in your face and done well with some really nice looking components and a rules system thats not too complicated. The amount of components are scary mind, but persevere theres a good game there!

Higgy and Jay had a large game of Tanks recently too, playing up the board starting off with a beach landing making their way into a town. If you've not played think X-Wing with a simpler system, much cheaper models but still looks really good, the boys are well into it and we're hoping to host a Tanks tournament at the end of February. 

In the future we have possible trips to Warhammer Fest, the UK Games Expo, events we'd like to host too along with many other things. I haven't even spoken about Blood Bowl yet and my Skaven team.

Like I said, no promises about lots of posts, but this is a start and we'll see how it goes!

Sunday, 3 April 2016


So I went and got me a Mist Hunter. And painted it in a day. Its not like me to finish things so quick so thought I'd take a few snaps and post!

So there we go, I'm unsure as to how much more I'll add as I do have a few Headhunters too but I'm not a fan of the ship so we'll see if I use them. Another IG would be tempting and perhaps a Jump Master when they're available again. Influence is Cyclonus and the Sweeps from Transformers, and I'll be doing all the canopies red like the Mist Hunters red cockpit which I used Citadels Blood for the Bloog God technical paint and got a nice shine to it.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

All Dayer Board Gamingasm

Last Sunday we, the Gwent Reavers, got together for an easter banquet of gaming. First of all... CODENAMES!

This game has a Minesweep/Battleship/Dixit feel to it. Yes thats three games, but this combines them perfectly with an almost Resistence theme of spies and agents. Each team has a spymaster, and they they have to direct his team mates to select the right cards, laid out 5x5, and the correct agents. Each card has one word on it, and the Spymaster may only say one word along with a number of guesses. The reason for that, is that if you can tie in more than one card with just one single clue, you can get more cards found. The first to 8/9 wins the game. However... if you select a card thats either the opposite teams or a 'bystander', you lose your turn and it passes to the other team. Find the assassin, and you lose. Outright. 

As you can see above, the Spymasters share the same card which tells you where the correct cards are. The game tests friendships and knowledge of peoples interest, especially in the more vague of clues! We played several rounds and it went down pretty well, a worthy game!

I picked up Evoultion a couple of weeks back and its another game that people have enjoyed. 

Each player is given a species, in itself shows you your population and body mass. Population helps earn you points at the end and the amount of food you can collect (another source of points), while body mass can defend against any species that goes carnivore. 

Theres a bunch of card upgrades to help evolve your species and give you skills from being able to collect more food or to help defend against those meat eaters. Its a lovely looking game too, being bright and vibrant.

The Resistence also got some play, and I got to be this courageous lass! Not a spy. No, never. Always good I am!

Also a few weeks ago, Morg picked up Skull. 

A little like Liars/Pirate dice but with lovely looking beermats, three of whic are illustrated with flowers, one with a skull! Each player puts cards down and then one can challenge to show over  cards upto a certain number, all must be flowers and you have to start from your own pile. You get some outrageous bluffs and guesses but its another game thats proven to be great fun, upto 6 players too!

As expected the classic Ticket To Ride got a playthrough, and Mike picked up a win. Despite its simplicity this is one of those games we love going back to swearing at friends for blocking routes then cackling maniaclly when we do it tot hem. 

While not on the same day, (although some Xwing was played I'll dedicate that to its own post) Bam, Sturdy and Louis did play some Warmachine two weeks back, Bams been interested and seems to be really enjoying. Anything that makes him even almost raise half a smile is worth it!

So some Xwing posts to come, I'll be participating in the Welsh Regionals in Cardiff so plenty of practice games coming for that! We're also looking for more games to be recommended so please share the games you love!

Friday, 18 March 2016

Ghost and X-Wing Batrep

 So its been a quiet due to many reasons, but here we are with an X-Wing Battle Report. 100 pts, Rebels versus Rebels! Gav hadn't played for a while and wanted to give a K-Wing a go, and having painted up a B-Wing I just had to use it in a batrep. Heres my list!

Keyan Farlander, no upgrades.
2x Blue Squadron B-Wings with Fire Control Systems
Gemma Sojan with Chaardon Refit, and Lone Wold (I'd also taken the card that allows me to take an elite pilot talent)

Gav had taken Wedge in his X-Wing, Dutch Vander in a Y-Wing, and Esege Tuketu in the K-Wing. I forget the upgrades he chose, but there was a blaster turret and recon on the K, wedge had decoy, and I think the Ywing had a droid that gave him a free target lock when he did red moves and some photon torpedoes.

First turn we were both pretty cautious, but soon we were locked in action. 

Wedge got into range one of Keyan, and took four shields off with a torrent of fire. The K-Wing took another shield off and gave me a crit, a direct hit. Gav however rolled two blanks with Dutch and thankfully Keyan lived on for a round... but not for long. I stripped the shields of the K-Wing but no other damage. 

The next turn was just about getting out of the way ready to make another pass, although Wedge did a K-turn and finished Farlander off. Boo!

After a couple more K-turns and my B-Wings taking some damage the A-wing and a B-Wing took out the K-wing, then the B's swept in and took out Wedge. Needless to say with the Y-Wing out of position and three ships looking to gun him down, Gav conceded. 

So what did I think of the list? Keyan didn't get much use and its the first time I used him, my preferred B-Wing elite pilot is Ten Numb, Mangler cannon and a couple other upgrades so it maximises his ability to get those crits through. I do love Blue Squadron B-Wings though, even at pilot skill 2 they survive fire and then dish it back out, and Gemma with Lone Wolf also works well. Being in range one rerolling one blank with an extra evade dice is useful and helps her attack get some reliability too. I'm not sure what to make of the K-Wing and I'm unsure as to whether I'd get one, but they do get raved abotu so perhaps one day. 

Also, Gav being the darling that he is, picked this up for me from Firestorm Games who are based in Cardiff. I'm hoping to do an unboxing post soon, possibly in video! The cards look great though and I can't wait to use this, not only is it massive but with a native 4 firepower its gonna do some damage!

Friday, 29 January 2016

Gaming Aplenty

So thought I'd update you all the games we've been enjoying over the last couple of weeks at the Gwent Reavers Tabletop Gaming Club. I'll hopefully get a post up soon about our first D&D session but for now, heres what we've been playing!

A few weeks ago Gav picked up a few games, one of them being Dixit Odyssey. I'd played the original version and this is much of the same, and just as enjoyable as the first version. More beautifully illustrated cards to try and describe in a vague way yet that people may guess right to earn you some points. Its a difficult one to master but such an easy premise, really works well for new and old players!

Gav also picked up Francis Drake, a resource gathering blind voting point grabbing extravaganza. The first turn of the game we played was hilarious as we had no idea what we were doing, but as we got through the rounds seeing people realise what they needed was fantastic. 

Its also a gorgeous looking game with some awesome components, little chests to keep gems in, the lovely map to roam around yet containing so much strategy I can't wait for another game. I was winning for most of it but kept saying I was gonna be last, everyone didn't believe me but when we added up the bonus points I did end up in last place! Four of us finished with just 10 or so points between 5th and 2nd place, while Gav actually managed to win on his first attempt at his own game, leading by around 20 points. Highly recomend this one! 

With Louis puffing on his vape we couldn't resist adding some mist to the high seas!

Speaking of Louis, he also brought up two of these polystyrene structures. Now what to build with them! Im thinking some sort of cathederal structure perhaps, but we'll see. Something large and epic is certainly to happen however.

Another new game for the club, this time purchased by Morg, is Spartacus, by Gale Force Nine, who also made a club favourite, Sons of Anarchy. This is very much in a similar vein as SOA, but with a lot more depth!

Theres plenty of scheming to be done with the intrigue card system, plus each player gets their own special rules with their player card. Trading and deals can be made before being stabbed in the back, much like in SOA, but where this game takes it to another level is in its advanced combat arena. 

Here warriors are thrust into the fighting pit, where combat comes down to a 'trump off' system. I don't mean in the bum windy way, but in having to beat values of the dice. Each fighter gets different stats and rules, all of which make a difference.  Its still quite simple but adds a nice element that Sons of Anarchy could do with.


Alliances have been made and broken already in just a few games that we have played, and its been a joy to watch every single time. Another game we highly recommend!

Finally myself and James had a game of Xwing, 100pts rebels derby match! I fancied taking an easy to use list where I didn't need to remember rules, so everything I took was PS 2 or lower. 2 B Wings, 2 Headhunters (which I still don't like) and 2 Awings (which I adore!). James took an Xwing with Biggs, a PS 3 Ewing and Han solo. 

I lost ships slowly as I slowly battered Han, eventually knock his shields off while losing two ships. It really felt like we were dealing clubbing blow after clubbing blow to each other, and it eventually came down to two ships. 

One B wing vs one X wing, James managing to dodge my shots and delivering the last of my hull points to the god of dead ships. He only had one hull point himself making this an incredibly close game and very enjoyable to play! Taking 6 ships was nice, although if I was take a similar list I'd drop the Headhunters, take another Awing and a couple of upgrades, fire control systems perhaps for the Bwings. 

So thats the last couple of weeks of gaming from us, we've got a few more games to get to play including an expansion for Dominion and Splendour to try, plus I think Spartacus wants to be played again. And if I get to try and gain revenge in Francis Drake I will be ready! 

So what have you guys been playing and would recommend? Leave your thoughts below!