A Very Busy Week
Posted by docryder
For only working two days this week, I stayed very busy.
Last weekend, the Smalls and I went to the FLGS to shop for my Christmas present from their family. They got me something, but I drifted towards a game on the bargain bin that I was unsure about. The game in question was Magestorm, produced by Nexus Games. I can’t put up a link except to BoardGameGeek.com, because the game and creating company are now defunct. After pointing it out to the game, I mentioned I had picked up a similar game, the Boy asked which, and I pointed out a copy of Conquest of Nerath, another effectively defunct game. The Boy wanted to play both. So, while I wasn’t working (and even during downtime while I was), I read both rulebooks. By Wednesday night, I’d completed the CoN rulebook and gotten most of the way through the Magestorm book.
The Kids and I played CoN most of the evening, pausing for the Ball Drop in NYC, and finally gave up on that board at about 1AM. The Boy and I started a new game New Year’s Day in the afternoon, and finally finished around bedtime for the Kids (so we played about six hours), but only because I got a couple of lucky rolls. By the time I got out of the house for dinner and a movie Friday night, I had finally finished the Magestorm rulebook.
CoN is basically D&D meets Risk. There is a board mapping out the D&D 4e core world, a new world suggested in the sourcebooks. I guess that world didn’t really take off, as it got dumped (practically erased) as a world for development in D&D books with the announcement of 5e. I liked it myself, but that’s a tangent you don’t need me exploring. There are four nations (including the eponymous Nerath) spaced around the map, one to each corner. That map is chunked up like the real world map is for the Risk board.
The game is pretty slow, as every space on the board is populated by 1omm scale minis. As the nations are directly on each other’s borders, combat is likely in the first round. While combat runs quickly, income allows the players to quickly bring even more figures on the board. In our second game, I only won because I managed to get some victory points by having my heroes explore a dungeon, and lucky rolls allowed me to defeat the monsters that guarded treasures that were high point value pieces. If that hadn’t happened, I think I would have eventually won, as the Boy was investing heavily in dragons but not other weapons of war. Attrition would have eventually gotten the best of him.
All in all, I liked the game, I just think the initial placement of of figures and the fiddliness of the rules were detriments. I’d like to be able to find the time to tweak the rules and make the economy run a little better, giving players a bit more opportunity to develop the nation they want to play.
On the other hand, the events cards in the game (basically the source of spells and other magical effects the players use to aid themselves and harm their opponents) are very flavorful. The Dark Empire of Karkoth has some great cards that get across the feeling of a nation ruled by undead. The Nerathan Alliance felt like beleaguered underdogs who could pull some amazing stunts out of their collective butts to turn the tide, etc. (The final two nations are the Iron Circle, a nation of orcs and goblins who work with devils, and Vailin, elven traders.) I hope to be able to do some tweaks to Fate to get a similar effect in the StarSea.
However, once we’d played this game and I finished reading the rules for Magestorm, I knew we’d never play it. It’s a lot like Games Workshop‘s Warmaster (a brilliant game of 10mm Warhammer Fantasy Battle), but with powerful mages, the focus of the game. For my money, the magic is slow to build, but once it does, it effectively increases the power of an army but about half. The game could be played without the mages, and probably much more quickly. Combat is dealt with in ten stages, about half of which are magic. However, if I’m going to do that, I might as well play Warmaster, which has a much simpler combat resolution system.
Friday I took off work so I could clean my desk off to prepare for the big switch over to U-Verse. AT&T sent us a letter a couple of weeks ago that basically told us that they were no longer going to offer DSL in our area, and that we would have to switch over. It took all day to clean, get the installation done, and move things back where they belong, but in the end, I’m quite happy with the change. Downloading files and videos is much smoother than our old arrangement. Something about the old DSL modems didn’t interact well with routers. And things are faster now, so this has been a good deal so far.
After that, we went out for dinner and The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies. Tolkien purists won’t like it, but I thought it was a fantastic movie. All the major characters got a lot of good development, and the visuals and combat was amazing. I’m hoping to get the chance to go see it again with others who are interested.
Yesterday, I picked up something else off the bargain rack at the FLGS: The Pathfinder core rulebook. It’s been an interesting read so far, but I’m not planning to get in too deep. I will say that I like what they’ve done with paladins the most so far, especially their spiritual weapon. After that, we got back to our home D&D game, continuing our adventures as rebels in the Moonshaes against the forces of Amn.
Today was finally a lazy day. I’ve just been tinkering with the new Internet connection, enjoying being able to watch a YouTube video without having to restart a million times.
But now, it’s getting towards bedtime, and I have work tomorrow. Night all.