miniatures game


Tabletop Tuesday: Comrades in Arms

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Good day, fellow Board Barons! This week I intend to expand your horizons exponentially with a few of my favorite tabletop gaming podcasts & webseries.  Even when it is delivered in a timely fashion, Tabletop Tuesday can only deliver a certain amount of information at a time. It is my hope that these recommendation will help sate your appetites for dice, tokens and miniatures in the long, cold period between Tuesdays…

 

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When talking about board gaming podcasts, it would be rude not to mention the colossus that strides the air waves known as the Dice Tower.  Way back in May of 2005, a gentleman by the name of Tom Vasel began a journey that would start with a show about designer board games and press onward into 2014 with a media network that includes other podcasts, videos and even it’s own convention.

Today, Tom and his current co-host, Eric Summerer talk about the games they’ve been playing, open up the show to features from guest contributors and count down their weekly Top 10 list.

 

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I don’t know if I owe the guys behind The D6 Generation a beer or a punch in the nose.  No other tabletop gaming media source has been responsible for introducing me to so many games.  Every two weeks, Russ Wakelin, Craig Gallant and their special guest host go on a 3-4 hour adventure as they discuss what they’ve been playing, cover hot news in the tabletop gaming world, and perform an in-depth game review.

It’s very clear that these guys not only love games, but love sharing them with other people. The attention to detail in their reviews is overshadowed only by their enthusiasm.  They almost always have one board gaming luminary or another as a guest host and the show always feels fresh, interesting and never takes itself too seriously

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Last but not least, we have the hilarious duo of Paul & Quinns – captains of the staunch British webseries known as Shut Up & Sit Down.  Blending humor and cheesy effects with deep and thorough reviews, the guys at SU&SD cover games as easy and lighthearted as Escape: the Curse of the Temple to games that are thick, rich and take at least 8 hours to play like Twilight Imperium.

What’s truly extraordinary is that their videos often clock in at around the 20 minute mark and even with all the goofing around they do, I have never finished one of their videos feeling like I didn’t have a decent (albeit basic) grasp of even the most complex game.  These days, I often check to see if they’ve reviewed a game that’s next up to be added to my collection.


Tabletop Tuesday: Holiday Mega-Guide, part IV

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Well folks, Christmas is a week away so this will be the final installment of the Holiday Mega-Guide.  I hope you all have enjoyed the recommendations so far.  I’m wrapping things up this week with miniatures games, which hold a special place in my heart.  I’ve been collecting, assembling and painting miniatures for far longer than I care to admit.  Most traditional miniatures games offer a rewarding hobby experience with multiple model kits that must be assembled and painted in addition to their deep strategic and tactical game play.  Some forego all the mucking about with glue and brushes by offering pre-assembled, pre-painted miniatures.  In the future, I’ll discuss the merits and flaws of various miniatures games that follow these models, but for now let me share a few favorites that you might just find wrapped and waiting for you this holiday season…

 

Star Trek Attack Wing by Wizkids

I’ve sung the praises of Fantasy Flight Game’s Star Wars: X-Wing the Miniatures Game on several occasions.  It’s a great game and well worth checking out, but lately I’ve been exploring it’s younger cousin Star Trek: Attack Wing.  Basically, WizKids went to FFG and said, “Hey, you guys created a brilliant set of mechanics for moving ships around – why not let us slap it onto the Star Trek license we have?”  Fantasy Flight was more than happy to oblige them and after a little tweaking, WizKids was able to adapt a set of rules used to simulate dogfights in space to the more complex maneuvers of capital space craft battles.

Players will choose 1 of 4 factions and create a small fleet of ships crewed by various popular figures from all across the Star Trek universe.  The starter set contains 1 ship for the Romulans, Klingons and the Federation with the Dominion (which includes Cardassian ships) as a “sold separately” entity.  The game itself deseverse a full review (FORESHADOWING), but the basic run down is that each player has 100 points to spend with each ship, crew member and upgrade costing a certain number of points.  Once you’re ready to play, you can select a mission and get to exploring  and )more importantly) battling across the final frontier.

Attack Wing offers both veteran miniatures gamers and newcomers a lot.  The game has a great set of mechanics that are easy to learn and hard to master.  The various references and nods to each of the Star Trek shows and movies are enough to keep die hard Trekkers hooked, but the components are a mixed bag.  The cards, movement templates and tokens for the game are all high quality card stock with a nice linen finish.  The screenshots used for most of the cards are just fine, but some characters get some very unflattering images (I’m looking at you, Dukat).  As if that wasn’t bad enough, the ships have a serious scale problem.  Suffice it to say that the Defiant is bigger than the original Enterprise.  It’s cirngeworthy if you’re a fan, but doesn’t really hinder the game at all.  All in all, Attack Wing is a great game with plenty of material to keep Trek fans happy!

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Dungeon Command by Wizards of the Coast

The classic image of orcs and elves clashing against one another spans both miniatures games and more than a few collectible card games.  With Dungeon Command, Wizards of the Coast has created something that takes the best of both genres and distilled it into an easy to play game with a fast set-up and compelling distribution method.  In Dungeon Command, players engage in skirmishes between warbands made up of various fantasy races.  During the course of the game, they will spawn troops and attempt to lower their opponent’s morale in order to claim victory.  Currently, boxed sets exist for Orcs, Goblins, Undead, Drow (dark elves) and Adventurers (a mix of humans, elves, halflings and dwarves).  Each box contains a selection of pre-painted figures and several interlocking map tiles.

Unlike many miniatures games, Dungeon Command is played on a board that players assemble from the map tiles included in their faction box.  These tiles have a grid of 1″x1″ squares and indicate where a figure can move on a given turn.  The map tiles are nice thick card stock and are double sided to represent either a woodland battlefield or a set of dark cavernous tunnels.  The figures are pre-painted soft plastic and are decent for the $40 cost of entry.  It’s worth noting that these miniatures can easily be re-purposed for the fantasy roleplaying game of your choice and each Dungeon Command boxed set comes with cards so that the pieces can be adapted to the Adventure System series of board games.

Wizards of the Coast really hit it out of the park with DC.  I would’ve easily paid for each of these faction boxes just so I could use the miniatures for an old fashioned game of Dungeons & Dragons, but the fact that there’s a solid game in and of itself there is just excellent.  The card driven mechanics help keep the game within the realm of skill rather than chance – though players will still have to draw the right cards from their deck at the right time to ensure victory.  If the space ship battles of Attack Wing don’t aren’t your cup of tea, then you may want to take up your sword and sally forth with Dungeon Command.

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Happy Holidays, everyone!

That wraps it up for the 2013 Holiday Mega-Guide.  I hope you guys get exactly what you’re looking for this holiday season.  As always, your feedback on Tabletop Tuesday is greatly appreciated!  Happy Holidays!


Tabletop Tuesday: I’m seein’ red!

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I’m not even going to mess around with any sort of introduction this week, folks.  We have new Star Wars: X-Wing the Miniatures Game news that must be shouted from the rooftops!

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The new “Imperial Aces” expansion!

Since the TIE Interceptor models were announced, I haven’t known a single Imperial player who has not at least mentioned hand-painting bloodstripes on solar panels.  Fantasy Flight Games must have gotten wind of this because the new Imperial Aces expansion (coming in the 4th quarter of 2013) includes 2 Interceptor repaints: one with Saber Squadron’s telltale bloodstripes and one that takes the the color red little more seriously – the Royal Guard!

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Look at all this stuff!

The expansion doesn’t stop with repaints, though.  As you can see above Imperial Aces will give would be Saber Squadron squad leaders and their Royal Guard allies a plethora of new pilots and upgrades to choose from.  Fantasy Flight has even gone one better by including a new scenario for players to engage in.

With the announcement of larger ships at GenCon and the inclusion of the Slave I, Millenium Falcon and Imperial Shuttle in the last few waves there’s been some concern that X-Wing was straying a bit too far from its dogfighting roots.  Expansions like Imperial Aces (and the practically inevitable Rebel counterpart sure to follow on its heels) will go a long way to alleviate players’ concerns.

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The Game of Thrones Card Game Organized Play Kit

While new X-Wing news is always welcome, Fantasy Flight had another, somewhat related bit of news to dole out this week.  The 3rd season of their popular Organized Play kits is ready to be pre-ordered by retailers wishing to host events.  As usual, all of Fantasy Flight’s Living Card Games are represented (Call of Cthulhu, A Game of Thrones, Warhammer Invasion, Lord of the Rings, Android: Netrunner, Star Wars) as well as Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game.  The contents of these kits is nothing unexpected, but the various game mats, tokens and variant cards all bear Fantasy Flight’s usual quality.

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And on a final, unfortunate note I have to report a bit of fraudulent phishing that’s been going on.  Apparently some jokers have been going around using the email address “service@reapermini.com” to try and swindle Reaper Miniatures’ customers out of their credit card info.  Reaper posted a warning on their Facebook page advising their customers and fans against providing any such information and hopefully the cultprit will be caught soon ad dealt with accordingly.

Tabletop Term of the Week: Last week I briefly touched on how to protect elements of your game by sleeving your cards in protective covers.  This week, I’d like to share the best course of action for when the unthinkable happens.  No matter how well you care for your games, accidents will happen and you might find yourself with a broken piece, a warped board or cards covered in any number of fluids.  When this sort of tragedy strikes, the best course of action is to contact the game’s publisher directly.

Many publsihers will have contact forms on their websites. You can usually find this info in your game’s instruction manual or with a simple Google search, but don’t hesitate to ask the staff at your local game store if you’re completely lost.  Once you know how to get a hold of them, it’s often as simple as providing them with a short description of your problem and asking if they can send a replacement.  Most publishers will respond within 24 hours and may ask for more information about what’s wrong or request pictures of the damage.  Once they have everything they need, you’re likely going to have a nice little package on its way to you with replacement components!

 


Tabletop Tuesday: Holy Red Shirts and Russians, Batman!

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Greetings once again, dice slingers, card wizards and tabletop enthusiasts!  This week’s Tabletop Tuesday takes us from the 40’s to the 60’s and then all the way to the 22nd century.

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To begin, we start with an old favorite of mine – Batman.  No, not Christian Bale.  Obviously not Clooney or Kilmer, either.  Not even Keaton.  That’s rights, folks.  We’re talking Adam West.  The year is 1966 and for 3 seasons Adam West and Burt Ward would don the guises of Batman and Robin (respectively) and face off against a colorful array of the caped crusader’s most conniving criminal counterparts.  With Caesar Romero as the Joker, Burgess Meredeith as the Penguin, Vincent Price as Egghead and no less than 3 Catwomen (played by Julie Newmarr, Eartha Kitt and Lee Merriwether), this campy take on the Dark Knight is a far cry from the darker and more violent films of recent memory.  I only ever caught episodes in syndication more than 20 years after it had aired, but the show definitely has it’s charms and more than it’s fair share of fans.  To that end, WizKids has been releasing teasers for their next line of HeroClixBatman Classic TV.

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Now, the HeroClix site has been abuzz with updates for this expansion for a while now, but it wasn’t until I saw this Joker preview that I got really interested.  I’m still waiting on the set as a whole before I can put together any sort of opinion on the new mechanics/abilities/figure options, but the fact that WizKids is reaching way back to the Batman TV Series is pretty exciting.  I think there’s a lot of potential here for them to have fun  and for players/fans to snag some really great models.

I also think the “Bang! Boom!  Zap!” bubbles are a great touch.

Who knows?  If this takes off, Batman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond sets might not be far behind…

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As a quick addendum, in other Heroclix News, Wizkids announced the original Enterprise (as in, the one from the show of the same name) would be debuting for Star Trek HeroClix Tactics Series III.  They’ll be joining the likes of the Borg and will allow players to conceivably field 3 generations of Enterprises on the battlefield!

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Moving away from Clix, there’s been some hot buzz over on Kickstarter lately.  Way back in March, Fantasy Flight Games announced that they were handing the reins of their excellent World War II board game series Tide of Iron over to 1A Games.  The transition of ownership took place over the summer months and now 1A Games is set to begin distributing the same great game on their own.  To that end, they’ve begun a Kickstarter campaign for a new starter set and the Stalingrad expansion.  Both the new core box and the expansion will be 100% compatible with the Fantasy Flight original and Stalingrad is set to add more urban maps and an entire Soviet army.

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The Tide of Iron franchise offers a rich, deep WWII strategic combat experience with many of the bells & whistles of a full-on miniatures game in a neat, controlled board game package.  It also has a ton of top-notch components ranging from variable boards for different scenarios to oodles of detailed plastic infantry and tanks – so, you know, I’m sold.

Tabletop Term of the Week: Board & card games are a substantial investment and protecting them so that they’ll last is always a good idea.  There are a great many things you can do to extend the lifespan of your games, but one of the big ones is sleeving your cards.  Companies like Ultra Pro, Mayday and Fantasy Flight Games all make plastic sleeves for various different card sizes.  Choosing which ones are right for you is largely a matter of preference and you can get them in a myriad of colors or with artwork on the back to suit you.  The only downside?  Sleeving cards can be expensive.  In the end I often have to decide which games are worth sleeving and which ones probably aren’t going to see enough action to warrant worrying about wear and tear.


Tabletop Tuesday: There ain’t no party like an Adeptus Astartes party

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It’s been a while folks, but Tabletop Tuesday is back (albeit, a little late in the day)!  Now I know I’ve been out of the saddle for a spell, so I think the best way to celebrate would be to jump right in and sift through some of the great tabletop news that’s come out in the last few weeks.

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The Limited Edition White Scars cover for the new Space Marine Codex – I’m a little bit biased.

 

The folks over at Games Workshop dropped an exciting bit of news with the release of the new Space Marine codex for the Warhammer 40,000 miniatures game.  For their 6th edition incarnation, the most popular army for Warhammer 40K gets a slew of new model kits and several collector’s edition covers.  Now, the model kits are beautiful.  I mean, just look at these veterans –

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The Vanguard Veterans are close assault specialists and wield the best hand-to-hand weapons in conjunction with powerful jump packs.

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Sternguard Veterans know how to hold the line after centuries of service to the Imperium of Man and can level immeasurable firepower against their foes.

But as great as these models are, only time will tell if the rules in this new book will be up to snuff.  As a Space Marine player myself, I’m really anxious to get my hands on the book!

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Since we’re on the topic of miniatures and since I know Chris is probably reading this, I know I won’t get away without mentioning the amazing news that Fantasy Flight Games dropped at GenCon about Star Wars: X-Wing the Miniatures Game.

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Rebel transport with alternate X-Wing

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Tantice IV – Corellian Corvette

 

The pictures pretty much speak for themselves.  New, bigger ships.  For many an X-Wing fan this will come as a huge blessing, but the fun doesn’t stop with the new models.  To match these additions, FFG is releasing 2 new game modes.  Cinematic play will showcase scenario driven games using the new ships.  Epic format tournaments will allow competition using these new models.  They carry a hefty price tag at $59.99 for the Rebel Transport and $89.99 for the Tantive IV, but I know a whole mess of folks who are going to be frothing at the mouth to get their paws on these.

Tabletop Term of the Week: With miniatures games on the brain, I think it’s best for me to touch on one of the fundamental elements of how such games are played – points systems!  Since many of these games have vast arrays of models to choose from, it can be confusing to see why someone wouldn’t just bring a butt load of tanks to a fight.  The balancing mechanic that most miniatures games use is a points system which ensures that all players are fielding a comparable force.

As an example, if I were to sit down to play a game of X-Wing, my opponent and I would both choose a game size.  If we agreed on a small game of 50 points, I’d be able to include Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing (28 points) and a Gray Squadron Y-Wing Pilot (20 points).  This brings me as close to 50 as possible without going over.  My opponent would do the same with the ships of their choice and we would be able to have a fair fight because the points values calculate a given model or units strenghts (and weaknesses).

And on that note, I’m going to call it a Tuesday.  Don’t worry, though!  Even though this week was short and sweet, I’ll be back next week with more of the same!


Tabletop Tuesday: Wherein Elder Gods get smashed and the Dominion blitzes the Alpha Quadrant

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Welcome back for another week of delightful tabletop gaming news.  It’s been a busy, busy week in the wide world of analog gaming.  We’ve got space ships, dark gods from beyond space and time, a few coveted awards and ELVES…IN…SPAAAACE!

 

 

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Arguably the most exciting news this week was WizKids’ announcement of an Organized Play Event for their upcoming Star Trek: Attack Wing game.  As a huge fan of Star Trek: Deep Space 9, the theme of this event was particularly exciting – the Dominion War!  Beginning in September, game stores will be hosting tournaments and events for 6 weeks.  Players will be able to take their fleets into battle to fight back the iron grasp of the Dominion and their Cardassian allies or to bring order to a barbaric Alpha Quadrant by crushing the likes of the United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire.  These Organized Play events will feature exclusive ships that players can compete for as well as the prestigious title of Fleet Admiral for the winner!

 

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While we’re on the subject of…umm, stars…  It seems like the folks over at AEG have foreseen the movements of the celestial bodies.  Rising from the depths this summer, Smash Up: The Obligatory Cthulhu Set will add the likes of Cthulhu Cultists, the odd-looking inhabitants of Innsmouth and foul Elder Things to the fast paced card game all about pitting the most popular factions of fandom against one another.

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The Crimson Hunter is an Eldar strike craft designed to obliterate heavily armed targets from the skies.

And finally, for the space trifecta, we’re going to have a look at some of the amazing new models for the Eldar of Warhammer 40,000.  This ancient and powerful race of spacefarers has a slew of new models coming out this summer and fans of the popular sci-fi miniatures game can get these impressive sculpts to add to their existing models or being a new army to take control of the galaxy!

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These Eldar Wraithknights are constructs brought to life by the spirits of fallen Eldar Warriors.

 

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The powerful form of the Wraith Knight looms over the battlefield, rending the foes of the Eldar apart and leaving nothing but destruction in its wake.

 

Table Term of the Week: This weeks tabletop term is “meeple”.  The term was coined by Allison Hansel in 2000 during a game of Carcassonne in which she fused the words “my” and “people” to describe the game’s wooden worker figures.  In modern use, the term refers to almost any pieces (usually wooden) which represent either a game’s players or their minions.


Tabletop Tuesday: Mongols and Superheroes and Starships? Oh my!

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Welcome to the very first edition of Tabletop Tuesday!  This humble corner of Gonna Geek will cover news highlights from the wide world of analog gaming every week.  In addition to covering all the latest news and gossip for board, card, miniatures and roleplaying games I’ll also be discussing some of the terminology commonly used in friendly local games stores around the world.  So without further ado, let’s see what’s been cooking this week!

First off, we have some exciting news for gamers on both the desktop and the tabletop.  Fantasy Flight Games announced a shiny new expansion for Sid Meier’s Civilization: The Board Game.  Dubbed “Wisdom and Warfare“, the expansion promises to add 6 new civilizations.  Montezuma of the Aztecs, Genghis Khan of the Mongols and Napoleon of the French are all confirmed in the announcement, but I wonder who that dashing samurai on the cover could be…  In any case, the new civs aren’t the only reason to be excited.  Wisdom and Warfare will also be adding alternate unit cards that add a bit more depth to the game’s already innovative combat  and new social policies that will help guide your civilization’s path to victory.  Expect to see this one in stores during the third quarter of 2013!

 

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Now, I know what you’re thinking – “Ryan, are you mad?  Why would you lead with a news story about a Civilization board game?  How are you going to top that?”  Well, worry not, because I know how to keep the hits coming.  WizKids has been working hard on a new Star Trek game based off of Fantasy Flight Games’ incredible X-Wing miniatures game.  After licensing the game mechanics from FFG, WizKids set designer Andrew Parks to work on adapting it for Trek.  The result is Star Trek: Attack Wing and Parks has been posting his development notes over on the Board Game Geek forums.  Here’s what he has to say about the changes in shields –

After some discussion, we realized the key was finding a way to lower your Shields, or to divert power from your Shields, without actually losing your Shield Tokens. And so we concluded that we should make the Shield Tokens double-sided, with an active side (blue) and a disabled side (red).

Now, you can have a crew member like Montgomery Scott flip two of your Shield Tokens over to their disabled sides in order to increase your Primary Weapon value by two attack dice. The disabled Shield Tokens cannot be damaged, but they also don’t protect the Hull. In order to facilitate the use of such abilities, we allowed players during the End Phase to flip all of their Shield Tokens back to their Active Sides for free.

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It should come as no surprise that I am eagerly anticipating this title.  I’m nuts over the X-Wing minis game and this one looks to have even more going for it with Klingon, Federation, Romulan and Dominion ships in the works (and yes, I am excited in that order).

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If you’ve been keeping up with the latest episodes of Tabletop Bebop, you’ll know all about the DC Comics Deckbuilding Game and how much fun it is.  While Cryptozoic has remained tight lipped on the rumored expansion, a few retailers have decided to start taking preorders.  Gryphon Games has posted the following description on their site –

In the DC Comics Deck-building Game: Heroes Unite, each player takes on the role of a Super Hero such as Shazam or Hawkman. Your Super Hero has an ability that will guide your strategy throughout the game. Each player starts with his own basic 10-card deck and draws a hand of 5 cards each turn. Power is the currency you will use to buy new, stronger cards to add to your deck. There are five different types of cards that can be acquired: Villains, Heroes, Equipment, Super Powers, and Locations.

Only time will tell if this blurb proves accurate, but I know that my interest is thoroughly piqued.  Adding more heroes and villains is one of the easiest ways to expand the game, but given the title “Heroes Unite”, I’d love to see a dedicated co-op mode as well.

Table Term of the Week: This week, we’re going to look at the acronym “FLGS”.  This simple stands for Friendly Local Game Store and is commonly used on forums and social media to discuss those stalwart bastions of brick and mortar that house all our very favorite dice, minis and games.

As always here on GonnaGeek, I’d love feedback on the column.  Let me know if there’s something lacking or if the lingo is too obtuse.  See you next week, folks!


The Next Exciting Episode of Robotech

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In 1985, Robotech was first brought to the US by Harmony Gold.  The series blended animation from 3 different Japanese series – Super Dimension Fortess Macross, Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross and Genesis Climber Mospeada.  This amalgamation created a series which captivated American audiences and helped usher in the huge surge in anime’s popularity during the 90s.

Now, I’m no Robotech expert.  I’ve seen most of the series and have really enjoyed it, but I only started researching the fascinating backstory behind the franchise when I learned about the topic of this article – Robotech RPG Tactics by Palladium Games.  The project is a tactical miniatures game currently being funded on Kickststarter.  As of this writing, the project has received an astonishing $328,000 out of its original goal of a mere $70,000.

But why mention it on GonnaGeek?  Miniatures games are a dime a dozen on Kickstarter these days and there are already so many established games with years of development and fine-tuning behind them.  Here’s grabbed me (and might just grab you) about Robotech RPG Tactics:

  1. The game has a fantastic license with plenty of room for expansion and a solid fan-base.  Watching just a few episodes of Robotech on Netflix should give any potential investor an idea of the kinds of scenarios that will be playable right out of the box.  Future expansions (and/or stretch goals) could really open up the game with new miniatures and characters from the series.
  2. Palladium sticks by their products.  The company has been publishing the Robotech Roleplaying Game since 1986 and has a catalog of over a dozen sourcebooks for the series.
  3. It’s already funded!  That’s always a blessing with a Kickstarter project since it means that anything you throw in at this point (usually) goes towards making the final product better.
  4. The game is mostly complete.  A recent demo video filmed at AdeptiCon 2013 showcases the basic rules behind the system as well as several of the excellent prototype models for the game.  Being able to see the mechanics in action is always promising for a tabletop project that is looking for funding.
  5. LOOK AT THOSE MINIATURES.  LOOK AT THEM!

It’s an exciting time for tabletop gaming these days.  Kickstarter has made it possible for games like this to become a reality and as long as Robotech RPG Tactics continues to churn out fantastic looking updates, they’ll get my pledge and hopefully yours, too!


The Force Is Strong With Star Trek

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The folks over at WizKids know a good thing when they see it.  According to StarTrek.com, they will be adapting their popular Star Trek HeroClix Tactics line of miniatures into a new game called “Star Trek Attack Wing”.  Licensing the “FlightPath Maneuver System” from Fantasy Flight Games, this game looks to be a solid copy of Star Wars: X-Wing the Miniatures Game, but with a HeroClix spin.  Player will have access to forces made up from different factions and empires across the Star Trek Universe.  Fleets can then be upgraded with various upgrades and iconic characters from the Star Trek Universe.

Obviously, the big question on everyone’s mind is going to be whether or not the WizKids and FFG systems will be fully compatible so that fans of both series can final settle the dispute over which is better.  It’s probably not going to be that simple, but gamers all around have a lot to look forward to with Star Trek Attack Wing.