City of Horror in Action

Another game I got to pull out last weekend was City of Horror. This is really a great game. The basic idea is this:

There has been a zombie apocalypse. A bunch of survivors are holed up in a section of the city, waiting for a rescue helicopter that will arrive in 4 hours. The zombies are coming. You control 3 or 4 of the survivors. You need to collect an antidote for each one of your survivors, and then have the most points by the time the helicopter arrives.

Meanwhile, the zombies are coming and there is basically no way to stop them from eating someone … the question is simply – who? For that, the players must argue, negotiate, swindle, form voting blocs, secure power, bribe and generally do anything possible to make sure it’s not their character’s corpse slowing the zombies down one more hour. The few items that the survivors have cobbled together – guns with precious few bullets, cans of food, the antidotes, molotov cocktails, flares, they can be used to try and stave off the inevitable, or used in the negotiations…

I really like the look of this game. It starts like this:

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and ends like this:

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To really appreciate it, though, you should see it in action. You just can’t explain the way the desperate negotiating works without an example. We recorded most of our game, and I have edited together the best bits for your viewing pleasure! Captions and Annotations are your friend!

Weekend Games – X-Wing again!

I quite like X-Wing Miniatures, but really I’m just trying to get my money’s worth out of them.

I had a couple of games with my brother again. We take a novel approach to force-building. First we randomly pick a side, and build a 100-pt force for that team. Then, we randomly pick which team we play… so you only have a 50-50 chance of actually playing the side you built. This works pretty well because you have to take a fairly serious approach to building the force, as you might end up with it … but at the same time you can afford to play around a bit, because you’ve only got a 50-50 chance of having to play with your own crap.

So I built the Rebel Alliance and I decided what would be cool would be Luke Skywalker in an X-Wing, then Han Solo and Chewie in the Millenium Falcon. I built Luke quite defensively, and Han quite offensively both had maximum bells and whistles.

Meanwhile, Scott had decided it would be cool to load Boba Fett in Slave I up with pretty much every expendable item available – homing missiles, proton torpedoes, proximity mines, you name it. For escort he had two fairly blank TIE fighters – Dark Curse and “Black Squadran Pilot.”

My tactic was to try and keep Boba Fett at range so he could use all the missiles and bits and bobs Scott had saddled him with, and use the two TIE fighters as bait. So I swung a path through the asteroid field that took me generally away from Han and Luke. I had planned to drop a mine somewhere there in the hope they’d fly into it when trying to follow me, but I totally forgot.

The bait worked well enough. The no-name TIE fighter came under heavy fire and was all but destroyed… when, on 1 hp, he pulled off an amazing 3 evades vs 3 hits that kept him alive one crucial round longer.

He used that turn to pull out of range, and Dark Curse became the target of choice. Meanwhile, Boba Fett had looped around and started to unload missiles and heavy cannon fire.

Luke was the first to blow up due mostly to Boba Fett’s fire, but Dark Curse got in some key hits as well. In fact, Luke was having so much bad luck I’m not at all convinced the force was with him one little bit.

Shortly afterwards 1-hp “Black Squadron Pilot” came back into range and Han finished him off. We were 1 loss for 1. Great odds for the empire.

As the fight drew on, I spent several turns hot on Han’s tail, shooting him with my primary weapon. I had him locked, but was saving it for a proton torpedeo – if he ever pulled away that is! Dark Curse had over-shot the Millenium Falcon and was weaving back and forth in front of him slowing him down a lot. In fact, things got REALLY tight there between Dark Curse and Han several times.

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Eventually Boba Fett over-shot Han and dropped his proximity mine, but Han utilised a house rule to pull away and both free himself from Dark Curse and dodge the mine. (The house rule is that ships can spend one turn outside the bounds of the board, so long as they are fully within the bounds of the board at the end of the next turn.)

With some breathing room Boba Fett did a Koiogran turn which put him out of range but the up-side was that he’d soon be able to fire the proton torpedeo. Han, meanwhile, was able to dispatch Dark Curse with that same breathing room.

Things were pretty even with Dark Curse gone, but in the same turn Han dispatched the final TIE, Boba Fett fired the proton torpedo, and it did tons of damage to the Falcon. Due to the sustained damage, and that final hit, Han ended up having something like 4 damaged components. His agility had been reduced to 0, he couldn’t do any red manoeuvres without risking damaging his ship further, his console was on fire (potentially adding 1 more damage each turn until the fire was extinguished) and he’d been nailed with a direct hit which counts as 2 damage.

Slave I and the Millenium Falcon passed each other head on. Han shot with his 360-degree turret, but although it brought Boba Fett’s shields down, it did no damage. Boba returned fire with his rear-firing gun, and blew Han Solo away. Empire wins!

Speaking of Star Wars

The latest addition to my X-Wing Minatures Game arrived today (well, I’m in cahoots with two friends.) Isn’t it purdy?

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That brings the collection to:

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Keep in mind, these are all perfectly to scale.

The minis have been notoriously hard to get. There is still plenty of the core game available, but the expansions have been problematic. Wave 1 expansions (the X-Wing, Y-Wing, TIE fighter, and TIE advanced) are sold out basically everywhere in the world. I was able to find a very small supplier here in Australia and grabbed the last X-Wing and Y-Wing off him.

Wave 2 (the TIE interceptor and A-Wing) appears to be nearly as hard to find. How my friend found 2 INTs on Amazon, I’ll never know.

I was speaking with a small shop here, and I was told that no-one is getting the allocations they are asking for, because the demand is high and supply is low. As a result distributors are asking for even higher allocations than they need in the hope that when they are rebuffed they end up with what they wanted in the first place. This is just exacerbating the problem.

Wave 1 appears to be at the printers now (meaning sometime this month,) but if you’re looking to pick up these key elements to this game, I’d strongly suggest pre-ordering. With video games – AVOID pre-odering, but for this game, I’m going to go ahead and strongly recommend pre-ordering or there is a good chance all the reprints will be gone and who knows when another batch will come. Everyone is going to want the iconic X-Wings and TIE fighters. I’m sure the Y-Wings and TIE advanced will be popular in their own right.

The YT-1300 and Firespray are plentiful at the moment and I expect them to remain so. I can’t guarantee it will remain so, but I expect them to be less popular due to their extra expense and the fact they are less renowned for dogfighting.

Lastly, there is a new expansion coming which includes the HWK-290 (aka Moldy Crow), B-Wing, TIE bomber and Lambda-class shuttle. Other than the B-Wing, which I personally dislike, I expect this wave to be pretty unpopular. Strategically, it’s sound and the quality looks as good as any of the other expansions… but all 4 ships are noteworthy only for being particularly pedestrian. Or in the case of the HWK-290 – a crap idea melded to a shitty design.

If you aren’t familiar with the game, stay tuned – I’ll go into detail in a later post. Spoiler alert: It’s expensive, but awesome.