Friday, 11 June 2021

Unboxing: 7TV Fantasy

I've recieved my copy of 7TV Fantasy, another variation of 7TV developed by Crooked Dice in conjunction with Edge Hill University.

So I'm going to show it to you.


Full disclaimer before proceeding: I was one of the playtesters for this game and my name is actually in it. In fact, if you looked at other posts on this blog you could possibly accuse me of being a fully brainwashed Crooked Dice cultist.

Biased review incoming!


The boxes of the 7TV games are always good, but they are getting better. In fact the production value of all of the components are on a steady rise. Although there's nothing wrong with the original Spy-Fi game, you can see with each release how much attention to detail is being poured in.


As you'd expect, the box is packed with stuff and a bit of a heavy beast. At first glance you'll see that the contents are largely a variation on a theme, with fantasy versions of all the elements you've come to expect from a 7TV core set.


The three main guides set out how to play the game. The Director's Guide covers the core rules - new features include mounted characters, new statuses and magic.

The Producer's Guide goes through setting up a game with scenarios and victory points; there are also some pitches of ideas for games you might like to play that reference classic fantasy movies.

The Casting Guide includes brief bios for each of the profile cards, along with rules for designing your own stars and co-stars.

It feels like there's more background and fluff than in previous sets (with the possible exception of 7TV Pulp), and this is probably due to the tie up with Edge Hill University creative writing students. There is a lot to spark the imagination and I really appreciate the range of sneaky intertextual references - my favourite is the one line nod to the 108 outlaws of The Water Margin.


A new element is the Encounter Guide, which provides locations for the basic scenarios to take place in, offering different scenic hazards and rules for objective placement, adding variety and theme.

They function much like the Perils deck from 7TV Pulp, but with more space for clarity and detail. Which, in my opinion, is an improvement.


For example, in the Adventurer's Camp you will encounter random events each time a model enters an area in the middle of the table.

When playtesting this, we found it fun to ensure that we placed an objective (or even better, a macguffin) in the middle of the table to ensure that the random events happened and madness ensued.


The other cool element of the Encounter Guide is that it encourages you to build some terrain pieces, rather than just have 'areas' marked out.

For example, above is the Adventurer's Camp I made when we were playtesting last autumn.


The templates and tokens are in coloured MDF, which is a really nice touch. Although I do admit that the cardboard playtest versions had the full retro feel of early editions of Warhammer Fantasy Battle.


As ever, there are somewhere close to a billion profile cards to populate your games. As 7TV is miniature agnostic (although Crooked Dice do have an excellent, and ever growing, range of miniatures available) you can make your existing collection fit the profiles as you wish.

Unlike previous editions, there are far more villainous profiles (middle row) than heroic (bottom row), with the most space given to neutral profiles. This seems genre appropriate.

On the subject of genre, as with other sets, there are new genre icons to help you build your cast. These include Epic Fantasy (think Lord of the Rings), Mythic Fantasy (think Jason and the Argonoauts), Sword & Sorcery (think Conan the Barbarian) and my favourite: Pen & Paper Fantasy (think psychotic munchkin murder-hobos).

A new element in the game which you might notice if you zoom in are presence attacks, which were developed as a way of bringing ranged attacks into a genre known more for it's melee combat.

Presence attacks tend to be non-lethal, so you still need to close in, but they often add a status to your enemy, severely hindering them. However, it is now possible to give some attacking k'niggets a viscious taunting, or, as happened in one of our games, have a Swashbuckler laugh someone to death.


The major new element in 7TV Fantasy is magic, and this is achieved with the Magic User special effect allowing you to select a number of spells before the game from a range of spell books, a process that has a real D&D vibe.

Magic Users can then cast these in game, and although these spells are powerful, there is a cost. Miscasting has negative effects which include setting yourself on fire...something which happened with alarming frequency in our games. Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards...


The other usual card decks are present with a fantasy twist. Countdown Cards become Trilogy Cards, Gadgets become Artefacts and there is a huge range of recognisable Macguffins.

Yes, that is the Glaive from Krull. I'm now on the hunt for a 28mm Lisette Anthony.

 
There are dice and plot point tokens too. This time in snazzy purple and green.

So, there you have it. Another excellent product from Crooked Dice, packed with references to classic fantasy movies. As films like Clash of the Titans and Hawk the Slayer were on a constant VHS loop throughout my youth, this is right up my street, and possibly my favourite iteration of the game so far (although I'm still waiting for 7TV Chorlton and the Wheelies).

If you like 7TV already, you'll love this. If you don't, you probably won't. If you haven't tried it, this is a brilliant place to start. Almost every gamer has at least a handful of Orcs or Skeletons knocking around, and historical gamers of any pre-gunpowder era can put together a cast of knights, barbarians or hoplites.

Your quest begins here...

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Mistakes Were Made

After something like six months, I've finally been able to play a miniatures game against a a person. Pete an I got together to get to grip with 9th Edition 40k, otherwise known as 'excuse me, they can do what now?'


We played a 900 point game using an Open War scenario so we didn't have to worry about the in game admin of primary and secondary objectives. We just had to kill each other.


My army, seen here hiding from the inevitable first turn barrage, consisted of:

Daemon Prince
Changeling
Fluxmaster
10 Pink Horrors
13 Blue Horrors
10 Brimstone Horrors
5 Screamers
Exalted Flamer
3 Flamers

Everything I've painted so far. A bit thin on quality troops, but fast and brimming over with space magic.


Pete had his lockdown Space Wolves, which consisted of:

Primaris Librarian
Primaris Lieutenant
5 Intercessors
5 Intercessors
3 Aggressors
5 Infiltrators
5 Hounds of Morkai
Invictus Warsuit

There might have been some sneaky list tailoring going on as apparently the Hounds of Morkai affect psychic powers and can assassinate psykers if they get close enough. Nice.


The first turn obviously went to Pete, but I didn't get obliterated by long range firepower because: a) Peye wanted to get close and stab me to death, and b) the 4+ invulnerable save of Tzeentch Daemons is quite good.

I was somewhat appalled to discover that the Invictus Warsuit and Infiltrators could both deploy not very far from my army.

On my turn, as you can see, I took measures to deal with the threat of the Warsuit, spending a chunk of CP on strategems. Unfortunately, what followed was combination of appalling dice rolls and forgetting my own special rules which left the Warsuit still standing and my Daemon Prince half dead.


However, let's not kid ourselves that the disaster of first turn was only down to bad luck and a bad memory. I also made bad decisions.

After a volley spell casting and shooting took down one whole space marine, the remains of my Pink Horrors and the Fluxmaster charged into combat only for me to discover that this was not where they should be. Not only do they hit less hard than a damp rag, but...


...it allowed them to get counted charged by Pete's Aggressors.

They died.

The Hounds of Morkai charged the Screamers and the Lieutenant bravely charged the Daemon Prince, but the big fight was a bit of a stalemate, even though my Warlord's strength was beginning to tell.


With my right flank gone, all I had to focus on was the fight.

The Daemon Prince finally managed to end the Warsuit, which promptly exploded, wiping out the last Blue Horror and leaving my warlord crippled.

My Flamers also arrived from deep strike and were able to assassinate his Librarian.

At this point I'd killed four whole models.

The following turn saw Pete's firing squad finish off the Flamers (ironically, the Flamers were killed with flamers) whilst my Daemon Prince and Screamers (who had finally worked out that they were actually Strength 6 in combat) demolished the Lieutenant and the last of the Hounds of Morkai.


At this point I had just a handful of wounded models left. A situation that go worse when massed Bolt Rifle fire deleted the Changeling and left the Daemon Prince with just a single wound.

I decided that there was nothing for it but to get stuck in and Daemon Prince went for the Aggressors. Psychic power and shooting killed one and the inevitable overwatch was taken by the Exalted Flamer, which survived thanks to Pete rolling four ones for the number of auto hitting shots (they clearly used their fuel against the Flamers).

The Daemon Prince made short work of the Aggressors (which lough much harder to kill than they are) but was now stood in front of three units of Marines with just a single wound. He did, however, have a 3+ rerollable invulnerable save...he might make it.


Let's take a moment to appreciate the fact that at this point in the proceedings, I was technically winning...although I only had 5 wounds left on the board.

Pete opened fire, and in the dampers of damp sequins, my Daemon Prince failed the first save he was required to make...three times. An 11 point swing in victory points meant Pete's lead was now probably unassailable.

The Exalted Flamer and Screamer charged the Infiltrators in the hope of keeping the gap respectable and narrowly failed to kill the unit as it was now Pete's turn to spot a rule he'd missed all game and realise that they could ignore the first failed save each turn.

The counter charge finished off the Exalted Flamer and the defeat was complete: 47 - 29.

All in all, this was a really fun try out of both armies. We both got things wrong and both learned things we'd need to remember in future.

I learned that my Pink Horrors and Heralds should avoid combat, if at all possible. Screamers should be pointed at Marines and remember to fly over enemy units if they have the option. The Daemon Prince is really dangerous in close combat, but needs some protection tion from enemy shooting.

I think Pete learned that just because he can set up really close to the enemy, he probably shouldn't (he was lucky the Warsuit wasn't destroyed on the first turn), also his Lieutenant would probably have been better off stood with his gunline giving them bonuses to wound, as he wasn't much to write home about in melee.

Despite some ropey dice and memories, I was pleased that they game did seem to depend more on our decisions that I remember 40k doing. It was a fun game and I'm looking forward to playing more of it.

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Ch-ch-changes!

Unlike David Bowie, I do know what I've been waiting for...tomorrow I have a game against another, live, actual human being.

It will be my first proper game of 40k since fourth (I think) edition and I'm giving my Tzeentch Daemons a run out against Pete's Space Wolves (which are also a lockdown army).

As a game was beckoning, I finally found the impetus to build and paint a recent acquisition for the army: the Changeling.


This is a HQ unit and a named character. It will be trolling along with my Flamers and Horrors, throwing out spells and providing a variety of buffs.


The model itself was a bit of a faff to assemble and paint, thanks to all the folds if cloak and many, many arms getting in each other's way. There's also an annoying hole in his hood due to clumsy sprue clipping, which I clearly repaired badly.


I tried to evoke the other colours in the army, giving it Pink Horror arms, ribbons the colour of Blue Horrors and feathers on the staff reminiscent of the Daemon Prince.

I went with black robes because black contrast paint made that the lazy choice.

Overall, I'm really happy with him/her/it, although I might revisit the hole in the hood after tomorrow. I might also see about adding to this army, but I'm not sure I want to take on another Start Collecting box just yet.

Acquired: 98
Painted: 94

Sunday, 30 May 2021

Fortune's Fools: "Dino Danger"

 After all the excitement of dealing with the space pirates in the first mission, it was time for the crew of the Fortune's Fool to find more work. With Vidar laid up for the next few missions, and I2-T-800 undergoing a full systems check, there were limited interactions in the Axxon Orbital Station.

Noria stayed aboard the ship looking after her husband and training (+1xp). Dash tried to engage in trade but his contact seemed to only want to deal in trinkets that carried no value to the captain. Kyla, always ready to learn, spent time in a bar talking to a retired academic, learning more of the history of Sera (+2xp).

Clanker, meanwhile, scanned the holo-displays looking for work, and so was available when a communiqué came in from Vidar's contact in the Sector Government: a search and rescue mission for a geo-survey team in the jungles of equatorial Sera. The pay was good, and Trillian even said that he might have some information on Vidar's concerns about mining corruption when they returned.

Mission 2 - Secure (Danger Pay: 2d6 - pick highest, Benefit: +1 rumour, Hazard: Caught Off Guard, Conditions: None)

Enemies - 6 Carnivorous Chasers, 1 Krorg (I put the Krorg - a bigger threat - in rather than a pack leader because of the model...you'll see why).

Notable Sights - Peculiar Item (+2xp)






That turned out to be easier than expected, although I was helped significantly by the fact that dinosaurs don't have guns, and Dash Halcyon went nuts on a single turn taking out three Carnivore Chasers in quick succession. Things could have gone bad for him, however, if Noria hadn't managed to drive off (inflict three stuns) the Krorg, as he was on two stuns and the Chasers' Alert rule would have had him acting after the dinosaurs. Actually, that's the second game in a row where Noria has gone 'big damn hero' to end the game and I've failed to get a decent photo of her.

The post game was fairly uneventful, especially as there were no casualties, with Kyla being the only one to cash in XP for an increase (Reactions +1). The Loot table handed the crew a Needle Rifle (which Noria took) and and Alien Merchant stiffed Dash 4 credits for a Machine Pistol..

The biggest news was that Dash was selected for the character event and rolled up True Love. Admittedly, this does give me a Story Point, but more importantly, as I wanted these events on screen, I'm going to have to include the obligatory 'will they, won't they' narrative into future events.

Don't expect anything too smoochy, however, as that would require buying and painting more models.

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Fortune's Fools: "Deja Vu"

Yes. It is the same game as the previous post, but done in comic format using Comic Life 3.

Enjoy.








Sunday, 23 May 2021

Fortune's Fools: "Person of Interest"

Having generated and painted everything I needed to play my first game of Five Parsecs From Home, it was time for Dash Halcyon and the crew of The Fortune's Fool to take their first job.


With the ship safely docked in the Axxon Orbital Yards, but his credit line running thin, Dash despatched Clanker and I2 to the markets to see if they could secure anything useful in trade for some spare parts. Noria and Kyla, both enjoying their first taste of freedom, decided to explore, whilst Vidar offered to speak to a Sector Government contact he had called Cran Trillian, to see if there was work available. Dash himself spent time checking over the ship (+1xp).

The Bots returned with a surprisingly good haul: 3 Dazzle Grenades and a ipod, which Fash immediately rigged up to fit Clankers infantry laser.

Noria had here eyes opened, seeing sights she'd only imagined (+2xp), whilst Kyla used her initiative and secured an Auto Rifle from a black market arms dealer. Dash was pleased at the acquisition, but the cost left the crew dangerously short on credits.

Vidar returned with two potential leads. Cran Trillian needed a rowdy group of veteran troopers dealing with, which sounded like a tough job. However, Vidar has also discovered that some of the issues being faced by his mining community might be caused by pirate raids. He'd picked up a lead on a corrupt corporate employee who was passing shipping schedules to the pirates, and he knew where the meeting would take place.

Considering that this was a new crew, Dash made the decision to follow the Vidar's lead on the pirates rather than take on veterans. It would be a bitter struggle, but he knew that bringing in pirates could gain him a good reputation with the corporations of Sera.

Firing up the engines, The Fortune's Fool glided through the atmosphere of the planet to where Vidar said the rendezvous was taking place. Dash landed several miles away and decided to approach on foot, as he didn't want to spook the man they were after.

Turn 1


As they approached the rendezvous point, Dash Halcyon ordered his crew to split up and search the abandoned settlement for their target.


The crew advanced carefully through the wrecked buildings, wondering what had happened to this community. As ever, Clanker took up a covering position with his long range laser.


Rowdy noises in the distance indicated that the crew were probably going to have to fight off the pirates if they were to secure their man.


Suddenly Kyla's voice came across the comm, "I have eyes on the target, Captain. Moving in." Dash was pleased with the eagerness of his new recruit.


Clanker's aging optics picked out movement in the rubble ahead and he wasted no time in unleashing a well-aimed laser blast, causing one of the figure to drop to the ground in fear.


However, the rest of the figures now advanced at pace, spreading out to take advantage of the available cover.


"Don't move, or I'll blow your head off." Kyla quickly secured the prisoner and then checked in over the comm, "Captain, I have him. Can we get out of here?"


"Not yet Cadet," responded Dash, "we'll need to bloody their noses a bit to put off any pursuit."


Noria opened fire with the new auto-rifle Kyla had bought, causing one of the pirates to shrink back behind some boxes, wary of having his head blasted off.

Turn 2


The pirates surged forwards at the sound of gunfire, urged on by a big man carrying a heavy bladed weapon. He opened fire at I2 and sent the bot sprawling backwards, failing to compute why his 'stealth mode' hadn't worked.


Dash unloaded his customised machine pistols at an advancing pirate, little more than a boy; bullets ripping open his chest. One of the young pirate's companions broke and ran, appalled at this gruesome sight.


Having secured the prisoner, Kyla ran to support Vidar, who was taking heavy fire.

Turn 3


The pirates pushed forwards again, and blasts impacted all around Kyla and Vidar, as they realised that they were in the process of being out flanked.


Realising that they were trapped and couldn't move without exposing themselves, Kyla and Vidar dug in. The cadet somehow managing to squeeze off a shot which hit one pirate in the throat.

Turn 4


The trap closed as first the pirate leader put a shot into Vidar's chest, spinning him backwards, and then another pirate shot at Kyla from the left. She dodged just in time, but slipped, banging her head harshly on the rocks and losing consciousness.


Seeing his new crew fall, and not knowing if they were still alive, Dash Halcyon came bursting out of cover, spraying the pirate chief with fire, killing him where he stood. Seeing his leader fall, another of the pirates fled.

Turn 5


Unaware of what was happening elsewhere, Noria found herself assaulted by two of the pirates.

However, if they expected the woman to be an easy target, they were mistaken. Noria was from mining stock and knew how to handle herself. First one and then the other were swiftly despatched with the scrap pistol Vidar always insisted she carry.


Realising that he was now alone, the last pirate took cover, somehow not noticing the loud clanking noise approaching behind him, until it was too late.

Aftermath

With the corporate traitor secured and the pirates dead or driven off, the crew looked to their casualties.

Kyla was only concussed, but Vidar was hurt badly and needed help back to the ship. I2 had been knocked offline, Dash would have to examine the damaged 

Fortunately, the corporation man had arrived in a crawler which made the journey back to the ship easier. Dash also took the opportunity to clear him out a crate of goods he was clearly delivering to the pirates, along with the shipping manifests and inexplicably (but fortuitously) an upgrade kit, but no weapon.

Back on Axxon, the Sera Mining Corporation were delighted that the mole had been found and the pirates driven off and paid the crew well (combined earnings of 12 credits from different rolls). What was more, not only was Halcyon on the SMC's books, but a transmission from the haulage corporation which had been troubled by the pirates suggested they might have more work for the crew.

Dash bought the drinks that night. Despite Vidar's injury leaving him noticeably more fragile (Toughness-1), it had been a good day. They'd worked well together, been paid well and made some good contacts. They'd also ingratiate themselves with the very corporations that Vidar was looking for dirt on.

Maybe he'd get the ship paid off sooner that he thought...

***

Well, that was fun. It really does work as a fully solo game. The generation of the scenario and aftermath rolls give you more than enough to build an interesting story, without relying on somebody else's script.

The game rules simple enough that you aren't struggling to remember everything  (although I think I did forget to add weapon damage to rolls quite often), whilst the combination of the initiative rules and AI system give you an opponent that is a genuine challenge. It was touch and go at points.

I liked this, so you can expect to hear more of The Fortune's Fool.