EclipseNewDawn

Eclipse: New Dawn for the Galaxy for IOS

The last time my back went out (which happens all too frequently since I don’t exercise nearly enough), I found myself laying around with nothing to do, so I was perusing sales of board games on IOS.  In doing so, I stumbled upon Eclipse, New Dawn for the Galaxy.  It wasn’t on sale, but an old friend highly recommended it (to be frank, he was my best friend in high school, and though we haven’t talked in a long time, I figured I’d give it a shot.  As a matter of fact, we wound up reconnecting just this past month as he was back in town for his 20th high school reunion–have I mentioned that I’m old?)

Yeah, that was a bit off topic, wasn’t it?

Anywho, Rich had recommended the game, and I had listened to the review from the d6generation and they had some nice things to say about it as well (egads, was that really back in early 2012?).  Considering I couldn’t do much of anything, and the recommendations from those two respected sources, I figured I’d give it a shot.

EclipseNewDawn2Now, I won’t bother doing a detailed review of the game (I’ll leave the folks at Board Game Geek to do that), but I’ll give some overall general impressions.  It may be helpful to know that I have never played the board game version, nor have I played with a real person, so consider that when you read my opinions.

To start off, the game has a lot going on.   It’s what is considered as a 4x game, where you have to Explore, Expand, Exploit and Exterminate. In doing so, you flip a series of tiles over to explore, and then move your ships and control markers into a territory to expand.  Over time, you earn resources for the planets you colonize and use those resources to buy ships, research technology and otherwise expand your empire.

I did wind up playing the tutorials, but they’re fairly long and I became bored of them before I finished–which lead to some confusion about how specific parts of the game truly worked (one of the trickiest parts to learn was that, since you can basically do as many actions as you want during your turn, learning when to stop doing actions so as to prevent you from running out of money in later turns.  For the record, this seems to be one of the most fundamental and difficult aspects of the game to master).

With all that going on, it was a little confusing, and it would probably go smoother learning from other experienced players.

There are a total of twelve races in the game, including six factions of humans (which, from what I can tell are all identical to each other), and six alien races that share a color with each of the human factions.  This allows everyone to choose between playing the generic human race and a different alien species.  I like that all of the different races have subtle differences, and none of them seemed ridiculously overpowered.  For the most case, they are very slight tweaks: one race may get to build an extra ship in a turn, but at the expense of researching slightly slower.  All in all, the tweaks make each of the races feel and play differently, but they don’t seem to be significant enough to make any one of them lopsided (though I don’t particularly care for the red aliens, whose only advantage seems to be that they start with extra money).

EclipseNewDawn

After playing through the game a few times, I started to get the hang of it, and I’ve wound up unlocking all of the single-player achievements.   The biggest downside to the game is that there’s no single player campaign, so I stopped playing because it all seemed pretty similar to previous games.  I’m betting if I played with real people, it could still be quite fun (though I’m curious how players deal with so many different tracks/components), but I haven’t gotten around to multiplayer on the tablet, because waiting for people to make moves in IOS is significantly less enthralling than doing so in real life.

In the end, would I recommend it?  I think it was worth the $6.99 price I paid given that I was incapacitated at the time.  If I had to do it over again now that I’m upwardly mobile, I think I’d pass though.  It was good for a day or two of entertainment (which is good value at $7, if you compare it to the price of a movie ticket), but I haven’t touched it in the month since.

 

 

 

pandemic

Pandemic – Board Game Exercises in Futility

I use games as an excuse to socialize with people.  It doesn’t matter all that much to me what game we play, I just want to be able to spend time with like-minded individuals and enjoy ourselves.  So,  while the blog is primarily 40k focused, that does mean that I play a variety of card and board games.  So, when Brandon offered to bring over a new one called “Pandemic” that I’d heard of, I figured I’d give it a shot.

The game itself is a cooperative exercise wherein a team of researchers are running around the world in an attempt to contain and eradicate various diseases.  In essence, it’s kind of like Outbreak! the board game.

The game is won when cures are found for each of the four diseases, but it can be lost in multiple ways:

  • Running out of city cards (ie. running out of time)
  • Having an excessive number of outbreaks
  • Letting any one disease expand enough to outgrow the available components

It has some really basic rules with really intuitive mechanics.  It’s enjoyable to play, and even at the most basic difficulty level provides a challenge to everyone.

The thing is, the game is impossible to win.

pandemic

Ok, so that’s a bit of an overstatement.  Brandon had brought it over a few times, and in each time we played it, we got really close to winning, but ultimately lost in every game we tried.  He said that was pretty much par for the course, but that he had beaten it before, so it had to be possible.  Likewise, lots of people online seem to think it’s quite easy to win.

Well, when I threw my back out last time, I wound up buying the game on IOS to see if there was something fundamental mistake we were making in the way we played the game.  Maybe we had misinterpreted a rule?  Well, after the first thirty games played–and lost–on the easiest of settings, it seemed pretty clear to me that my original assessment of the game being impossible was pretty accurate.

In one particular game (on the easy setting, mind you), I managed to be completely defeated before each of my four characters had a turn.    Sure, it was an unfortunate set of random events, but that shouldn’t be possible for a game on EZ mode.

Anywho, after perseverance, I did manage to finally beat the game.  In fact, I found a particular set of characters (Scientist, Dispatcher, Constrution Worker, & Medic) and a strategy that seemed to work for me.  And now, I’d say I win a little over half of my games–though I haven’t manage to win it on any other difficulty setting yet (nor do I particularly care to try).

I do wind up playing it from time to time still, and it really isn’t a bad waste of time, but I don’t think it’s a great game.  I also went out and bought Pandemic: Contagion (a game where it’s not cooperative and you play as the viruses, so it isn’t anywhere near impossible to win).

So, this post isn’t so much a review, per se, but a rambling warning for those of you who are thinking about buying the game, and a virtual support group for those who think the game is impossible.  My advice though, would be to stay away.

 

 

 

Alvin1

Buying Magic Card Collections (Again?)

So I don’t write about Magic much, but that’s because I don’t deal with it all that often.  I do buy it (more often than I should), but I almost never get to play it, and I rarely sell anything, so what’s there to talk about?

Alvin6Well, recently I joined a local facebook group for players.  It’s a little bit of everything, but it seems to mostly be used to buy/sell/trade.  I’ve put out a few offers, but nobody seems to be willing to ship, and I’m too lazy to drive across town to buy a $4 card, so they’re mostly misses.  I did wind up talking with a guy about his cards, because he was selling a large lot and seemed willing to go through everything to build common/uncommon playsets for me (which is really what I’m after, as it allows me to spend a minimum amount, but still have enough cards to essentially make whatever decks I wanted).  While I was at it, I asked him for a bunch of cheaper rares, as he was willing to sell them for less than TCG low (which is like an internet standard for pricing).

Anywho, what started off the conversation was that he was selling fetch-lands in a lot for a reasonably good deal.  Normally I don’t buy magic cards as an investment, but I keep reading too many blogs/posts on MTGFinance to stay out.  So I bit on:

  • 1x Bloodstained Mire
  • 3x Flooded Strand
  • 7x Polluted Delta
  • 3x Windswept Heath
  • 2x Wooded Foothills

In total, that came to $150 (the cheapest I can buy them on TCG today is $233.16).  They’re all in good shape, so I figured what could it hurt?  Then, when I picked them up, he was supposed to have picked through for the playsets and some other cheap rares, but that didn’t pan out.  He decided to go through and do it again and I’d meet him the following week to pick up my stuff.

Alvin3In the interim, he posted some more cards for sale on a local facebook group and started selling his good stuff.  When I saw him the following week, he still hadn’t gone through to find the cards I was interested in–but in the process of negotiation, I wound up buying all of his non “good stuff.”  It wasn’t my finest hour, but I make bad decisions when faced with potential for good deals (big surprise, eh?)

My mindset was that he claimed to have 4x playsets for four different sets (in actuality, I’ll be lucky to get two) and I generally buy them for $20 each online, so I didn’t mind paying $80 for those.  He also pulled out some more fetchlands and other choice cards, that I’d agreed to pay his asking price of $75 for.  So, that just left me to wonder how much to offer for the rest of the cards.  He had about 5000 cards of various sorts (All from newer sets) and I wasn’t going to pick through them to see what he had.  My thought was that the “going price” for bulk is about $7 each, so that’s at least $35, and he did have a fair number of rares in it, so maybe $225?  Of course, the logic was flawed in all sorts of ways: I was paying full price for bulk, I had no idea how many rares (or if anything was good in it), and I was overpaying for 4x playsets that didn’t exist.

I was on painkillers though, so we shook hands and made the deal.  By that evening, I was surprised at how many rares were included in the deal, and there were even a few occasional good ones, so I should be able to make my money back on it.  Still, the original plan was to just get some cheap singles (And the fetchlands), and I was already almost $400 into this.  The more I thought about it, the more I developed a bad taste in my mouth.

So I messaged him–not to renig on the deal, but to let him know that if he had trouble selling his good stuff, that I’d be happy to pay him more than a local store would.  The mindset was that he’d go to the store and they’d make him an offer, and I’d beat that.  I wasn’t going to pay the prices he wanted (which were all less than TCG low, mind you)–not because his prices were too high, but because I didn’t need the stuff and was already too deep into this collection.

The thing is, he didn’t seem to want to go to a store.  I made him an offer based solely upon the prices he mentioned and the cards he described (I’m not super into Magic, so I dont know that much about new sets/prices).  I used the mindset of a former employer of mine (I used to work at a card/comic shop), where we offered up to 25% in cash value for cards that we wanted (50% in trade).  Of course, if we didn’t want/need the stuff, we offered less.  So, based upon his math, the cards were worth $385.  I figured that a local store would give him (max) $100 in cash–so I offered him that.  After a day or two of really weak haggling, he mentioned that he had some more cards that weren’t originally included, and threw them in.  Based upon that, I wound up giving him an extra $40 for the lot, but I made him deliver them to my place.

In total, the “good stuff” included:

  • Alvin63 Xenagos, the Reveler
  • 1 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
  • 1 Chandra, Pyromaster
  • 1 Nissa, WorldWaker
  • 3 Sorin, Solemn Visitor
  • 1 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
  • 4 Stormbreath Dragon
  • Alvin44 Thunderbreak Regent
  • 1 (foil) Shaman of the Great Hunt
  • 4 Stoke the Flames
  • 2 Whisperwood Elemental
  • 4 Courser of Kruphix
  • 4 Deathmist Raptor
  • 4 Sylvan Caryatid
  • Alvin52 Wingmate Roc
  • 6 Hero’s Downfall
  • 3 Dig Through Time
  • 4 Fleecemance Lion
  • 4 Siege Rhino
  • 3 Anafenza the Foremost
  • 2 Dragonlord Atarka
  • 1 Dragonlord Ojutai
  • 1 Dragonlord Dromoka
  • Alvin74 Temple of Deceit
  • 4 Temple of Abandon
  • 4 Temple of Enlightenment
  • 4 Temple of Plenty
  • 4 Temple of Malady
  • 3 Temple of Triumph
  • 4 Yavimaya Coast
  • 3 Caves of Koilos
  • 3 Llanowar Waste
  • 2 Haven of the Spirit Dragon

According to MTGprice.com, the “total value” of that lot is actually $628.48 and the price I could sell it to if I sold every card to an online vendor (not feasible) for their best price would be $308.40.  Still, that’s a great deal for $140–I shouldn’t have any trouble getting my money out of that.

Alvin2So, in total, I’m out $510 (did I really just spend that much on Magic cards), and after I do alot of sorting, I should be able to make that money back and keep the actual commons/uncommons that I wanted (and hopefully the fetches, as they’re supposed to be “an investment.”)  We’ll see in time if I ever do that, and if I ever make any money on this stuff.  I just wanted to get it documented so I would know one day what I put into this lot.

Wh39kDip2015 (8)

One Last Dip – Staining Tyranids Will Soon be a (fond?) Memory

The time has come (the walrus said) to dip my many things…

Wh39kDip2015 (2)After creating my setup, I was finally ready to get down to the actual motions of dipping my bugs.  You know, I really make a big deal out of it, but I’m not sure how much of a pain it really is.  I guess once you do the prep work, getting down to dipping really isn’t so bad.  I was able to do everything in about 2 hours (minus a little drop catching in the ensuing hours).

A couple of special problems that came up this time that I wasn’t exactly prepared for were:

  1. Wh39kDip2015 (4)Two of my carnies fell off their bases during the process.  The basic jidst of how you dip (or at least how I do it) is that you coat the model in entirely too much stain and then flick the excess off them.  Well, during that flicking motion, two of the beasties came clear off their bases.  That left me in a bit of a pickle as they’re not well balanced and I didn’t want to lean them against something.  I also was covered in stain (from kneeling in it and from the flicking process) so I couldn’t just go inside and get some superglue (nor do I know how well that would work, since the base had a coating of stain on it as well).  Wh39kDip2015 (6)In the end, I wound up leaning them both against a box in such a way that only the tips of their tongues touched.  That worked for the most part, except one of them fell forward and his head was wiped clear of stain.  Luckily, I caught that before everything dried and was able to rebath his head in the wash.  In total, it got a little too much on it, but I don’t think it stands out too bad–I’m guessing you wouldn’t really notice it on the table, unless I brought it up.
  2. Wh39kDip2015 (7)I ran out of nails.  My last post queried whether or not I’d have enough, and I clearly didn’t have anywhere near enough.  During the process, I had to put four and five arms on a single nail.  It was a bit of a chore to keep them separated enough so as not to touch or drip on each other.  Yeah, I should’ve gone back and done more nails, but the last past was purely hindsight, as I had written it after I finished the dipping process. >.<
  3. Wh39kDip2015 (1)I also had an issue with hanging visquene.  Ok, well, not so much this time.  In the past, I’ve always taped it around the garage door guides or to the walls/ceiling.  Back then I’ve had problems with parts of it falling down (likely because I use blue-tape–since I don’t want to leave any permanent marks).  Well, this time, I got smart.  I realized that my buildings are all stored at the top shelf of the garage, and I could just hook the visquene around the pointy bits at the top of the buildings, and that prevented me from using tape.

    Wh39kDip2015 (5)At this point, you’re probably thinking that my buildings came crashing down under the weight of the plastic, but that isn’t the case.  What really happened is that my buildings came crashing down (sort of), but not because of the weight.  My wife, who knew that I was dipping and had seen the setup, wound up heading out the next day, but forgot something.  Well, when she came back home, she mistakenly opened my garage door, which caused a bit of a ruckus.

    Wh39kDip2015 (11)The plastic wound up getting spooled around the garage door, so much so that I had to cut it off.  The dipped models were all unscathed (though parts of the cardboard collapsed in the driveway, but it had long since dried up).  The real issue was that my buildings were no match for the strength of a garage door opening, and they were taken along for a ride.  The wound up on top of the garage door and got a little beat up, but it wasn’t all that bad.

Wh39kDip2015 (9)Otherwise, they’re all dipped, and now I need to wait for them to properly dry (they’re still a little tacky), and then I can get their bases done and some good action shots.  For now though, I’ll leave you with various work in progress photos and a wise response from Brandon when I texted him a picture:

“You really know how to make a mess, eh?”

 

Wh39kPreDip (2)

When I Dip, You Dip, Pre-Dip

With the last of my Tyranids done painting, I’m ready to cover the house in stain again.  This brings the total of models to dip to:

  • Wh39kPreDip (2)2x Toxicrenes / Maleceptors
  • 6x Carnifexen (wow, why did I do that?)
  • 9x Mucolid Spores (or as they’re purchased from Forgeworld, “Mieotic Spores”
  • 5x Lictors
  • 1x Deathleaper

In total, that’s just a paltry 23 models to dip–hardly worth my time, but when you look into it, there’s a lot more than meets the eye.  Case in point, each Carnifex has:

  • 4 sets of scything talons
  • 1 set of crushing claws
  • 1 set of small guns (I didn’t paint  both up)
  • 2 sets of large guns

Wh39kDip2015 (9)So, each carnie is really 17 different pieces that need to be stained.  When you look at it that way, it starts to be quite an endeavor.

In order to prep the garage, I threw out some visquene, pulled out an old box (actually, the box that my frame for my uncut sheet of magic cards), and making another crude apparatus of wood and nails to hang all of my magnetized arms from.  I wonder if that’ll be enough nails–now that I think about it.  It seemed excessive when I was making it, but thinking of all of those carnifex arms makes me wonder if I have anywhere near enough now…

I guess we’ll find out this weekend…