Thursday, May 28, 2015

Double Dragon Neon: The Best Bad Game Ever

The 80's called. They want their game back.

Too bad, it's mine and they can't have it!  How else am I going to have so much fun and groan at terrible jokes at the same time?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Malifaux Tactics: Jakob Lynch, the Meth-o-mancer

   A disclaimer: thanks to some great feedback on my article about Malifaux's Neverborn, I got a personal request to talk about my main squeeze, Jacob Lynch.  The finer points of playing Lynch are a little implicit, so I outlined his general strengths and weaknesses.  If you're  not familiar with Malifaux, you might want to come back when you're more familiar with the core rules.  If you want to learn more about being an effective jerk to others in a miniatures game, read on.

    I started playing Malifaux just at the tail end of the last edition. Jakob Lynch was my first master. I was drawn in by the detailed, horrific designs of the bestial Illuminated and the prospect of chopping the Hungering Darkness into something that looked less like a worm you'd find under a rock. I played about two games with the original Lynch crew, and I thought he was just the tops. He had a skill that let you get free victory points if you had a five card straight in your hand. Moving into second edition, his flavor is still really great, and his mechanics support that. Even more so in M2E, dealing out Brilliance feels like a death sentence. Unfortunately you can't just seal the game on turn one by getting lucky, but you never need luck if you just cheat as hard as Lynch does.

    Lynch is focused on card manipulation, and his models are really solid, if a little expensive. Overall, I think Lynch and his crew make for really a good entry-level set. The mechanics aren't incredibly complicated, but he's still all-around powerful enough to take on most any crew and do well. I feel that the majority of schemes and strategies are achievable with clever play using the Dark Debts crew.

Heavy Steam Review: The Most Gentlemanly Brutal Board Game Ever

A little more than a year ago, I wrote a small article on a Kickstarter called Heavy Steam; it was a game that I had run into on the expo floor at PAX East, and excited for the new concepts being displayed to me, I backed it.  As the months afterward moved on however, I found myself growing nervous.  The game had a mechanic I wasn't familiar with.  Had I just spent my money for nothing?

A game about 30 foot tall steam titans beating the hell out of each other.  What could possibly go wrong?
This April, the game arrived on my doorstep, and it's been worth every penny ever since.  Let me introduce you to Heavy Steam, a game where you are constantly caught between hurting yourself to put that final blow on your opponent, yet feeling quite civilized while you do it in the end.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Malifaux: God Help the Outcasts

We here at Sprites and Dice have talked a bit about Malifaux before, and it's probably for good reason: Wyatt plays (and gets people addicted to) it, I play it, and so does Dana. As we’re now in the middle of Miniatures May, it seems like an excellent time to revisit the topic, and dive in a little deeper.  Namely, it's time to start talking about the individual factions and why my favorite faction is better than Dana's dirty Neverborn.

Malifaux has a lot to recommend it, but I would like to focus on my personal favorite faction, the Outcasts. As the name suggests, they aren't so much a unified faction as they are the people who don’t fit in anywhere else. As a result you get a wide variety of abilities within the faction, many of which resemble what other factions like to do, but they have an Outcast flavor that’s all their own. Something you might commonly hear me say is that the Outcasts are playing a game that’s a whole lot like Malifaux, but isn't quite Malifaux.  By the end of this article, you might see what I mean.

Kickstarter: Light Fall is the Next Great Platformer

I don't like making bold statements often, but here goes: I genuinely think Light Fall is probably one of the best platformers I've played in a long time.  It's smooth, it's sleek, it has a definite sense of it's own life and flair and style.  The demo was challenging but not overwhelming, the narrator chastises while still being fun to listen to, and the atmosphere is something that has to be experienced.

This is Light Fall, and it's a game you should check out right away.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Malifaux's Best Faction: Neverborn (All Other Opinions are Incorrect)

If you're a vicious bastard with control issues, and you want to watch your friends squirm in agony as you slowly draw a metaphorical noose about their necks then you may be asking, "Golly, which Malifaux faction will really rev my proverbial engine?" First off, that's a weird way to say it, and secondly, congratulations, you have good taste! The answer is the Neverborn faction. There's no faction that's quite so tricky, flexible, and downright brutal. Neverborn may not have the raw damage output of the Guild, or the nonsense utility of Arcanists, but they do have a delicious smorgasbord of cruel tricks available to them.

Nothing is what it seems.

     Malifaux is a great game, as Wyatt pointed out in his review, but he just doesn't understand why the Neverborn are the best faction.  I can tell you why though: You'll be thinking three steps ahead, laying in wait and watching your opponents stumble into your traps in the dark corners of their minds as you cackle on the other side of a mirror.  Well, maybe not, but they're a fun faction to play in a war game, at least.  They're fun, they're trick, and they really highlight some of the great ways this minis game is different from a lot of others.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Painting Miniatures Can Be Meditative and Rewarding, But Only With the Right Attitude

As a sort of kickoff event for Miniatures May, Wyatt invited some of the Sprites and Dice staff over to his house for a day of games, good food, and most importantly, painting miniatures. While Wyatt has been going at this for years now, Brandon and I were completely new to this. Unlike many of my other articles, my point here isn't really to tell you how this new experience changed my worldview on life or something; We were just painting miniatures, after all. However, there is something intensely rewarding about the process. It's one of those things that people can repeatedly tell you about, but you don't truly understand it until you've experienced it yourself.

Like most of my favorite hobbies, painting is meditative. It's an activity you can throw all of your focus and concentration into and shut out the world for a bit. A lot of people consider buying games like Super Dungeon Explore, then are disappointed by the realization that none of the miniatures are painted. This is understandable, especially if one of your initial selling points on a game is the box's colorful art style.  Something that I'm learning is that the process of painting, gluing, and preparing your miniatures is part of the fun, and helps make the game feel that much more enjoyable in the end.

Now, to address some doubts everyone has about miniatures. I know not everyone wants to get into this hobby, and this article isn't for them. This article is for the people who have always considered it, but have had some doubts that they'd be up to the task. Think of this as a pep talk to get you pumped up for one of the most relaxing hobbies in the world where the only requirement is time: painting these little guys can be meditative and rewarding, but only with the right attitude.