Thursday, 28 May 2015

NICON 2015 PAINTING UPDATE

Nicon Saga Tournament is this weekend, painting progress has been slow, but I only need to finish another 8 warriors off - done the base coats, just needs some black washing and highlighting layers to go - so hopefully all done by tomorrow evening.

I have made some baggage pieces, not entirely happy with them yet but getting there ,  I need to make up some wheels for my Carts - might make them from balsa wood perhaps as they had wooden plank wheels in them days.  Have done one wagon fulled with captured weapons and such, and the other one is a giant wooden cross on a wagon - being the pious Dane with my Monks and Religious advisor Warlord it works.  I will only have time to base paint them but at least they will be ready to use for the one mission.

Have only had the one game with the force but pretty sure how I am going to use them - The Religious Advisor will prove important so must protect him

Will post a report late next week I hope

Thursday, 14 May 2015

ANGLO-SAXON/DANISH HEARTHGUARD

Slowly getting there with my Saga painting with the completion of my Hearthguard unit


More than likely to only use them in my Anglo-Danish force
as Hearthguard in my Anglo-Saxon wouldn't quite work as you don't get the numbers you need if you have expensive Hearthguard units in there.




Next up is one more unit of Warriors then its onto my baggage pieces.

Monday, 11 May 2015

SAGA PAINTING


Slowly getting my act together and done some more Saga miniature painting, with the completion of 8 more warriors  that I use for my Anglo-Danish / Anglo-Saxon force.


Next up to finish is some Hearthguard models and then onto another unit of Warriors, and finally onto making and painting my baggage train .... need it all finished by the end of the month !   PANIC STATIONS !




Wednesday, 6 May 2015

UPCOMING SAGA TOURNAMENT AT NICON

Next tournament for me is Nicon, which is the North Island Champs. This year it is held in the lovely town of Thames in the Coromandel area over Queens Birthday weekend.

I shall be heading up with my brother Andrew and wargaming mate John Fletcher so should be a good trip. We will all be entering the Saga tournament this year with myself using my Anglo-Danish force. My brother is either taking a Strathclyde or Spanish force subject to making up his mind. And John is using Vikings.

The event is over two days with four 6 point games on the Saturday and on the Sunday was two 6 point games and then two 4 point games. So very much a full day of playing Saga games.... should be good.

Front - Priest Warlord with monks behind
Center - Warriors, Hearthguard, Warriors
Rear - Warriors

My Anglo-Danish force will be made up of :
Spiritual/Religious Advisor Warlord - I find this warlord priest version the best version as it gives you more saga dice for very little effort, he is rubbish in combat so will need to keep him safe.
2 units of Hearthguard -  Will combine these into one unit of 8.
3 units of Warriors - Most likely to be run in two units of 10 warriors with one unit of 4 warriors (lurking at the back)
1 unit of Angry Monks - Will need to be carefully placed in order to annoy my opponents enough to attack them in their turns thus giving me the useful Martyrs ability.

I have yet to finish painting two units of Warriors and the Hearthguard unit but hopefully have these finished soon. I will also have to make up some baggage train pieces for the escort mission. One idea is to have a large cross on a wheeled cart, another one is some livestock ($2 shop should be ok for this) and maybe some pagan prisoners perhaps for the third - or even a witch burning platform.

But happy to report I have now finished my Danish Warlord/Spiritual advisor - the model itself is the Welsh hero Maredudd ab Owain but he looks the part of an older but all knowing religious Warlord - and he has an axe as well - maybe not as long as the Dane axe as he should have being Danish, but he is rather too old to be swinging around a huge axe !




Until next time then.






Tuesday, 5 May 2015

MAGE WARS - THE BOARD GAME

Mage Wars ,  this game is freaking awesome !!!  My brother brought it a month ago now and it is now fast becoming my favorite number one game. Needless to say we have both been playing a lot of it lately.

 It is a 2 player fast paced card driven game that basically places two opposing Mages in an Arena, each turn they can cast two spells from their own spell book using their mana supply. Whether it be to summon creatures, walls, traps, curses, or attack spells such as Lightening forks, each Mage battles it out with the victor being the one left standing at the end of it.

The components in the core game set is outstanding and for the low price of $75NZ you certainly get your moneys worth. You get the game board, all the markers and dice etc, also two spell books each with 80 sleeves for your spells. and over 350 spell cards to choose from. The artwork to each card is awesome, and the depth of rules and different situations that you get your mage into, leads to making the game very very re-playable. Its a huge big thumbs up in my opinion. The expansion packs are very affordable for what you get and adds more choices to your spell books.

First step is to choose your mage
There are 12 different Mages to choose from with the core game having 4 Mages, these being the Beastmaster, Wizard, Priestess and the Warlock. There are also 4 expansion packs for the game that gives us another bunch of Mages with these being the Necromancer, Druid, Orc Warlord, Dwarf Warlord, Priest, Archer type Beastmaster, Adramelech Warlock and last but not least the lonely Forcemaster.

So lets discuss each mage class in detail then : All Mages have their own special abilities and are each schooled in one or two areas of specialized Magic.


The Warlock - schooled in Dark Magic and Fire Magic, with sinister dark spells and equipment to choose from and his ability to summon diabolical conjurations and perform sacrifices he is quickly to be feared.  He is a master of curses that can maim, rot, poison and ultimately weaken his enemy's so that his Demon minions can use to their advantage. Being schooled in the dart arts he has to pay triple points for any Holy spells.
The Adramelech Warlock is similar to the Warlock but is far more specialized in Fire Spells, she can cast spells that ignite into flame and then place enchantments on creature that prevents them from removing the burn markers. Her Fire creatures benefits when attacking an enemy with burn markers and can heal from their wounds caused by fire.




The Priestess - She is schooled in the art of Holy Spells, so is forever healing and protecting and being the what I call the goody-to-shoes. From her Temples she can summon mighty Knights and Angels that crusade across the arena with Clerics close behind forever healing and cleansing. She can be quite defensive or aggressive depending on the build of spell book you choose utilizing enchantments that boost and heal her creatures. She has to pay triple spell points for any Dark spells

There is also a male alternative version of the Priestess being the Priest (obviously) He is more of a war like build to him, having the holy avenger skill and being able to deal out Light damage with ease.

The Beastmaster - Schooled in Nature Magic, he is the undisputed master of summoning animals to his aid. Whether he wants to boost several large beasts such as Grizzly Bears or surround your foes with entire Wolf Packs, his enemies will know what it is to be hunted in the arena. The Beastmaster specialize's in calling upon nature’s allies and empowering them to be more than mere beasts - a simple Mountain Gorilla, now imagine a Vampire regenerating Gorilla with eagle wings ... anything is possible with magic!
Fire spells cost him triple spell points as no Nature specialist likes fire.
Like the Priestess and Priest there is another alternative Beastmaster, being the a Amazonian, she is more of a hunter than summoner, specializing in Archery and Sprinting making her hard to catch as she fires arrows at you.

The Wizard - Schooled in the Arcane Spells, the Wizard studys the true underlying power of magic with an unparalleled ability to manipulate and control mana and spells such as dispells, purge magic and teleporting. They understand that battles are won with tactics, not brute force. Wizards also attune themselves to an Elemental school of magic; choosing from Fire, Earth, Water, or Air. The choice of school depends on what tactics he wishes to employ. For example, Wizards favoring Fire are counting on directly damaging the enemy, and leaving them with lasting burns. Many Wizards are dedicated to Air, making lightning attacks which can stun and daze the enemy, or pushing enemies away with wind, or choking them with clouds of poison gas. Wizards also summon from a variety of fantastic and bizarre mythical creatures, including powerful elemental creatures of their chosen elemental school.
Wizards are not penalized for taking other class of spells, so will never pay triple costs!
The Wizard is my favorite Mage whether it be armed with Air magic or earth.

The Necromancer - Schooled in Dark Magic he is the master of the Undead and Disease, he also Poison immunity!  He can summon undead minions from the grave such as Zombies and skeletons, they may be slow but they are forever relentless, feeding on the dead and reanimating themselves. The Necromancer can summon poison gas clouds with ease that wreaks havoc on the living. He also can bring back from the dead his opponents creatures such as Grizzly Bears turning on their previous masters as a Zombie Bear !!
This is Andrews favorite Mage with Zombies his go to unit of choice.

The Druid - Schooled in Nature Magic and Level 1 Water Magic. She is the master of plants as she summons carnivorous vines, poison flowers, corrosive spitting plants, vampire raptor vines and giant trees !. She has the ability to place a  vine marker in a zone each turn which she can summon and grow her plants from, with time they can appear behind the enemy and walls always surprising her enemy's. Being a user of water spells can use such spells as renewing rains, rust and surging waves and geysers.
Like the Beastmaster Fire spells cost her triple spell points. All of the trees are classed as rooted and unmovable (the bane of the forcemaster) so are fixed in that zone but some have the ability to uproot themselves and move about, it costs the mage a mana to use this ability. Another favorite Mage of mine.

The Forcemaster - Schooled in Mind magic she is a loner of sorts. Not relying on creatures she uses physic powers of the mind to push, daze and even control the opposing creatures.
She sets traps and summons forth walls such as Fire walls, Thorn walls that Bleed and piked walls, then uses the force push and repulse spells to move the enemy through the walls causing all sorts of damage and carnage. She has a force field of sorts She has to pay triple points for any non-mind creatures that she summons.




The Orc and Dwarf Warlords - Schooled in both War and Earth magic, the Warlord Mages are the master of Solider class creatures and have a large array of war spells that can bolster creatures to be mean fighting machines whether its a tooled up Dwarf archer or a sneaky elusive Goblin. Earth spells range from hurling rocks and boulders to summoning huge Earth elemental and Iron Golems.
The Orc is the more aggressive type of Warlord being the leader of Goblins and Orc hordes that rush forward into battle buffed by powerful war command spells, his outposts allow him to summon creatures from all over the arena. The Orc has the ability that when one of his solider class creatures kills a enemy in melee it gains a Veteran marker giving it a bonus in melee and armour. This makes the lowly Goblin Grunt quite formidable.
The Dwarf Warlord is more for the defensive type Mage users out there (in my opinion). He doesn't have the vet ability, instead he can imbue equipment with magic runes and he gains the Tough skill. He summons Dwarf Crossbowmen with archer towers, Axe wielding Berserkers that sweeps multiple enemy's with one swing, and Engineers that repair buildings and walls. The Warlords have no respect for the Arcane arts and as such pay triple for Arcane spells


The Arena
Each mage will walk out into a battle arena which is divided into 12 separate zones, which regulate movement and range. Mages start in opposite corners, armed only with their spellbook. Players create the battlefield as they cast spells. After a few rounds the arena becomes filled with creatures, walls, conjurations, traps, and enchantments!


Spellbooks
Each Mage has their own custom built spell books that they make prior to the game. So instead of drawing cards from a deck of cards like other games the Mage has total freedom to pick and choose their spells as they see fit during the course of the game. They get to spend 120 points on 6 different class of spells that you build before each battle.

You can choose from Attack spells that directly damage creatures, Incantation spells that can help or hinder/damage your target. Enchantment spells that lie hidden on the target creature until it is time to reveal it. Conjuration spells such as creature spawn points and statues that bolster your troops abilities or walls that slow down your enemies. Equipment spells that can only be cast on the mage him/herself, whether it be bearskin armour, toughness belt, Healing wand or Skull splitting Mace

Each spell belongs to a particular school of magic, and also has a spell level. These 2 items determine its cost for going into your spellbook.

For example, the Warlord is trained in War and Earth magic. He can put War and Earth spells into his spellbook, at the cost of whatever the spell level is. A level 3 War spell costs 3 points. A level 2 War spell costs 2 points.

If the Warlord wants to put spells from other schools in his spellbook, he pays double for them ! so a level 4 Dark spell will cost him 8 points !! . Also if a Mage has a penalty for spells as part of his conditions of use, he will have to pay Triple cost. So a Priestess dislikes the use of Dark Magic so a level 1 Dark spell would cost her 3 points for example so you see its very easy to create spellbooks !

There are 6 schools of magic to choose from, being Nature, Dark, Holy, Mind, War and Arcane, with 4 different Element schools being Water, Fire, Earth and Air.
In this manner players can build spellbooks, mixing spells from any school they want. The point system encourages you to stay within the schools you are trained in, but each player has plenty of points to allow for some great surprises for his opponent. The beauty of the game is that you can customize as you go between games as there is 322 cards in the starter pack alone and many others in the expansion packs, I am constantly tinkering with my spell books trying to get the best combo's or just to change it and go in another direction entirely.

Selection of Equipment spells
Selection of Attack spells
Selection of Walls to be cast

Only a tiny portion of the creatures to summon
Enchantment spells galore
Some Conjurations
Incantation spells


Casting Spells
Your mage is forever drawing mana from thier surroundings and what in the game terms is called your Mage’s channeling ability. Each round your mage gains an amount of mana equal to his channeling attribute. When your Mage casts a spell, he pays its mana cost, and the spell is then taken out of your spell book. The spell then either has a one-time effect and goes to your discard pile, or it is placed onto the game board and becomes an object in the arena.

To Battle in the Arean
At the beginning of each round, each Mage may choose 2 spells to cast from their spellbook. These can often be tough choices. Your decision making has to include what you need to accomplish this round, what can you do to advance or reverse the situation, and also ask yourself “what is my opponent going to do?”. With the right choice of spells, the tides can turn quickly which keeps the game unpredictable, engaging and exciting. You never know who is going to win until the last drop of blood is drawn!

Combat
Attacks are conducted by rolling custom attack dice. After rolling for damage, you subtract the target’s armor from the roll to see how much damage is done. Critical damage penetrates armor. Damage is recorded with damage counters. Some attacks produce additional effects, which are noted with a condition marker. For example, Flame attacks can Burn, Lighting can Stun or Daze, Wind can Push, and Poison attacks can cause poisonous conditions. Some creatures have defenses which enable them to dodge or block an attack and completely avoid it.




So there you have it, a great game. I hope the game catches on as I would love to play it at a tournament, perhaps at the next Wellycon or some other board games convention.

The game itself may look a tad daunting for the board game beginners out there, but you very quickly pick it up and get to grips with the different traits and conditions that are used. There is and the rules recommend the use of the Apprentice spell book cards to start with - this is a pre-determined book with only 100 points of spells so a little easier. Once you have 3 or 4 games under your belt using the same Mage you can easily add the more advanced spells and move the limit to the standard 120 points. In no time you will be using and looking for that perfect combination of cards and thats the beauty of this game.

The average game may take anything from 1 hour to 1.5 hours depending how ruthless or defensive one gets or what Mage you select as some are more suited to the long game and others best to play the short game.

I will post a game report soon, and maybe a more in depth look at a Mages spellbook choices. 

Cheers