Monday, May 27, 2019

MuseOn Con

This weekend I attended MuseOn Con, a local convention that is put on by Muse On Minis.  Muse On Minis is a company that makes tokens and accessories for various miniatures games such as Infinity, Guild Ball, Warmachine, and the Batman Miniatures Game.  This is the fourth year that they have put on this convention in West Des Moines.

I discovered the convention when I was browsing the internet one day.  I reached out to the organizers to ask some questions.  I wanted to know if there was going to be any open or casual gaming, or if it was going to be all tournament gaming.  The person I talked to was friendly and told me that there was some open gaming and that I could come down, meet some people, play some demos, and hang out.  

I headed to the convention Friday after work, paid for a day pass, and walked around the convention.  There were people playing Warmachine, Malifaux, Guild Ball, and the Batman Miniatures Game.  There were also huge tables set up for Infinity.  These looked awesome, as Infinity is a game is a game that requires a lot of buildings and terrain and the tables were full of beautiful cyperpunk style buildings.

I walked around and chatted with people.  Eventually I found a friendly gamer named John (pretty sure that was his name) to give me a demo of Batman.  I played a team with Batman, Nightwing, and three Arkham guards.  John played a gangster crew with the Ventriloquist, some thugs, and Clayface.  We played without a lot of the rules which was nice.  Since it was my first game I was little confused but I had a great time.

Here is my borrowed Batman crew.  Thanks John!
I also played a demo of the game Judgement.  Judgement is a MOBA inspired miniatures game that uses 54mm figures.  The models for the game look amazing.  The object of the game is to battle with a team of figures and to either collect souls or or destroy the opposing team's base.  I have no experience with MOBAs, but I could see the video game influences on gameplay.  Dead characters respawn at their base and there are game mechanics that involve pushing characters around the field.  The demo game that I played  used MuseOnMinis tokens and neoprene playmats which made for an aesthetically pleasing experience.

On Saturday I headed back down to the convention to try some more games.  I played a demo of the new version of Monsterpocalypse.  The game was fun as we threw our kaiju into buildings and caused much destruction.  I also played Aristeia!, a board game published by Corvus Belli, the company that produces the Infinity miniatures game.  Aristeia! is an arena combat game that takes place in the same universe as Infinity.  The game involves fighting with a team of miniatures and trying to score points by occupying zones on the board.  You have a have of cards that allows you to play certain tactics during the game.  I really liked this game and have put it on my wishlist.  I finished off the night with another game of Batman Miniatures.  A guy named Jason lent me a Poison Ivy crew and I played against his Gotham City P.D. crew.  We played on a neat terrain setup that was a sideshow carnival.  The Batman game is very thematic, as Poison Ivy sprouted killer plants while Commissioner Gordon called in helicopter support to shot at the bad guys.

Overall, MuseOn Con was fun!  My goal is to return next year with either a Batman crew or an Infinity crew.  Muse On Minis' tokens are really nice and I recommend getting some.  Check out their website.  I don't have any pictures of their stuff so here is a video of Guerrilla Miniatures reviewing their latest tokens for the Batman game:


Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Blood Red Skies: First Impressions

Better late than never, I was going to post this entry back in July.

Blood Red Skies: First Impressions

This Fourth of July I was visiting my parents and I played some games with my dad.  I picked up a copy of the WWII dogfighting miniatures games Blood Red Skies.  Specifically, I acquired the Battle of Britain beginner set.  The beginner box cost $50 at my dad's FLGS.  I asked a couple of questions of the store owner about the game and his answers helped to sway me to make my purchase.  I asked if there was any model assembly required (There is not, the airplanes just pop into the custom bases) and what the required table size was (whatever you got, dinner table is fine, his group played on 4'x3').

Your $50 buys you the base game which comes with 12 airplane miniatures, custom stands, rulebooks, dice, measuring tools, cards, tokens, punch out clouds, and everything else you need to play the game.  The miniatures come in two sculpts.  You get six Spitfire IIs and six BF-109 Es.  The models are unpainted but they are cast in colored plastic.  The British planes are brown and the German planes are grey, so you don't need to paint them if you don't want to.  You also get a couple of bombers represented by flat cardboard tokens.  I have not played the scenarios with the bombers yet but it is nice to have the variety.

A box full of goodies!
I definitely felt like the box is a good value.  The quality of the components is very good.  The cards have a nice linen finish, the cardboard tokens a feel thick and sturdy, and minis look great.  The custom stands move as intended and the custom dice, with etched tally marks for numbers and an ace symbol for sixes, are great.  The box is compact, measuring 10 1/4" square and 2 1/2" high, so it is not an inconvenience to carry it to my local game group.

Blood Red Skies has a unique approach to representing airplane combat on the tabletop.  Each airplane has a special stand that is designed to tilt back, stand straight, for tile forward.  These positions correspond to the aircraft being advantaged, neutral, or disadvantaged.  These positions are an abstraction that represents a combination of the plane's altitude, moxie, and location.  An airplane needs to be in a superior position to its target in order to shoot at it, and an airplane can downgrade its position on purpose to gain speed or maneuverability.  It is an interesting mechanic that plays fast.

The position stands in action.  The two Spitfires on the left are advantaged, the one in the middle is disadvantaged, and the Messerschmitt on the right is neutral
I found the game to be playable and fun.  The rulebook is short and my dad and I were dueling very quickly after opening the box.  The models look nice on the table as is, although I could see myself painting them one day.  I would recommend this to someone looking for a casual dogfighting WWII game.