Well, my first Adepticon ever was very fun! A big thanks to Adam over at TheDiceAbide for convincing me to go and to Brent (Valmiir) and his folks for putting us all up at their place.
Day 1 – Thursday 3/22
Adam and I were totally fried from our redeye flight into Chicago O’Hare. After some coffee, we accompanied Brent to his Escalation tournament to oogle some painted Infinity miniatures. Captain Spud’s Pokemon were on display, complete with Misty and Ash.Not sure who was the owner of these PanO, but it’s a good looking color scheme, even if PanO SUCKS BOO HISS!! =)With Brent off pushing miniatures around, Adam and I hit the vendor hall to catch some demos and secure our Corvus Belli loot.
After we bought too many things, the first demo we found was this fantastic game, GigaRobo.
The basic premise here is that you’re 70’s anime robots fighting it out for dominance over a city. You have a number of basic attacks like punching and something called an “AYZN Laser,” which I found most entertaining. There’s also several charge up mechanics–you get some energy points of various types at the beginning of your turn or by taking damage. Charge up enough and you can use some pretty powerful attacks. Adam had one that let him spend basically all his energy points to hurl me 8 hexes in a straight line, possibly through buildings for extra damage.
It’s basically a resource management game. You have health points, something called “Fighting Spirit” which is basically currency to spend on playing cards, and “Power,” which you can use to power up attacks or to gain passive bonuses to attack or defense. At the beginning of your turn you can choose to gain “Fighting Spirit” or “Power,” and as I said before, when you take damage you can also gain either currency. Some robot/pilot/card combos encourage you to use this latter ability, the setup I demoed encouraged me to damage myself or let Adam damage me to get a ton of fighting spirit which I could then use to dump my hand and obliterate my opponent.
Dice rolls are face to face, like in Infinity. I get to roll defense dice, or I can actually counter attack by spending a card (and the requisite fighting spirit) to potentially interrupt my opponent’s attack and stop them cold. This lead to a lot of getting “something something suplexed” a lot. Adam had some card that let him suplex me that was cheap to play, so he was always yelling SUPLEX and throwing the card in my face. This was probably a lot more funny to us because of the sleep deprivation, but we couldn’t stop giggling. Also my robot was called AYZN, which apparently is pronounced “eye-zen” but I kept mispronouncing it “asian” much to the obvious discomfort of the poor booth staffer. Much throwing each other into buildings and me ASIAN LASERing Adam in the face later (this seemed appropriate at the time, but in retrospect is perhaps is a bit… insensitive), I came out on top after charging up to 18 fighting spirit and dumping my hand of cards in one final big attack. Sadly, the game isn’t available for purchase yet, or Adam and I would’ve bought it immediately.
Next on our sleep deprivation tour was Test of Honour, a Samurai game that Adam has been trying to get me to buy into for the past few months. It’s a snappy little game with a chit-draw activation mechanism. You have a few Ashigaru (peasant) guys like spearmen or bowmen, and a super cool super samurai dude. Ashigaru get one activation and our Samurai in the demo got three each. Every activation is represented by a little cardboard token which goes into a nice fuzzy bag, along with three “fate” tokens. You alternate turns drawing from the bag and activating whatever unit you get a token for. If you can’t, e.g. because you’ve activated all your Ashigaru and you drew an Ashigaru token, you hand your opponent the token and they get to activate. THIS. FEELS. AWFUL. You basically lose a turn and watch your mans die horribly.
If you draw a fate token you get to draw some fate cards, but we didn’t do this in the demo. Once three fate tokens are drawn, the turn is over and everything gets reset for the next turn. Combat is a simple enough affair, again with an opposed die roll, looking for the maximum number of swords on custom dice that show blank, X, 1 sword, and 2 sword faces. X’es are failures, so you can end up doing bad things to yourself. If you roll a bunch of swords you have a chance of getting a critical, which gives you bonus damage, attack, status effects and soforth.
It was a pretty fun game, the models are nice looking, and the gameplay is evocative of samurai films, which apparently is exactly what the developer wanted. It’s a little too simplistic for me, and while I love me a good samurai film, I’m not invested enough in the IP to buy, assemble, and paint little samurai dudes. I will happily play the game whenever though, if given the opportunity.
It’s at this point that the rest of the gang shows up. Obadiah (Nehemiah) arrived first and we found the booth for Blood and Plunder: a game which involves age of sail swashbuckling and pew pew!Adam and Obadiah grabbed a boat each, filled them with mans, and set sail for adventure! Which for Adam meant immediately declaring ramming speed and smashing his boat straight into the side of Obadiah’s boat and then launching a boarding action. Much cannon fire, grape shot, and bad pirate accents later, Adam emerged victorious (barely).
It’s a pretty quick d10-based system which allows for naval, amphibious, and land combat. Ships are mobile, have cannons, and can carry infantry that can both shoot at range with rifles or engage in melee. An uncrewed ship can be commandeered, so it’s entirely possible to board a ship, clear it of hostiles, and find yourself with another naval asset. You can even launch a longboat to land on a beach, board an enemy ship, or just tool around on the seven seas. The miniatures look great, as do the booth staff!The combat system wasn’t particularly memorable, but it was more than serviceable and most importantly got out of the way to let us live out our childhood fantasies of black powder gunfights and flashing sabers. Adam and I almost bought into it, but basically we’d have a bookshelf full of boats to paint… and I already have shelves of things to build and paint..
Day 2 – Friday 3/23
Adam, Obadiah, and Pete (YueFei23) went off to play the 300-point ITS, which you can read about here courtesy of Adam’s blog. I wandered around myself, oogling the Dropfleet Commander miniatures. Adam and I had actually gotten a game of Dropfleet in on Day 1, and we were hooked. Both of us are ex-Battlefleet Gothic players, and the beautiful ship designs got us both really excited. I mean look at this 2x UCM battleship!The other ships you see there are the soon-to-be-released Destroyer class ships. There’s a lot of speculation as to what the three-winged UCM ship is, but no one knows yet. We both have a moment of weakness aided along by the convention discount against MSRP offered by Hawk Wargames at the booth. You know that you’ve bought a lot when the booth guys throw in the rulebooks and some extra models for free! Whoops!
I tooled around and got into some more trouble, checking out the Malifaux demo booth. I didn’t get a full demo in since Adam basically tabled an opponent and wanted to get lunch, but I got enough to know that it felt pretty Warmachine-y. I need to play some more to really come down with a final verdict, but it didn’t leave me with a burning desire to buy into the system, which is good because I already have too much to do just with Infinity.
I got to take a class on color, light, and composition from Mr. Justin of Secret Weapon Miniatures. I had expected a hands on class but it was a traditional lecture-style situation with Mr. Justin going through a slide deck. Learned a lot though, he is a very knowledgeable painter and left me with some ideas that I want to try out when I get back to painting post-Adepticon. Not that I needed the reminder, but I went to see the Crystal Brush display case to really underscore how much of a n00b painter I am. My favorite piece was this fish diorama thing. The picture doesn’t do it justice whatsoever.
Someone even had submitted some Nomad models for Crystal Brush. They look fantastic, although I’m not entirely sure I dig the color scheme. It would work for Eldar but perhaps not what I think Nomads should look like.After the 300 point ITS tournament we retired to Brent’s place to regroup and refuel with some Chicago deep dish pizza. Yum!
Day 3 – Saturday 3/24
I showed up to the Team Tournament hoping to be paired with another person looking for a teammate. Angelina paired me up with none other than Robert Paul, the winner of the last three major Infinity tournaments including the one on Day 2 of Adepticon! Well then. You can check out all the details in my writeup of that experience here. After our first round, Bostria showed up to give us the seminar.
While it wasn’t standing room only, it was pretty packed. You can see Ash Barker of Guerrilla Miniature Games on the left, streaming the seminar on his phone. Carlos started the seminar by giving us some stats on JSA unit usage in vanilla Yu Jing as a justification for why the Yu Jing/JSA split would be okay, but really my takeaway from the seminar was this:Not only have they made the Securitate look awesome (and I totally misread TSF as TSA), they’re wearing a suit and tie underneath all that body armor. Once a banker, always a banker, I suppose.They showed us a entirely new profile, the Heckler, which looks cool but I have no idea what it does. It’ll have access to a Red Fury and an Assault Pistol though, so I guess that’s fine by me. We’ll have to see what the statline and kit look like before we get really excited.Carlos then went on to show us the Hollow Men, which are robots remotely piloted by brains in jars somewhere in a Tunguskan vault. To guarantee loyalty was how Carlos explained it. Badass! I’m particularly excited about the MULTI Rifle + Pitcher loadout, which are two of my favorite weapons! Here’s hoping they count as remotes so you can buff them. That will be really cool.
The first box set will look like this:
Looks like we’re getting a second Kriza, this time with Spitfire. Hmm. Not sure how I feel about that. We get three combi-armed Securitate, which makes sense, a Heckler Hacker (whatever that will be), and a Hollow Man with MULTI Rifle. I dig it! Here’s hoping that Interventors will be able to link with Securitate. I hope the Heckler is some sort of infiltrating thing that’s cheaper than a Spektr.
It was the Warsen.al guys birthday or something, so Carlos gave us some funny dossier pictures of the two Warsen.al guys.Corvus Belli’s assembled quite a team of talented artists. I doubt these models will ever get made, but they’d be fun to paint if they were!
After the Team Tournament finished, the guys and I went out for dinner with Andrew Muir and his crew to get Margaritas:After a lovely evening of talking shop and discussing our experiences and lists of the day, we headed back to Brent’s to crash for the night.
Day 4 – Sunday 3/25
I showed up with the Aristeia! crowd since that tournament started earlier. Someone had put together a fantastic Mountain Dew sponsored Aristeia team, complete with awesome display board!A short time later, it was time to throw down in the Biotechvore Showdown tournament. I placed third since I couldn’t get my second classified. You can read all about that here. After we wandered around the vendor hall and checked out the local game store, Games Plus, we went to go see the latest Pacific Rim movie. One thing of note was that in addition to having an impressive stock of miniature products, Games Plus actually has MDF terrain of itself in various different scales!
Day 5 – Home
Adam and I scooped ourselves up and jammed ourselves onto the plane home. His lovely wife and daughter picked us up for lunch and then we took this glamor shot of our haul:We can stop anytime we want! Hope you enjoyed the recap, and I hope to see you at Adepticon next year!