Growing up I was never much of a sports fan, years of being picked last in gym class and facing constant failure on various fields of athletic endeavor quickly rid me of any earnest interest in them. However I do appreciate the sheer amount of strategy involved in many of these games, and I love seeing them adapted into tabletop versions. Baseball is probably one of the most strategy intensive spots being played anywhere in the wold today, so when I heard about Highlights 2045 I couldn’t wait to give it a look.
When the popularity of baseball had been eclipsed almost entirely players began undergoing procedures to fit themselves with cybernetic appendages that would allow them to perform better on the field. It proved to be exactly the shot in the arm the game needed and spectators started flooding the bleachers to see the cyborgs in action. In time completely robotics players were introduced drawing even more of a crowd as they took the field. A select few naturals, players without any cybernetic implants remained active and earned a reputation for being the best of the best.
The game is set in the future and pits robots, cyborgs, and ordinary humans against one another. Players must choose which players to use as each have their own strengths and weaknesses on the field. I haven’t gotten my hands on a copy yet, but the theme has me very interested and I will definitely share more of my thoughts once I do.
Avengers Age of Ultron Heroclix Starter Set
I just picked up the Avengers Age of Ultron starter set for Heroclix, and I have a couple of thoughts about it. First off as a starter set it’s quite nice and given all of the hype surrounding the film it’s a great way to introduce new players to the game while allowing them the chance to use recognizable characters. It includes Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and the Hulk along with a double-sided map, a set of dice, rules, and tokens. I’m not going to get into a really detailed review of any of the figures right now, but I would like to share a couple of the thoughts I had after looking over the set.
First off the dice that are included just irritated me the instant that I set my eyes on them, they’re just a pair of tiny plain old D6’s. Back during the Avengers Vs. the X-Men the starter sets came with some amazing dice, I still have mine and I use them on a regular basis. These just feel like a let down and got folded into my surplus D6 pile immediately.
Having said that I am glad to see all of the key Avengers are here, but again I find myself less than pleased. I’ve heard the usual complaints from friends who player Heroclix and from other players online. A few of the highlights being the fact that Thor isn’t powerful enough, and Iron Man doesn’t feel like he can stand up to his comic book counterpart. I don’t feel that way, but I am a bit annoyed by the fact that all of these figures are arguably inferior to those of the identical characters found in the gravity feed. That’s not unusual and obviously Wizkids wants to encourage players to purchase the boosters, but honestly there is nothing here that makes this feel like a must have set. I picked it up because I was curious and I wanted to play around with a few of the Avengers, but I sort of wish I’d just invested the money in trying to get the gravity feed versions of nearly all the characters.
All said and done I think this is a great set for new players or for Avengers fans who will be delighted to see all of the characters arrayed before them, but I think everyone else would be better served to skip it.
Dragon Age RPG
I’ve been playing the Dragon Age RPG quite a bit over the past few weeks, my friend Jessica has been kind enough to run a campaign and she allowed my dwarf merchant Kenrick to join the party. I’ve barely played any of the Dragon Age video games, I did however see the Dragon Age: Redemption movie starring Felicia Day which I absolutely loved. In fact that was one of the reasons I was so excited when I got the chance to give the game a try. Anyway there’s a lot to be said about which I will reserve for a podcast, but I do have a couple of points to mention.
Honestly I think the game suffers a bit from an overly-complex stunt system which is based on whether or not you roll doubles on any of the three D6’s you roll and what you roll on the so-called Dragon Die. Basically if you roll doubles you can perform a stunt based on the number you rolled on the dragon die, it sounds great in theory but it really serves to slow things down in my opinion. There are literally pages of stunts divided into various categories including combat, exploration, and interaction. So each time you roll players dive for their charts looking for something to apply to the current situation.
The character classes are limited to four three classics that work well: namely warriors, rogues, and mages. Your choice of race and background helps determine exactly what sort of role your character plays in the world of Dragon Age. Humans, elves, and dwarves of various flavors and origins are all available for play, but if your looking to qunari I’m afraid you’re out of luck. They’re not included in the core book and I have yet to find the stats for them in any supplemental material.
My last thought is that this game wants to kill you. Seriously. In fact Kenrick is already dead, he died squaring off against a literal army of Darkspawn in order to buy time for his friend to escape and warn a nearby settlement of the horde’s approach. It was the perfect way for the character to end his story, and entirely my decision based on what Kenrick would have done. The dwarf’s pitiful speed also contributed to it somewhat as he would only have served to slow down his companions. Before that we faced off against ten Darkspawn, and a lion that nearly one-shot a member of the part who had lucky enough to draw his attention.
In all I recommend the Dragon Age RPG even if you’re not up on the Lore, it’s enormously fun and with a few tweaks I think it makes a wonderful addition to any gaming night.
As a last note I feel I need to share a bit of sad new, this last week our 17 year old cat Meru passed away. Those of you who listen to the podcast have heard him wandering in on our games from time to time, voicing his displeasure at the fact that no one was currently providing him with the fitting amount of attention. He was never in any pain, and he passed away peacefully in our home among those who loved him best. Although he isn’t a game of any type he is and always will be a member of our party.