Thursday 6 November 2014

Marvel reveals Battleworld, the arena for Secret Wars

Over the past month or so Marvel has been teasing us with supposedly past events in the publisher's back catalogue. Today the House of Ideas released a video titled Battleworld Revealed which gives us an insight into what this new event may be.

The teaser above depicts a planet covered in many countries, each tied to one of the past events. We now know that this will all definitely come under the umbrella of Secret Wars, the first issue landing on comic stands in May 2015.

There are still many questions hanging in the air about this mega event, but we're sure all will be revealed in due course.

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Preview: Angela: Asgard's Assassin #1

Asgard's newest warrior will be appearing in her own solo series this December, helmed by superstar creative team Kieron Gillen, Marguerite Bennett, Phil Jimenez and Stephanie Hans. Angela: Asgard's Assassin will follow the titular character after the events of Original Sin, as she is cast out of the Tenth Realm and must forge a new path for herself.

“The story is Angela is basically on the run,” says Kieron Gillen in an interview with “It gives her a chance to interact with a lot of different people so by the end of the first arc we really get a sense of who Angela is vis-à-vis the Marvel Universe. You get a sense of who she is and where she fits into the larger picture.”

Angela: Asgard's Assassin #1 will be on-sale 12/03/14.

Now wrap your eyeballs around these lovely preview pages.

Take a +10 to Charisma with these pint glasses

Christmas is just around the corner, so what else could be more fitting for the nerd/raging drunk in your life than a +10 Wisdom pint glass? Nothing!

Beer could taste no sweeter than out of a -10 Intelligence glass, and don't even try cider without glugging it from a +10 Charisma receptacle.

Think Geek are selling these bad boys. What a time to be alive! Fancy sending me some, chaps?

Via Geek Native

Monday 3 November 2014

The Kicker: Era: The Consortium

I'm currently on a space opera kick, what with still being on the high that was Guardians of the Galaxy, looking forward to the new Star Wars and putting pen to paper with my own USR Galaxy. So when I saw Era: The Consortium on Kickstarter I was all over that like a rash. A space rash.

The premise is simple enough. The game follows a colony ship that has taken off from Earth in search of a new place to live and colonise. Taranis becomes that world. Play is set around characters living on Taranis, exploring nearby space and discovering new aliens.

Yeah, that's nice enough, but the thing that really sells Era is the fact that the players can begin at a point in the game's 500 year history. Talk about an expansive universe. The creators promise "high-tech "dungeon crawls" to raid corporate facilities, all-out wars in which the existence of your species is threatened, to exploration of new worlds".

Here's an example of a time period the Kickstarter page gives:

It is 447CE. The Resistance have prevented an atrocity by the Big Seven, and the Big Seven have been forced to accept an alien into their midst, becoming the Big Eight. The Resistance are hunted, hated and feared due to the propaganda spread by the Consortium, and the Consortium have finally realised the Resistance is a genuine threat. With the companies which make up the Consortium turning against each other, it is a dangerous time to live.

As a loyal employee of one of the Big Seven, you have been called together with others from other companies, and given an operation: track down and destroy a Resistance unit. But does your company want this to succeed? Perhaps this particular unit is embarrassing one of their business rivals, and they'd secretly like to see it go on, so you're secretly charged with sabotaging the mission - without any of the other operatives knowing, of course!

Or perhaps you're a Resistance member in deep cover, wanting to make sure the mission fails and, while all those around you are punished for failing, you will slip off back to your associates.

Maybe you're just a loyal member of the Consortium who wants everything to turn out well for all the companies... but are you sure your teammates feel the same?

The mechanics are nice and streamlined, using pools of d10s to determine success. Your attributes and skills each have a score that equate to a number of d10s. Add them up, roll them and count your successes - not unlike other successful games like World of Darkness.

From the looks of the Kickstarter page, the art examples look beautiful. I mean, look at this:

Even more ambitious is the fact that Shades of Vengeance, the creator of Era, are also producing a comic book to accompany the rules, bringing the story and the universe to life.

Honestly, Era: The Consortium looks pretty incredible. It has already met its funding goal two-fold but stretch goals promise new supplements and other goodies, so if you like the look of the game you can fund it here.

The Kicker: fund real-life fighting mechs

Welcome to The Kicker, where we discuss the good, the bad and the insane of crowdsourced fundraising. 

If I had a mech I'd probably use it to travel to Tesco in the morning to pick up bacon and rolls. I know, I dream big, right? For those of you with a more violent disposition, MegaBots Inc, has launched a Kickstarter to create real-life, full-sized mechs for the sole purpose of fighting in an arena.

I'm not even kidding.

MegaBots: Live-Action Giant Robot Combat is looking for a cool $1,800,000 to fund this incredibly weird venture. These would be honest-to-god 15ft tall, 15,000 pound walking death machines piloted by actual people and thrown into a gladiatorial arena.

"MegaBots are covered in customizable, breakaway armor plating and fire large, paint-filled projectiles at each other at speeds topping 120 miles per hour. As projectiles hit their targets, armor plates shatter and explode, and computers tally critical hits to the robot’s limbs and torso. As more and more hits are taken, robots start to limp, joints start to seize, weapons start to jam, and after enough damage, limbs are completely blown off. The last MegaBot standing wins!"

According to the creators, the total amount they're looking for will cover the production of two mechs for a 1 on 1 deathmatch, but they want to get it higher so they can have team free-for-alls and other squad-based games. I will note right now that the projectiles used are non-lethal - no gatling guns or rocket launchers for MegaBots.

Oh, and if you pay $999,999.99 you can get your very own mech.

The Kickstarter currently sits at $38,007 - a  far cry from the almost $2,000,000 total and with only 25 days left.

If you want to take a look and fund MegaBots, you can visit their Kickstarter page.

Saturday 1 November 2014

The Deck: traditional vs digital collectable card games

Welcome to The Deck, a new section where we discuss anything and everything card game related - CCGs, Living Card Games and everything in between.

I can't for the life of me get into digital CCGs. Oh, I've tried. Actually, the first digital card game I played was the Pokemon Trading Card Game for the Gameboy and I loved that, but I was pretty young and it was Pokemon so what are you going to do? But even back then I much preferred the tactile nature of the actual Pokemon card game, and I still feel that way to this day, although I no longer play Pokemon.

Don't get me wrong - I can see why people love games like Blizzard's Hearthstone. You can get a quick fix of gaming goodness from the comfort of your own desk chair, maybe wearing nothing but a dressing gown and slippers. You can play whenever the urge strikes you and there will always be someone there to play with. The same can't be said for treeware CCGs where you have to get one or more friends around the same table in all your clothing. It's not something you can do when the mood strikes you, and I've never found playing solo variants to most card games as satisfying as playing with a friend (although the Lord of the Rings LCG comes close).

Magic Online by Wizards of the Coast

Digital CCGs are generally cheaper, too. The entry-level game is sometimes free, whereas traditional games have you fork out hard-earned cashola for that starter set. Anyone who has played Magic: The Gathering for a considerable length of time known that you can sink a tonne of money into those cardboard bastards.

So far, these are all arguments for playing digital CCGs, which is why I can totally see why people are smitten with them. But there are plenty of reasons why I like to play on a physical tabletop.

For one, it's much more fun playing with friends in the flesh. The game tends to flow differently: you're not at the mercy of a digital countdown timer or a chatbox. Sure, you could use Voip, but nothing beats sitting with your mates, sharing snacks and having a laugh in-person. Plus, you can't replicate the look on someone's face when they draw the exact card they need to pull off a game-ending combo.

Netrunner by Wizards of the Coast
I personally find it nicer to own physical cards. There's a certain ritual to slipping them into their
protective cases or laying them all out on the floor to build that perfect deck. I love placing tokens on cards when an effect springs up - maybe a coloured paperclip or shiny stone. It makes the game feel less clinical than an online version, where everything is perfect and there's an animation for all tokens. Physical games have a rawness that digital can only dream of capturing.

The we come on to boosters and theme packs. Opening one of these is part of the overall CCG experience and something that just hasn't been replicated digitally. Sure, you can open boosters on the computer, but it really isn't the same as feeling the crisp foil in your hands and slipping out the cards with the glimmer of hope in your eye that you'll find that rare, amazing card.

So that's my two pence. Where do you stand on digital versus traditional CCGs?