This past weekend involved a lot of miniature gaming (and if you’re following my Instagram, you probably noticed that). So since I spent most of my week prepping for games rather than thinking about them, I decided to give a few thoughts (i.e. incent others to buy more minis…):
- Infinity – I got into Infinity thanks to some steep discounts on both the Operation: Red Veil and Operation: Ice Storm starter sets. Infinity is a futuristic, manga-inspired miniature game with one of the most complex/complete rule sets I’ve seen in a miniatures game. The thing that stands out about the game is the concept of reaction orders (AROs) – basically, every miniature is always on overwatch and able to react when another mini acts in their sight. It makes for some really tactical gameplay and the rich range of options means that no two games are even remotely alike. This weekend was a de-escalation tournament with each round of the tournament using a decreased points value (400-300-200), meaning your big, thinky game was first and your last game was a lighter, more savage affair.
- Frostgrave – I’ve sang the praises of Frostgrave a few times, so suffice it to say, it remains a favorite. We’re about halfway through the Thaw of the Lich Lord scenario and we’re already plotting our next campaign. Frostgrave is a fantasy warband miniature game where your wizard grows in experience, learning new skills and surviving injury while employing a number of mercenaries and adventurers to explore the frozen city (they have significantly shorter lifespans…best to not get too attached). The mechanics can be a bit swingy, but it makes for quick, cinematic games.
- Dropfleet Commander – I demoed this at Gencon last year and quite frankly, I hated it. Over the following six months, I really began to wonder if I’d really given the game a fair chance or if I was just tired and a touch cranky. Fast forward to a trip to London and I picked up a copy of the starter set for a great price. Dropfleet Commander is a game of orbital combat between opposing naval (space) forces in conflict over a planet’s surface. Unlike a lot of space combat games, DfC combat takes place in high orbit, low orbit and in altitude. In addition, conventional forces can be dropped on the surface to secure city sectors. We really enjoyed our first play of this one – the choices were interesting and combat can turn very deadly, very quickly.
- All Out War (pictured above) – Mantic’s Walking Dead miniature game was up next. To be frank, we really bought copies of this game in preparation for Ash Barker’s upcoming Last Days game (which we’re still really excited about), but since we had the minis and all this terrain… I’m not real sure how to describe this one and I’ll probably do a full review of it after a few more plays. It’s got really interesting mechanics for managing the walkers and the game absolutely nails it’s theme. I’m a fan so far.
- Arena Rex – I’ve been dying to try this one out! Arena combat between fantasy gladiators in the colliseum. The rules for this game are really tight and evoke the feeling of elite warriors dueling to the death for the amuseument of the crowds. It doesn’t hurt that the models are drop-dead gorgeous. We played the standard game in less than 30 minutes (it was quick enough that we played twice) and had some great cinematic moments, like when Zahra caught Marcus Furius with her whip and dragged him into a pit.
- Dracula’s America – The last game of the weekend is one I’ve had since Gencon last year and am just now getting to the table. Dracula’s America is an Osprey game where you bring your own minis (though there are some official minis) set in an 1800’s United States where Lincoln is dead and Dracula is president. Oh, and there are necromancers trying to bring back the Confederacy, big business barons have made deals with infernal powers and shapeshifting Native Americans are attempting to reclaim their land. It’s got some great imagery and the core resolution mechanics are definitely interesting. Not as swingy as Frostgrave, but not as prone to long slogs as some other minis games. It does use a shaken/down/casualty mechanic for wounding characters which I’m finding a bit tired though. That said, each mini in a warband is eligible for advancement or injury, which is something I really like in this style of game.
I may break some of these out into larger reviews, but I’m a bit behind in posting as is!