The Year 2007 in Review

Well 2007 brought a lot of interesting changes for me. I’ve moved to a new place in Nashville away from what I was referring to as the OK Corral. This was because the crime in the area had grown violent and pervasive. The weekend before I moved out a drug dealer wasn’t happy with the rate of payment by a customer and took the boy’s puppy and shot it with his pistol. Mind you the dealer was, himself, a boy (19) and hopped up on drugs. He left the weapon behind with a full set of prints and then passed out at home. Hopefully he’s sitting in jail right now. Unlike my home state of Massachusetts, the State of Tennessee takes law breaking seriously.

This year saw the Star Wars miniatures game fall out of favor with me. I still enjoy playing it but they had a disastrous quality drop in their May release this year and that killed the series for me. I got a case of the Force Unleashed but I haven’t even opened it yet. If you can’t sell Star Wars stuff to me then something is terribly wrong. Seriously…

What took over for Star Wars was another pre-painted game called AT-43. This is a sci-fi game put out by the wonderful people at Rackham. Yes, I am supporting the French. I’m half French myself! The figures are quite nice overall and the paint jobs are definitely better than the Star Wars figures. They have 4 factions as of this writing. The main idea behind the fluff is that 43 years after a traumatic war that shifted the planet Ava out of its normal orbit the losers of that war are back and this time they are playing for keeps. The Therians are a highly advanced culture that seeks infinite life. They seek to stop even the eventual collapse of our universe upon itself. Their ambition knows no limits. They are a group mind connected by an EMI grid and their primary technology is nano-tech. Against them are the United Nations of Ava (UNA) and the commie Red Blok (a splinter faction of the humans.) Fighting along side the Therians at times are the uplifted Great Apes known as the Karmans. They are perhaps the most unique species and they are amazingly tough. Due to their size and strength they are wielding what to the humans would be auto-cannons and their heavy weapons are truly fearsome.

The thing that tells me the game is pretty good is that the conversations about what is broken in the game are localized to two simple things. The first thing that people bitch endlessly about is using AFVs for cover. They can block line of sight but they don’t provide cover in the normal sense in the rules as written. Not a problem. Just about everyone house rules this to say they DO provide cover. The second is artillery. Basically artillery is incredibly accurate. As in, I’ve never missed using their normal rules. The new rule is simple. If all your tests to hit miss, then the shot deviates 10cm (widest blast radius is 10cm so this is likely a miss on everything you intended to hit. Each missed test is a deviation of 1cm. Both rules will have errata soon so the bitching can stop.

What conventions did I go to this year? I know I went to Nashcon and Historicon. Was that it? I think it might have been. I missed Cold Wars to go on operations with the 861st QM for an air assault and sling load training exercise. It was great fun and my escort, Captain Lane is a hell of a guy. I might put up some video concerning that on this blog in 2008.

I got started on my quest to play the first 10 missions of Descent. I’ve run the game a number of times but the party keeps getting killed off around mid-game. Its not an easy game. I might make the next run a little easier. Its not that the players aren’t up to it – its just that I am the guy who has all of the rules and its mainly light entertainment so unless I can get a consolidated copy of the rules to the players they will continually not know all of their options even though I try to tell them what they are. Sometimes you just have to read it and think about it. Anyway they have succeeded in the first 3 missions with 7 to go. I love the game and we all have fun even when people start to get killed around turn 3! They are a good bunch of guys but they need to all be tanks as subtlety is not in their vocabulary!

I played a lot of Runebound this year as well. I love that game. I love the supplements that have come out for it. I hate that it takes a dozen hours for 4 people to finish it though. There are ways to skip ahead in that game but all of them are pretty blatant cheats. Still it produces a fun game.

I got Dunwitch Horror this year but haven’t played it yet. The only person I played Arkham Horror with isn’t around anymore so until I find another Cthulhu fan the game will be gathering dust.

I can’t think of any opportunities I got to play the Down in Flames games either. I love Zero, Corsairs and Hellcats, Eighth Air Force and of course Rise of the Luftwaffe. Fantastic game just don’t have anyone here to play against.

I did play Wings of War a lot. I got one each of every miniature they made and I am finally caught up on all of the supplements and additional fighter packs. It’s a simple game of WWI dog fighting. I really enjoy that game a lot. It is the perfect air game for me – not too complicated, fast play, reasonable results, and a Hollywood Land ending everytime! If you see me in a silk scarf and leather cap with googles you know what is up.

On the Xbox front I got a few games this year. Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 was fun for a while. The single player story line was a bit better than the improbable GRAW 1’s was. The missions were nicely done but there wasn’t much additional work done on the graphics which were a little weak for the platform. The Online battles I got into were epic however. I replayed Ghost Recon 2 on Original Xbox during my move and while the graphics sucked the game play was great and the mission and story line was fantastic. I also played Full Spectrum Warrior and it’s sequel Ten Hammers. Both are good games but they play more like chess than FPS. I enjoyed them a lot but they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea.

Gears of War was fun – tough – a good value until I tried multi-player. Then it sucked. Some people may like it on multi-player but I found it lacked all of its charm. Graphically it’s beautiful. The Co-op play is good. But multiplayer felt like it was added on at the last minute. It almost beat Republic Commando for worst multiplayer ever. RC was such a huge disappointment when it came out. I was expecting Rainbow Six 3 in the Star Wars universe and I got a 1980’s arcade game with better graphics. One of the few games I ever sold back to Game Crazy. It stank that bad.

The real winners this year are Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4. Both games are incredible both single player and multi-player. COD4’s graphics are the best and most authentic looking I’ve ever seen. Smoke, vegetation, heat distortion, it has it all done right. RPG smoke trails look a bit off but they serve the purpose. Halo 3 has Forge and Theater which I’ve put to good use extensively.

This year I had Combat Painter (Anthony!) paint up some cowboys for me. He painted two factions for Legends of the Old West. I picked up the game around the time of Historicon and was totally hooked. I got a 2nd rulebook and sent it to Pete English in the hopes that he too gets hooked. I’ve run a couple of gun fights with it and it is a lot of fun. If you really hate Games Workshop and can’t think rationally anytime they are named then skip this one. Otherwise give it a shot. It gives reasonable Hollywood results!

For 2008 I have my game pitting modern US Army vs. well armed Ape Insurgents! I have a series of AT-43 games to get ready for. I am planning on going to Conquest Convention in Las Vegas! This has some challenges as I can’t bring a lot of big heavy stuff so my terrain all has to fit in an easy to ship box! I am thinking of getting a Zuzzy Mat for the ground and getting walls and other tough terrain pieces in resin to round out the collection. It should be fun. A buddy from Los Angeles said he’d meet me there. I think I’d also like to start putting together some very large Star Wars games. I would like to do Tatooine and Bespin (Cloud City). I have a Millenium Falcon and Slave 1 that would be perfect. Aintsy makes some nice platforms for Cloud City. I think it is doable.

2007 saw this blog grow. I now get a healthy number of return visitors each day. I have done better at keeping the blog up to date and I think 2008 will see it really become a regular thing for me.

Here’s to all of my readers finding more time in their lives to socialize with friends and play a few fun games. Happy New Year!

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