Friday, January 20, 2017

Heroclix overview 2016

I had another year of keeping up with the Fast Forces/Starter sets. I was even able to pick up the few sets that I had missed along the way. The only new set I picked up was the TMNT gravity feed – of which I got most of the set. While the dollar wasn’t great, I was mostly caught up with Warhammer 40K codices so I filled in some gaps from Troll and Toad. I was able to complete three more old sets – Sinister, Supernova, and Batman Alpha. I picked up some maps, and filled in a few more gaps.

At the beginning of the year I focused more on completing some of the older WizKids sets. I have decided that I will focus on completing the nine WizKids sets I have left, and a select few of Neca sets. I’ll still keep up on the starters and fast forces sets. If the dollar improves and I get a good chance, I will even try to get of the bigger figures I am missing.

I was finally able to get an AVX – X-men set, and I picked up an Avengers: Civil War set to confirm I have one. I also picked up the AVX OP kit with the Phoenix fragments. I’ll probably try to complete the rest of that set, as well as the few remaining figures I need from Batman Classic TV, and TMNT. I’ll even work away at the first few Neca sets, and maybe some of the smaller gravity feed sets.

With the figures I’ve picked up, I am now close on Ultimates (0+3), Mutant Mayhem (3+2), Legacy (0+4), Armor Wars (3+0), Origin (4+0), Mutations & Monsters (1/5), Crisis (0/5), Secret Invasion (0/1), Arkham Asylum (0/3), Hammer of Thor (3/8), Brave and Bold (8/7) and Batman Classic TV (5), and TMNT (4+3).

I still need the older larger figures - Spectre, both green Fooms, and both of the Phoenixes as well as the original Manhattan and Galactus but have been picking up a lot of the new individual bigger figures and sets. I picked up the Ant Man boxed set and have a line on the Foom (with pants).

Neca only put out another 5 sets in 2016, and another 5 Fast Forces sets. I only collected one of these sets, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I was able to keep up with the Fast Forces sets – I still need to pick up the last one from December – TMNT – Heroes in a Half Shell. I did pick up the TMNT big boxed starter which was on top of the 5 sets above.

I now need 1764 heroclix figures. That still seems like an incredible amount. I now need 1020 Marvel figures and 737 DC figures. My REV total is now 1378 and my Unique/SuperRare total is 360 plus 26 Giant figures and 13 Team bases. But I have come to an acceptance of it. I am less interested in completing all the Neca sets of which I need 1730 figures (1367 REV and 337 Super rares) and am going to focus on completing the WizKids sets of which I only need 34 figures (11 REV and 23 Uniques). I will still get a few Necas as available, and then switch to some of the smaller Gravity Feed sets.

Strikezone remains a source and I have completed a lot of the older ones from Troll and Toad. My goal for this year is to complete 4 of the remaining 9 Wizkids sets and maybe 2 of the Neca sets that I am close to finishing. I will also check a few of the local places to see what I can get.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Top Ten Games - 2016

Inspired by The Dice Tower and their top 10 lists, I have put together my top 10 games for 2016 as well. Note that these are games that I have played for the first time in 2016 not necessarily games that were released in 2016. With all the games that I already have, I got another 38 games plus several expansions last year. Some were purchased at the thrift stores and conventions, and some were new.

The new games were Betrayal at House on the Hill, Black Ops, Dragon Rampant, Dust, En Garde!, Ender’s Game:Battle School, For Sale!, Geek Out!, Kings & Things, Legendary: Big Trouble in Little China, Lion Rampant, Magic: The Gathering – Arena of the Planeswalkers: Shadows over Innistrad, Mars Attacks: 10 Minute Takedown, Mission Red Planet, OGRE: Objective 218, On the Seven Seas, Sons of Anarchy: Men of Mayhem, Star Trek Fleet Captains, Sushi Go Party!, The Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth, Timeline Challenge, TMNT HeroClix: Mouser Mayhem Starter Set, X-Men: Mutant Revolution.

The ones I picked up not new were 221B Baker Street: The Master Detective Game, Attack of the Mutants, Blood Royale, Bunco Deluxe, Clue (2-6), Cranium Ziggity, Dune, Electronic Mystery Mansion, Inner Circle, Loopin’ Louie, Monopoly Hotels, Set, Showdown Yahtzee, Uno Hearts.

A lot of these did not hit the table this year. Some games from previous years were finally played.

Games that I played for the first time that did not make my list were:
Hanabi, Loopin’ Louie, Telestrations, There’s a Moose in the House

13 – Archer – Once you Go Blackmail – Another Love Letter variation. The extra hidden card mechanism doesn’t work as smooth as the Batman variation does but it does speed up the rounds.
12 – Codenames – Basically it is like team password. I think it is okay for 4 or more players but I’m not as impressed as a lot of people seem to be with this one.
11 – Legendary: Big Trouble in Little China – a deck building game. I’ve only played the intro game a couple of times. There is a lot going on here and it seems like it has a lot of variation available. Not as easy to play as a single player even though listed as capable of such on the box. This involves a lot of set up to start.

10 – Mission Red Planet – A worker placement game that seems like it would be very complex but was actually pretty easy to pick up. It seems like there should be more to it but it’s certainly worth a few more plays to check.
9 – 13 Dead End Drive – An interesting marriage of the good elements of Clue and Mousetrap. More time spent on the set up for the board than it is worth but still a fun little game.
8 – For Sale! – A very simple auction game in two parts. In the first part you bid on properties, and in the second part you sell those properties. It is easy to explain, plays quick, and you can usually get a few games in as one game leads to another.
7 – Storage Wars – It’s not a bad game for a mass market license. I’m not a big fan of regular auction mechanics and that does form a big part of this game. Otherwise it is a quick game for up to 6 players.
6 – Inside Moves – A game from my youth that I am not sure I ever actually played but always wanted to. You maneuver your pieces to get on to the spots that remain when the boards are lifted away trying to be the only player to get to the final spot on the fourth board.
5 – OGRE: Objective 218 – A very small game in the OGRE universe. Still feels like a tight little war game even though it is more about maintaining a supply chain.
4 – Yahtzee: Free For All – An interesting variation which allows a bit more player interaction in that you get 1 round to steal points from another player before they can score them. Also pretty quick.
3 – Pandemic: Contagion – A much smaller version on Pandemic where you play as the viruses. Very tight on your resource management as you only have so many cubes and turns with which to work.
2 – Timeline Challenge – It includes 5 variations of how you can use Timeline cards built into the game. More than one player can score each round so it moves along nicely. There are two points where the bottom players get to play 1 round to get a chance to gain bonus points. It includes some new Timeline cards but you can add other Timeline decks that you already have to it.
1 – King of Tokyo – A giant monster battle contained in a quick, dice-rolling game that is both cute and brutal. I am looking forward to playing with the expansions but right now the base game is more than enough fun.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Figure painting total - 2016

I ended up not getting any more figures to paint in the last few months of 2016.

The final total for 2016 is:

Batman Miniatures Containers – 2
Police Call Box – 1
Mexican Bandits – 16
The Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth – 38
40K – Ork Burnas/Lootas – 5

Running total 2016 – figures bought 62, figures painted 0

This means 2016 squeeked in as my second lightest year for buying figures in the last seven years.
I have already ordered some figures for the Batman Miniatures game, so those are on the way. Also, I'm very likely to get some Games Workshop games this year - likely the new Blood Bowl at least. So 2017 will probably be a miniature heavy year. With help from the family in reorganizing the storage locker, it's a bit easier for me to finish sorting the boxes at home to open up my workspace. Could 2017 be the year I finally put numbers in my figures painted column?

I certainly hope so.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Books read - September to December 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne
Pusher Aces of World War I by Jon Guttman
Poster Art of the Disney Parks by Danny Handke and Vanessa Hunt
The Haunted Mansion: Imagineering a Disney Classic by Jason Surrell
Knightsbridge: The Art of Keith Parkinson by Keith Parkinson
Jewelry: Fundamentals of Metalsmithing by Tim McCreight
Walt Disney World – Twenty-Five Years by Disney Kingdom Editions
History of Movie Musicals by Thomas G. Aylesworth
The Films of Sean Connery by Lee Pfeiffer and Philip Lisa

How to Cheat Your Friends at Poker by Penn Jillette and Mickey D. Lynn
Special Effects in Film and Television by Jake Hamilton
Don’t Shoot, It’s Only Me by Bob Hope with Melville Shavelson
King of Comedy: The Life and Art of Jerry Lewis by Shawn Levy

Vincent Price: A Daughter’s Biography by Victoria Price
The Art of Superman Returns by Daniel Wallace
Stuntman!: my car-crashing, plane-jumping, bone-breaking, death-defying Hollywood life by Hal Needham
Walt Disney Imagineering: a behind the dreams look at making the magic real by the Imagineers
Leo Mol Sculpture Garden by Paul Duval
The Encyclopedia of Immaturity by the Editors of Klutz
Marvel: Absolutely Everything you need to know . . . by Adam Bray, Lorraine Cink, John Sazaklis, and Sven Wilson

Creative Play Direction by Robert Cotien and John Harrop
Star Wars Character Encyclopedia by DK Books
Maps of the Disney Parks by Kevin and Susan Neary
Canada by Mike Myers

Friday, December 30, 2016

Disney Trip 2016 - day 3 - part 2 - Epcot - World Showcase

We started on the Canada side, took a few polite pictures of the totems, and then looked around the United Kingdom. We popped into The Toy Soldier, listened to the band a bit, and I popped into the market looking unsuccessfully for some Jelly Babies.

We walked by France and Morocco, talking a few brief photos and then we moved on to Japan.

We spent a bit of time in the Japan gift shop, with Gee being moved to tears at the selection. Cheryl was so moved that she bought Gee a lovely kimono. Shan also bought one along with some sandals ad toe socks. Gee and I also bought toe socks as well and had everything shipped back to the room.

At this point it was already 8:30 and starting to get dark. We moved along a bit and found a spot near the American Garden Theatre to wait for the fireworks.
I picked up some udon noodles and some teriyaki chicken from Katsura Grill and brought it back while we waited.
The fireworks over the water were very nice. We were under some trees but still had a good view. We were by where they parked a floating ball platform but Cheryl knew that it moved to become part of the show so opened up the view.

Afterwards we moved past the American pavilion and looked a bit at the Italian pavilion while Cheryl picked out some beautiful Italian masks.

We took some shots of the train set up by Germany in the dark and then moved on to China. Shan had really wanted to see the Terra Cotta Warriors but the displays were closed. We also found out that they had moved on and no longer had them.

Things were closing down so we went past Norway and Mexico, again only stopping briefly for a few photos and then made our way back to the entrance for our bus ride home and to our room.

Gee and I went to the shop around 10:30 pm to pick up our bag from the day before, and I bought a refillable mug - purple. Gee already has a blue one, Shan has the red, and Dee's bought the green one earlier today,

He was asleep when we got back to the room. Everyone else went to bed early to up early the next day, but I stayed up a bit to write up day two and three while they were still fresh.

We had worn our Canada shirts to Epcot - Representing! A few people said hi because of them - fellow Canadians as well as a nice couple from Minnesota we met while in line for Spaceship Earth. As well, I got a few people asking about the Figment hat - fellow fans.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Disney Trip 2016 - day 3 - part 1 - Epcot - Future World

Tuesday was Epcot day. The kids were slow to wake so Shan did some laundry. D3 was still sluggish but we catch a bit of breakfast at 11 am at the hotel on our way out and caught the bus to Epcot.

We started off at the Art of Disney but managed to barely resist buying anything.

Our next stop was our first Fast Pass - a Character Meet with Mickey, Goofy, and Minnie. Then we went and got pictures with Beymax. The line for Joy and Sadness went from short to very long while we waited the 15 minutes for Beymax, so we skipped them.

We went over to Future World west and, after a 10 minute line, did The Seas with Nemo & friends, and then spent some time looking at the tanks. D3 got some pictures of a "sad" seahorse. As we were leaving, Shan discovered that she had left her hat on the ride but was able to claim it.

We moved over to The Land and, after a quick 10 minute wait, did the Living the Land tour. Shan loves gardening so quite enjoyed seeing what they are doing. Soaring only had a 30 minute wait so I said that this was our big chance. It did not disappoint. D3 (who dislikes falling), and Shan (who dislikes heights) both enjoyed it. We made sure that they were not sitting on the end.

We had a bit of time, so we were able to finish up the west side with Journey Into Imagination with Figment. This one had a wait of about 15 - 20 minutes. Another classic ride. No-one else in our party knew who Figment was but I did.
In the gift shop, I bought a Figment hat, and had 2 mini monorail cars, a set of buses, and the Star Wars rideship sent to the room.

After that, we made our way around to the Future World East, cutting briefly through the Mouse Gear gift shop. Another quick look around still proved fruitless for some Tron cycles.

We got to the Test Track for our second Fast Pass, making the 11o minute wait only a 10 wait. D3's designed car beat the girls' car 203 to 199.

After a bit of discussion, and some pretzels, as D3 was winding down, we did the Mission: Space. The Green mission was a 5 minute wait and the Orange mission was a 10 minute wait. D3 sat out, and the girls did the Green mission, and I did the Orange mission. D3's feet were hurting.

After 15 to 20 minutes in line, we all did the Spaceship Earth. It's another old ride that holds up well.

After this, D3 went back to the hotel to eat, shower, and get to sleep early for our Universal trip early Wednesday, and we carried on to the World Showcase. He was supposed to text us when he got back to the room, but didn't. He missed his stop but the bus driver got him back to the Riverside entrance.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Batman Miniatures - Suicide Squad

It’s been a while since I talked about BMG. I’m still excited by the game but still haven’t been able to play. I have a bunch of Heroclix figures to use as proxies but haven’t been able to build any buildings or scenery yet to give it a go. Plus, there is so much choice over which gangs to buy, it is hard to decide without trying it.

I did hear about the new Flash and Arrow expansion with rules to cover the Flash characters as well as rules for vehicles. Or, at least, rules for a vehicle – the Batmobile. I should be able to extrapolate rules for regular vehicles from that – including the police van that they offer. I haven’t picked it up yet but I was aware of it and was going to pick it up after the holidays.

I didn’t even hear about the Suicide Squad box set until last week. It has the Task Force X as well as a Joker crew, plus a slim rulebook, scenarios, and two double-sided buildings. The value seems high on this one. I’m not a huge fan of either team, but it’s such a good deal that I will probably pick this one up as well early in 2017.