It was the Blood Bowl NAF Champs over the weekend. Normally, I'd have accompanied Husbit but this year I'm preparing for an exam so have used his absence to really knucle down on some study.
And to have another look at a game I mentioned very briefly a while ago: Infernal, by Wartorn Games. One of the guys at Wartorn Games was a member of our local gaming community before abandoning us and moving to London, so we were thrilled when he came back down so we could playtest - and even more pleased when we really enjoyed the game.
He and another of the guys behind the game came down to run a day at a local gaming store, Entoyment*. I popped in with my baby brother to see how it had progressed. When we played, the models were still at concept stage so we were using models from other games as stand-ins and for me the biggest draw was to see what the finished models looked like. Please excuse the quality of the photos - I was trying to take them without disturbing the games going on at the time.
|I got a bit distracted by the finished church
|'Spiderbitch' in the foreground. Dr Goodall in the background.
There has been a secret magic war going on between witches and wizards (both factions to follow) for hundreds or thousands of years. The Wizards believed they'd won, using the witch hunts to drive the witches underground. The witches, however, are still around and are determined to reclaim their position. They've found a ritual that will open a portal to a realm of power, but they're not so stupid as to try this themselves and trick the wizards into doing so. A portal to Hell appears in the middle of London, causing mass destruction and a wall being put up to contain what exudes from it. London is basically written off and all the Dagger operatives are called in to kill any survivors.
Sound harsh? This is a game with no good guys. I pity Dagger - they're hugely out of their depth, and they're killing survivors to prevent them becoming possessed by the Tortured Souls, the formless beings who're pouring out of Hell. They've been tortured for so long they've forgotten their own forms and take from the minds of the people they inhabit, so Miss Neith, a school teacher terrified of spiders, suddenly starts morphing into a giant spider - and given enough souls (sucked from other survivors) she becomes a giant spider the Dagger team call 'Spiderbitch'.
|That's Miss Neith running at the tech specialist
The other Tortured Soul available for play on the day was Dr Goodall, a rare diseases specialist who becomes the embodiment of the bubonic plague - the Black Death.
|Black Death looms at the top of the church
There are other factions to come and I've given the briefest overview because I don't want to give too many spoilers- I think the background that's been given to this world is exciting and I'm looking forward to the fiction and fluff as much as the game.
I will briefly mentioned the Thaddeans because when we playtested it was as Dagger vs Thaddeans. They're named for St Jude Thaddeus, patron saint of lost and desperate causes, and are an ancient order of knights who've been preparing for the apocalypse in the year 2000... which didn't happen. Disheartened and largely feeling like they'd wasted their lives, they drank and otherwise started to fall apart, until Hell appeared: the apocalypse, it seemed, was just late. So now they're trying to rescue relics and survivors in London - not to help the survivors, but to convert them to their fanatical cause. Basically, it sucks to be a survivor.
The game play is straightforward. You have a set of tokens on the board and, when you get close enough, you can choose to turn them over. The token might reveal a relic (giving you points if you can hold it), a survivor (for you to kill or use for your nefarious purposes), or a trap (BOOM!). Turn order is decided by drawing a token from the Cup of Destiny, meaning each player gets an equal number of turns going first but the order of this is random. Combat is pretty brutal, and as your team gets injured they can do less so you need to think about what you need them to do! (I can attest that the 'run forward and hope for the best' tactic is a bad idea when you're playing as Dagger).
I mentioned in my previous post that I liked the models because they included female characters who aren't ridiculously posed: I'm cross with myself for not taking a decent photo of the Dagger tech specialist (I really thought I had), because she's a perfect example of this. The model for Miss Neith makes me laugh because they kept having to send the concept back, saying "great, but less boobs, less arse" and the sculptor was saying "but then she won't look like a woman"... She definitely looks like a woman, just not one who (as one of the guys put it) "hasn't been able to see her feet since puberty".
The Kickstarter kicks off on Friday. Please visit their website - they're also on Facebook and Twitter.
UPDATE: KICKSTARTER IS NOW LIVE! CHECK IT OUT HERE.
UPDATE: KICKSTARTER IS NOW LIVE! CHECK IT OUT HERE.
*I actually hadn't been in before, but now intend to go back - there was absolutely none of the awkwardness at having a confident female geek in their store I've experienced elsewhere, and they had a good selection of games.