Thursday, September 27, 2012

X-Wing Miniatures Game - Expansion Set 1

Fantasy Flight released the first wave of expansions for X-Wing simultaneously with the starter set. While two of the models are also in the starter set, all of the cards are new, so that means that there are lots of new pilots and upgrades!

The Big Gun in Wave 1 is the big man himself, the
Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Vader flying in his TIE Advanced X1.

The other new ship in this wave is the Y-Wing.

Yes, we get Dutch, but no Porkins. Somebody start an internet petition...

The expansion versions of the X-Wing and the TIE Fighter include 
new upgrades and pilots. Wedge is the big name here.

 The TIE pack includes 6 new pilots, with 3 unique ones...

 There is a lot of stuff included, and many hours of gaming ahead to figure out good combos of ships, pilots, and upgrades. And we are supposed to have Wave 2 by Christmas. Here's a few action shots to whet your appetite for more Star Wars...

 So get out there and get gaming!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

X-Wing Is Here

The Star Wars X-WING Miniature Game from Fantasy Flight Games is at stores now (including Target). It is a fighter on fighter game quite similar to the popular Wings of Glory (formerly called Wings of War and formerly sold by Fantasy Flight...)

As you can see, the game comes with three ships, one X-Wing and two TIE fighters. The miniatures are fantastic. I was looking forward to this game, so I prepared a play mat as it comes with no board (you can play it right on the tabletop.) The box is small - 10x10x2 inches.

I found this great piece of Death Star art online and stitched a whole mess together in Photoshop. These Death Star Greebles are by Jedilaw. The graphics can be found here.

Back to the game... Let's see what is in the small box. Open it up and there are the thick cardstock tokens.

 Beneath that is the new FFG catalog.

Next is an ad for the single ship expansions and a quick play rules sheet. (Skip this if you have ever played a game more complicated that Risk.)

 Then the full rules. A .pdf of these and video tutorials are available at FFG here. The videos make it really easy to learn the basics.

Finally there are the special dice and the Damage, Pilot, and Upgrade cards. FFG has taken some flak for only including 3 of each kind of die when there are times when you need to roll 4. Strangely, FFG is offering a separate dice pack and a $5 app for dice rolling for their Star Wars games.

 Then there are the ships, the beautiful ships. With this starter you get 2 TIEs and 1 X-Wing. Luke Skywalker is one of the pilots, but since Darth Vader pilots a TIE Advanced, he is not one of the pilots in this game. Vader is one of the pilot cards in the TIE Advanced expansion pack.

The four sheets of tokens include asteroids and a shuttle to use in scenarios along with tokens for Target Lock, Critical Hits, Shields, etc. The Maneuver Dials have been punched out of the sheets below. Also on the sheets are Maneuver templates. These are cardboard sticks that measure the different movement choices the ships have.

Here are the Maneuver Dials. Each player chooses a move for each of their ships and then reveal it when it is their turn. FFG thoughtfully provided an extra set of the plastic pieces that holds the dial parts together.

Here is all the stuff in the box.

Oh, yeah... Did I say the model ships are pretty??? The ships are 1/270th scale and all the ships made for the game will be accurate to this scale.

For components quality and what you get in the box, I am satisfied. The models are very nice and compare well in cost and quality to Wings of Glory.

I would like more of the clear pegs to have more variety of elevations on the table, but that is a minor quibble. Someone will make them if FFG doensn't.

Next I will do an overview of the expansion packs...

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Horn reviewed!

Comic Book and Pulp author, Ron Fortier, has posted a review of The Horn up on his blog and I appreciate the kind words. Among other nice things, he said: 

"This short thriller moves rapidly and is a real page turner.  Tyler, whom we last saw in the first Uchronic digest, “The Zeppelin,” is a likeable hero and I hope Miller has lots more of these mini pulps coming our way."

Well, there are at least 2 more Clark Tyler stories on the way. Uchronic Tales: The Studio Spectre and Uchronic Tales: The Claim should be released in the next few months...

And after that? I am working on a longer project featuring Clark... But those secrets will just have to wait...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Space Shuttle Flyby

Stepped outside today and went to the top of the parking structure at work and saw this...

The photo is courtesy of my co-worker. Endeavour Shuttle courtesy of NASA. Picture taken in Culver City, CA.

Let's get that Moon Base going already.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Pulp of the Week - Dark Light

Dark Light by Ken MacLeod
Engines of Light Series - Book 2

Ken MacLeod writes semi-political, high concept, deep SF. In other words, his novels are rich in characters, full of deep, cosmic ideas, and simmering with political situations that have no easy answers.

In Dark Light, published in 2002, The Cairns family that we met in Cosmonaut Keep has achieved a first for humans -- they built a starship. What would they do with an interstellar ship? Pay visit to a god and throw the planet of Croatan into chaos and revolution.

Besides a local human population that seems to be living in 1970s technology (notwithstanding the starship traffic), Croatan is also home to an indigenous population of people that live in a mountain valley near the port city. The port city dwellers are contending with pollution and labor unions and a semi-corrupt government. All their factions are living an unsteady, unwritten truce between themselves and the population living in the wilds.

Rather than relay the intricate plot, I will highlight a few of the thoughts and concepts the brilliant book brings to mind. The native people think of gender in two ways - the equipment between one's legs and the activity, demeanor, and dress of a person. But in their society, the latter is the dominant determining factor. The Cairn ship, Bright Star, causes revolutionary changes merely because of it's existance. It is the first non-saur starship. The immortal Cosmonauts are handled really well, drifting in and out of others people's lives, never aging, but watching others age. They are ideal star travellers. MacLeod also writes the characters astoundingly well.

This is a great science fiction book in all regards and I highly recommend it. I'll give it a 9 out of 10. The covers for this series are by Stephen Martiniere and are spectacular. The last of the series, Engine City, has my favorite of the three.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Studio Spectre - The Results



Thanks to everyone that participated in this interesting experiment. I appreciate the time spent on the feed back and the suggestions. I also want to thank Mike Fyles for coming up with 2 great pieces of art in the first place!

I have chosen a cover and here are the winners:

From all those commenting, the winner is Erwin K!

From those choosing the same cover that I did, the winner is...

First, I'm gonna explain my thought process on this. I love #1 and the changes made it much better. It is a great action piece and I love it. It also beautifully illustrates a scene in the story. I will make good use of this piece of art. 

However, that scene is more of a character piece for the Jade Monk and not part of the main plot and certainly doesn't tie in with the title. For those reasons, I am choosing the mood piece, #2...

The second winner is...


Congratulations to the winners. You will receive a printed copy in the next 4-6 weeks. I will be in contact regarding your addresses.