Game Review: D&D Attack Wing
When we first heard about D&D Attack Wing at GenCon we tried to get an interview with the wonderful people at Wizkids Games. However the response for this game at GenCon was just overwhelming and there were so many people lined up all four days, that we never got a chance to speak with them. That was until last night when we interviewed lead game designer Andrew Parks of Quixotic Games. Andrew and Quixotic Games were hired by Wizkids to make this game come to life and boy did they! This game is super fun and easy to play. The flight path system gaming market has some really terrific options in X-Wing, Attack Wing, Sails of Glory, and of course Wings of Glory. And as more details about the game emerged, my excitement continued to build because this game was all about you getting to battle with dragons.
D&D Attack Wing is the most recent miniatures flight path system offered by WizKids Games. WizKids Games is also known for their Star Trek: Attack Wing game which licenses the flight path rule system from Fantasy Flight Games which produces the Star Wars: X-Wing miniatures game. These games play very similar, so if you have played one of the others then you will be able to pick this game up rather quickly. D&D Attack Wing offers a nice balance of familiarity with originality to make it worth the investment.
D&D Attack Wing no longer limits you to a single altitude state of flying, there are units that fly and there are units on the ground. In addition there are also units that can both fly, land or attack creatures that can fly. Basically in game you now have three levels of altitude; flying, swooping, and ground. There are combat rules around each level, which we will talk about later in this article.
Forgotten Realms Theme
This game is set in the Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms Universe like the D&D RPG. For those familiar with the world will find themselves able to jump into the game right away. For those players that are not into Dungeons & Dragons or don’t care for those kinds of games, worry not. Andrew and his team have designed this game in a way that you don’t need to know anything about D&D or Forgotten Realms to play.
There is nothing about this game that requires any foreknowledge around the creatures, characters, or universe.
The Look and Feel
I will be the first to admit that I am not a fan of painting my minis. It's just tedious and to me a pain. However, for all of us non-mini painters out there, these models are really well done and the paint jobs don't look cheap at all. From the biggest Red Dragon down to the smallest Ballista each piece looks amazing.
All the units scale pretty well with respect to one another. And because I love dragons I could easily argue that the dragons could be larger from a realistic perspective but as this is a fantasy game and it would really interfere with the mechanics, we can certainly let that go.
The detail in each of these models is worthy to be out in display but are strong and sturdy enough to even let older children play with without worry of being broken.
Mechanics and Gameplay
D&D Attack Wing plays very similar to the Star Wars X-Wing miniature game from Fantasy Flight Games, as well as Star Trek Attack Wing from WizKids but there are some notable differences.
The biggest addition to D&D Attack Wing is the notably different levels of altitude on the game table. There can be both air and ground units on the table as well as units that are able to do both. Let's take the the Sun Elf Wizard as Andrew's example in our interview.
This unit starts on the ground but one of the upgrades is the ability to fly. It just takes an action to trigger this effect after which he is considered flying until you decide to undo the ability. The dragons work very similar to this except that for them it doesn’t take an upgrade to trigger the effect. Dragons start the game flying. After the move phase you can decide if you want the dragon to continue flying, swoop, or land.
The concept of altitude Whizkids has added to the game really adds a very interesting strategy to D&D Attack Wing. Simply put it makes it so that flying units can only melee flying units, ground units can only melee other ground units and units that can use ranged attacks can attack both flying and ground from either altitude. Dragons have the ability to swoop and swooping allows dragons to melee both flying and ground units. This is a great but you want to be wary with using the dragons swooping action because it allows for melee attack against the dragon from both flying and ground units.
This added concept of altitude really makes the game fun and adds a whole other level of gameplay and strategy to the game. How Andrew explained D&D Attack Wing handles the difference in movement both in the air and on the ground is simple. The creatures usually have two movement dials; one for ground movement and one for air movement. But you will have some special units, like the Wraith, that only have one movement dial. This is because their movements are the same since the Wraith hovers and they are not flying like the other units.
Another added element to the game are two new movements; pivot and fall back. The pivot movement allows a unit to not move but to take an option to rotate either 90 or 180 degrees. This movement does come with a cost, the unit cannot take an Action and now any attackers get a +1 attack dice when fighting the unit that had pivoted. Next is the fall back movement. This movement allows the unit to move backwards without changing direction. Like before this movement comes with a cost as it is a red movement which exhausts the unit and they are unable to take any actions until they perform a green maneuver.
The ground troops move in a formation and attack as a whole, not individually. However, when being attacked with any melee attacks they are hit individually. The area of effect and ranged attacks against ground troops attack the ground troop as a whole.
Andrew explained that a point unit is assigned to the ground troops and there are rules around legal and illegal formations. Ground troop units can become pressed when they overlap other unit bases. They can change formation throughout the game. You can run anywhere between one and six units per troop.
D&D Attack Wing is a fun and exciting addition to the miniature flight path genre. It is fun enough to play with your kids at the kitchen table and strategic enough to want to play with your buddies at the gaming table.If you’ve played X-Wing or Star Trek Attack Wing then this game will be extremely easy to pick up and play. The elevation aspect of flying and ground units is exciting and unique to the genre. The cost of the game is on par with both X-Wing and Star Trek Attack Wing.
If you want to learn more about this game check out our interview with Andrew where he gave a "you heard it first hear" scoop about a new move mechanic coming to the the game that doesn't involve flying or levitation, a powerful ancient silver dragon coming in the next wave, a very amazing dwarf coming in wave 6, and so much more!!
For more information on what units and dragons will be coming to a gaming store near you check out Wizkids Games and Quixotic Games.
Best Games of 2014
As a gamer, and aficionado of all things geekery-related, every year, I like to look back at what happened, what I played, and reflect on the biggest games of the year for me. Some of these might be surprises. Some might be obvious. Some will be RPGs. Some will be board games. All are awesome. My only rule was no direct expansions to existing game lines (new editions are ok, as are games that use existing rules but in a new setting or twist on the rules.). All of them are games I’d suggest you look at, consider demoing or just outright buy.
9.) Firefly Role-Playing Game (MWP) – The next edition of the Firefly universe hit tables this year, and it was awesome. MWP has really come a long way in refining their Cortex system, and their reacquiring of the same-yet-different Firefly license (as opposed to Serenity) allowed them to launch the game back up with their new and improved rules and really do it the justice it deserved. It’s fun. Fast. And for fans of the show and movie, a must have for their shelves.
10.) Atomic Robo Roleplaying Game (Evil Hat Productions) – The Atomic Robo webcomic is a love letter to classic pulp adventurers. The comic made its way into the world as a roleplaying game courtesy of Evil Hat Productions and uses their house FATE system. It’s a fun game, full of light rules, pulpy action, and moments that make sitting around a table great.
8.) Shadows of Brimstone (Flying Frog Productions) – After a fantastically successful Kickstarter, Flying Frog Productions released their game (really two games), Shadows of Brimstone. It’s a board game in the vein of Descent, but with the added bonus of being a western. Oh, and the mines are evil and Cthulhu filled. The highlight of the game is the campaign mode where your heroes go back to town, acquire new equipment, get new skills, and work their way deeper, and deeper into those mines.
7.) Ca$h ‘n Gun$ (Asmodee) – A second edition of the first game, this is the best party game you can ever buy. Hands down. Players take on the role of various criminals attempting to split the loot of a heist, and resolve their conflicts or issues by pointing foam guns at each other. It’s a bluffing game, a loot sharing game, and a really fun game. The only thing this game needs is to come with a few friends, for when you can’t get the right sized group together (the game is best played with eight players!).
4.) A World of Dew (Woerner’s WunderWerks) – A update and modification to the Blood and Honor system, A World of Dew puts you into a samurai-noir game where the City is a character as much as you are, and the story comes first. For everyone. It has innovative dice mechanics, easy character creation, and a lot of fun (The base game, Blood and Honor is fantastic, and sadly out of print, but the PDF is well worth it).
3.) Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition (Wizards of the Coast) – Yes. Yes. After suffering through fourth edition, the patience of fans and dungeon crawlers has been rewarded! The exquisitely perfect 5th edition of the oldest roleplaying game hit this year, and every single page was a rousing success (except for the Halfling art. What the heck was that?). Every single fantasy RPG is being put back onto their lonely dusty shelves as 5th Edition returns to the throne as the king of fantasy RPGs. Fun. Simpler. Elegant. Classy. It’s really the culmination of 40 years of learned RPG experience, and some of the best designers in the industry.
2.) Corporia – What? There’s an RPG that edged out D&D 5e for the top RPG spot? Yes. Yes there is. Cyberpunk meets Arthurian Legend. It’s near-future Knights of the Round Table, having business meetings, and then slaying nether-realm monsters in the dark dystopian alleys of “The City”. An incredibly flexible system, combined with top-notch layout and formatting makes this game an absolute joy to play. It’s certainly more limited than a generic roleplaying game, but the sheer amount of flavor and fun you get from your technologically enhanced super-knight more than makes up for it.
1.) Doomtown: Reloaded – An old favorite back again in a “LCG” format. The old Doomtown CCG was a great game, and this year, AEG relaunched their Doomtown game as Doomtown: Reloaded. It’s hard to hype enough praise on this game, but the mechanics are a blast, the factions are cool, the rules are easier to understand, and the game is beautifully illustrated. There are already two small “Saddlebag” expansions out, and AEG has pledged “Pinebox” support (deluxe expansions). If you don’t get this game, you’ll regret it. It’s hands down the best card game/board game of the year.
Honorable Mentions (this breaks the rules above)
First of all let me note that In this article I will be focusing on the darker renditions of Batman, not the candy-coated and plastic-nippled Batman.
What is it about Batman that makes him one of our favorite superheroes?
To understand the essence of the Batman mythos, we need to go back to the beginning and understand Batman's origins. As a child, he wasn't that special, just another spoiled rich boy. And the single event of his parents' murder changed all that. Not only did he now have a reason to take vengeance on the criminals -- true vengeance, not goody-goodness -- but he also had a reason to be truly afraid of the world.
I have always liked the fact that Bruce Wayne chose the bat as his symbol: the thing that he feared the most. If you think about it, the symbolism is beautiful. Bruce is becoming what he's afraid of: an angry vigilante. Only his self control keeps him from becoming what he hates more than anything: a criminal.
As I see it Batman is half-superhero, half-villain.
Let's turn to The Christopher Nolan imagining of Batman and the reason why Christian Bale works so well as Batman in the Dark Knight trilogy is because Bale, quite frankly, looks like an angry guy. Bruce Wayne/Batman is an angry guy, full of repressed vengeance and bitterness. You can see all of this clearly in Batman Begins when Bruce Wayne brings a gun to Chill's parole hearing. He almost becomes a criminal himself, the thing that he's the most afraid of. Neither Batman nor Bruce Wayne are nice guys.
Batman is special precisely because of the conflict between his ethics and his anger. Superman wants to save the weak little human race. Spider-Man is just a nice guy with some guilt issues who happens to spin webs. Thor is some divine being thrown to Earth and does some nice stuff for us. Captain America is just too good to be true.
Batman is one of the most human and flawed of all the superheroes out there.
Batman walks the line between superheroism and villainy. He saves people, but he very badly wants to hurt people as well. We get a sense that, one wrong move, one wrong look, Batman would become a Joker.
This fundamental conflict between one's own goodness and evil is so rich, complex and relatable.
Batman is the man that we wish we could be and are afraid to be. He has lost his faith in law enforcement and the judicial system. Many of us have lost that faith as well. Batman struggles with the idea that he could go bad at any moment; we do as well.
And so Batman is our superhero.
A while back the Dungeon Crawlers team had the opportunity to go on set and get a behind the scene look and interview some of the cast members of Arrowstorm’s upcoming release Mythica: A Quest for Heroes, which is the first of a projected five film series. Just seeing what we did that day while on set we were excited to see the finished project. Mythica in two simple words is vibrant and lush: the interiors bristle with detail, and the lighting really gives atmosphere to the movie. The music is suitably exciting. The script, by Jason Fuller, director Anne Black, and producer Kynan Griffin, pulls together a rich and exciting fantasy world. And the CGI in this film extremely well done for an indie fantasy film.
But what I really like is what Arrowstorm has done with the attention to details with each of the characters in the film, particularly the female ones. The protagonist is a young slave girl named Marek. Marek unfortunately has a club foot, a defiant attitude, and is learning magic on the down-low from a nearby wizard, Kevin Sorbo. When she finally has enough of her brutal owner she runs away, determined to seek a life of adventure using her magical skills. Marek is played by wonderful Melanie Stone who we got to interview while on set and she is just as amazing on screen in this role and she was in person. In Mythica she is flat-out terrific; she provides the emotional anchor the film needs.
After Marek runs away from her brutal master she visits a tavern known through out the realms as a lace where mercenaries gather to hire out on bounties for various mythical creatures and is ran by a rather interesting Dwarf. While there the priestess Teela entered asking for adventures to help her rescue her kidnapped sister. Non will help her due to the high risk and low pay, that is with the exception of Marek who is itching for a chance to prove herself and Teela has no other real choice.
Teela is played by Nicola Posener, who did an amazing job in Dawn of the Dragonslayer, and is just as amazing in this film as well. What I found interesting and a bit refreshing was that the central relationship in this film is the one between Marek and Teela. There are moments when you know they just want to throw a punch at the other and then there are scenes where one scarf pieces herself for the other. Throughout the whole film Marek and Teela behave like reasonable adults in a crisis, not like female characters written to be ogled by men. Which is beautiful!!! It's refreshing to see this in a film.
Let's not forget about the two main men in this film Adam Johnson and Jake Stormoen. Marek recruits a drunken soldier (Adam Johnson) and a smooth-talking thief (Jake Stormoen) to join them on their quest. Each of these actors have their moments; the thief Dagen is the flashier role and Jake does an amazing job at pulling off the quick talking and devious rogue. I did chuckle every time a battle commenced on screen because the sullen warrior Thane would immediately rush into battle with no though for himself and usually end up getting mortally wounded like most D&D characters all of us have played at one point over years and then would desperately need the healers magical skills to bring him back from the brink of death him. The great thing about Thane's character is that he's secure enough that he doesn’t resent her; he accepts her help graciously.
The action is handled with skill by director Black, who really understands the importance of the quiet scenes between characters. There’s one exchange between Marek and Teela, where Marek asks Teela to heal her club foot and the two actresses bring this scene to life with grace and poignancy.
Overall Arrowstorm Entertainment really leveled up there game with this film. The acting is brilliant, the characters are the kind of characters that find yourself cheering for, the CGI has improved from previous films, the background and settings are extremely realistic, and the story is just one that has me asking where's part two? Unfortunately this adventure will have to wait until the release of the next film but until then we can enjoy this film worthy to go on my shelf next to my other fantasy favorites,
Mythica: A Quest for Heroes will be released on DVD in 2015. So keep an eye on Arrowstorm's website for more info.