Tuesday, May 21, 2013

iOS Spotlight: Ace Patrol

With all of the buzz about the much-anticipated Eclipse coming out, some of you may have overlooked the release of what I think is one of the premier, tip-top games ever released for iOS, Sid Meier's Ace Patrol. Ace Patrol is a turn-based, World War One dog-fighting game that is essentially a Wings Of War analog, and with crisp graphics, an incredibly smart design, and responsive interface, is both very fun and addicting. This game is simply astounding, and the best part is that it's completely free for both iPhone 4+ and Ipad 2+ devices.

This game has a minimal RPG aspect to it because as your campaigns progress, provided you accomplish your missions, you gain pilot perks and plane upgrades. The former allow you to perform advanced maneuvers such as the Wingover, the Split-S, and the Immelmann turn. The latter provides you armor upgrades, more damaging guns, and more accurate fire. As you progress through a campaign, your planes can take so much damage that they are out of action a set amount of missions, and if you crash and burn your pilots can be either captured or injured, taking them out of action for a spell. In between each group of missions your captured pilots can be traded back to you during the "Christmas POW swap" and are available to you again.

The game is highly focused on the maneuvering and combat, with a scenario-driven design, but there are actually four playable campaigns: American, British, French, and German. The game, as downloaded, has only the American campaign, made up of 30 missions (I believe it's 30), the first two being "training missions", but for a $4.99 IAP you can unlock the remaining three campaigns, for a total of 120 missions. I can guarantee you that it's well worth the five bucks to get the full monty. I should also note that there are five difficulty levels, with the ACE level being in the middle of the pack and the "sweet spot" that keeps it from being too mind-bendingly hard, at least for me.

There's also a bunch of "aces" which are pilot add-ons that you can purchase for $0.99 each, but I've not bought them, nor will I. I just don't see the benefit, but if you do, well, have at it. Additionally, if your pilots are injured, captured, or if your planes are damaged, you can pay $0.99 in an IAP that heals them, or repairs them, respectively. This is another thing I've never used, nor will I. It's cheaper to simply restart the campaign, and I've done this a couple of times, and start fresh. It's not like you get a gaggle of naked chicks coming over to rub on your boy parts if you get a high score, right?

I've beaten all four of the campaigns at this point, on Ace difficulty, without buying anything, so I'm not sure that I'm really missing out on the IAP upgrades. There are some super-planes that are available for purchase, and I suspect that on the harder difficulties these are required if you plan to not get the hell shot out of you. I will tell you that if you have a couple pilots down or injured, the game becomes "oh my God" difficult. It's a really good idea to mix up your pilot choices to get them all upgraded because when the campaign is winding down, if you get stuck on the hardest missions with green pilots, you're completely bollocksed. There is going to be no parade for you.

In addition to the single-player campaigns, there's also multi-player support in the form of Game Center and hot seat selections, although Game Center doesn't appear to work at this point. Hot seat, though, works very well, with my only complaint being that all maneuvers and planes are unlocked, which means you'll always be fighting with the best possible load-out. This means that there's no handicapping if you're playing with someone less experienced than you, and therefore you will stomp their face into the curb pretty much every time.

The short version is that if you enjoy turn-based tactical games, this is the game for you. It's an amazing game, and especially because it's free, you need to jump on this. I've been playing it every single day since I bought it during smoke breaks and while the wife is watching Netflix, and I'm still not sick of it, which is a testament to it's awesomeness. It's just a smashing good game that I think pretty much anyone can enjoy.

Why Ace Pilot Is Cooler Than Ace Frehley:
- Clean, crisp graphics, even on iPad 2, make this a delight to see
- Responsive touch controls squashes any frustrations you'd otherwise have
- Difficulty levels range from "Weaksauce" to "Lawdy, it's a faaah"
- Increasing difficulty doesn't reduce enemy damage, it makes them smarter pilots
- Multi-player hot seat and, at some point, Game Center support
- Four full campaigns for $4.99 is a hell of a deal

Why Battle Fleet Sinks:
- The IAP scheme is a little weenie, with buy-ups for releasing POWs being lamest
- Game Center support doesn't work at this point, and I've already paid $4.99

I won't belabor the point: download this game TODAY.

4.75/5 Stars

Get it here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sid-meiers-ace-patrol/id583000830?mt=8

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Mission Command: Sea - FMC Detection On The High Seas Since 2003

Alright, Circus fans, this is going to be a good one, so strap on your seat belt and let me take you downtown where the hookers and cheap heroin is. You see, there are very few games that I think are a solid 10 rating based on factors such as production quality, value, and the most important aspect of any game, the level of fun it provides. Well, Mission Command: Sea isn't a perfect 10, but it's pretty damned close. The one thing that it lacks, the one thing holding it back from a destiny of greatness, is just a little more complexity. But aside from that, it's nearly the perfect game. It's fun, fast, brutal, has a body count, and the winner doesn't win by amassing the most ubiquitous "victory points", you win by fucking the other guy's shit up, hospital-hurt style.

As an added bonus, if you play break out this game at any game table in the world and get a dour look from someone, you have immediately identified one of the many FMCs of the board game hobby. What is an FMC, you ask? An FMC is the kind of person who could not identify fun with plaster tire tracks, foot prints, dog smelling prints, and twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one. The kind of person that others call "a wet blanket" or a "Debbie Downer", but here at the Circus, we call you a "Fun Murdering Cunt", or FMC for short. It's like a Geiger counter set for "dolt", in the same vein of BattleBall and Thunder Road. I'm sorry, but if you don't like bad ass little carriers, two full flights of F-14 Tomcats per side, little destroyers, plastic molded mountains, and a shitload of dice, you're probably among the ranks of the FMCs. I'm not saying you have to love the game like I do, but to not admire it is a pretty good indication of your place in the world. Maybe just a Recruit FMC rather than a Princes of Florence-playing full bird Cuntonel, if you catch my drift.

So anyhow, this game is not very complex, which is my only complaint in any way, shape or form. The object is to scramble fighters from the flight deck, loaded with Sidewinders or Harpoon missiles, and to put two hits on the enemy carrier. Defending each carrier are two destroyers bearing both close-in ABM weapons as well as surface to air missiles. It's not an incredibly difficult game to learn, and while luck certainly plays a role, this is first and foremost a naval strategy game. Placement and movement of fighters is critical, as is the weapons load-out that you choose for each plane, which is represented by a face-down token on a plane's base, so that your opponent doesn't know what kind of weapon it bears. Top that off with the fact that the quality of the plane's pilot is printed on the underside of the plane, and it is quite a lovely little naval combat simulation with all kinds of strategic subterfuge and tactical choices.

Above and beyond the fact that the game is simply the perfect Ameritrash filler game, that can be taught and played in about an hour, what cannot be overlooked is the quality of the pieces. Note that I didn't call them bits, because that would not give them the respect that they're due. People say, "they don't make them like they used to", and in this case, that's absolutely true. This game comes with a huge board, four little islands with which to hide your beautifully modeled and painted carriers behind, four lovely little destroyers, sixteen wonderful little F-14s in two colors, and last, but not least, perfectly crafted flight stands to hold the planes in the air. I simply cannot envision the components of a game being so wonderful for such a small price today. To me, it's sort of like when Space Hulk 3rd Edition was released, how we all marveled at the beautiful wee beasties and noble Space Marines. Obviously, they're not that good or detailed, but for a twenty dollar game, you cannot conceivably bitch about the contents today. This would be a fifty dollar game today, easily.

Back to my one complaint, which is more of a minor gripe than an actual bitch, the game is just a scrotal hair too light in complexity. I wish that the carrier could move, but once you place it at the beginning of the game, it's static; a sitting duck, as it were. But not only can't it move, it can't shoot, either, which it total bullshit. My bestie is a former carrier jockey whose sole job it was to launch planes off the deck of the Vinson, and he knows for damned sure that carriers are loaded with ABM and close-in defensive weapons. So, that part seems a little bit gamey to me, but considering that they had to draw a line somewhere to keep the game from dragging on too long, it makes sense why they did it that way.  We always play the house rule that carriers get one shot per turn to take out incoming Harpoons on the "destroyer move or shoot" phase, and it does add some length to the game as well as putting a focus more on batting down enemy planes than going after the carrier.

It's worth mentioning that this is a remake of the classic Carrier Strike game, but I think that this game does some things better, especially considering it does away with the card combat dog-fighting. In that game, you drew some cards and essentially played 'War: The Card Game' for five rounds, counting victories, which always felt to me to be a bit overkill. It's been simplified now where you roll the number of dice shown on the plane's quality number, and keep the highest roll. This can be augmented by +1, or one die may be re-rolled, if the plane's carrying a Sidewinder, and in the case of a tie, both planes crash and burn. It's a cleaner system, with the only advantage going to Carrier Strike in that carriers can move.

Anyhow, every Ameritrash enthusiast should own this game, hands down, and I'll stake what little reputation I have on that statement. I love naval combat, so I am biased, but good God in heaven this game is one of the most enjoyable games I have ever played. This one is on the list of games I'll never sell, trade away, and if my house goes up in a blaze, it's one of the first games that will be replaced. Unless you're a FMC, you will like it. I never have trouble getting this game to the table, everyone I have played this with has rated it very highly, and the only guy who didn't like it is a verifiable card-carrying FMC. I don't play with him anymore because he's an FMC, so fuck him and his shitty opinions anyway.

Why I Want To Be Maverick When I Grow Up:
- The components are beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
- Gameplay is fast, furious, and total fun
- It's easy to teach, easy to learn, and doesn't require "a learning game"
- It's twenty dollars, even on Ebay, which is vastly under priced in my opinion

Why Milton Bradley Went Down With Its Ships:
- No carrier movement or defensive guns takes a bit of realism away

Why are you still reading this? Go get this game, unless you're a FMC, in which case, I'm sure that there's a couple of Renaissance-era merchants who would love to fondle your jimmies.

4.5/5 Stars

Read the rules here: http://www.hasbro.com/common/instruct/Mission_Command_Sea_Game.pdf

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Stone Age - A Tale of Boats, Workers, And Conjugal Visits

I was a very late adopter to some of what is now called "German Classics", such as Settlers, because I was pretty much brainwashed into believing that many European-style games were dry, boring, and too simple. Stone Age was one of those games that I simply took a pass on because of its German roots. Well, about a year and a half ago I was talking with my friend Tom Boylan, the King of Costa Rica, and he proclaimed loudly and forcefully that Stone Age is a tremendously fun game. I scoffed, thinking Tom had gone one toke over the line, but he mentioned that there's a "Fuck Hut", and at that point I was sure he had gone one toke over the line. But, I had to investigate. I mean, a fun game about prehistoric people getting jiggy in a fuck hut? Had to explore.

Turns out that there is, in fact, a "fuck hut" (sort of like Pizza Hut, and since it's in a prehistoric time, likely with just as much cheese) which functions like I imagine it would; it produces offspring when two steamy cavepeople enter. Technically, it's the action in the hut, more than the hut, doing the procreation, but I don't want to split hairs. In any event, the inclusion of dice and a sugar shack pretty much locked in my interest in Stone Age. After playing it just once, and I mean, literally, just one time, I was hooked like a Vegas gambling addict. What a clever, clever little game this thing is. It's like Agricola in many ways, but less dry, and less prone to make you want to reach across the table and rip the face off that guy who can't decide (for 5 minutes) what his move should be. It's just a really fun game.

It's most certainly not the kind of game that I envision when I think "Euro game", not even a little bit. There's actually a lot of randomness in the game, which isn't something I think of when I think of Euro games, and while there's no direct player interaction, there's a significant bit of "screw you" going on in the fact that, like Agricola, you can only put workers in vacant spots, and if someone else gets there first, they lock you out of it until the next turn. A neat thing in the game is that you assign workers to produce goods, food, wood, clay, stone, or gold, and each is progressively harder to acquire, with food having 2:1 odds in you rolling up some grub, all the way down to gold, which has 1:5 odds. This can be mitigated by aquiring tools, which allow you to add virtual pips to the die rolls.

Now, I don't view all worker placement games as evil or boring based solely on the merits of the mechanic alone, but there have been some that I've played and wondered why the hell I ever agreed to sit at the table. This is quite a different animal, though, from the games I've played in the genre, because there are so many variables at play at any given time that it's not a matter of making the "optimum move" and playing along with the puzzle as much as figuring out what your best path to victory is based on your current strategy and then making efforts to further your position. With what amounts to two unique paths to victory in Stone Age: buying buildings and "bonus points", not to mention a mix of both, you pretty much start out doing whatever you can based upon your player position, since the order of turns is important in this game, and then decide after a turn or two, based primarily on the lay of the land, what you are going to go for.

One of the best aspects of the game is that it has two built in timers: when you run out of replacement buildings or boats, the game immediately ends. This limits the amount of time that the game can lag on because there's really only two ways to score points, and they revolve around the boats and buildings. I've always been a fan of built in timers in games, and this really does a great job of balancing the ability of players to do what they want to do with the game's necessity to draw the line somewhere. 

I've got the game on iOS now, and I can't really see myself going out and buying the physical game since the iOS version has pass-and-play capability. That said, the game is nice production, with nice art, and Z-Man Games will be reprinting it this year. I'm pretty excited, and it may sway me towards picking it up because I don't often travel with my iPad. It's just a really fun, really cut-throat game that is quite a far cry from some of the Euros I've played, and it's approachable and easily teachable, so it's one that can be brought to anyone's house. I'm definitely glad I didn't pass this one over as I did for so long with Catan. 

Why I Want To Do It Like They Do On The Discovery Channel:
- Nice art and bits make for a thematic experience
- Just the right amount of randomness and tactics to balance frustration
- The built in timer makes sure the game is kept to about an hour with four tribes
- iOS version is truly one-of-a-kind in terms of value and quality
- There's a fuck hut...it doesn't get much better than that.

Why Stone Age Needs To Get With The Times:
- This game, like so many, can bring out the worst in AP-prone people
- There may be too much randomness for die-hard Euro enthusiasts

Residing in the space somewhere in between Ameri- and Euro-, in that sweet spot that rewards clever play without being a puzzle, this is one of the best examples of a true "German family game". I really like this game, and with the advent of iOS and PC online games, I have had no small amount of fun with it. I can't comment on what will be in the Z-Man Games reprint but I can guess that it will be shit hot as I have yet to be disappointed with Z-Man. If you've never played Stone Age, definitely check it out once it starts shipping this month.

4.25/5 Stars

Check out Stone Age at the Rio Grande Games site, since Z-Man's site doesn't have it up yet: http://riograndegames.com/games.html?id=254

Friday, May 3, 2013

D&D S-Series: Dungeons of Dread

Many, many moons ago, I was an RPG adherent, drawing detailed topographical maps on graph paper and using Ral Partha miniatures that I'd painted when I was ten years old. I loved the idea of Dungeons and Dragons, although I was only lukewarm on the actual role playing. I think, in my heart of hearts, that my dabbling in Dungeons and Dragons, as well as my theoretical physicist cousins' love of war gaming, is what influenced my lifelong love of miniatures, fantasy war gaming, and really, board games in general.

Of all the games that I count as the most memorable, the most truly influential upon my psyche, the single most viscerally life-changing of them all was Gary Gygax module, "Expedition to the Barrier Peaks".  It is, in fact, the only module I still own, after all these years. Now, when Wizards of the Coast announced their S-Series of modules that were to be reprinted, something inside of me re-awakened after a long, long hiatus. I am now considering going to my buddy David's house as he is a huge RPG nutter and holds weekly adventuring sessions. To that end, I acquired a copy of the first tome in the new S-Series, Dungeons of Dread.

Now, I can go on and on about how the old ways are more attractive to an old, dodgy bastard such as myself, but really, what I want to do is tell you a bit about what this book has between its lusciously appointed fake leather covers. Further, I'd like to start by saying that these are essentially reprints of the original modules, and there's four modules per book, with Dungeons of Dread having the following:

  • S1: Tomb of Horrors
  • S2: White Plume Mountain
  • S3: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks
  • S4: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth
Let's explore, shall we?

S1: Tomb of Horrors
The first module, Tomb of Horrors is a scant twelve pages long, but it's supported by maybe twenty more pages of handouts and illustration, but is one of the most deadly, DungeonQuesty modules I am aware of. I recall playing this same module with disdain and dread because the entire module appears to have been set up specifically to mess your shit up, wholesale, without any hope of you surviving.  The basic premise is that there's a big nasty, a Demi-Lich, who needs a heavy dose of iron infusion, preferably delivered via flamberge or arrow point. That said, the module is not very combat heavy, and is far more a "role playing" dungeon crawl than a hack-and-slash adventure.

Now, this dungeon is very trap-heavy, and these aren't traps such as a bear trap or something, we're talking the kind of trap that if you're caught in it, you're completely bollocksed. You're not escaping, and you're very likely not surviving. The single most insidious is an archway that, once you've entered, teleports you back to the front of the dungeon. Sounds scary, right? Did I mention that you are teleported back to the front of the dungeon naked as a jaybird, and all of your inventory is delivered right to the feet of the Demi-Lich? Yeah, that's the kind of fucked up trap I'm talking about here. Suffice it to say that I have never completed the quest, although I only played it perhaps three times as I recall. 

S2: White Plume Mountain
The second entry into this book is White Plume Mountain, a module that I am wholly unfamiliar with. After reading the module, which is very interesting, I determined that the adventure is essentially a quest to recover stolen property. Three magical weapons of great renown were snatched from the city of Greyhawk, and the only clue to their whereabouts is a poorly written poem. Unlike the first module, this is a very combat-heavy module, loaded with monsters, both guardian "mini bosses" and the wandering variety.  Another element to the module is that there are several puzzles to solve, endemic of many earlier D&D modules, as well as traps. Now, the traps aren't nearly as catastrophic as in Tomb of Horrors, but they are copious and I'd think a competent thief would be a keen addition to the adventuring party.

If there's any one thing that stands out in this adventure, it's that it is the epitome of a classic dungeon crawl, complete with really evocative black-and-white art. I'd say that of the four modules, I like the art the best in this one.  Also, as far as the story goes, without revealing spoilers, the story makes almost no sense when you realize what's really going down. I re-read it twice and still have no bloody idea on the why/how of the plot. Such is fantasy writing, I suppose.

S3: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks
This module is simply the best example of out-of-the-box dungeon delving in the history of Dungeons and Dragons. There's no arch-wizard to slay, there's no hill giant terrorizing the local village. This adventure takes place in the hulk of an abandoned spaceship, and it is 100% bad ass.

The basic premise is that the local constabulary has been griping that weird monsters, things nobody has ever seen or even heard about are roaming the countryside and doing what monsters do best. So, off you and your party are commissioned to go to sort it out, but when you get to the source of the critters, you find it quite alien; walls made of steel, colored keys required to pass doors, and laser beams. What? I don't even...laser beams?? You heard me right, characters can take possession of laser weapons, among other bad ass technologies. So, it's a mix of Space Hulk and Dungeons and Dragons, something some people might think can't really work, but my God in heaven, it works here. And Skullbuster the Human Warrior can pick up a laser gun and cut a beholder in half, which in and of itself is indescribably awesome in an RPG setting. I'm getting goose bumps just thinking about this module, if that says anything of the quality of adventure, let alone the memorability of it. Simply put, must-have.

If you need just one reason to buy this book, this module is it. Without gushing too terribly much, I'd like to admit that I love this module wholeheartedly, and without equivocation or reservation. It is the perfect example of a dungeon adventure, and with the sci-fi crossover, it's really one of the most unique modules ever put out as well. The art is great, and the maps included in this module are outstanding, making this a game well suited for inclusion of miniatures, if that's your thing. What a module. Wow. 

As an aside, I cross referenced the module included in this book with my hard copy of the original, and I can confirm that it is a direct reprint, albeit prettier as it's not on that shitty matte paper that they used to produce modules on. My only gripe about this, as a reprint, is that the original had some really nice color artwork that has been grey-scaled for this printing. 63 pages of this artwork were "scenes to show players" as they reach certain places in the adventure, and in book form it's a little less simple to show only one picture. Were I to play this, I'd photocopy the pages and keep them as a separate booklet just as in the original printing.

S4: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth
The final module in this collection is the most traditional of the lot, and is truly an epic adventure in its own right. The premise is simply that players are heading off to get a lost, ancient treasure. The hard part is that the journey is Tolkienesque, with players having to traverse what seems to be a thousand miles to the Lonely Mountain (well, in this case, the Yatil Mountains). This requires keeping track of rations, food for the horses, water, and all that lot, so it's slightly more in-depth than most of the modules I'm familiar with.

Aside from the great distances of overland travel, there are a huge amount of encounters and thus this is really most like modern dungeon crawl hack-and-slash adventures more than anything. There's a lot of blood to be let, have no doubt; it's a XP whore's dream, really. I'd only recommend this module for players that are dedicated and would have the stamina to run this game through three or four sessions; like Barrier Peaks, it's not something you can run through in one or two sessions, it's simply too huge a module.

The art in this is also the weakest of the book, in my opinion, with some really abstract, and dare I say ugly, illustrations. While there's a samey feel through the adventure, based on the fact that you're mostly just trekking and killing, rinsing and repeating, with no real plot to speak of, it's so rife with treasure and XP that it would be a low-level character's paradise.

In the end, this book is a wonderful throwback to the original AD&D rules, before the continual revisions that some have commented are an unbridled cash grab, followed by a bastardization of the game into what amounts to a miniatures game. Personally, I've always played D&D with miniatures, and the Dungeons and Dragons Miniatures collection almost got me hooked. If I didn't have a wife and kids, I could envision my game room walls covered in shelves full of the little blighters.  I highly recommend this collection to anyone who never got to play the modules, as it will be instructive on the original "feel" of D&D, not to mention that one of these modules, Barrier Peaks, is the single most unique in the entire history of the game.

If they continue to the I-series, I will be first in line to pick up Ravenloft and some of the other notables, because they were truly the foundation with which D&D has grown into not only a brand, but to many, a way of life. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Mega Miniatures - Making Reaper's Kickstarter Seem Rather Passé

If there's any one thing that keeps people from jumping wholesale into miniatures gaming, it's the time and the money required to purchase miniatures. If you're not born to paint, it's a daunting enough task just to figure out what you need to buy, especially with every Tom, Dick, and Harry telling you that if you don't buy Citadel-branded paints and miniatures, you're deficient. Well, and I say this with the deepest amount of respect, fuck them in their Cheeto-encrusted lips. Games Workshop may be the most well-known miniatures company, but they are not remotely the best. Not remotely.

You see, there's maybe three hundred companies that produce high-quality miniatures, there's maybe ten companies that produce hobby paints that are made specifically for painting miniatures and other hobby items. So, there's a lot of selection and you can literally find anything you want, from a Fallout-style Super Mutant to a juvenile with a teddy bear to a naked zombie stripper. The best part is that you can get most of these miniatures relatively inexpensively, cast in metal or plastic, and you can pick and choose whatever you like.

Now, this rolls back around to me telling you what to buy, like those Tom, Dick, and Harry fellows, or at least I can recommend something that I think you'll like. Enter Mega Miniatures, a company that is 13 years old and has been producing made-to-order metal miniatures the whole time. The best part is that they have pretty much anything you can imagine, from skeletal cowboys to warmongering robots to the best dungeon dressing parts I've ever seen. Well, actually, the best part is that they're dirt cheap. The bad news is that the inimitable Johnny Lauck has decided he's had enough of competing with the Kickstarters, Games Workshops, and Reapers of the world. Apparently, people would prefer to pay ten dollars for a miniature they don't have the skill to paint appropriately than a two dollar miniature that's 80% as detailed and far more easily painted. 

As you may have read in my Pegasus Hobbies piece, I'm endeavoring to create a lovely wasteland set to play some Falloutesque battles on, and I came across Mega Miniatures during the research phase of the project. It baffles me that with all the miniature research I've done over the past three years that I hadn't given them a solid look. I've spent maybe two hundred dollars of late on several companies' miniatures, and I recently placed an order for about a hundred dollars in Mega Miniatures product. When you get them side by side, there's no doubt in my mind that I should've held off and spent the lion's share of that money with Mega, because their selection and quality is simply the most astounding value in the miniatures market that I've found.

They have an online store that has several ranges, such as sci-fi, fantasy, and scenery, as well as some very unique ranges, of which I bought more than my fair share; I got 28 miniatures packs (some of which contain multiple miniatures, so it's more like 35 miniatures total) for that $105.00, which included shipping. I'm talking about getting miniatures of the quality shown for around three dollars a piece. It's insane! I am simply unable to comprehend why more people haven't started getting some of these things based on the quality and price alone. Sure, they're not the same level of detail as something from the giants of sculpting, such as Murch or Copplestone, but they beat the piss out of RAFM and most of the Blue Moon line, for less than half the price.

In the end, if you're a miniatures enthusiast, you should really consider Mega Miniatures as a viable option for almost any game theme. Gangs, orcs, goblins, robots, dungeon furnishings...they have it all. The bad news in all of this is that you need to get in on the deals before December 31, 2013, or you're going to miss out.

Check them out at their website.

Some photos lifted from 52minis.blogspot.com, since the paint jobs on the Mega Miniatures website are less than indicative of the quality of the miniatures.