Monday, September 15, 2014

X-Wing Miniatures: Tie Phantom Starfighter

The second Imperial ship from the recent X-Wing starfighter wave is the Tie Phantom.  This ship is supposedly from the Rebel Assault computer game series.  I do not remember them but that was a long time ago.  The ship has a very low profile from the front.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Space Hulk: GW Adds Insult to Injury

So I made my opinions about the new space hulk release known, and now GW being GW double down for me.  They have annouced iPad only "Expansion" based on other marine chapters which appear to add about 2 new weapons/rules and an unknown number of missions for each plus fluff priced at 16 dollars.   Now this is what I am looking for but they split up what might have been a nice release to include the new tiles and missions from the new version of the game into a single new expansion.  New Tiles and Counters plus rules for like 5 weapons/items/character types plus like 16 mission (4 basic and 4 for each of the three) might have been able to separate me from like 40 dollars (so 50 dollar MSRP).  The price matches up to about the cost of the 3 ipad releases but is a physical product for the large percentage of GW customers who do not have an ipad or istuff.  In their greed to squeeze every last drop out of the die hards they have once again left money on the table from the broader audience.

It also appears that the fluff and missions for these expansion are just taken from old white dwarf issues, White Dwarf 158 (SW), 201 (DA) and 205 (UM)

Friday, September 12, 2014

BlockEm Blood Bowl League Game 1

So I got my first game in last night for the new season of the local Blood Bowl League.  This season there are 8 coaches so we are doing a round robin with a game every two weeks for the regular season.  Teams in the league have to stop playing after three seasons so their are a lot of new teams in the league.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Calculating Probabilities for Miniatures Games

So some discussion with BookkeeperJason, has inspired me to expand a little on my methods choices of those methods when I do these calculations.  Now Mathhammer has a long history of exploration from people with people being able to list things like expected models lost to various attacks pretty easily.  These calculations are easy due to the nature of the damage processes in 40K where you take one die and roll to hit, then take that die and roll to wound, and then the opponent takes that die and makes a save.  So it is straightforward to determine the chances of each of those progressing then multipling them together to find the probability of the starting attack killing a model.  Since each attack die an independent track you just added up the results for each one to get the number of models you expect to kill.  You can also trivially calculate the chances of N attacks with p kill probability generating a specific numbers of kills using the Binomial Distrubution.

Now some games turn out to be more difficult to calculate.  Space Hulk, X-Wing, and Dwarf Kings Quest all use a contested dice mechanic where both sides roll dice and the results are compared throught some mechanic to determine the result.  You can generate calculate the probability of each side having some die result but how the dice are compared really makes a difference in how to proceed.  In the basic X-wing (without Track Locks, Focus, and Evade and ignoring criticals), you can calculate the probability of of getting so many hits and so many evades and just match them up determine the results.  For example if you have 4 attack dice and 4 defense dice you can only end up with 1 hit when the attack dice yield one more success than the defense dice which means, 4/3,3/2,2/1,1/0.  The final probability will be the sum of those individual events which are the product of each sides chances of getting that specific result.

Now Space Hulk and Dwarf Kings Quest make this more complicated since you are actually comparing the numbers on the dice as opposed to comparing the dice to some other metric and then comparing.  This makes the calculations very challenging.  For example if some one in DKQ has 3 attack dice then the chances of them rolling 6,5,4 are the same as 3,2,1 but the chances of those results generating hits depend on the exact roll of the defender.  You have to compare the two sets of dice to determine the result that it corresponds to and then added the probability of the attackers roll times the probability of the defenders roll to that results probability tally.  When I started my Math Hulk series, I did this in excel and found that as I got to the more and more complicated events it got very hard to keep track of everything once both sides where rolling multiple dice and one side could reroll or force a reroll and such.

For my X-Wing and DWQ studies I tried to do things a little different.  I built a computer program that similated the dice rolls for both side, then automatically ran through the results process and then kept track of how often each possible final result occurred then divide those numbers by the total times the process was simulated.  This coding is sort of overkill for small problems involving 1 or 2 dice where all the possibilities can be hand determined on a spreadsheet but works great as the dice increase since it moves the time consuming comparisons and counting to the computer which is what those are good for.  It is easy to add special rules since you just go in and program the change at the point it happens in the game, and everything still works.

Now there is no reason to feed in just simulated dice.  You can program a computer to generate a list of all the possible dice results and then feed those into the same comparison and counter to get exact results.  With some presorting and counting before the comparison you can get very fast results here for a reasonable number of dice that you might use in this way.  You are not likely to have many times where you are rolling 20 dice then seeing which ones beat armor and then ordering them to compare to someelses 20 dice. This is a great way to check your random generator results but I think might run into more problems with rerolls and such as it add splits into what was before a well ordered comparison of two lists.

So that is how I am doing things if people have any questions.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Did GW earn the Double Deuce Today?

What a day for GW?  I already talked about their Space Hulk release but that is more WTF than real anger, but news has broken that someone has reported all of Galaxy in Flames excellent material as a Copyright violation and got his file account permanently suspended.  If you did not know Galaxy in Flames among other things had an excellent skirmish version of the grim dark game from the company everyone loves to hate.  Sort of like Killteam, but improved vastly.  I have a copy and think that he really did not go far enough in the conversion with way to many references back to the 40K rulebook for things.

Unfortunately the system for these things is stack against the little guy.  He could fight it and take it to court but then you need a legal team and it costs real money.  I think only a few blogs in this niche can afford stuff like that and given that the site had all of like 2 little static side ads that might not even be compensated that is not going to happen.  In court GW could probably claim trademark issues and I did see that he had a picture of some GW miniatures all painted up and based and that is a copyright violation but in the US, Game Rules are not copyrightable.  Do not believe me, go to the copyright office yourself

Now the author does not name any names, but I think it is not hard to guess who is up to this.  Maybe it is just a "good"Samaritan, helping out little old GW with their IP protection.   Heaven forbid people buy their miniatures and play a game with them.  They might have fun and want some more.  My dollars started walking away from GW years ago.  I have not bought a in print GW product in over a 15 months and my most recent purchase was produced more than 20 years ago.  I think they have made it clear through the past few years that they do not care about us, their customers, and given that they do not advertise and have cut staff to the bone, those many people who they do not care about are really the only people working to bring in and keep players.  Well, you reap what you sow and GWs harvests have been coming in smaller and smaller.  While I wish everyone who works hard designing miniatures and good games the best, the corporation deserves nothing from me.

New Space Hulk: Even When GW Does Things Right They Do It Wrong

The internet is all in a buzz as the rumor mill states that this weekend GW will reveal a Space Hulk release.  From what people are saying is that this is the same set that they released 5 years ago with some new counters and a few new missions.  Price point is supposedly 125 dollars.  Now rereleasing this game is a good move for GW as it is a good classic game with excellently detailed miniatures.  I am sure they will sell through any reasonable level of stock they decide to order.  This is probably a 10's of thousands level.  Ofcourse GW is a big company who had a 16 million dollar drop in sales last year would need like 120K sets sold exclusively through their stores to make up that gap but I guess every little bit helps.

Friday, September 5, 2014

X-Wing Miniatures: Tie Defender Starfighter

The Tie Defender is a ship I first encountered playing the Tie Fighter PC game that was a sequel to the classic X-Wing game.  It was a nice change of pace from flying a tie fighter where two hits would kill you.  The ship was definitely an upgrade.  That upgrade has made its was to the X-Wing Miniatures game.  The booster comes with the standard allotment of cards and counters.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

After a month filled up with discussion of the Mantic Dungeon Saga kickstarter, I will return to my normal topics.  Lets seem what we have coming up.  I got a new batch of X-Wing Ships to go through, also Lego sets specifically from the LOTR and Hobbit lines, and the Impact Miniatures Trollcast Teams should be on hand in about 2 weeks to take a look at those.  Not much action on the GW front.  Already talked about fiscal year 2013-2014 and not much interest personally in 9th ed WHFB.  I was looking recently at some Mordheim based rules as a use for some fantasy minis but the Dungeon Saga stuff will probably fill that interest in nicely.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Dungeon Saga Kickstarter: Final Thoughts

If you have been following this or many gaming blogs recently you will know about the recent Dungeon Saga Kickstarter from Mantic that closed this past weekend with like 5000+ backers and 1M+ dollars pledged.  This makes it their most backed and second highest funded kickstarter for a company that runs like 2 kickstarters a year.  They often are running the next kickstarter before finishing shipping the previous one.  Mantic is still a small company but many feel that their way of doing kickstarters is not aligned that well with the propose of kickstarters but it seems to work for them.  They get great social marketing out of it, it helps get around their poor trade sales presence, it minimizes their risks allowing for ambitious projects, and does appear to allow accelerated development where if they had to wait on the revenue from the first releases to work on the next it would be significantly delayed.  Here they get all of it a head of time.  They probably could have funded the basic game internally but now a much bigger package is available in one go for players to pick and choose from.  I know I bagged on them in the beginning of this kickstarter for the way they were doing the stretch goals and such for the basic set where they set the initial funding value very low and used stuff that was obvious already developed as stretch goals.  They plowed through all those without a problem so in the end it does not matter so much.  Unlocking stretch goals is probably more interesting than just setting the basic set at the real 300K funding level.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Dungeon Saga: Dwarf Kings Quest Kickstarter Final 10 Hours

The current mantic kickstarter has reached in final 10 hours with about 850K raised.  They need 925K to add a Dragon expansion which I am not really hot for myself but whatever.  Maybe they will get more stuff in it if they break the first stretch goal  Since I last checked in the basic pledge has picked up plastic doors, like 5 demons, a large yet to be revealed undead monsterous creature, and about 8 missions plus Abyssal Dwarf rules.  So some nice bonus but nothing that makes it a must buy value in terms of miniatures.