Tag Archives: Review

The Vintage Tempest’s First Days with Star Wars: Legion

11 Apr

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Fantasy Flight Games has a new miniature battle game for Star Wars fans to enjoy. Legion is different from Armada such that players are commanding soldiers than spaceships. The rules are the same; the dice are different coloured and length of time to play better than the space-faring cousin. It’s possible to play short skirmishes. I went to a demo at my nearby game store to get my Jedi on and instead went Sith!

I am impressed with the plastic figures which come in the base set. Vader and Luke command their respective forces, and the bits include barriers for the Stormtroopers or Rebel Forces to hide behind. With no surprise, since laser blasts are guided by the roll of an eight-sided dice, neither can hit the broad side of a barn. The rules are nice and simple. Those who have played Armada know how this game works. Combat moves fast.

As for how much larger these battles can get will depend on expansion products offered. Prop packs to recreate battles on other planets exist, and for the adventurous modeler, Mos Eisley can be recreated.

With only two major factions offered in the main box, the enjoyability comes in how many times can Vader lay the smack down on Luke. I normally side with the forces of good, but to know how powerful Vader is requires looking at this character translates into gaming. The abilities are by no means unique. For Vader, he has “Master of the Force,” which means one of the upgrade cards can be ready for use. Luke has “Jump.” Since both are Force users, they have “Immune: Pierce” to sidestep certain attacks and “Deflect” since they have lightsabers to bounce laser blasts.

This game is no different from the augmented reality cousin, “Trials of Leadership” in Star Wars: Jedi Challenge. The electronic version has you pointing your wand (lightsaber) to direct forces to strategic points to defeat the opponent. The miniatures have a lot of rules to consider and it is more turn-based to decide the outcome of the game. I enjoy this physical version more for the simple reason that calibration for the said stick is always fickle and the click from this stick feels off when compared to using measuring sticks to find out how far a team can go in the battlefield.

This game has potential when expansions come out. I’m looking forward to Hoth (Empire Strikes Back) and seeing AT-ATs enter the field. In the items offered now, the smaller AT-ST and RTs are available.

In what is available now, it’s possible to simulate the land fight from the Battle of Endor. No Ewoks are available yet, and as for whether Fantasy Flight Games will include them, fans will have to wait and see. Inevitable sets will include the Separatist Droid army commanded by Dooku, the Clone Troopers with Yoda and the First Order with either Kylo Ren; General Hux; Captain Phasma in command. The latter can be fun and perhaps this time, Phasma will not get her butt kicked. She is an embarrassment in the films.

For diehards, I can imagine a multi-table setup where players move from infantry battles to get to a waiting cruiser, and whoever captures that, moves on to a space-based fight in Armada. To play this sequence can be epic. However, to have all the miniatures needed to recreate it is a pricey investment. I’m sure the rules can be adapted so fans of LEGO Star Wars (the scale is almost the same) can use minifigs. It may be cheaper than buying Fantasy Flight’s products, and at least for me, it can be more fun than playing another TT Games licensed product.

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Returning to the Fold: Playing Magic the Gathering’s Pre-release Hour of Devastation

9 Jul

mtg__hod_prerelease_product

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

I have not played the customizable card game, Magic the Gathering (MtG) for a very long time. In the past, I enjoyed how this game played with the legends from an ancient exotic world or looked at a genre (especially horror) in new ways. The best legacy era expansion sets are Arabian Nights and The Dark. I eventually stopped playing because folks with plenty of money to buy those great cards made me feel I could not compete and I did not find the world they created for MtG all that engaging. Finding casual games at gaming stores was tough.

Also, I wanted Wizards of the Coast to offer a new Middle Eastern themed set. The legends and lore of Ancient Egypt are the most requested and everybody knew it. Twenty-three years later since the release of Arabian, this company finally delivered with Amonkhet. The subset Hour of Devestation looks great. I saw cards showing the designers were looking deep into to Kemetic lore get the mystique right. The first set only whetted many enthusiasts appetite.

Pre-release challenges at gaming stores occurred over the weekend and I thought why not, let’s jump in. I know the core game mechanics and I am playing Magic Duels. Hopefully, I will not suck going up against experienced players. At least the field is level in the sealed game-play format. I went to a store where I did not feel intimidated. Out of the four stores in town, only one looked hopeful. It was not an overstuffed operation and it smelled clean. I plan on playing again this coming weekend (July 14-17) when this expansion hits all retail outlets.

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There’s No Injustice 2 Mobile’s Improved Gameplay!

15 May

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Warner Bros Interactive and DC Entertainment released a mobile edition of Injustice 2 (for Android and iOS) well ahead of the console edition due out May 16th, and I did not get any other work done over the weekend because of it.

The gameplay is familiar, and the story mode kept me engaged for hours, while watching Paul Dini and Bruce Timm’s Batman: The Animated Series in the background. While the Mortal Kombat / Street Fighter-like mechanics will always be awkward when played on tablet-like surfaces — tapping and swiping for to activate certain moves — but this game does something to improve the momentum of the character’s moves. I find the controls a lot more intuitive to figure out, especially when I’m the type who does not pay attention to the tutorials much.
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Powfolio Wants to Netflix Up the Comic Book World

20 Nov

DavidBy Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Powfolio is a mobile app for iOS and Android looking to change how people look at comic books. This software has been out since early 2016 and they are making a new push to be known throughout the industry. Back in a different century, when printed versions could be found nearly everywhere, at corner stores and supermarkets, this era is distinguished by being able to find digital content very easily. While some towns may see a few supermarkets carry Archie paperbacks, to find that is very few and far between. CEO David Campiti (pictured top right) of Glass House Graphics (a talent agency / studio of artists who are hired to produce work for comic book companies like Dark Horse) fondly recalls those days when they were far more accessible. Today, the only place these rags can be found are at speciality operations.

“There was a McNamara’s drugstore right up the street from where I lived that carried almost everything, From Marvel, DC, Classics Illustrated, Gold Key, Harvey, Warren … If you name it, they had it,” recalled Campiti. “Skip forward to now, [the distribution of] comics have been shrunk down into a very niche market of 1800 shops scattered across the US. This means an entire generation of children has never held a comic book in their hands.”

As a father who delivered presentations at his young daughter’s school, talking about his job in the comic book industry, he’s seen the result of the times. In today’s digital age, he sees more children tuned to their mobiles than a paper product. As he was handing out free products (Marvel Comic’s X-Men) to the kids, he was astounded to hear one boy say, “You mean there’s a comic book too?”

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