Monday, 27 October 2014

Relic Knights Game Sheets, Revised Edition.

The rules are locked in, an FAQ or two has been completed ... it's now time to upgrade my previous game play sheets.

Here are the basic sheets:
These are A4 sized JPGs, but since the exact size doesn't matter you can print them however you like. 
I have also fixed up some printer friendly Faction Starter card sheets for new players - the PDFs provided on the SPM websites aren't the most printer friendly.
Have fun.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Cerci Speed Circuit Starter Set - Unboxing.

A little while back I got tired of waiting for the Kickstarter, and so I  ordered a starter set for Cerci Speed Circuit. In between then and now (actually between taking these photos and writing this post) the KS stuff has arrived, but that's another story.

So this is my unboxing of the CSC starter set.

It comes in a very pretty box. I think the front of the box is pretty snazzy - it looks bright and is attention grabbing. I must admit that once you have the box in hand the bewbs are a little confronting; but that is part and parcel of the game I guess. 

I really like the impressive contents list on the back of the box. What isn't immediately notable (relevant) is that there are no pictures of the assembled models - which is to be expected as the box art and design would have been done before any minis were produced; but SPM don't provide instructions for their minis, which can make things (i.e the Royal Wrecker, see below) difficult for new players/modellers to deal with.

Opening the box is an awesome experience.

Everything is laid out impressively well (not that I grabbed a photo), and there is so much stuff - the miniatures are the smallest part. It's a real value for money sensation, and it is great to have a game starter that is so comprehensive without being a giant two player starter box.

Here's a list of what you get:
  • Miniatures and related cards.
  • Mini (full) rulebook.
  • Esper Deck (equivalent to dice in this game).
  • Token set.
  • Playmat (to guide card use).
A note on point sizes:
The miniatures include total up to 27 points worth, which fits a rough starter box size.
The sizes of each of the starter boxes are:
  • 29pts Shatter Sword Paladins 
  • 27pts Cerci Speed Circuit
  • 27pts Doctrine
  • 28pts Star Nebula Corsairs
  • 30pts Noh
  • 27pts Black Diamond Corporation 
As far as I can tell these sets are roughly balanced against one another. 
35pts is the smallest official game size but 27-30pts is still a good place to start. 
These are actually a really good size to start with: you can use the tokens as Boosts (see rulebook) to bump them up to the same point size (30 or 35pts); and you can pick up another unit and likely swap it in (or add it in depending the cost) to easily move up to 35pts.

Now let's look at the starter contents a bit more...

This rulebook is a small rulebook. I have no trouble reading it, but others' mileage may vary. I've got a picture of it with a game card (standard tabletop card size), to give you an idea of the books size.

But it is a comprehensive rulebook.
It contains everything except:
  • Fluff,
  • Unit (model) rules, and
  • "General Actions". 
The first two are to be expected; the third surprised me but then the rules for those are included in the info cards included in the Esper Deck (which are a lot more handy), so it's no big deal.

What is an issue though is that the first run quality checks failed and, like the recent downloadable version, the Contents listing gives page numbers from the full rulebook and there is no index. So I would suggest people give the book at least one full read-through, and then another complete read-through after a couple of games - this game can be quite hard to get to grips with, and finding info in the rulebook isn't the easiest thing without a correct contents and index.

The real value in the rulebook is the last few pages, with a complete order of actions/effects breakdown and ability listings. These things are a great help in any game.

Esper Deck and other Cards.
In case you don't know, Relic Knights runs on a card-based resource management mechanic rather than dice; and it is a completely different system to malifaux, which uses cards as more of a cheatable dice proxy.

The battle deck contains all the standard cards needed for the game. 
It has:
  • A 42 card Esper Deck (those used in the resource management game system).
  • 4 doule-sided Scenario Cards.
  • 4 double-sided General Action Cards.
  • 4 cards for keeping track of objective markers, boosts and tokens.
And the miniatures each come with two cards (reference card and tracker card).

So if you are buying into this game you probably want to invest in a good supply of card sleeves. In fact, sleeves are pretty essential: the card stock is reasonable, but nothing great or special - a KS bonus increased the card quality, so I hate to think what it might have been.

Almost everything is single sided (with some branding on the back), so you can get colour coded sleeves if you want (which I think is probably a good idea). I've gone with clear sleeves for everything but the esper deck, which I've used gold backed sleeves for - to help distinguish them from the other cards and from (somehow) getting mixed up with my opponents cards or something.

I like how with sleeves the card deck explodes in height.
NOTE: The reference card for each Relic Knight and each Questing Knight is double sized (true double size, not Malifaux-sized). Sleeves for this size card are available, but far from as common as other sizes. For a quick fix you can just use a small zip-lock bag; simply cut off the zip lock and fold (and tape) the bag over. Simple and effective.
This I think is one of the more impressive extras - a full set of acrylic tokens

A full set. You get:
  • 24 numbered 30mm tokens for Boost Markers, AoE tokens and other effects.
  • 3 50mm tokens to represent the objective markers (one primary, two secondary).
There are great, such an awesome thing to have from the get-go. But otherwise they're just standard tokens: pretty robust, printed numbering, standard quality production.

Interestingly the back of the product tag says that cards are included for keeping track of objective markers, boosts and tokens (which they clearly are not), these are instead found in the Battle Deck (see above).

The playmat is just a simple piece of (folded) paper printed on one side with the games "dashboard" layout. You don't really need it, but it is pretty neat using an actual dashboard ... and it probably helps when learning the game.

It's a good simple value-add. But I don't think they will last very long as is (long enough to learn the inns and outs of the game I suppose. If you are going to use these I strongly advise getting them laminated, it really ups how nice they look and how long you can expect them to last.

I should note that a number of people have been disappointed that it is a 'cheap' paper playmat, but it's a good basic extra. Some (backing the KS) expected a full mousepad quality playmat and while that would be awesome (and some people are getting such things made), I think it'd be crazy to really expect one here.

The miniatures come in a small bag, with big pieces and an even smaller bag (of tiny pieces) inside.

I think it is pretty clear which pieces go with which mini, and almost all the pieces are keyed for easy of assembly; but that Royal Wrecker is a mess of pieces ... and there are no pictures of completed minis, nor instructions in the box.

Below are some dry-fit shots of the Royal Wrecker, but a really good overview for assembling it is given HERE.

There was quite a bit of comment on them in the previews about the quality (or lack thereof) of the CSC minis and I said I didn't think anyone should overreact until we could actually see what the minis look like in hand.

And I must admit they are not top quality minis. But that doesn't stop me from thinking that they are great: they are way better than I feared, though not quite as good as what I would have liked ... there is no getting around the loss inflicted in casting some of the softer details. I'm happy with them but one of the Pit Crew's faces is terrible.

...You get what you pay for I suppose, and you should never buy the first run of a product unless you are fully behind it - there is far too much to be learnt in that first run, regardless of the project. In the end, I considered myself to have paid for standard wargaming miniatures, not top tier quality products, and I am very happy with what I got.

But I haven't seen any clear shots of the pieces online, so I've decided to try provide some for the more commented on areas (washed with Badab Black) - they're bigger shots than usual too, so click to see them.

Here are what the faces of each of the minis look like:

Marie Claude, Pit Crew (the terrible one), Royal Wrecker, and Second Pit Crew.

You can also see some of the scale "issues" that some people have commented on. CSC is far from the most dimorphic force (Doctrine supposedly has some shockers), but they all look right when sitting on the table ... so I think it is within acceptable levels.

And here are what Marie Claude's legs look like:

A fair amount of comment about the perceived loss of details on the leg occurred; but I dunno, there's definitely a lack compared to the CAD, but I don't think they're too bad ... just paint lightly? :-P

Ignoring sculpt details, there is a fun thing with small pieces, off-site casting/processing and keyed assembly...
Two square rolls and a round peg. um, yeah?

To summarise: given all that, I'm pretty happy with the starter box and the minis in it. It's been a long time since I've been as excited about gaming product and building minis.
Important Note: These miniatures have tiny tiny TINY pieces. Well maybe not that tiny, but still. Take care not to lose them. Open the bags in an clean and tidy workspace, or open/pour the pieces into a container - people have lost pieces just ripping the bags open. Also, check the box, if a bag gets a hole it in small pieces can slip out never to be seen again. 
Take no chances - I'm storing my lose pieces in a zip lock bag.
I was going to fully assemble the miniatures and put a picture up here, but they are more fiddly than I expected (I don't know why I expected them not to be, I know SPM stuff) so I'm going to take my time and not rush. I'll edit in a picture of, or a post link to, everything finished at a later date.

So that's my overview unboxing of the Cerci Speed Circuit Starter set for Relic Knights.
I hope someone somewhere finds it of some use.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

We have arrived.

I can haz goodies?

Relic Knight kickstarter goods have hit New Zealand.
I don't know if I'm the first NZ backer to receive his goods, but I haven't seen anyone else say.

After watching it (through tracking) for a week as it passed meandered through various postal services my minis and gaming mat arrived. I want to say it was a reward for patience, but I'm not sure I am any better rewarded than those who were impatient...

Anywho, it was an awesome day and life is good.

So I got two packages and I thought I would start with the gaming mat. I haven't seen too much posted on them; though I may very well not have been looking.

It comes in the standard tube, with a fancy sticker on it. One of the end caps on my tube was broken and I had a moment of terror at the though of a somehow ruined mat, but it was simply cosmetic package damage.

As can be expected, the mat is rolled up inside a plastic bag/sleeve inside the tube, and travels rather well.

It's a full three foot square; actually, I haven't measured it to double check, but that's what it should be and what it looks like. Having seen it online I wasn't convinced about the image used, but seeing it in person it looks good.

It has a simple black non-slip backing.

What I didn't expect was the felt-like finish. I don't know what the standard is for gaming mats, but I had been expecting a modern matte mouse-pad finish, so this surprised me.

I'm not quite sure what to make of that, any opinions/comments are welcomed.
On the one hand I think I will be worried about wear and tear; whereas on the other, it feels really nice and seems like it will be much gentler on models, etc. I am still very happy with it in either case.

On the second box there isn't much to say ...

... I got a big box of minis ...

... That took up far too much of my table to inventory ...

I fear this will keep me busy for a long time.
See you next century.

Friday, 22 August 2014


Look at this, a box arrived, all fresh and full of Relic Knights.

Relic Knights that ...

... I ordered from a shop ...

Yes, it took forever to get here, but patience certainly pays off.
Oh, wait!?!
Three weeks back, on seeing some of the locals getting in RK minis from overseas retailers, I decided I would too. Took me a little while to figure out exactly what I wanted, seeing as I'm waiting on a truckload of KS goods and didn't want unnecessary duplicates. Eventually I decided to go with a CSC starter and the two non-KS releases available, which I think was a good choice.
Funnily enough, I ordered the day after they said shipping would start for APAC; and while this parcel shipped the next day, it took a week to get to the point of being processed for shipping out of the US, and then another week to actually get here. Which is much longer than usual. 
But it's still way ahead of my Kickstarter stuff. 
BTW, I ordered from Discount Games Inc. 
Prices are awesome, shipping is reasonable, service is great. 
In the meantime I'm not too worried about the delay in the KS stuff. It is ridiculous, but perhaps somehow possibly maybe understandable. Or maybe not. In either case it doesn't benefit me to get upset over it. 
I'm still in the running for Last Backer award ... and I'll win it fates be damned!
Back to the miniatures.
I'll do an unboxing and review of the starter in a later post, but you can see the general contents HERE. And I'm not planning to build Sophia Drake or Mamaro To until I have a faction to put them to, so here's a picture of the box contents (I've sleeved the cards).

You can see the huge difference in size between the two minis. I've seen a shot of someone's assembled Mamaro To and he's as big as a Warjack (from Warmachine)! AWESOME.

In fact, the boxes have scale photos on the back check them out:
(Mamaro To is at 50%, Sophia at 100%.)

From what I have seen I really like the boxes and product, it will be interesting to see how the range pans out.
Also, pro-tip: If you open the bags these miniatures come in, then be careful not to lose the tiny pieces. Tip them carefully into a seal-able container, or pour them into a zip-lock bag - some people on the forums have lost things in their ravenous, bag-tearing, opening ceremonies of joy.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Relic Knights at GENCON

Last weekend Soda Pop Miniatures was at Gencon; I wasn't, but I thought I would still make a post about it. (With that in mind, none of the pictures here were taken by me, they are from rizz -scum- rack's Twitter account, the Ninja Division facebook page or Cromusz.)

Naturally SPM were selling a full range of Relic Knights minis, they were there as part of Ninja Division, though I haven't heard much about the other games there ... though I may simply not be listening to the right people. And word on the street it that RK is still proving pretty popular in spite of the KS issues.

The big thing I wanted to focus on though, was that there was the Relic Knights tournament being run. 

First up: it is an first indication of what SPM presumably consider to be appropriate terrain for the game. Which you can see in the picture below.

Apologies to bashamer for not including a shot of his (very) present cube terrain. It is cool stuff, but IMHO doesn't photo too well in that setting.
I'm not sure how the battle map "picture" played into the game terrain, but would be very interested to hear from the players there. In the shot above it looks like it is mostly ignored.

Second: It is our first chance to look at an "official" Relic Knight tournament.

As RK is still quite new SPM weren't using the full tournament pack, and it doesn't sound like they released it to the players (which is odd), but the key features were: 50pt Cadres, ~1 hour games, and fixed scenarios (players have the same Primary and Secondary scenarios, and their Faction scenario) which changed each round. 

I have heard that the Scenario pairings were:

  • Round 1: Tear it Down & Siege
  • Round 2: Grand Conjunction & Assassination
  • Round 3: Conservation & Carnage
Player scores were based on game victories and Destruction points, tie breakers were standard victories and strength of schedule.

Third: We can see what people are running.

There were 16 spaces in the event, but only 8 players showed up (out of 16 booked), and a couple dropped during the day.

The lists were:
Shattered Sword Paladins:
Sebastian & Rook
Darkspace Fiamata
Cordelia Clean 
Shattered Sword Paladins:
Sebastian & Rook
Darkspace Fiamata
Paragons (2) 
Cerci Speed Circuit:
Marie Claude & Esmee
Royal Wrecker
Cerci Speed Circuit:
Marie Claude & Esmee
Royal Wrecker
Pit Crew(2) 
Delphyne & Ekhis
Academy Guard (2) 
Marikan To & Lakimi
Mamaro To
Serpent Preistess
2 Renders
Berkersers (2) 
Black Diamond Corporation:
One Shot & Fritz
Darkspace Iron Chef
Blitz Tank
Suspect 7 (3)
(Two people were playing this list)
Interestingly no one played the Star Nebula Corsairs.
Placings were:
  • 1st place: BDC played by Zeru.
  • 2nd place: BDC played by Son Of Menoth.
  • 3rd place: SSP (list with Hauser) played by Mydnight.

Though the final placings all came down to tie-breakers ... not unheard of in a small event.

Feedback has been that the third place SSP list was near impossible to deal with, as nothing would die. And it is notable that the top three were all running Relic (rather than Questing) Knights.

Here are pictures of 5 of the lists (I don't know what happened to the other three):

Neat stuff.

Also this.
I need to know more about this: