A review of sorts
Let me preface this by saying I wanted to hate this game. I wanted to hate it so much. I wanted to complain about the hex based map, clunky mechanics, the sameness of the game, the stupid scale of the models and all sorts of other things. I wanted to hate it so I don't have to buy sweet sweet 10mm scale Corvus Blackstars.
And I can't. I can't hate it at all. This game is a hoot. It was great fun, full of flavour and very slick. I'm not going to go through the mechanics or anything like that but I'll point out the things I enjoyed about the game and the things I didn't (spoilers: there's only 2)
The game is pretty straight forward - I go, you go - with a couple of tweaks to the turn order depending on circumstances. The players determine manoeuvres and then zoom their planes about, going faster or slower, gaining or losing height (and speed as a result). You pick your manoeuvres before you find out who's going first and if you get it wrong, this is the result:
The immediate aftermath of that shot was the Fury being shot down and the Thunderbolt taking three Ork Dakkajets in revenge. It was an astonishing round of shooting that kept Tank and I in that game!
Anyway, a further point about the moving - the manoeuvres give you so much flexibility with how and when you perform your turns and things that the dogfights are really just that. It feels odd at first but once you get used to the abstraction, it's excellent for gameplay. Compared to the durdling turns of something like X-Wing, it's a much more exciting way to play too.
|Getting your manoeuvre choice right!|
Finally, the models are amazing. It's very easy to pick the Thunderbolt Fury from the Thunderbolt just by checking out the nose guns. The detailing is clear and they look genuinely like scaled down versions of the 28mm equivalents. The ball mounts for the planes also let you tip your planes side to side or up and down to go along with your neeeeeooorrrrrrrrmmmmmmmmm noises
|Thunderbolt (left) and Thunderbolt Fury (right). Note underslung nose guns.|
The only other bugbear is an old chestnut. It's currently a two-faction game and there are only five or six available models for it. It feels like it has all the design space to add in all the flyers from the regular 40K universe and from Forgeworld but they aren't there and there's been no evidence, one way or the other, that the game is going to go wider. I assume it will - GW has some great models in this space - but I will wait and see before I leap into this particular game.
Also, I played a game of 40K with McBeth Jnr yesterday. It was rough for him without enough serious AT to scare a Leman Russ (until some Grey Knight Paladins ripped it a new one) and his saves were just dire which is funny when you're the Guard player shooting down Space Marines with flashlights. Anyway, the highlight for me was this:
|Something something walk me closer something something|
Goodness knows. I've still got dudes to finish for Warpstorm and I've managed to acquire some original Imperial Guard Stormtroopers who need stripping (and repainting for that event) so I need to crack on. I've also recently acquired a very nice Druid from Hasslefree who will be a character in an upcoming run at the Warhammer RPG dropping in as an Amber Wizard.