bakersnarkMDW
There hasn’t been one of these threads for a while, but surely there must be stuff to report at this time of year!

I’ll start with something I got a couple of weeks before Christmas and is really a game accessory for a game I don’t own (sounds exciting, huh?). There’s a D&D-style RPG called Pathfinder which has been around for a while and seems to have quite a large product line. Recently the same publisher released a science fiction RPG called Starfinder. I have no interest in either RPG but back in September I noticed the Starfinder Flip Mat: Basic Starfield,  which is a hex map of space using the exact same sized hexes as used in Federation Commander - something I’ve been looking for for some time without success. It prompted me to make a very rare full-price purchase! (You can see it as a backdrop to my STAW ships here https://forum.gamethesystem.co/post/games-podcasters-might-play-on-top-of-a-table-9823567?pid=1305156933&random=79894 )
It would appear that Starfinder hasn’t proven too popular (at least in Australia), so a couple of months back I got another copy for half price. Other Starfinder products hit the sale shelves and the one I decided to grab recently was Starfinder Pawns: Starfinder Core Rulebook Pawn Collection. It’s a large collection of thick cardboard counters intended to stand upright in plastic bases as a cheap substitute for miniatures. They don’t come with the bases but GURPS Dungeon Fantasy (mentioned here: https://forum.gamethesystem.co/post/july-gaming-pickup-thread-9784119?pid=1305189203&random=59966 ) comes with very similar counters and the plastic bases. I figure I can use the Starfinder figures with Dungeon Fantasy and other RPGs or something like Frostgrave (mentioned many moons ago by John). Starfinder is of course Science Fiction but many of the figures could be used for fantasy because it is one of those odd SF universes with lots of fantasy elements - Elves and Dwarves and technomages.
Although the art is quite nice, the production team didn’t seem to coordinate very well, with the counter cut lines cropping important bits of the images.

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What’s the point of scary green ‘magic’ flame or giant scary guns if no one gets to see them?

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Polled Lashunta! Many suffer the nonconsensual removal of their trademark antennae.

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The standard becomes barer and technomancer’s staff loses impressive tip.

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Flaming sword becomes flaming dirk, techno spear reduced to (techno?) stick!
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Mar
Thanks for this thread Mark. I haven't been posting pickups recently for some reason, and this is a good reminder to rectify that! I'll post later today, when something arrives in my arcade this afternoon...

You're right, the artwork on those standees is pretty cool, but they seemed to have clipped important parts of the artwork. If they managed that properly, they could have clipped the bunch of whitespace at the bottom, and moved the titles of the characters up a bit.

But hey, what do I know!

The afro priest with a flaming sword is certainly a unique look for a priest class!
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bakersnarkMDW
Mar wrote:
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You're right, the artwork on those standees is pretty cool, but they seemed to have clipped important parts of the artwork.
...


If I get a bit bored with some time on my hands I might do some cardboard surgery to reattach the severed appendages.

Mar wrote:
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The afro priest with a flaming sword is certainly a unique look for a priest class!
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And very SciFi! 😉 I don’t think I’ll have much difficulty shoehorning a lot of these into fantasy situations.

So, speaking of unloved games in Australia going for a song, one I've mentioned ad nauseum and thought I was done buying because there couldn’t be any left here to buy - Star Trek: Attack Wing! Poked my head into Good Games in the city and found in their big pile of sale stuff yet another box of ship packs at $2 each. None terribly notable amongst the 4 available but at $2 a go its hard to pass up (so I didn’t). Something about all 4 is that they have a very visually distinct design in the Star Trek universe.

I already had 2 of them but decided to get an extra of each:

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USS Pegasus
This is actually the third one of these I own but this harks back to the original reason I started buying these ships - to be used as mins for Federation Commander. The styling of this ship, particularly the small round saucer tight in on the main hull, makes it look like FC Gorn ships.

And the ones I didn’t have:
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USS Valiant
It’s the interesting looking Defiant class ship. Already had a ship of that class - the Defiant! (albeit the mirror universe version). I got 2.

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Gornarus
Wow, a Gorn ship from the Trek canon! (Shame they didn’t make any effort on the name - GORNarus, really?! It could battle the famous Klingon ship, the Klingonian.😖) After Kirk fought a Gorn (lizard man) in the original series they don’t seem to get much mention. Supposedly, after the initial misunderstanding with Kirk (he must have spotted a cute female version in the background), the Gorn became firm Federation allies. Star Fleet Battles / Federation Commander ran with the Gorn as a major faction in the games. Bitter enemies of the Romulans, they have very different looking ships in SFB/FC (see Pegasus above).
Also got 2.

EDIT: It seems I can blame the game makers for the name - the Trek writers didn’t even give the Gorn Raider a name. In fact it was only added to the Original Series episode with the Kirk Vs Gorn cage match in the digital remaster, and that was at a long distance view, avoiding the need for skin rendering on the CGI model. I actually think the the ship they produced wasn’t in keeping with the original series styling, it looks lifted from one of the later series. The Star Fleet Battles ships look a lot more like something from the original series.
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bakersnarkMDW
And now for our main feature (until Marc posts his pickup).

This one I actually got for Christmas (though it was me who found it and bought it using Christmas as cover to get it in to the house).

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https://rpggeek.com/boardgame/72125/eclipse

It’s the 4X space game podcaster Matt has played a few times, and confirmation of that fact was one thing that helped it get over the line (he also provided a few comments on gameplay ending with the “it’s good” stamp of approval). I also checked out some reviews (video and text) which helped convince me it was a good choice to fill the modern 4X space game gap in my collection (I have Babylon 5 CGS [late ‘90s] & Buck Rogers: Battle for the 25th Century [late ‘80s]).

It seems to avoid some of issues that I perceive Twilight Imperium to have and is a shorter game to play. Tom Vassal of The Dice Tower said he preferred TI because Eclipse has too many Euro things in it, but my impression is the opposite - much of the stuff that bugs me about TI is gamey Euro stuff.

Eclipse is from the same Finnish game company who produced MULE, and one of the artists on Eclipse also did the art on MULE. Below is a picture of the Eclipse components as exhibited in the Tampere Media Museum exhibition of Finnish games (BGG nerds posted comments under this photo highlighting how this setup could not be arrived at through gameplay!).
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Some brisk rule summarising and a play through discussion:


Shorter casual explanation by guy who likes it, being reminded of an odd game element called “fun”:
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Mar
Awesome pickups galore Mark! Loving those attack wing ships - keen to play again.

As for Eclipse, I think I might have mentioned before, but hexes scare me. That usually means it's too strategic for my liking. But hey, what do I know. Certainly not a lot considering I'm just looking at some pictures...

My pickups range from the tiny, to the ginormous. First, a couple of modern video games:

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Being versed in the ways of modern video games, I 'plugged in' Forza Horizon 4 as soon as I got home with it, in order to install updates before I wanted to play it that night. My forward thinking paid off:

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A 27GB update file... I really don't see how they have actually 'updated' three quarters of the game (you can see the original disc held 37GB). I call bullshit, and lazy coding, and worse patch management.

Anyway, I got to play the game when I planned to that night despite the games best efforts. And to my surprise, I really enjoyed it. I've been playing it the past few days (it's been too hot to go into the arcade) and so far I think it's much better than Forza Horizon 3. But more on that in a later podcast...

I haven't got around to playing Evil Within just yet...

The other pickup, was something that arrived just today. This is why I'm posting this at 12:06am..

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It was a 4 month wait to get it in my arcade since I bought it (or bought half of it, hence the wait time), but it's finally here. After spending most of the night getting the arcade back together after the game of machine tetris, levelling the game and getting it in just the right spot... I've played a few games and can safely say 'it's good'.

More on that in a later podcast too.
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bakersnarkMDW
Mar wrote:

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As for Eclipse, I think I might have mentioned before, but hexes scare me. That usually means it's too strategic for my liking. But hey, what do I know. Certainly not a lot considering I'm just looking at some pictures...
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I wouldn’t get too scared. There are hexes and then there are hexes - i could show you some hexmaps that would make your head spin! The way a game like Eclipse uses those big hexes is simply to represent map areas being explored and assembled in a random layout - they’re hexes because hexes fit together neatly in any order or orientation. Like on any map where there can be conflict there is a certain amount of strategic positioning, but this involves the bare minimum of distances - can my ships reach that space for an attack? There is no regard for flanking or rear assaults or encirclement or cutting of supply lines etc. 
Frankly, you have already dealt with a lot more strategy (or tactics, to be more precise) in our Star Trek: Attack Wing confrontation. If we moved the same battle to the hexmap of Federation Commander, while it would be a little more complicated because of a deeper ruleset, the hexes themselves merely act as an alternative to the movement templates to guide ship movement and firing arcs.

Mar wrote:

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A 27GB update file... I really don't see how they have actually 'updated' three quarters of the game (you can see the original disc held 37GB). I call bullshit, and lazy coding, and worse patch management.
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All I can say is that’s fucking outrageous, and agree with your assessment of the developers. Just as there’s been a move to assuming everybody is going to have computers with the fastest processors plus max RAM & HD, so there’s no need for efficient coding to accomodate lesser/older setups, there’s also the assumption that everyone has unlimited data and speed on their internet connection. What’s the point of getting a physical copy if you then have to basically download the lot again?

And regarding the final pickup - it was as expected, the feature attraction. Go easy on that lockdown bar button - Roger has had to adjust his a few times back to working order after it’s received vigorous attention from you know who...
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Mar
Oh, and my shoot again light works...
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Hwaygo
Wow! great pickups!

The Defiant is one of my favorite Star trek ships. That and the Klingon Bird of Prey. Can't decide which I like more.

I've had a bunch of pickups too! I'll make an effort to post 😃
[AOAGoN]
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bakersnarkMDW
Hwaygo wrote:
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The Defiant is one of my favorite Star trek ships. That and the Klingon Bird of Prey. Can't decide which I like more.

...


Well, you can have your own Defiant class Valiant for only $2 from Good Games in the city (behind Abby’s books)!

I still have difficulty accepting the Bird of Prey as a standard Klingon name. The very first Romulan ship encountered by Starfleet (Kirk & Co) was the Bird-of-Prey Gal Gath'thong (in SFB/FC the original Romulan ships were the Warbird [sublight] and Wareagle [warp capable]). It was also the first encounter with a cloaked ship - Romulans being the creators of cloaking who traded it to the Klingons for Warp tech. 

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“In 2266, the Praetor's flagship was involved in the Neutral Zone Incursion with the Federation. The ship attacked several border outposts, destroying them utterly. The USS Enterprise responded to the alert and engaged in a tense game of cat-and-mouse with the intruder for more than ten hours, before the Bird-of-Prey was destroyed. Named after the Gal Gath'thong mountain range on Romulus.”

Actually all I said above was gazumped in the Trek timeline by the much-loved Enterprise Series with the NX-01 coming across an early sublight pre-shield Romulan Bird of Prey with a prototype cloaking device. I think they rationalised Kirk’s lack of Romulan knowledge by suggesting Archer’s crew never really identified the origin of the ship.
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“The I.R.W. Praetus is a 22nd century Romulan Bird of Prey that utilizes an early version of Romulan cloaking technology. The vessel has no shields, and its ability to use its cloaking device involves several risks to the ship’s main systems.”
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