Saturday, March 29, 2014

State of the Blog Address (Part 1)

I was checking out my blog links to see what new stuff other bloggers added and I realized that I completely missed the first anniversary of my blog earlier this year.  To celebrate the passing of that first year, I decided to follow the US government tradition of posting a "State of the Blog Address" going over the past year and my hopes for the coming year.

When I started the blog last February, my goal was to focus on my house rules for improving the Heavy Gear Blitz game under my catchy little "Flash" title.  At the time, I had some ideas that I wanted to publish before getting involved in some official playtesting which would possibly limit what I could post due to the likely NDA.  I've been burned before in the past by Heavy Gear and DP9 making bad decisions (like flipflopping through rules editions and dropping the old RAFM scale gears unceremoniously) so I figured I'd try to get more involved and hopefully prevent another debacle especially given the relatively poor (and deserved) reception the Forged in Fire Southern Field Guide got.

I'd say that I definitely met my goals for improving the blitz game.  Though the rules went  a bit further than I initially had planned and still need some more testing, I'm happy with the overall final results.  In the end, it doesn't seem like anything will be incorporated into the next HG edition due to the vastly different rules in open alpha right now.  I actually joined the alpha in the spring of last year (right around the time I stopped posting large updates to the FLASH! rules and switched to modeling!) so the scope of the changes were not a shock to me this past January.  I think that the core rules have a lot of promise but obviously still need work.  Unfortunately, as demonstrated by the army lists, there still exists plenty of room to screw up the whole endeavor.  As for Blitz, I got involved in the Northern playtesting as well and anxiously await the release of that final product for the venerable Silhouette system.  Just don't expect it to be as broken, unfair, and overpowered as the Paxton release for several reasons.  The most important is that the lead playtester's primary faction is Paxton so they naturally got the best stuff (and paid nothing for it frequently) but also because cooler heads were involved in the development of the Northern book.  The north was originally my faction back in the old RAFM 1st edition days and I worked on a northern army over the past year as well... but the difference is that I view army guides that I play no differently than ones I don't so I tried to keep that in mind while still trying to give it a unique feel.  I have no idea when the North guide will finally come out (the January release has slowly crept into April now and counting) and I'm not entirely happy with the results (especially one very key aspect) but I would like to see HGB given its last hurrah before the release of the Beta files this summer. 

The other big game that I expected to cover frequently this year was Robotech Tactics.  Unfortunately, absolutely nothing has gone right since the end of the kickstarter for that game.  Only a few days after taking pledger money, Palladium announced that they were releasing convention only minis that people had been clamoring for but excluding backers from getting them via the upcoming pledge manager.  A contest run during the KS to design ace veritech paint schemes ended up running 6 months late and only had a single winner instead of multiple.  Everything was just fine and dandy with empty platitudes about how things were progressing for months until just 4 weeks before the October delivery estimate (revised just days after the end of the KS) at which point it was delayed till January/February. 

Since then, the project feels like its just treading water with the delivery date now at June/July and counting and frankly that date looks incredibly unlikely given that no moulds have even been started on.  The rules have not and apparently won't be previewed so they're another big question given Palladium's very poor (to put it mildly) history of RPG rules.  We're finally seeing prototype minis but the part count is ridiculous (30+ pieces for 40k terminator sized figures) and the seams between the parts almost exclusively run RIGHT ACROSS THE FRONT OF THE MODEL WITH BIG GAPS.  The TL;DR version is cheap looking overly complicated models that will come out at best 8 months late.  I've avoided talking too much about Robotech because I don't want the blog to turn into my private whine fest but it deserves mention in this end of the year post as I had expected to cover the game significantly over the past year but haven't been able to. 

That's it for part one of the State of the Blog address where I cover things overall.   Part 2 will deal with what I've done hobbywise during the past year.  Thanks for reading and bearing with me in the meantime.  :)

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