Con Decompression Part 2: Cosplay


So welcome back to Part 2 of my Con Decompression. Dublin City Comic Con Anime Edition has still come and gone, and I’m still trying to decompress from it all. Still trying to quantify, correlate, and find the words to describe all that I saw and experienced. This time round we’re going to ramble and talk some nonsense about Cosplay. 

Now if it’s your first time hearing the word ‘Cosplay’, don’t be afraid. It’s not some crazy cult or some adult only game. Cosplay is basically dressing up as your favourite anime, manga, cartoon, comic book, video game or movie character. Think Halloween at a Con and you’ve got it.

You’ll probably want to go get a cup of tea or coffee before you buckle yourself in, as again this is probably going to be another long one.

I would first like to take a few moments to talk about ‘Cosplay is not Consent’.

If your not fimiliar with this concept/ code of conduct , or new to a Convention that has a Cosplay presence please allow me to fill you in (Parental tone activating ). 

Just because someone, whether that is a Man, Woman, or Child has gone to a Convention in Cosplay, it does in no right allow/ or entitle you:

  • To Touch that person in anyway.
  • To jump around that person in excitement or something similar.
  • To pressure that person into taking a photo with you or by you.

What is expected of you is:

  • To ask the person for permission to either take a photo of them or with them.
  • To respect a persons personal space.
  • Not to pressure the person in Cosplay for photos, signatures etc.
  • Not to stare at a person in Cosplay. Certain characters from Anime, Manga, Video games are hyper sexualised. Some of these elements may carry over to a persons costume but please, there’s no need to stare.
  • Cosplayers are artists, some have spent hours and maybe months working on their costumes so compliments are always welcome. Just be cool and kind.

(Parental tone disengaged)

Now just for the record I asked people in Cosplay if I could take their photos while at the Con, and they were cool with that.

Located on the ground floor of the Convention Center, just behind the traders could be found the Cosplay Village.


The Cosplay Village showcased an exhibition of professional Cosplayers, a repair station (to repair any unfortunate damage to ones costume), a makeup station, an exhibition of movie props, and a number of photo sets. Which I have to say was a great and unexpected inclusion.


The photo sets ranged in theme from Anime, to video games to movies…

As well as the Cosplay Village there were a number of panels and workshops running through out the weekend at the Cosplay Academy.

Some of the Cosplay panels included talks about Photography, How to take measurements for your costume, makeup, and how to choose a Cosplay character. 

The workshops focused on working with ‘Worbla’. ‘Worbla’ is a thermoplastic modelling material, similar in regards to EVA foam. Which when heated can be formed into different shapes, to make items such as armour and weapons. It is quickly becoming the go to material for Cosplayers.

These panels and workshops were in great demand at the Convention and I was unable to attend all of them.

The Cosplay segment of Dublin Comic Con Anime Edition concluded on Sunday with a Costume Contest hosted by Wayne Talbot of Rogue Comics and the Irishpubcast podcast.

All in all I think it was a great turnout over the weekend from Cosplayers and fans alike. It really goes to show how big the Irish Cosplay community is, and how big the Anime, Manga, Comic Book and Video Game community is that it deserved a Con focusing on itself, instead of being mixed in with a larger Convention.

Over the weekend  I met some awesome people and I’ve included some more photos of their awesome Cosplay costumes.



Until next time, I’ll see at the table.

– from The Man Cave 

Con Decompression Part 1: Guests and Trade Hall

Dublin City Comic Con Anime Edition has come and gone, and I’m decompressing from it all. Trying to quantify, correlate, and find the words to describe all that I saw and experienced. I’m going to have to divide it up into parts just so I can do justice to the Con.

You’ll probably want to go get a cup of tea or coffee before you buckle yourself in as this is going to be a long one.

It was a frantic weekend, but a brilliant weekend. I filled up my memory card with photos, video and interviews… And in typical Man Cave style a good chunk is unusable due to either bad sound, people photo bombing or plain old shaky hands syndrome.

Protips for moving forward:

  • When taking a photo, check photo before moving on.
  • When doing an audio recording, do a test recording first.
  • Note to self, stop drinking so much coffee.

I hope I salvaged enough to give you a feel for how good the Con was, and I hope you forgive my rookie mistakes. So with that being said, lets move on…

 I was able to attend the guest panel Press meeting which consisted of (both Brent Spiner and Tara Strong weren’t in attendance as they had prior engagements):

  • DC Douglas (Legion from Mass Effect 2&3, Albert Wesker from Resident Evil, Chase from Transformers Rescue Bots, Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans) 
  • Kira Buckland (Power Puff Girls, Blue Exorcist, Nier: Automata, Sailor Moon, Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans)
  • Eric Stuart (Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, Dinosaur King, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
  • Seth Gilliam (whose film and tv credits include Starship Troopers, Oz, The Wire and The Walking Dead)

 They were honestly fun and friendly people. Answering questions about their careers and freely offering antedotal stories from their careers. 

…and I was lucky enough to get a few minutes with DC Douglas.

I hadn’t quite realised just how tall of a man DC Douglas was prior to meeting him. 

As for the con itself, it was hosted in its traditional home of the Dublin Convention Centre located on the Dublin Docklands. 

As it was the first ‘Anime Edition’ of Comic Con’s in Dublin, it spanned the entire ground and first floor of the Convention Centre. 

The ground floor consisted of exhibitor/ trade hall, the cosplay village and photo sets. Personally, I wish I was a richer man, as there were so many goodies on offer from vendors. There was Asian treats from vendors such as Minamofoods and Kantanliving. Comics, graphic novels, figurines, toys and Gundams were available from vendors such as Dublin City Comics & Collectables, Big Bang Comics and Planet Minifigures to name a few….




… And there were cosplay and ancillary items available from vendors such as Hogwarts Wands, Otakuninja, Viking Drinking Horns, and The Cosplay Village to name a few.

Oh god it’s a good thing I don’t have a credit card, and that they don’t accept children as payment …
– from The Man Cave

IKEA: Making gaming great again

In case you were unaware, there is currently a Petition for IKEA, on Change.org, to make an affordable multifunctional table for gaming.

Started only a week ago by Brad Smokely, his IKEA petition has over 19,500 signatures.

There have been many attempts either by private companies or by Kickstarter to develop a high-quality multi-functional table for both dining and gaming, but most have been out of the price range of most of the community.

IKEA is a  leader in multi-functional furniture at affordable prices, and it is the hope of the petition that IKEA will take notice and fill this gap thru their international stores. The gaming community is already a heavy user of IKEA’s KALLAX product as it is an efficient way to store and display their gaming collections. 

An affordable multi-function gaming table designed by IKEA would not only be an incredible addition to their line of products, but would also be an essential item for people who play card games, board games, and tabletop Wargames.

Until next time, I’ll see you at the table.

– from The Man Cave

Adventures in Roleplaying Part 3 – The City

So… It’s a new year, and time for a new adventure. I’m going to have a new group of adventurers next month, so it’s time I got started writing a new adventure. 
This time round, the group will be running Dungeons & Dragons 5E. It’ll be set in the Forgotten Realms, in ‘The Spine of the World’.
I’m being a bit lazy this time round. I’m not going to homebrew an adventure arc or campaign. I’ve been going through some of the  adventures I have in my DM (Dungeon Master) folder, and starting off I’m basically going to link them together as part of a larger story arc.
I’m going to do this by firstly making a homebrew city, high up in the Spine of the World. I haven’t settled on a name for the city yet, and to be honest I don’t think I will name it (I’ll leave that up to the players). 
The inspiration for ‘The City’, comes from drawings of medieval cities, the image at the start of this article, Helms Deep from The Lord of the Rings, and with a touch of ‘Attack on Titan’.
So the basic idea was of a city high in the mountains with multiple layers of defence. The city would be populated primarily of humans, elfs, and dwarfs. With each race being in charge of a particular layer of defence, and section of the city.

I did a pencil scetch of the city, to get my ideas down on paper. The humans will have an urban environment, the elves will have a forest environment, and the dwarfs will live in the mine, at the center of the city.

I then went over the pencil drawing in pen. I finalised the design, added a few flourishes.

And then I coloured it in.


Obviously my little drawing isn’t to scale, and I’ve purposely left most of the city blank for two reasons. Firstly, so that new players can explore the city. And, secondarily so I can link the adventures I have picked out (more about them in a later post), better to the players choices.

Well that’s all for now, until next time, I’ll see you at the table.

– from The Man Cave

Titansgrave: The Hermit’s Road

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‘The Hermit’s Road’ is a 12 page adventure based in the world first introduced in Titansgrave: The ashes of Vakana. The adventure is designed for characters of level 2 to 4.

In ‘The Hermit’s Road’, players are sent to investigate the existence of purported pre-Cataclysm ruins on the outskirts of the City-State of Karros. Here they discover more than they bargained for, as the ruins hide a secret more valuable than gold or jewels…. ohh that sounds ominous doesnt it.

The Hermits Road, is a pretty standard and bland dungeon crawler in itself. It’s  an easy introduction for players into the world of Titansgrave, without players having knowledge of the show hosted by Wil Wheaton or the story line of ‘The ashes of Valkana’.

To myself, i see it to be a stepping stone into your own adventures in the world of Titansgrave. It offers alot of adventure hooks, both at the start of the adventure and at the end of it.

Personally, I can see myself setting up a story line that could involve Mr. Voss (a character from The ashes of Valkana book and show) or possibly Skot Dooling, the Golem Master of Karros (who’s mentioned in The ashes of Valkana book), or possibly another character.

The adventure also introduces a new character, that could be used as a reacurring character in future adventures. Depending on the tone of your adventure, he could be portrayed in a number of interesting ways.

The adventure introduces about 3 new adversarys, one of which I think is a pretty cool concept, if not a little over powered for a starting group to face off against.

The Hermit’s Road, cost me about $4. $4 dollar for a 12 page adventure, is it worth it? If I’m being honest, personally  I would say ‘Yes’, I’m a bit of a fan boy but… It is a bit pricey and it’s not a must have. 

On the other hand it does offer you a start to your own adventurings without being constrained by The ashes of Valkana storyline. It offers a new character, new baddies to fight, a little bit of fluff, and a new location.

All in all, It’s a nice addition to the Titansgrave range, which has been a bit lacking thus far. I only assume it’s because Green Ronin were waiting to see what the plot was for season 2 of Titansgrave before releasing any additional content.

Until next time, I’ll see you at the table.

– from The Man Cave

RPG Review – Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana

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So, What is it?

In 2015 Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: TNG + Thundercats Super Fan) created a Roleplaying show for Geek & Sundry on YouTube.

It was inspired by TV shows and movies such as the Heavy Metal movie, The Land of the Lost, Akira, and one of his most favourite shows Thundarr the Barbarian.

He approached Chris Pramas at Green Ronin Publishing about using his AGE system to run the show. Wil had previously used the system when he played Dragon Age on his Geek & Sundry show ‘Tabletop’.

Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana is the first expansion and adventure book that uses Chris Pramas’s AGE (Adventure Game Engine) system.

So, What’s the book like?

The book clocks in at 96 pages, divided up into 10 chapters. The book is full colour with pictures on nearly every page.

Chapters 1 & 2 detail the background to the world of Valkana and introduces a new race (the Saurians), some new rules, and equipment to the AGE System. Chapters 3 to 10 deal with the Titansgrave adventure itself.

If you want to relive the adventure as the characters used in the show, their stats are available at the back of the book.

Also included with the book was a full colour, double sided map of the game world, Valkana. On one side is the city of Nestora, and the other side is a World map of Valkana. Double thumbs up for that.

So, What does it play like?

If you watched the Titansgrave show on Geek & Sundry or on YouTube then there won’t be any surprises for you.

If you haven’t, then the plot of the adventure is basically to stop an ancient evil from rising again. I could go more into detail but I decided to go ‘Spoiler Free’ in this post.

I will say that in the book there is more locations, characters and encounters that weren’t in the show due to time constraints.

Titansgrave uses the AGE system, with a few tweaks to give it a Sci- Fi fantasy twist. You still use 3 six sided dice and mechanics as used in Fantasy AGE. They have added a ‘Legendary Stunt’ to the game, if you roll 3 sixs on your dice, you can perform a ‘Stunt’ that will be remembered for all time.

Verdict

Although I haven’t had a chance to play thru the adventure yet, I did watch the series on Geek & Sunry. The adventure adds to the Core rules by adding a new race, talents, focuses and equipment. It offers a new world to roleplay in and to explore. It even mentions a Batman-esque character, that you could base an adventure on.

The artwork in the book is brill and the inclusion of a fold out map is great. If you have the Fantasy AGE rulebook then it’s a no brainer, get it. I’ld still recommend it even if you didnt use the AGE system.

Until next time, I’ll see you at the table.

– from The Man Cave

RPG Review – Fantasy AGE by Green Ronin Press

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So, what is it?

Fantasy AGE is a new roleplaying system published by Green Ronin Press, and designed by Chris Pramas.

Some might recognize the name. He’s the man that Electronic Arts (EA) turned to for their roleplaying game based on their popular console game ‘Dragon Age’.

The Fantasy AGE Rulebook has been designed as an entry point and a stepping stone to tabletop roleplaying (at least to me).

By using the Fantasy AGE Rulebook, you can be the hero in your own sword and sorcery adventure or campaign.

So, what’s the book like?

First of all, we have to talk about the size of the Rulebook. The Fantasy AGE Rulebook, is smaller than you might expect for a Roleplaying (RPG) Core Rulebook. At only 140 odd pages, it’s alot smaller than other RPG Core Rulebooks I’ve owned. This is great for new people coming to RPG’s, as you don’t feel that your drowning in rules.

Nine steps. It only takes nine steps to create a character. Believe me when I say it’s actually quite easy to create your Hero.

Three classes to choose from, a Warrior (your classic melee fighter), a Mage (your classic spell caster), and a Rogue (your classic thief like character).

What? Only three classes?, I hear you say. Do Not Be Fooled. The amount of customization in these rules for characters is amazing. I might be showing my age but I keep being reminded of the character options in Eldar Scrolls 3: Morrowind, it’s that customizable.

So, what does it play like?

Ok, so in the Fantasy AGE Rulebook you get your typical fantasy races to choose from. There’s Humans, Elf’s, Orc’s, Dwarfs, Halflings and Gnomes. Want a half- breed, no problem. You can have your typical half Human- half Elf character, hell, you can have a bearded female Dwarf- Orc if you want. All the races have their own innate abilities and a chart that you roll on for additional benefits.

You’ld pick a class (warrior, mage or rogue), and then you’ld start to customize your character thru abilities, talents, weapons and backgrounds.

During character creation for determining attributes you have 2 options. The first option is simply to roll dice for each attribute and then your able to swap around 2 of your rolls. The second option (and the one I prefer) is a point buy system, where you’ld have 10 points to put into any of your attributes (with a max of 3 points in any attribute).

Part of characater creation is ‘Backgrounds’. Backgrounds are a nice addition to character building. There’s 4 tiers of backgrounds (outsider, lower caste, middle caste and upper caste). Depending on your caste your background can range from a soldier, to an artist, to a trader, to an aristocrat. These backgrounds grant your character additional benefits from the likes of gambling, to drnking, to a lore bonus, to a batering bonus and so on.

The game uses 3 six sided dice (3D6) for dice rolls. Two of the dice would be the same colour, and the third would be a different colour (think 2 black dice and a red dice). The red dice would be your ‘Stunt’ dice. When you roll your 3D6 and get doubles on any of your dice, you have just got a ‘Stunt’. Think of ‘Stunts’ as Critical Hits that other game systems use. The number on your Red dice shows how many ‘Stunt’ points you have. You can spend your ‘Stunt’ points what ever way you want. There are 3 ‘Stunt’ tables to spend your points on, they are Combat, Magic and Roleplaying. For example, say during Combat you get 5 ‘Stunt’ points. You can use five 1 point ‘Stunts’, a 2 + a 3 point ‘Stunt’ or even a 5 point ‘Stunt’, it’s up to you how you spend your ‘Stunt’ points.

Another nice addition to the game is ‘Black Powder’ weapons. No more going around with bows and arrows, you can take guns instead. Black Powder weapons come in 2 types, Pistols and Rifles (or Long Arms, as they’re called in the book).

For you spell casters out there, they have a new take on Magic. A Mage has a starting ranged attack. At character creation you select 2 spells from 2 different magic arcana’s (so a Mage starting at level 1 will have a magic ranged attack and 4 spells at their disposal), there’s about a dozen different magic arcana’s to choose from. Spell casting is based on a magic/ mana pool (think spell casting from the Final Fantasy games).

The Rulebook offers a level guide for levels 1 to 20 for the 3 classes and specializations for the classes. It offers advice for players + GM’s, and a small adventure. You also get a small beastiary of adversaries to get you started.

Verdict

I have to say that I actually like the system. Although the Rulebook comes across as ‘basic’ in regards to content, there’s everything you need to play a game and that’s a strength to this system.

The ‘AGE‘ in Fantasy AGE stands for Adventure Game Engine and that’s exactly what it is, a highly versitile game engine. You can use Fantasy AGE to run adventures in a Fantasy setting of your choice or a world of your own creation.

The Fantasy Age Core Rulebook was the first book in the AGE line from Green Ronin Press. They have since released a number of PDF’s, available thru their website and Drivethru RPG, to expand their Beastiary and to offer idea’s for your own adventures or campaigns.

There has also been an expansion released that adds a new race, a Sci- Fi setting and a new adventure to the AGE system. You might have heard about it? It’s called Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana, it has something to do with Will Wheaton (Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: TNG, Thundercats Superfan, and one of the airplane passenger eaten in Sharknado 2) and Geek + Sundry 😛

We’ll talk about Titansgrave in a later post.

The AGE system is definitely one to keep an eye on, and even try out.

– from The Man Cave

Joining forces…

The Man Cave is pleased to announce that we have joined up with Nerdai as a content contributor.

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Nerdai is a group of gamers based in Dublin, Ireland. We produce podcasts, videos and run the Nerdai site (which can be found here!) which hosts reviews and articles based around games and other such nonsense. Nerdai are an open group and thus, are always looking for new people to get involved.

On top of this Nerdai run a weekly gaming evening
every Tuesday in the Thomas House Bar at 86 Thomas Street, Dublin 8, Ireland.

Nerdai also run the annual Non Con, which is a weekend event dedicated to all types of gaming.

So if you get a chance, why not give one or all of the links a click, and as the saying goes ‘Like and Subscribe‘… Seriously, Like and Subscribe, otherwise I’ll have to send The Night Lords to your house.

Until next time.

– from The Man Cave

Dropfleet Commander on Kickstarter

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Roughly a week ago Hawk Wargames launched their Kickstarter. Their aim, to fund the tooling process, so that they could release their new game (Dropfleet Commander) in plastics. Their goal amount, only £40,000. At the time of writing this article, they’re at about £310,000 in funding. Their Kickstarter was funded in under 10 minutes.

So what is Dropfleet Commander? Well, Dropfleet Commander is a tabletop spaceship combat game, designed by Andy Chambers (of Battlefleet Gothic fame) and David Lewis (the creator of Dropzone Commander), set in the universe of Dropzone Commander.

So what’s the story/ fluff to Dropfleet Commander? To answer this we have to go back to the story/ fluff of Dropzone Commander, Hawk Wargames first tabletop game.

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So basically in the future mankind has moved out into the stars and colonized many worlds. One day a mysterious alien tennis ball (seriously it’s nicknamed a tennis ball in the fluff, but its not really a tennis ball) shows up with a dire message for mankind. Basically if mankind doesnt meet at a certain place, at a certain time to leave known space, mankind will fall.

As you would expect not much credence is given to the message but as the deadline gets closer and closer, more and more people begin to believe the message.

Fast forward to the time and place of the deadline, a large group of humans want to leave and the military doesnt want this. A battle breaks out, and a good chunk manages to leave, to places unknown.

Enter stage left, the baddies of the game, the Scourge. The Scourge are a parasitic race. Their ships, vehicles and technology is organic in nature. They lay waste to mankind, Earth and the worlds closets to Earth (known as the Cradle Worlds). The Scourge either kill or abduct humans to be hosts and forces surviving humans to make a run for the furthest frontier planets they can get to.

Skip forward a couple of centuries, mankind has rebuilt its civilisation and decided its time to retake Earth and the Cradle Worlds. Hoo- Ra!!!

Dropzone Commander is the tabletop game about the ground battles to reconquer the lost worlds of humanity. Dropfleet Commander will be the tabletop game about the space battles to get the troops on the ground to retake humanities lost worlds.

About a year and a half ago i hit some financial troubles and had to sell off my army of PHR (Post Human Republic, a splinter faction of humans in the game). I spent the time magnetising the dropships…

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… and even gave my infantry little smiley faces…

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… but when needs must.

Watching the Kickstarter has made me abit wishful. So i went out and bought the rule book again. As a fluff bunny, I found the fluff of the game great and as a little side note it was all written by David Lewis.

Hawk Wargames Kickstarter has 5 pledge levels, each of which has different benefits.

Luetenant pledge level

Commander pledge level

Captain pledge level

Commodore pledge level

Admiral pledge level (I believe this was the first level to sell out)

In the 2 Player Starter box, you’ll get 14 ships, tokens, dice, a tape measure, a map to play over, basically everything you need to start playing out of the box. You should check out the contents of the 2 Player Box for Dropzone Commander, to get an idea of what they cram in the box.

The 2 armies available in the 2 Player Starter Box will be the UCM (the United Colonies of Mankind)…

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… and the Scourge…

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When the game launches, your going to have dozens of options on how to build your fleet of ships. Just for cruisers alone you can build nearly any thing you want from carriers to weapons heavy. Hawk Wargames released an example of cruisers you could build for the UCM, just by using what will be on cruiser sprue…

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… my favourite is the Moscow class for the UCM. The same goes for the Scourge…

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As they have been smashing thru their stretch goals, all 4 factions will be released in plastic. They have shown 3D renders of the Shaltari Starter Box…

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… and most recently previewed a PHR cruiser…

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I have to say, so far this game looks amazing and thats just going by the information on their Kickstater and their 3 videos on The Beasts of War website.

If you get a chance drop by and have a look at their Kickstarter here! or go on over to The Beasts of War site here!

– from The Man Cave

P.S. Just to be a bit cheeky, if anyone from Hawk Wargames likes what they read and wants to gift me with new toys… I’ld be your BF for ever and Ever

Gundam Club, ‘Build Fighters’

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On Saturday the 24th, i finally had the chance to attend the monthly meet of my local Gundam Club (i’m usually stuck in work). It was the first time in months that i was able to attend.

I’m unsure how other Gundam Clubs are run or organized but with ours how it works is basically people show up, we build a Gundam, and then we play a modified version of a tabletop game with them.

Our club is kindly hosted and supplied with Gundams by…

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For the club I brought along my newest Gundam so i could get him finished.

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I’ve done a previous article on High Grade Iron Blooded Orphans Barbatos so i won’t dwell (too much) on how cool this kit is.

I managed to get Barbatos finished in time to play in the first round of the club’s tabletop game ‘Build Fighters’.

‘Build Fighters’ is based of another system but has been modified and evolved by members in the club to its current state.

So how ‘Build Fighters’ works is really quite simple. A Player would either bring or build a Gundam fitted out to their liking.

So some Gundams could be little more than gun barrels and rocket launchers, others a whirlwind of melee death, while others could take a more balanced approach.

For myself i took Barbatos with his big ass mace and equiped him with 2 Beam Rifles (which came from my Powered GM Cardigan). Giving him both a ranged and melee threat.

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For ‘Build Fighters’ we used terrain from Hawk Wargames, makers of Dropzone Commander.

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The system works on a D20 (a 20 sided dice) + a D6 (a 6 sided dice) system. You roll to hit with the D20 and if successful, you roll damage using the D6.

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We deploy in ‘sectors’ of the game board, then, have at you!!!

I was too aggressive, too early. I went straight for the nearest Gundam Suit and was eaten alive.

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The head and both arms of my Gundam were destroyed, effectively making me useless. So I decided to push the big red button and try to take someone with me with a reactor overload.

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Unfortunately, I didnt get to take anyone with me #sadpanda. Unlike others in the game, who managed to take someone with them when their reactor was breached.

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Despite being effectively an eight man (or Gundam) Royal Rumble, the game played surprisingly fast and was highly enjoyable.

I cant wait for the next meet up and the next round of ‘Build Fighters’. Next time round i’m gona eat some one up.

– from The Man Cave