• Category Archives Crisis Protocol
  • MCP: Unboxing Drax and Ronan

    I’ve made no secret in the past about my love of lesser known, or at least less respected, Marvel characters. A-listers like Spidey and Iron Man, Dr Doom and Magneto, they’re great and all, but something about there’s something magical about the lesser known, or lesser used, characters, that makes their appearances that much more engaging for me. Beta Ray Bill would be my dream hero in Marvel Crisis Protocol, and Stilt-Man would be my dream villain, but they’re not the only characters I love.

    When Ronan the Accuser was ripped from the back rows and thrust into the foreground by the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, I was suitably chuffed. He’s featured in some fantastic storylines over the years, been exiled from the Kree Empire and later returned to rule it. He was even wed to Crystal of the Inhumans in an arranged marriage to bind the Kree and the Inhumans in an arc that showed that Ronan was so much more than just the Kree Empire’s eqiuvalent of a starfaring Judge Dredd (yes, Virginia, the comics Ronan wasn’t a genocidal religious extremist, that’s just the movie version).

    Drax has wafted on and off my radar over the decades, but after years of his being a borderline mindless wad of muscle in a purple cape, Drax was reinvented during – you guessed it, my favourite cosmic storyline – Annihilation. Drax was changed from being an imbecile with almost Hulk-level strength who could fly and had energy blasts, to a much smaller (though still ripped as) brawler with restored intellect, a brutal level cunning, and a penchant for knife-fighting. For all intents and purposed it seemed like he’d been redesigned as Vin Diesel, much as the Ultimates series redesigned Nick Fury as  Samuel L Jackson, long before the movies brought that vision to reality. That Vin Diesel secured a role in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies as someone *other than* Drax always struck me as funny. It’s also worth noting that per Drax’s original backstory he was a genetically modified, “created” being, designed with the sole purpose of killing Thanos.

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  • MCP: So you think you can dance…

    When the fate of the galaxy hangs in the balance, when all seems lost, when everything else you’ve tried has failed… sometimes you just need lead with your hips. A few weeks back we unboxed Star-Lord, and after a few evenings of using our dear Peter Quill as a palate cleanser betwixt units of Crypt Ghouls and their friends, the leader of the freakin’ Guardians of the Galaxy is ready to take the field.

    Fielding Star-Lord makes me happy in my nerd places. I loved the Guardian’s return to the comic page, and I loved both movies (and am looking forward to the third). Peter may not have a lot in his bag of tricks in terms of active powers, but then, he is a “normal” Terran, despite his heritage.

    Armed with his trademark Element Guns, Star-Lord relies on his gumption and Plucky Attitude to win the day. Being able to reroll his dice if he scores no hits on the offence or no blocks in his own defense his chances of completely washing out are dramatically reduced. His Element Guns bring a significant amount of versatility with the ability to inflict a variety of special conditions as the situation demands.

    His real strength – aside from being able to wield the Power Gem – is in the wordy Winging It. Whoever benefits from Star-Lord’s impromptu plan each round gains the potential to reroll two dice in any attack, defense or dodge roll, up to three times. The ability doesn’t carry over from round to round, so you can’t stockpile tokens, but it does mean that each turn you get to rotate it to another Guardian as needed. I’m looking forward to seeing how it pairs in practice with Ronan on the tabletop, but that may just be because I’m a big fan of the Accuser too.

    Assembling Star-Lord was nowhere near as challenging as some seemed to suggest given the number of pieces that go together to make his head, but painting him was a delight. Aside from getting the smoke to a point where I was happy with it (and to be honest, I’m not entirely sure I’m done tweaking it), he was *so* much more fun to paint than Captain Marvel, who was the bane of my MCP painting motivation for several weeks. The flow of the model just exemplifies Star-Lord’s casual, feigned confidence and flair for the dramatic. If I was more confident in my freehand I may have tried to put the script on the shirt from GotG2, but with the strap of the satchel across his chest I didn’t feel that I had enough room to work with.

    I’m particularly happy with how the trenchcoat came out, even if it is a little more orange in tone than the coat in the movies. Much credit has to go to the sculpt and it’s beautifully rendered folds and angles.

    There’s still more Crisis Protocol models in the painting queue, and it’s only a matter of time before Gamora and Nebula hit North American FLGS’s. Drax and Ronan are on the way as well. I love it when a plan comes together…


  • MCP: Doctor Octopus

    Dr Otto Octavius is one of those characters that I either love or disdain. Not hate, just… in the hands of a capable comic writer, he can be amazing, or he can be just so damn meh. He’s one of the few mad scientist style characters who can legitimately claim the title, but there’s always the question of just how menacing a fat guy with a bowl cut in spandex can be. Thankfully, there’s some utterly amazing story arcs out there, and Alfred Molina’s portrayal in Spider-Man 2 was, for me, probably the best thing about the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movies.

    The Studio scheme has Otto in yellow gloves and boots, but for my money the comic versions where he’s in a green and grey costume are much more menacing, and I I decided to go with red glowie bits in reference to the aforementioned movie.

    Painting Otto was a little more irksome than one might initially think, but part of that’s my own fault for painting each segment of the tentacles silver individually over a black base, rather than just painting them all with a silver tone and then applying a wash. His goggles also came out more like a domino mask than lab safety goggles, but that just reminded me of Mr Incredible before he got back into shape and it made me giggle, so I ran with it.

    He also got a bottle of some unspecified booze, but hey, mad science is as mad science does. You know full well that at some point during his lab career he tried brewing up something imbibable.

    On the table, Otto joins your crew for a pretty standard 3 Threat. 5 Health on the front of his card, 6 on the back. Medium speed teams up with Wall Crawler to get him where he needs to be, and his strike packs a Flurry of Armsto ramp up the damage.  Arm Lasersgive him a ranged threat to stack on top of his melee potential, making him a surprisingly versatile character.

    In term of superpowers, the aforementioned Wall Crawleris joined by the passive Scientific Hubris– Otto is nothing if not blind to his own failings – to ramp up the potential damage of both his ranged and melee attacks.

    Ock’s Clutchesmakes everything in the immediate vicinity a potential threat. Well, as long as it’s Size 2 or less. Oh, look, I conveniently finished painting the two dumpsters from the starter set as a palate cleanser while working on models this week… what a wild and crazy happenstance!

    Doctor Octopus is the last of the five Cabal members in the Marvel: Crisis Protocol core set, so as a bonus we have a group shot! Next up, we get started on the heroes… I’m saving MODOK for dessert once the core’s done 😉


  • MCP: Crossbones

    Brock Lumlow – Crossbones – has been a member of Captain America’s rogues gallery since the late 80’s (1989 to be precise) but I’ll confess he’s not a character that I know a lot about. A mercenary in service to the Red Skull almost from the very start, it’s no surprise that the MCU reworked his backstory into his being a Hydra double agent working with SHIELD.

    His comic history has him working with everyone from Hydra to the Thunderbolts to Dr Octopus (convenient for MCP!), and after exposure to the Terrigen Mists it was discovered that he can also create a flaming energy beam from his face. Guess he should have flossed.

    Painting Crossbones was an interesting experiment in black and greys and boggling when trying to figure out where to try to add some contrast and colour to the piece.Aside from faceplate, the only real opportunity for contrast – if you plan to stick with the standard scheme – is a few buckles here and there, the kneeplates, and the bars across his knuckles. I added a little extra with some P3 Traitor Green on the pistol and knife holster, but otherwise left his outfit “black”. I decided to leave his skin a little swarthier, despite his being a neo-nazi, because when your face emits a flaming blast the rest of you is sure to get leathery and tanned.

    On the table, Crossbone’s superpower Haymaker  basically sums up the character. He’s all about punching the snot out of things. He’s slow – Short movement – but can take a hit with 4 dice against physical attacks. 5 dice on both his Strikeand Overpower basic attacks deliver a decent thwack, and he’s the only character in the core set that can Throw as part of a basic attack.

    As far as superpowers go, Haymaker isn’t cheap, but being able to ramp up wither his Strike or Overpower punches with an extra three dice is nothing to sneeze at. Tag this on with his passive Aggressive (Hah! See what i did there?) granting some potential extra mobility to get within punching range and you’ll be swinging for the fences. Sure, Aggressiverequires his taking damage, but Inured to Painwill minimize the impact with some careful power management.

    Having now painted all three nazis/neo-nazis in the core set (Red Skull, Baron Zemo and Crossbones), next on the table will be the mad scientist Doctor Octopus, who will round out the core set villains. Now, do I assemble and paint MODOK next, or save him for when I’m done with the heroes?

     


  • MCP: The Red Skull

    With Marvel: Crisis Protocol dropping, it’s only fitting that we start the day off with our first look at the personalities we’ll be pushing around the table. At GenCon the first model I got to play with in the demo was Johann Schmidt, the Red Skull, and by some weird coincidence the Red Skull is also the first model from the core set that I’ve finished painting! Mad crazy happenstance, I know…

    Given how I usually choose models that are on the more… good guy side (or at least convinced they are), I was surprised by how much I enjoyed playing a character that even the Joker refused to work with, in a crossover when he found out the Red Skull was an actual nazi. Maybe I was under the influence of the Cosmic Cube.

    One of the least dynamic sculpts in the core set, this model nevertheless encapsulates much of what it means to be the Red Skull. While not averse to expressing his displeasure with his fists, Schmidt generally is the puppet master, the power behind the scenes, manipulating and controlling those around him as he furthers his nefarious plans. This is reflected in his superpowers, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

    Red Skull has 6 health on either side of his card, which actually gives him a higher total health pool than any of the Core Set’s other villains, and his defensive stats are in the middle of the pack at 4/3/3, nothing to be ashamed off. He can take a punch.

    In return his own Strike is on the heavier end rolling 5 dice, recharging our bad guy and also potentially pushing his target out of retaliation range. In terms of ranged attacks he can expend Power for a Cosmic Blast – again rolling 5 dice, and draining the target’s Power to recharge Johann.

    His third attack is to Unleash the Cube, flinging the target away and stunning everyone nearby with a cosmic backlash.

    If you’re packing enough Cabal Members, you can unlock the Master of Evil ability and give your fellow evil-doers a recharge every time they do damage. Basically, if you’re playing Cabal and you *don’t* take Red Skull, I don’t know what you’re thinking.

    For super-powers Schmidt can tap into the Cosmic Cube itself, gaining 3 Power but potentially at the cost of his own health. The Cosmic Cube is a source of amazing power, but at a price…

    Master of the Cube lets him teleport a teammate around the board, but it’s Hail Hydra that makes me smile the most. In terms of expressing the character of the Red Skull in miniature form there’s a lot to be said for his willingness to sacrifice his own health in the quest for power, but Hail Hydra lets him sacrifice somebody else entirely. For 2 Power he can redirect any attack aimed at him, onto an allied model within Range 2. Now, imagine teaming him up with Hulk, whose attacks hit harder as he takes more damage…

    Despite my usual good guys tendencies, I’m fascinated with the potential of the Red Skull and the Cabal in Crisis Protocol, and I’ll be focusing on painting up the bad guys first. Red Skull will be available to everyone who snaffles the core set, but how many of you have the courage to wield the Cosmic Cube?

    I’ll be bringing Johann with me to CaptainCon, maybe we can test your mettle…


  • GenCon 2019: The Interviews

    The gaming industry is full of some super cool folk, and GenCon presents a unique opportunity to hang out and chat with them. Every year I look forward to seeing so many people that I only get to hang with at GenCon, and it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to talk about their new releases, plans for the coming year, and how much I have to bribe them to include my favourite characters in their plans. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, you get to enjoy the discussion as well.

    I had hoped to be able to transcribe the interviews this year, but time and scheduling is what it is, and I want you to be able to listen in things like Will Hungerford explaining the whole bee thing, Will Shick trying to get my Stilt-Man hopes up, and more.

    Please enjoy the GenCon 2019 interviews.

    • Privateer Press’ Will Hungerford -Warmachine/Hordes, Riot Quest, Monsterpocalypse

     

    • Atomic Mass’ Will Shick – Marvel: Crisis Protocol

     

    • OP’s Ross Thompson – Harry Potter, Talisman variants, and more

     

    • Ninja Division’s John Cadice – State of the Dojo

    (I didn’t get a selfie with John this year, but here’s one from GenCon 2016. Oh, we were so young…)

    Thanks to everyone who took the time to natter, I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you, especially given how mentally exhausting it can be working a GenCon booth all day, day after day.

    Cheers!

     


  • GenCon 2019: Marvel Crisis Protocol

    To say that there’s a lot to unpack from GenCon is an immense understatement. Fun was had, people were hugged, nerding ran rampant and many photos were taken. It’s going to take many a blog post to unload all the photos. We have to start somewhere, and I thought we’d kick in the door with one of the most exciting announcements of the year – Marvel Crisis Protocol, which we didn’t even know existed until 24 hours before the con doors opened.

    Not only did the guys from Atomic Mass spring the surprise on us at the last moment, they even set up camp right inside the bloody door!

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