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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Can't buy a comment

No, seriously, check out my last several posts. It's painfully obvious. Other than the wedding announcement, I couldn't provoke a response if I insulted all your mothers at once. It's sad but true.

Also, National Delurkering Week is pretty much over, and none of you ungrateful lurking mofos delurked. You don't write, you don't call, you don't leave comments... where's the love?


First off, it's both necessary and urgent that I throw a little love Tony Collett's way. Just as he did once before when my Vision HeroClix figure went down in action, so too has he come through this time, with a surprise replacement Deathbird fig for the score. I'm deeply grateful to Tony for his continuing thoughtfulness and enduring friendship, and hope to show him how appreciative I am by kicking his butt all over the basement in our next clix game, which should be coming up sometime soon, if news I'm hearing of imminent visitation plans comes to fruition. In the meantime, thanks, Tony, and maybe you'll be facing a squardon of Shi'ar when next you seat yourself across from me in Gaming Area A.

Let's see -- I'm fighting some kind of low grade cold germ. Sometimes I'm winning, sometimes it is. It's cold and damp and rainy here and has been for days now and will be for days yet to come. I had Thursday come up as my floating day off this week, and wound up calling in sick on Friday because I still felt a little bit punk, and with the mandatory overtime, another 12 hour shift didn't appeal even in the slightest. Monday through Wednesday were also 12 hour shifts (11.5, to be technical, I was there from 8 to 8, with a half hour for lunch), so with the 8 hours paid sick time, I'll have at least full time money for the week, and frankly, I enjoyed the break, even with a runny nose and a sore throat.

But now, at 5:23 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon, work looms like a Roman work party equipped with a cross, a hammer, and four bronze spikes.

As somebody or other once sang, sooner or later you'll be clockin' in again.

As to the weather, James Kunstler, who likes nothing more than saying the doom, has wondered recently on his own blog what the summer temperatures will be like, if this is the kind of winter we're having. Billmon seems to have pulled the plug on his own blog, and prior to that, he'd made infrequent joking references to hauling stakes for the Arctic, to head off global warming. I'm wondering now if those references were as joking as I thought.

Me, if I were going to move to a pole, I'd go south. Assuming a complete global meltdown, there's a sizable landmass underneath the Antarctic ice cap. Up at the top o' the world (ma)there's nothing but forty degree saltwater all the way down.

I tuned in the Ravens/Colts game yesterday fervently hoping I'd get to see Peyton and his boys get their asses handed to them, but nooooooooo, the fucking Bawmore Birds couldn't score a touchdown if it was a pizza topping and they had a Domino's gift card. The Colts couldn't score a touchdown, either, but they kept getting close enough to kick goddam field goals, and eventually, that salted the game away for them. I have no idea who they'll be playing next, but I suspect if whoever it is can score a friggin' touchdown, they'll win in a walk.

Today I have the Chargers/Patriots on in the background, for much the same reason as yesterday. If my hatred of the Colts is mostly fueled by (a) the fact that they're a buncha goddam Hoosiers and (b) my heartfelt loathing of Tony Dungy, my vitriolic, rage fueled revulsion for the Patriots comes from my football roots as a Buffalo Bills fan. You can't be a Bills fan without utterly despising the goddam Patriots and the cocksucking Pittsburg Steelers, and while I've recovered a little bit from the Steelers odium, I will take my malevolence for the shiteating Patriots to my grave with me.

So I badly, badly want to see the Chargers hogtie the Patriots and then use them for a pinata, but so far, it's looking very much like hotshot rookie quarterback Philip Rivers can't fucking throw. Hey, the Bucs got one of those hotshot rookie quarterbacks who can't throw, too; why aren't they in the play offs? Oh, yeah... the Chargers actually have a team in addition to the QB. I forgot.

So, as with the last expansion WizKids has finally given us plastic versions of all the participants, I'm replaying the classic Avengers-Defenders War down in Gaming Area A. Actually, I'm on the second game. In the first game, the Defenders went as first player, and fired up by the chance to launch the first attack, they came in fast and concentrated their attacks on Thor and the Black Panther, figuring to take out the biggest figure, and the unpleasant Outwitter, quickly. They did manage to knock Thor most of the way down his dial (Dr. Strange's Outwit and Psychic Blast, combined with the Experienced Sub-Mariner's Charge, Damage Value of 4, and a 3D Mailbox did the honors there), but the goddam rookie Black Panther proved elusive, somehow dodging the Vet FF Hawkeye's opening barrage, requiring the Silver Surfer to also push himself and move up the board to cosmically fry T'Challa's uppity ass for him. This put the very nearly useless rookie Panther on his last click of life, where he remained for the rest of the game, as he wisely chose to stick to the back and preserve his own victory points. Unfortunately, the idiot running the Defenders (that would be me) had overlooked that the Iron Man on the Avengers squad was the New Guy Night LE from Supernova, and he not only had Outwit in his opening slot, but he also enjoyed an 8 range and 2 targets. Soaring into the sky, The Cool Exec With The Heart of Steel hurled a disuptive pulse of ionized particles at both the Sub-Mariner and the Silver Surfer, stripping both of their Invulnerability for the remainder of the turn. He then dealt both Defenders death, or at least, two clicks of damage, with either hand as the result of a normal ranged attack.

This set up Namor to be taken out of play by Captain America's shield closely followed by Thor's uru hammer, and for the Silver Surfer to be knocked most of the way down his dial by THE FRIGGIN' SWORDSMAN, whose Leap/Climb allowed him to make a close combat attack on the Skyrider of the Spaceways, even as the former Herald of Galacuts soared hundreds of feet above the battlefield. Don't ask me. I don't know.

Anyway, that game ended up in such an ignominously unbalanced victory for the Avengers that I immediately set it up again to give the Defenders a mulligan. This time, the Defenders are doing better, as most of their heavy blasters (Hawkeye and the Silver Surfer) are sticking to the periphery and hurling high damage range strikes into the fray where it seems it will help most, while heavier hitters like the Veteran Valkyrie, the Raging Hulk (at 201 points, I felt he was the most appropriate Hulk to represent the green powerhouse we saw grapple Thor to a standstill in DEFENDERS #10) and the Experienced Sub-Mariner mix it up in the scrum. The Experienced FF Dr. Strange hovers around and uses his Outwit and/or Probability Control to judiciously influence events here and there, occasionally taking a more active hand with a shot of Psychic Blast.

To date in this game, the Swordsman, Mantis, Captain America, and Iron Man have fallen from the Avengers side. The Defenders have only lost Hawkeye. However, a judiciously launched tag-team attack by the Black Panther and a 3-D dumpster armed Thor has pummeled the Savage Hulk past his best clicks towards the end of his dial. The Hulk responded by picking up that same 3-D dumpster and making Thor wear it for a hat at high velocity, so the Thunder God's within three clicks of unconsciousness, too. Given that Dr. Strange and the Silver Surfer are still near the starts of their dials, and the Sub-Mariner is somewhere around mid-dial (but poised to pick up a Hot Wheels car and give Thor a high colonic with it on the Defenders next turn), I'm thinking things look better for the Defenders this time around.

It's not that I like the Defenders more than the Avengers. It's just that in the original crossover, the Defenders beat the Avengers like a rug, which they should have, given that Dr. Strange and the Silver Surfer are pretty much omnipotent, and the Hulk and the Sub-Mariner are among the strongest mortals in the Marvel Universe. Hawkeye and Valkyrie don't polish that apple much, but in the comics version of the conflict, Valkyrie did kick the Swordsman's scrofulous ass for him (which she certainly should have) while somehow or other, Hawkeye the Archer managed to outwit the Invincible Iron Man.

However, setting up the battle in clix form is a whole different thing, because, to put it gently, the clix versions of Dr. Strange and the Silver Surfer do not really adequately represent the characters as they are portrayed in the comics. The Experienced Hulk from Infinity Challenge, who has the actual Defenders TA, is nearly useless, too, which is why I substituted the Savage Hulk for him. The Experienced Sub-Mariner is far from the most useful version of Namor available, but if you use him sparingly, he's okay.

The Avengers, on the other hand, at least in clix form, are surprisingly effective pieces. The new Vet Thor from Supernova is a romper stomper, and the Iron Man LE is very useful, too. The Experienced Vision from Supernova can leave a dent in an opponent if he gets a chance, and his opening click of Perplex is handy as well. The Veteran Captain America from Armor Wars is very capable, especially on his opening slot with an Inspiring Command Feat Card on him. What's surprised me the most, though, is how solidly the Experienced Mantis and the Experienced Swordsman perform up close and personal. They can and will fold up after a few shots from the opposition, but they'll do some damage first.

Of course, all reported results are greatly influenced by my House Rules, specifically, in this case, by my homegrown Avengers and Defenders TAs. In the second game, I deliberately held all my Defenders except the Hulk and the Valkyrie back. This forced the Avengers to engage those two first. The Savage Hulk is a piece nobody wants to hit, as five or six clicks of damage will only move him onto his most unpleasant slots, stats and powers wise. The Valkyrie, on the other hand, starts out with a hard to hit 18 Defense Value, and with the Defenders TA on her, she can add +3 to that as long as the Defenders continue to have 6 members on the board. (The presumption is, the Defenders are fighting in such a way that they can choose to protect one of their members each turn. The Avengers TA reverses this; once per turn, the Avengers can choose one of their members to receive a +1 to Attack value for every 2 Avengers on the board. The Avengers have, in fact, used this ability to attack Valkyrie on several occasions, and with the Scarlet Witch letting them reroll attacks when necessary, they've had some success with it -- but if they're focusing on the Valkyrie, they aren't focusing on her more dangerous teammates. Which is proving a mistake.)

Anyway, what makes me most confident for the Defenders' eventual victory is that somewhere down his dial, the Silver Surfer has some Support, which will let him heal himself or his teammates should it be necessary when and if it comes up. This is a vital power, and the Avengers have none of it.

Hey, the Chargers are beating the Patriots. I like that.

6 Comments:

At 5:43 PM , Blogger Tony Collett said...

So now you're trying love/hate to get a response? Sorry I didn't respond sooner, but I'm a "goddam Hoosier"
I'm surprised you haven't said anything about the 'Bucs activities in the playoffs...oh, that's right, they aren't in the playoffs since they can't score if they had a bag full of hundreds in a whorehouse.
Sure you want attention ^_^?

 
At 6:32 PM , Blogger Highlander said...

I love attention. And YOU'RE not a goddam Hooser, Tony, your place in Heaven is assured by your past generosity with Unique HeroClix towards the indigent. Or is that the indignant? I get those confused. As to the cute li'l fillies in their cute li'l helmets, if they somehow manage to stumble and bumble their way into the Super Bowl, I have no doubt that either the B'ars or the Saints will quickly put them out of their misery. They shoot horses, don't they? ;)

Oh, yeah, the Bucs. They might do better next year. Right now, though, Colts fans are experiencing Dungy Syndrome, where you perpetually get to the playoffs, and never get to the Super Bowl. Y'all can have it.

 
At 9:40 PM , Blogger Tony Collett said...

[[if they somehow manage to stumble and bumble their way into the Super Bowl]] You know any other way the Colts do it?!!

[[They shoot horses, don't they? ;)
]] Only if they're Jane Fonda.

[[Oh, yeah, the Bucs. They might do better next year.]] To paraphrase Bob Dylan, How? By going on the field and falling asleep?


[[Right now, though, Colts fans are experiencing Dungy Syndrome, where you perpetually get to the playoffs, and never get to the Super Bowl.]] But this time the Peyton Principle will override that and get them to the Big Game. However, the 12 Capitalist Scumf--ks (copyright Bill Hicks) have decided that New Orleans should prevail because it makes for a good "bouncing back from the tragedy of Katrina" that'll have the audience leaving with a good feeling, reality notwithstanding.

The Bucs'll do better next year. You so funny.

 
At 5:13 AM , Blogger Highlander said...

The Bucs doing better next year... after a 4-12 season... is considerably more likely than the Colts doing better, or as well, next year.

Goddam Hoosiers that they are.

 
At 9:00 AM , Blogger MJ said...

I've still gotten no closer to interested than catching the last 4 minutes -- well, 4 minutes on the clock, which in football meant considerably more -- of the last few Eagles games, knowing that it would make a great deal of difference to most of the locals. Fans of both teams in each of the games I caught any part of this season each got a good time, as as with these last two games most of the scores kept fans on the edge of their seats up 'til at least the last few minutes.

I have to say that, once again, the emotional makeup and expectations of the average Eagles fan was a point of interest for me. They've demonstrated that while like all fans they revel in Monday morning quarterbacking, and while there's a chance to win they roar loudly behind the team, they expect eventual defeat. I get the sense each year that it's more a matter of seeing how far the team will go than having any real expectation of victory. Eagles fans expect eventual defeat no matter how much they scream a wall of confidence.

If the NFL took a page or two from international soccer by turning the clock into a merciess juggernaut, and only broke for commercials at halftime, then I might be able to muster some interest in the game. There's far too much money tied up in the current approach, though, and Lord knows how much the players would complain, so I'm not expecting the changes... which is just as well, as I don't manage the time and activities I already have very well.

Still, what do you think will be the case after Sunday's games? Bears vs Patriots for the Superbowl? (Not that I have the slightest idea why I'm asking.)

 
At 11:37 AM , Blogger MJ said...

Oh, on the Avengers/Defenders games (it only struck me after I sent the football post how odd it was that that was the portion I responded to) reminds me that I'm interested in running the same storyline but doing so in the fashion of the match-ups in the original storyline:

Vision & Scarlet Witch vs Silver Surfer
Iron Man vs Hawkeye
Black Panther & Mantis vs Dr. Strange
Swordsman vs Valkyrie
Capt. America vs Sub-Mariner
Thor vs. Hulk

Since they took place all around the globe, this would be a series of six individual games. Whether or not to establish special rules -- a scenario for each that awards victory to the one who gets a special object off the map, much as was the case in the story -- but I'll likely default to a straight KO situation given the relative mobility of some of the characters. It's something to think about, though, since the fact that they were striving to find and keep pieces of the Evil Eye was integral to the storyline, and it's a behavioral drive that should help move the characters onto the map rather than simply treat it as a battle.

The Dr. Strange vs Black Panther & Mantis match-up is perhaps the oddest of the bunch, appropriately enough, with them being the odd characters out. Hawkeye and Iron Man started out as enemies, Cap & Namor had more history than any other characters in the groups, Thor vs. Hulk is classic comic book argument material, and at least Swordsman and Valkyrie each have common weaponry.

Also, these match-ups waste many elements of many of the clix forms, especially the multi-target attacks of Hawkeye and Iron Man. The mechanics of Hawkeye from the Fantastic Forces set - complete with the hover bike - are too good to pass up, but they provide him a mobility he didn't have in the original story. Still, playing him solo gets one closer to the original intent, since in a full team vs team game he can carry someone around with him and that's going to be too tempting an option to just pass by in most games -- especially under house rules that don't treat a passenger in motion as inert baggage.

I wonder if the Avengers set will have a grounded, mainstream Hawkeye so that there's a Seth version in the mix to replace the Fantastic Forces version? Not that it affects average players, but Fantastic Forces has to be coming up for retirement soon -- this year, I believe -- and the tournament scene is reportedly looking with fear and hope (depending on the player) towards a time when all of the pieces in play came from a single set & dial designer again.

Whether this set also gives us a new Hulk REV is another question. At the moment I'm thinking I might go with the Ultimates version, despite the color issue, for the Hulk. It's 19 points cheaper, generally better stats, and the same number of Hulk clicks despite a leading Puny Banner click. The only downside is that the Ultimates version has Battle Fury, so he's too angry to just throw something at someone... and given the way the Hulk usually fought, having him just use objects in close combat's not that rough a compromise.

Back to the match-ups, the Surfer's Support would also be so many wasted points under such a restriction. Both his and Dr. Strange's dual targets work well in the 2:1 match-ups they find themselves in, though. Still, while engaged in a solo battle Dr. Strange's TA (whether one makes it the Defenders TA of either the official or your homegrown stripe or if one's chosen his veteran FF version with the wildcard TA) is useless. The same goes for any of the ones fighting solo battles.

Still, they'll all be interesting match-ups. The question of feats applied (Armor Piercing ends up being used liberally, and under this structure there would be no reason to put Inspiring Command on Cap since he'd be operating in isolation) if any, will make a big difference.

 

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