Other Games

We love all sorts of games at Muse! Our big focus is on miniatures gaming, but we enjoy cardgames, boardgames, video games…all sorts of games in fact! So do our content producers, we have some fantastic articles, podcasts and videos which will show you how these games are played, and maybe give you some ideas for what to pick up next!

Hacking the Cortex: Thousands of Steps, Dozens of Falls.

Posted by on 10:07 am

A lot of the accepted wisdom with regard to learning holds that certain skills, such as language and walking, are learned because a “module” in the brain activates and allows us to learn that skill quickly and effectively. The assumption made in these models is that the brain has evolved to contain a set of rules which constrain that learning and accelerate the process. For example,  with language, we’re thought to have a Language Acquisition Device in the brain that contains a master set of rules for a universal grammar. How else, they argue, could we learn something as complex as language so quickly? How else, they argue, can we explain how the overwhelming majority of children learn to form grammatically correct sentences without explicit instruction in grammar? Those theorists are flat out wrong. Learning occurs in tiny increments, with many, many errors along the way. Much of it happens unconsciously, so it seems “innate” to observers and to our own subjective experience. Because we don’t see explicit lessons, we believe that there are no lessons. Children between the ages of 12 and 19 months average a total of 2,368 steps per hour. The physical design of human legs limits their range of motion to the point where learning to walk is relatively easy, as there are only so many ways you can move your legs. But even with that advantage, it takes millions of learning experiences to become proficient at toddling, let alone running, jumping, climbing, sprinting, and navigating obstacles. The important statistic I want to get at for this article is that within those 2,368 steps, a child also averages 17 falls per hour. That’s a lot of falling. Anyone who has played Warmachine for any length of time knows how many falls are involved in learning this game. It is the single most complex and nuanced wargame I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing, but the learning curve is steep. The first few games you play are training wheels games, in which the demoing player goes easy on their opponent and allows them to learn what their army actually does. We slowly introduce the basic mechanics of the game. But once the training wheels come off, we warn them – “You’re going to lose a lot of games”. And they do. You have to learn about Molik missiles and Snipe-Feat-Go, about Overrun and Goad angles. You need to learn about the true brutality of Cryxian debuffs and overwhelming hordes of infantry. And there’s always more, always another combo. And that’s just learning what other armies do. You need to learn the nuances and subtleties of how your own army plays, about how a tiny rules interaction can be exploited to turn your troops up to 11 or to really ruin your day. You have to get blasted apart by Dire Troll Bombers before you learn to spread your troops out, then someone shows you how spray angles can surprise you even then. There is so very much to learn. And as we established in the previous article, you learn via practice. But there’s more to it than that. The core process which governs all of human learning is Operant Conditioning. If you ask about 80% of Psychologists (totally made up number, but a large majority) they will tell...

read more

Bringing the Retribution: Surprise vs. Tactics

Posted by on 1:00 am

One of the factors of playing the Retribution is dealing with the general scarcity of other Retribution players. Of course this is relative to everyone’s meta (mine for instance, has about three regular and another two non-regular Retribution players) but for the most part you as a Retribution player are going to be an unknown factor. Even with the ability to read up on factions via the Internet (which I assume some of you are doing right now), reading and actually playing are to very, very different things. I have run into countless players who tell me “I have never played Retribution” before we sit down to the game. For any player beyond the beginner level this is usually not a problem. However, I think Retribution has a certain level of SURPRISE factor that can throw even the best player of guard. This usually comes in the form of ignoring rules. Probably the most obvious case is the Mage Hunter Strike Force because they ignore so many rules, LOS being the biggest. Players who are playing against Retribution for the first time will often make the mistake of putting their caster too close to the MHSF. This usually leads to a terrible and untimely death. The opponent is mad, frustrated, and the like but they learn. They know better next time. This article is not about what the opponent learns. It’s about what the Retribution player learns.   There is a majorly crippling effect to Retribution players, especially those new to Warmachine in general. To be blunt: Retribution has a harder time learning to play tactics over surprise.  Let me show you an example. There is a current tactical doctrine on the boards right now called Snipe, Feat, Go! The idea is to use Ravyn to cast snipe on the MHSF, up their threat range to 22”, and then pop her feat, which gives boosted attack rolls on all range attacks (along with Swift Hunter). You then move the MHSF into range of the enemy caster and proceed to gun…er crossbow them down. Since the SF ignore everything and most casters have paper-thin armor, the only thing that stops this from working is hitting a casters base Def, which is not hard on 3D6.   This can be a great tactic. The problem is that after you do it against an opponent once, they learn. The Retribution player, however, does not necessarily learn anything. They think that this is what we do, that this god like power should be used in every situation. It takes longer for a Retribution player to learn better because the faction has several units that are incredibly good. They allow us to win games by doing things like assassinating the caster turn two. However, a lot of those tactics only work because the opponent doesn’t know it is coming. It’s a surprise the first time it happens. Every faction has a surprise factor when you are first starting out. “I didn’t know Molik Karn could go that far!” or “that guy has counter charge!?” are often heard phrases coming from beginning players. But Retribution surprise factors seem so powerful, so integral to the faction that its hard for any player to see past doing certain things a certain way in every game.   The...

read more

Making something out of nothing: Part 4

Posted by on 3:42 pm

This time we are going to look at adding another “type” of member to our group.  This is one of the most difficult, yet rewarding and important members: the doubting Thomas. Doubting Thomas My daughter is 2 years old, and she is awesome[1]. Just because my daughter is awesome though, doesn’t mean that she doesn’t frustrate me sometimes. My wife and I work really hard to make sure she has really good eating habits[2].  So we give her veggies every night, don’t give her juice or pop, rarely give her sugar snacks, and generally try to foster well-rounded, healthy choices for her.  So far, it has worked out really well.  I, on the other hand, am not the healthiest eater and I enjoy a fair share of garbage food.  Being her dad, once in a while I like to give her a little taste of something unhealthy and delicious.  Every time I offer her something, she doesn’t want it at first.  I offer her a bite of chocolate chip cookie knowing full well this will be the most delicious thing she eats all week and yet, I have to battle her to try it.  Once she does, I ask her if she liked it, which of course she did, and she enthusiastically asks for more.  What frustrates me is that we go through this every  single time.  She loves everything I’ve ever asked her to try outside of the dinner table.  Yet, every single time I offer her something new she fights me.   At what point is she going to figure it out?  Let’s be honest,  I’m not in the habit of browbeating people to eat part of my amazing Scotcharoo[3] bar.  I would think my track record would speak for itself with her.  Apparently, Dad still does not have her convinced. I suppose we can all be like my daughter.  So stubborn we find ways to get in the way of our own enjoyment. One of my best friends was the ultimate Doubting Thomas.  I’ve known him for the last 10 years, and in that time I’ve gone from disliking him (the first 3 months) to tolerating him (the next 6) to having him be in my wedding.  He’s a great guy, and while he comes on a little strong, once you figure out that’s just who he is, everyone seems to love him.  Once he caught wind of my “minis[4]” he would mock me at every chance.  He often would ask me how my “red dragon” was doing against the elves, and then laugh to himself as if he were quite hilarious.   Here’s the thing though, this guy is a huge nerd.  He loves Top Gun, Star Wars, and Superhero movies.  He hung his “coolness” in high school on buying a Jeep and driving with the top down.  He’s admittedly unsmooth with the ladies back in the day, and due to colorblindness can’t dress himself properly without his wife’s help.  He loves video games and texting me messages in military speak.  Basically, he’s the poster child for a guy who would love playing a miniature’s war game.  However, no matter how many times I talked to him about it, he was completely against it. So the situation as it stood was one of my best friends was...

read more

Nemesis: The Lich. 4 – Instruments of Dark Dominion

Posted by on 3:38 am

“I activate my titan gladiator and move him forward. Okay, that’s fine then I… Why are you smirking?” “Oh nothing.” “What is it now? You can’t purge me yet… yet.” “Titans. Heh.” “I hate you.” The usual front matter, check out the first two articles for background on Lich. Also, at Overload Online we’ve changed our schedule, so that Nemesis will be posting on Wednesdays in future, both on Overload and here on Muse. Thanks for all the continued support! And as always, all feedback is welcome! Cryx tends to be good against Hordes. Trivially removing heavies is a hard counter that’s tough to deal with, and Hordes armies tend to have low numbers of attacks. Circle and Legion were and are better placed to deal with it, by virtue of various trickeries and movement shenanigans. The typical Trolls and Skorne plan of taking one on the chin really doesn’t work against Cryx, especially not with Arm-reliant heavies. Trolls have some tools in the Grims and Calandra, but I feel that Skorne’s lack of denial and the fact that our infantry clearing master, Hexeris2, prefers taking lots of beasts against living troops makes for a situation with no easy answer. Combine this with a lack of reliable shooting that efficiently kills banes and we have a tough challenge. It is probably the hardest faction matchup of all for Skorne, even harder than purification Menoth. There are tools there though. Lots of people do like Hexeris2 in that matchup for example. I’ve been floating ideas for Rasheth, admittedly with middling success even in the dojo. Zaal is regularly touted as a good counter to Cryx (Especially Terminus, whom he spanks). I’ve decided to focus on two options that see little game instead. We’ll get on to ‘locks in a moment. First I want to discuss Skorne options that I think are great against Cryx. The cyclops shaman is a no brainer, with an upkeep removal animus. Moreover I find his gun combined with an extoller soulward makes him a solo hunter extraordinaire. I adore the shaman’s gun. In general, I like cyclopes in the Cryx matchup with any caster who can turn them on (make them kill above their weight class). They are far less points in one place than titans. Zaal does this very well, letting cyclopes kill other people’s heavies, and maintaining target variety. K-K-K-Kovaas! Venator slingers deserve an honourable mention. They get the bonus dice to damage undead troops, who are typified by low Def, and tend to be good against mechanithralls and biles that came too far forward. Nihilators can be very effective, maximising the numbers who survive purges and bane charges by killing a model or three in return. Void spirits, if you can justify them in general, are really sweet against Cryx. Satyxis hate making regular abomination checks, and the impassable clouds are great denial vs. Cryx. The lack of boosted damage often isn’t a big deal. Gatorman witch doctors let you excarnate proof your troops, though its buffs tend to have overlap with lots of Skorne troops inherent abilities. My first Dark Horse is Mordikaar. With the Despoiler on the way, you can mint some free points. Those points are in void spirits which I do really like against Cryx. Banishing ward is...

read more

Crippled System: Episode 18 – 12 power!

Posted by on 9:31 pm

There is an object at the heart of that cloud, and that is Crippled System. Hosts: Jeremy S, Katie S, Brian G, Nathan H, Andy W and Loki This week we chat about building your meta, Katies Korner, Recommendations. Bonus Contest: Name that spell/feat! Timestamps, now with 40% more discussions about food: 00:00 – Intro Song 00:18 – Introduction / Board Games discussion 14:21 – Nathan insults Canada / Discussion about Texas 16:55 – Hot sauce discussion 21:25 – Our visit to Samba 26:03 – ACD Gamedays interview with Cole (Nathan and Andy’s Roommate) 28:59 – Crippling emails: Building a Meta 46:38 – News and Announcements: Novella, Cyriss, etc. 54:04 – Rats and wiener dogs rambling 57:34 – Katie’s Korner: When plans go wrong 78:20 – Recommendations 98:10 – Swedish Muslim Jeremy contest     Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 1:41:27 — 69.7MB)Subscribe: Android |...

read more

Embrace The Dragon: Advice for the Beginner

Posted by on 11:23 am

Musefolk! Midsouth Gaming is proud to be cross posting a select handful of our articles here on Muse. This is part of an on going series written about everyone’s favorite dragon spawns. You can catch up here. Welcome back my blighted friends to yet another edition of embrace the dragon.  This time I have decided to open up the focus of our time here to a topic a little broader than just Legion tactics and unit discussion.  Now this doesn’t mean that my blighted brethren may not find this useful.  The topic of our discussion is more or less some words of wisdom and teachings for the newer players of the great game of Warmachine and Hordes.  Truth be told even as a player for over a year with a few Con events under my belt I still find this information useful and worth returning too when I get down on myself or my forces for poor play.  I also want to put this out there to help the newer players that may be struggling with the game.  Looking back to when I first started playing I wish I had found an article geared like this to help me through those difficult early learning stages.  So without further hold up from yours truly let’s get into the good stuff.     As a new player to Warmachine and Hordes there is one important concept that you need to remember.  This game is highly competitive; page 5 in the rule book is always a great manifesto to this point which can be summed up into the concept of “play like you got a pair.”  While this serves as a good introduction I think a little more insight can be given here.  Privateer Press has taken it upon themselves to make this game as balanced as possible from a competitive stand point.  Meaning they made this game to be played in a structured fashion dictated by Privateer Press, often in a tournament format.  They also expect their players to give it their all in playing the game, holding anything back will often serve to only be a detriment to you and your game play.  The balance in this game isn’t about keeping everyone equal but rather by creating counters to the opposing forces.  While 1 caster may seem entirely broken to you when you play against it I can assure you that a counter for it exists somewhere in the forces your chosen faction can field.  Part of the mastery of this game is being able to recognize these counters and knowing where and when to employ them.  Yes this game can often be won and lost in the stage where you choose who leads your army but that is also why most competitive formats use multiple lists and even allow for what many MTG players would call side boarding with specialists.   While understanding the competitive nature of the game is vastly important I also want to point out that mastering this game will take time.  It can take months to learn your own faction and its capabilities let alone all the opposing factions.  Play often with as many different opponents as you can find.  Don’t be afraid to lose, it will happen and will happen often especially as you are starting out.  Also...

read more

Painting with MenothJohn – Avalancher

Posted by on 10:26 pm

We had a great show on Sunday, and I have now set up a YouTube channel so I can cross post the show to the Muse on Minis website. Join MenothJohn as he paints the only model PP makes that is GREATER than a Stormwall…the Avalancher.  🙂 Topics include: Vasectomies, Kraken Rum, and also some painting gets done too! Enjoy the show, and if you like…like me on Facebook on Painting with MenothJohn   If you would like to watch my show live…it is on every Sunday night, 8 pm Central on Twitch.tv.  Just click here for the channel....

read more

MoM’s Podcast #49 – A Warmachine and Hordes Podcast

Posted by on 1:11 am

  MoM’s Podcast #49 — A Warmachine and Hordes Podcast Topics:   Time Stamps: 0:04:25 News and Announcements 0:47:00 List Discussion and Dojo 1:37:15 SR Generally Speaking 1:51:30 How to Win at Dice Down and during Deathclock Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 2:50:45 — 78.2MB)Subscribe: Android |...

read more

Making something out of nothing: Part 3

Posted by on 11:12 am

Avengers assemble! At this point, if you are following my plan you are ready to go in terms of selling the game.  What you need is “customers.”  Now the work really begins.  You’ve got the basic pieces in place, so it is now time to start recruiting members into the fold.  Obviously, this is something that is incredibly dependent on your individual situation and not that easy to do.  This is where the lack of a game store really hurts because there is no gathering place for those of a like mind .  Fear not, I’m here to help… maybe.  What I am going to try to do over the next few articles is identify some “types” of people that you may be able to form your gaming group with.  These will be drawn from real life examples, but generalized enough to hopefully apply to some people you might know… or will know soon enough! They are out there You are not alone… probably.  Even in the most barren of landscapes, there is a very real chance that you are not the only person with nerd interests.  The easiest way to get started in building a gaming group locally is to try to locate that kindred spirit that lives where you live.  I can’t make any promises, but let’s be honest.  If you live in an area with more than 15,000 people the chances are really good that somebody else has discovered and enjoys gaming like yourself.  Still don’t believe me,[1] read on.  There are two scenarios to meet this person or people, assimilation and discovering the cylons. Let’s take a look at both. Assimilate The first form is something I do not have experience with.  This takes the form of a local group that is clearly engaging in a nerdy pursuit, just not the pursuit that you would prefer.  This could be a local group of people that play Magic, play another mini’s game, read comics, avid Warcraft players or even train enthusiasts.  There are many examples, but the point is this is a group of people who enjoy something that clearly isn’t a large leap away from Warmachine.  This should be a prime target for you. If you don’t know the people, the first step is going to be getting to know them.  This means you might have to get your hands dirty a little bit and join in on their activity first.  This isn’t nearly as bad or disingenuous as it might seem, as the reality is that you will probably enjoy yourself.  I’m not too keen to getting back into World of Warcraft[2], but if I can meet some local players who might become interested in my games if I show interest in their game, then I’m in.  Heck, I’ll probably enjoy myself in the process.  You have to give a little bit if you expect to receive.  Once you establish a rapport, you then have the ability to introduce them to your hobby.  You might need to “gateway” them to it, since miniature gaming is pretty hardcore, but I’ll address that idea in a later article. If you already know members of the group, you can move right into selling them on your game.  Again, this is a fertile group to try to convince. ...

read more

Hacking the Cortex: The Road to the Top of the Mountain

Posted by on 9:35 am

When you see a True Master at work, their performance seems so natural, so effortless, that we are inclined to call it “talent”. After all, they make it look so easy. They must be generally smarter than us, more dextrous than us… more of something, anyway. Culturally, we underplay the value of practice in reaching those lofty heights of mastery. Here’s the good news: Talent is pretty much irrelevant. IQ doesn’t predict success at chess (for example). Time spent in effective practice does. Now, about that bad news… The path to true expertise is long and fraught with challenges. Common psychological wisdom holds that to attain true mastery of a skill, the budding master must practice that skill for 10,000 hours. By my count, that’s somewhere between 5,000 and 7,000 games of Warmachine/Hordes (if we take games as lasting between 70 and 120 minutes). Even at a rate of one game per day, that’s 15-20 years on the road to true mastery. But what does that road look like? What are the milestones? What are the traits that True Masters have? (Aside: Psychologists studying expertise love chess experts. They’re our favourite. Chess is a relatively simple game to model, with an objective ranking system to define who is a Chess Master. It’s also great for the purposes of this article, since it’s pretty easy to relate data on chess to Warmachine/Hordes.) The Traits of a Master First and foremost, Experts display superior memory in relation to their field. Chess Masters have a spectacularly good memory for arrangements of pieces on a board. If you show Chess Masters a series of board arrangements and ask them to later identify which ones they had seen in that series, they can accurately recall seeing as many as fifty thousand different arrangements. I wrote that number in word form so you wouldn’t think I accidentally added a zero or two. But there’s an important and informative caveat to this recall – Chess Masters are incredibly good at remembering board states that are likely to appear in an actual game of chess played at a high level. Their memory abilities do not apply to random arrangements of pieces. In fact, Chess Masters are worse at recalling random arrangements than complete novices. Experts don’t simply have superior memories – they have a superior ability to remember only relevant information. It’s about efficiency and experience, not capacity. This also applies to the superior strategic processing ability of experts. When you record the eye movements on Chess Masters looking at a chessboard, they spend significantly more time fixating on tactically relevant pieces. In change blindness tests, Chess Masters are more likely to notice a single tactically important piece being shifted one square than the entire board state being shifted one square in the same direction. In chess, as in Warmachine and Hordes, the experts don’t think in term of absolute board position – they think in terms of threat vectors and relative position. Which position a piece is in is not relevant information in and of itself, and so the mental templates experts use to organise information don’t bother to store it. (Fun Experiment You Can Do At Your LGS: When players aren’t looking, move an important piece one inch to the left. See who notices. They’re probably the expert. Check this by...

read more