18 August 2016

Witcher III the Wild Hunt: Hearts of Stone and Blood & Wine DLCs reviewed

Having finished the main story and pretty much all the sidequests, explored pretty much every location in Witcher 3 I dived into the two DLC expansions "Hearts of Stone" and "Blood and wine".

Both expansions add tons of new content to an already amazing and perfect game that is so good that I would probably rate it the best game I've played - and for 154 hours so far!

It's almost hard to separate the main game and the expansions, having played all three I see them all os one big chunk of enjoyable content. The main game was superb, fantastic characters, great main story and locations. The story and the game length itself can be difficult to comprehend in all its splendor while playing, but if you backtrack and think about it having finished the game it is one hell of a ride full of epic and memorable moments.

The first DLC, Hearts of Stone, takes place on the existing world map and has a very intriguing new storyline and introduces some really good new characters. Geralt gets afflicted with a curse and offered a cure in exchange for killing an immortal bandit leader Olgierd von Everec. While the fact that the expansion only takes place in mostly explored locations is a bit of a letdown, the main quest and characters in Hearts of Stone more than make up for it with great dialogue and boss battles. Some people think that the main quest in Hearts of Stone is better than the main quest of Witcher 3, I would not go so far to agree but I really liked the motivations of both friendly characters and the villain in this story.

The second DLC, Blood & Wine, opens up a completely new region - Toussaint. This is pretty much a fairy tale oriented fantasy location compared to the wartorn, gritty and brutal map of Velen/Novigrad. The way the knightly NPC's interact with Geralt opens up for a lot of quirky dialogue and encounters. Toussaint is a pretty big region packed with small villages, quests and a large main city hub. There is plenty to do and see here. The main quest is a more "basic" monster hunt and not as intriguing as the main quest in Hearts of Stone. It does however offer a lot of really good moments and decisions for Geralt to make - especially towards the end. The ending of this expansion is both goofy fun in parts, and also offers an epic battle where you really feel that "OK we are in serious trouble now!".

It's hard to describe the goodness of both expansions without writing spoilers as both expansions are best entered with as little knowledge of the content as possible to fully enjoy each of the new storylines. Fortunately you can install and start playing the expansions at pretty much any point of your main quest or even after you have finished the main game. Each of the boxed editions of the expansions come with two decks of Gwent cards (Hearts of Stone comes with Monsters and Scoia'tael, while Blood and Wine comes with Nilfguard and Northern Realms). So if you enjoy playing Gwent in Witcher 3 you can now play it "live" with a friend. I only wish they had used the "second/alternate" version of the artwork for the cards which imo looks cooler.


I REALLY recommend getting both expansions if you already own the main game, beside the new quests and characters they also offer increased level cap, new tweaks to alchemy and mutagens, new weapons and armor that will make replaying the game with all that new content worthwhile!


 










13 August 2016

SAGA Hearthguard and Warlords

I have not made any posts the last couple of months, for various reasons. New job, long hours at work, some new PC games that got into he way of painting, not much miniature wargaming done lately etc.

I started a SAGA project but I turned out to be very uninspired to paint Vikings for some reason. I have sent most of the vikings to be painted up by a fellow wargamer in Germany (while I was at it I also sent some French & Indian war minis to be painted up in England) - looking forward to having those commissions delivered late August and late September. I simply have very little time nowadays to start larger projects from scratch.

Over the past couple of weeks I did however finish some painting. 12 Hearthguard and 3 Warlords for the various SAGA warbands I intend to field. I am STILL waiting for the SAGA core rulebook which I ordered 4 months ago!!! It is still not in stock, it is mindblowing really how Gripping Beast cannot restock such a fundamental part of their own line of products.

I really look forward to get back to the hobby with some By Fire & Sword, Muskets & Tomahawks, Frostgrave and SAGA games.

Until then I will be posting some boardgame reviews as there have been quite a few purchases and games played last couple of months.


 Anglo-Danish Warlord




 Viking Warlord


Jomsviking Warlord


Hearthguard

14 May 2016

Viking shieldmaiden Lagertha

Second one out of the two Hasslefree Miniatures I ordered to spice up my upcoming SAGA viking warband. I found this model to be painfully difficult to paint due to the sculpting on the skirt and the face in particular. Not super happy about the paintjob as a whole, but it will probably look good alongside 7 other viking miniatures.


11 May 2016

Viking warlord Ragnar Lothbrok

A few weeks ago, after much deliberation, I decided to pick up SAGA. A decision heavily influenced by the Show Vikings (though not as good this last season as it used to I still like it).

I made a big order from Wayland Games but am still waiting for my Gripping Beast SAGA metal minis to arrive. I ordered a mix of miniatures and dice to be able to field Vikings, Jomsvikings and Anglo Danes. While I was waiting I saw that Hasslefree Miniatures released miniature versions of Ragnar Lothbrok and Lagertha lookalikes from the show Vikings and I immediately ordered both.

I figured I would use Ragnar as a Viking warlord, and Lagertha as a warrior for the regular Viking faction. I realize the Hasslefree miniatures will look slim next to the Gripping Beast minis, but on the other hand, Ragnar in the TV show is not very bulky or tall so it should work.

Since I want to have the option to field the Ragnar miniature in other games and settings I made a double base. 40mm warlord base for SAGA and a smaller 25mm base for other games such as Frostgrave and the like. The bases are magnetized so the miniature can be moved about without problem while standing on the larger base without losing it.

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