What You’ve Been Playing is our weekly updated article series about our recent tabletop gaming habits, where you’re also invited to join in!
This most recent edition features an interesting mixture of digital board games, trading card games and miniature painting. Whilst I’ve been continuing to get stuck into Gloomhaven Digital - the video game version of the fantasy board game - Chase cracks open some fresh packets of Magic: The Gathering’s latest set, March of the Machines.
Lastly, Maddie has been painting her Druanti Arch-Revenant from her Sylvaneth Warhammer army, as well as giving her collection of Space Marine soldiers a My Little Pony inspired paint job.
If you’ve also been playing Gloomhaven Digital, Magic: The Gathering - March of the Machines, doing some miniature painting or getting involved in anything else tabletop related, then let us know in the comments below or tweet us @joindicebreaker.
What We’ve Been Playing - April 21st 2023
Long-time readers of What You’ve Been Playing may be familiar with the Gloomhaven Digital campaign I’ve been very slowly working my way through. Despite this not being a new phenomenon, there are some fresh developments that might be fun to share. The very first class I played in this campaign was the rogue, who specialised in targeting specific enemies and inflicting nasty status effects such as poison.
However, since then, I have since completed that class’s random game objective and now control a different class. The Spellweaver is primarily a ranged class that’s focused around creating and using various elements. It’s definitely a different change of pace from the rogue as the Spellweaver is a class that’s more designed around dealing very small amounts of damage for a wider number of opponents.
Despite this, the smaller damage amounts don’t feel like a downgrade because of the larger number of opponents you can hit, as well as the fact that it gives you the opportunity to spend elements to up the damage or add additional effects. Elements can be created and used by any characters in a scenario, meaning that the Spellweaver opens up more chances for strategy and cooperation.
On top of this, the Spellweaver has a very specific action that will allow the player to recover all of their burnt cards, before burning up itself. This makes a lot of sense considering that a far few of the Spellweaver’s abilities are ones that burn after use, as well as the fact that the Spellweaver’s deck is particularly small.
It does feel very refreshing to move from a simpler class to a more advanced one - it prevents Gloomhaven Digital from feeling monotonous to play, even though campaigns are very long. The way you have to approach the Spellweaver is entirely different to the Rogue class, as it’s essential to stick to the sidelines and think very carefully about when to burn abilities in tandem with that recovery action.
Even as the game continues to challenge us with ever more difficult scenarios, we find new ways to adapt and overcome.
Magic: The Gathering - March of the Machines
The cardboard craze has continued to sweep through the Dicebreaker offices, largely driven by video Dad Wheels and his constant requests for “quick” games of Commander at lunch, after work, between tasks, etc. Well, this week we managed to vent some of the enthusiasm into a stream on the Dicebreaker YouTube channel where I joined him and Maddie for a three-way draft of the latest Magic: The Gathering set - March of the Machines.
If you’re unfamiliar with how drafting the trading card game works, it’s worth watching us take a very casual approach to one of the most popular ways to interact with the game. Some would argue drafting booster packs is the way MTG is meant to be played, and while I don’t truck with any One True Path beliefs, experiencing the game design puzzle within a particular set invites you to think about the popular TCG not as some carefully constructed engine but a clever arrangement of parts from a limited pool.
March of the Machine has been saddled with big expectations by both players and publisher Wizards of the Coast. This set introduced a new card type, Battles, while also carrying the current narrative arc through its climax and into an odd, mini-set denouement. It’s also purported to herald in a new era of MTG design and storytelling, though we’re still waiting on how exactly these promised changes will shake out.
Though I’ve only drafted once and took part in a single sealed prerelease event, March of the Machines feels like a solid set that provides just enough design space for Battles to feel interesting and useful without letting them warp play around them - players who were around for the introduction of planeswalkers will remember their sheer gravity on the battlefield. The other archetypes provide a mixture of reliable standards and new tweaks (looking at you, Blue/Red convoke) that’ll keep enfranchised players on their toes. It’s worth checking out this supposed last hurrah of contemporary MTG before its new chapter begins.
Painting Druanti the Arch-Revenant
I have finally gone back to my Sylvaneth army and started painting my Druanti Arch-Revenant mini. Sylvaneth was the first army that got me into painting miniatures and then playing the miniature games so I’ve felt that same rush of inspiration all over again after picking it back up. Sylvaneth are my perfect fantasy army: magical trees with fairy wings, flowers nestled among skulls, the chance to have pink soldiers. It may seem superficial but searching for ideas when painting my Sylvaneth and seeing pastel cherry blossom armies was a lightswitch moment for me in my painting and playing journey. I realised I could bring my aesthetic into this hobby, and since then miniatures games have become one of my absolute favourite ways to spend a game day. It was really freeing and now I have a growing collection of armies that don’t look out of place next to my Sylvanian Families.
For the theme of Druanti though I’ve branched out and picked a slightly new theme. And I mean slightly. I’ve found the easiest way to make your miniatures look cohesive especially when you want to do lots of bright colours is to pick an already established character and use their design. They have had teams of professionals work on them to be pleasing things to look at so it makes sense to steal from them to make sure your minis look amazing too. As well as being a nod to your favourite piece of media! I’ve already done a stream on the channel showing off my Space Marines inspired by My Little Pony’s mane six, and now in a probably unsurprising line of thinking I am using Cicely Mary Barker's Flower Fairies for the rest of my Sylvaneth warriors. The first few details are coming together for my Apple Blossom Arch-Revenant and I’m already lining up a Pinterest board for the rest of my favourite fairies. Lavender I am looking at you.