Archive for November, 2018

Sword Art Online has been one of the few anime to truly capture my imagination the way anime used to do back when I was in high school. While there are parts that are better than others and certain characters fair better has the series progresses, the over all package of Sword Art Online is one that I’ve throughly enjoyed without reserve. Heck, its probably why its one of my top rewatched animes of the last few years. The top honors of that goes to Cowboy Bebop and Yu Yu Hakusho. That is why the only two hobby games for the series hold a special place in my collection.

First, and foremost, is the Sword Art Online line of expansions for Bushiroad’s hit trading card game- Weiss Schwarz.

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Weiss Schwarz, for those unaware, is a card game thats brings together multiple anime and video game properties to battle it out. The likes of Attack on TitanPersona 5, and even the upcoming Cardcaptor Sakura set battle on “stages” using character cards, event cards and Climax cards (think Triggers from CardFight! Vanguard). Generally speaking, decks are played series-specific, meaning no Kirito fighting along side Even Yeager.

To date, there have been 8 Sword Art Online releases:

  • Sword Art Online Trial Deck
  • Sword Art Online Booster Box
    • Both of these cover the first 14 episodes, or Aincrad arc, of the first season.
  • Sword Art Online Vol. 2 Booster Box
    • Covers the final 11 episodes, or Fairy Dance arc, of the first season.
  • Sword Art Online II Trial Deck
  • Sword Art Online II Extra Booster Box
    • Covers the first 14 episodes, or Phantom Bullet arc, of the second season.
  • Sword Art Online II Vol. 2 Extra Booster Box
    • Covers the final 10 episodes, or the Calibur and Mother’s Rosario arcs, of the second season.
  • Sword Art Online Re: Edit
    • Reprint set of 100 previous released cards + 19 new ones
  • Sword Art Online The Movie -Ordinal Scale-
    • Cards from the theatrical movie of the same name.

Like all of the Weiss Schwarz series, they use still shots and promotional art from the anime to make the cards. For some of the cards, it can look a little wonky (is that an ok word to use?) like the Asuna on the left. For others, though, they can look amazing, like the Asuna on the right.

 

Interesting enough, it is also because of this game that I ever became remotely interested in any of Bushiroad’s other products. We were walking the hall of GenCon for the first time and we’d stumbled across their booth. Back then they actually had a lot of tables set up and product for sale. I digress. We demoed it and the deck I got to demo was for Sword Art Online.

Another bonus is that, with my love of playmats, official Sword Art Online playmats are some of the most gorgeous around:

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One of my favorite playmats in my collection.

My current build is a little scatter brained, but I love it. It is primarily the original starter with some random bits thrown in for good measure. I was super excited with the starter because it had a RRR “Asuna- Start of the Battle” inserted.

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The RRR Asuna is on the bottom row, second column.

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Like CardFight! Vanguard, you get a certain number of Climax Cards (think Triggers).

The other game to appear with the Sword Art Online name on it is from Japanime Games called Sword Art Online: Sword of Fellows.

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Launched on KickStarter last year, players play as their favorite characters from the original arc- Kirito, Asuna, Agil, Silica, Klein and Lisbeth. Games play out over four scenarios, each representing a level of the game from the show. The first three levels (Lower, Middle and Upper) have multiple options and one is randomly drawn for each, giving way to lots of play throughs with different outcomes. Players can earn itms to help them beat later bosses and level up for better and stronger attacks.

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I should really have taken pictures of my copy, but this works!

One of the things I absolutely love about the game is that, even sleeved, all of the cards and components (dice and tokens) fit back into the small box it comes in. That means it is easily stored and taken with you so you can enjoy the world of Sword Art Online anywhere and everywhere you can find a flat surface! Bonus note: This KickStarter had one thing I wish every KickStarter would offer- Sleeves for all of their different sized cards! Seriously, a life saver.

I really wish there were more games for the Sword Art Online universe. Yes, it is a franchise that lends itself to video games more than a physical medium, but there are still a number of amazing possibilities. A small army miniatures game in the same vein as Infinity from Corvus Belli exploring the front lines of the dungeons would be amazing. Think of the possibilities of Sword Art Online RPG where if you die, you have to preroll a whole brand new character? At the very least, I would love to see a new card set. With the third series recently launching, I have no doubt Bushiroad will put out another expansion for Weiss Schwarz but what about Jasco Games and Universal Fight System? That would be a killer set!

What do you all think? Should we have more games with the SAO IP or should the series stick to what it already does. Sound off in the comments below and let us know.

Until next time, keep your dice warm and happy gaming!

Privateer Press has unveiled their upcoming Monsterpocalypse releases for February. They are releasing a new monster and building for the Shadow Sun Syndicate and a new monster and building for Planet Eaters.

For the Shadow Sun Syndicate-

Zor-Raiden (Metal/Resin, $21.99)

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Shadow Sun Industries (Resin, $14.99)

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According to the description, the Shadow Sun Industries building itself and allies from blast attacks as well as providing a new spawn point.

For Planet Eaters-

Rogzor (Resin, $34.99)

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Unless I’m mistaken, this is the single most expensive (money wise) for a monster-only unit/package.

Harbinger Comet Shard (Resin, $16.99)

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From the description, this building converts enemies into power for attacks and acts as a new spawn point.

These new models all, visually, seem incredibly fun. I know that the Harbinger Comet Shard is for the Planet Eaters, but I cannot help but want to paint it up like part of the Fortress of Solitude from Richard Donner’s Superman. Those are just screaming to be painted like blue crystals.

What do you all think? Will you be inching your way to a faction-pure build for Shadow Sun Syndicate and Planet Eaters with these or will you be skipping them? Sound off in the comments and let us know.

Until next time, keep your dice warm and happy gaming.

So the other day was my birthday. One of my gifts I received was a box of Strongest! Team AL4 (VGE-V-BT02) and a copy of the Ren Suzugamori Trial Deck (VGE-V-TD04). With exception of my very first Weiss Schwartz deck for Sword Art Online, I have the worst luck imaginable when it comes to pulling awesome cards. That changed when I pulled this beauty:

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I am not one to brag, but I was so stoked to pull this! I’ve always loved Shadow Paladins. They are one of my main three clans. So to get this and it be on my birthday? What isn’t there a bit to brag about…?

Anyways, after that last sour article I wrote, I wanted to post something remotely positive.

Keep your dice warm and happy gaming!

Alright. Admittedly that headline is a bit long, but it is the truth.

A little back story before we get into the meat of this article. Since 2015, Ninja Division/Soda Pop Miniatures have launched 5 successful Kickstarters. The most successful of these campaigns was for Super Dungeon Explore: Legends. More than 6,000 backers pledged over $1.29 million dollars during the Kickstarter and who knows how much more during the pledge manager via the company’s official web store. After Super Dungeon Explore: Legends, they launched campaigns for Relic Knights 2nd Edition, Starfinder Masterclass Miniatures, Rail Raiders: Infinite, and Way of the Fighter.

To date, Rail Raiders: Infinite and Way of the Fighter have been in retail stores for more than a year while there are still backers awaiting their copies, stretch goals and more. The Starfinder miniatures have just now begun making their way to US backers, with quality control issue after quality control issue. Relic Knights 2nd Edition was supped to have been done and shipped by February 2018 but there has been only radio silence since August 2018. And, finally, Super Dungeon Explore: Legends had been shelved until Starfinder and Relic Knights had been completed.

Despite the projects’ various degrees of completion, more than $2.56 million dollars was raised by more than 17,000 backers through the Kickstarter campaigns. This does not included the undisclosed amount raised during the various pledge mangers, as there would be late backers and people who upped their pledges.

With that in mind, it brings us to the the present. As the company has been radio silent on all their Kickstarter pages (See: Ninja Division Pulling Back from Kickstarter), this had led several backers to write to their attorney generals as well as the Idaho attorney general (Ninja Division/Soda Pop Miniatures are based out of Idaho) in regards to fraud. The response from Ninja Division/Soda Pop was finally made public: Ninja Division Response to Attorney General.

While the response is worded as such to skate over many of the pressing questions backers have had, as well as give a detailed account usage of all funds raised and not just of those during the Super Dungeon Explore: Legends Kickstarter, it does have a few interesting bits of information:

  • Under their disclosure of Initial Funding, they state that approximately $343,559 was used for “annual overhead”. This included payroll, facilities and additional overhead. This funding was to cover them for the remainder of 2015, as well as all of 2016. They then state they had to deplete the funds to cover 2017 as well.
  • Also under their disclosure of Initial Funding, they state that approximately $485,679 went to “project expenses”, including license fees and marketing.
  • Funds for the game are completely ran through, leaving a deficit of $750,000 needed to bring the project to completion.
  • While the fate of their other non-SDE IPs are not disclosed, they do mention that they are in discussion with multiple outside companies for acquisition of their studio.

There is also several bits of blame laid at the backers’ feet that we won’t go into.

In the end, ultimately, this does not bold well for anyone connected with these games. Be it a backer, designer or what have you, it looks like the curtain is slowly falling on what was once a great company and a great stable of fantastic games.

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For full details on the four outstanding Kickstarters and some basic stats. Way of the Fighter is not included in this break down as it backers for this are waiting on miniature add-ons. While not to be cast aside or forgotten about in the least, it is hard to gage a proper number of backers effected by this as Way of the Fighter featured the least amount of backers and most have moved on from the campaign.

Relic Knights 2nd Edition

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sodapopminiatures/relic-knights-2nd-edition/description

Originally ran on KS from Feb 27, 2017 until March 14, 2017

  • Raised $386,826 from 2,489 backers
    • Does not account for any/all additional funds raised via the Pledge Manager
  • Game/Stretch goals were to ship in 3 waves over an 8 month period
    • Wave 1 – Summer 2017: Base game and majority of stretch goals/add ons
    • Wave 2 – Winter 2017: Remaining stretch goals/add ons
    • Wave 3 – Feb. 2018: Void Break Expansion Rulebook/outstanding stretch goals

As of November 2018, zero of the game’s 2000+ backers have seen anything. Last real update on production was back in July 2018. Several comments made at GenCon by Soda Pop employees was that the game was to begin shipping at the end of August. Last comment made by John Cadice (owner of Ninja Division) was that they ran out of bases, and the comment was made via a Facebook Relic Knights fan page.

Rail Raiders: Infinite

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sodapopminiatures/rail-raiders-infinite/description

  • Originally ran on KS from April 6, 2016 until April 22, 2016
  • Raised $339,724 from 4,649 backers
    • Does not account for any/all additional funds raised via the Pledge Manager
  • Game/Stretch goals were to ship October 2016.
  • Shipping finally began in August 2017.

As of November 2018, many of the game’s backers (primarily those out of the United States) are still awaiting their games though the game has been available at retail for months. Last update was January 2018.

Starfinder Masterclass Miniatures

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/325468910/starfinder-masterclass-miniatures/description

  • Originally ran on KS from September 27, 2017 until October 17, 207
  • Raised $457,539 from 2,294 backers
    • Does not account for any/all additional funds raised via Pledge Manager
  • Game/Stretch goals were to ship May 2018
  • Shipping began in waves in May 2018, however they have switched to a new model of shipping what they have when they are done. 
    • This could be a single miniature or multiples.

As of November 2018, Wave 1 miniatures have begun making their way to US backers. These shipments have been plagued by quality control issues and broken miniatures.

Super Dungeon Explores: Legends

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sodapopminiatures/super-dungeon-explore-legends/comments

  • Originally ran on KS from October 21, 2015 until November 11, 2015
  • Raised $1,290,522 from 6,611 backers
    • Does not account for any/all additional funs raised via Pledge Manager
  • Game/Stretch goals were to Ship December 2016

As of November 2018, zero of the game’s backers have received anything. The last update of any type regarding fulfillment and shipping was back in March 2018.

$2,566,516 from 17,428 backers, or $148.80 per person.