Saturday, November 21, 2015

Heresy At Its Finest

Though it doesn't show up much on this blog, I am a big fan of Warhammer 40,000 and space marines. Specifically, I am a Dark Angels player specifically with a battle company's worth of (mostly unpainted) Greenwing, a reasonable chunk of Deathwing and a splash of Ravenwing. I like marines is what I'm saying.

I've never done any gaming in the Heresy Era, not because I don't like it but because it never really got big in my area and Forgeworld is expensive. Enter Games Workshop's latest board game offering, Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth:

It is a beautiful box filled to the brim with nothing but marines. As the focus of the heresy was the space marine legions fighting each other, this makes nothing but sense. The game centers around the betrayal of the Word Bearers against the Ultramarines on the world of Calth. I'll talk about the game in a minute but I do want to discuss the miniatures first.

The Miniatures

The box gives you 2 characters, 1 Contemptor dreadnought, 5 Cataphracti armor Terminators and 30 standard marines in MK IV "Maximus" armor. The first thing you'll notice is that, except for the characters and dreadnought, the sprues are full multi-part kits.

No static, push fit minis here. Every option is available to a unit, with plenty of parts left over. Even the dreadnought has a choice between assault cannon and multi-melta. The characters are cut up in odd fashions, but are both on the same sprue. This all fits with rumors that some of the sprues may be boxed up and sold separately later.

Now all this cutting and gluing (and painting) means that the set is a little less friendly to the casual board game player. However, I suspect GW doesn't really count those people at the target market. This box is a major boon to people who want to get into 30K gaming or who want to have a large number of older armor marks in their 40k. In fact, I added up the contents as a Chaos Space Marine army and came out to about 1300 points. That is a solid core of infantry for any army, with characters and a dread as gravy.

One issue is that the tactical marine models are functionally identical, so to actually play the game you have to find some way to identify the different side. One way to do that is to actually paint the models, but fuck that noise. I went the super simple route and just painted a ring of color around the bases. Effective and also leaves the models open for different color schemes in the future without having to strip them.

One unit of tacticals is still pending for the Word Bearers due to assembly exhaustion.
I am also a little disappointed that there is just barely not enough room for the dreadnought in the box once assembled. This is not an uncommon problem with GW games and I have developed a solution for this occurrence.

I have taken to making little stilts out of foam core and hot-gluing them into the corners. Nice and sturdy and they only have to be tall enough to make the necessary room.

The Game

I can't really describe the game mechanics better than GW themselves, so I'll let them do that:

Now, I have only played one game but I really like what I've experienced so far. In general feel, the game is a lot like a very tactical scale BattleLore or Memoir '44, with it's hexes and symbol-covered dice.

The action point system is great. Swapping back and forth with unit activation is a bit of a departure to GW's usual way of doing things. Both player sharing the turn makes sure one side doesn't wipe out the other without fear of retaliation. Sure, there is an initiative system but that just means one player gets a single chance to perform an action first and while that can be game tipping, the fact that it can switch sides from turn to turn makes it uncertain. Do you take the risk and hope for initiative or play it safe? Decisions are always good.

I am supremely happy with a hex board, since movement feels much more fluid. The art on the boards is amazing, but they also took the time to make sure those boards had plenty of well-defined cover to bounce between. Movement is much more important than just rush at the enemy and see who gets there first. Each stalagmite or piece of machinery can mean the difference between reaching your destination or getting pasted by a missile launcher.

Speaking of blowing things up, the combat is reminiscent of HeroQuest and that ain't bad. Combat resolution is simple to pick up and rolling those saves can feel tense. I love the critical effects, since this makes each combination of troops in a hex a little different and gives you a great bonus or two to choose from if you roll well. I also like that each model in a unit matters, since attack force is added for each model. This encourages creating tight knit squads supporting each other instead of just running around the board as loners.

Moreover, the decks of special cards for each side provide some great extra abilities that make each side play a little differently. Ultramarines use squads in tandem to increase effects, while Word Bearers get powerful effects for single units but sometimes at a cost.

While we are on the subject of cards, the reference cards are great as a quick way to check out your models' stats during the game. The damage deck for the dreadnought is also cool, as you never know how tough he will be when you attack, and wearing him down bit by bit makes him a scary monster instead of a one-hit wonder. My only wish is that they had put the weapons on cards as well. The reference on the back of the rulebook is great but it means closing the book and flipping it over if you need it. Weapon reference cards, maybe on half-size cards, would have been great to keep on the table next to the units.

The game comes with six different scenarios and they all look like they provide a very different experience. Scenario one, for example, is a race but scenario five requires one side to reach a destination and hold it while keeping a key model alive. The scenarios tell you which models to use, so the sides are already balanced. The scenarios are also set up well for building your models as you go along. You start with a tactical squad for each side, then add terminators and the dreadnought and so on in each scenario, so you don't have to rush to assemble and paint things all at once.

And even though the units in each scenario are set, you have choices with the unit options. Each option is free, but they are balanced by having different tactical applications on the battlefield. You can take a melta gun and wreak havoc at short range or a plasma gun for bucket loads of dice from far away and hope you don't blow yourself up. 

A powerfist is infinitely better on a tactical sergeant than a terminator because they can count on more support but a terminator's twin lightning claws add multiple extra dice with re-rolls. It all comes down to how you expect to use the unit on the board. 

Just be wary that some combinations might not necessarily be the best in 30/40K if you plan on using them outside of Calth. And if you find a truly compelling reason to use a heavy bolter over a missile launcher in the board game, I'd like to hear it. As it is, suppression is a dime-a-dozen with all those bolters running around and 5 dice with a potential of up to 3 extra dice beats a solid 6 dice in my book every time.

Hopes And Dreams

There is a lot of potential in this little game. Right now it feels like a vehicle to sell heresy models and that is probably true. But expansion is possible. Rumor has it that Betrayal at Calth is a new core game and that some units in the future will come with bonus Calth rules. I expect these will be any new plastic Heresy models released, but there's no reason to toss in the occasional timeline-appropriate xenos. The issue I think would be more in the requirement of specific units for scenarios, but that could be solved with the occasional published scenario book, with scenarios related to models released at the same time plus a few with previously released models. There is also room for command cards for different legions or races, new board tiles and even big box expansions with those things plus new models. I know I would love to see a Caliban-based box with a bunch of Dark Angels in MK2/3 armor duking it out against each other in the halls of the Tower of Angels.

There also exists a chance for a separate core rulebook with rules for stand-up fights. For example, players could take turns placing boards to create a battlefield, take X amount of units (as long as each unit is balanced correctly), etc. I would prefer keeping the scenario system, but such a rule set would open up the potential for more unit releases outside of scenario books.


Overall, I'm very happy with my purchase. Is the game worth the $150 price tag? Well that depends on what you want to get out of it. If you want the models, the price is a steal by GW standards and comes with a great game. If all you are looking for is a game, the price tag is a little steep, but you can find the guts of the game sans models on eBay for cheap if you don't mind proxying. I think the potential of where the game can go is worth the cost, as long as GW supports it as rumors say they will. 

I bought the game as someone sort of in between, wanting the models for 40K Fallen and looking for a fun game. I have had all of my expectations met in both regards, so I am pleased. It is up to you to decide if the price is truly worth it, but I definitely recommend giving this game a try.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Happy Fun Time Frosty Friends

Time for another post and I'm squeaking this one in under the wire for October. I really have no excuse because I've been out of work and had a lot of time on my hands. But most of that time has been spent looking for new work and consuming incredible amounts of television with my ambition thief of a dog. Warm puppies make bad motivators.

Speaking of dogs, I painted one up for my Frostgrave warband. There is no better way to spend an extra 10 gold than on a slavering warhound with which to chew on the enemies bones. Or you could get a very friendly looking, loyal chap like Grimm to wander around the battlefield looking adorable.

Grimm is my wizard's faithful companion and despite his friendly appearance has actually mauled quite a few enemies with a little help from a Strength spell. I'm a fan of Irish wolfhounds, and that kind of look was really my first choice. This little guy hails from CMM and I picked him up along with this characterful chap in case I need a second dog for something. Not bad for $14 shipped from Europe.

The other thing I felt I was lacking was a medium construct. It's a good thing to have in case I need to replace a warrior on the cheap or for random encounters. Since I don't envision my Enchanter as a "builder" I went for a more natural kind of construct. Meet Twiggy:

I see my wizard as more likely to summon elemental spirits to animate earth and wood than to craft a mechanical object. Twiggy here is perfect for a tree spirit/wood golem type. I picked him up from Noble Knight on eBay, but he comes from Reaper.

And while we are on the subject of constructs, some of you may remember my large construct, who has since picked up the name Facebook. My first mini for Frostgrave, I wasn't entirely sure if I was going to go full winter, so I had based him with my usual green static grass. Now that I'm a few minis in with the dead grass look, he looked really out of place in the warband. A revamp was in order. So Facebook went from looking like this:

To this:

Which I think is a marked improvement. He really fits the pale, cold, dead look of Frostgrave now, and won't look off from the rest of the warband. And to prove the point, here's a "family portrait" of my painted Frostgrave minis so far:

Very cohesive looking and I'm really liking the natural look that is coming out in the group. And yes, that picture is still lacking wizards. I promise they are mid-paint and more than halfway through the process. If they were adorable and covered with lots of texture for dry-brushing they'd be done now too. But they aren't so they're not, so there.

Happy gaming!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Into The Ruins

To say the least, I have found the setting of Frostgrave to be inspiring. I've painted more things for this game than I can say for a lot of others. Each of my two main Warhammer armies has a single painted figure. I already have 2 for Frostgrave.

There is something about a magical, snow-bound city ruined by the sins of arcane excess, that captures my imagination. I imagine the city as a lost Atlantean ideal, powerful in its time but now crumbling and forgotten, and filled with all manner of demons, undead and weird beasts leftover from bygone days. With that in mind, I really want to start building on my terrain collection to suit that feel.

Most of my terrain is pretty generic, so I already have a few ruins, the odd wizard's tower and of course my dungeon terrain to draw from. Ambiance is everything though, so first I had to find a good backdrop for all that terrain. I settled on a 4'x4' Alpine F.A.T. mat from Frontline Gaming.

It's on the bigger side for Frostgrave but it has the perfect bleak, grey look for what I envision. It looks really snowbound and the rocks could be hidden streets. I love these mats. I have two others, one for X-Wing and I just picked up another for 40K. They are vivid, durable, non-slip and come with their own carrying case. A bit pricey, but worth every penny in the end.

While I was buying things, I also found this pair of beauties:

They are pre-painted pieces from War Torn Worlds, which makes their terrain out of recycled tires. They are flexible and durable, which is a big plus because I'm starting to have to stack terrain in my cabinet. The color scheme is little light, but they do the trick quite nicely.

Next I settled in to paint a piece that I figured I would ignore forever. I picked up the Dragons Don't Share set from Reaper's second Bones Kickstarter with the intent of never painting it but imagining doing do until the day I died. Howeve, the ruins were so perfect that I had to get some paint on them at least.

The color is just my dungeon blend on a larger scale. I learned the hard way that Bones doesn't take spray primer well, so the piece is a little tacky, even with a couple extra loads of paint on it

And the top comes off for convenient model placement:

The set also has a set of crumbling stairs made up of a couple pieces for modularity:

But the whole thing fits together if you want it to be one big piece:

I have two notes on this piece. First, you may notice a big gap in the above picture. That is because there is another piece of ruin that has a huge dragon perched on it. I could not bear to tear the dragon off, but it would also look weird with a live dragon always attached to it. If I had another copy of that piece though, I would add it in a heartbeat. Second, for some ungodly reason the top portion with the stairs came in two pieces, both of which were very warped. All of my best efforts with a heat gun were for naught, but I found a solution. I filled the crack with my new favorite basing material, Golden pumice gel. On a piece like this, you'd never know the difference and it came out perfect.

Finally, I wanted to add a little weird and ominous to my Frostgrave, so I set to scratch building. You see, a while back my wife found a little resin pond super cheap online and bought if for me on a whim. I think it was originally meant for fairy gardens or something, but it is a bit out of scale as a pond. It has been floating around for while, always waiting for a project, and I finally found one.

I stuck it to some foamcore, cutting out a place for it to sit down into to lower the height of the walls a tiny bit. Then I filled it with clay to get rid of dead space, plus some more clay around the edges to blend it into the base. Then I used a mix of skull piles from Ristul's Extraordinary Market and spare Games Workshop skeleton bits from ages ago to make it look stuffed to the brim with bones. An old vulture from a Tomb Kings screaming skull catapult completed the look, plus some texturing with the ol' magic pumice gel.

The idea is that it's an old well or decorative pond that has been filled to the brim with dead bodies, possibly from before the city froze. But maybe they are unlucky adventurers after all, and who (or what) put them there in the first place...?

That's all for now. I'm hoping to add some larger ruins at some point to give the table a little more height and choke things up a bit. For now, though, I think it's a good start.

Happy gaming!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Frostgrave: The Night Before

The icy wind rattled the old knight's armor, and Amuron Owlkey looked his brother's way. Though almost ten years his senior and grey of beard, Amuron knew Hadrian's slouch was not one of frailty but of thoughtfulness. Sitting on a frost-bitten log, the knight sat staring into the fire, his blue-grey hood drawn up over his head. Nearby, Hadrian's sword lay next to him on the log and out of the snow. Snow which covered every tree, rock and inch of ground in the clearing they had chosen to camp in.

Amuron chuckled softly. Hadrian had always been the sensible one, the disciplined one. No one had been surprised when he had taken up the knightly order. He was a natural protector and Amuron admired that about his brother. It would also be something he would rely on very soon.

By contrast, there was nearly shock when Amuron enrolled in the colleges of magic. He had not taken it personally, since he knew his own impetuousness, his impatience and his quick (though short-lived) temper. But now, nearly thirty years later, he sat an accomplished wizard. In the snow. Staring at his brother.

Noticing Amuron's gaze, Hadrian shifted. He glowered out of his hood.

"Is something amusing?" he growled.

The wizard chuckled again, realizing he had heard him the first time. Amuron smiled broadly.

"You look cold. And troubled, brother."

Hadrian glowered harder, if that were possible, and pulled back his hood. The fire cast an orange glow over his snowy hair, almost returning it to the flaming red of his youth. Combined with his still-strong frame, he almost looked thirty again.

"Is she going to be warm enough?" Hadrian said, cocking his head in the direction of Amuron's apprentice. Elizabelle was setting up her tent, struggling a bit to get it raised. Though a few of the other men offered to help her, she refused. She was stronger than she looked. And she also looked very under-dressed, with her bare legs and low-cut tunic. Amuron chuckled again, knowing that was the provocation for his brother's comment.

"She knows the warmth charm as well as I do at this point," he said, smiling. "And it works very well. You aren't cold, are you?"

Hadrian stiffened at the implication. "No, I am not cold. I just don't know why you would bring this girl out here."

Amuron put on an exaggerated leer and leaned in toward his brother. "She has her uses."

The look on the old knight's face was priceless and the wizard nearly doubled over, his laughter echoing through the snow-covered rocks and trees. A few of the men looked their direction. Elizabelle still struggled with her tent, well used to her master's boisterous nature. When he finally recovered, he shook his head, smiling still.

"You know me better than that, Sir Owlkey. She is here because I will need her help and because first-hand experience is the best teacher. Those spells of hers will do her no good locked up in my tower. And she is harder than she appears."

Too hard, in Amuron's opinion, though she had right to be. When he had found her, it had been at the side of the road near-dead, with a good portion of her face burned by the thugs who had assaulted her. He had done the best he could to heal her, but healing was never his strong suit, and the scars remained. The wizard returned her to her farm, where her father promptly turned her out because she would never marry. So Amuron took her in, and so far he could not have asked for a brighter, more capable apprentice.

"We have done a fine job assessing who is cold and who is not," the wizard continued, "But you have still not told me what troubles you."

Hadrian's features returned to his glower. "I am not troubled," he grumbled out, "I am concerned. Felstadt is no place for grown men, let alone a girl of barely nineteen. Many wizards have entered the frozen city. Few have returned. Fewer still have returned unchanged. It is a dangerous place. I do not know if even I can protect you there."

Amuron's smile tightened, then drooped. "Having second thoughts about leaving the order?"

Hadrian's face softened, and it was his turn to smile, if slightly sadly. "No. The order can get by without me. The bonds of blood are stronger than any vow. Besides, what kind of brother would I be if I let you get eviscerated by demons?"

Amuron laughed again, stroking his thick brown beard. "Let us hope that most of the stories are exaggerated. I've seen demons at the colleges. They are not pretty. Well, some are, but they are the most dangerous ones. In any case, I think we will find more danger in other wizards."

"That is true," the knight agreed. "Avarice is always a dangerous thing. I still do not understand why you must go into the ruins. Gold and ambition have never appealed to you. Why are you risking your life in Frostgrave for scrolls and trinkets?"

Amuron turned thoughtful and it was his turn to stare into the fire. "I'm not," he said, his voice low and hushed, "They think I am." He waved a hand toward the handful of men he had brought with him. They were hard men. Strong men. Men motivated by wealth and the willingness to fight for it.

"That is another thing," said Hadrian "Can you trust these men? They are warriors, yes. But they are also thieves. Murderers. Blaggards. They could turn on you out there in the ruins."

The wizard smiled again. "Trust them? Not completely, no. But they are loyal. More than a few of them owe me their lives. Others owe me debts in other ways. And they know I fulfill my promises. I don't need to trust them. They trust me."

Hadrian scowled again and Amuron laughed. "Besides, if it goes south, well, I am a wizard after all."

"You can't cast spells in your sleep," Hadrian growled, "Unless you have a charm against slit throats. But you still have not answered me. What are you looking for?"

The wizard looked into his eyes, an uncommon seriousness settling over him. "I don't know. Ever since the snows receded and the city rediscovered, wizards and treasure seekers have been braving the dangers there. The promise of gold and glory is enough for any man, and the knowledge there priceless for any mage. It is no surprise that some test their luck and risk their lives."

Amuron shifted, looking back into the flames. "But I think there is more to it. I think something is drawing those with magic there. More and more wizards are flocking to the ruins. I don't think they really know why they are going anymore. Something is pulling it. I want to know what that is."

The knight nodded. "Then, whatever it is, you are playing right into it's hands."

Amuron chuckled again. "Maybe so. For now we should get some rest. We will reach the outskirts of the city by early morning. Sleep well, brother."

The wizard stood, shaking some of the snow from his cloak and robes and began walking toward the camp proper. Elizabelle had finally raised her tent, and he intended to do the same to his, only with a little magical help. He looked back at his brother brooding into the fire, smiled then kept walking, hoping he had not doomed them all.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Brother In Arms

I am a huge fan of Hasslefree Miniatures. Every one of their sculpts oozes character and charm. I also believe they produce some of the finest female forms in the business. I have painted their cultists for Strange Aeons (among other things) and little Hayden the slayer for dungeon crawling. 

This past Christmas I received a copy of their Sir Olwyn mini. I love the way he looks wise and devout, a perfect experienced mentor knight. Truly one of my favorite figures Hasslefree produces. I had plans on using him as a PC for Pathfinder and had primed him up, but then never got around to painting him. Then I found Frostgrave and realized I had a perfect templar ready to go.

Meet Hadrian Owlkey, elder brother to my wizard, Amuron Owlkey.

Hadrian protects his brother among the frozen ruins of Frostgrave, even having renounced his knightly order to follow him on his mysterious quest. Hadrian isn't privy to all of Amuron's secrets, but trusts his brother implicitly. Is his trust well placed? We shall see.

Templars are expensive, so they may not be the best choice starting out, but damn does he make for a pretty model on the table.

Of course my camera refuses to pick up the highlighting on the cloak but I assure you it is there. You can see that I've based him differently than my construct, having gone for a dead grass look that I think I favor over the green in the dead, frozen wasteland that is Frostgrave. I may go back and rebase the construct so he matches the rest of my warband going forward.

Speaking of frozen wasteland, I have decided that I will end up getting a Frostgrave specific mat at some point when I'm feeling rich. I want one of Frontline Gaming's Alpine mats because I think it looks perfect and I'm leaning toward 4'x4' for my games. Plus the size would ensure the mat gets used for things like 40K as well, so it's not to tied to one system.

In the interim, I went to the local fabric store and picked up a yard of white fleece to use as a 3'x3' mat.

It's a little stark, but it does the trick and was less than six bucks. Really a bargain you can't beat. I'm also starting to look into some extra ruins to bulk out my Frostgrave. I'd rather not have to cast Fog all the time, so having some extra places to hide would be great.

Anway, that's all for now. Happy gaming!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Forays Into Frostgrave

I love skirmish gaming. I used to play Mordheim. I'm a huge fan of Song of Blades and Heroes. So I'm always on the lookout for new skirmish possibilities, and it's no surprise that I have run across Frostgrave in my internet travels. It had piqued my interest, but I hadn't taken the plunge recently until some players at my local game store started buying books and kind of forming a group. Not to be left out, I also bought a book and so far I'm hooked.

For those not yet in the know, Frostgrave is about a ruined, snowbound city filled with the treasures of a former magical empire. Each player gets a wizard, who hires a warband to travel into these ruins and find gold, magic weapons and spellbooks for glory and gain. These wizards then fight in amazing wizard battles while their minions hoof it with the loot.

Like this, but with snow.

There are several different classes of wizard, like blasty Elementalists and evil Necromancers, but I went with an Enchanter. I did this for one simple reason: I can make golems. Of course there's the added benefit of being able to move treasures around and make magic items, but really it's all about the golems. 

Now, most people start with painting their wizard and maybe their apprentice first. Not me. I want a big stompy golem and I want it now. So I looked through my piles of miniatures and had a minor brain storm. I grabbed one of these:

I used to buy a ton of D&D minis back in the day, so I have several of these goofy, Ben-Grimm-looking assholes taking up space in a box. A little cutting, gluing and painting later and I have this monstrous beauty:

I wanted him to look less like a constructed beast and more like something dredged up from the ruins of Frostgrave on the fly. Hence the books and broken weapons. I also filled the gaps with my basing gel to make it look like he's held together with dirt in certain places, and a little static grass helps with that effect.

I'm really proud of him and he makes a great wall to block line of sight to my wizard and put the hurt on people who come to near.

Speaking of line of sight, I kinda noticed in my first (and only so far) game that ranged weapons are fucking awesome. So awesome in fact that I lost my whole warband and decided to start over from scratch. I also made the decision that I wanted to stop getting shot. To that end, I took the spell Fog, which makes 6" long, 3" high, 1" wide walls of you-can't-see-me that linger on the battlefield. 

Since I needed something to represent these but didn't want to get too fancy or expensive, I made these:

They are simply strips of thin card with a fog pattern printed on them, plus a couple of mini walls to help judge line of sight if there's any question that a model could be seen across them.

Simple, effective and if I find I need more fog I can just cut out more strips. No getting shot in the face for me.

Even though I got thoroughly housed and I have a couple misgivings with the ruleset (but that's a post for another time) I am still excited to get playing in earnest. The warband is small, so I'm hoping to get it done relatively quickly by my standards. 

If not, well at least my golem looks pretty.

Happy gaming!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Meow! HissssBOOM!

I have been a big fan of The Oatmeal for a while now. His style of humor just seems to mesh with my own in delightful ways. His sense of weird and truth (and weird truthyness) are everything I look for in comedy. And it doesn't hurt that his art is hilariously adorable. He is accurate about dogs, as well as cats and even grammar in a way mere mortals can only dream of being.

I guess you could say I like his work alot.

So when I heard that The Oatmeal was making a GAME on Kickstarter, I was intrigued. When I heard it involved kittens exploding, I pledged immediately. A lot of other people did too. In fact, people threw about 8 MILLION DOLLARS at him for the chance to meet their end via combustible feline.

The Oatmeal and his companions, Elan Lee and Shane Small, also did something that very few Kickstarter projects have achieved (especially one of this size): They delivered on time. They promised to ship in July, they shipped at the end of July and it just so happens that a few days ago I received my pledge. And now I'm here to share that with you.

A small blue box arrived with an adorable kitten and some big white letters on it.

I was mildly confused because it said it was shipped by Blackbox.

This box is blue. Not black. I expect better, dear sirs. I expect better. Luckily it got better. In fact, I received the best packing slip I have gotten in any package ever, and I doubt ever will again.

In fact all of the inserted paper materials have a delightful sense of whimsy about them.

Inside this blue (not black) box were two more boxes: My regular edition of Exploding Kittens and the NSFW edition.

A lot of fuss was made about the fact that a special addition was going to be made to the box, something that would surprise and delight us. At least in my case, they were correct. I could tell you what it is, but I think showing you would be better.


I spent a fair amount of time just opening the lid and giggling. I won't tell you exactly how much time, but I assure you it was inordinate and mildly disturbing.

Inside, of course, is the regular Exploding Kittens deck, a slot for a second deck and a little folded page of rules.

Lifting up the deck shows off the bottom, which has some lovely art of a litter box.

Lets not forget that I also got the NSFW Deck as well. The box is nice, but the deck will be going into that extra slot in the regular box for sure. It doesn't even have any cool art inside, just a plastic insert.

As for the game itself, well, it is not deep. Each player gets some cards, which do stuff and every turn each player can play those cards, then draw a card from the deck. If it is an Exploding Kitten and you don't have a Defuse card, you blow up and are out of the game. Last player standing wins. There are a couple extra rules, but that's the core of the game.

I will end this little unboxing with a selection of my favorite cards, first from the normal deck:

And then from the NSFW deck:

By the way, Smoke Crack With A Baby Owl is my favorite card. Of all time. In any game.

That's all for now! Happy gaming!