Friday, 30 December 2011

Back-Seat Gaming

Yesterday a few of the boys dropped round for an afternoon and evening of general nerdiness.

Big Rob and Mr Christian were first through the door and after various bits of chatter we found ourselves playing through a bit of Skyrim, an x-mas present to myself!

What was me playing under their advice Rob having played previous editions of The Elder Scrolls, unlike myself, and both of my compatriots seasoned WoWers, unlike myself once again.

Slightly Big Bang style Mr C was browsing the net for forum and wiki advice to fuel our three way voyage of discovery. The depths of my ignorance were quickly plumbed, they are deep!

Throughout there were many cries of "Heal! Heal!" and various other such advices that I'm sure that the majority of us have received and proffered at various times during our

This set me to thinking that back-seat gaming comes in many forms but tends to only ever be either genuine advice or one-up-manship especially in the virtual forum....and forums! Unfortunately the latter seems to be more prevalent than the former.

Roleplaying, as a group activity, is an obvious breeding ground, as such, given that even the best groups will plan things on the fly out of character and remind each other of various required actions, especially as each group will have its natural leader and pecking order.

Once Stewart rolled in we cracked out War On Terror followed by a bit of Munchkin Impossible. Stewart hadn't played either and it was only WOT's 4th ever outing so it was Learn With Mother for a turn or three. Another example?
Back at WOT, Mr C went aggressive as early as possible, nuking Stewart on turn 2, and as such setting himself up as Target 1. With the other 3 of us playing nicely we actually got our first proper win out of WOT on Liberation Points. I came close building up through the lower, more minor, continents only to be hauled down allowing Rob to steal in by controlling Asia, always difficult in RISK, and maxing out on cities.

Lots of group feedback and game strategy chat as we played through as we all learnt together, finding out a good few things that we had previously been doing wrong along the way.

Back-seat gaming?

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Sunday Worship

Hallelujah!! I've finally finished St Peytersburg's first house of worship, hopefully to stand and serve the residents ecumenical needs for many years, decades and genres to come!

Somwwthing of an off and on project, and scratchbuilt to boot, I reckon its worth at least a Land Raider. 12 PPs? Lets call it 13 just to be sacriligous on today of all days.

Happy holidays...pagan or otherwise :)

Swords to Ploughshares??

Stuart dropped round Friday night and before you knew it we'd played through 3 or so hours of Fantasy Flight's Warhammer Invasion. The phrase I kept on using was "Just one more game"!

I've blogged about how much I've enjoyed playing this game previously. My second proper session just drove home the subtlety of the varied strategies and tactics within the game, each faction and even each deck. I'm sold!

As such I've re-found my motivation to paint-up and sell-off the last of my WH Orcs and reinvest in WI Orcs and Gobs....Chaos...Empire....and a game the I WILL actually play and WILL enjoy. I'll likely have some change as well :)

Merry Chrimble!
This lot shall be painted and sold.... purchase a fair old lump of this!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Rat Stat Attack

Tuesday night the Enfield Gamers played throught he final round of the Mordheim wilderness campaign, the Grimoire of Grunburg and it was time for the ANCIENT RITUAL to locate the Grimoire.

My Orcs were in the driving seat having gained possession of the relevant old hermit who knew too much and Ed's Skaven were the obvious protagonists being the campaign's top ranked warband by some margin.
Turn 1
With an odd number of players the Orcs employed Jon's Possessed band and their shaman to conduct the ANCIENT RITUAL, as the Orc shaman didn’t understand anything non fungal, whilst the Skaven attempted to stop them or even hijack the ANCIENT RITUAL via a Hold the Find scenario.

Everyone else played linked games feeding into the final result. In short the Skaven overwhelmed us in 4 turns taking out both the possessed and orc shamans just as the ANCIENT RITUAL was reaching its conclusion and as such were able to complete the ritual and claim the Grimoire of Grunwald.
Turn 2
Highlights included Ed taking out 7 of our combined number before we even got a turn and my troll ALMOST taking down the frenzied death-sword wielding Skaven sorcerer by vomiting on him repeatedly and making disgusting number of regeneration rolls. It was actually fairly close ritual wise, Jon just needed to roll a 5 plus in our final turn to complet the ANCIENT RITUAL but his shaman got pinned to the back of the troll by a critical spear hit and it was all to much for him!

I'd set it all up using the relevant warband ratings which are, like any such systemm far from infallible. The rating takes most things into account, equipment through cost, skills via experience. What it CAN'T take into account, no whinge implied, is well worked combinations.
Turn 3
Ed's sorceror has been a campaign wide terror with access to the Black Fury spell being frenzied with a pair of +1 swords and the support of a Witch to potentially Scry him D3 re-roll.

His warband also totes a number of lucky charm re-rolls helping exploration. Again, no whinge just a very well managed warband, the experience to know the combos that he wants to set up and then doing it. Good dice are less necessary at that point :)

You can use statistics to prove anything you like.....74% of people know that one :)

What the skaven now do with the Grimoire and any attempt by THE COUNT to reclaim it, he did stitch the Skaven up on this one, could be played out sometime next year if we fancied another campaign. Thanks to all who took part, I really enjoyed running it though I would definately keep things a bit simpler next time round though!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Whether the Weather

Brace yourself it's ANOTHER post where I've actually painted least partially.

Having sprayed St Peytersburg's church brown and then drift-sprayed it white I was wanting to dirty it up a bit and as such out came a virgin pot of Devlan Brown and a distinctly less than virgin brush. I targeted eves, windows, nooks, crannies and areas of obvious run off. Having dappled one in three of the roof slates I'd previously performed the same process with a mix of blue, purple and black wash.

This gave me a VERY worn and dilapidated church that looked like The Munsters had moved in!
Moving on I first drybrushed a highlight of Bleached Bone, including the rooves, to give some warm and wear before moving onto Space Wolf Grey and and dusting of Skull White staying away from edges of certain areas to leave more wear at the edges and at ground level.

Overall I'm very pleased, especially as it's been a while since I've tried my hand at this. Some of the windows need a little bit of work, as does the front some metalwork and the interior but I think that I've achieved a sort of weather worn feel of understated detail. Just what I was looking for in fact.
With a few weeknights available to me this week I reckon I can get the whole thing wrapped up by Chrimble (Ho, Ho, Ho!) before more distractions are unwrapped to test my Orc painting resolve, which has pretty much crumbled entirely.

Meanwhile, for something relatively similar please feel free to check out the WIP page.

Jingle Bells, Batman smell, Robin laid and egg............ 

Friday, 16 December 2011

It's what he would have wanted!

It's one of those little issues relatively particular to roleplay groups; How many players have to be missing for the group not to play?

For us the rule of thumb is that if two or more of our number can't make it then we scrub the session, maybe just cracking out a board or card game.

A couple of weeks ago lurgy and work commitments meant that we scrubbed. This week Charlie had the lurgy but everyone else was good to go so we got the session in.

Looking to finish off the Deadlands intro scenario we've been playing through I ended up "looking after" Chaz's character Doc Lightning; mad engineer with lightening gun and voices in his head!

Something of a responsibility that I'm sure that many of us have shoulder over the sessions and once the standard "first through the doors" and wind up texts had been dealt with it was down to business. In all honesty it wasn't too difficult a task as we've all been playing together long enough to know each others' default responses and traits fairly well.

This, quite obviously, hasn't always been the case and I'm sure that any group would work to manage the situation as best as they can. We always look to minimise the use of a missing character. Thankfully I've never been in a group where someone's missed a session only to return to find their character horribly messed up. Again, a decision for each group to take themselves.
Picking the adventure thread back up we went back to chasing after our recently identified sabatoeur abnd after almost commiting the ultimate sin of SPLITTING THE PARTY we spent a while employing investigative guile and intelligence. Not too much for me to cover there really :)
Moving on to the final showdown things got a bit busier for me, especially as we each  suddenly had an ally / hired hand type to look after. So that's Doc Lightning and TWO blatant red shirtsto look after then....
Temptation or what!?

Aforementioned showdown involved a horde-ette of zombie lumberjacks around a cart-load of high flammable ghost-rock. So....acting as Doc L / Charlie would have I lightning-blasted said cart-load of high flammable ghost-rock at the earliest opportunity.
The result was, without a SINGLE roll made by the DM, the horses pulling said cart-load of high flammable ghost-rock spooked careering into the forest which spontaneously set itself alight. More importantly this was all a result of Doc L / Charlie's action, or what would have been, so wasn't MY fault in the slightest. It also gave me something to do while may character took a photo of the action and then ran off for help.........heroically :)

Elsewhere, we took care of the zombies and marshalled the un-undead lumberjacks to cut enough fire-breaks to prevent the CLEARING OF EVIL being touched, which would have released the evil spirit, before the Weird West MIB turned up to designate the whole wood a national park and protected from logging.

The 'Injuns will be pleased!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Back in the Saddle

Well EVENTUALLY a post that involves some actual painting!

Over a number of recent evenings I've resurrected a very old painting technique to get the camo done on the Gunship. Previously I would have used a tank brush and freehanded it on but I wondered if the blu-tak method would get me better and or quicker results.

Quicker? Definitely not, though I was brushing and then dry-brushing each stage before moving on with plenty of drying time allowed. Possibly quicker if you used an airbrush but just applying the B-T seemed to take forever, though I was generally sat in front of the telly with a head-cold for company.

I get the feeling this was also something to do with the scale of the vehicle. On a 15mm version I'm sure the task wouldn't have been nearly so arduous but hey there are far worse things that I waste time on.......

Better? As I first started the peeling process I was initially quite disappointed. I felt that the finish wasn't great and that maybe I'd got the blob proportions wrong. The more that came off the happier I thankfully became. There are some little ridges between colours that I didn't expect, brush vs spray, and close up its just not that clean a finish BUT as an overall effect I feel its pretty much what I was looking for.

I have to remember which painting stage its at! I'm sure that shade, highlight, decals and weathering will have a big effect. With the amount of time put in it just feels like everything should be further along.

The belly and undersides of the wings will be painted light grey and I need to replace the laser barrels with pins at the least. Being very thin plastic I broke the one at the rear and then chopped the rest as it would just be a matter of time otherwise. I'm halfway tempted to pick up some Forge-World bits including some missile pods but that would probably triple or quadruple the total kit cost. date, points for effort but none yet that count :)

Friday, 9 December 2011

Grim Reading?

Skull Bra?
Tuesday night saw the penultimate round of the Mordheim campaign.

Making a change it was randomly generated one on one games, simple as you like, with two rounds squeezed in. All the results were anonymously allocated to the two leading factions to set up next sessions finale.

Tallying up, my Orc Warband will attempt to perform the ARCANE RITUAL to secure The Grimoire of Grunburg.

So back to the phrase "simple as you like". In all honesty it hasn't always been that way and at time it has detracted a touch to the point where I have to take various steps to try and redress the odd imbalance.

Revisiting the original format it was for one standard one-on-one game and then a multi-player "pit-fight" with reduced warbands. The pit-fights provided double experience and extra cash.

The idea was that this would guarantee two different games a night and allow warbands to develop and progress quicker across the 6 campaign sessions available. What actually happened was that 3 of the 10 warbands, including mine, pulling of mini runs of good early results established an early dominance that then restricted the other guys.

I suppose this can often be a risk with a more narrative campaign, though on the flip-side it does leave you with more room for manoeuvre, but I feel like I tried a little too much. The pit-fights weren't any quicker than a standard game, as Tuesday proved, and often left someone with less of a game.
HOT-dogs! Get you're fresh HOT-dogs!

Now admittedly this could all have been avoided by playtesting.....several weeks worth probably or just by limiting one's ambition but .....who would honestly have done any of that?

Experience is the only thing that would have avoided the, thankfully, rather minor problems that were unintentionally caused. As far as I'm aware nobody playing had a horrific time of it  and  much fun and hilarity was generated. But it goes to show that KISS is often a good starting point.

Keep It Simple Stupid!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

It's a MINI adventure!

I dropped round to Rich's yesterday afternoon for a couple of games of Warlord's SAGA suitably converted for 15mm Samurai prior to Rich's mini-campaign at the club.

As per usual I'm not going to offer an in-depth review of SAGA, as I'm sure a quick google search will give you plenty to choose from, but, as per usual, offer a more impressionistic view. A few more of these and maybe I can refer to them as being trademark?

Having spent 45 mins or so watching a demo game at Warfare I'd found the battle-board element an interesting take on resource management but in all honesty, as a observer with no knowledge of the game, I felt that there was lot going on for "just" a skirmish game. It probably didn't help that it was, quite rightly for a demo game, a simple "kill the warlord" scenario.

Having played through twice, I'm fairly convinced that SAGA isn't really a skirmish game and definitely not "just" another game at all. The battle-board is quite simply inspired and is almost a game in itself, its mastery is surely the key to the game.

The rest of the game mechanic is pretty simple other than Fatigue, which is another mini blinder. Each time a unit fights a combat and / or performs an action past the first it gains a point of Fatigue. Fatigue can be spent by your opponent to reduce your defence or raise his, though you can Rest a unit, as an action to drop them.

First game was learning, thus "kill the warlord, whilst for the second I chose the one where one side ambushes the others baggage train who are attempting to cross the board, I forget the name, as a deliberate attempt to push those rules within my tenuous grasp. All worked intuitively. Good stuff.
SO....back at my main point it didn't feel like a skirmish game. A standard 6pt game is six UNITS which, unless I've missed a bit, adhere to coherency. To ME that's not a skirmish game, though thats not a criticism of the game at all. To ME it feels much more like a medium sized game of Warhammer, historical or otherwise, .........but much, much, much, MUCH...better!
Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, its off to battle we go!
5s required to hit!
None shall pass!

The baggage goes by a more circuitous route....

Friday, 2 December 2011

Zom-Heim 1.1

Stuart dropped round on Tuesday night for another run out for Zom-Heim and a few games of Fantasy Flight's Living Card Game Warhammer Invasion.

This time with Z-H we used a deck of cards for activation / initiative, mainly as I'd remembered to find a deck. It worked just as well as we remembered, though in honesty not really better than a D6, and added the little touch of tension that I was looking for to give the feel of the horror genre.

I ran out the Undead zombie horde again, though this time limited to a LEGAL 15 figures, of a vampire, necromancer, dreg and a dozen shamblers to check the balance.

Running out against them was a Witch Hunter list representing the local nobility and their tenants consisting of maxed out heroes, inc priest, all toting sword and braces of pistols plus 7 zealots with bows and hammers as yokels with worn out muskets and staves.

Two games and one win a piece, playing both sides I lost twice (as gracious host obviously). Between games I had a blinding idea to balance costs as continuing at 600 GC as the Undead were under pointed. Basically, spend the extra cash on stat upgrades for the heroes. We gave this a go for the second game and it wasn't overpowered.

Now I just need to work through some more lists and look at national characteristics. 1.2 shouldn't be too far away :)

We also ran through four games of Warhammer Invasion which were games 2 to 5 for me. I played Magic many years ago and had a quick look again a few months ago but didn't for a number of reasons. Hardly an objective review but I LIKE WI.

Nice bit of resource management and plenty of different strategies sat on top of a deceptively simple mechanic. You also get your junkie hit of GW lustrous imagery and background without having to invest a small fortune and hundreds of brush hours only to be let down by the actual game and a number of its players. Just my tuppence you understand ;)

Another possible distraction!
We got a great big Zom-voy!
Child labour? Witch Hunter vs Dreg
The Battle for the Bacon
Diving charge gone horribly, horribly wrong!
Welcome to St Peytersburg
The town welcome commitee turn out....
....only to become a light snack!