Wednesday, 25 April 2012

It's a Kind of Magic?

Not been to much going on recently other than having the lurgy for the last few days.

I also didn't got to Salute on Saturday which was entirely planned. I did go last year and despite shedding about a ton from from my wallet the main thing I came away with was a lot of inspiration.

Inspiration is such a bid deal in this hobby and the cause of pretty much every lead / pewter / plastic / resin mountain in the world. All of us can sit round the dice and tell tales of ludicrous projects purchased half-preped and then utterly abandoned.

It just occurs to me that these days where you find that inspiration is more and more web based.

As part of my regular weekday morning warm-up I'm sat there with a coffee and have a quick browse round a few bookmarked sites including Tabletop Gaming News and The Miniatures Page. The bits that grab my attention I'll come back to have a longer look at later.

Two examples of my virtual travels are here;  

I've heard various recommendations for Muskets and Tomahawks as Studio Tomahawk are the same guys that have brought SAGA to the UK tabletop.

I'm a big fan of AWI skirmish and a recent convert to SAGA and it could work well for St Peytersburg which has definitely become a rather lapsed project. Something of a more traditional find. 

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Telling Tales

Tuesday night down at the Enfield Gamers Rich J kicked off our Fantasy SAGA campaign. A deceptively simple premise of various Fantasy forces matched to one of SAGA's ever expanding range of battle-boards it all worked very well indeed. Bolted onto a campaign system for the collection of Reknown and ability enhancing Torcs (arm-rings) I can see us playing more than happily for the next couple of months.

At the last moment I mashed together a force of Orcs based on the Anglo-Saxon board to take on Ian's Norse based Dwarves. The tweak for Ian was moving at shorts versus and extra point of armour as befitted his beard-bound brethren.
We had a really good game from which I snatched a draw from the jaws of victory in the last couple of turns. Making the early running with my Hearthgaurd heavy heathens I deliberately avoided his elite lads and ganged up on his regulars making subsequent assaults wherever possible to break his heavier armour.
A few turns in and everything had gone to plan and I'd wiped out a couple of Dwarven units to reduce his SAGA dice but this was Ian, he of the jammy dice, and a couple of superior sets of SAGA dice saw him tear back into me with his elite whilst my lads were all carrying the odd bit of fatigue!
At the last went Warlord-a-Warlord with Ian toting the more experienced support and far less fatigue. Running things VERY close with the final dice he just managed to fell my lad Gonk for a very bloody draw and a smattering of Renown on both sides.

Post battle paper-work was simple enough and whilst Ian was just ahead in the bragging stakes neither of us took any proper hammer with just a couple of warriors on each side needing to rest up for a bit. All a bit handbags at dawn then!
Two things stood out for me on the evening;
1. Despite have played a few games previously SAGA really "clicked" for me. Possibly because myself an Ian are still both relatively new to the game but its intuitive nature really came to the fore. Must be some little bits we missed but no need even for a quick play sheet and a far deeper appreciation of the SAGA dice and battle-board dynamic. Two thumbs up :)

2. The individual battle-boards themselves. Throughout the game I found myself bundling in as the aggressor and then using the defensive nature of the Anglo-Saxon board to shield myself. The more aggressive nature of the Viking board allowed Ian to smash through that shield-wall. If anything it felt like we had what should have been each other's Battle-Board.
Now this was all down to me as I hadn't played any practise games when offered or paid to much attention at all to be honest. Something to most definitely remedied as previously I'd found SAGA pleasant by innocuous. Now I'm quite the convert and wondering what else it can do era / genre wise!

I'd also borrowed Stewart's LOTR Uruks and Goblins as I'd picked up the wrong carry case when leaving home. I really enjoyed playing with them, they really seemed to fit the theme of SAGA rather than other more steriod induced offerings from elsewhere.

Having painted and sold so many so many years ago I'm really temtped to sort out some more :)
My name's Steve and I'm a WARGAMER! :)

Monday, 16 April 2012

Steady as She Goes

Brace for Impact, Baton Down the Hatches, Prepare to Repel Borders and other such phrases for after many weeks of abject failure to do so I have FINALLY applied paint to a figure :)

Not much I'll grant you but SOME at least and while I was at it I've tried out a couple of GW's latest water based offerings on a couple of Spartan's water based offerings.

Continuing the rather tenuous theme I was in Bluewater over the weekend and dropped into GW to have a chat about and pick up a couple of the new paints for this specific purpose. The guys in there were happy to chat and set me up to have a go with the base layer white and also the new dry compounds.

Two quick coats of base white went over black impressively well though I was less impressed with the dry compound as my Boy in Blue still had to wipe most of his load (ahem!) off the brush which seemed self defeating.

Making my excuses I quickly picked up a couple of seemingly relevant bases and layers along with a blue and purple / violet shade and disappeared off with the missus before I let on TOO MUCH! (no need for me to explain I'm sure)
So over Saturday evening I sprayed my frigates and subs white and applied a liberal coat of Drakenhof Nightshade and watched with interest. Initial coverage seemed pretty good but coming back Sunday I was disappointed that some of the finer detail hadn't been filled at all.

Going back over these little voids the neat shade seemed to have a little too much surface tension for the task at hand so a touch of water was called for. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure that it should have been :/
Steaming along last night (apologies, couldn't resist) I drybrushed up through a couple of blue-grays before flattening out and finishing off with a drybrush of base white, Ceramite White. That I was far more impressed with as it gave a good solid colour very easily.

For context I've basecoated in a light wooden deck and the tricholore funnels that I wanted to try out. Fairly happy so far, just need to sort out remaining detail and get on a bit of magic Devlan Mud to some areas at least.
Still not sure quite how WHITE I want the hulls and superstructure to but one thing at a time. Slowly, slowly, catchy surrender-monkey :)

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Game Over Man, GAME OVER!!!

Tuesday night down at the Enfield Gamers saw the final round of the Necromunda campaign.

With the Easter holidays in full effect four of us played out the chase for Castellan Locke in the Space-Munda confines of the sub-hive maintenance tunnels. With just 3 gangers a piece and the Flickering Lights it was always going to be a tight game but.....

Locke, knowing his fate as he continued down the corridor bleeding, finally sank to the floor, his old bones knowing their end. Loading his last clip into his pistol he aimed into the shadows and waited. As the gangers closed in on his location, shooting could be heard throughout the tunnels, especially the telling sounds of flame throwers.

Then, from out of the shadows they pounced, first an escher - Locke's shot not hitting its target, he was too weary, but he still had his chainsword to use.. The old man swung at the escher, her aim particularly bad he noticed, but it wasn't enough.. his own lights fading as the final blow was struck..

His final comfort found in the yells and screams of the gangers.. 'Stealers!' ... he knew they didnt stand a chance, the cube was safe..

In short we blew just enough chunks out of each other to then allow the randomly generated 'Stealers to overwhelm us just as we all started thinking about a truce! Stewart's Escher got to Locke first but were gunned down by the remains of my Van Saar and Lewis' Goliath who soon became 'Stealer-bait.

Jon's Cawdor featured two hired guns, an Enforcer and a Bounty Hunter who soon went "independent" after I repeatedly hosed them with promethium to roast his one remaining ganger. The Enforcer was an absolute beast with T5, Carapace Armour and a Suppression Shield but though he fought his way to the cube he couldn't fight off a trio of xenos......

So, not quite the final result we expected but an entertaining final game to an excellently narrative campaign. Many thanks to Lewis for all his efforts!
Return to Space-Munda

Enter the 'Stealers = Escher flee!

Flamer 1.....
Flamer 2.....

Closing in on Locke and the Data-Cube

Get some! Get some!

All vs All vs 'Stealers

Final throes

Close Encounters of the Xenos kind


Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Reading about Watching Pain Dry :)

Not that I've been using much of it recently but I've been keeping an interested eye on the various virtual feedback on GW's recently released new paint range.

145 different pots is quite an expansion especially as you now have an apparent Foundry-esque base and layer system along with the return of glazes plus dry compound, textures and a few technicals.

Ignoring the obvious frothers on both sides of the divide I've found a particularly useful REVIEW, along with some other commentary, here at Staly's Tale of Painters blog which is quite a find in itself!

All seems pretty balanced comment wise and makes relevant points that I as a, vaguely lapsing, painter am interested to hear. Bit of a shame that they don't seem to have made as much as they could have of the potential layer system but I've never had a problem mixing paints and its even less of an issue now that I'm a fully fledged skirmish boy.

The base paints interest me the most as the successors to the foundation range. Apparently they're a bit thinner but I always thinned mine a touch anyway and there's now 34 of them from the previous 18 including black, white and metallics.

As I'm looking to go blue-shaded white with the DW French the white base seems like a no-brainer. On that note a quick nod to Spartan for super-quick missing parts replacement despite me ordering from Maelstrom, very impressive and gratefully received service.

Now I have no excuses except for my hectic (semi-nerd) social life / lack of motivation (delete as applicable). Who knew being a geek was quite so complex??

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

No yolk


As I've recently bemoaned I simply haven't had any brush time or motivation recently. Last month was a big fat zero for painting points, which is the first time ever. Bit bothered but not massively.

So, not that I'm grasping at straws or anything but here are a couple of painted eggs, actual eggs that is, that I sorted out for the missus. Not claiming any PPs but it was an interesting experience / process.

Having painted many, many figures of varying scale and size I was fairly confident of doing a good job. A quick spray and base of foundation colour was easy enough followed by a bit of masking tape for striping was easy enough but getting sharp, straight lines was rather difficult. Probably because figures already have them for you to follow I suppose.

With figures I'm less than great with flat detail and free handing designs but struggling halfway through the project this proved to be my saviour. I had tried various stickers, transfers and sharpie markers but they just weren't working so with little option it was freehand time only to amaze myself with the results.

Hard to explain the reversal of what I thought would be easy / difficult but I'm guessing that its all to do with the size / scale involved. Interesting......inspirational almost :)

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Vive La Diff-er-ence II

So to finish off  a mammoth week of gaming Stewart dropped round on Sunday night for a first run-out (steam-out?) with Dystopian Wars.

Having played Uncharted Seas rather heavily sometime ago I was more than happy with the mechanics of the game and was more interested in what had been added. Having been run through a game of DW a while ago I was aware of some the extras but not all.

To keep things simple we kept to fleet boxes, minus the tiny flyers, on the wide open seas of a Dreadfleet sheet with nothing to hide behind.

There are photos but I've somehow managed to loose the USB lead and I'm sure none of them aren't anything too special. Stewart's Brittanic fleet was fully painted, my French weren't even built though my set is missing pieces so that's some excuse at least!

So over multiple mugs of tea we discovered that there's a lot more going on with DW than US. Unsurprisingly there's quite a bit more but I didn't realise quite how much more mainly little things but all that add up.

Primary and secondary weapons was bigger than I thought especially when one vessel has multiple primaries and the ability to link fire between them. I found, about halfway through the game, that I needed to pay much more attention to what I was firing at who rather than just Ship A blats Ship B.

The new weapon types, torpedoes, rocket, mines etc are a nice variation on a well proven mechanic without being shattering along with various defensive generators and the like.

This along with the expanded flyer rules, from tiny to zeppelin sized, means that there's potentially a lot more going on. Hopefully not too much once I've played a few more games as I always liked US's simplicity.......or maybe it liked mine!

On that note in a couple of hours we only managed three and a bit turns and we weren't even playing with all the bells and whistles. nor were we playing with any cards which both of us forgot / were too tight to buy. Must get round to that as I remember that they add quite a bit to the game.

I was surprised that Morale suddenly featured but quite liked it once it was explained to me and put into practise. Between that and cards being generated per squadron I can already see various competing battle-tactics coming to mind!

Unsurprisingly I played tactics that I'd learnt in US and quickly discovered that though they translated across well enough I need to pay attention to the greater variations that have been added. I originally ignored Stewart's heavy flyers only to have them chase after and slowly decimate my battleship which was a lesson all in itself even if they did roll some consistently jammy dice.

So in brief more of the same but with more, several layers of more in fact and some particularly lovely models to boot. You can see how Spartan and the game itself have kicked on over the last few years. After initial scepticism I'm on the road to conversion.

Just need to get the replacement bits, then build and  paint the little buggers. I'm feeling a blue and white scheme coming on with a little bit tricholore for good's vaguely like sado-masochism via paintbrush :)

Monday, 2 April 2012

All in the cards??

Yesterday saw a SAGA campaign day down at the Enfield Gamers and with the sideroom available I ran a bit of an experimental Warhammer Invasion campaign day for those of us who weren't battling for domination of ye olde England.

I say experimental because I'd been wondering for a while if you could play a "traditional" Warhammer campaign with WI. As I believe that the game is Warhammer but better i was hoping that a campaign day would be the same. More than anything these were a couple of "converted" ideas that I'd had that I wanted to try out. I'm sure there's an official FF tourney pack somewhere on their site but that wasn't what I was interested in running, something far more fluffy thank you!

So, looking at two, potentially combing formats we played this;

1. Straight victory points. 1 point per point of capital damage scored upto a max of 8 per section, i.e. extra points dealt because of developments didn't count.

2. Order vs Destruction campaign. Play best of three games to capture a campaign location. Most campaign locations wins.

And here are the results;

Tournament scores

Campaign map

Lots of ways to analyse and score but here are the highlights;
- Charlie (Empire - Order) scored most victory points
- I (Chaos - Destruction) won all four campaign rounds and was the only undefeated army in that format
- Order won most campaign locations and triumphed over the forces of destruction
- Stewart (Lizardmen - Neutral) claimed the wooden spoon

So who claims best general, me or Charlie? He scored more points but I won all my rounds, all 2-1, including against Charlie himself. Does it matter?......probably not.

What was more important was that the concept feels proven and even with odd numbers and a couple of novice players it was all easily run and kept us fully engaged all day. Don't know that I could have manged 4 rounds of Warhammer in the same way!

Chatting things through afterwards there are plenty of options to run an actual campaign with, and plenty of interest to take part, which Stewart is keen to take forward possibly back to the Old Skool of a restricted deck / army list which gains options as you take territories. We shall see.

Personally I found no problem playing 12 games back to back with the same deck. By doing so I earmarked a number of cards that could be dropped as, apparently, expert players run near the 50 card minimum rather than the 70 we all seem to work from.

As an aside I also ended up ordering the next cycle of cards Saturday night. I wasn't going to you understand but then Maelstrom went for their 25% off clearance sale........

Slave to the darkness, so I am :)