Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Gaming resolutions

As it's New Year's Eve it seems popular for people to be blogging about resolutions for 2015 and because I'm a fairly lazy blogger I'm going to do the same.

1. The painting mountain
I've got a bit lazy with my painting this year.  If I think about it I've painted maybe 30 models?  A squad of Bolt Action Soviets and a fleet of Blazing Sun ships are all I can remember off the top of my head.  I've assembled an awful lot and even undercoated most of them but actual paint jobs? Not so much. 
Partly I think this is due to the change in setup I have in the new house.  Before, my painting stuff lived in the front room and I'd do an hour or so every evening which meant I got through quite a lot of stuff done.  Now it's in the back bedroom I have to go sit on my own to paint which isn't really something I want to do.  Now I've got the house to myself during the week I hope to get more done.

A typical lead mountain

The task list looks something like this:

* Soviet force
Maybe 50 troopers of varying kinds,  half a dozen guns and a tank.  Thankfully when this is done it will represent a decent sized army. It will probably keep expanding if Black Tree insist on having such good value sales - you can never have enough rifle men in a Soviet army.

* Malifaux Guild
The Guild are the faction I want to focus on this year.  I've got my Ortega crew,  some guardsmen and McMourning to paint before this project is finished. There is a good chance I'll end up picking up a few more models for this - the crew feels like it's missing a punchy centre piece,  I'm just not sure what the Guild version of teddy is yet...

* Protectorate of Menoth Warmachine
I assembled these yesterday and they were a mixed bag.  The resin went together well but the metals were a pain in the arse and reminded me just how much I hate metal models. I picked up some of the PP paints and started work on my Choir.  I'm quite looking forward to painting these,  they are lovely models with plenty of detail on them.

2. The rules mountain

As I mentioned before I've got a lot of rules I've never played. Now I've got a reasonable number of cowboys that I want to use to play Dead Man's Hand with as well as forces for Warmachine and Bolt Action that are big enough to play a decent sized game with.

Hopefully I can bring order to this chaos

3. Gaming frequency

I don't game as often as I'd like to and I've previously blamed this on lack of time.  Well I Don't have that excuse anymore so I'd like to make sure I get at least one session of gaming in each week whether that is via vassal, at home or at one of the clubs around Manchester.

I could do any of those or I could play some games

4. Terrain

This is my main project for 2015. I've got a few bits of terrain that I've made and a load of Terraclips cardboard terrain but I'd like to have a wider selection. I recently bought a set of laser cut wooden city ruins from eBay that I'm going to use as the basis of a set of urban terrain.  If I'm clever it will be usable for a variety of 28mm games and a bit quicker to setup than the cardboard stuff. I've never really made terrain so I'm not sure how this will work out but I figure that painting precut stuff isn't that tricky. I need to find something to base it on that won't warp first - I'm going to have to hunt for some thin plasticard I think...
So there we go,  something for me to look back over at the end of the year and see how well I have done! 

Not going to lie, it might just be things from
Do you guys have any hobby resolutions? Share them in the comments if so!

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Christmas loot

So that was Christmas. As is traditional I'm writing this from my sick bed - someone in my house always gets ill over Christmas and this year it was my turn. Nothing too bad but enough to make me feel grotty.

Probably Tinnsilitus. 

It was a good year for gaming loot though. As my family are all godless heathens we've long since embraced the Amazon wishlist method of gift giving (and happily export it to the families of partners) meaning that rather than socks and aftershave ì got models and interesting books from relatives.

First up,  from my partners mum.  If you've not played munchkin then I'm pretty sure you've been living under a rock. Go play it.  I'll wait. Okay.  So I got munchkin Cthulhu and the first expansion.  I asked for this after playing an epic three hour game of it the night before my sister got married.  We'd finally managed to get my brother in law to sleep but we still had booze left and this was the version of munchkin that grabbed us (the fact we were to drunk to try and learn Zombiecide is neither here not there).  One of the later expansions has portals to other realms in it and one particular one screwed us over so badly that we couldn't kill anything until we'd gotten out (which needed a random event).  This took three hours and a lot of booze.  That was my excuse next day anyway.  I've played a lot of munchkin but don't actually own of the them anymore - they didn't survive the flight from York sadly. Someday I'll do a roundup of munchkin because it's quite a fun little game with several dozen versions now.

Like Lovecraft but with more girls and less racism.

My partners sister bought me two things (I expect encouraged by her husband - a lapsed gamer).

* They bought me a T-34 tank from Warlord that will be added to my Bolt Action force. I've not put it together yet but it looks pretty straight forward, it comes on two small sprues with a transfer sheet some nice extras - a tanker for the people who like a guy sticking out of their turrets and some bits of stowage.  The model is in a nice crisply detailed hard plastic and looks like it will a joy to paint.  I've seen an tutorial somewhere explaining how to do the winter white wash effect using toothpaste but I'm not sure I've got the painting talent to pull off the weathering...

Mine is slightly smaller. 
* She also bought me the 'Latigo Posse' crew box for Malifaux.  I've had my eye on playing guild since they released the wave two stuff but after a few games with Lucius I realised I was going to need something with a bit more punch than the guardsmen. The family models deliver both this as well as being a new crew in their own right and meaning I have enough cool cowboy style figures to give Deadman's Hand a go in the New Year. I've got a love/hate relationship with the Wyrd plastic kits. While they are stunningly beautiful sculpts they are also fiddly as hell to assemble due to their odd habit of using separate pieces for hands, pouches and ponytails.  This is particularly noticeable on the smaller, more delicate figures like Perdita herself.  We shall see if she is another Mae Feng or not...

That hat on the right is getting swapped somehow. 
I've also treated myself to some Warmachine stuff. I got the two player starter box that I'm going to split with Mark (he wants the Khador bits) as well as a few bits to top up my Protectorate of Menoth force. I've done what I usually do when I start a new game which is to pick a faction, read some tactics articles, work out what is good and suits my playsuit before forgetting it all and buying models that look cool.  Hence me ending up with a Choir of Menoth, a unit of Wracks, a Covenant of Menoth and Heirophant Severius.  I gather the Choir is pretty filthy but the rest just looked pretty.  At some point I'll buy more jacks. That seems like a good idea in a game about massive robots smashing the Hell out of each other. If any of you guys play Warmachine and can suggest which jacks I should pick up that would be really helpful.

"Do you have a moment to talk about Menoth? "
I've got a game penciled in for the middle of January so I might even try to get something painted before then.  I need to decide on a colour scheme for them- the official one is white and red but this means learning to paint white.  I've ordered a set of the Privoter Press paints for my faction and will give their triad system a go. Essentially they sell colours in threes meaning that for any given colour you'll have a base colour, a shade colour and a highlight which is supposed to make shading and highlighting easier. I gather the new citadel range does this but with a slightly confusing naming system. We shall see anyway.  I plan on keeping my force pretty small so I'd like to take my time over the paint jobs and see what I can learn from them.

This is what filth looks like apparently. 
I'm looking forward to shaking this plague - once my hands stop shaking from all the coughing I can get started on putting some figures together! What did Santa bring you lot - anything cool and gamery? 

I don't need to be very ill to start linking my favourite bit of GW art...

Friday, 19 December 2014

Games I've never played but own anyway...

I have quite a few games sitting on the bookcase in the Back Bedroom. Some of these I've played at one time or another (another blog post perhaps?) but an awful lot of them were bought on impulse or on the cheap or for reasons that escape me now (usually Kickstarter). Some of them might be undiscovered classics,  some of them might be awful - hopefully you can let me know in the comments!  One of my goals for next year is to play as many of them as possible...

Across a Dead Earth

This was a game that I backed on Kickstarter earlier this year after it was plugged by a friend of mine who knows the author. I'm a sucker for post-apocalyptic settings (okay, I'm a sucker for Necromunda...) and the models were really nice. At present they are sitting in my "to paint box" and are unlikely to even be undercoated in the near future...

The game is set in a post-apocalyptic version of the UK and features a lot of artwork depicting a ruined Birmingham (some people might suggest this would be an improvement). I've read the rules and it looks pretty good. It has an interesting class system that is missing from Necromunda but doesn't have a great campaign system from the look of it. The creators have talked about extra books to expand into new bits of the game world in 2015.

A Fistful of King Fi

The first of Osprey's games that I bought. It's a skirmish level game based on the John Woo/Jackie Chan/Bruce Lee type films. It uses around a dozen figures a side and has a wonderful free form style of list creation - you can either use the existing rules for figures in the book or it has a section on writing your own so you can use whatever figures you own.

I bought this because I was intrigued by the fact it was a rule set not tied to any particular figures style let alone range. It looks really interesting and is one of the game I really want to play.


This was written by Gav Thorpe of GW fame and is a game designed to go with Black Scorpion's range of fantasy pirate figures. The models are absolutely stunning - the elves in particular are a lovely range of dashing, graceful fighters.

It as, as previously mentioned, a Gav Thorpe creation but I can only assume he had some bills to pay or something. The rules don't look especially exciting - it's 40K with tricorns and a range of dice types to indicate skill (D4 up to D12). Now Bolt Action is 2nd ed 40K but the different armies have a different feel to them because of the national rules and varying troop qualities. Cutlass! has five races that are all basically the same..

I'm not really rushing to play this and only still own it because it's failed to sell on eBay three times.

Deadman's Hand

This is Great Escape Game's cinematic cowboy game. It's a really simple set of rules that emphasises storytelling over a tight set of rules - but that is alright. There is an expansion that introduces a campaign system too which sounds pretty cool.

Each game is a scenario based on a famous western that is broken down into three acts that play in order - usually an intro with two or three figures, an escalation with 5 or 6 and an ending with 10 or so. The winner of the previous act gets a bonus in the next act (extra cards from the event deck, slightly bigger deployment zones etc.)

This is another game I'm keen to play soon - I think I'll probably use my guild Malifaux figures for this (which will probably encourage me to get some paint on them!)

De Bellus Multitudinis

I'm not entirely sure where I picked this up... It's a proper beardy historical game for periods between 3000 BC and 1500 AD. I don't expect to play this anytime soon :)

While I'm interested in starting playing some historic games this isn't really my style. It's very old school - all charts and details with little flavour. Maybe this comes from me not being very into ancient history,  I'm not sure.

Flames of War

Flames of War is a 15mm WW2 game from Battlefront (another company made up of ex-GW staffers who wrote a game strongly inspired by 40K).

I like the idea of the scale of 15mm gaming but didn't take to the rules in the way I did with Bolt Action. It also seems to have the 40K mentality of being about throwing as many tanks on the table in defiance of history...

Future Wars

Future Wars is another game designed to support a figure range,  in this case Copplestone Castings lovely Future Wars range of Sci-Fi troopers.  It's another game that encourages you to use any models you have - it's got rules for military,  civilian militia, alien buga,  predators and cyborgs (did you guess it's a early 2000's game?).

I bought this in a fit of nostalgia because I'd played an earler edition when I was younger.  The rules look pretty good and are a lot of fun from what I remember.  Worth a look if you fancy some squad level Sci - Fi gaming and can find a copy - it looks out of print...


Another Kickstarter, this time plugged by the lovely chaps on Fools Daily...

It's a medieval football game that looks like a cross between rugby, Blood Bowl and Warmachine. There are preview rules and paper pieces on the website that backers can test the game with (though I've yet to do this). I'm not sure I know anyone else who backed this so I don't know if I'll play it anytime soon. It might end up being one to either sell on or try at a gaming club.  I'm not entirely sure when it's due but we have been promised it will hit it's deadline.


Hordes (and it's sister game Warmachine) is something I've been aware of for years but never played. It was sold as having the tightest rules in the industry so I finally caved and bought the Hordes book. I've no idea which faction I'll buy - I like The Legion of Everblight and the Circle in Hordes as well as Cryx and Menoth in Warmachine...

So I don't know what I'll do. It might depend if I can drop on anything cheap on ebay or a forum. I should read the rules and have a test game first!

In Her Majesty's Name

The second Osprey game I picked up. This one is a steampunk skirmish pitting the dashing heroes of the Empire against the dastardly Huns. Again, the rules look tight and it allows for flexible list customisation but I'm not sure I have anything suitable for the setting.  Maybe one for the future?


The final Osprey game, this time set in feudal Japan. I've only really flicked through this one (I got it cheap) but I like the idea of doing something with samurai in it.

Years ago I played The Legend of the Five Rings Clan War game at a convention and really enjoyed it - if you can find the figures now they are pretty cheap and would make lovely character models for this. Also it's pretty low model count so pretty easy to bug others in playing!

Spinespur: Threshold

Okay, a confession - I bought this after hearing the rumours of how tasteless it was. Apparently it was a Kickstarter by a US firm called Comfy Chair games that never really took off.

After reading it the game looks like it could be a dirt cover gem. At least as far as the core rules go. The figures are ugly, the background is in *awful* taste without having the redeeming feature of being well written and the whole thing comes off as childish schlock.  That said, if you took the rules and stripped out the dross you could you'd have a reasonable skirmish game that you could transplant into a less awful setting. I suggest picking it up only if you have an academic interest in game rules or you thought Manhunt was high culture...

That concludes the trip through the darker recesses of the back bedroom.  Hopefully it was interesting - if you've played any of these and want to sing their praises I'd love to hear from you! Equally if you spot a stinker in there please worn me...

The next post will probably be a rambling account of a day of festive gaming I'm holding tomorrow...

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Bolt Action Soviets (Part 1)

I mentioned in my last post that I was working on a Soviet force for Warlord Games' Bolt Action rule set. For the unaware Bolt Action is a 28mm WW2 skirmish game written by Rick Priestly and Alessio Cavatore (these ex-GW writers get everywhere...). While I've not actually played it yet the mechanics look very interesting - it's very similar to 3rd edition 40K but rather than I Go, You Go the order of activation is determined by pulling an order dice from a bag (each player has different colours naturally). A player than puts the order dice next to one of their units to show what they have done and then activates them - some orders (mainly Ambush) stay in play at the end of the turn rather than being returned to the bag meaning that the more units you set to ambush the fewer dice you have in the bag, meaning the less chance you have of activating first.

Some games with Mr Priestly's name on are better received than others...
I've been looking for a WW2 game since I briefly flirted with 'Flames of War' earlier in the year but was put off the system by the oddly complex looking rules and the strange obsession with trying to cram as many tanks into lists as possible. Bolt Action ticked a lot of boxes for me by being:

a) Skirmish level
b) Objective based
c) Infantry focused

I'm hoping to get some small games in early next year in order to figure out whether I enjoy it or not. I hope I do as I seem to have roughly 1500 points due to the crazy cheap prices of historical figures and some Black Friday Sales...

A Black Friday Sale. Probably not involving wargamers.
Anyway, onto the models.

The infantry are from Plastic Soldier Company and cost £35 for 57 infantry, 4 maxims (2 firing and 2 moving), 2 x 50mm mortars, 2 x 82mm mortars, 4 x anti tank rifles, 1 x 45mm anti tank guns and 1 x 76mm infantry guns. That's a pretty good start on any force. So far I've assembled the infantry and some of the guns. I've also got some paint on a rifle squad

An officer and two riflemen

The squad of twelve riflemen

* The Officer is from Black Tree Designs 'Men of War' range and is actually General Chuikov. The standard bearer was from eBay so I'm not sure of the manufacturer (let me know if you recognise it). The flag was done using a tutorial from 'Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy'. The flag itself can from the wonderful Maverick Models as I don't have access to a good colour printer at home and was failing miserably to resize a Soviet flag at work...

The HQ - officer and banner
Obligatory group shot!
Again, I'm not sure the photos are great but please let me know - I can always take some more using my Foldio - one of my better impulse backs on KickStarter.

I'm really pleased with the snow effect on the bases and it was really easy to do.

1) Paint the model and add brown ballast material using a coat of PVP glue.
2) Once this is dried mixed a generous squirt of Woodland Scenics Water Effect with a bit of bicarbonate of soda and a few drops of water. The ratio is more of an art than a science but you are aiming to get something with a consistency similar to toothpaste
3) Use a toothpick or an old brush to add this to the base. If you want to sculpt drifts or something you can if you've got the mixture thick enough
4) Leave it to dry overnight (it takes quite a while) and you should have a lovely snow effect!

I'm told this can yellow with age if you keep your models in a warm room but this seems to only be a problem for people keeping figures next to radiators or in hot American garages.

Could be worse, could be Finecast...
The flag was equally simple to do.
1) Print the flag onto good quality paper and cover the design in a thin layer of PVP glue to stop the ink bleeding when you apply the inks
2) Once it has dried attack the banner with a mixture of brown and black inks - this gives it the impression of being around smoke and dirt on the battlefield
3) When this has dried carefully cut the flag out and stick the two halves together with PVP - remember to leave the loops unglued so you can attach it to the flag pole
4) Before the glue dries shape the flag so it looks like it is fluttering in the wind
5) When the glue has dried use a little more ink to shade the creases in the shape you've made
6) Trim the edges of the flag with scissors or a craft knife to add battle damage
7) Add some more black/brown ink to any exposed bits of white paper before attaching the flag to the banner pole

At the minute I'm working on a Shtraftbat using some of Warlord Games' Soviet Infantry. I expect to have these finished a week or so and will share photos of them then.

I think the next article will be an run through of the stack of games I have on my shelf that I've never played and a call to arms to help me decide whether it's worth giving them a go...

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Fire and Filth - A Malifaux game

I played a game of Malifaux with my friend Ben this week. We've both been playing it for a while now - we started in back during 1.5 and kept playing through the change to M2E (second edition is #MyFaux as far as I'm concerned) but had been frustrated that they'd not released the rules for all our models yet. See when they redid the game they split it into two waves for playtesting and a lot of masters we both played ended up in the second wave...

Since we got hold of the Wave 2 rules we've been slowly trying the reworked master we knew and loved - the last time we played I'd used Dreamer (I still love Dreamer thankfully!) but this time I plumped for Zoraida the Swamp Hag (a wave 1 master) while Ben tried out Kaeris the Burning Angel.

Do not Google Burning Angel.
It's NSFW.

Strategy and Deployment

We played the Turf War strategy (score a point at the end of each turn after the first where you have two or more non-peon models within 6" of the centre point - maximum of 4 points) using corner deployment.
I couldn't find a funny picture for Turf War sadly

A player picks two schemes at the start of the game and chooses whether to reveal them (some are easier to score the maximum three points were scheme if revealed).

* Line in the Sand (get 5 scheme markers along the centreline by the end of the game for 3 points) 
* Breakthrough (score a point per scheme marker within 6" of your opponents deployment zone at the end of the game)
* Protect Territory (score a point per scheme marker more than 6" from your deployment zone at the end of the game that also has a friendly model with 3")
* Vendetta (score points for one of your models killing a nominated enemy)
* Cursed Object (an odd scheme that also you to give your opponent a condition that you can end for points, if they don't take an action to remove it first)

"That's another point to me..."
We both took Cursed Object while I took breakthrough and Ben took Protect Territory. 
The game ended 10-9 to him but I don't think I could have scored the extra point for Turf War as I ran out of non-Peon models!

I took a few photos during the game that show some interesting points. I'd like to say they were key or pivotal moments but they are mostly when Ben was outside having a smoke. Taking better in game photos using my mobile is one of my challenges for the future. Tips welcome...

Kaeris looking into the square, wondering if Willie has noticed the scilarid sneaking up behind him...

Zoraida watching the Bad Juju getting ready to wreck some faces

An awful shot of the contested centre point at the end of the game

Two Union miners hanging around in the back field
The game was a lot of fun and a couple of firsts for us both. It was Ben's first time playing Kaeris this edition and it was the first time I'd played Zoraida has Neverborn rather than Gremlin. I'm very pleased with the way I managed to use the Voodoo doll - Zoraida summoning a doll then linking it to one of Ben's models allowed me to kill Willie, a Gunsmith and Union Miner over three turns making it hard for him to contest the centre point and making him for for his Protect Territory and Cursed Object points. Kaeris herself seems to be a little more about buffing her crew and throwing around scheme markers than she was in 1.5 (where she was a DPS master through and through).

It's a bit more complex than this.

After the game we were talking a little bit about Malifaux and how we'd both come to realise we were pretty good at scoring points now (Ben got the full 10, I only dropped 1) but that neither of us have quite mastered points denial yet. A bit part of this is working out which of the five schemes your opponent has picked, it's not always obvious until it's too late. Another factor is building your crew to take into account the strategies available - taking a henchmen that is harder to kill when Assassinate in the pool seems an obvious example but I'm sure there are lots more. This is something that I think we are going to learn a lot about over the coming months but it feels like we've hit another level of play.

Once again I was reminded why I prefer objective based games over the GW "kill all the dudes" model.

Somebodies dudes are going to get fucked up.

I've also been painting some Bolt Action Soviets with pretty awesome snow effect bases so I think my next post will be about those. I'll probably put a mini tutorial in there too in case anyone is interested. Feel free to weigh in on the objectives vs. slaughter or Malifaux Scheme tactics in the comments!

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

The door opens...

So, another blogging attempt...

I've tried this before and not really gotten anywhere with it. But this time it will be different! Honest. The plan is to write about wargaming - not a specific system, not a particular bit of the hobby but the hobby in general. Maybe I'll even manage to share some photos of models I've painted or reports of games I've played, who knows.

I've been wargaming a long time. I got my start with the Milton Bradey/Games Workshop tie-ins of the late 80s (though it was probably 92 or so when I discovered them). The first one was Heroquest, which was okay because it had wizards and undead things but I much prefered Space Crusade (yeah I know, kids love Space Marines - some rules are immutable). I was amazed to discover that these sorts of games existed - previously I'd only played things like Monopoly or Ludo that had counters and a board. The idea of having these beautiful figures that you could paint was mind blowing.

This is basically crack aimed squarely at children.
The first game I actually owned myself though was another GW spinoff called Mighty Warriors. I found out *years* later that this was a dumbed down version of Advanced Heroquest but me, my sister and my best friend at the time played it over and over again. The models that came with it (4 heroes, some pikemen, some skaven and a chaos wizard of some kind) were used  for years after - they were my first painting projects and, later on, my first conversions.

If you remember this you are a massive nerd. And I love you.
This led to a brief flirtation with Warhammer Fantasy (remember the skaven I mentioned earlier?) and then to 40K (as it always does). Along the way I also acquired Warhammer Quest which was also played to death and later thrown away by my parents. Sometimes, when I'm feeling too cocky, I look at the price of Warhammer Quest on eBay and sob for a while. As most people were at the time I was an avid reader of White Dwarf and remember fondly reading the battle reports and gasping at Mike McVay's amazing painting skills. In retrospect I also had a bit of a crush on Andy Chambers  though it's only looking back now that I realise this - this explains an awful lot actually..

When I was about 13 I discovered Magic the Gathering and a shed load of other CCGs. At one point I could confidently say I'd played at least one game of every game on the market but that hasn't been true for a long time now. After CCGs I discovered RPGs and eventually LARP. 

Don't act like you've never wanted this more than food...

Like most people I dropped out of wargaming while I was at uni and only got back into it when I was older (about 2010 I think). In the intervening years I kept my geek cred by playing a lot of board games, the Raw Deal CCG and roleplaying (tabletop and LARP).

Fast forward to the current day and I'm sitting in the titular Back Bedroom surrounded by books and figures for a wide variety of game systems. My painting queue currently contains:

  • Dystopian Wars (Empire of the Blazing Sun & Covenant of Antarctica)
  • Malifaux (a selection of guild figures - McMourning and Lucius mostly)
  • Bolt Action (SOVIETS! Because if you can play Russians you should)
It is also very likely my head will be turned by some *whispers* Hordes/Warmachine in the near future. The Circle Orboros look really pretty - wood elves and werewolves for the win.

Actually I'm Team Edward...

My partner is going to be working away during the week for at least the first quarter of next year (if not the foreseeable future) and frankly I'm scared of being lonely and bored. My goal is to try and get at least one night of gaming a week in some form or another to keep me social - I'm looking for wargames clubs in Manchester as we speak - MAWS looks like a possibility, there is one in Salford or there is the NWGC if I decide I'm okay with it's leadership (SPOILER: I'm not sure I am).

Extreme political views - not just on the tabletop
So I'm quite enthusiastic about it all really. At some point I will make a list of all my unpainted stuff and try to keep a track of what gets painted. I suspect that will be a very depressing list.

Yeah, it's a bit like that but more so
Join me at some unspecified point in the future where I may (or may not) talk about some more bits of gaming or show some photos of my painting....