Saturday, 26 June 2010

The Circus of Rome?

It's been quite a while since I've had something Frugal worthy to post, so until a couple of other bubbling posts come to full boil I thought I'd best at least make a quick post.

Last week the local Primary School had a summer fair which I was duty bound to attend. One upside was that in the small car boot sale type market I found a wooden circus, which I scooped up for a bargain 50p. Coincidence has it that I have a few of Roman Gladiators sitting on the painting table waiting for some colour as I hoped to take advantage of ArabianSquire reading the "Gladiator Boy" series to spark an interest in playing Two Hour Game's "Red Sand Blue Sky". A small area would be just the thing to set that off nicely.

One key factor it this project was that it had to be quick. I've a Warmachine Battle box needing to be painted and if this stalled I knew it would sit half fininshed for a while. Also I don't play RSBS that often so it is a bit of a luxury piece. So detail level is accordingly set to "background".

The arena is open down one side. I'd prefer a completely enclosed area but there you go. Access to the figures would be easier are a result - no disaster. The actual battle floor is eliptical and 18" x 13" at the widest point. Smaller that the recommended 2"x 2" area in the ruleset, but it 1-on-1 battles (ie the vast majority of the time) it shouldn't make much difference. You can see two 28mm Foundry Gladiators in the bare arena here.

First job was to remove the stickers. The audience face stickers came off easily but the stickers on the backs of the stands wouldn't, so I decided to cover them with printed textures from World Works "arena works" which I've had sitting on the computer for years hoping to get round to making an arena. The inside terracing has been under coated black and dry brushed with a couple of shades of grey to make them stone like. For speed the floor is Bird cage liner glued down.

I'm going to leave the gaps and holes in the piece for flexibility. The gaps will potentially give other accesses to the arena. Also I will still be able to use the big top tent, which may be a bit high, but will give access and flavour if/when I ever get my hands on some killer clown mini's for a bit of "Faith and Fear" gaming. I might look out some paper figures to add a crowd as the seats do look a bit bare.

Looking at the finished piece I'm quite happy. I've accidentally ended up with quite a flexible piece of scenery. I now have a place for my RPG pit fighter/judicial champion to fight as well as a focus city area for fantasy gaming. Toss in a couple of burnt out cars, boxes, junk etc and it'll fit into a post apocalyptic/modern setting or a few wire fences and it's a makeshift detention area.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

HeroQuest - Back to Basics

Last weekend Arabiansquire and I went back to basic gaming and dug out our copy of the classic MG Games/GW boardgame HeroQuest. Now alot is made about "Songs Of Blades and Heroes" being a gateway game for kids & dads to play, and it is. But for us it was our first simplified game of HeroQuest that caught the wee lad's imagination. Going through doors, reviewing monsters, dungeon scenery. He still lists this as his favourite game and has played it so often himself I found he knows the monster stats off by heart even though the box hasn't been off the shelf in any capacity several months - "Goblins move 10 spaces, Daddy!" as I looked for the stat.

Well so far we've come through a variety of house rules and simplifications. From just using a single (non-magic) adventurer, biasing combat towards the player, or adding in extra places to pick up healing potions. But having played quite a few games of Songs of... and other wargames I thought it was time to start from the beginning again with a full party and magic rules on a campaign. We skipped the first introductory quest "The Maze", which is very space and dull in the UK edition (although I believe the US version was a bit more action packed for some reason with a quest called ") and went onto Q2 "The Rescue Of Sir Ragnar". nothing too challenging really here.

Arabian Squire was so confident that he almost immediately split the party into two groups to search for the knight - Barbarian & Dwarf and Elf & Mage. This almost proved fatal for the poor Elf who fell foul to a 3 skull attack roll from an Orc, but thankfully the Mage still had his cure wound spell to save the day. If nothing else it proved that although the monsters die quite easily in this game they do have the capabilities to hurt you on their attack. Hopefully next quest we'll see a bit more magic as well as the wee lad starts to get used to it. it'll also be interesting to see what he spends his Gold Coins on between quests. I'll have to get on and get some colour on some more characters.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Skaven warband finally ready for action

It's taken a while, and I've been sick of the sight of them a few times but finally the warband/horde is finished!
Painted to barely tabletop standard they are most definately not winning any awards, but on the table in a group I'm quite happy with the look. As you can see there's more then 300pts there, but as I'm gearing up for a "songs of..." campaign numbers and variety are required.
Stats for the assembled:
  • Ratman Leader 60pts Q3+ C3 Leader 1
  • Ratman Wizard 46pts Q3+ C1 Fearless, MagicUser 1
  • Ratman warrior 27pts Q4+ C3 Gregarious 9
  • Ratman Scout 24pts Q4+ C2 Gregarious, stealth 4
  • Ratman Beastmaster 46pts Q3+ C3 Beastmaster 1
  • RatSwarm 22pts Q3+ C1 Swarm, Free Disengage 4
  • Rat Daggerthrower 27pts Q4+ C2 Gregarious, Poison, Shooter: Short
  • Ratman Standard Bearer 23pts Q4+ C3 Standard Bearer 1
The description/explanation of the troup types and warband theme are still the same form the original details earlier in the year, with of course the exception of the ranged warriors kindly gifted to me.

With the ranged weapons being throwing stars or daggers I've made them short range shooters, and to make up for that I don't think it's too out of theme to make the throwing weapons dipped in poison (although this will be subject to agreement from my opponent MacSver)

Monday, 14 June 2010

WHO is that strange man

Huzzah. My pre-ordered minis from Crooked Dice have arrived and are as lovely in person as they were anticipated in green form (see picture). They come under the names of Tweedy Mattison & WPC May Killan, but bare an uncanny resemblance to a particular time travelling duo. The sculpts are by Kevin White, who is currently the man behind the excellent Hasslefree Miniatures . Crooked Dice is the (relatively) newly formed front for the Doctor Who Miniatures Game which looks great. Did I mention the game is also free and currently new characters stats are uploaded the weekend of every new episode of the current series. Top work!

To add to the new series minis, the new issue of Doctor Who Adventures magazine comes with 5 plastic perfectly scaled new style daleks (refered to on a few forums as iDaleks for some reason). Like most Who fans it seems I hate the new look daleks, but faced with a bargain and the pressure to stay current I've wilted and purchased a copy. They come at around 35mm tall which is a mite bigger than the old daleks (see left for comparison photo shamelessly stolen from the very good DW gaming blog "An Evil Giraffe"). This however would is entirely accurate given the screen shot from the episode. Best get the United Colours of Benettton paint set out!

Friday, 11 June 2010

Timid footsteps into the past

It had to happen sometime, just this is sooner than expected. Every couple of weeks or so Star_Halo* (previously known here as ArabianOtherKnight) has been making to journey through to the Livingston Battleground games club to get a game. Well, he's decided that with the limited hobby time available to concentrate on one genre. All very sensible so far. Until he decided that it would combine with his other interest of the Second World War.

Now so far I've avoided historical gaming for a number of reasons. You can play fast and loose with sci-fi or fantasy. As fictional settings you can't really be wrong, to a certain degree. With choosing a historical period to game in you can. The research into the particular time frame is another whole new ball game to pick up and combine with everything else. I would have been unaffected if he'd chosen and ancient race to study, but I've been fascinated by WWII since being a wee boy and this was always going to be the first historic gaming period I'd consider looking at.

It was decided, by S_H*, that 20mm was the route to go to allow for either large battles or skirmish whilst trying to keep costs down (in theory). So I dashed out and picked up some 1:72 Airfix British Infantry, German Infantry and command post to fight over. I've opened that pandora's box now and am damned. The proposed ruleset is Rapid Fire , although I may have to look for another set to play with Arabiansquire to get the most use from the figures. So far I'm considering Ganesha Games "Flying Lead" as we already play  "Songs of Blades and Heroes", but I've also downloaded Paper TIger Armamants free ruleset, which looks quite fun.

Off now to worry myself whether to paint my German Infantry a field gray or a gray/green...

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Storming the Castle

Well the struggle continues. 3rd session of the Storming of Castle Wittgenstein. To be fair to the party it's not been a solid 3 session struggle. There's always a bit of chat round the table, which I enjoy and the party has no problem focusing back onto the game with a subtle cough from the GM. I'm not a hardcore RPG er. It's a fun focus to get together with some friends. I've tried the club approach, but didn't enjoy it as much as there were a few characters there who irked me. Nothing major, but enough for me to quit when a couple of the good folk left. But I digress...

In the meantime, back to the game. The party cleared out one guard tower, and managed to plan the assault on the main (middle) guard tower by charging across the bridge with shields to the fore and a large table for overhead protection...

      un Tableau?
      a table!
      oh, un Tableau.

 and then skirting round to the vulnerable side wall and climbing up to go through the roof before wrecking havoc inside.

Just the small matter of another bridge and entrance to get past to enter the chaos tainted Inner Bailey and the wonders contained within.

The characters and players (and GM) are all feeling the strain from the last couple of sessions I feel. The battle was keenly anticipated, as it's quite rare that the party are involved in actions where they make a small (albeit significant) proportion of the bodies. Its been fun but we are all there to roleplay, not skirmish wargame, and even though there was a lot of planning involved last night I think that there is a sense of fatigue round the table. This is also heightened (for me anyway) in that "The Enemy Within Campaign" is epic, and only running sessions for a 2+ hours every fortnight is really stretching it out. I'm looking forward to the next session which should see us back on track to a more standard playing style, but someone suggested having a short break after this segment, which would freshen things up for me anyway.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

New Gaming Podcast - Shotgun or Grapple

Some of my regular gaming group (+ others from the Livingston Gamers) have started up a gaming pod cast - "Shotgun or Grapple". It's a fun group discussion style broadcast. Apparently there's even an agenda before they start. But I found it a fun listen. Anyway give it a listen and leave the chaps a note.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Warbands, warbands everywhere.

Over a week since the last post, but I suppose that's the price for having two projects running at the same time. No update on the Sci-fi tunnels because the next step is at home and my hobby time has been taken with the higher priority of desperately trying to get a workable number of Skaven painted up for the start a mini campaign starting next week. But I was tidying up/raking through boxes last week and interesting mini's started to poke their heads out crying out for a themed warband.
First off we have a motley collection for a beastmen/chaos warband. Painted up are some Heroscape Chaos Knights (not pictured) and an excellent large Minotaur I picked up already painted as a free from a different ebay purchase a while back (which is still unpainted). I may have to cast him as a Giant Minotaur, as standard one's already come in witha big special rule. I also have a blisters worth of nice G.W. beastmen and a clutch of old plastic beastmen as well. There are also a couple of other plastic minotaurs (and ratman) of unknown origin (possibly a Dark World expansion) and a D&D mini's minotaur to boot.

Next I found a couple of old Grenadier Angels, which are crying out to be the focus for a religious warband. Problem is that Angels cost so many points that it would have to be a single personality 500pt warband. So far I've my searches have brought some already painted Empire soldiers, and female warrior and some G.W. Amazons(?), and perhaps rope in a couple of Ral Partha Priests for scenario purposes.

And we won't mention the assembled masses that need painted to form a goblinoid based warband.

Bah, and I was just planning to move over to Sci-fi for a while!