Tuesday 30 November 2010

Warmachine - Cryx Bile Thralls

These were fun to paint...initially. but the number of them meant that progress was slow and they seemed to sit on the worktop nagging me, so I was sick of their sight by the time I'd finished.

 Coming back to them once all the desperation/frustration had abated though, and I'm pretty happy with the outcome. They bring a nice lighter unit to the table, as most my Cryx force is dark. I had originally aimed for a more greener or putrid hint to the skin, but the pale pasty look works as well.

It'll be a while until I try an paint a larger unit though! I don't know how you massed army types do it!

Friday 26 November 2010

Pod Racers - WIP

A quick Work-In-Progress post. I had the notion the other week about doing some sort of racing game after seeing some rather nice hover bike miniatures on the interweb somewhere. After a bit of a search for miniatures and rules I found a fun looking ruleset for Star Wars style pod racing from the "NOVOCASTRIAN BATTLEGAMERS" via Free Wargames Rules.

These rules seem simple racing-wise and there enough outside factors (pod damage, player intenvention via cards) to make sure it isn't just a fancy game of pure dice rolling. It reads a bit like "The really nasty Racing Game" in some respects - which I like - already owning the game.

Anyway, onto miniatures. A rake round Ebay saw me good for a lot of 10 Micromachine pod racers. I purchased a couple of packs of 60mm round mdf bases from www.warbases.co.uk/ (which arrived very promptly) have started to mount the racers to the bases.

The original pod racers come with a wheeled base which is easily unsrewed from the model itself. On some models there is a cut-away to accomodate the base, but once based, and considering they'll be mostly viewed from above, this isn't really visible. The wheels have been kept to be painted and used for game/effect markers. The pods have been pinned and glued to the bases. I've tried to position them with the actual pods hanging over the back of the bases to give that floating/trailing behind illusion.

More later when I've finished mounting the rest and getting the bases textured/painted.

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Warmachine - Cryx Bloat Thrall

This seems to have taken an age to get this finished, mainly as I was painting it in parallel to a 10 strong squad of Bile Thralls (coming soon), given the similar pallet used. I've always felt that the key to this model was to make the stitching/implants look painfully raw. I don't think I've fully managed it, but the rusty cannon and the prominent tubing colour draw the eye quite a bit so the stitches aren't as much a focus as I'd initially thought.

Don't know how to effectively use this beast yet. He's so slow that in the 25pt games I usually play he barely makes it into a good position. Still a nice big chunk of mini to put on the table though!

Saturday 20 November 2010

A Lesson in Warmachine

Cryx advance downhill
towards the invading Cygnar
Today Arabiansquire and myself headed to the Battleground Livingston gaming club. The wee lad has been quite taken by the miniatures of Warmachine and has was very keen to learn how to play. He had an introductory few turns last weekend in the Arabian Towers hobbyshed, but this was the first time he's controlled his own force. We went with the Cygnar and Cryx battlegroups for simplicity.

I don't know how much more we'll play this at the moment. At still under 9 years old he's already been playing tabletop games with me for over a couple of years so he's used to learning turn phases, numbers of dice to roll, etc but the beauty of Warmachine is his downfall. Even with the few number of models in the basic battlegroup box, the amount of options and tactics are a bit beyond him for the moment. The game does have a recommended age group 12+ so it's not that surprising. I'm sure we'll have the odd game in the future as the whim take us/him, but with so many other games I think we can have more enjoyment playing something that doesn't demand so much advance and complex planning. There's plenty of time...

The Cygnar Charger brings the Cryx Defiler

Thursday 18 November 2010

The Proxy Vote

No, not a mid-term election article, but an age old frugal debate.

First a bit of background. I generally play generic rulesets. I loath being tied into one particular range of minitures when there are so many lovely sculpts not attached to any game. Yes, yes I know that they tie in with the background fluff of the game and provide (can) provide a continuous feel across the army, but sometimes it feels that these factors are used to "extract the michael" somewhat whan it comes to pricing.

The past 6 months has seen me take up Warmachine, a game very much with it's own style. I've been happily collecting a small Cryx (undead) force, but for a few reasons have decided to expand to a small second force, Cygnar (tech humans). Now my main army is the Cryx force, which have very distinct figures, but the human Cygnar are slightly more generic. So to keep costs down I am going to find and use proxy miniatures in this army where possible.

This opens up the whole proxy debate:
PROS: Cost, choice, fun research
CONS: irregular force theme, wrong miniatures, difficult/irritating for some opponents, illegal for tournament play, in some cases quality of sculpt is worse.

As far as I'm concerned in this instance, as long as the replacement miniatures are reasonable representations of the official figures I'm good with it. As such, I don't plan to proxy the warjacks (robots) as they are very distinctive. I've bought some appropriate bases as well, as base size and position is important in Warmachine. I've already bought the Cygnar mkII Stat card pack.

Another good frugal reason to use proxies is that I already have some suitable minis waiting to be used. A few years ago I took advantage of a free postage offer from Prince August for their bag of 80 plastic Warzone figures - 40 Imperial, 40 Bauhaus. The Imperial Trenchers are WWI theme based and, to my eyes, ideal to replace the Cygnar Trenchers. I also have a load of them pose and customise, as the Cygnar forces have quite a few varying Trencher based troop types.

We'll start with the basic Cygnar Trencher. 5 Grunts and a squad Leader. I've snipped the gun slightly to make it less M16-esque and given a squad leader the head from the Warzone trencher heavy machine gunner to help him stand out. Cost per figure (inc full base cost) 41 pence - squad cost £2.46. Official squad RRP ~ £18.
Next is a proxy for the HMG wielding Captain Maxwell Finn. All I've done is take the Warzone HMG trencher and replaced the head (which is now on the Trencher squad leader) with a spare from an old, partially used GamesWorkshop Fantasy Empire militia boxset I had lying around. Figure cost 41 pence, Official figure RRP ~ £9.
Next is a Journeyman Warcaster. He is armed with a pistol and a sword, so I've given my Imperial Trencher Officer a spare GW sword and a spare GW head (both from the same box set as the Cpt Finn figure). Total figure cost 41p (can you see a pattern developing?), Official figure RRP ~ £6.

And Lastly I have clipped the weapons off of an unused Mage Knight Steam Golum to proxy as Squire. No idea what I paid for this (it was in a job lot years ago). Official RRP ~ £6.

Next proxies? Well it doesn't take a great deal of imagination to see that the a carefully place bead or putty blob on the end of a rifle will make a Grenadier, and if I can find something to use as a sniper scope I'll have an officer/sniper Unit attachment (the peaked cap of the Warzone officer will come into play here), and perhaps even I'll manage a blunderbuss/sword conversion to make a Trencher Master Gunner. Moving away from the plastic trenchers, Void Viridian snipers could make a slightly cheaper alternative to Cygnar Rangers, and I'm toying with the idea of using ACW troops with their long muskets as Cygnar Long Gunners.

Any other suggestions are warmly accepted.

Tuesday 9 November 2010

XCrawling to Fame and Fortune

My RPG group finished our XCrawl level (and trial game) last night, leaving the game with a selection of cash, vials and dungeon sponsor's credit notes for golf equipment - I kid you not. The final room was a labyrinth test whilst avoiding an aging, chain smoking Medusa in an over sized hamster ball. The dungeons were an entertaining mix of classic dungeon crawl and sponsor saturated game show. In which other game can you open a treasure chest and find pouch of gold coins, an enchanted baseball bat, and a six pack of Friki-Choo Cola? We all agreed that our GM, Azhdeen, had done a great job merging the two strange ideas and that in the future it would be fun to run a longer campaign, so cheers buddy.

It would be interesting to do a bit of roleplaying outside the dungeon/gameshow - meeting the public, effects on the group as different characters become more famous/vilified/rewarded than others - even "crawl fixing" anyone? These external factors could even be done out of game in secret GM emails to the players or given to the whole group as press releases. I don't know if that's already in the game (not having read the book), but it would certainly be interesting.

Wednesday 3 November 2010

Flying Lead - First Game

"These Government cutbacks will be the death of me!" thought PC James as his backup arrived. HQ could only afford to send out 2 SWAT members, which seemed woefully little. He almost wished he'd never called in his sighting to Capri Bonnetti and her 4 henchmen entering the old industrial area!

Having a couple of hours "free", I thought I'd trial run my recent purchase of Ganesha Games "Flying Lead" ruleset. With their "Songs Of Blades..." (SoBH) rules being the one I play with the Arabiansquire for Fantasy skirmishes and having also MDRG, the changes hopefully wouldn't be too brutal but different enough to capture the flavour of the action.

Anyway, thoughts after the report.

Forces were kept small to around 250pts.

Beat Cop: 26pts Q4+ C2 - Pistol, Handcuffs
SWAT Member: 80pts Q3+ C2 - Flash Bang Grenade, Pistol, Shotgun, Body Armour, Handcuffs, Personnal Comms
SWAT Sniper: 134pts Q3+ C3 - Semi-auto Rifle with Scope, Body armour, Marksman, Sniper, Personnal comms


Capri: 112pts Q3+ C3 - Large Cal. Pistol, Leader, NCO, Steady Under Fire
Mafia type (x2): 56pts Q4+ C2 - Large Cal Pistol, Sawn Off Shotgun, Mook
Street Thug: 15pts Q4+ C2 Strong, Mook

The Cops entered the industrial area from the South Eastern corner. The Villains could be set up anywhere on the board.
Cautiously the law officers made their way up the eastern side of the site, looking for some of the gang.
They soon found a thug waiting in ambush behind a wall and started to encircle him.
The tough realised and made an escape up a ramp into a nearby building

Meanwhile one of the shotgun welding ganger members tried to move round behind the cops, but the SWAT sniper saw him and gunned him down.
With the police officers stalling or being drawn out in the centre of the site, Capri and an enforcer moved in from the northern edge where they'd been hiding.
Meanwhile PC James spotted a second thug lurking in the eastern building shadows and brought him down with a single cap from his pistol.

With the SWAT member giving chase into the building and no ambushing companion now available, the escaping thug droped down prone behind a crate and crawled for a back ladder.

Meanwhile the sniper had manouvered into a position to take a shot, but missed.

With this threat exposed, the mafia man stepped out of cover to bring the SWAT man into range of his Sawn Off shotgun and blew the sniper away, before running into cover of the crumbling wall.

The remaining cops manouvered themselves round to make a co-ordinated flanking move on the criminal.

Realising this, the crim stepped out of cover to remove the softest target, poor PC James. Miraculously the Mook missed, as did Capri, who moved up to take a shot, as victory presented itself.

With lead flying round his ears, PC James steadied himself and squeezed off a shot at the shotgun wealding goon, taking him out. Capri, finding herself now in sights surrendered, and the remaining thug ran off.


On reading, Flying Lead doesn't seem that different to SoBH. There are different special rules to take into consideration, but basically SoBH with everyone having bows.


Guns are dangerous, kids! It's been commented on that in SoBH that an extra combat stat can make a heck of a difference. Well in Flying Lead (FL) all gun attacks carry an added C bonus - a pistol is C+1 whilst a Sawn-off shotgun carried a whopping C+3 at medium range. Gun ranges are usually double that of SoBH ranged attacks, so the standard medium range weapon has a full strength attack at 2xMedium range. Also the SoBH "knocked back" combat result has been replaced, for ranged attacks, with a duck back/go prone result. Our lack of modern (ie gun) gaming experience showed with this latter one, as we could have been taking shots to keep the enemy down or ducking for cover. Especially as you can now move and shoot in one action for a only a C-1 penalty.

There are obviously loads of rules we never touched on - vehicles for one, overwatch for another, but this was a first trial game and I wanted it to stay within the boundries of SoBH (ie 2 small groups).

Still great fun and recommended.

Monday 1 November 2010

Skirmish 2010

Saturday saw myself and Arabiansquire go over the Livingston Battleground wargames club's Skirmish event.

This was actually the second Skirmish, the inaugural event happening in 2006.

This time round the focus was on two things. Firstly, and most commendably, the all proceeds were going to the Erskine Charity, who provide nursing and medical care for members of the armed forces, so hats off there.

Secondly the main event was a staged modern warfare game under the moniker "Battle for Erskine" using their own quick learn rules. Unusually (I don't know enough about the whole scene to say uniquely) players start on different tables, and fight across them to progress to the next stage (another table) which, depending on numbers, hopefully all culminates in a grand final battle in a central table. It's probably easier to look at the mission briefing (diagram pg 5&6) than explain. I've not played the game myself yet (being an irregular attendee at the club) but I've heard good things about the system, so am looking forward to a game sometime soon. I wasn't around to see the final push but got a couple of pictures in.

Aside from the traders the was also a grand sale of military gaming models & books generously donated by a couple of families of veterans, with everything from larger scale figures, models to 6mm Napoleonic and ACW armies.

A couple of clubs were also showing nice tables with Independent Wargames Brigade doing a 20mm WWII Russian Front demonstration game called "Another Desperate Day" using their own ruleset.

Bathgate Wargames Club had an all day conflict demonstration and participation game called The Forgotten Iraq War (1941) - Clearing Ashar, Iraq again using their own ruleset.

We had a nice look round and leasurely chat with some folks, but numbers were a bit low whilst we were there (late morning). Hopefully there will be another event next year with more numbers, as the main format of "The Battle of Erskine" is different from the usual calendar events and is all in the name of a good cause.