Thursday 28 April 2011

A Rare Old time with Warmachine

My Cryx run towards the enemy faithful.
After too long I managed a game of Warmachine last weekend.

There is a local WM league which started up at the beginning of the year. I joined in as a way of ensuring that I actually played a few games this year after all the Cryx purchasing and painting that's been done. I've quite a few other games to play (especially as Warmachine is slightly beyond ArabianSquire for the moment) and I'm easily distracted, so the weeks can well slip by without a game. However it had slightly stalled, so I took advantage of being off work on Good Friday to attend a regular session up the road at MacSver's battle shed (usually it starts too early for me given my return time from work).

Now the other attendees have been well and truly bitten by the WM bug, so I was walking up the road, case in hand, hoping to learn something new (either about my own troops or the opposition or even both) before I had my @rse handed to be in the sort of friendly but brutal way only Warmachine can deliver. Fortunately my opponent had turned up with one of his newer/less tested armies, The Protectorate of Menoth, so wasn't quite up to full speed with their tactics - a bit similar to myself. To cut a long story short , much to my (and everyone else's) surprise I managed a rare win with a Caster kill in turn three. Mostly due to the fact spray attacks hit models hiding behind 'jacks; the auto hit of the Bile Thrall's purge; and some uncharacteristic good/lucky dice rolling. The game was over quick enough for a rematch, where order was restored to the Universe with a resounding defeat. Although even in defeat you should always learn something.

The Protectorate Warmage looks from behing her Warjack
hoping that the pattern of Cryx self sacrifice will continue

In the first game I actually "popped" my bile thralls too early (especially as I was sacrificing my mechanithralls in the process) but lucked out. In the next game I repeated the tactic/mistake and it didn't pay off. Also my opponent used a patch of forest perfectly to protect himself form charges and contact in the second game, leaving me to try and battle round one flank where my depleted and forces failed and left me exposed. Hopefully I'll remember these for next time...

Monday 25 April 2011

Cheap Grass Mat

I was in Lidl today and spotted a grass mat for £5.99, so grabbed one with view to using it as a gaming surface. The size is 100cm x 200cm which is ideal for 6'x3' table.

Unlike most modern grass mats this one makes no attempt to have false blades of grass, but instead is more just a green, felt-like surfaced carpet.

The underside of the mat is dimpled "to promote" drainage. They also combine nicely with the weight of the cloth to prevent slippage.

 The dimples are not to high though, and you can see the profile of the mat here.

The nap of the surface is not very deep so that a light plastic figure can sit stable on top.

When viewed from the top you can see small marks over the mat, I presume small holes for drainage again.

The colour is quite a deep, if slightly variated, green. Additional colour might be desirable for a more natural finish.

I'm pretty glad I bought this. It has a nice heavy feel to it, is UV resistant so should fade and was nice and cheap.

Sunday 24 April 2011

Warmachine - Cryx Pistol Wraith

With being off work on Good Friday I was able to book a place in MacSver's regular Friday evening Warmachine fest, which he generously hosts in his battle shed (it usually starts a bit too soon after I get home from work to get there). As I was getting to play a League match, I fancied fielding a second Pistol Wraith so I needed a quick paint job.

I thought I'd try to replicate the ghostly/incorporeal effect of my other Pistol Wraith, but despite following my own instructions I seem to have over-egged the dry brushing and taken out the purple ink undercoat. There are a couple of rescue washes of Miniature Paints purple ink (which is super-weak) to give him a purple tint to tie in with the rest of the force a bit more. I fancied his hair as purple flame, but I don't think I've really managed to get that across. Purple shades are a bit cold to shout fire! I didn't add any "solid" colouring this time as it had already been done; I was in a rush; and I couldn't be bothered. Lazy, lazy I know, but sometimes if you want it finished an on the table you have to compromise.

Friday 22 April 2011

Miracles CAN happen

Session 2 of our D&D adventure finally happened this week. All 5 people in the same place (at the same time) - how exciting. I won't bleat on about how frustrating it's been this year trying to get the game going, we'll just bask in the glow of gaming and remember the sweet sound of dice rolling (this is D&D 4e after all).

Last session left our level one heroes puffing and panting after defeating a room full of kobolds. This time round we were treated to more kobolds to see if we'd actually learned anything. We had, slowly, but also quickly learned that tiles can hide trap triggers. The poor Gnome caught a few darts in the side of the head from someone else's foot going "click". This was apparently so funny that whenever a tile went click everyone looked over to see where the gnome was!

The next  room had kobolds up on 10 foot plinths (out of harms way from some of our melee dependent characters and a tantalising pit of slime that unfortunately everyone resisted the urge to jump over. Ranged attacks and the introduction of a couple of small dragon-like creatures saw our first unconscious PC and a rash of healing surges, but we've survived to the foes in the next room - next session.

As a group we are starting to get the hang on the D&D abilities system, but still fumble around a bit. Also finding the correct stat on the character sheet when required is causing delay all round. When we're more familiar with this I'm sure we'll manage to start thinking about more strategic play rather than what we are all doing at the moment which is more all fighting a common foe.

Monday 18 April 2011

Citadel Fiend Factory Ogre

All the back to 1982-ish for the Citadel Fiend Factory series (FF-53)

This old mini has been sitting around for ages since he was bought in a job lot years ago. The sculpt has always struck me as very basic, even for the period, and combined with the base coat paint and and bulging eyes has never seen the tabletop. There is little definition on the arms and legs, and there are swirls all over them which I can only assume is mean to be hair. I tried to paint in some muscle definition before catching the arm/leg hairs. The end result is a bit messy, but is at least a broken surface visually. Looking at it again here I must say the eye's may need touched up - not aggressive enough!

With it finally finished I can only conclude that its a fine subject to resurrect my Painting SOS theme with. Hopefully the end result is better than what I started with...

It also herards a start to a new subject tag - Old School minis. I'll be endevouring to paint up an old mini every month as a bit of a fun project.

Saturday 16 April 2011

I'm back!

Not that I told you I was away (naughty I know).

Apologies to the regular readers for not scheduling any posts to appear during my absence, but I didn't have anything to post up. The blog posts running hand-to-mouth at the moment.

But where were you, I hear you cry? Well the Arabian tribe took off for a week to a quiet corner of Scotland in the Isle Of Whithorn for an Easter holiday break. No gaming news to report back I'm afraid, although there are a couple of items that we spied that may interest some viewers.

St. Ninian's cave.
The beach and external cave scenes
from The Wicker-man were shot here.

Whithorn and parts of the surrounding area were locations for some of the filming of the classic 1973 movie "The Wicker-man". The irony of this choice of location is that Whithorn was one of the first Christian communities in Scotland.

Also, just a few miles up the coast is the village of Garlieston. During World War II prototypes of the Mulberry Harbours were tested here with view to the invasion of Europe on D-day. Unfortunately storms have claimed the last remains that sat in the bay a few years ago, but the work there is given great mention.

In use at Normandy

Friday 8 April 2011

A Year of Open Accounting - March

cross-posted with A Year of Frugal Gaming

On the financial ins/outs this month it has been pretty quiet. As forecast I purchased the new Gladiator rules for Red Sand Blue Sky (still unplayed), and towards the end of the month there was the unexpected arrival of some old Rogue Trader Space marines. I took March off from the Hobby shed sales which may have cost me in incoming column, but freed up some time that I could relax, and sometimes paint, in.

Talking of painting, I briefly, for a few hours, had one foot in the hallowed ground of more figures painted than bought (the Space Marines knackered that). Clearing the table blockage of a few Warmachine Warjacks has felt like a good strong dose of ex-lax, and I'm back feeling enthused about putting paint to bristle to figure again. Hopefully some quick painting of the marines and the push to finish (or almost finish) my 10mm Dungeon pack should see me push back to that heady moment of painting accounting again.

10mm Skeletons, patiently waiting around for company...
That brings me on nicely to April's plan of action. School holiday's are just about to descend, so that is going to hamper a bit of hobby time as . I want to finish my Space Marines for playing with Arabiansquire. I also want to get the bulk of my 10mm dungeon finished (assuming you can link 10mm figures and the word "bulk") before Carronade in May. Also, looking toward Carronade, I think I'll have to get some more old Hobby Shed stock up for sale to help finance the show. It could/should put a large dent in my gaming cash reserves and I'd rather prepare for the plummet towards the red figures with a bit of a buffer.

Tuesday 5 April 2011

Descent into the Dungeon

Last autumn I received the dungeon delving game Descent for my birthday. It's such a huge game, though, that it hadn't been played. That was until Saturday. After a mere 90 minutes of tile punching and reading through the rules a couple of times, Halo_star* arrived and we spent a few hours (with the help of ArabianSquire) sorting out the hacks from the slashes.

I'm not going to do a review of the game. It's old enough (and popular enough) to have loads over the interweb. If you are interested you can have a peek on boardgamegeek. I will however give you my thoughts on the game.

The layout of the board looks pretty familiar. The range of variation for player characters is very nice though. 20 different characters to choose from, with randomly selected appropriate skills to add and the ability to buy your own equipment gives a nice degree of variation. Another difference is the Dungeon Master (or Overlord) is more actively engaged in trying to defeat the other players. They get to choose when and what they reinforce their already heavily populated rooms, allowing the frankly slow move adventurers to be threatened from areas they have already cleared.

Sometimes you regret opening the door

But how easily did the game play? The basics are quite straight forward. The turn system is quite simple. The delays in initial playing comes from quite a lot of looking up effects and skills through the un-indexed rule book. There was a god deal of sighing coming from Arabansquire with the odd "not something else to look up" comment. After a couple of hours the first area was just cleared in the introductory quest! We all had a fun time though, despite the unavoidable delays of the first outing.

The young lad played a solo version the next day, using the rules he could remember (missing out most the skills). At the end of the day he declared the game officially "brilliant". And how much dungeon d you get in the box? As ever Arabiansquire pushed the limits of what can go on the table:

Arabiansquire empties the game box. Again.