Friday, 28 August 2015

Hello old friend.....

After my latest poll to determine what I should paint next ended in a tie I found myself with Dark Debts and Shadows Of Redchapel in my hands trying to decide which one I would actually paint.

I'm running a little sleep deprived right now and to be perfectly honest I don't even remember putting the Dark Debts box back on the shelf, but Seamus was calling to me and he's been good to me in the past so who am I to argue?

This means I'll be getting back in the Seamus business (that's a pretty dirty business by the way) and in conjunction with the new campaign rules I'll be featuring the lovely Madame Sybelle as my Henchman.  For those of you not familiar Sybelle is the charming lass with the purple mask on the box art.

I'm looking forward to returning where I started in Malifaux, it should feel like I never left.


Sunday, 23 August 2015

First thoughts - Age Of Sigmar

Last week I finally got the chance to play my first 2 games of Age Of Sigmar.

There were things I expected to like about it, things I was concerned about, and things I was curious about how they would work.  Overall I have to say it was a really fun, enjoyable game that I believe is actually a lot more balanced and interesting than it's nay-sayers would have you believe.

The friends I was playing with agreed to a six Warscroll limit but in hindsight even that wasn't really necessary because once you start deploying and you realize all your figures have to fit into your deployment zone the nightmare scenario of the "big" army stomping the "little" army quickly becomes no concern.  The only issue I could see would be if the "little" army was extremely small, but games amongst friends shouldn't have those kinds of issues.

I played two very different games.  The first was against a Skaven army that massively outnumbered my Vampire counts (I don't remember the exact model count but it would have been roughly 2:1).  We were playing a basic pitched battle but due to the disparity in models I was able to choose a sudden death victory condition, I choose to secure a scenery feature on the far side of the table by turn 4 and was able to win the game by accomplishing that.  The game was decided on the final (fourth) turn and a couple of die rolls one way or the other and the outcome could have been completely different.
My second game was against a slightly larger Dwarf force (roughly 60 models for the dwarves vs 48 models for me).  We played a scenario from the new campaign book where the savage marauding Dwarves attacked and massacred my peaceful Vampire village, my forces returned and set to expelling the intruders.  For this game we played in a built up urban area which created far more dynamic movement, I was again narrowly able to eek out a victory by driving off the evil Dwarves, at the time of my win my forces were only 4 more models away from losing the game!

So, I had a lot of fun and will definitely keep playing, but by now most people have either decided they do or don't like the game so rather than a thumbs up/thumbs down point of view I'd like to specifically address some criticisms of the game that I have a different understanding of having now put models on the table and rolled dice with them.

I've already mentioned my first point that your models having to fit into your deployment zone does in fact create a very real practical limit on army size.  Although I could have been more significantly outnumbered in my second game and that could have changed the outcome I don't believe it would have changed any actions in the first 3 turns and both myself and Carmin would have walked away still feeling the game was "fair".
Secondly if you play a scenario or introduce the sudden death victory conditions rather than just lining up and fighting each other you don't end up with the swirling mass of models in the middle of the table just rolling dice off against each other endlessly.
Third the reach of a model's melee attack limits the advantage of a huge unit against a smaller unit.  In one case Darren's Skaven were able to start encircling one of my units and really bring his advantage to bear.  I don't re-call a single fight in either game where an entire unit of 20 or more models was able to attack a single enemy unit.
So my recommendation for anyone who has models but has avoided the game because of how they think it looks on paper, I would highly suggest you actually try a game and follow the rules, you might fins there are actually some filters for the things you think are unbalanced.

Having said all of that there are 2 things that I think could and should be done (not printed in the rules) to enhance your Age Of Sigmar gaming experience and avoid some of the internet's worst fears.
First always play with an objective.  Either a scenario or if you're playing with just the free rules (like me) then consider having both players choose a sudden death victory condition and if a player would normally qualify for one let them choose a second one.  This will keep the game moving around the table and give both armies something to do other than just fight in the middle of the table.  If someone asked me to just play a straight punch up I would probably just pass.
Secondly don't play with unpainted models.  A few people online have proposed some ridiculous forces (all Blood Thirsters for example) if people have to put both money and effort into these ideas I imagine not too many of them will actually make it to the tabletop.

So that's my 2 cents.  I had fun, the game plays just fine as written and as long as you don't plan on playing against dicks you'll have a good time.


Thursday, 20 August 2015

Time once again to tell me what I'm painting next!

Hi all,

Lords Of War Games  in Oakville is running another Malifaux event this fall and I've decided to take another vote on what crew to paint to play in the campaign.

This will be part of a global campaign called Nythera played both as Malifaux and Through The Breach games.

It looks like I'm going to run Through The Breach games but I'm going to use more Malifaux games as an excuse to paint another new crew.  So once again in the spirit of Malifaux I have decided to let the fates (that's you're the fates) decide what I'll be playing painting in the game.  I've narrowed my choices down to three crews, you can vote in the comments section below or through the comments on my Facebook page and same as last time which ever crew gets the most votes wins and I will paint it and use it for the entirety of the campaign.  Voting starts now and closes at noon on Friday August 28th.

The three choices this time out are:

The Relic Hunters-Guild

The Relic Hunters narrowly lost out last time around but they are still awesome looking models that I will get around to painting at some point.  Thematically having a character who reminds us all of Indiana Jones leading an exploration mission would be pretty cool.  The big plus side with The Relic Hunters is that I already own the figures so I wouldn't have to buy anything (so maybe don't vote for this Chris & Jay) and one of them is even already painted!  The downside for me is that I already own the figures so it doesn't give me an excuse to pick up more figures.

Dark Debts-Neverborn

I've started collecting some Neverborn models to play Defence Of Innocence with later on and it occurred to me a few weeks ago that if I just got a master I would also have a workable force.  Jakob Lynch is a degenerate gambler who sells not only his soul but the souls of others for one more chance to come out ahead in Malifaux.  I'll be honest that I know next to nothing about the rules for this crew but they look cool and isn't that what really matters?

Shadows Of Redchapel-Resurrectionists 

The original metals of these figures are what I started with when I originally got into Malifaux.  In a world filled with supernatural monsters and horrors from beyond space and time Seamus stands alone as the thing most citizens of Malifaux are terrified of.  Playing a force led by Seamus would be like coming home for me and I know the mere idea of him strikes fear into some of the opponents I played in first edition.  I had originally decided to stay away from Seamus when 2E came out in the spirit of trying something new but I just can't stay away....

Those are the three choices.
If you follow my blog what do you want to see me paint?
If you're playing in the campaign what do you want to play against?
Do you want me on your side, or do you want my bad luck playing for someone else?

Here we go again!


Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Frostgrave - The adventure begins!

I'm going to be talking about two new games and a new D&D campaign this week so I'll be diverging a bit from "look what I finished" and spending most of the week on "look what I'm working on".

Today's new game is Frostgrave by Osprey Games.  Frostgrave is a game I had recently heard a lot of buzz about and to be quite honest at first I really didn't care.  Historically one of the problems I have had with jumping on board in the early days of a new game system is that I hear a lot of enthusiasm from people and then six months later none of my gaming friends have painted their models and I've spent time and money on a bunch of stuff collecting dust in a corner.
That being my issue going in there were two things about Frostgrave that dispelled that concern instantly.  First up the game is set in a classic medieval fantasy setting with characters who fit generic fantasy tropes.  What this means in practical terms is that anyone who has a collection of; D&D or Warhammer or Mordheim or whatever game make a force out of figures they already own.  My second issue is that typically skirmish games that feature a campaign or warband experience mechanic get old very quickly for me, in Frostgrave every campaign is meant to end, so it doesn't go on forever.

The book itself is fantastic.  Hardcover, 128 pages with terrific art and miniature photography throughout and a simple intuitive game system that seems to offer reasonable depth without becoming bogged down in endless rules.  All this for a price between $25 (US) and $32 (Canadian).

The only requirement for a starting warband in Frostgrave is that it must have a wizard.  There are 10 different schools of magic to theme your wizard around but me being me I'm starting off with a Necromancer.  You also have the option (which the rules directly and highly recommend) to hire an apprentice for your wizard.  There are a lot of neat mechanics around the apprentice, he is statistically similar but slightly inferior to your actual wizard and knows all the same spells but at a slightly lower level of proficiency.   One of the mechanics that should strike an immediate chord with campaign players is that after a certain amount of levelling up your apprentice can take over the warband (becoming a wizard themselves) if the actual wizard is ever killed.  For my wizard and necromancer I build them from the Games Workshop Empire Wizard two-pack, the only extra piece is that the apprentice has a head lifted from a Bretonian archer.  The Empire Wizard pack is GREAT for Frostgrave because a number of the pieces in the package work towards the schools of magic in the game.

The next classification of models in the game are soldiers.  Soldiers refer to any figures hired into the warband that are not the wizard or his apprentice.  For my first three soldiers I assembled some characters from the Games Workshop Bretonian Men-At-Arms box (more of these figures will be featuring in a different game next month!).  They are from left to right; an Infantry Man, a Man-At-Arms and an Apothecary.  There are 15 types of soldiers in the basic game book and they represent most of the character options for D&D and other classic fantasy RPGs so you have quite a lot of options for customisation and modelling.

Last but not least I have a Warhound.  The warhound is from a dwarf sprue from Mantic Miniatures, I'm actually not sure what unit box it comes in because I got this particular sprue from a Dwarf Kings Hold game box.  The warhound is just another type of soldier, but I had the model and was trying as much as possible to keep my warband all plastic so I thought I'd give him a go.

So that's where I'm at so far.  The plan is to start painting this stuff (I'll still need to add another model or two) this week and hopefully get done in time to play a game by next Friday (8 days from now).

That's it for Frostgrave until something gets done, up next Batman!


Thursday, 13 August 2015

Elf Ranger-Druid

"Sure, I'd love to play in a D&D game two months from now."
"Paint a single character model, yeah no prob I'll do that right now"
"What do you mean my flight leaves tomorrow?!?!"

In about 5 hours (from when this was typed) I'm heading out to the airport to spend 4 days with not only one of my bestest gaming buddies but clearly my brother-from-another-mother Darren Bolton in scenic Vancouver BC.  Darren and I haven' t been in the same room together for over 7 years now (living on opposite sides of a country the size of Canada will do that) but a couple of months ago he just said out of the blue "you should come out here to play some games and drink some beers" and now that's what I'm doing.

We decided on how much gaming (and beer, don't forget beer) we could cram into three and a half days and it feels like alot.
Age Of Sigmar
This is what got me off my butt and re-basing my older Vampire Counts stuff all of a sudden.I've re-based about 7 warscrolls worth of stuff and it's all heading out to Vancouver with me so I can FINALLY try the game for myself.  As a follow up, I have no intention of any of the models I'm taking with me making the return trip so I will be fielding an all new Vampire Counts army a few weeks after I get back.
Car Wars
My first true hobby gaming love.  Back in the day I played a ton of Car Wars and most of the group I played with were super-serious about it.  After taking a break from the game for a few years I came back to it with a new less serious attitude about it and it's been like rediscovering the fun I never had.  Love this game and I'm looking forward to sharing how it goes with everybody.
Dungeons & Dragons
As much as Car Wars is my first gaming love D&D is where it really started for me.  It's also where the story of the secret hobby shame I need to confess to tonight started.  

You see when Darren proposed this gaming (and beer, don't forget the beer) based excursion I needed to paint exactly ONE model to be ready to rock; my character for D&D.  I picked a pre-generated character that is an Elf Ranger/Druid, no problem except three of the things I've generally never had an interest in playing in D&D are; Elves, Rangers and Druids so my on-hand selection of figures was pretty weak.  After talking myself in and out of a number of figures I would have had to have gotten off my butt to buy if I was going to paint them I dove into the box of Reaper Bones figures my buddy Mark generously donated to Zoe and I about a year ago.  It took me a surprisingly long time to find a woodsy-looking elf that wasn't female but finally I found one.

So this is my character.  I don't have the sheet in front of me but he's a Elf 6th level Ranger 6th level Druid who primarily fights with a bow (its on his back).  The base coats all went on last night and I did some detail work and washes on my lunch break today.  He's quick and dirty but he's a one-off model for a one-off game so I'm okay with that.

When I get back I expect to have lots of games to talk about and I'm also venturing out into three new miniature games when I get back.  I just got my first pack of miniatures for the Batman miniatures game (they look AMAZING by the way), I'll also be picking up Frostgrave this weekend while I'm out Darren's way, and I've decided to dust off my Fallout themed miniatures from a couple of years ago and give This Is Not A Test a try.

Lots of hobby going on, hopefully I'll end up in front of a computer to tell you about it more regularly!