Thursday, 18 November 2021

Is this a new genre or am I just late to the party?

 Generally speaking if I get interested in a new style or genre or gaming it was an intentional choice.  I don't usually find I'm suddenly playing a genre of game that I hadn't consciously chosen.  Having said that in the midst of playing a bunch of fantasy miniature and role-playing games I realized that without trying or planning I'm suddenly playing and prepping for a bunch of fantasy games with one linking thread; they are all reimaginings of historic periods rather than being entirely fictional constructs.

I started off with my friend Ash getting me to work on a force for Sludge, a full game featured in Blaster Magazine #3.



Sludge is a black powder based fantasy miniature game (somewhat in scale between a battle game and a skirmish game) set in a dark alternate time and place heavily influenced by the art and imagery focussed on the horrors of early modern warfare.  Sludge is great because it pretty much lets any gamer collect and paint a selection of historic miniatures from different periods mixing and matching figures without necessarily having to worry about historic accuracy.

After I'd started building and painting my Sludge models (literally before I'd finished a single figure) two of my friends completely separate from each other started texting me and asked me if I'd heard of Osprey Games upcoming game; The Silver Bayonet.



The Silver Bayonet is set in Europe during the Napoleonic era and features soldiers of the area hunting down and fighting supernatural creatures.  The Silver Bayonet is both a quick simple skirmish game, and a fairly thorough campaign game.  As a role-player one part of the appeal of The Silver Bayonet for me was that in addition to a small warband each player paints and collects a small collection of supernatural creatures.  If that wasn't enough the game also includes a small solo campaign, I haven't traditionally played many solo miniature games but with an increasingly erratic work schedule that makes it hard to get together with friends the solo element really appeals to me.

But this trend didn't stop at miniature games.  I've been playing a lot of D&D over the past few years and when I reached out to some friends for suggestions for cool adventures from publishers my players might be less familiar with one of them suggested the line of adventures published by Lamentations Of The Flame Princess.  I had some exposure to LotFP a few years ago and I had had mixed feelings about what I'd read at the time, but when I picked up No Rest For The Wicked I was super impressed and ready to take another crack at some of their offerings.  I've since ordered England Upturned thinking it looks like it would fit with No Rest For The Wicked and might be a great jumping off point for a new campaign.




While going through the RPG posts floating around Twitter I also stumbled across a really cool looking Indiegogo for an adventure that combined a number of factors that appealed to me; D&D compatible, urban based, undead monsters, and that historic fantasy feel I suddenly seem interested in.  Wightchester Prison City Of The Damned by Postmortem Studios.



Thematically Wightchester looks like a D&D horror version of Escape From New York set in the 1600s.  Sometimes you see an indie project and without knowing a ton about it you still know it speaks to you, this is definitely one of those for me.

So...this means I'm going to need a bunch of historic miniatures, and a bunch of historic miniatures converted into weird fantasy creatures and monsters.  Luckily there is no shortage of great companies making amazing plastic black powder era figures, unluckily I live in Canada and it seems no one domestically is carrying very much of this stuff to there's a lot of international shipping in my near future.



If you also find this genre interesting keep watching this space.  This looks like what I should be working on for most/all of December.

-Jay


Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Eridani Light Horse: Odds and ends

 Today will be my wrap up for the Eridani Light Horse (for now at least).  My original plan was a company, then it was a reinforced company, then I realized I had painted four extra mechs (for two different reasons) so I'm finishing up just four mechs away from two full companies.

Before I settled on the Marauder I was originally thinking of having my Captain mounted in a Battle Master.



Ever since the release of Sorenson's Sabres, and the mech bays portrayed on the cover the Battle Master has been one of my favourite mechs.  As great as this figure is, and I am super happy with it, this is one of the few mechs I really wish I had one of the original plastics or metals for as I really enjoy the slightly more squat design and I really dig the side-by-side PPC cannon.

At the same time while I was contemplating my force composition I was seriously considering having two Wolverines in my force.  To that end I had painted an additional Wolverine.



I touched on why I like the Wolverine in my previous post, but suffice to say the main reason I was considering multiple Wolverines was due to their low cost and flexibility.

My last additional mech may or may not (at the time of writing I honestly don't know) be added to my force at some point today; the Awesome.





In my current campaign my opponent's force of Taurian Concordats is led by an Awesome.  I'm hoping to kill his commander and capture his mech, in which case this fig will be joining my force.  On that note you might notice that the Awesome's armour is a slightly different green hue than the rest of my force.  That's because although I used the same colour scheme I used on the rest of my Light Horse I painted it over a reddish-brown base to simulate the Light Horse quickly painting over top of the existing Taurian paint job.

So between these three additions and my captured Thug I have a fifth lance worth of mechs to add to the Light Horse.  



If I circle back to the Light Horse at some point in the near future I'm going to go all light and medium mechs to offset all the heavies and assault mechs I added through these last two irregular lances.

I'll be taking a break from BattleTech for a little bit after this to move into a different genre for a bit but I've got a bunch more mechs for when we pick the game back up again.

I got most of my mechs (and all of what you'll start seeing later this week) from my FLGS.  You should check out your FLGS to see what cool games and figures they have for you.



-Jay


Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Eridani Light Horse: Reserves and first mech taken as a prize!

Yesterday I finished up my look at the 'regular' company of Crunch's Cavalry.  Having said that though in the campaign I'm currently playing in I actually have a reinforced company of four lances.

My final lance is not in fact organized as a lance of any particular type and instead I have been drawing mechs from it to supplement my force in other missions.



First up is the Archer.



The Archer is a really durable long range platform in Alpha Strike and in my last game really benefitted from using my Locust as a spotter.

Next is the Rifleman.



I have used the Rifleman in 1 Alpha Strike game so far and I have to say I found it a bit underwhelming.  It's not bad or an underperformer in any way but there's just nothing particularly exciting about it compared to some of the other mechs.

 Next comes the Wolverine.



My opinion of the Wolverine is shaped really heavily by my early BattleTech experiences.  Back in the day I played a lot of CityTech and in that environment decently armoured medium mechs that could jump were king.  In my Alpha Strike games so far the Wolverine has been well worth it's points and seems pretty flexible.

And finally the Blackjack.



This is a bit of a funny one for me as my history with it is the opposite of the Wolverine.  I was never a fan of the Blackjack when I first started playing.  It seemed like the low damage output, low armour, and risk of ammo explosion weren't worth the risk.  In Alpha Strike it's an inexpensive mech that is reasonably mobile, so although it hasn't done much for me yet I'm excited to see what it can contribute.

The unexpected bonus of the Thug.



During the campaign that I'm currently playing one of the post-game outcomes is finding a mech worth up to 40 points.  This basically allows you to bolster your force for free.  After picking through the options available I went with a Thug as it carried a lot more armour than most of my mechs and felt like it would give me a decent bodyguard option for Capt Crunch's Marauder.  I'm very much looking forward to seeing how it preforms in it's first game in a couple of days.

Originally this was my plan to conclude my Eridani Light Horse force, but two stragglers, and hopefully 1 more prize will make an appearance tomorrow.

I hope some of you have enjoyed checking out this reinforced company of mechs as much as I've enjoyed scratching a 30+ year old gaming itch by painting them.  And I hope you'll also support your friendly local game store!



-Jay


Monday, 15 November 2021

Eridani Light Horse: Chocula's Battle Lance

 To round out my first proper company of Eridani Light Horse (more coming though) I present the Battle Lance commanded by Vlad Chocula.



The Battle Lance breaks the most of my units with Light Horse tactical doctrine being composed of 3 heavy mechs and 1 light.  Although the Catapult and the Valkyrie are still nimble and light on their feet the Warhammer and the Thunderbolt are brutes that are just there to pound enemies.  At the time of this writing the Battle Lance is my only unit that hasn't actually hit the table yet, although Lt Chocula did command an irregular unit in my last game.  My next game is slated to be the defending player in a Supply Raid scenario so I'm planning on the Battle Lance being hunkered down in the center of the table taking on Taurian Concordat scum as they advance.



In my early days of BattleTech buying and reading through all the original campaign packs where every company was made up of the often 'unseen' mechs it always surprised me how few of those units made use of the Thunderbolt, it always struck me as one of the best all around heavies in the game.

As I said before that brings the company proper to a close but I actually have 5 more mechs as part of my campaign force that I'll show everybody tomorrow.

And as always please support your FLGS, the good ones truly are the lynchpin of our hobby communities.



-Jay

 

Sunday, 14 November 2021

Eridani Light Horse: Anthony El Tigre's Pursuit Lance

Back again with (so far) the most consistent performers in Crunch's Cavalry; the Pursuit Lance led by Lt Anthony El Tigre.



For those unfamiliar with the Alpha Strike version of the BattleTech rules a Pursuit Lance has a very similar composition to a Recon Lance being made up of mostly lighter faster mechs but the difference lies in the lance special abilities.  The Pursuit Lance has an ability for 3/4 of it's members called 'Blood Hunter' which basically gives them a bonus to engage and destroy a specific enemy target.

This lance is highly mobile, and is also a great example of how you can use different mechs to increase your tactical flexibility (if you're better than me at keeping track of the rules).  In my last game the Wasp and Stinger made excellent distractions to some heavier more dangerous mechs, El Tigre's Phoenix Hawk was able to engage a heavier mech while staying on the move, and the Locust ended up potentially being the single biggest contributor by spotting for an Archer I had held back.



More than any other unit I've painted so far the Pursuit Lance has the 'feel' of being a true Light Horse unit and will probably appear in every game of my current campaign.

I'm looking forward to more BattleTech games in the near (3 days from now?) future and I've still got a few more tricks and surprises to hopefully spring on my opponent.

Just a reminder that BattleTech is available from your FLGS.  Due to it's unbelievable current popularity if you're interested I would highly recommend reaching out to your local FLGS to either pre-order or back-order the models you're interested in.



-Jay

   

Saturday, 13 November 2021

Eridani Light Horse: Crunch's Cavalry Command Lance

 Well.  It looks like everything old is new again.  If I look back to the early 80s when I first got into gaming there were four pillars of my gaming life; D&D, Car Wars, Fighting Fantasy, and BattleTech.  Of all those games BattleTech was the one I got away from the earliest and stayed away from the longest.  No real reason for that mind you, it just kind of faded into the background and although I'd dabbled in modeling and intent to play it's actually been atleast 16 years since I last rolled dice in anger.

The tail end of 2021 saw my buddy Ash looking for someone to play BattleTech with and I have to confess that for the first time in...well...ever I'm legitimately excited about the BattleTech miniatures available.  Following a series of successful Kickstarters Catalyst Game Labs launched an entire new line of plastic miniatures for their/FASAs flagship game.

The plan is to play through a mini three scenario campaign using the Alpha Strike rules (which everyone who ever liked the look of BattleTech but didn't like the rules should check out!).  To that end I decided to paint a reinforced company (4 lances, 16 total mechs) of Eridani Light Horse.  The Light Horse are an Inner Sphere mercenary company with ties to the original Star League.  I actually played my first game with these models painted in a more stripped down traditional style (basically flat green with no accents) which is closer to the company's actual colour scheme but the models looked really bleak on camera so I decided to circle back adding an accent colour and some highlights.

My company is lead by Captain Horatio Crunch from the cockpit of his Marauder.



The command lance is a bit of a mish-mash of models I wanted to try out and I have to say they all performed admirably in a losing effort.  The Shadow Hawk was a highly flexible quick response unit, the Commando punched WAY above it's weight, and the Trebuchet (which is something of a glass cannon) dealt out a withering amount of damage.



I'm extremely happy with both how the unit performed as well as with how the models looked.  Tomorrow I'll check back in and show off the Pursuit Lance.

Also a reminder to support your FLGS.  My FLGS hooked me up with not only a pile of sweet BattleTech models but also my new lightbox I used to get these pics.



-Jay


Thursday, 8 July 2021

Review: Questionable Confectionaries Volume 2 Cole'Dren's Tavern Side Bistro

 Today I'm taking a look at the second volume in the Questionable Confectionaries series, and after how much I enjoyed the first collection I'm really looking forward to it!



For those who aren't familiar with the first volume the Questionable Confectionaries series is a collection of food-themed magic items that would occupy a similar place in a treasure assortment to a potion or scroll.  What's nice about the food/treat theme of most of the items is that they inherently give the items themselves a more whimsical nature and may fit particularly well into certain themed games, for example if you're already tapping into some fairy tale mythologies, or possibly even an Alice In Wonderland type feel.

The overall tone and feel of the items themselves hits the perfect balance for me in my games of being very tongue-in-cheek without descending into cartoonish levels of silliness.  This time out the collection is broken up into sections based on overall rarity (which I find extremely helpful). 

I have to say upon my initial read-through of the second volume I was immediately struck by one significant improvement over the first volume, as well as one unfortunate step back.  The big improvement for me was the sheer quantity of content.  In addition to simply having a higher page count (by a significant margin) the layout is a bit changed and updated with a lot more text on every page.  This is a big improvement because if you liked the first volume, there is simply way more of it to like here.  The step back is that all this increased material seems to have come at the cost of a dramatic reduction in the ratio of art to items.  For some purchasers this simply won't be an issue but for me art really makes an RPG product pop, and I not only enjoyed the art in the first volume, but what art there was in the second volume was again very well done (special shout-out to the Draconian Fruit Cake) and I certainly would have liked to have more of it.

One of the areas of expansion covered by this volume is the addition of The Gourmand which is an appropriately foody version of the Artificer along with some new abilities.  This gives both DMs and players more opportunity to work with the Questionable Confectionaries material in-game.

Overall I think Questionable Confectionaries Volume 2 is a worthwhile addition to any DMs toolbox, especially those looking for treat-themed items to add to their games!

Questionable Confectionaries Volume 2 is currently available from DMsGuild at https://www.dmsguild.com/product/333603/Questionable-Confectionaries-vol-2-ColeDrens-Tavern-Side-Bistro?term=questionable for a sweetly priced $5.50.

-Jay