Friday, 28 October 2016

Back to basics...

A recent order arrived with the wrong sized bases. Curses. Rather than 20mm squares the bases I received were 40mm, and with time pressing due to the start of our local Mordheim league in a couple of days, I needed to find another solution. Casting about for alternatives, I rested in the end on some small ceramic tiles. These are about 19mm square, heavy (good for the light plastic miniatures), and cheap. I got a square of what appears to be a billion for about $5.

Starting soon, our league will have 7 or so players and a good mix of warbands. I am looking forward to it immensely.

Perry Miniatures... very nice!

The wrong bases! Curse you Chaos Gods! The men of Averland will not put up with such things!

These are the tiles. While not exactly 20mm (and quite thick), they are at least, about the right size.

A gajillion for a small number of copper coins at the local Hardware Shoppe

With one side a high gloss, I was worried about the ability of PVA to hold basing material to it. I opted to glue the miniature to the underside of the tile instead...

All based up and no-where to go.

Using a metal toolbox for transport, I wanted to be able to store these in a similar fashion to my other miniatures. I sliced a fridge magnet into 20mm squares and super-glued them to the glossy underside of each base. Once the glue had dried, I roughly beveled the edges of the magnet.

I have to admit I thought the ceramic tiles may be too heavy for a humble fridge magnet, but strength can be found in the most unlikely places - Frodo Baggins and Sam Gamgee taught me that.

You would never know that hiding beneath that base is a magnet!

Roughly sliced back, nearly lost a finger doing this.

The plastic molded base gets a light dusting of sand...

Lots of PVA and more sand later I filled around the plastic base... they look pretty reasonable in person, even if my daughters cereal doesn't.
Well, they are based. I am waiting now on my halfling miniatures, and will proxy some figures in the meantime. Overall I am pretty happy with the bases, they should come up nicely with some paint (if I manage to get to it)!

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Rome wasn't built in a day...

Finally! Why did I wait so long? Oh, where am I going to put everything now?

The rollercoaster of emotion is a see-saw of extremes for today's miniature gamers. I was thrilled to have finally put together the terrain packs that had been stuffed into a box somewhere. Flushed with the sense of accomplishment and victory I wondered why I had put it off so long. Then I went to put it away. Hmm. Time for creative solutions, my first idea, to create a Dark Age diorama as a centerpiece for our dining table, was a thought quickly taken out behind the chemical sheds and executed by my dear wife. So too my follow up plans of hiding the model buildings on various shelves and tables on display, all followed the diorama idea into what was becoming a mass-grave of creative storage concepts. Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled to have finally got it all together, it's just now I have to deal with it assembled. I didn't think that far ahead.

These are the terrain sets that come with the two-player starter set for Dystopian Legions: Iron Scorpion. Nice, easy to put together and offering a lot of options in terms of layout. They were a bunch of flat laser cut boards, now they appear to take up more space. These will be used in our upcoming Mordheim campaign!

15mm Scale Dark Age huts from 4Ground. They are very nice. Strong, detailed, prepainted, and cleverly designed. 4Ground make some of the absolute best MDF terrain I have seen. Great stuff.
A couple of their buildings (I prepared these earlier) during a game of Song of Blades and Heroes. They look great on the table.

Well. Glad to have finally knocked that job off my 'Hobby-to-do' list, especially the Spartan stuff, which we'll be using for some Mordheim terrain... But now I have to figure out where it all goes. If this isn't a first world problem of magnitude, I don't know what is (another first world problem of magnitude).

I finished off the evening with a quick game of Perry Rhodan: The Cosmic League with my lad. It's a pretty simple two-player pick up and deliver game, where players try and score the most points delivering goods and passengers around a solar system. Good fun...

Monday, 24 October 2016

Getting ready to plunder Mordheim...

We recently wrapped up an Infinity slow-grow tournament/league at the local club... well I say we wrapped it up, with circumstance playing the way it did I didn't get to participate as much as I would have liked, but from what little I did, I had a lot of fun.

Flushed with success from the Infinity event, for which we had a good number of participants, the organiser (Quinton), set upon the task of discerning what sort of event he would like to run next. A discussion was held between various club members, and the two most popular choices were between a Dystopian Wars campaign and a Mordheim campaign.

In the end we opted for Mordheim, a campaign based skirmish game spun off the success of GW's Necromunda and set in the Old World, the dark and gritty setting of Warhammer Fantasy Battles (Dystopian will probably be next).

I've never played Mordheim, but I have played a fair bit of Necromunda, which I regard to be one of Games Workshop's finest games. Given my appreciation for Necromunda (which I admit may be tinged with nostalgia), I'm looking forward to Mordheim, and that's despite not having played anything from GW for nearly 20 years. The element that I love most about these games is the story, Necromunda managed to create a narrative around your gang, and as many things of interest took place outside the game table and on it. Your gang grew and developed with experience, and gained new items and equipment as their prospects waxed and waned. I am very much looking forward to charting the same experience with my Mordheim Warband!

Speaking of which... in the end I decided to run with a warband of Averlanders, because, well mainly because they get Halflings. I sold off or gave away all my GW stuff years ago, so casting about for some suitable miniatures I fell upon the Perry brother's line of plastics. I opted for a box of 1450-1500AD European Mercenaries, and wow, are they nice models. Although in retrospect I may have gone with a different box (more archers and swordsmen, fewer spears), I am really happy with the quality of the miniatures, with separate heads, arms and weapons, the miniatures present a lot of different options, certainly enough for me to pull together a Warband with men to spare...

While not terribly clear in these photos, the detail and quality of these plastics is excellent, and although (as I said above), had I known I would be running an Averlander Warband, I may have chosen a different box, I am very happy with these. They are well proportioned, and have great expression. A little bit of plastic glue and they go together with no worries. 

With some sage advice from more experienced players (read: people who have read the rules), I ended up creating a warband of the following:

  • Captain with sword, shield and dagger.
  • Sergeant with sword, shield and dagger.
  • 2x Bergjaeger's with Longbow (crossbows on the miniatures) and dagger.
  • Youngblood with sword, shield and dagger.
  • 3x Mountainguard with swords, shields and daggers.
  • 3x Halflings with bows and daggers.
I'm still waiting on the Halflings to arrive, but the rest of the warband are assembled and ready for action!

Captain and Sergeant

Fierce... and ready to go a-hunting warpstone...

I have some 20mm square bases on the way, and while I would love to paint these guys, I am reasonably confident that they will stay a rather innocuous gray tone for all eternity. We shall see...

Now, I need to read the rules and get in a practice game before the campaign kicks off!

Friday, 21 October 2016

First real learning game...

I've played a couple of games of the basic scenario in the starter set, the one with 4 Heavy Gears a side. While this does a solid job of teaching you the basics of the dice system (something I was already familiar with due to the RPG), it doesn't really give you a good picture of the game - which is multi-layered and rich with detail.

With plans for a larger game (150 TV - the standard game size), I really struggled to put together the army. I felt that while I roughly knew the rules, I still didn't have a handle on how all the gears and levers affected one another in game. I was also stuck by the fact that the models will be glued together, and as such, locked into whatever role or load-out I selected for them.

The buildings are from Spartan Games (their Planetfall range).

It was good to actually get a solid sized force of models to the table, and it was really my first learning game.

For those who know the game my force was:

PU - UA - GP (32TV)
·         Hunter
·         Hunter
·         Hunter Gunner
·         Assault Hunter
·         Headhunter

PU - UA - SK (45TV)
·         Thunder Jaguar (CO)
·         Arrow Jaguar
·         Flash Jaguar
·         Flash Jaguar

SU - RC (7TV)
·         Wild Ferret

PU - UA - FS (48TV)
·         Chaingun Kodiak
·         Grizzly
·         Thunder Grizzly

SU - RC (16TV)
·         Ferret
·         White Cat Cheetah

Smoke x1

The first turn was slow as we referenced skill points, orders, ECM, Indirect Fire and other sub-sets of the rule system. I'm still not 100% on the rules for some of those (ECM and Indirect Fire particularly), but I am in a better place than I was. With so many layers and interactions I feel like I'm looking at the game through a fog, but thankfully it is clearing.

My force was completely ripped to shreds by the Southern force, I just couldn't get myself into a good position, and poorly used the Recon Units and their ECM capabilities. But, despite that, I had a blast. The rules are starting to become clearer, and I feel more confident in putting together the rest of my force now I have a better handle on what a game looks and feels like. My list above is going to change, I'm going to scrap the Support Units and create a fuller Recon Unit as Primary, and if enough points allow, throw a Ferret or two in for good measure. I know I'll be adjusting the Hunter Unit, and was relatively happy with my Strike and Fire Support guys, though I'll be using the Fire Support differently next time.

I'm still not confident I can put together a good game plan, but I'm pretty sure the next game will get me closer to understanding how all the pieces fit together. It was a lot of fun, and I am very much looking forward to playing again!

Responding Snap Fire crippled this Flash Jaguar...

Making the most of the Lasers...

Good use of ECM by my opponent and continued use of Area Effect rockets fired Indirectly eventually wrecked most of these guys.
I didn't get a photo of the end (well, where we called it due to time), but my force was fairly well in tatters! Still, there is tomorrow...

Monday, 17 October 2016

Favstvs Fvrivs... Chariot Racing in the age of steam...

I recently got hold of the Faustus Furius Chariot racing rules, written by Nicholas Wright and published by Ganesha Games. These are a simple set of racing rules, that include all the things one would expect of chariot racing, such as mobs on the track, attacking other chariots, crashes and more.

Using a spin on the tried and tested dice mechanism, well known from Song of Blades and Heroes, the game is relatively fast and certainly furious. On their turn a player will roll between 1 and 3 dice (player choice), with each success gaining them an Action, and multiple failures causing potentially negative effects. A player might choose to play it safe, and roll only 1 die, or may push their luck and roll 2 or all 3. One of the neat spins in this version of that dice system is the idea of Normal dice and Fatigue dice. Normal dice succeed on a roll of 3+, while Fatigue dice succeed on a 4+, as the race wears on Normal dice are replaced by Fatigue dice, and the risk of having some sort of negative consequence from rolling multiple failures becomes more significant.

Spending the Actions a player gets from their dice allows them to do things, such as move further, turn, attack fellow Charioteers, and more, with complex actions like Sharp Turns and Inciting the Crowd, costing more Actions to perform. All of this is important, as a player will always have to move their Chariot a compulsory forward move before they take any actions - this move is always straight ahead, and it can be easy to move too far, or leave a turn too late, which could result in a collision on the following turn when you make your compulsory move.

While relatively simple, Faustus Furius is an engaging and fun game. While the dice system is straight forward, the negative consequences for rolling multiple dice vary depending on the number of failures and the number of dice rolled can lead to a little chart referencing during the game - but this will fade as players become more familiar with the system.

I bought a bunch of 15mm Chariots from Magister Millitum to use, but the game works equally well with Pod-Racers, Hot Wheels cars or whatever you happen to have, or whatever tickles your fancy.

All in all Faustus Furius is a great little racing game, and certainly worth the cheap price point. Like all of their games, you can get it from the Ganesha Games website as a PDF.

I managed to get in a learning game the other evening with my lad. We used two 'chariots' each, and rather than chariots (which I haven't assembled all of yet), we used small tanks from Spartan Games line of Dystopian Wars models. I was rather tickled by the idea of these gargantuan machines of war turned into racers. For the sake of the game we made all of them 'archer chariots', and my son seemed just as content spending his actions shooting at my guys as focusing on little things like turning... It was a lot of fun.

Everybody... start your sturginium-infused-coal-powered engines!

After getting shot Alphonse veers into the stadium wall. A mob of walking robots invades the track...

Another lucky shot flips Snake Boy...

The race for the finish line is on!

Snake Boy, eyeing off the finish line...

Alphonse, spun about by a collision, may well be out of the race...

Our racers (Initiative is via card draw)... the green line indicates the model marked by a green micro-dice.