Sunday, November 29, 2015

Terror of the Lichmaster

In a recent trip to my FLGS, not particularly known for its second hand stock, I was very intrigued to see some old Citadel stuff sitting on a shelf. I had a rummage through, and came out with this beauty in my hands.

This is an unprecedented find here in Montreal, but when I talked to the owner of the store as to where it came from, I was less surprised to know that I knew who had been downsizing their collection, it's not that big a town after all.

This does not mean that I will be looking to buying up the miniatures for this campaign. Not at all. If I were based in the UK, maybe, but shipping to this continent, coupled with the comparative rarity of these miniatures on these shores puts this possibility well out of my budget.

If nothing else, this gives me something to look at when building Frostgrave campaigns and scenarios, as well as coupling nicely with the Lichmaster campaign I have for WFRP.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Frostgrave Wizards

In the build up to some games of Frostgrave, I dug out some of my old Warhammer minis, as they fit in perfectly with the theme of the game. I'll post more on how the system plays once I get a couple of games in, but there seems to be quite a few local players who are interested. Enough to make it work, as it relies as much on the campaign side of the game as it does on the one-off scenarios.

The first of the minis I have completed with Frostgrave in mind was painted up as a shamen/warlock in the browns. The autumn leaves on the base just seemed to bring this out better.

When it came to the second of these two, I went with a more winter theme, fitting in with the Frostgrave esthetic. I especially like his staff, it has a real Oldhammer look to it. Just comical enough.

The theme continues if we place these two wizened gentleman next to another completed miniature, who isn't strictly Oldhammer, but was pained up with a Bretonnian army in mind. When the three are placed together, we have Summer, Autumn and Winter. I have already selected a great mini to be Spring, and that will also do as an apprentice for Frostgrave, as these minis are all far to old to still be apprentices!

These minis may have taken me away from this years goal fo completing my Khador casters, but at least they got me back into painting after a 6 month hiatus. Back with more minis for this game soon.

Friday, October 2, 2015

In Her Majesty's Name II: Getting a game on!

Summer is finished, and with it, thoughts return back indoors of an evening, towards gaming and painting. As can be seen from my *cough* frequent posts over the summer, I have painted a grand total of zero miniatures over the last four months. I have built half of one warjack for Khador, and mostly put together the new warcaster unit for the same faction. An impressive tally, you must admit. I have also gamed twice in that time. Give or take a match that I've forgotten, as it has been a very long summer.

Do not feel sorry for me though, my time away from the gaming tables has been mostly due to travels, spending time with the family and other fun ways to experience life (with a bit of work some evenings, but I don't mind that so much now and again). So, I hear you all ask, what have I done that is worthy of posting here? The short answer is In Her Majesty's Name. I posted on this game recently here, so if you don't know what it is, go on over and look.

The long answer is a little more detailed. One of my oldest, and dearest friends was over in Montreal a week ago. S and I go way back to High School, and have been gaming together, on and off since then. Unfortunately, I now live in Montreal, and he in Brussels. However, we were in the same city as he was over here for work. I think he is having trouble finding gaming close to where he is, so he was keen to make sure we got a game in while he was in town, We had a quick look through what I had ready to go, and settled on IHMN. I of course have the almost a fully painted set of the Society of Thule, and S has a soft spot for Prussians, so it was an easy fit. For my part, I put together a British Rifle Company, pulling together my Dystopian Legions Britannians for the occasion.

The lay of the land
Neither of us had really read through the rules before, but we boh had a copy, and they really are quite simple (roll 1d10, add skill, take off mods, beat target number). We got together, set up the table, and rolled a scenario from those available in the book, as this is a game that really benefits from playing though a scenario. The rules are super simple, but the complexity and variation comes from the depth of personalisation and characterisation you give the members of your company. Wether its through straight forward character traits, super science of indeed magical abilities. All this makes it a game that borders closely on and benefits greatly from role-playing, hence, the scenario was required. We rolled the 'Bad Jack' scenario, but more on that later.

The game was rather slow to start, as we jockeyed for position on the table. We were both rather concentrated on the left flank of the board, with one or two models each on the right flank. Bad Jack, the mutated laboratory experiment stalking both sides that we had to hunt down, started in the centre of the table. One thing we noticed straight away, was that, as both sides were armed with military rifles fo the most part, we were shooting each other from turn one. We could have had more scenery on the table to make this less of an issue. The second thing was that we had both thought from reading the rules that we would be dropping like flies, as after each shot, everyone makes a Pluck roll. One fail and you're out of the game. In reality, it could be relatively easy to hit someone, but we also seemed to be making an inordinate amount of Pluck rolls, which led us to evolve our game play from one of being in cover and hiding, to getting out there and getting on with it. It did mean that what we thought would be a very quick game, took longer that we anticipated.

The making of the Pluck rolls brings me back to Bad Jack. In the rules, he is given a pluck of 2+, this means on an unmodified roll of 1d10, he is only failing on a 1. Indeed, he has talents that increase this even more, and this brings me to the issue that we had with this scenario in particular, and maybe the game in general. It was almost nigh on impossible to bring down Jack, and other minis in general.

Another slight issue we had was the interaction os S's flamethrower, and my armoured walker. However, this has been fixed in the errata, so no need to go on about it here.

One modification  would make to the rules would be with the volley fire rule. This states that models can club together their shooting to bring down heavily armoured targets, which it does. They give bonuses to hit, however, I could have had all my riflemen concentrate fire on Jack, and yes, they would have hit him every time, but they would have no greater chance of actually putting him down than one alone, as they do not actually modify his pluck roll by any more than one rifle would by itself. This goes for more than just the high Pluck models, anyone facing a volley fire, or for that matter an gang in hand-to-hand, should not only be easier to hit, but have a higher chance of taking more damage. Fortunately, this is a set of rules that encourages fiddling to make it work on your own gaming table, so that is what I will do.

In summary, we liked it. It was a lot of fun, and would benefit greatly from the players putting more effort into the scenario design. This time was just to get us to run through the rules, but if I planned another game (once I convince some of the locals to play) then I would sit down before hand and work through a scenario that fits the companies first. And if I were to replay Bad Jack, he would be very much nerfed!

As a final aside, S left me with a present in the form of the rules for Muskets and Tomahawks. A rules set  have been admiring from afar, but avoiding buying the minis for. Now, I really have no excuse not to. Do I? No, I didn't think so! to buy Roger's Rangers and a bunch of Iroquois...

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

In Her Majesty's Name

One of the things I have always promised myself is that if I were to take a break from blogging, for whatever reason, I would not apologise and make an 'I ain't dead yet" type of post So this post is definitely not one of those. What it is, however, is a draft that has been sitting in my folder for almost a year, waiting to be posted. Well, recent events have conspired for me to finally have a game of In Her Majesty's Name, so I am putting this up here as a prelude, to the post match report of that game. This is not a review of IHMN, there are plenty of those about elsewhere, but it is some of the reasons why I bought the game system. So without further ado, I'll get back to blogging...

Ooh, look!  Shiny!

Whilst I have been very clearly in a steampunk phase of gaming over the last year and a half, what with all these Dystopian Legions models, I was taken by the newest set of rules from Osprey books, In Her Majesy's Name. One of the reasons I bought it was that it is available on, therefore, however much I like and support my FLGS, I don't have to wait any time at all before the book is delivered to my door. It does help that I was ordering another Osprey title, and the fact that this is published in the same size and format to Osprey's other titles was just the icing on the cake for me.
It is 1895, and the world is in turmoil. The Great Powers compete for resources and the latest technology, and an undeclared and secret war rages between them all. This is the battleground of the Adventuring Companies. These clandestine agents of the Great Powers operate in the shadows, matching skills and wits in pursuit of the newest scientific formulae or powerful occult artifacts.
In Her Majesty's Name sets these Adventuring Companies against each other in one-off encounters and in longer narrative campaigns. Companies are usually comprised of 4-15 figures, and two players could easily play three games in an evening. The rules have been designed to allow maximum versatility for the player – if you can imagine it, the system will help you build it. There is, however, a wealth of ready-prepared material covering weird science, mystical powers, and a range of pre-generated Adventuring Companies, including the British Explorers' Club, the Prussian Society of Thule, the U.S. Marine Corps, the Légion Étrangère, the revolutionaries of the Brick Lane Commune, ancient Egyptian cults, and the mysterious Black Dragon Tong.
There are a few things I like about this system. Firstly, it is a skirmish game. I like me some skirmish games me! One of the other things I like is that, although there are a wide range of pre-made factions and builds to choose from, all the points costs for building your own are included (indeed, there's a free pdf here to help with this). This makes it very easy to make new factions, or modify existing ones to match the models already in your collection. To which end, I think it will be relatively easy to make and Adventuring Company to work with my Dystopian legion models, and equally well with the other steampunk minis in my collection, who were, until now gathering dust on the shelf.  Additionally, since the level of steampunk detailing on the minis that are supplied for the game by North Star Minis is relatively low, there is also the opportunity to use historical minis with no problems at all. This opens the door to my Zulu band making the table.

The addition of the horror element to the game, through Prussian zombies, Egyptian mummies and great white apes, is also a fun way to go.

For more information, you can go to the author's blog, where there are pages with bonus material, and IHMN fiction.

In addition, if you are looking for miniature suppliers to go to for steampunk minis, you need go no further than this post on the Dulce et Decorum Est blog, where all the manufacturers are listed.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

200th Anniversary of Waterloo

This weekend marked the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.  I have not been painting much in the right genre to post any miniatures for the period, nor have I been able to game much in that tie either recently, but it would be remiss of me to let this historic even pass without comment. A friend of mine posted this quote on facebook, that I liked, and thought I would share with you all.

From a memoir of Brussels just before Waterloo, by an English military officer on furlough from his regiment in Ceylon (source):

"This city is filled with British and Hanoverian troops. Their conduct is exemplary, nor is any complaint made against them. The Highland regiments are however the favourites of the Bruxellois, and the inhabitants give them the preference as lodgers. They are extremely well behaved (they say, when speaking of the Highlanders) and they cheerfully assist the different families on whom they are quartered in their household labour. This reflects a good deal of credit on the gallant sons of Caledonia. Their superior morality to those of the same class either in England or in Ireland must strike every observer, and must, in spite of all that the Obscuranten or Chevaliers de l'Eteignoir and others who wish to check the progress of the human mind may urge to the contrary, be mainly attributed to the general prevalence of education a la portée de tout le monde. Wherever the people are enlightened there is less crime; ignorance was never yet the safeguard of virtue. As for myself I honour and esteem the Scottish nation and I must say that I have found more liberal ideas and more sound philosophy among individuals of that nation than among those of any other, and it is a tribute I owe to them loudly to proclaim my sentiments; for though personal gratitude may seem to influence me a little on this subject, yet I should never think of putting forth my opinion in public, were it not founded on an impartial observation of the character of this enterprising and persevering people. A woman who had some Highlanders quartered in her house told me in speaking of them: "Monsieur, ce sont de si bonnes gens; ils sont doux comme des agneaux." "Ils n'en seront pas moins des lions an jour du combat," was my reply."

In other Waterloo related news, I thought this article was fun. I want one of those 2,5 euro coins now! 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Eiryss, Magehunter of Ios

Eiryss was one of the first Warmachine miniatures I bought, back with my manhuter and Khador box set. She has sat in a sad state of being semi-painted for the last 10 years or so. In an attempt to get through my WM minis, I brought her right to the front of the queue. That was helped by the fact that she is still a great mini to bring to the table, still very competitive after all these years. So here we go, the 4th widowmaker.

Gamer's Vault has decided to resurect Colore ton Monde, as the snappily titled "GV Monthly Painting Challenge". Maybe they're going to work on the name. Anyhow, since the month was already underway when the challenge was issued, this month we just have to finish something already started. Since Eiryss was started back in about 2003, I think she counts.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Khador Caster Challenge, Irusk update

This is not a full post for the Khador Caster Challenge, but just a quick update with a final version of Irusk. I was initially unsure what to do with his base, however, I found some trench bases I had made way back for Strakov and his Assault Kommandos, and appropriated one for Irusk. The thing with Irusk, however, is once he plants his feet somehere, he's all but inpossible to displace. He was so well stuck onto the base he was on, I had to hack the base to bits with my wirecutters to get him off. Fortunately, any damage to his feet during that process, and the subsequent pinning, were completely hidden by the trenchworks.

Initially I had a yellow leaf stuck to the trench mud as well as the red one, picking out colours from his scheme, but the yellow one seems to have fallen off along the way.

Speaking of Strakov, here's a quick WIP of him, as I started him for the June entry in my challenge. The eyes seemed a little cartoonish, but my fix seems more like my brush slipped. I'm  going to have to go back over his face.