Tuesday, December 27, 2011

xmas haul

My gaming-related haul from the family for Xmas this year. The Valve Presents graphic novel collection, including the excellent "Lab Rat" comic for Portal 2. Upper right is the Plasticville "Hobo Jungle" set, which I will be using as terrain for Malifaux and Pulp City. And lower right is a Walthers "National Oil Company" set I intend to sci-fi-up for 15mm scifi gaming, space port storage system or the like. Great stuff.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Placed an order for my amigo Imam from the GZG December sale. And this is what I got in exchange.

The boys in blue.

And the close-up.

I'd been eyeing the Khurasan Control Battalions for a while. He'd initially picked these up for near-future UN figs to fight zombie hordes, but ended up not wanting them. Whereas not only is it right up my alley, but it's already assembled and partially painted. Even the vehicles, which are usually a sticking point for me. Sold.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Empire vs. Azur

My Azur foes (also, best painted team winner from Gencon '11)

Before sitting down for the second game for the Anima campaign, had to roll for injuries from the last game. Daniella came out fine, but Claire was wounded. Funk. Swapped her out for this battle with an Imperial Agent (with one extra action point a turn, rolling a second die for Master Attack, and a speed of 8/12. Really just going to be a fill-in for wounded characters. Used a proxy of a Crab Clan Berserker from Clan Wars.) We also rolled for Aaron's ultimate goal for the campaign: "We Must not Let Them Succeed." Fair enough.

Tonight's battle, a 200 point clash. We roll on the chart, and get 'Albidion.' Which is a nifty scenario, except the Church Inquisitor shows up when a magic ability is used. And I had, uh, no magic abilities. And for my opponent, the Colonel had one. Which he didn't use. So, yeah.

As last time, I brought Kronen, Daniella Meris, the aforementioned Agent, and Tiamat. Aaron brought Azur, consisting of Maximo Ligori, Kyler, Kirsten, and the Colonel. He brought the Power Source, which combined with his orders meant he was never really short on actions. He also brought some Piercing Weapons, knowing that I would be running with the Imperial Armor.

Terrain was a few ruined buildings, but the majority of the action centered around the one in the middle, which was a conveniently large line-of-sight blocker we converged on quickly. First turn, primarily maneuvering and moving up.

Bad moon on the rise.

Turns two and three, dice start getting thrown in earnest. Daniella pops around a corner, throws an arrow at Kirsten, missing wildly. Kirsten returns the favor, poisoning poor Daniella (a trend that will last the rest of the game.) Kronen stakes a solid position in the middle, and solidly fails to seek any Prowlers nearby. I completely botch my sequence, through, and move up Tiamat to back up Kronen... forgetting I had already moved Kronen that turn, and thusly he can't intercept to protect the boss. Ligori makes sure Tiamat doesn't forget that lesson. The Colonel follows up, and Tiamat is off the table.

Turn four, the Agent tries to teach Ligori how the Master Attack really rocks, but no, another big miss. Ligori tries to return the favor, with a Raxxor Slayer, but duplicates the miss. Kronen throws a critical hit on Kyler, and Kyler is hurting bad. Daniella tries to conserve actions, only dodging while hoping to drain the poison, but is creeping down to three health at this point. The Colonel clears out the Agent with a Hephastios Crest. And, at the end of the turn, I concede, hoping to save my remaining characters from further insult and injuries.

Post-battle sequence, no new wounded characters. Aaron rolls for his reward, and lands "Curse," which is really one of the better ones.

Friday, December 9, 2011


As noted elsewhere, I enjoy painting miniatures, but I'm really not that great at it. My best work matches up to a lot of people's version of table-ready. A lot of it is my lack of patience for doing details (because detailing is hard.) And while I can put in the effort and churn out something decent, it doesn't happen often enough.

Last night, I had a couple hours to myself, so I sat down to get started painting my sefadu for Mercs. I had a decent concept in mind. Khaki uniforms, with the armor painted black and white, in the style of Zulu shields. Red highlights. Some tribal-ish personalization between the figs, etc. 

(Sidenote: Mercs has an interesting background, where conflicts between megacorps are fought solely between very small units, in an almost formalized fashion. This lends me to think of sports teams more than anything else, and IMHO strong personalities would want to personalize their gear and style even more. And sefadu could definitely lean towards a little flashy. They're not going to be hiding in camouflage and stealthing around, they want you to see it coming. Anyways.)

So, yes. Great plans for these figs. Sit down to paint, and... man, once I get the brush to the fig, they really have a lot more uniform than I was expecting, and a lot less armor than I was expecting. Like, I seriously don't think my hamfisted attempts to mimic a Zulu shield will come across, at all. Now, we rethink the paint scheme. Will have to tone down the khaki, since it covers a lot more of the fig than I expected. White will look good on what armor they have, and will show off personalized details too. For me, I can think about colors I want to use ahead of time, but it's not until I pick up the fig and start painting that I really decide how to make it work, and that often means some left turns like this.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Matchbox for 15mm scifi

Pics taken for a discussion elsewhere. Plotting to use these for 15mm armies.

Matchbox HEMTT.
Pictured with HOF Octopod, Rebel Home Guard, and Khurasan Crab Dude Plutonian.

The container comes off the back, too. So bonus terrain!

And avec Matchbox Buffalo.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Blasters & Bulkheads: the easy sell

Classic cinema.

I picked up the new Blasters & Bulkheads from Mr. Pyle recently. Finally got it printed, so I have been reading through it. Looks good! Will definitely be a go-to game for not-Star-Wars gaming, IMHO. That being said, I had one important question: how does it handle doors?

The backstory: when the Star Wars CMG was in its heyday, there was a little commentary that, used properly, proper opening and closing of doors could be a strategic advantage, to the point of people joking it was a game about, you know, doors. And then someone went through the six movies and compiled a list of, well, plot points and scenes where doors were actually pretty important. Think about it! Good stuff.

So I crack open the new game, and, right there on page 13, door rules. Nice. I'm nothing if not an easy sell.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Imperial Armor vs. "The Process"

They're, uh, camouflaged.

The Virginia crew has started an Anima Tactics campaign. Unfortunately, my gaming grinds to a slow drag come November and December, so I knew I wouldn't be able to really plunge into it with both feet. Nonetheless, David was willing to hike out to Dream Wizards to get me my first game into the campaign, and a good time was had by all.

We're using the "Dark is the Fallen Sky" campaign (PDF available free here.) Rolling for my team's ultimate goal, I got "That Which Should Not Exist." Meaning I have to win the 'Neo-Abomination' scenario five times. Thematic for the Empire, but a sight unlikely.

We rolled for a Clash scenario, and got "The Dark Forest." Short version, beginning of every turn, we roll for every character still standing. On a 9 or 10, that character suffers Seal lvl. 1. Ouch. We'd played it before, and it certainly adds an air of uncertainty to all planning.

200 points. I brought  Tiamat, Kronen (with Raphael's Gift,) Claire Adelheid (with Talisman of Eriol,) and Daniella Meris (with Supernatural Weapon.) Faction advantage of Imperial Armor. Kronen is the Juggernaut, a solid tank, slow, not likely to hit, but will smash some enemies if he connects. Claire isn't as tough, but she's meant to bring in the follow-up attacks, and clean out the weaker opponents with a well-timed charge. Daniella is the artillery, and Tiamat is... odd. He hits well, and has some tricks, but certainly can't stand up to any real damage.

David brought Wissenschaft, rocking The Process. Celia, Rayne, Veronica, and Lorenzo.

A good man with a mean left hook.

Game itself had a pretty good back and forth. My team was pretty fast, as Empire goes, but with Kronen, the pace is definitely on the slow side. As expected, Wissenschaft was able to set the terms of the engagement, picking where to fight. I just had to rely on my armor to wither the first blows to be able to return in kind. More or less worked.

First casualty was Daniella, who after getting off a couple shots, took  a Dual Buster charge from Lorenzo and his bionic arm on turn two. The second charge cleaned her out, but left Lorenzo hanging out there for a return charge from Claire. Veronica drew a bit more attention from me than she was worth, but also survived a lot longer than she should have.

Things quickly degenerated into an endurance contest, as I'd hoped for. We both kept swinging, but my Imperial Armor held strong. And once he was down to two characters, his Process-enhanced troops were armored up as well. So we threw lots of punches, but no one could effectively take out the other.

End of the game was a tie. I'd eliminated Veronica and Lorenzo, he'd taken out Claire and Daniella. No Influence reward for anyone. Hoping to sneak in one more campaign game before the end of the year, time and the fates permitting. And getting some of my unpainted figs, well, painted.

Side note: for the terrain, we added to the selection Dream Wizards has to offer with my newly-arrived ruins from Advanced Terrain (via the Kickstarter.) Attractive pieces that withstood getting hauled around in my backpack all day long. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

the puppet-beast war

Last Thursday, made my way out into the wilds of Virginia for a second go-round with the Collodi puppets. Once again, no pictures! Totally forgot to recharge the cellphone. But it was time to beat up Marcus and his menagerie.

Thirty-five stones, again. Maurice, my foe, had an excellent swamp board for us to play on. We rolled for the Hag's Territory and got Bog. Also known as a field day for his Silurids, and a nice slow walk for everyone else. Shared strategy was Reconnoiter, hold all four quarters at the end of the day. Thought I would have an easy time of this, or at least be able to deny making it easy for him. Occupy the middle, shift out at the end. This will be ironic later on.

I brought the usual sack of puppets. I'd bring more Stitched Togethers if I could. He brought Marcus, a Rattler, the Slate Ridge Mauler(!), two Raptors, three Silurids, and one Jack-Jack-Jackalope.

I chose two schemes. First, declared a Grudge against his Slate Ridge Mauler (proxied by an excellent Chainmail Owlbear. I love owlbears.) For the other, I picked Exterminate against the Silurids, because I am dumb and read the card wrong. During the point tally at the end of the day, when the error was picked up, we retconned that I picked 'Beast' instead, as that was the only other viable choice. Lesson learned.

His schemes were Primal Source and Frame for Murder, the latter of which kind of cracks me up, considering the parties involved.

One thing Collodi does well is deciding where the big brawl will happen. Early on, I try to sidle out and put up stakes in the middle of the board. The Raptors and the Silurids are going to outmaneuver me, and I need to keep most of the puppets together. Turns out I am slowed by the Bog, being severe terrain, like, everywhere, but not as bad as I feared. Meanwhile the Rattler and the Mauler are dragging tail. (Nothing else of his is really affected, so, good times.) I shift the horde slightly to be able to hit the Mauler quickly in his backfield and, hopefully, tie up the Rattler until I can get the job done.

And it's a bloodbath. Like, whoah. Stuffing, fur, felt, and mud everywhere. The Stitched Togethers clean out the Raptors and cripple the Silurids within a couple turns, but don't last anything much beyond that. The rest is just a war of attrition. Maurice has figured out that the way to stop Collodi is to kill puppets. Not hurt, kill. They can be replaced, but it takes two actions, and any turn spent replacing a puppet is a turn not spent boosting the rest of them.

The Mauler is a complete monster. Three puppets in one activation! Ow ow ow. The Rattler is fierce (I've seen it in action before) but can't get the job done today. He puts a hurting on Collodi, who slides off the damage to some nearby puppet pals.

So, yes. I kill beasts, he kills puppets. End of turn six, I have... Collodi, standing alone. And he is in close combat with Marcus, and the Jack-Jack-Jackalope. There are no other models on the board. I hold out for a seventh turn by burning through soulstones, and the game is over after that. Yeesh. No idea how to kill Marcus, in and of himself.

Final victory points total is two-nothing. I get two for announcing the Grudge against the Slate Ridge Owlbear and following through. And, that's it. Great game, but rough.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

the puppet-ghost war

Got together last week for a little Malifaux, specifically to try out the Neverborn. I'd only every played Guild before, so I studied up on the forums on how things are different. Also made some notes on the synergies between the different figs. Malifaux really lives and breathes on its combos, and apparently much more for Collodi than Justice. 

My esteemed opponent was playing Kirai. Love that model (and the Onryo as well, though they didn't show up that day.) (Both sculpted by James Van Schaik, who is easily one of my favorite sculptors working in the industry.) I only had a little experience fighting the Resurrectionists, and hadn't fought Kirai at all. That combined with my inexperience worth my own figs was a bit of an impediment, but by a couple turns in, everything was flowing smoothly. A special shout-out to my opponent, Mr. Conte. We have a pretty friendly playgroup, and he is no exception. He helped me with the rules I was missing, and graciously answered my repeated questions, like "why should I be afraid of that figs of yours there?" and "why does that sound bad?"

And because we're masochists like that, we also played one of the Halloween scenarios, specifically "The Carver Strikes at Midnight." Which was... brutal. First turn, I was up more than halfway across the board. Collodi + puppets = fast like a freak. Already searching for clues about the Carver, and all but completing my 'Reclaim Malifaux' scheme. The Carver was out by the second or third turn, and lived up to his name. After realizing how scary the Shikome was, I made quick work of it by gambling with the Stitched Togethers. (Stitcheds Together? That name is awkward.)

But oh. The comedy. So it turns out that Collodi's puppet army is great at dishing out lots of little attacks. Rather than one big strike, he drives them forward, and it's all snip snip snip and stab stab stab.  But it turns out Kirai is good at healing her ghosts, and bringing them back, and it quickly turned into a quagmire where I could mess up his figs, but never enough to clear a space for me to rush the big boss. And he could whittle at the puppets, but they kept on coming.

We decided to call it after four turns. Points were close, but I think he would have taken the trophy in the end. (He's a really good player, and Malifaux is his #1 game.) MVP has to go to my Stitched Together. I love those little guys. And they are mean.

Looking forward to a rematch soon. With pictures, too.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Malifaux: Collodi's puppets

As noted earlier, top of the painting queue was Collodi and his puppets, for Malifaux. I dig on evil puppets, and Collodi was a positively creepy addition to the game. Was looking for something to be a counterpoint to my Lady Justice and her Guild, so that fit the bill.

The local crew threw up a deadline of October 1st, and fake deadlines are the best way to get myself motivated. Yes, there's a lot of detail work that I have to get done on these guys. It feels like I never really finish painting everything. Nonetheless, these guys are more done than a lot of my figs, so I will count that as a win. Didn't get the creepy wagon put together in time, but have all the components ready to go, so maybe I will see if I can get that done and painted by Halloween.

First up is Collodi and his Stitched Togethers. Seriously love those figs, and I've had the Oogie Boogie stuck in my head all month as a result. A wash will help pick out the details I glossed over, which is a good rule for a lot of my figs. Maybe blacken up his hat for the puppet Napoleon look.

The Wicked Dolls were fun to paint, too. Many patches of color to help tie the force together. A lot of character packed into simple figs. Will pick out the claws in a brighter silver, maybe.

Was originally going to keep them the same colors, but they were too easy to go individual on. Will need to get more detail on those faces, despite my well-known aversion for painting faces. Even puppet faces.

Where to go from here? Will play them a few times to see. Zoraida would be a logical choice, but ehn. Pandora held more charm for me, even though the models never did. The Weaver Widow from the new book is a great choice, to compliment Collodi, and gives me an excuse to pick up Teddy. Oh yes. Will look at the Effigies as well. Probably don't need all of them, but some of them should improve the force.

Next on the painting table are my Sefadu for Mercs. Assembling new Pulp City and Empire for Anima Tactics. Rolling rolling rolling.

Friday, September 30, 2011


Fought a 200-point Anima Tactics game last week. Wanted to try out some Light figs (non-Samael) so I could get the basics down for my burgeoning Empire force. Brought Lorenzo and Rayne to back up Claire Adelheid and Daniella Meris. My opponent went Church and brought Marchosias and three other figs who helped Marchosias kill everyone. Seriously, even without the optional leader abilities, he proved to be a tough nut to crack. Hopefully in the future I will be able to bring more resources to bear on him, because short of getting in a solid hit after Seal-ing him, he's a combat machine. We'll see how it turns out next time, when I'll bring a more tuned force, and know what to expect.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

State of the Union

Here's the current list of games that are occupying my mind and time the most. This is a constant ebb and flow, as things come and go with new releases, announcements, what my playgroup is talking about, etc. The latter is a pretty piece piece, on reflection. When I start talking up some game with my friends, or we're planning to play something soon, that usually pushes it to the front of the mental queue.

Anima Tactics (with a bullet. Is Empire the perfect counterpoint to my Samael?)
Pulp City (new toys soon)
Malifaux (been painting Neverborn as top project)
Hell Dorado (been reading the book, finally)
Gruntz (so much tempting 15mm out there)
Mercs (after Malifaux project is done, these are next on the bench)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

In Progress

Here's what's next on the painting block:

For Malifaux: Collodi and his puppets. I love evil puppets, and then you add in Oogie Boogie, and we're sold. Plus, I already had a master for the Guild (Lady Justice) and the Arcanists (Colette!) so Neverborn was a good pick-up. Still fiddling with a color scheme. Suspect the Marionettes will get one, and the Wicked Dolls another, etc.

I'm also working to paint up my Sefadu troops for Mercs. Picked up pretty much on a whim. The local crew plays some Mercs, and I was tempted by the game before. I like that it's an artificially set limit to the teams. But none of the figs' sculpts really caught my eye. Until, that is, Sefadu. Leaning towards a striking black-and-white color scheme with red accents. They want you to see them coming.

After that, I should paint up my Gruntz force, plus some 15mm space port terrain I've been tossing together. And there's always more Pulp City to paint. And this, and that, and the list never ends, fingers crossed.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

this and that

Last night sat down with the guys for a little Pulp City three-way dance. We may have been doing a little playtesting, so I won't be doing a full writeup. Did a modified quest scenario, objectives were breaking off alien crystals from three set locations and earning points for eliminating rivals. Eight levels. I brought Necroplane, Aaron brought the heroes, and Maurice did Ulthar. Fun! It'd been a while since I played, but it remains a top game for me. Jade Hawk completely tied up a lot of my team for by far too many turns, which wasn't pleasant. I did make up for it by rampaging Super Zed around, however, which was a moral victory.

Off for a couple days, then hopefully to sneak in some painting this week. Probably heroes and Gruntz figs. Also have some Malifaux to assemble and base. Work is cut out for me.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Trying out Gruntz

Last week, sat down for a little gaming with the local crew. They were just back from Gencon, and eager to pass over the loot they picked up for me, and regale me with their tales of gaming and plans for the near future.

We also sat down to run through Gruntz. I'd liked the looks of the rules, and wanted to see how they played out. There was a little flipping back and forth in the book, as expected, but as we sorted through how things worked, playtime sped up nicely. The rules seem comprehensive and flexible. Looking forward to playing with them more. Next time, will make sure I have 6 pairs of d6s on hand, because that makes logical sense. Mech was dramatic and cinematic. Melee was unforgiving. Grenades seemed... highly effective, but I suspect we were doing something wrong there. Will research over the weekend.

Aaron ran with the Khurasan ARC Troopers. I was using mostly Blue Moon, with some other odds and ends, to represent my Xeno Legion mercenaries.

Picture kept small to hide embarrassingly unpainted minis.

In the pic above, my troops are advancing from the south. Aaron's dropship has toasted my APC (center-left, next to the solar panels.) My other APC has deployed the Velon Skirmishbots to take on his ARC Troops who have taken position behind the refinery depot.

Picture taken with the camera-phone at Dream Wizards, the local haunt near my house. The store terrain isn't great, but it's functional.Geared mostly for 28mm, though, so will need to cart along more 15mm options next time.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

son of a...

So, a few months back the gaming crew and I started putting together 15mm scifi armies (that's actually been one of the factors going in to me putting together this blog.) It is, as they say, the new thing.

Rooting around for an army to collect, I decide to put together a mercenary force based off the old Alien Legion comics. They'd be a force composed of various alien squads tossed together and sent to far-off planets and hostile environments. This would allow me to pick up cool minis from the various manufacturers that I like and use them together.

And along comes Khurasan, one of the top producers of 15mm scifi figs out there. They announce their new Jasmine Throne Foreign Battalions. And hell if that isn't exactly what I was going for in the first place.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Games I Play: Pulp City

One of the miniatures games I play the most these days is Pulp City. A superhero combat game set in the 1980s in a fictional city in California, the game has a lot of flavor and fun. Early reviewers weren't fans of the fact that you couldn't make your own supers*. However, I was won over by the flavor and the rules. The background is a loving tribute to the genre, and has a lot of personality and charm (also, giant robot monkeys.

The rules really blew me away, though. I've played a lot of minis games over the years, and these took a couple games to get my mind around, but once I got it, man. It hinges on a very smooth and tactical action management method. And much like another favorite, it isn't based on a points-value system. Quality gameflow with a lot of interesting design options and rewarding tactics. Great stuff. You only need a handful of models to play.

Here's a link to a good battle report. Plus a review from last year. The first book was just released. A (long-ish) demo game is here, if you like listening to Maciej talk.

* - Word on the street is, this is coming out in the first expansion.