Wednesday, December 31, 2014

sliding into the new year, monk-style

December remains the month I get the least gaming time in, even given the busy-ness that is November. So, no, I didn't get to finish the short-lived Bushido painting challenge, but as you see above, I got close. Basecoating, bases, and the beginnings of the detail stage done for all figs. I am going to pretend that's close enough, because yep.

The good news is, each one of 'em can be wrapped up pretty easily. The details are always what elude me, since it's such delicate work, but the figs really shine even with a little paint on them, so the rest is just picking out the bits and tossing on a few washes. The Air Kami and the angry gorilla have their own challenges, being, you know one color-ish. But I've got the preliminaries down, so there's that.

Happy new year, all. It's one of my two favorite holidays. Here's to another great year of gaming in 2015.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Fall-In 2014: day two: Zombie Apocalypse!

Saturday morning rolls around, and for whatever reason we all wake up early. Good news because that means a leisurely breakfast at IHOP with a surprise appearance by a hostess with the magical gift of oversharing early in the a.m.

As noted in the Friday report, I did pretty well at Wally's Basement, so let's talk shopping at the con. I never know how much my dozens of readers really care about what someone else is buying. I mean, maybe? So let's hit the big topics instead.

Definitely fewer booths in the dealer's hall than before. I mean, I still found things to spend money on (thanks Brigade and Recreational Conflict!) but there wasn't a lot of competition.


I have a few big Kickstarter rewards showing up in the next few months, so as for strategies for spending my money I stuck mostly to things to supplement games/genres I already have. Better to add more terrain or figs or whatever, to keep me focused. So more Victorian scifi (Wolsung, IHMN) and modern (Pulp City, Gotham.) Was happy to see Brigade had some of the Midnight Workshop figs from Artizan, in addition to their Empire of the Dead offerings.

I didn't pick these up, but it's an inspirational concept.

I should also note that the one big purchase I made at Wally's was a handful of Skaard figs for Dark Age. Older models, but lovely, and priced so I couldn't refuse. Second army started!

And now my big Saturday event. I'd seen them run  games like this before, but this was the first time I was able to reserve a seat at the table.

From the description:
S160 Hold the Line - Z+60 Days
Sat 3:00:00 PM, 3 hrs, 6 players
GM: Henry Kyle
Period: Modern, Scale: 25mm, Rules: Zombie Apocalypse (Home Brew)
"Sixty days after the dead began to rise, your small Texas town is in danger of being overrun by the walking dead. Luckily, word has reached you of a safe zone a few counties over. As the non- combatants are loaded into a convoy to be taken to safety, it is up to the town's ragtag defenders to hold back the undead horde long enough for them to flee."

Yes, those are all 28mm figs.

Arriving at the table, it's a hell of an impressive layout.

The plotline is: we're some of the remaining citizens of Arlen, TX. The city is surrounded by a massive horde of the undead, and we're the defenders gathered on the south side of town, trying to hold off the zombies until a convoy of non-combatants can get moving (in eight turns.)

(They specified the southside of town, as previous runnings of this scenario have been the one of the other three sides of town. Clever!)

Suffice it to say, our work is cut out for us.

The rough outline. The deck of cards was massive, with many options played in different phases of the turn.

The rules are straightforward and fast. Within a turn, we had all the basics down, and we only had to ask for specific rules or 'creative' ideas. Initiative was by cards, worked wonderfully for the ten or so players they had. Victory points were earned for killing zombies (and other things) and points were lost when zombies began attacking the convoy (and a couple other things, I think.) Yes, this means we're encouraged to screw over the other players. Each turn each player got a random event card. Which helped them out or hurt opponents.

No, they don't have these rules available yet. Yes, when they do, I will be picking them up without hesitation.

My crew of ne'er-do-wells.

When I arrived, I had my choice of which themed crew I wanted to play. I went with the Dirty 1/3rd of a Dozen, four hardened criminals who didn't care so much about saving the town as saving our own hides. We didn't lose points for walkers getting to the convoy; this was instrumental to my strategy.

Other factions included: the local donut-eating cops, the local gun club, the A Team, the Sons of Arlen Motorcycle Club, the heavily-armed strippers, some Blackwater mercenaries, and many more. Each had their own little advantages and characteristics. Great to sit down to that kind of variety.

See that light blue police car in the middle of the barricades?

Turn one starts, we start taking shots into the undead crowd, and a few zombies get over the cars. The local cops, who have found some dynamite (via their random event card,) toss it into the horde. It bounces back a bit, and takes out... the police car in the middle of the barricades. This is bad.

My crew spots an ambulance nearby. Curiously enough, we have the rules on our card for how to hotwire a vehicle. We're stationed next to the A Team, so we take some shots at the zombies with them while falling back to our new ride.

Couple turns pass, and the barricade is now more of a speed bump. Zombies are streaming through the breach. Thanks to those random event cards, other zombies have popped up from buildings in town, from the sewers, and from one of the table edges. Eek.

My posse has jacked the ambulance and is heading to the road west. We can't get offboard until turn five, at which point we get VPs for saving our own necks. I did mention we weren't nice guys, right?

I should say most of my posse. Jefferson was tied up in hand to hand combat with one of the walkers that got through, and when he was able to break free, thanks to some help from the A Team... his buddies had driven off. No honor among thieves!

Seriously, it was a firefight!

My ride makes it to the edge of town, but needs to wait a couple turns until we can slip off. We pick off any walkers that are near us. Other townies are suspicious of my motives, but don't know what exactly I am up to. Other than, you know, running away. Snee hee hee.

LOOK AT THAT. So cinematic.

Thanks to someone else's random event card, a zombie breaks into the ambulance, and attacks us. After a turn or two, I go from three criminals fighting one zombie to one criminal fighting two other zombies, including the driver.

Remember Jefferson? Inexplicably still breathing, he sees the writing on the wall, and is sticking like glue to the other survivors, falling back to the convoy.  

I could write three more blog posts about everything else that happened in this game. Walkers ambushing survivors, one-in-a-million shots, terrible turns of the tide. One of the things that went really well for a con game is that each player had their own characters, and thusly their own story in this larger event, enhanced by their own cards and cards others played on or around them. Highly effective, and a real plus for the folks behind this game.

Posey, the lone surviving criminal from the ambulance, gets out, gets in another ambulance they randomly ended up packing next to, and uses that to secure his escape and me a fair number of victory points. (As bad guys, we didn't care about fallen comrades.)

Oh, and Jefferson, the luckiest bad boy in town, makes it out to the convoy at the end and off the table. Victory points are tallied. I come in second, after... another bad guy player who didn't care about the convoy getting attacked. Having zeds pop up so early, before we could muster a rearguard to keep them off the civilians cost a lot of points from the good guys, which really gave us criminal types an advantage. But I speak without fear of contradiction when I say that everyone had fun.

Huge game. Great times.

After that epic battle, we headed out of town early. Swung by Games and Stuff in Glen Burnie, since it was on the way and I'd never been before. Believe the hype, it's pretty close to the ideal game store. Clean, well-lit, well-stocked. Plenty of space for gaming. The downside is... that's it's too far from my house. Ah well.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Silvermoon challenge (by Maurice)

Hello everyone,

Maurice, here. As part of Scorpio's group, I'm also looking to get 50 Rice painted by the time the ball drops on 2014. I'm running the Silvermoon Syndicate, as nothing's more fun than a bunch of kung-fu Yakusa gangsters. The collection you see below is:

(y)Oda (5 Rice)
Manu (9 Rice)
Fitiauma (9 Rice)
Sukuratchi (6 Rice)
Okkete-San (2 Rice)
Wakasu Akuma (1 Rice)
Nomi (4 Rice)
Kyoaku-Han Crossbow (5 Rice)
Kyoaku-Han x2 (8 Rice)
This + a 1 Rice card gets me to a 50 Rice list. 

Just so that I actually get 50 Rice of figures painted without cards (certain funny people in the group are insisting...), I will add:
Saki (7 Rice)

10 figs at just over 50 rice gives me flexibility in list building and a nice range of figure styles to paint. I've already started on Sukuratchi and Okkete-San, as you can tell. I'll do my best to check in with some progress reports!

Friday, November 21, 2014

in-between days

Fists of fury

Just a quick post before I finish up the Fall-In report.

See the above pic? Within there is a total of 50 rice worth of Temple monks (and friends) for Bushido that I am challenging myself to finish painting by the end of the year. OK, technically it's a challenge for my whole playgroup, but I'm taking up the banner here.

As noted, halfway through the con report. Always hard once I get the writing rolling, since I find I had a lot more to say than I thought I did. Especially when it's a game I particularly enjoy and want to pass that joy along.

November and December are typically light as gaming goes. Just hard getting folks together regularly. We're working to keep each other motivated, however. My bases have come in, so I am looking to get a playable force for both Dark Age and the Batman game. On top of that, past Kickstarter treasures should be arriving before too long, both Pulp City and Wrath of Kings. And even Wolsung not too long after that, I suspect. That's... a lot of figs I will need to assemble, base, prime, and paint. I'm looking forward to getting it done and on the table. Busy season! (Plus, it should keep me away from getting more things on Kickstarter, heh.)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Fall-In 2014: day one: The Hunger Games!

Friday morning brought an early but pleasant drive up from Maryland to Lancaster, with only a slight detour for the scenic route. The gents and I spent some time in the car chatting and speculating about bringing in some additional content and changes to This Very Blog. More on that as it materializes.

Got in right before the deadline for their Flames of War doubles tournament. I had... ample time before my first event so I stuck around a bit to check it out.

The tournament was in the Showroom this time, a large theater with high ceilings. Actually really nice! Never seen the room in use before, very strange. I am positive full reports will be up on WWPD before too long, and do a better job of talking about it then I could even begin to do.

Look, tanks and stuff. (I am not a historical gamer.)

After hanging out at the tourney for a bit, took to the halls to check out some of the other early games in progress.

One of the highlights of the show as a whole was the positively massive "Speak Easy & Carry a Big Stick" game on Friday night. Blocks of roaring 20's action lovingly rendered in 28mm scale. I formally regret not playing in this one, because wow. (Unfortunately, it conflicted with my game for the evening. Had I known how this one would look, though...)

For some closeups, check out Brooklyn Wargaming. For more pics, check out Mr. Olsen or Buck Surdu or Lord Ashram's and pretty much anyone who wandered near Fall-In the whole weekend.


Another drive-through at the FoW tourney. We were amused earlier that there was even a table set up on the stage, and sure enough, the dynamic duo were playing on that vaunted platform.

Aaron on the left, Maurice on the right. Action!

As noted above, I had lots of free time on Friday, so I ended up getting a table at the Friday session for Wally's Basement. Usually, I just stick with the Saturday morning session (the most popular one) but figured as long as I could make a few bucks past what I paid for getting another table, I would come out ahead. This turned out to be a great decision, as I ended up making more than I expected over the course of the weekend. Yes, I might have sold some of those items on Saturday instead, but it all comes down to the count of passers-by you get who might want to buy your things. And I was priced... aggressively low. So bonus! Don't think it'll be a regular thing for me (the actual selling is very draining, especially working the table solo) but glad I phoned in for the extra this time around.

As seen last year, they had the massive "Attack on Fort DeRussy" game set up again.

Again, more sweet pics over at Mr. Olsen's gallery.

All Quiet on the Martian Front is becoming a staple of cons, as well. Looks so good all prettied up. But why would anyone want to play anything but the tripods?

After a day of eating junk, I needed some vegetables in me to help balance things out. Sadly, the best I could do at the Host was a chicken caesar salad. I'll leave complaining about the location to others more qualified, but I really wish there were healthier food choices available.

On the other hand, the bar now has cider on tap, so let's just say the meal was not a total loss.

My game for the evening, and in fact the first thing I signed up for at the con, was The Hunger Games!

(Oh look, if you squint at this pic from Buck Surdu's gallery, you can see me sitting behind that guy who is standing up. Internet famous!)

Using the Blood and Swash rules with some modifications, each of the players got two characters, one male and one female. Each player was given a number. When that card came up in the deck, we got to active one character and take an action. The players informally decided that those were the districts we were from, because, well, that was kid-of a no-brainer given the setting. Plus, I was #10, so go farmers?

As you might notice above, the figs we used were some Doctor Who/pulp figs that were borrowed from one of the HAWKS gamerunners. Perfectly serviceable, but I note that it would have been pretty fantastic to have a bunch of miniatures of kids. You know, for theme. Speaking of...

Now, I hate sounding critical of anyone running a game at a con, especially a game I had a lot of fun at. But There was definitely room for improvement here. I always enjoy gaming down in the HAWKS area; the games are run very well, the figs and terrain look great, So, uh, sitting down to the above, which looks more like a playtest walkthrough than anything else, was a bit worrisome. Toss in some random figs, and yeah.

I do hate being critical, here. I don't run games at cons because I really don't think I have the patience or temperament to deal with that many players at once, and for a few hours with no break. This game just didn't have the presentation I was expecting. Certainly good for a playtest, though, even if that wasn't what it was billed as. And like I said, I did enjoy the game, and am glad I showed.

OK, back to business.

The game start, and the rush for the cornucopia's treasures is on.

Another surprise was that the ten players included four children. Kids at a con are always a crap shoot, but this group was great. They were all familiar with the setting, and were in pretty good spirits pretty much the whole time through. 

And remember how I said we all decided our numbers were our Districts? Since the kids all sat together, and the gamemaster started counting in that order, they were all in the lower numbered Districts. Couldn't have planned it better if he'd tried.

Much like in the books, the rush for the weapons and supplies (here represented by those chits and scraps of paper) turned into a bloodbath early. I sent in one of my tributes, but the other hightailed it for the seeming safety of the woods. 

This was, naturally, a terrible idea. See those colored dots surrounding the water above? Each was paired with a corresponding color dot at the table edge, dividing the area into... yes, just like the 75th Hunger Games, a giant clock. In addition to the cards used for player activations, there were cards in there that triggered the special events. The majority of which were terrible: poison gas, killer bees, some troll-like monster, etc. The player whose card came up after the event card determined which 'clock facing' wedge it would appear in, most of them being something bad moving in from the table edge towards the center, forcing all the contestants closer together. 

Panem forever.

For some reason, all my activation cards kept showing up at the bottom of the deck. The other random trend was, oddly, I also kept being one of the players triggering terrible disasters. It was amusingly strange luck.

Cotton balls representing poison fog and wildfires roll in from above. Not coincidentally on the side of the table opposite me.

More comedy from the random chance of dice and cards were crazy strings of 'kid luck,' which I am now convinced is a scientific principle. See those tentacles above? The beast behind them had seized the tribute of one of the kids. And after a couple rounds of getting pulled under, she needed to roll like a 19 or 20 just to survive. Triggering her straight up rolling nothing but 19s and 20s for the next few rounds, without fail.

If Troi meets the Doctor on the road, kill him.

In the end, it was a fun beer-and-pretzels game. The rules were simple enough that we all had them down within a couple turns. And it was able to handle ten players, each playing two characters, no sweat. So there's something to be said for that. I'd love to see a prettier presentation, but the game I played in was good times.

Hopefully will have day two up within the next couple days. Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Straight outta Arkham...

"I am Gotham's reckoning. Here to end the borrowed time you've all been living on."

Heading out to Fall-In tomorrow, but wanted to drop this here first. Today is my birthday (I am old) and Mr. Conte, who has fallen off the minis gaming bandwagon, came out of retirement, picked up the paintbrush, and bought and painted the Arkham Bane for me as a birthday present. 150 points of Bat-smashing power! He left the basing for me, so it'll match the rest of my figs, and coincidentally my Dragon Forge bases showed up just the other day.

(The Batman miniatures game certainly seems to be having a moment right now, and that's a great excuse to pick up some of these fantastic figs. Definitely more to come from this later.)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Zomtober 2014, week 4: final victory, with bonus figs

I am not great at completing challenges, so I am going to bask in the glory on this one. Four figs complete, plus two extra because I made the time! Yes, I know for many of you, completing six figs in a month isn't tough, but for me, it's a minor triumph.

First up, the last of the Zombicide four originally slated for this Zomtober. I am sort of looking forward to painting some dupes of this fig, because all that exposed skin is a great palate for tattoos or fresher gore or what have you. And again, it's another solid pose with a lot of character and detail (like the slash across his back.) So angry!

During the course of Zomtober, one find was reading about the Eclectic Gentleman's triad paint scheme. Like I said, an idea worth stealing.As I knew I'd be getting the challenge done this week, I went down to the Basement Full of Minis and dragged out two figs I'd based and primed many moons back, and never got around to painting. I believe they're both from the late Mega Minis, but don't quote me on that. I used the red from above (Delta Ceramcoat Red Iron Oxide) and kept going.

First up is King. Clearly another Leader type. I was worried about all the details coming out on this one, but they popped right out. Not the best painted fig I have ever done, but easily the best painted fig I have done that quickly. I'm learning more to not just dump everything in a wash, but to use them more selectively and highlight around the details thereafter. Hooray for learnin'. [Sculpt by Zombiesmith, thanks to arabianknight for the correction.]

And lastly, the Thriller. He is definitely a little short next to other 28mm figs, but that works just fine, thematically. And while the Mega Minis sculpt... lacks a lot of detail, I give it style points. I would adore if someone put out a handful of walkers in the Thriller pose, because yes, I am dumb and like throwing my money at cheap jokes.

Three for the week...

 And the final results for the month. A rousing success!

Happy Zombtober everyone!