Monday, 13 July 2015

Warhammer Is Dead – Long Live Warhammer!

So I hear Warhammer Fantasy is dead, replaced by a free fantasy skirmish game. I also hear that GW have turned over a new leaf, are talking to punters now and happy to answer questions about their new game. What have I missed? I feel like I'm having one of those trippy dreams after eating too much cheese before bed, you know the ones where the world distorts into a parallel universe and everything you know is all weird and backwards… no, wait – that was End Times!

We never really got into playing Warhammer Fantasy much. When they launched a box set several editions ago we bought in and started a bit of an escalation league that quickly snowballed into dragons and the like. But these were the heady days of 40k tournaments, so the rigid formations and required planning ahead of Fantasy felt stuffy in comparison. A shame really as I always liked the idea of Warhammer Fantasy, but it was so unforgiving that it was easy to get demoralised as a beginner.

Yet, with whisperings of 9th edition on the horizon late last year, purchases were made to give it another go. Then boom – along came End Times and flushed everything we knew down the toilet. With the emergence of Age of Sigmar, Fantasy's replacement, it seems that even Slaanesh didn't make it out of the bowl – that's a big risk for the sake of being child-friendly, given how popular the pink god is.

I've been collecting random skirmish rulesets for a few years now so was happy to download AoS when it appeared. I've had a quick read but the idea that melee is based around the weapon not the wielder (if I have that correct) seems abstract in the extreme – kind of like the rules for Zombicide. With that particular board game it works wonders but I'm struggling to see any satisfaction for miniature gamers after investing hours of painting time on their models. I've no doubt I'm missing the bigger picture with faction-specific rules et al, but I like to get excited about a game from the offset. Not only do these rules have nothing new to offer (it seems) but to simplify something with so much heritage to this degree shows a great lack of respect to both the history of the game and the gamers themselves. I understand the business premise behind this move, but surely there had to be something less extreme.

Talk about being all in – GW must really be feeling "squeaky bum time", to quote a famous Scot.

Alas our days of playing Fantasy happened long before this blog existed, else I would have loved to reminisce with past blog posts and battle reports. I have a starter box full of plastic Chaos Warriors – question is whether they will see the light of day in AoS or be destined for Ebay?

Friday, 3 July 2015

Black Death Ends In 3 Days!

If Zombicide is your thing, you're no doubt aware of the new incarnation currently receiving a large amount of funding on Kickstarter. Black Death takes the standard Zombicide premise and dumps it into a fantasy setting, with a few tweaks.

I'd promised myself I wasn't going to go there after investing in Zombicide Season 3 (then selling most of it off as I'll never get around to playing it!). But love them or hate them, Cool Mini Or Not are so very good at pitching these games. They are the masters of Kickstarter, as their various funding totals will attest to.

This time around the models seem far more detailed, they've revised the console aspect and the game seems a lot smarter. They've obviously got a wealth of resources to take inspiration from for new survivors, from film and tv.

As with previous Zombicide 'seasons' there's an expansion set. For Black Death this is Wulfsburg and involves… zombie wolves, plus a stack of new survivors.

It wouldn't be a proper Zombicide kickstarter though without truck loads of strech goals that get smashed on a daily basis. As a consequence the basic content for your pledge has reached a staggering amount of stuff – probably the main reason I got involved.

Anyway you have but 3 days left to get on board, if this is your thing – delivery due for Christmas… ho, ho, ho!

Friday, 26 June 2015

Return Of The Mac…

…it is, return of the Mac…

Yes, it's back and better than ever.

In addition to the new video card, the Hard disk was erased so all those annoying files that slow things down have gone. I've upgraded to the latest OSX and have re-installed all my apps (the ones I use regularly at least). It now starts up super quick and has a new lease of life. Would have loved to get a new one but can't afford £2k at the moment, but this one seems like a new machine.

Now I just need to get some hobby-related blog posts done!

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Sad Mac…

Things have been quiet on the blog for good reason lately. My beautiful iMac took a funny turn a week or so ago and, after a week of try various things, has gone to Mac-hospital.

No idea how long it's going to be there but the blog will remain quiet for a little longer.

Behind the scenes there is lots of hobby stuff going on, so it won't be long till the updates begin again.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Battle In The Woods

So last night was (a slightly delayed) hobby night, but rather than carry on with the painting I took the opportunity to have a run out with my new models, new woodland mat and new made-up rules.

Aside from a couple of village huts there was no terrain – deforestation in medieval times clearly much worse than historians thought – (giving a huge advantage to the bowmen) but as an impromptu game I just wanted to see how things panned out overall. No special rules or abilities were used, just the bare bones basics… move, shoot, melee.

On the Sherwood side we had the Outlaw Prince and 4 Outlaw Rangers, whilst Nottingham brought a Captain, 2 Crossbowmen and 2 Soldiers with sword & shield. The general objective (if there really was one) was to take and hold the village – 'king of the hill' in the middle of the board.

The game started cautiously as everyone raced towards the huts. On the left, the Prince and one of the Rangers managed a couple of cheeky wounds on a Crossbowman who had not taken adequate cover. Similarly, one of the Rangers on the right wounded and knocked down one of the soldiers with a great shot.

As the game progressed, the Nottingham crew were becoming pin-cushions as they got caught in crossfire. Eventually the Captain got into base contact with the Prince and an almighty battle ensued. Models were starting to pick up wounds across the board, when suddenly the Captain clobbered the Prince and he dropped. Missing their leader it was looking bad for Sherwood, but the Captain was badly hurt and was finished off with a couple more arrows. One of the soldiers managed to kill a Ranger outright and the numbers were dwindling. With two wounded Rangers on one side and a badly wounded soldier left on the other, it was pretty much over. Nottingham had clocked up more King of the Hill points (having been camped in there for two or three turns) but had all but been wiped out by the Rangers.

A lot to take on board after an opening roll of the dice. Some holes in the rules became apparent early on, other ideas emerging later. Exciting times.

The Woodland pvc mat worked well. It provided a great backdrop to the game and, with the addition of a few fences, trees and vegetable patches will be great to game on.

It does slide around on our polished dining table but it didn't move during the game which was good. I may put a table cloth or table protector underneath next time (slapped wrists!).

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Woodland Gaming Mat

I got home last night to find a long awaited parcel sitting quietly in the porch. It was my Pwork Wargames pvc mat.

Given that my gaming board is a long way off being looked at again, I wanted something more than a bit of green cloth to serve as a playing surface. I saw a news post somewhere that they had just released a new Woodland design so I jumped straight in. It's taken best part of a month to get here, but will it be up to the job?

I bought the smallest size they do – 90cmx90cm – although when I measured it is a little short. The pvc is very thin, in fact not much thicker than paper and the pvc smell is quite overwhelming. However, negative points out of the way let's get on to the plus side.

The guy behind this company (I discovered after my purchase) created one of the maps for Aetherium, which is an ironic link.

The illustration is amazingly detailed and looks stunning – the print quality is excellent. It's basically a bit of printed lino so is waterproof, can be wiped clean (so get your whiteboard markers on standby!) and rolls up nicely to go into its storage tube. It does retain the curl a bit so I've rolled it up the opposite way in the hope of countering the curl a little. It's got a satin finish to it so there is a little reflection but not too bad considering it's pvc.

Let's be honest, it's never going to feel as good or real as a well put together gaming board with all the trimmings. But, from a pure convenience perspective it is a genius addition to the collection. The fact that it's a great illustration and well printed just made the effort worthwhile. It also gives me something to emulate as I build my gaming board.

They have lots of different designs too, so you're bound to find one that you can use. My 90x90 came in at approx £25 with an additional £7 postage from Italy. I think the green cloth that I have been using cost £20 from Dunelm so not a bad comparison.

With the addition of some flickering battery candles from Sainsburys, things are already starting to look pretty good – on with the painting!

Friday, 5 June 2015

Proof Of Life

I thought it was about time I posted something, time is ticking away and the blog has fallen silent again. There is so much going on at the moment that the days fly by but I am managing to grab 30 mins here and there to paint… yes, paint.

I've spent the last 12 months gathering an eclectic selection of models as stand-ins for my (kinda) secret project (can you name the sources?). That process is almost complete so I'm in the process of making them game-ready. Even in the height of my 40k tournament days (where I had entire weekends to paint) I never attempted to paint so many miniatures at the same time – an entire faction. It actually breaks down nicely as I'm colour co-ordinating everyone so it's obvious on the table who belongs to who.

I should have some more updates soon as the visual side of things takes shape and maybe share some of the gaming experiences of this next project too!

By way of compensation for the lack of updates, I thought I'd give you lovely people a sneak peek at things going on behind the scenes. Let the rumours and conjecture commence…

Enjoy your weekend all!

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