Friday, 23 June 2017

Return To 40k

Every time Games Workshop produce another incarnation of Warhammer 40k I feel obliged to take a look, given what a massive part it's played in my hobby life over the years.

8th Edition has been slightly different in that GW have highlighted some of the the key changes in the build up to release. I've been intrigued by the simplification of the Warhammer world with AoS (without ever actually playing it) and what I was hearing was that 40k was going to follow suit. This gave me some hope that things may actually change to the point where I could welcome 40k back into my life. It's been a long time time since the glory days of 4th Edition and I've had no interested in the versions since, especially as things escalated towards apocalypse type battle with flyers and war machines.

Then GW played their ace card – Death Guard marines in the starter box – ah, dammit, this was not going to be a cheap return to 40k. As has become the norm in recent years, said models were of the highest quality (even if there are still a few dodgy poses). That was it then, I would have to shell out close to £100 to see what it was all about – even though the rules are technically free (how does that work?!).

I managed to miss the postman on release day and have to wait 24hrs to go to the sorting office and collect my parcel. I was excited, but with a certain level of reservation – disappointment for so many years will do that to you! Upon opening the box I have to say it is a very smart product. The only company I have come across that presents it's products as beautifully as this is Apple (they're in a league of their own, but this was pretty good). Taking the time and effort to present products to this degree makes the unboxing experience so much more enjoyable. It shows that the company cares what the customer thinks.

The contents was pretty solid. The fact that you got the hardback edition of the full rulebook, instead of an A5 lite version, was a good decision. That helped make it feel like a quality purchase and good value for money. The models are as stunning as ever and, again, helps to give a feeling of quality and value. The Primaris marines went on Ebay and sold in less than an hour, so I've made most of the cost back already.

After building my first few Death Guard models I decided to crack out my current army and rebase them on the larger 32mm bases. However, when old and new Death Guard stood side by side I noticed there was a significant scale discrepancy. Not unlike a Primaries marine next to a standard one, the size difference was quite noticeable and looked quite odd – disaster!

Now I'm left with a bit of a quandary. Do I relegate my old Death Guard to be standard nurgle marines and the new plastics are Death Guard? Do I sell my old DG marines and start a new army? Do I stick to the old ones and not bother with the new ones?

To complicate things more, my two favourite conversions of all time – my Nurgle Heldrake and Nurgle Forgefiend – can't be taken in a pure Death Guard army!! Neither can my Nurgle Biker!

So for now I'm simply putting together the models. Just like last time I built some Nurgle on the back of a 40k box set (above), I jumped straight in with a conversion. More on that another time.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

There And Back Again…

The blog has been quiet for the last three weeks due to me being away in the States with the family. A unique occasion to be sure as we travelled first to Illinois for a family wedding. It was a far more casual affair than we had anticipated and I stood out somewhat in a three-piece suit.

Next came two fantastic days in Chicago. Staying in a lovely hotel overlooking the river, I have to say it was the best time I've had on holiday since visiting Yosemite five years ago. We got to meet my 'glorious' friend Brian from Anvil Eight Games, who graciously took me and my family out to try some famous Chicago style pizza pie. What an experience and I can say hand on heart that I will never look at pizza in this country the same way.

Myself and Brian got to hang out for a while after dinner, drinking local beers and chatting about all things gaming. It was a very inspiring evening and makes me very excited for all things hobby related – not least the future of Anvil Eight Games. You will be hearing more about them soon as they raise their profile with more astonishing projects.

After our awesome time in the city we jumped on a plane down to Texas to hang out with the extended family once again. Whilst we didn't see much of this famous state, we did get to visit the Alamo… which was not what I had imagined.

Located in the middle of downtown San Antonio, and surrounded by a high wall, you could walk past the place and not know it was there were it not for all the signage. Crowded in on all sides by tall buildings, it was a far cry from the fort in the desert that I had imagined it to be. The site itself was interesting enough – a small exhibition and an enormous gift shop were sat alongside the famous church seen in most promotional material. The atmosphere on site was heavy with history.

Now we're home, the attention has swung back to hobby things. The new Zombicide Kickstarter launched on Tuesday and funded in 6 minutes. Whilst the stretch goals so far have not been terribly inspiring I'm hoping things will improve.

I have also just pre-ordered the new Warhammer 40k box set which is due out on the 17th June (day before Father's Day… cough). And just because all this hobby spending wasn't enough, I've also bought Massive Darkness Kickstarter on Ebay which is due to be shipped in the next couple of months.

I think I need a sit down – phew!

Saturday, 13 May 2017

New Zombicide – Zombie Sculpts

To compliment the new Heroes, here are the new Green Horde zombie sculpts. I'm find these quite a mixed bag, but am reserving judgement fully until we get to see the final things. 17 days to go till the Kickstarter!






Wednesday, 10 May 2017

New Zombicide – Hero Sculpts

We have the full set of 3D renders of the Hero models from the upcoming Zombicide: Green Horde Kickstarter. They've gone down the digital route this time it seems – time will tell how they compare to the Black Plague miniatures!







It's hard to tell how cool or not these minis are going to be. I'm pretty sure that at the final size they'll look cool and paint up well. Now just have to pick a favourite!

Sunday, 7 May 2017

The Romans & Celts Return…

This blog has not seen Romans and Celts since August 2013. They've been safely packed away after my first attempt at writing the Dark Crucible rules was abandoned. There's been no inclination to revisit them, especially as my rule-writing exploits has turned to Project–Hood, Project–Out Of Time and more recently an adaptation of Zombicide Black Plague as a skirmish arena game. I've found my attention floats from one of these projects to the next in a merry-go-round fashion, moving on when the motivation tires.

Romans hold the hilltop

In a bizarre twist of fate, I found myself back writing out stats for Romans and Celts this weekend as myself and Bull arranged a last minute play-test morning. The latest incarnation of Project–Hood was reaching a plateau where things needed to be tested thoroughly. However, I took the basic ruleset and stripped out all the resource management and unique characters. Back to absolute basics. I then converted the character list so we could play with basic troops alone – the Romans and Celts as we have plenty of models for those.

Celts taunt the Romans!

I love sitting in isolation trying to conjure up new mechanics and fun iterations of things I've not seen used before. I love putting it all down in a document and refining things, then refining them some more. However, it doesn't matter how much things make sense on paper, the one thing I have learned is that they do not often survive the first round of play-testing.

We played through a simple king-of-the-hill type scenario, nothing complicated but there was an objective rather than random skirmishing. Then we simply talked through options and directions, rolling out specific encounters to see how things felt. Many of the mechanics I was completely sold on previously fell apart quite quickly in the hands of another player. Our discussions and thought process evolved over the four hour spell, and what we ended up with is quite far removed from the 9am document.

I made a tonne of notes whilst there and came away to distill them into something logical, playable and balanced (if that's possible). I'm hoping these core mechanics, once more concrete, will form an underlying basis for a couple of these rules projects at least. Time will tell.

Monday, 1 May 2017

New Zombicide – Zombies

I had a look at the teased artwork for the Zombicide: Green Horde heroes last week and now have the imagery of the related zombies.

The things I can see here of significance are firstly the walker seems much bulkier than we're used to and also that it's wearing armour of sorts. Hmmmm…

There was talk of goblins early on in the press releases, and that they appeared in packs, so I wonder if we're going to see a Crow-type base with multiple armoured goblins on it, or just individuals as normal?

Ironically this guy seems no different from the regular walker, based on the crop of this illustration. More armour and spikes can't be good for the heroes though!

Having dealt with abominatroll and abonina-minotaur recently, I'm struggling to be too intimidated by this new Orc abomination – unless he turns out to be toughness 4 of course!

I like the look of this Necromancer. The character Necromancers from the Kickstarter have added a new dimension to the game (I hate you Grinn!) so I'm hoping that this guy is more than just a new sculpt.

So that's everything we've seen so far. Aside from being told that the new zombies are tougher than previously, we don't know much about the new game. In the mean time there's plenty of life left in Black Plague yet!!

Saturday, 29 April 2017

New Zombicide – Heroes

Guillotine Games has been drip feeding us with new character art these last couple of weeks, ramping up anticipation for the Kickstarter at the end of May. Yesterday the group of heroes included in the Green Horde box was completed.

I don't think we've had a Saracen-esque warrior yet, so I like this departure. It conjures up game ideas based upon the Sinbad adventures.

 Wearing a wolf's head as a hat, with a nose ring and some kind of emerald axe, Berin appears to be the angry Dwarf of the group. Intrigued to see what his rules will be as he's got some interesting gear.

This guy looks like a standard human, an imperial type with crossbow and sword. He's meant to be trustworthy and fearless.

My guess is that Megan is the Magic user of the group, given her staff and array of potions. Interestingly she has a bandage over one eye in this illustration, but not in the box cover image at the top of the page.

Let's be honest, Rolf is Conan. Brute force with little finesse. I'm guessing a melee monster.


Seli is my favourite character so far. A skinny tribal elf of some kind, with a funky sword and dagger by the looks of it. This has the potential to be a fantastic model to paint and I'm intrigued to see what skills she has.

So there we have it folks. If things follow the previous release, they're our 6 heroes for the Green Horde box set, with another 4 in the Wulfsburg-style expansion, and who knows what else in the way of stretch goals come Kickstarter time.

I'll have a look at the zombies that have been revealed thus far in the next post. I have to say, how excited am I?!!

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Miniature Painting & Monty Python

It seems I have found my hobby haven in Zombicide: Black Plague at the moment. Our regular Tuesday Night Gaming has kept enthusiasm levels high thanks to Bull's random character approach, and we're working our way through all the characters we have.

Needless to say, despite a new Kickstart campaign on the doorstep, I have been on Ebay tracking down some of the models I wished I'd bought first time around.

One of the bonuses to the renewed hobby enthusiasm is that I've returned to the painting table after an 18 month hiatus. Inspired by the rate that Bull was painting his BP characters, and playing characters I'd dismissed as a waste of time, I now have a painting list that grows daily. Thing is, I'm really enjoying the painting!

Nothing pushes your painting than a deadline set in stone. I found tournaments great for this back in the 40k days, but this time we had arranged a BP game day at Awdry Towers for the Easter Saturday and time was flying by. I sat up till past midnight to get models finished in time.

On the day we decided to make it a Monty Python outing, and used Michael's non-Zombicide models that he had lovingly painted up some time ago to an exquisite level.

We managed to get a couple of games in – although it was actually the same game twice, as we died horribly first time around… how very Monty Python-esque!

Despite the quest only requiring one character to get to red level then exit the board, we toiled for hours to reach our goal. As the characters headed through the orange level of experience points, things started to hot up. At one point we had FOUR abominations on the board at the same time!

In the end we cruised, carefully and steadily, through to our goal – no rash decisions or over the top heroics (though I had to be reined in on a couple of occasions).

Fantastic game – my thanks to Mr Awdry for being a fantastic host as always, and to Bull for providing the leadership we needed to survive (second time around!).

More painting soon!

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Zombicide Green Horde is coming in May!

Those of you who play Zombicide Black Plague may have already heard the news, but I only found out last night after returning from a failed Tuesday Night Gaming quest at Bull's. There is a new Z:BP kickstarter coming at the end of May to launch a new expansion. The Green Horde will include infected Orcs and Goblins.

I am sooooo excited!

This may actually make up for me missing Salute this year, and has certainly become the focal point for the year!

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Black Plague Escalation

A new month dawns, and I thought I'd wait till I was well passed April Fool's Day before posting this latest bit of news – I've actually painted a model, and finished it!

That's right folks, it's been a good 18 months since I finished painting Ox for Guildball, which was my last completed model. This time my attention has been focused on Zombicide Black Plague. After three consecutive weeks of Tuesday Gaming Night (albeit they were mostly on a Wednesday), enthusiasm for the fantasy board game has hit new heights.

What has injected the new enthusiasm is using EVERYTHING from the Kickstarter rewards. All the monsters, all the cards, the lot. We've been working our way through the scenarios using a team that is picked entirely at random. What this has meant is that the usual suspects don't always get a look in, and you're forced to use models and skills you've never looked at before. There are at least two models that I had dismissed when creating my dream team last year, but was dealt in games this last month – and they proved to be pretty awesome.

Anyway, back to the painting. I got a few hours on Saturday morning to myself and decided to use the time to crack out the paints again. After watching Bull steadily paint the models we've used over the weeks (or the high performing ones at least!) I was inspired to start painting some of my own.

I plucked four out of the collection – Falstaff, Mizar, Morrigan and Grim – and began laying down the colour. It didn't take long for Falstaff to become the favourite for an early complete, so I concentrated on him.

Happy to say he is now complete. Very enthusiastic about the painting right now, so need to keep the momentum up. Morrigan probably the next in line so stay tuned.

Now, just need to get Falstaff in a game now.


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