You'll find a little of everything here. Genres covered in this blog include (so far) prehistorics, fantasy, old west, swashbucklers, pulp, Blood Bowl, Ghostbusters, gladiators, nautical, science fiction and samurai in 6mm, 15mm, 28mm, 40mm, 42mm and 54mm sizes. You'll also find terrain, scenery, basing, gaming, modeling, tutorials, repaints, conversions, art and thoughts in general about the hobby.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Victory Point Games (Updated post: July 30)

Update about Victory Point Games
I emailed a couple questions to VPG and got a touch more info that I thought was interesting: Alan, over at VPG, tells me that the company is a "classroom," helping new game designers and developers bring their imaginations to fruition. I totally dig that. In fact, if YOU have an idea you'd like to develop, VPG has a series of articles to help get you started. Here's a link to the first article.

Alan also mentions that VPG doesn't take preorders, but that's because their games are printed on demand. I'll enjoy my copies of a few of their games knowing that those games are helping someone's budding career, and knowing that the game was specifically put together for me. (My first order, by the way, will be Nemo's War + the expansion and Zulus on the Ramparts +expansion, and maybe perhaps The Alamo Remembered.) Looks like I'll be having some fun after GenCon!

(Original post)
I have yet to play a game, but based on one read of one set of rules (Nemo's War), I think Victory Point Games is my next game company of choice. (Two Hour Wargames is still my all-time fav.)
What do I like about VPG? First of all, they have a wonderful diversity of your basic genres -- Science Fiction, ancients, Napoleonic, World Wars, sword and sorcery, Zulus, and zombies -- but they also have some stuff you don't see a lot of: Circus Trains (yep- manage a Circus train), Boxer Rebellion, French Revolution, Mountain climbing, Sherlock Homes, Space Opera, Tennis, Jules Vernes (the aformentioned, "Nemo's War," which I hope to purchase REAL soon), and (probably the best name for a boardgame ever) "Toe-to-Toe Nu'klr Comabat with the Rooskies," (inspired by "Doctor Strangelove.)

They also have a nice selection of highly rated (BGG) solitaire games among those genres. One example is Nemo's War, in which you play the title character himself, travelling the oceans spreading destruction, inciting rebellion and even undertaking scientific research. A few of the multi-player games may also be played solitaire.

Yes, it IS a small company, and I read that the bits and boards are lesser quality than usual (somewhere between print-and-play and professional), but, as they mention on their website, you're paying for the rules.  And many of its customers echo that sentiment on Boardgame Geek.

So I'm gonna give'em a try! I'll be ordering "Nemo's War" in a week or so. I may also throw in "Zulus on the Ramparts" (and the expansions that go with each game.) But what I really look forward to is their 1930s retro "Marooned!" in which 1-3 players try to survive being marooned on a remote and hostile planet. Both Nemo's War and Marooned! are designed by Chris Taylor.

I'll be going to GenCon for the first time, so there'll be no new posts next week. Sure, I'm a miniatures guy and I'll be looking at minis there, but I'm also a boardgame guy, and that will be the focus of my visit. I'll be saying hello to my friend who works at Fantasy Flight Games (maybe I'll pick up Blood Bowl the card game), as well as all the fellas at the Hydra Miniatures booth (who were the first to print my art on the cover of anything ((the back cover of the War Rocket rulebook.))

I didn't sign up early enough to get in on most of the painting action, but that's all right; I want to walk around and get a lay of the land for the (hopefully) next time I go.

You all may notice I haven't been painting a lot lately. Work has been rough (newspapers), and I've been doing the boardgame thing, but mostly, I think I just burned myself out on projects (NOT painting; I WILL paint more.) I had been doing so many projects, I couldn't pull myself to do just random individual minis like I used to. My next 54mm order is a small one (just three figures). I think this will help transition me to doing random figures again (with the occasional small project.) But, to be honest, I have been enjoying taking a little time off from painting. It has given me a moment to assess my collection and to see what I am ready to sell (28mm gladiators and vikings for sure) and what I might even give away(?)

Until I return to painting in earnest, I'll enjoy reading a few more books, watching a little TV, and devoting a bit more time to political cartooning at work (especially with the elections about to pick up ... well, they are picking up here in Iowa.)

If you find yourself on my blog and there aren't any new posts, there is still plenty of older stuff to look at; Pick a month and a year, and see what there is to see!

Hey, and don't forget to take a look at Victory Point Games!

Photos for Ken:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Septimontium, my Wasteland background

To get started with my small post-apocalyptic gladitorial campaign, I threw together this short alternate universe background. And since it's gladiator-related, I kept things related to ancient Rome (see the notes at the end.) By the way, a few more 54mm generic figures are on the way to my workbench; I wanted a few more post-apoc gladiators ... or Conspirators, as you'll soon read:

Septimontium is the last city on earth, and it is also where the greatest gladiatorial games are held. In the center of Septimontium is the Pompay Portico. The finest arena in all the Wastes, only the best combatants are allowed to fight for their lives in the Portico.

The most important festival of the year in Septimontium (and all the Wastes) is the Conspiratorial Games. The Conspiratorial Games memorialize the assassination of the great and ancient King Julii of Old Septimontium, who was murdered on his thrown by his own friends, who wanted power for themselves. The festival and games last for 13 days; there is one day at the beginning and one at the end of the festival reserved for religious and scientific rites. And there are 11 days of fighting, with one major match per day (with the 11th day reserved for the final, championship match.  There are other smaller events, including animal hunts, shows, trading, racing, mutant “harvests,” prostitution and other athletic events, (as well as activities for the kids,) all taking place in smaller venues near the Portico during the festival.

Only 20 gladiators are permitted to fight in the main events during the short festival. These fighters are all longtime veterans of combats from the outer settlements who have bought or bribed their way into the possibility of fame or death. Once committed and accepted by the city elders, each fighter relinquishes his old identity, no matter how much glory it came with, and is assigned the name of one of the ancient conspirators who had plotted and took part in King Julii’s assassination. Even their title of “gladiator” is stripped away, replaced with that of “conspirator.” This way, King Julii’s spirit may see justice done as he watches his own killers descend upon themselves, dying one-by-one.

(A skilled veteran may also be called a conspirator, with the understanding that even if he has not fought in the Conspiratorial Games, he is at least good enough to appear in the festival. These fighters simply take “Con” as a title. So, Felix would become Con Felix, or Flamma would become Con Flamma.)

The only way the conspirators can survive the festival is by being the last one alive after the 11 days of fighting; the fights are all to the death. But the winner is showered with riches, women and fame for the rest of his (or her) life. He is also examined and “cured” by members of the Gene Priesthood, so that he no longer has to worry about the cruel curses of the wasteland. He regains his old identity, and his name is inscribed on one of the 20 statues of the original conspirators (on whichever statue whose name the fighter bore during the festival.) For the remainder of the year, that original conspirator is pardoned for his ancient crime, while the fighter is recognized, honored and glorified in every city, settlement and wastetown forever more.

The names assigned to the gladiators during the Conspiratorial Games at the Pompay Portico are: Brutus, Cassius, Decimus, Cimber, Casca, Cinna, Legarius, Trebonius, Spurius, Petronius, Turullius, Basilus, Longinus, Albinus, Pontius, Sextius, Antistius, Sulpicius, Caecilius and Rubrius.

Notes: Septimontium was another name given to ancient Rome. It means Seven Hills.
Pompay Portico is named after the Pompeii Theater in Rome. This was a temporary meeting place for the Senate, and is where Julius Caesar (King Julii in my alternate universe) was assassinated (on the portico of the theater.) So now you get an idea of where all the names of the “conspirators” came from.

I don’t know what a “mutant harvest” is; I made it up, but it sounds like fun. By the way, mutants can also take part in the gladiator fights; I'm thinking about converting one for my 54mm collection.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Send-off to HLBS Old West

I just found out HLBS is discontinuing its 40mm Old West figures (as of July 20th!) I got my fill early on, but here they are again to say a sad goodbye to the rest of their compadres. There is still a great selection of 40mm figures offered by Knuckleduster here in the states.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ordered Reaper's Jungle Lord

I just ordered Reaper's Jungle Lord through the Warstore. What I like about this figure is that I think he looks like a perfect Conan the Cimmerian, specifically, Conan as he appeared in the story "Tower of the Elephant." On top of my love of Conan figures, this figure will give me some more practice with my flesh palette.

The only worry I have is that this figure will have a feather in his hair, hidden in the one-sided photo (I've seen a couple Tarzan figures with a feather). Even THAT is really not a worry; I'd just need to file away the feather and add some greestuff to make new hair -- no problem. I may also remove the dead wood under his foot and base him on a dungeon floor base ... maybe. I guess a dungeon floor could have a little dead wood on the floor (from fallen beams or old furniture.)

The monkey? Well here's a great added bonus to purchasing this pack: He will become the newest member of my Tramp Steamer Crew. I had been looking to fill out their ranks, and I think the chimp will make an excellent addition. Every ship needs a mascot.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Qwik: Full set of (rusty) dice

Only took an hour or two, but here's all the dice I painted up for playing Qwik. Hopefully, it'll be enough; knowing my friends and how they love to spend their bonus dice, this probably won't be enough.

Qwik: Getting some proper dice

When I first started with Qwik, I had hoped to find some decently post-apocalyptic dice. There were a couple here and there, but a bit pricey, so I left it alone. Then, today, I had an "Oh shit" moment when I realized I could just paint my own! It was so obvious that I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier. This opens a whole new can of worms for me.

So I dug out a couple dice for the sacrifice, primed them, and laid down some layers of rusty colors -- of course it would be rust with me :) After the primer dried, I did a quick test to see how well it was adhering to the dice; I scraped my thumb nail over the dice a few times- no scratches. Good to go!

Even better: I have a big old bag of dice with a bunch of D6 that would otherwise never get used. Now they're all gonna get a coat of rust. I also plan on adding silver to the "1" "2" and "3" pips. In most Two Hour Wargames, 1, 2 and 3 are the rolls you're looking for. This will help my players more easily spot the dice they need after a roll. I may add some more silver/less overall rust to a few dice to vary things bit. I might also try some verdigris dice.

Quick note on the picture: It looks like the dice are chipped and corroded a bit; they just look like that. I haven't done any manipulation/weathering on them except for a few thin layers of stippled paint. And since these dice have the rounded edges (rendering them not very balanced), I'm not too worried about any paint throwing the balance off.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Warmachine Cryx stuff (done!)

Here they are; the pain-in-the-ass pieces finished in all their glory. Since there was so much real estate to paint, I kept it simple and did mostly drybrushing. The rust started with dark brown, followed by more and more orange a stippled layer of silver, followed by  little more rust. I drybrushed and stippled to keep things varied, though, I think all stippled would provide a much better effect (though, take a helluva long time with a piece this big.)

I have a couple Reaper and Pathfinder pieces on the table. I'll see if I can go LESS than two weeks without painting anything this time around.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Painting-Warmachine-is-a-bitch sort-of rant

It's slow going. I'm painting a couple Cryx items for a friend- a character and a mech (I don't play, so I couldn't tell you which ones they are, specifically.) All I know is that these are a bitch to put together and paint. There are no instructions on how to build'em, luckily they're designed well enough that you can just bumble into the correct construction (at least I managed to bumble correctly).

It's also a pain in the ass getting the primer to cover everything. My usual routine is to prime as many angles as I can, then finish up with a layer of paint or primer to cover the little nooks and crannies. That mech-beast-thingy has a grand multitude of nooks, and most only show up in specific lighting conditions. I'd start painting it, then turn it one way and -- sonofabitch.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure I have all the spots covered now that would be seen by most people, but now I'm pissed at the piece for giving me so much grief, so I don't want to paint it right now, yet  I still have to get this thing finished because I'm getting paid for it. I'm glad I don't play Warmachine. Holy shit.

In other news:
I've been playing more games lately, as evidenced by my lack of painting. Mostly some good-old fashioned Red Sand Blue Sky (not old fashioned -- 2nd edition.) A little bit of Qwik. Work has also been busy, so I've been coming home tired, but I've also been enjoying a nice game of Yahtzee - I mean Delve: The Dice Game.

What is Delve: The Dice Game? WELL, if Yahtzee and Dungeons and Dragons met on, had a few dates, got drunk one evening and had some awkward first sex, and, a few weeks later, Yahtzee peed on a stick and noticed that it turned blue: That's because Delve: The Dice Game has been conceived. And since Yahtzee is a Catholic, she has decided to keep the baby. And that's a good thing; it's a fun game to play! Give it a try. You only need some D6 (about 12), a pencil and the play sheet. It's all free; you can find it here.

Ok, time for a little TV. And then maybe later, I can muster up some gumption to paint that goddamned Cryx atrocity on my painting table.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Red Sun, Blue Sky: Converting a game

One of the things I like about Red Sand, Blue Sky (gladiator rules from Two Hour Wargames) is the ease at which you can re-skin it. Here, I've adapted the rules to a samurai skirmish game (using 42mm samurai from Steve Barber). I didn't have to change much -- no shields, no net attacks, and no mercy of the crowd or imperial intervention -- otherwise, I didn't have to change a thing with the mechanics. I'll have to write down some basic terrain rules, and I still haven't figured out rules for bows and muskets. I'd also like to figure out how to incorporate ninjas (when you have the figures, you just have to use them!) Otherwise, this game is good to go on my table.

There are other skirmish/battle games offered by THW that have mechanics better suited to dealing with multiple figures and other factors/reactions on the battlefield, but I like using RSBS because it simplifies movement (no more bumping terrain and figures while you measure with rulers.)* This is a biggie for me (and my friends) who are all boardgamers (and NOT big miniatures gamers.) It is a good compromise that is easy for the group to accept and play. I also prefer RSBS for the smaller skirmishes because I like doing battle where specific hit locations are involved.

Speaking of which, I made myself some more generic roster sheets for my games (samurai and gladiator, both). Then I put them in 5x7 inch plastic photo holders. Grab a wet erase marker, and I have myself some reusable roster cards. I've also made a couple reusable roster sheets for my Qwik game.

By the way, if you're not into samurai, Red Sand, Blue Sky also makes for a kickass Roman gladiator game.

* For the uninitiated, RSBS uses a zone movement mechanic; most figures move one zone at a time, and a maximum of three figures can occupy any one zone (though, others can try to force their way into a zone while forcing someone else out.) If you look at the top photo, you'll notice black dots on the field; these are what dilineate my zones.

Tiny update

It's been a week since my last post; a long time for this blog. I just finished priming some stuff including  a couple Pathfinder figures, some Warmachine, and another 54mm Qwik figure. Hopefully, I can get some painting started today or tomorrow.

I've also been playing a lot of Red Sands, Blue Sky (gladiator rules). Been lovin' it! Maybe I'll put together a battle report some day (if I can figure out how to artfully narrate the action in the context of the rules.) I've also had thoughts of my 42mm samurai lurking int he back of my head; I was thinking of using them in a semi-skirmish game using RSBS. Would make for some nice pictures, anyway.