Tuesday, 31 December 2013

The sign of the four

The title has really nothing to do with Holmes, sorry if you came up here looking for something different :P

I have finished the Berserkers and have added some cousins. All of them Old School approved, of course.
First of all, a member of the Thousand Sons, devoted to the god of disguise and change, Tzeentch:
 
It might be because of the season, but I feel a little blue...
Here you have a Berserker from the World Eaters, servant of Khorne, the blood god on his throne of skulls.




















































Ho ho ho, ya [censored]

This one belongs to the Emperor's Children, worshippers of Slaanesh, god of excess, lust and desire. This explanation is required as you would never say it seeing the guy.

I have never found a proper colour scheme for these minis
Finally we have a member of the Death Guard, a Plague Marine, herald of Nurgle, rotten god of decay and stillness.

I'm not fat, it's just Christmas time
So all of them make a fair representation of main Chaos Pantheon in the Warhammer universe.

Four guys. Hence the title
Hey, there's that other guy! You are late for this year's family pic!
It looked appropiate to me ending the year with some Old School minis. You know, the old year and all that stuff. Hope you like them!

All I can say is that I hope all of you have a happy new year! See you in a few days with more tiny lead men!

Cheers!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

That guy in red coming for Christmas...

You may be thinking in that fat bearded guy.

Or maybe if you are more into WH40K you might be more keen on this kind of guy in red :P

Ho ho ho and blood for the blood god
This is just a quick update to show this classic mini and the next one:

Yup, I'm totally into Christmas
I'm in the mood of bringing back some good old RT Chaos minis. I currently have a few on my workbench and some more (tons more!) to come.

Both these guys here need backpacks (and now that I'm seeing the pics, I also need to paint the grenades!), so next week I'll bring them back again full-equipped... hopefully with some friends.

In the meantime, merry Christmas everyone!

Cheers :)

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Circus Maximus. Aurigatores

It is funny how things happen. When I was showing up the Zombicide minis I got a funny commission. I'm not taking commissions at the moment as I feel a little bit overwhelmed by my to do list, but I simply could not resist this one: 'Would you dare to sculpt two 10 mm Roman charioteers to run at Circvs Maximvs?' Yup, that's right. I know I should have said 'no' from the beginning, but I was just reading a novel called 'Circus Maximus' and I was wondering if there was any game depicting this kind of races. So it all happened to be determined. Who was I to fight Fate?

I was quite reluctant at the beginning however. I was not sure that I could achieve that, but the guy was trusting on my skills, given what he was seeing on my zombies. Wow man, what a weight on my shoulders!

First research on Roman Aurigatores came up to this.

Hope these pics have no copyright, just stole them from the internet
So where to start from? Easy, you would say. From the beginning:
You can't see it yet, but it makes sense in my mind, trust me
Two different poses
They begin to look like something...
Some days later...
...And later
This is the best thing I could do
You are never satisfied when sculpting, but this case was special. This is crazy! I had to thin a bit both legs and arms, as they were too Conan looking, but at some point I had to leave them as they were, I had to admit I couldn't go any further.


First time I sculpt anything this size, so I should say it is not that bad. I am eager to see them on their tiny chariots!

But of course I am having some chariots too for myself. You know what will happen, you know...

Monday, 16 December 2013

Axis & Allies. War at sea

This weekend I've tried something totally different. A friend of mine (who is my regular oponent these days at most games) got 'Axis &Allies. War at sea' and, of course, we had no choice but to play it ;)

The game needs little introduction. Naval battles in WWII

We didn't dare to try any historical scenario this time, as we were just trying to catch up the rules, so please don't scream when you see the absurd bunch of ships we mustered and the battle we played :P

US and UK up in the pic, Japanese down. Pretty nice fleets
Having not any intention of historical accuracy, we felt free to simply send our ships ahead and see what happened. This is the kind of game I enjoy, easy going and quick to set. The rules are easy. The player with the initiative moves his ships, then the other one does so. Aircrafts move, ships defend themselves from aerial attacks, those planes still able to proceed make their attacks, then the ships shoot their cannons. That's it.

I'm too lazy to explain again. This is easier for everyone
So both players move, you resolve all aerial attacks and then shoot your ships.

The ships gather for the incoming battle
Airplanes begin their raids. Here the Avengers
And Zeros, 'Betty' and B5M2
We realized we were doing it wrong. Planes cannot but scratch destroyers or cruisers. They must focus on smaller ships or other planes. Besides, we also did it wrong with the rules. The air defence phase, if successful, makes the planes abort their attack, but we made it a quite effective phase, making ships take planes down. We weren't aware of that until the very end of our game. D'oh!

The explosion marker is a painted piece of sponge. Just for the show
The end of turn 1 left us this view:

You better do something with your helm. Right now.
USS Hornet and Shoho dancing around the island
When you shoot, you roll as many dice as your artillery value (as your ship description card states). Getting a 4+ means a hit, but you need to take more hits than the armour of the target ship.
So let's say you are trying to hit a ship with an armor value of 6 with your batteries, which have a value of 7. You roll 7 dice, but you need at least 6 results of 4+ to inflict any damage to the enemy. For this purposes, a result of 6 counts as two hits, so things can get ugly when you begin to roll dice and dice:

I'm recalling those images from documentaries. A hard day to be there
Submarines can also be quite effective
Whenever a ship is hit so hard that it becomes to the point of loosing all her hull points, the ship is sunk. This can only be achieved after a serious, heavy artillery punishment.

This is a real hell on the sea
Ships are sinking...
Once ships get close, artillery barrages are deadly. The Japanese fleet was hit hard this turn and suffered heavy losses, including their carrier.

By now we were running short of explosion markers!
Planes miss the submarine
The USS Hornet is endangered
Clash of the Titans. HMS Prince of Wales and Fuso. Boom! Boom! Blamm!
But in the final stages of the battle, the other Allied ships came to the rescue:

Boom! Boom! Ka-boom! Blast! Ba-da-boom!
And the Fuso was definitely sunk, giving Allies the final victory.

You can sink all the Japanese fleet, but your grandchildren will be subjugated by manga and anime! Remember my words!!
Well, we for sure did lots of mistakes during the game, but the most important thing is that we really enjoyed it; I had never played this kind of game and it is totally different to what I could have expected. War at this scale is quite a thing, now we have to see if we dare to play a historical scenario!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Playing Lord of the Rings

GW's Lord of the Rings game has been totally reviled by the 'competitive' community (whatever that community is) and, curiously, by its own creator, GW, which has been forgetful and somewhat careless about it.

However, I want to stick up for this game. It is easy to apprehend (easier than both Warhammer Fantasy or Warhammer 40,000) and, unless you are playing some special characters, you can be ready to battle in a few minutes. The minis are great (at least they were, before Peter Jackson begun his Hobbit extravaganza and weird designs) and... well, you can play damn Lord of the Rings! That alone is enough for me! Though I know some people are using SAGA ruleset or others and alternative manufacturers, GW's LotR works fine for me.

I played this game maybe a couple of weeks ago, but I have not been able to post it until now! As my memories of the game are kinda sloppy, I'll just touch upon it. I hope it will be enough for you to get a glimpse of how it works. Please excuse the poor brushwork on the minis, it was made about ten-twelve years ago and I have not repainted them :(

This will be our skirmish
20 Orcs, 20 Uruk-hai and a Nazgûl were the forces of the Darkness, and the good guys were 20 mounted Rohirrim, Éomer and Aragorn. Don't remember how many points by side, but it was more or less balanced. LotR works fine at this skirmish level. GW at some moment decided to 'warhammerize' the game and to set massive armies via 'War of the Ring' rulebook, but honestly I must say I have never played that way. I'm OK with these small battles which can be handled without players needing a PhD to understand all the complexities of the game.

At the beginning of each turn, both players roll a die to determine who has the Initiative. Then that player moves, the oppsite moves, the first one shoots his bows/whatever, then the other one...

Rohirrim bravely marched against the enemy:

Horns blowing
And then the bloodshed begun:

Forth Eorlingas
Banners are just for the show, didn't want to add more rules
Uruks are not easily disbanded, so they stood still and tried to hold on their position:

Stop the humans!
Combats are quite easy: Each player rolls a dice per attack (as provided in each warrior's profile). The one with the higher result wins the combat and forces his enemy to fall back. Then he can try to hit him (rolling dice and checking charts, just as regular Warhammer). I pretty much like the concept of holding your position and keeping the enemy at bay. The most skilled warrior (or the outnumbering band) has more chances to win the combat, allowing that way to define the lines of the battle.

In the middle of the battlefield, we had the expected clash of the titans:

Movie moment, you know
Using special characters is the most complex thing of all the game, but even that is not a big deal. Characters have some special attributes regular warriors lack. They are 'Might', 'Will' and 'Fate'.
'Might' essentially allows the character to alter the results in die rolls; 'Will' enables him to throw or resist magical powers; and 'Fate' makes the character ignore a wound that would have normally killed him. So these special skills make the game experience more... cinematic.

So, while Rohirrim were knocking Uruks down...

Even if they don't kill the enemy, cavalry troops make the enemies to bite the dust
...Aragorn son of Arathorn just ended the Nazgûl's temporary form after an epic confrontation.

Insert Nazgûl scream here
But the surviving Uruks immediately went on Aragorn:

Besides, their companions killed some Rohirrim
And so the carnage went on and on...

General view. Child on top left corner added for dramatic purposes
The servants of the White Hand soon discovered that Aragorn was too badass for them.

He's the leading role, we're but mere extras
Having dispatched the Orcs of Mordor, the Rohirrim closed the pince on the Uruk-hai:

Rohan violin music, you know
Things were going insultingly easy for the good guys, so we decided to add some emotion:

I thought of taking the Mûmak, but this made a little more sense in this context
Things suddenly were quite more balanced. The Witch King is quite a rough enemy, with lots of 'Will' points (he is not idly called 'witch'), and the fell beast is also a dreadful creature.

All the battle is now reduced to this
I also like the close combat system because of its way of resolving combats. Not depending on the masse, as WHFB or even modern 40K, but on individual combat basis. It is always quite clear who makes what, not just an anonymous group.

In this case, the Witch King spelled some dark sorceries on Aragorn, but he evaded the results through a combination of 'Will' points and 'Might' modifiers. In return, he caused an injury to his terrible foe:

The Rohhirim come from the back to take over the Uruks
In the most epic dice roll ever, Aragorn managed to kill the fell beast:

Seriously, what were the chances?
The Witch King fought then on foot, tryng again to cast spells on the hero. Aragorn barely resisted, using and abusing all his Will and Might points, exhausting them. He made a last effort and finally killed the evil sorcerer (well, you know, not technically 'kill'; and not exactly a mere 'sorcerer'. But you know what I mean).

If 'no man' could kill the Witch King... that speaks no good of Aragorn...
That was the end, a vibrant battle to the last man!

As you can see, the game is not balanced, it is just a translation of the movies to the board, with maybe excessive weight on the characters, specially Aragorn, which is some kind of unstoppable beast. Other characters are not so decisive and battles can be fought other way.

However, as I've said, I like the game system on the whole. Its simplicity compared with Warhammer allows me to play it with little preparation and the game itself is quite atmospherical. As I said at the beginning, it's a shame the creator of the game doesn't support its own creature. No need to say more.

Tomorrow I'm watching The Desolation of Smaug, so I'm currently on Middle Earth mood. Let's see what awaits us this time...

Namárië!