Monday, 30 March 2015

Project HeroQuest: A wizard did it

Back to HeroQuest!

Some time ago I brought back the Orc Shaman along with the Goblins. It has taken some time to muster the rest of the minis from the 'Wizards of Morcar' expansion, but it finally has been possible!
I was able to find both the High Mage and the Storm Master lost within my boxes of old, but I'm afraid I needed eBay to get the Necromancer. Anyway, here they are!

Heck, I just wanna get back to Gallifrey
Still better design than Radagast in the movies
Fashionable Gandalf
As you can see, there is no mistery at all. I think these minis have aged reasonabily well, I still find them quite appealing. The group shot:

Retro power!
This expansion set came with the mercenaries. I've been able to find the minis, but still trying to find all the weapons, it's been a long time and I keep on finding stuff here and there. Anyway, they will be here too eventually... ;)

Thursday, 26 March 2015

I have a plan (Pt.3)

OK, let me bring you Stage 3 of my plan. By now you have already seen the not-characters minis and the slightly converted ones. What else? As much as I looked for, I didn't find suitable minis for the rest of the cast. I was totally stuck! Stuck? Never! I came to the only logical solution: If the mini doesn't exist... I'll have to create it!

When I got better from the megalomaniac fevers, I begun to work. Of course this process I'm telling you has involved a several months period (forgive me for cheating, haha). In my original order to Hasslefree I had included some armatures; it was time to dare to sculpt!

I would begin with a simple pose and begin to add details. My character of choice for my first experiment was Chief Tyrol:

OK, I know, doesn't look like him. Gimme some time
A few weeks later...
Finally...

Not that he looks like Tyrol now...
...but I count on your indulgence and good faith

My second scratch mini would be Apollo. This was a character which gave me some headaches. I wasn't sure how to wear the mini or what attitude it should show. I have come to an understanding with these situations. When in doubt, just get to work, follow your instincts. That will be better than not doing anything.

Mr. Smartypants. Well, for now just Mr. Pants, nothing else sculpted
Doesn't he look like a... chef, or something?
I have serious problems scupting hands. The grey one is from a Zombicide mini
Kinda malformed guy, he doesn't fit in his Viper's cockpit!

A character I had been eluding for a long time was Laura Roslin. I give you my word, I didn't find any modern civilian middle-aged female. This was driving me crazy, I didn't feel like I would be able to sculpt that from scratch. I used a female body as a starting point:

Howdy! You most certainly aren't Laura Roslin!
The pointing finger was what made me choose this one. The commanding attitude, the pose. Of course, the first thing I had to do was to add some years to that body!

No matter what, still looking sexy
Now we're getting to somewhere...
The right hand pointing ahead was great, but the left one was a problem, didn't know for sure what to do with it. I finally added a case for her glasses.

Feelin' presidential
Now feelin' like dancin' a little
Can't say I'm satisfied with the result, but given my skills, it's more than enough!


One character left, the infamous Gaius Baltar! I thought it was time to take some risks, so I dared to give the armature a more challenging pose:

See how interesting I am. I'm frakkin' Dr. Gaius Baltar
Don't know why, but I tend to sculpt from the feet and going up
I still have to learn some things about tailoring. Not an Armani, but it will do
Didn't want to sculpt hands, so I used some plastic bits
Now on a retrospective, I think it was a mistake. Not only that hand is huge, but the purpose of this is to learn how to sculpt
Whenever I find my courage and sanity, I'll replace that hand
But for the moment I'm done. The cast is complete!
BSG OST now, please

What's next? I don't know. If I spot better minis than mine, of course I will pick them to replace my puny attempts. For the moment I have my eyes set on these:

https://www.facebook.com/fornaxgalaxy

An Indiegogo campaign is coming... I've asked the guy to sculpt the rest of the cast, let's see where this project leads!

This is it (for the moment!). After this BSG hiatus, next week I'll be back to those unfinished projects I have on the workbench. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, 23 March 2015

I have a plan (Pt.2)

Let's keep on with Battlestar Galactica. Stage 2 of my plan involved looking for minis that I could use with minor conversions. As I was making an order to Hasslefree, I avidly looked for suitable minis within their ranges. Not that many of them were exactly designed for space pilots, you know, but for sure I could find some decent proxies. I finally thought that this one could make a decent Helo:


And this one a reasonable Boomer:

I needed some greenstuff to replicate the flightsuits (and to work on their haircuts!).

Desirable end state

I'm not really happy with the results, I must confess, but anyway, here they are:

I need to redo all the hair
I need... Well, I need another mini!
Team Raptor!
Another guy I could do with little or even no effort was Tom Zarek. The conversion was almost inexistent in this case. I just had to find a man in a suit. A mini designed for a well known British operative would make its part, just had to remove the gun and the bottle and add a few touches here and there:

My name is Zarek. Tom Zarek
I like the pointing finger after removing the gun, it looks like he is addressing someone, I don't know, something like that.

That plastic surgeon certainly didn't make me look younger...
Ready to shiver Galactica to its foundations
As I almost didn't have to touch the mini, I think this one is the one that works best out of this bunch. I guess I could do something with Helo, but I think Boomer is the weakest of my works here, I really should find another mini (or even better, encourage Kev from Hasslefree to sculpt it!). For the moment it will have to do.

OK, only four more characters left from the game. Lords of Kobol, guide my hand...

Thursday, 19 March 2015

I have a plan (Pt.1)

The Cylons were created by Man...

I'm a great fan of BSG. So, when I saw the two space Officers by Hasslefree, there was no choice to be taken. There are some things you really know you have to do, right? :D

I got both some time ago, along with the skinny girl in the dress. This is all I was able to do then (I believe this was about three years ago, give or take)

I haven't improved a bit in the art of taking photos
I also got the board game. If you recall the stuff I did and planned regarding the game, you'll remember the painted Vipers, Raptors and Raiders, as well as my intention of recruiting the whole crew for the game, so we didn't have to play using card tokens :P

Well, plans take time to develop, but I'm really, really stubborn a determined person :D



With time, Hasslefree have released a couple more characters, and it all begun again. You know, all this has happened before, and all this will happen again. First of all, I had to do something to the bases. What I had until then was not acceptable. Fenris Games have a set of wonderful spaceship bases:


I repainted Adama and Tigh (but I still take the same crappy pics as years ago)

They needed to be here, you know, the most Old School guys you can face
I rpainetd the uniforms, made them look slightly brighter
Hasslefree also released a much better version of Caprica Six. Rocking mini, really great one.

Not in the board game, but what the frak, I needed this one!
They also recently released a Starbuck. The girl was wearing just a sports bra, so her gorgeous girl abs were to be admired. However, I didn't feel that was what the character was about, even if she appeared like that a couple of times in the show. I really thought the tee & tank top uniform combination woud look better, so I sculpted them.

Pilots call me Starbuck, you may refer to me as God.
So here they are, both of them:

-Morning Starbuck. What do you hear?
-Nothin' but the rain, sir.
-Grab your gun and bring the cat in.
So these four are all I've found depicting characters of the show. I'd for sure buy new minis if Hasslefree (or whoever) made them, but for the moment my plan will have to work with what I have at hand. I already have something, I'll be showing you in the following days ;)

Monday, 16 March 2015

Playing 'Runewars'

Gaming day again! Tody I'm bringing 'Runewars', or the diceless game :D

Brief introduction, my mate got this game on a discount offer and we had to try it :). 'Runewars' happens to take place in the same universe than 'Descent', but this time on a different scale. Nothing about dungeoning this time, but fighting battles and playing diplomacy in order to take over the world of Terrinoth.
I didn't have time to paint it. In fact my mate doesn't look quite prone to lose his game for over a year, which is what I'd take to paint it (not that I can blame him!), so please excuse the rudeness of showing a game with unpainted minis :(

The game is up to 4 players. It works pretty well with just two, but I guess the more, the merrier :D. Depending on the number of players, you will deploy a certain number of hexagons. That will be the battlefield. Certain regions will have 'neutral' inhabitants (by inhabitants I mean wild beastmen, ogres, hell hounds, etc...). Each player deploys on his fortress and we're ready to rumble!

Two player settings
Some hexagons contain cities, natural resources and stuff. Neutral beasts will on a general basis attack whoever enters their domains, but they can be convinced to join your cause by using diplomacy. I'll get back to that later. For this game I'll be using the humans (regular fantasy faction, minis in blue) and my mate the Uthuk (evil lookalike Mordorian Orcs, minis in red).

The game uses no dice, the dynamics are totally original to me. Each turn represents a year, and will be divided into four phases, one per season. During all the year, each player can use his activation cards, so he can move his units, attack enemy positions, recruit from his fortresses, etc. You will have a counter to remind your resources, which are of course pretty important if you are to keep your armies and cities!
During the first Spring, Men took over a city and Uthuks moved their forces through the valley:

Just remember to keep someone at your original fortress, you don't want to leave it to the enemy!
Summer is the time for Heroes. You will have up to three special mission cards and your heroes will try to fulfil the adventures in them. In this case, Silhouette gets into the region where her adventure takes place:

Hi, gents, may I?
According to her mission description, a group of Beastmen kipnapped a baby, so to rescue him she must fight a duel with one of them. How do fights work in this game? Instead of rolling dice you draw 'Fate cards' from a deck, the number of them depending on your profile (usually just one). Then you have to check the corresponding part of the card, depending on the type of unit you are. In the next pic, the card on the left belongs to the Beastman and the one on the right to Silhouette:

It's easier than it looks...
What's my type of unit? Just check the base of the mini! My Hero has a round base, so I'll check the circle in my card... Dang, nothing! The Beastman has a triangular base. He got that flag, that's a routing icon. The Hero has been defeated!

No further harm, but no more action for this year.
I'll explain the other symbols you can see on the cards: You can see there are four types of unit, so you just have to check the correct one. The blood stain represents wounds, and the magic sphere, the special action everyone has, which can lead to different effects depending on the unit (cause another wound, draw another fate card... whatever). There are also signs at the top part of the card. That will determine the success or not in certain situations.
For example, one thing we did wrong this turn: when you get into an area with neutral units, they will most likely attack you, invader of their home! But you can spare some of your Influence Tokens (the measure of your diplomatic skills) in order to make them your allies. You will draw as many fate cards as influence tokens you used. If you get the correct sign in any of them, they will now join your army. If not, you will have to fight them (we forgot to do this with the Human Character this time, oops. When we realized we played that phase with discouraging results):

Don't mess with wizards! OK, they killed the character. You can take her from the board
 During Fall, both armies conquered new cities:

You can call for supplies and allies from cities
I failed to tell, the purpose of the game is to find seven Dragon Runes. You can see there are some tokens on the tiles marked with an interrogation mark. Some of them contain actual Runes, some of them don't. The player controlling the tile can check if he has control of a Rune or a fake icon. The first one to get seven Runes (by whatever means) will win the game (that actually explains the name of the game itself!). If no one gets to that point, by the end of the seventh year of war, the player with more Runes will win (Seven years!!).

Men sent a scout to the adjacent area to try some diplomatic approach:

Apparently Hell Hounds don't know much about diplomatic efforts, got the wrong card
They all had a nice diplomatic dinner
Uthuks didn't even bother to negotiate, they sent an occupation army
Diplomacy is for sissies!
Winter is coming... (music required, you know the drill...) Winter is hard. You need to check your resources; if you have more units on a single tile than your food marker allows, you will have to withdraw the exceeding units, which are starved to death. This represents that huge armies are extremely difficult to keep, and small parties disseminated through the territory can survive Winter based on local resources. Seriously, this way of developing the turn, based on Seasons, is incredibly cool, I love it.
After the corresponding actions, the first year of war ended like this:

Looks like it's been a hard year...
Well, then you've seen most of the rules of the game. From now on it's all a matter of clashing armies, playing diplomacy and trying to control the territory. This should have been kinda predictable, knowing both of us, but we mostly used the direct approach, the plain, simple war, instead of relying on diplomacy. I guess this strategy is easy when you have just two players, but having three or four must necessarily lead to negotiations. Anyway, let's go on, there is still a lot of war ahead!

Uthuk forces make the battlefield all theirs while Men try to muster new troops
War!! Quite forseeable, just like I said...
The city is conquered, at an extremely high price
But the Uthuks counterattack!
And take over the city again!
Our Heroes engage in a rock band battle over a fortress
Her air guitar solo wasn't good enough
Next year came with a new battle over the same city again
The end of the third year left this mess over the board
Armies of Darkness seem to thrive
Men take over the fortress again
But lose the city (again). Peasants are confused as they don't know who to pay tithe anymore
Well, by now you can see we were facing this more like a kind of fantasy Risk than any other thing :D. Men were having trouble to keep their strongholds, as Uthuks kept them at constant siege. Both sides were recruiting new troops and heroes every year (and losing them at the very same rate!)

Uthuks conquered the fortress once more. Men built their first siege engine
Once again, the fortress is under new management. Peasants say 'meh'
By the fifth year of war I guess no one remembered how it started or what the objectives were. We were just focusing on the total annihilation of the enemy, keeping enough troops on the field (but not in excessive numbers, as Winter was really unforgiving!).

These siege engines are so overdone they even look like Warhammer!
OK, that's enough. You see that city full of Uthruks?
...Now you don't. Both players make an influence bid; the winner chooses a city and his Wizards' Council pours a rain of fire over it until it's destroyed. These influence bids were all the diplomacy we played, I guess. Kinda twisted sense of the term...
Long story short, we ended up playing the whole seven years of war, not paying too much attention to who owned the Runes :D

This is how we left this world after seven years of war
Uthuks finally earned victory as they were in possession of more Runes. I can say it was well deserved, my mate got control of most of the land during all the game and he payed attention to resources, heroes and magic stuff, trying to conquer places with Dragon Runes in them. So well played, man!

I was surprised by the dynamics. As I said before, the whole concept of fighting along all the year, with different events taking place during the seasons, is totally ace. Completely refreshing for me, a really cool experience. The board looked a bit too little to me, that forced soo many battles, but it wasn't bad at all. When more players are involved, more tiles are set, so it's fine. Another cool thing of this is the use of independent hexagon tiles, allowing whatever combination you may want, so there won't be two identical boards ever. I really like that a lot. The campaign mode along the years is also quite well thought and developed. This is not just about throwing armies to clash one against the other (though you may have got that impression by this AAR!). The way you collect resources and how you administrate them is essential. So it is the use of neutral units. We mostly fought against them, but sometimes we got to use them as allies and they were pretty cool. In fact there were a couple of times in which we tried to get a neutral army (there was a tile with five or six neutral units; getting that for your side would have been amazing), but we didn't succeed.
On the whole I must say this looked like quite an original system for my standards and a very good game. Now I want to play again with the other factions!