Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Confusing allegiances

Next step in the Space Riders Kickstarter minis is painting Orks, that's all I have left. But oh, my friend, these are no regular Orks, these are Chaos devoted Orks! We could say they are... Chaorks! :D

Ok, ehm... I've painted just one for the moment, a Khornite Ork. The sculpt is gorgeous, it really catches all the essence, has the full vibe of the era:

No, for the last time, I'm not the HeroQuest Gargoyle
I must say that, had I not known where this comes from, I could have thought this mini belongs to the original Freebooterz ranges, where you could find other Chaos devoted Orks. I really think it's the best compliment I can say about the mini!

You like my butt, eh? Understandable
Painting-wise I obviously chose red as the main colour, being a worshipper of Gorkne (or maybe Morkne) :D
I made up this emblem, mixing the Khorne symbol and the Ork glyph, It kinda made sense (at least for me!)

Confusing, yup?
That's it for the moment, just a simple paintjob, but I think it makes its part. Moar Chaorks comin' soon!

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Like father, like son

I've finally started my Imperial Assault (about time!). Sorry for you, be ready to yet another project... :D

After having played some boardgames with unpainted minis (shame on me!!) I felt... dirty. That wasn't right, I know, I know. One cannot find a piece of inner peace playing with soulless plastic. It needs to be painted!! So this time I've decided to do things right and paint first, play later.

So I've started the set with the two most iconic characters, Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. But I hope you wouldn't expect me to 'just paint' ;)

First of all, Luke comes with a blaster, as he's shown when escaping the Death Star. But oh, come on, you know he already deserves a lightsaber...

Let's burn some marshmallows...
It's just a matter of repositioning the arms a little and replacing the blaster with an elegant weapon for a more civilized age. My main concern here was how the hands were positioned. It's not the same holding a firearm than a sword, so I had to re-sculpt the hands a little.

And now I hold a giant wiener
The issue with Darth Vader was the pose. It wasn't quite readable for me, didn't transmit any sense of strength, at least for me.

These are the originals, BTW

But then, if you slightly change the torso, head and arms, you can get a much more aggresive pose:

Same materials, different attitude
So from this point it was just a matter of painting! Nothing specially creative, of course...

I still don't know how to wield one of these...
-'You fight like a dairy farmer' -'Moisture farmer!'
Lightsabers are quite an issue, at least for me. My first attempts were truly awful. A friend was kind enough of giving me a trick that, honestly, works fine (well, his first recommendation was an airbrush, but we had to stick to Plan B...). It's just a graduate highlighting. That simple. But it works good enough for me!

Laser pole vaulter
This much exercise ain't good for my asthma
Sooo, here we have something I hope to replicate on the board anytime soon...

-'No, seriously, son, you fight like a moisture farmer. Your dad taught you nothing?'
Well, I still have lots of unfinished ongoing projects, so it remains to be seen how all this evolves. But I'll try to keep it up and provide regular updates. Well, I won't try. I'll do it. As you all know, there is no try...

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Repurposed

It's strange how these things happen. Last week's post about Minotaurs was originally going to have more stuff, not just Minotaurs. It was just one more mini, but well, it was something. It was this one, also from the Space Riders KS set.

It was going into final stages of production
I had no specific plans for this one. As I'm currently not into the Dredd-related universe stuff, I had no intentions of specifically having this Mean Machine. However, I could have given him a good use as a technothug in the streets of Besenval, of course. That was where I was heading to. Buut, then I saw what I had unintentionally done to his skin. Pale, sick... what I really had in my hand was not a technothug, but a 40K Servitor! The idea just popped up and it strangely made sense. A menial, mindless drone; lab-grown flesh, tech-augmented for a specific purpose.

So, of course it needed some additional work...

Ahhh, fashion in WH40K world...
Funnily enough, last weekend, Master Asslessman did something in the same direction, with a magnificent industrial worker, and he used orange for the worksuit, as I myself was in fact doing with this one, repeating the colours I had already used for the Servitor in the dock crane. I can't compare my work to his, of course, but I think this one turned out well, enough for my purposes:

Bad attitute servitor
'Besenval Portus' and the bar code
Imposing beast!
So in the end I'm glad I didn't paint any tatoos as it was my original intention nor turned him into a thug, the Servitor stuff makes this piece different, and it still is in the right mood I'm looking for my project.

So now for more stuff!!

Monday, 18 January 2016

Playing Blood Rage

Another gaming day! Weee!
This time my pal brought Blood Rage. The KS campaign got my attention back in the day, but as I had just got into the Conan KS, I had to restrain myself and let this one go. Anyway, I'm a lucky guy, got to play anyway! :D

The game is... different. Totally original (at least for me!). The Ragnarök is upon us! Beware, mortals! There is no way of escaping, no way of stopping it. It's just the end of the world. Deal with it. But... what would a Viking do under such circumstance? Resignate and whine, boo-boo? Hel no!
Well, I guess one plausible answer could be 'get drunk til the end of all things'. But we really didn't need a boardgame for that, so let's explore the other choice, i.e., Vikings will face the Ragnarök defying death and with no fear for their imminent doom, but earning glory and a place in the halls of Valhalla!




That's right, there is no way of winning this game. No hope for survival. You are not gonna make it, the sooner you get used to the idea, the better. So the whole point of the game is just dying in style, savaging villages and killing those weaklings from other clans, who will not achieve as much glory as you!

This is the game. Beer not included
The game is 2-4 players (I think the KS allowed some expansion for more). We were three for this game, each one representing a clan (Bears, Serpents and Ravens). It all takes place around Yggdrasil and the regions of Mannheim, Jotunheim and Alfheim, each of one divided in provinces and with their own villages to sack. At the beginning of the game, two provinces were already destroyed (wow, this escalated quickly!) and two Gods (randomly selected) were in play (in this case it was Frigga -who, gaming-wise, saves lives during battles- and Heimdall -who allows everyone to see each other's cards during battles. We'll get there in a while).


How does the game work? Your goal is to achieve Glory. The most you kill (and sometimes even die!), the more points of Glory you'll get. Each turn a province will be destroyed (no kidding, the Ragnarök is quite a serious thing!), the order is randomly determined before the game starts.
At the beginning of each turn you have a number of 'Rage points', which in fact are your 'currency', you'll expend them in fulfilling actions until you have none left. So, for example, invading a province will cost you 1 Rage point (clan leaders can do it for free!). Summoning a creature will cost X Rage points (you must have selected that creature from your deck of cards at the beginning, in quite another original process of configurating your deck of special features).

Another regular day at Jotunheim. Invaders, drakkars... meh
Pillaging a village is the most evident way of improving your resources. Besides, it's most likely when you get the chance of having a decent battle. And battles, of course, mean glory. In our game, the Clan of the Bear attacked a village in the province of Gimle. The leader of the Clan of the Serpent tried to avoid it, but she was outnumbered, as the Bears had summoned a Sea Serpent.

How ironic! The Clan of the Serpent, defeated by a serpent!
When in battle, you sum up the total of the rage value of each of your warriors, and then you can add a card from your deck, resolving any special effect it may have. The winner (in this case the Clan of the Bear) pillaged the village and the leader of the Clan of the Serpent, slain, is taken to glorious Valhalla. The leader of the Bear moved into Yggdrasil.

Quite a similar thing happened between Serpents and Ravens in Horgr
Cards play a major role in the game. Some of them are Clan upgrades, or allow you to summon a creature of legend. Some of them are Quests, quite a quick way of gaining glory for your Clan (and maybe the chance of having a song written!). Some give you glory for dying in the Ragnarök (i.e., in the cataclism that devastates a province at the end of the turn). That kind of stuff. The deck is renewed each turn with new cards, so you can bet there is a lot of variation during the game.

Beginning of turn 2 was promising for the Bears
At the end of the turn, another province is destroyed (people dying there earn glory!). After that, all dead minis from the clans come back from Valhalla (you can assume it's a gift from the Gods to your bravery), the gods on the board change position among the provinces and it all starts again. A new age begins!

The Sea Serpent is slain at Myrkvlor (which will be destroyed at the end of this turn!)
Ravens begin to crowd the province, awaiting for death to come upon them with glory
But who can resist the promise of a good pillage? The Clan of the Serpent brought a Valkyrie into battle:

However, in the presence of Frigga, no warrior will die today
Such restriction doesn't apply in the vicinity of Yggdrasil, so the Serpent's Valkyrie and the Dark Elf of the Ravens added their strenght to battle for the Tree:

Apparently the Ragnarök is quite an extreme solution for overpopulation
With some devastating effects:

Lots of glory were earned that day
By now you can get how the system works. The beginning of the third age (third turn) just meant... total war!

When I get to paint the minis, this mess is going to look better
There were some really fierce, bloody battles, all the players using their most powerful cards with no restriction

BTW, the tokens in the low part of the pic are the Glory Markers, on their Glory track
Inevitably, after some other Quests, battles, pillage and gifts from the Gods, it all came to an end.

This is the end, my friend...
So this was it, "victory" for the Clan of the Bear, the one that succumbed with more glory. The stories of their bravery and boldness will live on through generations in ballads, lays and songs, for they... Ehh, wait a minute. If this was the end of the world... there will be nobody to remember you! Gasp!

The game is quick to play, enormously fun and easy to grasp once you get the basics. It's adapted to non-regular gamers (the wife was totally caught by the game, and that's not easy!!) and the minis are top notch, much better than what you could expect from a boardgame. I cannot but recommend the game and I'm looking forward to painting the minis!

For the moment 2016 looks promising about gaming (hooray!). Let's see if we can follow the path...

Monday, 11 January 2016

What's your star sign? Taurus

Finally, my truly first minis this year! I'm still with the Space Riders kit, making slow but steady progress. I selected the whole Minotaur batch.

Yes, I do have a surplus of square bases and a shortage of round ones
When it came to painting them, I didn't feel I had that much choice of colour. First thing was the skin. I didn't see other colours different than brown or black. Though I toyed with the idea of  stained patterns, white heads and stuff (even an albino leader!), I finally opted for dark, uniform colours, which in my mind represent better a bull (at least this kind of Mediterranean bull, which in the end is the inspiration for Minotaurs).

But I had to face a similar decision about armour and weapons. My previous Minotaurs (here and here) were both clad in red armour:

Quick memory refreshener
But I feared that painting these three in red too would make them look too similar, just like the same mini repeated all along (which in fact was true for the two I already had and a third one from this batch!). On the other hand, I didn't want to paint all of them in totally different colours. Blue, yellow, green... I for sure didn't want a Power Ranger effect to happen here.
I finally took an intermediate solution. One of them would be painted in green armour and the other two in orange. So I still would have some variation, distinctive variation, but they all would look related to each other. Well, I don't know, I'll let you judge:

Same mini than the others, but with a weaon swap so he has a flame thrower, and slight head repositioning
The dissident who totally changed colours (well, bulls are supposed to be colur-blind anyway...)
I'm confused. I thought 'cyberbullying' was a totally different thing
He'll shoot you, punch you and gore you
So now I have a five member squad:

Wrong neighbourhood, mooo, mooo, mooootherf*$%er
So mission accomplished, another set of minis finished. I still have lots of Space Riders minis ahead, but these are the bulkiest of all, so kind of a milestone, hehe.

But now that I think of it, these Minotaurs need some proper antagonists. Well, doing some Space Bullfighters would be too much, even for any RT oriented project. But maybe a Theseus Squad would be fun. But then I would need a decent labyrinth to host such a game... Oh, this is escalating quickly...

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Playing Star Wars Armada

I don't get to play that often, so every game is an special occasion. Last week, after a long time, I got the chance to play Star Wars Armada and oh, by the Force, it was totally worth of the wait.

No further words needed :D
I guess the game is quite well known by now, so I can make a dynamic review. We played a 300 points battle in which we favoured the numbers against the quality, i.e., we wanted to see ships in the space and shout 'pew pew', 'die rebel scum', 'it's a trap!', not to play a tactical game to test our prowess and all that shit.

Let's see how this works. You have a number of capital ships and fighter squadrons. At the beginning of the battle, you will have to prepare the commands you will address to your capital ships (change speed/activate squadrons/concentrate fire/repair). Given that each ship will perform a command per turn, that means that you are planning your mid term strategy for the game in advance (good admirals stick to their plans!). On a regular basis, you will be planning your three next turns in advance.
During the activation phase, each side will alternatively activate a ship, revealing the first command the ship has received. So the ship will act accordingly, variating speed, ordering a nearby Fighter Squadron to move & attack or concentrating fire on the shoots the ship's gonna do immediately afterwards. This way, each ship will reveal its orders, shoot (if possible) and then move.

Ships begin to maneuver
You use this ruler to move
And this other one for shooting
Depending on the distance, you will use certain dice. Obviously, the closer, the more dice you will use. Different colour dice make different harm.

These are the tools
Advanced Ties are making Han Solo sweat!
There is more space battle in this single pic that in all the Episode VII movie
X-Wings go hunt the Slave-1
I'm afraid my 40K origins showed up. I simply went for the slaughter (and the show!). In a stupid dauntless maneuver worth of the most distinguished Ork Admiral, my Assault Frigate simply rammed against the Imperial Destroyer:

Ke-rrunch
Apparently this was much less destructive than I expected. Oh, come on! I saw that in the movies! A single A-Wing crashes against a Destroyer and it all explodes. I smash this behemoth... and it's all scratches what I get!

The Imperial Cruiser shoots the Mon Calamari Frigate
Each capital ship has a number of shields on each location. Once you have disabled them, every hit on that location will cause hull damage untl the ship is destroyed. Fighter Squadrons don't have shields, so it's all a matter of inflicting enough damage.

The Mon Calamari Cruiser adds its firepower to the Assault Frigate
But the Destroyer resists everything and avoids the Rebel ships
Resists everything? No! A final X-Wing squadron bombs the ship and it's utterly destroyed!!
The board suddenly looks so empty...
This was the break point. The loss of the massive Destroyer changed everything. The Mon Calamari Cruiser was also heavily damaged and could be destroyed any moment from now, but the other Imperial Destroyer was being harassed by so many ships...
In fact, all the Rebel squadrons immediately focused on the ship:

Rebel Fanfare sounding now
And managed to destroy it! With no capital ships, the Empire had lost control of the sector. Victory for the Rebel Alliance!

Well, this has been quite a quick review of the game. It took us about a couple of hours and they were totally exhilarating. In a few words, it's kinda like the movies; the Empire has dreadful capital ships but expendable fighters and the Alliance has medium capital ships, not that powerful, but amazing fighter squadrons.
The game itself somehow reminded me Battlefleet Gothic (though I haven't played a game in, I don't know, fifteen years), I mean, the way you have to give your commands in advance and hope that your plan works, or some other points of the sequence of play. However, this is simpler than BFG, and of course is conceived in the way games nowadays are presented (tokens, gauges and stuff). It's enormously visual and of course it hits our nostalgia hard. What else can you ask for?

At some point I'll need to paint those Fighters, of course, but that will come in due time...