A short project today, kind of a palette cleanser before I get back to larger stuff.

I was a proud backer of Curis' Röknauts Kickstarter, which has brought Squats back to the front line in the most classic way imaginable. It is funny, I never was a big fan of Squats back in the day, and never collected them. But there was something in these minis that called my attention so bad that I had no real decision to make, I really wanted a bunch of Space Dwarfs.

Official photo shamelessly stolen from the KS web

 In terms of design they are somewhere past the Rogue Trader days and into the Red Era vibe, and maybe that's what caught my eye, as I feel quite comfortable with that stuff. Of course I wanted them to look in that fashion, so no dull colours nor earthy tones. 90's glory FTW!

The thing is that I got so excited that I forgot to take pics of the main part of the painting process!

Of course there was no point in even trying to mimic Curis' paintjob or emulate his skills, so I chose my own path. I primed them white (bold move!) and chose white for the armour and a light turquoise for the flak vest.

I first remembered to take pics when I had gone this far

White can be challenging! The shade is a mix of Ice Blue and Grey, and there are kind of seven to a thousand layers of increasing white to the mix in order to get a convincing 'false white'. Of course the pics are burnt and nothing can be seen, but I have inner peace, and that's all that counts.

I had to do the bases before I glued the minis on them!

I guess you can immediately see the problem with these. They are too white! Too empty! My horror vacui didn't allow me to leave them so immaculate. So how could I make them look like the vertically challenged space Vikings they are supposed to be?

Easy. By painting fake Viking stuff

I wanted that to be a crow's head and a symbolic lightning or something. Depending on the viewer it can be an eagle or maybe a monitor lizard. Still uncertain

I don't know a thing about runes. Lagu Ingwaz. They live next to a lake or something. Hence the turquoise

If you are wondering, yes, of course I'm making this up as I paint.

So this is taking shape

I didn't want to repeat the animal theme on the other half of the helmet, so I tried a different approach:

Yellow... stain. Not particularly taking risks, I'd say

Oh. But why. Why am I doing this to myself

Biggs Darklighter called. He wants his spare helmets back

I don't think I've ever highlighted such small checkers before, but it's not Oldhammer without them, it is law!

So here you have them finished!

The Röknauts rock!

The tattoo on the temple was also unnecessary. But you know. It was a little necessary

One side

The other

How do these fellas scale up with other minis?

Alongside the Universal Unit of Measurement

That Commissar is looking at them with some eagerness

Oh, even the Bombots are taller!!

Who would have said that I would start collecting Squats at my age! Yet here they are. I believe they are a one-shot project, at least for now. Future will tell, but now I still have many more projects calling for my attention. I hope I'll be showing some of them soon!


Playing Cursed City

 Playing! Yay! You read it right! Playing! Wiiii!!

It had been like, I don't know, a couple of years since I last played... well, anything! So I was super excited when the other day I finally got the chance to have a game of Warhammer Quest: Cursed City.

I miss the old boxes with colour on them!

I was invited by my pal, mighty Hetairoi. The moment you check his Instagram you'll immediately see why this game is going to rock. His conversions on the characters are inspiring, but the 3D board he specifically built for the game is just beyond any awesomeness.

(As I'm terribly old school, I still remember he used to have a blog too and, though not active anymore, it's still worth of a look through the archives, trust me)

But let's focus. The game!

Extremely basic approach for those not initiated: This is kind of a cooperative dungeoning game, in which a group of heroes explore a decaying, well... a... a Cursed City. Ahem. Ruins, monsters and perils. Who needs more?

We played a kind of scenario called Deliverance Journey. The heroes must run across the city rescuing the scarce citizens left, as a tide of magical, ugly, unwelcoming spirits is coming for their lives.

I guess this is the best thing I can do to explain it all

I won't get into deep specifics of the game, but I'll try to make kind of a brief overview. First of all, back to my pal, the owner of the game, let me simply show why this game is so awesome. The next pic is taken from GW's web, it's an official image of the game:

Pretty cool, you may think. I'll give you that

Is it possible to somehow improve that? Hmmm...

Please, do hold my beer:

Now this is a board

No more questions, your Honor.

We'll be playing on a full 3D board with hand made tiles and removable walls. We do not have to bear a cardboard thingie. Sorry, but this is inner peace.

Besides, there are some variations on the characters. We won't use that Kharadron ugly thing, but a proper Dwarf, a Slayer. Instead of the Knight-girl we have a Bretonnian knight (on steroids). The Ogre has just a head swap that severely improves the mini and we are not using the sigmarite missionary, but a Witch Elf .

The group!

Don't panic, I swear we at least are using the Cursed City ruleset.

Ready to enter?

Let's go.

Character activation is random every turn. You shuffle the deck of the heroes (and adversaries, given the case) cards and that determines the order in which each one will act. Each character has a number of activation points (usually four) which can be spent to undertake different actions (move, attack... the usual stuff). At the beginning of the turn you roll as many dice as activation points you have. That's because some actions need a minimum die roll (i.e., you make the dice rolls at the beginning of the turn and use them at convenience, instead of passing dice rolls every time you want to make an action). Besides those activations for each character, you have a pool of dice that can be used indistinctly by the whole group.

Some special rules here, but I won't get into details at the moment

Enough. You came here to see some action.

These were awaiting us on the fist tile

The knight comes in first to make some pest control

Then the Witch Elf (the character I was playing!) comes forward

What's this? New foul enemies!

Avengers assemb... Erhm, no. Sorry, my bad

All the enemies are easily dispatched and that marks the end of turn 1, which means the spirits are coming!

Suffocating Gravetidetm incoming

The game provides a card token to represent this, but well, it's definitely not the same. You can of course buy the official mini by Games Workshop, but my pal made this kind of "Wild Hunt"-like base and I think it's terribly cool.

Gaming wise, the Suffocating Gravetide (sorry, no, I'm referring to it as Wild Hunt from now on) represents the devastation of the whole tile they are on at the end of the turn. They move one tile by turn and the tile is taken out from the board at all effects, so it means you better hurry and move before the dead catch you!

Boooooo, we're coming for youuuuuu

By the end of next turn you should totally be out of there

So we move, explore and retrieve treasures if we can!

There's a cool thing about this scenario, and it's the way you set the tiles. Instead of having a fixed map, the tiles are set as you explore, drawing from a deck, so the board is totally random and different Teach game.

The board goes ever on and on...

Well, to be fair, you should expect some of these at a graveyard, it makes sense...

Sewage maintenance is an issue in Ulfenkarn, I'd dare to say

-Let's light this party up! -Yup, I bring a glass of wine!

The Witch Elf used her special magical ability (remember, we're using the rules from the missionary)...

And blam! Death lightning of doom

Hurry uuuup!!
Combat is made with special dice (just as so many other games nowadays). You know, the kind of D8 with hits, criticals or blanks, and using different dice (of different colour) depending on the character or the weapon.
Another feature of the game is the Inspiration Points. You will get those by killing enemies and can use them to improve your skills or to perform different actions.
The only original bit from the game in this pic is the body of the Ogre

Now bats. The only surprise is that there are no crocodiles in this sewer

Enemies are not such a big deal, at least for the moment, but the sense of urge is really a thing.

Hey you, knight boy! Weren't you the last one a minute ago?

The randomly generated tiles are not only cool as a game feature, but the past tiles disappearing is also interesting, as you may place new tiles where there was another one a few turns ago (that showing how such a maze this city is and how you get soon disoriented in the streets) and, most important, you may be able to run a game on a regular table on your dining room! Trust me, I value these things.

So where now?
At the end of each turn you also have to roll a die on the Event Chart. And trust me, it can only get worse. You really have the feeling of the city tearing apart, in some kind of apocalyptic spiral. Besides, as the night falls, things become more and more tense. You have to keep track of that on the gauge, and you really feel like in a disaster movie, but in Warhammer. I don't even know if that makes sense, but I hope it sounds catastrophical enough.

That one looks dangerous indeed

The whole group goes for the monster

But here's a kind reminder of time's futility

The combined effort is fruitful. Now we can talk with the raven (and pick a treasure)

That guy also looks like a worthy opponent

Let's test that theory

Getting wounded has quite a direct effect on the game, as you lose activation points (so you may only be able to perform two or three actions per turn, instead of the usual four, that kind of thing), so you may want to heal as quite a priority.

After some sweating and bleeding, the enemy is defeated

Yet more enemies await on the next tile

And death chases us. Quite literally

I'm afraid of no ghost

Ghost ahead, ghost behind. Glups. Who you gonna call?

The Banshees (whatever GW calls them nowadays) proved themselves hard foes, but were eventually defeated.

Yet there are more enemies to fight!

Time keeps being an issue!

Oh, come on!

Man-Bat? Is that you?

The Giant Bat attacks the Slayer...

...and takes him flying to the adjacent tile, far from the rest of the heroes

Fortunately, friends don't let friends alone

In the end, our heroes finally kill all the bats and fulfil their mission with plenty of time!

Victory! Hooray! All the citizens were warned (seriously, if you see people fighting monsters in the streets of your ruined city and don't get the signs, you deserve to get caught by the ghosts! What kind of people live in Ulfenkarn anyway??) and we fulfilled our mission in time, just before nightfall. So I call this a day!

The game is uber cool. The mechanics work swiflty and allow a novice like me get all the basics in a moment. Even the special rules are not complicated at all, so the game is enjoyable from minute one. The activation sequence makes it all fussy and fun and the combination of abilities of the characters leave some very epic, memorable moments. 

The heroes are meat grinders, maybe a little too much. We only got some injuries and no one of us was in real, serious danger of dying. The enemies were kind of a challenge, but most of the time we got to attack them even before thay had the opportunity to get an activation round, so they really didn't have a real chance at us. Some harder combats would have made the game more interesting, but for a beginner's game it was all perfect.

As I said before, the dynamics of setting new tiles randomly and taking out the old ones is pure genius, I loved it. It allowed us to set an enormous dungeon in an affordable space and really got us a sense of urgency if we didn't want to get devoured by the Wild Hunt. Definitely a system worth of exploring further in the future.

Of course my experience is biased by the most wonderful minis & conversions by my pal, and specially by his tiles and walls. Once you do this you never want to play on cardboard again, trust me.

So my final veredict: go get the game if you have a chance. It's simple to learn but cool to play. And please replace the cardboard with something decent if you can, it improves the game like a 1000%.

Wow. Playing. It feels... good...