Sunday, 24 November 2019

Another brick in the wall -and Blog Anniversary!

Though it looks like that in recent times I'm having my share of lemons in life, that's not keeping me totally away from miniatures and stuff. Slowing down my path, maybe, but not preventing me from keeping on updating the blog. I won't be whining over here, but rather look for the silver lining, and the thing is that I have some more stuff to show. So let's go!

Following with the mining town board, I had to complete the walls before I could build the central section. You may have noticed those doors up on the wall. Wow, how will the neighbours get there?

Disencouraging visitors since... well, always
I built the platforms with some sprues as handrails:

No wonder the landlord never gets there for some cleaning
So, in a very preliminary first step, this was my approach:

It can get complicated when you come back from the supermarket with the bags
Next thing to do was the pavement on the street. I decided I didn't want just mere sand, but some gritty, old, unattended cobblestone, quite in the way I built my Shadespire boards. So same way to do it, using DAS putty and a rolling pin.
Yes, you may have already adverted the problem. I already had the streets placed, so it would be impossible for the rolling pin to... well, to roll. Given that planification seems not to be my superpower, let it be adaptation & improvisation. I cut a piece of paper the size of the street and placed the putty over it:

Totally irregular, not even trying it to be plain
Then, the rolling pin:

It will have to do
Then I glued the paper directly to the foamboard:

When this thing dries I'll know if it works
Well, guess what? It worked! Hooray!

So I did the same for the other pieces of street
On my Shadespire boards I used mere beach sand to texture the parts with no cobblestone, but it was impossible here, given the size of this board. I would have ended with the whole room covered with sand and I don't need to give the missus even more reasons to get mad at the whole minis thing :D

Instead of that, I remembered I had this GW textured paint, the 'Astrogranite' one, which I had already used for the spaceport that started this project. Let's give it a try:

I gave it a couple of layers to add real texture
I sprayed the whole area and applied a wash with dark brown
Then I could finally add the access stairs to that other door on the wall:

It finally begins to look like the thing I had in mind
Time to tell you about a failed experiment. I wanted to add some colour here, to break the chromatic monotony. I specifically had this kind of image in mind, the colourful Buddhist prayer flags you can see in some places (I believe mostly around the Tibet, but also in many other places over central Asia):

My board will have 103% less vegetation
I thing you get the idea

However, my first attempt didn't work.

Looks like a local fair :(
I have removed them (mere paper glued to a thread) until I find a better way for them to fit in the board; I'll probably weather and torn them a little, to tone down the colour explosion; in the end it was too much. But that will be a matter for another day.
As you can also see, I randomly added signs and posters. The final touch was some thread used as electric wire (or whatever) and a couple of tubes and bits:

So this is the cozy corner
The signs include my infamous 'Keep calm, the Emperor protects' or 'Tranquilitam servate, Imperator custodiat'
I added some flock for life f***ing finds a way. Even here
Most of the signs won't be visible when I keep on building the central section
Finally, with some minis for scale:

I hope there will be room enough for a hand to get there and move the minis when gaming!
This process is painfully slow (and real life hasn't really helped!) but I hope it will all be worth of the time and effort in the end.

On another different issue, as the title says, this week (next wednesday!) is the blog anniversary. Seven years since I started posting my mumblings! Given that I already had this post, I didn't see the point in posting again in a couple of days with no pics at all. I just wanted to take the opportunity to thank you all again for your constant support; your visits, your comments, your suggestions... They all give me the strenght to carry on with this blogging thing. Thank you, seriously (no, not you, Bola Pelangi bot; in fact screw you, you've been quite annoying). Ahem.

That's all for today! I really hope I can bring some more stuff soon!

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Playing Hellboy board game

A month since last update. Sigh [Please insert generic excuses about real life here, blah blah, whine whine. OK; that's enough].
I had the chance to play the Hellboy board game. My pal got it from the Kickstarter campaign and invited me over to give it a try. Besides, first time he paints a full game set, so kudos to him on the achievement!

You can easily find the rules online and the game isn't particularly difficult to grasp, so I'll just try to give a general overview of my impressions.

We played the introductory scenario, so I'll use it for the basic explanations. The game allows you to play coop against the AI, which is becoming more usual nowadays. In this case there were three of us: Hellboy himself, Johann Kraus and Abe Sapien (played by myself).

The board is set by individual tiles
If you are into the Hellboy comics world, you'll get a lot of references at once. The aesthetics of the game, the way the scenario is presented, that kind of stuff. It's all pretty narrative, which also helps with the whole experience.
You have to explore the tiles and solve the Encounter Cards you will find on them, as well as get clues on your current investigation (the yellow tokens in the pic below).

Of course you will have to face some enemies
The enemy minions are all different kinds of Frog Monsters (Rampaging Frog Monsters, Venomous Frog Monsters, Armed Frog Monsters and Transforming Frog Monsters). There are also Frog Swarms, which act not exactly as enemies to face, but more like tokens downgrading the heroes skills.
Another quite a common thing nowadays is the use of different dice (you know, colours and stuff). The novelty here is the use of another special die, which will act as a modifier of the roll):

In this case the skull meant that I had to discard the highest scoring die from the roll. Besides, I run out of ammo
While my character is best used in range attack with firearms, Johann Kraus has quite interesting psychic abilities and Hellboy prevails by the use of sheer brute force.

Which was clear since the beginning
Each character has a number of activation points each turn, so it's up to you how you use them -and how you interact with your team.

Hellboy could re-roll any dice here, which obviously was not necessary
You discover new places and clues as you move forward.

That piece of card represents a table
Which Hellboy uses to smash the Frog Monster
The fight goes on and new monsters arrive
Johann Kraus is severely injured
But the situation is soon under control
There is a Rest Phase each turn, during which the characters can recover from wounds, exchange items and so. A good use of that phase can be critical.

So OK, let's move forward
Quite a punch
There's a clue over there, but Hellboy and Abe have run out of actions
Johann uses his abilities to leave his body, appear close to the clue and inspect it
Oooops! Now you get back to your body? Now? Seriously?
We tried to get rid of the minions first
An event card got us stunned
The event cards each turn add some uncertainty, as they can turn any situation from one side to another!

Fortunately we killed the minion...
...and the giant frog monster after some hard struggle!
We won!
The game itself is easy to learn, the core rules bear no difficulty. The scenario is atmospherical and delivers some fun, but it was just the introductory tutorial. As it had taken us less than an hour, we decided to run a second game.

BEWARE. If you plan to play this game, you may want to skip the following pics, there are spoilers about the scenario.

Ye be warned.

Same players and characters, new challenge
We got some action pretty soon
Fire! Those are Inferno Markers
That's a special rule, areas set in fire causing damage to the characters if they stay there. Can be removed just the same way as the frog swarms.

This scenario is clearly more challenging than the previous one
However, we managed to keep moving forward
Abe was the quickest of the three, so he was the explorer
Kind of crowded place to be an abandoned mansion!
Activating a determined token we made a discovery...

A secret room!
Hellboy explored it...
...while the others kept the enemies at bay
Which wasn't that easy!
We even got some backup!
You can get some remote support from other BPRD agents (or even direct support). We had some help from Bud Waller this game. The agent is assigned to a determined character.
Whatever the case, we made some progress on the investigation and we found the agent that was missing (the reason for the whole scenario!). But suddenly...

That's Rasputin as a ghost! Glubs
Things get wild in a minute
Rasputin's Ghost cannot really be destroyed...

...but can be temporarily stopped
We could only run towards the exit
Looks easy, but we all were severely injured
Oooops, he got up again
We were not leaving that easily
Uhh, guys, we better move fast
We 'knocked' Rasputin out again, just to bauy us some time
But certainly not enough!
Finally, after some struggle...
...we reached the exit with our injured agent. The rescue was a success! Hooray!
This scenario was much a better experience than the tutorial, and I think it served as a real measure of the game itself. It's quite a narrative experience. It sometimes reminded me the kind of Mansions of Madness storytelling (well, but this one is of course waaay more simple!). It's immersive and all the aesthetics and the way the game is developed clearly takes you to the Hellboy comics universe.
The game is easy to learn, making it accessible to all the comic fans that are not so used to this kind of board games; yet it provides fun to those more veteran players. I regret the lack of variety of the enemy minions, but those in the game give some good moments. The way they are activated or the frog swarms being more an impediment than a real enemy is also a good point.
On the whole it was really fun, we had a nice evening and managed to play a couple of games in maybe about three hours. Cannot ask for more!