Athenian trireme in 28mm (Pt. 2, hull decorations)

 OK, so coming back from this post, here I am again!

I had finished the basic colours on the Agreousa, but the hull still had quite a lot of work pending. I could (and maybe should) have started with some other stuff, but I felt the urge to set the anchors in place, don't ask me why.

And so I proceeded

The anchors are made of sticks, like the rest of the ship, but I tried to give them some iron looking with some slight verdigris effect.

Anchors away!

I know, it's kind of Painting Big Things 101, don't glue stuff on the main structure until you've finished painting it. But anyway, it's done.

 Next thing I wanted to do was the eyes on the bow. You may have usually seen them painted on basically every illustration, so imagine my surprise when I discovered that these ophtalmoi (you see, quite literaly 'eyes') were sometimes also made as pieces of marble and attached to the ship's hull.

In fact, this is quite representative of the whole philosophy behind the triremes and, of course, this very project. The ships were kind of State-owned, but their maintenance, staffing and everything were commended to wealthy citizens as part of their duties. As a consequence, the 'captains' of the ships, the Trierachs, usually competed against each other to have the best trained and most impressive trireme.

I digress. The ophtalmoi. They were conceived, not just as a decoration (that probably too, just remember all those pics of modern planes  with eyes and maws on them), but also as talismans to ward off evil.

Circa 500BC. On display in the archaeological museum of the Piraeus

I took that pic as a reference, instead of the usual modern illustrations. I could have sculpted the eyes using greenstuff, but I think just a paper will do. So I got this:

Music on: The eye of the tiger trireme

There's something a little bit unsettling about these eyes, isn't there?

I should have put "Greek Fire". Hmm

Anyway. Once on the bow, the trireme looks like this:

This ship has seen things

Back on the general decoration subject, there is no archaeological evidence of actual paintings on triremes, we just have some records and depictions, and then some modern illustrations trying to be, if not accurate, at least good looking. Herodotus (Histories, III, 58), when talking about the events on Samus in the 7th Century BC says that "all ships in these early times were painted with vermilion" [NB: in fact the original speaks of what we nowadays call red ochre, the minium, the mineral pigment]. So every artist has painted their triremes red since. But the very words of Herodotus imply themselves that, by his time, not all ships were painted in the same way. There is clear evidence that the maintenance of a trireme was quite a heavy economic burden, and it was a matter of prestige for the Trierach. Given that, there were real struggles to show off and to have the most pompous ship.

What am I trying to say? The usual illustrations depict triremes like this:

Cool, right. I'll give you that

The Greek Navy even has the Olympias, a functional trireme. Not having actual archaeologial evidence, as said before, they were rigorous and opted not to decorate her, in order not to make her look anachronistic or ridiculous: 

No, seriously, how cool is this?

But let me make some considerations. Under the light of what was said before, i.e., that we know that the triremes were in fact painted and decorated (my guess is that not only in red) and that the Trierachs had real competitions to have the most luxurious, best looking trireme, as it was a matter of prestige for them and their families, let's think how could these ships be decorated.

I mean, we have extensive and undisputed evidence that, for example, the Acropolis looked something like this:

It didn't look like that when I visited the place

Or that they actually painted their gorgeous sculptures like this:

Oh, man, thin your paint! That one needs Agrax!

So, please excuse me if I find hard to believe that the very same guys that made these things to... well, everything...

They painted extensively and colourfully every single thing they had a chance to!!

... left their ships with all that bare wooden surface and painted just the bow in red. Sorry, no way.

So, with that idea in mind, I started to work. First of all, the Trierarch needed a chair worth of the owner. The Trierach's seat is the most obvious indicator of his status, so he needs it to be obnoxiously petulant. He's not gonna sweat handling an oar, that's for sure.

I even tried to represent a cushion on the seat

Now for the big, hard work. How would I decorate the side of the trireme? Well, I think it's quite obvious, with waves. Greeks painted gorgeous waves:

Unfortunately I'm not Greek

But with enough patience, I could make something decent


Doing the other side proved tricky, as I had to do the waves pointing opposite.

They look worse, but I hope you won't notice at table distance

I also had to do it on the bow. I like how it gives an impression of "crowning" the "face"

Now you undestand the eyes. Mine were just the same at this point

But the upper side needed something too. More waves would have been repetitive. I tried a geometrical pattern:

I should have looked for decals or something on the internet


A close-up to see my fall into madness

I guess it looks difficult, but in fact I chose quite an easy pattern, something that could be replicated automatically:

And repeat. And repeat. And repeat

 Of course it's mentally exhausting and took me some days. There are some other pics of the process:

Sssss. It musst be painted, my preciousss

The good thing on this is that I kept the same pattern for the other side, no need to invert it:

And repeat. And repeat. And repeat

Until it's done!!

The final touch was to paint the vertical piece on the bow (the acrostolium) black. It adds some contrast, but I didn't want to add a new colour. This is meant to look decorated, but not as a carnival float.

Best pic I could take

Additional decoration on the stern

And a final pic of the finished hull:

Seriously, it's painfully difficult to take pics of this monster

This is it! I consider the hull, i.e., the ship itself, done. So what's next? I need to work on the oars, the base and the crew. But I think I can consider this project in quite an advanced state of progress. Anyway, if you don't mind, I guess I need a break to recover some sanity points.

Let's see what other stuff I have unfinished...


Playing Aristeia

 Well, honestly, more a test than an actual game, sorry for the clickbait :D

But anyway, what's this madness? Now I'm... playing? It feels kind of weird! A few days ago I got the chance to try Aristeia:

This is my first contact with the Infinity universe. I've been keeping an eye on that world for ages, but have never dared to jump into it. I like the aesthetics, the minis look great... but still. I've been always focused on other stuff (well, focused, ahem, you know). But the other day a friend of mine just put this game on the table and I said "absolutely, let's do this". So here we are.

ENORMOUS DISCLAIMER: The minis you are about to see in this game are unpainted. If you are older than 18 (or 21 where it may apply) be sure that you agree with that content and proceed under your own responsibility.

Just to avoid grudges or whatever, I've stolen this pic from the internet, so you can see the minis from the core game painted, to get an idea of how do they look:

I wouldn't say that Aristeia is exactly Infinity's Blood Bowl, but for sure it's the closest reference. Two small teams of players will have a... well, not exactly (but close to) deadly match, trying to score on the designated areas.

Simpliest way I can put it: At the end of the turn you need to have players on a scoring area. If there are no rival players on it, you get 3 points. If you have more players than your rival, you get 2. If there's a deuce, well, each one gets 1 point. If you have less than your opponent, you get nothing.

I said earlier that this was more a test than an actual game. Right, we only got to play two turns, and the first one we just followed the tutorial, but nevertheless I wanted to share my opinions on it, as [spoiler] it was quite a refreshing experience for me.

You have a 4-minis team, and both teams are deployed on opposite areas:

I told you they were unpainted. If you want to leave now, I'll understand

All the red hexes are scoring areas (each turn it will be determined which one of the areas is the scoring one). The blak hexes are cover which also deny line of sight. The tiles with the blue things are obstacles that give cover, but don't block line of sight.

Each character has an initiative value on their cards. Both players select the order in wich they wish to activate their characters (placing the cards on the control panel), and then will be revealing the cards simultaneously by turns. The character with the higher initative will go first.

For the first turn, the scoring area will be the central one. I moved my tank-type character, Maximus, and so did my pal with his own 8-Ball.

Weird dice! (not really, the kind of dice every single game uses nowadays)

Each character has specific abilities of their own. This time my opponent attacked me, but I managed to more or less handle it thanks to my shield.

Next turn my character activates first. It's hEXx3r, a Nomad Witch, a hacker. She moves forward and uses her Vade Retro special ability to push 8-Ball back:

All those "!!!" are good, the more the merrier

Then my pal activated his Miyamoto Mushashi, who really is a meat grinder. He charged right onto my Maximus to hit him with his blades.

Ouch. That's nasty. Though I blocked most of the hits, Maximus got severely injured

He disengages and gets close to hEXx3r

Next turn! My pal played Wild Bill, who has a higher initiative, and moved first.

Shoothing and "killing" hEXx3r

She is sent to the infirmary

My turn to activate Parvati, a synthetic body and a hard opponent!

She moved to the score area and tried to move further, but Mushashi got her pinned there

Next turn. I activated Major Lunah, the sniper. She ignores cover when shooting, so she did what she does best:

She shoots at Miyamoto Mushashi

Who eventually ends at the infirmary

Wow, what a blast. Turn for my pal to activate his last character, Gata, an agile player...

...who immediately gets into the score area

Using her special skills, she dazzles Parvati, my synth body, avoiding her to trace line of sight beyond the adjacent tile for the next turn.

Si this is the end of Round 1, once all players have been activated. Each opponent having one mini on the scoring area, we both received 1 point. Let's go for Round 2!

We both selected the order of activation of our characters and placed the cards on the control panel. We also got cards from the Tactics deck. We can use them during our activation turn to perform some actions. This is where the game gets really interesting, as IMO your success will rely less in the random dice rolls than in how you decide to combine your character's unique abilities with the tactics available each turn. There's a random factor in that, of course, depending on the cards you draw, but it adds some depth to the game and turns it into a really tactic competition.

But I was talking about Round 2. The scoring area is randomly determined. In this case it will be Area 2 (we set a token on it to make it clear). I first activated Major Lunah, who shot at Gata...

Blamm. Straight to her

...sending her to the infirmary.


This becomes problematic for my pal, as he lost her character before she even got the chance to do anything on this Round, and will not be available again until next one.

My opponent activated Wild Bill, who shot at Parvati, causing some harm. After that, in next turn, he activated 8-Ball, who moved to the scoring area to control and defend it:

I should have added arrows or stuff to represent the movement. Anyway, you see, the big guy moved to Area 2

In my turn, I activated Parvati, who went just to the scoring area too!

She attacked him, unsuccessfully

Time for hEXx3r to come back! You can place a character who was taken down and now is coming back from the infirmary on any red area, except the current scoring area for that Round.

I chose Area 1. At the rearback of my opponents!

She moved forward and, making her magic, displaced 8-Ball out from the scoring area:

So, denying control on the area!
Of course my pal soon got the chance to do the same. He brought Miyamoto Mushashi back just on Area 4 (my original deployment area)

So he got Major Lunah's back!

Of course he immediately went for her...

Spoiler: This ended bad for her

My turn. I moved Maximus close to Wild Bill. He caused his opponent some harm, but not enough to send him to the infirmary. This one was fun, as we were throwing Tactic cards at each other until we almost run out of them, making combos or denying the other one's effects.

There's much more than the pic tells
In the end Maximus displaced Wild Bill, but he survived. This clash of the two characters got to show me the real possibilities of the game, as it's what made it really interesting. The two characters were totally different, and it's up to the player to play well the Tactic cards alongside the special abilities of each one.
You of course have to remeber that the objective of the game isn't killing your adversaries, but to deny them control of the scoring areas, so you have to combine your attacks and your defensive characters to achieve your goals.
This was the end of Round 2. At this point this is what we got:

Parvati is controlling the scoring area and no opponent is in it

So that gave me three points! Hooray!

Unfortunately we ran out of time and had to suspend the game and leave it there. It was a shame, as we were totally into it and were enjoying a lot. Anyway, as an introdutory incursion, I think the experience was really cool.

My thoughts on the game: It's relatively easy to get (I've never played Infinity, but everybody had warned me against the thousands of special rules and exceptions to the rules, so I didn't know what to expect of a game from the franchise; it has quite a bunch of rules, but are easily aprehended), its dynamics are oriented to fast playing, looking for action, not tactical manoeuvering, and though you will have to eventually rely on dice rolls, the ramdomness factor is kind of subdued by the tactics. I mean, I guess you can say something similar about (modern) 40K or games of the like, but in Aristeia I sometimes got an experience close (with a grain of salt) to an Eurogame, having to deal with 'resources', which are affected by some random dice rolls. I mean, this game is quite tactical, it's quite more about your decisions than combat itself, and I think it makes it different from other games I've played before.

Of course it's but a partial first impression and I'll have to run some more games to have an accurate opinion of all the intricacies of Aristeia, but on the whole I enjoyed it a lot and left me with the desire to play more.

A note on that. I hadn't played a single game since 2021, and now I have played two games in a row, Cursed City and now Aristeia! Wow. I think these can be treated as my annual games for 2022 and 23, just for the statistics, so now I have no pressure whatsoever until next year! Hmm, feels great, I guess... :D