Saturday, 28 June 2014

Aiyanna and Holt - NEW CAMERA

So I manged to get my hands on a really flash camera. Also, the lovely Ms. Vomkrieg has recently been on a Photography course. So, hopefully i can pick up some of the skills shes learned.

She took some photos of Aiyanna and Holt as well as some random shots of my models.

The Horrible thing about a good camera is it shows all the imperfections in more details than you can sometimes spot with the naked eye. 

Honestly, I thought these looked pretty good on the table, but under SUPER CAMERA VISION, you can see all the little imperfections.



Stylistically, I wanted these two to stand out on the batttlefield and picked what i thought was an unusual colour palette. The green and orange are also contrasting, yet complementary colours.

In a sea of Blue and Gold, this tandem should stand out (bt they won't too much due to MAGICAL STEALTH!!!!)


Oh, bonus "stylistic X-Wing shot" to show off how cool the camera is. 




Saturday, 24 May 2014

Back to Arkham - Part one of our epic campaign against the old ones

You may have noticed a conspicuous lack of painting updates lately..... that's mostly because I haven't painted anything in a while. 

I've started a new stage of life (running a business) and I've been enjoying boardgaming and playing computer games.

I just haven't felt much like writing. 


However, my partner and I decided that we were going to pick up the old Arkham Horror challenge we started a few years ago. 

The Challenge is as follows. 


CHALLENGE RULES

The Scoreboard


  • Defeat all 25 Old ones once
  • Investigators stay dead if they die. If we run out of investigators, we lose. 
  • If we team wipe vs an Old One, we have to face them again.
  • The difficulty of the game increases as we succeed. If we lose a lot of investigators, the difficulty will relax. 
  • We must play against each expansion three times. 
  • We must face each heralds twice and use each Guardian/Institution twice
  • Characters keep some gear/statuses between games. (Based on how many games they have played, and their starting gear) 
  • Character stories are used 
  • All games reported to Arkham horror Stats (http://community.fantasyflightgames.com/index.php?/topic/4731-arkham-horror-statistics-reports/)

Game one

6 Seals, BOOM!
This was easy to setup as we had played the scenario with one of my gaming groups earlier in the week. First up, on easy difficulty, we took on Nyraleothep, with Curse of the Dark Pharaoh, using the Dark Pharaoh Herald. 

It was pretty much a cake walk as the bonus clues from easy difficulty meant there were always clues to burn. 

Our Starting team was playing 

  • Zoey (Insane Evangelical Christian Chef who puts monsters on the stove)
  • George (Her boss, a grumpy old lawyer dude)
  • Silas (A fisherman with a shady past)
  • Akachi (An African Shaman)
The short form of this is that Akachi sealed 4 gates during the game using the combination of the find gate spell, and a pile of clues. 

The highlight of the game was watching poor Silas discover his true nature and turning into a deep one, before Zoey killed him and added her to her impressive cooking pot (11 trophies at game end)

Silas, gone, but not forgotten

So, Scores so far

Great Old ones :1  Investigators 1



Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Mechanicum - A Horus heresy review



Disclaimer


Spoilers abound in these posts, if you haven’t read the books and will get upset by finding out what happens just stop.

This is also not a recap, if you want a recap go to Lexicanium.

What The Black Library says about the book


As the flames of treachery spread outwards through the Imperium, Horus mobilises those forces who are loyal to him, and plots to subvert or destroy those who stand agaist him. A battle is being fought for the heart and soul of all the Imperial forces – the Astartes, the Imperial Army, the Titan Legions and more. In this epic story, author Graham McNeill tells the story of the civil war on Mars, and the genesis of the Dark Mechanicum.

What the book is really about?


First off, don’t read this book when you are tired (or if you are a bit dim)

There are no less than 5 major divergent story lines with associated characters, and keeping track of who is who, and where they are up to is one of the charms of this book. (if you have trouble with mechanicum, do not try Game of thrones)

Ok, so five major story lines, interdependent but mostly independent of each other.

Story one – The questing Knight dude


Maven is a Knight of Tarantus, a group of noble dudes who drive around big warmachines and, well, act like Knights for 14th century fables about knights.
Kaban Machine hungry!

I won’t say he’s the most complex character in the history of literature, and his story is quite a simple one. There is an explosion the blows up a nuclear reactor, during the lead up to this explosion Maven encounters a giant kill bot (that we later find is called the Kaban Machine).

Maven quickly sums up its an AI, and that is a bad thing to the mechanicum. The rest of his story involves tracking down the Kaban Machine with his best mate, disobeying orders, and blowing up the machine at the heroically appropriate time.

It’s a simple “I MUST SLAY THE BEAST” story, but that was good enough for Beowulf I guess.

Story two – Titan legion vs Titan Legion


Fanboi alert!

I really liked Adeptus Mechanicus the boardgame, so I have a soft spot for the Titan legions. (Even if Legio Metallica has now been removed from canon for legal reasons).

This was fun, stupid, but fun



This story focuses in on the aging commander of the Legio Tempestus (Storm Lord Cavalerio) and his legions conflict with Legio Mortis.

Right now I will point out one of my great bugbears with all of 40k/30k and that is names. Legio Mortis are the bad guys, WHAT A SHOCK, the death legion turn out to be a bunch of evil shits. Ok, this isn’t as bad as Fabius Bile and Abaddon (so, your name means hell….. shady dude) but its still really obvious who the bad guys are.

Anyway, two cool things to note about this story. One is the Storm lords’ transition from being just a modified human, to living in an amniotic tank all the time. It’s nice and sci-fi, and akin to the navigators of dune and other “giving yourself over” stories. I liked it, but felt they could have done a little more with it.

The other cool bit is the titan battle at the end of the story. The first Titan engagement is a let-down, but the finale is pretty awesome. The writer conveys the colossal scale of the conflict, while keeping the tension and desperation high. Very nice action scenes.



Story three – The Dork Mechanicum


Not gonna lie, this is probably the weakest story of the whole bunch. Kelbor-Hal is the fabricator General and a colossal douche. There is a whole arc about him and his cronies doing dirt deeds to win Horus’s favour and open up “SEKRETS BEST LEFT SEKRET”.

Kelbor-Hal and all his cronies are approaching caricature levels of evil. The secret tech they long for has been sealed away by the Emperor, and its pretty much “Insert daemon warp thing into tech” technology.

I get that these guys are meant to be dogmatic fundamentalists, but they really are very ham fisted about it all.

The highlight of this story is probably the catelgue of atrocities they unleash over Mars. It’s bordering on cartoonish the number of experimental new ways they develop to kill people, but it makes for an interesting read and brings home the scale of the conflict quite nicely.

Story four – The “Good Guy” Mechanicum


For a given value of “good” that is.

Even the loyalist Mechanicum are inhuman slave lords suffering from chronic cases of megalomania. Koriel Zeth, Adept of the Magma city is the protagonist here, and she’s the kind of person who will happily kill a thousand psykers in an experiment.



The highlight of this story is the “betrayal of Mars” by the Imperial Fists. The fists show up, and the loyalist Mechanicum are all “YES, WE IS SAVED” and all they do is hit the Marine armour and weapons production lines, steal everything that’s no nailed down, and then bugger off. The loyalists feel well and truly bummed after this.

Bonus points for “The large charge of the knights at Magma City” and “Zeth vs the Assassin” as those are nice epic moments in the story.

I also like that they lose, badly, and totally.

Story Five – Dalia and the Dragon


This is the main story I guess? I suppose you could consider Dalia the main protagonist of the story, even though she has little impact on the wider story. This is an ensemble book, but I do feel her arc is the one we are meant to identify with the most.

First of all, she is not from Mars, so we see the Mechanicum through her eyes. Basic features of the society are tastefully given the “basil exposition” treatment by having a niave off-world noob show up who needs to have it all explained.

It’s an old trick in sci-fi, but ti works here.

She’s also “SPECIAL” with a capital Spec!

We quickly discover that Dalia has a latent psychic ability that allows her to figure stuff out with technology extremely quickly, shes a savant, and with no real technical training she quickly solves the Mechanicum equivalent of a Gordian knot.

But, that’s only the start of her arc. After a horrific run in with a failed experiment with psykers (Thanks ZETH!) she starts to dream of a Dragon caged beneath Mars. 

The Dragon is most likely the C’tan Void Dragon, who is one of the great UNSPEAKABLE HORRORS of the 40k universe.

And the Mechanicum worship it….. crazy bastards.

After an encounter with otherworldly geometry that Lovecraft would be proud of, she settles in for a long haul as guardian of the evil dragon monster of Mars.

I guess even the Emperor cannot kill a C’tan.

All in all Dalia’s story is engaging enough, and she’s an interesting character. But nothing saves the day, and in the end she hides out for the entire rest of the war in a cave.


Why are there humans in my book about super powered Space Marines?


Oddly, in a book with next to no Space Marines there are remarkably few “humans”.

Everyone in the story is either cybernetically altered, a psyker, or a marine.    

MVP – The ensemble of techno assistants.


Dalia’s cohorts are quite a neat little bunch and I like how the writer gave them all quite different characters. Caxton is a honest young man who falls for Dalia, which makes her hermitage at the end a little more poignant. Mellicin initially comes across as a grumpy old cow, but is revealed to be a bit more than that. Severine, the draughter produces one of the really sad personal tragedy moments of the story. Zouche, the Tyrion Lannister of engineers, also has a bitter sweet story about his origin and what being a dwarf in a genetically obsessed society is like. 

Finally, Rho-Mu 31, the cyborg killing machine assigned to protect Dalia has arguably the high point of dialogue in the book when he cracks a joke. It’s wonderfully dark and out of the blue and turns, what could have been a caricature into a character.

Worst Character – The Dork Mechanicum cronies


All of them, so hammy, so moustache twirly. I really wanted a little more complexity from the villains, but then again, this is a Horus Heresy novel.


Why the Emperor is a giant douche


I still find it hard to digest how the Emperor treated Mars as such a special case when it came to religion. In most places he cast down idols and banned worship. On Mars, he fostered it.

Heck, he even imprisoned a C’tan on Mars and let worship of that damned thing continue.

Also, how busy must one be to let the armoury of your empire fall when it’s in the same system as your capital. This seems remarkably short sighted and stupid.



Moustache twirling evil-bastard award – Kelbor-Hal


Dark Mechanicum?

He finally gets his wish and he unveils the secret tech of secret, and his calls his new group the “Dark Mechanicum”.

I would have preferred if one of the opposing Mechanicum leaders coined the phrase. Kelbor-Hal should have referred to his own as the “True Mechanicum”. Dark Mechanicum is just so damn hammy.


















The writing – technical review and evaluation


This is quite a good book I think, one of the better ones. Not as good as some of the Dan Abnett works, but a good solid story, pretty good characters and a story that mattered. Solid, but not special.

That said, I found it a lot better than some of the other books reviewed so far. 

This book gets a “Good to read” rating. (4/5)



Book ranking














































Wednesday, 26 March 2014

More zombicide - Or how we all got eaten

Session two of Zombicide with my very special and significant other. 

So far, we have had a lot of fun. but each session has had the same pattern.

We set up, play for 4 or 5 turns, stuff up and get murdered. 

We then reset the mission and try again, and do a hell of a lot better. 

This time, after 2 and a bit hours, we got murdered quite close to the finish line




So.... this is how it all ended for us tonight. 

The game has a rule, that if you cannot place a certain type of zombie because you have run out of models, then all the zombies of that type on the board activate.

The six runners moved forward, and ate all 4 of our heroes gathered there. 













And when i said close to the finish line, I actually meant on the other side of the map, but with all of the supplies we needed. We still had a long dangerous trek to the exit in the top left of the map. (You may notice one of our survivors on the other side of the map)

But we were badasses, experienced survivors are amazing compared to when you start the game. 

Wanda the waitress could move 8 squares a turn through any number of zombies. 
Amy the goth chick was murdering anything that moved with her shotgun
Ned was a machine with his chainsaw. 
Doug the business man sniped dead 7 zombies in one round, 
and the other lot weren't bad either. 

But still, even with all the baddassatude, it wasn't enough. And zombie ate our brains :(

Still, the story that played out was fun and i enjoyed the game a lot. Great times, very good for 2 players. Curious to see how it works with more


Oh, here you can see Wanda. She opened up a door to a house full of zombies and skated away. Ultimately, my "cleverness" with using Wanda to move the zombies around meant more spawned. Which ultimately ended in us all being eaten :(

And in bonus news, i have been given approval to buy expansions from the household budget instead of my own pocket money. HUZZAH!



Sunday, 23 March 2014

Ol'Rowdy - Fun with flags and gore

I'm pretty darned stoked with how this bad boy has turned out.

I tried some new techniques and some new paints. Damn he looks boss!





First of all, as a character jack I wanted to paint him a little different from my other Cyganr Jacks that are 90% blue. I decided to do him in the same scheme as Thorn and my Warcasters. that is, mostly gold with blue as the 2nd colour. 

Makes them stand out, while still being very Cygnar. 

I also wanted to try out some of the new citadel technical paints. If you haven't seen these yet, go check them out. GW has a bunch of you tube videos about what the paints do and how to use then, they are a little "play school" (Or Sesame street/Blue peter) but they are still quite good short demos of the capability. 

The "blood for the blood god" paint is pretty cool, nice and gloopy and really blood red. I went to town on Rowdy to make him look a bit like a feral monster that has just caved in a warbeasts skull. 

I painted up, in the direction the blood from a blow would be coming. I also flicked blood onto rowdys face and arms. I love how it has dried over the blue sections of the armour. Most pleasing. 

I also used some of the "typhus corrosion" to get a dirty effect on his hands and lower body. 

The other little innovation was to make a banner for Rowdys off-hand. Having his hand just hanging out like that looked a bit dull to me, so viola! Banner!

I'm getting more confident with freehand and would really like to try a proper "art" banner at some point in the near future. For what model, I have no idea, but i'd like to do something nice. 




Coming up on the painting desk, Aiyanna and Holt, as well as Gorman, tempest blazers and Kraye (i need these guys base painted in a week for a tourney! PANIC!!!!)



Sunday, 16 March 2014

Zombiecide - Initial thoughts

Setup ready to go
So.... I impulse purchased Zombiecide this week even though I had not read a single review of it. 

This is weird for me, but I liked the look of the game and the overall BGG ranking for it was quite high. 

It ticks a lot of boxes that will ensure it gets plenty of play with my partner and my gaming friends. 

First of all, the theme is readily accessible. It's a zombie themed game with all the cliches that entails. 

Now i'm a big "old school" horror fan and I really like Romero's Zombie flicks (mostly Dawn and Day of the Dead). As a genre, i think its pretty bloody over exposed at the moment with bundles of movies, games, TV series, and what not. 










Ok, everyone, go into this room. 
Even though it's been done to death and frankly, there ain't many more stories to tell about the shambling dead, it makes for a good boardgame theme. 

I'd seen other zombie boardgames, and played a few, but honestly I thought "Zombies!" and "Mall of Horror" were pretty ordinary. 

What set this game apart for me was that is pure co-operative. This is good as many of my gaming friends prefer the co=-op gameplay experience over the "i kick you in the nuts and take poland" experience that competitive games have. 

The miniatures are also top notch, and i am tempted to give this game the full treatment at some point in the FAR FAR future. 










We kill everyone, except the "fatty who proceeds
to nom on Wendy the waitress. 
The components in general are pretty good quality. Nice sturdy card, the art is pretty good. The cards are the FFG mini size, but that doesn't bother me in the slightest (I play Arkham after all). 

GAMEPLAY

It's very simple, which is another selling point, as who the frack wants to play a complicated zombie slaying game?

Nope, people want to gun down wave after wave of critters while panicking about being overrun at any time. 

The game does this well and the pressure is unrelenting. 

First of all, each character has three possible actions they can do each turn. These include movement, attacking, searching, opening doors (if you have a crowbar or fireaxe) or trading. 

You can do all of these more than once each turn (except searching).

Combat is based off the weapons you are holding, and your party starts with one pistol, 1 crowbar, 1 axe, and 3 frying pans.......  Yeah, fighting the zombie hordes with a frying pan is not going to go well, so searching for better gear is a high priority. 


Building one clear, we are about 1/5th of the way home.

Each zombie your character kills grants them 1 experience point, and as characters level they get more options and unique funky skills. 

HOWEVER

And this is pretty freaking brilliant in my opinion, the zombie spawn rate increase based on the experience level of the highest player character. 

So if Wanda the Waitress is the only character killing zombies then things will get out of hand for the less experienced characters real quick. 

It encourages you to share out damage, to swap weapons around, and to not min-max one character into the perfect zombie killing machine. 



 BALLS! Zombie rush, many deaths, so sad. 

Zombies are dumb, thankfully. The move towards survivors they can see, or failing that, towards the most noise. 

Each survivor makes one noise by default, but slamming doors, shooting guns, and/or just stomping around yelling, will generate noise. 

While we failed to take advantage of this factor is our test game, it opens up some possibilities for zombie herding. I think this will be a real key to actually winning the game long term. 



SO MANY GOOD DAM ZOMBIES

We quickly learned that you just can't stay and fight the zombie hordes, once one character went up a level the spawn rate "exploded" and we were getting 2-4 zombies at each of the 4 spawn points around. 

What really killed us though was a badly timed "zombie rush" which made all the walkers activate twice in one round. We had done well to keep them at arms length, for a while, but the double rush meant 5 zombies in one square murdered 2 of our people (including wanda with her chainsaw).

The game is horribly brutal, merciless, and apparently quite difficult. I can already see it having some good replay value. 



Last man standing, NOM NOM NOM 

My partner enjoyed the game a lot, and is keen to play again. I'm also interested to see how my other gaming groups deal with it as well.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Stormguard COMPLETE!


Wow, I actually finished a unit!

This is epic, the first new models off the painting table in nearly 12 months. 

Painting for me, has always been a "feel" thing. Either I want to do it, and then i do it a lot, or i just hate the damn thing. 

The Stormguard are done in my "Storm Knight" scheme which is really really simple. 

The dark blue is heavily glazed and only lightly shaded and highlighted. The real character on the models comes from the lightning marks, which are lightning blue and white wiggly lines. 

I'm looking forward to getting these guys on the table as they are one of the few "reach" options Cygnar has, and with lightning arc on the polearms, they can murder light infantry with great rapidity. 

PS. Trying out a new lightbox!

COMING SOON!

So......................

I have the following to paint, in no particular order. 
  • Ol'Rowdy
  • Thunderhead
  • Charger, Hunter, Minuteman (all 2nd copies for my force)
  • A Centurion/Avenger/Hammersmith magnetised combi kit
  • Aiyanna and Holt
  • Ragman
  • Eiryss (elite)
  • Gorman
  • Lord Runewood
  • Sword knights (2nd unit of 6)
  • Stormblade Commander
  • Kara Sloan
  • Stryker 2
  • Kraye
  • Stormlances
  • Gunmage cavalry 
  • Taryn 
  • Katherine Laddermore
Holy crap..... that'll keep me busy for a long long time. 





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