Monday, 11 December 2017

Zombicide - Finale

All of Zombicide is now finished


I am so glad I decided to stick with the "monochrome" zombies and only paint the survivors seriously. I feel pity for anyone who spent hours and hours and hours on painted hundreds of disposable zombies, when they just end up looking like a blurry pile of blobs on the board anyway. 

This was a beast of a job, even with a gazillion short cuts. 


Standard Horde
Toxic Zombies

Skinner Group 1

Skinner Group 2

Seeker group


Game in play

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Scythe - Complete

So, I finally decided the paint something for the first time in..... i dunno.... forever! Almost entirely motivated by the fact I got my airbrush working again, so base coating and undercoating is now rather painless. 

I put a poll up on the solo-boardgamers group and asked "what game should I finish off doing", because I have about 10 in partial completion and just haven't finished them off. 

Until today. 

All airships were base coated using an Airbrush, which made them take less time to paint than one of the mechs. Anyway, enjoy! 

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Red Dust Rebellion - Factions and interactions

Well, here is a little more information about the different factions with Red Dust Revolution, and a bit about how they interact with each other. (Click on images for bigger versions)

Mars Government

Very quickly you may note that the core actions for the MG player do not diverge hugely from a normal COIN game. As i've said before, this game is not a radical departure in terms of mechanics. 

What is a little different is Bombardment. Which is a modified Air Strike. Air Strikes against domes would be considered an atrocity, so, while they remain an option for the MG player, they come at a cost of support back home. 

Another unusual ability if Contract, which trades resources to the CORP to do a combined attack. As the CORP is loathe to do any real fighting without clear profit, it is a way you can force you "ally" to play a team game. 

Eradicate also gives the MG player incentive to hit the wastelands and to try and dig out insurgent bases. 

Earth Corporations. 

The CORP has the same abilities, but Train works a little differently. Unlike many COINs, the local government forces aren't trained by their ally, but there also aren't desertion mechanics. 

The CORP can also train black-ops teams, which are nasty little units that can remain hidden and hit like insurgents using the Raid special ability. 

The CORP controls much of the infrastructure on Mars and, as a result, has Shuttle, which can be used to massively reorganize the board. This is the most efficient way to redeploy and reinforce areas, and can be used for great good, or ill. 

Exploit drives the CORP player, and allows them to pay off any faction, or line their own pockets. As profits are the factions path to victory, they really want to set up shop and combine PR efforts (under train) with exploitation to drive up profits for the win. 

Free Mars

Again, very normal looking actions for Free Mars, and in many ways they play like the Taliban or VC. 

Rally, March, attack and terror are very typical COIN abilities. 

Redistribute allows you to take resources you need to power your factions. 

Defection allows you to take control of units in regions, as their loyalty to mars outweighs their loyalty to a pay cheque. 
And finally, Ambush is as it always has been.

Free Mars is very much a "no surprises" faction for veteran COIN players. Although, because of the nature of the board, and where population centers are, they are heavily focused during games on the major domes. 

The Reclaimer Church

Now this one gets a little more "out of the box". While the abilities are pretty normal (asides from Rally working as well in 0 pop regions as 1 pop), Ransack is something quite different.

Ransack can reduce a domes population by 1 and create a refugee +1 population marker that either the Free Mars or Mars Government player can rehouse. It also generates considerable resources. 

However, if a dust storm occurs (the "break card" of Red Mars revolution, like Monsoon in "Fire on the lake"), those refugees die, and that population is lost, permanently. 

Less population makes it harder for every other faction to win. 

This power is a "nuclear option" that gives the RC incentive to attack domes, and makes sure that all other players treat them with some respect. For while they are mostly content with building their wilderness network, when they mass to attack, it can be devastating. 

Preach also allows the RC player to subtly manipulate the balance of power. (note, reference card says FM insurgent, that should be RC, these are slightly old versions)

Friday, 7 July 2017

Red Dust Rebellion - A Mars COIN game.

Well, I've been busy working on a new project, a Boardgame design. 

What's the game you ask?

Tentatively, it is called "
Red Dust Rebellion", (but that name is not carved in stone,) and it's a Counter Insurgency game based on the COIN engine designed by Volko Ruhnke. This same game engine has been used to create games in insurgencies like Afghanistan (A distant plain), Vietnam (Fire in the Lake) and the US war of independence (Liberty of death)

What sets this game apart from the others is that it is not a historic insurgency, but a Science Fiction one. In a familiar, yet relatively unexplored realm for Board games.

There are many games about colonizing mars, but very few about what happens later. The almost inevitable anti-colonial uprising against a foreign power that would come with the creation of a unique and distinct Martian culture. 

We have seen it in films and fiction, Red Mars, Total Recall, Red Faction, Babylon 5 and numerous other stories have been told about Mars struggling for independence. It has been many Sci-fi writers "go to" setting for stories about the struggle of independence, terrorism, national identity and neo-colonialism. 

In short, it is a very rich setting than has a lot of resonance for people. And a setting where we can tell a modern insurrection story with a twist, while examining some concepts involved in future war.

Also, the unique distances of Mars, the compact population centers and and massive wastes present unique opportunities for game play that a historic scenario does not. 

The factions

Like most COIN games, this conflict revolves around 4 competing factions with their own unique winning condition. Each player has one "friendlier" faction than the others, although the alliances are more out of mutual benefit than any real desire to work together. 

Please note, all art is placeholder art and just what I am using in the prototype. 

Mars Provisional Government

The Mars provisional Government wants to run Mars as a part of Earth and can best be compared to your traditional colonial government put in place by an Imperial power. 

The Government faction wants the population of Mars to support their policy platform of "Mars and Terra, one people, two planets". 

The Government has access to large military and police forces, as well as elite forces sent from Earth Government. 

Their path to victory requires keeping the Earth Government happy so that the Provisional Government can effectively rule without great intervention from Earth. 

The Megacorporations

One constant in nearly all near future science fiction is the presence and power of massive corporations.

From Weyland Yutani in Aliens to Protogen in the Expanse. The Corporations are great bad guys and no story about a Mars Revolution would be complete without them. 

The CORP's want control of area, they don't care if the population is supportive or opposed, as long as there are boots on the ground and the people are working. 

Profits drive this faction. Replacing troops and personnel cost money, so the CORP player is happy to hold the gains made by the Government, but less happy to take charge of offensives. 

Free Mars

Mars is for Martians! Free mars represents the length and breadth of martians who want a Mars ruled by Martians. 

This includes extreme terrorist groups and softer political groups. They also represent the various labor unions and guilds on mars. 

Free Mars wants popular support of the Martian populace and this brings them into headlong conflict with the Provisional Government. 

Corporate PR and spin can also undermine Free Mars and the Corporations want to control the Martian "means of production"

But with the vast trackless wastes of Mars, it is virtually impossible for the corporations and Government to get everyone. 

The Reclaimer Church

The Reclaimers represent a divergent set of beliefs and ideas unique to Mars. 

The Reclaimers want to return Mars to a more natural state, halt terraforming and adapt humanity to mars. 

They represent a combination of "frankenstein" science, dogmatic faith and extreme environmentalism. 

The Reclaimers are the end result of me brainstorming what a really extreme group of terrorists could look like 200 years from now. 

Their path to victory is unique. They only want to build infrastructure out in the wastes, to dig deep into the planet and become unmovable. 

They also have a terrifying and board altering ability that allows them to damage domes and create refugees. 

The Board

Again, this is tentative art. I'm actually using a hand drawn board using markers and A1 paper for playtesting, and this board doesn't have the Phobos, Far side of Mars and Earth locations. 

If you have played COIN games you will immediately notice there are more cities than normal. This is because the vast majority of the Martian population lives in domes, and the gap between "civilized" and "wild" areas on mars is astronomical. 

It also presents a problem to the Counter Insurgency forces as you can't "airstrike" a dome without catastrophic effects to the civilian population. 

The concentration of population forces Red Mars, MPG and CORP players into a fight in the center of the board. But the Reclaimers cannot be ignored as they build up in the wastes. 

Next Steps

Well, that's up to GMT really. This game was one I designed for myself, as an exercise in making a game and doing something fun. If it never sees publication, so be it, but I would love to see it out there sometime in the future.

Does the idea seem good to people out there, anyone think this is a good concept for a game?

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Boardgames are art? What does that mean?

One thing I've been fascinated with lately is the idea of board gaming as an evolving art form. Art forms take time to mature, to develop complex themes and ideas, but I think Board-Gaming is getting there. 

Boardgames are a unique art form, because it is about creating an experience for players, about evoking certain thoughts, emotions and ideas. Whether that's in a purely intellectually sense in an abstract game like Chess or a purely social sense with games like the Resistance.

And i'm not talking about the literal artwork on a game, but the idea of a game as art itself. 

Boardgames can be just a simple toy, but there is more to them than that. Just as Computer games and film explore settings, characters, stories and emotions, so do boardgames. And as an art form, its starting to present mature and interesting themes. 

Boardgames are a lot like music, an art form that can be recreated by others and each time it's interpretation is influenced by its participants. Just as "I will survive" sounds different when played by Gloria Gaynor or Cake. Two different groups of players will have a different experience each time they play a game.

So what do we get from this art form?

Well, a kaleidoscope of experiences depending on what games you play. 

Historic wargaming can be very intellectually stimulating, as the competition and competitive nature of the game tests your reasoning against other people. But its also a medium for traditional arts, such as painting and sculpting. Add to that the interest Wargamers show in researching the periods they play in to ensure historical accuracy, and you can see the impact the art has on them.

Fantasy/Sci Fi Wargaming is the same, asides from instead of researching the history, players tend to immerse themselves in works of fiction. And for a lot of people, army selection is a form of artistic expression. People play Space Wolves, for the most part, because they find space vikings cool. 

Euro style games tend to focus on decision making, maximizing moves, efficiency and reacting to changes in the board state. These games test us in intellectual ways, and the emotions that come about are normally to do with how well we executed our plans. 

Games with heavy social elements, like Spyfall, Battlestar Galactica and Coup test our social skills and expose our social dynamics. It's rare that we tell utter lies to our closest friends, but in these games, that is the norm. We get to experience deception and betrayal, misdirection and obfuscation and enjoy it. I can't think of any other time or place where you can do that with friends. 

And co-operative games explore group social dynamics. How much does one person dominate, do you problem solve as a team, do you defer to others, or do you just "do your thing".

Even solo games provide an interesting experience in introspection that's quite unique. 

Still counts for solo play

These are broad strokes, and your millage may vary. But if you have played a boardgame, and have at least one story about "the time that....", then the games have impacted you as an experiential art form. 

Every gamer has had a moment a bit like this. 

Does it matter?

I don't really know. Like a lot of art forms, you don't have to delve too deep to enjoy them. You can enjoy music without knowing what counterpoint is or what Phrygian mode sounds like. You can enjoy a movie without a degree in film studies (some might argue its easier to enjoy film then). And you can look at a painting and appreciate it without being able to hold a brush. 

But for me, I think i'm more interested in looking at what a game delivers, what experience its going for, and how that impacts on a social group than I ever have been before. 

And as a result, i've been looking at games with different themes, different ideas and different experiences a lot more than before. But more about that later. 

Saturday, 31 December 2016

The 4th annual Kriegy Awards - 2016

It award season again, and continuing to show my contempt for every other award series out there, I am doing my own..... again. 

Like all award ceremonies, prepare to read a list of things picked by self-appointed experts that claim to have more authority on the topic than you do. 

In this case me..... oh.... and some of my regular gaming gang who chipped in. 

Several awards have been suspended from previous years. One, because i'm playing mostly with my regulars and not doing much community gaming and another because I don't think i read any new RPG books this year. 

But there are new and exciting awards to replace them. But as always, we start with.......

The "F**k this, I give upaward

For model that most made me want to give up painting because anything I do will not be as cool as that.

While you might not like the art style because it is a little busy, the detail and level of artistry on these Titans is just humbling. 

I mean, seriously.... look at that detail work. Ugh, it's just galling to see the level of talent some people have. I've done some pretty average looking banners, and I can write Cygnar lettering pretty well free hand. But that's like smearing crayons on the wall compared to this. 

Anyway, head over to GMM Studios to check out more of this artists work. Then throw your brushes in the bin, make a million dollars, and commission him to paint your stuff instead. 

The "The distant future, the year 2000" award

For game idea/concept that could change the gaming world. 

Boardgames are evolving at a rapid pace, as is technology. I like to look at things that shook up the hobby and made me think "this is the future". 

This year, it was easily Tabletop Simulator. Not only is it easy to load a game and play with friends, the workshop has allowed virtually every game to end up there in some form or another. 

Whether it is crushing my doctor friend at Rebellion or playing Terraforming mars solo, or even just exploring games and looking at them. Tabletop simulator has changed how I view the hobby. 

Previous winners: 

2014: Heroforge and bespoke 3D model printing. 
2015: XCOM. Mobile app and integrated game play. 

The "Pass me the lotion, I need some alone time" award

For best solo game of the year

This is a new award, as I've spent a fair amount of time playing solo board games and really appreciate a game that can be played by one.  

In the past I have played a lot of Arkham Horror solo, Zombicide, Pandemic, XCOM and pretty much any other pure co-op. XCOM won last years boardgame of the year off a strong solo performance as well as good group play.

But this year was a surprise for me as the winner is not a co-op. It's a competitive engine building game that becomes a puzzle game in solo mode. 

That winner is.....

The solo game feels very different to the group play, and that's really charming for me. Thanks to Tabletop Simulator, I've played many solo games of this without the hassle of shuffling about 200 odd cards each time and setting up the board. 

The "leading cause of paper cuts this year" award

For best card game of the year

I haven't played a lot of card games this year, but that's not because of any intentional reasons. I have the Arkham Horror LCG sleeved up and ready to play, but just haven't got to it yet. So this award is going to go to an older game which I have thoroughly enjoyed every time I've played it. And, due to GW and FFG having a spat, will no longer be getting any expansions or attention, which is a real shame.  

Previous winners: 

2013: Android Netrunner
2014: Android Netrunner
2015: Smash Up

The "What shall we do tonight, Pinky" award

For best boardgame of the year

This was a seriously good year for board games in my opinion, and the opinion of my regular group.

7 Wonders, Terraforming Mars, Castles of Mad King Ludwig, Spheres of Influence and Ghost stories were all new to the table for us this year. And every one of them was received well.  

So, if I was to listen to my player group, the Winner would be Terraforming Mars with 7 Wonders as the runner up. 

But for me, the best competitive Boardgame experience this year was easily Star Wars Rebellion, the first game to come along in years that could dethrone War of the Ring from my "top grand strategy game ever" slot. 

Character driven, adaptive strategies, seems close every game, and really nice to look at. A solid game and the best 2 player experience this year easily. 

Previous winners: 

2013: Battlestar Galactica 
2014: Spartacus
2015: XCom

The "Toy soldiers are serious business!" award

For miniatures game of the year

Well, this is going to be pretty obvious, as it's basically the only Miniatures game I've played this year as I've been designing it. yeah, it's self-serving to give your own award to yourself, but in the Trump era, this seems entirely appropriate. 

Designing a skirmish game has been an interesting experience. And trying to make the game simple enough to play, yet deep enough to be rewarding, while not getting away from it's core design ethos has been a great challenge. 

I don't think i'll be publishing it anytime soon as it still requires much work, but what a rewarding and enjoyable project, and the games have been legitimately fun. 

Previous winners: 

2013: X-wing
2014: Zombicide 
2015: Imperial Assault

The "The Computer counts as a friend, right?" award

For best PC adaption of a boardgame this year

Another new award, brought about because of the amount of time spent playing either mobile adaptions of board games on my tablet, or just playing on PC.

This award also came about because the winner was just so good, and so much fun, that I had to create a new award. 

Twilight Struggle on PC is a perfect adaption of the board game. It looks good, has good ambiance, nails the game play perfectly, and the AI is not mug. Sure, you can beat it, but you can't play badly and still come out on top. 

Also, Twilight Struggle remains a high water mark for game design for me, so seeing this gem bought to PC made me very very happy. 

The "Ouch, my Wallet" award

For game that ruined my bank account.

Yeah, it's Radland's again. I was pretty sensible with my game purchasing this year, but for the next round of Radlandz testing I bought a whole bunch of terrain, and some custom made play mats from Deep Cut, a pile of arts and crafts supplies, a new airbrush, 30 odd airbrush paints, and a bucket of d8's. 

Previous winners: 

2014: X-wing
2015: Cthulhu Wars

The "Bob Ross" award

For most enjoyable "arts and crafts" project. 

This is a new award, and is for whatever painting or arts/crafts project has brought me the most enjoyment this year.

This year has been a low painting year for me, but i'm finally getting back into it. 

What has been enjoyable though was building a massive ruined city, spraying it with the airbrush, and then having the lads over for a day to help get it painted. 

We still have a long way to go before the whole job is done, and I should really stop painting Cthulhu Wars stuff and focus on this. 

The "Golden Kriegy" award

Overall winner For best game system of any kind for the year

This was pretty much a consensus decision for this year. An impulse purchase after reading one review online, the theme immediately drew me in. 

It's combination of excellent theme, good group play and excellent solo-play make this a real winner and a gem in my collection. 

High replay-ability with a massive selection of cards, factions, and approaches to building your terraforming engine. Also, you get to smash moons into Mars. 

It was also the clear favorite of my gaming group this year and a game that will always get sounds of approval when someone asks to play it. 

7 Wonders gets an honorable mention as runner up for this award. 

Previous winners: 

2013: Android Netrunner
2014: Age of Rebellion RPG. 
2015: Talathen Sector Star Wars (Combined X-wing, Armada, Imperial Assault)

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Radlandz Scenery - Step 1 getting some terrain sorted.

So, in order to take testing for Radlandz to the next level, I have decided to splash out on some scenery and other goodies to make the game look a lot more professional, and well, more RADLANDZY. 

Fortunately for me, this was all prompted by a message from a local games supplier saying they had 30% off all battlefield terrain. And after browsing through the massive collection they had, I settled on the Mantic- Sci-Fi Ruined Quadrant. 

That's it all assembled below. 

It looked like a lot when I was looking at the pictures, but holy cow, once I got it home and opened it I was blown away. SO MANY SPRUES AND PARTS. 

The first thing I assembled, was the three story tower shown on the box. They say it only needs to be clipped together, but that felt a bit bloody optimistic to me as I struggled to get the hang of sticking things together. So the Tamiya plastic cement was deployed and I have no regrets about making the terrain permanent. 

I also picked up a small pack of 20th century terrain bits, shown in orange below. Its a nice little pack with barricades, picket fences, stop signs and other very contemporary bits of terrain. 

After i felt more comfortable with assembly, I decided to make buildings that looked nothing like the ones on the box cover. I'm personally quite proud of my ruined barn and it should be a nice piece for the board. 

Radlandz needs a lot of terrain to work effectively, as its a cover based game. I also wanted the terrain to look familiar yet ruined. And the setup below shows a bombed out street

 I also wanted interesting visuals as the game uses true line of sight, so getting down and looking at model level should be interesting.

This is simply stage 1 of 5 planned stages for building the Radlandz terrain. 

This week is stage 2, spray undercoating all the terrain

Stage 3 should happen on Friday and Saturday, and that's where i use my recently repaired airbrush to base coat all the terrain. 

Stage 4 is detail work, and i'm employing the services of my Radlandz testing crew to come around, grab some brushes, and do some details on these buildings. Chances are we wont get them all done in one day, but I hope we really break the back of it. 

Stage 5..... well that's a secret :) 


Pretty stoked with this purchase, can't wait to test them out for real. 
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