February 19, 2013

Carnevale: Starvation - Demos and Model Thoughts

Starvation / Demos

Shortly before Christmas I posted up some pics of the massive box of toys I received from Vesper-On Games for their skirmish game Carnevale. Essentially an everything-and-the-kitchen-sink purchase in support of their Morgraur-Rahaar IndieGoGo campaign late last year. There were a LOT of models in that box and I didn't really know where to get started until now.

So a little over a week ago I hear about a worldwide campaign that Vesper-On was doing entitled "Starvation." Tournaments were to be played at venues worldwide, the results sent back to them, and then used to modify the game world in some way in future expansions. Not having any other people to play the game with yet, I decided to do something a little bit different.

I dug through my box of stuff and pulled out the rule book and all the starter boxes. After going through them to figure out what components went with each figure I was then able to stat up lists around 190 points each. Interestingly the only starter boxes that were able to pack that many points in without adding a booster pack were the Patricians (extra weapons) and the Doctors of the Ospedale (spells and spirit cannons). Each of the other factions required additions to keep the points even.

With a lot of help from Seb, we were able to put together most of the figures on Tuesday evening. I had to spend a little extra time building the Patrician starter box, the Rhino and one of the Rashaar models on Saturday afternoon...then finally prime everything grey. With just over a week I never even considered trying to paint any of it; we're talking about 25 unique figures here!

Here are the lists I put together for the event.

Doctors of the Ospedale
- Doctor of the ospedale
- 2 doctors of the arsenale
- 2 madmen
- rhinoceros booster (we didn't end up using this, but it sure looks cool!)

- leader
- butcher
- harlot
- 2 citizens
- Baba Yaga booster (this was the only Independent character used)

The Patricians
- noble leader
- male and female barnabotis
- 2 city guards

- Magi Rashaar
- 2 fishmen
- 2 hybrids
- 2 aglaopes booster

We sketched out a map layout for a small 2'x2' table using the various "...of Malifaux" Terraclips stuff from WorldWorks Games. I intentionally went with a smaller board than the 30"x30" recommended so that I could build it in a short amount of time, and be able to have some table space for dice and counters. There didn't seem to be much point in anything bigger, as I wanted players to get into the fray without wasting any time. Brandon was a lot of help setting up the table once I arrived at the store.

I think the table turned out great. The terraclips are excellent for this game, and would work nicely in other similar use cases. A lot of people stopped by to ask what the board was made of, both while we were building it and during demos. I do hope to see some sci-fi or urban Terraclips sets come out in the future.

Since I didn't have other dedicated players to actually have a tournament with, I simply ran demos of the game for the evening. I was able to get five of people to sit down to try it out, and most of them seemed to find the models and setting to be really cool. Thanks to everyone who took time to try out something new. While not a narrative tournament for "Starvation" in the sense that Vesper-On Games was technically doing, it was still fun to do some demos and show off some of the models.

Thoughts on the Figures

So, building 25 unique multi-part, metal models over the course of four days is pretty ambitious for me. I certainly couldn't have done it without Seb's help!

Overall the quality of the sculpts is very good. Each figure has a lot of character and is unique. The mold lines on most of the pieces are minimal, requiring a light touch with a hobby file before construction. A lot of the models also have options for weaponry or heads and arms. Most notably here were the Patricians, who come with plenty of pistols, swords and empty-hand options. It was also nice to see that the two fish-men in the Rashaar starter came with three heads and sets of arms to choose from.

However, out of the 25 models that we put together, only ONE of them was a single-piece sculpt. As dynamic and interesting as some of the models are, I think that a lot of them could be molded better to provide less frustrating to build. Additionally, a lot of the contact points are very small, or simply not necessary. Here are some examples:

- The Aglaopes both have very small arms, whose lower arms are separate pieces. They also have tiny little tails that need to glued in. I think with some minor pose modifications these figures could easily be a single piece.
- The fan on the female Barnaboti is huge, and attaches to a tiny wrist. Too small to pin with the wire and drill bits I own. She was the first model to break (on the way to the game shop), even though everything was transported gently in a proper foam case.
- The ankle joints on the female citizen of Venice are very small and have to support a large solid model wearing a full dress. She broke off at the ankles when I tried to mount the figure on the base. This required running a pin in the bottom in the middle of the dress, directly into the metal slot. It shouldn't be too noticeable, but was annoying.
- The city guards are a little awkward to get their rifles / axes glued on, with small wrist joints as the only contact points yet again.
- The Noble and male Barnaboti both have very odd part separations on their legs. Pinning the male Barnaboti at the knees was a pain and resulted in a strange lean to the figure's pose. The noble I simple couldn't figure out how to pin due to the odd cut angle between the parts at the right thigh and left ankle. I'm simply hoping he won't fall apart... Actually it already did (again on the way to the store), but this break was one of the swords popping off at yet another tiny wrist joint.

Now don't get me wrong, I think these are fantastic looking models. I just wish a little more thought had been put into their poses and part separation. I certainly don't mind pinning models for stability, but when some of the contact points are as small as these it can prove really difficult, and is really more frustrating than it should be.

I'm also curious how one would actually use the sculpted bases that I received as part of my pledge reward. Most of these models have very small feet. That would make it exceedingly troublesome to chop off the slot and pin them to the custom base. So currently the nicely sculpted bases I have are sitting unused.

Stay tuned for updates here, someday soon I hope to post photos of these models with some paint applied!


Simon Q said...

They are some superb figures, I have to agree a lot of these boutique figures looks great but are fiddly to put together, I have a few AE WWII figures that where an annoyance in that regards.

Look forward to seeing them painted up mate. Thanks for the review

Obsidian3D said...

Thanks for the comment. I almost supported the AE:WWII campaign because I do love some of the models, but the value wasn't there. I'll likely pick up a few singles somewhere along the way though.