October 29, 2013

Star Trek Attack Wing - Dominion War months 1 and 2

Star Trek: Attack Wing is the first game I've bought into in quite some time that has any kind of tournament or organized play program. With each expansion ship coming with an included scenario to play, I'd probably be happy playing the game without the OP, but I do have to admit that I've enjoyed having an event to go to for the game. Not only does it allow me to get use out of the game components I've purchased but I also get to play against other interested folks, rather than me foisting the game onto my friends. I'll sadly admit however that I have not actually played any of the ~16 scenarios that I have from the booster packages...

The current play program is a six month long campaign recreating the Dominion War which took place during the Deep Space Nine television show. I'll admit to having not watched all of that series, so my knowledge of the actual story is rather limited. However, I have had the chance to play in an event for each of the first two months.

In the first month event I played a Next Generation pure Federation 100 point build. The fleet was comprised of:

- Enterprise D w/ Capt. Picard & Engage, Data and Photon Torpedoes
- a Miranda class ship captained by Riker w/ Worf and Anti-Matter Mines
- a Constituion class ship w/ Capt. Jellicho (generic captain) and Photon Torpedoes.

We had four players but due to some late arrivals we were only able to play two games. I ended up coming in second place and was able to take home a LE Ferengi Marauder ship, the "Krayton." I've since tried using the Krayton in a Dominion build...with no success yet. I've only played that list once and want to try it again before I write it off as not being very good.

In my month 2 event I decided to try out a Klingon fleet. In all the games up until now I had only used one Klingon ship. It had previously filled the slot in the Dominion fleet above. Wanting to stick with a TNG-era fleet was a little hard this time and I had to squint a little bit to make it work. For month 2 I ended up with this 100pt pure Klingon fleet:

- IKS Negh'var w/ Martok & Once More Unto the Breach and Advanced Weapons Systems
- IKS Maht-h'a w/ Gowron and Klag, and
- a K't'inga Class starhip w/ generic captain.

This time I was able to play three full games. The layout of the scenario meant that everyone was sticking to the outer edge of the map to avoid the orbital weapon platforms, and in the first two games I played the entire game took place in a quarter of the map along one edge.

Game one pitted me against a Romulan fleet of two ships, shored up with some Federation crew members. The Romulans took heavy fire from the weapons platforms and I was able to take advantage of my extra ship to destroy all of the enemy ships.

The second game put me against another pure Klingon fleet. The same ships and two of the same captains. Some minor load out differences in captains and tech upgrades, but very similar. It came down to my Negh-Var against his K't'inga, and I was in place to use "Once More Unto the Breach" but was downed by fire from the weapons platform to lose the game. A tough pill to swallow, but a good match nonetheless.

My final match was against a two-ship Federation build...sort of. It was the Enterprise D w/ Picard and the Reliant captained by Khan and some tribbles. We started out on opposite sides of the board and I ended up flying my K't'inga close to the planet in hopes of catching up enough to get some damage in before the enemy ships could turn around. I took substantial damage, surviving a warp core breach for several rounds and taking down the Reliant's shields.

Both Federation ships kept tight to the board edge, but my other ships were closing the gap. A navigational miscalculation put my K't'inga off the map edge, which was really quite a disappointment. The Maht'h'a closed the gap and downed the Reliant while the Enterprise floundered in the corner. As time was called I rolled I had the Enterprise down to two hull. In points I was ahead, having lost 22 to my opponent's 43. Gowron's ship had two shields and one hull left, uncloaked. I had an evasive token but was within range 1 of a weapon platform which landed two hits. I rolled my one defense die and...rolled nothing. Shield down but not destroyed I won the match!

I came in second place, but since first was taken by the organizer I won the prize B'rel class Klingon ship, along with everyone getting the participation prizes. I'm really looking forward to playing again soon, it was good fun.

October 27, 2013

Painting Dreadball - The Royal Eternian Rams

Even though I've been playing a lot of Star Trek: Attack Wing in the past few weeks, I have also been painting. With Fallcon fast approaching and me slated to be running a tournament / demos for Dreadball, I wanted to get another team finished up. To my disappointment, I wasn't able to conjure up the energy to get them completely done.

After almost a week of required rest following Fallcon (required because I caught a brutal cold during the event), I finally mustered up the fortitude to finish another season 1 team: The Royal Eternian Rams!

When I played in my first league early this year (January thru March) I decided to play with this team so that the Forge Fathers would be represented. We had one player drop out and I took up the slack by also playing a human team as well. (The Avion Warriors have already been showcased on my blog, you can read about them here.)

Like most of the other players in that league, none of us had fully painted teams. A few were primed in different colours, but none finished. My team was primed with Army Painter plate mail metal, and had some brown and white on them. Continuing with my "Masters of the Universe" theming I knew they needed a lot more work. Upon inspection these guys totally reminded me of Ram Man. See for yourself and tell me I'm wrong.

After looking over several source images again, and taking a look at the 2002 toy, I realized that the white tabard and brown pants I had started with weren't right. Digging through all of my green paints I decided that GW Knarloc Green was the one I wanted for the pants.

Next I painted their shirts with GW Mephiston Red. I felt that I missed the brown so I went for something softer and chose P3 Hammerfall Khaki on the tabards. They could easily have been red, but I think it might have proved too "Santa Claus." I thought that all the silver armour could use some help and even though Ram Man doesn't have any on him, decided to add some GW Shining Gold for a touch of variety.

At this point I felt like they were almost done, but something was missing. Just...that little extra. Casting my eyes over my paint racks again I found it, Vallejo Model Air Panzer Dark Grey. It looks almost black and has a touch of green in it, and worked perfectly on the boots, gloves and belts to tie everything together.

Finally I painted the eyes white, and also did the electronic 'eyes' on their gloves white as well. The gloves got a wash of GW Thraka Green to get a slight glowing effect. They'd need a further touch up after shading.

Now here's where I went off the deep end and took a huge leap. To date I've tried two different varnishes for shading / dipping. This time I wasn't going to try it on a crappy test figure; I was going to use the brush on method with some MinWax Tudor gloss! This stuff is supposed to be comparable to AP's Dark Tone. Well I'm pleased, and relieved, to say that it worked brilliantly. I ended up with a little too much varnish pooling on the tabards, but otherwise I'm very happy with the results.

After the varnish I applied some AP Matt Varnish and then finally the player number decals. The final result looks good to me and I'm very happy with my MinWax choice. It's $8 a can rather than $33 for the Army Painter alternative. While I won't need to buy it very often, that's almost a 75% savings which you'd be crazy not to go for. AP's paint and primer is awesome, but I'll be going to MinWax for my quick shade varnish.

October 25, 2013

Initial Thoughts on Sedition Wars wave 2

So far I've only had time to put together a few of the wave 2 items. The Hurley drones are very nice. I'm not sure why they're the only ones done in that blue plastic, but they are excellent. There was almost no clean up needed on them. They're a little large compared to the Hurley model itself...I don't see any way he could store more than one of them!

I've also cleaned up and put together all of the bone crabs. These things have pretty prevalent mould lines, made worse by the fact that they have lots of legs. After being cleaned up they look good. Over the top disgusting, but good. I do wish the tails were a little heavier, because they're quite fragile to bending and having stress marks. I might prime these using gesso instead of spray primer just to give them a little extra protection.

The last items I tackled were Ramirez and her necroform model. My casting of the necroform was almost flash-free and has good detail. I'm not thrilled with the necroform pose as it's rather static. The Ramirez figure herself is a nice casting, only a little flash on the one side of her neck and on her leg armour. The contact points between her body and gun piece were much easier to deal with than the original Samaritans.

I'm planning on painting my Samaritans in squads of ten. With Ramirez added in with the figures from my Biohazard pledge I have a total of thirty Samaritans. Each squad has three special weapons troopers; one of each type. Two squads have seven troopers, and the final has six plus Ramirez to round it out to an even ten. In my opinion she looks fine mixed in with a squad. She's a bit thinner for sure, but doesn't look out of place to me.

Sorry I don't have any pictures to share with this post. Once I get some painting started I'll try to get a series of progress posts going.

October 18, 2013

Tannhauser - Zombie Survival Scenario

Since getting into Tannhauser earlier this month I have been casting my net far and wide across the internet trying to find fan-made materials to add to my games. With Halloween fast approaching I happened upon a fun sounding "Zombie Survival" scenario created by Miah999 over at Front Toward Enemy.

If you want to have a look at the scenario rules for yourself you can find it here. I downloaded the zombie card and glued it to a piece of cardboard off the back of one of my notepads. When I cut the backing cardboard piece, I cut it a little larger to allow for a border around the card. Once it was glued down I finished the edges of it with black electrical tape. I didn't think to take a photo of my card, but you can see it in the photos below, on the left hand side of the game board.

I decided to set up the scenario on the crypt map from the core game set, and grabbed some of my painted zombies that I showed off earlier this year.  With the board set up, zombies and crate tokens placed, and Union equipped with their wonderful toys I was all ready to get my solo game started.

Commando Alpha was the first to enter the crypt, and was immediately set upon by the undead. He died before anyone else could come to his rescue. Realizing that the situation was far more desperate than originally thought, the remaining squad members needed to be careful!

After the first turn the Union had thinned out the zombie ranks by half and started spreading out to search the area under cover of Commando Delta's smoke grenade.

The zombies kept on coming! Barry, Tala and Commando Delta are all under threat of attack.

Tala and John head towards the centre of the crypt while Barry and Delta search the southwest area. More undead are rapidly dispatched, one of them lightly wounding Tala. They seem endless!

Barry radios that his section is all clear and Commando Delta moves in to support Tala. It's looking like she might be in some trouble in that narrow passageway.

John and Commando Delta help break Tala free and then head up to secure the northeast section of the crypt. Barry tries to make his way to the summoning circle but is set upon by an undead child! Unable to fire until too late, he takes some nasty bites from the little monster.

The northeast area was unsafe. Commando Delta is dragged down by the ravening ghouls. John rushes to his aid and falls victim to rending teeth and jagged, clutching fingers. Trying to shut out the echoing screams of their comrades, Tala and Barry take up a defensive position in the centre of the crypt.

"There's no stopping them Barry. We have to get out of here," says Tala.

"You go, I'll cover you. Get word back to command that things are bad. Really bad! Now go!"

With the sounds of Barry's gun trailing off, to be followed by sickening wet sounds Tala runs for the exit. It's only a few meters away, just up ahead...but so are "they". The hope of escape quickly fades as she realizes she's surrounded. She'll fight to the end, but knows in her heart that there's no escape. 

Final thoughts: 

Overall I thought the zombie survival scenario was pretty fun! The death of Commando Alpha on my first activation of the game set a pretty somber tone, but I turned things around and by mid-game it was looking like the Union was going to make it.

A few really solid zombie attacks late in the game caused substantial wounds and my characters were starting to feel the pain. Once I was down to Barry and Tala I knew it'd be a matter of just surviving, but with only two command points per turn and both characters down on their last or second last stat line...it was a matter of avoiding the zombies as much as possible. With movement values of 4s and 5s however, that simply didn't happen.

I'd love to play this scenario with another player! I think it'd work really well as an introduction to the game system, where they can control the zombies and focus on some really basic moving, attacking and using CPs to counter-attack, while seeing what the Union's equipment can do before having to manage it all for themselves.

The scenario is set up for zombies against the Union, but I don't see any reason it couldn't be played with any faction facing off against the zombies. Next time maybe I'll try it with the Reich.

October 16, 2013

Tannhauser Frenzy, Collection Contemplation

Not too long ago I mentioned that I picked up a copy of the Tannhauser core game, a set of equipment cards and the revised rule book. It was pretty much a "hey that box looks spiffy" kind of purchase. I had never to my knowledge heard of the game, so before I bought it I watched some videos online and read a few reviews. It sounded like with the revised core rules, a game I could enjoy.

If you look at the tags I classified this post with, you might ask why it's marked as "Weird WWII" instead of WWI. Based on the fluff, I think it sort of falls into being the same thing in this case. In the story line the great war (WWI) ended up continuing all the way into the late 1940s and early 1950s. It's just the Reich instead of Nazis playing the role of bad guys, so the WWWII label seemed close enough.

During my web travels, I happened upon an online US retailer with a huge amount of Tannhauser stuff on discount. Miniature Market's sale was pretty comprehensive, so I spent approximately $195 to buy all but four figure expansions. Shipping it all to Canada would have negated most of my savings, but having family in the US can be helpful sometimes. I'm not sure when I'll arrange to have it sent up or pick it up, but it should arrive at its destination by Monday next week.

The remaining few expansions I was able to find locally. Frankenstahl, Edison, and the Matriarchy and Shogunate trooper packs were all out there. So in exactly a week from getting started and I've acquired a full collection for the game. Yep, for a game I hadn't even played yet. Kinda goofy that I suppose. We played a game over the long weekend and I have to say I loved it! I can't wait to play it again, and want to try out all the scenario and campaign rules in the expansion packs and books.

Between this and my purchase of the re-released version of Incursion during their Kickstarter campaign, I think I've got my weird war board gaming all covered. In fact, with this last round of stuff, I've really started to think that there might not be much point in buying many more board games or miniature games. My collection of both has swelled a lot over the past two years, while my number of players has dwindled.

Of course there are a few games outstanding still on my wish list, and some further expansions available for games I already own. Unless new games coming out really look amazing, or fill a niche in my collection that I feel is missing, it's likely that I don't have much more to add to it. The largest difficulty there will lie in controlling my own impulses to buy the 'new and shiny' when I really don't need any of it.

October 10, 2013

Something a Little Different: 3D Printing

A few months back my boss purchased himself a 3D printer. He's brought in some samples of things he's printed: a coffee mug, a pill bottle, and most interestingly...some geographic layered tiles based on 3D models from our CAD department. Those were pretty neat.

This week he brought in something quite a bit different. Can you guess what it is from this printing-in-progress shot?

I wouldn't be surprised if you had a hard time guessing. The shape is there, but it's hidden underneath several support structures that had to be removed after the printing was complete. After removing all of those,and spending a little time with my airbrush and paints, we ended up with this.

You might be able to tell that it's not full scale by comparing it to the size of my hand. The texture of the print is a little rough, and I certainly could have cleaned it up some more with a little sanding and filing. However since we're planning on implanting it inside a pumpkin and properly lighting up his eyes, all that work would have gone unnoticed.

I'll post up some photos once we get him wired up (possibly with some sound too), and dress him in his gourdy best. Come back in a few weeks for that update!

Post Script: Unfortunately I wasn't able to get any photos of our final product, which is a shame. The lights in the eyes and the pumpkin all sculpted around the skull turned out really well. I'll keep asking around, but it looks like we may have failed to capture photographic evidence.

October 09, 2013

Blackwater Gulch kickstarter items received

I received my first shipment a while back, two buildings, from my pledge on last year's Kickstarter campaign for Blackwater Gulch.

Monday morning on my way out the door to work I found another package lying on my doorstep. Not having time to go through it, I tossed it in my backpack to await cataloging...either during my lunch hour or at home when I returned.

I went in for a Marshall pledge of $150, but added on some extras as well. Here's what I got.

Starter gang boxes:
-  Banditos Mexicanos
-  Bloodwolf Tribe
-  Widowmakers
-  Tranquility Crew
-  Wilde's Rangers

Unlocked extras:
- 6 colt-45 dice (these are a lot nicer than I'd expected!)
- The Norwegian
- John Blackwood
- Mickey Finn
- Kurt Wyatt
- Doctor Kilmer
- Nevada Dave
- Father Al
- Marshall Stewart
- Rooster Morrison
- Clinton Wales
- Doc Lloyd

I also splurged out for some add-ons:
- Secret Weapon bases: #1 (desert mesa), and #2 rocky bluff
- Shamus McFox: an unreached stretch goal that they later decided to make available as a $10 add-on
- Gamecraft bundle: 2 buildings and 2 outhouses in laser cut MDF
- Battle Flag bundle: Sherriff's office and gallows in laser cut MDF

Overall things look really nice. Some of the weapons are a little bent from shipping, although they shouldn't be too difficult to reposition during cleanup. I did notice that one of the railings for the MDF buildings was broken in one spot. It too shouldn't be a very difficult repair job, although I think a little bubble wrap could have avoided the problem.

I'm happy to be able to mark another KS campaign as 'fully received.' With Sedition Wars arriving last week, that's two campaigns fulfilled in the space of a few days. The backlog continues to grow! I need to get painting.

October 07, 2013


As I mentioned last time, I was at Fallcon during the last weekend of September. One of the big parts of the convention for me is the game auction. There are a few hundred games up for grabs in the auction every year, and I had looked over the list to see what gems I might be able to pick up. I had a list, but only ended up with one item from my list, that being Doom: The Board Game.

I played a lot of Castle Wolfenstein, Doom and eventually Quake during my teens. I'd heard of the board game and that it was quite good, but had never given it much thought. When I saw there were a few copies of it up for grabs in the auction I decided that if I could get one for less that $40 I would. My copy cost me $35, and the second one went for $28. I know at this point it's unlikely I'll find a copy of the expansion, but maybe someday! The figures are quite nice and there are a lot of them. I'm sure they'd take paint well, although it's unlikely I'll be doing that any time soon.

The other game I was hoping to get was Battlestar Galactica, but they all went for more than I wanted to pay for used copies. Near the end I decided to bid on a card game called Arcana, which I picked up for $16. I'd heard of it by name only. Seems like something I can talk a few of my friends into on occasion. Once I opened the box I was actually pretty impressed with how it looks and am looking forward to giving it a try!

I've been a customer of Starlit Citadel for several years now and this year was their debut at Fallcon. I think it might have been their first time outside of BC to attend a convention. I quite enjoyed chatting with their staff and picked up a few items from their booth on my way out Sunday morning. Here's what I grabbed:

Escape: Quest - The second expansion for one of my new favorites this year!

Love Letter - A very impressive little card game. You'll get some funny looks when you produce the game and ask if anyone wants to play it though...

Summoner Wars: The Filth - Another army pack for Summoner Wars. It's been a while since I played this game, even though I love it every time I do.

Last Night on Earth: Timber Peak - A standalone game / expansion for a great zombie game. With Halloween coming up I couldn't resist adding something thematic in readiness for my favourite time of year.

Of those six items, I've only played one so far...Love Letter. We only played a single two-player game in which I was severely trounced. The game was a lot of fun even in losing, which says to me that it's a good game. I'd like to see how the deduction in the game works out with three or four players.

Last weekend saw me paying a visit to one of the local game shops for a birthday gift. I also ended up with more stuff for myself. Apparently I have no willpower at all...and bought a copy of Escape: Illusions, the first expansion for Escape. I also got a copy of the second promo, so now own all the products released for the game. We tried a two player game of the basic illusions set and it was good fun. Without the curses though, our second game ended quickly with us fleeing the temple during the second phase. I really love this game, but with all the released items to date there is a lot of variety available, about half of which I haven't played with yet so I don't know that I'd need to add any more components to my collection.

Last up was a used copy of Tannhauser for $50. Retail price is around $75, and this copy looks like it's never been played. I added the revised rule book and a set of the equipment cards and ended up paying a total of $70.38. That's essentially a fully-loaded core set for less than retail, or I guess I got the cards for free... I suppose I could have saved even more cash and bought the PDF version revised rules instead, but the book is quite nice.

I was very temped to buy an expansion or two for the game even though I haven't even played it yet. It just looks so cool! However I decided to err on the side of caution and give it a few plays before investing in it any further. I quite like the back story for the setting and think it could provide some really fun scenario-based games. Although it's listed as playable by 2-10 people, the rulebook really says to me that it's a two player game. Time will tell!

October 05, 2013

Fallcon & Sedition Wars

I've been around a lot of gaming in the past few weeks, but not actually done much myself. Let's get started with last weekend. Fallcon 26 ran Friday thru Sunday and I was lined up to help host three events on the first two days. Friday night's event was Dreadball.

Unfortunately we only had one person registered for Dreadball, which I found to be quite disappointing, not in that the fellow was there, but in that none of the local players who've bought into the game bothered to come out to support it. It's really hard to build a gaming community when the players don't help out. On the plus side we did end up running three full games and everyone seemed to enjoy them.

Saturday morning was Hordes / Warmachine. There were two guys from out of town in with their armies to play and Sebastien and I ran a demo game for another attendee. Well received, but lightly attended. Part of the trouble might be that it's a miniature game at a board game heavy convention, but I know there are players in town that play this regularly. Other mini games like Infinity didn't seem to have the same problem though, so quite honesty I've no idea why the trouble drawing out attendees.

Starlit Citadel's Kaja looks on as Sebastien from Trilogy Games demonstrates Warmachine

Lastly was our evening event of Heroclix and Strange Aeons. We had four signed up for this one, but again, not as many as we'd like. Overall I enjoyed the convention but I'm not sure that it's the right place for miniature games. Next year I might just go to play games and hit the auction instead.


During the weekend I caught an extremely powerful cold and was laid up for a good part of the week. No hobby stuff got worked on during that time frame, but I did get a nice bit of fun on Friday after I returned home from work. My second shipment of Sedition Wars stuff arrived.

I've gone through it to ensure that everything is as it should be. I'm not missing any models or pieces and overall things look pretty good. With this shipment I've got another 32 models, new cards to go with the second edition of the rules, the painting DVD and the really spiffy terrain pack.

Some of the casts are a little rough, but honestly, nothing I can't fix. The smaller bonus characters look good and I'm sure I can make them fairly decent looking with some paint. For my $210 (including the shipping I paid), I received approximately $100 figures with sculpted bases, the game itself, some really great looking terrain and a very good DVD with tips on painting. I know a lot of folks out there are upset with the Sedition Wars stuff, but other than running late I've honestly got no complaints. For my money I got a ton of figures and a pretty good game to play them with.

The only problem now is that I have another 100 figures to paint!