May 10, 2014

Deadzone - Mercenaries Constructed

Another batch of figures finished (building) for Deadzone from Mantic Games. This time I was working on the assorted mercenaries. I haven't put any basing materials on these or primed them yet. I'll do that when I finish building the last few Marauders I'll do them all together.

I'll start with two figures that I'm not that enthralled with: Doctor Simmonds and Freya.

Although very easy to put together, neither of these sculpts are really standouts to me. The poses are mediocre to boring, and I'm not all that interested in the characters themselves. Perhaps my opinion will improve after I paint them and give them a try in-game. I did notice in my picture that Freya still has some flash I need to remove...

Next up are some middle-of-the-road figures: Nastanza the Twilight Huntress and Project Oberon.

Project Oberon is a pretty interesting idea for a character, but I think I might give his upper body a slight twist to get his pointing arm off axis with the rest of his figure. It's a minor detail but I feel it would make him look more dynamic. Nastanza looks pretty decent, but I've found it difficult to trim off the flash from the Mantic Asterian figures without chopping off the tips of their tiny little pointy ears. A minor quibble, but there nonetheless.

I really like Recon Unit N32-19, the Survivor and Blaine.

I'm really not sure why I like these three characters so much. They were easy to put together and both look like they have been caught in motion. That alone is probably enough, so I'll go with that.

My favourite looking figure was also the worst figure to build so far: Wrath.

Great looking, lots of detail, and a Judwan assassin...what's not to like. The f-ing construction, that's what. The pegs and holes on this figure make no sense, there are tons of little bits that seemingly have no rhyme or reason and the injection points on several parts are exactly where the pegs are so when you trim them...well good luck. I had to look up instructions from two different places online just to figure out how it should look when it was finished. I very nearly gave up on this one in frustration but I'm glad I didn't. If I had to do it all over again though, I might reconsider.

"Yaaaarggh, get to de choppah!"

May 09, 2014

Star Trek Attack Wing - Least Thematic Tholian Web Build Ever

"The Dominion War" has concluded and people are ramping up for "The Collective." In the meantime there are still battles to be fought. The current OP event is a one-off based on the original series episode "The Tholian Web." I've already played through the scenario once and had a good idea of what to expect.

We were supposed to play our scenario a few days ago at Trilogy Games but were unable to get the event kit. I had wanted to use my new Bajoran scout ships and Federation fighters in an event, which led me to the following list:

Bajoran/Federation (100pts):

- Akorem w/ Kira Nerys & Blockade, Day Kannu and Li Nalas (30pts)
- Bajoran Scout Ship w/ Tahna Los & I Am Kohn-Ma and secret (25pts)
- Defiant class w/ Clark Terell and Positron Beam (25pts)
- Federation Attack Fighters (20pts)

I didn't expect this list to accomplish a lot, except buzzing around my opponents like insects. With Terell and Kira I'd have to try to fly formation to benefit from those bonuses. On the other hand, I'd have to do some fancy flying to stay out of my opponent's arc of fire because the ships are all very fragile.

Until the regular-release Bajoran expansion comes out in a few waves, it's not possible to do a full 100-point Bajoran fleet (nor do I really think it would be any good). I picked up my wave 4 ships a few weeks ago and expected to see a lot of Borg spheres for this event, as their movement really lends itself to the ever-decreasing map. There's simply no way that my little ships can survive against the monster firepower of the Borg, but I was going to fly these anyway.

I expected to see antimatter and cloaked mines being used by a lot of players for this event, if you weren't playing Borg. I'm a little sad I didn't have a chance to try it out with the Tholian Web, but I'll be keeping it in reserve for another time in the future!

May 05, 2014

Spartacus Board Game First Play

Had a busy weekend with family stuff to do, events to attend and the like. However I was able to round up a few folks for some games late Sunday afternoon.

First up was William's new copy of Dungeon Dice. Lots of plastic cubes in assorted colours with non-standard symbols on them, drawn from differently coloured felt bags. I gave William a hard time about this game because it's the third (or maybe fourth?) game he's supported that has a dungeon theme and custom dice in. Of those games, I think this one was the most fun.

The biggest trouble I have with custom dice is that I need a card or cheat sheet to know what each one means. With a good one of those, this game could be good fun. On the (possible) down-side, it can very much turn into a solitaire-with-friends kind of game if you don't promote the trading and help-me-out-against-this-monster mechanics.

Second up was a game (my first) of Spartacus: A Game of Blood & Treachery. I've had this one for several months, along with the expansion, and have been waiting for a chance to give it a try. I'll admit that I've only seen the first episode of the show, and am thus coming at things from a pure game play experience standpoint.

I've heard that the expansion adds some good things, so we dumped everything together and randomly picked houses to play. Even with it being our first game, we were set up and ready to go in about 15 minutes. We opted for a short game, each starting with 7 influence. The first two rounds were a little shaky, flipping through the book and figuring out what everything meant. After that however, we were on our way to backstabbing and plotting!

I think the biggest mistake we made was a misunderstanding about how bidding for "Host" of the games worked. Other than that, the rules were simple enough. There wasn't a ton of interaction during the Intrigue phase this game until late, once we all had an idea of how our cash flow worked between slaves, gladiators and the market.

The game was won when one of my gladiators won his match, gaining me one intrigue for the win and another for having him become a champion. There was a little frustration at that, since neither of the other players were able to stop that from happening during that phase.

Seb had won Host that round, and the round previously and tried to invite William to the games, being declined both times. With only three players he was then forced to invite himself and I. His gladiators were at a serious disadvantage, and William's refusal to fight put him in a tough spot. There was some discussion amongst us as to whether losing only one influence for declining an invitation was a harsh enough punishment. I'm of a mind that it is a suitable punishment but naturally want to play a few more games to see. I'm loathe to propose rule modifications based on a single play.

My initial impressions of the game are good. I'd love to try it with 4 or more players to really make the intrigue shine, and naturally I want to see a primus or two declared!

One other thing I liked, which had nothing to do with the game itself...the expansion materials all fit into the core box. That almost never happens and Gale Force 9 is to be commended on that score.

May 02, 2014

Dwarf King's Hold Models

Yup more stuff from Mantic Games. I might as well be on their payroll for the amount that I talk about their stuff here on my blog. Heck I sorta wish I was. Maybe at least I'd get a discount or they could pay me instead of the other way around. Ah well, I digress.

I'm not much of a fantasy gamer, but with all those Reaper Bones figures sitting around from their first campaign, I felt like I needed to do something with them. The only rules I have for fantasy gaming is Song of Blades and Heroes, but I wanted something a little more structured, mainly because otherwise I'd take months just figuring out what figures to use in my war bands!

With that in mind I was browsing over on Beasts of War and I found a game play video of Dwarf King's Hold: Dead Rising. Sadly for me the game seemed to be out of print only year or so after it's release. The second core game, Dwarf King's Hold: Green Menace, is still available from Mantic but I wanted to start at the beginning. After a little searching on the internet I was able to track down a copy of Dead Rising for very close to the original retail price.

Already having experience with the figures from Dwarf King's Hold: Ancient Grudge I had a good idea of what to expect from Mantic's plastic fantasy figures. I had already put together a pair of elves, a pair of dwarfs with firearms, and some ghouls. Dead Rising's skeleton sprues I was quite impressed with, and found that the first batch of ten went together with very little effort. The two skeletons from Ancient Grudge I accidentally mixed in with the revenants below.

Next up were the dwarfs and their little mastiff hound. I was less impressed with these mainly due to some of them having rather large gaps between upper and lower body pieces. I did a little filling with plastic glue and in the end I'm sure the gaps won't be all that noticeable.

Finally came the sprue of revenants. It appears that this sprue shares the same lower bodies as the regular skeleton on but has different upper bodies, and some ornate armour options. Overall I have to say I'm very happy with Mantic's fantasy figures. The prices seem high for what you get in the DKH game boxes, but you have to consider that you're getting an actual game in addition to the miniatures. The Dead Rising box included enough dice to play as well as the rule book (obviously), several sheets of map tiles, and a sheet with all the counters you need for the game.

I might as well cover Ancient Grudge and Green Menace while I've got you here. I bought Ancient Grudge first so I'll start with that.

I've already built some Mantic zombies for the Judge Dredd Miniature Game, so the ghoul sprues looked extremely familiar. Even though the box came with materials to do ghouls and zombies (enough for 4 ghouls and 3 zombies) I opted to mix them all together so that I could build 7 ghouls in total.

There were two elf archers (seen below with the squad from "Green Menace"), two dwarfs with ranged weapons (could be kitted with rifles or crossbows; I opted for one of each), and the metal dwarf berserker.

I found the elves to be a little fiddly to put together at first, and they are very skinny looking when compared to some of the Reaper Bones elf figures. However, now that I've also put together the sprues from Green Menace they have grown on me quite a bit. I'll probably mix my Bones elves in with these, because I have no use for the elves if I don't use them in this game or Kings of War. For example, the Ancient Grudge rule book has profiles for an elven king, princess and ranger captain (among others for the rest of the races). I'll have decide how I want to base them so that they sort of fit in.

Speaking of bases, I ended up ordering some 20mm bases from Mantic to base all of these on. It's a shame they weren't included in the game box in the first place...particularly since I realized that I didn't order any 25mm bases for the Orcs!

Next up, and finally comes Green Menace.

It doesn't really seem like you get as many figures in this box. Five of the orcs are 'ax' figures, the other two are 'moreax' figures. I'm sure you'll be able to tell the difference in the photo.

As I mentioned earlier the elves are fiddly, but they look very good. I'm interested to see how well I can paint them, as a lot of the detailing is very small and fine. If I had to choose between the two squads I'd likely choose the spearmen. I'm probably biased though because they took me the longest and I quite like the banner-man that I put together.

It'll be a while until I get these painted, but in the meantime I intend to play the game a few more times. I've only had the chance to play the first scenario from the first game twice. It's fun and I'm looking forward to playing it again soon.