October 29, 2014

Exiles Repaints For "Power Legion"

I have a lot of Heroclix figures. Hundreds I'm sure. I don't actively play any more, but I do pick up extras from the current sets from my friends when I'm able. Most of these figures I'm showing off here are older ones from my collection. William provided me with a couple of newer ones like Sasquatch and Hyperion, so that I could do some conversions for an Exiles team to use with the SuperSystem v3 rules.

This group has been in the works for a while now. We actually played a game using unmodified 'clix several months ago, which is what gave me the idea to jump in on the conversions. The first figure I painted was Heather Hudson: Sasquatch. You've seen this one before but since she's part of the team, here she is again.

The other two Exiles we used were Nocturne and Blink. Both of these clix are actually very nicely sculpted and painted. I rebased them on 30mm rounds, and didn't do any initial paint cleanup on Nocturne. I added some detailing to Blink and painted her skin a little lighter shade of pink. I know there is a newer Blink figure, but it's terrible compared to this one.

Of all the Exiles figures available Mimic and Morph are probably the worst sculpts. Mimic's proportions are not great, and the face sculpt is pretty weak. I decided not to mount him using a flight stand and drilled a hole in the base for the peg on his foot. I also had to cut off some mould lines, and repaint before shading and highlighting.

Morph's biggest issues are his extended leg (it's way too long), and the fact that his foot peg makes him point straight up. To make him more forward-facing I created some rubble on a base and glued him to that. He got the same mould line removal as Mimic before I touched up the paint work.

I was a little torn on which Hyperion figure to use, but after William provided me with his extra King Hyperion I was sold. The older figure sculpt looks a little too Superman-like and fits nicely into the Squadron Supreme era, whereas this one is accurate to the Exiles series. I chopped down the clear plastic representing his flight so that he didn't tower over everyone else. A few minor touch-ups and he was done.

Lastly is one of my favourite clix sculpts ever: Spider-Man 2099 from the Fantastic Forces set. The whole set was great, but this figure is particularly awesome. His base is great and the paint work needed almost no work. After I removed him from the clix base I built up a little rubble so that he could also face more forward than down. I touched up the red and then put a coat of varnish over everything except the webbing. Like the rest of the figures, I did some highlights on the dark blue after the varnish coat.

When I started working on these figures it was with the intent of using them for SuperSystem, which I might still do. However, I recently bought the new Power Legion rule book from Ganesha Games, and am very excited to try it out. I've started putting together some Exiles profiles, and will have to come up with a scenario to play. Maybe I can try something lopsided and have a bunch of them face off against a high powered King Hyperion!

Until then here's the whole team.

October 27, 2014

Strange Aeons 2nd Edition Kickstarter - Final Days

Any of my regular readers will know how much I like Strange Aeons. It has a lot of great things going for it: top looking models, low entry price, great game play and a local designer who has become a good friend.

Over the past few years I've been invited to provide some small input on rules and scenarios, which has been a ton of fun and I'm very happy to have helped out with the game in some little way. The game has grown and evolved a lot, and reached the point where Uncle Mike's Worldwide has made the decision to create a second edition of the game.

The campaign has run rampant, making its initial funding goal in 28 minutes. That's an astonishing fact for a small publisher like Uncle Mike. It hasn't slowed down much since that initial blast. Last I checked they are on track to top 50k before campaign end.

I could regale you with tales of heroism and woe that I've experienced playing the game, but you really just need to go check it out for yourself. The campaign is wrapping up on Sunday, November 2nd. Get in before the madness leaves you behind!

October 20, 2014

Another Sunday of Board Gaming

I was able to move two of my board games off of the 'never-played' list over the weekend! Most of the time when I'm trying to tackle items off of that list we'll only get through one new game in a session.

First up I thought we'd play a horror-themed game since it is so close to Halloween: Herocard Nightmare. This is one of the six Herocard games that I own, and I think is the fourth of them that I've actually had a chance to play. Like the others, the core combat mechanic uses the Herocard duelling system, but the game wrapped around it is very different.

I forgot to take a photo of this one, so enjoy the random pic of the components from the internet. In a nutshell, Nightmare is a deduction game. All of the players are trapped in a shared dream of scenes (cabin, forest, lake, etc...) and killers (beast, zombie...). Each player knows where they will die and who will kill them there. The challenge is to move the scenes around in order to figure out who is scared of which combination without giving your own away. Once you have learned (or think you have) what combination another dreamer is afraid of, you can try to kill them there. If you do they're out. The goal is to be the only dreamer still alive.

So this one has a very unique theme and the board is cool. The pieces are good and during the game the scenes and killers are removed to make it more and more likely you can find a killing combination. Being our first play through of course we made some mistakes, but I quite enjoyed the unique idea. It is certainly not for everyone however, because it is a very dark theme, even it if's not particularly bloody or horrific. Although it's a fast game, there is player elimination so that is something to keep in mind as well.

I'll be keeping this one to try a few more times, hopefully with a full four-player complement.

Our second game was one I've been wanting to play ever since I picked it up: Sons of Anarchy - Men of Mayhem. Being a 3 or 4 player game only, it's proven a little tough to manage. People just seem to flake out at the last minute or not bother answering invitations. It's actually quite frustrating, but that's a discussion for another day.

We got things set up pretty quickly for our three gangs and jumped right in. Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves. The game plays very quickly and each gang has different strengths and weaknesses. There were a few throw downs, opportunities were taken and hassles arose, some members died, took the fall and generally did bad things in the name of making cold, hard cash.

There are tons of location tiles and anarchy cards in this game. Since you only use a limited number of each in a game, I can see a ton of replay-ability in this game. We had to call the game after five rounds instead of six, and my Mayans fell three cash short of the Grim Bastards for the win. I'm really looking forward to playing it again!

Sidebar: two of the cast members from the show were at the Calgary Tattoo expo this weekend, but I was sadly not able to make it. I would have loved to take my copy of the game down for them to sign!

One of our players had to leave at this point, so we decided to try out a skirmish between heroic duos in Sentinel Tactics. I used Tachyon and Absolute Zero against Bunker and Visionary. It was getting late so we decided that once a character was incapacitated for the second time they were out of the game. I lost Tachyon first to a massive 10-dice strike from Bunker, shortly after she took Visionary down for the first time. Absolute Zero had to chose between chasing Visionary and her decoy around or taking Bunker down. He chose Bunker, and died.

It was a tough game and I know we weren't playing the skirmish rules the right way. I believe it's supposed to be 3-on-3 an the first to three incapacitations. Either way it was still fun.

I will be rebasing the minis on 30mm rounds at some point, because I really don't like the clear hex bases. Other than that I'm pretty happy with the game so far. It will certainly see more play in the future too.

October 10, 2014

Painting Dreadball - The Keldorian Krushers

When the flooding hit our city last summer, I was evacuated from my home. This meant I didn't have much of my hobby stuff with me while I was displaced. I did have enough time to pack up some clothes and my kitty and still have a few minutes to spare. I grabbed a few paints and my Orx team, knowing that I'd have a fair bit of time to fill while waiting for news about returning home.

Being without all of my regular equipment meant either suffering with bad lighting and crappy brushes, or finding some new materials. A trip to Wal-Mart yielded a $17 alternative to my Ott lamp. My two brushes didn't survive the escape from home intact, so a stop at the Michael's next to the Wal-Mart and a 40% off coupon got me a set of nice (albeit synthetic) brushes for $5. Finally the nearby dollar store provided me with the one colour I forgot to bring: black. Some excellent interlocking plastic cups and some small paint trays rounded out my materials. I was ready to go; for about $25 I basically had created an emergency painting setup.

I didn't get them all painted up during the evacuation; only finishing them recently. A year to paint 12 figures isn't so bad, right? Right? Actually all of the work I did last summer ended up getting painted over. I had primed those figures black, then painted the skin green and done some of the straps in brown. After looking back at my Skeletor model, I decided to paint the Orx with blue skin to match instead.

When my season 3 shipment arrived I got a few more figures to add to my team. In retrospect I'm actually glad that I hadn't painted them yet. Of the Orx figures I had, I selected 3 guards and 5 jacks, then added one more of each, as well as the keeper figure and prone goblin marker. I also decided to paint Slippery Joe up to fit in with the team, since he'll only play for Orx/Goblin teams anyway. That gave me a total of 13 figures to do.

I'm not sure when I actually primed the second batch of models, but for some reason they were done with white primer. That did make painting the blue skin (AP Crystal Blue) a lot easier. Painting over the green that I'd done originally took me three or four light coats to really get full coverage.

The purple is an approximate 2:3 mix of GW Liche Purple and GW Fortress Grey. The metals are GW Boltgun, and the dark grey is P3 Greatcoat Grey. I also used some GW Mechrite Red for the tongues, and some GW Bleached Bone for the teeth. The straps were done with GW Brown. The whole paint job was followed by a liberal wash of GW Badab Black.

After the wash had dried I did some highlighting. The skin got a layer of AP Crystal Blue, and then a highlight of AP Electric Blue. The purple also got a coat of the base colour over top, as did the leather strapping. The loin clothes I highlighted with P3 Ironhull Grey. Finally the numbers were painted on with red followed by white over top. This is the first team I've tried to freehand numbers on, and I think they turned out alright. I doubt I'd try it again when I have perfectly good number transfers to use however.

The Keldorian Krushers have already played one game (embarrassingly as a mix of white and black-primed models) in which they were able to score only a single strike. It happened to be in the 13th rush and was worth a game-winning 3 points so I guess I shan't complain too much just yet.

Coach Skeletor is pleased with his new minions...

October 09, 2014

Beware the Arrival of "Mars Attacks!"

If you stop by here with any regularity you already know that I'm a big supporter of Mantic Games. It all started with Dreadball for me, but since that original Kickstarter campaign I've ended up supporting several others. One that I didn't pledge for was Mars Attacks!

When Mantic released their plans to put out a game based on the Mars Attacks! license via Kickstarter, I wasn't all that interested. Not having been a fan of the trading card games or other related materials, my exposure to the license was solely the Tim Burton movie. I remember at the time that I really didn't like it, so I glanced at the campaign a few times, then let it pass.

Shortly thereafter stuff from my way-larger-than-it-should-have-been Deadzone pledge started showing up and I pretty much forgot all about Mars Attacks.

Fast forward a few months and images and videos for the game start popping up. I like what I'm seeing, and since I already own Deadzone, I start thinking that I should check this game out. Long story short I ended up ordering the pre-order bundle directly from Mantic, which shipped about 10 days ago and landed (literally) on my doorstep yesterday.

I had a chance to crack the two boxes open and check it all out. The figures look surprisingly good for the material they're using and I'm sure they can be painted up quite nicely. I spent a bit time putting together the scenery from the base box and ended up with a pretty decent table layout (shown below). Ironically, with all the scenery I have for Deadzone, I've never actually built anything...I had this stuff for less than 4 hours before I needed to put it on the table.

The models and the scenery pieces will need some scraping to remove mould lines and some burrs. Additionally, some of them are bent over pretty badly and will require the hot-cold water treatment to sort out. I also wish that there some more intact wall pieces, as the amount of rubble provided really doesn't work in my mind with how much damage you're actually seeing on the walls. All that said however I was impressed with the package.

This one might actually jump up in my painting queue pretty quickly. Those martians need painted so that I can attach their cool little helmet domes! In retrospect I do wish I'd backed the campaign, because I could have gotten a LOT more cool stuff for the money I spent on this set. Ah well, can't win 'em all...

October 08, 2014

Kickstarter Madness!

Just because I think crowd-funding is interesting, I thought it would be worth going through some of the many campaigns I've supported and give a brief run-down on where they're at. If you're not into Kickstarter or crowd-funded games, you can click here to read something else.

Coming Soon:

Age of Conan expansion - Starting tomorrow (October 9th, 2014). This one is really interesting in the sense that FFG has let the original designer/publishers have their remaining stock. The expansion should modify Conan's role within the game, although I don't know how or to what extent. Disappointingly this expansion won't add space for additional players to the game.

Currently Running:

Carnevale - An interesting one here in that it's both and expansion and a second edition in one campaign. I supported Vesper-On a few years ago and picked up the entire range at that time. I'm in for the new book and Strigoi (vampires!) faction, but it's doubtful I'll add much more. I may even lower my pledge, but haven't decided yet. The exchange rate to GBP and shipping from the UK really makes it tough to cough up the cash, especially since I have experience building these figures already, and they can be very frustrating. This game is definitely worth a look though, because the setting is genius and the game is a lot of fun.

Strange Aeons 2nd Edition - This one is close to my heart as it's developed by a local game designer and friend, Uncle Mike. I've helped with the play testing on this edition and between the updated rules and new models...there's absolutely no reason anyone with even a passing interest in Lovecraftian horror should pass this up. Go pledge right now!

Recently Finished:

Dungeon Saga - Essentially Dwarf King's Hold 2.0. I really wasn't going to pledge on this one, and sort of regret doing so, as I have all of the existing DKH products. That game is pretty decent and I probably don't need any more dungeon-crawling madness. It's not a genre I'm super enamoured with, but I have a few friends who quite like it and it's by Mantic. I love all the stuff I have from them thus far and I'm sure this one will be worth the pledge in the end too.

Rise of the Kage - This one took me some time to decide on. I have two starter sets for GCT Studio's other game Bushido. I really love the models, but have held off on buying more from the Bushido line due to the high prices, plus shipping...not to mention the conversion from GBP to Canadian dollars. I liked the look of the board game, and with a small add-on for a few extra cards, I essentially get more stuff for Bushido as well. You really can't beat that.

Not Yet Delivered:

Dreadball Xtreme - This one is slated to be delivered some time in November of 2014. Due to things being pretty quiet from Mantic, I have a feeling they might be a little behind schedule. In all honesty, I'm not really worried about any delay. I'm only now finishing up the paint work on my Orx team (my fifth completed team) and I have another eight to do. There another ton of figures coming for this campaign as well.

DUST Tactics: Operation Babylon - I went in big on this game and I'll admit now that I rather regret having done so. I picked up some of the FFG-released items and, while it is very nice looking, I'm not sold on the game play. That said however, the Battlefield rules that are in the new book look like they might cover off the sort of game I'm looking for. Storing all of THIS stuff is going to be quite the nightmare...rather like their mess of a pledge manager.

Guardians Chronicles - If this ever shows up I'll be surprised. Delivery of this game is almost 15 months late. Communications to backers has been brutal. Not only would I never support another IELLO-run KS, I will never buy another game from them again. Ever.

Guild Ball - I backed this one after seeing a demo game play video on Beasts of War. We printed out the paper dolls and preview rules that were available during the campaign and played a few games. I liked the idea of a miniature sports game that used skirmish war game rules instead of a discreet board. The minis were rather pricey, but I'm hoping they'll be usable in other fantasy-style games or RPGs. It actually sounds like this campaign will be on time for December delivery!

Incursion - Another one that's well past their delivery date. It does sound like they've been dicked around by their manufacturing partners, but again the communication on this one has been shit: once a month, if we're lucky. I picked up a first edition copy of the game with painted miniatures a few months ago and it's good enough that I don't know whether or not I'll keep my 2nd edition when (if) it finally arrives.

Lagoon: Land of Druids - This one I backed on a whim. The price of the game was fairly low and the art and components looked stunning. Whether or not the game will be any good, or something I'll play often remains to be seen. Production and communication on this one have seemed very solid thus far, and shipping is slated to begin any day now.

Peachy 3D Printer - This is the only non-gaming campaign I've ever funded. I actually joined via the pledge manager, which means I don't get the emailed updates directly, so I have to keep an eye on this one myself. They've run into several technology snags with this project which translates into delivery delays. However, the transparency on the KS updates is very high and the product looks very promising.

Secret Weapon Tablescapes - I keep forgetting that I pledged for two sets of tiles from Secret Weapon. Justin has done a great job keeping the backers informed and I believe they're actually ahead of schedule on this one. Shipping has either already started or will do so soon. More stuff to paint and store...like I don't have enough of that already. On the other hand, these things look very versatile and the painted samples we've seen are excellent!

Incomplete Delivery:

Acthung! Cthulhu - I picked up a few of their miniatures to use with Strange Aeons, and all of the books in PDF. I have to admit that I've only skimmed most of them, and am unlikely to play the RPG. It's not that I wouldn't like to, as I think the mixing of WW2 and Cthulhu is a great spot for role-playing. It's more that it's nigh impossible to get together a group to play RPGs, let alone a multi-session campaign style game that I think A!C would require. I think I'm just waiting on the final edits of the last two books to be available. They've been pretty quick about delivery and the communication was solid.

Deadzone - I pledged for way too much stuff on this one and haven't even played the game. There were a few items missing from my second shipment, but after contacting Mantic the replacements were dispatched to me in short order. It is frustrating that some of the base game Enforcer figures are still delayed and that I'm waiting on those to really have a solid Enforcer faction, but in reality I can't complain. There are a ton of great figures already in my possession and there's not reason I can't play the game now. And man-oh-man the new sci-fi zombies that just arrived look splendid...

Judge Dredd Miniatures Game - Ugh, this one is still not finished. I'm waiting on some zombie bikers from Mongoose, which to-date I don't even think are sculpted. The "Block War" expansion book that the campaign was originally for has since been rolled into a new edition rule book that you have to pay for and I don't have. I've got my copy of all the free rules and I'll stick with that. The likelihood of me really getting around to more than a few dozen of these figures in the next decade is low. They're nice and hopefully the zombies will show up some day. Until then, it's nice when another small bag of models lands in the mailbox. I just keep adding it to the rest of baggies of metal I have.

Sentinel Tactics - This campaign delivered early. That's right I said it; EARLY. Unheard of really. Even though I didn't like the last expansion to the SotM card game I wanted to support this game. As you might have guessed, I love miniature games, superheroes and board games. This looked to combine all of those things together. Backers are still waiting on some of the painted items (which I didn't pledge for) and some of the stretch rewards like extra maps. I've only played once but it was fun and I'm glad I picked it up.

October 06, 2014

Board Games and Lantern Clix

I haven't had much time for hobby and gaming lately. Well, perhaps that's not true. It might be more of a case time and motivation not aligning for me.

Our Dreadball league recently started up, but I've only played one game. Without a set schedule it's up to the players to arrange their own games. While I can understand why that is being tried, I'm unconvinced that it will work. I have a feeling that I'll have to be the one contacting other players in order to play the games I need to for the league, and in all likelihood most players won't finish this one. That'll be a shame, because the game really is a good one.

I should have some photos of my team (The Keldorian Krushers) posted this week, as I'm almost finished them. I just have some highlighting and numbers to add and they'll be all finished.

In an effort to cross some games off of my waiting-to-be-played list I invited a bunch of folks over yesterday. It was a short-notice invitation. Things were looking good for a 3 or 4-player turnout, but once again it ended up being just William and I. That meant a few things like Sons of Anarchy wouldn't make it to the table.

All was not lost however, as we did make our way through two of my newer games: Firefly the Game, and Sentinel Tactics.

We set up Firefly and cranked through the rules during the game. There were a few things we had to dig around the book for, but overall it went pretty smoothly. We played the "First time in the captain's chair" mission, which is recommended for new players. I have both expansions for the game and have mixed them all in, but we ignored any of the piracy or showdown cards for the sake of not messing with each other.

I neglected to take any photos, so you'll have to enjoy this random shot I pulled from the internet...

Our game lasted a little under two hours. We both started out doing a few legal jobs to get solid with Amnon Duul and Harken, then tried our hand at some illegal work requiring some misbehaving. William's job was harder, requiring him to complete three cards. He swam through that easily, but ended up getting hit by Reavers on his way to drop off his fugitives. I only had to misbehave once to pick up my contraband, but I had to try three times, losing a crew member each of the first two attempts.

Once I had my contraband I was able to make a quick delivery for a nice pile of cash and nab my second goal marker. I was only one space away from Ezra after that and moseyed over to win the game.

I definitely enjoyed it and am looking forward to playing through it again soon. It captures the feeling of the show very nicely and is a pretty fun game on top of all that.

Next up was Sentinel Tactics: The Flame of Freedom. Again, I hadn't read the rules ahead of time, so we learned as we played. Even though we made a few mistakes and had a few questions, the game played quite quickly. The basics are simple to learn, but I can see the learning curve being fairly high for new players, or players using unfamiliar characters for the first time.

The components are nice, and we were using the miniatures instead of the tokens for the characters. While not great, I think painted up and based (I'll be using 30mm round bases for most figures) they'll really look good.Who knows when I'll actually tackle that painting project...

William had also picked up some Heroclix stuff for me. I'm a big fan of Green Lantern, so he supplied me with the War of the Light scenario pack and all of the various lantern packs. While I haven't played clix in years, I'll have to track down the maps listed in the scenario packs so that I can give them a go. I've already collected up all the figures I have for each of the myriad Corps., so I can start repainting and/or converting them to my liking.