Black Plague -Yet more Heroes

So while here I might as well stick to the theme and show the remaining Black Plague heroes that I have done. This wraps up all the Kickstarter heroes (and adds another necromancer) to the figures I have painted for the game. These have been fun to do but I’m now looking at going back to some 15mm’s for a change of pace. I seem to have been concentrating on these and some other 28mm figs I will soon show here a lot recently.

So the first lot are a mixed bag of figures. The right most model is actually an additional necromancer, called Grin, who is an especially fast necromancer. Of course this is just what we need in our games where we die a lot anyway but heck why not… the challenge of course with that is remembering he rally is a bad guy.
The other two models are fun and very characterful though. I especially like the running Knight – the action figure pose is unusual for board game models so worth commenting on. The other guy is another Scottish hero – this time with a true but simple tartan painted on his kilt.The next three models though need no introduction really. The ‘Batman’ homage is nice and I have used him in games already. Although not having the strongest powers he is useful and allows you to do The ‘I am Batman’ phrases during the game. Then of course there are the ‘not’ Conan and Red Sonya figs. A little role playing starts to come in at times when we use these figs. Normally that does not end well for us as playing in character vs. Playing the odds can make for a fun game but not a successful one.Like all these models I tried to get them to look reasonably like the cards for them in the game, which I think achieved. I’m not at the expert level of painter but I’m happy with how these iconic figs came out. So many be it’s time to dig out the Conan board game for my big next painting project…The last three figs include one of my favourites – the right hand doctor model is such a cool fig. He is actually a hero, even though he looks like he could be a necromancer. His skills are not that great, but the fig is so cool he again has seen use on the table. You can also see that I tried a different technique for the eye’s of the other two. It worked for the middle figure better than the left hand one. Still it’s worth trying these things so see if they work.The red clock has more shading in it than I think the photo here shows. I take these photo’s with my cell phone I guess there is only so much that I can do. The middle knight was done to not look clean but I may have done that a little too much, but again it works fairly well so I will leave it as is now.I’m still not sure if I will do anything with the bases other than leave them grey. I tried one technique for making paving and did not like the result so that’s one thing which I need to spend more time trying out again. I should do some googling to see other people’s techniques for that really rather than just trying to do it on my own.

So there we are all the kick starter hero’s are now done for the game. Time to focus on something else for a little while as well.

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Posted in 28mm, Board game, Fantasy | Leave a comment

Black Plague – Extra Heroes

So following on the Halloween from a couple of weeks ago, it seems appropriate to continue showing my painted figs for the Zombicide: Black Plague game. So here are some more Hero models for players to use. Again these are from the kickstarter backer extra set. I’m not sure of all the sources but the center one is obviously ‘the Scottish movie’ Braveheart – and in reality I’m not too worries where they are from. I decided not to try to do an explicit tartan, as especially as the character art does not have it either. I actually believe that for the period tartan was not as common as the Hollywood would have us believe anyway. I quite like how the axeman has come out. This is model looks cool and full of character, but I’m not sure I’d want to face zombies with that axe. Sure it would be powerful but the zombies are going to get awful close.Next we have a couple of heroes and a fattie. I found the fattie in the back of the queue and I had missed him when doing all the rest. So he was done in this set. The other two heroes are fun and I like both of them. They really have some interest and are different than the typical heroes, and are not just ‘another guy with a sword’ from a different movie.  I suspect that the wizard on the right is from Monty Python but I can’t be 100% sure as I have not watched the movie for a long time. The shading back/very dark cloth is always an interesting issue and it did not come out wonderfully here bit I used an off black for the highlights. The touch flames came out ok – not great but ok I feel as well.The last of the three sets of figures here includes Xena and a Joan of Arc figures. The Xena model is super strong and so is in some ways ‘an easy’ character for playing games. She makes killing models much easier and so does makes the game easier – slightly easier, as we can still die with her in play. I have no idea what the  model on the left is based on though. I liked the Joan of Arc shield as well and  tried to just make the white rose clean and clear but not super sparkly. I think it came out ok and it matches the player card.So there we are another set of Heroes for us to play and kill in my Zombie game of choice.

Posted in 28mm, Board game, Fantasy | 4 Comments

Sons of Mars – Review and first games

This week we tried out a new game – Sons of Mars, which is a gladiator game. So although this is Halloween and I have been focusing painting Zombie stuff for that, I thought I would post this as something a little different, as this is fresh for me. Note, yes we did play a big Halloween Zombicide Black Plague game last night and we lost, but it was fun anyway.Sons of Mars

Now, this topic (Gladiators) you would think would be an easy area to get a decent game for and we all would have a variety of options for rules.

However, in my experience most games in this topic area can be either a ‘dice fest’ or so complex as to not be fun. It’s also not an area where there are many mainline games. Jugula came out a few years ago and it is interesting. It’s as much a card game as a figure game though as the cards and their play/control are hugely important in that game. I need to give that game another go, though as that is a very different game experience.

Aimed for Jugula, a couple of years ago I painted up 20+ gladiators which have not been used much. I also got an arena mat for that game. So, with the guys wanting to try out this new Gladiator game  I brought them down and we tried it out. One of the other guys had his own gladiators (so you see the hex based model – from the Spartacus board game I believe) but everyone else used mine. I thought I’d post a quick write up of the game and my thoughts on it as well.IMG_7517

Son’s of Mars is created by a small company Acceptable Casualties and has good support with it’s own Facebook group and some extra’s from the author already. That’s nice to see and something some of the Osprey authors should take note on. No rules system is perfect and this extra support for the community is something I really like. It also allows players to get more involved which is cool. There are some youtube videos and various other items out there as well which will give more info if you want it.

We played 2 games with 6 players this week to try out the rules. The first game was a 6 player ‘free for all’ with re-incarnation for those dead so we could get to the hang of the rules while people did not sit our for long periods. We played a few things wrong but nothing major and got them right (or at least more correct) in the second game. That second game was a more serious 3 vs 3 team game. In each game a player ran just a single figure, but it would be easy enough for one player to run multiple gladiators from their own Ludus in a single game.IMG_7516

The game works in turns and there is a maximum of 8 turns before the match is over. That time pressure puts an emphasis on the players a little to not hang around too much. No standing around looking cool but not fighting.  Gladiators have a set of stats which change for each of the types and most/all of them seem to be covered. These cover things such as movement, charisma (to get the crowd on their side/intimidate opponents) and agility. They each also have 3 stats for fighting, one they use for a charge in, one for toe to toe fighting and one for countercharges. Then you have armour value. Weapon and shield combinations effect the fighting stats and armour of a gladiator.

Armour and abilities are rolled on a single D10 with modifiers to the result. Often a 10+ is needed to succeed but a few abilities just need a 6+. Withdrawing from combat is an opposed roll but with just a D10 with modifiers each – the higher result winning. The combat uses an opposed die mechanic which is interesting. In this abilities and modifiers control the number of D10 that a player rolls. When the die are rolled, the result is determined by the number of die which are higher than your opponents highest roll. If the highest roll is a 10 then this is a critical. That triggers some special effects and one of those is that in combat if the opponents armour save is a 1 then this means an instant kill – a deathblow. If the highest die roll match then it’s a draw, then you both get fatigue, which effect initiative and other skills.

This mechanic means that even the underdog has a chance to win a combat as well. It also means that armour saves are tense affairs especially on critical rolls. In our first game the first gladiator combat resulted in just such a kill – a gladiator charged into combat and killed outright their opponent! This did cause a few laughs at the poor die rolls, but shows the risk of being in the ring as well.IMG_7518

The other aspect which helps this game not be a just a dice fest is that on activation of a gladiator, there are a decent number of actions to chose from. The order of activation is decided each turn by an initiative roll – an agility stat roll plus/minus bonuses (which include fatigue), where the higher rolls go first. The actions vary from trying to intimidate an opponent (impacting their next actions), through to getting the crowd on their side (providing re-rolls/bonus die), through to to disengaging from a fight (so you can charge in again or do other things) as well as fighting etc. So, although still affected by the die you can take actions which suite the skills and strengths of your fighters.  Oh and yes there are skills and abilities which makes fighters unique beyond their type. Those have an have an interesting effect on the game as well.

All in all this makes for the player decision impactful without a massively complex game. Add in a fatigue mechanic which kicks in as fighters get injured/draw combats and skills triggered by critical rolls it provides a flexible yet open game feel. We enjoyed the decision points and no guaranteed success aspects of both the combats and all the other rolls. So to a quick run down of the games…

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In our first game it started as mentioned with a quick kill, so we allowed a replacement to come on straight away. After the first turn of so we ended up with 4 fighters in a general scrap, while on a different side of the arena there was one heavy vs. mobile fighter. In the 4 way fight the netter (a Retiarius) stood off and poked while the others had a bit of a ‘Roman stab-stab fest’. In the end one of the fighters went down, which left 3 still in the fight.  This is when I tried to get my guy to dodge out of the combat but failed, and my fighter got tripped and fell to the floor. I though it was all over for my guy but although he suffered a few attacks his skill and armour held (I rolled well in this game overall). Also I was saved by the two other fighters ending up fighting each other vs. focusing on my downed gladiator.

With us doing re-incarnation of player of the killed gladiator brought another one back as well. The Retiarius then went after this new entrant and my guy finally stood up. So with him gone, I went head to head with the Murmillow. This meant that around round 5 so we ended up with 3 separate 1 vs 1 fights. IMG_7510This is where my luck came in as I slowly worked on the Murmillo that my fighter (who was a Dimachaerus with 2 gladius, even though the model has 1 and an axe) was toe to toe with. In the end I took him down, although that was more by luck than great lay it has to be said. IMG_7504I was even winning the toe to toe fights even in my opponents actions – heck for once luck was with me and it worked.

After I had killed the Murmillo, there was just one more turn so we did not bother re-incarnating this last death. With very little time my fighter crossed the arena and managed to finish the game with the last action,  killing the Retiarius, who had been worn down over the whole game. That netman had been poking my guy earlier on at range, so this felt like a nice ‘return revenge’ for me. In the end my guy survived and killed two opponents which was better than anyone else. So, I won the first game! I was quite surprised that I got the laurels but we all had fun in the game.

As we had an hour and a half left in the evening we decided to play another game. This time we got the fatigue rules right. We had messed them up a bit in the first but it had not made that much of a difference. In this one it was 3 vs 3 and everything was looking reasonable till about turn 3 when my opponent rolled a critical and I not only failed to make the armour save but rolled a 1. So that was a deathblow, but as a veteran (we had all got experience gladiators to try out those rules etc.) I had a re-roll. Of course I rerolled and got another 1… so my guy died.  So much for my good die rolls in the first game. Luck balances out for me at least…IMG_7502This put pressure on the other team members of my side and although they fought well and took out one of the opponents they could not claw it back. So our team went down in the end with a 1 of our guys left vs two of the opposing team. So a loss on our side. This second game took just over an hour, while the first had taken longer as we got used to the rules and looked things up.

One thing which I should mention is that Sons of Mars has a full set of campaign rules for playing a Ludus (a Gladiator stable) and allows you to have various fights and grow your gladiators with extra skills etc. I have read some of those (not all) so I can’t really comment on how good they are apart from saying they look fairly comprehensive from quick glance. You can even play games vs criminals or animals or fight is private ‘pit fights’ vs in the normal arena. This allows you can get the full gladiator campaign concept going with friends if you like that type of thing.

So overall, we like this game. It’s still quite dice/luck influenced (what game is not really) but there are enough differences in gladiators and actions available to players to make it fun for players. You don’t just have to roll well but there are real choices and various tactics you can use to get the win or not. There is also always a decent chance that even with good odds that things won’t always work out for you. That makes it fun for players. With multi-player games it is fairly fast, with limited downtime between player actions.  With most things being contested there are few long down times for players which helps on that as well. The PDF for the game is not that expensive and a professionally published/printed version is available – one of our guys has, and it is very nice. I expect that we’ll be doing more Gladiator nights in the coming weeks/months and you never know we may even get a campaign going.

 

Posted in 28mm, Ancients, Gladiator, Review | 2 Comments

Black Plague – Kickstarter Heroes

So with Halloween coming up fast it’s appropriate to show some Black Plague Zombicide heroes figures. Here we have another 9 that I have completed and that are ready for the table. All these are from the Kickstarter bonus heroes so are an unusual bunch of characters. I have tried to keep the figures in the same colours as the artwork on their cards. This makes it much easier to spot them on the table. It also makes it a little more challenging for me as a painter as I try to make the figs recognizable.

So the first set have three, and even I think can identify the sources of these. The first is Bowie from the Labyrinth movie. The mage is from the Holy Grail movie and then I think Sean Beam from some movie or other – maybe Lord of the Rings. Yes I’m not very good at this fan montage identification of the figs and actually really don’t care! Below are the backs of the first set. I must admit I liked that these all had very different colours and styles which allows them to stand out on the table.Next set of models… Hmm not sure what happened with the figure on the right. I also have no clue what it’s meant to be – I suspect it might be from the highlander movie but it could be something else. The red skin should be a give away but it’s not to me…Actually I can’t name any of these but heck I painted them to match the cards.Below is the back of these. It’s nice to see a standard lady who is not super armored or not ‘cheesecake’ as well in this type of game. So the middle fig is cool for that alone.img_7433I include a shot of the front of the red figure. Still not sure who/what it is though and if still did not come our well… the dark red skin is hard to photo.CMON Kickstarter like to go on theme’s with these bonus figs for the fans. For this and the follow on Green Horde game, that was the Monty Python crew from the Holy Gail movie. At the top is the mage is from that, but the three figs below are all based on that movie as well I believe. Personally, I liked the movie and Monty Python in general (I used to know all the Sir Robin song by heart), but have not seen it for a long time. However, most of these bonus figs kind off leave me cold, still they make for more free (well free’ish as I’m sure their price is built into the Kickstarter calculations) models and more options for us as players.I may have gone over the top with blood on these a little, but at the same time they are not based on ‘normal’ figures and the artwork on the card does have a large amount of blood splatter as well. So I’ll keep it.So that’s your lot for this post. Some interesting extra heroes for the game if nothing else.

Posted in 28mm, Board game, Fantasy | 6 Comments

Black Plague – Abominations and Necromancers

Well as it’s halloween season – or so the stores keep trying to tell me, it’s time to show off the rest of the Zombicide black plague base set and Wulfsburg expansion. These are mostly models which come with the standard game, but in this case I have a few extra’s because of the kickstarter.

First we have the Wolf Abominations or as they name the model the WOLFBOMINATION. That’s a mouthful for sure and does not run off my tongue. I did the two models quite similar but one has a red tint, while the other is more blue. Both are quite nasty looking and intact in the game we have found them utterly deadly.
This is the wolf abomination in Wolfsburg and every time it has come out it kills our party… so much so that in the last game we removed it’s cards for this from the deck. Don’t worry we still lost of died horribly, but at least we have a chance. There are fan made house rules which make this a little easier to deal with which we might try at some point. Still it’s a great model and really looks the part of a fast and deadly killer.The second are the two standard and original abominations from the core set. This again is a mean looking model. Normally you get one of them but because of the kickststarter I have two. As is now a theme you see I did not want to paint them identical so changes a few of the colours between the models.This guy again is ‘souped up’ on something and has a definite hulk vibe going on. Of course a dead hulk but still…The effect that they tried to hang him and failed look is kind of cool as well. An escaped and very angry prisoner it seems.

In the game he is deadly but slow – especially compared to the wolf above and so is easier to handle, with a little planning and luck. He can be avoided while the wolf can’t be, as we have found to our peril. Without house rules you just need a single one of these models but it is fun the have 2 and you can use them in some scenario’s at a push.Lastly, but definately not least are the Necromancers. The ultimate bad guys in the game of Black Plague. In the game background these are the ones which triggered the plague which killed lots of people and turned them into zombies. They still manipulate the zombies and are working their ultimate control of everything. It’s easy to lose a game if multiple necromancers spawn onto the board and then escape off it. This has happened multiple times to us and you have to watch for these guys and kill them if you get the chance in the game.As you can see I have 2 ‘standard’ Necormancers here, one of which I painted purple and the other with a pink base. The basic game has one but you can make it more delicacy by allowing multiple Necromancers on the board – which we do. I also changed some of the other item colours a little between the figures to make them even more different. This makes it easy to differentiate them from each other and they are also easy to spot even in a horde of Zombies.

The figure on the right is another Necromancer but she has her own control cards and special rules. This is Queen Medea and her special rules make her harder to kill than the other Necromancers. She hides behind all the other zombies in an area so it’s impossible to target her unless she is on her own. Well it would not be a fantasy game without an evil lady who can cause trouble would it really!So there we are, that’s all the base figures done but I still have loads more to paint and show here.

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Extra Chinese to make an ADLG army

So, to finish my series of posts on the waring states forces I have a different collection of a few extra troops. These can be used to create various forces including the Yueh army option which is DBA 2/4b. These all provide additional options to the two forces I have. The added bonus is that I can also use these to make a full Waring states Art De La Guerre army (ADLG). I have yet to play that but really fancy trying the game.

These all fit into the purple, blue, red and pink colours scheme of the other forces. So they can be used generally in all the forces. As with the other posts on this I have used the gallery function to show off the various forces. Most, if not all of these figures are again from Museum miniatures Chinese range.

To start with lets have a shot of all the figures I now have in the army. I doubt I will use all of them together but it provides a nice ends point to these three blog posts to show all the figs. Showing the additional elements added in this post, first we have the extra medium foot Elements. These can be used as replacements for the various forces that I have shown previously.

Extra archers are a must to match the additional medium foot and so you can see them below. They are all crossbow armed and match the medium foot. They give another option for building out the ADLG force to 200 points.

Especially in the ADLG Heavy foot are useful, so having some additional element of those is useful. However, I don’t have too many extra’s of these, just two more elements and I suspect to be an optimum list I might want a few extra of these.

The ADLG list allows some hordes to be used, so I have three of these. They are enough to create a cheering section or a second line and also fulfill a couple of options in the DBA lists. In the end I got many more figs for these units than I needed and as you can see I have used them for some of the camps, Aux/Wb an even commander bases. However, they work nicely for their original purpose as well.

As well as the formed forces I also added some additional Auxiliary/Warband bases etc. These are something which the DBA forces have a little but are able to be expanded for ADLG. They are different types of medium foot. Really not sure how useful they will be but heck I had the figures.


I also have an additional Skirmishing archer element. These are useful for all armies and the Chinese forces seem to have a decent number of them.

Another thing I added is an additional base of light horse. These are just too useful for many forces and also are needed for some of the other DBA lists.

One thing that is needed for an ADLG force are the Commander bases. The Commanders are on 40mm round bases which shows them very clearly on the table. These are all taken from the museum Miniatures packs. These area not specific commander bases but I think look ok for me. In fact I think the long dressed figure is officially female but I think they work well for the role. They look sufficiently regal for Chinese commanders. The dead figure adds to the position and the flag character in red is just made up.img_7042img_7043The full army is shown below again. It is a different view from the first view, as this is more from above. This view shows the basing off nicely as well as me being able to work out exactly how many elements I have when I look back!Lastly I thought I would show them all packed away… I likely will in the end put magnets on the bottom of these to allow easy travel options, as at the moment I have to keep this straight to avoid damage to the elements.Looking at this force, I think I’m missing a couple of elements though. An extra Light horse, an extra cavalry and 4 more elements of 4Blade/heavy infantry would I think allow me to play all the options for this force – in DBA and ADLG. We will see if I ever bother to do those those though, as I want to try this force on the table a few times before that.

Posted in 15mm, Ancients | Leave a comment

The quest for perfection – or lack of it

I don’t normally do ‘think pieces’ or link to external ones but I read the following from a link on Facebook and thought it very good. It kind of epitomizes a lot of my views and so though I would add a little post here about it. I work hard on my ‘toy solider hobby’ and gain a lot of enjoyment from it but I’m never going to win awards for painting etc and in fact have zero interest in even getting or trying for them.

For those who do then that’s great and I respect and admire the efforts they put into their toys but that’s just not ‘my hobby’. I also still get magazines/games which include amazing works of art. I admiring the great works of art some people in the local group do as well and respect their skills immensely. I continue to try to improve my skills but I am quite content to show the level of work I produce now. If it gets better over time, and I think it does a little, then great but I’m not killing myself to do that. I also have way too many interests even in the hobby to focus on one thing for too long.

The competitive aspect of gaming is secondary to me to the social side of things as well. Don’t get me wrong I don’t like losing, but winning when my opponent is having no fun playing the game is something which I’m not interested in. I have stopped games and started again or then moved to other games, because of that. This also effects the type of game I play. I’d prefer a close loss than a blow out win. Ultra competitive games or massively complex ones hold very little interest for me these days. I have participated in various tournament games (and even won a few in DBA) but I’m actually as happy to have won best opponent awards in a couple of events as well.

I also find the gaming/painting hobby takes second place to other things at times. It fits in with say my poor golfing in the summer etc. It also fits in with my reading (sci-fi, history etc,) and other interests and those will spur me on or deflect me into other things. I ‘miss out on’ gaming/painting events at times because of timing conflicts. All those kind of decisions are easy – a hobby is for fun and as soon as it is not then stop doing it in my opinion.

So overall, it is interesting an important point to ensure that the aim for perfection or being the best does not spoil the actual act of enjoying this hobby or others, whatever they are, in the first place. I sometimes see painting miniature really dropping into this model. The industry and web tends to highlight the great skills of some and by implication highlight the lack of skills in others. But the story is more that it’s as much about the getting there and doing ones own work for the enjoyment of it vs the end result of the perfect model. I do wonder how much a barrier of entry or enjoyment this makes at times for people in this hobby though.

Anyway, enough from me now I’ll go back to my usual posts this weekend.

Posted in Review, Techniques | 7 Comments