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.

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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

Other Chinese – Warring States BDA army

OK with one DBA army for a single period there are limits of what I can do. After all although DBA allows any forces to face each other it is best if they are historical opponents. Also, those people who know me know that I don’t like just having a single ‘stranded’ force. I like to have matched armies or groups of forces so that I can have in various period battles. So, it likely comes as no shock that owning the Ch’in warring states army I purchased a second DBA Warring states force – this one from Museum miniatures when they had a sale.

So below are some elements for my second army or the DBA 2/4 list – this one the (d) and some (e) options vs. the (a) on the Ch’in shown last week. Oh and yes it’s name really is ‘Other Chinese Armies’ in the lists, the two options cover different periods of time. These armies have quite a few options and so I won’t cover them all here but will show all the elements for the (d) force and a few extras for the (e) list.

You will notice that the core colours are the same for these troops. That’s because although I have done a second army I really also wanted to build these two so they could work together to be a Art De L’Guerre or even big battle a DBA force. So doing a completely different style or set of colours did not make sense. I’m sure the players will be able to tell their forces apart if using both against one another in DBA. I again have used some gallery combination of shots here to provide different view of elements where I can.

This force has another Chariot based general. This guy has an umbrella though to keep the sun off him – Flash git hey!You will see that these guys also have more blue to differentiate them from the previous force, but keep the purple and pinks. This hopefully makes them stand out compared to other force I have done as well. The models are different as well which should help in that area as well.This force also has a second heavy chariot – so you can see this below. This one does not include an umbrella but rather 3 crew for their aggressive actions. These heavy chariots are some of the hardest hitting bits of these forces, although they can be hard to control in the army. The art of winning with these armies is getting the best from them.

The (e) list includes an option of a extra cavalry element so here it is below. These have a much more sensible head covering than the Ch’in version, but are just as useful. I must admit I do like the figure here as it’s quite unusual for western forces to be in such a pose for mounted troops.

These forces all have swordsmen (3Bd) or southern tribesmen (3Wb or 3 Pk) and so I have the figures below to use for those elements. They are a combination of all sorts of poses and nicely show the undisciplined style of these troops, especially compared to the other much more structured and formed elements in the army.

I have a second Javelin armed element for this force. I was annoyed that I dropped this in painting and so broke one of the end bits of the Javelin off. I also lost the end and so I’m going to need to repair that at some point. However, you get the broken version pictured below. These may also stand in for ‘archers Psilio’ from the list. In reality what they are armed with makes no difference other than visually in DBA so they will work in that role just fine.

A single crowssbow (3/4Bw) element is needed for the (d) force. I decided to use a 3Bw as this more matches all other ones I already have for the warring states armies. It makes them fast for DBA v3 which can be a blessing and curse but is something to deal with. Basically they will move faster and be effected by terrain less, but will lose on draws in combats to ‘solid’ elements.

The (d) force can have a 3 Psilio archers and so I also needed a couple more given the javelin ones above. So two extra ones are shown below. These are typical Chinese crossbow men and are useful element in any force. 3 is a little on the high side for an infantry style army though but heck just another challenge.

The (d) army list has 4 halberdiers (3Pk) which are shown below. These I painted so they are formed and defined per element but each element is different. That ensures that although they look formal and controlled a level of chaos is still in the army as they are not all uniform across the different groups. This also gives a nice same colour palette but not all in perfect uniforms look to the army,

Lastly, as I mentioned last week a DBA army needs a camp. So, here is a second camp for my Chinese armies. This one is more simple and standard for a DBA camp really. A simple tent with a watchman out front. Still it does it’s job and means that this is a second full force for my DBA gaming. I’m not sure if the tent really is in true Chinese in style. But I had this in my bits box and thought it would work, and it seems to do so.So there we are. No DBA armies for years and the two in a matter of weeks. Just like the buses as they would say when I was growing up.

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Ch’in Chinese – Warring States DBA army

A couple of years ago at the local convention bring and buy (hothead) I picked up a pack labeled ‘Warring states DBA army’. I don’t believe it listed the manufacturers of the mini’s. Well it’s been a long time but all my painting of board game figures has got me itching to paint some 15mm miniatures for ancient gaming. So, it seemed sensible to get this lot out and painted. I have no idea the manufacture of these models – or their accuracy but heck they will work for what I want.

So, below are all the elements for my first Chinese army – the Ch’in Warining states (Book 2, list 4) for DBA v3.0 I looked through the pack and this was the best fit for the models in there, although I suspect the pack was created for DBA V2.2. You may gather that this won’t be the last – after all whats the point an an army without an in period opponent. But I digress.  I’ll cover the extras I got for this army/period in a different post.

Also, this posts tried out the different gallery views of the pictures. If you click on them you should get a bigger view if you want to see in more detail.

I don’t know much about the Ch’in other than the info listed on the DBA rules and what is available in Wiki etc. I have a few books on ancient china but have not spent a lot of time researching the force. I do know that this was a time of many conflicts between the different states in China at the time – roughly 500 BC to 200 BC. I decided that as these were Chinese it was a good excuse to use my purples and pinks for a color scheme, why not… The Terracotta army which is very roughly from this period are very colorfully clothed so this is also not pure fantasy as well.

The first elements are the two four hours heavy Chariots. One of these – the one with three crew will be the general. The other is another chariot which is needed in the list. The long robed, black haired crew are actually museum miniatures models. These seemed better for the crew than the ones in the pack that I had, especially as these are more important models.

Next is a single element of of Cavalry. This is an element which is mandatory in the list and the models are pretty unique as well. The ‘pumpkin style head gear’ is fun and likely should not have ben bright red, but heck why not.

The list has a single Skirmisher element as well and the pack I had included these javelin men. As a simple Psiloi element these work. They also have some I think ‘rice cloaks’ and fun fur hats.

The next element in the army provides an option.  It can be either a light horse or another Psilio element. The pack I got had both options. However, I have to say it is unlikely that I’ll be taking the Ps option that much. Light Horse are very useful in DBA. The foot option has it’s place in rough ground though so it may depend on the opponents as to see which gets used. The light horse are standard horse archers, in somewhat similar colours to the other elements in the force. The Psilio are slingers.

Now we get to the core of the army.  The first section of that are the 3 elemnts/bases of fast crossbowmen. They could as Bow’s which will provide the anti-cavalry section of the army and also the group which ‘keep opponents honest’ in infantry battles. Bows an be useful in rough going and also to just pepper an opponent to ensure they don’t try to wait things out.

Lastly, I have the offensive punch of this army, which is the 4 solid warband (Wb) elements. These are not in my opinion as good as blades but have their uses. It’s interesting that DBA classes them as warband but I guess that’s because of their more aggressive and irregular nature – where they fought as skilled individuals vs as a unit. The models are very regular and I guess they march and move as a unit but the focus on individual aggressiveness and fighting skill is the reason for that. We have all seen those Chinese historical movies I would assume, so it’s not that off. I nearly did a Chinese character on the front shields but decided against it in the end.

Lastly, for a DBA army it needs a camp to be legal. So I bought some museum miniatures for an opponent and other uses and made up this little scene from the,. More of those other models in another post. This is a martial arts practice scene for the Ch’in camp. I did mention the little info I have on this force says they are very aggressive after all.img_7048Here is another view of that. I thought this was kind of fun and something different to have this for  camp, so why not. China is well known for the martial arts and I have seen enough of their imported and dubbed movies on ancient china, including the 1970′ TV series The Water Margin.  img_7047So there we are the first DBA army I have painted in a while for sure, and that makes a little change for the blog.

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Black Plague – Wolves of Wulfsburg

Continuing the theme of getting my Black Plague game painted it is onto the zombie wolf models. These come from the Wulfsburg expansion. Overall, I tried to keep these in a similar theme and style to the zombies etc which I already have. The concept is these are wolves which have eaten the infected zombies and thus become infected themselves. Sounds like something which could happen so a decent back story.There are 24 models here including the extras which came with the Kickstarter, but there are just 3 unique poses. For a game like this that’s not too bad really. I tried to do each model slightly different, especially doing different shades on the fur, or wounds. Below you can see both sides of each model.I was tempted to try to do them all the same, but that would be too easy in some ways but also hard on the painting mojo. Better to have some variation to make them interesting to keep going through. Some have a white or pale belly while others do not.They all have the bright red eye’s of the infected though, as why would they not. I also kept the bases simple like all the rest of the models so far. This is again in keeping with the others that I have done.In the game these are ‘fast runners’ getting 3 actions vs. 2 for the runners. This makes them especially quick and deadly for the players. Luckily, looking at the cards they don’t come in too many numbers at once but they do add extra risk in the game.We have used them once in a game so far and although a little more challenging they were not unbalancing – unlike some of the big abominations (special monsters) which can be very hard on the players.So thee we are, more monsters for my Black Plague games. What could possibly go wrong with that !

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

Dracula’s America – First play and review

Well a couple of weeks ago now we tried out this game. It’s a fairly simple Weird Wild West game, but with loads of character for the weirdness of a fun background. That background is that Dracula moved from Europe to the US in the civil war and eventually has became the president of the Union. Obviously, magic works in this version of the world. So we have Dracula’s minions running around and a faction trying to stop them. As well as that there are the native indians with their own magic and the defeated south can use unspeakable magic to continue the fight as well. That in summary allows for various magic sides as well as standard wild west stuff to happen.

I have always wanted to do more Wild West gaming and I have a few 28 mm models now done – they will get shown here soon in detail soon. I wanted to get them on the table and try this game out though. So with a couple of the guys we tried just a basic game – just with wild west, no weird stuff and really enjoyed it. So I thought I would do a quick write up and share some pictures as well.

The scenario we played was one I made up. In our of the local store one of the tables is of ancient ruins there is a ‘wishing well’ in that. So putting that in the center of a 4×4 foot table that became a wishing well. The scenarios was that at a certain time someone tossing a coin in the well will be lucky. So knowing this 3 groups of cowboys fight to be alone by the well at the end of the turn to get that luck (no impact in game for it). If they do they get a victory point and the most VP’s win. The well is only magical for 8 turns – which gives a nice limit for the game. The advantage of this scenario is it means everyone has to fight, with no hanging back too much as otherwise that player won’t have any chance to get any VP’s. In many ways this was more of a pulp than wild west game but it worked to test out the rules…img_7241The basic force creation was used. This is very simple for this game – by the rules have much more advanced ‘dollar price’ creation rules. But this was a quick intro game after all and allowed us to play without working out complex forces.

The basic turn sequence of the game is controlled by playing cards. Each player has a hand of half the number figures on the table (rounded up).  So my 6 figures gave me 3 normal playing cards. Each player has their own activation deck to draw from. Then in a round each player selects one card and that’s used for the initiative order for that round. Higher cards go first and all back cards are worth more than red ones. Once you go you have 2 actions to assign – one figure can activate twice or 2 separate ones can activate for a single action. Then back to a card selection for the next round in the turn. Figures can only be activated in one round in a turn so there is a decision point as to which figures to move and when (and which to use a double activation on and which not too.

Actions are moving, shooting, melee, reload, cast a spell or go on overwatch etc. The mechanisms are nice and simple with figures being rated from D6 (standard figs), D8 (veterans) to D10 leaders and highly skilled/powerful. You typically roll 3 dice looking for 5+ on each die for success, and if you roll the highest value on a die then you get to re-roll a failed die. Modifiers add or take away the number of dice rolled not the target number. The more successes the better the success.

If you are hit then there is saving throw mechanism to save the target depending on the level of success the opponent rolled. If shots all miss then there is a chance of needing to reload weapons as well. Overall, the mechanics are fairly simple and by half way through the game we all had them with little need to look things up etc.

So in out test game we each started in a different section of the table. It started with most figures sneaking around and getting into good locations to shot each other. We used red markers for a figure which had moved and blue for overwatch – just so when you look at the figures. img_7240The first turns were more about getting the mechanisms down and getting into good shooting position. Although a few shots were taken no one moved that much or did much harm to other. A great deal of hugging the rocks and ruins was happening with long range pot shots.img_7244I decided to see how deadly or not the game was (well that’s my excuse anyway) and try and do a dash for the well to get a VP to two…This was with 3 of my gang, so half the figures.

However, there was a Mexican with a rifle who with some great die rolls showed that this was not a good move – and one of my guys was down and out in the middle of the second turn. I had a couple of other guys now in the open and exposed, maybe this was not such a great move. By the end of the 3rd turn all three of my guys were off the table or on their backs with an injury. So that did not go well – note to self, running into the guns is maybe not the best move in a cowboy game…img_7245Meanwhile the trench coat robber gang crew were moving steadily towards the center – a nice set of turns meant they protected each other and were keeping close cover as well. That seemed to be a much better tactic than the charge for the objective style I did. They and the 3rd gang started trading shots, especially I think as with half my crew out of action I looked less of a threat to either of them.

img_7250So after the couple of turns of sniping between the other players and my failed rush for victory, I was being much more careful with my guys. However, my aggressiveness won out and my leader sneaked around the edge of terrain to get behind the robber gang. He did succeed on this and took out a member of the that gang, but the others had moved too far. On his own I did not want to risk another ‘run into the guns’ move so he headed back to the rest of my gang.img_7253At this point I was down to 2 active members of the gang – but due to the the 3rd member being injured but not out of it yet, I got 2 cards for actions. This was ok but still I need to be careful in my moves and play it wisely (not one of my better traits at times).img_7251Now with the half way mark in the game being passed the game started to get nasty. The other two gangs were started making a run for the well and the victory. The little raised platform which housed the well became a bit of a killing ground with various figures trying to get to the well and getting shot down by others. My guys of course joined in the fun. In many ways this was typical cowboy movie stuff and so got us all enjoying the game, with the risk/reward of trying to win coming out.

In the end Mark managed to get his leader in position and still alive for the end of one turn and got a victory point. Note, in this close action the shotguns really came into their own, with the pistol guys getting their fast shots but the close in power of the shotguns clearing the area a couple of times.40395555_10156344971695325_6047230076351676416_n.jpgThe next turn Mark’s leader was down though and it looked like the robbers may get a VP as well with their guys clusters around the stairs to the well platform. However, this is where I came in and my took one out some of the supporting robbers. However, this was my swan song with my leader – as he also fell in a hail of bullets.img_7255The last turn of the game slimed down the gangs even more – by this time I had no figures left and the other gangs were down to just a couple of models each.  No figure was able to reach the well so they just shot at each other! In the end Mark won with a single VP – his leader being the only one to get to the well.

Overall, we all had a fun time and really likely the system- it’s complex enough for tactics to matter, but simple enough that the system itself does not get in the way. There are enough weapons and spell options which means that this will have some depth as well. It also has an interesting campaign option as well which allows gangs to develop over games – if that is what you are interested in. There are now 2 extra books with more factions and rules, especially for horror elements. I believe we’ll see more of this game on the table and I know this has started some cowboy painting already with others in the group. So I think it’s worth having a look at this rules set if you want some weird wild west or even just wild west gaming – as the weird elements can be removed.

Posted in 28mm, After Action Report, Pulp, Review, Wild West | 3 Comments