Hotlead show report 2017

So another Hothead show has been and gone. This is the biggest show in Ontario and definitely one which I would recommend anyone who is into miniature gaming in the area visit. It has a decent number of vendors, a very busy bring and buy stall and a load of participation games. All of which mean that this is really a hobby haven for warmers and those who like miniature toys on the table.

This year I added some items to the bring and buy, I decided to get rid of my Dystopian Wars stuff. Although I liked the models we had not played that in over 2 years and so rather than keep them I’ll let someone else get the fun out of those. Of course I did put a dent amount of things on the bring and buy as well, adding to my collection of WW2 German stuff to paint, as well as some renaissance and peninsular war 15mm figs. In the end nearly all of the stuff I put out sold, so I came out about even money wise. In the end I spent the morning session looking at the bring and buy, catching up with people and walking around the various tables taking in the spectacle. It may not be everyones cup of tea but I must admit I enjoyed that, so what the heck.

For lunch we (as always) went to a local gourmet burger place called Boomers. I had a car full of people who got a lift but it’s just 5 minutes down the road. Well worth the drive and quick as well.

In the afternoon I played a Check Your 6! game in WW2 run by a veteran GM. This was a late war dogfight which had 12 players and the GM around the table. In the end I shot down 2 Germans (one of them an ME262) but lost my green pilot to a bad move by me, Then my remaining pilot ran out of ammo and dived out of the game to fight another day. This somewhat early departure, although somewhat successful, allowed me one last chance to check out the bring and buy and well <sigh> that allowed me to buy some more stuff.

In the evening I ran an 8 player participation game of Pikeman’s Lament on a 12 x 5 foot table. All the players were new to the system and most had not played any of the ‘rampant rules’. Overall, the game finished in just over 3 hours with lots of frantic activity and a victorious side as well as a single player. It was hard game to run but fun. Below is a picture of the board. I’ll do a separate post with more details of this game in a week or so, as I did learn a few things about doing such games with these rules.img_2333To show a sample of the games available and the quality of them I have added some photo’s below. All games shown were participation games, as were over 90% of the games at the show. The rest were tournaments from what I understand. I did not take photo’s of all the tables but this is a good sample. Sorry if I missed your game. You can click on any of them to see a bigger version of the picture. These include Blucher, Dux Brit, Shako 2, pulp games, IABSM, Bolt Action, DBR and many others.

Posted in After Action Report | 2 Comments

More terrain – rocks, hills and woods

I’m working on terrain for the game that I’m running at Hotlead show in Stratford, Ontario this weekend (the 25th of March). It’s one of the biggest wargame shows in the area and although I have been going for quite a few years and helped other run games before this is the first time I’ll be officially running one there. So as I’m doing a large table with 8 players in a Pikeman’s lament scenario. I’ll post the sides and hopefully some pictures from the game after it’s done. Yes this month is getting quite a few blog posts it seems.

However, I really needed some more things to put on the table terrain wise. So, here is the collection of new hills I have with a 15mm figure on a penny for scale.First we have three rough hills and rocks from Battlefield Terrain Concepts – I got these a few years ago while at cold wars but this has been a perfect excuse/reason to finish them. Overall, they painted up really easily and have come out fairly well. They give me some more options for hills – well rough ones at least. I painted & varnished these as I got them just as unpainted (to save cash). They should work for all scales of models as well which is nice.Next we have a couple of hills/rough terrain from Gale force 9’s Battlefield in a Box set. A local store had these on sale and so I could not resist. I was tempted to add some flock to these but likely won’t. The way they are now is perfect for their use in games such as this as well as for Frostgrave and other cold weather games. Maybe even more urban games which have some rough rock showing. So they’ll stay unflocked – but they have had a highlight or two of paint to help them.Following on from that, what would a table be without some trees/forest area. I have some trees but not too many in my terrain collection. So first we have some CD’s converted into wooded area’s using some railway model trees. These are the bend and put flock/sponge on variety and  work well for 15mm games and maybe smaller. They are not the most stable but should be ok and are easy to repair. They are too small for 28mm scale trees but will work for bush area’s I guess in that scale. This is my first time doing these and I was quite happy how these have come out. The next set to show has two more CD’s and 3 platicard random bits. So that’s 9 small wood area’s to use.Lastly, I also have 25 slightly larger trees on various base sizes, which can be used for 15mm and even smaller scales. You can see them below. These are agin bought from model railway suppliers and these are a little more study. I have left the bases plane but may return and do a little more with them at some point.As can be seen these are sold for HO scale railroads so they even work for 28mm figures. For 28mm games I likely need to invest in a few even bigger trees but these at least are not too bad.These in combination with the other items I have should (I hope) allow me to provide plenty of cover on my 12 x 5 foot table – we’ll see. They also provide a decent selection of terrain for any game I want to run myself at home.

Posted in 15mm, 28mm, Terrain | 2 Comments

A Church, a House, a Pond and a body 

The above is like one of the titles in an old tv detective show. It’s not though- it’s a description of this post’s content. In planning my game to hothead (more on that in a later blog) I decided I needed more terrain. Thus, I dug out the 15mm buildings that I bought and stored a while back. My game really needs a theme terrain piece and I have the perfect thing – a church. So below you can see the 4Ground church, and churchyard all set up. I’ll be using this for the central piece of the game and it will be the focus of fighting for at least 4 of the players in an 8 player game. That should keep them busy.Two of the players will be focused on controlling the church, while two others will be aiming to collect the body – shown below. This poor soul has been defenestrated from the building. That means ‘a person being thrown out of the window’ by the way. That’s a very 17th century way of showing one’s displeasure. You can see the body below – which is actually a converted FoW Soviet casualty.I also have cut up a load of thick felt sections to provide surface area markers for woods and rough ground area’s. These are in a couple of colours and have beeen added to my existing collection which include brown sections that can be used for towns etc. 

Talking of the towns I also completed a third building for the period. This is another 4ground model. So I should have a little village for 2 other players to fight through looking for perpetrators of the defenestration.Another of the interesting items I have dug out are the gale force 9 ponds. These are nice and will provide a few terrain area’s which stop movement. I have to say these are cool pieces and should be usable for any scale. I was tempted to add extra paint to them, but as they come the ponds can easily used for normal green field games as well as for frostgrave and cold terrain areas. Not perfect for either but not that bad either. In my aim to build up a good collection of terrain that I own vs the club this is another good step forward.

Posted in 15mm, Terrain | 2 Comments

First set of SDX heroes

Well  a couple of weeks ago I showed the Super Dungeon Explore (SDX) Dragons. So now it’s time to show the first of the heroes for the game. There are 8 heroes so I’ll have 2 posts on them, this being the first. Note, I tried to do some interesting formatting of pictures into this post, so if it does not work when you display it then it’s my fault. Also, I have to say these models do look a little better in person than in some of the photo’s here – well I think so anyway. The camera can be a hard mistress at times.

So after all the warnings/notes, below you can see the full set. I’m not sure of the models names but I tried hard to match the colours used to the cards which come with the game so it’s easy to see which model is which. The colours are not exact – but they are good enough. Again, I have to praise the game manufactures for  making the cards have game artwork so that mediocre painters like myself can do our thing and match that. Some games have pictures of great paint jobs which can be harder to match.img_2072img_2071You can see that there are 5 models here and that’s because the first model can be in two forms – yes he’s a shapeshifter. He can be either a human (shown below) or a bear (above/to the side of this). So both these models count as a single hero.

I must admit trying to get the bear so it looked good but still was the white/cream color of the cards was tough. I think I have done a reasonable job of that. I am vey happy with how the bears face came out though. The human version has a bit of a Barbarian theme but overall has an interesting look to it. Now don’t ask me how the player swaps between the various models as I have no clue – yet again I’m painting models for a game which I have not read the rules for yet, but anyone who reads this or knows me will not be shocked at that.

Oh also, I have not done a back shot of this model as to be honest it’s vey similar to the bear above.I guess I could have included it but heck you get the idea.

The next figure is a female human wizard. It’s a fun looking model and seems to echo the very spirt in which all the SDX series seems to come with. The shading I did on the red has not come out that well but I’m still ok with the results overall.

The final effect is nice in my opinion but maybe I could have done a lighter shade on the gold. But this works and she looks like she could be trouble in the adventure.

The next fig is one I had the most problems with of all these models. The colours scheme is deep purples with a much lighter hair color. It’s  another female (a cat/demon girl of some kind – I guess a thief/assassin type) and this one is wearing a black bodice or some such thing. This all makes for a model with very little contrast for painting and the camera.  Also the pose is one which makes just a normal photograph quite tough to do.

The flesh on the model is so small in the scale of things that I found I just did not like the results of my first attempt. But I persisted. What you see here is a modified version of that. I have tried to highlight and pick out the purples and bring them up so the figure has more definition. It’s not wonderful but that’s about as good as I get without a lot more time and effort – which I was not willing to spend on plastic game pieces of a game like this which I will use only rarely.

Lastly for this set we have the ‘elf’ warrior – the final model in this group and one which has a definite and unique style to her. I tried to do this so that the colours match the card but I believe I went slightly wrong with the final highlight, making the cloak more green vs. a bright shade. This actually works quite well IMO though and so left it vs. trying to fix the issue. It just gives a more dirty appearance.
So there we are, I’m making progress on this while playing and working on other projects.

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

The Pikemans Lament review

OK it’s been a little while since I posted a review of a game I’m playing and so I decided it was time to do another. This time it’s ‘The Pikeman’s Lament’ – which is another game by Dan Mersey, this time with a co-author Michael Leck. I don’t like doing reviews till I have played the game a few times to see how they really work on the table, so this has been out now for a month or two.51iqocfmetl-_sx368_bo1204203200_

This is another game roughly based on the engine used in the ‘Rampant’ set of rules. So for most of you I suspect you know the basis for the rules. This one is no different and follows the same theme with some chnages. Each type of unit has a specific target number to roll over to do that action on 2D6. A failure means they don’t do that action and the players turn ends. A twist for this version is that a double 1 or double 6 allows a roll on another table to see if a special event occurs – bad or good respectively. Thats’ a nice touch for character and would be easy to copy into other rules. The tables would need to change but I really like that extra bit of story in the game.

Combat is rolling either 12 or 6 die if the unit is at or below half strength and counting the number of die at or above a target number – usually from 4 to 6. Different opposing units need a number of successes to effect a kill on them. This ranges from 1 success to a kill to up to 4. There are a few modifiers but it’s fairly simple and after a couple of turns it becomes easy to handle  without looking things up often.

Units have either 12 or 6 figures and so morale checks are done on every casualty to a unit as well as some specific force some – such as when the officer dies or a number of units are lost. The morale check is again done with a 2D6 roll and a few modifiers, the biggest being a -1 for each casualty in a unit. If the final roll is above the units morale value there is no effect. If it is below but still a positive number the unit is wavering and needs to rally to do things. If 0 or even negative then the unit routes off the table.

The rules also have a little campaign system which allows you to link games – basically around your officers. The force commander (your officer) gets a starting skill an can gain more based on getting honour points. Winning battles etc allows you to gain skills. These skills don’t seem too  powerful overall but add a flavor to the game as well. There are I believe 10 or so scenario’s in the rules and you also get to make boasts (mini-goals really) in a scenario if you like which provide extra victory conditions/honour points for a player if the tasks are done.

So overall the game is simple but very effective. It works for getting toys on the table and having every decision and roll is a serious effect on the game which is a great aspect for me. It’s just the kind of game I like really – tactical but the rules are easy to learn and your actions and rolls make the difference. If you like the Pike and Shot period I don’t see why you would not pick up and play these rules. They provide a great evenings gaming for medium sized games. One not however. If you don’t like the somewhat random control mechanism this is not the game for you. IMO that aspect of the game reflects the chaos of small engagements quite well but some people really dislike the lack of control in rules such as this. You control which units do what and when you roll so it’s very tactical – but your managing the game and making tactical risk choices vs.  playing a chess game.

As I mentioned above I have played a few games now. So to give you a little flavor of the game I thought I would do a quick battle report as well.  All the figures are from my fairly large collection of 15mm ECW figs – I have a few hundred bases now. We used the rules as they are written (with inch measures) but had 1 base of troops be 2 figures equivalent. This is because all the models are based on 40mm wide bases (for DBR originally). Thus, you’ll see a few red tokens which reflect a single hit on a unit. In the pictures you’ll see we used green tokens to mark wavering units and white ones to show the fire shot salvo was still available for that shot units. These markers are not required but they aid a great memory during a game.

I played the Parliamentarians with 2 units of trotters, 3 units of shot and a single pikeman unit. My opponent in the game was Hollis. He played the Royalist with 2 raw units of shot, a forlorn hope and 2 units of elite galloper cavalry. These are both 24 point forces – the standard size for the game. The scenario we rolled up was the rescue mission. So the Royalists had an important person held in the ruined building in the center of the table and my mission was to free them. Obviously, the Royalist mission was to stop that happening.

The game started with the 2 royalist horse units being on patrol which can come on the table after turn 2. You can see them right at the top right of the picture below. Meanwhile they had 3 units in the center of the table in defense of the ruins where the prisoners were secured. My forces were spread out with my cavalry on either wing and in the center the pikemen and shot facing the ruins which held the prisoner.As the attacker I had first move and successfully moved most of my troops forward – first the Pikemen and then the horse. My first shot was by the musket unit at the raw royalists waiting for us in the woods. This was a great roll by me and I managed to kill a figure on them. The raw troops did not like that and failed their morale check! They retreated out of the woods and so cleared the way for my advance. A set of rolls which very early affected the game in a material way – as now that blocking Royalist unit was removed, for now at least.In the Royalist first turn the wavering raw shot failed to rally and so continued to move back, losing another figure – which meant we could remove a base. This failure did not end the Royalist turn though. The Royalist Forlorn hope moved into the corn field for protection (we had agreed terrain impacts before the game and that was difficult going – limiting viability to 3″). The Royalist troops defending the prisoners in the building failed to shoot – which ended the Royalist turn.
The next turn saw my troops advance again and I even rolled two double 6’s for an activation! The resulting bonus of the first one allowed my shot in the forest to make a second move – which was very fortuitous for them. It allowed them to get through the woods in two turns of movement. The second double 6 allowed me the bonus of giving a unit back it’s first salvo bonus. So the unit of shot which had driven the raw Royalist’s out of the woods gained in first fire bonus back. Those guys were real marksmen is seems!

In the Royalist turn the wavering shot finally rallied. By now they were nearly behind the ruins. The other royalists took pot shots but really had little effect on the jubilant Parliamentary troops. Parliaments forces were on a mission of saving the prisoners and felt no fear at this point.

On my left flank the Royalist Forlorn hope in the fields faced my trotters and a firefight was attempted. It did turn out that way though because during the game went on these troops would fail more attempts to shot each other than succeed. These are not a priority for either of us so tended to only get an attempted activation if everything else we wanted to do had been done. Obviously, the corn fields made visibility to get a good shot off difficult for both sides without some command focus.

My next turn though started with disaster. I rolled double 1 for a command roll, followed by another 1! This meant I had to remove one of my units from the game – they having been ordered away from my command! I decided to lose one of the shot units which was in the woods. That felt the easiest one to deal with. So suddenly, I was down a unit and things were not looking so great.

In the next couple of turns I managed to even up this loss by the shooting the previously damaged Royalist raw shot enough that they failed a morale check thus routing and running for the hills. Obviously not their day today. My shot had stayed in the woods and the bonus of that cover plus poor Royalist attack rolls meant they had so far escaped any casualties. Meanwhile the Royalist cavalry patrol had entered the table and those 2 really powerful units were closing on the center of the table.

With the damaged Royalists unit gone my units in the centre could support the Pikemen who had continued to move up. This was not seamless though and the Royalist defenders were causing damage to the Pikemen. Even though they had taken a couple of casualties from the Royalist shot in the ruins they assaulted the building. They were not successful though and were repulsed with more casualties.

As mentioned the Forlorn hope had a hard time getting the 7+ to shoot for a couple of turns. Then they rolled a double 1 command roll and the ‘negative effect’ they got made them waiver. This not only ended the Royalist turn but also again saved my trotters from damage. I rarely got to active my trotters though as they were not a priority – getting the Royalist shot out from around the ruins was. So in the end these two units did not have much of a role to play till close to the end if the game.

So you can see the state of the game at this point below. The Royalist elite horse have come up to the rescue and are close to impacting the Parliamentarians. Meanwhile the pikemen have again bounced from the assault on the ruins once already. I had a shot unit really ‘in reserve’ and still under used. The next couple of turns looked to really decide the game. Would I be able to break the deadlock of the fight in the ruins and hold off and defeat those hard charging elite horsemen coming into the battle.

The advantage I had was I had the shot in the woods who concentrated their fire on one of the Royalist horse units. They managed to kill a figure of the unit. Then when the first attack of the Royalist horse came against my Trotters. I was very surprised that my dice were nice to me and in the end the trotters stood their ground and beat off the elite Royalist horse. This left both units damaged but as the elite horse were down to half it’s size it had lost a lot of threat as it was just rolling 6 dice not 12 in combat.

The other shot unit then fired on and inflicted losses on the Royalist raw shot in the ruins. That unit failed their morale check so retreated out of the ruins. This was the same shot unit of mine which drove the other royalists from the woods in the first turn. Obviously they are a skilled lot of guys.

Here finally though there was a chance to get to the prisoners and free them. This allowed my Pikeman to get into the ruins and free the prisoners! I made the activation roll of 5+ pm 2D6 and that was half the work done. Now just to get the freed prisoners off the table safely.

Was helped by the Royalist turn being cut short with a poor command roll. This allowed the rescue party started to make their escape, moving out of the ruins. But in the next Royalist turn they were jumped by the second unit of Elite horsemen. At least as Pikemen they had somewhat of a chance in this fight, as defense is where these troops shine. They did manage to inflict 1 casualty on the horse but suffered 2 in return. The Pikemen failed their morale test and although wavering they retreated as towards my base edge. Thats what I wanted them to do but, they would need to rally, or at least not route to ensure the prisoners get away.

In my turn the Pikeman failed to rally but did not route. The meant they did move close to my table edge but each time this happens it get harder to rally them and they take a an additional casualty. It was looking unlikely for them to make it off the table safely. Luckily there were two of my shot units close by to cover them. This would mean that the Royalist horse could not charge the pikemen as there was not enough space for them to safely pass between the shot units. This gave me a some time but the prisoners were not safe yet.That was a powerful cavalry unit.

On the other flank the cavalry fight continued. As by this point both units were under half strength – in a previous turn a great combat roll by the Elites had damaged my bit and again and taken it to half strength. In a bid to turn the tables of the battle the Royalist officers issued a challenged – which mine accepted. The death of an officer means all units on the side have to take a morale test. The duel took place and with a good die roll my officer cut down the Royalist! Huzzah, although non of the Royalist units even blinked an eye during the required morale check. That was a cool chance to take and very in character for a dashing Royalist who saw victory slipping from his grasp.

During the last turns my Pikemen managed one more turn to stay on the table but continue to head out of control for the table edge. Meanwhile I look a risk and the two shot units and the trotters who had been in reality doing little against the Forlorn hope all focused their fire on the remaining Royalist elite horse. For once my die were with me and each managed to do a little damage to the cavaliers. That took them well below half strength and they failed a morale check so were wavering – which took the danger level from them away for a while.  Trying to activate the shot unit in the woods to finish them off though, I managed a double 1 again on activation. The negative effect was they began to waiver. So even at this stage they decided they were not that happy with the way things are going.

The Royalist Forlorn hope finally started to help their horse as well – damaging my trotters but this was a too little to late. The raw Royalist shot were back in the ruins but although good in defense their raw level makes them not great at shooting so they were not effective either at this point.
As expected the pikemen did fail to make their next morale check and routed off the table. But before the Pikeman routed they had got close enough to make the freed prisoners nearly safe. I moved one of my shot units up to them to keep them that way. That unit collected the freed prisoners and escorted them off the table, winning the game. There were still three units of royalists still around but their prisoner is lost.

So there we are. The Pikeman’s Lament is a great set of rules which provides a fun and tactical game without much book keeping or rules headache. Hopefully this also shows how easy the game can be played with 15mm figs as well.

Posted in 15mm, 17th Cent, After Action Report, Review | 1 Comment

Super Dungeon eXplore (SDX) dragons

For a long time I wanted to buy and paint the game Super Dungeon Explore. It’s often referred too as SDX for short, and yes that’s the reason for the weird capitalization on the title. So a few years ago I did buy it, but never painted it. The reason for wanting it was as much for the painting challenge as for the game itself. When I finally did buy the game it was not long after that the Arcadia Quest Kickstarter occurred and then that took my priority for this type if game. I have already started painting that and have finished the base game of that. Well it’s sat in my cupboard for a while and I decided it was time to get this painted – or get rid of it.

So I have started to paint the base game. I have expansions as well, of course, but first things first. I was going to use this as a training exercise of Chibi style painting before I painted the Arcadia Quest figs but that did not work out as planned – as I have started that so no excuse really not to just bite the bullet and do it.

So here are the first set of monsters for the game – the dragons. You can see them all below.
For a first close up let’s look at the big monster – the big dragon. You can see a coupe of pictures below of this. I’m actually quite pleased with how this came out in the end. There is not that much texture in the sculpt and I’m sure I could have spent more time on the blending etc but wanted a fun and dynamic look to the figure.img_1912

img_1913Next we have the spawning point for them in the game. The card artwork has this quite a purple theme so I stayed with that. I really question my results on the egg shells but it sort of works. Definitely won’t win any prizes but at the same time it’s different and kind of fun.

The game has all these figures as a single group of monsters which come from this spawning point – very much like those 80’s video games which the models and the game is all based upon.

Below are 2 bases of hatchlings.I find these models quite cute really and to be honest they were not that hard to paint. It likely is not a great thing to be going around killing little cute baby monsters but heck that’s what the game is all about…Next we have 2 slightly older baby dragons. Again a fun Cibi look to my mind. Looks like the models have quite an attitude which is fun.Lastly, these two small flying dragon things. Not really sure what they are other than another set of models to paint in the dragon group of monsters.So there we are, my first set of SDX figs. Soon, I hope to let you know how the game plays. Yes this is a victim to my usual silliness – I won’t play the game till all the toys have been painted.

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

MERCS:Recon security level 4

Here are the last of the security force figs. Here we have the hardest dudes which you can face in the MERCS:Recon game. The Kickstarter gave me 7 of these and I decided they were hard enough to justify some leniency from their bosses on the colours of their outfits. So as you can see they have slightly different colours of pants and shirts. All are in the green/blue range but that makes each a little unique.Below you can see the final two in a close up shot.These are the last Recon figs for a while – I have some other projects to show next, as I can only seem to concentrate on project for a little while before I move on. It keeps my interest going and it has worked so so I’ll keep doing it I guess.

Posted in 28mm, Board game, Modern, Sci-fi, Superhero | Leave a comment