Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Painting Update - All Quiet on the Martian Front

The work on my All Quiet minis continues! Gary's game last week really got me back into painting, and I've finally finished starter set.


Machine guns can be deceptively deadly in All Quiet. Sure, you need a 10 on a d10 to actually hurt a tripod, but a unit of machine guns throws out 3 dice for every stand, so the odds are pretty good. And then every hit scored makes the tripods easier to injure. Plus, they're useful against the hordes of Drones and Lobotons Martians can field, although it may just be easier to target the Slaver tripod that controls them.


While the infantry in the game I had with Gary didn't do much, they're still hard to hit and semi-defensible when they're in trenches or behind fortifications. 

I really like how the blue coats and helmets work with the khaki webbing, masks and backpacks, with the olive drab paints keeping the infantry from looking too much like ACW soldiers. 


And the last of the humans, a unit of MK III Baldwin steam tanks. With three guns apiece, these guys can put out enough shots that are actually capable of injuring tripods at full armor! 

So that's the human forces from the starter box - easy to clean and assemble, and fairly simple to paint. The two units of infantry took the longest, but only because they're much more labor intensive to paint than the tanks. 

In the future, I'd like to get some decals - probably ones from Battlefront for WWII U.S. tanks - to add a little detail to the tanks, in order to break up the somewhat monotonous blue scheme.

Now, onto the Martians!


I decided to go with a bronze/brass color with my Tripods. The one above is a little lighter in the picture than it is on the table. This was also after the very coat of paint, and the brush strokes are still fairly obvious.


I'm happy that the final result looks pretty good. A brown wash and a dullcote spray varnish took a lot of the shininess away from the paint, and made the brush strokes much less obvious.  


One side affect is some 'crackling' of the paint along the upper side of the rim of the tripod's head. It's a little annoying, and I don't know what caused it. but it isn't very noticeable at arm's length. 


I followed some other examples that converted a Black Dust cannon into a Green Gas launcher, and I think it turned out well.


So that's the Martians! Wow, that took a lot less time than the humans. While the tripods are very, very large compared to their opponents, they don't have as much detail as the infantry. I would advise anyone painting tripods to avoid doing what I did - actually painting the main color on over a black primer - and simply chose a colored spray and use that as a base coat.

So now it's on to other projects. I'm working on a Kingdoms of Men army for the newest edition of Kings of War that just released, as its causing a bit of a buzz with the guys at 7th Dimension Games. I've also got some Litko bases coming from Noble Knight Games, and with those in hand I can start working on some Early Imperial Romans and Ancient British for DBA.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Hold the Line! - All Quiet on the Martian Front AAR

This past weekend, Gary finally got a chance to bring out his All Quiet collection for a massive game. I was supposed to bring out my own small force, but decided against it as I still hadn't finished painting everything. Unfortunately, I had neglected to tell Gary this, so we had to do some last minute points shuffling. 


Gary had to drop a trio of Scout tripods from the list, but that still left an imposing amount of Martian walkers ready to deploy on the table. Gary's fantastic looking grey-and-steel color scheme was further accentuated by the imposing red eyes of the cyclopic machines. He would be commanding the aliens during this game (having worn his Marvin the Martian t-shirt as emphasis). 


Not to be outdone, the humans brought along an impressive array of their own machines, with plenty of Mk II and III steam tanks, a Mk IV Monitor, Mk II command tanks, a lone clamp tank, artillery (both static and mobile) and plenty of infantry. 


The Martians would be approaching from the farmland, intent on wiping out the thin line of infantry hiding in their trenches. The humans would try to hold the line as their tanks and artillery would hopefully do enough damage to drive the tripods back. 


My infantry and machine gun squads went into the trenches, with one of the command teams in support. The single unit of Rough Riders was placed to take advantage of the one area of the trenches that had a gap. The towed heavy artillery set up on top the the hill, and the mobile artillery parked on the edge of the woods. One group of tanks sat ready to move up the road, while the other waited behind the woods. 

Gary's Martians were all over the place, with the Grenadiers on the sides and the Slavers and their Drones in the center. Scouts ranged forward while the Assault tripods made up the bulk of the alien attackers. 


The first few turns saw the human tanks slowly trundling forwards as the infantry withstood barrages of heat rays and bombardments from the Grenadiers. What few civilians remained in the area fled as the tripods stomped past their homes. 


As a side note, what I like so much about All Quiet is the fantastic profiles the Martian tripods have when viewed at table height. Imagine seeing these machines marching towards you from the horizon!


While the humans were able to score some casualties on the Martians (including one very lucky machine gun bullet from the clamp tank), the tripods swarmed forward, their heat rays sweeping across the trenches. Infantrymen perished, either burned away in crimson brilliance or falling, choking and wheezing from the effects of the Martian's green gas and black ash. 


While the trenches made it much harder for the Martians to hit the infantry, the Scouts used their targeters to make the infantry much easier to hit. The trenches were quickly depleting even as the tanks rolled up and started to blaze away. 


Soon, the humans were down to three infantry stands huddling in a bunker. The tanks and artillery fired desperately, hoping for a Martian tripod to blow up and potentially damage the others.


It was looking pretty grim for the infantry!


Another round of Martian shooting left the bunker a molten pile of slagged concrete. Victory to the Martians!

Not wanting to end the game there, however, Gary and I decided to continue slugging it out, hoping to see if one side could cause the other to break. Many of the tripods started to take damage. One had its legs crippled before being immobilized by the clamp tank. One of the Slavers went down, leaving only a single controller for the Drones. Two more tripods had their weapon systems damaged and almost shot one another. 


But now that the infantry were gone, the tripods were free to begin firing at the tanks. Mk IIs and IIIs started to blow up all along the line. The back line of artillery, still untouched, continue to fire into the Martian lines. The last Slaver had its legs crippled, and I won control of it, so I drove it backwards, preventing the Drones from doing anything. In retaliation, Gary directed the Slaver to take a shot at my Monitor - and destroyed it!


The game ended on turn six, with Gary still taking the victory. Both sides had been bloodied, with many of the Tripods going down in the second half of the game. I really should have deployed my tanks much closer to the trenches, instead of worrying about them being blown up - Gary would have been forced to decided on targeting the harder-hitting, better protected tanks, or focusing on the infantry to try and win the scenario. In our game, he was able to destroy the infantry, then turn his attention on the tanks. 

This was my second game of All Quiet, and was just as fun as the game I played over at On Military Matters. All Quiet is definitely a great scenario game, but I could never really see it being played all that well as a 'turn-up-and-play' kind of game. There are just too many rules for too many units scattered all over the place. For some - like the Rough Riders - Gary gave me printouts on rules from the All Quiet forums! An update is definitely needed to get all these rules back into one book, hopefully with a better index. 


And as a bonus picture, we had a couple guys playing Command & Colors: Napoleonic at the store using big hexes, terrain and actual miniatures. Pretty cool!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Painting Update - All Quiet on the Martian Front

I'm still plugging away at my backlist of unpainted miniatures. Looking over my shoulder, I can see the 15mm WWII Germans, a couple Blood Bowl teams, and now a slowly growing Warhammer Empire collection for use in Kings of War.

This time it's the humans from the All Quiet starter set. This small force gives new players a taste of what they can expect from the humans in the game - swarms of squishy tanks and infantry that can really mess up a tripod if the Martian commander isn't careful. I've been painting these guys over the past couple weeks, and will hopefully be finished in time for an upcoming All Quiet game this weekend.

Since this is a game of science fiction, not history, I wanted something different from the average greens and browns everyone uses. I wanted something that'll stand out when I bring these guys to use in community games. So here's the 3rd Regiment, New Jersey Martian Invasion Response Unit, aka the "Jersey Blues," who first saw combat when they helped the US Navy defeat a Martian Canister when it crash-landed on the shores of Wildwood.


The Rough Rider unit demonstrates the uniform I'm using for the infantry - blue jackets and helmets, khaki backpacks, straps, and gas masks, olive drab pants and brown boots. While I don't have any pictures of the in-process miniatures, the infantry and machine guns also have olive drab blankets, along with larger backpacks. The coloration works well, as the blue stands out just enough, but doesn't look strange alongside the less vibrant colors. 


Of course, the Mk II tanks catch the eye with their deep blue paint, helped out with a good helping of black wash. I also splashed some Vallejo Tan Earth on the tracks and underside of the tanks, to give them a dirtier look. Using sand for coal also worked perfectly - the effect makes it seem as though these tanks are topped off and ready for a fight!

If I'm lucky, I'll have the infantry and the Mk III's done by the end of the week, and then I'll begin work on the Martians.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Quick and Nasty - Empire of the Dead AAR

The 7th Dimension gaming group met again for our Empire of the Dead campaign a couple weekends ago. Unfortunately, I completely forgot to take any pictures, so this'll be a quick report on the two games that I played using the Darkshire Pack.

Both games were played on a table set up by Gary, who had made a great looking manor grounds.

The first game was against Gary's Nosferatu, and used the Lost Artefact scenario. Gary and I both placed two artifact markers on the table and deployed our gangs in opposite corners - Gary's gang started in some ruins, and my gang was forced into starting in a forest, potentially slowing them down.

I believe this was the fastest game I have every played, taking up all of five minutes from the actual start. When a model reaches an artifact marker, a d10 is rolled, and the artifact is revealed on a roll of 9 or 10. My Beastlord reached one of the markers first, and I rolled a 10 - someone had carelessly discarded a Lightning Field Generator!

Gary decided to concede the game as he realized that even with his 12" moving Bat Swarms, he'd never be able to catch the Beastlord before he moved off the table. It did deprive me of five extra shillings, but I made up for it by selling the Generator - it wasn't as though any of the other members of the gang could use it.

I used to winnings to give my Packmaster a stat boost (but in Arcane, so not exactly useful...) and picked up another Wolf, bringing my gang up to eight models.

My second game was against Bob and his gun-toting Gentleman's Club. We rolled up Fracas, with corner deployments.

I split my force into two, with the humans moving through the manor courtyard and the werewolves and wolves moving around the right side, through the hedgerows. Bob's gunslingers moved up in a line, blazing away as soon as the pack moved into view (we were playing at night, so the range for line of sight is decreased to 18"). One of my Wolfskins went down three times, managing to get up twice before finally collapsing and being removed from the table. One of my wolves suffered the same fate, with bullets putting it down.

Much like the other games against the Gentlemen's Club, however, the Club's firepower couldn't stop the Lycaon from getting into close combat, and from then on the game swings decidedly in the werewolves' favor - although another wolf did go down thanks to a well placed sword strike. Between the axe wielding Wolfskins and the teeth and claws of their more lupine companions, many of the gunmen went down before Bob's gang was forced to retreat, with another victory for the Darkshire Pack.

While this victory put my gang at a massive standing of 308 shillings - more than twice the starting amount - my lucky streak when it came to after game results finally ended. One of the wolves was enlisted (don't ask me how) while the other was injured and had its Fortitude lowered by one. Josiah, the Wolfskin who went down multiple times, suffered a leg injury, reducing his movement by one. Luckily my winnings from the two games will allow me to get a doctor for the two after the next game, but I don't expect a fragile wolf and a slow close combat gang member to pull their weight in the next game. Hopefully the next scenario the Pack faces will be another objective based game, instead of a bloody free-for-all.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Shootout in Jaynestown - Wild West Exodus AAR

One of the games I've recently delved into is Wild West Exodus. It is, in a way, a kind of replacement for both Warhammer 40k and Warmachine/Hordes. While the models may be expensive enough to turn some wargamers away, the game doesn't require many models for a good sized game, especially if one invests heavily into the Underbosses and Sidekicks (i.e., the "characters"). And the rules are not nearly as cut-throat as Warmachine/Hordes, nor do they need constant practice to maintain a level of competent play. 

Recently, one of the local gaming stores had a WWX day, in which members of the community who already played or were interested in the game could come out and play a few games. We had enough players to fill up two games with four players in each, with each Posse looking to be the last one standing when the dust settled. 


I was one of the two Warrior Nation players, and somehow we both ended up on the same table. 


And on the same side! Tommy, Jr. had his Warrior Nation as well, lead by the ever-terrifying Geronimo in all his werebear glory. 


Tom, Sr. was fielding a Union force that was very heavy on the characters, lead by the axe-wielding Lincoln. 


And opposite me was Rob, with his Outlaws and the infamous Jesse James. 


Tommy and I advanced across the table, content with dealing with Rob and Tom instead of each other. My horde of Braves advanced, hollering and whooping, into the center of town. 


Rob scored an early and important blow against me, however, when he used his Iron Horse (basically a grav-bike) and its rocket launchers to destroy Walks Looking, a Warrior Nation character who is absolutely deadly in combat.


As Rob fought off the Indians, he also skirmished with Tom's force. 


Tom had bigger concerns, however, as Tommy was out to put his Pa down! 


The powerful guns of the Outlaws took a toll on my Braves, eventually wiping most of them out. Even Sitting Bull was incapable of taking down Jesse James before being turned into swiss cheese. But the Energy Beast was able to do some damage. However, Stone Fist (the horse with the two cannons on it) couldn't seem to find his range. It seems like I'm incapable of judging what 24 inches looks like. 


The Union was forced to retreat, hoping to stall the time before Geronimo was able to get into close combat with them. Unfortunately, this put Abe & Co. in the range of the Outlaws' guns, and Rob was able to score some hits into the opposing Posse. 


The tide soon began to turn against Tommy, who had spent most of the game being ignored as Rob, Tom and I fought. Realizing that most of his Posse was still pristine, I began to fire bolts of spirit energy into Geronimo. 


Rob realized the same thing, turning his attention to focus both on Tom and Tommy. I was glad for the relief!

Tom was knocked out first, and the Tommy went down. By this point my Posse was severely mauled, with only Stone Fist left standing. Rob's remaining models quickly sent the Indian and his horse packing. So when the guns finally stopped firing and silenced settled on Jaynestown, it was Jesse James who was left standing tall.

It was a fun game (if a little long), and it's definitely cemented my interest in the rules. Hopefully the community grows as a result of the game day, as there were plenty of other people interested who were asking questions about the fluff and mechanics. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Dice of Awesome - Kickstarter Review

Like most (if not all) gamers who enjoy role playing games, I like dice. I'll buy a pack of dice to use if I think the colors the set uses look good, or if there's some interesting theme to the dice. I'll even buy a set when I'm visiting a store that I don't normally go to, just to help support the store when I don't need anything else.

You can never really have too many dice.

So when I saw the You Need These Dice! kickstarter start last August, I was amongst the earliest backers to put money towards a set of dice. I thought the theme alone - "Wizard's Gambit" - was cool enough to be worth putting money out for. Finally, almost a year and some delays later, I finally found my dice in the mail.


The original Wizards Gambit set was shown as a tan die with black lettering. A number of different permutations were unlocked during the campaign, and when it ended I selected the blue and white theme shown above. Overall, I think the colors work well together. The blue is dark enough that the white is able to stand out and be fairly noticeable. Additionally, the dice are easy to read despite the amount of details on the die's surface.

Unfortunately, there are some problems with the set. Although not as evident in the images above, the dice appear to be covered in a chalky white substance, which looks to have been from white ink used to fill the numbers, symbols and writing. 


Additionally, there is some smearing. The above d8 is one such example, where one can see where the ink in the impressions has run, making the script blurry and runny. 


This d10 also shows another problem in the set, where the ink didn't settle in the number, leaving a streak. There are several such streaks scattered across the dice in the set. 


Since the kickstarter did so well, each backer was awarded with another set of dice. I choose the Thieves set, which featured masked rogues and daggers on golden coins. The combination works, generally, and the gold is varied enough to make it look like old coins that have been passed from hand to hand over a long period of time. 


The Thieves set also had a few problems as well, however. Some large blemishes like the above show were gold has completely worn off the facing, leaving a dirty black underneath. 


Other dice, like this d8, have white spots on their surfaces. These spots can be chipped off, but at the cost of ruining the image underneath. 


Other dice in the set have areas where the gold ink ran too far over the image, staining the black parts of the dice. 


I was surprised to find an additional dice in the set - an ocean themed, Neptune's Might d6. This clever little theme has the facings of the dice etched to looking like fish scales. 

The dice is a little heavy on the glitter, however. My worst fears were confirmed when simple handling - the kind any gamer does at the table when rolling dice - left the glitter on my hand.

The problems these dice have might be attributed to the fact that the kickstarter has experienced delays, and because of the project's success. With the initial goal of $1,000 and an end amount of more than $85,000, the creator of the kickstarter probably has more on his plate than he expected. While I probably wouldn't have bought the dice for full price at a convention or game store, two sets and an extra d6 of new, custom dice for $15 is still a pretty good deal. 

If the above problems are solved, then these could be a great set of dice perfect for any tabletop. So once the initial kickstarter has finally been sorted out, check out the website to see if you might be interested.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Painting Update - Blood Bowl

For a long time, I've liked the idea of Blood Bowl. I still regret not spending the $100 I could have back in high school to buy the 3rd Edition Starter Set from a local comic shop years ago. I enjoy playing the (somewhat disfunctional) Cyanide computer game, but I've never gotten to play the tabletop version.

However, I've managed to gain some interest in the game and have the makings of a local league - the Stomping Grounds Blood Bowl League.


To actually play in the League, however, I needed a team. Looking around, I managed to get a really great deal on a couple of the plastic orc starter teams from the 3rd Edition starter - somewhat fulfilling earlier dreams - and put them together to fill out a decent Orc roster. 


Black Orc Blockers are one of the biggest draws of the Orc team. While they don't start with any skills, they have ST 4 and AV 9. They're probably not going to be picking up and carrying the ball all that often with AG 2 and MA 4, but they'll be perfect for hitting other players pretty hard. 


Orc Blitzers start with the Block skill, making them essential to any Orc team. With MA 6, they can quickly cover ground on the pitch and try to either break open an opposing team's formation or trying to take down a ball carrier. 


Orc Linemen (Lineorcs?) don't stand out in any way compared to the other members of the team, but they do have AV 9, making them difficult to seriously injure. 


Finally, Orc Throwers - sort of strange on a team that's more likely to pick up a ball after smashing the guy holding it. But Throwers can handle the ball better than anyone else on the team, since they start with Sure Hands. And if you ever need to clear the ball out of a bad situation, they have the Pass skill. It doesn't mean that the orc receiving the ball will catch it, but at least you can move the ball away if your Thrower gets himself into a bad spot. 


That's the team - 18 players, with a few more Lineorcs in the wings in case they're ever needed. 

I'm now looking at putting together another team, perhaps an Undead team using the Reaper Bones line. The Undead Burg Boneheads might be a pretty cheap team to put together.

And I'll let you guys try to guess what team I've based the colors on!