29 June 2012

Duel of the Giants

One of the advantages (in a long list of disadvantages) of moving house every two to three years is that you get to delve into those deep recesses of your Man Cave and find hidden treasures.  This happened recently when I discovered this game, which I had bought somewhere on special (for Christmas I think!) and then forgotten all about it! Oops. Instead its now a  Christmas in July present, just in time for my Birthday!

The components are beautiful and the board is much like Memoir 44 - big hexes on a 9 x 11 grid and terrain tiles that can be placed wherever you like for extra replayability.  All with great colour and graphics on thick, durable cardstock.  The whole thing comes with two sets of terrain and the board is two sided - Summer and Winter.  You even get winter and summer counter sets so they match the boards.  A great touch to improve the aesthetics. You get 11 very nice Plastic minis - 2 Tigers, 8 T-34s and a Stuka.  These are well detailed in 1/144 scale with rotatable turrets (a key feature for the game) and yes, painted up they look awesome.
Not mine but you can see the quality of the cardboard components and the plastic tanks (they come unpainted)
The idea behind the game is that OPERATION CITADEL (aka the Battle of Kursk) has just been lost by the Germans and now they have to stem the hordes of Russians trying to force an armoured breakthrough.   The Russians get 8 x T-34s and the Germans get 2 Tiger Is and a Stuka.  The catch is, the Russians start with 16 markers (of which only half are real tanks) but the Tigers have to be programmed (using cards) a turn ahead.  It forms a very neat guessing game with great fog of war elements.  The Germans also get some minefields (real and dummy) and 2 Anti Tank Guns (1 x 88, 1 x Pak 36 plus 6 dummies) to keep those Rooskies guessing.  (of course, being the sad, hopeless sport that I am, I want to find 1/144 scale guns to use on the board now!)
A Winter scenario in progress (pic from BGG)
Interestingly, the combat system is diceless.  Each tank has a firepower value (which diminishes with range) and an armour value for each facing.  Basically when firing if the firepower > armour = kill, though that is simplifying it a little.  The Stuka has very limited endurance and only a single attack (it carried very limited ammo for the 37mm cannons) so its value is more as a flying spotter.

Victory is such that the Germans have to kill the Soviets.  The Russians get VPs for killing Germans, but get more for exiting their tanks off the other side of the board as per the strategic scenario of trying to achieve a break-through.  this keeps the game pretty tense and the Germans try to rack up enough kills before the few Russians escape.
Unit card for the powerful Tiger I
The rulebook is pretty thorough and half of it is a great turn by turn example game.  Each page is in both German and English, which gave it a very authentic feel to me!  Its also available free online if you are interested at the ZMan Games link below.  Game play is pretty quick, somewhere between 30 and 45 mins.

Somehow though, its feels a little unfinished and is yearning for an expansion.  More scenarios and I think some extra units like JS-2 Heavy Tanks or Panthers could be added in with little difficulty and without changing the rules.  Or maybe a few German infantry tank hunter teams, or pre-arranged artillery fire.  What would be really awesome though is a set of solo rules to place the Russians on automatic play.  Then you could play solo, or have two German players each commanding a Tiger and see who can get the most Kill Rings - now that sounds like fun!

Overall, its a very different game with some abstractions and which applies different types of restrictions on the two sides.  I've enjoyed a few solo games and am looking forward to playing the Lad next week.  I recommend this game for something a bit out of the ordinary and say:

Panzers Vorward!
Game entry at ZMan Games is here

PS There is a Player Aid sheet in the files section of the BGG page for this game:

28 June 2012

June Hobby Progress - Update 3

OK, Lets see how I fared in the month of June, after setting myself come goals
Slann Basing - still at 95%
Paint a new Goul for my Undead Team - Finished!
Touch up and rebase my Undead Team - Finished!
Paint my Strange Aeons Cults - Finished, see here
Paint my Strange Aeons Hell Hounds: never got started actually...
Finish my Cultist Standing Stones - Finished, see here
Make a Blog Page for our Blood Bowl Teams - underway here
Make a Blog Page for my Pulp/Horror stuff - underway, see here
28mm Wizard - Finished, see here
Finish US Army APES for Incursion: 90% done, see here
Do some Incursion terrain bits / "Doomsday devices": Finished, see here

Start a Whole new project, drop it, restart it and then put it to one side: 6% complete

Spend a whole bunch of time surfing the web and ordering more figures not related to any of the above: done!

Think about my imminent Birthday and how I can use it to justify buying myself even more: tick

Go down a rabbit hole and start thinking about getting into a whole new game of a different genre and scale: You know it...

So overall, a pretty productive month.  I got a bunch of things completed and off the modelling table where they have been for some time.  A big dry spell of modelling time is coming up though.

27 June 2012

Progress with APEs

These is my US Army A.P.E. (Armoured Personal Exo-system) squad from the boxed starter set I bought last year and am finally getting around to finishing.  The painting and decals are finished and the basic basing is complete.  I now need to dirty them up a bit (currently too clean for me!) and detail the bases.

Here are the first three. Left to Right are HMG APE with .50 cal, Blazer APE with Flamethrower, and Grunt APE with drum fed Browning.30 cal MG

Next Three: Sarge APE (I still need to find a decal with some stripes/chevrons), "Slugger Murphy" with his .50cal pistol, and another Grunt APE with .30 Cal MG
These six APEs are all from the basic set.  There is also a Bazooka version from the SNAFU expansion, but I don't have that model.  Anyone got any good tips for reducing the shininess of the decals?

26 June 2012

Gunner's Giveaway!

Dan of the Gunners Wargaming site is having having a competition to celebrate his birthday and is proposing to paint up for the winner of the competition  in Dan's words -

 "a group of characters/command stand/vehicle's/small unit, for your army, to your specification, using figures/models from my collection, and my conversion/painting skill"

And if you follow Dan's blog you will know that the offered prize will be painted pretty damn well, despite Dan's humble commentary.

The Rules of Engagement are pretty simple:

1. Visit Dan's blog here (you should anyway to see his great stuff, regardless of the competition!) and leave a comment advising what type of group of figures etc you would like him to paint up for you;

2 - Follow his blog publicly;

3 - Post a link to his blog and Pimp his blog on your own blog (if you have one).

Entries have to be submitted before midnight 28 June 2012 (Melbourne/Canberra/Sydney time).

Good luck to everyone that enters- but not as much as me :-)  !!!


Doomsday Devices

No Cultists worth their salt are without a Doomsday device, and the Scions of the Eternal Tentacle are no exception!  Here is their newly completed Doomsday Device and its power supply, ready for deployment: Bwahahahah!

These are actually resin terrain pieces for the game Incursion, made by Fenris Games.  Fenris made a range of really awesome stuff, and I got them in Australia from Martin at Little Soldiers.  They are wonderfully detailed and were great fun to paint.

23 June 2012

Scions of the Eternal Tentacle: Part 2

Presenting the background of my Cultist Force, the Scions of the Eternal Tentacle, for Strange Aeons and Pulp/Horror gaming:

Cult members are distinguished by fearlessness in the face of death, an unceasing determination to keep the secrets of their cult by any means necessary – even by biting off their own tongues, and a passion for cheese macaroni. They each have the cult's secret sign emblazoned upon their bodies, usually their right forearm.

When the City of New York released the area to developers, the brotherhood was forced to step up their activities.  A new Acolyte, Hesodus, was transferred in from an overseas chapter - one with new knowledge who could help improve their summoning rites.  However, their decrepit Warehouse lair collapsed during such a ritual in June 1926 and many followers were killed in the resulting fire.  Not all members were accounted for in that incident, but the Authorities recovered identifiable parts of Father Ezekiel amongst the dead...

What the Brotherhood members don't know is that they have been infiltrated by a rival Cult.  Indeed the Hesodus who came to them in Brooklyn was an imposter from the Scions of the Eternal Tentacle.  Having intercepted and disposed of the real Acolyte Hesodus, he disposed of him (gruesomely), took his place and began twisting the Brotherhood's rituals.  In fact, the June 1926 incident was a powerful summoning in which Hesodus had manipulated the ritual to call a daemon to consume the entire cult.  Father Ezekiel realised in time to prevent this from occurring, but the Daemon destroyed him and many others before destructively dematerialising.  Hesodus was badly disfigured in the fire, but has been able to claim he sustained his injuries while trying to save Ezekiel (and anyone who saw otherwise perished in the fire), which has further increased his standing in the cult.

In the aftermath of the disaster, Magos Hesodus assumed the leadership of the handful of survivors and went to ground, keeping their activities strictly secret. Slowly but surely the Brotherhood rebuilt its strength and in that time Hesodus has transformed the Cult completely - spurning the clearly ineffectual Tulzscha (who, after all couldnt save Ezekiel and was therefore unworthy of their devotion) and they now instead praise other Elder beings.  Reborn and renamed, the Scions of the Eternal Tentacle are now ready to once again become a power in the region.

22 June 2012

Scions of the Eternal Tentacle: Part 1

Introducing my new Cultist force: The Scions of the Eternal Tentacle

The Magos: Arch-fiend and Architect of despicable deeds!
(Figure by Heresy Miniatures here)

Keeper of the Tome, Cult Zealot and the right hand of the Magos:

The Boys:
The Thug: Just don't step on his blue suede shoes!
Pistols - easily concealable mayhem
Thompson SMGs: when escalation is required!
Flamer: for when things need heating up!

Converted Bomber: when things need to go off with a Bang!
There is always one who skulks off at an inappropriate time...
All Cultists from Artizan Design's 'Thrilling Tales' collection here

Colours used: white undercoat, goblin green basecoat, heavy Thrakka Green wash, goblin Green/White highlights.

Good times together in the cursed standing stones

20 June 2012

Pulp Gaming by Candlelight

Just found these on my computer and realised I hadn't posted them - they are from some Pulp games played (using the Strange Aeons rules) back in January when the Man Cave hosted Pete, Ken and Comrade James for Cancon.

We played two games, the first of which saw the players' Threshold Agents trying to defend a convoy of relics and materials on loan from the Cairo Institute.  Wouldn't you know it but some damned cheeky cultists sprung up and tried to hijack some of the goods!

 The contents of the two sarcophagi appeared to be the Cultists' targets, whose wrapped inhabitants were a lot more animated that anticipated... 

Despite the Agents' best efforts, the two Mummies and a couple of Cultists managed to scamper away into the night...
The right hat is essential in any Expedition!
The second night's gaming was really cool - having gotten a lead from the Cultists speeding away, the Threshold teams infiltrated the Manor house to investigate.  What was super cool was that the whole game was played under candlelight with spooky background music playing- the atmosphere was just fantastic!
Of course candles make it very difficult to take pics but these give you the right idea

The summer night was hot, made hotter by the candles, the beer flowed very freely indeed and we all had a great time.  I don't recall the details too much, but I remember I laughed a lot as the tale unfolded to an ultimately victorious conclusion for Threshold!

19 June 2012

Stone Circle: Almost done!

You may recall the Stone Circle terrain I was working on awhile back: I finally got around to doing the basing.  Initially I was a bit concerned - the flock was quite green, which detracted badly from the glowing effect I was trying to achieve.  A bit of drybrushing has muted that though.

Still think it needs some more bloodstains through...or maybe a sacrificial victim chained to one of the uprights! Bwahahahahaha!

18 June 2012

At Waterloo

Today being the 197th Anniversary of the Battle, I thought I'd dig out some pics of my visit to the Battlefield back in 2002 (when I was fatter but had more hair!).

And I celebrated with the Lad by watching a good documentary on the Battle.

And here is a really crappy video I made at the time!

Embedded: a Review

I've recently finished reading this novel by Dan Abnett, an author seemingly best known for his high quality 40k fiction.

Overall I quite enjoyed this book, though I would not say it is as good as his other works from a Military SF perspective.  Set in its own universe in which Humanity is expanding to the starts in its traditional country/bloc factions (much like Traveller 2300AD actually), its a more Hard SF themed book.  However, what it lacks in punch there it more than makes up for in its original concepts and ideas regarding future media operations.

I don't want to give anything anyway because I really enjoyed the surprises as the story unravelled.  I found the fist 70 or so pages uninspiring, but then it really took off and in hindsight was well worth the wait.  Some of the cool stuff was at time frustratingly absent after a teaser paragraph, but then thats probably the hard core SF geek in me wanting more.

Its not the best book I've read by a long shot, but I'm glad I got it.  If you are after something different to read, but which still has lots of shooting and cool stuff, give this a go - you wont regret it.


17 June 2012

Level 7

Check out this awesomeness: a trailer movie for Privateer Press's Level 7 Escape game.
I don't know anything about the game, but was a cool short flick!

16 June 2012

More Death Angel Expansions

The third and Four expansions for Death Angel (by FFG) snuck out earlier this year without my noticing.
In case you missed them too (and care!) here they are:

Fight the Tyranid Threat! The Death Angel Tyranid Enemy Pack is a Print on Demand expansion for Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game. It includes two additions for Death Angel: a new deck of enemy cards to replace the standard Genestealer deck, and a new Location card type. 

The new Tyranid deck contains a variety of enemies to challenge even the most seasoned Space Marines, while the Hive Lord Location cards introduce the Tyranid’s epic and deadly overlords!

The Deathwing Space Marine Pack, expansion for Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game, includes an alternate set of Space Marines to replace the ones from the Death Angel base game.

By simply switching out a number of your base game combat teams, you can bring new strategic options to your fight against the vile Genestealers!


15 June 2012

June Hobby Progress - Update 2

- Slann Team basing - 95% complete (just need to do the numbers)
- Pulp Stone Circle - Finished
- Paint a new Goul for my Undead team - Finished
- Touch up and rebase the rest of my Undead Team - Finished
- Paint my Strange Aeons Cultists -  80% complete
- Paint my Strange Aeons Hell Hounds - 0% complete
- Make a Blog Page with all our Blood Bowl Teams: No further Progress to Initial Draft
- Start a completely new and ambitious project which will probably eclipse all other efforts yet still not get finished in the allotted time: 5% complete!

Added to the List:
- 28mm Wizard figure:  Finished see here.
- Complete the basing of my US Army A.P.E.s for Incursion/Weird WW2
- Make a Blog Page for my Pulp/Horror stuff

2 BB Teams in progress - detailed pics to come

14 June 2012

A Wizard (needs a Beard)

Picked this guy up at WinterCon last weekend, at the second hand stall.  Why?  Because I keep forgetting I have a Wizard in Blood Bowl and not using him, so I thought a figure might help!
Of course, he can also double up as a British Druid in my Weird WW2 Army, and a Cultist Sorcerer for Pulp games.

The lad chose the jade colour and particularly wanted to see a lightning bolt forming on his outstretched hand, ready to zap a player.  I have seen many very good OSL effects and though I would give it a try with this fig.

I didnt get the OSL exactly right, but I'm pretty happy with it for a first attempt, and Right Stuff likes it in any case.  Feedback and comments welcomed as always.

This is what he looked like before basing and OSL

And taking a leaf from Laughing Ferret, who often posts a related music clip in his posts, here is "one of my favourite Aussie bands "The Beard" playing "A Wizard needs a Beard!"