Wednesday, 18 February 2015

This Month I Have Mostly Been Playing.......... Warhammer Quest

I've not been posting much recently, partly because I've not been buying much new stuff, or indeed painting very much, somewhat shockingly I've actually been using my hobby time to play lots of games!  Well technically one game, but many times.  That game is the absolute classic Warhammer Quest.

It was around mid-December after a discussion about the forthcoming Dungeon Saga from Mantic Games, the idea of a game of Warhammer Quest was mooted, always keen for a good dungeon bash I happily headed upstairs to get the box.  Two months and many dungeons later we've just reached level 6 (of 10), we've been playing at least once and often twice a week in sessions lasting between 5 to 7 hours.  I can't remember the last time I've done so much gaming in such a small space of time.

A hairy moment from this evenings game

I love Warhammer Quest, I think it's the best game from Games Workshop that I've ever played, and my copy of the game is one of my most prized possessions, but why is it so good?  I think it comes down to two things, one is the co-operative nature of the game, it makes a nice change for you all to be on the same side for once.  The key mechanic I think though is the one of random dungeon generation, you never know what room, monster or event is coming next or where that crucial objective room is.  This does mean that sometimes it all gets a bit much and you get swamped by masses of monsters and die horribly.  This is especially true at lower levels before you have a cart load of useful treasure items trailing behind you.

The other great thing is that even with the basic boxed game you have three distinct ways of playing.  The first is to grab the four warriors out of the box roll up a random adventure and off you go (almost certainly to your doom).  The roleplay book contains two more ways to play, the first is a 'roleplay-lite' game which allows you to level up your warriors, visit settlements and face tougher monsters, all using random tables and cards and without the need for a gamesmaster (this is the way we always play).  The second mode of play from the roleplay book is the guidelines for a proper full on roleplaying game with gamesmaster and pre-determined dungeons, this isn't for me, but adds huge scope for those with the energy and vision to create those adventures.

A starting party of adventurers soon to meet their fate
Another thing the roleplaying book provides is an extensive bestiary of baddies from the Warhammer world for you to smash your way through everything from Snotlings to Bloodthirsters.  Rules are provided for greenskins, skaven, undead, chaos, dark elves, chaos dwarves and a whole bunch of generic monsters.  These are arranged in monster tables so the monsters get harder as you progress up the battle levels.  This is important as it keeps the challenge fresh, every time you level up you end up facing new monsters with new abilities that need different tactics to beat, you have to think hard as by this point you've grown attached to your warriors and don't want to see them die. 

Even with the variety provided by the monster tables I've found in the past that enthusiasm tends to wane around level 6 (which is where we've just reached), which leads me to what was meant to be the point of this post;  Whilst the monster tables are very well done and provide a satisfying range of stuff to kill from start to finish there are two areas that start off fine but after the twentieth dungeon start to feel a little unsatisfying and repetitive, the dungeon rooms and lack of treasure variety.  Well I've gone and done something about it......

The new treasure deck nearly 12cm high!

Everyone likes to get cool treasure items, and in Warhammer Quest the clever use of the right items can make all the difference, however there are only so many in the basic game and you soon start getting the same stuff over and over again.  GW actually published a lot more treasure cards, three packs you could buy separately, plus a few cards in the lair of the orc lord and catacombs of terror expansions and even a few in white dwarf.  I've printed them all off and put them in deck protectors and the main treasure deck now has just under 170 cards in it, which should keep us going for a while!

More importantly for me are getting hold of some new dungeon rooms, whilst I love the way the dungeon generates randomly, I've always found it a bit unsatisfying that all the corridors and dungeon rooms in the main game are exactly the same, I've always felt the rooms especially needed a little bit of simple differentiation to give them that little bit more flavour.  I think GW knew this as well as both the lair of the orc lord and the catacombs of terror included some new rooms and corridors that started to add that simple variety, and I'd managed to print these rooms off some time ago, but I was still hankering for more.  So after quite a bit of searching and killing an ink cartridge or two I've expanded my room selection quite considerably.

Adding a bit more flavour to the random dungeon bash
There's a lot more rooms out there than I've printed off, but I've been quite picky.  I didn't want anything too radical, a simple special rule or new shape per room is fine.  Also I rejected a lot of rooms which although I thought the rules were fine the artwork just wasn't good enough (not that I'm claiming I could do any better), I wanted it to look natural next to the rooms that I already had.

As I was doing all this I realised that it was really about time I painted the plastic doors that are used to link the rooms together, I haven't spent too much time on them though.  Just a quick spray with the grey can and then a coating with black wash.  I  might come back and add some more details later, they're hardly works of art, but they do look a lot more 'natural' when playing the game and it's something I should have done years ago.

Warhammer Quest also provides a good excuse to pick up a few random fantasy models and still be able to use them without needing a whole army.  The Manticore above is a new addition to my collection, more for practical reasons than ooo that's a nice model reasons.  It's a plastic mini from an old boardgame called Darkworld which was a heroquest type thing.  This one came in a job lot off of ebay and is slightly damaged, and although I already have a better metal GW Manticore model this one fits on a 25mm base which makes it far more practical in the dark confines of a dungeon.  He will find himself representing a lot of cockatrices, gorgons, griffons, hippogriffs and even the odd Manticore over the next few weeks.

I'd just like to finish with a few recommendations of the websites that I found the most useful when looking for extra stuff to expand our games with:

Beyond the Grey Mountains
Quests of Legend
Warhammer Quest Chronicles
Warhammer Quest Museum

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Start of My Kings of War Nature Army

A little while I backed Mantic's Kings of War second edition kickstarter, not pledging a huge amount, but enough to get the rulebook, plus the bonus stuff, and a Forces of Nature starter army.  After the kickstarter had finished we had a quick play with the first edition rules and that whetted my appetite to start preparing for when the kickstarter package finally arrives.

Lets start with what are the only minis actually currently available to the Forces of Nature, these two special character Druids with their pet dogs.  I used my Mantic points to get these for free and I think they're rather good.

Well that's it for the Forces of Nature proper for now, but the Kings of War allies rules are flexible enough (especially since the Forces of Nature have a 'neutral' alignment) that several other bits and bobs that I'd acquired over the last few years (mainly from crazy boxes) will fit straight in.  These Elf archers are a good start, I could have just used my high elf archers of course, but I had these and am looking forward to being able to field a pure Kings of War force.

Next up is this small unit of Basilean men-at-arms.  They're not the greatest minis in the world, but I think they look OK once they've had a lick of paint on them.  I'm also not sure how useful a small unit of average infantry will be, but I suppose I will see.

I've not started them yet but the panther riders from the 2014 crazy box will definitely be a useful addition to the force.  Somehow they seem quite appropriate as forces of nature allies as well.

I also had these ogres from the 2013 crazy box that can slot straight into the army as possible allies.

That's it for now, hopefully I'll get the panther riders painted up before the new stuff turns up later in the year.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Classic Citadel Mummies for Warhammer Quest

Whilst we've impatiently been waiting for Dungeon Saga to arrive we decided to fulfil our Dungeon craving by returning to an old favourite, Warhammer Quest.  This uses the Warhammer fantasy range extensively and most of the monsters that are encountered I can draw straight from that collection, occasionally though something pops up that we have to proxy, Mummies were in that category, until now that is.

I got these four classic mummies off of ebay, these are over 20 years old and are from a time before Vampire Counts and Tomb Kings had been separated into different armies.  I remember them coming out not long after I started collecting Citadel minis actually.  They're a little two-dimensional, but I think on the whole they hold up pretty well to todays standards.  As my Undead army is Vampire Counts I've given them Warhammer Quest specific bases as that's the only game I can see them being used in.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Deadzone Wave 3

Well we got there, a year and a half after the funding target was met I've finally received the final part of my Deadzone Kickstarter package from Mantic Games.

There's not a huge amount in this package compared to the previous two, 42 minis, for the Enforcers and Forge Father factions.  What makes it interesting is that they're all hard plastic, which begs the important question; have Mantic finally managed to conquer hard plastic?

A bit of background for those not familiar with Mantic's hard plastic history, it all started many years ago with Mantics very first releases of hard plastic elves and skeletons, these were good quality and the sprues had lots of options, the sculpting was good (although the style of the elves wasn't to everyones taste), the future looked good.  Then for the next lot of releases, the fantasy dwarves & orcs and sci-fi forge fathers & marauders Mantic kept the same quality, but made the sprues much smaller and with far less options for customisation.  This was disappointing, but not the end of the world.  Then it got worse Mantic started to make their plastics in China instead of the UK, and whilst I'm sure it saved them money the quality of the Basilean Men at Arms was poor, really poor.  Since then Mantic have hardly used hard plastic, until now that is, lets see what we've got.....

Starting with the Enforcers we've finally got the basic troops sprue, each sprue contains five minis which can be made up with rifles or pistols and combat blades.  There are also optional pieces which allow you to make a sergeant and either a flame thrower or a heavy burst laser.

The plastics also form the base of these Enforcer Defenders, equipped with shotguns and blast shields.

These are the big boys, Enforcer Peacekeepers; the kit comes with a lot of options, you can have either gun and gauntlet or gun and blast shield, plus there are options for a sergeant, a heavy burst laser and a flamer.

Finally we have the Forge Fathers, these were harder to get unique poses out of and the leader was compulsory and not an option, they also come with heavy weapon options (three this time) and have six minis per sprue whereas the other two sprues had five each.

I've only built half of my package so far, but it's enough to answer the question; They're not perfect, there's still some mould lines (down the legs in particular) and all the legs have to be attached to specific bodies, which is a shame, but these plastics are a huge leap forward for Mantic and I think the future once again looks bright.  I'll be interested to see what the retail price ends up being for these and I now have high hopes for the plastics coming from the Kings of War Kickstarter later in the year.

Friday, 9 January 2015

From The Painting Table #16

Another showcase of my latest eclectic selection of painted minis for today.  December was inevitably a busy month and I really didn't achieve much on the painting front at all, but what I did manage to do somehow was play a lot of Warhammer Quest....

Which leads me nicely to this chap, who is of course a classic citadel Chaos Warrior who has had a repaint and a dedicated Warhammer Quest style base rather than my normal green flock.  The party also contains a pit fighter, a wizard and a warrior priest.  Both the pit fighter and wizard have dedicated Warhammer Quest minis already so expect to see a warrior priest in the near future.

Next we have some additions to my Darkest Africa collection courtesy of Foundry, on the top a couple of British NCO's from their Boer War range and on the bottom an explorer both on and off a donkey.

Staying with Foundry somewhat randomly we have here two ancient Greek Hoplites, why? I really don't know except that I fancied painting them.

The last Hobbit movie was an enjoyable movie if admittedly not a masterpiece like the Lord of the Rings movies were, and it gave me the urge to paint a few more middle earth bits starting with this Tauriel.  I was quite pleased with the result until I photographed it and now the hair is looking way to bright so I will have to try and tone it down a bit somehow.

Not going far from Tauriel at all we have these wood elf archers from GW Lord of the Rings range, but who would of course happily work fighting along side Tauriel and Legolas in a Hobbit game.

Now to the first finished minis from my second wave Deadzone kickstarter package.  I started with a few Enforcers, which for some reason I really enjoy painting, from left to right we have an enforcer captain, Sgt Howlett and an enforcer with fusion gun.

Finally we have these two plague corrupted enforcers.  I've a veritable mountain of Deadzone stuff still to paint and of course I am eagerly awaiting the imminent arrival of wave 3.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy New Year 2015 & 2014 Highlights

Where did 2014 go? It only seems like yesterday that I was writing last years version of this post.  I'm not doing any resolutions this year either, but lets have a look at my favourite games/minis/things from the last year in a sort of mock award ceremony style that was quite popular last year.

The blog got off to a good start, but petered out over the summer as life and a new role at work got in the way, one major change was the introduction of a second writer, my mate Mike who contributed 5 posts throughout the year, hopefully we'll hear a bit more from him this year too.  Gaming has been quietly going on throughout the year, but with no one game dominating our time, a bit of a bitty year.

Favourite Project Finished in the Last 12 Months

Right at the start of the year I finally finished painting my High Elf army, that had been of the verge of being completed for around two years.  It was very gratifying to finally get it all finished, it's an army that I'm rather proud of as well.

Most Popular Post

This was much closer than last year, but the most popular thing I wrote was this little post on the miniatures from the new Mars Attacks game.  It was so good someone even decided it was worth copying!  Which whilst I can joke about it now riled me up at the time.

Best Wargame

It's been a year of small scale gaming really, with skirmish and board games coming to the fore.  However there were a few games of 40K and Warhammer fantasy and a single game of Kings of War, but the most played 'wargame' this year and the one I had the most fun with was Battlefronts' Flames of war.  We've still a lot to explore with this as well and I hope we play a lot more in 2015.

Best Board/Card Game

A surprise for me here as I'm awarding this to Mars Attacks by Mantic games.  I wasn't expecting much from Mars Attacks. I got it on Kickstarter as the deal became really good and I could use the minis in Deadzone, but it turns out that it's a really good fun game.  The light hearted silliness and scenario based format make replayability high as well.

Favourite New Miniatures

This is always the hardest decision, contenders this year included, Beorn & Thranduil from the Hobbit range, my Emhar Whippet and my Battlefront TOG 2*, but in the end my favourite new minis are definitely my Jalopy conversions based on PSC Stuarts for use in Flames of War.

Best Trip

It's not been a massive year for getting out and about for me, but my first ever trip to the tank museum at Bovington and a trip to Carisbrooke Castle (that I never quite got a round to posting about) were definitely fun, but my favourite trip of the year was my behind the scenes look at Bembridge fort on the Isle of Wight.

Favourite Book Read this Year

I read a lot over a variety of different subjects and fiction styles which makes picking a favourite book tricky, as comparing science books and Victorian fiction is next to impossible, however I think I've managed it.

The best book I read this year was the History of Mr Polly by HG Wells, if you haven't read it I recommend you give it a try.

Favourite New Movie

This doesn't have to mean released this year, just new to me, I go to the cinema rarely and am often 6-12 months behind.  There were four contenders here; The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies, Thor: The Dark World, The Lego Movie and Noah.

I've surprised myself, but I'm finally admitting it, The Lego Movie was better than the last Hobbit movie and is my favourite movie of the year.

Thing I'm Most Looking Forward to in 2015

Whilst you never know what the next year will bring, some things are expecting and some have been rumoured.  Possible highlights include Warhammer Fantasy 9th ed, and the second Deadzone Kickstarter.  I am also looking forward to receiving both Dungeon Saga and Kings of War from Mantic.

In the end the thing I'm most looking forward too is getting and playing Kings of War, I've only played a single battle so far but I enjoyed it a lot, depending on what's in the starter set I might not even get warhammer 9th ed.  I have several Kings of War units on the painting table in ready anticipation for the rulebooks arrival.

Best Wargames Company

The biggy, but somewhat predictable I think, I drifted even further from my original gaming home of GW this year, and have only bought 4 minis and one book from them.  My gaming group has also passed on the latest edition of 40K and look unlikely to bother to try and catch up, it's a shame their minis are second to none, but unless I win the lottery (which I don't play so that would be more than surprising!) GW have priced me out. 

Battlefront's Flames of War has had many games and lead me to collect two new armies, but again the prices mean that those armies contains minis from many other places as well as battlefront.

We've also played a bit of X-Wing this year from FFG, but although I like the game I've been playing with my mates models and haven't liked it enough to invest in my own set.

Which means of course we come to Mantic Games as this years winner (again!).  The year started with a flurry of Deadzone gaming before mantic took a backseat to larger scale games (flames of war, 40K and warhammer fantasy) over the summer before coming back with a vengeance when Mars Attacks landed.  Add to that the Dungeon Saga and Kings of War Kickstarters that I'm eagerly awaiting and Mantic are the deserved winner.

Finally I'd just like to wish all my readers a happy new year and thank you all for stopping by and reading what I write.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Tamiya 1/35 German WW2 Panzer Kampfwaagen II Ausf. F/G

A couple of months ago when I was off work for a week I popped into my new local Hobbycraft store to see if it had anything worth keeping an eye on for a hobbyist like me.  Most of the store is full of stuff that was no good, but tucked at the back they did have a model kit section.  It was dominated by Airfix, but had a few kits from other brands as well and I came away with this kit of an early WW2 German tank made by Tamiya. 

This was my first kit from Tamiya and was at a much larger scale than my normal 1/72 or 1/76 vehicles, so I didn't know exactly what I'd be getting until I opened up the box when I got home.  The kit was your standard hard plastic, but very well produced with sharp hard details, it was pretty easy to put together, with mostly large parts with detail already moulded on, rather than the adding of fiddly details as separate parts, like on most Airfix kits.  I'm not sure which approach I prefer.  This is also the first kit that I've ever managed to make where the tracks can actually rotate after construction.  Weather that says more about my abilities or various kits I'm not sure.

It also came with five figures which surprised me (although if I'd have read the box properly it shouldn't have!) a tank commander and a few Germans in desert gear.  These are the first 1/35 scale figures I've ever had and they're huge.  I've only stuck one together so far and have yet to paint him, not sure that I ever will.

The main reason I'm not fussed about painting these figs is that I decided to paint up my tank not in the desert scheme, but in one more suitable for northern Europe.  It was a bit odd painting a tank in this scale as well and I tried a slightly different approach, with more shaded areas, you can see the results below.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Mantic Crazy Xmas Box 2014

Another year and another 'crazy xmas box' from Mantic games, you never know exactly what you're going to get, but I've always been pleased with what I've received in the past.  Mantic went and confused the issues this year though by releasing two varieties, a 'normal' one and a pure sci-fi one.  I was tempted to get one of each but in the end I restrained myself and ordered just the normal one.  I did this as I've just pledged on the Kings of War kickstarter and was hoping for a few bits to add to my currently small Kings of War collection.

 After a lot of work this became....

Like last year I'll break it down by system;

Kings of War

- 10 x Basilean Panther Riders
- 10 x Elf archers with command
- 1st ed mini rulebook and poster

Pretty pleased with this overall, the panther riders are especially welcome as they will make excellent allies for the forces of nature army that I've got coming next year.  Even the old elves are surprisingly welcome as I currently have the 10 elf archers from last years box (without command) on the painting table also for inclusion in my forces of nature army.  The 1st ed rulebook is also welcome, we played our first game of Kings of War last weekend, a 4 player game using the beta rules from the Mantic journal, this will allow us to use a slightly updated version until the kickstarter rulebook arrives.  As a quick aside on first playing we liked Kings of War a lot, I can see a lot more of this being played than Warhammer in the future.

A lonely, but useful Dreadball mini


- Void Sirens Keeper

I have avoid Sirens team, but I didn't have a keeper so a useful mini for me.

Some more stuff for mt Deadzone collection


- 2 x rebs humans
- rebs yindi
- 2 x marauder mawbeast bombers
- marauder captain
- Chovar pyshic merc
- 2 x battlezone accessory sprue

I have a lot of deadzone stuff, but, excepting only the captain, I'm glad to get more of the rest.

Any ideas on possibilities for the giant flea rider?

Mars Attacks

- General Jaret
- Henry on Giant Flea

I have both of these from my kickstarter package, so it will be conversion time, the general will I think find his way into my Imperial Guard army, but I don't have any ideas yet for the giant flea.

For the first time, nothing from warpath, not that I'm fussed, I suppose it would replace the kings of war stuff in the sci-fi version of the box. but that's just a guess.

This is available at £25, although I got it cheaper on the Black Friday sale.  I'm pleased with this years box, the value on it really does ride on weather you want the panther riders or not.  Of course not all boxes may include the panther riders, but that's the gamble you take...

Friday, 5 December 2014

Mars Attacks - More Martians & Heroes

Just a quickie today as I've finished painting all the minis now from the main Mars Attacks boxed set and a few of the bonus minis from my Kickstarter package.

Starting with the kickstarter bonus minis the Gorilla Tunga and his handler Craig, I think these are pretty cool, Tunga is a mean fighter in game as well.

The last three human heroes from the boxed set; Phil, Joe & Deke.

The second squad of martian Grunts

A kickstarter bonus martian Flag waver and the Master of Science heavy (with a minimalist paint job) and in the middle General Zar from the 'Attack from space' set.

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