Tuesday 28 February 2012

White Dwarf 387 & Wargames Illustrated 293

My monthly look at the two wargaming magazines I subscribe too, lets see what march has to offer.....

As always we'll start with white dwarf, this months mag is dominated by 40k, focusing on the new tyranid and space wolf releases.  Yet again no real design notes which is a shame and we get the rules for the tervigon and tyrannofex taken straight from the codex (something I'm not a fan of, if I play 'nids I'll have the book and if I don't it's not much use to me, also it just seems lazy to reprint something rather than bother to recreate new material).  There is a tervigon painting guide that's pretty good though.  The single warhammer article is the conclusion of the civil war expansion, which is useful, but I'd have liked a bit more for the system.  Lord of the Rings inevitably also continues its comeback, with a mini battle report (and another scenario reprinted form one of the new sourcebooks) amd the start of a new 'tale of four gamers' series, a series I've liked from the beginning (which was a loooong time ago now) and I'm glad to see it return.  The mag is topped up by a rather poor standard bearer, a new induction into the hall of fame and a fantasic showcase of last years slayer sowrd winners from around the world.  So in the end a few good bits, but quite a lot of what feels like filler too.

This months theme in wargames illustrated is 'giant wargames', which is three articles showcasing well giant wargames of dettingen, a roman wargame in germania and chancellorsvillie.  The articles are ok, but its very loose as a theme.  Other articles include german armoured tarins for flames of war, the french foreign legion in sub saharan africa, haiti's war of independence, a great warriors feature on the hussites and a small article on playing napoleonic skirmish games.  A average issuse all round, it's not bad as such, just doesn't grab you.

I'm hoping next month brings a bit more excitement.

Sunday 26 February 2012

Dwarf Kings Hold Adventurers - Orcs & Elves

With the recent release of Dwarf Kings Hold: Ancient Grudge and all the new troop types that can be feilded I dug out my Mantic Crazy Christmas bag and assembled a few pieces to represent some of the new troops.  I've done the same with the dwarves as well, but they're not painted yet, and I already have a load of zombies, ghouls and wraiths for the undead, so this post features my new additions for my orc and elf warbands.

Three bases of suprisingly useful little 'orclings', I just love these guys

An orc boss flanked by another two greatax

A couple of Orc Morax made from the standard orc sprue, by just swaping the sheilds for the spare axe provided.

My interpretation of scout captain Shulan and an extra couple of spearmen

And finally some elven scouts 

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Warhammer Vampire Counts Plastic Wight King

Another addition to my Vampire Counts army today, this time the new plastic wight king from games workshop.  It's a rather fantastic model actually and the plastic medium allows GW to create a good 'layered' effect that just isn't possible in metal or resin-plastic.  Like all the new plastic warhammer characters coming out of GW this is single pose only and comes with its' own moulded base.  This model will have a dual use, also standing in as the Reveannant King for use in Dwarf Kings Hold. 

Sunday 19 February 2012

Eldar Dark Reaper Squad

The latest addition my my eldar army for warhammer 40,000 today, a squad of Dark Reaper Aspect Warriors.  They're the current versions, although in metal and not in finecast.  I like the styling of the models although I found it difficult to pull off the predominatly black colour scheme, and I'm not entirely convinced that I've succeded.

Thursday 16 February 2012

1:3000 Scale Nearly Modern Royal Navy Taskforce

I've painted the other half of my modern British starter set from navwar now.  These are the ships that have been decommissioned, although some of them only recently.

 Firstly the Invincible class carrier HMS Ark Royal, former fleet flagship, decomissioned early last year as part of the defense cuts.

Four type 22 frigates, on the left are the later and larger batch 3 frigates HMS Cumberland and HMS Cornwall, and on the right are the batch 2 frigates HMS Boxer and HMS Beaver.

Three type 42 destroyers HMS Glasgow, HMS Newcastle and HMS Cardiff 

Tuesday 14 February 2012

Mantic Zombies - Part 5 - More Zombies & A Standard Bearer

The next batch of 12 of Mantic Games Zombies has rolled off the production line.  This lot includes a standard bearer as well, the standard actually came from the orc command sprue I got in my mantic crazy christmas bag, which fitted easily to a zombie.

Sunday 12 February 2012

Airfix 1:600 HMS Hood

My latest WW2 airfix ship was finished yesterday, this time of the battlecruiser HMS Hood as usual in 1:600 scale.  The Hood of course was famously sunk by the German battleship Bismarck at the battle of the Denmark Strait.  It's a good kit with only a bit of flash and went together well.  I even managed to get the little boats hanging off the side to work this time as well.  Another feature I liked was that the hull was marked where the black line should be, which made painting much easier and produced a better result.

Below is a size comparission pic showing the difference between the Hood and the Queen Elizabeth class Battleship HMS Warspite.  I knew the Hood was bigger than the Queen Elizabeth class ships, but wasn't expecting the kit to be quite as big as it was.

And finally a few shots of the ship in construction.

Friday 10 February 2012

Dwarf Kings Hold: Ancient Grudge - A Look Inside

This is my look at the third set in the Dwarf Kings Hold series by Mantic games; Ancient Grudge.  I had a few issues with this, being sent two copies without rulebook (see here), but I then contacted Mantic directly and they sorted it out easily and quickly.  Putting that aside what do we have in this set?  The first thing to be aware of is that unlike the previous two sets this is not a stand alone game and you will need at least one of the sets to be able to use this.  Too get the full use out of this you'll need both sets really and I'd advise you too get both the origanal sets before looking at getting this.

The box is exactly the same shape and size as the box for green menace which is good as it stacks nicely on the shelf with the other games in the series.  Again the box art matches the previous sets and is another great throwback in style to the 1980's dungeon sets I remember so fondly.

Ok time to start looking at what you actually get in the box, forst off the box conatians a single sheet of card which contains two new large board sections and nine counters.  The board sections are both new big pieces with new 'icy' artwork, all very nice.  Most of the counters you will have seen before, with 5 more bloodied tokens and 2 more green rage tokens, which are nessacery for the bigger battles this set enables you to play.  The two new counters have a big 'R' on them and are for showing when dwarf ironwatch are reloading their guns.

The set conatains 12 miniatures in all, 11 plastic and 1 metal, all of which are from the standard mantic kings of war range.  You should have one of the other DKH sets if you're looking at getting this, but just in case, all the plastic models require assembling with glue, no issue here just something to be aware of.

The above 3 pictures show the plastic models you get in the set after I've assembled them.  You get 2 elf scouts, 2 dwarf ironwatch (can be assembled with either guns or crossbows), 4 ghouls and 3 zombies.  The quality varies quite significantly, I'm really not keen on the elves and the dwarves are only average, luckily the ghouls and zombies make up for this by being brilliant. 

The metal Dwarf Berserker Lord you get is shown above (in both painted and unpainted forms).  It's a really nice model, but I liked him enough that I'd bought him some time ago from the Kings of War range and you can't use two in the game, so having a second one is pretty pointless and I'll have to sell or trade it on.  This is the problem with recyling models from other ranges, whilst everyone can use a few more ghouls and zombies I really feel that Mantic should have offered a unique hero scuplt.  Of course if you haven't already bought him then don't worry he's a great fig.

As ususal with the DKH series you don't get any square bases which would enable you to use the miniatures for other wargames as well, as usual I find it a tad annoying, but hardly the end of the world.

The rulebook is the same small black and white format used in the other sets in the series, we get 20 pages of rules this time.  We start off with an introduction and then a reprint of the shooting rules just in case you haven't got green menace where they origanally appeared.  After that we get the new rules, which basically break down into 4 sections; The rules allowing you to use any race in any scenario and the points system, then rules for 20 new adventurers (5 for each race), rules for multiplayer games and finally 2 new scenarios (designed as 3-4 player games but that could be played with 2 players).

This all adds a huge amount of variabilty and replayability to the game.  The multiplayer rules are fine and no doubt useful, but certainly for me its the ability to add different troops and to switch races around in the scenarios are what's so great about this set.  As well as rules for the new troops included in the box there are rules for a number of other troops that you will have to buy (or proxy) to use the rules for.  The whole approach is pretty good as it allows players to add a few bits of pieces here and there to their collections and use them without having to invest in a whole army.  There are some really interesting choices as well, like a large werewolf (hopefully a model will soon be forthcoming), the dwarf driller (see my painted version here), wraiths (who can walk through walls) and even tiny little orclings (hope you didn't throw away the ones that came with green menace).  It also means its very easy for Mantic to add new pieces to the game now that everything has a points value and a new scenario isn't needed each time.  The only slight gripe I have is with the lack of any real background information on the new troop types, whilst experienced gamers will be familiar with most of the troops just by their names, I've always thought DKH would serve as the perfect introduction to miniature gaming and a little bit of background would really help people new to the hobby, but I'm just nit-picking really, it's not a big deal.

I'm also very glad I bought the Mantic crazy christmas bag a couple of months ago, as as well as providing more of many of the new troop types there are enough parts on the sprues to allow me to knock together a few more grander pieces to represent the unique characters in the game such as the dwarf prince and elven lord and captain..

Thursday 9 February 2012

Nunney Castle

I visited Nunney Castle in somerset a few days ago.  It's only the shell of the keep thats survives surrounded by the moat.

It immediatley struck me as odd looking (I've been to a lot of castles over the years and never seen anything quite like this one).  The keep is reasonably tall, but very thin.  Origanally built in the 14th century by a sir John Delamare using money he'd obtained in the hundred years war.  There was a small battle there in the civil war when the parliamentarians besiged the royalist garrison and damaged the castle.

The castle is now under the care of English Heritage and is freely acessible to the public with no charge.  I wouldn't recomend going miles to see this, but if you're in the are in the area its worth popping in and having a look.

Wednesday 8 February 2012

Planet Earth DVD Game

I was round a freinds house the other day and after a game of trivial pursuit he bought this out, Planet Earth: the interactive DVD game, and we gave it a go.

It's superfically very similar to trivial pursuit, you have a board with question squares (no categories, all just planet earth questions), roll again squares and bigger squares that have more specific question areas.  You roll the dice and move your piece answering questions until you get a question wrong or land on one of the specific squares.  You then answer a question on that specific topic, if you get it wrong your turn ends, if you get it right the DVD tells you to get a certain number of pieces of the 'planet earth puzzle', which you are trying to complete and your turn then ends.  The person who puts in the last piece of the puzzle wins.

The questions are on the DVD and are all multiple choice and feature facts and little videos from the planet earth series (I thought I clocked a bit of footage from other BBC series too).  It's all very pretty and well produced, but it's designed as a family game and I found most of the questions rather easy although there was the odd thoughie.  As you get 2-3 answers to pick from anyone can happily guess with a chance of getting it right, but knowlegde will still help you.

The questions being on the easy side isn't the issuse with this game though, the problem is that whoever happens to place the last piece wins.  Which makes basically all the questions before that completely pointless, and winning has no bearing on who has answered the most questions or even who's landed on the best squares.  This might be ok if playing with young children, but we were playing with a bunch of competative adults and it was more than a bit frustrating.  In fact it completely ruined the game, because there was no game.

Not all is lost though, we played again with some ajustments and managed to salvage the game.  It's very simple, put the puzzle pieces away and go and find your trival pursuit set, get out the wedges and the pies.  Basically treat it as a trivial pursuit board with the 6 specific catagories represented by the six coloured wedges, still end the turn on a wrong question or the successful getting of a wedge.  The first player to get all 6 wedges wins.  A simple fix that made the game go from frustrating and pointless to fun and enjoyable.  Of course this will only work if you like trivial pursuit.  The other alternative would be to keep track of puzzule pieces recived and annouce the winner as the player with the most.

If you like trivia games and the natural world and follow my suggested ajustments (or come up with your own of course) it's fun enough (although they essentially turn the game into an alternative card deck for trivial pursuit), although I think the replayability will be limited.  If you don't like trivia games, have no interest in the natural world or can't be bothered to modify the rules so there is actually a game, then really don't bother.

Tuesday 7 February 2012

Army Focus - Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game

The Fellowship of the Ring

This 'army focus' post is a little different to normal, as it doesn't feature an army as such, but is a showcase of my figures from Games Workshops Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle game.  I bought the first of these as the fellowship models came out with the first movie, this was just as I headed off to university and gaming got put to the side for a few years and I never really got into the game.

Faramir and Eowyn

Faramir's Rangers

Tom Bombadil & Radaghast the Brown 

When I returned from my 7 year trip up north I bought a few more minis and painted them as well and thats the collection that your looking at.  I like the realistic scuplting proportions on these models as compared to GW's usual output and enjoyed painting them.  You'll notice I've mainly got good guys as well, I suppose thats because they're more developed as characters and this is a collection of figs that appeal to me rather than a gaming force.  If I was to make a proper army out of these guys I'd probaly go with an elven army, but it's not a key priority at the moment.

Glorfindal, Haldir and Elrond

Galadriel and Celeborn

High Elves

This collection is bound to grow by the end of the year as new miniatures are released for the new Hobbit movie, I have no idea yet if I'll get into playing this game, or whatever game they release for the Hobbit, but I'm almost certainly going to the get the boxed set of bilbo and the dwarves that will ineviatbly be released (I remember feilding such a unit to represent the party in a game of warhammer many many moons ago and have always wanted an offical version), and I still have a few unpainted heroes and plastics I might get around to at some point as well.

The Witch King, Gollum and Saruman

Warriors of Rohan
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