Monday 29 May 2023

Infinity - Practice Games and Future Plans

I had a practice game down at HATE as I realised that I have a lot of stuff on between Steel City Insurrection and now. Bearing that in mind, I decided to take White Company rather than O-12. The reasoning behind this is I'm still assembling some key O-12 pieces, while White Company has all the "essentials" painted. I'm also still learning what all the O-12 units do, while I'm feeling comfortable that I know what a lot of the core White Company units do, although I'm still learning the faction as a whole.

Chatting with Yashar after the game, I've come to the conclusion that I should really move onto Nomads next. I do still want to come back to O-12 at some point, but Nomads were my first love and it seems daft to hold off on playing them again.

I also got persuaded (it wasn't hard) to start in on Vanilla Nomads. Part of the reason for doing O-12 was to duck into a vanilla faction for a while. While I had been worried about getting overwhelmed by the choice, I've come to realise the choice will be an advantage - I can paint models from different sub factions and skip between them based on my whims at the time...

Thursday 25 May 2023

D&D Icons of the Realms Spell Effects: Arcane Fury & Divine Might

One of the things I dug out of the storage unit was this set of spell effects I picked up a while ago. With me playing a few more D&D games in person, there's a few of these I might have a use for!

Monday 22 May 2023

Hobby Admin

I've not been getting much painting done of late, but I did spend the weekend getting a whole bunch of "hobby admin" done. I had two commissions back - this big pile of Nomads back from my Infinity assembly guy, and another Terrain Crate back from Brushchewer Inc. So the painted models need photographing, and the assembled ones need checking and putting away.

I've started playing D&D in person. It's a campaign with multiple games of D&D in a linked world. It's good fun, if not hugely deep due to the number of players. I went along with a couple of ideas and ended up jumping into playing a Kobold Druid, because I haven't played one of these small agents of chaos in forever.

I already had the Frameworks Kobolds minis, so I headed up to the storage unit to dig them out.

I hit level 2 after my first session, so I also grabbed the box of horses I had at the unit so I could Wild Shape into a bigger lad if needed.

The "miniatures to borrow" for new players were also a bit limited, so I grabbed some spare Frostgrave sprues I'd been planning on selling to assemble and paint for them instead.

I didn't have a bunch of the things you can Wild Shape into, plus the campaign allowed the Strixhaven backgrounds, so I grabbed Find Familiar via that to allow some additional nonsense. To cover all those options cheaply, I picked up the Reaper Bones Wolf pack and Familiar Packs to get some simple models done for that.

And finally, I ordered a single sprue from the Wargames Atlantic Giant Spider box to make me a Giant Wolf Spider. The seller was also selling single Battlemechs, so I grabbed a Locust for my small militia lance.

I also had a couple of Infinity boxes that were going "Last Chance to Buy" show up, and picked up a few other D&D things from the storage unit because I was full of keen, and all together, that's probably a Bit Too Much to be doing. I'm spending more time sorting stuff out than I am painting...

The Horus Heresy minis are going into the "abandoned projects" pile for now as I stalled out on sorting their bases. I'll finish up the dwarfs and the last of the Dungeon Debris, then move onto something new to get me motivated again.

Thursday 18 May 2023

Terrain Crate Dungeon Essentials - Brushchewer Inc

I got another box of Terrain Crate painted by Brushchewer Inc. This set includes a whole bunch of really useful generic scatter that will see a lot of use. Barrels, chests, tables and doors are always going to be needed for set dressing dungeons!

Monday 15 May 2023

One Page Rules Battle Report: Deathwatch vs Tau

For the second game on "Man Gets New Hat" weekend, we moved up to 2,000 points a side, and my loyal opponent decided to bring his Tau. I changed up a few units to make an actually legal list this time.

We had a whole bunch of miniatures that set up after the others, so first a big unit of Tau Battlesuits dropped into my lines.

I dropped my Vanguard Veterans to deal with the big mech, but they then got counter deployed by a unit of Stealth Suits.

I charged my Assault Intercessors into the big Tau Mech, and they caused a little damage, but it's tough armour really helped protect it.

The Assault Intercessors got shot and stomped to bits, but the Vanguard Veterans decided to ignore the Stealth suits and shank up the big mech suit. It turns out that Lightning Claws and Heavy Thunder Hammers are really rather good in this system, as it got thoroughly blended.

I made a gutsy charge across some open ground at one point, and this was the roll to hit on a 2+ with a fancy rail gun. My opponent's dice were incredibly treacherous this game!

With a handful of Tau models left alive as I solved problems with "charging and stabbing", the game ended up swinging to the Deathwatch quite decisively - but much of it was due to a good deal of luck. Because I didn't know how deadly the Tau shooting was, I recklessly ran at them screaming rather than advancing cautiously, giving them less time to shoot and no time to recover when they had a handful of unlucky rolls. It was a high risk strategy I took by mistake, and it happened to pay off this time.

Still, One Page Rules continues to be good fun, and I'm curious about giving it more of a go now I know it well enough to play a larger game.

Thursday 11 May 2023

White Company: A Competitive Expansion

I got another batch of figures back from That Mr Shy to expand my White Company further. While I'm concentrating on learning my O-12 at the moment, these figures were the gaps I felt I was missing in my White Company. They're all set up now, ready for me to bring them out when I want a change.

The main driving force for this commission are the Karhu. A light infantry model that can form a Fireteam in White Company, they're fast moving, with visors to see through opposing mimetism and mimetism of their own to make them harder to hit. The Terrain (Total) and Climbing Plus add to their mobility, while NCO lets them use the Lieutenant order, making them even more efficient. They also bring a +1B Feuerbach, a medium to long range anti armour weapon that makes short work of the more expensive, heavily armoured units that the current edition of Infinity is encouraging.

Next up are a couple of Fusiliers - a mispack had left them headless in my last batch, but Corvus Belli's mispack service is excellent and convenient. Ironically, I think that the heads are meant to be the other way around, but they look pretty cool how they are, so I don't think it's a bother.

A couple of civilian models round out the high value target models I need for some mission objectives.

This season, sometimes you can get a free Bashi Bazouk or CSU. The White Company also can take CSUs natively, so that's a model I'll continue to get use out of after this season.

This automatic turret comes from the Objectives box that Corvus Belli produce, and is currently needed for certain missions. As a couple came in the box, I decided I'd like a matching one!

Finally, the Mulebots, support units that can reload models whose disposable weapons have run out, or provide special Hacking Programmes that boost other models. They're very much a "sometimes" take, but I decided to grab a pair to make up the numbers on this batch and enable a few list builds I want to try at some point.

Monday 8 May 2023

One Page Rules Grimdark Future Battle Report: Deathwatch vs Tzeentch

Last weekend in the UK, our King got to put on the hat his Mum wore. I wasn't hugely interested in watching this, even if it doesn't happen all that often. So instead, I travelled over to a friend's house to play some Grimdark Future.

For our first game, we decided to start at 1,500 points. In One Page Rules, old Marines and Primaris Marines are different factions. As it was a friendly game, my opponent said it was OK if I took models from three factions rather than two so I could take an Inquisitor.

With four crates of Inquisitorial Secrets to recover, the infiltrators grabbed one, and shot a few Pink Horrors before being cut down by a hail of fire from the Rubric Marines.

The Hellblasters got cursed and then ripped apart by a Greater Daemon of Tzeentch. The counter attack from the Assault Intercessors and Chaplain got him down to a single wound before they were cut down.

But elsewhere on the battlefield, the Vanguard Veterans had cut down the Rubric Marines and thinned out the horrors enough my surviving forces from elsewhere were able to shoot the last couple down. I'd lost a flank, but held all the objectives for the win!

The Greater Daemon made eye contact with the Inquisitor, as if to say "this isn't over", and phased back into the warp, the only survivor of his force...

Friday 5 May 2023

Review: Wizkids D&D Classic Collection: Monsters A - C

I recently got my delivery of the Wizkids "D&D Classic Collection: Monsters A-C" boxed set. I'm usually pretty open about my dislike for Wizkids pre-painted models, but the video reviews of this set persuaded me.

The set are based on the original monster manual illustrations. This is broadly fine, but has resulted in a certain orange monster in the room. Once you look past that, there's some nice sculpts in the box, with some better than usual paint jobs on the monsters.

First up is the Ankheg. The aesthetic of these subterranean bugs has changed pretty significantly, but I really rather like this design. I also feel like I could easily use this with new Ankheg designs by simply adding into my world lore that there's some sexual dimorphism in the species.

The Ankheg is a great classic low level monster that can be a scary solo encounter for a low level party, or a pack of them for a tough encounter for a party that are around fourth or fifth level. Their acid spit means characters will need to think about how they're positioning themselves. With a lot of low level campaigns, the Ankheg feels like a monster whose model can get plenty of use.

The Basilisk is still an eight legged monster, but this one looks a little more naturalistic, and is longer and slinkier. As you can see below, the modern design (in this case from the Sand & Stone Wizkids range) is brighter and stumpier.

As well as using Basilisks for a "natural" monster in it's environment, I like them as a trained or allied monster in some scenarios. Eberron has a Daelkyr that's all about petrification, for example. You could also have some villains who've trained them as guard creatures. I also like the idea of elite troops trained in blind fighting using fully enclosed helms to protect them from the basilisks they fight alongside.  

On the game side of things, I wouldn't want to put a Basilisk up against a party of inexperienced party at the level they're a good individual threat for. While there's only a low risk of petrification, it takes a 9th level caster to remove it once it happens, so it can be catastrophic on a low level party and very disruptive to an adventure. You need a party who understand how bad that is so they can take the right precautions to deal with it.

As supporting monsters against a higher level party they become a minor nuisance as the chance of failing a low difficulty petrification save becomes even less likely. So while I really like the aesthetic of having the party fight a Basilisk, they're very much a monster that rewards cautious, experienced players. That means they probably suit some styles of play much more than others.

I. I still don't know what to think about this Beholder. It's authentic to the original art, but the original art is goofy as fuck. This looks like some kind of kid's monster project that was home made and painted a weird colour.

Beholders are a tough tactical fight for high level characters. I'm not sure what game would suit this sort of silly nonsense over some sort of eldritch horror. This is a weird piece for people whose nostalgia this is, and I am not that target audience.

Next up is the Bulette. Another magical tunnelling monster this one is a lot tougher than the Ankheg. He's an intimidating looking chunky boy, and a good monstrous encounter for PCs, either as a wandering monster or even an objective for a side quest.

Comparing it to the Sand & Stone Bulette, it looks chunkier and also more naturalistic. I think I prefer the grey scales to the metallic look. This is sort of emphasising why I got this box - I really love several of these sculpts over any of the current alternatives.

A Carrion Crawler is an excellent weird monster that suits places where there's lots of dead things. They can really "spruce up" a dungeon or cave system if there's a lot of dead bodies around. It also gives a nice varied fight encounter from the rest of that section, while remaining "on theme". Of a similar power to an Ankheg, it's of a good level to provide a nice encounter in players' early levels, so is likely to see plenty of use.

Chimera are an excellent "end arc" boss for low level campaigns. The paint quality on this miniature is absolutely excellent compared to what I'm used to from Wizkids. This is the biggest model in the box, and a real centre-piece that won't disappoint as a fancy reveal at the end of a short campaign, or the early arc of a longer one.

Another petrification monster, the Cockatrice isn't that dangerous as long as you don't let it hit you. It's petrification isn't permanent so it's less devastating. I've used them as a warehouse's night guards - released to patrol the interior and trained to return to their cages for food in the morning.

In D&D, Couatl are Celestials, so unlikely to be combating PCs all that often. That said, there are spells that can summon them that PCs might have a use for, so having one to hand is going to be pretty handy.

Wednesday 3 May 2023

Continuing to learn O-12: Firefight vs Combined Army

I had a quick game of Firefight on Sunday at the club, stepping in for a player who needed an opponent for an ongoing league I'm not a part of, and getting in another game to shake down my O-12 at the same time.

I ended up starting off by losing my Engineer and Reaction Remote to a Speculo, which rudely also survived the return fire too. Fortunately, I was able to get my Epsilon to have a little walk up a wall and put down the Speculo permanently in my first turn.

I was running Katherine Cho as a Lieutenant masquerading as an Omega HMG, and placed as my reserve model to avoid the Speculo. Unfortunately, in the second turn she fell victim to a parachutist who was intended to sacrifice itself to cause a cheeky wound on one of my attack pieces and accidentally hit the jackpot in taking out my Lieutenant.

I was running Cuervo Goldstein as a drop troop this game, and while he managed to take out a Yaogat sniper that was causing me significant grief, followed by a successful Lieutenant kill, I wasn't hugely impressed with him. He's good, sure, but a cheaper drop troop could have done just fine and achieved the same thing.

The other troop I tried out this game was the Bronze HMG, which was . . . fine, I guess? It did a good job in taking down a couple of pieces, but my opponent managed to get some shots on him in my reactive turn and wear him down eventually.

I'm still in the "not sure" stage with my O-12 right now. They're proving an interesting puzzle with a playstyle I'm not accustomed to, but a few games in, I've not yet had an "aha" moment with them, or found myself super excited over any of their profiles. There's nothing bad here, but I'm finding myself treating them more as a puzzle to work out than a faction I'm excited to be playing.

Monday 1 May 2023

Reviewette: Wizkids Icons of the Realms Sand & Stone and Shadow of the Dragon Queen

I am, by and large, not a huge fan of Wizkid's pre-painted line. The soft plastic they use results in curved weapons, the paint jobs aren't great - with a particular blind spot for humanoid faces, and they come in blind boxes, which are Satan's favourite abuse of capitalism.

That said, I do sometimes spot nice miniatures I'd like and grab one or two for use in future campaigns I run. Rather than fish into blind boxes, I usually shop from Tritex Games, who sell singles of various models from the blind boxes. I'd rather pay a little more and get the models I actually want...

From the Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen set, I just grabbed the Wraith and Leedara, who is a named ghostly person who will do very well as all sorts of weird ghostly apparitions in future. Most of the humanoids really didn't appeal at all. I liked the Behir and the Treant Noble in this set, but the Treant Noble was a little too pricey for an impulse purchase, and I managed to find a Gale Force 9 Collectors Edition Behir recently, which is just prettier in every way to the Wizkids offering.

In the Sand & Stone set, I went a little heavier, grabbing a Rust Monster, Flying Snake, Basilisk and Bulette. The Flying Snake isn't great, but it was cheap so I threw it in the order. The Rust Monster and Basilisk are both excellent monsters and iconicly D&D. I'm less of a fan of the Bulette sculpt but it managed to make the cut for models I think are OK.

I'm regretting not having grabbed a Galeb Duh from the Sand & Stone set as I think it's a pretty good sculpt. I didn't bother with the Dinosaurs, Hyena, Giant Scorpion or Death Dog as while they were OK, I think there's enough other people making them that I'll find good models for them elsewhere. The Spirit Naga looked great but I've already got a very similar mini I bought from elsewhere.

I really, really wanted the Jackalwere, Lamia and Androsphinx to be good, but they just weren't. They're some of the models that really show the limitations of the Wizkids line. Finally, while I liked the Kruthiks, the adults coming in at £20 a time and canonically running in swarms was far too rich for me! If I want some swarming subterranian horror bugs, I'll be going with a generic alternative instead...