Thursday 27 June 2024

Product Review - Corvus Belli Siocast Anathematic

I recently assembled the new Siocast Anathematic - a Combined Army heavy infantry for Infinity. This is a staple of "vanilla" Combined Army lists. An aspect of the Evolved Intelligence, a heavy infantry with Hidden Deployment and Mimetism -6. It's most commonly used as a Hacker, but there's a number of different other profiles that don't seem to see much game play.

The Siocast was pretty good to clean up and assemble - I didn't try and use anything other than a scalpel blade, which you need to cut with rather than brush with. Everything fits together really quite nicely. The one danger is that the Siocast bonds with superglue incredibly quickly - if you don't line something up correctly it can get stuck in the wrong place.

I tried to pull two pieces off when they stuck in the wrong place and the Siocast snapped instead. The superglue bonds more strongly than the strength of the material... That said, the breaks were incredibly clean and glued without so much as a visible line.

So, really - clean up carefully, dry fit everything and you'll be fine.

Monday 24 June 2024

UK Games Expo - RPGs, Books and Accessories

I picked up a whole bunch of bits and pieces that aren't miniatures at UK Games Expo. First up is "hobbit girl autumn", a zine project by Jens Brasier. I was ambling late in the show and just got nattering to Jens on her stall, and liked the conversation sufficiently that I decided to buy something, and settled on this. It's a series of short stories and art of hobbit ladies in autumn. It's very chill and cosy.

Hobgoblin is a fantasy wargame created by Mike Hutchinson, the creator of Gaslands. I already backed the Kickstarter for a PDF of the rules, but picked up a deck of the cards you use in the game to make it easier to play if I do get around to trying it out.

Ex Libris is by my friend Eleanor Hingley. It's a solo play game about being a magical librarian. Definitely an easy sell.

"The what on the Border where?" was on the same stall. It's an interesting little ?exercise? where you create an old school style adventure. I don't know how to explain it, really, but I found it rather interesting.

Talking Thunder is a two person letter writing game about living under a dystopian oppressive regime. This is another game by Eleanor Higley. This is definitely one to have a little bit of emotional oomph spare before playing!

Senet is a board gaming magazine. I'd not come across it before, and it only has a print version and no PDF / online version. Board Games aren't my major jam - I like them but wargaming and RPGs are way ahead of them in my priorities - but this is a really solid review magazine that lets you know about stuff you wouldn't otherwise find out about.

SoulMuppet were giving away some QuickStart copies of Paint the Town Red , a game about sad vampires. In the player tips, it includes the line "be an impulsive, hedonistic disaster".

I think a lot of my friends will like this game very much.

It is coming to Kickstarter later this year.

While I was at the SoulMuppet stand, I spotted this game, Teeth, with a little post it said "Bridgerton Meets Buffy in West Yorkshire", at which point I knew I had to buy it. There wasn't much reason involved beyond that.

Finally, these "Dungenerator" cards, again from SoulMuppet, allow you to make a dungeon layout in a hurry. It seemed useful, so I picked them up too.

Friday 21 June 2024

UK Games Expo - Demos

I had a couple of demos at UK Games Expo. There were a lot more being offered than that, but there were often big queues and there weren't many things I was super keen to try out.

First up, I got a demo game of Shatterpoint. We got to play a turn, with two players on each side, so we didn't get a huge amount of experience of the rules, but the little I played of it seemed to feel really quite Star Wars-y, and the units seemed to act as you'd expect - droid troopers shooting at a Jedi had a Bad Time, for example.

I may have been at a bit of a disadvantage due to the Clone Wars era not being My Star Wars, but I did feel like the choice of having two people a side on the demo tables somewhat hurt the ability to get a full feel of the game. So my impression was broadly favourable, but not really enough to feel like I had an informed opinion on getting into the game or not.

The other game I got to try out was the Modiphius Fallout: Factions. The demo table was very pretty, it was one on one, and the demo agent did a solid job of explaining things.

The whole thing felt very "Necromunda" in terms of the level of detail - lots of individual stat lines (based on the SPECIAL system), lots of weapons to choose and a bit of book-keeping. I could definitely see that it would flow quite smoothly when you got the hang of it.

I would definitely recommend Fallout: Factions, though I won't be getting into it myself. If you enjoy Necromunda but are looking for something different, love Fallout, or are a little bit over Necromunda being spread over quite so many books - definitely pick this up. There's plenty of models from Wasteland Warfare already, and it's not like there's a shortage of folk who adore the Fallout setting.

The reason I won't be getting into it is that I have enough games of this complexity - I'm not after another skirmish campaign game right now. For me, Shatterpoint's "all you need is in the box" and models having set equipment with a few cards swapping in and out is far more the gap I'm looking to fill in my schedule. I think Fallout is doing very well at the market it's aiming at, it's just I'm not currently the target market for it.

Monday 17 June 2024

UK Games Expo - Flesh and Blood

A friend of mine is really into the CCG "Flesh and Blood", and the UK Games Expo was the only place a particular promo card was going to be available... If you played in certain tournaments. So I agreed to sign up to play a tournament for a game I'd never played, and thought it'd be interesting to document the process.

The tournament was on the Sunday, so on the Friday I headed to the stand for Flesh and Blood and asked for a demo. That went well, but the free deck you get for having a demo wasn't tournament legal, so I picked up a pre-constructed deck for a character called Victor.

The premise of Flesh and Blood is that you're playing a hero with weapons and armour, fighting other heroes with weapons and armour. You select your hero first and equip them, then the deck you build represents the attacks and defences you have, whether that's fighting or magic.

There's two major tournament formats. The first is called "Constructed", and its broadly expected you'll build your decks yourself, with only one pre-constructed deck available at the moment. The second is called "Blitz", where your hero has to be a "young" version of themselves, but they sell a significant number of pre-constructed decks that you can use out of the box to play.

In this case, it was a "Blitz" tournament, which I'd picked as it meant I could use a pre-constructed deck.

My first game was against a hero called Vynnset, a "Runeblade" who uses a mix of magic and fighting. Victor is a Guardian, whose basic premise is taking a lot of damage and then hitting like a truck. Unfortunately, "out of the box", he doesn't really have much defence against magic, so I was very quickly smushed. But I felt like I was getting the hang of things!

I was handed a few extra promotional cards for playing. This is apparently quite a common thing. The players were all really welcoming and friendly. It reminded me quite a bit of how the Infinity scene is - competitive, but friendly and welcoming with it.

My next three games were against Blaze (a wizard), Nuu (an assassin) and Emperor (another wizard). Remember how I mentioned that the out of the box Victor deck doesn't have any defence against magic? Blaze even exploded Victor for all 20 of his health during my turn as some kind of instant interrupt... That said, I'd gotten Blaze down to 3 health so I could see how you could win with a slightly more prepared deck.

All in all, I really enjoyed this game! I could see that the different hero classes create plenty of different play styles. I did dive in the deep end with my first non-demo games being at a huge event where rare promo cards were being given out, so there was always going to be a disparity in the space. When I get a little more time I'll probably pop down to my local store and give some of their gaming nights a go.

If you like card games, I'd definitely give this a go. It probably requires a bit of investment of time and money to really get something out of it, but you could also absolutely buy a few "Blitz decks" and play at home with friends with the pre-constructed decks out of the box and nothing else.

Friday 14 June 2024

UK Games Expo - Miniatures

I tried not to go too mad with getting miniatures at UK Games Expo, as its not like I have a shortage of miniatures to paint right now... First up are the multi-part Battlemechs from Catalyst, a I can't really get them from anywhere else...

The Phoenix Hawk and the Wolverine both work as Lyran Guards, so that's nice and simple. The Eris and the Rifleman are both not really suited to the Lyrans, so I'm thinking they'll join my militia force.

Finally, the Stormcrow and Vulture, which are Clan Omni-Mechs. While I'm not against playing my Lyrans in the "ilClan era" (the modern setting), both of these mechs aren't quite right for that either. So, its likely I'll pick a Clan paint scheme for a few Mechs. I'm a bit torn between Sea Fox and Jade Falcon, and will probably end up picking based on a paint scheme I like.

There are a couple of freebies I picked up, which is definitely guilt free. First up is this lich for Necropolis 28. He was being given out loose, and that pointing figure was definitely making me anxious...

I also had a good chat with the person behind Fauxhammer. He had a bunch of painted power armoured figures with his face on it. It was good to chat with him, and I'm sure I'll find a use for this.

I grabbed some filament printed scenery from Crafted Campaigns. I picked these because they were really nice practical pieces that weren't so specific you won't get much use out of it, and they were robust looking scatter of rocks and vegetation that looked pretty easy to paint. I'm not sure where they are on the website, sadly.

I had to pick up the latest miniatures from Bad Squiddo. She's got four halfling adventurers, which given I'm currently painting a few halflings at the moment, I really wanted to grab. These ones have some more obvious spellcasting types, which are good options to have available.

Finally, another freebie, but the miniature I'm most excited about of everything here. This is a Bucklerman for Warcrow, Corvus Belli's new game. If I was some kind of professional, I'd be assembling and painting this as a massive priority for the internet traffic from being early to publish... But I'm busy tidying the hobby space and have a LARP to go to right now, and then have a bunch of stuff I'm in the middle of painting that I want to finish...

Wednesday 12 June 2024

WIP Wednesday - Battletech and D&D Adventurers

I just spend the majority of the weekend tidying the hobby room - in the end I got four crates of stuff and three other big boxes of stuff all up to our storage unit to make more space in the flat. That was at the expense of getting some painting done, but I've got a few things on the table.

I'm getting a Battletech Lance painted up, and alongside that are the leftover Warmonger Halflings from January, and a rogue from Strata Miniatures.

The painting scheme for my Lyran Guards Battlemechs is pretty simple and I think I've got it down now. I've started off with a thorough drybrush of navy blue and light grey to get the basic colours blocked in. Next will be a lighter drybrush, a little tidying and a few details.

I've got quite a lot of posts about UK Games Expo to get out over the next few posts, so it'll be a while before I check back in again on the painting... Hopefully there will be plenty to report on.

Monday 10 June 2024

UK Games Expo

I went down to UK Games Expo at the end of May / start of June. It's a huge show for tabletop games, wargames, board games and card games. It's hard to explain the sheer scale of this place. This is just one of three halls the event is held in. On top of that, they take over a whole hotel for roleplaying games on top of that.

I really didn't find the Games Expo website particularly good for someone who was new to the event. The "first time" section of the site just gives a list of the things to do at the event. There weren't instructions of where to go when you arrived, no explanation of how queueing and entry worked, and I had to basically guess how to book into games and seminars. It turned out OK, but if I got any more anxious than I do my brain might have exploded.

The way it worked when you arrived was that you joined a queue to get into the NEC. Once you got through there, you'd be directed to a ticket hall, where they'd scan your QR code, and that got you your pass to enter the event, plus the tickets to all the smaller things you'd signed up to. The photo above is a picture of Second Queue that you had inside the event to get your tickets.

Forbidden Psalm had a stall, with an example game board set up ready to play. I picked up their rules as a PDF back when they originally Kickstarted and have never gotten around to playing it, but it looks like a fun quick game that doesn't need too many models.

There was also this board promoting the game Necropolis 28. It's another one of these indie / garage vibe skirmish games. The premise of this one is a world where everything is dead. I had a nice chat to one of the folks on the stall, and he gave me a free 3D printed miniature. More on that later.

Catalyst Game Labs were showing off both Shadowrun and Battletech. I didn't manage to get a demo of Battletech during Expo, as they seemed to be busy every time I wandered past.

I already had a demo of Warcrow at SELWG, so I didn't get a new demo at Expo. I did have a chat, and it looks like the rules have really evolved since SELWG and they're looking really good. They've now uploaded the rules to their website if you want to have a nose.

Only Games were showing off colour 3D printing. There's a particular desaturated look these prints all seem to have, but it's really impressive what they can do. I still prefer hand painted models, but if you want something "off the shelf" that's ready to use, these are a new option I've not seen before.

I signed up to a few events at the Expo. I'd booked into three Pathfinder games, which were held over at the Hilton near the NEC. I also went to a talk on Terry Pratchett (which was OK) and also played in a Flesh and Blood tournament (which is a competitive card game) - but more about that later.

I ended up heading back to my hotel pretty late each evening, and one evening, I made a new friend.

Friday 7 June 2024

Taking stock

I've been doing a little taking stock of my current hobby projects, and thinking about what my priorities are. Planning things a little bit in advance so I can set myself some goals means that as one thing starts to flag a little, I can start motivating myself by looking forward to the next thing.

With the Battletech Mercenaries Kickstarter due soon, I'm prioritising knocking out one of my lances from the "Game of Armored Combat" box so I don't fall too behind with the painting there. Four miniatures with a simple tabletop scheme is a nice simple job that's not too big, especially as June is a LARP month so I won't have a huge amount of time.

Having a fully painted Lance will mean I can start finding some games to start learning how it plays. I may have found a demo at UK Games Expo by now, but some games with my own models will be good.

I played in the latest club Infinity league with my Nomads, who are currently unpainted. I'm looking to paint those soon, and am looking for what to play while I'm painting up the first force. I decided it's time to dip back into my Combined Army. I have a Shasvastii force painted, and it won't take many models to expand the force to a Vanilla force. It's a quick scheme to paint so shouldn't be a big time investment.

Also, I might dip back to Shasvastii at some point and see if I can make Jayth Cutthroats work.

I really enjoyed playing my Guard again, but oh my goodness are there a lot of changes needed made to bring my models up to scratch. I'm searching for bits to update some additional models, and also looking at what to expand. The new Cadian miniatures are the first time I've been interested in getting some Cadian models, and as they now have their own profile and special abilities compared to Infantry squads, I'm thinking the first thing I'll get is the new "Start Collecting" box...

... but first, I have a unit of Bretonnian Men at Arms who are still only part assembled. Getting them ready for paint before I get another big unit to assemble feels pretty much essential. I put them to one side for a little bit to finish painting a few bits and pieces first. The Bretonnians and a box of Wizkids Kobolds are now my remaining annoyingly half finished projects from this year. I'm doing a lot better about having fewer of those.

On the subject of half finished projects I have lying around, I haven't played Malifaux since before the pandemic. There is a charity tournament at Dark Sphere at the end of June, so I've found someone to give me a refresher game, and if that goes OK, I'll look to get a few more models assembled in time for that.

The recent Age of Sigmar announcement has shown off some very, very pretty new Skaven models. I have previously abandoned my Skaven project, but I think I'm going to fall back into my old ratty ways... I don't know when the new AoS is out, but right now, I'm not going to worry about it.

That said, I do have a painted Stormcast army I'll be able to play when AoS 4 comes out, which I am determined to do, having missed playing the first three editions...

Wednesday 5 June 2024

Work in Progress Wednesday - Battletech Lance and Infinity TAG

As a reward for getting my Gnoll Wizard painted on time, I assembled the Szalamandra TAG myself for my Nomads, along with her pilot. She was a bit of a faff at times - the gun was a pain to get to line up with the arms, in particular. Still, she's now assembled and ready for some test games.

Meanwhile, I've got the mould lines, basing paste and undercoat sorted on the second Lance from "Battletech: A Game of Armored Combat". I don't know all their names yet, but looking at my notes, I appear to have a Locust, Shadow Hawk, Catapult and Wolverine. These will be getting painted up in a Lyran Guards paint scheme.

Monday 3 June 2024

Gnoll Artificer

I've painted up this Bifrost Miniatures Gnoll Artificer to use as a Kholo Wizard in Pathfinder. This is a scheduled post as I'll have been at UK Games Expo this weekend. I booked to play in a couple of Pathfinder games at the event.

I have no idea if I'll be able to use my own character, if they're actually Pathfinder Society games or just using Society scenarios, if I've set things up right with Pathfinder Society if they are, or if they'll use miniatures if everything else lines up . . . I'm definitely quite stressed and don't feel like there's a lot of useful info for how it's all expected to run! Hopefully it'll all turn out in the wash.