Sunday, December 29, 2013

Frostgrave Playtest 2

fg and I played two more games of Frostgrave using our same warbands.

The set up for the Wurm Hunt game

The Necromancer's men are attacked by the giant wurm while hunting for treasure.

Opposing warbands waiting round the corners of a ruined building for the other party to make the first move.

The Necromancer's rag-tag band enter and search a building.

We realised we played the game wrong late into the second game: movement is halved for the second move in a turn. That aside we found the basic rules robust. The use of d20 means combats aren't a sure thing, and a +2 advantage in Fighting still makes a fight risky.

The first game saw me gaining a huge advantage over fg, until my recklessness saw both my wizard and her apprentice put out of action. The aftermath saw fg's wizard gain a huge lead in experience, which after the second game saw him reach level 12 versus my wizard's level 7.

I enjoyed the games enough to want to continue with the warband, and maybe even try a different one from a different school of magic.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Out of Egypt...

I like mummies.

They are one of those figures that you can use across periods and genre, from fantasy and mythical to VSF to Pulp, and even games like Blood Bowl.

The latest addition to my small collection of mummy figures is the one from Northstar which they released as part of their Of Gods and Mortals Nickstarter. You can see him standing proudly atop a resin base from Fantascape, showing off his six-pack abs. I also managed to paint up two bases of Egyptian-themed critters, which are Bones miniatures given to me by fg.

I really like the Northstar mummy because it wears the double crown of Egypt, which to me speaks of the ancient history of that land.

The next figure on my painting list is the Harbinger of Set figure from Crocodile Games. Hopefully I can get that done over the New Year break.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

2013 in Review

Well, it's that time of the year again.

We played a total of 15 sessions, not including two sessions of RPG and my solo dungeon crawl campaign, which is an improvement over the last year.

A game of X-wing on 01 December - Martin bought several packs of fighters the same evening after this game...

Looking at the review post last year I can see that I have failed miserably at not buying more new figures, but at least I gave a good account of myself and painted most of those that I did buy. The main exception here are the Egyptians that I bought for an OGAM warband, and the Ottoman Dystopian Wars fleet that lacks painted opponents. Well, at least I got some of the Egyptians primed yesterday...

One trend that I do see is that we seem to be playing more easy-to-set-up games these past few months instead of the big 15mm games that involve hundreds of figures. Boardgames, pre-painted figures and dungeon tiles do cut a lot of preparation work for me, but I guess I would still want to set up that big game on those occasions where several players can make the session.

I'm not sure how useful it is to predict what we will be playing in the upcoming year, seeing as how last year's predictions came true for the first few months before we got hooked on something new, but goes anyway.

I would like to complete the current campaign arc for our RPG game (three more sessions planned, with a few possible endings that will allow another arc if the players are keen and able). I also expect that fg and I will play a few more playtest games of Frostgrave as we level our wizards up - I have already ordered a couple more figures for this project.

I also want to look into what else I can do solo with my dungeon tiles, or what other solo projects I can get into using my existing figures.

The only big purchase I plan to make is the Perry WOTR foot men-at-arms, plus a few packs of their metal figures to round up my WOTR/Empire army.

Well, that's that then. Have a good year-end holiday season.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Frostgrave Playtest

I recently had the privilege to become a playtester for Frostgrave, a game of dueling warbands led by wizards in a lost city that will be published by Osprey in 2015.

The rules are pretty easy to learn and involve not too much die-rolling: almost everything is resolved by the single roll of a d20, sometimes competitive.

I managed to play a game of it with fg just yesterday, using the Dwarven Forge dungeon terrain he bought.

The game as it stands has 10 schools of Magic for a player to choose from, and a list of 100 spells. Wizards gain experience points and 'level up' with the progress of the campaign and warbands can grow in size and even buy 'building upgrades' much like in a computer game. We will definitely try the game again in the near future.

Dwarven Forge terrain. Took a while to set up, but the result is worth it. The central crypt is from Thomarillion.

The Necromancer's warband, led by a professional Tomb Robber.

Skeletons stream out of the crypt to protect the treasures. The tissue represent the Fog spell cast by my dwarven wizard.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Giveaway Draw Results

I made the draw and here are the results:

Medieval Bundle - Dan Mersey

Mutiny Bundle - Adam from TMP

Do let me have your mailing addresses and I will send the bundles off as soon as I can make it down to the post office.

As for the rest of you, I hope to be giving away some of my other stuff, which include some really old (70s?) ancients and medieval wargames rules, in the near future.

Thanks for participating.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


I'm pruning my bookshelves and have decided to give some of the rulebooks to fellow gamers who will give them a better home.

These are the two bundles:

The Medieval Bundle: Peter Pig's Conquerors and Kings, Poleaxed 2nd Edition, Ed Smith's Wars of the Roses rules, and MiniFig's A Knight to Dismember rules.

The Indian Mutiny Bundle: TVAG's John Company 2nd Edition, and The Devil's Wind.

OK, this is the first time I am doing this and I am note sure if there are some internet rules about the whole thing, but these are the terms I offer.

Let me know if you are interested in getting either of the bundles by leaving a comment, and I will draw a recipient at the end of the month. This is not a first-come, first-serve offer.

The offer is free; once I let you know you have been drawn, do let me have your email and mailing address and I will mail it off to you. You don't even have to pay for the postage. I am doing this not to get some money back, but to give these rules a good home. If you want to pay back somehow, I ask that you make a small donation to a local charity, or consider doing the same thing I am doing and give some rulebooks that you no longer use a chance for a new lease of gaming life.

The Medieval Bundle is a straightforward, but the Indian Mutiny bundle is more... dubious. I understand that John Company is now in its 3rd Edition, and for some inexplicable reason I am missing the Event Cards sheets, so if you get it, you are getting an "obsolete" and "incomplete" game. In addition, it is also a thick book so postage will be higher, especially since there are also all those card sheets. If you want The Devil's Wind but not John Company 2, do indicate that in your comment/request and I will take that into account when deciding whom to send the Bundle to.

Thank you.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Song of Drar and Murin: Game 6

This scenario is inspired by a Tabletop Teaser from an old issue of Battlegames, which is the only frankly "fantasy" scenario I have seen so far. It gave me the idea that I can actually combine underground and overground tiles in the same game.

The dwarves must cos the overground tiles to reach the entrance to the mines, then search for a stolen relic which is in one of the three rooms there.

Warg riders attack!

A dwarf warrior is slain!

The dwarves push on despite their loss. More warg riders attack!

Birgir is felled by a war rider, but I use the warband upgrade I bought from the victory in the previous scenario to avert his death - rank hath its privileges.

With the overground tiles cleared, the dwarves enter the mines.

Puny goblins are no threat to my experienced dwarf warriors.

The first room is empty! Move on, boys!

Die, foul goblins!

Found it! Let's haul it home, boys!

Despite the loss of one warrior and the near-death of Birgir, the game wasn't really challenging; I gave myself a limit of 40 turns, and completed the scenario in fewer than 30. Should I increase the number of cards per tile? Or the number of points of enemies on each card?

I may shelve the campaign while I try to think of some way to make it more interesting. In the mean time I should get started on my Egyptian warband for OGAM, or catch up on some reading...

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Wanting to have a solo game to play too, fg bought himself the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game last week and brought it over this afternoon.

The game is rather daunting, and has almost 500 cards in the basic set - fg bought a couple more expansion packs, which meant we had over 500 cards. Fortunately the game box was design to help organise the different sets of cards, and the rules actually come with a "map" of which cards go into which slots.

The game itself is not too difficult once you get the basic mechanics. It plays rather like a mapless dungeoncrawl, or a role-playing game without the role-playing. A campaign consists of several scenarios, each of which consists of a few scenes; each scene comes with a randomised deck of encounters and treasures, which the characters go through as they "explore" each locale. The make-up of each deck has some relation to the locale: a civilised locale will have more ally cards for example, while a dungeon locale will have more treasures and monsters.

The characters may choose to stick together or split up to explore the locales. While sticking together is the safest, there is a clock running - if your party does not "close" all the locales and eliminate the boss villain in 30 turns, you lose the scenario.

Winning a scenario allows your characters to upgrade, and they also get to keep some of the treasures they gain along the way.

We played a campaign through and a scenario in a second campaign, and kept our characters. This is a rather fun beer & pretzel game which we will most likely play again soon.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Gallows Grove

Privateer Press makes really nice figures and models, but they can be expensive. I've been eyeing their Gallows Grove for quite a while now, and was able to get a pack in a recent sale - still cost quite a bit though.

It's a beautiful model, if a little hard to put together and paint. I don't think I got the glowing sigils effect, but I guess I can always go back and re-do that if I get better at it.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Song of Drar and Murin: Game 5

As promised, I took the fighting outdoor and added some warg riders to the pack.

Instead of placing the cards on the tiles, I changed the rule for this scenario: the dwarves must make their way to the entrance to the mines, with the pursuing goblins being placed on the starting tile each turn. Since the goblins move faster than the dwarves, the dwarves must make their way across the open area quickly before the goblins can surround them.

To make sure that the goblin commander and the warg riders make an appearance in this scenario, I picked the goblin commander and one war riders card out, then drew another four cards at random, and then shuffled the six together.

The dwarves need to make it to the top left corner. The goblins enter from the bottom right corner.

The first two cards I draw are the goblin commander and the warg riders! Birgir, the new leader of the dwarves, orders the men to leg it.

But it is not possible to out-run the warg riders. The dwarves form a defence at the defile.

The goblins are pushed back after the first scuffle, but more warg riders arrive and one warrior ventures too far ahead of the line...

The warg riders charge again, and the warrior stumbles. Birgir face a tough choice: should he try to save the warrior, or get the rest of the men to safety?

We are dwarves - that's not even a question! Birgir sends two dwarves to prepare a second line of defence while he and the slayer charge in to rescue the downed warrior. The goblins begin to gather but they are unable to make it into combat.

A gruesome kill by Birgir sends many goblins fleeing - you can see the "casualty pile" on the top right of the photo.

The goblin commander rallies his men for a second charge, but another gruesome kill, this time by the slayer, sends more of his followers scrambling for safety.

Now outnumbered, the goblin commander decides discretion is the better part of valour...

Lucky tile placements allowed the dwarves to hold off superior number of enemies in this game. The most tense part of the game was when Birgir was faced with the choice of abandoning one of his men or risking all their lives. It took me a while to decide, but I realised I had to do the dwarven thing.

I played the whole thing through in an hour, with History Channel's Vikings in the background, and managed to pack all the figures and tiles away in less time than a commercial break took. Now I wonder what the next scenario should be.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013


I've been thinking about consolidating all the rules I made for the solo campaign, and a request by a fellow TMPer provided the impetus for me to do so today.

The Tabletop Rules and Lists

I use the SOBH rules unmodified, as well as the lists in the basic rules.

Murin is a Dwarf Commander, Drar a Dwarf Elite Crossbowman. Dwarf archers are Dwarf Crossbowen, Dwarf warriors with axe and shield Dwarf Warriors, and Dwarf warrior with two-handed axes Dwarf Goblinslayers (Orcslayers, except Lethal vs, Goblins).

The Goblins are Goblin Warriors and Archers, with the leader being a Goblin Commander.

I start with a warband of 300 points. Each victory gives me one Victory Point. One VP allows me to buy a warband upgrade or a warrior or crossbowman, and two VPs allow me to buy a character upgrade for Murin or Drar, or a slayer.

Tile placement

When using random tile placement, start with a small tile, which is the deployment zone for the dwarves.

Randomly pick one large tile, numbering its three open sides 1~2, 3~4, and 5~6. Roll 1d6 to determine which side of the large tile is joined with the small tile.

Then, number the two remaining sides of the large tile 1~3 and 4~6, Roll 1d6 to determine which side the next large tile will join to, then pick another large tile and repeat the process as above.

If it is not possible to fit the tile as determined by the dice, simply fit the tile as best you can.

When the desired number of tiles are placed, add the smaller tiles to close off the open sides of the large tiles.

Place one Encounter Card per tile. A card is revealed when a dwarf enters a tile, or when the Goblin Commander enters a tile.

Goblin Placement

Once revealed, the figures indicated on the card are placed onto the tile.

Each large tile has 8 rows and 8 columns. Number the rows and columns 0~7, then roll 1d6 twice to see which row and which column the figure will be placed.

If a square is impassable or already occupied, simply place the figure on an adjacent, unoccupied square.

If a goblin is placed next to a dwarf figure, it is in melee contact and counts as having Ambushed the dwarf. If this happens during the dwarves' turn, the dwarves' turn ends immediately.

Goblin Reaction

If a figure is within command of the Goblin Commander, the player may decide how to activate the figure. If a figure is not within command, follow the reaction as indicated on the card.

A goblin warrior or troll will attempt to move into contact and melee with the nearest dwarf. A goblin archer will attempt to move to Medium but out of Short Range and shoot.

That's all I can think of for now. Do let me know if you want to know anything else by leaving a comment.

Odin and his wolves

Painted Odin and his wolves over the weekend - I still haven't decided which is which yet though...

The wolves are from West Wind. They do look rather cartoony, but as fg had some handy they got recruited. I orignally planed to make them rather plain, but on fg's advice decided to stipple their fur a little.

The Odin figure is rather obviously a Gandalf figure, in this case from the Mithril line. I cut his wand off and drilled through his hand and inserted a brass wire for the shaft of Gungnir; the head is from a GW High Elf. Again, it looks rather cartoony, but I couldn't fit a more realistically-sized spearhead securely onto the end of the wire.

Anyway, with these three figures complete I can now field another warband for our OGAM project. I am now working on a Gallows Grove model from Privateer, after which I may start work on an Egyptian faction.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

OGAM: First games

fg and I got together this afternoon to try out the OGAM rules which I have been enthusing about for the past few months.

We set up a basic scenario and played two games using my Norse dwarves versus my Fomorians, swopping armies between games.

We had some initial confusion regarding the casualty removal, but soon got the hang of things.

By and large the game played like a fantasy skirmish game, but the gods made things... different. Slain gods can be "respawned" on the table by the followers, but killing a god also triggers a morale check for the whole warband, which in the right circumstances can decide a battle.

We will probably need a few more games to figure out how to maximise the potential of each faction, and the interplay of the traits between different gods and legends will certainly mean more interesting match-ups. fg and I are already talking about larger games where gods become less dominant, but I guess we are getting ahead of ourselves.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Song of Drar and Murin: Game 4

Following the suggestion of readers and friends, I decided that this scenario will depic tthe dwarves' attempt to recover the bodies of Murin and Drar.

The set-up. The dwarves need to fight their way through to the bodies at the other end of the board. If they have fewer than two figures on a cleared tile, a new card will be placed on it.

I recruited three more slayers this time, and they clear the first tile easily.

One down, three more to go!

Leaving two figures behind to guard the first tile, I push a slayer past the third tile into the fourth to beat the clock, unveiling the troll and the goblin commander.

Sending a warrior against the lead slayer, the goblin commander dashes to the tile to his right to raise the troops there. The archers keep the troll penned in in the side room.

I then make a mistake of sending the goblin commander back to attack the isolated slayer - he is cut down and his minions flee in terror. Murin and Drar are avenged!

With this win, I can purchase another leader figure to lead the warband.

I think the "Lethal against goblins" trait is perhaps too powerful in this campaign where every figure except the troll is, well, a goblin. I think I shall limit my warband to one slayer hereafter.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Song of Drar and Murin: Game 3

Alas! Would that I never laid out the dungeon tiles this hateful day!

With the figures I am planning to paint this weekend in the flocking tray drying, I decided to play another game of SODAM; Murin and Drar paid the ultimate price for my decision.

For this scenario I wanted to try out the Leadership trait of the Goblin commander. The dwarves start at the centre of the board and must exit via any of the three ends to win. The Goblin commander is randomised to one of the three immediate tiles, and may "activate" a card if he enters a tile.

The set-up.

The deployment. With the dwarves protected/blocked by a wall, I decide to head left and avoid the Goblin commander.

The measuring template from Litko makes an appearance.

Murin faces off the Goblin commander while the rest make off to the left. The Goblin commander decides against a confrontation and calls for more troops instead.
Things are looking good... but it won't for long...
The Goblin commander closes in. Drar is beset by two goblin warriors and Murin decides to come to his rescue.

Murin charges in and orders Drar and the archers to retreat... but Drar is cut down while trying to break off contact!

While Murin is stunned by his friend's death, the Goblin commander falls upon him and slays him too!

The rest of the dwarves lose heart and flee pell-mell, and one more archer will fall at the hands of the Goblin commander before the battle ends.

With a figure with the Leader trait on the goblin side, they become much deadlier. The dwarves were a little unlucky this game - the Goblin commander made 3 activations to charge at Murin and make a Powerful strike, and then rolled high enough to kill him.

I guess my question now is whether I should continue the campaign with the surviving dwarves and hopefully gain another leader figure by winning a game, or whether I should play the next games from the point of view of the goblins instead.