Monday, April 29, 2013


Just experimenting with some new backdrops for photographing miniatures.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Dux Bellorum - Macedonian War Edition

After seeing Craig's post about using Dux Bellorum for the Punic Wars, I decided to try to do the same thing. I worked out a formula to convert Impetus stats into DB stats, and we gave the conversion a spin this afternoon.

The Romans in formation, with their Pergamene allies to their right.
The Carthaginian-Macedonian alliance.
In general the rules worked OK - the cavalry battles on the flanks came to a conclusion early, but the infantry fights were a grind, since I gave Deep Units (an import from Impetus) +1 support for its rear ranks, and we allowed up to 3 Leadership Points to be used to cancel hit - we are planning to use the optional rule to reduce this to 2 next time.

The forces used were around 300 points in Impetus terms, and to me it didn't feel like a epic ancients battle yet. We will probably have to work towards a 500 points fight eventually.

Added: You can see some photos of the game at wahj's blog here.

Monday, April 22, 2013


I'm really hitting the wall when it comes to painting my WOTR/Empire army, so I'm quite happy when I finished this latest addition to my army.

The unit has figures from four makers: Perry, Mirliton, Trent, and The Assault Group. The TAG figures are from their Italian Scrapoli pack, something I picked up from Atlantico in Madrid. I had to swap their heads with the Perry plastic ones as they were rather, well, Italian. The oversized swords are from Games Workshop, and the shields from some unknown maker, bought as a job lot on ebay.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Chronopia Stygian Ophidan

A while back Chronopia had a 50% sale, and even though they didn't have anything that fit with the armies I was collecting, I went ahead and bought a few items, including a Goblin Myrmidon and the Stygian Ophidan - because who doesn't *need* a furry warbeast with a goblin crew AND a wyvern?

Needless to say they remained unpainted for a long time, until recently, looking for a change from painting my WOTR figures and worried about possible lead rot, I assembled the two sets, passed Adrian the Myrmidon to use with his Warhammer goblins (makes a good count-as Snotling Pump Wagon, I think), and worked on painting the Ophidan myself.

The model was not too hard to assemble, although it did take pinning, puttying, and three days to allow the epoxy to dry thoroughly between parts. I had to cut the tear-drop shaped metal base that came in the set to fit the model onto a 40mm monster base, but it wasn't hard to find the balance point.

After some thinking I decided to go a bat-like colour scheme over the traditional green warhammer wyvern or the purple-red on the box art.

Here is the result.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Relic - a review

Dale asked for a more detailed review of the Relic game we played last weekend, so here it is...

Relic is, in a nutshell, Talisman in the 40K universe. In its original form (and later incarnations, really), the game is about different characters (of various races and professions) traveling around a board fighting monsters, gaining experience points, allies and artifacts, with the aim of upgrading one's stats so one can eventually find a Talisman and confront the final challenge and win the game.

The game board consists of three circles or levels: the outer one where the encounters are easier, a middle one where challenges are, well, more challenging, and the final circle which one can only enter if one holds a Talisman. In the first two circles the players roll a d6 each turn and may choose whether to move their character clockwise or counterclockwise, thus choosing which space it would land in. In the final circle the progress is in a single direction, and characters have to overcome a series of challenges to reach the final space and then win the game.

In the first two circles, landing on a space usually results in the drawing of an encounter card from a deck, which may require the character to fight a monster, gain a prize, or sometimes an ally. With each monster defeated the player gains experience, which may be traded for improvement in stats.

Each starting character has its own starting stats, equipment, and special rules. When you feel your character has gained enough experience and improvement in the first circle, you move on to the second circle; and when you feel your character is powerful enough to take on the final circle, you likewise move on to the final circle. The thing is, all this time the other characters are doing the same thing, so the balance between gaining experience and making a move on the goal before the others do so is the key to winning.

Now replace the word Talisman with the word Relic, and you have a pretty good idea of what Relic is about.

The fluff aside, Relic is basically Talisman deluxe.

The game components are much more luxurious than the original cardboard standees of the first edition Talisman, and the character cards now feature dial instead of the coloured chits that tend to get jostled out of place when someone bumps the table.

picture from Board Game Geek
There are also some refinements: character advancement is fixed: what stats you increase is determined by the career track of the character, and not up to you. This is similar to the Dark Heresy RPG that we also played, and ensures that characters stay in character and you don't end up with an Ogryn that has Cunning as his most powerful stat.

What are new to me are the power cards and missions. The first are the familiar Chance cards that a player may hold and play when he chooses to. These also come with the numbers 1 through 6 on them, which the player can use in lieu of rolling a die. The second are "missions within the mission", little side-quests which the character must fulfil which will give them a little prize at the end; completing three of these missions will give you a Relic card, which allows you to enter the final level.

That, by and large, is what I recall from our game.

In terms of gameplay it's very much like Talisman. The challenges are more powerful, with some demons having stats of 13 (vs. yours of maybe 3 to 5 at the start), but the exploding d6 rule allows the occasional heroic victory.

Luck certainly plays an important role here, and if you fall behind sometimes things can get a little depressing as you see your fellow players surge ahead, leaving you with no chance of winning the game.

There is also little inter-player interaction here, meaning there is a bit of a down time between your turns, and there is very little you can do to directly impede your opponent, since player-vs-player combat is forbidden in Relic.

I did enjoy the game, partly because it is Talisman, and partly because it is 40K, and mostly because it's a relaxing way to spend an afternoon with friends rolling dice and having beer and pretzels. That said, I personally prefer a boardgame where play is more antagonistic, or more co-operative, like a dungeon bash where are the players are on the same side.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Roll with it

As I get older and the available space for storage and the available time for gaming become more limited, I become more selective of what I buy.

I tend to favour "force-multiplier" purchases: items that can be used across rules, scales and/or periods, such as terrain items, or things that can be used with what I already have in my collection, like a set of rules.

One recent such purchase that has just arrived in the main this afternoon are six Gamescience d6s, which I show photographed above with two sets of Gamescience polyhedrals that I already own. The first set was a gift from Adrian, and afterwards I just had to get another set myself because it's so much easier with a couple of sets when you are game-mastering.

They are not cheap dice, given that you can get fancy, themed dice for a fraction of price of their Gamesciene counterparts, but I reckon since dice are one of those cross-games items, I might as well invest in some good ones. With these latest arrivals, I have eight d6 (which are sufficient for our Dux Britanniarum game) and four d10s (6 if I use the d20s too, and which will come in useful for d10-based games).

And speaking of d10-based games and "force-multiplier", I have tagged an order of the "Servants of Ra" starter set on fg's order. We are probably going to use the Empire of the Dead rules for our planned campaign, and I am thinking of styling my faction as The Darkfire Club, a league of extra-evil gentlemen with the power of necromancy; I have a fantasy-Egyptian-themed Blood Bowl team which means I already have several mummy and animal-headed humanoids which I can use as the raised/summoned undead. The bald gentlemen in the starter set is also a dead ringer to my team coach, so I can field them as my faction leader in the "English" and the "native" fashion, as appropriate to the occasion. And incidentally, my Blood Bowl team is also called "The Ra Team"; not terrible original, I know, but there is something to be said for tropes when it comes to pulp gaming...

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Boardgame session: Relic

A few of us in the group have been excited about the game since we've first heard about it, and since Thomas and Adrian could both make the session, we decided we would play it instead of a miniatures wargame.

On the whole it is what it sold itself as: Talisman in the 40K universe. There is probably more book-keeping involved, and some of the encounters were quite over-powered in the early stage of the game, but the basic idea of going around the board in circles and upgrading yourself until you think you are powerful enough for the next level and finally the inner circle is still there.

It's one of those games that is good to have around and I can certainly see us playing it again.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

"Customisable" terrain

It all started with these Fenris standing stones fg got me...

Since they were of three different sizes, I decided to base them on different-sized round lip bases.

Then I got the idea that I should make an area-terrain piece with three round slots for them that would allow me to remove the individual bases to facilitate placement of figures onto the terrain. The base is basically a piece of of mounting board withe the appropirate sized holes cut into it glued to another, slightly larger piece of mounting board. The edge is given a bevelled effect by masking tape, and the whole thing is textured with some cork pieces and a mix of sand and gravel, then sprayed and painted and finally flocked.

Then I thought: since I am going to make a base, I might as well think of other things I can place onto it to represent other types of terrain!

So after some googling, I bought a pack of these from Fantascape:

 I painted them to match the rocks on the base, so that when placed on it the whole will look likethe site of some ruined building.

I'm now making a set of water effect inserts to allow me to use this as a marsh; and once I get the bits I plan to make an undead pit of some sort. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dux Britanniarum Games 4 and 5

The rest of the guys couldn't make game on Sunday, so fg and I played two consecutive games of our LOTR campaign.

After his string of successes, Badzur thought his next target - an isolated church - would be an easy prize... He was about to be surprised.

While the Dunlending ransack the church for loot, the allies suddenly appear!

The flank guard spots the levies closing in to cut off the orcs' retreat!

Thorgaut leads the dwarves and men and rout the orc centre.

Badzur's men (or rather orcs and goblins) flee, but he will manage to slip the tightening noose with the Dunlending, but have nothing to show for his efforts today.

fg's rolls meant his forces entered the table right on top of my looting forces and in the two rounds my orcs searched the church they couldn't find any loot. I was lucky to escape with my warlord.

We set up again and rolled the cattle raid scenario. This time, I thought I did well, moving my forces three turns before fg's forces arrive... with the grateful priest who is now part of his retinue.

Once again, Badzur is surprised by the pesky Belegon and his men.

Badzur sends the Dunlending with the livestock ahead while he organises the orcs to fend off the men.
Belegon orders the dwarves to head off the Dunlending, while he forms the men into a line of battle for the clash...

The orc charge falters before contact; the levies brace the shieldwall... and defeat the orcs!

The Dunlending fight off the orcs and drive the livestock towards the safety of the table's edge, but despite Badzur's valiant effort them men manage to catch them and recover the animals.

Two successive defeats leave me pretty much in the same position as before, but give fg two more men. I will need a bit of luck if I am to gain the upper hand... But that's the end of this campaign year and Bzur will have enough time to mull over his defeats and plot his revenge...

For this session we rushed to custome-make a set of activation cards using photos of the leader figures and a free software fg downloaded that is used to make custom Magic cards. It's quite a neat concept and we will probably do the same for future games which have a card activation system too.