Saturday, 31 December 2016

That was the year that was 2016

Looking back over the last twelve months, it has been very much an up and down year, much in common with most people, and the year has whizzed by with such consummate speed that at times I have struggled to keep up with the pace.

In regards to my year of hobby related activities, it has been much aligned with my year of life in general, no major upsets but time speeding by has left me wondering where all the time went and the general lack of progress on the various projects in hand initially annoying but now just putting this lack down to experience.

The amount and variety of gaming has certainly increased this past year and much thanks to all my opponents/partners in crime for seeing this positive development unfold; with a refinding of uses for my Empire army with 9th Age and Oldhammer gaming and Chaos Wars, some board gaming with AvP and the like, Future Wars antics, Urban War and Dux B and Mordheim campaigns, and a few newbies to me with the likes of Song of Blades and Heroes and Otherworld Fantasy to name a few show a good helping of SciFi and Fantasy gaming though I note a general lack of anything historical which is quite a surprise.

The year has been one of Kickstarters too, with myself buying into several of the croed-funding project which have all borne fruit with the various Nickstarter Frostgrave and Rogue Star projects being quite nice, figures abounding too with a particular favourite supplier with Steel Fist miniatures with very nice foot and mounted knightly models. Raging Heroes is the only one which I note a lack of major progress and although the first wave of releases have been sent including the freebies, there still remains a load of figures outstanding which is a trifle annoying, I think a noticeable victim of their own success but I wait for the remainder of the order with bated breath.

Online and PC gaming has been a usual part of my gaming activities through the year with a couple of games being particular favourites like Witcher 3 and Fallout 4 but a couple of the much sought after games released this year were a bit disappointing especially Total War Warhammer being the main culprit in this department, much too linear and not enough free-form gaming here but I suppose that was to be expected looking back. The X Com franchise was entertainingly added to with X Com 2 and I picked up a couple of table top ideas from this game in particular.

My painting mojo has been fairly lax over the last year but I'm not getting hung up on this and look to improve on things in the coming year with a more targeted approach, but we'll see. I did manage to get a bit of modelling and terrain making done over the year and look to build on this success and produce some major pieces in the coming months. The other part where much of my attentions have been focused is in the realm of terrain boards with some experimenting and some success too, so success here all in all and a good foundation as it were to build on.

Several surprises come from the last twelve month, mainly by their absence, not games of Frostgrave which I thought would be a bigger player in the year and as said earlier, no historical gaming at all. The whys and wherefores of these are probably legion and I don't intend to ponder over much as to why but look instead to rectify this state of affairs over the coming year.

All in all a different sort of year in the land of table top gaming from the one's previous but that, as they say, is a good thing. I don't think it pays to be too introspective or dissecting with your leisure pursuits though some idea of where your heading might be handy. I intend to do more of what I've been doing over the last year and some new stuff too with just a hint of some Old Skool for a bit of spice. Should be good.

I hope 2017 is kind and generous to all out there and that the year has lots of toys to play with and is full of gaming and friends to enjoy them with. 

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Mordheim Season 3 - Warband Raid

 This next episode of the ongoing campaign was a bit of a side step to the main narrative where previously the bands had taken out one of The Necromancers Captains in an ambush while he had been searching for a relic in one of the ruined hamlets previously destroyed by the rampaging Undead horde.

This time the winner of that game had the opportunity to raid one of his neighbouring warbands in their encampment 'somewhere in the wilds' of the Drakwald Forest region. Kev being the Undead leader that he is swooped on the chance and plumped for a raid on his neighbouring Marienburger's who have been steadily growing in power so this presented too good a chance to miss to try and knock the Merc's down a peg or too.

So with all present; Kev's Undead, Ian's Dwarf Rangers, Andy W's growing Skaven pack, Andy L's Witch Hunters, my hard pressed Protectorate of Sigmar and of course Dave's Marienburger Mercenaries everybody lined up for a bit of a grudge (or should that be grudge's) match.

The Marienburger's being on home terriotory got to kick off the proceedings and immediately made a break for it, straight at their arch-enemies the Witch Hunter's.

The Witch Hunter's, slightly perturbed to be singled out in this way, made a side step taking temporary cover behind the nearby hill to take stock. Everyone else made moves towards the encampment and the waiting loot and XP's in the form of goods to be destroyed in the centre of the table.

The Protectorate's part in the proceedings was pretty short, given that they were down to five men from the start, as two of the heroes of the band were taking an enforced sabbatical for a round or two, and as they meandered unassumingly over in the corner, the Dwarf sharpshooter to their right, at extreme range, first dropped the Acolyte and then one of the Crusaders, so a much expected voluntary rout was duly called and the Protectorate played no further part to much hilarity all round.

The Marienburgers now commenced their attack on the Witch Hunters and an extended barney enveloped the hill with the Merc's charging in while leaving a screening line of archers to guard their rear from the advancing Dwarves, and then the Witch Hunters counter charging into combat with all their numbers involved in the melee. This proved pretty bloody for both sides and much chagrin from the WH side as Dave continued to throw sixes to a frightening degree but it wasn't one sided and both sides approached a break test at much the same time.

Elsewhere, the Dwarves, Skaven and Undead wandered into the encampment area and began to ransack their respective quarters with only a tentative skirmish between the rats and Undead squabbling over some booty to break the otherwise quiet half of the table.

The Dwarves advance on the rear of the Mercs and look
for cover.
The battle between the Marienburgers and the Witch Hunters continued unabated and uninterrupted for a couple of turn with the losses mounting. Much jesting and poking was had when Andy's Ogre Merc who he had been trying to defend was dropped and taken out of action, much to his chagrin. The only change in this was when Dave's rear guard volleyed at the advancing Dwarves and quickly took out out of their number who had exposed himself to the firing line.

The Skaven join the fray with the Marienburgers 
while the Dwarves close to destroy some resources
By this time things quickly changed with the Skaven now avoiding contact with the Undead as their low Leadership prevented realistic charges against them, shifted focus and rushed into contact with the back of the Marienburg Merc's, coupled with the impending assault on the other side of the Dwarves now closing too.

End of the big fight nears
All this attention now proved too much for the Mercenaries who with out anywhere to run, Dave decided on a all or nothing stance and manfully made his break test and the Mercenaries went down to a man, not one escaping to the closing encirclement.

The Skaven try to consolidate and the rest
 advance to contact
With the Merc's gone and the remaining bands fairly well spread, especially the Skaven who consolidated their position and the rest hoovered up the last of the loot and resources, everyone took stock.

The Witch Hunters very badly bloodied called it a day and retreated to lick their wounds, quickly followed by the Skaven who saw no real point in hanging about with no more loot to get. This left the Dwarves and the Undead for a final show down once again.

Undead and Dwarves close
The Dwarves drew back slightly and lined up to get a few pot shots at the advancing Undead. However the speed of the devil dog threw this idea out the window as it rocketed from the back of the Undead ranks and pinned the Dwarf line successfully while the rest of the shambling minions moved in.

The fight was brief and as soon as the Dwarves dropped another of their number Ian called it quits as he saw the way the fight was likely to go already on the back heel and no gain to be had.

The Undead approach the Dwarven position and charge
This then left the Undead with another field victory (the fourth in the campaign so far) although mainly due to being the last to get into the fights so were largely molested until there was no benefit from prolonging the fight from the other bands.

Losses from the various parties were not severe, though noticable on a couple of counts with the WH's losing their Ogre Merc and a henchman type plus a couple of wounds, The Marienburgers went pretty much unscathed though due to the loss of revenue had to drop a couple of the Hirelings they had picked up in the Prison Break. The Dwarves loosing a fairly good henchman also keeps them at a lower punching level. The Protectorate do manage to actually get some cash and are able to expand their number to the dizzying heights of eight.

Next up is going back to the campaign trail and exploring the catacombs in search of the relic The Beast was trying to locate prior to being ambushed.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

9th Age - Empire Civil War

Another week gone by and another weekly club game at the .... club. This week we have been mainly playing 9th Age, the fan written reiteration of 8th Ed. WHFB.

Myself and Andy L had had this game organised to play sometime ago, but before our game, the 9th Age team had revised the rules as written and amended the 'Empire' army list to suit. To avoid any issues (ie having to re-do our army lists) we plumped to play the 1.1.0 release of the rules we had based our lists on.

Playing a 2,500 pt a piece game, each of us playing Empire, the game was set for an Empire vs Empire Civil War pitched battle.

Both of us were unfamiliar with the rules though fairly competent with the previous 8th Ed rule set on which they are based, but we went for pretty different line ups with Andy going for a character/magic heavy line up with a small number of point heavy hard hitting units. I, on the other hand went for quantity not quantity with a large number of cheap cannon-fodder units and only a couple tough but smaller units along with a smaller number of characters with minimal magic giving more figures on the table. (The first different thing noticed was that the troop/troop types are generally slightly cheaper than their predecessors).

Andy was deployed first and had the initiative to start and advanced his Templar Cavalry on his flank with his centre & right stationary to hold. His Cannons commenced their sniping and one round one took out my Volley gun and damaged the Steam Tank.

I preceded to have a general advance and threw out my left flank to circle round his open left and refused my right to draw out his Knights expecting the clash with my Electoral Cavalry to be one way but once lost would draw his Knights off position or even pursue off-table next round.

Round two went much the same with my centre advancing and Andy's centre holding but the flank went differently than expected. Andy failed on his charge roll to get his Knights into my Electoral cavalry and I promptly broke with my plan and decided to get any advantage I could and my slightly out number Cavalry charged his and in an unfortunate state of events (for Andy) I completely ace'd the combat and his Witch Hunter led knights broke and were destroyed in pursuit allowing me to flank charge his other unit of knights with his general in tow.

My firing all concentrated on his hefty unit of Spear in the centre while Andy split his fire on the steam Tank (reducing it to lass than half strength before it got out of the line of fire), and my unit of Imperial Guard Greatswords.

My flank attack continued it's plod round the out side and slowly closed in and only managing to make contact at the closing turns of the game with the Flagellant band managing to make it and charged his Crossbow and easily breaking this unit and pursuing it to destruction and into the rear of his Spear thanks to the additional move this allowed. 

Meanwhile, engaged to their front by the Steam Tank which had cleared to alley of fire from the cannons luckily intact but much depleted in strength, the tank proved pretty nigh-on indestructible in combat against lowly infantry and this unit, already down to half strength by the close looked to be doomed.

The two units of Imperial Guard clashed right at the end and with Andy's skillful playing of the magic had managed to buff up his Greatswords and his Spear making them pretty resilient and with re-rolls on wounds the combat here went very much his way by a factor of roughly 2 to 1 but the Bodyguard rule saved my Guard from an ignominious fate.

The magic in general was low key with Andy generally getting a slight advantage due to more spell casters, but the effect here tended to be quite local, though in the Guard vs Guard fight proved to be the decisive factor.

With five rounds played and running out of time Andy conceded defeat though the game was far from over (especially given the fickleness of Warhammer-esque games) but things didn't look great though (not counted up, but I suspect the points difference on the table probably wasn't too disparate).

The run through of the rules was enjoyable and fairly painless with only some of the tweeks that had been made having to be checked. It was pointed out that my enjoyment of the rules was probably down to an un-characteristic win for my Empire (which I probably agree with).

A couple of points didn't sit right with either of us, but mainly the ability of the Cannons to be heavy duty snipers (the offsetting previous misfire/blow-up rules having been much toned down) and this ability on initiative could be quite disproportionate to their point cost. That said I believe things have been changed in response to this in the new iteration of the rules.

In conclusion, I can see where the nomenclature of a Tournament Rule Set comes from and I think they do this pretty well but they still play quite nicely. The trial with Empire vs Empire does limit this review with some of the other heavy army list requiring trial to see if more balanced but I did enjoy the experience if only because the 8th Ed WHFB rules were pretty OK but just broken by the Army Lists released to sell more and more figures. Shame really but 9th Age seems to do a reasonable stand in from what has been seen here. 

To be played again in the New Year definitely.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Chaos Wars - Second Assault

Following our recent initial trial run of the Chaos Wars rule set available through Ral Partha in Chaos Wars - Trial Run a month or so ago, myself and Andy W had got together to give the rules another outing.

With a bit more confidence in tour knowledge of the game, ie we gave the rules a read through and Andy had picked up on a few bits we had previously carried out completely wrongly, we put together a larger (medium sized) game and included most of the bells and whistles and also went for the 'high fantasy' option of more points to spend on weird stuff.

Still using the generic army lists that are available for download, we put together a Humans versus Elf conflict with the Elves being quite shooty/magicy and the humans not. (I had forgotten to bring most of my artillery pieces, so struggled to make up my fantasy points but we just went along to see how things played out).

The game itself was fine and with a fresh perception of the mechanics things went pretty quickly with only minor checks of the rule book (mainly to deal with the magic system, which is simple enough but just unfamiliar) and managed to get the game to a conclusion by the end of the evening.

At the end of the game, we drew conclusions on the rules as we had seen them after two outings.

All in all, the rules produce a quick play style fantasy game which is relatively easy to pick up and quite enjoyable. The rules mechanics all seem to work together and there were no jarring results once we had understood the concepts.

We did have a few issues with the amount of 'fantasy points' or the proportion to standard troop points for a given size of game, with our average sized game you had 300 standard troop points and 90 fantasy points. Given the strength and powerfulness of some fantasy type units (Andy's Dryads were super-powerful probably taking half my 'normal' army to take out one unit, he had two units btw)), the proportion of these fantasy points seemed disproportionate to the army size. As a guide we pretty much agreed that the half the proposed fantasy points wouldn't be far off the mark to get a more balanced game. I might be prudent to limit the number of similar fantasy/fantastical units available or making some units unique given their strength on the field.

After the clear up we had decided that the rules were fun to use and its malleability to produce almost any army/type you could think of and to suit your existing collection, the rules were certainly worth playing again and into the future. A few constraints may be necessary with the army lists to avoid going all 'Armies of Arcana' with the lists.

More of these rules in the future.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Defence of the Westfold

This week I have been lending a hand (ie moving some figures about and throwing really bad dice) to Kev who was having a dry run for his club demo game that he is intending to put on at Targe later this week up in Kirriemuir.

The game is a recreation of Theodreds' defence of the Westfold during the War of the Ring involving Rohan and Isengard forces on the banks of the River Isen. Kev is using the GW War of the Ring rules for the game as they are good and simple to use and give a reasonable feel for the forces involved.

All the troops mustered are part (and fairly small part to boot) of Kev's huge LotR collection which includes multitudes more Rohan and some Mordor forces too. You can find more of Kev's WotR festivities on his blog Double Six.

Here follows a couple of shots of the evenings activities;

Initial Deployment

Isengard advances towards the static Rohan lines

Crunch time

Check out the full game at Targe this coming Saturday 12th Nov at Targe for more info and a better look at Kev's impressive troops.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Mordheim Season 3 - The Lair of the Beast

With the next round of the third Mordheim Season up, the usual suspects gathered chasing the Witch Hunters, who had proven victorious in the last round, in search of powerful Holy Relic which was in the hands of one of the Necromancers Captains, Rufus, The Beast of Dalberz, who had been instrumental in much of the destruction of the town and in particular the academic quarter.

Rufus had been tracked to the area of Jurgengard, north east of the remains of Dalberz on route to his stronghold at Slayer's End.

The Witch Hunter's then sprung an ambush on the Fighter and his small bodyguard while passing through the abandoned village.

Along with Andy L's Witch Hunters, following him to the field were Dave's Marienburg Mercenaries, Kev's Vampire led Undead, Andy W's Skaven and my Protectorate of Sigmar. (The Dwarves not managing to make an appearance for this engagement).

The table was the now standard 6' x 6' layout with the Beast and his guard of thugs holed up in part of the village necropolis and the bands deploying in the usual equi-distant fashion around the board. The Witch Hunters getting the initiative and a free move to kick the proceedings off.

The Witch Hunters promptly made a bee-line straight across the board towards the Marienburgers who were directly opposite and the Marienburgers then reciprocated in kind. The two largest (biggest warband ratings) bands then proceeding to clash in the north of the village, largely ignoring the objective and indeed the rest of the combatants for the first half of the round.

Next up were the Undead who played things a bit cannily (due to the newly raised Vampire, brought in to replace the previous now deceased commander) and not wanting to move towards the larger bands to the north, move slowly through the ruins towards their arch enemies the Protectorate.

The Protectorate also reciprocated in kind with a much depleted (but similar warband rating) towards the Undead, generally keeping cover and conjuring up Armour of Righteousness the Warrior Priest was emboldened.

The Skaven, now pushed out on their own by other movement were free to head en-mase towards the objective and Rufus and his small band.

Generally avoiding a couple of poor shots from the guard (other than a knocked down rat) the Skaven horde spread out and headed as quickly as possible and closed on the cornered henchmen.

In fairly short order, over the space of a couple of turns, the Skaven swarmed Rufus and his henchmen and took out a four of the thugs in quick succession.

The Captain in turn charged with his bodyguard, and took down one of the ratty number but otherwise the Skaven were un-phased.

Meanwhile, in the north the Witch Hunters and the Merc's clashed with the newly recruited Ogre Merc for the Witch Hunter's being a prime target barely managed to swing his axe before going down to the fire power of the Merc archers. The Witch Hunter's closed as quickly as possible and got to grips with the mercenaries to even things up and a viscous melee ensued.

To the south, the Protectorate, who were devoid of any missile capability, tried to maneuver into charge range while keeping in cover to avoid the Undead shooting. The Undead slightly withdrawing in return to keep that option. 

My Protectorate having no option moved forward to the attack and forcing the melee but having to give the Undead the first contact option.

With a mix of effective shooting and a reasonable charge, the Undead croaked a Crusader, a Templar and one the Acolytes and knocked the Warrior Priest to the ground with Kev's dice being very kind to him (but not to me).

The Protectorate response was poor with exceptionally rubbish dice except the bold remaining Crusader who managed to roll a critical against the newbie Vampire and things look ominous for a second but a a successful roll with a Lucky Charm saved the day for the Vamp. Otherwise the other Acolyte went down on his charge against the much mightier Dreg who took him apart.

The Skaven now overwhelmed the ruffian captain and his thugs, and with most of their number swarming in, including the hefty Rat Ogre, the fight was short lived. The Captain and his lieutenant went down and were duly searched and the relic 'The Witches Hammer', a holy tome was duly uncovered.

The rats consolidated their advancing sweep across the centre and hoovered up at least three of the treasure tokens scattered in this region in the process. The Skaven Sorcerer then began his incantations in preparation for destroying the hated holy relic.

The Witch Hunters and Marienburger's continued to take lumps out of each other, both sides trading blows and neither side gaining the advantage.

The Skaven tidy things up and now have a eye on the Undead and Protectorate battling to the south along with some unclaimed treasure tokens in the intervening ruins.

The Undead now pressed their advantage on the Protectorate and charged in with most of their number now out numbering the Protectorate 3 to 1 and with little trouble took out the Warrior Priest on the ground and the remaining Crusader leaving one solitary Templar who with hate filled zealousness stood his ground swinging his sword at the surrounding Undead Minions (and failed to wound anything again thanks to another lucky charm). The combat saw his demise under a mass of teeth and claws.

To the north and casualties mounting the Marienburger's were beginning to get the worst of the comdat and with any likelihood of any further treasure being had, the Merc's voluntarily broke for hills with the loss of five of their number.

The Witch Hunter's only marginally better off and on break tests remained and began an advance on proceedings to the south but a ways off.

On their first break check on their way south, the Witch Hunter's failed their test and disappeared into the gathering darkness.

With the Skaven sorcerer successfully destroying the ancient tome, the Skaven now advanced in a wide arc towards the Undead who consolidated their line and put out a blocking fear causing ghoul to slow things down. 

This tactic from the Undead was unprecedentedly successful as with the first round of shooting from the Undead at the advancing Skaven, they managed to pick off the Skaven Captain who had exposed his position going for the last treasure token onto of some ruins.

This then meant it was practically impossible for the Skaven to successfully overcome the fear causing blockers and failed to initiatate a charge due to the low Leadership scores caused by the loss of their leader. A brief tussle was had between the Rat Ogre and a Skaven Gutter runner and one of the blocking zombies (who repeatedly fell down but failed to die) and with things looking pointless and a large haul of treasure in tow, Andy decided there was no point in lingering and voluntarily broke leaving the Undead their third victory of the campaign.

A bit of a surprise result for all concerned and with no losses at all and a good haul of experience, Kev's Undead were very happy with the result from tactical play.

Losses were minimal for everyone post game and even the Protectorate who went down to a man didn't loose any one (though no exploration cash and a couple sitting out the next game pretty much puts them out of contention in the campaign).

Next up, the Undead have decided on the strategic view (and to prolong the campaign) to carry out a raid on one of their neighbouring warbands and plumped for the Marienburger's being the biggest threat of the choice available, so the Merc's are to try and defend their camp from the other bands as best they can.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Dr Strange - A Review

Managed to go and see the latest movie offering from the Marvel stable in the shape of 'Dr Strange' yesterday.

I had been looking forward to see this one as Dr Strange was always a favourite character of mine back in the glory comic days of my youth, though I never seemed to manage to get many of the comics at the time, mainly due to all the pot-heads had swiped them before I could get to the shop where I got my weekly/monthly comic fix.

With Benedict Cumberbatch as the lead, I was hopeful of a decent portrayal of the mystic character and I wasn't disappointed. The film is very well cast with Tilda Swinton (always playing the 'weird or intense character in a film she's in) as the Ancient One, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo and Benedict Wong as Wong (funnily enough) who brings a good level of humour to the story. Solid bad guy place goes to Mads Mikkelsen who plays the main antagonist Kaecilius and does this suitably menacingly.

The plot of the film basically forms around the origin story of Dr Strange who is easily the initially least likeable Marvel character being an arrogant, self obsessed neuro-surgeon who has a life changing accident and manages to estrange (pardon the pun) all who are near him in the process and ends up seeking a cure for his injuries in Napal. There the adventure real begins.

I wont follow the whole film plot as a spoiler but needless to say, if you know anything of the comic-book history of the character the film includes a large degree very effective and brain melting psychedelic scenes and mind bending spatial jenga particularly during the New York combat scene, think the film Inception hear but just more mandala-like, Lots of Escher inspired impossibles are prevalent throughout these scenes, definitely worth seeing these in 3D as the 2D may loose some of the 'wow'.

The movie does not offer up any major surprises plot-wise though there are a great deal of internal nods and bumps, particularly in a dark humour kind of way.. A good sharp wit is evident through out and the screenplay does give the audience credit of a good dose of intellect to catch the humour. The very well done almost slapstick humour induced from Dr Stranges' cloak is particularly well done.

The usual end credit teasers are there as would be predicted and the Marvel Universe tie in with the bigger world is there with the next in line being the next in the Thor story line and the hunt for Odin. Should be good.

Thoroughly recommended film, enjoyable at several levels a definitely good escapism, 'Dr Strange' gets a solid 9 out of 10 'must see from the Warblog.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Scatter Terrain - Barriers

I've just recently finished painting up the first batch of six barriers sections for use in my Future Wars project (and of course anything else suitable) with a colour scheme and look I had decided upon a while ago.

There are another eighteen pieces all of which are from Ainsty Castings are fairly ubiquitous around these parts for use in modern/ultra modern games.

The photo's show a slightly lightened version of the paint job and as I was going for a bit used and abused look, this has fairly well worked out. A couple of lessons learnt in the process of producing these bits, not so much in the painting of the pieces but mainly in the production and use of the water slide transfers I made for the pieces.

I made the transfers from downloading images from the interweb and adjusted/edited in photoshop and printed the images out on white transfer paper (to get a sharper, brighter image) and duly sealed the prints prior to use. I cut the transfers to size prior to use but noticed that once soaked and applied, the transfers developed a slight white edge around them where the colouring had leached slightly.

Now once applied and a quick run of wash applied to the edges of the transfers actually looked pretty good and a bit more 'worn' appearing, so a good accident as it were, but unintentional, so I would like to experiment and find out how to avoid this. Probably printing the transfers out on clear sheets will be the likely cure, but we'll see how this works out for clarity.

Having done this first batch as a trial, I'll produce the rest of the two dozen pieces and aim for a uniform finish, but with a bit of experimentation on the transfer front.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Rogue Star Frenzy

Well, maybe not actually frenzy, but keen interest may be more my level (not being the excitable type), OK Rogue Star Keen Interest is about at the moment with the fairly soon to be released next offering from the Osprey Gaming stable.

The rules are by Andrea Sfiligoi, he of 'Song of Blades and Heroes' fame (illustrations by Johan Egerkrans, who's work I'm not familiar with) and are a Sci-Fi Skirmish rules set. The Osprey blurb follows to avoid me paraphrasing;

'Rogue Stars is a character-based science fiction skirmish wargame, where players command crews of bounty hunters, space pirates, merchants, prospectors, smugglers, mercenary outfits, planetary police and other such shady factions from the fringes of galactic civilisation. Crews can vary in size, typically from four to six, and the character and crew creation systems allow for practically any concept to be built. Detailed environmental rules that include options for flora, fauna, gravity, dangerous terrain and atmosphere, and scenario design rules that ensure that missions are varied and demand adaptation and cunning on the parts of the combatants, make practically any encounter possible. Run contraband tech to rebel fighters on an ocean world while hunted by an alien kill-team or hunt down a research vessel and fight zero-gravity boarding actions in the cold depths of space - whatever you can imagine, you can do.'

Release date is scheduled for 15th Dec but Nick at North Star is running a low key Nickstarter for the project from the 1st November which nets you I think a free mini if signed up for.

There are a core of 17 figures due to be released to go with the rules, all based on the illustrations within the rules and sculpted by Mr Copplestone, so I will be snatching up these releases. Based on the pics released so far, they look to be very useful and full of character.

Obviously with these type of rules typical of Osprey releases, any figures can be utilised and I can foresee lots of Rogue Trader type figures being resurrected from the depths of cupboards and storage boxes for use with these rules. Terrain I suspect will be key to successful games here, so lots of terrain production required and enjoyed to look forward to.

I look forward to the release in a frenzy with interest...

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Deep Cut Wasteland Game Mat

I had been thinking about picking up one of the vast array of game mats now currently available for some time and recently got around to doing something about it and picked up one of the Deep Cut Studio's 6' x 4' mouse mat material game mats via Weyland Game's.

The mat chosen, for a variety of reasons, but mainly it's looks as it appears to be a good deserty cum wasteland cum bleak base would be suitable for a good selection of games I have planned.

Once ordered, the mat was shipped in very quick time and was in my possession with in two working days which I think is pretty good service.

The product however was slightly disappointing. The actual mat size, material and finish is very good and looks to be fairly durable. The only problem is the actual graphic displayed on the mat.

Colour rendition with lighting correction
(Actual colour may be a bit darker than this)

The actual image on the mat is of a significantly different colour than that indicated on the manufacturers web site. The image above taken with correct lighting correction is considerably darker and of a much more ochre hue than that of the marketing image.

Colour rendition without lighting correction
(basic AWB setting)
I took a bench mark photo without lighting correction and you can see this is a lot closer to the marketing image in finish (though paler). Whether the difference in the image is due to printing error/differences or whether the the image on the web shop is at fault and not rendered correctly I don't know.

Now, I would say I'm intending to keep the mat as it is a nice product in it's entirety. It is however not what was indicated and in a product whose desirability is based solely on it's look, this difference is a bit disappointing.

I will probably get a bit less use out of the mat as the dark ochre/tan colour places it much more uniquely rather than the much lighter image which is a lot more variable but I will be looking into my next game mat buy a lot more closely before I part with a not insignificant amount of cash.
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