Monday, 13 June 2011

New Arrivals

From top left to bottom right; Commcen Turret & Turret Base, Sabre Heavy Tank (Tracked), Tac Missile Turret & Turret Base, Claymore Heavy APC (Support Turreted), Lancer Heavy APC (Tank Turreted & Tracked).
I have just received my order from Old Crow Models and to say that I am pleased with them is something of an understatement. The first thing that struck me was the sheer size of the beasts, and even though I knew exactly what I was getting and had a rough idea of how big they were going to be it still took me by surprise. Don't get me wrong these are not to my mind out of scale models, but rather they are imposing heavy vehicles that will match my opponents excellent Khurasan Miniatures in scale and sculpting.

Each model is very well cast with crisp detail and very little to no flash at all on each individual model, so that assembly and painting should be relatively straight forward. I was going to say easy to assemble and paint but I am not very good at painting (and never will be due to colour blindness) so these models will unfortunately not get the finish that they so richly deserve.

Saturday, 11 June 2011


From the very back of the top of the wardrobe amongst a pile of boxes I found a real gem, a classic game from the great years of Games Workshop that were the 1980's. The game is the original 1987 version of Dungeonquest. The box was somewhat dusty and battered from years of use and a just a bit neglected. I wiped the dust from the top of the box to reveal a beautiful picture of a warrior fighting a fire breathing dragon.

I opened the box to find it contents in utter chaos, the only thing to do was to tip it all out and start again, and so with help from Tom we sorted through the box contents. To my surprise and a very pleasant one as well it is seemed that most of the game was still complete and the sheer amount of counters, cards took both of us a little by surprise. We did lack a few counters and all of the characters figures, but that was nothing that we could not do without or replace with proxies. With the setup complete we settled down for a game.

The game is a random dungeon exploration game for one to four players. Everybody gets to play their own character chosen from the four options included in the box. The aim of your character is to get into and out of the centre of the dungeon where the dragon hoard awaits, those that gain the most treasure and to get out of the dungeon again win. The task of getting to the centre is a virtually impossible task, the rules state that your chances of survival is a mere 15%. The games difficulty is cranked up by the games own built in time limit of a sun track that tracks from dawn till dusk, those the are still within the dungeon after night fall are doomed.

Each turn the sun track is moved along the board and the players take turns to draw rooms tiles and room cards or search preexisting rooms. Room tiles are placed by facing the arrow on the card to the last tile you entered from, once drawn you must enter the tile and draw a room card. The room cards generate the rooms contents, from empty rooms to dank crypts, and from skulking monsters to dangerous traps.

As Tom and I spent a hour or so laughing and having fun with this game as we wandered the dungeon falling victim to traps, collecting loot, and slaying monsters. The method of dungeon generation by pulling out tiles at random made the game fresh and fun, with the ever present risk of becoming trapped in a dead end just adding to the fun. Winning this game is not really the highest priority as the just playing is so much fun, and you find yourself laughing at the misfortunes the game deals out in equal proportions to all the players.

Instead of the top of the cupboard I'll be putting this game in amongst my filler games for those nights we just want a quick game to play. If you get the chance to play this game then do so as it really is a engaging way to spend an hour or two.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

First HOTT Game

On our last games night we were down to just two players and so Tom brought round his other 15mm project Hoards of the Things or HOTT as I think its known. Tom already had two armies one of Pirates and the other Samurai with Ninjas and as he has the bug he had made scenery for his game as well so we were good to go.

I've had never played this rule set but I have plenty of 15mm Ancient and Medieval miniatures so if I liked the game it would be easy for me to build the core of a HOTT army. With this in mind I tried to enter the game with an open mind.

We set up with Tom using his Samurai complete with its hero and Zen archer artillery against my Pirates with flying ship and sneaky lurker. The game plays quickly and I had some luck with my rolls to start with and a sound plan of action, however the dice rolls grew worse with plenty of 1's rolled and so the the game quickly started turning against me. Its only my first game so I am not going to say anything about the swing in available actions based upon dice rolls, but it cost me my first game as I just couldn't do anything due to my usual appalling luck.

We set up for a second game but didn't get far as Tom was called away by a problem at home so we called it a night. I was using my New Kingdom Egyptians that are based upon pennies for infantry and two pence pieces for cavalry, and as Tom is not bothered about basing to much so we should be fine as the penny's matched up with his warband based figures.

The game was fun in its own way and I would play again, maybe next time I will have more luck. The plus points are that I won't need to buy anything as I have enough armies as it is, and that the quick play time means it is an ideal filler game. The downside for me is that dice roll for available actions made a mockery out my tactics, but it is too early to make an informed decision and only time and more games played will give me a clearer picture of a rule set that I've only scratched the surface of.

Italeri 1/100 Helicopters

My newest acquisitions have arrived a couple of 1/100 Diecast Italeri Agusta A129 Mangusta helicopters. These are nice-looking models which require just a little bit of assembly and of course gluing. I’ll be giving them a repaint job once I’ve decided which one of my forces for our near future skirmish game will be getting these reinforcements.  I’ve already have a 1/100 Italeri Diecast Apache which is cool looking model and already assigned to the Brazilians.

The Agusta A129 Mangusta is a recognisable helicopter to those who follow such things and will of course be obsolete in 2050, but my group are not rules lawyers or model fascists, so I’ll be able to slip them on the table with no problems as either what they are or as generic attack helicopters. That is the beauty of playing with like minded friends as the games are much more fun with much more leniency in regard to the models allowed. I don’t have the time, energy, or inclination to waste my valuable game time on the rules lawyers’ crowd.

The Italeri Diecast 1/100 are easily found on e-bay and some are still in model shop stocks. I have no problems using them with my 15mm forces as the quality and range is very good. I might even pick up a few fix wings for the future, with that in mind I am off to check out e-bay.

Friday, 3 June 2011

15mm Sci-fi

My group and I have been making a near future skirmish game set around 2050 that has yet to be given a name. The rules are going to be used with 15mm figures with a ground scale of 1" = 10'.  It really is fun to write your own rules with like minded friends and I am lucky that Tom and Nathan are on the same page as me.

The background as yet is sketchy at best and we have yet to flesh out the factions or powers of the world in 2050. We have agreed that you can use within reason any Sci-Fi or modern 15mm figures that you like as the barriers between dimensions has shattered allowing for some interesting armies and troop types.

Anyway with the rules coming along nicely, I needed to come up with my own faction. I have to say that the choice for 15mm Sci-Fi or Modern is exhaustive and the quality is superb. I've decided upon a new world power in the world of 2050 the nation state of Brazil.

Having decided upon Brazil, I gave some thought to the what shape of and sophistication the Brazilian armed forces of 2050 should be. Brazil by 2050 is a developed nation with few of its current problems, it has a large population 230 mil. and a military budget that allows it to be the dominant force in South and Central America. The armed forces of Brazil should have a mix of updated modern equipment with home developed armoured vehicles.

The infantry would not be armoured in our rules neither will they be using weapons far in advance of present, so current ballistic vests and modern small arms figures would be fine, and I decided that the IDF of Peter Pig would do very nicely indeed. I ordered the Galil armed troops in all poses with a pack of the RPG's to give anti-tank support.

Armoured vehicles are a must if I am not going to be annihilated by opposing forces. Problem is that to my mind they have to look  both futuristic and somewhat old fashioned at the same time if that was at all possible. Tracks and wheels are preferred by me and so I've settled upon Old Crow Models as they have right feel to them. I've ordered a Sabre Heavy Tank, a Lancer Heavy APC, a Claymore APC and a few other bits and pieces.

Air support will be a 1/100 Apache helicopter that while nearly obsolescent could still be in service in 2050 by a stretch of my imagination. It should bring a fair amount of fire support to the table enabling my forces to 'reach out and touch' the enemy from a safe distance.

I'll post some more on this subject as we play test the rules and the armies are completed.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Runequest MRQ

I've taken the plunge and bought yet another system, this time it is the Mongoose Publishing version of Runequest. Now before I write any more on this subject I have to say that I've only ever played Runequest once before and that was the version published by Games Workshop (GW) way back in the 1980's and so I have very little knowledge of the current systems agreed version title, I will refer to it as MRQ since I've found listed that way on other sites. 

The MRQ range is currently being replaced by the MRQII and it was this fortunate occurrence that allowed me to get a real bargain. I've manged to get seventeen books and have a further five coming at Christmas as presents, so that is twenty three books from this range for next to nothing. The books arrived over this week and each book seems better than the last one and chocked full of gaming goodness, they are a mixture of hard and soft covers of very high quality, well laid out chapters with crisp print that is easy on the eye, and the standard of the art work is very good.

The rule system it self is a % based skill system using d10's, the character generation was very fast even for new players and is so straight forward that it is a joy to use and quick to teach. We have yet to play the game so the rules themselves will have to wait for review, but from what I have read they seem to be very straightforward.  All in all I am very happy with my books so far and eagerly await Christmas to get my hands on the rest of the books, it looks like 2011 is going to be a a very busy gaming year.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Queen of the Galaxy

As I idly flicked over the 'box' a real gem of a movie was just starting, it was the superb cult classic of Barbarella. This movie has deservedly become a cult classic, being so startlingly different in both format and plot from most of it contemporaries in the genre. It so often overlooked by gamers as a source for inspiration, and that is a real shame.

The style of the film sets the tone for the whole movie and the producers have done a wonderful job of creating a strange visage that dares to be different. This sheer difference is the inspiration that you can take from this film to inspire your creativeness and enhance the games that you are running.  It is a excuse to divert from the mainstream norm that dulls so many fantasy and sci-fi campaigns.

The Plot

The title character Barbarella is an Earth woman, sent by the President of Earth to find the scientist Durand-Durand and return him to Earth from the planet Tau Ceti so that he may save the Earth with his Positronic Ray Weapon.

When her spaceship crashes on the bizarre planet of Tau Ceti after being caught in magnetic storm that makes her spacecraft uncontrollable, the first denizens of this strangle world that she encounters are a gang of wild children. These children tie her up and attack her with their strange biting dolls attempting to escape she chastises the children to no effect. She is rescued in the nick of time by Marcan the Catcher, whose job it is to catch some these wild children when they are old enough to be of use. After her rescue the Catcher helps to repair Barbarella's Spaceship, and she parts with Marcan after giving him his 'reward'.

Barbarella enters the Labyrinth in her spaceship but it soon crashes again as it falls to bits whilst flying, Marcan has botched his repairs. Barbarella soon meets two outcasts in the Labyrinth, both of whom are condemned for being too good. The first outcast is Pygar the Angel, he has been blinded by the Tyrant of SoGo. The second outcast is Professor Ping. Pygar cannot fly but Barbarella is informed by the second outcast Professor Ping that he has simply lost the will and she soon restores his confidence after a trip to his nest.

Barbarella flies out of The Labyrinth, carried by aloft by Pygar. She leaves her spaceship to be in the much more capable hands of Professor Ping who promises to repair it for her. Whilst in flight they are attacked by aircraft crewed by the Tyrants Black Guard, with Pygar blind it is up to Barbarella is guide his flight and to fend off the attackers. After shooting down the attacking aircraft, Barbarella and Pygar arrive in the city of SoGo.

SoGo is built upon a lake of deadly and evil liquid known as the Mathmos that lives off evil. The city of SoGo is infamous for the evilness of its citizenry and it is ruled by the Great Tyrant. Barbarella and Pygar become separated in the streets, with Barbarella on the verge of being attacked by two men she is saved by a dagger twirling and eye patched wench  who kills her attackers, the one eyed wench calls Barbarella her 'Pretty-Pretty' and then propositions her. Barbarella declines the offer and leaves the wench behind to go and find Pygar. The Angel is being tormented by the evil citizens of SoGo when Barbarella finds him, rescued by the Concierge of the Great Tyrant and his guard they are taken to an audience with the ruler of SoGo, the Great Tyrant.

The Great Tyrant turns out to be none other than the eye patched wench who saved her earlier, it turns out that she often travels amongst her people in that disguise to enjoy their evilness. Pygar is crucified whilst Barbarella is placed in a bird filled cage, to be pecked to death. Barbarella is rescued by the leader of the resistance to the Great Tyrant the hero of the rebels Dildano. Barbarella rewards Dildano in the 'Earth Way'. Dildano then offers to find Durand Durand if she aids in deposing of the Great Tyrant. Barbarella is given an invisible key to the Chamber of Dreams, the only place that the Tyrant is vulnerable.

Barbarella is once again captured by the Concierge. This time, however he takes it upon himself to condemn her to die from pleasure in his own invention, the Excessive Machine, but Barbarella burns the machine out. The exasperated Concierge turns out to an aged by the Mathmos Durand-Durand. the missing Earth scientist.

Durand-Durand manages to trap Barbarella in the Tyrants chamber of dreams. He then attempts his coup to take over first SoGo then the Universe. As he prepares for his coronation it is spoiled by Dildano and his revolution. Armed with his Positronic Ray, Durand-Durand defeats the revolutionaries. But the Tyrant still has one secret weapon the Mathmos which she unleashes on the city. Barbarellas goodness protects her and the Tyrant from the Mathmos that destroys first the Concierge and then the entire city of SoGo. The unlikely allies are rescued by Pygar who flies them to safty. When he is asked by Barbarella why he has saved the Great Tyrant from certain death after all she has done to him, Pygar simply responds that "An angel has no memory."