Monday, May 28, 2012

UK Games Expo 2012

This weekend saw the annual UK Games Expo at the Clarendon Suite here in a very sunny Birmingham. I go every year as it is right on my doorstep.

Over the last couple of years it has become much more of a family orientated board game event rather than a show where manufacturers of lead figures ply there wares. I don't have any problem with this. I enjoy wandering around looking at the new games, meeting friends and just having a bloody good laugh.

I always frequent the bring and buy stand though. There is always a bargain to be had and this year was no exception.

I picked up the following:

Team Yankee by Games Designers Workshop. £10.00
Air Cav by West End Games. I nearly bought this at Spirit Games in Burton two weeks ago for £12.00. I'm glad I didn't as it only cost me a fiver.
Harpoon: Captains Edition by Games Designers Workshop for £10.00
Top Gun by FASA for £10.00
Ogre Miniatures rules by Steve Jackson Games for £2.00. I gave this to my mate Owen of  He cried tears of joy for the reasons explained here.

From another couple of stands I got hold of most of the 1st Edition Warmachine and Hordes books which I wanted for the background fluff. Ebay should be able to supply the rest.

I also picked up for £9.00 Star Cruiser by Games Designers Workshop. This is the starship combat game for 2300AD. There was, upon closer inspection when I got home, a problem in that the counters were missing. This is not a problem as I have PDFs of all of the 2300AD products including the counter sheet. As a bonus though the box did contain the Ships of the French Arm Sourcebook.

Overall a great show and a great weekend. And there were girls there.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

All A Board!

Wil Wheaton.

For some the name conjures up the horrors of annoying teen genius Wesley Crusher in Star Trek : The Next Generation.
For others he appears in such shows as The Big Bang Theory and Leverage as a geek parody of himself.

It may come as no surprise then that he is a massive geek himself and to promote this there is a website called Geek and Sundry where he has a fortnightly video game session with friends and TV celebs called Tabletop. There have been four episodes so far and they have all featured what you could call "Entry level games", basically games that are designed to played quickly and easily and are ideal for beginners. They aren't Advanced Squad Leader.

The games played so far are:

Small World
Settlers of Catan
Tsuro, Zombie Dice and Get Bit! - Not so much full board games, but filler games that are even quicker to play.
Ticket to Ride

Rather than just a video of four people playing a game Wil Wheaton explains how to play, strategies, advice and shows general good humour. Good use of on screen graphics compliment each game as well.

After watching the video of Ticket to Ride myself and two other friends were able to play Ticket to Ride : Europe yesterday without having to read all of the rules. It is a brilliant game, if only because I won match.

The next episode will feature Steve Jackson Games Munchkin Deluxe.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Orcs, Dwarves and Ogres! Oh My!

At the weekend I played in the annual Hordes of the Things competition  held at the Beer and Pretzels show at Burton upon Trent town hall. I'm not the greatest of competition players and unlike last year where I finished at the top of the table (much to my surprise), this time I finished last out of 12. I'm not disappointed in any way because I had a bloody good time and can honestly say it was the fault of my dice.

This year was matched pairs to the theme of 'Traditional Fantasy.' I took the opportunity to use two armies that I have been planning for some time. Mantic Games produce really nice 28mm plastic figures for a number of fantasy races and as soon as they were released I realised their HOTT potential. The armies I took this year were Dwarves and Orcs.

The Dwarves
Dwarven Blades
The dwarven army was made up of the following:

1 x Blade General (Dwarven leader)
5 x Blades (Dwarven warriors with hammers and shields)
4 x Shooters (Dwarven warriors with crossbows)
1 x Lurker (Dwarven rangers with sniper rifles)
1 x Artillery (Multi-barrelled cannon with crew)
Stronghold: Mountain gateway

More pictures can be found on my Flickr photostream here. The basic colour scheme consists of blue grey tunics and cloaks with the sleeves of mid blue. All of the armour was painted a chainmail. Skin was a flesh colour and beards were painted mid range brown. The figures were given a wash of Games Workshop Devlan Mud for shading. The chainmail was then dry brushed and that was pretty much it.

The stronghold is centred around a rams head gateway from Ral Partha. Mounted on plasticard, the back is a rectangular piece of balsa wood. I stuck the gateway to the wood and then covered the bare wood with polyfilla to create a rock effect. Painted a dark grey and then dry brushed heavily with a light grey, the whole thing was given a brown wash.The path is created using milliput and the base flocked with a mix of brown basing material and static grass, like all of the bases on the figures.

The Orcs
Orc Warband
The Orc army is made up of the following elements
1 x Warband General (Orc warrior leader)
5 x Warband (Orc warriors with hand weapons)
4 x Riders (Boar mounted orcs with lances)
1 x Behemoth (Ogre)

More pictures can found on Flickr.

Orc Boar Riders
The colours for the Orcs apart from green for the skins are a mix of different browns for the cloth and leather parts, and chainmail, bronze, gold and copper for the armour. I randomly painted the figures to create a real mix so no two figures are alike. The boar riders aren't plastic as such but a plastic resin which was easy to put together. Gaps (and there were some) were filled easily with liquid putty. Although it isn't possible to see it in the pictures, or indeed on the actual figures, the flanks and bellys of the boars themselves are two different browns. I took the opportunity to try wet blending them together and it worked. Unfortunately only I know it is there!

Orc Stronghold
The stronghold is scratchbuilt. I wanted to try a wooden pallisade and worked out how to do it using balsa wood to create the two banks. The wooden planks are actually the spoon like things from Starbucks and other coffee places which I have slowly built a collection of. I then covered the balsa in a layer of milliput to create the bank and ditch. When that was dry I drilled holes for the spikes (cocktail sticks). The whole thing was then painted. In total it took about two evenings to do the whole thing. I have plans to refine it and build more sections including a proper gateway.

Each army is 24AP under the Hordes of the Things rules although I have extra elements for each one. The dwarves have another four elements of shooters and two more blades. The orcs have an optional rider general which is painted and another four elements of warband which need painting as well as an hero figure which is still in the packet it came in.

And somewhere down in the painting queue is the undead army which is sitting in a box somewhere.

Roll The Bones

Hundreds of years ago, before the dawn of history lived a race of people... The Druids.

Hang on, that's Spinal Tap. Let's just say I have been gaming for many, many years.

I roleplay, I boardgame, I wargame, I paint so I thought I'd start writing about some of it. I've got posts planned about painting, modelling, gaming and whatever geekery comes my way. Enjoy!