Saturday, July 22, 2017

Another Wizard

I finished another Reaper Wizard model this week...



I've been trying to be more disciplined about painting figures, so I started a new challenge I heard about. I can't find the links, but it's a simple enough challenge: paint one miniature a week. That's it. Just one figure a week, each and every week, for one year. That seems doable to me. So this is my first week....

Anyway, that's it for today. Until next time, carry on!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Count's Castle

Last week I said I received my Dwarvenforge Castles Kickstarter. Here are some shots of the Count's Castle being assembled in all it's glory...

Gate House.
The lighted LED torches are a nice touch.
Everything is modular.
The corner towers can be broken out to be free standing with the add-on I bought.
It's a lot of parts.
It took me a while to figure out how it all goes together, which is part of the fun.
Getting there!
Voila! The Count's Castle.
This an amazing addition to my collection.
Drone view.
The details are superb. We will be having much fun with this stuff for years to come.
My daughter's Reaper Druid takes aim from the parapet!

Well, that's it for this week. Until next time, carry on!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Castle in a Box

I received my Dwarvenforge Castles Kickstarter stuff the other day.

Main pledge and add-ons.
Couldn't wait to haul it to the basement.
Had to start unboxing in the kitchen.
It's a pile of stuff and this isn't even all of it.
All the add-ons unboxed and spread on the table.
Suspended Parapets set.
Small Tower Batter Bases.
Small Tower Breakout set.
(Allows you to make a free standing tower from a castle corner tower.)
Ruined Walls set.
Stone Bridge set.
Ruined Large Tower set.
Larger Tower Batter Base.
Large Tower Transition set.
(Allows you to add a Large Tower to the corner of a castle.)
Of course that is just all the add-ons that allow me to have some variety in my castle layouts. My main pledge was the Count's Castle...

Count's Castle boxed.
Next week I'll show you what this looks like when it's all put together.

Until next time, carry on!


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Hexes and Counters

I had the original version of Squad Leader back in the late 70s and really enjoyed it. Somewhere along the line, I ended up selling my copy of the original and the two expansions I had. Why I do things like that, I'll never understand! Inevitably my interest circles back around and I regret selling off the collection.

Anyway, I picked up a second hand copy of the Advanced Squad Leader Starter Kit #1 recently. I discovered an extensive online community supporting the game and found some great tutorials for learning how to play. It's made for some very enjoyable evenings playing solo.

The iconic silhouette on the cover is what grabbed my attention.
Memories of days gone by. : )
The beginner's scenario.
I always loved these mission cards.
Old School hex and counter game.
I love the look of beautifully painted minis and terrain,
but something about the graphic art of this game appeals to me also.
It has some serious "crunch", but it flows well and is an enjoyable challenge.
Some argue that Advanced Squad Leader is more of a simulation of combat than a game. Not having been in combat, I cannot speak to this. But I do know it's complex and I'm enjoying that complexity. With the current trend in games to simplify everything, it is refreshing to experience a real mental challenge. I figure if I keep playing games like this, it will help stave off senility as I age! : )

I'm looking to pickup the other two Starter Kits when the publisher restocks them at the end of the Summer. I'm imagining further enjoyable evenings this Fall and Winter.

Until next time, carry on!


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Game Cabinet Display Idea

As stated in a previous post, I'm using these IKEA cabinets for storage/display in my game room.



At the suggestion of a friend, I've begun experimenting with creating dioramas for my displays on a few shelves in each cabinet. I can see that I will need to paint or otherwise scenic the shelf and backdrop, but the potential here is good. With some good lighting effects I might be able to come up with some cool displays for my minis and terrain.

Dwarvenforge City Builder and Reaper Fantasy minis.
The party defends the village from the goblins.
The goblins on the offensive.
This is all of my current zombie/survivor collection.
Miniatures, anyway, not all my terrain.
So, I guess another project to work on but once it's finished it should add interest to the room. If nothing else, it will make for fun conversation with my non-gamer type friends.

Until next time, carry on!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Game Room Refinements

I've been slowly refining my game room....

Work space, unfinished model storage, and paint table.
Added a base for the mini-frig.
It's an old end table I found that someone had tossed out.
I stripped it and repainted it. Need to put the doors back on.
Gets the frig off the floor so it's easier to access and adds storage for drinks and snacks.
If you're gonna have a mini-frig, better have one of these.
Coat/bag rack.
I added a second IKEA bookcase.
As you can see, I'm still organizing it in this pic.
That's it for this week.

Until next time, carry on!


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Farmer Brown on the Prowl

Farmer Brown had another outing last week. This was a simple Search scenario as he looks for anything to assist with fortifying his own farm. This will be a rural setting with a starting Encounter Rating of 2.

Once again I preloaded my PEFs, rolling d6 on the following chart if they resolve into anything:

1 - 1d6+2 zombies
2 - Thanh Gardner (Police)
3 - Marie Carlson (Citizen)
4 - 1d6 zombies
5 - Reddy and Quinn Carlson (Citizens, children)
6 - 1d6-2 zombies (minimum 1)

For the characters I have premade cards from previous games. I decided that Marie and her children are from the Big City and came to this area seeking safety and supplies. Thanh is a local sheriff's deputy, known to Farmer Brown, but the two are not on the best of terms as Thanh is half-Vietnamese and Brown holds resentments from his time in the war. I decided the Meet and Greet would decide the outcomes of these encounters, if they occurred at all.

Mr. Brown turned the key in the ignition. With a whirrr and a couple of chugs the old pickup's engine turned over. He slid the vehicle into gear and pulled down the lane. At the main road, he paused. Looking both ways, he wondered which was best. To the left was the Durham's place; to the right the Wolery's. He let the truck idle while he thought it over, trying to remember if either place had anything he might need. After half a minute, he saw movement to his left and one of those undead things staggered out of the woods. It turned towards him and began stumbling towards the pickup. That decided it. "Wolery's it is," he said to no one and put the truck into gear. He turned right, away from the zombie, and headed down the road...

Wolery farm.
I used Dwarvenforge City Builder for the buildings.
It works for a rural setting.
Farmer Brown slowed as he approached the Wolery farm. The driveway, much shorter than the long lane to his own home, was blocked by a military grade SUV. Brown couldn't recall ever seeing anyone he knew driving such a thing. He pulled off across the road from the vehicle and turned the pickup engine off. 

He pulled the key from the ignition, just as he'd done thousands of times before. But this time Brown was stunned as the key broke off neatly in the ignition. "Well, summa bitch," he said, holding half the key in the palm of his hand. He thought for a minute and decided he would search the Wolery farm and then fix it.

He lifted his rifle from the gun rack and stepped out. It seemed pretty quiet for mid-morning.

One PEF ended up in the stone shed.
Another PEF was placed in the woods beside the house and the last one was behind the house
I generated 3 zombies to start and placed them.
Brown heard a low moan as a zed stumbled from the woods to his right. It lurched into the ditch and began moving towards him. He could see the head of another zombie above the wall across the road. It also moved towards him. To his left he could see a third in the yard in front of the house. "Christ...." he mumbled, "the whole damn world's gone to hell."

Zeds activated first and moved towards Brown.
Ever the man of action, Brown closed wth the nearest, machete swinging.
As the zombies moved towards him, Brown considered his rifle but opted for the machete instead. Staying quiet and decisive seemed his best strategy. He moved quickly to his right, machete swinging as he closed with the undead thing in the ditch. He aimed to decapitate it, but slid on the dew slick grass and only managed to knock it sprawling onto it's back.

At this point I rolled doubles on activation and generated an event card.
I ruled the key broke in Brown's pickup.
(I inserted the event into the narrative above.)
Two PEFs drew close but did not resolve yet.
Brown thought he saw movement behind the wall and the SUV but he couldn't be sure. He had a bad feeling creeping up his spine. The zombie in the ditch was struggling to stand back up, Brown brought his machete down on top of its head. It flopped back into the ditch and lay still.

Another zed lurched across the road, arms raised, reaching to grab him. Brown lashed out with a booted foot and knocked it back.

Farmer Brown kills one zed and knocks a second down.
Another doubles and another event card.
Turning out to be a crap day for Mr. Brown.
Brown could hear the third zed approaching from behind him. He walked casually across the road and readied his rifle. Pulling the extra clip from the cargo pocket of his coveralls, he could not believe his own stupidity. Somehow he'd grabbed the clip for the .22 carbine instead of for his assault rifle. He had a few rounds in his rifle, but once he used those, that'd be it. He grumbled a stream of curses against himself, incredulous that he could be so stupid.

Brown considered whether to just bag it and go home. Between the key and the ammo, this just didn't seem like his day. But he knew he had to deal with any threats before he could fix the pickup. Shouldering his rifle, he decided to continue his sweep of the area.

Brown finishes the first two zeds and realizes his error with the ammo.
At this point I really had doubts about continuing but decided to carry on all the same.
Brown hefted his machete and waited for the third zee. This one had no arms. Brown's face twisted in disgust and he could taste bile rising in his throat. "God a'mighty," he muttered. As it drew closer, he shoved it hard and it fell over backwards. It struggled to rise, and he looked at it almost with pity. With a grunt he chopped it's head neatly from its shoulders.

Brown finishes the third zed.
Suddenly Mr. Brown heard the bark of a dog. Turning, he saw Oscar, the Wolery's beagle-bull dog mix charging up to him, barking like he always does. Behind the dog, stumbling after it, was a group of zombies.

"Are you kidding me?!" Brown exclaimed to the Universe. Looking at the dog, who was still barking, Brown said, "Oscar, you might have just got me killed."

Yet another doubles and yet another event card.
This certainly was not Farmer Brown's day.
I don't have any dog miniatures, so I used a 15mm scale Alien.
Makes for one ugly dog. : )
A group of 5 zeds shamble onto the board, following the dog.
As Oscar continued barking and the zombies shambled towards him, Farmer Brown, broken car key in his pocket, suddenly caught the distinctive odor of leaking gas. It had to be coming from the farmhouse. Shaking his head he could do nothing more than laugh at the ridiculousness of his situation.

"Lord, a'mighty," he said. "You'd think I was in some cheesy, low budget movie." He started to climb the wall, thinking he could at least check out the shed. "Ya best come with me, Oscar, or those things are gonna have ya for breakfast." The dog, thinking this was a great game, leapt and scrabbled over the wall. Landing ungracefully on the other side he continued his barking.

Yet another doubles!
I rolled randomly and it turns out the Wolery house has a gas leak.
Farmer Brown approached the shed, Oscar close on his heals yapping away. Oscar had not had so much fun in a long time.

Brown ignored the dog and opened the shed door, machete in hand. In the gloom he could see movement. Without hesitation he charged in and struck out at the form.

His machete connected with the thing's head and gray matter and ooze spattered the back wall of the shed. As he finished his stroke, another zombie lurched into the light of the open doorway. Reflex and long forgotten training took over Brown's body and without conscious thought he twisted and brought his weapon around, taking the thing in the shoulder. It went down against some barrels and Brown quickly followed up with his boot, kicking it in the face. He could hear the crunch of bone and felt the give as the skull cracked, crushed between his steel toed boot and the metal drum. Stepping back into a ready stance Brown scanned the small shed. Nothing else moved. Oscar, standing just outside, continued his steady, irritating bark.

Card shows two zombies in the shed.
Brown got the jump on them and went straight to melee.
I kept a "1" shot marker with the dog to remind me to roll for attracting zeds each turn.
Brown leaps into action, knocking down and killing each of the zeds.
The fight was brief and brutal.
Meanwhile, across the road, Oscar's mob began closing.
Looking quickly around the shed, all Brown could see were fuel drums. "Probably enough here to run my pickup for a year," he said, "just like my shed at home." He sighed, tuning out the dog's incessant barking. "Welp," he said, "it's wise to know when you're beat. This just isn't my day."

Oscar barks away as Farmer Brown quickly searches for anything useful.
Brown decided to see if he could take another vehicle and just go home. The SUV seemed like the best option. With Oscar running along beside, still barking, Brown jogged over to the abandoned SUV.

Brown Fast Moves to the SUV.
I should mention at this point that all the PEFs had resolved and were all only a case of nerves.
I was relieved to not have anything else to deal with.
Brown approached the vehicle cautiously. Something, instinct maybe, was warning him. He didn't see anything unusual, but the windows were dark and it was nearly impossible to see inside.

Approaching the driver's door, he raised his machete. Taking a deep, steadying breath, he pulled the handle. As the door swung open, he found himself staring at the rather large looking bore of a .357 magnum revolver. He froze. His eyes drifted up from that black, ominous hole to lock onto a pair of clear, blue eyes.

Brown could see the woman was afraid, which sent a chill up his spine. Her expression was determined, but her hand was trembling ever so slightly. Staying locked with those eyes, Brown willed his own expression to soften. Lowering his machete, eyebrows raised in question, he let the corner of his mouth rise in a half smile. 

"You gonna shoot me?" he asked. Oscar had stopped barking and was looking curiously at the woman, head tilted to one side.

Drawing a card for the SUV, I found 3 survivors.
Instead I ruled that Marie and her children would be inside.
This is the defining moment
"I should," she said.

 A small voice from the backseat said, "please, momma, don't."

Still keeping eye contact with the woman, Brown could see in his peripheral vision a tiny blond head peeking over the seat. Seeing Oscar, the little girl exclaimed, "He has a dog!".

"Really?!" came another child's voice. A brown headed boy's face appeared next to his sister.

As if on cue, Oscar launched himself into the SUV and hurtled over the seat. Amidst the giggles and barking the woman could not keep a straight face. Lowering the gun, she smiled, and suddenly her eyes filled with tears. She slid over.

"Come on. Get in," she said, "you're driving."

As he pulled the door shut, he heard thumps as the zombies that had been following Oscar pounded against the armored glass. The children in the back seemed oblivious. His new found companion also seemed unconcerned.

Seeing his look of alarm, the woman said, "It's military grade. I stole it from an abandoned convoy we came across. Nothing can get in here."

I did allow the zeds to melee against the vehicle.
I used a modified version of the Bash rule for vehicle collisions.
I made it very difficult for the zeds to harm the vehicle, which seems realistic to me.
Brown started the big SUV and put it into reverse. Looking in his side mirror, be backed away from the crowd of zombies. Stopping fifty feet down the road, he looked at the undead shuffling after them.

"Well," he thought to himself, "this whole thing just got a lot more interesting."

Turning the SUV around in the road, he headed home.

I considered driving over the zeds, but with the luck I'd had so far I decided bugging out was best.
Fini.
Despite some major set backs and an unfruitful search, Farmer Brown managed to come out of this mess with something positive. Having a few new members for his gang will add interest to the story. I'll be curious to see how adding children into the mix will effect things.

Plus we have Oscar, who is a character in his own right. I guess I'll have to find an appropriate mini to paint. Anyone know where to get good dog minis?

Until next time, carry on!