Friday, December 8, 2017

November Recap

Wow, this post is a few days late but good news, I got a few games in for the month of November!  Thanksgiving presented a bit of a wrinkle with family commitments and just adding to the general chaos of my life but I still managed.  So, what did I do?

Well, I discovered a member of the local gang had bought into the new L5R and was excited to play.  We managed to meet up twice, learn the game and play.  The first was just a beginner game with the suggested Crane and Lion decks.  The second time we came with our own constructed decks where I proceeded to see my Unicorn clan get smeared all over the table by a Dragon deck.  Note the big tournament reporting so far has shown Unicorn is vastly under represented, hinting at an overall weakness in the current meta - so maybe it wasn't my "fault" although I am sure I contributed to it to some degree.  I do have to say, I am very impressed with what FFG has done with the game.  Many of the glaring issues (IMO) from the old system have been addressed with this version but it seems maintain a lot of the feel (not necessarily all of it though).  Now just have to try to build out from the two of us and maybe find a different clan to play for awhile.

Beyond that, I played a game of Pulp Alley with Mike from the Mini Mayhem blog.  He has a very nice scenario set up for the game, of course beautiful miniatures to use, and now even has beautiful terrain to go with it.  As my first game of Pulp Alley, it was a positive experience of the game and I liked some of the things it was trying to accomplish via the complications(?) deck.  Now Mike just needs to whip up the next scenario in the story arc!

I also tried out Shadespire with one of the locals (the same guy as L5R).  That was pretty interesting but left me feeling a little unsatisfied.  I'm not sure as to why, but given how quick and smoothly it plays I would be willing to try it again.  Not sure I would ever buy in though.

Other than that, I continued to hack away at my latest project.  That did seem to suffer a bit during the month as at one point I had only managed 1 hour of painting during a 2 week span.  Not good considering other projects seem to be pilling up (Company of Iron, Aristeria, and the neglected remaining Tail Fether minis).

The big question is will I manage to get anything done in the month of December.  If Thanksgiving causes such chaos, I can't even describe what Christmas does to my hobby time.  At least it is getting cold, which tempts everyone in the family to hunker down inside. 

Friday, November 24, 2017

Rules Review - Daisho

The last of my "planned" reviews of Samurai Skirmish games is Daisho.  That is at least till Saga 2nd edition, with a Samurai expansion comes out (if it comes out, I believe I spotted a samurai miniature in their teaser video).  Daisho rounds out the available skirmish sized games that I know of for the Samurai genre.

It is a ruleset authored by The Ministry of Gentlemanly Warfare who also authored In Her Majesty's Name (IHMN) published by Osprey.  In addition to that they have a dark ages ruleset called Blood Eagle and an expansion to IHMN called Gothic.

It should be mentioned one of the highlights of reading these rules is Section 1.6, The Golden Rules.  An excerpt:
  • "Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of sensei."  Which goes on to state, if there is a rule that you and your opponent dislike, then change it if all players agree.
And covers things like respecting your opponent, conduct, etc.  I guess it should be expected from guys that call themselves "The Ministry of Gentlemanly Warfare."  

Scale of Game:
The rules for Daisho recommend 200-250 points as a good starting level to get to the know the game, after which you and your opponents can agree on a point level for future games.  Note, I said opponents as the game accommodates 2+ players.  Referencing a couple of example warband lists in the rules, the Ronin list weighs in at 240 points with 6 figures and the Clan Patrol list is 300 points with 8 figures.  Both lists contain multiple samurai.  Unfortunately, the rules do not provide an expected game length for playing at various point levels.

Standard Rules:
Before really jumping into the standard rules/mechanics of the game, like it's sister game In Her Magesty's Name, Daisho offers 3 levels of play:
  • Basic - This levels lacks Ki, Magical Powers and weapon qualities and is meant more for the historical players.
  • Heroic - This moves the game slightly beyond "historic" but not into magical/fantastical realms.
  • Legendary - Everything.
I will note up front that the game does not allow for (unless you and your opponent agree to change it) pre-measuring.

Daisho uses what I am going to called a "Phased Alternating Activation" system, by that I mean the turn is broken into multiple phases which are completed by all players before moving on to the next phase.  The highest initiative roll (d10 + highest leadership in their warband) goes first at the beginning of each phase, then the next player goes and so on.  These phases include:  Initiative, Movement, Shooting and Fighting.

Attacks are resolved based on the model's corresponding stat (Shooting or Fighting) + the weapon modifier +/- other modifiers (cover, etc) + d10 vs the target's armor rating.  Achieving/exceed the target's armor rating is a hit.  In both cases of shooting and fighting, a model can split its stat into multiple attacks albeit against different targets.  Ie, if a model has a 4 Shooting it could shoot once at Target A only using 2 Shooting and a second time at Target B using the remaining 2 Shooting (all other modifiers still apply).  Also included are rules for combined attacks, allowing weak models to group up to fight difficult targets.  Fighting includes an option to try to disarm your opponent.

When a model is hit with a successful attack, it must immediately make a Karma roll which is modified by weapon used in the attack.  If the roll is less than the model's Karma stat it is out of the game (unless it receives medical attention) and if the roll is equal to the model's Karma stat it is knocked down.  And if the model is taken out of the game, the attacking model immediately gains 1 Ki which is used to activate Ki powers.

You gain honour (using "their" British spelling) points throughout the game, totaled at the end to determine the victor.  Hounour points are gained based on Objectives defined by the scenario, the social caste of models killed, reputation, survivors/prisoners, beast/magical creatures and anything else specified by the scenario.

Any rules beyond what has been mentioned are fairly typical/straight forward.  There is a noticeable absence of a morale mechanic but maybe the intent is that is abstracted into the Karma roll.

Other Things:
Daisho provides full capability to build your warband how you want to.  This includes armor and weapon point costs, as well as a robust selection of skills/ki powers, and magical powers.  These combined with the base point costs of the model's stats determine its total point cost.

The game also provides a system/framework for campaigns.  Campaign systems can often be pretty tricky to pull off and often can be abused, with no real way to evaluate them until playing through them (sometimes multiple times).  That being said, what is offered here in Daisho looks really good and is fairly flexible.

The game provides a nice, diverse set of scenarios for games which include search and recover (with 2 setup options), rescue/capture, vengeance, breakthrough, assassination, outpost defense, plus about 10 more.  This already adds a lot variety to individual games but you can augment that further by adding a "complication" to the scenario.  This includes things such as sacred grounds, fog/mist, civilians on the battlefield, twilight, plus many many more!

And going a step further the rules suggest typical landscapes across Nippon that would be suitable for your battles.  This is not something I would really consider "necessary" but it is a real nice touch that I am not sure I have seen any other game do.  Of course, it does cause me a bit of anxiety in thinking "I gotta build all this!"  Note, I'm not saying you "have" to build this to play Daisho.  I'm just saying "I HAVE TO BUILD ALL THIS" (in a good way... sort of... mostly...).

Honestly, I don't have any major concerns about the game, only a couple of minor ones.  The first of which is availability:  I held off on reviewing Daisho for quite some time because I did not want to shell out the money for a hard copy of the rules, at the prices and shipping I was able to find.  But I finally found a e-copy of the rules at a very affordable price here.  And at less than 100 pages, it would not be terribly expensive to get this printed off/bound nicely at Staples, esp since the e-book is very printer friendly and can easily be done in black & white.

I guess that kind of brings up a second "concern."  There are no illustrations/pictures in the rules depicting gameplay examples.  There are detailed written examples throughout the rules however and because of this I never found a situation/rule complicated enough to warrant a visual illustration.

There is also some minor record keeping with whether or not a model has moved/ran.  And the "phased alternating activation" could make record keeping a little more difficult.  Honestly though, the game is potentially such low model count that I'm not sure these things need to be explicitly tracked and there is likely a slick way to do it.

I find my feelings toward Daisho a bit odd, it is based heavily on the IHMN ruleset by the same authors.  I actually read those rules this summer to get a feel for what Daisho would be like, since it was easily available from Osprey via Amazon.  The reading of IHMN caused me to hold off on acquiring Daisho until now because I was not impressed with it.  Maybe I am in just a good mood now or maybe my taste have changed since then (there have been a number of wargaming concepts that I am, maybe, shifting my views on) but I really like these rules.  They offer everything I think I was looking for.  Of course, I can't really say that until I have played a few games but this looks like a very solid contender.

I will eventually get Daisho added to my list of games of this genre on the Samurai Skirmish page.  It is definitely worth trying out and is now the top of my list.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Rules/Game Review - Aristeia!

I just received my copy of Aristeia! and thought I would post up my initial thoughts.  As I wrote the title of this post, I found my self conflicted about just labeling it a "Rules" review.  I want to say I feel it is more of a "Game" review but what does that mean?  Why the distinction?  Is it the old "it's played on a board, so it's not a miniature game" mentality?  Is it because it is self contained?  Is it because it is more "structured" than a regular miniatures game?  I'm not completely sure.  Maybe it is because I plan, at least as I am currently typing, to talk more than just the rules (specifically to comment on the components and miniatures).  Yeah, that must be it.

Enough rambling, back on topic.  For any not aware, Aristeia is a new game from Corvus Belli set in their Infinity universe.  Aristeia is new sport sweeping through the Human Sphere, an arena combat blood sport.  I have been a big fan of Infinity's fluff and miniatures since the very beginning but the rules have never been to my liking.  With the release of Aristeia I hoped to find a way to enjoy the Infinity universe and miniatures without dealing with the rules of Infinity.  Ideally Areisteia also checks some of my other favorite boxes:  arena/gladiatorial combat and/or "blood sport."

Scale/List Building:
Scale of the game and list building are about as simple as you can get:  any 4 characters per side, although the rules do offer that you can (if the players want) draft characters from a pool before the start of the game.  After selecting your characters, you assemble your Tactics deck out of a set of 10 fixed standard cards and 2 selected character specific cards (out of 4 possible cards, currently) for each character on your team, giving you a total deck of 18 cards to draw from.

The game begins by determining which player is the underdog, accomplished by adding up total initiative values among your characters.  The player with the lower number is declared the underdog for Round 1 and will get to determine how tied initiative values or simultaneous effects are resolved.  After Round 1 the under dog designation belongs to the player with the lowest number of Victory Points.  Once characters are deployed, each player secretly places each of their characters in the initiative track positions, which are numbered 1-4.  Then starting at position 1 on the initiative track, each player reveals their character and compare its initiative value (the higher value getting to decide if they or their opponent will go first).  The active character then gets a number of actions equal to their action value, which can then be spent moving, attacking and using character skills.  Then the un-activated character in the 1 initiative position activates.  This process proceeds through position 4, after which the game proceeds to the objective phase and then the recovery phase,

The core resolution mechanic of the game uses the character card to specify the number and types of dice to roll for each skill/action.  These are d6 dice of different colors and with special symbols, ala X-Wing, Armada and many other games that have recently come on the market.  Two type of rolls exist in the game.  The first being an unopposed roll or simple roll, usually a character skill check like using a medkit.  The second is an opposed roll, usually for combat, where both players roll, cancel results, and compare totals.  Additionally, special triggers (called switches) can occur based on the results.  It should be noted that this resolution mechanic also allows the defender to potentially injure the attacker, as well as both characters being injured.  Reducing an enemy to zero wounds provides the attacker with a frag counter (used to resolved tied victory points) and also allows them to draw a card.

If a character is reduced to zero wounds, it is moved to the infirmary and if that character has not activated yet, it basically looses it's activation that turn.  During the recovery phase, all characters in the infirmary are moved to the bench and receive a -2 action token.  At the beginning of the next round benched characters can move onto the field when activated but they will enter play again albeit a slightly reduced capacity with less action points.

Objectives are scored at the end of each round and totaled at the end of Round 5 to determine the winner.  You also draw a tactics card at the end of each round and an additional card if you scored any VPs that round.  The rest of the game and mechanics are fairly typical and straight forward.

There are 4 basic scenarios provided, with a promise of more to come, with each scenario providing different objectives for scoring points.  I think the inclusion of only 4 scenarios is a bit light, hopefully the community/Corvus Belli will be quick to develope/release new ones.

I found the components of the game to be of very good quality.  Nice thick playing board, punch out tokens, nice quality cards and excellent box control.  The one, possible, exception to this is the plastic miniatures.  The detail in the miniatures is a little suspect but I wont really know till I start to paint them.  They are certainly decent quality "board" game miniatures but honestly, I had slightly higher hopes with this coming from Corvus Belli.  In fact, I was really excited to see what Corvus Belli would do with plastics.

Additionally, while the miniatures come assembled, they are cast as multi-part models and assembled in the factory.  The "quality" of this assembly process is likely to vary greatly but several of my minis have significant gaps that will have to be filled before painting.  And maybe that was not the assembly, maybe that is the miniature itself but either way it is a slight disappointment.  The miniatures are also pre-attached to bases which is not a big deal except they are completely blank bases.  That just seems like they missed an opportunity to put them on some nice flight deck type bases that Infinity miniatures typically shine on.  And it is going to make it a pain in my ass to re-base these miniatures.  Also, why are these not the typical 25mm sized bases found in Infinity, not that it matters game play wise, just wondering.

The entire plastic miniature thing also raises another question, did I make the right choice?  Should I have bought the collectors edition which game with a metal set of miniatures (in addition to the plastic ones)?  I assumed the future expansions would be in plastic, so I opted for just the regular version with plastic minis for "consistency" and to satisfy a bit of OCD-ness.  As it happens, during writing this up, I found confirmation that the expansions will be plastic.

I can also understand that hitting the right price point for the game is one of the most important things a company can do.  That being said, a simultaneously release of plastic obstacles/terrain (rather than the 2d punch outs in the core box) would have been very appropriate in my opinion without raising the box price with their inclusion.  Or at least an announcement that it was in the pipe.

There are a couple of very clear standouts in this game to me.  The first is the getting started booklet is fantastic.  I really appreciate the industry trend in this direction but I believe Corvus Belli really nailed it.  It does the typical good job of introducing the concepts in a clear, logical order and provides examples at every turn.  It also provides a suggested build for your first game, again somewhat typical.  It then walks you through a complete example first round with these builds, which is a lot less typical.  Maybe this is not "necessary" but I appreciated it.  I will also note the booklet sized rules reference, weighing in at only 28 half-sized pages, has a table of contents, an index, and a quick reference sheet.  Very nicely done.

Note, these are the metal miniatures from the collector's box.
A second standout is the character design.  I really love the design of this first batch of characters.  They are all different and unique, reflecting an individual personality.  They all seem to have different abilities/skills and purposes.  I can't help but be reminded of the Overwatch video game.

As a very odd coincidence, this game arrived at my doorstep just a day after a local gamer had shown me how to play GW's Shadespire.  I say odd, because I find the two games strangely similar.  I don't really view this as a problem or concern, it is just that the recent exposure to Shadespire made a couple of things jump out at me when reading through the rules for Aristeia.

The first of which is that I really missed the "dynamic/unknown" objectives of Shadespire and thus found Aristeia a little static in in that respect,.  Maybe this will be resolved with new scenarios in the future.  The second is with its deck building element:  Will it follow the same buy-to-play model (where you have buy an expansion you don't want just to get access to certain cards:  X-Wing, Armada, Test of Honour) that Shadespire does?  And lastly, will the game itself be fun?  Because while I found nothing mechanically wrong with Shadespire, I'm not sure it was fun.

The price point for this game also seems little off at ~$70 RSP.  Since you are buying a full game, comparing price per model to a box of space marines (for instance) is not fair but there is some argument that one can compare the price per model to other "full" games like Shadespire, Necromunda, Mice & Mystics, Tail Feathers, so on and so on.  So at ~$8.75/model, it is pretty high without having the plastic quality of some of the other offerings (Games Workshop).  And compared to Zombicide Black Plague (which has great quality, IMO)  it is sinful.  Furthermore, comparing the cost to Operation Ice Storm/Red Veil for Infinity (which are full 2-player starter boxes) is more disheartening (pretty much the same costs per figure).  The expansion boxes better come in at less than $15 each (with 4 figures) if this plastic quality continues and I highly doubt they will be that cheap, which does not bode well for the game.

I am very interested in trying this game out and I really really hope it is fun, but I think the price point is off.  It seems to be a nice, tight ruleset and should allow quick games to unfold while still providing nice depth of tactics.  That being said, if Corvus Belli does not provide a constant and consistent stream of support for this game (Organized Play, new releases, new scenarios), I think it wont stand out among the crowded crowd (here is a great video demonstrating Corvus Belli's planned support for the game - it looks like full commitment).  You also should not expect, even though it is Corvus Belli, the plastic miniatures to be insanely good (they are decent board game quality in my opinion, although mine have some unfortunate gaps).

I would love to see this game expanded to multi-player.  Mechanically, nothing is jumping out at me right now as a reason you couldn't do it.  Except the board and deployment zones maybe, but that would be an excellent reason to explore (and sell) different shapes and designs of boards...  Just saying...

Lastly, I had decided a while back to not spend so much time reviewing rules that are freely available, you should and can just go read them for yourself after all.  But I did not know these rules are available for free until I had wrote this up.  You can find them here.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

October Recap

Well, it was not a very productive month for managing to get games played.  The family vacation to Disney world caused me to miss the first game day of October, while the threat of having to play Frostgrave kept me from going to the second one.  Now the local group is all spun up for Ghost Archipelago, so this trend will likely continue.  I need to set down and really digest the rules for GA and try to give it a fair shake.  And stay away from 4+ person games of it...

While things were light on that front, I did manage to get a few random games of misc stuff in with my daughter so that was good.  I also painted up 3 test models for my K47 British Infantry and was fairly happy with how they turned out and the time invested.  I then I jumped in on batch painting another 12.  Ugh...  Anyway, I will post something up for the test models soon(ish).

October was also a very expensive hobby month.  I pre-ordered several things, including the Fallout miniatures game!  Along with also buying into FFG's new version of Legend of the Five Rings.  Unfortunately, I have not really gotten to try it out.  I played one turn with my wife (we both used to play L5R back in the day) before she opted to go to bed.  Not because of anything game related, because we have a 1 year old...  I also backed my first kickstarter of the year.  Yep, that is right I made it all the way to October before surrendering to the newest expansion of Relicblade.  I have backed the other Relicblade kickstarters at just the rules level (the same for this recent one) and while I have never played it, I do like what the guy is doing and his lovely art.  I had no problem continuing to throw a few bucks his way.

November will see the opening of an all new game store in Huntsville:  Lucky Dice Cafe (actually, it has already had its soft opening).  It is on my side of town and is a fairly short drive.  Hopefully it will turn out to be a good store and allow me to find some game time during the week and/or the weekends, opposite the regular game days.  We will see.

The end of the year is fast approaching.  Lots of projects to wrap up and trying to satisfy some hobby goals. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Rules Review - Bushi no Yume

Knocking another Samurai skirmish ruleset off my list with a review of Bushi no Yume.  I initially read the rules a while back but have really struggled with how to write a review for Bushi no Yume.  See, I am pretty ignorant when it comes to a particular ruleset that is fairly well known in the world of miniature agnostic skirmish games:  Ganesha Games' Song of Blade and Heroes (SBH) but what little I do know seems consistent with what is presented in Bushi no Yume.  Which caused me to ponder "how" to write a review (full review, delta review, cop out review).

Ultimately, the author took the time and effort to put Bushi no Yume together so I figured I should at least treat it as a stand alone game in reviewing it.  As such, I will make no other mention of SBH except to say that you do not need it, or be familiar with it, in order to play Bushi no Yume.  You can find lots of helpful information regarding Bushi no Yume here.

Scale of Game and List Building:
The rules state that a standard game should be around 5-10 characters, costing 60 koku (points) total,  with games of this size being playable within one hour on a 3x3 ft table at 28mm scale (there are conversions for distance for multiple scales).  Increasing the game size to 10-20 figures, costing 100-120 koku (points), should be playable within 2 hours.

List building/force composition for a 60 point game, limits that only 45 points can be spent characters which are classified as personalities with no other restrictions.  I believe that beyond that, your force can be completely personalized including building characters from scratch if you desire.

Standard Rules:
There are a few core concepts for Bushi no Yume that are important to understand as they are a departure from most skirmish game systems.  The first is the characteristics of each model has essentially been reduced down to two stats:
  • Bujutsu (fight) - How well the character can fight.
  • Kyu Grade (quality) - Roll up of all non-fighting characteristics
In addition to this characters have a Buki (primary weapon) that affects their Bujutsu and possibly Nouroku which capture abilities/special powers of the character.

The second key concept is the activation system.  At the beginning of the game, players roll to see who has initiative, with whoever winning the role retaining initiative every turn.  After the first turn, this test turns into a Karma Card Roll (more on what this means later).  The player with initiative will then select a model to activate, choose the number of actions (between 1-3) they wish to perform, and then perform an Activation Roll.  This is a test against the models Kyu Grade, rolling a number of dice equal to the number of actions declared.  For every success, you get one action.  If you only have 1 failure you may activate another character afterwards.  2 or 3 failures passes play to your opponent (either immediately or after your action depending on if there is any successes).  There is a fairly standard list of actions that accompany this system, some of which costing more than just one action.

While most characters have standardized movement values, there are a couple of major departures in the movement system.  Firstly, the distance moved is measured from the front of the base to the rear of the base such that larger based models will have slightly more movement.  The second difference is that while you do not have to move the full distance, you do have to move in a straight line such that if you want to negotiate around an object/corner you must use multiple moves to do so.

Combat resolution is accomplished in an opposed roll manner.  In the case of ranged combat, the attack can end up missing, forcing the target to cover, or possibly wounding, or outright killing the target.  For close combat, the combatants may end up disengaged, the loser forced backwards with possible followup from the winner, or the loser possibly wounded or outright killed (note, armor is factored in before determining the result).  If a character is possibly wounded, it performs a wound test at the beginning of that player's next turn with results ranging from flesh wound to dead.  Typical rules and modifiers apply to combat.

That being said, there are some additional fidelity to combat that are not often found in miniature games.  There is an hierarchy of weapons, from best to worst, which give combatants with better weapons than their opponent a bonus.  Long reach weapons also accounted for.  Additionally, the type of damage a weapon inflicts (impact vs cutting/piercing) affects the target number for the wound test.

The rules give several scenarios to offer something more than just kill the other guy.  That being said, killing the other guy most of the time seems to be the sure path to victory.  There is a simplified campaign system also included, as well as an advancement system.

Other Things:
There are some additional rules, not mentioned above, that are covered in Bushi no Yume.  This includes a morale system, karma cards, Ki, mythical creatures, and even a magic system!  The karma cards, which replace the initiative roll at the start of each turn after the first, add a bit of unknown to the game by adding positive modifiers, actions, or events when played (one lets a character slice up arrows with their katana if fired at).

Ki is kind of interesting in that each character starts play with 1 Ki and at any time to modify one of their dice rolls +/- 1.  And every time a character rolls a natural 6 in combat, than recieve an additional point of Ki.

Magic seems fairly abstracted, much like it is in Kings of War but glad to see its inclusion, as well as the inclusion of mythical creatures.

I am inclined to have several concerns regarding the Bushi no Yume rules but I also feel that should not express them without having tried the game, which I have not.  Probably my biggest concern regarding Bushi no Yume can be rolled up into "acceptability":  Will I (as well as those I try to convince to play) find the rules acceptable.  This stems from the fact that there are several concepts, that are a foundation to the game, that are pretty major departures from standard miniature wargames.

Outside of the major departures, there is one additional concern though and that is how the rules are written.  I do not mean to imply they are badly written, quiet the contrary they are well written.  It is the fact that to introduce "flavor" it over uses (in my opinion) Japanese naming conventions.  See above in this review, I used Koku and other terms.  It shows a great love and care for the genre for the author to do this but it also makes it hard at times to digest the rules.  And as I game that I may try to introduce other people to, it is a factor I would have to consider.

I also feel the additional fidelity of combat captured by the hierarchy of weapons and some other particular modifiers may add to much "work" to the game.

The last thing that gives me a slight pause is the opposed combat roll system.  I am a big fan of this approach for combat resolution but I have always been concerned that it favors range combat over close combat.  That is because range combat usually represents zero risk to the attacker, while close combat has a significant (at least by comparison) risk.  Most systems tend to address this imbalance by limiting the amount of range combat units/models you can use, but this restriction seems missing in Bushi no Yume.  Then again, maybe it should be left up to players to build their lists accordingly.

If I am correct that Bushi no Yume is very similar to SBH (I know, I said I wouldn't reference it again) then I can see why SBH appears to be very polarizing in the gaming community.  I'm interested to try it out so that I can "give it a fair shake" but honestly I am afraid I wont like it.  And if I do, I am afraid it would be a hard sell to other people.

That being said, it is one of the few games in this genre that I think could give me a bit of that Akira Kurosawa movie feel that I want:  Through it's wound system and activation system.  And it is the first that I have reviewed to introduce fantastical elements into the game, other than Ki in the Torii rules.

Adding this to the list of games of this genre:  Samurai Skirmish as it is at least worth considering and/or trying out.

Friday, September 29, 2017

September Recap

Wow, the month of September has blown by and now I am staring at the family vacation to Disney World (staring tomorrow!).  Anyway, as (maybe) seen in my last blog post I finally finished up the mousling foot soldiers for Tail Feathers.  It is very nice to have them off my desk.  I followed that up by getting the birds cleaned up and primed, but nothing more since I realized that I really have no idea what birds look like (at least in enough detail to know how to paint them).  Luckily my wife reminded me she had an artist photo reference book for birds, so hopefully that will clue me in and I can knock them out after vacation.  Along with cleaning and priming those models, I have also done the same for several other things but they have been all over the place.  I have not been very focused.

Additionally, I dreamed up two other builds for games I don't play.  *sigh*  Out of all that stuff though, only one of them would require any purchases but I've been trying to behave until the Fallout Miniatures game pre-order goes live because that is going to hurt my wallet.

Anyway, one of the many scattered started projects included my British Infantry for K47.  I pulled 3 of them out of the batch of primed models to do test paint schemes on.  I think they are coming along fairly well and hopefully I can wrap them up when I am back from vacation.

About the only other thing I have to report for the month is that I got in a game of Frostgrave.  Definitely not my first choice, but it was the pretty much the only choice for the one game day I could attend.  Attending and playing it only reinforced my desire to not play the game.  I rather have stayed home and painted, not that my family would have let me.. 

Anyway, part of the reason for disinterest in Frostgrave was the situation:  It ended up being 4 teams of 2 players each.  So 8 people.  It was slowwwwww which was also compounded by 3 new players (new players are a welcome addition to the group, don't get me wrong).  It also didn't help that I was between 2 high level warbands with basically a starter warband.  So not really a fault of the game but that game also confirmed something I thought I did not like about the game:  I just find that it to be non-interactive.  Everyone just telekinesis treasure around, places practically permanent walls of fog and mud pools, cast beauty, etc...

Not that I think it is a bad game mechanically.  It's actually fairly decent in that regard, albeit a bit bland.  I think the problem really is certain spells and how each wizard has access (at varying difficulties) to take pretty much every one of those problematic spells.  So it just becomes a game of denials.  The repercussions of this have been that my enthusiasm for Ghost Archipelago has waned.  It is going to have traction around here though, so I will at least pick up the rules and give them a read through to see if I detect some the same issues.

Well, that is all for September.  Next stop, Disney World.  Wish me luck.  Wish my family more luck.  ;)

Monday, September 11, 2017

Tail Feathers - Mousling Foot Soliders

Well it has been a long time coming, but I finally finished another batch of Tail Feather figures.  The delays really had nothing to do with the figures themselves or the paint job, instead it was really about my focus or lack thereof.  I've gotten distracted several times when I was supposed to be working on these but I finally buckled down and knocked these guys out.  Now onto the birds and the riders.  Hopefully I find those a bit more interesting.

Not completely happy with them but I really do not want to spend any more time on them.  This batch of figures really gave me fits along the way.  For the light fur color, my initial color choice was completely off base from what I wanted.  On the green cloaks, I achieved a really nice blending from shadow to highlight with the airbrush but for some reason when I had to correct some issues using a brush I could never get a good color match.  This required me to apply several washes over the entire cloak to tone down the gradients but destroying a lot of the highlight work in the process.  Also for the life of me I just could not get a decent highlight onto the red cloaks or the bows.  I don't know.  Of course, I gave up kind of easily.  lol

Just gotta do the basing.  I have a good backlog of basing to do on some "almost" finished figures, so I think one upcoming weekend I am finally going to sit down and knock them all out.

Anyway, for my reference here are the paints I used.  All paints are Reaper Master Series unless otherwise specified.


  • Fur:
    • Vallejo Panzer Aces Light Rubber
    • Yellowed Bone
  • Cloak:
    • Templar Blue
    • Olive Green
    • Clotted Red
  • Amor/Arrow Head:  AP Gunmetal
  • Flesh:  Aged Bone + Carnage Red
  • Tunic/Shirt:  Terran Khaki
  • Leather:  Earth Brown
  • Bow/Arrow Shafts:  Rich Leather
  • Bow Straps/Feathers:  Aged Bone

  • Fur:
    • Vallejo Panzer Aces Light Rubber + Polished Bone
    • Creamy Ivory
  • Cloak:
    • Ashen Blue
    • Pale Olive
    • Carnage REd
  • Armor/Arrow Head:  AP Shinning Silver
  • Tunic/Shirt:  Khaki Highlight
  • Leather:  Leather Brown
  • Bow/Arrow Shafts:  Polished Leather
  • Bow Straps/Feathers:  Polished Bone
  • Fur:  1 pass of AP Strong Tone
  • Cloak:
    • Breonne Blue
    • Muddy Olive
    • Bloodstain Red
  • Rest:  1 pass of AP Strong Tone, 2nd pass over select areas/spots