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.

Scenarios:
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.

Concerns:
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.

Conclusions:
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.

Basecoat:

  • 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
Highlights:

  • 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
Shading:
  • 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


Friday, September 8, 2017

August Recap

I managed to get a few things done for the month of August.  As seen a couple of post back, I got my first models for Konflikt 47 finished up, which has allowed me to turn my attention back to Tail Feathers.  Well, at least in theory.  I just not very enthusiastic about painting those figures, so it has been really hard to double down and just knock them out.  Although, I did make a dent in what was left of the Mousling foot soldiers last week:  they are almost done.  Maybe I will find the birds more interesting and they wont drag out so long.  We'll see...  My daughter also sloshed some paint onto some miniatures with me one day, for about an hour, so that was fun.

I also read through the rules for Bushi No Yume, another samurai skirmish game, last month.  I haven't posted up a review of it yet, since I'm still trying to figure out how to approach the review (I know, that sounds weird.  You'll maybe understand my dilemma once I post it up).

Actual gaming wise, I missed the first regular meetup because my wife and daughter went out of town for the eclipse, leaving me with the baby.  For the second meetup, I got in a game of Mike's home brew game called Mini Mayhem.  I am not really recalling getting any board games in with my daughter or otherwise, so all in all a pretty slow month.

The annual Huntsville Plastic Model Society's show was also this past month and I swung by.  It was a quick walk through the area but some pretty neat stuff.  You can find some pictures in the last blog post.  The "news" out of Gencon also failed to generate much excitement for me.  Well, except for Star Wars Legion but that was about it.

August also ended with my missing another NOVA Open.  The family decision was made to go to Disney World (god help me) in October, which meant time/money/vacation wise, the NOVA Open was out of the question.  It looked like it was going to be pretty good show and it would have been great seeing old friends.  Hopefully I will get to see some of them at Adepticon and/or I can finally make it back to the NOVA Open in 2018.

Anyway, a few days late and time to move on to September.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Hunstville Plastic Modeler's Society, 2017


This weekend was once again the annual show for the Huntsville Plastic Modeler's Society, so I swung by to check it out.  The number of entries seemed down this year.  I grabbed a few photos of some pieces I thought were pretty nice or that interested me, and breezed through the vendor area rather quickly.  You can find more information regarding the HPMS here.



Check out the lighting!

Ok, time to get over the Star War fixation.

Lighting was pretty bad in this area.



Again, the photos are not really representative of all the categories or number of entries.  These are merely the ones I wanted to capture.  There were a lot of car model and modern fighter jets that just did not cry out to me.  And yes, Star Wars and WWII planes cry out to me pretty loudly.

All in all, like last year, a fun diversion for a hour on a Saturday.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Konflikt 47 - British Automated Infantry (MMG)

Well, here is another side project I have been working on:

The other 2 are painted, just not shown.  And look, I think
I finally got a decent photo!
I still have a few things left to finish up, along with the basing but I think these guys are mostly done.  For a fairly uninteresting model, I felt like these turned out pretty well and I am happy with them.  Of course they were not terribly difficult, just some quick airbrush work got 80% of the model done and then it was just painting a few details and some washes.

I'm not sure the white dot on the red lenses is appropriate, given how much that area is shadowed by the helmet, but I like how it draws my eye to that area and also helps bring the red out, so I think it's going to stay.  I also think the dials and the star (both white on the torso) need to be hit with a wash to make them look slightly dirty.  I haven't really decided though.  I'm also considering some slight battle damage/chipping and maybe bit more work on the lens.  We'll see.

The real downside though is putting these guys together.  Both legs are separate from the torso, so that creates a nightmare to getting a good solid bond while simultaneously trying to get a decent pose out of them.  But that nightmare turned out to be trivial when compare to attaching both arms to the torso AND the machine gun!  I have another squad of 5 of these guys that I am really not looking forward to.  That batch I may do some rust weathering on.

Anyway, that gets my Konflikt army started off.  Now I gotta jump back on Tail Feathers for my daughter.  She's getting a little tired of my "distractions."  Of which there are a few more distractions on my hobby desk right now too.

If I ever need to come back to it, here are the paints I used:

  • Main Body:  RMS Muddy Olive (S), RMS Olive Green (B), Mix of RMS Olive Green and RMS Pale Olive 2:1 (H1), RMS Olive Green and RMS Pale Olive 1:1 (Highlight2)
  • Vessels:  RMS Cloudy Grey (B), RMS Cloudy Grey and RMS Misty Grey 2:1 (H1), RMS Cloudy Grey and RMS Misty Grey 1:1 (H2)
  • Gun:
    • Black Portion:  Vallejo Panzer Aces Dark Rubber (B), Vallejo Panzer Aces Dark and Light Rubber 1:1 (H1), Vallejo Pazner Aces Light Rubber (H2)
    • Brown Portion*:  RMS Uniform Brown (S), RMS Green Ochre (B), RMS Faded Khaki (H)
  • Piping:  Terran Khaki (B)
  • Bullets:  AP Greedy Gold and AP Gun Metal
  • Lenses:  RMS Bloodstain Red (B), RMS Clotted Red (H)
I used washes to take care of most the shading:
  • Gun:
    • Black Portion:  AP Dark Tone (selectively in recessed areas)
    • Brown Portion:  AP Strong Wash
    • Body/elsewhere:  AP Strong Wash
      • First application all over but trying to avoid pooling in raised areas (which was only somewhat successful)
      • Second application in select areas such as recessed or shadowed areas.
*Note to self, the brown portion of the gun using Green Ochre as a base was a nightmare to highlight up to Faded Khaki.  It just seemed like whatever I did it still ended up just looking like the base color and I eventually gave up.