Sunday, 28 December 2014
The Raven rules were a complete surprise discovery posted on a forum. I thought I was familiar with pretty much every set of fantasy rules available as I have spent a fair amount of time researching alternatives to WHFB, but obviously I was wrong. In my defence, they were written nearly twenty years ago and never took off in the public imagination. I did find a couple of reviews, explaining how they were quite possibly the worst rules ever written. Naturally, this intrigued me and I bought them. Having flicked through, they are badly written, but there's a nice old school vibe to the artwork and I'm sure I can find some little nuggets in there somewhere.
The Godslayer rules are quite the opposite, a product of the recent cult of kickstarter. The slip folder contains two books, one a lavish background product and the other a rulebook. Again I have only had a brief flick through, but already I can see it's a beautiful production, one that I am looking forward to getting to know in the new year. I will give more detailed overviews in the new year.
Sunday, 21 December 2014
I started to look around at what other gamers did, there are many blogs out there with different solutions, different materials and different price points. My main criteria were it had to be easy to set up and take down on my dining table, easy to store and (preferably) low cost. I was very impressed by some of the battle boards seen at show reports, especially those made from teddy fur - shaved and painted it can look very realistic. In the end, I went for the much simpler option of a fleece blanket and cheap poster paint.
Friday, 19 December 2014
I tried quite a few new methods on this figure. On the skin I painted wet in wet blending for the first time, after viewing the excellent Painting Buddha videos on youtube. On the rock I lifted something from my photography hobby - dual toning. Instead of shading and highlighting with black and white, I used blue as the shadow and a yellow as the highlight. The rock is actually a piece of bark from a tree (picked up from the forest floor I hasten to add). The gnarled shrub is the stalk from a tomato, dried and painted.
If I was starting it again, I would go with a much paler skin tone, the intense green of this one is too much. Other than that, I think the balance of colours is quite good, something I continue to work on to improve.
Tuesday, 16 December 2014
I cannot actually remember when I painted it, must have been at least five years ago. It was obviously part of my "rock period", when all my figures were mounted on a rocky outcrop made from the cork of a wine bottle.
The woodland setting is a simple backdrop made from a wooden box, a few twigs and a painted background. I got the idea from the rather wonderful Gardens of Hecate blog, one of the most interesting and inspiring in the blogosphere if you ask me. I should really have an inscription in the left hand side, maybe I could add one this xmas.
Wednesday, 10 December 2014
I would much rather have been able to start my tale with a more stirring title, such as the Saga of Ragnar the Brave, or Erik Bloodaxe, but it seems my story is going to be a little less heroic. Having rolled up my Dux Britanniarum characters, I had a poverty-stricken, cowardly Lord leading my force, with a bodyguard fond of riding horses (not much use to a seafaring adventurer). I also had a lustful noble in my retinue, dragging down the loyalty of my troops. Only my second noble had any decent characteristics, being big and strong and with the constitution of an ox. In terms of troops available at the start of the campaign there are 2 units of elite, 3 units of warriors and a small band of bowmen.
Ivar and his men spied an easy target and fell upon a village, scattering the few farmers and making off with the cattle. But their trespass had not gone unseen, and Saxon warriors rushed to wreak their vengeance on the luckless invaders......
|Right lads, let's get these three groups on to the ship |
- hey, where are the sheep?
|Baa, Baa, Ha, Ha the vikings are taking a beating|
The cattle moved 2d6 per turn, the herders with them can move up to 3d6 so it should have been reasonably straight forward to keep the dumb animals in check. The accompanying noble, with his ability to activate a unit twice, would gee up any stragglers. Of course, straight away the sheep flock broke away from their captors and headed in the wrong direction. And the fighting troops bounced off the Saxons, with the champion taking a spear in the belly, to save his cowardly Lord. It went downhill from that point. The main combat became a stalemate, the sheep got away and the remaining herders were waylaid and defeated by a single group of Saxons. To add to the vikings woe, their finest noble was killed in a combat with levy troops (having the constitution of an ox did not help as I forgot to roll to see if he escaped the fatal blow). I decided to withdraw, the Saxons did not attempt to stop me, fearing more casualties.
|Vanquished vikings trudge back to the ship|
The jeers of the Saxons and bleating of sheep ring in the distance
The result of the raid was a four point victory to the Saxons. Just one more victory point and they would have been rolling to gain renown for the Lord. As it was, they recovered from their wounds in just one month, gained a bit more cash and gained a couple more warriors to their cause. The vikings gained nothing at all and would need two months to recover from their losses. They would also have to roll up a new noble and champion to try to bolster the pathetic Ivar Sveinson. Surely things could only get better?
Monday, 8 December 2014
Link to facebook page.
Here's a couple of images from facebook, hopefully the authors will not mind me spreading them around.
Saturday, 6 December 2014
Now that they are fully painted, you can better see the quality of the figures. The casts are good and the sculpting detail is very fine - one of them has a tiny cigarette dangling from his lip. The faces in particular have very shallow detailing, though excellent facial hair. The bayonets are a little clunky, I should really have filed them to a finer point before I painted them, but that's a minor quibble. For me, they are a lovely mix of realistic proportions, fine detail and steampunk flavour.
Enough waffle, here's some more pictures so you can judge for yourself.
Wednesday, 3 December 2014
The book covers dark ages warfare in the age of Arthur. The Romans have left Britain, their successors (the Romano-Britons) are facing threats from Saxon invaders. The campaign system includes a character generator for both forces, careers for your chosen Lord, raid scenarios, battles, force development, etc. There's just one problem in all this - we don't have any figures from this period. But we do have plenty from about two centuries later, in the shape of Saxons and Vikings. So we are going to use the book but jump forward in time - in our campaign the Saxons are now rulers of Britain, with Viking invaders launching the raids. We can easily tweak any references as appropriate.
The first decision of any campaign is to decide on a region in which to base the campaign. There's no place like home, so we have decided to fight the Invasion of Rheged. It's a part historical, part fantasy campaign. The year is 808 AD, vikings have established a settlement on the Isle of Man, a base from which to launch raids on the mainland.
The campaign is fought over years, each split into months. After a raid is fought, a number of months will elapse before the forces are back to combat strength. More raids and battles see the revenues expand, which is spent on more troops, defences, upgrades and so forth. The year starts in March and ends in October, then there's an end of year process and the cycle begins again.
In order to make it more likely that we reach a conclusion, we will be fighting for seven campaign years. At the end of AD 815 we will see which of the two rulers has fared best. Hopefully that will be achievable and should give us plenty of good games, but not drag on too long and be adandoned as so many campaigns are!