28 January 2011

Gaming in Cleveland


The above map, roughly showing the locations of the various gaming stores in the Cleveland area (red) and my location (blue) illustrates one of my biggest frustrations and roadblocks to gaming. I live in the center of a gaming vacuum. I am at least 20 miles from any of the gaming stores.

Additionally, I've never seen anyone actually play any games at the only East Side gaming store (in Willoughby,) which is more like a comic book store with a lot of board games, GW figures and one table that's been buried in boxes every time I've been there.

For futher reference, other points of interest are that my old gaming group is centered in Twinsburg (south-east) with half the games being played in Troy, which is off the east side of the map. There is another game store in Akron, which is about 50 miles almost directly south of me.

I'm still surprised no on has opened a store in the area, as it has a lot going for it, and would be the only one on this side of town. Furthermore, there are several universities in my neighborhood, and it is a generally affluent part of town.

So my weekday gaming usually involves me driving across town, usually in rush hour traffic, and then driving back later in the evening. More often than not, I'm just not up for it anymore. Not that I don't want to play any games. Just that its become a bit tedious. And it's hard to fit in with everything else I've got to do during the day.

I think that if it was someplace a little more comfortable, like someone's house, I'd be up for it more than I am at the moment. Especially if it was something like a Friday night beer & pretzels type get-together.

Speaking of which, tonight is the next RPG session, which does involve beer, pretzels, pizza and a comfy room at someone's house. Of course, this is also across town, in Lakewood.

24 January 2011

Vinyl Countdown (part 4)

I've been spending some late nights working on my "Rabid Snabbit." I'm in the home stretch, but I think I haven't done as well with this as I thought I would. There have been a lot of, er, challenges to deal with. On my list of things to do, I need to touch up his left ear, touch up the blue-to-orange gradients on the tentacles, and emphasize the wrinkles around the eyes a bit more.

The tentacles have been particularly troublesome. The three sources, I think, have been: 1. blending artists acrylics (cadmium orange) with Vallejo model paint (blue - I forget which specific shade); 2. the tricky shape of the tentacles, and; 3. the gloss finish originally on the orange base coat of the tentacles. An orange to blue transition is tricky as it is, but I did a few practice runs on paper and was very happy with the results. The tentacles in the photos below... really bad.

Oh, and I forgot to put his arms on for the pics.




22 January 2011

Battle at Korebain Pass (WFB)

This weekend we fought out The Battle at Korebain Pass. We had an odd number of people, so the host and creator of the scenario & rules (Ron) sat out as a neutral GM. That left four players, each with 3000 points. Team Goats and Dogs (I just made that up) were Beastmen (Mark) and Dogs of War (Rich) on the bad guys side, while Team Desperate Alliance was Empire (Sam) and Skaven (me.)

The game used several scenario rules. I won't bother you with most of the technical details. I will just say there were modified reserve rules, a few pieces of mysterious terrain, and the major objectives for winning the scenario were possession of the Ogre keep (large semi-ruined block building in the distance) and to open/close a magic portal as appropriate for your team. The portal was near the DoW deployment area, where all of their "high command" parked themselves for most of the game, in a unit of pikes.



A view down the Desperate Alliance (TDA) battle line. Just look at those ranks upon ranks of verminous heroes. How can they possibly be stopped! In the background, Sam is giving Mark's beastmen the evil eye, "The Men Who Stare at Goats" style.




Another deployment shot down the line of Team Goats and Dogs (TGD.) The square tile (with a magic circle) nestled at the foot of the hill, in front of the DoW is the aforementioned portal. Sam's intimidation tactics are working, note the headless Mark, hiding in shame in the background. Or maybe he's just finishing deploying - I could be wrong.




The view from atop the Screaming Bell, perch of the Wise and Powerful Grey Seer Kwiksplode. Dogs are more or less to the right of the woods, goats are to the left.




TGD moves first. The DoW babysit the portal, but the Beastmen are a little more aggressive, except than the gorgon (or however you spell it) hiding between the woods and the large hill. The DoW artillery park, consisting of three cannons, three hot-pots and a goblin hewer, form the second line.




A view from high atop Mt. Corona, on the good guys (TDA) side. Imperial Greatswords move into the Ogre keep, easilly ejecting some sort of critter than had occupied it since its previous abandonment. It's difficult to see in the backgound, but the Screaming Bell is now Seer-less, as the Great and All Powerful Seer managed to get sucked into the netherworld, while blowing the heads off 2/3 of the unit escorting him. Centigors advance boldly into handgun fire in the foreground.



Slaves and clanrats (with a little help from a mob of Vermintide and a well placed warp lightning cannon shot) clear the woods in the foreground of a ogre maneater and another gorgon. Drong's slayer pirates advance to plug the gap between the woods and the hill in the foreground (actually, a burial mound.) Previously deployed DoW ambushers have been dealt with by the timely arrival of Skaven and Imperial reserves...



...shown in this photo. The reserves include four rat ogres, a unit of knights let by a warrior priest, and a thoughtful and considerate hellpit abomination who has just saved the Imperial artillery park from being ambushed. The abom is truly a misunderstood species, not often known for its gentle kindness.





Note: What appear to be riderless juggernauts in these photos are actually razorgors, aka pumbas. One has smashed through some Empire handgunners and followed up into the artillery. Another has just been run over by the driver-less Screaming bell, which has its non existant eyes fixed on a third pumba alongside a group of minotaurs advancing up the center. Off in the distance a unit of clanrats and a unit of gutter runners emerge from caves in the cliff side, in the path of another unit of oncoming minotaurs.




The minos in the center wheel sharply and attempt to wrest control of the keep from the greatswords. But the attack is fended off, which gives the Empire swordsmen a chance to charge them in the flank, while the clanrats attempt to deliver a Screaming Bell Suppository to the rear of the unit. And succeed. The minotaurs, including the hero leading the unit, die of discomfort and embarrassment. Knights attempt a rescue of the artillery from the rampaging pumba, while the Abom and rat ogres get in each others way.



Around this point the action picked up. And/or I stopped taking photos. But in these last turns, the centigors have laid waste to the Empire's left flank. The Screaming Bell, now obviously out of tune since being removed from the wrong end of a group of minos, rings a peal of destruction and lays a bit of waste of its own, killing damn near everything in that central area around the keep (including the greatswords who had, until that point held onto it) and the road, going as far as doing significant damage to the pikemen & norse marauders on the hill. In the foreground, the plague monks and their furnace have not slowed down in running over over the slayer pirates and are about to turn the flank on the DoW line, with the help of clanrats and a bonebreaker mounted warlord pinning the line in the front.


So that was where the battle was called. Both of the Team Desperate Alliance generals were dear, giving 3vp to Team Dogs & Goats. The centigors had captured some standards, but lost them when they were finally annihilated. The Skaven on the flank picked up two last minute standards, which I think was 2 VP for Team Desperate. The portal being closed (by the nearby warlord before he charged into combat) gave us a further 4VP, bringing our total to 6VP. After the Bell blew the greatswords out of the keep, it would most likely be occupied by Goats, giving them another 3VP for a total of 6VP as well.

So the game was more or less a draw, though after the devastation wrought by my f'ing Bell I think Team Desperate Alliance was suffering a bit. The poor coordination of the Skaven reserves (which were some heavy hitters) didn't help matters, though the infantry was at least rolling the flank if they could withstand the artillery shelling (hopefully by staying in combat, and thus not getting shot at in the first place!)

19 January 2011

More WFB High Elves; WF Drama Storm; WFB Big Battle

WFB High Elf Commission

I've finished a unit of GW High Elf White Lions. Again, like the other new HE figures these are very nice. The two complaints I have are that they designed the joints between pieces to be at odd & visible spots (they came to me pre-assembled, so I've not seen all the bits), and they are a huge pain to rank up into a unit. In fact, there are only 16 of the 18 figures in the photo below, as I got sick of playing with them like a jigsaw puzzle. But in terms of sculpting, detail and proportion, I like these.

There's also an old metal mage in there, as well.



Almost done with the High Elves. Still looking for some big commissions, if anyone's interested.




Wargames Factory Drama

One quick comment - or un-comment - on the recent storm surrounding Wargames Factory. There's a whole boatload of speculation, rumors, and judgment floating around the web regarding recent events. Out of respect for the company and the staff, I'm not going to add to the noise. I do hope that everything is sorted out to everyone's satisfaction soon, as I liked what they were producing, and was excited about where they were heading.




WFB Big Battle

This weekend I'll be playing in a WFB Big Battle (for lack of better term.) As I understand it, there will be three 3000 point armies on each side, on a very large table. I've been wanting to try a large game like this for a while. I'm still not certain whether to use Empire or Skaven -- I'd better decide soon!

I wish I had a few more weeks to paint some more figures, as that could tilt the decision. I'm leaning towards Skaven, but would probably play Empire if I had time to paint a pile of halberdiers and maybe a lord on a griffin.

On The Painting Desk


Another pic showing the primer plus white basecoat on the Rabit Snabbit (as I decided to name it) that I've been working on. Also visible are some recent commission figures... some completed GW high elves, and some just started ECW Scottish highlanders and the Marquess of Montrose.

To the right-ish are a bunch of the GW wash pots that have been re-serviced for custom paint colors. I like to do 5+/- layers of paint, rather than the typical 3 layers according to many paint "systems" (Foundry and Reaper sell "triads, for example.) So I end up mixing a lot of intermediate colors. I've typically done this on my palette, but in an effort to both save time and achieve more constancy, I've started making pre-mixes of multiple paints, with the addition of a little Future floor polish, plus a bit of Reaper anti-shine additive and/or Vallejo matte medium.

Most of the empty wash pots are Badab Black and Delvan Mud. If I could buy them by the quart at a discount, I really would consider it. I've tried mixing my own and haven't got it quite as nice as the GW stuff.

I will be packing up the horribly messy desk soon (most of the mess has been cropped out of the photo) as I move to a full time studio. We need to clear the spare room out for the impending babyfication. I also need to get all toxic stuff out of the house. I'll post pics of the new space when it happens. Probably not for a week or two.

16 January 2011

Vinyl Countdown (part 3)

This is actually a couple steps later. Though I did the bulk of the work in one step, which I think was a mistake. I tried to keep a consistency of finish by doing a bunch at once, but I think it was too much to tackle and still do to a decent level of finish. I fear visible joint lines, so try to do too much at once. I hope it turns out OK with some paint on it. I still want to "enhance" the tail first.

The final step aside, however, I am learning to love the color shapers I purchased last winter but haven't used til now. I don't know how useful they would be on small scale figures, but at this size they've been great. Especially in terms of a nice finish (which always seems to be a struggle for me.)

I included a ruler in one pic, for a sense of scale. The stock Munny Mini, with its normal head, is about 4" tall to the top of the head.





15 January 2011

Commission Openings

Due to things way beyond my control, it looks like I've lost a couple of my commission jobs without much warning. Hopefully neither is permanent, but, as it's all out of my hands, I'm not going to rely on anything at this moment and need to make sure I can pay my bills!

So that leaves me with a bit of an opening that I'd like to fill ASAP. Preferably larger painting jobs, but I'm open to working out individual arrangements as required. I'm also open to modeling/sculpting/converting work. As I've mentioned previously, I can also produce hand painted maps.

Poke about this blog (tags for painting, sculpting, etc. are on the right) to browse photos.

I can be contacted privately at ((name of this blog)) @gmail.com.

14 January 2011

The Vinyl Countdown (part 2)

More work on the custom Munny Mini.

I need to think of a name. I've still got plenty of time to spend with it while I finish. I will think of something.




13 January 2011

The Vinyl Countdown

There's a vinyl toy show at a local gallery, in a little over a month. I've been wanting to do more sculpting. Seems like a good excuse to douse the procrastination and try my hand at a custom vinyl.

The basis is a Munny Mini. I'm adapting one of my watercolor critters to the style.






Since I've entirely replaced the head, I've got a couple ideas for doing something else with that.

11 January 2011

Wheel & Townies

A little bit of painting. Just finished a doomwheel for a commission. It was tricky because it was entirely assembled. When I was looking at my own kit (still on sprue) I knew I would have to paint it in about 3-4 pieces and finish assembling it afterward. This looked like it was going to be a nightmare, but didn't turn out to bad.




I also snuck in a little bit of pointless painting for myself last night. The three figures below are from one of Reaper Miniatures packs of "Townfolk." I still need to figure out how to do the bases in a way that seems to make sense. They've got a large textured out doors look to them. I suppose that could make sense (outdoor eating area or indoor with a dirt floor), but I think a wood floor might look better.


The second pack of Townfolk I've got contains a beggar, blacksmith, and a young (?) lady showing a bit of leg, perhaps selling something -- though I don't want to make any assumptions. ;) They are primed up and ready to go.

I don't actually have a purpose for these figures. I just like them and wanted to paint them. Maybe I will build some buildings for a little town scene to use on battlefields. Maybe I will put together a skirmish game. Maybe they will just go in a cabinet.

09 January 2011

Siege at the Tower '11



Four of the Team BREWS Clevelanders headed down to Columbus for this year's Siege at the Tower, at the Guardtower game store. The roads & weather appeared clear, but we had some tense moments on the way down, with slippery patches on the highway and occasional snow. But both cars made it down (let's call them... Team Brews West and Team Brews East/Central.)

We brought with us.... Ogre Kingdoms, Dwarfs, Dark Elves, and my Marienburgers (Empire.) The rest of the pack (about 20) was an odd mix. No High Elves or Vampires, and only one each of Warriors of Chaos, Daemons, and Skaven. On the other hand there were two Ogres, two Beasts, two Bretonnnians, one each Empire and Wood Elves. (I think I'm remembering those numbers correctly.) Dark Elves were the most represented with three armies. So basically -- in my opinion -- there were a limited number of "top tier" armies and a whole lot of middle and lower power armies. This may have had one of two effects... One, just one or two of the armies would dominate, or Two, everyone would have a good shot at it. As it turned out, I think it was the latter.


My army was essentially:

1 General
1 Lv. 4 Mage
1 Battle Standard Bearer
2 Engineers

2 x 30 Swordsmen, each with 10 Handgunner detachment
1 x 30 Spearmen with 10 Crossbow detachment
1 x 25 Greatswords
2 x Cannon
2 x Mortar

That's it. Nothing fancy. The general had the Mace of Helstrum, the Mage had the Rod of Power. There were a few other minor magic items (wards, armour, etc.) but nothing too tricksy.




No detailed battle reports this time (again.) I was really just looking to relax and play a few games. I was hopping to not lose all of them.


Game One

vs. Brett's Lizards




The scenario was Meeting Engagement. (I think that's the one. It's the scenario with the diagonal set up and units held in reserve.) I deployed second, though that was somewhat irrelevant. Considering the two armies, I had to hunker down in that far corner.

All of my army was on the table except my mage and one mortar (seen in the upper right corner in this deployment shot) My opponent had all of his stuff on the table except his Slann and its Temple Guard.

We had several pieces of Mysterious Terrain (all woods and rivers -- this was a tournament-wide rule.) The river -- much to the chagrin of my hnandgunners who deployed in it -- was a River of Fire or some such thing. The woods in which I deployed made my units inside cause Fear.

It was a bit of a slow, shoot & magic match with few casualties. From the deployment, you can see that the Stegadon and big Saurus unit in the foreground had a bit of marching before they got to the action. I nailed the big lizard with artillery for something like 3-4 turns, and the Slann kept healing it (Lore of Life.) Finally I was able to bring it down with enough wounds in a single turn, before it got to me. The Sauruses (Sauri?) never made it to combat. They rolled horrible charge rolls three turns in a roll. That was my denied flank, and it worked.

The Slann also never even approached combat, nor made it to the area of the tower. So the only close combats were some scouting Skinks on the far side of the river, and the Sauruses in that same area. The Skinks popped up near the the artillery, moved up and started trying to blowgun the crew. My Handgunners saw a dual opportunity. They charged out of the Flaming River of Fiery Pain and Death, and had a better shot at beating the Skinks in combat than they did shooting at them. They won the first round, drove them off and pursued to a safe spot on the flank.

The Sauruses advanced, and slowed for at least one turn to try to cross the river. After they did so, I moved my greatswords and swordsmen up to double-team them. But by the time this all happened, it was late in the game and neither of us could cause enough casualties to gain any VP.

So in the end, I lost a unit of handgunners who fled and never rallied. My only other casualties were from some Salamander fire on my Spearmen in the woods. I killed the Stegadon, the Skink scouts for VP. I had nearly wiped out a unit of Skinks + Krox, but my opponent hit the remainder (one Skink and one Krox with a single wound left) behind his army & terrain so I couldn't get to it. At one point the Salamanders were down to a single Sally with one wound left, and two handlers, but they were healed back. Similarly, both units of Sauruses were damaged -- one was below half strength, even after being healed as well.

I got a solid victory out of the match.



Game Two
vs. Berkley's Dark Elves



The scenario was Dawn Attack. During the course of deployment, we learned that the woods in which I deployed (foreground, center) were just normal woods.

Berkley had (from left to right)... Dark Riders, 12 Crossbow, a Lord (Lady, actually) on a Dragon, two units of Warriors and a Chariot hiding between them, a second Chariot beyond the hill, Black Guard and Harpies.

My opponent went first, as was the case in all three games. But one my half of turn one I managed to land two perfect mortar shots, wipe out about 1/2 the Black Guard, wound a mage, kill 1/3 of a unit of Warriors (also with a mage in the unit) and send them fleeing to the back edge of the table, and take out the Dark Riders. I couldn't wound the Dragon or Chariots, but I still thought I had a huge advantage to the game. I even offered to start over.

As it turns out... it wasn't so disastrous to the DE. I was never able to kill the dragon (and certainly not the rider with the inverse ward plus 1+ saves), but I did tie it up the whole game, after it ate a mortar, with a unit of swordsmen. Although I lost my Lv. 4 mage, I did kill off all the black guard, both chariots, and one (or was it two?) unit of spearmen, the enemy BSB and one of the mages. I got the harpies down to one model, but couldn't seal the deal.

The harpies were the MVP on the DE side. They took down a Cannon, Mortar and unit of Crossbowmen. I also lost the rest of the artillery, one unit of handgunners, the Lv 4 (as previously mentioned) and the unit of Swordsmen I fed to the Dragon.

At any rate, the result was a very close draw.




Game Three
vs. Shaun's Beastmen



This one was just a straight-up battle. My opponent had, from left to right...

3 Minos, 2x24 Gors, 20(?) Bestigors, more Gors, Chariot, a Giant, Ungors. Off the table he had three more units (15-18?) of Ambushing troops. I think two were Gors, one was Ungors. One unit of Gors showed up in the first turn, behind my artillery opposite the Minos. The other two came on later, on his side of the table, along my right flank.

My artillery was doomed from the start. Especially on my left. They didn't even get off a decent shot before dying. But they tied up the Minos and ambushing Gors for a couple turns. I forgot to move my Engineer out of danger, so just before he got charged by the Gors, I managed to cast Shield of Thorns on him. I rolled up an amazing 12 S3 hits, but then botched the dice on the actual to-wound roll and only killed something like two of them.

In the woods (which also made my units cause fear -- but I forgot that rule the entire game) my Spearmen, Crossbow and Handgunners (to the right of the woods) tried to stand tall in spite of the overwhelming odds against them. Their job was to hold everything up for a couple turns -- the two big units of Gors, the BSB, the Bray Shaman, the ambushing Gors and the Minos now on my flank. Amazingly, they did far far better than I even hoped.

The shooters faced front and blasted away until the very last minute. The crossbow reformed to face the now frenzied Minos, but angled to avoid disaster for my spearmen. The spearmen moved up to the edge of the woods, right in front of all of the Gors. I had to give up the charge in favor of delaying an extra turn while still pinning them in place. To my surprise, not only did they hold up, they actually did well in combat for several turns!

To their right, my Greatswords, General and Swordsmen with BSB double-teamed the Bestigors. The second round of combat my General took off the Beasty General's head with 6 wounds from the Mace of Helstrum. The few Bestigors left fled and were run down. This left me open to charge into the flank and rear of the combat in which the brave Spearmen were holding.

On my far right, I surprisingly was able to deal with everything else with just a unit of handgunners, a unit of swordsmen and the artillery crew. Not so much the artillery itself... the crews were holding their own in combat, allowing the handgunners to toss away their guns and join in the fight as well!



This was to be repeated in the mess in the photo above. There were also more Gors to the left of the Minos. They ended up panicking after being nearly surrounded by my three combat units at the end of the game. The two units of Gors in the phott were beaten & run down, while the Minos charged past them in the opposite direction. They lost on cow to the crossbowmen in combat, and were then defeated in the last combat of the game buy the handgunners in combat. Amazing as it was. my handgunners sealed the deal and let me table my opponent in turn six by killing two double-frenzied Minos.

This was a hard fought battle. The first two turns it was looking like a Beasty victory. Turn three I was hoping I could pull it back to a draw, but only if I could time everything just right in terms of delaying something, getting into position (thinking two turns in advance...) I was thinking the draw was a slim hope. In the end, everything worked out and I got a massive victory.

The fact that all four of my artillery crews and both units of handgunners held their own and caused several times their value worth of casualties against superior troops was the amusing highlight of the game for me.

Shaun's army was absolutely beautiful! He won the Best Painted award.



Results

The results aren't posted yet, but as I said, Shaun won Best Painted.

I managed to pull off my third First Place (overall) at a Siege tournament. Not only that, but by some miracle I was able to do it with my Marienburgers. I'm not certain what it is about this event, but I've got some sort of unexplained fortune there. It's a lot of the same players, rules, etc. that are used at the other regional events at which I usually do so poorly. Must be my bribes to the judges. ;)

After the event I very quickly ran over to Rivet gallery on the Short North (more on that later) before meeting up with the BREWS and friends for a bit of dinner before heading back up to Cleveland.

Once again, it was a good time, good people & good games. Also, if you're in/around Columbus, the Guardtower is a great store & gaming space.

06 January 2011

Last Warm-up, and WIP BSB

I tweaked my Marienburg list one last time and played one more pre-Siege warm-up game against an Ogre Kingdoms army. I did OK, but lost in the end. So my last four games I went 2-2. Not looking like I've got a very good chance at a tournament, but at least I'm winning some games.




Since the army standard is so important in 8th edition WFB, I've finally determined to paint up my limited edition standard bearer... two days before the tournament. Here's a work-in-progress shot of it...


The image is of the maid of Marienburg, a mermaid holding a sword in one hand, a sack of gold in the other.

In contrast to the rest of my (bright as the sun) army, I went with really toned down and dark colors for this one.

Hopefully I finish him in time. Wish me luck -- on both the painting and the actual games. I'll need it in both cases.

02 January 2011

WFB Warmup


The Upcoming Siege

This week I played a couple WFB games at 2200 points as a warmup to the annual Siege at the Tower tournament in Columbus. I've gone the past three years and won two of those three times. Both times with Skaven (once old book, once new book.) Two years ago I got flattened when I brought my Marienburgers (Empire.) This year I'm hoping to change the pattern and do well with the ex-Imperials.

2010 Entry
2009 Entry
(No 2008 Entry. There were batreps on Warseer & I still have maps uploaded on the internet, but I can't find the text at the moment.)



Game One

I had to come up with a new list, as most recent games have been either 1500 or 2500 points.

My first game was against High Elves. No pics. We played the scenario in which one counts banners (forget the name.) I was doomed from the start. Deployment hadn't even finished and I joked that I wanted to start over. Yes, my deployment was just that bad.

Still, even with that, my army was outclasses. I had four large combat blocks against four HE combat units that were far better. I had two mages against two far better HE mages. We were probably close in terms of heroes, and the only advantage I had was in artillery... which (in spite of engineers using their re-roll ability) failed to impact the game. It was all over after 3 turns.


Game Two

I just got back from my second game this week. This time with a tweaked list, and fighting Skaven. I figured it would be another good game, since High Elves and Skaven are, in my opinion, two of the strongest armies in the game at the moment. (I'd put them both in the top 4.)



This game went significantly better for me. We played the Meeting Engagement scenario. The pic is from the bottom of the second turn. I went first and in those rounds I dropped the Abomination, destroyed the Plague Furnace and took out 2/3 of the monks pushing it, and caused 5 wounds on the Doomwheel that is in combat with the swordsmen in the photo above.

The shooting in this game made all the difference in this game. I eliminated or crippled the two biggest combat threats before they contacted me. In the previous game, I did nothing so my melee troops were outclassed by the time combat happened.


RPG Animal Sidekick

In my previous entry, I mentioned a bit more about the RPG game. I had previously posted a photo of my sidekick from the character creation session. So here's one of the sidekick from the individual/introduction gaming session recorded in Nob's Journal.