04 April 2020

More Sellswords (Solo games 2-4)

After the first game of Sellewords and Spellslingers, I had to restart half of my party as 2.0 versions of themselves. I wanted to give them a second chance since I felt they had been killed by dice and never really got a chance to prove themselves.

For the second scenario, I chose Defend the Villiage, which seemed a little more tame and appealed to my fondness for the Seven Samurai. I set everything up and drew a card for the antagonist and...

Well, I don't have an minotaurs. So I dug around and found a mutant rat ogre! (Boneripper?) Close enough. It's big, has a horn or two somewhere on its body...

The set up.

Several quick dice rolls later he's dead from a fireball and several arrows stuck in his fresh corpse. Game over in moments. The total opposite of the previous game, I made every die roll by a long shot.

So between the two games, I'm a little concerned about the impact of dice on gameplay, while still trying to understand that I rolled mostly 7 and lower in the first games, and nothing but 17 - 20 in the second. Again -- no rules can account for that sort of one-sided rolling.

I decided to replay the same scenario (I spent more time setting up the table than playing the game!) again but with a new draw on the monster cards.


Ratmen it is.

After the mutant rat ogre was easily defeated, nearby Skaven agents heavily increased pressure on the small villiage of Geenberg. The Low Rollers, the heroes who defeated the mutant beast had not even left town when the attack began, so they were caught in the middle of a second battle for Geenberg. In spite of poison gas traps and ambushes, the barely adequate heroes managed to defeat the verminous horde, and rescue the townsfolk once more.

Another tense and dramatic Sellswords scenario, a second run through of Defend the Village, the ratmen seemed like an easy win but (like the first scenario) a ton of botched activation rolls (and fumbles like broken bow strings, etc. again) made me seriously concerned for the team's survival again. They barely pulled this one off again. I'm now dumping XP into the Hero trait...

I played one more game after this, but failed to record it with photos. For game 4, I played The Healer, and it went pretty easy I managed to knock out most of the bandits, with just two more entering off the perimeter and being dispatched pretty quickly.

It's been two weeks now, but I'm hoping to pick back up with a few more games this weekend. I'm thinking Sellswords might be a good gateway to try to get my wife & daughter into miniatures gaming...

03 April 2020

OWAC3 March - Elf wardancers

Usually I just post to a link at the Old World Army Challenge. And I still recommend a visit there for all the great entries for the month. But since this months entry had a bit of personal stuff as the world goes crazy... I'll copy the whole thing below.

Still, go to the Old World Army Challenge. Really great stuff there. Lots of Skaven. Filthy disease carrying vermin. Lots of wood elves, defenders of everything that's good and right with the world. And some humans and orcs and stuff too. But especially Skaven and elves this year. ;)


For March's goal, I planned to paint 10 wardancers with double handed weapons. But I found an extra, so it's 11.

In keeping with the grimmer & darker ;) theme for the wood elves, I wanted to do something to make them look more like acrobatic huntsmen/huntswomen than prancing treehuggers. So I took inspiration from the Conan film and Kevin Dallimore's use of the same look on the Harii (Ancient German tribe) he painted years ago. Thus...

Not my best work, but I'm pleased with how they turned out!

March's tally:

11 Wardancers w/double handed weapons ...... 242 pts.

(...242... great, now I've got Headhunter stuck in my head)

Previous Months: 572 pts
OWAC3 Running Total: 814 pts

I've got to admit, this month was hard. I think it's a combination of a lot of things. I just wasn't "feeling it" in terms of sitting down and painting. I had a few days where I just sat down, stared at things for a bit, and then got up. Work stress, worldwide pandemic and all that brings with it, personal health concerns, storms last night knocking out the power and inches away from flooding the basement where my painting table and minis are located!

I feel like I'm fighting to keep my self together some days. Painting has been hard, but I've taken time for some other positive outlets. Fired up the grill for the first time this year. Finally played another one of the solo games I've been planning (Sellswords & Spellslingers - 4 games, in fact) with my Oldhammer figures. Sot it's not all doom and gloom and the apocalypse.

Looking to next month, I'm not sure what's going on. I'd like to keep working on the OWAC. But April is traditionally my own personal giant painting challenge month ("Big April.") Last year I took my mulligan in April to paint giants. This year I was thinking of combining Big April and OWAC in a sense -- paint an ent. They're giant sized creatures, right? Plus I may still be able to work on one or more giants as well.

Or maybe next month the seas will turn to blood, the alien invasion will begin, or... I have no idea anymore. So I'm going to take it day by day. But there's a strong possibility of ent.

29 March 2020

Big April Approaches and Solo Gaming

April is almost here. That means Big April, what has become my traditional giant painting month. This year, I may still try to paint something for the Old World Army Challenge, but would still like to paint a giant or two.

But I haven't prepped or even decided what to paint. Here's some of what I'm looking at...

Otherworld, Mantic, a few Reaper Bones. Also, not pictured are a couple of giants sent to me by Shadespyre, but they got buried in a late night shuffle to avoid basement flooding last night.

I've still got some more photos & reports from my recent dive into solo gaming with Sellswords and Spellslingers. I just haven't had much time or energy to write anything up. I'd like to play a few more games as well.

I've also got a bit distracted reading the Frostgrave rules, since the author posted a free download code for the rules, plus a couple of downloads for solo play/solo scenarios.


At any rate, once I put the basement back together and get access to my table, maybe more solo gaming as well...

23 March 2020

Sellswords and Spellslingers (Game 1)

It's been about a year since I bought the game and started prepping for it, but I've finally played a few games of Sellswords and Spellslingers. For those not familiar, it is a cooperative (or solo) fantasy skirmish game with a bit of an RPG feel to it. I downloaded the PDF from Ganesha Games, and bought the printed cards. You go through a points based party/character creation and then dive into scenarios. There are "between games" campaign activities and progression as well.

I originally had a some other plans, but ended up creating a team of four barbarian adventurers, from left to right... P-Stash, Bowie, Stabbie, and Yubie. I'll get back to the other ideas after running this group for a while.

There is no order to the scenarios, but I started with the first one, "Through The Badlands" because it seemed like a good learning scenario.

It was brutal.

This is what I was up against... Orcs, Orc Brutes, and a Troll. At least to start with. The way the mechanics of the game work, each character rolls between 1-3 activation dice. Roll 8+ on a d20, and each success is an action for that character. Fail, and you draw a card which means enemies activate, more enemies join the game, or one of a handful of events happens.

I failed at least 2/3 of my activation rolls throughout the game, which meant that the Heroes didn't get to do as much as the Villians, and more of them kept spawning around the table. Stabbie the shaman fumbled (rolled a 1) his first spell roll, which meant no magic the rest of the game. Bowie fumbled (rolled a 1) her shooting early on, which took her skills down a major notch as well. The scenario involved my group getting from one side of the killing field to the other. It was a flight for survival.

After many rounds of activation, at the end of the slaughter, this was my deployment area. Yubie got bogged down in combat and almost never making an activation roll. She lasted longer than expected, but eventually fell from her wounds, comatose. She could have been carried to safety by her "friends" but by this time they were in a panicked sprint for safety, far far away.

Here's a shot from the other side. You can see the others (Stabbie and P-Stash each down to their last hit point) making a dash for survival, corpses, pursuing foes and their abandoned friend all on the distance (and to either side, off camera.) This is right at the edge of the table. You would think they were home free.

You'd be wrong.

Here's Stabbie, the inept shaman, mere steps away from "edge of the world" safety. He's already been lapped by his companions because he can't roll above a 5 throughout the game. Just one activation and he's free... nope. Failed, resulting in another orc (just to his left) ambushing out of the bushes... er, ambushes? Just an orc, not a difficult combat at least... right? Nope again. Fumbled, lost his last hit point. But at least he's got a roll to see what happens... aaaaaand he's flat out dead.

The carnage at the end of the game. We started on the left, and 50% of The Low Rollers (they have a name now) exited off the right.

Since Stabbie and Yubie didn't really get much of a chance, I added their twins back into the party for the next game.

Next game? Yes. I thought it was worth another try. I like the mechanics, though they seem like they fluctuate between extremes. And the dice really had a heavy part in the game. But that's also what went wrong here... A large majority of my rolls were 5 or less on a d20. No rules are going to mitigate that. The game deserved a second try.

Back to that in the next update. (FYI, I just finished Game 4. Give me a few days to catch up with updates...)

08 March 2020

Hobhounds pt. 1

Hobhounds. Midlam Miniatures. I wish there was a second hobhound design for variety, but very happy with the quality of the sculpts and castings.

29 February 2020

Midlam Hobgoblins

I painted the first of the Midlam Hobgoblins. Related to a recent post as well as my re-purposing of the old Citadel "Hobgoblin Despoilers", these have been adopted as hob-orcs.... er, half-orcs and painted as such.

I'm very happy with them -- both the sculpts as well as how they painted up! Looking forward to painting some more.

OWAC3 February Wood Elves

My Old World Army Challenge entry for February is up!


Follow the link for more photos and details.

24 February 2020

Althammer: Of Orcs, Goblins, Hobgoblins, and Half-Orcs

Since I recently received, posted about, and already started painting a few of the Midlam Miniatures hobgoblins, I've been thinking about how they fit within my Althammer setting.

My Althammer setting is the Warhammer Old World, with a twist -- and centered on Marienburg & the Wasteland. In this universe, orcs & goblins have been largely driven off from the area, as well as the adjacent Empire & Bretonnia for almost a century. A few (very few) orcs have been assimilated into the mercenary culture. And there are still some small, stray bands of goblins skulking around the wilderness.

Orcs, Goblins, Hobgoblins, Half-Orcs.... who are they?

Orcs. The orcs are a more or less homogeneous species. Sub-classifications (black orcs, savage orcs) are arbitrary or cultural. As mentioned above, they were driven out of the area as a large-scale population. A rare few have ended up in small mercenary bands and have partially taken on a semi-civilized lifestyle. Far more numerous in more distant regions, there are no immediate threats of large scale invasion.

Mercenary orc, warlord Zogmar, and an orc warrior

Goblins. Goblins are a far more heterogeneous group of species, classified together (and frequently living/working together) due to a few similarities... most are physically smaller and less numerous races thriving by stealth, trickery, and manipulation. Some may ally themselves with other groups (orcs, trolls, etc.) but all are ultimately self-serving due to the necessities of survival. They may appear in mixed groups or homogeneous bands, and are more numerous than anyone in Marienburg suspects Each population or warband may have it's own quirks and characteristics.

An assortment of "goblins"

Half Orcs & Hobgoblins. Both are terms used by outsiders (mainly humans) for largely (but not always) mixed race populations who don't quite fit in with any of their parent cultures for one reason or another. Sometimes their communities are simply a destination for those who don't feel they fit in with the society in which they are born. Differences between half-orc, hobgoblin, and other similar names are typically just a difference in regional terminology. The Grey Mountains and its foothills are home to significant half-orc populations who have mixed relations with their neighbors -- and each other.

Half-orcs, hobgoblins

19 February 2020

Stuff! In the Mail!

I backed the Midlam Miniatures Raiding Party KS. They just arrived and look great. A little larger than I expected (see second pic) but that's OK. Got a few extras so I can have a warband of 12 melee, 6 archers, and a handler with 3 hounds.

Looking forward to painting these (soon)!

17 February 2020

Master of Hounds - Conversion

Inspired by a conversion contest that's taking shape at Warhammer-Empire.com, I quickly put together this Master of Hounds.

02 February 2020

Ambushed by trolls! (Preface)

IC 2437

The small trade convoy had made it's second trip to the highlands, and was on its way back to the Little Country. Two wagons were loaded with some sort of exciting new crops, or so everyone had been told. Nob was certainly excited, and the odd half-orc he had met with at the caves was certainly excited as well. Or maybe the latter was just exceptionally odd.

The details weren't much concern to the escort. They were a mix of hired, uniformed guards and mercenary scouts. The former were beneficiaries of Nob's first mission to the highlands. His trade in exotic crops between the hills, the Little Country, and Marienburg were quite a mercantile success story. One worthy of the City of Gold, but unusual for the hinterland. After those first journeys, many of the young hobbits who had accompanied the ambitions entrepreneur were signed on as Company Regulars, provided with high quality equipment and gaudy purple uniforms.

A successful second mission, they were told, would bring increased reward. Naive as they were, they didn't expect increased danger. The first mission had passed without incident -- a few simple hikes through the Broken & Waste Lands. Those first missions had been relatively quiet. But now, on the first leg of their second mission, they found themselves ambushed by a band of trolls. The beasts descended on them from the hills just as the convoy had made camp beside the sparse dirt road for the evening after leaving the half-orc village.

Even Nob didn't expect trouble. Fried and his half-orcs held great influence over this part of the highlands. But trolls were notoriously unpredictable. Were they double-crossed? Were the trolls a rogue element in the plan? It didn't matter, the only thing that mattered was fighting off the brutes and making it back home...

The battle was fought on my tiny little auxiliary table, 3' x 3'.  It was fought using the Dragon Rampant rules, my first attempt at adapting a miniatures game to solo play. Dragon Rampant works pretty well for that, due to the random activation rolls. Additionally, the scenario was fairly straight forward. The trolls were after the loot in the wagons. The hobbits were defending. Trolls would head directly toward the wagons unless they had been wounded by hobbits the previous turn (in which case they would attack in a 50/50 roll off) or hobbits were directly in the way. The hobbits would react based on their roles. Archers would avoid combat and shoot, militia and guards would protect the stuff..

Initial set up...

There were a LOT of failed activation rolls on both sides. That made for an unpredictable game. As soon as I thought one side was screwed, the other side would roll just as poorly. Here some hobbit archers had miraculously chased off some trolls from combat, only to blow their roll to shoot them in the back! Meanwhile, another group of trolls charges unstoppabley at one of the wagons!

Things get messy. No hobbit wants to melee with a bunch of trolls. But they manage to fend them off for a moment! Even one group who has already looted the wagons has dropped their precious reward and run of to further trouble!

In the end, the hobbits defend their camp and cargo. The trolls are beaten and chased off. For the moment....

This was my first time trying the Dragon Rampant rules. Although I've played some other solo games (mostly board games), this was my first attempt at crossing over. The solo rules were simple. The trolls were after the 'shrooms in the wagons. They would head there as their primary task. If there was a hobbit unit blocking their way, they would fight through. If they were wounded by a hobbit unit within charge range, they would have a 50/50 chance of pushing through to the chests on the wagons, or attacking whoever had hurt them.

There were some distractions, but for the most part the trolls carried on to their objectives. There were poor dice rolls on both sides. I'd say the rolls for BOTH sides were far, far worse than average. Every time I thought one side had really blundered in tragic fashion, the other side would follow suit!

That brings me to my next point... the game really seems to be a matter of random luck & dice rolls. Due to the simple mechanics, maneuvering and table-top game-play seems to have minimum impact. I played the whole thing out over the course of several 10-minute sessions.

Nothing mattered much except that there are two units in combat -- probably with similar stats. The game is all about the dice rolls. A little disappointing, even for a  solo or "beer & pretzels" game. It took longer to select forces and set up than actually play the game. There were tense moments -- will a certain unit survive before being overrun, etc. But, as mentioned, that was more a matter of dice rolling than anything like position, abilities, etc.

EDIT: Although I'd like a little more from the rules. I still had fun & don't want my criticisms to make it sound like I didn't. I'm going to give the game a few more tries. If nothing else, it was easy to put the game together, quick to play, and I didn't have to get bogged down with a bunch of complex or unfamiliar rules.

27 January 2020

OWAC3 - January Wood Elves

I've completed my first month's entry for the Old World Army Challenge. More photos & words at my entry on the OWAC site. Expect a lot of other participants monthly updates in the coming week or so as well!

I got a new bulb for my adjustable lamp. I can now match the temperature of the bright overhead lights -- hoping to improve photos.

08 January 2020


Continuing to wrap up half finished figures from last year when I should be focusing on painting the wood elves I'm doing for the Old World Army Challenge this year! (I am making progress on the elves...)

Troll shaman by Artizan Designs, from North Star. As you can see in the photo that I previously posted, he's a little shorter than the Marauder & Satyr trolls, but given that he's squatting down I think I'm OK with that. I like the idea that trolls (much like humans) are heterogeneous in size and shape, and this seems within a reasonable range.

What will I finish next? Well... hopefully some wood elves! But at the rate I'm going, probably some more of the other neglected, half-painted figures still on my desk!

04 January 2020

A Tale of Two Hobbits

Second hobbit of the new year. A contrasting counterpart to the first. One a member of civilized and courtly society, the other a spirit of wild nature. This one from Reaper Miniatures.