Thursday, 20 July 2017

Shelling out on Scenery

Actually that's not a very accurate title... I "shelled out" months back, and even then it was reasonably priced. I have however how finally built and painted it as part of my recent efforts to make an awesome looking wargames table to host games on.


Of course, with the paintjob on this fuel tank my title makes more sense.

The scenery I have is a collection of refinery and ruins. So my basic battlefield in my head is that there is a refinery, an obvious key strategic location, and a nearby settlement cos people need to work at the refinery. The settlement is in ruins because, well hab-blocks aren't important. You can fight through their to your hearts content. Just try not to damage the pipelines, nodding donkeys, or storage tanks.

I came up with the idea of an ork occupied refinery world, and I did for a while start a skitarii garrison, but the rules changed and the army didn't really look like it was gonna work how I wanted it to, from a background point of view, so I sold it on to a friend. But I had a third faction to share this battleships -  grots, rising in rebellion against their ork overlords.

Thus most of the scenery I am doing is littered with graffiti, supporting either the Orktober Revolution, the Grot uprising... or supporting the status quo, with Orks in charge. I decided that orks being orks, they might need a place to execute uppity grots and other troublemakers, and orks not being the most accurate marksmen for a firing squad they'd want to line the victims up in front of a solid structure... hence the rear side of this tank is looking a little more... weathered...


It'll all end in tears I'm sure...

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

It's O'Neel... with 3 L's... wait, 2... uh... Lotsa Ls...

Done a bit of work on some scenery for my table, picked this one up a while ago, it's an orky Stargate in effect...



I imagine the ork would do... well... the above.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Board Game Corner: Colt Express

Hot on the heels of my last boardgame review about a train based game, comes another one. mainly because I thought that as they shared a theme I would write them both into one blogpost, but then realised that it would be a hell of a long post, so decided to give each a post of it's own after all...


It must be borne in mind that, while I have linked these two games by the fact they both involve trains, that is about as close to a link as these two get. From that tentative link onwards, they are entirely different games.

Colt Express includes a twee little cardboard train to act as your "board" and this did have me sceptical at first, but trust me it's worth getting past your reservations. If you're introducing new people to the game, it's up to your discretion if you think the little cardboard scenery may be going too far... it's a neat use of otherwise useless corners of the cardboard punch sheet, but utterly irrelevant to the game.



You also get a little wooden meeple to represent your character. Each character has a card and a deck of cards. Your cards are 6 bullet cards (to give to other people) and 10 action cards (that determine what you do each turn)



Every character has an identical deck, the only difference is in the character special ability declared on the card (in brief symbols, the rulesheet explains all) For example, the lady in purple cannot be targeted for attacks (shooting or punching) if the player doing the attack has anyone else they could possibly target.

The action cards are two each for change level up/down change carriage side/side pick up loot and fire your six shooter. There is also one card to punch, and one to move the marshal.

At the start of the game you deal a hand of six cards, and that is what yu have to choose from on each step of that turn.



So, the running order for this example game will be Red, White, Purple, Black... they all have character names but I'm trying to keep things simple here, and don't want you to have to constantly be referring back to which name is what colour. Each game consists of four journey cards and a final station card, an example of a journey card is shown above.

Each square represents an action card that a player can place. The tunnel square means that the card is played face down, so the other players don't know what you are up to. The reverse arrow means the final round is played in reverse order. And the final symbol means that anyone on the roof of the marshals carriage at the end of the round will get shot by the marshal.

To keep things tidy, I haven't put the loot tokens down, but suffice to say there are bags of money and gems around each carriage that the players are all trying to get... it's just they might get in each others way, in fact, in my experience, the winner of the game is usually the one who quietly got on with grabbing loot while everyone else tried to beat each other up, but still, up to you what tactics you use...




The meeples are in their starting positions in the rear two carriages of the train. So, starting with red, each player contributes a card into the action stack. These will be played out in the order they are submitted, but all actions happen at the end, meaning you can lose track of where things are and end up taking the wrong action... especially if someone did something during the face down phase that completely screws you over.

In this example, red opens by climbing up - fairly unequivocal about what is happening here. But then White uses his ability to always play his first card facedown to leave everyone else guessing about what's going on. In their unease and panic, purple shoots someone, and black throws a punch.


All hell has now broken loose... following on from Black throwing a punch, Red then White draw guns and shoot, Purple throws a punch, and Black shoots too...


As this is the stage where we are going through a tunnel, any vague grasp you may have had on where the meeples probably are, is almost certainly lost...


Finally, in the strange reverse order round, Red (still first player) moves along, Black then Purple fire their guns once more, and White moves along.

So, with all the carnage prepared, we then start from the bottom of the stack pulling out the action cards and resolving them. Note that you MUST resolve an action, even if it is no longer favourable for you to do so...



So, we recall most of step one. Red climbed up on the roof. White, as it turns out, saw the rare opportunity of Purple being isolated to shoot her (normally you can't if you have a choice... you can't shoot someone on a different level to you and you can't shoot someone in the same carriage, Purple is Whites ONLY target) White gives one of his six bullet cards to Purple. Purple, as we may recall, also shoots. She can choose White or Black, but is probably feeling a little bit vindictive towards White right now, and gets her revenge. Then Black swings and punches White. A punch has two effects... one, it makes you drop an item in the place you are punched (all bandits start with one money bag) and two, it knocks you along a carriage... in this case, Black knocks White into the rear carriage with Purple.


Bullet tracker thus far...


 
 
Red then pulls his gun. His special rule is he CAN fire between levels. In the carriage below, are White and Purple. Owing to Purples special rule that if you could target someone else, you must, Red must shoot white...




In the rest of this turn, White shoots his only eligible target, Black. Purple then punches White back where he came from... which has the unfortunate effect of clearing her "bodyguard" just as Black draws his gun, so Purple get's shot again for her trouble...


This is the round everyone was secretive... Red once again shoots down into Purple, giving her another bullet... White and Purple both played the Marshal card... clearly he has heard all the commotion and is coming to investigate. Meanwhile Black finally does what the game is all about, and grabs some loot.

The marshal is a tricky proposition. He will shoot you, giving you a bullet. You then scramble onto the roof. There is NOTHING you can do about the Marshal, apart from avoid him, or use one card to move him. I have seen entire gameplans go wrong, after someone moved the marshal. Suddenly, you aren't on the level you thought you were. Your plan to climb up out of the way, suddenly becomes a suicidal attempt to re-enter the carriage the Marshal JUST chased you out of. Your plot to climb down and grab the loot suddenly becomes a search along the rooftops of the train for, what, your contact lens?



In this final step, red makes a run for the front of the train, where the extra value strongbox is normally guarded by the currently wandering marshal. The advantage of being on the roof is it's a lot quicker than pushing through crowded carriages.

Black shoots once again, he has no choice but to shoot Purple...incidentally Blacks special ability is his shots knock you back like a punch does, but if you're already in the final carriage it gives you nowhere to go.

Purple shoots, she can choose Black or White, and finally White runs along... not wanting to put himself into the carriage with the marshal, where he would get shot, then find himself on the roof of the carriage for the end of round result of getting shot again, he decides to rejoin Purple in the rear carriage.


Now so far this has been something of a bloodbath, apart from the Red player, who has left everyone else to it. But what effect those bullets you ask? Well all those bullets you've been shot with are added to your discard pile, and your unused cards, and shuffled together to make your deal for your next hand of cards...


In this case, Purples next hand of cards has a couple of bullets in it, severely reducing her options. You can skip an action step to draw three more cards, but of course that gives you less actions on the board.

Oh, and in case you're wondering if I faked this deal, you're right I did... when I shuffled and dealt naturally I got all four bullets in her deck in the hand of six. Go me. Figured that was too unbelievable so toned down the draw a bit...

And that's how the game plays. Five rounds of carnage where you the more you get shot the less you can do as you effectively drag your bullet riddled body along the roof of the train as your lifeblood trickles down from you, marvelling as your fellow gang members walk on by, perhaps pick your pocket, or even put a shot into you while you're down, just in case...

Seriously though, it is a hilarious game with a great capacity for carnage, and is again, a simple game to pick up. Everyone has the same deck, there is a tiny bit of variation from character to character to keep things interesting, but there are very few rules to learn. This is another game I picked up to be family friendly, as opposed to serious tactical depth. I am most pleased by this purchase, as it has provided some great laughs, even amongst those who get a look of dread in their eyes when someone suggests playing a board game. In their defence, they probably grew up with monopoly...

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Board Game Corner: Ticket To Ride

I picked up Ticket to Ride after a friend described it as a good game for the uninitiated... a good game to play with people whose idea of a game is Monopoly (which isn't a game, it's a social experiment gone wrong, but I digress) and who aren't yet ready to take the plunge into the depths of Madness that can come from tabletop wargaming, or even something as tactically challenging as Star Wars: Rebellion.


Having now played the game several times, it is exactly what was described - quick, easy, fun. It has fantastic replayability and if you do tire of your copy, there are multiple expansions and versions that alter the game significantly. This has apparently lead to it being one of the biggest selling games in the world, more so than Monopoly (shudder) as while my Star Wars monopoly and your Harry Potter monopoly have different street names and playing pieces, they are in essence the same game. I may pay droid maintenance while you pay sorting hat fees, but we're both paying the same sum to that Chance card. Different ticket to Ride versions give different maps, which fundamentally change how this map based game plays. Therefore it is entirely feasible for one person to own several Tickets, whereas anyone who owns more than one copy of Monopoly is probably a sadist and their company should be avoided at all costs.

So, how does the game play? Well, there is a map (of the US in the original game that I have) with lots of raillines drawn on it. These are coloured, and while the player colours share some of the line colours, this is completely academic... there is no advantage on red lines for the red player, it is just a colour, forget the coincidence. Everyone starts with a bunch of carriages that are used to claim lines, and they have pictures of colour code train cars that they use to claim said lines.



You also have tickets, that are kept secret. If you complete a route between the destinations before the end of the game, you will score bonus points in the final scoring. So, in the example above, I, the Red player, am trying to get from Duluth to El Paso. I have marked the two locations on the map with yellow dice (not included or necessary, just wanted something the camera would pick up easily)

On each players turn, he can do one of three things. He can draw more cards to his hand, he can draw more tickets, or he can spend cards in hand to claim a line.

To claim a line, you need to have the requisite number of the correct colour to complete said line. A line 5 yellow tabs long would need 5 yellow train car cards to claim.

There are some lines for each colour, but there are also many light grey lines... these can be claimed by any colour. It still must be a complete set, not a rainbow of spare cards. But for a 3 grey line, 3 yellows will work just as well as 3 reds or 3 blues.

There are also locomotives, that are effectively jokers and can be used as any colour. You can claim a line using nothing but locomotives, but it is an expensive way to do this, as will be explained in a moment.


There is no upper hand limit, so you can horde cards to your hearts content. To draw more cards, you go to the draw pile. The draw pile has 5 faceup cards, and the deck. You can make two draws for your action. However, drawing a faceup locomotive will count as both - therefore gaining locomotives is twice as action intensive and therefore more expensive. If you draw from the top of the deck and get a loco, lucky you, keep it secret and draw another card.

The final thing you can do is draw tickets. You draw three, and must keep at least one. Why wouldn't you keep them all, these lovely bonus points? Well there is a downside - an uncompleted ticket is not a bonus, it is a penalty... so drawing tickets is a gamble. If you draw three locations and feel you cannot feasibly complete any, you have just cost yourself some points. On the other hand, if you draw three locations and you already have connecting lines for two of them, well it's easy points! So a definite gamble there.

Sounds simple enough right? One slight problem... the other players.

If I start building my lovely line from Duluth to El Paso, they may notice this...


And interfere...



Forcing me to detour around their section to reach my destination. Of course someone else may decide that looks like fun too...


Increasing the difficulty for me constantly.

Of course, all the time they are thwarting my ambitions, they are presumably not fulfilling their own, so swings and roundabouts I guess.


Of course sometimes a fairly reasonable route of theirs may overlap with yours, leading to accusations that you are out to "get them" which you don't really want to deny, as saying "no I'm not, I'm just trying to get to Oklahoma" is almost certainly a sure fire way to make sure you never, EVER, see Oklahoma. In the example above, Green are busy doing their own thing and just happened to overlap with you. Black on the other hand, with his East Coast plans, seems to have claimed a couple of key central locations just to fuck with us. What a...

Finally, once someone has placed their final carriage, everyone else gets one more turn, and then you are done. Scores are finalised (it's common to keep a running score tally, but always worth double checking at the end) Short routes score less than longer routes, so a 1 or 2 carriage route is worth that many points, while a 6 carriage route is worth 15 points. There are also ticket bonuses/penalties, and finally a ten point bonus for the longest contiguous route. And that's it. All there is to the game.

It is incredibly easy to explain to the uninitiated... "here are your cards, match the colours, these are joker cards, those are joker routes. Go" The keen eyed may notice there are some dual routes, this is for the four/five player game, to avoid things getting too congested. In a three player game, the moment one is claimed the other cannot be used. But it still gives you options at least.

All in all, this is a great game to introduce people to the fact that there is more to gaming life than monopoly (curse it's filthy vile cursed form) while still having enough to hold the interest of the veteran gamer. A fantastic compromise for family gatherings.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

CATCH 14: Living Galaxy Broadcast, Rudimentary Transportation

We return once more with you viewers, to see how Fred and Barney are adjusting to life among their kind, and today we witnessed an interesting event, as Fred secured some "transportation" for his tribe.

Among the B-roll we have shot for quieter moments in this series, we have come across creatures known as Tempestum Irritibalus, or as they are commonly called by my crew, "Rollers" due to their nature of "steam-rollering" anything that irks them too much... by, for example, breathing too loudly, as our late lighting engineer can attest...

Now normally these twitchy and unpredictable creatures can only be filmed from a distance, as they can hear quite well, but we had managed to get rather close to one specimen. A particularly suicidal grip even dared to shout at the creature (the rest of us retreated a safe distance while he plucked up the courage, much to his dismay) We could only surmise that this particular creature was deaf... which is how Fred managed to sneak up on it, and leap onto it's back. Now THAT it noticed...

Anyway, after a good half hour of barrelling around the plain trying to shake him off, Fred eventually managed to get enough purchase on the Roller to headbutt it into unconsciousness. By the time it awoke, Barney had secured it in a rudimentary truss to pull what can best be described as a battle wagon.


The control functions are rudimentary at best. If the orks on board want the beast to go faster, which they invariably do, they poke it in the nether regions with a sharp stick, and the creature bolts away from the source of pain. If they want it to stop, well it's difficult to discuss this before the watershed, but they have a chain that is attached to the creatures... lower... appendages... and when pulled, usually with a savage glee, the creature is rather understandably reluctant to move forwards any further. A perfect handbrake, as it were.


Finally, there is an ork at the back with a steering wheel.


Now it must be stated, this steering wheel does not appear to be connected in any way to the wagon. We have seen the "driver" get off and take it with him when he goes to defecate. We have seen him use it as a weapon. But we have also seen him "steer" the wagon towards their enemies... usually bright red power armoured enemies. We are pondering whether this is proof of the innate latent psychic ability of orks, to influence events with the power of their beliefs. It has also been suggested that it is mere coincidence... that the deaf-roller pulling the wagon sees the red armoured warriors and charges towards them, at about the same time the ork decides that is exactly where it wants to go too. The deaf-roller and the orks share the same attitude of looking for trouble. This does give us some food for thought, as we take another short break...

Monday, 3 July 2017

Ghazza Marches On... well, trudges. Perhaps stumbles would be a better word...

As detailed in my last post, I made a bigger, better ghazza model, and with a brief spell of good weather managed to get him undercoat and painted in fairly short order, which meant that on Saturday evening when I had a friend come round for a couple of games, I tried him in the second of those games.

So far in 8th, I've been playing my Bad Moons, and loving it. 3 wins from 3, with bubble chukkas being a personal favourite, and getting into combat turn 2 every game.

So for something of a Goff list, I wanted infantry heavy. I was also determined that, as it was my second game of the evening, I should try stuff I hadn't used yet, and drop all the stuff I'd liked so far. So my list was ghazza, 3 squads of 30 slugga/choppa Boyz, a unit of 3 killa man's, 3 deff dreads, and a meka dredd with 2 ripper klaws and a mega charga. I also had a unit of 10 grots, a couple of weirdboyz, and a unit of burnas. In a true Goff list I'd need some nobs for sure, but this was just throwing unused units into the mix.

So how did it go? A little underwhelming really. Ghazza advanced 1" on the first turn, 1" on the second, about 3" on the third (getting up to speed I see) managed to charge a unit of 5 marines on turn 4, then turn 5 advanced 1" again, and failed a 4" charge. Yes, that was snake eyes, reroll, snake eyes. He then got mobbed by most of the enemy army and cut down before he could strike (failing both 4+ invs and 2 of 5 2+ saves.) Overall, not his day. I got tabled and lost.

Looking back on it though, I was tabled in turn 7. By this point, my opponent had just tied me for points. From turn 6 onwards I was down to just those ten grots. I suppose I should have started them running to the far corner sooner but I didn't expect ghazza to do so badly... figured they could sit on their objective while the big G kept the enemy busy for the rest of the game. And then suddenly he was gone. I rolled to see if there was a turn 6, it was a yes... I spent my last command point to reroll the dice, not sure if this is quite legit (it says any roll) but my opponent was OK with it. Failed anyway, still got a turn 6. I wasn't losing that game at any point... until I was tabled. So I suppose it wasn't so bad... and with a more defined list, and G not suffering from fresh paint syndrome, the army may work. But I do miss my battlewagons... one of those with a deffrolla had gone on a rampage in the first game, helping to kill a couple squads of devastates and forcing a primaris character to cower under a watchtower where the big mean battlewagon couldn't get him...

Anyway, I'll probably switch back to playing with the bad moons for a while, as I didn't like playing with mostly unpainted Boyz / a hodgepodge force of all the clans I have. So Ghazza will go back on the shelf to think about his poor performance. For a while...


Wednesday, 28 June 2017

The Punishment of Self...

So, with 8th edition having dropped, I've been lapping up the info and have got a few games in. Always adapting, I have noticed a drawback for my Bad Moons, but it's a good news bad news situation.

Good news, clans look like they'll have their own rules. No particular info yet, hopefully a codex will add more, but there are definitely clan keywords there.

Bad news, ghazkhul is clan Goff, as you might expect. This means I can't use him in my clan Bad Moons as my counts as Galactica Frakit, as I have been doing the entire time for this army, ghazza being one of the few things to make an ork army work in 7th ed.

Good news, 8th has improved orks, so I don't NEED ghazza to make the bad moons work.

Bad news, I could technically use him and call my yellow painted army Goffs, but NO, that wouldn't sit well with me.

Good news, ghazza is still good.

Bad news, with Primarkis Marines being released the old ghazza model just doesn't feel beefy enough anymore...

And that's where the bitzbox comes in...






So now the big beast is built, I'm gonna HAVE to paint him up in his clan colours... and then I can't run him solo can I?

So, good news, new cool ghazza conversion!

Bad news, I have to paint a Goff army. After finishing my flintstones themed snakebites.

Good news, with gork/morkanauts no longer being awful, I'd been considering getting one, and had been musing on how to fit it into my Bad Moons perhaps? Now no worries, can put the bugger straight into the Goffs. Get sme deff dreads and kills kans too, it all fits the theme. Luckily I STILL have a box of basic boys, can easily fill out a few troops choices just by buying a box of nobz.

Bad news, I may have to learn to paint some check patterns, which is kinda daunting for me, I love orks precisely because I am NOT a neat painter...

Good news, after starting on speed freaks then progressing to bad moons, doing deffskulls as a use up the bitzbox project, starting a snakebite flintstones ork army for a laugh, taking a quick detour into top gun themed freebootaz, I will then finally do the tribe of the big G himself, the Goffs.

Bad news, after all that, how can I possibly not do the only gw announced tribe, the Blood Axes, at some point in future. I've done TWO versions of snikrot already, I really should do his actual tribe at some point, especially if it's the only one left.

Good News, so only two and a half ork armies to paint and I'll have no more tribes to do, so can maybe finally start my deathwatch!

Bad news... I did watch Fury Road the other night, and while that is the Ork movie, I'm not sure representing them would fit ANY of my current tribes... my speed freaks are bright red and attack an ice world ffs, there's no way I could pass that for Immortan Joe and his menagerie, so I may have to do... just... one... more... ork... army...