Tuesday 26 April 2016

Avengers vs. X-Men

I finally got to play the new Marvel game from Knight Models...twice! The first time was a three way affair at the weekend in which my Avengers were unfairly ganged up on by two lots of X-Men. The second game was yesterday against Wes. He was using my unofficial X-Men team, but was trying out the game as he was more than a little tempted by the Guardians of the Galaxy at Salute.

Rather than complicate matters with a scenario for the first game, we just played a smackdown, with the goal being to remove each other's models, with 1vp available for each model removed. We decided to have the game last 6 turns.

Here's the battlefield, an industrial area of some sort, with plenty of items strewn about ready to be thrown at each other. We ruled for simplicity's sake that the vehicles were all size 4, and everything else was size 2. We didn't think about throwing the buildings at each other until later.

The Avengers arrive. Tony Stark pulls up in his chauffeur-driven limo to find Black Widow has already infiltrated the complex an done a brief recce.

Captain America runs to meet Thor who has flown in. The God of Thunder stands atop a shed and shouts a challenge to battle.

Meanwhile. the X-Men pull up in some stolen Police vehicles, ready for a fight.


Wolverine runs forward around the building, only to be met by a barrage of homing missiles from Iron Man.

However, Iron Man's exposed position leave him vulnerable to a massive blast from Cyclops. Thor fails to bring the thunder down on the leader of the X-Men.

The Avengers assemble...

...whilst the X-Men advance, using cover.


The Avengers get the initiative, and with his armour damaged, Iron Man launches another barrage of missiles at Wolverine before heroically hiding behind a building.

Rogue swoops into action an lauches a taxi at Captain America, who fails to block it with his shield, but does manage to protect Black Widow from the yellow missile.

Wolverine also runs in to attack Cap, but is ambushed in turn by Thor, who hammers him through a window into the building behind.

Rogue finds herself the target of a bullet barrage from Black Widow and a hurled oil drum from Captain America.


In what would be a crucial turn of events, both Rogue and Wolverine fail their KO rolls and slump to the floor. What's more, the Avengers get the initiative again.

Cap and Black Widow withdraw from the advancing Cyclops and Colossus, and somewhat awkwardly for 'Earth's Mightiest Heroes' they hurl shields and bullets at the prone form of Rogue.

Thor finishes off the injured X-Man and flies up to the roof. Colossus, searching for away to 'avenge' his fallen comrade, climbs up to the chemical silo...

...and hurls it at Thor, injuring the Asgardian, whilst Cyclops fires a focussed beam at him as well!

In amongst the barrage, Iron Man pops up again to take a pot shot at Cyclops.


Cyclops and Iron Man trade ineffective shots, whilst Captain America and Thor advance on the outnumbered X-Men, only to be caught in the shock-waves of a titanic slam from Colossus. Black Widow, sneaks off a couple of shots at the momentarily isolated Cyclops.


Captain America finally succumbs to his injuries for a time whilst Thor makes a rush towards Colossus, trying to strip his defence of Cyclops.

Captain America gets back up, calls for the Avengers to assemble and leads Iron Man and Black Widow in an assault on Cyclops that leaves him with only two damage points left.


Wolverine finally gets back up as the Avengers again try to strip away Colossus' ability to defend Cyclops.

A combination of Wolverine's claws, Cyclops' blast and Colossus throwing Thor at her take out the fragile Black Widow to briefly even the score, but this leaves Cyclops vulnerable to a return hammer blow from Thor that gives victory to the Avengers.


This this a fast and fun game, with a real cinematic feel. Despite similarities in the mechanics, this is a very different game to BMG. The lack of the 'Raise the Plan' phase not only speeds up proceedings, but makes it much more accessible to new players. The rules being brief, with minimal special rules is similarly good for new players, along with special attacks being explained on the character cards. There are fun moments when people are knocked flying, or launch ridiculously large missiles at each other, and the characters all seem to behave as you'd imagine.

If I'm being critical, this feels a more casual and less strategic game than BMG, although the scenarios may help with this. There are minor gripes with the recovery system, as I got lucky and Wes didn't. so my characters got up quickly, whilst Wolverine was down for most of the game (ironically, his 'regeneration' ability stops working when he's knocked out...this seems wrong) which imbalanced things badly. Similarly, it seems that the best way to remove enemy models is for 'heroes' to gang up on them whilst they are down which is a bit out of character too - I wonder if this is something that needs to change as one of the conventions of comics is that even the bad guys tend not to rough up the unconscious.

However, minor gripes aside, I'll definitely be playing this again. I think Wes is sold too, so I should be able to go up against a variety of opponents, as he seems set on the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Overall, I'd recommend this game. The starter sets cost around £30, which gives you four models, the stat cards and the rulebook - enough to get playing. I'm sure KM will be adding characters to their range at their usual alarming rate, so before long. there will be plenty of choice in who to add.

I'll be definitely adding to my Avengers.

Sunday 17 April 2016

Salute 2016

Long term readers of the blog will be well aware of my growing concern about the state of the Triple show in Sheffield over the last few years. It's reached a point that when I was unable to go this year, I wasn't particularly worried about it.

However, this meant that as I'd missed York in February I hadn't been to a show since the autumn. Therefore, given that it's my 40th birthday next week, I thought I'd treat myself and make the journey down to London for Salute for the first time. Wes joined me on my travels and what follows are my show highlights...

Free Stuff

More and more shows are offering free stuff on entry, but Salute was a little more than a step up. Along with a free dice and some free miniatures there was a prize draw ticket. I opened mine to discover that I'd won a free KR Multicase rucksack; a big one that can hold four of their cases.

What's more, Wes opened his to discover he'd won exactly the same thing! We were initially concerned that this was actually some kind of crude marketing scam, however, it turned out that we were just luck. I'm hoping that the foam trays I keep my Batman miniatures in will fit in it, otherwise it may turn out that KR will be getting some business from me after all.

One of the free miniatures was a limited edition Empire of the Dead miniature from Westwind games. It's a really nice model, but I'm not sure what I'd use it for. Answers on a postcard...

There was also a sprue of two plastic miniatures from a Sci-Fi game I hadn't heard of called Maelstrom's Edge. I wont be playing that game, but these miniatures may be able to be converted into something for my Marvel game.

Batman and Marvel Miniatures

A long time ago, Wes bought Green Arrow and tried out BMG to find it not really to his taste as it's not great as a casual game. However, Simple Miniatures had an excellent display of Batman and Marvel miniatures and Wes allowed himself to be convinced to have a brief demo.

This was also my first go of the game and it comes across as BMG-lite, something which appealed to Wes, and so, although he didn't buy anything on the day (he almost cracked and bought the Guardians of the Galaxy), we'll be giving the full game a try soon. I also managed to pick up another rulebook with a different scenario and splurged a little to buy a bargain-priced resin Batmobile, which is usually only available via direct order from Knight Models, which should come in handy when the vehicle rules are released next month.

Hawk Wargames

I picked up a few cheap models for my Resistance force for Dropzone Commander: a Breaching Drill and two Raven-A Dropships, which should finish off my 1500 point list perfectly. Wes also picked up two of the exclusive show-only PHR dropships.

We also got a chance to see the models we'll be getting from the Dropfleet Commander which were on display and beautifully painted, as well as getting a sneak peak at some of the other models that will be in the range.

The UCM Fleet

The Cheatar...sorry, Shaltari Fleet
The PHR Fleet
The Scourge Swarm
Launch Assets and City Markers
The Space Station Kit
A Shaltari Battleship and the Civilian Cruiser
Crooked Dice & 7TV

Last week, I managed to snaffle a reduced price copy of 7TV2 from eBay and so before it arrives, I decided to pick up the brand new cards for the Paranormal Investigators. As well as rules for characters who are definitely not the Ghostbuster, these have rules for ghosts, zombies and cops, so they'll help me to transfer my zombie games into 7TV2.

Crooked Dice also had several display games, including Scooby Doo and a quite stunning Star Wars board.

Warlord Games

As well as their usual fair, I was pleased to see some examples of the miniatures which will be appearing in the new Doctor Who Miniatures game. When it arrives, this one might just tempt me...

All in all it was a cracking day out. Loads of retailers, loads of displays, loads of deals. This is definitely going to become a regular feature of my wargaming calendar, and I feel that I'm likely to save my money and skip Triples to go to this with a full wallet in future.

Saturday 9 April 2016

Callooh Callay, What A Frabjous Day!

Continuing my purple patch of painting, here's another new crew for the Batman Miniature Game: The Wonderland Gang!

This gang hold a special place in my heart for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I played a role in lobbying for KM to make them and I like to flatter myself that I actually gave them the idea. Secondly, and more importantly, the concept of this gang is utterly bonkers. A bunch of 'Alice in Wonderland' themed villains (of which there are more than you'd expect in Gotham) banding together to commit crimes inspired by the works of Lewis Carroll.

The models in the gang are delightfully cartoony, without a lot of the fiddly military equipment that sometimes clutters other models in the range. This made them a joy to paint, and I managed to get them all done in a single morning.

The Mad Hatter, is mad, and uses hats to mind control his victims. At times he's presented as having an unhealthy obsessions with small blonde girls called Alice, and at others he's just one of those harmless villains who commit themed crimes.

This model has a touch of the leprechaun about it and the paint scheme reflects this. I really like the characterful face and ridiculously sized hat and cup.

White Rabbit, despite the Lewis Carroll associations, is not actually a canonical member of the Wonderland Gang, and is actually an ally of Bane, as such she can work for both gangs as a free agent.

With the more objectified female sculpts in the range, I usually try to do something with them to make them less damaging to my reputation should somebody see me using small models of scantily clad nubile young women. Essentially I try to cover up some of the unnecessarily exposed flesh (see Poison Ivy and Huntress for examples of this) and dress them in something more practical. However, as White Rabbit has essentially decided to turn up in her underwear, there's nothing I can do about it.

Painting only in pale colours was surprisingly tricky, and there are areas I'm not entirely happy with. However, I'm happy enough with how she's come out.

Finally, we have the twins, Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. Both packing firearms, these two currently provide the damage threat in the crew. They also act as bodyguards for the Hatter, who's probably the weakest leader in the game. I resisted the urge to paint them in the same colours to annoy and confuse my opponents, mainly because it would also confuse and annoy me.

This crew is delightfully colourful and themeatic, and as I grow them, I'm going to try to ensure that I maintain that idea. I'm hoping that KM will release a henchmen pack featuring Walrus and Carpenter (seriously), but in the meantime I'm got a couple of ideas to include a Cheshire Cat themed villain, either using a different paint scheme for a Catwoman model, or converting another character into the assassin Cheshire.

I think I'm going to enjoy this.

Friday 8 April 2016

A World That Hates And Fears Them

With all these heroes popping up, they need someone to fight. So with the X-Men finished, it seemed only fitting that the Brotherhood of (Evil) Mutants should be next in line. I've gone with almost the classic original line up of Magneto, his twin children: Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, Mastermind and instead of Toad, Mystique, who has been a fixture in the Brotherhood in the movies.

Magneto, the Master of Magnetism! In terms of the colours, I went for something like the outfit Michael Fassbender wears at the end of X-Men:First Class. It's not the classic outfit but there's no way I could make that much purple and red work on a model without something else to balance it.

This model from Nexus Miniatures and bears a striking resemblance to the leader of the Brotherhood. Despite liking the miniature, I've a small gripe in that the head seems a little small. I also need to pluck up the courage to give him eyes, as the gap is too big to get away with just shading. At least if I muck it up I've got another one as there was a small delay in shipping so Nexus sent me another model and some spare heads, so I might even try out a different scheme or a version without his helmet.

Mystique, the shape-changing mutant is more like the comics version than the movies in that she's wearing clothes! This is a Crooked Dice sculpt and was extremely simple to paint. There's not much else to say, I really like her, however, she does offer options as in addition to working for the Brotherhood, she has, in several incarnations been part of a X-Team or two.

Scarlet Witch, impractically dressed and ready for action. Although simple, I'm really happy with the job I've done on her, especially the magic effects which came out surprisingly well.

This model is from Crossover Miniatures and demonstrates more of that flat and immobile sculpting that I commented on in my previous post. It's a shame, as the details of this model make her almost perfect for the Scarlet Witch of the comics. If you prefer something a little more like the version from the recent movies, Hasslefree Miniatures have an appropriate sculpt in their resin range that might suit your tastes.

Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch's twin brother, is also from Crossover Miniatures. Although this sculpt is a little more dynamic, I did have to do a little head surgery, as the one he's supplied with was twice as big as the heads of the rest of the group. The sheer volume of spare heads you get with Crossover Miniautes (and my recent order from Nexus) meant that finding a suitable alternative was no problem.

I've gone for a simple colour schemes, opting for his blue rather than green costume as I didn't want confusion between him and the model I've painted up as Speed from the Young Avengers. I've also not bothered with his trademark lightning bolts as a) they'd be a pain to paint given his pose, b) you wouldn't really see the ones on his front, and c) they're my models so I don't have to please anybody else but myself.

Both Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch are also potentially additions to my Avengers team, so I have plenty of options now.

Finally, a character many will be unfamiliar with: Jason Wyngarde, the Mastermind, in his guise as a member of the Hellfire Club. Fun fact: the character's appearance was based on Peter Wyngarde's character Jason King (hence the name), and the Hellfire Club itself was based on an episode of the Avengers, the British version starring Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg. I bet you never knew that!

The model I've done uses Crooked Dice models and a separate head they sell which is an almost perfect likeness of Peter Wyngarde. It's my favourite of all the Marvel models I've painted, mainly because Crooked Dice miniatures are beautifully detailed and sculpted. In fact, I like it so much I will be looking for excuses to buy more Crooked Dice miniatures as part of this project.

I only have a few models left to do in what I'd previously bought for this project, but I now have fully useable teams for the Avengers, the X-Men, the Brotherhood of Mutants and HYDRA. I now need to sort out some rules and get some games played.