Tuesday 31 May 2016

Riddle Me This..?

Just a small update with my latest Batman miniature...the Riddler:

I never had a burning desire to own this model, despite it being quite nice, because I had already done one of the better Heroclix sculpts for the Riddler, and I didn't have any pressing desire to use him in a tournament game (for which you need official models).

However, two things changed this. Firstly, I got an Amazon voucher for my birthday and this was one of the cheaper models available there, allowing me to get two. Secondly, the new Flash and Arrow book contained rules for teams, one of which was the Suicide Squad, and the Riddler is a potential member.

The model itself is really characterful, but, given it's such a simple model, I can't for the life of me understand why Knight Models sculpted it in three parts. Honestly, their sculpting decisions are a mystery at times...

...which, I suppose, is appropriate for the Riddler.

Monday 23 May 2016

7TV: The Time War

Another game of 7TV2...this time with an opponent.

Mike and I have been muttering about playing Doctor Who themed games for a while now. He's player the Dr Who Miniatures Game, but being a narrative game, it really needs special scenarios preparing and writing. However, 7TV2 is much faster to establish a quick game and we finally got a game in using some of his impressive collection of miniatures.

We played the Ambush scenario with forces of 30 ratings apiece. I would be taking the role of the Doctor and some of Gallifrey's finest against Mike's dastardly Daleks. We were using the John Hurt Doctor from the Time War; which seems to fit this more combat oriented game, and also allowed us to use Mike's Cinder conversion (Cinder is apparently a companion from books and radio plays).

Gallifrey Guard:
The War Doctor - Unearthly Traveller (Star)
Cinder - Dependable Deputy (Co-Star)
Gallifreyan Soldier Unit - Alien War Priest, Alien War Leader, Alien Heavy, 2 x Alien Warriors (Extras)

Dalek Patrol
3 x Daleks (Co-Stars - we used the profiles that are available on the 7TV Facebook Group)

I won the initiative roll and opted to go first.

Dalek reconnaissance discovers a weakness in the Time Lord's defences.
After much arguing the Doctor convinces the General to take action.

A small strike force heads out to ambush the Daleks. 
The two forces clash in the remains of a refinery.
The Doctor leads the strike force into position.
Realising that something is up, the Daleks move cautiously.
Early shots are stopped by Dalekanium armour.
But concentrated fire brings some joy.
Cinder spots Daleks moving round the flank.
The Doctor moves into the open to draw the Daleks into the trap. 
Suddenly, Daleks strike. Cinder makes good use of her
custom weapon's 'umbrella' shield.
One Dalek jets straight into the middle of the Gallifreyan forces. 
A blistering series of shield bursts kills an officer and
almost causes Christopher Eccleston to appear.
The Doctor drags himself out of danger and springs the trap, "Fire! Now!"
One Dalek down.
The Time Lords form a firing line, knocking down a second Dalek.
The General kills the downed Dalek
with his 'stylus laser'.
He then turns his attention to the patrol leader...
...knocking it down with an energy blast.
The rest of the Time Lord force moves up to finish of the last Dalek.
However, a Dalek homing mine takes down another soldier.
The Doctor somehow emerges from the flames alive.
Amidst the destruction, a Gallifreyan sniper exterminates the last Dalek.

A really fun game. The Daleks are tough, but the Alien weaponry really hurt them when concentrated and boosted with additional activation tokens. The abilities of the Doctor and Cinder, combined with the benefits of being in a Unit, meant that I had a distinct advantage in activation tokens. Mike really struggled with not having enough tokens to make use of the Daleks' Invulnerability, and after he took the initiative and spent his few spare tokens, he really couldn't get moving again. The next time we play we're going to allow Daleks to operate in units of 3-5, and give one of them the Unit Leader special effect in order to balance this issue.

7TV2 is fast, fun and easy to set up and play. The gadgets and countdown deck add a pleasing level of random bizarness which you suddenly have to explain narratively. With a superhero game and a sci-fi game under my belt the system is looking to be extremely versatile and I want to see if I can get some other genres played. Now, who am I gonna call?

Sunday 22 May 2016

Getting Up To Speed

My birthday is finally over.

A month later, my pre-order from Knight Models via Outpost Games finally arrived, bringing these guys: Flash and the Black Flash.

Flash is a cracking model, really nicely defined and cast. Easy to paint (although the camera is never totally forgiving to my painting) and suitably quick to finish.

The sculpt is the New 52 Barry Allen. There are a whole realm of alternate versions of the Flash which may turn up in the range. However, I'm not too worried. I've never really been into the Flash (although I do like the TV show) as all the wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey stuff makes the generally confused chronology of most comics characters look positively OCD. The Flash often re-sets his own back story within his own stories!

The main reasons I have him is so that I can build towards a version of the Justice League; I can tempt people to play who know the CW TV shows; and because of the fact I was getting this guy for free.

In contrast to the Flash, the Black Flash has fairly shallow details that my eyes and brush work struggle with. What's more, his left hand is a little miscast, and his right elbow is a bit funny too. This is something that might bother me if I'd not got him for free, and if he was massively likely to hit the table.

The Black Flash is essentially Death for speedsters in the DC universe - kind of like the black rabbit of Imle from Watership Down.

I'd never heard of him either.

However, this model came as the free pre-order model with the new expansion rulebook for BMG called 'The Flash and the Arrow' (clearly cashing in on the TV shows). Included in the book are rules for vehicles (such as the Batmobile), teams (like the Suicide Squad and the Birds of Prey) and speedsters.

The new rules allow speedsters to spend 'Speed Force' tokens on different speed-related powers, such as moving really fast, attacking a lot, or even walking through walls. Some of these powers come with a risk of a Paradox happening, which then requires a 2d6 roll on the Paradox table. A result of twelve means Black Flash shows up to attack the speedster in question.

As you can see, with a 1 in 36 chance of showing up in games in which I use the Flash and fail a paradox roll, I can't see Black Flash getting too much table time. However, having said that, he'll probably show up the first time I need to test...

The expansion book full of useful stuff for changing up your games of BMG. There are new locations to play in, such as Central City, the island of Lian Yu, or even Gorilla City. The teams offer a chance to do some small but powerful line ups, without the usual bunch of henchmen. There's currently only one vehicle in the game, the Batmobile, but I have that so it's encouragement to get it done. There are a whole load of new traits as well, hinting at some really interesting future releases. Finally, there are new equipment lists and strategies for the existing crews.

There's something in there for everyone.

Well...unless you play the Watchmen...

Monday 16 May 2016

A New 'Face' In Gotham

Following a busy period at work, I'm back in a position to get the blog moving again, mainly becuase I've got the time and energy to paint again. Most of these models were pretty much finished a couple of weeks ago, but I dragged my feet on the last one, but here is a new crew featuring Black Mask, the main villain from possibly my favourite Batman story arc: War Games.

First up, the boss man himself, Roman Sionis, the Black Mask. Essentially he's really just a gang boss, however he either (depending on what continuity you follow) has a hideously disfigured face due to self-inflicted scarring during the events of No Man's Land, or he's wearing a mask. Either way, he has a penchant for torturing his enemies' faces. Nice.

I decided to risk the white suit, but kept painting him simple with some heavy dry-brushing, and it seems to have come out well. I'd like to be able to pick out more details on his skull, but I'm happy that he's come out looking okay.

The henchmen (or 'False Facers'): Mesh, Dirty Tom and Goon, were also quick and simple to do, with single colour suits and and black masks. Dirty Tom (with the Tommy gun, geddit?) actually comes with a traditional gangster's fedora, but I did a quick headswap with a sculpting head I picked up from Hasslefree Miniatures at Salute, which helps him to fit in.

The big guy in the armour is Anatoly, and is the model who was holding up proceedings. Firstly I has to chop him off the huge expanse of tactical rock he was attached to. Then I had to work out how I was going to paint him. I again opted to keep things simple, with black armour and blue trousers. I've added a little lighter colour to him through painting his body as if he's shirtless. This serves to provide a contrast to the armour, and I think works well enough. I really didn't enjoy painting this miniature, and if he wasn't in the starter pack, I wouldn't have bothered with him.

Finally, is the Arkham City version of Jonathan Crane, the Scarecrow. Thus guy works as a Free Agent for the bad guy crews and is a lower rep value than most, which makes him fairly versatile. This was another model that I was initially not keen on, but actually, up close, he's got a lot of useful detail which meant even I could make a good job of him. This has been perhaps my most surprising purchase, has he not been going second hand, I wouldn't have bothered, but I'm really glad I did as I really like him now.

Just for reference, in the War Games story arc, Scarecrow joins Black Mask's forces before being callously used by Sionis to set off the security features of Oracle's secret hideout at the Gotham clocktower. It seems appropriate to put him with Black Mask, as being a bit of a theme fan, this is the crew I'm most likely to use him in.

 Another crew done.

As a side note, I'm experimenting with new photo editing software on my phone. Do you think the images are better than usual?

My BMG paint queue has expanded in recent weeks, and with the arrival of my order including the new expansion book this week, it should only get bigger, so there's plenty to come.

Sunday 15 May 2016

Avengers 1978 - 7TV2

I decided to have a quick run out of 7TV2 to try out the rules. This was meant to be against an opponent, but due to circumstances beyond our control, I ended up playing this one solo. I actually used a scenario from the 7TV1 rulebook as it provided an instant storyline.

It also gave me a chance to get the miniatures from my Marvel project on the table. I've been told that 7TV doesn't support a power level appropriate for superheroes, however, given that the game is based on the TV series of the sixties and seventies, I don't need to worry about the building-smashing antics of today's movies, I can set my bar with something a bit more down to earth...

As you can see from the link, there's nothing in the TV shows and movies from the seventies that the 7TV rules can't cope with. Although I'm disappointed that my Hawkeye doesn't look like Alan Alda.

Before starting to mess with stat cards to allow characters like Iron Man or Spider Woman show up, I decided to play my first game using characters who were easy to represent with existing stat cards, and so my initial game was played with the following forces:

Avengers 1978:
Daredevil - Action Hero (I swapped his pistol for a Bola to represent his billy club)
Black Widow - Angel of Justice

Daredevil & Black Widow, Promo Photoshoot (1975)
Viper - Faithful Lackey
6 Hydra Goons - Minions with SMGs

Viper & Goon, Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD (1998)
PILOT EPISODE - "One of our satellites is missing"

In the wake of NASA satellites going missing, elite S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Black Widow teams up with vigilante Daredevil and follow the evidence leading to an apparently abandoned industrial plant in Hell's Kitchen. After overcoming initial mutual suspicion and distracted by the obvious romantic attraction between them, the climax of the episode sees the heroes breaking into the facility, guarded by the minions of the insidious HYDRA, in order to find the location of the most recent downed satellite.

All seems quiet at the plant.

Daredevil heads for an open window.

Black Widow makes her way through the loading bay.
(I forgot about her 'Spy' ability)

Alerted, the HYDRA forces spread out to search the grounds.

Daredevil makes it inside.

Viper leads the hunt.

Black Widow finds herself cornered...

...but deftly avoids enemy fire.

It appears that there was some sort of confusion in the filming of the episode as after a commercial break, return to the action found Black Widow a long way from the predicament she was previously in and Viper in amongst the cargo containers instead, (the Countdown Deck adds a real sense of the genre).

Black Widow, mixing it with the goons.

Viper, suddenly and inexplicably alone.

Black Widow high kicks her way through the crowd.

Daredevil surprises a guard.

Black Widow's way is blocked.

She opts for a different route and Daredevil follows in support.

Black Widow locates the information she needs.

Daredevil takes out the trash.

An ambush fails to stop Black Widow.

Daredevil confronts Viper and defeats her.

Black Widow makes her escape.

The mission succeeds, they know where the satellite is.

A lone guard wonders how to break the news to his boss.

The 7TV2 rules are slick and easy. The Countdown Deck, Gadgets and activation mechanism adds tactical depth and random silliness which are completely appropriate to the TV shows of the era. My only issue was that the HYDRA minions just couldn't land a hit on the heroes. I suspect that this was because by not being in a unit, they were always short of activation counters to help their attacks. Also, SMG's prevent aiming, which doesn't help either - I'll probably give them rifles next time.

For the next episode, I'll need to stat up a couple more heroes, as they go in hunt of the missing satellite.