Sunday 30 May 2021

Fortune's Fools: "Dino Danger"

 After all the excitement of dealing with the space pirates in the first mission, it was time for the crew of the Fortune's Fool to find more work. With Vidar laid up for the next few missions, and I2-T-800 undergoing a full systems check, there were limited interactions in the Axxon Orbital Station.

Noria stayed aboard the ship looking after her husband and training (+1xp). Dash tried to engage in trade but his contact seemed to only want to deal in trinkets that carried no value to the captain. Kyla, always ready to learn, spent time in a bar talking to a retired academic, learning more of the history of Sera (+2xp).

Clanker, meanwhile, scanned the holo-displays looking for work, and so was available when a communiqué came in from Vidar's contact in the Sector Government: a search and rescue mission for a geo-survey team in the jungles of equatorial Sera. The pay was good, and Trillian even said that he might have some information on Vidar's concerns about mining corruption when they returned.

Mission 2 - Secure (Danger Pay: 2d6 - pick highest, Benefit: +1 rumour, Hazard: Caught Off Guard, Conditions: None)

Enemies - 6 Carnivorous Chasers, 1 Krorg (I put the Krorg - a bigger threat - in rather than a pack leader because of the'll see why).

Notable Sights - Peculiar Item (+2xp)

That turned out to be easier than expected, although I was helped significantly by the fact that dinosaurs don't have guns, and Dash Halcyon went nuts on a single turn taking out three Carnivore Chasers in quick succession. Things could have gone bad for him, however, if Noria hadn't managed to drive off (inflict three stuns) the Krorg, as he was on two stuns and the Chasers' Alert rule would have had him acting after the dinosaurs. Actually, that's the second game in a row where Noria has gone 'big damn hero' to end the game and I've failed to get a decent photo of her.

The post game was fairly uneventful, especially as there were no casualties, with Kyla being the only one to cash in XP for an increase (Reactions +1). The Loot table handed the crew a Needle Rifle (which Noria took) and and Alien Merchant stiffed Dash 4 credits for a Machine Pistol..

The biggest news was that Dash was selected for the character event and rolled up True Love. Admittedly, this does give me a Story Point, but more importantly, as I wanted these events on screen, I'm going to have to include the obligatory 'will they, won't they' narrative into future events.

Don't expect anything too smoochy, however, as that would require buying and painting more models.

Tuesday 25 May 2021

Fortune's Fools: "Deja Vu"

Yes. It is the same game as the previous post, but done in comic format using Comic Life 3.


Sunday 23 May 2021

Fortune's Fools: "Person of Interest"

Having generated and painted everything I needed to play my first game of Five Parsecs From Home, it was time for Dash Halcyon and the crew of The Fortune's Fool to take their first job.

With the ship safely docked in the Axxon Orbital Yards, but his credit line running thin, Dash despatched Clanker and I2 to the markets to see if they could secure anything useful in trade for some spare parts. Noria and Kyla, both enjoying their first taste of freedom, decided to explore, whilst Vidar offered to speak to a Sector Government contact he had called Cran Trillian, to see if there was work available. Dash himself spent time checking over the ship (+1xp).

The Bots returned with a surprisingly good haul: 3 Dazzle Grenades and a ipod, which Fash immediately rigged up to fit Clankers infantry laser.

Noria had here eyes opened, seeing sights she'd only imagined (+2xp), whilst Kyla used her initiative and secured an Auto Rifle from a black market arms dealer. Dash was pleased at the acquisition, but the cost left the crew dangerously short on credits.

Vidar returned with two potential leads. Cran Trillian needed a rowdy group of veteran troopers dealing with, which sounded like a tough job. However, Vidar has also discovered that some of the issues being faced by his mining community might be caused by pirate raids. He'd picked up a lead on a corrupt corporate employee who was passing shipping schedules to the pirates, and he knew where the meeting would take place.

Considering that this was a new crew, Dash made the decision to follow the Vidar's lead on the pirates rather than take on veterans. It would be a bitter struggle, but he knew that bringing in pirates could gain him a good reputation with the corporations of Sera.

Firing up the engines, The Fortune's Fool glided through the atmosphere of the planet to where Vidar said the rendezvous was taking place. Dash landed several miles away and decided to approach on foot, as he didn't want to spook the man they were after.

Turn 1

As they approached the rendezvous point, Dash Halcyon ordered his crew to split up and search the abandoned settlement for their target.

The crew advanced carefully through the wrecked buildings, wondering what had happened to this community. As ever, Clanker took up a covering position with his long range laser.

Rowdy noises in the distance indicated that the crew were probably going to have to fight off the pirates if they were to secure their man.

Suddenly Kyla's voice came across the comm, "I have eyes on the target, Captain. Moving in." Dash was pleased with the eagerness of his new recruit.

Clanker's aging optics picked out movement in the rubble ahead and he wasted no time in unleashing a well-aimed laser blast, causing one of the figure to drop to the ground in fear.

However, the rest of the figures now advanced at pace, spreading out to take advantage of the available cover.

"Don't move, or I'll blow your head off." Kyla quickly secured the prisoner and then checked in over the comm, "Captain, I have him. Can we get out of here?"

"Not yet Cadet," responded Dash, "we'll need to bloody their noses a bit to put off any pursuit."

Noria opened fire with the new auto-rifle Kyla had bought, causing one of the pirates to shrink back behind some boxes, wary of having his head blasted off.

Turn 2

The pirates surged forwards at the sound of gunfire, urged on by a big man carrying a heavy bladed weapon. He opened fire at I2 and sent the bot sprawling backwards, failing to compute why his 'stealth mode' hadn't worked.

Dash unloaded his customised machine pistols at an advancing pirate, little more than a boy; bullets ripping open his chest. One of the young pirate's companions broke and ran, appalled at this gruesome sight.

Having secured the prisoner, Kyla ran to support Vidar, who was taking heavy fire.

Turn 3

The pirates pushed forwards again, and blasts impacted all around Kyla and Vidar, as they realised that they were in the process of being out flanked.

Realising that they were trapped and couldn't move without exposing themselves, Kyla and Vidar dug in. The cadet somehow managing to squeeze off a shot which hit one pirate in the throat.

Turn 4

The trap closed as first the pirate leader put a shot into Vidar's chest, spinning him backwards, and then another pirate shot at Kyla from the left. She dodged just in time, but slipped, banging her head harshly on the rocks and losing consciousness.

Seeing his new crew fall, and not knowing if they were still alive, Dash Halcyon came bursting out of cover, spraying the pirate chief with fire, killing him where he stood. Seeing his leader fall, another of the pirates fled.

Turn 5

Unaware of what was happening elsewhere, Noria found herself assaulted by two of the pirates.

However, if they expected the woman to be an easy target, they were mistaken. Noria was from mining stock and knew how to handle herself. First one and then the other were swiftly despatched with the scrap pistol Vidar always insisted she carry.

Realising that he was now alone, the last pirate took cover, somehow not noticing the loud clanking noise approaching behind him, until it was too late.


With the corporate traitor secured and the pirates dead or driven off, the crew looked to their casualties.

Kyla was only concussed, but Vidar was hurt badly and needed help back to the ship. I2 had been knocked offline, Dash would have to examine the damaged 

Fortunately, the corporation man had arrived in a crawler which made the journey back to the ship easier. Dash also took the opportunity to clear him out a crate of goods he was clearly delivering to the pirates, along with the shipping manifests and inexplicably (but fortuitously) an upgrade kit, but no weapon.

Back on Axxon, the Sera Mining Corporation were delighted that the mole had been found and the pirates driven off and paid the crew well (combined earnings of 12 credits from different rolls). What was more, not only was Halcyon on the SMC's books, but a transmission from the haulage corporation which had been troubled by the pirates suggested they might have more work for the crew.

Dash bought the drinks that night. Despite Vidar's injury leaving him noticeably more fragile (Toughness-1), it had been a good day. They'd worked well together, been paid well and made some good contacts. They'd also ingratiate themselves with the very corporations that Vidar was looking for dirt on.

Maybe he'd get the ship paid off sooner that he thought...


Well, that was fun. It really does work as a fully solo game. The generation of the scenario and aftermath rolls give you more than enough to build an interesting story, without relying on somebody else's script.

The game rules simple enough that you aren't struggling to remember everything  (although I think I did forget to add weapon damage to rolls quite often), whilst the combination of the initiative rules and AI system give you an opponent that is a genuine challenge. It was touch and go at points.

I liked this, so you can expect to hear more of The Fortune's Fool.

Saturday 22 May 2021

Russian Them Out The Factory

I'm hopeful that Pete and I will be able to get back to our Stalingrad campaign fairly soon. As such, I've been putting together some units to help defend the Volgograd Tractory Factory.

The theatre selector for the scenario not only allows me to take up to two inexperienced T-34s, but also allows me to replace my free inexperienced squad with either another free inexperienced T-34 or a pair of inexperienced 37mm AA guns.

As you can see, I've chosen the latter.

The AA guns were actually 3D printed (FDM), as nobody appears to make these guns in 28mm.

Beyond the alternate turret for my other T-34/76, this are the first 3D printed miniatures I've painted, and it was interesting to see some of the potential and limitations of the medium. The ability to get your hands on obscure miniatures is great, but the clean up is significantly more of a pain than plastic, metal or resin.

As you can see, I need to source some crew, and, like the rest of my Soviet guns and vehicles, there's really nothing exciting to report about the painting.

The T-34/76 was actually a Christmas present that I've finally got round to. I asked Mrs Cheaphammer to surprise me with a Soviet tank, and fortuitously this is what brought, allowing me to exploit the interesting bits of the Tractor Factory theatre selector.

The kit is from Warlord, and although good, I do prefer the Rubicon T-34 kit for simplicity.

I have put it together as a 1941 model, as these were apparently made in Stalingrad, and it makes sense as the kind of tank that might be in the factory getting repaired when the German's attacked (the factory staff famously crewed some of the vehicles they were working on).

Not very exciting painting, but necessary. I'm counting the AA guns as painted, despite not having crew, as I counted them without crew on the acquired list. I'll count the crew when I get some.

Acquired: 98
Painted: 93

Tuesday 18 May 2021

Fortune's Fools

As the world opens up and games with other people are back on the agenda, what could be better than discovering a new solo game...

This is the crew of the Fortune's Fool, a worn out Prospero Galactic X-30 freighter, currently docked at the Axxon orbital shipyard above the featureless mining colony of Sera, a Fringe world beyond the rigid control of Unity.

You're probably wondering what the hell I'm blathering on about...well, I've been playing about with Five Parsecs From Home, a solo sci-fi game from Nordic Weasel Games and published by Modiphius.

The premise is more that a little like Firefly, with a rogueish crew of ragtag ne'erdowells running jobs and battling outlaws, aliens and 'the man'.

One of the things I like about this game is that unlike many solo games, not only are the character randomly generated, but so are the scenarios, opponents and storyline. I'm really interested to see where this goes.

The random generation of characters gives you stats and equipment, along with hooks for background, motivation and career, enough to create some interesting and diverse characters, such as my new crew of the Fortune's Fool, which I named with online random generators.

Captain Dash Halcyon

Born in the sprawling undercity of a dystopian mega-hive, Dash Halcyon, like so many others, joined a gang for protection. His route out was his skill for mechanics, robotics and modding weapons which allowed him to buy his own ship and break out his own. He is cut-throat and ruthless in his work, despite his charming nature, something that was only enhanced by a nerve adjustor implant.

Dash hides his low birth and background by adopting the persona of a former officer for Unity. The uniform coat he wears was taken from the target of a previous job. He's armed with heavily modded machine pistols, and makes great use of a Precursor Displacer, which allows him to get the drop on his enemies.

I'm not sure where I got this model from, as it was given to me, but it is resin and I'd contrived to snap his foot in half with how he was stored. However, resin fixes easily and I really like the dynamic pose.

Cadet Kyla Melne

As a scientific cadet assigned to a research outpost in the Fringe, Kyla Melne thought she was in for a life of exploration and adventure.

She was wrong.

Life at the outpost was routine and dull, and so Kyla took advantage of a routine supply run to the Axxon Station above Sera to jump ship, quite literally, and join the crew of a former Unity officer, Captain Halcyon, in the hope that she might explore strange new worlds and seek out new life, boldly going where no research cadet has gone before.

This is the Renegade Royal miniature I recently picked up from Crooked Dice, and ironically I've got it painted before any of the models I'd actually intended to buy. The nod to Star Trek movie uniforms is deliberate as it gives a sense of where Kyla's morals lie - something that could cause issues with the captain down the line.


Clanker was built by Dash Halcyon from the salvaged parts of a U-87 Warbot and a retail mannequin droid. The bot's disconcerting appearance isn't helps by the fact that the mannequin's synthskin has started to decay.

Clanker has been Halcyon's backup for a long time, lending long range support with a Unity infantry laser. A more active role in operations is precluded by the godawful noise Clanker makes when he moves.

I got given this model (which I think is from Rogue Miniatures) at a 7TV event, and I've slightly adapted it by replacing a large blade with something that looks a bit like a gun.


Bought by Halcyon with the proceeds of some early jobs, I2-T-800 is tasked with security and surveillance, a service it is eminently equipped to provide, armed as it is with a fearsome beam pistol.

I2 has recently developed a strange glitch that Dash has so far been unable to iron out. The bot has taken to entering 'stealth mode' by simply donning a hat and coat. It's a harmless enough idiosyncrasy, but the captain is concerned what else might develop.

This miniature was a free stretch goal from the 7TV: Apocalypse Kickstarter and was really simple to paint. I really like how this project is allowing me to use miniatures I previously had no plans for.

Vidar and Noria Tane

Hailing from the surface of Sera, Vidar and Noria have recently joined the Fortune's Fool as crew hands.

Vidar is an agent for the mining syndicates, but recently discovered that their community was being swindled and has signed on with Captain Halcyon on the condition that he can further investigate the syndicates.

Noria trusts her husband, and has joined his quest for truth, excited at the prospect seeing more of the galaxy than just the featureless surface of Sera.

I've decided to use miniatures I painted for Fallout Wasteland Warfare for these two characters, as I'm not entirely convinced that their life expectancy is massive - although that's possibly because I've given them the worst equipment.

Having generated my crew, ship and starting world, I now need the crew to look for a job. I think I'll roll this up ahead of time, in case I need to paint anything, although I'm hopeful that my somewhat eclectic 7TV collection might cover most eventualities.

Acquired: 98
Painted: 90

Sunday 16 May 2021

We Must Not Be Hasty

It's been a while since I last painted something for Lord of the Rings, mainly because I'm still waiting to be able to play the opening scenarios of War in Rohan and Quest of the Ringbearer against another human being.

However, my birthday in April allowed me to get my hands on a character I've wanted for many long ages of the world, but I still didn't rush into getting him done...somewhat appropriately...

This is the new plastic (and much improved) version of Treebeard (or Fangorn, or another name that takes a very long time to say) the Ent, along with Merry and Pippin.

The model is fantastic and is my first real taste of how much GWs plastic models have improved. The flip side is that he comes in 62 pieces (an evening's work by itself) - in stark contrast to the much older Daemon Prince I did recently, which was in about a dozen parts.

Despite the excellent nature of the kit there were a couple of tiny gripes. Two of the pieces (parts 61 & 62) aren't in the instructions...which raises some perplexing questions about the order in which things are made. Also, some of the sculpting decisions seemed oddly fiddly, including the hobbits having separate faces. I kid you not.

However, neither of these take away from the fact that Treebeard is loads of fun to build and a doddle to paint.

If ever there was a 'miniature'that was made for my lazy combination of washes and drybrushing, it's Treebeard.

As you'll no doubt have noticed, Merry and Pippin are detachable, and so were painted separately.

They both sit securely without any needs for magnetising shenanigans, but Merry is a bit easier to dislodge, so I'll have to be carefulnot to lose him mid game.

Given that the hobbits can dismount, the kit also comes with both characters on foot as well (yes, there were 4 separate faces to attatch).

I've tried to match the colours to those I chose when painting the metal models nearly 20 years ago, apart from the cloaks being grey to represent the gifts from Lothlorien. 

Annoyingly, the close ups have pointed out that I've missed the green on Merry's brooch (and the snail in Treebeard's beard), which will need to be revisited.

I had been concerned that the new plastic kits would see some scale creep from the original models, but, as you can see, there's no issue (although Merry is noticeably plumper - which is arguably more book accurate).

There's something weird about the way GW photograph the new models, because they all look really chunky on the website - most notably Eomer, whose photo makes him look a bit like Thor in Avengers: Endgame.

All in all, I'm delighted with this week's work. The chapters with Merry and Pippin off on their own are some of my favourites in the whole of The Lord of the Rings.

I'm only counting this as three models painted as technically Merry and Pippin are 'riding' Treebeard like a cavalry model. Additionally, I didn't count them a separate on the acquired tally (how's that for honesty?). I've also picked up another model with my birthday money, so it's slow but steady progress.

Treebeard would no doubt approve of my lack of haste.

Acquired: 98
Painted: 86

Saturday 8 May 2021

Unboxing: Lurkers From The Deep

Yesterday I took delivery of my 7TV: Lurkers From The Deep Kickstarter from Crooked Dice.

The Kickstarter was run at the beginning of the year and once again has shown that Crooked Dice deliver quickly and efficiently on the Kickstarter campaigns. As of writing, the smaller and miniature focused pledges have been delivered and the larger, MDF heavy (literally), pledges will start shipping shortly.

Lurkers From The Deep is the first 'feature pack' for 7TV. Feature packs promise to be narrative campaigns for the different iterations of 7TV (this one focuses on Pulp) and seem to be a natural development of the broader in scope Programme Guides.

This feature pack takes 7TV: Pulp in the direction of Lovecraftian horror, with more than a few intertextual references to 'The Shadow Over Innesmouth'. However, the Cthulhu Mythos isn't the only influence at play, as you'll see later.

The box itself, an old VHS video case, is a beautiful homage to the budget movies we'd rent fron the local video store in the 1980s because somebody else had rented Clash of the Titans.

The artwork not only evokes the (soon to be dashed on the rocks of disappointment) excitement and potential of obscure film rental, but has been designed with the same sense of wear and overuse the boxes in the store alway had.

The box is packed with rules, profile and other game cards, MDF tokens and the stretch goal miniatures from the Kickstarter campaign (these won't be in the standard release, but have clearly been popped in here for convenience during the dispatch process.

The 84 page Episode Guide contains background, not only to the story of the campaign, which focuses on the forces of law and order tackling the somewhat amphibious denizens of Marshport in the attempts to raise something Eldritch from the deeps, but also for the production of fictional film serial, along with five scenarios, character bios and some really nice maps.

The maps tie directly to the buildings that were part of the campaign, and so I'm going to need to improvise an reinterpret elements because I simply don't have the space in my house for that much MDF.

As seems to be traditional no with the 7TV: Pulp releases, there's also a movie poster postcard to add to my collection.

As expected with 7TV there are cards galore. There is a stack of Profile cards for the specific characters involved in the action - although you do also need cards from 7TV: Pulp. Cliffhanger Cards, Gadget Cards and Macguffin Cards are included to allow you to tailor the generic decks to some specific genre features of LurkersFrom The Deep.

MDF counters and widgets add a bit of thematic flair to proceedings. The yellow and brown bits seem to combine to create an on/off switch for one of the scenarios, whereas I think the cardboard ritual tracker is used in the final fight.

And then we move onto the miniatures, which include the stretch goal freebies: Professor Jemima Wittwood, Newshound, Doctor Fiske, Occult Investigator, two themed macguffins and a set of historically accurate heads for US Rangers (the Rangers miniatures released by CD assume that WW2 surplus was used for the costumes).

Wittwood and Fiske are specific characters for Lurkers From The Deep, whilst the others are generic Pulp miniatures. After playing his scenario, Fiske is destined to join my Mad Science cast: the University of Salem's Lost Faculty of Cryptobiology and Pseudoscience, he'll fit right in.

I opted for the Heroes pledge, which comes with 8 heroic miniatures, four of which are federal agents. These will probably end up pulling double duty as gangsters at times.

They are clean casts which have the characteristic Crooked Dice lack of clutter and needless detail. Something which I've commented before makes CD miniature fast and enjoyable to paint. It's also worth noting that one of the agents is a woman - it's always welcome to see good quality female miniatures which avoid the unnecessary objectification that litters the hobby.

If you look closely at the other half of the Heroes pledge, regular readers of the blog might recognise why I went for this option.

From left to right you have: Howard Ashton (gadgeteer), a technical genius who is a 'stark' contrast to the military he works with; Colonel Julius Roth, armed with a Thompson, for when you have to kill every m**********r in the room; a 'strange' spiritual custodian, I'll probably add a cape to him; Agent Maggie Stone, I've got her 'pegged' to work with a certain star-spangled super soldier.

Yes. They're adding to my Marvel project.

Finally we have the Dangerous Dames, which aren't actually anything to do with Lurkers From The Deep, but I added them to my pledge for other projects.

The Jungle Lord (Lady) is destined to be converted into Eve from my Freedom Force team, whereas I'm not sure about the Renegade Royal, but I'm sure there is something sci-fi I can do with her (they came as a two pack and I wanted the other model).

So that's it for Lurker of the Deep. I like the format of specific scenarios, although I will be adjusting layouts and casts as my miniature collection dictates. Having pre-prepared stories which are different from the standard missions offers narrative potential that I sometimes am to lazy to create for 7TV for myself.

I'm looking forward to playing.

Admittedly, the tally takes a bit of a hit, but Crooked Dice miniatures don't really worry me, as they never take long to paint. I'm planning to paint what I need for each scenario in turn.

Acquired: 97
Painted: 83