Sunday 28 November 2021

Something Ancient Has Awoken

Thoughts have turned to what our little gaming group are going to do on our traditional Christmas gaming.

We normally do a big game of something like Bolt Action, but a recent discussion surrounding the relaunch of Heroquest has led to this...

Basically, there was some nostalgic excitement about the new game until both Matt and I both revealed that we had the old game and we'd never suggested playing it (although I maintain that I have).

Therefore, we'll be playing a Heroquest campaign over Christmas and I'm going to try to get the set painted by then.

I've started with the undead as I like easy wins at the start of a project, and wins done come easier than these Skeletons. They were painted with Skeleton Horde contrast paint over an Ushabti Bone base with a drybrush over the top.

You might notice that one of these kids is not like the others. This is because I bought this set second hand some years ago and a couple of the weapons are broken. Fortunately, I had some chonky scythe blades knocking around from the old GW Zombies, so the fix was easy to do.

The Mummies were done in a similar manner to the Skeletons, although I took tje time to highlight each bandage. The skin was done simply with Drakenhof Nightshade over Administratum Grey.

I've gone for simple basing using the Geek Gaming Base Ready Scrublands. I've used this because I had it and speed is the goal on this project.

The Zombies took a bit more effort than the others. The skin was done with my usual recipe: Kislev Flesh washed green, drybrush with Ushabti Bone and wash with Agrax Earthshade.

I did one of the two in red and blue as an homage to the original artwork, but I varied the colours on the other one foe a bit if variety. This is something I'll be doing for the Orcs and Goblins, but probably not for the Chaos Warriors or Fimir.

So there we go. Eight down twenty seven to go...not including the furniture.

Acquired: 165
Painted: 190

Sunday 21 November 2021

Joker's Joyride

A bit of a different day of 7TV gaming in Darley Dale today. Not only were we playing 7TV Apocalypse, complete with modded vehicles, and stacked casts up to a whopping 50 ratings, we also ended up only having two games due to a teensy-weensy bit of overrunning.

In the spirit of not wanting to paint very much, I took my my BMG Joker crew out for a spin, matching them up with appropriate profile cards from 7TV Apocalypse:

Joker - Utopian Architect
Harley Quinn - Rebellious Youth
Ringmaster - Petrolhead
Hammer Clown - Wrecker
Cloak Clown - Bandit
Rifle Clown - Gunner 
Shield Clown - Mechanic
Other Clowns - 3 Joyriders

I kept my vehicles simple with a Buggy sporting a pintle mounted machine gun (crewed by the Bandit and Gunner), and a Truck equipped with mods I could reasonably explain: a running board (the flat roof), a hood ornament (the Joker logo on the side), and a sump dump and tombstone (stuff that could be thrown out of the back).

Game 1 - Thwacky Races (vs Matt)

The Apocalypse had come to Saturday Morning viewing, and the revving of engines signified that the Wacky Races had overrun into time slot of Batman: The Animated Series and the next leg of their perpetual piston-driven pandemonium would run straight through Gotham.

In the lead were the Ant Hill Mob, who had formed a temporary 'alliance' with Dick Dastardly and Mutley, with Penelope Pitstop's Pink Pussycat in 'hot' pursuit.

Determined not to be upstaged on his home turf, the Clown Prince of Crime ordered his three ring circus into the van to show these Hanna-Barbarians the true meaning of entertainment.

Screeching to a halt directly ahead of Chugga Boom, Joker honked his horn and clowns tumbled out of the van in all directions, ready to run this race off the road.

Unbeknownst to Joker, the Ant Hill Mob were already running off road, having been tricked into getting out by that nefarious ne'erdowell, Dick Dastardly.

To Clyde's annoyance, Yak Yak was laughing about the whole affair, Softy was crying and Dum Dum hadn't realised he was supposed to get out of the car and so was still manning the gun.

Meanwhile, the Chuckle-Buggy gunned its engines directly for the Pink Pussycat, but came off worst in a direct firefight, taking damage and losing its gunner to a spray of machine gun fire.

Meanwhile, Dick Dastardly saw the Joker Van blocking his route and swerved to avoid it, Dum Dum opened fire, whilst Mutley just chuckled.

However, this left his stolen ride vulnerable, and after a hail of Molotov cocktails, Hammer blows, a spray of acid from Joker's flower, Chugga Boom was T-boned by the Joker Van and went Chugga BOOM!

Only Dick Dastardly was able to crawl from the wreckage.

Meanwhile, having lost wingman, tje Chuckle-Buggy Bandit nonchalantly pulled into the gas station to fill up.

Having an increasingly bad day here, the Ant Hill Mob took their frustrations out on some of the Clowns responsible for wrecking their ride, peppering them with rifle fire.

Limping away from the crash, Dick Dastardly spotted some smilex gas Joker had planted as a trap, and moved in to syphon it with the intention of using it on the Creepy Coupe.

Not knowing her way around the big city, and terribly-terribly afraid of those awful clowns, Penelope Pitstop swerved round a corner and saw Harley Quinn in her sights.

A blast of machine gun fire saw Harley skip out of the way.

One of the Mob strayed too close to the Ringmaster and had his legs taken out from under him by a lashing chain. Two others were caught in the bkadt of an explosive lance.

Miss Pitstop tried a different approach and drove straight for Harley Quinn, knocking her flying.

After Joker got out of the van, the Mechanic tried a similar trick and drove straight for Dick Dastardly, but to no avail.

This left Joker exposed and the two iconic villains faced each other in the street. They both briefly contemplated the possibilities of a super-villain team-up before Jokr was caught from behind by unnervingly accurate rifle fire from the remains of the Ant Hill Mob.

Penelope Pitstop swerved again to get a bead on Quinn, but lost control of the Pussycat and sent it spinning into a nearby vehicle.

The Ringmaster managed to slip behind the remains of the Ant Hill Mob and managed to incinerate them in another explosion.

The Pink Pussycat found itself cornered between encroaching clown cars. With limited options to enable her to escape the jaws of the trap, Penelope Pitstop decided that attack was the best form of defence.

She put her foot down and went straight into a head on collision with the Joker Van. Unfortunately she once again lost control of the car and hurtled into an uncontrolled collision, the force of the impact snapping her neck and killing her instantly.

Even though Joker had been gravely wounded, several clowns had had their smiles turned upside down, Dick Dastardly had stolen some smilex and Professor Pat Pending had snuck through to win when no one was looking, Joker was pleased that he'd ruined the race.

It would be a long whole before they brought their cheaply animated automobiles through Gotham again.

Final Result: 11-10 to Joker officially, but we might have cocked up the scoring.

Game 2 - Just Walk Away (vs Simon)

Having successfully defended his territory on Saturday mornings, Joker decided to go on a little
adventure into the Bank Holiday late night schedules and bring a few post-watershed smiles.

Unfortunately this would bring Mr J into conflict with the Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla himself, the Lord Humongous and his dogs of war.

After taking a left outside Gotham, Joker's drove out into the wasteland, and after half an hour the satnav said he was in Australia. Aware of the brutal and uncensored nature of that land, the clowns advanced cautiously, only honking their horns a couple of times.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a ramshackle 'yute' accelerated straight into a head on collision with the Joker Van.

"Strewth! Yer on the wrong side of the road, ya drongo!" came a shout from the platform on top, Nd then in a display of typical antipodean hospitality they unleashed a storm of bullets, harpoon and fire at the van.

"Where do they get such wonderful toys?" said the Joker wistfully as the Ringmaster returned fire with awoefully inaccurate explosive. He turned to the packed van, "time send in the Clowns."

One after another, greasepaint covered goons leaped onto the truck and started laying about to occupants.

Meanwhile, the Chuckle-Buggy Bandit had spotted another brutal looking vehicle moving in, driven by what could only be described as a  bodybuilder in fetish gear.

"And we thought Batman was kinky," he joked to his gunner, putting his foot down hard and accelerating past it before pulling a handbrake turn to allow the machine gun to spray it with fire.

Meanwhile, the clowns were beginning to lose the fight on the truck, despite beating one of the occupants to death in a slapstick manner. The Ringmaster took aim more carefully and tossed another explosive into the fray. 

When the smoke cleared, the truck was a little emptier, the paintwork was even more scorched and the last Clown was cooked.

The shocked driver of the truck reversed out of danger, allowing Humongous to take his turn to accelerate into the Van, wrecking it and somehow knocking Joker and the Ringmaster all the way through to the back.

Whilst all this carnage had been going on, Harley Quinn had gone off on her own, exploring this exciting new environment.

She wasn't entirely sure what a submarine was doing in the Australian outback, but it was certainly interesting.

Meanwhile, Joker and the Ringmaster advanced on Humongous' henchman Wes. The disturbing grin causing him to back off a trip, leaving him vulnerable to attack from behind.

Seeing opportunity to level the playing field, the Chuckle-Buggy swung round and closed in, spraying Wes and Humongous with lead and somehow missing both.

This failed attack left the Chuckle-Buggy exposed and it was rammed and wrecked by the marauder truck.

The Ringmaster watch on from on top of some containers, where he was immediately struck by lightning causing him to fall to his death.

After cartwheeling along the Submarine, Harley Quinn jumped down to look at some of the military vehicles on the shore.

"Ya know Mister J. I don't think this is Australia."

Suddenly noticing the carnage, she whistled to the Joker, before jumping into the abandoned military vehicle and driving straight for him. Joker jumped aboard and waved goodbye to Humongous before heading back to Gotham.

Perhaps he would stick to Saturday Mornings for now.

Final Result: 6-5 to the Joker...somehow. Snaffling the macguffin and Harley picking up several objectives countered the absolute rout of the Clowns.

Overall the day was a lot of fun, although getting to grips with the vehicle rules (which I haven't used in well over a year) on the hoof did required a fair bit of book-flicking. 

I think that 7TV Apocalypse with vehicles is a very different beast from the other versions, and I was surprised by how maneuverable the vehicles were and a bigger table really makes for a very different game.

On top of the games, James, who organised the event, gave every player some 3d printed models. Two versions of Mad Max and a road sign not totally unlike this one:

I'm looking forward to tje next 7tv event in the calendar, which is a Fantasy event in February. However, I might take the opportunity to refamiliarise myself with the magic rules before playing to prevent more book-flicking.

Acquired: 165
Painted: 182

Noro Lim, Asfaloth!

As the Quest of the Ringbearer heads inexorably towards Rivendell, I needed to add three more Ringwraiths, both mounted and on foot, along with Arwen and Frodo on the white steed Asfaloth.

Some of this has happened quicker than expected.

I stumbled on a pre-painted lot on eBay including Arwen and a Ringwraith. The painting looked okayish and the price was about the same as I'd pay for these two models new. I figured in the worst case scenario I could strip them and start again.

It turned out that the painting was much better than it looked on the pictures, and all that was needed on Arwen was ti give the model a dust, a quick rebase and a couple of touch ups, such as on the saddle rim and sword.

I also felt that the colour the horse was a bit flat, so I covered the white with Apothecary White contrast paint to add a little depth, followed with a very light drybrush on raised areas.

The Ringwraith was caked in dust and had a couple of chips that needed attention. I also wanted to get the reins to match the models I've already done.

Whilst I was at this, I took the opportunity to redo the silver on the model, before hitting the whole thing with a black wash before rebasing.

Here it is with one of my previous Ringwraiths. The horse is a slightly different colour as it began brown, bit that's not a problem and the model fits in perfectly.

Although I didn't do most of the work on these, I did have to do a bit of painting, so I'm counting them. I now need to keep my eyes open for some similar bargains to complete the Nine.

Acquired: 162
Painted: 182

Sunday 7 November 2021

A Knife in the Dark

After escaping Bree with very little difficulty, Aragorn and the Hobbits make haste through the wilds (skipping second breakfast) until they reach the ruined watchtower of Amon Sul.

Aragorn goes in search of signs of both their pursuers and Gandalf. However, the hungry Hobbits light a fire to cook a meal, unintentionally alerting the Nazgul and their leader, the Witch King of Angmar to their whereabouts.

The Quest of the Ringbearer has now reached Weathertop, where the Black Riders will finally get to attack properly, without any random movement hampering them. 

The scenario goals are very straightforward. The Ringwraiths must kill Frodo before they are driven off.

The Hobbits would begin in the centre of the ruins, with the 4 Nazgul and the Witch King beginning just outside the circle of stone.

Aragorn would rush to the Hobbits aid, but only on a roll of 3+ (thanks to the good guys winning the last scenario) from turn 2 onwards. The Hobbits would have to hold out until he arrived.

As the shadows deepened around Amon Sul, the Hobbits realised the were not alone and backed towards a defensible position. Sam, Merry and Pippin formed a screen between the Ringbearer and the enemy.

Sensing the One Ring was close, the Nazgul rushed forwards. Sam bravely stood his ground, but was driven back by his assailant as the net tightened.

Pippin cried, "Merry! Look out!" but could do nothing but watch as the dread Lord of the Nazgul  flung his friend to one side like a rag doll. Merry lay in a heap, unmoving.

Things looked bleak for the Hobbits and all of Middle Earth.

Suddenly, hope appeared in the form of Aragorn leaping through the darkness with a shout of, "Get behind me Frodo!"

Frodo took this advice and began to clamber up the broken and ruined staircase. He knew he could not outrun the Ringwraiths, but perhaps Aragorn would be able to hold them off.

Pippin moved to block the archway to the stairs, whilst Aragorn stepped in to confront the Nazgul. 

Sam, appalled by what had happened to Mr Merry, gave his traditional war cry of, "Back you Devils!" and charged into combat with the Witch King and another wraith.

Despite their bravery, Sam and Aragorn were outnumbered, and the Ranger of the North found himself attacked on all sides.

He felt a deepening terror creep into his soul, threatening to transfix him and leave him at the Riders' mercy, but he resisted the dark sorcery and raised his blade.

Aragorn's blade whirled and two of the Nazgul were driven off in defeat, whilst the third backed towards its lord.

Sam had little hope of defeating the Witch King, but somehow managed to avoid their terrible blades.

Despite his terror, Sam summoned his courage to charge again whilst Aragorn challenged the third of the Nazgul to come to him. The shrouded figure refused the challenge and instead tried and failed to say the Aragorn's will to continue the fight.

Sam's luck finally ran out. The Witch King delivered a blow with the hilt of its great blade that knocked the brave hobbit out cold.

Only two more mortals stood between them and their prize.

Unfortunately for the Nazgul, one of those mortals was Aragorn, son of Arathorn, who now charged in to avenge Sam. Whilst Pippin moved to prevent him being surrounded.

Neither the Witch King or its companion could resist the Ranger and were driven off, leaving a solitary Ringwraith to stand alone.

The last of the Black Riders tried and failed to spiteful bring down Pippin with one of its dreadful spells before it too was sent packing by the blade of Aragorn and the Ring was safe.

For now.

Well, that didn't turn out as expected. A combination of terrible spellcasting, surprising resilience from Sam and Aragorn being an absolute tank made that far more one-sided that I thought it would be.

Aragorn's high stats and extra point of Might each turn means that not only do the Nazgul not really stand a chance in combat, but they also cannot ever seize the initiative thanks because the good player can always call Heroic Moves.

The Nazgul really need their magic to work, and in this game, it didn't.

In terms of the campaign, Merry was once again 'Fool of a Took' simply due to consistently being taken out first. We decided that Sam should be bravest companion as he managed to charge and hold up the Witch King for two crucial rounds, allowing Aragorn the time to do what Aragorn does.

In terms of resources, Frodo has slightly diminished Will, as does Aragorn, who is also down a point of Might, but that's not really a problem. Merry is still Fateless.

The journey to the Ford of Bruinen is likely to take some time, as I still need another three Ringwraiths (both mounted and on foot) along with either Arwen and Frodo on Asfaloth, or just Frodo if I decide to use Glorfindel instead.