This area of the website is my hobby blog, it contains articles about games that I have enjoyed playing together with paining and model making articles.
The July 2019 issue of Wargames Illustrated contains a five-page article that I wrote about one of last year’s terrain building projects, building a demo board for Lucid Eye's Red Book of the Elf King miniatures game. Red Book of the Elf King (RBEK) is a game that really caught my attention and we have had a whole lot of fun playing the game within my gaming group and at shows. The rules were written by Rick Priestley (who also wrote Warhammer, WH40K, Bolt Action, Warmaster, Black Powder, Hail Caesar and many more). There do seem to be new fantasy skirmish rules every month but RBEK is refreshingly different. Set during an Elvish Civil War most forces are Elven (although supplements introduce Mortals & Trolls), each faction fields a leader (Thane) and 3-6 units of 3 figures (Companions).
As Sally 4th is the official show stockist for Lucid Eye we wanted to build a great looking, easily transportable game to take to shows.
The 4' square gaming area is constructed using Terra-Formers, a modular terrain system built using kits that build 1' square and 2' square terrain tiles with a wide range of profiles for rivers, streams, cliffs, hills, roads etc. and a design that incorporates strong rare earth magnets to hold the tiles together to align features perfectly and prevent in-game drift.
The article in Wargames Illustrated details the build, step by step in great detail and is a useful guide for anyone else embarking on a modular terrain project.
Some of the features that I included were a waterfall cascading into a rock pool. The water in the pool is poured embedding resin, the waterfall is formed over a strip of clear plastic and ripples are formed from silicon sealer.
The 2' square board features some wooded areas and a rocky depression. Rocks are formed from cast plaster of Paris, cast in Woodland Scenic moulds and sculpting using a reinforced plaster material called 'Sculptamould'.
I like to build as many features as possible on 1' square tiles, as I have found that this offers the maximum flexibility for rearranging to make different layouts, however I decided to build a 1'x2' stream section as I wanted the stream to naturally flow around a rocky outcrop. The 2' x 1' tile was built by combining sides from both a 1' square and a 2' square tile.
Trees are mounted singly on 40mm diameter bases and rings were built into the groundwork to hold the tree bases so that they blend in with the landscape.
In the Sally 4th bridges range we have a nice lattice work bridge (in two widths) that I felt complemented the setting, so this was included with an indentation in the groundwork for a natural looking placement.
I thought it would be nice to include a cave, maybe the home of a cave bear or lion. The cave is built using a standard corner hill Terra-Former module. The front face has an opening carved away from the polystyrene before the front is built up with plaster rock castings and Sculptamould.
Terra-Former Photo Gallery - lots more photos of modular terrain for RBEK and all sorts of other games.
Terra-Former How To Videos - Videos showing you step by step how to build modular terrain boards
Terra-Formers - main catalogue page
Red Book of the Elf King - rules & miniatures
Clear Perspex bases - because someone always asks about the bases we use to help the miniatures blend in with the landscape!
On Sunday 19th August we were at 'The Other Partizan' wargames show at Newark Showground, with our Red Book of the Elf King participation game.
2. The game was played on terrain boards made using Sally 4th Terra-Former terrain tile kits. These are kits to make 12" x 12", 12" x 24" and 23" x 24" square terrain tiles with embedded rare earth magnets and precision laser cut profiles of hills, cliffs, rivers and streams and much more.
3. If you like the look of these terrain boards, and would like something similar, you can give Sally 4th a shout as they now offer a custom terrain making service.
9. The author, Rick Priestley offers some advice and answers some questions on how the rules work.
Click the links below for further information on.
Lukes Apps terrain making products - these are what we use for ground cover and are highly recommended.
On Monday, Doug and I got together for another great game of Lucid Eyes, Red Book of the Elf King. Up until now, all of our battles have taken place up in the mountains on our waterfall and cliff boards, so we thought we would have a bit of a change, especially as we are taking our waterfall terrain to Partizan for participation gaming on Sunday.
As usual, we shuffled the 6 faction cards from the Glamour Deck and drew randomly for Thane (leader). Doug drew Saylian Trollblood from the Sarlant Marshes, a good all rounder, versed in the powers of troll knowledge with a troubled face that causes enemy within 6" of him to roll courage checks at a big disadvantage. He is also armed with the Blade Impure, a cursed weapon that deals two wounds per strike instead on the normal one. I drew Meksant Farseer, Keeper of The Red Book, he is one of the most powerful mages in the game. With him you know that pretty much every glamour (magic) you cast is going to work. Although he only has 2 wounds compared to Saylians 4, he does have very powerful magic armour giving him a save of 8 on a D10, plus he has a magic item which allows him three rerolls for failed armour saves.
Saylian deployed all of his forces together in the centre of the table.
Meksant deployed half to match him in the centre and the other half, led in person went arond the left flank.
The companions clashed early on outside the ruined keep. In RBEK fortune does favour the bold, giving a healthy plus two bonus (on a D10) if you charge rather then defend.
Meksant brings a second unit up to form a battle line in the centre and attempts to wear down Saylians companions.
Meantime he works his way forward on the left flank, making good use of cover. He has drawn a mixture of offensive spells and activation manipulation spells, which serve him well. Casting a glamour on the enemy that causes a red death to spread amongst the enemy, in a single turn he kills a companion and wounds three more before the spell is spent.
In the fight, center stage, Saylian moves up and leads from the front, causing much damage with his savage melee attacks.
The combination of his companions and his own savage melee attacks, combined with his special ability that forces an enemy to check courage with a minus three modifier (on a D10) clears the center ground of opponents.
AT this point Meksant casts a mighty glamour that rolls back time, meaning that all of the activation tokens he has, and any units within 6" of him have get put back in the bag. This meant that Meksant and the Companions next to him got two activations each in a row. These were used to deliver no fewer than 14 ranged magic missile type attacks against Saylian. This reduced Saylain to two wounds, but he passed his courage test and proceeded to cahrge Meksant regardless of his wounds.
In the resulting melee both Thanes managed to inflict two wounds on the other, however Meksant used his magical item to reroll the two failed armor saves and second time around he saved one of them. This left Saylian dead but Meksant still on his feet, wounded but the victor of this encounter.
This was another great game of Red Book of the Elf King. If you are not familiar with the game, Sally 4th are the official show stockists for Lucid Eye. We keep there full range in stock, which you can take a look at by clicking here.
We always get a few questions about scenery, bases and tokens, so here are some useful links.
The terrain is all built using Sally 4th Terra Former terrain tiles. These are kits to make 12" terrain frames with embedded rare earth magnets.
The miniatures have been based onSally 4th Clear Perspex Bases.
The red blood splats that we use as wound markers are Sally 4th Perspex Wound Markers. These are available in either Black or Red Perspex in either shape of a drop of blood or as a blood splat, they are on the Bullets & Brains page as they were originally designed for them!
We are running participation games of Red Book of the Elf King at The Other Partizan at Newark Showground on Sunday 19th August from 10:00 onwards.
Hope to see some of you there!
Last weekend we were at Claymore Wargames Show in Edinburgh putting on a participation game for Lucid Eye's Red Book of the Elf Ling miniatures game.
Red Book of the Elf King is a fantasy skirmish set of rules, written by prolific rules writer Rick Priestly (Warthammer / Warhammer 40K / Warmaster / Bolt Action / Hail Caesar / Beyond the Gates of Antares etc).
Red book of the Elf King is set during an Elven Civil War, brought about by the dissapearance of the Elf King (presumably together with his red book?). Factions are Led by Thanes. The rest of the faction are aleed Companions. Companions are organised into units of 3 miniatures.
A faction normally consists of a Thane plus six groups of four companions (19 miniatures). To keep our participation gmae moving along quickly we played with four factions, each containing a thane and three groups of three companions (10 miniatures per side).
Each faction started in the center of one of the sides. Victory would go to the last Thane standing. In the case of more than one Thane standing at the end of turn four, the amount of companions remaining would be used to decide a tie-breaker.
The activation system in Red Book of the Elf King really suits multi-player participation games. Each player rolls a D6, an additional 'Common Die' is rolled and the common and player rolls ara added together. This determines how many activations each player has available. This varies between 2-12. For each activation a token is placed in the bag and drawn at random.
The token is allocated to a unit which can then either move, charge, fire or move and fire or cast a glamour (spell).
This mechanism ensures that all the players are continually involved in the game.
On top of the rocky bluff, Salian Trollblood surveys the carnage below. A wise player has to balance when and where to risk there thane in hand to hand combat. Although they are the most powerful units in the game, if you lose them you lose the game.
Salian wisely lets his companions weaken his enemies, while he contributes long ranged magic attacks until the time is right to get stuck in and make a difference.
Early on in the game, Vashel and Alloysian get involved in the melee and both end up dead.
Meksant is the most powerful magick user in the game, he is kept out of the battle for as long as possible, contributing powerful glamour attacks to his force.
... but eventually the activations go against him and Salian Trollblood manages to manouver his forces to force a combat with him. Once wounded Salian moves in to finish him off.
This was a really exciting game. The four gamers who took part had noy played previously, but very quickly picked up the way that the rule mechanisms worked.
The next time that we are running a participation game is 'The Other Partizan' at Newark Showgrond on Sunday 19th August, where we will be joined on the day by the Author, Rick Priestly.
We are Lucid Eye show stockists so will have the complete range of Red Book of the Elf King, Savage Core, Age of Ice, Plot Device etc with us. We are taking pre-orders now through our web site (just check out as normal and select 'collect at partizan' as the delivery option). If you can not get to the show, we also supply any where in the worl via the website.
All of the terrain is constructed using Sally 4th Terra-Former kits. Click here for details.
We also provide a custom terrain making service, so if you would like a battle board like the one shown, click here for details.
Sally 4th are the show stockists for Lucid Eye, so when we heard about there collaboration with rules writting legend Rick Priestley to publish 'The Red Book of the Elf King', we were keen to get a demo table together. The 'Red Book of the Elf King' (RBEK) is a set of skirmish rules set in an Elven civil war. Each side has a leader and between 9 and 18 followers
The landscape that I had imagined for RBEK is mystical / fairie in nature with a waterfall cascading over a high cliff face into a pool that feeds into a mountain stream that winds it's way across the valley floor, with plenty of rocky outcrops, caves and forest.
We built the terrain using Sally 4th Terra-Former tiles. We will not go into the detail of the build here as we have promised Wargames Illustrated an article on our techniques. However, we can say that as well as Terraformers we used the excellent range of landscaping products designed by Lukes Apps. These are foam based rather than static grass or the traditional sawdust meaning that the glue is absorbed into the product, sets solid and does not shake off all over your car or house. Click here for full details of Terraformers or here to find out about Lukes Apps landscaping products.
If you would like a gaming table of this standard, give us a shout. We offer a full custom terrain making service at great rates. Click here for details
Alloysian of The Marshes is one of the warband leaders. I decided to mount all of my miniatures on Sally 4th 30mm round clear perspex bases because I like the way the miniature blends in with the terrain it is standing on. The RBEK miniatures are supplied with 30mm diameter black plastic bases.
Here we see the Thane Meksant Farseer and some of the elven companions. All of the Elven companions are armed with long spears. They may also make ranged attacks, but they favour magic rather than anything as mundane as an Elvish longbow,
I have my first game scheduled for this Thursday evening, so will add a full games report at the end of the week.
Last night, Doug and I got together to have a first play through of Red Book of the Elf King (RBEK). We have played many fantasy skirmish games between us including Lord of the Rings, Frostgrave, Otherworld Fantasy Skirmish so was very interested to see how RBEK compared. Games are played with a Thane (Leader) and 18 Companions, which is quiet a mangable number to paint, even if you have to paint both sides. The introductory scenario is even easier to get on the gaming table with a Thane and three groups of three companions per side.
I have painted four Thanes up so far, so we decided sides by drawing a Thane stat card at random. Doug drew Alloysian, Lord of the Marshes meaning that his companions were particularly skilled at ranged combat, getting to roll one extra dice per unit firing. I drew Saylian Trollblood, meaning that my companions were adept at moving and shooting, so they did not take the normal down one modifier for moving and shooting. The fact that the companions skills are associated with the Thane that leads there warband is a great feature. I was a little concerned that armies would be to similar, as they are mainly elves and all the elven miniatures are armed with shield and spear. As well as different special abilities each Thanes companions stats are slightly different, for example Saylians troops are more accurate at shooting while Alloysians companions are better armoured.
We both thought that the activation system was particularly good. In a similar way to Bolt Action, tokens are placed in a bag and drawn to determine activation sequence, however here the similarity ended. Rather than having one token per unit, both sides roll a D6 and someone rolls a common D6. Your roll plus the common roll determines how many activations you get. The minimum you can get is two, the maximum is 12. Activation chits, once drawn are allocated to a unit. Each unit must have one token before a unit can be given a second token. The clever bit is how this interacts with the morale system. If a unit takes casulaties it needs to take a courage test. If it fails, it picks up a penalty token meaning that it can not activate until all the other units on your side have been activated once. At the end of the turn, units with penalties take a courage test. If they pass the tokens come off, if they fail they are exhausted and one token is left on, meaning in the next turn they also can not activate until all units on there side have been activated once.
We deployed our 'armies', on opposite sides of the stream and advanced to contact. The engagement started with some ranged combat. In RBEK elves spurn the traditional elven longbow in favour of an 8" range magic missile, called 'Rud Magic'.
Ranged Combat and missile combat is carried out using D10's. If your attack value is 5 for example you need to roll 5 or under to hit and if you charge your stat get a +2, so you would hit on a 7+. When we discovered this, melees broke out across the table as we were both keen to charge, rather than being charged.
The first scenario lasted for four turns, Saylians troops had destroyed a unit of Companions and his troops had taken casualties also. Doug concentrated on keeping a unit of companions in front of his Thane to protect him, as losing him lost you the game. In the final turn I managed to concentrate the attacks of my companions of Alloysians body guard and eventually pushed them back away from there leader. At that point (the last activation of the last turn), Saylian charged Alloysian hoping to deliver a killer blow. He did, but unluckily for him Alloysian managed to mortally wound him as well. We both lost our Thanes, so I took a minor victory as I had eliminated more companions.
All in all, a very enjoyable evening. We have already arranged for a second game using the complete 19 figure armies on Monday evening, so I will update my blog next week with details of how that game went.
If you have not seen the game or miniatures yet, click here to take a look!
Following on from last weeks game, Doug and I decided to play a scenario using the full warband of 19 models, a Thane or Leader and six groups of three companions.
As both sides are Elves and are made up from the same 6 packs of Elven Companions armed with Long Spears I had taken the practical step of painting 18 companions with blue shields and the other 18 with red shields. These would then serve which ever thane we decided to play with on the day. We decides for the sake of fairness and variety to select Thanes as random from the ones that we had not played with before.
Doug drew Meksant Farseer. He is the most powerful magic user in the game. Magic or 'Glamours' as it is called in the game world are a key feature of the game. Thanes have access to a wide variety of Glamours that they can cast as an action. Each Glamour has a casting number which the Thane has to roll equal to or under on a D10, so Glamours with higher numbers are easier to cast. Numbers range from 1-9, so a 10 is always a failure. The Thane gets to add there Glamour rating and Merksant's is 4 so he is pretty much assured to be able to cast most Glamours.
I drew Vachel Goldenhand. He is the worst magic user in the game with a Glamour rating of 0. However he is pretty good at hand to hand combat . Surprisingly although Vachel is depicted as being heavily armoured and Meksant not wearing any armour, they both have a good defence rating of 8. Meaning that on 1-8 on a D10 they save hits. I guess Meksant must have some sort of bubble of magical protection!
We played scenario 2, The Red March. This is a very basic scenario, both sides deploy on to the table. Killing the opposing Thane is the primary objective, if this is not achieved the winner is the side who has killed the most companions.
Both sides advanced to contact. Meksants Companions favoured a single line across the width of the table, with Meksant lurking at the rear. Goldenhand deployed on a lesser frontage hoping to be able to get into melee quickly and with some local advantage of numbers.
As Goldenhands companions are very poor at ranged combat (needing 1 or 2 to score a hit compared to Meksants companions who hit on 1-7), it was important to close quickly and get into hand to hand combat. One of the unique features of the game is that these are the only elves that I have ever come across that do not own a longbow! Instead of firing arrows they fire short range 'magic missiles'. This is called Rud magic. I think the reason for this is that Rick did not want it to be a game of long range sniping, which an elf on elf game could easily be, so invented this background and set the range of missile fire as 8".
The 8" missile range is less than the 10" charge range which creates an interesting game dynamic. If you use 'Rud Magic' you do not risk yourself in a melee, but if you are charged your opponent gets a hefty +2 charge bonus, so it is better to be the one initiating a melee.
The first five turns saw both sides advancing, manouvering for position and charging where it seemed there was an advantage. Goldenhand was keen to get stuck into the up close and personal action, right up to the point that he suffered his third wound (out of four), at which point his companions closed ranks around him as protection.
Meksant on the other hand spent most of the game at the rear using long range magic attacks. In the closing turns I managed to get a couple of groups of valiant companions in range to charge him. Which they did and even managed to score a couple of wounds. Charging a Thane with companions is always a dangerous option as they are all armed with mighty magic weapons. Companions have a defence value of 5 or 6 meaning that if they are hit they have to roll under that number to 'save' however the strength of the opponents weapon is subtracted from there defence, so my Defence 6 became Defence 3.
At the end of the game, neither of us had managed to kill the opposing Thane, although they were both seriously wounded but my side had caused one more casualty (on the last melee of the last turn!), which gave us the narrowest of marginal victories!
This was a fantastic game, exciting down to the last die roll. The mechanisms arer as well!) very straight forward, sensible and easy to remember.
We will have a demo game with us at Claymore next weekend, so if you are around do come and have a look!