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.
On Monday (7th October) I was joined by Doug, Nick & John for a playtest of Feudal Patrol, a fantasy - medieval skirmish ruleset due for publication first quarter of 2020.
We were playing the first scenario that appears in the introductory section of the rules, 'Gallic Revolt'.
The scenario is described in terms of Romans and Gauls, but as we did not have any of those miniatures mounted on single bases we set our game in Tolkien’s Middle Earth with the men of Gondor standing in for the Romans and Uruk Hai Orcs standing in for the Gauls.. Below is the scenario setting from the rule book.
Romans under Greggarious Pribus are marching through a rural part of Gaul. Having established a marching fort, Pribus has sent Prefect Ignavus with a small group or Roman Legionaires to scout the nearby countryside. Tired of Roman domination and taxation, the local Gallic chieftain, Chikflix, has rallied the local men in pursuit. Ignavus sees that he is in a precarious position and orders his patrol to retreat to the comparative safety of a small farm enclosure. Chikflix launches an attack on the Ignavus and his men with the intent to wipe them out before reinforcements can arrive. All units begin the game on the table as indicated on the map.
The encounter was set in a valley, with wooded hillside sloping away at each corner, a stream meanders through the valley floor, bisected by a road with a bridge. On the far side of the bridge a small farmstead has been built. The men of Gondor are deployed to defend the farmstead, with reinforcements hurrying down the road. The Uruk-Hai attackers are closing in from all directions.
Control of the bridge over the stream features highly in the plans of both sides. Looks like Gondor has got there first. Feudal Patrol is based on a card-based action resolution first seen in the WW2 Combat Patrol and the Sci-Fi ACP 164 rulesets but rewritten to give more detail to hand to hand combat which plays a central part to fantasy and medieval combat. Feudal Patrol also uses a double-blind activation system. At the start of each turn, each leader rolls a D6. This is the leader’s activation number for this turn. The activation deck contains black cards numbered 1-6 and red cards numbered 1-6 plus an end of turn card and some optional special action cards. For each phase a card is turned from the activation deck, all leaders whose dice value matches the card drawn can activate in this phase. Higher leaders can swap their dice with subordinate leaders to get the important units moving first.
When a unit is activated, the members of the unit can move and or shoot. If movement brings a figure into base contact with an enemy figure, a melee is fought. Distance moved ranges from 2"-10" and is determined by turning an action card. The action card gives three movement values for light, medium or heavily armoured troops. Here we see the Uruk-Hai sweeping down the hillside to engage the Gondorians in a melee.
At the bridge, the Gondorians had arrived first which was advantageous as there were far more Uruk-Hai on the table, so this move limited the amount that could attack them at any one time. It also put both units into close order, which gave them an advantage in melee. To be in close order you needed to have at least 4 bases touching and to be in two ranks.
The first round of combat on the bridge was inconclusive, however the Uruk-Hai were pushed back and had to take some morale test markers. The Uruk-Hai sent additional troops wading across the stream with the intention of attacking from both sides.
The Uruk-Hai had left their archers behind when they charged. Their bow fire had managed to cause a few wounds, stuns and morale markers before their comrades charged home.
As the battle lines engaged, the melee was broken up into a number of smaller 1:n combats which are each resolved separately.
Here we see the Orcs massing for another charge across the bridge.
The card driven mechanics of Feudal Patrol are very different to other fantasy / ancient / medieval games we had played. Basically, a card is turned to see if you hit, and if you hit a second card is turned to see who is hit and how much damage and does cover or armour stop or reduce the damage. This is all fairly quick and intuitive. Your chance to hit is based on how well you are trained with the missile or melee weapon. These qualities range from 1 (god like) to 9 (abysmal). This base chance is modified by tactical factors such as range, movement, being stunned, wounded or out of command.
We will be playing lots more play test games for Buck over the next few months. If the concept of the game sounds interesting you can download the free introductory Combat Patrol WW2 rules from here, or the ACP164 Sci-Fi rules from here.
Miniatures shown are from Games Workshops Lord of the Rings range.
Buildings are from 1st Corp / Curteys Miniatures
Modular terrain boards are built using Terra-Former Modular Terrain System. Click here for details.
Yesterday Doug and I got together for a little medieval skirmish gaming. We had both been big fans of Cry Havoc (a medieval skirmish board game by Standard Games & Publications) when it had first came out..probably about 30 years ago. Cry Havoc had some great scenario ideas, which were so much more fun than the line-up and advance to contact games that so often get played when time is short. We therefore decided that it would be a lot of fun to take the Cry Havoc scenarios and adapt the for medieval skirmish gaming. We are currently helping out our good friend Buck Surdu, who is developing a new set of miniatures rules for ancient, dark age, medieval and fantasy skirmish called Feudal Patrol.
The Knight Errant scenario takes place in a village that has been terrorized by a company of marauding mercenary soldiers who have been threatening the villagers with dire punishment if they do not pay with both money and 'in kind'. A goodly wandering knight, Sir Richard had heard of the villager’s plight and has encouraged the villagers to stand up to the bullies. The mercenaries have decided to teach the villagers a lesson. In the photo above we see the eastern edge of the village waking peacefully with no idea of the dramas the day ahead has in store for it.
Sir Richards force consists of Sir Richard (a superior knight) and Sir Lacy (an inferior knight) both on foot but with their horses to hand. They also have ten peasants armed with clubs and axes, a short bowmen and two civilians (Audrey & Edith). The dastardly mercenaries are Led by Sgt Martin assisted by Sgt Tyler. They also muster four men at arms with halberds, four with spears and a crossbowman.
Victory conditions were: Sir Richard incapacitated or six other characters from Sir Richards force incapacitated - Mercenary victory, five mercenaries incapacitated a Villagers victory.
Picture above shows western edge of village.
We rolled for sides. I got to play the mercenaries. I divided them into three groups. Two groups entered from the southern road, four halberdiers led by Sgt Martin and a group made up of the crossbowman and a spearman to protect him.
My mercenary spearmen led by the cruel and unprincipled Sgt Tyler entered from the western road where they immediately set their sights on Edith & Audrey who were loitering outside the inn.
Doug deployed the bulk of the knights and the villagers in the courtyard of the Inn, as he was not sure which way the mercenary attack would come from and this was a central location. The knight’s horses are tethered outside the stables.
Two villagers provided sentries on the Eastern road.
As soon as I could, I rushed my Crossbowman and his escort to the stone wall opposite the Inn, as this seemed a good position to fire upon the villagers as the rushed out on to the road. In Feudal Patrol you can elect to sprint. In effect you take two moves at once, but end up stunned, which is indicated by the token with an exclamation mark. If you are stunned the only thing you can do in your next activation is to become un-stunned. This represents your troops getting their breath back. It is however a useful tactic to get your forces into cover quickly.
Sir Richard and Sir Lacy rush forward to get to grips with the evil marauders.
The ladies had fled down the side of the Inn. Goodness knows why they did not head up the stairs to the safety of the building. The unscrupulous Sgt Tyler saw (in game terms) to easy victory points and he and his men got stuck in with their spear points (so to speak).
The ladies defended their honour the best they could, in the first round they even caused one of the attackers to become stunned, but eventually the inevitable happened and Sgt Tyler and his men grinned with satisfaction as they 'pocketed the 2 victory points'
Meanwhile at the Eastern end of the village Sgt Martin hurries through the narrow lanes to engage Sir Richard, unaware that Sir Lacy is also fast approaching.
Sgt Martin and has Halberdiers get the better of Sir Richard causing a serious wound. They caused 5 points of damage. Sir Richards Endurance was 3 but two points were absorbed by his metal armor and he managed to utilise his medium shield to absorb a point as well bringing the damage down to 2 points: A serious wound, but he was still on his feet and fighting. In Feudal Patrol strikes in melee are resolved by looking at which weapon has the longest reach, so because the halberd has a longer reach their strikes are resolved before Sir Richards sword blows. Meanwhile Sir Lucy had easily dispatched the mercenary facing him.
Back outside the Inn, my crossbowmen had moved out of cover to reduce the range.. He let fly a crossbow bolt, aiming at the villagers advancing from the side of the Inn. He scored a significant hit. Feudal Patrol uses a card based resolution system for shooting and melee that is innovative and intuitive. You turn a card to see if you hit. This is based on the skill off the shooter and tactical factors such as range, moving target, being wounded or out of command. If you score a hit you turn a second card to work out the effect; who in the target was hit, how much damage, where and if there was a cover save. Unfortunately for Sir Richard and the villagers, it was the leader of the peasants who was hit, in the face with the crossbow bolt for five damage with no cover save. Ouch! I guess it was probably quick and unexpected. At this point the tally was 3 victory points to the mercenaries and 1 for Sir Richard.
But alas in the next turn the two mercenaries with halberds managed to land the killing blow on Sir Richard, handing a definite win to the vicious bullies.
It was a great game, great ebb and flow and some tense and exciting moments. Feudal Patrol is in early play test, some ideas for improvements came out of our game which we will pass on to Buck.
The expected publication date for Feudal Patrol is March 2020.
The game was played on my 'Blackstone Heath' terrain project. If you'd like to find out more about the terrain,
The Latest BlackstoneHeath construction video on YouTube
Part 1. The Inn Building
It was about 40 years ago that I first came across D&D and fantasy miniatures and gaming. A discovery that has in many ways shaped the direction of my life. What has kept me interested for over three decades is the combination of gaming with friends, the sheer breadth of gaming possabilities and the creation of a world in miniature. There are so many ways to play these games and I know that for many nothing more is needed then a pencil, a sheet of notepaper and an active imagination. For the last six months I have been playing that sort or role playing game as well, set in the world of Harn using the Fate RPG engine with out a single miniature in sight. However, ever since the start when at the age of 16 I held a Games Workshop trade account to keep our school D&D and wargaming group supplied with the latest Citadel Miniatures I have enjoyed collecting and painting miniatures and using various props to illustrate there enviroment, including Dungeon Floor Plans, maps drawn with dry wipe pens and now 3D printed terrain.
The age of the hobby 3D printer has really transformed what is available. The variety of dungeon tiles and buildings is astounding. The design files are either very cheap to buy or are available for free and the material that is used for printing is also very economical. I use a material called PLA, made from cornstarch and costing under £15 a Kilo. About 3 months ago I started 3D printing 'The Wobbly Goblin Inn',. This is a 3D printable kit from Hobgoblin 3D. It took forever to print, literally hundreds of hours, but you could put half a dozen pieces on to print before going home from work and in the morning come back and as if by magic you their were new pieces to harvest.
My plan is, over the next couple of years to expand from this model Inn to build a complete fantasy / medieval village and from their a small town. I have built the Inn into a 2' square Terra-Former modular terrain tile kit. Terra-Formers are kits for building modular terrain. They can be built as either one foot or two foot suares or one foot by two foot rectangular modules. There are a wide range of different profiles available such as roads, canals, streams, rivers and hills and each piece has embedded rare earth magnets to perfectly align and hold the modules together so their is no drift during play. The next stage will be to extend the two foot square Inn to a three foot square with an assortment of outbuildings such as stables and barns and an orchard and garden area. We will then extend awayf from the Inn adding some cottages and a watermill. I'm hoping to be able to update my hobby blog with progress once or twice a month.
So, lets take a look inside. This is the bar area. The bar itself is 3D printed as are the wine storage cabinets and some of the barrels. The other's are resin models that I have had for a while. Behind the bar is the Innkeepre from the Otherworld Miniatures NPC range.
This is the kitchen area. The large fireplace is part of the Inn itself. The range and bread oven were free designs from Thingiverse. The roasting pig is a metal cast I've had for ages, the lady with the rolling pin is from Otherworld Miniatures and the table if from a Mantic Games terrain crate.
Here's a view across the main dining area. The big table with the red runner down the center was a free 3D design from Dungeonworks, as was all of the food and plates on the table. The other tables and benches are metal casts from various manufactuers.
This is the Inns guest bedroom. The beds are resin casts, other furniture is from Mantic Terrain Crates, the Conan miniatures game and an MDF table.
This is the upper level, accessed by an external staircase where the innkeeper and his family live.
It felt that this was a fairly large inn for the amount of bar and kitchen staff that I had to run it, so last weeks work on the tavern project consisted of painting up some additional staff and customers to make the Inn look like it was in use.
In the photo above you can see the six staff that I painted last week, all apart from the chef 'Raclett' with chefs hat and cleaver are from the Otherworld Miniatures NPC range. I've had Raclett on my to-paint pile for decades, so not 100% sure on his origin, I think he came with the pig on spit model that you can see in front of fireplace, and they could all be from Minifigs (from a long time ago). The Otherworld Miniatures are, back row left Claudette the Innkeepers Wife, Barny the Cellarman, and Maria Serving Wench II and in the front row we have Harriet Serving Wench I and Master Fairbake the Halfling Chef.
I also added nine seated customers. Three were old Citadel Miniatures that had been in the lead pile for decades and six were from a pack of Sally 4th 'The Crowd' Miniatures. These are unarmed medieval / fantasy unarmed civilians intended for populating tavers, jousting and blood bowl stands. I also made the seats on my 3D printer. I had a basic chair design file which I decreased the height and stretched the width until it was the correct size to take these seated miniatures.
Here we have a team photo with the rest of the team which includes Thenardier The Innkeeper, Bruce the Bouncer, Madame Rousett The Brazen Strumpet, Timmy the Stableboy and Henrietta the 'Old Crone'.
The catering team are hard at work while Timmy sweeps the floor and Bruce scratches his back with a huge club while smiling at the guests.
The Inn is really coming together with the addition of some deated customers to go around the tables.
It still looks a little quiet, so I am planning to paint up another pack of 6 seated 'The Crowd' miniatures over the next week or so and for variety swap there heads with some Victrix Viking and Frostgrave plastic heads.
However, my main goal for this week is to complete five one foot suare terra-former modules to model the immediate surrounding of the Inn to give me some space for a garden, orchard, stables and barn.
(We are not affiliated with any 3D design companies, I'm just including links to companies whose products I've used in case they are of interest)
Over the last couple of weeks we have been busy building new boards for the start of the village for Blackstone Heath.
The buildings are 3D printed from designs by Black Scroll Games and the drystone wall is made from 3D prints by Printable Scenery.
The buildings have all been set into Sally 4th Terra Former 1' square modular terrain boards so that they blend into the landscape but are modular enough to allow the boards to be rearranged in different configerations.
Update 17th March 2020
Over the last few months I have been working on two new developments for Blackstone Heath.
The first one is the development of two hill section (a straight hill and a corner hill), both with Sally 4th Hobbit Hole kits set into them. The idea is that when I am using Blackstone Heath for Fantasy rather than Histrorical gaming, I can swap out the two hill tiles behind the Inn to make it a bit more like 'The Prancing Pony' in Bree from Lord of the Rings. There the Inn had accomodation for both the big folk and the hobbits.
We have also been working with a fantastic sculptor from Russia's Evocatus Miniatures to release a range of 28mm Fantasy / Medieval village Folk.
The sets are all themed, detailed and very animated. The Exorcist set includes the bed, floating women victim and the ghostly painting!
Packs that fit in with the Tavern include drinkers, gamblers and fighters.
An important part of daily life in any period or genre is laundry, and in the 'Wash Day' set we see villagers hard at work at these chores.
.... and at the end of the day, what better way to relax than in a good hot bath. This miniature is a free bonus miniature for kickstarter backers!
These packs of fantasy / medieval miniatures are curruntly available to backers of 'Blackstone Heath Village Folk' project on Kickstarter. Click here to take a look.
Rebasing miniatures onto clear bases.
We always get lots of question about how to go about rebasing miniatures on clear bases, so I felt it was about time I put a hobby article to show how easy it is. We've been rebasing miniatures onto Clear Perspex Bases for about six years now, and they have always been very popular. The big benefit of mounting miniatures on clear bases is that the miniature will match whatever terrain it happens to be standing on. This is not a problem if you paint miniatures for display purposes only, in which case a nice diorama base is a great addition to display the figure in its surroundings. However, most of us paint miniatures to use on a gaming table and the same miniature might be placed in a field, on a road, on a beach or inside a building and it always looks a bit odd when you have figures inside a warehouse for example surrounded by a circular mini garden!
Some figures are easier to rebase than others. The easiest figures to rebase are the ones on slotta-bases which snip of very easily. This article is going to look at rebasing a metal miniature cast on the traditional plinth.
Using a pair of side snippers (mine are a very old pair of GW clippers), snip either side of the insdide of the feet.
Once you've removed the metal between the feet, use your side clippers to remove the metal from around the outside of the feet as well.
You will then be left with a 'V' shapped wedge under each foot, which is easily removed by turning the clippers 90 degrees and clipping across each foot.
Use a file to level off the underside of the feet.
Put a drop of superglue under each foot, place the miniature for a second on a piece of paper to remove the excess glue and then place on to base.
I remove the base after cleaning up the miniature with a file and knife put before painting and undercoating. I glue the miniature onto an old mdf 'painting base', paint and varnish the miniature before prising off, recleaning the underneath of the feet with a file and remounting on a clear perspex base. This ensures the clear base is in top condition with no paint or scratches on it.
Sally 4th clear perspex bases come with a protective film on the top and bottom to prevent scratching or scuffing during manufacture or transport, so always make sure you have peeled these off before sticking your figure down.
On Friday night Doug, John and I got together for first playtest game of Richard Humbles 'Whiteout' Arctic survival rules.
Whiteout is a solo / co-operative play game of small team missions set in the Arctic Wastes where the environment is at least as big a threat as the opposition. A team normally contains 3-5 characters. Stats for common character types such as soldier, sniper, explorer are provided along with rules for generating your own unique characters with abilities and traits that you have chosen.
As this was the first game we had played, we decided to use the standard character types provided with the rules. My character was the explorer. His character card is shown below.
The character card has a box at each corner which represents what they can hold in their hands or carry in a rucksack. My character had the 'Pack Rat' trait so could carry an extra item in his rucksack. The team was also allowed to take two small, man hauled sledges. Each of these could carry 4 additional items. My explorer started the game with a Magnum, Knife First Aid Kit, Tent and Provisions. With hindsight, we should have taken far more provisions with us, as out on the ice things can go wrong and you can be holed up in a location for several days and without enough provisions morale & sanity soon start dropping.
The game makes use of three decks of cards for maximum replay value of the scenarios. These are the terrain, encounter and equipment decks. At the start of the game the explorers start on a single tile (either 10" or 12" square), when they cross the tile edge onto a new one the top card from the terrain deck is flipped and that type of terrain is laid out. The explorer is moved 1" onto the tile and the top card from the encounter deck is flipped. The first tile we moved into contained the wreck of a crashed aircraft. This could have provided shelter for 2 and a piece of equipment but would have triggered a close encounter if we had explored it. As we had just started out and had taken all the equipment we could carry we decided to skirt around it.
After crossing an expanse of open ice where we encountered a local dog sledge team, we moved on to discover an isolated hut. This looked like it could provide warmth and shelter until a polar bear lumbered into site from behind the hut’s steps.
The polar bear was dispatched with a number of shots from the team’s rifle and assault rifle before it could charge us. This provided 3 units of provisions which we proceeded to trade with the scientists that we found inside the hut for some local knowledge. This revealed three unexplored tile locations, including a handy vantage point.
Moving out from the scientist’s hut, we were ambushed by a lightly armed patrol of enemy soldiers. A fierce firefight broke out, which we eventually won. Unfortunately, my character took a serious wound in the exchange and slipped into unconsciousness.
My comrades dragged me back into the explorer’s hut and we decided to hunker down there for the night. Despite the team’s best efforts to help me by spending provisions, I failed my night-time endurance check and failed to make it to morning.
As we were in a hut full of scientists, we decided that I could play one of those as a player character for the rest of the game.
Fate was however stacked against us. There are only 2 light patrol cards in the encounter deck, but when we moved out of the tile the next morning the second patrol arrived, and another firefight broke out. This time there were no fatalities on our side, but we took wounds and the psychological trauma of killing would take its toll when it came to the next nights sanity checks.
The following night saw us all weakened by the days exertions, when we were ready to move out the next morning we discovered that the satellite we had been sent to recover was in the next tile, but it had landed with in the enemies camp. The decision that we were all to weakened to attempt that encounter was unanimous, so reluctantly we admitted that 'Whiteout' had beaten us this time around.
However, the game had been a lot of fun, and we are very much looking forward to playing it some more.
Richard Humble's 'Whiteout' together with the Arctic Miniatures, vehicles, terrain and scenery are currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign that completes at 09:00 BST Monday 15th July.
A couple of weeks ago Lewis & I got together and played a couple of great games of Pulp Alley (using the 2nd edition rules).
As we are curruntly running a kickstarter 'Whiteout' that features miniatures, vehicles and terrain for gaming in the polar regions,, we decided that was where our Pulp Alley game should be set.
A cargo steamer The Reliant', chartered to carry some highly classified scientific equipment attempted to take a short cut through the 'North West Passage' before the pack ice closed up for the season. Unfortunately luck was not with the crew and the ice came earllier than expected and gripped 'The Reliant' in its chilling grip. Variouse competing scientific institutions have sent teams out onto the pack ice to retrieve it's cargo and today Dr Freinrich and Professor Yarlson have a rendevous with destiny onboard 'The Reliant'
We set up 3' square of Terra-Former modular terrain that included a Tramp Steamer trapped in pack ice as a center piece. The two areas of thin ice are dangerous terrain, so a peril must be overcome if moving over 6" on them. Rolling for scenario events I rolled up 'limited visability' so there must be a 'Whiteout' which limits shooting to 12" and Lewis rolled up and additional perilous area. This is represented by the four wolves at the side of the ship. We also decided that as it was so icy, climbing aboard was 'Perilous' and that the inside of the ship counted as cover and dangerous terrain as it was icy underfoot and there would be lots of cargo and furniture to provide cover.
We placed four minor plot points to represent clues, (tent, abandoned rucksac, and two supply markers). One of these clues had to be solved before attempting the major plot point (the scientific equipment).
I deployed my Sidekick, the harmless Assistant Walters' with a couple of Allies for protection on the mess deck of The Reliant. Lewis had taken a gang which he deployed on the Foredeck.
John Schmidt had been equipped with a long burst so he took up a covering position behind the mess deck forward door.
My leader, Dr Freinrich had early success, finding a clue inside the explorers tent. Lewis sent one of his Allies, Dawson over to try to slow him down.
Meanwhile, out on the ice pack, Lewis' sidekick Karl Johanson who was investigating the abandoned rucsack was horrified to run into the Yeti Boss (Level 3 Horror).
His leader, Professor Yarlson rushed to his assistance and managed to push it back to give Johanson a chance to escape.
Unfortunately the combination of the intense cold of the ice, the howls of the wolves and the ghastly apparition to his front, quiet unhinged him and he spent the next few turns rushing around in a 'Blind Panic'.
Eventually Dr Freinrich makes it to 'The Reliant'
A couple of weeks ago my son, Lewis came over to stay for a couple of days. We are both huge Pulp Alley fans, so of course planned to play a couple of new scenarios while we were together. I had just received the painted display miniatures back from the very talented Jon Atter for our new Ski Pursuit miniatures which are part of our Whiteout kickstarter which is running at the moment. The Ski Pursuit pack is based on one of my favourite Bond movies, 'The Spy Who Loved Me' which opens with some corny one liners and a high adrenaline ski chase.
We flipped a coin to see which league we would play. I got 'Bond' who is a single miniature 'Extraordinary Character; League. This is a new concept in the 2nd Edition Pulp Alley rules, you pay 5 points for the character and then can spend your remaining 5 points on either supporting characters or in this case on additional skills.
The KGB Assassins League was formed of four characters with the league perks 'Well Armed' and 'Tenacious'.
As usual for Pulp Alley the game was played on a 3' square table. Bond starts at one corner and to win needs to exit from the opposite corner (this is the major plot point). Four minor plot points were placed on the table, these represent places that Bond can perform a stunt (turn, fire weapon and do a backward flip etc.). Only Bond can attempt plot points. At the end of the game the KGB earn all plot points that have not been taken.
Lewis deployed 3 assasins at the top of the slope and the fourth at the bottom.
Bond gets off to a good start and heads to the first stunt location which he performs with style.
The assasins move into position and a fierce firefight breaks out, Bond returns fire and the first assasin bites the dust.
A fortune card allows Bond to deploy an unseen ally in contact with the enemy. This was a nice characterful touch, the ally took one of the assassins down but his comrade turns, shoots and takes him down.
Bond breaks away, and heads down the slope.
One of the assassins barges into Bond (fights a brawl), although Bond is good the multiple combat actions soon build up.
Bond makes excellent progress on the second last turn he even has time to do another stunt (resolve a minor plot point) and only has six inches to travel in the last turn to exit the table, picking up the major plot point.
However, Lewis and his KGB agents pull out all the stops and throw everything they have against him and he does not quiet make it. Bond takes two of the assassins down with him but does not recover. The KGB has one agent left on their skis at the end of the game, so Bond is taken prisoner!
We were unsure how this game would play. Would it be unbalanced with an 'Extraordinary Character', or would it be dull with just one character to activate? We did not need to worry, as usual with Pulp Alley, the balance was spot on, we both had a really enjoyable game, it was very exciting, and the game could have easily gone both ways right up to the last turn. Bond had gained two minor plot points which meant the KGB had the major and two minor plot points for a convincing win.
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!
The Wobbly Goblin Tavern... a terrain project for D&D and fantasy skirmish games such as Saga Age of Magic, Thud & Blunder, Otherworld, Badgers & Burrows and Lord of the Rings.
This blog is going to chart the development of The Tavern and its surrounding enviroment. The tavern and accesories are all 3D printed. They are going to be set into modular terrain tiles, (Sally 4th Terra-Formers) and landscaped in with laser engraved cobblestones and other scenic effects.
A couple of years ago I backed Hobgoblin 3D's Kickstarter for the Wobbly Goblin Tavern. Their Kickstarter was the deal of the century £15 for the files to make a 3D Tavern of immense proportions (well at least 20" long). The Kickstarter took a long, long time to deliver but the results were certainly worth waiting for. The tavern has been designed as a snap together kit with hundreds of pieces and an instruction manual that runs to 107 pages. I have glued my model together with superglue and once it has been painted it will be embedded into a 2' square Terra-Former tile.
I am planning tohave the Inn and the initial tile completed by the end on June 2019. After that I will expand the lgaming area to 3'x3' with the inclusion of outbuildings including stables and barn and some gardens and a courtyard area.
These first four photos show the ground floor which has been completed and base coated with household emulsion. I use Sandtex exterior masonry paint (Bitter Chocolate) as an undercoat and primer on all terrain projects. The floor and stone course has then been undercoated with 'Granite Grey' matt household emulsion.
I could not resist trying out my existing bar room furniture and fittings for size. These are a real mixture of frre 3D objects from Thingiverse, old metal and resin castings that I have had knocking around for years and some plastic pieces from board games such as Dungeon Saga and Conan!
The ground floor of the tavern has a very large common room area with a significant fireplace and chimney at one end. There is plenty of room for a bar in the centre and more tables at the far end. There is a seperate room on the ground floor, which I am going to use as the guest room for the 'posh' visitors who can afford to pay for a bed for the night rather than a blanket in front of the fire..
On the first floor is the accomodation for the Inn keeper, family and servants. I'll cover that and the roof sections in next weeks update.
Today is a huge milestone, as I have finally finished 3D printing and assembling the roof sections. Each of the 3 roof sections have 64 seperate tile sections which are suspended on a framework of 'A' frames in a very similar way to a real roof. This completes the build of the Inn itself, it just all needs to be painted. The wooden plank sectrions on the ground floor have been painted and have had two levels of drybrushing applied to bring out the texture of the wood. Hopefully you can see the difference between the staircase that has been painted and the first floor wood work which has just been undercoated.
Here's a look at the first floor accomodation with the roof off. I love the wooden veranda. I can see all sorts of swashbuckling swordplay going on along it!
I also decided that an Inn was going to need stabling for customers horses, so a did a bit of searching on the Internet and found this rather nice design for medieval / fantasy stables. The 3D design files are from Infinite Dimensions. It was not a company that I had heard off, but as the design file was in the region of £11 I thought that I would give it a go, and I am very pleased with the results. There are doors to go in the openings at the front, however the sides are open as well, so I get the feeling that horses would just wander out. I am therfore planning to add individual stalls and hay and water provision by hand to complete the equine provision.
If you've got stabling then you are also going to need some storage for hay, straw, oats etc. The thatched store room as also from Infinite Dimensions. When I brought it I noticed that it was a bit to big for my 6" wide print bed. I scales each piece down to 92% of original size. I think it is still plenty big enough and looks in scale with the other buildings and 28mm miniatures.
I do rather like the design of the store house. It has a lot of gaming potential. The thatched roof section lifts off to reveal a second floor / attic.
The first floor has a staircase going up to the second floor / attic and a door to an exterior platform which would be ideal for loading / unloading from wagons. The ground floor has some nice clutter designed in as part of the single piece and the external staircase leading up to the first floor.
I have decided that their will be a cobbled courtyard between the Inn and the outbuildings to tie them all together. To build this I have designed and laser cut / engraved some 1" square, 1" x 2" and 2" square cobbled sections. These have nice deep etching between the cobbles, so I am hoping that once they are embedded in the terrain boards and painted up they will blend well with the 3D printed elements. I could off course have 3D printed some 'Dungeon Tile' to use, but that would have added a couple of extra weeks of 3D printing time. The engraved tiles are not on website, but if anyone else needs them for a project, give me a shout and I'll see what I can do!
I have also decided on the final configeration on modular terrain tiles. The Inn will be 3' x 3' with it's out buildings. The main building is goiing to be set into a 2' x 2; Terra-Former Tile with a road running in front off it. The 2' tile will be edged to the right and at the back by five 1' x 1;' plain Terra-Former Tiles. Four of the 1' square Terra Former Tiles are going to have cobble stone sections embedded in them and the last is going to be left plain to have the Inns vegetable garden and Orchard moddeled on to it.
I'm hoping to get some more work done on this hobby project over the weekend, so check back next week for updates, or better still, sign up to our newsletter!
Last Sunday (12th May 2019) Yorkshire was blessed with sunshine and light winds so we took the opportunity to take our gaming gear and set it up on the patio to top up the vitamin D while rolling some dice and having fun.
These circumstances do not occur that often, so we need to make the most of them.
I was joined by Mike Wilson and Doug Wright for another great game of Pulp Alley, using the new 2nd edition rules.
Doug and I are seasoned Pulp Alley veterans. It was the first time that Mike had played, although he had brough and read the rules last year.
The scenario was set in the world of Albedo, so each league was made up of Anthropomorphic Genetically Engineered Life Forms (or critters) for short. Since the critters developed memory and self awareness there society has been fixated on finding answers to the fundamental philosophical questions: Who are we? Why are we here? Who made us? For what purpose? This has been the catalyst for Albedo society’s quest for the stars. In this game three 'away teams' from competing factions have made planet fall on the planet Diazgon III to investigate a strange edifice from a departed civilisation, as sensors reveal that the most advanced life forms are primitive and aggressive Simians.
In Pulp Alley terms, the scenario played was 'Treasure Hunt'. Minor plot points were placed on the table to represent clues to how to unlock the doors to the mysterious tower where the ancient artifact was located. These were 6" in from the table and 6" away from other plot points.
The major plot point would be placed by the player whose character was the first to solve a minor plot point. To fit in with our story line, we decided that the Major Plot Point must be placed somewhere within the tower.
Scattered deployment was used to set up our Leagues on the table. Starting with the 'Director' each player takes turns placing one figure anywhere on the table (as long as they are at least 6" away from a plot point or enemy figure).
We decided that the large jungle areas, the rocky paths up the cliffs and the inside of the building were dangerous terrain which meant that they only became perilous if you ran (moved more than 6") through them. The patches of carniverous plants and the piranha infested river was perilous terrain, whatever speed you travelled through it!
The critters were surprised to find their investigations hampered by a tribe of belligerent simians. Although in the Albedo universe there are 165 species of genetically modified critters none of them are based on monkey’s apes or pigs. A little known piece of Albedo trivia!. The simians were played as wandering perilous areas. At the end of each turn a D8 was rolled to determine direction and distance for eacj model to be moved. If a character moved into or activated within a small blast template centrered on the model they had to pass a random peril.
My Otter heavy league comprised of Leader Kao Kazo, two Sidekicks Arka Chanlu and a cat character Felras Lacal and lastly another female otter ally called Aka Bowinmi. At the start of the game my league split with Felras heading to investigate a clue near the foot of the cliff and Kao and Arka heading for a clue at the front door of the tower. Not quiet sure what Aka is doing, but she seems to be attracting a lot of incoming fire from the other leagues.
Aka goes down, but she takes her assailant with her.
Felras turns away from the clue that he was investigating to return fire against the lappine who had opened up against him. Felras does not like to be disturbed. He uses his quick shot ability, sprays and prays with 5D6 and his prayers are answered. Bunny hits tyhe dust (and rolls down the cliff dramatically).
Meanwhile, the main action is going on at the front of the mysterious alian structure. Kao is struggling with the clue, he manages to get it half figures out. Arka moves up to help and to protect his back at Erma and some of her buddies are also trying to muscle in on the action.
At the far corner of the table, down by the piranha infested river Mikes Leader Charha (beret wearing fox) has discovered a clue and prepares to fend off a Simian attack. Dougs leader Zhdibo, unfortunately has got stuck in the Piranha infested river thanks to some mean Fortune Card play from Mike.
The action hots up outside the main doorway. As all of Mikes League (bar the leader, Charha) attempt to stop Kao from completing the clue.
Charha is assailed from all sides. Doug sends some of the supporting cast up to give covering fire to his leader as he battles with the piranha fish.
Felras had an unlucky moment... not only was the clue he had spent so long trying to solve a 'Red Herring', but Zhibo made it out of the river, joined forces with one of his followers Zhbo to gun down Felras in a hail of gunfire.
Felras pulled his act together and headed for the cliff where the new clue had appeared, taking out Zhbo for good measure.
However, before he could solve it Dougs Leader Zhdibo shot him in the back.
Meanwhile back at the tower, Kao had solved the clue, unlocked the door and ran up the stairs passing the perils on the way. The major plot point was in sight!
The closing scenes provided some unexpected twists. Mikes leader, Charnha proved to be a bit of a Ninja. pulling off a climb up the wall of the tower and squeeze through the window that stretched over two turns with accompanying perils. Charha was then blocking the route around the balcony to the plot point, so Kao was oblidged to leap across the gap. This peril was passed. A sniper also took a few shots at him before he eventually solved the puzzle to claim the major plot point, on the last activation of the last turn of the game!
Down at the entrance Arkha had been bravely defending his back for turn after turn, but was eventually felled im melee by the brutish Dean.
Here are the character cards for our Leagues. The top one is my League, led by Kao Kazo the Otter. The next League is Doug's led by a feline EDF officer, Zhdibo.
Mike's League led by the foxy ninja Charnha and co-starring the iconic Erma and Toki.
The character cards are all pre-generated Pulp Alley character cards. I took photographs of the miniatures, printed them and cut them up and then before we started the game, we drafted our leagues in a similar way that you would draught in a collectable card game. We started with leaders and went round the table in a clockwise direction taking it in turns to select a leader from the deck. We then draughted sidekicks going back around the table in an anti-clockwise direction until all the sidekick characters had been selected. This worked very well. As usual Pulp Alley provided a fun and exciting afternoons entertainment, with everything to play for right down to the last activations of the last turn.
All of the miniatures are from the Albedo Miniatures range.
The terrain boards are built using theTerra-Former modular terrain system.
Miniatures are based on Sally 4th clear bases.
The library / tower is 3D printed from a design available from Printable Scenery.