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.
Over the last couple of months Mark, Nik, Jon, Richard and myself have been busy putting the finishing touches on the miniatures, vehicles, buildings and rules for the Whiteout Arctic Kickstarter project.
This post will be updated over the coming weeks as we get all of the models cast and painted.
Update 21st November
Jon has just sent me photos of the last packs of new White Out, Classic Movie Miniatures this morning.
All figures sculpted by Mark Fuller and painted by Jon Atter.
USAF Arctic - Inspired by the 1950's version of 'The Thing'
US Marines Arctic Pack 2 - Inspired by Ice Station Zebra
Soviet Paras Arctic Pack 2 - Inspired by Ice Station Zebra
The other breaking news is that if you missed out on the Kickstarter, for this stuff you will get a second opportunity very soon.
We will be running a mini one week Kickstarter from 29th November, titled 'Thats Entertainment' This is based around a couple of packs of entertainers, one with a snowy and seasonal link.
We will also be making all the existing Classic Movie range, including 'White Out' available as part of the campaign for shipping in Febuary.
Update 18th November
Over the weekend I have been working on 8 additional terrain boards for upcoming photo shoot for the White Out rulebook, these have been four crevase boards, three plain boards and a mysterious hole in the snow board!
I've just put the snow texture on them and they are outside drying, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to take some snaps of the recently cast Arctic wildlife. Photos are taken on my phone, outside as I was trying to catch the feel of long arctic shadows.
A scientist taking meterological readings next to the mysterious hole in the ice is surprised by a pack of Arctic Wolves looking for scooby snacks.
Wolves take an interest in the campsite. I love the animation Mark has got in the wolf pack, especially the wolf that is landing on front legs and the other that is leaping off it's hind legs.
Close encounters of the bear kind!
Scientist check out the crashed sattelite camera while keeping a wary eye on the wildlife... she looks friendly ehough!
Dont step back! Scientist, Walrus and Crevase.... what could go wrong!
I'd been amazed at the size of the sculpt, when I'd first seen it, however since discovered that an adult Walrus can grow up to 12' and weigh 2,000 Kg!
Update 1st November
Snow Patrol, Ice Station Characters, Soviet Paras - Sculpted by Mark Fuller, Painted by Jon Atter in front of Conning Tower designed by Sally 4th with accesories from Nik at N-FX
The Scientists and Explorers hauling sledges - sculpted by Mark Fuller, painted by Jon Atter in front of Expedition dome tent and crashed spy camera sculpted by Nik @ N-FX
1950's and 1980's scary 'Things' sculpted by Mark Fuller, painted by Jon Atter in front of alien spaceship fin sculpted by Nik @ N-FX
This is for a size comparison. The Thing is a towering brute holding his last meal (husky dog) in one hand and a length of 2"x4" in the other. He is standing next to a 28mm figure for comparison. As the original film is black and white, I was not sure how to paint him so I went for green skin as he is of vegetable extraction!
These five items have been designed for use with Pulp Alley or similar plot driven miniatures games. They represent the pivotal moments or clues in the storyline of 'The Thing'
The plot points are The fin of the crashed alien ship. Reporters camera on oil drum, alien plants being fed with blood plasma, radio desk, and block of ice (containing The Thing) on a sledge.
Here we see the 'inside' plot points in a building together with the model of 'The Thing' and a standard size 28mm miniature for comparison.
3D printing is becoming more and more popular in the miniatures gaming world and the amount of 3D designs that are available either for free through services like Thingiverse or through Kickstarters and Patron schemes is astounding. I have been 3D printing scenery for gaming for many years, my latest project is Blackstone Heath which involves combining 3D printed buildings and accessories with Terra-Former modular terrain boards. I have printed all of this myself using an extruded plastic 3D printer. However, I also have a lot of files for 3D miniatures and they do not print very well on an extruded plastic printer as you can see the lines for each level. Miniatures and small detailed pieces print far better on a resin based 3D printer. I don't have one of those, and a figure that there must be other gamers who do not have one, so I've set this service up so that we can take our 3D files and get them quickly and easily printed and posted out to us. A 28mm foot figure tends to cost around £2.50 - £3.50 to be printed from grey resin. I have tried the service myself and have been very pleased with the results.
How to get a 3D Miniature Printed
Click on 'Upload New 3D File'. You need to have fist brough the 3D file or downloaded a free file from a website such as Thingiverse
Select the file that you would like to print from your computer or other device.
Your model will be loaded into the 3D preview part of the tool, where it can be turned and resized using your mouse (or other pointing device) to confirm that it is ready for printing.
Select the type of material that you would like your model to be printed with. I always use Resin for miniatures and PLA for buildings and terrain.
Select the colour you would like. I'm a bit boring, I always choose grey, figuring that I am going to undercoat and paint the model, however their is always a choice depending on the material that you have choosen. I do keep thinking it would be good to print a Halfling wearing a ring or a telephone box using clear resin at some point!
When you are happy with your selection, click 'Add to Cart' You can see your model added to the list of models within the order.
Click the big green 'Upload New 3D file' to start the process again to add additional models to your order.
When you have added all the models that you want to be printed, click 'Checkout' and add your name, address and payment details and then sit back and wait for your new miniatures to arrive. Obviously the figures are printed to order, just for you and the turn around is about 10 days. You can go back to the tool to check the status of your orders.
Here's some photos of some 28mm miniatures that I have had printed in grey resin using this service.
Over on Lead Adventuers Forum, I came across a great new project that I am very, very tempted by. 'The Lazy Forger' has put together a whole range of medieval miniatures for building 6mm or 10mm armies as 3D print files.
The set includes infantry armed with full range of melee weapons for the period, spears, swords, pikes etc, missile troops with bows and cross bows, various types of cavalry plus siege equipment and terrain including a lovely burnt out church. The complete deal is $34.99 / £27.92 and that includes pretty much everything you need to build two armies and some terrain for medieval gaming in 6mm or 10mm scale.
Once you've got your files, you then need to print them out. I've still only got an extruded plastic printer, and I want to have the extra detail of resin prints so I am going to use our 3D printing bureau service.
I've just checked that it all works with these files and that it come out as a reasonable price. I loaded up the siege mantlets and found that it worked perfectly and that I could get the set of 4 printed in resin for 28p.
On that basis, I think I'm going to buy the bundle deal and get a couple of new armies underway!
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!