Sunday, May 27, 2012

Hobby Update

Lately I've been keeping the number of irons in the fire at just two.  I began the week by finishing up a member of the Death Company clad in white power armor.  He needed a little cleaning up and a few details asked to be polished a bit, but it wasn't too much effort before he was finished.  I wouldn't call him perfect, but it's the best result I've had using that much white, and he's guaranteed to pop when people look at the squad.

My approach to the Word Bearers Possessed has been a little more workmanlike.  They're great models, but I think I bit off more than I could chew by trying to do ten at a time.  As it is, I'm up to doing the silver edging.  I'm making sure that I do at least some every day and that seems to be keeping the progress steady.  At the same time, I'm making more mistakes than I'd like to.  Every couple of shoulder pads has a little slip of silver paint that's just not in the right place, and it's starting to frustrate me.  It is also making me a little nervous as going back to repair the red might not yield the same result.

After a great experience painting the Manticore head, I jumped into painting the body pretty quickly.  That process turned out to be even quicker than painting the much smaller head.  I met with some level of success.  There are certain angles and certain parts where the color runs from dark to light in a smooth gradient.  Then there are parts where it looks like I painted a darker green next to a lighter green.  Again, it's not perfect, but I'm not exactly a Golden Daemon level painter anyway.  I have a few ideas of things to try to improve it.  Suggestions are welcome as well.  Really, I want to get him to a level where he holds up a little better under close scrutiny.  Once the greens are done, it's just a matter of a layer of black on the skin.  There won't be a lot of models in the army so if I can figure out how to achieve the right effect, I could keep the whole thing to a high standard. 

Hobby Accomplishments
-Finished the Death Company Shapechanger
-70% done with Possessed's Silver
-Manticore's green is painted

Hobby Goals
-Finish the Possessed Silver trim (by Wednesday) and decide what to do about the details to make them unique
-Try to improve the blending on the Manticore, apply the layer of black paint, and magnetize the Manticore's neck

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Return to the Artes System

Anyone wanna buy me a set?
I finally managed to get in the third and final campaign game of the current set of campaign games.  It's been some time coming.  After taking a pair of butt-kickings, things like real life and Adepticon got in the way.  I was on point for scenario design, and decided to give my buddy a chance to wreck my lab.  We had access to the Zone Mortalis board, so that seemed to be a perfect setting.

I took five Lone Wolves in power armor, while my friend took seven Plague Marines with various weapons.  The objective would be protecting or destroying one of three different board exits based on your predilection for evil.  As an additional objective, the Plague Marines wanted to leave as little of the lab untouched to allow the zombie apocalypse to continue to build. 

Because of the small size of the mission, we were actually able to get in three of these games.  It turns out that despite the close confines of the board, range is key for the Plague Marines.  The first two games, my opponent took meltaguns and could not do damage fast enough to stop the Lone Wolves before they got into combat.  We found that once that happened, the amount of attacks the Wolves put out usually produced a few rends per turn, while the Plague Marines lower initiative and lack of ability to bypass armor meant they just couldn't stand up. 

Double tapping plasma doesn't end well
In the third game, my opponent switched to plasma guns, allowing him to dominate the longer hallway on the left hand side of the board.  This pinned some of my forces back in the rear of my end.  I ended up losing one of my guys outright to shooting, while also going into combat with wounds off of two more.  Meanwhile, I got drawn into combat in the center of the board and could not extract myself fast enough.  I seemed to come up small in a couple key rounds, allowing some of the Plague Marines to slip by and start wrecking objectives. 

Overall, I was pleased with the scenario.  The forces actually balanced out rather well, and I'd love to have another crack at the plasma gun version of the force.  The initiative shifts back to my buddy, and I think we are also moving to another setting and set of forces.  I'm glad to be continuing the campaign and looking forward to more narrative games.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Back In Action

While I was visiting family, my computer decided it needed some time off as well.  After a brief visit to the laptop doctor, all seems to be right again.  In the meantime, here's what I've managed to finish up:
I kicked off with a full layer of Caliban Green
I followed that up with quite a bit of Warpstone Glow
From there, I got more extreme on highlights with Moot Green
Everything done thus far got hit with Biel-Tan Green shade
I added the first mix, with 2 Moot Green to 1 Flash Gitz Yellow
The green and yellow get swapped in proportion for the very ends
The more pronounced ends get just a little white
Everything gets a Waywatcher Green Glaze
And here is the whole palette

Thursday, May 10, 2012

On the Board: Thoughts on Citadels

I've been out of town the past week, rolling around the old stomping grounds of VA so I could spend some time with the family.  That means no plastic army men, but I was able to attend board game night.  What initially was supposed to be a quick game of Citadels turned into a full-blown eight player version, as people trickled in just in time to get dealt into the first hand.  I enjoyed the game, so I thought I'd share a few of my initial impressions.

From Fantasy Flight Games
The game is incredibly simple to pick up.  The general run of play really is as easy as reading the three paragraphs on the instruction card provided for each player.  If you add to that reading the two sentences for each of the available characters and you've pick up everything you need to play in the practical sense, if not tactically.  Game turns consist of players picking one of nine unique occupations with an associated bonus.  The previous turns King gets his choice of eight, allowing the next player choice of seven, and on down the line, until last pick who chooses between the ninth card which was placed in the middle and the final card left available from those picking.  Player turns are then taken in order based on occupation.  Each player takes their bonus, chooses to take gold or cards, and then chooses if they want to pay to add one area to their city.  Each area is worth victory points based on cost, and whoever has the most at the end wins.

While simple, the game does have tactical depth.  Power fluctuates from turn to turn as different players take the lead, resulting in assassination attempts based on deductive reasoning, attempts to protect oneself slowing down your production, and character choice becoming very tricky.  Primacy is good but not all-important.  I went last on four of the ten or so turns we played and still did very well.  Balanced cities tend to do best so all the roles associated with a certain color at least yield some benefit.  Despite some characters (namely, The Architect) initially seeming overly powerful, others tend to balance them out (The Assassin and The Thief).  The dynamic yields a lovely dance with each player trying to decide how best to move themselves forward, while deducing how to slow down the other front runners.

Of course, there are always negatives.  The cards that make up your tableau seem to be hardly more than a card with a picture.  While everything has a unique name, the potential for depth seems to have been squandered.  There are special cards that have a benefit associated with them, but it's never very impressive and they seem few and far between.  That said, the game would most certainly change with a smaller group, the alternative occupations (apparently in the set), or a more competitive focus.  Honestly, I think that is how I would choose to play it if given the choice.  It strikes me as well suited for the cutthroat types who are playing to win, and while that's not all I play for, I think that would be for the best.  It's not quite Dominion, which can be played either for fun or competitively.  It's the opposite of Race for the Galaxy, where the card selections are so vast, you almost have to play it as a casual encounter.  I liked the game, but I don't think it will ever be a personal favorite.  I would definitely play it again though.  I'm happy to have it in the group's collection, but am OK not having it in mine.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Apocalyptic Sunday

What $1800 of Realm of Battle boards looks like.
This past Sunday, the league I've been playing in for the past couple of months came to an end.  The league organizer is still tabulating the results, but to celebrate making it to the end, he gave us the choice of running a tournament or putting together a big Apocalypse game.  After discussing it with the rest of the guys, I voted for an Apocalypse game.  I was the "new guy" at the start of the season, and I felt like I had really managed to plug in over the course of the dozen or so games I had played in the last months, so I reasoned that blowing up a few things with some new friends would be a fitting way to end the league.

It didn't quite go the way I thought it would.  This was my first game of Apocalypse, and my expectations were for a fluffy, amicable game in which all kinds of random things happened and cool ruled all.  It's always interesting to play in multi-player games because of the way it stretches the social contract.  With two players, a game is fairly straightforward.  Their are basic cues that usually dictate what is what, and the chances of those being misread are slimmer, assuming a few basic social skills.  Adding players adds to the complexity and it's interesting to see that the tension builds not only between opponents, but between teammates as well.  When one person wants to play with their toys and another wants to wipe out the enemy, the latter ends up somewhere between Lord-High General and tyrant or an oppressive attitude and "That Guy" depending on which side you're on.  And when it happens in the ridiculous venue that is Apocalypse, the chances for that become more pronounced.

I think it's fair to say that I didn't have the best time.  Honestly, I'd describe it as the worst 40K experience I've had in quite some time.  I attribute this to the fact that not everyone was on the same page, but also the unbalanced nature of big games.  That said there were still a few really cool moments.

One of the players on the opposition brought a half-dozen Ork Warbosses that he ran as a single mob.  Meanwhile, I had a pair of Wolf Lords with either a Power Fist or a Thunder Hammer.  Seeing this, we both went all, "Come at me, bro!" on each other.  I had the chance to assault and took it.  Both my guys died horribly, as the Lord with Saga of the Bear was already carrying two wounds, while the other was doubled out, but before they got taken off, they each got to swing, netting at least two wounds on each Warboss.  Each was doubled out, except for one, who managed to make both of his 5+ cybork body saves.  So close...  That bosses power field must have been on point, because he later saved two of two wounds from my Librarian's force weapon.  Sometimes the dice just don't cooperate.

On the other hand...

Yes, I flank marched my Wolf Lords...
Logan and company rolled on and popped their shots at a nearby Stompa.  Arjac knocked him down to his last structure point, but I couldn't quite finish him off.  In response, a ton of fire gathered around them for retribution.  The chances of survival from all the lances and rail guns were reasonably close to nil.  As everyone around the table began firing, the Ork player stepped up and said, "OK, I'm gonna fire my Shokk Attack gun at you.  Here's my roll for the strength."  Much to my chagrin, he rolled up a ten.  But it was double five's and we knew that did something.  We checked the book, and sure enough, the Mek had shot himself into close combat with Logan.  There would be no more shooting at them this turn.  It was absolutely priceless to see the reaction of the guy who was so dead set on winning when he found out all his careful planning had gone awry for the quirks of the dice.

Anyway, the game trickled to a half after three and a half turns.  The victors were obvious at this point and I was more than happy to go home.  I may return to Apocalypse at some point, but hopefully under more clear circumstances.  For now, my votes will be for tournaments when the option arises.