Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu

A long-postponed project has been painting the 35 figures that came with the board game Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu. I think Jessica got this as a Christmas present in 2017. I planned to roll this out as a Halloween post, but things intervened... .

The figures are a mix of 15mm and 32mm figures. The cultists and shoggoth figures are smaller and really function as counters or currency to track the game's progress towards defeating the players.

The cultists were pretty simple figures. After some debate about painting belts, trim, and faces, I decided mono-colour was better. I was just about to pick up a linen colour and then switched to red to avoid having to explain they weren't clansmen at the beginning of every game.

The shoggoth were harder. I looked at a bunch of different efforts on boardgamegeek and eventually decided to go with my first take: slimy green with lost of eyes.

The counters scale well with each other but are notable smaller than the player-character figures.

Left to right below we have doctor, occultist, driver, and reporter. These were all painted to match their cards (more or less). The figures are nice enough for game pieces, but the detail was not well raised. The occultist (red cloak) was really underwhelming and would have benefited from a prop (a crystal ball in one hand?).

The second group includes a detective, magician and hunter, again, painted to their cards. I was happy with the trench coats--it took a lot of layering to get a decent effect.

The figures are a bit bigger than my 28mm and 25mm collections. I'd mix them in in a pinch.

Up close, you can really see how the detail on the game pieces is soft and needed a lot of help from layering and washes.

That said, they really improve the look of the game in play. Unpainted, the characters were a medium grey and the cultists and shoggoths were an awful teal colour.

A quick paint job really helps add mood to the game and makes it easier to tell the character figures apart. These figures should be a fun surprise the next time Jessica wants to play.

Up next: Gangsters and more Zeds.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Imperial Settlers at the Club

We had six guys out at the club this week but Red Claw was PACKED, with 22 gamers and painters. Maybe the busiest I've ever seen it on a Tuesday? I was glad Terry was there early to get a table.

Chen and Brandon played Kings of War, while Terry hosted Richard, Scott, and me in a game of Imperial Settlers. This seemed to be Scott's first time with the game and he had a lot of questions. And, of course, he was HUGELY in the lead by turn 3. Like, clearly going to win.

To everyone's dismay, I managed to sneak out a win through a combination of aggression and crafty card play on the last turn (i.e., I was a dink). Overall, a very fun game and thanks to Terry for hosting and umpiring. I think we even played the rules correctly this time!

Painting has been a bit slow, but I pushed another 10 Zeds off the table this week. Nothing fancy about them. I'm just trying to finish the Toxic Mall boxset before Christmas. I'm also working my way through the figures in Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019


Earlier this fall, I picked up some cops and robbers from Pulp Figures. The cops were finished right away but I set the gangsters aside during Zomtober.

I got back to these this week and finished three. The fellow in the grey suit has been painted up as a detective (note badge below pocket square). I need a Jim Gordon for my Batman coppers and he looks like a young Jim Gordon from Gotham.

If I can lay my hands on an older Heroclix Gordon (a la 1980s comics), I'll probably paint out the badge and he can be a gang boss.

The metals are a touch plumped than the 28mm plastics I have but I'd say they are close enough from three feet away.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Take me to church

I've been looking to add a church to my Gotham layout for awhile but have had zero luck finding one I liked. Most model railway church are clapboard country chapels. The more gothic models tend to be huge and expensive.

I was at the the model railway swap meet two weeks ago and this church was on for $3 (!!!). I fixed a bad glue job (tower was not plumb with building even though this is basically a snap-tite kit???) and added some paint, a wash, and dull coated.

I think it does a good job of conveying the impression of a church (buttresses, lancet windows, bell tower) without taking up a huge amount of space on the table or my shelves. I think this will work in either a urban setting or as an isolated country church of some vintage.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Zomtober: Toxic Zeds

As I work my way through the Zombicide: Toxic Mall box, I decided to switch up the skin colour of the toxic Zeds. 

Apologies for the photo quality; I had some weird lighting effect happening, perhaps interacting with the white undercoat and washes for the skin. I finished half of the toxic zombies but didn't post one of the poses because it was a bit over sexualized.

The basic zombies are cast in grey and the toxics are casting green so I went with roughly those colours for skin. I'm pretty happy with the results. I wanted a slightly more luminescent green for the skin but whatever. The effect is clear enough and you can tell which is which (below).

I wasn't sure what to do with the toxic boss. I figured red on white jockey shorts was a nice contrast to all of the bumpy skin and horns. While this post brings an end to Zomtober, I so have a few more Zeds in the pipeline that will appear over the next few weeks.

Up next: A church, some gangsters and some zombies.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Low rental housing for Gotham

At the model train swap meet last weekend, I picked up a couple of cheap buildings. My favourite was this apartment building (there are never enough places for people to live (or eat!) in model towns). This building was $6 built. All I did was paint, wash, and dull coat. 

All it needs now are maybe a few decals and some blacked out glass installed in the windows (I seem to run out of clear plastic packaging). The building would be the perfect home for the United Clown Party (posed above).

I have a different version of this building already (a rooming house). It wasn't until I was working on the newer model that I noticed that the person who built the roaming house model reversed the upper floors to put the fire escape on the front (thereby blocking the front doors?). Obviously the escape on the back makes much more sense.

Up next: More Zeds, a church and maybe some gangsters. And then even more zombies.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Zomtober: Sporting Zeds

Not my best entry for Zomtober, but sometimes you have to post what you have done. And today that is nine Zeds from the Zombicide Toxic Mall box painted up as athletes. 

The repetition of poses in the Zombicide boxes is a bit of a grind, so I tried to make the runners (necessary for the Zombicide rules) into something useful. Thus four male soccer players and five female basketball players--perhaps a team bus was caught in the apocalypse?

Up next: I have a few buildings from the model railway show (three buildings for $17? score!) underway plus more zombies, including some toxic zombies with a different approach to the skin colour.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

An Arkham Halloween

I hosted a Halloween-themed game at the club this week, using the Gotham adaptation of Tribal and a bunch of horror-themed 28mm figures I've collected over the years. Chen, Richard, Terry and long-time lost club member Mike played along with me.

Each faction had a set of objectives:

  • Penguin needed to rescue some villains incarcerated in Arkham in order to bolster his chances at winning the mayoralty election.
  • Batman needed to stop Penguin.
  • Dr. Charles Brown, Warden, needed to prevent escapees and collect some additional subjects... errr... patients.
  • The Ghostbusters were looking to set up a franchise in Gotham and needed to bust some ghosts, monsters and villains.

There were also three groups of cultists summoning various monsters and ghouls that attacked whomever was handy.

The Arkham crowd moved out of its fenced yard and immediately ran into random monster trouble with a Gentleman and, soon thereafter, a giant worm.

Penguin made a bee-line for Arkham to spring some villains but had to tangle with a toothy horror.

Batman also moved towards Arkham, leaving Black lightening and some cops to farm ghosts.

Dr. Brown retreated to within Arkham while the Ghostbusters lurked around the edges, sniping.

Having driven back the pink monster, Penguin moved to quickly dispose of his cultists (a good move as it cleared the path to Arkham for his troops).

Bats and Katana ventured into Arkham and then set upon the warden. This weakened both of these teams and gave Penguin an opening to breakout some friends. Bats took it on the chin from a lowly gang during the resulting melee.

The Ghostbusters moved up, carefully sniping at anyone with range. This was tactically challenging to play and the Ghostbusters were vulnerable to melee attacks. Playing a move-and-shoot pattern allowed me to concentrate good activation cards on the shooters.

The game culminated in a three-way fight inside the grounds of Arkham. Penguin moved to break out some villains but got jumped by Bats. Batman's cards were ridiculously good and Penguin was driven off. But the Dr. Brown decided Batman would make great patient for his asylum and moved in to defeat Batman. Which kind of sets up a rescue scenario as a next game.

Overall, everyone had fun, perhaps despite the scenario! The game was close on points (9,10, 11 and 11) with the Arkham crowd being declare the winner for achieving closest to his actual victory conditions (Penguin was right behind and needed one more turn to snatch victory).

A couple of lessons:

  • Four-players is doable in Tribal in two hours if one ruthlessly moves the game along. There is enough interaction and activation that no one sits very long. Having only four units per player helped.
  • A 4x4' board is better than a 4x6' board (even with 4 players).
  • Clearer scenario instructions are necessary if a narrative is desired.
  • Too many randomly generated monsters distracts from player interaction and slows movement towards the centre.
  • All-shooter teams are possible (the Ghostbusters were all sidekicks with shooting powers) and force hard choices about when to commit to melee.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Zomtober: Doc Frank and Freddie

The International Rules of Zomtober require one Zed per week. I am a bit behind on painting this week but I did finish a 28mm Frankenstein kit from Pulp Figures.

Here we have Igor and Doctor Frankenstein animating a corpse. Overall, happy with the figures but I see I was overly enthusiastic with the grey paint on the bases.

Then we have the Monster (which I'm calling a Zed). Nice figure. I fiddled a long time to try to get the black to work properly (an increasingly desperate set of washes, dry brushings, and dips).

Freddie sits in the cage I bought last year from Red Claw pretty nicely. Overall, a sweet little set. I chose to paint the doctor and Igor a bit more modern-looking than might be appropriate to fit in with my pulp and superhero figures.

Up next: Maybe a report from the club!

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Lunar War playtest

Bruce was keen to playtest his Lunar Wars game using the sweet "new" Airfix models he bought. We played on a printed hex grid he made. 

We started with two quick goes at a single scenario that allowed us to compare Artifact and Marine 2002 (the two rules sets he had). We settle on Artifact as the turn sequence forced us to make more interesting and stark choices.

The 1/72-scale figures Bruce got are a hoot to play with. Lots of character and evoking a real 1980s Cold War gone hot in space feel.

He supplemented the plastics with some GZG landers (15mm, maybe?) to give some air capability. Having settled on Artifact, we then played the main scenario which was an attack on a small scientific moon outpost but two lander-borne military teams.

This was the approach. Very simple air rules that mimicked near zero-G movement. I moved in from two angles while Bruce quickly deployed his scientists in a defensive posture.

I deployed one one force from the lander behind a ridge while moving closer with the other. This was a bad decision in the end as Bruce blew the second lander from the skies.

I managed to make some progress towards attacking the base but eventually ran out of guys as Bruce targeted my rover. We did not see any of these moon hoppers this game.

Overall, a pretty fun game that would be easy to teach and you ould play two scenarios in an evening.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Zomtober: Call the doctor!

I'm grinding my way through the Zombicide Toxic Mall box this Zomtober. A challenge with these boxes is limited poses. I thought I would do a small number up as medical staff from a hospital or clinic that had turned.

Overall, they are a touch drabber than I had hoped. But they fit the bill.

They are a little smaller than some Heroclix figures that I have along the same lines.

Up next: Some Astronaut gaming, some Zed-soccer teams, and maybe some more pulp.