Saturday, February 29, 2020

Tough night for Napoleon

We play tested Bruce's Napoleonic game again (the full rules this time) on Tuesday. I drew France again and led it to a terrible defeat.

I had a tough first hand (one campaign card and lots of useless event cards) and then I rolled poorly. Then I decided to buy ships in the hope of getting across the channel and bagging London before the game turned against me. (This did not work as the English Navy was nasty!)

The cards came around for me in turn two but I could not decisive defeat the Prussians and then the dog pile started.

By turn four, I was out of troops and my two capitals were occupied.

The playtest was good (all mechanics worked) but man, is it is say to lose as the French in the first two turns of you play poorly!

Tuesday, February 25, 2020


I'm getting pretty close to the bottom of my to-paint pile, which means I am finding some weird figures. I have no idea how I ended up with a 28mm Zardoz figure.

This may have been a part of a large sci-fi lot I bought years ago on eBay? (A couple of more figures  from that lot were at the same level when I excavated the top of the desk.)

Zardoz is weird and even the plot summary is hard to follow. Basically post-apoc, soft-core, disco sci-fi starting Sean Connery in a diaper.

He fits in well enough with the other 25/28mm old school sci-fi that I have. Up next are some more figures from this lot--a couple of huge Trek figures and maybe some 25mm WEG Star Wars figures.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Congo Gulch

Bruce hosted a game of Congo Gulch last weekend with six players. The game started with an off-board map game to decide where the battle would take place, resolve two minor skirmishes, and the pace of the reinforcement entry.

The main battle saw the defenders set up the board, the attackers place three victory markers, and the defender decide which edge the attackers start from.

The attackers face a pretty linear defensive line with two objectives close by and one at the far end of the table. The Marx brothers were on board briefly before getting wasted on turn one.

The attacker's main thrust was on the left flank.

While the right flank saw two units try to cut down the side to grab the furthest victory marker.

There was a protracted fire fight mid board while the reinforcements struggled to get on board.

In the end, the defenders whittled down the attackers enough that there was no way the attackers could withstand the reinforcements.

Thanks to Bruce for hosting!

Tuesday, February 18, 2020


An Xmas present was the new co-operative game Horrified, which features the Universal Studios movie monsters. The monsters are represented by plastic miniatures which, of course, cry out for paint! (The other components are cardboard.)

There are seven monsters in the game, although Frankenstein and the Bride operate together (beating them requires teaching them both to love before they meet on the game board).

The figures are a bit bigger than 28mm (Bob Murch Frankenstein for comparison) and the detail is pretty typical of plastic game pieces--okay but not great.

The other villains include wolf man, invisible man, the mummy and the creature from the black lagoon.

These are fine enough sculpts for a boardgames but they are way less dynamic than what we'd consider acceptable in miniatures (horrorclix swamp creature and werewolf for comparison).

I guess these would work with 28mm and 25mm figures. As the embodiment of the terrifying new working class, Frankenstein's monster could well be the big and scary.

The yellow bases were designed to blend in with the game board. It was hard to match the game board (the yellow is variable and I couldn't get a custom blend I was happy with so saffron it is).

The game itself is fun. A bit light but less abstract than, say, Pandemic. Lots of fun for kids of people who don't game much. The painted figures look way better than the plastic mono-colour ones.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Some Napoleonic play testing

Bruce hosted another playtest of his Napoleonic block game. Some new rules about commanders were introduced which were a big improvement.

There was also an option for running a military-only set of shorter games (basically the diplomacy is pre-programmed). This made the game more accessible (especially for someone new to the mechanics) but isn't quite as interesting as a fuller game with diplomacy (which is also an option).

I don't recall who won (I think Russia) but Britain and France duked it out a lot. Some good additions (a battle board to make it easier to sort out the combat).

Looking forward to seeing this one go on kickstarter.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Nightmare House and Gotham City Chronicles

Work and my daughter's curling play downs are conspiring to keep me away from both the club and the painting table. But I have gotten in a few games.

A few weeks ago, Bruce invited me over for a go at Nightmare House. This was a game he found in an old Aries magazine. The game basically has two maps: the haunted house and the astral map. You explore the house to find stuff and portals (and fight ghouls) in order to get on the astral map and win your way to the top of the pyramid before dawn.

The original game had a a crazy wagon-wheel astral map and incomprehensible rules. Bruce fixed that plus made it a co-op game by preprogramming the ghouls (his ability to fix games is pretty amazing). We managed to win with an hour or two of time left on the game clock, but it was not an easy win!

This weekend, Craig had me over to play a team game of Gotham City Chronicles, a kickstarter from a few years back. Good guys are blue; bad guys are grey. Scenario was bad guys need to arm and protect at least two of the five bombs in the ruined subway station. Good guys need to prevent these conditions at the end of eight turns.

Not sure of the logic of the scenario: arm the bombs and then wait around?!? Be better to arm the bombs and then flee (forcing the bad guy to decide who to rescue and who to risk and giving the good guy more space to get at the bombs).

Anyhow, the game plays well and is very pretty and there were a tonne of minis. Bad guys got three bombs going while delaying the police and pulling back to form a perimeter. The bad guys won using a meat-shield tactic in the end.

Some characters have special powers. Firefly can throw bombs, which have an area and area-denial effect. Huntress can open a can of whoop-ass on multiple opponents. Harlequin moves easily and fights well.

The most interesting part of the game (I thought) was the resource management part. At the top of the unit board (below) are discs. You start with three and get two back per turn. First unit activated costs one disc. Second costs two, etc. So you can always do one thing and sometimes two. But maybe you want to stockpile activations to have a big push?

In the middle of the board are cubes. You start with 10 (?) and get five back per turn. You can spend cubes to roll extra dice, soak off hits, etc. But you also have to spend cubes to activate specific units (after your pend disc to get activations). The cube cost of the units depends on where their card is in the "river" at the bottom of the board. Left-most card costs 1 cube, second from left costs 2, etc. When you activate a unit, you move the card to the right (so it costs 7 cubes to activate again).

The dynamics of this reward planning, to try to get your big hitters moving to the left on the river and forces you to use all your units. They also allow you opponent to manipulate your board a bit. I knocked down some of Craig's unit's early on (eliminating 2 or 3 of the 4 figures). So he left these units unactivated. But the mechanics of moving the cards to the right after activation meant these damaged units eventually occupied the "cheapest to activate" spots on the left side of the river. So he had to either activate them (and they were pretty useless) or pay a higher cube cost to activate other units.

The board itself is a bit dark (for my old eyes!) but there is an interactive map that shows LOS and includes bonuses. In the shot below, there is a shooter in the bottom left space (which is elevated). So he can shoot up the left side (any green space, on the same level) or out into the rail station (any yellow square). The yellow squares are below him so he gets an extra (yellow) dice.

Overall, the game was fun. Lots of resource management and the game play forced difficult decisions on the table top. The minis cry out for paint (they are lovely)! I had a very good time.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

3-D printed HO terrain

I couldn't make the club this week due to my daughter's curling schedule. But I did finish some terrain.

The rock pile on the right is from a Matchbox 1/76 kit, I think. But the rest of the loading dock was one of several pieces of 3-D terrain I purchased on eBay last year. It assembled nicely enough but there was a slight warping to the deck that I could not fix (see picture below on the left).

It painted up okay and was a lot cheaper than a commercial plastic HO-scale dock would have been. I also bought a fast-food eatery. This was basically a snap-tite kit with the walls sliding into one another with grooves. The tolerances were amazing but I could not get the side walls fit until I reversed them (hence the weird checkered pattern).

The roof plate was bent and curled up at about 30 degrees. I managed to straighten it with some aggressive counter-bending (figured I would just use card if it snapped). I then glued it down. The 3-D windows were garbage so I used plastic card. The model needs a restaurant sign on the roof.

Overall, it was a nice enough model. I think I paid $12? So probably half or a third of a commercial HO kit. The quality was so-so and the building challenges of the resin make me think commercial plastic kits are worth the extra money.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Some furniture and Darth Maul

Just a quick painting update today. I finished off some terrain I bought at Red Claw in January. 

This is WizKid stuff: a guillotine, and iron maiden and two stocks. All scaled for 28mm figures.

I also finished of a 40mm Darth Maul to match Qigong Jinn (who I painted before Xmas). I've no idea where these guys came from (job lot of sci-fi on eBay, I think).

I'm not sure happy with how Darth Maul came out, but whatever. He's done and on the shelf.