As my time seems to be ever in short supply these days I'm having a push at finishing some of those models that I have sitting around part painted (will then have more shelf space to fill with more half painted miniatures). So with this in mind and the new Version of Warzone Resurrection now available I thought I'd turn my attention to my Praetorian Goliath. I started this some time ago and kind of stopped because I didn't quite know what to do with the cloak. It has sort of an inner and outer cloak arrangement and I had painted the inner cloak but then hit that point of indecision regarding the rest. After several months of staring at it I've decided to paint both to match so I thought that this would be a good opportunity to show how I achieved the finished version (nice to show a side by side sometimes). So here is where I started, the complete inner cloak with the outer cloak unpainted.
A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to have a new set of rules drop through my letter box that I have been anticipating for some time. Imperial Skies is a set of Victorian aerial combat rules produced by Robin Fitton, author of the excellent 15mm Sci-Fi game Gruntz and available through Brigade Models. The rulebook is a glossy card cover with 120 full colour pages of background, rules, a ship building system and painting guides. Overall the quality is very good with a nice readable font and there are plenty of photographs of games in progress and rule examples to break up the pages.
BackgroundThe game is set in the year 1919 in a world where the use of Loewe Gravitation engines has allowed ships to take to the sky alongside dirigibles and small fixed wing aircraft. The background for the game is fairly light, which for me is a good thing as I like to imagine my own scenarios, but is enough to set the scene and give you some ideas for settings and campaigns.
The RulesIf you want a simple to learn system with plenty of options to expand on the basics as you become familiar with them or want new challenges then this is one for you. One read through of the main rules will take you about 10 minutes and from there it's all steam ahead (see what I did there 🙂 ) with your fleets. The system uses D6's throughout and ideally you will need three different colours of dice but it can be very dice heavy, especially with some of the larger ships. At least for most gamers there will already be a plentiful supply of D6's in your dice box and they do make it a lot easier to work out hits as the maths are a lot easier. The game uses a simple roll over a target number system with different types of guns having different target numbers and ranges. There is no damage roll to worry about, just hit and you damage so the rules are nice and fast. To make things even more deadly rolls of a natural 6 not only hit but can be rerolled, allowing the lucky player (not me currently) to do some truly horrendous damage in a single volley. Add to this there are also bombs, torpedoes and rockets to add variety to the individual ships. Once hits have been rolled damage is taken directly off the ships damage chart, one point per hit. As damage increases the ships will start to lose guns and movement speed until they eventually die or land at an airfield to be repaired and refitted with bombs and torpedoes. One nice feature of the rules is the addition of Command Points. These are rolled for at the beginning of the turn and may be used to increase your initiative roll or assigned to ships in your fleet to allow them to use special actions (most of these are in the optional rules). This adds an extra element of tactics (and luck) to each turn and used wisely could make the difference between keeping or losing an airship. Movement is conducted in inches and when not flying forwards a selection of turn rulers (which you can buy or download and print) representing the different classes of ships. A lot of games are using this sort of idea these days so it will be familiar to many of you but is well explained if you are unfamiliar with it. There are also plenty of optional rules covering things like altitude, torpedoes, damage repair and boarding actions to name a few. These are simple but effective ways to take your games to the next level and provide plenty of ideas for scenarios (boarding actions or capture a convoy spring immediately to mind).
The FleetsThe rulebook includes stats for vessels from a number of countries: British, American, German, French, Russian, Japanese, Austria-Hungary, Brazilian, Scandinavian, Italian and Turkish, plus various merchant and ground installations. Each vessels stats are presented on a two sided card (these are only in the book right now but a pdf and physical cards are coming). At first these were a little difficult to understand but a page has been produced for download that explains all this very clearly. Maybe this will be added in a later printing. The ships on the cards directly relate to the models produced by brigade so you can easily buy the models you like and pick up the stats or vice versa. With the exception of airfields which can repair ships ground targets take no direct part is the rules but there is plenty of options to include them into scenarios you design yourself. Stat cards are provided for a number of installation types from residential blocks and Cathedrals to factories and army bases. I'm planning to base my building on standard sized bases so that I can build modular towns and villages to act as targets for ground attack games. (you can get some excellent mdf hexagonal bases from Sally 4th for this)
Ship BuildingOne of the things that made Gruntz so popular was the ability to design your own squads and Robin has kept this as a core part of Imperial Skies. The rulebook includes stat cards for each of the vessels produced by Brigade Games so you can ignore these rules if you wish but for those of you who fancy some scratch building of airships or just want to swap things around a bit the rules are simple and quick. Personally I'm more likely to use these rules to build one off ships for specific scenarios as they could easily be abused to produce overly powerful designs for low costs (but all points build systems I've ever used suffers from this problem).
Modelling and PaintingAt the back of the book are 26 pages of modeling and painting advice. These are excellent and even an experienced painter is likely to find something in here that is new or reminded of an old technique that they haven't used in a while. As well as the usual painting guide this section has details on cleaning up your models ready for painting, super detailing (including adding micro flags), decals and airbrushing. Robin has spent a lot of time and effort on this section and it certainly shows and was time well spent.
ModelsThe ship models used for Imperial Skies are produced by Brigade Models and were originally for a set of rules called Aeronef. This range is now being expanded with new ships to support Imperial Skies. These are mostly cast in metal but the range is now being expanded to support Imperial Skies and many of these are a mixture of resin and metal. buildings, ranging from houses and farms to factories and airfields. While these are not an intrinsic part of the game (although there are stat cards for airfields and ground emplacements) they will help to make your tabletop look stunning and can be excellent targets for scenarios.
Alternative ModelsI couldn't finish this review without mentioning some alternative models you could (and I will be) using for Imperial Skies. Spartan Games have a range of figures for Dystopian Wars that include some aircraft and dirigibles that could work well for custom designed ships (although the scale is slightly larger) and a range of buildings that fit nicely alongside the Brigade options (although the scale is slightly larger again).
OverallOn first impressions this is an excellent game and the more I worked my way through the rulebook the better it got. The quality of the book itself is very good and with the exception of a couple of layout issues (which even much larger and profession companies get wrong sometimes) everything is excellent. The clarity of description of the rules is also very good (with one exception, not sure I understand bombs correctly) and the inclusion of lots of examples is excellent (sadly no example for bombs). So to the scores
|Quality:||8/10||Very well produced with minor layout errors|
|Clarity:||8/10||Excellent with one exception|
|Content:||9/10||The mixture of content is excellent with nothing being glossed over and sections that other books wouldn't include|
|Rules:||9/10||The rules are excellent. Starting as a simple system there are plenty of options to add complexity|
|Price:||8/10||You can get slightly more for your money elsewhere from companies with established game systems but for a small company the price is what I would expect to pay|
|Overall:||8/10||A great game worth considering if you want something new|
Well I'm back from the Colours 2016 show in Newbury and it was one of the best shows I've attended in a long time. This year was the first time I've been to this show and I initially had a few issues with locating the car parking and then finding the building it was held in but apparently this was not due the organizers and is usually a lot better. The site at the Newbury race course is a nice modern building with the show occupying all three floors. Floors 1 and 2 were occupied by lots of retailers while the top floor was demo and participation games and the bring and buy. Entry to the show was £6 which is very good and the parking was free (bonus). I would suggest though that you don't rely on the food there as it was limited but it does have a bar 🙂 . I also met an old gamer friend that I used to work with and had a great chance to catch up which made a great day even better. One of the great things about shows like this one is that most of the larger retailers don't attend (Warlord games were there but they seem to attend everything including weddings and christenings). This means that a lot of the smaller retailers are able to get plenty of space to show off what they have on offer and this can be an excellent opportunity to find that little thing you have been looking for for ages (I picked up a figure head for a sailing ship model which is something I have been after for ages but hadn't found on the internet)
Photos from the showI must admit to having been lax and not taking much notice of what these games were but I tried to get photos of everything I thought looked cool. Frostgrave I presume Dinosaurs on the loose
Retail TherapyNo show would be complete without me spending some money (I did good on the Bring and Buy so I can justify it). As I've been playing Konflikt '47 the last couple of weeks one of my first stops was Warlord games to see what was new. I must admit I was a little disappointing that Bolt Action 2 wasn't available as I'm keen to see what they have done to fix some of the issues with the original (and consequently K47) rules but I'll get to see this soon enough. They did have a number of new releases available but strangely they seemed to be mostly for the Germans (not an issue for me as I play German but seemed unbalanced). First of my buys was the Shreckwulfen. The pack contains three multipart (why?) figures, each with a 40mm base. Overall the figures are very nice (although I'm not sure about the gas mask on one of them) and although not the greatest poses in the world of werewolf sculpting will look good in play. For some reason two of the figures have separate hands which seems a little strange as there is only really one sensible orientation to attach them in so give little option for making figures unique. A squad of Schrekwulfen can contain from 3-6 figures and having used 3 in a few games I can recommend adding at least a couple more to the mix. Unfortunately the chunkyness of these figures will make them difficult to repose so you will have to use differing paint schemes if you use two packs and want them to look varied. For my forces so far I've been using three Werewolves from the Secrets of the Third Reich range by West Wind. These look very similar and while slightly less chunky are a comparable size and the two should mix together very well once the new models are painted. (Warlord figure is the unpainted on one the right) Last of the standard K47 releases was a pack of the German Heavy Infantry with LMG's. These are a nice addition to the standard German Heavy Infantry set and are basically the standard figures with an LMG weapon option and comes in a set of two figures. Having this as an extra pack means that I could add these to the basic set and allow me to make two squads of five figures. My one question regarding these right now is why would you actually use them in a game? Let me explain that question a little. In a standard squad each figure is armed with an Assault Rifle (Shots 2, Range 24", Assault). Adding an LMG (Shots 4, Range 30") costs +10pts but requires an extra figure to be a loader like all other LMG's. So for the extra 10pts you end up with two figures giving a combined firepower of Shots 4, Range 30". Personally I'd rather keep the Assault Rifles right now but I'm expecting that when the new BA2 changes come into play there will actually be a good reason to use them as they look like a nice figure. This German staff car is something I've been after for some time. I always seems to be that games are fought on clear roads and I wanted to be able to add a non combat vehicle parked up outside a cafe or chateau. This model is from a company called Urban Construct and will make a great addition to my table. Urban Construct although I've been unable to find it on there web site but I suggest emailing them if your interested. tree stumps while too big for a lot of games will make excellent scenery for games of Frostgrave.
For those of you who like to support new games from small publishers here is one to look into. Cretacea is prehistoric gaming with Dinosaurs (sounds cool already) and is available now on Kickstarter at a very reasonable price. Fulfillment times are short so you could be playing this by Christmas. So give Cretacea a look and help support a new game
Well it's been a strange few weeks, a mixture of work and home life has made it almost impossible to blog, despite having tried on numerous occasions, but things are back on track now. That's not to say I haven't been able to do some gaming and scenery building, it's just been a lot less and more fragmentary than usual. So this post is really just a catch up on what's been going on.