Sunday, December 24, 2017

Friday, December 22, 2017

Star Wars: Legion - Snowtroopers and General Veers

Fantasy Flight Games has announced two new Unit Expansions for the upcoming Star Wars: Legion miniature game:
These announcements bring additional cards and abilities to some of the units available in the Starter Set, but the biggest revelations is the price for the Veers Commander expansion, which helps give a view into upcoming costs of future Commander expansions, (like Leia - the likely next previewed Commander).

  • Snowtroopers Unit Expansion $24.95
  • General Veers Commander Expansion $12.95
I'm looking forward to additional Unit Expansion previews over the next few weeks as we approach the launch of the game in early 2018.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Rules of Survival

My iOS gaming these days is limited to playing pretty much one game - Rules of Survival, a great PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) clone for the iPad.  Despite disliking most competitive online shooters, the awkwardness in the controls is a benefit to me, since my lack of skill compared to other players isn't as much as a handicap, comparatively speaking.

Another reason I enjoy the game is that it is as much about hiding and sneaking as it is about shooting.  My typical strategy is:
  1. Jump off the airplane as soon as allowed,
  2. Glide as far as fast as possible, getting to ground quickly,
  3. Gather as many supplies as possible from the nearest buildings,
  4. Start heading toward the center of the safe zone,
    1. Using a vehicle, if possible,
    2. Otherwise, running (when concealed) or crawling (in open),
  5. Take opportunity shots against other player only if I'm almost guaranteed a kill,
  6. Hang out in the middle of the safe zone until end game, letting the other players and the constricting safe zone winnow out the competition.
I've been in the final 2 one time, and in the top 3 more than a few times.  I haven't yet come out on top yet, but hope to sometime.  But even without coming out on top, the game is a blast to play.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Star Wars: Legion - Next Two Commanders Announced!

We all know that Luke and Vader will be the initial commanders released in the Core Set, but the December issue of Tabletop Gaming (Issue 13) has spoiled who the two new commanders will be in the game. 

It will be no other than Leia Organa and General Veers joining Luke and Vader as options in the next few months.  No further details have been released yet, but I'm expecting more information in the near future.

Tabletop Gaming Magazine is only available for purchase in the UK, but you can buy a digital version of the issue here:

In our first monthly issue (December) of Tabletop Gaming we have an exciting first look at massive miniatures game Star Wars: Legion, as its designers tell us about recreating the battles of the original trilogy on the tabletop and following up X-Wing.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Star Wars: Legion - Core Set Miniatures

The core set of Star Wars: Legion was announced a few moths ago, but a number of recent images help provide a view into the quality and variety of the miniatures:

The Rebel contents contains two unique miniatures - Luke and the AT-RT.  The rest of the models contain duplicates, leading to seven miniatures that are included twice.

The Imperial side is much the same, with two unique Speeder Bikes, and one Vader miniature.  The remaining models contain duplicates, meaning there are six miniatures that are included twice.

It is too early to tell how much customization these miniatures will allow for, but once we see the sprues it will be easier to determine how easy it will be to slightly modify the non-unique miniatures.  It would be really nice to have a separate bits sprue to allow some customization between similar miniatures, but I'm guessing an official accessories sprue is not likely to be released anytime soon.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

"Painting" 40K Space Marines with Sharpie Pens - Completed Land Speeder

A few weeks ago I started to assemble and paint a Build+Paint Land Speeder for the small Sharpie-painted Ultramarines force.

Over the weekend I completed the Land Speeder, and I think it turned out well for the time and effort spent.  The last few steps were to dip the model, apply the decals, glue in the drive and gunner, re-apply dipping media over the decals.  I finally applied a matte spray to tone down the reflection of the dipping media to complete the model.

There are a few touch-ups needed to be made with a fine Sharpie pen, (in areas where I still see some blue where it shouldn't be). As a proof of concept, it was a success.  The metallic Sharpie pens worked great and saved a ton of time painting those colors.

I probably won't paint any miniatures solely with Sharpie pens alone going forward, but for models with some metallic colors, I'll be sure to pull out the Sharpies - at least for easy to mark areas.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Star Wars: Legion - A Matter of (T-47) Scale

The recent news about the Star Wars: Legion expansions has generated much discussion and questions around what scale the T-47 is in, (and the absurdity of having a fast-flying air-support vehicle as a on-table unit in a skirmish game).

The scale question arose after the following photo was posted from Essen, showing the T-47 Airspeeder to appear on the smallish-side -- even when considering the implications of perspective and distance:

Now that the Spanish Fantasy Flight Games website has posted the unpainted models, it is easier to see that the T-47 isn't as off-scale as it first appeared.  The other point is that, based on the "official" specifications, the Airspeeder is much smaller than most people realize.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Gaming Scenery - Miniature Flocked Trees from Michaels

Over last weekend I visited Michaels in nearby Issaquah and noticed that they have released their holiday inventory.  This is great news for hobby enthusiasts, as Michaels has one of the best deals you can get on flocked trees.  These trees are for use with their Christmas Villages, but work great with snow-covered terrain tables for scales anywhere from 15mm to 35mm.

The key to savings is to use a ubiquitous Michaels 40% off coupon, available from their website.  This brings the cost of a large bunch of trees down dramatically.  Last weekend, they even offered one of their legendary 50% off coupons, which I used for some hobby brushes.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Star Wars: Legion - Unit Expansions Announced!

Today Fantasy Flight Games announced the new Unit Expansions for the upcoming Star Wars: Legion miniature game.  This announcement brings additional cards and abilities to some of the units available in the Starter Set, but also includes two brand new units to the game - the trusty Rebel Snowspeeder and the iconic Imperial AT-ST.

One of the biggest revelations is the prices for these new expansions, helping give a view into upcoming costs of future expansions:

  • AT-RT Unit Expansion $24.95
  • Rebel Troopers Unit Expansion $24.95
  • T-47 Airspeeder Unit Expansion $29.95
  • Stormtroopers Unit Expansion $24.95
  • 74-Z Speeder Bikes Unit Expansion $24.95
  • AT-ST Unit Expansion $49.95
Game Components:
  • Dice Pack $14.95
  • Movement Tools and Range Ruler $14.95

Thursday, October 19, 2017

"Painting" 40K Space Marines with Sharpie Pens - Build+Paint Land Speeder

After I painted a small contingent of Space Marines with Sharpies, I decided to pickup a Build+Paint Land Speeder to attempt the same quick, basic paint job.

Below is the work in progress, showing the model primed and then after less than an hour of work with the Sharpies.  I decided to give the Land Speeder some battle damage to match the scars on the Dreadnought.  This was achieved by outlining silver splotches with black ink.

I'm hoping to paint the flesh color on the Space Marine's face this weekend, then dip the model soon afterwards.  As usual before dipping, it looks like garbage at this stage.  However, dipping should tone down the stark contrast that the pens achieve, give the colors some depth, and create a better overall effect.  I'm still curious to see how the finished model will look without a terrain base like the rest of the Space Marines.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Star Wars: Imperial Assault - Ahsoka Tano Ally Pack

Fantasy Flight Games has just released the Ahsoka Tano Ally Pack for Imperial Assault, bringing the plucky force user to the tabletop for the first time!  

Her miniature has her wielding her twin lightsabers, and the pack also a number of cards and two new skirmish missions for your Imperial Assault games.

A favorite of my daughter's for a long time, I'm excited to possibly use this Ahsoka miniature in upcoming Star Wars: Legion games, (with proxy rules).  Due to Legion's larger scale compared to Imperial Assault, I'm hoping that her miniature will scale appropriately.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

USS Missouri (BB-63) - Axis and Allies Game Piece

A few years ago I painted up a small model of the USS Missouri - the model itself is an old game piece from an Axis and Allies boardgame.  It is based on a Games Workshop cavalry base.   I quickly painted it one evening to test out water techniques for Dreadfleet. Being an Axis and Allies game piece means that most details are missing (especially the height of the turrets), but it was still fun to paint.

The USS Missouri (BB-63) is an Iowa-class battleship and was the last battleship to be commissioned by the US.  It hosted the surrender of the Empire of Japan which ended World War II.

The "Mighty Mo" is now a museum ship at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  A few years back, I got to tour the ship with my dad, father-in-law, and daughter, which was one of the inspirations.  If you visit Oahu, I highly recommend taking a day to visit Pearl Harbor and take the tour.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The Best Dice Roll Of My Entire Gaming Lifetime

Strom and I played another game of 40K 8th Edition a few weekends back.  This time, it was the Grey Knights versus my new Death Guard from the Dark Imperium starter set.  We are still learning the rules, but the game was fun and played fast.  It was pretty close at the end, but the Grey Knights were victorious and had a few models remaining on the table while all my Death Guard forces were destroyed.

In the game I rolled the best dice roll of my entire gaming lifetime.  When rolling saves for my Poxwalkers, I rolled 8D6 and came up with 7 sixes and 1 four, which saved 7 Poxwalkers from extinction.

Looking at it another way, that roll is a sum of 46 on 8D6.  I ran the calculations - that sum or better on 8D6 is only 45 chances out of 1,679,616 rolls.  That simplifies to a 1 out of 37,324.8 chance....  Quite impressive indeed.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Warhammer 40K - 8th Edition Battle Report: Ultramarines vs. Hive Fleet Kraken

Strom and I recently tried out our first game of Warhammer 40,000 8th Edition.  It had been a while since we last played, but with our large selection of fully painted armies we decided that the classic matchup of the Ultramarines and Hive Fleet Kraken would be a great introduction to the new rules.

We decided on using the new Power Levels and decided on Power 40 for the size of the battle.  Strom took a good mix for a classic Ultramarine force - a Tactical Squad, a Dreadnought, Terminators, and a Landspeeder.  I selected a force focused on a Tervigon with lots of Gaunts, along with some Tyranid Warriors and a Carnifex.

I brought over my winter table for the battle.  We setup the terrain and decided that a 3x3 battle area would work well for us to test out the rules and based on the size of our forces.

Our first 8th Edition battle was fast, easy to play, and fun.  Unfortunately, the Tyranids did not fare so well, with only a few Tactical Space Marines being defeated.  My Tyranid Warriors and Carnifex did the worst, getting fully wiped out in hand-to-hard without even causing more a single wound on the Terminators.  In the end, my remaining model, the Tervigon, did manage to destroy the Dreadnought with its Smite power, just prior to losing its last wound.

The new rules use Datasheets, which make for a quick and easy reference for a unit's stats, weapons, and abilities.  The fixed "to hit" rolls speed up the game, without losing much from gameplay.

In all, the game was fun and stream-lined compared to older versions of Warhammer 40,000.  We're excited to try out more games using our different painted armies.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Founders of Games Workshop - A Short History

In the early seventies, Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson decided to start a business around their favorite hobby - gaming. They were both friends since meeting in grammar school and enjoyed playing strategy games in their shared flat in London. They named their company Games Workshop and started by manufacturing and retailing fantasy games and models. Livingstone, who had graduated from Manchester University in business, worked for an oil company in London. He spent all his free time running the game business out of their London flat. 

Livingstone and Jackson started a newsletter named Owl and Weasel, which they distributed to others they knew in the gaming hobby. This caught the attention of Gary Gygax, the American creator of Dungeons and Dragons. He needed a European distributor for his role-playing game, and contacted Livingstone and Jackson. Gygax gave Games Workshop a three-year exclusive distribution deal for Dungeons and Dragons. He had no idea the only access the two had to a telephone was outside the hall of their flat, and that the two had no office and no staff.

Steve Jackson (left) and Ian Livingstone in the 1980s
Quitting their day jobs, Livingstone and Jackson devoted all their time to running Games Workshop and distributing Owl and Weasel, now a full-fledged magazine. They left their flat, rented an office, lived in a van, and used the toilets and showers at a squash club that they joined. After Game Workshop opened its first retail store in 1977 to a waiting crowd of 200, Livingstone said, “I think we’ve got something.”1 As wargaming and role-playing become more popular, Games Workshop became more profitable opened more retail stores in Britain.
Up to this point, Games Workshop had sold mostly games from other companies in its retail stores. In 1981, a Games Workshop employee named Rick Priestly combined role-playing, miniatures wargaming, and miniatures collecting to create Warhammer Fantasy Battle. That same year, Games Workshop acquired Citadel Miniatures, a manufacturer of lead miniatures for role-playing and other games. Citadel Miniatures started producing miniatures for the Warhammer game. Owl and Weasel became White Dwarf magazine, and in it the company began promoting Warhammer.

Games Workshop started producing other games; (many based off the same Tolkien mythology used in Warhammer). Due to the popularity of its own games, Games Workshop concentrated solely on promoting and selling only its own games. Livingstone and Jackson left Games Workshop in 1991, but Games Workshop continues to keep many gaming enthusiasts on its management staff.

1. H. Kunzru, “Not Connected: Not Playing When He Plays Wired World: The Dungeon Master Hari Kunzru Meets Ian Livingstone.” The Daily Telegraph, December 8, 1997.
2. M. McGrath, “A Visit To The Fantasy World Of Ian Livingstone.” Independent, June 6, 1998.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

"Painting" 40K Space Marines with Sharpie Pens - Ultramarines from Battle for Vedros

Based on a short Youtube video from Lukes Affordable Painting Service (APS), I was curious to see how quickly I could "paint up" Ultramarines from the Battle for Vedros Starter Set using only Sharpies.

I first primed the Space Marines with The Army Painter's Ultramarine Blue.  I then proceeded to "paint" the miniatures via Sharpie pens, afterwards dipping the models.  Unfortunately, the dipping media did dissolve some of the pen marks, so I had to reapply after dipping.  The colors white and red were a pain.  For red, I first had to color the spot white, then add the red afterwards.  I also had to use flesh paint for the faces (Sharpie doesn't make a flesh-color pen).

To see how cheap I could paint them, I decided to try out a cheap acrylic paint for the base.  I now know why good acrylic paints are so important.  Even after more than five coats I could still see some of the original color underneath.

The crackle paint I used did not work very well for the bases, and the only noticeable crackle effect was on the Dreadnought's wide base. 

I have never been good with decals, and the Ultramarine ones were the worst.  The bunched up and generally look poor, especially with the frost effect that decals can sometimes get.

Ultramarines were a good candidate for this method due to their blue color scheme and gold trim.  I found coloring the cape white, then coloring it red was a waste of 25 minutes.  I think the Dreadnought turned out the best of all the models.

I just purchased a Build+Paint Landspeeder that I will quickly paint using the same method.  I'm curious to see how quickly I can complete it using the lessons learned from these models.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Mice and Mystics - Three (Not-Blind) Mice

I painted these up a year or two ago, for the Mice and Mystics game by Plaid Hat Games.  I painted them up simply, and then dipped them per my usual method.  Although the models are fun, the game was unfortunately not a hit in our household.  I decided to keep the miniatures however.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Star Wars Miniatures (West End Games) - Three Wookies and an Ewok

A long time ago, in the mid-1990s, Juice and I started collecting miniatures for Star Wars Miniatures Battles by West End Games.  My idea was for an army of Wookies with a small contingent of Ewoks. Juice's idea was for an army of Mon Calamari, all riding Tautauns, and lead by Admiral Ackbar. Unfortunately, the limited variety of miniatures available for the game made finishing our ideas difficult, and we soon moved on to other games and projects.

About a decade later, in the late-2000s, I pulled out some of the half-finished models from storage and completed them.

With the new Star Wars: Legion just announced, perhaps my long-ago dream of a Wookie army will finally be realized? Unfortunately for Juice, I'm not sure that Tautaun-riding Mon Calamari will be hitting Fantasy Flight Game's product schedule anytime soon.