Monday, January 27, 2014

More Caesar 1/72 scale Adventurers

My younger son went back to school yesterday, so the house is going to be quiet for a while.

I didn't have a lot of time for painting over the weekend, but I did a little work on some more 1/72 plastic fantasy adventurers. Once I let go of the idea that going to smaller figures means faster painting, replenished my collection of tiny brushes, and layered up my magnification, this becomes fun. I'm looking forward to getting a fantasy skirmish in a box ready for travel and conventions. Shifting back to speed painting for armies may be disconcerting...

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Scuffle at the Great Stone Head

Chris Palmer came by yesterday for a session of Song of Blades and Heroes. The forces were composed primarily of Reaper Bones miniatures, although I did have a couple of Reaper metal figures in my warband.

I set up a basic terrain layout, with a two-contour hill topped by a couple of ancient statues. While we didn't have a narrative in mind, it appeared after the fact that my team of adventurers must have showed up looking for treasure, and found the place infested by undead and magical creatures. My 300pt warband consisted of a leader, a magician, two elite archers, a barbarian, and two basic warriors.

For the first game, Chris's band consisted of a spectre, a ghost, a fire elemental, and four skeleton warriors (including two archers). The ghosts and element are among Chris's more recently painted figures, and he wanted to give them a try.

The great stone head, by the way, is an antique piece of plaster scenery from the 1980s, from a long defunct company called "Otherworld Artifacts", not to be confused with the current Otherworld Miniatures.

Chris and I are still learning the tactics for Song of Blades and Heroes. The first game started with a little back-and-forth struggle, and I thought that I was about to lose when I rolled three ones in an activation to attempt to get one of my rangers to stand up and avoid being slain by the spectre. However, Chris's luck was running even worse than mine, overall, and the ranger both survived the situation and eventually slew the spectre. Some close-in sword work dispatched the skeletons, and it was time to reset for a second game.

I figured that I was doing well with the human adventurer, so I re-used that list, and Chris replaced the undead with a band of savage orcs lead by a warlord. The situation the second time around went downhill quickly when I inflicted a gruesome death on the lead orc, which caused a morale check which sent three figures, including the warlord, fleeing off the table. The next casualty caused another morale check, and that left no orcs or goblins on the table. We decided that it was time to call it a day.

Chris commented that he should probably shape his painting queue with an eye toward tactical utility. I suspect that increasing familiarity with the rules will change our ideas of utility, as well...

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

January Thoughts

As we celebrate (?) the month dedicated to two-faced Janus, god of doorways and beginnings, it seems appropriate to consider accomplishments and goals.

According to my painting log, I finished 7 40mm NQSYW foot figures last year (not counting the paint and basing touchups on figures bought painted), 99 assorted 25/28mm figures, mostly Reaper fantasy Bones, 10 1/72 scale horsemen (counting two chariots as four cavalry), and 3 1/72 scale foot (not counting some Persian samples who remain unbased).

As years go, that wasn't bad. Numbers like that again this year would barely make a dent in my overall painting backlog, but would allow me to deploy a couple of small skirmish games on new subjects, and perhaps get enough Persians and Greeks done to work up some inspiration.

So the usual January questions are:

1) What do I want to paint?
2) What do I want to play?

I have been thinking about the first question somewhat independently of the second. I would like to move my 40mm Prince August project, the Not Quite Seven Years War, along. I have a plan laid out which shows its maximum projected size at about twice what I have now, but there is no great urgency about that, with the number of other participating painters. Nevertheless, I'd like to finish up another regiment for my own army, and paint a sample unit for my proposed adversary army.

I'd like to continue the fantasy update, probably through the mechanism of painting up a few warbands for Song of Blades and Heroes, plus some things intended to be immediately useful in role-playing games. I am also lumping in some small scale science fiction and post-apocalyptic skirmish games with this. If I can concentrate on that goal, painting the few dozen figures that I would need to stage those skirmishes seems practical. I am not sure that I have an ultimate goal for this project yet. By the end of the year, Reaper should have enough figures available for me to consider working toward having a game based on units of a dozen or so figures as maneuver elements. Defining a target will be a matter for additional thought.

The third thing I'd like to work on is my "Herodotus project" (actually including Thucydides and Xenophon), which will involve armies of 1/72 scale figures based on double depth WRG standard bases (i.e. Armati-style, or for Simon MacDowell's Comitatus). I have most of the plastic which will be wanted for this already laid by. Some clever basing will be the only issue, since I am imagining that some smaller actions, from the Anabasis, for example, will be better depicted with individual figures than with elements. The work I did last week on some more detailed 1/72 scale fantasy figures gives me some confidence that I can handle painting the Persians. I just need to get started, and develop a sustainable style as I go. On the plus side, the proposed armies already have countries set aside for them on Norman's Myboria map. On the negative side, I don't really expect to see this on the table before 2015, which is somewhat demotivating.

The second question, what to play, is related. I keep track of what games I play, and have, as a result, a pretty good idea (barring transcription errors) of when each project was most recently on the table. Anything that hasn't been out in five years is going to get a fresh look, with a keep/sell decision which will reflect its completion status.

We have about 80% of the planning done for a test campaign for the NQSYW, so I want that to be high on the playing priority list.

Norman's Myboria campaign, if it were to get started this year, would also be a priority. Based on some of Ross's recent posts, I am wondering whether I could experiment with campaign mechanisms with a solo campaign using my 6mm ancient and fantasy troops, who don't really see enough play.

We tend to play quite a bit of Hordes of the Things. My recent experience with Sng of Blades and Heroes suggests that it occupies a similar niche, but for skirmish rather than mass battle, and I want to give it a good workoit over the next few months.

Now, as reality hits, I'm sure all of that will change....

Sunday, January 5, 2014

2013/2014 Transition

While I have not had the opportunity to put a miniatures game on the table in a few weeks, we did play the Dungeons&Dragons game over the holidays, for which we painted new character figures.. I was pleased to be able to gather my three original players, plus three second generation players, who were tasked with "animating" some of the original henchmen. We played for almost five hours, which is about all I can manage these days. It was fun to dust off the old characters, who hadn't been out, we figured, since sometime in the mid 1990s. I was also pleasantly surprised to find how quickly the 1st edition AD&D rules came back to me (and the rest of the guys) once we got into the game.

A recent Kickstarter for a travel gaming module caught my attention, particularly because of the looming D&D game. I have a couple of "game in a box" set ups, and I am looking forward to adding a traveling rpg set up. With this module gridded in half-inch squares, I thought that it would work well with the 1/72 scale adventurers from Caesar.

I've painted a few of these figures previously, and based them for Hordes of the Things, in support of Norman's Myboria project. These are going to go on 1/2" square bases with magnet bottoms. It occurred to me that I could probably find room in the box for enough of these figures to form a couple of warbands for Song of Blades and Heroes. In any case, there are about a dozen poses in the Caesar box, so I washed a set, and added a half dozen Elves for good measure.

The figure below is another Kickstarter acquisition from last year. As long as we're working on Song of Blades and Heroes, and post-apocalyptic figures seem to be appearing in my mailbox, I thought that I might do some warbands for the Song post-apocalyptic variant, Mutants and Deathray Guns. She's figure number three, so there is some work left to do.

Today, I also finished rebasing all of my previously painted Airfix Robin Hood and Sheriff of Nottingham figures for use with Myboria. This process has been languishing for a couple of months, so I'm glad to have that finished and behind me. Now I need to cut and glue the magnet lining into some storage boxes for these troops.

I have a Song of Blades and Heroes session with the Reaper 28s schedule for Saturday, so I shall hope to have a battle report, or at least a few pictures, up shortly after that.