Friday, 30 December 2016

A Taste of What is to Come. Happy New Years!!!

Happy New Years Everyone!!!

Just this week, I was treated to the delight of coming home to an unexpected package from Asmodee. Asmodee sent me a review copy of Conan!!! Thank you so much!

32mm Miniatures of Conan and a Giant Snake
An Image of two of the miniatures from the new Conan Board Game. The sculpts are great. The miniature on the left (the Giant Snake) is absolutely stunning and a great treat to anyone opening up this this game for the first time.

Having received this game, my readers can expect an unboxing article sometime very soon and an official review on the game after a few plays. The miniatures in Conan are absolutely stunning. There will be plenty of pictures featuring the figures in my unboxing article. Above and below are two samples.

As a gamer that plays many systems (including miniature games that don't require official miniatures) I think about what other games the miniatures might fit when I buy a product. Years ago, I bought Descent by Fantasy Flight Games and honestly used the miniatures more for Dungeons and Dragons than Descent. That said, Descent was an excellent game. Likewise, I bought Sedition Wars for the miniatures rather than the actual game.

Recognizing that some players buy games just for the miniatures, I plan to include pictures in my unboxing articles for scale comparison purposes. I will not come out in the unboxing posts and state that the comparison pictures are for readers that might wish to use the miniatures for other games, but it would be a safe assumption to make. It is also good to see the scale of the miniatures just for interest sake.

Scale Comparison of the new Conan Board Game Miniatures
Above is a picture of the Conan Miniature from the Conan Board Game by Asmodee. The detail on this model is pretty good and he is pictured beside a Reaper Miniature (on the left) and a North Star Miniature (on the right). As one can see, he fits in perfectly with Reaper's 32mm scale.

Conan is going to be a very fun game to unbox and review.

Also in the queue is an unboxing for Zombicide: Black Plague by Cool Mini or Not. I bought this game very recently and am looking forward to trying it out too. Like Conan, there will be scale comparison pictures for this game too. Below is a quick sample.

Scale Comparison of Miniatures from Zombicide to those in other games.
Above is a scale comparison picture for Zombicide: Black Plague. Left to Right we have miniatures from... North Star, Reaper Miniatures, Zombicide: Black Plague and North Star. One can see that this hero is sized a little bigger than the 28mm North Star figures but fits in well with the 32mm Reaper Miniature. I think it is interesting to note that the Zombicide figure is more of a "true scale" than the Reaper Miniature in that the hands and head are smaller.
These unboxing articles are quite sizable. Between the two games, I have 133 pictures to sort through and edit. Of course, not all of them will make the articles, but it is still a lot to work. On the weeks that those articles go up, there might be just one article going up on this site rather than my goal of two a week.

What else is to come from this site over the next year? I hope to introduce more variety in my reviews and cover even more games. I am also thinking of getting into Flames of War 4th Edition while still doing a lot of coverage on games by Osprey Publishing (Frostgrave, Bolt Action, etc). If you have any suggestions on what you would like to see on this site over the next year, please leave them in the comments area of this website or email me at mustcontainminis@gmail.com.

I am also planning to take down the Amazon store associated with this site and hope to forge more and stronger relationships with the companies that publish miniatures and games.

Thanks for Reading and until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Are You A Rules Lawyer? A Response to a Youtube Video

Miniature Gaming
This post is inspired by Wargamer Fritz's Youtube video "Are You a Rules Lawyer." It can be considered my response to the question that he posed to the online community. A link to Fritz's site and an embedded link to the original video can be found at the end of this article.

In this video, Wargamer:Fritz discusses what a Rules Lawyer is, discusses how to deal with them and asks his viewers whether they are a Rules Lawyer. Fritz and I play different rule-sets, but the concepts and situations are very much the same.

At its most basic level, a Rules Lawyer interprets the rules of the game literally. Am I a Rules Lawyer? It really depends on the setting. In a casual game, usually not.

In a tournament setting, absolutely. The rules of the game are part of the social contract that we enter when we gather to play our games. Before a tournament, I will study the rules as much as I can to go prepared. I hope for the same from my opponent. That said, I am a fair opponent and a good sportsman. I play for fun and don't mind whether I win or lose. I will politely correct my opponents and challenge them on their interpretations of the rules when I see them making mistakes (regardless of whether it is in their favour or mine). I hope they will do the same for me.

While I consider myself a "Friendly Rules Lawyer," there are other Rules Lawyers out there that are more unscrupulous. Some learn the rules inside-and-out and abuse loop-holes to win their games. Others are not really Rules Lawyers, but they are so confident in themselves, that they trick you into thinking that they know the rules inside-and-out when they really don't. I find the second type harder to deal with than the first.


Those that Don't Know the Rules but Exude Confidence


There have been two instances (for sure) where someone's confidence deterred me from challenging them on the rules when I should have. Both Instances were in Flames of War tournaments (WW2). To combat these situations, you really have to be a bit of a Rules Lawyer yourself.

The first instance was against a young opponent playing as a Soviet Union Infantry Horde Army. In this army, every single unit of his had something called "Smoke Pots." Being unfamiliar with the Special Rules for Soviets, I asked what the smoke pots do. I was told that they provide concealment to his army so that they cannot be shot at when they assault (no Defensive Fire). Next thing I know, I learn that two of his large units also have the Infiltrate special rule. Within the second and third turns, I had his huge infantry blobs assaulting my German Heer Gun-Lines with nothing I can do to stop him.

His units assaulted my positions and destroyed them without giving me the opportunity of Defensive Fire. I let him know that I felt that his special rule was overpowered and graciously cried cheese as he defeated my army. After the tournament, I read an article on WWPD about the new rules in the Berlin Book to find that the youngster either misinterpreted the rules or blatantly lied about them.
Smoke Pots - During an Assault, a platoon with these can make any number of teams non-assaulting teams and makes skill check.  If any team passes this check, the assaulting platoon (company) is considered Concealed. From WWPD
This is an instance where I should have been a Rules Lawyer and made him produce the rules from his Army Book. Having "Smoke Pots" provide the unit with Concealment is a hell of a lot different than Preventing Defensive Fire. I likely would have won that game (or at-least had a draw) as there would be no way for this player to assault my gun-lines. My gun-lines simply had too much fire power to be assaulted (even if his forces were concealed). If I remember right, this guy placed really well during this tournament.

The other instance was more of a general instance where a Rules Lawyer used his abilities to his advantage in a timed tournament. In this tournament, we had chess clocks with an-hour-and-a-half per side. The clocks were supposed to be used in Deployment and during the game. We forgot to start the clocks and I set up as the defender in 5-minutes while he, as the attacker took about 20 to 30 minutes to set up as he purposely measured to make sure every unit was spaced perfectly so he would only take one casualty if I ever aimed artillery at him. When I realized that he was using such precision, I asked if it would be okay if I did the same to do the same to my artillery. His response was that he is sorry, but I already deployed and it is not his fault that I deployed my guns too close to each other. He would not be okay with me re-positioning them. Fair enough, my deployment time was done.

I then realized that the chess clocks should have already been started, and when I pointed that out to him, he stated that they weren't on during my deployment so it shouldn't be on during his. He then took ten minutes more to set up and he was ready to go. I was not happy at this point as he was really taking advantage and milking the time to perfectly set up his forces.

This signaled to me that I was against an opponent that would work all of the rules to his advantage. He started right off the top by taking his time with deployment. We were playing at his "native" club and he is a tournament regular there so he should have known about the chess clocks during deployment and I found myself a little bitter with him for taking advantage and taking so long to deploy. Once we started playing, he let me know that he doesn't normally play against Infantry Armies and started asking me to produce the rules and page numbers to all of the special rules for infantry (from cover to movement) while we played. Of course, all of these questions came up during my turn while the chess clock was counting down on my side.

In these games, if your chess clock reaches zero - the opponent gets a large quantity of bonus points. This acts as motivation for you to keep the game running quickly. Fortunately, I did not time out, but it really felt like he was trying to drain my time by being a naive rules lawyer on my turns to get those extra bonus points. This player was much more experienced than me so it really felt odd that he had the questions that he did. He also took advantage of every rule he could to help him win the game from precise measurements (and interpretations of millimeters) to confidently telling me that the rules that should protect my Infantry forces do not apply (and he demanded that I produce the pages to prove him wrong - which I did). It is a good thing that I am a bit of a Rules Lawyer myself. If I wasn't, this game would have been an absolute slaughter for my forces rather than just a defeat.

This game was very unpleasant for me as this guy really used the rules to his advantage while challenging me on every rule he was unfamiliar with while the chess clock was counting down on my side. At the end of the game, he apologized for not giving me the chance to move my guns in my deployment zone and stated that he wanted to give me a "learning opportunity" and that if he let me move my guns a little that I would not know better for my next games. Thanks for the "learning opportunity."

Years later I remember that lesson well, but even more I remember how slimy it felt playing against this guy. Not a pleasant experience and somewhat exhausting to reflect upon. When it came time to scoring our opponents, I gave him a 1 out of 10 for Sportsmanship. Usually I score my opponents 8 to 10 out of 10 in this category. The tournament organizer asked if I was sure about the score and I told him "yes, this guy is not pleasant to play against at all." I didn't know it at the time, but that score in sportsmanship was enough to push him from second or third place overall to fourth.

While the two instances above are from Flames of War tournaments, please keep in mind that I have participated in many Flames of War tournaments and these instances are not the norm. Most players are very good at playing fair and not twisting the rules to their advantage.


The Real Rules Lawyers


Now these guys are the guys that know the rules inside and out and interpret everything literally. There is nothing wrong with that in my opinion, but some of these people find the loop-holes and use that to their advantage while they play. Some will even let you make mistakes during your turn to their advantage (without correcting you) and then play the rules correctly on their turn (also to their advantage).

Often, their excuse is that if you are playing in a tournament setting that you should know the rules well enough that you don't have to rely on your opponent to help you along. The bad ones will go further and reiterate that it is not their job to help you with the rules and will use the rules to absolutely crush you in the game.

I know I am against a Rules Lawyer when I hear the phrase, "the rules as written" in a sentence about the game. These guys tend to not care more about how the rules were written than what the writers may have actually intended. That said, not all Rules Lawyers are bad with the intent to crush their opponents through the rules. There are plenty of good Rules Lawyers out their and many of those good Rules Lawyers make the best teachers when you are learning a new system (or even learning more about a system that you have played for years).

I certainly don't mind facing off against a Rules Lawyer myself as long as everything is kept fair and consistent in the game. Fair and Consistent is the key phrase here.

For the Rules Lawyers that are corrupt, the best defense I have found is knowing the rules and being a bit of a Rules Lawyer yourself. My top three weapons against Corrupt Rules Lawyers is as follows...


  1. Errata and FAQs
  2. Discuss Potential Points of Contention Before the Game
  3. Demand Consistency  

Many games companies know that there are people that use loose interpretations of the rules and "the rules as written" to their advantage. To help limit these situations, they have produced Errata and FAQ documents. Often, I find it surprising how many people don't know the Errata. This Errata usually bring the rules from the "rules as written" to be more in line with the "rules as intended." In my experience, these documents tie up the loose ends in the rules and help prevent people from taking advantage of rules that just don't sound right. So far, every tournament organizer I have played under has accepted these rules and will rule in favour of the Errata and FAQs when issues arise. Know the Official Errata and bring the FAQs with you to your tournaments.

Next up on the list is to discuss every potential item on the table that could be subject to interpretation before the game. Discuss every piece of cover and terrain before the game starts and sort out disagreements before the models are even put on the table. Perhaps agree to dice off during the game for how to interpret something in case an item is missed. Also be sure to discuss any club or house rules that may be in effect for the game. Once these items are discussed, keep things consistent for the entire game.

Rightly or wrongly, make sure to let your opponent know that you expect consistency on the rules through out the entire game. If your guy can fire on me, my guy can fire on you. If you interpret the rules one way, we play the rules the same way through out. If you see me making a mistake, correct me or we will be playing the rules the same way through out the game. By demanding consistency, the rules are kept fair - even if the rules are misinterpreted by both sides.


Casual Games


As stated earlier, I am different in a Casual Games setting. In a casual setting I am much less of a rules lawyer and will often lean more to the side of playing the game as the spirit of the game would suggest rather than what is literally on the page. Win or lose, I am typically just out for fun so I am fairly laid back. I don't mind dicing off for disagreements on the rules and keeping the game moving.

Currently, most of the games I play are in a casual environment.


Wrapping it Up


So there you have it. I am absolutely a Rules Lawyer in a Tournament setting and a bit more relaxed in a Casual Environment. Currently, I play more games Casually than in a Tournament setting.

For those that are curious, the games that I have played in a Tournament setting include Flames of War, Bolt Action, Frostgrave and X-Wing. The games that I play Casually or have interest in are too many for me to list here.

How about you? Are you a Rules Lawyer? How do you deal with people that take literal interpretations of the rules to their advantage?

Below is the original video that inspired this article. Wargamer Fritz also runs a Blog in addition to his Youtube Channel.





Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!


Sunday, 25 December 2016

Happy Holidays!!!!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays Everyone!!!

I hope that everyone has had a good Holiday season. Mine has been good, but busy.

Game wise, the highlight is that I got a copy of Zombicide Black Plague and I am hoping to find something cool on Boxing Day at a game store. Perhaps The Walking Dead: All Out War. I have been curious about that game for a while. Maybe something else.



A Miniatures Christmas Gift
The Highlight of My Christmas Gifts. Zombicide Black Plague.
Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

Thursday, 22 December 2016

4th Edition Flames of War is Coming!!!

This week has been a big treat for anyone that follows Wargames on the Web. A lot of exciting stuff has been announced this week. The two main highlights for me include Battlefront Announcing a 4th Edition for Flames of War (World War 2) and Rogue Stars finally being available for purchase at the retail level. Rogue Stars, I reviewed recently, so I will take a look closer at Flames of War today.

Logo for the New Flames of War Edition. Image from the Flames of War Website
Now Flames of War is a game that I have loved since the start of Third Edition. To be honest, I actually bought in during Second Edition but never played until Third Edition. Lately I have been playing a lot more Bolt Action because I find it simpler and I have really been enjoying myself in that game. I really like fact that Battlefront is going to streamline and slim-down the rules in Flames of War. What exactly that will mean I do not know yet. It is based off of Team Yankee, but that is a game that I never really followed so this will be all new to me.

There is an interesting article over on the Battlefront site called "The New Flames of War in Ten Quick Points" that may be of interest to my readers. I find it interesting that they are starting with Mid-War. Mid-War really captures my imagination and I have always wanted to do a Desert Rats Army with LRDG Trucks and Jeeps. Maybe this will give me that motivation.

I also wonder if Battlefront will do a new starter set for this game and what that would include. The Open Fire starter set for Third Edition was an absolutely fantastic buy and I will still recommend that to anyone interested in Flames of War. I got a full British and a full German army by buying those sets. I think it would be really neat to see a starter box similar to Open Fire aimed at a different period of the war than Late War. Time will tell with what we get. 

My current collection of Flames of War includes two fully painted German Armies and two full (but not yet fully painted) British armies. Of the German Armies, one is a Grenadier Army that I could use for Early War right up to Late War and the other is a Schwere Panzerjager Company good for Late War. My British might be usable for Mid-War Italy as a Sherman Company, but they are really focused on Late War. I have a Rifle Company with RAM Kangaroo Transports and a Full Sherman Company too. 

Personally, I think I would really enjoy revisiting Flames of War. The new Edition should be coming out in March. In the meantime, look forward to more unit Showcases focusing on Flames of War appearing on this site.

As a quick reminder, Osprey is doing a Contest from now until December 31 (2016) for painted World War 2 Miniatures. If you have a miniature that you have a model that you painted inspired by one of their books, send them a picture for a chance at an absolutely awesome prize pack!!!  

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

Monday, 19 December 2016

Review: Rogue Stars

Now here is a game that I have been eagerly anticipating for a very long time. Osprey Publishing has been kind enough to send me an advance copy of Rogue Stars for the purposes of this review.

Rogue Stars published by Osprey Wargames
The Cover of Rogue Stars.

Rogue Stars is a game where players control a small "crew" of Intergalactic Travelers all working together for adventure and profit. Each crew consists of 4 to 6 figures and there is rules to play this game in either 15 or 28mm. Reading through, it is obvious that it is geared for 28mm, but it is nice that they also offered the option to run the game in 15mm. The game itself is intended for play on a 3' by 3' table.

What this game gives is incredible flexibility in the characters that players can bring to the table. Andrea Sfiligoi crammed a lot of information into this product. The font size in this book is much smaller than most of the other Blue Cover Osprey Wargame books that I have read and there is absolutely no fluff between the pages. In the absence of fluff, there are plenty of rules and options to create an extremely flexible sandbox environment where players can build pretty much whatever character types they can imagine.

Of course, there are some limitations to what one could reasonably build. For example, building a crew of 4 Space Marines (using you know who's models) is not possible simply because Power Armour costs too many points for 4 suits in a standard point game. That said, there would be no issue fitting 1 to 2 Space Marines in a Crew and then using various Imperial Guard miniatures for the rest of the Crew. Ideally, one would want to spend points on non-combat abilities as well as combat abilities because there are 20 different missions set across 20 different environments. Players need to be equipped to handle all scenarios rather than being optimized for straight up combat.

Tallying through the book, there are about 23 pages of rules, 8 pages of scenarios and environments, 20 pages about creating your crew and 1 page about how to string the game along into a campaign. Some of the Internet sites out there billed this game as "Frostgrave in Space" or the "new Necromunda" while building hype, so I was very surprised to see just one page about building campaigns. That said, I am sure that these campaign rules will work well enough and I do like that it uses a points-buy system. One thing that I always hated about Necromunda was that what abilities a gang member gained or what weapons they could find between battles was random. Rogue Stars, on the other hand, truly allows players to design and play whatever characters they can imagine.

The other game that I have played by Andrea Sfiligoi is A Fistful of Kung Fu published by Osprey Games and I have heard a lot about Andrea's Song of Blades and Heroes System. For a while, I was thinking that Rogue Stars might be an adaptation of that system. It is, but it is much-much more complex. Veterans of the other games will recognize strong similarities in that they use the same back-bone of a system, but there are also plenty of differences.

The first change is the dice. This game operates on d20s, not d6s. This game also introduces the idea of Critical Successes (roll a 20) and Critical Failures (roll a 1). Like A Fistful of Kung Fu, activations are rolled against a target number. You can choose up to three dice and for every success, you get an action. For every failure, your opponent gets a reaction. To switch turns of who has the "initiative" the other player can try to "Take the Initiative" when either certain requirements are met or by spending a reaction. When trying to take the initiative, a Leadership roll with modifications is made against a target number. If that number is met or exceed, then the initiative changes.

Rogue Stars published by Osprey Wargames
This game is definitely not A Fistful of Kung Fu (AFoKF). In AFoKF, initiative changed hands after a player failed two or more activation rolls on the same figure. That is not the case in Rogue Stars. Here, the same character could be activated many times before the initiative changes. Changing initiative also requires a more complex roll with modifiers against a target number of 16. Click the image above to see a picture big enough to read. Image posted with permission from Osprey Games

Jumping to combat, combat is done by rolling a modified dice roll versus a target number of 10. This is done for both melee and ranged attacks. If the attack hits, the degree of success determines where on the body the target hits and the targets rolls a die and applies modifiers to determine the result. Yes readers, body parts are target-able and called shots may be made. Want to focus all of your might onto the target's head, you can do that. Likewise, a player can try to cripple their opponent by aiming for the arms or legs. If enough damage is rolled, a limb can even be severed from the body.

If a character goes Out of Action (OOA), every miniature in that crew needs to make a Morale check. If that roll is failed, they take a pin and stress. If they roll a Critical failure, that character has a 50/50 chance to either surrender (dropping all weapons and allowing themselves to be captured by any enemies within 4") or attempt to run off the board. The winner of each game is actually determined by mission objectives and not necessarily who is standing on the table last.

The missions themselves are fairly interesting. There is a total of 20 of them and the idea is that players would randomly determine which mission to play when they come to the table. That way, there is no real min-maxing to best fill a mission. 20 missions gives a lot of variety. Below is an image of one of the missions page. Note how small the text is. This book packs a ton of content into its 64 pages. Missions can vary from getting to an object and completing a special role to killing an enemy's crew. Not only is there a mission table, but there is also a location table and a complications table each with 20 entries. After rolling on the mission table, roll on the Location table to determine where the mission takes place and them roll on the complications table to determine if there are any interesting conditions to consider. Using the fundamental counting principle, these three tables gives us a total of 8,000 different gaming scenarios to play (20*20*20=8,000). To account for all of these possibilities, players need to make a balanced crew with a variety of skills and abilities.

Rogue Stars published by Osprey Wargames
These are just 5 of the 20 possible missions. Look at how small of a font Osprey used. This book is crammed full of information. Click the image above to see a picture big enough to read. Image posted with permission from Osprey Games

Having read through the book, it is in the character creation that this game really seems to shine. At the very start of crew creation, the player must decide what theme to run with. The themes determine which skills, abilities and equipment a character can start with. Themes here include Bounty Hunters, Cultists, Cyborgs, Mercenaries, Merchants, Militias, Miners, Pirates, Psionics, and Star Cops. After a theme is chosen, players may choose one tactical discipline for their crew. There are 19 traits and which ever one is chosen gives all figures (ranked above civilian or green) a buff of some sort.

Using these themes offers so much variety to the gamer in what can be designed.

  • Want to create a group of Jedi? You can do that by taking a Psionics themed crew and equipping them with Force Swords.
  • Is Han Solo more up your alley? Take a Merchant themed crew and perhaps design one Psionics character to represent Luke.
  • How about a Star Trek away team? The tech level in this book is a little lower than that, but you might be able to do something similar to the Federation as Star Cops.
  • Want to use Imperial Guard miniatures? Make them either Star Cops, Mercenaries or Militias. 
  • How about recreating the crew from Firefly, Farscape or Red Dwarf? That can be done with these rules too.
I have already chosen out my first models and I can't wait to get them to the table. One is a group of Space Cultists from a large miniatures company that I plan to use as Pirates and the other is a group of miscellaneous miniatures that I plan to use as a Merchants crew. For those interested, North Star Military Figures has an official line of miniatures for this game. 

Rogue Stars published by Osprey Wargames
A small sampling of the 10 possible factions of which a crew may be comprised. Click the image above to see a picture big enough to read. Image posted with permission from Osprey Games

Once the figures are chosen, character creation is a matter of assigning abilities and equipment to characters. Both cost points and are restricted by the crew's theme. Experience is awarded (XP) through missions and players can upgrade their characters between missions using that XP. New skills and equipment are limited by the player's theme, unless items were found during the adventure and then those items can be equipped by paying the XP (even-though the character would normally not be able to take those options). 

This pretty much completes the overview of the book.

I like what this book offers. It provides the reader with an extremely flexible game system pitting small crews of intergalactic crews against each other. There is no Fluff to get in the way of the rules, but players can easily make their own stories through the play of this game. Although I really enjoyed the read, I do have some criticisms of the book.

The biggest issue that this book may suffer is whether it meets the expectations of the readers. There is certainly an interesting game here, but some of the pre-release Internet Hype has classified this game as "Frostgrave in Space" and a Spiritual Successor to Necromunda. This game is neither of those things. Rogue Stars comes across as much more complex than Frostgrave, and just different in scope and theme to Necromunda. There is an experience system, but it is not two tiered (using experience and gold) like it is in either of the previously mentioned games. While some of the pre-release hype may have missed the mark, the Facebook Fan Page has been doing a good job of presenting leaks and setting expectations.

Another thing that I noticed is that there are a few errors and omissions within the book. With the size of this book, that is bound to happen and Andrea Sfiligoi has been very good about mentioning the mistakes on the The Rogue Stars Facebook Fan Page and I am sure that Osprey will eventually release an errata or FAQ for this game. I would also like to see a quick reference pdf for easy referral to summary rules without flipping through the book.

Conclusion

Below is a quick summary of the good, the bad and my final thoughts on the book.

The Good


  • Rogue Stars delivers an extremely flexible sandbox environment to create whatever Science Fiction Crew players want.
  • The game builds on and modifies the Song of Blades and Heroes system. Players familiar with other games written by Andrea Sfiligoi should be able to learn this game quickly. The games are very different, but the base structure is certainly recognizable. 
  • This game adds an Experience System for use in campaign games.
  • Upgrading equipment and skills and equipment is not random so players can really build and develop the characters that they want. 
  • No Fluff and extremely customizable crews means that players can make the rules fit nearly any universe and background that players wish. 
  • 20 different Missions across 20 different Locations with 20 different Complications gives players up to 8,000 different scenarios to play. 

The Bad


  • Initial expectations set for the product by some of the Internet Hype Builders does not match with the final delivered product. Rogue Stars looks good, but it is not "Frostgrave in Space" or a replacement for Necromunda. The game is much more complex than Frostgrave and much different than Necromunda. 
  • Having terrain and miniatures for up to 8,000 Scenarios (or even just terrain for 20 locations) can seem overwhelming - especially to new Miniature Wargamers. I foresee players either making a lot of make-shift terrain on the fly to fit the scenarios or limiting the scenarios on the die rolls to what they already own.


Summary

For $25 Canadian (11.99 UK Pounds or $19 American), this is a fun book with a lot of value. I love how much flexibility it gives to players in character and "crew" creation. Some of the rumours floating around the web before the game's release were wrong, but there is certainly an interesting product here. What I like the best about the game is that it offers a massive sandbox to build the type of characters that I would like to play in a small crew of 4 to 6 Intergalactic Travelers. Personally, I enjoyed the read and am looking forward to getting it on the table.

Thank you again Osprey Games for sending this book.

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!


Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Review: Miniature Keg and Barrels (28mm) by Six Squared Studios

Today's Review is well overdue and one that I have been excited about doing for a while now. As many of my readers will know, I have interests in many games and like to share that excitement. Today's review piece is of 28mm Barrels and a 28mm Keg by Six Squared Studios.


Terrain Review

I bought these Barrels and Keg some time ago at Broadsword 2. I like them because they could be used in many settings from Fantasy to Modern times. Some people might even feel the urge to use them in a Sci-Fi game.

I planned to paint these items and review them in time for Oktoberfest, but life got in the way and they went on the back-burner for a little while. When I actually got around to painting them, it only took a couple of hours to complete (including drying time). The technique that I used was fairly simple. Prime them black and then dry-brush them up. I used no extra shading or highlighting techniques and I am pretty happy with how they turned out.

The Huge Keg itself looks excellent. This piece sells for $8.99 Canadian ($6.77 USD or 5.34 in British Pounds), and I was give the option of MDF legs or a Resin base with extra scenery to go under the terrain piece. I opted for the MDF legs.

Terrain Review
This is the Huge Keg by Six Squared Studios. I love the detail in the wood and the scratch along the side adds some character to the object as well. This object is scaled for 28mm games.

Terrain Review for Miniature Wargaming
The Rear of the Keg.


The Barrels come in two sizes. The Large Barrels sell for $1.99 Canadian each and the Medium Barrels run $0.99 each. Considering what I have been seeing small terrain pieces like this selling for in my FLGSs, these items are all very competitively priced.

Terrain Review
Large and Medium 28mm Barrels by Six Squared Studios.

Scenery Review
A higher angle of the same Barrels.

The total cost for this collection of Scatter Terrain is $16.93 Canadian. Not bad at all. These items should fit in perfectly with any Modern, Historical or Fantasy based Miniatures Game in 28mm. I could also envision them adding dimension to RPGs such as Dungeons and Dragons and Board Games like Zombicide or Dwarf King's Hold.

So how do these models size up against 28mm miniatures? Let's take a look. Below are a series of size comparison pictures featuring the terrain pieces and miniatures from different companies.

Scenery Review for Miniature Wargames
These are my Space Cultists. Right now they are in the process of being painted up for Rogue Stars as my Space Pirate Crew. Right now, they only have a base coat of paint.

Terrain Reveiw
The Large Barrels are bigger than the figure and block line of site. The Medium Barrels tend to provide roughly half-cover.

Terrain Review
The Huge Keg lives up to its name. It is ginormous versus the 28mm Miniature. 

Terrain review for miniature Wargames
A Sig-Marine in front of the same collection.

Warlord Games figures size comparison to barrels
The Barrels and Keg with a British Officer from Warlord Games nearby. 

Scatter Terrain Review
"How much alcohol did we manage to capture? I'd best take inventory."

Scenery Review - Size Comparison for Frostgrave
To the left is a Pathfinder figure from Reaper Miniatures. To the right is the Necromancer's Apprentice by North Star Military Figures. These are figures from my current Frostgrave Warband.

Scatter Terrain Review for Miniature Wargames
A close up with the Apprentice with a Barrel right beside him.
Overall, I am very happy with these pieces of scenery from Six Squared Studios. For a budget gamer, this items are great. They are affordable, paint up quickly and look great. For those that haven't checked out this company yet, I recommend that you take a look. I personally am really enjoying their products.

To my UK readers that wrote to me after my Sandbags Review about shipping costs, I will admit that I am not knowledgeable about the shipping rates. Because I buy my Six Squared Studios products at local conventions, I save on all of the shipping and handling fees. That said, I feel your pain about shipping charges. I happen to like many products from your side of the ocean and know all about how shipping can add an extra layer of expense to the Hobby. Do check them out though.

I hope that everyone enjoyed this review.

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

Monday, 12 December 2016

Showcase: British C15TA Armoured Truck for Flames of War

Back when I got into Flames of War, I wanted to paint and play a British Army. Unfortunately, the British colours were not available at me FLGSs, so I bought and painted up a German Army instead. As a result, I have many unpainted Flames of War British models.

Recently, my friend Brenden asked me if he could borrow some of my models for use in a tournament. He then added an interesting proviso. He only wanted to borrow items that he could paint himself. The reason for this is so that his whole army would have a uniform look. He wanted to be a competitor for the Best Appearing Army at a big tournament. 

Since I have plenty of unpainted British units, I was more than happy to help Brenden out. I checked my collection and loaned him four C15TA Armoured Trucks and a Common Wealth Rifle Platoon to use. Our arrangement was that Brenden could borrow the units for the tournament season and give them back when he was done. He would get to use my models and not have to purchase new units and I would get some of my models painted by a great painter. Win-Win.

Flames of War Transport Units
A Column of C15TAs returning to their original owner.  :)
Now here is something interesting about the Platoon that Brenden borrowed from me. He actually plays Germans. These British units were to represent Germans wearing enemy disguises similar to a Skorzeny Commando Group. Below are close up shots of the Trucks that came back home to Must Contain Minis. 

This one is my favourite of the bunch. 

Great work all around.

Lots of weathering. For my army, I wanted to use these as transports to a Canadian Pioneer Platoon so this is just perfect.

Check out the guy in the back. There was an issue with the model, so Brenden took the head off and applied blood effects. Guess that guy should have ducked.  :)


Another C15TA Armoured Truck.

Love Brenden's work. He really paints well.

The third truck. It has 6 people in the back.

And the fourth truck. Here, I wanted to show the details on the rear of the vehicle.

Brenden certainly did a great job painting up these miniatures. He was so happy with how he painted the Common Wealth Rifle Platoon that I let him keep those figures. 

One thing that Brenden did mention is that if he had more time for painting, he would have liked to reduce the weathering on the trucks a bit, add some flock and decals. Overall, I think they look pretty good as is though.

I am curious as to whether my readers would like to see more miniatures painted by Brenden. Perhaps I could do a photo-session with the Common Wealth Platoon that he painted. If you are interested in seeing that, please leave a comment below.

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Bolt Action Tournament Battle Report - British vs Americans (2nd Edition) - 1000 Points

Roll a 4, 5 or 6 to hit...

Bolt Action 2
All the numbers are here, except the numbers that would actually hit. 8 LMG shots all needing 4s or better to hit. 

...Yep, that is pretty much how the entire game went.

Now this was my second game in the Bolt Action Tournament Series at Council Fires 2016. This is the same tournament as what I wrote a Battle Report about earlier. We rolled to be on the same table as before, but this time, I was the defender in a different scenario. This time we played Surrounded and my opponent was Jeremy.

My forces were the exact same as in the last game...

  • One First Lieutenant (Veteran)
  • One Forward Observer (Regular)
  • Two 5 man Infantry Squads with 3 SMGs each with Anti-tank Grenades (Veteran) 
  • One 10 man Infantry Squad with 1 SMG and 1 LMG (Veteran)
  • One PIAT Team (Veteran)
  • One Flame Thrower Team (Veteran)
  • Two Universal Carriers as Transports with 2 LMGs Each (Veteran)
  • One Universal Carrier as a Recce Vehicle with 2 LMGs (Veteran)
  • One Sherman III Tank (Veteran) 
My British Tournament Army for Bolt Action.

Jeremy's 1000 Point American Army consisted of...
  • One First Lieutenant 
  • Three fully kitted out Infantry Squads with the maximum amount of men
  • One Sherman
I believe his force was all rated as veterans.

Given the size of Jeremy's units, I figured that this game would be a blood bath for my forces. My key strategy out of the gates was to take out his Sherman to eliminate his anti-tank capability and go from there. For my deployment, I placed a full sized platoon at the base of the building in the middle, an observer on the second level, a five man squad on the third floor and a five man infantry squad just outside of the building in a Universal Carrier. Jeremy's first wave came on as pictured below.

Americans Coming on the Board
Jeremy's forces came on the board pretty close together. I managed to call in an artillery strike where that coin is. Jeremy fretted for a bit, but the marker floated off the table resulting in no bombardment. 
With a nice grouping like that, I called in an artillery strike, but the artillery missed its mark and floated off the table. It would have been a nice hit if the dice were on my side.

At the top of turn two, I brought in a Recce Universal Carrier to flank his side of the table. 

Here, my reader can see the house in the middle where my units deployed. Jeremy is pouring fire into the universal carrier just outside the house but has not landed any damaging hits with the big gun on his tank. On the bottom right, my second Universal Carrier enters the field and fires on that infantry squad in the open with 2 LMGs.

I asked Jeremy why he was keeping the infantry squad behind the tank and not rushing for houses or other cover. He stated it was simply to prevent me from bringing my Sherman in behind his. Well played. The tactic worked.

Having Changed my focus to the other side of the table, Jeremy occupied one of the buildings on the opposite side of the board. I retaliated by bringing on a Universal Carrier and deployed a flame thrower team close to the house. I rolled for four chances to hit the target.
Yep... That was my roll. One hit on four dice when I only needed 2s to hit. The Flame Thrower's target would then execute the team through a hail of bullets.

I laid some covering fire elsewhere looking for 4s or better to hit, but hit nothing. 

Above is an image of how my British forces looked at this point in the game. I brought on my tank, but was not being aggressive with it. Instead, I was hid it from the American Sherman. My Sherman spent its time firing at both of the far buildings in the picture above. Jeremy had infantry in both of those buildings. The tank is aiming at the house on the left now as that is where Jeremy's Command team is hiding.

The building in the middle with the roof off has a ton of British Infantry occupying it and the carrier just outside of the building has a few pins on it from the American Sherman's main-gun fire, but is holding on well.
Jeremy's forces are concentrated on this area of the board at this point in time. One of his full-man squads is now down to 8 guys and 2 pins thanks to my Recce Universal Carrier and he is starting to move his rear forces up the road. Inside the house is his Command Team.
Deciding it was time to do something about that tank, I rush a Carrier up and popped out a PIAT Team. The PIAT misses and the American Infantry make short work of them.

Continuing its focus on the parked carrier by the house, the Sherman finally lands a penetrating hit and destroys the unit. The occupants manage to escape unscathed. 

This is the final image of the game. The command team in the house moved out to make room for a team that is now cut down to seven men. The tank moves forward to take care of my Universal Carrier and my Commander jumps out in the interest of self preservation. My Sherman is still on the board, but has been relatively ineffective. Jeremy would destroy both my Carrier and the Lieutenant this round.
Jeremy walked away as the victor in this game. In this scenario, the win conditions are that one force has to kill two more units than the other side. Jeremy lost no units while I lost 5 (2 Universal Carriers, a Flame Thrower Team, a PIAT Team, and my Lieutenant). Overall, it was a good game, but I think I should have played more aggressively. It is kind of a risky game on my part in that I have just one squad big enough to take on an American squad in a toe-to-toe assault. 

I also encountered the issue that my dice just weren't rolling like they should. I had a lot of really bad rolls through out this tournament series. It is a good thing that I mainly play for fun.

As an interesting side note, Jeremy owns Forbes Hobbies (the store that sponsored this tournament) and also happens to be the very guy that sold me my dice. I wonder if he hexed them before I even bought them.  :)

For those somewhat local to Cambridge (Ontario, Canada), Forbes Hobbies is looking at doing a tournament in late January in their store. Tentatively, the date is set for Saturday, January 28 (2017) and the games are to be with 1000 Point Painted Armies. It would be great to see gamers from the London, Toronto, Hamilton and Niagara areas make it out to this event. Of course, be sure to check with the store before just showing for a tournament.  :)

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!! 

Monday, 5 December 2016

Wreck Age by Hyacinth Games (Initial Thoughts)

In today's post, I want to give a big shout out to Matt Sears of Hyacinth Games for sending a number of Wreck Age PDF downloads. Thank you. For those interested in attaining these rules at a good price, check out DriveThruRPG.

Wreck Age is a game that I have heard about before, but never actually investigated before. The core book itself is fairly hefty. It is 244 pages long and filled with Fluff, a Skirmish Game and an RPG. That is right folks, the guys at Hyacinth Games combined an RPG and Miniatures Skirmish Games into one book.

Cover of Wreck Age. Image from Hyacinth Game's Website


To me, combining an RPG with a Miniatures Skirmish Game into the same book is an excellent concept. I was playing RPGs well before I ever got into miniatures and I can remember plenty of times when I was a young kid trying to convert Rifts and D&D into what would best be considered a miniature skirmish game through pens, paper and imagination. An interesting fact is that RPG Miniatures are also the first miniatures that I ever bought and painted. Now back to Wreck Age. In Wreck Age, players can choose to play with the game as either an RPG or a Miniatures Game and even as a hybrid switching back and forth between the two styles. That, I think is an extremely cool concept. 

There is lots to consider in this game. Several factions are presented in the core book but it looks like just four of them are ready to play right out of the rule book. Characters get skills and perks on top of their attributes and weapons can malfunction. At a quick glance, the rules to both the RPG and especially the Skirmish game appear to be fairly deep.

The world itself is a post apocalyptic world similar to one like one would find in FallOut. Of course, the worlds are fleshed out differently but a lower tech FallOut is the feeling I got as I thumbed through the PDF. One neat image in this book is the map of "Merika," or at least what is left of America for gamers to explore. While this is mostly a map of America, Toronto is on there - which makes me happy as I live close to there.  :)

Lately, the guys at Hyacinth Games have been promoting their new book - Shangri La - which provides a new campaign setting for Wreck Age. As one can tell from the cover, Ports and Ships are a big part of this expansion. This expansion does not provide new rules but instead delivers an interesting campaign setting for players to explore or inhabit. 

Cover of Shangri La. Image from Hyacinth's Website

Both these books were quite enjoyable to thumb through. My readers will know that I am not a Fluff guy, and I found that Fluff is a big part of these books. That said, the Fluff presented here is well written and enjoyable to read. There are many points within that a crafty Narrator could easily flush out into an interesting campaign game.  

Overall, I found these books to be interesting and very fun to look through. Anyone that likes reading Fluff or who is looking to play an engaging game in a Post-Apocalyptic World will likely get enjoyment out of these books. Be forewarned that the game is a deeper level skirmish game than other products on the market and the books are very heavy in text. To many gamers, I could see the above forewarning being a positive thing as there is a lot of meat to this game. But for those that buy games hoping for a lot of artwork, they could be disappointed because there is a lot of text and the quality of artwork is inconsistent throughout the books. Oddly enough, the artwork itself is fantastic in spots, but not nearly as refined on other pages. 

To me, this game is very interesting. It is a deeper game than what I want to get into at this point in time, but I think there is a good product here. The Fluff is great and I could see a lot of people enjoying the books just to read the Fluff. The game itself seems very meaty and I think that it is really cool that it can be played as an RPG or as a Miniatures Game depending on the mood of the group. Although it is not a game that I intend to play at this time, it is a game that I am interested in and might pickup again in the future. 

For those that want to test the waters before buying, there are quick start rules available for free on Hyacinth's website. These rules are also available on DriveThruRPG.

Have you tried Wreck Age? If so, please tell me about your experiences with the system in the comments below.

DriveThruRPG.com

Friday, 2 December 2016

WW2 Painting Competition!!!!

Today, Must Contain Minis wants to bring to its readers' attention being ran by Osprey Publishing. Pretty much anyone into WW2 modelling or gaming will likely be interested in this one. All you have to do is take a picture of a WW2 model or figure that you have painted and tell Osprey which book (and artwork) inspired you to paint it that way. Submit the photo to Osprey and they will select their favourite to win. 

Below is Osprey's post from Facebook about the contest.  


Over the years we’ve heard how much our books and their artwork inspire you to create and paint models and figures, so this month we’d like to invite you to submit a photograph of your best work to our judging panel at Osprey to be in with a chance of winning a selection of new books.

The theme for the month is World War II, so from now until the 31st December select a photo of a model/figure that you have painted that fits the theme, tell us which Osprey book/artwork inspired it, and send it to competition@ospreypublishing.com. Our favourite submission will receive a selection of new releases, pictured below, and will also have their photograph featured across our website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, for the world to admire.

Get snapping, and good luck!

Image taken from Osprey Publishing's Facebook Page.

This should be an easy contest for many of my readers to enter because I am pretty sure that most of us own some Flames of War or Bolt Action figures and models sitting around somewhere. Of course, hobby model kits would also work well for this contest.

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

On The Paint Table - Rogue Stars

With the upcoming release of Rogue Stars I find myself working on miniatures to prep for that game. While North Star Military Figures has the official figures, I decided to work with what I have.

Like any game that I collect, I like to have two forces for the game. Oddly enough, in my celebration post of six months of Blogging, I posed the question of whether I would ever work with the products from one of the bigger companies. Well, tonight I am.

For one side, I will be using GW Chaos Cultists. These models are quite economical as they come in a 5-pack for $12 Canadian. You won't hear me say this much about the big company, but these figures are a good value for the price.

For an opposing force, I will be using a collection of Reaper and RAFM Miniatures. Now some of these figures, my readers will have already seen in my comparison post between GW and Six Squared Studios Bases. Here, all of my GW figures are on the bases that came with them while all of the Reaper and RAFM Miniatures are on bases by Six Squared Studios.

The Reaper and RAFM models will fill a crew as Merchants while the Cultists will represent Space Pirates. Now lets take a look at these models.

Chaos Cultist vs Reaper Marine
A Chaos Cultist beside a Reaper IMEF Marine

Chaos Cultist vs Reaper Marine
A different Chaos Cultist beside the IMEF Marine. Here the Chaos Cultist model seems didn't quite match up so I added some green stuff to cover the problem. 

Chaos Cultist vs RAFM Mechanic
An RAFM McGrover miniature (from the USX Line) beside a Chaos Cultist.

Alternative Miniatures for Rogue Stars
Another look at McGrover. He is a cool model and will make a great model as a "Space Mechanic."

Alternative Miniatures for Rogue Stars
Sparg the Illyrian Agent by Reaper Miniatures. This guy is clearly going to be one of the wheeler and dealers in the Merchant crew. 

Alternative Miniatures for Rogue Stars
A Merchant Crew gets access to one figure with Military Weapons to help protect them. This will by that guy.

Alternative Miniatures for Rogue Stars
An alien pet by Reaper Miniatures if the points allow. 

Alternative Miniatures for Rogue Stars
A Gray Alien by Reaper Minaitures that would make a great Psionic if points allow. 

Alternative Miniatures for Rogue Stars
A second Gray if points allow. This one will likely not have Psionic powers if I take him. 

Alternative Miniatures for Rogue Stars
This figure is Kristina Erickson by RAFM Miniatures in their Air Ship Pirates line. She will make an excellent Captain for my crew.

Alternative Miniatures for Rogue Stars
This figure is a Pathfinder Miniature by Reaper Miniatures, but she might find a place as a Rogue in my Space Crew.

To be honest, I think I have more figures than points will allow, but there is nothing wrong with building a crew with options.  :)

Also on the paint table are the Highland Infantry that I bought from Crucible Crush.

A set of British Highland Infantry with Special Weapons by Pulp Figures. 

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