Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Local Bolt Action Scene

Today's post is a reflection and general discussion of Bolt Action in my Area. Last night I went to my favourite local gaming store in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, and I was really impressed with what I saw.

11 Bolt Action players were at the store. Not bad at all. I do my best to get to this store one to two times a Month to get in a game. In the past, there were usually 2 to 3 players when I got there. On a good night we would have 6 players all there for Bolt Action. Last night, there were 11. That is awesome!!!

Bolt Action British Infantry
Two Brits Scouting it out to see what's going on.
Like many, I use the store as a social venue as well as a hobby and gaming location. The group at Forbes Hobbies is fairly relaxed and laid back. Most of us hung out and chatted rather than diving into a game. To be honest, we have more terrain to build for Bolt Action to enable more simultanious players. No one wanted to play Bolt Action on a 40K table. At the 28mm WW2 tables were 4 young adults / teenagers enjoying the game. It is really encouraging to see younger players getting engaged with Bolt Action. One of them even had tulips on his Sherman. I don't know if the Tulips have rules yet, but they were cool to see.

While they played, us others chatted. One of the big topics was Konflikt '47 and what everyone thought of the concepts regarding the game. This store (Forbes Hobbies) is very well stocked with Konflikt '47 products and I would love to get a chance to try my Bolt Action Brits out against someone's Konflikt '47 army. I don't mind crossing over and trying out the game that way. The German Starter army for Konflikt '47 looks awesome and the Americans look even better. It will be really interesting to see what models are in the Konflikt '47 British and Russian Starter Boxes. One friend, wanting to start a Zombie Horde right away, asked me about sending him a scale comparison between Mantic Games Zombies and Warlord Games Bolt Action Figures. I did a post in response to that Zombie Request last night in case others on the Internet were interested in the same question.

Aside from Konflikt '47, we also chatted about an upcoming event that is extremely exciting. Council Fires 2016 is currently looking for Game Masters to host tables at a Convention in Brantford, Ontario, Canada for October 21 to 22. Council Fires is looking to fill up to 100 tables with games. If you are interested in hosting a table, please get in touch with them. I plan to go for the 22 to attend the Bolt Action Tournament. After the youngsters finished up, Dave and I took a table for a 500 point game while some of the others built terrain for the upcoming tournament.

If you are in the Cambridge, Ontario area, check out Forbes Hobbies. They have a great inventory for both Bolt Action and Konflikt '47. For those closer to London, The Game Chamber also heavily supports Bolt Action. It would great to see the local gaming community keep expanding.

Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

This picture is an Ad taken from RAFM's Facebook Page promoting Council Fires 2016.

Mantic vs Warlord Games - Scale Comparison

A conversation broke out today at my local gaming store about Warlord Games' new product - Konflikt '47. This game has captured the interest of many people, with myself included. For the first time, I got to see some of the products in person.

Konflikt '47 Cover
Cover of Bolt Action: Konflikt '47.
One question that come up during the conversation was how do the figures from Warlord Games scale compared to models by Mantic Games. In particular, a person was wondering whether Mantic Zombies would be compatible with Bolt Action. Below is a quick comparison photo of Zombie models by Mantic Games beside British Infantry by Warlord Games.

Warlord Games Miniatures vs Mantic Games Miniatures - Scale Comparison
Scale Comparison - Left to Right... Mantic Zombie, Warlord Observer, Mantic Zombie, Warlord Commander with a Cross, Mantic Zombie, Warlord Commander, Mantic Ghoul. 
The Mantic figures do appear slightly larger, but the scale is close enough that I would not be bothered using them together in a game.

One of the players was looking into Mantic Zombies because it would be a quick way to add numbers to their Zombie Horde and would give some variation over what they would have if they used just the models by Warlord. It also seems like a viable way to get Zombies into your army without having to buy the German Starter Army (at the time of writing, the Totenkorps are not yet available outside of the army box). There was a question as to whether the helmets and guns would fit on the Mantic Zombies. I did not get a picture, but British helmets fit on the heads of the Zombies perfectly.

Happy gaming everyone!!!

Sunday, 28 August 2016

On the Paint Table

Today I want to show what I have on the paint table. These guys have been on the table for quite some time. I am planning to use some of them for a tournament at Council Fires 2016 this October, so I will have to finish them sooner than later.

On the left are the three tanks from Warlord Games' Bolt Action Tank Wars Starter Set. On the right, we have a British Wolverine. I have just a few more base colours and mud effects to put on them before beginning with shading and highlighting process.  

Shading is done. I just have to highlight these guys and finish the bases. 
I also picked up some stuff from the Broadsword 2 Gaming Convention. Some of the items I am so excited about that I started painting them even though I have not yet finished the above pieces for Bolt Action. The first set of items I purchased from RAFM, but were made by various manufacturers to which I believe the company is somehow connected.

This group of miniatures is made by Pulp Figures and I can't wait to get them on the table! They are British soldiers in Kilts. Now, I realize that the last time the Kilt was worn in battle was during the fall of France, but I will be using these soldiers as Late War Commandos for Bolt Action. They look Awesome!!!  
This creature is a Flesh Golem by Reaper Miniatures. I will be painting him up in a Zombie Blue colour and using him as a Construct or Zombie Troll in Frostgrave. 

These are Pathfinder Goblin Warriors by Reaper Miniatures. I really love their look and wish that I had found (and picked up) some Pathfinder Goblin Pyros too. They will also likely be used for Frostgrave. 

Another Item that I bought from RAFM by Reaper Miniatures is this Frost Wyrm and I will be using him as a Frost Worm for Frostgrave. I placed a Sig-Marine beside the figure to show the scale of the figure. 

Above is a good sized Dragon. I believe he lists as "Narthax" in the Reaper Bones line of Miniatures. You guessed it. He will also be painted up and based fro Frostgrave. I place a Sig-Marine in the mix for the purpose of scale. This dragon is going to be huge!!!
These final pieces on my paint table are some fantastic terrain objects by Six Squared Studios. These guys I have been a big fan of since I first visited their booth at a gaming convention a few years ago. The frugal gamer in me loves them because of their prices. The rest of me loves them because their pieces look great. At Broadsword 2, they were the company that sponsored the game table "How the West Was Eaten" and at Lords of War 2016 (Summer Offensive) they sponsored a Frostgrave table. From them, I bought a number of barrels and a keg that I envision using for a number of games. Look for a review here sometime before Oktoberfest.  :) 

This is a good sized keg with a stand and tap to boot. 

These are their large and medium barrels. I place a Sig-Marine by them for the purpose of scale.
Until next time, happy gaming everyone!

Friday, 26 August 2016

The Bell of Lost Souls Alliance

As of today, I am a member of the Bell of Lost Souls Alliance Game Network. Bell of Lost Souls (BoLS) I know as a news and rumours site for many games (mostly GW). Although I do not currently play any GW games, I do keep my eye on them and have followed the BoLS site for years. I am very happy to be listing in their Alliance feeds.

Listing there means that you will be seeing some of my posts along the bottom of the BoLS webpage. Do you Pay where you Play was my first article that appeared in the Alliance feed on their site and I have already seen a good number of new readers visiting my site from BoLS.


Thursday, 25 August 2016

Do you Pay Where you Play?

Something that I have been thinking about lately is whether people pay where they play. More specifically, I am wondering if those that play at the FLGS buy most of their miniatures from the FLGS. I know many people that do, but I also know a number of people that don't. What is your take on this issue?

Personally, I think that if you are lucky enough to visit a store that lets you play your games in their space that you should buy from them to support them. Maybe that support is a snack and drink, or something bigger like a miniature or Army box - but it should be something. Sometimes, I hear complaints from other customers that the game store sells a can of pop for $1 (they feel that is too much) or that miniatures cost more at the local store than they do online. Personally, I don't mind paying $1 for a drink or paying a little more for my miniatures as long as I know the money is going to a place that I want to support. 

My opinion...
  1. Pay where you play
  2. Buy what you love
I have not always been of this mindset though. I am a frugal gamer and have to push my hobby dollar as far as I can. There are plenty of models that I would love to own but don't because I need the funds for other things - such as everyday living. I have been guilty of buying things from discount retailers to save money. But when you think about it, every dollar spent is like a vote towards something that you like. If a miniatures company gets enough money, they will keep producing what we like. If they fall short the company will have to close up or try producing something different. 

For me, I find that there are three factors that I tend to look at when I plan a purchase. Availability, Speed of Delivery and Price. Usually, I prioritize my local dealers (especially the ones that allow me to game in their stores or local manufacturers) when choosing what to buy (and from whom). Sometimes I find that my local retailers can't get me the products that I want and when that is the case, buying online is a great option. 

As an experiment, I opened a web store for rule books. This Store is accessible through the "page menu" on any device and additionally at the bottom of the page on a computer. If you already have a favourite online retailer or FLGS that you like to support, I encourage that you continue to buy from them. But, if distance, price, or availability are issues - take a look at my web store and see if what is there can help. 

Personally, I found some of the listing titles hard to find in my local market. I have also placed orders from a few local stores only to never have the products arrive. That said, I still do whatever I can to support my favourite FLGSs.  

What do you think? Should FLGS be expected to compete with online retailers over price? How do you spend your hard earned Wargaming money? Please let me know on the comments below or over on Facebook.

Update: The Webstore was a nice to have on the site, but is limited by Country and did not draw in the returns that I hoped for, so I have decided to remove it from this website.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Convention Battle Report - A Fistful of Kung Fu (6 Players)

Gather around my dear readers and I will tell you a tale. A tale of my first true miniatures game that I ran at a Convention. Now, I have run a game of Mansions of Madness at a Convention in the past, but that is not the same as running a "real" Miniatures game. For my this game, I chose to run a game of A Fistful of Kung Fu.

The good guys had to defend the mystical mirror behind a barricade while the Cultists and Deep Ones focused on stealing it for their evil rituals.
I will admit that my table is not as pretty as the others at the convention, but this is my first Miniatures game in public where I supplied all of the terrain and miniatures from my own collection. Regardless, my players liked the set up and were excited to play. 6 people signed up for this game, which filled the entire sign up sheet. How cool is that!?

This is how the table looked when the players arrived. Nice and organized with the paired opponent gangs directly across from each other. For deployment, we went piece by piece around the table allowing each player to place one figure at a time.

This is a game that I wrote about in the past, so much of the background and premise is already available in my previous posts. Essentially, there are two sides. The Cultists and Deep Ones must capture an object and remove it from play. The other side consists of law enforcement officers and some "Outlanders." Each side had an additional goal on top of stealing or guarding the central artifact. The Outlanders are there to take revenge on the Tiik Baron and his crew for a previous incident. The SWAT Team was paired against the Deep Ones and had to stop the Deep Ones from destroying two specific buildings on the board. The Cops were paired against the cultists and had to prevent the capture of a Scholar. On top of that, there were the complications of Darkness, a traitor on the Cop's Team and a second civilian that needed to be captured and escorted off the board.

The Cultists were very bold and both their leader and bruiser deployed close to the objective and the nest of the enemy.
After deployment, the table was looking as per above. I am still relatively new to the game. I have read the rules twice and this was the third Fistful of Kung Fu game that I have participated in, so I apologized to the group in case I got any of the rules wrong. That said, the game is pretty easy to understand with the toughest concept likely being the activation and reactions tests. By early to mid game, all the players were understanding the core concepts well.

Most of the players got to engage in battle, but there was one that never made it to the fight. Below is a picture of Mike's group. One of his objectives was to destroy the house beside the black car. For the first round, he fired a rifle at the gas tank of the car (hoping for an explosion to knock down the house) and missed. For another turn, he tried getting into a car to crash it through the building. His guys didn't even get around to turning on the ignition. I think that Mike learned in this game that activating extras on three dice at a time is a good way to lose your turn early. :)

This is how Mike's Deep Ones deployed. They never left this corner of the table.
Now Mike was not the only one rolling bad for activation. One person rolled three ones for his protagonist. For those that don't know the rules to A Fistful Of Kung Fu, three ones on an activation make you lose your turn and allows an opponent's protagonist (gang leader) take up to three actions on a successful reaction test. Protagonists pass the test on twos, so rolling three ones is the worst.

Someone other than Mike rolled these ones. Ones on an activation allow an opponents "boss" to take up to three reactions in response.

Mike was pretty happy that someone other than him performed badly on an activation test.
While Mike's protagonist sat in the corner, the other two on his team pushed their guys to the centre.
Jill Lucas and the Cop leader faced off in the building. Jill more or less ran away from this confrontation and so did the cop (both preferring to engage each other at range),

The SWAT Boss escorted the journalist that he had captured towards his table edge. He would soon pass her off to one of his extras to escort off the board. Goose (the man beside the Boss with a chainsaw) was rushing forwards to the objective to guard it against an upcoming monster. 

This battle had not gone how I expected it. The Tiik Baron clocked in at a competent Combat Value of 6 (Size and Weapon). Goose clocked in at 5 (weapon) but pumped it up to 7 due to invoking. In the first round of combat, Goose cut off one of the Tiik Baron's arms reducing its combat value to 4. He then cut off the Tiik's other arm (reducing it to a combat value 3 and knocked the beast to the ground). Notice that the objective is no longer here, the Tiik tossed it in the river for one of his bruisers to pick up. I figured this would have been more of a fight, but Goose destroyed that over-sized Deep One with ease. To make maters worse for the Tiik, the Bruiser that was swimming up the river to retrieve the objective got knocked out of play by a gun shot wound. 

Things were just as bad for Jill Lucas and her cultists. With Mike still in his corner, the law pressed their advantage and ganged up on poor Jill. One of those two character threw her against the wall (activating a prop attack) and (I believe) she took damage and fell from that prop attack.

Meanwhile... There Mike's guys are in the corner minding their own crazy business. They remind me of the evil creatures in the Movie Gremlins rather than like truly horrifying Deep Ones due to how they performed in this game. Yes, that is a Deep One in the convertible trying to start it up so he can take it for a drive around the board (with the aim of smashing it into the house that they want to destroy). Too bad for their allies that their focus never shifted from destroying one of the houses from their secondary objective. Jill and the Tiik Baron were really taking a beating and could have used some more help.  :)

On the other side of the board we have two cultists and a "Spikeshell Warrior" trying to capture an objective. That objective (a knowledge expert regarding Cthulhu) actually knocked out one of the cultists that was trying to capture him. 

The Vigilante outside had a different idea for how to deal with the cultist and knowledge expert. He primed a grenade from his duffel bag and tossed it into the house. The results were not good for the followers of Cthulhu.
With Jill getting the daylights beat out of her by two protagonists, the Tiik Baron losing two of his arms to Goose, the Leader of the Deep Ones no where near the action and the grenade being tossed into the house, the forces of Cthulhu decided to concede victory to the other side.

Overall, it was a really fun game and I hope that my players enjoyed the experience. I asked for feedback after running the game and came away with a few really good suggestions.

  • Work on a 4' by 4' table rather than a 6' by 4' table to get people in on the action earlier.
  • Cut the number of players down to 4. 6 was too much to manage at this time and we really got lost on who has (or has not) acted each turn and who lost their ability to react.
  • Bring specific markers for effects, used up turns and lost ability for reactions.
  • Measure movement differently to get the figures moving around the table faster (this may have been due to me getting a rule wrong).
  • Allow each player to deploy two or three minis at a time to speed up the initial set up of the game and get to the action earlier.
  • Have more scatter terrain on the table and not such an open middle ground to encourage less shooting and more melee.

Not terrible, but there certainly were better looking tables at the convention. I would like to improve how my table looks, but it wasn't bad for its first time out of the basement.   :) 
One cool thing is that Mike, one of the players at my table, happens to be the man that runs the "Over The Top" gaming convention in Brantford. I went to their Summer Offensive earlier and after this game, he asked if I would be willing to run A Fistful of Kung Fu at his Winter Offensive event in December. As long as I am not busy with other obligations that day, I think I will run it again with the suggested improvements.

As I packed up, I heard one of the guys mention that he really liked trying out the ruleset and now plans to buy the book. At around $20 Canadian, this is a really affordable product that is worth taking a "risk" on. That said, I bought the rules and think that they are a lot of fun and just the right level of complexity for a fun event. I also like that you can use whatever miniatures that you have for the game. Of course, there are the official products by North Star Miniatures, but most of my collection of a suitable nature are minis by either RAFM or Reaper.

Monday, 22 August 2016

How the West Was Eaten!!! Game Report

How the West Was Eaten was a fantastically fun game hosted by the guys from 6 Squared Studios at the Broadsword 2 gaming day. The rules are home brewed and our Game Master for the session was Brad. The premise of the game is that the players are all characters in a wild west town during a Zombie Apocalypse. Each character has their own objective to complete and most make it to the docks in time for evacuation. Many of the town residents have been transformed into Zombies and there was a green light out in the sea growing closer. That green light was Cthulhu, but lets check out how the story unfolded.

Foreshadowing of a coming evil!!
A preview of the game's climax.
My Character was Pastor Eli. His objective was to check on his congregation in the church before heading to the docks. All the players started in the same area and the Pastor immediately asked for some assistance from the group to get to the church. It was pretty much every player for themselves, but one player agreed to help. I got initiative, so I went first. The other player went next, apologized and went in the completely opposite direction to look for supplies from the General Store.

Check out that character board. The guys from 6 Squared etched those themselves and they look great! It is always a ton of fun to play a game with pretty components. 
A long shot of the Board. Players had to get from the bottom left to the Dock at the top left of the table.
Some how, my character ended up way out in front of the group. This is good in someways in that I had make time for a detour to the church that no one else had to follow. It was bad in that I had to deal with some Zombies on my own. Typically I would push them over and run because I had a better chance to push them out of the way than to kill them.

Watch out for Zombies and Cthulhu
I am way out in front of the others here.

Zombies miniatues Game homebrew rules

To escape them, Eli took refuge in a building only to find a foul undead creature with him. Eli shoved that Zombie to the ground and killed it by stomping on his head. 

After defeating that Zombie, Eli bolted across the street to a different house only to have them follow him. 

He jumped out the back windows, cutting my arm in the process and hid in the "Thunder Box." Seems like it would be a good place to hide in the event of a Zombie Attack.

Priest vs Zombies
Zombies everywhere and that is my character being surrounded. 

Priest vs Zombies
There is Eli rushing towards the bridge. At this time, the player that promised to help me get to the church caught up and started blasting away the Zombies with a shotgun. I was very appreciative that he came back for me during my time of need.  :)
Church patrons were summoning Cthulhu
Eli got to the Church to find that his congregation was worshiping Cthulhu. Not a pleasant discovery for any preacher. A zombie in the Church bit Eli before being shot to pieces by a sawed-off double-barreled shotgun. Zombies were trying to get in the front door so Eli jumped out the window to escape. The other players suggested Eli give a blood sacrifice to Cthulhu here, but he did not want to take that path of evil.  

I realize that it looks like my character was the only one in the game. He was not. There were three to four other players. Eli just happened to have his own path the the others did not have to follow. Below are some pictures of the action the other players saw.

Here we have two players being fully over run by Zombies. Somehow, they fought their way out.

Miniatures Game
I wasn't the only one searching rooms to find Zombies. Cool little tokens and grain sacks in this room.

This is an awesome looking jail. The character in there killed the Zombie closest to him and while he searched for an object, he had a critical failure and released the Zombie in the cage.  Too funny!

These two really figured things out. They got on top of the roof and started clearing out Zombies for themselves and the others.

Cthulhu Arrives

Here he comes!

Miniature Zombies vs Cowboys
These two guys got off the roof and fought their way to the docks after fighting through a horde of Zombies..

Cthulhu destructing terrain
Cthulhu destructing terrain and heading to cut us off from the approaching boat. So cool!!!

The Riverboat arrives. Time to escape Cthulhu.
The boat arrived, but it is looking like it might be too late.

The priest makes it to the boat
Eli jumps on along with some of the others.

Reaper Bones mini of Cthulhu
What a good game with fantastic looking models. In the end, he was able to claim one of the player characters as a prize. Not everyone got away.
I believe that in the end, all of the players reached the boat, but one was grasped by Cthulhu and would never be seen again on our way out of the port. There might have been another player that didn't make it on the boat, but I am not 100% sure.

The guys put on a really good game and I like their home brew rules. Brad was telling me that they used an adaptation of these rules once for a star-ship boarding game (which sounds really cool) and he let me know about their current project for their next convention game. I will keep that project under wraps as I don't want to ruin the "wow" factor.

I hope that my readers have enjoyed this game report. Tune in next time when I give a report about the game of A Fistful of Kung Fu that I ran at this same convention.
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