Saturday, 22 July 2017

The Wargame Vault and DriveThruRPG

One of the questions that I get from my readers is how to support this website. The main form of support that I currently receive is from the participation of gaming companies that send products for review. If you have a Miniatures Gaming related business and are interested in helping in that way, please see the details on my Sponsorship Opportunities page.

For others, I am looking into other methods for your help. Patreon is a current favourite, but I want to spend more time researching and planning before jumping into that. For now, I have affiliate relationships with both the Wargame Vault and DriveThruRPG. That means that if you click on one of the links to their sites from Must Contain Minis and make a purchase, Must Contain Minis receives a portion of that transaction.

While my primary focus is on Miniatures Games, my background in Role Playing Games is actually deeper than my experience with Miniatures. I was pleasantly surprised when I contacted DriveThruRPG to find that one of my gaming friends from roughly 13 years ago is now my contact at that company. What a small world!!!

When I played RPGs, I always liked to use miniatures or counters to represent the heroes and foes on the table. In fact, I bought the first edition of Descent (the board game) specifically so I could use the miniatures for a game of Dungeons and Dragons for which I was the Dungeon Master.

I Dungeon Mastered (or Game Mastered) a number of games (and played in even more) and am considering writing about some of my best experiences on this website. Just as I now read Wargame Rulebooks for pleasure, I used to read a ton of RPG books just as a hobby (regardless of whether I actually played the game). Please feel free to let me know if you would be interested in articles of that nature on Must Contain Minis either by email or in the comments section of this page.

To take better advantage of this relationship with DriveThruRPG and the Wargame Vault, I went back and added affiliate links to reviews of products carried by either of those two sites. These reviews include...

Both DriveThruRPG and the Wargame Vault offer thousands of titles and I will post up some of my recommendations from time to time.

DriveThruRPG currently has a Christmas in July sale on the go. Their current best seller is the new Star Trek RPG by Modiphius Entertainment, a company that I have been watching with interest for years.

Hottest New Book
Star Trek Adventures: Core Rulebook
Star Trek Adventures: Core Rulebook

While DriveThruRPG sells a number of Miniatures Game titles (in addition to RPGs), the Wargame Vault specializes in Miniature Wargames. Their current best seller is Basic Impetus 2 by Dadi & Piombo. Admittedly, I do not know much about this game - but it is a game that I have seen people enjoy in the past at conventions.

Hottest New Book
Basic Impetus 2
Basic Impetus 2

Until Next Time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Review: TerraTiles: Tundras And Wastelands by RAINN Studios

In this post, Must Contain Minis reviews the Tundras and Wastelands TerraTiles set by RAINN Studios.

Terrain Tiles for Wargaming
TerraTiles: Tundras and Wastelands boxed set by RAINN Studios.

RAINN Studios sent Must Contain Minis this product for review purposes. For those that don't know, TerraTiles are 9" hexagonal cardboard tiles that can be laid out to form the basis of a gaming table for Role Playing Games and Miniature Games.

The Tundras and Wastelands set comes with tiles to make three different environments. The back of the box shows all the tiles that come in the set.

TerraTiles Review
The back of the box shows all of the tiles that come in the product. 

Some of my readers will recognize these tiles because I have used them in some of my posts. They were featured in two of my Runewars Battle Reports as well on my social media channels. Below are pictures of three table setups and links to any related Battle Reports.

Runewars Battle Report on a Snow Field

Runewars Battle Report in a Wasteland

A quick set up for Rogue Stars before placing scatter terrain

Of the images above, I want to point out the last two. Using the tiles out of the box, I am able to create multiple setups. I can rotate, move and place the tiles however I wish. Being able to alter the tiles on the fly is one of the key advantages TerraTiles has over its competitors. One can create many different table setups using just one box of tiles.

Not only can one re-arrange and alter the setup on the fly, but check out the picture below...

Flipping TerraTiles for a different setup
The tiles are double sided so when I wanted to switch from a snowfield to a wasteland, all I had to do was start flipping tiles and re-arrange them.

The tiles are double sided, so when my opponent and I wanted a different backdrop in Runewars, all we had to do was start flipping over the tiles and re-arrange them to our liking. That is pretty slick. :)

Aside from the tundra and wasteland tiles, this product also comes with ice caverns. The ice cavern tiles are not as plentiful as the other tiles. There are only 20 in the box. That said, the pictures below are a setup that I did as a mock-up for a possible game of Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, or Frostgrave using just 12 of those cavern tiles (along with some tundra tiles).

Underground terrain for RPGs and Frostgrave
A table setup for an RPG or Frostgrave.

TerraTiles Review
A closer look at the end chambers. One is a dead-end and the other a treasure room.

Ice Caverns and Tundras for Dungeons and Dragons and Frostgrave
A closer look at how the cave tiles connect to the tundra tiles. Very nice!

The details on the tiles are very nice. below is a close up of the treasure room.

Nice details in TerraTiles by RAINN Studios
Zoom in on the picture to check out the detail work. They are nice.

While the details are nice, the real fun is when using the tiles with miniatures.

Dungeons and Dragons Tabletop Setups - Terrain
Here two spearmen guard the cave entrance from an Ogre...

Playing Frostgrave or D&D on TerraTiles
So that the party can capture the treasure. 

The tiles look good and work well on their own. If you can, I recommend using 3D scenery in addition to the TerraTiles. That makes them really pop!!!

Runewars on TerraTiles
In the image above, I used some terrain from RAINN Studios' Battle Pack. The table looks quite nice.

A couple of quick final notes that I would like to make about the tiles is that even though they are of a high quality matte finish, my camera caught a little glare at high angles and that RAINN Studios has distribution partners in Canada, the EU and Australia and is based out of the United States. This means that customers from Canada, the EU and Australia can save on the shipping and duty charges. Very nice!


RAINN Studios has put together a very nice and versatile product that I really enjoy. The key advantage this product holds, in my mind, is that it can be re-arranged in whatever way the user wants. This means that customers are not stuck with just one layout. TerraTiles are also very good price-wise compared to their competitors and the tiles themselves are of a very good quality. 

Some of the disadvantages include that the box itself is a little heavy (especially if comparing it to a light fabric mat), there is a small glare at certain angles with a camera, and it takes a little longer to set up than just rolling out a battle mat. Some people also take issue that the product is made out of cardboard. For me, that is a nonissue. The cardboard itself is thick and of a high quality. 

For the glare issue, I found the glare much less of a problem with these tiles than with many of the board games that I photograph. I also did not notice the glare in person.   

I believe that this product is just right for someone that does most of their gaming at home and either doesn't have a lot of scenery or space to store terrain. They would also be right for people that want to be able to custom configure their battlefields on a product that looks really nice.

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

Discloser: RAINN Studios provided Must Contain Minis with a review copy of this product. 

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Review: Blood & Plunder

Blood & Plunder is one of the prettiest games that I have ever played. When I first encountered it at a Convention, I fell in love with the look of the game. After reaching out to the company that makes the game, Firelock Games sent me a Rulebook and Starter Bundle for review. This post is a review of the rulebook.

Review of Blood & Plunder by Firelock Games
The Cover of Blood & Plunder by Firelock Games.

Right off the top, I can tell you that this is a very well presented game and someone took a lot of time to make sure that the rulebook really looks nice. There are lots of pictures, diagrams and well written text in this well laid out book.

In the book itself, there are roughly 22 pages dedicated to a historical overview of the setting, 54 pages dedicated to rules, 30 pages dedicated to creating a force and many other pages giving a basic introduction to miniatures games, providing game scenarios and a much appreciated reference section.

How to play the game has already been well covered by Firelock Games and Beasts of War. For those interested Firelock Games has video tutorials on their website. Because of the presence of these resources, I am going to focus more on my thoughts of the book and game rather than the mechanics of play.

As stated earlier, this book (like the game) is pretty. It has high production values and looks great. I found the historical overview interesting, even though I am the type of guy that likes to skip over "fluff." I actually found myself learning about the history of the Caribbean and thinking "this is neat."

While the book is pretty, I noticed right away that the unit cards featured throughout the book were not available to the public when I first started reading the book. These cards (pictured below) were a part of the original Kickstarter and were not available at the retail level. That said, there is currently a new Kickstarter Campaign that these cards are available through again. Time will tell on whether this becomes an item that they actually stock at the retail level.

Regardless of the situation with the cards, the cards are not actually needed to play the game. Everything needed is in this book (including stats).

Blood & Plunder Book Review
A page that discusses the statistics of units in the game. Those cards were not available on the retail market, but now they are available in the latest Blood & Plunder Kickstarter. 

The rules themselves are not overly complex, which I like. Unit cohesion is achieved by keeping models in a unit within a 4" diameter circle, or in the case of a building or ship, by keeping the unit in the same section. Because of this stipulation, parts of the game feel abstract and a buddy asked if one could use counters for crew on a ship rather than models. To be honest, one could do this, but one could actually do this with pretty much any miniatures game. I once proxied a Pop Can as a Monstrous Creature in a well known Sci-Fi game. It works for a game between friends, but it also severely diminishing the aesthetics of the game. So yes, one could proxy or come up with an abstract solution to count models, but it just wouldn't look as pretty as using the miniatures on the actual ships.

For me, it is the imagery of crews on these beautiful ships that draws me to this game. This book is full of those very images. These images help capture the imagination and make you want to play this game.

The rules of the games are broken down into what can be thought of as three sections, each building on the last. The first section tells players all of the rules that are needed to play land battles. The second section builds on the first and adds basic land structures and artillery. The third section adds the ships. By playing a game at the end of each of these sections, players better learn how to play the game by reinforcing each building step. Of course, I like to jump full-on into the deep end when I learn a game, but I plan to follow the recommendations in the book of playing land battles first, followed by land battles with structures second, and finally by games with the actual ships.

Blood & Plunder Review
Beautiful shots of ships are throughout this book. I really like that they broke the rules up how they did and recommend that you play a game at each stage of the rules to help you learn as you read.

In the rules, ships are considered moving "structures." This means that once you learn how to deal with structures and cannons in land battles, you just have to add rules for movement and ship interactions to know how to use the ships.

Blood & Plunder Review
There are lots of rules for ships, but they are not too complicated,. Above is a page about how grapples work in the context of the game. 

It should be noted that the game is a d10 system and there are five possible scenarios to play in this book. The neat thing about these five scenarios though is that each scenario outlines how it works in a Land Battle, an Amphibious Battle (one force is land based and the other ship based), and a Sea Battle. This breakdown changes the 5 possible scenarios into 15 straight out of the core rulebook. There are also roughly four pages dedicated to giving suggestions to players on how to create their own scenarios and possible optional rules.

200 points is considered a "standard" game. The recommended table size for a standard game is 3' by 3' for land battles and 3' by 4' for battles that involve ships. If a ship might sail off the table, it is recommended that players "scroll" the terrain and ships along the gaming table. Ships are not allowed to leave the map.

Overall, I really liked this book. It is well laid-out, the rules are fairly simple and it is one of the prettiest games that I have ever seen. The game itself is fun and I am happy that I got to try it out at Broadsword 3. I personally am really looking forward to obtaining my second force through the "No Peace Beyond the Lines" Kickstarter and playing this game on my own gaming tables.

The one criticism that I do have of the book is that it features several pages with unit cards that were not available outside of the original Kickstarter. That said, those cards are not necessary to play the game, and they are currently available through the newest Kickstarter.

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

Discloser: Firelock Games provided Must Contain Minis with Blood & Plunder Rulebook for Review Purposes.


Saturday, 15 July 2017

WIP & Showcase of a Sloop by Firelock Games (Blood & Plunder)

In my last post, I used my Sloop from Firelock Games as a backdrop for a scale comparison article of Blood and Plunder Miniatures. In today's post, that Sloop is front and centre as we look at it and some terrain I plan to use for the game.

This Sloop, painted by Jeremy Cada, makes a beautiful centrepiece on my gaming table. 

I am not the best miniatures painter out there and I am not necessarily out to be the best either. When Jeremy Cada of Forbes Hobbies in Cambridge (Ontario, Canada) offered to paint the hull up for me, I jumped at the chance. Check out how beautifully he painted this model!

The hull of the ship looks gorgeous!!!

He even did some nice weathering and patterning to make the decks look well worn and used by sailors. 

On the back of the ship is a nice smooth place that we can place a decal on in the future. Now... what to name the ship?

I was expecting Jeremy to paint just the hull for me. When I went to pick up the model, I found that he also nicely stained the dowels for me.

The Sloop was the smallest of Firelock Games Sailing vessels and it is fairly sizable (the hull is 10.5" long and 4" wide). With just one of the dowels, its height reaches from the bottom of my lighting box to the top. Its mast is actually touching the back drop. There is also a small dowel that attaches to the top of the mast to form a flag pole. 

Now, I still have to complete the rigging and paint up the cannons, but I am very happy with how well the hull of this ship came back. It is superb!!!

Excited by a stunningly beautiful model, I went to my table and started testing out layouts for the game. These layouts are basically proof-of-concepts to me. If it looks good, I know I am proceeding in the right direction.

Another angle of the image from the top of the article. Here we have a Blood & Plunder Sloop on the TerraTiles: Coasts and Rivers Set (by RAINN Studios) along with some 15th century buildings by XOLK. I have the beginnings of a really nice gaming table here. 
The same set up from a top down angle. This is going to look good when I get everything together!!!

What a fantastic looking ship. It already looks awesome and I haven't got the rigging or sails on it yet!

Special thanks goes out to Jeremy Cada for painting this ship and to Firelock Games for sending me the ship in the first place.

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

Discloser: Firelock Games Provided Must Contain Minis with the sloop for Review Purposes. Jeremy Cada of Forbes Hobbies painted the hull for me because he likes the model, but he is also a commission painter.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Blood & Plunder Scale Comparison

As the Kickstarter for Blood & Plunder: No Peace Beyond the Line continues, I noticed a question pop up on the forums and in the dedicated Facebook Group a few times. That question is... "how do Blood & Plunder miniatures scale up to other companies?" Reaper Miniatures seems to be the company mentioned the most. In this quick post, I answer that very question.

Blood & Plunder Miniature Scale Comparion - Firelock Games, to North Star (Frostgrave), to Reaper Miniatures
Above, we have a line up of guys from various games and manufacturers. From Left to Right... A Reaper Bones Pirate, A Blood & Plunder French Marin, A North Star Apprentice Necromancer, A Pathfinder Reaper Miniature, A Blood & Plunder French Captain, A North Star Frostgrave Cultist.

The Miniatures are close enough that they can fit in with either North Star or Reaper figures. Their proportions are a slimmer than the 32mm Reaper Miniatures and taller than the 28mm North Star Military Figures. The ship in the background was painted by Jeremy Cada of Forbes Hobbies (my favourite FLGS in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada).

For the next picture, I pulled out some other figures. The Reaper Barbarians surprised me. I expected them to be much larger than the Miniatures by Firelock Games. Instead, they are right in line with them scale wise and match up well. I also added a mini from Conan for comparison purposes.

Scale Comparison of Miniatures - Blood and Plunder Pirates to Conan, North Star and Reaper
From Left to Right... A Blood & Plunder Boucanier, A Bowman from Conan: the Board Game, A North Star Barbarian, A Blood & Plunder French Marin, A Reaper Barbarian, A Blood & Plunder Captain, A Reaper Miniatures Female Barbarian. 

I wanted to use this photo to show off some of the detail in Firelock's Sloop. That ship looks fabulous when painted. I still have to add the flaps for the canons and the rigging, but this is one of the prettiest games I have ever seen!

To make the models at the same height for comparison purposes, I placed extra bases under each miniatures until their feet were at roughly the same height.

Below is an even better scale comparison photo.

An even better scale comparison photo. We have the same models in this photo as the image above, but in the opposite direction. Left to Right... A Reaper Miniatures Female Barbarian, A Blood & Plunder Captain, A Reaper Barbarian, A Blood & Plunder French Marin, A North Star Barbarian, A Bowman from Conan: the Board Game, A Blood & Plunder Boucanier.

Be sure to click on the pictures above to zoom in on the models to get a good look at them.

While the Blood and Plunder miniatures' size and style is certainly discernible from the other models, I was surprised with how well they fit in with both Reaper Miniatures and North Star Military Figures. That said, it is my opinion that they line up best to the Reaper and Conan Miniatures.

It will be a little while before I get my French painted. Once they are done, it is my plan to proxy in Conan Miniatures as Spanish Militia until my Kickstarter pledge arrives.

Speaking of Pledges, Firelock Games is in the final 5 days of  their Kickstarter Campaign. I made a pledge myself for this game and I would like to see everyone unlock some more stretch goals before the end of the campaign. Take a look and make a pledge if you can. If I had the money, I would love to get the Fluyt with a Dutch Starter Set. Instead, I will be getting a starter set with the Piragua and some Conoas.

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Review: Runewars

In the last days of March, Asmodee sent me a copy of Runewars: The Miniatures Game by Fantasy Flight Games. Originally I had planned to do an unboxing article, but many people also got Runewars at Adepticon so instead, I decided to take my time with this game.

Review of Runewars by Fantasy Flight Games
A game of Runewars in Action.

This review focuses only on my thoughts of the game. It does not go deeply into the mechanics of the game or how to play. It does go into what I consider good and bad about the game.

For those that do not know about Runewars: The Miniatures Game, it is a fantasy miniatures combat game that uses mechanics similar to X-Wing and Star Wars Armada. The game itself is very good, and players familiar with the concepts in either of the above two games should be able to grasp this one fairly fast.

The miniatures in this game are okay. Plenty of other companies make nicer figures. As far as putting them together, most of these miniatures are two to three pieces. Earlier, I did two scale comparison articles about the game that you can check out with the links below.

Scale Comparison of Miniatures in Runewars
Scale Comparison Article for the Daqan
Scale Comparison of the Waiqar
Scale Comparison Article for the Waiqar

While it would be quite easy to take the miniatures from this game and use them in other games (such as Dungeons and Dragons), it would take some work to proxy models from other games into Runewars simply because of the way the bases snap into their movement trays.

Game play wise, Runewars is great - but not the type of game that will satisfy all gamers. It's more complex than X-Wing but less complex than many other games on the market. It actually has the feel of a board game crossing over into a miniatures game. The reason it feels like a board game is because it has tons of tokens, dials, and templates. In fact, this game has 9 movement templates and a "Command Tool" gadget for every unit on the table.

Dials and Templates for Runewars
There are 9 possible movement templates to use and every unit on the table has a "Command Tool" (Dual Dial Set). 

The core box comes with four pieces of 2D terrain. Honestly, I think this game works better with 2D terrain than 3D terrain simply because of its reliance on movement templates.

There are also three books in this boxed set. The books are titled "Learn to Play," "Rules Reference," and "Lore Guide." The "Lore Guide," I looked through but did not read thoroughly. I am not a huge fan of fluff and I am already familiar with Fantasy Flight Games' Runewars universe through their other games. The artwork in that book is fairly nice. The "Learn to Play" book is geared to beginners and very easy to use. The actual quick start rules are just 14 pages long with lots of images. The "Rules Reference" book is also quite useful. I found myself flipping through a few times while playing for more advanced rules. The Reference book is 22 pages long and well indexed.

The rules I found very easy to grasp and I think anyone already familiar with X-Wing, Star Wars: Armada, or Descent should be up and running in this game without much difficulty. A lot of the concepts and terminology in this game comes from those games.

For those that want a flavour of how the game plays, below are two links to Runewars Battle Reports.

I found both armies in the starter box to be fairly well balanced. Without upgrades, the Core Box comes with 96 points of Waiqar (undead) and 99 points of Daqan (humans). With upgrade cards, it is easy to carry a side up to 110 to 120 points. 200 points is considered to be a standard game in Runewars. This means that you and a buddy will each have a complete army if you split two starter boxes of Runewars. That means that a total of $200 can get two players each a complete army. That isn't too bad of a price point for a miniatures game, but most people will not stop at just two starter boxes.

Each unit has an expansion box that comes with different unit cards (adding to what is already in the core set). This gives an advantage to someone that expands by buying small unit boxes instead of two cores. Meaning that the starter box is just that, a start (or introduction) to the Runewars: Miniatures Game. If you want to be a competitive player, be prepared to buy individual units.

The Review

At Must Contain Minis, we don't assign scores in our reviews. This absence in scores is in recognition that what one person likes, another may very well not. I would not be surprised at all if some of the aspects that I listed in my "Good" list would actually go in the "Bad" list for someone else. Likewise, what I dislike might be enjoyed by someone else. I hope that you will be able to look at my summary and make up your minds about the game on your own.

The Good

  • The game itself is fun. It is like they took all the best parts of Star Wars: Armada, X-Wing and Descent and mixed them into a fun game. 
  • Compared to other miniatures games, Runewars is fairly simple. This makes the game more teachable and perhaps targeted towards a larger audience. 
  • The game feels like a hybrid between a board game and a miniatures game. People in both sides of those hobbies should be able to relate to it and pick up the rules fast.
  • There are rules for flanking a unit. For some players this is an important factor.
  • I like the Command Dials System. I love that you can change the speed at which your unit acts in a round by choosing a different action.
  • The models are nice.  

The Bad

  • The sales model for Runewars look to be going the same route as X-Wing. Special cards comes with each expansion, giving you incentive to buy everything if you want to be a competitive player. 
  • The expansions seem expensive compared to their competition (unless GW is the only competitor of theirs that you know). A 8-miniature box runs about $25 American. Building a big rank-and-file army at that price could get expensive fast.  
  • There are only so many options players can take each turn. Players could memorize their opponents' dials, giving themselves a huge advantage in play. 
  • People who like deeper games and military simulations will be turned off from this game.
  • People that don't like fiddly bits will not like this game. 

My Verdict 

Runewars is a game that I like very much, but falls into the "not right for me" category. The reason for this is not game play, but rather because it is a larger scale than I am after. At this point in my life, I am very happy playing Skirmish and low model count games. Anything 6 to 50 models a side seems to be my sweet spot. The army that I would want for Runewars would contain roughly 80 models at 200 points.

It would cost me just over $200 American to get to that point level (on top of the starter box). I am the type of person that would want to collect an equal sized force for the other side in case I ever met someone that wanted to try the game but owned no army. That would put my cash outlay to get fully into Runewars up to about $400 American for two 200 point armies. One could start with a cheaper option by buying a second starter set. That would give two 200 point armies for roughly $100 American over the first core box set.

Now lets be honest, $100 to $300 over the cost of a starter box is not terrible for a miniatures game army. It is fairly reasonable depending on what you are comparing the cost. That said, I would rather use that money to buy into, and test out, a few other rulesets.

The sales model for the game also makes me a little leery. The model looks similar to X-Wing and my forces in X-Wing are not competitive because I did not keep up with buying every miniature to get the best cards.

As far as game play is concerned, I like Runewars. It is a nice system that is fun to play and easy to teach. It is fiddly and I wonder at times if it is gimmicky with the dials, but it is effective and enjoyable. If you are an X-Wing fan, I think this would be a fair fantasy based replacement for that game. It is a little more complex with plenty of similar mechanics.

It will be very interesting to see where Runewars goes as new units are released.

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

Discloser: Asmodee provided Must Contain Minis with an Copy of Runewars for Review Purposes.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

TerraScapes: Caves & Grottos Kickstarter

Recently I was surfing on the web and came across a Kickstarter by David Higgins that caught my eye. Check out this image! The items being Kickstarted are those interesting rock formations.

Above is a TerraTile Set in use with the TerraScapes: Caves & Grottos set. Simply stunning. Imagine using these for Blood & Plunder or the upcoming game Frostgrave Ghost Archipelago by Osprey Publishing. Stunning!!! 

It is this image that grabbed my attention for the Kickstarter. It is gorgeous. While the TerraScapes scenic items are not connected to TerraTiles, they look great together. In fact, the two products are made by different companies despite the "Terra" prefix. David Higgins, the creator of TerraScapes, is of MiniGrinder Studio while the TerraTiles are produced by RAINN Studios.

The two products do share something else in common besides looking great together. Both are double-sided. If you don't want to use what is on one side of the piece, flip it over and the opposite side is also completely usable on the table.

Above are the TerraScape pieces. 

Flip the pieces over and the product is completely usable with different terrain features and details on the other side.

Being double sided is a cool concept and gives extra life to the product.

Above is an image of the TerraScapes: Caves and Grottos set on its own. Pretty neat.

The TerraScape pieces can be bought either in grey or pre-painted. Be sure to check out the Kickstarter if you are interested.  

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

Monday, 10 July 2017

Flint and Feather by Crucible Crush

One of the mandates of Must Contain Minis is to introduce its readers to games out on the market. Today's post is exactly that. Today, we will be taking a brief look at a game called Flint and Feather by Crucible Crush.

All of the images in this post are from Crucible Crush's Facebook Page, Blog, Kickstarter Page and Website. These images are used with their permission.

Native Americans for the Wargame Flint and Feather
The miniatures in this game are simply astounding. Bob Murch did a fantastic job sculpting these models.
The game itself is about Native North America conflicts around the Great Lakes before the arrival of settlers. Some of the history this game is set in was actually taught to me in grade-school as I live in the Great Lakes region. Warbands typically consist of 6 to 12 models and the models for this game are beautiful.

Check out these images of the two warband nations from their website.

Miniature Huron Warriors
These miniatures were sculpted by Bob Murch of Pulp Figures and sold by Crucible Crush.

Miniature Iroquois Warriors
All of the figures look great. 

The Beta test rules themselves are currently available on Crucible Crush's Website in a PDF format along with a painting guide and historical reference sheet. Final rules for the game should be published soon.

Flint and Feather by Crucible Crush
The rules on display on their officially licenced Cigar Box Battle mat 

Displaying Minaitures at a Convention
Another display for Flint and Feather, this time at a convention earlier in the game's development. 

If you zoom in on the rules display picture on the gaming mat, you may have noticed that the authors of this rulebook are Howard Whitehouse and Roderick Robertson. That is the same pair that wrote Mad Dogs with Guns and while I browsed Flint and Feather's Beta rules, I recognized some of the mechanics from the other book. That said, there are also a number of changes that I am not going to get into in this post.

Personally, I even gave Flint and Feather a try back in 2015 and enjoyed the game play experience. Now, the game that I participated in was a playtest of the ruleset, so the rules will not be exactly the same as when I tried the game. One neat concept in the game that appears to still be there is that players assign "moves" to warriors with their weapons and what "moves" are used will influence the combat die rolls. This is kind of a neat thing to do in a Skirmish level game.

If you want to read more about the game that I participated in, check out Flint and Feather's Blog.

The game itself looks pretty with really nice miniatures. They even have canoes that you can buy and use in some of the missions. How cool is that?

I would love to play on that table. Gorgeous!!!
A couple of canoers get ambushed by archers on shore. Paddle Faster!!!

Crucible Crush is now working on their second wave of items from the Kickstarter. The items include a beautiful Cigar Box Battle Mat, more miniatures, markers and cards.

Above is the Flint and Feather Officially Licensed Cigar Box Battle Mat. It looks beautiful. If you want to know more about my thoughts on Cigar Box Battle Mats, check out my Review. The short of that review is that they are awesome.  :)

Check out this Warrior in Wooden Armour!!! This is one of the miniature units still in the works. He is very Cool!!

The full rulebook itself is still in the works and still in the editing process. For now, the Beta rules are available on the website. I am looking forward to this book's release.

Finally, the guys from Crucible Crush will be sharing a booth with Pulp Figures at Historicon this week. If you make it to that convention, be sure to look the guys up and chat to them about their game.

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

Friday, 7 July 2017

Interview with Mike Tunez of Firelock Games (Blood & Plunder)

We at Must Contain Minis have been watching Firelock Game's Blood and Plunder Kickstarter (No Peace Beyond the Line) with a great deal of interest. In fact, I just made my Captain level pledge and look forward to owning the new goodies next year when the rewards are mailed out.

Blood & Plunder

Recently, Mike Tunez (the creator of Blood & Plunder) was kind enough to grant an interview with Must Contain Minis. Below are the questions and answers from that interview.

The Interview

I love that Blood & Plunder is a historical based game, but can you tell us why you decided to go the route of History rather than Fantasy?
The primary reason is that the reality is truly stranger than fiction in this case and we found the history of it fascinating! I'm personally amazed it doesn't get more attention.
The Blood and Plunder Rulebook had a number of pages dedicated to outlining the history of the game’s setting. Can we expect the same from “No Peace Beyond the Line?” If so, how will it expand on what is already in the core book?
Definitely! Expect a lot more historical figures and factions to make an appearance and their stories along with them. It will also feature an expanded timeline. 
The Kickstarter Rewards so far are all very exciting in the “No Peace Beyond the Line” campaign. My favourites so far are the Canoa and Civilians. Can you give us any teases of what else we might be able to expect as the campaign goes forward?
I don’t want to give away too much, but I will say there are some new dice I’m excited about!
How many models might the Canoa hold?
It will hold at least 8. It's still a work in progress though so that number can change.
Any chance to get some sneak peaks on the stats of the new ships or units?
Everything is still being tested so it’s all subject to change but I’ll share one from each category: Enter Ploeg (Dutch Boarding Party) - 6 Points, Veterans. Armed with Braces of Pistols, Standard Melee Weapons and 1 out of 4 may have a Blunderbuss sidearm and Explosives. Fight 5/6, Shoot 7/6, Resolve 4. Special rules include Expert Sailors, Expert Artillery Crew and Battle Hardened. Piragua - 7 points, Top Speed 5”, Windward -3”, Turn 5”, Draft -, Size 1. Fortitude 3, Integrity 4. Sail Settings 5/2/0/A. Can carry 4 swivels. Traits include Sweeps: 4 and Low Profile.
Some of the Veteran players that I talked to are worried that this game might see some power creep in the new book versus the last book. Is this an issue that people should worry about? How do the Dutch and Natives balance versus the existing Nations?
Power creep is something I’ve seen do a lot of damage to games that I have been fond of. So it’s definitely on my mind as I go about designing units. We still have months of testing ahead of us but we are getting a very significant number of play test games in to look for this very thing. So far our points formula is holding up nicely. I am confident that power creep will not be an issue with the new units and factions we are developing for this expansion. 
What sort of Additions can players expect to see for Land Battles in this book?
New events that are geared specifically for land battles and specific location types. Cavalry, European regulars and field guns will definitely give land forces more flavor and options. Larger battle rules will add a new dimension to both land and sea battles as well. 
Can you give any teasers about the Campaign system and what to expect there?
Not a lot I can share on this right now, but I will say that any type of force, with or without a ship, can participate. There may end up being two different campaign types in the book as well...
I noticed in the core book that there are rules for pikes, but no units have pikes yet. Might you be releasing some pike units in the future?
Militia pikemen for all European nationalities will be present in the book. They will mostly be support units as they were rare, if present on the field at all, in most militias. They will be armed with lances by default as those where more common but will have the option to exchange those for true pikes.
Are there any painting guides out there for Blood and Plunder or suggestions on how to choose historically correct colours for the units?
This is something we have been trying to get off the ground and will hopefully see the light of day soon! For now I can say that the painted minis we feature are your best guide.
In particular, I notice that the French Flibustiers on Firelock Games’ Website (and in the rulebook) are mostly clothed in blue and red uniforms. Would it be incorrect to paint them with a different colour scheme? Are there any suggested alternative colour schemes that would also be historically accurate?
Uniforms is definitely the wrong term for these guys! Those would have been popular choice, but you can’t really go too wrong painting any model in our range whatever color you want. You may want to avoid rare colors for the period such as pink, purple or orange though.
Can players that missed the First Campaign pick up existing Blood and Plunder products at a discount over retail prices through this Kickstarter?
Yes they can! Those items will ship along with the regular rewards.
I would like to thank you again for your time. We are really enjoying your Kickstarter and can’t wait to see what else is in store for this beautiful game.

Closing Thoughts

Above are some fairly interesting tidbits about No Peace Beyond the Line. I especially like that Mike gave out some potential statistics for the game. I was wondering how the Piragua, Canoa and Dutch all lined up into the game.

Having conducted this interview, I think I might be switching the nationality of the figures in my pledge and going forward with picking up a Piragua and Canoa. Hopefully the guys at Firelock Games don't mind me saying, but when I make purchases, I like to ask myself what other games can I also use those figures with. I already have plans of using the Piragua and Canoas for Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago and Flint and Feather.

Of course, all of these items will also be used to play Blood & Plunder when I receive my pledge. I think it is going to be a lot of fun running a couple of Canoas and a Piragua against a Sloop to see which side would win. I am also looking forward to seeing the expanded land rules and new units in the game.

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

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