Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Shout Out to Cigar Box Battle - Thanks for the Mats!!!

Cigar Box Battle produces fantastic battle mats for Miniature Wargaming. They were the first to answer my call for terrain and I couldn't be happier. After some emails back and forth, they gave the choice of any two mats for them to send to me for review. They have so many great mats, I honestly spent three hours debating which mats would be best utilized with my collection.

In the end, I chose the Frozen Ruins Mat and the Europe 1 Mat both in the 4' by 6' Plus format. Being 4' by 6' Plus, they drape over a 4 by 6 table.

This is Cigar Box Battle's Frozen Ruins Mat. 

This is Cigar Box Battle's Europe 1 Mat in 28mm. The difference between the 28mm and 15mm versions of this mat is the width of the roads. I am sure that 15mm or 28mm could easily be played on this mat and that is part of the reason I asked them to scale it to 28mm.

To get these mats out on the table for the first time, I took them to a Friendly Local Gaming Store. This time, I went to Phoenix Games and Hobbies in Kitchener (Ontario, Canada). On Sunday mornings there is a Historical Wargaming Group that rents the space. I knew that they would appreciate being the first to use these awesome gaming mats. On the Ruins table, we had a Home-Brew Korean Air Battle taking place between MiGs and American Jets. On the Europe 1 Mat, a group played out an American Civil War game of Longstreet. Sample pictures are up on my Twitter Page if you can't wait for the review.  ;) 
Going in, I knew that I would like these mats. I have seen them for sale at local conventions and came close to buying one at Council Fires 2016. I also had the pleasure of playing Charlie Company on a Cigar Box Battle San Juan Hill Mat. The game master at that table was really happy with his and that made me want one of my own.

These mats are made of double sided fleece. My first impressions are extremely positive. They are soft and look great on the table. They are easy to transport too, as they are light weight and can be folded up and placed in a bag or backpack. Although these mats are on the pricier side of things, they fall into the same category as 4Ground buildings. If you can afford it, the mats are a great purchase. Right now, they run $69 American each but international shipping is expensive.

Cigar Box Battle has a good selection of Mats. There are so many options, and I want so many of them. I really liked the Europe 2 Mat (more so than Europe 1), but chose the Europe 1 Mat because I feel it has more gaming flexibility. I also debated over choosing the Mixed Ground Mat and Medieval City Mat. I also wanted to get one of the smaller (3' by 3') battle mats, but decided on the 4' by 6' for better flexibility. One mat that they have that I think is fantastic for bloggers and photographers like me is the Bright Blue Sky Mat. That mat can be used as a backdrop for photographs or as a table surface for air battles.

Later on, I will post a fuller review about the mats with plenty of pictures. I have lots of eye candy of the games that were played on them this weekend and plan to get pictures of Bolt Action and perhaps Frostgrave on them too.

To end, I would like to give my readers a warning. If you get one of these mats, beware of your family members! My wife thought these blankets would look cool on a bed but knows it is for the gaming table instead. Someone else, was not so lucky. One friend told me a story of a man who lost his Cigar Box Battle Mat to his wife because she uses it as a blanket to wrap herself in while watching movies.

Thanks again goes out to Cigar Box Battle for sending me these review products.

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!


Monday, 30 January 2017

Showcase: GW Chaos Cultists

This showcase shows up my painted up Chaos Cultists. At $12 Canadian for a box of 5, these guys are a fantastic deal. Although I do not currently play GW games, these guys found a home in my collection based on the fact that I like them and that they are extremely affordable.

Proxy Space Pirates for Rogue Stars
These are the Miniatures that come in GW's 40K Chaos Cultists boxed set for just $12 Canadian.

Proxy Space Pirates for Rogue Stars
Lots of nice little details in this mini. 
Proxy Space Pirates for Rogue Stars
I am not sure why he has a horn on his back. Regardless, it is a nice looking model.
Proxy Space Pirates for Rogue Stars
This was a fun mini to paint up. I like his mask and club.

Proxy Space Pirates for Rogue Stars
There are a couple of small painting mistakes on the back where I got some of the grey dry-brushing on the wrong spot, but not too bad overall.
Proxy Space Pirates for Rogue Stars
This mini has some nice motion to it. The fingers and gun details really picked up well through some simple highlighting.

Proxy Space Pirates for Rogue Stars
Check out how well those fingers turned out. Not bad at all.  :)
Proxy Space Pirates for Rogue Stars
This is my favourite model of the batch. I love the wrapped rope around his arm with the morning star ball attached. The dog tags are pretty cool too.
Proxy Space Pirates for Rogue Stars
The hair I did as black with a dry brushing of white.
Proxy Space Pirates for Rogue Stars
This mini has a cool helmet with lots of mechanical stuff attached to him. Perhaps he has cybernetic enhancements.

Proxy Space Pirates for Rogue Stars
I am not sure what the back pack is for, but it will likely represent a Quantum Harness in Rogue Stars.

These models by GW are certainly a great deal at $12 for 5 of them. They look fairly decent despite me not being the best quality painter in the world and are certainly good enough for a tabletop quality.

My use for these models will be as a Pirate Gang for Rogue Stars. One of the nice things about Rogue Stars is that one can use whatever models they want to play the game.

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Conan Battle Report - In the Clutches of the Picts

This past week, I took my copy of Conan to my favourite "Friendly Local Gaming Store"(Forbes Hobbies in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada) and ran a demo game. What an awesome time I had! Thanks goes out to Asmodee for sending me this copy of Conan.

Title Slate for a Conan After Action Report (AAR)
Check out the table that Forbes Hobbies let me run the Conan demo on. Simply Beautiful. 

When I set the game up, it was well received and several people expressed interest. The store was packed and there was a Magic Tournament in the back with many players present. It was a little harder to find people to play (than to just look at the game) because everyone was busy with the tournament or just coming for a quick visit. Many of the interested people did not have the 90 minutes to try out the new board game. That said, Tyler answered the call fairly quickly.

After a few minutes with just one person volunteering, I decided to proceed with just Tyler and myself. This situation immediately tested one of my concerns about the game. That concern is that all of the scenarios are for a designated number of players. The one that I set up to demo, "In the Clutches of the Picts," is intended for 4 to 5 players. I only had two. Of the nine missions in the book, only one is meant for two players - and that was not the scenario that I set up. To solve this issue, I allowed Tyler to control all three characters. The game worked out great this way!

Beginners Scenario
A look at the deployment of models at the start of "In the Clutches of the Picts." The Heroes enter from three separate areas around the village. Those markers beside the heroes indicate that they are also spawning points for new enemies.

Above is how the table was set up. In this scenario, the players win if they kill the leader of the village (Zogar Sag) and take his head. They also have to rescue a Governor's daughter and escort her out of the village. That daughter is located in a hut as secretly selected by the Overlord (played by me). The Heroes enter the village separated on three corners of the map. They lose if they do not complete the objectives by the end of round 8.

There are Picts, Hyenas and even a Giant Snake in the huts. Having traveled for a little while to get to the village, the Heroes start with some of their energy depleted. To start, Tyler decides to activate Shevatas. One of the beauties of this game is that the players can activate their heroes in whatever order they want until they deplete their Crystals.

Must Contain Minis plays Conan - Battle Report
On the far side of the table is Shevatas. This is the character that Tyler decided to activate first.

Playing Conan's Friend
Shevatas' Player Card.

After Action Report for Conan by Monolith Games
Shevatas is the only player that starts aggressively. He enters this hut, kills the two Hyenas, takes the treasure in the room (Chainmail Armour), and dons the armour. This exhausts plenty of  energy Crystals so he will rest up a couple of turns before he gets back into the action.

An excellent roll by Tyler to start the game off well.


Conan Board Game by Monolith distributed by Asmodee
On the other side of the board, Conan and Hadrathus (the Wizard) move defensively and meet up in front of a hut.

In the Clutches of the Picts
The Overlord would not have this and sends out the Hyenas to meet Conan. Now here is a rule that I am not sure if we played right. We counted hindrance (subtracting axes [successes] for being outnumbered) to attack rolls but not defensive rolls. I think I read somewhere that the modification does not affect attack rolls or defensive rolls.

Board Game Play Through
Conan and the Wizard make short work of the Hyenas. They decide to rest up a bit before moving onward. The closest hut to them is now empty. 

Miniatures fighting in Conan by Monolith Games
Conan and Hadrathus burst through the empty tent, pass the treasure and barge into the connected hut where three Picts and the Governor's Daughter, Yselda, await. 

Conan the Boardgame
The two clear out the Picts and head over to rescue Yselda. When they get close, they realize that she is unconscious. Like any good Hero, they decide to leave the maiden in distress and kill Zogar Sag instead.  :)

All three Heroes converge in the same area to take on Zogar Sag and his minions. At this point, it seems that the heroes are winning. And why shouldn't they?! They have Conan on their side!

Zooming out, one can see that the heroes are already pretty close to Zogar Sag.
Review Copy from Asmodee
The Picts in the hut closest to Conan come out to face the group. Like the Hyenas earlier, most of the enemies are focusing their attention on Conan.

The final fight should be coming soon.
Conan makes short work of the Picts, but his health Crystals are draining fast. 

A board game battle report
Hadrathus and Shevatas re-position for a better shot at Zogar Sag.

Hadrathus casts Lightning Storm - Killing all the Picts in Zogar's area and injuring Zogar himself. Shevatas throws knives at Zogar but misses.
The Green Picts rush Conan and injure him to the point that only a couple of his Health Crystals remain.

At this point, it is not looking good for our Heroes. Conan has just two Health remaining and while both Shevatas and Hadrathus are nearly unhurt, they have a pack of Hyenas (arriving to reinforce Zogar Sag) coming in fast behind them.

Conan takes on the Picts that engaged him and kills two of them.

Meanwhile Shevatas does his best to defend Hadrathus from the Hyenas. 
Another look at the situation that the Heroes have got themselves into. Shevatas and Hadrathus kill off all of the Heyenas and continue with all the ranged attacks they can towards Zogar. These ranged attacks have no effect.

Conan is defeated.
Zogar Sag joins the last Green Pict and engages Conan. Conan has so little Health left at this time that he doesn't stand a chance against Zogar. Conan is defeated.

Conan by Monolith Games
Meanwhile, the Giant Snake has been making his way up the board. He activates to enter the same area as Hadrathus and Shevatas. He attacks Hadrathus... 

An Excellent Roll!!! Hadrathus fails to defend and takes the fall. He is now out of the game.

Only Shevatas remains. He is in the same area as a Pict and the Giant Snake. 
Shevatas decides to hightail it to the other side of the map and rest up a bit.

Shevatas versus a village full of Picts
He then enters a hut and rests up a little more. Where he once stood, a pack of Hyenas enter to reinforce the battlefield.
Having partially rested for a couple of turns, Shevatas reengages Zogar Sag (again with his throwing knives).

Conan Board Game by Monolith distributed by Asmodee - Retail Copy in use.
The Hyenas catch up and engage. Shevatas' Chainmail armour proves very useful. Without it, he would have been torn limb from limb by these bloodthirsty beasts. 

The Heroes are Defeated
Zogar Sag enters the fight and proves to be too much for Shevatas to defend against. 

The final Hero is defeated and the Picts win this time.
This game was a ton of fun, and I am very glad that I brought it out to play at my FLGS. Tyler also had an excellent time despite losing. Usually I do not play so hard against first timers, but I figured I was a first timer too so the gloves were off. I also would not have picked on just Conan so much if there were other players present at the table. Tyler was an excellent opponent in that he wanted to finish the game even when it was not looking good for his Heroes. Not once did he throw in the towel. I admire such perseverance.

A suggestion for beginning players is to take the time to search the chests for treasure. There were multiple items in them that could have helped the players out, but because they did not take the time to investigate the contents - they were stuck with their beginning equipment in the big battle against Zogar Sag.

One concern that I voiced in my unboxing of Conan still exists. That is that the cover of the Heroes' Book has a picture of a half-naked woman on the cover. I worry that this image might offend some people that check this game out when I take it out of the house. Despite this concern, I decided to run a demo game anyways. There were two instances in the day were I was a little conscious of having the Heroes' Book out on the table. One when a young kid took interest in the game and the other when a family was checking it out. Throughout the day I kept the Heroes' Book face down and did all of the rules referencing myself. This concealed the artwork. For many people, this issue will not be as much of a concern. Many people play games in the privacy of their own homes. I, on the other hand, had this game out at a public place with lots of customers. No one voiced any concern or offence throughout the day, which was something I was happy about.

Overall, I had a fantastic time running this game at my favourite FLGS. I was really impressed with how the game flowed and really liked the "Crystal / Gem" and "Overlord River" mechanics.

Awesome Gaming Table at Forbes Hobbies in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
What a great table is this?! Thank you Forbes Hobbies for allowing me to run and photograph my game of Conan in this awesome space. For those that live in the South Western Ontario or Southern Ontario areas of Canada, check this store out. It has the best gaming space in the Kitchener / Waterloo area. Thanks also goes out to Asmodee for providing Must Contain Minis with a copy of Conan by Monolith! I had an excellent time showing it off and demoing it at this store!

I hope that everyone enjoyed reading this Conan Battle Report.

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

Monday, 23 January 2017

Zombie Kills Wizard!!! Frostgrave: Forgotten Pacts - Time Rot Battle Report

How often is that one sees a Zombie Kill a perfectly healthy Wizard? That is exactly what happens in this Battle Report. Georg-Oskar didn't even see the Zombie coming.

This is my second game with Ash from Guerrilla Miniatures Games in a three part series.

Forgotten Pacts Battle Report
Ever see a Zombie take out a perfectly Healthy Wizard?

To set the scene, this table was much more vertical than Scenario One. The Wizard bands fight over a second Amulet of Constancy, but this time strange things are happening with the speed of time. For this match, my Apprentice (an inexperienced Necromancer) and half of my Warband takes on the Georg-Oskar (the Illusionist) and half of his warband. The results were surprising.

Below are some pictures of the table set up...

A Frostgrave After Action Report (AAR)
Above is a picture of my warband directly across from Ash's 

Forgotten Pacts Battle Report
A shot of the table from further away. This table has much more vertical space than the last one. 
Frostgrave Battle Report
We even stacked three treasures right on top of each other. They do follow the minimum distance between treasures rules. There really is that much space going up on this board! The blue Creatures beside the treasures are Stone Zealots by Reaper Miniatures. We used them as Failing Wretches.
Because I did so well at rolling Critical Hits in our first game, Ash asked that I change out my die - which I did. Right off the top I focused on Ash's Wizard, who Teleported to the highest level treasure on the board. I failed to hit him with a number of ranged attacks, but he was in much more trouble than he expected when I Leaped my Zombie up behind him.

The Illusionist stood no chance!
Both the Zombie and Failing Wretch engage Georg-Oskar.
Death to anything it hits in Frostgrave!
The Zombie Rolls a Natural 20, breaking Georg-Oskar's jaw and taking the Wizard out of action!!! 
Time Rot - Forgotten Pacts
No one saw this one coming. I was expecting my Zombie to be dead the next turn but instead he takes out the Wizard!
All around, this was a great game. I wish I rolled this well in all my games. The other highlight for me was that Ash's team made off with the primary treasure of this Scenario (the second Amulet of Constancy) but my ranger hunted down his guy and killed him with an arrow. After that, the Amulet was mine.

Be sure to check out the complete battle report on Guerrilla Miniatures Games. The Video is embeded below...



Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!
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