Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Painting Challenge Begins!

And so it begins.

Good luck to everyone taking part in the 6th Annual Painting Challenge. Enjoy the warm glow of the international brotherhood and sisterhood of the brush, and may the Force be with you.

Assault on the Stronghold of S'Antar

Last Friday night saw an epic struggle through the streets of S'Antar's stronghold as two warbands of Anglo-Danes and one of Scots fought each other and waves of angry elves to pillage the riches of The Man in Red himself.

All-round excellent bloke John Shoemark invited Steve, Dave and I up for a game of SAGA with a festive twist. Essentially, we were playing something like the Feast of Crows scenario from the main SAGA rulebook, but over a table laid out with Christmassy terrain.

The target for our warbands was S'Antar's workshop in the middle of the table, wherein seasonal loot was stashed. However, every time one of our units approached a patch of woods or a building there was a chance that a unit of angry elves would appear to attack, or possibly even S'Antar himself. John controlled the Elves, using (appropriately) the Pagan Rus battleboard for them.

After a great BBQ we got stuck in, with Dave's Anglo-Dane's slowly hacking their way through fanatical elves like Russians in the streets of Berlin. Steve had more luck, making his way rapidly towards the middle of the table while causing my Scots some grief with his Anglo-Danish ability to inflict fatigue. Despite this, I had a lot of luck with my dice rolls early on, and was the first to raid S'Antar's workshop, although angry elves flinging lumps of coal rapidly massacred my Scots as they tried to escape with their loot. From that point on everything rapidly unraveled, with S'Antar emerging blearily from a building to slaughter my Levies, only to fall victim to a flurry of Steve's Dane axes. So if anyone misses out on presents this year, you know who to blame.

Thanks to John for a great night of fun, tinsel and festive slaughter!


The mini-Duchess turned 9 last week, so I put my nerd skills to work and made her a cake of the crashed Star Destroyer Inflictor from The Force Awakens. As usual, I used a great white chocolate mudcake recipe as the basic cake. It's not only delicious, but dense enough to support being carved into shapes like the Star Destroyer, which was then wrapped in fondant, had panels etched into it, and then given a wash made from diluted black fondant!

If you don't know that the crashed Star Destroyer was called the Inflictor, I recommend you read Lost Stars by Claudia Gray. I haven't read any Star Wars fiction since Splinter of the Mind's Eye about 35 years ago (!), but thoroughly enjoyed Lost Stars. Reading it was a great warm up to seeing The Force Awakens. Which is brilliant, by the way.

May the cake be with you.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Ludite, Romani!

A friend and I am keen to try out Jugula, the gladiator rules from Studio Tomahawk. I've painted up a couple of familia, using Crusader Miniatures. The first familia is made up of a murmillo, a provocator, a laqueator and a crupellarius.

The other one has a murmillo, provocator, retiarius and dimachaerus.

I really like these minis - loads of character and historically accurate details. Stand by for thoughts on the rules after we play a campaign day on Wednesday.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Teeny tiny Scotsmen

I painted some tiny little 6mm Covenanters. If you don't know it already you might be interested in following the tiny adventures of Man Cave Paul and I as we work on our ECW project over here.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Alea Iacta Est

It's that magical time of year again when Curt announces the annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. I've put myself down for 1500 points in a moment of bravado, which is absolute madness given how much work I need to do over the summer holidays. The best thing so far though is that three friends from our gaming club (Odin's Night) have also thrown their hats into the ring, including Man Cave Paul after I bribed him with paint and lead. I'll have to set myself some clear project goals. 6mm ECW is certainly one, but maybe some early Saxons for Basic Impetus? A warband for Muskets and Tomahawks? 15mm Brits for the Desert war? Hmmm.....

Friday, November 20, 2015

SAGA Sunday

Last Sunday I played my first game of the full SAGA rules with my little Valkyrie. As some of you may know, I have been playing a few games with her using just the activation boxes from the SAGA battleboards and the fatigue rules ('SAGA lite') to get her used to the basic mechanics of combat and movement. On Sunday though we used the full battleboards, and I was really chuffed by how rapidly she grasped the concepts of having to make decisions about using dice for abilities vs. activation.

We played a sort of escort game where my Welsh were trying to get an important Viking prisoner across the table. Although I succeeded, the mini Valkyrie had the satisfaction of defeating my warlord, so she wasn't too put out. Her basic tactical ideas were really sound - she's going to be a formidable opponent!

For me though the best bit was the way she used her model of a Valkyrie to escort each one of her fallen warriors to the pile in the corner. So cool.