Ice Demons – Cos ‘Tis the Season

I’ve had these Demonworld figures for a few years, having bought them on ebay when the range was out of production. Although I prep’d and based them at the time, I’ve only just now painted them. They didn’t take very long, so as always it’s a mystery why I kept putting them off!

I decided that they’d look best in icy colours, and I’ve dry-brushed the bases with white over the top of my usual green/brown.

They’ll be used in my 15mm Dungeon game as big demons, and potentially in 25/28mm Frostgrave as man-sized demons.

 

A Few More Fantasy Additions

A few 15mm fantasy figures received some paint recently. These will see action in my Dungeon Game, as well as for Dragon Rampant and bigger fantasy battle games.

Below, Reaper Bones beast hound, Demonword beholder and demon wizard.

The other 4 figures are conversions I did a few years ago (about 50 more to paint, including mounted versions). They’re Museum Miniatures medievals to which I’ve added greenstuff cloaks with fur mantles, some weapon upgrades, and of course horns on their helms. They are inspired by GW’s take on Chaos Warriors/Knights and I wanted some for my 15mm Chaos/evil army. Now I’ve settled on a simple paint scheme, I’ll hopefully be able to get the rest done at some point.

Chaos on Chaos action:

Satanic beasty Sorceror. He’s going to get a partial re-paint as his skin looks like he’s some sort of water-based guy, and it’s a bit of a clash with the lava!

Lots more to do, but I’m enjoying picking away at them slowly.

Bear Clan!

A couple of months ago I painted some 15mm fantasy figures for use with Dragon Rampant and my dungeon adventure game. Before I went back to the 6mm SYW project I did paint a force of Bear Clan/Cultists but have taken forever to get the bases done.

Now they’re finally finished, here are some pics:

 

Leader, champions and shamen:

Shapeshifters (Copplestone):

Crazy bear:

The men are mostly Splintered Light, with a few Copplestone and a Demonworld leader. The bears are from a variety of companies too, in small, medium and bloomin’ big sizes. I’ve kept to a very simple pallet and, with most figures having some bearskin on them, that’s provided the overriding look.

I have another batch of about 20 to finish, which will allow me to field more options for a Dragon Rampant force. When I’m fed up with painting 6mm I’ll switch back to these and get the rest finished off.

Getting a Few Bits Done

A shortage of posts doesn’t mean I’ve been totally idle – I just haven’t finished much recently so have held off taking pics.

I have made short work of a recent order to Fantasy Arte in Germany though. They sent me some very nice pieces I can use in my 15mm dungeon game, and being intended for 28mm they’re nicely oversized and look impressive in my setting.

So, a portal arch, a couple of skull-clad pillars, some braziers/fire bowls (I’ve only painted 2 of one type so far, and they’ll be placed on stone plinths soon) and a free sample figure base that fits in perfectly and will be used in the game as a certain type of marker.

It’s all very high quality stuff (resin except for the plastic braziers) and a pleasure to paint.

I’ve also ordered a few Reaper Bones figures which will serve as (very) big monsters in my game. More on those when I get a couple painted.

Also, taking just a few minutes from start to finish, I assembled and painted the Warbases water cart, which is a very nice model and will get used in Sharp Practice and other 28mm games. I’ve got a couple more of their MDF carts to do and will get onto them soon.

Apart from these few bits, I’ve painted most of a new force/faction for Dragon Rampant and made more progress on the 6mm SYW Austrians that had been stalled for a while. As soon as the bases are painted I’ll get all of this lot posted here too.

Dungeon Gaming in 15mm

Over the last few weeks I’ve been working on something that I’ve fancied doing for a number of years – creating a dungeon exploring game for 15mm fantasy miniatures.

I made some initial notes over Easter and got stuck in during April and May, although the Ayton painting deadline did have to take priority. Lots of discussions with a friend, who shares the same nostalgia for D&D and likes games like this, led to some early rules playtesting and the making of trial floortiles. Last weekend it all came together and we managed some 3 player games for the first time, and actually had a good time!

Which door next?

After trying card and high density blue styrofoam, in the end I took advice and went for 4mm cork tiles for the rooms and corridors. It takes paint well, doesn’t warp (if you paint the other side too), cuts easily, has a nice texture for representing stone, and is very cheap. The whole set I made (2 dozen rooms and a dozen pieces of corridor), using about 8 square feet of the stuff, cost less than £10.

Doors are deliberately oversized (bigger monsters don’t want to get stuck do they?); 28mm scale from Warbases. Pillars are cotton reels donated by Goat Major, other dungeon scenery is mostly scratchbuilt. The game is still developing, but the core is there already. I want to add things like sewers, fire pits and other stuff, and these will all be made to fit in with the basic kit.

Going to see the Boss:

Figures are from a mix of ranges, with Demonworld furnishing the majority. Characters get nice floortile-matching bases, while the monsters and other enemies are largely borrowed from other parts of the collection and are based for the outdoors – which actually helps to spot who’s who!

As with all things like this, the game started out pretty simple, but has grown in detail – though hopefully not in complexity. The core things the group and I wanted were; levelling-up between games, finding treasure/magic items, end-game Boss encounters, and generally not having it too easy. I.e. a challenging game with rewards. Level 1 characters are weak, as they should be, and completing the first game is a mission in survival more than anything. From there, capabilities increase and more skills, spells and abilities can be obtained to give the party (made up of 4 characters, which come from the usual stereotypes) scope to tackle increasingly tougher dungeons.

“No, don’t open two doors at once!… Oh dammit!”

Every game starts with the descent to a new dungeon level, with things kicking off when the first door is opened. Sensible precautions – Fighter at the front, Magic User in the middle:

Our first session was fun, but we took our time getting through 2 complete games due to some bad dice-induced protracted combats and lots of wandering monsters. Next time, though, we’ll be 3rd level and those Orcs and Gobins better watch out!

More Rampant Dragons

.. now there’s an idea. I need to get a dragon on the table for a game – nothing like a dragon to get things looking like a true fantasy scrap!

Anyway, this week I squeezed in a quick game using one of the scenarios in the rulebook – Scenario C – Death Chase. This involves one side running the gauntlet down the length of the table while the other converges from the flanks to stop them. I set it up as a Kislev force on the run and Beastmen doing the ambushing, on a 4′ x 3′ table with plenty of undulations and trees. I also selected Quests for both forces, going with the ones that seemed most plausible for each side.

It was a very interesting game, swinging nicely one way and then the other as activations succeeded or failed. I initially thought the trap was closing quickly enough to catch all the Kislev units before they got too far onto the table, but by the mid-game they’d made surprisingly good progress (albeit by sacrificing their slower moving infantry!)

Overview pic of the early stages, with the Kislev light riders making a run for it while the Beastmen converge:

A flurry of combats, made interesting by plenty of units being subject to the Wild Charge rule, resulted in an exciting finale which saw only one Kislev cavalry unit escape while the rest were destroyed. Things were evened up a little with good Kislev results with their Quests, but overall it was a 9-6 victory for the minions of Chaos. The rules seem to produce fun games where there’s always a twist in the tail. A battered unit, for example, always has the potential to implode right at the end as it tries to rally, potentially affecting the result.

Centigors aiming to get ahead and cut off the enemy horsemen:

Just when you think you’re the toughest fangy, clawy monsters around, someone bigger and nastier turns up:

I’m enjoying Dragon Rampant a lot, and will aim to play a few more games in the next week or two. Got to dig out a dragon though.. 🙂

Dragon Rampant Games

Following my last post, where I picked out a pair of 24 point forces for a trial game of Dragon Rampant, I’ve expanded things a bit and am now in the midst of a ’round robin’ type league of battles with 6 fantasy forces. Well, these things get the better of us don’t they?

To the Dwarves and Beastmen I have added further adversaries in the form of contingents based on GW’s Bretonnians, Orcs, Empire and Kislev. I have played 5 games so far and hope to try each army against each of the others. For now the Orcs, with their relatively large force of 7 units, top the table with 2 wins from 2. At the bottom are the Kislevites with 0 from 0.

Perhaps especially when playing solo, a lot comes down to luck of the dice, and I am not expecting (or would even want) to identify some sort of winning formula for the best force structure. For example – every time you think that missile troops are the answer, as they see off another attack before it hits home, they fail an activation and are chopped to bits. I really like the unpredictable nature of the game, there’s lots of dice rolling and even after a one-sided result you can just re-set the table and have another go – knowing that two games can never be remotely the same.

It’s fun just learning the rules, and trying to spot the nuances of how to play well with each troop type. I haven’t got there yet, that’s for sure, but am having plenty of fun. I’ve been moving the terrain around a bit after each game, but it’s basically 3’x3′ of undulating ground, with some trees, rocks and a lonely cottage to fight around.

A typical battlefield:

Bretonnians about to charge into battle (repeatedly, as they should):

 

The Kislev leader, on his battle bear. Note to self, don’t put the leader in a unit of light horse (‘Light Riders’ in the game). Fail an Evade roll and his head is likely to be chopped off by angry pursuers.

Kislev troops with handguns:

.. and a very useful furry friend:

Somehow the Bretonnian Lord survived this one:

When I have played a few more games I’ll be adding in Quests and some of the magic and special rules. The only issue with this is that inevitably the costs for ‘upgrades’ will result in smaller forces, with some retinues struggling to keep to the minimum of 4 units!

Trying Out Dragon Rampant

I bought myself a copy of these new Osprey rules before Christmas (just in case Santa messed up) and now the FPW game is done and all the figures are packed away I thought I’d give them a go.

I’ve played a few games of Lion Rampant and I fully expect the fantasy version to be just as good. Even on just a few light read-throughs there’s clearly so much flexibility and so many options that any fantasy force could be represented in the game – traditional or otherwise.

I’ve got a fair few types to pick from in 15mm, including just spicing up some historicals with a giant or wizard, etc. For a first go, though, I fancied some proper fantasy so I’ve selected Dwarves vs Beastmen and chosen basic unit types for now, with no magic item upgrades or spellcasters. I just want to have a go with the core rules initially, and will try out the magic and spells later.

Thane Darvin Ironforge’s Retinue

Lord (Elite Foot), Leader, reduced model unit, 6 pts
Bodyguard (Heavy Foot), Offensive, 6 pts
Warriors (Heavy Foot), 4 pts
Slayers (Bellicose Foot), 4 pts
Quarellers (Heavy Missiles), 4 pts

Drak Blooddrinker’s Warband

Chariots (Heavy Riders), Leader, reduced model unit, 6 pts
Gors (Bellicose Foot), 4 pts
Gors (Bellicose Foot), 4 pts
Centigors (Light Riders), 4 pts
Chaos Giant (Greater Warbeast), reduced model unit, 6 pts

Game pics to follow.

I’ll try the basic ‘get stuck in and kill stuff’ scenario first, probably more than once, and hopefully have fun while learning the rules. After that, I’ll try some extra upgrades and swap units and forces around a bit to try out other troop types and special rules.

Lion Rampant – First Game Pics and Thoughts

Lots of fun, but surprisingly challenging too – that’s my verdict on Lion Rampant after a few solo games. The rules mechanisms are simple to learn but offer a lot of subtlety for how you play the game and how you use your units. I have definitely joined the ranks of those who think it’s an excellent set of rules and I’m intending to play more in the future.

So far I’ve played through three games and have a fourth on the go, which I’ll get back to this evening. I’ve used the same forces each time (as per the previous post), but moved the terrain around quite a lot for each game to vary the setting. I’ve just been playing straight forward clashes rather than full scenarios, and ending things when one side loses half or more of its starting points worth of units – which feels about right.

For me, the unit zones of control (where no unit, friend or enemy, can come within a certain distance of another without actually attacking it) are probably the toughest thing to keep remembering and applying, but it does add an interesting dimension requiring planning and the need to be careful with your unit and figure placement.

I’ve tried a bit of everything, using the various units’ special rules and options, such as Evade and Skirmish, and of course Wild Charge which is lots of fun – but of course you tend to lose control of knights (‘mounted men-at-arms’) and fierce foot pretty quickly! The activation rolls make for an excellent solo experience as you never know exactly what will happen, and can just concentrate on trying to make the best decisions for each side when it’s their turn. I’m looking forward to some 2-player games where there should be a good mix of planning and luck dictating who gets to do what.

A few pics, mostly from the first game..

In the colourful corner, Sir Malice of the Golden Chalice, defender of the realm:

And in the brown corner, we have Vog, Lord of the Marshes and all-round thug.

The game underway. I like the force to space ratio – it feels like a big skirmish rather than a handful of individuals fighting it out. There’s about enough room for manoeuvre (and hiding where appropriate!) on a board of this size with 15mm figures.

Crossbowmen and Bidowers (as skirmishers are called in LR) set up a ‘Valley of Death’ for the raider’s cavalry to hopefully blunder into:

Knights and Fierce Foot replace tactical finesse with out-and-out aggression.Very enjoyable, unless you’re the one standing still when the enemy charge.

More of the same. I’ve spotted a ZOC error in the bottom left corner 🙁

Run Away! Must have been a savage rabbit somewhere, as the enemy were seen off at the same time.

‘Not me face!’ Although, even outnumbered like this the knight still gets 6 fighting dice so he actually managed to cut down an enemy horseman before going under.

A later game, with the hovels moved to a hill and the game played along the length rather than across the width. This made the space a bit tight, but still generated plenty of interesting action and events.

 

Interestingly, the Feudals have won all three initial games, but I’m not sure how. The knights haven’t generally been all-conquering battle winners, scoring some successes but doing badly on occasion too. The extra numbers of the raiders don’t seem to have had much impact, probably because I’ve not protected the fierce foot enough from missile fire before unleashing them where they can do the most damage. Ah well, learning to do better will be fun!

Steam Tank-tastic

As a bit of an aside from my 28mm efforts of late, I recently spotted a likely addition to my 15mm fantasy collection in Black Hat Miniatures’ Martian Wars VSF range. A few years ago I built a number of 15mm armies based on the Warhammer background, which to me is a decent blend of high fantasy and fun. I don’t play Warhammer itself and I don’t use GW figures (obviously, as they’re 28mm) but the races, armies and troop types have been absorbed fairly successfully into the rules I use.

The Empire army was the first one I worked on. It was one of those wargamer’s odysseys which involved looking for the right figures from across a wide spectrum or historical and fantasy ranges, and requiring lots of conversions to get the results I was after. One thing that I couldn’t find and didn’t fancy scratchbuilding was a steam tank. When I spotted Black Hat’s model it was a no-brainer, even though I knew there’d need to be some customisation to get the right look.

Here’s the model and the potential add-ons I’d salvaged from previous projects, alongside some of my Empire Halberdiers (Old Glory) for a sense of scale:

And here it is after being festooned with an engineer (who still needs a pistol and hat feather), extra funnels, Empire iconography and other decoration:

 

 

Once I’ve finished painting it, I guess this army will have to be first subject matter for my resuscitated of Army of the Month concept!