Saturday, 28 October 2017

SHADOWS OVER HAMMERHAL - THE JOURNEY - part 3



Sunday 23rd July
No session today but i did finish off the Cogsmith


I wonder how he's supposed to go for a shit in that outfit?? I imagine him very clunky in his approach to everything. Smashing into doors and wondering why the hell he chose that novelty backpack!

Saturday 5th August
week off work so can see me getting a few things done on the game and maybe some more sessions to.
today we started on session 4 of which took us down to the 3rd level of the dungeon.
we had just gained our first level of experience, meaning now we could all have 2 skill cards instead of 1.

The one thing we noticed here is that there were a few surprises in store for us and we got to see a little more scope of what the GM can do. carefully wording some of the descriptions can be misleading or not. its down to the GM how they wish to weave the tale. a raise of an eyebrow or careful emphasis on certain words can lead more towards the mystery and help build up some tension when choosing your paths and adventuring further into the dungeon.
My wife has has only ever been 'the bad guy' in our most recent run through of Descent. so even herself would say that she is not an experienced GM. but she is really coming into her own and enjoying the experience with this game.

Additionally we were hit by a rather interesting room. up until this point the Cogsmith hadn't ever really come into his own. a couple of grudge rakings and discovering how inconsistent of a weapon it can be.. but also potentially lethal and here is where we saw the lethal damage it could do.
we were faced by a total of 10 enemies that caught us off guard. we werent expecting it.

firstly my Lord Castellant moved in picking up only his second kill. on this level.
next up the Fleetmaster shifting in picking off another.
the loremaster as usual fleeted in picking off the champion. and dropping a treasure found earlier that would prevent enemies from moving into adjacent squares to the loremaster.

we aren't sure if we played this right or not. but we took it as any adversary has to move into a square to pass through it. so based on this.. it essentially blocked the remaining 7 bad guys into a corner only able to attack the fleetmaster. onto the adversary phase. because they were blocked in they only managed to get 1 hit on the fleetmaster and the bottleneck here meant they could not do anything else.. as i say we may of read the ruling incorrectly here but if we didn't. it was obviously a very shrewd move to create the bottle neck.

at this point is where the Cogsmith literally tore the rest to shreds. rolling 3 sixes meaning that he would have 3 chances to let rip on the unsuspecting fools!
and exactly that happened. the Cogsmith took down all 7 with those 3 sixes and still had a dice left.

after about 3 hours we had explored all of this level, uncovering 2 stairwells, fighting some more bad guys and another Indiana Jones style room and finding another stairwell. this is where we decided it was time to head back up to the city.

this time a grand fair was on which meant we could only visit a few locations.
the Castellant picked up a new treasure from the house of Venargo and cashed in remaining gold for 2 more renown
as did the cogsmith.
the loremaster headed over to the guild of thumaturgists and picked up another treasure.
and the fleetmaster just cashed in his paltry 1 gold for another renown.

so that was our session. taking another 3 hours so that's 3 levels cleared. 9 hours played. seemingly quashing my earlier estimation that it would only take 8 hours to get through the game

what did we learn this time?


  • scope of what the GM can do. i can see some real good story telling from this at some point. as we get further on in our quest the story evolves. and cant wait for future expansions or player made quests that build upon this some more.

  • behaviour rolls - we haven't really seen anything good from these just yet. out of nine hours played every behaviour roll has pretty much been..move and attack nearest hero. so the toss up between choosing the behaviour roll or not hasnt really yielded too much in favour of the GM apart from a roll where you can spawn a pink horror or D3 acolytes.

  • we also noticed on this level that it needs a component from silver tower. now whilst i have silver tower and this wasn't a problem. as a standalone expansion...its wrong to assume everyone had already bought silver tower. regardless it was only a blue portal. and we didn't have silver tower at hand, so we just used a standard doorway.

  • Indiana Jones!! - so we experienced our second Indiana Jones style 'grab the treasure' room. this time with a pit which you must get over as quick as possible before the treasure is gone. its a smash and grab scenario which could go either way. get the loot or suffer high damage.

  • ambushes - we got lucky on this level. only 1 ambush compared to the uncountable amount from the previous session. this level is a pretty big one too. so if we had of gotten more ambushes this could easily of been a 5 hour session.

  • Lord Castellant - still struggling to find his groove. I've also had a run of bad luck with him. i get 6s when there isn't many people around so i cant hit the full potential of his lantern and i think this is costing him on the renown wheel massively. whilst everyone has gone around 3 or 4 times. he is still on his second cycle.

  • Grudge Raker - with the right rolls this could take out a small army.


we really really enjoyed this session. it had plenty of action. plenty of kills thrills and the odd spill. the exploration of this level felt great and we all came out at the end wanting to play again. but alas tis late! so onto another day.

Tuesday 8th August

OK so today was a little something different. we are enjoying the game but are still a little concerned that because we are enjoying this game so much that by the time we finish we will most likely want more. yesterday i spent the entire day scanning the tiles and re scaling down to a A4 sheet style as well as creating a nice layout page with with a similar design and layout to that of the Hammerhal quest book. why? of course it's so I and others can make their own quests of course!


Thursday 10th August
we went to Warhammer World and i picked up some plague bearers from a rather disgruntled employee who huffed and grunted because i didn't buy more or any 40k stuff! but regardless ive added my first exotic adversaries!

Saturday 16th September
We have had a long break since the last session. but work has been immensely taxing and most of my spare time has been taken up by even more work or recuperating. luckily there was no ambushes waiting for me in that time.
i have completed the Fleetmaster


I have also done quiet a bit of painting on other projects and such within this time. getting a lot of paint work done on the castellant 80% complete. and the kairic acolytes.

but tonight we picked up  further plodding into the dungeon. as we moved down to the next level.
tonight was most definitely NOT our night. not even the freshly painted Fleetmaster or the nearly done Castellant could do anything to improve the luck here.

first turn we searched and found nothing, we are in a corridor with 3 exits.
firstly we get hit by an ambush which was evaded with the use of a treasure card.
next up the Cogsmith popped one of the doors open which forced us to miss the rest of the turn, waiting for us in this room were 2 Blightkings. the clumsy Cogsmith had gotten his novelty backpack wedged into the door frame and was easily taken out by the viscous Blightkings.
with the position being very much in the Blightkings favour the heroes decide to back off in an attempt to gain a tactical advantage.

another treasure card was used to bring the Cogsmith back into play but the bad luck struck again! an unexpected event bringing in 3 more Blightkings at the heroes rear.
completely penned in with a weakened team. the next hour was a complete slog where the heroes once more lost the Cogsmith and the Fleetmaster. spending lots of the gathered treasures thus far to finally see off the 5 Blightkings. this entire fight was our nights session. surrounded. stuck out of position in a tightly packed corridor. there wasn't enough room for any of the heroes to get into their best positions in order to try to pick off the Blightkings. the Cogsmith was pinned pretty much all of the time and never once got chance to pick up his guns. the Fleetmaster had very little chance to do anything only picking off a few wounds, which is ultimately why these guys had to take a fall.

as ALL of the blightkings were on the board they were getting all of the bonuses they gather from having all types available.whichmade them lethal. i think if the heroes had of been better positioned they might of fared better. but regardless they survived and made rather sharpish escape from the dungeon. walking away with only 5 renown picked up all by the Castellant and the Loremaster
1 treasure card and 2 gold.

the heroes were shaken so the city was their only escape.

along with this slugfest we had spent over an hour and half only uncovering 2 chambers. and most of that time was spent fighting. frustrations were high from this one never ever really finding any groove and had to simply grind our way to safety.

when up in the city a drunkard mistakes the Castellant again for another hero - this granted D3 renown. taking him up-to only needed one more to hit his 2nd skill, which is lucky because his kill count is the lowest in the team.

with the heroes only have 2 gold between them they decided to cash in for renown. again bad luck struck once again for both heroes trying to scrape some extra renown from a pretty poor venture and my Castellant was unable to get that much needed 2nd skill card.

so we wrapped up for the night all feeling rather disgruntled.
  • my daughter who is controlling both the Cogsmith and the Fleetmaster was in a particular bad mood at not really having much chance to do anything with the Cogmaster. because of the cramped conditions and being pinned into a corridor from each side he was never once able to hit his peak. his axe is very much a substitute with the dwarf. and with the quite poor damage and hard to hit was only able to deal about 2 or 3 wounds the entire mission. 
  • Fleetmaster also struggled with his fierce attacking skills being nerfed by bad luck and being surrounded. he can deal damage. but isn't great at taking it. this guy is the one that has fallen the most upto this point, relying heavily on the other heroes finishing the job. however as earlier described this guy is the poacher of the team. and quite often sweeps in and finishes off the badguys when the other guys have dealt the first blows.
  • Blightkings made it hard for us to take out the kings that were buffing the others. constantly getting healed and having extra move allowed them to pin the heroes down quicker. this made the entire venture very very tough. if you come face to face with all 5 of these beasties make sure you take down the dude with the bell and the dude with the standard as you will suffer from the buffs given by these guys.
  • oddly this time it was my Castellant that shone taking out the majority of the Blightkings between himself and the 'Loremistress' :) maybe everyone else having bad luck can pay off when you are shielded by 400 pounds of gold armour :)
so that was us on the 4th level of the dungeon. and didn't even manage to scrape the surface of this level. only 3 rooms revealed chalking up our playing time thus far to 12 hours ish

part 4 will take a little longer as i have pretty much caught upto where we are at now and i am also pretty steamed with work. having a ruck load of acolytes to finish and the castellant has been sitting around for a long time unfinished. but will have a new part coming up pretty soon.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

ZOMBICIDE - THE JOURNEY - Part 1

week off work. - Check
Halloween is around the corner - Check
and I'm getting an itch to buy a new game and Zombicide has been in my sights for a long time. and whilst i am very much a late comer here i do my usual digging to see if its worth throwing my hard earned cash at. and like the previous and ongoing journey series i am doing on shadows over hammerhal. i hope to share all of my discoveries to bring you a somewhat /NOT review, but more an insight into it all of my concerns and discoveries as i proceed on my next journey.


There are a few reasons I have held off on buying this game


  • I already own a zombie game in Last night on earth
  • this game was and still continues top be a massive blockbuster on Kickstarter. but if it is so successful, why do they still need Kickstarter?
  • With all of the expansions and booster packs and what not i have no idea where to start!
  • is it worth it?

The reasons i want to buy this game!

  • Co-op 
we have an interesting dynamic in this house where each and everyone of us can be quite sinister when it comes to gaming. when playing last night on earth which isn't co-op. my eldest daughter is sheer ruthless. she even laughs when she takes out our characters in the most evil ways.
my wife is scheming as the dungeon master in shadows over Hammerhal. and even playing descent she has been known to bend the rules to uphold her sadistic approach to killing the heroes.
me myself. I'm a much more accommodating GM i will throw tips the players ways before taking them out in cut throat fashion and say "well i tried to help" Mwuhaha. 
Regardless we only own 1 other co-op game in silver tower. and that does'nt see the table much as we find it clunky without a GM. so we want another where we can team up.


  • loads of minis
I want to paint up and customise those zombies so they are all unique..nuff said!
they look pretty cool. and whilst I'm not keen on the whole mutated zombies. they still have a place on my table. 71 IN TOTAL!!!

  • art looks cool
I'm kind of liking the artwork. and the comic book approach. again something new to our table. also liking the pop culture references with all the characters having resemblances to movie characters..like Doug who is clearly Michael Douglas' character from falling down.





  • Zombie AI
I'm really intrigued to see how the zombie dynamic pans out. the use of sound tokens and generating sounds by smashing down doors or firing a gun seems like a really cool concept. and zombies and AI seem like the perfect mix. they are mindless. they walk and they eat the nearest thing they can find. so it seems like a perfect mixture that would lend to a co-op game.

  • Curiosity
i have my gripes but the sheer volume of popularity for this game has got me thinking. Am i missing out? the fact that this games expansions have been a record breaking kickstarter campaigns must be for a good reason right?. i want to know if it is all hype. plus i want another zombie game. and this seems like the popular option right now.


Concerns about the rules??





Whilst I like the idea of the zombie AI I also realise i know nothing about this game at all..have i been sapped into the glitz and hype already? So I do a bit of reading on the rules to find out more!

All rules can be downloaded at the official Zombicide website

Also the Zombicide wiki page was very helpful.

from my digging and researching I discover that other players also seem to have similar reservations. most notably regarding the rules themselves. 3 of the rules that stand out to me as odd choices

  • Ranged combat
The ruling for shooting guns and such appears to be a really weird choice thematically. this is a cooperative game. however the order for resolving shooting means you ALWAYS hit any friendly survivors before you hit any zombies. for me at this point i was pretty confused about this. WHY would you have to shoot your own people if they are in a crowded area or even just with 1 or 2 zombies? even shooting in the same area will give the same effect i get that it could be argued that a spray of bullets could hit anyone. but thematically this already breaks the game in my opinion and must purely only be in place to enforce more strategy.
  • Splitting
The zombies in this game are controlled by AI. meaning that they always move towards characters that can be seen. or they move towards the sound tokens generated by the survivors making excess noise. If there are 2 different routes that would cause a group of walkers to split up. that group essentially doubles in order to make sure an even split occurs....WHAT?? they just double??
not quite but not far off. its already feeling like some of the rules are geared towards you buying more mini's this game is clearly mini orientated. why else would you need 71 in the box? it also appears another rule is in place that reinforces that
  • Running out of zombies
so if you run out of a zombie type. all other zombies of that type on the board get an extra activation (move or attack) So that clearly looks like a fatal reason to run out of mini's. most of the zombies get to do an action again...that's double!! so you prevent that by going out and buying one the very handy booster sets to add even more zombies into the fray right?

Breaking down the barricades

so with all the info i have gathered i decide to dig and see if anyone could steer me towards my purchase. heading over to BGG i whacked up a post hoping to get some answers my question being "i own last night on earth, why should i buy zombicide?" which also proceeded with all of my gripes hoping to get some clearance to justify me buying it.

well clearly those gripes did get cleared up or else i would'nt of been writing this up now would I? :)

I own Last night on earth why do i want to buy another zombie game?

Zombicide is a full coop experience and the only thing it has in common with LNOE is "Zombies". LNOE portrays old school zombie movies and the typical situations that happen using the cards. In Zombicide cards are only for equipment and the game is basically a "Shoot'em up before they eat you".
Whenever I try to explain Zombicide to a newcomer I always ask them if they played the Left for dead videogame. Because the game feels very much like that.

I've seen many comparisons between the 2 games and LNOE does appear to come out as the better game overall. I'm not looking for better or worse, I am looking for something different

It is something really different, but I wouldn't go for better. Zombicide will appeal more to those who enjoy seeing a lot of figures on the board. LNOE is more about the theme. Mechanics are completely different.

No game is perfect but some of the rules mentioned seem like absolute stinkers

Indeed. Zombicide has some rules that are not for everyone, but they are easily changed if you don't like them. In fact, Zombicide's one of those unique games which every house plays the game different.Basically the 2 "controversial" rules are splitting and shooting. Shooting has been adressed in Black plague, so if you don't like the shooting rules in modern zombicide, use the black plague ones.The splitting rule states that whenever a zombie could move to two different areas, the zombie "splits" and moves to both. If you don't like this rule (I don't like it) basically ignore it and randomly choose where does de zombie move using the dice.

What sort of value would i expect from scenario to scenario?

There are different types of scenarios, but all of them involve killing hordes of zombies. I can say I got different experiences when playing different scenarios though. I don't exactly recall scenario's names but the experience we felt when trying to reach the escape point without killing too many zombies was totally different from resisting while looking for food and water.

replay ability of a scenario?

Replayability in Zombicide comes from the people you play with. I'm gonna say that LNOE is better for replaying scenarios because of event cards and different tiles every time.Most of Zombicide's scenarios have a clear objective and whenever you know the best approach to them there is no point on trying new strategies to beat them. But Zombicide has LOTS and LOTS of scenarios. I would say more than 100 but maybe I'm mistaken. Have a look at their website or in BGG files.

Campaigns

You can find some "official" campaigns in Zombicide's website but they are nothing more than some scenarios meant to be played one after the other. I don't even know if something carries between them depending on your actions.
You can also find "fan-made" campaign modes in bgg files.
Still I would say the game was meant to be played as a one shot game. I would say you can play some type of campaign mode, but I would not buy the game thinking about it as an RPG experience. If you only buy the game with "campaign" expectations you'll be disappointed.

What order should i buy?

If you want modern Zombicide go for the original or season 3. In fact buy the game you like the most, you'll like them all. However, always use the most recent rulebook. That's season 3 atm.

Is this game like a big budget movie that people don't want to admit isn't that great because they have pumped their own hard earned cash into it?

The game was a birthday present for me, so I think I can answer this.After reading lots of mixed reviews I had low expectations and the game surprised me. It's fun to play and even non gamers love it. I'll also say that it's not the best game ever made. In fact both Dead of winter and LNOE are probably better "boardgames", but they are not as accessible and not as pretty. There is something appealing when you see lots and lots of zombie figures going after you and it's also satisfying when you throw a molotov and every single zombie in an area is killed.
It's a fun experience and everybody I played with liked it. Zombicide is all about the action and not on rules. I prefer more complex games, but I admit I had tons of fun with it, specially because it can be played with anybody.
People enjoy throwing dices and killing zombies. This game is just about throwing dices and killing zombies. Yeah, you have an objective, but you'll always be throwing dices and killing zombies in Zombicide. It's the core part of the game, no matter the scenario you're playing.


Is it a Cash Cow? 


as this is clearly a mini orientated game that throws more and more zombies your way. is it structured in a way that makes you need to keep spending more money? or could i buy 1 set and be happy I've got a game that will entertain us for the night?
Well Kaiede Farenheit you did help. massively! and for that reason I've put your answers directly here so that others can be helped in the same way. in fact i went and ordered the game right away for next day delivery. and right away prompted me to set up a second journey NOT review type thing

well that wraps up part 1
Part 2 will focus more on the rules, unboxing and first gaming session as well as my hopes and aspirations what i want to do with the game for myself.
hope you enjoyed
Peace

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

THE PILGRIMAGE EAST - WARHAMMER WORLD

It seems many hobbyist from near and far at least wish to make the journey once in their lives.
the somewhat mecca of all things little and minituresque. OK its not east for everyone. but it is for me!

Having never been there before. thought id give it a try with the family. having a week off work over the summer holidays has allowed us to take a few day trips out. and we  try to do something we've never done before at least once a year. so off we went, albeit nothing like a spectacular 2 week holiday in Florida!

but still something we've never done and something I've always wanted to say "yup I've been there!"
OK..this was for me. not the kids and the wife rolled her eyes and said "OK lets give it a go"
but surprisingly we all ended up enjoying give or take a few weird things

firstly i forgot to charge my phone so had to rely on the wife to take pictures. of which she duly did...many times. unfortunately most of them looked like they were taken through rice paper or something. but still i cant complain

so heres a stock photo to show you where we went
so its really weirdly situated away from the city centre of Nottingham on the edge of a typical english industrial estate. i dont know why they dont move this to the city centre. we walked through the gates and i didnt even know if we were going the right way or not. maybe trespassing on the factory grounds that make all of those wonderful sprues we all like to snip at and eventually paint.
but i spotted the tank thing (im not a 40K fan so forgive me. i think it might be called a rhino. but i dont particularly care)
we took some obligatory photos which were naff and went on inside. looking around not sure where we were going.
inside the foyer we were presented with some huge 40k posters and some pretty amazing dioramas. a taster of things to come?

so we had a look around spotting some excellently painted mini's featured in the pages of white dwarf before heading up the huge stairwell leading into warhammer world

it leads into a shop!! i was expecting the gift shop at the end. but right away i was presented with a balding guy with the obligatory "can i help you?" drone that seems to simmer from every single games workshop store.

to which i respond "no thanks, we're just looking" of which i had to say this about 4 times to the same guy each time he came within our proximity.
each time he seemed to get more and more impatient with me. eventually rolling his eyes and shrugging his shoulders. im not going to go on a rant about GW staff as everyone else within warhammer world were excellent were good with my kids and ultimately helped to give us a pleasurable experience.
so you have the store which opens out into a huge gaming room. as i looked around in semi awe /half prepared again to say "sorry we're just looking" when the guy that makes the painting blogs for warhammer tv walked past

this dude

 ironically as he walked past he was talking about thinning out your paints....which seems to be a an ongoing meme for him these days. anyways i geeked out a little bit. my daughter called me a nerd and of we walked into the huge gaming room.
there were some other guys filming something for warhammer tv in the corner a couple of gaming groups scattered around. i was kind of hoping someone would of been playing one of the newer boxed games. but literally everyone in there was playing 40k..it must be more popular than i imagined?

off we went to bugmans bar to start with because were were all starving.
the whole place is decked out to look like a dwaven tavern. its pretty cool setup with orc heads and weaponry, art and other warhammer tidbits decorating the walls. we ordered some food. which was averagely priced. but pretty nice. for anyone that lives in England we have a lot of former pubs which became gastro pubs. they grill your steak and microwave your food. i think the same happens here. but the food itself was on the upper crust of that. regardless we all enjoyed our food and drinks and decided to actually look around properly.

so first up we heading back into the gaming room. where a hilarious situation occurred with my 4 year old approaching a table just as 2 guys were setting up. the look on this guys face as my girl walked closer and he kind of huddled his army in protection thinking she was going to be some clumsy kid with no regard for looking after his lil toys....ive got thousands..of course she knows how to behave. "she walked up and said "those are cool arent they daddy!" to which i nodded and she pleasantly walked away.....the guy didn't really know how to react and smiled awkwardly. perhaps expecting her to run over and do a swan dive across the table trashing everything in her wake.

 i then noticed these 2 guys in the corner a little more filming some vlog. i kept well out of the way of that!

so we go looking around the forgeworld booth. its amazing how high quality these models are. the niche top of the range series of models that you must have a hole in your pocket to purchase.
but regardless. they were very impressive.

the we go in search of what we actually came here for. the museum!
i couldnt find it anywhere only to realise it is tucked out of the way right by the main entrance. having to have to go back through the shop i ducked and dived to avoid Mr Canihelpyou. and paid our way in. the guy at the counter here was very helpful and just an all round nice guy. spending time to talk to my 4 year old that if she searched hard enough and found any of these 4 guys that she would win a prize.
at the point of entering here i was like "HOLY SHIT!"

this is the point where only having 2% battery on your phone doesnt come in handy. i think even if i did have enough battery life i would still of forgotton to take pictures because i was way too busy going
"oooh look at this"
"check out the detail on that"
"look at this one"
"look at that wow!"

luckily the wife did snap some for me. and one of the first things on show was this absolute gem of old
a true John Blanche gem that i think anyone would truly admire. but for older gamers like myself seeing this adorn pages of old to seeing it with my own eyes was truly a bizarre but accomplishing moment for something so defining in my venture into this hobby many years ago.

this however wasnt my favourite of the day. and sadly my wife didnt take photos of my favourite. but for anyone that has been there or has seen the warhammer quest diorama by mike mcvey that truly is something to behold. sadly i cant even find any worthy internet photos of it either!
regardless its been about 2 months now since we were there. so i just wanted to get this post up so for those that havent seen can now!





















upon leaving i was once again faced with balding over enthusiastic GW employee of the month. as i picked up some plaguebearers to add to my exotic adversaries for shadows over hammerhal this guy ACTUALLY rolled his eyes at me and said "is that it?" if it werent for my kids being with me i might if sent him home with a broken nose!

but of course im not a violent man. but if anyone deserved a slap...........

kudos to the super helpful guy on the till (same guy who was talking with my daughter) i wish there were more people like you working for games workshop as opposed to captain eyeroller!

anyways there is always 1 prick in a bunch of roses right? regardless we had a great day.
peace


Monday, 2 October 2017

SHADOWS OVER HAMMERHAL - THE JOURNEY - part 2



Sunday 16th July 2017

So we revisit to pick up where we left off last time where our daring heroes went even further down into the dark beneath Hammerhall

Only difference here is we now have 1 of the heroes painted.
Step up Mr Loremaster!



Being played by my youngest daughter and the lack of females in any GW world. I've basically conned her into believing that any slightly androgynous elf (aelf) are actually all girls.
A bit of purple and pink surely solidifies that right? But then she questions "is it a boy? because it has blue on it" to which being the good father I am and completely lie and impose a rather old fashioned look on what is male and female...she’s an inquisitive kid and I love the fact that she questions everything. But she simply would not play if she couldn't be a girl. So a little white lie here isn't going to hurt :)

So we venture on down into the dungeon, this level introduces a few new things. structured ambushes, a couple of map board triggered occurrences like silver tower, we managed to nab some treasure too, a healing elixir and some magic boots that the Cogsmith really needed and wanted to keep him swift on his feet to fire those pistols off at any ambushes. We also managed to find an ancient relic too which the Fleetmaster gladly got his paws on after a nice little 'Indiana Jones' style smash and grab game past some traps to nab the treasure!

The one thing we noted was that our characters were starting to grow on us. The added fluff for the characters in the painting guide actually gives them names. Which means you can identify with them better. This lacked in silver tower and left the characters as being pretty soulless in my opinion. and we all agree that just simply by giving a name to the characters does actually make them feel a little more real and that you care about them somewhat, and i wish they had of gone with the character names on the character cards as opposed to the 'model' name. But this is surely to cement the marketing side of the GW world. But i really feel the characters names would have been better placed here. (Nothing a little Photoshop can’t fix)

So we reached the end of our second dungeon, but there was still more rooms to search back up the stairs from where we came. So it was decided to head back on up. Sneaking past the obstacles in our path and heading back luckily without any further ambushes.

Once back to the first dungeon level you have to reopen all of the doors (i still don't get why they called them portals. Doors just fits better in this setting)
As such any previous adversaries are gone, but each time you open a door the GM has chance for an ambush. Which is a nice little touch to keep you on your toes, we decided at this point as it was getting late that we would head back to the stairs up and call it a night. Luckily no ambushes so we headed out of the dungeon and back up to Cinderfell to discover what joys the land above could bring.



First rolling on a random event which allowed us to visit 2 locations each as opposed to the 1 each of any other normal visits.
We then proceeded to discover what Cinderfell had to offer the intrepid adventurers

I'll note at this point. All the fluff, maps and images throughout the rule book start to come together.
All of the places you can visit are shown on the map so it feels like actual real places you are heading to and really helps build an RPG element into the game.

The adventurers went their separate ways as we discovered more about the city.

The Fleetmaster went first. Heading to the guild of certified Thumaturgists, (i think my daughter has been playing way too much Skyrim as she thought she would get an offer to join the guild. which you don't. Instead you get chance to buy some carefully crafted potions. Sadly having no gold this proved a worthless venture. So off he went pit fighting in a hope of hard earning a little gold. Sadly. He lost and was out of options other than to go sit in the tavern with a black eye, watching the patrons drink and be merry until the rest of the band returned.

Meanwhile across Cinderfell the Cogsmith. Had just arrived at the Rift market that stands next to the Adramar Rift after browsing the wares he decided against any purchases and decided to head off to the Toil's End to take part in a drinking contest. Sadly he drank like an Elf and ended up coming away with nothing but an extreme headache.

The Lord Castellant decided to head to the local chapel 'of the shattered blade' for a little prayer. But ultimately coming away with nothing as this place is more for faith healing and he had nothing in need of healing. Upon leaving the chapel he headed over to the house of venargo to see what the fuss was all about. Opting to not buy anything or sell at the auction house.

Lastly the loremaster was on a mission first heading to Baugrens Bountiful Bazaar and successfully haggling on some potions for the upcoming revisit beneath the city. Before finally heading to Red yugol's reverie, sitting with the red yugol to see if his (her) future could be told. Sadly this time around nothing was to prevail.

So at this point we wrapped up our second session.
What have we discovered/learnt?
  • We are still a little concerned that we won’t get much out of this game. It has a lot of added depth that silver tower lacked. But the 8 dungeon levels still seems relatively thin. And think there will be very little to revisit once we are done. You could argue that previous games like HQ had the same problem. But that base game came with 14 quests and because of its approach, still felt re-playable. "So what you knew where Sir Ragnar was kept" it just didn't seem to matter. As well as all the supporting expansions. It was never a concern. Thematically these quests have much more to them. And the approach to the dungeon layouts is still variable in a sense that each location feels different in how it plays. But does this detract away from replay-ability? Only time will tell.
  • Cinderfell. Whilst a nice new touch. It isn't explained great in the rules. At one point it says not to read anything to the players until they visit the locations. And another point it says to read them out. I liked discovering these for the first time. But as these characters are all inhabitants of this city. You would of thought they knew what was where. I can feel this getting very samey on each visit and we are yet to really discover how beneficial these are as we were relatively unsuccessful in our first visit, but again time will tell.
  • The relatively seamless dungeon layout works great. And whilst it does suggest you map out where you have been it isn’t really needed do to the charts provided on the back of the GM book.

Friday 21st July 2017
So session number 3 kicked off. after out visit to Cinderfell the heroes returned back to the first dungeon to explore the rest of that level that they had touched upon in the first session and passed back through in session 2 to get back up to the surface.

This session took us 3 hours!! As well as traipsing through previously explored chambers and discovering another6 more...3 hours! And this happened for 2 reasons.
When playing crawlers...we crawl. I mean its bad tactics to open a door on your last action right?
Unless of course you get caught with an ambush on nearly every single attempt. And the GM also rolled high on all of these so we were pretty much always up against a gang of acolytes.
The heroes took a lot of damage. A lot of recuperating and then more acolytes came along. Rinse and repeat.

We got ambushed to hell and back. And whilst there were no casualties, it was pretty close a few times. Literally every ambush roll was dropping in and big too!

There wasn’t really much new. A couple of not so interesting rooms we discovered a stairwell both up and down and the dwarf maxed out on gold. From one of the searches. Also the loremaster nearly got wiped out by a rather nasty trap!

We found a stairwell both up and down but decided to uncover the rest of the map. Where we found a room packed to the rafter with acolytes again. And in dropped an unexpected event and guess what?
Another AMBUSH!!!
Luckily myself as the Castellant got lucky with some stun roll which were able to raise my rather dwindling renown up quite a bit.

At this point the loremaster had already gone around the wheel once and overlapped the Castellant.
By the time we had cleared this last room the loremaster had gone around twice. And the Fleetmaster and Cogsmith had both picked up a skill a piece.

Once done we decided to venture back to the stairs and head back on up to Cinderfell. This time the Castellant was met with prise which finally gave me a chance to draw a skill.

After this the Heroes went off to spend their spoils.

First the Fleetmaster headed off to the rift market and picked up an ancient relic.
The Cogsmith headed over to the house of venargo and spent all of his 5 gold pieces on a treasure card of choice.
The loremaster only had 1 gold so didn’t do anything.
and myself as the Castellant wanted to try and earn some more gold in the pit fighting tournament in the vain hope of cashing in for some much needed extra renown, only to get knocked out in the first round by the barkeep...1st round KO. I'm ashamed.

Anyways we packed up and are eagerly awaiting our next session.

What did we learn this time?
As we have gotten more familiar with our characters their strengths and weaknesses are starting to stand out.
  • Lord Castellant - is a little bit too generic. He’s a healer, but not a very good one, his stun ability seems to be his greatest strength but needs a 6 to trigger it. Overall. he’s a very run of the mill average character that so far hasn’t been able to chalk up many kills and lends much better as a supporting character due to his minor healing abilities (which again need a 6) and his stun ability. I'm currently using him to tank his way in lock down some of the bad guys and hopefully get as many stuns as possible for the other heroes to come in and finish them off.
  • Cogsmith - it’s odd that the ranged expert is a dwarf! But he’s got guns! His axe doesn’t do enough damage to warrant him getting up close and personal. And the rules for portals and LOS couple with the small cramped chambers means it’s not often he can actually get a shot off. You really need to keep him protected away by using the other characters as a shield to get the best out of him. His Grudge-raker is beastly if you can string a combo of hits together. But can be quite unreliable.
  • Fleetmaster - he's the poacher of the team. Able to deal pretty high damage. Being able to link together attacks too meaning he often swoops in late to score the renown.
  • Loremaster - seems to be an absolute beast. That my 4 year old is basically clearing up the table for us. Left right and centre hacking with the sword and picking off the other guys with her ranged magic. Maybe its luck. But she’s simply tearing up the place.
  • Overall the Castellant is coming out as the poorest character so far. Maybe I’m playing him wrong. But his strength seems to be in his support. And that’s not even that great. His to hit rolls are all 4+ which means he misses quite a bit too. But his lowest damage he can deal out is 2. I guess time will tell whether or not i am actually playing him wrong. I’m hoping a few skills might flesh him out to get the best of him.
  • Searching. From the previous sessions i was kind of let down by searching. But it’s starting to flesh out a little more now. originally i wanted to house rule it that a roll of a 1 gave a low level ambush (think wandering monster in HQ) and this might still be a good little house rule to implement. However due to the sheer luck of the GM dice rolls. And the amount of times we got ambushed in this session, it might be slight overkill to bring more ambushes.
  • The games feeling a little easy and a little bit rinse and repeat, this could be due to our cautious style of play and the amount of ambushes. But i have hopes our next session will bring us cool new things to discover and draw away from the same hard slog we endured here.

So far our 3 sessions have covered the entirety of 2 levels over the course of about 6 hours of play. So my early theory of this only giving a minimal output already seem to be getting quashed. But i really do hope we get some expansions for this. The game really needs a bestiary. As i would already of started creating a new quest by now if i were able to use Skaven :)

Also i don’t quite understand how you would crossover minis from silver tower to this game. Other than exotic adversaries. And a kairic acolyte ability to bring in a pink horror. I don’t quite understand why people are saying "you can use everything from silver tower in this game" as thus far. It doesn’t seem that apparent to me.

but regardless. we are still enjoying. maybe someone can answer if weve played it wrong or have any other questions i can hopefully cover in the next part.
for now. ive got to take some pictures..




Sunday, 1 October 2017

TRYING SOMETHING NEW

If anyone follows my blog you may of noticed my disliking for unit painting. in general i dont want to spend more than 5 hours on a model. especially when you have lots to paint. not im not a massive fan of the GW style of painting. base coat wash blah blah. for me i just dont like those results and whilst they are ok for table top standard, i dont feel they are good enough for my table top. so it comes with vary patterns. if i genuinely love a model i will spend a longer time on it. and i can live with that. but when ive got 10 or 20 of the same thing. i dont really care. so how do i get better results?

well i stumbled upon a little blog not so long back. where it seemed that this same blogger has the same woes as myself.
so firstly check out his excellent blog here
HOBBY HORSE

basically he utilises much thinner paint layers/ washes have you. so that the white undercoat assists in the highlighting giving a white undercoat first. then a thin brown wash to sit in all of the recesses. and then painting your thinned colours as you will see. some of the results are great....so thought i would give it a punt with this guy first

he was a freebie from the marauders of the apocalype pack i bought from avatars of war. see the blog post on that here

so first things first...this guy..i can see why he was free. he is made from some sort of resin that if i were to describe what it is like....i would say "soap"
yes soap.... a really bizarre type of resin...if you see the painted figure of this guy in the avatars of war website...he looks very little like this one in terms of quality.
and to top it off. i dropped him on my carpet (bare in mind i love thick carpets so my living room is like walking on warm sand) and he broke into about 5 different pieces!!!
yup. soap doesnt make good resin!

this made me care even less about this figure. so i glued him back together and now even more so than before he was the perfect model for my first test with this new paint method.

 all of the paints used are extreme thinned down with a medium/water/paint mixture. and whilst not perfect and definitely needing some work. it still did'nt turn out too bad. the integrity of the miniature remains to be seen though. next time i pull him out for a game. i fully expect him to be in pieces again
 the skin would still require some work. but the somewhat translucent appearance is perfect for skin. it just needs some topmost highlights to really set it off. and you can see the base shading coming through a little thick around the pictorials...something ill need to work on.
 You can still see the odd spec of white in the odd very deeply details recesses, not really seen to the naked eye. but as soon as you take a picture and blow it up...well I'm sure I'm not the only one that reels back in horror.
 this method doesn't lend itself at all to metallics at all and you need to paint these in full. i went for a blackened steel look to help speed the model up.
overall he didnt turn out too bad for a paint job that probably only took about 40 minutes max. the intention here was to attempt to paint something that still looks palpable on the gaming table. but still looks better than the GW base coat wash highlight method.

overall. I'm happy at a first attempt at completely ripping out my painting ethic and trying something brand new. whilst it lends itself perfectly to flesh tones, it seems like it will be very helpful with unit painting, which is clearly one of my biggest bug bears