Some of you may be aware that in my day job I work as a Theatre Technician. Long hours and evening and weekend shifts are hardly conducive to a great gaming schedule but sometimes my skillset can really help me elevate my gaming to the next level. In particular I’m talking about sound editing and cueing.
For my birthday I will be giving myself the present of Mice & Mystics from Plaid Hat Games and I wanted to really amp up the storytelling aspect by adding some music and sound effects. The designer of M&M is Jerry Hawthorne and his games (such as Stuffed Fables) all feature a great story at their heart but a great story can become a turgid trek through fluffed pronunciation and monotonous, inflectionless prose when in the hands of the wrong storyteller.
I figured the easiest way to solve that problem was to prerecord the story scenes and play them back at the right moment. As the game has been out for a while now I did a quick google to see if anyone had already attempted this. And that’s when I found this…
That’s right, ten dollars to a charitable cause and I had Mad Men’s Rich Sommer narrating my game for me. Rich does a great job and gives each character a unique voice but I knew I wanted more which is where my editing skills come in.
I always edit in Adobe Audition largely because that’s the programme I learnt at university, although back then it was called Cool Edit. Next I needed some sound effects and music to really make the voice recordings pop. I can’t share my finished recordings with you because, well, copyright, but I can point you towards my main sources.
Once I had my audio set up it was time to find a way to play it back easily during gameplay. If I were running a show I’d have used QLab, but this is a mac only product and at home I’m limited to my android tablet so once again I turned to google to find the best Qlab alternative and I discovered Audio Cues. I was so happy with this app that after 5 minutes of playing with it I sprung for the full version.
As you can see I have my Cues lined up down the side there. Each cue can be triggered manually via the Go Button or automatically with or after the previous cue. You can also use a bluetooth keyboard and assign effects to specific keys, for example I have the Cat sound effect keyed to the number 2, meaning whenever Brodie shows up I can play his meow.
Cues can also be set to loop which is useful for the ambience tracks I have such as the sewer and rushing water effects. You can also set individual levels for all the tracks to make them louder or quieter as necessary.
With everything programmed I am now super psyched to actually get the game to the table and put my audio through its paces. Unfortunately, it’s not my birthday until November!
Until next time, have fun gaming and tell some great stories!
A man dies in suspicious circumstances and you think nothing of it until a package arrives on your doorstep containing a notebook, a dossier of receipts and surveillance photos and a letter begging you to look below the surface and find the truth behind who killed Joseph Bremer.
Detective Stories from IDventure is a new detective experience in a box. Each scenario will provide you with a new case to solve. Unlike in other detective games you simply play as yourself and you can play with others or on your own. In case one, a journalist, Carl Notebeck, has sent you a series of clues he has gathered pertaining to the death of Joseph Bremer in a house fire. Carl believes the fire to not be an accident but is on the run from the police and so has asked you to solve the case.
In the box you will find a series of clues. In this particular box we had some photos, newspaper clippings, part of a bracelet, a letter, a notebook, a page of a diary, a matchbook, a crumpled piece of paper and a dossier containing around 25 other items of evidence.
Detective Stories doesn’t use artwork, instead the items you are given are “real” or at least a simulation of real, for example the newspaper clippings are formatted to look like clippings but are actually printed and cut out of paper. The pictures in the game, such as photos of suspects are actual photos of real people.
In this way Detective Stories makes you feel like you are actually doing some detective work as you sift through papers and receipts and even a medical prescription. The game uses physical props, which you can examine for clues, holding them in your hands and manipulating them in case information is hidden in unusual places.
It also uses real world websites, such as a photo storage website and you can even search for clues on a suspect's Facebook page. This aspect of the game does have its drawbacks though as some players might not have access to these sites or to the internet or, as happened with our play through, Facebook might be down that day. Yep we literally played on the worst possible day when Facebook could not display images. We did still solve the case correctly but this case and possibly others do require an active internet connection to complete.
How Does It Play?
Detective Stories drops you straight into the action, a single page explaining a few essential facts and a list of suspects is all the exposition you’re going to get. After that you’re on your own, there are no rules, other than you should try to eliminate all the suspects, until you are left with only one possible answer. When you have that answer you will follow the link set out in the game description and see if you were correct. If you got the right answer the website will show you the exonerating evidence for each suspect and you can check if you were right or not.
The game plays out as quickly or as slowly as you’d like, there’s no time limit and no set order in which you must do things. We played fairly leisurely with two players over the course of two hours. The publisher recommends that the game can be played in as little as 90 minutes and with up to 5 players.
Detective Stories doesn’t feel like a board game, it’s an activity that you can bring out with a small gathering of friends as something to pass the time with as you enjoy a glass of wine and a tray of nibbles. While it does give you the feeling of sifting through evidence, it never felt sexy or exciting like a TV procedural, it felt more mundane than that. It also didn’t feel too taxing, with the exception of the cipher which if anything felt a bit too complex.
Some of the evidence required a matching piece which would then unlock the evidence and allow you to eliminate a suspect, while others could be eliminated by simply reading everything carefully. The solution is not hard to find, you just have to be methodical and eliminate all the suspects.
We had fun. It was an enjoyable way to pass a couple of hours. The writing is a little corny at times, with people writing letters in a way that no person would ever do in real life but putting that aside Detective Stories produced a very pleasant, co-operative, logical thinking evening.
However, the problem, I think, is going to be the price. IDventures has quoted me 25 euros for the first case, which is £22.50 at time of going to press. This strikes me as a little too expensive for the games market right now. For a two hour experience that you cannot play a second time Detective Stories is more expensive than most other games of this style. For example Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game retails around £40 but provides 5 cases each with a playing time between 2 and 3 hours. The Unlock series provides 3 adventures for £20, Chronicles of Crime has 5 episodes for £25 and of course Sherlock Consulting Detective provides 10 scenarios for around £40.
The good thing is that playing Detective Stories doesn’t destroy any of the game components so when you’re done you can pop it all back in the box and hand it off to a friend to play, which is exactly what I did.
So, if you are looking for a one-off game to enjoy with a group of friends who aren’t necessarily gamers then Detective Stories might be the experience for you. The game is a pleasant experience that combines the use of real world props with an unfolding narrative to create a gentle puzzle for you to solve over a couple of hours and a bowl of chocolate swiss rolls. However if you’re looking for value for money then there are plenty of alternative detective experiences on the market right now that will give you more banh for your buck.
Detective Stories from IDventure will be released in the UK on September 1st 2019. This review is based on a pre-release copy provided by IDventure.
So, I'm on annual leave which usually means I have a lot of time to paint. This year I've decided to use my time to try and finish painting Descent 2.0. There are seven main expansions and today I present two of them, Trollfens and Manor of Ravens
The Trollfens expansion adds two new heroes and two new monster groups. The heroes are a mage called Augur and a scout called Roganna. Both of these came out better than expected. I'm very happy with the yellow robes which were simple to achieve using a basecoat of GW Wraithbone washed with Contrast Nazdreg Yellow and highlighted with P3 Moldy Ochre. With Roganna I really wasn't sure I could achieve much but in the end the details like the leaves and fur trim really help the model pop.
The monsters in the set are harpies, which again turned out better than I had hoped. I wasn't sure how to approach them but in the end settled for painting them grey and washing them with Contrast Basilicanum Grey before simply just picking out the wings, hair and faces. They aren't perfect but they'll do for tabletop purposes.
The Plague Worms however I enjoyed much more. They were painted almost entirely using contrast paints. I began with a base coat of wraithbone and then primed them with a layer of Contrast Plaguebearer Flesh. Once this was dry I applied a second layer, mixing from Contrast Snakebite Leather, through Plaguebearer Flesh and finishing with Contrast Iyanden Yellow. The consistency of the Contrast paints allowed me to wet blend effortlessly. For the master version I mixed in some Volupus Pink around the mouth.
Manor of Ravens
This set posed me some problems. I didn't particularly like any of the models and when that is the case motivation can be hard to find. The set has two heroes and two monster groups like Trollfens. In this case there is a scout, Thaiden and a warrior, Alys. Alys is armoured, head to toe, which I always find difficult but she turned out okay. Thaiden I think turned out better than I had hoped but I still feel he's missing something.
The bandits are the larger group and they really aren't particularly interesting. Once I cut them off their bases and put them on the sculpted ones I was happier with them.
The Wraiths I was hoping would turn out really well but in the end I couldn't get the results I wanted. I think this may be because of the materials used. The sculpts are a rubbery plastic which is prone to detail loss and mould lines. I think if these hard been a hard plastic (like a GW miniature) then I might have gotten better results. As it was I decided to just power on through and get them finished.
As with all my Descent models I aim to spend around an hour per model. This allows me to get a reasonable finish I am happy with without the entire set taking me a life time to finish. At the time of going to press I have completed 97 of the 160 2nd Edition miniatures and the biggest decision facing me right now is, which model do i paint as number 100?
Until next time, keep on painting...
Discovering Vallejo Violet Ink changed the Duke's painting style forever!
Theodora sat upright in the little girl’s bed and rubbed her glass eyes. “Wake up everyone.” She called “Our girl is asleep and the witching hour is almost upon us.” Obediently the other stuffies did as they were told. Flops hopped up the bed her long ears flapping behind her as she did so. “Where to captain, my captain?” The eager young rabbit cried, donning her bow and quiver. “To the Fall, where else?” Theodora replied. “Not the Fall.” bemoaned Lumpy, the grumpy elephant. “Yes, we must. Crepitus’s forces are massing beyond the veil and it is up to us Stuffies, we brave and valiant few, to defend our girl from his clutches.” replied Stitch the ancient sock puppet. “For tonight, young stuffies, we go to war!”
Stuffed Fables is a storytelling adventure game from designer Jerry Hawthorne and Plaid Hat Games. Players take on the roles of stuffed toys defending their charge, a young girl, while she sleeps from the machinations of the evil brother of the moon, Creptius.
A Quick Overview
Stuffed Fables draws much of its inspiration from RPG’s like Dungeons and Dragons while attempting to simplify and streamline a myriad of rulebooks into just a couple of pages. The game works by having players read out the story from the book and at certain points they will be asked to place their figures on the map and play out an encounter, which will determine what happens next in the story.
During an encounter the players each control one stuffy and take a turn by drawing five dice from the dice bag. White dice are resolved immediately, the player rolls one or more of the dice they have drawn attempting to roll equal to or more than the number of stuffing (hit points) on their character card. If they do they find some stuffing and add a new stuffing token to their card. Black dice are then resolved by placing them on the threat track.
Any remaining dice may then be used to take actions. Any dice may be used to move. Red dice are used for melee combat and green for ranged. Yellow dice can be used to perform search actions and purple dice are wild. Blue dice have no special function but usually bolster defensive abilities and healing.
After the player finishes taking actions they check the threat track. If there are dice equal to or more than the number of minions in play the minions attack. If there are no minions in play but there are dice equal to the number of stuffies in play they resolve a surge (a bad thing, often resulting in enemies arriving).
Players win the game by advancing through the storybook and completing the final encounter. Players instantly lose the game if all stuffies are simultaneously knocked out.
Why Choose It?
I grew up on RPG’s. Long before I discovered board games I would have my nose pressed into the pages of my dad’s Dungeon Master's Guide. I could quote you page numbers for any given rule and tell you random generator table results from memory. For me, Stuffed Fables seemed like an ideal My First D&D board game to play with the game night guys, to wet their toes and show them a different kind of game from our usual fare.
Did they like it?
Dave: “Imaginative and enjoyable setting, nothing like playing as a teddy bear with a large kitchen knife!”
The Rules are Woolier than a Knitted Stuffy
The problem with Stuffed Fables and believe me, I go back and forth on whether or not this is a problem, is the rules. They are less a strict set of guidelines on how the mechanics of this game interact and are, in fact, more of a loose collection of suggestions on how the game should work, without always going into specifics.
In every game I have played of Stuffed Fables I have run into questions about how exactly a rule is supposed to work. A good example is Line of Sight. Line of Sight in most miniature based combat games is a big deal and usually causes a lot of contention especially among the more beardy of my gaming buddies. Stuffed Fables gets around the problems of line of sight by simply not defining it at all. The problem with that is that other rules state that your stuffy can do something as long as they are “in sight” of something else.
So I asked the designer to define Line of Sight and Jerry responded “what do you think your stuffy can see from where they are standing?”* and that was when Stuffed Fables clicked for me. The game is providing a story and a framework. If a problem arises in the game which the rules don’t cover, make a logical decision and just continue playing. If everyone is having fun then you’re playing it right.
All that said, my logical, rules-abiding brain still butts up against these not infrequent rules discrepancies and is immediately pulled from the immersive storytelling experience while I try and work out if I missed something or what the original intent was with the rule as written.
Luck of the Draw
I’ve played ten games of Stuffed Fables now and largely I haven’t seen too many times when a player can’t do something on their turn. However, because your actions are driven by what dice you draw randomly from a bag it can happen that you just can’t do anything on your turn. For example we had a player draw 3 white and 2 black dice from the bag meaning they could take no actions at all. Fortunately they could make use of other dice we had stored on the Courageous cards around the table.
Alternatively the scenario can present you with a problem that means you simply can’t act. For example, the train scenario has a line of enemies blocking the stuffies path. You cannot move through an enemy space and you cannot attack them without a ranged weapon. Therefore two of our party simply could not do anything on their turn and were forced to pass. This is neither heroic nor fun. In these circumstances it makes sense to switch up the order of play and simply choose a different starting player. In fact many of these style of games such as Descent or TMNT Shadows of the Past do this in order to allow the person best equipped to handle a situation to act at any given time.
Is it my go yet?
When the players finish a page the first player marker moves to the next player. It is possible as happened with our play through that a page is completed before the last stuffy gets to activate, in this case they do not get a turn and because the turn order changes they must wait another two turns before getting to do anything. A simple fix for this is to have the next player in turn order become the first player (or bookkeeper) for the next encounter.
Despite the obvious flaws I have experienced with the game I have to say that I really enjoy it. It does a good job of immersing you in it’s world and I enjoy the variety of encounters and puzzles that the game offers. I do wish that there were more enemy types, six stories in and I’m bored of encountering yet another band of crawlies.
I love the theme here too, this is Toy Story the board game, plushy animals coming to life, picking up meat cleavers and fighting an army of darkness, all while rescuing lost toys and learning life lessons about growing up. Some reviewers have said that this is a game they wouldn’t play with a group of grown ups but I disagree. Anyone with a sense of imagination and wonder can enjoy the story on offer here. The experience of playing with adults may be different but it’s not a bad one and Stuffed Fables acts as a great stepping stone into other more complex dungeon crawling style games.
As for playing the game with children and non-gamers, I offer a word of caution. While this a great game with simple rules and training wheels, I don’t think it is necessarily a game that should be played without a gamer or at least a parent to help keep the story moving. Those rules breakdowns could be very off-putting for someone unfamiliar with this style of game, so having an experienced person there to fill in the gaps will keep everyone having a good time.
Stuffed Fables is an RPG-lite experience that has a wonderful theme, beautiful art, stunning miniatures but is not without its flaws. However in my opinion those flaws are worth overlooking for the story the game is just dying to tell you. So, strap on your letter opener, do up your buttons and lets take our stuffies once more into The Fall.
The Road to Victory project began back in 2016 as a way to upgrade the quality of my urban/modern cityscape photos. I never considered just how long it would take or just how far I would end up pushing the idea. The key to taking a good miniature photo is the details. You want the world to feel lived in, like the figure you have painted could actually exist in a real place. That's why I put so much effort into my backgrounds and today I'd like to share with you just one of my finished tables, the apocalypse has arrived!
The two boards I've just finished feature two devastated shops/cafes so I decided that the photos should have a post-apocalyptic vibe. Our superheroes are taking on a horde of zombies controlled by the voodoo priest Papa Zombie, supported by his vampiric sidekick Sanguine and the demonic automaton Doom Train.
The road tiles themselves are made by Secret Weapon Miniatures although finding these in the UK now is a bit like finding gold dust. The roads are painted using a magical spray called Montana Gold Black Granite which with a little drybrushing gives this wonderful tarmac look.
The buildings are actually a single kit from TTCombat. I modified parts of it to suit my needs but for the low low price of just £9 i couldn't really go wrong. The tile floors I printed out and glued down, making additional tiles from cardboard to add scatter. The rubble, some of it is part of the tile, the rest is a scatter product from Warlord Games called Building Rubble and the bricks are from Juweela Scenics in 1:32 scale. The wooden beams are simply lengths of balsa wood and the litter scatter and newspapers are all of my own devising.
The smashed glass was made using 1mm clear acrylic and a hammer and attached using canopy glue which dries clear and prevents frosting.
The cafe bathroom I am particularly proud of. The accessories themselves are purchased from TTCombat. The mess and grime was achieved using Citadel Hobby Contrast Paints and if you look closely enough you can see a copy of TMNT#1 has been left lying around for reading material.
There are so many other details I'll probably miss some but here goes. The Lamposts are from Fenris Games and are magnetised to the tiles using 3mm magnets sunken into the plastic. The fire hydrant, gas bottles, sandwich boards, railings and dustbins are also from Fenris. The wheelie bins can be found at Knights of Dice, an Australian company who produce a fantastic range of mdf terrain. The bench is from Sarissa Precision as are the archways that form the backdrop. The fire escape is from 4ground, the sofa from TTcombat, the barricades are from Battlesystems and the trees are from Amazon. The vehicles, phoneboxes and magazine dispenser are from Antenociti's Workshop and the pallets from Warsenal.
I think that's everything. The miniatures are largely from Pulp City and I've used a bunch of plastic zombies from Run Fight or Die to make the horde. If you have any questions about about anything you see here drop me a line in the comments or via the contact us form. Don't forget to like our Facebook page for daily painting updates.
This weekend my long suffering gaming buddy and I decided to go dungeon delving. I’ve owned Descent 2nd Edition since release but have always found it tricky to get to the table, or at least to get a campaign to completion. The problem always seemed to be that as the campaign progressed the victors were awarded with additional power while the loser stayed roughly the same. This asymmetrical progression is not uncommon in campaign games but once the writing is on the wall it becomes harder to get a group enthused about playing again.
Enter Road to Legend. Here we have a fully co-op Descent experience, all of us human players against the machine. So Dave and I broke out our heroes and took the game for a spin.
Road to Legend is an app driven experience. Each campaign starts and ends with preset missions, with the other games being drawn from a pool of random side missions based on the expansions and additional content you own for the game, meaning each time you play the game will offer different choices. We decided to play the Rise of all Goblins campaign, which is a short tutorial style campaign played over 6 “weeks”.
Weeks are an in game term for rounds. Each week you can undertake a mission, go shopping, rest or train. Undertaking missions will increase your gold reserves and increase your fame, which will affect what items appear in the shop. The more famous you become the better your selection of items.
We chose our heroes, Dave plumped for a drunken dwarven knight called Grisban the Thirsty. Hoping to compensate for Grisban’s uncoordinated nature and lack of any apparent ability to comprehend the written word, I went for Leoric of the Book. When choosing a hero you can pick from among four main archetypes, Warrior, Healer, Scout and Mage, however you may then choose a specific class from those you have available to you. I chose the Runemaster, a powerful spell user, while Dave picked the Knight class, an honorable defender.
And with that we set off on our very first mission. The app walks you through a tutorial mission which predetermines a lot of your actions, some of which are not great. For example after knocking out one of your heroes the app has you open a door and activate a bunch of monsters instead of allowing you time to heal up and prevent your heroes getting smacked upside the head.
The other problem with the tutorial is that you can accidentally miss some of the instructions by killing monsters before they have time to activate and demonstrate the various abilities the app was going to show you. Regardless the tutorial is okay but I still recommend printing the rulebook and having it on hand to look up just how to handle situations that will arise.
Having played Legends of the Alliance previously I was pleasantly surprised with Road to Legend at just how quickly it plays. We bashed out 3 full missions in under 5 hours and managed to stop for pizza and wings (and Cheesecake!). The tutorial is mostly a bash ‘em up style mission, teaching you the basics of combat with a small amount of exploration. However the other two missions each played differently. The second mission was an escort mission while mission 3 had us tracking a dragon and jumping from mini map to mini map. Each one offered a challenge but played quickly and I had a really good time with it. I was disappointed that the side missions did not reward us with any xp to allow us to level up our characters between missions though.
Next time we will take on the finale and I’m psyched to do it!
Welcome back to the final Painting Stuffed Fables article. Sorry it's taken me so long to get around to finishing this series, but we finally arrive at the evil Crepitus.
Throughout this paint job I do a lot of wet blending, which is a technique of placing down layers of paint, usually starting quiet dark and working up to a lighter highlight without allowing the previous coat to dry. By its nature you have to work quickly which makes it tricky to photograph. I've used this technique extensively across the Stuffed Fables models as they have large flat surfaces which are perfect to practice on. I use a Citadel Large Drybrush to do my blending as it has a large surface area allowing you to work quickly but also to blend very smoothly too.
To begin with I undercoated the model with some Army Painter Wolf Grey.
Next I began work on the wet blending on the robes. I began with P3 Grave Digger Denim and used P3 frostbite to mix in as a highlight until I was happy. To give the edges of the robes a bit more shadow I added in some P3 Greatcoat Grey to the mix.
Once I was happy with this I began adding more highlights to the ruffles especially around the belt area using a mix of frostbite and grave digger denim, specifically trying to pick out the top edges of everything.
After a lot more blending I was happy enough with the dark grey. Time to lay down some light grey (Yeah I know the last three pictures largely looked the same...). This time I'm picking out the waistcoat and I'm using P3 bastion grey which has a brown tint to it.
And once again, while it's wet I begin to mix in the frostbite.
Switching to a smaller brush I highlight the edges of the folds, adding in a little white to the mix. With a final highlight of almost pure white to really make the edges pop.
Next I laid down the base coat for the skin. I'm using P3 Thrall Flesh for this as I want Crepitus to have an unhealthy, unwholesome look to him.
Then using Greatcoat Grey I blacked in his eyes and his teeth and added some shadows around the collar, belt and waistcoat.
Using white I then picked out his eyes and teeth before starting on the flesh. For this I mixed Thrall Flesh with P3 Menoth White Highlight and picked out the detail. I also threw some black undercoat on the hair.
Next I added a second set of highlights, mixing in more Menoth White Highlight, really concentrating on picking out the nose and chin. I also picked out the belt in Bastion Grey and wet blended the hat with the same mix of greatcoat, grave digger denim and frostbite from before.
To finish off I drybrushed the hair with bastion grey and then washed it with a mix of Army Painter Dark Tone and Black. I threw some P3 Bloodtracker brown on his boots and some gold on his buckle. The hands were then drybrushed with Citadel Hexwraith Flame before being washed with more of the same deepening the colour around the fingers.
I finished the model's base using a wet blend of P3 Beaten Purple and using Frostbite to lighten it around the edges.
And there we have it. Stuffed Fables is now complete. Expansion???
Tune in next week for a look at some post apocalyptic terrain but until then, keep on painting...
The Duke only just finished painting Jerry Hawethorne's Stuffed Fables but he's already getting excited about Jerry's next game... Aftermath!
This week I'd like to share with you a few photos of my modern city terrain, specifically the resin vehicles from Antenocitis Workshop which I put the finishing touches on this week.
I know a lot of people use toy cars for modern scenery, but for me there is something about painted resin that fits better in the world because of the way it blends in with everything else. They also have a nice solid weight to them and they are perfectly scaled for use with 28mm-32mm minis.
Here we have the "Crapi Mechanics" car which can be modelled with the hood up or down or if you're clever you can make it do both.
Walter White needs to make a quick get away after robbing the gaming cafe.
Next up we have the bricked Mercedes. This one I wasn't sure about, I didn't know if I could pull off the silver look but in the end I think I'm happy with how it turned out. This one will go perfectly with some terrain tiles I'm making at the moment so pop back to see how I got on with those in a future update.
The cop cars come in a variety of styles, these ones are the old crown vics although I'm also quite keen on the camero too. I still need to sort out doing some transfers for these.
Silverager is making trouble for the local police officers.
The ubiquitous pick up truck, every city needs one, maybe more than one. The pick up is great and can be used in loads of different setup. This one is heavily rusted but I can definitely see me picking up more of these in the future to have different colours and levels of weathering.
Foxy Blade loiters by the garage looking for no good criminals.
And the newest addition to the city is the freshly finished yellow cab. This one turned out much better than I had hoped. I made the mistake of using a brush pen I had on hand at work to paint the windows. Unfortunately, every time I then added paint the ink on the windows would run. Despite that though I think this turned out great. For the chequered pattern and taxi sign I just printed the designs and stuck them on but I still think they work.
These punks are up to no good.
You can grab all these and loads more besides at Antenociti's Workshop. Like many other small independent UK miniature companies, things are a bit tight over there at the moment so if you have been thinking about making an order, please do so and help support the wonderful people who make our gaming tables so much better!
Back in the mists of time a little worker placement game called Alien Frontiers took the world by storm, launching on a then little-known platform called kickstarter. Today companies launch multi-million dollar projects on Kickstarter on a weekly basis and excitable gamers throw cash at their computer screens in a fervour of FOMO induced excitement. But when the dust settles and the campaign burbles along through the manufacturing and shipping process some of that excitement can ebb away.
So today I thought I’d take a moment to gee myself back up and get back on board the hype train for three Kickstarter projects I backed that are delivering this year.
First up we have 7th Continent, What Goes Up Must Come Down:
When the base game delivered I think I had only a few days between it arriving and it hitting the table. I’ve already had WGUMCD for the better part of a month and I’ve yet to set sail and brave the shores of the continent. Now, my logical brain would tell you that I’m not playing it until I’ve finished painting all the minis but I think there could be other reasons too.
Firstly 7th Continent is a long game, sure you can break it up into any sized chunks you want to but at the end of the day, once you start playing a curse you can’t play the game with anyone else until you finish playing the campaign or die. Secondly, the game now takes up two huge boxes which are currently split between my parents house in Manchester and my flat in Chester. The task of actually getting the game to the table is now a organisational challenge which requires forward planning and a really big backpack.
So, what can I do to get myself excited once again to visit
? I can remind myself of all the unforgettable things I’ve done and discovered on the continent. The time I beat an old man to death and stole his possessions, the time I lost my leg while confidently declaring, “No, I’m right, it’ll be fine.” and of course the conversation that went…
Me: “I’m going to put my hand into this nest of blood sucking insects.”
Dave: “Dude, don’t do that, nothing good can come of that.”
Me: “Eh, I think I’m gonna do it…”
With all the expansions added in my time with the continent will become even more varied as I can soar across the skies in a hot air balloon, or surge beneath them on a raft riding on an underground river. Adventure awaits...
Second we have Zombicide Invader:
I backed Invader after having only really dabbled in Modernicide and I was pretty caught up in the excitement of being involved in a big CMON campaign. I bought pretty much everything and now I am dreading not only trying to find somewhere to store this mountain of plastic, but also carving out the time that it is going to take to paint it all!
I’ve played a fair bit more Zombicide since I backed this campaign and while I enjoy it, I do find the gameplay a little shallower (and a lot more random) than maybe I would have liked. Thankfully Invader is seeing largely favourable reviews across the interwebs which has me a but more pumped, but no less intimidated by the sheer amount of content I have ordered!
So to bring up my excitement once more I’m going to concentrate on the things that make Invader different to base zombicide. CMON have introduced small tweaks to improve the gameplay such as concentrated fire and friendly fire, as well as new gameplay elements like the bots and sentry guns. And of course I’m looking forward to painting some of the homage minis like, Rick & Morty, Claptrap and the Portal Sentry Turret.
Finally we have TMNT Adventures Change is Constant and City Fall:
This is one I am really looking forward to. If I love any intellectual property more than any other, it is the Turtles. The TMNT Adventures line is based on an old favourite of mine, TMNT Shadows of the Past, designed by our treasured Kevin Wilson. However, the keyword here is “based on”. The game has been developed by two first time designers/developers, Daniel Lansdown and Pete Walsh. While Dan and Pete are very devoted and passionate, I do worry that the game may come across more as a very well produced fan project.
The campaign featured two full base sets, two smaller expansions and dozens and dozens of new playable heroes making this no small challenge to playtest thoroughly. Pete and Daniel also developed a new AI system which allows for the game to be played fully co-op.
This is my biggest fear! I really want to play the co-op version! Whenever we play board games I always end up playing the villain. In Shadows of the Past I was shredder, in Descent I’m the overlord, in imperial assault I’m the imperials, in Dark World I was Korak… you get the point. The introduction of an AI system meant I could finally pick up my twin katana and kick some foot as everyone's favourite blue bandana’d hero.
During the campaign Dan and Pete put out a video showing Co-op Mode in its full glory and I was still excited until the moment when the “Intelligence” part of the AI broke down. As soon as the heroes went out of line of sight the villains simply “forgot” where the heroes were. Sure you can explain it away as the ninjas vanishing from sight but I’m worried that the system could also lead to scenarios that simply break like a poorly coded video game.
However, I love the Turtles. I adore the IDW universe. I admire just how much passion Dan and Pete have poured into this project and how closely they have stuck to the storyline of the comic arcs. I cannot wait to paint some mousers or break out some of the more esoteric characters like Usagi Yojimbo or Pigeon Pete. October cannot get here soon enough for me to hold this big box of turtle love in my arms even if it turns out to be a fan made love letter to the franchise with holes that need patching, it’ll still be the best collection of TMNT inspired gaming components ever brought to the table.
Hey y'all, The Duke here. As some of you who are following the Facebook page will know I recently started painting my Descent 2nd Edition minis. Initially when I bought the game I only painted the Merriods, which were the one mini I didn't have a proxy for already in my collection. Last year I painted a handful of the heroes (3 to be precise) to use with Road to Legend when the app came out, but that was largely it. So for the most part the game has sat unpainted since 2012 and I thought it was about time I changed that.
And there you have it, I still have a handful of the Lieutenant miniatures to paint before I can really call it done but I'll post those in a future update. The set was painted in a little over a month. As with most board game projects I set myself a time limit of no more than 2 hours per model. This keeps me on track to finish in a timely manner, rather than having a project drag out so long that I get distracted and never finish.
Some of the minis took less, with some batch painted across a single evening, while the heroes were largely painted at a pace of one a night, generally requiring more attention and detailing. All the monsters have been rebased on MDF bases as seen in my last post, with a magnet countersunk into them to work with my newly constructed carry cases.
And also so I can do this...
You can see more pictures including some First Edition and Second Edition expansion minis over in the new Gallery. I've also been hard at work updating the new Duke of the Blood Keep homepage which can be found here. Please bear with me as I work on this, there's a lot to do. You'll find some galleries haven't been added yet and others may have some placeholder content. I plan to do a whole slew of new pictures over the summer to bring some life to some older paint jobs and really display them to their best so keep checking back for new content.
I have also worked hard to update the mobile version of the site which should now display reasonably well, even if it takes a bit too long to load at times. You can access the blogs and many of the gallery pages via the menu button which should always appear at the top of the screen.
Anyway, that's about it from me for another week. If you like what you see here don't forget to comment down below and if you want more regular updates subscribe to the facebook feed. Until next time, keep on painting...
The Duke played Warhammer Sixth Edition for 6 years with his undead army. In that time he never won a game... not once!