Saturday, August 29, 2015

Brother In Arms

I am a huge fan of Hasslefree Miniatures. Every one of their sculpts oozes character and charm. I also believe they produce some of the finest female forms in the business. I have painted their cultists for Strange Aeons (among other things) and little Hayden the slayer for dungeon crawling. 

This past Christmas I received a copy of their Sir Olwyn mini. I love the way he looks wise and devout, a perfect experienced mentor knight. Truly one of my favorite figures Hasslefree produces. I had plans on using him as a PC for Pathfinder and had primed him up, but then never got around to painting him. Then I found Frostgrave and realized I had a perfect templar ready to go.

Meet Hadrian Owlkey, elder brother to my wizard, Amuron Owlkey.

Hadrian protects his brother among the frozen ruins of Frostgrave, even having renounced his knightly order to follow him on his mysterious quest. Hadrian isn't privy to all of Amuron's secrets, but trusts his brother implicitly. Is his trust well placed? We shall see.

Templars are expensive, so they may not be the best choice starting out, but damn does he make for a pretty model on the table.

Of course my camera refuses to pick up the highlighting on the cloak but I assure you it is there. You can see that I've based him differently than my construct, having gone for a dead grass look that I think I favor over the green in the dead, frozen wasteland that is Frostgrave. I may go back and rebase the construct so he matches the rest of my warband going forward.

Speaking of frozen wasteland, I have decided that I will end up getting a Frostgrave specific mat at some point when I'm feeling rich. I want one of Frontline Gaming's Alpine mats because I think it looks perfect and I'm leaning toward 4'x4' for my games. Plus the size would ensure the mat gets used for things like 40K as well, so it's not to tied to one system.

In the interim, I went to the local fabric store and picked up a yard of white fleece to use as a 3'x3' mat.

It's a little stark, but it does the trick and was less than six bucks. Really a bargain you can't beat. I'm also starting to look into some extra ruins to bulk out my Frostgrave. I'd rather not have to cast Fog all the time, so having some extra places to hide would be great.

Anway, that's all for now. Happy gaming!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Forays Into Frostgrave

I love skirmish gaming. I used to play Mordheim. I'm a huge fan of Song of Blades and Heroes. So I'm always on the lookout for new skirmish possibilities, and it's no surprise that I have run across Frostgrave in my internet travels. It had piqued my interest, but I hadn't taken the plunge recently until some players at my local game store started buying books and kind of forming a group. Not to be left out, I also bought a book and so far I'm hooked.

For those not yet in the know, Frostgrave is about a ruined, snowbound city filled with the treasures of a former magical empire. Each player gets a wizard, who hires a warband to travel into these ruins and find gold, magic weapons and spellbooks for glory and gain. These wizards then fight in amazing wizard battles while their minions hoof it with the loot.

Like this, but with snow.

There are several different classes of wizard, like blasty Elementalists and evil Necromancers, but I went with an Enchanter. I did this for one simple reason: I can make golems. Of course there's the added benefit of being able to move treasures around and make magic items, but really it's all about the golems. 

Now, most people start with painting their wizard and maybe their apprentice first. Not me. I want a big stompy golem and I want it now. So I looked through my piles of miniatures and had a minor brain storm. I grabbed one of these:

I used to buy a ton of D&D minis back in the day, so I have several of these goofy, Ben-Grimm-looking assholes taking up space in a box. A little cutting, gluing and painting later and I have this monstrous beauty:

I wanted him to look less like a constructed beast and more like something dredged up from the ruins of Frostgrave on the fly. Hence the books and broken weapons. I also filled the gaps with my basing gel to make it look like he's held together with dirt in certain places, and a little static grass helps with that effect.

I'm really proud of him and he makes a great wall to block line of sight to my wizard and put the hurt on people who come to near.

Speaking of line of sight, I kinda noticed in my first (and only so far) game that ranged weapons are fucking awesome. So awesome in fact that I lost my whole warband and decided to start over from scratch. I also made the decision that I wanted to stop getting shot. To that end, I took the spell Fog, which makes 6" long, 3" high, 1" wide walls of you-can't-see-me that linger on the battlefield. 

Since I needed something to represent these but didn't want to get too fancy or expensive, I made these:

They are simply strips of thin card with a fog pattern printed on them, plus a couple of mini walls to help judge line of sight if there's any question that a model could be seen across them.

Simple, effective and if I find I need more fog I can just cut out more strips. No getting shot in the face for me.

Even though I got thoroughly housed and I have a couple misgivings with the ruleset (but that's a post for another time) I am still excited to get playing in earnest. The warband is small, so I'm hoping to get it done relatively quickly by my standards. 

If not, well at least my golem looks pretty.

Happy gaming!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Meow! HissssBOOM!

I have been a big fan of The Oatmeal for a while now. His style of humor just seems to mesh with my own in delightful ways. His sense of weird and truth (and weird truthyness) are everything I look for in comedy. And it doesn't hurt that his art is hilariously adorable. He is accurate about dogs, as well as cats and even grammar in a way mere mortals can only dream of being.

I guess you could say I like his work alot.

So when I heard that The Oatmeal was making a GAME on Kickstarter, I was intrigued. When I heard it involved kittens exploding, I pledged immediately. A lot of other people did too. In fact, people threw about 8 MILLION DOLLARS at him for the chance to meet their end via combustible feline.

The Oatmeal and his companions, Elan Lee and Shane Small, also did something that very few Kickstarter projects have achieved (especially one of this size): They delivered on time. They promised to ship in July, they shipped at the end of July and it just so happens that a few days ago I received my pledge. And now I'm here to share that with you.

A small blue box arrived with an adorable kitten and some big white letters on it.

I was mildly confused because it said it was shipped by Blackbox.

This box is blue. Not black. I expect better, dear sirs. I expect better. Luckily it got better. In fact, I received the best packing slip I have gotten in any package ever, and I doubt ever will again.

In fact all of the inserted paper materials have a delightful sense of whimsy about them.

Inside this blue (not black) box were two more boxes: My regular edition of Exploding Kittens and the NSFW edition.

A lot of fuss was made about the fact that a special addition was going to be made to the box, something that would surprise and delight us. At least in my case, they were correct. I could tell you what it is, but I think showing you would be better.

I spent a fair amount of time just opening the lid and giggling. I won't tell you exactly how much time, but I assure you it was inordinate and mildly disturbing.

Inside, of course, is the regular Exploding Kittens deck, a slot for a second deck and a little folded page of rules.

Lifting up the deck shows off the bottom, which has some lovely art of a litter box.

Lets not forget that I also got the NSFW Deck as well. The box is nice, but the deck will be going into that extra slot in the regular box for sure. It doesn't even have any cool art inside, just a plastic insert.

As for the game itself, well, it is not deep. Each player gets some cards, which do stuff and every turn each player can play those cards, then draw a card from the deck. If it is an Exploding Kitten and you don't have a Defuse card, you blow up and are out of the game. Last player standing wins. There are a couple extra rules, but that's the core of the game.

I will end this little unboxing with a selection of my favorite cards, first from the normal deck:

And then from the NSFW deck:

By the way, Smoke Crack With A Baby Owl is my favorite card. Of all time. In any game.

That's all for now! Happy gaming!