Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Blood Bowl returns and it's glorious!

The death of Games Workshop's Specialist Games proved short and they have released a brand new edition of Blood Bowl! After what GW did to Warhammer Quest, I think many old BB players waited for this release with fear in their hearts. Now it looks very much like GW is giving us the new edition we're all hoping for! The rules are left intact and we get a new box with top notch components. The last time I bought a Games Workshop product new from the store was in 2009 when I bought the third edition of Space Hulk so I wanted to vote with my wallet and made this a day 1 purchase. Whoa, that's seven years already! I thought Space Hulk 3rd edition came out yesterday!

I'm sure you can find everything you want to know about this new edition from the Internet already so I'll just add a few notes.

I'm really happy with all the components. Everything is top notch quality in my mind and the box contains plenty of value for its (in GW scale) moderate price point. I hope this will attract new players from the boardgaming crowd as I think it could compete in that market. Note that even though GW hasn't released all the old teams as official rules in the "day 1 DLC" -type death zone book, there is a Ravening Hordes style pdf in the new which GW released and which you can use to play all the teams that don't have new official rules yet.

The new orc team looks great, especially the Black Orc. He really looks like he's having the time of his life out there :)

Size-wise the new models are a bit bigger than old Blood Bowl models, but not so much that they can't be used on the same pitch as long as they are in different teams.

 As you probably know, the new pitch has larger squares and the new models have larger bases as well. This means that old models fit on the new pitch but not vice versa. Actually, the old "big guy" base now fits on the new pitch just fine.

 I guess in a pinch you can play with new models on an old pitch, but it's going to be a tight fit unless you play a very loose formation:

So there you have it. It's nice to get some love from GW to some of it's non-core games and I hope this makes them enough money so they continue to support it. Next up it's time to have fear in our hearts over what they'll do to Epic. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Some dark age stuff complete

My dark age Finland project isn't exactly moving forward but now I have at least enough figures all in all for a small, Mordheim-sized match between viking invaders and Finns.

The earliest written record of Finns at war comes from a runestone in Gävle, Sweden:

"Brúsi had this stone erected in memory of Egill, his brother. And he died in Tafeistaland, when Brúsi brought (= led?) the land's levy(?) (= army) in memory of , his brother. He travelled with Freygeirr. May God and God's mother help his soul. Sveinn and Ásmundr, they marked."

Tafeistaland is a reference to Tavastia, or modern day Häme, a region in Finland that had settlements during the viking age. This stone tells us that a viking ledung raided Finland and lives were lost, probably due to resistance by the Finns. Meh, plenty enough to base my campaign on, especially when I sprinkle some Kalevala folklore in the mix :)

The Finns are pretty much your average dark age warriors. They have a few archers and have one "hero" character among them. Dark age Finns were particularly poor so the only model who has a sword or armor is the hero. They also don't have shield details like the vikings I did earlier had, to make them look like the poorer quality troops they undoubtedly were. 

Dark age Finns by artist Pekka Halonen. Historically they did wear dyed clothes so I made mine a bit more colourful. I might have made a mistake in doing so as they now "look wrong" to me because Finns are always painted like this with clean white clothes. Also the hat is something I don't think there is archaeological proof of existing but you see a lot in 19th century paintings.
  This model is the Frostgrave Knight I got in the nickstarter, I just gave him a Gripping Beast shield. He's based on Lemminkäinen, one of the characters in the Finnish national epic Kalevala. Lemminkäinen is said to be a mighty, red haired warrior who had traveled far. Therefore it's safe to assume he may have some history traveling with the vikings himself before settling down! He also drowned in the river of Tuonela but was saved and brought back to life by his mother so he counts as undead ;)

The mother of Lemminkäinen dragging his son's corpse from the river of the underworld, because that's what moms do!

I also did some personalities for the vikings:

Here is Brusi, the Viking leader. The Brodir of Man model by Gripping Beast was suitably imposing.
An old figure by Foundry perhaps. He can stand in as Egil although I'd like to get a younger warrior to portray him.
Two fearsome viking berserkers to add color to the force. I've had these Foundry models in my lead pile for ages and finally found use for them.

I've already shown these before but I'll add these viking raiders in this post for completeness. Real viking raiders wouldn't be so heavily armored, but what else can I do with all those Gripping Beast hirdmen? Besides, it helps set them apart from the Finns.

So, there you have them. Now I just need to do a lakeside village for the Vikings to raid and a boat for them to sail in!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

DBA: Hoplite on Hoplite

I played De Bellis Antiquitatis for the first time today! I'd say it's about time. My opponent hasn't played it either so I bet we fell into every rules pitfall in the book in addition to using my hoplite figures which are based for the wrong depth for DBA. I had plenty enough of figures to field two early hoplite greek lists. We had time for two games as the first one ended abruptly.

Apparently it's a bad idea to march your general on horseback into rough terrain. They.. die if they have to retreat at all and that's a sudden death victory right there.

In the second game we got some proper fighting going on. Movement feels a bit fiddly compared to modern games. Melee involves a lot of to-and-fro pushing of stands whilst there are a bare minimum of modifiers to consider. The game proceeds quickly and I bet you can easily play a game to its conclusion in 30-45 minutes.

Based on this experience I'd rate DBA a light "filler" wargame but I'm sure the DBx vets will disagree.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Winter War Soviet platoon

I painted this platoon of soviet infantry during my summer holiday but didn't have time to photograph them until now. These figures were part of the infamous Baker Company Winter War Kickstarter which didn't end up so well, but these are pretty much the only option to get early war Soviet infantry in greatcoats with their budenovka hat.

The simple nature of these models makes them easy to paint and I didn't want to spend too much time painting these anyway. I now have a basic Chain of Command platoon for both the Soviets and the Finns. Now I just need to do some support options and oh.. terrain. I don't have any winter terrain in my collection :)

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Kings of War 2nd edition

I got to take my Night Goblin army for a walk at my FLGS. They haven't been out in force since the early days of Warhammer Fantasy seventh edition and Kings of War granted me the opportunity to dust off my spearblocks. I fielded a goblin army with big hordes of spearmen and my opponent had an orc army with smaller units but more of them.

The rules were really easy to grasp and I'd rate this a light-medium wargame. Compared to Warhammer Fantasy the rules are quite a bit simpler and more importantly, there are much fewer special rules and chrome to try and remember. Unit blocks without casualty removal or ingame formation changes work fine and the game really plays fast. It's definitely geared towards armies with a lot of models, even more so than Warhammer. I think for someone who really likes metagaming and tweaking army lists this isn't as satisfactory as the GW offerings but for someone who plays less frequently and doesn't keep up with the latest tournament meta it's a blessing. Based on one game it feels like a nice game and I picked up a copy of the rules.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Frostgrave treasure markers & Purple Worms

I got around to painting the treasure markers I got from the first Frostgrave Nickstarter:

Also, some Reaper Bones purple worms for the worm hunt scenario. They look less purple in the photo than irl:

As you were.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Ebay find: 6mm Baccus Achaemenid Persian army

I've been meaning to get around to do Persians to oppose my Hoplite Greek army for a couple of years now, but have been kept busy by other projects. Then I noticed a Hungarian guy using the name klviktor2012 selling a fully painted Early Achaemenid Persian army that was based for Warmaster like my Greeks as well! Obviously I bid for the army and got it for a very nice price indeed. Everything went smoothly with klviktor2012 and I received the carefully packed army today. I'm really happy with these models! I now have about 1000 Warmaster points or 3-4 Hail Caesar divisions worth of troops for each army, plenty to get me some Greek & Persian Wars action!

The whole army


And my Greeks for comparison. The base colours differ somewhat but it only serves to distinguish between the sides.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Finnish Airforce Museum BF-109 simulator

There is an beautifully modeled BF-109 fighter cockpit and a simulator at the Finnish Airforce Museum in Tikkakoski. My wife treated me to a session so I got to take it for a spin!

The simulator has a BF-109 cockpit with working switches, gauges and the like. There's even a gunsight projected on glass, just like on the real thing. The craftsmanship on the cockpit was really impressive. There is a 270-ish degree wide field of view projected by three projectors and the simulator was running IL-2 Sturmovik, a WW2 flight simulator classic.

Overall view of the simulator. Three projectors are used to display a wide field of view to the virtual pilot.
The cockpit.
Trim and flaps control.
Landing gear and engine controls.
Centre stick.
A projection gunsight.
The rudder pedals and such.
I had an hour booked in the simulator during which I got to try out taking off, flying around and landing (got down in one piece!). I also flew two different combat flights and did ok. It's funny to experience your brain being fooled by the wide field of view into thinking you are in motion. Doing quick turns even made me a bit dizzy.

I have flown IL-2 on my computer using a joystick before and this experience was definitely more immersive. It was also my first time flying with rudder pedals which will take some getting used to. In addition, having the gauges in the cockpit instead of on a screen meant that I could actually read them during the flight, something I find really difficult to do normally. Still, flying this thing wasn't as difficult as I thought. I recommend trying it out if you get a chance!