Friday, September 30, 2011

Gunfight at the Passing Fair Corral

So it was time for the final round up of Legends of the Old West.
The final battle was a team match: of the four competing in the last battle, the lowest & highest rated of the four would fight against the middle two. The lower of the pair was the employer who had hired a more fearsome posse to help it take over the town.
This meant it was a brace of brothers, a Comanche chief hired the Pinkertons against my El Rojo who hired the Tequila Syndicate. The employed posses could run off and it wouldn't end the fight, but if either employer posse ran, that'd be the end and the other side would win.

Dawn came to the sleepy town:
A newer gringo community was expanding on the eastern side of Dry Creek.  In the upper right you can see the protestant church.  We reasoned that this church had recently converted the Comanche chief and encouraged him to stir up trouble in the western half of town, with intention of burning down the Catholic church.  The self-proclaimed Cardinal appealed to his more devote members (ie. bribe-able) and two Bandido gangs went out to meet the Indians... but the Chief was no fool,he had an Ace up his sleave too: he'd hired the notorious Pinkertons.

A Brigade of Bandidos

An Infiltration of Interlopers

The "Cardinal" looks pleased.

The bandidos get the jump and lunge forward, two vaqueros provide passenger service for two riflemen.. well, one riflewoman: Rosarita, sharp shooter for El Rojo... the rifles head for the central building's balcony.

The Indians sneak through the alleys, heading to take positions.

The Mexicans surge forward to meet the threat.

These are well equipped Indians! Several rifles and a shotgun. No running across the field to fight here: they take cover behind a wall and in a building. Some of the hired guns take position on a hill for better view.   

The Tequila boys tangle with the Pinkertons on the south end of town.

The balcony draws far more fire than they expected.  Rosarita gets gunned down early, but Jorge has 2 wounds and high grit, and will draw at least 20 shots before being taken out. 

Indicative of a lot of our luck: The hired explosive expert throws his dynamite at the Indians behind their wall:
Ouch.  The Peon running cover will die... a goat for his family is on its way, but the dynamite man was fine!
But.. so were the Indians. 

With Rosarita and Jorge out of action, the balcony is reinforced by a tough, a pistolero and Madre Ortega herself!  It must be said these suns of snakes took great pleasure in shooting at the poor old woman! 

Meanwhile, the Pinkertons over run the south end of town and begin to sweep to the center, as the remaining bandits there also head in to try to route the Indians.

But the Indians are secure.  They dispatched the Vaqueros, and when they finally shot Madre Ortega, it was too much for El Rojo: a tear came to his eye seeing his dear tough old Abuela fall, remembering fondly her strength from her repeated beatings. He called retreat. No Cardinal was worth the life of his Grandmother.

It was a fun season of Legends of the Old West!  Thanks to my partner in banditry and congrats to the Comanche & Pinkertons on their win!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Can't catch me! Gingerbread Man: Minion of Frau Totenkinder

"You can't catch me, I'm the Gingerbread Man!" 

We've finally hammered out the rules for or 'weird, super & monster' characters for our Weird World War II campaign. It was a lot of work, but they seem pretty good and solid now. 

The weird characters come in tiers of 1 main character, side-kicks or teams of secondary characters and then henchmen that at best are only a bit above an average human.  The main two stats are Avoidance & Mitigation.  Both function as saves on a d6 against attacks, but have additional characteristics, such as avoidance increases movement & moving through rough ground, leaping obstacles, etc with more benefit the higher it goes, and Mitigation increases hit points as well as allows other benefits dependent on other optional skills.  Stats go up to 5, but only a main character can have 5, secondary characters are limited to 4. In addition main characters can't have a combined score of more than 8, side-kicks a score of 6 and team members a score of 5. Henchmen are maxed at a lowly 2. And of course there are a host of other skills to tailor the characters to create what you have in mind. 

So for the Totenkinder force Gingerbread Man is a side-kick class character. He's the first to be introduced since he was very much a simple speed paint! 

Gingerbread Man is a golem.  But not of wood, stone or flesh...he is a confection of super-hardened baked goods, forged in Frau Totenkinder's magic oven in the shaderealm. 

He has an Avoidance of 4, giving him a move of 9" (compared to normal move of 5") and he can run through woods without problem and leap over 4" high obstacles with ease.  His Mitigation is 2.  He has an additional three attacks and once per battle he can do a whirlwind attack for 4 further attacks.  He can also blast a wave of heat out of his mouth, "Oven Breath" which is an 8" cone attack doing 3 dice attack on anyone hit by the blast. 
For scale, here is the Gingerbread Man with an Ahnenerbe Flashentrooper.
The trooper will have a blue-glow for his weapon, like the magic icing runes for the Gingerbread Man.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Jaw-dropping Sculpture of Kris Kuksi

Artist Kris Kuksi, who also works in painting and drawing, has created some of the most impressive and thought provoking sculptures I have ever seen.  Not exactly miniatures, but it seems most of his sculptures do fit within one to three cubic feet, so these aren't man-sized or park statues.  There are many with tanks, zeppelins, Napoleon and the like which will be immediately appealing to gamers, but take a good long look and ponder at all of them: there is a lot to appreciate and think about here.

Fans of the 40k gothic aesthetic will weep.


Check them out at:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Frau Totenkinder: a force to be reckoned with in (weird) WWII

Awhile back, in an irresistible call to have an opposing faction, I mentioned that I had succumbed to the call and would be building a second faction, one to oppose the Belgian Liberation Army, for our Weird World War II gaming.  And I said I'd reveal it soon, so here now is a bit about the plans for the force.

The central figure, much like the BLA has Professor Poireau, is Frau Totenkinder.

She is far more than the frail elderly woman she appears to be.  Much more.  Her exact nature is unknown, but some truths can be guessed about her.  If she ever was human, she has not been for a very long time.  Her exact age is unknown, but undoubtedly she is older than a thousand years, and perhaps in some form or other has always existed.  She has skipped across history and human awareness like a stone across a pond.  Now is only the most recent manifestation.  This secret is known by only a few. Others would be more familiar with her as various 'wicked witch' characters from fairy tales.  But she is no fairy tale.

Frau Totenkinder is very real.  There are truths in the stories she appears in, but the shape of them is always malformed by human telling, perhaps by her design.  Her stories have central elements which betray her presence: she lures the young to feed on their youth and energy and tempts them with visions of safety in a dangerous world. Sometimes her actions are direct, sometimes she is an unseen force behind these stories.  Curiously, while in the stories she is always defeated, this is most certainly not the reality.  

Totenkinder seems to be tied to the lands and culture of Germany and has appeared many times in stories revealed by the Brothers Grimm.  She has surfaced again, and takes a more active role in events than any record indicates.  She is now the highest ranking female officer in the Nazi regime of Germany, and is commander of the new militant arm of the Ahnenebre: a small but elite force made up of soldiers with the latest technologies, but rumors of Erbschaftheld, men and women of amazing abilities, and stranger creatures besides, surround this organization.  

Allied scholars with more imagination than fear of mocking by their peers believe these stories, and propose that Frau Totenkinder could be a more serious threat than the regime she appears to be a part of.  

Inspiration for this gaming character comes from Frau Totenkinder from the comic Fables by Bill Willingham.  It is a great series with very interesting spins on characters familiar to all.  In that vein I've taken the character of Frau Totenkinder and put her in a new setting and set her lose with her own agenda, a spider in her web, controlling other characters who will make themselves known soon.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Worst Movies Ever Blogfest: My 10 picks for worst movies.

Click the Worst Movie Icon to go to the source of the event and find others who shame the bad movies...

For me, I thought it was a good excuse to rant on some bad movies.  It's more excuse than I usually need.

Deciding the Worst 10 Movies isn't any easier than choosing your favorite movies: 
there are some tough choices! I decided on some ground rules, to define my terms for 'worst movies'.

1. They have to be movies I have seen. 
2. They have to be movies that are bad but that I didn't enjoy because they are bad. You know the type: anything Mystery Science Theater 3000 has covered.  
If a movie has Bruce Campbell in it, it is going to be bad!  But it's also going to be awesome
By this criteria. many comedies are disqualified and most Horror movies for that matter.  They have to be movies that took themselves fairly seriously and people expected them to be decent if not actually good.  No one should expect anything but a bad movie from the likes of "Squirm" or "Howard the Duck" so those don't count. 

So on to the list:

10.  Age of Innocence
The Age of Innocence
I'm not against slow British Victorian period dramas. I've liked several in fact.  But this movie was exceedingly painful to endure.  If it bit a brontosaurus on the tail it would die of old age before it knew the movie was gnawing on him.  Did they hire an editor? At first thought I'd say no.  On second thought I think they must have, but they must have hired Martha Stewart because I felt like the movie was predominantly about table settings and doilies.  Yawn. 

9. The Langoliers
The Langoliers
With few (very few) exceptions, Stephen King horror movies are bad movies.  This is likely the worst of them.  What is worse than a bad horror movie?  Combining the experience with the thrill of waiting in an airport terminal.  What is worse than that?  Your only excitement is that it's all happening in a game of Pac Man.

8.  Twilight. 
Sparkling Vampires.  
Apparently vampires can be active in the day because that's when the 'After School Specials' take place. 

7. Dungeons & Dragons
Dungeons & Dragons
I really wanted to like this. I knew it wouldn't be the best movie... but .. wow. 
Of course, I doubt no one feels worse about it than Jeremey Irons... 
"Just like you thieves: always taking what doesn't belong to you."  Really Mr. Irons?  That was O.K. for you? 
Another statement that is self evident? "Dungeons & Dragons is a bad movie."

6. A Walk in the Clouds.
A Walk in the Clouds
Starring Keanu Reeves... right there if the movie requires him to say anything more that "Woa" (see: Matrix. see also: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure)  then it is probably too much dialogue for this man.  
Proof of this is at (-spoiler alert-..not that you should mind) the crescendo of the movie, when the vinyards are burning and he calls out to the woman he loves, revealing his feelings for the first time and says:
" But... I... Feel, for .. you."  
-William Shatner was quoted as saying he felt the line was delivered a little haltingly. 

5. Transformers II: Revenge of the Fallen
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
I know, I know.  Shouldn't expect a movie like this to be good. And I didn't.  And yet I was still in pain.  I was ready for eye candy and a stupid movie and instead felt like I was kicked in the gut and robbed of $10.50. Those 'Urban Rap" robots made Jar Jar Binks cry foul. 

4.  Highlander II
Highlander 2: Renegade Version
Having been a fan of Highlander, I eagerly went to this movie in the theater as did many of my friends.  
We all hated it.  But that isn't surprising, it is pretty universely despised. Not just because it violated it's own "There can be only one" axiom.    The plot made no sense, men flew around on wires for the first twenty minutes, and somehow everyone is supposed to believe the prize for being the best immortal and living the longest is a comparably quick death by old age.  Really?  That's the prize? Oh Yay! Sorry Bob, I'll take whatever is behind door number 3... a lifetime supply of Rice A Roni? Awesome, I'll take it. 

3. Wild At Heart
Wild at Heart
Even now I'm doubting this one not being at the top of the list.  This is one really bad movie.  
To make it worse a couple of good friends loved it & recommended it, so I had expected to like it. I watched it wanting to like it, trying to like it.  I felt like someone had given me the gift of a root canal and I was trying to understand how it was a good thing.  

This movie has all the grace of bad goth poetry written by a seventh grader.  
David Lynch has woven his metaphorical symbolism of the Wizard of Oz and references to the 'Yellow Brick Road' with all the delicate art of a sledgehammer being swung by a gorilla on crack.  Thirty minutes into this movie I knew if I heard "yellow brick road' one more time I'd mail David Lynch a dead munchkin stuffed into those snakeskin boots. 

Twenty years since seeing this movie and it still hurts. 

Clearly he thought it was clever... he was so very wrong. 

2.  Kill Bill. 
Kill Bill: Vol. 1
If Bill saw the movie, then by all means do... he'd probably thank you for it.
I know I'll step on some toes here.  I know a lot of people love this movie.  I like a lot of Tarantino movies. 
But this one leaves me uncertain if I ever liked a movie less than this movie. 

Odd thing is so many people thought I would like it.  People who know me. I'd rather watch any movie on this list twice than watch this one again... well, maybe not Wild At Heart, let's not go crazy.   Some said 'but it's like a comic book".. yeah, I get that. I even like comic books.  But this was dreadful.  300 was like a comic book and I liked it.  This was near 2 hours chock full of 10 hours worth of pain. The dialogue is abysmal, even for calling back to 70's 'sploitation movies. The fight scenes don't even save it, they're rather dull since they're so over the top. The characters are as well developed as those in a TV commercial, and even as camp it fails.  

A friend, after seeing Kill Bill 2 tried to get me to go see that one..he said "it's better than the first, I think you'll like it."  You'll notice that movie isn't on this list... why?  Fool me once... 

1.  Coming Soon to a Theater near You. 
I leave #1 open.  Because there will always be bad movies, and I have no doubt the worst is yet to come. 

Have your own best of the worst list?  Click the Icon at the top & join the fun on your blog!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fee Fie Foe Fum, Time's Running out to Get You One!

Time's Running out on Warploque's Giant ...

He's got a preorder set up here:

There are 6 reserved of the needed 10, but if it doesn't get to 10 it doesn't happen at all.

This is probably the best looking giant I've ever seen, so if you think you may ever have use for one, then sign up for it!  It's reasonably priced and someday you may want a giant, and you'll remember this one and kick yourself that you didn't get it ;) i don't know if I'll ever use one, but it'sjust too fun to pass up, and my guess is, if I have it, I'll find excuses to use him.. a big brute in the center of a skirmish game.. a rogue angry giant on an island in a pirate game, the big Boss at the end of an RPG adventure, a serious threat in a fantasy Gladiator game..

The possibilities are endless, but the time isn't.

More pictures here:

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hobgoblin Blood Bowl: toying with team building

Anyone who's been playing Blood Bowl for a long time knows there are many more unofficial teams out there than there are official teams.  Everything from all forest spirits, to dragonmen, demon teams & more.  Probably too many to count.  And most fans of the game have tinkered with creating their own roster.  So I don't know if this team has already been created (or how many times: someone may have already made a Hobgoblin team) but I've had it in my head for awhile that it would be fun to have a 'Hobgoblin team'. Not a Chaos Dwarf team with nothing but hobgoblins... those are subjugated and broken hobgoblins. I mean a Hobgoblin team independent and taking the field for their own purpose.

There are a few key issues to keep in mind when designing a new roster:

1. What 'tier' will the team be? 
If not Tier 2 or 3, then you might run into resistance from other players, thinking you are just trying to cherry pick the best of everything.  If your linemen look like Jordell Freshbreeze you're doing it wrong.

2. Are you creating something that is vastly different than anything else in the game?  
If so you're likely to run into serious resistance to your idea.  Flying or teleporting players are probably going to break the game.  Space Marines are going to break the game.

3. Are you reinventing the wheel?  
Is your new team no different than one that is already out there?  Look at the other teams for guidance. A Pro Elf team and a Wood Elf team are very similar, but different enough that they will play differently.  Pro elves will rely more on their catchers & Wood Elves their wardancers.  An Undead & Necromantic team are similar since they share many of the same players: but the different players they have & the different skills cause them to play differently. A subtle difference may be all you need, but there should be a difference.

4. Run your idea by other people and play test it. 

5. Be ready to have some people reject it & hate it for no other reason than it is not official canon.
You could have the best idea in the world, but some won't approve of it because it doesn't have the official stamp. That's O.K. you don't have to please everyone: different people have different acceptance levels for such things.

So on to the team I made:

Thoughts behind this:

I wanted a team that would be a 'Tier 1' team, but not at the top end of the tier.  Being a goblinoid race, I reasoned they'd be similar to Orcs, more-so than Goblins because of their warrior culture and being larger than goblins.  For power level I was aiming at about Human-team level, maybe a bit below,and certainly less powerful than an Orc team.  

The Hobgoblin lineman stat is taken right from the Chaos Dwarf Hobgoblins: a basic no-frills lineman. 
Since goblins might hang around them, I allowed 2 on their team, which is half what the orc team can have. 
I am on the fence about renaming the goblins as something like 'runts' or 'gnoblars', but since they are identical to goblins I'm leaving them named that for now. 

Since Orcs have a thrower and I wanted this team to play a little differently than Orcs, I gave them no thrower, but they have up to 2 runners instead.  This gives them a chance to play a game similar to dark elves, but not as well since they have less agility. 

The Runners of the Hobgoblins are the sneakier members of the tribe, so I gave them side-step.  That should set them along a semi-survivable career path,  and make them annoying to play against.  It also makes their first skill choice an interesting one: do they go with dodge for being a squirrelly ball carrier, or block, to be a resilient one with defender possibilities?  

The Blitzers are similar to orcs, but with less armor.  Also, the team can only have two of them...half the number of blitzers means they'll have a tougher time playing cage, which makes them quite different to orcs just from that.

The Bugbears are pretty different. More from D&D Hobgoblin lore, but they seem to fit well enough so I don't think I'm violating the 'nothing vastly different' rule.  They are very similar to Norse Werewolves, but they don't move as fast.  You could also look at them as frenzied Black Orcs: they move 5 instead of 4, but have less armor.  Point-cost here was tricky: They have a net of 1 skill over a Black Orc, since they lost one stat increase and gained another of equal value.  But Norse Werewolves have a move of 6, and movement being tied to Frenzy for it's effectiveness I decided the Bugbears made more sense to be valued at 90k than 100k. But it's a tough call.  Bugbears will make this team very different than Orcs: the frenzy is a double-edged sword, and with just 2 instead of 4 black orcs, that means the center line can't be as strong as for Orcs, and Bugbears might make good cage breakers, but they won't make good cages themselves.

Lastly the Ogre.  I'd first thought of a Troll for the Big Guy, but a friend suggested the Ogre, and thinking about it, I agree.  The Ogre is a better piece in general than the troll, so will help balance out the Hobgoblins who have less block & armor than many other teams. Also, it fits in with their heritage and region of the world they are from.

After that, it was just a matter of appropriate re-roll cost and 6 suitable star players.
Scrappa was not chosen since he's more 'goofy' than the slightly more serious-minded Hobgoblins, and the Hobgoblin star was a must.  I made a pointed decision to have no Chaos Dwarf star players since the free Hobgoblins would have nothing to do with them.

So that's the Hobgoblins.
Will it ever become official?  I doubt it, but one can always hope.
I think it's a fun team, and will probably build one, though I'll be ready to use it to count as other teams.  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Blood Bowl Mid-Nor Nurgle Finished

The Rackham Nurgle team is set and ready to go.
I really do hope all these Rackham miniatures will be back in production before long, they really are full of character and fun to paint.

The Team photo is now on the 'Hall of Fame' page, linked at the top tabs.
Here are some detail shots:

Coach & Pig-ball
Star & Warriors



Beast of Nurgle & token

Bloodweiser, Igor, Coach, Cheer, Assist Coach.

This is a team I feel my photography skills are inadequate: I keep looking at the finished team thinking
'I wish you were mine' 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Goaty & Grubtaur : first of the finished Nurgle Team

I finished the all-Rackham Mid-Nor 'Nurgle' team and really enjoyed working on it.
Somewhere in my bits-closet are some Rackham barbarians & barbarian-looking dwarves that I picked up with intention of making a "Hill Dwarf" theme Chaos Dwarf team... it won't be as fun as the colors were for this team, but should be enjoyable.  Someday.

In the meantime, the Nurgle team is done and soon I'll add the team picture once it gets the client OK on the finished product. So here is a picture of two of my favorite minis on the team:

I can already tell this is going to be a team that I'll miss ;)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Grubtaur : w.i.p.

Getting close to done on this fellow, and the whole team too actually.
I just wanted to focus on this one at the moment though, I'm just really liking him, probably because of the limited pallet.  Not a true monochrome, since there is some color in skin, metal & a touch in some bandages, but I kept the colors as muted to not pull from the black & white style. There are four others for this team, each with a unique signature color and they will count as Nurgle Chasos Warriors on a Blood Bowl team, while this one is reserved for a star player, Lord Borak, and so is different from them, with just black & white for his colors.

Still needs a bit more work: mouth, pupils, bit of highlight on his back carapace & his little grub nubs. 

Seems that lately every time I work on a team I end up really liking the color scheme, and wanting to do a team for me in the same scheme, and this guy has me considering a black & white scheme.  

Monday, September 12, 2011

MoMo : Matron of the Bandidos of El Rojo

Madre Ortega

Call her Madre Ortega, or as most of the men call her, 'MoMo', for 'Must Obey Madre Ortega',
but call her Abuela and expect to be cuffed on the ear, with the butt of her shotgun:
She's sensitive about her age.

Seen here with her Grandson, Diego, known to his men and throughout the West as El Rojo.

Just a speed paint but I'm happy with the result.  
The Bandidos have extended their roster to the full 6 heroes, and have more rifles, so I decided the band could use some more character.  No battle report in awhile since the last meeting it seems no one showed up to play.  Hopefully there will be a few more games before the season closes, which it is then time to gear up again for Blood Bowl! 

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