Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bars for the Malifaux jail

A crazy couple of weeks have meant little progress on the Malifaux jail building. But I did get the bars completed - they just need to be painted up to look appropriately rusty...

I used styrene to make the frame, and styrene rod for the bars. They're clear since they are what I use to add lightsabers to my Star Wars minis conversions.

I will be making the basic shape of the building from foamcore - hopefully by this weekend - and covering it with wood to make it look "westernish."

'Til next time!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pirate Game at Dave's

Several weeks ago I began corresponding with Dave Cooper, who contacted me in response to a post on a Pirate gaming forum. It turns out he lives very close to my home (about 30 minutes away), but between family, work, school, church commitments and such, it seemed we were never able to get our schedules to match. Eventually, after several false starts, we were finally able to get together for a game.

Here are the pictures from the game at Dave's house last Saturday. It was great fun, even though I am not sure who, if anyone, won the game!

The basic premise was a couple of pirate crews raiding a town, where Dave and I each controlled one pirate crew, and the militia opposing each other's crew. The rules were a blend of Legends of the High Seas and some other sets that Dave had lying around, and when in doubt we just made stuff up!

Henry's ship and crew (the box counted as below decks)

Dave's ship and crew

The unsuspecting town, behind a curtain of sea mist.

The pirate ships approach...

Brave militiamen row like mad to warn the town garrison!

Dave's pirates begin to disembark

The rest of Dave's crew disembark from his smaller ship.

Henry's ship approaches defenders hidden in the mist.

It's the governor's private yacht!

Board her ye scurvy sea dogs!

Meanwhile, Dave's brigands continue to move inland...

... and capture a cannon! Which they proceed to (ineffectually) fire at Henry's crew

Another band of Dave's pirates approach a building, eager for loot.

While Henry's buccaneers realize there's a cannon in their faces!

Nothing to worry about - the yacht and cannon have been subdued.

And the men are off after loot (in this case conveniently loaded on pack mules).

On the other side of town, the militia is quick to respond to the threat of Dave's pirates and prepare to open fire...

... only to be charged in the rear by yet another band of brigands!

Bring them back to the boats lads!

The loot is safely stowed on the captured yacht.

Meanwhile, some of the town militia troops manage to capture Dave's smaller ship as it drifted...

And this was the scene after the final turn.

All in all, the game was very enjoyable, and it was a pleasure to finally meet Dave after several weeks of overly full schedules and too much "real life." I am very much looking forward to doing this again! Thanks Dave!

'Til next time!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Malifaux - Guild Outpost/Jail

As I mentioned in an earlier post, several weeks ago I wandered into Giga-Bites Cafe. Besides discovering a great gaming shop, I became interested in a game called Malifaux.

I had long admired the style of the figures, but I knew nothing at all about the game. Well, I went back to Giga-Bites on a subsequent Saturday, and managed to watch a couple of games of Malifaux in action. I was totally unfamiliar with the rules, and the fact that it is a card-driven game rather than based on rolling dice meant that I did not understand much of the mechanics. However, one of the guys who was at the shop works for Wyrd, and hooked me up with a copy of the rules (thanks Drew!).

Now that I have read them through (twice) I understand some of what is meant by "cheating" and "triggers." I am eager to get a crew together and find some time to head back to Giga-Bites and get a game in to make sure I actually do have an idea as to how the game mechanics work. At first glance, they are very elegant, and seem to reflect a more "cinematic" approach to gaming, rather than a more "realistic" one. Players can replace cards they draw with higher-valued ones from their hand to change the outcome of combats and spell-casting and such. But, you can also run out of luck and get stuck with a bad result. The only part I am still not 100% sure of is the "trigger" mechanic, by which some actions/events result in other actions automatically. I am sure that a game or two will help me make better sense of it.

But in the meantime, I am inspired to create some terrain for the game. I love the background mixture of Victorian horror, steampunk and spaghetti western! It is very evocative and you can go in so many different directions. There is room for pretty much anything you can think up. Besides, it's been a while since I built anything terrain-wise and I have the itch!

I checked out some of the posts on the Malifaux forums that pertain to terrain, and I was blown away by two in particular. First, Kaine is creating magnificent scenery for Malifaux. His terrain boards (complete 3x3 setups of various types of terrain) are amazing, and in my opinion they very much have the "feel" of Malifaux. My favorite is his ruined Miners & Steamfitters Union pumping station, although his sewer boards are a close second. The other terrain that is very inspiring to me is being created by the keeper and yazza. Their contract-town 27 is shaping up to be awesome. Their use of blocks from Hirst Arts and wood in their structures looks great, and it is a look I hope to copy, err, "borrow," for mine. Thanks to all of them for the inspiration.

My first building will be a medium-sized outpost/jail for the Guild faction. I sketched some ideas, before settling on a mixture of wood and stone construction. The jail cell will be stone, while the rest of the structure will be wood, and definitely in a western style, with a false front and porch.

I happened to have a bunch of blocks I cast a while back using one of Hirst Arts castle molds, so began by laying out the foundation for the building and attached jail to get a measurement for the building's footprint. I found a scrap piece of fiberboard that was almost exactly the right size for the base of the building, and began gluing down the bricks for the foundation. You can see the jail cell (on the left) has a stone floor, while the rest of the office will be a wooden floor over a stone foundation.

After that, I continued to build up the walls for the cell, including some small windows. I made sure to glue everything down securely and left it to dry.

My next step will be to begin the next phase of construction by framing out the wooden structure. I'll also build up the wall of bars that will complete the cells.

'Til next time.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Odds & Ends

First up – my favorite Mel Gibson character ever, as envisioned by Reaper minis. He’s from the Chronoscope line, Rex, Dark Future Hero. Since I recently saw “The Book of Eli” I modified him just a bit, adding a big blade to his left hand, a backpack, and a smaller knife on a sheath on his leg.


Second – OK, so this one is a bit outside the box. A while back I picked up several $1 wooden toys at the local Michaels. I thought they might one day come in handy for something, and if not, then the kids would have some fun assembling them. Among the sets I got, were two submarines. My son built his up mostly according to the instructions, but I had other plans.

I made a hunter/killer attack sub for my Dwarf pirates. I’m naming it the Hammershark, and it carries a crew of 4 or 5 little guys. I used a 1” drill bit to make the holes in the hull, then added hatch covers, lanterns (it gets dark under the water), and a steam-powered blade to the bow to cut through the hulls of enemy vessels. You cannot see it in these photos as there are Dwarfs in the hatches, but I cut 1” circles of plasticard patterned like diamond steel plate and placed them in the bottom of the holes. The figures, as yet unpainted, are Pirate Scrunts from Ollie’s Armies. They are great figures, and I can’t wait to have the time to finish them off properly.

‘Til next time.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Giga-Bites Cafe

On Friday, my wife had a doctor's appointment in Marietta. The kids and I dropped her off, and then headed over to check out a gaming store that a friend from church had recommended: Giga-bites Cafe

From what I'd been told, I was expecting a Games Workshop dealer, with a little Flames of War. Well, I did find a terrific shop for GW product as well as Battlefront FoW stuff, but with a twist. The first thing I noticed was the friendly owner, David, coming over to welcome us to the shop. I don't even remember what was on the flat screen TV in the front of the shop in the cafe area, but he made sure to pop in a kid-friendly DVD while I was there with my son and daughter. That goes a long way towards making me feel comfortable in a shop.

The we started talking about games, and not just the big names I've already mentioned. David carries a huge line of figures for Infinity and Malifaux. He also has a selection of miniatures from a couple of Spanish companies (Enigma & Avatars of War) and others. This in addition to a ton of painting and scenery/basing supplies.

On top of the game shop aspect, there are at least six large tables on which gamers can go to town with their favorite minis and rules. The cafe is open until late every night except Sunday, so it is definitely gamer-schedule friendly.

I picked up a couple of boosters for Malifaux (more on that a little later), some bases and ordered a couple of GW Warhammer figures (Citizens of the Empire: Duellists) which I am sure will see some action in Mordheim or some other skirmish game. As we were leaving I realized the kids and I had not had lunch yet, and it hit me - this place serves food too!

My son had a hot dog, while my daughter and I both chose the cheese steak panini. We got a BLT to-go for my wife. I was blown away by how good my sandwich was, and my wife said it was the best BLT she'd ever had, and she is not prone to exaggeration. Heck, the food was so good, I can see us going back just to eat - though you never know what other goodies I might find in there! And on our next visit we will definitely give the smoothies a try.

Overall, for friendly atmosphere, fantastic food and great gobs of gaming goodness, I can say this is now my gaming shop of choice. The only drawback for me is that it is a bit of a hike from my place. But, it is on the way to my parents house - so it is only coincidence that grandma and grandpa will see an increase in visits from their grandkids!

Now back to Malifaux. I was intrigued by the figures - a very interesting and different look, in my opinion. The world of Malifaux appears to be a mix between steampunk, Victorian horror, spaghetti westerns and Cthulhu. Cool, but creepy. I think it may be a bit too dark for my kids. I went to the Wyrd Games site to get some more info. After some digging around I finally found where I could download the Wyrd Chronicles, which seem to be what I was looking for in terms of the background to the Malifaux worlds and the factions.

I think it might work for my children, if we stay away from some of the more horrific factions, although even the law and order types are pretty dark and edgy. For the time being, I will collect the miniatures that appeal to me and use them in whatever game system I am playing at the time - mostly Song of Blades and Heroes. So to that end, the two blisters I picked up were Samael Hopkins, who will see duty as a monster-hunter werewolf-trapper, and the Guild Guard pack which comes with a pair of very nice-looking guardsmen that will be equally at home hunting down Zorro or other bandits in a Western setting, as they would be prowling Mordheim.

So, Friday was a good day - I found a great new place for gaming and good eats, and picked up some cool new figures to paint up. Doesn't get much better than that.

'Til next time.