Thursday, 19 October 2017

Dracula's America Red Hand Coven Faction

In the wake of the American Civil War, with the country struggling to regain its balance, Dracula seized power. The Count's thralls assassinated President Lincoln and his entire administration in a single night and, in the ensuing chaos, their master made his move. Dominating the Senate, he declared himself President for Life, and now rules the Union with fear and an iron fist. His vampire progeny, the Coven of the Red Hand, infest every strata of society and enforce Dracula's will with ruthless efficiency.
In this post I'm going to review my figures for the Red Hand Coven, my favourite faction for the Dracula's America: Shadows of the West game. This is currently my largest faction because I have combined the official North Star figures with a set of vampires from Pontoonier Miniatures. The two ranges complement each other rather well, in my opinion.
At the far left of this group of male vampires is a Brood Sire, the Boss of a Red Hand Coven faction. He, and the two figures to the right of him, are official Dracula's America figures produced by North Star. This ugly-looking creature looks just like one of the vampires of Clan Nosferatu from Vampire: the Masquerade.
The next two figures in line are both Broodkin. A Red Hand Coven faction may have two Broodkin in its posse. Like the Brood Sire, they are Supernatural, have a Move rate of 6", are Hard to Kill and they have the Transfix Arcane Power (even though they are not Arcanists). Note that they are both wearing red-tinted glasses. I have painted all of the other figures here with red eyes just to reinforce their supernatural aspect.
The two vampires at the far right were produced by Pontoonier Miniatures. The chap with the sabre is a lot taller than the other one. He is clearly 28mm scale and the other appears to be 25mm scale, unless he is meant to be so short. Curious! I had to stick the smaller one on a slottabase just to raise his height a bit to make him not look too under-scaled. The vampire with the sabre could be a Brood Sire or a Broodkin, whilst the smaller one is most likely a Broodkin.
Moving on, we have the female vampires. The one at the far left is my second favourite figure out of the official North Star Dracula's America range to date. My favourite is the Seraphim, whom I showed here. Sadly for me, she is classed as a Vampire Fledgling, a creature who appears as an Unwelcome Guest on the Supernatural Events table. These feral creatures, still clad in ragged clothing, were once ordinary folks but are now in the first throes of vampiric infection. They are little more than ravenous animals, driven only by the urge to feed. Vampire Fledglings are Supernatural and Mean. Given my love of female vampires, I will most likely use her as a Brood Sire, despite what the rulebook says.
The remaining three female vampires are all from the Pontoonier Miniatures Old West Vampire Cabal set of five figures. Again, these all appear to be 25mm scale, but I still find them usable. These would also be classed as Vampire Fledglings. I have given them all blood-smeared mouths to emphasise their feral natures. Note that all of my figures, apart from the Nosferatu, are wearing items of red clothing, as a nod to them being members of the Red Hand Coven.
The five Pontoonier Miniatures are set OWS010 Old West Vampire Cabal and they cost £12.50 from the Newline Designs webstore - http://newlinedesigns.co.uk/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=490_508&zenid=64duvcck1kl1si82heufcl9203
The Nosferatu Brood Sire and two Broodkins are set DRAC104 Red Hand Coven and they cost £7.50 on the North Star webstore - http://www.northstarfigures.com/prod.php?prod=10754
You can get the female Vampire Fledgling as one of three figures from DRAC118 Dracula's America Characters (the other two are a Preacher and a Dark Confederate Revenant) also costing £7.50 from the North Star webstore - http://www.northstarfigures.com/prod.php?prod=10769
I am looking forward to pitting this faction against the Twilight Order in my first Dracula's America batrep. 

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Assorted Androids 01

Let me start this post with a question - what is the difference between an android and a robot? It is the issue of free will. An android is self-aware and has rights - a robot does not. In RPG games such as N.E.W. and Starfinder, androids can be player characters. This is another one of my posts that could have appeared on this blog or on my WOIN blog. I'm posting it here simply because it has crossover potential for other systems and isn't limited to just N.E.W.
These five 28mm scale figures come from a variety of companies. At the far left is a very old figure produced by Grenadier Miniatures for Cyberpunk 2020 and/or Shadowrun. He is a cyborg cop, heavily influenced by Robo-cop from the films of the same name. In the few games where I have used him, I've always referred to him as "Robo-cop". I have no idea if this figure is still available for sale or not. I know a lot of old Grenadier figures are still available but I'm uncertain about this particular one.
Next in line is a figure I bought very recently. She is Maria the female android produced by Reaper Miniatures as part of their Chronoscope range. She looks like a female version of C-3PO from Star Wars. However, her name is a dead giveaway on who she is really based on - Maria the Maschinenmensch (German for machine-person) or robot in Fritz Lang's 1927 film of Metropolis. The figure is a very good likeness of her and the sculpting of her is quite exquisite. You'll find her in the Reaper Chronoscope webstore as 50246: Maria - She-Bot where she is priced at £5.22.
In the centre of this group is Narindan, who is an android produced by Space Vixens From Mars. I have been buying quite a few figures from them this year to use in my The Ace of Spades Campaign. I only recently became aware of this company and I have been very impressed by their friendly and swift service... and reasonable prices. This figure is listed as SV36 and costs a very cheap £2.00.
Finally are two androids produced by Alternative Armies for their Ganesha Games sci-fi range. They bear a slight similarity to the B1 Battledroids seen in some of the Star Wars films but they are different. However, it is fair to say that my colour scheme for them was directly influenced by the B1 Battledroid. They are listed as PSY04 Combots and they cost £2.00 each.
Anyone who is following my The Ace of Spades Campaign on my WOIN blog will know that one of the crew of The Ace of Spades is an android. Celeste is the most mysterious of all of my player characters and could well be the most powerful if she really is a Forerunner survivor. That should tell you that I like androids. My main use for these figures will be for N.E.W. but don't be too surprised if some of them appear in my Judge Dredd Miniatures Game campaign.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Alternative Armies Sci-Fi Figures 02

Following on from my last post here are some more of the Ganesha Games 28mm scale sci-fi figures produced by Alternative Armies. These four figures come from set PSY01 Psi Paladins. I guess the most obvious association with figures looking like these is with the Jedi Knights from Star Wars, and there is no reason why you couldn't use them in a Star Wars game. But for me, the reason why I bought them was to use them as Star Knights in the N.E.W. role-playing game.
In N.E.W. Star Knights are an elite order of warriors who are respected throughout the galaxy. They rarely use ranged weapons, preferring to engage their enemies with their laser swords. They also possess psionic powers, which makes them very similar to the Jedi Knights, albeit more openly accepted by society. Once again, I have taken the optional rules from N.E.W. to denote the types of laser swords they wield, with the colours being highly significant.
At the far left is a novice warrior who wields a blue laser sword. Blue is the standard laser sword colour and is the one described in the N.E.W. rulebook (see p.92). Technically, laser swords are not lasers; they are made of plasma contained in a magnetic field.
The female armed with twin green laser swords is slightly more proficient. If blue laser swords are classed as basic rank 1 weapons, then green laser swords are slightly better and are classed as rank 2. They represent peace and defence and are often used for deflecting energy blasts.
Moving up the ranks, yellow laser swords are classed as rank 3 and they are focused on melee defence, used by guardians throughout the centuries. The size of this figure's head suggests he is an android, which certainly could be possible, despite the fact that androids are non-psionic. Playing a non-psionic star knight would be an interesting challenge. Or conversely, perhaps he does possess psionic powers, making him unique amongst androids.
Finally, at the far right is the ultimate star knight, armed with a rare rank 5 purple laser sword. This weapon is a potent mix of offence and defence. His oriental look makes me think of him as a futuristic samurai. Certainly, he is a character to be respected.
Red laser swords, which I mentioned in my last post are classed as rank 4. The rarest of all laser swords are the black ones (rank 6), mainly (although not exclusively) used by those who have succumbed to the dark side of the Force. They cause damage which cannot be healed except by psionic (or magical) means.
There was an excellent article about laser swords published in EONS, the online magazine for WOIN a while back. I'd post a link to it but you have to be a subscriber to read it. Most of the info I have presented here came from that article.
These figures are all very beautifully sculpted with exquisite detailing. The hands holding the laser swords are separate castings and have to be glued in place. They cost £3.00 each and are available from here - https://www.alternative-armies.com/collections/ganesha-games-scifi/products/psy01-psi-paladins
I have yet to name any of these characters or work out their stats. I have already created one star knight character for my The Ace of Spades Campaign and she is a female Venetian. I'll show her in a later post. 

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Alternative Armies Sci-Fi Figures 01

I recently discovered a range of figures produced by Alternative Armies for their Ganesha Games 28mm scale sci-fi range. I was instantly attracted to them and ordered the complete range. I want to start my reviews of them with a look at the following four figures shown below.
At the far left is Graul Granite, a rock-like alien and a bodyguard of Lord Phalag. He does look a lot like Ben Grimm aka the Thing from Marvel Comic's The Fantastic Four. I have yet to decide what race he is. He could be a Boromite from Warlord Games Beyond the Gates of Antares game but seeing as I have no interest in that game at present, I doubt if I'll go down that path. Most likely I'll come up with my own stats for him. The figure is a two piece casting - upper body and lower body.
The figure that most intrigued me from this set is the one second from the left. He is Lord Phalag and most likely a human. He looks every inch the cruel despot, powerful crime-lord or planetary governor. I plan to use him as a crime-lord in my The Ace of Spades Campaign for my N.E.W. RPG that I'm running on my other blog. I also think he would be a great rival of Lord Valatrix in the Death Match game by Wargames Terrain Workshop. The figure is made of resin with the four lower panels of the hover chair and the familiar sitting on his shoulder being made of metal. The alien familiar very much reminds me of Salacious Crumb, Jabba the Hutt's familiar in the Star Wars films. Note that he is not supplied with a flying base. Fortunately, I have loads of spare ones. I attached him to the base with a piece of copper tubing.
The light turquoise skinned female second from the right is another member of Lord Phalag's retinue. She is called Skarra and is described as a mutant mindblaster, so that means she is a psyker. To me, she looks like a Yazirian, an ape-like race with wings who appeared in TSR's Star Frontiers sci-fi RPG. Or she could be a totally different species.
Sticking with the Death Match theme, the final figure is Lord Phalag's champion gladiator - Silas the Strong. He is clad in tight-fitting silver armour and he wields a laser sword. Note that in the N.E.W. game, the colour of a laser sword denotes its core properties. Red laser swords symbolise aggression and anger. They do more damage than other laser swords. That seemed highly appropriate for him. I'm in two minds about whether to add a shield to him. The way he's holding his left arm means it would easily fit on.
These figures are all currently available from the Alternative Armies web-store, see here - https://www.alternative-armies.com/collections/ganesha-games-scifi
Prices are £8.00 for Graul Granite, £5.00 for Lord Phalag, £2.00 for Skarra or £15.00 for all three. Silas costs £2.00 and is also available as part of the Techno-Barbarian pack of three figures. I am very impressed with this range of figures, especially as I can get double use out of them in Death Match and in my The Ace of Spades Campaign. I realise that I could just as easily have posted this review on my WOIN blog, but by posting it here, ensures it gets seen by a wider audience.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Shadows of Brimstone Heroes 03

I recently showed some of the new resin cast sculpts by Flying Frog Productions for their Shadows of Brimstone game. As well as making alternative figures for the eight original Heroes in the two starter sets, they also make new Heroes that you can add to your posse. I have three of the new Hero archetypes so far, but more are available. The ones I own are the Drifter, the Orphan and the Prospector. Each set comes with male and female versions, which I most certainly approve of.
At the far left are the two figures for the Drifter. A Drifter is an enigmatic and deadly force to be reckoned with. An expert shot, and the grittiest Hero around, the Drifter's skills as a fighter and a survivor are unmatched. His long years of experience can prove invaluable in helping the posse as a whole, but a darkness surrounds his past and seems to be almost drawn to him, making his presence a danger to all. No prizes for guessing who the male Drifter is based on - Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name from the Dollar trilogy of films. To me, the female has a Mexican vibe about her. They're both great figures.
In the centre are the two Orphans. Orphans have low Health, but can constantly bounce back from damage with their Youth ability. They are Quick and agile, moving before enemies at their Initiative level, and automatically passing all Escape tests, but do not have the discipline or strength to Dual Wield guns. An Orphan's greatest asset is her speed and manoeuvrability. Combine that with a mission of vengeance, and you have one tough cookie. It is nice to see some youngsters added to the mix of Heroes, as they are most often overlooked.
Finally, are the two Prospectors, at the far right of the group. One of the most hearty classes around, Prospectors have very high Health and Sanity, as well as a Miner's Canteen to heal up either. With a powerful Heavy Pick Axe and the ability to make Deathblows (a critical critical hit, or Crit Crit if you will), Prospectors may be slow but they can deal out horrendous damage when the chips are down. This combined with their Crotchety nature, preventing them from using guns or Tech items, means the Prospector's focus is as a close quarters tank in the field. Their Expert Miner ability also means that they will never be short of Gold or Dark Stone, and can even help those around them get rich along the way. The male Prospector is very heavily laden with loads of gear. The female looks quite formidable with her dark glasses.
Every one of these figures has been superbly sculpted in resin. The detail on them is crisp and sharp. Sadly, these are not easy to get hold off outside of the USA, and they are quickly sold out when they appear in the web-store. I acquired all of mine from sellers on eBay. None of these were cheap as they are highly sought after and are swiftly snapped up. It is such a shame they aren't more widely available.
I haven't named any of these yet, but the male Drifter will almost certainly be used as the Man With No Name in my games.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Vampifans Views 96 - Monthly Musings 69

This month's Vampirella picture is the third of a trio painted by Bo Hampton, featuring my favourite vampire with Batman. Here they are looking out across Gotham City from their rooftop vantage point. It is a very good illustration.

So, what have I been up to this month? Figure painting has been going extremely well. I'm still working on my figures for the Dracula's America game, and I'm working on the vampire faction known as the Red Hand Coven at the moment. I hope to be able to show them next month. I have also been painting a lot of sci-fi figures to use in my N.E.W games.

Speaking of which, this month saw the start of my The Ace of Spades Campaign on my other blog (see here - https://vampifanwoin.blogspot.co.uk/  )
Kimberley and the crew of The Ace of Spades have accepted a job from a young farmer to help protect his colony from a bunch of marauding bandits. So far, so good but that is all about to change as they set sail for the colony on the planet, Breuse. This is very much a narrative campaign, with little mention of the rules, so if you fancy reading an epic sci-fi space opera, give it a view.

For me the highlight of this month was the arrival of my Battle Systems Sci-fi 2 terrain sets from the Kickstarter I had backed. The postman struggled to carry the box indoors as it was so heavy! Oh boy, did I order a lot of stuff. This is what I received - 2 Frontier sets and 2 Galactic sets and one of each of the following add-ons - Arrival Bay, Detention Cells, Epidemic Infestation, Gothic Crawler, Gothic Walls, Medical Research Lab, Outlands set and a Particle Transmitter. These sets are just superb!
This photo taken from my The Ace of Spades Campaign represents a hotel bar and uses some of the walls from the Galactic set, a control panel from the same set along with furniture items from the Urban Apocalypse sets. It is easy to mix and match elements from the different sets. I haven't made any big builds yet but what I have been doing is making lots of furniture items and set dressings, like that control panel shown above. You'll be seeing a lot of these new sets in my The Ace of Spades Campaign and in future Judge Dredd Miniatures Game batreps. Indeed, the main reason why I haven't been posting more JDMG batreps recently is that I have been waiting for these new sci-fi terrain sets to arrive. With them, I can really bring Mega City One to life.

I don't have much else to report this month, so I'll sign off and wish you well. Take care, folks.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Shadows of Brimstone Heroes 02

It has been a while since I posted anything for the Shadows of Brimstone game, but my enthusiasm for Dracula's America has reignited my passion for the Weird Wild West. I have recently been painting a lot of figures for these two games, and still am. One of the things I liked about Shadows of Brimstone is that you had the option of playing male or female versions of each of the heroes provided in the game. However, sadly, the two starter sets, City of the Ancients and Swamps of Death only came with figures of one sex, and they were predominantly male. Six of the eight Heroes were the male versions. Fortunately, Flying Frog Productions have rectified this oversight and have produced alternate sex figures for the eight original Heroes. Here they are.
The first thing to note is that these figures are made of resin, whereas the original Heroes were made of hard plastic. The second thing to note is that the detail on these new figures is very sharp and vastly superior to their plastic counterparts. Most of these new figures are multi-part castings. I found that they went together very well. I used Superglue on them, which worked very well. I named all of the original Heroes but I haven't yet got round to naming any of these.
In this line-up, from left to right, are the Bandida, the Indian Scout, the Nun (counterpart of the Preacher) and the Piano Player (the counterpart of the Saloon Girl).
Moving on, in this group from left to right are the Gunslinger, the Rancher, the U.S. Marshal and the Law-man (technically, she should be called a Law-woman). Stats for these alternate figures are identical to the original versions.
Now, thankfully, players have the option to chose whatever sex of a Hero they want to play. Some may favour an all-male posse, whilst others may prefer an all-female posse. Or you can mix and match if you so want. I am delighted that Flying Frog Productions have taken this step. These new figures are simply superb sculpts. I should point out that there are also resin versions of some of the original plastic Heroes available  - the Bandido, the Gunslinger, the Rancher and the Saloon Girl. I don't have any of them yet, but I am very tempted to buy them. Each resin Hero costs $8.00 from the Flying Frog webstore. However, I bought all of mine from eBay at very reasonable prices. That said, they very rarely appear for sale on eBay, so if you really want them it would probably be best to order them direct from the official webstore.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Dracula's America Twilight Faction

Last month I mentioned that I had received a whole bunch of figures and rulebook for a Weird Wild West skirmish wargame called Dracula's America: Shadows of the West. I have already painted quite a few of the official 30mm scale figures produced by North Star for this game and in this post I want to show you the figures belonging to one of the six main factions of the game - the Twilight Order.
The Twilight Order are amongst the bravest and most skilled of the forces of good and light as they fight to keep at bay the insidious forces of darkness and evil. Their forces are made up of Crusaders, Templars, preachers, ordinary gunmen and very occasionally, majestic otherworldly Seraphim.
From left to right are two Crusaders equipped with plate armour and weapons loaded with silver bullets. A Twilight Order faction may include two Crusaders in its posse. In the centre is a Seraphim. Wrathful, angelic beings borne aloft on majestic white-feathered wings, the Seraphim are Heaven's warriors in the guise of hauntingly beautiful gunslingers sent to aid the righteous in their war against evil. This creature must be summoned before it may join a posse and will leave when the encounter is over. She is armed with two Blessed pistols loaded with silver bullets that will never jam. Next in line is a Templar. A throwback to the Twilight Order's medieval origins, the Templars' methods of combatting the forces of evil have remained unchanged for centuries. Though somewhat out of place in the modern age, many posses have found cause to be thankful for the presence of these determined and ruthless warriors. He is armed with a Blessed great sword and wears full plate armour. Finally, is an ordinary preacher, whose stern admonishment or uplifting verse can inspire even the yellowest of hearts. He is armed with a sawn-off shotgun.
The reason why I chose to complete this faction first is simply because it contains my favourite figure out of the full range of Dracula's America figures and she is the Seraphim. Most surprising, given how much I like vampires, it was this one figure that captured my imagination the most. I think she is simply stunning! The full page illustration of her in the rulebook is even more beautiful than the figure is. To be fair, all of the figures in this range have been superbly sculpted by Mark Copplestone, but for the Seraphim I think he has really outshone himself.
I have the leaders of all six factions painted and once I finish painting the other figures for a faction I'll showcase them on this blog. I'll also be showing other figures that are extremely compatible with this fun little game. I do want to post a batrep of the game but sadly that must wait until next year by which time I ought to have amassed enough Wild West buildings to do it justice.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Death Match Horned Hominid and Recnac

Here are two more beasts produced by Wargames Terrain Workshop to use in the Death Match arena. Sculpted by Dave Stone, these are very tall figures but seeing as they are alien beasts, does that really matter? Here then are the huge Horned Hominid and the deadly Recnac.
The huge Horned Hominids originate from a lush vegetative planet. In the wild, Horned Hominids live in family pods of one alpha male and several females. As the male young get older, they split off and create a new pod. Only the males are used in the arena as they are highly aggressive and a lot easier to provoke into fighting. The females have a strong aggressive nature as well, however, it only comes out when protecting their young from imminent threat. In Death Match, the Horned Hominids have two special abilities. First is Charger - whenever this beast moves, treat that move as if it were a charge and add 1 hit to this beast's attack. Second is Large - certain rules and abilities apply to large beasts. Large beasts are easier to hit with a ranged attack - any stars rolled in a ranged attack against a large beast count as hits. This impressive figure stands 93mm tall and is a multi-part model. Note the little lizard crawling on its base. That's a nice touch that I like.
Found on desert planets, Recnacs hunt using heat vision. They have a deadly sting in their tail. However, their mouth can be just as dangerous. Territorial creatures, the Recnac is usually found alone, however, there have been cases where more than two have been found sharing territory. Ultimately, a predatory creature, it attacks when its territory is being invaded. In Death Match, the Recnac has three special rules. First is Heat Vision - when selecting a "nearest player or beast" for the Recnac to approach, the Recnac will select a Scabendi if it is within 4 inches. Any further than that and the Recnac is unable to "see" the Scabendi. A Lava Salamander will always count as the "nearest player or beast" for the Recnac. Second is Stinger - if the Recnac is engaged with a player or beast that has suffered less than half damage, it will attack with its tail. It has a base attack of 1 hit, rolls 2 red dice and scores a knock-back on 2 successful hits rather than the usual 3. Third is Powerful Jaws - if the Recnac is engaged with a player or beast that has suffered half damage or more, then it will attempt to finish it off with its powerful jaws. The jaws have a base attack of 2 hits and roll 2 red dice. The figure of the Recnac stands 78mm tall and is 78mm long.
Both beasts are available to buy from the Wargames Terrain Workshop (see here - http://wargamesterrainworkshop.co.uk/?product_cat=death-match&paged=2
) The male Horned Hominid costs £15. Note that Dave also makes a female Horned Hominid (price £8.00) and a baby Horned Hominid (price £2). A set of all three is available for £20.00, saving you a fiver. The Recnac costs £9.00. By the way, Dave told me that Recnac is "cancer" spelled backwards. A piece of useless trivia for you! Given the size of these two beasts, they are very impressive models and I found them a joy to paint.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Death Match Lava Salamander and Deathcoil Beast

In Death Match, not only must the gladiators fight each other, but also various alien beasts. The sabre-tooth razorback, an animal indigenous to Traventi, was the first exotic beast to be introduced to the games in 2588. To accommodate the latest addition, four pods were built around the outside of the arena equidistant from each other. With large sliding doors, the sabre-tooth razorbacks were housed in those pods before being released one at a time into the game. Since then, Lord Valatrix has assembled numerous teams of hunters to bring even more beasts into the arena, as the introduction of the sabre-tooth razorback was so successful. Here are two of the newer beasts to appear in the arena - the Lava Salamander and the Deathcoil Beast.
The Lava Salamander, shown at the left in my two photos, is native to volcanic regions and the sight of it jumping in and out of lava pools is truly majestic. Hunting armoured fish, their teeth are adept at tearing through armour finding weak spots. Tough armour plating covers its body to protect itself in its natural environment. Its special ability in the game is that it treats any stars it rolls on its defence dice as blocks.
Various species of Deathcoil Beasts have been found in varying climates from dense jungle to vast deserts. They were originally considered to be only from the Scabendi home planet, however, they have since been found on other planets. Their front legs are used to drag themselves along and can move at lightning fast strike speeds. However, this speed cannot be used for a prolonged period. Victims are crushed, making it easier for the Deathcoil Beasts to swallow them. Prey can be as large as themselves, with a triple jaw, their mouth can open as large as needed.
In Death Match, the Deathcoil Beast has two special abilities. Constrictor - if the beast's combat roll scores 2 stars, then in addition to any normal damage inflicted, the victim also becomes ensnared in the beast's constricting tail. An ensnared victim may take no action other than a fight action against the Deathcoil. Secondly, Down in One - when the Deathcoil Beast is in combat with an ensnared model, its dice roll becomes 2R instead of 1R,1G. In addition, if its combat roll against an ensnared model scores 2 stars then the opposing model is swallowed whole. A swallowed model has one more chance to fight its way out of the beast's stomach. When it next activates, it rolls 2 red dice - on a score of 3 hits or more the victim escapes and the Deathcoil suffers 4 damage. On a score of 4 hits, the victim bursts forth from the beast's gut with a flourish - the Deathcoil is killed and if the escaping model is a gladiator, he gains 1 Favour Token.
Only a model smaller than the Deathcoil can be ensnared or swallowed. If the Deathcoil already has an ensnared victim and rolls 2 stars against another model, the original victim is freed in favour of the new one.
These are two interesting beasts. I like the Deathcoil Beast the most, despite suffering very badly against it when I played Death Match with the game's creator, Dave Stone. My gladiator got ensnared by it, allowing Dave's gladiator free attacks against me, which eventually killed my poor gladiator.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Death Match Lord Valatrix and Concubines

In the year 2579, the planet Traventi had become a cesspool of crime. The poor were either preyed upon or forced to turn to a life of crime just to survive. The planet contained 40 provinces each with its own Lord. Each province was struggling with criminal activity with more of the population becoming imprisoned by the day.
A year later the prisons were overrun. With more criminals arriving each week the prison wardens looked for a way to keep the population down. Some of the wardens started to pit criminals on death row against each other in trials of combat to help keep the prison numbers down. These trials were crude and barbaric; two inmates were tossed swords and instructed that one would eat that day and one would die. Inmates surrounded the the two in combat lining the walls and watched until one triumphed. Lord Valatrix was asked to visit his prison as the wardens had run out of ways to keep the prison population down. A trial of combat had just been started by the wardens and upon entering, Valatrix caught the exchange. Struck by an idea that could help keep the prison populations down permanently and create massive riches, the Death Match games were created. They became a huge success and soon saw alien races and beasts being introduced into the games as their popularity extended far and wide across the galaxy.
These three figures from Wargames Terrain Workshop show Lord Valatrix, the creator of the Death Match gladiatorial games, and two of his alien concubines. I should point out that these are all very big figures, that may be too big for some of you. The fact that they are aliens means I'm not at all bothered how tall they are. Lord Valatrix. in the centre of the group, is 48mm tall and 60mm wide from the edges of his cushions. The blue-grey skinned mutant concubine is 60mm long and the feline concubine is 57mm long from the tips of her toes to the tips of her fingers.
I have to say that I like these figures a lot and whilst they don't do anything in the actual Death Match game, I just think they are great spectator figures. I'd certainly like to develop Lord Valatrix as a non-player character for my N.E.W. role-playing game. He'd make an ideal crime lord. Note that the blue-grey skinned mutant concubine has three breasts. I shall say no more on that matter. The feline concubine is by far my favourite figure out of this set. As a cat lover, I have a fondness for feline alien races. This particular figure has been exquisitely and very cleverly sculpted. I say "cleverly" because incredibly, she is a one-piece casting. When Dave Stone, who sculpted her came to visit me, I asked him how on earth it was possible to cast her in one piece? Dave enigmatically replied that it was a trade secret. The more I look at her the more I'm stumped how he did it! Dave, you're a genius!
Lord Valatrix costs £7.00, the mutant concubine costs £6.00 and the feline concubine costs £5.00. All are available from the Wargames Terrain Workshop web-store found here - http://wargamesterrainworkshop.co.uk/?product_cat=death-match&paged=1
If anyone would like them for free I have a spare set available. Just leave a comment saying you'd like to own them and I'll draw out the lucky winner by the end of this month and announce his name when I post this month's Monthly Musings. Note that my spare set is unpainted.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Deathmatch Ceratid and Human Gladiators

Apologies for the delay in my postings but  I was hit by a double whammy of my internet router dying, followed soon after by my PC developing a serious fault. My PC is away getting repaired and I have received a brand new router. I'm typing this on my laptop. Anyway, here is part 2 of my review of the gladiator races who appear in the Death Match by Wargames Terrain Workshop. This time, I'm looking at the Ceratids and the Humans.
The Ceratids are large hulking brutes who resemble bipedal rhinoceroses. They hail from the planet Craxis, an earth-like planet. Being herbivores, Ceratids flourished on Craxis with its high levels of vegetation. As a race, they place great emphasis on gaining knowledge and they are noted for their magnificent and well-stocked libraries. The Ceratids are known throughout the galaxy as the zen species, as they will maintain peace wherever possible. The gained knowledge has been used to further their technology, building starships to travel the universe. Although a peaceful race in general, they are formidable fighters when defending their planet. The arena and inclusion in the games is looked upon as a way of protecting their planet, as they strive to discourage other species from invading them.
The three Ceratid gladiators currently available stand about 50mm tall and are sculpted onto integral 40mm diameter bases. They come with separate arms and weapons. Knowing that these figures are made of resin I did think that the weapon shafts would snap very easily. However, Dave Stone, who sculpted them, has been very clever by reinforcing the shafts with metal rods. Nice move, Dave! Lacking dexterity, all Ceratid weapons demand brute strength and are often too heavy for others to lift let alone use. At the far left is a male Ceratid carrying a Battle-shield and a Pugile Stick, which comes with a built-in projectile barb. In the centre, this male wears heavy armour and is armed with a Doom Flail. At the far left is a female Ceratid equipped with a Battle-shield and Scythe Mace. The Ceratid have 15 Life Points and their special ability is if a Ceratid inflicts at least 2 damage after making a charge, it causes a knockback.
My colour scheme for them matches that chosen by Dave for his figures in his web store.
Earth is a desolate wasteland, ruined by years of war and misuse. By the 26th century (Death Match is set in the year 2587) humans were wandering the stars looking for a new home. After many failed attempts to find a suitable planet, humanity discovered the Ceratids (see above). They were allowed to build bio-domes on specially selected parts of the planets the Ceratids were not inhabiting. Being an expansionist race, the humans encroached on Ceratid territory, despite agreements not to. The Ceratids reacted furiously and ousted the humans from their planets, earning all humans the nickname, revili, which translates as wandering scum. Unfortunately, for the humans they were unable to translate this word properly and they believe revili means regal and revered. No other species will allow humans to inhabit part of their planet and so, they continue to wander the stars, looking for a new home.
So far, there is only one human gladiator figure available from the WTW web-store but more will appear soon. The figure shown is a female wearing heavy armour and armed with a Laser-blade and an Energy Shield (both separate parts). The sword and shield are made of translucent green resin, which I have lightly dry-brushed. My only criticism of the figure is that she is very tall - about 38mm, which is way over-scale for 28 to 32mm scale figures. In Death Match humans have 12 Life Points (the same as the Scabendi) and their special ability is when making an initiative roll, they may add any stars to their total.
I copied my colour scheme for this figure from the front cover of the Death Match rulebook.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Vampifan's Views 95 - Monthly Musings 68

Hello and welcome to another of my Monthly Musings. This month's Vampirella picture is the second of a series of three paintings by Bo Hampton featuring Vampirella and Batman. I'm not sure why Vampi is hitching a ride on Batman's back when she can fly! Perhaps she wants to keep that ability a secret from the Caped Crusader.

Once again, I have had a very prolific month hobby-wise. I managed to finish painting my figures for the Death Match sci-fi gladiatorial game, although I'm still missing a few monsters. That will hopefully be rectified next month.

There are two games that I'm currently very passionate about - Dracula's America and N.E.W. I have a load of Weird West 28mm scale figures on my painting table right now, including some of the official Dracula's America figures and some Shadows of Brimstone figures, which are almost done.  I have bought quite a few Weird West figures this past month, including 5 vampires from New Line Miniatures, 13 assorted Wild West figures from the Reaper Chronoscope range (10 humans and 3 zombie miners), and I also backed a short run Kickstarter (it only lasted four days) by Bad Squiddo Games called My Last Sunrise, which contained 7 vampires, 6 vampire hunters and 2 monsters. I'm expecting delivery of them within the next few days as Annie wanted to get the figures out very quickly and she very kindly e-mailed me last night to tell me the figures were on their way. I've also been buying and making more Old West buildings from 4Ground. They are currently offering the Rogan's Bar and Bunkhouse complete set for £22.00 instead of £47.50, which was too good a bargain for me to pass by.
Rogan's Bar and Bunkhouse photo taken from the 4Ground website
Every Wild West town needs at least one saloon and this is my first. For that price, I was very pleased to buy it, as it is quite a big kit. By the way, my building looks a lot better than the one shown in the photo above because I paint all of the dark brown edges to match their surrounding colours. It makes my buildings look more realistic and less like a model kit. It is time consuming and fiddly (especially painting the window frames) but well worth the effort in the end. I'm slowly building up a nice collection of Wild West buildings (all from 4Ground so far) but I'd like a few more before I start posting any batreps.

The other game that I'm really enjoying playing is N.E.W. by EN Publishing. Yes, I have set up another blog, which is dedicated to the What's Old Is New role-playing games (see here - https://vampifanwoin.blogspot.co.uk/ ). So why am I mentioning it here? I recently played a big game using the N.E.W. rules that I want to bring to your attention. It was based on the introductory scenario, A Meeting of Metal from the Warlord Games Doctor Who skirmish game - Exterminate! I converted the stats for the Cybermen and the Daleks to N.E.W. and played a most enjoyable game that must have been unique, because I don't know of anyone else who has played Exterminate! with the N.E.W. rules. Now I know that most of you are not fans of N.E.W. and I'm fine with that. But I also know that quite a few of you are Doctor Who fans, and so it is to you that I'm giving this heads up. I'll be posting part 1 of this batrep in a few days time, so if you want to give it a view please drop by at my WOIN blog. Here is a photo of the initial set up.
Twelve Cybermen versus seven Daleks as they battle to control the most Vortex Nodes. Who will win?
I did think that working on two blogs would have had a bigger impact on the number of posts I put out per month but actually, the numbers are very good. Seven posts for my Undead blog and eight posts for my WOIN blog this month is way above average for a month. I guess it helped that I already had 10 posts all fully prepared before I even posted the first one for my WOIN blog. It is unlikely that I'll be posting any Monthly Musings on my WOIN blog, so expect some crossover content in future Monthly Musings on this blog. The WOIN Blog has been well received so far. I was extremely delighted to have Russ Morrissey, the author of O.L.D. and N.E.W. as one of my first followers. He asked me if I had thought of publishing my The Ace of Spades Campaign as a book, which I hadn't, but now that he has put the idea into my head it won't let go. It won't happen soon but once I'm well into the campaign I will give it serious consideration. I'd also like to give a big shout out and thank you to Andy, Dave and Greg as the only three followers who have commented on every post so far. Thanks, guys, your enthusiastic support is greatly appreciated.
Just as I have been buying quite a few new figures for my Weird West games, the same is true for my N.E.W. games. I have recently bought a fair few 28mm scale figures from the Alternative Armies range of Ganesha Games sci-fi range and from the Space Vixens From Mars range of sci-fi figures. Most of these have already been painted. In addition, my range of miniature starships has grown considerably. My package of 30 starships from the Stars Reach Kickstarter by Twilight Game Designs arrived and I have also bought 10 merchant ships from Brigade Models (they have a huge range of starships). Starship combat is something I'm very keen to try out when I start my The Ace of Spades Campaign. I'm not planning on any large scale fleet battles (that doesn't mean it might not happen!) but I'll mainly be concentrating on small scale skirmishes involving The Ace of Spades.
The one thing I am most looking forward to in September is taking delivery of my Battle Systems Sci-fi Terrain sets. I made a huge pledge for this Kickstarter last year and I can't wait to get my hands on these new sets. The Urban Apocalypse sets that I already have are superb and are much loved by me. With these new sci-fi sets my Judge Dredd games will be vastly improved and of course, the new sets will feature heavily in my The Ace of Spades Campaign. I'm expecting delivery of them in the next week or two. Oh, happy days!
Battle Systems Sci-Fi Terrain Set - this is all you get in just one set. I ordered lots of sets! Mega City One, here I come!

Thanks for reading and take care.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Death Match Exuvium and Scabendi Gladiators

Having introduced the Death Match sci-fi gladiatorial game to you last time I'm going to take a closer look at the figures used with this game. I'm starting with two sets of alien gladiators - the Exuvium and the Scabendi, simply because these are the two races that come with the two-player starter set deal.
The Exuvium are large, six-limbed insectoids from the planet Ectos. They are a peaceful race, who do not seek conflict or conquest. They are noted eco-warriors, sustaining their environment and using resources at a minimum. They are ruled by a queen in hive colonies and they live in huge skyscraper-like spires made of secreted resin and connected by walkways. Females are considerably larger than the males and they do not participate in the gladiator games. Despite their pacifistic nature, they decided to take part in the gladiator games to show the other races their deadly fighting skills. As a result, they have never been raided. The queen chooses which adult males will fight in the games and a select few are granted the Mark of the Queen to fight in her name for the good of the planet. The Exuvium are masters of bio-engineering and can craft living weapons.
These three male Exuvium insectoids stand roughly 50mm tall and are moulded onto 40mm diameter bases. Their arms are separate components that must be glued in place. At the far left is a gladiator with the Mark of the Queen (note his spiked carapace). He is armed with a Battle-blade and a Battle-shield. In the centre, this Exuvium is armed with a Heavy Battle-blade, which is a two-handed weapon. At the far right, this gladiator is armed with an Insectoid Whip (may also be used as a lasso) and an Insectoid Axe, which is a living weapon. In Death Match, Exuvium have the fewest hit points of any race - just 9, but they do have natural armoured exoskeletons, which can absorb a fair amount of damage. Their racial special ability reflects this - they have an intrinsic defence value of <2 blocks="">2 blocks. Also, in combat, they may re-roll one attack die (unless it is a fail) but the second roll must be accepted, even if it is worse than the original roll.
Note that I painted them using Foundry Forest Green 26 mixed with a small amount of Gold to give their carapaces that slightly metallic colouring. They were given a Citadel Coelia Greenshade ink wash, then dry-brushed with successively lighter shades of Foundry Forest Green mixed with Citadel Liberator Gold. Their weapons were painted with Foundry Boneyard 9, the shield with Foundry Ochre 4 and the living axe head with Foundry Nipple Pink 16.
The Scabendi are a reptilian race from the jungle planet, Scorullia, where they live in large tree houses. An aggressive race, the Scabendi seek out combat whenever they can. From the moment they hatch they learn how to fight. Each conclave of Scabendi is ruled by the Leader of the Hunt, who may be male or female. This position is always hotly contested. The longest known Leader of the Hunt maintained his position for four years and fought off 72 challenges before finally losing. When they were first encountered by human explorers, it was wrongly assumed that there were two species of Scabendi living together. This was because male and female Scabendi look so different. Males have spiky protrusions around their necks and squat faces. Females have no protrusions, slender faces and a crest upon the top of their head. The games are seen as a rite of passage to all Scabendi. Humans are considered to be the blight of the universe and the Scabendi relish fighting them in the games. It was the humans' mistake to underestimate the Scabendi when they originally entered the arena. Because of this, the Scabendi will head directly towards a human if they enter the arena together. No other race has been foolish enough to underestimate them since.
The figures are the same height as the Exuvium (50mm tall) but are sculpted onto smaller, 25mm diameter bases. I think Dave just likes sculpting tall figures! 😀 As with the Exuvium, these came with separate weapons and it is worth mentioning that both races have separate weapon packs, allowing you greater customisation for their choice of weapons. At the far left is a male Scabendi in Heavy Armour. He is armed with a Laser-blade and a Punch Pistol (may only fire once per round). The male gladiator in the centre is armed with a Heavy Battle-blade that looks a bit like a Klingon Bat'leth. The Scabendi at the far right is a female armed with a trident. The Scabendi have a decent amount of hit points - 12, which is the same as a human's. Their special ability is when making an action roll or a dodge roll, any stars rolled may be added to the total.
My colour schemes are similar to what Dave used but not an exact copy. The skin colours are almost identical but I have only painted the male heads red and not their upper bodies as well. Also, my armoured gladiator has Foundry Vivid Blue 22 armour instead of yellow armour, which I thought was too bright. Their blue skin is Foundry Sky Blue 21A with a Citadel Drakenhof Nightshade ink wash. The female head was painted with Foundry Yellow 2 and the male heads with Foundry Scarlet 38.
Next up will be the Ceratids and the humans.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Wargames Terrain Workshop Death Match Game

Death Match is a simple sci-fi gladiatorial game with humans and alien races fighting one another as well as alien beasts and monsters in an arena. The game is produced by Wargames Terrain Workshop and I have to admit, the whole concept just grabbed from from the moment I first learned about it. I have always had a hankering for playing a gladiator game but I never found the set of rules that made me commit to playing them. THW's Red Sands, Blue Skies came close. I did buy them but never got round to playing a game with them. Part of me was looking for something more than just a Roman-styled historical game. I wanted something extra; a fantasy setting may have done it but I never found such a game. However, science fiction has always been my favourite gaming genre, so when Dave Stone, from WTW told me he was developing a sci-fi gladiator game I was immediately drawn in.
Dave kindly sent me an advanced copy of the rules in PDF format for me to play test. I printed them out and even designed my own arena using tiles from World Works Games' Arena Works set with a 1" grid overlay on them. The figures I used were mostly 28mm scale EM4 Roman Gladiators, a few appropriately armed sci-fi figures and some fantasy monsters (giant spiders shown here). The huge Sky Shark was an official Death Match figure and it is every bit as fearsome as it looks. The rules are very simple to learn. Players roll 2d8s which can be attack dice, defence dice or one of each. The dice are supposed to have symbols on them (swords for attacks and shields for defence) but Dave was, and still is, trying to find a cheap source for them. So, normal numbered d8s are used and the number rolled determines what symbol is used. High is good, low is bad. If both dice come up with double 1s or double skulls, that is very, very bad. Results are compared to see who scores the most hits or defences and if hits win, then damage is determined. When a figure suffers sufficient hit points lost he/she or it is removed from the game.
Fast forward to when Dave came to stay with me for a short while. Prior to his arrival, the Death Match game went on sale on the WTW webstore. I placed a large order for the game and enough figures for a four player match. Rather than post them to me, I asked Dave to bring them with him when he drove all the way to my house. This arrangement suited us both fine. That evening, we played a game on the official arena mat (beautifully made of neoprene plastic) and used some of Dave's own painted figures. It was a huge thrill playing with Dave, who had done much to design the game rules and of course, sculpt the figures for it. I got soundly beaten but I could have no excuses. Dave was simply the better player on the night.
Here is a game in progress using the official figures and gaming mat. The gaming mat measures 2' square and is made of neoprene plastic like a computer mouse mat. This makes it very strong and durable and is my favourite material for gaming boards. You'll notice the game board does not use a grid pattern, which I'm fine with. By having two types of arena, with and without grids, means I can use these in an even wider variety of games. For example, the What's Old Is New games use 1" grids for their ground based combats, so I can use my scratch-built arena if I decide to convert Death Match to N.E.W. (there's a good chance that will happen).
At present, the game features four gladiatorial races - the humans, the large horned Ceratids, the insect-like Exuvium and the reptilian Scabendi. In addition, are numerous beasts and monsters, a few of which are shown above. I have all of the gladiator figures, the bystanders, the 3D gaming tokens and most of the monsters. I will be buying all of the monsters in due time. Over the next few posts I will be reviewing the figures that are currently available for this game.
Dave has a number of expansions planned for the game, the most exciting of which are 3D stands to form a complete arena model. That will look most impressive. New races and monsters are also in the pipeline but I don't want to say too much about them, suffice to say, I'm interested in all of them. 
Death Match is a fun game to play that can be played solo or with 2 to 4 players. Matches do not usually last long and depending on the dice rolls can be over very quickly. If you fancy a really long match, try increasing the number of gladiators per side from one per side to two or three per side.
Regular followers of my blog will know that I'm a big fan of Dave's Wargames Terrain Workshop figures and models and this game has quickly become one of my favourite sci-fi skirmish games. My one and only criticism of the game is the lack of the official dice - a problem which Dave acknowledges and is working on to rectify. When it comes to buying the game you have a number of options. The cheapest option is to get a PDF copy of the rulebook for just £5.00. Alternatively, you can buy the two player deal set for £65 (RRP should be £80.50) which bags you 1 Exuvium and 1 Scabendi figure of your choice, 4 monsters (Deathcoil Beast, Horned Hominid, Lava Salamander and a Recnac), the rulebook, the gaming mat, and tokens for defensive stance, favour, initiative and knockdowns. If you go for the four player deal set, it will cost £75 (RRP should be £94.50) and you get everything from the two player version plus a human gladiator figure, your choice of a Ceratid gladiator figure and extra tokens. I went for the four player deal set to get me more bang for my buck. Here's a link to all of the Death Match products - http://wargamesterrainworkshop.co.uk/?product_cat=death-match

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Massive Darkness - What I Got

I mentioned in my last post about my "Happy Thursday" where I received a load of parcels on that joyous day. I showed my Dracula's America Kickstarter package that I got last time. Now, it is time to show you what I got in the biggest parcel of all - my Massive Darkness Kickstarter package, which contains one of everything.
Massive Darkness is a dungeon crawl boardgame with 30mm scale miniatures created by Cool Mini Or Not that can be played with 1 to 6 players. No dungeon master is required as the enemy forces are controlled by an artificial intelligence in a similar manner to the zombie hordes in Zombicide. In this post I'll just show you all that I received for my Kickstarter pledge. I'll review the game itself in a later post. The picture above shows everything that came in a huge brown box. That is quite a hefty amount!
At the back here is the basic game box (it's big, heavy and packed to the gills) and the Lightbringer supplement, which adds crystal caverns and lava flows to the dungeon, plus loads more monsters. The other six boxes were optional buys containing more monsters and heroes. In the middle row from left to right are the Elementals set (contains 4 large elementals - air, earth, fire and water), the Ratlings set (contains 22 assorted Ratlings) and the Troglodytes set (contains 21 assorted Troglodytes and a large Minotaur). In the front row from left to right are the Reptisaurians set (contains 22 assorted Reptisaurians), the Bloodmoon Assassins vs the Hellephant set (contains 3 heroes and a large Hellephant monster) and the Warrior Priests vs the Spearmaiden Cyclops (contains 3 heroes and a huge Cyclops monster).
Two slightly smaller boxed sets feature the Noble Warriors vs the Cockatrice (contains 3 more heroes and a Cockatrice monster) and the Sorcerers vs Lord Tusk set (contains another 3 heroes and an Ogre Lord monster). To the left are three packs of crossover cards for using Zombicide: Black Plague heroes and zombies in Massive Darkness and for using the Massive Darkness heroes in Zombicide: Black Plague. I really love this so much. Kudos to Cool Mini Or Not for offering these cards! Finally are two boxed sets containing 3D plastic chests and pillars and doors and bridges to replace their card counters.
Here's a peak inside the basic game box. As with Zombicide: Black Plague, the heroes have a plastic dashboard to record their equipment, wounds and experience points on. I really like these a lot. The heroes are made of brown plastic and the monsters on grey plastic. The attention to detail of the sculpts is truly amazing and elevates the figures to miniature works of art. Beneath the big tray of monsters in the box are the tiles, dice, counters and cards.
Finally, here's a look inside the Lightbringer supplement, which contains three new heroes, a load more monsters, the crystal and lava tiles and a book of six new quests that makes use of the new tiles.
My mountain of unpainted figures goes up by another couple of hundred (sigh!) but do you know what? I don't care. I'm very happy with this purchase and the crossover potential with Zombicide: Black Plague was the icing on the cake and for me, made this a must have item. Plus, having read the rulebook, I can see that this is a great game in its own right. I very much look forward to playing it.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Dracula's America: Shadows of the West

Have you ever had one of those days when everything went right for you? They are rare but when they do happen it is such a wonderful feeling. Last Thursday was such a day for me. I received so many parcels that morning you'd think it was Christmas and my birthday rolled into one. From Amazon, I receive two plastic storage boxes that I keep figures and boardgame counters in. I received 12 miniature merchant starships from Brigade Models as well as five 28mm scale sci-fi figures from Space Vixens from Mars, and two big Kickstarter parcels. The first was everything produced for Dracula's America and the second, which came in a huge box, was everything that was produced for Massive Darkness, the new dungeon crawl game from Cool Mini Or Not. To top it all I had two hospital appointments that afternoon for check ups and both went amazingly well with the two consultants being delighted at my progress since my major operation in 2013. It was just a great day. Anyway, in this post I want to take a closer look at Dracula's America.
To give it its full name, Dracula's America: Shadows of the West is a skirmish wargame set in an alternate world Wild West where Count Dracula kills Abraham Lincoln in 1869 and becomes President for Life of the United States of America. Naturally, this intrigued me greatly and I quickly supported the North Star Nickstarter for this project by ordering one of everything that was on offer - rulebook, figures and dice.
I was very impressed by the quality of the products when I received them. the rulebook (shown to the left) is hard-backed, in full colour and runs to 140 pages. It is very easy to read and the rules are simple and easy to learn. The basic rule is if you roll a 5+ you have scored a success. On a roll of 1-4 you have failed. Characters come in three classes - novices, who roll d6s, veterans who roll d8s and heroes who roll d10s, so you can see, the more experienced your character is, the greater the chance he has of scoring a success. Some tests require one die being rolled, whilst others require three dice being rolled. Modifiers add or subtract the number of dice you roll but you can never roll less than one die. The more successes you roll, the greater the degree of your success is. That is the basic rules in a nutshell. Very simple.
The rulebook is split into three sections. Part 1 is The Rules, which cover the core rules, advanced rules, building your posse and 7 simple scenarios. Part 2 is Campaigns, which goes beyond one-off games into linked games that form a campaign. Part 3 is Dracula's America, which introduces the supernatural elements to the game. In here you will also find details of the six main factions of the game. The Twilight Order are the forces of good and light who have access to blessed weapons and ammo. The Red Hand Coven are the thralls of Dracula and his Shadow Union. The Skin Walker Tribes are native Americans who become shape-shifting guardians of nature. The Crossroads Cult are demon worshippers. The Congregation are sworn to stop the Dark Confederacy and to protect the remnants of the Free South with the power of Voodoo. The Dark Confederacy are made up of necromancers who raise the dead so that the Southern states may rise again in power.
I should point out that it is entirely possible to play this game as a straightforward Wild West skirmish game without using any of the supernatural elements... but where's the fun in that? This game is called Dracula's America and that is the setting I want to play in. I can't wait to get started. I can see crossover potential with THW's High Moon rules and maybe with Shadows of Brimstone, but that would require more work.
Here's a photo showing all that I received in my parcel. The rulebook, six of each type of dice used in the game and 42 beautifully sculpted 28mm scale figures. By ordering one of everything I earned a nice discount on the recommended retail price.
Here's a closer look at the figures. I based them all on the green plastic bases that came with them. Some of them, which I've glued to MDF bases, should have been glued to 40mm diameter plastic bases, but I thought they were far too big for the figures so I glued them on smaller sized bases. Only the summoned Temple Snake has been glued to a 40mm diameter base (see far left of the back row).
In the back row are the summoned creatures. In the fourth row from the front are The Congregation. In front of them in the middle are the Dark Confederacy. In the second row are from left to right, two Crossroads cult members, four Red Hand Coven vampires and two free exclusive figures I got for backing the Nickstarter, a Chupacabra and a Jackalope. In the front row are the forces of good - the Twilight Order and a single Skin Walker at the far right.
If you'd like a closer look at the figures, I've included this photo taken from the Nickstarter campaign which shows all of the figures except the Chupacabra and the Jackalope. The painted figures were painted by the highly talented Kevin Dallimore, a man whose work I greatly admire.
I'm a big fan of the Weird Wild West genre and I'm building up quite a collection of figures for this genre. I'm also slowly building up my collection of Wild West buildings and scenery. I think you can expect to see a lot of Weird West posts on this blog in 2018, by which time I should have enough painted figures and buildings to do it justice. I have to say that I am very impressed with the Dracula's America rulebook and setting. I see no reason to convert it to one of my other systems but to play it as written. But what has really impressed me is the quality and sculpting of the figures. Indeed, some of them are so good, they have jumped to the front of my painting queue. My favourite figure out of this range may well surprise you but I shan't say who it is until I have painted him or her. Yes, I am a tease!
The rulebook, dice and figures are all available from North Star. See here - http://www.northstarfigures.com/list.php?man=248&page=1
Highly recommended if you are at all interested in the Weird Wild West.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Warlord Games Manta Prowl Tank

Up until now I haven't looked at the vehicles of Mega City One that I'll be using in my Judge Dredd Miniatures Game campaign. That changes now as I showcase one of the most awe-inspiring vehicles used by the Justice Department. The Manta Prowl Tank is a vehicle used by the Judges to deal with serious disturbances such as riots. It can also be used in wartime. It has antigravity and a powerful armament. It is not the Justice Department's biggest tank, however, which is the more powerful Heavy Tank, which runs on caterpillar tracks and is reserved for military use, as opposed to normal law enforcement.
This resin cast model was produced by Warlord Games and I was fortunate enough to buy mine just a month before the Judge Dredd range was temporarily suspended. It measures 29cm in length, 24cm in width and is 6cm tall. I don't know what it weighs but it is solid resin and quite heavy. It came in numerous parts which I glued together with two part epoxy resin for a strong bond. It comes with a small flight stand, which I have fitted for these photos but it has not been glued to the tank. It raises the model about 2 cm off the ground. I have placed my 28mm scale Wargames Foundry figure of Judge Scott alongside it in my photos to give you some idea of just how large this model is.
In JDMG, the Manta Prowl tank is classed as a Massive Hover Vehicle, so it is not affected by difficult or impassable terrain. If a Justice Department force wished to use one in a game, it would cost them a whopping 900 Credits, making it the most expensive vehicle in the game.
It has a crew complement of 2 drivers, 4 sensor operators, 5 gunners and can carry 30 passengers, including 4 Lawmaster bikes. Its JDMG stats are Move 12". Agility -2, Ramming Dice 10D, Front Armour +10, Side Armour +8, Rear Armour +7 and it has 30 Hits.
Its weapons are a High Intensity Laser Cannon (scarily powerful!) and two Anti-Personnel Laser Cannons in its turret as well as Stumm Gas Dispensers and Riot Foam Jets. Note, when activated, the Stumm Gas Dispensers and Riot Foam Jets will attack every model (friend or foe) within 6". However, they may not be used if the Manta Prowl Tank moves in the same turn.
The following rule applies to the drivers. If only a single model uses a Move action to drive the Manta Prowl Tank, its Agility becomes -4. Both drivers must use a Move action on the tank to avoid this; with the Manta Prowl Tank being moved on the second driver's action.
The following rules applies to the sensor operators. If the Manta Prowl Tank does not have any sensor operator crew positions filled, it may not use any weapons. If one or two sensor operators are present, it suffers a -2 or -1 penalty to all shooting attacks respectively. If four sensor operators are present, it gains a +1 bonus to all shooting attacks. Sensor operators must spend two Special Actions in each phase, or they will not count as being present at their stations.
There is no question at all that the Manta Prowl Tank resin kit is a very impressive model. Despite its very high price tag (I paid £125.00 for it) I have no regrets in buying it. It may not see much use in my campaign but when it does you'll just know that the Judges mean business! However, I do have one major criticism of the model and it is this - this is NOT a 28mm scale model. It is vastly under scale. There is no way you could fit 11 crew members, 30 passengers and 4 Lawmaster bikes inside it unless they were 15mm scale. Now I can understand the problem of scale here. To make this in true 28mm scale would mean doubling it in size, making it roughly two feet square, which is just unfeasible for tabletop skirmish gaming. So I accept the scale reduction on the grounds of playability. It is still a mightily impressive model and is one that I am incredibly proud to own.