Iron Wind Metals has announced a Kickstarter campaign (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1050509756/ral-parthas-chaos-wars?ref=discovery) to re-release the classic Ral Partha fantasy figures form the 1970’s and 1980’s. While these figures do not have quite the sculpting of modern figures, I really like them. They are much better proportioned than many more recent figures, and they don’t have those crazily oversized weapons like Games Workshop figures. (It seemed for a while that later Ral Partha sculpts in the 1990’s tried to match the GW style instead of retaining their own, classic style. How many of use formed our impression of what a goblin, else, or dwarf looked like from these Ral Partha figures?) The Kickstarter has already achieved its goals, so this project is going to happen, and Iron Wind is a going concern, so I see little risk. And unlike the Bones figures, most of these are suitable both or dungeon crawls and unit-based battles; the Bones figures are suitable as heroes and for dungeon crawls but not for battles.
I still have some of these old Ral Partha figures painted and ready to game in a box with all my other minis. I used to think I had a lot of fantasy figures. A couple of years ago during a move, I opened up my box of fantasy figures and realized how few I have. There were my three or four packs of Ral Partha dwarfs, some of the goblins pictured above, and a few others. I used to run our miniatures games on two card tables covered by a wool Army blanket. If I run a minis game today, it usually involves at least six players on a 6×10 table. But those early games, when we and the hobby were new, were great fun.
So why haven’t I jumped in yet?
For me fantasy miniatures gaming has always been a side effort. I played fantasy games when I was in high school and college, because they were a natural extension of fantasy role playing games like Original D&D and Tunnels and Trolls. I even wrote a set of fantasy rules many moons ago.
I can’t figure out if I want these figures from a sense of an old man’s nostalgia for bygone days of innocence before the hobby grew up and became overrun with sock puppets and incessant complainers and haters. Or will I really paint all of them up and participate in — or run — big fantasy battles? Also, the price is kind of high for a Kickstarter campaign. Three dollars a piece for these Ral Partha re-casts seems high to me. Since the project has received all its required funding, I may just wait until they are available on the market and pick them up a unit at a time to see if I will actually paint and use them.
In any event, I applaud Iron Wind Metals for initiating this project and making these figures available again. This is a nice development for the hobby.
As part of the Armies for Kids project for Historicon (see previous posts and posts on Chris Palmer’s blog), many painted Confederates were donated along with many unpainted Union figures. The HAWKs had one recent painting day to get the figures painted up. A second one is scheduled for next weekend. In the meantime, I got 11 Zouave figures from Dave and painted them this weekend.
World War II Figures:
Berlin or Bust has the only 28mm machine-gun team I have found that has both a walking and set-up configuration. A set up machine-gun team is common, but the walking team is pretty rare.
I wanted the walking team for the upcoming convention game featuring the G.A.M.E.R.™ rules based on the recent Last Battle book.
Greg game me this Space Marine figure to paint up. It will be set in front of the wargaming store that I built for our upcoming zombie game set in a shopping mall.
This figure has been sitting on my painting desk for quite some time. I don’t know where it came from. It looks sort of like Robin Hood, so that’s how I painted him.
I received these dice in the mail from Inkwell Ideas (http://inkwellideas.com) yesterday. They look like they will be a nice way to generate one-off adventures off the cuff for fantasy role playing games. I can even imagine using them for historical adventures or pulp games.
There are three sets of five dice — or 15 dice. That makes 6^15 combinations or 470,184,984,576 if you use all 15 at the same time. All of the sides are geomorphic, which means no matter what you roll they will fit together.
This company has some other interesting products. It is worth a look at their Web page. I will likely order a few more things from their site.
A a semi-club project, several of us are making stores to build a shopping mall as a setting for zombie, post apocalypse, and modern games. This weekend, I finally finished the first of two that I am building — a hobby store.
The stores are made from uniformly-sized boxes for scrapbooking paper. I have decorated mine with a tile floor, a textured wall, a back room, and shelves full of games. The store even has games on shelves. If you look closely, you may recognize one or two.
I made a gaming table with 2mm WWII tanks and infantry. The gamers are from Victory Force.
My second store is going to be a wine shop, but I’ll probably spell it “Whine Shoppe.” I am hoping this inspires the others to get going on their stores.
On the spur of the moment (almost), Rob, Chris, Greg, and I got together for an impromptu four-player game of Songs and Blades and Heroes. This was only my third game using these rules. The activation mechanism is interesting. As a four player game among buddies, where we can fill in the time between activations with kibitzing, the rules worked fine, but it seems that the rules work best with just two players.
Chris and I were the good guys. Greg and Rob played the bad guys. Both sets of bad buys included a mix of skeletons, zombies, and a handful of special figures. Greg had some kind of specter who looked like the Grim Reaper. Rob had a sort of specter thingy that had a “terror” special ability.
We didn’t take time to talk about our game plan, but it turned out that Chris and I both moved toward Rob’s force. Since Greg’s forces were slow-moving, poor quality troops, he advanced slowly and didn’t get into the thick of the action until Chris and I had hammered Rob’s guys pretty hard.
When Rob hit 50%, his remaining forces had to make a morale check. He did reasonably well, but a bunch of his folks ran off the table. Then his specter got into the action, forcing a bunch of Chris’ guys and my guys to run away. I think one of Chris’ guys ran off the table.
This is where the final, big action took place. The zombies moved slowly and didn’t activate too quickly, but they fought pretty well. I lost a couple of guys in the final battle, but then Greg went over the 50% threshold and most of his remaining zombies ran off the table. At that point we called the game.
Combat in Songs of Blades and Heroes is conducted with an opposed die roll. It’s pretty straight forward, except since I have only played a couple of times, sometimes it’s hard to remember what is a plus to the attacker and what is a minus to the defender. Otherwise, there is nothing too novel about combat. Where Songs is innovative is in the activation scheme. The active player can choose to try for one, two, or three actions per figure. He chooses a figure to activate and decides whether to roll one, two, or three dice, trying to tie or beat his quality number. So why not always try for three activations? If you ever fail two activations, your activation ends, and initiative passes to the enemy. So, while three dice might get you more actions, it also increases your chance of the initiative shifting. So why not always just roll one die? That’s safe, but often you want to try to move and conduct combat (two actions), or conduct an aimed bow shot (two actions, where shooting without taking careful aim is just one action), etc.
As mentioned earlier, I think it is a fun system for a two player game with just a handful of figures on each side. I only had seven figures, for instance. Games with just a few figures on each side seem to be in vogue these days.
We had a good time. This made my 25th game of the year, so I am well on my way to my 50-game goal.
As we are beginning to think about Look, Sarge, No Charts near future and science fiction rules, we are already beginning to put together units and terrain in advance of development. These buildings were recently released by Brigade Models. My daughter painted them for me.
I didn’t want them to be in a single gray or brown. I wanted them to look as if people lived in them and painted them according to their own sense of style. These sure don’t look dull!
As I am assembling part of my force, I got my hands on a large collection of Epic Warhammer 40k figures. Then I picked up a bunch of turrets form Iron Wind Metals at a convention. Combined together, they don’t immediately jump out at you as GW figures.
In my continuing quest to reduce my unpainted lead collection, I have been picking away at odds and ends have been sitting in my “ready to paint” box or penny packets of recent acquisitions. Recently, Hinterland released a few more figures in their line of female hussars. Above you can see two of the robots that round out my force.
I have no idea who makes this Indian figure (below). It has been on my painting table for a couple of years, so I decided to paint it. It is closer to 30mm than 25mm.
Brigade Models (not Brigade Games) makes this Austrian WWI dog cart machine-gun. I don’t have any other 28mm WWI figures, but I figure I can mix them into a pulp game at some point.
Chris found the Trojan Bunny on Shapeways.
I think the globe and other accouterments are from Mega Miniatures.
These cute little robots are made of dental plaster by Windsword Accessories (http://www.windswordaccessories.com/17-science-fiction). I will likely pick up a few more. They were very fun to paint.
In several of the Look, Sarge, No Charts rules sets, a number of special dice are used to resolve various combat effects, such as morale checks, rolls to close with the enemy, and rolls to stand when charged. During a recent G.A.M.E.R. (see previous posts) play test, Chris suggested that the card mechanism being developed for G.A.M.E.R. might work to replace the dice in Bear Yourselves Valiantly. I made up cards for him for those rules. The experiment went well, and Dave wanted a similar deck of cards for Fate of Battle. I ginned them up and posted them to the Yahoo Group. Above is a sample.
The consensus is that these are a little easier to read than the various dice. They also remove the table clutter of the dice. Finally they eliminate the need for players to memorize which dice are used in which situations and the search for the right ones.