Saturday, 17 January 2015

(Formerly) Missing In Action...


It's been almost two years since I last wrote in my fledgling blog!

I won't go into the details here, but after probably the worst year of my life (2013), and a year recovering from that, that was probably one of the best of my life (2014), I'm back in a place where I'm happy with myself and in a place where I can get back to being me...and doing the things I love to do.

So, here we are.  Understandably, things have changed a lot since the last time I posted, and I never did stick with many of my gaming resolutions!  In fact, all of my wargaming stuff, and a lot of my novels, literature and roleplaying books have all been in storage for pretty much all of the time since I last posted.  This means I have a lot to catch up on...though I can probably start where I left off on a lot of them.

Having moved into a new house with my partner and her son (a 14 year old, not unlike myself at 14) seemed to be the perfect excuse to unpack all the boxes full of books and models, and rather excitingly, said 14 year old is more than eager to start playing all these wonderful new games and start buying and painting models!  He's never seen anything of the kind, but he's really into history and World of Tanks, so it's looking to be a good time ahead for both of us (I hope) as I introduce him to all the stuff I love.  We've already got games of Flames of War, Warhammer 40,000 and Force on Force planned, and there's plenty more to get stuck into after that.

The only hobby I've really kept up with (and even then, only since the beginning of 2014) is roleplaying: playing  my group's in-house Sci-fi game 'Trailblazer' and running games of Call of Cthulhu, Conspiracy X (Unisystem) and the new, 5th Edition of Dungeons and Dragons for 3 groups of brand new, never before played gamers, so I've been a little busy at least!

Aside from that, a few of my Kickstarters have delivered in this time (and I've signed up for a few more), and I've made a few gaming-related purchases too, so when I'm caught up, i'd like to talk about those too.

It's been a long time, but it's good to be back.  I never realised how much a guy could miss the feel of a handful of plastic dice!  2015 is the year I got back to gaming...and I can't wait to get stuck in again!


Friday, 15 February 2013

Warzone: The Resurrection. KICKSTARTER is now Live!

The official Kickstarter is now live at, check it out, even a pledge of £1 gets you the .pd of the rules and £19 and up gets you the awesome looking new miniatures!  I'm really excited about this now the Kickstarter is live, the problem is, I can't decide which pledge level to go with.....if only I had £333 to splash on this!

Monday, 11 February 2013

Gaming resolutions update - January

I know this is a bit late, but January has been an unusually hectic month, and it's only now February is well under way, that I find I have enough time to look back and see how I've (under)performed against the targets i'd set myself.

  1. Complete all three Flames of War armies and my Firestorm Armada fleet to at least tabletop standard, and do not buy any more models for these armies until this is achieved. - It's good and bad news here; I haven't worked on any of these models yet, but on the plus side, I haven't bought anything new yet!
  2. Play a minimum of 1-2 games per month (of any wargame) - CHECK (1 game of FoW played in January, and a game of FoW and a couple of Firestorm armada lined up for February!)
  3. Finishing building up the Epic Space Marine force and play at least one game with it. - Plenty of the infantry based up, but otherwise, no change.
  4. Try using the 'Army Painter technique' to paint my Dark Angels up to TT standard ready for the Easter game. - Nearly all the models are now assembled (I'm waiting on some Terminator Arms through the post), and after that, it's time to start spraying.
  5. Complete enough models and obtain enough scenery to run a Force on Force campaign (Probably 'Day of the Ranger') for my gaming friends and hopefully get them into FoF. - No change here so far, though the campaign is now likely to be Vietnam (From Ambush Valley).
  1. Bring my Conspiracy X campaign up to date (and do so after each session) on the Obsidian Portal website.  - Not yet updated.
  2. Run the Conspiracy X campaign a minimum of once each calendar month (as promised to the players already!). - CHECK (One session played in January)
  3. Finish writing the Call of Cthulhu Campaign I have been writing since last year. - No further work carried out as yet (and now i'm writing an All flesh Must Be Eaten campaign for a friend).
So, after a month, there is still some considerable work to do on the modelling side, but I've not failed any of the ongoing ones in the first month, which is a plus... Still, it's one month in, and I've already added another thing to do to my list AFMBE Campaign to write).  However, I think modelling wise at least, February will be a more productive month.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

WARZONE the miniatures game RETURNS!

Mutant Chronicles - 1993
Back in the mid 90's, my roleplaying group and I found a book in the local games store called 'Mutant Chronicles'.  It was a dark, bleak game, set in the Earth's far future, where the human race had leached the planet earth of all resources of any worth, and then gone forth, spreading out and colonising the solar system.

Nations as we know them were long gone, in their place there were instead a number of Mega-corprations, each with its own specialisation, and cultural heritage; Mishima (Japanese/Oriental), Bauhaus (Germanic/Slavic), Capitol (American), Imperial (British/French) and the elusive Cybertronic, a new corporation with highly advanced cybernetic technology and somewhat dubious ways of obtaining their operatives. Conflict was rife, espionage and even open combat were commonplace between these corporations, but they had a greater battle to fight.

Warzone - 1995
After most of the solar system was colonised, explorers disturbed a mysterious artifact on an until then unknown tenth planet beyond Pluto.  It turned out that this 'Seal' (the First seal of Repulsion) had been protecting the Solar system from an ancient evil, the Dark legion; a horde of other-dimensional mutants and undead, headed by five 'Dark Apostles'.  With the seal broken, the Dark Legion flooded into our dimension, and aided by the zealots of 'The Brotherhood' (A religious organisation formed to battle the Dark legion, and unify the corporations), humanity began the fight for its very survival...

Doom Troopers (Genesis/SNES) - 1995
The roleplaying game was fantastic, it had a decent set of mechanics, and an intricate and well thought out backstory.  There were a number of excellent sourcebooks available for it and it it did well, leading to a spin-off wargame called 'Warzone' (which itself had several expansion books and a number of stand-alone boardgame type additions), and a collectible card game, Doom Trooper (Which in turn had its own Console game spin off!).  Both systems and the CCG were very popular from what I gather, the miniatures were good quality sculpts, and just about every different unit type in the roleplaying and wargame was produced as a miniature (Mostly infantry, but some of the smaller vehicles and some of the gargantuan monsters were produced as multi-part, high quality resin and metal models).

Doom Trooper CCG - 1994
In the end, Target Games, the Swedish company that produced the games failed due to its parent company's bankruptcy, but the story and the games remained popular, if unsupported.  Interest in the licence/background has always been there and in recent years we've seen a (admittedly short-lived) collectible miniatures game from Fantasy Flight games, and even in 2008, a big budget movie starring Thomas Jane and Ron Perlman, that was released in cinemas (and was fairly good in my opinion).

All this reminiscing aside, when i was recently cruising the boards over at Dakka Dakka, I read that the current licence holder, Paradox Entertainment, is releasing a new version of the miniature wargame, Warzone!  It is being released on February 15th, and there's been a couple of images of the models floated so far, and they look GOOD!  Personally, i'm very excited about this, and i'm impressed a company has picked this up and produced the game without going to crowdfunding, which seems to be the popular route nowadays.

If you've played any of the games listed above, i'm sure this news will excite you as well, if you haven't, then I will tentatively say, take a look at this game.  If it is pulled off well it will certainly be worth your time.  Mutant Chronicles/Warzone is so under-appreciated in my opinion.  it has such a solid, interesting story to it, and the Warzone rules system was robust as well.  This has the potential to be such a good game, and all the things i've heard so far have been positive. I can't wait.....but to bide you over, below is the official trailer.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Firestorm Armada: FREE Rules and more!

Today, I was sat at work cruising the Internet (in my lunch beak, of course!), when a colleague, who is a fellow wargamer pointed me in the direction of the Spartan Games Website, where they now have the newly revised rulebook for Firestorm Armada available for free download!  I'll admit, it's been a while since i've visited their site, so this was a very pleasant surprise.

It seems that at the point my friend Byron and I were introduced to Firestorm Armada, the rulebook had just gone out of print, and after trying in vain for around two months to secure a copy, we just continued playing with the photocopied sheets and tables that had kindly been provided by the chap who introduced us, and decide we would look up the book again in a few months. Having forgot that, and then not dusted off my Directorate fleet for a couple of months, the book now lands on my desktop, for free!

As soon as I got home, I managed to download the 7mb .pdf of the rules, and they look good.  They even include the tokens you need to print off to use in the game.  The rules actually total around 50 pages, and the rest of the 63 page document is the tokens and some pretty pictures of some of the ships you can use in the game as well.  Obviously the hardback version of the game rules contains more than this simple .pdf file, but it gives you enough to play the game, and even gives you a little bit of the background of the game.

AND, as if that wasn't enough (A free game!), you can still download the print-off and cut-out ship models of the original three fleets (Terran, Dindrenzi and Directorate).  All you need to do is print the sheets off as A4 and then cut the 2D paper ship models out.  As the game really is in 2D, the 'flatness' has no effect.

So, there you have it.  Here is a free wargame to play.  Rulebook, counters and ships, all you need to try out Spartan Games' superb space combat system!  I'm off to digest the book, and hopefully get a couple of games, then i'll be back with a review and some comments (hopefully).  Until then, here are some links that you may want to visit...

Rulebook Download
Terran Alliance cut out fleet
Dindrenzi Federation cut out fleet
The Directorate cut out fleet

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

The Week of AD&D Excitement!

So, this week, when digging around that web I have found two pieces of juicy Dungeons and Dragons/AD&D/RPG information, although I think i'm somewhat late to the party, and others have known a fair while.

Firstly, this Saturday, sees the release of the first issue of 'Gygax Magazine', a new magazine from the newly formed TSR (It's a new company, not the old one back from the grave, but it seems to have pretty much the same ethos).  The people behind this venture?  Well, primarily the main backer and publisher is Jayson Elliot, along with his colleagues James Carpio and Jim Wampler, as well as Luke Gygax, Ernie Gygax, (Sons of Gary Gygax), and the Editor of the old Dragon Magazine, Tim Kask!

If this magazine were to be anything like the old Dragon mag, I would be most pleased.  I used to look forward to buying it each month, it always had such a varied content, for many different gaming systems.  In fact, it got me into a few systems I would likely never have heard of as a 10-12 year old boy in the North of England (I'm specifically looking at you; RIFTS and 'Underground'!).  I rarely buy actual print magazines now, mainly the occasional Miniature Wargamer, I just don't see any that appeal to me.  This does, and as soon as I find out how to get it to the UK, i'll be getting it!

I've seen the content list for the first episode over at Gamers & Grognards and Greyhawk Grognard here on Blogspot, and along with the following quote from James Carpio himself, i'm not going to lie, I can't wait:

"GYGAX Magazine is an exciting venture from Luke & Ernie Gygax (Gary Gygax's sons who helped create much of what fans know as D&D), Tim Kask, the original editor of Dragon magazine, and Jayson Elliot, publisher and creative director of the project.
In the spirit of the original Dragon magazine, GYGAX hopes to rekindle the old school spirit for a new generation of gamers. GYGAX magazine will focus on the entire tabletop gaming hobby and community. The magazine will focus on the overall dedication to the gaming hobby, but will give a healthy amount of attention to the 1st and 2nd editions of AD&D, Pathfinder and D&D Next. Popular gaming systems such as Cortex +, ORE, WH40K RPG, etc. will be featured each quarter, giving GYGAX magazine a well-rounded feel with content that appeals to every gamer."

Secondly, I've read today that WotC have now released a selection of original and classic Dungeons and Dragons, and AD&D products from the various previous systems, over at DriveThruRPG and its various sister sites, and also under the dedicated site Unsurprisingly, immense traffic has already taken most of the sites down, but from what I have seen so far there is a decent selection of 1st and 2nd edition core modules, and plenty of other stuff from the various campaign settings as well, at decent prices.

Our group mainly plays 1st & 2nd Edition AD&D, Primarily in Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms, and although we have the majority of releases for these settings and plenty for many others, there is a wealth of extra stuff on here I am sure we now 'need'. I'm equally as sure that come pay day, i'll be making a few selections!

I'm a big fan of DriveThruRPG and the electronic method of buying modern games, but every other AD&D product I currently have (two bookshelves worth) is in hard, paper format, so this is going to be something of a wrench for me.....

Communications breakdown...

Just in case you thought I had disappeared off the face of the Earth, I haven't!  I am having something of a problem reaching the internet (for the past week in fact).  I am (un)fortunate enough to have Sky Broadband, and as you may have seen in the press today (It's taken them a week to actually admit there is a problem), they have dramatically over-sold Sky Unlimited broadband in some areas.  The result of this, is that a number of exchanges (mine included) or so over subscribed, that congestion is causing excessive bandwidth drops.

At the moment, my download speed is a mighty 0.085mbps, so i'm struggling to upload pictures on my connection (I'm been doing a couple of posts that contain pictures), and most sites that use any kind of active content, simply don't work at all.

Of course, Sky are working on the problem, and assure us that it will be working on February 2nd....