Antares @ CHOP!

For the number of people talking about Antares locally, there still isn’t the representation I was expecting at our Sunday gaming club. I arrived late, around 1:30pm (we open at noon) and one guy was sitting with his army set out, and a table set out, waiting for an opponent. I looked around and saw 2 Antares people playing Blood Bowl, and 2 watching another game, one of whom I found out was waiting for his BB game! One issue we have with growing this game is that Blood Bowl is a commitment¬†in our league, so if you fall behind on games you have to prioritize it over other games!

I got asked if I wanted to play BB, but I only brought Antares, so I played 3 games of it! ūüėÄ This post won’t be a battle report, because I kind of hate (reading) them, but read on because it’ll turn into a mini-review of scenario #4 “Tunnels” from the Xilos supplement.

First Game

I played the poor guy sitting with his army out. The trouble is, that he’s a guy that others have been complaining about. Not that he’s a bad guy, but he plays this¬†wicked fast Boromite army that’s in your face turn 2 and it’s quite daunting to have to deal with 2 rock rider units, the rock rider character, 3 units of lavamites and 3 X-launchers. The lavamites are quite good.

We played one of the scenarios I wrote for the scenario competition a while back (still no links, since maybe it’ll be published one day, that’d be nice!). It was the only scenario I didn’t get a chance to play test before I submitted it, mainly because I didn’t have time and I was more confident that it would be good. And oh man, was it ever.

I was trying to write a game that scored more like Malifaux, with VPs accruing at the end of every turn. This allows you to “lock in” points so you can forget about those points and focus on how to get other ones. It has a interesting “flowy” feeling to it, since you don’t have to be focused on the entire board at once. “This one, then this one, then this one” sort of feeling, if that makes any sense at all!

Until you get flanked by lavamites. Rapid sprinting at you, and rolling 1s for their Ag tests so they move¬†25″. I played a denied flank, leaving a Strike Squad dangling to bait him and trying to push more force up a single side, while he spread out evenly. It was on the verge of working, except that because his entire army is so fast and so strong there’s no flank to deny, it’s just a flank taken. He ran forward, grabbed the points and just kept running. The only thing that saved me from getting completely destroyed was on turn 3 about half his (Co 9) army failed a Command Check, then failed again to remove their Down orders!

I lost this one 6-4, but am super happy with the scenario!

Second Game, Xilos #4

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My dudes, cramped in a tunnel. The scenario description recommends 750, and I heartily agree!

I’ve had it as a goal of mine to play through every scenario in the Xilos book. I usually buy books like these and then read and forget them – “scenarios are hard”, “lets just line them up and smash each other”. After my stint in Malifaux, I’ve learned that scenarios are the best to play a wargame. The Xilos book has been a source of some very excellent¬†ideas, but I’m afraid to say, some less good implementations.

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My opponent “broke through” first, so got to place a unit ahead…and then cramped the rest of his army. The caverns he’s standing on are the ones placed before the game starts.

The first scenario was so asymmetrical¬†I think I would have been annoyed if it hadn’t been explained in the scenario summary that this was the case. Xilos #4 is one sided, and I don’t think it was intended to be so. It feels like the writer had a really good idea…and then wrote something different down. It’s a game where you place tunnel sections on the board, tunneling out your map as you go. Very cool idea and I was really excited to try it out, but the rules have this terrible conflux:

  • You must always place your first tunnel section at a right angle to the table edge.
  • You must always place subsequent tunnel sections heading directly towards the table center line (used in one part of the rules) or “your target”. (a phrase used in another part of the the rules without explanation of what my target might be?).

When you combine these two, if you both don’t place your first tunnel section directly in line with the initial canerns, you will very likely, never¬†meet. (when you place a tunnel, roll a D10, if you roll a 10 you can place a cavern that can be placed to adjust your tunnel course slightly). If you do place your tunnel section directly inline with your opponent, I think you end up with a very¬†uninteresting game¬†with a long tunnel where only 1 unit from each side can shoot at anything.

This game my opponent placed in line with the existing tunnels and I placed off-center to see what would happen. It wasn’t until turn 6 (out of 8) that I rolled a 10 and managed to place a connecting piece that the game got any sort of interesting. He almost won without interacting with me at all, but we got to turn 8 and he won 3-2.

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We finally met. If he’d sprinted at this point, across into the far cavern, he’d have auto-won.

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The state of the game at this point. We ended up “just moving” most of our armies, without drawing dice because everything at the back couldn’t do anything but keep up. Saved a lot of time!

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I moved into the battleground cavern to block his movement and shot up his guys a lot.

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Don’t cross the streams!

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The end. I couldn’t run into the left-most cavern in this photo to contest it and tie the game up. He won 3-2.

Third Game, Xilos #4

We re-racked and tried again with a small rules variation – you can place a tunnel section at¬†any right angle –¬†so you can choose to change course as you wish.

This was much more interesting. We both placed our initial sections off-center from the middle, but only slightly so that a single tunnel section could be used to break into the main cavern whenever we wanted. I pushed to 2/3s of the way up, and he pushed to half way and that was the winning move for me. I managed to bottleneck him in his single line and he didn’t have time to break in again while I sprinted to the far end of the cavern to win automatically 4-0.

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I broke in at two points, allowing me to Ambush with the left-most squad and keep his army pinned in his tunnel. I sprinted a squad across the biggest cavern to hold 4 at once and auto-win.

Not a Fourth Game

We thought about other variations that could work to make this more interesting. I initially wanted to be able to use Orders dice to place another tunnel section during your turn, but since the game was so cramped and movement-heavy already, I worried that spending any dice not moving would bog the game down.

My opponent suggested that you could put D3 pins on a unit to place another section. This was an interesting idea that I hadn’t considered, ¬†your troops getting tired from digging so much! In my Antares scenario designs I haven’t thought about pins as a “resource”, and I’m super happy that he made me think about them that way!

What I wanted was to be able to build more interesting tunnels – with the current rules it looks like the optimal placement is two off-center lines that could break in at any point, giving you flexibility but also protection. But that you had to break in at the 2/3s mark no matter what, in order to prevent your opponent from stealing the game like I did. If you place additional sections during your turn, you could push hard in one direction and still be able to defend if you needed to.

 

And that’s about it!

Antares – Pin Markers and Excuses

I think this was the last time I had a painting slump that felt like this. I haven’t done any painting or modelling since my last post, which is disappointing to both of us. (Or, at least just me). I have in mind, the following hobby¬†projects queue’d up:

  • Skaven Blood Bowl team has 5/16 models fully finished. Another 9/16 are about 70% done. Another 2/16 are just primed white.
  • 2 C3 Medium Drones that are just primed, a light drone with subverter matrix that got to a single layer of paint before being shoved in the case.
  • 5 Algoryn troops and spotter drone that I wanted to paint as part of my Strike on Kar’a Nine review.
    • Don’t get me started on the plans I had to go through each part of that box piece by piece. I haven’t had time to game.
  • Most of a Freeborn force that I picked up for a steal.
  • Use that photo setup I’m very pleased with. ūüôā
  • Play every scenario in the Antares Xilos expansion.

I think those all of are the hobby “commitments” I’ve given myself, that I haven’t done anything with. It is nice to see the list.

Here’s what I did tonight:

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You need pin markers for Antares.¬†I’ve been using just a bunch of tokens to mark pins, but as part of that Freeborn force I got some of the Warlord games pin markers and I wanted to use them. On their own, they are exceedingly difficult to read and the Antares Facebook group has a lot of people doing something similar to this so you can actually read the numbers.

  • Wash of Abaddon Black. I don’t think this worked out well.
  • Wash of Drakenhof Nightshade. I like this colour more than most blacks, because it’s deeeeep.
  • Quasi-careful highlights of white over the numbers.
  • Went back in with the Drakenhof to touch up the edges where I’d messed up.
  • Purity Seal for safety?

I’m a little worried I should have primed something or something, but priming something you aren’t painting all of is a pain.

 

Now onto the excuses? Yeah, I don’t feel like going to bed yet. These are all the things that are filling my brain, instead of painting:

  • My wife is pregnant!!! woooot! We have a lot of things that need doing around the house…including keeping her fed and watered, which isn’t always easy. She’s suffering a lot from pregnancy sickness. ūüôĀ
  • I’ve had some sort of intestinal issue for about 4 months now. Constant light cramps and gas, and often feeling like I gotta go, even when I don’t. Sucks a lot, particularly since the solution is 30 days of a very stringent diet (plus antibiotics) that I’ve somehow failed to follow perfectly.
  • Trying to plan a diving trip.
  • Trying to plan to teach some friends toddler to ski.
  • Planning meals for the above intestinal issue. Can’t just walk out the door and eat, this thing needs careful management.
  • Two circus shows – one in March and one in June.
  • A secret hobby project that I’m going to talk about but not tell you any details for a few months.

Before I got a career job, programming was a big hobby of mine. I’ve written tons of little programs that have barely had any use, just because I thought it would be neat to have a program that did that thing. Over the last few years, because of globalization and Google Play the world has been able to benefit more from this hobby. I’ve written 4 apps for Android that help with various gaming related tasks. My new project, which is literally sucking up and devouring every moment of time I have that isn’t scheduled otherwise, is a new web app that I hope might be of use to some of you when I’m done. There’s also a possibility that I might try to monetize parts of it (although the basic functionality will be free), like a DLC for your web app.

It’s time for sleeping, thanks for reading and I hope the photo of pins markers will keep you satisfied until I return. Tomorrow at least I’ll be playing some Antares and maybe I’ll have some photos of that. I’m on Xilos #4 and it looks really good!

Blood Bowl – Skaven Gutter Runner…and some photography stuff.

I’ve had it on my todo list for a long while to get back to the kind of photography I was doing before I moved into a tiny apartment and got really lazy about pulling all the equipment out, and setting it all up for a single model, then putting it all away. We moved about 6 months ago and have more space now. Then I back the MacroMat Kickstarter and it arrived yesterday. And I finished a model today,¬†and had some spare time to move some stuff around. The stars were aligning.

Here’s a rat!

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The GW Skaven box doesn’t come with enough Gutter Runners to run a proper team, which is a little silly and the cause of much argument in CHOP! chat. I don’t know why GW made this decision, but my policy has generally been to try to overlook such things and fix it myself. It is a hobby, after all!

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I had Little Pat sculpt me two more Gutter Runners out of some Clan Rats he had. This guy is my favourite of the two, but you’ll see the other guy really soon I’m sure.

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I made a mistake on the photography, I think, and set my aperture to 11 when I really should have done much higher, and didn’t check my focus location carefully enough. Consequently, you can see the line where the model is¬†in focus versus out of focus, and that line is¬†slightly before the middle of the model.

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This is my new setup. I put it all together this afternoon, took these photos…then left it up. Madness! I turned the lights off, obviously. That, plus a new computer a few months ago and a new photo editing program, and the process from click to upload is pretty damn fast! Not as fast as the phone, unfortunately, since the phone can just upload immediately.

The MacroMat comes with 3 different backgrounds – the gradient blue, a speckled black and a speckled brown. I think the black one is my favourite for this model, and that’s the super nice thing – I can choose which background depending on the colours on the model and what will contrast best!

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I also got a flash for my camera since last I used it for this blog, so I’ve now got 2 side lights and 1 front light and things are well lit. The only thing left is that the lights aren’t portable, because of how I’ve done the difuser for them.¬†My ideal setup would be one I could take to the club on a photography day or something. We’ll see how it goes, maybe my lights are portable enough. ūüôā

 

Beyond the Gates of Antares – Strike at Kar’a Nine

I mentioned last time that I had a lot of projects suddenly, and this is one of them. I’m¬†super excited to be able to review this box set for you, particularly since it’s the first time my blog has generated income. Yes, this time I get to add the caveat:¬†this product was provided for free for review! ūüėÄ

This article will be very “quick and dirty”, since there’s a good bet that if you play Antares you’ve seen the entire contents of this box already. I have a series of¬†follow-up articles planned that will require some time to get out. Here’s my plan

  • Give the C3 sprues to a friend. He’s planning a Freeborn Command Squad conversion that I can’t wait to see. I’ll take photos, and get him to write something about what he did, or interview him and post it here.
  • Split up the Algoryn sprues. I had planned on winning the scenario contest (takes a lot of hubris to “plan to win” a contest :D). I was going to give the sprues from that to Myles, since he was instrumental in playtesting my scenarios. Since I didn’t win that, I’m going to give him a sprue from here. I’ve got another friend who plays Algoryn who I’ll give a sprue to. Then I’ll assemble and paint a sprue of my own.
  • This box contains a series of starter/demo game scenarios that I’m going to play and review.
  • I also want to talk about the 2D terrain and fold-out board, as well as the rulebook and starter book.

Enough about the future, let’s get to this box!

Review

It’s awesome.

Starting out with the least important detail – it’s very well packaged. It’s a fairly small box that one might expect to only contain a single Space Marine Rhino, but instead contains¬†an entire game in a box. You can’t buy many board games this big, let alone an entire miniatures game.

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The top layer holds the mini rulebook, the starter book and a little Warlord advertising thing. Underneath those are a quick reference sheet, which also has two cut-out rules on the sides (not shown). This box has been designed for the beginner Antares player, and the reference sheet is well designed for that purpose. If you are an expert, I suggest using the one hosted at Vardos Delhren instead as it is more complete.

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Dice! I think the D10s are the same as the Xilos starter box, as I don’t know if there’s a good reason to have the black dice in this bag! It was in Xilos for the Ghar Distort dice. At the same time, the C3 (and maybe Algoryn, I don’t know) often need different coloured dice in a single squad to differentiate between the Plasma Carbines and the Plasma Lance shots. The orders dice are the C3 colours and the Algoryn colours. The blue on red is exceedingly difficult to read, but since these are just markers for the most part it’s not a huge deal.

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Sprues! We’ve seen the results of the C3 sprue countless times. It’s still a great sprue, containing 5 Strike Squad members and 1 C3D1 drone, which gives you a great combination of “what you need” and “what you want”. The Strike Squads are the C3s bread and butter, whereas once you get a few more units in your army the D1 drone is a nice optional choice to make among many other great units. 2 spotter drones round out this sprue, which is great since they are in every C3 squad I put together. (even still my bits box has ~10 spotter drones un-built). There are 2 of these sprues in the box, which is a great starter number. A C3 player will likely want 1 more before branching out, as I tend to have 3 Strike Squads as a basic component of any army I’ve made that didn’t contain Drop Squads (as they take up a lot of points and also fulfill your Tactical requirement).

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The Algoryn sprue is a little more difficult for me to talk about confidently, since I don’t know what these weapons are. But here’s a few guesses about what’s on this sprue:

  • Definitely there are 5 models. ūüôā 5 legs of roughly 3 different poses – two “stepping” poses, two “bracing to shoot” poses and one “already stepped” pose. The torsos are all identical. There are 7 heads, 5 with full helmets, one half helmet and one open faced.
  • The guns are where it gets complicated, but I’ll do my best:
    • 5 mag guns. I think the mag gun is the one that’s on the bottom left of the sprue in this photo.
    • 2 micro-x launchers. I think the micro-x launcher is on the bottom, the right-most gun, just before the torsos.
    • 2 mag repeaters. I think the mag repeater is on the bottom, just up from the bottom-left-most mag gun.
    • 1 mag pistol. This one is the obviously pistol-like one. ūüôā
  • 1 spotter drone. I’m super stoked that the Algoryn get a very different looking spotter drone! The C3 one is nice, but while the Freeborn sharing it makes sense fluff-wise, it bugs me as a miniature painter.

Other people have done a far more comprehensive job of outlining exactly what army options are on this sprue than this, so I suggest reading Listing to Ports¬†write-up¬†if you’re an Algoryn player and want real knowledge!

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Going deeper into the box, there’s a sprue of templates and a sprue of blast markers which is really nice. Then we get down to the bottom. There’s a large fold-out piece of paper that has an¬†awesome poster on one side which is a larger version of the Strike on Kar’a Nine box art, and on the other side is a fold-out table mat. Lastly, there is a single piece of 2D terrain.

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I’m looking forward to trying these out. I love the fold-out mat, since it means you could set up anywhere immediately. I also wonder if I love 2D terrain. I’m consistently annoyed by needing to go to the back room to get 3D terrain,¬†carry it out, gently unpack it trying not to break anything, and then reverse the process at the end of the game, all the while knowing that you can’t help but break and chip it by constantly moving it around. I’ve never seen a good terrain carrying solution, and so it ends up rubbing against itself constantly. 2D terrain, if¬†I’m ok with the 2Dness of it, could mean never needing to worry about breaking it again. I’m going to play all of the starter scenarios with this terrain, and may Sharpie the edges of the terrain first as several others have done.

Lastly, here’s a photo of the entire contents of the box and my cup of tea. I’m not British, but I still can’t get through the day without a cup of tea.

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Price

One last thing is a comparison of the cost of this box compared to the contents. This is in CAD, with costs generated by asking XE.com to convert from the UK store. In Vancouver, Canada this is how we tend to buy Antares because the US prices on the US store tend to cost us about 15% more.

  • 2 C3 sprues $33CAD
  • 3 AI sprues. The Warlord store sells them from $33CAD for 2, so 1.5 is $49.50CAD.¬†Note that we’re only 2 line items into the breakdown, and we’re already well past what the Strike at Kar’a Nine box actually costs. >.>
  • Templates¬†$9.90CAD
  • Blast Markers¬†$9.90CAD
  • D10s¬†$9.90CAD¬†(and you only get 1 colour, not 3)
  • Order dice¬†$16.50¬†for 10, and you get 5 in the box so¬†$8.25CAD
  • Rulebook¬†$49.50CAD. This isn’t strictly a fair comparison, as it seems that the hard cover rulebook has rules in it that aren’t in the mini rulebook. This is a disappointment, but with the help of Battlescribe, likely not¬†a big one. Also, personally, I own the PDF rules so I can always go there.

Which adds up to…$169.95CAD. Which is ridiculous since the box only costs $58CAD. $112 savings is unreal.

Summary

If you are looking to get into Gates of Antares, this box is still a good deal even if you don’t want to play the C3 or Algoryn as the other contents cost $87.50CAD for $58CAD and you could sell the sprues to friends.

The difficulty is that the rulebook isn’t complete, which I think we’ll get into later. The internet says it’s missing special ammo and special unit rules, which makes it less useful. I haven’t looked though, so¬†do your own research on this if it’s important (or wait for when I get to review the paper contents in more detail :))

If you are planning to play C3 or Algoryn, this box is an insane deal. Buy it now!

Board Game – Dune – Mostly Finished

I’ve mostly finished building the game now. Giving the rulebook another solid read to make sure I’m not missing anything, but I am:

  • A marker for where the storm currently is.
  • Tokens for the spice. I’ve ordered 100 purple cubes from Starlit Citadel (a local games store) so this will be solved quickly.
  • Some way to mark Fedaykin and Sardaukar, apparently those troops have stars on their tokens in the actual game, but I’m playing with cubes. I have different shaped cubes, but only 4-5 per colour so I have to figure out if that’s enough.
  • Seconds later I look down at the rulebook and see that there are 3 Fedaykin and 5 Sardaukar, of which the colours I have are perfect.

I cut and sleeved about 200 cards. Carefully cut out 6 player aid shields. Less carefully cut out 2 combat wheels.

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After I glued the edges of the map last time, I Purity Sealed the top and then painted into the crevasses with colours similar to the colours that were missing. Because the map is 9 sheets of printed paper, there are 4 lines across the map where my job of lining the pages up were not perfect. Purity Seal again, to keep the paint down. Then some white glue painted¬†carefully on in places where the paper was pulling up. I didn’t want to white glue a lot, because it can shrink the paper if you’re not careful.

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And a photo of the whole set! I hope to find a good box around the house to put it in.

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I’ve started organizing a time and place to gather the various actors who have a vested interest in the status of Arrakis, and hopefully the next photos will be of me and 5 other friends playing this game!

Board Game – Dune

Suddenly I have a lot of projects going at once! This one is an obsession though and seems to have gotten top billing above all others. I was looking up colour schemes for my new Freeborn models and wanted to see what various artists had done with Dune over the years (most common: desert orange/brown with blue). In that Google image search I found a Dune CCG and a little thing at the back of my mind tweaked and suddenly needed it. Mercifully, I resisted (CCGs are not good at this phase of my life!) and as I continued my image search I found this post on Board Game Geek of a gentleman who had put together a print-and-play copy of an ancient Avalon Hill board game Dune.

My Build

I hope no one from work reads this, because I started by printing a lot of cards at work. >.> It took a bit to get the cards printing right, as the front and back needed to line up perfectly to actually make cards from it. The map was a bit of a pain, as I don’t have a 23.5″ printer at work, so I found an plugin for my favourite paint.net program that would separate it out into 8.5″x11″ sheets and print those.

A short trip to Staples had me bringing home $100 of supplies. About $20 of this is card stock, as it doesn’t come in any smaller units than 250 pages (I’ll use it all…eventually…), and after starting the project I think I’ll get to return about $30 of stuff that I won’t use. This sounds like a lot (it is), but it’s mitigated by the fact that this game costs up to $200 on E-Bay because it’s pretty old and pretty rare.

Once home, the cutting began. I started by cutting up a lot of transparent report covers. I knew from experience from my own board game design (I’ve never put it up anywhere) that the transparent sleeves wouldn’t stand up to shuffling. You usually need to put a card in the sleeve with the paper, and for this project I wanted the card backs to show through because they are so cool looking (and also, they help sort the decks out). So I chopped up a lot of¬†plastic, without even having card sleeves on hand.

The next day I bought some card sleeves. They are Ultra-Pro non-matte transparent sleeves, and I’m annoyed that they have a little hologram on one corner of them. As one print-and-player said, they are designed to not get in the way of Magic cards (their primary purpose these days), but not other applications. I’ve put the hologram on the back so it’s annoying, but not in the way.

I cut and sleeved 99 cards before I ran out of sleeves. This game has 209 cards so far, so I’ll need to pick up another few sets. I’ve done this a lot before, so no problems here.

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The map, however, was stressing me out and I thought about it all night and¬†started thinking again when I woke up. It’s 23.5″ square. Staples sells foam boards in units of 9×12, 11×14 and 20×30. Some quick math will tell you that there is no combination of those that covers the entire board¬†and doesn’t use 9 pieces. I didn’t want a 9 piece map since it would be very likely to shift around during play. Last night, I set it all out and starred at the problem for a while.¬†I told my wife about the problem, and¬†thought up a solution that used on 6 pieces. She stood up, and suggested I cut the edges off the map to make it 22″ square. I didn’t like this solution, as I really liked the black edging on the map, but after some thought I realized that the black edging was less important than having only 4 pieces to the map.imag2389.jpg

You can see the overhang here.

 

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I woke up this morning and started cutting.

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I glued the map down first, then flipped it over and used an sharp knife to cut through the paper where the foam board edges were.

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Then I used a steel ruler and that same knife to cut away the excess foam board so that the map pieces were exactly the right size.

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At Staples I’d picked up some mini-duct tape and I used that to tape down the outside edges to return back to that nice black edging. Lastly, I painted Elmers glue on the¬†inside edges¬†for two purposes — to hold down the paper a bit better, and to allow me to use a spray on the maps. You may know that the propellant in most sprays melts foam, but you can prevent this by using a bit of white glue over it. My next plan is to spray it with a matte coat, then paint in some places where the inside map edges don’t touch properly, then spray it again to seal it all up.

This is a big project…and hopefully I’ll be able to find 5 other Dune fanatics that want to play a very old game of strategy and deception with me. ūüėÄ

The Files

Here is Scott Everts Dune Redesign. It’s a lot to take in at first, but it’s very well presented after you wrap your head around the various game components. There are also a lot of components I got to skip because I didn’t want to make either of the two expansions for it – The Duel seemed silly and unnecessary, and the Spice Harvest seemed just unnecessary.

I won’t link to anything linked to in that link above, but I’ll link to any other resources I found as I did this.

You need:

  • The rules. There are various incarnations of these. Avalon Hill has an original copy. Descartes put out a French version, which was then translated. Use these if you want the pure original versions. Then two of the BGG community members cleaned it up and made it look nicer.¬†Starbase Jeff made his own version, which is just a small clean-up of the originals, with his comments on balance and house-rules added at the end. I think I like Starbase Jeff’s version the best, as it’s concise and also I like his thoughts on the Advanced version of the rules (unnecessary) and balance.
  • Scott’s Base Game files. These are literally all of the files needed to play the game, and include a lot of cards and the map.

You don’t need anything else. But there are a few other things that I printed anyway because they were included for a more modern sensibility about board games:

  • Storm Movement Deck. The original had people reaching into bags and pulling tokens out, which is weird.
  • Betrayal Deck. This is a mini-expansion ported over from FFG’s Rex, which is a duplicate of this game but themed for their sci-fi universe instead of Dune. I really love asymmetric shared victories, so I’ll be including this when I play.
  • Leader Cards. The original game has you putting tokens into the center of the table to randomly generate a traitor, but I didn’t want tokens so I’m using these.
  • Scott’s Dune DropBox. Lots of other stuff in here you could include if you wanted!

 

Blood Bowl – Skaven Expansion

The Skaven Blood Bowl box only comes with 2 Gutter Runners, but 4 are pretty much required to play. I commissioned Patrick to sculpt me a couple Gutter Runners from a Clan Rat base, inspired by these models. I wish I’d taken a photo before I primed them!

I also bought an Island of Blood Rat Ogre from a friend and tossed him on some cork. Cork is the best way to make a model fit on a base smaller than it’s footprint. ūüėõ

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Antares – Drop Squad and C3D2 Drones

It’s been a while since I wrote, because Christmas and some other things got in the way unfortunately. But tonight I powered through the last of my drop squad guys and finished assembling the C3D2 drones.

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The drop¬†squad guys are the same recipe as the leader, drone about a month ago. I painted one a night for a few days and then life. These are absolutely the coolest models in the Gates of Antares range. They’re so dynamic, and so bad ass looking and every drawing in the rulebook of them I see makes me dream of awesome¬†space war movie scenes. I’m glad I’m done them so I can move onto other projects, and I’m super stoked to play with them all painted!

The last game I played I noted that I was very behind in the arms race. My NuHu was the only way of getting a really solid anti-tank weapon — SV4 on the lances just isn’t enough — and the NuHu is very expensive at 200+ points if you kit her out properly. I wanted some guns that were a little more tough to kill, and a little more dependably anti-tank. The C3 plasma cannon support team hadn’t been released yet, so I ordered the C3D2 Drones which have a plasma cannon on them. They are more glass cannony than the support team version – they have +1 Acc which is great, and +3 Res (roughly) which is awesome, but the support team I think wins out the defense race because it has 2 (or 3) guys to soak hits and the drone has to roll on a weapon drone chart which doesn’t make up for that.

These guys were stock to assemble, except that I took a drill bit to their underside to drop them lower onto the pegs. I learned from watching Clayton and his Freeborn Skyraiders that metal models standing high on little flying stands are going to get knocked over a bunch.

Remember years ago when I would pull out my photography equipment and take some really nice photos with nothing in the background to distract you? I got lazy. Thankfully,¬†TableWar came to the rescue with this kickstarter, and I bought a new home. Once that KS comes in the door I’ll be setting up a small area to take photos, and we’ll make this happen.

I also have a couple Antares related projects coming up, so if you love Antares hold onto your hats, this is going to be a great few months!

Antares – Writing Scenarios

The Beyond the Gates of Antares community on Facebook is super active. One of the Warlord employees is constantly on there, and he recently put up a scenario writing contest.

Scenario writing is a good exercise. It’s very similar¬†game design, but the parameters are really limited. You still have to build something that is readable, understandable, makes sense, and is fun for everyone. But you are limited by¬†(some of) the actions already available in the game and by the theme or genre of the game. For example, I love the hell out of how Malifaux does scenarios, but I can’t just drop a Malifaux scenario into Antares, because (just for starters) in Malifaux units get 2 actions per turn and in Antares they get 1 action per turn. Antares already has the idea that orders dice denote an “action”. If we were playing in 40k, there are no “actions” at all — units in 40k are either standing near something or they aren’t, killing something or they aren’t. The language of the game doesn’t support anything more interesting than this.

I instantly had an idea for one scenario, and ideas for 3 more¬†were conjured up days later. I wrote 3 of them out, and the 4th one was left on the drafting¬†room floor, as it had too many moving parts for me to have time to finish. I haven’t included the files here, since I don’t know what Warlord is going to do with them, but I’ll try to put them up if they don’t end up using them in any official capacity.

The scenarios were:

  1. What Does God Need With a Starship?¬†A 2-player game where both players have a lot of mobility, but limited reach and so need to choose positioning carefully. I like games that have a lot of mobility, so that tactical positioning is really important, but because the game is still about “shooting that guy over there”, you can’t just be able to show up without constraints. I split the table up into 3 sections that couldn’t interact with each other, then placed objectives players need to shoot on each of them, and a “God” in the last one who was invulnerable until his shields were taken out, and who was shooting at players the entire game.
  2. Hack the Shard.¬†A 3-4 player game of lying while racing to the center. Players must choose how best to use their limited actions to earn victory points, vs killing their opponent to reduce their available options. I’ve always been inspired by the lying and bluffing of the Battlestar Galactica board game, and this game comes a little bit from there.¬†1 player is secretly holding the “Superior IMTel” and has different victory conditions from his or her opponents. Players are incentivized to run to the center because of the VP-holding marker there, but also have to use their actions to discover who has the Superior IMTel. You can lie about who has it, if you’re a decent liar, to put people off the track of where the real VPs are held.
  3. The Antarean Trail.¬†Race for 8 markers, each of which earn you points once per game. You can quickly grab a few points, but you’ll have to work harder to get them all. We didn’t get a chance to play test this one, but it’s the simplest of the bunch, so I’m more confident it’ll work as-is. >.> I like that in this one players get VPs as the game progresses, so you can keep a running total, and also don’t have to worry about your VPs. Once you have 2VPs, you’ll always have at least 2 so you can change your focus to the next goal. It’s kind a “checking off the list” game – “Ok, I got the medicine and the food but need the equipment still…”. I also really love the Oregon Trail reference. ūüėõ

Here are some photos of our play test last night! Everyone really enjoyed the game, to the point that we’re still talking about the rules and how to best manipulate them today on WhatsApp!

We played¬†Hack the Shard with 4 people. I choose a force of only 5 dice at 750 points to reduce the chances my opponents would be able to h4x0r my shard. At the same time, this reduced the number of dice I could use to h4x0r other shards. A trade-off that ultimately paid off. ūüėõ Drop Command with Medi Drone, Drop Squad, 2 Strike Squads and a Light Support with Batter Drone.

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Clayton’s Freeborn are really cool. He had this 300+ point Command Squad that was blowing 18 SV0 shots per turn around the table. Downside is, in a game with a lot of trees SV0 isn’t good enough to make your opponent fail a lot!

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Racing for the center to try to take the intelligence marker. I moved up my C3D1 drone to provide batter shield before I moved my troops up.

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Next turn I moved it up again, pinned and/or killed the Boromites to my right so I only had to worry about the Algoryn to the front. Unfortunately, this strategy ultimately failed as the Algoryn had too many units still on the table and were very much able to kill my shit, then race in with his bikes and take it away!

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Another photo of Clayton’s Freeborn Command Squad. This thing is a beauty!

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Two of us had the same coloured dice, so we used my Orders Dice (Android) app to play the game.

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This was a great game, that only needed a few numbers tweaks to make it better. I got what I wanted from it Рat one point I believed every person had the Superior IMTel other than the person who actually had it. Well played.

We play tested¬†What Does God Need With a Starship? last week, which went extremely well. It’s really nice to be able to have down to earth conversations about what is and isn’t working in a game!

Blood Bowl – Skavens! Stormvermin (I think)

Here’s a start to finish of a single Stormvermin. I just picked him out of the pile to be the first test model. He’s a lot lighter than I had imagined, but I also was imagining a scheme identical to my Veer-myn scheme from years ago. (just went back to look at details on that link – those are poorly done models all over the place. >.>)

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The base coat was 3 simple colours – Zamesi Desert skin, Emperor’s Children cloth and Mithril Silver armour and other metal bits.

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I highlighted that base coat by taking the Zamesi and mixing it with Dheneb Stone, and the Emperor’s with White Scar and doing 3 quick layers.

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Then it gets really chaotic. Seraphim Sepia over the skin, wiped away the tops. SW Amethyst similarly on the cloth, but this got a little messy, I might do the Drakenhof first next time. Drakenhof in the silver parts, some Nuln Oil in places that needed more contrast.

I applied the decals at the wrong moment, after I’d finished all of this and it didn’t look great so I had to go back again and re-metal and re-shade over the decal. Next one I’ll do the decal after the base coat.

The base is simple as you can likely see – black edges are classy, Vallejo Goblin Green over. I won a pack of Rain City Hobbies flowers at the Blood Bowl Foodbowl so I glued some flowers to my rats base for fun. ūüėÄ