Mark of War Live on Kickstarter

mow logoYou may have noticed the other a day a little post go up on this site by a chap going by the moniker of Gav Thorpe, talking about a project he’s involved with called Mark of War.

Well it’s live on Kickstarter and in need of your support. For the uninitiated it’s – in a nutshell – a tabletop wargame on your PC, Mac or mobile device. ‘What’s the point?’ I hear you ask. And you’d be forgiven for doing so because it is literally a tabletop wargame on your laptop, right down to the dudes being mounted on bases.

This may seem a bit odd but it actually has the stench of genius about it. Allow me to explain:

I’m blessed with 6 good friends, all of whom live locally to me, all of whom play the same games as me and are all, more or less, constantly up for getting together for a game. However wives, girlfriends, children, jobs, chores, the space-time continuum, amongst others, all transpire to see to it we all get together once a month if we’re lucky. Once a month for us to run three boards and have a chuckle. But at least we manage it. And we tend to see each other in smaller numbers more often than that for hobby nights if not games nights.

Now, thanks to Twitter and this site, I have friends a little further afield. Some as far as Canada and even Australia or even the Norther Wastes of Nottingham! Playing against those fine fellows gets trickier. Oceans have to be navigated, huge sums of money paid out on flights and hotels and that’s just to get me over there, we haven’t even factored in the exorbitant and nail-biting experience of checking an army of scale miniatures into the hold of a plane.

Mark of War allows tabletop wargamers the fun and frolics of playing a tabletop wargame anywhere in the world against anyone in the world. It’s not trying to replace the traditional wargaming experience but enhance it. It allows gamers to share an online wargaming experience which will only enhance their offline one as gamers will play more games. They’ll hone their tactics and, thanks to some very clever jiggery pokery, they’ll be able to customise their Mark of War armies which will only inspire gamers with physical projects.

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In the same way that films, books and TV shows inspire us, so too with Mark of War. It’ll give us ideas for our physical armies as well as adding to our experience as generals. And without the time and effort

But that’s not where it stops. The reason for Gav Thorpe once again gracing this site with his awesome presence is because he’s the man behind the world in which Mark of War is set. This means a rich and vibrant backdrop upon which virtual face will be kicked. It means immerse game play and a war that you actually care about winning. It’s the whole wargaming experience. They’re even using dice for crying out loud.

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Now there will be some who won’t be convinced. Who see this step in video gaming to be the final nail in the coffin of wargaming but that’s just not true. It’s the natural and obvious evolution from things like Vassal which I, personally, can’t stand. If I’m going to play a wargame over my computer I want it to look as rich and as lush as any gaming board I may build.

And whilst the screens are very much WIP, Mark of War is shaping up quite nicely. Whilst I did raise an eyebrow at red Orcs and yet more elves, I can’t fault the styling or the originality of the world that Gav has dreamt up.

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Coupled with the desire of Warpforged Games to keep the experience as authentic as possible it really could be something of a paradigm shift away from games like Warhammer Online, World of Warcraft and Vassal who attempt to recreate the magic of the wargaming board and the fluff but never quite managing either.

Mark of War will not only allow you fantasy fisty cuffs but army building and customisation as well. I’m not sure how that’s going to work – whether or not the models will be built in a modular way to allow for ‘swapping out’ limbs etc. It’s the only area that I can see Mark of War falling short of the real deal. But an elegant army editor should allow for some pretty awesome colour schemes rather than the crude tool featured in Dawn of War all those years ago.

Either way, this is a Kickstarter to watch – and to back if you have the coin. Gav Thorpe isn’t one to lend his efforts or support lightly and that’s good enough for me.

Mark of War Coming to Kickstarter

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Friend of The Shell Case, Gav Thorpe has been a busy boy. Not content with penning novels of various types he’s also been working with Warpforged Games to produce Mark of War – a tabletop wargame for the PC & Mac. No I haven’t hit my head. The idea is that you can collect armies just like you would in the physical realm, but in the virtual world of Mark of War instead. And then you get to watch them knock seven bells out of each other. What’s not to love?

Launching on Kickstarter in August it looks the woeful Shadow of the Horned Rat only, you know, good.

Banner_GameplayI’ve lifted the Key Features from the website to give you an idea of the level of awesome involved in this project:

Game Overview   Mark of WarI think you’ll agree, it all looks rather groovy. It’s the answer that the ever-expanding and international community of wargamers needs. I’d love to play my fellow hosts on Of Dice and Men but in the absence of several thousand pounds to go and visit the only option up to now was Vassal. Which I hate. No offence to anyone who uses it but I can’t stand it. So Mark of War is very exciting indeed. Plus it’s a new fantasy world. Written by Gav Thorpe. Who has some experience in that area. So it’s going to be awesome.

If we’re very well-behaved he might even write something about the game for us.

I’m really looking forward to this Kickstarter launching and the fully completed product at the end of it. And for anyone worried that we’re at the raggedy edge of progress, here’s a reassuring view for those of us that remember White Dwarf from when Mr Thorpe appeared at the fore of an army or two…

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Either head over to the Mark of War website or like their Facebook page to keep abreast of developments.

 

Last Saga – Final Hours

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So I owe the guys at Rocket Games an apology. I’d promised I’d write about the Beta rules of their game right back when their Kickstarter first…er…started. And whilst I read the rules I didn’t right about it. Or anything else. For almost a month. Can’t go into the whys and wherefores but it did mean I inadvertently dicked on a Kickstarter that I believe deserves every success. And they’re in to the last 2 days of their campaign.

Last Saga is 313% funded which is awesome. And having gotten to know the guys at Rocket I can say they deserve every penny and more. Having read the rules the game looks like a lot of fun. It has parallels with Bolt Action in the breakdown of actions but it has the flare of the cinematic as one would expect from a skirmish game, particularly one so driven by the narrative.

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Which, for me, is Last Saga’s big draw. It holds a butt tonne of stock in the story it tells both in the pages and on the board. This is a very very very good thing. All the factions have a distinctive feel rather than the same basic force with a wardrobe change. There is, of course, the bevy of skills and upgrades that make the different bods fun and make the campaign the best bit about skirmish games. I love the diversity of weapons (and big armoured suits) and the fact that these soldiers feel the strains of war – again, much like Bolt Action and Saga. Games of fine pedigree to be inspired by.

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Thanks to the success of the kickstarter thus far lot of models have been made available, all of which are on the kickstarter page. The rules are already undergoing revisions ready for release and models are being readied for production. It’s a very exciting time for the guys at Rocket.

Head over to the guy’s Facebook page to find out more about their game and then head to their kickstarter page to give them all the money.

Last Saga on Kickstarter

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Today the Last Saga Kickstarter launches. A pretty dudey looking 32mm sci-fi skirmish game from Rocket Games. They’ve been hard at work teasing our pants off on their Facebook page and it’s all looking pretty sexy. It’s a brave move to go for 32mm over the more popular 28mm & 30mm. Hopefully there’ll be some cool scenery to tie it all together once the Kickstarter is done and dusted.

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Their plan, with successful kickstarter backing, is to finish the 3D modelling process and produce rules and the two main factions – the Council and the Uruhvel to allow us to knock seven bells out of one another across a board. The renders so far look pretty tasty. A nice balance of a lot of my favourite sci-fi IPs. So fairly humble beginnings which is a refreshing change.

3Dmodel_A23Dmodel_A4And by the looks of things there’s a nice mix of hi-tech and occult/organic tech styling which can only mean some bonkers model options in the game. Which is nice.

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We’ll be taking a look at the beta rules and chatting to the guys to find out more about Last Saga and the kind of face smashing goodness we can expect from the game in the very near future. But for now I think you’ll agree, the models are gonna be pretty sweet.

If you’d like to learn more or pledge your hard earned coin, click here.

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Ichiban Painting Kickstarter – The Closing Moments

The Games & Gear / Ichiban Painting Kickstarter has less than 45 minutes to go but we thought we’d give it one last hurrah to see if they can break the £90,000 mark.

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It’s hugely satisfying to see someone from our community benefit from the passion and devotion of that community in such a positive way. Having spoken to Hugo on and off during the campaign he’s been blown away by the support and faith people have shown in him and his product. He never imagined the project would approach 3000% of the intended target.

So if you have a few spare moments – for there are only moments left – and you fancy a shiny new set of brushes then go here.

If you need some convincing, check out my review of the brushes here.

Ichiban Paint Brushes – A Review

With a week to go of Ichiban Painting and Games & Gears’ kickstarter to go we’d had the opportunity to take a look at the brushes themselves and report back on our findings. With the kickstarter (at time of writing) 1907% funded it may seem arbitrary to do a review but far from it.

Whilst we go way back with Hugo and I had great fun writing some rules for one of his Golden Demon entries in 2012 we pride ourselves on impartiality and that means reviewing them.

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So first impressions? Pretty good. The case is a nice touch and finds the balance between size and practicality. The logo is a little cheap and I kinda wanted to see Hugo’s on there as well. But to be honest, it wouldn’t have mattered, something embossed would have been more in keeping with the premium feel the guys are shooting for.

The brushes are beautiful. Slim and elegant, they look more like a set of writer’s pens and there’s something incredibly satisfying about putting the brush together. It’s the smooth action of a fountain pen. And they’re so very light. I can’t decide if they’re lighter than wooden brush but I could care over a gram either way. And they look way cool in black. My problem is that the paint doesn’t appear that hard-wearing and the brushes will scrape and chip against one another in the pouch. Or anything else I imagine, such is the price of working with metal. That and they’re going to get covered in paint anyway so I suppose it doesn’t really matter.

They’re wider, too than a standard brush but this is a good thing for two reasons. The first being they sit far more comfortably in the hand than a standard brush, again more akin to a pen, and that dramatically reduces hand fatigue. Which means you can paint for longer. Huzzah. The second is, thanks to the wider handle, there’s a wider barrel so there’s more bristles which has two benefits. A better point and a better charging.

This all adds up to a rather well-rounded painting experience. The brushes are comfortable and the sable bristles stand up to punishment well. They keep their shape better than anything I’ve ever purchased from a hobby shop or a Games Workshop and they retake their shape well. The one thing that would have been really cool is if the handle, that the painty end slots into, to form the cap, had a point shaper built into it so you knew every time you put the brush away it was going to come looking beautiful and perfect.

The stand available is a nice touch. If I’m honest I’m not sure how much I’d use it as I have to pack all my hobby stuff away between uses so a stand is just another thing to find a home for when the brushes tuck so nicely away. However it does make life that little bit easier when it comes to finding them and finding the right one. It’ll also help with the chipping issue as they won’t be rolling around on a tile or table. It’s a simple solution to the problem and easy to put together it just doesn’t jazz me. But I’m a fluff gamer, painting is something I do if I find myself alone for a few days without a wife and child and I’ve exhausted all the really good porn. So hardly ever. Lee, however, who has a space and a table and likes to get his hobby on regularly I imagine will really see the benefit.

However, one of the best things about the paint set is that they’re so nice you’ll want to use them. Next generation brushes is a tad gimmicky for me. They’re still sticks with bristles in the end at the end of the day, but what they are is good quality, comfortable and with good coverage. That makes for an easier time painting. So I’d say more of an evolution.

You’ll also be paying twice what you’d pay for a set of the same size brushes from someone like The Army Painter. However, you get what you pay for and, on the basis that they brushes are far more durable than anything I’ve seen elsewhere, I’d say they’re worth the money. But the defects like the paint scratching so easily does cause an eyebrow to be raised when the word premium gets used. If you’re paying twice the price for something I expect twice the quality. A better powder painting coating process (or one at all if they weren’t powder coated) should solve the scratching issue though when the brushes go into full production. Mine are a review set after all.

So is the kickstarter worth your hard-earned coin? Yes. Yes if you’re like me who hardly ever paints: because it’ll encourage you to do so. Yes if you’re regular painter and you’re fed up with your brushes knackered out after basecoating 30 marines.  And yes you fancy yourself as a pro because one of the minds behind the brushes is a pro. If you’re a tight git who’d much rather get em cheap and throw em out then this probably isn’t the kickstarter for you.

To read more or to pledge go here.

Ichiban Painting Kickstarter Update

We reported, just prior to it going live, on Ichiban Painting and Games & Gear’s Kickstarter for their range of paint brushes. For those that haven’t seen them, they’re a pretty awesome set made from aluminium and designed to be the perfect balance of quality, affordability, and convenience as the brushes come part to allow for ease of transport whilst protecting the bristles. They really are quite special. So much so that two of our number at The Shell Case have pledged real cash money.

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I’m pleased to report that the project was fully funded in 9 minutes. It was at almost 400% funded in the first hour. And how, 4 days on the campaign stands at 1282% (at time of writing) funded with 16 days to go.

Hugo and the team are currently working on some new stretch goals as they’ve been caught a little off guard with the overwhelming amount of support the community has shown them. As someone who supported this site in its early days, Hugo deserves every penny towards his endeavours and I am proud to lend what support I can.

I have the great fortune to review these brushes which I’ll be doing in the next couple of days (really it’s just an excuse to paint) and I’ll be sharing my findings with you all to help make up the minds of anyone sitting on the fence.

For now all I can do is urge you to check out the Ichiban/Game & Gears Kickstarter and buy yourself a swanky set of paint brushes. Their page can be found here.