Mierce Miniatures’ Darklands

Visiting Salute this year we saw some pretty amazing things. Genuinely original games, very patient girlfriends and wives who clearly weren’t gamers but still willing to feign interest as their other halves dragged them around the hall – girls in the room at all is always surprising (which says a lot), Boba Fett wandering around and models that defied belief in their quality and detail. One such range came from the Mierce Miniatures stand. The whole team fawned over the plain resin and painted models, cooing approvingly at dragons, chimeras, minotaurs and other creatures of myth and legend.

As one would expect, premium models come at premium prices. But Mierce Miniatures are running a kickstarter. Whilst it’s fully funded this is very a sexy looking range it’s worth a punt.

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Mierce are looking for money to fund their latest version of one of their games. In return, you get a sweet deal on some models. They’ve already reached their target of £20,000 and are well into the stretch goals. With 9 days to go, you can invest in a great new game. Plus minis like this:

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As Matt would say- “PRETTY TOYS”

Whilst at The Shell Case we avoid pledging on Kickstarters to retain objectivity, if we were going to put our hands in our now distinctly empty pockets, it’d be for this. The Kickstarter runs until April 23rd. Just follow this link and check it out yourself.

New Teams for Dreadball Announced

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It’s fair to say that things over at Mantic are moving at a frenetic pace, so here’s hoping that we can keep up. They have just released their first ever non Kickstarter backed supplement; Galactic Tour Series: Azure Forest, which Mantic have hinted will be the first of many. Their focus has now firmly shifted back to Kickstarter where it all began and the launch of Dreadball Xtreme. Having now exceeded their pledge goal, Mantic have 2 extra teams to unlock early as part of Dreadball Season 6. They have released initial concept art for both teams and they look like they will pose very different challenges to the existing teams.

Introducing the Koris, a bunch of aliens from another dimension with a real grudge against the Asterians.

Portal-Spinner-Guard

They are a team with a real bad attitude and access to some awesome looking technology, which early reports suggest will not only allow them to teleport across the arena like the Teratons, but in an interesting twist also warp opposition players out of the way or even off the board entirely. This could open the door to some great new tactics and could make the Koris a nightmare to play against.

The second team Mantic will be launching are the Hobgoblins. Of all the possible species and types of alien from the infinite number of galaxies they could have chosen I am a little surprised they went with this one, but we’ll give them a go.

Hobgoblin-Team

There is very little information out about them at the moment other than the fact that their guards are quite literally the Hulk. With Hobgoblin and the Hulk maybe this is the perfect team for Marvel fans.

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At first glance, based on the pictures, the models should look good. There is an argument they could be mistaken for another version of the Marauder team, however the addition of strikers should make them very different to play with.

I’m looking forwards to seeing the finished models and giving these teams a go.

There’s 48 hours left of the Kickstarter. If you feel like pledging then go here.

Dreadball Xtreme on Kickstarter

Dreadball_logoOnce again Mantic are taking to Kickstarter for their next game project instead of fronting the capital themselves. I like Mantic, I like their games and…well, their models are okay, but I’m disappointed that they are once again using crowd funding. Aside from the obvious, and worn out, argument that that’s not what Kickstarter is for: surely they must know by now that if they produce a Dreadball game it’ll make money?

But what do I know? Of the $100,000 target (no you’re not reading that wrong), they’ve raised over $275,000 with 22 days to go.

So what is it? Well, basically it’s street Dreadball. It’s Necromunda meets Blood Bowl. No really. It’s Dreadball without the rules and copious amounts of gang violence. They may as well have named it Dreadbowl or Bloodball.

But it does also look pretty tasty. And the quality of the models seems to be much higher this time although there’s still on 3 variants. Again. The stretch goals also hint at where they’re taking the game. Which is, obviously, in a very similar direction to Dreadball only not. For a start there’s different game modes which can mean lots more players on the…er…pitch? Which certainly adds an interesting dynamic to a game that relied on careful team balancing.

However, despite the models, cool new playing arena and all that joy, I kinda feel like people will be buying the same game only with a different box.

As always, though, we shall reserve judgement until we get our grubby little mits on a copy.

If you’re interested in the Kickstarter, click here.

Hero Quest on Kickstarter

Twenty-four years ago I was introduced to a game that would catapult me into worlds and galaxies that I never could have dreamed possible and a fascination, passion and hobby that has endured all this time and lead to this very site being created. I refer to Hero Quest…

Well Gamezone Miniatures have somehow managed to get permission to produce a 25th anniversary edition of the game which is now up on Kickstarter!

heroquestnewI’m so excited about this that it almost made me break my ‘no pledge’ policy. It’s already smashed it’s target but I urge you all to go take a look and pledge what you can. This game inspired a generation of children to take the first steps into wargaming. Wouldn’t it be incredible if it could do it all over again?

Here’s the video from Kickstarter. And just FYI, I remember the TV spot it opens with. Yes I’m that old. Fuck off.

Unboxing the Ramshackle Games Kickstarter

Beware, this will be pic heavy.

A while ago, Curtis Fell, head of Ramshackle Games and all round decent bloke all told, ran a kickstarter project to fund printing for an expansion to his game ‘Nuclear Reconnaissance’ and sculpt a few more models for the line to go with it.

Though it was successfully funded and finished a while ago, it took me a while to get hold of all my pledge rewards due to some Royal Mail shenanigans. Now that it’s all here I thought I would do one of those unboxing things that’s all the rage with kids these days.

So, to start with, my rewards were 2 vehicles, 10 models and copies of both the main rulebook and its expansion The Tome of Tridlins. As Nuclear Renaissance is a skirmish game, this is a great start to getting two small warbands going and something I may even manage to paint (be still my beating heart)!

Everything was very well packed and secured safety so it all arrived in once piece and without any damage which was nice.

The books themselves are lovely. The main rulebook covers the creation of the world and has some nice artwork and fluff pieces that establish the setting, which is post apocalyptic Mad Max style setting crossed with British humour.
The main rule book photo DSCF7290.jpgMore shots photo DSCF7293.jpgMore artwork. Very nice stuff photo DSCF7292.jpg

Tome of Tridlins is almost twice a thick as the original book and quite an impressive step up in terms of presentation, formatting and the general rules. It has some errata for the main game, a fully detailed campaign system, additional skills and weapons for gangs to take and rules on how to create and make different types of gangs than those featured in the main rulebook.

The expansion Tome of Tridlens photo DSCF7294.jpgGreat artwork photo DSCF7296.jpgA shot of the new ways of making a gang photo DSCF7298.jpg

Now for the Minis themselves. Though mostly single part resin models, the amount of detail on them is very impressive for a small manufacturer and a testament to those who sculpted the models. Though I saw a bit of a bubble on one of the bigger models (that was dreadnought sized and easily half the price!) otherwise, to me, they were all produced to a higher standard than competitors like GW’s Finecast or PP’s resin/plastic mix, regardless of the size of the models.

Techpriest by way of digger! photo DSCF7268.jpgGhoulish things. Creepy photo DSCF7269.jpgMutant with crab claws photo DSCF7271.jpgThis guy will find use in my IG army photo DSCF7270.jpg

The large models in particular were very impressive in their detail and robust enough so they don’t feel like they will shatter if I drop them, having an almost rubbery feel to them. They also came with a few options for weapons on the “RoboTron”.

A big dude. Seriously, dreadnought sized. Lots of detail. Gun is a seperate attatchment photo DSCF7274.jpgLegs of the MetaTron. Friggin huge model photo DSCF7275.jpgThe MetaTron parts all lain out photo DSCF7277.jpgA shot of the moulded bases photo DSCF7279.jpg

I suppose my only complaint was the amount of flash attached to the models. There was little to none on the character models, but any of the flatter pieces of kits I was sent had quite a lot on them, in particular the vehicle. Also, all of the untextured surfaces were slightly sticky and had this weird effect where they seemed to had a small layer or harder resin sound the outside of the piece. Thanks to advice from Godzooky and Inquisitor Samos of Warseer though, I’ve been told this is a common occurrence of small “cottage” companies who cast their own models and just needs a bit of filing work done to clean it up. So that all said, I can’t really say a overpoweringly poor thing, especially when the detailed bases and models more than make up for having to do a small amount of work to finish them off.

All in all, I’m glad I backed the Kickstarter and I will try to get you some pictures as soon as I’ve assembled and painted some of them! If you liked any of the pictures, then you can buy the rules and models (and download the main rulebook free as a PDF) on the Ramshackle Games website. From the look of their latest Kickstarter which ended today, the quality of sculpts is only improving over time and costs seem to be going down!

Combined with a good rules system and Curtis being a  very approachable and friendly person (who bent over backwards to try to find out where the Royal Mail had sent my items) and I shall be keeping my eye on Ramshackle Games. You probably should too.

Warmachine Tactics

So it’s finally happened, the heavy hitters of the wargaming community are finally moving into Kickstarter as a way to fund new projects rather than invest profits – as if they didn’t make enough to begin with.

Privateer Press has put up the Warmachine Tactics kickstarter, seeking the modest sum of $550,000 to create a video game version of the much played (and much maligned on this site) game. They’ve already smashed through $438,000 with 29 days to go so obviously it’ll get funded by the loyal, and no doubt sticky panted, fan base.

So far it looks average. Graphically it’s okay but it’s nothing exciting. It’s basically just an animated version of the tabletop game in so much as although  the characters move and the weapons fire, it feels like stop frame animation of action figures and there’s no real interaction with the environment. Granted there’s some nice animations when people get blown up but the world around them is unaffected so it just feels a bit put on. It is still in development but at present it all looks a bit clunky and horrid, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…

I could rant about how this isn’t what Kickstarter should be for but if Kickstarter themselves don’t give a fuck then what’s the point?

Anyway, here’s the Kickstarter video. It’s got more ham than a tin of Spam but stick with it as it does show quite a bit of the game play.

Dying Star Oblivion – An Interview

Unless you’ve been ignoring these last couple of weeks – which is entirely likely – you’ll know I’ve been banging on about a game on Kickstarter called Dying Star: Oblivion based on the fantasy trilogy by the awesome Samsun Lobe.

67aaab7ae5942e67c6be3bd4f94384c9_largeFollowing on from my post about the kickstarter and the Dying Star giveaway I’ve had a chat with the chaps at Superfluid Industries about their game their hopes and their dreams and what they look for in a man. Okay not the last one…

TSC: Guys, thanks so much for agreeing to the interview. I appreciate you’re a tad busy at the moment. So, Dying Star Oblivion has been on kickstarter for a few days now. What prompted you guys to create a game in the first place?

SI – Moley: To be honest I’ve always made games. I think my first one was when I was about 8 and then the first I finished was when I was around 13 or 14. But with this game I think that my skills, with the help of John to balance things out, have reached the point that the game can stand on its own merits. I create games simply because I love them, they’re the perfect way to socialize for me and they’ve always been a major part of my life.

SI – John: I have personally been working on home-brews and small games projects for a large portion of my life in the hobby. With varying degrees of success, and so it isn’t so much about being prompted to make a game, as it is finding the right someone to make a game with. In this case, Moley and I have created a game that we think is fit for sale, and have the opportunity to do so.

TSC: Ahh, so a match made in heaven. Eye meeting across a busy gaming table and all that. For those that haven’t heard of Dying Star Oblivion tell us a bit about the universe.

SI - Moley: I’ll let John field this question as he’s better at describing the universe to people than I am.

SI – John: The Dying Star setting is a kind of dark but not hopeless future, where great feats of technology were once possible, but the knowledge to recreate them is mostly lost. The setting has two planets; the first is the slowly-freezing planet of Gebshu, much like our own Earth and its terraformed desert moon Son-Gebshu. Aquatic humanoids the Kekken share the oceans with the ocean tribesmen of the Enki and the Eberus, while The Merthurian Horde and their Shektar Cavalry prowl the freezing waste. Above the waves, hidden in their fortress city, the Magta hide from the world while the mysterious Precusors sleep beneath the Ice, all the while the three factions of the Imperial Dumonii squabble over succession and the resources of both worlds.

Most of the setting is viewed through the eyes of the protagonist Var, as he goes on an adventure unlike many that I myself have read before, and the motivations of each of the races and factions are well-defined. It feels more fantasy adventure than sci-fi or space opera, and the pieces of technology still working from interesting anachronisms rather than magical McGuffins.

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Guardian

TSC: Christ. There’s a lot to it then, but that can only be a good thing long term. Tell us about the kind of game Dying Star Oblivion will be?

SI – Moley: Once again over to John.

SI – John: Dying Star Oblivion is a miniature skirmish game that is designed around small forces clashing over key objectives. Model counts are low but, depending on faction, can be from three to nineteen figures per side. We also have everything you need to field a unit together in the box, including all relevant cards and options sat on the sprues, ready for play. Finally, we are looking at a number of high-quality plastic resins for our miniatures, so that the models you buy are something that I would be happy to put on the table myself.

TSC: Sounds ace. So it has the flexibility to be a game that could be played over a lunch hour or an evening. And I love the fact all the options will be on the sprues. What kind of game play features sets Dying Star Oblivion apart from other similar games?

SI - Moley: And John again….

SI - John: Setting it apart from other similar games, Dying Star Oblivion is designed to be played on a small area, with relatively little clutter on the table. All rolls use 2 D10′s per player and games resolve quickly due to the aggressive and decisive nature of the rules and the source material. It also has a set of army creation rules that promote the use of themed forces, instead of purely focusing on the most competitive of all possible choices.

TSC: So a game for the narrative gamer, but still something punchy enough for the hardcore gamer. So, how did the project come about and did Samsun Lobe take much convincing?

SI – John: I’ll let Moley Field this one, as I became involved in the project a little after its original conception.

SI - Moley: One of my many jobs has been running a small laser cutter making things from wood and plastic for various people. Samsun wanted some wooden pendants making for the release of his new series Ruin and so asked me, after receiving the pendants, if I knew anyone who could make games, I replied ‘Yes. Me.’ and the project went from there. The rules took around 8 months to reach the point of being playable in a way I was happy with and then from there John and I have been slowly altering them to make the final game.

TSC: So it was it just a case of right place right time rather than being specifically being drawn to Dying Star?

SI - Moley: That’s pretty much it. Samsun asked us to make the game based on Dying Star.

SI - John: I actually got to read the source material a little bit before I was brought on to the project, as Moley originally wanted a second opinion on the way some things within the series could be transferred into a miniatures game. The Series itself was a fun read, and memorable enough for me to be able to talk about the bits I like or don’t like at length.

TSC: Tell us a bit about yourselves; what’s your background in wargaming and what kind of games float your boat.

SI - Moley: I was made to be my older brother’s opponent at 40k when I was about 4 years old, back in the Rogue Trader days, and I never really stopped. I’ve played just about everything that I’ve managed to get my grubby little hands on from GW to Rackham and back again. For me at the moment the ability to transport things trumps most considerations between games of the same type so I prefer card games and skirmish games simply because I don’t have a car and don’t want to carry a dedicated miniatures case with me in addition to my normal bag.

The biggest thing I enjoy with games is interesting interactions, as I’ve always designed and wanted to design games I tend to pull things apart mechanically and see how they tick before looking at the wider game overall. I’m sure I could bore the arse off of most people discussing Rule Depth vs Breadth and Complexity as a requirement for emergent play but I’ll keep that under my hat for now.

SI - John: I’ve gamed since I was about 14 after encountering a games store in Weston-Super-Mare and picking up some miniatures and a copy of Hero Quest soon after. Since then I’ve played a bit of everything, I ran demos of Hordes for PP at salute one year and was part of a massive game of Warmaster at Gamesday as well. Nowadays, I play Warhammer and 40k and Battletech and Dystopian Wars when I can find the time. It’s not all toy soldiers for me though, CCGs and LCGS are fun, and a board game or RPG is often preferable, especially if you’re somewhere new. I like games with a lot of tactical depth to them, but often spend way too long agonising between different choices in an army.

TSC: Dying Star Oblivion has some pretty diverse looking factions. Can you tell us more about them?

SI – Moley: And back to John.

SI - John: The factions in Dying Star Oblivion are based on the cultures and races that the main protagonist of the series encounters. And the brief manner he does so has given us a lot of room to explore which is really exciting.

There are two amphibious factions, and the Kekken get some really interesting units dredged up from the bottom of the sea.

The Merthurians and the Magta are going to have some quite striking figures on the tabletop, with bear cavalry on one hand and a faction of 54mm scale giants on the other.

The Dumonii, Murai and Virtues all look at human factions from different angles, with varying degrees of training, equipment and specializations in order to make them all a unique playing experience.

Finally, the Precusors are a mysterious force of disturbed automata, with some cool mechanics and a visual twist to remove them from the traditional ‘cogs, gears and junk’ kind of robots.

dominator sculpt with card vesion 1Dominator Render

TSC: An army of 54mm Giants. Umm…sold! If the kickstarter is successful what can we expect from Superfluid in the near future?

SI - Moley: We’ve got plans for making all sorts of traditional games so Boardgames, Card Games, Collectable Games, Miniature Games and RPGs. We’re primarily going to be focusing on games based on Samsun’s, and possibly other authors, works. Games with a gothic and quiet horror theme and games which parents can play with their children to introduce them to gaming in addition to creating “normal” games interests us. Like all gamers we have more ideas than we could ever produce but we’d like to use Superfluid as a way to showcase the best of our ideas to the gaming world.

SI _ John: We are ready to move some games design projects out and onto release as soon as we can to be honest, everything from miniature games like Dying Star Oblivion, to stand alone RPG’s and self-contained card and board games. We would also like to produce a Living Card Game at some point in the future, but that for the moment is a little way off. As a father, I’m also looking forward to working on some games for younger gamers, as I’d like my daughter to share in my hobby without it being too much at once or too complex for her.

TSC: So plenty to be keeping you awake at night then? What’s the one model you’re looking forward to producing the most?

SI – Moley: It sounds corny but the first one. As soon as that figure is made, cast and in my hand I’ll know that the game is real and that means more to me than anything else.

SI - John: To be honest, I’m really looking forward to them all being produced, and ready for shipping! Before then, I really want to see how the Magta and Virtues turn out, especially the Void Concubine and Guard.

TSC: I admit, I can’t think of a model I’ve seen so far that I’m not looking forward to seeing. Guys it’s been a huge pleasure learning more about the Dying Star Universe and all that Oblivion has to offer. Good luck with the kickstarter, thanks for the exclusive artworks and I hope to catch up with you again soon.

If you’re interested in pledging on the Dying Star Oblivion kickstarter page click here.

Dying Star Oblivion Giveaway

Yesterday I wrote a little bit about the Dying Star Oblivion Kickstarter from Superfluid Industries. Not being one to leave you lot alone with an idea I’ve been a busy bee in an effort to make this game the success it deserves to be.

As such, I’m very excited to announce that, in association with Superfluid Industries and Samsun Lobe I have nothing less than the Dying Star trilogy of novels to give away signed by the man himself.

Trilogy

And just to sweeten the deal, Samsun, being the thoroughly nice chap that he is, has offered to personalise the signing to which ever lucky bastard wins.

All you need to do to get your hands on this fantastic set of books is answer the following question.

What is the signature solo force for the Merthurian Horde?

The answer can be found on the Dying Star Oblivion Kickstarter page. And heck, if you fancy pledging to get your hands on some pretty sexy toys, then why not?

To enter complete the form below, including your name, email address, Twitter feed if you want, and the answer.

A winner will be announced on Friday the 14th June 2013 so get over to the site and get entering.

Ts & Cs:

All entries must be received by midnight UK time Friday 14th June 2013 after which a single winner will be chosen.

1 entry per person.

1 winner will be chosen and notified by email.

No discussion will be entered into, my decision is final.

The prize may not be exchanged for its cash value or an alternative.

Dying Star Oblivion on Kickstarter

Another a week and another wargaming kickstarter I hear you say. Well yes, but we at The Shell Case don’t showcase any old tat; we have a far more sophisticated palate and so only waggle our searchlight on the shiniest and face mangiest of games.

This time it’s the turn of Dying Star Oblivion from Superfluid Industries based on the fantasy novels by Samsun Lobe.

For the uninitiated here’s the blurb from the first novel:

As the life-giving star, Shu, slowly makes its transition from a white to a black dwarf it changes the ocean planet of Gebshu and its moon beyond all recognition.

We follow Var of the Enki ocean tribe as he is thrust into a world he is struggling to understand. As Var battles against the elements, the unstable Emperor sends his two sons on a treacherous mission. We follow the characters as they encounter strange creatures, ancient races and each other. 

The bloody and violent action unfolds as the prophecy becomes entwined with Var’s destiny. Through his actions he will unknowingly decide the fate of the fading system.

Needless to say much crunching of heads and manging of faces ensues. And best of all you get to do it on a table top now. Huzzah I hear you shout.

Dying Star Oblivion looks so rather sexy. And, more importantly, it seems to be something a bit different. There’s not shortage of skirmish games out at the moment, each offering something unique but at the end of the day how much originality can there be when probability and dice are involved? Sometimes you just have to look at the premise and the toys and say ‘that makes me hot and hard’. DS: O is 28mm Techno Fantasy game and with its hugely differing tech levels and cultures it’s promising some very diverse factions with units and styles of play to match.

The Enki Anchorman

Granted it has the compulsory dwarf like blokes and something that looks a bit like a Chaos warrior, but as it has the bloke above and the critter below, so I’ll forgive it.

Kekken Murmur

Personally I’m really excited about this game. I like that it’s based on a trilogy of books and that the author is supporting it whole heartedly. It’ll only mean a continual enriching of the canon and new and exciting models, scenarios and campaigns which means it won’t stagnate. I like the premise of a far distant future in which technology has been lost, abandoned or forgotten so what little tech remains is jealously guarded or barely understood. I also like the fact that you can, if you so choose, play a small game on a 2×2 foot board or go all out on a 6×4 foot board.

I really think this project has legs so get your muscular butts over to the Dying Star Oblivion Kickstarter page and give them all your money.