We’re Surrounded!

Hot on the heels of the Medusa Dreadnought shots we have snaps of the Terran Alliance Titan Class Dreadnought and the Sorylian Broadsword Class Dreadnought.

As you’ll see from the snaps they’re quite lovely, and quite massive. Fluff on the Titan Class page also pretty much outs Spartan as working on new Terran Alliance models, which I think is wise as those ships have suffered the most with the leaps forward Spartan Games is making with its model design. Plus there was always the intention to release variants of the Terran cruiser which never materialised so, perhaps, now we’ll see models worthy of the Dreadnought that’s coming our way.

The Titan Class alongside the Razorthorn MKI Battleship

The tri-hull design has its heritage rooted in the shield ship. It wouldn’t surprise me if the MKII Terran Alliance ships follow this design from now on.

Not that I’m at all biased but I think the Broadsword looks epic. And I love the fact that’s it’s essentially two Swordbreakers with a massive cannon sandwiched between them…

It looks like it’s got some hefty broadside batteries too.

Death From Above

Spartan are on a roll this week. Not content with the Prussian and EotBS flying contraptions, they’ve out done themselves with the Britannian Eagle Class War Rotor. I know I described the Gewitterwolke Class Airship and the Tsukuyomi Class War Gyro as mad as bat shit but the Eagle Class makes them look positively mundane.

Powered by Sturginium enhanced anti-grav generators and props it is, essentially, a hybrid. Throw in a couple of heavy turrets and what looks like bomb bays, and you’ve got yourself a disco.

It looks like a brilliant model and, true to Spartan’s form, will be massive. In game terms I’d be nervous about using it entirely for its lack of offensive weapons (beyond the bombs) on its underside. Granted, the heavy guns will keep most aerial units at bay but it’ll be vulnerable to attack from single cockpit fighters. I imagine its Ack Ack will be substantial but I question its long-term effectiveness without carrier support.

Whatever the rules turn out to be, and the resulting tactical headaches for those that go up against it, I can confidently say that it’s fucking cool. And after careful consideration I’ve decided I’d use it to blow up my work, not the Tsukuyomi Class.

More MERCS

If you haven’t heard of MERCS you should be punched square in the middle of your face. Because it’s awesome. Beautifully presented and wonderfully unique game, it focusses on small skirmish games between elite forces of MegaCons.

I’ll be writing a full review of MERCS in the very near future but I’ll go so far as to say that MERCS is a little bit sexy. And the models are awesome. Which brings me on to news that you can pre-order the rather funky Keizai Waza.

As with all the MERCS factions they have a very distinctive look, style, and way of fighting, all of which will be covered in the review. All you need to worry about now is the very shiny toys below.

Daimyo

Trooper

Forward Observer

Heavy

 

 Pathfinder

 

A Certain Point of View

I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, recently decided to restart Necromunda with The Chaps. It’s a cracking game and, like any narrative driven game, it really gets the creative juices flowing as I get to write an exciting campaign pack as well as after action reports which I format appropriately and then circulate. I do this for two reasons. 1) It’s fun. 2) It keeps the interest in the campaign high which can be real challenge considering we’re all attached and have demanding day jobs that can make the thought of arranging another game of toys and the associated logistics seem a bit much. The After Action Reports help to dispel some of that and keep things fresh.

I’ve also been building my samples ahead of my ‘first look’ review for Studio McVey’s Sedition Wars and I found myself thinking how good many of the models would be as an Escher gang and also a KemVar squad for MERCS, also in the review pipeline. This made me cast my mind back to Scibor Miniatures and their plethora of beautifully sculpted ‘sci-fi warriors’. If you’ve never seen their stuff then you should. Because they’re epic.

But my point is that these beautifully sculpted models are intended to serve as proxy Space Marines but their origins lie outside of the Games Workshop and so offer a whole new take on the most used army in the game. Aside from the Sanguinius-esque model above and the Emperor like model below offering a tremendous sense of drama and occasion, as well as the option of fighting heresy games, Scibor takes the ideas established by the GW one step further.

So rather than implied Space Vikings in the form of Space Wolves, it gives you Space Celts. And similarly, Spartans in Space etc. And do you know what? That’s fine with me because originality is what keeps hobbies fresh.

And who wouldn’t be more than happy to use the above models to proxy Thunderwolf cavalry? Although at around £28 each you need deep pockets. And fielding an army of Spartan Space Marines would be awesome. And it comes back to one of my favourite things which is writing. The opportunity to create a chapter around the Spartan ideals or the Celtic traditions would be brilliant fun. It’d change the feel of the game for the user and their opponent. Their background would impact on the campaign and, at a basic level, look eye-catching on the board just because they’ll look a bit different.

I guess the point of this post is that providing your opponent is happy there’s no reason why you shouldn’t use anything that captures your imagination for your army because at the end of the day it’s all about having fun and it gives us the opportunity to explore our hobby with new eyes. It challenges us to create our own little part of the canon and share it with others and, ultimately, have a bloody good laugh in the process.

Dreadfleet Unleashed

Today is the day folks; Dread Fleet has been released in limited quantities so if you want it you gotta be quick.

The premise, lifted from the Games Workshop website:

For two bleak decades the Undead reavers of Count Noctilus have plagued the oceans of the world. After each raid, the Dreadfleet disappears into its lair as quickly and silently as it appeared, far from the reach of Man. And yet there remains hope. Captain Jaego Roth of the Heldenhammer has vowed to hunt down and destroy Count Noctilus and his Undead captains once and for all. With him sail the most notorious and cunning of the pirate lords of Sartosa, each borne to battle upon a giant warship bristling with cannons, organ guns and bolt throwers. At the stroke of midnight on Geheimnisnacht, most forsaken of nights, the Heldenhammer and her companions sail into the realm of undeath known as the Galleon’s Graveyard. One by one, Count Noctilus and his vile allies move in to stop them.

It looks like some of the rumours were bang on the money with the ‘good guy fleet’ being an alliance of men, dwarves and elves and the Pirates are made up of various different ships including Tomb Kings and, rather surprisingly, a Chaos Dwarf mechanical squid. I imagine Spartan Games will be getting to them about that one… Oh and there’s a Skaven ship in there too. Which just looks mad as bat shit.

The box set includes:

  • 98-page Rulebook
  • Seascape Gaming Mat
  • 10 Warships
  • 10 Scenic Bases
  • 7 Cog Auxiliaries
  • 1 Dragon Auxiliary
  • 1 Dirigible Auxiliary
  • 7 Islands
  • 5 Shipwreck Pieces
  • 3 Sea Monsters
  • 5 Treasure Tokens
  • 12 Dice
  • 1 Wind Gauge
  • 2 Ship’s Wheels
  • 1 Navigation Rod
  • 10 Warship Cards
  • 55 Damage Cards
  • 40 Fate Cards
  • 12 Auxiliary Cards
  • 10 Wound Cards
  • 11 Miscellaneous Cards

The Promise of Things to Come

The postman was very warmly received this morning in my house as not one but two parcels were delivered. The first from the USA from those fine chaps at MERCSminis in the form of the full colour and thorouhgly lovely rulebook and complete CCC & USCR factions.

The pictures aren’t great but if you take a look at the MERCS website you’ll get an idea of the shiny that I have before me. The other parcels was from the one and only Mike McVey formerly of Games Workshop and now of McVey Studios. Sedition wars will be fully released soon and Mr McVey has agreed for me to write a first look review. So, along with a game mat that’ll remain under wraps for now, he sent me some of the awesome Vanguard models and a resin Strain model.

Again you can’t really see the shiny all that well so you’ll have to visit the site for finished articles but rest assured that over the next two or three weeks these bad boys are going to get painted up and full reviews hitting The Shell Case. Before that though, Gruntz will be getting the treatment. So stay tuned.

MERCury Rising

Following my post about Infinity members of The Shell Case forum told me about a game called MERCS.
MERCS, for those that haven’t heard of it, is a skirmish game set in a not-too-distant future where mega corporations have pretty much bought or stolen the world.

In the game you take command of a small, but elite, team of MERCS. Your mission? To kick the living shit out of rival teams of MERCS. Which all sounds splendid.

Now, I don’t know much about the rules other than the book, looking at the video on the website, is beautifully presented. I also know MERCS uses a unique card system behind its game mechanic which includes movment. Beyond that…

The other thing that strikes me about MERCS is that it has quite the sense of humour. Or it could just be me. The background being joyfully carefree in its conception – this is the world now. Don’t like it? Tough shit. Love it.
The timeline on the website also sports propaganda posters and advertisements for firearms whilst describing the world going to hell on a bus. Which I kinda like.

The models look cool. They’re all distinct from each faction and the background has given the sculptors a lot of freedom to create some models that are not only different from the various forces, but different from other games. The small-scale means that even the laziest of painters shouldn’t have too much trouble completing a force.

So how much is it going to cost you for the rules, counters and a MERCS force? Around £75.  A team of six MERCS is around £37, including the card set which you essentially get for free when you buy the starter sets. Now that’s not cheap regardless of how pretty the models are. That said, it’s a one hit spend and you’re done. At least that’s the theory but when you’ve models like the ones above and below for sale how can you only opt for one?…

Relics – The Review

The day has finally arrived when I give Relics by Tor Gaming a shakedown. So without the usual procrastination and nonsense I shall get straight to it.

The Story
The premise behind Relics is that a cataclysm has laid waste to the world. A magical conflagration intended to wipe out humanity (because we’re not very nice) as destroyed much of the world and twisted its inhabitants into shadows of their former selves. Not least amongst these are the humans. Some of you may have seen the puppet army of the Britanans. Clockwork and good will doesn’t keep these soldiers marching but the tormented souls of soldiers killed when the world was sundered.

So, this is not an entirely happy world. In fact, as backgrounds go – and considering the heavy use of magic – it’s a very interesting concept. My only complaint is that the background story is all a little vague. If I can be so bold as to suggest an alternative way of presenting it – the cover story should be more of a ‘this is the world in which we live’. The calamity should be talked about in the vague sense but the world and the forces at large in the world should be the focus. Then, when it comes to the individual backgrounds they can fleshed out with all that lovely background by detailing the Britanan, Orcnar etc involvement, and for their unique perspective. The result would be the gamer has a much clearer idea of what went on as well as an empathy with one or more of the factions. I think it’d make the world feel a bit more cohesive whilst making the game grounded ‘in the now’.

The Game
The rules, although in beta, seem very tidy. The system lends itself to speed of play but the ‘doubles to hit’ mechanic will prevent an overwhelming arse kicking from an overly shooty Britanan army. I also especially like the Command rules. If you’re in command range you can do more than if you’re not. Which makes sense. If you’re commander is shaken that range is halved. If he’s dead, you’re buggered.

The forces are nicely varied with each offering an obvious playing style but I imagine, as with so many games, they’re easy to pick up hard to master. And, oddly, I think the Britanans are a point in case. Although they have an obvious way of fighting there’s more to them than just point and shoot.

The scale and the story means that the board can be pretty much as wild or as desolate as you want and as pretty much the whole world is trying to cave one another’s head in you’re not limited by setting which gives the game tremendous scope.

As the rules aren’t finished yet there’s no scenarios or campaign rules yet but if done correctly there can be some brilliantly characterful games to be had. If it were me I’d actually be tempted to write two campaigns sets – one as a ‘free to roam’ campaign and the other taking the opening story to its conclusion.

The Toys
I think it’s fair to say that creepy looking puppet armies aren’t for everyone. They are precariously balanced on that fine line between cute and creepy. Similarly the other critters in the game appear almost comical until you notice the dagger teeth and cruel daggers clutched in hand. Or the enormous fangs and clawed talons. The casting of the models is good and the detail clear. My only slight grumble, and this again comes back to the game being in beta, is that with no images readily available I had to go to the website to figure out how to build the Dragoons that Tor Gaming kindly sent me.

The ranges are expanding but so far the three factions – Britanans, Orcnar & Vaettir – are nicely varied with a reasonable ranges of units available so you can start building up your forces.

I’ll have some pictures up once I’ve painted my Dragoons but I’ll end by saying that Relics is a well-rounded Skirmish game that offers a very unique gaming experience partly due to a well-considered game mechanic but mainly due to a range of models that stand out amidst a sea of generic fantasy. Some features of the game may sit uncomfortably to start with as they are very different from ‘main stream’ games like Warhammer and the like, but it’s totally worth it. Long live the Britanan Empire!

To Infinity And Beyond

As my regular readers will know; I’m on the hunt for a new game system. Not that I probably need one. But Ever since I decided to take a (zero gravity moon) step away from Games Workshop I feel like an Amish kid on Rumspringa . There’s a whole world of wargaming out there that I’ve heard tell of, but shied away from because I was firmly rooted in the cult.

Well no longer. I still play 40k, I still play Mordheim and (if I could find someone to play) I still be playing Gothic too.
I’ve branched out into Spartan Games’ Firestorm Armada and Dystopian Wars. I’ve also found it a lot easier to write Project Awesome now I’m not buried up to my eyes in the 40k Universe. It’s a little like, I imagine, coming out the other side of an addiction.

But I still want to find another game system with a comparably rich background because that’s very important to me and it’s something that Project Awesome will have in spades. Because the more awesome crammed into something the more fun the gamers can have, especially when it comes to campaigns. At least that’s how I feel anyway.

So I briefly looked at Warmachine but scrubbed it for three reasons.
1. The models, although were good, completely failed to reach down my trousers and fiddle with my hobby spot.
2. I didn’t like the idea of Steampunk & Fantasy colliding in a big sticky mess.
3. The Warjacks. Every army has one. They all look roughly the same and they’re steam-driven, magical dreadnoughts.
No. No no no no NO!

I’d like to be clear; I don’t hate Fantasy as a genre. I hate how creators of Fantasy go straight to the middle ground and justify anything mental by just saying it’s magic. Project HellsYeah which I shall be embarking upon after Project Awesome will be a Fantasy game with NO magic at all. And if there is then you can simply punch me in my face.

And now time for me to get to the point. A couple of my loyal friends on Twitter – and also proud members of The Shell Case forum (hint hint) play Infinity: The Game and so I thought I’d check it out.

Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s produced in Spain, which surprised me. Not because I didn’t think the Spanish were capable or that they could afford it (topical!) but writing wargames has always, for me, been a terribly British thing to do. I know Privateer is American but they are descended from us anyway so it’s fine. The British were the inventors of modern warfare along with the machine gun and anthrax so it stands to reason that we come up with all the cool wargames.

The thing that struck me about Infinity is that it’s very ‘Manga’. At least the artwork is which makes it rather hard to know what to expect when you then move on to the models which are, to put it bluntly; lovely. They’re well sculpted and well cast. The only thing I don’t like is how unbelievably bright they’ve all been painted. First rule of model painting is always paint them a shade darker because by the time the varnish goes on it’ll look about right. But maybe it’s just a very happy bright universe, but then surely the ‘war’ part of wargaming would seem rather redundant.

As I understand it, Infinity is a futuristic skirmish game using primarily special ops units and the like which, as a concept, I kinda like. I like technology, I like elite forces (Space Marine player) and I like a real variety of models (are you listening Privateer).  Although the pricing is a little steep. A starter force of 15 ‘man sized’ models and a big beasty for Panoceanic (who look awesome) is £80! Which is, to be honest, is rather a lot. Even the money-grubbing bastards at the Games Workshop, I’d like to think, would blanch at charging that much. 

The Cutter, shown above, is awesome. It reminds me of Probotector and for that reason alone I want it. But at £28 it needs to be as big and as awesome as Space Marine dreadnought. I really like the look of this game but I’d have to think long and hard before I take the leap. The same money as the Panoceanic starter set will buy you a Space Marine battle force and a box of Finecast Sternguard Veterans. That’s 30 bods & a Rhino. I know metal is more expensive, but the point is it’s a skirmish game but it just seems not a lot of juice for the squeeze.

Fact is that what I’m looking for is something that’s different but still offers the quality I’ve come to expect from wargaming which Infinity has in spades. The scenery is my kind of futuristic too and it’s also something that can be played in an evening. And I mean an evening, not the wee hours.

This clearly needs further investigation…