Long time no see…

Apologies for the lack of recent blog posts. We have not had much time to game or paint due to various real world distractions.

As you can see above I did manage to add some improvements to one of my dwarves. Since he became a “hero in the making” I thought he needed some additional touches to convey that.

You may notice the new background surrounding him… that is the Dwarven Forge cavern pieces we received from our friend Tom. Thanks Tom!

My wife and I fell in love with the Dwarven Forge cavern pieces at Spiel (a gaming convention in Essen) last year but it was outside our financial means. We love the quirky aesthetics and muted color palette, which we hope will go well with the Hagglethorn Hollow pieces when (if) they arrive.

Tom made it possible for us to get started collecting Dwarven Forge pieces… which lead us to making a pledge on the recent Dwarven Forge Wildlands Kickstarter.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dwarvenforge/wildlands-by-dwarven-forge-handcrafted-modular-game-terrain

We did not make a large pledge but we hope to be able to add to it during the pledge manager… so we have been trying to gather spare funds to that end.

Some of our money was diverted to pledge on the second Dungeons and Lasers Kickstarter.

My wife and I like both the sci-fi and fantasy sets but we have ALOT of Battle Systems terrain for sci-fi already. And we have some concerns how the fantasy sets will look next to Dwarven Forge. But we can not afford Dwarven Forge dungeon pieces at this stage anyway as we are focusing on the Wildlands pieces.

The real gem of the D&L 2 Kickstarter though is the stretchgoal freebies. These are considerably more useful than the stretchgoal extras of either Hagglethorn Hollow or Dwarven Forge Wildlands. We are going to get the legacy stretch goals from D&L 1 as well since they are being offered at such a great price.

Another figure we needed a bit of an upgrade was Victor, one of Ozzy’s Outlaws. We wanted him to have poison blades and armor. We try to keep things WYSIWYG… what you see is what you get. If a model has even just a helmet for example it is considered armored. So I gave Victor a helmet… a battered, rusty old bit of loot… which he is generally too lazy to wear unless he has to!

The strange green substance on his knife is a deadly toxin…. that allows him to reroll when he rolls a 1 to wound.

I also decided to go back to a figure I finished recently and change him from a Dunlending to a warrior of Rohan. I think he looks better this way. A lot of people recommend a Viking look for Dunlendings and a Saxon look for Rohan. I am thinking instead to go Celt for Dunlendings and use a mix of Viking and Saxon for Rohan. I have not fully decided about Normans but at this stage they may go Rohan or maybe Black Numenorean.

I did manage to get some things painted for eBay and/or gifting to friends.

We have gotten rid of a lot of things to try to refocus our projects. More is likely to go as we are finding our original plans for giant Strategy Battle Games in Middle Earth Are turning into smaller Battle Companies focused skirmishes instead. It just suits us better. So lots of things I got as inexpensive proxies to bulk out our forces are going. Same with our Core Space sci-fi project. We are going to focus more on official Battle Systems Core Space items rather than branching out into bigger sci-fi battles that I planned to use Stargrunt for.

Part of this is down to Battle Systems intending to have a new Kickstarter later this year to expand Core Space!

I have no idea where we are going to find the time for this all… but it gets worse!

We backed Reaper Bones 5 largely (pun intended) to get the “pirate ship”… I am thinking more of a 6th Rate (Light) Frigate or perhaps East Indiaman.

That is a picture of the prototype design… delivery is still a long way off but I have been trying to decide how best to game with this beast. I looked at Blood and Plunder from Firelock Games, they also have another Kickstarter around the corner in early October. I thought about writing modifying SBG for a blackpowder era game. But then I fell down the Sharp Practice hole while researching Black Powder games…. and an idea started forming in my head.

One of the things my wife and I thought about gaming was a sci-fi setting that was a sort of Star Trek exploration type thing. You know, planet of the week tv serial stuff. But our ideas seemed too big, too expensive and too difficult to store.

But what about an early 19th Century exploration ship that is also constantly dragged into colonial entanglements? Imagine a broadly learned scholar being sent to chase down rumors by his patron…. the Emperor, Napoleon!

Think the French version of the Doctor in Master and Commander.

Think ancestor of the French villain Belloq from Indiana Jones.

Think the French zoologist from Brotherhood of the Wolf.

Think the forces of Napoleon bringing reason and enlightenment even to places that do not wish it…


….and…


…..and….


Think French Dragoons fighting Native Americans and their Sasquatch allies! Think a mob of angry Transylvanian peasants protecting their odd Count. Think bestial lizardmen and dinosaurs in the Amazon jungle…..OK….I may be getting carried away.

Then again, I found this somewhat inspiring….

https://toysoldiersanddiningroombattles.blogspot.com/2018/09/ihmn-there-can-only-be-one.html

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11 Comments

  1. Its good to see you’re doing okay (I was hoping you weren’t sick or something like that) and I don’t see many signs that you’re hobbying has slowed down. The Middle Earth minis look good and the Dwarven Forge set looks amazing. I have heard of it and I knew it was expensive and high quality but I thought it was more for role-playing games than wargaming so I never really looked at it much. I’ll have to give it a second look to see what its all about.

    In terms of your Sci-Fi gaming ideas, that sounds really fun. It may even have a bit of a pulp feeling to it? I can totally understand wanting to go more skirmish than big armies too. I’d love to play a big army game but I know I’ll never have the time and commitment to paint up all the minis needed for one. I’ll be curious to see how all of this works out as I always find learning about other rules systems to be interesting and worthwhile in this hobby 🙂

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  2. From my research on it Dwarven Forge has traditionally been focused on role playing, D&D in particular. The busy yet restricted spaces created by their pieces do not lend themselves to the usual big open field battles common to wargaming. But with the growth of smaller skirmish gaming I think Dwarven Forge has seen a new potential market and are developing things with that in mind.

    My wife and I enjoy building terrain but it does eat into our already far too limited miniature painting and gaming time. Plus the modular nature and robustness of the pieces are very appealing. Far too much of my available shelf space I packed with terrain pieces and yet at the same time some of those pieces come out so often that they are growing overly familiar. I think one mistake I made has been to make pieces that are not generic enough, instead turning them into iconic little diaramas…. fragile diaramas at that. So something more generic and modular that can be endless recombined has appeal, especially if robust and pre-painted to a standard we like.

    As for our Sharp Practice project….pulp is right! If pulp Napoleonic is a thing. Right now we re thinking alternative history Earth with some pulp fantasy aspects added. Perhaps something of a Napoleonic League of Extraordinary Gentlemen vibe? Pulling things from other sources like this…

    https://toysoldiersanddiningroombattles.blogspot.com/2020/05/ihmn-some-thoughts-for-beginner-in_5.html

    We want to avoid some unpleasant historical baggage, so like the SCA we are thinking history as it should have been rather than history as it was.

    One of the challenges to our gaming is that my wife is no keen to refight historical battles and have a different outcome… but she is ok with an alternative history where different battles happen, creating different political outcomes.

    We talked about creating a completely fresh fantasy world with gunpowder technology and we may still do that but I am concerned about creating something consistent with depth. Part of the fun of the alternative history is playing with what is real paranormal and what turns out to be disproven myth. And I can use the French Napoleonic troops in other games in the future once current international health crisis subsides. I have a mate that loves British Napoleonic history and a lot of excellently painted miniatures along that line.

    But a fresh world would help deal with real historical baggage as well as allow us to use fantasy figures we like that do not fit in Middle Earth. We have a bunch of high fantasy stuff coming from the Reaper Bonus 5 Kickstarter that we supported.

    All this just because I wanted to find a use for the Reaper Bones 5 ship!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Terrain really is the space killer in my opinion too. Minis take up their fair share but you have to think strategically about what terrain you want to own and what will give you the most bang for your buck and storage space. That is interesting about your terrain being too generic. I often think the terrain I make (outside of trees and rocks) is too specific but I can see where you’re coming from. Maybe you can start thinking about making terrain that has a unique diorama feel and mixing that into what you’ve got.

      I think your idea sounds awesome and I like history and historical gaming appeals to me but I haven’t found many games I actually want to play strangely. I like your approach a lot and I think adding pulp/weirdness will keep it light and fun. I think that will help your wife too though I appreciate that she is a stickler for the real historical events at the same time. I’ve noticed that pulp-history games are becoming more popular amongst the historical genre. For example, Dracula’s America (supernatural wild west) is pretty successful and I happened to see a Weird Vietnam game recently. Those are things I don’t think would have been very popular ten years ago but it seems like there is a real interest in them currently. I’m excited to see more about this new avenue of gaming when you get around to it though the MESBG stuff is great too so I’ll be excited for both 🙂

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  3. I think we got crossed wires somewhere, I edited my comment to be a bit more clear… I was trying to say I did not make my terrain generic enough.

    When we started all this last year I did not think I would like skirmish gaming, I thought it was “go big or go home” for me. In my younger days that is how it was…. but now I have come around to skirmishing, especially when it includes some rpg elements. Ghost Archipelago for example is something we picked up awhile back when they had a deal on. We have not played it yet but I skimmed the rules and it looks cool, although I think Rangers of Shadowdeep would suit my wife a me a bit better.

    As my wife says, there are so many stories to be told, so many games to play, but there just is not enough time.

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  4. I think I misunderstood then, I apologize! I thought you were saying your terrain was too generic and you wanted it to be less so but I see what you mean now and I think that actually makes more sense than how I originally interpreted it. I think your terrain is of a high quality and you have a lot of it but I can see where you might want to make some more generic pieces you can use too. I’ll be curious to see what you come up with 🙂

    Big armies do look awesome and is the best way to capture the feel of a big battle but skirmish gaming lets you get into the details better and create better stories. It is also better for those of us with limited free time as I think it is absolutely crazy that Warhammer fantasy was built around people painting 100-300 models to have a full game. Rangers of Shadowdeep would work well with your terrain collection though my impression is that you do need some unique pieces for it (which I think you’re more capable of tackling than I am). That requirement kept me from ever trying it and I had quite a bit of interest in it at one time. Frostgrave looks really cool as well and I’ve often been tempted to pick up a book and see where it leads me since I have some LOTR terrain. Maybe one day I will give in to temptation, especially if I need a break from Fallout.

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  5. Rangers of Shadowdeep appeals to us more than Frostgrave for a few reasons.

    One, we do not have any winter themed terrain and I dread branching into that biome due to time and space issues already noted. Plus our bases will clash with winter terrain.

    Two, we are low fantasy types generally so focusing on wizards is something of an issue. The special powers of the heiritos in Ghost Archipelago is one of the down sides of that game for us, although it comes across more like medieval fantasy superheroes in Ghost Archipelago.

    Three, Rangers is more co-op friendly than Frostgrave from what I have been led to believe.

    Unique pieces of terrain could be an issue as far as storage goes for either you or me but surely your skills are more than up to the task. You are too humble! But I can understand space limitations, it is something making me reluctant to get into Fallout properly.

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    1. Rangers seems like it has a lot of depth and really supports campaign play. I worry that Frostgrave is a lot of “death match” or tournament-style scenarios but I could be totally off base on that. I prefer narrative, campaign games myself and Rangers seems like the better choice there.

      I know exactly what you mean on winter terrain though. There is a cool Shire themed scenario set in the winter in Scouring of the Shire and I don’t know who would have the board and terrain ready for that considering there are no other scenarios that require snow and ice. It has got me thinking about a possible diorama I might tackle though 🙂

      We’ll see relatively soon how much terrain Fallout ends up needing. I’d guess that within a couple of months, I’ll be able to judge that better myself and I won’t have more storage space until next summer at the soonest so I will be working under some constraints for a while yet.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I always like how you modify your figures – very unique.

    That is quite a few kickstarters you have interest in! My problem is that by the time I pledge and the delivery my interest/space might have moved on.

    Regarding alternate history/scifi – have you read David Drake’s Ranks of Bronze? From Wikipedia summary:
    “A defeated Roman legion is sold into slavery to alien traders seeking low tech soldiers to be used in conflicts to secure trading rights on alien planets. Their new masters soon learn that the Romans are the best low tech fighters that can be found. Given their worth as soldiers and success on the battlefield, the Romans’ alien masters provide them with everything, including near immortality. However, the Romans want only one thing, and that is to go home.”
    Both myself and my son enjoyed it, I think he took my copy when he moved out, the bum. That is also why I sometimes have my Romans fight my Orcs.

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  7. I have almost bought Sharp Practice several times, have seen it played on several blogs and the scenarios intrigue me.

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  8. Yeah, I read Ranks of Bronze years ago and loved it. I also recommend the Lost Regiment series if you like that kind of thing. Union troops fighting folks of various historical periods and aliens o a foreign planet.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lost_Regiment

    And the Videssos Cycle…. Romans transported to a fantasy world.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Videssos_cycle

    Both series are great, although the first book in each is the best and they drag on a bit as the series go on.

    Sharps Practice intrigues me because it seems a lot about narrative as well as unit command and control. I think it will be a good way to introduce bigger unit fighting to my wife since she has now become accustomed to each individual figure being its own thing in Battle Companies and MESBG. At first the cards thing put me off but the more I watch of it online the more it has grown on me.

    With Fallout, considering how much time I lived in that virtual world I would have high expectations for iconic locations. Having looked at the game materials it seems focused on iconic locations.

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