A Busy Holiday….

Sorry for the delayed post… we were out of town for the holiday and that impacted my schedule. We did not manage to get much finished but we did do a number of things. Above you can see what we finished, my wife doing the bulk of the work on the dungeon pieces from our mate Tom. Thanks Tom!

We also bought a sizable lot of Dwarven Forge at a very fair price from a fellow on the Dwarven Forge forums. Thank you Georgradite!

Lots for us to paint! The real joy here is getting someone the more challenging pieces, like the “stairway to violence” and Dreadhollow Forest banks. But we will make use of all of these… once we get everything painted!

Speaking of painted, here is an example of a factory prepainted stone wall from Pegasus Hobbies next to one I finished personalizing.

I will let you be the judge of which you prefer. Only 24 more walls to go.

Also, inspired by one of the folks on the Dwarven Forge forum, I went back and repainted some of the vines on one of our Dreadhollow Forest embankments.

The brown vines are my new paint work, the dark green is the factory prepainted vines. Which do you prefer?

We have been going back and forth on terrain mats. Without the current international health crisis we would have counted on comparison shopping at one of the big gaming conventions but as it is we had to rely on internet photos and videos.

I was keen to move away from the Citadel GW “golf course” green grass mat we have been using. It is practical, and goes well with a lot of static grass terrain but with us increasingly using Dwarven Forge terrain we started looking at neoprene (mousepad) game mats.

Deep-Cut Studio has an excellent reputation and after long deliberations we decided to try their mats and they arrived today.


Everything is darker than we expected.

We ordered a “random selection” of five dice trays. We told Deep-Cut that we were looking at them as samples for future mat purchases and requested 5 mats relevant to ur needs. The dice trays we received were not quite the selection we were hoping for with our request but we learned a bit from them nonetheless.

We were glad we did not go with the forest mat, seeing just how big the ferns are on the forest dice tray. The colors are nice, especially the fallen leaves but the ferns are so big, and so brightly contrast with the darker colors of the rest of the tray that we feel it would not be the best mix with DF factory painted terrain.

Muddy Fields looks good, my wife really favors the colors of the plants but does not like the mud. Whilst we do not have any tire tracks in our dice tray the tire tracks I have seen in photos always put me off.

The other three trays are not relevant to our needs. A pure black one, a sci-fi starship interior, and a post-apoc wasteland. However, each is excellent quality.

The 6×4 Grass mat is pretty good. It is darker and more uniform than we expected but not too dark or too uniform for our needs.

The 6×4 Savanna mat is darker than we expected. My wife thinks it is great for her idea of negative space roads but not too dark for a rocky desert. I think it may be a bit too dark for a sunny day in the desert but I do not think I would spend the money for another similar mat in a slightly lighter color. I think they call that one Arid… which probably has the color I was originally after. However, now if I were to get another desert mat I think I would go for a proper bright, sandy desert mat. Something Sahara-esque. 

Here is the Savanna next to the Beach.

The 4×4 Beach mat is again a bit darker than we expected but otherwise seems to fit the bill nicely. The water does not match the water on our Dwarven Forge terrain tray but that may not matter so much once we get the transparent textured water overlay with our Wildlands pledge.

Here you can see various mats and terrain trays, with how well they match up.

The cobblestone road is more popular with my wife than me. It looks ok on its own but better as negative space… however it is so narrow that it becomes at best a cobblestone footpath. 

The quality of each piece is excellent. They certainly look different to us in person, better in general. That said I do wonder how they will photograph. (Edit: The more time I spend messing around with the mats, the more I like them. I can see them becoming a bit addictive and wonder if we can afford a “library” of these as throwing one down instantly creates a whole new table. I had not realized just how powerful that transformation is having relied so long on just a single mat for so many locations.)

The other big delivery today was the Blacklist Games Fantasy 1 Kickstarter pledge that we got for a good price on eBay.

My wife has been hesitant about supporting the Blacklist Games Fantasy 2 Kickstarter going on right now. We passed on Blacklist’s Fantasy 1 and Horror kickstarters in the past, largely due to poor timing and our limited financial capacity but we got a set of the Fantasy 1 Kickstarter on EBay at a good price, which just arrived.


We are overwhelmed at the quality of the figures. I would say closer to Bones Black than I was expecting. Much finer and crisper details. Much better proportions than I expected. Still some oversized weapons but those are a quick fix. (Edit: The longer I look at these, I would say on par with CMON with the more simplistic design aesthetic being more generous with the abilities of the production materials.)

Several of the single pose five figure sets should be easy enough to individualize with hot water arm bending as well as head and weapon swops.

Speaking of bending, very little weapon bending on display in the box. No base warping notice so far. (Edit: Some minor base warping found as I have started going through each piece. Nothing serious though.)

I can not express how pleased I am. My wife is not as enthusiastic but she is keen enough now to back Fantasy 2 with the Horror add on and the Altar Quest terrain add on (we lost the auction where we were bidding on some AQ terrain).

This set of Fantasy 1 is brilliant quality and the cost is far below the competition. If you are a figure painter these will be fun but more than that, this set makes a brilliant novice DM generic hero & monster set for most Medieval Fantasy games… be it D&D, Frostgrave, Oathmark, Heroquest, Mordheim etc.

I think the fellow in the middle needs to be painted up as a friend of ours in Copper Camp at Drachenfest.

We will definitely be backing Fantasy 2 and recommend folks pick up Fantasy 1, either as part of the Fantasy 2 Kickstarter or on eBay.

In other news, we have watched a few movies. Deadpool 2… which my wife convinced me to watch. Normally Deadpool is a bit too crass for me, and this movie was no exception to that but some of the jokes did make me laugh. Largely where it breaks the 4th wall. Being such a big fan of the Cinema I enjoy satirical remarks about the medium and superhero tropes in general. Still, I felt the film was distasteful and unlikeable at times. Seeing this franchise do so well, especially when it takes a cheap shot at Green Lantern (which I liked), makes me a bit sad because it looks like the trailer for the latest Suicide Squad is Deadpool cranked up to 10. I am glad some folks enjoy it but hope that this flavor of film does not kill off movies like Green Lantern.

Seeing all the talk about how the darker, Snyder version of Justice League is better than the earlier, more “feel good” Whedon version is what I am talking about. Man of Steel was already a bit too dark for my taste in a Superman film. I felt myself identifying a bit too much with Zod! Batman versus Superman was depressing for me. And therefore we have not yet seen either version of Justice League. So much in cinema these days is just to dark, cynical and nihilistic for my taste.

A bit odd, but somehow uplifting feeling was watching The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

I have only the season 2 finale episode of Snowpiercer left… the end of episode eight had me feeling pretty grim but episode nine picked up my spirits a bit. The show does have a habit of making me feel like my legs have just been swept out from under me. The social commentary made by the film is excellent and I find myself identifying with a surprising number of the characters.

Are you watching the Snowpiercer TV series? What’d you think of it? How do you think it compares to the movie and graphic novel? I am not familiar with the graphic novel but I find it much darker… and yet still oddly more compelling in how it addresses social issues and personal change… than the movie.


  1. I’m always amazed at how much terrain you accomplish painting plus how much you seem to gain each week! Definitely like what you are doing on the walls and with the vines. I thought at first the brown vines were roots but I like them much better than the dark green. The cobblestones seem to be laid the wrong away to my eye.

    I’ve been reading elsewhere people missing the conventions, not only for the chance to see products in person, but the dealer hall, the area where you can sell your excess goods and the ideas you can get from seeing games but especially the personal interactions that is missing with the current situation. Hopefully they will come back.

    I think you chose well with the matts you have. Judging colors via the web is always hard but you seem to have done well.

    Haven’t watched anything new lately, tried the new Godzilla vs King Kong but honestly I liked the men in rubber suit movies more, likely because I watched them while playing with dinosaurs and toy soldiers.

    Saw on Lead Adventure the concern with the detail you are doing with the terrain when you have figures placed on it, I think they will complement each other.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks again for the kind words.

    I think the brown works because of the lack of leaves on the vines.

    To be honest, as a househusband in this lockdown I have hardly any human contact except for my family and delivery people. My wife does the shopping. I can not remember the last time I went to a theater, a store, a dine in restaurant. I vaguely recall Crisis and Spiele… having particularly long conversations with the folks at the TT Combat stall (about Dropfleet) and Battle Systems (about Core Space). The piratey aspects of our Tarnished Splendor project are influenced in large part by demo games we saw in action. Yeah… we miss conventions.

    The longer I use the mats the more I love them. I am very pleased with our selection.

    We have not seen the Godzilla vs. King Kong movie, although we recently saw the most recent American Godzilla 2 movie. It all gets very confusing which Godzilla movie is which. Like you I prefer the older Japanese “men in rubber suits” Godzilla movies. Having introduced my wife to Godzilla (and King Kong) with the newer movies to a lukewarm response I tried some of the older movies… which failed to impress her.

    As for the terrain, I suppose I need something to help the Rangers hide…


    • I’ve been lucky in that our govenor cracked down immediately and followed the science. I can’t remember the last time I haven’t seen someone without a mask. My immediate family has gotten both vaccine shots so my bubble has opened up a little more, but obviously not there yet.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We are still waiting on vaccine shots. But even more so, waiting on things to get a bit more back to the way it was. Although I doubt it will ever be completely the same.


  3. Those mats are pretty nice. It looks to me that the Deepcut 6 X 4 Grass mat actually goes better with the Dwarven Forge than their own tray – maybe that’s just the photo?

    I think you’ll actually like them being darker, as the figures will probably stand out better in photos/movies/whatever medium you decide to go with in documenting your gaming. Like I was saying on LAF, it’s not really the detail that figures get lost in my DF Caverns, but the lighter color overall (compared to my darker DF Dungeons). Or that’s how it seems to me – so there’s a 50% chance I’m wrong!

    I actually liked the Deadpool movies, mostly for the irreverency and 4th wall stuff, but I do miss the more optimistic, respectful take on superheroes as well. I haven’t seen any of the recent DC Universe movies. I kinda got burned out on the grim! and gritty! stuff when Marvel Comics was overrun with it in the 90’s. Every title tried to outdo the other, usually by the civilian body count. I initially liked Kurt Busiek’s run on the Avengers, but then he started doing that you-can-see-the-stakes-by-the-body-count BS. I think he killed off half the population of Earth in his final storyline (seriously).

    OK, got carried away there – not really what you were talking about.

    Back on topic, the walls that you modified look great, as do the brown vines. Nice score on all the DF! I like the Stairway to Violence, wish I’d picked it up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the kind and supportive words mate.

      My photography does not properly capture the colors but you can see some contrast at least between the various things.

      As a teen I loved the gritty side of heroes… or anti-heroes, but I was not aware of that term back then. The Punisher (aka Mack Bolan as far as I was concerned) and Wolverine were considerably more interesting to me than Superman or even Batman. I could not have cared less about Captain America or the the Avengers. Now, the most recent Punisher series (I thought I would like it, I was wrong) was a disappointment to me and Chris Evans as Captain America is one of my all time favorite silver screen heroes. I still like Wolverine… so much so that I have not been able to bring myself to watch Logan.

      And I really enjoy hearing your opinion on these things! Movies, TV shows, novels and comics all influence my gaming and I love discussing this. So feel free to expand on your opinions.


  4. Bret is spot on about the amount of terrain you’ve been getting done. You’re making the rest of us look bad! If I could get half of that amount of terrain done instead of painting minis all of the time, then I’d have a really nice table. One thing I like is that a lot of that terrain is perfect for doing your own dungeon crawling which is something that not only sounds fun but there should be some cool rule systems to support it too.

    In terms of the mats, they become very addictive indeed but they offer a lot of versatility for the space they take up. You can end up with many different kinds of tables unlike if you made the boards yourself. I think what you purchased looks great though I only like the road when it is covered by other terrain. I just don’t think roads done like that look realistic because they’re too straight and neat. Covering them up and making them look irregular really helps.

    In terms of Deadpool, I’m with you, mate. I only like him in small doses in the comics and find a lot of the jokes don’t land with me. I’ve watched bits and pieces of the Deadpool movies and I can’t get into them even if I’d like to. For my money, Deadpool works best on a superhero team where he throws out a joke here and there but isn’t the main focus, but there are many people who can’t get enough of him so what do I know! Are you planning on watching the Winter Soldier and Falcon series? I wasn’t necessarily excited for it but it is getting good reviews so I’ll have to make some time to watch it in the near future. I’m hoping the Black Widow movie comes out on time as I’m itching for another Marvel movie and even though I think Scarlett Johansen is not a good actress, it seems like that movie could be a good one in spite of that!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks again for the kind words mate!

    One day we will find the right roads…

    Yeah, I have been in a dungeon crawling mood for awhile. We did not originally plan much for actual dungeons but are mate Tom just gave us too tempting an offer…. so now we have the beginning of dungeons. And with our Dungeons & Lasers 2 pledge arriving soon, we will be swimming in dungeon pieces. Right now the dungeon crawling is scheduled for our Tarnished Splendor project. Dungeons/crypts/tombs should lend themselves well to pulp horror adventuring.

    It is interesting to hear someone agrees with me on Deadpool. I often feel quite alone in that.

    We watched the first few minutes of Falcon & Winter Soldier before real life interrupted again… better than I was expecting once the over the top action ended and the thought provoking character exposition began. We are are looking forward to watching it but we really should finish Wandavision first. My wife likes the Scarlet and the Black Widow character but the trailer did not excite her. However, I really like Scarlet (I seem to be one of the few people that liked her in Ghost in the Shell), Inreally like the Black Widow character and I am excited to see the movie.

    Wouldn’t it be a treat for you, Bret and me… with our partners…. to go see a decent movie, then have a late meal and film discussion? Ah… if only….

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve been thinking similarly with the dungeon crawling and was eyeing board games but truthfully, doing so with nicely done terrain would be much better!

    I think there are others who could take or leave Deadpool even if he has a lot of rabid fans, we do exist 🙂 I don’t know if I can keep up with Marvel’s TV shows (even if I want to!) but I can see that I will be returning to Disney Plus sooner than later to watch some more them when I find some time!

    That does sound like a great time to me as well. I’d have to say that a game of MESBG should be thrown into that mix too since that is a common interest of ours!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Do you think Rangers of Shadowdeep would scratch that dungeon crawl itch?

      Not just Marvel but think of all the Star Wars stuff coming. Disney Plus is pretty attractive.

      Fair point on getting a game in!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I actually gave Rangers a good, close look last week as I was wanting to paint something fantasy. I think it certainly could work. My concern is that the non-dungeon crawl scenarios take a lot of terrain and quite a few minis to paint up. I don’t think I’d have the storage space to manage all of that personally though I’d certainly like to be able to. I don’t know a ton about it but I was also looking at Modiphius’s Elder Scrolls game and I think it has some dungeon crawling aspects to it as well. I haven’t really played the Eldar Scrolls games but I was tempted by what I saw all the same. Regardless of that, you’re in a much better position to accomplish any of this than me so I wouldn’t be surprised if I have to enjoy vicariously through you 🙂

        Great point on the Star Wars stuff. You can’t go wrong with Marvel AND Star Wars 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • You might want to consider the Kickstarter for Lasting Tales. There is the game, which is sort of a skirmish game, RPG hybrid like the Frostrgave games. It is miniature agnostic, although is supported by the Fantasy miniatures series by the Sadler brothers. There are demo rules available and plenty of videos on YouTube. It has dungeon crawling…. and for inexpensive, easy to store dungeons you might want to look at Dungeons and Lasers from Archon Studios. It has solo and coop play. You could easily use MESBG minis and terrain. It has a campaign mechanic as well as one off games.

        Both Lasting Tales and Dungeons & Lasers are incredible value for money. D&L is a little cartoonish in its aesthetics but you may value the breakdown ability for storage. Dungeons and Lasers is about to have its 3rd Kickstarter in a few weeks and Dungeons & Lasers 2 has begun arriving with backers so you should see some on eBay soon.

        I think Mark Latham, the game designer has worked the Walking Dead and Elder Scrolls Games.


        The issue I have with Elder Scrolls is that having spent so much time in Skyrim, like Fallout, most of my tables would just not do the setting justice. I have specific locations in mind that would be difficult for me to replicate well.

        As always though I love hearing your take on things and I enjoy living vicariously through your Fallout games.


  7. You and Anja are doing great work on those DF pieces. Anja’s really elevated the dungeon tiles.

    I think the brown vines look better and definitely stand out more, although the green ones might be nice to leave as they are for a bit of variation. Depends on how many bank pieces you have I suppose, I think the main downside of Dreadhollow is the limited variety of sculpts so variation in paint schemes is probably a good thing. The limited variety will probably be solved with Wildlands though so it might not matter much. Did you go for any of the forest/swamp tiles or was your pledge purely mountain terrain?

    I saw in another comment that you’re keen for some dungeon adventuring. If you want old-school somewhat static dungeon delving then the Song of Blades and Heroes expansion: Song of Gold and Darkness should have you covered. The SoBaH rules are functional, but not as good at MESBG or Warhammer Fantasy in my opinion (less dice rolls & stats, but more bonuses and maluses to crunch). However the dungeon room generation and monster/treasure spawning might work for you. It has adversarial battles, where one player is the ‘dungeon denizens’ and the other is the band of adventurers or completely coop where the monsters are controlled by the game rules.

    I haven’t tried the coop game rules but the adversarial style works okay. You create lists before placing the dungeon, then the defender (dungeon player) creates the dungeon layout. You can either roll for the contents of the rooms (some results are to place monsters from your army list, or place treasure for the hero player to collect) or you can choose what goes in each room, but there must be at least 1 main treasure room and 1 minor treasure room at least. The adventurers get points by killing monsters or taking treasure out of the dungeon. The game ends when the adventurers have all left the dungeon or one side is completely defeated.

    It’s a fairly simple game mode but it works and could easily be incorporated into a different wargame campaign system, with the treasure giving value to your warband’s levelling/equipment progression.

    Liked by 1 person

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