All posts by ZombiePirateXXX

4Ground Terrain Review


The tabletop gaming landscape is very different today than what it was a little over 20 years ago when I was introduced to the hobby via my father. This was via a trip into a local Games Workshop, no doubt the entry way that many of us proceeded through that led us to where we are today.

At the time GW was really the only option. I did some looking around at independent retailers and there was nothing out there that came close to what GW offered. Their models were (and some could argue still are) a cut above the rest and there wasn’t any other game that gave you the scale of combat that was possible for either Fantasy or 40k and that was when 40k was far more of a skirmish game than it is today.

If you wanted terrain for your games you had to make it. Eventually GW did come out with some cardboard kits (as well as stuff they gave away in White Dwarf… remember those days?). Gaming was generally done on a green felt mat, or white table cover (lots of games on snowy terrain there!) Very different to how things are today.

After making the decision to finally leave GW behind I’ve been much more free to rediscover some other gaming systems and look at the games I want to play. I’m waiting on some boards to arrive for Dropzone Commander from a Kickstarter that I backed. Turning my mind to some other skirmish games I rediscovered Malifaux, a game and universe I’d already enjoyed previously, not with a second version of the rules and a huge improvement to boot.

I picked up the Rules manuals and some Arsenal decks and took a look, liked what I see and decided I needed to return. But, I hear you utter, what on earth does that have to do with the title of this post? I’m glad that you asked. In this day and age there is a whole gamut of places whereby one can get affordably priced terrain to enhance your games. I’ve spent a large portion of my gaming life fighting across the grey plastic battlefields of the 41st millennium after all. As I looked into Malifaux again I decided that I wanted to make a proper table, one that would encourage me to have a painted force to play with too. So, I went looking.

4 Ground is a company I’ve been aware of for a while and are at the forefront of this, very popular, movement of laser cut MDF terrain. As anyone who has ever purchased their stuff knows, it smells fantastic! It looks good too and is relatively light on the wallet.

There have been very few moments in my gaming career that I have come across a product that I would have little reservation in completely recommending to anybody, the 4 Ground terrain is in that elite category. I have a little collection of the stuff now and have found it to be a really great product.

Each kit comes in a bag with a number of sheets of pre-cut, pre-painted MDF, along with a page or two of instructions. I heartily recommend that you familiarise yourself with the assembly instructions and look over the terrain sprues just so you know which parts are where and how they are supposed to fit together, this will save time later on when you’ve put glue on the wrong bit!

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I will say that these are certainly not for your beginners, there are also some parts that are very easy to break, especially door frames. However, because this is all just wood, a good dab of PVA and you can resurrect most pieces.

I’ve assembled three kits so far and have bought another three and I’ve never had so much fun putting terrain together. Some of the parts can be a tight fit, but these can be shaved down and you will feel like you’re going to break some of the parts as your try to prise them out of their frames, but as you build things up and you see the building come to life… Well, it’s a pure pleasure, I’ve seriously never enjoyed putting terrain together as much as I have with this stuff.

While the instructions could be clearer in some instances (hence why I recommend you study it out first) things go together easily enough. Occasionally you’re going to want to leave some assemblies to dry for a while as you’re using PVA not superglue so bonding isn’t instantaneous. This is not always a bad thing, although I end up really anticipating getting to sit down and finish off the buildings.

As well as the Marshall’s Office shown above (that I finished last night) I have Rogan’s Bar, the Gallows set and, as of yesterday, Hitching posts, Corrall set and an Under-construction 2 storey building. That should round out my Malifaux table quite nicely.

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What I love about these buildings is that they aren’t just shells. If you pop the roof off there are interior details, this is more obvious in the Marshall’s Office as it has actual working jail cells and interior doors. The bar shown above you could actually decorate if you so wanted, there’s a lot of room in there for stuff.

My only complaint with the Gallows is that the rope is a little too thick and therefore doesn’t quite work to the scale of the models it’s going to be used with (and the string in the instructions is obviously much thinner). But, I still can’t really complain about it for the price.

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This terrain set has also been bought for potential use with Deadman’s Hand. In fact, all of the terrain I have is from this range in 4 Ground’s catalogue. I can’t speak highly enough about the quality of it and the wonderful experience I’ve had assembling stuff. It makes me happy to think I still have some more to do at home and when I think of how this is going to look when it’s on the battlefield… This is certainly going to be the best one I’ve ever put out to play games over.

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New Dreadball Edition Gives You Wood


Mantic have sold out of yet another printing of their “totally not Blood Bowl” sci-fi Football mash-up Dreadball. To honour that fact they are releasing a new version of the game with a slightly larger cost and a few more bits thrown in, or if, like me, you’ve been playing the game and scavving off a mate’s copy, you can go all in and buy way more stuff than you need.

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That being said, yet again Mantic put together a really nice deal. While their Restic isn’t the nicest of materials I’ve had the joy of working with and their models do have their moments, Dreadball has been a welcome addition to the halls of the floating citadel. It’s one of those games that it’d be nice to get people playing in a league for and with me now being the second person to get a set we’ve got the potential for playing two games at the same time as well as not having to cart everything to someone else’s house if we travel for an evening’s entertainment. There’s only one problem, this is due to ship in July and will therefore potentially be around the same time as the second shipment of Deadzone. That’s a lot of new toys going to be finding their way into my house. I really don’t have that long to knuckle down and really put some effort behind shifting all the GW stuff I have lying around.

I don’t need the rulebook and the season 2 book so those can go to a good home of someone else who’s interested in starting things up but there’s a significant saving to be had if you’ve got the coin to splash out.

Looks like I’ll be living off tin of economy beans for the rest of the month though.

You Knew It Was Coming….


Ability_gougeLong time readers will no doubt be sitting on tenterhooks as they await the public and visceral berating of Gouge Workshop for daring to release a new version of the rules, slightly more expensive than the last!

Fanbois everywhere will scream from the rooftops “wait for the small book in the box set” or “they’ll release just a plain rulebook like they did for 6th.” Or other such declarations of support.

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I will admit that the new 40k book looks very shiny and nice. Of course I’m not convinced of it being £50 of nice. For the same price I can get a starter set for pretty much every other game under the sun a long with the rules. I still know that people are going to buy it, it’s your money and you are entitled to spend it how you will. For me though, this is the first edition of 40k I’ll never buy. I’ve been in this hobby for the entirety of my adult life and most of my formative years as well. I still remember every time we went to the Merry Hill Centre when I was younger that my dad would take me into GW. So, dear wife, if you are reading this, it’s your father-in-laws fault that the disposable income dries up!

Yes, this book isn’t that much more expensive than the old one, but this constant creep has to stop, there has to be a point where it is unsustainable and for me, personally, it’s been reached. As I mentioned in another post this is sad for me. I’ve spent so much time around the GW IP that I don’t like leaving it, but sadly, this is the only way that I can register my displeasure at a company that no longer provides something I am happy to pay for. Again, I am only one man and a very small drop in the ocean of customers that GW still maintain.

In finishing my discourse on GW I will say that all the “hatred” I’ve been accused of isn’t that way. Imagine watching something that you love, something you’ve invested a lot of your life into, slowly crash and burn and there’s not a thing you can do about it other than walk away. It’s that sadness and pity that I feel. GW has lost what made it great in the pursuit of a larger bottom line. While I understand that it’s a business and it needs to make money, there is a point where becoming a faceless corporation turns the customer away.

It might not be too late for someone to turn the business around. However, with the competition having gotten better and needing far less of my hard-earned pennies to get into, I can’t see a way back for me personally.

For those that also play Fantasy, I’m not sure how folks feel being asked to spend £100 just for the rules for both games. Unless a Qatari magnate and went for the Munitions set…… that’s just insane and yet I know there are people who will have pre-ordered it.

Beared-itorial #WAAC is coming


All I can say is, as a community, this is well worth our support. I’ll have to see if the floating citadel can come together for this.

The Wargaming Bear

Welcome to a special edition of the Beared-itorial.

Recently I have received the news that my mum has cancer. We are still waiting for the true extent of the cancer, but one thing that has been a great help to my mum and dad is the MacMillan Nurses.

They have come in like a whirlwind of help, information and pain killers and already I am grateful that they have been there.

With this in mind I would love to do something for them, supporting Macmillan while they support others.

Now I could have stayed in a bath of baked beans or gone running, but I am a wargamer and this is a wargaming blog and the wargaming community has shown they are a fantastic bunch (yes I am massaging your egos).

So here is what I am suggesting 24 hours of wargaming (this will include board games and MtG to…

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Floating Citadel Turns a Corner


It might seem tricky that a castle in the sky would be able to turn anything, yet, this bank holiday weekend saw the furious rattling of dice and page-flicking of rulebooks as once more we got to throw down with some toy soldiers.

While getting some games in is an event worthy enough of note for our little group it’s probably not something to make a blog post over. However, as happens whenever gamers get together, we spent some time discussing the hobby as a whole, what we are doing as individuals and what our desires are for the continuation and evolution of our hobby time. Even in the run up to yesterdays festivities I’d been talking to Gribblin over email about my feelings towards the gaming landscape and the orgy of models I have littered around the house.

Bearing in mind that we’d just been to Salute barely a month ago and seen everything on offer in today’s gaming market we really are treated to a cornucopia of miniatures goodness.

After looking at the way our gaming is developing and the larger factors at work I’d already decided to ditch Warhammer Fantasy. I have two armies for that games, over 3000pts each of Ogres and Dark Elves. However, with the Sherriff’s well publicised and much criticised issues on pricing I cannot justify these forces any more. I only play against one person and we’ve not played a game in at least 18 months and I don’t see that changing. Better to get rid, get money and reinvest in something I’m actually going to want to play and get use out of.

We’ve recently played more Dropzone Commander, which is a game I genuinely enjoy. It makes you think, not only about how to build your army but each and every turn about what battlegroup to activate when and trying to second guess what your opponent might be up to. Then there is also Dreadball and Deadzone that have graced the tables too. Both games are excellent and don’t take much time to set up and play. The fact you can run them in a limited space is also a big boost in their favour.

I gave Gribblin the option of playing some 40k this weekend as we’d done Dropzone the last time we got together, but as his reply was less than enthusiastic we went with DZC again. This, to me, as well as seeing a preview of White Dwarf with what the future of 40k holds, I’m pretty sure that I’m going to be ditching that too.

This is actually a very hard decision to reach. When I first started gaming over 20 years ago at the tender age of 12 GW was the only real entry into the hobby. Over the years that has kind of generated this perverse brand loyalty. I see it manifest in other gamers as well that go out of their way to seemingly justify that they’re not getting hosed by GW. To each their own and if folks enjoy things and are willing to pay then that’s their prerogative. I’m not going to tell them how to spend their money, it’s almost like WoW players who end up addicted to the game and can’t break free. However, finally, I think I’ve had my fill. I have fond memories of all the games I’ve played, but I’ve moved on. Other companies produce better games that are far better supported, not to mention costing less. Even the age-old argument of “GW’s models are better” is something that is so open to personal aestheticism as to be a moot point.

The consequence of this decision is not only that I’m going to have a ton of floor space again, but also I’ve actually got more chance of getting stuff painted. Rather than knowing I’ve got 20-30 dudes in a squad to paint I might have that number total for the whole army. That is one hell of a smaller hurdle to climb and having less around the house will mean a happier wife and a happier mental picture of just how much work I’ve got to do to field armies that actually look like they belong.

So, whatever you’re playing out there, I wish you all the best, may you roll plenty of 6’s, 1’s or 20’s, or whatever.

To the Sherriff, it’s been nice playing your games but I’ve finally had enough of what you are doing. Thanks for the memories but I’ve got a whole load of new ones to make that I look forward to.

Easter – The Time of Intergalactic Conflict and Sporting Rebirth


Among the denizens of the Floating Citadel being given days off work is heralded by an anticipation of the potential for staying indoors and hovering around little models of men in armour, or, possibly, really small tanks. Sacrifices are offered, supplications made and trips out with the family to he most horrifying of all places on Earth, the shopping mall, to placate the almighty deity known as “wife” in the hope we will be allowed out to play with a friends.

With a wave and a cheer I dispatched my significant other to her parents and had the delightful company of Gribblin and Servitob to share my gaming time with. While we don’t exactly have photos or a full feature battle report to bring you I thought it’d be at least worthwhile to show off what we played and how we felt about it. As gaming is so few and far between right now deciding what to play becomes a much larger concern than ye olde “buy everything” mentality that pervades our hobby.

So it was that we kicked the day off with Deadzone. It’s a cinch to set-up and plays pretty quickly too. I love the fact you don’t need a huge table full of terrain as the mat is a great thing to play off. We ran our second ever game using Rebs against the Plague. For the Plague I created a list with the 3A General, 2 Stage 2As, 3 Stage 3As, 2 3Ds and two 3As with HMGs. Up against them were an eclectic band or Rebs; Rebs Commander, 3 Humans, 1 Yndij, 1 Survey Drone, 1 Desolator Grogan, 1 Kraaw, 1 Zee Scavenger and 1 TK-Zero.

I drew Scour for my mission and Gribblin, armed with the Zombie like Plague drew Infiltrate. Eventually it was the Rebs who won. After turtling in their deployment zone and despatching their faster moving elements to go grab the loot tokens they did a pretty good job of destroying the enemy using the Grogan and TK-zero. Turn 1 the Grogan one shotted a 2A with a pretty awesome display of marksmanship. Gribblin did manage to get the second 2A off the board as well as a 3A. Unfortunately that was as far as his game went. TK-zero took a number of shots that put the pain into his Strike Team, despite the HMGs of the Plague doing their best to suppress the weapons team. The highlight of the game was a missed shot that left the 3A in the target cube undamaged but the resulting explosion catapulted the general into a cube occupied by a 3D. The resulting collision saw both fleshy sacks of alien mutagen expire and, with a follow-up headshot from the Commander sealed the game with a rather empathic win for the plucky Rebs.

Following on from that we dived into Dropzone Commander. Up against Gribblin’s totally cheesy Shaltari teleportation shenanigans were my UCM. We played 1500pts and it was a really tight game. I horribly misused both my Wolverines and Katanas, so much so that none of them had any real impact on the game at all. My 6 Gladius however were a total wrecking crew. A Battlegroup that costs over 400 points may be a little excessive in a game of this size but they certainly paid for themselves with the impact that they had. They killed a terra gate, stopping the moving of an objective off the table, dropped some bricks on the head of the Shaltari warsuits preventing them from finding an objective (after a pair of Raven B’s had already put the hurt on the same building killing off an earlier attempt to find the objective with a different squad) as well as nuking a Coyote. Not bad when they lost not a single one from their number over the course of the game.

My Legionnaires in the Raven As were brilliant. They went into buildings, found objectives and then de-bussed quickly. With the blistering pace and small landing zones the Ravens got away quickly securing two objectives that I managed to get off the table. Gribblin managed to down one with an attack run from his fast mover but all it did was ground the transport. A transport I quickly replaced with a “Call for Extraction” card. I never felt hampered by my lack of a Commander above CV3 although spending so much on the Gladius group meant I had far fewer AA units that I’d have liked.

When it came around to post-pizza Dreadball I took my Void Sirens for their inaugural run against Servitob’s more masculine looking dudes. The game was quick and brutal, my good dice from earlier in the day deserting me. I was happy to lose as I’d had pretty decent luck through the rest of the day and I still got to play a game that was a blast and has the benefits of, like Deadzone, being quick to set up, play and pack away. Always a bonus in my mind.

We had three great games, it was really nice to get to spend some gaming time among friends. I’ve now got more motivation to get the stuff I’m using painted so that it looks nicer and we’ll see when it is we can get around to doing it again. It certainly looks like we’re all in a good place with the games that we’ve got to play and not a GW mini in sight.