Category Archives: Blog

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.

Dreadball First Playthrough


DreadZine_CoverZombiePirate and I managed to play an inaugural game of the Speedball2 40k Bloodbowl mash-up general GW trolling Dreadball yesterday. It was the not-quite-space-marine Trontek 29ers vs the not-really-sisters-of-battle Void Sirens.

Fortunately we had both looked at the pretty pictures in the rulebook which is always a plus when trying out a new system. There were naturally some high levels of rules lawyering and checking owing more to it being our first game rather than us being competitive twelve year old at heart.

Overall it was a positive experience. The game system seems very intuitive after a few goes, and the whole thing should flow very quickly after a few games. The game itself is very fast paced and good fun. Hopefully it can become a good staple game.

Salute 2014 – Dreadball


The Floating Citadel denizens made their annual pilgrimage to Salute – more on that in another post; to cut a long story short I am now a proud owner of Dreadball – a game I have been meaning to get my hands on for over a year.

In true servitob style, the test minis were up and painted within a matter of hours of the box being opened. The technique used here is apparently called “Greyscale Washing”, if any of you googlespiders want to know more details I can point you in the right direction.

The aim was to do something very quick to make the game playable in the shortest amount of time. Mantic stuff is so cheap that if I ever miraculously got enough quality time for actually giving a damn about multi-layer highlights and all that nonsense then I could simply buy new teams. For now, I consider 2.4 seconds a reasonable amount of time to spend per model.

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I’ve also read through the rules – it looks like a very promisingly fun game!

Off to Salute


salute2014webbannerIt’s April, while to many people I imagine that means the potential for people to dress in large rabbit suits (damn furries!) and also an over-indulgence in chocolate eggs, for those of us with more of a bent towards pushing plastic and metal soldiers around made-up battlefields we look forward to a different kind of event.

This coming Saturday sees the annual return of the Salute event. Salute sees the gaming fraternity descend upon the London docklands in an orgy of gaming goodness. It takes place at the eXel centre, a huge complex of rooms where a number of shows take place at the same time. I’ve never seen any of them be as interesting as the toy soldiers show though.

Normally a gathering of gamers in a restricted space is nothing but a miasma of body odour and beard-generated static electricity but, thankfully, there’s enough headroom there in the hall that this isn’t an issue unless you want to get all friendly with some of the neck beards.

From my perspective I really look forward to this day. Despite the large amount of travelling involved from the floating citadel it’s very much an experience I look forward to. A day out with good friends, seeing the latest and greatest on offer from a hobby I’ve been involved in for 22 years.

Wondering if I should take the SLR this year to grab some nice piccies?

Farewell XBox 360, Hello PS4!


Continuing on from last week’s console blurb I finally got around to getting a PS4. I’ve had my Xbox 360 for many years, and in retrospect I’ve been very happy with it and it’s been an amazing social gaming platform.

Unfortunately or fortunately depending whether you care I’ve never been much of a fanboy so my progression wasn’t directly on to the Xbone despite my excellent experiences with all things X related. I simply looked around at the early adopters – out of all my old Xbox gaming buddies only one has got an Xbone. The rest seem to have gone to PS4. So if I am to maintain my gaming buddies it seemed like the natural progression. It seems the only selling point of the Xbone at the moment is Titanfall, but I suck at those types of games so no personal loss there.

I’m happy with my decision, at least until Gears Of War 4 comes out!

Consoles versus PC – The Mass Debate


video-gamesHere’s a debate which has been raging for, well, not very long compared with say the history of cutlery, but it is relevant to those of a nerd persuasion ie everyone on the floating citadel.

Back in the mists of time this debate spilled across the playgrounds of the country albeit in a different guise. Back then PCs were crap and consoles weren’t much better. Kids would trade punches and fight real battles to defend the honour of the Sinclair Spectrum against the mere suggestion that the Commodore 64 was a better machine (it was and anyone who says otherwise deserves a slap).

Skip a few years and the rock throwing was between the Nintendo kids and Sega kids. The Atari ST owners looked on smugly, whilst the kids with the Commodore Amigas knew that they were the top of the pile. But any machine was a lot of pocket money and if Santa Claus was dumb enough to bring you anything but an Amiga then you knew you had to justify your choice; that you had an ST for its better midi output which was about the only reason to get one. Cue lots of kids trying to pretend to know what that actually meant in reality.

Moving on to current times and everything is a billion times better than previously. Go back and play a game from yesteryear just to see how bad things were. I installed a C64 emulator the other day to revisit some old classics. It was awful. Gaming now is great. No doubt we’ll look back in ten years from our matrix style immersion tanks and laugh, but for now we are in a golden age.

Significantly, there are no real losers in today’s market. You can buy any up to date gaming platform and get some great games. Sure there are market leaders and some shaky outliers, but its all generally quality stuff.

Fights from the past do remain however to some extent, this time over the decision to play PCs or console games. Notice how I said play. Unlike in the past where gaming was an expensive niche hobby, most serious gamers will own both as relative prices are lower and the technology has more value in terms of use ability.

There are pros and cons to the whole PC versus console decision. A lot of it rides on game availability, the sheer number for the PC gives it a massive edge. Also the types of game, MMOs being a popular format and not widely played on consoles. Personally however I have not played much on my PC all year, choosing instead to spend my game time on consoles. For me currently its the ease of use that wins it, being able to switch on and get stuck in with mates without having to patch this or reconfigure that or upgrade this component to play. Having kids means my game times are few and far between and I want to get the most out of them.

No doubt most people will disagree as PC gamers can be such snobs!

Australian Grand Prix – Speed Circuit


scimagesA few weeks ago I introduced a gaming friend of mine to Speed Circuit. For the uninitiated, SC is a positively ancient racing car game (1971). It’s rather unique in that there are no random elements or dice rolling in the course of normal play. Instead, you have to get your car around the track and other drivers as fast as possible using tactics and a resource pool of wear points which are depleted when you push your car beyond it’s limits. If you deplete your wear points you can start rolling dice to keep pushing, but at that point your opponent generally starts heckling your imminent appointment with the barriers.

It’s a really great game so unsurprisingly my friend has decided to run a season of races on a regular basis at his house. He’s prepared some circuits and this week saw our inaugural race at the Australian Grand Prix. Gribblin and I managed an epic battle for third and fourth place with non-citadel denizens coming in first, second and fifth. To make things interesting the rules also accommodate car improvements which might be used next time to add some further tactical options.

If you fancy checking out this out of print game, the best resource on the net for rules and tracks is:
http://lucidphoenix.com/sc/
Also, the BGG entry is here:
http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/1194/speed-circuit

Happy Racing!
– servitob

Tyranid Army, 2000 points


Sorry It’s taken me this long to post this one up folks, had a chaotic week.  As ZombiePirate has already written his list up, I shall add mine.  I went for a horde list with the idea of including as many of the new models as possible, it is however a little light on upgrades.  So here we go.

  • Hive Tyrant: Wings, Bonesword & Lash Whip, twin-linked Devourers, Electroshock Grubs.
  • 3 Tyranid Warriors: 2 Deathspitters, 1 Venomcannon.
  • 3 Tyranid Warriors: 2 Devourers, 1 Barbed Strangler.
  • 25 Termagants (x3 units): Fleshborers.
  • 1 Broodlord & 5 Genestealers: Rending Claws.
  • 2 Lictors: Scything Talons, Rending Claws, Flesh Hooks.
  • 2 Venomthropes: Lash Whips, Toxic Miasma.
  • Haruspex: Grasping Tongue, Crushing Claws, Acid Blood, Adrenal Glands.
  • Red Terror & 4 Raveners: Scything Talons, Rending Claws (Raveners only), Prehensile Pincer (Red Terror only).
  • Hive Crone: Drool Cannon, Four Tentaclids, Scything Talons.
  • Carnifex: Scything Talons, H. Venom Cannon.
  • 2 Biovores: Spore Mine Launcher.
  • Mawloc: Prehensile Pincer.

As I said it was a little light on upgrades.  Other than the Tyrant all I added was a set of adrenal glands for the Haruspex, ‘heavy’ weapons for the Warriors & Carnifex, rending claws for the Raveners and a prehensile pincer for the Mawloc.  Despite my earlier posts talking about the upgrades, I wanted to go for cheap & cheerful.  One of the problems I have when playing Tyranids is that I tend to go into autopilot mode of advancing as fast as I can without any real thought into what I am doing.  So here’s the plan;

Tyrant & Crone fly around causing all sorts of problems, the Crone waiting for the Chaos Helldrake, whilst the Tyrant attacks targets of opportunity.  The Warriors & Termagants advance under the protection of the Venomthropes (3+ cover saves for the Warriors) with the Carnifex & Biovores providing fire support.  The Raverners & Haruspex advance in support of each other to reach the enemy battle line quickly.  The Broodlord & his retinue will use the Horror power to suppress the enemy shooting and assault when ready.  The Lictors are a bit of a gamble.  I’ve always loved the image of the Lictor, but they proved useless in the last edition so I’m hoping that not having to Deep Strike them will help, and my plan is to use them to drop the Mawloc onto something, say a quad-cannon.