Category Archives: Boardgames

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.

13-04-14 035

13-04-14 036

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

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:
Also, the BGG entry is here:

Happy Racing!
– servitob

Highway to the Deadzone

Ahhhh, the heady aroma of mercilessly butchering 80’s rock ballads! I originally started a draft blog post regarding Deadzone at the start of December when a rather large box arrived on my doorstep, but, as I was feeling like a puppy kicked off the side of a mountain, I never got around to finishing it. It seems a little silly, after all this time, to go back and try to pick up the threads I’d started there, so I figured I’d just start up a new post. Especially since I’ve actually been able to play the game since then!

We might even get to play another game, although, I imagine that Gribblin wants to flop his wad of Nids on the table first.

Deadzone was the first kickstarter that I really threw down some serious cash on. I was lucky enough to get in on the ground floor with one of the Early Bird Strike Team pledges and after seeing how much stuff was crammed into Dreadball I thought this seemed a wise decision as Kickstarter would let me back out later on if I needed to. I’m very glad that I didn’t. My $141 got me 5 faction starters, twice the amount of terrain normally included, some extra dice, an extra playmat (so we can actually have two games going at the same time) and all the Mercenaries available at release. I bolted on a few extras, like a printed version of the campaign book, the acrylic tokens and a Rebs faction booster. There really was a lot of stuff in the box when I unwrapped it all. You can see it all in the picture I posted when it turned up.

So, the real important things are what you’re waiting for, how are the minis and what is the game like?

Let’s start with the miniatures.

This is the first time I’ve had my hands on Mantic’s stuff. I remember when they first started I saw their Elf line and thought it was terrible. I still think their Elves are terrible, but the stuff I saw on the Kickstarter was obviously enough to get me excited. As someone who is more used to the universal posable nature of GW kits the Mantic stuff does leave a little something to be desired. The sculpts are good and they do go together very easily, some don’t even need glue with the way the tabs fit together, but you’re not going to be getting away with the kind of poses you can do for GW, but then, this is a smaller game where you’re not going to be repeating the “same” models over and over gain. Also, Mantic have some issues with how they split their molds, often with mold lines going through major areas of detail, like the middle of a face. As the plastic that I am used to is GW’s obviously I’ve gotten used to what is, without doubt, the best in the business, therefore the Mantic stuff feels much harder to work with and tougher to clean up. That being said it’s not that hard of a process really but as it’s not what I am used to I thought I’d make mention of it.

Overall though I’m impressed. The models are crisp and well detailed, any bends you find (the material is softer than GW plastic) can be fixed with the traditional hot/cold bath method. There are some fiddly pieces (I’m looking at you Zee and Goblin heads), one of which I thought I’d lost until I found it lodged in the lining of my slippers, but no worse than you’d see anywhere else. As these models are much cheaper than what you pay for from GW I can forgive the (small) shortcomings I’ve come across, also, GW themselves seem to be moving towards mono-pose models. I know from the new Dark Elf stuff I have they are all labelled with numbered parts that cannot be mixed and matched as in days of yore.

Considering the success of Kickstarter we got a whole bunch of extra basic figures too. I’ll be getting the 5th faction (Asterians) sometime this year but in the meantime I’ve got my Rebs, Marauders and Plague to sort (I gave the Enforcers to a friend that fancied them and he bought a few add-ons himself). Most things are now built with a few Plague and some Marauders being left over.

What I would recommend is investing in some card protectors for the vast array of cards that the game uses. I did and put them into a snazzy deck box to keep them all safe. Even though I’ve done that there still isn’t enough room in it for all the cards you get in the box. I’ll have to get another one for the Asterians and I’d given a whole faction away so you can see you really do end up with a huge amount of stuff. The acrylic tokens are also a take it or leave it option. I find them quite nice but the card tokens are more than adequate for use in the game and you’ll be using quite a few to represent various things.

Overall I’d be giving the models a rating of 7/10. Good, not outstanding, but certainly fit for purpose, even if they do take a bit of getting used to after a lifetime of GW plastic.

You really cannot comment on the models without also factoring in the terrain. The terrain is a really large part of this game, so first off the bad. You don’t get enough connectors. Seriously, with the amount of terrain you get in the box a single connector sprue is about half of what you realistically need if you want to open up the full range of options that should be on offer. Luckily you can now buy single sprues for £2.50 a go which I think is more than fair value. I got 2 connector sprues to go with then 20 or so other terrain sprues. Also, don’t count on reconfiguring your terrain every game using the tiles and connectors to push together something new. The fit is very snug and popping them in and out is going to lead to some damage. I’ve already got a few snapped pins that I am going to superglue into place. I’ve got enough terrain to provide two full tables so I’ll have the option for what to use on each one that I’m not too fussed about the immutability of what I have.

The tiles are nicely detailed and also have in-game effects. It is possible to create some really nice multi-tiered pieces but you’re going to have to be either very frugal with those connecting pieces or grab some extra ones to make sure that your creations can come to life.

There are some really nice pictures on the Mantic forums of what folks have come up with and I’m really tempted to grab some more terrain when the second kickstarter survey drops at the end of the month. Overall I’d say it’s worth an 8/10.

That just leaves us to talk about how the game plays. Which I’ll deal with in a separate post.

Super Dungeon Explore Deeproot Druid

SDE Druid

Whilst looking for inspiration I stumbled upon this fine piece of work.

This is one of the best paint jobs I have seen in a long time; it took me a few glances to notice that it was actually a pair of miniatures and not a piece of drawn artwork. I especially love the non-metallic gold work on the bear, I hope you would agree!

The source can be found here:

Super Dungeon Explore Royal Paladin

10-12-13 001

It’s been a while since I picked up a paintbrush so recently I spent a bit of time painting this up.

It all started last week when a friend a I went to Games Lore. SDE is a good fun game, so I was planning to pick it up at some point. I’d hate to be in the predicament of it going out of print and then having to fork out to pick up a shoddy copy on fleabay when the kids are old enough to play it. We got a tour of the place and I bought a copy for myself.

It’s been good fun getting back into painting. Normally I paint really fast using a black undercoat. This was the first time in about twenty years where I’ve painted off a white undercoat. The differences are startling. With a white undercoat the colours are much more vivid, however brush precision is essential as you have to cover every part of the mini to get a decent result. To aid this I used some flow enhancer which helped a lot. With a black undercoat colours are much more muted and often require several layers to get the correct colour, however any parts you don’t paint simply look shaded. Obviously all you long standing and reading googlespiders know all this already as there are loads of decent articles on mini painting out there on the internet, but nothing beats licking that brush tip and getting stuck in!

Entering the Deadzone

As may have been noticed from the picture that I posted yesterday I am in possession of the first wave of Deadzone stuff from the Kickstarter I backed earlier in the year. Since popping my proverbial Kickstarter cherry I’ve backed two other projects, one that was funded and that I am waiting on my loot and another that is still on its way but is hitting stretch goals left, right and centre.

To say that the 4.9 Kg box is a bit full would be an understatement and while folks may be wanting more pictures of just how things turned out, I’m afraid that you’re going to have to wait. I spent the better part of three hours last night just going through all the plastic baggies looking at what models they looked like they contained as well as getting my head around all the other stuff that came in the box. I’ve since sorted the factions out and know what I’ve got in each. There was just so much stuff that it really does need to be methodically pored over to understand what arrived.

There was of course the main Deadzone box itself, however, this really did contain only a small portion of the goodies I received for my Strike Team pledge level. I was surprised to get the paper gaming mat as well as the cloth one unlocked through the stretch goals. As Deadzone is a 2 player game this works out well as I’ll be able to have two games on the go at the same time. This is also made possible by the fact that I received two sets of the terrain, the one that is present for everyone in the main game box itself, plus a complete second set due to the stretch goals of the Kickstarter. What this will mean for me is that I can actually do a nice range of buildings, some larger, some smaller, in order to vary the terrain in each game and make use of the vast customisability that Mantic have built into their terrain system.

Currently everything is still more or less packaged up. I got a good start on reading the rules (I did get the digital download but there is nothing that really compares to having a book in your hand and being able to flick through it) and things look promising. I like the way in which the 3D space is used and the nice range of actions available. With all 4 starter factions and a 5th on its way next year I’ve got plenty to sink my teeth into. Hopefully over the weekend I’m going to be able to take a much better look and maybe even get some more (and better) photos online.

Watch this space.