Category Archives: Uncharted Seas

Firestorm Armada – Third Impressions


Now we return to our regular, scheduled programming.

Again I’ll apologise for yesterday’s diversion, but these kinds of news stories really get to me. I know that there are countries around the world that even have a thing against tabletop games and wargames in general. None of the games I have played with toy soldiers over the years has ever led me to thinking that I can replicate it in real life, but that’s not what we are talking about today.

Fire up those Fold Space drives and Railguns, we’re back in the world of Firestorm Armada.

As mentioned in previous posts we finally got around to our first play of this game over the Christmas break. I’d ordered my Dindrenzi after nBreaker had sided with the Sorylians, since that game Servitob has been and sold-out to the Terrans. We played the game using the standard starter fleets, no wings but everything else was on. We played the standard “kill or be killed” mission and played on the recommended 4′ * 4′ board. This was actually the board that Servitob had prepared for Uncharted Seas use, hence it was blue (nebula cloud perhaps) but during our lunch break KFC had apparently run out of cooked chicken (I know, who says they cook it anyway) so during the 20 minute wait for bukkits half the gang went off to procure black paint for the reverse of the Uncharted Seas board.

As this was the first game we played minus terrain, I do have some ideas of what we might add to this by using the Oasis balls you can get for flower arrangements. I am sure this is at least one valid excuse for me getting an airbrush! nBreaker deployed in a line across his side of the field while I set up with my Battleship and a squad of supporting Frigates while on the other flank I had my Cruisers and the second Frigate squadron. The Dindrenzi have a lot of firepower in their forward guns so I was deploying in order to maximise the amount of time I could use the forward guns.

Now, I’m not going to do a turn by turn battle report, we might save that until another time when we can do a decent job of it with some nice piccies etc… (most of my stuff isn’t even on flight-stands at the moment) but to let you all know what the rules are like in action. As you know Firestorm is based heavily on Uncharted Seas and therefore the conventions from that game are present in this one which makes things quick and easy to play. I like the new way of rolling for iniative where each side gains a bonus to their roll, it didn’t stop me from rolling some howlers despite the fact I had a +3 Fleet Tactics bonus to nBreaker’s +1. What stands out for me is that you have much greater long-range firepower in this game. No matter which fleet you are playing you should have something that is respectable out to range band four, so on the way in you’ll be unleashing something at your enemies. The added rules for Shields and Point Defence give you an incredible array of options you can use to try and protect your fleet from the various weapons of the opposing fleet.

nBreaker will agree with me that the forward guns of the Dindrenzi are amazing. You get decent range on them and a lot of dice, in turn 2 my Battleship Opened fire on a Cruiser and caused a critical hit (there were several times when I multi-critted a Cruiser and almost double-critted the Battleship). The critical table in Firestorm is a little more severe than in Uncharted Seas and there are two results that will cause a vessel to go nuclear. We started off our Firestorm crit record with a double 1. *BOOM* In this instance the ship explodes and leaves behind a template that will damage anything that moves through it. Not a bad start, I like the fact that things going bang can have a lasting effect on the game due to creating a terrain piece that you then have to navigate.

Another change with Firestorm in its current incarnation is the generic card deck. You can use one per player or share a deck (as we did for this game) although we got a lot of cards that affected wings there are still a lot that will find use turn to turn, we each rolled out plenty of cards during the course of the game and I like it that there is this interaction, it does seem that the cards get used more than in US and the fact that everyone has the same stuff with no game-breaking/winning supercards that only one fleet has access too levels the playing field.

The main difference in the games comes through the combat phase. You are still able to fire all guns in an arc during your activation but with Shields, Point Defence and Torpedoes there can be more to do in this phase. I love opening up with gun batteries trying to weaken a ship before launching Torpedo attacks trying to make use of the reduction in Point Defence fire. There were occasions when, between Shields and Point Defence, I had damaging attacks reduced to insignificance. Making use of the overlapping of other models Point Defence ranges certainly helps and also provides evocative imagery of a hail of bullets trying to gun down Torps as they head for the bigger ships.

Using the Dindrenzi was also vastly different in experience to using my Bone Griffons, I now have Frigate level ships that can shoot (5AD at range band 2 is awesome) and enjoyed them making a dent in Cruisers as well as the opposing Frigates. I don’t want to go too far into all the rules here, Spartan have put their efforts into this game and I don’t want to reproduce their work on a blog when I’d rather you check it out and send cash into their pockets to reward them for what they have done. I’ll also need to post a rundown of the Dinrenzi to go alongside this post, I picked them at first purely off looks and I’m glad I got this fleet as they certainly pack a real punch, their broadsides aren’t great though and once the Sorylians get up close they can dish out a huge number of attacks themselves. Although the Dindrenzi prevailed in this first outing I don’t expect the same result in ensuing games.

Overall I am very happy with this game, I need to get a few more games in but I believe it to be a better version of Uncharted Seas with a lot of extra depth and thought behind it. It isn’t just a carbon copy of the previous game, there is enough in there to keep things interesting and we haven’t even got to using Carriers/Wings yet. If I had the choice over the two games, at this time I’d probably sit myself in the Firestorm camp, although I do like both games for me the extra bits added into Firestorm help make it stand out. The rules are easy to pick up and you don’t have to wade through a rulebook the size of an encyclopedia to learn how to play.

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Happy New Year and a Glimpse Into the (Brief) Future


I have three of four posts running around in my head at the moment and I do realise that it is the 6th day of the new decade and this is the first time that I am actually posting up something. Christmas and New Year was busy and now my wife’s birthday is in 4 days and I have yet to get anything at all. She doesn’t have any hobbies so I was thinking of forcing encouraging her to start one, however, I don’t think 1500pts of Imperial Guard is really her thing.

Anyways, back to those topics, over the festive period a number of things happened which lead nicely into things I need to post on the blog. You’re already heard Servitob’s expose on Sgt Thumpy, the Thunder Hammer armed Terminator from Space Hulk. We played mission 3 over Christmas and this one chap managed to kill thirteen Genestealers in close combat before finally biting the big one, an impressive tally. In the next game where opponents switched sides (Gribblin was getting his gribble on in the first game taking the filthy alien scum against Servitob doing his best to get his marines killed to a man) Gribblin showed that he too had a Space Marine hero recruited, Joe Storm Bolter, bog standard Terminator who must have wracked up at least 30 solo bolter kills guarding a spawn point. Evntually his luck (or ammo) failed him and he got his face torn off, either way we had two memorable games that will live on.

The same day saw the debut of Firestorm Armada, my own Dindrenzi Fleet took on nBreaker’s Sorylians. I must say that we had a lot of fun with it, I plan on writing up another post detailing the experience we had with our first run of what is definitely not Uncharted Seas in space. Winning my first ever solo game using a Spartan Games ruleset hasn’t tinted my glasses though.

After the hilarity of New Years entertaining friends we took our newest tabletop gaming compatriots on their first trip to Warhammer World in Nottingham, the geek mecca of the Games Workshop world. Our Hajj saw my Orks take on Gribblin’s Eldar, a first for both armies played on the tables in the gaming hall, we took a couple of photos so I may post them up and finally get around to changing the custom header on the website. I have been asked to write-up this report from the Orks point of view. It was a great game and vastly enjoyable. I won’t ruin the outcome by telling you the result, wait for an Orky themed battle report.

Gribblin is of course counting down the last 10 days before his Xenos of cheese get an update, I am thinking things are going to be bigger and gribblier but still killable with a tide of green and I am working on refining my Orks army list, not specifically to counter the Nids, just changes that I feel need to be made on some levels and a few other things I want to try out on another.

Something completely non-blog related too, I got to see Avatar over the Christmas break, if you haven’t seen it yet you need to. I saw it in 2D and am pretty happy I did, there is so much going on that seeing it in 3D probably would have caused my head to explode! There is an opportunity to maybe go and see it again tomorrow and I am chomping at the bit to go back for another slice of Pandora. It gets a massive 10 Zombies out of 10 best film that I have seen in a long time.

I should hopefully get a proper post up later this afternoon, either the next of the “First” Impressions for Firestorm or the Orky report from Saturday’s trip to Nottingham.

Things happening in 2010… we’ll see if I can paint an army and I’ll also see if we can get more tutorials and pictures of just what we use around these parts.

Happy New Year and Happy Gaming from the 6 Inch Move team.

Firestorm Armada – …Second Impressions?


I went and picked up a package from the Post Office late last week. This particular package was highly anticipated as it contained a card deck and my Dindrenzi starter fleet for Firestorm Armada. I was eager to crack things open and dive in to see what things were like, after all, I’d read the book and seen things online, but nothing compares to actually holding things in your own hands. There are lots of posts over on the Spartan forums at the moment regarding issues that people have had with these fleets in general (Dindrenzi apparently being among the worst). The Uncharted Seas stuff was excellent and I had no issues there, the new items seem to be a different resin as the off-white of the Uncharted Seas models has been replaced with a grey resin for the Firestorm stuff.

For the Dindrenzi the battleship comes in 9 parts, there is the command deck, two sides for the main hull, two engine bays a dorsal gun-rack and a mid-ship gun-rack with a fore and aft plate. The major construction obstacle for these guys seems to be that the battleship is designed to have a gap running between the two sections of hull. This didn’t prove too tricky as the command deck and gun-racks allow you to position things correctly, however there are large sections towards the aft of the ship that could do with some kind of spacing as it would be very easy to vary the depth of the gap as you build the ship. The model itself is huge when fully built, there was quite a lot of flash left on the pieces as they had been cast, most of this as easily removable with a hobby knife. One of the engine pods seemed a little too big for the cut-out on the side of the hull but a modicum of filing saw this problem removed. There was also a small amount of overfill on some of the parts, a bit of filing dealt with the worst of it but I do have some parts where you’re looking at getting rid of a couple mm of overfill which I don’t really find acceptable, but that’s me. There is no hole to mount the flying base so I’m going to have to do some minor construction work to balance it properly but I’m pretty happy with the time it took to build it. Once it gets a lick of paint I’m sure it will look fine.

The Cruisers were pretty much the same, they have a dorsal gun-deck, two hull halves (no gap this time though) and two engine pods. I personally would have preferred the hulls to be cast as a single piece but that’s really just nit-picking. I got two left pods for one of the cruisers so I’ll need to get a replacement but everything went together easy enough, there was more flash and bigger overfill on these than the battleship, there is a lot of filing and sanding down to do if you are a perfectionist with your construction (I’m not with my model building, more-so with painting though). The frigates are white metal hulls (one piece) and two engine pods, I have only assembled one so far but they go together very easily, just remember to score the metal before attaching the pod for some extra bonding.

I only have the 5 Frigates left and one errant engine pod on a cruiser to assemble. There are a lot of resin shavings all over the place though. The models are very detailed and look great, however, it does seem like the quality has slipped from what I experienced with Uncharted Seas stuff. I don’t know if they’ve changed the casting process or what? However, saying that there isn’t too much work involved in tidying things up, maybe I’ve just been spoilt in recent years with models getting to the point where there is often little need to clean up items before painting, I don’t know.

Would I recommend these to a friend? For sure, the detail is superb and the ships really are great models, hopefully with future castings Spartan can work out the issues they have at the moment and I certainly wouldn’t discourage anyone from grabbing them, just know you might be in for a little work. It’s probably not the best set of models to jump into if you are new to the hobby either. Resin isn’t something you tend to come across very often in the mainstream games systems and therefore experience of working with the stuff isn’t something you’ll pick up quickly (resin dust is toxic). There is a decent amount of work involved with prepping stuff before you’ll want to chuck it together too, as mentioned. I know that nBreaker has his Sorylians now and I look forward to getting some games in over the Christmas break to try out the system.

ZombiePirate Rating: 7/10 for the Dindrenzi Fleet – excellent models let down a little by ever so slightly dodgy casting. s

Great Things in 2009


It’s nearly the end of the year, so here are some of my gaming highlights of 2009:

The Uncharted Seas

Spartan Games’ seafaring fantasy game is excellent. I don’t know when it first came out, but I came across it in 2009. It’s quick, simple and fun. It is on a parallel with one of my favourites, Silent Death (click here for info), for quick and enjoyable games. Unfortunately however, I feel a tempest is brewing for this game, and it will probably sink without trace within the near future. The game was inevitably released with a few flaws and balance issues. Sadly Spartan Games have been about as fast as an asthmatic sloth in releasing corrections and updates.

Space Hulk

Hooray for retro gaming! Space Hulk made a return in 2009, just as we had all forgotten how great it was. The main difference is that this version looks awesome. The boards and models are fantastic, adding much to an already atmospheric game. A big power fisted thumbs up!

We're Back, Baby!

World Of Warcraft Random Dungeon Tool

Well I cringe to include this one but it really has almost overnight revolutionised this grandaddy of MMORPGs. No longer do we wait for ages to get a group. No longer do we have to trek miles to a summoning stone. Just when you think WoW is getting stale, Blizzard go and pull this kind of stunt. I’ll happily wait a bit longer for Diablo 3 now!

ZombiePirateXXX is Going To Paint An Army!

OK so it’s not actually happened yet, but all you readers were witness to ZombiePirateXXX’s solemn promise to never play Warhammer Fantasy until he had a painted army. Man, the day he flops it will be a glorious day indeed, for his painting skills are legendary. I have visions of bright lights and hosts of angels singing ‘Hallelujah!’, followed by Gribblin giving him a good trouncing.

OK that’s it for now folks, feel free to add more!

How Do You Eat Yours?


Rather than being a discussion of one of the best chocolate products invented by the hand of man today’s topic is going to be about how you plan and build your armies. There are a number of different ways in which this can be accomplished and I’ve actually been through a couple of ways myself, although I have one method that, while not the best perhaps, seems to always come out on top when I get that buzz of “ZOMG, new models, must have!!!!11!!!!!!one!!!!!”

I’ll split the various ways out and then expound on them, please feel free to comment on which is your preferred method or add something totally different.

 

The Core Method

This method revolves around the fact that most games have a set amount of stuff that must be included to field a minimum sized force. Games like 40k make this easy as you can pick an HQ unit and two Troops choices for a viable army, to play with though you’ll need an agreed points value, this is where I like Privateer Press’ products as you can get starter boxes which give forces balanced to play each other in order for people to learn the rules. Uncharted Seas and the new Firestorm Armada also work off this premise with their starter boxes.

We kind of hybridised this method when starting 5th edition 40k. We knew we wanted to play 1000pts games, I’d sold all my 40k stuff to get something a bit different and therefore started my Orks at that points level, I could then see what I lacked and adapt accordingly (more boyz!). This is in fact one of the core benefits of doing things like this. You can play your force and see what is lacking which can guide future purchases when you expand your army,¬† my 1500pts force therefore fills practically every troops slot available and after playing it I’ve further modified the list to make the Boyz squads fewer but bigger. They butcher stuff in close combat even with only a few of them but they tend to take horrific casualties as they cross the plains to reach their foes. Bumping them up in size means there are more ablative wounds hopefully meaning that more boyz can get stuck in later on. I do realise though that with making the squads larger that there are therefore less squads which means less targets for the enemy to worry about. Hopefully the covering fire of the Lootas still provides a distraction as well as Big Mek “Mr Suicide” who has yet to build a Shokk Attack Gun that lasts more than one shot.

Starting small also means that you aren’t laying down a lot of cash straight away. Obviously if you are starting out with something for the first time you’re going to be guided by what you like the look of, not necessarily knowing how it will play. You may like it, you may not so spending as little as possible is a potential benefit.

 

The Proxy Method

This has happened with a number of the lists I have produced for my Daemons in Fantasy. If you already have some models then this can work out but you’ll want to have your opponents consent and make sure he knows what is what. Proxying (for the uninitiated) is the process whereby you use a model you have to represent something else. I’ve not done this for an entire army as I believe that would get very difficult for your opponent to deal with, but I have expanded units beyond the model count I own or used single stand in models before spending money on proper representations. This has the advantage that you don’t go out and spend money on something before you know if it does what you want or work in the way you expect.

 

The ZombiePirate Method

Here we go, the method by which I generally do things. With most people when they first look at getting anything the first place that is started is with the ruleset for that particular army. This works across all systems as if you get a rulebook with all the forces in them or you have to pick up individual army books you’re going to be looking through them working out what you like the look of. The start of this method can work with other methods already described, what I do is have a nice read through the book, I looks at the units and their physical stats as well as stuff that I like the look of models wise. I will choose not to collect an army if their models luck bad, no matter how awesome the rules might be and so I take my picks and write-up a list for the normal game size, 1500pts 40k, 2000pts Warhammer Fantasy, 25ss Malifaux, 35 or 50pts Warmachine/Hordes etc… For the majority of these times what I will then do is make a purchase of the entire army, maybe in stages but sometimes in one huge bank busting blaze of debit card. Now, obviously depending on the army you’ve chosen this particular method can do more or less damage to your wallet. This also means you are laying down a whole wad of greenbacks on a force that has not yet seen action so you’re not sure about how it is going to perform, this is the chief downside of doing things this way, however, there is also another drawback that is almost at the same scale.

When you’ve bought everything you need in one batch you have an entire army arrayed before you, this can cause morale issues as you are presented with just how much stuff you’re going to need to build/paint. In days of yore I’ve assembled whole armies and left them on my painting table showing me in no uncertain terms just how much work I have left if I want to do it all. This is perhaps one of the greatest reasons why I never get stuff done, after seeing it all I chop and change from one thing to another. My current project is not done in this manner, I am doing things one at a time and leaving my table clear in order to do so, nothing else is cluttering it up (bar a Lord of Change and the aforementioned Big Mek “Orky McSuicide”). I am hoping that by having a more structured approach to things I stand a better chance of getting things finished. I’m looking forward to this weekend and setting myself the challenge of getting some figures actually done, I am away in London on Saturday so this may not be achievable but I’m going to give it a shot to push myself.

Time and time again I’ve fallen back on this method, written out an army list and then gone out and bought more and more stuff so that I have it all. I don’t know why I do this but I know that getting things piecemeal can actually be more beneficial (method 1 in the list here).My preferred method is probably the worst one but I’m sure each gamer has their own style and works in their own way, so don’t let anything here prevent you from doing what you want.

 

So then Intarwebz, when creating your ideal army, how do you eat yours?

Getting Excited by a New Project


As has been mentioned on these boards before I am an extremely slow painter. Not only that but I am beset by a fickleness that is well documented in my MMO playing. No matter what game I play I am normally accompanied by a horde of alts. I have already described the pernicious disease that is New Army Syndrome and therefore you can imagine how my normal whimsy can sometimes mutate into “super-whimsy”(TM). Now, my purpose today is not to talk about my many and varied idiosyncrasies nor my inherent psychological instability but more of a time when cosmic forces align to somehow influence us beyond our normal ken.

Over the past few days I am feeling something that I don’t think I have felt in quite a long time. I actually do quite enjoy painting and sometimes hold myself back from doing it more often, hence the consternation of my venerable gaming brethren who are often heard to lament the fact that nothing I have is actually fully painted. However, I believe that sometimes these things are down to motivation and if you do things right, well, in my case it may be that miracles can happen. I haven’t had a fully painted army since I was in my teenage years and that’s quite a time ago now, obviously this needs rectifying. I have finally come up with a project that is enthusing me. I have plans, actual proper plans for getting things done, I have an army list that I am super excited and happy about. I believe that I know what I am doing and for the first time in as long as I can remember I want to throw down this army on the tabletop as 100% painted! A tall order no doubt considering my notoriously slow style. This is going to happen and I reckon it’s also going to look half decent. I refer you back a couple sentences to where I refer to that fact that I have PLANS!!! Yes, plans! As a part of this I need to further motivate myself so that I do not just let things flag, this army list is not going to drop down until I have painted it, hence a second level of motivation here so, I can publically declare that I will not play a proper game of Warhammer Fantasy until I have put the finishing touches to this army. I am a grown man, it’s time that I did actually have something like this to be proud of and I reckon I finally have the excitement and drive to do it.

No doubt the people in my playing circle will also be super excited to see this. Gribblin might feel annoyed that he is robbed of his regular opponent but with nBreaker and another addition to our circle I can try to lend my talents to teaching them the game while I see them enjoying themselves and thus driving my desire to play even more and increasing the chances I have of being forced to complete my pledge. I reckon that this is the only way I have of getting something full painted. I need to do it. I can still partake of Uncharted Seas and I plan too, but the fun we’ve recently been having with Warhammer I don’t want to miss out on and I am going to do this. Motivating myself in this fashion coupled with the fact that I am actually excited about this list I hope that things combine into a successful implementation.

So Interwebz, have you ever been in the same boat as this? Do you often find yourself fighting the drudgery and need something fresh to inspire you? Or are you all top-notch people who paint everything as soon as you have it and get it on the table?

Answers on a postcard (or in the comments section, which might be easier.)

 

Theres colour on them there boats!


Q. What is the weather’s favorite past time in England?

A. Raining on us.

Today I wanted to get the Dragon Lords fleet sprayed up nicely and have actually managed to achieve this goal, but the rain did try and disrupt my plans. It was a case of go outside, spray one ship, “Oh crap its starting to rain.” Go inside and wait. “Oh its stopped raining.” Go out spray another model. “Curse you rain!” etc, etc. So after a couple of hours of this joyous battle with the elements this happened…

dragon lords primed

Flower pots and blu-tack made an excellent way of holding these guys in place to spray them, but it still doesn’t stop you spraying your fingers a nice shade of grey.

Once they were given enough time to dry, I managed to make a start on the frigates. I am aiming for a dark brown hull to start with so out of my paints I drew a pot of Vallejo dark flesh tone. Once this was applied to the hull and given chance to dry, I gave them a wash with sepia ink. The (still slightly wet) result looks like this…

Theres colour on them there boats!

dl stage 1 big

It’s a little bit messy around the base of the sail but other than that I think they look quite good at this stage. The sails are going to be interesting, I’ve got quite a choice for what colours to do them so I’ll probably end up doing each activation a different colour.

More to come…