Tag Archives: Review

Dropzone Commander; My First Game


Yesterday saw the get-together of us gamers here at the floating citadel and my first real game of the much talked about Dropzone Commander.  I had heard some good reports of DZC from my fellows; notably Zombiepirate and Cerebus and after playing a demo game at Salute last month I decided to dish out the cash and go with the Shaltari.  I’ve spent the past few weeks devouring the rules, assembling models and I have now started to paint a few.  Above are the ones I’ve finished.  Yesterday’s game was a bit of an eye-opener, as none of us have seen the Shaltari in action, so I’d like to share my thoughts on the game as a whole and the Shaltari in particular.

First off is my army list.  We had decided to play a 1500pts game (about average size).  For those who are unaware, DZC has a slightly different army selection to other games.  The army is divided into battlegroups (at 1500pts a maximum of 6), and each battlegroup is divided into units (at 1500pts between 1-3).  These battlegroups activate at the same time, though they don’t have to work together.  The battlegroups have different names and compositions depending on the army but are essentially; HQ, Armour, Infantry, Special (choice of heavy support or fast scout) and Air support (Fleet).  For my army I decided to max out on Battlegroups to give me some flexibility.  I also ended up with at least one unit of everything (part be chance, part because I wanted to see what they could all do).  I have not included the two new units.  So here is the list:

  • HQ Battlegroup; 1 Coyote Warstrider with a Shaltari Warchief upgrade
  • Armour Battlegroup; 1 unit of 5 Tomahawk tanks, 1 unit of 3 Kukri AA tanks
  • Infantry Battlegroup; 2 units of 2 bases of Braves, 1 unit of 2 Thunderbird Gunships
  • Special Battlegroup 1; 1 Jaguar Warstrider, 1 Ocelot Warstrider
  • Special Battlegroup 2; 1 unit of 2 bases of Firstborns, 1 unit of Yari light tanks with AA guns
  • Fleet Battlegroup; 1 Warspear Heavy Fighter
  • Gates; 1 Gaia Heavy Gate, 2 Eden Medium Gates, 2 Spirit Light Gates, 1 Haven Terragate

In one of those rarities in gaming the army actually comes to bang on 1500pts.  The Shaltari are different from the other armies in that their transports (the teleportation gates) are not attached to specific units, but instead form a pool from which you activate the chosen gate with any battlegroup you like as the game progresses.  Each one can only be activated once though.

So how did the battle go?  My opponent was Zombiepirate with his UCM army, and then came my first surprise.  In an event that almost led to a collapse in the space-time continuum and the end of the universe as we know it…Zombiepirate had more stuff painted than me!  To be fair to my long time friend and gaming opponent, he has been putting in some work on his DZC models.  We had decided on the basic scenario of a cityscape with 5 objectives to capture and take off the table (you get one victory point if you control an objective and 2 if you get it off the table).

The game began with me being lucky, getting both the initiative and having my reserve fighter turning up to perform strafing runs (more about this brave pilot later).  All of the units are kept in readiness off the table and arrive via transports when the battlegroup becomes available.  As units cannot shoot on a turn they disembark (or dematerialize in my case) the only shots came from my fighter who swooped in and took out a light transport carrying the Wolverine scouts.  Sadly both buggies survived the crash.  Zombiepirate advanced on the two objectives nearest to him on my right flank and also to the one in the centre.  I also went for the centre and an objective on my left.  This is I think, one of the biggest differences with DZC over other gaming systems; it is designed around objective grabs, not destruction of the enemy.  DZC is more like modern warfare’s surgical strikes and rapid insertion and extraction as opposed to a more World War I style annihilation found in other games such as 40K.  This I found to be a big difference in gaming style.  As a long time Tyranid player, I am use to just throwing my troops at stuff.  With this game I really had to think and there were moments where I took a few minutes to decide which battlegroup to activate, nevermind where & what they were going to do.

As the game progressed, there were units blowing up a plenty.  The first big casualty was my Coyote Command Warstrider, which got taken out by the UCM tanks and some excellent shooting on the part of Zombiepirate.  My shield rolls failed me, but luckily the escape module worked and my commander survived the game (unlike the UCM commander), allowing me to still use the command cards.  Casualties on my side were fairly light.  It may only be a 5+ save those shields give me, but I made some fantastic rolls.  My fighter pilot gained a promotion when he flew threw the entire UCM AA fire to strike the heavy dropship and come out the other end without so much as the paint being scratched.  The centre witnessed the biggest rumble of the game with opposing infantry fighting room-to-room for the objective and my Firstborns showing why they are elite infantry and cutting apart the UCM infantry.  The game eventually ended up with Zombiepirate scoring 4 VP to my 3.  So victory to the UCM.  This I put down mostly to lack of experience on my part.  As Cerebus can attest, I left an infantry unit out of most of the game instead of sending it to the final objective earlier in the game…I just thought too much about destroying my enemy instead of objectives… oh well learning curve.

Shaltari army thoughts and the things I learnt.  They make a very different army.  Not having dedicated transports means you can do what I did a few times and relocate units across the battlefield in seconds, so long as the gates are there.  Such shannigans can be really good when timed well.  The disadvantage to this, any unit that dematerializes cannot shoot that turn.  The fact that Shaltari gates continue to carry objectives when a unit passes through it, means that the gate can get the objective off the field whilst your unit searches for another.  The 30″ movement of the light gate is scarily fast in a game where most ground units move 4″ or less.  The tanks have some awesome firepower (though I do hate the armour 10 on the UCM…it makes them so hard to destroy).  I would recommend always moving 6″ to give the enemy the to hit penalty and help make the most of your armour 7 and 5+ save tanks.  AA vehicles are  a MUST in this game.  Having my fighter flying up and down the UCM lines, picking out targets was a great advantage…though after my game I’d recommend attack small-medium transports as they will carry the infantry & objectives off the table…and not the big transports which deliver the tanks (once they’ve dropped the armour they really don’t do much else).  Without a save aircraft go down easily to AA fire and having good flak cover means your enemy really has to think about where to put their air support and “do I risk it?” moments are common.  The warstriders…mixed feelings about these.  My commander was unlucky getting one-shotted in the second turn.  The Jaguar performed well, taking out tanks and coming with its own AA guns extends your flak shield.  The Ocelot however I’m not sure about.  It is one of my favorite looking Shaltari models, but I found that its one-shot particle cannon not much use.  The problem is that it cannot move & fire, which restricts it somewhat and although the gun is epic in its power, it’s still only 1 shot.  The best use I can see for it is when your enemy brings their own heavy armour which will have multiple hit points, then the high chance of doing double damage will really pay off.  The Thunderbird Gunships are my other favorite Shaltari model, but they need to be kept out of AA range as they are vulnerable to it.  I’d still keep them in the army as if there is no AA guns, these units can roam free around the table.  After playing the game, I have realised what my fellow gamers have; Infantry is key.  You really need to get as much Infantry as possible…somewhat a weakness of the Shaltari as their Infantry only come in units of 2 bases (opposed to 3 for most armies) and they only have 3 hit points (unlike the 5 of most armies).  This being said they are very dangerous in combat.  With an Armour of 4 they can only be wounded on 6s in close combat, so get them into a building and they will be almost impossible to take out.  The Firstborns are even tougher having 12 attacks per base and a 4+ save in combat.  It was they who won me the combat in the centre and killed 3 bases on UCM infantry in a single combat with only 1 hit in return.  Another unit that will be a must I think.

Conclusions of the Shaltari;  Use your speed as much as you can: your skimmers are harder to hit if they move 6″ or more, the ability to move your infantry from objective holding in a building, to gate, to inside another building to find another objective is fantastic.  The gates holding the objectives frees up your limited supply of infantry to look for another.  This is perhaps their biggest tactical advantage.  The 5+ save is good, but don’t rely on it all the time.  My fighter pilot go lucky, my commander less so.  As for the game itself, different and fantastic.  It is very different to anything else I have played and really makes you think about your army choices and how you are playing.  You can’t go into autopilot gaming mode, you need to think.  Great game, look forward to more.

Dropzone Commander – Rulebook Review

DropZone Commander Cover Art

Last night I sat down to start working out the basic force for my Dropzone Commander UCM army. I’ve read the rules cover to cover now and am therefore trying to make a list so that I know what to assemble and paint first, there’s no use me frantically putting everything together and then trying to get a game in and finding that the stuff I’ve yet to get to is exactly what I need. After some brief Maths I found that the UCM Mega army comes in at 2320 points. That’s without organising things into battlegroups and without taking any upgrades or paying for a commander. The Kodiak is included but you’d need to spend at least another 35 points to get a basic commander in there.

However, that’s not really what I want to be sharing today. After having spent a good amount of time with the rules I thought I’d share my thoughts on them as well as on the actual book itself. When the 6 Inch Move posse first clapped eyes on DzC way back at Salute we were blown away by the quality of the models and I believe that we weren’t the only ones. Reading various fora on the Internet has certainly shown that we were not alone. One thing that did concern us was that on the day Hawk were remarkably quiet on the pricing and any details on the rules. Obviously this trend continued as we counted down the days (and in some cases hours and minutes) until the various milestones were met.

While the models were screaming at us to buy them, they really are very nice after all, we were very worried about the rules. As with any game the rules are the meat and potatoes, without a set of rules these fantastic models would just be ornaments sitting on a shelf. After we saw the website go live and were then privy to the costs we were even more worried as we then saw that this game was going to require a significant outlay and we didn’t want to spend all that money only to have the rules suck and then we’d feel rather short-changed.

As you know luck was with us as we got invited down to Hawk HQ for a game with the man himself. A great day was had and although it was rather a long one (the Burger King on the way home helped) it left us in a much more favourable position concerning the game overall. After that initial taste Carabus and I both threw down our cash for a Mega Premium army each and all we’d done was play one game. Getting our greedy little mitts on the rulebook itself was something we were then eager for as the release date approached.

Now that I have the thing physically in hand I must say that my first impressions are very, very positive. I’d seen the draft during our visit and I’ll admit that I had concerns about the quality of the book, £15 isn’t a lot after all as I’m used to seeing books in the £20-30 range. However, once I opened it up and had a flick through it I can happily say that I ate my words as I’ve not seen many books that are of this quality. The heady waft of “new book smell” aside the paper is nice and thick, the printing very good and the layout is among the best that I have seen. Everything appears pretty much where you’d expect it to be as you go through. The wording is clear and concise, things are explained well with diagrams where necessary. I can’t see there being a lot of room for dispute with things in DzC, from a first read through things look very tightly written. Obviously final judgements will have to be reserved until we’ve got some games under our collective belts but I’ve read rules in the past where I’ve picked up on things very quickly that could be ambiguous or interpreted in various ways. GW are rather infamous for leaving things open to interpretation.

The book starts with a brief introduction into the history of the galaxy, all from the UCM’s point of view, something I like very much, not least because they are my faction but because it makes sense to see things like that. You learn about mankind’s contact with the various alien races as well as where those dirty PHR folks came from, traitorous scum that they are! Then follows the rules, laid out in a nice format that explains every section in the right amount of detail. There wasn’t much that seemed difficult to understand and nothing that was really tricky if you spent a few minutes looking things over and giving it some thought. Once you’ve gone through all the rules each faction has its own section of the book which explains their individual background and technology before giving you the complete army list to select your force from. Each army section also includes the battlegroup force organisation chart for that particular army. While these look a little complicated to start with they’re actually quite simple once you figure it out and all the information is there for you to do it. Building an army list is quite an involved process as you make sure you adhere to the various rules (no battle group may exceed more than a third of the total army value for instance). You need to make sure your stuff has the right transports for use in the game as well as working out where in an activation you want certain units if you have a choice of which battlegroup those units can go in. I must say that I like having to think about things like this.

DropZone Commander

What I have missed out is that between the rules and the army lists there is a selection of scenarios. These are also very well laid out, it gives you recommended terrain levels depending not only on the size of your game but also based on how many players there are. Dave has obviously put a lot of time and thought into what people are likely to want to do with the game and tried to cater to those possibilities.

For those of you still on the fence about the game let me give you a few details on the rules now things are out and about. Believe me when I say you could do far worse than spend £15 on the book and then let that guide your decision of whether or not you want to play.

A typical scenario runs for 6 turns in an alternating activation turn sequence. Activations are performed by battlegroups which is a collection of squads and their transports. There is plenty of customisability in just what you take in each battlegroup. For instance in a clash (the mid-sized game) you are required to take one command battlegroup, one infantry battlegroup and one armour battlegroup. Within each of those groups you have a choice again of what to take to fill that group, the options available fit with what type of battlegroup it is. For example you won’t be putting in your heavy tanks into an infantry group. There are also a maximum number of battlegroups dependant on army size.

When a battlegroup activates all the models in it activate, they can move and shoot or shoot and move, but all units have to perform those actions at the same time. This gives the order in which you activate your battlegroups an extra layer of importance, you’ll have to be thinking ahead as well, just because you’ve activated one battlegroup to set in motion your grand plan doesn’t mean your opponent won’t screw it up if he activates the “wrong” battlegroup in the following activation before you get to activate the group you want in order for your plan to work.

The fastest moving models are generally the drop ships, anything ground based is normally significantly slower although I will mention that the Scourge APCs little turbo boost rule came out of discussions between myself, Carabus and the Shell Case chaps when we were playing our demo game. Movement must be considered as you can only move up to half of your allowance if you want to embark or disembark transported units. You’ll also not necessarily want to be exposing your stuff on a drop-off. Movement is vital to how this game plays and will need to be carefully considered. Most units have weapons with which to shoot. Close combat only happens in buildings when troops fight each other, normally over an objective. Other than that everything is a shooting attack, after all, why bring a knife to a gun fight? Every unit with a ranged weapon has a chart which provides details of that weapon. They each have a number of shots they fire and an accuracy value. The accuracy of a weapon shows the results on a single D6 that is needed for a hit. There are also two ranges to the weapon, a full range and a countered range. The countered range is used against a target that has Active countermeasures (pretty much everything in the game), against anything else you use the other value. There is also an MF value which is the maximum value that the model can move in order to shoot that weapon. If a hit is rolled you use a table to work out the roll “to wound” this pits the weapon’s Energy value (a number between 1 and 13) against the Armour of the target (a number between 1 and 10). For instance if an Energy 8 gun hits an Armour 8 target then you need a 5+ in order to damage it. If a model has Passive countermeasure then they can take a saving throw to stop the hit. Otherwise it’s a single damage point with each unit having a number of DP. Once the DP is gone that unit is destroyed. It’s a simple enough system to learn but with plenty of variety that I don’t really have the space to go in to. There are also a number of special rules for other weapons that make things really interesting in how they are used. Generally each weapon falls into either anti-armour, anti-air or anti-infantry and they don’t tend to be all that good when used outside of their main purpose.

DropZone Commander

Battles are not really geared for a straight up shoot out either, you’ll be playing over objectives in every single one of the rulebook scenarios and I’m really happy with that. All too often some games systems come down to a giant melee in the middle where the vagaries of dice rolls have more to do with the result of the game than a player’s strategy and tactics. Personally if I want to win or lose on a dice roll I can play Snakes and Ladders.

Without wanting to sound like a gushing fanboi this is one of the nicest books I’ve had in my hands for a long time. I quite like reading rulebooks for stuff and have far more than I am ever going to use for gaming. We are all aware of just how much hard work and effort Dave has put into his products and this is another piece of evidence of just how important quality is to him. I’m very happy with it. Now, to properly review it I must put any negatives there are. Luckily, these are slim and easily correctable. We’ve seen the Errata grow in the past week to correct some of the errors in the book, overall all that I have found has been some typos and a few grammar errors (over my past two jobs I’ve edited stuff in a very unofficial capacity within the departments I’ve been in, I’m known as being a stickler for properly punctuated and grammatically correct sentences). These stand out to me because I’m rather hard on myself when these things crop up – so Dave, if you need another proof reader I’m happy to offer my services 🙂

I look forward to now sitting down with hobby knife and superglue and getting my stuff on the table so I can really start to enjoy what we’ve got here. Personally, I think there are going to be a lot of happy hobbyists out there as I think the excitement of this game is just beginning.

Something to get your teeth in to

Warhammer: Vampire CountsIt’s been a little quiet here at 6 inch move recently.  Servitob has had an addition to his brood of future gamers, there is the usual chaos that accompanies the Christmas/New Year season and as for myself I’ve had to move an entire swimming pool/sports & leisure centre (and I’m telling you those things are heavy).  As a result our small band of gamers has had little time to get together and roll the dice.  This will be changing soon as life begins to settle down again.

This month saw the release of Warhammer Fantasy’s latest army book, the Vampire Counts.  Having bought an army of the undead when I was still a teenager this edition caught my attention.  I’ve always liked the dark, gothic imagery that has accompanied vampires in general and GW’s vampire counts in particular.  To me they are what a classic vampire should be; dark, sinister and above all blood thirsty.  No glittering skin here.  I’m almost impressed at the speed that GW has been turning out the army books for this edition of Fantasy.  Its been out about 2 years and they’ve produced 4 army books for it so far, along with the Storm of Magic supplement and several 40k codices.  Not to bad going.  It was good to see them do the Ogres, Tomb Kings and Orcs early on as all of these army books needed serious updates.  I just wish they’d hurry up and do the Wood Elves (they’re my favourite Fantasy army, I have about 6000 points, but their current army book is two editions out of date and a bit naff).  Still can’t complain, I have new vampires to play with.

So whats new to this edition of the dark lords of undeath? Well the book itself follows GW’s latest trend of full colour, hard back with a £25 price tag.  The book is nicely edited and of good quality, and if you’ve looked around a bookshop recently, it’s not too over priced for a colour hard back.  Saying that though, gone are the days when I’d buy every army book as it came out.  Now I’m restricting myself to getting the armies that I actually own, or are seriously considering purchasing.

The army has seen the return of a few old favourites.  The option of a Lord level Necromancer is back, as are the special characters Lichemaster Heinrich Kemmler and Krell.  Necromancers can again be made better wizards than in the last edition and once again Wraiths can be taken as Hero choices.  There have been some new additions to the ranks of the dead.  The Strigoi Ghoul King is a Lord choice that is basically a hate filled Strigoi vampire, who has weaker magical abilities than regular Vampire Lords, but more than makes up for it in close combat kick-ass potential.  The vampire characters all have a new special rule called The Hunger.  Basically whenever they kill one or more models in close combat you roll 1D6, and on a 6 the vampire regains a lost wound.  Nice.

The other new units include the Crypt Horrors (basically ogre sizes ghouls), the nice looking Vargheists (psychotic, bestial vampires in bat form), the Terrorgheist (a dragon-sized, undead bat with one hell of a scream), the Coven Thrown, the Mortis Engine and the Hexwraiths.

The Coven Thrown and the Mortis Engine are both made form the same kit.  I’ve been really impressed by the large, plastic models that GW has been producing for Fantasy.  For me the kind of symbolize a fantasy genre; you have epic heroes, magic throwing wizards and large, scary monsters

Vampire Counts Coven Throne / Mortis Engineand although GW can sometimes go OTT on the heroes and magic, the latest round of monster kits are fantastic.  In game terms both the Thrown and the Engine count as chariots being pulled by a spirit host that grants both units ethereal movement.  The Coven Thrown is a mount for Vampire characters, and comes with a pair of vampiric handmaidens to attend to their lord.  It has a 4+ ward save and nice little special rule called Battle of Wills that could result in an enemy unit turning on itself.  The Mortis Engine is a rare choice and has Regeneration, a Banshee swarm and a Reliquary that hurts the enemy and heals the undead and becomes more powerful the longer it stays on the table.  Both builds look good, but personally I prefer the look of the Mortis Engine.  It has the look of a gothic pipe organ and I love the swirling banshees.

Vampire Counts Black Knights / HexwraithsAnd finally we get to the Hexwraiths.  The rules for them are cool.  They’re ethereal, fast cavalry that can move through units, hurting the enemy as they go.  Their attacks are flaming and ignore armour saves, and their background as agents of death itself, sent to hunt down those who have cheated death is cool.  The models are OK.  They’re made from the same kit as the new black knights.  They’re not bad looking models, my only problem with them is that I don’t think that they do the concept art from army book justice.  Have a look below and you’ll know what I mean.

Now is it just me, or is that piece of artwork cool.  It really captures the terror and ethereal aspect of these creatures.  They are the stuff of nightmares and this picture shows that.  Like said, nice models but I’m not sure if they really bring out that same fear factor.

And now for the other stuff.  The magic Lore of Vampires has changed slightly.  All of your old favourites are there; Curse of Years, Vanhel’s Dance etc. but there are a few subtle changes.  The signature spell is Invocation of Nehek, but this time instead of targeting a single friendly unit, it targets ALL friendly undead units within 6″ (or 12″ or 18″ if you want to increase the casting value).  All friendly units regain D6+caster’s magic level worth of wounds, unless the unit is Vampiric, Ethereal or a Large Target, which only regain 1 wound per casting.  Characters and their mounts do NOT regain wounds from the casting of this spell.  The only way they can get wounds back is from the Lore Attribute; each time a spell is successfully cast from the Lore of Vampires the wizard, or a friendly model within 12″ regains a wound.  Unless the unit is zombies (or you have bought the appropriate upgrade) you cannot increase a unit beyond its starting size.  The Raise Dead spell can be used to create new units of skeletons once more, but you do have to increase the casting value.  Oh and in case you ever get tired of raising the dead you now have access to the Lores of Death and Shadow.

One of the cool things about the Vampires is that you can customize your lords of undeath.  You can still do this, though the list is a little smaller than in the previous edition.  This I feel is no great loss as several of the Vampiric Powers are now included as standard upgrades (such as armour and weapon upgrades).  The one I am going to miss is no more ethereal vampires.  Oh well, can’t have everything.  The list of magic items has been reduced to 9 as is the standard for the newer army books.  Frostblade has gone, but watch out for Skabscrath is all I’m saying.  As for the death of the general?  Well its still not a good thing.  Your general has to be a wizard with the Lore of Vampires, and if he/she is killed then all of your non-vampiric units have to take a leadership test at the end of the phase.  The difference this time is that if you have another wizard with the Lore of Vampires in your army then he/she takes over and the army doesn’t take anymore leadership test.  This is repeated if that character is killed and so on.

All in all I’m impressed with the new release.  They’ve added a few, nice looking units and made some minor rules changes to existing ones.  They’ve re-done the Black Knights, which is about time, as they seriously needed it.  What would I like to have seen?  I know it’s called the Vampire COUNTS, and therefore focuses upon the von Carsteins, but what happened to the other special characters such as Neferata and Walach. Harkon.  The zombies could also do with re-modelling, and I really wish they’d done a new Black Coach, rather than just making it a Finecast model.  It is however nice to see an army that has all of its units available rather than GW’s usual trick of not releasing half of the army list.  It looks like I may be dusting off the coffins that contain my undead models and giving them a new lease of . . . life.

Hasslefree Miniatures and the Zombie Shoot Out

As is starting to be a regular affair, Wednesday night is gaming night for those of us here at 6 inch.  Last night saw myself, nBreaker, Servitob and a guest appearance from Mrs Servitob around the gaming and enjoying a good table top fight to the death.  For those long time readers you may remember me writing a review of the rules for a zombie apocalypse game called No More Room in Hell [NMRH] by Iron Ivan Games.  It may have taken several months but last night was the first time we’d played it as a group.  Up til this point I’d only managed to have a few play-test games with myself.

So how did the game go?  Well we each had one survivor and started with the basic scenario of all of us in a farm house the first night of the outbreak of zombieness (have I just made up a new word there?).  The game is won by us either boarding up all of the windows & doors on the ground floor or getting to an escape vehicle parked half way to the edge of the board.  The game went a little as follows.  The first turn had a complete absence of zombies as I managed to roll well above the zombie threat level meaning that there was no spawnings, allowing myself, nBreaker and Mrs Servitob to board up several windows whilst Servitob ran for the car.  The next two turns were a little more eventful as the zombies started spawning.  Servitob did some awesome kung-fu actions to take down the undead on his run for victory, I fired multiple shots from by big-ass pistols taking down a couple more, Mrs Servitob had trouble trying to board up the back door with the zombies braking through, but with some help eventually beat them off, whilst nBreaker ran up stairs and started looking for supplies in the rooms.  He managed to find some Kevlar body armour, food and an awesome replica geek sword from a movie with all those elves & dwarves and stuff.  As the hoard kept coming Servitob did the honourable thing, started up the car and proceeded to commit vehicular zombie-slaughter as he rounded the house to the back door allowing all of us to jump in and drive to safety.  The End.

So thoughts on the game.  It was a lot of fun.  Despite me forgetting some stuff and having to look it up, the game ran smoothly.  The game dynamics are simple.  It’s all D10 based and basically to succeed at anything you have a stat and you have to roll equal too or under that value.  Combat is quick with many zombies dropping to the ground in the game.

So Pros for the game:

  1. It’s quick and simple to play, overall it took us about an hour for the whole game.
  2. There is a lot of potential for roll-play and the game lends itself to inspiration and use of initiative very easily.  In many ways it is an RPG.
  3. Although I scrath-built some terrain, it is easy to come across what you need in the typical toy shop (I have many toy cars for future games)
  4. Although you can command groups of survivors together, having only 1 model each results in a very co-operative style of game play.  You don’t have to fight each other in order to win the game, in fact working together is often the best way to win.
  5. The zombies are not player controlled.  They basically move towards the nearest survivor.  This allows for many people to play at once.
  6. You only need a hand full of models for survivors (and about 50 zombies).

Any cons?

  1. The game is a skirmish game and so works well with only a hand full of models, but you still need lots of zombies.
  2. I also feel that once you start adding multiple groups of survivors that the game will get a little too complicated and take a lot longer to play.  And if you like the co-operative nature of the game then this will go once people start having large groups.
  3. Some of the upgrades and rules (such as turning into a zombie after being bitten) are for a campaigns only and have no effect in a one-off game (ok I’m being a little nit-picky here).

All in all though it is a very fun game to play, and if you only use a few models, very quick too.

As for the miniatures, I found a group called Hasslefree Miniatures that produce some nice adventurer models which make ideal survivors of a zombie apocalypse.  Here’s some pictures.






I do love looking at their website and seeing where some of their . . . inspiration comes from.  They do some fantastically characterful miniatures.  I must admit one of my favourites is the Elvis impersonator.

6 Inch Movie Review – Sucker Punch Part 2

Believe it or not I was always going to do this review in two parts! Servitob’s comment on the previous post summed up pretty much what I was going for, I originally thought of posting this part yesterday afternoon but then decided to leave the first part up for a day before throwing this up.

The time it has taken me to actually start doing a proper review is down to the fact that I’ve needed a lot of time to process the movie and come up with a properly formed opinion. I’ve read some critics reviews (not a fan of critics myself) and some general movie-goer reviews too and this really is one of those movies that is amazingly polarising. It’s got more layers than your average Ogre and I think that is part of the “problem.”

I really have to use quote marks there because a lot of people have been heavily critical of the movie, saying that it is puerile fanboism at its worst and it’s taken me a day after seeing the movie to come up with what I believe is the explanation for why this is getting so much heat. This movie is too clever for the average cinema-goer!

Now, this isn’t a boast that I myself am some kind of motion picture genius, after all I’ve read some reviews from other people who have therefore influenced my own thoughts. We are used to sitting down and having the story explained to us in plain and simple terms. Inception is revered for being a great movie and I agree it is but up until the very end you know exactly what is going on. With Sucker Punch you are never quite sure about what is the actual reality of Baby Doll’s situation. Sure you know that the real fantasy sequences are all the product of her mind but what if the rest of the backdrop of the institute and her escape plan was as well.


When we first see Baby Doll get to Lennox House and be admitted we understand that her step-father is having her lobotomised to save his own skin from the potential reprisals over framing her for her sister’s death. Early on we see that lobotomy about to be carried out and then it switches to the stage production with Sweet Pea playing that character. Perhaps the rest of the movie is really just what is going on in the lobotomised Baby Doll’s mind?


The thing is that your hand is not held through the movie, things happen and it is up to the viewer to decipher it. The movie is through Baby Doll’s point of view and therefore everything that happens is skewed to her experience and this therefore has a lot to do with what we see in the cinematography.

The more that I think about this the more I actually come to appreciate the movie, it has just taken me a long time to organise a coherent thought process to unravel it myself. The situation that the movie presents is pretty horrific considering that it only has a 12a rating over here in the UK and as we follow Baby Doll’s path through dealing with this experience it is no wonder that we had such a heavily fantasised world she creates in order to escape it.

I think that because of the depth here and the multitude of layers within the movie it causes the problems that people perceive with it. What I think it does is provide quite an interesting parallel that many of us can identify with whereby our own sense of escapism can disconnect us from the world that we live in. I’m sure we can all identify moments in our life when we’ve been off somewhere else in a daydream and lost time to our own flights of fancy! The movie I think brings that message through with the way the material is presented to us.

After seeing the movie I was pretty much on the fence about it, not sure if I liked it or not, if some of the scenes had gone a little further than what they did actually show I was about a hairs breadth from walking out, there are certain things I don’t want to see when I go to watch a movie and this (luckily) stopped just short of going down that route. I’ve only seen one other film where the subject being dealt with struck m that deeply with the horrific nature of what was going on and that was Taken, a movie that I would never watch again because I cannot bring myself to see that world portrayed.

Sucker Punch is not as extreme as Taken though and it pulls back from going as far as it could considering the theme but if you take the time to really think about what you see, to understand that Baby Doll’s point of view is the eye through which this all unfolds then I believe all the faults that this movie has been labelled with actually just evaporate which leads me back to my original point. The reason this movie is so divisive among people is that it is just too clever in the way it does things for people to figure out and therefore because of this difficulty they will label it as dross.

When I was in High School we studied Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, I thought it was a load of old toss and was very bored while we were doing it, however, I can understand that Will from Stratford was one of the greatest literary figures in our history (I do love some of his other stuff and seeing it performed is a must). I won’t write off the work just because it was tough to understand and I think that is what is happening now.

It’s easy to criticise something you don’t get and therefore because of the giant robots and dragons and chicks with guns rather than seeing this as someone’s escape from a torturous reality in order to get through a period of time, we see it all labelled as the fanboi self-gratification that those unwilling to spend time unlocking the not so obvious refuse to see beyond.

6 Inch Movie Review – Battle Los Angeles

Last night Gribblin, nBreaker and myself ditched family members and significant others to sit in a dark room and watch stuff get blown up on a large screen.

Thus it was that my Odeon Premiere club loyalty card picked up the tab for my ticket so I could sit there gorging myself on popcorn. Battle Los Angeles was the picture of choice this time, getting us ready for the hardcore alien action of the 40k game this coming Saturday.

The movie reminds me a little of Cloverfield as you follow the antics of a small group of people making their way from one place to another and dealing with whatever is going on and generally knowing little about the enemy at the gates. You do get to see some of the alien menace threatening everything but not long glimpses even during the combat, the camera flicks back and forth in pretty rapid succession. The effects are very well done and seeing a ruined LA is quite a sight.

What is admirable about this film is the lack of traditional A-list talent, Aaron Eckhart and Michelle Rodriguez being the two people you are likely to have ever heard of. This actually helps the suspension of disbelief and probably had a sizable effect on the budget too.

The story revolves around a group of US Marines tasked with rescuing some civvies who are trapped after a sudden strike by extra-terrestrial gunslingers. Shockingly things don’t go quite to plan and you see the evolution of that mission play out on screen and multiple combats with an adversary who fights just as hard as the Marines.

There is a lot of combat in this movie, hence the Cloverfield/documentary like feel to it, you are following the Marines rather than really getting any glimpse of the global events that are alluded to in news reports from TV stations. You don’t really form much of a relationship with the protagonists though and that is probably my biggest criticism, even though you are introduced to them right at the start and they are all named. For all they go through there isn’t really much attachment, they’re kind of like Stormtroopers in Star Wars, cool enough but you’re not shedding a tear when they get blown apart.

It does a good job of being believable though, when things start to unfold you can happily disconnect from reality and accept what you are seeing. It’s a well put together movie, sure it’s probably not going to be up for any Oscars but I like my movies as a bit of escapism and this ticks all the boxes.

I’d give it a 4 out of 5, well worth going to see if its your kind of thing but not a must-see by any stretch.

No More Room in Hell

Morning to you all out there in internet land.  Today I’m giving my thoughts on a game that I picked up the rules for last month.  I’ve been meaning to write this post for weeks, but you know what life is like.  The game is called No More Room in Hell and is a table top zombie apocalypse game.  This should not be confused with a recently developing mod for Half Life 2 that has the same name.

The game itself is a skirmish game (well sort of).  I’m not usually the fan of skirmish games I prefer larger scale, full army sized battles (hence the 10,000pts Tyranid army).  Each player has control of around 4-6 survivors that are trying to stay alive in a world full of brain-eating zombies.  You will also need about a 50 zombies – hence the ‘sort of’.  So why do I like the look of this game?  Well to be honest I’m just a fan of the whole zombie apocalypse genre.  I like many of the movies such as 28 Days Later and Zombieland and I’m a really big fan of the Left 4 Dead series of computer games (yes I’m one of those sad people who manged to get the 53,595 kills to get the Zombie Genocidest achievement – how did I ever get a girlfriend?).  So when I heard about NMRIH I picked up a copy of the game and have been slowly working towards getting the models and scenery together to start playing.  So this is a rules review, not a games review, I’ll let you know how it plays very soon.

The concept is very simple, as is the core mechanics of the game.  Each player has one or more groups of survivors and they have to work together to achieve the objective, such as boarding up all the windows or doors, reaching an escape vehicle etc.  There is however nothing stopping you from attacking survivors from other teams.  Your survivors have 4 attributes – Guns, Fists, Guts and Survive, essentially how good at shooting, melee, how brave they are and how many wounds they can take before the die.  You make up your own characters to form your survivors.  There are three types of survivors; Shot Callers, who are the real heroes of the game, Back Ups, who are reliable in a fight, and Sheeple who are there to protect your heroes by getting eaten.  Each has a different points allowance to make up your Guns, Fists and Guts scores (Survive is predetermined by the type of survivor).  Next comes survival skills which is a list of abilities that your survivors possess, such as Guns Akimbo (duel wealding weapons), Outdoorsman (ignore difficult terrain), and Badass Zombie Slayer (extra point of Survive).  There are also drawbacks such as Fat Bastard and Yellow Bellied Coward which reduce the points cost of the model and allow you to buy more survival skills.  The final layer of character construction is the weapons, I mean gear.  You have a nice choice of generic weapons such as pistols, rifles, flamethrowers and of course chainsaws, plus other gear like body armour, torches and first aid kits.

The game works on the alternating activation principle that starts with the winner of an initiative roll.  You can then move, shoot and/or fight a melee with one of your groups of survivors.  Then play passes to the next person and so on.  The whole system is based on the D10, and to be successful in all most anything you do, you have a score to get equal to or lower than on a single D10.  For example if you have a Guns score of 7 you need 7 or less to hit your target.  All weapons have an AP (attack person) and an AZ (attack zombie) score.  The idea being that zombies can only be killed by taking out what’s left of their brain, whilst a person can be killed in oh so many ways.

The zombies are the more traditional shambling, brain-dead variety rather than the rage infected sort seen in recent films such as I Am Legend and 28 Days Later, and of course the Left 4 Dead games.  There is however the option to have these types of zombies instead.  The zombies are not normally player controlled, though again this can be an option.  They roll for initiative as well, but will always go either first or last.  They automatically form up into groups (hordes) if they get close enough to each other.  For movement they automatically move towards the nearest survivor, thus making your survivors’ movement/position critical in the game.

The game also includes various tables for Fear reactions, what you find when walking into closed rooms, and more campaign based things such as the hunger effects and what happens to your survivors if they’ve been bitten.  There are also examples of scenarios and campaigns for you to play.

So what do I think?  Well if you hadn’t already guessed I am slightly biased towards NMRIH.  I like the genre, the simplicity of the rules and the customisation of survivors.  I also like the way the zombies work without a player, so if you’re really sad and lonely you could play my yourself.  It’s also allowed me to indulge my creative side as I’ve started making some basic buildings to use for the game.  That and I felt like a big kid again

What don’t I like?  Maybe I’m just thick but the odd rule could perhaps do with a bit more explaining or examples.  I would like to have seen some more survival gear options (light laser sites for the guns) but you could always house rule those.  My last down point is more to do with aesthetics.  I know that sticking to black and white reduces printing costs, but the rulebook is very, very grey.

All in all I’m looking forward to taking my zombiemania to the tabletop.

6 Inch Movie Review – “It’s A Trap”

You’d be forgiven for thinking that recently your beloved source of unbiased miniature gaming insights has become an off shoot of IMDB. However, it is nothing more than the New Year’s lull before we get back on with some proper gaming. Having my desk usable for modelling now means I have access to my computer so I slot in a DVD or fire up my iTunes.

Earlier this week I went shopping for a new pair of jeans (please, bear with me on this, it is relevant) and took a look round various stores for games/DVDs etc… I saw what is pictured at the start of this post, a single copy left of the Limited Edition DVD/Blu-Ray/Digital triple play version of the final episode in the Family Guy Star Wars trilogy. The difference between the normal Blu-Ray and the Limited Edition was a whole two pounds, you get the usual raft of collectibles, T-shirt, signed and illustrated script and some cards. For £2 it seems like a good grab. However, after having just bought the jeans I referred to earlier I thought I’d leave it for the moment and conserve my cash.

So, happy with my new-found sense of frugality I toddled off. The following day I go off to the Post Office to recover a couple of Signed For items that were delivered to my house while I was out at work. One of them was an innocuous looking envelope, inside was a gift card from my brother and his family as the DVDs they bought me for Christmas I already owned. The following day (yesterday as it happens) I took my lunch break and heading into the local shopping precinct armed with said gift card. A trip into the branch of His Master’s Voice availed me of the “It’s a Trap” limited edition set and a copy of “How to Train Your Dragon”, bolstering new things to watch while playing with my little toy soldiers.

After dinner I sat down to finish some fiddly construction pieces and slotted in Family Guy to give it a watch and following on from Servitob’s week of film critique thought I’d follow suit and offer my thoughts on the final piece of this particular parody trilogy.


Now, I am guessing that anyone who is watching this movie must have seen the original, otherwise it just won’t make sense and I’d watched “Something, Something, Something Darkside” again the night before. Right from the off in the opening crawl it tells you that they ran out of ideas and jokes and believe me that’s true. Overall there are a couple of things you will laugh at but overall it is nowhere near the quality of Blue Harvest or Darkside. Just like its predecessors however it does stick very faithfully to the actual story.

My main issue with the movie is that because of their admitted lack of ideas on crafting some humour in they have generally replaced dialogue where you’d expect there to be some jokes with a few choice pieces of heavy profanity. While I have a personal aversion to this kind of vulgar language anyway, the fact it is used quite frequently throughout the movie cheapens it. They don’t need to resort to coarse language in order to try to make something funny, I wish more writers would cotton on to this fact and rather than take the easy option of throwing a few F-bombs in would actually think about what they are writing and use their brains.

Anyway, with that particular bug-bear out-of-the-way, the cast of characters is expanded to cover the new introductions that come in Jedi/Trap. I won’t spoil them all here as there are some funny inclusions that you probably wouldn’t have guess at going in blind. While you do have to chuckle at the inclusion of some of them some of them don’t really work in context and considering that the pace of the film seems to be trying to cram in the whole of Jedi it does come across a little rushed. I still enjoyed it though and it certainly isn’t the worst piece of animation that I have ever seen, nor the worst Star Wars parody. If you take it on its own then Trap isn’t really anything special, luckily though it is part of a heritage of the previous excellent offerings. I know that in the Star Wars community there isn’t a whole lot of love for Episode 6, Empire being the widely accepted pinnacle of the saga and I think that is mirrored in the Family Guy send-up too.

It’s still worth a watch though, especially if you’ve seen the others but you are warned from the off it’s not as good as the others and it isn’t. Whether that pre-text is some kind of placebo to get you in the frame of mind that it isn’t as good we’ll see. I’ll watch it again anyway and see what I think the second time through.

Overall I’d probably give it a 3 out of 5, funny in places, not funny in others. The other two set a standard that this can’t live up too unfortunately, but such is the way with trilogies, inevitably by the third movie things take a turn for the worse and this holds true to that.

6 Inch Move Reviews 2010

Happy New Year from the floating citadel!

One of the features I like about WordPress is that I got an email from them in the new year telling us little things about our blog. I’m not a huge statistician overall but it’s nice to have a little glimpse into what has been recorded about our little corner of the Internets.

So, what happened in 2010?

Well, first off we had around 46,000 views which I am totally shocked by. From our humble beginnings of less than a handful of people stopping by to the 200+ per day we get now, it surprises me that people actually want to read what we write about. I just hope that regular readers actually enjoy what we put up.

We also wrote almost 300 posts, OK, so we only started in August 2009 so a whole twelve months of posting is going to allow us to really push the boat out in terms of the quantity of posts we’re able to make but I think we did some quality stuff in 2010.

The highest number of views in a day topped over 400 when Servitob stirred up a Nerdstorm by having the audacity to compare Firestorm Armada and Full Thrust and then offered a personal opinion that he liked Firestorm better. The furor stirred up by this is still a talking point in the floating citadel.

I hope that we can do more of the same this year, that we can continue to decry and belittle various games and gaming tropes. Call-out developers and publishers who earn our ire and hopefully put our own spin on gaming developments in general. 2011 promises to be an interesting year, hopefully you will join us for it.