Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Master Samwise Gamgee

Just a couple of months ago, I thought I had peaked as a miniature painter. I believed I was still painting miniatures to a  good standard, but my eye-sight is worsening, and I just didn’t seem to be approaching it with the same passion as in years passed. Then, I made some changes.

I started being more deliberate with my miniature purchases. I completely reviewed and revamped all of my painting tools and accessories, and, perhaps most importantly, I made a real effort to set-aside chunks of time where I could concentrate fully on my painting. I also started working on my technique a bit, being more willing to water-down my paints and paint that extra highlight layer…  Well, I now feel like I’m heading in an upwards direction again, and several of the last few miniatures I have painted I can confidently say are better than any that I have painted in years past.

For example, I have just finished painting Gus Greenweevil from Reaper Miniatures, sculpted by Bobby Jackson. Gus will be playing the part of Sam Gamgee in my Fellowship of the Ring.  I mean really – he’s a pudgy Hobbit, overloaded with stuff, including a frying paint, ‘rope’, and a dagger.  I kind of wish he wasn’t carrying a torch, but you can’t have it all.

In fact, it’s that torch – or more exactly the flame on top, which is the only part of the paint job I’m not completely satisfied with. The next time I paint fire, I’m going to have to research some new techniques. Still, it’s passable. I think the face is one of the best I’ve ever painted – helped by the broad, slightly cartoony features. Otherwise, it’s just lots of washes and layers.

For me, miniature painting is definitely about enjoying the figure I am working on to the maximum extent possible, more than the sense of accomplishment from getting loads of figures done.

Monday, 9 December 2019

Rangers of Shadow Deep: Incinerator!

So 2019 has one more little Rangers of Shadow Deep surprise!

Incinerator is a new 2-scenario mission in which the Rangers are captured and force to fight for their lives and freedom in a horrific death trap. There is even a chance to pick up a new, unique companion along the way.

Out now in PDF, Kindle, and Print on Demand.

Friday, 6 December 2019

Frostgrave for the Win!

In a truly unexpected event, Frostgrave has won ‘Best Rules 2019’ in the Wargames Illustrated awards! This is especially gratifying as the winner is decided by public vote.

Really, it’s pretty astounding that a game that has been out for 4.5 years, and that has a second edition on the horizon, would win such an award. Back then, I never imagined that people would still be playing the game many years later, much less hold it in such high regard.

I think it is a real testament to the community that has grown up around the game. It’s just so full of people who take a fun-first approach to the hobby.

Many thanks to everyone who voted for Frostgrave!

I don’t believe the full list of winners has been released yet, but I’ll be interested to see who is there!

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Rangers of Shadow Deep: Deluxe Edition

There is big news today for fans of Rangers of Shadow Deep. It has just been officially announced that Modiphius (makers of the Star Trek, Conan, and Fallout RPGs) will be producing a Deluxe Edition of the core rulebook for Rangers of Shadow Deep!

So, what is going to make this ‘Deluxe’, I hear you ask? Well, to start off, it’s getting top-notch production – traditional printing and binding, with a faux leather cover heat stamped with the artwork and text, and high-quality paper stock. The layout is being completely reworked, and the book will feature a dozen pieces of new artwork by Barrett Stanley. Additionally, I’m taking the chance to incorporate the character building elements (most notably the spells) from Temple of Madness into the main rulebook, so that all of the character building will be in one place. I am also updating or modifying a few of the rules that I, and others, have been playtesting. Finally, I have introduced a ‘challenge level’ for each of the scenarios in the book, which increases the difficulty of each scenario. This is for those that were finding the scenarios too easy for 3 or 4 players, for those who just like their games tougher, or for those who might want to play the scenarios again with higher-level rangers.

The creation of this Deluxe Edition will mean that not only is the game more attractive and easier to use, but that it will be available to the trade and hopefully obtainable from gaming stores around the world. In fact, you will be able to order your copy, along with you official Rangers of Shadow Deep miniatures from North Star. (In fact, it might be worth holding on to see what deals they might offer…)

Now, I’m sure some people are thinking, ‘I already own the rulebook, do I really have to buy another one?’  The answer to this is emphatically ‘NO’.  At the same time the Deluxe Edition is released, I will also be releasing a free, small ‘Rules Update’ document. This will include all of the changes and additions to the game that appear in the Deluxe Edition (except the material in Temples of Madness).  So, if you are happy with your book, and the game as is, you can just download the Rules Update and see if any of the new material interests you.

What does this mean for the supplements? Nothing. Except for the material from Temple of Madness that has been drawn into the Deluxe Edition, there are no plans at the moment for Modiphius to release any of the supplementary material. All of the supplements (and the original rulebook for that matter) will remain for sale on just as they were. Also, I will be continuing to support the game with new material in the old format – in fact, look for a new mini-supplement coming next week!

Rangers of Shadow Deep: Deluxe Edition is due to release in early February 2020.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below, and I’ll do my best to answer.

Monday, 2 December 2019

How to Write a Wargame: Idea to Publication

Have you ever wanted to write a wargame? Are you attending Adepticon 2020? If so, you might be interested in the seminar I will be running on Saturday morning!

How to Write a Wargame: Idea to Publication is a seminar I first ran at Dragonmeet last year. Since then, I have refined it, and expanded many of the ideas. Essentially, I’ll be talking through all of the steps in creating a wargame, from having that initial idea, creating mechanics to go with it, getting all of those ideas written up, and then finally how to get that sucker published! I want to examine not just the basics of what needs to be done, but also encourage the participants to think about why they make each decision for their game at every stage of the process. It’s a two-hour seminar, which I hope will leave plenty of time for questions and answers.

The seminar is at 8:30 – 10:30 Saturday morning. It costs $17 and is limited to 24 spaces.

The bad news is that this does conflict with Brent Sinclair’s Ghost Archipelago campaign day, which is running all day Saturday. So, I won’t be insulted if people want to attend that instead! But, I also suspect that campaign will sell-out almost instantly, and I don’t mind being people’s second choice!  Anyway, I’m hoping to make it over for the later rounds of the campaign, and maybe play a few monsters!

Registration for Adepticon opens up on December 8!

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Pumpkin Stems! (Frozen Trees!)

When we picked out the Halloween pumpkins this year, I was delighted to see that they had longer stems that normal. (We got them from a farm instead of the supermarket). Even before the pumpkins were carved, I had plans for those stems.

After Halloween, I dried the stems out on the radiator for a couple of weeks; then I went to work.

Actually, it wasn’t that much work. I glued them to a base, painted a few different shades of brown and grey on them, then sprinkled with fake snow.

I think they are really effective. Much more ‘organic’ looking that most commercially available tree stumps.

For the scenarios in the Frostgrave Tour next year, I’m going to need a couple of trees. Well, here are mine!

Monday, 25 November 2019

Frostgrave Warband – Complete!

This weekend I finished painting up the last figure for my new Frostgrave warband! As I mentioned at the start, my goal was to paint each figure to the best of my ability. I painted each figure, one-at-a-time, and kept working on it until I felt I could do nothing more to improve upon it.  Now that I can line them all up together, I truly feel like my effort has been rewarded. I now have a warband that I can feel really proud to put on the table. Okay, it’s probably not going to win any painting contests, but I do think that people will pause by the table to appreciate it. More to the point, I think it will make any game I play just look that little bit better, which will make it just that little bit more fun.

The other thing that really pleases me about this warband is that I practiced what I preached, and used the miniatures I wanted for it, regardless of what line or company they come from. In fact, the figure/line breakdown looks like this:

4 Reaper Miniatures
2 Frostgrave Miniatures
1 Oathmark Miniature

Now that they are all read to go, I’ve got them a box of their very own. These little Chessex boxes are great for carrying small warbands. Okay, the cat-man barely fits, and takes up two slots, but it works. 

I’ve also included three treasure tokens from Tiny Furniture. I already had these painted, but they are my favourite treasure tokens, so they are on permanent assignment to the warband. Finally, I put my glittery d20 in there. Actually, I have plans to replace this with a blue version if I can find one I like to better match the colours of the wizard and apprentice. (Perhaps this weekend at Dragonmeet!).  I also keep a 6” ruler in the box as I consistently forget to bring a measuring device to games.

Now that these guys are done and ready to go, it might be time for a new Ghost Archipelago warband…