Monday, 14 June 2021

Dark Age Brutal Quest Project Part 5: Fyrd and Lost Legion


I've managed to get some photos of the assorted gubbins that I've been working on over the last couple of weeks and have finally got round to posting them here!

First up, there's my Lost Legion:

Representing a cohort of Caesar's XIII legion, also known as the Gemina who were dispatched to Britannia in 55BC in search of a valuable artefact for Caesar and vanished into the mists only to reemerge over 800 years later, these were test pieces initially but I liked how they turned out and have found myself adding a small faction of them to my setting!

I have re-worked them a bit to give them less pallid skin and redone bases to add a more grim and grimy feel to them and am really pleased with their new finish and am now looking to pick up a sprue of Gladius wielding ones as well as a command sprue to give me some leaders...

Next up, there's some lowly Saxon Fyrd:

I must admit that I really enjoyed painting them with a limited palette of greens and browns and game wise, they will probably represent lowly levy troops or even bandits and as such I went with a bit of a random mixture of weapons and equipment. I think I need another sprue of them to give me some more options for some low level opponents for my adventurers to slay and am also after a couple of archers to give them some more effective ranged firepower.

One of the best things about playing super small skirmish games is that forces are generally pretty cheap and quick to put together with the Fyrd costing me about £3 and the Lost Legion being free with Wargames Illustrated! 

I'm currently working on getting my Anglo Saxon adventuring party built and painted before moving onto some Vikings and beasts but I'm really enjoying the project and looking forward to getting enough painted to play some games in the not too distant future (once I've got some decent scenery built!)

A Lost Legion patrol clashes with some Saxon Fyrd

Hopefully I'll get the three adventurers finished this week and will post further progress when I do and will start fleshing out the setting to boot. I've also got loads of reading to be getting on with so we shall see how I get on but in the meantime, All the best!

Thursday, 10 June 2021

Dark Age Brutal Quest Project Part 4: Down the Rabbit Hole


Well it's been a couple of weeks and I've got a week of holidays under my belt but have found myself having to self isolate as I may or may not have Covid. Huzzah!

On the plus side, I seem to be obsessing over Dark Age reading materials and have been working my way through my assorted bits and bobs and happened across these two whilst at work (pre Covid lurgy!):

I must admit that I'd picked up Kin on a whim as the cover was cool but once I started reading it I found myself drawn into the amazing world of the Dark Ages where history, myth and magic are all rolled into a really great murder mystery with a fantastic cast of characters and it's well worth a peruse as the writing is top notch!

Smile of the Wolf is a blood soaked retelling of a feud in 10th century Iceland and it's also fantastic stuff and give a more personal account of the period rather than the sweeping battles of Bernard Cornwell's Last Kingdom series.

I've also been steadily painting my way through my Brutal Quest stuff but with a cough that seems to await the very moment that I put paintbrush to miniature to manifest itself so I've had to settle for assembling the Victrix stuff I picked up recently. They're absolutely beautiful sculpts and when compared to the Gripping Beast Saxons and Caesarian Legionaries that I have been working on they're very much like comparing GW plastics from the late 90's and early 00's (Gripping Beast) and modern GW (Victrix) as the level of detail is fantastic and the sculpts themselves are dynamic enough to be interesting without being over the top.

Thus far I have the four test piece Romans completed who will be making an appearance as a lost legion who has spent the last 800 plus years lost in the Fae realms before reappearing in my fantastical version of Britain in approximately 800AD. They've also had a bit of reworking from the photo above and I'm far happier with how they turned out.

I also have the bulk of my Warlord Games Saxon Fyrd done and quite like how they are turning out, especially with their limited palette but I've not managed to get any photo's yet but will attempt to get some tomorrow but I'm also finding myself rather bereft of any suitable Grim Darkage terrain so will need to get some odds and ends put together which will allow me to play a game or two once I have the figures finished!

Once I've got all these elements sorted, I will need to fish out some fantastical elements to add to the mix and have a few bits put aside for the project and will update my blog as I get them done but until then, I'm off to lie down and All the best!

Monday, 31 May 2021

Dark Age Brutal Quest Project Log Part 3: Miniatures Arrive and Testing the Waters


I've got the delivery of my assorted gubbins for my Brutal Quest mini project set in an alternative Dark Ages but before I set to painting them I wanted to test the waters and see if I could paint something in a different style from my usual bright and cheery 90's way and something a bit more grim and grimy.

With that in mind, I noticed that the new Wargames Illustrated came with a sprue of Caesarian Legionnaires from Warlord Games and I grabbed it to use them as test pieces for my new project. 

Primed black then given successive drybrushes of grey and then white in as close to a zenithal style as I could get without spray paints (I fished my rattle cans out of my cupboard and discovered they'd dried up some time ago) and then painted in a quick and grimy fashion with quite a few washes of browns and rust.

I also changed my usual flesh tone, moving away from a healthy and rosy tan to a pallid bone with a brown wash. It worked out pretty nicely and despite repeated panics that I was making a big mess, I think they turned out ok and I now plan on painting up the remaining two to complete the set. I do want to do something a bit more interesting with the bases, be it add some scatter material or some fallen leaf litter but they look a tad bland with just a drybrush of brown and some static grass. 

Still I've now settled on a style that should work out pretty well for some Dark Age Mythological shenanigans and I plan on trying some different washes for the remaining Romans to see if I can get a more interesting finish that doesn't look quite so unhealthy...

I had originally ordered a sprue each of Victrix Saxons and Vikings and really am impressed with the quality of the figures and look forward to beginning on working on them. 

I'm really impressed with the combination of bits, dynamic sculpts and mixture of armoured and unarmoured figures and reckon I have enough to represent a couple of decent sized warbands which will be a good starting off position for the project.

I also accidentally ordered a set of Warlord Games Saxon Fyrd (UPDATE: They're actually Gripping Beast plastics!) at the same time and while the detail is not as crisp and the figures somewhat more simplistic, They're pretty cheap and will make decent low level Levy, ruffians or angry villagers.

My plan is to get the two test Roman figures out the way and then paint 3-4 Saxons and a similar number of Vikings which should allow me to get some games of Brutal Quest in before adding some more fantastical touches, be they monsters, ancient beings or some souped up humans and I will be posting battle reports of my progress as I make it so watch this space but until then, All the best!

Friday, 28 May 2021

Armour in Planet 28 and Brutal Quest


There seems to be quite a bit of discussion over on the Planet 28 Facebook page about armour in the game. 

Many folks, myself included, seem to be finding that when you gear up a character with Power Armour (or even heavy armour such as Vash of the Mechanicus has in my own games!) it makes it super difficult to damage them and they tend to act as tanks, trundling around the battlefield crushing all that they meet. Instead of waxing lyrical on Facebook and spamming the page with lots of random ideas, I thought I'd post a quick rundown of some ideas I have for dealing with the heavily armoured in games of Planet 28 and will post some ponderings on Brutal Quest another time once I've got my Dark Ages project properly up and running!

Setting the Scene

I've found that having a bunch of goons armed with pistols really isn't going to cut it when it comes to facing a power armoured opponent as barring a really lucky series of dice rolls, the armoured trooper is going to shrug off pretty much whatever gets thrown at it so tailoring the scenario itself to give the unarmoured a fighting chance is key. Allow your characters to have access to at least one gun or close combat weapon that will hurt even the doughtiest of warriors!

Maybe the skirmish is a pure chance but having a gun that will do significant damage is really handy, if necessary, write it into the scenario and have a cache of weapons hidden on the table and their acquisition is key to the characters chances. Have some mining gear lying around and do an A-Team construction with actions being spent to transform some corrugated iron into a device of mind boggling destruction, or at least converting some blasting charges into an impromptu explosive device. Think of Kyle Reese in Terminator desperately trying to damage the machine using home made explosives and sheer guts.

Have a think about terrain with an eye to making it difficult for the power armour clad figure to dominate and allow lowly scum to sneak up on them and stick an knife in an unprotected seal or have a set number of booby traps ala Predator which will have a bit of a chance to do in or at least badly damage the armour clad figure. It would need to be written into the scenario with the lowly armed and armoured troops knowing they have to fight off a veritable walking machine of destruction and setting up a series of pitfalls, spring loaded traps or whatever else to give them a chance against a more advanced and mighty opponent.

Guns Guns Guns!

If you are going to be facing heavy armour, get some suitable guns or at least weapons of destruction to hit them with! The rules for weapon creation in Planet 28 are pretty good and allow for all manner of fun devices of shooting, blasting or general carnage to be made.

Allow something like DumDum or Manstopper rounds from the likes of Necromunda. For say an extra 10 points you get a +D6 damage roll on the gun you are firing. It may not be much but it may just add enough to start damaging heavily armoured chaps or chapesses. If you want to add a bit of excitement, if you roll a 10 in your attack dice roll, it represents running out of ammo or the bullet being a dud and an action needing to be spent clearing the chamber or loading another clip.

What about having an underslung grenade launcher? It could be single shot with a successful hit causing D20 damage? It would be a one hit wonder but would force the heavily armoured trooper to keep his head down to avoid getting it shot off and stop him dominating the board. 

The Power Maul in the rules is pretty awesome for dealing with heavy troops in close combat and it's not too hard to imagine rebels or ingenious types repurposing mining equipment to bore through, cut open or blast apart Power Armour.

Tweak the Rules

I've seen Ash over on Guerrilla Miniature Games use a critical success as an opportunity to double a damage roll in Planet 28 and I really like the mechanic as it's simple and makes combat that bit more deadly so even a lowly underhive scabby could potentially poke a mighty Space Marine through the eye with a pointy stick if they are lucky enough.

Similarly what about allowing something like an extra D6 for every supporting model in base to base contact with an opponent, it could easily represent a proper scrum of kicking, biting and stabbing thugs trying to weigh down their armoured opponent using sheer numbers!

Another option is to look at Power Armour as very high tech and expensive to keep in proper running order with each time it rolls to save being marked on a piece of paper during the course of a game and afterwards credits needing to be spent to repair it or it starts degrading so instead of it being 2D10+5 it would loose a point of effectiveness for each previous successful hit it had stopped. For example if a model wearing power armour is hit 10 times in a game but nothing damages him, at the end of the game and during a campaign, they must spend say 2 creds per hit to repair it or the armour becomes 2D10-10 if they haven't paid for upkeep. It would mean that a character would constantly need to keep repairing armour between games or it's going to rapidly become no better than a flak jacket.

Another simple option is to downgrade the dice for armour rolls a bit so Medium Armour becomes D10+1, Heavy Armour D12+3 and Powered Armour 2D10 or something similar which would still allow the heavier armour to do its job and stop its squishy occupant getting turned to paste but penetrating damage is going to become more likely and even feeble weapons have some chance of doing some hurty things to the trooper.

Planet 28 is a really great sandbox set of rules that can be easily fiddled with to allow you to bodge all manner of interesting little quirks and rules that turn it from just a game into an almost RPG like experience without bogging down.

Tricks and Traps

As I mentioned previously, it can be written into the scenario that there could be say D6 traps concealed around the table and can be triggered by the defending player or indeed on a random dice roll to spice things up but there's also the very terrain itself as there's the opportunity to include covered pits, pools of acidic slime, rockfalls, hivequakes, sudden animal attacks, unexploded ordinance or any one of a hundred different unexpected events that could ruin the heavily armoured troopers day and give even the most poorly equipped a fighting chance against them!

I really need to get some more games played and will try including some of the randomly waffled ideas that I've come up with but I'd love to hear how other folks have dealt with similar situations in Planet 28 or indeed any other small scale skirmish game that they've played but in the meantime, All the best!

Sunday, 23 May 2021

Dark Age Brutal Quest Project Part 2: Gathering the Troops and Further Reading


After finding myself drawn to putting together a bit of a mini project for Brutal Quest set in the Dark Ages I've been doing a bit of reading and perusing of the charity shops to see if I can find some more interesting source material to pull ideas from and found the interestingly titled Bloodfeud for a princely 50p!

It's proving to be a rather interesting book on a quick flick through and for such a paltry sum, I couldn't resist it! But all this reading and planning requires some miniatures to fight in blood feuds, quests and other skirmishes and after a bit of a ponder, I settled on picking up a sprue of Victrix Saxons and one of Vikings:

As Brutal Quest only requires a handful of figures, I figure that the single sprue of each will give me a decent selection of stuff to get started with, especially as the Victrix sprues come with a mixture of armoured and unarmoured figures and the reviews for them have been really positive too.

With a smidgen of a grounding in the history of the era, I am fairly sure that the historical purists will be outraged by the inaccuracies I plan on playing but the more I read, the more ideas I seem to be getting and while my version of the Dark Ages (or early medieval as is apparently what it should be called but doesn't sound so exciting) may well end up being a fictional setting similar to England in the 9th century but it's own thing with elements drawn from various sources and with a fair amount of imagination but its proving to be fun!

For visual inspiration, I've been perusing the rather wonderful art of Angus McBride who illustrated many of Osprey Publishings books over the years and its rather wonderful to boot. Combine a bit of Blanchitsu gribble, a pinch of muted paint tones and I will see what I can put together but in the meantime, All the best!

Saturday, 22 May 2021

Dark Age Brutal Quest Project Part 1: Introduction


It's been a bit quiet here for the last week or so as I've been super busy with work so I figured it was high time to get back to the blog and post something new!

Earlier this year I backed Brutal Quest, the fantasy version of Planet 28 and I've rather enjoyed playing it using my Boar Company and their assorted friends and foes but I found myself pondering on trying to use it for something a little bit different, namely a low fantasy version of the Dark Ages featuring Saxons, Vikings, the odd Fae and various other bits and bobs.

A little bit of rummaging in my library at home and the history section at work and I have some historical reading materials which have been really fun to peruse and I am starting to get a bit of a feel for the sort of vibe that I want to try to replicate on the table.

I must admit, I am not entirely sure what has got me onto this train of thought but I am going to pick up a couple of sprues of assorted Saxons, Vikings and whatnot from Ebay and see what I can come up with and plan on trying to do some Dark Age of Sigmar style painting with the figures.

The best thing about Brutal Quest is that I only need 2-3 heroes and a small selection of foes to make a game of it so it works out, I may try a similar project going for an Arthurian theme as I'm rather liking the prospect of a fantasy game that is rooted in British myths and legends as there are so many fascinating elements to draw on.

Similarly, for my games I only use a 2'x2' board so it won't be too onerous a task to build some more realistic terrain to cover it and I'm quite excited to have a try at making some themed terrain for the project too!

 If nothing else, I am really enjoying reading about periods of history that I had only a passing knowledge of previously and I'll see what I can get done in the coming week but in the meantime, All the best!

Thursday, 13 May 2021

Rising Above the Stress and Fare Ye Well Chronopia!


I've worked myself into a bit of a rage over the revamped Chronopia and instead of stewing in it, I have decided to try and rise above it and cast any hopes of getting the beloved game that I hoped for to the abyss of lost causes.

I had really high hopes for Chronopia coming back into production after over 20 years and was super excited at the announcement but the ensuing months and first previews of digital sculpts and then artwork plunged me into disappointment and then neck beard levels of outrage up to the point that my wife (ever the voice of reason!) suggested I let it go as I was getting too emotionally invested in a game that wasn't even out yet. The original was my favourite and still is she says and not liking the new one is ok but it's not worth getting into such a state over.

An aptly named Wailer

Instead of raging hopelessly at what is increasingly looking like an incredibly passionate but woefully unprofessional fan project I've decided to step away from any hope of seeing Chronopia getting a revamp and will stick to the original and still best and only version.

I've raised my concerns with the games creators and will not be backing the kickstarter have left the facebook group and will leave it at that...

Having actually posted this has been an actual weight off my shoulders as I was becoming obsessed to a point that only a nerd can get obsessed to and on the plus side, Warzone Eternal is looking like it's going to be ace and I've been putting aside some pennies to back it when it launches so in the meantime, All the best!