Saturday 16 December 2023

Plans for 2024 and Looking Back at 2023


Its been a wee bit quiet here over the last month as its both the silly season at work so I've been mentally busy and we've got guests coming to stay over Christmas so the man cave/library has had to be turned back into an actual bedroom.

This year has been a bit of a mixed bag hobby wise as I've played some brilliant fun games from a variety of games but nowhere near enough of them as the total comes to 24 compared to last years 53!

Looking at my games record, I've played Colostle and Planet 28 most and they're definitely my games of the year as they're both really quirky and simple games that are buckets of fun to play, easy to convert and bolt on extra elements and basically concentrate on having an enjoyable gaming experience.

In Colostle, my character EM-RY5, a golem adventurer has been on an epic quest to save his hometown of Granite Orchard from repeated rogue Rook attacks and I've thoroughly enjoyed the solo RPG and would highly recommend folks take a peek at it as its brilliant.

I've got several expansions for it now which are adding great little elements and plan on grabbing the second expansion and the two new job packs that I've not picked up yet over the last few months and plan on diving back into the Colostle in the new year as I try to complete the campaign.

Wargaming wise, Planet 28 and to a lesser extent, Brutal Quest continue to provide pretty much everything I want in a skirmish wargame and my small warbands continue to multiply and quite a few games have been played with the Death in the Throne Room campaign starting to come together, I'm looking forward to playing it out next year.

Looking forward, I'm looking forward to getting my hands on Rogue Trader in 2024 so I can put together a bit of retro fun using the original rules but I'm still waiting on my copy arriving (like quite a few folks by the sounds of things!) so its going to be put on the backburner for a while until it does but in the meantime I do want to continue painting stuff to add to my assorted warbands.

I'm also really keen to get started with some more fantasy next year as I really want to play some grim low magic fantasy games! Over the last year or so, I've picked up a few rulebooks including Rangers of Shadowdeep and Five Leagues from the Borderlands so we shall see what I can put together.

It will be a bit of a slow process though as my painting time is decidedly limited, as can be seen by the palty number of figures I've actually managed to paint this year which sits at a mere 53 which is less than half of last years total but I do want to see if I can get a bit of inspiration for 2024 and see if I can improve on it.

I've got lots of papercraft miniatures that I can use which is an ok stopgap but I find myself really wanting to use physical miniatures, either stuff that I've bought or sculpted myself but with the hobby severely limited in both time and money, I may end up going for this approach to scratch the itch until I can slowly put together a more permanent plan.

I've also had a hankering for something different in 2024. As is always the case with me, I've got a rubbish attention span and have seen several games I'd love to lean into be it Void 2.0, Wild West Exodus, Draculas America, Battletech, Silver Bayonet, retro Doctor Who Miniatures Game or Heavy Gear Blitz to name but a few but I really need to temper the enthusiasm for the ooh shiny new things syndrome as I don't really need to start yet another mad project which will probably end up grinding to a halt not long after it starts.

When you combine it with the old projects I've got such as Vor, Flintloque, Star Mogul, Land Ironclads, 2nd Edition 40k and Somewhere on the Border, I'm already spoiled for choice!

I'll need to do some head scratching and serious pondering but I do hope that 2024 will see me getting back into the swing of things and maybe I need to set myself a monthly challenge to start a mini project that is easily achievable, plan it out in advance and complete it before moving on. It would give me the motivation to do some much needed hobby goodness and if I can complete a project and move on it may be both fun and give me lots to blog about, especially if I only need to complete say a dozen figures and a few pieces of scenery followed by a game being played...

I look forward to 2024 for new gaming and painting challenges and hope everyone has had a cracking year hobby wise and thankyou to everyone who has taken the time to read my meandering blog in its 15th year!

In the meantime, All the best! 


Sunday 19 November 2023

Planet 28, Death in the Throne Room Game 1: The Hothouse Heist


I've played the first game in the Death in the Throne Room campaign which sees the Cult versus the Loons Goons.


Using a mixture of psionic divination, and having some handy informants in their congregation, the cult has set up an ambush on the Loons Goons who are patrolling a pleasure garden to the south east of the Throne Room.

The cult has been investigating the hothouse in search of healing herbs due to several of the congregation beginning to show worrying mutations due to warp exposure while the Loons Goons have been dispatched to loot the same herbs whose hallucinogenic qualities will allegedly ease the Loons raging case of Ythargian Syphilis.

Unfortunately for both sides, the pleasure garden is a toxic hothouse, brimming with deadly vegetation. To make matters worse, the fertilisers for said vegetation is highly explosive so stray shots may set off an explosion and attract unwanted attention.

The Board

The board represents a rather untamed hothouse with lush vegetation and arcane items of agricultural machinery and tasteful statues. 

Special Rules

The air in the hothouse is toxic so every turn each model must roll a d6 and on a 1 they take a point of damage.

The two forces deploy at opposite corners of the board. There are four locations that contain rare herbs which may be collected by spending an action and a fifth objective at the centre of the board which is an ancient and valuable relic that the old emperor confiscated from the church and the cult is desperate to retrieve it. By spending an action in contact with it, the cult can pick it up and will endeavour to recover it.

The Loons Goons are decidedly shady and if they retrieve a herb objective, roll a d6 and on a 1 the model promptly consumes it and cannot do anything but lie on the ground grinning vacantly for D6 turns.

Each herb objective recovered gives the player 1 victory point while the cult will get 3 if they recover the relic.

The cult also receive 2 victory points for each of the Goons that they take out of action. The Goons on the other hand get 2 victory points for each model that leaves the board via the cults deployment zone.

If a ranged attack misses a model in cover, roll a d6. On a roll of a 1 the shot has set off an explosion and any model within 5cm of the terrain piece takes D10+2 damage minus an armour save.

Complications and Sub-Objectives

To spice up the game, I added a couple of mini options. Murdoch Foyle will pay handsomely for the herbs and any player may sell him them for 100 credits but in their next game they will be facing Inquisitor Fisher who will want to ask them some rather pointed questions.

Secondly there is a chance that a gardening robot will turn up on a random table edge once the first herb has been harvested. Roll a D6 and on the roll of a 1-2 it will turn up and immediately move towards the nearest model, attempting to attack it with various gardening implements.

The Game

I set up a selection of scenery to give lots of cover to the two forces and had the cult deploy on the bottom left and the Goon squad on the top right.

Some of the objectives are fairly easy to recover but I tried to make things a bit more interesting by placing some of them in the middle of vegetation or on top of buildings that will require a bit more effort to get to and possibly throw a spanner into either sides plans.

I had contemplated adding in some dangerous vegetation but felt that I had enough special rules as it was so decided to go as is and possibly add extra elements and tweak the scenario as I went.

The Loons Goons

The Loons Goons are armed with a pair of pistols and medium armour and are better in ranged combat than the cult but don't have the best morale.

For this game I went with fairly generic profiles but will roll up proper characters once I've got a few test games under my belt.

The Cult
The Cult are lightly armed and equipped but they do have a power maul which will make a mess of pretty much anything as well as a slight numeric advantage.

The gardening robot (which sadly never turned up in the game!) and the central objective which has the cults relic concealed in it. 

The game played out in about half an hour and saw both sides manoeuvring to try and grab objectives but with an eye on also killing their foes or trying to escape.

The toxic environment proved to be pretty deadly as I rolled quite a few 1's on both sides which saw lots of coughing and choking as the toxins in the air began inflaming the eyes, noses and throats of the combatants. 
The Cult moves forward.

A lone cultist with a shotgun stalks his prey.

The Goon Squad spreads out and prepares to claim an objective!

As both sides got closer to each other, the gunplay began with a volley of shotgun fire from a lone cultist but he missed his target, narrowly missing causing an explosion in the process while in the centre the cult quickly seized a herb and made a dash for the relic.

Annoyingly the goon who collected the herb promptly jammed it into his face and would spend the next several rounds lying on the ground grinning like an idiot...

His compatriot, having been shot at by the shotgun wielding cultist returned fire with some surprisingly accurate pistol fire, resulting in two dead eyed hits which sent the cultist fleeing off the board.

Meanwhile a second cult member, having snatched the relic, also began making a beeline for the exit, clutching the holy sculpture to his bosom.

At this point I got carried away with the game and forgot to take more pictures! The cultist with the power maul trundled up to the stoned goon and proceeded to batter him around the head. Fortunately the maul failed to kill him and the blow to the head revived the fellow and he proceeded to begin blasting driving the cultist back.

The cultist with the relic managed to flee the battlefield giving the cult bonus victory points and the scrawny black clad cult sub leader screeched a warbling warcry and charged the Goons leader. Miraculously he got two perfect hits (in my mod of the rules using the D100 method, there's a 10% chance of doing maximum damage with a hit) and the surprised goon leader dropped very dead with a blunt dagger stuck through his eye.

Seeing his minions fleeing, the cult leader decided that discretion was the better part of valour and legged it, but not before getting a face full of plasma from the revived goon whose shooting since imbibing the illicit herbs has been stellar. The badly scorched cultist scuttled off muttering curses and the game ended.

The Aftermath

The cult managed to retrieve the relic as well as one dose of herbs as well as killing one of the goon squad so ended up with 6 victory points while the goons, having been left in control of the hothouse managed to retrieve 2 doses of herbs and 2 escaped without being taken out so gain 6 victory points too.

I played the scenario twice and each time it ended up in a draw. I think if I was to play it again, I'd try to cause more explosions by purposefully firing at opponents in cover as there's still a chance of doing more damage through explosive destruction. 

Both sides did a good job of sticking to their objectives, although the Goons didn't try too hard to escape the ambush they found themselves in, relying on their superior armour and firepower to hold the day. If the cultist with the power maul had rolled some better damage, the game could have gone very differently.

As with my previous post, neither side took control of the pleasure gardens as they were either carrying out a raid or didn't outright win the game so it's still up for grabs.

The next game will feature Fisher and her Inquisition trying to infiltrate General Shunt's secret weapons lab that the illusive Murdoch Foyle has been developing something unpleasant!

Until next time, All the best!

Sunday 12 November 2023

Planet 28 Death in the Throne Room Campaign Thoughts part 2


Following on from my last post, I thought I'd look at the process of putting together a campaign using my assortment of rulebooks.

Having rummaged through my collection, I've selected Rogue Stars, Stargrave and Five Parsecs as they're both absolutely chock full of handy scenarios and nicknacks that I'm planning on incorporating into the main campaign and while they're designed for other skirmish rulesets, I think I'll be able to shoehorn them, or at least elements into my campaign.

Speaking of the campaign, Nic Evans, creator of Planet 28 includes a campaign outline and map of the Imperial Palace in the Death in the Throne Room book:

So we have the basic map that I'll be using for the campaign with each faction claiming a starting territory:

I've placed each faction on the map with Princess Josephine located in the throne room in the centre while the remainder are spread out around the edge in hab zones. 

In order to capture a zone, a faction has to be in control of the adjacent hex but it is possible to raid other hexes in specific scenarios but they cannot gain control of them unless they first capture one of the spaceports.

In the first game of the campaign I used the scenario generator from Rogue Stars for the basic outline and rolled randomly to see which forces were involved which results in The Temple of Boniem ambushing Baron Thaddeus's Goons in a toxic hothouse in the pleasure gardens south east of the Throne room.


I'll be posting up a full scenario outline in the next post but I've really enjoyed getting the creative juices flowing and I'm looking forward to getting the first game in the bag!

Alongside the main Death in the Throne Room campaign, I'm running the Hathor campaign so Inquisitor Fisher will be making an appearance in quite a few games as each scenario has an optional objective which sees the assorted factions aiding Murdoch Foyle, Fisher's nemesis either knowingly or unknowingly in aiding his obsessive quest to recover the mysterious Lostech item known as Hathor's Armour. Any side that takes the mission will face the wrath of the Inquisition in the next game.

There will also be plenty of opportunities to add lots of odds and ends into forthcoming games!

To aid with adding an extra element of randomness, I'm using some rpg and storytelling goodies to help out build the story:

I must admit that half the fun of getting this campaign together has been rummaging out a host of books, dice and assorted gubbins to thrash out ideas and developing a story and I'm really looking forward to getting the games going to see how things go and which faction is going to come out on top and indeed whether Inquisitor Fisher will catch up with the dastardly Foyle!

In the meantime, All the best! 

Friday 10 November 2023

Planet 28 Death in the Throne Room Campaign Thoughts part 1


I am busily painting my way through some military types for my Planet 28 warbands and following a chat I had here recently about solo gaming, I thought I'd spend a bit of time looking at the campaign itself and my thoughts on how I play each faction.

The premise of the campaign is that the Emperor is on his deathbed and various factions are vying to seize the throne in the rather dystopian hiveworld of Neo-Trantor. Considered the Emperors personal residence, the planet is a jumble of pleasure gardens, palaces, underground warrens and populated by 12 billion souls.

There are five factions vying for supremacy in the book and are as follows:

Dramatis Personae

Princess Josephine-Bois-Lewitt, eldest child of the Emperor, Heir apparent, Mistress of the Imperial Household and Overlord of Ceremonies

In a rational universe Princess Josephine would have been declared ruler of the galaxy the moment her father was declared "dead". Luckily for the princess this is not a rational universe, as a rational universe would also not have let her ancestors establish such a silly thing as a galactic empire. 

Despite this, Princess Josephine has the most backing and the only real claim to the throne, and so commands not only a host of courtiers and assassins, but also the loyalty of the imperial household and its many guards, soldiers and other associated killing machines. Ruthless and efficient, The princess is a proven political master - in her time she hasnegotiated the surrender, punishment, and vaporisation of at least three armed uprisings and was personally responsible for no less than 13 of the attempts on her fathers life.

The princess has waited decades for her shot at power and is not about to let herself be outmanoeuvred by any pretender.

Princess Josephine Loyalists

The Princess' forces will be focussed on holding the Throne Room itself as well as trying a mixture of straight forward strong arm tactics as well as the odd assassination towards rivals. She also has access to power armour straight off the bat so will be in a good position early on to take the fight to her enemies but will need to secure the factories on planet so that opposition forces don't get easy access to heavy firepower.

The central location of the Throne Room in the campaign will also allow her to quickly take territories in the surrounding areas but she'll be facing multiple opponents too.

General Supreme Neville Shunt

A man of simple conviction, General Shunt has suffered greatly under the rule of his most peaceful majesty emperor Callpoc. As high commander of the imperial fleet and armies, Shunt feels that every day without a new declaration of war is a personal insult.

Fearing that the next ruler of the galaxy may seek to follow in the late emperors footsteps and that the empire might lose its way, General supreme Shunt has decided that a good traditional military junta should get things back on track. Shunt has his supporters in court - ex military types and doughy fantasists alike have pledged to back him should he bring his forces to bear and seize the imperial throne by force.

For now however Shunt will follow the official and accepted methods of espionage, assassination and gang violence. If these polite methods fail he will either fall in line or, should the new ruler not be to his liking, unleash a firestorm of atomic destruction - Whatever takes his fancy really.

Shunt's Troopers

The General's forces are going to be armed to the teeth and concentrating purely on might making right so will be trying to smash all opposition without much care for collateral damage which will not endear it to the populace and his nuclear option (literally a nuclear bombardment!), he's got a powerful ace in his hand. Saying that half of his troops are classed as Toy Soldiers who may not be the most steady and could run for it when things get hairy.

Baron Thaddeus Charalchracht Gregarious Caesar XVIII AKA "The Hero of the People" 
AKA The Loon

Baron Thaddeus is, for want of a better word, stark raving mad. Some say he was kicked in the head by a grav-horse, others say he lost his mind after gazing into the void at the edge of space whilst coming down from a particularly nasty hangover.

Whatever the reason, the baron is utterly deranged.This may present an obstacle to some men: it can after all be rather hard to find support for ones attempts to overthrow the crown when one is just as likely to lose interest and declare war on the concept of brunch as they are to stick to their plans.

The baron however has something many aspiring tyrants do not - A fortune beyond counting. The baron is, through inheritance and a financial canny that defies his eccentricities, one of the wealthiest people in the universe. As such he has the support of a great number of politicians, generals, minor royals and, thanks to his generous habit of hurling cash into the streets, vast swathes of the general populace, Who have come to think of him as a hero/ cash machine, depending on how cynical they are.

That many of his more senior supporters see him as a tool by which to attain power for themselves has either not crossed his mind or is simply of no concern to the baron. For the time being he wants to be emperor and so he'll keep spending until he gets crowned, bored, or dies. whichever comes first.

The Loon's Hangers on

The mad Baron is an interesting faction to play as he's got tons of cash to spend on his goons but they're not what you can call loyal and I've decided that each game will have a random chart that will be the Barons orders for that skirmish which may result in some utterly random results. 

I also think that he's probably going to be trying to make some flashy moves to showcase how important he is so rather than concentrating on defeating any particular enemy, his troops will be fighting pretty much randomly according to his whims.

High Priest Boniem Razp'tin, Prophet of the Convergence

The church of the universal convergence is an odd faith. Adapted from a mixture of ancient alien Inscriptions, long lost old earth religions, and bureaucratic busy work from the depths of the imperial administrative system, it preaches that at short, irregular intervals, a saviour will arrive to lead the faithful to paradise. 

That these saviours almost always seem to be members of the royal household and almost always arrive whenever the previous saviour dies is merely a happy coincidence. Few in the clergy actually believe any of the faiths teachings, with the more "enthusiastic" members being kept safely away from holding any real power.

Unfortunately being the spiritual leader of an entire galactic empire does tend to go to even the most level of heads. And so it is that High priest Boniem Razp'tin has come believe that he is the ultimate and final prophet of the convergence. He now believes wholeheartedly that he alone is fit to rule the empire as both emperor and, weather permitting, god.

Razp' tin has gathered courtier punks to his cause, but has also been shipping in some of the more temperamental of the clergies younger members to "persuade" people of his divine message.


The church will be trying to take as many hab zones as possible in the campaign as they seek to "protect" their flock but will be making a mixture of frontal suicidal assaults as well as seeking holy relics in each game which will mean that while they're going to be trying to slay the unbelievers, they do need to be trying to grab some loot (something their opponents will no doubt decide would be better if they not have).  

The Trantorian People's Front

Outside of the rarefied atmosphere of imperial court life, Neo Trantor is a grim place - Billions toil

to provide the luxuries of the ruling classes. From the lowliest rat catcher to the filthiest sewage

reclamation officer, to the millions of bored and directionless administrative officials, the working

masses of the planet are constantly on the verge of going from merely annoyed to well and truly fed up.

From these innumerable ranks the Trantorian peoples front has arisen, a militant revolutionary

group committed to doing something about it all. What that something is no one, not even the front itself, is quite sure - But when they figure it out there’ll be trouble! At present the fronts goal is simple - Destroy the entire political infrastructure of the entire galactic empire and place one of its own representatives in command, then restructure the economic, political and social framework of the entirety of civilization. Easy stuff.

Or at least it would be, were it not for the splitters…

Trantorian Peoples Front

The rebellious Trantorian Peoples Front will be trying to take and hold the hab zones too but are also going to be trying to infiltrate other locations for sabotage and carrying out targeted assassinations so they can be expected to pop up pretty much anywhere.

There may end up being multiple groups of them all competing against each other!

Inquisitor Fisher

Inquisitor Fisher has arrived on Neo Trantor in search of a rogue Xenobiologist named Murdoch Foyle who recently escaped a maximum security prison. Fishers investigation has led her to the Imperial Throne world as the Inquisitors information network has spotted her quarry in the company of several of the main competitors in the succession crisis.

This worrying development has resulted in Fisher moving her investigation to focus on the crisis on Neo Trantor as Foyle had been searching for a mysterious piece of Archeotech known only as Hathor's Armour which legend claims will give it's wielder unlimited power. It appears that Foyle is searching for something on Neo Trantor and Fisher is determined to stop him, no matter the cost.

Fisher and co

The Inquisition are going to be a bit of a leveller in the campaign as they will be used to smack down any faction that starts getting a runaway lead as they're obviously in league with Murdoch Foyle. Fisher will also be trying to gather information to help track down her quarry and rooting out any other dangerous threats to Imperial rule so there's going to be lots of opportunities to weave an interesting narrative in the campaign.

I'd already played a few games in the campaign but have decided to reset it and start from scratch with some more detailed plans on setting up the narrative and keeping the games coming in and will be adding whatever other random elements I can think of, be it an outbreak of Poypp invaders in the sewers under the palace to mercenaries deciding so shoot up the place or the illusive Foyle's machinations but either which way, it should be fun!

I need to bulk up the warbands and keep building on the themes of each but its great to get some of the old figures out and into use.

I'll post again with more musings on how I'm actually going to get the narrative going and the breakdown of how I actually play solo in the next few days but until then, All the best!