Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Dracula's America Supernatural Hired Guns 01

The Hired Guns I'm reviewing here can only be recruited in Dracula's America if you're using the supernatural rules. The game can be played as a normal Wild West skirmish game without the supernatural elements.
At the far left is a member of the Carpathian Guard. They are a unique fighting force that began life as Dracula's Cossack henchmen in Eastern Europe. Their uniform may have been standardised since then but their resolve to protect their assigned vampire ward has never wavered. Rumours persist that, though still mortal, their lives have been prolonged unnaturally by regular infusions of vampiric blood. The Carpathian Guard are Veterans with the Nerves of Steel and Tough exploits. They are armed with a Pistol and a huge, two-handed Woodsman's Axe. They can only be hired by the Red Hand Coven Faction.
Next up is the Stitch-Doctor. First reported during the American Civil War, the undead Stitch-Doctors unnaturally prolong their existence through harvesting the organs of others. Despite their unsavoury reputation and the odd missing patient, their medical skills are still highly prized. A Stitch-Doctor is a lowly Novice with the Supernatural exploit. A Stitch-Doctor never rolls for injuries - they keep the choicest spares for themselves! They are usually armed with a Pistol.
At the far left is a Skinwalker shape-shifter made by North Star for Dracula's America. The Skinwalkers whose name has been taken up by this faction are shape-shifting guardians of Nature made up of Native Americans. Up to two members of a Skinwalker posse may be shape-shifters with the ability to transform into either a bear or a wolf - this is chosen when a model first becomes a shape-shifter and cannot be changed from that point on. A Skinwalker shape-shifter must begin each game in Human Form. Shape-shifters are Supernatural and may assume Beast Form or return to Human Form by using an entire Move Action to do so. All weapons and gear that they carry transforms too, as part of the magic. In Beast Form, the model is replaced with a suitable bear or wolf model. I bought some specifically for this purpose, which I'll show in a later post, once I get them painted.
These three figures can be purchased in the same set - DRAC16 -Hired Guns from the North Star webstore (see here - http://www.northstarfigures.com/prod.php?prod=10767 ) In a previous post, I lamented the fact that there was only this one figure produced for the Skinwalker Faction. Well, I'm pleased to say that North Star have resolved this issue by producing a set of seven figures to use as a Skinwalker Posse, see here - http://www.northstarfigures.com/prod.php?prod=11215 Suffice to say, I have already ordered them.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Assorted Sheriff and Deputies

I have shown a lot of police figures in the past, both American and British. They have almost all been of the kind you'd find in urban or suburban environments. Today, I'm concentrating on a small unit of police you'd find in the rural areas of America - the sheriff and his deputies.
These are from a variety of sources. At the left are two figures produced by Reaper as part of their 28mm scale Chronoscope range. At the far left is Sheriff Joe Don Mitchell and next to him is Deputy Wayne Tisdale. These are the names Reaper have assigned to them and I saw no reason to change them. The sheriff is a metal figure but Wayne is one of the plastic figures I got with one of my Reaper Bones Kickstarter sets (I think it was Bones 1). They are both in very similar poses but I think they are full of character. They are just how I'd imagine a sheriff and his deputy to look like.
The next two figures are very old 25mm scale Citadel figures. The fat deputy is called Hoyt Axlebury and his partner is Carl Whiteley (both named by me). Hoyt was designed for the old Paranoia range and Carl is even older as he was part of the 1920's Gangster range, both produced by Games Workshop in the 1980's. Who remembers either of them? The fact that they are 25mm scale doesn't bother me in the least because as I keep on saying, in real life people come in all shapes and sizes. These guys just happen to be on the small size. Hoyt is a fantastic sculpt but Carl is a bit bland.
The final figure is Deputy Jennifer Lewis. I named her and sculpted her. When I made her, way back in the 1980's, female cop figures were unheard of. She was always meant to be a deputy. I made her to partner Carl. I did debate about whether to sculpt her with the Mountie-style hat the other deputies are wearing or give her the more traditional peaked cap. In the end, I went with the peaked cap. She's not a brilliant sculpt but she's not bad either and she serves her purpose well.
Probably the most obvious use for these figures is in All Things Zombies as the cops of a rural setting. But I also think they'd work extremely well in 7TV2e, especially in a Scooby Doo scenario.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Rumbleslam Green Bruisers & Heavy Pounders

The two teams that you get in the starter boxed set of Rumbleslam are the Green Bruisers and the Heavy Pounders. I'm going to take a closer look at them here, along with a couple of their superstars. Note that in the game only the superstars are named. The basic team wrestlers are unnamed but I decided to name all of my wrestlers, just to give them more character and personality.
The Green Bruisers are made up of Orcs, Goblins and Trolls. From left to right are Trolgar the Troll, Wurgoth the Orc Brawler, Grabda the Orc Grappler, Brik the Goblin Brawler and Grok the Goblin Grappler.
The Green Bruisers are some of the biggest stars of the Rumbleslam arena. They're fast, they hit hard, and they don't let up! If you want a team that likes getting stuck in, regardless of what danger it poses to them, these greenskins are for you, and make an excellent choice for The Rolling Bones.
Trolls are big, blue, and mean. They have absolutely devastating special attacks, so make sure they're in the right place because they don't move fast. Their Regeneration ability helps them to stay in the fight long past most other wrestlers.
Orc Brawlers and Orc Grapplers are the ones you want to be getting into combat! Hit first, and make it count. And if you can't reach the enemy, use their Da Boss ability to pick up goblins and throw them instead!
Goblin Brawlers and Goblin Grapplers do not hit hard. But getting them into a fair fight is not what they're for! They're quick and can do lots of actions a turn, meaning their special abilities will get lots of use. Of particular note is their Antagonise ability, which makes opponents slower and angrier!
The Heavy Pounders are made up of Humans, Halflings and Ogres. From left to right are Dragark the Dark Destroyer, an Ogre, Vyctor Fistpike the Human Brawler, Stafford "Furious" Titangrip the Human Grappler, Bertram Goodbody the Halfling Brawler and Turpin Oakbottom the Halfling Grappler.
The Heavy Pounders fill that ideal space between speed, strength, and defence. They're reliable and even the smallest member can be extremely useful. They're easy to learn, but tricky to master. The crowd loves them though, multiplying their already solid stat lines even further. Kaiser's Palace teams needing some stability should look no further.
Ogres are big. Ogres are strong. Ogres are hard to throw out. What more could you want? It would be tempting to just brawl away with an Ogre, but that means that you're not using their many useful special attacks. A Choke Slam does wonders when paired with the Halfling Brawler, and a Belly Bomb Bonanza hits every opponent in base contact, if you're brave enough to climb the turnbuckle to do it!
Human Brawlers and Human Grapplers do what they say, and do it well. Don't go getting their roles confused though, as they won't be nearly as effective. Brawlers first do the damage, and then grapplers move in and throw the opponents out of the ring. A tried and tested formula that works match after match.
Halfling Brawlers and Halfling Grapplers get a lot of actions per turn, and their special abilities are cheap to use, meaning they'll be mainstays in your team.
Next we come to the superstars and I have two for each team - Statesman and Triple D for the Heavy Pounders and Gun and Gobba for the Green Bruisers.
“The Statesman is as much a fan of wrestling as he is a superstar. Growing up watching the heroes of old in the ring, the young wrestler trained his body with painful tenacity. He was soon the picture of perfection. Joining the ring at eighteen, his selflessness and devotion to the sport fast became a shining example that inspired countless fans.”
With a stat card like that, it's obvious that Statesman is a great all-rounder. He makes a great centre-piece for any team, his unassuming look hiding a solid line up of skills. With a regenerative ability on all KO'd wrestlers for his Crowd Pleaser, and his Shield Passive Ability giving close friendly wrestlers his awesome Defence, Statesman is at his best when helping out team mates. With a great all-round stat line and hailing from Kaiser's Palace, he's the perfect companion to The Heavy Pounders, or any team with low Defence and low Stamina WEIGHT 1 wrestlers.

“The bad girl of wrestling, Triple D is synonymous with rule breaking. A powerful wrestler who has held numerous titles in her time, Diana will take on anyone who threatens her reign at the top. Using all the methods at her disposal, she has been known to cripple opponents that might one day rise to challenge her. She has dubbed herself the Queen of the Ring, a title her fans cheer with extreme diligence and fervour.”
Triple D is a fan favourite, and for good reason. If you feel like your team is lacking a wrestler that can pick up and throw any other wrestler fairly easily, go for Triple D. Although you might struggle to even lift other wrestlers with the amount of great special abilities she has. Her biggest problem is that she doesn't have 10 AP to do everything you want! As a Heel character she rolls Crowd Pleasers differently, so if you feel like your Heavy Pounders need to take a walk on the wild side, she's the perfect wrestler for it.
So we all know who Gun is based on... yes, he's an Orc Hulk Hogan. If you want a great Rolling Bones wrestler who may Hulk Out when he's down on his luck then look no further.
 “They say you’ve never seen a show until you’ve seen Gun fight. An Orc of a different kind, Gun is far different to the rest of his race in the ring. Unlike his bloodthirsty brethren this charismatic Orc is there to entertain. A master of ceremony he thrives under attention and can often be seen pleasing the crowd with poses, chants and shows of power! This superstar is adored by his followers who go time and time again to see his exploits.”

Gobba the Goblin has some weird stats. His Dexterity is the highest in the game, and he uses it as his Defence too, meaning he's extremely hard to damage at all. He's fast too, so good luck catching him! Although with such a low Defence, Grapple, and Stamina, he's delicate too.
Gobba is the ultimate support Superstar. There Is No Try is an Active Ability that allows you to move an enemy wrestler 3 squares in any direction, putting them in the best place for you and the worst place for them! And his Crowd Pleaser removes all negative counters from friendly wrestlers. Considering the all-out attack nature of the Green Bruisers, Gobba complements them perfectly, giving them some much needed defensive stability.
"Wrestling is a sport for the physically gifted. Or so everyone thought until this mysterious goblin entered the ring. Wielding a special power alongside his seemingly inhuman dexterity, he joined the Rolling Bones casino and waited for his debut. It was a match to remember, though only a handful of fans remained to watch the small superstar battle. Assuming his team would lose easily, many missed him pushing and pulling his opponents around the ring with nothing but a wave of his tiny hand. Despite his clear superiority, Gobba didn’t mock or belittle his adversaries at all. It was almost unheard of to watch a wrestler wait for his opponent to stand before striking again.”
TRIVIA FACT - Gobba is rumoured to be the younger brother of Gobbo who appears in this blog here - http://dagobbosgrotto.blogspot.co.uk/

Although you get the Green Bruisers and the Heavy Pounders in the starter boxed set, you can also purchase them separately. They cost £22.00 per team, which is a reasonable price, I think. The four superstars I showed here cost £7.00 each, which is pricey. All of the figures are made of resin and most are single piece castings. They are expertly sculpted and so full of character. I like them all.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Rumbleslam - a Review

The contents of the starter boxed set shown straight from the box.
Rumbleslam is the game of fantasy wrestling produced by TT Combat. I begin my review of the basic boxed set with the blurb about the basic starter set taken from the webstore -

Welcome to the ring! The spotlights are on, the confetti cannons are loaded, and the mages have had their staffs taken away. The world of Rumbleslam awaits!

The original game of fantasy wrestling is coming to a table top near you. Join in on fast paced high action gaming as goblins jump off the turnbuckles, dark elves bounce from the ropes, and dwarfs pick up werewolves to throw out of the ring!

This boxed game contains everything a budding sponsor needs to start their Rumbleslam career.

Two teams are included – the stalwart Heavy Pounders consist of a Halfling Brawler, Halfling Grappler, Human Brawler, Human Grappler, and a mighty Ogre. Meanwhile in the other corner are the unrelenting Green Bruisers – a Goblin Brawler, Goblin Grappler, Orc Brawler, Orc Grappler, and unshakable Troll. Each wrestler comes with its own character profile card. These cards show each wrestler's innate abilities, and moves they can perform, from basic clotheslines to the formidable Blue Thunder. All miniatures are supplied unpainted and unassembled with a clear acrylic base. Note that clear acrylic bases may have a coloured peelable protective film.

The box contains a 12”x12” soft mat ring with 104 squares for wreaking mayhem, ropes to bounce off and turnbuckles to leap from.

With 5 Copper dice, 5 Silver dice, and 4 Gold dice, wrestlers can brawl their way to victory, and 2 Crowd dice allow your wrestlers to rally the crowd behind them to perform mind-blowing special moves. Note that because the dice are screen printed the symbols may wear with frequent use. To protect against this, a light spray coat of varnish will stop any fading of the symbols.

The box also includes 40 acrylic counters for each special status in the game, as well as 16 acrylic Crowd Pleaser tokens to help keep track of your wrestlers' attempts at wooing the audience.

And of course the box includes the 64-page Rumbleslam rulebook. Containing all the information needed to play the game, including background information, team building rules, and a miniatures gallery.

What are you waiting for? There's no better time to jump in the ring and start your path to superstardom!
The box contents shown on my dining room table with the two teams fully painted.
I wasn't aware of this game until recently when I was browsing the TT Combat webstore but as soon as I saw it, I was intrigued by it. I was a big fan of what used to be the WWF (World Wrestling Federation), which later became the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). I am not a sports fan at all, (some may argue that wrestling isn't a sport but show business) but I found this a whole load of cheesy fun and the idea of adopting the wrestling format so that fantasy races could take part was, I thought, inspired.

The rules are easy to learn and a game usually lasts for five turns that can take from 30 to 90 minutes depending on the number of fighters involved. In Rumbleslam, teams are owned by casinos, paid for with cold hard Dosh, paid for by you, the sponsor. When hiring your team, you and your opponent have to spend the same amount of Dosh. The casinos and their wrestling teams are -
  1. Kaiser's Palace. The Heavy Pounders (Humans, Halflings and Ogres) and Runic Thunder (Dwarves).
  2. Gomorrah. The Deadly Divas (Female Humans and Female Ogres) and the Twisted Shadows (Female Dark Elves, Shadowlings and Gorgons).
  3. Rolling Bones. The Cryptborn Nightmares (Undead) and the Green Bruisers (Orcs, Goblins and Trolls).
  4. The Forest Soul. The Cold Bloods (Lizardmen) and the Timber Fists (Amazonians, Sprites and Treemen).
  5. The Feral Den. The Furry Fury (Ratlings) and the Raging Beasts (Barbarians, Goatmen and Minotaurs).
In addition are the Free Agents, individual superstars who can be hired by any team, although they often favour one team over the others. Rather than explain how the rules work here I'll explain them when I run through a batrep between the two starter teams very soon.
 Here are the Green Bruisers ...
...and their opponents, the Heavy Pounders.
Please note that the figures are huge. A human stands roughly 40mm tall! Now this may be a problem to those of you who moan about scale-creep. But my argument is, if the figures are only ever going to be used in Rumbleslam, as mine most likely will, then does it matter how tall they are? I felt the same way about the figures for Rum and Bones. With the figures being so tall, the detail on them is exceptional. They are cast in resin and some come in multiple parts. They also come with clear plastic circular bases either 25mm or 50mm in diameter. I do not like these at all. I am not a fan of these transparent acrylic bases. I stuck my figures on MDF bases appropriate to the size of the figure. So the Goblins and Halflings are on 20mm diameter bases, the humans on 25mm diameter bases, the Orcs on 30mm diameter bases, the Ogre on a 40mm diameter base and the Troll on a 50mm diameter base.

The MDF ring in its unpainted form. Mine will be painted.
At present, I only have the two starter box teams but I have bought a couple of superstars for each of them, and I'll show them next time. The teams I am most interested in playing are the Cryptborn Nightmares, simply because of my love of all things undead, and the Twisted Shadows (sexy Dark Elves). I have placed an order for both teams, and I'll showcase them as soon as I paint them. They'll be going straight to the front of my painting queue. To be honest, I like all of the teams and the Free Agents. In time, I'd like to get all of the figures available for this game.
I have also ordered the Rumbleslam Deluxe Ring, which is a laser-cut MDF board of the ring and which looks most impressive. See the picture to the right.

I do realise that this is very much a niche game and it certainly won't appeal to those of you who don't like wrestling. But for me, it is a guilty pleasure and one I look forward to playing many times. The Rumbleslam starter boxed set costs £45.00 from the TT Combat webstore, see here - https://ttcombat.com/collections/rumbleslam/products/rumbleslam-starter-box
But if you shop around, you can find it cheaper on other webstores. For example, Element Games are only charging £40.50 for it. See here - http://elementgames.co.uk/wargames-and-miniatures/cult-steampunk-other-miniatures-games/rumbleslam/2-player-starter-box

Monday, 30 October 2017

Vampifans Views 97 - Monthly Musings 70

Welcome to another of my Monthly Musings and once again it has been a very busy month hobby-wise for me. But first I start as always, with my picture of Vampirella. This offering is by comic artist, David Rodriguez, whose work I am not familiar with. I do like the cartoony look of Vampi here and I think the gold glasses are a cool touch. The orange moon and sky put me in mind of pumpkins, which is appropriate seeing as Halloween is only just around the corner. I love Halloween and I already have my bag of goodies ready for the trick or treaters.

I'll start with some news about the RPG I am most excited about seeing and that is Judge Dredd and the Worlds of 2000 AD. Previews of some of the pages of the book are now available for viewing (see https://www.worldsof2000adrpg.com/news-previews/) and we have been given a release date of this winter. Yes, I know, that could mean late this year or early next year but it gives me something to look forward to. I'll be covering this game in great detail on my WOIN blog.

Speaking of my WOIN blog, have you checked out my The Ace of Spades Campaign there? Playing and writing about it is a total labour of love. The scenario I'm running my PCs through is very long (I'm currently up to part 08), full of atmosphere and detail, and the way I'm writing it up, makes it feel more like reading a sci-fi novel than a batrep. The PCs are people you want to know about and spend time with. Please check it out if you haven't already. You may just be pleasantly surprised. 😉
I showed this picture of the main NPCs who were appearing in my current scenario on my WOIN blog. The female in the centre attracted the most comments. She was produced by Asgard Miniatures as part of their sci-fi range of 28mm scale figures way back in the early 1980's. I thought that this range was long out of production but to my great surprise I have only just discovered that Alternative Armies have revived it. You can check it out here - https://www.alternative-armies.com/collections/space-marines-and-adventurers The female whom I named as Sheas Danelish is HA6 Adventuress with Laser Pistol and she costs £2.00. I can't tell you how happy I am to see them all available again even though I have them all.

Work continues on the painting of my figures for Dracula's America and Shadows of Brimstone. In addition, I have started painting the four figures I ordered for the Frazetta Miniatures Kickstarter - 2 versions of Vampirella, a werewolf and a chaos knight on horseback. Photos will appear as soon as they're finished. Suffice to say, these are incredibly detailed resin cast miniatures. The chaos knight came in 12 parts, including his base! I'm pulling out all the stops on the painting of these figures. They deserve time and care being lavished on them.
I have also been painting some of my growing collection of micro-scale starships for my The Ace of Spades Campaign. For someone who was never interested in starship combat gaming I have fully embraced this genre of the hobby. My primary source for the starships I have been buying is Brigade Models (see here - http://www.brigademodels.co.uk/Spaceships/index.html) Their range is very extensive and they have just what I'm looking for. I haven't decided whether to showcase them on this blog or on my WOIN blog.
Finally, I have also painted all of the figures that came with and which I added to for a brand new game that has tickled my fancy. It is called Rumbleslam, the game of fantasy wrestling and it is produced by TT Combat. Expect a full review very soon.
It is a really fun game but I realise it won't be to everyone's taste. That's okay. I don't mind.

Kickstarters - love 'em or loathe 'em? Personally, I love Kickstarters and I've backed many over the years. This month I've backed two. One was for the Resident Evil 2 game by Steamforged Games. Backing this was a no-brainer. It features zombies, so of course, I'm going to be interested in it. Plus, I'm a big fan of the Resident Evil films and books. Oddly enough, I have never played any of the computer games, but that's simply because I'm just not into computer games at all. I have far too much to do anyway without having to find time to play computer games. My brother, however, is heavily into computer games, so he keeps me up to date with them.
The other Kickstarter I backed this month was for the Starfinder Masterclass Miniatures by Paizo Inc. and Ninja Division. My reasons for backing this project are not so obvious. The Starfinder RPG was only released very recently and it certainly intrigued me. However, at roughly £70.00 for the rulebook, I was in no rush to buy it. My patience paid off because a month or so after its launch, Amazon UK were selling it for £40.00, so I bought it at this bargain price. Running at 528 pages, it is a massive book. I've started reading it but I'm only half way through it. As I read it I keep making comparisons to the N.E.W. RPG by EN Publishing, which I absolutely adore. The two systems have much in common but of the two, I much prefer N.E.W. It is a lot simpler to play and more importantly, it does not have a fixed setting, which Starfinder does. I pretty much knew that I'd prefer N.E.W. before I bought Starfinder so why buy it? That's easy - to pinch stuff from it to use in my The Ace of Spades Campaign. It has cool new races, weapons, equipment, vehicles and settings I can use. This also explains why I decided to back the Kickstarter campaign. The resin cast 28mm scale figures are just a joy to behold. The level of detail on them is incredible. And they also make starships as well, although not in 28mm scale! So, I'm looking forward to getting some ultra-high quality figures to use in N.E.W. instead of Starfinder. Just check out these five figures from the range. I was wondering why they looked so familiar to me and then the penny dropped - they're the five characters who appear on the front cover of the Starfinder rulebook. I really love that purple-haired female. She reminds me of Lieutenant Gay Ellis from Gerry Anderson's UFO TV series. 😍

Next month, Battle Systems are going to launch their first sci-fi game, which will come with new card terrain and 28mm scale figures - a first for them. I'm immensely looking forward to that one.

That's all for now. Take care and have fun - that's what the hobby is all about!