Saturday, 29 August 2015

Vampifan's Views 67 - Monthly Musings 45

Miss Vampirella August 2015 - Leslie Culton
This month's Vampirella model, Leslie Culton, has achieved something I did not think was possible. She has taken Vampirella's skimpy costume and made it even skimpier! I have been critical of the costumes worn by some of the models I've shown in the past and Leslie's home-made costume is not strictly accurate but I just can't bring myself to criticise it. I think it is quite outstanding and I salute Leslie's courage for wearing it in public. I have a lot of photos of Leslie. Indeed I have more of her than any other Vampirella model. So to pick out just one from so many to show here was not an easy task.
American born Leslie is a bit of an unusual model. Initially, purely a sci-fi fan (Doctor Who in particular), at the age of 12 she attended her first convention and a legend was born. Apart from her fascination for the whole sci-fi/comic book scene, Leslie discovered costumes! Over the next few years Live Action Role-Playing dominated her life, and then in the late 1990's she left Georgia and started a professional career. Over the years Leslie has probably been the longest lasting Vampirella model, almost as famous at the conventions as the official artists and models.

For three days last week I was without my computer as it had to be taken away to have its hard drive re-formatted. Yes, it was a major systems crash, but all is well again. I'm still using Windows 8.1 and thanks to saving everything on my external hard drive, I didn't lose anything. Always, always, always back up anything that is remotely important to you! So, if you were wondering why my blog post didn't appear last Wednesday that's the reason why.

My biggest gaming news of the month is that I recently bought the Dungeons and Dragons Castle Ravenloft Board Game. I stopped playing Dungeons and Dragons in the late 1980's and I honestly never expected to play it again. But a number of factors made this purchase such a necessity. First up, my good friend Stephen Gilbert, has been trying to persuade me to buy this game all year. He rates it (and its expansions) very highly. It was Steve who persuaded me to buy Arkham Horror, Super Dungeon Explore and A Touch of Evil, so I very much value his opinion. The second factor is that I have come to love solo board games like the ones mentioned, plus of course, Zombicide. Castle Ravenloft is designed to be played by one to five players, so that's a big plus point. But probably the main reason for buying it is the setting. Castle Ravenloft is ruled by a very powerful vampire called Count Strahd Von Zarovich and is populated by all manner of undead monsters and villains. Given my love of all things undead it was a no-brainer that I'd want to own this game at some point. Just last week Steve tried to persuade me once more to buy Castle Ravenloft. Earlier in the year his timing was bad as I had so many other irons in the fire but this time round his  timing was perfect and I placed my order with the good folks from Amazon UK. Expect a full review of the game and the figures fairly soon.

In other gaming news I played my first game of the Arkham Horror board game and despite losing badly I very much enjoyed the experience. Arkham Horror shares a lot in common with A Touch Of Evil, which stood me in good stead for playing this Cthulhu Mythos based game. It took over five hours to play and quite a while to set up. Also, the game takes up a lot of table space. Game play is similar to A Touch Of Evil but far more detailed. I played with two investigator characters and they were doing well, managing to close five of the six dimensional gates required to win the game. But before they got anywhere near the sixth gate the Great Old One awoke and devoured them both with contemptuous ease. Of course, much of my playing time was spent referring to the rulebook, so hopefully, now that I know how the game plays future games should be shorter. It is definitely a game I can recommend if you are a fan of H.P. Lovecraft's Call of the Cthulhu or if you just fancy a fully engaging board game that you can immerse yourself in for hours at a time.

Finally, there was one other purchase that I made recently that filled me with great joy and delight - a life-size cardboard cut-out of Vampirella. She stands 6 feet (182cm) tall, which makes her taller than me. I took a couple of photos of her outside on the patio of my back garden. First, by herself and then with me standing alongside her. She now has pride of place in my man cave.

Long live Vampirella!

I leave you with a bonus picture of Leslie Culton showing off her ample charms and how incredibly daring her costume is! This photo was taken at a comics convention, which just goes to show how much bottle she has to appear in public dressed like that. Leslie, I salute you. Part of me wishes I was there with her but another part (my devil half) asks, would I be able to keep my hands off her?
Vampirella and Vampifan aka Beauty and the Beast.
Leslie Culton just about bares all. Oh, my God! Sheer perfection!

20 comments:

  1. Perfection indeed Bryan, how have you been?

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    1. Fran! How lovely to hear from you again, my friend. I'm doing really well health-wise, and hobby-wise, life just couldn't be better. How's Irish life treating you? Are you well/happy/contented?

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    2. None of the above but getting there mate.

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    3. I truly wish you all the best.

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  2. Irish life... did I hear Ireland.. who lives in Ireland... except me of course?

    Excellent Bryan. Keeping an eye on this one. Wont reply yet. I`ll wait until there`s more about the D&D game and then flood you with my usual Magnum Opus type relies.

    Vampirella. mmm wouldn't turn her out into the cold, that's for sure.

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    1. Thanks, Steve. Yes, Fran is Irish and he recently moved back there.

      Obviously, I have a lot more to say about Castle Ravenloft. I look forward to reading your next magnum opus.

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  3. Akham horror is a great game, I prefer some of the add on games though. Yes they can be hard to beat, but beating the mythos should never be easy!

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    1. I was very impressed with Arkham Horror, Clint. I want to try more of the original game before moving on to the expansion sets. I do own Dunwich Horror, Innsmouth Horror and Kingsport Horror. So, lots to look forward to.

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  4. Huge fan of Arkham Horror Bryan, having played it numerous times. I'd be very interested in hearing your thoughts about Ravenloft too, as I've had that game in my hands many a time but never bought it. Great news to hear your computer is up and running again, and delighted you haven't lost anything as well :-)

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    1. Thanks, Simon. Losing my computer for three days was an annoyance, but not the end of the world. I own a Nexus 10 tablet, so I had access to the Internet and didn't miss much. Having an external hard drive was a godsend, especially as I update it on a daily basis.

      I fully plan on posting proper reviews of both Arkham Horror and Castle Ravenloft in the near future. Keep an eye out for them.

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  5. Love the cardboard cut out of Vampirella! very cool. And as for Leslie................

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    1. Thanks, Ray. I'm sure your thoughts about Leslie are the same as mine... unprintable!

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  6. Quick comment on Arkham Horror. I notice that almost everyone tends (when collecting this game) to go for the big box expansions first. Probably because these contain extra boards, and thus, it looks like you get more for your money. Trouble is, end of the day, you end up needing an area the size of a table tennis table just to set up a game up this size, and by the time you include even one or two of the extra boards from the big box expansion sets, the sheer amount of bending, leaning, and walking around the table trying to reach each part of the game, becomes a physically tiring, painful, back breaking nightmare... unless you are young and athletic, which I certainly am not. Those glory days are long behind me haha. The big box expansions are great.... played one at a time, the way they were originally designed to do (when you have time on your hands to do them justice...experienced one at a time). They certainly add a lot of theme and a wealth of diverse `new` atmosphere to the game experience, but I think they work best when used for just that... NEW experiences. Eventually, way way wayyyyy down the line after maybe the first fifty or so games simply trying to master this giant of a gaming horror story classic; eventually the game will start to feel, dare I say, familiar and samey. THIS is the time to add in a new board into the mix: from Dunwich, Innsmouth, or Kingsport (Insmouth is my personal favourite as I love the story so much).

    But for sheer added excitement, a myriad of variety, changing tone, and macabre expansion to an already rich tapestry of design, I`d go for adding in one or even two small box expansions at a time. These include no new maps, but a ton of new cards... always introduces a new well thought out role play/storytelling element, and a bunch of scenario specific cards, to be included into various piles that already exist within the game mechanic. A couple of the small box expansions even introduce new card stacks to add into the scenario being played.

    The King In Yellow (my personal favourite, but grindingly... insanely hard to beat), Curse of the Dark Pharaoh, Lurker at the Threshold, The Black Goat of the Woods, Strange Remnants... ALL and ANY of these will sufficiently and substantially change your game just enough to keep it interesting, enticing, and addictive, but without making the game noticeably any more complicated or needing a bigger area to play on.

    Should also note, that every single expansion ever released for this game is fully interchangeable in any combination you like. Heck, you could even try using it all at once I suppose. Wow, let me know how you get on with that idea... two years down the road when you complete the first trial run of that mammoth experience hehe.

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    1. Thanks for your valued insight, Steve. What you say is absolutely true. The three big expansions that I have do appear to add more bang for my buck but they do take up a hell of a lot of table space. I can fit Arkham Horror and one other expansion on my dining room table, which is where I play all of my games.

      The idea of utilising all four games at once is an absolute non-starter for me, unless I won the National Lottery! As I said in my blog, I want to play lots more games using just the components from Arkham Horror. The number of investigators, monsters and end-game gods means that no two games will ever be alike. This is especially true given the sheer number of cards that come with the game. There is a great deal of mileage to be had from just the basic game.

      That said, I have no doubt at all that I will end up buying the smaller expansion sets some time in the future. Playing my first game of Arkham Horror has certainly whetted my appetite for playing many more games. Watch this space.

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  7. Thanks Bryan mate.

    Just a quick word about The King In Yellow (to my mind the first small expansion you should one day buy... actually the first expansion anyone should buy and add to the game full stop). It comes in the from of a play, currently being performed in Arkham City. The play has `Acts`, and as the game progresses and you pull cards from the deck.... you really DONT want the next `Act` or the next `Act` and so on, to take place, as each time an act moves forward a pace, the game changes and becomes steadily harder and more macabre. It really feels like a race with time to meet the winning conditions before the dratted play comes to an end and damnation spreads like a plague through the city. Thematically, this small box expansion just does it for me.

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    1. Thanks, Steve. The King in Yellow sounds very interesting and exciting. More than likely it will be the first of the small expansion sets I buy.

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  8. A fine collection of games Bryan. Love your Vampirella cut out Dude! As forLeslie, well that final shot just about ruined my tab when I spat coffee all over it.

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    1. Oh, Bob, I do apologise. I should have posted a warning beforehand. Thanks for the kind words. Leslie is quite the distraction, huh?

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  9. Am I alone in finding this post slightly creepy? Sorry, Bryan, but I'd prefer to concentrate on the games and miniatures rather than soft porn.

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    1. Yep, you are alone in such thinking. Don't worry though, normal service will be resumed next time.

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