Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Vampifan's Views 74 - Monthly Musings 49

Miss Vampirella December 2015 - Sascha Knopf
Welcome to my final post of 2015. As with all of this year's Monthly Musings I begin with a photo of one of my 12 favourite Vampirella models. This time it is Sascha Knopf, the first Vampirella model to appear on the front cover of a Harris Vampirella comic (Vampirella Strikes #1). In fact, she appeared on four different cover variants of the comic. Vampirella Strikes #1 sold well, giving Harris the confidence to use Vampirella models for other covers, but sadly not Sascha herself. However, she did feature on Scarlet Legion (the Vampirella fan club) photos and as a convention model.
Moving on from modelling, Sascha appeared in MGM’s What’s the Worst That Could Happen? as Danny DeVito’s social-climbing mistress, and in the film Shallow Hal with Gwyneth Paltrow and Jack Black. She has continued acting in a string of films to this day.
Besides being a versatile, actress who can play both leading lady and character, she also has a promising career as a professional photographer. Sascha feels her work in front of the camera has given her great insight in being behind the camera, an understanding of the need for a "connection" between the photographer and the model.
Sascha deserves her place in my top twelve. Whilst her boots are too long, I can't criticise them because they look so darned good on her! Incidentally, that's a snow globe she's holding in her hand. How very Christmassy!

This being my last post of 2015 I thought I'd look back over the year as well as telling you about what I'm doing now and what to expect next year.

2015 was once again marked by me indulging in my passion for board-games that use miniature figures. I began the year by playing Super Dungeon Explore and showcased the figures from the basic boxed set as well as the Von Drakk's Manor expansion set. These received mixed comments from my followers with most liking them but a vociferous few hating them (you know who you are!). At the end of March I received a huge parcel of goodies for the Zombicide Season 3 Kickstarter project I'd backed. This was quickly followed by a review of a board-game that I'd been after for a long time - A Touch of Evil, which was set in and around a small, spooky American town in the early 19th Century. I bought all of the expansion sets for it and thoroughly enjoyed playing it. May saw the arrival of the revamped Super Dungeon Explore rules called The Forgotten King or SDE version 2.0. This remained in its box until November when I finally tried it and fell in love with the solo rules known as Arcade Mode. I have yet to paint any of the figures for it. Hangs head in shame! In August I played my first (and to date only) game of Arkham Horror based on H.P. Lovecraft's Call of the Cthulhu mythos. I'd like to play more of it. In September I received another massive parcel for a Kickstarter project - Rum and Bones. This game of pirates was right up my street and is such great fun to play. I really must get round to painting at least some of the wonderful figures from the game. The Thunderbirds 50th Anniversary Board-game was the only board-game I bought that had nothing to do with the undead. It was purely a self-indulgent purchase because I have always loved Thunderbirds. It turned out to be a cracking good game. I did a comprehensive review of another game I'd bought, and have often played since, Castle Ravenloft. Given my love of all things undead it probably surprised no-one that I painted all of the figures from the game and loved most of them. Although there were some notable exceptions. The year ended on a high in mid-December when I received the boxed set for the Zombicide: Black Plague board-game. This was a game I instantly fell in love with and is now my all-time favourite board-game.

Moving on to the present and I'd like to tell you what I got for Christmas this year. I mentioned recently when I reviewed the High Moon rules by THW that I'd love to get into Wild West skirmish gaming. There is board-game produced by Flying Frog Productions (makers of A Touch of Evil and Last Night on Earth) called Shadows of Brimstone, which I have quite fancied buying. I checked on Amazon UK and saw they had the two starter sets for sale so I ordered them both and they arrived just before Christmas Day. Lucky me!
The two sets are sub-titled City of the Ancients and Swamps of Death. I'll review these fully in the new year. Both sets take place in an abandoned mine which can lead to alternate dimensions - the City of the Ancients or the Swamps of Death. So they play like a dungeon crawl. The heroes face supernatural creatures like zombies as well as assorted demons and other nasty surprises. As with all Flying Frog games, the production values are first rate and the miniatures are top notch.
Beatrix the Witch Queen - sadly not painted by me!
These were my two big presents from myself to myself. I also bought a few figures for SDE - Beatrix the Witch Queen (so cute and adorable), Jack Scarecrow and the Claws of the Wyrm Warband (a boxed set of 15 figures).
My good friend, Stephen Gilbert, gifted me a remarkable present - the complete set of Impact Chibi Miniatures. He had wrote a set of Chibi rules for Impact and received them as part payment. However, he soon realised he'd never be able to paint them all or use them all so he made me an offer I couldn't refuse. He'd let me have them all (bar a few he'd painted and wanted to keep) in return for a few Memoir 44 (a WW2 board-game) expansion sets he wanted. As far as I was concerned  it was a win-win situation. I bought Steve the expansion sets he wanted and he sent me his Impact Chibi collection. I now have well over 100 new figures to sort out and paint... eventually. My collection of fantasy Chibi figures is now immense, as the Impact figures are very compatible with the SDE figures! I'm happy and Steve's happy. Result!
Hobby-wise I have been playing lots of games of Zombicide: Black Plague this month, although that is now taking a short break because I've started painting the figures from it. I'm now playing more games of The Forgotten King.

Looking forward to 2016 and once again the year will be dominated by Kickstarters... or rather, stuff from Kickstarters that I backed in 2015. I'm expecting two Kickstarter parcels in January. One will be a huge package containing the Ninja All Stars game, which is both a stand-alone game and a tie-in for Super Dungeon Explore. I've ordered the basic game and all of the extras. I'm also expecting the add-ons for the Thunderbirds game very soon. That'll be a much smaller parcel. Another Kickstarter project I backed last year was for a batch of brand new Impact Chibi Miniatures. I dunno when they're due but, hopefully, it should be sooner rather than later. Around about Easter time are two more Kickstarter parcels I should be receiving. One will contain all the add-ons and stretch goals I ordered for Zombicide: Black Plague. I'm very excited about that, as I did order a lot. The other is for a miniatures-based board-game called The Others: 7 Sins. This is set in modern times and almost the whole world has been taken over by demons who follow one of the Seven Deadly Sins from the Holy Bible. A small band of survivors still stand against them. Can they prevail? The figures look stunning. In July I'm expecting LOADS of 3D scenery from the Battle Systems Urban Terrain Kickstarter. This, more than anything, will get me back to skirmish war-gaming with miniature figures. Zombie gaming is the obvious choice for this set. Hopefully, I'll get back to playing All Things Zombie. Last but by no means least, I hope to end the year with a massive parcel from Soda Pop Miniatures - Super Dungeon Explore: Legends. This is slated for a December 2016 release. I just recently backed this Kickstarter project for $300 but in return, I'll receive over $1,000 worth of product - an absolute bargain! Legends finally introduces campaign rules to SDE. Awesome!

As you can see, I have lots to look forward to. Barring illnesses, 2016 should be a great year for me. At this time of year it is customary to make your New Year's resolutions, a tradition I generally ignore. However, I do have a number of resolutions I'd like to make, all of which I think are achievable.
  1. Play more games. This should be no problem at all. In 2015 I played at least one game per week throughout the year. I hope to double that for 2016.
  2. Cut back on my hobby spending, especially on Kickstarters. I'm now at the point where I have  enough games to last me decades of gaming. I don't need any more games. If there is a new Zombicide Kickstarter launched in 2016 I'll back it but otherwise I'll be very selective about what I buy. I have already drastically cutback on my miniature figure spending but I really need to cutback on Kickstarter projects.
  3. Drink more water. Health-wise, this is very important and easily achievable as water is just about all I do drink.
I will, of course, keep on blogging. It is such a part of my life now that I could never give it up. Expect more of the same - figures and games reviews mixed in with a few batreps and my Monthly Musings. This has been a very wordy post, so well done if you're still here. I'd just like to end by wishing everyone a very happy New Year. Peace, prosperity and good health to you all.

28 comments:

  1. Terrific stuff and what a cracking year, Bryan :-) Many thanks for thoroughly entertaining me over the past twelve months and I'm certainly looking forward to seeing what you post over the next year. That "Shadows Of Brimstone" looks especially worrying ;-)

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    1. Many, many thanks for your support throughout the year, Simon. I always look forward to your comments and, of course, reading your own wonderful blogs - Fantorical and The Brown Bag.
      "Shadows of Brimstone" intrigued me because it mixes the Wild West with supernatural horror. I'll most likely do a full review of the game in my next post.

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    2. I'd certainly be interested in which of the two start sets you prefer to get into the game Bryan, and as a complete aside I see that Amazon have the trade paperback for "Aliens Vs Zombies" up on pre-order (18th Feb) which I thoroughly recommend. I've yet to post my review of #5, but having read it, I don't think you'll be disappointed. Its certainly better than "Vampirella vs Army Of Darkness" ;-)

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    3. To be perfectly honest, Simon, there is very little to choose between the two as they are so similar and share many of the same rules. If I had to choose I'd pick Swamps of Death, simply because that's the set that contains the zombie figures.

      Aliens vs Zombies TPB has just been added to my Amazon Wish List, so many thanks for the heads up. Come on, Simon, ANYTHING has to better than the dire Vampirella vs Army of Darkness series! ;-)

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  2. I wish you well for the year ahead

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    1. Thanks, Clint. Good wishes to you, too.

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  3. I hope you have a great year, your plans certainly seem very achievable! Hopefully there are not too many tempting kickstarters to derail you!

    I enjoyed playing the Shadows of Brimstone, and as you have said, Flying Frog does have top notch production values. I can't wait to see your review!

    Happy New Year!

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    1. Many thanks, Steve. Your blog post on Shadows of Brimstone definitely influenced my decision to buy this game.

      All the best for 2016.

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  4. Thanks for this year Bryan, your blog in particular has been hugely influential on my own gaming - ATZ being the big one! A lot of the stuff you've been blogging about has been incorporated. So again thanks!!

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    1. Cheers, Andy. It's been a real pleasure getting to know you and I've thoroughly enjoyed your blog posts. ATZ is still a big favourite of mine and I'm hoping to get back to it when I receive my new urban terrain.

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  5. Seems like you had a great hobby year Bryan! Lots to look forward to as well, looking forward to your thoughts on the Battle System's stuff. You've even had loads of the dreaded Chibis, a 100 should take you awhile.
    Good luck with them and your resolutions Dude! Have a great New Year!

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    1. I really can't complain about 2015, Bob. It has been a good year for me. It'll be quite a while before I get round to painting any new Chibis. Right now I'm concentrating on painting my Zombicide: Black Plague figures.
      Best wishes to you and your family.

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  6. How about a small cup of water per blog comment? You've had a very productive year and i've enjoyed seeing your SDE figures come to life with your brushwork.

    I know what you mean about kickstarters and buying figures. I need to be good for a few months and work my through some of these figures I've acrued in 2015.

    A game week is a fine score!

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    1. Thanks for the kind words, Simon. I'm determined to kick my Kickstarter addiction in 2016. I really don't need any more games. Playing a game a week is a good score but given how many I own I would like to up my quota.
      I wish you and your family all the best.

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  7. Other than your unfortunate illness, it would seem you've had a good year overall, Bryan. As a fan of the undead, I look forward to reading your posts and have been entertained and tempted in equal measure by them. Still working my way through your "back catalogue" though...
    Sounds like 2016 will be of equal merit and I'm looking forward to seeing your painted Black Plague figures.
    As an aside, being an expert on zombies, do you know of any manufacturers of zombie animals? I have a dastardly plan, for which I require a fair amount of zombie chickens or turkeys, but my Web-fu has failed me, so any help or suggestions would be appreciated.
    All the best to you and your family.

    Regards

    Jez

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    1. Many thanks for your kind words and continued support, Jez. I'm really having a lot of fun painting my Black Plague zombies and survivors.

      Very few firms sell zombie animal figures. Dogs seem to be the most popular zombie animal. As for chickens or turkeys, I know of no-one who makes them. The closest option I can suggest are the Murder of Crowz set for Zombicide, which I reviewed here - http://vampifansworldoftheundead.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/zombicide-murder-of-crowz.html
      They are the only zombie birds that I know of.

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    2. Dogs and wolves seem to be the most popular, although Twilight Creations appear to have released a "bag o'animals" for their Zombies!!! game, which includes zombie hyenas, lions, tigers, bears, gorillas and monkeys. Whilst they're smaller than 28mm, I might pick up a pack anyway, as you get 90 figures. Just got to find a reasonable online retailer.

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    3. Sounds good,Jez. I like the Zombies!!! game but I didn't know about this new pack. Good find!

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  8. Cor, I didn't realise that you had been so busy. Well done you. Keep it up. I loook forward to some more batreps. All the best pal.

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    1. Thanks, Bob. I like to keep busy and I'm so glad that I can spare so much time to my hobby activities - gaming, modelling and painting. All the best to you too.

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  9. Wow, you really are set up for several years ahead, aren't you :-) ?

    Another vote for more ATZ! I keep meaning to revitalise my own games of this...

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    1. I certainly am well set up, Hugh. I do love ATZ and I definitely want to get back to playing it. The new scenery from Battle Systems will make a huge difference to me and hopefully will get me back into my ATZ campaign.

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  10. Happy new year, Bryan, keep gaming hard and stay out of those hospitals!
    I'm cutting back on my KS too. I wanted to quit but the others really got my attention. Peace and good health to a great friend!
    Rog

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    1. Wise words, Roger. Yes, The Others really intrigued me so much that I had to back it.
      Peace and good health to you too. I wish you all the best for 2016.

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  11. A very Happy New Year Bryan, and to everyone who frequents the Vampifan site.

    Wow, looks like I`m one of the very first to write anything here for 2016 woohooo!!!

    Not really relevant to anything (but sparked by something Bryan said earlier), so I`ll quickly mention it here.

    New Year`s resolutions: hmmmmm. Well a big one for me is the absolute and focussed decision once and for all to concentrate a heck of a lot more on my own Blogs and websites. If Bryan considers (at some later date) to post any links here, well, that's cool too :))

    I really do have a lot planned, especially on line, but not all of it will be about undead. I have many historical and fantasy interests which do not always include booglies and undead hehe (namely, Pulp Era Gaming, Weird World War 1 & II, historical World War II, World War I, American War of Independence, Imagi-nation Pax Limpopo (Victorian-esque), historical Colonial Zulus (Roarke`s Drift), 18th century Naval wargaming (Hornblower etc) Star Wars rpg.... my main booglies and fantasy/undead interests are, Super Dungeon Explore, Zombicide, Black Plague, Dungeons and Dragons, Arkham Horror, Last Night on Earth, A Touch of Evil, Legends of Andor, Middle Earth TMG.... just to name a few of my favourites.

    Like Bryan, for me it is a time to consolidate, dig in, and start to play with what I have and stop buying more hehe.

    Happy New Year guys.

    Steve :)))

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    1. I very much appreciate your comments, Steve. it's always a pleasure to hear from you.

      I love your resolution to concentrate more on blogging. If you can do more than three posts that will be quite an achievement. :-) Of course I'll promote your work on my blog. You certainly have enough material to draw upon with all the games you listed. I genuinely hope you do manage to accomplish this resolution.

      You've often said to me that i should concentrate on the games I already own and not keep buying new games. This is good advice and this time I'm heeding it. Yes, it most definitely is time to consolidate, dig in and play more of the games I already own.

      Happy New year, Steve.

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