Sunday, 28 May 2017

Vampifan's Views 92 - Monthly Musings 65

Reflection of Vampirella by Mike Mayhew
I have had a great month, which I can't wait to tell you about. But first, I begin as always, with a portrait of my beloved Vampirella. This stunning piece was painted by Mike Mayhew, a highly talented comic artist, whose work has featured on a few of my previous blog postings.

So, what have I been working on these past four weeks? On the painting and modelling front, I have mainly been concentrating on my N.E.W. sci-fi campaign. I have repainted and rebased a lot of my old sci-fi figures so that I can use them in this new venture. I have also been buying some new figures of alien races to use in the campaign. The heroes of the campaign will be the all female crew of "The Ace of Spades" scout ship. They are all completed and I have photographed them so that I can show them to you soon. The miniature starship I'm using for "The Ace of Spades" has been painted and based.
To help aid in any starship combats I may do in the campaign, I bought a 3' by 3' stars mousepad gaming mat made of synthetic cloth from Deep Cut Studios. I'm a huge fan of these types of gaming mats. I paid a bit extra to have a hex grid printed on the mat, which they did in a very subtle, understated manner. You have to look very closely to see the hex grid. Note that the photo to the left of here is of the 6' by 4' mat without the hex grid, but it gives you a good idea of what the mat looks like.
In addition to this, I have also been churning out NPC record sheets and printed gaming aids. There is a lot of work to do when setting up a sci-fi role-playing campaign but I am extremely enthusiastic about this project that it is all time well spent.

Just over a week ago I received this bundle of Doctor Who goodies from Warlord Games, containing the Exterminate! miniatures skirmish game, which pits the Cybermen against the Daleks, and the two expansion packs featuring Davros and 12 more Daleks and Missy and 12 more Cybermen. Davros and Missy are metal figures, whilst the Cybermen and Daleks are multi-piece plastic kits, that can snap together very easily. As most gamers will probably do, I glued mine together. Despite some criticism of how awkward the Daleks were to assemble, I had no problems with mine. They all fitted together perfectly. The Cybermen come with three different bodies and three different right arms, allowing for lots of variety. Although the Daleks are all in the same pose, I found it very easy to bend their eye-stalks,  manipulator arms and weapon arms to give them some variety as well. Plus, you can paint leader or named Daleks in different colours. I haven't played the game yet but having read the rules, it looks like a simple game to play. The rules remind me a lot of the Project Z rules (also by Warlord Games), which I was highly critical of. Until I actually play a game or two I'll keep an open mind on the rules. I certainly can't fault the figures. They are all beautiful sculpts. Incidentally, the rules do allow for the inclusion of the Doctor and his companions and a few alien races (Judoon, Silence and Zygons).

I forgot to mention in last month's musings that I had been invited to take part in Tim's (aka Dark Eyed Warrior) Pathfinder fantasy campaign called "Keep on the Borderland". It is a very long time since I did any fantasy role-playing and whilst I have never played Pathfinder before, it shares much in common with Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, so I wasn't too far out of my depth. I play a mightily strong 1st Level human fighter called Per, who has only recently joined the party of adventurers in their quest to clear a passage through the Menador Mountains for caravans to travel safely between the five towns that border the pass. You can read about how the party is getting on here - http://wargamersparadise.blogspot.co.uk/
Tim weaves a fascinating tale in his play by e-mail campaign and I'm thoroughly enjoying the experience, simply because it is such a huge departure for me.

Without a doubt, the highlight of the month was getting to meet Dave Stone, the head of Wargames  Terrain Workshop. As readers of this blog will know, I'm a huge fan of Dave's work and he kindly agreed to come and visit me so that we could spend a full day gaming and chatting. Dave is every bit as enthusiastic about our hobby as I am, and was a great conversationalist. He told me of many of his plans for future projects, which whilst I was not sworn to secrecy about, I'd rather keep quiet about until Dave is ready to reveal the relevant info. Suffice to say, I was drooling at the prospect of just what is planned!
We got to play two games during a very late evening session. The first game was Dave's sci-fi gladiatorial game called Death Match, which has only just been released on his webstore. This game really appealed to me. Dave kindly sent me a pre-release copy of the rules to play-test, which I did. I even made my own Death Match arena. I ordered the four-player game from Dave, which he brought with him to save posting it to me. What was even better, he also brought along all of his painted figures for the game. WOW! I was gob-smacked at A) how well painted they were (you can tell that Dave is a master painter) and B) just how tall many of them are. Believe me, the photos on his webstore give you no indication of how tall they actually are. For example, the female Arachnid must be about 4-5" in diameter and 2-3" tall. She is a beast in every sense of the word!
So, we played a game with Dave taking a Ceratid male (a rhino-like humanoid) and me taking a Scabendi male (a reptilian humanoid). And, yes, we did use Dave's painted figures. Before we began, Dave told me he always got beat at Death Match, especially when playing against his wife. Well, it was to be Dave's lucky night because things went bad for me from the start, rolling double ones for my activation (the worst possible result!) and proceeded to go downhill from there. I was soundly beaten by Dave, but I can't complain. He was by far, the better player on the night, and I refuse to blame my bad dice rolling.
I plan on giving this excellent little skirmish game a full review on my blog in the near future. I just want to get my figures painted for it first. I also plan on investing heavily in this game. I especially want the full 3D arena Dave is hoping to bring out for it. Dave has also told me about the new expansion races he wants to add, and one of them, the feline race, has me very excited.
The second game we played was the Judge Dredd Miniatures Game. This was a continuation of my campaign and I let Dave play the Justice Department (led, of course, by Judge Stone) and I played the perps. Full details will appear in my next post as another Comic Life batrep. This was the first time Dave had played this game and he took to it very well.
It is unusual for me to get any visitors, seeing as I live so far north, and even rarer to have a gaming friend come visit, so I'm sure you can imagine just what a thrill this was for me. Dave was the perfect guest and I'm sure this visit will cement our friendship even further. It will certainly linger in my memory for a very long time. Dave, mate, you more than made my day - you made my year!

Finally, I haven't forgotten about the prize draw competition I set a couple of weeks ago. I'll post the results of the winners some time in June, just in case anyone else still wants to enter. One change I am prepared to make, seeing as some entrants came from abroad, is that if you'd prefer a straight cash prize instead of a gift voucher I can do that providing you have a PayPal account. This also applies to UK-based entrants. Have fun and thanks for reading!

30 comments:

  1. What a varied musings this month Bryan, love this months art selection as I really like fantasy female's with reflections as there is so much scope to play with. The battlemat you got was fantastic and as you say the hex pattern was really subtle not to distract from the scene.
    I did notice you had the boxes for Exterminate on my visit in the vast array of goodies you have.
    The roleplay your doing with Tim sounds great fun and brilliant way for you to game with others.
    It was my pleasure and honour to come up and chat and game with you, and a massive thank you to you and your mum for making me feel so welcome.
    Your friend Dave

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    1. You're most welcome, Dave, and once again, it was an absolute pleasure meeting you. That was the best day's gaming I've had this year!

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    2. Was my pleasure Bryan and have got a renewed drive since my visit, I always seem to flag a bit after Salute as it can be very draining, but back up to full mojo now

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    3. Having seen how well you cope with your illness, Dave, I can fully appreciate how draining, both physically and mentally, putting on a show like salute can be. I'm so glad to hear you've got your mojo fully restored.

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  2. If Vampirella is undead, how can she cast a reflection in the pool of water?

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    1. That's easy, CC. Vampirella is an alien and not an undead creature. Sunlight, garlic and holy items have no effect on her.

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  3. Marvellous Musing, Bryan. Great piece of artwork and lots of lovely purchases to admire. The space mat looks very nice indeed, and obviously I'm a huge fan of "Doctor Who: Exterminate!" :-)

    Dave was clearly enthused about his visit to 'Vampifan's World Of The undead' when we chatted at Salute, and I'm pleased you got to see his excellent painted minis in the flesh - they really do look loads better in the flesh imho. I'm looking forward to playing "Death Match" myself, now I've got the rules printed out. Looking forward to the next "Judge Dredd" BatRep and Judge Stone being the star of the show :-)

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    1. As you'll see in the batrep Simon shared with two others of the triad ; )

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    2. Many thanks, Simon. Dave did mention your meeting with him at Salute and how much you enthused about his figures. You're absolutely right - it makes a huge difference to see to see them in the flesh over a website photo.

      "Death Match" is a really fun game and the fact that it is sci-fi based grabbed my attention far more than any historical or fantasy gladiatorial game would have.

      I really don't want to say too much about the "JDMG" batrep ahead of my posting but I suspect you'll be far more interested in how Judge Moore got on. Yes, Dave chose you and Andy to be his partners. ;-)

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    3. "Dave chose you and Andy to be his partners." - I can work with that, Bryan. Now if Judge Webb had made an appearance I'd have been concerned I was going to be shot in the behind at some point by one of my fellow Judges ;-)

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    4. Ha, ha! Dave and I did discuss the option of having Judges Moore and Webb teaming up but in the end it was decided to stick with the Triad.

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  4. great Vampi picture (glad to see the half "nekid" ladies are still present as promised), really looking forward to this N.E.W campaign you've promised, sounds like some good old school space opera, but a ship full of women! hope there is more than one bathroom or they'll never have time to achieve anything ;-), perhaps Judge Moore should join their crew, as he seems to excel at "bitchiness"? :-)

    Sounds like you and Dave had a good night, this sci-fi Gladiator game sounds interesting.

    Cheers Roger.

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    1. I'm too busy digging out my half-painted minis from last year's "Forgotten Heroes" to be 'bitchy' Roger. I'm hoping to actually get them finished this year :-)

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    2. Roger, thank you kindly. The N.E.W. campaign is most definitely space opera. Indeed it originated with FGU's "Space Opera" RPG, before evolving into a GURPS Space campaign. Now the time is right to resurrect it as a N.E.W. campaign, with most of the original crew.
      Judge Moore might be a tough cop in MC1 but he wouldn't last long on the Ace of Spades! :-) The crew have a very luxurious starship and they all have their own separate bedroom/bathroom/toilet. It makes life a lot easier!

      Dave and I had so much fun and yes, Death Match is well worth a look at. As soon as I get my first batch of gladiators painted I'll run a batrep on the blog.

      @Simon. You do realise that Roger and I will be holding you to that? :-)

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    3. Oooo Simon's going to actually finish some figures this year, perhaps he'll finish his Frostgrave warband from Mo'vember too (Yea' OK I hear it too, sign me up for the "Ace of spades" and I'll get me frock on!) ;-)

      Cheers Roger.

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    4. Simon does seem to have a lot of unfinished figures in his painting queue, doesn't he? We'll just have to see what he does actually get done. ;-)

      I'll see if there's an opening for you... er, miss!

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    5. Yes but he's also finished a lot more than me too this year, so if it draws his attention away from my lack of batreps, all the better I say.

      "I'll see if there's an opening for you... er, miss!", so you're saying I shaved my legs for nothing!!

      Cheers Roger.

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    6. "Simon does seem to have a lot of unfinished figures in his painting queue, doesn't he?" - well to be fair, you two are as much to blame for that as anyone else, as you keep posting such wonderful distractions :-)

      I do though plan to finish all my "Forgotten Heroes" from last year, this year, and hopefully finish my "Nemesis The Warlock" warband (as Torquemada's is finally done). Then i'll only be a few months behind with my painting plans ;-)

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    7. @Roger. QUOTE "Yes but he's also finished a lot more than me too this year, so if it draws his attention away from my lack of batreps, all the better I say."
      I can't fault your logic, Roger. :-)

      Oh, the shaved legs aren't a problem - it's the stubble on your chin that's a bit off-putting! LOL!

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    8. @Simon. I hold my hands up and have nothing to say in my defence, except a profound apology to your wallet, mate.

      QUOTE "I'll only be a few months behind with my painting plans ;-)"
      Hey, you're catching up at last! Woot!

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    9. "Oh, the shaved legs aren't a problem - it's the stubble on your chin that's a bit off-putting! LOL!"

      I wasn't aware I even had a web-cam let alone that it was switched on!! better go and put some clothes on then!

      Cheers Roger.

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    10. Bryan, I'm really keen to actually finish painting my projects this year, hence a momentary ban on new buys, until September and "Colours". Whether I'll manage it remains to be seen, as the new "Cyberman" boxed set is a cracker imho.

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    11. More power to you, Simon. I'd love to cut down on my own figure spending but with so many incredible new figures being released every month it is an uphill struggle. The two new "Exterminate!" expansion sets are worth getting just for the amazing sculpts of Davros and Missy.

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  5. First things first - one of the best Vampi pics ever!

    Secondly- having met and chatted to Dave, I can confirm he is a top bloke and his painted figs are something to aspire to, I will be purchasing more of his dragons for sure (as soon as I have gaming funds available). I have read through the "Death Match" rules and like them in principle, of course I need to get some figures on the gaming table to run through them to give a proper review but they do seem very sound.
    Thirdly - I'm so glad you two got to meet and more importantly game, I'm sure you had a cracking time (I'm very jealous!)

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    1. Cheers, Andy. It is an absolutely stunning portrait of Vampi. Mike must have used a model to get the artwork looking so realistic. I don't blame him, if he did.

      Dave is definitely one of the good guys and his painted figures are a feast for the eyes. Sadly, I know I will never be as good a painter as he is, but I'm happy with my output, so that's all that matters.

      I can't believe the 23 hours Dave spent with me passed so quickly. The chat was great and the games we played were just the icing on the cake. Andy, if our roles had been reversed I'd have been jealous too.

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  6. I really do have mixed feelings about Dr Who as a wargame. Dr who is the only male hero who does not use violence to solve problems which , at least to me, seems very unlike a wargame.

    OK that aside. Jd thumbs up. Always want to see/hear more. Death match could also be good. So plenty that could be worth looking at in the near future.

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    1. Thanks, Clint. I totally agree with you about the Doctor looking for non-violent solutions to problems but I have no problem with the Daleks and the Cybermen scrapping each other. In this game the Doctor is merely an optional add-on.

      The JDMG batrep will appear in my next post but you'll probably have to wait another month or so before I fully review Death Match.

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  7. Bryan, it's been great having you in the Pathfinder campaign. You'd be amazed how much of the techniques I use were inspired by some of your solo zombie campaigns.

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    1. Thanks, Tim. That really means a lot to me.

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