Friday, 29 January 2016

Enter the Undead

I've created lots of warbands (here, here, here and here) to play Heroquest or Frostgrave with, but I don't have any wandering monsters painted up on the appropriate bases to fight against, yet. Once again Frostgrave has inspired me to get some of my miniature pile painted; so I rummaged through my box of Mantic undead and found some skeleton and zombie sprues initially and then I remembered that I had the Ghoul Warband from Heresy and finally an old Citadel Chaos Warrior who works perfectly as a Vampire/Necromancer character. Oh and a Lord of the Rings model to be used as a Wraith (I have no idea where or why I collected that one..)

So here are all the Undead assembled and based, ready to start painting:

I found a really useful online guide which lists the maximum amount and the full range of monsters which are needed to play Frostgrave - and I like lists to help focus my collecting impulses. So here's what is needed for the Undead contingent:
  • 12 Armoured Skeletons
  • 9 Ghouls
  • 5 Skeletons
  • 1 Vampire
  • 1 Wraith
  • 6 Zombies
Yes that's 34 Undead miniatures to paint...

And all the other creatures in the Bestiary (some of which I already have and some others which I will need to purchase):
  • 2 Bears
  • 1 Boar
  • 4 Giant Rats
  • 2 Spiders
  • 3 Toads
  • 2 Snow Leopards
  • 1 Gorilla
  • 2 Wild Dogs
  • 3 Wolves
  • 2 Large Constructs
  • 2 Medium Constructs
  • 2 Small Constructs
  • 1 Imp
  • 2 Major Demons
  • 3 Minor Demons
  • 1 Giant
  • 6 Giant Worms
  • 2 Trolls
  • 1 Werewolf
  • 1 Genie
  • 6 Statues
That's a significant addition to the [not so] miniature pile and the painting queue... Let's get to it.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Family Heroquest "Get the Cat"

Last night, my 3 kids and I had another very fun game of Heroquest "lite". Following on from the success of  "Save your Brother", we ran a similar theme but this time trying to rescue our cat! The simplified rules I used were as follows:
  • All characters can walk 4 squares. If they walk 4 squares then they can also either attack, cast a spell or investigate the area
  • Characters can instead run 6 squares but forgo any other activity
  • Investigating the area could trigger a wandering monster or the discovery of treasure, traps or equipment
  • The spell-casting character (oldest daughter) can cast any spell she can think of (she has to use her imagination) but can only cast the spell once i.e each spell must be different. For it to be successful she has to use rhyme in her spell incantation and had to roll under her age on 2d6 (she's 9). She only uses one battle dice in combat.
  • The other two characters (7 year old daughter and 3 year old son) had combat characters so could use three dice in combat. They had to roll over their age on 2d6 to attack first else they are attacked first! They only ever received scratches and bruises mind!
  • Plus lots of other rules I made up as we played to help the flow of the game and keep them interested. Oh and treasure was in the form of jelly beans!
Doing this with the kids is definitely fun times for all, but also encourages them to use their imagination, empathy, storytelling, literacy (eg. reading the cards and the scenario) and numeracy (dice, counting etc). What's not to love? Oh and I get to play with my lovely kids and my painted toys too!

So I was the GM and the scenario was quite simple:

After discovering and slaying a few zombies (with son's trusty flail and some Holy Water he discovered), the family chase the cat into a corridor. Middle daughter decides to investigate the red glowing eye on the blue skull of the floor, which releases a gem (yum!) but also a couple of armoured skeletons..

Getting down low to capture the action. In the next room the cat runs past a few rats who are blocking the way, but these are hastily dispatched with some crossbow shots that oldest daughter had discovered.

Entering a room that was partly submerged in green water, middle daughter decides to investigate it's murky depths, only for a green warty hand to try and grab her ankle - a troll! You can't go round it, you can't go over it, you've got to go through it! Oldest daughter casts a polite spell: "Don't be angry Mr. Troll please, because otherwise I'll make you freeze". And after a successful roll, he froze! Jelly bean jewels visible near the far door!

Son runs ahead into the next room and discovers a throne room, alas just missing the cat who scarpers off behind a pillar. "I'm not scared" he says. Grabbing the scroll from the skeleton's hand they find directions to a stash of treasure under the broken pillar. A few jelly beans each!

Unfortunately we were told that we needed to finish up at this point, as the real GM (my wife) told us that tea was ready and we had to clear the table :(  So oldest daughter cast a spell which involved a portal to catch up with the cat: "Dungeon, dungeon I am mortal, please let me walk through a portal". She successfully re-appeared next to the cat, picked him up and waited for the other two to dispatch a few more skeletons before they all caught up together to high-five a successful dungeon exploration.

The end!

Below is what they would have further experienced with the rest of my dungeon tiles, including the end of dungeon baddie - a Wight King!

Next time my eldest and I may try for a game of Frostgrave..

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Warbands! Part 4: Orcs

And my final warband (for now) are a bunch of Orcs and Goblins, led by an Elementalist (the spells seemed quite fitting for the raw, magical energy of an Orc) and of course his Goblin apprentice/shaman:

From left to right at the back we have an Orc Templar (100gc), 2 Archers (50gc each) and at the front 4 Thugs (20gc each), The Orc Elementalist, his Apprentice and a Goblin Thief (20gc).

That's all my warbands for now although I do have a Fighting Fantasy warband in progress (led by Yaztromo), but next up I'll be organising and painting some wandering monsters, the Undead. 9 Heresy Ghouls, 6 Mantic Zombies, I GW Wraith, 1 GW Vampire, 17 Mantic Skeletons (12 Armoured).

And I plan to do some battle reports where these same warbands of mine are used over a couple of games, but with each game the rule system changes. For example the first game will be using the Frostgrave ruleset, the second will be a RoC 3rd Edition clash and the final one a Song of Blades and hero skirmish. It will be interesting to see how the same skirmish force performs using different rulesets. Maybe.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Warbands! Part 3: Nurgle

My third warband for Frostgrave may be quite familiar as most of these miniatures have been painted for my Realms of Chaos project, but I've added a couple of warhounds and selected some of my favourite other Nurgle models to make a Nurgle/Frostgrave warband (the main sorcerer will be a Summoner so I can use a few of my Plaguebearers or even a GUO as summoned demons):

From left to right we have a Barbarian (100gc), 4 Thugs at the front (80gc), an Apothecary (100gc) - I had the perfect model already painted with his vials and bottles, the main Wizard, his apprentice and two warhounds (20gc).

Because of the natural basing I've done on these (rather than the stone/cobbled basing on my first two warbands) I've dug out my battle mat, river and trees and a couple of other buildings including  my Mausoleum, an old cottage and an old free with White Dwarf card tower that I polyfillad and improved upon many years ago. In fact the river, tower and cottage were scratchbuilt when I was a teenager, some 25 years ago, so proper Oldhammer and still look pretty decent.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Warbands! Part 2: Witch Hunters

My second completed Warband is formed of Witch Hunters (the main spellcaster and Apprentice, for Frostgrave purposes, will be of a Sigilist persuasion) where all of the miniatures have been taken from my unfinished Empire Army of Rensburg. The majority of these were painted many years ago and I chose the models to represent a strong theme with books and fire (burn the heretics) kind of flavour. I was missing a couple of archers so I found some old Bretonnian plastic bits and made them - adding a bow string from fishing wire and finished painting them earlier today. I've deliberately gone for a dark finish on all of them to exaggerate the light emanating from the torches..:

From left to right we have 3 Infantrymen (50gc each), 1 warhound (10gc), 2 Thugs at the back (20gc each), the Sigilist and the Apprentice and 2 Archers (50gc each).

Next up I'll finish a Nurgle Warband with a couple of chaos warhounds (to be used as a Summoner's warband) and my Orc Warband (as an Elementalist).

Friday, 8 January 2016

Warbands! Part 1: Family Adventurers

As stated in my end of year review; 2016 will start off for me all about the warband, which admittedly is not a huge change considering a lot of my 2015 work was focused on the Realms of Chaos. However I'm expanding my horizons away from 3rd Edition Warhammer and towards some new games systems; chiefly Frostgrave but also Dragon Rampart and Songs of Blade and Heroes. And at the same time using my miniatures for a bit of Family Heroquest too. All these games require a small quantity of miniatures (which means I can lavish more attention on them both in terms of painting and background story) and my first stop will be with the exciting game of Frostgrave (just without the snow). I like the fact that it has inspired me to make some more scenery to add to my town of Rensburg (more on that in a future post).

So my first three painted miniatures of 2016 are additions to my Heroquest family, which now have enough models to become a Frostgrave warband; those new miniatures being a Witch, an aged Barbarian (representing the grandparents) and our Cat Tom who will represent a warhound in the warband. Here are the 3 new additions:

The Witch is from Heresy miniatures, the aged Barbarian from Hasslefree and the cat is a slight conversion (in that the tail was clipped and resculpted to look more feline) from Reaper Bones.

And here is the entire warband, ready for some Frostgrave (or possibly Heroquest) action, exploring the City of Rensburg (read Frostgrave):

So the main spellcaster is the Witch (Grandma) and her apprentice (200gc) is Lily (my daughter). These two are ably supported by myself and Grandad as Barbarians (100gc each), Tom the Warcat (10gc), Sebastian the Infantryman (50gc) and finally Rosie and Willow (wife and daughter respectively) as the Thieves (20gc each).

Further Warbands to follow will include my 3rd Edition Orc warband, my Nurgle Warband, an Empire Warband and a Fighting Fantasy warband. Watch this space...

Sunday, 3 January 2016

The year that was 2015

So now that 2015 has actually finished and I've had an afternoon to myself (in preference to getting myself ready for an INSET tomorrow) I thought I'd treat myself to a rare moment of reflection and self-indulgence as I look back through my hobby year, as through the eyes of this blog. Usually my hobby thinking time is about the future and what I'll paint/collect/convert etc next, but it is nice to see what I've achieved and this blog is great for keeping a record, else I'd have no idea.

Well I've completed 62 blog posts in 2015, the vast majority of which featured painted models or scenery which was dedicated to my growing Nurgle Warband, through completing entries for the Lost and the Damned retinue table, or for warbands, Scenery, Tutorials, Fighting Fantasy, Orctober or Heroquest. Towards the end of the year I focused much more on making dungeon tiles for Heroquest (to play with my daughters) and the introduction of Frostgrave to my hobby time. In fact my last two purchases of the year were the rulebooks to Dragon Rampart and Blades of Song and Heroes; so it should be of no surprise that the start of 2016 will be dedicated to WARBANDS.

I've always liked the idea of smaller groups of figures (as you can tell by my love of GW's RoC) and 2016 will see me create several different warbands that can be used across a range of different systems and I will be creating loads more scenery with which to game with too.

I mentioned that the vast majority of my posts showcased my painted miniatures/scenery, but it was interesting to see what the top 3 most popular posts were (by traffic and comment). By far the most read blogpost was one I typed on a whim and did not include any of my miniatures (!) but rather a quickly written summary of how Age of Sigmar seemed to me to be linked quite closely to my beloved RoC:

1.  Age of Sigmar and Realms of Chaos

Second was one of my tutorial series on how to make cheap, quick and easy dungeon tiles:

2. Tutorial: Dungeon Tiles

And third was my idea about making a RoC warband using only bitz from my bitzbox:

3. Bitzbox Warband Challenge

These three posts were by far and away the most read and commented on, so perhaps I can surmise that new ideas, tutorials and conversions are my forte and that I need to step up the quality of my staple diet of painted miniatures..... My top posts on an actual painted miniatures were tied between my family Heroquest models:

4.  Family Heroquest

And my homage to the cover of Fighting Fantasy's Freeway Fighter:

4. Fighting Fantasy Freeway Fighter

Next year I hope to get one of my RoC models/warbands as a most popular post. The least 3 read posts of the year? Well in order of least innterest:

1. Blood Bowl Dwarf referee

2. Tutorial: Snow and Ice bases (admittetdly this was posted before I shared my blog on the Oldhammer Facebook page which provides the most amount of traffic to my blog)

3. Chaos Dwarf Mortar

Perhaps 1 and 3 are both a bit niche and not obviously related to any of my broader projects (althought the mortar will be part of my growing Chaos Alies project). Just no love for the only dwarves I painted this year.

That's a review of what all you readers decided to read (or not), but what of my favourite model/post? I did enjoy recreating the Freeway Fighter car as it challenged my modelling and painting skills, I enjoyed painting miniatures for some of my readers and I had a good go at painting some freehand banners based on some Fighting Fantasy images, but it was the return to my first Oldhammer love and the first models I painted (and fell in love with as a boy) that I enjoyed the most and perhaps the most proud of, my Orc warband:

My Orc Warband

So here's the breakdown of what I actually completed over the course of 2015, a total of 77 miniatures and 17 pieces of scenery, so a tally of 94!.


1 Winged minotaur
1 Throned Skeleton based on Ian McCaig's illustration
9 Oldhammer Orcs
3 Oldhammer Chaos Thugs
6 Jes Goodwin Ogres
2 Chaos Dwarfs and 1 Mortar
5 Family Heroquest Adventurers
1 Bloodbowl Dwarf Referee
2 Speedpainted Jes Goodwin Wardancers
1 Great Unclean One
1 Plaguemarine
1 Nurgle Centaur
2 Witch Elves
2 Elves
6 Oldhammer Human Runaways
1 Plaguebearer
1 Freeway Fighter car
2 Freeway Fighter drivers
1 Plague Elemental
20 Bloodbowl Orcs, Goblins and a Troll
4 Disciples of Red Redemption as Chaos Cultists
1 Nurgle Chaos Warrior
1 Chaos Sorcerer
1 Nurgle Sorcerer and familiar
1 40k Redemptionist
1 Sanity Claws

In terms of scenery:

5 Wall sections
1 Mausoleum
4 Trees
7 Dungeon tiles

So here's looking forward to realising more ideas and creating some new stuff in 2016 and hopefully getting more games in both at BOYL 2016 and perhaps before (especially warband based games..)

Many thanks for reading and contributing to this blog, it really does help to continue to inspire and motivate me, as does the blog network across the Internet. There's so much great stuff out there and apologies that I don't always comment on every great thing I see on other's blogs, but that's my new year's resolution for 2016!