Monday, 29 February 2016

Star Monsters Pocket Friends collectables from Magicbox Toys

Time for something a little different to the norm today.  Star Monsters.  These are some funky little collectable hard plastic space creatures at pocket money prices, suitable for the younglings in the family (or the older ones if you really want). learn more about your Star Monsters here

So I thought Olivia should take a look at these, as an experienced fan of collectables such as Shopkins and so on.  We are looking at a mix of packs, just to give you an idea of what you can get out there.

The Website says this about Star Monsters.....

Triangular stars fall from the sky, this is the origin of Star Monsters. Quirky and funny characters, unlike anything that you have ever seen. Each and every one is here to play! Discover them all! Star Monsters guarantee fun!

Lets take a look in the packs....

House Targaryen Faction focus for A Game of Thrones the Card Game Second Edition LCG

In this faction focus we look at House Targaryen.  We will be looking at their strengths, and weaknesses and some of their best cards.

House Targaryen is a noble family of Valyrian descent that escaped the Doom. They lived for centuries on the island of Dragonstone until Aegon the Conqueror and his sisters rode their dragons in the conquest of the Seven Kingdoms.

House Targaryen ruled as the Kings on the Iron Throne and the Great House of the crownlands for nearly 300 years, until their ouster in Robert's Rebellion. Their seats were the Red Keep in the capital city of King's Landing, the island castle of Dragonstone, and the summer residence of Summerhall.

Once a noble family of the vast Valyrian Freehold, an empire spanning most of the eastern continent, the Targaryens were given control of the island of Dragonstone in the Narrow Sea some centuries ago. After the obliteration of Valyria in the Doom, the Targaryens launched a devastating invasion of Westeros using three dragons to spearhead their attack. In a short period of time, six of the seven formerly independent kingdoms had surrendered to the Targaryen leader, King Aegon I, unifying the continent under his rule. The last hold-out, Dorne, joined the kingdom through a political and marriage alliance some two centuries later.

During the increasingly erratic reign of King Aerys II, his son Rhaegar kidnapped Lyanna Stark of Winterfell for unknown reasons. This sparked a massive uprising led by Eddard Stark, Robert Baratheon and Jon Arryn. At the end of this war Aerys and Rhaegar were dead and the Targaryen power-base in Westeros destroyed. Aerys's youngest children, Viserys and Daenerys, were taken by Targaryen loyalists into exile in the Free Cities of the East.

Generations of compound inbreeding have preserved in the Targaryen bloodline the classic Valyrian features of silver-white (platinum blonde) hair, and very fair, pale skin. Allegedly, this also preserved in their bloodline the ability to successfully bond with and ride dragons. They also seem to be somewhat more tolerant of extreme heat and high temperatures than other people, though they are by no means invulnerable to fire – or at least, not all of them.

Lets take a look at some of the cards.....

Friday, 26 February 2016

Smart Egg Spider 1 Layer Labyrinth Puzzle from Possible Games

You may remember a while back we looked at the Smart Eggs here.  Puzzles where you must navigate the wand from the top to the bottom by feel of the wand alone.  The ones we tried earlier where the low level ones, so now its time to try something a little tougher.

Though still only 1 layer, its a level 14, so a big jump from the previous ones we have tried.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Star Trek Attack Wing Denorios Bajoran Lightship unboxing review

A Bajoran lightship was a type of early Bajoran spacegoing vessel that utilized solar sail-powered space flight.
Lightships were used by the Bajorans as early as the 16th century, at a time prior to the fall of their First Republic.

Bajorans first traveled from Bajor to Cardassia, and established ancient contact between the two worlds. For many years the Cardassians disputed this claim, referring to it as a "Bajoran fairy tale," because they refused to admit that the Bajorans had achieved interstellar flight before they had. However, Captain Benjamin Sisko and his son, Jake, inadvertently proved that the voyage was possible when they arrived in Cardassian space in a similar lightship. By a proclaimed remarkable coincidence, which Captain Sisko strongly doubted, the Cardassians announced that they found the remains of an ancient Bajoran lightship on Cardassia, thereby proving such an interstellar voyage was made.

These vessels continued to be used by the Bajorans as late as the 22nd century.
Although lightships were not capable of achieving warp speeds by design, a semi-controlled warp jump was possible if particles that were moving faster than light, for example tachyons, were to collide with the sails. However because the ship wasn't designed to endure the stress of warp speeds, it could be severely damaged as a result. It was thanks to such an uncontrolled warp jump that the ancient Bajorans were able to bypass the Denorios belt and reach the Cardassian system before they crashed on Cardassia Prime.

Lets take a look in the pack and see what you get with this very different ship......

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Star Trek Attack wing RIS Pi Romulan scout ship unboxing and review

The Pi was a Romulan scout ship that was in service with the Romulan military in the mid-24th century.

In 2366, the Pi, crewed by Patahk and Centurion Bochra, was carrying out a covert mission when it crash landed on the planet Galorndon Core, inside Federation space. The Pi was destroyed with an ultritium explosive after the crash to prevent its capture by Starfleet. Both Romulan crew members were eventually retrieved by the USS Enterprise-D. Patahk died from his injuries, while Bochra was returned to the Romulans. What the Pi was doing at Galorndon Core was never determined.

lets take a look and see what this little ship adds to your Romulan fleet.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Flames of War Open Fire Starter Set unboxing

You may have seen on the blog that I am a fan of WW2 history, and gaming.  I thought it was about time I delved into Flames of War properly.  For my birthday this year my dearly beloved one got me vouchers for the local store, so I decided to order Open Fire in, which Is Battlefronts Flames of War starter set.  That way there would be two opposing forces for me and Olivia (or friends) to battle with and begin our journey.
In this article we shall take a look at what comes in the Open Fire box.  Other articles charting the journey will follow as well.
I love the art on the box, its a nice big hefty size, so you know you are getting plenty of toys inside.  It has been a while since I have had a miniature game starter set to play around with, so I was really excited to get stuck in.
The back gives you an awesome action shot of the painted minis in action, plus a nice handy size guide at the bottom, showing you them actual size you can a feel for what 15mm or 1/100 scale looks like.
 It states, that all the models you see in the picture on the back, are all included, so yes that DOES include that cool looking V1 Flaying bomb and ramp, which make a great objective, or just cool thematic terrain.

There is a contents list, telling you what you get, and you get a ton of stuff in here! Card terrain, models, dice and books too.   So lets open it up and take a look......

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

The Road to Winterfell Chapter pack expansion for A Game of Thrones LCG

The Road to Winterfell is the next chapter pack for A Game of Thrones LCG Westeros cycle.

“I shall have to borrow the money. No doubt the Lannisters will be accommodating. We owe Lord Tywin some three million dragons at present, what matter another hundred thousand?”
–George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones
Ancient evil awakens in the lands beyond the Wall. The last Targaryens bind their future to the Dothraki lord, Khal Drogo. From the heights of the Eyrie in the east to the heart of Casterly Rock in the west, the Great Houses of Westeros plot to increase their own power. Now, you can continue to follow the events of A Game of Thrones in The Road to Winterfell.
Like the other packs in this cycle, The Road to Winterfell is filled with iconic characters and locations from the first book in A Song of Ice and Fire. Here, you’ll meet iconic characters like Rakharo and Syrio Forel, and you’ll find a Targaryen attachment so powerful, it’s limited to one copy per deck! The Road to Winterfell also quickly expands the number of available plots with two new neutral plots and one plot loyal to House Lannister.
Time to dive in and take a look at what we get.......

Friday, 12 February 2016

Ridend Project - Part II. Woot...............painted minis!

One month, and one week later than originally planned, the Ridend are all finished. I had hoped to finish them last week, but real life and an unwillingness to take shortcuts got in the way.
Still going from a pile of bits to a full army in four weeks is quite a step up for me, especially after nearly two year of painting a maximum 8 models from the same army or faction at a time. Heck, most of the time there were 3-4 random models in the hobby corner, between which I'd hop on a whim. So these models were a bit of a learning experience, with some throwbacks to my Warhammer 40K hobby days.

The entire army was very fun to paint and I stayed fairly close to Tor Gaming's studio paintjob (link). The Dragon Tower was definitely the most fun to paint up, there's just a ton of texture and detail all over the model. The fur and feathers on both the Dragon and Kapolop mounts were a blast to paint up and these units really give the army a lot more character.
The Tower is also a rather cool model on the tabletop, where its role is synergistic, rather than combat-oriented. Though I am certain we'll eventually see a more fighty version take to the field, in addition to other goodies

Most of all I am rather happy I took the few extra evenings of tinkering. Feel it really paid off to create a force that both has a bit of a brooding side with the dark armor plating, yet also a rather bright side in the mounts, shields and cloth. And well, all those tiny, tiny details on the archers and knights' shields took much longer than anticipated. So many metal studs, armor rivets and clothing layers.

My favorite unit of the army have to be the Ladies of the Court though, these gals just ooze character. Their posing is fantastic, while the actual models had a lot more detail on there than I had expected from the render previews. Think I may have unintentionally snuck some Disney princess colour schemes in there as well.........goes perfectly well with armored goblins riding giant chickens right?


I. Planning ahead.

Not having painted such a large, coherent batch of models in quite a while,  I naturally ran into the classic problem of having to go back and forth between models to deal with areas and colours that could have been sorted out in a single go. A bit more planning could have really helped out here.

Not always the most exciting task and progress will look very slow when dealing with larger blocks of the same colour. The rather big upside though is worth it, a coherent foundation across models while still having the room to make each miniature an individual during the detailing phase. For this particular project I tackled the skin and armor for the entire batch, while doing other base colours like leathers or shields when all models that had a particular elements where ready for it.

A little check list, especially when it comes to fine detailing, can really pay off. Both as a way to avoid frustrating 'how the freak did I miss that X'-moments and as a bit of a motivational tool. We do like to check off things, it's almost like a list of mini-achievements.

II. Take notes.

Over the last couple of years I've built up the tendency to mix colours while using a wet palette. Great fun and can lead to some very unique colour schemes, especially when tackling darker schemes. Alucard is a great example of this, with about a dozen differently brown mixed shades on him (great, resin model from Infamy Miniatures - link)

But, it can also lead to you completely loosing track of what went into that cloth basecoat or that distinct skin tone that's now all over your army. Certainly not an issue when you're merely painting models for display purposes or as truly individual models for a warband-level game like Mordheim or Infamy. For a larger force, or when more units are added at a later date, it's a good idea to keep a log book, Also the perfect place to pen down just what and when you painted stuff.

Next week we'll have a better look at what this whole Relics game is actually about, those lovely models have a world to inhabit and rules to play around with after all!
I'm also in the midst of reading through the Wasteman rulebook (from Thunderchild Minaitures ~ link), while assembling the miniatures. This Kickstarter stuff just recently arrived and I'm most happy with the product Jason put together. The miniatures are right up my alley, but there's a whole lot to say for the actual rule set as well. Definitely a product well worth adding to the collection for the post-apocalyptic wargaming fans out there.

Finally, there's my second big project for 2016. The year I hope to turn into a 'project completion', rather than a 'the pile just got bigger'-year. So both to finally tackle a set of models I've been somewhat intimidated by and to help spread to word about a great setting with an upcoming expansion, I'll be sharing my progress on the Ancients of Atalan.
Part of Antimatter Games' (link) underwater DeepWars setting, they are some of the most dynamic and thematically sculpted models I've ever had the pleasure to put on the table. The game, built on a more in-depth variant of A Song of Blades and Heroes, is also quite something special. And lets be honest here, when's the last time you saw an entire game taking place at the bottom of the sea? Luckily there's also a land-based version in ShadowSea, so it will be more than merely eye candy. In fact with the new Song of Blades and Heroes version coming out any day now, we might as well look at the whole lot!

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Star Trek Attack Wing IKS Rotarran ship build

Qapla' and welcome once more to the shipyards. We are looking at the IKS Rotarran today, and will be following all regulations for her refit for battle, using only cards in the pack, and no more then 50 points.  Then we shall look at how and where she can be used in your fleet to bring glory to the Empire!! Qapla' warriors of the empire!
 Here are the cards, so lets dig in with a  bit of a closer look.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Taking the Black Chapter pack expansion for A Game of Thrones LCG

Taking the Black is the first chapter pack in the Westeros cycle for A Game of Thrones the LCG.

As A Song of Ice and Fire begins, King Robert Baratheon rides north to visit his old friend Eddard Stark in Winterfell. Westeros is at peace. But this deceptive calm will not long remain. Already, the seeds of unrest are growing with the ambitions of House Lannister, with the wedding of Daenerys Targaryen to a Dothraki khal, with the apparent murder of the Hand, Jon Arryn. Conflict between the Great Houses looms on the horizon as the high lords and ladies of Westeros begin to play their game of thrones. 
You can take your place at the very beginning of the story with Taking the Black, the first Chapter Pack in the Westeros cycle for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game. As part of the Westeros cycle, Taking the Black explores the first chapters of A Game of Thrones with iconic characters like Renly Baratheon, the Hound, and Maester Luwin entering the game for the first time. In Taking the Black, each faction begins its journey through A Game of Thrones towards the Iron Throne!
The Chapter packs provide you an expansion on the core set of the game.  In this set you get 20 new cards, with 3 copies of each for a total of 60 cards to expand your decks.
Lets take a look and see what you get in this pack....

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Star Trek Attack Wing USS Yeager ship build

The Yeager is a surprising little ship, with some nice little surprises.  Its not a ship of the line, so how can we use it?  Lets take a look.  Following the normal rules of no more then 50points per ship, and only the cards in the pack I threw together a solid little build that performs a role well suited to it.
We start with the named ship, her ability lets us use Torpedoed with out having to disable them, so we can target lock and volley each turn to increase firepower.  For captain we have....

Friday, 5 February 2016

Battle of wilsons creek (Bloody Hill) August 10 1861 Battle Cry battle report

Olivia took command of the Union forces whilst I led the Confederates for another Battle Cry scenario.

The Battle of Wilson's Creek, also known as the Battle of Oak Hills, was the first major battle of the Trans-Mississippi Theater of the American Civil War. Fought on August 10, 1861, near Springfield, Missouri, between Federal forces and the Missouri State Guard, it is sometimes called the "Bull Run of the West."

At the beginning of the War, Missouri maintained an officially neutral status. However, its governor, Claiborne Fox Jackson, began to work with the Confederacy to bring Missouri out of the Union by purchasing arms from and fighting alongside Confederate troops. This resulted in his removal by a constitutional convention in July. In early August 1861, Confederates under the command of Brig. Gen. Benjamin McCulloch and Missouri State Guard troops under the command of Maj. Gen. Sterling Price approached Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Lyon's Army of the West, which was camped at Springfield. On August 9, both sides formulated plans to attack the other.

At about 5:00 a.m. on August 10, Lyon, in two columns commanded by himself and Col. Franz Sigel, attacked the Confederates on Wilson's Creek about 12 miles (19 km) southwest of Springfield. Confederate cavalry received the first blow and retreated from the high ground, later referred to as "Bloody Hill," and infantry soon rushed up to stabilize their positions. The Confederates attacked the Union forces three times during the day, but failed to break through the Union line. When General Lyon was killed during the battle and General Thomas William Sweeny wounded, Major Samuel D. Sturgis assumed command of the Union forces. Meanwhile, the Confederates routed Sigel's column south of Skegg's Branch. Following the third Confederate attack, which ended at 11:00 a.m., the Union withdrew. When Sturgis realized that his men were exhausted and lacking ammunition, he ordered a retreat to Springfield. The Confederates were too disorganized and ill-equipped to pursue the retreating Federal forces.

The Confederate victory buoyed Southern sympathizers in Missouri and served as a springboard for a bold thrust north that carried Sterling Price and his Missouri State Guard as far as Lexington. In late October, a convention organized by Jackson met in Neosho and passed out an ordinance of secession. Although the state remained in the Union for the remainder of the war, the Battle of Wilson's Creek effectively gave the Confederates control of southwestern Missouri. Today, the National Park Service operates Wilson's Creek National Battlefield on the site of the original conflict.

The casualties were about equal on both sides – around 1,317 Union and 1,230 Confederate/Missourian/Arkansan soldiers were either killed, wounded, or captured. Though the Confederate force won the field, they were unable to pursue the retreating Union forces to Rolla.

Lets see how things turned out on the table.....

Monday, 1 February 2016

Star Trek Attack Wing Delta Flyer Ship Build

Welcome once more to the Federation Fleet yards.  We have the Delta Flyer in for refit today, so lets look at what we can build to get the best out of her.
 Starting of course with the named ship, the Delta Flyer herself.... she lets you fire your primary weapons from the rear arc at minus one attack dice, which can prove handy.  What are the downsides of her though? she is fragile, but do not worry, we have some tricks here at the fleet yard to bring up to fighting spec.  For Captain Tuvok will take the con, he is skill 5 so middle of the board, but he adds an important tech slot and gives us a discount which will prove useful.  B'Elanna is there to be disabled to cancel out that damage that's coming through, but with only 2 shields will be any use? wait and see.....