Shift, in Blue

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This weekend, all over the world, people frantically wrote short stories and filmed themselves reading them as part of Sci-Fi London’s 48 Hour Youtube Storyteller competition.

On Saturday afternoon I got the email with my title; “Shift”. I had to include the line “Sometimes you have to adapt to circumstances in order to survive. That is how we got here in the first place.”, and my theme had to be about a phone that controlled behaviour and/or appearance.

48 hours? Please. I did mine in 24 hours… a decision I may come to regret. Really not sure why I went for the blue filter… to make it look more sci-fi? Jesus.

 

I’ll find out at the start of next month if I won… until then I hope you enjoy my story!

- Gareth

Slice & Dice – Mechamorphosis

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I made another video the other day, this time I’m working through FFG’s old but excellent Horizons RPG setting books, starting with Mechamorphosis, aka Transformers the RPG.

 

Enjoy!

- Gareth

Warhammer Memories : Favourite Models

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When I was waxing nostalgic over the Dogs of War, I mentioned that Vespero from Vespero’s Vendetta was one of my favourite models that GW had ever made. It’s the funny thing really; I’ve become a grumpy old neckbeard who gripes and moans about GW and their new policies and how things are different and I don’t like things that are different, myeh myeh myeh, but damn it; those boys from Nottingham have made some damn fine models. I mean they’ve made stinkers as well…

SWEET CHRIST MY EYES.

SWEET CHRIST MY EYES.

… but on the whole their stuff has been very awesome and iconic. Let’s face it, the gorgeous models are pretty much the main reason people get into the hobby (because it’s certainly not for the rules).

So never let it be said that I never have a good word to say about GeeDubs. These are my ten favourite models from over the years, in no particular order…

10. Vespero ( Dogs of War, Warhammer Fantasy)

Vesperos duelists

Vespero looks like a wonderful blend of the Phantom of the Opera and Ezio from Assassin’s Creed. The actual pose doesn’t look too great, and he looks fairly dated nowadays, but I still like him; at the time, Vespero (like all the Dogs of War) was a breath of fresh air when compared to bland Landsknecht Empire guys, and the feudal-French Bretonnians. He had flair and style, and you just know that some people picked up the model to stand in for their kickass rogue or assassin in a D&D game.

9. Sternguard Veteran with power fist (Space Marines, Warhammer 40,000)

sterny

Y SO STERN?

To me, that Sternguard Veteran is the very epitome of Space Marines; cool power armour without being too over-the-top, an awesome pose, and a big chunky bolter and power fist. I would’ve loved to have had this model back in the early days of 3rd edition when I used to run Crimson Fists. I love this model because it reminds me of one of the very first Warhammer 40,000 models I ever saw…

Ultramarine_Captain_with_Terminator_Honours

Just goes to show; time marches on, but the classics never go out of style.

8. Warriors of Chaos Exalted Hero (Warriors of Chaos, Warhammer Fantasy)

m1181679_99060201127_ChaosChampionChaosMain_445x319

Despite his his chainmail mittens and comically-proportioned sword, I love this model. Nearly all the entries on this list are here for sentimental reasons, and Axey McAxington here is no different. The only WHFB army I ever properly ran was Chaos Warriors, with a sprinkle of Tzeentch. While my Sorcerers flew around on Disks and repeatedly got gunned down by High Elf Archers and Dwarf Thunderers, my dual-wielding, footslogging Chaos Champion never let me down. Rest well, old friend. You earned it.

7. Slaanesh Daemonettes (Chaos, Fantasy and 40k)

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Ah, the third and best incarnation of the Dark Prince’s handmaidens. Before they got redesigned into their current crab-clawed crack-whore form, Daemonettes were without a shadow of a doubt the nicest Daemon models. They look evil and sexy and cool, which is, of course, what they’re all about. Also gone are the gawky old crab-claws of previous incarnations, replaced with graceful scythe-claws. Great models. Chaos players these days are poorer without them.

6. Eldar Warlock (Eldar, Warhammer 40,000)

Eldar_Warlock_4

Yes, that was the best picture I could find of him (her?). You know the awesome thing? That model has got to be at least 20 years old, because it was around when I first got into 40k. Just goes to show that Jes Goodwin is a goddamn genius (as will be shown further down). As for the model, it’s great; gotta love an Eldar battle-psyker winding up a full-on baseball-bat-swing with his magic crystal-bone sword.

5. Crusader (Witch Hunters, Warhammer 40,000)

Witch_Hunter_Crusader

 

This guy basically goes down the checklist for badassery and ticks all the boxes. Big sword? Check. Massive tower shield? Check. Awesome coat? Check. Cool medieval-techno armour? Check! If your Inquistor wasn’t strolling around with at least two of these guys in tow, you were doing it wrong.

4. Mandrakes (Dark Eldar, Warhammer 40,000)

mandrakes

This is sort of cheating, because I like all the Mandrake models. Look at them! They’re like weird creepy zombie-ghost-elf-samurai! It’s just a shame that their rules in-game are pretty bad, leading to the famous question, “So what do your Mandrakes count as?”. A whole lot better than their 3rd edition incarnation as BDSM rejects.

3. Covenant (Inquisitor)

covenant

 

I vividly remember being in my local store about a week before GW released their 54mm scale narrative-skirmish-RPG-thing that was Inquisitor, and one of the staff members showing chibi-me and chibi-Ian two of the new models; one was elderly badass telepath pimp Eisenhorn, the other was Covenant. Of the two, I liked Covenant more, which was why I proceeded to snap him up the second he was available. I love this model, and in my opinion, it’s the best of the otherwise lacklustre and limited Inquisitor range. Everyone used to harp on about Artemis the Deathwatch Marine, but Covenant was the 54 mm man for me.

2. Chief Librarian Ezekiel (Dark Angels, Warhammer 40,000)

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I’m going to make a confession. At one point in my 40k playing life, I owned five Ezekiel models. One was an Inquisitor, one was a Word Bearer Chaos Lord, another was a Librarian in my Space Marine army, and the other two… pfff. Shits and giggles? Ezekiel shares a lot of similarities with other models on this list; he’s got cool robes and a big fuck-off sword. Again, like the Eldar Warlock above, this model is nearly 20 goddamn years old, and still looks amazing. But not as amazing as…

1. Delaque Leader (Necromunda)

m1252029_99110599006_NecroDelaqueGangMain_873x627

This guy! Yep, the classic Delaque leader with a bolter is my absolute favorite model GW has ever made. It was tough narrowing it down, there are lots of Necromunda models that I love (mostly the Escher and Hired Guns), but this guy here with his leather duster, goggles, and massive bolt gun beats them all. I don’t even really know why. The pose is solid and detail is great, but he’s not really anything flashy or special; he’s not a super special character or a giant monster. He’s just a dude with a cool coat and a big gun. And sometimes that’s all you need.

- Gareth

 

 

Dreadball!

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Recently I’ve got a bit mental for Dreadball, the extreme sportsy-boardy game from Mantic Games. That’s probably because it’s a damn good game, and loads of fun to play!

photo-full

I got the Deluxe set for Christmas, and I’ve only managed to get round to playing some games over the past few weeks, but I’ve made for lost time! You get Human and Marauder teams in the box, and they’re what you may expect; the humans are good at everything but great at nothing, whereas the Marauder team is made up of Orx (big chunky bruisers) and Goblins (weak but quick).

In Dreadball, there are three player types; Strikers, Guards, and Jacks. Strikers are great at catching, throwing and running, but can’t tackle opposing players. Guards, on the other hand, specialise in putting the boot in, but can’t handle the ball at all. Jacks can do everything, but they can’t catch or throw as well as a Striker, or tackle as well as a Guard. Depending on your team, you’ll start off with a certain number of each role; for example, the Marauders start with three Guards and five Jacks, whereas Humans have only two Guards, but three Jacks and three Strikers. Some of the more exotic teams have stranger mixes of roles, such as the Judwan (Strikers only) or Robots (Jacks only, but can transform mid-game to Strikers or Guards).

As for a rules system, you couldn’t really ask for something more elegant. Dreadball is a dice pool system; the default dice pool is three dice, with fewer or more dice depending on the difficulty of the task. For example, a Jack throwing the ball into a Strike Hex (the goal) would have three dice, minus one for throwing at a Strike Hex, for a total of two dice. Then if at least one of dice scores equal to or higher than the stat being tested (Strength, Skill, or Speed), the action is successful! Of course, there’s usually a lot more to it than that, but that’s the basics.

There’s also a lot of high-risk, high-reward strategy that makes the game very exciting to play. Do you spend actions in slamming enemy Jacks and Guards out of the way so that your Striker has a clear run to the Strike Zone? Or do you try passing the ball around the main scrum, but risk losing control and ending your turn prematurely? Will you roll well enough on a catch or pick-up to get a free run action? How reliant are you on that being the outcome? Warhammer 40,000 wishes it could be as tense and tactical.

It helps that the models are pretty nice too. I’ve painted up the Marauders already. These are my Deathskull Pirates, a tribute to my last ever 40k army.

Crunch, Kap'n Dreggutz, and Hog.

Crunch, Kap’n Dreggutz, and Hog.

The Sneak, Stikkit, Zigzag, Wiggles, and Giggles.

The Sneak, Stikkit, Zigzag, Wiggles, and Giggles.

Yep, albino Orks. I wonder where I’ve seen that before…?

I’ve still got to put paint to brush for the human team, the Hiroyami Samurai, but the beauty of the Dreadball miniatures is that due to all their sports gear/armour, they’re easy to paint up!

It was Ian’s birthday recently, and due to his love of everything short, bearded, and belligerent, I got him the Forge Father team as a present. This is how his Kargrim Masons are currently shaping up…

kargrim

I’m anticipating a grand smackdown between the Pirates and the Masons coming up soon!

- Gareth 

Slice & Dice : The Two Towers Deckbuilding Game

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April already… jeez.

I’ve been a bit lax on here as of late, so have a stupidly long video as compensation! There will be real content again soon, I promise. Until then, enjoy this video of Ian and I playing Cryptozoic’s rather excellent Lord of the Rings deckbuilding game. This is the one with the towers and PO-TAY-TOES (boil ‘em, mash ‘em, etc), as opposed to the one with Sean Bean or the one with the indestructible ghost warriors that for some reason aren’t used to outright conquer Mordor.

 

- Gareth

Slice & Dice – CthulhuTech

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I went and made another video! This time I’m talking about some random RPG books from my collection, and the first to feel the hot burning light of my scrutiny is CthulhuTech!

Expect to see a lot more of these cropping up!

- Gareth

Ian’s Workshop : Imperial Knight

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Hoboy. I’ve been looking forward to this.

My BFF Ian is a significantly better painter and modeler than I am, as evidenced by some of the stuff I’ve shown from our painting evenings (sadly a thing of the past since I moved house last year). You may have also seen his awesome Transformers-themed Tau Riptide, and his Gears of Wars Orks. Well, he’s surpassed himself this time.

Recently, GW released the Imperial Knight kit, £85 of sweet plastic love for the players who want to lose friends by fielding a goddamn Titan in 1000 point games. 

In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only ROBOT CHIVALRY!

In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only AWESOME.

Look at that beast. Damn it GW, I want to hate you, and then you go and release this bad boy? I mean, don’t get me wrong, the price tag is more than enough to make me stay clear, but sweet Emperor, it is gorgeous.

The day of its release, Ian messaged me, and the basic content of the message was “Challenge accepted.” We shot ideas back and forth about colour schemes and possible conversions, but in the end Ian decided maybe not to mess around with the £85 kit he’d bought and kept it pure and unspoiled. It would an Imperial Knight, with heraldry to match his Dark Angels collection.

Over the following days, I was sent more and more pictures as the beast came to life…

legs

 

First the legs. The Knight also displays a Dark Angel symbol on its banner; the background fluff on exactly why the Dark Angels have access to an Imperial Knight has yet to be decided. The pilot could be a Freelancer who impressed the Angels and they let him hang around? Perhaps the Knight is a relic of the Heresy, carefully maintained as one of the Angel’s many, many secrets? Or the most likely answer; because it’s cool, so shut up.

back

 

A sneaky shot of the back. Ian is a senior priest in the Church of Non-Metallic Metals. It’s not a faith I personally follow, but it’s obviously working out well for him.

face

 

“Here’s looking at you.”   Ian raided his bits box for some more Angel’s iconography and slapped it on the Knight’s heraldry shield. I am totally in love with the bone/dark green combo. Reminds me of the for the 2nd edition Dark Millennium supplement box, back in my magical early days of 40k…

YEAAAAAAAHHHH!!!

YEAAAAAAAHHHH!!!

Finally, the beast was finished, and Ian sent me the last picture.

complete

Gentle readers, may I present to you Viridia Malleus, “the Green Hammer”.

I don’t believe that Ian’s actually planning to use the Knight in any games, not when he’s ass-over-teakettle in love with his Tau and Lokorsts (seriously, go check them out!). No, this is a display piece, something to place on his desk and make the Riptide feel incredibly inadequate. Great stuff. He probably took a load of in-progress photos he hasn’t sent me, so you should go check out his blog to read a more detailed walkthrough of how he assembled and painted this plastic goliath.

Of course, if he is tempted to go ahead and buy a second kit and make that Chaos Knight we talked about, that may top this…

- Gareth

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