Thursday, 26 October 2017

Boardgame session: 22Oct17


Visited Val and Chris on Sunday and decided to play some ‘old’ games rather than anything ‘new’. There are great games sitting on the shelves than don’t get enough outings because there is always some new eye-candy waiting to get to the table!

Started with Ticket to Ride – Europe. Of all the TtR variants this remains my favourite, and I like the base game rather than adding depots etc. from the expansion. The game deserves its reputation as a modern classic, the rules are simple and the play fast, but there is enough tactical depth to keep it interesting and fresh. Val won convincingly, and interestingly the rest of us were evenly spaced behind her, separated by 10 points between each player with no bunching up (I came last).

Next to the table was Quadropolis. There are so many ‘town planning’ games out there, and many have too many options for scoring etc., the beauty of Quad is its clean mechanics. Only 4 rounds with 4 choices per round, but the range of options decreases as play progresses. Both Val and I went for the ‘port’ option and tied for first place. We also tied on the first breaker condition (number of meeples), and I just won on the second breaker condition (fewest unfilled spaces). So the game could not have been closer.

We finished by playing 4 (!) games of Splendour, a favourite of Elaine’s. I think the weak theme stops this coming out more often, because the game play and mechanics work very well. Also, I can never seem to get the aristo’s to visit my ‘shop’, so end up scoring poorly. The poker chips are so tactile and I cannot simply leave them on the table, they have to be held and fiddled with!
At the end of the day everyone had had at least one win and all were happy. We must have more old school game sessions, rather just chasing the latest releases. The fact these games are considered classics, shows they have stood the test of time and deserve their place on the table.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Off the Painting Table (Oct 2017), part 2

At the Colours show I saw that Black Tree Studios were having a sale of their figures. They were offering packs of 24 28mm figures for only £10; unbelievable value! Unfortunately most of their ranges were not of interest to me, but they did have some Gladiator figures that I bought.

I have hoped for some while to indulge in a light-weight Gladiatorial campaign using the ‘Jugula’ rules (Studio Tomahawk), but did not have the necessary figures. I had looked at the figures produced for the rules but felt that, although attractive, they were very over priced. The figures sold by Black Tree would fit the bill, even though not all armatures were present, and some figures do not fit the armatures listed in the rules.

I really enjoyed painting these figures; you can let your imagination run riot with colour combinations. The metallic colours were particularly challenging, so I was able to use my full range of shades; bronze, light and dark gold, gunmetal, steel and silver. The final step will be to ‘name’ each figure to enable easy identification. I plan to use the humorous and ingenious names from the Asterix series of books.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Off the Painting Table (Oct 2017)

At the Colours show I bought a naval boarding party from Newline Design as another potential opposition for my numerous pirate figures.

The figures are fairly bland in terms of pose and dress, but seem well cast and do represent good value for money (24 figures for £20). I added to the basic pack by adding some additional single figure options.

The figures painted up easily; I wanted some variation with an underlying ‘uniform’ appearance. The figures are more Napoleonic in dress rather than the earlier period I wanted to depict, but I don’t think the basic clothing for an ordinary rating changed much over time. The officer and mate dress is probably incorrect for the period I’m aiming at, but I’m not too concerned about this anomaly. The Royal Navy has always been a multi-ethnic body and wanted my force to reflect this. Forces based in the Caribbean would almost certainly have had a high proportion of different ethnicities; they could not pop back to home waters to ‘recruit’ replacement men from the slums of Britain. Actually my European figures in the force look a bit ‘pasty’, they should in fact be heavily sun-tanned. I also attempted some tattooing on the figures to help give a seafaring feel.

On the bases, I opted for a decking look rather than standard flocking. I’m not totally happy about the effect I have achieved; it looks a bit block-like. Interestingly, this block effect means the figures actually look OK on cobbled terrain areas. So rather than re-paint the bases, I will stick with it for a while.