I try to get to the three closest game conventions each year as they are the best places to interact with most of my oldest friends, meet new ones, and light my creative fires all in one very entertaining weekend. This time was no exception at DundraCon 2016 (San Ramon, Ca) with the highlight being all the Frostgrave we played. For those who may not have heard of it, Frostgrave by Osprey Games is a fantasy skirmish game in which players run a wizard and their band of adventurers seeking the arcane knowledge and treasures of an ancient ruined city (think Mordheim) that was destroyed in an icy, magic cataclysm. It is supposed to be frozen and snow covered but none of my terrain is so I figure there is a brief thaw in the neighborhood. I was delighted to break out long neglected Mordheim terrain and share figures from my also long neglected Role Playing Miniatures collection. Learning a fun new game was bonus.
One table had two gangs fighting it out over the treasures while a giant worm burrowed around under them. Eventually it burst out and much mayhem ensued. When we get together everyone pools their miniatures and terrain, especially the terrain. We all have little projects, okay, some of us have numerous projects that might not fill a three foot square battlefield but added up really look great. Plus I’ll jump at any chance to use the Abbey AronBC built based on a scenario in an old Citadel Journal. This time he had brought a figure from our ancient youth, a giant millipede and, like myself, he was happy to have it get table time.
I was ecstatic to game with so many of the beautiful Hasslefree Miniatures I had painted simply because I loved them. Now they had names and missions. Just to ice the cake, now I really need to paint three from the Unpainted Box to round out the gang. Who knew I’d need a thief? The game uses opposed rolls with twenty sided dice for spell casting and combat. If the caster/attacker rolls higher the number they rolled is also the damage caused. My first game started out well when I rolled a twenty on a twenty sided die to cast Elemental Bolt at my opponent’s wizard who happened to be in the open from where my wizard stood. Modifiers, armor figured out and BOOM! One dead wizard on turn two. We decided to set up and start again because it was about to get very one sided and to have that happen when one is focused on learning a new game seems ridiculous. Besides, there’s no fun in that.
The second game was a closer run thing with both of us hugging terrain and taking shots where we could. The silent tower and it’s connecting buildings are not only a major objective but also a magic null zone so the wizards were quite limited. A couple of henchmen were taken down here and there but it ended with both wizards deciding discretion was the better part of valor and backed away warily as the gangs hauled in their swag.
One of the things I really like about the game is the easy campaign aspect. It was always my favorite part of Mordheim and Necromunda as well because it encourages me to paint miniatures I might not get to as well as creating character and narrative. In this case not only did we use my wild boars, bear, and familiars but the Stone Mountain troll finally found a game use, granted my opponent used Wind Blast to immediately push him back off the table but he got on the table. It also moved the resin toads I’d picked up to the painting table.
So, a fun system that was much easier to learn than I thought it would be. The campaign book, Thaw of the Lich Lord looks very entertaining not to mention creatively inspiring. Now I have a list of old figures and projects to dig out and dust off. Going to to be making buildings, ladders, and bridges for a while.
Between the impending arrival of the Bones II Kickstart rewards and my continued attempts to paint the figures I got from the first campaign it really seemed time to get this long intended line of progress up on the blog. After some speed painting at KublaCon one year I discovered the benefits of painting a figure within a time limit. It forces me to stop working through the endless ideas crowding around inside my mind whenever I take on a new project. Limiting my color pallet actually opens me up to different color choices as I find myself using the same combinations of bottled hues after a while. When I’m not concerned with achieving a specific or consistent look for a unit I’m more open to those happy accidents and unintended lessons.
First off, there are a lot of figures, from numerous genre’, various sculptors, of all kinds of sizes so being bored with them probably won’t be a problem. I splurged at the last minute and added a Cthullu because I’ve always wanted one. After opening his box and test fitting his pieces I was blown away at the size and, being an old school gamer, pleasantly surprised at the light weight. While the Bones plastic isn’t my favorite material to work with it is relatively easy to deal with. I find most of the mold lines are simple enough to shave off using a very sharp razor blade. I prefer an Xacto #11 blade and find myself changing it every third figure or so. Cthullu will be another story. While Bones figures don’t need primer it is important to wash them before applying paint. I drop them in a little warm water and dish soap before a quick scrub with an old tooth brush and rinse.
I’ll Be posting some of my progress as I go along. I’ve got quite a few of them done and in need of photo-documentation so expect sporadic reporting. Here are are a few of my early attempts.
This guy is a good example of quick decisions working out well. Both the Tattoos and the stripe on his loincloth were what came out of the brush after I had been painting blue on another figure and I wanted to just get clean detail down quickly.
Now the wraith was another learning opportunity. Seems that spray sealant fogs the transparent plastic. I found a brush on sealant can restore it but I actually prefer the fogged look for this figure.
The zombies were early choices simply because I knew I could whip them out in no time. Still have a couple more in the pile to trim and base but I doubt they will take any more time to paint than these two did. Now, how to tell Cthullu he has to get back in his box…
Picked up two of Mantic Games’ Iron Guard sets to build a troop (ten figures) of the elite dwarfs for my Kings of War force. As is my habit, once they were assembled and primed I kept two or three on the painting table until the unit was finished. Not needing a second musician I only had nine figures but since I planned on using one of the Scibor dwarf head statues that wasn’t a problem.
I did want to make sure the figures would fit together after I was done building the base so I test fit them before gluing the Mantic bases to the movement tray. I didn’t glue the figures to the bases yet.
Mantic uses a disc instead of a tab connecting the feet which is then glued into one of their bases. Between the thickness of the disc and the thin ankles I decided to use them rather than pins and built the base using Mantic bases. This meant there was no room for the Scibor bases I had been using on most of my other units. So I dug through the bits box, found some Mantic bases I had cut up for a previous base. Nipped some corners, gouged some parallel lines and I had passable broken tile bits to add into the texture.
Then it was just a matter of painting it like I would any other miniature. When that was done I sprayed it with sealant before gluing the finished miniatures to it. I find that super glue gel is the easiest to work with in this endeavor.
Finally I glued down patches of my flocking mix, lichen, and clumps of grass to finish the look. I think the scattering of undergrowth adds a natural look to the whole unit.
I have loved learning and playing games my entire life. How closely they are related was never clear to me until after I had become an educator. Through repeated conversations with friends and colleagues I realized this was universal. I also began to wonder if there was a way to connect all of us lifelong learners, a place to exchange information, edification and inspiration, a forum where we could come together to see we aren’t alone in our belief that play encourages learning. A place to find support. Always one to rise to a challenge, and learn new skills I decided to attempt to create such a place. So here it is, The Tactical Simulation Gaming Society.
It is my hope this can become a place were many folks can post works in progress, inspired lessons, cool Lego creations, after school programs, datafiles, blueprints, whatever inspires us to play, learn or create more. So whether you’re an educator, student, gamer, painter, or just a lifelong learner please join us in building The Society into something entertaining and inspiring.