Friday, 31 January 2014

Across the Dead Earth

Across The Dead Earth is an upcoming Post Apocalyptic/Zombie game from Dead Earth Games in the UK.
It is scheduled to be Kickstarted (1st March 2014) as many games are now these days and despite my experiences with other Kickstarter projects I am seriously thinking of getting involved with this.
Richard Chapple who has designed the game has already sent me a copy of the Beta Rules and I can say I am impressed. There are various mechanics in the rules which gamers will recognise and be familiar with due to other rules systems, and even though the rules are in the beta stage, they do feel quite well polished already.
The background is really great and its nice to see it being set in the UK as so many type of games these days are always Americanised. The artwork is sharp and the first couple of sculpted miniatures have been done by Andrew May (who has also done sterling work on some 7TV miniatures for Crooked Dice) and it got me quite stoked when help was asked for on the facebook page to review/test the beta rules.

Links: Dead Earth Games Facebook Page

I subsequently emailed Richard and asked if he would be willing to put answers to a few interview questions so people can see where he was coming from and maybe more about the game. So here it is.
Across the Dead Earth. Interview with Richard Chapple.
    Tell us a little about your background and how you ended up in the miniature wargaming hobby.
  2. Like a lot of people my age the introduction to wargaming was through Games Workshop. It was probably around 1990, when I was 9, that my cousin gave me 4 Eldar figures, and I used to play with those in the playground at school, moving 6 inches and every roll being successful on a 4+ -that was how my cousin taught me the rules! I lost interest in GW in my late teens as I felt the hobby became too expensive. I’ve always been interested in history and a few years ago, whilst reading one or other of the Patrick O’Brien Aubrey/Maturin novels, I thought I’d look online and see if there was something like a historical version of Man O’War. I’d been vaguely aware that historical wargaming existed in my teens, but it was something I never really came into contact with. In the years in between the internet had exploded, making everything available to everyone, and that really re-ignited my interest. As a kid I had always been into making my own rules and games – my brother will be able to recall how I went through a stage of converting every Commodore 64 computer game into a board game or wargame! And I’ve always written sci-fi and fantasy fiction as a hobby, so this game kind of finally brings all those things together
    Across the dead earth is due soon to be kick-started. As a Post-Apocalyptic/Zombie game how was the game and background conceived?
  2. I’ve been asking myself this a few times as I really can’t remember when, how or why I decided upon this setting. A lot of the mechanics of the game – the turn sequence, the event cards, waiting and watching, the idea of a persistent gang across a linked campaign, grew out of a game in a completely different setting – which was a skirmish game in the Napoleonic era called The Rifles (after the 95th Regiment made famous by Sharpe). I wanted a setting with more variety in terms of weapons and equipment and one where I could really let my imagination run through. I think the post-apocalyptic idea was possibly triggered by my reading the comic series The Last Man, in which all men on Earth suddenly die bar one…that set me on the idea of killing off large parts of the population without the more typical nuclear holocaust setting. I’m a massive fan of the video games Fallout and Borderlands and they were definitely an influence too. Then it grew quite organically as I started to write.
  1. What prompted the idea of using kick-starter for Across the Dead Earth?
  2. Quite simply, the rejection of the rulebook by a publisher. They were really enthusiastic about the project in most respects but felt that the UK setting would prevent the game from selling in all their territories, particularly the US, and so they passed on the project, but the commissioning editor who I was dealing with really pushed me to try and make the project work another way, for which he has my eternal thanks. My brother, Mike, had suggested Kickstarter for another project which we were considering entering into together, but eventually shelved, and I could see from the off that it would be the best way of getting the product range all out at the same time.
  1. How many people are involved in the whole project in order to make it    happen?
    Dead Earth Game is just me and my brother Mike. I do the creative and he does the business. Everyone else involved in the project is freelance, and so far that’s 3 individuals: the two artists Pijus and Filip, and our sculptor Andrew, all of whom I chose having scoured the internet for people I thought would fit our game and style the best. I think choosin Pijus and Andrew has been the biggest factor in making the game appealing. Good rules are one thing, but what really excites most of us as gamers is cool toys! 
  1. Do you think the number of miniatures and factions you are considering would have been possible to produce and release using traditional methods?
  2. It would be possible, and if the Kickstarter doesn’t work out we’ll do it, but we don’t have any money, and that means we would be going really, really slowly to even get a single gang together. It would be frustrating for us and the games alike, where as with Kickstarter success we’re up and running with two gangs straight away and people can play the game!
  1. The rule set is geared towards skirmish games, what prompted this avenue compared to say a mass battle system?
    Skirmish games have two or three differences to mass battle systems which appeal to me. I love a good mass battle, I play Black Powder at home, but that’s the ONLY one I play, because building a playable force requires substantial investments of money and time. Skirmish games allow you to buy an entire force in one go, and paint them up a lot quicker – you can actually get into the game and play it a lot quicker. The other advantages are that the games themselves are quicker, and can be played almost anywhere – we’ve played ADE on the kitchen table. Setting wise, the Gangs and factions in ADE are not al organised or equipped enough for a mass battle system, although one of the projects at the back of my mind is perhaps one day to do a “platoon level” spin off, set another few years down the line. At the moment though, I’m totally focused on ADE.
  1. How long have you been working on across the dead earth before its upcoming release?
  2. I would guess at a year if you include the time spent writing and testing the previous incarnations in different settings. Last October I had some time off work when my daughter was born and the setting and rulebook as it exists today was largely written when she was asleep. Back in the days when she used to sleep!
  1. Were there any existing rules that triggered you to write Across the Dead Earth or add inspiration to what you wanted to achieve?
  2. In Her Majesty’s Name definitely made me realise that you can create a great game with less than 20 figures on the table, so that was one inspiration. The other was probably the video game Xcom, which you can kind of trace back to Space Hulk and Space Crusade, via it’s earlier incarnations and Laser Squad. Xcom inspired me to try and write a game where you want your characters to survive, as you’ve personalised them, nurtured them and improved them over time. Xcom’s really only a tabletop game played on a computer, the turn sequence, action points and moves and shooting are all pure tabletop, only the dice are missing!  
    Can you tell us anything else at this time to whet our appetites?
 Across the Dead Earth is fast paced and exciting, there’s no player hanging around waiting for their turn, and the fighting typically gets vicious quickly. We’ve got a lot of plans for more factions and models, and the game will be supported long term by downloadable content from the website, including tonnes of fiction, scenarios, campaigns and the like, and a lot of that will be free.
My favourite aspect of the game is creating my own completely unique and personalised Gang, and upgrading their skills to make them deadly in a variety of ways! 

First sculpts from Andrew May

Fatboy (Red Claw Gang) Reggie (The Family) Crimson (Mercenary)

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Tomorrow's War GZG 15mm Sci Fi

Recently whilst sorting out the multitude of family junk in the loft I came across a box of old wargaming miniatures.

Inside were a load of old citadel fantasy, mostly broken and of no real use, but I also found about 20 mixed Ground Zero Games 25mm Sci Fi miniatures. This piqued my interest in this range again as they are wonderful figures. So a quick trip to GZG saw me find that they had their old Stargrunt 2 rules (written by John Tuffley and centered in whats now known as his Tuffleyverse) available as a free download.

Perfect I thought but I dont want to do another 25/28mm game as the cost is a bit much these days. But as a perfect solution GZG do their Stargrunt minis in 15mm as well.
NAC Command Section
A quick price up saw that I could realistically afford two decent sized opposing Infantry Platoons with APC/Vehicle support for under £100.

NAC Marine Section
It was during my research into 15mm Sci Fi gaming I came across Dropship Horizon a great blog and full of excellent resources and information for 15mm Sci Fi gaming. The research also pulled up that Stargrunt had nearly been superceded by Ambush Alley's rules Tomorrow's War.

NAC Marine Platoon
This set of rules are based around the the same concept and mechanics of their modern set - Force on Force. Including rules for the likes of Combat Robots, Aliens (covered more in the supplement By Dagger or Talon) and Drones/UAVs etc.

FSE Command with attached Snipers
So after ordering and receiving my copy of Tomorrow's War I set about working out two platoons. Now Tomorrow's War has its own background and fluff but I really liked the GZG Tuffleyverse so decided to base my platoons on the GZG background but centered on Tomorrow's War TO&E's (it works great)

FSE Legion Anti-Tank Section
In total I now have a New Anglian Confederation (NAC) Marine Infantry Platoon in Phalanx APC's with a few support models to attach to the Command Section, namly a Medic, a TAC (Tac Air Controller) officer and a FAO (Forward Arty Observer.

FSE Legion Recon and Scout Hovercraft
In opposition are a Federal Stats Europa (FSE) Foreign Legion Platoon in Hovercraft APC's with attached Recon Unit in Scout Hovercraft.

FSE Legion Infantry Sections
These are going to be my first ever 15mm miniatures so I have absolutely no idea how the painting will turn out (especially as Im going to try camo patterned uniforms) but hopefully I will take my time and turn out two good looking forces.

FSE Legion Platoon

Monday, 20 January 2014

Bloodbowl Match Karond Kar Oblivion vs Jimps and Perps

NORMAL SERVICE HAS BEEN RESUMED SPORTS FANS. Yes after the small unexpected stutter of a draw against the Halflings team, The Oblivion have stormed back and hit the Human team Jimps and Perps for six.

The Oblivion made their way to the Humans Stadium located in the wasted lands ready with revenge and malice in their dark hearts. The weather was unnaturally nice and the Dark Elves had an unassailable advantge with the amount of fans that had made the trip.

Due to a minor injury to one of their players from Morg last game, the Oblivion had drafted in a spare journeyman to bring their team up to strength. The Ref approached the teams captains and the Jimps ended up winning the coin toss and elected to receive first.

After the teams set up and the ball was kicked an Oblivion fan hurled a large rock right at a Jimps player, the rock smashed the players hip and he was carted of the field before the ball was even caught.

The Humans then started well, knocking over a few Dark Elf players but not causing any damage. The Jimps Blitzers make a move through the centre and their Thrower sends a good pass towards a waiting Catcher, who completely fluffs it and the ball bounces to the ground.

The Oblivion counter well. No damage is caused but the Jimps Catcher is blitzed out of the way and the ball is collected by the Dark Elves. The Humans crowd out the Oblivion ball carrier and defend well managed to stun the on hire Journeyman. The Oblivion still seem to be throwing marshmallow punches as they cant seem to hurt the Humans.

The ball carrier blitzes away from the crowd and heads towards the endzone, then a Dark Elf Blitzer Kills the Humans Thrower CAS!! The Apothacary is straight out but his applications do no good and the Thrower is still DEAD!

Another Blitzer KO's the Catcher and a Dark Elf Lineman is sent off after trying to foul the Jimps Ogre. The Humans reeling from the quick onslaught recover well and a Blitzer dodges through the Dark Elves and manages to hit the ball carrier popping the ball free. In return an Oblivion Blitzer smashes the Human out of the way, collects the ball and runs in to score TOUCHDOWN!!!! 1-0.

its still the first half and the teams set up again after the score. The Oblivion kick the ball and it bounces right into the far corner of the endzone negative the Jimps Quick Snap. The Jimps try and block on the line but the players whiffs it and eats dirt himself.

The Catchers play pass and toss but theres no time left in this half to score.

Second half and the Oblivion receive the ball. The Humans however set up a Perfect Defence. The Dark Elves storm into the Jimps but although a few go down no damage is caused. The Runner collects the ball whilst a Blitzer KO's a Human Blitzer then runs into space. The Runner dashes up the pitch and tosses the ball to the waiting Blitzer.

The Ogre pounds towards the ball carrier and Blitzes him, only pushing him towards the sidelines though. In return a Dark Elf Blitzer smashes into the Ogre and Kills him CAS. The Jimps coach has to watch as the now massive corpse of his Ogre is dragged away.

This leaves a massive hole that the Oblivion team exploit and the ball carrier makes a move and manages to score TOUCHDOWN!!! 2-0

Set up again sees the ball kicked towards the Humans, who fail to collect the ball. The Oblivion manage to CAS a Human Lineman and the Jimps try and control the ball again with a Blitzer who manages to fumble the pick up.

The Humans finally pick the ball up with a Catcher who passes it well to another Catcher. The Oblivion incensed that the Jimps are playing keep ball CAS a Lineman and Blitz into the ball carrier KO'ing him. The Dark Elves collect the ball a lauch a Long Pass down field which is not caught.

The Humans respond by collecting the ball and try to pass it themselves but the whistle is blown, the match is over. Oblivion win and are somewhat happy after killing the Ogre.

Thanks for tuning into another Bloodbowl match report. Goodnight.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Bloodbowl Match Karond Kar Oblivion vs Riverside Rainbows

Well 2014 has truley arrived and the 1st Bloodbowl game of the new year took place a couple of nights ago. I can safely say that the effects of the holidays have seriously affected me as I played like a complete muppet.

My Karond Kar Oblivion Dark Elves currently riding at the top of their Division were up against my friend Alex's Riverside Rainbows (a demented lot of malicious Halflings with a penchant for hiring Morg'an Th'org.

The teams strolled out onto the Astrogranite of the Oblivion stadium in the Pouring Rain with the howling Dark Elf fans in abundance, certain that their team would crucify the annoying little Flings.

The Rainbows Master Chef managed to poison the Dark Elves pre-match snacks and left them reeling and unable to use any advantage in the first half (No Re-Rolls) and then proceeded to wheel out Morg next to their Treemen. The bookies still had the Oblivion with the advantage though.

First half and the Rainbows kick, the Oblivion gain a tactical advange through the sound of their Cheering Fans and the game starts. The Oblivion get a good few blocks on the Halflings but only manage to push them around the pitch or see them Dodge away, but collect the ball ready for their drive.

The Rainbows respond but see one of their Treemen Rooted early on. The Oblivion's Runner dashes to the sidelines with the ball and manages to CAS a Halfling. Morg then rampages forward and smashes into a Darkl Elf Lineman causing a CAS, the Lineman goes down with a sickening crunch. That looks like a Smashed Hip. The Oblivion push back but a bad play from a Lineman see's him block a Rainbow player and get a CAS but he ends up hitting the dirt as well.

The Dark Elves are now surging forward and a Blitzer nearly ruins his teams advantage but the Runner uses his Leader ability and marshals him on. The Runner is near the endzone now as Morg smashes into another Lineman and CAS's him as well. The Star Ogre is on a blood splattering rampage and keeping the Halflings competitve.

An Oblivion Blitzer slams into a Halfing but cant hurt him as he Side-Steps away and a Lineman fails an easy Dodge giving the impetus back to the Rainbows. Morg Blitzes into the ball carrier who manages to Dump-Off to a near by Blitzer.

One Oblivion Blitzer CAS's a Halfling while the Blitzer ball carrier dashes away from a crowd of Halflings and throws the ball to a waiting team mate. The catch is failed!

The Rainbows Un-Rooted Treeman hurls a Halfing downfield towards the ball but the landing is not good and the poor Fling crunches into the ground.

The Oblivion gain the ball and skip into the endzone to score TOUCHDOWN!!! 1-0.

Second half and the Oblivion kick towards the Rainbows whilst the weather changes to a nice pleasant day. Straight from the off the Halflings are punching above their weight and a Treeman gets a CAS on a Dark Elf Lineman.

The Halflings collect the ball and try and cage the ball carrier between the Trees and Morg but an Oblivion Blitzer manages to skip through the defence and gets a good hit on the ball carrier. The ball is knocked free and it bounces around violently before the huge meaty paws of Morg reach out and catch it!

MORGS GOT THE BALL!!! The Oblivion charge in recklessly, KO'ing Flings left and right and even manage to slightly push Morg back, but the Star Ogre is on a roll and uses him immense size and strength to barrel his way forward. A Tremman manages to take root but its late in the second half and the Rainbows are banking on Morg to score as no other player is in any postion to make a mark on the game.

The Oblivion crowd out the Ogre and a Blitzer comes in for the hit only to fluff it at the last moment. Morg lets out a mighty laugh and Blitzes forward smashing an Oblivion player out of the way and heads to the endzone. Morg needs just on small push to score....he trips...the Dark Elf crowd roar thinking that the Ogre is going to fall but somehow he manages to beat the odds and balances himself to cross the line and score TOUCHDOWN!!! 1-1.

The Rainbow players go crazy. They cant believe they have pulled off a draw. The Oblivion coach is looking around to see who on his staff he can sacrifice. Drawing to Halflings (well drawing to Morg really who was a one Ogre wreaking ball)

The Oblivion are dazed and clearly the Rainbows Master Chef has duped their food and drink more severly than first thought.

Well thats it for another week. The Oblivion will surely be looking at reeking revenge on their next opponent to atone for this result.

Goodnight Sports Fans!!

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Deadzone - Plague Faction

At the end of last year I posted that I was looking at getting into Mantic Games new board/miniature Sci Fi Skirmish game Deadzone.

Well after doing quite well at Christmas with my lovely family feeding my plastic/metal/restic crack habit I ended up with the Deadzone box game, an additional Reb Faction and two extra boxes of terrain.

This is my Plague starter faction all completed and I even managed to come up with some fluff for the backstory of their colour scheme.

The small moon orbiting Decimus Proxima IV had been a prison colony for as long as anyone could imagine. since the uprising against the Corporation more and more Reb prisoners had been sent there and the old guard system had been replaced by a company of local Colonial Militia from the planet below.

It was during a daring escape attempt that the alien artifact was found and activated suddenly releasing the Plague. The Corporation quickly enacted their Contaiment Protocols but for the Milita Guards and Prisoners it was too late - the Plague spread and soon Stage 3A's were managing to control the few supply shuttles and make for the Planet Decimus.

The Stage 3A's have been painted in either Orange convict overalls or Colonial Militia Fatigues with the Stage 1 and 2's obviously as uber gribblies.

Stage 1
Stage 2's
Stage 3 Plague Hounds

Stage 3A (Militia)
Stage 3A (Convicts)
Plague Family Gribbly
Next on the painting queue are the Enforcers.