Saturday, 29 December 2012

X-Com: Enemy Unknown

Well Sa-t-an-ta (I have fogroteen how to spell, I think), wasn't bad to me this year. I got a copy of X-Com Enemy Unknown from my other half who has now lost the use of the remote control (when asked, all I have been able to say is that it is hidden in my secret mountain top lair or behind the sofa). For those of you who have gone back more than a few posts you will probably have picked up on the fact that I like a bit of X-Com. I like it so much that the blog even has a label for X-Com.

It has had a few detractors. Maybe it has lost some of it's re-playability. It doesn't seem to have as long a legs as the original. This could be me being a bit of an old fart. The game is one of my sacred cows and it hasn't done a bad job of it. I read a complaint online that it did not have many environments. It has way more than the original and any of the sequels and having played it through twice I haven't encountered that many duplicate scenarios.

The environments are really gorgeous. All game environments should look this good. I could see me trying to use some of the ideas in my tabletop games. Pity there is no really good zoom function but you can see the terrain disintegrate around you when you and the enemy miss. Having vehicles explode around you is a nice touch which can cause you to move when you really want to stay in cover.

The bad guys are interesting. I was kind of hoping for the old bad guys jazzed up a lot. They have been significantly re-imagined. This is not a bad thing but not always a good thing. Mostly I liked the aliens but the floaters are not what they once were and all have lost their cartoon/anime touches.  They variety of types has also dropped. So there are floaters and hevay floaters but not pilots, navigators, medics, soldiers, commanders etc.I like what was there and wanted the bad guys to but updated and enhanced versions of what they were. They look much more hi tech and the greys do look really evil. There are a few new aliens. They have plenty of twists to catch the unwary off guard.

On balance, better in some respects, not as good in others. I enjoyed playing it. I'll play it again on a harder level which I am sure will give it a much different vibe. I am glad I didn't pay full price for it though. I'd give it an 8 out of 10 which is a shame as I would have loved to have given this a ten. It's worth buying but I doubt that I will be raving about it in a year let alone twenty years.

On the table top front, I can see that there are some good ideas. I look at the environments and think I could use what I have seen here to make a better game. There is a really nice idea for a train/tube station. The aliens have a few nice ideas which might turn into something on the tabletop. If there was anyone interested in making some figures for the old game or the new game, they would have a nice big order.

I am sorry that I haven't been able to do much table top stuff. I have done some but I am currently suffering from a chest infection which is crippling me. Sitting up is proving to be a problem. As soon as I do I start coughing. I was joking about having 72 hour TB that was going around. That was a week ago so not as funny anymore. My next dose of antibiotics are due soon. Still the blog looks like it is doing okay without me. I even had my first visitor from Bolivia today.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Happy Mid Winter Solstice Psychosis

Sorry to go all Charles Dickens on Christmas Eve. I'll be sure to give your regards to Jacob Marley later on. Everyone else has done a nicey nicey Christmas Blog Message so I thought I would just do something to bring the force back into balance. Well I suppose it is keeping the economy going although only just according to the BBC. That's what it seems to be this year, a gauge for how badly the economy is going down the pan.

So happy Kwanza, Mid winter solstice, Christmas, Divali and a belated Happy Chanukah.

Moving onto the Psychosis bit of the title. I have had the somewhat dubious pleasure of doing some last minute Christmas shopping today. This is whilst coughing up a lung. My other half is telling me I have bronchitis. Every time I try to speak I end up in a cough fit. Some would say this is a good thing but only those that know me.

I was in the supermarket earlier on, as I said. It was not particularly busy and I kind of wished I hadn't got the turkey yet as there were some cracking deals on. The staff were really helpful and even friendly. This is odd but then I guess they were all going home in a bit. It was my fellow customers that have put me in a bad mood. Most just looked a bit morose. There were a few however that pushed passed me and others. twice I was looking at something and people just walked in front of me and stopped dead. The Christmas spirit seemed to disappear in the car as well with people driving like they were the headless horseman sat on top of a coach. I remember last year people cutting up an ambulance with it's lights on to advance a few metres towards a town that was nearly ten miles away the week before Christmas. Hell even advent calanders now have an extra day on them.

So if you have made it this far, I wish you well. I hope, that even in this cynically abused time of year, that you get what you want and that the days to come are all that you hoped for and more. This cynic is now off to watch "It's a Wonderful Life."

Thursday, 20 December 2012

2012. Well, Goodbye. It's The End Of The World. Bloody Mayans

Well it's the end of the world tomorrow, 21/12/2012.  Allegedly. I am not too worried. Today has been a good day so I will go happy. Seriously though, the Mayans know nothing about the end of the world. Any culture that couldn't predict that they would to handful of Spaniards is unlikely to be able to predict the end of the world. The only people that seem to have any real interest in it are the programmers at the Discovery Channel.
The only real bit of post apocalypse I am interested in at the moment is some RPGing. I have agreed to run a Fallout RPG in the new year so I will get on with painting some Rebel Post Apocalyptic gangers over the next couple of days.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Predator - The Camera Never Lies

I like taking pictures of my minis. It kind of makes me take a second look at stuff and use a slightly more critical eye. As the title says, the camera never lies. I spent part of my day yesterday painting this not-predator from Khurasan. I like the model and I really just wanted to start and finish something. I have never really been a completer finisher and I wanted to do something that I could start and finish easily. Short of spraying in with matt varnish I thought I was done.

I had a look at the pictures I took and I realised that not only have I painted outside of the area intended but that there is a bit of run caused by some inks not drying in a timely manner. So when I get back in tomorrow, I'll have to finish him off and maybe put some of the GZG mecha bits together as well. I'll have three of them then, almost enough for a war.

Anyway, the gaming group I am part of are going out for drinkies and a Chinese buffet are due in the pub in half an hour so a better get a wriggle on.

Friday, 14 December 2012

The Sheriff's/Police Station

Way back at the beginning of August I posted that I was working on a Sheriff's Office almost as an afterthought at the bottom of the post. I was hoping to get some buildings together for a zombie game but figured that this would work in my Sci-Fi setting and even full on post-apocalypse.

Working on it has been a bit of a haphazard process with the putting some texture on the roof never seeming to get started at all. I had an idea that I wanted some more buildings and the thought occurred to me to do some work on the Sheriff's Office before I started on the new stuff.

I started with a fairly basic structure which I have tarted up a bit over time. Mostly it's card and foam core. The driveway in front of the garage is styrene sheet molded for the effect and the garage doors are made from corrugated card. There are a few pieces I printed out such as pin boards and the obligatory wanted posters have been printed out but have yet to be glued to the walls. There is a climbing plant (at the back) which is actually a small piece of aquarium plant. There are some odds and sods from Critical Mass which I got back in June. This is just dressing really but anything that breaks up the monotony has to be good.

Thursday, 13 December 2012


The first money I have spent for a while has been on some miniatures from Ground Zero Games on some more 15mm stuff. GZG have been one of my favorites over the years. One of the things that has been missing from my sci fi tabletop was vehicles. Be it Hummvees or family cars, everywhere and every when has a lot of vehicles in my mind. Streets look empty without them. Apart from shopping centres, most street have moe cars on them than people at any given moment. Sci fi is where it's at for me at the moment so I have got few vehicles to make the tabletop look a bit more interesting and maybe something for the troops to use. It's a big chunk of lead. Most of it looks like it will work well together. The wheels for most of the vehicles are fairly modular and only really vary in scale. Some of the larger APCs could well double as Traveller ATVs. The longest one does look a lot like an old school ATV which is not something I have ever seen before. Whilst they are not contemporary vehicles they don't look all that different from modern vehicles and I guess they have some uses in Force on Force as well as Tomorrow's War. 
 It took a little while to get the vehicles put together but it had to be done. They look like something now do I feel better.There was a little bit of flash but it was not excessive. The bits seem to fit together okay and there are no major gaps when the sections are fitted together. I am feeling the urge to do some painting but I think till I get my new compressor at Christmas. There was a fair bit of other stuff including two new mecha and some infantry and even a few Christmas freebies as well. They look pretty good I think.
I wanted to do something along the lines of Aliens could want to replicate some elements of it in my games. Instead of doing the blasted planet of LV-426 I have been working on the desert terrain. So now I need something to make it look right. Big wheel raised above the ground was the look I was going for. Painted in the right colours I think these Bulldog trucks from GZG (below) should do the trick.

It is gradually taking longer and longer to work my way around blogger. It is one of the reasons I have been posting less. Getting things into place without the format changing itself is becoming a major ordeal. I would have liked to posted this yesterday but I have spent so much time getting the pictures in the right place and not disappearing or duplicating themselves. There should hopefully be a few more posts over the next few days.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Catch Up Post

Things have been a little crazy over the past month or so. With the new arrival has come four hours of driving everyday and a lot of other responsibilities. Keeping me busy and tired but I am starting to get used to the new regime and not finding the need for an afternoon nap anymore. 

I have been doing some actual gaming since joining a club in Warrington. I really like the people there. No real loons (myself excluded) and a lot of good company. As well as doing some roll playing I have been doing some war gaming which is something I thought I had almost stopped doing. I am really enjoying it despite not having won a game yet.

This was an American Civil War game where I got drubbed. I would like to say it was not really my fault. Bad deployment dice at the beginning of the game meant my opponent got got to the high ground first. There after wave after wave of troops got shot up before they managed to get into position. A couple of corps later I was just about getting into position to take the guns whilst my team mates were taking a beating further on up the line.

Unsurprisingly we lost. We put up a really good fight. I think the initial deployment worked against us and the not so grand dice rolls didn't help our side at all.

I have played a fantasy game and a Very British Civil War game. Both of which I have enjoyed and done pretty well even if the over all result was not so grand/

I have really been enjoying the role playing. It's all been Savage Worlds which is a good thing. Something other than D+D and Shadowrun has been more than welcome. The killing frenzy that started out in a three musketeers with magic has continued through a 28 days later game and I am now playing Rippers.

Painting time has been at a premium and having lost my phone I had lost me camera too so I haven't had too much chance to do much.

I haven't had much time for painting. Since coming back from Spain I have completed ten minis. I have got some more paint over the last few days so I am hoping that this might get my painting mojo going for me again. These are some of them part of the way through. They are a mix of Khurasan and Rebel. I have spent some time working on my back ground project minis which are now just about done. They are modern western insurgents just to give my modern American infantry something to fight whilst I get round to finding some middle eastern opponents. When these are done maybe I will get on a nd run a force on force game. I have been looking at what to do next. I have a couple of vehicle to do and some wheel RPVs to do before I recieve some more vehicles from GZG whch hopefully should arrive in the next few days, Christmas post not with standing.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Rory's Story Cubes

Christmas is coming to the Jackson household but more of that later. I got some of Rory's Story Cubes recently and have been playing with them every day since. I had seen these online somewhere and liked the idea. They cost about £9.00 in one of the gaming shops in Manchester which seemed pricey for only nine dice but I guess you are paying for the idea.   

Speaking of the idea behind the cubes, you roll the dice and you use the images to tell a story based on the face up images on the dice. a fairly simple idea almost like using a tarot deck as a story telling aid. Just just as an illustration I rolled a set of dice and this is what I ended up with. Nine seemingly unrelated images with which to tell a idea.

They are a game in themselves but I wanted to use them as a plot generator mainly for RPG but I have tried them as a scenario generator for miniature games. This is a little harder but still doable.

Once the cubes have been rolled the idea is to sort them into a story arc and tell the story. This is not always that easy and I guess if you are so inclined you could remove a die that does not fit in with the story or even play about with it's facing. So going from left to right the story goes as follows. The PC's come across an unhappy farmer. he was attacked by robbers who shot and killed his son and stole all his sheep.

Unsurprisingly he wants justice for his son and his sheep back. The robbers have fled with the sheep through the woods. The heroes charge of after the robbers into the dark forest and hunt them by torchlight.  On the far side of the forest they face a random choice of a dice rolling opportunity which I took as a battle. During the battle their heroes route back is destroyed so they have to look for another route. They eventually find a bridge that will take them back home but whilst crossing the bridge that have to face some sort of water monster.

Them images are not really tailored to gaming. Fish do not crop up a lot of space in most game backgrounds and in a fantasy background I guess that you would have to take your influences where you find them. I was thinking that they would work well with other game concepts such as the Five Room Dungeon over at Roleplaying Tips which I will probably try out next time I run a game.

Not speaking of Christmas as I was a minute or so ago. The house smells of fresh Christmas tree and laundry which is a nice all round smell. The tree is up (right at least) in the front room with the decorations to be done. It struck me as odd that if I tried to bring a tree into the house at any other time of year I would be in the dog house. Santa is going to be bringing me a compressor for Christmas after I found one on sale. I have some GZG stuff on order which should hopefully be here in a few days and I have some belated birthday presents (wargames magazine subscriptions) to come. Christmas is starting to sound like fun even if the tree is a bit wonky.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Liebster Award

Hey, my blog won an award. Thanks to the members of the Academy, my mother and father, Swimbo, my sister and mostly Mathyoo over at 28 Millimeters Later. Mathyoo has been a good friend to my blog since in started so thank you. It's nice to know that someone cares and it kind of made my day. Mathyoo is a good bloke and more people should go and look at his blog. It's noice to get some praise. I know it's just another internet meme but as far as they go, I kind of like this one.

So as I understand the deal is as follows.

1. Copy and paste the award on your blog linking it to the blogger who has given it you.

2. Pass the award to your top 5 favourite blogs with less than 200 followers by leaving a comment on one of there posts to notify them that they have won the award and listing them on your own blog.

3. Sit back and bask in the warm fuzzy feeling that comes with knowing you have made someone's day!

4. There is no obligation to pass this onto someone else but its nice if you take the time to do so.

To those I nominate, I apologise in advance for forwarding an internet meme.

This blogs belongs to some I used to go airsofting with and she is a good gamer too. She has a good take on gaming and her blog is well worth a read.

Not really a gaming blog but a great site for getting ideas for sci-fi games. William takes ideas from a wide range of sources and turns it into a good read.

Fjodin's 15mm World
A nice blog with a lot of good pictures. Fjodin seems like a good bloke and you should go an have a look. The man has some great skills.

Anyone who would use Rab C Nesbit as an avatar must deserve a mention. His painting is pretty good too. He has a few other blogs that are worth a look as well.

A good blog from a prolific painter. I like post apocalypse games and this is what the world is about. Whilst mainly in 28mm he is being tempted to join the only true figure scale.

Well that about wraps this up. Hope it put a smile on afew faces.