Tuesday 30 June 2020

Playtesting Midgard

Chum James has been working on his own rule for a while now. Provisionally called Midgard it's designed to be fast moving heroic fantasy where characters are important without dominating the game. Ideal for Dark Ages, Ancient Greece, Celtic Fantasy and (in this case) Lord of the Rings.

I played solo with a two of commands, each of four units and a hero per side.
I've only got evil forces at my disposal so Easterlings fought Orcs.

The pictures are a bit crappy as I only had my phone to hand.

The field of war

The Easterlings push forward

And their cavalry crash home.

Meanwhile the Wargs snack on some skirmishers.

The Easterling advance halts.

The wraith challenged the Orc shaman. And cut him down.

Then returned to kill more Orcs.

More wargs snacked on some other archers.

The grind begins.

Woof, woof, chomp chomp.

Finishing off the archers the Wargs bounced into the Easterlings.

The knights had killed the Orcs.

And the pikes saw off the dogs.

Then followed them up.

Leaving the swordsmen to finish the Orcs.

One lot of wargs dead, just one more to go.

This saw the Orc force broken and the Easterlings triumphant.

This worked well, even as a solo game. There's a few things around retreating and pursuing that need tidying up, but it gives a swift and bloody game!

Sunday 21 June 2020

RGD Plastic fauns

When I bought the Plastic Afghans recently I also bought a box of the RGD Gaming plastic fauns.
I'd had my eye on them since they were first announced and figured that the 24 in a box would make a good core for an OGAM Pan or Dionysus force.

So what do you get in the box?
Four sprues of "female" fauns

And four sprues of male fauns.

And a bonus centaur sprue.

Faun sprues each make three models and the centaur makes two centaurs - so 24 fauns and two centaurs from the box.

The male sprue has three male torsos

Three pairs of legs

Assorted weapons, including a single bow and four spears.

Several heads (presumably these ones are modelled on Jason, Tim and Dave)

An arrow arm

A couple of shields a quiver and  various hand weapons.

The female sprue similarly has three torsos

Three legs with bits of skirt of, lest we should be offended by faun lady parts - though there are no male genitalia visible on the male ones. Big made in China stamp. That'll give some of the Good Ol' Boys on TMP pause for though.

A single bow and various hand and double handed weapons

Several "female" (no beard) heads and a Thank You to Wargames Atlantic.

More  heads and arms

Some different shields

The centaur sprue has
Six torsos including an immodest lady faun torso (she covers her legs, but not her chest..?)

And these two which I guess are supposed to be classic human male torsos

Presumably to go with these two bearded heads.

They're made of the same quite hard plastic as the Afghans. Not surprising as they're manufactured by Wargames Atlantic. RGD did the design and ran the Kickstarter but used WA to do the actual tooling.

As a result they feel quite delicate/fragile. The spears are realistically thin and the hand weapons look small by fantasy standards. The hands holding the spears are also tiny, so drilling them out to replace with metal looks like an exercise in futility.

I put three of the male ones together.

The torso and legs have a flat joining surface. This is annoying -  ball and socket would have been much more flexible. At it is, you have to very carefully align them and really there's just a single pose to make - and twisting of the torso will result in misalignment and overhang. You can see the join clearly in the above pictures, and I suspect you'll be able to once painted unless you use filler. They're reasonably obvious on the box art ones.
The head also fits on a flat peg, so not as much movement as a ball and socket would allow.

From the pictures you can also see that the "fur" (leaves?) on the legs are a bit odd. What does it represent - whatever it is it's not very detailed. Likewise the faces are a bit shallow in places - though the torsos look pretty good overall.

One thing I realised as I put these together is that there are only two "empty" left arms. So your third model either has to have the bow, or a double handed weapon. You can't make all spear armed troops without cutting.

The bow arm is nice and aligns  well with the arrow. But that's the only bow pose you can make the female sprue may give some variation but looks to be a similar pose) And there's no alternate right arm either, so they've all got to have an arrow and be firing.

I also think quite a few of the weapons look pretty weird to me. I'd have liked some proper stabby swords. Doubtless someone will be along shortly to tell me they're modelled on authentic ancient weapons, but the axes (for example) look more ceremonial than murderous to me.

Here's a comparison shot with a Perry Napoleonic and a WA Afghan.

Overall I think the poses end up a bit limited and slightly awkward looking. They're definitely at the "fiddly" end of the plastics spectrum and I worry about how robust they'll be in a gaming environment. The moulding just isn't great - what's with the fur stuff on the legs? And some of the faces are flat. There's hardly any mould lines though to be fair - this is an issue with sculpting/design rather than manufacture.

The paint jobs on the box seem to be compensating for lack of detail on the models. We'll have to see when (if) I get round to painting them (especially as I'm no pro painter).

The fact that there are only 24 for £25 (vs for instance the 40 Afghans for the same price) makes them expensive for plastics. One bow pose per sprue and only two shields is also a poor choice.

It feels to me like a bit of a missed opportunity - a bit more thought about the options on the sprue and a bit less appealing to the crowd might have made for a better set. One of the big advantages of plastic should be the flexibility and options it gives over metal. This kit doesn't feel like it takes full advantage of that and the only advantage you have over metal is price point, which is undermined by the pain of a fiddly assembly. I don't mind simplistic easy to assemble cheap plastics, and I don't mind more expensive but hugely flexible plastics. Expensive hard to assemble limited choice plastics seem a miss on both counts.

My guess would be that this is a triumph of enthusiasm and desire to make something but that could have done with some harder headed decisions about the contents of the kit and some more experience in the design. The renders and 3D models no doubt looked great but a more experienced hand with sculpting could have resulted in better models.

They're not terrible, but I'm not excited about them. I'm left wishing I'd paid the extra for some nicer metal ones. I think these are going to get a very basic, undercoat and contrast paint job - if I can be bothered sticking them together.

Saturday 13 June 2020

Frostgrave - The Alchemical Monstrosity

I felt the need to play another game today.
So I decided to dig out Frostgrave and finally tackle the solo Dark Alchemy campaign.

The abandoned factory with titular Monstrosity in the centre.

Eeeew, gribbly!

Valerie d'Horlage with a couple of thugs and a tracker need to get out the door on the other side.

The gang start by running forward, staying out of sight of the beasty. Valerie casts Fleet Feet on Torchy.

The tracker takes cover behind a pillar.

The beast heads for the door.

Torch sprints off and grabs some coins.

Valerie and the boys try and sneak around the side.

But the beast lumbers toward them.

Torchy grabs a ring.

The tracker gets his hands on a scroll.

The beast runs forward again.

Torchy has made it to the door. All he needs to do now is fail to open it so the others can escape.

The massive idiot manages to open the door so Valerie and the boys have to head thataway.

Valerie tries to Petrify the monstrosity but fails. So it lumbers over to her!

The tracker rushes to her aid.

Valerie forces the monster back. Then runs off.

Speeding past Lampy.

The tracker manages to push the monster back unaided. And then sprints off as well.

The monster, now with no one in sight, wanders off to try the locked door as the rest of the gang escape.

That was quite jolly.
Tense as the monster got closer.
I actually had to restart the game as I realised I had misread and neglected to move the creature at all.
I was fortunate never to fail an initiative roll, so the creature never moved first and no rats appeared.
Only one blip when the thug unexpectedly opened the door and then I left Valerie too close to the beast.