Thursday, February 25, 2010

Miniatures Review 2: Peter Pig Gnomes

The Peter Pig fantasy range (Range 19) includes packs with Garden Gnomes, these have armament with fishing rods, throwing rocks and riders on giant snails. In my case I bought these as a pre-organised army for the Hordes of the Things miniatures rules, which is no longer available, but the figures can still be bought in packs of 8 infantry. I don't have any of the dead or Gnome camp items painted up with the main army.

From left to right the army has rock throwers, the King and fishing rod armed gnomes, a wizard on toadstool finishing with riders on giant snails. In the HotT army these are shooters, spears, a magician and behemoths.

The figures measure roughly 15mm foot to top of head though they are deliberately smaller than regular Peter Pig humans. The figures are cleanly cast with minimal mould lines and flash to be removed and paint up very easily I find. I think that the Peter Pig ranges do have a lot of character compared to some 15mm lines and I recommend them to the wargamer in 15mm.

I'll soon be adding some more reviews of other Peter Pig figures that I have.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Miniatures Reviews: 1. Denizen 25mm Khiff

The Denizen miniatures 25mm SF range includes the usual humans and also a couple of ranges of aliens. One of these is the Khiff a dog/crocodile faced bipedal humanoid species. These are sculpted by L M Locke rather than Chub Pearson of Denizen Miniatures.

The figures are a true 25mm with the measurement foot to eye and quite slim in proportion, they match well well old Citadel SF figures or Ground Zero Games miniatures. They are very cleanly moulded with minimal flash and clean up easily for painting. They are reasonably priced for 25mm figures being similar in price to Ground Zero Games and a lot cheaper than Games Workshop's metal figures.

These are only a mid-tech range as they are mostly armed with bolt throwers with there being a standard assault rifle(SF53) and a heavy assault rifle(SF62) similar to the relationship between the AK47 and RPK though the actual design looks a bit more like a Mauser 98K with a box magazine beneath it.

The other weapons are a rocket launcher(SF59) similar to a RPG-7 and a magazine grenade launcher(SF60) resembling a Milkor MGL, The final figures are an officer (SF51) and assassin(SF52) with carbines and a figure with a laser rifle(SF61). The laser rifle looks like it is intended as a heavy weapon given its size, but that really would be down to the individual user. The assassin has a slightly curved sword (similiar in shape to a Japanese Katana) slung on his back while the other figures mostly have a pistol and knife/bayonet hung on their belts. The only one of the range I don't have is the flamer (SF54). All the figures are illustrated by pictures on the Denizen website so I won't attempt to add pictures of all the range till I paint them. I have a picture of the front and back of the figure with an assault rifle next to an old Citadel SF figure for size comparison.

I'd recommend these figures to anyone wanting a humanoid race for 25mm SF gaming particularly as an opponent for figures from Ground Zero or Eureka.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Miniatures work in progress

My current projects - old GW Lizardmen Skink Archers

The actual paint colours used so far are Miniature Paints 21 Artic Blue, 22 Mid Blue and Games Workshop foundation Mechrite Red.

Friday, February 12, 2010

History of wargaming site

This site on the history of wargaming is interesting and I support John Curry working to bring back many classic wargames titles into print.

The Don Featherstone titles alone are very useful particularly Wargaming Campaigns and Solo Wargames.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

A World lit by only by Fear! Part 2: Roleplaying in the Dark Ages

From some comments I made in replying to a post on the Yog-Sothoth forums I've elaborated out some thoughts about playing Call of Cthulhu in the Dark Ages and tried to also make more general comments about setting RPG in that historical era.

The question that was asked:
Hi, I'm new to the site but have played CoC in the past. My current roleplay group don't and are more comfortable in the vein of 'kick-the-door-down' DnD, which is fine but I don't want them to be too comfortable. I'd like to introduce them to CoC and think, since they normally wander around fantasy realms, that they will be more receptive to an introduction via CDA. Do you think this is reasonable or would you recommend that I go with the classic CoC setting for a first time group?

My Reply:
Mmm, as a veteran of both CoC and DnD I suppose I've got relevant views on this. Main thoughts are:
  1. CoC is much more lethal than D&D (indeed like most BRP based games
  2. CDA is pretty historical (as are most CoC games) so magic is not massively common and groups can't rely on healing to patch them up
  3. In the CDA setting people would believe in Elves, Dwarves, Ogres, etc. so having them appear doesn't 'break' the setting as such.
  4. CDA creatures are not easy to overcome via the kick in the door style, but that applies just as much to classic CoC.
  5. By setting in a different era like the 1920s it might make the players think about trying different things than their usual style while a Dark Ages setting may lead them towards DnDisms
  6. Are your players interested in history and this era as that will help a lot for using the setting and roleplay?

More general thoughts
Expanding upon these thoughts for more general Dark Ages roleplaying rather than specific Call of Cthulhu I've come up with the following ideas:
  1. For a historical setting real working magic has to be rare, but there is a common belief in magic among the population. Users of magic need to worry about being killed as witches or warlocks if they reveal their powers so will normally be very discreet.
  2. Healing will largely have to be natural healing therefore slow and if you really want to be historical the risk of wounds getting infected needs to be considered. Remember that in most periods even during wartime disease and injuries have been much greater killers than combat. There is a need to counterbalance with the enjoyment of a game as the party falling victim at random to smallpox or similar would tend to put a damper on their enjoyment.
  3. Social class will be important and characters will need to obey the conventions of the era so members of the first estate (the clergy) will be deferred to by most other characters, at least in public.
  4. The large monasteries are the main centres of learning in most cases and the site of what libraries that tend to exist.
  5. There is unlikely to be large amounts of actual coin around for money as many transactions in villages would be barter and even travelling merchants would often use this, e.g. to obtain food and accommodation they might well pay in goods rather than cash. This means D&D style hoards of coins should be rare, though not totally unknown, and gold or silver could often be found as jewellery or sword hilts, etc like this one found in the UK.

In the near future I'm going to add an annotated bibliography for the period that can help you find further information and reviews of the CoCDA quickstart rules and main rules.