Frostgrave, Kings of war and more.

I have been quiet for too long, the intention to blog has been there, but not enough will to actually put finger to keyboard. I have however been busy, getting some games in, painting/finishing some figures and drinking beer, well maybe not so much of the latter if only due to finances.

I got my copy of Frostgrave from ‘Northstar Miniatures’ at the end of July. The book itself is beautifully put together, and the rules are intriguing. I am still to play it as I have been preparing my own wizards/apprentices to use, the ones prepared by Northstar are nice, but this is the type of game where you can do your own thing. So far my Arcworlde Wizard is going to be my Illusionist, and I bought a lovely sculpt from ‘Black Scorpion Miniatures’ to be my witch. I also plan to use a classic ‘Citadel’ High Elf Mage as an Elementalist, and have my eye on several minis for my Necromancer.

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Even though I have not yet played Frostgrave, I have had the opportunity to play Kings of War 2 and Dungeon Saga by ‘Mantic’ who visited my local gaming club on two occasions over the last three weeks. On the most recent visit Ronnie Renton himself came down, a very nice fellow to whom many of us at the Hackney Area Table-top Enthusiast are very grateful to.

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Kings of war is very much the game to replace ‘Warhammer Fantasy Battle’, if you wish to continue to play proper table top battles. It is actually faster and easy to play than WHFB, and because you do not remove figures as the casualties’ accrue, it is easy to set up for a new game or tidy your army away. I have played this 4 times now, although 2 of those times were the 1st edition. I love the fast pace of the game, and they fact that artillery and magic are useful, but they are not game changers, means there is guaranteed combat, and often unexpected results. The fact that Mantic are expanding the range of their armies is a real bonus.

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Dungeon Saga is similar to Hero quest, but with some important differences, the one which stood out to me is that if even one of the adventurers dies, the whole mission fails; this encourages greater team work to complete the game. Each level is tougher than the last and it becomes imperative to protect the weaker members of your team.

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Despite the bad taste it left in my mouth, I have tried ‘Age of Sigmar’, and although many people have enjoyed it, it’s not for me. I will be taking up ‘Kings of War’, however I will also continue to play Warhammer Fantasy Battle, as long as I have an opponent to play with. I have also decided that in an effort to keep the old world alive, I am going to write and alternative narrative which I will post on the ‘Warhammer battle reporters’ website, for people to use if they wish, like many do, to continue with 7th or 8th Edition. I am also going to add 3 further armies to my collection, I already have Dwarf, Empire and High Elf, and it took some time to decide which three armies would join them, in the end I decided to go with Khemri, Orc & Goblin and Beastmen. I just need to get hold of the figures; I have had some luck, but keep getting out bid on Ebay. I need to find some other sources.

As I have said some nice beers have been consumed since my last post, and it’s difficult to say which I preferred, possibly the badger brew, but here’s a few pics of some of my recent refreshments.

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My day at SALUTE 2015

Upon leaving the house this morning it looked as if 2015 had decided to skip past the rest of spring, and summer in that case and get on with Autumn. The sky was grey, the air was cold and the rain just kept pouring down. However, I was in a positive frame of mind because today was April 25th, and it was finally time for SALUTE 2015. I also strengthened my resolve by remembering that the event is held indoors, so rain do your worst, today was going to be a good day.

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I reached Excel in good time. Crowds of people were already gathering, and as I paced down the café strewn walkway of the internal corridor, I noticed that there were in fact 4 different conventions taking place. Along with SALUTE and the annual London Marathon registration (these two always seem to run in conjunction) there was a pharmaceutical conference, and a convention for the modern BBC1 adaptation of Sherlock Holmes.

As I approached the entrance for SALUTE; I noticed that unlike past events that I have been to, we were not required to queue outside, they had arranged a waiting area inside one of the hangers, and with the doors to the main event open, allowing a glimpse into the honey pot, and the golden treasure the lay inside. After half an hour waiting in my place within the queue, I was ready to gaze and new sculpts, play new games, and spend obscene amounts of money (well maybe not the latter), I was in total geek mode.

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Once they had finally let slip the dogs of war, I made a head long rush, straight to the Southern Warlords stand to book my models into the painting competition. Each year I fool myself into thinking I can paint to a good standard, so scoop up my most recent pieces, and proffer them to the SALUTE judges, hoping that I might get a mention, a slip of recognition. But then I see the other entries and think, ‘Wow, I still have a long way to go.’

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My next port of call was the ‘Hasslefree Miniatures’ stand to get some new Dwarf female warriors for a new work in progress, and a copy of their Female Greatsword (an excellent sculpt that would work well as an Empire Captain). I also picked up a few other models I liked because it’s got to be done really. Next stop was ‘Black Scorpion Miniatures’ they had a lovely sculpt of a witch with a cat familiar which I have wanted since I saw it on their website last year.

After this flurry of purchasing, it was definitely time for a game. I had spotted the ‘Lords of War’ stand in the corner near the entrance, and having enjoyed an introductory game in 2013, and subsequently forgotten the rules, I decided to see if someone would like to shake the rust out of my system with another game. A very friendly young lady sat me down and we had a round of ‘Templars Vs Undead’ I was happy with this choice as I had backed the kick starter for this particular version a while ago, then not played with me boxed set. The game at the intermediate level is quick to pick up, it is fun and very addictive. I enjoyed the game so much that I bought one of the special battle mats to start using my own cards upon, as it is definitely a game I’m going to get into. ‘Black Box Games incidentally are running a new kick starter, which is an expansion to their ‘Elves Vs Lizardmen’ set. After today, I think I’m going to making a pledge.

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Next up was lunch, I met up with two good friends Nick and Marc. We try to meet regualry at SALUTE, have lunch and go through our early purchases, it was pleasant as always and we chatted about the demise of the ‘Warhammer Fantasy World’ among many hobby related topics.

My post lunch amble around the bustling avenues of the SALUTE arena, was a flurry of window shopping and photo opportunities. I saw Dani Abrams ‘artist. comic book creator and war gaming guru’ who does some work with ‘Beasts of War’. I follow her on twitter and asked if I could take her picture, and she kindly allowed me to do so. Next I saw Alex Huntley the creator of the brilliant skirmish game ‘Arcworlde’, I back his kickstarter a while ago and received some beautiful sculpts in return.

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Then a sign caught my eye ‘Crooked Dice Game Design Studio’,  I was intrigued to know what they did. I approached the stall and got talking with the wonderful Helena Nash, who told me that they make games based on cult TV programs such as ‘Doctor Who’, and ‘Blake 7’. (two of my childhood favourites). Helena told me about one game in particular, 7th Voyage which is a table top game set in the world of classic stop motion mythic/fantasy films such as ‘Arabian Nights.’ There is an expansion book available that brings ‘Robin Hood,’ and ‘King Arthur,’ into the fold. It turns out that Helena is the games developer for this particular system, and I was eager to try it out. After a game of trying to get Robin and his merry men out of a castle town surrounded by the sheriff and his men, I was hooked and  bought the rule book and expansion straight away. If you’re looking for a new game to try then you should certainly give this company a try:  http://www.crooked-dice.co.uk/wp/

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Over all I had a really great time as SALUTE which made up for recent difficulties in everyday life. The escapism of war gaming has such a stress relieving quality, it would be good if they could bottle it up, but for the time being I’ll have to make do with shows like this.

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Something else to look for in the coming months is a game called ‘Frostgrave’ by ‘North Star Military Figures’ and ‘Osprey Games’. This is a game in which wizards steadily build up a warband as they battle and search for lost treasure. A funding event for this will start in May and will be worth watching out for: http://www.nothstarfigures.com