About Me

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I'm a bit of a born-again wargamer! I played many of the Games Workshop games when I was in my teens and early twenties, but left the hobby behind when I went to University. Over the last few years I have gradually got back into it and am literally having a ball! I'll play pretty much anything now, ranging from ancient historical to the far future! I think that I get more out of the painting side of things than actually playing, but that might just be because I get more opportunity. Hence the title...this blog is all about the colour of war!!

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Fast and furious - Dreadball in a nutshell!

Got to try out Dreadball last week and I thought I'd share some views on it. First off, there's not really a lot of competition in the future/fantasy ball game genre. The obvious main contender is Blood Bowl and that's a game that I spent a lot of time playing in my teens and early twenties. So, how does Dreadball (DB) compare with it and what can it bring to the table that Blood Bowl (BB) fails to deliver?

  1. Speedball! Remember that game? I used to love it on the Megadrive and DB really conjures the look and feel of that game. Despite there being Orcs in DB it feels much more sci-fi than BB.
  2. Speedball 2! Actually, what I mean by this is that DB puts some speed into the game. Despite never having played it before, George and I managed to get through a whole game in a couple of hours, complete with much thumbing through of the rules. You will definitely finish a game of DB long before a game of BB ends. Why? Well, that's really down to the number of players on the board. In BB you play with 11 players, while DB sees only 6 on the board. So you immediately half the number of pieces you need to manage. On top of that, you can't actually move them all in DB, as you only have 5 'action' tokens, so rather than pondering 11 moves, you are only pondering 5 at the most (not counting the small hand of cards you have that can grant extra actions).
  3. Gooooooaaaalll! In DB it is much easier to score. Mostly this is because the board is a lot smaller and there are 3 'goals' in which to score, 2 of which are about halfway up the opponents side. Another key factor is that the ball is launched back into play as soon as a team scores, without resetting the play, much like the way the ball is launched in Rollerball. So, you may find that the ball simply lands on a player who catches it and a score can be made that turn. Scoring in BB is a much more labour intensive task with most games only seeing 2 or 3 touchdowns, especially as the play is restarted after each TD and, more importantly, half time (which DB doesn't actually have). So DB is more like basketball in terms of scoring and ebb and flow of play.
  4. Dream team! Actually, this is one of the points that I think DB falls down on. The models are lovely, but there's a real lack of diversity in the teams as they come out of the box. The greenskins, for example, have only two types of player, the humans having three. There is a definite theme for each side, with the humans being much more about running and throwing while the Orcs just want to smash and bash, but it would have been nice to see some variety, or more choice in team selection. This is one point that BB stands head and shoulders above DB. However, I grant that these are early days for DB and I'm sure they'll release more stuff in due time.
  5. Final score! So, how do they compare? DB is definitely a quicker game, but it's not really any more lightweight in terms of tactical depth and decision making. DB seems much more suitable for a club night or a casual game for a night round at your mates. BB is a longer undertaking, for sure, but it feels more like a big marquee game. If you factor in player progression and the fact that skills are built into BB then the league game is where BB is really at. I have to admit that I didn't get time to really inspect all the rules in DB, but nothing leaped out at me as being designed for team progression. It may be there...I just didn't see it! I guess the big question is, is Dreadball worth shelling out £50 for? Well, Blood Bowl is actually very similarly priced, so I would say it really depends on the gaming group you're a part of. If your mates are all up for a decent league and want a good variety of teams and players, then Blood Bowl is still pretty much the best choice. If you are just looking for a nice, easy entry into the fantasy football genre that doesn't require too much effort to play and can be brought out and played comfortably in an evening, then Dreadball is probably the choice for you. 

Both are very good games and very engaging and fun, so on that criteria I don't really think I could separate them. Whether DB evolves into a serious competitor for the league play only time will tell, but it's certainly worth keeping an eye on it.

Monday, 18 March 2013

First look at a tournament

Yesterday saw a Malifaux tournament happen in Glasgow and I managed to go down and watch. The organisers also had a second room for demos and friendly games which was cool. So I took my Perdita and Zoraida crews with the intention of trying Zoraida out. As it happened I ended up playing Zoraida against Perdita, which was nice to see all my models on the table. But it also meant I learnt how damned hard Perdita is to play against! The highlight, though, had to be Zoraida casting Obey on Papa Loco who charged Santiago and flipped the red joker for damage. The resulting explosion took them both out in one cataclysmic BOOM! :)

The real draw was the tournament, of course. I've never taken part in a tournament, but I think it would be an interesting experience, so I wanted to take a look and see what if was like. I watched most of one game where the Dreamer tore up a Lilith crew and the quality of play was a cut above. Okay...the Dreamer player was the #1 ranked player in the UK! So, I'm intrigued enough to want to enter the next one if I can make it. Just need to build up a few more options for one of my crews.

Apologies for no pictures, but it was such a busy day!

Friday, 15 March 2013

Second crew complete!

Well, all but for some decoration on the bases and a lick of varnish!

Here are some extra shots of the Hag herself:

I'm determined to just get on with the Malifuax stuff I've had lying around for ages, so next up is Colette and her Showgirls. Of course...I need some Coryphee and some Mechanical Doves and some...!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

More alliteration - March, Malifaux, Magua and Muskets & Tomahawks!

Painting wise I've been splashing away at Zoraida's crew and have basically finished Bad Juju. That only leaves Zoraida and finishing off bases, and both of those tasks are well under way. So, all in all, it looks like I'll be in a position to take Zoraida to the Malifaux event on Sunday, which is great news! I've also ordered a couple of extra minions for her (which is allowed, as per my oath...extensions are fine - additions aren't), but the Post Office seem incapable of delivering them, which is most annoying. But, I have to say, my oath is being stretched to it's limit and there are figures I really want out there. In particular, I realised that I actually don't have a crew per faction in Malifaux as I thought. I don't have an Outcasts crew, so I'm seriously considering picking up Leveticus. That is mostly based on the fact that I can reuse lots of models from the other crews, rather than having to buy lots of extras. So...perhaps just a *tiny* purchase may be allowed...ahem...! :)

Bad Juju - pretty much ready to go!

An odd model to paint. Basically he's just a huge mud pile!
Also, on Tuesday night, I got to play in my second game of Muskets & Tomahawks. Sometimes it's amazing how randomly generated plots can seem to tie into an overall narrative! In this game, the British forces were the raiders and the Indians/Canadians were defending their patch. So we decided that the British officer from the first game, let's call him...say....Duncan, was called a coward by the lady who was his ward in the first game and she has left him. Enraged, he decided to track the Magua to his stronghold and make him pay. His side plot nicely tied into this and demanded that he personally take six scalps! Magua, on the other hand, was to ensure that no enemy forces would get into his log cabin and steal his whiskey and glass beads!
The battlefield!
A column of Rangers approach from the left flank.
The Indians continue to dance around the fire, unaware of the approaching danger!
Officer Duncan leads his raiding party.
Duncan reaches Magua's cabin undetected and starts to lay fires!
The Rangers engage the Indians! The hornets nest has been disturbed!

The Ranger column deploys from the left flank and takes the enemy from the rear.
In the end, the Indians and Canadians were put to flight by the pincer movement and Magua's cabin was burnt to the ground. The Indian reserves were obviously too busy hunting some beavers to come and help as the game ended before they arrived, but the Rangers had failed to completely burn down the second building and so the game was a draw! Neither officer managed his sub plot, so after some licking of wounds I'm sure they will re-ignite the feud to see who comes out on top! All in all, another great game of Muskets and Tomahawks. I'm really liking this system more and more!

Saturday, 9 March 2013

March Malifaux Madness

Just realised that I've not blogged in a week and a half! I wanted to keep some momentum up this year, so I had better bring it up to date. As you'll guess from the title, this month's focus so far has been in clearing off some of the Malifaux backlog I have. We saw the Silurids last month and after that post I just decided to forge ahead on Zoraida's crew and get them done.
You have no idea how many times I glued my fingers together!
There is actually a little incentive for this, which is a Malifaux event happening here in Glasgow a week tomorrow. The event is a tournament, but with facilities to turn up and play some casual games. I'm really tempted by the tourney, but I've only played a couple of games and I don't think I could complete the games in the allotted time for reading the cards and the books, which wouldn't be fair on the opposition. So the aim is to turn up, watch some tournament play, soak up the atmosphere and get a couple of casual games in as an intro to Zoraida. Details of the event for anyone interested can be found here.

First up are my favourite figures from this crew. The Stitched Together! Yes, they are very reminiscent of the boogeyman from Nightmare Before Christmas, but that's OK! He was the coolest bit of that film anyway! Plus these up the grotesque quotient a notch!
Next is the all important Voodoo Doll. This is a pretty small and insignificant miniature, but he has a big impact on the game, as he lets Zoraida target enemy models with her spells irrespective of distance and LOS, as long as Zoraida can see them when she summons the doll. Very handy!
The big lump you see in the first picture, Bad Juju, is about halfway complete and then it's just Zoraida herself. I hope to get them done this weekend which leaves me next week to finish off the basing.

Tuesday should see another Muskets & Tomahawks game which I'll report on and I'll be sure to take some pictures of the Malifaux day and a couple of reports on the games. In the meantime, here's some pictures I took of the last game of Malifaux I played using Perdita against George with his Rasputina crew.
Francisco and Santiago cover each others advance
Perdita leads the rest of the Family up the other side of town.
Nino rushes into cover as a huge Ice Golem stamps up the street!
Papa Loco ducks past the towering ice monster to try and give it's Master a taste of his dynamite!
Santiago goes mano e mano with an Ice Gamin.

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