Miniature Wargaming Free Demo Day

I finally got around to organizing and running a free demo game day to showcase a variety of miniature games with some of my gaming friends at my friendly local gaming store.  I’ve participated in several of these sort of events, organized by Shades in the greater D.C. area at different stores  ( http://minimayhem-theblog.blogspot.com/search/label/Demo%20Day ), but this is the first time I took on the mantle of leadership and rallied the troops, so to speak, to show off some games in my home town.

FreeI started with a mission statement:  my goal was to create an event open to the public and invite anyone to step up and try a game.  Then I presented the store owners with a proposal, which was accepted, arranged for a date, and recruited some gamers to present their favorite games.  Finally, with several players agreeing to bring in their own painted miniatures and allow members of the public to handle those figures and ask questions about the respective games, I created a poster and started promotion.

astoreWe had game masters to set up and run demo games for 6 different miniature games including Dystopian Wars, Warhammer 40K, Hell Dorado, X-Wing, Flames of War, and Relic Knights.

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Setting up a table near the front of the store with a variety of examples of miniature wargaming, I included a basic setup for a game of BattleLore which served as a good introductory game to introduce basic concepts of wargaming to interested but inexperienced gamers.

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One of the veteran gamers in my local wargaming community brought in his scratchbuilt table to demonstrate a game of Hell Dorado with 2 sets of beautiful miniatures he has painted over the course of the past year.

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I had time to run a basic naval game of Dystopian Wars using 2 painted fleets of ship models.

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As expected, X-Wing was the most popular game, and we set it up in the back corner so players would pass the other games on display.  Some of the local Flames of War players brought in their tank models to show off.

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We had plenty of walk-in costumers coming in to pick up comic books I invited to try a game, but most passed on the opportunity.  All the same, having the games set up in the store at least triggered some interest and prompted some costumers to at least check out some of the painted miniatures.

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Special thanks to our volunteers–we couldn’t have run so many different miniature games without our experienced game masters.

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Sunday Game of Hell Dorado

Met my Usual Opponent for a game of Hell Dorado on Sunday, my Immortals versus his Saracens:  230 points each.

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The book holding my unit stat cards was created by my Usual Opponent and fits the Asian theme of my preferred wargaming factions. The green dice track the number of current Command Points, and the yellow dice are all I need for the game. The Sphinx is just an extra piece of terrain we didn’t use.

We rolled up a CONQUEST scenario and TERRAFORMED the table; my Usual Opponent seized Dominance with his larger force, and I was forced to deploy first.  Of course, my fast melee independents moved quickly across the table and took out his musketeers before they could do any damage with their jezails.  But his scimitar-weilding warriors charged into my unit of poorly armed peasants on my left flank, and by the end of the 3rd turn I no longer had a left flank….

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Immortals on the left, Saracens on the right, clashing around the giant skull in the center of an ancient battlefield. The table is divided into 9 different section, each section with special properties which affect the movement and tactical options of the pieces in the section. My figures have yellow circles around their bases while my Opponent’s figures have black circles.

In the end, after 4 turns, my opponent clearly controlled more of the battlefield than my Immortals, although we were not so mismatched in casualties and figures remaining on the table.

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A key point in the first turn when the war panther ran up to engage my contingent of peasants, and then the Saracen alchemist threw a fire grenade which weakened the remaining peasants enough that they couldn’t put up a fight against the scimitar-wielding warriors during the 2nd turn.

So, after 4 turns, and a break to unlock a family member’s vehicle with keys locked inside, I conceded victory to my Usual Opponent.

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My final dice roll, and I still have 2 figures on the table, but I’ve clearly lost control of the battlefield with Saracens in my starting deployment zone.

More Weekend Cat Blogging

My next painting challenge goal is set for mid-July when I intend to run some games at Historicon.  I have ideas for 6 different games, but I need to trim that down a bit and decide which 2 or 3 I will commit to so I can submit to the HMGS by the end of May.  This means I also need to decide which sets of figures deserve the lion’s share of my painting attention.  And speaking of the “lion’s share” I am pleased with these particular figures I received yesterday:

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No, these didn’t arrive painted–I borrowed a studio shot on the distributor’s website.

Yes, cat-people wearing turbans and wielding scimitars!  Their game “element” is water, so I intend to put a bit of light blue on each figure, but I’m going to have fun with the fur patterns and stripes on those baggy trousers.  The game describes these as what one might expect a fantasy race of cat-people to be–fast, agile, quick, and deadly within claw & fang range in close combat.  The larger variety are equivalent to tigers and possess great strength and serve as bodyguards for the spellcasters and leaders while the smaller, light infantry are equivalent to panthers and leopards.  And the spellcasters?  They’re actually blind but are guided by their superb powers of divination.  And that reminds me of a book I read last year about a blind cat named Ulysses–the author explained that his eyes were removed as a kitten because of a severe infection, but the cat still navigated around her apartment as agile as any of her other cats, jumping up on the furniture, etc.

ImageAnd, speaking of cats, I expected Sabine to prefer the Khaliman cat-people, but she seemed to be more interested in the booster box of Aurloks I also included in the order.  ImageOr maybe she’s really most interested in the shipping container which arrived from a distant land and was permeated with smells from the long journey and has that perfect corner with just the right mixture of firm and pliant for claw scratching.  She certainly likes those cardboard boxes.

ImageMeanwhile, the other cat, Mira, just ran off with one of the packing peanuts to play with as if it was the most exciting cat toy ever invented.  I don’t know why I bother buying cat toys anymore.

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Another project is going to be a proxy demon force for the Hell Dorado game with a nautical theme.  I haven’t started painting any of these, but I’ve started collecting the figures, including a hammerhead shark with legs and arms, a couple of pirates, and the chief demon, a ship’s figurehead come to life:

ImageBy the way, I borrowed the title “Weekend Cat Blogging” from another blog and website I admire which offers a range of easy wargaming scenarios and free paper figure templates.  Check it out:  http://www.juniorgeneral.org/

Hell Dorado Games Day

Made it to the Game Vault by 11 on Sunday morning and started a basic game with a new player so she could learn the rules and dynamics of a typical game.  Then the Richmond boys arrived and we divided into 3 teams and set up 3 games by noon.

ImageI had my 200 points worth of Immortals (mostly) painted and ready to play.  We relocated to the back room and set up 3 different game boards across 2 tables–one thing I like about this game is the small space required to resolve a typical battle; each game board measured 30″ by 30″ and featured an interesting range of terrain features and enough room to maneuver pieces while keeping a constraint on the time involved moving figures across wide and open spaces on the table.

ImageWe had 2 players with Immortals and another 2 with Westerners, so pairing up those teams made sense, then we matched up the Demons player with the Saracens player in a tentative alliance.  My Immortals ran up against a faction of Demons in a Howling Wastes, the center of the field dominated by giant skulls of long dead monsters.

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I split my forces.  The main force, composed of 3 Independents (a Swordmaster, a multi-armed Lamia, and a Sentinel wielding a poleaxe) moved quickly up the right flank, charging into the main force of the enemy Demons and dispatching 2 of the enemy by the end of the second turn.

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Meanwhile, my peasants guarded the left flank and were quickly slaughtered by a pair of Demons playing the old bait-and-switch game… the little guy ran away while the big guy waded through my peasants with a sword longer than the height of a man.

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And then, just as the fight on the right flank was turning in my favor, the lead Demon manifested a power which eliminated himself from the battlefield while restoring health to the remaining wounded Demons–my Immortals gained determination to fight until the bitter end because of their wounds, but the renewed strength of their opponents led to their demise.  When I realized I only had my wizard and his spell courier remaining, I offered my hand across the table and resigned victory to my worthy opponent.

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Meanwhile, in other parts of the table, I seized the opportunity of my swift defeat to photograph the other games still in progress.  My immediate teammate beside me was edging out a narrow victory against the new player to the group…

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…while her Westerners teammate beat the Saracens.  All this meant that each team had scored 1 victory each for the first round of battles.

ROUND 2:

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The scenario was an assault against a defensive position.  Short story:  I was assaulting armored Westerners.  First, my Swordmaster runs up and strikes, most of the damage she inflicted was negated by heavy armor, and then she was killed in the counter-attack; next, the Sentinal charges, strikes, Westerner plate armor negates most of the damage, and then he is struck down; finally, the Lamia, same sequence as before.  And my peasants didn’t stand a chance against a full charge by a mounted knight.  In the end, my wizard was surrounded and put up a good fight, but it wasn’t enough to win the battle.

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Two consecutive victories scored by Georg and his armored knights won the day for the Westerners, while my two consecutive defeats put me at the bottom of the list.  All together, I learned some new dynamics in this game and enjoyed the time spent with some like-minded gamers, etc.

Modified Painting Schedule

Painting Day 13

Between a busy week at work and various distractions, I had to revise my main goal. By Tuesday (Day 9) I hadn’t accomplished as much as I had hoped, so I decided to concentrate my attention on the 8 figures I intend to use in the Hell Dorado games day this coming Sunday.

Last night I resorted to a simple basing system–a bit of glue and some sand to create a rocky ground around the figure. And today I applied some drybrushing to some figures and hit the rocky bases with a bit of brown wash. I also spent time applying metal washers to the underside of the bases so they can “stick” to the magnetic sheet I’ve put down in a plastic container to use for transport to the game store. Some of these figures are delicate, particularly the wizard holding a scroll with a dragon-snake coiled around his body, so putting these into a box of foam wasn’t something I wanted to resort to using.

Meanwhile, I’ve been listening to an audiobook of The Golden Compass while working on these figures today.

April Painting Project

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On the first day of April, 2013, I started painting a set of 12 figures; I’ve clearly become enamored of Asian themed forces in both my naval and skirmish games, so I’ve determined to paint a force which can be used for 2 different skirmish tabletop games.  Eight of the above dozen figures will be used with a 200 point force for the Hell Dorado Day I plan to attend in 2 weeks at the Game Vault, and 9 of the same dozen figures will be used for future games of Alkemy, representing the Jade Triad.

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I sculpted a “Jin Post” for my Alkemy force using a bit of Sculpey over a plastic drywall mount; the great thing about this terrain piece is it can also work as a stalactite terrain piece in games of Hell Dorado.  I bought a bag of golf tees to serve as the base structure for more Jin Posts/Stalactites.  The “shadow guard” on the left, in the photo above, from a recent Alkemy purchase, is also going to double as a proxy for a SwordMaster in my Hell Dorado force of Immortals, and the captain on the right is also going to serve as a Human Sentinel.

My love for the color yellow is showing throughout this force; I’m aiming for some contrast with a reddish purple, otherwise known as fuscia.