Deadzone: Cards And Actions

Following on from a question on the FAQ thread, I’ve been re-reading the rules concerning the way certain cards work. It isn’t really as clear as I’d like so I thought I’d try to make it clearer here.

The cards in question are the ones that give actions, or things that work “exactly like” them. For example, the cards called Courage and Move.

The first line of the rules on card play says that cards are played “in addition to actions”. What this means is that the card gives the model an action that is not restricted by the normal limitation of only being allowed to use a given action once per Turn. In other words, you get all your normal actions and the card is on top.

Other than the general exception of card play being “in addition to actions”, other aspects of the card effect are “exactly like” the action in question. This means that they are restricted in when they can be used, exactly like the action itself. So, assuming I haven’t done an action yet this Turn, I can’t use a Move card if I couldn’t take a Move action in this situation, and I can’t use a Courage card if I couldn’t Get Mean!

I hope that’s clearer.

Incidentally, it does make me think of a series of possible future battle cards that might work when actions wouldn’t normally be allowed. They’ll have a nasty tendency to create loopholes, but might be worth exploring :)

Posted in Deadzone | 8 Comments

Romans Go Home

I watched a documentary on some headless Romans while I was having my tea (as you do),  and it brought up a question I’d like to ask you guys.

It’s not about the main point of the story (though that is interesting too), it’s about their recreations of the Romans. Not having painted a Roman since I was a wee lad, I’d never really thought about how many different skin colours you’d find in a legion, century, or even a single contubernium. Now I actually come to think about it they should be a mix of all sorts of people from all over the Empire, and increasingly so as time wears on (and the recruiters get ever more desperate to fill the ranks). Now I know this harks back to the article I posted the other day, but I promise you this is just a coincidence.

Anyway, to my question.

Does anyone know of any published research on the ethnic origins of individual legionaries? Books, articles, whatever. I’m thinking about the origins of the men themselves rather than the nominal origins of the legions, which are unlikely to remain representative for long. Strontium isotope testing is unlikely to have been done on everyone in a cemetery, but there may be papyri or other stuff kicking about. Just wondering. I know of a few snippets from various places, but I really wanted a larger scale analysis.

And I know that I can paint things whatever I like. Happy to. I just like to know what the actual history is (if I can) before I ignore it ;)

Having just finished re-reading some of Graham Sumner’s excellent books about the Roman uniform colour debate it would be an other facet that would not only make the legion look rather less uniform. The more I read, the more that Victorian textbook ideal is looking unlikely.

Posted in Painting & Modelling, Random Thoughts | 15 Comments

Turn To 186

Like most gamers of my vintage, Fighting fantasy game books are an integral and somewhat nostalgic part of their early gaming adventures. So, when Jonathan Green ran his Kickstarter to write the definitive history, I joined in with my pennies. That was January 2013. It’s taken a far longer time than he anticipated to get things completed, but I was happy to see the final tome arrive yesterday.

rsz_yath_coverI’ll do a proper review once I’ve had a chance to read it. For now, here’s a glimpse inside.

rsz_yath_1As you can see, it’s full of those nostalgic bits of art :)

If you fancy grabbing a copy before I tell you all its secrets, you can get it on, or

Posted in Review | 10 Comments

Space Hulk, Eh?

After the success of DreadFleet, I heard various “never again” rumours from GW. Then we had the Blood Bowl new edition rumours that came to nothing. To me, that sounded like a far better idea than Dreadfleet ever was (even though they missed the BB anniversary year). Still, that didn’t happen either.

Today we can pre-order GW’s latest “Limited Release” boxed game: Space HulkDéjà vu anyone?

Space Hulk 3bI’ve heard a couple of dark mutterings about this not really being an LE because it’s basically the same as the previous release. Well, yes and no. I’m not sure how much you have to change to count as something different, and it’s got extra missions and (I think) extra tiles even if the models are the same. Everyone liked the models when they came out the first time, so they certainly didn’t need fixing. Most importantly though, they seem to have changed the font for the title.

Sure, it’s GW looking for an easy way to make a lot of cash for minimal investment, and why not? Doesn’t that sound like good business? It does to me.

Personally, I’ve always said that after they released Space Hulk 3rd ed as the first of this latest set of LE games, I’d have gone back every 2 years with a revised version. New set of scenarios, new frame of Space Marines from a different chapter, and you’ve got a really sellable product for not much work. Blood Angels, Space Wolves, Ultramarines, Dark Angels as a start, before you even need to think very hard. That’s 8 years of product, and I’m pretty sure they would sell. Blood Bowl would be the best after that, then I think you could do a neat Epic version (sort of Titan Legions) as a stand-alone. Redoing Man o’ War was always a weird, rank outsider option.

Anyway, I’m sure Space Hulk 3rd redux will sell well. Certainly better than DF ever did. I might even buy a set myself. It’s one of Richard Halliwell’s best games, and it’s something I  would likely get on the table, if only because I know so many ex-GW gamers.

How many more of you are tempted by this reissue?

Posted in Board Gaming, Random Thoughts | 68 Comments

One Old, One New

Played a couple of board games yesterday.

rsz_3nanuuk_lowNanuuk is an German game that I’ve had since it came out in 1998. I don’t think you can get it any more, which is a shame as it’s a fun little game. It’s a perfect information game of the sort I’m seldom very good at, but the theme of Eskimo hunters softens that analytical edge. It’s also pretty quick to play with a built in timer as the ice cracks after each move and you have fewer and fewer places you can go. After playing it I looked on BGG out of curiosity, and it suffers rather unfairly I think. Their ranking is rather dependent on hype, with better promoted games getting more votes and therefore better rankings. That’s Bayesian maths for you.

Anyway, it was in my pile of “play these to see if they’re worth keeping” and it is. A light, fun little filler game.

Lords of War is a relatively new game to me. I picked this and other decks for it up at the UK Game Expo and had a couple of games there (including one against the designer). I’ve played it since as well, and thought it was worth breaking out once more to see how we got on with the Orcs and Dwarfs . I’ve been playing with different forces to see how different they felt.

I won’t go on about this at length as I want to play it some more and with other people before I write up a proper review. My main impression so far though is that I feel like I’m missing something. It’s fast, pretty and portable which makes it a good bet for taking along on holiday or to gaming clubs. Easy to teach people too. I’m just struggling with the game play. Like I said, it feels like I’m missing something. I’ll be coming back to this.

Either way, a fun diversion, and we also had a chat about Eternal Battle, which is a long way from forgotten :)

Posted in Board Gaming | 3 Comments

Updating Dungeon Sagas

In case you missed this in the comments: I will be putting up some rules updates for Dungeon Sagas here as the project rolls along.

Unfortunately I can’t give you a fixed timetable for specific bits yet, so you’ll just have to pop back every now and again if you’re interested (or subscribe with the button on the right).

Posted in Board Gaming, Dungeon Sagas | 12 Comments

Mars Attacks Miniatures – Part 3

Just a few final thoughts to add to yesterday’s post.

Rentonite is likely to be with us for a while. Dungeon Sagas will be largely produced in it, as I suspect will many more of Mantic’s models going forward. Other companies use very similar stuff too, so this applies more broadly than just Mantic. The process suits inexpensive mass production and balances that with a reasonable ability to hold detail while still managing to be workable. It’s unlikely to go away soon.

Is it my favourite material? No, not really (that would be hard plastic). However, every material has its down sides, and I think with a little practice I’d work with Rentonite about as happily as I would anything else. Some high tin content metal alloys are more of a pain as they blunt and break tools. That can be quite unsafe, and I’m not fond of those either. Still, in the end it’s often more the sculpt and mould quality than the material that dictates the length of time it takes to clean up.

Posted in Mars Attacks!, Painting & Modelling | 6 Comments