Sunday 26 February 2023

And now, more rats!

After painting an entire unit of Skavenslaves in one whack was such a drag (an army painter I am not), I thought I’d approach the next unit in smaller chunks, figuring that being able to complete each step quicker would allow me some more variety in my painting experience, and thus I’d be able to get throughout more enjoyably (and quicker!), as well as being able to standardise somewhat (so each batch would have the same colour fur, removing a few steps from the painting process).

So I prepped myself the majority of the unit, and the selected six as my first group to paint. 

This was… during the summer I think? And I’ve just finished them this week:

The secret to getting them finished was deciding I was going to focus on stuff needed for Last Days, at which point I decided I needed to make some space on my painting tile and knocked out the remaining steps over a few evenings.

Here is a side profile view, showing off some shonky freehand shield runes:

Six down, twenty something more to go! Plus characters, and a war machine. On top of all the other projects I’ve got on the go. But then again, my opponent has already finished his 500 points, so that’s motivation to get finished! The same opponent that has recently expressed an interest in inq28 though, so add another distraction to my ongoing projects…

These additions bring the Skaven points total so far to:

188 / 500 (I think - I don’t have my army book to hand as I type this!)

And also brings the Tally to:

9 vs 7 = +2

Back into the positive! Best not buy the next issue of the AOS part work then…

Thursday 16 February 2023

Last Days Seasons campaign: February

Having the week off of work (as Super Bowl and my daughter’s birthday fall in the same week), I’ve actually managed to get this month’s Last Days game in with a couple of weeks to spare!

Rolling up Rescue as the next scenario, I reasoned that narratively it went like this - it’s month two of the end of the world, and things don’t seem to be getting any better. The group of survivors banded together at the farm receive a radio signal from a prepper that people had previously thought paranoid, but in hindsight was actually right… He had himself a bunker in the depths of the woods, stuffed full of supplies, but had been overrun by zombies. He was keeping his head down, but would appreciate someone coming and giving him a hand. The group didn’t have to deliberate for long - helping out another human being was obviously the right thing to do. And anyway, if they didn’t make it in time, he’s probably got a bunch of supplies that he won’t be needing any more…

So, this is how I set up the board:

Rolling for weather, I got the freezing result - zombies being slower is a good thing, but given how I roll, being harder to kill was going to be a bit of a hurdle to overcome…

I also forgot to print out tokens (again!) so had to resort to my handmade ones:

Next time I’ll remember, I’m sure. Although I realise now that last night when I was printing out Rangers of Shadow Deep cards and couldn’t remember what the other thing I was meant to print was, it was these. 

First thing of note - when playing solo, boy howdy is that a lot of zombies that rock up on the opposite end of the board! If any of my survivors gain any more levels I’m not going to be able to physically fit them all on…

So, after a slow start where I attempted to stealthily advance on the bunker in the centre and the supply tokens in it’s immediate vicinity, including three of my survivors ganging up on the lone zombie in their half of the board to try (and fail) to stealth kill it, I manage to take out three zombies on turn 3, just as Kevin (my shotgun and cricket bat wielding Survivor) managed to reach the unconscious survivalist they had come to rescue. Unfortunately, that turn I rolled a result on the event table that caused 3 zombies to stumble out of the building, leaving him surrounded:

I let rip with everything I’ve got, but bar Cece successfully plinking the zombie sneaking up behind the group no one manages anything of note. More firearm training needed when we get back to the farm methinks…

To make matters worse, two zombies then shamble out of the outhouse (just what we’re they doing in there?), and when combined with the horde of zombies bearing down on the group from the north things are looking pretty dire.

Umlaut (my helper monkey) has spent the entire game so far trying to lure as many zombies away from the rest of the group as he can, and now heads back towards the centre to try and concentrate the zombies in one spot, before breaking free to lead them away:

Allowing Lynn to sneak round behind the outhouse to grab the bag of guns stashed there. Obviously, my luck being what it is a body on the ground next to it then stood up and attacked:

As things had dragged on somewhat, Umlaut then panicked and fled the board, which is unfortunate for the rest of the group as it left the horde of zombies he was luring away free to start wandering back towards them…

At this point, Jess has a supply token, Lynn is trying to brain the zombie with a bag of guns over its shoulder, and Devon and Cece are trying to sneak around the outside of the trees to snag the last supply token - unfortunately this runs into a snag when their largely ineffective gunfire draws another pair of zombies onto the board right by them.

And weirdly, three zombies then burst out of the Outhouse - just what was going on in there? I’m starting to suspect that this survivalist was hiding bodies of anyone that found his secret spot in there…

With Umlaut no longer pulling zombies away, Jess (in the pink) gets absolutely bundled as she and Kevin (having given rescuing the survivalist up as a lost cause) attempt a fighting retreat:

Gun empty, she was successfully managing to break away and flee a little more each turn - until the turn that Kevin escaped, at which point I imagine her saying ‘go, I’ll be right behind you!’ Which was the plan, until poor rolls meant she was unable to break away, and got pulled down by the mass of zombies, dropping her supply token.

At this point, everyone heads for the hills, knowing that the day is lost. Devon manages to make it off the table with some supplies, but Lynn is unable to rescue the bag of guns - having no firearm of her own, and seemingly unable to get a kill in close combat (thanks to the freezing weather making the zombies harder to kill), she cut her losses and got out of there. Dionne, after being a beast last game, managed zero kills this game, but this might have been mitigated had I remembered that she now had the Double Tap skill that could have allowed me to re-roll to kill a zombie. That would have needed her to hit them in the first place though…
On that front, I kept rolling double sixes to hit, but then atrociously low on my ‘Shoot them in the Head!’ roll…

Post-game, thanks to Lynn’s first aid training Jess is only shell-shocked rather than having a leg injury. Devon gets enough experience to advance another level, and gets +1 Endurance again, making him tough as nails. Our supply token turns out to be some salvage and a Magnum, which seems a little noisy to be using against zombies - what I wouldn’t give for a couple of knives though!

Jess being out of action is a nightmare, as she’s the primary source of food for the group with her farming knowledge. However, with everyone else putting their backs into it and using 1 Fuel from my stash, everyone is fed and the farmhouse is fully heated, so no one suffers any adverse effects. That is, except for Jess, who has started to show symptoms of a fever, so it looks like we’ll be heading into the city next month to try and find some medicine…

As well as getting in a game this week, the Tally has taken a couple of hits. First of all we have the free Guardsman from GW, that I hope to convert into a Necromundan Spider for an Inq28 warband (as a buddy has pointed me towards the Acolyte rules, which I’m looking to adapt to make funkier warbands):

And also two copies of the new Warhammer partwork, one to convert, and one to keep pristine on the off chance that I decide to get into AOS:

Which leaves the Tally at:

3 vs 7 = -4

What’s next? Well, I found the fake spiderweb my wife bought at Halloween (behind the microwave, of course) so I’ve got everything I need to play the second Rangers of Shadow Deep scenario…

Tuesday 14 February 2023


Needing some webbed victim tokens to play the second Rangers of Shadow Deep scenario, so I set about making a DIY solution. 

Step 1 - grabbing some 25mm round bases and a deep dive into the bead pot:

I glued these in a variety of off-centre configurations to try and give the impression of a squashed up body inside rather than just all being ramrod straight.

I dig out my old milliput, but it’s seen better days…

Despite my best efforts to rejuvenate it, I just ended up making a wet sticky mess, so had to raid my children’s art supplies for some craft clay. I roughly shaped the web cocoons from clay over the bead base, and then went over them with a variety of tools to scrape in some horizontal indents to try and give the impression of threads:

This was all done last… September I think? Then Zomtober hit, and these got pushed down my priority list, then it was Christmas, then I was prepping for the first game in my Last Days campaign… I finally got around to finishing them off this week though, with the application of plenty of drybrushing. Et voila, five perfectly serviceable web cocoon tokens:

I know you only need four for the scenario, but from memory there’s a result on the events table that might add an additional one to the table, so I figured it was best to make five. And here they are in a posed shot:

Next stop: playing a game! At some point.

In other news, being that today is Valentine’s Day, my daughter asked if we could work on her Arale model kit (that we’ve been working on very sporadically for the last couple of years) while her brother was at nursery, and here’s where that is now:

Friday 3 February 2023

Last Days Seasons campaign: January

Last weekend I managed to play the first game of what will hopefully be a year-long Last Days Seasons campaign.

The premise of the campaign is that when the zombie apocalypse kicked off, my leader (Devon) has managed to get his friend Jess and helper monkey Umlaut (sue me, I’m a Y: the Last Man fan) out of the city, and headed to a hobby farm where Jess had been taking agriculture classes, and on the way they have picked up a motley crew of other survivors looking to wait out the end of the world - Lynn, a medic, Kevin, a random guy with a cricket bat, Cece, a teenager, and Dionne, who wandered up to them one day with a samurai sword in one hand and an assault rifle in the other, which is hard to argue against.

They’ve made their way to the farm, cleared it out of its former occupants, and hunkered down to wait for this all to blow over. But it hasn’t. After a relatively quiet week where the group are starting to realise that they’re somewhat under equipped with food and fuel to survive the winter, they hear something - rushing outside, they see a helicopter in the distance, and it’s losing height rapidly. It crashes into the tree line not too far away, so our survivors pull on their packs to go and see if there’s anyone that needs help (or any unattended cans of beans…)

I won’t write out a full turn by turn report, more of a cribs notes version with key happenings.

After setting up the table which took quite a while, as there was a lot of flipping through the rulebook refreshing myself on rules (side note - why don’t modern rulebooks have an index or page references by rules to make it easier to actually use during a game?) I realised that I hadn’t printed out any tokens needed to play the game. Being as I was already at about an hour in at this point, I went with the low tech solution:

I popped my head in to see my wife at this point to see if she wanted a cup of tea, and she asked ‘oh have you finished your game?’ to which I sheepishly replied ‘ah, no I’ve not actually started yet…’

So, having placed the supply markers across the board, my merry band split up into three groups to sweep across the terrain laying waste to all the opposed them. Or at least that was the plan…

Jess (being hardy and able to carry more than the average bear) was sweeping up the left hand side, with Dionne covering her; Devon and Umlaut up the centre towards the crashed helicopter, with Cece and her hunting rifle hanging back at a safe distance to try and plink anyone that came near them; and Kevin and Lynn on the right, back to back Charlie’s Angels style.

However, Kevin my shotgun armed survivor, despite needing a 2+ to hit at close range whenever he shot, somehow missed multiple times, which impeded the effectiveness of the plan.

Rolling on the solo play event table at the end of each turn, I managed to get the result where a zombie stands up and carries off a supply token multiple times, which made operation sweep in, grab the goods and then get the hell out of there a little trickier…

Given that he’s the fastest moving member of the group, my monkey largely bounced from group to group piling on whenever someone got caught in combat with a zombie - and even though I always activated him last in the hopes of someone else getting XP, even in a three on one fight it still seemed to be him that ended up landing the killing blow more often than not.

Disastrous dice rolling aside, things went largely to plan, with Jess snatching up two supply tokens in short order. 

Then, rolling on the events table I got a ‘weather changes’ result, resulting in a sudden thaw that made all non man-made surfaces sticking mud. Which wasn’t ideal, as the board I set up was all woodland, so every move was halved for the rest of the game.

Thus began a knock down drag out war of attrition… against mud, mostly, as what was supposed to be a smash and grab operation became a game of increments. If anyone needed to reload, they were then only able to move an inch or so across the board, and then add being slowed by being encumbered by supplies. I imagine a certain amount of falling over accompanied by Yakkity-Sax in the movie adaptation of this story.

One major learning from this first game: the surplus assault rifle is very noisy. So noisy that if you fire it twice in one turn, there is then a 100% chance of another zombie turning up. And given the way I roll, I wasn’t taking out two zombies for every one that I was bringing on, so by the end of the game we were operating on such a deficit that the number of zombies entering the board from the same edge as the survivors suggested they’ve led a horde here!

XP is XP though, so I kept on blasting for far longer than I probably should have. We’ll, until everyone’s guns ran out of ammo and reloading was ignored in favour of booking it to try and get off of the board with the spoils!

It was a close run thing at the end, with Devon and Kevin flailing at smiths zombie carrying the final supply token, eventually succeeding in wrestling it from the zombie’s cold dead hands before running, screaming off of the board.

Between my unfamiliarity with the rules and the sudden appearance of mud in the game, I didn’t finish playing until half 1, so I tidied up (so that my children had somewhere to eat breakfast in the morning!) and went to bed, saving the best bit of any campaign for the morning after, the post-game sequence!

Everyone other than Cece got enough experience to level up, which was exciting. Devon got tougher, Jess and Lynn (the two with no ranged weapons) got better at bashing in zombie brains, Kevin got weirdly more energetic, and Dionne learned the double tap skill, which should allow her to more effectively take down zombies at range (whilst also summoning more due to more bullets=more noise). 

One thing that the Seasons expansion adds is additional supply tables, to represent a focus on scavenging for useful supplies, so I rolled on the winter table for three of my five supply tokens, hoping to find some of the unique things like cold weather gear and space heaters, and two on the general table, hoping to get a better (quieter!) assault rifle for Dionne. Instead I found another surplus assault rifle, a heavy club, and then a smattering of food, fuel and supplies. Ah well, there’s always next month, maybe I’ll find a knife or two, as having to roll a 5+ to take out a zombie with my rolls is trickier than you’d think…

In a Seasons campaign, you also track hunger, thirst, sickness and warmth. Thankfully, the two survivors that had gotten sick were able to make a full recovery with just bed rest, and everyone else managed to scrape together enough food and fuel to keep everyone fed and warm (which is harder than you’d think, a drafty old farmhouse takes more fuel than it does to heat a cosy little cabin).

So, no one died, the survivors have somewhere warm to sleep and food in their bellies, month one was a success. It’s still early days though…