Sunday, 26 January 2014

Deadzone - Gameplay Review


Deadzone is a new sci-fi skirmish war/board game from Mantic games set in their warpath universe.  I supported the kickstarter and got my copy of the game, plus loads of extras around 6 weeks ago and after around 15 games I now feel confident enough in sharing my opinion of the game with you.  There are many different versions of what you get in the boxed set, with differing levels of terrain and miniatures, so I'm just going to concentrate in this post on how the game actually plays.


Deadzone is played on a 2'x2' mat divided into 3" squares, actually that's not entirely true, the game 'space' is divided into cubes which allows for combat over multiple levels.  Every piece is in a cube, and there is no measuring exact distances, just how many cubes pieces are apart.  But interestingly your exact position in a cube also matters and defines things like line of sight and cover.  This puts deadzone in a odd category, being neither truly a wargame or a boardgame, but something in between, so much so that I have successfully transplanted across strategy's that I've used in the past from both Star Wars Miniatures and Mordheim.  The fact it's 2'x2' is good as it will fit nicely on even quite a small table.

Each miniature can take either two short or one long action during its turn, and every figure can act once in a round.  These actions range from your obvious move, shoot, fight to more interesting things such as command (potentially very useful, but unreliable) and blaze away.  Blaze away is one of the interesting tactical elements of this game, instead of shooting carefully at someone you 'blaze away' at their cube in an attempt to suppress them.  This rarely causes damage, but if you can stop a powerful piece in its tracks that can be more useful in completing your mission.

Most actions are resolved with an opposed test, when you roll a certain number of D8's (normally 3 before bonuses) and try to beat a stat, your opponent does the same and you compare the number of times each of you beats your target to see what happens.  All bonuses add to the number of dice you roll and don't modify individual dice.  The game also has an exploding 8 system meaning everytime you roll an 8 you get to roll another dice, this allows for some crazy results.  it's all very similar to dreadball in the way it works (except using D8's instead of D6's) and it works well, especially in that it allows the stats of both figures to come into play without having to have huge comparative tables the way warhammer does.

Command can play an important part in the game too, as well as the command action mentioned above the top command rating in your squad determines how many battle cards you draw a turn and perhaps more importantly how many miniatures you can activate at once.  Deadzone isn't an I go, you go system, each player can activate a number of figs upto your command limit before handing over to your opponent who does the same, activating most of your team at once can bring big advantages, mind you the commanders with high ratings aren't cheap.

The game contains three types of cards for each faction, stat, battle and mission cards.  Stat cards obviously contain all the stats needed to use the models.  I like the fact that they're on cards as it makes for easier referencing in game, and it makes it easier for mantic to add new troop types without the need for a new book, only a new card.

Each faction also has a battle deck which allows you to add that extra little push to your troops during the battle, to make them better shots, tougher, quicker etc.  It adds an element of tactical card gaming as well, do you use all your hand now or save the more powerful cards for later.  Overall th cards are dominating and just give that extra 'edge', we've found an exception though in the 'distract' card that allows you to activate one of your opponents minis.  When you only have 6-8 minis this can be more than a tad frustrating.

The mission cards are another interesting feature.  Each faction has its own set of mission cards that they draw one randomly from.  These range from capturing objectives, infiltrating, collecting resources, surviving or just plain killing.  The interesting twist is that you don't tell your opponent your objective till the end of the battle, which can result in an interesting game as you know how well you're doing, but not how close they are to winning.  Inevitably some missions are easier to achieve than others, I wouldn't recommend this as a tournament game.

It's quite a complicated game actually, more than I expected, but at this scale it works well and adds depth.  a few mistakes at firt but soon got the hang.  Sometime in the spring as part of the expansion of deadzone rules will be forthcoming for larger battles and for including light vehicles, I do worry a bit if the game will cope with the extra size and complexity without starting to bog down.  One small complaint at the moment with the game is that there are too many tokens, even at round 8 minis a side the board quickly becomes swamped with cardboard chits, that are both a pain and don't add to the atmosphere.  Another issue is that the printing of the counters is slightly off so we can tell which if the objectives is which even when upside down.

The starter set will come with either 2 or 4 factions depending on which version you get.  All the starter sets contain more models than you need to play a standard game, which is great because even without ever buying anything else you still have options and variety in your force set-ups.  The factions all play differently, and although we've seen all 4 win there is definatly differences in the learning curves.  The Enforcers are a lot easier to play with than the Rebels.  I don't think this is a bad thing though, having trickier to use, but still effective, factions will keep the game interesting for longer.

The rulebook comes with a complete mordheim/necromunda style campaign system, although I've not yet had a go at this.

There's a lot more to come yet as well, rules will be forthcoming for bigger playing spaces, solo play, two new factions, zombie hunting and a narrative campaign.  All of which should keep us playing deadzone for some time to come.

Overall a fantasic fun game, highly recommended.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Guest Post - Games Workshop Past, Present and Future - Part 3

So onto the final part of Mike's discussion about the state of GW  Part 1 Part 2

Games Workshop has tried all sorts of things over the years, but through the ups and downs I have generally been impressed with the quality of the models they have produced. After a spell of selling a few dodgy plastic/metal hybrid kits in the late ‘90s, the quality of the kits (to my mind) has improved again. Some of the recent plastics have been excellent, no doubt about that. And despite my complaint about pricing, the models look great on the table as well. Then we were offered something even better...
I was looking forward to GW’s Finecast range when it was first brought out. Forgeworld resin models had been out of my price range for years, and I was keen to see what working with resin would be like. So... I did the proper thing and walked into a GW store (ignoring their sales pitch), and purchased a Finecast Zoanthrope. When I got around to opening the blister pack later that day, I was somewhat surprised. I had assumed, like most people must have done, that my Finecast model was going to be finely cast. Unfortunately as you gradually learn over years, one should never assume anything. It was not a fine model at all. There were some lumpy imperfections on the main body, which annoyed me... not so much because I couldn’t fix those problems (using a file). I was more irritated that a GW employee had gone out of his way to ‘big up’ the quality of what I had bought, just a few hours earlier.
 Oh my what a big hole!
After construction, the Finecast model never did look quite as nice as my metal Z’s. There was something about its gait that I was never quite happy with. Moreover the thing tended not to stay upright on the gaming board. It was not overbalancing as such, like some of the very old metal kits did. The model just seemed a little bit too top heavy and light for use on a crowded battlefield. The slightest touch sent it toppling. For that reason I sometimes kept it in a box, while it’s supposedly inferior metal brethren graced our games table.
When I moved to the big city, my Finecast Z was stored in its own section of a padded metal case. After some months of them not being handled, I unpacked my models. The Finecast model bent when I picked it up (by the base), and it broke off at a point of weakness (Z’s have a thin ‘tail’, connecting to the base). The metal Z’s, which I have owned for years, and have all been dropped a good few times, and are all still in one piece.
My first finecast mini - Keith
Maybe I had bought a ‘dud’ model, and the quality of Finecast is actually okay? - Perhaps. But it seems that I was not alone. People from my gaming group and various others have reported bubbles in Finecast resin. These faults might be unavoidable in resin, or they may not, I don’t know. Whether it is or not; GW are not afraid to charge a lot of money for Finecast, and to talk up its quality. Without listing the full extent of the horror, until recently GW was asking £15.50 for a single Finecast ripper swarm... (cough) ... mind you, even they realised that one was a complete a giraffe. The product was removed from GW’s website once their new Tyranid range surfaced. These prices, combined with the borderline false advertising associated with Finecast, which has caused me to be annoyed enough to write this short article.
So why might I buy Finecast, or even GW’s expensive (but good) plastics over a cheaper set from Mantic’s range? The answer is I no longer do. The Mantic models are almost as nice as GW plastics (some are, some aren't - Keith), and I get a lot more for my money (yes definitely - Keith). My only real complaint about Mantic is that a few of the smaller models are a tiny bit warped/bent near the legs. But hey this is plastic not Finecast, so any relatively experienced modeller can fix the faults with polystyrene cement, I managed it. Let it be known that poly cement is an amazing tool. The folks at GW clearly think so as well, judging by what they charge for the product.
The quality of the plastics has definitely gone up.

Buying cheaper but slightly dodgier plastics is not something I worry about greatly. To my mind that’s sort of the point of having a lot of plastic units to game with isn’t it? Besides, inexpensive plastics, even single pose ones, are great for kids who are learning to how to make models. No parents in tears when bits break off either, even if minis end up in the bin. We are increasingly offered less of those cheaper, expendable options with GW. That’s because GW isn’t for the average young enthusiast any more – despite the pictures of happy kids holding GW branded tape measures we see churned out by their marketing department. Instead, GW is rapidly becoming a big collectors range. And that said, arguably something of a dodgy collectors range, with Finecast being what it is.
I could ramble on further, but I will not. Instead, allow me to conclude with a polite message to the powers that be at Games Workshop.
GW - I can forgive the fact that we need more models to play your games these days. The games are quite good. However, please realise that you pricing strategy is driving people away from the hobby. You have some real competitors now, and they know what they’re doing. I can’t help but see that you are too precious to admit this. Please have a good think about your next business moves, because if they aren’t the correct ones, there might not be any Games Workshop stores in a few years.
So obviously this is a big topic at the moment and whilst GW don't seem to be in trouble yet they aren't doing as well as they were.  I agree with Mike that the prices are driving customers away, it's frustrating, we don't want GW to do badly, far from it, we love the worlds they have created and this fantastic hobby they introduced us to, but if they continue as they are we simply won't be buying much from them in the future.  Thoughts anyone?

So thanks to Mike for writing these posts, it's been a successful experiment I think and I'll have to have a look at doing it again some time.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Guest Post - Games Workshop Past, Present and Future - Part 2

Today we have part 2 of my friend Mike's epic rant on the state of Games Workshop.  If anyone missed it yesterday here's a Link to part one.  Over to Mike.......

Previously I reflected on gaming in the 1990’s. Make no mistake; I think the current edition of Warhammer Fantasy offers us a better, better balanced game than the really old editions did. However a lot has changed at Games workshop. Here I comment on the current major bugbear of GW gamers, the cost of the hobby.
My proper first unit purchase was 20 Skeleton warriors at £12, I was happy with this affordable set. 15 years later I think that some of GW plastics are still affordable. For example £20 for 16 Skeletons/marauders/equivalent box sets isn’t too bad, inflation taken into account.  These plastic sets are also all well designed, easy to assemble and come with some extra bits and pieces. Moreover the units have long been available, along with a few more choice units in battalion box sets. This makes all of the units included a little more affordable still; even if a kid who pays with his paper round money might struggle a little. That’s the positive bit.
Some of the classic skeletons

The Empire battalion set, now available at £65 (I purchased it at £60 3-4 years ago) stills seemed to me to remain a fairly reasonable buy (for 4 units). But when I looked at GW’s website recently, I realised the photograph on the box had changed, and a unit was missing. At some point in time one of the units, a special choice, the Greatswords, had been removed from the set and replaced with the old cannon model. The cannon retails at £15.50. Greatswords are now available as a separate set only, at £25.50 for 10 models. No new moulds here and slight price rise as well.
The astute among you will realise this is the sort of move that GW has become very, very good at in recent times. While some of the older plastic troops (for now) are just about within financial reach of the average collector, we gamers have to pay quite a lot of extra money for the special and rare choices that are rapidly filling the army books. Similarly, in 40k Marine players will be familiar the making the painful choice between forking out for a Land Raider (now £45) or another purchase that contains about the same amount of plastic, but is worth considerably less in gaming terms. Mind you that comparison might not stand any more, as most of the Marine and 40k prices in have been jacked up horrendously of late.
The Space Marine Sterngaurd kit is fantastic but £30 for 5 plastic marines is insane!
Personally I think that if sanity is to be restored to the hobby, then there has to be some sort of basic ratio between the amount of the material a model is made from and its price. £1.25/model (Skeletons/Marauders) and £2.55/model (Greatswords) are all plastic models, and about the same size and weight, but the prices are very different. There may be variable design costs, and inflation of course – but work out the percentage difference in cost between some model sets, it’s an eye opener. By doing this sort of thing, GW is really saying that models like the Greatswords are now real collector’s pieces. Only the wealthier collectors will be able to field these choices in any number, and that’s that (and don't forget that 8th ed fantasy encourages bigger units - Keith). It’s quite something for a gaming store that markets its games as family friendly products. GW doesn’t see things that way though, as I realised when I saw what it was charging for some of its actual collectors pieces, in Finecast of course.
Back in 5th Ed, flawed as it was, all one had to do was spend £8 on a durable metal hero/lord and that purchase made a real difference to the army – but not any more. Nowadays one really does have to purchase a number of different sets in order to stand a chance of having a genuinely competitive game. GW knows this and it has clearly adjusted its prices accordingly.
Recently I had to make a decision between purchasing the Empire battalion and another £65 set, Mantics Deadzone. Because I didn’t know too much about Mantic, I considered delaying my Mantic purchase in favour of the battalion. However because Greatswords had been but cut from the battalion set, I plumped for Deadzone instead. As it turns out Deadzone is a wonderful set and good value for money to boot. It will be a central part of my gaming life for some time to come. (Deadzone is great, look out for my review coming soon - Keith)
Mike considers his next move in a game of Mantic's Deadzone
A further nasty surprise arrived last week in the form of White Dwarfs preview of the new Tyranid range.  It’s all nice looking stuff of course, it always it. But once again a lot of the items are expensive, even the troops. At £33 for 3, we may expect significant upgrades to the Tyranid Warriors in the new codex…. . As for the choicer models at £48 a pop - nice as it is, the new Harpy will not be on my list of future purchases.
Many years ago, my old man bought a bag of chips in St Pancras Station. He embarrassed me at the counter by saying, “at that price I’d expect them to be gold plated”... sadly I’m starting to know how he felt… Goodness knows how many Mantic Enforcers one might be able to put on a table for £48 (31 for £50, including 2 10 man normal squads, a five man assault squad, a 5 man heavy support squad and a hero - Keith).
In the final part I’m going to comment on something that has impressed me over the years -The quality of the models.

Oh dear, price, perhaps the most controversial aspect of GW's behaviours over recent years.  Ultimately I think the prices are too high and that's been reflected in the recently announced poor results.  I think it's a hang-over of the pre-internet days when for many people GW was the only readily available source of miniatures, and I would spend all my hobby budget in GW no matter what the prices were. I was (am) addicted to buying minis, so they could keep rising prices and I would still buy them.  They now have a lot of competition that I can buy from at the click of a few buttons.  I still spend a lot on minis, but a lot less of that money is going to games workshop, their share of my budget has decreased from 100% to maybe 30%.  If I'm a typical customer that spells disaster.  I love most of their products, but the prices are making me go elsewhere.  I think Mikes missed one issue with his proposed plastic/price ratio though and that's that the moulds are the main cost, and cost similar no matter how many times you make models from them, so minis that will sell less units (like rare units and heroes) will have to cost more than tactical marines for example, so as to recover the costs of making those moulds.

Part 3

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Guest Post - Games Workshop Past, Present and Future - Part 1

 Something different today for my blog, a bit of an experiment if you will.  One of my long-time gaming partners asked if he could write a post on my blog explaining his current frustrations with Games Workshop.  I agreed to let him have a go, I got a lot more than expected, this is part one of a three part discussion/rant that I'll be posting over the next few days, over to Mike......
Sometime in late 1997 I walked into Games workshop and purchased my first Warhammer fantasy model. It was a £5 Undead Skeleton Chariot; an average model but I was chuffed with it. Collecting GW minis seemed fun and affordable to me and I was soon able to get enough models to play a fantasy game at the minimum recommended 1000pts level. Several more armies and regular gaming followed. We lost our gaming area for a while (When I went off to uni as I was the only one with a big table - Keith), and it wasn’t until somewhere in the mid/late 2000’s (6th and 7th ed. by then) that the old minis were brought out again. At that stage I realised that I no longer seemed to have enough, or the correct models to play larger games in the new editions. Despite having a job, I was also reluctant to purchase the models I needed to play those battles.

What had changed? One reason was the cost of minis (more on that later), but first a more general observation.
Some of the old chaos warriors that were popular in our gaming group back in the day.
I have compared GWs sample 1000pt list Chaos warrior list from the 5th ed. Codex (I used it couple of times in the late 1990’s) with the same list, but constructed from the much later 7th edition Warriors of Chaos codex.
Sample war band from 5th ed. Codex
Chaos Hero with a shield on a chaos steed with the potion of strength and helm of many eyes
6 Chaos knights with lances, hand weapons and chaos armour including a standard
12 Chaos Warriors with hand weapons, heavy armour and shields
= 999pts
The same war band selected from the 7th ed. Codex
Chaos Hero with a shield on a Chaos steed plus a maximum magic item allowance
6 Chaos Knights with lances, hand weapons and chaos armour + full command
12 Chaos warriors with additional great weapons and shields + full command
= 797pts
Right - I’ve gone to town a little with this 7th ed. list by adding full command groups and some slightly more expensive extras; however there’s still a deficit of more than 200 pts.
One sensible way to address the balance is to add some marauders. A basic marauder (which in 7th ed. was 1/3 of the points cost of the 5th edition selection). Give a 30 man marauder unit shields and flails + full command and phew we’re there! Okay, okay I could have thrown in a unit of warriors instead, but there’s noting like variety and besides, I wanted to make a point!
Mike concentrating on a game of Axis & Allies
People in our gaming group have commented that we have generally needed more models to play the same points limited tournaments which we had organised in previous years. Clearly, any collector would need quite a few more models for the above 1000pt Chaos list in 7th ed., than they would have in 5th. Now, I only have a handful of armies, and I don’t have an exhaustive collection of current and past codices to browse through. I’d be interested to see if this thesis holds up for other selections (perhaps Chaos is a poor example?). I’d be equally interested to see how other armies have changed over the years, right up to the current edition in 2014.
I don’t think many enthusiasts want to go back to the old rules of 5th edition. However I have to say that as a teenager it was essential to my staying in the hobby that I could acquire armies relatively quickly at a ‘minimum’ 1000pts level within 2-3 months. Moreover I could do this using money from my paper round. I wonder how many young potential gamers can do that today? And I haven’t even begun to discuss a more pressing issue – the ever increasing cost of the miniatures…. Part 2 to follow.
Mike does have a point about decreasing points costs for minis, I remember back when I started 40K a space marine tactical squad was twice what it was now and a 1K army was a leader and three squads.  But the question is whether this matters? Some might say an army with two units and a hero isn't really an army at all and that even at 1000pts you'd hope to field more than that.  Having said that chaos is a bit of an extreme example with very expensive elite troops, but I do think Mike is right about the overall trend.  So again does it matter? We'd be interested to hear peoples thoughts.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Heroes of Middle-Earth: Beorn & Elendil

Just a quick post today to show a couple of middle-earth models I've just finished.

First is the Brand new Beorn model from the new The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug range.  A giant of a man, he towers over the other races in the range.  Unfortunately He's made out of finecast, and had several bubbles I had to fill in, I hope they ditch finecast soon, it really isn't a good material.


Secondly we have this old Elendil model I dug out of the pile.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Deadzone - The Plague - Part 1

The leaders, a stage 3 'General' and the mighty Stage 1

I got a lot of plague with my deadzone package, more than any other faction, with two starter sets, two boosters and a specialist booster and I've finished painting the first batch of them which are on show here today.

Stage 2's
Like most of the other deadzone models these are made out of mantics sprue-less resin plastic, and these are some of the best minis I've seen made in the medium.  They've been a lot of fun to paint as well.  I've eschewed the pink scheme of the official models for this green scheme instead so that they will fit in with my alpha legion army for 40K, where I plan too use the stage 3's as cultists and the stage 2's as spawn.  One unexpected consequence of this is they all look a little bit like the hulk....
Stage 3 Specialists
We've found the plague to be one of the two most effective factions (along with the enforcers) in the game, and whilst they are of course mainly combaty, good use of suppression fire and/or grenades can be essential to getting the most out of your combat beasts.  The swarms (which I've not yet finished painting) seem to be the most efficient of the bigger models, but stage 2's and teratons have been good too.  I've not quite managed to work out the stage ones yet though, potentially lethal in combat, but so slow it's difficult for them to get anywhere and actually get a chance to harm anyone.

Stage 3 Mortar team
Stage 3 troopers
Stage 2 Teraton and Dr Simmonds

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Army Focus - Warhammer High Elf Army

The Army - click to enlarge

Sometimes it takes a while to finish a post, the words won't quite come, or I get distracted by something else, but none of my other posts have taken quite as long as this one to finish.  This post has been in draft form for the last two years, just waiting for me to finish painting my last unit of sea-guard so I could post it up, but finally I've finished the final unit and today I present my High Elf army for Warhammer fantasy.

The Heroes that normally lead my force
As with most projects this started with a flurry of activity before the inevitable decline in interest, the start of this army was the release of the Island of Blood starter set for 8th edition warhammer, and the figures from this set form the core of the army.  This army has also been assembled on the cheap, it's built around two lots of Island of blood elves (minus the second griffon rider) and a bunch of the original 4th plastics I've had since I first started with warhammer, with a few extras mostly from ebay.  The back ranks of my two seaguard units are the old plastic spearmen with plastic quivers stuck on the back, I think they look fine when the army is all ranked up, even if they are a bit short.

The Mighty Dragon Princes
An ancient sea-elf bolt thrower
The new plastic high elves are fantastic models, but boy do they have a lot of details, which is partly responsible for me taking so long to finish this project.  I've gone for a much darker scheme than most high elf armies as well, eschewing the traditional white robes for blue, but still keeping the white trim.  I'm not a fan of overly bright elf armies, to my mind all elves are a bit dark.

The old 3rd ed archers given a new lick of paint and life

I've had a lot of fun playing with this army as well, mostly at the 1000pts and 1500pts levels, the army can put out a scary amount of arrows which can devastate lightly armoured troops, and provides some excellent punch particularly from the swordmasters of hoeth.  The army is very vulnerable though and you have to play carefully otherwise your low toughness, lightly armoured troops will easily fall.  This combination makes for a great play experience.

Swordmasters and mages

As always with these posts I'll finish with a look at the future of this collection.  Well actually it's finished for the moment, everything's painted and I have a balanced army painted to a standard I'm more than happy with.  Who am I kidding I hope to add another 5 dragon princes, a lord on a dragon and one of those new flying chariots at some point, but as usual I have no idea when.

The Seaguard

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Army Focus - Star Wars Miniatures Seperatists

the collection - click to enlarge
Welcome to the fourth instalment in my series showcasing my star wars miniatures collection (links to Imperials Rebels Republic).  This time showing the last of the four major factions, the CIS, more comanly known as the seperatists.  I've left these till last as they're undoubtedly my least favourite of the four, and due to that this collection is a but smaller than the other three.

The speratists force is all about the droids.  In star wars miniatures droids don't normally get the benefit of commander effects, but these ones do and the right combination can turn them from being useless into a very powerful and deadly force.  There's a big variety in the droids you can field as well, from the humble 4pt battle droid all the way upto vulture and tank droids.

It's not just droids thought, you also get a couple of sith lord options, a couple of mean bounty hunters and various forms of General Grevious (a cyborg, not a droid) with which to lead your force.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Deadzone - Enforcer Faction Starter Set & Chovar Psychic

The Captain flanked by two assault enforcers

The first models from my mighty deadzone package have been finished and today we are looking mainly at the enforcers.  The enforcers are one of the two factions included in the basic set, and as such most players are going to end up with some, luckily I think they're great.

Enforcers with assault rifles

Half of these enforcers were actually designed for warpath as there's been a delay in the deadzone specific ones, which of course means that I've loads more enforcers due in the second package from the kickstarter, including some rather nifty looking ones with shotguns and riot shields.

Sniper, Heavy Laser Burst and Missile Launcher
I had a bit of a dilemma over the choice of colour scheme as I painted a unit of enforcers a while ago for my Imperial Guard army.  I really like the example scheme mantic came up with for all the photos in the book, but in the end I decided to paint these in the same scheme as my original batch.  I'm considering re-basing the originals now to match these.

The engineer deploys his sentry guns

Gamewise we've found the enforcers very powerful so far.  They don't get a lot of models but each is flexible, powerful and tough.  I don't think they're inherently more powerful than the other factions, but they are more forgiving and seem to have a gentler learning curve,

Mercenary Recon Unit N32-19 and his floaty friend
I've also painted this Chovar Psychic mercenary.  I've not used him yet, but his rules indicate he has the potential to be a powerful support piece.  He's an interesting model, I'm assuming he uses his psychic powers to float around as he seems to lack any other means of supporting his body.  One thing the deadzone book is missing is a proper background section with details like that.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year 2014 & 2013 Highlights

Happy New Year everybody!

As is tradition at this time of year lets start with looking back at those pesky resolutions I set this time last year and see how I did.

1.  Finish the damned high elf unit

Oh so close, 20 out of 25 painted and the last 5 75% done, that's very nearly a completed high elf army, which should be featuring on this blog soon.

2.  Paint all the models from my Hobbit boxed set.

Yep, all completed some time ago, a great set with a lot of great models.

3.  Paint all the models from the dreadball kickstarter and actually play a bunch of games.

Only around half painted, but we have played quite a bit.

4.  Don't buy any models between new year and easter (clearly silly, but another attempt to reduce the queue).

Not even close!

So this years resolutions:

Actually I'm not setting any for next year, it looks like it's going to be a complicated year and I'm not sure how it's going to pan out.  I would like to see all the deadzone stuff painted though, but we will see.

For a bit of a change I am instituting an awards ceremony for my blog, alas no prizes or statuettes for anyone, it's  just a bit of fun.  This is going to mainly look at my collection and gaming over the last year.

Favorite Project finished in the last 12 months.

Without doubt painting all the models from the Hobbit: escape from goblin town boxed set.  Great book, great film, great models.

Most Popular Post

The post written this year that generated the most interest was by far this look at my Imperial collection for star wars miniatures.  This was a bit of a surprise for me as star wars miniatures is a dead game, but the force is obviously still strong with this one (sorry!).

 Best Wargame

A tricky on this, the game I've played most of this year has been 40K, but whilst we've had some good games it's not really generated any true excitement.  The winner is deadzone, which even though recently arrived has got my gaming group excited about a game in a way I've not seen in ages.  We've a lot more to explore with this and I'm really looking forward to it.

Best Card/Board Game
Another close one, with dreadball nearly making it a double for Mantic games, but actually I'm giving the award to this little dinosaur fighting card game that I love.
Favourite new miniatures
The toughest and ultimately most important category.  And the winner is this Victorian adventurers and explorers from wargames foundry.  I never quite got around to finishing off the rules for the dinosaur hunting project I had planned, but these are fantastic miniatures nonetheless.

Best Trip

As always I've been out and about to many places this year including a few, like Pembroke and Pendennis castle, that I never quite got around to writing about.  The best day trip this year was undoubtedly to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford.  There is just so much awesome stuff there and it completely filled a day.


Best Wargames Company 
And finally what was my favourite company of the year?  Well despite some great stuff coming out of GW, like the Hobbit minis, and the new Space Marine codex, plus all the new expanded digital offerings ultimately the prices mean I've had to go elsewhere for a lot of my hobby fix, as great as most GW products are, I don't think a lot of them have value for money (for me anyway).  
The winner is therefore predictably Mantic games, the minis aren't as good as GWs, but for the value for money is much much higher.  Dreadball and Deadzone are both fantastic games and Kickstarters are great entertainment.  Then you have things like the crazy Christmas box.  Overall mantic are just more fun.

That's all folks, thanks for reading, and feel free to disagree in the comments!
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