Winter Break Hobby Projects…yeah, we’ll see

I’m off work for about 3 weeks. Some of that time will be a road trip with the kiddo up PCH to the Bay Area, but for the remainder I am looking forward to a couple hobby projects.

I’m in love with Fallout: Wasteland Warfare. The plan for the holidays is to complete painting of the models I have to date, as well as some general scatter terrain pieces. The big project, however, will be assembly and painting of Vault (number TBD). I’m using the amazing modular ARK kit from Black Site Studio. Love these guys. Great customer service, friendly, and quality pieces, give them a look. I already assembled the Ashton Supply Co. kit from them as well as the Cable Spools and working on their MDF shopping carts. They continue to create quality product, which makes my wallet cry. 🙂

I’ll post some reviews of the products as I go.

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Thanos Rising – Finally Beat that %&^@!^ (A Review)

I’m a sucker for Marvel. I grew up on a steady diet of comic books from all studios back in the day, but I always Made Mine Marvel first. Iron Man is my hands down favorite super hero along with Batman. I appreciate they have no super powers other than their keen minds (and phat bank accounts) and have very human flaws. But I digress. The MCU has been the kid in me’s dream come true, can’t get enough of it and love it all even with some of the films being not so hot. But the genius of Marvel is telling a story that took a decade to pay off and pay off in spades with Infinity War. Great movie for anyone, but for those of us tied into the decade arc (Decarc…can that be a thing? Better than The Decimation…) it was glorious. Cue the Thanos Rising boardgame…

 

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“I’m so ANGRY!!!

Thanos Rising is a great co-operative dice roller. In it, players take the roles of themed super teams fighting to prevent Thanos…well..rising. It’s fun for many ages. My 12 year old daughter loves it, as do I. I think she’s more crushing on Thor and Loki than anything else, but always has a blast. Before I had it in hand I questioned the mechanics from what I could see online. The huge superfluous Thanos statue, the oddball Infinity Gauntlet board, funky dice. All suggested the game was like so many other boardgames based on IPs…derivative cash grabs. I don’t feel this is one at all. It’s a solid, fun game, and I think would be successful even without the Marvel trappings.

Each round players try to defeat Thanos’ minions and recruit heroes to their teams before he can Rise. Players win by defeating 10 minions, ranging from his grunt hordes to the big bads like Proxima Midnight and Corvus Maw (hate those two). Thanos wins by either: 1) defeating 10 heroes, 2) activating all 6 Infinity Stones, 3) defeating any one player’s full team of heroes. Yep, one way to win for the heroes, three for Thanos. Yeah, it’s that rough.

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I really didn’t like the statue concept at first, now I love seeing him rotate around the sectors in a game…as long as it’s away from my team!

On their turn players first decide which of the three zones they’ll interact with, either to fight his minions and/or recruit heroes. Then they roll the Infinity and Thanos dice and resolve what he does on his turn.

The Infinity die adds a counter to one of the six Infinity Stones, when that stone has five counters, it flips and from that point on rolling that color activates the stone’s ability. Abilities such as adding a counter to all stones with the fewest, healing active minions, and so on. Gotta love that. Also, you get to move the swanky stone from the tracker onto his gauntlet – props are fun.

You also check the Thanos die to see what he does. He may turn to a different sector, stay where he is and activate ALL sectors, or require you to roll the Infinity die a second time, adding another counter to a tracker. When Thanos activates, he deals one damage to all heroes in the sector he stops on, including the hero team members and then triggers the effects of all minions in that sector. This can stack damage on heroes quickly, add Infinity counters, or even heal minions (thanks, Q-Ship).

After this the player pools their dice based on their hero team and rolls, assigning one or more dice to one or more of the cards in the sector and then rerolling the remainder until all are assigned. If the dice faces match the requirements on a hero card, the hero joins the player’s team and removes all damage on it. If the dice faces match the requirements on a minion card it suffers one damage and the player draws a boost token that can have varying effects. The hero cards also have different special abilities that activate once a player has them on their team – not to mention a themed team ability for the four different teams.

The player dice have four themes. Red dice are fighty, black dice are space, blue dice are tech, and green dice are mysticism. All themes are represented on each die, but the colored dice that represent the theme have three faces matching that theme, one of which counts as two symbols.

The game plays fast and furious as long as players keep it going. There’s a temptation to overthink the odds of rolling X or Y on a turn and slowing things down. I recommend players do their best to push forward and not stall things out with probability models on their phones. It’s at its best when the action is fast and the tension is high. Did you choose the correct sector and avoid Thanos’ attention this turn? What is the best tactic to ensure he doesn’t remove ANOTHER hero this turn? Oh, come on, that roll just wiped out 3 heroes on the board! It has enough randomness and strategy that I have yet to get bored with it.

That said, many players may find it frustrating they don’t win against Thanos more often. I enjoy games where defeat is often snatched from the jaws of victory as long as we felt there was a chance along the way. Thanos Rising does this in spades. You may be progressing well only to have a batch of rolls not go your way and then Thanos takes the momentum, and then back to the players, and then Thanos. Some games will feel very lopsided due to the draws in the deck. I enjoy the level of randomness in the game. It’s a dice game where the dice interact with random draws from a deck…um…random game will be random.

I think we’ve played the game about 15 times with groups of 2-4 and lost the last 14 times. Some were slim losses, others blowouts. Last week we finally WON. The minions trickled out slow enough we were able to get our teams supported a bit before having to deal with them. I was also fortunate enough to get what was just about my ‘dream team’ for heroes in the game with some of my favorites from the comics. Double victory for me. We were still on the edge of a loss, however. Thanos had activated three Stones and had eliminated 8 heroes by the time we defeated the tenth minion. I might have shouted at the statue.

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The Dream Team.

If you enjoy dice rolling games, or Marvel, or co-op games that are a challenge to win, give Thanos Rising a try. Also, USAopoly has several promos out there for the game. You can find them on ebay, but I wrote to them and they mailed me the current set they had for free. No idea if they’re still doing this, but worth an email. Although we really do hate that Q-Ship.

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HAHAHA! SUCK IT, THANOS!!

Here’s a little something to watch for in the game…notice the Collector in the picture there? No Benicio face on the image, just his silhouette. There’s at least one other card I believe like this in the deck. Not sure what licensing issue there was with his likeness (my search-fu is weak I guess), but there you go.


Army of the Dead for Middle Earth SBG

First batch of Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game models nearly completed. Just need to finish their bases which I’m doing in the same style as my Blood and Plunder terrain base colors. These Army of the Dead are from the new boxed set that was released back in August. Rohan is next on the list, and have already started working on them. Pretty straightforward as I want to have these models all look nice, but not take too much time. Also, at 25mm, they’re smaller models in general and should take less time. Ghosts – always easy. Pretty happy with the results.

Paint Recipe
Primed: I am still figuring out zenithal priming, and only using gray and white primers (Badger Stylynrez)
Base color:  GW Nighthaunt Gloom Technical thinned with medium for flow
Wash: GW Waywatcher Green glaze
Chainmail: GW Leadbelcher washed with GW Nuln Oil wash
Wash again!: GW Waywatcher mixed with Nuln Oil over the shield wood and lower half of the models. If I do more I may bypass the initial green glaze step and just do this instead
Drybrush: GW Underhive Ash Dry to give some final pop to them.

 


Assembled Relicblade Minis

Back in May at Kublacon I met the designer of the Relicblade miniatures game, Sean Sutter. There was a booth for the game and he was on hand to talk to folks and run demos. His models were painted by the always talented Malev. The game was a lot of fun and I love the aesthetic and humor he’s mixed into it. Quick games on 2×2 boards with about 3-8 miniatures per side. Even has a nice campaign system to go along with it. I was hooked and brought home a bit of everything for the game. Unfortunately I haven’t had time to work on the minis or get the game to table since…bad me. But last night I did have a wave of ‘why aren’t these done’ hit me and went ahead and got things assembled. Here’s pix of the different starters and a few addon minis for the game. Will post progress on painting (hahaha) as I go. Commentary on the pix

 


Blood and Plunder Paint Frenzy. Countdown to Kublacon

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I’ve mentioned previously that I will  be attending Kublacon and running two Blood and Plunder events. I want to keep to my original goal of having everything I own to date painted when I head out. Coming into the home stretch I’m realizing I may have over committed, but am going to push through and see how far I get. I’ll track my daily progress here and on the BnP Facebook page if anyone’s interested. Tuesday night ended with the models being at this point.
As you can see, plenty to do. I had a good batch primed and semi-painted, but a way’s to go as well as the Unaligned models I still needed to wash and prime.

Wednesday evening I had some time to work on things, but the progress may not seem that dramatic.

Primed the bare metal minis, fixed the Spanish Commander’s loose arm, put shoes on nearly everyone, a few models needed base colors on pants/shirts, and base color on the…bases.

Where will tonight get me? We’ll see.


Blood and Plunder Frigate and Sloop Finished

Whew, finally finished painting both my frigate and sloop from Firelock Games. Two great kits for their awesome Blood and plunder game. I’ve mailed them off for the rigging and masts to be completed (I don’t trust myself to do the rigging/sails justice, plus then I’ll have a good example of what they should look like!). Only other item to be attached would be a lantern and the gunport covers. Those would probably snap off in transit so they’ll be glued on after the ships return to port. I’ll be sure to post again on these guys once everything’s where it should be. Both were a delight to paint, and makes me want to do more. I’ll add a post with the three longboats completed once I finish the last one.

SLOOP
Finished Pictures
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FRIGATE
Finished Pictures
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In Progress Pictures


Blood and Plunder Painting – Countdown to Kublacon

Realizing after looking at the calendar today that I leave for Kublacon in just over 4 weeks. Since I’ll be running two games of Blood and Plunder at the con and need to finish painting up things I’ve got my work cut out for me. I think it’s doable, but when I consider what’s left I get nervous. Checklist of the project below:

  1. Assemble and paint terrain (done!)
  2. Play mats (done!)
  3. Carrying case (done!)
  4. Counters/measuring tapes/dice (done!)
  5. Reference sheets for players (need to finish)
  6. Treasure objectives (painting)
  7. Ships (need paint)
  8. Ship sails/rigging (after paint – contracting that out)
  9. Longboats (almost finished)
  10. Pirates (some painted, too many to go)

Just need to focus on my painting time and get things finished. My airbrush has been a problem lately, spent time trying to remedy its issues, but might just be easier to skip it for now.

At least all my cannons are finished!
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