Sunday, 28 January 2018

Steelheart's Champions

The Celtic Sigmarines are ready to take on the bad guys in Shadespire.  Sullivan, O'Brien and Angharad are fully painted up (the bases took an age) and good-to-go. I haven't actually played Shadespire this year.  I want to get some more games in but I've been too busy with other stuff.  My kids bought me 'Eldritch Horror' for Christmas. I started playing it on my own, after I'd bored everyone senseless (they refused to save the world again from ancient, Cyclopean horror. Don't they know that we must be ever vigilant!?).  Maybe I'm going soft in the head but that fits perfectly with the genre and the game mechanics.  You can literally go insane in this Lovecraftian nightmare and have to start again as a different character. On one occasion I actually visited my previous incarnation in her padded cell at the mental asylum whereupon I was gifted with all her possessions. 

We also got Settlers of Catan for Christmas which, it turns out, is an excellent game and we'll probably pick up the expansions.  I don't know how I missed that one all these years.  It's been around for a while.

   I was struck by how different it was to Shadespire.  You can set up a game of Catan and learn to play in 10 minutes.  Even the wife had a game and admitted that it was surprisingly enjoyable.  (she refused to play again) Yet it was still cerebral and competitive enough to hold the interest of my kids who like their hard-out strategy and backstabbing.

Shadespire is very fiddly in comparison and it's quite tedious to teach someone the rules.  The support mechanic seems to throw everyone off and even I second guessed myself a couple of times and had to refer to the rulebook to confirm.  It's also unwieldy to set up with all those roll-offs which always seem to come up as a tie on critical symbols, requiring re-rolls.  You can end up having to rearrange everything if someone decides to play length-ways with offset boards on a small table. 

But it feels very deep and I like the deck building aspect.  The presentation is top notch and those minis... man they are exquisite.

I've been playing more 40k too since the Tyranid codex was released and breathed much needed life into my gribblies.   I've still got a ton of projects to finish with them.

 I'm getting a bit over saturated now, however. My army model count has crept up to 72 and the last game took over 3 hours.  40k feels more streamlined in 8th edition but it still takes a bloody age to play with a large force and I'm losing the stamina for it in casual games.  You have to set aside a whole evening or afternoon. 

Fortunately this arrived the other day:

and the urge to revisit the Red Scorpions was strong.  Carab Culln in his leviathan dread isn't e.z. mode like Guilliman but he's still a bit of a beast and looks gorgeous.  He fits together very well and is quite posable.  I didn't have to clean him up very much, there was no warping and I only found one bubble.  Even the box is snazzy.  I've never actually painted any Forgeworld so this should be a new challenge.  The finish on the model is smooth but not like plastic so it will be interesting to see if the paint flows on and dries differently.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Hentai Haruspex

I finished this several days ago but was distracted by an idea for some fan fiction. I like putting Septimus (my hapless Scion) into dire circumstances on Tyranid bases and then trying to think of ways in which he could survive a grisly and terrifying death, despite the odds.

I started writing a bit of background for the model and then, by sheer coincidence, Black Library announced that it was looking for open submissions for stories in the Warhammer universe(s).  They want to showcase new writers for their resurrected 'Inferno' magazine.

So I turned it into a short story and I'm attempting to produce something at least palatable.  Its about 4000 words so far and I've submitted my 500 word sample to Black Library already.  What the hell, at the very least it will motivate me to finish and at best, GW will own the rights and issue a cease and desist order to make me take it off my blog.  GW automatically own all rights to any stories submitted.  At least then I'll know they actually read it and it wouldn't be the first time.  A friend and I received a cease and desist order from Blizzard Entertainment a few years ago when we published a World of Warcraft guide on the Apple store.  I nearly shat myself but my co-conspirator thought it was hilarious.  He had the order framed and put it up in his toilet.  However, he did remove the App.

Regardless, I've included my sample here as well as the synopsis.  All harsh criticism is welcome.  I only ever showed previous stories I wrote to people that I knew would say it was absolutely marvelous darling! and that wasn't really helpful.

Tempestor corporal Septimus Clegg and his squad of Scions are part of the Imperial forces battling to save an Agri world from a recent Tyranid incursion.  It is a battle they are losing. Dispatched on a mission to recover a package, a ‘reliquary’ from a container terminal deep in Tyranid held territory, he assumes it contains some minor relic revered by the local inhabitants.  Arriving at the terminal, the squad find it guarded by a Haruspex feeder beast.  They attempt to distract the Tyranid and snatch the package but the plan goes awry.  Moreover, the package turns out not to be the knuckle bones of some forgotten saint but something else entirely.

 ‘Castor!  Report!’ Septimus ordered trenchantly over his headset.
   No reply except radio static.  Castor could be hiding, fleeing or dead but there were other problems to deal with right now.
   ‘Davies, have you got the package on auspex?’ he demanded.
The trooper looked frantic as he played the scanner over debris and shattered cargo remains which surrounded them.
   ‘No sir!’ he barked,  ‘Its not here!’

   Davies abruptly stopped manipulating the auspex and with dawning realisation pointed it in the direction the beast had disappeared.  ‘Its still on the xenos!’, he jabbed at the controls in frustration, ‘The frakking thing must have eaten it!’
Septimus felt rising panic in his chest and fought it down.
   ‘Fall back to the rendezvous point!’ he ordered.  ‘Don’t engage until I tell you, and don’t wait for me!’  His men obeyed instantly, springing away behind the questionable safety of the stacked munitorum containers and retaining fence. He swiftly unclipped the remaining melta bomb from his pack and opened the menu display, praying unashamedly to the Omnissiah that he would remember enough to set remote detonation himself as DeVilliers had done.  He didn’t have time to be afraid.
   He glanced up as he worked and saw that it was too late.  The Harsupex stood maybe fifty meters away, it’s head cocked, regarding him.   Three hideous eyes arranged unnaturally on the left side of its head glared at him malevolently.  One of its giant foreclaws was missing, blasted away. Blistered flesh steamed into the air, but it was still very much alive. It opened its cavernous mouth slowly, almost leisurely. It was filled with writhing tentacles.

  Septimus was frozen to the spot for a brief moment.  He noticed in an odd, detached way that something about the creature’s mouth was wrong.  The claw tipped feeder palps that normally spewed forth from a Haruspex were replaced with strange, undulating tendrils.
   Then a bellowing roar issued from the orifice and the creature pistoned forward on massive forelegs. Serrated talons ripped up clods of earth in its wake.
   Cursing roundly, Clegg punched the timer override selection. He grabbed the bomb with one hand, stumbling over the wreckage the way his men had retreated.  If he tripped the override, it would explode in exactly five seconds.  Whether he instinctively knew this wouldn’t work or whether he just didn’t have the nerve to stand there as bait wasn’t a question he wasted time considering.
   Bolting back through the gap in the fence, he took shelter against the buttress of the admin block.
The cacophony of steel being torn apart in the background told him that the xenos had reached his former position.  With a hand that was not quite trembling he engaged the controls of the melta bomb again.  The screech of metal behind suddenly stopped.  He could hear Davies over the headset requesting instructions.  The sound of his own panting.  The sighing of the wind as another dust storm approached.  Then the world exploded around him.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Tyranid Artillery

My Gun Beasts are finally painted up.  I've had these models for years in various states of completion and wasn't affected by sudden drought of models that Nid players are experiencing.  There seem to be a lot of new players as well after the release of the last codex.  Apparently there is a huge shortage of stock in Tyranid models, not necessarily in the stores but online.  That's what I want to believe anyway, because then I will feel smugly vindicated.  All my guilty and surreptitious accumulation of biomass over the past decade is finally paying dividends.

The vaguely suicidal notion of fielding 3 Biovores in my army several years ago is now a shrewd decision.  The half dozen Hive Guard I purchased in 5th are great again. Except that in 8th edition I don't feel begrudging resentment at using them because they aren't the only Tyranid artillery piece worth a damn now.  There are a plethora of other options for gun beasts.  The only reason I haven't tried Tyrannofexes yet is because I haven't figured out how to pull the birthing sac off my Tervigon and convert one.  There's a pristine Carnifex, still in the box tucked away on a shelf, waiting to decide whether it will be a Screamer Killer, gunline Thornback or Old One Eye. A kitbashed venom cannon will be repainted as a Miasma cannon and make an excellent addition to one of my Flyrant models.  The latest codex has provided many reasons to buy new models but I'm having more fun playing with the forgotten backlog of Nids that I never got round to using.

The Exocrines are fully repaired and painted up.  I might do a bit more work to the converted one which I never really liked but I built it before the official model came out and I managed a fair approximation.

The new Exocrine is fully magnetized and I'm feverishly working on the Haruspex variant of the model.  I added about 7 more tentacles.  I couldn't help myself, it was like a freakish compulsion.  Needs. More. Tentacles.  I eventually managed to stop but then had to break it down into sub assemblies again and repaint the extra appendages.

I spent quite a lot of time on the base as well.  I'm quite pleased with that broken fence which, when the heads are swapped out, will extend outwards from the Haruspex maw and provide Septimus (my hapless Scion) with something to cling to desperately as he is unceremoniously devoured by the beast.

My Hive Guard are also repainted from their 5th Ed colours.  They are the old Finecast versions and I worry that I'll want to take the newer Shock Cannon weapon symbiote eventually.  However, the range of this gun is below par really at 24", especially in a unit which doesn't want to move in order to take advantage of the Kronos adaptation.  So I'm quite happy with the Impaler Cannons for now.

I briefly considered painting the Kronos detachment a different colour in order to differentiate between the various Hive Fleets.  But attempting to repaint my Nid army a 3rd time is a sure step down the path of insanity.  I'll just use tape on the bases to suggest a separate detachment in a competitive environment.  Or just not bother.  I'm not entirely happy with splitting my Hive Fleet up and it doesn't feel very fluffy.  From a tournament standpoint however, I don't feel its massively more cheesy than fielding Space Marines with Imperial Guard.  Or putting Guilliman in charge of my Red Scorpions and calling them Smurfs.  I'm already well down that road to damnation.