Monday, March 12, 2018

Dracula's America - Review

Last weekend I travelled down to Cheetor's place in Cork. Myself, Cheetor and TheOttoVonBismark had planned a weekend of Dracula's America. In Space. The posses were painted, the terrain was ready, the rules were read and the beer was in the fridge. Off we went.

I'm not going into a blow by blow account of the games we played, more a general overview of how we felt about the system, the posses we used and what we're planning next.

Sean (TheOttoVonBismark) brought a very tasty Slaaneshi chaos cult using the Crossroads Cult rules. This fit very well indeed, with a Keeper of Secrets (Major Entity) appearing in the first turn of the first game. That made me sit up and take notice pretty rapidly, as only a twelve foot four armed one-boobed skull-faced daemon can.

Paul (Cheetor) has a huge gang of Ratskins, which straddle the settings of Dracula's America and the quasi 40k sci-fi setting we chose for it perfectly. In this particulat scenario they are trying to protect a Jokaero from getting murdered by the other posses. The gorgeous terrain is all from Cheetor's collection.

My own posse are The Shadow Empire, Lo Pan's (from Big Trouble in Little China Lo Pan) underground criminal organisation. They match up seamlessly to the Shadow Dragon Tong faction. In this iteration of Lo Pan's existence he has managed to gain access to eldar technology and is retro-engineering it to suit his own foul purposes.

The Doctor will see you now.

We played two games of Dracula's America, Shootout and Escalation. What struck me immediately was how smooth the rules were. As with all reasonably casual rule-sets a modicum of common sense is required, but assuming that we got into the rules nice and quickly. Building posses is easy, especially when starting with a campaign posse. There are three levels of character, Novice, Veteran and Hero, each using a different dice for tests, a D6, D8 and D10 respectively. You buy the posse weapons (only basic weapons for a starting campaign posse) and that't it. The layout of the book jarred a little, flipping between historical and supernatural sections, but that's a minor quibble.

The card-bases initiative system is a lovely mechanic, even more so when you take the hunting grounds into account. The encounter rules for two players using the same card adds another interesting but not obstructive element, though Cheetor might disagree having been robbed of an opportunity to riddle Lo Pan with bullets when a gloom fell and reduced his weapon range.

We didn't use the hunting grounds in these games, but I like the rules for it a lot.

The progression system is very intuitive and pleasant to use. Rolling for injuries, advancements and so on is straightforward and entertaining, including robbing territory from your opponents. Even those who don't advance gain experience which makes it more likely they will advance after subsequent games.


There is one expansion so far, Hunting Grounds, which introduces new rules and factions, including the Shadow Dragon Tong that I was playing, as well as outlaws, mercenaries, new skills, gear and so on. I'm certainly going to be playing more games using these rules, I've already got plans for an addition to the Shadow Empire, an 'undead drifter', or in my case a reanimated eldar that Lo Pan is plying for secrets.

What a jerk he is.

Cheetor is playing with the idea of something vampiric next, but I'll let him loose details on that as he fancies. TheOttoVonBismark is thinking of something orkish. Or genestealery. Or both maybe.

All in all I couldn't recommend Dracula's America highly enough. As you can see, you can play it Weird Wild West style, or go Weird Wild West in Space, or whatever you fancy yourself and it works just dandy.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Dracula's America - Emperor's Guard

The last three members of the posse for Dracula's America are complete! These three guys are Terror-Cotta warriors from Pulp City. They couldn't have been any more perfect for my Shadow Empire in space posse. Once these guys arrived (barely a week ago) I immediately carved them up to make three variants. Two were given more eldar tech, while one was built straight from the kit. The masks are separate, which was a godsend, as I could make three individual faces. They have quite a lot of cool gubbins at the back too, which you can see here:

The blue gives a nice spot colour to an otherwise quite warm earthy palette. Plus it adds a bit of a mysterious arcane tech vibe, and matches the canisters worn by the cultists. 

These three complete the posse, which is now ten strong. I can only have five starting out, but now I have enough minis to recruit up to a full strength posse. Yuss.

As I mentioned before, the three cultists act as controllers for the three Emperor's guard through stole- I mean recovered alien technology. This won't really have any effect in-game, but is a nice little story hook and goes someway to explaining all the shuriken weapons.

I have a sizable contingent of terracotta warriors painted for my Dragon Rampant army already, so the royal guard will serve as leaders or a unit in their own right.


I have some ideas for objective markers for these guys, so I'll be adding a few little accessory bits to them here and there, but for now that's job done for LoPan's Wild West in space crew.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Dracula's America - Shadow Empire Cultists

A weird one today. Three miniatures that went from being very low down the priority list to absolute must paint. Let me give you a little backstory.

Cheetor has been evangelising about Dracula's America: Shadow of the West for some time now. Set in 1875, Dracula is now president of the United States, and all manner of hell is breaking loose. Quite literally. It's essentially the weird wild West. So, what has this to do with the fellows above you might ask? Well, recently the first expansion, Hunting Grounds, was released, and in this is rules for the Shadow Dragon Tong, Chinese crime lords. This caused my ears to prick up.

I've been building a Chinese force for Dragon Rampant based on Big Trouble in Little China. The Arcanist from the Tong posse is literally the same model I'm using for LoPan. I had some Wing Kong gang members already. So these lads were, all of a sudden, bumped right to the front of the queue. I love that, when an unexpected game or whimsy causes long neglected minis to suddenly become rockstars that must be painted. For those of you who don't remember, the Wing Kong are these guys:

There was one more wrinkle though, our version of Dracula's America took place is the future. In space. So a little more thought was required. The cultists needed future tech. I considered LoPan coming across a trove of arcane weapons buried long ago by an advanced race. He might retro-engineer the technology to suit his purpose.

Or depending on the setting he could just be mates with an eldar trader with loose morals. In any case, here's the posse so far:

I have one more set of minis to add to the gang to complete it. You can see the little capsules on the cultist's belts? More eldar tech. It allows the wearer to control a wraith-machine with their mind. In ancient settings (like the Dragon Rampant army) this will be unfathomable arcane technology. In future settings like the Firefly-like one we are planning for Space Dracula's America, it'll be a remote control device that humans aren't really meant to use. Hence the unhealthy pallor of the Wing Kong cultists.

So what are they controlling? Well, to keep with the theme of the gang AND the theme of my Dragon Rampant army AND the Big Trouble in Little China thing I needed something pretty niche. But lo, the internet, it provides. High tech ancient Chinese robots? Here you go. What flavour sir?

I have three of these to do. This one is out of the box, bar some face-plate mangling. The others are getting some conversion work with dark eldar weaponry. Stay tuned for these shortly. I have a week to get them done in time for my first Dracula's America game.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Kickstarter - Bonefields

My good mate Chris from Macrocosm is currently running a kickstarter for his new game Bonefields. It's a skirmish game where all the factions are undead, starting with dwarves and goblins. As you can see from the image above, I've already gotten my paws on some of the miniatures from the game. The goblin vampire is pretty great, and also hilarious. There are some really nice miniatures coming down the line should the kickstarter do well such as the goblin poker and gobbers and the dwarf berserker king. It's a great project to be involved in.

The rules are being written by James Hewitt and Sophie Williams from  Needy Cat Games. James has previously designed such games as The Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth, Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower and Gorechosen, Necromunda: Underhive and the upcoming Adeptus Titanicus.

So it looks like it could be a pretty fun game. You'll be able to progress the members of the warband, adding skills, picking up injuries and such. Models can be killed in game but don't leave play as they can be resurrected. There's a development blog for the rules here.

The project funded in two days and at the time of writing has already knocked down the first stretch goal, zombie dwarves. If you like your undead you'd be well served to take a look at what's on offer. Aside from the boxed game there are a lot of add on sets that can be used for pretty much any game, from undead pony and wolf riders to goblin catapults.

I love the character models. Look at that dwarf wight king. Isn't he... groovy? There are also several token, scenery and objective sets. The four you can see above are literally perfect for Legions of Nagash grave markers.

So there you go. Take a look, you can check it out here.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Shadespire - Petitioner 1

So, I've painted a model I bought only recently. What? Crazy! Surely the sky, surely it is falling. I've been quite enamoured by Shadespire, and I love the Sepulchral Guard set. They're amazing miniatures. This is the first model from the faction, a lowly petitioner. I used my tried and tested bone technique on him, and use my ages bronze recipe from my terracotta warriors on his shield and sword hilt. The hit of green from the bronze sits nicely with the orange/red rust and on his tattered, what? Loincloth? Shorts? Baggy trousers?

The base is already sculpted, so I just added a few old leaves.

Painting this guy has me wanting to get the rest of the set on the table. You gotta be careful assembling and cleaning though, this guy is quite fragile with all his thin parts. With Legions of Nagash out too, jeez, well, undead have always been a cherished faction of mine. Once the book arrives it'll be hard to resist getting a warband together. For now though, I'll paint this guy some mates for Shadespire.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Bonefields - Goblin Undead

Today we have another tasty pair of goblinoid skeletons from the upcoming Bonefields Kickstarter from Macrocosm, a heavy infantryman and a fanatic. Well, I assume he's a fanatic on account of the nasty looking ball he's wielding. He looks like he means to do woeful harm with it anyhow.

There are several goblin heavy infantry sculpts as far as I know. They'd make a great bodyguard unit for the goblin vampire.

Macrocosm's Bonefields kickstarter begins Feb 23rd.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Bonefields - Dwarf and Goblin Warbands

I've just finished off the latest dead lads for the dwarf and goblin warbands for Bonefields, two more slayers and three goblin spearmen. As has been pointed out, the way I've painted the slayer's loincloth makes it look like saggy soiled underpants, which after I finished laughing about I decided only added to the undead horror. Truly a fate worse than death.

The painting has reached a point where they can now be called warbands. The goblin vampire above commands four archers, four spearmen, two swordsmen, one goblin hero and one heavy infantryman with halberd. I can also let slip what you get in the Bonefields starter set for the goblins.You get the lads here below:

So it's four spearmen, four archers and the goblin vampire. There is an insane amount of units you can add to this starting warband. I hear tell of undead Squi- ah, I mean rotund cave dwelling monsters, cavalry, command models and even war machines. The sculptors Alessio Cisbani and Darren Edwards are doing mighty work indeed, along with the indefatigable Chris Nicholls, owner of Macrocosm and creator of Bonefields.

As to the dwarves, here's the warband as it stands. The dwarf necromancer controls a dwarf hero, two dwarf wights, four slayers, (two with greatweapons and two with two axes) and four warriors with sword and shield.

For the dwarf side of the starter set you get four warriors, four slayers and the dwarf Necromancer. All told the set contains eighteen miniatures at the time of writing.

The dwarves are likewise set to receive a load of models to expand the warband. Cavalry, zombies, crossbowmen, command and even artillery.

I have two more undead on the table at the moment which I'll be using to build a painting tutorial for techniques used on the models seen above. One is another goblin heavy infantryman for rusted and worn armour and the other, the bone tutorial, is fanatical about his ball and chain.

The Bonefields Kickstarter kicks off on the 23rd of February.

Wayland Games

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