Monday, February 26, 2024

Review: Heroquest - Avalon Hill/Hasbro Plus


For Christmas this year I got this nostalgia-bait.  I had this when I was a younger person, and played the heck out of it.  I also used my existing D&D and WHFB minis to expand the heck out of it.  You could say, it was the first game I actually heavily modified as a budding wargame designer!  New enemies, new heroes, and new magic!  I also used it as a gateway to suck a lot of folks into RPGs and Wargaming back then.  Mwahahahahahahaha! 

Therefore, when it came back out I knew I would eventually get it.  Lo and behold, here it is!  One of my big projects for this year will be to get this bad boy painted up so I can use it to corrupt more people into wargaming!  So, let's dig in and take a look at what is in the box.  

Right off the bat I can tell you that this box is much thicker than the original game!  Despite the thickness the contents look surprisingly similar.  A nice fold-out board with that all too familiar lay-out,  Two trays of miniature components.  A single sheet with some punch-out tokens and the Zargon screen.  Finally, it has a slim rulebook and a Questbook.  

Inside the Miniature Trays you will find all the familiar furniture from the first game, all the cards, and the character sheets.  The other has the dice and the miniatures.  No doubt the miniatures in this game are top-notch and better looking than the originals.  They definitely style them differently than the GW predecessors.  The Fimir is replaced by an "Abomination".  The Orcs and Goblins also look like they have three different sculpts of each as well!  It seems as if the term Chaos is also replaced with "Dread" instead, i.e. Dread Warriors, Dread Spells, etc.  The Zombies have two poses.  For dice you get 6 proprietary "skull" dice and two red, standard 6-sided dice. 

The minis themselves seem to be made of a hard plastic material and are of good quality.  They have some flex to avoid breakage, but do not seem brittle.  The furniture and models seem to have a good "bulk" or heftiness too them to help stay in place.  The models are a little bit harder to pull out of the trays than I would like.  After painting, I will need some alternative packaging.  Too bad as I like the cool Heroquest sleeves for the model trays.     

So, with the contents being "unboxed" let's go to the rulebook!

Things I Liked

The rulebook is a small glossy book that is 22 pages long!  Nice, simple and quick.  Perfect for newbies to wargames, dungeon delving, or RPGs.   

Characters can either perform an action (fight, cast a spell, search, etc.) and move.  They can do this in any order they wish.  Opening doors or looking down corridors is not an action.  There are handy little cards that describe the sequence of events to play.  

The game uses opposed rolls.  Defenders can use successes to neutralize the Attackers successes.  The number of dice rolled by heroes is based on their equipment.  Some weapons also have simple special abilities making the load-out relevant in the game.  

When you search a room, you draw a card from the Treasure pile.  However, half of the cards are traps or wandering monsters!  These bad things can immediately attack or impact the searcher.  Therefore, if you are injured you may not wish to search and instead focus on escape.  

Things I Do Not Like

I had forgotten that this game used randomized movement!  I would just give each character a standard move rate.  This is an easy way to differentiate the heroes further than their basic stats.  

This game also makes use of Proprietary Dice with symbols.  I am not a fan of that.  

The game really should have a very simple and rudimentary experience system for hero models to "level-up".  That way if a hero dies there are a bit more stakes to their loss.  Losing their equipment can be tough if a monster gets it first, but there is a good chance that a Hero will recover it instead.  

You run out of reasons to use gold pretty fast.  Once you have the best gear, there is not much else to spend gold on. 

Meh and Other Uncertainties

The game has secret doors and a variety of trap types.  Their are different ways to the type of traps impact the game.  Pits can cause injury and modifiers, block traps can block access, and spears cause injury. 

Each hero has a bit of a niche in the party.  The Barbarian deals the most damage and can take the most.  The Dwarf is a strong fighter but is best at disarming traps.  The elf can cast 1 deck of spells.  The Wizard is the weakest but has the most magic.  

There are 14 quests in the quest book and they are linked in a series.  The higher the quest, the more difficult it is.  Artifacts from one quest maybe necessary for the next quest to be completed successfully.  In addition, the game encourages you to create your own quests as well.  

Final Thoughts

I think Heroquest has two great strengths.  The first is its relative simplicity.  It is easy to get people playing quickly and introduce some basic concepts of wargaming and RPG.  This simplicity leads into its second strength, it is incredibly versatile and expandable!  It gives the player a good, basic framework to add all sorts of details to the game.  You can stack or create all sorts of chrome to tack onto this basic framework.  

I could see myself creating some "Custom" Quests using existing models in my collection, or generic ones that are easily sourced like Lizard Men, Gnolls, and the like.  I could even see myself creating some "Quest Packs" and putting them out into the world for others.  I could see a fun Frankenstein's Castle themed game as an example.  Hasbro/Avalon Hill has all ready done this themselves as there are a number of expansions all ready available for the game on their website.  Looks like there are 7 Quest Packs and at least 1 Hero expansion all ready!  

With all of that said, this is best purchased for either a Nostalgia buy OR as a Gateway drug.  The mechanics will not hold up to more advanced Dungeon-Crawler games. It can't compete in tactical challenge like  true wargame.  It can't deliver the experience of a true RPG.  However, as a good introduction game, with a family, or a small-group of non-gamer friends; you can have a blast!  With new scenarios and adding homebrew concepts in you can keep this game fresh for a long time. 

Now, time for me to get painting! 

Become a Patron and get access to all the cool stuff, a peak behind the curtain of Blood and Spectacles, and early-access to playtest games!  

You can follow Blood and Spectacles Facebook page or Instagram for more fun! 

Check out the latest publications and contact me at our Blood and Spectacles website

Or purchase all out games at the Blood and Spectacles Publishing Wargames Vault Page!    




Monday, February 19, 2024

Wargame Design: Managing Criticism


Congratulations!  Your first (second, third, fourth, etc.) game is out into the world!  You went through all the steps of the process, play-tested it, finished it, did the post-production work, and now it is out in the wild and people are playing it!  If you are like me, this process has taken 2-5 years of your time.  However, you are now a wargame designer!  

I hope you are ready for the hard part.  People are not going to like your game, and they won't be afraid to tell you about it.  Some of this feedback is more helpful than others and you can learn from it for your next game.  Typically, it falls back into the following categories: 

  1. None at All
  2. Not Helpful
  3. Misalignment
  4. A Gift
None at All
Perhaps the most ominous type of feedback when you publish your game is None at All.  There is radio silence and no one is talking about it in any meaningful way.  That means, you did not even get someone interested enough to comment.  Perhaps the most damning, the most frustrating, and the most useless form of feedback.  As the Wargame Designer, you have no idea where the disconnect occurred and no one is engaging enough to tell you!  That makes it really hard to do better next time, is it the rules, the distribution model, the way you advertised?  You just don't know.    

Not Helpful
Some of my favorite and most colorful feedback falls into this category.  I actually printed out and posted this feedback on my work space wall because I loved it so much.  It comes from an Amazon review.

Absolutely love this review.  I am glad 4 people found it helpful to them.  I mostly keep it because it makes me laugh.  

However, the review itself doesn't give me anything to work with and no real feedback that I can actively go back and work with to make a ruleset better.  The only thought I had after reading this was, "If they though it was a waste of paper, they should have gotten the e-publication instead?"  The feedback I took was to start publishing more content electronically, after all I wouldn't want to waste paper.  

A lot of feedback you get will fall into this unhelpful category.  They will say things like, "It's trash" or "It sucks".  That doesn't give you anywhere to go with it, and follow-up questions would be needed to find out what the actual issue was.  On the other side, positive feedback can fall into the same category.  Saying a game is "Great" or "Perfect" doesn't help out much either.  However, it does feel much better than the other side of the coin!     

This is the most common source of feedback and criticism that you will find.  There is a simple misalignment between what your customer was looking for and what you delivered.  This is a very broad category and has a number of sub-categories.  
  1. POV
  2. Wants
  3. Expectations
A misalignment on POV simply means that the assumptions you made about warfare of the period or the setting do not align with what your customers POV is.  You may think that in your game it is Vietnam in Space.  Meanwhile, your players wanted Space Opera.  You may think that defined battle lines were less important, and that they were more fluid than traditionally thought, but your player disagrees with your assumptions.  This misalignment around what the rules should do leads to dissatisfaction with the game.  

A misalignment on Wants is similar.  Basically, it is a disagreement about taste and preference.  They wanted a crunch game, but you delivered a simple game.  They wanted 20 different unit types, while you simplified it into 5 broad categories.  They like a One Roll to Rule them All, but you used Dice Pools.  This misalignment around how the game is structured or built leads to feedback or criticism of the system.  

The last misalignment is around Expectations.  They player wanted something with a hard, defined time scale and you do not have that.  They expected to highlight armor, when the game you delivered focuses on infantry.  The player read your blurb and expected model-vs-model but got unit-vs-unit.  Essentially, the player had built up how they wanted the game to be, but you had other ideas.  This happens a surprising amount of times.

These misalignments are the number 1 driver of critique and feedback about your game.  These can be mined for useful ideas and thoughts to help you create a better, and different product next time.  

A Gift
The final form of feedback or critique you will receive is The Gift.  This is the rarest, and it is almost like catching a unicorn!  A Gift is feedback that helps you as the designer make your next game better. It is specific, clear, actionable and aligns with your own goals and objectives as a designer.  This is often very simple and specific things you can do and implement in your work for next time.  

A Case Study
It is no secret that Men of Bronze received a decent amount of feedback and criticism upon its release.  I was grateful that enough people tired it out to even give me this feedback!  There were four primary sticking points: 

1. It was not clear on how to use different scales and multi-based units
2. The abstractions were not to everyone's liking
3. Models could charge too far
4. The support rules did not make sense to players

So, let's dg into these critiques and see where they fall into the matrix of critique?  

1. Unclear how to be Scale and Model-agnostic     
This tended to fall into pretty reasonable discussion and I rated this as "A Gift".  I was able to rectify this with some simple clarifications in the FAQ on the blog, in Hercules Abroad the supplement, on the Message Board, and was incorporated into writing Wars of the Republic.  This feedback made future games better, and the verbiage has been an easy port into all my other MoB-centric systems. 

2. The abstractions were not to everyone's liking
This critique came in a number of varieties.  Some people simply hated that I put in a quick blurb using 10 models in 28mm for a unit.  This really got under people's skin, and their reaction was to often call the whole thing trash from that one sentence.  Of course, I have seen people play the game with units of 50+ models in 28mm too.  However, this one sentence sent some of the critiques into the Not Helpful territory.  

The majority of criticism on the abstractions were simple misalignment.  They had certain assumptions about how you should use figure/distance scales to represent space and unit size.  This was not that type of ruleset.  Others believed that the fundamental idea of "bathtubbing" or small forces for big battles wasn't what they wanted to play.  Others were unsure if this was a model-vs-model or a Unit-vs-unit game and came expecting one or the other.  

Some of the criticism that came in fell into the Gift category.  They had a clear understanding of what I was trying to do, and were able to give me tips and tricks to do it better.  

Therefore, when I wrote Wars of the Republic I spent more time and words to be intentional with explaining the abstractions.  This seems to have been successful, as commenters have been much more satisfied with the overall rule than with Men of Bronze.  I was able to carry this over into other games as well. 

3. Models could charge too far 
This was simple, straight forward criticism that fell into the Gift category.  It was easy to make an adjustment in this category in the FAQ and in future works.  I also tend now to give cavalry and mounted units a better charge, pursue, and evade distance than models on foot as well.   

4. Support rules did not make sense to players 
Most of the criticism here fell into the Misalignment side of the equation.  Folks with a strong Historical background had certain "expectations" of how supporting worked in a game.  Most of the decision-making of support came in the deployment phase and was not part of the actual gameplay.  Men of Bronze wanted supporting to be an active choice with risk and reward, and therefore had some big consequences that could leave holes in your battle line if you chose to do it.  In addition, you could incur greater losses if you gambled and failed.  

Ultimately, the criticism that explained the why behind the misalignment moved the criticism from a Misalignment to A Gift.  Then I was able to understand what they were looking for, and integrate some of that expectation and the decision-making I wanted around support into the rules for future games.  Indeed, Wars of the Republic is seen to have superior support rules than Men of Bronze.  I was still able to keep the decision-making aspect I wanted, but also incorporate or streamline the confusion players had by removing some of the less-popular aspects of supporting.  Now, these types of rules have become staples again in my game design for MoB-inspired sets.   

Final Thoughts
Many of the readers of this blog are or want to be miniature wargame designers.  Thankfully, it is easier now than ever.  All you need to do is complete a game and get it out into the public space for people to play it.  However, that is not the end of the cycle.  

Once your game is alive and in the public space, you can expect to get criticism and feedback for your work.  Learning how to deal with this feedback is critical if you want to continue writing miniature wargame rules.  Some of the criticism will be useless to you, most will be a misalignment between your Design Goals and the wants/needs of the player, and the last is very useful information that can help you be a better designer in the future.  

Take these gifts of feedback, and use it.  It will make you a better designer in the long run.  

Until next time! 

Become a Patron and get access to all the cool stuff, a peak behind the curtain of Blood and Spectacles, and early-access to playtest games!  

You can follow Blood and Spectacles Facebook page or Instagram for more fun! 

Check out the latest publications and contact me at our Blood and Spectacles website

Or purchase all out games at the Blood and Spectacles Publishing Wargames Vault Page!   

Monday, February 12, 2024

On The Painting Desk: Battle of Kadesh - Hittites Muster for Battle


The Egyptian army for Kadesh is done.  Now It is time to get working on their adversaries if I want to get this game on the table in 2024.  Since I do want to get it on the table it was a no-brainer to prioritize  painting this force up over my Heroquest project.  

The first step was to sort and organize the force.  One thing I noticed right away was that there was a larger range of poses in these minis than my Egyptian force.  Each strip of 4 and 2 to 4 different poses.  The infantry in particular had a lot of variety and dynamism in the posing.  

Overall, this army looks like it will be similar in base count to my full Egyptian force.  That means 19 bases in this army.  It also has a much larger chariot contingent with 3 units of light chariots and 3 units of the larger chariots as well.  This army also had fewer archers than the Egyptian one I just finished.  

  • 3 units of light chariots
  • 3 units of heavy chariots
  • 1 unit of Auxiliary infantry with bows
  • 1 unit of Auxiliary infantry
  • 2 units of Levy with Bows
  • 3 units of Levy infantry
  • 2 units of archers
  • 2 units of Irregular infantry
  • 2 units of skirmishers with bows
I sorted them out into their respective units and bagged them up for easy organization. I decided what I was going to start with:

  • 2 units of Infantry with Bow support
  • 2 units of skirmishers
  • 2 units of bow armed skirmishers

I glued the strips down on some tongue depressors with white glue and got started.  I undercoated them all with watered down big box acrylic Pavement as an undercoat.  I have found this sets up some great contrasts for 6m miniatures as I paint them.  Then, I started on base coating with basic colors using Armypainter paints.  

I got them all painted up and painted their base strips with Territorial Brown.  This is another cheap acrylic from a big box retailer.  I then prepped my bases the usual way with color-changing drying spackle.  I am using the same 60mm by 60mm bases for this project as my Successors and Egyptians. 

Naturally, once painted up, I based them using the color-change spackle that has served me well for so many bases for the Egyptians and others.  

Then, the last step was to paint up the bases.  Honestly, it is one of my least favorite parts.  Again, a base coat of Territorial Brown with a drybrush of Khaki and the spot application of Green Tone ink.  The colors are from a Big Box retailer and the ink is from Armypainter.  Then, I finished it all off with a GW black around the base edges.  With that, my first models for 2024 and the Hittite army were painted! 

With these 6 bases done, that is about a third of the army.  Off to a good start for 2024.  At this rate, I can hopefully have these done and ready for a summer demo game at the local.  

Until next time!  

Become a Patron and get access to all the cool stuff, a peak behind the curtain of Blood and Spectacles, and early-access to playtest games!  

You can follow Blood and Spectacles Facebook page or Instagram for more fun! 

Check out the latest publications and contact me at our Blood and Spectacles website

Or purchase all out games at the Blood and Spectacles Publishing Wargames Vault Page!    

Monday, February 5, 2024

RPG Design: No Dice RPG

I figured this was an area I was doing more and more work in, so I might as well make a snazzy new header for RPG Design.  Mostly the work in this space is for my own edification.  I am a part of an active, in-person RPG group that meets weekly.  In addition, the True Crit Gaming Guild also has some active Role-Players in it as well.  

Role-playing is really my roots in Wargaming. I was a role-player before I was a wargamer.  I often find it easier to get into Role-playing groups than it is to find fellow miniature Wargamers.  Therefore, RPGs have always been close to my heart.  As a designer, I am still pretty fascinated by the overlap between the two genres.

I all ready have a Drive Thru RPG account that I publish on.  Therefore, it made sense that I should finally give RPG Design its own space and header on the blog.  If you search the interwebs you will find a lot of people with a lot of opinions on RPG design.  You will find way more than you will ever find on Wargame Design.  I am just a dabbler in this space, and if you want serious thoughts on RPG Design you should really go elsewhere.  

I recently put a new game on my Blood and Spectacles page on Drive Thru RPG.  

Over COVID, I became interested in Play-by-Post games on forums and other Social Media.  Often times, these games used an existing, Paper-and-Pencil system with a dice system built into the resolution.  I found this experience sub-optimal when playing in a primarily isolated, text-based environment.  It was clear that the systems were not designed to function in the medium and the GMs and players were just trying to replicate the tabletop experience.  Such systems did not excel in the emergent narrative form of Play-by-Post games.  

Therefore, I set about to create a system that could be player in-person, but was really designed for playing in a Text-based medium where the focus was on cooperative, compelling, emergent narrative more than accomplishing tasks.  The goal was to create a system that used no dice, and instead leaned into words as the way to solve challenges.  The game was focused on narrative and using Keywords to drive the resolution mechanics in order to create collaborative stories.  

Here's how it works.  Players make Characters that are built using Keywords focusing on their past, present, interests, drives, ties, and tools.  There are no numbers when building a character and all the details are Keywords.  Character creation was intended to build fast, interesting characters that allowed a Player to lean into the role-playing quickly and easily.  

The game is led by the Narrator.  They act as the Gamemaster who run the non-player characters, set the scenes, and determine how the scene reacts to Character actions.  They also place challenges in front of the Characters.  

Challenges can be overcome by Characters who narrate solutions to the challenges using their Keywords.  Players are encouraged to team-up and build on other people's Narration with their own Keywords.  Link enough Keywords together and you can bypass the challenges.  If you can't the story goes a different direction and those Keywords are exhausted for further use.  This keeps the game moving quickly without a single dice needing to be rolled.  

This Keyword based system is very loose and open to Player and Narrator cooperation.  The Narrator decides the Genre and Time Period of the game.  The Keywords allow almost any trope or character type to be pulled into the game. You can have a gritty crime drama, a violent war story, a silly cartoon show, or a rollicking dungeon adventure using the system.  The focus is not on genre, but leaning into the story that your group is telling together. 

This is a Rules-Lite system with a lot of Narrator autonomy to make judgements.  The focus in on story-telling and collaboration.  The focus is on telling compelling stories, having good character interactions, and having fun.  It can be used for stand-alone One-Shots or Short Campaigns easily.  

Content for Legend of the 5 Rings

I have always wanted to run a Legend of the 5 Rings campaign, and this year I was able to do that!  I ran a mini-campaign called One Year in Rokugan.  It was intended to by played by 4-6 characters from various clans and schools and focused on a relatively isolated portion of the L5R world.  I ran the game using 3rd Edition rules.  

The campaign was 4 sets of adventures focused on the four seasons.  Once complete, the Characters would have lived in Rokugan for 1 year.  Each adventure was designed to introduce new elements of Rokugan culture and motifs for an L5R game.  As the players went along, they learned more about Bushido, the justice system, the Shadowlands, Honor, and more.  It was often interwoven into the adventures and built as the campaign went.  When I ran the game, we completed it in about 12 sessions, so 3 months.      

Thankfully, I wrote the adventures down.  That means, I was able to bundle them all together and release the One Year in Rokugan campaign to the Blood and Spectacles Drive Thru RPG PageIt is a free campaign, so feel free to check it out and give it a shot.  It includes sample 3rd Edition characters, but is mostly Edition agnostic and no stat blocks are used.  

Let me know what you think.  

Module for Flashlight: Tales of Terror

I have had a module for my rules-lite horror RPG Flashlight: Tales of Terror for some time written.  I had even run it twice.  However, I finally got it formatted all nice and made-up for proper presentation.  The module is called, Insanity at Snowden Manor and has a bit of old-haunted house Gothic Horror, some mystery, all mixed in with some more sinister Monster and Body Horror.  

I think this module requires about 4-8 hours to play, and can easily be broken up into two sessions.  I have run it with 1 Game Master and up to 6 players.  I think it works best with 4 players though.  There is not much discussion of "mechanics" as it is designed to be system agnostic for the most part.  You could run this in any horror-style rpg such as Call of Cthulhu

Final Thoughts
Well, the first published items for 2024 and they weren't even Wargames!  I still have other plans for RPG content coming up.  
  • Starter Campaign for G.I. Joe: The Role-Playing Game
  • A full Space Mecha Theatre Role-playing Game
  • A second Episode for Princes of the Universe
Therefore, keep your eyes open for this RPG Design header in 2024.  I don't think this is the last content you will see for RPGs this year! 

Become a Patron and get access to all the cool stuff, a peak behind the curtain of Blood and Spectacles, and early-access to playtest games!  

You can follow Blood and Spectacles Facebook page or Instagram for more fun! 

Check out the latest publications and contact me at our Blood and Spectacles website

Or purchase all out games at the Blood and Spectacles Publishing Wargames Vault Page!       


Saturday, February 3, 2024

5-Day Challenge- Epilogue


Long time readers will know that I have been actively engaging in community building in my local area.  Thanks to other champions in the area, we were able to launch the True Crit Gaming Guild.  This is a gaming group in Northwest Wyoming dedicated to miniature wargaming, role-playing games, board games, and card games.  It is a non-denominational gaming guild!  

Those who have known me for a long time will know that I love campaigns!  I first started getting into wargame design after having such a great experience with the old Eye of Terror and Fall of Medusa 5 campaigns from Games Workshop.  The community stories and creativity unleashed was some of the best I had ever seen.  I wanted to recapture that and started running a variety of online campaigns with smaller, localized forums and online communities.  Almost all of these had little campaign specifics rules and scenarios.  

Well, thanks to the True Crit Gaming Guild, I am going back to the well and trying my hand at a fun Narrative Campaign.  This time, we are keeping it focused to games of Kill Team.  Kill Team is a Guild favorite for a variety of reasons.  

The campaign is a simple warzone control campaign set on a nominally Imperial world on the Eastern Fringe.  It is designed to be an Imperial vs Chaos themed campaign, with other factions being able to act as mercenaries or allies.  The focus is on giving us a setting to theme our games around and give us a good excuse to play games, paint models, and build terrain.  

Of course, you can follow along with the campaign on our True Crit Gaming Guild Facebook page as well.  In addition, I am also going to make the campaign booklet available to you for free as well.  Feel free to launch your own Siege Perilous campaign with your local community as well.  

To prepare for the campaign, I ordered a Blooded Kill Team to be part of the forces of Chaos.  However, it soon became clear it was not going to arrive on time.  I went to the FLGS and picked up a Sister of Battle box and resolved to create, assemble, prime, and paint a Kill Team in 5-business days.  Hence, the 5-day challenge was born!  

That challenge started 5-days ago and I managed to get the Order of St. Augustine Martyred was ready to take the field of battle!  

I packed up the Order as well as my Hand of the Archon along with my DIY terrain for the big day.  I managed to get the Terrain made on our groups Project Social day.  This day was intended for folks to build terrain, get their Kill Teams ready, work on various projects, and be ready for the big day!  I packed up my Hand of the Archon in case their were too many Imperials and I had to fight for the forces of Chaos! 

This was the big day that I had been doing all the work for!  Today would be my first wargaming in 2024.  So, as an epilogue for the 5-day challenge, here are a bunch of photos from the event. I was paired up against an Imperial player, so the Hand of the Archon took to the field instead of the Order of St. Augustine Martyred.  Maybe next time? 

This was my first time using the Hand since I painted them, so I was not 100% sure how they worked.  Thankfully, the Imperial player I was paired against was new to the Veteran Guardsman as well.  We worked together to help each other out, and had a good time playing the Looting scenario.  

You can see we used my DIY terrain for the table I was on.  I was pretty happy with how it looked and played.  The Cigar Box Battles mat really helped to make it POP.  This was also our first time really taking advantage of the Tac Ops deck.  I had no idea what was on them, and randomly drew 3.  This was a close run game all the way down to the final turning point.  

However, my ability to get 3 Dark Eldar in a concealed position to activate Objectives allowed me to pull out a very close win.  In addition, I was able to take advantage of my random Tac Ops to net some final victory points to put me over the top!  A close run thing, but victory for the Hand of the Archon and the first Chaos victory in the campaign! 

Here is the Order of St. Augustine Martyred on the table with some Legionaries.  This was not an actual game, but I promised you guys some shots of the Order on the table.  Here it is!  Hopefully they will get to hit the table soon and bring victory for the Emperor!  

Thanks for all of your comments and well-wishes as I pursued the 5-Day Challenge to the finish.  Perhaps when my Blooded Chaos Guard arrive I will do something similar with them.  This was fun and I recommend doing something like this to help you finish a project too.   

Until next time!  

Become a Patron and get access to all the cool stuff, a peak behind the curtain of Blood and Spectacles, and early-access to playtest games!  

You can follow Blood and Spectacles Facebook page or Instagram for more fun! 

Check out the latest publications and contact me at our Blood and Spectacles website

Or purchase all out games at the Blood and Spectacles Publishing Wargames Vault Page!     


Friday, February 2, 2024

On The Painting Desk: 5-day Challenge- Day 5!!!!


Day 5 is here all ready!  Will I get the Sister of Battle Kill Team done in time for the Siege Perilous campaign for the True Crit Gaming Guild?  

Previously on, 5-Day Painting Challenge:

My local gaming group is starting a Narrative campaign for Kill Team.  I wrote the background and the high-level rules.  If you are interested you can find the booklet on the True Crit Gaming Guild facebook page or my Patreon page.  It takes place in a besieged city on the Eastern Fringe as the foul forces of Chaos and the Imperium battle to maintain control of the city.  Will it be the last bastion of resistance or the capital of a new world order? 

I had initially planned to field a Kill Team for Chaos, the Blooded specifically.  These corrupted PDF troopers would firmly put me in the Chaos camp.  However, I was not going to get the troops in time!  Therefore, I needed an alternative!  I went tot he FLGS and saw a box of Battle Sisters and decided to make a SoB Kill Team using the Compendium list.  The Ecclesiarchy plays a big role in the fighting in the campaign, so it made sense to have some troops for them too!  

The campaign starts this Saturday, when I purchased the box that gave me 1-week to assemble, prime, detail, and finish the squad.  I gave myself 5 week days to complete the task.  I still had to work, social commitments, and other normally weekly tasks to accomplish.  I was not sure I could do it.  

Those who have followed my blog for a while know that I am just a tabletop standard painter.  I was mostly going to be using Armypainter paints, Armypainter V1 speedpaints, and some Big Box Acrylics for my efforts.  At the end, I wanted some tabletop quality miniatures to fight with!  

We left off Day 4 and I had not finished all the detailing I needed to do to make the models look complete!  

Therefore, I woke up a bit early and got to work.  My work was interrupted as I had to take my cat in for an emergency Vet visit!  That was unexpected and weighed on my mind as I strove to complete my challenge.   

Here they are with all the details painted up. 

With detailing done, we got to the point that I had been dreading since Day 2.  It was time to wash the models. The choice of trying to do White Armor made me really nervous about this step.  There is a tendency of washes to really darken up the models and some of the bright white effect was going to be lost.  I contemplated if I should use a Black or a Brown based wash.  Without a test model, I was going to be flying somewhat blind here.  After looking at the several washes I had, and thinking about making my own watered down version, I decided to use Armypainter Light Tone.  

Here is the results: 

Oh yeah!  I am calling this a success!  

For basing I didn't do anything fancy.  I used my Speedpaints and painted the bases Harden Leather on top, then I did a simple black rim around the edges.  The "Tactical Rocks" on some of the bases I just left in their primed, washed, and dry-brushed base grey colors.  Nothing fancy, but it really helped the models look finished.  

The final step was to wait for them to fully dry and then give them a light Matte varnish seal.  I think they are still a bit too shiny and it took a toll on some of the paint work, but I can touch that up.  You can see the finished models here: 

Just the Bolter Sisters.....

Just the Specialists.....

Looks like I managed to accomplish my goal!  5-day challenge complete! 

I should have some in-game action shots of the Order of Saint Augustine Martyred for the blog tomorrow.  If I remember to take photos in the heat of the moment!  

As a final happy note, my cat came home the same day!  She was going to be all right. A jaw-line infection that was being treated with anti-biotics, love, and plenty of cuddles.


Until next time.  Thanks for following along as I tried something new on the blog! 

Become a Patron and get access to all the cool stuff, a peak behind the curtain of Blood and Spectacles, and early-access to playtest games!  

You can follow Blood and Spectacles Facebook page or Instagram for more fun! 

Check out the latest publications and contact me at our Blood and Spectacles website

Or purchase all out games at the Blood and Spectacles Publishing Wargames Vault Page!     


Thursday, February 1, 2024

On The Painting Desk- 5-Day Challenge- Day 4

 Day 4.  

Day 4.  

Day 4.  

Wow, only 1 day left to get these Sisters done!  I have a lot to do!  Yesterday, I managed to block in the main colors beyond the armor.  The purple tabard and the dark blue weaponry.  Those three pieces are the bulk of the models.

That leaves today for the detailing.  I used a mix of regular Armypainter and  Speedpaints to finish off the detail work.  The Speedpaints are great for larger areas, but for really detailed work the regular paints are helpful.  The Speedpaints tend to go where you put them, even though they are pretty liquid.  However, if you want to make sure the paint goes exactly where you want it, there is no substitute for regular acrylics.  

I decided to go ahead an use my Melta-gunner and a regular Sister as my "testers" and started doing some detail work on them.  These two troopers were going to lead the charge on the detail work!  Thankfully, I found that the standard troopers were not as detailed as I had feared!  The detail work on them went relatively quick.  At this point, I still had a bit more to do, but you get the general idea. 

However, the biggest challenges were still going to be the Sister Superior and the Icon Bearer.  The were followed closely by the Heavy Bolter sister.  They had the most detail and the most hard to reach detail.    

With the basics defined I got to work.  However, I did not have a great system for applying the colors and I kept having to go back to colors.  Not a very efficient use of my paints or time.  At this stage, miniatures start to take on a bit of their own personalities.  Sometimes, I think it would be better to paint them all individually at this stage.  However, I try to paint all the colors on all the squad at the same time.  I was not doing a very good job of it today.  

At the end of the Day 4, this is what I had done. 

I would say the detailing stage is NOT complete for these minis.  I have to do the tubes around the neck area for most of the team.  The Icon is not completely done.  A few bits and bobs are still unfinished.   

This puts me somewhat off schedule. On Day 5 I was intending to do washes, basing, and sealing.  Thankfully, that shouldn't take too much time.  I will probably have time to finish up my detailing before I do those finishing steps.  Time is getting tight, but I think I am very close to getting this Kill Team done in 5-days.   

Tomorrow is a big day.  It is the make or break day.  The final day.  

See you tomorrow for the final day of the challenge!

Become a Patron and get access to all the cool stuff, a peak behind the curtain of Blood and Spectacles, and early-access to playtest games!  

You can follow Blood and Spectacles Facebook page or Instagram for more fun! 

Check out the latest publications and contact me at our Blood and Spectacles website

Or purchase all out games at the Blood and Spectacles Publishing Wargames Vault Page!