Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dire Foes Unboxing

I picked up my first Dire Foes box set tonight and had the joy of unboxing it. The models inside are quite nice, and more detailed than I thoughts they were going to be from pictures I've seen.

They are also in more parts than I expected. When I first saw the model for Treitak Anyat I thought that the sculptor had taken the easy route with her hair and sculpted it onto the back of the model. In reality Anyat's head and hair are completely separate bits, opening up all sorts of options for conversions and head swaps. Sadly, they do not come with alternate weapon options like their male Spec-Ops counterparts, but both model's weapon arms are separate bits, which makes weapon swaps or magnetic weapon arms conversions much easier. Even Fusilier Angus's head comes as a separate bit, and would make a great head swap bit for the Indigo Spec-Ops model.

The mission that comes with the box set is also a pleasant surprise. I thought there would be a little booklet in the box, but instead it comes with a download code for a 14 page long PDF that contains both a short story, backgrounds for the two characters, and special rules and model profiles. The art prints that come in the box are small, but nice quality, as well.

Overall I had high hopes for this box set, and Corvus Belli did not disappoint. I was even pleasantly surprised by the quality and some of the extras. I highly recommend this for anyone who wants to add some character to their Infinity army!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Farewell, Holidays

Yikes, has it really been that long since I made a blog post?

Like every year, the holidays are always the busiest and hardest time of the year for my job. It means longer hours, more stress, and less time for gaming. I'm not sure if this year was really harder, or I'm just getting older, but this one was rough and completely knocked me out of gaming.

My proud Warhammer project is sitting on my hobby desk in the exact same place I left them 3 months ago, and the Infinity campaign stalled as holiday commitments grounded both me and many of the other players.

But that's all behind us now. It's time for the new spring season of gaming to commence, which is one of my favorite times of the year for gaming. Since I vanished the new Dire Foes sets have come out, Corvus Belli has introduced new Escalation League rules, the new ITS season has started, and the planning committee for this summer's NorCon will soon start their preparations! I can't wait to get started.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Warhammer: Design Decisions

I set several priorities and rules for myself in designing this army: 1. Since there are strict deadlines for completing each phase of the army in the Slow Grow League, I will not bog myself down with any conversions or scratch building other than some simple kit bashing. 2. To wash away some of the dirty feeling of playing a GW game I will use non-GW models for all of my Heroes. 3. Other than the Heroes, I will only use standard GW plastic kits for the rest of my army. 4. The army must have class and style.

Now, the last one is tricky because GW and I have very different definitions of style. For me it means sexy women, confident men, and most importantly models that evoke attitude and emotion. For GW, on the other hand, style means models that appear both awkward and uncomfortable. For GW, femininity is measured purely in the size (and sometimes the number) of a woman's breasts, and a masculine man typically has fists that are larger than his head, slender shoulders, and (most importantly) a really big hat.

So to make a sexy and stylish Empire army, while avoiding unnecessary conversions, requires non-GW models for all the important parts. As a result I have been scouting other miniatures companies to fill the Hero roles in the army. To start is the leader of my army: Brunhilde von Konigsmark from Raging Heroes. This fantastic model evokes the exact attitude of wealth and arrogance that I am looking for in my army, and has been a great source of inspiration.

Next is my master Engineer, another model from Raging Heroes, and another beautiful piece that perfectly captures the style that I want my army to evoke.

After that comes my Warrior Priest. As I get into higher point values I am planning on adding a unit of Greatswords for my Halberdiers to follow into battle. With a Warrior Priest to lead the Greatswords this means that I'll have three units that are all Stubborn and have Hatred. Although GW's Warrior Priests are actually not that bad, I found this one from Avatars of War that is even better.

And finally, I wanted some Wizards with an exotic appearance that hints at Marienburg's connections with Araby and Cathay. I spent a long time looking for the right models for this part of my army, and so far I've only found one. The White Dove from Vesper-On Games has the perfect mix of style, exotic allure, and the gold mask of a Lore of Metal Wizard.

Warhammer: Getting Started

I've been hard at work getting my Warhammer army together for the launch of the Slow Grow League, and just finished putting together my first 500 points tonight. I also got started on my display board and center-piece, all of which need to be painted by the end of the first month of the league.

As I was assembling my first few models I started thinking about the back story for my army. I decided early on that I would make a Marienburg themed army since I used to play them in Mordheim, only to find out that Marienburg is no longer part of the Empire during the time of Warhammer. Rather than change concept I decided to jump in with both feet.

I did more research into Marienburg, learning about their culture, religion, colors, natives, and relation to real world cities. The inspiration I got from my research gave me a whole bunch of ideas:

First, since they are not part of the Empire and ruled by a council of merchants I decided not to use any Knights. In fact, I went a step further and decided that as a sea-faring folk I wouldn't use any cavalry at all, at least until I got into higher point levels.

Second, I'm going to style the army to evoke an attitude of arrogance and wealth, which will be accomplished mainly through the models I use to represent the army's Heroes.

Third, I'm going to focus on the Lore of Metal for my wizards, and give them an appearance of extreme wealth, including creepy gold face masks.

Finally, I'm going to mix in elements of other races that make up Marienburg, especially as I reach higher point values. For example, I'm going to kit bash together a box of Empire Free Company with a box of Wood Elf Glade Guard to make a very unique unit of Sea Elf Huntsmen. I haven't decided how yet, but I am also thinking of ways to incorporate some Ogre servants into the army, perhaps in place of horses for a wagon or chariot.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Awesome New Product. Awesome New Book?

Corvus Belli is launching a cool new Infinity product line according to an announcement they made at GenCon. On top of that they have hinted at some new equipment and scenarios, which in the past has always been an early warning that there is a new book on the horizon.

I got most of this news from Beasts of War, so please head on over there for more news and more artwork about the upcoming product.

The new series of Infinity models are called "Dire Foes", and each set of models represents an epic rivalry between two enemy factions. Each box comes with a bunch of stuff: First there are two new Spec-Ops models in each box, which can be used to represent new Spec-Ops special characters, or be used in place of the old Spec-Ops models to add more variety to campaign armies. Second, each box comes with a VIP model (aka Civilian Objective Marker) to be used as an objective for scenarios involving civilians. Finally, each box comes with rules for a unique 300 point rivalry scenario featuring the two characters in the box. The idea is two friends can split the box, and enjoy a special rivalry game against each other using their new Spec-Ops models.

The new models have not been sculpted yet, but if the artwork is any indication they will be epic. Corvus Belli intentionally made most of the models the opposite gender from the existing Spec-Ops models, so now every army (except Haqqislam) will have both a male and female Spec-Ops model to choose from.

"Rescue on the Train"

Morat Treitak Anyat vs. Indigo Agent Bipandra

PanO agents try to rescue a naval officer from Morat invaders.

"Temporal Alliance"

Vortex Agent Lupe Balboa vs. Chandra Trasimedes

An uneasy alliance between Nomad and ALEPH agents breaks down into vicious fighting over the same objective.

"Viral Outbreak"

Hatail Aeris Keesan vs. Corax Hasht

A brutal grudge match between aliens.

"Black Mist"

Intel Operative Isobel MacGreggor vs. Gui-Feng Yuriko Oda

Why are Caledonian and Japanese forces fighting each other? I have no idea. But these two ladies look like they mean business, and their scenario has a pretty provocative name.

And finally, there is no box art for it yet, but there will be a mission called "Escape or Die" featuring Templar Agent Kostantinos vs. Hassassin Agent Yassir.

These boxes are going to be great, and I can't wait to learn more.

In addition, the Corvus Belli people hinted at a new Morat weapon called the K1 Rifle. This nasty piece of work fires an advanced armor piercing round that melts through even the thickest armor. If they stick with the rules that they are testing right now, a target's armor is reduced to 0 for armor rolls.

The most exciting thing about this new weapon is that every time Corvus Belli announces new weapon rules it means that a new book will be on the way within the next few months. According to hints and rumors that Corvus Belli has been circulating on forums and sites like Beasts of War the new book will add two more Sectorial Armies to each race, new weapons, new skills, new equipment, and possibly some new scenarios and rules for organized play.

WarCor and More

Some very exciting news from GenCon about upcoming Infinity events. Corvus Belli has started a new community outreach program called WarCor (short for War Correspondents), similar to Privateer Press's Press Ganger program. After calling myself the Infinity Guy for the last 3 years I finally have an official title for myself and a little piece of paper to prove it!

Through the program I will be able to get discounts on tournament kits and product, so I will be able to run more events in the future.

Speaking of which, Corvus Belli is overhauling the I.T.S. (Infinity Tournament System) with a new season starting later this year. This time around there will be more exclusive limited edition models available as prizes, new tournament scenarios, and a new international ranking system. The scoring for the new ranking system will be based primarily on win-records and on "player skill" rather than the number of events someone plays in, so there will be more opportunities for local players to earn glory without having to play Infinity every weekend.

As I learn more I will post it here, and stay tuned for me to announce the next Infinity Events, which will probably be sooner than I originally planned!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

GW: Chasing the Dragon

I'm probably not the first one to make this comparison, but Games Workshop games are a bit like hard drugs. I know I'm painting a target on my head for their infamous legal team, but they do have a lot in common: The product is ugly, I hate the effect it has on the community, and I strongly disagree with what the people who make it stand for. Unfortunately, there's nothing quite like it, and you can only stay away for so long.

While Infinity completely fills my need for guns and sci-fi, sometimes I still get a craving for fantasy. Although Warmachine is the superior game by far, it does not allow players to be very creative. In Warmachine you have to use units and characters that are created for you, and there's no room for your own ideas. Despite everything I hate about GW, the one thing that still sets them apart from every other game out there is the level of originality and creativity allowed in their games.

When I found out my buddies Joel and Joe were starting a slow grow Warhammer Fantasy league I decided it would be a great chance to give the game a try. I've tried to get into WFB a few times before, but the up hill climb to building an army was too steep and I never got there. With the slow grow league I only need to do 500 points a month, so this will be a good chance to give the game a serious try.

The hard part was picking the army I wanted to play. In every game, whether it is a wargame an RPG or something else, my policy has always been to "reinvent the ordinary". I like to play the most standard human army available and put my own personal twist on it. So, after some deliberation I finally settled on the Empire.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Campaign Continues

The Infinity Campaign is well underway, with Round 4 starting later this week. The personal stories of each of the armies, as well as some of the history from past campaigns, are starting to develop nicely and add some serious character to the game.

Legendary warrior Robert Logan has elevated his rag-tag clan of political terrorists to a new level by being the first human to make contact with the Tohaa, and unite humanity with their most important ally against the Combined Army. Robert and his Clan haven't taken any time to rest after this accomplishment though, and are taking advantage of their new fame and fortune to help them investigate war crimes committed against their people during the Neocolonial Wars.

In direct opposition to Robert and his Clan are the mercenaries of MagnaOrba. Their leader, Hakim al Zuabi, has made a series of increasingly poor decisions as his crew has slowly lost money over the years, finally culminating in him being forced to sell his soul to the MagnaOrba Corporation. This massive mining conglomerate has sent it's agents to destroy data and documents that reveal their involvement in war crimes and questionable business practices during the Neocolonial Wars.

The Cazador de Amanecer are also interested in ancient history from the Neocolonial Wars. Their leader, the veteran mercenary Captain Rayner, has been desperately trying to avenge the deaths of thousands of Nomad civilians who were killed in the terrorist bombing of a Corregidor Caravansary decades earlier. After a lifetime of investigating he has narrowed down the list of possible suspects to Robert Logan, Hakim al Zuabi, and ALEPH.

The Hydra Operations Group is the sharp-point of the spear of ALEPH's operations on Paradiso, and one of the most experienced units in the Human Sphere at fighting the Combined Army. However, as the Combined withdraw in preparation of a new offensive, the Hydra Group has a new mandate: Keeping the peace for O-12 and ending the covert fighting taking place in Ravensbrucke.

The Tohaa Triumverate has been watching all of this closely, and have sent a team of agents led by Commander Soovan Ganeel to make sure that events in Ravensbrucke play out in the Tohaa's favor. The Tohaa want to force all of the different factions to owe them favors, while also covering up their involvement in manipulating human history over the last century.

The Ariadnan 7th Combined Expeditionary Force is a new player to arrive on Paradiso. Originally, they were intended to act as reinforcements in the war against the Combined, demonstrating Ariadna's political independence and military might to the rest of the Human Sphere. However, the discovery of the Arch-Terrorist Robert Logan has gotten the 7th swept up into events and history they never expected when they first arrived on Paradiso.

Another new faction to enter this drama is the Chimera Defense Corp, a group of professional soldiers from Bakunin who have arrived with a specific and covert mission: to find proof of ALEPH's manipulation and enslavement of the Human race. These warriors have infiltrated Ravensbrucke during a lull in the fighting to retrieve data that was left behind when Ravensbrucke was severed from MayaNet, data that ALEPH has not been able to delete.

Things are just getting started in Ravensbrucke, and the factions are still just establishing their territories and feeling out their opponents. New enemies are pouring into the conflict each day in order to claim any advantage they can for their homelands, or just to put a stop to the plans of their old enemies. All the while, the growing Combined Army reinforces their battle lines just east of the city and watches the Humans fight amongst themselves.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

NorCon 2013 Terrain

Here's the first of my photos from NorCon with some of the new terrain that I made for this year.

The first picture here is of the Hospital Bank offices from downtown San Pietro on NeoTerra. This was the site of our Bank Heist scenario, which used the Seize the Beacons scenario rules. To add a bit more challenge to the scenario, the beacons that needed to be hacked were all on the top floors of the building, which meant players had to come up with creative ways to get into the building.

Each wing of the building had stairs leading up, as well as a fire escape on the back of the building that could be climbed. Each building also had roof access, which meant AD troops could get to the objectives by dropping directly onto the building. The three wings of the building were also connected by skyway bridges on the fourth floor, making it easier to get from building to building once a model had reached the top of the towers. The central tower also had a clear glass elevator that models could mount and ride to any floor in the building.

The buildings come from Demo's Laser Cut Designs, but were heavily modified. The fire escapes on the buildings were a custom laser cut order, also from Demo's, but the additional staircases, skyways, and the elevator on the central tower were scratch built and added later.

Several buildings featured billboards, which were made using frames from Demo's combined with fire escape ledges so that models could climb to the top and set up sniping posts. The billboards themselves are signs that I made in photo shop, inspired by various bits of Infinity fluff.

Most of the ground level terrain, including the SWAT tank seen in the foreground in the first picture, came from Antenocitis Workshop in England. I've said it before, but these guys make my favorite resin cast Infinity terrain, and add a great sci-fi feel to any table. In this photo one of Scottie's Tomcats takes cover behind a sidewalk ad from Antenocitis while making a run for the front of the bank.

The police barricade in front of the building also featured more terrain and vehicles from Antenocitis, including some police cars that didn't make it into this picture. The riot shields in the barricade are another laser cut item from Demo's, with the San Pietro NeoTerran Police badge slapped on the front for good measure.

All of these photos came from the Bank Heist table, but I'll have more photos coming up in the near future featuring the other tables from the event. Unfortunately I didn't get as many photos as I had planned this year, but I still have a lot more stuff to share! Thanks for a great convention guys!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Just Awesome

Today Corvue Belli finally released photos of their new model range, Bootlegger models. These minis all come from the game of Infinity, but are meant as collector pieces rather than models that will actually be used during a battle.

All of the first 5 models released for this line are of TAG pilots (although one is technically a flight crew mechanic, since her TAG is a remote presence model). 4 of the 5 models are designed as sexy display pieces based on pin-up art of female pilots, but as beautiful as these models are, the one that really interests me is the odd man out. Corvus Belli has finally made a model of my favorite short-tempered former-drug-addict killing-machine, Joe "Scarface" Turner.

Although Joe's model is meant as a single large display piece, I will be breaking it up into two models: a wreck marker for the TAG, and Joe on foot. As my opponents know, I play so aggressively with this model that I don't mind having Joe jump out of the pilot seat and start blasting away with his shotgun when his TAG starts to fall apart. And now I will have a fantastic model to represent him when he does.

Well done, Corvus Belli! These models are brilliant.