Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Dunnottar Castle

So there's been a fair but of upheaval in my personal life recently, as a result I've moved back out to my home town, Stonehaven.  This, coupled with the (for NE Scotland) great weather, means I've been spending a fair bit of time outdoors.
One of my favourite haunts when I was younger was the cliff side walk from Stonehaven to Dunnottar castle.  Sticking out on it's rocky promontory, Dunnottar is one of Scotland's iconic castles.  And, like all our best castles, it's ruined and, hence, not covered in ghastly modern restorations of nineteenth century additions.
The site itself has been occupied for thousands of years in some form or other, while the castle itself has a proud heritage of being sacked by many notable peoples from our isles history.  Although it looks magnificent, the pictures I took don't convey just how exposed to the elements it is here, the wind was ferocious.  This was on a nice day too!  Quick personal anecdote: my first proper girlfriend and I once did the "dance with no pants" in the castle here - I think I was much more adventurous back in the day!
Infuriatingly, the local council have marked the cliff path as closed due to erosion.  Despite being a little concerned about the path, I headed round with the expectation to be forced back.  It turns out a two-foot wide trench in the path, caused by some falling rocks, was the only damage on the whole trail - oh, and it was on the flattest bit of the path, nowhere near the cliff at all.  Talking to the attendant at the castle, it turns out that the council decided to close the whole path due to health and safety worries, rather than take a little effort to repair the path.   This country...

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Wooot! I Am The Weiner!

Big props to Tamsin over at Wargaming Girl for, this week, running a prize draw in honour of 100,000 views on her blog.  And thanks to that prize draw, I've won a wee spending spree at Ground Zero Games.  Cheers again, Tamsin!

The only thing for me to decide is what to actually get.  I used GZG almost exclusively for my light infantry sci-fi force and these guys can always use some more support options.  Alternatively, they do have some alien opponents (again from GZG) who could do with filling their ranks out a bit.  The final option is, of course, more spaceships.  Choices choices!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Carronade Loot

Earlier this month I had a wee drive down to Falkirk to the Carronade show.  The biggest wargame show I can easily get to, it was an excellent day out on a rather rainy Saturday.  Lots of great demo and display games available on the day. I really liked the look of the Dead Man's Hand game the Angus club (I think) were running and the tron/lightcycle game was very entertaining (apart from the kiddie in tears playing the game.)  

The hypercritical part of me thinks however that there were no really outlandish games on show, they were all very traditional.  Still, nothing wrong with that.  There is something wrong, imo, with an (unnamed) club running a participation game (yup, it was listed as participation) where everyone playing is a club member, sitting huddled together round a table, ignoring anyone who came near them.

There's also something wrong with a games company (i.e. not a trader) basically showing no interest in someone who, clearly, wanted to be persuaded into buying something.  Seriously, "tell me about the two Rus faction boxes" is about as obvious a buying signal as I could have given.  No interest from the guy running the stall (I take it everyone knows what company I'm talking about now?)

Both these happened in my first pass round the four halls and put me a little off the place for a while.  Not sure if it was a direct result of those experiences, but I really didn't feel like taking many photos or getting involved many games. Still, met plenty of people I know (even a couple I only know online) and generally had a good time.

Enough of me moaning, lets get to what we're all wanting to see: my LOOT!!!!

Yup, I knew there would be at least one impulse buy.  After a random message from a friend a few weeks ago, I was keeping an eye out for a copy at a decent price, which duly presented itself at one of the trader stalls.  The board itself is a bit meh (I really wish I'd gone for the kickstarter with the premium board,) but everything else in the box is very impressive.  The figures themselves are excellent, dynamic poses and great sculpting quality with little flash.  The rulebook is outstanding, a great mix of rules, fluff and atmosphere, images and designer notes.  The rules themselves read well, but I need to get a game in before I can really comment.  Good stuff.  I'm trying to hold off buying any extra teams before we've had at least one game, but it's really tempting (esp the new "bug" team.)

In Her Majesty's Name
I didn't realise that these rules had actually been released, so a welcome surprise.  Had a quick read through of the core rules on the drive home, and generally impressed.  There are a few fellows at the club interested in playing IHMN, so I'll certainly pick something up for them.  I've been looking for an excuse to get a couple Teutonic Knights from Spartan Games, thank you!

Due to the crippling supply issues affecting Android: Netrunner in the UK, I wasn't expecting to find any product at Carronade.  This was the only pack on offer from any trader, but it was the only one I was missing.  Nice.  Still, these card packs are as addictive as crack.

Warhammer Fantasy 3rd Ed
A present from my mate Adam (who is clearly after some fantasy gaming,) this is a real blast from the past!  I haven't read this in at least fifteen years, but it does give me something to aim for with those Mantic Undead I have lying around!

Friday, 10 May 2013

Carronade 2013

Anyone going along to Carronade this weekend?  I wasn't expecting to be able to go this year, but the Mrs surprised me by saying she "fancied a drive somewhere."  So down we go tomorrow morning - she's not coming in though, oh no, not her scene.  She'll disappear somewhere with her camera for a few hours (although I suspect some shopping will be involved too.)

Looking forward to seeing the boys from the RAF Leuchars group as well as some of the demo games on offer.

Naturally, I'll need to get rid of some cash at the same time.  Pendraken should be there, so a couple packs of new ecw cavalry will certainly be in order.  I need to replenish some hobby supplies too, mainly tufts and a few inks or washes.  Lastly, an impulse buy is usually in order at one of these events, what depends on what's in the bring and buy or any good deals on the stalls.

Last years show was very impressive and this years line up looks equally so.  Maybe I'll run into a few fellow Bloggers when there?

P.S.  I hope everyone has been keeping and eye on Seb's blog this week, yet another generous giveaway today.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Ice Cream Inflation and a Blogger Giveaway

As it was flippin roasting yesterday, the Mrs and I headed down to the beach for a walk.  Once there I offered to get us a couple ice cream cones, as you do.  Now I haven't bought an ice cream in a fair few years, but I was still flabbergasted at the cost £2.20 for a 99!
Tasted really good, but was it that good?

The whole idea with a 99, at least when I were a lad, was that it was 99p!  I suppose that was a fair few years ago now, but still... over £2 was surely a bit steep!  (Ok, I looked it up on Wiki, the 99 came out in the 30s, but they were still 99p when I was a kid!)

Wow, reading that back to myself makes me sound like a right grumpy old man!

So, in an effort to recoup that cash, I've entered Seb's giveaway on his Back To The Minis blog (did anyone notice that spurious segue?)  He's got some spaceships on offer today and I do love me some space combat games!  I think he's got a few more items to give away so keep an eye on his blog over the next couple days.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

X-Wing Wave 3

Following on from Star Wars day yesterday, FFG have released some spoilers for the next wave of X-Wing releases.
The B-Wing looks like the pick of the bunch, with decent hull and shields combined with two lots of torpedoes and a heavy cannon option.  Also, is that a new icon on the task bar?
The profile of the Tie Bomber is far better than I thought it would be.  Just as well, as it's my least favourite SW ship. Able to withstand plenty of damage, the fact it can carry five loads of ordinance makes me think we'll see a pilot who is able to use missiles/torps twice per turn.  Just a hunch anyway...
As I said yesterday, I know fuck all about the Hawk, or the HWK-290. In game it has decent hull points, average agility, but the icon bar makes me think we'll see a couple new turret options (which will also be useful on those Y-Wings too.) Can't say I'm 100% on the paint job, but that's easily fixed.
Lastly there's the Lambda Class Shuttle.  Thank goodness it's on a large base, despite what you see in Jedi, it's a big ship, easily the equal of the Falcon or Slave-1.  Decent firepower and plenty of shields mean it should soak up plenty of damage, something the Empire struggle with.  The real juice is in the options available, that new (radar? Sensor?) icon and two co-pilots give it plenty of options.  Despite my dodgy lateral thinking, I can already see some decent combos open up.

So even with my 12-1 loss:win ratio with X-Wing, I still had a tiny wee nerdgasm over some of the spoilers (read the proton bomb text at the bottom of the page.)  Bring on Q3, can someone remind me to keep £100 aside from my June pay?

Saturday, 4 May 2013

May The Fourth...

Be with you... Always
Happy Star Wars day everyone.  
In honour of the films (and the huge commercial empire they spawned,) I set out today to get rid of some disposable cash on something SW.  Despite hanging around the local Forbidden Planet for twenty minutes I didn't end up with anything, although the Lego Snow Speeder Hoth set was really tempting.
Instead I downloaded a few of the older fiction books, namely the Thrawn trilogy, starting with Heir to the Empire.  I'm pretty sure I read these years ago and remember them for being pretty decent, but am not 100%.  Hey, I'm a fan boy so they could be terrible, but I'll still read them regardless and call them great!

I wouldn't be surprised if I put a couple of the movies on later tonight too.
Also on the Star Wars front are rumours of the next wave of X-Wing minis for the FFG game.  Tie Bomber, B-Wing, Lambda Shuttle and the HWK-290.  Tie Bomber is a bit meh, but the B-Wing should be full of win (as long as it's big!) The Lambda Shuttle sounds interesting as in the background fluff, it can carry some heavy weaponry.  There's also plenty of scope for using it in the rebel fleet (with Chewie piloting of course.)  The Hawk is apparently featured in a number of SW computer games, Empire at War being the only one I clearly remember.  Apart from that, don't know much about it.

Basically, FFG could release anything in this release and everyone, me included, would buy them all.  X-Wing is just a licence to print money.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

I'm Back Baby. . . . . Errr, Again?

Finally, all the moving is done and I'm back connected to the internet.  It's been a hell week or so trying to do some relatively simple things; changing your details with the bank is for some reason ridiculously complex!    Glad to be back online though.  One of my little habits is checking out my blog list with my morning coffee and the day doesn't start right if I don't get that done.  I also like to leave frequent comments on other blogs, just to feel part of the community, and

Gaming hasn't been too badly neglected over the last couple weeks though.  I've got a few more games of Android Netrunner in.  We've tried all the starter decks now and are ready to move on and try customising our own decks.  Just the other day I got my first game of 5150 Star Navy in; a very enjoyable game (mainly due to my opponent who organised everything) and a decent set of rules, although I'll need another couple games to see if it's the space combat game I'm looking for.

Lastly, I've decided to follow a number of other Bloggers lead and try and focus my modelling and painting on one project for the month.  Hence, May will be Saga month and I'll hopefully get my six points of Vikings finished up by the end of the month.