Thursday, 30 March 2017

Goblin Cult Crew

The Goblin Cult is the first SMG crew I have finished, and one of only two that were fleshed out at all. In early 2016 Knight Models proclaimed 'coming soon' for SHIELD and HYDRA, however neither materialised. In addition, the Elektra card which materialised had her Affiliated with The Hand (Marvel ninja clan), and gave her Affinity to Kingpin suggesting plans were considered for at least 6 Factions during early development. Which makes the failure to adequately support or promote SMG by Knight all the more disappointing, as I think that could have led to some very cool characters being released.

With that polemic out of the way, on to the Goblin Cult! So what do we have? Well for one I have yet to play SMG, so my thoughts are all theories. SMG is basically an extra 'skin' of rules for BMG, but there are a few noticeable design features.

The first thing that sticks out is that crews are really geared to 400 Rep rather than the tournament standard of 350 for BMG. I say this simply because Goblin Cult can assemble a 340 Rep crew (with or without Venom), but not one at 350. The next thing is that the Spider-types (the two Spider-man options and Venom) have a suite of Traits bundled under a single label (Arachnid), and similarly the Goblin-types (Green Goblin and Goblin Knight) have a Trait bundle (Goblin Serum). The impact of this is that some bonuses are not immediately obvious, and these characters may carry a few more Traits than many of the typical equivalents in BMG. In addition, all of the Goblin Cult (except Venom) have the Fly Trait, making them highly mobile. The array of Traits is likely the driver for the relatively high Rep costs of the SMG characters overall.

The high Rep costs means that an SMG crew looks lighter on numbers than many or most equivalent size BMG crews (at 400 Rep I would expect 6-12 models), making competing for Objectives a trickier proposition, and I guess forcing the Goblin Cult to take a swarm head on since they can be outscored simply by not being able to cover all Objectives.

I hope to answer these questions for myself fairly soon as Brummie and me have a game planned, allowing him to use some high value Free Agent, Sidekick and leader characters.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Goblin Knight

Goblin Knight is my first painted mini in a couple of months, due to a lot of real-life stuff - at times like those I usually can write some stuff (hence the Supers Unlimited progress), but painting tends to take a hit. Thankfully I have cleared this mini which was started a while back, and I may try and tackle some easier to paint generic stuff soon to get myself back on track.

I really didn't enjoy painting this in anyway to be honest - the sculpt felt fiddly in terms of design, and the casting was poor in places, not uncommon with too many Knight Models in my experience. It does mean another SMG mini done, a range I expected to become defunct and since I commented about that it has come to pass. Brummie and me are planning a 400 Rep BMG versus SMG game sometime soon, so that will be a positive out of getting this mini painted amid the ongoing stuff related to the collapse of Knight's Marvel ranges.

In terms of my painting progress for SMG I am adding Venom and Elektra to the overall target list since I consider them part of the range; both had cards published digitally if not physically. I have since had my own copies printed for eventual gaming. Venom will give another Goblin Cult option for a bit of variety when I eventually get round to painting the mini.

SMG Painting Summary
SMG characters owned: 15+2
Percentage of owned characters painted: 47.1% (8 models)

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Shameless Blog Plug!

As mentioned in my last blog post, I have decided to work up some ideas around skirmish minis games systems which I hope to publish eventually (very likely via Wargames Vault), all under the Kitbash Games brand.

The first project is Supers Unlimited - a supers genre game naturally! This will be followed by Squad Wars (think high-octane, Saturday morning pseudo-military 80's cartoons and action figures), Fantasy Wars (small Parties facing off and unleashing world-shaking abilities) and others.

The approach I am taking is to provide 'sandbox' rules which are fast-flowing and allow players to creatively tailor their characters without massive crunch - building a super in Supers Unlimited is something that can be done in a few minutes even on first reading. Essentially you will be able to grab whatever models you want to play with and quickly make them into a playable Team.

If any of this sounds like your cup of tea, please head on over to my Kitbash Games blog to learn more (click for link). Once the blog has a few more Followers I will be announcing a competition to win a copy of the only Kitbash mini so far (Doc Cosmos - seen in concept art and mini forms here), so if nothing else feel free to Follow for that reason alone!

Friday, 3 March 2017

All Quiet on the Eclectic Front?

February was one of those 'life stuff' months, and has been incredibly busy. Consequently, I have not felt up to painting, which puts me behind for the year already, but that is not to say I didn't get some motivation for other 'hobby stuff'. (And hopefully the painting will kick back in soon!).

I decided to dust off a few ideas which have been percolating through my brain for a number of years, and have made significant progress on a set of 'simple supers' rules I am provisionally calling Supers Unlimited. The characters are ideas that have been with me for a long time, while the rules engine is an amalgam of a number of ideas I have been working through in drafts for other games. There will be simple character creation but overall the rules will be light on 'crunch'.

One of the characters I am working into the background for the game has already appeared in the form of a sculpt I had commissioned a few years ago, so this has been a slow-burn to say the least!

I am not wholly sure what I will do with Supers Unlimited yet, but I hope to complete the first (very rough) draft quite soon - watch this space!

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Green Goblin

Another SMG mini painted, my first non-Henchman, and thankfully this one went from contemplation to completion pretty quickly! Even better, it is my sixth mini of the month (along with a couple of Pulp City minis).

The reason for the sudden motivation to paint Green Goblin was to play a larger Rep-value game using the Goblin Cult against a Suicide Squad crew played by Simon as soon as possible. With Green Goblin and the Goblin Minions done, I now just need to paint Goblin Knight. It should be a weird and very much asymmetrical game, so will hopefully be a lot of fun. 400 Rep will allow Simon more freedom to pick some 'big gun' characters, and it looks like some big hitters will be on show, not least Deathstroke, Green Goblin and Goblin Knight.

In game terms Green Goblin clocks in at 200 Rep, way beyond any BMG character (the current highest Rep character is 150 for Arkham Knight and Batpod Batman(s). Whether he is worth it will remain to be seen! What you get for that 200 Rep is a lot of Endurance (10 points), a lot of Traits, along with Strength 2+, and enough ammo for 10 shots during a game (he will never actually be able to use all his ammo in fact)! Most importantly, like all of the (admittedly not very many) Goblin Cult characters, Green Goblin has Flight, which is something which will take some getting to grips with I think.

I do wish they had added a couple more options per SMG faction (Elektra could have been obvious and easy to do with Affinity: Daredevil, and some thing for Venom and Doctor Octopus since all three had minis casts up with rules done for two of them at least), but it looks like that ship has sailed unfortunately.

SMG Painting Summary
SMG characters owned: 15
Percentage of owned characters painted: 46.7% (7 models)

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Goblin Minions (SMG)

My first painted minis of 2017 are these Goblin Minions for Spider-man Miniatures Game (SMG) - they were done a week or so ago, but I had to wait for improved conidtions to spray varnish them. I wanted something nice and easy-ish to do to get some early momentum, and thought these would fit the bill. Unfortunately the casts were not great with some honking mould lines obliterating details, and a weird porosity to the metal which I have encountered a couple of times previously on Knight Models minis.

In the Superior Spider-man comic books, the Goblin Minions are kids originally working for the Vulture who acts as a kind of super-villain Fagin I suppose. When he gets brutally taken down, they flee and soon join up with the disparate ranks of the Goblin Cult. They swap Vulture-themed masks and wings for Goblin-themed alternatives. As I don't read Spider-man regularly, I am not sure how far back their association with Vulture went prior to my reading them.

The colours are classic Goblin-esque and Marvel villain purple and green. The painting was mostly straightforward, except for the weird porosity which meant the paint did not seem to fully cover the metal in the odd place. The group was batch-painted for ease and speed, and I tried something new for me with the shading, which was to mix dark green into the purples, and dark purple into the green of the wings. It may need further experimentation to get used to.

I am quite some distance from building a playable SMG crew, but that is an ambition for this year. With so few models, there are not many distractions within the range, and it seriously does  not look like it will get expanded.

SMG Painting Summary
SMG characters owned: 15
Percentage of owned characters painted: 40.0% (6 models)

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Watchmen Crew

A long-time coming in painting terms, I first started the Watchmen back in the middle of 2014! I have thinking of using them as my main crew in 2017, but they do have a few issues which make me reticent.

Choosing the Crew
Not a problem, but noteworthy is that the Watchmen are an atypical crew in that they only (currently) have a pool of 5 models to draw from. Consequently at 50 Rep increments from 150 to 350 Reputation there are only very limited crew constructions that can be selected.

What I See
For me there are a few major concerns for a Watchman crew, especially if going into a tournament. Comparing them to Court of Owls with whom I had successes in 2016 (two tournament wins and a third place out of 18 among other results), this is how I feel they compare in some key in-game areas:
  1. Pre-game: With Ozymandias' Mastermind and Great Strategist, Watchmen are clearly better here.
  2. Numbers: Watchmen have the lower model count, a disadvantage for claiming and contesting Objectives, therefore Court of Owls have the advantage. They felt horribly outnumbered in the first game in which I used them.
  3. Deployment: Rorschach having Hidden and Nite Owl having Archie trumps Undercover on William Cobb.
  4. Mobility: with the new Equipment upgrades available to the Court, they are much, much more mobile than most crews, including Watchmen. With the proliferation of Fly, Grapple Guns and Tireless coming out lately, Watchmen feel pretty slow to be honest.
  5. Ranged Combat: Neither crew is top tier, but Watchmen edge it with Comedian and Nite Owl vs Strix and the High Court Member.
  6. Close Combat: The Court may be the best close combat crew around, so no contest. After that first game, my opinion has only strengthened.
  7. In-game management: Here I think of the stuff that offers synergies to other models, and I call it a tie between the Traits the Court Leaders offer, and the Bodyguard Talon against Comedian's Demential Laugh and Nite Owl's Archie and Arrest.
  8. Durability: Beyond the various individual Traits helping model durability, I feel the Court edge it based on their ubiquitous Stealth, Reanimated Owl rule and overall combined Endurance.
I give the Court an advantage in four out of eight areas, Watchmen an advantage in three, which leads me back to thinking they will have a very steep learning curve. Watchmen may arguably be a sub-par choice compared to the Court of Owls, which itself was an arguably sub-par crew until it got additional Equipment upgrades in the Flash and Arrow expansion.

All of the above aside, Watchmen do boast some impressive qualities: Ozymandias seems to have pretty much the best Dodge in the game (89% chance of success except against Silencers); Comedian seems a decent all-rounder for his Rep cost (but slow and a lower-than-typical Defense for his character type); Rorschach may be the hidden gem of threat. So it will be interesting to see how they stack up.