Ruins and Games

Hey everybody!

It’s the last day of another week off work, sadly, though this one didn’t go quite according to plan – I was supposed to be going to Milan, but as it turned out that didn’t happen. Milan, in case you’re interested, is a pretty great city to visit – you can check out my photos of a previous trip in one of my first blogs here!

It’s been a good week regardless, as I’ve celebrated my one-year anniversary of being here on WordPress and haranguing you all with nonsense. The festivities were centred on Indiana Jones, as I explored anew one of the great movie franchises, and managed to squeeze in a look at one of my favourite boardgames, Fortune & Glory! If you haven’t already, make sure you check that one out, as it’s a lot of fun!

Games haven’t featured as much as I thought they would, actually – I think I’ve been too annoyed at the change in plans to relax enough. I did have a game night on Friday though, where we tried out a couple of new ones (games I have had for months, but just not played yet – it happens a lot). This coming Tuesday, you can expect a blog on one of these two; it’s a game that has been mentioned on here quite a lot, actually – the game of Fallen!

I’ve largely spent the week split between my two great passions, heritage-hunting and Star Wars. I managed to get two ruins in during the awesome weather we had mid-week: Stokesay Castle, and Witley Court!

Stokesay Castle is off the A49 in south Shropshire, and has long been a favourite of mine. I think the intimate feel of the place really plays a big part of this – it’s essentially the fortified manor house of a fourteenth-century wool merchant, so while it is a defensible structure, it’s not a castle in the sense of a military fortress such as Caernarfon, for instance. Instead, we get the rooms of medieval domesticity such as the solar and bedchambers, and it’s all really nice.

By contrast, Witley Court is the shell of a country house, which was a centre of the Victorian country house party circuit before the disastrous fire of 1937 gutted the place. I first visited the ruin three years ago, after a day spent in the Hereford and Worcester area, and it quickly became my very favourite place in England. I haven’t been able to make it back until this week, but it was great to be there again, I have to say!

It’s now quite famous for the restored fountain, which fires hourly during the day. As I got there, it was still going, but I hung about until the noon extravaganza too, and it was funny to see the amount of people who emerged from the ruins to witness the spectacle shortly before 12…

Driving often gives me a headache, and driving in the sun is not much fun for me, so I didn’t manage to get anywhere else. That said, I did manage to read some pretty awesome Star Wars bits and pieces – some of the very early newspaper comic strips (check them out here and here), and the new Heir to the Jedi, which I reviewed on Friday. For a quick recommendation, I definitely suggest you check out Heir to the Jedi, as it’s a really awesome book! It’s part of the new continuity of course, which alone had given me pause before I read it, but as it happens it’s pretty contiguous with the EU that I know and love. Well worth checking out, though! I’ve since moved on to reading another Luke story, Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor, which I’ll doubtless be entertaining you with just as soon as it’s finished, though this is one that I have read before, so I can recommend it to you now, anyway 🙂

Also on the subject of Star Wars, I had the chance to try the new Armada game at the local games shop on Friday, and that’ll be written up in blog form soon no doubt. It was pretty good, too, though I’ll save my thoughts for the blog itself. But this brings me back to the subject of boardgames, and while I haven’t played many this week, there’s still plenty of excitement here!

new games

I’d gone to the local shop to pick up some stuff, and got caught up in the Armada thing, but yeah: new Lord of the Rings box, and new Necron stuff! The Treason of Saruman is a new Saga expansion for the game, and follows the first half of The Two Towers. As such, there’s a new Fellowship hero, Aragorn! I’m quite excited, anyway, because I now have ten more Saga expansion quests to play through in my ongoing project, having now had Fog on the Barrow-downs as well, though I haven’t gotten around to any more plays yet. Soon, however…

Following the game of Warhammer 40k the other week, even though I don’t know when I’d be playing next – if at all, to be honest – I’m feeling vaguely more interested in what I’m actually modelling and painting now, beyond the way something looks. Buying the Doom Scythe was largely the result of a gameplay idea rather than wanting to build and paint one – these ships act as tanks for the Necrons, as they can transport up to 15 models, so following that game, where I could see how useful transport vehicles can be, I decided to get one. It doesn’t look too bad to build, either.

This week hasn’t been without its painting endeavours, either, as I’ve been working on three Tomb Blades – the jetbikes of the Necron army!

What fiddly models. In order to paint them, I assembled the main bike and the rider separately, but that meant I couldn’t attach the arms or hands to the rider, in case I did so at a pose that would ultimately be impossible to fit him in there. The rider is also hooked up to the bike itself, with two very small, very thin tubing-bits, and even using tweezers to put them in, I had a hard time getting them in the right place. Urgh! But they’re all (reasonably) assembled now, with all of the base coats (and some highlighting of the buttons under the riders’ hands, for instance), so it’s time for phase two of this operation. Though I’m not sure when that’ll be… They look really great as models, however, and I’m looking forward to having them finished!

I particularly like the look of my Necron vehicles so far, I think the green and the silver looks quite effective as-is, and doubt I’ll be doing anything more to it. However, when I shared a picture of the Command Barge on facebook, someone made the comment about it looks like a Hasbro toy that way. I’m pretty sure it was meant to be insulting, though given how successful Hasbro are as a company, maybe there’s a complement in there? I don’t know. At any rate, I’m not really wanting to do anything to change it right now, so will just carry on!

While we’re on the topic of Warhammer, though…

Assassinorum Execution Force

This has got me pretty excited, I don’t mind telling you! I love co-op games, as I enjoy working together to overcome something horrible. While PvP games can be good, I get tired of the effort that can be involved at times. With co-op, there’s a camaraderie that I feel just can’t be beaten – I mean, I’m friends with people because I like them, not because I want to destroy them! However, the potential for solo play cannot be overlooked, either. So I’ve preordered this from the local shop, and will look forward to getting it put together – if anything like Space Hulk, it should only be seven or eight months before I think about painting it…

Assassinorum Execution Force

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