Painting Progress: week 4

Hey everybody!
It’s the fourth week of my painting progress, and I thought I’d do something a little bit extra to mark the end of the first month as well – let’s take a look at what I’ve been up to!

Hobby Progress 4

So there hasn’t been an awful lot of movement on the painting front this week either – no surprise, given the essay troubles I’ve had all week! But I’m a little saddened that I seem to have been in a steady decline since the first one of these blogs, which seemed to be really productive! Hopefully that will return now that things have somewhat calmed down with the degree, however.

So the Deathwing Venerable Dreadnought has really come along nicely – he’s been pretty much the only model I’ve been focused on for the week. Last week had seen the windows in the sarcophagus there tinted with Coelia greenshade, and that was about it. This week has seen a myriad of details blocked in and, in parts, finished, too! First of all, the golden trim has been done in Balthasar gold – I’m actually happy with this exactly as it stands, so don’t plan to paint it any more from there. Next, the purity seals have been done in Screamer pink for the wax and Celestra grey for the paper, the latter then tinted with Agrax earthshade. I’m going to put some highlights on the wax, but otherwise they’re also done. Also in Celestra grey was the Dark Angel icon on the top, shaded with Nuln oil and just requiring a drybrush to finish the stone look. The metal bits on both arms were then done in Leadbelcher and washed in Nuln oil, and I’m currently at something of a loss as to how to finish the flamer, but anyway. I’ve also painted some of the tubing in Abaddon black. The plasma gun has got a Balthasar gold barrel, Khorne red casing, and the coils themselves were done in White Scar and layered with a really watered-down Temple Guard blue, much like I’d done two weeks ago for my not-Kurtha Sedd. Not sure if it needs some more yet, but for now, I’m leaving it.

Finally, I’ve painted the base in Martian Ironearth, a technical paint released about a year ago to coincide with the Mechanicum releases. It’s a red version of Agrellan Earth, and dries with that mud-caked appearance that looks pretty cool. I’ve already decided to paint my Ultramarines’ bases with Agrellan Earth, thinking the dull tan colour will complement the blue of the armour, so thought it perfect that a red base will do the same for the cream armour of the Deathwing, while maintaining the cracked effect on the base for my whole Space Marines forces. I think it looks great, but want to go back and pick out some of the details that are on these amazing dreadnought bases – the shell casings, and the skull that I had no idea was actually there until I painted it!

All in all, the dreadnought is well on the way to completion – hopefully next week will see the finished product!

Hobby Progress 4

The only other thing I’ve been up to this week has been some small details on these Assault Marines. I think I’ve mentioned these chaps before of course, but they’re very slowly coming together as my fourth company! The aquilas had been painted gold before Christmas, but we’ve not got the jump pack straps painted black, and the sergeant has his red helmet, so they’re starting to feel closer to being “done” than not, too. These were the very first space marine models I’d built, before the benefit of having read the codex, so I built them up to look awesome, not to be playable – I’ve since bought two more boxes of this old-style assault squad (hooray for ebay!) in order to make up enough that they water down some of the more insane load-outs.

Which brings me on to the second part of this!

Hobby Progress 4

I’ve been trying to go easy on buying models for a while now, particularly because I’m trying to stick to the new year resolution of being more responsible with money. However, I lose all sense of self-control whenever I walk into a Games Workshop store, and just want all the plastic. So I’ve been trying to hold back, but obviously haven’t managed to do so entirely. Every month, I’m therefore going to just take stock of what I have bought and see if I’ve actually done anything with it – not through any desire to shame myself or anything, but more because I just want the data. I’m a stats-guy in real life, so this kind of thing appeals to me.

So, I bought five kits in January, as you can see above. Of those, three haven’t even been touched – the cellophane has been removed, and that’s where it ends! However, I’ve built up three Electro Priests and five Dwarf Hammerers, the latter have also been painted, and only require basing before they’re done. So there’s something to be said for progress there!

I’m not aware of anything coming on the horizon that I really want, though since the Deathlords faction have made it into Age of Sigmar, I’m thinking I want to get myself a Mortarch. I actually bought that kit when it was released, then didn’t get to do anything with it for so long that I eventually sold it on ebay. It would be nice to get one however, especially now that I’m getting to play Age of Sigmar. So we’ll see about that. But the rumours that point to the Wulfen Space Wolves returning in plastic have no real interest for me, aside from the campaign book that is due alongside them. So I’m hoping that February will be a quiet month that will allow me to get on with just building and painting what I have! But I suppose we’ll see whether that holds true for me in four weeks’ time!

All in all, January has been a fairly productive month. I’ve not actually finished anything, but I have managed to progress quite a few models that had otherwise been languishing since well before Christmas!

Ah, Saturday!

Well folks, thank goodness last week is over!

A lot of junk conspired against me last week, and by about mid-week I was really feeling like the stars had aligned to just mess everything up. Didn’t help that I had an essay due for the OU degree that I’m currently doing, but had fallen behind on the course work. Catching up on three weeks’ work in one day – for the final “year” of the course, at that – was probably not the best idea. I managed to turn out a reasonable essay, I think, though of course it’s in the hands of the tutor right now, so we’ll see in a couple of weeks how good it was!

I’ve given myself this weekend off to try and recover, as I feel it’s important to try to take care of myself in this regard – something that I don’t always do, which really makes everything just bad. I find myself all too easily becoming increasingly less productive when I force myself to do things, rather than just doing whatever happens to interest me at the time. It’s interesting, of course, because working full time while also studying part time, and trying to maintain some kind of life around the two, does require some level of dedication and organisation. But I’ve noticed more and more that, if I try to study after a long day at work, or a particularly crappy day there, I get so little done I might as well have not bothered. So I’m becoming more lenient with myself, while also maintaining a degree of organisation and discipline. Which sounds like an oxymoron, but it kinda worked – until I fell behind too far because of the crisis with a leaking radiator! In the main, however, I’m not going to beat myself up if I get in from work and don’t immediately start reading Ovid’s Metamorphoses

So anyway, I’ve allowed myself this weekend off, yet I’m feeling distinctly green around the gills for some reason. Maybe those stars are still in alignment for bad…! It should have been a really great day as well, because I was meeting up with a friend for lunch in Chester before going off to wish a colleague well in her new endeavours. Sadly, halfway through lunch I really began to decline, so have come home and am now feeling distinctly sorry for myself!

Chester is, of course, where my local Games Workshop is, so I popped in there on the way to lunch, and picked up the Fyreslayers battle tome, as well as pre-ordering the next book in the Realmgate Wars series, The Balance of Power!

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Realm Gate Wars Balance of Power

If you don’t remember, Age of Sigmar has a curious sort of distribution model for its books, whereby the actual story advances through these scenario books, for want of a better description. The first, Quest for Ghal Maraz, was a really excellent book that featured a collection of stories, battle plans, war scrolls and painting guides in something akin to the old childrens’ annuals that we all enjoyed if we grew up in the 80s and early 90s.

Regrettably, I’ve yet to really catch up with the story of Age of Sigmar, having been distracted by first catching up with The End Times novels, then discovering Horus Heresy! Soon…

The website also has a bunch of miniatures in a kind of end-of-line bin, including the Skaven and Beastmen battalion boxes. Rumours before Christmas pointed to the Beastmen being dumped, and this would appear to support that! Following my game of Age of Sigmar at the beginning of the month against such an army, I’ve been interested in getting some of these guys, and I’m beginning to think I might invest for the future! We’ll see.

In addition to being responsible with myself generally, I’ve been trying to lose some weight for the past three weeks – cliche, of course, what with it being new year and all that, but nevertheless it’s something that is definitely warranted! I discovered myfitnesspal early on in January, and have been almost obsessively cataloguing my food intake since, making sure I don’t overeat on stuff, and I’m pleased to say that, over this last three weeks, I’ve lost 10lb! So that’s rather marvellous. It’s also been pretty easy, as I’m still eating pretty much what I want, just not as much. I’m also trying to exercise more, and have been doing a lot of walking, so it’s really great to have seen such an improvement with comparatively little changes to my actual day-to-day life.

2016 has so far seen a bit of a general shift towards looking after myself more in this regard, and hopefully it will carry on!

New Forgeworld goodness!

Well, damn and blast! In December, I’d spent nearly £100 at Forge World in order to get one of those free shipping vouchers, thinking by the time I used it, the Legion army books would be back in stock. Well, I waited too long to use it – I eventually made my order yesterday, when only the Crusade Army List was in stock! Feeling a little deflated, I nevertheless bought it, along with a set of MkIV Despoiler Squad, and the Space Marine character conversion pack, specifically to get the prosthetic leg, which I think will look cool (I’ve also been reading The Flight of the Eisenstein, so yeah). I’m actually really intrigued by all the different Legion stuff available from Forge World, not least because I have something of a thriving 30k community at my local store.

Following the GW birthday bash at the beginning of January, Forge World had previewed some of their upcoming releases, among which were the Alpha Legion Headhunter upgrades. I really liked the look of these, and having decided to paint my Betrayal at Calth stuff as Alpha Legion, the stars had aligned, really. While I was hoping I could use the voucher on these, I’d pretty much given up and just used it. Then today, had an email with this all over it:

Forge World Alpha Legion Headhunter Kill Team


I’m actually planning to go back to Warhammer World at some point this year, so I suppose I’ll wait until then and make an order for delivery while I’m there. That’ll give me something to aim for later in the year, at least – because after all, I think I have more than enough little plastic men to be seeing me through!

But damn, those models look good!

Teen Titans

It’s Tuesday, which can only mean one thing – it’s game day! Today it’s the turn of another expansion to the DC deck-building game – it’s time for Teen Titans!

DC Teen Titans

This expansion came out at the end of last year, shortly before the third Crossover Pack, Legion of Super Heroes, so I’ll be taking these games together. Let’s do this!

I’ve already covered several of the previous incarnations of the DC deck-building game, and Teen Titans isn’t all that different. This is the fourth “base game”, in effect, coming with all of the basic cards you need to play the deck-building game, of which I must admit, I haven’t always been that much of a fan, but playing this one, I think I’m getting to a place where I can appreciate the theme that comes through from having the Punch, Kick, Weakness and Vulnerability cards have set-specific art. Plus, having a set of boxes like this on the shelf is nice!

DC Teen Titans

Teen Titans brings, unsurprisingly, the Teen Titans to the game, along with another Starfire (who originally appeared as the promo hero in Heroes Unite), who I guess is more thematically fitting here. There are some nice abilities that are somewhat similar to the grown-up versions of these superheroes, such as Superboy’s affinity for super powers, Kid Flash and drawing cards, etc. That was kinda nice. Overall, there is a sense of increased player interactivity, which is really nice – something that was missing from the base game, in my opinion.

However, there’s one really big change to the rules, however: Ongoing!

DC Teen Titans

This basically allows you to have cards out in front of you – cards other than Locations, that is – and plan something of a strategy there. Of course, the Ongoing cards aren’t exactly game-breaking in and of themselves, as they predominantly allow you to discard them to re-draw in the hope of getting something better from your deck. Naturally, there are synergies among the other main deck cards, such as the above Cybernetic Enhancement that gives you +1 Power for each Ongoing card out. It’s certainly an interesting mechanic, anyway, and just underwhelming enough that it isn’t entirely broken. It would be interesting to see what happens with it next, if anything. It’s a little unfortunate that these things tend to be just one-box wonders, but who knows what Crisis Pack 4 will bring?


DC Teen Titans

Continuing with the teenage-superhero theme, Cryptozoic also released the third Crossover Pack last month, Legion of Super-Heroes! The time-travelling team from the 31st century come to the DC deck-building game along with fourteen main-deck cards, and their own set of eight super-villains. And of course, their own special mechanic: Time Travel!

DC Teen Titans

I’m not going to lie, I actually got pretty confused by this rule. Let me explain.

Time Travel lets you discard a card from your hand, and play a card from the main deck that has the Time Travel special rule as if it were in your hand. You can’t buy the card that turn, but you can certainly use it. The super heroes all have some kind of interaction with this, such as Lightning Lad, above, who gives any card in the line-up Time Travel if you play a villain card as your first play. Now, that part is fair enough, right? However, the super-villains really just confused me. None of them have First Appearance – Attack abilities, but instead are arrayed from lowest-cost to highest-cost. Each of them also has a Time Travel ability that, I guess, allows you to use their Attack ability if you want to mess with your opponents without defeating them. But I don’t quite see why you would want to do that, because the object of the game is to defeat the super-villains. Hm.

These two are really nice and solid additions to the line of DC deck-building game stuff, and if you have enjoyed any of that stuff already released, you should definitely look into getting these, also. Fans of either superhero group will obviously be insta-attracted to them, and probably have them already, but either way, definitely worth a look!

Check out my other DC blogs:
DC deck-building game & Heroes Unite
Crisis Pack One
Forever Evil

Painting Progress: week 3

Hey everybody!
It’s the third blog of my painting progress series, and this week sees the trend of much smaller updates continue, unfortunately! Let’s take a look:

Hobby Progress 3

Yep, this is pretty much it! After picking up the Deathwing kits in the Black Friday deal, along with Dark Vengeance and some more bits, I spent a few hours over the Christmas period with these guys, but didn’t really get passed the Zandri dust basecoats. Well, that has finally been changing the last couple of weeks, as I’ve gotten them all painted in Ushabti bone, shaded with Seraphim sepia, and then drybrushed back with Ushabti bone. Drybrushing space marines does seem a little odd, perhaps, as the smooth armour panels perhaps beg for a different approach, but I think it works with these chaps in particular as it allows a buildup of the bone colour over the sepia that almost hints at a blend, but not quite. You can’t really see it on the picture above, sadly, but in the flesh, the do look pretty decent, even if I do say so myself!

Hobby Progress 3

The Venerable Dreadnought is a particular pride for me. I’d painted this guy up long before Christmas, using the above recipe, as well as a Leadbelcher/Abaddon Black mix for the metalwork, but I’d not had any idea what to do after the sepia shade had been applied, because that armour is even more smooth than the terminators’ – all those flat panels, eek! However, using almost an overbrushing, polishing action with the drybrushing, it has brought that bone colour back while leaving the hint of sepia beneath for depth. Again, the picture doesn’t really do it justice. I’ve also drybrushed the metal with Necron compound, and got really excited last night when I used Coelia greenshade to paint the “windows” on the sarcophagus. I think the “official” scheme for these uses Nihilakh oxide, but I had the idea of going for the almost bottle-green look to try and tie it into the green aquilas the terminators will have, and generally bring out more of a Dark Angels feel. I’m particularly pleased that my idea for leaving splotches in the shade as it dried has given the impression of old, less-than-perfect glass. Well, I think it has, at least. So overall, I’m pleased with this!

I think the dreadnought is deceptive in how much effort it will take to complete. Realistically, there’s just the plasma gun, the flamer, and then the golden trim and purity seals – that shouldn’t really take all that long to do. I think having done the glass, I can really begin to see the end in sight for this guy!

Hobby Progress 3

The only other thing I’ve done, hobby-wise, is build up three Electro Priests. I mentioned these in my best models of 2015 blog, and managed to get some with a bit of a discount a couple of weeks ago. My plan for these is to have some kind of charcoal-grey skintone, suggesting the idea of the priest being used up by the motive force or whatever, and then the robes being a brighter yellow colour. Such is the plan, anyway! I’m not about to go for another 40k army, however, but just want these guys as allies for my space marines. Whether I get a second box to build Corpuscarii priests as well will remain to be seen, however.

But that’s it for now, sadly! Most of this past week has been taken up with me worrying about an essay I have due next Thursday – though I only actually got round to starting said essay yesterday, having spent most of the week catching up with the course work itself. I blame Christmas. Anyway, it’s due Thursday, so I’m hoping that will mean I will have plenty of time to get more progress in ready for next week’s update!

The Force Awakens (novel review)

"Ah good, new acquisitions…" #StarWars

A photo posted by Mark (@marrrkusss) on

Hey everybody,
So last month, episode VII was released to worldwide acclaim, and at the time of this writing, it’s the third highest-grossing film of all time. I’ve already looked at the film on release day, and you can read that blog here. So, what about the novelization?

Well, it’s pretty much the film – at least, the film as I remember it. It’s been over a month since I saw the movie, so I may have misremembered or outright forgotten some bits, but in a film series where the novelizations often go above-and-beyond to create a worthwhile story in and of themselves, this one is basically the screenplay in prose. That’s not a bad thing, obviously, but it certainly impacts on the necessity of having the novel – at least, from my standpoint. Now, I didn’t follow any of the spoilers for TFA, and in fact it’s a bit weird because I don’t feel the same kind of attachment to it as I have to previous installments, so I don’t know if there were chunks of deleted scenes that could have been incorporated. I’ll buy the DVD and be able to see if all of this is still correct with a second watching, but overall I thought it was a bit of a shame.

I won’t recount the story here, because I’ve done so in the film blog. So let’s take a look at this bad boy. First of all, I’m not an Alan Dean Foster fan. I find his prose too dense – too “hard science fiction-y” for me. I also found this particular book to be often quite dispassionate – particularly in the climactic scene with Han Solo and Kylo Ren. I’ve had the feeling that he was brought in to write this purely for more fan-nostalgia-service. Because ultimately, so much of episode VII is about this.

As I said, the book is basically a straight-novelization of the screenplay. A lot of what I discussed in the film blog applies here, therefore, including all of those maddening details about the lack of history and substance. The one significant scene that was added, that I remember, is that showing Poe Dameron survive the TIE-fighter crash and escape Jakku. Which is kinda crucial to the later storyline, of course!

Star Wars fans are often drawn to the minutiae of a story, and in this respect, I’m no exception. Throughout my reading of the novel, I found myself wanting to know more about the minor characters, and see more of the more extraneous stuff. The New Republic is just as frustratingly absent here as it is in the film, though Foster does manage to create more of an impact for the destruction of the Hosnian system by showing us Leia sending her ambassador Korr Sella to the Republic. Even so, it’s maddening to have such little information on the lay of the galactic land for most of this story! I’d been hoping that the novel would expound upon the film, but sadly not. The Visual Dictionary apparently has a lot more details fleshed out, so I’ll be checking that out soon. However, I hope the next book in this Aftermath trilogy – Life Debt – begins to tell an actual story for bridging the gap, because rather than supporting the tale, the lack of history here is actively hurting the storyline, in my opinion.

There we have it, anyway!

More Fyreslayers!

It’s week three of the new Fyreslayers release, and this week sees the big Magmadroth kit released, along with the Battletome and a collection of short stories telling the tales of the new Slayers in the Age of Sigmar.


It’s a really exciting release day, for sure – that Magmadroth has had me all a quiver since the first pictures emerged over new year! Unfortunately, I’ve spent most of this month replacing water-damaged furniture following a leaky radiator, so have only picked up the Magmadroth itself. The battletome will have to wait for next weekend…

But what a kit this is! I haven’t actually built it yet, but in looking over the model, I have to say that I’m really impressed. It actually seems smaller than I was expecting, though that may change upon assembly. However, the most surprising thing, to me, was that the instruction booklet for how to assemble it not only has the full rules for the model(s), but also comes in full-colour and features a painting guide! Okay, so it’s not like the usual White Dwarf stuff, but merely a photograph with arrows pointing to specific bits, and a list of the colours and techniques used to achieve that look. I have to say, I’m really impressed with this bad boy. Hopefully we’ll see similar things for the big centrepiece models in the future, as well!

Age of Sigmar Fyreslayers

Next week would appear to be the final weekend in the Fyreslayer release window, though not for Age of Sigmar as a whole…

First up, we get two more heroes for the new faction, the Battlesmith (standard bearer) and Grimwrath Berzerker (company champion). The latter has some crazy rules whereby he never quite dies immediately, but the former has a rule that I think could be hilarious in practice. He’s a kind of bard as well as a standard bearer, and one of the things he can do is provide an inspirational presence to those duardin around him – by reciting tales of the ancestors. You just know I’ll be getting this model and, when I activate this ability, will start intoning some hilariously bad story from the long, long ago…!

Really looking forward to getting this force together as allies for my Stormcasts!

Also this week, we see a new Battletome for the Chaos Grand Alliance – it looks like a collection of all of the warscrolls that are currently freely available online for the existing Chaos models, though with background and new formations – though I could be wrong, and some scrolls could be altered? Anyway, for £20, it looks like it might be worth picking up – I do love some of the peripheral Chaos models like beastmen and dragon ogres, so I may well snag a copy…

The White Dwarf hint has something about Slaves to Darkness, so I’m guessing we’ll be seeing more Chaos stuff coming, then all rumours are pointing to a return to 40k the week after with Space Wolves, so at least February might be a little easier on my wallet!

There hasn’t been much time for painting this week sadly, due to degree commitments, but look for my painting update tomorrow regardless, with at least a smattering of Deathwing!

Exciting times!

Hey everybody!
It’s been an exciting week so far, let me tell you! Aside from the fact that I got the day off yesterday, I’ve been reading a lot of comic books and playing more games, so definitely worth the title of “exciting times”, I’d say!

Finished the third #HorusHeresy novel – my goodness! That galaxy really IS in flames! #Warhammer40k

A photo posted by Mark (@marrrkusss) on

To start with, let’s look at the third book in the Horus Heresy series. I’ve already mentioned the first two, here and here, so it’s nice to have now finished the opening trilogy and see where I go from here. Anyway. False Gods left the Sons of Horus on the path of Chaos, firmly under the sway of Erebus, first chaplain of the Word Bearers. Galaxy in Flames follows on a little later, as we see the Warmaster wreak utter havoc, with his allies from the Emperor’s Children. In fact, it seems like a lot has somehow happened off-screen, as we learn Horus has been sounding-out his brother Primarchs. The main bulk of the story, however, consists of the massacre at Isstvan III, where Horus ruthlessly attempts to remove any elements from the legions that may oppose his plans to supplant the Emperor. (Spoiler alert: this includes Loken and Torgaddon, and it doesn’t end all that well…)

I really liked this book, though at the same time it was pretty difficult to get through. The massacre on Isstvan III doesn’t go according to plan, and becomes a siege, which is pretty heavy-going all round. Overall, the whole galaxy ends shot to pieces as we see the Sons of Horus fractured, the Emperor’s Children purged of any loyalists, also the World Eaters and Death Guard. The latter don’t get as much screen time as the others, though we are introduced to Nathaniel Garro, who becomes a much more central figure through a series of audio dramas, I believe. We also get the set-up for the next book as (spoiler alert again) the three remembrancers manage to escape the Vengeful Spirit and the massacre of their colleagues.

Heresy fans will be chomping at the bit for the infamous Dropsite Massacre, which is set up on Isstvan V in this book also. This takes place in the fifth book, I believe…

So yeah, things are shot to hell!

The Flash

After almost a year’s hiatus, I finally got round to reading the second volume in the New 52 Flash series, Rogue’s Revolution! As I mentioned when I read the first book, I love the Flash as a character. I honestly don’t really know why, but anyway! The New 52 series has effectively re-set the DC universe, which has gone through a further twist last summer. But anyhow, Rogue’s Revolution, collecting issues #9-#12 and some other bits, moves through issues focusing on the villains Grodd and Weather Wizard, before then following a storyline showing the Rogues being reunited under Captain Cold’s astral-projecting sister. It’s a bit strange, though I did like seeing the story move forward from the first volume (pun intended!). It was cool to see classic Flash villains like the Trickster and Heatwave, too. And Mirror Master! One of my favourites from back in the day. The other stories in here are a bit, I don’t know, unnecessary? #0 explores the murder of Flash’s mother, and seems very much tacked-on to the end there. The main part of the book was good, however, and I’m looking forward to getting on with the series!

I’ve been enjoying quite a bit of DC lately – watch out for something linked coming in next week’s game day blog!

Anyway, since reading those two things, I’ve moved on to the novelization of The Force Awakens, so look out for a blog on that one soon!

The Frozen Wastes

Hey everybody!
Game day takes inspiration from the recent cold snap we’ve been having, as we take a look at another big-box expansion for the second edition of Runebound!

Runebound Frozen Wastes

I still haven’t gotten round to trying out the third edition yet, but I really have too much fun with the second edition game anyway, so let’s stick with that for now!

Frozen Wastes was released in 2009 as the fourth big-box expansion for Runebound second edition. Much like the previous expansion, Sands of Al-kalim, the theme of this expansion is strongly influenced by weather as well as story – in this case, cold (obviously!) There is so much going on with this expansion, so let’s jump in!

Runebound Frozen Wastes

As with all big-box expansions, there’s a new board, which shows the frozen land of Isheim. The board itself is actually quite interesting, because of the victory mechanic that I’ll get to shortly. Rather than having towns spread out across the board, they are mainly clumped around the bottom-half, most of which being possible to get to in one roll of the dice. The terrain spaces consist of fjords, snowdrifts, and tundra, and the towns are divided into two types – Weik cities (trading posts) and Onoit villages (healing centres).

Runebound Frozen Wastes

The story of the game is actually really interesting. Arshan is searching for his beloved Princess, whose spacecraft crashed somewhere in Isheim with her in a stasis chamber. Arshan released armies of robots across the land to try to find her, but centuries of waiting have driven him mad. It’s up to the heroes to either find the Princess and bring her to Arshan, or else defeat him in single combat, and end his rule of tyranny. The fantasy theme of the base game of Runebound is still there, but there’s also a kind of steampunk vibe from the mechanical stuff. It’s a nice blend of tropes that, I feel, really works here.

Runebound Frozen Wastes

The enemies consist of the usual dragons and whatnot, but also Arshan’s robotic drones. As you go through and defeat these enemies, you have at least two rewards, sometimes three – along with the usual money, you also get the chance to draw either a rumour token or a Princess card. Both show a specific terrain type, and can provide really useful bonuses. Rumour tokens can be traded in for Legendary items, while Princess cards are used to find the Princess.

Legendary items are the same as usual market cards, except they form a separate deck. Each card has a coloured icon with a number on it – on your movement step, if you are on a space with the same coloured jewel, and have enough rumour tokens that match both the terrain you are on and the number of surrounding spaces, you can claim the card. They are usually pretty good, though a little specific perhaps. At any rate, you get rumour tokens more often than Princess cards, so you have a pretty good chance to get essentially free stuff.

Princess cards work in pretty much the same way – if you have the cards that match all of the surrounding terrain, as well as the space you’re on, you can find the Princess and claim her token. So long as you remain alive as you trek across the frozen wastes to Green Vale, you can win! However, if you get knocked out on the way, the Princess is once again lost in the tundra.

However, this is where the “possibly three” rewards comes in – forage. Some of the green and yellow adventure cards also function as forage items – usually animals that could be skinned, or whatever – which allow you to usually avoid the cold or else change dice symbols to something you want, making it potentially easier to get across the wastes.

What’s this about cold?

Runebound Frozen Wastes

Well, as I said at the beginning, there is a strong theme of weather coming out of this game. Throughout the game, there are a few event cards sprinkled among the coloured adventure decks that have pervasive effects, replenish adventure jewels, but also change the severity of the weather. The long strips of cardboard with terrain symbols and numbers on them in the above picture show how much cold you suffer (the snowflake tokens) if you end your move on that terrain. It’s also not just your hero who suffers the cold, but all of your allies. Whenever you enter any town space, you clear your cold counters. However, if you suffer more cold than your life total, you then start succumbing to the White Death. If you take as many White Death tokens as your life total, then you die. In addition, you can only heal yourself of White Death in the Onoit villages.

As the weather gets colder, this becomes super important, as you find yourself returning to the towns to warm up again. It’s also why you really need to work through those green and yellow cards, rather than rushing straight for the higher colours, to get some kind of forage to ensure you survive the trek. It’s a really cool mechanic, and I feel this is one of the most thematic expansions to any game, ever!

Runebound Frozen Wastes

The heroes are all pretty interesting, with some really nice sculpts (though the recent Hero & Monster collections for Descent have started to update some of these, notably Shiver from the right, there).

This was the first big-box expansion for Runebound that I played, and I remember being incredibly impressed by the whole implementation of the cold theme, and the novel layout of the map. It’s an expansion that I always return to over the winter, for obvious reasons. The different victory conditions really add some variety, not just to the game itself, but to Runebound as a whole – you’re no longer just trying to level up to defeat a bad guy, you also have the option to play the rescue mission.

I am a huge sucker for any kind of fantasy setting that involves a snow-covered land, so this game scratches a very special itch for me. I’m hoping that the new, third edition of Runebound will bring us an expansion with this sort of theme to it, though I feel that will be unlikely as FFG seek to move away into something different and new.

At any rate, it’s a really great expansion to a truly great game, and if you can still find both it and the second edition base game, I can highly recommend it!

Runebound Frozen Wastes

Check out my other Runebound blogs:
The Island of Dread
Sands of Al-kalim

Painting Progress: Week 2

Hey everybody!

Another week is done, and I’ve made some very small progress with the models I’ve got on the go. In fact, part of me is wondering just what I did last week, considering the progress we’re talking here!

Hobby Progress 2

Last week was pretty much all about the chaplain for my Alpha Legion. I’ve done some silverwork on the razorback, and painted three Deathwing terminators with Ushabti bone, so they’re progressing along.

Hobby Progress 2

The chaplain model from Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth has really begun to take shape, however. I can’t really call him Kurtha Sedd, because I’m not painting them as Word Bearers, but I’m really enjoying how this chap is turning out. I’ve done all of the silver bits, and the golden crozius arcanum, but I’m most impressed with the plasma pistol. For the record, I’ve never tried painting one of these before, but have found myself assembling a lot over the recent weeks and months, so decided to really try and get it nailed here. While it’s still work-in-progress, I’m pleased with how it looks so far – having Ushabti bone on the palette, I based the plasma coils in that, then painted some watered-down Temple Guard blue over them, and it looks pretty good. I still need to do some stuff to it, but for a very first attempt…yeah!

I’ve also done tiny, tiny details on some other models that I’ve had on the go for a while. The Genesis Chapter terminators have had their weapon casings painted blue, and the eyes green, and I’m going to call them finished now. The Ultramarine terminators have had some very small bits done – drybrushed and shaded, nothing too special, though I have started to tackle the bare face of the sergeant. I’m really concerned about painting faces like this, so will be taking some time over that one. And finally, some details on the Knight-Vexillor and the Lord-Celestant on Dracoth. I’m not happy with how the dracoth has turned out, if I tell the truth, in fact the entire model has become something of a bane for me, but I’m not quite giving up yet. The knight-vexillor is now at the stage where the prosecutors were left off back in September, so I’m hoping to tackle them all next, anyway.

Overall, despite there being only a small amount of progress, I’m happy that progress has been made, all the same. While last week had seen significantly more, I’m going to expect a lot more weeks will be small updates like this, anyway.

That’s all for now, anyway – hopefully next weekend’s blog will be a lot more interesting!