Hobby Progress, week 30

30 weeks of hobby progress! Sheesh, this has been one hell of a ride so far, I’ve really enjoyed the motivational boost keeping this up! There have been times when I’ve not been in the mood or whatever, but the need to have something to report on a Sunday has kept me going with a lot of my projects on the go, as well as prompting me to get more – not necessarily a good thing, but I do like the variety!

Which is pretty much what has happened this week!

Back in late January, Games Workshop began the rebranding of a number of kits from the more generic Chaos faction as “Slaves to Darkness”, and I really liked the look of those miniatures. I’ve mentioned this before, but the Chaos faction is what I started with when I played Warhammer: Invasion, and rather than all of the various demons, it was these mortal cultists that seemed to make up the majority of the faction that I had come to know. Anyway, I wanted to get these guys, but fought the urge. I’ve come back to the idea a couple of times over this summer, as I’ve been considering getting either these or the Bloodreavers. I’d wanted to work on some painting skills, and was thinking I’d get some chaps like this to practice painting skin.

So here we go!

Hobby Progress 30

I’ve built up five of them so far, anyway, and while the guys with flails were a bit difficult to get the arms to line up, in the main they aren’t all that bad to do. The real challenge is still to come, of course, as I try to figure out how to paint realistic skin!

I’ve been a big follower of the tutorials put out by Warhammer TV, though don’t always like that weirdly highlighted look if I’m honest. I think I might just go for some shade-and-drybrush look rather than going through all the layering stuff.

After talking to some of the guys at my local store, I’ve been thinking about making them look more the part to accompany the Slaaneshi stuff I’ve also got on the go – whether I use some of the left-over heads from the various kits I have, or go the whole hog and use some of the claws and stuff, I can’t quite decide. I do have the Slaanesh icon from the Chaos Space Marines kit that I also plan to use however, so there will be a little conversion work going on here and there…

Finally, I’ve gotta say – bravo to GW for these repackaged minis! They really pack these guys in there! £23 got me 20 of these guys, which is a decent stack of sprues in the box! There’s something immensely satisfying about opening a box and seeing that, just waiting to be built into these awesome things!

It is your destiny…

In keeping with recent years, FFG have been announcing a couple of interesting things they have in their pipeline prior to GenCon next week. Among the announcements, this one seems to be the biggest so far, which is a bit weird on the one hand, because it seems like such a small game. But on the other hand, it’s a huge thing for the company!

Years ago, Fantasy Flight Games published CCGs like many other games companies – A Game of Thrones and Call of Cthulhu were both collectible card games, sold in blind-buy booster packs. Then they went down the LCG route, providing all of the cards in one pack every month, which was a huge shift for the gaming community as a whole. But now, they’re going back to the collectible model with a dice game that looks significantly like one of those Dice Masters things, in a move that appears to be designed to get their product into the bigger retail stores.

Star Wars Destiny

Is it a good move? Well, of course – getting your product into a wider distribution market is increasing the chances of that product selling, so sure it is. Is it a good move for the company, who had previously been staunchly behind the LCG model? It feels decidedly weird, and the justification for that given in the article feels somewhat clunky, but there are people who like collectible games, so it can’t be denied that a lot of people will probably be really excited for this.

As a rule, I’m not really all that interested by these kinds of games, preferring card games to dice games, but it’s Star Wars, so I’ll likely pick up a couple of starters to see what it’s all about. The more interesting thing, to me, is seeing the artwork for both the Prequels and Episode VII. Given the way FFG usually operate, I imagine they may be paving the way for Prequel-themed games in the future? At any rate, seeing Count Dooku on a card from a game by FFG is really exciting.

What do you all think? Excited or unimpressed?

Chaos in the Old World

It’s game day here at spalanz.com, and time to take a look at another of the many games from my collection! This week sees the immense fantasy juggernaut that is Chaos in the Old World, one of the most interesting games I own.

Chaos in the Old World

This is an area-control game for 3-4 players, where you play the role of one of the four Chaos gods from Warhammer fantasy, and attempt to cause the destruction of the Old World. The game plays somewhat asymmetrically, as each of the four gods plays slightly differently, and all have different victory conditions they can fulfill. I find this alone super-interesting, though the theme that comes out of the game is also really fantastic, and holds a strong appeal for me.

There is so much going on in this game that I couldn’t really do it justice here without just rambling inanely forever! As the video shows, there are different paths to victory, and each god can get there slightly differently, such as Khorne killing everyone to move his dial along to win, or Nurgle corrupting everyone on the board. Each round sees the gods act in their own nefarious ways based on a hand of cards they can play to try to influence a region of the board. You can summon cultists, upgrade those cultists into demons or even a greater demon, and hope to spread your influence that way.

However, the board will fight back, and in addition to an Old World deck that sees random events occurring each round, there are tokens placed on the board such as peasant militia, who will attempt to defend their area of the Empire, or Skaven and Orc tokens that will fight the Chaos gods as they attempt to subjugate the map for their own gains. Heroes and Nobles, also represented by tokens, will also appear to aid the defense of the Empire, and while powerful deposits of Warpstone can be unearthed, this will attract the attention of the Skaven. While these tokens can be a detriment to your plans for domination, they can also be a boon, as the magically-imbued Warpstone makes it easier for Tzeentch to weave the fates to his own advantage, while corrupting the nobility is all in a day’s work for Slaanesh.

Chaos in the Old World

The game feels somewhat complex when reading the rules, though the basic mechanic is fairly straightforward. Each region of the map has a resistance rating, and once your cultists have defeated the denizens of any region, each player checks whether they have cultists exceeding this resistance rating. If you do, then you score victory points, then each player with cultists in the region gets to place one corruption market for each cultist, with the top two players with markers in the region scoring more points. If there are 12 markers in that region, it is declared Ruined, and more points are scored. Once five regions are Ruined, the game is over and the Chaos god with the most points is declared the winner. (I did only say “fairly” straightforward!)

There is, of course, so much more to it than merely this, and both the mechanics and the theme go real deep into the Old World lore. I keep mentioning the theme because it is so strong, if like me you love Warhammer, then you’ll more than likely love this game!

Chaos in the Old World

I’m not too big on area-control games, if I’m honest, and only have one other that I can think of in my collection – Runewars – but the theme from this one really makes it one of the best gaming experiences I can think of. I mean, it really feels like you’re one of the Ruinous Powers, trying to do your thing, corrupting the Old World province by province. This has been commented on in the past by some of the many detractors of the game, however, who feel that it promotes an unhealthy motivation in the players. The fact that the gameboard is designed as a map drawn onto human skin has also been mentioned as a negative influence, as well. I only mention this as I find it curious, as such things are normally the reserve of video games. I don’t really agree with these commentators, of course, as I don’t believe gaming can do things like that: plenty of people manage to play all kinds of games unscathed, after all. But this is threatening to get off-topic now!

Chaos in the Old World is something of a classic of the genre, and is definitely worth playing if you’re at all interested in the lore of the pre-Age of Sigmar Warhammer world. It can be a very involved experience, but is very much worth it when you sit down to play.

Hobby Progress, week 29

Week 29 already! My goodness, the year is flying by when I look at it through these hobby progress blogs. Today, I’m pleased to share some more exciting progress with some more completed models! Take a look:

Hobby Progress 29

More Alpha Legion tactical marines have been finished this week, which I’m really pleased with! They’re pretty much exactly the same scheme as I discussed last week, with the addition of the legion vexilla on that chap on the left having some Naggaroth Night on what seems to be the fabric of the thing, shaded with Carroburg Crimson. I was trying to get something that would more complement the armour and not stand out too much, but not being the same blue/turquoise as the armour itself.

I feel a bit like I’ve rushed these guys, as I didn’t take quite as much care with them as I did the first batch, so there was quite a bit of sloppiness that needed to be tidied up and whatnot, which makes me wonder about the reasons for that. I thought I enjoyed painting these chaps, and the sense of achievement has always been something I really like when I can see them coming together and all the rest of it, but there has also been a sense that I just wanted to get them done, without looking forward to the finished article. So that’s curious.

It could just be the fact that I have the huge chunk of resin that is the Contemptor Dreadnought waiting for me to do something with, and I’m starting to feel a little overwhelmed by it… I’ve done a little to that guy, anyway, painting the main chassis in Warplock Bronze (so that the silver of the armour detailing stands out). But that one might need to be re-evaluated…

So I feel a little at an impasse right now. I don’t have anything built up that I’m particularly excited to paint, but instead feel a sense of obligation whenever I look at the hobby pile, so might be taking a break from it all this coming week… I guess we’ll see what next week’s update blog brings, anyway!

My #AlphaLegion miniatures so far 🙂 #Warhammer40k #SpaceMarines #HorusHeresy #paintingwarhammer

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Aftermath: Life Debt

Hey everybody,
I’ve made good use of my time off work by reading the second novel in the Aftermath trilogy, Life Debt, and I have to put this out there now: this novel is weird to me. I alternately really, really like it, and find it so annoying that I wonder why I was even spending the time reading it.

First, let me tell you what happens – spoilers will be all over this blog, so you have been warned!

Picking up where the first novel ended, we see Norra, Sinjir, Jas and Temmin as a group of Imperial-catchers, travelling the galaxy picking up rogue Imperial officers and bringing them to account for their actions during the years the Empire was in control. The opening sequence also introduces Jom Barell to the team, a New Republic commando from the first book who I’d actually forgotten about. Anyway, the Imperial they catch ends up dead, but as soon as they return to Chandrila, they’re given a new mission: Han Solo has gone missing, and Leia wants him back. We learn that Leia is pregnant, too, providing even more motivation. So Norra and the team split up to find some clues as to where he could be, and find themselves on the trail of an Imperial prison-designer, Golas Aram. During an attempt to break into his compound, Han shows up and tells them Chewie has been taken prisoner by the Empire, and he was after Golas to attempt to find out where. Sinjir manages to get the details on the prison, which happens to be on Kashyyyk, and so they all head off to the Wookiee homeworld, just about managing to evade the Imperial blockade of the world, though their passage does attract the attention of Admiral Rae Sloane.

That should actually be Grand Admiral Rae Sloane, who is being used as a figurehead for the new Empire by the mysterious chap from the end of the first Aftermath book: mysterious, no longer! Gallius Rax was an orphan from Jakku who managed to stow away aboard the ship of Imperial Advisor Yupe Tashu, who we met in the clandestine meeting on Akiva in the first novel. Sloane is determined to find some kind of history on this guy, as she doesn’t trust him despite all that he has done for her career. There is a lot of intrigue around the new Empire in this book, as we see Sloane head to Coruscant which is still under ISB control and the like. It’s a really interesting look at the galaxy post-Endor, I must say!

Things come to a head when Sloane contacts the New Republic to offer to begin peace talks, coinciding with the return of the prisoners from the Kashyyyk prison, several of whom are high-ranking Rebels, Norra’s husband Brentin among them. While the prisoners return, Han doesn’t, however, having stayed behind with Sinjir, Jom and Jas to help liberate Kashyyyk. A month passes, and the celebrations for the return of the prisoners take a horrific turn when they are revealed to have been sleeper agents for the Empire, and they all try to assassinate Mon Mothma. In the confusion, Sloane escapes Chandrila having been shot, but steals a shuttle that Brentin has also stowed-away on.

Meanwhile on Kashyyyk, Jom is captured by the Imperial governor of the planet, who has not so much gone native as gone feral, and pulls out Jom’s eye for the hell of it. Thankfully, we don’t actually see that. Turns out the Wookiees are being controlled by a chip in their brains, so Sinjir masquerades as one of Sloane’s men to attempt to disrupt the signal to these chips. He gets soundly beaten-up in the process, but it works, and the Wookiees rise up against the Imperials and, with the timely intervention of Leia, Ackbar and Wedge, the blockade is broken.

The novel ends with the fall-out from all of this, as Sloane and Brentin learn of Gallius Rax’s origin on Jakku, and decide to head there to find out what’s going on. Rax, for his part, has decided to make a final stand against the New Republic at the planet, and arrives there with the entire Imperial fleet…

Like its predecessor, there are a number of Interludes that continue to show the state of the galaxy post-Endor, and while some of them are a little bland, I do like they way the break up the main narrative, and allow for an even wider scope for the book. Not many of them stick in the mind, though there is one that is set in Maz Kanata’s Castle, and being a big fan of her from Episode VII, I did enjoy seeing that one. It didn’t really tell us anything new, but it was good to see her again!

So that’s the story, broadly speaking. Overall, I thought the storyline was pretty great, and I think it would have been more deserving of being the one to come out before Episode VII last autumn. The first novel had a massive hype, and really fell flat as we learnt next to nothing of any real use, in my opinion, as to how the galaxy had changed. This book, however, shows us a lot more of the galaxy, and its wider scope is certainly to be commended. I love galaxy-spanning epics, and this definitely delivered on that! There are also some really great action sequences, such as breaking into the prison on Kashyyyk, the assassination attempts and Sloane’s escape from Chandrila. Indeed, the overall plot is exactly what I want and love from Star Wars novels.

Of course, here comes the “but”…

The characters were just so off for me, I can’t quite express how distressing it was sometimes to read. Let’s start with the movie people. Han knows that Leia is pregnant, but follows up on a lead with Chewie that might be able to save the planet Kashyyyk (it’s the lead we see them discuss in the interlude from the first novel). So Han willingly leaves his pregnant wife (we learn they married on Endor) to travel across the galaxy and put himself in danger. He’s also more of the cocky smuggler from A New Hope, which pretty much negates his growth that we see across the original movies – the Han of the ending of Return of the Jedi just doesn’t seem like the kinda guy to just abandon his nascent family like that. And the excuse he keeps giving is “it’s a thing I have to do…” which is just so damn stupid.

Leia isn’t much better. A lot of writers have had trouble writing Leia, because they seem to confuse the take-charge princess for a bossy, overbearing woman. This was certainly the problem with a lot of the Bantam novels, and a lot of the earlier Del Rey stuff. Leia here comes across as fairly erratic, particularly with her dealings with Mon Mothma. Spoiled brat springs to mind, actually. I think what’s worse is that I get the impression we’re supposed to put it down to her being pregnant? Hmph. That said, there was a nice little spark of character for her when she heads off to go save her husband without NR approval, that sort of take-charge attitude is definitely in character for her.

I was really surprised to see Evaan show up from the Princess Leia comic, wasn’t really expecting to see that, so it was nice to know that these things don’t exist in a vacuum, and they are all bleeding into each other.

Chewie is Chewie, but I was a bit dismayed to see that he still has the life debt thing to Han. Reading Bloodline, it looked as if they’d decided to do away with that, as it was wholly an EU creation, and even given the title of this novel, I was hoping it would have some other connotation. But no. It does look, at least, like it won’t be quite the issue it was for the Bantam and Del Rey series’, as our two favourite smugglers look like they might actually be parting ways now, rather than Chewie continually following Han around because he has to, ad infinitum. So that will hopefully be a thing, anyway.

Norra actually interested me in this book. She is still mostly just a bit of a blank character, unfortunately, but there are moments where she comes across as genuinely interesting. Her burgeoning romance with Wedge was nice to see, and I’m left wondering once again how her story will progress in the third book in the series.

I think the biggest let-down of the book, and one that I kept wincing at whenever I came across a scene with him, was Sinjir. He’s one of the earliest gay characters in the Star Wars universe, but I felt this was really quite badly handled in the first book, insofar as it seemed to come out of nowhere. The idea of Sinjir’s character really interests me, an ex-Imperial Loyalty Officer whose job was to root out dissension within the ranks, finds he’s actually losing his own faith in the regime so deserts, and wallows in self-pity at the irony of the situation before stepping up to the challenge in the last book, and now finds himself in a position where his particular set of skills can be put to good use. That’s a character arc I can get behind. The fact that he’s gay is interesting insofar as we have seen just one other such character (I believe) up to this point, and I find it interesting to see if the Empire would have any kind of reaction to that in its heyday. However, so many of Sinjir’s scenes show him to merely be a caricature of the campest of gay men, it’s borderline offensive, but also has little to no impact on the storyline. I’m just bemused as to why it’s even in there, to be honest.

Sloane, and her stuff with the Empire, was definitely the highlight of the book, much as the scenes with the Imperial Future Council on Akiva were probably the most interesting from the first book. As said above, I really enjoyed seeing Coruscant, almost under martial law, and the addition of Mas Amedda as the Grand Vizier of the Empire was really nice. Of course, I am a bit sad that they seem to have done away with Sate Pestage in this regard, though he is still a name in Tarkin, so maybe we’ll see some more of him and what he’s up to. It’s stuff like this that I feel really ought to have been in the first book!

Gallius Rax was a bit of an annoyance, if I’m honest. I think his appearance at the very end of Aftermath was touted as being the new-canon version of Grand Admiral Thrawn, and so my expectations were high. However, he comes across more like he wants people to think he’s more of a big-player than he perhaps is. Whether this is actually the author’s fault or not, I don’t know, but he’s definitely no Thrawn. (Of course, while I was in the middle of reading this, the announcement came out of Celebration Europe that Zahn is writing a Thrawn novel for April 2017, so in that sense, Rax is kinda superfluous).

Speaking of comparisons with earlier novels, I thought the stuff with the sleeper-agent prisoners highly reminiscent of the Lusankya prisoners from Mike Stackpole’s Rogue Squadron series of novels. Very interesting to see how the old canon is informing the new canon, and while I do think that Stackpole implemented it better, he did essentially have three novels to build the storyline over, but still, it was a nice little throwback.

Finally, we have Yupe Tashu and the whole Jakku thing. I read somewhere in the run-up to this book’s release that Life Debt will demonstrate that Jakku is more important to galactic history than we were expecting (or something like that), and this book certainly delivers on that front. The book starts with a prologue set 30 years beforehand, and shows a young Rax stowing away aboard Tashu’s ship, after he had set some droids down in the middle of the desert. The book ends with a scene between Rax and Palpatine, who asks the boy to return to Jakku and guard whatever it is those droids are doing. It’s all very mysterious, but there’s clearly something going on down there, and while part of me is rolling my eyes at how Jakku is almost becoming the new Tatooine, I’m nevertheless really intrigued, and looking forward to the third novel in the trilogy to see how this all ends up. Looks like the bulk of the book will be the Battle of Jakku, which has already been dealt with in parts, but since when has Star Wars had a problem with re-telling a story multiple times? (Death Star plans, I’m thinking of you!)

Oh, and Luke’s absence from any and all new-canon stuff is now becoming really annoying. What’s worse is we probably won’t get anything until Episode VIII, either!

This blog has been a lot bigger than I actually thought it would be, and I think that shows the mark of a good book. I mean, as much as I could say I dislike the characterizations, I still have a lot to say about it! Like the first, it’s also told in the present tense, which really helps you to propel through the pages, and I do think that perhaps it would be worthwhile going back through and re-reading the two of them, though I might wait until the third book, Empire’s End, comes out in January.

So yeah, something of a love-hate thing with this book. It was a lot better than the last book simply because of the scope, and while I wasn’t entirely impressed with the characters, getting to see the wider picture of the Star Wars galaxy has made reading this book definitely worthwhile overall!

Eldritch Moon Prerelease!

Hey everybody!
I went to my very first Magic the Gathering pre-release event on Saturday, and it was pretty dang awesome, let me tell you! It was also my first ever competitive Magic event, so I was more than a little wary going in, but I managed to get through the day…

Eldritch Moon pre-release

First of all, for the uninitiated, Wizards of the Coast holds pre-release events across the world the weekend before a new set goes on sale. It’s a very casual Sealed-Deck tournament, where you get six packs and a foil rare, and basically get to build a deck from the cards you pull from those packs, then play a number of games. Before the set goes on sale, this is the only way you can get your hands on the new packs, but given that the packs aren’t actually legal in any deck until the set is released, I think the main draw here is getting to play with the cards a week early. I’d been telling myself I wanted to try this format since getting into Magic a year ago, but for whatever reason kept missing out. In fact, my first proper experience with the game was walking into my local store on Origins pre-release day, so I suppose there’s a nice kind of synergy there!

So anyway. Prior to the event, I’d done quite a bit of extensive research on trying to find out what cards are in the new set, and I’d tried to commit some of the main archetypes and rules to memory, though I was a bit nervous about the competitive aspect, and the fact that all these people were somewhat veterans, and most of that research went out of my mind when I arrived! At least my usual gaming buddy Tony showed up – he’d been vacillating over coming, but since he’s now got weekends off, he came along, and so it was fun to have at least someone I knew there (besides the store manager!)

Anyway. Got my pre-release pack, and I’d made sure to bring sleeves, a playmat and dice, so I was ready to go from 10.30. I opened up all of my packs and sorted them by colour without really paying attention to anything I was getting, but had hoped prior to the event to draft black/red vampires, as I think it would be the archetype I would be most comfortable with. I also had an idea of what I didn’t want to play – blue/white spirits. Well, whaddaya know happened… urgh! I’d thought I might have enough to get black and red going, which would let me use my promo Stromkirk Occultist, but none of the cards I’d pulled would really work together, and I thought it would be a risk to try to force it. Looking through the rest of it, I didn’t have enough blue to get blue/black zombies, and in desperation it came to me: I had enough good cards that would work together in blue and white to get a mostly-flying deck going on. Urgh!

After that trauma was dealt with, and the deck was sleeved, I tried a couple of first-turn-hands and I thought it looked reliable enough. But the first round went awfully. I was up against a black-green horrible thing that kept getting The Gitrog Monster out. I managed to play a Spontaneous Mutation on it that reduced its power by 8, but still lost due to the amount of zombies and stuff that were coming at me. Second game was a similar story, so it wasn’t the best of starts, but I’d now seen a lot of my deck and, while I knew what it wanted to do when I put it together, I think I understood it much better having played it twice, so it was a useful start, even though I was down 0-1.

Second game was against a white/green monster of a deck. There were humans and werewolves, but the reason it was monstrous was because it must have had at least 60 cards in there. Anyway, my second opponent was much more chatty and, in talking with him over the game, I relaxed into the whole thing, which I think made me feel much better about being there. The first game was over pretty quickly as I was attacking with my fliers while he had nothing to block; Stitchwing Skaab and Niblis of Dusk for 5 damage each turn, which was good but I kinda wish I’d been able to play with more of the new Eldritch Moon cards. There were a couple of mis-plays, but I managed to win, which totally surprised me! The second game of this match was going really well for me, as he was mana-screwed for most of the game, so I kept attacking unopposed, but then everything came crashing down with one of the green werewolves that transformed – I don’t remember which one, but it was something horrible that was equipped with stuff that made it pretty scary! However, by the time this thing came up, my opponent was at one life, so I blocked the wolf with Geist of the Lonely Vigil (equipped with a Cathar’s Shield), and buffed it with Strength of Arms, which allowed me to create a 1/1 Human Soldier token that I used to attack on my next turn to defeat him. It was pretty epic in those final moments! I felt curiously guilty for winning, but at least things were going in my favour at last! 1-1, time for round three.

Third match was against another of these veteran-types, another green/white deck with humans that I was kinda nervous going up against, if I’m honest! I mean, my opponent just knew what he was doing, and it really put me off balance! I lost the first game really quickly, so was thinking my time was over and I was about to just get stomped. However, game two saw him mana-screwed, I think he only drew three lands all game. It felt pretty dirty, but I won! So we were drawn, and went into game three again with me feeling like I was about to be wrecked, but again, he got mana-screwed and I won! I couldn’t quite believe it! The worrying thing for me, however, is that he was getting really angry with his deck and I didn’t quite know how to handle it. I mean, it’s only a game, right? So I just played and hoped to be as graceful as I could. Luckily, Tony was sat behind me, so we could kinda talk after the game and compare notes etc, but I was really uncomfortably aware of the fact that this guy was still sat there, chundering away to himself and shuffling and re-shuffling increasingly angry, drawing practice hands and then shaking his head again. Urgh!

At this point, I’d played seven games of Magic with a deck that I wasn’t exactly happy with – I mean, blue/white spirits is not my ideal deck. So I was actually thinking I might just toddle off at that point, leaving with my record at 2-1 and thinking that the experience was much more important than actually winning anything, but there was only one more round, so I just went back into the fray!

My last opponent was someone I’d met earlier after he had played Tony, and he was another fairly chatty guy, so it was a good way to end the day. Unfortunately, I also knew him to be really good, so I wasn’t expecting to win. He was playing a very fast red/white deck, with a mix of humans and werewolves, though I thought it interesting that his white creatures were similar to mine, so it sometimes felt like a mirror match situation, when each of our Steadfast Cathars were attacking, equipped with Cathar’s Shields. I was more interested in his deck, however, because I think he was the only person in the tournament who had pulled both parts of a meld pair and was playing them! Unfortunately, both games we played did not see either half – and also unfortunately, I lost both games! However, I was so excited to see some new cards, I convinced him to play a third, more casual game with the deck, just in the hope of seeing the two cards come together! Unfortunately, neither Hanweir Battlements nor Hanweir Garrison came into play in all of the three games, so that was disappointing!

Eldritch Moon pre-release

Overall, it was really fun. I think the experience of making a Sealed Deck and then playing with it was good, though more than a little daunting, especially the thought of playing all those folks who knew what they were doing! I missed a few things, but I felt pretty good about being able to help other folks, especially with the new rules! Definitely had a community vibe to the whole thing. I wasn’t entirely happy with the deck I had, as I was playing colours that I wasn’t entirely comfortable with. My actual pool was pretty bad, as I said, but I’ve heard a lot of folks around the store saying similar things – not sure whether they’re trying to save face, but yeah, I felt somewhat better knowing I wasn’t the only one!

So yeah, I went 2-2 all told, and placed 11th out of the 20 competitors at the game. Which was just so amazing, because I’d thought I was going to come dead last! Tony placed 18th, only winning the last of his four matches, but we both got to come away with two boosters each! I opened them later, and they also had nothing of interest in there, but I plan to go over all of the cards in the coming days so that I can try to make more sense of them now that they’re in hand!

It was also really cool to get to talk with some folks who play Magic with a lot more regularity than myself. The second guy I played is very casual like me, and we got to talking about the types of decks etc, and he told me people actually play paper Pauper at the store! I was so excited for that, I’ve since built a Pauper Mardu deck in the hope of trying it out sometime! Commander is also really popular there, and I spent the best part of Sunday putting together a black-white Ayli lifegain deck that I really hope I can try out soon.

Anyway – the moment you’ve all been waiting for: it’s my deck!

Creatures (17)
Stitchwing Skaab
Niblis of Dusk
Tattered Haunter
Lamplighter of Selhoff
Exultant Cultist
Laboratory Brute
Geist of the Lonely Vigil
Selfless Spirit
Thraben Inspector
Guardian of Pilgrims
Sigardian Priest
Thraben Standard Bearer
Nearheath Chaplain
Faithbearer Paladin
Steadfast Cathar
Drogskol Shieldmate
Unruly Mob

Sorcery (2)
Drag Under
Spectral Reserves

Instant
Strength of Arms

Enchantment
Spontaneous Mutation

Equipment
Cathar’s Shield (2)

Land (17)
Islands (7)
Plains (10)

So there you have it! The thought I had with this deck was to have lots of little people out to run interference, and basically wear my opponent down. I’m not used to playing these kinds of decks, as I tend to have better little people in my black/red decks, but these things can’t be helped I guess! I had a few of the new cards as well, which was fun, though time and again it was the Shadows over Innistrad zombies who were providing a good deal of the action for me.

I’m pretty pleased with how the day went, anyway, so let’s see if I get down to the Kaladesh pre-release coming in September!

Eldritch Moon pre-release

Hobby Progress, week 28

Wow, I actually have progress to report this week! This is definitely an encouraging time right now – check out my new stuff!

Hobby Progress 28

First of all, last week‘s Alpha Legion marines have been finished! And what’s more, I’m calling the Chaplain figure finished, too!

These chaps were actually pretty easy to finish, if I’m honest. The Alpha Legion armour is Sotek Green, washed with Drakenhof Nightshade, and lightly drybrushed with Teclis Blue. I probably mentioned this last week. Anyway! From there, I did all the trim bits with Leadbelcher, the most tricky bits being the little studs on the greaves and, particularly, the shoulder pads, but I think I got there. The backpacks were also done in Leadbelcher, even though that of the Chaplain has more of the turquoise colour, though I’m thinking he’s a character, so there we are.

I then did the lenses with Wazdakka Red, shaded with Carroburg Crimson to basically try to tidy it all up, then lightly put some Evil Sunz Scarlet in there to brighten it up. The bolter casings were done with Stormvermin Fur, then shaded with Nuln Oil, and the leather belts/pouches/holsters were done with Doombull Brown and shaded with Agrax Earthshade. You can’t really see it in the picture above, but I’ve also done the little tubes near the feet in Balthasar Gold and Agrax Earthshade, because the Alpha Legion Headhunters released earlier this year by Forge World have this, but anyway!

The Chaplain also had his eyes tidied up, the belt done, and some other bits tidied up such as the studs along his helmet and greaves, then all of them had Martian Ironearth on the bases, and rims done in Stormvermin Fur also. Really easy to get moving with, so once these had been completed on Thursday, I built up four more! Including the heavy weapon guy with the Proteus missile launcher! And…

That’s right, it’s the Alpha Legion Contemptor Dreadnought! That guy has been built since roughly New Year, and while I had done one coat of Sotek Green on it a long, long time ago, which you can see in this photo from February, but it has never gotten any further. Well, it’s time to change that now! So all of the marines and the dreadnought have had the armour pretty much done, and I had been hoping to get some more work done on them all today, but that didn’t happen! So I’m going to try and get some more work done on these in the coming week, then hopefully there’ll be even more progress next week!

But for now, yeah, I finished some models!!