Rumours and Reveals

Well then! We had a fairly exciting set of reveals from Games Workshop at the weekend, though as seems to be the standard for them these days, it ended with more teases…

To start with, we’ve now seen the new Warcry box in its full glory, and my goodness it looks good. It’s very different from what we’ve had up to now, which has been very firmly set in civilisation (albeit a ruined one, for the most part). We’re heading into the swamp, and they have really managed to get the kind of jungle theme of rope bridges and bamboo platforms down well. There are also weird statues, which I like, but it could probably do with more levels to it – it feels very much like the recent Ash Wastes box for Necromunda, actually, with a lot of platforms connecting to two treehouses.

The warbands do look good, even if the online community seems to be less than enthusiastic. However, I feel a bit sad to be saying it, but I think I’m going to pass on this box, as I have done on the Necromunda box. I have far more Warcry stuff than I have time to play it, so as the game moves forwards into the realm of beasts, I think I’m going to stick behind at the Eightpoints. Though I’m thinking I’ll pick up some Horns of Hashut when they release separately…

Speaking of Necromunda, the other houses will be getting their vehicles it seems, starting with the Goliath. They look suitably over the top with roid rage, so that makes perfect sense! I wonder what Delaque will have…

The next warband for Underworlds has been revealed as a Witch Hunter and his crew, and Blood Bowl are getting an Amazons team. The preview ended with this, however:

The Space Hulk preview from the other day has been shown as a bit of a red herring – we’re getting close-confines games, of course, but it’s Kroot vs Imperial Navy, of all things!! I’m really quite excited for this one, as I feel the Navy guys will be similar to the Elucidian Starstriders from the last Kill Team close quarters box, and show us another side of the Imperium that we rarely otherwise see. I’m glad it’s not Space Hulk with Primaris marines, because like many people, Space Hulk means something very specific and very precise to me.

However…

The last week or so has seen the beginnings of what I suppose is much more serious speculation about 10th Edition 40k, rather than idiots like me jokingly talking about it in terms of “aren’t we due a new edition soon?” and so on. If these rumours are to be believed, then the new edition is coming out next summer, and will be launched with a Tyranids vs Space Marines box, with the bugs getting a range refresh much like the Necrons had for 9th. There are all manner of rumours about plastic Dante and Primaris Furioso Dreadnought, as the poster boys will be the Blood Angels this time around.

Tyranids will get new Genestealer sculpts, and a bunch of other bugs, with what I guess will be a Silent King equivalent.

Now, the rumours have already proven to be false, because they were prefaced with the news of a new Kill Team box set on a space hulk featuring the new Kasrkin models vs new-sculpt Genestealers. Which obviously isn’t happening. In the past, though, rumour mongers have claimed to be talking from pictures rather than text, and the Navy sculpts do bear a similarity to the Guard models, so maybe the spiky crests of the Kroot were mistaken for scything talons? Who knows.

Personally, I hope we can get some more mileage out of 9th edition before they go shifting things around again. There’s no real need to do this, as we lost certainly one full year to the pandemic, so I would imagine that very few people were actually able to play this game for its entirety. I’ve spent quite a bit of money on this edition, codexes and the like, but it’s continually baffling to me when GW had been releasing actual gaming supplements when the majority of the world couldn’t get together to use them, and then promptly outdated them with yet more supplements. 9th edition has been such a weird time, hasn’t it?

However, the fact remains that 9th Edition is two years old this month, and recent editions of 40k have only lasted three years, so it’s possible…

Primaris terminators and Primaris devastators? Primaris Death Company? Primaris Dante? Who knows… but it’s going to be an interesting time seeing if there is any substance to these rumours…

Star Wars LCG: Rebel Alliance deck

Hey everybody,
I’ve been thinking about talking more in depth about my Star Wars LCG decks that I’m currently playing, so thought I’d do a bit of a write-up here today to showcase what I’m playing with, just because I really like this game and I really want to show that off! I started getting back into the game in April, when my wife agreed (somewhat reluctantly, perhaps!) to join me, so I put six decks together (one for each faction), and we started with Rebels vs Empire. We’ve basically stuck with those decks since, although I have tweaked them a bit since we first played, in an effort to try and make them play better.

Both the Rebels and Imperial decks are faction-pure, so there are no off-faction cards (or neutral cards, for that matter) included here. I’ve talked about this a little before, but I’m also limiting my deck-building options to the core set and first cycle for the time being, although both decks do have one objective set each from later in the game, mainly for flavour than for any other reason.

Briefly, deck-building in Star Wars LCG takes the form of objective sets (or “pods”) that are six-card sets you bring as a unit. Rather than building your deck in the traditional manner, therefore, you select ten (or more) objective sets and this creates your deck for you. You can only include a max of two copies of each set in the deck, although this does mean the usual restrictions around individual cards might be exceeded, and you end up with six copies of a certain card because it appeared in multiple sets. If this is confusing now, all will become clear when I come to talk about the decks!

Today, I’m going to talk about the Rebels deck.

Evacuation Procedure x2
The Rebel Fleet
Draw Their Fire
Mobilize the Squadrons
Decoy at Dantooine
Fleeing the Empire
Mission Briefing
Planning the Attack
The Defense of Yavin 4

It’s a very broad deck, and to some extent it does lack a certain consistency when being played.

Star Wars LCG

Evacuation Procedure is the only set to be included twice, and that’s mainly for Han Solo, I’m not going to lie! However, there are some really useful unit-leaves-play effects on the cards in this set, and the objective itself allows you to sacrifice units to remove focus tokens from stuff, so you can really make the most of those leaving play effects. You don’t just have to sacrifice the cards from this set of course, and there are plenty of chump cards throughout the deck that could also be used to trigger it.

Star Wars LCG

The Rebel Fleet is one of my favourite objective sets, as it includes Home One which is a great attacking unit that doesn’t require the edge to be effective. The objective itself can only be attacked by vehicles, giving it some evasion that can be useful. There’s a Y-Wing in here, which I enjoy, and the repair droid that can heal up Home One if needed. Target of Opportunity is possibly my favourite Fate card as well, as it allows you to get one point of damage on the objective you’re attacking, whether you win or lose the edge. Very nice, all-round useful cards in here.

Star Wars LCG

Draw Their Fire is the Ackbar set, but it’s not included here for the Admiral. Rather, there are a number of other cards that work well within the deck, such as X-Wing Escort that forces the enemy to discard a vehicle when it leaves play (meaning there’s one less to target The Rebel Fleet). I have a chump X-Wing that could be sacrificed to Evacuation Procedure, and there’s a Fleet Command Centre which gives me 3 resources, plus a shield token when I refresh. Heroic Sacrifice allows me to sacrifice a vehicle to destroy an enemy vehicle, again clearing the field for The Rebel Fleet, as well as triggering Evacuation Procedure.

Star Wars LCG

Mobilize the Squadrons is here for two reasons: Rebel Assault and Trench Run. There are a couple of chump cards I can sacrifice to trigger the effects mentioned earlier, and a copy of Covering Fire which provides another sacrifice outlet, but Trench Run is the card that turns the Death Star Dial into an objective whose destruction can win me the game, and Rebel Assault just deals a flat two damage to either a unit or an objective. The objective itself is nice as well, because it allows me to clear an additional focus token from an objective or enhancement when I refresh; having 2 resources itself, this means I can always get the maximum efficiency from the card. Pretty much an auto-include for a Rebel deck, I think.

Star Wars LCG

Decoy at Dantooine is an interesting set, because it’s quite sneaky. The objective itself has the effect of decreasing the Death Star Dial by 1 when an objective I control leaves play, which goes some way to negating the advance of the Dark Side. There is also an enhancement in here that has the same effect, meaning that if both cards are out together, there is going to be some Dark Side stagnation when my objectives are blowing up. There are a couple of events that allow me to return units to my hand, which can be quite tricksy, and the Wookiee Navigator unit allows for the same objective to be targeted twice in a combat, if he survives. That’s some fairly interesting stuff going on there, though interestingly I find myself thinking it might be a good target to swap out when it comes to refining the deck, despite how good the ability to decrease the Death Star dial can be.

Star Wars LCG

Fleeing the Empire is a bit of a flavour include, really, as it’s the original Princess Leia objective which in itself is quite funny. Leia never really leaves play – if she does, she is captured by the Dark Side player at an objective of his choice. So when that objective is destroyed, she comes back to my hand, and can be played again, and so on. You’re My Only Hope allows me to sacrifice a unit (again, feeding into the Evacuation Procedure objective from earlier) to draw cards, and force my opponent to discard a card, so that’s useful here. Stolen Plans enhances an enemy objective and allows me to draw cards when the objective generates a resource, which can be quite useful (though I did come unstuck once when I was so focused on getting the value from that card that I left the objective in play with 1 hit point remaining, and lost the game in the next round!) It also has Twist of Fate, which is my least favourite Fate card, simply because I don’t like those kind of “gotcha!” moments.

Star Wars LCG

Mission Briefing is included in the deck, but I don’t really know why anymore. It has Mon Mothma, though, and the objective allows me to draw cards when my opponent’s turn begins, so it works well in some respects, but I would say this is definitely ripe for being rotated out.

Star Wars LCG

Planning the Attack increases my reserve value by 1 while it is undamaged, so works well with the Leia objective set which can get me a load of Shield tokens. Jan Dodonna lets me draw cards whenever a Yavin 4 card generates resources, limited to once per turn, but there are a lot of these cards in the deck so that should give me some value there. I’ve got two chumps for sacrificing purposes, another Twist of Fate, and an enhancement that gets me more resources, which is always useful.

Star Wars LCG

Finally, I have The Defense of Yavin 4, which includes a few more vehicles and another Rebel Assault card. The objective itself can reduce the cost of vehicles by discarding cards, which might be useful for getting rid of cards like Twist of Fate, which I don’t like using! But there aren’t very many expensive vehicle cards in the deck – but I suppose I could use this alternate cost to free up resources to pay for other stuff.

So all in all, it’s quite a flexible deck that has a variety of things going on. I don’t think there’s really one massive strategy in here that all the cards are working towards; rather, there are just many different things that I can do to enable me (hopefully!) to win! It’s the kind of hodge-podge deck that I like to play, which has a large variety of cards to do a large variety of things with. It definitely needs some refinement, and I think it could do with some more play before I make any further changes. But the important thing is the fun factor. It doesn’t have a Luke in here yet, as the Rebel Luke didn’t come until further in the game, but there is a nice combination of big names and some cannon fodder – which is really what playing Star Wars games is all about, isn’t it?

I’ll be looking at the Imperial deck in a similar way soon, so stay tuned for that!!

A new way for the Sisters

Everything has happened before…

Sisters of Battle

Yes, folks, I’ve been here before, on no less than three separate occasions… It’s once more time to try and paint the Sisters of Battle!

I first tried to paint these miniatures in early 2020, using a colour scheme vaguely reminiscent of the Deathwing.

That was as far as it went with this scheme, however!

Next up, from around the summer of that year, I had decided that painting white could be a good idea, and made a fairly decent, if still half-hearted effort at painting the squad as Order of the Sacred Rose.

Then, in 2021, I thought I had it cracked with a custom colour scheme of pale blue and grey:

But then I decided to use that colour combination for my Tau, and for the Sisters it would no longer cut the mustard.

So here we are, summer of 2022, and I’m once more thinking of a colour scheme. I have the coming week off work (I promise you, I do actually work full time – how else could I afford all this plastic crack?!) and I’m thinking it’s time I really made an effort to paint some of them. So by this time next week, you can expect to see the fruits of my labours with some test models! Having been through so many colour schemes one on top of another, though, I’m going to give the original ten models a break, and instead focus on some minis that I built up from the multi-part kit. I’ve stripped the paint from the monopose models though, and have been trying to clean them up as best I can. Hopefully, the test subjects will go well, and I’ll actually make a start on these, too! But I don’t want to over-commit myself. It is a fairly busy week, after all…

Kenobi!

Well, I’m quite late to the party with this, aren’t I? The six-episode miniseries wrapped up a couple of weeks ago now, and in many ways I find myself a bit flummoxed by it all, really. Spoilers are abound here, people, so please don’t read on if you haven’t yet watched it!

The show is a rescue mission, Princess Leia is captured and Bail Organa enlists the help of Obi-Wan Kenobi to get his daughter back. He is able to find her on the planet of Daiyu, where it transpires that Leia was kidnapped on the orders of Reva, an Imperial Inquisitor, who is obsessed with finding Kenobi and used Leia as a lure. While Kenobi and Leia are able to escape Daiyu with the help of a con artist, he is nevertheless horrified to have learnt from Reva that Anakin Skywalker is alive as Darth Vader.

They arrive on Mapuzo, and after a brief altercation with some local Imperials, Kenobi and Leia are rescued by Tala, a member of the underground movement called the Path who helps to hide outlaws from the Empire. Tala is herself an Imperial Officer, however, providing the perfect cover. Tala attempts to lead Kenobi to safety but Vader himself arrives. Kenobi confronts his former friend as a distraction to allow Leia to escape, and Vader easily overpowers him. Tala is able to distract Vader and his stormtroopers in time to rescue Kenobi, but Reva captures Leia and takes her to the Inquisitors’ fortress. On Jabiim, Kenobi and Tala plan to infiltrate the fortress to rescue Leia, but during their escape Tala’s cover is blown. Path Commander Roken arrives to rescue them, and Vader is about to kill Reva for her failure, but Reva is able to track them.

Vader tracks Kenobi to Jabiim, and Reva leads a siege on the Path members there. Kenobi stalls for time and learns from Reva that she was aware of Anakin’s identity because she witnessed Operation Knightfall as a youngling at the Temple. She joined the Inquisition in order to exact vengeance on Vader for killing her friends, and Kenobi offers her the chance to kill Vader by surrendering to her. The Path members are able to flee, and Reva attempts to kill the Dark Lord of the Sith, but is hopelessly outmatched. He toys with her before stabbing her and leaving her for dead. Reva finds Kenobi’s comlink with a message from Bail Organa that reveals the existence of Luke on Tatooine.

Vader pursues the Path network, but breaks off when Kenobi lands on a deserted planet to confront him. The two duel, and Kenobi at first appears outmatched. However, Kenobi is able to regain his full connection to the Force and damages Vader’s mask and breathing apparatus. Realising Anakin has been subsumed by Vader, he leaves his old friend for dead once more. Meanwhile, Reva arrives on Tatooine and is able to overpower the Lars’ but Luke escapes into the desert. She is unable to bring herself to kill him, remembering her friends at the Temple, and returns him to his family. Kenobi, who has arrived on Tatooine when he felt Luke’s distress through the Force, congratulates her from turning from the Dark Side. As he returns home, the Force spirit of Qui-Gon Jinn finally appears to him from the beyond, offering to train him further. The Emperor chastises Vader for his single-minded pursuit of Kenobi, questioning his loyalty to the Sith.


That’s a fairly rushed synopsis, of course, but gets the main points across!

Now, the show wasn’t bad – it definitely had a story to tell, even if that story felt drawn-out at times. Unlike the last Disney+ show, there was a clear thread moving throughout the series, and I think it’s a definite step up from the Book of Boba Fett. However, the story all felt kinda pointless. Nothing bad was ever going to happen to Leia, to Luke, to Obi-Wan, or to Vader, because they all show up again in Episode IV. So all of the jeopardy of the majority of the series, with Kenobi trying to rescue Leia, felt a bit pointless really, because she was never in any real danger. The same with the final episode, Luke was never going to be harmed, so what was the point?

The show, however, casually seemed to kill off both the Grand Inquisitor and then the Third Sister, only for both to be shown to survive lightsaber wounds to the stomach quite easily, cheapening the effect of a character’s death in any of these shows. But then, I guess Disney has already shown us that they don’t consider death the end with their treatment of Palpatine in Episode IX, so…

The Third Sister, Reva, has come under a lot of hate for the fact that a black actress, Moses Ingram, played her. Personally, I have no issues with that – a person’s skin colour is pretty unimportant in the grand scheme of life – but the character is nevertheless irritating to me. I wish she was either all-out evil, really trying to attach herself to Vader in order to kill him in revenge for his attack on the Jedi Temple. There’s at least one instance roughly in the middle of the series where she seems to be alone with him, so why she didn’t take that opportunity, if all she wants to do is kill him, is beyond me. The character in general just seems a bit ineffective, and there are many elements of the kind of emo-posturing we see in the sequel trilogy villains.

As a show that explores the fall-out of Order 66, and the post-traumatic life of Obi-Wan Kenobi, it’s actually really deep. The first few episodes go quite a ways into this, exploring how Obi-Wan is living now on Tatooine, keeping watch over Luke and just getting by. There’s a lot of show not tell going on, and it’s really quite powerful. Thankfully, most of the action takes place away from Tatooine this time, but the show still manages to play out as a character drama, even with the diverse locales.

There are several nice nods to the old expanded universe, such as having the underground Path movement being headquartered on Jabiim (although the planet doesn’t seem to be suffering the perpetual rains anymore) and mention of Quinlan Vos being alive and helping out. Maybe we see some exciting stuff there in the future, now that he’s a definite part of continuity? The Path was a really nice part of the story, and I thought having Tala being essentially a rebel spy in deep cover was inspired – hopefully we’ll see stuff like this in the upcoming Andor show, but it makes perfect sense that the rebels would either try to turn high-level Imperials to their cause, or else infiltrate someone with the specific goal of working up the ranks to try and get them into a position where they can help like this. I know the original trilogy was presenting the Empire as something of a faceless authority that was meant to be impermeable and all-seeing, and the rebels are a bunch of guys held together with hope, but getting this more nuanced view of the Empire makes it much more credible, and presents us with the opportunity for something more. Setting up the Rebellion as more of an organisation, with the ability to plan ahead like this, rather than the rag-tag bunch who just got lucky a couple of times, really makes the story exciting, in my view. I really hope we get to see more of the top-level of the Alliance undertaking this sort of manoeuvring, and I hope they don’t just leave it here.

Of course, the big headline was all about the show-down between Obi-Wan and Vader, which was making me twitchy before the show aired because of the fact it just felt wrong. The way Lucas left the movies, Vader’s line in A New Hope makes sense, and so it feels very much like a cheap shot to make them meet up again now just for views. Vader should never have been a part of this; if anything, we could have had a show where the Inquisitors discover Kenobi is still alive, and they try to bring him in to curry favour but he manages to escape. Or something. The show messes up a lot of the relationships from the movies, like Vader and Obi-Wan, and Obi-Wan and Leia. The finale to the series, with Palpatine telling Vader to move on, and Obi-Wan telling Leia they should pretend like they don’t know each other or whatever, it sort of makes the show a bit pointless. Nothing meaningful has happened, you know? The show doesn’t exist to move the overarching story anywhere, so what’s the point of it? Just to see some flashy action and stuff? Hm.

But this is a problem I seem to be having more and more with Disney Star Wars, so I think I need to give it up and just accept these things for what they are, rather than anything else.

On its own, the show is pretty good. There is the slightly cartoony villain of the Third Sister, but it does look good, and it presents us with some very interesting insights into a lot of different aspects of the Star Wars universe. Little Leia is an absolute delight, and plays the part exactly as I imagine a young Leia would be. The Obi-Wan and Vader duel is pretty epic, and in fact all of their encounters are really quite tragic. I just find it hard to enjoy it outside of its own vacuum, really.

Back to the Blackstone Fortress

I’m not entirely sure what has started this off, but I’ve recently been really into the Blackstone Fortress game once more, though this time I’ve been playing it more! When it was released back at the tail end of 2018, I was really into it, but played it just once before it was somewhat consigned to the pile, and it hasn’t really seen the light of day since!

Well, all that changed a couple of weeks ago, when I read through the rule books over breakfast, then just launched myself into a game!

Now, to start with, the miniatures are very beautiful, and cover some incredible corners of 40k lore. This game came out only a couple of months after Kill Team Rogue Trader, where we had incredible plastic sculpts for stuff like Death Cult Assassins, as well as the Rogue Trader herself and her crew. In Blackstone Fortress, we got another Rogue Trader model, along with a plastic Navigator, Ministorum Priest, and expansions brought plastic Crusaders, Primaris Psykers and more esoteric wonders. To say nothing of the adversaries!!

It was an incredible dive into the lore of the 40k universe, and I don’t think anybody really saw it coming.

But the game came to an end, after a good run of expansion content that brought us plastic ambulls, plastic zoats, and a Traitor Commissar, no less! It was phenomenal, but while I was collecting all of these expansions (except for No Respite, curses!) I didn’t really feel the need to play it further. Weird…

I think this is because at its core, once you’ve played a game with it, you pretty much know what you’re in for, and subsequent games feel very much like more of the same. I think a lot of the game happens in terms of the background and story, and it requires some element of storytelling from the players before you can really enjoy it. The raw mechanics of the game are a bit bland, and the fact you could be setting up four different boards, from in-numbered tiles, does mean that you’re in for a lot of downtime between actual gaming. There are definitely better dungeon crawler games out there, but given how dripping with theme this can be, not many of them compare in terms of the background fluff.

I suppose, then, that Blackstone Fortress is a massive vehicle for telling some awesome stories, as you play a Rogue Trader facing off against weird Dark Mechanicus cultists, or whatever.

The rules, while they’re not bad per se, are nevertheless laid out in a very weird manner. There are five booklets, three of which contain the rules of the game as it is played, but you find yourself flicking through at least two of them throughout. The Rules booklet itself tells you how to set things up, and also covers what are called “special rules”, though I’d say they are pretty much general rules that come up quite a bit. The Combat booklet covers what to do when fighting a combat, oddly enough. The Precipice booklet covers the bookkeeping part of the game, as well as the linked scenario stuff. Why these couldn’t have been bundled into one, slightly bigger book that covers everything in a better layout, I don’t know!

So, when you play Blackstone Fortress, you play an Expedition into the fortress. To do this, you create an Exploration deck that contains four challenges and four combats, and shuffle it together. The object of the game is to find clues and archeotech from the Discovery deck, and these Explorations will give you many opportunities to do so. The challenges range from all sorts of things, and often take place without the need for your miniatures, as you just need to roll dice, or whatever.

The combat is more the traditional dungeon crawl that we perhaps expect from the game, and requires a board to be set up that features enemies drawn from an Encounter deck. You start the game facing up to four enemy groups, but more can be added in over time (more later).

So, you set up the board according to the card you drew, with discovery markers placed and hostile groups set up essentially guarding those markers, and away you go. There are four phases to play through per round; Destiny, Initiative, Activation and Event. In the Destiny phase, you roll five black dice, discarding any doubles, and place these on the Precipice board. These dice can be used by any hero as basically an extra move.

In the Initiative phase, each hero has a mini card which is shuffled along with however many hostile groups are taking part, and these cards are placed along the Initiative track to determine player order. There are opportunities to mess with this order to some degree, swapping stronger heroes or those in need, etc. Each hero also gets four dice to roll, which are placed onto the hero card (wounds can decrease the number of dice you roll, however).

The Activation phase is where the action happens, and you’re moving around the board, searching those discovery markers, shooting up the bad guys, and so on. To take an action, a hero spends one of the dice from the hero sheet (and Destiny dice provide additional turns, though a hero cannot spend more than two per turn).

You don’t have to spend all of your dice, however, as you can save it for Overwatch, if you anticipate a hostile coming into range later in the turn. It’s an interesting rule that I forget (I forget a lot of stuff though!). When a hero’s turn is finished, they can attempt an Inspiration roll, trying to roll under the combined wounds value of all the models he’s killed off that turn; if you killed 5 wounds of models and roll a 4 on the d20, you get a point. These can be used to reroll dice, to search a hex or to flip your hero sheet to its Inspired side.

Hostiles activate according to a nice AI system that again requires the d20 to determine their behaviour.

Finally, in the Event phase, unless all heroes are out of action or in the exit tile, another d20 roll is made, consulting the Event table to see what happens, before heading into a new round. Generally, results from 1-10 are bad news, and 11-20 are good.

The explorers can choose to end the Expedition before all eight Exploration cards have been worked through, or you can play through them all – while it sounds like a lot of work, challenges are only a few minutes each, and Combat can be over in an hour. When it’s all over though, the explorers head to Precipice, the space station/port where their ships are docked. Considering this step has its own booklet, there are only three pages of rules for it.

To start with, you draw a Legacy card, which will either give a new global effect for all additional games you play if you’re on campaign, or it’ll be a new type of hostile you need to use in subsequent games, or it’ll be a Countdown card, which is a bit like a breather in that nothing bad happens, but if the Legacy deck runs out then you are out of time (more in a bit).

You then get to trade in any archeotech for the stuff each ship has to offer. Each hero receives a discount if they go to their own ship, and each ship has an effect that you can try to activate, with a specific hero’s ship giving that hero a better chance of success.

That is pretty much it, anyway! Once you’ve visited Precipice, the sequence begins anew, and eight more Exploration cards are drawn for a new visit into the Fortress. However, to make this more like a campaign game, there is a linked game system of The Hidden Vault, where players must overcome four Stronghold scenarios before attacking the Hidden Vault itself. To find a Stronghold, you must have already found four Clue cards from the Discovery deck, which you can use to start the process. There are only 12 Legacy cards in the game, and you’ll have at least four post-Stronghold Precipice stages where you’ll draw from this deck, so you only have a maximum of eight “free” Expeditions before the deck runs out, and you can no longer attempt to find the Hidden Vault.

It’s interesting, but I do feel that as a campaign system it does somewhat lack. I mean, you have almost no way to level up a character, as they always start out the same. The majority of stuff that you can pick up from Precipice is single-use, though when you defeat a Stronghold you do get interesting artefacts. There feels like something else missing, for me. I think it probably makes for a more streamlined game, having less bookkeeping to worry about, but it could have been so much better.

For the last few weeks now, I’ve just been enjoying playing essentially pick-up games of Blackstone Fortress, with a vague idea that I might try for a Stronghold just to see what that’s all about. It’s been a lot of fun, and I think playing the odd expedition has been better than just grinding through game after game in an effort to get to the hidden vault. You don’t notice so much the set up time because you’re only doing four separate boards, and some of those aren’t too big. It’s even quite thematic if you turn up the same board as a previous expedition, as it heightens the sense of the Fortress being a random place where all of this has happened before…

I’m really enjoying it, anyway, and I recently put together the minis from the expansions, so that I’m ready! It’s going to be a long time before I get there, of course!!

Hobby Goals 2022 check-in

Hey everybody,
We’re now over the halfway point of 2022, so what better time than now to look back at those hobby resolutions from way back in January, and see how I’m making progress against them! What better time, indeed…

Let’s just remind ourselves what I had decided to do this year:
1. Paint more terrain
2. Start painting the Adepta Sororitas
3. Finish painting the Ossiarch Bonereapers kits that I have
4. Continue to paint up the Genestealer Cultists
5. Paint up the Tyranid models that are currently primed
6. Try to sort out the AdMech, Drukhari, Necrons and Chaos Marines, and other bits!
7. Start painting the new Tau army

Quite a modest list really, isn’t it?

So let’s take a look.

1. Paint more terrain
Well, I have made some efforts with the Galvanic Magnavent, which is built up in a differing configuration to the norm. Progress was fairly good at the start of the year, but I have barely touched it since. I think I do suffer a little with these big terrain pieces, because I don’t want to make them stand out too much, but equally I want to do a nice job on them, and getting the balance right has not been easy so far!

While I have barely painted any further terrain, I have been building all sorts. I’ve built up the Red Harvest terrain for Warcry; I’ve also built up the Defiled Ruins set. I’ve built up the terrain from Kill Team Nachmund and Kill Team Moroch, so have done nothing but increase the terrain backlog there!

I wonder if I’ll actually make good on this one…

2. Start painting the Adepta Sororitas
I have struggled with these girls so far. After coming up with a scheme for them, I promptly used it for my Tau army (more in a bit), and have kinda gone off the idea of painting the Sisters in the same way. For a while, I did consider just cutting my losses completely with the army and selling it off, and while I have moved away from thinking so extremely about it, those thoughts haven’t entirely gone away. The new Citadel paints announcement has given me pause on dumping the whole lot on ebay though, because I’m once again thinking about the white scheme that I was playing around with ages ago. I think potentially using some of those new paints could give some nice results, so I don’t want to make a final decision before trying them out, but for now I think I’m not really considering them as a project for 2022, if at all. I guess we’ll see how that changes, though!

3. Finish painting the Ossiarch Bonereapers kits that I have
I don’t think I’ve even taken them out of the wrapping! For a while, I was hoping to try Age of Sigmar with James, but I’m not sure if he still fancies giving it a go, so it’s all quiet on this front once again.

4. Continue to paint up the Genestealer Cultists
I haven’t painted anything for this army since December.

5. Paint up the Tyranid models that are currently primed
I haven’t painted up anything for this army, and much like the Sisters, I did consider offloading them at one point! However, I think I’m going to keep the army that I have, and will paint them up at some point. But again, like the Sisters, I don’t think this is a project for 2022 any longer.

6. Try to sort out the AdMech, Drukhari, Necrons and Chaos Marines, and other bits!
I think this is the one that has some of the best results so far! To start with, I am keeping the AdMech that I currently have. It’s around the 1000 points mark, although that doesn’t reflect the latest balance dataslate, but seems like it might be a fun army to try out and have. I haven’t done anything with my Drukhari beyond looking once more at the Wych Cult models I have (seems to be a ritual for January) and then putting them all away again. Necrons haven’t been touched, but Chaos Marines have had quite a lot of success, as I have finally finished painting the ten man Legionary squad, as well as the Sorcerer – so along with the Master of Possession, I have a nice start here! Furthermore, I have begun work on the two Greater Possessed, and I’m intending to finish off the ten-man Cultist squad that I’d started working on before I moved house three years ago. So that’s quite good progress, I think!

As far as “other bits” go, I have sold off the Blood Angels, so they are no longer a concern. I still have my Deathwatch, which I will likely keep the bulk of, if not all of them, but I’m intentionally not paying any more attention to those guys just now. I also have the Scions that I have flip-flopped over for so long now – earlier this year I did get them all out and had a look at everything, but they’re just such lovely models that I had to put them back again. I’m just not sure what I want to do with them, though…

I have not done anything more with Necromunda models, but I want to get moving with painting up more of them, as I love them so much. I haven’t yet bought into the whole Ash Wastes thing, but my local store still has a copy of the box on the shelves, and I’m being increasingly tempted by it – I think I want to know what this new thing for Kill Team is going to be first, of course! That Necromunda box is not cheap to be throwing a lot of money down for it, after all! Who knows, I might well end up getting it, as I do like the Nomads, and could possibly sell off the Orlocks, but I’m just not sure for now. I am, however, in the Necromunda mood…

There’s a lot more “other bits” to talk about though – more shortly!

7. Start painting the new Tau army
I’ve actually done really well with this one, as well! For the first few months of the year, I was really strictly painting Tau units, and have somehow come up with around 700 points of painted models so far. I’ve even played a game with them! Something seemed to happen around April though, firstly as the wheels seemed to come off a little as I started to paint my Chaos Marines, then I started to play different sorts of games, and my interest in 40k waned quite a bit. To get myself back into painting, I worked on some other projects, and have been slowly trying to get back into the painting groove, so to speak. I have quite a few units to paint, though, so I really ought to try and get back into them!

So, what have I been doing all year?!

Well, after my hiatus following the Tau run of painting, I have finished off ten Khorne Bloodreavers. I started to paint these guys last year, after a bit of an abortive attempt to get a Khorne army played in the summer of 2019. I started work on five of them, it took a long time to get even five done, but then the other five were painted in short order and here we are! Lovely stuff:

I have talked about Khorne before, but I think it’d be cool to have a small collection of these models painted. They take me back to the start of AoS, when I was really living the best hobby life, so even though I wasn’t into Khorne back then, it does bring back some fond memories! They’re also really nice models, with that tremendously Warhammer-y aesthetic of over-the-top spikes and muscles and skulls. It’s all just great, and I’m looking forward to getting more of these guys painted up! It’s not going to be a massive army, by any stretch, but I’m excited about it, so that’s half the battle!

Staying with Chaos, I’ve also finally started to work on the Exalted Seeker Chariot of Slaanesh, the model I fully built before realising I was going to make things ridiculously difficult for myself. It’s been languishing in painting limbo for years, but I’ve finally made some pretty decent headway with it recently, I think! Getting the steeds of Slaanesh colour scheme sorted was a big part of this, of course, but it’s turned out looking pretty nice, I think – painting the whole thing with Celestra Grey, then shading the mane with Drakenhof Nightshade and then using Apothecary White basically as a shade over the body. There’s something a little liquid about them, when you see them in the flesh, which I quite like – it’s like they’re a little weird, which I like. Perfect for Slaanesh of course, too!

Finally, I’ve painted these objective markers! I’ve had them hanging about for a long time now, I think I started to paint them last December or something. Well, here they are, finished! Not exactly the biggest of painting projects, and not exactly Golden Demon-standard, but they’re done, which is the main thing!

I’ve been building a great deal, of course – terrain, and kill teams. I feel a bit like I’m at the point now where I need to spend money on storage, which is never exciting to me! But so many of my miniatures now are just thrown into boxes of some sort, whether they’re painted or not – it’s not a good look, especially as I tend to be the one moving between locations! I think if I were hosting games at my home, then it might be a different matter as things could afford to be a little more precarious. But miniatures storage isn’t cheap, either, so I need to find something that I like and that will work for me.

There’s so much more to this hobby than just chucking dice and moving tiny plastic men around!