Make Your Own Game: The Game Crafter

I recently discovered a really excellent web site: The Game Crafter.

Here, you can do on-demand publishing of board games, while maintaining ownership of your creation. They have a selection of standard parts you can choose from, such as pawns, meeples, tokens, glass gems, and colored cubes. They also print and cut decks of cards, mounted game boards of certain sizes, and instruction books. Finally, they let you sell your game from their store, similar to the way a site like Cafe Press works.

I haven’t used the service or bought any games from them yet, so I can’t comment on the quality of the components they provide. However, as far as the price is concerned, this seems like an excellent way to get reasonably high quality cards printed, such that they are all an identical size (so you can shuffle them) and without running out of printer ink. The base prices seem like a manageable cost to build your own game and purchase a copy, but it seems like the margins would be really slim if you wanted to sell copies at a reasonable price.

I also discovered a similar site for books and authors: lulu.com. I’m no writer, so that one’s not as interesting to me.

French and Indian Irregulars

I painted up 12 more French and Indian War figures. These are the last of the figures I started painting in 2009.

The first two images are Dixon Miniatures 25mm French Coureurs du Bois figures that I got on clearance from Wargames Miniatures. I’ve read several descriptions (and even more spellings) of the Coureurs du Bois, and miniatures manufacturers seem to throw the term around a lot more than historians. My best estimate of the “real” Coureurs du Bois is that they were illegal trappers, “forest runners,” who didn’t actually play a large part in the war. However, most of the French soldiers in America during the war were born in Canada, and knew better than to wear bright white and blue wool coats unless absolutely necessary.


Given the few pictures I have of French soldiers in wilderness (campaign) gear, these guys seem to fit just fine. The only big question I have is the beards: soldiers typically seem to be clean shaven. I think a wider variety of coats would also be more appropriate.

The Dixon miniatures are comparable in size with the Old Glory 25mm figures. These are a lot pudgier looking, especially their “meatheads,” but they don’t look out of scale with the Old Glories. The facial figures are deep set and full of expression, which made detailing the faces very easy. A bit of the new GW flesh wash and some highlights and they’re ready to go.

These Indians are more of the Old Glory 25mm figures I painted earlier. For these, I tried to do most of the shading using a dark base coat and lighter highlights. I did the flesh and most of the colors this way, but I inked the white and tan leggings/moccasins.

For all of these French and Indian War figures, I much prefer painting the irregulars instead of the rank and file with identical uniforms. The effort required is approximately the same for me, but I much prefer the results of painting the more varied outfits.

Game report: Skirmish at Jumonville Glen

Family Game Night at Martine’s school was postponed due to weather, so we didn’t play the Jumonville game until last night. It went as well as I expected: successful, but very hectic with a group of 1st-4th graders.

The format of game night was basically a free-for-all: anyone could bring games and play with opponents they found, or borrow games from the school. My game was an oddball. I set it up and waited for people to walk up and decide to play. Lots of kids and a few parents and teachers were interested in the game before it started, and a handful of kids stayed to play.

When I started handing out figures and explaining the rules, there were 6 kids from 1st through 4th grades, Daniel, and me. I decided on 8 players worth of soldiers with the idea that Daniel and I could step out if anyone else wanted to join in.

People came and left a lot between the instructions and the first few turns. We ended up with 4 kids and three adults who pretty much stayed for the whole game, and a few kids who came and left.

The game itself went relatively well. It took maybe an hour and fifteen minutes including instructions. The French started at the base of the cliff, and the Virginians and Indians were at least a foot away. Early on, the battle was relatively even. Then the French got a long run of turns in a row, and did some real damage. We played until the bitter end: the last Indian soldier, dubbed “sniper,” took out 2-3 French before finally being shot for his last hit point

I learned a lot about running games for kids. First of all, most kids of this age don’t want to listen to instructions at all. I’m not sure whether it was a good idea to remove Blood and Swash’s “roll for your soldier’s ability scores” process or not. On one hand, it was some setup time that was avoided. On the other hand, it would’ve gotten the kids to do something while learning about their soldiers’ abilities, instead of just listening to me talk.

I think it might work best to set things up ahead of time, and introduce the rules by playing the first turn. Describing the rules to players who are just going to leave is a waste, and you’ll have to re-explain for people who walk up anyway.

I got a hint of another problem when playtesting with Martine, but it was more obvious with a group of kids. Kids have short arms, and they’re short. It’s not easy for them to reach figures in the middle of the table, especially without dragging their arms over all the terrain. The Blood and Swash games they play with kids at conventions did a great job solving this problem I didn’t know I’d have: the games are in a very small (1-2′ square) model bar room, with outside walls. The outer walls require kids to lift their arms high enough not to hit any of the contents of the game board. A ship’s deck model with railings on the sides might also work well for this.

The useful attention span of these kids was also only about an hour. Things can’t go on longer than that without losing steam.

As for the rules themselves: we ended up making some mistakes, though the players were mostly insulated from this. In an earlier playtest, I could never remember to tell players to activate 2 soldiers on face cards, so I didn’t even try to implement this rule last night.

The other big rules mistake I made was allowing charging into close combat without any bravery tests. I forgot this the first time someone charged, and so I skipped it completely from then on. It didn’t really make the game worse, but it was simpler and different: we had a lot more close combat than in playtesting. One tactic the “free charge” ended up allowing was leaving close combat to charge a different soldier in order to get the charge bonus for fighting. I didn’t have a rule that said you can’t leave combat, because most of the time it would not be beneficial to do that anyway… as long as you have to make a bravery test to charge again.

I had enough d20’s for all the players to use, and I said players could keep them if they stayed for the whole game. Obviously for most of the players who left in the middle, this wasn’t enough motivation. But I think there was one player who was staying on in the end only to get the free stuff. It’s probably worth doing this again, but I won’t have any expectation that it’s going to keep everyone playing forever.

I didn’t have any figure casualties, not even a bent musket. 3 of my trees broke off, but I mostly expected that; I’m surprised they didn’t break off earlier when adults were playing.

Overall I’m quite happy with how it went, and I’m really glad Daniel was there to help me herd the cats. Thanks! In the end, it was probably just an excuse to paint figures and terrain that seemed interesting, but we had at least 2-3 games worth of “playtesting” as well as one “real” game so that’s worth it. I’m not likely to try anything with more complicated rules at an open game night, at least until some of the players really show they’re interested in learning more.

The Slippery Slope: Later Achaemenid Persians

On the fanaticus forums, someone asked about building a BBDBA army (a triple DBA army from one army list and its allies) starting with the armies he already had. They just happened to have most of the same armies as I do, so I did some calculating.

If you have all of the Later Achaemenid Persian (II/7) options painted, a Skythian (I/43a) army with all the options painted, and one of the later Hoplite armies (II/5), then you have a great start on a double Persian army with Skythian ally for BBDBA. Reading the DBM lists, you can make a theoretically accurate army by using greek hoplites as mercenary spears, Skythian light horse as allied units within the Persian army, and Cretan archers (use Greek) for the Psiloi. Then
all you need to paint is a few elements of Cavalry and maybe more Psiloi to fill up the BBDBA army.

But… I have all those armies. That means I could do it too. And, I just happened to have a spare pack of Persian cavalry… and so my slide down the slippery slope began.

I painted two cavalry stands and the cavalry general I hadn’t painted previously. Around this same time, I started looking into Basic Impetus and Impetus. To field an Impetus army for the Persians, I’d only need a few more cavalry stands and a bit more Psiloi. So I bought a pack of archers, and painted the rest of my cavalry.

The four stands of cavalry in the rear are Chariot Miniatures (Magister Militum/Navigator Miniatures). The Cavalry general in front is from the Essex DBA army pack. The archers are also Essex figures.

Now… the archers give me more Psiloi than I need. If I use mercenary hoplites from my Greek army for the spear elements, then all I need to make a triple Persian army for BBDBA is another cavalry or chariot general and either scythed chariots or psiloi.

But once I have a BBDBA army for the Persians, who are they going to fight against? Clearly I’ll need to paint a second BBDBA army as an enemy. I chose Alexander the Great (II/12), because apparently I have a driving need to paint 48 more pikemen. Actually, if I paint a triple Alexandrian army, I’ll be able to morph it into about 5 other Alexandrian/Successor armies, and I’ll have enough figures to have some of the successors fight against each other in DBA. It’ll also get me enough figures for a substantial Impetus army.

Now I have both Persians and Alexandrians on order from Magister Militum, to round out the Persian army and triple my Alexandrians. I chose the figure packs myself instead of buying premade DBA armies, so I could tweak some of the options so they’re more useful in other armies.

Preview: Jumonville Glen, part 2 (rules)

As I said in my earlier post, I decided to base the rules for the Jumonville scenario on the Blood and Swash ruleset. However, there were some potential problems I wanted to address, and playtesting revealed some real problems to go along with the theoretical ones. The changes are significant enough that I think it’s safer to call the rules “inspired by” Blood and Swash and not based on them.

Blood and Swash uses a card-based activation system. Each turn, the game master draws one card from a standard deck of cards. If a black card is drawn, each player on one team activates a figure; if it’s red, the other team activates. Actions are moving, fighting, shooting, and “anything else you can think of,” in the basic game. Each character has attributes for its ability to shoot, fight, and so on. To see if your action succeeds, roll a 20 sided die: if it’s less than or equal to your applicable skill, you succeed.

The rules were written for pirate battles in a small, confied space. They emphasize doing creative things with the props available in the room, like rolling barrels of beer at the opponent or pulling the rug out from under their feet. The tight space compared to the number of figures makes the game fast paced and chaotic.

In order to emphasize this interesting chaos, guns are powerful but very slow. Reloading your gun might take 5 or more cards, and you can’t do anything else in the mean time. This might be okay in a bar fight, but in a shooting war it’s incredibly boring. The first change I knew I needed to make was to reduce the reload time; in fact, I got rid of reloading completely in the end.

Another aspect of Blood and Swash is that each player rolls dice to determine his figures’ skills at the start of the game. Players might end up crippled by one bad die roll at the start of the game. In a bar fight, this matters less: you can always punch someone if you’re no good at shooting. But the number of useful skills in a shooting skirmish is lower. I also wanted to reduce the game startup time, so I am predetermining each figure’s skills based on how the people acted in this specific skirmish historically.

Blood and Swash figures have a variable number of hit points, weapons have variable damage, and the skill checks use a “roll to succeed, the opponent rolls to prevent it” mechanic. Since the assortment of weapons is very limited compared to a pirate battle, I simplified this: all figures get 3 hit points, and each hit (shooting or hand-to-hand combat) does one point of damage. I adjusted the skill numbers to take into account the chance of an opponent preventing the action, to reduce the amount of die rolling.

In playtesting, I found what I feared: everyone walks within shooting range, starts shooting, and then there’s no incentive to ever move around. Without a rule to allow moving and shooting in the same action, static defenders get a huge bonus: they can often shoot first and can concentrate their fire on fewer figures within range.

To compensate, I added a new skill: Bravery. Whenever someone shoots at you, charges into combat, or charges into combat at you, you need to make a bravery check. If you fail, you run away (a full move away from the enemy, or at least moving out of line of sight). I also added a “move and shoot” action with a penalty to hit.

This made a huge difference: the game was no longer a static shooting match; instead, people were moving around a lot, like in the Pirate games.

To be fair: this rule system is not based on reality whatsoever. It’s intended to provide a fast, easy, fun, and hectic shooting skirmish.

The Rules: Skirmish at Jumonville Glen

By Alan Ferrency, 2009.

Figures and Skills

This is a skirmish scale miniatures wargame intended for 2 or more players controlling no more than 4 individually based figures each. It is not based on reality whatsoever, it’s just a game.

Players are divided into two teams: Red and Black.

Figures have several skills:

  • Shooting determines how likely the figure is to hit another figure when shooting
  • Fighting is how likely the figure is to hit another figure in hand-to-hand combat
  • Bravery determines how likely the figure is to get scared and run away
  • Save is the figure’s ability to take advantage of cover to avoid being shot

Each figure’s skills have a value from 1 to 20. To make a skill test for a specific skill, roll d20; the test succeeds if the result is less than or equal to the skill being tested.

Terrain and figures are deployed appropriately for the scenario being played. Enemies must start the game outside shooting range (12″) from each other. The game ends when one side has obviously lost (or no one is having fun anymore).

Turn Sequence

Each turn, one card is drawn from the top of a standard deck of playing cards. If it is Red, then all players on the Red team activate one of their figures. If it is Black, then all players on the Black team activate one figure. If a face card is drawn, each player on the appropriate team activates two different figures instead of one. (Note that each team might get multiple turns in a row, there is no problem with this.)

When a figure is activated, it can perform one of these actions:

  • Move up to 6″
  • Shoot at a figure within 12″ range
  • Move and then shoot
  • Charge at another figure up to 6″ away
  • Fight a figure currently in base-to-base contact

Actions

Movement can be in any direction or around corners. Figure facing does not matter.

To Shoot at an enemy, the closest parts of each figure’s base must be no more than 12″ apart, and the figures must be able to see each other. The active figure makes a shooting test: roll d20; if it is less than the figure’s Shooting skill, they hit the enemy. If the enemy is hit, and they are in cover (hiding in the edge of trees or behind an obstacle), they make a Save test. A successful save means the shot hit the cover and not the figure.

Keep track of which figures are hit: when a figure is hit three times, it is removed from play.

After a figure is shot at, whether the shot hits or misses, they must make a Bravery test. If the test succeeds, nothing happens. On failure, the figure must immediately move away from the enemy that shot them, either 6″ or until the figure is out of line of site of the shooter.

If a figure Moves and Shoots, they must move first and then shoot. The figure’s shooting skill is -2 for the shooting test when it moves before shooting.

In order to contact an enemy figure to fight them, a figure must Charge. Before charging, the active figure must pass a bravery test. If the test fails, the figure can’t move or shoot but still counts as activated this turn. The figure being charged must also make a bravery test. If this test fails, the charging figure moves 6″ towards the charged figure, and the charged figure runs 6″ away as well.

A figure that successfully charges also Fights on the same turn they charge, and receives a +4 to their fighting skill. To fight, the figure makes a fighting test, and success means the other figure receives one hit. There is no save test when fighting, and fighting figures don’t make bravery tests. Figures that are in base to base contact cannot be shot at by either side.

That’s all there is!

Here is my current version of the figure stats for the Skirmish at Jumonville Glen.

  • Virginians: shooting 8, fighting 8, bravery 12, save 10
  • Indians: shooting 7, fighting 10, bravery 14, save 12
  • French: shooting 8, fighting 8, bravery 10, save 10

I have half-page quick play sheets which we’ll use when actually playing the game. The rules are very simple in actual practice, but like all rules, understanding suffers when you read them without playing.

I’ve playtested this a few times by myself and once with Martine. It will work a lot better with only 2 figures per player, but even with me controlling all of the figures, I reached a decisive outcome within about an hour.

Preview: Jumonville Glen, part 1 (modelling)

In January, Martine’s school is having a Family Game Night. Being the miniatures gaming nerd that I am, as soon as I heard this was going on I decided to prepare a kid-friendly miniature wargame for that night.

I decided the rules in Big Battles, Little Hands would be a good place to start. This is a great sourcebook for introducing kids and their parents to the concept of miniature wargaming, and provides two simple sets of rules appropriate for ages 6 and up: Milk and Cookies, and Blood and Swash.

Milk and Cookies is named as a parody of “beer and pretzels,” a term used to describe light and easy games as opposed to picky detail-oriented ones. These rules are designed for fighting battles between fairly large armies. They’re primarily aimed at the Horse and Musket period (in the 1700’s-1800’s), but with some modifications they’ll handle anything from Ancient times up to modern times.

Blood and Swash was developed for pirates fighting swashbuckling barfights, so it’s best for a lot of players, a small number of figures per player, and a tight space. I thought a pirate fight might go over well, so I’d probably go with Blood and Swash and maybe build a few pirate ship decks to play on.

But then, I visited Fort Ligonier and learned a bit about the area’s local history. I had no idea I was living a mile or two from a French-Indian War battlefield. After a bit of reading, I decided it would be nice to work towards fighting the first few battles in the French-Indian War: Jumonville Glen, the Battle of Fort Necessity, and Battle of the Monongahela.

Jumonville Glen was the skirmish that pushed the French and British to war in America, and eventually across Europe as well, where the larger conflict is called the Seven Years war. A very young George Washington led a group of around 75 Virginians and Indians in an ambush against a party of 30-40 French at Jumonville Glen, and crushed them before they even had a chance to deliver France’s ulitmatum.

The scale of this fight lends itself to Blood and Swash. It’s a simpler ruleset than Milk and Cookies, and requires fewer figures: a bonus, since this is the first I’ve done with the French-Indian War.

I picked up a few packs of Old Glory 25mm French & Indian War figures: British (also suitable for colonial regiments), French, and Indians. I started with 8 Virginians, 4 Indians, and 12 French: enough for up to 12 players with 2 figures each… what a mess that would be if they’re all 6 years old! It also works out to 3 units for each side, in Milk and Cookies… not a lot, but a start.

The Indians were quite fun to paint! I’m happy with how well they turned out. The rest of the guys weren’t as much fun and didn’t turn out as well. The French white coats were the worst, but at least it’s giving me practice shading white.

Jumonville Glen has a cliff, where the French sought shelter during several days of rain before Washington ambushed them. I obviously needed to construct this distinctive terrain feature since it’s the centerpiece of the skirmish. I built it as a step hill with a cliff face, out of white styrofoam. This leans towards the “useful” side of the scale, in the “useful” vs. “pretty” compromise that all terrain features have; but it still looks good.

I already had all the trees necessary to make it look like Pennsylvania woods. The only construction left is painting and cutting a piece of canvas to use as a play mat under the terrain.

Obligatory complaints and self-deprecation:

I’ve been using a few Osprey books as references for painting these guys. I’m not sure the pictures in Monongahela are very accurate however, since they don’t match the text.

The Old Glory British Firing Line figures are not perfect for either the British or the Virginians, according to Osprey’s images; but they’re close enough to pass for either of them. The French are missing their characteristic cartridge case, and instead have the same bag the British are carrying. I have no clue if the Indians are right or not, but they look cool, and that’s important.

The worst flaw here is my selection for the colonial troops. The Virginians didn’t get uniforms at least until several months after Jumonville Glen, so they were dressed in their own civilian militia clothing. However, since I want to use these figures later in the war as well, I’m willing to compromise. I’d be surprised if anyone (other than Daniel) points this out at game night anyway.

To help increase the number of troops for later battles, I got some Dixon French-Indian war figures on clearance. They’re labelled as “coureurs de bois,” illegal trappers, but they’ll pass as Canadian-born French for use at Fort Necessity and later. I have 8 of those and 4 more Inidians ready to paint now.

In my next update I’ll go over the rules changes I’ve made to Blood and Swash in order to make this a playable and interesting game.

Seas, Still Uncharted

I’ve finished painting a bunch more figures that I need to add pictures for. Most recently, I completed these additional ships for Uncharted Seas.

In the rear is another Battleship. In the middle is a squadron of 3 cruisers, and in the front is a Dragon Carrier.

Most of the ships are following my previous paint scheme very closely. I altered the specific colors used to dry brush the sails slightly, and darkened the ballistae somewhat, but it’s otherwise the same.

I wasn’t sure how I wanted to paint the topside of the Carrier. I’m not sure what the surface detail represented. I settled on a green that could be interpreted as dark weathered copper. I’m a bit surprised the colors go well together, because now I have a yellow-green, blue-green, blue, and yellow-orange on the same piece.

Frank and I haven’t had a chance to play Uncharted Seas again yet, but we have an ocean to play on now: I painted the other side of my outer space terrain board blue.

I’ve received the Firestorm Armada ruleset, also from Spartan Games, but I haven’t started reading it yet. I’m underwhelmed by the models. They’re probably much more impressive in person, since they’re upwards of 6″ long and very hefty. But they don’t make me want to paint them. If we play the game at all, we will most likely use our Battlefleet Gothic ships, or I might find some Battlestar Galactica ships to fight with.

Ringmaster

Ringmaster is an Italian circus game. Actually, it isn’t: it’s a freely available, print-and-play, vaguely Lord of the Rings themed strategic wargame. It is Italian, though; or more accurately, originally written in Italian and then translated into English.

I was in the mood for a multiplayer wargame this past weekend, but don’t have any suitable titles on hand, so I looked for a Print and Play option. I found Ringmaster on the Print and Play blog, and printed it up.

I printed the board on photo paper (4 sheets; Marla bought a ream at Costco so I don’t mind using a few sheets) and mounted it on foam core. It isn’t perfect, but it came out really nice. The art and finish quality are a lot better than many low-budget store bought games. The cards are worse: they’re printed on plain cardstock and stuck into card sleeves so they can be shuffled more easily. Coincidentally (probably not) the 6 army colors used in the game match the 6 armiy colors in my old thrift store era Risk game, so that worked out well for the army pieces.

The game is completely card based, and uses no dice. During play, it looks a lot like Risk, but it’s more fun and not nearly as painful.

On each turn, first you can cast magical spells or use artifacts (cards). Then move armies from one or two adjacent territories to as many other territories you want. Any territory with more than one player’s armies has a fight. Finally, you get troop reinforcements and new cards based on the number of territories you hold, and it’s someone else’s turn. The first player to get 10 victory points (gained by taking other players’ territories, but not from holding your own) wins.

Combat is card based. The non-magic cards all either add combat value to the number of troops you brought to the fight, or modify combat values in some less direct way (removing defensive bonuses or nullifying the enemy’s cards). Whoever has the biggest number wins, and the loser loses troops equal to the difference.

The rules are easy and straightforward, but they do have a few questionable points. Unfortunately the author only speaks/writes in Italian, there are a few problems in the translation, and no FAQ is available. (We were entertained by “Take a card from an opponent casually,” where “casually” was clearly meant to be “randomly.”)

Theoretically the game should take about 2 hours to play, but it was our first time so it took us 3 hours. Somehow we often take a long time with wargames. We must think too hard or talk too much.

Ringmaster is quite a good light strategic level wargame. It has only a low to moderate feeling of randomness, due to the card-based combat. You have your cards before you decide to attack, which helps immensely, as I predicted in a previous blog post about randomness. There felt like a bit of a “runaway leader” effect, but it was mostly manageable by ganging up on the leader (although Frank won in the end anyway: no dice!) The end game is very much unlike Risk, luckily. Since you only need 10VP to win and not “everything on the board,” the game ends before it gets boring.

We played the “basic” version of the rules instead of the “advanced” version, and the Middle Earth theme is very light. You’re playing on a strategic map of Middle Earth, but there is almost no other thematic flavor to the cards or rules. Apparently the Advanced rules help that somewhat, by at least allying the forces of Good and Evil on separate teams, among other things.

This game totally hit the spot on Saturday, and I look forward to playing it again. It was a great deal more fun than dying at the hands of the orcs and dragon on the first turn of Wizard’s Quest.

DBA Army II/2: Mountain Indians

Here’s my latest DBA Army: Mountain Indians, II/2. According to the DBA army book, these guys were an enemy and an ally of the Alexandrian Imperial army (II/15), and an enemy of the Skythians (I/43a). They’re also an enemy of the early Seleucids (II/19a), which I can morph my Alexandrian army into.

The figures are 15mm Museum Miniatures, and are available in a DBA army pack. I painted everything except for the 2LH General element. The figures are slimmer and shorter than my Essex guys. The horses are downright pinheaded. I haven’t stood them up next to each other yet but I think these guys will look tiny. The quality of the sculpting is good overall, but their faces look somewhat uninspired, with mere suggestions of eyes. I quite like the bows.

My only complaint with the army pack itself is that there was no clear way to distinguish either the Elephant or the Light Horse as a general element. The Elephant came with a parasol, but nothing obvious to mount it on and no general-like riders. The light horse figures were all identical.

According to the DBM army list book, the Mountain Indians armies represented by this army list are various tribes living in the mountains in the corner of what is now Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. I’ve been unable to find much information about these people, so I’m not sure whether the sculpts are accurate.

This was a fun army to paint, for several reasons. As I’ve said before, I’m getting a bit sick of painting clown suits, so this was a welcome change of pace. These simple solid color outfits are a lot easier to shade with dry brushing and layering instead of ink.

This is the first time I’ve painted dark-skinned humans, and I think it turned out pretty well. I’ve seen Mountain Indians painted anything from “got a bit of a tan last weekend” to “how much more black can it get?” and even a few “wow, that’s way too pink to be human.”

I’ve also been unable to find much information on what color their clothes should be painted. General recommendations seem to be to use readily available dye colors of the time, with their trousers in “your favorite color of off-white.” The freedom of not worrying so much about whether I’m getting it right makes it a bit more fun.

Their shields were apparently faced with cow hide, and so most painters use a holstein-like spotted color scheme. I’m not sure that makes any sense: were holsteins available in ancient India? I’d expect something boring and brownish, but the spots look a lot better.

This army was also very fast to paint, but it exercised some techniques I hadn’t used much lately. Unfortunately the photographs didn’t turn out well, they aren’t focused properly.

With 4 Auxilia and 4 Psiloi, I’m not entirely sure how this army is supposed to stay alive. I guess we’ll just have to try it out and see. I expect I’ll take a little break from painting DBA armies, but hopefully I’ll get some time to play them instead.

Even More Mordheim

Apparently, at some point I became a much faster painter than I used to be, without getting any worse at it (in fact I might even be better). I’m not sure when that happened, but the “how” probably has something to do with doing a lot of painting, instead of finishing fewer figures more meticulously. Practicing the same techniques many more times makes me both faster, and I’d say slightly better, than I was before.

In any case, here are some more figures I’ve painted since I finished the Later Achaemenid Persian army.

First is a group of Middenheimer bowmen, for Mordheim. I already have crossbowmen, but crossbows are really expensive in Mordheim, and of course the only figures I’ve ever had die after a match are the crossbowmen. Now that I have bowmen instead, the crossbowmen are guaranteed not to die for fear of being replaced with cheaper minions!

These figures are Games Workshop Empire Bowmen. I would have gotten a box of the men-at-arms, but they didn’t have any, and these are close enough. They’ll add a bit of variety to the warband. I painted the blue and green a bit lighter, with lighter highlights instead of darker shadows.

Next up is a Sister of Sigmar. This is another Mordheim figure, a metal casting. I got about 5 of these in a big box of bits from a Games Worksop bits sale. Andy is painting a Sisters of Sigmar warband, so I decided to paint a duplicate of one of the figures to demonstrate the techniques on the same figure he’d be working on.

Andy chose the color scheme. I wouldn’t have used this blue, but it turned out a lot better than I expected. In these pictures it seems to almost glow, it’s a lot brighter than in real life. I need to work on my inking technique on these larger figures, I often end up with a mucky, messy look instead of good shading (see around her leg). After really messing up the blue with ink, I redid it. Now it’s shaded by hand with multiple layers of similar colors to build up the gradient.

I have no idea what I’m going to do with this figure. Truthfully, there are some much nicer Sisters of Sigmar figures, I wish I had five copies of those instead of this one.

At this point, Andy has tracked down at least one of every Sister of Sigmar ever made, as far as we can tell. He’ll have plenty of options for building a warband; not that Sisters give you many options anyway: “Would you like one hammer, or two hammers?” Painting up the warband should give him plenty of time to decide whether he actually wants to continue painting or not.