Sunday, 31 January 2016

You Are Not Evicting Time: Attack Wing Playing, Sherlock Holmes Impersonating & Doctor Who RPGing

 So, what nerdy business has been happening with The Quail and Sister Superior of late?  What have I been doing, apart from presumably continuing work on my ruined buildings?

Well, a week or two ago the two of us went round to visit Kenny who had invited us over to play Star Trek Attack Wing.  Sister Superior was a little nervous about this - her patience holds out for board and card games but full on wargames can sap at her a little.  Still, Attack Wing is kinda Kenny's bag so along we went for one of several nerdy gatherings I've had in recent weeks.  Below you'll find some rambling on Attack Wing, a Sherlock Holmes board game and my latest RPG shenanigans.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Blast From The Past: White Dwarf 68 and 74

"Bruce Springsteen, Madonna / Way Before Nirvana / There Was U2 And Blondie / And Music Still On MTV"

The summary post about last year's blogging revealed to me that one of the most popular topics with you guys is my White Dwarf retro-reviews.  As interesting as you might find me wittering on about playing wargames and roleplaying games now, you are apparently far more interested in me wittering on about how people were playing wargames and roleplaying games back in the day.

Well, hold onto your butts, True Believers, because a trip to my friendly local games store a few weeks ago turned up some fun things in the bargain bin.

From Left To Right; White Dwarfs 68, 74, 82, 83 and 92.

These are earlier than some of the White Dwarfs I have owned before - we're in 1985 for the first one, at a point when Warhammer Fantasy Battles exists but wargames are still a minority pursuit amongst GW's products.  Instead they are principally a seller of role-playing games, board games and metal figures - many of which are aimed more at roleplayers than wargamers.

Even then, though, some grognards would call this "past the golden age".  Unearthed Arcana, a supplement full of additional rules for 1st Ed AD&D including the first serious collection of new PC races and classes had been released: and with it some believe power creep entered the system for the first time.

Anyway, let's bust open the first two issues and see what catches our eye.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

This Fantastic Voyage: Or, How I Ran David Bowie Themed RPG Sessions

One of the first CDs I ever bought with my own money. Possibly the first, actually, I can't quite remember.

The big cultural event of Januarywas the passing of David Bowie, something I doubt you missed.  Social media can already be a bit of an echo chamber for major news stories – every celebrity that dies suddenly prompts all your friends list to talk about how it’s a punch to the gut, they were close to tears, good night sweet prince etc.  Then again, it doesn’t even take major news stories – the slightest drop of snow in Glasgow (which is not a rare event in January) and Facebook is on fire.

Which is kinda ironic, really.  You see, snow and fire and…. Oh never mind.

Still, this one is perhaps a bit different because the big boy news dedicated large chunks of coverage to him.  He meant different things to different generations, producing albums and singles in the 60s right through until the end of his life.  He was a big inspiration to a bunch of other media types – it’s hard to imagine how you’d end up with Marilyn Manson or Lady Gaga without Ziggy Stardust.

Amongst my generation and in particular the geeks & goths of my generation, he is perhaps remembered less for his 60s/70s musical achievements and more for his acting.  I’m not sure he himself regarded these performances very well but for people of my age he is associated with several odd turns in genre cinema.  My Facebook was a sea of picture of Jareth the Goblin King from Labyrinth, a cult classic movie which as a child I insisted we rent from the video store many times, while the more hardened mistresses of darkness were posting his turn as a vampire from the super-sexy The Hunger.  You might even get people reminding you that he also managed to fit Pontius Pilate, Nikolai Tesla and a drug-addled alien into his repertoire, though they seemed rather thin on the ground – seriously, people, has no-one here seen The Last Temptation of Jesus Christ?

"We'd have probably done the same to you, if you'd come 'round our place. "

You will have seen a thousand tributes to this man in the last week, many of which will have been repetitive in the extreme.  I will therefore will be posting something of a rather different flavour.  A long and meandering story, true, but not one you’re likely to have heard anyone else tell you.

This is the story of how David Bowie inspired my roleplaying and how I managed to run not one but two adventures inspired by his music.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Beware The Savage Yaw Of 1984: A Bearded Quail Birthday

Being born in 1984 does rather give your birthday a sinister edge.

Wednesday 13th January marked the anniversary of my birthday.  I have now leveled up and become a 32 year old Quail: I’ve gained a couple of ranks in some skills, though I think I’m doing poorly when it comes to ageing rolls to Endurance.

This being the sort of blog this is, you aren’t going to care too much about what I had for a birthday dinner or if I plan any sort of friend gathering.  You probably don't even care about any deep personal trauma I'm having about turning 32 and OH MY GOD I'M STILL A WASTE OF SPACE WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE.

"I think I can just about see my mid-life crisis from here"

What you are going to care about is whether I’ve received any gifts which fall into the nerdy purview of this blog.  You know, stuff to do with wargaming or roleplaying or what have you.

The answer to that question, unsurprisingly, is Yes”.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Hunger City - New Warhammer 40K Terrain, Part 1

Grown Inside A Plastic Box

If you’re anything like me, your house ended up filled with a lot of packaging material over Christmas.  All that online shopping for gifts to give produces a lot of cardboard boxes, then of course the actual gifts you receive also sees you gaining a whole bunch of packaging material of a cardboard, polystyrene and plastic nature.  In my case this was compounded by the need to buy a new computer monitor – my old one had been a bit spotty for a while but finally died on Boxing Day, necessitating a trip out to town and adding to the packaging pile..

For a normal person, this waste is annoying Christmas detritus which forces you to try to puzzle out which of your many bins is the correct place to put it all.  Can you recycle this?  Does it needs to be torn up first?  When are they collecting the bins next, anyway, with all the holiday stuff going on?  Especially when one lives in a block of flats and has shared bins with other families there can become a bit of a war over who gets their stuff outside first, lest it be forced to pile up in your kitchen bin.

Just Gonna Have To Be A Different Man
...And After

Normal, however, is not a word often used to describe George Francis Ninian Quail.  No, when I see cardboard and polystyrene I don’t think “This needs to go in the bin”.  I don’t think, “How many forests have been chopped down to pay for this wintertime capitalist orgy of spending.”  I don’t even think, “What would monostyrene look like, anyway?”

 Instead I think, Fantastic!  Let’s get some simple scratch-building on the go!”

Sunday, 3 January 2016

2015: A Year In Review

Main hobby regret of the year - I didn't get my hands on this.  As far as I'm aware it still isn't available in PDF.
Another year is over, one in which I started strong then flailed a bit.  Still, that doesn't mean isn't appropriate to do what I did last year and summarise my year of nerdity.

A year in which the BEARDED Quail finally got to play with his bearded figures

We're going to look at how many figures I've painted; how many games I've played and won/lost/drawn; and which of my blog posts have been most popular. 

Friday, 1 January 2016

Fimir vs Chaos Dwarfs - A Kings of War Battle Report and System Review

Remember them?  From all the way back in post four?

 The entire reason this blog is called The Bearded Quail is because I founded it to catalogue my painting and gaming for wargames, of which the two new armies I wanted to start were Squatrs for 40K and Chaos Dwaarfs for Warhammer Fantasy.  Although I've blogged a lot about my Emperor's Children Chaos Marines, I had painted so much of them that I expected they'd take a back seat.

As it happens it didn't quite work out that way and few if any beards have been painted by this quail, and none of have been played.

Now, cue the Jeremy Clarkson voice while I say... UNTIL NOW!

Priestly Paul invited me to his pad on the 30th December to play Kings of War, the game of fantasy battles made by Mantic.  (They of Dreadball fame.)  A Kickstarter recently brought a new updated version of these rules to the world and the local gaming community in Glasgow seems to have taken to it - certainly there's a few players at G3 who are into it.

The rules and supporting miniatures line are very clearly written as a fertile ground for Warhammer-proxy armies.  The Dwarfs, Elves and Humans have clear analogues to their Warhammer equivalents, though that isn't hard as they are such generic fantasy armies anyway. The more obscure races still map across though: the Salamanders for Lizardmen, The Herd for Beastmen, The Empire of Dust for Tomb King Undead.

Of particular relevance to us though ars the Abyssal Dwarfs who are of course a Chaos Dwarf proxy.  Most of the key elements of the Games Workshop version can be found here, though Mantic have some of their own twists - such as the demonic Gargoyles fast support or the scorpion-like sorcerer model.

Best known for their appearance in Heroquest

Paul would also be using the rules to enable a sort of proxy-playing.  He has some models for Fimir, a fairly obscure 80s Warhammer element that was never very popular back in the day but has a bit of a cult following.  Using the army list for the Varangur - essentially the Warriors of Chaos expy - he statted up an equivalent army so our two Warhammer cast-offs could finally do battle.

Set-up on his 8' x 4' table.  I am on the table closest to the left hand side, all red and green (and some unpainted plastic)

With a 1,500 point army assembled from each side (though mine needed some donations from Paul's unpainted collection to get it up to snuff) our game began.  Set-up is done one unit at a time so we had time to see and react to the arrival of our opponent's forces.  I went for my heavier hitters, the varying kinds of Golems, on the "east" flank (closest to right hand side on above picture) while the left flank was a light smattering of "Slave Orcs" and some flamethrower support.   Paul went the reverse - his heavier hitters took the "west" flank, while the fast but weak forces took the "east flank"

The bulk of both armies took the central section, James the Death Engine acting as a rocket launcher and taking a view of the middle of the battlefield.

So how did things go down?