Monday, March 17, 2014

Imbrian Arts: Beer and D6s

A more unlikely band of adventurers has rarely been seen!
After being thoroughly impressed by Jody Siegel’s work on The King of Ghouls model from his Kickstarter campaign, I decided I needed to purchase a few more of his models. Having vocalized my fondness for the Blacksands Orc in my previous post, I knew that I wanted to add him to my collection. Additionally, I was intrigued by Jody’s take on the Basilisk (bipedal with multiple arms, wielding a sword) and wanted to see him in person. My third purchase was an unexpected and unmediated one: while on the Imbrian Arts website I noticed they had just released a new dwarf model, one holding a tiny shot glass aloft and sporting a drunken and joyful smirk! Looking into it a little deeper, I discovered the model is from a new project Jody has been working on in his free time, a skirmish game focused around drunken brawls, titled Beer and D6s. The concept immediately resurfaced memories of my time in 1998 playing Games Workshop’s Brewhouse Bash (White Dwarf 223), commanding drunken orks in fierce combat! With such fond memories in mind, I had to order the inebriated dwarf, as well!

The packaging for the Beer and D6s miniature line is top notch, coming with nicely printed inserts and a fun sticker!
Both the Blacksands Orc and the Basilisk were cast in a soft white metal instead of the resin seen in the King of Ghouls I received from the Kickstarter campaign. Never being too much of a fan of resin, I was actually pretty excited about the change of medium. I have found that the casting defects seen in metal are typically not as severe as those seen in resin casts.  Also, while resin is capable of holding finer detail, in my experience, few models have detail fine enough that they require resin. The level of detail on both the orc and the basilisk is really impressive. The orc for instance is laden with all manner of trophy heads, each wonderfully realized, their visages locked in the agony of their demise. The head held in the orc’s right hand is particularly well detailed with the remnants of the foe’s vertebral column shown and an array of individually sculpted teeth in its maw.  

Siegel captured a sense of bestial rage that so often is missed in orcs.
The detailing on the metal casts of the Imbrian Arts models are fantastic. Look at that severed head and all the tiny teeth (sorry for the terrible lighting…)!

The casts for the orc and the basilisk were reasonably good, but both contained some noticeable mold lines. Due to the softness of the metal, they were easy to remove and not too problematic. The basilisk is by far the most complicated Imbrian Arts model I have worked with, requiring you to glue on both wings and arms. I found the arms were a little tricky to position correctly, and even harder to pin together. After pinning and gluing on the basilisk’s arms I found that modeling putty work was almost essential to make everything look perfect.

When was the last time you saw a bipedal basilisk wielding a sword?! 
The dwarf was cast in resin like the King of Ghouls I had worked with previously. The cast of the model was a little worse than I was hoping for and had some pretty severe mold shifts on his right arm, necessitating the use of modeling putty (still a pretty easy fix though, provided you have some experience with greenstuff). Instead of the accustom round-lipped plastic base, the dwarf came with a small resin base modeled to look like floor boards (perfect for the bar room setting!). In addition to the actual miniature itself, the model came with two ‘Drunk’ dice that depict a drunken skeleton in place of the 6 (needed to play Beer and D6s).

Who would not want to throw back a few beers with this jovial fellow?
Having assembled the dwarf, I decided to spend a little time looking over the rules posted online for Beer and D6s. With only a precursory read through the rules, it is clear the game is still very much a work in progress, with many aspect not clearly or fully detailed. This is not too much of a problem though, because based on the comical and laid-back tone of the game, you can easily make up your own house-rules or interpretations. There are already a wealth of different ideas present in the game, including a handful of different character abilities and a humorous mishap table (“Whirlwind of ineptitude”, ha ha). Perhaps the most interesting aspects of the game is that it allows you to incorporate actual drinking of beer/alcohol on the part of the player. For every 1.5oz you drink (~ shot glass) you can heal one point of damage on your hero. Each time you heal your hero in this manner they must pass a constitution test. If failed, your hero replaces one of their attack dice with a ‘Drunk’ dice, which replaces the 6 side with a 0 (represented by an image of a sorrowful skeleton).

Each Beer and D6s hero model comes with two Drunk dice!
Each game takes place in a bar with the different hero characters for each player and a random assortment of other bar inhabitants, including local drunks and other non-player characters (monsters, mercenaries, city guard, etc). Your hero characters start the game in an active state, engaged in drunken melee. The other bar inhabitants start in an inactive state and are activated if they are struck or in some means brought into the fight. Players take turns activating models engaged in the brawl, including the active non-player characters. After all the active models have attacked, a new round starts and the combat continues until the last hero is standing (there are currently no win conditions, but the brawl itself is victory enough, ha ha)!

While the rules are still not entirely worked out, the website looks to be regularly updated leading me to believe that given time, the system will be fully fleshed out (it also looks like there will soon be a forum to ask rule questions). Based on the amount of work already on display in the game, from the collection of beautifully sculpted models to the great looking player aid material (stat cards, inactive player cut-outs), I am very excited to see where the project goes.  On a side note, with it being St Patrick’s Day, what better a thing to do then get together with some friends and roll some dice to enact a group of misfit heroes trying to drink themselves into a stupor and smash some bottles, as you slowly approach the same state yourself!

Having finished assembling the last of my Imbrian Arts models, I can’t help but want to order a few more, to better appreciate his interesting interpretations of classic fantasy archetypes.  It is exciting to discover all the wonderful little details he brings to each model.  As such, I am eager to see what he releases next in his Imbrian Arts line!

- Adam Wier


  1. "I am eager to see what he releases next in his Imbrian Arts line!"

    As are his gazillion kickstarter backers......... still waiting.

    1. Yeah, it has been a long long while since the kickstarter was successfully funded. I certainly was hoping he would be able to get most of the promised models out in a more timely fashion. At this point with Kickstarters I have come to expect that they very well could take much longer than their anticipated date.