Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Musing about Malifaux: Campaign play and a shift in model design

Shifting Loyalties
Long time readers of this blog will know that we have been very impressed with the skirmish-based miniature game of Malifaux, primarily due to the simple yet evocative system of using cards to replace dice (expanding the possible outcomes). The Victorian horror/western theme is also pretty unique, allowing for an incredibly varied cast of characters.  The emphasis is on characters here, because all of the models are well-developed, with flavorful abilities and wargear (at odds with the increasingly streamlined 40k).  In the last few months, however, other projects and the lack of exciting model releases on Wyrd’s part (more on this later) have kept me from being too involved with Malifaux.  This looks like it might change for me, with their newest rules expansion, Shifting Loyalties.  For a little while now, I have been desiring to play a good skirmish-miniature game with role-playing elements, something akin to Necromunda or Gorkamorka.  The thought of learning (or relearning) a rules system can be a bit daunting at times, so I was pleased to discover that Shifting Loyalties layers some simple rules on top of the general Malifaux ruleset to support progressive campaign play.  Having now read through the rules in the new book, I figured that I would give you some of my impressions of it!

Kingdom Death: Marred by Misogyny?

Miniature-based wargaming has long been a male-dominated hobby, one that has partially been kept that way by the portrayal of women in many of the games (well-endowed and often scantily clad women in provocative poses, etc...). Anyone who has had any involvement with the hobby can doubtlessly come up with plenty of examples of this, but today I want to touch on one of the newer offenders, Kingdom Death. After over 2.5 years since being successfully funded on Kickstarter, the base game for Kingdom Death: Monster is finally in the hands of the over 5000 project backers. For those unaware, Kingdom Death: Monster is a survival horror boardgame which puts you in control of a band of human survivors awakening in a nightmarish realm of endless night, beset on all sides by cohorts of horrid creatures. The imaginative and unsettling creatures that populate the game take heavy inspiration from Kentaro Miura's fantasy-horror epic, Berserk (Bruticus over at Ex Profundis has an excellent compilation of artwork from  the manga if you are interested). To complement this unique theme, all of the survivors and monsters have been skillfully realized in game terms as finely detailed miniatures. The theme and accompanying miniatures would have been enough to support a successful Kickstarter campaign (back in late 2012, Kickstarter was not as inundated with miniature games). However, one of the primary things used to promote the game were "pin-up' versions of many of the human survivors. All of these pin-ups are female, generally very sparsely clothed, and often in suggestive poses. Just a glance at some of the concept art for these pin-ups should give you a good idea of what I am referring to:

Monday, September 21, 2015

Putrid Blightkings: Death Guard Terminator Conversion 3 Finished

Death to the False Emperor!
With the first two Deathguard terminators completed, I was down to a single model to complete. For each of the others, I explored different aspects of Father Nurgle, from the corroding smoke stacks and boney spikes of the first, to the bloated corpulence of the second.  With the third Death Guard terminator, I decided that I wanted to explore another iconic aspect of the XIV Legion, the Deathshroud. The Deathshroud were chosen from the elite of the Death Guard Legion, and served as bodyguard for their Primarch Mortarion. Each member was suited in terminator battle plate and carried a two handed power scythe known as a Manreaper. Additionally each was equipped with a wrist-mounted flamethrower fueled with potentent chem munitions. I was never very impressed with Forge World’s Deathshroud offering, finding them very plain with oversized scythes, so I set about trying to make something more to my liking (with the added benefit of mine being post-Heresy, when they fully embraced Nurgle).

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Putrid Blightkings: Death Guard Terminator Conversion 2 Finished

Their number grows...

After the success of finishing my first Death Guard terminator, I was excited to start working on the others, and see what Nurgle elements I could explore.  For this second Death Guard terminator, I really wanted to show a warrior who has been blessed by Father Nurgle, a bloated and corpulent warrior, nigh on bursting from the seams of his armor. I am happy to report that the 2nd Death Guard terminator is finished and awaiting paint.