Thursday, February 03, 2011

Mince Pies & Murder: An RPG Review

It was about a year ago now when I first came across 6d6 online. I don’t remember how I came across the site, but I was immediately attracted to the range of RPG-centric miniatures that are available there, being both a fan of miniatures and RPGs.

However, that was a year ago and a lot of changed for me in that time, but one of the highlights was meeting Chris from 6d6 when he kindly visited our group to GM a fantasy game using his prototype RPG rules. I was rather taken with the innovate mechanics of the system which whilst still needed work at that time, obviously had a lot of promise!

That was last summer, and having recently been fortunate enough to see a preview copy of Mince Pies & Murder – the first 6d6 RPG product that Chris is offering for sale, I am very encouraged to see that the 6d6 RPG has not stagnated and has evolved to embrace a lot of the promise I saw last summer.

As well as being a murder-mystery scenario, Mince Pies & Murder includes a copy of the 6d6 Ultra-Light rules - the core rules of the game, together with the adventure itself.  The adventure itself is well written, with a nice light-hearted dig at the detective sleuth genre and appears to be flexible enough to be able to be played more than once with the same group of players.  There is also plenty of solid, but not restrictive, guidance given to the prospective GM of the game that I believe should give confidence to any new 6d6 GM.

Player Characters in a 6d6 game are created from a deck of cards that represent different aspect of a character’s personality, physical nature, history, experience or their equipment. Actions are carried out by the player suggesting which combination of cards will allow them to carry out whatever is being attempted, and the adjudication of any more peculiar situations rely on the player explaining why that particular combination of cards will allow them to carry out the action they are attempting.  This is actually much easier to play than to describe in text like this and given that this is the first 6d6 RPG product, the examples of play given in the rules are clear and easy to follow and this I think is very important feature, since few people picking up these rules will have played a 6d6 RPG game before.

However, the very nature of the way in which a player’s deck of cards that form his character sheet work in order to perform actions means that it is probably a game that is only going to work with a group of players that are able to agree and get on when playing a game.  Of course, if you’re not in such a group, why are you trying to play any RPG!?

Nothing is left out of the adventure and Mince Pies & Murder event includes all of the cards that are required to run the sample player characters and to play the game – all that is required is to print them out and find a group of players to play with!

A final point I should cover is the cost of this new product, which is quite an adventure in itself! Chris has decided to offer this new product for whatever you want to pay, with a minimum of £1 to cover charges.  However, if you want to pay less than this, just wait a month, when Mince Pies & Murder will then be available for free!  Certainly an interesting experiment and one that I am very interested to find out the results – I guess we’ll just have to wait to see if Chris chooses to share the result of the experiment for free, too!

If you like either RPGs in general or innovative rules sets for games, then I would strongly recommend you head over to 6d6 RPG and getting hold of a copy of Mince Pies & Murder!

Prince Azalea.

Monday, March 22, 2010

If you see Norman, tell him!

Apologies for the hiatus, loyal readers! Been rather busy doing hobby and real-life things.  But only the hobby things are of interest here! :)

Specifically, I've recently assembled and primed 31x 40mm Old Glory Normans for the Old Glory Speed Painting competition that Sheffield Irregulars will be running at the Triples show in Sheffield next month! The Triples event is run by the Sheffield Wargaming Society and is on 17th & 18th April at the English Institute of Sport, if you're going to be in the area!

I'm really rather impressed with the figures themselves.  There was a bit of fash to clean off the five different bodies, three variant heads and four types of kite shield, but so much fash as to be annoying. Once they'd been cleaned up, they went together really quite easily with just a bit of superglue. If I was assembling them for myself, I think I might have pinned the heads, but since they're for a speed painting event, I'll take the risk as well as taking some superglue with me on the day :)  Overall they took me about three hours to assemble, although I was faffing about a lot as I was enjoying doing it. Could have done them in less than 90 minutes if I had been more focused!

The it was just a quick squirt with black primer - Boris insisted on black primer, since she's seen speed painting entrants repaint a figure with black before starting on their paintjob before now *faceplam*. They look pretty nice already and they're done and ready in plenty of time!

They're not quite as stable as I'd like them to be on their integral bases, so I think I might have to make up some simple larger bases for them using mounting board before the event. We don't want any of that great speed painting ruined by minis falling over whilst wet! :)

I'm not 100% sure which models this are as they were handed to be in a ziplock bag in a pub (an event that is becoming all too common!), but I think they are this pack on the Old Glory UK website

No photos of them, though - nearly three dozen figures just primed black do not photograph well!! So if you want to see them, you'll just have to pop along and say 'Hi!' at Triples and enter the competition yourself! :)  There will be six sessions of 30 mins, with five entrants in each one: four on the Saturday and two on Sunday morning,  Brushes and Paints will be provided - although make sure you come in plenty of time to get a seat!

The 31st figure I primed will be painted by Jason from Sheffield Irregulars in advance of the competition - although I think he plans on spending more than thirty minutes on his paint job, the dirty rotten cheat! :D

Hope to see you there!

Prince Azalea.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Black Pyramid's Tea Wars

I first stumbled across the Tea Wars site sometime in the autumn of 2009, but there was not much on there, except background information and some shots of the greens, but no actual figures to buy yet (as I remember it, anyway!).  So I was quite surprised a couple of weeks ago when the manufacturer posted to the thread I'd started on WaMP to my online friends about the neat ideas in Tea Wars. So, knowing the Tea Wars figures are now available, I made a test order from Black Pyramid, which I received at the weekend.

I'm quite impressed with the multipart figures - they're rather better than I was expecting. I've only had time to dry-fit the parts together, but they work pretty well and having seen pics other have assembled, I'm sure they'll go together no problem at all, as soon as I find some time! They do have that slightly chunkier style which is more preferred by wargamers than some of you highly skilled fine artists on WaMP and CMON ;)  But I think they'll be a great addition to my British VSF army.

The pins on the feet are a really good idea - especially when combined with the resin bases. Saves all of that time chopping down a slotta tab into a pin! I am pretty taken with the resin bases as well, because they've got detail enough to use as they are. But equally, they're not overly decorated and have plenty of space for fitting the figure and customising the base with extra grasses or bits without being constrained by what is already there. A great balance!

I should also mention the weapon packs, which are perhaps the best bits of all. I've got a something of a bits-box collection of weapons already, but these especially the auto-rifles and the special weapons, will definitely find their way into a number of different projects in the future! :D I'll certainly be using a number of the extra special weapons I ordered with some of my other British VSF figures as I expand my forces, and maybe even with a small 40k Imperial Guard force I've got in the planning stage.

Overall, as I think you've already figured out, I'm pretty impressed and am likely to order more Black Pyramid stuff in the future!

Friday, March 05, 2010

GMs Day Yesterday

Yesterday was two years to the day since the passing of Gary Gygax.  I should have posted yesterday about this, but in all honesty I spent my time after work doing gaming-related things. Which I think is the way it should be.

I don't think I really need to big up the influence that Mr Gygax has had on my life - there are lots of other blogs and web pages out there that do that a lot better than I can, but I would just like to encourage anyone reading this to play some kind of game in the next week - whatever it is!

As for me, two days ago I took part in a Call of Cthulhu adventure, yesterday evening I was building terrain boards for wargaming and role-playing. Tonight I shall be printing out and building card-stock scenery and this weekend I plan to try and talk my wife into a couple of games of Munchkin. I've also got a game of Warhammer 40,000 scheduled for the middle of next week.

The anniversary of Mr Gygax's passing is becoming known as GM's Day - a time to celebrate your GamesMaster or whatever you call the person that organises your games.  To celebrate this a number of publishers at RPGNow are offering 25% of their games. I should say I'm just a happy customer of RPGNow, not linked with them in any other way. I took advantage of the sale to fill up on some more card-stock PDFs from Fat Dragon Games and I'm really looking forward to building some of them tonight!

God Bless You, Mr Gygax, and I hope you're rolling in your grave in the best possible way! :)

Prince Azalea.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Games that help you Game

I've just finished writing a review of the Victory At Sea rules by Mongoose Publishing that I hope will be included in issue 4 of Irregular Magazine.

Whilst I do not want to preview that review here, I do want to say how impressed I am with a Victory At Sea in the specific of being a wargame rulebook that includes a comprehensive set of counters at the back of the book that can be photocopied.  This allows you to copy the counters, then dive straight in and give the rules a go without having to assemble miniature fleets in advance. Its a game that helps you game! I like any game that helps you play, rather some games you come across that seem to actively hinder your ability to play!

If you know of any other wargames that are as easy to get straight into, I'd be interested in hearing about them, if you'd like to comment.

Prince Azalea

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Super Tiny Speed Paint

I like to try and enter the Sheffield Irregulars monthly painting as often as I can as I think it has helped me improved my miniature painting, but circumstances have prevented me from doing so for the last few months. So, I was determined to enter this month; even having managed to select a suitable miniature for the current contest theme: 'Duel'. Other things just kept coming up, though, that I had to get done and it wasn't until I attended the Sheffield Irregulars session today that I could even start it!

Needless to say, undercoating a miniature after 1:30pm when the deadline for a competition is 6:00pm the same day is less than ideal. However, never being one to be deterred by adversity, I pressed ahead and at the end of the session about two hours later, I was pleased to see that I had just about finished the piece. Now, this is not quite as impressive as it sounds when I let you in on the fact that the miniature I painted is The World's Smallest Wargame which was the givaway miniature at the Newark Irregulars' 2007 Partizan show (previewed here). It was sculpted by Baccus6mm.

So, all I really painted were two 6mm tall wargamers and a suitably sized wargames table in a couple of hours. But you know what? I'm really pleased with the way its come out :) I hope you agree but go ahead and comment, whether you like it or not!

Prince Azalea

Saturday, February 27, 2010

When does 'many' become 'too many'?

I met up with a gaming friend last night who moved away from my city at the beginning of the year to study for an MSc. Apart from having a good chat and a catch-up over a cup of tea, he had decided that he needed to reduce the amount of things he'd left at his parent's house and wanted to pass onto me all of his 1/72 minis that he's collected over the years, because he knows I'll use them and play with them. Which, to be fair, is quite true.

Now that is quite a lot of 1/72 minis! I was flattered and pleased and of course I insisted he accept a fair amount for them to at least help a litle with his studies. I was also really quite pleased that when I got home my wife was already in bed and I was able to quietly secrete these minis in the garage!

But for those who are already familiar with how full my garage is (part 1 and part 2) I had to wonder if my garage could cope with this influx. After stending a few hours tidying up today, I now think my garage will be fine this time, but it got me thinking about how many miniatures are 'too many'? I have plans and projects for everything in my garage - and for everything that my friend passed onto me, too, now. But will there come a point where I will really need to do what he's done and cut down on my collection?

For now, I think the answer is no. But one day that day might arrive and how will I chose what to pass on?!

Prince Azalea