Batrep: Orks vs. Ultramarines (1314 pts)

So, it’s been far too long since we’ve played 40k—mostly because our regular game night has gotten a little more diverse in those attending, and we’ve been playing more board games and the like. Anywho, with a drought of 40k, Brandon and I decided to throw down on a Thursday night instead. For lack of a better idea, we decided the points value to be 1314 (in honor of Pi day—the day we decided to schedule the game)…

Brandon’s Merk Army

  • IMG_0169HQ:
    • (warlord) Big Mek w/ Da Finkin’ Kap, ‘eavy armor, Kustom Force Field, Bosspole & Big CHoppa
    • Weirdboy (level 2)
    • Painboy
  • Elites:
    • 11x Burna Boyz in Trukk w/ Reinforced Ram
  • Troops:
    • 20x Shoota Boyz w/ 2x Big Shootaz, plus Boss Nob w/ Klaw & Pole
    • 20x Shoota Boyz w/ 2x Big Shootaz, plus Boss Nob w/ Klaw & Pole
    • 11x Boyz
  • Fast Attack:
    • 4x Deffkoptas
  • Heavy Support:
    • Deff Dread w/ Grot Riggers
    • Deff Dread w/ Grot Riggers
    • 3x Kanz w/ Grotzookas

After the fact, Brandon realized that he didn’t actually pay for the shootas on his boys, but that’s not what he fielded. Technically, he went over in points a bit, but I’m not sure it was at all decisive in the outcome, and it certainly wasn’t intentional. He gets a pass on that. Personally, I was happy to see he didn’t have a Warboss (those guys are plain nasty for the points cost), and figured I could address most everything in the list without too much trouble. Continue reading

Travel Games – Part 2

Ok, in my last post, I mistakenly said that I’m reviewing these in the order that I’d purchased them, but I apparently have the order reversed.   Since I purchased both sets of games within a week of each other, that seems an honest enough mistake.

Anywho, last time I reviewed Coup, Bang! (the dice game), and Mr. Jack Pocket.  In this post, I’ll be reviewing the final three games that I’d purchased: Zombie Dice, Hive Pocket, & Love Letter.  Again, the titles of each of these is a link to the BGG website entry for the respective game:

Zombie Dice

ZombieDiceOh wow, I lied earlier.  I said that I’d never even heard of any of the six games I’d purchased, but I did watch Will Wheaton play this game on Table Top.  Doh… Well, at least I’d never played it before.

This game is fairly quick and mindless.   The premise is that you’re a group of zombies, trying to collect brains and avoid being blasted by shotguns.  The first one to collect thirteen brains wins.

The game is a dice rolling, press-your-luck sort of game.  Each die contains some number of faces with brains, shotgun blasts, and scampering feet (indicating an escape).  You want collect brains, avoid shotguns, and the scampering feet just need to be rerolled.  There are three colors of dice (green, yellow, & red) that are increasingly harder to get positive results on.

Each turn, you roll three dice and try to collect brains.  At any time, you can stop and keep the brains you have rolled, or continue pulling new dice (adding them to any escapees to add up to three dice) and continue rolling.  If at any time during your turn, you’ve rolled a total of three shotgun blasts, you end your turn, forfeiting any brains collected that turn.

There isn’t much strategy in this game, other than figuring out when it’s best to press your luck and when you should stay put.  As a result, it was good for some mindless fun, but I don’t foresee me playing this all that much in the future.  However, if strategy games aren’t really your thing, and you just want to have fun rolling dice around the table, this is probably a good pickup for you.  I just don’t think it’ll get much play in my house.

Hive Pocket

Hive PocketThis is called the pocket version of the game because it’s smaller than the original, but is (apparently) otherwise unchanged.  It consists of 26 hexagonal tiles (reminiscent of Ma-jong) each with different insects on them (ignore the fact that some have spiders on them).

The object of the game is to encircle your enemy’s queen with your various pieces, each of which moves differently–so it remind me a lot of chess.  Like in chess, the queen (a la King) moves only one space per turn, and can easily get cornered in.  You have to use your other pieces creatively to block your opponent’s tiles to prevent being “check-mated.”

I’m not sure I can do justice to how the various pieces move, but I’ll try:

  1. Queen – Moves one space per turn
  2. Spider – Moves exactly three spaces per turn
  3. Grasshopper – Hops directly over all pieces in a line
  4. Ant – Moves to any available exterior space
  5. Beetle – Moves one space–can move on top of other pieces to prevent them from moving

The pocket expansion also comes with the Mosquito (clones nearby pieces) and the Ladybug (moves three spaces, two on top and one down), but we never played with them.

The similarities to chess and the fact that the game consists entirely of hard plastic pieces (and therefor could be played poolside) made this a fairly popular game.  At first, I wasn’t very thrilled by it, but after a while, I took a shining to it (and it eventually rekindled my interest in Chess during the cruise as well).

I’m surprised at how simple and fun it is.  If you like chess, you’ll probably like this game as well (though why not just play chess?  I s’pose because this game is far more portable).  If you don’t like chess, you might still like this game, as everyone in our group seemed to enjoy it to varying degrees.

Love Letter

Ok, this game is ridiculous.  During my review of Coup, I’d slandered a game that had only a deck of five different cards and a stack of coins.  This game contains a deck of 15 cards containing a total of 8 different options (some of which are as simple as “if you discard this card, you are out of the round”).  And that’s it.

LoveLetterWell, there is a bag of wooden cubes to keep score, but you could just as easily do that with a pad of paper.

The thing is, the game is ridiculously fun.  It easily stole the hearts of the group I was playing with (although that might have had something to do with the fact that the 8-year old loved princesses too).

The premise of the game is that you’re all suitors of the princess, and you need to get your love letter to her.  At the end of each round, the player with the highest scoring card (ie. the person closest to the princess) gets their love letter turned in and wins the round.  The first to four points wins the game.  Each turn, you draw one card (so you have two in your hand) and discard one of them to play it–following the directions on that card.

That’s it.  The cards are all fairly straight-forward (although we did have an issue with the Handmaiden on the first play-through before we realized that she only affects you).  It’s so very basic and has a silly premise (at least to us nerdy-gamer guys), but it plays quickly and fun, has a lot of randomness, but also a good deal of strategy.  It was very easily understood by everyone who played it, and we all enjoyed it immensely.  I definitely see myself playing this one again in the future.

So, there you have it.  In total, I  bought six games for the trip–all of which were relatively fun.  I’m really happy with my investment and, if after reading these two posts you still want to buy any of these games, I’m sure you’ll be happy with your purchase as well.


Travel Games – Part 1

So, on my recent vacation, I was separated from all things gaming for almost two weeks.  The good news is that I was taking a trip with some friends of mine that do play board games, including one that plays 40k (for longer than I have, if you can believe that)–who, coincidentally, was the one that pointed out the good ship Ultramar.

Anywho, before the trip, I went ahead and purchased a few travel friendly games.  I didn’t bother to play any of them in advance so that I wouldn’t have any sort of advantage.  In total, I purchased six games, exactly none of which I’d ever played (or really even heard of) before.  To avoid buying duds, I spent some time researching travel board/card games online (mostly over at Board Game Geek’s website).

In order to keep the post length manageable, I figured I’d do a brief review of three games in each of two posts.  So, in the order that I wound up purchasing them, here goes (note: the titles in all of these reviews link to the BGG page for the appropriate game):

Bang, the Dice Game

BangDiceEarlier I’d said that I’d never heard of any of the games I purchased; however, I have played Bang! before.  The difference is that I’d played the card game version and not the dice game (which I honestly hadn’t heard of before).  I really liked the card game when I first played it–enough so that I bought both it and the Dodge City expansion (which were the only ones available at the time–though I understand they have a few more now).

Anywho, while the card game seemed great at first, it definitely has some flaws.  The first of which is that you need a lot of players.  While you can officially play with three, it really takes at least four to play, and five if you want to have access to all of the roles (the Deputy doesn’t unlock until that point).  It also takes a long time to play, as you can get jammed up not having enough range to shoot at the players you want.  Another problem (and perhaps the biggest) is player elimination:  you can sometimes get killed completely before you even get a turn, which can lead to an hour or more of waiting around for the game to finish (since it does play fairly slow sometimes).

The dice game seems to have resolved these issues.  First, it plays far faster than the card game, with the estimated game length at 15 minutes.  This eliminates the issues with player elimination as well, since you really don’t have to wait long to jump back into the game.  It also natively has an ability which allows you to shoot at people 1-2 spots away from you (though no farther–although that wasn’t an issue for us as we never played with more than five people), so that’s an advantage as well.

Essentially, it’s very similar to the original game, with the same characters (who possess many of the same abilities).  Starting life totals are higher, but they go down much faster.  Each turn, you roll a set of five dice with the ability to re-roll twice more (a la Yahtzee).  Each face of the die contains one of the following:

  1. Shoot a player exactly 1 space away from you
  2. Shoot a player exactly 2 spaces away from you
  3. Beer (gain 1 life–up to your starting life)
  4. Arrow (Indians!  Collect an arrow token, and then if it’s the last arrow, each player takes damage equal to the number of arrows they have)
  5. Gatling (if you roll 3x Gatlings, all other players take 1 damage)
  6. Dynamite (if you roll 3x, lose a life and end your turn immediately.  Cannot be rerolled.)

Obviously it lacks some depth that the original game has (for instance, there are no misses at all, and many of the other fancy effects like Cat Ballou are missing as well), but it does a good job of encapsulating the original game in a fast and easy to grok game.  It should be noted that for all of the games we played during the cruise, we had an 8 year old and a 10 year old playing right along with us, and they picked it all up quickly.

Overall, I think this was a good game.  It had all of the advantages of the original game, and fixed the problems as well.  If you liked the card game, I’d definitely pick up this one.


The second game we played (which is actually the last game we played, but the second game I’m reviewing) is called Coup.

CoupThis game seems too basic to be fun.  If I told you that a game consisted of nothing aside from a deck that contains multiple copies of five different cards and a pile of coins, would you think it could be fun?  Surprisingly, it really turned out to be.

The premise of the game is that you’re trying to influence others by any means possible in order to rise to power.  Your influence is represented by a hand of two cards–so when you lose influence, you lose a card.  When you’re out of cards, you’re out of the game–and there is no way to get cards back.

Each of the cards has special abilities that allow you to take actions during your turn, or to block others’ actions.  Since other players can’t see what cards you have, you can easily bluff during the game to perform actions you shouldn’t be able to, or to block people.  The way to lose cards (influence) are to:

  • Use the Assassin to take away one influence from another player
  • For seven coins, you can take away an influence from any player (which can’t be prevented)–a game mechanic also says that if you have 10 coins in your possession, you have to do this
  • Get caught bluffing.  If someone calls your bluff, you have a chance to prove you weren’t bluffing.  If you can’t (or choose not to) you lose a card of your choice.  If you weren’t lying, the other player loses a point.

The key to this game is really knowing who to bluff and when–sometimes it just works out.  The games play really quickly, and after playing it several times, I don’t feel like it’s the sort of game you can master.  It all depends on the players around you, and how willing you are to push the bluffing.

Again, a cheap, quick and easy game.  I’d recommend it to anyone.

Mr. Jack Pocket

The last game I’ll be reviewing today is sort of a “guess who” style game about finding Jack the Ripper.

MrJackPocketThe game sets up in a 3×3 grid of city streets (randomly distributed) with the “Mr. Jack” player choosing a citizen at random.  Each tile depicts one of the citizens and Sherlock Holmes, Watson, and an out-of-sorts dog walk around the edge of the city peering down the streets to find the bad guy.  At the end of each turn, Jack determines whether any of the characters can see him down the streets, and then Sherlock flips over any of the tiles that have been eliminated from possibility.  Over the course of 8 turns, they have to maneuver themselves so that they can figure out which citizen is really Mr. Jack.

The actions that can be performed consist of moving each of the characters clockwise around the board, spinning / swapping pieces, and eliminating suspects one by one.  What makes it pretty innovative is the way you determine what actions are available in a given turn.

Each of the actions is printed on one side of four chits.  During the first turn, Sherlock throws the four chits in the air and then chooses one action to perform.  Mr. Jack then gets to choose two of the remaining actions, and finally Sherlock gets the last one.  During the second turn, all of the pieces are simply turned over (to evenly distribute the actions) and the process is repeated in reverse order (ie. Jack gets one, Sherlock gets two, and Jack gets the last one).

While none of the actions seems like rocket science, trying to figure out what your opponent can do with that one last chit seems incredibly difficult.  Granted, we didn’t play this but two times (with Mr. Jack and Sherlock eaching taking one game), but I think this has some replayability as well.  Sadly, it was limited to just two players, so it didn’t get much game time with our group during the cruise.

Still, I liked the game, and it’s only about $10, so I’d recommend it to groups that have small numbers of players.  Hell, I’m sure to play this with Derek or Brandon some week…

Well, that’s it for these three reviews.  My next post will review the other three games: Love Letter, The Hive, & Zombie Dice.  Stay tuned!



All Aboard the Good Ship Ultramar!

So I’ve been out of town for the past couple of weeks–you might not have known it based upon the volume of posts, but had you commented, you’d have seen that my responses were curiously absent.  For the first time in years, I took a vacation and wound up not checking email or doing any work while away.

It was glorious.

Of course, the blog kept going because I had queued up a bunch of posts–which concluded with the post on last Wednesday about my Fortress of Redemption.  Now that I’m back, I’ve taken the time to reply to all of the comments that have been left, and will get the ball rolling on some new content (though I’ve been back for a couple of days now, and I’m having a hard time getting motivated to work on any modelling/painting–but that will come in time, no?).

UltramarBoatFor those that are interested, we spent a few days in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, and then took a cruise around the Western Carribean (Mexico, Belize, & Honduras).  The title of this particular post gets it’s name from a ferry we took while in Cozumel.  The company that ran the ferry is called Ultramar, and the color scheme was a very primary yellow and blue–as if they knew I played the second company.

I knew that Ultramar exists prior to the cruise, as I had searched Ebay for the term (hoping for some stray Ultramarines auctions) and stumbled upon various patches and pins.  I had forgotten about them though, and was surprised to see the ferry as I got off the ship.

The cruise was good, but I didn’t get a lot of gaming in–well, at least not any 40k–though I did purchase quite a few travel board/card games for the trip, and I can expect to review those in the near future.  Hopefully I can get some gaming in, and get inspired to work on my models.  We’ll see…


Old Stuff Day (Small)  Original Art by

Old Stuff Day 2015

For those of you who might have forgotten, today is Old Stuff Day (if you forgot, that’s ok, I did too–but the thing about being the originator of the movement is that I get pinged when people link to my posts on the subject.  Luckily, someone overseas reminded me last night).

Anywho, if you aren’t familiar with the concept of Old Stuff Day, it’s simple: blogs are such a temporary medium, that if someone doesn’t see your post within the first day or two (or sometimes even within the first couple of hours), it’s often lost in the recesses of your blog.  Today is a day to dust off such content, and shine it up again for the world to see.  Likewise, it doesn’t have to be all about you–feel free to highlight posts by other bloggers of bygones past.  If you’d like to read a little more on the subject, check out the original post about Old Stuff Day.

So, some of the stuff I’d like to draw a little attention to are:

Painted Buildings

Wh39kBuildings (44)This year I wound up accomplishing quite a bit, including finally getting off my arse and painting up a ton of GW buildings.  With the help of Brandon (and a few others), I managed to finish them all off, so now I have some pretty nice looking terrain.

Beyond just having nice terrain, I’m proud of these buildings because they’re my first real attempts at a bunch of different painting techniques: Using an Airbrush, Rust effects, Lighting effects, and posters.  Plus I used some of the previous effects that I’ve had a modicum of success with: bronze patina, marble, & blood stains.

So, if any of that tickles your fancy, feel free to check out my series of posts about buildings here.

Stained Glass Windows

wh39kStainedGlass (1)Ok, so these were really a subcomponent of the painted buildings displayed above, but as they only had a part in one building, they’re easily glossed over.   I know others have done stained glass effects with success in the past, but I couldn’t find any good start-to-finish tutorials, so I dug around and pieced together my own.

Of all of the buildings I have, my shrine of the Acquila definitely gets the most compliments, and it’s because of the stained glass.  Again, there’s a step by step tutorial on how I accomplished the stained glass windows in this post.

14,000 points of Bugs

proWh39kHiveFleetProteus (13)Nobody said that the old posts have to be from this past year.  So, I’m just going to highlight an old army shot I took of my Tyranids back in 2012.  I’m only bringing this post up again because I’ve been doing some additional painting on my bugs (and even yet even more to do).  I haven’t tallied up my total recently, but I’m sure there’s no doubt another several thousand points of bugs to add to the army.

Hopefully this year, I’ll have completed the next batch and I can get off my duff and take updated pictures of the entire army.  Until then, there’s a 2-3 year old picture in this post.

From the Warp

FtW_promo_logoIt’s hard to believe that it’s been over two years since Ron over at From the Warp hung up his blog.  I bring this up because I think it’s important to pay homage to those that came before you and if you wanted to know where this whole 40k blogging thing started, look no further than his blog.

It’s hard to think that some new faces out there have no idea who Ron is or what he’s done.  He was, to my knowledge, the original aggregator of blogs out there.  For a long time, he simply was the 40k blogging community.  Plus, he had fantastic tutorials, tons of insight, and lots of great ideas.  If you’ve never checked out his site before, I’d implore you to just thumb through his old articles.  There’s so much great stuff in there–that you just can’t go wrong.