Thursday, May 30, 2013

Zombie Plague survivors

All hail the Roebeast! Tremble before his might! His coming presageth the End Times! All ha --

Oh wait, not that beast. The one I mean is the Roebeast, Brian S. Roe of RSquared Studios. I love Brian's work, and now I've reaped the rewards (half of them, anyway) of supporting his kickstarter for minis of Zombie Plague survivors.

Back in 2011, Brian and his production partners ran a kickstarter to release a comic book combined with the rules of "Zombie Plague," a set of zombie boardgame rules that Brian co-created and have been around and available on the Internet since 2001. They also released print-and-play game cards, card miniatures and map cards for the game.

Now Brian has come out with survivor minis for the cast of the comic book, which is called "Zombie Plague: The Day From Hell." Pictured below, from left, we have resident badass John Blackthorne, cheerleader Chelsea Harlowe, baseball nut Timmy Leong and rocker Crissy Hot-Rod, high schoolers who must confront Day 0 of the zombie apocalypse. These 30mm white-metal minis are crisp and clean. Arms and weapons are attached by sprues to the minis, and the minis are supplied with square, slotted bases. (I seem to have let Crissy's hockey stick escape the frame here.)

As stretch goals during the campaign, several zombies were unlocked: Joe Zombie, Rose Frum, Dead Sexy, Dirt Nap and Tubby. Scenic bases are also being created. These are still being eagerly awaited.

I must say I love these survivors and am eager to toss them in amongst the various other survivors I've acquired through Zombicide and from other sources (Hasslefree mostly). Of the comic book, I can say it's nice to have a hardcopy of the Zombie Plague rules I downloaded oh so long ago, and the kids' story is a winner. (Chelsea's discovery of the chainsaw is worth the price of admission alone.) The art was solid but the backgrounds seemed to be lacking a little in the detail department. They were a little overstylized or oversimplified for me. But I still enjoyed the comic.

The comic/rulebook is available from RSquared's online store for $15 plus shipping and handling. The map cards, game cards, and card minis and barricades are all available from free download from the site as well. 

Back to the boards, everybody, and I'll see you on the other side.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Welcoming Wednesday

Today we welcome Louis Britton, known as UrbanWulf, author of the blog Lead Dead Redemption. He's currently tracking his All Things Zombie Final Fade Out campaign. Also joining us is painting maven Anne O'Leary of O'Leary Miniatures. Her rendition of Tom Meier's Ballerina Princess Fairies will lift the coldest, grumpiest heart.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Why I am a Cyrissian

I am quite taken by the Art Deco lines and voltaic glow of the new Convergence of Cyriss faction for Warmachine. Privateer has done a great job in the design of the vectors and warcasters for the cult of the Clockwork Goddess, and I eagerly await getting my grubby mitts on the starter group later this summer.

But I am enamored of most of the factions in Warmachine and have sizable (unpainted) collections of minis for the game. (I also collect patches and have many for the various factions across Caen. Thanks, Privateer, for making them!)

The first faction that captures my heart was the Protectorate of Menoth. I used to be part of an evangelistic, fundamentalist faith and, truth be told, there is comfort in the assuredness that all the answers come from total obedience to dogma and can be found simply by looking in the back of the book. And like the Menites, when I think of how I was and what I believed back then, the ironbound prejudices and hatreds that are integral to that kind of belief structure, I wish, if I were to see myself back then, that I could seal my identity away behind an impenetrable brass mask. The garish ambition of Severius, the mute sacrifice of the Testament of Menoth, even the crusading passion of Feora are things I understand and can relate to.

Then I came to love Khador. I am a native of the American South, where ties of land and blood define so much of who we are. I understand the Khadorans' link to their Motherland. I understand the strength of her iron bones and the sway that her faith and folklore have on her populace, from the lowest laborer to the most prestigious prince. I understand it in MY bones, because I feel its echo in how and where I was raised.

And I have always been under the dark sway of Cryx as well. Even if the fluff and fiction written by the crew at Privateer were not of such excellent quality, the necromechanical excellence that is the Cryx would have pulled me in anyway. Blood and bone and brass, burning braziers of eldritch embers lit by nightfires, spewing alchemical energy into reanimated dead flesh and bound souls ... it's enough to elicit cold shivers on the warmest day. I love the dark poetry of Cryx, burning desire and cold bodies, bound in service to an ancient Dragon. I doesn't get more elegant and sinister than that.

And once the Mercenary pirates entered the scene, I had to expand my holdings. Pirates are the reason my supervisor at work learned never again to use that old adage, "Don't dress for the job you have; dress for the job you want." Well, I want to be a freebooter from the Golden Age of Piracy. (I really don't think the trip to Human Resources for a "conversation" was really necessary. After all, it was Casual Friday!) I have alway loved the depiction of pirates in popular culture, and Privateer's take on them suits me just fine. Love, love, love them.

I'm leaving out Cygnar and Retribution of Scyrah because they just have not fired my imagination the way they others have. I have miniatures of several heroes and units for both, but that's all.

And now comes the Convergence of Cyriss. I liked the hints and glimpses we got about the worship of the Maiden of Gears back in the Witchfire Trilogy and I have longed to know more. I love robots, cyborgs and AI's in all their forms, whether Maria from "Metropolis," Star Wars' Droids, Ladytron from the Wildstorm universe, or Solace from Spider Robinson's works or the post-Singularity Eschaton of Charles Stross. I resonate with them, since I have been a cyborg myself since 2007. Longtime readers will recall that I have congestive heart failure and carry in my chest a cardioverter/defibrillator. There's a computer on board, although of course I don't have conscious access to it. Maybe one day. I go in next year to have my battery changed. It is an odd thing to have them magnetically couple my device to a computer and download information about the performance of my heart. So my heart (both the fleshly organ and its battery-powered backup and booster) sings at the lovely lines and electric elegance of the Convergence. It is no small stretch for me to feel akin to the pieces I will put on the field for this faction. It takes no small stretch of the imagination to place myself among her worshippers or, better yet, a priest, donning my Optifex armor, waiting and hoping to one day be placed into a clockwork vessel to better serve my goddess, to devote myself to the Great Work, free of the weaknesses and limitations of the pitiful flesh.

So there you have it: my many heartfelt affairs with the factions of Warmachine, and why I am, at heart -- pun purely intended -- a Cyrissian. A minority cult on the broad face of Caen, to be sure, but that is just our public face. One day the Great Machine will cover the land and the goddess will be made manifest in <koff, koff>

OK, I'm back. The newest issue of No Quarter is chockablock full of information on the Convergence, with entries for both Warmachine and the Iron Kingdoms RPG, a battle report, the spywork of Gavin Kyle about forces in the faction we've not seen yet (the Iron Mother Directrix!) and more. If you're at all interested, or think you might be, go ahead and pick this up so you can get a taste before the Forcebook and models come out later this summer.

Back to the boards, everyone, and I'll see you across the table!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

It's Welcoming Wednesday, and a milestone!

Welcome to Wednesday, and welcome aboard to our three new members. We have Kris Marquardt of the wonderful "Wargames and Railroads" blog aboard now, and Edwin King, who my web fu tells me maintains the erudite and interesting "Thoughts of a Depressive Diplomatist" blog. Derek Robertson has also joined this journey, but I'm unable to verify at first pass if this is the same Derek Robertson of hotmilkydrink fame.

Also, at some point while I was distracted by something shiny, "Dispatches from the Rim" passed 10,000 page views! Since I write such a niche hobby blog, this has really surprised me, happening even before my first year as a gaming blogger has passed. My sincere and heartfelt thanks to all of you out there who have helped me reach this milestone. In honor of the growth of the blog, I am going to hold myself to a more regular publishing schedule. I see no reason why I shouldn't be able to inflict my views on you share my opinions, discoveries and hobby efforts with you at least twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

I know I should run some kind of contest as so many others have or are, but I'm really not in a position to right now. I tell you what: We have 43 members who have seen fit to join this blog as followers. When we hit 100 followers, I'll run a drawing with multiple prizes. Mostly minis, but perhaps some books mixed in there as well.

Back to the boards, everyone, and I'll see you across the table.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Big birthday giveaway over at "Wargames and Railroads"

Kris Marquardt over at "Wargames and Railroads" is having a big birthday giveaway. You can put in for your choice among 12 different assemblages of minis, books, or model railroad cars as prizes. Just comment to enter the drawing.

The contest runs through May 29th, so go over and visit and help push Kris past the 100 follower mark.

Here's a direct link to the post you need to comment on: Birthday Week - Giveaway

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Anniversary giveaway

Seb over at Back to the Minis is having a celebration of his blog's second anniversary. Log on and check out the fantastic giveaways he's having!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

In Her Majesty's Name and other goodies arrive

I was remiss a week or so ago in documenting the arrival of figures from Ainsty, which I had ordered through the Weird Wild West indiegogo campaign.

I had backed them for just one figure (Vampire Hunter Abe Lincoln) but once the fulfillment stage was reached, Ainsty )which had purchased the line) decided to give more than was pledged for. Unfortunately, the first package to me was lost in the international mail, but I finally received them a little over a week ago. In addition to the Abe Lincoln figure. I also received a Vampire (who reminds me of the monster from "The Vampire of London"), and a Native American woman.

Additionally, I received my order from the "In Her Majesty's Name" nickstarter from North Star. Like many in the States. I placed my order through Lon Weiss at Brigade Games. I ordered the Servants of Ra pack. Stretch goals I got included the Master Criminal (Moriarty) and Jack the Ripper. The Ripper figure comes with this giant steampunk claw, which many must've agreed with me was totally inappropriate for the Ripper. Nobody with that claw is going to be disassembling a body with surgical precision or disappearing into thin air. Luckily, North Star made an alternate human arm holding a knife/scalpel available for purchase. I hope to find another use for that claw at some point.

The packaging for these minis is GORGEOUS. The boxes are actually multiple-disc DVD cases, and the cover inserts are really sharp, featuring those masterful Kevin Dallimore paint jobs. Inserted behind the cover was a nice, printed index card-sized cheat sheet with the stats for the faction. Very nicely done.

This shipment didn't include the Osprey rules -- Lon says they'll follow in a couple of weeks. Even without having seen these original rules, I've already pre-ordered the next volume, "Heroes, Villains and Fiends," via Amazon. Current release date says Nov. 19.

I love reading rules, but I don't expect these to supplant Empire of the Dead in my affections. There's a warmth and intuitive feel to EOTD that I love. I fully intend to use this faction with the Cult of Sutekh supplemental rules that Doc Warlock wrote.

I really like the way these turned out. The poses are dynamic, the integral bases aren't bulky, and the mold lines are minimal. There is, however, a lot of flash, as you can probably see even in my subpar photos, but I'm sure I can make short work of it all with an X-ACTO knife. (Accept as read my usual excuses for poor photos -- shot on an iPhone 4 with one house lamp and camera flash while balanced on my lap, etc. etc.)

As for how I would use these with Drew's rules, Ahkenaton makes an exemplary human-form Eternal holding a khopesh (sickle-sword). The next figure, Professor Abir, is an officious-looking Hum-Natir, or cult leader, followed by a Mummified Priest usable either as an Eternal or a tomb guardian. The femme fatale figure Sairah, Professor Abir's beautiful daughter, could also be a cult leader, or perhaps the human form of a female Eternal.

The remaining seven figures are all cultists, Acolytes in Drew's rules. I'm very happy with this faction and will likely purchase some of the others.

Oh, and while I know I seldom, if ever, mention the various chibi minis out there, it must be said that I go all SQUEE for the models. I don't own Super Dungeon Explore from Soda Pop, but I do have the metal miniatures of the original heroes from the game and the kobold dragon priest. I also picked up the Princess Ruby promo they released when the Caverns of Roxor expansion was released. Well, they just released their Gothic Horror supplement Von Drakk's Manor. They again released a promo mini -- a succubus -- but sadly she's only in plastic this time. Still, she's adorable, and here she is in her unpainted glory:

That's it for this time. Back to the boards, everyone, and I'll see you across the table soon!