Divergent Paths – week 1

I’ve played my first two Divergent Paths games this week, attempting to rescue the child from the clutches of the Ten Thunders as well as the Guild’s Witchling Stalkers, and trying to spring the man from the Guild jail card before Som’er Teeth Jones and his Gremlins could grab him. In a rather interesting evening, I actually played both of these games at once – since there were three of us and the Divergent Paths encounters don’t really allow for three players, I agreed to challenge myself and play two games at once. It certainly helped me to make snap decisions rather than over-thinking moves, though I have to admit that I found remembering the schemes the worst part – I did forget Cursed Object for two straight turns in one game :/ In my defence, playing two games at the same time after a full day at work is quite taxing!

* * *

The child stumbled through the ruins of the trainyard, scrambling over rusted tracks and past abandoned carriages. Behind her, she could hear the padded footsteps and canine-like snuffling of the hooded creatures pursuing her. She had no idea what they would do if they caught her, but some deep intuition told her that she didn’t want to find out. Suddenly she slipped and fell on the cobblestones, grazing her hands on the rough brickwork. Looking back, she saw a sheet of ice starting to form over the uneven ground of the railyard, and snowflakes started to drift lazily through the air as the temperature plummeted to a freezing chill. Snow? In July?


The child marker stumbled through the frosty trainyard.


Rasputina and her Arcanists enter the area.

This game saw McCabe leading the Ten Thunders as they attempted to grab the girl, opposed by my Rasputina and her Cult. The game started with the Katanaka Sniper deploying right next to the child, though this advantage was short-lived as Rasputina blasted him with a barrage of ice, taking him out of the game early on. Snowstorm moved up to support her, using December’s Command to pull the Blessed of December forward, who Leapt forward to interact and push the child towards the Arcanists.


Snowstorm assists the Blessed in pushing the child towards the Arcanist lines.


McCabe / Rollins finds his way suddenly blocked by pillars of sheer ice.

McCabe and his Mounted Guild Guard moved up to give chase, but found themselves stalled by the dense terrain and a set of Ice Pillars summoned by the Wendigo. With the child safely behind Arcanist lines, I attempted to deal with the pursuing Witchling Stalkers. The Ten Thunders were faster, though, taking out three of them before I could even get a model in range. Rasputina finally managed to draw a bead on one and hit it with a blizzard of ice, obliterating the creature before it could reach the child. After a tense battle in the corners as both sides attempted to score for Power Ritual, the game ended in a 9-8 win for the Arcanists.

* * *

The man was pushed into the wagon by a couple of surly Guild Guard, still protesting against their treatment of him. Slapping one side of the wagon to alert the driver, the Guardsmen fell into step as the prison cart lurched forward to leave the station. Before it could, however, two of the Guardsmen were cut down by a hail of inaccurate rifle fire while the other two were set upon by Malifaux Raptors, unable to even draw their sabres before the creatures were upon them. The wagon jolted forward as the driver desperately attempted to flee the ambush…


Beasts of all forms emerge from the woods near the station.


With its prisoner loaded, the Guild prison cart prepares to leave the station.

The game started with a hoedown as the Gremlin Banjonista started ‘playing’, the surrounding Gremlins shuffling forward in one big group. Som’er called even more Bayou Gremlins from the nearby forest, bolstering his numbers as Marcus led his beasts in a cautious advance. This proved to be their undoing, as – with a little help from Trixie’s ability to cheat the initiative flip – the Gremlins managed to spring the man from the Guild wagon. Most of Marcus’s beasts moved forward to try and intercept the man, while the Rogue Necromancy broke ranks to chase down a Rooster Rider.


Intent on capturing the man for their own purposes, Som’er and his Gremlins emerge from the opposite treeline.

A madcap brawl began around the wagon and the escaped prisoner, with the self-righteous man being pushed backwards and forwards as Gremlins and Arcanists alike managed to find a break in the scrum to get out of engagement and take an interact action. Luther Leapt into the fray, tearing his way through the Gremlins as Trixie and Lenny battered their way through Marcus’s Canine Remains. The Dawn Serpent sat in the middle of it all, absolutely loving it as it healed back 9 wounds each turn with Call Unto The Chi. By the time the game finished, both sides had racked up 8vp for a draw. There’s not actually an option right now on the Divergent Paths form for a draw, so this might call for a rematch at the weekend!

Take care,


X-Wing narrative campaign: Assault on the recruiting station

Last week, our small group of Rebel pilots met up for the next story in our local X-Wing campaign. Our objective was to destroy an Empire recruiting-ground. Heavily armoured and well-defended with entrenched anti-air cannons, not to mention a local garrison of Black Squadron TIEs, our reconnaissance had also reported that Rexler Brath himself would be at the facility. We decided to try and power down one flank together, hopefully avoiding one of the cannon emplacements and buying ourselves a turn or two’s respite from the TIE swarm. This mission would certainly be a challenge…

* * *

As the sun rose above the craggy snow-capped mountains, the roar of engines broke the early-morning silence. Skimming low across the water, Rebel ships opened their engines to full-throttle as they rocketed towards the base. Two heavy-set Y-Wings from Wookie Squadron, laden down with dambuster bombs fitted under the front fuselage, were flanked by the fighter escorts of Grey Squadron, s-foils locked into attack position. Ahead of them, the concrete bulk of the base loomed like a canker on the landscape. Klaxons droned and alarms blared as the Rebels ships approached, Imperial turrets cranking round to traverse the skies and the nerve-shredding screech of TIE engines splitting the air as Black Squadron took to the skies.

Flanking one of the lumbering Y-Wings, Toni’s A-Wing skimmed fast and low, systems prepped and ready as amber runes blinked on the control panels. She slowed her A-Wing, keeping in formation with her wingman… before an ion cannon shot from Brath hit the little craft, short-circuiting her electronics. The A-Wing locked into its course, cruising forward as she fought with the controls and electricity crackled across the ship. Flashing red lights indicated that the recently-fitted stealth device had been short-circuited by the ion blast, though one of the shields remained functional. Regaining command of her ship, she focused as the second Defender flew into her sights, readying her proton rockets… before Rexler Brath used Swarm Tactics to allow the PS1 Defender to shoot first and, with a spectacular roll of two hits and two crits against three blanks (!), Toni’s A-Wing crashed into the waters of the lake. Downed turn four without firing a single shot – not quite the impressive dogfight I’d hoped for my freshly-repainted ship.

* * *

Despite the early loss of my A-Wing, followed shortly after by one of our X-Wings being shot down in a similarly spectacular / brutal fashion, our Y-Wings managed to push through the volleys of fire to fire their dam buster ordnance and, with a bit of support from the remaining X-Wing, we managed to destroy the bastion and complete the mission! A win, though at a heavy cost of two of our three ships being shot down. (Not to mention one of the Wookie Squadron Y-Wings, which was crippled by friendly fire from the other Y-Wing after a dam buster shot detonated too close to it.)

Luckily, hiring a mechanic at the start of the game paid off and the Rebel ground crew were able to recover my A-Wing from the lake for repairs. Toni herself also survived unscathed, though sadly no closer to elite pilot status thanks to obtaining zero kills that mission. Push The Limit continues to elude me for another game!

There’ll be a few weeks break before the next campaign game. Which gives me plenty of time to decide about painting the rest of my A-Wings, I suppose. I like the red and blue colours as well as my green repaint, but it sort of feels like all of my ships should be in the same colours to look like a coherent squadron…

Take care,


Malifaux tournament report: Summer of Slaughter

At the weekend, I drove down to The Wargame Store in Wirral for their Summer Of Slaughter Malifaux tournament. Three games, with a little twist in that you had to write two 50ss lists first and then choose one to use each game. The strategies and schemes were released in advance, with round 1 being Guard the Stash (Corner Deployment: Convict Labor, Take Prisoner, Hunting Party, Undercover Entourage, Detonate The Charges), round 2 Turf War (Standard Deployment: A Line in the Sand, Protect Territory, Bodyguard, Vendetta, Deliver a Message), and Round 3 Reckoning (Flank Deployment: A Line in the Sand, Assassinate, Breakthrough, Vendetta, Frame for Murder). I spent a few evenings uhm-ing and aah-ing over which lists to take, and – after all that – ended up rewriting one completely on the morning of the tournament. The lists I took ended up being:

Crew 1
Colette du Bois
-Arcane Reservoir, Shell Game, Seize the Day
-Smoke & Mirrors, Recharge Soulstone
-Practised Production
December Acolyte
Malifaux Child

Crew 2
Colette du Bois
-Arcane Reservoir, Shell Game, Cabaret Choreography
-Smoke & Mirrors
Arcane Emissary
-Illusive Conflux
-Practised Production
Union Miner


I was a hipster Arcanist and used one of the Avatar Colette models all day :)

I chose Colette for both lists for a couple of reasons. First and perhaps most importantly, she’s my favourite master – I find her very easy and intuitive to use, and I really enjoy every game I use her. Secondly, I always think that she’s a very versatile master, and to my eyes she was well-suited to the scheme pool in all three games. The first list was a more elite, hard-hitting crew intended for round three, while the second one had a bit more flexibility that I hoped would suit the first two rounds.

20160702_11363220160702_123307Round 1 (above pictures) saw me go up against the Ten Thunders, led by Shenlong. I opted for list two, choosing to deploy first and grouping most of my models near Ms du Bois. The Emissary and Angelica split off down the right flank to cut off my opponent’s Tengu before they could start their scheme-marker shenanigans, while the rest of the crew headed towards the left stash marker. One of the Tengu strayed into the 12″ threat range of the Emissary, allowing me to charge and kill it. Meanwhile, Cassandra led the Union Miner and Performer over to the second stash marker, throwing out scheme markers as they went in preparation for Set Up. Next turn saw the Emissary charge the second Tengu, killing it and eliminating the Ten Thunders presence on the right stash marker while Angelica moved up to claim it for the Arcanists. Shenlong used his Mighty Gust to move three scheme markers forward, with a Thunders Brother nearby to prevent the Performer removing them. I stalled for time by activating other models before activating Cassandra, who moved forward to put down the last scheme marker so I could score the full 3vp from Set Up, and Colette, who used Prompt to move the rest of my models away from the scheme markers. Both of us revealed Set Up at the end of the turn; I scored the full 3vp, while my opponent scored 1vp as I’d neglected to check Cassandra’s proximity to one scheme marker. Turn four saw Shenlong make a dash into my deployment zone, while Cassandra dashed into my opponent’s deployment zone, dropping down a scheme marker so Colette could do one of my favourite tricks and teleport over at the last second with her Disappearing Act. Both of us scored 3vp for Undercover Entourage, and the game ended with an 8-4 win for the Arcanists.

20160702_14302320160702_143026Game 2 (again, above pictures) saw me face off against another Ten Thunders player, also using Shenlong. I opted for list 2 again, deploying fairly centrally. The first couple of turns saw both crews moving up, with Shenlong accompanied by Izamu on the turf war point. I jumped the Emissary forward using the (0) Minor Teleport to Deliver a Message to Shenlong, earning 2 vp as I don’t like revealing Deliver a Message. However, things started to go pear-shaped as my opponent’s Tengu and Thunder Brother moved down one flank with a host of scheme markers thanks to Shenlong’s Mighty Gust, while his Katanaka Sniper flipped the Red Joker for damage and took out my Emissary. I moved my Performer over to counter the Protect Territory attempt, but fatally forgot about Protect our Holdings. Colette and Cassandra did a good job of dropping down scheme markers for my Protect Territory, though a last-minute Mighty Gust from Shenlong pushed Colette away, knocking me down from 3vp to 2, and a couple of points for Bodyguard on Sensei Yu finished the game with a 5-8 loss. While my stupid mistake with the Performer and the Thunders Brother cost me dearly, I also think that Izamu was a major point – while he didn’t go on the killing spree I expected, I just didn’t have the tools to deal with him (particularly once the Emissary was out of the game). In hindsight, my first list may have been able to deal with my opponent’s crew more easily due to the Acolyte’s Smell Weakness action and the Corypheé’s general offensive power.

Onwards to game three! (No pictures, because I forgot to take any in the excitement) Finally, I got to play against a master other than Shenlong. This time, my opponent was running Seamus, and I finally selected list 1. Unfortunately the table was fairly open around the centre in terms of terrain, giving the mad hatter’s Belles a superb view of large swathes of the board. One of my Coryphée was Lured right into the heart of the undead thanks to Madame Sybelle’s Not Too Banged Up upgrade. Colette managed to save it, Prompting it back to its dance partner, but was then dragged in herself. I managed to save her with Cassandra, though barely as Colette limped back to join my crew with one wound left and very few soulstones. The Coryphée danced together into a duet, cutting down a Nurse and a Belle to score a Reckoning point for me. Mortimer poisoned Colette, and my final attempt to save her lay in the Malifaux Child. With no cards in hand, I top-decked the high ram needed to successfully cast Misplaced Trust… only to flip the Black Joker for the healing flip. Despite Colette being out of the game, the rest of the game went my way as Angelica moved up to drop down scheme markers for Breakthrough, while Seamus took the bait and killed my December Acolyte to score me another 3vp for Frame for Murder. Cassandra mopped up the scheme marker Mortimer had dropped, and the game ended with a 6-1 victory for the Arcanists.

It was a great day, and many thanks to all my opponents as well as David for organising it. I placed third overall, which I’m rather pleased with.

Take care,


Painter’s block

As you may have guessed from the lack of recent posts, I’ve had a bit of what I suppose we should call painter’s block over the past few weeks. I can’t attribute it to a lack of time, or indeed models to paint given that I’ve a sizeable Frostgrave crew sitting on my table. Instead, I’ve been struggling to find the motivation to pick up a brush and start painting, and have instead been falling back on games that don’t require painting such as X-Wing and Magic: The Gathering. The EU Referendum hasn’t helped, either, but I shall avoid talking about that as this blog is meant to be about wargaming, not my political stance.

I did force myself to sit down on Sunday evening, planning both assembly (a Johan model I won at a tournament a while ago) and painting (my old metal Rasputina model, and Kirai – I don’t play Ressers, but she’s a lovely model and I have had a paint scheme in mind for ages now). I have repainted an A-Wing for Fantasy Flight’s X-Wing Miniatures Game in the last couple of days, however, which was great fun. I’d consider X-Wing to be my second game – it’s fast-paced, fun and, rather crucially, straightforward in terms of mechanics. The phrase, ‘Easy to learn, difficult to master’ has never been so true!

I started off X-Wing playing just the Empire – mainly because they could hire Boba Fett while the Rebels couldn’t. This was back in the early days before Scum & Villainy were a faction, of course. However, as of late (and due in no small part to the co-operative X-Wing campaign I’ve been playing in), I’ve begun to emulate my favourite TIE pilot, Soontir Fel, and started to defect to the Rebellion. This was brought about by the A-Wing in particular – the nippy little ship with its incredible dial chock-full of fast, green manoeuvres won me over. To me, they’re such fun to fly and encapsulate what drew me into X-Wing in the first place (well, alongside Boba Fett and the fact it’s Star Wars. I mean, come on – it’s Star Wars!) – the fast ships. I love the high-speed dogfights as ships vie and jockey for position, dancing around one another as they attempt to lock the other pilot in their sights while avoiding their enemy doing the same. Sure, I enjoy flying the slower or larger ships such as the TIE Bomber too, but ships like the A-Wing and the TIE Interceptor are what X-Wing is all about to me.

20160624_091011Back on tangent (stay on target…), here’s the repainted Green Squadron A-Wing. I started by dulling the model with a wash of Nuln Oil, giving some more depth to the detailing on the fuselage. The red parts were then painted in P3’s green, before being highlighted in a mix of Loren Green and P3 green. This was then washed with . Finally, I picked out the lines on the engine and the cockpit in a mix of Army Painter matt white and GW Astronomicon Grey, and repainted the missile tips in Cygnar blue base. I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out, and am really looking forward to using it in this week’s campaign game. I’ve been informed that we’ll be dogfighting planetside this week as opposed to in space, so I’ll have to try and get some pictures…

Take care,


X-Wing narrative campaign update

First off, apologies for my silence over the last couple of weeks. It’s been a busy fortnight, compounded by running Malifaux demos all day at our local ComicCon which, if I’m honest, was pretty tiring and burnt me out somewhat by the end of the weekend! In between pulling overtime at the office and working out at the gym, I haven’t really had much time to do any modelling, so sadly things like my Frostgrave warband haven’t progressed at all.

However, at my local club, I’ve been participating in a narrative X-Wing campaign a friend is running. Each player has one ship to pilot, and we all fly as one squad against GM-controlled Imperial forces through various story missions. It’s great fun, and you can see all the rules here if you want. I started off with an X-Wing, managing to upgrade it with an Engine Upgrade and BB8… before an opportunistic TIE Fighter pilot shot me out of the sky. My pilot survived, but the X-Wing (and its upgrades) were totalled.

A-wing concept art by Ralph McQuarrie.

A-wing concept art by Ralph McQuarrie.

Time to purchase a new ship for my pilot so she could fly in the next mission. I toyed with going for an X-Wing again, but finally made the decision to fly an A-Wing instead – I’ve always played the Empire in regular games of X-Wing, and hoped the speed and agility of the A-Wing might be close enough to my beloved TIE Interceptors that I’d feel more at home piloting it!

The result, after the next game, was yes – A-Wings are so much fun to fly and fit my preferences far more than any other rebel ship! By the end of the game, my little A-Wing had clocked up an impressive kill-count of three TIE Interceptors (over 33% of my total kill count over the whole campaign so far!), as well as hounding a Lambda Shuttle for a good half of the game and stripping away most of its shields. I really enjoyed flying it, so my current challenge is to create an A-Wing centric squadron for use in regular games. I’ve also got ideas to repaint at least one of my A-Wing models, so hopefully that will kick-start my painting mojo once more.

Take care,


Frostgrave: Venturing into the frozen city

A friend recently asked if I wanted to give Osprey Games’ skirmish game Frostgrave a go. I like to pride myself that I’ll give any game a try once, and a lot of reviews tout it as the ‘new Mordheim’. I remember playing a lot of Mordheim back in my teenage years and loving it, so – despite the use of dice instead of cards – I decided to see what it was like.

First of all, the character creation for your characters is superb. With ten different schools of magic and eight different spells for each school, you are free to pretty much create any wizard you want. The rest of the crew is rather more set, where you hire a model with set weapons – for example, a man-at-arms comes with a shield, sword and leather armour, and there’s no way to give him additional equipment – but this actually suits me. I like that the focus is on your wizard and his / her apprentice, with the rest of the crew just being the hired grunts who can easily be replaced.

Right from the start, I had a very certain idea for my wizard. Enter Helena Gabrielle Wells (+1 bonus point if you recognize the name reference), steampunk chronomancer!

20160524_090835A time-traveller from an alternate steampunk future, chronomancy in Helena’s time is amplified by clockwork machines. While usually chronomancy is restricted to short jumps, time skips and slowing or speeding the passage of time, these steam-powered machines amplify their powers and allow mages to travel freely throughout time. Regrettably, Helena’s time machine broke upon landing in Frostgrave, stranding her in the frozen city. Technology in the city is rather less advanced that that in Helena’s time, and so repairing the machine to amplify her powers and let her travel home is no small feat. To this end, she has gathered together a crew of mercenaries and hired swords, buying their loyalty with worthless clockwork baubles and trinkets – when you can create steam-powered machines, it’s easy to impress people who think that a crossbow is cutting-edge tech. She leads her men into the ruins, searching for items that she can repurpose to repair her machine. The alternative is to be stuck in this time – forever.

Thankfully, Helena isn’t alone in this endeavour. The only other person in her machine when it malfunctioned was her apprentice, Juliette Fforde. You can’t actually purchase guns in Frostgrave, so the explanation behind her pistol – when she casts her offensive spell Elemental Bolt, it’s actually her firing the pistol. The chance to fail represents the scarcity of anything she and Helena can repurpose as ammunition, and the fact it’s a magic spell is just how the residents of Frostgrave see it – in a realm of wizards and magic, one more sorcerer pointing a metal wand that shoots sparks and fire is hardly uncommon!


Finally, I needed some minions – expendable hired swords who could accompany my mages into the ruins. After looking through the list of mercenaries you can hire, I realised that my old Lord Of The Rings models would be ideal here…

20160524_090944Going from left to right: three Barbarians, a Thief, three Men-At-Arms, a Warhound, two Knights and a Templar. I can’t afford to hire them all straight off the bat, of course, but they’re ready for if things go well!

The rules seem quite easy and straightforward too, with everything being dealt with by the roll of a D20. Our games so far have been a bit swing-y, where the warband who took the lead early on suffered suddenly in the late game. The range of spells is great, though sadly it does seem that it’s faster to ‘level up’ your wizard by using offensive spells, despite how many great buff spells there are in the rules.

Finally, Frostgrave scratches an itch I didn’t even realise needed scratching – character creation. Back in my teenage years, I played a lot of Inquisitor, Mordheim and other GW specialist games, and one of my favourite elements was creating my own characters. Writing their backstory, their motivations and their desires was an integral part of each game for me – I still fondly remember Arbites officer Inara Hardin from Dark Heresy, or my assassin Mack in Mordheim. It’s not something I’ve done for years now, but with its stripped-back profiles and campaign-focused gameplay, it’s something that I’ve found very easy for Frostgrave. I didn’t realise how much I missed it until I started thinking, ‘Who is my chronomancer? Why is she in Frostgrave?’, and the desire to create my own character came flooding back.

I’ll do a write-up of a battle next time I play Frostgrave – it’s a very narrative game, and so should work well for write-ups. In the meantime, I’d better get back to painting the warband…

Take care,


Malifaux: Heartfaux 2016

20160514_201512At the weekend, I headed down to York to join in with Heartfaux – a Malifaux tournament with a twist, where the money goes to the British Heart Foundation charity. Long-time readers of this blog will know my love of Malifaux and raising money for charity, and it was great to be a part of – last time I saw, tournament ticket sales and the raffle had raised £475, which is incredible.

My first game pitted me against Perdita in Interference. I took Colette – partially for her positioning shenanigans, and partially as I’d been driving for over two hours since 6:45am and wanted the master I felt most comfortable using! I made the classic mistake of not taking enough models, and found myself out-activated by the pack of Guild Hounds Perdita brought along. Despite that, my Union Miners did a great job of scoring the full VP for Convict Labour, and the Arcane Emissary managed to roll through a flank, either killing or engaging Guild models. Perdita managed to gun down Cassandra thanks to a hand full of high masks, and the game ended in a draw. Not a bad start to the day!

20160514_111348The second game was Extraction, and once again I opted for Miss du Bois. This time, my opponent took the Viktorias along with a plethora of Henchmen & Enforcers including Vanessa, Johanna, Sue and Taelor. The first turn lulled me into a false sense of security as the Outcasts advanced cautiously, not really doing much. My Malifaux Raptor tied up a couple of models, while Colette did the age-old trick of using Prompt‘s Final Act trigger on Myranda, slingshotting her upfield where she changed into Luther, killing Johanna and Leaping back onto the informant marker. However, turn 2 showcased the full power of the Viks as Blood was buffed up to the max, discarding Oathkeeper to dash into my crew and murder most of the models on the centreline. This did let me score the maximum VP from Set Up, though, and with a few more VP from Convict Labour the game ended with a 6-5 victory for my Arcanists.

20160514_133508The final game was Collect The Bounty, a strategy which I haven’t really played before. My opponent declared Arcanists too, taking the terrifying combo of Ramos with Joss and Howard. Again, I went with Colette – aside from being my favourite master to use, she’s excellent at Headhunter and I figured the extra Prompt attacks would be ideal to finish off enemy models. I also took Howard / Miss Step, along with Cassandra and a couple of Coryphee. The first turn saw both of us skirting around a small copse of trees in the centre of the board before his Reactivate-ing Howard finally made the first move, Nimble walking in and murdering one of my Coryphee before I could form a duet. In retaliation, Miss Step used Flurry to kill Howard. Joss moved to attack Colette, though I managed to keep her alive with high cards from my hand and burning through soulstones at an alarming rate. Miss Step killed Joss too, and took a battering from Johanna’s Relic Hammer before taking her out too. The Arcane Emissary finally killed Miss Step, and Cassandra finally managed to kill the one peon in my opponent’s crew, scoring Hunting Party. The game ended with a draw again.

20160514_154524It was a very enjoyable day, and many thanks to all my opponents as well as the event organisers. Roll on Heartfaux 2017!

Take care,