Tag: board game

Painting Mansions of Madness: Streets of Arkham, Diana Stanley

Pure Black 09037 for the cloak and shoes, a mix of Pure Black and Dragon Red 09401 for her dress. I used Harvest Brown 09200 on her hair and the knife handle, Linen White 09061 on the candle, skin of Fair Skin 09047.

I fussed over her dress and ended up using Dragon Red because I thought it tied the mini in nicely with what’s been done so far and because I felt Diana’s taste would run dark, reformed or no.

I used Reikland Fleshshadeon her skin, her hair, the candle and knife hilt.img_20180612_131742


More layers. Grey Liner 09065 highlights on the cloak, the blade is 09053 Honed Steel and the flame Clear Yellow 09095. I opened Casandora Yellow shade for the flame and used Nuln Oil everywhere but her skin and hair– even the candle.

Slightly better shot of her dress and I hit the handle with Dragon Bronze because it was so close to her hair.


The concept art colors aren’t super clear in the lighting depicted. I wish I’d gotten the candle a bit more orange but it’s not terrible.


I’m nearly halfway through this project and still not 100% sure that the techniques I’m using– all the layering and minimal highlighting– are working.

Also still not 100% sure about not doing the eyes.




Painting Mansions of Madness: Streets of Arkham, The Skeletons

After zenithal priming and highlighting I started with thin coats of 09271 Dirty Bone and thinned 09037 Pure Black. My initial idea was the give them grey overcoats, darker vests and pants and black shoes.img_20180608_211514

I darkened the bone with Agrax Earthshade– a bit too dark:/


I lightened it with a dry brush of more Dirty Bone, but things were getting a bit too monochromatic as I layered and the dark. I tried a crimson shade on the vest and liked it.


I still had some 09401 Dragon Red on my palette from the gunmen, so I used that on the jacket and 09061 Linen White on the shirt and cravat. The cravat was sooooo small that I decided not to try to pick it out with color. I also shaded the bones again– Seraphim Sepia this time.img_20180611_200939

After more thin layers and using crimson and black shades on the jacket I picked out watch chain and buttons in 09449 Dragon Bronze and hit the eye sockets with 09078 Surf Aqua.


Then I remembered that I share the concept art too– see how well it matches?


Beware what lurks in the depths…

Beware what lurks in the depths…

Catacombs:  A dexterity dungeon crawl pitting four heroes against the evil Catacomb Lord, a struggle deep in the darkness for survival…and the banishment of evil!  Drawn from the nearby town, called to defend their people, four heroes prepare to meet the overwhelming hordes, to face the unending tide, to delve deep into….the Catacombs!


Several months ago, I watched a video of a Dice Tower gaming marathon which featured the game Catacombs.  This game appeared so entertaining to me, that I wished to have it…unfortunately it proved immensely difficult to procure.  However, approximately five months ago, I attended Dice Tower Con (highly recommended by the way– great time, loads of board games, loved it to death!) and had the opportunity to play Catacombs with some friends!  It was a great game– one of my favorites of the entire convention.  Catacombs is a one versus all game, with one player assuming the role of the Catacomb Lord who controls all the forces of evil, while one to four players take on the roles of the heroes.  In the base game you are given six choices of protagonists, as well as four choices of final-boss Catacomb Lords.  Heroes range from your mundane fantastical standbyes of Wizard and Barbarian, to the more unique Skeleton Explorer and….Chicken Champion.

Catacombs is played in a number of rooms, each one presenting new challenges to the heroes, who face ever-increasing foes and quickly dwindling health.  After fighting their way through every few rooms, they encounter special areas such as the tavern, the healer, or the merchant.  In these rooms they are able to purchase items, receive healing, or gamble for greater riches.  They are much needed places of respite, for they are not able to stay long before needing to move on.

So, what happens when the heroes enter a room?  A room card is flipped over, and the player playing the Catacomb Lord examines the card to determine which forces of evil will be present in the room.  Sometimes the cards will specify exact monster types and numbers, while other times they give a wildcard to indicate that you should substitute the specific Catacomb Lord’s minions into the fight.  Lastly, it is possible for the card to give freedom to the player playing the Catacomb Lord, instructing only what level of monster to place, giving the Catacomb Lord a choice in how many and which exact monster to place!

Once the Catacomb Lord has decided upon the monsters, they will take the corresponding wooden discs (complete with fancy artwork stickers!) and place them on the room board of his choice, which comes complete with large obstacles placed in specified cut-out areas.  Half of the board is assigned as a monster set-up area, and opposite that half of the board, a small slice of the far side of the board is assigned to the hero set-up, where the heroes will place their own wooden discs to mark where they start.  Heroes always get to go first, likely because the game creators knew that evil Catacomb Lords would tear the poor heroes apart if they went first!

What does a hero do when they take their turn, then?  Each hero has a shot sequence, and most of the time it consists of a single shot– a melee shot, which deals one damage to any monster discs it hits directly.  Sometimes, heroes are able to use abilities or spells to allow them to make a different type of shot– ranged shots let you flick a smaller wooden arrow disc towards a monster, allowing you to stay in place; fireballs send a large orange disc zooming into the enemies; ice shots send a freezing white disc into a monster, and will then be placed overtop the monster until someone knocks it off, thawing it out!  A few characters, such as the Rogue, have access to a Rush shot in their basic shot sequence– this allows them to flick their token once, but no damage will be dealt, even if it hits a monster, effectively allowing them to reposition without losing the opportunity for damage.

Most of the low-level monsters are killed in one hit, but a few have two or more hit points.  Monsters themselves, divided into several families (magical beasts, undead, vermin, firey, and uh….I guess the green guys are all…orcs?), each have their own shot sequence.  The viper can either run up and poison a hero with a melee shot, or they can hang back and spit venom at range!  Skeletons are immune to arrow shots but must run up and smack the heroes to deal damage, while the flame wraith can throw fireballs at its foes!  There is an incredible deal of variety available, including monsters that summon other monsters, monsters that heal when they damage heroes, and special mini-boss level four monsters which heroes may encounter only once or twice per game.

While were talking about the monsters, I’d like to bring up my absolute favorite component in this game.  Mind you, every monster is represented on the board by a wooden disc, colored to match the monster’s family, and sized to represent the space that monster would take up.  However one monster, one genius, fantastic monster, bucks this trend….and that is the gelatinous cube.

catacombs cube

Enough said.


Since my first time playing Catacombs in July, I have now managed to obtain a copy of the game for my own use, and have played a second game.  Both times I have played, I have filled the role of the Catacomb Lord (perhaps because I enjoy providing challenges for others?  After all, I do enjoy GMing oh so much…).  Both times, I have had a ton of fun playing this game!  Especially because no one I’ve played with is amazing at flicking wooden discs, which means that sometimes we leave our hero or monster token in the completely *wrong* place, miles away from where we wanted it to be– ready for someone else to pounce upon it!  The positioning and the ways of attacking in this game really makes it an immersive dungeon-crawler for me– undead monsters can make stunning shots, fire monsters throw fireball tokens, archers flick out small arrow discs, and gelatinous cubes rust away a player’s equipment!

When I played Catacombs at Dice Tower Con, it had included with it the Cavern of Soloth expansion– which doubled the number of heroes and catacomb lords available, as well as added in several new monsters, new rooms, and new items!  I don’t believe that the expansion is a 100% necessary addition to your game of Catacombs, but all the same I was happy to pay the extra money to get it, adding more variety and replayability to my game.

To sum up:  I have found this game immensely satisfying to play, even with low-skilled flickers (myself included).  I will be keeping Catacombs in my collection for the foreseeable future, and looking for opportunities to bring it out and play it when I can!

Prepare to Die

Prepare to Die

Yes, that’s right, the hit video game has come to the board gaming world.  And boy, have I enjoyed it!  About a year and a half ago, Dark Souls the Board Game went live on Kickstarter, raising an exceedingly high amount of money from fans who wanted to see this labor of love come into fruition.  While I did not kickstart this game myself, I did badger Sarah into backing the game, which I cannot apologize for anymore.  A few months ago she received her copy in the mail, and as quick as we could we got together to try it out.

It was a blast.

The miniatures…are amazing.  The boss and mini-boss models are out-of-this-world, as you can see in the example below:

ornstein and smough

The base game comes with two main bosses and four mini-bosses, meant to be played in a game where you face first a mini-boss of your choice, and then a main boss of your choice.  You and up to three of your friends cavort around the scenery near your bonfire, hopefully defeating the enemies in each of the encounter tiles, before you are presented with the opportunity to pass through the fog gate and confront the mini-boss or boss of the area.  While the encounters you have run through up to this point have been pretty similar– all the enemies get to attack, then one player gets to take their turn, then all the enemies activate again utilizing the same movesets which are available for players to view at all times– bosses are different.  A base enemy like the crossbow hollow will always back away from the player who just activated, and then fire a crossbow bolt at them for three magic damage.  Always.  Never gonna change.  That’s what they do.  The Hollow Soldier will always advance one node towards the closest player, and swing their sword frantically at them for four physical damage.  Always.

This creates patterns for the players to learn, recognize, and plan around.  If you know that the Large Hollow Soldier will be running towards the almost-dead Herald as soon as your turn is over, then you realize you’ll either have to eliminate him or get close enough to draw his attention towards you.  When a group of Silver Knight Swordsmen advance towards the party, the Assassin realizes that they should stay away because their swings are harder to dodge, and they’d be better off attacking the smaller and weaker foes.  This level of strategy gets honed as the players run through the same encounters time and again to farm souls before heading into the boss arena, so that by the time they are ready for the big fight they likely will have mastered the three or four encounters they must travel through to get to the fog gate.

And then everything changes.  You step through that fog gate, and in front of you stands an enormous gargoyle!  It opens up at you with a devastating lightning breath!  Boss battles work differently from the regular encounters.  Each boss has its own behavior deck, a set of generally five or more cards that tells the players where it will move and how it will attack that activation.  Bosses have four arcs on their models, which allow the behavior cards to show the players what areas around it will be attacked, simulating the video game’s boss attacks that don’t always hit the players based upon where they are standing.  Because every time the boss activates (after every player takes their turn) it uses a different behavior card than the last, the players begin the fight with less information than they normally have on their enemies.  As time passes however, these behaviors start to repeat– as you run through the boss’s behavior deck, you will not shuffle the cards but will instead continue to bring them out in the same order, allowing the players to learn the moves and plan ahead for the best possible attacks or defenses.  Almost all of the attacks a boss makes will leave it with a weak arc, which, if it is attacked by a player standing in that arc, will grant the attacker an extra die to damage it.

Yet that’s not all!  Because as you fight the boss, eventually you will damage him enough that he heats up!  Each boss has a hit point number where, once reduced to that target, they will ‘heat up.’  At this point, one of a number of ‘heat up’ cards is added to the boss behavior deck…and everything gets shuffled.  Had the Titanite Demon’s attack patterns all worked out?  Well now you’re in trouble, because you don’t know if he’s going to sweep his staff at you or pounce upon your friends from halfway across the arena!  This often proves to be the turning point in a boss battle, the time when you see if you’ll survive…or if you die!

But wait…there’s more.  About two weeks ago, I sat down with a group of three other people, and for the first time played the game with a full four players (instead of just two of us playing two characters each).  In addition to this, we tried out the included Campaign Mode.  This alternate way of playing takes the bosses available and structures them into a series of two mini-bosses and one boss battle, with increasing encounter levels and numbers as you fight your way through the game.  As well, you must pay more souls to purchase treasure than in the normal game, and leveling up your stats to use said treasure has costs almost double comparatively.  This is designed to allow your characters the maximum growth in the set amount of boss and regular encounters which will be presented to them throughout that campaign– and the game comes with two different campaigns for you.

This campaign play was far and above my favorite Dark Souls the Board Game experience.  In our final boss battle, Ornstein and Smough had to face off against a Herald whose healing powers were impressive; a sneaky assassin who could hit her targets from halfway across the arena with her sturdy crossbow; a warrior whose damage potential was, simply put, scary; and myself, a knight wielding two fancy shields and who ended up being nigh on untouchable.  (As a side note, when I first mentioned to my friends around the table that since my weapon was pretty lousy compared to all of theirs, I was planning on foregoing the broadsword in order to hold an additional shield, I was met with many a chuckle and laugh.  Little did they know that I intended to go through with it, and the rest of the game I took the least amount of damage as I kited the hollows all about the board!)

There is so much more about this game that I haven’t even touched upon, yet I feel I could not possibly cover it all in enough detail to do it justice.  Suffice to say…I have seriously enjoyed this board game, and it’s become one of my favorites in just a short amount of time.  What is even more impressive however, is that thanks to the kickstarter stretch goals…we will be receiving six more characters to play as, seven more basic enemies, invader models, summon models, and three more bosses or mini-bosses (I’m not sure which exactly they will be)!  More boss and encounter expansions are planned to be released in the next year as well, and overall I am incredibly impressed with the quality and quantity of material that has been produced for this game.

Painting Rum & Bones– Wellsport Brotherhood Bosun

First things, first I tracked down some reference material! This is from the Rum & Bones rule book.welsportbosun.png

Then I went shopping, of course! Miniature Market has great prices on Reaper paint. And I started off with the Reaper Learn to Paint Bones kit so I’m using Reaper paint.

Moving on! I didn’t get earlier pictures. Rookie mistakes.


I primed them in black and then went from up top for a direct white to catch highlights. Then I noticed that my earlier efforts to trim flashing were garbage. More rookie mistakes. Though that one, I’m still figuring out. There’s got to be ways to do it, right? I haven’t figured them out yet.

Then where to start? I decided that the flesh after the belt would be easier not to goof up on than the belt after the flesh, so I randomly started there.

I started with thinned Ebony Flesh, moved up to very thinned Dark Highlights and dry brushed a bit of Leather Brown. When I came back later to take photos, there was no Leather Brown on my wet palette so I briefly forgot that I used it. I don’t put paints I’m dry brushing with on my wet palette. Clever me.

A note on thin paints. As I understand it, the idea is that the colors beneath can inform the final color if your paints are thin enough. Also, that detail isn’t lost. Reaper paints are already thin. Putting them on a wet palette thins them more. And I still started with a 3 paint to 1 water ratio.

Then I realized, looking at the reference picture, that his rag boots were maybe leather too and I decided to make them match the belt. Likewise the wrapping on his left arm, which kind of looks like a bandage. BigChildCreativesversion has turned that wrapping into leather as well. So I sort of felt justified. I’m kind of paranoid about getting too many clashing colors on the mini, so I was going to do either boots that matched his bandage or bandage and boots that matched his belt. I opted for as few colors as possible, went back and did the same thing to those portions as I did the belt, being much less aggressive with the lighter Leather Brown on his boots.

Then I had a choice. I could finish the leather up, or proceed with the rest of the mini, leaving the details of everything for last. I’m still not super neat, witness the fact that the whole thing is brown when I was trying to dry brush the belt. So, I went for base coating the rest of him.

Skin still scares me. Looking at the picture, the pants caught me. Such a color. So I pulled up Reaper’s paint match page and went to work. Then I realized that in the art I’m referencing, his paints, belt and anchor are all shadowed the same color. Fine . . . I’ll play. I based them all with Dark Elf Skin. I’ve no clue if this will work right or not.

His pants will be moving through grey to Ghoul Skin, which is a kind of grey green. Belt will be blue and I’ve not mentally tackled the anchor yet, but metallic. We’ll see if basing them all the same shoots me in the foot as I struggle to right the colors, or if it keeps things on an even keel colorwise and turns out as great as it looks in the original art.

Then I based his skin in Dark Highlights, careful not to paint his eyes.


At this point, thin paint or not, I feel like I’ve lost so much of the highlight detail that the white paint gave me. Maybe the paint wasn’t thin enough. Maybe I started too dark. Maybe I’m needlessly worried and it’s gonna be fine!