Saturday, 28 November 2015

Vampifan's Views 72 - Monthly Musings 48

Miss Vampirella November 2015 - Paula Labaredas
November's Vampirella model is actress, cosplayer and model, Paula Labaredas. Portuguese American beauty Paula started her career on a very promising note by winning her very first acting award, the “Shining Star Award.” She then hit the Big Apple (NYC) landing a starring role as a series regular in an international soap opera, “Mausum.” She has had the honour of working with legendary actor Al Pacino and the renowned producer/director Roger Corman. As a correspondent, Paula's charm, versatility, and doer attitude has given her the opportunity to interview such greats as James Cameron, Morgan Freeman, Patrick Stewart, Buzz Aldrin and Jim Lovell among others.
A model and an internet sensation, Paula’s modelling pics continuously go viral. She reached 9,000 followers, within two weeks, on Instagram.
Her last name "Labaredas" means flame in Portuguese. Normally, Paula has blonde hair. I'm not sure if she's wearing a wig for her Vampirella photo shoot or if she has dyed her hair. She is not as busty as Vampi but she still looks the part. Although Vampirella rarely uses firearms it does happen occasionally, so I have no problem with Paula holding a pistol in this photo.

It has been an interesting month for me with highs and lows. The low point was my failing health resulting in a short stay in hospital. On the plus side, I am back to normal health now. Moving on to the high points, it was my 58th birthday on the 24th of this month. I received a cheque from my mum for a large amount of money which left me speechless. I knew she was going to give me a cheque but I had no idea she was going to make it so huge. I am thankful beyond belief for having the best mum any son could wish for. God bless her!
My brother bought me two DVDs - the boxed set of "Bones: series 10" and "Mad Max: Fury Road," both of which were much appreciated.
The gift that I bought myself (well, you have to, don't you?) was the "Timber Peak" expansion set for the board-game of "Last Night On Earth." I plan on playing lots of games of LNOE in the new year as it is a game I have shamefully neglected for far too long.

I have only recently started painting figures again after a five week sabbatical whilst I was lacking any energy and just couldn't be bothered. So what's on the painting table? The last 12 Berserker Zombies for Zombicide, 4 Heresy Miniatures Vampires and 4 Studio Miniatures Survivors (the 4 heroes from Romero's "Dawn of the Dead" film). They're all over half way done by now.

I have also managed to play two very different games recently. First up was The Forgotten King expansion for Super Dungeon Explore using the Arcade Mode rules. These differ from the Consul Mode rules in that they are better suited for solo-play, although you can still play with multiple players working co-operatively. Heroes roll dice as normal but the bad guys have fixed stats for offence and defence, so roll no dice and their actions are determined by the draw of cards. Being such a big fan of SDE, I thoroughly enjoyed this new experience. I plan on playing many more games as I become more proficient with the new rules. At some point I'd love to post a batrep of a TFK game, especially one involving the Von Drakk Manor tiles and figures aided by the Stilt Town Zombies set of figures, thus mixing all of my SDE undead figures together.

The other game I have been playing a lot of is the Thunderbirds 50th Anniversary Co-operative board-game. As a child, I grew up with a deep love for Gerry Anderson's iconic puppet series. That love and affection has never faded and when I saw the announcement in February of this year that Modiphus were going to launch a new Thunderbirds board-game on Kickstarter I knew I had to back it. As Kickstarters go this was relatively cheap. £40 got you the board-game on its own or £65 got you the board-game plus all the add-ons. Naturally, I opted to pay £65. I have the board-game but the add-ons are due for release shortly. I don't mind waiting as it gives me time to learn the basics. There is much to admire about this game if you are a fan of the show, not least is the fact that it is designed for 1 to 4 players. Games with the solo play option always appeal to me!
Initial set up for 4 players. Solo players use 3 characters.
This is without doubt the best piece of merchandise released this year for the 50th anniversary of Thunderbirds. This game is a fantastic tribute, and playing it, you really do feel immersed in the show. Players each take on a character from International Rescue (Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon, John or Lady Penelope) and a craft, and work together to perform rescues on Thunderbirds-themed disasters and try to prevent the Hood's three nefarious schemes before it's too late. If too many disasters build up or if the Hood's schemes aren't defeated soon enough, the players lose. If all the Hood's schemes are defeated you win. There is a deep sense of satisfaction as you work together to carry out the rescues and defeat each of the Hood's schemes. The game has adjustable difficulty to make the game harder or easier, depending on how successful you are at completing rescues and foiling the Hood's schemes. Everything has been well designed: the counters, cards, dice and board. Production value is second to none.
Anyone doubting the long-lasting appeal of Thunderbirds should take note of a recent poll commissioned to find the most popular ITV series of all time. Thunderbirds came second behind "Auf Weidersehen, Pet." Not bad for a 50 year old TV series! The board-game is now available to buy from various retail outlets for around £40. It's fast, fun, easy to play and I absolutely love it.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Castle Ravenloft Kobolds

This is my last post reviewing the Monsters from the Castle Ravenloft board-game. However, I have only reviewed four of the eight Villains of the game. Still to come are the Flesh Golem, Howling Hag, Zombie Dragon and best of all, Gravestorm the Dracolich. The figures of the Kobolds in Castle Ravenloft stand about 15mm tall and come on smaller diameter bases than the other figures. Three Kobold Skirmishers are led by Klak, the Kobold Sorcerer. Let's take a closer look at them.
Klak, the Kobold Sorcerer oversees Lord Strahd's arcane experiments. He is a sneaky git who is hard to pin down. He is a Level 5 Villain and activates at the start of each Villain Phase. His stats are AC14 and 6HP.
Klak's tactics are -
If Klak is on a tile with an unexplored edge, draw a tile from the bottom of the Dungeon Tile stack and place it adjacent to the unexplored edge. The active Hero places a new Monster on the new tile.
If Klak is on a tile with a Hero, he attacks each Hero on the tile with a burst of Fire.
If Klak is on a tile with a Monster, activate that Monster.
Otherwise, Klak teleports. Place him on the closest tile with an unexplored edge. 
A Fire attack gives a +8 bonus to hit and causes 1 damage, as well as placing the Hero 1 tile away from his or her tile. 
Kobolds are classed as reptiles in the game and so I painted them with scaly green skin (actually Foundry Bright Green 25). Their armour was painted in Foundry Spearpoint 35C and given a wash of Citadel Seraphim Sepia.
The stats for a Kobold Skirmisher are AC13 and 1 HP.  Killing one earns a Hero 1 Experience Point.
The Kobold Skirmisher's tactics are:
If the Kobold is within 1 tile of a Hero, it attacks the closest Hero with a thrown Javelin.
Otherwise, the Kobold moves 1 tile toward the closest Hero.
A Javelin gives a +9 bonus to hit and causes 1 Damage. 
I like these figures a lot. For sure, they are rather weak but they are still a menace. Klak reminds me of Yoda if he had turned to the dark side of the Force! 

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Castle Ravenloft Werewolf and Wolves

Werewolves and Wolves are the theme for this review of the 28mm scale figures from the Castle Ravenloft board-game for 4th edition Dungeons and Dragons.
Rather unusually, the werewolf is female - a decision I wholeheartedly applaud. She is a Level 5 Villain and activates at the start of each Villain Phase. Her stats are AC15 and 5HP.
The Werewolf's tactics are -
If the Werewolf is adjacent to a Hero, it regains 1HP and attacks an adjacent Hero with a frenzied Swipe.
If the Werewolf is within 2 tiles of a Hero, it regains 1HP, moves adjacent to the closest Hero and attacks that Hero with a Bite.
Otherwise, the Werewolf regains 1HP and moves 2 tiles toward the closest Hero.
A Swipe attacks gives a +7 bonus to hit and causes 3 Damage, as well as placing the Hero 2 tiles away from his or her tile.
A Bite attack also gives a +7 bonus to hit but only causes 1 Damage.
I painted my three Wolves differently, using colour schemes I found on Google Images.
The stats for a Wolf are AC14 and 1HP. Killing one earns a Hero 1 Experience Point.
The Wolf's tactics are -
If the Wolf is adjacent to a Hero, it attacks that Hero with a Bite.
If the Wolf is within 2 tiles of a Hero, it moves adjacent to the closest Hero and attacks that Hero with a Pounce. 
Otherwise, the Wolf moves 2 tiles towards the closest Hero. 
A Bite attack gives a +9 bonus to hit and causes 2 Damage.
A Pounce attack gives a +7 bonus to hit and causes 1 Damage as well as causing the Hero to be Slowed. 
I have to admit to having mixed feelings about these sculpts. I'm delighted that the Werewolf is so obviously female but her pose does not seem natural. I dunno, it just looks off to me. It's almost like she's striking a pose. The Wolves are nicely sculpted but they have short, stocky legs, which is just wrong.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Vampifan's Views 71 - I'm back

Yes, I'm back after ten long days in hospital. Without going into too many details I was dehydrated, which led to me feeling tired, breathless and lacking in appetite and energy. I was rushed to hospital and placed in a new wing (just opened in February of this year) where I had my own room with en suite facilities, TV and phone. It was like being in a hotel, not a hospital! I was put on a drip for the whole duration and I'm now back to normal.
I have left personal comments to everyone who wished me well on my previous post. Do check them out if you were one of them. I'd just like to thank you all for your well wishes and messages of support. They were fully appreciated.
I'll be spending today catching up on e-mails (155 of them!) and more importantly, checking up on your blogs. Normal Vampifan service should be resumed on Sunday.
Once again, thank you all.


Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Vampifan's Views 70 - Going Offline

Alas, I have to go to hospital, so will be offline for a while... but hopefully not too long.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Zombicide Ultimate Survivors 2 Announcement

I interrupt my Castle Ravenloft figures reviews to give an announcement to highlight the new boxed set of 8 Survivors for Zombicide. "Fighting zombies isn't easy. There seems to be a never-ending wave of them and eventually you're gonna run out of bullets. Fighting them makes one tough. And the heroes from the first Zombicide game have been fighting zombies for quite some time now. As such, they've levelled-up (besides, you know, levelling up in the game as you play, that is). CoolMiniOrNot is now taking pre-orders for Zombicide Ultimate Survivors #2."
Included in the Ultimate Survivors #2 box are:
  • 8 Survivor miniatures
  • 8 ID Cards
  • 8 Experience trackers
This exclusive pre-order will be open until November 15th 2015. CMoN will produce enough quantity to satisfy the orders, plus a little extra for promotions and conventions. Ultimate Survivors #2 will not be sold at retail, and it’s a limited edition! Each box of Ultimate Survivors #2 is priced at $40, but if you backed Zombicide Season 1, 2, 3 or Black Plague you get a $10 discount per box!
Go here to pre-order Ultimate Survivors #2. To get your discount, please use the same email address you used on the previous Zombicide Kickstarter Campaigns and your discount will be automatically applied. After hitting submit and you’ll get an email in a few minutes with instructions to specify how many additional boxes you might want, to insert your shipping address and to make payment.

Estimated shipment date Jan/Feb 2016.

Please note there is a hidden charge of about $16 for post and packing. I desperately want this set and have already placed my order. The sculpts of the figures are just superb. These characters are based on the add-on or stretch goal characters from Zombicide Season 1 - Chaz, Claudia, Dave, El Cholo, Ivy, Marvin, Nick and Troy. I missed out on buying them first time, which is the main reason I am so keen to get them now.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Castle Ravenloft Rats & Spiders

It's a new month but I still haven't finished reviewing the figures from the Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition board-game, Castle Ravenloft. So, here I present the Rat Swarm and Spiders.
The Rat Swarms come on 25mm diameter bases and I've painted each Swarm differently - from left to right are black rats, dark grey rats and dark brown rats. I painted their ears and tails with Foundry Flesh 5B.
The stats for a Rat Swarm are AC12 and 1HP. Killing one earns a Hero 1 Experience Point.
A Rat Swarm's tactics are -
If the Rat Swarm is within 1 tile of a Hero, it moves to the closest Hero's tile and attacks each hero with a multitude of Bites.
Otherwise, the Rat Swarm moves 1 tile toward the closest Hero.
A Bites attack gives a +7 bonus to hit and causes 1 damage.
I'm not sure why these monsters are described as Spiders instead of Giant Spiders. They are as a big as a human and that's just downright unnatural! Anyway, let's not split hairs - they're still great figures.
The stats for a Spider are AC15 and 1HP. Killing one earns a Hero 2 Experience Points.
A Spider's tactics are -
If the Spider is adjacent to a Hero, it attacks that Hero with a venomous Bite.
If the Spider is within 1 tile of a Hero, it attacks the closest Hero with an acidic Web.
Otherwise, the Spider moves 2 tiles (they're fast!) toward the closest Hero. 
A Bite attack gives a +6 bonus to hit and causes 2 damage if it hits or 1 damage if it misses.
A Web attack gives a whopping big +11 bonus to hit (the highest of any Monster or Villain in the game) and causes 1 damage plus Slowed (a Hero' Speed is reduced to 2). In addition, place the Spider adjacent to the Hero.
The Rat Swarms are great sculpts. They do look very flat, which is why I photographed them from above. They are more a nuisance than a serious threat in the game. The Spiders, however, are fearsome opponents, fast moving, hard to hit and they deal out some nasty damage.