Sunday, 9 July 2017

March of the Idiots: Beards of Phwoar!


Hi, I'm Paul, and welcome to The Asylum. Today I bring you the latest in our March of the Idiots series, in which I detail Asylum Wargaming's misadventures in many and varied tournaments.

I had the pleasure of competing at Beers of War: the Second Draught over the weekend. A Kings of War tournament that mixes organised play with alcohol consumption, this is the second Beers of War event, and one I have been looking forward to for some time.

Why was I looking forward to it so much? Because I thoroughly enjoyed the first event in February, that's why. Asylum Wargaming's Steve JohnSnow and I entered under the team name Kings of Phwoar!, and we didn't win a single thing other than the Wooden Spoon (you can read all about it here). But it didn't matter; we had a great time playing a cool wargame with sporting opponents who were drinking beer; what's not to like?

Unlike the first Beers of War, however, I wasn't teaming up Steve JohnSnow, as the angry hobbit was suffering with a migraine. Instead I found myself partnered with seasoned Kings of War player Steve Wallace. As Steve is, like me, blessed with a magnificent ginger beard, we altered our team's name to Beards of Phwoar!. Steve fielded Abyssal Dwarves, and I took to the field with the same trusty Undead who served me so well at the first Beers of War...

Steve and I in the process of losing to the prosaically named  BOLLoCKS

...Three matches later and we were dead last with no wins, having lost in turn to the Grim Squeekers (Tom Robinson's Salamanders and Ian Davies' Ratkin), BOLLoCKS (Kevin Haney's Basileans and Chris Cowburn's Ogres)* and newbies Eastern Bloc (Rob Czechwyn's League of Rhordia and Josef Makosz's Goblins).**

But who cares? Well, maybe Steve, but certainly not me. As with the first event I had a great time and met some cool people. Not only that, but organisers Lee and Luke Fellows made sure we were all well fed with a free and decent lunch. So, I ask you once again ... what's not to like?

Another aspect of Beers of War I really enjoy is the Arbitrary Army Award, in which the competitors vote for the tournament's best painted army. For some reason my motley assortment of incomplete and only partially painted Undead failed to win a single vote (outrageous! I demand a recount!), but Kev Haney's third-placed Basilians, Chris Cowburn's second-placed Ogres and Ben Casey's winning Herd army richly deserved each and every vote. I salute them.

Ben Casey's Herd
Chris Cowburn's Ogres
Kev Haney's Basileans

In conclusion, the Fellows brothers can be very proud of their event. They've put together a great little tournament with a cool theme. It's relaxed and played in a friendly manner by players who want to enjoy both the game and a few beers, and aren't interested in being power players or rules munchkins. It's a challenge for experienced players, and welcoming to new ones. Hell, they're even tolerant to borderline mentards like yours truly.

So if you're in Yorkshire and you like Kings of War and/or beer, you could do a lot worse than contending any future Beers of War events. Needless to say, I'll be there, and I presume I'll be partnered with someone called Steve...

...And who knows; maybe we'll finally win a match?


Beers of War: the Second Draught was held at the Westgate Common Club, Wakefield, and was won by the National Elf Service (Chris Prince's Elves and Richard Tomlinson's Brotherhood), with the Cult Armies of Bacchus (Mat Green's Romans and Ben Casey's Herd) and the Scottish Renegades (Andy Meechan and Craig Alexander's Undead) taking second and third respectively. If you're interested in attending the next Beers of War event, then keep an eye on the Facebook page for details...

...I'll see you there.



*Who won despite team members Kev Haney and Chris Cowburn knocking it back like George Best...

**...Who also won despite being so new to the game they might as well have been reading the rulebook for the first time.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Another Round? Another interview with Luke Fellows

Hi, I'm Paul, and welcome to The Asylum.

As part of Asylum Wargaming's continued support and enthusiasm for organised play, Steve JohnSnow and I are pleased to announce we are attending the this year's Beers of War event. A Kings of War tournament, Beers of War is a relaxed combination of wargaming and ... yes, you guessed it ... beer. Regular readers will know Steve and I attended the inaugural event last year as the Kings of Phwoar! team*, and we're very much looking forward to this year's event.

In anticipation of Beers of War 2, I recently interviewed the organiser—and star of YouTube smash Luke's APSLuke Fellows about both last year's event, and his expectations for this sophomore tournament.


You've run your inaugural Beers of War event since we last spoke. How did that go?

It was great for a first event, and we [Luke and event co-organiser Lee Fellows] loved running it. To be honest, I don't remember much after dinner as I was drunk! Jokes aside it was great, and we learnt a lot. We were glad it came together as well as it did; for a first event it went really well.


Tell us a little more about Beers of War 2: the Second Draught.

Beers of War 2 is being held on 8th July in Wakefield. This time it's in a new venue, Westgate Common Club. It's a bigger place with cheaper beer for the people that don't win games...

Last year's event in full swing.

 So what are you changing this time?

Nothing much has changed apart from the venue. Also the terrain I've built will be more suitable for a movement-based game like Kings of War. The terrain I built for last year's event looked great, but was a little hard to navigate around, so I've fixed that for this year's tournament.

And how’s your YouTube channel going?

The channel is going from strength to strength, but looking after our baby daughter has reduced the time I have available to paint and film. I still aim to post one video a week, and I'm sure my regular viewers understand.

Kromlech Iron Reich Goblins, as recently seen on Luke's APS.

Luke's shiny new bike.
Aside from Beers of War and Luke’s APS, what else is new and shiny in the world of Luke Fellows?

Funny you should ask! I've bought myself a new motorbike, just so when I have some down time I can let my hair down by riding around the Yorkshire Dales and Moors. I've also launched a new YouTube channel called Luke's Ride Outs, so anyone into bikes can watch me on there as well.


And to sign off, what does Luke Fellows do when he’s not painting toys or ruling YouTube?

Changing my baby daughter's dirty nappies. Washing my baby daughter. Feeding my baby daughter. Watching In the Night Garden with my baby daughter...

...But if I get a few hours here and there I go out on the bike for a ride. It's surprising what a ride can do to my productivity!

Thanks for your time, Luke. Steve and I are lookforward to seeing you at the event.


Tickets for Beers of War 2: the Second Draught are still available here. Steve and I will see you there, and a full report of our misadventures is coming your way next week.

*Last year Steve and I won two and drew one on our way to winning the Wooden Spoon; this year we're going one better by losing all three matches. You heard it here first!

Check out Luke's superb YouTube channel for stacks of
miniature paintin', terrain makin', ass-kickin' goodness!
 

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

March of the Idiots: Paul Goes to War


Hi, I’m Paul, and welcome to The Asylum.

Today I bring you a further episode of our March of the Idiots series, in which I detail Asylum Wargaming's misadventures in various tournaments across the country. As part of our commitment to organised and community play, we’re proud to both promote and to engage in these tournaments.

I am, therefore, thrilled to announce my friend—and the man even Warlord Games calls Mr. Bolt Action—Jamie Tranter has invited me to be his partner at a forthcoming event. Entitled Peak Offensive, this doubles tournament sees teams of two players—each fielding 500 points of Bolt Action goodness—competing for prizes and the adulation of their peer group. Lacking a partner (and being desperate) Jamie asked me to be his Wing Man. Once he told me the really cool theme for our entry, I just couldn’t say no…

Jamie’s pitch? An actual WWII action called Operation Varsity. Launched by the Allies against Nazi Germany in March, 1945, Operation Varsity saw Allied airborne forces from the U.S., Canada and Great Britain dropped on the village of Hamminkeln and the town of Wesel (both on the banks of the Rhine River). Their intention was to capture key territories and disrupt German defences in the face of the oncoming Allied ground forces.


Due to a mistake by a pilot, however, U.S. Paratroopers from the 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment missed their designated drop zone and instead landed in one held by the British 6th Airlanding Brigade. Not to be deterred, both divisions worked shoulder-to-shoulder to secure the town of Hamminkeln.

So, after a brief discussion (i.e, Jamie told me to), we decided we’d create two 500 point forces which reflected this joint operation. Jamie chose to field the British Airborne of the 6th, and I the U.S. Airborne of the 513th. Being Mr. Bolt Action, Jamie already knew the best way to start his force: the venerable Bolt Action British Airborne WWII Allied Paratroopers boxed set.


I, meanwhile, needed some Airborne, and fast. But, as a Bolt Action newb (I’ve played one game against our man Spud Tate!) neither did I own any Bolt Action miniatures, or have any idea where to start. Fortunately, Warlord’s excellent Bolt Action US Airborne set proved to be an ideal place to start. Why so…?

…Here so:

video


With five sprues each with six Airborne, this set had more than enough grunts for my 500 point force. Assembling the paratroopers was a scream, and I haven’t had as much fun gluing plastic together since the very first plastic Space Marines boxed set. Yeah, that long ago. And this time I didn’t even glue anything to my face.

So, you're bang up to date. As of today, Jamie and I have an idea, fists full of plastic, and a deadline. Said deadline is a month away and neither of us are known for being quick painters. Can we complete our miniatures in time and do justice to the brave men of Operation Varsity…?

…Watch this space.


Peak Offensive will be held at the Whitworth Centre, Darley Dale, Matlock, on Sunday 23rd July. Jamie and I will hold a victory parade in Nottingham on Monday 25th.* No, really.**


*This may not be true.

** It’s really not true.

Bolt Action, Konflikt '47 and all manner of other Warlord Games goodies are available at our webstore

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Countdown to ChillCon: an Interview with Word Forge Games' Mark Rapson

Hi, I'm Paul, and welcome to The Asylum.

It's Asylum Wargaming's very first wargames show this forthcoming Saturday, and this week I'm interviewing some of the great and the good you can expect to see at the show. And so—hot on the heels of my interview with Gav Thorpe—I would like to present you with an interview with one of ChillCon's co-sponsor, Mark Rapson.


Hello Mark, and thank you for taking the time to chat with me today. Perhaps you'd like to begin by telling us a little about yourself?

Mark Rapson
I'm Mark Rapson, and my company is Word Forge Games. WFG is the company behind the vehicular combat game franchise: Devil’s Run, and the cheeky battling hamster game full of double entendre, CheekZ. We also cast miniatures for third parties—in both resin and metal—and render and 3D print!


I'm familiar with Devil's Run, so we'll come to that later. In the meantime, can you tell me a little about the hamster game?

CheekZ is a card game of bluffing and forward thinking. If I were to compare it to anything it would be Poker, but that is a very loose comparison. What I particularly like about it is its artwork, but also what Andy Ransome the designer has done with the cheekiness of the game. There is a lot of tongue in cheek fun to be had, with lots of double entendre. It works on two levels: for the kids it’s cute and gets them thinking mathematically; and for the grown-ups there is a whole barrel of laughs to be had.


It's interesting to see how different Cheekz and Devil's Run are. Do you have a third game up your sleeve? Or will you concentrate on your existing properties?

We actually have another three up our sleeves! Next up is a small project with local street artists. The game will be called Throwdown and is a card throwing game! I am excited about this as it's a cool rule set and it's awesome to work with the local community of artists. Our longer timescale project is called Star Knights, and like Devil's Run is a BIG project which we will build into a franchise. We haven't shared much yet, but I am personally very excited about this and the work that is being done right now on it. But our new big project is a licenced project for a 15mm tank battle game. It is a tabletop game, straight out the box. It will come to KS shortly. It is very cool with awesome models and a cool aesthetic; but the rules and how the game play is what really makes it for me.


Exciting times! I'm guessing you can't tell me the name of the tank license, right?

Yes I can. It's Absolute Decimation. Check www.wordforgegames.com for more info.


And how did the hook-up with the street artist come about? That's quite leftfield.

I had a flash of inspiration for a new game as I was tidying the house. It wasn't fleshed out, but as I cogitated it over the next day or two I settled on a brick wall idea for the background of the cards, and a graffiti look. I was going to ask my business partner to create the graffiti look, but the very next day an artist called Tim from BLINK Photography walked into my shop, Crescent Gaming Consortium, for the first time. We began chatting and I explained about Devil's Run and art, and he said, "Well, if you ever need any graffiti-style art, let me know..." I can't decide if that was fate, act of God, or blind luck ... but I'll take it!


So what are Throwdown!'s mechanics?

Throwdown! is a simple card game; think Twister crossed with a throwing game. Lots of skill, but lots of laughs too. It's also suitable for game for 1-4 players (and up to 8 if you combine the two variant games together).

Taking the card to the right as an example, if you can throw the card into the ThrowZone whilst jumping in the air, you earn 10 points.


And I assume different cards call for the player to perform different actions in order to earn points?

Yep!

That's a neat idea. Certainly a greater level of physical activity than most card games call for.


Going back to something more conventional, what can you tell us about Star Knights?

Star Knights is the beginning of our next big, home grown franchise. In essence, it's a Space Opera.

The first product will be Star Knights: Solar Crusade, a game created in the tradition of the classic dungeon crawl games like Hero Quest and Descent. But we're doing something special with Star Knights by making it a 1 player game as well as a fully immersive multiplayer. The board game will come with modular board pieces that will be double-sided. Players will be able to place them in specified order or free form. The models will be one piece and of the highest quality. They'll also be rendered by our very own Ben, and also cast by our team. There will be four different races in the game. We've shown the 'lion' race already, but wait 'til you see the other stuff!

If you'd like to learn more then check the face book page at https://www.facebook.com/gamestarknights/.


So looking ahead to ChillCon, do you have anything special in store for the show?

Yes, these two miniatures:


Nice! Something to look forward to! I take it these are for Devil's Run? And am I right in thinking Route 666 is now out of print and we can look forward to the second edition?

Yes. We've now moved onto Devil's Run: Reaper's Revenge, and soon will have the retail game, Devil's Run: Hell's Highway. Devil's Run is going from strength to strength. A lot of people—including our awesome community—have worked really hard on it all!


Thanks for your time, Mark. All the best for Star Knights, and we look forward to seeing you at ChillCon...

...And in the meantime, let's all enjoy this space bull man from Star Knights:

Monday, 22 May 2017

Countdown to ChillCon: an Interview with Gav Thorpe

Hi, I'm Paul, and welcome to The Asylum.

It's the run-up to ChillCon '17, Asylum Wargaming's debut wargames show. To commemorate I'm bringing you a week of interviews with various ChillCon '17 traders, sponsors and other illuminati, including the likes of Daruma Productions' Mark WallaceWarploque Miniatures' Alex Huntley, and Mark Rapson of Word Forge Games.

First and foremost, however, I present an interview with Gav Thorpe. An author and games designer, Gav boasts an illustrious career with Games Workshop, including a stellar contribution to the lore of both Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000, and a host of novels for Black Library. He has recently left Games Workshop to pursue a fulltime career as a writer. He will also be at ChillCon '17 showing off his pet project, Big Stompy Robots.


Gav, please will you take a moment to introduce yourself?

Gav Thorpe. He has all his own teeth.
I'm Gav Thorpe, author and games designer. Most folks will know me either from my days as a games developer for Games Workshop, or as a writer for the Black Library, or both. I've worked on several editions of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000, and created the Inquisitor game, as well as contributing to the likes of Battlefleet Gothic, Titan Legions, Gorkamorka! My other games design work includes Cutlass! for Black Scorpion Miniatures. I've also freelanced for the video games industry, most recently as World Creation Consultant for Ubisoft Montreal on the For Honor title. I'm middle-aged, a little overweight, have all my own teeth, and I live with a very understanding partner called Kez and an amazing three-year old called Sammy.


Impressive, especially the possession of all your own teeth. If you had to choose a top three, however, what would they be, and why? 
Top of the list would be Inquisitor, simply because we got to explore so much crazy stuff. Not only were we able to steer the game in a dark direction, but we also revisited one of the staples of 40K that had been ignored for a while: the Inquisitors. The legacy of that work continues today, a lot of it thanks to projects like Inq28 and John Blanche's continuing involvement as a creative and hobbyist through Blanchitsu and so on.

Battlefleet Gothic was also a great project because of my long time love for all things Napoleonic and naval. Writing the history of the Gothic War and working on the characters and background of the Imperial Navy was very fulfilling. Also I was able to come up with something a bit different for the campaign system—the subsector maps and the like—which was very satisfying. And the game is great to play, so a winner all round.

I think my other proudest achievement isn't a single project, per se, but my tenure as Warhammer Loremaster. Not only did I get to work on some cool books in that time—Dwarfs, Beasts of Chaos, for instance—but I also got a real buzz helping the creative team evolve the imagery of armies like Lizardmen, revitalise the Bretonnians and Wood Elves, create the Ogre Kingdoms, and bring events like Storm of Chaos to life. Oh, and we got a plastic giant too!


That's a list you can be justifiably proud of. But can you go back a little and tell us how you came to write for Games Workshop? 
I was fortunate enough to contact Games Workshop when they were hiring Assistant Games Developers. I showed some Blood Bowl rules to designer Jervis Johnson at Games Day '93. He suggested that I send them to him at GW, so I did, along with a cover  letter asking for a job. I went to Nottingham, talked to Rick Priestley, and started a week later. 
The Assistant Games Developer contract was two years, the second of which was spent on White Dwarf magazine. I had another year as a Dwarfer and then—armed with that experience—went back into the Games Design department.


White Dwarf issue 127
So, and this is the last Games Workshop question before we take a look at Big Stompy Robots, what are your favourite 40K and WFB armies, and why?
My number one love for 40K are the Eldar. As I recently celebrated on my blog, the update of the Eldar back in White Dwarf issue 127 was a formative moment for me. 

In Warhammer I I'm drawn to the dwarfs. I love their background, and the playstyle of rock hard, dependable infantry and lethal war machines suits me well. 

I'm lucky that I've been able to work on both factions in my time at GW and as a Black Library author. 



A pair of Gav's Big Stompy Robots
And so onto Big Stompy Robots. As someone unaware of the game, can you bring me up to speed?

Recently I've embarked on an ambitious hobby/games design project. Last year I was approached by the organiser of Nottingham's ROBIN wargames show to conduct a short seminar. Feeling enthused, I  offered to also run a participation game during the event.

I had about six weeks to create a 10mm scale mech-fighting game. This included designing the rules system, creating the board, and assembling the mechs themselves. I managed to get the game ready in time, and I dubbed it Big Stompy Robots. For the moment my only goal is to have some fun games. However, should it go well I’ll continue developing the game with a more commercial goal in mind.

I’ve been kicking around various games ideas for years, obviously, but I ended up going with something new for Big Stompy Robot (although drawing from other ideas I’ve had over the last couple of years).The main point is that the player is a pilot of a single mech rather than commanding a force. It gives the feel of being in control of a complex fighting system, monitoring power levels, the pilot 
More Big Stompy Robots!
interface and the physical positioning of the mech on the field of battle. The player distributes power through the control system of the mech via dice on a series of cards that represent the mech’s systems. These dice determine the activations of the mech, and when it takes an action those dice are then used to resolve that action. Damage is represented by negative damage dice getting introduced into the system, reducing the effectiveness of the systems as they accrue.

I've blogged about it on my website, gavthorpe.co.uk and folks can check out a growing number of gameplay videos on YouTube.


Thank you, Gav, a pleasure to chat with you.

You can enjoy Gav's Big Stompy Robots game—and a host of others—at ChillCon '17 on Saturday 27th May. That's this Saturday. Yes, this Saturday. Better get your tickets fast...


Monday, 24 April 2017

Meet the Inmates: Ben Moorhouse, the War Terrier



Hi, I'm Paul, and welcome to The Asylum.

You may have noticed we're mad about the fantasy skirmish game Anyaral: The World of Twilight. That's because there's a lot to be mad about. Not only does the game boast a neat and original system, but the miniatures are gorgeous! Don't believe me? Then prepare to be converted by Ben Moorhouse AKA War Terrier. Ben has been a fan of Anyaral since the beginning, and he's joined us today to tell you why...

...Over to you, Ben.

Hi, I'm Ben and I've been a wargamer for more than twenty years, and my Anyaral: The World of Twilight figures have to be amongst my favourite miniatures to date.

I first spotted these quaint dinosaur-like creatures during their initial Kickstarter campaign, and I bought a starter set to see what the game was like. I liked the miniatures immediately due to their creativeness and how easy they were to paint. I tend to do more painting than playing and these figures have been an ideal way to improve my techniques; I've been really pleased with the results!
Gil Masharl, travelling biologist
It's probably worth starting off with a quick introduction to the setting for the game, although if I'm honest my WoT figures sneak into my other games all the time; they make a really unique Frostgrave Warband! The World of Twilight is an alternate fantasy skirmish game set in the land of Anyaral. The world centres around the fortunes of the Fubarnii Empire, once slaves of the powerful Devanu, now masters to themselves since their craftsmanship enabled them construct weapons and to overthrow their oppressors. The Devanu, a race of vicious predators, are now isolated in an area known as the Argoran Wastelands and frequently raid Fubarnii territory.

The creator of Twilight: The World of Anyaral, Mike Thorp, has been working hard to increase his range of models including the introduction of the most recent faction, the Casanii, via a second Kickstarter campaign (soon to be available on The Asylum, I'm sure!) Some of these models feature in the pictures below.
Loranti Pargal, trader
Jenta Spear Jenta Hunter
On to the figures themselves... Aside from the great sculpting and character of the models my favourite aspect of this range is the absolute freedom it gives you to paint whatever scheme and colours you want. If you're anything like me and get incredibly bored endlessly painting olive drab onto a WWII force, WoT presents you with the opportunity to let your imagination run wild and allows you to go crazy with your paint palette. These aren't humans so you're not limited to particular skin tones or camouflage patterns and, more importantly, they're not your regular high-fantasy line of miniatures which bring with them certain stereotypes of colour scheme.
Nurasem Plutom Nurakira Acolyte
The first things that springs to mind when seeing these miniatures are dinosaurs, and I used this inspiration when it came to painting. After some quick internet research I had a load of starting points for schemes which allowed me to really go to town. I'm not really a painter that uses washes and glazes very much and I generally stick to the layers approach and this works really well on these miniatures. As well as using lighter tones to bring out the shape of the model, there's also an incredible amount of opportunity here to paint texture into the design in the form of mottled skin or rough hide. On most of the models I've used thin lines of highlight to give the skin a rougher appearance, and I think it's worked really well.

I wanted to give a more tribal appearance to the Casanii miniatures, and the obvious answer was an aboriginal war paint design. So, after yet more internet research, I had a small force set out in some nice striking white marking over a darker skin tone for my fledgling force (these are my favourite so far).
Casanii Feral Mutts Young Gil and Critters
Casanii
Casanii Erillai Rider Grishak Beasts
In conclusion, I'd thoroughly recommend picking up one of the starter forces, even if only for how much fun they are to paint! I hope you've enjoyed the images here. If you'd like to see more of my World of Twilight collection feel free to check out my site, War Terrier, which is less of a blog, and more a collection of pictures.

Thanks again to Ben. If you like what you've seen here, then check out Asylum Wargamings' range of Anyaral: The World of Twilight miniatures, starter sets and accessories. Tell him I sent you.

Join us next time, when we'll be meet another special guest from the wonderful world of wargamery weirdness. Until then, Inmates...

...Stay crazy.


Want more Anyaral in your life? Then knock yourself out at our webstore.