Monday, 18 September 2017

Paul Unboxes Five More Doctor Who: Exterminate Sets!

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

We're on something of a Doctor Who: Exterminate! kick here at The Asylum, and we're sharing our love for this great game with you once again. Not only that, but—being of a generous nature—this week we bring you two more unboxing videos. So what are we waiting for...? Allons-y!

Our entrĂ©e includes not one, not two, but three sets of miniatures, namely the Zygon, Clockwork Droids and Judoon boosters. Whilst the contents of said sets may not be a surprise, we're fairly confident that those of you unfamiliar with this superb range will be astonished at the quality of the miniatures therein.

Need more proof just how good these miniatures are? Well, here's your plat principal: the Tenth Doctor and His Companions, and the Twelfth Doctor and His Companions sets. Bon appetite!
See? I told you they were good. They meet—and, in some cases, exceed—the standards set by the Missy and Davros miniatures in their respective Doctor Who: Exterminate! sets (my review of which you can see here). Expertly sculpted, superbly cast, and possessed of a remarkable poise, these miniatures are, I might argue, the best Warlord have ever produced. It remains to be seen if the rest of the Doctor Who: Exterminate! line can maintain this high standard. I for one am keen to find out.
That's it for this post. Join us next time when we'll bring you more wargaming goodness. Until then, inmates...
...Au revoir. And no, there's no dessert. 

Thursday, 31 August 2017

A Question of Honour: an Interview with Warring States Organiser Kieran Byrne


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

As part of our continued and ongoing commitment to organised play, we at Asylum Wargaming will be attending the forthcoming Warring States event in Nottingham. Don't know what a Warring States event is? Or even where Nottingham's at? Then don't worry, you don't need to know ... because I've interviewed event organiser Kieran Byrne to get your answers for you. You're welcome.

Hello Kieran, and thank you for joining me. Can you begin by introducing yourself?

Many will know me from various social media outputs surrounding Warlord Games. Being a member of both the Combined Operations podcast—which is based around my first love, Bolt Action—and the relatively new Three Swords podcast, which focuses on Test of Honour. I also run two Bolt Action groups on Facebook, being Bolt Action KL and the Bolt Action Honved, which are for players of Dutch and Hungarian armies in Bolt Action.

Apart from that I playtest for Warlord Games, whether on my own or at the club I attend, Infamous Wargaming.

You cite Bolt Action as your 'first love'; how long have you been playing BA, and what first attracted you to it?

I was a big gamer in my early teens but drifted away from the hobby in my late teens when the group split up. Some years later I discovered Airsoft guns and the subgenre of WWII Airsoft events, in which groups of grown men disappear into the woods together, get dressed up in World War II kit and shoot one another all weekend. Unsurprisingly, there are a large number of wargamers in that scene, and in late 2012 / early 2013 one such wargamer brought some of his Bolt Action armies to play with in the mess after an event; I couldn't have been more hooked more quickly.

Kieran in Airsoft action!

So, moving onto Test of Honour and Warring States, can you tell me about the event?

Absolutely. Warring States will be a campaign event for Test of Honour; that is to say the day doesn't focus entirely on a competitive tournament. I have a background of putting on what have been described as 'story driven' Bolt Action tournaments with a narrative element; I wanted to do Warring States in the same way.

The key aim for Warring States is to ensure everyone gets as much out of it as they can, so I want to steer away from the kind of tournament which encourages a certain section of players to embrace their more 'competitive' nature and  side, especially as Test of Honour is still relatively new and a lot of our players may still be learning the game.

Good to hear. As a guy who rarely dips his toe into tournament play I can relate to those who find the thought of min/maxing and cheese lists daunting. But how do you aim to avoid the kind of scenario where 'newbs' may be pummelled by power gamers?

Look, you can't really complain about power play, min/maxing or whatever if that's the way the tournament's structured; you're going to get it as soon as you offer big prizes for those who win the most games. With Test of Honour, however, the basis of the game—and its various unit cards—means nothing really stands out as overtly powerful; that mitigates against the concept of only winning if you take 'x' unit. 

Also, in Test of Honour the only game mechanic that can be open to abuse is the Fate Card deck. Whilst some decks could be stuffed with what are regarded as 'better cards' from all the expansions, we've tried to curb that by stipulating which cards can be included in a player's deck. It's all going to be a bit of a trial and error with this first event, but the feedback I've had regarding the tournament pack has been positive.

The other thing about tournaments is you have to be up front with your players; make the statement of what is expected at the event and you'll be surprised by how your players buy into it, and those that don't like it just don't book on.

A Test of Honour battle rages. Photo by Alfonso Oclaf

And what has take up been like so far?

When we were looking at where to hold the event, and through our club links with Warlord, we only really had it in our heads that we wanted to hold it at Warlord HQ in Nottingham. The building they're in includes a really good event space so it seemed like a no brainer to go there. Thanks to that and generous offers to lend us scenery and buildings on the day we can easily accommodate 40 players. At present we have 20 confirmed players with others expressing interest and waiting to confirm once pay days roll round, etc.

Even at 20 players it should still be a great event, right?

Oh yeah, totally. Numbers don't always translate to bigger being better. Also, as I will be doing all the admin on the day, smaller numbers is better for me...

More Test of Honour awesome courtesy of Alfonso Oclaf

So what format can players expect on the day?

There will be four rounds of games, so hopefully people will play against a good mixture of warbands. This as a campaign event which focuses on the build up to a famous battle from the period, and all the games propel the storyline toward that battle. If players invest and immerse themselves in the event and its narrative they will leave with a good tale to tell about their hero and warband.

And how many points can players field?

It's going to be 24  points, which is seen as the set level in many cases. However, the points total builds from round to round, so a player's full warband won't hit the table until the final game. This means the player will have a bit of decision making to do from game to game. We have put the Event Guide on the Facebook group already, so hopefully people will already be planning and counter planning...

Thanks for your time, Kieran; Warring States sounds like an awesome event in the making, and we can't wait to see you there.

Find out More about Kieran's 3 Swords Tests of Honour podcast.
Art by The Lucky Orc.

Warring States takes place on Saturday 30th September at Warlord Games HQ in Nottingham. Tickets are still available, and those interested in attending should contact Kieran via the Warring States Facebook page.

Asylum Wargaming will be in attendance at Warring States, and we shall show much honour, fail many tests, and do much losing...

...We will, however, draw the line at sepukku.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Paul Unboxes More Doctor Who: Exterminate Goodness!

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

Last week we took Warlord Game's new Doctor Who: Exterminate! Miniatures Game out of its box, and today we're unboxing the Missy and the Cybermen and Davros and the New Dalek Empire sets.

Whilst these two sets may appear to be little more than troop builders—containing as they do more of the Dalek and Cyberman sprues from the base game—they also contain unique Missy and Davros miniatures ... and therein lay two real gems. As our video shows, these two miniatures are both excellently sculpted and cast with astonishing elegance; it's no exaggeration when I say Missy and Davros are two of the best miniatures I have ever seen. Don't believe me? Then check this out:

Whetted your appetite? Good, because next week we're reviewing more sets from Warlord's Doctor Who: Exterminate range. Join us once again and you'll learn that, from the delicacy of the Twelfth Doctor's guitar's and Madame Vastra's ankles to the detail of the Zygons and the Judoon, these miniatures are incredible.
Until then...
...Stay crazy.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Paul Unboxes the Doctor Who: Exterminate! Miniatures Game

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

It's safe to say the boxed miniatures game is not only de rigueur right now, but it's also a fiercely competitive sector of the market. The likes of Test of Honour, Project Z and the forthcoming Blood Red Skies, however, prove Warlord Games' mettle against stiff competition.

The Doctor Who: Exterminate! Miniatures Game continues in the same demonstrative manner, mining as it does that rich seam of compelling gameplay, high-quality components and neat miniatures at an excellent price. In doing so not only does it excite, but it also underlines Warlord Games' continued ability to catch lightning in a bottle...

...Long may it continue.

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:

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