Saturday, 14 October 2017

STONE & STONE

"IT'S ALL IN THE COLOUR"


Having produced a lot of pre-coloured resin, I know a lot of people can be daunted by the prospect of painting it, so I thought I would do a step by step guide as there are some parts in Death Match produced in this way


In the above image this is the resin before painting, in it's natural translucent blue colour.

Step 1


First put a black wash on the back of the shield and let dry.

Step 2


Now paint the handle of the sword, and the back of the shield in silver, you will also want to paint the five energy nodes on the front of the shield.

Step 3


Next put a black wash over the parts you've painted silver, you could highlight this once dry with some pure silver, but I like the tarnished look so leave as is.

Step 4


Next we paint all the electrical discharge with a light blue, be careful not to get any on the background area

Step 5


The last step is to use some pure white at the points the electrical discharge meets the emitters and where the arcs inter connect.

As you can see relatively easy with a steady hand, your still painting in a similar way to normal, just missing out the undercoat to keep the translucent colour.
                
Until next time have fun

Cheers Dave



)o(


"SARAH SPEAKS"

Anyone who knows Dave can see his drawings, amazing sculpts and hear his passion for the hobby in his descriptions.  What many people do not know is that if you ask Dave to write anything down, it's not the best ( Can't be too harsh I'm married to him).  And so it was that, knowing his own weaknesses, I was coerced into writing the background for Death Match.  


Last week after coming home from the gym and shopping for a late birthday present for Dave, I am greeted by a sight that has become very regular nowadays.  Dave is smoking at the back door.. talking away on the house phone.  I shouted hi to Steve he is the only person that calls us on the house phone and I carried on pottering around.  Suddenly I'm passed the phone and, with a mischievous smile, told Steve wishes to have a word.  Apprehensive I take the phone. I have only communicated through a few emails with Steve: and so I listen intently to his request, while Dave (already knowing what`s coming) laughs in the background.

I have been asked to write part of this article and give an insight into how I came up with the universe for Death Match.  

So Here Goes!

Firstly, I wish to make everyone aware I personally think I lack imagination, so the idea of writing filled me with dread!  Dave will still stupidly bring me a half made model and ask me what I think. Unable to see the potential he regularly hears "just show me once it's finished."


The models for the Death Match gladiators were among the first models created, so I started with their backgrounds.  The humans were left till last as I find the history or in this case, our possible future.. boring!  The alien races intrigued me more.  Through several hours of discussion - and Dave and I distinguished attributes and attitudes for each of the species. 

Dave gave me a very basic idea of fighting skills and abilities and left the rest up to me.

Thanks a lot. 

Each species had at least four drafts done, so much of my time was taken up writing it all out into a manageable form.  I may be young but I'm old school, and like to write using a pen and paper.. allowing for a lot of scribbles before finally typing up a version of the finished product.


Having no idea where to start, it was eventually decided that I needed to create the planets each species originated from.  The Planets were designed in keeping with the attitudes of the species.  The Scabendi a violent race were best suited to an Amazon jungle style planet with lots of aggressive life forms.  The Exuviums desired a symbiotic perfectly balanced ecosystem; and the Ceratids being similar to a rhino in my opinion a lush vegetative planet. 

Once the origins of each planet was decided, I researched (a lot) into different plants.  Each planet has unique plants, and these needed to suit the environment. Once a rough outline of the plants had been conceived I delved further to populate the planets and create their unusual ecosystems.


Next up was the evolution of the species, to allow the reader to delve into the history and create a picture surrounding how we came to have the creatures we see in the arena.  As a non gamer I know shh don't tell everyone.. I required massive amounts of information about the species to encourage myself to get excited about Death Match. 

It worked!

I have played a few games but I prefer to immerse myself in the writing than play.  Each species has been given a different emphasis for life, the Ceratids are avid learner and are driven for a need to equip themselves with as much knowledge as the universe will allow.

The Exuviums (my favourite race the model does not belong to Dave its mine.. mine.. always mine when I eventually do play) are at one with their environment and wish to sustain the planet for as long as is possible.  Lastly the Scabendi have a thirst for fighting and value their weapons and winning at all costs.

I took inspiration from many sci fi films, and read hundreds of short stories on line to try to spark my non-existent imagination.  If you look hard enough you can see the Exuviums spires take inspiration from Enders Game.  Thanks so much Hubby, I get forced to watch sci fi films.  I can't watch one now without seeing some scenery that would look good on a gaming board.

After the final drafts were completed, it was time to start looking at the Humans.  We are slowly destroying our beautiful planet so I extended our abuse and considered what might happen if we continue down this route of destruction.  Several articles about nuclear warfare and its effects were strewn across the living room floor, myself in the centre of an ever increasing amount of research.  I pulled from articles containing details about soil degradation possible weather effect and bio domes in an effort to sustain life.  So in my story ethos (it seemed only logically inevitable) , eventually the Human race destroy Earth and take to the stars.

Exhausted by the hours put into writing, I welcomed the end and looked at the worlds I had created.. completely bewildered that I had managed to write anything: and still adamant I have no imagination. Dave finds this idea hilarious and just points to my writing and the worlds created.

Unfortunately for me I was not finished, and given instructions for writing the history of the games.  I was allowed details on the order the gladiators started competing in the games, and the introduction of the beasts.  But once again I was told "off you go come up with something."  I approached this slightly differently to the planets. There were simply too many questions that I wanted answered.  Who invented the Games and why? Was there a benefit.. a financial gain? and so on. As I came up with the answers: and Dave would periodically pop his head round the living room door and declare " I've had an idea for the history".  Usually just after I had finished that specific section.. it would need to be rewritten.  I managed to include all the additional details Dave asked for and came up with a finished product.

AT LAST.

Steve has now taken this and extended my writing into the background you see in the rules today and I couldn't be happier with the results.

I hope this has given an insight into my writing.  I had no idea where to start so with my trusty pen and paper I began.

I have a feeling this will not be the last you hear from me.  Dave can be very persuasive when he needs me to do something for Wargames Terrain Workshop. 

Until Then Bye, and thanks for reading.

Sarah  



Article by Dave & Sarah Stone                                                                

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

" FELINE IN PAINT "



For this post I thought I would do a step by step guide to how I painted the latest feline model.



Step 1 First I laid down an even coat of Rakarth Flesh all over the model.


Step 2, I then highlighted the model with bone white using global lighting ( What this means, pick a single point from where you think your light will be coming from, then highlight the areas that the light would catch)

Step 3 I then did a finer highlight of off white, to add to the three dimensional shape



Step 4 I then added some blue shadow, this adds to the contrast of the model.


Step 5 at this point I put a glaze of Balor brown all over the skin areas, this will give you a nice even transition between all the colours but allowing the contrasting colours to add depth to your model.


Step 6 Next I picked out the fur area's in Mournfang Brown.


Step 7 Next I dry brushed some bone white over the fur to get a good contrast.


Step 8 I then painted the tongue with rosy flesh, and put some Reikland flesh shade over her nipples.


Step 9 Next I painted the eye yellow, and added some Nuln oil around the eyes and to the fur, 


Step 10 I added a second coat of nuln oil once the first was fully dry and also picked out the pupils with some pure black paint.


Step 11 I now added some off white glaze as facial markings and also in the ears, while this was drying I painted the cushion Royal purple.


Step 12 I added some green glaze on the cushion to add a contrasting shadow in the recesses.


Step 13 Finally I added some highlights to the cushion with a mix of Royal Purple and Warlord Purple.


Is this the only way to paint these ? Not at all you could just as easily paint them like a tiger or a black panther, whatever you wanted to.

And now over to Steve for some cool background.

)o(


Cheers Dave mate. Of all the posts I`ve most been looking forward to, these are the ones... where Dave shows us how he paints his models.... but not just any old models, we get his insight into how to paint the new ones still to be released for Death Match and the narrative (rpg) skirmish game which will compliment it.

It must be thrilling for Hils to see her concept sketches rendered into actuality in this way. My part is the easy bit. I just have to ask questions then listen to Hils talking as she draws away: questions like "Where does this one live?" "What does it eat?", "What sort of a planet does it come from?",  "Is it hot or cold, desert or jungle?" all these I write down, then fire them at Dave either on email or the phone, and he then asks Sarah (the real primogenitor of his whole world and the surrounding space system(s). And if the idea is accepted.. in it goes, into the official world creation canon.

Interestingly, Dave originally got Sarah to design the thing precisely because she`s not a hardcore gamer. Gamers tend to make games for other gamers, and because of that they often tend to lose a lot of subtlety and depth (strangely, gamers often tend not to be the most imaginative of people, instead relying on external imagery and the written word.... written by other people, to fuel their imaginations, rather than their own ideas). Whereas non gamers who are used to reading lots of novels, watching immersive period drama series, and enjoying theatre or/and opera, tend to use their own minds a lot more: and thus Sarah was just the right person to create an imaginary world, uncluttered by the concepts or rules systems, and pre-conceived notions of gaming protocol. It's my job simply to turn all this into a workable whole which gamers can get their teeth into. So effectively, I don`t take even a step without making sure Sarah is consulted first and approves. It is her brainchild after all.


So here we have the first of the new models. 

figured the first thing we needed was more concubines, house servants and domestics to work Vallatrix`s Palace like halls, and of course... guards to defend this mighty complex. This is just the first of many new and fascinating sculpts. And for me, the most exciting... because it is the first: and it means things are really happenings and the first steps towards the new game have begun... in miniature form.

(the rules themselves are already way under way).


So (if you check the Wargames Terrain Workshop 
website) you will see that this female feline concubine is the same race/species as the other one currently available.  But what is she. Hmmmmm? Back to that in a moment.


Vallatrix lives in a palace, a little bit resembling the mighty onion domed palace of Agrabah in the Walt Disney`s story of "Aladdin."  Vallatrix would be a bit like the Sultan, and his servants and household staff could easily fit into the ethos of an Arabian "One Thousand and One Nights." Sarah describes the surrounding walled inner city (and palace garden) as being a maze of closely packed houses and alleys (maybe a little like Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser`s Lankhmar?): mmmmm I can almost smell the scent of exotic spices from the market bazaars, and the clay pipe chimes of the snake charmers, swaying exotic belly dancers and silk robed roof top assassins. Sarah describes the city, beyond the maze of buildings and alleyways, as gradually giving way to lush trees and palms, and eventually wide yellow desert sands. Mmmm I want to live there already.

The royal concubines are one of  Lord Vallatrix`s most ostentatiously prised trophies in his possession. No one knows for sure how many he owns, but his personal inner harem alone is thought to comprise many dozen females and male slaves (with male eunuchs to tending to their personal needs, twenty four hours a day).

The feline concubine is a highly graceful, cuddly, purr-y kitten (when happy and treated right), and is highly acrobatic, supple and spry. Vallatrix never goes far without at least a couple of his concubines with him. Rumour has it that his closest and most dearest.. are also his personal bodyguard, and will slay anyone who tries to harm their Lord. This may, of course, just be rumour.

But what is the cat like feline concubine`s species called? Well, we are giving away a prize to the person who comes up with the best name. All you have to do to enter is make a comment to this post, and let us know your unique idea for a species/racial name.



You have all week to think about it and come up 
with something really cool; and the winner will be picked by us (Sarah, Hils, Dave and myself) and may choose any single Death Match miniature they like from the available list on the Wargames Terrain Workshop site. And your choice will (of course) also be posted to you free of charge.



Remember... to enter, just comment and give us the name (it must be original) you think best suits this feline concubine as a cool species name?


Article by Dave and Steve.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

"Roll Your Dice Gentlemen Please"


When Death Match was invented, we knew we wanted some custom dice with symbols marked on them to make game play as quick as possible without having to look up tables all the time.

When we put it on Kickstarter we had found a company that could do the dice but had a minimum order quantity of 500, and as we needed two different dice that would be a 1000 dice in total. We accounted for this and printing of the rulebook in our target figure, which in hindsight was our biggest stumbling block.

Now, the Kickstarter was unsuccessful, but it wasn't going to stop me bringing out the game in one form or another, so we did the rules in PDF format and put in a dreaded table for the dice, so people could use regular dice ~ or get blank ones and stick labels on... this was not ideal !

We continued on trying to find a way of getting the dice produced with little success (have you ever tried engraving symbols into a dice ? Not easy I can tell you, and I'm pretty good with a dremel !)

Now Steve was asking about the dice on a regular basis (daily !) as were many others, just not quite as much as Steve. 

In a moment of clarity one evening, I thought "if I can't carve in maybe I can sculpt it?" and thus began the path to eventual success. I quickly sent a message to Steve to see what he thought, and he thought it was a cool idea, and so finally we now have the proper dice.


Over to Steve......



Thanks Dave,

I write rules. I have done all my life, creating my first ever rules in my head (and later on the front and back of a single file index card) when I was seven or eight...  not sure exactly, but I know it was sometime in 1970: the year the massive blockbuster "Waterloo" first hit the big screen.

Over the years, I`ve written for Wizkids, TSR, Wizards, GW, Impact, Pendraken, Sabertooth, and various others, as well as many independent projects of my own (often just for fun and love of the hobby). But over those many many years I have seen rules design change considerably, and.. perhaps sadly.. I have witnessed much of  `sameness` creep into the hobby over the last decade and a half or so, as each new thing promises faithfully (and emptily) to be THE best thing since sliced bread. The truth is though.. that nowadays most `new` things are simply averagely disguised copies of other things that have gone before it, endlessly churned up, reconstituted, stamped with a new cover, and called ORIGINAL. Why do you think so many hobbyists constantly buy into a new game, play it a bit, then quickly move on to something else? At best, a hobbyist will stick with one game for perhaps a few months to a year or so max.. before moving on to something else which catches his eye.

Here`s an interesting statistic `bout women gamers. Women who enter the hobby due to their long term partners or husbands tend to shift interests as fast as their male partners: where as single gamer girls (or girls who play games but without sharing the hobby with their partner) tend to find their likes and dislikes very quickly, and have a tendancy to find and pick up just one or two topics/eras of interest and STICK with them throughout.. including sticking to just one of two favourite rule systems ~ often for many many years. Interesting huh?

One hobby aspect I have enjoyed is diceless rule systems, and card driven rule mechanics. Arthur Taylor`s Introduction to Wargaming (part of the old "Discovering" series of books we grew up with as kids back in the 60`s through to the 80`s) is one such example. "Cartomancer" would be another. There are actually dozens of very reasonable game systems out there, which either don`t use dice at all, or which use cards to obtain the same effects as dice. Most are reasonably well defined and written; yet most suffer from similar faults... they  are badly play tested, badly balanced, and not terribly well written and easy to learn. This is mostly because they are written by enthusiasts very often offered as cool on line freebies. But other systems such as "Amber Diceless Role Playing Game" and D&D`s Ravenloft "Tarokka" card evaluation plot drive system are masterly in their attempted focus and aim.


It`s not often nowadays that anything new that to come along.. turns on my hobby enthuse tap, and makes me go oOoo and aAaa over the contents these pages offer. BUT it does happen. One such over the last few years has been Fantasy Flight Games takeover of the (originally by Games Workshop`s) Warhammer Fantasy Role Playing Game. This system implements a unique dice rolling system which, quite frankly blew me away in its revolutionary approach to `in game` task resolution. And it was this approach which made me realise the moment I saw Dave and Sarah Stone`s Death Match.. that here was a chance to take the dice idea from that game, use my pre-knowledge and intimate understanding of FFG`s use of dice, and turn the whole thing into so much more than the sum of its parts.. as written in Death Match. Don`t get me wrong, Death Match dice is an amazingly well conceived idea and a great game in its own right, which I hope to cover in detail in many future AAR`s and battle reports here on TGC: showing just what this cool little game can do as I put it through its paces. But the scope of this game lies far beyond just Death Match, and THAT is where these little beauties.... these amazing dice and their unique symbols that Dave has invented, truly come into their own.

A basic double pair of the new Death Match dice.
                                                                                                             
I wish I could talk more about the skirmish game being invented.. which supports and, in fact, supersedes Death Match in its range of options.. but suffice to say, it pulls together all the wonders of Dave`s strangely unique and deliciously unusual miniatures, and then takes them (and their game use) and goes several steps further....  effectively turning the whole thing into a new skirmish wargame world to play in: but also allows you to explore a brand spanking new role playing game.. to boot. All run heavily off a beautiful dice mechanic, as opposed to needing pages and pages of charts and tables.


The dice in Death Match have various symbols. To play Death Match each player will need four of these specially sculpted 8-sided dice: 2 green ones and 2 red ones. The green dice and the red dice have different types of symbols carved onto their eight faces. That`s one of the things I like most about these dice: the symbols aren`t punched into the dice, they are raised up on each side. Swords, and shields, and cross swords and shields, and skulls, and squiggles, and.... oh.., all sorts of fun stuff. By combining these dice, and making dice rolls {by picking out various die options to create a `pool`} you can create a wide range of game potential effects without the need of charts and complicated tables. And as anyone into gaming knows, there is nothing quite like rolling a few uniquely interesting dice about the table and hearing them clatter and tinkle onto a wooden play surface.


I especially like the fact the dice are unpainted resin. When mine arrived in the post in their nice flat tray box, it was like looking at a box of Victorian handmade boiled sweets. In a way it reminded me of the old days and how dice used to come.  Old TSR`s "Star Frontiers" came with unpainted dice and a permanent marker crayon so you could colour them yourself. And my first resin 2 dice percentile (100%) set for my "Once Upon a Time in the West" came unpainted, and I remember taking hours lovingly detailing in each face... with vibrant yellows and burned amber.


Dave`s all come with raised faces (which yes.... have been tested for balanced rolling) which makes painting them so much fun, and allows for some truly individualistic effects. I did mine just personal choice, like old fashioned dusted pear drops, and hand painted the symbols in gold and silver.  finished them off in Purity Seal matt spray to get the dusted icing effect. Though I suspect gloss finish would look highly attractive as well.


Article by Dave & Steve