Monday, 31 October 2016

A New Ravenloft & Combined Historical Campaign in the Making

Ravenloft
& Things That Go Bump in the Night
 
Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Boardgame System
- A personal journey -
 

A few years back (actually, back in early 2013)  I had one of those crazy moments where I decided to do a major blitz on my games room. Games and bits of games and maps and files and books and rules and cardboard tokens and counters and CD`s with no idea what was on them as they were unlabelled and empty boxes (I don`t know about you, but I find it hard to chuck away old figure packets) and old paints, and brushes and half completed (neglected) bits of terrain... the original reasons for making these, quite forgotten... and glue pots and tins and jars and funny shaped things raided from the kitchen (presumably, originally stolen to make yet more terrain) and old dice and posters and....  yet more figures and heads and arms and shields and swords and...


... you get the picture and I`ve spoken of this many times before. My blitz on my hobby and a reduction of my collection. But this post is not about that! (thank god I hear you whisper). No the point is that by the time I`d finished, even though I gave away most of the stuff I got rid of, I DID end up with a tasty surplus supply of cash... which is quite a rare thing for me. And as it had all been generated from my hobby stuff, I didn’t feel at all guilty about ploughing it all right back into the hobby. Only, I didn`t want to waste this rare treat: I wanted to savour  it and buy myself something really worthwhile.. a chance as a pipe dream wish come true, kinda thing.



The strange thing about a major clear out is, it really helps you to define what it is you want to keep and use... and distinguishes the rest of the "has to go" stuff into clear list categories of "will I ever use this again - no". It’s a bit like a Phoenix arising from the ashes, as you begin to prioritize your hobby with renewed vigour. As you grow bolder, blitzing away with impunity... you begin to feel a bit like Bilbo Baggins giving up his ring... freely. It’s a deep internal struggle, but once you find the courage to ` let it go` the feeling of relief is immediate and immeasurable.


Anyway,
 

For a long time (back in 2013, remember) I wanted to have a go at running a (simplified) long term Dungeons and Dragons game. I had done this before, many years ago... the prime focus of attention back then had been my on line correspondence with another passionate gamer from Croatia... a guy who thought and enthused just like me, and we shared many many happy months writing back and forth to one another, and sharing ideas and battle reports with an ever appreciative eye; a bit like Tolkien and C.S. Lewis used to read chapters of their unpublished works back and forth to one another, for many years enjoying the shared productive criticism of it all.


 
I wanted something new, something fresh, something I could really get my teeth into, to get over the deep trauma of having just lost nearly 60% of my lifelong collection to the fires of hell and worse. And it was about this same time, back in 2013, that I had begun to hear about a new dungeon crawl game from Wizards of the Coast. Okay, it wasn`t new exactly. But I`d never heard of it until quite late on the scene, and I discovered it quite by chance on You Tube: “The Dungeons and Dragons Adventure System Boardgame.” It seemed to promise everything I had ever wanted, and so I read (on line) all I could about the game.

I quickly realized it was not just one boxed game, but three separate ones (at this time of writing there are actually now four big box games) - each one stand alone, yet each totally interchangeable and usable with its other big box brothers and sisters. Combined, the games would give me a truly sizable collection of D&D minis; plus the game contained all the terrain tiles necessary to create an endlessly varied of 2D dungeon and outdoor layouts: and what`s more... the game was totally 100% playable as a solo experience, so double yeeeey!!. The more I read, the more I began to ponder on the idea of buying it for myself: and so when I finally found some game tutorials and battles played out on You Tube, that was it: I went and ordered all the boxed games in one fell swoop, from Amazon.uk (I bought the forth box set, when it came out two years later), and I waited as patiently as I could for all the stuff to arrive. Okay, I practically wore a hole in the floor boards as I started to pace up and down, waiting excitedly.
I didn`t have to pace for long. Three days I think. I knew the boxes were meant to be big - and heavy.. I`d heard that in the reviews I`d read; but oh my goodness, I wasn`t prepared for exactly how big the games would be... and I had three of them arrive all at once. I was utterly in gaming heaven, like a chocolate addict let loose in a Galaxy warehouse.
I had originally planned to open one game, play it to death, and then proceed to the second, and so on. But of course, I simply had to see the contents of each box. Actually, I`m very glad I did this because, enthused and carried along in a wave of gaming euphoria, I was able to take all 140+ miniatures and paint and varnish the lot over a couple of weeks of intense hard work (I later painted the 40 miniatures in the forth box set the same way). The end result was well worth the time it took, and I soon had a lovely shiny brand new collection of finish miniatures sitting on my shelf waiting to be played with. 
 
In time, I discovered something called “Dungeon Command,” a stand-alone table top skirmish game based very heavily on the old, highly successful Wizards of the Coast Table Top Skirmish Collectable Miniatures Game of yester-yore. Dungeon Command itself was a bit of a `Wizard` flop, to be honest (not surprisingly really, as it was not fully supported and the game itself was rather badly designed, I seem to recall). BUT the miniatures that came in each of the half dozen box sets were compatible with the Dungeons and Dragons Adventure System box games I was collecting.. and in fact, each figure from the Dungeon Command mini sets came with stat cards and additional event cards designed specifically to be added into the sister games. Thank GOODNESS someone in the design team came up with the cool idea of making the two game systems interchangeable (a bit like the guys did with Super Dungeon Explore and Ninja All Stars). I never even looked at most the counter components from Dungeon Command, and simply, and immediately, added in the cool new cards, and all the lovely pre painted models to my beloved new Adventure System experience. I was in gaming heaven: and I was also pleased to note, these pre-painted minis were darn decently painted. Another cool thing were the really large tile pieces (one included in each set of Dungeon Command) which, when combined, makes up an endless variety... exponentially possible dungeon in its own right, perfect for home brew table top D&D mini games, using either standard D&D or the simplified Adventure System rules.
 
 
I played this game to death over the next few years. Literally hundreds of games got played, and it quickly became a favourite `go to` game for me, the family, friends, and the club. We played it so much that come 2016, we had seen enough of it for a while and put it all neatly away (I even offered it to Bryan at one stage, but he graciously turned me down on the offer). I`m sooooo glad I kept it though, as the `bug` to play it has recently resurfaced - big time. This all came about when the kids... all five of them, and their various boy friend/girl friend attachments... all came to visit us at the same time for a week. I set up and hosted the inevitable D&D game, and as chance would have it, I put together a good old “Ravenloft” D&D horror role play game for them to enjoy. The game night came and went, a one off adventure that went on for four hours or so... with a decent start, middle, and a finish (important I always think, for a satisfactory one off game). And I realised everyone had a good time, including me, the DM for the adventure. The game led to a discussion about gothic horror, and as the conversation went on, I began to realise a personal eureka! I had just found the missing elixir and game experience balance I had been striving to find for so long.
 
I love my historical games, and love my fantasy, horror, and sci-fi. Normally fantasy and the rest doesn’t work in a historical context, but strangely gothic does, for most themes. Okay you can’t usually put fantasy into a historical setting, but you CAN put a historical theme into a horror one.


Da Daaaaaa!!!   *drum roll*

okay baby, my Beaver Wars/French Indian War/American Outback Revolution War was going to be moved to Ravenloft.
mmmmm a mid game scene from my beloved collection of Colonials and woodland Indians {terrain all homemade}.

No more pondering what to do, this was the answer to it all... blindingly obvious really, but I had to go all round the houses to get there hahaha. I`d never have made this connection had it not been for that silly impromptu D&D game I set up to entertain the family.
Some of the gang, planning, discussing, and preparing for the next D&D session.
And so with the decision made, Hils has set to work making and designing lots of amazing homemade terrain: Tar` has been painting figures like crazy, and I have been designing the campaign, making maps, writing history, story plot, and panting lots of miniatures as well. We have not stopped, and I can proudly announce that FINALLY the new campaign is about ready to start. I had to stop the Liberty or Death one I was about to do (batrep for that first game still to post), as I wanted to fold it all into the Ravenloft setting, and to do that, I needed to de-constrict the whole thing and mix it seamlessly into the pot alongside its fantasy cousin. The end result is a stunning series of game potential: which mixes macabre with the historical, fantasy with the thematic, and the whole thing into a vast play box of untapped potential. I am very proud of the eventual completion.




A Few Homemade Dungeon Tile WIPS
Ambush!
The adventurers walk straight into a Kobold tunnel set up! fortunately for the heroes, the trap is sprung a little too early by the eager little beavers, and  the only thing to get caught under the crushing rocks is one of their own number... eeek!
The clay is workable for a long time after you finish playing about...  I`d estimate you could still mess with it for a good few hours after leaving it to dry. Drying takes over night before it becomes rock hard... and apart from gently moving the piece, I wouldnt advice any rough handling until the clay is fully dried out.
First Undercoat
Pre-Painted Dungeon Command Miniatures
 
 
Hilary Says....
 
Hi, Hilary here.
I have always enjoyed making paper models. Not only for wargaming and role playing (but for museums, pro displays and architectural/graphic design dioramas). But certainly making  terrain models and scenics for games is highly rewarding as, unlike modelling for modelling`s sake, you actually get to use the finished results, over and over again on the table top.
So, I asked Stevie what he needed, and he told me as clearly as he could. I made some notes, made some preparations, and set my nose to the grindstone to produce just the things he wanted included in his games.



 A gothic castle, lots and lot (oh my, so many) and lots of buildings. I can see myself making buildings for this game for a long to come. But here are a few of the finished pieces, ready for the table, and their very first airing into the terrifying miniatures gaming lands of Ravenloft.
 
Tarot Says...
Its Jez who started it all really, over at his blog “Carrion Crows Buffet.” 
 
You see, he’s always looking at other people`s games on line, and instead of doing what most people do, which is to go: “coooorrrrr I want me a piece of that... where do I buy one?” he goes: “hmmmm, that`s really nice, now how do I make that for myself?
Never truer was this put into practice for us recently when.. we all got excited at the thought of playing Space Hulk. Then the horrified realisation struck each of us in turn - that all three of us had, at one time or another, owned a boxed game of this, but that we had all of us either lost, sold or given away our respective games somewhere along with the ravages of time.
So what did we do? We took a leaf out of Jez`s good book, and we decided to make our own version of Space Hulk. The first edition rules (the ones we wanted to recreate) are available free on line: a nice simple 22 page black and white PDF copy. Between us we were able to make up 19 Genestealers.. just enough arms and legs to assemble that many, with several torsos spare. These spare bits we can think about later, maybe we can make some custom tentacle arms and so on. No bases though, and we will get Hil to make us some hand crafted ones out of her kiln clay work. The tiles are a no go. None of us have the originals, but we do have the tiles from “Doom” which could have been made for Space Hulk. I think the FFG ones for the Doom boxed game may actually be nicer anyway. The tokens we will make ourselves, and woohoooo!!! We have ourselves a complete game of Space Hulk, and just saved ourselves £199. Not bad huh, thanks Jez.
Stevie  assembles Genestealers from an assortments of old bits.
But yeah, anyway, what was I saying? Oh yeah. He started it! *points at Jez again* And this new campaign we have been planning meticulously has become all about putting together a game which does not require us to spend any money on it.. instead, using what we have in our huge, vast, already owned joint collection(s). Ok we had to go buy “Curse of Stradt”  because we decided right from the start that we wanted to play 5th edition D&D, and this new Ravenloft adventure module book contains everything we would need to get started. Nope we don`t even own the 5th edition Players Handbook, the Dungeon Masters Guide, not even the 5th edition Monster Manual. Again we turned to Jez (and Andy, with his Bushido ideas). What would Jez and Andy do at this juncture, we asked ourselves. Easy, we went on line on the official WotC website, where they offer a cut down, black and white (no colour or artwork) BUT COMPLETE free PDF copy of all three books we need: the Players Handbook, Dungeon Masters Guide, and Monster Manual. Bingo! We were now ready to play 5th edition D&D.
Everything else for the new campaign, we either have made for ourselves, are now in the middle of making, or will be making along the way. Even the files for notes and stuff, we have used old existing folders and have simply jazzed them up a bit, and cannibalised into suitably gothic looking tomes we can pour over in our future games. The figures used will stretch from across a truly eclectic range, from fantasy D&D, Descent, HeroQuest, Mage Knight, Brimstone, and loads of other strange and wonderful bits and pieces.. all the way to miniatures from Mansions of Madness, Tannhauser,  A Touch of Evil, Warlord Games, Empress Miniatures, Eureka Miniatures,  and a bunch of other stuff I can`t even remember off hand. Same with the maps, 2D maps from Hero/Horror Clix, cannibalised from various boardgames, tons of existing 3D terrain, and what we don’t have, as I already said, we are making all that for ourselves (using existing materials from around the house).
Good-o, yeah?
 
      even our Zombicide Black Plague figures gets used in our combined mammoth  D&D games. We use everything, and just combine it all together (like gaming should be), We rarely use the rules for box games as they come in the.. um.. box. We just pull everything out and make it all up - using D&D rules, or our own.. mostly hehe.
 Oh boy, don't you just love all things Gothic at Halloween!
 
Happy Halloween guys.
 

 


 

 
 
 
 
 




 
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Trick or Treat is Nearly Here!!

"Trick or Treat, Trick or Treat,
 Give us something nice to eat!"
gargled the Strahd zombie  *hic*


So its nearly Halloween.. `old Sowen` by the crumbling yester-year calendar: and its once again time for all things that go bump in the night, to jump out and scare us all witless. Ok, and nice things to eat, a tipple or two of sherry, cakes and all the usual festivities. Topped off with a couple of suitably atmospheric creepy movies.

Its been a while since the last post, but the guys (and I guess that includes me too) have been real busy this last few weeks and there has barely been time to do anything on the computer(s): not even had time to check the other wonderful posts of our friendly neighbourhood bloggers. We have also, however, been working hard on putting together a bumper blood dripping seasonal post for everyone to enjoy, and this should be ready to go sometime tomorrow morning, and will by posted up at The Cupboard by tomorrow afternoon.... JUST in time for the big day:

WOOOHAHHAHAhaahahahahaaa!!!!  <-- real scary laugh. It was scary, right guys?

Until then, please stay patient a little longer, and hopefully you will enjoy our joint effort.. I think this is actually our very first threesome collaboration. And Jez, yes.. we blame YOU!!! Much of tomorrow`s post was totally inspired by you.



Post by Tarot


Saturday, 22 October 2016

3D Paper Miniatures

English Civil War
With Paper Soldiers & Terrain
 

I have wanted to play wargames set within the first (main big) English Civil War era for a long time now, half a lifetime actually; and indeed I do have a lovely box starter set of Warlord Games goodies. Pikemen, Musketeers, Forlorn Hope (light infantry) and standard Cavalier and Roundhead Cavalry... over 100 miniatures all told, so yeah, quite a sizable start. But they are all unassembled, all unpainted: and this remember, is only the bare nucleus of two armies. To make a useful collection out of this pretty lot, I would need to flesh it out with mounted and dis-mounted Dragoons, City Militia Gangs, Ordinance, Officers and various ancillaries... and this doesn’t even yet cover the Irish, the Royalist Scots, or the Jacobites, all of which I would need at some point or other, if I truly wanted to cover the war in detail.
 
Quite daunting huh?

Sure, I could just use what I already have and play skirmish level games, but I want to do something a bit grander than that. Something with a little more panache and style: battles like Edgehill, Marston Moor, and Nasby springs to mind; each of these being complete mini campaigns in their own right. And so I am back staring at the same problem... facing looking at collecting lots upon lots more figures and then having to paint lots and lots of figures: and all that, is something I simply don`t want to do.


And THAT is when I discovered Peter Dennis`s extraordinary three dimensional cut out stiff paper miniatures. They are gob smackingly good. Normally I wouldn’t even look twice at paper minis, but these really are something a little special, and the moment I saw them, my heart went out to the idea. I first spied them at a game show convention over in England, and stood in fascination as the guy on the stand talked to another gamer all about them. I stood eaves dropping to the conversation for a good ten minutes, and by the time they had finished, I found myself forking out for two copies of the English Civil War cut out book sets. The guy who had been talking to the man on the stand also bought one of everything I seem to recall. As indeed “Helion Press/Osprey” also sell complete army sets for Medieval (War of the Roses), Saxons and Vikings (Hastings 1066), and the two newest sets - Roman Britain (the Boudicca Campaign) and The Spanish Armada as well. But I was happy enough with my two humble copies of the English Civil War “Battle For Britain.”  

Why two copies you may ask? Well I think you are really meant to buy one book, take the staples out the spine, keep the pages neatly in a folder and just print them off on colour as and when you need more figures (and some of the paper minis are thus printed on both sides of the page within the book itself). Now, I live in Ireland. Everything in Ireland is expensive. That’s why I don’t even have my own printer, because the ink is ruinously expensive. Which leaves me having to pay a euro (about a pound) per page for a coloured sheet. Now times that by 48 pages.. and you start to see my problem! I wanted one copy to keep in prime condition, and another to cut apart for assembling my minis: although I may well bite the bullet (painful as it will be) and cut up both my books so I don’t have to pay a single penny to make five complete armies up. English Parliamentarians and Royalists, Irish, Scottish, and Jacobites. When you consider that these books sell for about £12 each (I got mine for £6 each) it’s really not a big deal and won’t break the bank, however you do it yourself. Anyway, these books really do give you a lot of figures... hundreds in fact.

So here I am with paper soldiers. Have I lost the plot!!!??? You may be asking yourselves at this stage. Well, take a look at the pictures below, and then judge.

As Wargames Illustrated points out: First off, Peter Dennis is a well known historical illustrator, and had a number of books under his belt. The images are simply superb.

Ok, I was not really sure what to expect when I opened and started to read the book. But by page two, I was obsessed... hook line and sinker.

Peter Dennis has created a collection of images featuring English Civil War infantry, cavalry, dragoons and artillery as well as a selection of buildings, walls, hedges, trees, even roads, but they’re not just illustrations, oh no. They are cleverly designed, paper soldiers!

 I know it sounds crazy but the more I looked at the illustrations and read the two sets of easy rules written by Andy Callan (also included in the book), the more I found myself wanting to give this concept a try.

Oh I know its not a new idea, paper soldiers date back to the early 18th century, and websites like The Junior General have been offering cartoon-like images suitable for printing out paper soldiers for several years, but Peter Dennis has improved on the basic idea in so many ways.


The illustrations themselves reflect the high standard of Peter’s more conventional historical illustration, and he has incorporated some very clever ideas.


The troops are designed in what may best be described as concertina strips.

 

 
These concertina strips are then glued together to create a unit in three ranks. The image is carefully trimmed around and then glued to a base.

Obviously you`re probably not meant to cut out the images in the book (unless in desperation like I am), as its basically a source book. Instead, having purchased your copy of the book, you’re free to scan in or copy the images for your own use, and then print out as many sheets at a time as you want.

The instructions for making up the paper soldiers are clear and simple, and the end results really does have a charm and realism that is infectious.

PROS: An original concept extremely well-executed. Let’s face it the idea of being able to create ready painted unlimited forces, relatively quickly for just £12 (RRP) plus the cost of some inkjet prints is an attractive one, and it actually looks great fun making them. I can`t wait to start mine, and am just waiting for the right moment to begin my own project into this fascinating hobby deviation.

CONS: I can`t find anything bad to say: except perhaps, if I absolutely had to find something, it might be that the on line forum for this company is abysmally unfriendly, unhelpful.... and you are as likely to be ignored in comments as you are having your question(s) totally removed altogether (or not even put up for anyone to see at all). Worst forum I have ever seen on line in all my life. Though, in fairness, the things discussed there ARE useful and interesting.

SCOPE: Obviously you can combine the paper soldiers with anything else why not use them as a `fill in` while you purchase and paint up your real miniatures army... allowing you to get playing games right away without having to wait a couple of years while you get` the real thing` ready for the table – games would not look shabby or too out of place using paper figures alongside your normal ones: I do it all the time with my fantasy games, and often use Pathfinder paper pawns alongside my normal miniatures... looks great, but within the philosophy and concept behind the book, the scope, in terms of creating your forces, is, literally unlimited.

Incidentally, Andy Callan’s ECW rules look like they should work great on the table. Comprising just four pages, plus a two-page playsheet... also three scenarios.; and they look ideal for the total beginner, or the gamer (like me) who likes the simple `old school` approach to wargaming. So yeah, a veritable heap of figures AND a free set of rules to boot, pretty good for the cost don`t you think. And what`s more, wow what a unique and utterly snazzy idea.

I know that paper soldiers won’t be to everyone’s taste, but I for one just found the entire concept really fun and the forces were easy and quick to build. In conclusion, I can only say… “Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it”.

 

 Article by Stephen Gilbert.

 

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Napoleon's Berlin Carriage & Fort Hilary


Two short articles this week. As I am still in the middle of my new campaign`s first ever table top battle, and want to wait a tiny wee bit longer before writing it up as an after action report: so bear with me a little while, and that will soon be revealed.

Meanwhile I thought I`d just do a quick review on a miniatures set I have wanted for a very long time now; then another  short `special` on the wonderful homemade model fort Hils has made for me.

Ah yes, and a small announcement from me as well. Will probably mean little if anything at all to most of you (you have to reach a certain age I think hehe): yet to me it is a flippin` great big mile stone in my hobby life. I was told it would happen by a couple of older... elderly gentlemen gamers I knew long ago in my younger days. One was G.W. Jeffreys: a wargame extraordinaire, historical author, and wargame rules writer from Edinburgh (all on the Napoleonic era). The other was the now late Donald Featherstone, who I had the pleasure to have known personally, and played a few very memorable wargames with in my time. Both of these `great men` separately told me (as neither of them knew each other in any way)  “son, the day will come, one day, when your collection is complete. You won’t plan it, you won’t even be aware of the day approaching, but it will happen, sure as cakes is cakes. You will just wake up one day and realise you don’t need anything else. Your collection is complete as it is, and you can just `get on` without any kaffuffle, and game happily with it ever more.”

You know what, they were both right! Happened to me last week. The sun rose to a brisk, breezy fresh dawn, and along with it came a blinding realisation; yep, my hobby collection was complete. Okay sure, there are last minute things... people will be bound to buy me Christmas presents, I have half a mind still to buy myself the whopping HUGE Warlord Games deluxe set of La Haye Sainte... one day. When Richard Borg brings out another expansion for his Great War series, I`m bound to buy it. And if I ever get lucky enough to see a copy of Timber Peaks, that too is coming home with me in a bag... and let us not forget I still have two paid for kickstarters (Super Dungeon Explore Legends and Rail Raiders Infinite) coming to me in the post, one day next year.. soon as they release them to us no doubt. But yeah, IN GENERAL, I can honestly say, the day the old fella`s predicted, has come. Geee, does that mean I will now become one of these old guys who will faithfully predict the same thing to some poor unsuspecting youth I meet one day at the club or at a games convention? In fact, the two old timers who told me the same thing, so many many years ago now, were they too once privy to ``the secret`` from that aged league of grumpy old men and this enduring... eternal, fated hobby knowledge?

Anyway, the point of all this is, I just bought a rather large, and very nice miniatures kit the other day. Things are tight rght now: the usual bills (which always seem to hit around October) before the onslaught of Christmas. And so, as a kind of last hurrah! And incidentally the last purchased `toy` in my collection... I bought myself a 28mm carriage. Oh how I have yearned for one over the years. How often do you watch the most memorable scenes from your favourite movies, conducted from moving carriages (with the background scenery moving incredibly fast on a wind spool, while prop extras rock the coach back and forth to create the illusion of motion). The Son of Monte Cristo has that wonderful cameo at the beginning where the Grand Duchess Zona is fleeing in a four horse carriage from the evil general Gurko Lanen. Or those wonderful scenes of highway men stopping the coach calling “Stand and deliver.” Oh and so many iconic set pieces where coaches feature strongly. Yet how many of us wargamers ever actually bother to add one to our collection? I know I never did. But, well... now I gone and did it woohooo!!! I`m soooo glad I did. It will fit in so many games I intend to play. From Fantasy and Imagi-Nation, all the way through to 18th and 19th century (Ending at Waterloo itself if I do one day get that elusive - last purchase - La Haye Saint set).


Napoleon's Berlin Carriage - Black Powder
The kit includes Old Boney himself, his Chasseurs de la Garde (personal bodyguard) as well as a fine detailed four-horse coach with coachman and two riders. Looking on from the front of the coach is Napeoleon's 'Mameluke' servant, Roustan... a perfect addition, and will double up as bodyguard to my re-vamped Bonaparte (who will play the part of ``ME” from now on in all my 28mm Imagi-Nation games).

The whole set costs £32:00 from Warlord Games.

The real life carriage was built for Napoleon's Russian campaign but was captured by the Prussians at the Battle of Waterloo while the Emperor departed on horseback. However, the style is somewhat generically reminiscent of the era, and will be used, diversely, in many of my future games. Tarot even tells me with surety; it could even be used in a certain episode of Blake 7 haha.

Fort Hilary
I wanted to buy a fort for my Liberty or Death.. forth coming Colonial Gothic Imagi-nation style adventures. And I poured over many on-line companies who make them, fine tuning plans and deciding which one I would eventually purchase. Price wise they were all much of a muchness: let’s say about £144 pounds (average) plus postage. All of them (bar one, from Warlord Games, which is sold fully finished and ready to go) came unpainted and unassembled. Hils said to me: “let me do it.” What!” I replied. “Let me make you the fort, just tell me what you need, give me some ideas of what you want it to end up looking like, and I`ll try and make it for you.”
Okay well, I was a little dubious. Like okay, I knew she was good, but hell, a fort???? Images of Lego Bricks and Camberwich Green started to fill my head, and I replied something like: “Well, ooooo----k then, if you really want to give this a go.” Sufice to say, I was not impressed, and imagined I would still have to end up BUYING my fort... and if anything I was secretly a little agitated that I would have to delay getting a `proper` fort while she dabbled away at her attempt. So I gave her some images to puddle about with, mostly of the real life colonial fort Ticondaroga, and then I left her to it.
Oh WOW, how wrong I was. Second she got back from England visiting her parents, she got to work making my fort. On and off, an hour here and an hour there, for about a week, until it was finished. I wish now, I`d done WIPS along to way, as I only have the finished version to show you. But yeah... wooohoooo!!!! I`m very happy with her efforts. Its nicer than any fort I could have bought (and she even painted it and the base for me herself).
Of course, she`s totally shot herself in the foot now, as I will be getting her to make ALL my terrain pieces from this moment on ^^
The fort will feature in the beginning portion of my latest battle report (article for it coming next week), and then you will get to see it being used in all its glory.