Talisman: Batman

I really like Talisman, I have been playing it since the first edition came out in 1983. The game was very much set in a fantasy world.

One thing I have seen recently are themed versions of Talisman: Harry Potter, Star Wars and Batman.

  • The anti-heroic objective take on the classic Talisman fantasy tabletop game.
  • Take on the role of Gotham City’s notorious evil-doers!
  • Sneak and fight your way through Arkham Asylum’s two floor and central tower.
  • Be the first to subdue Batman and successfully release Arkham’s dangerous inmates!

I do like the Talisman mechanics, so not having to learn new rules upfront, certainly makes this game an attractive proposition. This game is a no-brainer if you like Batman and Talisman.

Using my new Lightbox

I have been meaning for sometime to buy a lightbox (or Photo Cube or Light Tent) to photograph my workbench models and my finished models as well. So was pleased to get a lightbox for Christmas.

Mine is a 12” cube, which folds flat for storage and comes with various backgrounds and a diffuser.

Before I would usually use some white paper, my work lamp to take photographs. The problem with this setup was that I would get harsh shadows. Also it was always a bit of a faff to set it up.

A lightbox allows indirect lighting so you lose most of the shadow. 

In my photographic guide I showed a photograph  of the professional setup that Games Workshop used for Games Day over ten years ago.

I said in that guide:

Longer term I would like to get a light box, this would make taking photographs even easier and should result in even better photographs.

When I got the lightbox I did some experiments to work out the settings I would need on my camera.

Initially my results were too dark, so I made some adjustments to the white balance settings on my camera and got better results.

These are some Star Wars Legion Rebel Troopers which have been undercoated and then given a base coat of Astra Militarium green contrast paint.

This is a Z-47 speeder bike with an Imperial Scout Trooper.

Compared to this photograph I took (same camera) but using my old setup of white card and my work lamp. There are a lot more shadows.

Tried out some painted miniatures.

These are 10mm Warmaster Lizardmen Skink flyers.

There are some old (1996) Warhammer Fantasy Battle drunken dwarves.

Overall I have been pleased with the results. It is also much easier to setup than my previous ad hoc approach.

It has also meant that I can take photographs more easily, faster and importantly consistently. I don’t have to worry about shadows either.

I have decided to cut down my photographic terrain so it fits into the lightbox as well for future photography.

You can get the lightbox I got from Amazon.

You’re doing it wrong!

So today I realised I had been playing one of the cards in Talisman “wrong” for nearly forty years.

I first played Talisman back in 1983 when the first edition was released, back when there was black and white adventure cards. A friend in our gaming group back then had bought a copy of the game. 

Can’t quite believe that was 38 years ago…

We would play the game quite a bit and as with most games I played back then I was quite reliant on the interpretation of the rules so followed their lead.

When the second edition was released, which was a colourised version fo the first edition (and the game board was changed from a single folded unit to four interlocking pieces) I took the time to read the rules.

One rule was this one on gaining craft.

2.4 Craft can only be gained as a result of Encounters.

You could gain strength by “cashing in” Enemy cards and with every seven enemy strength points you would gain one strength. We would play a similar rule for gaining craft by “cashing in” Enemy cards where the enemy would use craft.

I am not sure if we changed our gameplay as a result and kept a house rule where you could collect enemy cards and cash them in for craft, as you could for strength.

I never understood why you could cash in strength but not craft, as this was a real disadvantage for those characters who were stronger in craft than strength.

Those who play Fourth Edition will know that is now the norm.

It’s funny how when you play a game, sometimes your interpretation of rules or assumptions you make become normalised and you don’t realise you’ve been playing it wrong. 

Playing Talisman today I realised I had been playing one of the cards in Talisman “wrong” for nearly forty years.

That card is one of the best weapons in Talisman, the Runesword.

This weapon would add one to your strength in combat and if you win the combat and cause a loss of life, you would gain a life.

Or so I thought…

I was playing the game today and my character, the Halfling, managed to pick up the Runesword. It was then reading the card that I realised I had been playing the card wrong for nearly forty years.

I had been playing that if I used the Runesword in combat against any Enemy (or a Character) and took a life, my character would gain a life.

However if you actually read the card it says:

2. When you use it in Combat to defeat a Monster or another player and then cause them to lose a Life, you gain 1 Life.

So in the second edition, the Runesword would only work against Enemy Monsters. You wouldn’t gain a life when fighting animals or dragons.

I have been playing it wrong all these years.

Space Lizards

One of my biggest disappointments with Warhammer 40000 is the lack of space lizardmen. Back when the game was launched, we had space orcs (as in orks) space elves (eldar) and even dwarves (squats). However despite the fact that there were fantasy lizards in Warhammer, there were no space lizards in the same way as the other fantasy races. 

Everytime I see a model like the Saurus Scar-Veteran on Carnosaur at Warhammer World I think how would that look in the WH40K universe. 

We know that the Slann came from space, so where are the Space Saurus? 

Across other games and literature we have seen space lizards.

The Harry Turtledove Worldwar in the Balance series of books had small lizards, the Race, arrive in starships in December 1941 and invade the earth in May 1942. However their equipment is more akin to 1990s Earth technology rather than anything more futuristic, despite the face they travel between the stars.

In the world of Space 1889, though there were no lizards on Mars in 1889, there were some on Venus.

I did once consider converting some Skinks and Saurus warriors that came in the fifth edition of Warhammer Fantasy Battle that came out in 1996. However I realised I didn’t have many spare 40K style guns and that idea was left on the workbench. Writing this I now realise that there are quite a few third party stockists of 40K style weaponry that I could use, so if I can find the plastic sprues in the garage maybe I can have a go at that idea.

In the February issue of Wargames Illustrated however there was an advert from Wargames Atlantic about a forthcoming release of Fantasy Lizardmen. However there are options to arm them with muskets or auto-rifles (AK47 style weapons).

This hard plastic box set allows you to field up to 24 Lizardmen with options to arm them with sword and spear, fantasy and British muskets, or auto-rifles. There are four unique head types for all bodies in the set so that you have options to use these figures for fantasy, Victorian Science Fiction, or straight science fiction Lizardmen.

So you could use the musket armed lizardmen in the world of Space 1889 for games on Venus.

The auto gun armed lizardmen could be used as alien invaders, as in the  Worldwar in the Balance series, but they may be a little too big, as the Race is described as smaller than humans, but it’s science fiction, so why not. As for rules, well what about Bolt Action?

I think I might get a box and see what I can do with them. In the meantime I think I will dig out my old plastic Saurus warriors.

Unboxing Mordheim

Mordheim Box Cover

When the Mordheim boxed set was released I didn’t buy it. I was never a completist that went and  bought every boxed set that Games Workshop released. I bought things I liked and things I would actually paint and game with.

There were various reasons I didn’t buy Mordheim, it was partly the focus of the game, a fantasy skirmish. This was something that I did enjoy as a concept, Flintloque (even though Napoleonic in setting) was very much a fantasy skirmish game. So there had to be more to Mordheim then just the core concept. The background didn’t really appeal, a destroyed town to fight over.

The game is set in the Empire city of Mordheim 500 years before the present day in the Warhammer Fantasy time line (pre Age of Sigmar). The game is set during a time of chaos and civil war in the Empire after a comet struck the city of Mordheim destroying it and scattering a material called wyrdstone throughout the ruins. Mercenary warbands from all over the Warhammer world battle with one another for the wyrdstone.

I also didn’t think much of the hybrid scenery either, part plastic and part cardboard. I was a fan of cardboard buildings, I really liked Blood on the Streets. I quite like plastic building kits as well. However the hybrid mix that was available in the boxed set didn’t really rock my boat.

So after glancing at the set at the time, I left it on the shelf.

Here we are twenty odd years later and I did however quite enjoy this retro unboxing of a shrink-wrapped copy of Mordheim.

What I did like was some of the models in the box. It actually got me thinking once more about fantasy skirmish games….

Land Rover Centaurs in Wessex

The Laird Centaur was the brainchild of Laird (Angelsey) Limited and was the result of intensive engineering development combining the Land Rover and the Alvis designed tracks of the FV101 Scorpion light tank. 

Many years ago I wrote and had published an article in Wargames Illustrated called Wessex: The Second English Civil War.

Wessex: The Second English Civil War

On March 17th, 1998, Royalists rose up in defiance and took control of key government buildings, airfields and broadcasting stations in the West Country and Cornwall. Supported by army units and Sea Harriers from what used to be the Royal Navy, there was little bloodshed. People came out onto the streets and cheered. The King who had been in exile in Canada flew back and landed at Bristol airport. The Kingdom of Wessex and Duchy of Cornwall was born. The Republican Prime Minister was, of course, very angry at what had happened. He mobilised his Democratic Guards and ordered them to defeat the Royalist rebellion. The Second English Civil War had started. Three hundred and thirteen years after the last pitched battle to take place on English soil, there were going to be more.

My recent blog post on the Laird Centaur Half Track and their proposed different versions got me thinking about what if the Laird Centaur Half Track was a commercial and military success and was used extensively by both sides in the Wessex Civil War.

In the marketing materials they did advertise an armoured version. This got me thinking about scenarios involving an Armoured Laird Centaur Half Track in Wessex.

A Democratic Guard patrol on the M4 near Reading, comprising three Armoured Laird Centaur Half Tracks and a Scorpion Light Tank is ambushed by Royalist Special Forces. The objective of the ambush is to disable the vehicles and then withdraw.

Royal Marines Armoured Laird Centaur Half Tracks are guarding the entrance to the 40 Commando Royal Marines base at Norton Manor Camp. There then follows an assault by Republican paratroopers to rescue POWs being held at the camp.

A Royalist convoy, with Laird Centaur Half Tracks is approaching Gloucester when it is ambushed by a force of Democratic Guards using light scout vehicles, motorbikes and a single Armoured Laird Centaur Half Track.

Democratic Guards using Laird Centaur Half Tracks are landed on the beaches of North Somerset by landing craft, to sabotage the nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. Local royalist forces rush to defend the power station and push the Democratic Guards back into the Bristol Channel.

I’ve not found any models of the Laird Centaur, but I do remember once an article in a magazine about how to convert a 1/76th version using the (then) JB Models Land Rover and Scorpion models. Both kits are now available from Airfix.

Thinking about some Grey Knights Knights!

Back in the day at a Games Day someone had scratch built (out of cardboard) a Grey Knight Titan.

Grey Knights Titan

This was an impressive model and I really liked it.

I have for many (many) years being attempting to build a force of Inquisitorial forces and Grey Knights, but purposefully trying to to create Grey Knight versions of standard Space Marines, both infantry and vehicles.

I do like the concept of the Imperial Knights and looking over the range of models I did think that the Armiger Warglaive could be the basis of a Grey Knight version, complete with protective purity seals, additonal sheilds, even a new head, etc…

Armiger Warglaive

I really do need to though paint stuff, rather than buy stuff, so for the moment I am (just) thinking about this project, rather than doing anything concrete about it. However watch this space!