Saturday, 25 April 2020

Mount & Blade II; Bannerlord

Back in 2016 I posted on the up and coming PC games I was looking forward to get a hold of and play in that year. All the games were purchased sooner or later except one. Yup, you guessed it Mount & Blade II; Bannerlord.

After being in development for the last five or so years the game has finally been released recently and I quickly purchased to help with whiling away a few extra free hours suddenly available recently for some reason.

Always a fan of the Taleworlds Entertainment Mount & Blade series in 'Warband' and 'With Fire and Sword' and played through both included mod versions they hold enough interest though the graphics are now pretty basic looking. This is the first and obvious update on M&B II with the graphic input ten times better than the original.

Having a strole round one of the many townscapes
First Character after a few game days adventuring
Still pretty lowly equipped
The graphics are very nice and the game map is much improved and much more appealing to the eye (the original Calradia and Eastern Europe maps being graphically sparse, travelling could get quite tedious) and with a lot more going on and more information for locations of objectives and info on encounters and so on.

There's a lot going on generally but follows the same basic premises of the genre set up in M&B Warband so familiar enough ground though the controls are much more involved and with more alternatives as well.

The milieu is new as well, with Calradia gone and a new realm peopled with the same technological level as before, roughly 12th Century (ish) medieval times. The eight various factions you can choose to play (Aserai, Battania, Khuzait, Northern Empire, Southern Empire, Sturgia, Vlandia and the Western Empire) in all, follow general Medieval tropes and are recognizable from their inspirations; from Byzantines, Norman's, Viking/Scandinavian's, Rus, Mongols, Anglo-Saxon and Saracen types and so on.

The art work for the loading screens (which you see a lot of going from battle to map to town to dialogue) all give a good idea of the artistic look and feel to the game and are pretty good on the eye as well which is just as well really;

The foregoing artwork by a Turkish artist Ilker Serdar Yildiz, is very eye catching and evocative work and must of been involved in the art direction in the game build as the aesthetic is maintained throughout the game.

I'm still early on in my first game play but so far it is interesting and worthwhile play, especially if you're into RPG style games in the medieval period. The game does have a pretty steep character development curve. It takes a fair bit of grinding through early missions and hunting looters to get anywhere. The cost for failing missions is noted and can be quite prohibitive sometimes finacially, cutting off lines of trade or limiting future access to a town. There are lots of lines of character development, in social standing, finances, local and faction standings and notoriety that all play a part in developing and advancing your career, not just killing folk and taking their money as was pretty much the previous norm.

I do quite like this as it gives a decent challenge and can be quite political as well as militaristic in flavour. Lots of depth.

There are a fair number of mods available for the game already and  include the inevitable LotR make-over and I believe a GoT as well plus the usual AI tweeks and so on. I'll play the vanilla game through before having a look at these.

All in all, pretty favourable opinion so far and generally recommended for anyone into the more 'believable setting' RPG genre. An early Warblog rating of 8 out of 10 'Worth Watching' easily merited and worth the wait.

Friday, 3 April 2020

Isolation Exercise

Setting myself a bit of of a challenge here and have set up a solo skirmish game using the Thud & Blunder rules. The challenge (exercise) part is that a good part of the table set up includes a large part of unpainted/incomplete terrain and figures and the idea is to complete all the terrain pieces and figures before I complete the game.

I deliberately chose pieces thst were either incomplete or not started in the main and have started working my way through the items on the set-up. So far most of the accessories are complete with just some barrels to do, the GW Osgiliath ruins are done and a couple of the trees are complete.

The warbands are a mixture of complete and incomplete figures (mainly incomplete) and I'll start working my way through the chosen figs next.

The warbands are all set up and 'The Merchant Adventurers', 'The Glitter Twins' and ' The Celesterale' are ready to rock in the scenario 'Bad Day at Ganish Aer'.

I'll introduce the players in more detail as they are painted.

I've a few more bits under way at the moment which I'll post seperately that I'm doing with all the extra time available with this isolation thing going on and flitting a bit from bits to bits as the mood takes me. So more anon.

Take care, stay safe and stay sane!

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Middle Earth SBG - Fords of Isen

A bit of a late post as this was my last game of 2019 but hey, that's the way things roll recently.

With the release of the recent War in Rohan supplement for Middle Earth SBG, Kev wanted to give the troops a try out and plumped for the ever popular Fords of Isen scenario to give the rules/stats a try out.

Myself and Alan plumped for the Evil side (as usual) and Kev and Ian taking the Horsemen s side for the encounter, with all the toys supplied by Kev as usual.

The game was it's usual very enjoyable affair with the evil side having to kill Theodred and have 12 bods on the other side of the river by game's end being a very tough nut to crack.

Luckily for us this time, Ian was the 'One King' and threw multiple 1's for much of the game and the Uruk Hai shooting was pretty effective when the Multitude of Rohan Mounted re-enforcements arrived being mown down as if facing machine guns.

Needless to say, the game was a ding-dong affair with much splashing about and only a couple of Uruks drowning trying to cross at the deep end and much heroics on both sides and Theodred refusing to die gracefully, but die he did in suitable style surrounded and alone on the evil side of the river and the evil side just managing to squeeze the victory on the last (twelvth) round of the game with having twelve bods alive and on the other side. Skin of the teeth stuff.

Anybody's game right to the end and a great way to end the year with. Look forward to more Middle Earth shenanigans this year.

Thursday, 2 January 2020

Happy New Year

A slightly belated happy New Year to all for 2020.

Just about recovered from the dreaded lurgy having been laid low over the festives and not feeling up for much hobby activities during the break but up for more once up and on full steam once again.

All the best to all for the coming year!

Monday, 16 December 2019

Forgotten World FireForge Kickstarter

A couple of weeks ago, I received my pledge from Fire Forge for their recent Forgotten World Kickstarter.

As you can see this was fairly chunky in it's contents, 9 boxes of plastic Human and Undead Infantry and Cavalry, some additional sprue's of choice, additional embossed shields plus resin foot and mounted character figures plus I opted in my bonus for some Deus Vult range Scandinavian, Russian and Byzantine box sets.

The original plan was to use the historical figures as a source for alternative heads and for some general conversion works for miscellaneous projects but as the Forgotten Worlds figures are pretty much heroic 32mm scale and the historical figures aren't, that idea has been knocked on the head so will be using these separately.

I've assembled a couple of the Human Infantry, with these (and the cavalry) being pretty generic fantasy humans in a sort of medium infantry apparel (looking much like the Stark GoT troops which I assume is deliberate given the 'Northern Infantry' nomenclature) and generally look the part. The figure parts do come with a lot of mold lines and all require a fair bit of cleaning up and some bits don't quite fit together without a bit of trimming but not too bothered about that. 

Their are Infantry with sword and spear options plus a command conversion sprue all of which have a few options plus additions for packs and pouches etc. plus there are Bowmen packs and the Cavalry pack which I've still to play with yet. The above examples built show the general look of the assembled figures (with the figure on the right having a replacement head from the now defunct Empire Archers set).

The Undead again are pretty generic in origin which is a good idea for this type of product really. Again, I've only assembled a couple of the infantry to see how they go together and these are generally fine but again a bit of mold line problem to be dealt with. With only 12 in the box for these, they do seem a bit pricey if paying full price for them but again are quite nice and do whats required of them.

The bonus characters in the kickstarter are quite nice and Human and Undead forces catered for with generic 'good' General, Hero and Wizard types along with their Undead counterparts. These all assemble fairly well but the bits needed quite a bit of cleaning up where the bits came off the resin sprue and the fit is a bit loose generally and all will need a bit of green stuff to tidy up the joints. Again not a major problem and perfectly usable fantasy types. The foot undead hero is very lined from the (I assume) 3D printing process, but I'll paint up and see if this looks OK. To be confirmed here.

The only, as I see it, failure of the Kickstarter supply to date is the mounted Undead Lich. The parts really don't go together at all well with major gaps on the horse parts which will require substantial green stuff to sort and the rider does not sit on the mount at all well, even after major carving, like the rider is not meant for this horse. I'll persevere and sort the figure out as best I can but I'm sort of minded to not really try here. We'll see how I feel on this one and report back on progress if any.

The KS also included a set of fanatasy rules which on a quick flick through look OK but still to give these a thorough read to see if I'll use them or not.

All in all, a good result on a Kickstarter with lots of usable figures which I'm going to use to fill some holes on my Fantasy Campaign Northern Wars theatre so that's nice, and the Kickstarter was fulfilled within a reasonable time.

On other KS news, I also received my pledge about the same time for the re-written Chivalry & Sorcery RPG rule set (pdf copy) which I'm still wading my way throught 500 or so pages of this to get the feel of the update but looks very pretty so far.

I've also received word from Yannis of Nuclear Shrimp that my pledge for their 'Black Earth: Heavy Metal' KS is now on it's way to me and will hopefully be with me before Christmas which is nice though that one has been a long wait but the figures and vehicles are very nice so I'm looking forward to these to add to my Future Wars project.

Sunday, 6 October 2019


A couple of old type figures which have seen sterling service but needed brought up to scratch for current use with a re-paint and re-basing.

The figure on the left is an 80's Ral Partha Stone Giant and on the right original Citadel Fighters range F1 with a replaced shield. The giant I've had since the early 80's I think and the fighter the early 90's.

Both figures have received a pretty standard treatment and nothing fancy so their back on the table in a jiffy.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Middle Earth SBG - Matched Play Second Helpings

Recently had a return to Middle Earth and had a re-fight of the Rohan vs Uruk-Hai game in a matched play game from last year (wow, didn't realise that was ten months ago).

Similar forces and table set-up with all the bits supplied by Kev again, but this time myself taking the side of Theoden and Dave K playing Lurtz. Different scenario with this one's objective to being to control five or more locations on the table (plus points for taking out important bods).

With both sides armies keyed to getting into combat quickly, the game started with a general rush to come to grips and Rohan getting the charge in to maximize impact of lots of cavalry.

The game then produced a similar clash of the two lines with a few Uruk-Hai dropping to a the fair amount of Rohan missile fire, and the Uruks managing to unhorse Theoden in the first round with their shooting.

The charge result of the Rohan cavalry was similar as before but much more pronounced this time with Rohan pretty much bouncing off the Uruk-Hai lines.

Not so much my bad dice throwing here, but Dave's very good dice rolling, with Rohan often failing to wound when getting the hits in, but pretty much every time Dave would get the 6's to wound so the combats for the three melee's tended to go one way for the whole game.

Dave didn't get it all his own way though and particularly on the Rohan left flank under Theodred did pretty much have it his way, but not sufficiently or quickly enough to make a difference for the overall outcome.

In the Centre and right of the line, Rohan were reduced to the individual hero's Theoden, Theodred and a Rohan Captain who, in the way of these things producing better results than all their forces combined and held the hordes at bay for a couple of rounds themselves and successfully denied the Uruks a couple of objectives by plonking their butts on the markers and refusing to die in good cinematic fashion.

In the end the game finished with the random game end being rolled on round 8 or 9 I think with the Rohan force broken (well broken) and almost all killed but with the dregs refusing to run away and the Uruk-hai still unbroken but claiming two objectives, it was an Evil victory though Rohan did claim the lives of all (2 at least) the Uruk-hai hero's in return. Theoden, Theodred and the Captain all surviving (though surrounded) till the last.

If it had been the scenario from last time, Rohan would have actually won on points even though they were pretty much all dead.

Another great and much enjoyable game and I am looking forward to the decider, though I note Rohan has lost on points both games (though narrowly) so far. Watch that space

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