Maki Games on Kickstarter

I have very mixed feelings about Kicksarter, Indiegogo and crowd funding in general. Mantic and other established companies have been using it as a pre-order system and a cash camel for a while now which is choking off funding for other smaller companies and start-ups that deserve the money but get overshadowed by a ‘sure thing’.

However, there are a few kickstarters that do get noticed and do get the funding they deserve. One such endeavour is Maki Games and their modular scenery kickstarter.

Quite frankly, this stuff looks the absolute, gold-plated, diamond encrusted, tits. Aside from being staggeringly flexible using pinned panels, it looks utterly fantastic.

And I suspect, because it’s build using pinned/pegged plates, you don’t need to glue it which means you can sling it all in a shoe box at the end of the game. Of course it remains to be seen how durable those pins are and how easy they really are to store once they’re painted, but that’s what reviews are for. Impressions are that this stuff could be utterly awesome.

It’s also the first terrain system I’ve seen that allows for ‘indoor’ structures to be built and thus opens up a whole new way of playing games. It’s also going to give the Necromunda die hards a raging hard-on. If I’m honest, I think it’s going to give most gamers that play any kind of 28mm sci-fi wargame a raging hard-on.

The really cool thing is that three distinct styles are available whilst still being cross compatible. So, if you’re feeling cheeky, you could even build a structure with changing design aesthetic to represent the building’s expansion over time. This is, of course, way cool.

It’s a remarkably well-timed move on Maki’s part as Spartan have just released their staggeringly expensive HDF range (with no match 28mm models) and Mantic’s Deadzone game has a modular terrain system that appears to be entirely more fiddly and flimsy. To be honest the Maki range seems a far more impressive and diverse option.

If you haven’t taken a look at their kickstarter page I strongly urge you to do so. It has already been successfully funded but I genuinely feel that Maki brings something original to the wargaming world and so deserves as much support as the community can give it.

They have just 14 days left to raise some extra dosh so, bip over to their page, take a look at the awesome scenery, wipe the dribble from your chin and then pledge your support.

Charity Wargaming

M’comrade Rob, staunch #warmonger and loyal member of the Shell Case Alliance is being a rather splendid chap and playing wargames for charity. Not just any charity mind, but Multiple Sclerosis UK, a charity very close to my heart.

For those that haven’t heard of Multiple Sclerosis: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a condition of the central nervous system. In MS, the coating around nerve fibres (called myelin) is damaged, causing a range of symptoms. Around 100,000 people in the UK have MS. It’s normally diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 and 40, and affects almost three times as many women as men. Once diagnosed, MS stays with you for life, but treatments and specialists can help you to manage the symptoms. We don’t know the cause and we haven’t yet found a cure, but research is progressing fast.

And Rob had this to say over on the Moss[op]:

Hello lovely #warmongers

Some of you already know that myself and my other half, Beth, are running the Virgin London Marathon for the fantastic Multiple Sclerosis UK. The training is going really well (even if my legs are screaming at me right now after our third 20 miler last night!) and we’re raring to go on April 21st.

MS-UK are a brilliant charity, very local to us and the work they do by giving support to those with MS is a brilliant example of the impact that well-organised, dedicated and bloody hard-working charitable organisations can have.
What am I doing?
Well, this is a question I often ask myself in a different context, but right here, right now I’m raising money for MS-UK, in support of my sponsorship for the London marathon, by having a charity wargaming marathon. That means 26.2 hours of non-stop gaming (!) starting at 12:30 on Sunday the 30th of March through to 2:20pm on Monday the 31st March.

Read more here.

The Dark Knight Ruleses

Batman-Arkham-City-logo-batman-arkham-city-14586841-640-352

When news broke that Knight Models were releasing a Batman Miniatures game I was very excited because I love Batman and have massively enjoyed playing the Arkham Asylum and Arkham City games. My enthusiasm did wane somewhat as I saw the prices of the models but I suppose, as it’s a licensed product it’s to be expected. Then I had to wait and wait and wait for rules.

But basic rules are finally available to download completely free from the Knight Models website. Available for your crime fighting pleasure is a quick guide, scenarios, character sheets, and the rules. And can all be found here. I’ll be having a good read once I’ve cleared a couple of other reviews off the Shell Case desk and I may try to get my mits on a couple of models. For now go over to Knight Models and have a dribble.Batman: Arkham City

Lack of Pinterest

Some of you may have noticed a rather lovely winged P icon over on the right side of the blog. If you haven’t, it’s this…

TSC_Pinterest copyIf you haven’t you’d be entirely forgiven as I’ve been neglecting it of late and this is something I’d like to remedy. There is no shortage of lush and lovely wargaming art work and photography out there and I’d very much like The Shell Case Pinterest to become a big lovely image repository.

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With that in mind, if you see an awesome looking wargaming image like the one above then please email it to theshellcase@hotmail.co.uk or send me the link via the contact page. If I can get my act together sufficiently I’ll do prize draws for an image of the month.

Shell Case Shorts 8

August. Who’d have thought I’d manage to keep this competition going this long. It of course wouldn’t be possible were it not for you lovely readers entering and those lovely people donating prizes. And this month’s prize is the tits. It’s nothing less than a signed copy of Dropzone Commander from Hawk Wargames.

This month the entries must be from a science fiction wargame in honour of this top prize. Steampunk isn’t included I’m afraid, sorry.

So what do you have to do to win this rather large slice of awesomeness? Well, I’m glad you asked…

Rules are as follows:

Your work is your own but intellectual property rests squarely with the companies in question and is only used under fair use. I reserve the right to publish any submissions in a strictly non-profit capacity. All published writers will be credited accordingly.

Submissions should attempt to evoke the IP the story is based on.

Short story entries word limit should be 3,000-4,000 words.

All entries must be received by midnight UK time Friday 31st August 2012 after which a single winner will be chosen. Submissions received after this will not be considered.

1 submission per person.

Work believed to be plagiarised will be disqualified.

All submissions must be sent as a Word document attached to an email to theshellcase@hotmail.co.uk

[Any spam from entrants will result in disqualification]

Submissions must include the entrants name, a contact email address, Twitter name if applicable and the title of the story.

1 winner will be chosen and notified by email.

The winning entry will be published initially on The Shell Case blog and later in a free to download anthology.

No discussion will be entered into, my decision is final.

The prize may not be exchanged for its cash value or an alternative. However, I reserve the right to substitute the prize if necessary.

Good luck and have fun!

Sponsored by

Shell Case Shorts 7

This month’s Shell Case Shorts is a little bit special because the prize is not a signed book, but a signed rule book. Those fine chaps at Spartan Games have donated a copy of Dystopian Wars signed by all the development team.

With this in mind, the Shell Case Shorts is going Steampunk. All entries should be based on a Steampunk IP such as Dystopian Wars, Wolsung, Empire of the Dead etc. And, because I’m nice, I’ll even include Warmachine in the mix.

Rules are as follows:

Your work is your own but intellectual property rests squarely with the companies in question and is only used under fair use. I reserve the right to publish any submissions in a strictly non-profit capacity. All published writers will be credited accordingly.

Submissions should attempt to evoke the IP the story is based on.

Short story entries word limit should not exceed 3,000 words.

All entries must be received by midnight UK time Tuesday 31st July 2012 after which a single winner will be chosen. Submissions received after this will not be considered.

1 submission per person.

Work believed to be plagiarised will be disqualified.

All submissions must be sent as a Word document attached to an email to theshellcase@hotmail.co.uk

[Any spam from entrants will result in disqualification]

Submissions must include the entrants name, a contact email address, Twitter name if applicable and the title of the story.

1 winner will be chosen and notified by email.

The winning entry will be published initially on The Shell Case blog and later in a free to download anthology.

No discussion will be entered into, my decision is final.

The prize may not be exchanged for its cash value or an alternative. However, I reserve the right to substitute the prize if necessary.

Good luck and have fun!

Sponsored by

The Shell Case Shorts 6

Half way through the greatest short story competition in the wargaming world! Who’d have thought it?

This month I’m mixing it up again giving entrants two ways of participating. June’s criteria are a wargaming IP (as always), it can be anything you like; Fantasy, Steampunk, Sci-fi, you name it. And you’ve got the choice of writing fiction or doing a comic strip.

The reason for this momentary shift is entirely down to the awesome person who has donated this months prize and the awesome prize itself.

I refer to the community’s very own Chris Webb, aka @Curis and his awesome compilation of comic strips Punishment of the Dice Gods.
You can visit Curis’ website here.

Rules are as follows:

Your work is your own but intellectual property rests squarely with the companies in question and is only used under fair use. I reserve the right to publish any submissions in a strictly non-profit capacity. All published writers will be credited accordingly.

Submissions should attempt to evoke the IP the story is based on.

For short story entries word limit is up to 2,000 words.

For comic book entries it should exceed no more than a DPS (2 pages of A4 or single A3, whichever).

All entries must be received by midnight Saturday 30th June 2012 after which a single winner will be chosen. Submissions received after this will not be considered.

1 submission per person.

Work believed to be plagiarised will be disqualified.

All submissions must be sent as a Word document (prose) or PDF (comic strip) attached to an email to phil@theshellcase.com

[Any spam from entrants will result in disqualification]

Submissions must include the entrants name, a contact email address, Twitter name if applicable and the title of the story.

1 winner will be chosen and notified by email.

The winning entry will be published initially on The Shell Case blog and later in a free to download anthology.

No discussion will be entered into, my decision is final.

The prize may not be exchanged for its cash value or an alternative. However, I reserve the right to substitute the prize if necessary.

Good luck and have fun!

When Mecha met Reality

I spotted this video this evening and I thought it was worth a share.

Basically it’s a bunch of Japanese wargamers that decied to make a pilotable Mech. Yes. Pilotable.

Aside from making my two companies of Ultramarines look rather paltry in comparison this highlights something that I’ve always been aware of – we are making our science fiction science fact. These guys have built a 12ft Mech that’s controlled using, at its core, Xbox Kinect. We live in an age where consumable technology is so sophisticated it can control the next generation of warmachines.

It’s awesome and scary all at the same time. It started with the iPad (other tablets are available). We looked at the data pads in Star Trek and said ‘I want one.’ We have them 300 years before Star Trek is set. Actually, ours are better. Civilians are building Mechs, so God only knows what military R&D is up to, other than rail gun technology which is quite possibly the best worst kept weapons tech secret. Eitherway it’s highlighting how the lines between science fiction and reality are becoming increasingly blurred. But I guess that’s how it should be. Fiction, especially science fiction, is meant to inspire scientists, engineers and associated ilk to make those ideas come true.

Heresy Miniatures Review

Whilst at Salute the other week I found myself over at the Heresy Miniatures stand chatting with the thoroughly nice chaps and oggling all the various models in the cabinets, especially the models that most definitely aren’t Delaques that most definitely aren’t for Necromunda.

However my eye was drawn to a fantasy miniature, which is, generally, very unlike me unless I can cram it into Mordheim some how. The model in question is the Barbarian Warlord, first cast back in 2008.

Although not the newest model in the Heresy catalogue I just had to buy him because, quite simply, he looks awesome. I think the thing that really gets me is that he’s not a typical barbarian model. He’s not swinging his axe wildly, nor is he covered in rags, nor chains. However he still looks hard as nails! The casual pose with that massive axe rested on his shoulder screams ‘walk away now and I’ll let you live’. Because you know, when the axe starts swinging it’s only going to end one, very messy, way.

Beyond the pose, the detail does well to convey the skull splitting bad-assery of the model without going overboard. All the armour is down one side which is a nice touch. It indicates that (A) he has status in that he has armour at all and (B) he favours his right hand when fighting so presents his off side to the enemy. However restricting the armour to his left side still gives him mobility, which is key. Although that gauntlet looks like it could bring some serious hurt, and is one of my favourite bits of the model.

I like attention to detail like that. It shows actual thought has gone into the model rather than ‘lets give him a weapon twice his size and give him a huge suit of armour and cover every surface we can with spikes and skulls!’ I’m all for fantasy but it also needs to be possible excluding magic, demons and all that jiggery pokery of course.

The little touches are all evident as well on the model. The throwing knives and coin purse are all competently sculpted so when they’re painted they’ll look the part. Even the cloak has clasps attaching it to the armour which is a silly level of detail that I haven’t seen for a while. And the mentalists have even sculpted muscle definition on the chest. Which is great so now Thor and the Barbarian Warlord can make me feel inadequate together.

Overall it’s a top model. The mould lines were a bit of a sod in places but I can’t dock too many points for that as the casting quality itself is very good. And for £6.50 it’s an absolute bargain. If you haven’t checked out Heresy Miniatures go there right now and grab yourself a little slice of awesome.

Why do we bother with Rumours?

I was musing today, whilst simultaneously copying files onto the new laptop and playing Mass Effect 2 that the rumours regarding 6th Edition 40k that I posted yesterday morning didn’t actually make me feel terribly good about the future of a game I really love to play. Which lead me to the question; why did I bother?

Because the thing about rumours is they are, by their very nature, toxic.

In the cases where the rumours are from an ‘official’ source, the person doing the leaking shouldn’t be but is because either they want to show off or they’re a disgruntled employee. Either way they should probably stop because if someone was leaking stuff about my IP I’d fire them out of a cannon. Literally. It’s also a betrayal of who they work for. And can you ever really trust the word of a traitor?

However the number of times the rumours doing the rounds are third hand, old news, speculations or someone filling in the gaps from the end of a conversation they overheard in their local hobby store. However they come across these bits of ‘news’ they’re motivations are questionable. So often the rumours churned out by forums, wherever they are, can be someone just trying to stir things up, or just sit back and watch the fireworks as their lies ripple through a community who are very passionate about their hobby. As I say; toxic.

It also makes us bitchy. We moan and snipe when we hear news we don’t like. Yes it’s frustrating when an army changes as there’s a cost attached. But hearing about before it’s happened doesn’t change anything and usually comes without the full understanding of why or the rest of the changes so we lack any meaningful insight.

And if we think so I’ll of a company, not naming names, that we think they make changes to just to sell models, why are we bothering at all?

But the real question isn’t why do I bother, it’s why do I care? What happened to waiting for things to just happen? Sure, I’m all for a sneaky photo because I think leaked photos – providing, it was on purpose, is great for building up hype around the hobby. When the new Ogre Kingdoms images were leaked it caused such a stir it was one of GWs best releases in recent years.

And I admit that it’s a little bit pot calling the kettle black as I’m just as guilty as anyone for posting rumours that I’ve found along the way. I need to do this less and focus on what’s actually happening in my hobby now rather than could happen in a couple of months time.

I think there’s also an arrogance when it comes to rumours, whether we admit it or not. We hear a rumour and we instantly decide that the developer in question doesn’t know what they’re doing, that we know better and that the developer is about to ruin our game. This is, aside from remarkably stupid, very destructive as it builds resentment between us and the people who provide us with games and toys that we spend endless hours building, painting and playing.

The fact is that we either put our faith in the developers or we don’t. The most recent 40k rumours made me really nervous about the rules and the fluff, but you know what? It ain’t my game. And if someone told me how to write Project Awesome I’d tell them to fuck the hell off. So I guess that’s kinda what I’m telling myself to do. I’m sure I’ll still get the itch and post the odd article I see but I’m going to try to temper those posts with a modicum of reason.

Because, you know what? It does make sense for the Astartes to protect the Tau, kinda, because in the original Tau Codex it heavily hinted that the Eldar buggered about with the Tau’s evolution because they realised, as the Emperor apparently did, that they are a Chaos proof army. Throw in the fact that the Necrons have taken exception to the anarchy that Chaos and the Tyranids are causing in the Universe and it may just give the Imperium the breathing space it needs to not implode in on itself.

With this in mind I’m going to try to stop listening to rumours. I’m also gonna try to only put up what I think is credible. I’m going to enjoy my hobby more and worry about rule changes less. And, one day, if I’ve stopped enjoying the hobby because the games I play no longer bear any resemblance what I was playing then I shall thank it for the memories and move on down the road.