Wednesday, 10 April 2019

A blog shutdown...

Hi all

This week I was going to post about the gaming convention Uncon, that I was hosting games for. It was a rather awesome weekend and I was buzzing when we finished on the Sunday evening, with my games going down very well indeed. I was all set to produce a glowing post and I went to bed in fine spirits.

Unfortunately I had that dreaded early morning phone call... my dad has passed away. So here I am with very little enthusiasm for blogging and no desire to post for a while. I will still be hobbying, painting has always been a way of relaxing and de stressing and I will keep gaming. However, I won’t be blogging for a while until I can get my head straight and my posting mojo high again. Rest assured I still enjoy reading my favourite blogs but it is unlikely I will comment frequently.

Thanks for your patience 
dGG aka Andy

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

U-Boot the board game

hi all

Over the last couple of years I've backed a number of new Kickstarters, mostly smaller campaigns that fulfilled nicely and on time.  Last week, I received the KS that I have been (im)patiently waiting for - I was literally humming as I camped out by my front door!

U-Boot the board game is the brain child of two Polish designers Artur Salwarowski and Bartosz Pluta from Iron Wolf Studios and published by Phalanx Games.  The game is a WW2 submarine simulator and played on a 3d model of a U-Boot alongside a companion app.  This is from the designers themselves...

"Thank you very much for purchasing U-BOOT The Board Game. When we started this project, we set ourselves a goal: to create the first ever tabletop submarine simulator. A game that would let players experience World War II submarine warfare like no other game before it. One that would explore various aspects of living and fighting at sea, from dwelling inside an iron coffin to playing a deadly game of cat and mouse with the enemy.

Now, after a lot of hard work and research, we are proud to present a game that redefines submarine board gaming, featuring true to life navigation, visual identification of targets, and many other elements that you probably haven’t seen in a board game yet. This might seem daunting, but rest assured: the game comes with everything you need to become a U-boat ace in no time.

Firstly, a separate Tactical Guide booklet. It lays out the most important dos and don’ts without getting into unnecessary detail, so you should quickly get an idea of how to conduct combat. Secondly, player aids that summarize the most important information for each role and, lastly, online videos that teach you how to play. All of these will help you understand the basics quickly. Once you do that, the rest will come with experience.

And the experience that U-BOOT can deliver is truly unique. Approaching targets without getting detected, lining up perfect torpedo shots, and sneaking away from the escorts’ counterattack… Or getting pounded by relentless depth charge attacks. This game has it all and much more, so if you wish to savor it to the fullest, be serious about your training. Trust us: it will be worth it."

Artur Salwarowski & Bartosz Pluta

I don't think I could have stated it any better!  What I can tell you is that this is the literally the best board game I've ever played. It is immersive, tense, exciting and extremely entertaining, a fantastic simulator that will only get better as the app develops and more missions get added, graphics improve and extra touches come into play.  Even better, you can play it solo (up to 4) and it works perfectly, so I can get my fix whenever I want!!

the contents of the box, well some of them...

the boat getting worked up!

what a massive foot print!

those amazing resin pieces

I backed the game with a fairly high pledge because I wanted the resin tokens and interior detail that just make the game pop. I've managed to paint the interior work but none of the other bits yet...

below is the navigator equipment, which is my favourite role.  You have a tactical map for when the action gets hot and the boat is submerged.  Using the attack wheel, the navigator can plot attack vectors for the capt to launch his salvos.

The Navigator passes on the information to the First Officer, who inputs it into the companion app and updates the TDC. He then relays the info to the Capt for orders.

the video below was from my first training mission, a single unescorted freighter to practice on.  Normally there are escort ships for these groups and the covert stalk, launch and subsequent evasion makes for thrilling game play. 

at the end of each mission you get your rating.  There are a few single missions and a campaign mode which I'm yet to try but will be starting real soon.  More missions will be added to the app as it gets more developed and I'm really hoping they will eventually add "Wolfpack" type scenarios where you can link in with other players via the app. 

anyway, that's my initial thoughts on this game, i'm sure as I play through the missions more posts will follow. Next week will be post Uncon so I'll let you know how that went, of course anyone in the Kent area who fancies a weekend filled with amazing gaming and maybe even crewing up with me for a game of this awesome simulator then pop on down to Broadstairs and say hi

hope you enjoy

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Rising Sun - the Kami

Hi all

This will be the last of the Rising Sun posts as I have finished painting the pieces that I'm going to for now.  There are all of the factions if I want to, but it's unlikely as it would get quite difficult to differentiate the minis on the board.

The last expansion that I bought for the game was "Kami Unleashed".  This expansion brought the until now reclusive kami out of the temple and onto the board, making them more interactive and offering up yet another tactical decision (and imho increasing their use).  There are 7 different Kami in the game and only four, randomly chosen at the beginning of the game, are used in any one game.

I'm gonna do my usual trick of posting a little blur from Wiki for those who are interested...

Kami (Japanese: , [kaꜜmi]) are the spirits or phenomena that are worshipped in the religion of Shinto. They can be elements of the landscape, forces of nature, as well as beings and the qualities that these beings express; they can also be the spirits of venerated dead persons. Many kami are considered the ancient ancestors of entire clans (some ancestors became kami upon their death if they were able to embody the values and virtues of kami in life). Traditionally, great or sensational leaders like the Emperor could be or became kami.[1][page needed]
In Shinto, kami are not separate from nature, but are of nature, possessing positive and negative, and good and evil characteristics. They are manifestations of musubi (結び),[2] the interconnecting energy of the universe, and are considered exemplary of what humanity should strive towards. Kami are believed to be "hidden" from this world, and inhabit a complementary existence that mirrors our own: shinkai (神界, "the world of the kami").[3]:22 To be in harmony with the awe-inspiring aspects of nature is to be conscious of kannagara no michi (随神の道 or 惟神の道, "the way of the kami").[2]
Though the word kami is translated multiple ways into English, no one English word expresses its full meaning. The ambiguity of the meaning of kami is necessary, as it conveys the ambiguous nature of kami themselves.

So first up is Hachiman

Hachiman (八幡神) Also known as Hachiman-shin or Yawata no Kami, he is the god of war and the divine protector of Japan and its people. Originally an agricultural deity, he later became the guardian of the Minamoto clan. His symbolic animal and messenger is the dove.

next is Susanoo

Susanoo-no-Mikoto (須佐之男尊) Alternately romanized as Susano-o, Susa-no-o, and Susanowo. Reportedly called "Futsushi". He is the god of storms as well as in some cases the god of the sea. He is also somewhat of a trickster god, as Japanese mythology extensively documents the "sibling rivalry" between him and Amaterasu. Susanoo also was responsible for the slaying of the monster Yamata no Orochi and the subsequent discovery of the sacred sword Kusanagi.

next, we have Tsukuyomi

Tsukuyomi-no-Mikoto (月読の命 or 月夜見の尊) Also known as Tsukiyomi, Tsuki no Kami, Tsukiyomino Mikoto, and Tsukiyumi no Mikoto, he is the god of the moon. He killed the goddess of food, Uke Mochi, out of disgust and anger in the way she had prepared a meal. This caused Amaterasu to never face him again, causing the sun and moon to be in different parts of the sky.


Ryūjin (龍神) Also known as Ōwatatsumi, he is a dragon, as well as god of the sea. He resides in Ryūgū-jō, his palace under the sea built out of red and white coral, from where he controls the tides with magical tide jewels. His great-grandson would become Emperor Jimmu.


Amaterasu-Ō-Mi-Kami (天照大神 or 天照大御神) Commonly called Amaterasu, she is the goddess of the sun as well as the purported ancestress of the Imperial Household of Japan. Her full name means "Great Goddess" or "Great Spirit Who Shines in the Heavens"; she may also be referred to as Ōhiru-menomuchi-no-kami (大日孁貴神). For many reasons, one among them being her ties to the Imperial family, she is often considered (though not officially) to be the "primary god" of Shinto.


Raijin (雷神) Commonly called Raiden (雷電), he is the god of thunder and lightning, and is often paired with Fūjin. As with the latter, Raijin is usually depicted as an oni.

finally we have Fujin

Fūjin (風神) Also known as Kami-no-Kaze, he is the Japanese god of the wind and one of the eldest Shinto gods, said to have been present at the creation of the world. He is often depicted as an oni with a bag slung over his back.

and the obligatory group shot....

So that's the last of the Rising Sun figures, I've literally no idea what pile of miniatures to begin whittling down, so next week will be anybody's guess.

hope you enjoy

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Rising Sun - more monsters! 2

hi all

Following on from last week's post showing the monsters from the expansion for Rising Sun. This week we have the final two.

Firstly we have Jorogumo…

this from wikipedia
orōgumo (Japanese Kanji: 絡新婦, Hiragana: じょろうぐも) is a type of Yōkai, a creature, ghost or goblin of Japanese folklore. It can shapeshift into a beautiful woman, so the kanji for its actual meaning is 女郎蜘蛛 or "woman-spider", and to write it instead as 絡新婦 ("entangling newlywed woman") is a jukujikun pronunciation of the kanji. In Toriyama Sekien's Gazu Hyakki Yagyō, it is depicted as a spider woman manipulating small fire-breathing spiders.
Jorōgumo can also refer to some species of spiders, such as the Nephila and Argiope spiders. Japanese-speaking entomologists use the katakana form of Jorōgumo (ジョロウグモ) to refer exclusively to the spider species Nephila clavata.
this from Fandom

Jorōgumo (絡新婦 or じょろうぐも, Jorōgumo) is a yôkai with the form of a spider, that can change its appearance into that of a seductive woman when it wants to eat a human. Even when it is in its human form though, its reflection will show a giant spider. It can not be killed by any kind of poison. The name Jorogumo is that of the Nephila Clavata, a real kind of spider.


In Japan, some spiders are known to possess amazing supernatural powers. One of these, the jorō-gumo, known as the golden orb-weaver in English, is the most well-known of the arachnid yokai. Jorō-gumo are found all over the Japanese archipelago, except for Hokkaido. Their body size averages between two to three centimeters long, but they can grow much larger as they age; some are large enough to catch and eat small birds. These spiders are renowned for their large size, their vividly beautiful colors, the large and strong webs they weave, and for the cruel destruction they wreak on young men. Their name is written with kanji that mean “entangling bride.” However, these characters were added on to her name much later to cover up the original meaning of the name: “whore spider.”
Jorō-gumo live solitary lives, both as spiders and as yokai. When a golden orb-weaver reaches 400 years of age, it develops magical powers and begins to feed on human prey instead of insects. They make their nests in caves, forests, or empty houses in towns. They possess a cunning intelligence and a cold heart, and see humans as nothing more than insects to feed on. They are skillful deceivers and powerful shapeshifters, usually spending their lives appearing as young, sexy, and stunningly beautiful women. 

while this is isn't my favourite sculpt, the Jorogumo has one of the most fascinating legends so I really enjoyed painting this.  The gruesome egg sack under the creatures abdomen is particularly characterful.

Next is the Earth Dragon...

In Chinese mythology, dilong 地龍 "earth dragon" is one of many types of -long dragons such as shenlong 神龍 "divine dragon" and huanglong 黃龍 "Yellow Dragon". Since "earth; land; soil; ground" semantically contrasts with tian "heaven; sky" (e.g., tiandi 天地 "heaven and earth; universe", see Tiandihui), the dilong is paired with the tianlong 天龍 "heavenly dragon". Chinese dragons were supposedly able to fly, and thus were considered celestial creatures rather than terrestrial ones like the "earthbound" dilong. Two other exceptions are panlong 蟠龍 "coiled/curled dragon; a dragon that has not ascended to heaven" and tulong 土龍 "soil/earth dragon", which refers to the tuo "Chinese Alligator" (cf. Japanese mogura 土竜 "mole").

I used a lot of yellow and flesh washes on the reds of this Dragon in order to achieve the reddish brown flesh, which helped link with the spines and whiskers of the mighty beast.

Finally here is a group shot of the expansion pack.

I have just one more expansion to finish which will feature the sacred Kami.
hope you enjoy