Monday, 16 January 2017

Painting Flint and Feather Figures

One of our Campaign Playtesters, Mike, recently painted up some of the Flint and Feather figures so that he could use them in the Campaign playtesting. Below is some of the tips and tricks he used when painting the figures. Mike also glued some of the extra accessories onto some of the figures which gives them a new look. Read on and let us know how your painting is going with the figures.

These are the first 28mm figures I've painted in many years.  I was a little brush-shy at first, not being used to this scale.  However, once I got started things flowed quickly.  They are very easy figures to paint.  In particular, the castings were very clean with no flash to remove.

I began by reading Bob Murch's notes on how to paint the figures.  I took particular notice of his comments regarding selecting a consistent pallet for my war band.  Then, I did a Google Image search for "Iroquois war paint" and another for "Iroquois tattoos" to find good examples to model my work on.  I then set to work, in this sequence:

  1. Glued figures to 1"-round bases.
  2. Undercoated in black gesso mixed 50:50 with matt medium, both Liquitex products then dry brushed with  Folkart "Charcoal" to highlight details.  Also, makes flint spear tips look "flinty".
  3. Mixed Folkart "Dark Flesh" and "Terracotta" at 4:1 and painted all flesh.  Washed flesh with very thin coat of Galleria "Burnt Umber".  Highlighted flesh with Folkart “Dark Flesh”.
  4. Wet brushed wood with Folkart "Spice Brown" or "Walnut".  Dry brushed wooden armour with Americana "Fawn"
  5. Painted leather with a one of Folkart "Camel", "Spice Brown", "Terracotta" and Americana "Fawn".
  6. Wet brushed feathers and added decorative details with Folkart "Raw Linen".
  7. Painted balls of war clubs and decorative details with Folkart "Terracotta"
  8. Added war paint using "Terracotta" and a 5:1 blend of "Black" and "Charcoal", all by Folkart.  Also highlighted hair with the Black/Charcoal mix
  9. Picked out beadwork and other decorative accents with Folkart "Sea Blue" (a turquoise colour).
  10. Used an artist's marker with the finest tip to add tattoos and decorations to weapons and shields.
  11. Textured bases with Lepage "Walnut" Wood Filler.
  12. Flocked bases with "Italian Blend" bulk spices.  Once dry, stained the flocking with a 40:40:20 blend of water, PVA glue and Galleria "Burnt Umber".
The figures were a lot of fun to paint.  They didn't take that long, perhaps a full day's effort, spread over several days to allow things to dry.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

War! Dice and Campaign Cards in the Campaign Game

On Thursday we sat down to another playtest session using the new Campaign Rules we had brewed up. We had just finished our tabletop battles from Turn #1 and we had gone thru most of the Aftermath phase. We were ready to begin our second turn. It was interesting that the players all wanted to take a Rest Order in the second turn. So learning the rules, and creating some new ones as we went, it was determined that you could only carry over half your War! Dice from the previous turn. This makes it important to spend your War! Dice especially if you have any extra because you do not round up, rather you round down any dice you carry over. War! Dice are what you earn for winning tabletop games and they are what you spend during your Campaign Turn.
For instance if you take five dice into the next turn you would get two War! Dice to add to your total for the next turn. So why not spend the one and only carry four over, if you were going to hold any dice over the next turn at all.
We felt this was an important consideration because it stops players from creating or whole large bag of War! Dice that they can then use to attack one player on a subsequent turn. We also felt this more accurately reflected the period when breaks in warfare to clear the fields and hunt were a natural requirement due to the need for survival among the tribes.
The fact that the players all took Rest Orders allowed us to work through how this order would work in the game. You can either take a Training session or a Build Session for your Rest Order. If you choose a Training session then you can take a free Campaign Card. Campaign Cards have many different effects on the game but the basic purpose of them is to allow your Special or Key Characters to get better. The cards also have some random events that can effect the Campaign Game or even the tabletop game.
All in all I think the game is developing well. The players are having fun and the game is playing with relative ease so far. We play again this week with all four players lined up for a tabletop battles. Please stay tuned for the results. 

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Campaign Playtest Continues

The other players rolled an Assualt Scenario.
We got together to playtest our rewrite of the Campaign Rules this week. All the players started with new Warbands. In this new system you get an amount of dice equal to the current CV of your Great Warrior. These are called War! Dice. All Great Warriors get to take a Companion and up to three Striplings with them as part of their Warband. You can then choose to either take a Key Character with you by giving up a single War! Dice for each Key Character you want to take with you or roll on the Warband Size Chart. The total of your dice determine what warriors you convince to go with you on your campaign turn to fight your tabletop battle.
For my Warband I took my Great Warrior, Companion and three Stiplings. I then put a War! Dice aside for a Veteran Warrior and a Healer. I then rolled my three remaining War! Dice for a total of ten and got five Warbearers to fill out my Warband.
We then rolled scenarios. I rolled an Attacker Ambushed scenario. So that means my opponent would have the opportunity to ambush me as I tried to find him with a Forage Order. Not a good roll.
The tabletop was set up and then the opponent gets to choose an ambush site (piece of terrain) on the board and then chooses the tabletop that my warriors had to get off. I then had to set up my Warband within 2" of the Ambush site. Finally, the defender can choose three terrain pieces over 12" away from the Ambush site to perform the Ambush. The defender also gets Initiative for the first turn.
My Warband stands on the Ambush Marker
The defender rolled his Activation and was able to move groups led by a Companion or Great Warrior which meant both his groups could move. The first group fired off arrows while the second group consisting of his Great Warrior, two Warbearers and a Stripling ran forward to close the distance to my Warband. The arrows caused a light wound to one of my Warbearers. It was now my turn to React to this movement. I rolled a six and failed to activate my whole Warband. I was truly ambushed. My opponent continued closing the distance and fired more arrows at my Warband with no effect.
Now it was my turn for Activation. I activated my Warband rolling a one, all groups activated. I then spotted his Group that was by this point only 2" away from my Warband. I spotted him in the open and charged the group with half my warriors. In the ensuing combat I wounded his Great Warrior and killed one of his Warbearers and won the close combat. However, he rolled a one for his Nerve Test and passed the test, he needed a one or two to pass. We separated our warriors 2" off each. I then had four warriors which included two of my striplings to fire bows at his second group but I could not fire them because I had not spotted his group and had already spent my groups spotting roll on finding his other group so I could charge them. So my first action was over. He reacted and fired some arrow again. He then choose to recharge into me with his small Great Warrior group. He caused some wounds, and killed my Healer, but lost the fight this time failing the Nerve Test. I ended up capturing one of his wounded Warbearers and killing off his Stripling.
Fighting in the Three Sisters in front of the Village
The game at this point was mostly decided and the last turn was spent with both of us swooping up Furs Markers. Fur Markers play an important roll because each one can provide the player that collects it with a War! Dice in the Campaign Game, these are of course important in determining the size of your Warband for the Tabletop Game.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Campaign Playtest Wednesday

On Wednesday evening we pushed forward our campaign rules playtest. We have been continuing along with our playtesting. In our third week we sat down to play again with one player being very dominant in his wins of tabletop games. This is good in playtesting as you can see how the system works with one player being successful.
We used a Bear to represent the Totem.
 We had an interesting situation in one game with a Medicine Roll on the first turn. The player got the event Totem Appears. This is a medicine event from our extended list that we are now playtesting. The event causes the Warband to go to Inspired for the rest of the game. It also gives the player a spirit creature that has a CV of 5 and four hits to appear with the Great Warriors group and it stays for one complete turn. It happened early in the game so both players maneuvered to avoid or put the totem to use in close combat. The later was finally achieved and the Totem obliterated a War Bearer from the opponents Warband. We used a bear as a figure for the Totem as you see in the pictures.
Trying to Avoid that Totem Creature.
We are playtesting several scenarios which are used in the Campaign game. In this kind of game you can play tabletop games using the setup rules in the Beta Playtest rulebook if the players both agree. However, there is also eight different scenarios that are written to provide alternate set ups depending on the terrain that the players utilize and what strategy they employ. You also need to choose a type of move in the Campaign Turn. You either choose Forage or Rest. If you Forage you are out looking for the enemy and you can challenge other players to a tabletop game. If you are using a Rest order then you are considered to be working on the fields, recuperating or otherwise not being aggressive. In this case you cannot challenge another player to a tabletop game but you can be challenged.
Led by the Totem the Great Warriors Group takes the day.
I did not like the way that the Campaign rules were shaping up using the point system as outlined in the Beta Playtest Rules. I felt that the point system did not accurately portray the system that was supposedly used in the period. During the Pre-contact period the Great Warrior would decide on a course of action, an attack or a raid, or simply a hunting expedition. He would then take his idea before the council to get permission to represent the tribe in his endeavor. If accepted he would then approach his mates in the Tribe and try to convince them to join him on his expedition. Although the promise of furs or other such riches may have been part of his argument, the success of the warrior and his status would also determine who would follow him. In this way a war party would be joined and the mission or expedition would then take place. At times neighboring tribes would also be contacted and the Great Warrior would make his plea to even more warriors. Therefore, a point system that allows you to simply "buy" warriors for your Warband does not necessarily reflect this type of recruitment. We have been working on coming up with an alternate system that better simulates this style of recruitment. In our new idea a Great Warrior needs to seek permission from the council for his type of Campaign move then after they receive permission or not they go to the tribe and randomly generate a Warband to join them. They also have some warriors like Striplings and a Companion that they have more control over and can bring at will. This provides the player with some choice to his Warband but also limits him based on how well he is doing in the campaign. We will fill you in on more details about this system as we continue playtesting.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Campaign Playtests

We were at Council Fires in Brantford Ontario on October 21st and we ran a complete set of teaching games. We were also at Fall In in Lancaster Pennsylvania on November 3rd and 4th and we ran a demonstration game with 14 players on the Saturday night. Thanks to all who played!
We threw the players into a series of one on one games in order to help them learn the rules and although Howard Whitehouse and myself had to run around the games teaching rules, it was a great experience. We were very busy but we feel this helps the players learn the rules and keeps the games moving. It was also the first time we played with the Shining Wood in our playtesting games. The Shining Wood had quite an effect on the Warbands when they were fired.
As we move into campaign game playtesting there has been a lot of questions about dropped weapons or thrown weapons. The rules let you throw axes, spears, tomahawks and even knives. So the question is whether these items can be picked up again and how? After some discussion with Howard it was decided that if you throw a weapon then you lose it for the rest of the tabletop game. If you win the game then you can pick up all weapons at the end of game for use in the next game. The reason for this is twofold. It keeps the game simple, no keeping track of thrown or dropped weapons. If you want to do this please feel free to add it to your at home games. Also, this makes the extra equipment slots for the warriors more significant. It now allows those that have extra spots, and get more in the campaign game as their figures get better, to carry an extra axe or tomahawk to throw at their opponents and thus give them the advantage of those extra equipment slots.
Campaign testing is starting with a rewrite of the Victory Points table. This table was appended to the beta playtest rules and seems to be out of wack. We have cut down the number of columns on this table and changed the points value to better reflect the nature of the game.
Our second concern is running through the campaign system and playtesting all the different scenarios that are available. We are editing these as we go thru the campaign rules.
Our campaign system has a unique challenge system to determine who fights who each turn of the campaign. You can give your Warband a Forage Order or a Rest Order. A Forage order is designed to allow you to challenge an opponent to a tabletop battle. A Rest Order allows you to take a Campaign turn to rest and rebuild your forces while gaining minimal points towards improving your Warband. By result the rewards for a tabletop battle resulting from a Forage order should be more than that received from a Rest Order. We are also toying around with the idea of a Rest order resulting in having less troops available for a tabletop game if you are "attacked" by a player with a Forage Order.
We have also come up with a random card pull for improving your Warband and a Medicine Card Deck that we are using for the Campaign. We are working on seeing how these progress as we move thru the Campaign playtest.We will keep you updated as we play.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

MIA Playtests

First off we apologize for not posting on our blog for some time. We have been busy with holidays, shipping Kickstarter stuff and attending shows.
However, at our two previous shows we have run four games of Flint and Feather and taught rules to seventeen players. This is a slow process getting the rules out there and teaching them to gamer's everywhere.
At Historicon in July we had eleven players around two games. The first game was run by Howard Whitehouse and had five players competing over an assault on a village complete with a long house and surrounding log wall. The attackers consisted of three groups of five warriors in one warband while the defenders had ten warriors. I am told the assualt of the village failed but both sides suffered tremendous casualties.
The Iroquois advanced through a throng of trees to the north of the village. They were met with stern bow fire from the walls as they approached.
The first group of attackers went against the wall and were repulsed by the defenders with heavy casualties. This assault was followed up by the second and third groups led by their players and these groups were also repulsed. Thanks to all the player that helped playtest this game.
Cigar Box Mats were used in both these games and they helped make our games look impressive for the audience that surrounded them at Historicon. This scenario also gave us a chance to try out the defensive position rules. These rules certainly stiffen the defensive players in close combat.

We really enjoyed our time at Historicon and our support there grows every year. We will continue to support the HMGS and this venue and we appreciate the support of our fans at the show. Every year we plan new releases to coincide with this show and our supporters have helped make the trip down to Fredericksburg an outstanding experience for us.
The venue there is outstanding, modern and clean. The weather can be very warm at that time of the year but being inside does well to negate any discomfort this may bring. We also take route 17 when we drive in and never have had any trouble with traffic because we stay away from I-81. We believe as a company that getting out and meeting the gamers is an important part of our summer campaign. Also, providing new and innovative products for the show ensures continued relevance and gives you, the gamers, something to make your trip worthwhile. We will continue to strive for these goals as we grow our company. Thanks to all for your continued support!

In the second game we ran at Historicon six players squared off in a three versus three player game. Each player controlled a small six warrior warband. All the warbands were created fairly equal. However, a player showed up with his own warband and figures. Tim had some Patawomeck figures and they took part in the game taking a position on either side of the table. This warband added an interesting wrinkle to the game as Tim choose to arm most of his warriors with bows, which meant they were all using knives in close combat which gave them a -1d6 modifier when in melee. The trade off of missile fire weapons versus a slightly less powerful close combat result was effective in the game. The warband was able to cause some damage with bows before charging and winning a close combat. However, his group was pulled well out of range of the enemy and had very little effect on the rest of the game. We are going to have to playtest this strategy more to make confirm its effect on the game. Tim also made use of the move cautiously rules which we usually do not teach in demo games but made sense with his bow first strategy. Stay tuned for more thoughts on these points.
Off to the right flank we had a Great Warrior versus Great Warrior combat as the two leaders of their groups charged into each other in the middle of a frozen river. This combat was fierce and fun for the participants as the two leaders squared off. Meanwhile on the left flank more cautious movement resulted in a late game exchange of combats. Furs markers played an important role in the game and both sides captured a warrior from the other and after two hours of playing it was determined that things on the table were relatively even. As it was getting late the referees decided, with the acquiescence of the players, that the fight was relatively even at this point and both sides could go home and claim a victory to their tribe.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Oshweken Playtest

Tom's Archers huddle behind the rocks for cover.
Oshweken is a village on the Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation Indian reserve near Brantford, Ontario, Canada.We were in Brantford for a local show at the Legion Hall and ran a day long campaign game of Flint and Feather. My goal was to work through a couple or few games using the campaign rules in between tabletop games to see how they ran and tweak any issues. We were successful in that we did get a chance to get a good assessment of the campaign rules.
We had two players lined up, Tom and Wayne, who sat down to bash on each other. Neither had played the game before so it would be a good test of the rules. This was also the first convention playtest that we used Shaman rules and Orenda. We also used the Warband Record Sheets for each player. Four Sheets of six man Warbands had been prepared the night before. Each Warband was created equally using a Great Warrior, Companion, Veteran Warrior, Warbearer, Stripling and Shaman. Therefore all Warbands were valued at 135 Furs each, as per the chart on page 2 of the Basic Rulebook. All abilities and skills were used from the Basic Rulebook except for two instances. First, we have made up about ten Shaman skills which were rolled randomly for the Shamans (what the heck we have to playtest them all anyway). Second, I made up a new skill called Arm of Oak which allows a Key Character to use a Huge Club, and the Huge Club gives a character an extra +1d6 for Counterblow when using the Huge Club. I have found this ability a little redundant (similar to Fox' Guile) so we may have to change the benefit slightly, like make it for Parry instead of Counterblow, and allow you to do an attack die out of Parry.
Wayne's Warband approaches after splitting to retrieve furs.
So the first game we played we used a basic set up and a grab the Furs Markers goal. The game progressed well with Wayne attempting to gobble up as many furs markers as he could, he got four by the game end. Meanwhile Tom played a more conservative game and based his defense around a rock outcropping which allowed him to hide and shoot arrows and then attack with some melee armed warriors from behind the rock. His tactic was successful as he was able to shoot down a stripling before the close combat was joined. In the ensuing close combat Wayne's Companion was injured and knocked down while both Great Warriors were injured. A Warbearer was also beat up. Wayne's group failed their Nerve Test and ran away leaving their Companion to be captured and tortured by the victorious Warband. With the death of the Stripling and the capture of a Companion as well as three Furs Markers captured the game was given as a victory to Tom who collected 100 Points and totaled out at 180 as per the Victory Table on Page 30 of the basic rules. Wayne meanwhile did not go home empty handed, gaining four Furs Markers, he achieved 50 points for being partially successful in the game, and he topped out at 69 Furs after considering all his loses and damage he created.
The Shaman (in wolf form) leads the charge.
In the between games section the Companion was rolled for and not accepted into the tribe but rather tortured to death. Wayne rolled for his Great Warrior with no effect on the brave. The warbearer also recovered from his wounds. Tom on the other hand lost the use of an arm on his Great Warrior and promptly retired the figure. He then promoted his Companion to Great Warrior and bought two new abilities for the new leader. He also purchased three Warbearers and a Stripling to further outfit his Warband.
We found the chart for the injuries to Warriors to be rather one sided. In terms of injuries sustained your figure either died, he retired, due to a severe wound, or there was no effect on him. Secondly, the points seem to come fast and furious and allowed a victor to really stock up on new recruits, abilities and equipment. Possibly 100 points is far too many for a winning side as this would allow you to buy up to three or four new models quite easily. Also, this could be the intent as warriors tend not to get old and skilled rather they are just replaced with fresh blood after a tabletop battle. More testing will have to go into the campaign rules to find the right balance.
In the second tabletop game we rolled up a scenario from our scenario pack and got the mission of "Trip to Kebec" right off the bat. This scenario is important because if you are the player traveling to Kebec you can buy the Shining Wood, a great boon to any warband. We will continue part two of this blog with a discussion about the Trip to Kebec Scenario next week.