Forging of a Killer

“The most proficient human warriors available to the Astra Militarum, Tempestus Scions complete missions so dangerous that they would be deemed suicidal for a regular Guardsman. Scions are fanatically dedicated to the act of following their orders – even if it may result in their own deaths. A full unit of Scions can change the tide of war with a single strike: they form the blade of the Militarum Tempestus, grav-chuting behind lines from the ramps of Valkyries, or bursting through waves of infantry in their Taurox Primes, plunging into the heart of the enemy. The sight of such a regiment deploying in battle is enough to inspire even the most lacklustre Imperial defences to rally to victory.”

 


 

Greetings PI Fans, and welcome back to another Hobby Wednesday. Fresh from completing his Taurox Prime, Vernon shows off his Militarum Tempestus Command Squad. Take it away Vernon!

 

Mounting
I began by identifying how I would assemble them my Scions and which parts I would need. I then snipped them out from the sprues and cleared the mold lines with an hobby knife and needle files. Having prepped the parts, I mounted them on a handle by pinning them with a paperclip and thin super glue.

 

Primed

For priming, I opted for Vallejo Black Surface Primer, using several thin coats. The Scions are loaded with individual details, and I wanted  to avoid covering up a lot of fine detail.

 

Undercoated with Intermediate Blue

Once the primer dried completely, I undercoated the model with Vallejo’s Intermediate Blue (VLJ 71005). Intermediate Blue is my go-to blue base it  works well with almost any blue, lending the figure a nice base to work up from.

 

Cadian Fleshtone

As the armor was drying, I started working on the faces. For the visible flesh, I used a coat of Cadian Fleshtone to create a flat skin tone for the Scions.

 

Burnt Umber

After that was done, I shadowed the faces with Vallejos Burnt Umber (VLJ 71040)  sprayed from a downwards angle and gave each head a thin overcoat of Vallejo Light Brown (VLJ 71027). High points such as Cheeks and Nose were then given a small highlight of Kislev Flesh.

 

Beret

To protect the existing painted face, I mask the faces with Low-Tack Putty and sprayed the berets with with Vallejo RLM Red (VLJ 71102) for it Purplish Red Colour.

 

Armor

Back to the armor, I edged with the Highlight Blue with a bit of white.

 

Trim of Armour

After this, I based the armor trims with Gehenna Gold mixed with Dryad Bark to get a flat base. These were then painted in with pure Gehenna Gold on the high panels creating a form of highlighting.

Weapons

I decided to keep things simple with the Hot Shot Lasgun to avoid drawing attention away from the rest of the model. Each Hot Shot Lasgun was done with a simple layer  of Abaddon Black and Leadbelcher.

 

Scions

The final stage involved putting everything together.

Command Squad

Overall, I was very impressed with the range of options available to the Militarum Tempestus Command Squad. There are plenty of options for conversions and personal customization and with the sheer number of extra parts available, no bitz will go unused.

Riding In Style


Militarum Tempestus Scions

AVAILABLE AT PARADIGM INFINITUM

 

Da Soapbox: Judged By Their Cover

“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.”
- Aristotle

 

While I was writing my review of Cheaty Mages, I started thinking – in an environment where first impressions matter, it’s actually kind of depressing how many excellent games fall below the radar thanks to mediocre cover art. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that very often, this has nothing to do with the game itself – sometimes, the art is just empty, or it just fails to convey the game. It’s a shame because often these games are actually good, just stunted by artistically unappealing or flat packaging. This isn’t a company specific problem per se since questionable artwork decision can be found nearly everywhere.

Having just written a review of one of these games, it just seemed oddly appropriate to go back and take a look at a number of titles suffering from similar problems.

 


  

Bootleggers

Bootleggers:

This is not the first time I’m writing about Bootleggers, something which saddens me. Despite it being a game I like personally, it’s hard not to agree with the fact that “Three Guys Unloading Crates” fails spectacularly to convey what Bootleggers is really about;

Mafiosi wheeling and dealing in illegal alcohol.

In a nutshell, Bootleggers is a game about economic management. Players are Mafioso in charge of the “Family” still supplying alcohol to illegal bars. To succeed, they will have to balance their resources and invest in additional stills for production, a vehicle fleet to deliver their moonshine and controlling stakes in the bars themselves.

It’s a very involved game, and one that, I’m sad to say, is poorly sold by its box art.

 


SpyriumSpyrium:

The funny thing about Spyrium is that more than one other staffer fought me on its inclusion here. I’ll concede that Spyrium’s cover is not actually a bad piece of cover art. My issue with Spyrium is in the choice of imagery.

I’ve seen more than one person write off the game as yet another generic war game just by looking at the Steely-eyed gent and the looming Union Jack on the cover. It’s not.

Spyrium is a beautiful a steam-punk themed worker placement game with a unique “who breaks first” mechanic. In Spyrium, players manage teams of workers and companies tasked with processing the fantasy element, sending workers out to work at the various locations across the board. Unlike other worker placement games, players need to benefit from timing when they pull out their workers. Too early and they’ll lose a lot of potential resources, but too late and they’ll end up stuck without assets.

 


  

Blood Bound

Blood Bound:

Drawing some rather obvious parallels to the White Wolf’s World of Darkness setting, Blood Bound is deduction game with an unfortunately miss-able cover that someone once called ”Bad Cosplay”.

Regardless, a fracas has broken out between the Toreador and Gangrel *COUGH COUGH* I mean Rose and Beast vampire clans. Players are members of one of the two Clans, tasked with finding and eliminating the rival clan leader.

Blood Bound puts a spin on the typical game play one associates with hidden role “sabo” style games. Unlike games like Bang! and Werewolf where one party knows the identity of the others, in Blood Bound, both teams are in the dark, and must struggle to identify the opposing team leader and eliminate them before their rival does the same.

It’s a great party game, sadly draped in a Goth-punk skin that might turn off players.


  

Lemonade Stand

Lemonade Stand:

Like Spyrium, the inclusion of Lemonade Stand was contested – in this case by me. The problem however with Lemonade Stand, is that the bright yellow box disappears under scrutiny. I don’t know what it is about the cute retro artwork that causes this, but time and time again, the game just gets ignored.

Maybe it’s just contextual, since I’ve found that many people don’t recognize the idea behind running a Lemonade Stand. I can’t say for sure. Regardless of the reason, this does little for the game’s ability to grab attention.

Which is a pity since I like Lemonade Stand… It’s a pocket sized economic game, a uniquely rare occurrence. Players are tasked with running their own Lemonade Stand, and spending their funds to purchase a combination of stock and advertising to cater to customers. Between balancing advertising, price and demand, Lemonade Stand with surprising depth lacking in games many times its size.


  

Management Material

Management Material:

I’ve always been of the opinion that Management Material needs a better cover. Sure, the internal artwork is hilariously reminiscent of shades of Dilbert, but as box art goes, Management Material is a bit of a mess. Or maybe it’s intentionally evocative of a poor corporate logo. I can’t tell. That’s a level of meta humor too deep for me.

Either way, Management Material is funny. Each turn, players draw handfuls of excuses ranging from pitifully weak excuses like needing to go to the bathroom to “calling in dead”. They then use this to stave off nasty work assignments, shoving them onto their peers with projects going around the table until someone finally knuckles down and has to do it.

 


  

I’ve personally enjoyed each of these games greatly despite their flawed packaging and believe each of these titles deserves a second look.

Who knows, maybe you’ll find your own gems among them.

Everything Old Is New Again…

Welcome back PI Fans,

As you know, we took some time on the 15th of April to make some changes to the layout of our flagship Midpoint outlet.

We just though we’d share some shots of our handiwork.

 

The Front

Miniatures, Novels and RPGs

Board Games

Paradigm Reviews: Cheaty Mages

“It’s still magic even if you know how it’s done.”
― Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

Cheaty Mages Box

Affectionately known as ‘Chesty Mages’ among the staff due to an unfortunate  unfortunate Freudian slip, Seiji Kanai’s Cheaty Mages is a well thought out “betting” card game, hampered by a rather *BLAH*  box. While the package art is not objectively bad (if not much to look at), in its original form, even though the game has a lot going for it, its hurt by some rather questionable art decisions.

Despite its art, Cheaty Mages comes from a good pedigree with Seiji’s previous titles including the smash hit Love Letter. In Cheaty Mages,  the players unethical Mages out to make their fortune using their magical talent to rig the results of arena fights in order to collect payouts. Basically, the Mages are Cheaty, exactly what it says on the tin.

Each game of Cheaty Mages takes place over three identical rounds.

 

Skeleton 

Each round, the fighter deck is shuffled and five fighters are dealt into the arena. Ranging from the lowly Goblin which looks like a Santa’s Elf reject to the mighty Dragon, creatures have two stats in inverse quantities: Power (which indicates how strong the creature is) and Prize (which show the winnings if said fighter managed to win the round). While weak creatures generally pay well if they should somehow win, they usually need a lot of help – this is where the mages come in.

After the fighters are assembled, a referee card is dealt into the arena. Arena referees themselves range from the permissive to the strict, but all possess a maximum mana limit (affecting the number of spells that can be cast) and many a list of restricted spells which they keep an eye out for. Each referee also has a stated punishment for fighters found to violate their lax or stringent standards which can range from dispelling all spells cast to ejecting violators from the arena entirely.

Judges

After the fighters and the rules of the arena are settled, the players will have their opportunity to secretly back a fighter with the hope that fighter is going to come out on top at the end of the round. Players have the opportunity to back multiple fighters, but the more bets placed, the further diminished their final payout is going to be at the end of the round. This forces players to choose between cautious backing of two or three fighters, or go all in by backing a single champion. Once players have decided which fighter(s) they are backing, then combat begins.

HealingHealing

During this phase, players can play spell cards from their hand targeting fighters in the arena. Most spells possess a mana cost indicated in the top right hand corner of the card which affects a referee’s overall judgement. Depending on the type of spell cast (Direct or Enchantment), spells are attached face up or face down to creatures in play, adding an additional layer of uncertainty as one can never truly gauge the total mana value of spells attached to a creature, resulting in a lot of guesswork as players gauge whether their subsequent spells will take a fighter over the judge’s limits.

After all players have declined to play any more cards, the round ends, with the Referees checking to ensure that no rules have been violated and the remaining creature with the highest modified power score wins the round and any secret backers collecting their prize.

Though easy to learn, as a colleague nicely put it, “This Game Is Hard…

In each game of Cheaty Mages, there are many things working together at once, from hidden information in like mana levels to reading players intent to discern which creatures they’ve backed. Together, they mesh together seamlessly, creating a tense atmosphere and keeping players engaged. Players have to weigh their options to avoid overloading a fighter and having all their magic goes to waste while ensuring that their backer still wins the round. Strategies can vary from overcharging individual fighters to ensure their winning, to overloading other players fighters to ensure their expulsion. With the fighters and judges changing each round, there’s a lot of replayability which shapes much of the tension in each round.

If there is an unfortunate downside to Cheaty Mages, it comes in the art direction. Maybe it’s a matter of taste, but I’m not a fan of the original Kanai Factory artwork which comes across as rather drab and causes the game to get lost in a sea of better looking titles. As I said earlier, this is a bit of an issue when the game which causes it to get overlooked, an absolute shame considering the tight gameplay and absolutely delicious “take that” mechanics.

In closing, I’ll have to reiterate the point I started with. “Seiji Kanai’s Cheaty Mages is a well thought out “betting” card game, hampered by a rather *BLAH*  box.” Nevertheless, if you’re keeping an eye out for a well thought out fast game with some very nasty take that mechanics, I suggest you pick up a copy. I believe you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

 

Reviewer’s Verdict

  • Cheaty Mages provides a a lot of depth in its decisions despite its easy to learn rules.
  • Fast and punchy gameplay that wraps up in half an hour or less.
  • Random setups ensure significant replayability.

Consider This If You Like: Citadels, Saboteur, Mascarade

 


  

GET YOUR COPY AT PARADIGM INFINITUM TODAY!

 

Store Reorganization at PI: Midpoint on 15/04/14

Dear PI Fans,

Paradigm Infinitum will be reorganizing the layout of our Midpoint outlet on the 15th of April 2014 to bring you a better retail experience. As such we apologize for any temporary chaos that ensues.

To minimize any inconvenience to you, our heroic staffers have pledged to remain at their posts to ensure business as usual at out Midpoint outlet. As such, we will continue to remain open for business during  normal operating hours on the 15th.

Please pardon the mess while we chase away the gremlins.

 

The Master

Okay… Fine… Maybe a slight exaggeration.

City-Building Without The Hassle

“When one has finished building one’s house, one suddenly realizes that in the process one has learned something that one really needed to know in the worst way – before one began.”
- Friedrich Nietzsche

 

The Builders

 

I like board games. I like bling. Unsurprisingly, board games in shiny tins are a particular weakness of mine – Asmodee’s The Builders, Middle Ages is no exception. However, to my pleasant surprise, what started as an impulse buy however, surprisingly provided a deep experience.

The Builders is a fast, rules-light city building game, an odd combination, but one that surprisingly works. In The Builders, players are builders competing to gain the points for constructing monuments in a city, thereby proving that they are the greatest builder. All The Builders’ components – cards, rulebook and very pretty plastic coins fit inside the metal tin, keeping the game easily transportable, another bonus for this fast 30 minute game.

The goal of each player is to score points by completing buildings. Each building needs a certain set of resources (Stone, Wood, Tiles and Know-How) to build, with values in the four resource categories ranging from zero to five. Each worker card has an output level ranging from zero to three in each of the resources. When workers whose combined resource output are assigned to a building, the building will be completed, earning a player income and points.

 

Cards

Each turn, a player can perform three or more actions (spending away their gold to perform addition actions). These actions can be spent taking buildings from the display and starting construction, taking additional worker cards, moving workers to buildings under construction or spending actions for gold with players often being penalized for taking multiple repeat actions.

Overall, this creates a fast simple game with rather elegant mechanics. The depth of The Builders comes from knowing how to utilize available resources properly. Some buildings score badly but can function as cheap workers. High performance workers cost a bomb to deploy. Running multiple gold actions earns you resources rapidly but leaves you behind in the race. For a game built around two small decks of cards and plastic coins, The Builders really feels strongly like an Euro-economic management game, distilled down to its base elements.

If you’re looking for a fast but deep strategy game that goes beyond the usual party games that define the market, yet don’t want to expend the time that a full economic board game entails, The Builders is the perfect game for you. Simple and elegant, yet with all the head scratching resource and action optimization gameplay one might expect from a larger title, The Builders delivers a game that while easy to learn and fast to play, punches far above its humble size.

 

 

Reviewer’s Verdict

  • The Builders provides a portable alternative to big-box city building board games.
  • Attractive artwork, components and storage tin.
  • Easy to learn rules with plenty of hidden depth.

Consider This If You Like: Citadels, Puerto Rico


  

GET YOUR COPY AT PARADIGM INFINITUM TODAY!

Colours of War

“I cry out for troops and you give me rhetoric – I plead for ammunition and you give me speeches – I ask you again, Commander, what can you pledge me?”
“A heroic death, Captain.”

— Holocom conversation between Commander Tarrel and Captain Roima of the besieged Alharmo Garrison

 

Infantry and Armor

She saw the plumes of bilious smoke rise, and then the wind reach her; it reeked of the charnel smell of death, intermixed with the foul acrid scent of engine fumes.

I wish it would rain. I wish it would rain and wash away all the blood and the stench, and then the world would be clean, and we could start again, forget this horror.

Though greasy clouds thundered their agreement, fat droplets sweeping down across the field, swelling the fields and churning the ground into mud, the trill whistle came out clear as a clarion call, the next company maneuvering into position to enter the meat-grinder. Nothing had changed. They were still next.

 


Paradigm Infinitum is proud to support the launch of Codex: Astra Militarum with our “Colours of War” Promotion:

Customers who purchase one Games Workshop Astra Militarum Vehicle Kit and one Infantry Squad from 12th to 26th April will receive 2 Pots of Citadel Dry* at no additional cost.

Other Imperials, Xenos and Heretics need not feel left out. Whether it be Havocs and Rhinos or Hammerheads and Fire Warriors, we’re extending this offer to you too. **

So whether you’re building up to fight alongside the Militarum or crush it in the field, come get your two pots of paint at Paradigm Infinitum today!

 

 

* Hexos Palesun, Kindleflame, Lucius Lilac, Praxeti White, Etherium Blue, Skink Blue, Hellion Green, Underhive Ash, Terminatus Stone, Eldar Flesh, Tyrant Skull, Longbeard Grey, Necron Compound, Golden Griffon, Changeling Pink

** And yes… Tyrannid players… We’ll count your monstrous creatures as vehicles too.


 

CODEX ASTRA MILITARUM

AVAILABLE AT PARADIGM INFINITUM

 

12/04/14

Tokidoki Marvel Frenzies Returns…

“Well, wobble my webs and call me shaky! It’s Goldilocks — the hippest hammer in the west!”

- Peter Parker, The Incredible Spider-Man

 

Marvel Tokidoki

THEY’RE BAAAAAAAAACCCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKK!!!!!

Now at a special Members Only Introductory Price of $8.90! (U.P. $12.90)

Collect all your favorite Marvel comic book characters, from Spider-Man to Doctor Doom, Wolverine and the Mighty Thor, redone as incredibly cute Tokidoki Frenzie collectibles!

And, because we love Superheroes as much as you, for the entire month of April, Paradigm Infinitum pledges to take your doubles!

Buy two or more Tokidoki Marvel Frenzie Blind Boxes at our store and we’ll trade one double figure with an additional blind box at no extra cost.

Toki Figures


  

GRAB YOUR SET AT PARADIGM INFINITUM TODAY!

Fresh From The Forges of Mars

“The Taurox Prime is a robust infantry assault vehicle, and can bear any of an array of heavy weapons to support the Scions on the battlefield. Thick armoured plates, quad track units and a supercharged engine allow the Taurox to go anywhere, hurtling across ruined cities and rubble-strewn wastelands with equal speed. It is an ideal shock weapon for the Militarum Tempestus, allowing them to smash their way into enemy strongholds and through fortifications to launch lightning strikes.”

 


 

Hobby articles and tutorials are always shaped by the hobbyist – they always just show one artist’s favored method of achieving a particular result, never the be-all and end all of the hobby. Nevertheless, by providing some insights into my approach for assembling miniatures, I hope you find some useful takeaways.

The first thing I did was to look through the manual and once I was done ogling at the amount of details the was on the kit, I started working on the Tracks upwards. Assembly of the model was pretty straight forward, the numbering of the parts as well as the well formatted manual did assist in the process.
Taurox Tracks

 

As I was planning to paint the interior as well as show case it. I’d decided to go for the Missile Launcher load-out which make the removable of the roof easier. With that in mind I’d built up the model into sub-sections.

Taurox Tracks

Taurox Chassis

 

Now on to the painting, with inspiration of the armour came from the model on the box. The light Teal was an unique colour not often seen on Astra Militarum Model. I’d primed the entire model with a light grey Primer. Once that was done and left to cure, I started on the interior, using Sand Yellow from Vallejo Model Air (VMA) Range, ensuring that I had a smooth coverage over the interior. To allow me to ensure only the interior was painted, I temporary attached the sides with sticky tack while spraying at an angle that would not hit the exterior of the model. This allowed me to later remove the sides to work on the details without having to worry about accidentally hitting a part of the insides with my brush.

Taurox Chassis

On this model, I wanted to try a bit of sponge weathering. So with a pair of tweezers and a ripped up piece of sponge, I dabbed Abbadon Black and Dryad Bark, Citadels Colour (GWP) over various areas of the interior, mostly the floor panel and the corners of the panels where most wear would usually occur. To finish up the weathering, I’d touched up some of the large splotches with metal paint to simulate chipping of the interior paint.

Taurox Interior
Detailing of the dashboard and panels were pretty much base-coating the area with Eshin Grey (GWP) mixed with a bit of black to darken it and then edging it with back with Eshin Grey for highlights.
Taurox Interior

The Driver was painted with a Grey coverall, While the Gunner was a perfect sample for me to try to achieve the Teal I wanted for the exterior. So I’d played around with different tones and shades, finally I chose to use UK PRU Blue (VMA) over a base of Thunderhawk Blue (GWP). And for the complementary colour I went for a Purplish Red which came from a bit of Screamer Pink over some Khorne Red (GWP).

Taurox Crew

The exterior had just as much detail as the insides. So I went to base-coating the armour as quickly as possible. One thing I had to keep in mind were the view-ports on all sides of the model, and to prevent over-spray from getting inside and ruining my efforts, I used Silly Putty to plug the holes as it was a low tack putty which did not peel of any of the paint in the interior.

Taurox Chassis

After I was done with the Blue, I realized I had forgotten to do a marking strip on the rear half. So I had to spray the rear end with the Purple/Red coat and went masked it with a masking tape on either side trying the match the angles up nicely. Then redo the blue to make it consistent again. The rest of the vehicle was just picking out the details with Brass and Silver (VMA) for the Metals and going to town once again with the sponge to make it look a bit used. The only unique thing is for the missile cones, I went over with sliver for the base but used translucent red nail polish to create the candy finish.
Taurox Final Front
Taurox Final Rear

All in all the model was a blast to work with and had lots of opportunity to be customized in many ways.

Taurox Interior
Taurox Interior Rear


Taurox Prime

AVAILABLE AT PARADIGM INFINITUM

 

Fire in the Sky

“The fireworks begin today. Each diploma is a lighted match. Each one of you is a fuse.”
- Ed Koch

Hanabi

For such a simple and elegant game, Antoine Bauza’s Hanabi is a difficult beast to wrap my head around. A fast, pocket sized cooperative game for 2 to 5 players, Hanabi brings a unique spin to asymmetrical information games with a counter-intuitive mechanic – players have no idea what cards they hold in their hand. It’s an odd mechanic initially, but when I finally wrapped my head around it, Hanabi is a really hard game to put down.

The goal of Hanabi is relatively simple: the players need to arrange five sets of different colored cards in order from one to five. It’s not hard. The actual challenge comes from the players being unable to look at the card they have in their hand. Each Hanabi card comprises a permutation of colors (Red, Blue, Yellow, Green and White) and numbers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). At the start of each game, each player is dealt 4 to 5 cards (based on the number of players), holding them with the backs towards the player such that they can’t read their own cards with the faces visible to the other players. Eight tokens are then set up on the table and the game begins.

On a player’s turn, a player may give another player a clue what their cards are, trash a card  from their hand or play a card to the table.

If a player chooses to give another player a clue, they first spend a clue token from the table (of which the players start with 8). Doing so allows players to give another player information about the cards in their hand – choosing to inform the player about about a number (Eg. “These cards are twos”) or a color (Eg. “These three cards are yellow”). Players must always provide a full set of information about all cards possessing a particular quality.

If a player chooses to discard a card, they pitch a card from their hand faceup in the discard pile and draw another card. After doing this, they may return an expended clue token back into play. While this is often necessary to keep the game going, this can cause a table-wide wince when a crucial card gets trashed at an inopportune occasion.

The final option is to play a card to the table as part of a fireworks display and draws their hand back to their original size.  If the card is of the right color and is one higher than the previous card of the color, it stays on the table.  If not, the players are penalized – if they play three incorrect cards they lose the game immediately, making wild guesses extremely dangerous for everyone involved.

Cards In Play

Overall, Hanabi is simultaneously fun, simple and frustrating. With information constantly changing hands, information overload is an unavoidable outcome –  part and parcel of the game involves working out how much information a player can handle at any point without overloading. On that front, Hanabi is unforgiving with slim margins for error.

Nevertheless, after spending time with Hanabi, it become obvious why the game is a Spiel des Jahres winner. The anguish of watching a blur player stubbornly hold onto a game-winning card or the relief watching each piece slot into place after a terible moment of second guessing is what defines a game of Hanabi. While it sounds like I’ve been rather harsh on Hanabi, the half a dozen game I’ve played of it so far have been nail-bitingly pleasurable. Fast to learn, easy to play and yet challenging, Hanabi is a truely engaging game that needs to be experienced for yourself.

 


  

GET YOUR COPY AT PI MIDPOINT TODAY