Sunday, 30 June 2013

Painting for Lazy Cheats Part II: King Ra and his Jaffa

Last week I introduced you to the basic principles and concepts surrounding the creation of my Tomb Kings army, and showed you how I cheated my way to finishing the 75 skeletons required for my 2400 point list.

Of course the foot soldiers of the Tomb Kings are only so much inanimate bone without a Hierophant to maintain the spells holding them together, and what use are these skeletal minions without a King to lead them in to war? With that question in mind, and without further ado, allow me to introduce you to King Ra:

We will fight them on the beaches!- Flames of War

The Second World War has been done to death in modern media, from video games such as the the excellent Company Of Heroes series that has recently got its second installment, TV series like the equally good Band of Brothers and of course the plentiful supply of movies like Saving Private Ryan. Its easy to say that World War 2 still has a significant place in modern culture. Flames of War draws on this wealth of material to create a game that is enormously simple to play but rewards tactical thinking over all else.

Friday, 28 June 2013


In the time I've known (well, conversed with over the interwebz) Aidan, one thing he's always championed has been Malifaux.  There had been conjecture he had just made it all up (along with his meteoric rise up the UK rankings chasing the crown of the elusive Adam Magicpockets) but lo and behold, it's a real game.

So, with my ongoing descent in to the murky waters of 'the hobby', and the prospect of more very nice looking minis to paint, I investigated further.  The nearest hobby shop to me is Worlds at War in Livingston, and after chatting to the owner on a few occasions he told me they ran a variety of demo days for games, Malifaux among them.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Britannia Rules The Waves! An Introduction to Dystopian Wars

Naval combat wargames that are not historicals or space games are tricky to find; this is perhaps because the nature of naval warfare is not immediately interesting in game terms. Ships are slow, hard to manoeuvre and armed with more weapons than most games can simulate, most of which shoot things from ranges far beyond what tabletops allow. Games Workshop's Battlefleet Gothic, a broadsides-and-cannons game at its heart with a space flavour added, used a kind of non-scale; ship models were huge but simply a flavourful abstraction with only the base of the model actually representing its position. This was a theoretically good compromise but one which made moving models around terrain difficult at times.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Zombicide: The Review

In most “dungeon crawl” type games, in which the players move around and discover a map filled with enemies while seeking objectives, the balancing of progression – of the simplified “levelling up” mechanic derived from role-playing games – is in an awkward position. A fully-fledged roleplaying game has a much longer progression track and a much wider design space for gaining abilities; there is a much larger portfolio of things to improve (base statistics, the character's library of abilities, the efficiency of existing abilities, non-combat skills and feats etc) while a board game generally reduces the entire design to a series of, or indeed single, combat encounter. This smaller design space means that each level has a smaller number of possibilities – and thus the rate of progression is a lot faster. Similarly, a board game is designed to be played to completion in a single session – the levelling mechanics in a role-playing game are for a campaign lasting several sessions. Thus a player may well gain several levels in one game.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Tale of the Unpainter


Hooting into the Abyss is a tabletop gaming blog, but there’s more wargamers and people painting miniatures here than anyone else. I was offered a place here to talk about tabletop games and the last time I painted a miniature I was in my late teens. It was a Warhammer Quest elf, one of the only Games Workshop miniatures I still have, although I’m not sure where it is any more.

As a child, I was given a copy of HeroQuest, which my brother, father and I used to play constantly. It was my first board game, my first look at a primitive version of the Warhammer universe, and the way we played, my first roleplaying game. My brother was too young to see through my father’s lies when he was told that Joyce was a good barbarian name. Then there was Stumpi Shortarse the dwarf, and Gary the National Elf (from the National Elf service). Even in these early years, I discovered there were expansions for the board game and hunted them out eagerly, a warning sign for my stuffed board game shelves two decades later.

A Tale of VIII Painters - Ray Part 3: Dire Avengers, Assemble

Initially I hadn't planned to include any Dire Avengers, or indeed Aspect Warriors of any sort, in my Eldar army. I like the concept behind them (Eldar picking a job they like, like shooting missile launchers or being a ninja, and getting really good at it) but some of the models are a mite ropey and on the whole they didn't fit my bike-focused plan.

Monday, 24 June 2013

A Tale of VIII Painters - Simian - Part Three


When I last put up a piece on the pathfinders, I was debating camouflage. Despite the advice to just leave them as is I didn't start this challenge to take the easy route, I wanted to stretch myself and my abilities and learn more about painting techniques. Therefore I went for it with the camouflage.

Firstly I brought the cloaks down a bit by using a fairly heavy agrax earthshade wash all over them. Letting it pool in the recesses.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Painting for Lazy Cheats Part I: Birth of a Tomb King’s Legion

I’m partial to many an aspect of tabletop gaming, being particularly enamoured with making my own fairly unique conversions, swapping the odd part here and there, and kit bashing my own HQ units. This coupled with the fact that I'm not all that artistic, and don't have a steady hand, has historically meant that my minis don't tend to get painted, as I prefer to move on to assembling the next exciting thing.

I've collected a few armies in my time: Dwarves, Eldar, Space Wolves,Thousand Sons and Lizardmen. None of them are even 10% painted, I always get disheartened by what seems like an insurmountable task awaiting me.  I made a decision last year to start a fresh army, Tomb Kings, to keep things simple, to finally have a completed Army. And by 'completed' I mean a 2400 points list all painted to a standard I, at least, am not embarrassed to field.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Creating Other Worlds: Affordable wargames terrain

Disclaimer: There are many companies out there making terrain for modelmakers and wargamers. Those I have listed are only some of those available and relate to my own personal experience. The best thing to do is to shop around!

For those of us lucky enough to have the space at home to have our own table suitable for gaming, whether that involves a permanent fixture or something that can be put up and taken down before your partner goes really mad, there is an embarrassment of riches out there to fill the table up with. Resin terrain both painted and unpainted, sculpted battleboards, townscapes, mountains, dense woods and cultivated farmland. There is one great limiting factor though (isn't there always?) and that is of course price.

For those of you who grew up in scouts and watching Blue Peter it might be possible to make it all from scratch. Sculpting magnificent terrain from dense insulation foam, filler and household objects is well within the capabilities of some hobbyists. If that is you then I am in awe of your work but that is not always within the grasp of us mere mortals, who have to look at commercially available options if we want to avoid going back to the days of stacked books under a tablecloth.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Falling Back Into the Hobby

Firstly let me just say its all Aidan's fault, well maybe partly James's, but mainly Aidan.

These men are to blame.

A Tale of VIII Painters - Tim - Part 1

Planning & Procrastinating

Having decided on a theme for the army I headed to the store to get some advice on colour schemes. After first trying to fob me off with the standard black armour (I guess it is best to eliminate that as an option, first) I told the chap I was after something in brown/green. Earthy, and a bit foul (Have you ever peered in to a festival toilet?).

He recommended (Unfortunately this is from memory and from the old paint list):
A Chaos Black undercoat
A base layer of Scorched Brown
Drybrush several layers of Knarloc Green on top
Drybrush with Camo Green to pick out the edges

That was just for the armour.

Bugger that.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Battlefield Birmingham Combat Comrades - A casual gamer in a tournament

This weekend I took part in the Battlefield Birmingham Combat Comrades tournament. It was a doubles tournament at 1800 points with 900 being allocated to each player with a combined FOC. Myself along with a friend of mine from the Redditch gaming club decided to take part, taking his Blood Angels and my Dark Angels.

Female Farseer Conversion

From my own experience of trawling the web for a nice easy way to make a Female 40K Eldar Farseer, I know that there’s no shortage of people out there looking for ideas or inspiration.

Unfortunately, until recently, most of the suggested ways to build your very own lady psyker have involved a great deal of green stuff work, or resulted in something that didn't really look like a Farseer. Suggestions such as putting a Farseer head on to a Howling Banshee body and green stuffing on a cloak for instance, might sort of work to portray your intent, but I've never felt like they really look the part.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Once More into the Breach - Getting Back into Wargaming after 16 Years.

Like McBegbie’s midlife crisis, I could lay the blame, albeit indirectly, at Cyanide’s release of Blood Bowl on the PC, although it actually it started with my housemate and me playing Space Marine on the PS3. It was fun for a while: brought back a few memories, it had the cool looking models, fun online gameplay, the excellent customisation, the paint colours with the real GW names! But it wasn't enough, he went deeper, and these occasional games of Space Marine led to Cyanide and the world of Nuffle, and the beginning of the inevitable.

I watched him play for a while, totally lost in a world of block dice, blitzing and bludweiser babes. All pretty unfathomable to me. Beyond my ken. Easy to resist. But then he asked, innocently, innocently asked, if I had any of my old GW models to spare, just so he could, you know, "look" at them. And I said, "Yeah, sure I do, they're in a box somewhere. I’ll dig them out for you".

A Tale of VIII Painters - Ray Part 2: The First Jetbike

The time has come for me to begin painting this month's main attraction, the Eldar; I've added enough red, brass and cream trim to my Barracuda for the moment and Forgeworld haven't sent the new cockpit yet so it sits on my shelf waiting to be completed.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Warmachine- arcana and steamworks

Ah Warmachine. Currently my favourite and most played wargame, those familiar with 40K and other Games Workshop systems will be relatively intimidated by the apparent complexity of Warmachine. In this article I will be looking to cut through some of this complexity and go over the basics including a brief introduction to the factions and a brief synopsis of how a game will generally go.

The beauty of Warmachine is its scalability, it is entirely possible to play the game using nothing more than the contents of the £35 faction boxes which generally contain a Warcaster, Warjack and some heavy infantry, typically these games will work out at approximately 15 points, with games typically going up in increments of 15, 20, 35 and 50+ as your model collection grows and the more experienced you get. The small 'battlebox' games will take anything from 30 to 45mins while larger games can take several hours.

Android Netrunner: The Review

As a fan of cyberpunk science-fiction, the theme and the implementation of it in mechanical terms of Android Netrunner appealed greatly to me. A game using asymmetrical mechanics to represent a series of attacks on a company's computer servers, challenging unknown defensive protocols and avoiding traps has the potential to explore a wide design space and add a vast library of mechanics. This combines with the faction mechanic, and the limitations placed on cross-faction decks, to create a game where multiple win conditions and game states are supported both across standard card game archetypes and within them. That this is all managed in a game which currently only has two viable game-winning conditions (scoring 7 points or dealing sufficient damage to “kill” the Runner player) shows the potential within the system.

Monday, 17 June 2013

School Dinners: Dicing With Death

When I went to school at dinnertime you had three options, go home, take sandwiches or pay for a dinner. Having  rather health minded/miserly parents, I ended up taking my own pack lunch to school. For some strange reason my school ran a kind of Um Bongo apartheid meaning all of us with packed lunches had to eat in a separate part of the school canteen. As most of my friends tended to enjoy the deep fried offerings the school served up it meant I tended to sit with people outside my usual social circle at lunch.

Basing basics. And some advanced things.

OK, as my first real contribution I will be going through some basic and advanced basing techniques with supporting pictures where I am able. I will go through this step by step, by the end you should be able to produce a cohesive look to your models with a few more advanced techniques for centerpiece models. I will assume that the reader has no prior knowledge of basing.

Man'o War Demolition Corps on snowy 'tundra' bases

Sunday, 16 June 2013

A Tale of VIII Painters - Simian - Part 2

So, yellow.....that's not a fun colour to paint! I know I wanted to challenge myself with this but I'm not sure I thought it through all the way. Why did I not go for a simple scheme that didn't involve yellow? Either way, I've made my bed and I'm damn well going to a smooth yellow finish on their helms.

Going back a couple of steps, in part one I'd just finished stippling the armour with the two blues and lightening the Helms and face masks ready for the yellows.

I next applied a Blue wash to the armour to try to make it stand out more and painted the helms and face masks with Ulthuan grey to bring them closer to grey before I applied the Casandora Yellow wash. the results of this wash are below. I also painted the weapons with Ulthuan grey to get them ready for the Ushabti Bone. This is the first time I've really bothered doing transition colours and I have to says its been very beneficial, especially working from a black undercoat as I always do.

Warhammer Quest - The Review

Some of us will be of an age where we can remember the tabletop Warhammer Quest game. I remember one of my friends managing to pick up a copy when we were really into 40k and scoffing at the notion it could be fun. Many epic dungeon crawls later and it still ranks as one of my favourite tabletop experiences, The best way to start this review is with these simple words.

Nostalgia at its finest.

The iOS version really lives up to the tabletop version.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Dreadball: The Review

Note: This article is a reproduction of an article at

It was written before the Season 2 teams were available.

The board game Dreadball, one of a number of Kickstarter success stories begun late last year and now developing into their own product ranges looking to the future, is frequently compared to the classic Games Workshop gameBlood Bowl; both are based on fictional sports derived from rugby or American football, with stock genre fiction races and archetypes forming the teams. Yet Dreadball has several crucial points of difference which make it not only its own game, but also a significant improvement.
Blood Bowl is a slow game of positioning where a point may be scored once or twice a half – its sixteen turns per player can range from over almost instantly to full-length decision sequences based around mitigating the odds. It favours quite defensive play, with its heavy-hitting teams generally very poor at handling the ball and scoring points and so strategies such as “caging” where the ball slowly moves up the field are favoured. By contrast, Dreadball has all teams moving roughly the same amount; even heavy-hitters can get a turn of speed and move the ball as needed. Furthermore, the movement actions generally move a figure a good distance – around a quarter or half the length of the pitch – and so it is a game much more based around running play and positioning than hunkering down and grinding through the opposition. This immediately addresses the main criticism ofBlood Bowl; for a game based around something as fast-moving and exciting to watch as sport, it is very slow and based around cautious moves to avoid a “turnover” (failing an action and ending the turn). Dreadball still has “turnovers” but they are less likely to disrupt play because it rewards risk-taking and exciting actions rather than discouraging them.

Love Letter Review

Pictured: cards, bag, little glass hearts. Not Pictured: Love.

A card game of romantic rivals for 2-4 players.

Alderac Entertainment Group made a name for themselves in the CCG boom years with my former addiction, Legend of the Five Rings, and a spate of so-so games. In the last few years they have made some really interesting hits, including their most recent release; Love Letter.
Set in their Tempest series of courtly intrigue games, Love Letter sees you setting out to win the hand of Princess Annette. It’s not going to be easy as not only are you just some Johnny-Come-Lately who has no contacts at court, but there are other rivals for the lovely Annette’s hand. You and each suitor all have to use your contacts to try and get a love letter all the way from the lowly streets of Tempest and into the princess’ dainty hand.
That’s the premise, so how’s it play?
Inside the lush cloth bag is a deck of sixteen cards and thirteen wooden blocks, replaced in my picture with little hearts because, well, it seemed more fitting.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Tales of Painters VII - Aidan - Part 1 - Malifaux, Ten Thunders, Painting

That about sums up what the Tales of VIII Painters will be about for me.


For those who aren’t au fait, Malifaux is set in an alternate Victorian era where a rift in the fabric of reality leads to the world of Malifaux.  A place where magic exists and monsters are real.  The world of Malifaux loosely consists of 5 factions:  The Guild - the self appointed law in Malifaux, The Arcanists – a secret faction who concentrate on honing their new found powers, The Resurrectionists – a loosely grouped bunch of individuals who use magic to control the dead, The Neverborn – the monsters inhabiting Malifaux and The Outcasts – basically everyone who doesn’t belong to the above.

By Jingo! An Introduction to 'In Her Majesty's Name' by Osprey.

Many moons ago a collection of Warhammer 40k gamers created their own homebrew set of rules called 'In the Emperor's Name' as a way of creating narrative games in the 40k universe. It was played in a skirmish scale and covered a multitude of troop types including those long abandoned by GW. It allowed for flavourful games and even covered action on abandoned floating space hulks as well as more traditional battlefield settings. The game has garnered a community of players, playtesters and game designers through the 'Forge of War Development Group' and the game, now in its third edition, can be obtained free and legally here: . Although the game I am looking at in this article has moved far beyond its ITEN origins it is worth mentioning as the hobbyist approach runs right through this new product. 

One of the original authors of ITEN is Craig Cartmell. He was approached by the good people at Osprey Publishing to write a Steampunk skirmish game for their burgeoning range of wargames rules. The outcome of which is 'In Her Majesty's Name' a skirmish game that pits adventuring companies of Victorians armed with suitably outlandish weapons (as well as more familiar period weapons that can still be just as deadly) against each other in a wide range of scenario types and settings. The list of antagonists run from the humble Metropolitan Bobbie (armed with the English electric truncheon!) to re-animated, mummified Egyptian priests, abominable Yetis, fiendish magic users and a certain consulting detective...

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Idle Musings of a Casual Gamer on the New Eldar Codex.

So, where to start. Firstly let me set out a couple of things, I've not played using Eldar before and I've barely played against them. What you must be thinking now is why the hell should I bother with this post? Well what you'll get is my point of view completely uninfluenced by the previous editions of the Eldar codex, it might not count for much but it is just that, my opinion. The way I'm going to do this is I'm going to pull out a few units and explain why this codex has really got me so interested in creating an Eldar force.

A Tale of VIII Painters - Tim - Warriors of Nurgle Intro

I Hate Painting

But I like making army lists. I like buying cool models and I like putting them together. If I have spare time I like playing computer games.

Altogether this means I have 3 armies in various unfinished states and a quite comprehensive shopping list of units I need for different lists I want to try out. Reading back over that sentence one word sums up my attitude - I "need" new units. Not want or would like to pick or think that they look cool, in my mind I need them.

And the issue with that is that I am embarrassed to use the armies I have. So despite thinking up some fun new list to use or having a cool new model to field and being eager to get a battle, when I actually put the units down I mostly feel disappointed (particularly when the opponent has a beautifully painted force with twice the models of mine).

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

A Tale of VIII Painters - Anthony - Exodites Part 1

Eldar are the first, and so far only, army that I've ever really collected, starting way back in the '90s before taking a break from wargaming that lasted roughly 15 years. Currently I have around 2500pts of mostly painted Craftworld Eldar that have barely seen a tabletop battlefield in the intervening time, so what a great time this would be to finish them! Of course, we already have two great Eldar blogs on this site already, so for my Tale I've decided to do something my younger self dreamed of, but which my older self's disposable income can finally afford: Exodites.

Historical Wargaming for the Fantasy Gamer.

Wargaming has a long and illustrious history. From the studies of Prussian Officers to the state rooms of Versaille it can trace its evolution from the period of European empire making where military men, when they weren't killing each other all over the known world, would re-fight famous or hypothetical engagements at their leisure. 

Fantasy and Sci-fi wargaming is the veritable baby of the wargames family, however, it has become a very vocal and influential baby. Since its emergence from the boom of pen and paper RPG's in the 1970's,  fantasy wargaming has swiftly emerged as the most visible of wargame strands, from the high street presence of the big brother of them all, Games Workshop (Stop the family analogies- Ed.) to tie in games of successful movie, TV and computer games franchises such as Judge Dredd, Doctor Who, Starship Troopers, Star Wars and others. As such it has become the gateway to wargaming for many impressionable young minds over the last 30 years. And I am no different.

Featherstone: The start of it all for me. 

A Tale of VIII Painters - Ray Slows Down With Fast Eldar

Being as I am the sort of person who likes 40k flavour but also completely ignores it when designing armies should it get in the way, the idea behind Saim-Hann Eldar seemed cool (Celtic influenced Wicker-Man style cult Eldar bikers who think if it doesn't have an engine it's not worth taking) but I wanted to make it my own thing.

So I decided to make an army based on the Saim-Hann theme, tentatively called Craftworld Saim-Hradh in keeping with the general "pick a festival or season from Gaelic religion" thing the Eldar have going for them in naming terms. It's going to have the same general "rules" of building a themed army (lots of bikers, lots of tanks and other fast units) but with a tiny bit of flexibility, mostly because there's too many cool Eldar models I want to own like Wraithguard, Rangers and Harlequins.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

A Tale of VIII Painters - Barry - Dark Eldar

Ok, those who read my initial post will know I'm effectively the n00b of the group.  A bit of a historic background in wargaming but completely new to 40k.  My choice to go with Dark Eldar was based purely on the fact I thought they looked good, with no research in to their background or effectiveness on the field.  I started with the battleforce and have been adding bits on here and there as I go.  I took a similar approach with my initial assembling and painting.  Not really working with a particular list in mind, just going with what I thought looked good.

A Tale of VIII Painters - Irregular Joe - Lord of The Night

 The Flesh is Weak!

Somehow, I knew I'd leave it all unfinished. Some deep, intrinsic knowledge that regardless of time, effort, and money spent, my passion for the background, the sheer coolness of it all, it would all fall by the wayside.

I talk, of course, of my Iron Hands army. 

Monday, 10 June 2013

Tau Players - What Can Forgeworld Do For You? [Part 1]

The recent update to 6th edition of Imperial Armour 3 brought with it new rules for Forgeworld's range of Tau and Kroot units, promising changes to rules in order to make them usable under the new codex. Many of the changes were simple bookkeeping ones such as the addition of Supporting Fire, revision of Markerlights and weapons like Fusion Blasters, Pulse Carbines and Burst Cannons but these have had severe effects on the function of some models. This article will consider a number of units in their new guise against the core Tau codex.

A Tale of VIII Painters - Simian - Part 1

Eldar, the very thought of doing an Eldar army fills me with dread. All the different colours, all the patterns. the requirement for a delicate touch (being colour-blind and a ham-fisted is not a good thing!). But that's exactly why I want to do them, no only are they one of the most beautiful armies with some of the best models but also because I know they'll be a challenge for me. I can paint power armour, I know that, I have an entire Dark angels force of probably 7000 points all painted. So with that in mind Eldar are my challenge.

The Illic model was the first one in the codex that caught my eye and so was the first one i bought, there is also something very iconic about the Avatar of Khaine, though the idea of painting such a detailed model worries me. However I didn't sign up to this to worry about my abilities, I signed up to improve and stretch my painting abilities. I've assembled a small 750-1000 point force with a couple of options for the HQ choice with the plan of using them as an Allied contingent.

What I have:

Sunday, 9 June 2013

A Tale of VIII Painters - Cobra - Initial Dilemma

OK so I have signed up to this pledge of documenting the painting of an army.  My initial dilemma is this, which of my unpainted 40k armies should I be painting

So I decided to put this out to the internet; should I paint my Marine White Scars army or my Dark Eldar army?

The White Scars will give you bikers and vehicles a plenty.

The Dark Eldar has most troop types, jetbikes, vehicles and Haemonculus troops

Post below to vote and help me decide

My Mid Life Crisis - Impressions of a n00b

It's Cyanide's fault really.  Well, perhaps not completely but I think they can take a fair portion of the blame.  Along with the other contributors on this site and my friend Andrew.

During the 80's I was heavily in to the tabletop RPG scene.  AD&D, Call of Cthulhu, Traveller and countless others.  Three or four nights a week I'd be involved in some game or another.  I dabbled in some wargaming, Warhammer fantasy, Ancients, Napoleonic and Micro Modern.  As the decade wore on I drifted away and by the early nineties I'd more or less lost interest.

Jump forward to 2009 and Cyanide released their pc version of Bloodbowl.  It sparked my interest, partly thanks to a number of regulars on the Guardian Gamesblog site and awakened memories of some fun evenings in the dim and distant past.  After taking the plunge I began participating in regular leagues.  It was all downhill from there.

A Tale of VIII Painters - The Painters

Welcome to our Tale of VIII Painters, which grew out of a collective urge to complete all those half finished painting and gaming projects that we seemed to have accumulated over the years. Musing to ourselves one day we decided, what better motivator could there be than public humiliation if we don't meet whatever arbitrary target it is that we've set ourselves for the month?

Most of us (with one notable exception) are pretty lazy painters as well, so this is also a way to increase our workrate and maybe even share techniques amongst each other so we can all become better painters and, in the process, better people. You can keep track of what our current projects are on the Tale of VIII Painters page.

So, without further ado, let me introduce to you, our VIII Painters:

The Abyss Beckons... Let the Hooting Begin

Welcome to our new blog 'Hooting into the Abyss'.  We are a loose collective of gamers from across the tabletop universe and beyond, interested in a wide variety of games and hopefully with something of interest for everyone.

We do not have an overarching philosophy, or any grand ideals, but we generally eschew the power gaming approach (with some exceptions) and are interested more in enjoying a fun hobby with mates. As much beer and pretzels (or a suitable British alternative- beer and scratchings?) as anything else.