Thursday, 16 January 2014

Photographing miniatures.

So one of my hobbies outside of miniatures is photography, with that in mind I've put together a few comments and thoughts on how to get the best photos you can of your miniatures. If you've spent hours/days painting them and what to show them off then clearly a quick shaky snap on your phone just isn't going to cut it.

With all photography, there are a lot of factors that go into a great shot. I’m going to go over a few of the basics and so feel free to experiment and play around until you achieve the image you want.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Avengers Vs X-Men Battle Report: Month One

The first couple of issues of the AvX comic event dealt with Wolverine bringing the Avengers to the X-Men’s island home of Utopia; a nation off the coast of San Francisco which housed over half of the X-Men. Captain America came with a demand for Hope Summers, the potential host of the Phoenix Force. When Cyclops refused to give the girl over, a SHIELD helicarrier became visible overhead, with a TON of Avengers. With the majority of both teams facing off against each other, everyone knew that things were going to start big.
And that’s where this event will begin. The Brighton Heroclix Community are split into two factions, Avengers and X-Men. Both sides will play off against each other using teams of 600 points, taken from a selection of 2,000 points each player will bring to the table. If a character is knocked out in a round, they can’t be used again. When people fall, they fall HARD. Everyone will see it all four rounds though, so if you can’t make a team of 600 points you can buy back dead units costing points equal to how many points of enemies you’ve knocked out so far.
Each fight is timed, and whoever can knock the most amount of points out of the other team wins. The amount of points you knock out add up at the end to settle any ties, so a total wipe is obviously the best.
Both teams have a selection they have to stick with, the characters (not necessarily the miniatures) from the Avengers Vs X-Men Starter Sets. The Avengers have to have a version of; Captain America, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Man, Thor & Wolverine. The X-Men have to have a version of; Colossus, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magik, Magneto & Namor.

Here is where I begin to suck. I picked X-Men because I’ve been a fan of them since I was five and, ahem, liberated a UK reprint of X-Men #23 from a doctor’s waiting room.
I borrowed a 10th Anniversary Emma Frost and Storm from one player and Bishop, Psylocke & Professor X from another.
My total forces were:
Bishop, Colossus, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Gambit, Husk, Kid Omega, Longshot, Magik, Magneto, Namor, Professor X, Psylocke, Shadowcat, Storm and Sunspot.
My plans were minimal at best. Telekinetics like Kid Omega, Magik and Magneto could move people into battle, as could Shadowcat (who is also able to hide and outwit folk). Colossus, Husk, Namor and Sunspot are bricks who deal okay damage and absorb a lot. Emma, Psylocke and Professor X do mind control, while Bishop, Cyclops, Longshot and Storm are brilliant ranged attackers.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Avengers Vs X-Men: An Introduction to Heroclix

In my introduction to Hooting Into The Abyss I announced that I was The Unpainter, a person who didn’t play miniature games, didn’t play wargames, and didn’t paint miniatures. There is an exception which has happened in the last year, a miniature game which sounds at first like it would be anathema to any other Abyss-Hooter on this site.
I’m talking about Heroclix, a game I have drifted in and out of a couple of times and recently returned to as my local community has been expanding its presence and the scope of its plans. I thought I would write about the four events which will take place monthly in gaming groups worldwide, but in particular the Brighton Heroclix community.

So what is Heroclix?
Heroclix is the name of a miniature gaming system for skirmish-size battles between two or more teams of generally, but not necessarily superheroes. The main two licenses the game carries are Marvel and DC, however the list of past Heroclix includes; Assassins Creed, Judge Dredd, Halo, Gears of War, Iron Maiden and Pacific Rim.
The system is really quite simple. Each player makes a team, places them on a map made of little inch squares, often replicating things like the Batcave or Columbia from Bioshock Infinite and you knock the snot out of each other. To see The Hulk chasing Batman and Ezio Auditore da Firenzi across a rooftop would normally be the matter for a fanboy’s dreams. Here, it’s a little plastic reality.
Each turn is short, players have an action for every hundred points of characters (so 500 points gives 5 actions) and each character can only be given one. If you move, that’s an action. If you punch or shoot someone, that’s an action. If you have Magneto fling a dumpster across a mall into the face of Captain America, it’s a really satisfying action. Really satisfying. Once your turn is over you’ve got little tokens on some or all of your people. The next turn they keep the actions and have to rest to remove them. Or, if you’re feeling risky, they can damage themselves to do another attack. There’s a whole risk/reward system to taking actions which makes prioritising what you can do and effectively budgeting cool superhero moves more tactical than you’d think. Can you afford to have Hulk headbutt the Juggernaut? What if he misses and is so weakened that the Toad can knock him out in one punch?