Sunday, October 2, 2022

Fistful of Lead Fantasy: "The Haunted Ruins"

 With October being here and Halloween being on the horizon, I figured it was high time I got some spooky gaming in! With the Chaos types I just finished, I was in a Fantasy mood, and as luck would have it there's a scenario in the Fistful of Lead Fantasy: Might and Melee book with warbands duking it out in a haunted ruin as ghosts swirl around them. Perfect!

The Archmage Lutholio and his retinue, and the followers of the Blood God, commanded by Korgan Bloodaxe, both arrived at the haunted ruins, following rumors that an enchanted sword was buried somewhere within. To find it, they would need to decipher clues carved on five timeworn statues. Each time a statue is deciphered, it spawns a ghost that moves randomly around the battlefield. Any figure that activates within 6" of a ghost has to past a Hard Task roll (8+ on a D10) or gain a Shock token, reducing their effectiveness. The sword is hidden under the final statue, meaning by the time the sword is obtained, there will be five ghosts moving around. 


  • Archmage Lutholio (Leader; Veteran, Spellcaster, Observant), armed with a Sword and Staff 
  • Zweihander Wilhelm (Sergeant; Brute, Determined), armed with a 2-Handed Sword and Heavy Armor
  • Hans (Regular; Cunning), armed with a Sword, Shield and Light Armor
  • Franz (Regular; Thundering Charge), armed with a Sword, Shield and Light Armor 
  • Halfling Scouts (Rabble; Deadeye, Cowardly, Stealthy), armed with Bows

FOLLOWERS OF THE BLOOD GOD (Group Trait: Bloodthirsty)

  • Korgan Bloodaxe (Leader; Veteran, Two Fisted, Street Fighter) armed with an Axe, Mace and Heavy Armor
  • Sargus Jawbreaker (Sergeant; Thundering Charge, Determined) armed with a 2-Handed Axe and Heavy Armor
  • Grim-Gory (Regular; Brawler) armed with a Mace and Light Armor
  • Three-Eyes (Regular; Ranger) armed with a 2-Handed Axe and Light Armor
  • Argor Bloodhoof (Regular; Flurry of Blows) armed with 2 Axes and Light Armor

With time being of the essence (at the beginning of Turn 6, I would roll a die to determine if it was the final turn or not), both warbands fanned out immediately into the ruins, with Lutholio casting the spell "Light-Footed" on Hans and depositing him right in front of one of the mid-table statues to start investigating immediately. Hampered by their heavy armor, Korgan, Sargus and Wilhelm struggled with statues nearer the edge of the ruins; the Halflings spread out to take up shooting positions, while the beastmen (who maybe can't even read), moved in to get violent. 

 Hans deciphered his statue, unleashing a ghost, and was almost immediately confronted by Grim-Gory, though he actually won the fight and pushed the beastman back, making room for the halflings to pepper him with arrows (ineffectively).

Korgan deciphered his first statue and moved deeper into the ruins, while Sargus continued to puzzle over his. Franz managed to decipher a statue towards the middle of the table, bringing the total for Lutholio's retinue up to 2, and the number of ghosts on the table up to 3. Three-Eyes and Argor Bloodhoof converged on Franz's location, though Argor stopped long enough to bisect a halfling on his way there.

Lutholio cast "Light-Footed" a second time to get Franz away from the beastmen and towards a third statue, though unfortunately this put him directly in front of Sargus, who decided to take his frustration at the translation out on him. Meanwhile, Hans, pursuing a fleeing Grim-Gory, got charged and dismembered by Korgan.

Sargus returned to his statue, finally completing his translation (releasing Ghost #4), while Korgan moved towards the center of the table, and the beastmen turned their attention towards the two remaining halflings and Wilhelm. Lutholio hit Korgan with a Fireball, incinerating the blood-crazed warlord, and Wilhelm began to cleave through the beastmen as fast as they came at him.

With Wilhelm hacking and slashing at their foes, Lutholio stepped in to begin deciphering the final statue as Sargus joined the fray, being wounded by Wilhelm but managing to stab the knight on his way down, leaving them both wrestling in the spreading pool of blood. 

The Ghost King awakens as the enchanted sword is found!

Really? You floating there is inconvenient to everyone.

Armed with the enchanted sword, Lutholio stepped in and finished off Sargus; Wilhelm activated on the Queen of Hearts, healing his Wound and allowing him to stand up refreshed and finish off Grim-Gory. The sun rose over Lutholio's victory as he gathered up his wounded and slain followers and set off for him, leaving the followers of the Blood God, slain to a man, for the buzzards. 

All in all, a great use of my Sunday evening; I made a few mistakes in play (I forgot that Lutholio's retinue had the Fearless group trait, meaning they ended up taking more penalties from Shock tokens than they should have, for the first half of the game) and it really wasn't a scenario that Korgan Bloodaxe's men were going to excel at meeting the victory conditions for, but I had a lot of fun. There were a couple moments where ghosts parked themselves squarely in the middle of fights - at one point, all but three figures on the table were within 6" of the same ghost - so everyone was collecting Shock tokens pretty much constantly from Turn 2 onwards, even with three of the ghosts ultimately just circling one corner of the ruins for the final three turns. 

Speaking of Turns; in the setup for this scenario there is a turn limit; at the beginning of Turn 6 I rolled a D10; on a result of 1-6, it would be the final turn, 7+ would tell me the turn the game ended on. I rolled a 9. Wilhelm finished off the last of the Blood God's followers (also, holy crap, Wilhelm successfully fought and put Out of Action 3 of the 5 members of the enemy warband) on Turn 8. Armor definitely prolonged some of the early fights, but Wilhelm's 2-handed sword ignored the beastmen's light armor and cut a pretty quick swath through them.

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Quick Chaos Warband and Cavemen

 Managed to squeak out a few figures towards the end of September.

A quick Chaos Warband for games of Fistful of Lead: Fantasy. The leader is a 2000s-era Warhammer figure I got on eBay a while back, and the rest are from Knightmare Miniatures. With any luck they'll be seeing some action on the table tomorrow.

Then I painted up a Pterro-Man from Forge of Ice to lead some "Neolithic Warriors" from Lucid Eye Productions into battle. I've always been a big fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs' fiction, and these are perfect to serve as one of Burroughs' Mahars and its Sagoth servants from the "Pellucidar" series of novels. They'll definitely be seeing some table time in pulp games!

Sunday, September 18, 2022

The Man, the Myth, the Legend...The 'Duke

I mostly stick to metal figures, but I've ventured out a little bit to explore some resin figures. The latest being this limited-edition figure of classic D&D villain Warduke from Forge of Ice. The detail is immaculate, and the three pieces fit together perfectly. I built up a 30mm round base with two layers of cork to elevate Warduke above his opponents, and that's another new thing for me. It worked out well, but between the fragility of the resin and how lightly he's affixed to the cork, I think he's just going to be a display piece instead of a gaming piece.

The blue armor is two coats of GW "Soulstone Blue" technical paint over a base of silver, which gave me a candy apple kind of shiny, metallic finish that I think worked out really well. Everything else is kind of my standard techniques - skin is Reaper Tanned Shadow, washed with GW Reikland Fleshshade, highlighted with Reaper Tanned Skin, the blue-black leather of his boots and dagger scabbard are Reaper Coal Black highlighted with Reaper Midnight Blue. The grass is two colors and coarsenesses of Woodland Scenics flock mixed together. 

Overall, I pushed my comfort zone with this figure and I'm happy with how he turned out, but I still very much prefer metal figures.

Monday, September 5, 2022

Tales of Horror: The Beast in the Hills

 I wrapped up my holiday weekend with a second solo game of Fistful of Lead, this time using their "Tales of Horror" supplement. I pulled "Major LeDuc's Enfants Terrible," a ragtag band of French Foreign Legionnaires from Pulp Figures for my Hunter group; I envisioned them as a secretive group within the Legion, called upon to handle problems too outre for regular Legionnaires. For my Cultists, I pulled some Moroccan Explorers and Assistants from Brigade Games' first Cthulhu kickstarter; I painted these about a year ago, but yesterday I went back, touched them up, redid their bases. I designated them the Sons of the Black Pharaoh, and was ready to go.

Bloodied but unbowed, Major LeDuc approaches the altar where Ardath Bey completes his ritual

Scenario was "The Beast in the Woods," out of the Tales of Horror book; I subbed in hills and ruins for woods. I also managed to forget that the scenario is supposed to have a trio of ghosts moving randomly around the board; I think it's probably for the best, because the scenario worked out just fine as is. The Cultists had to perform the biggest summoning ritual they could within 8 turns (at which point, the Stars would no longer be Right), and the Hunters had to disrupt it.


Major LeDuc's Enfants Terrible (Hunters)
Group Trait: Loyal

  • Major LeDuc (Leader; Veteran, Encouraging, Swordsman, Tough as Nails), armed with a Pistol, Saber and Holy Water
  • Ibrahim (Specialist; Ranged Fighter, Sniper) armed with a Rifle and Blessed Bullets
  • Peter, the Russian Bear (Regular; Brawler) armed with an Axe and Rifle
  • Barker (Regular; Ranger), armed with a SMG
  • Beni (Regular; Slippery) armed with Dynamite Bundles


The Sons of the Black Pharaoh (Cultists)
Group Trait: Ranger

  • Ardath Bey (Leader; Veteran, Devout, Stealthy, Sixth Sense), armed with a Dagger and Ritual Tome
  • Professor Andoheb (Specialist; Occult Expert, Deadeye), armed with a Pistol and Unholy Relic
  • Hossam (Regular; Steady), armed with a Rifle
  • Yousef (Regular; Coolheaded), armed with a Pistol
  • Al-Hazrat (Regular; Brawler), armed with a Big Knife


The first turn saw Ardath Bey begin his summoning ritual while the Hunters and Cultists both fanned out, sticking to the cover provided by the ruins and hills, with a few inconsequential shots fired; between distance and cover penalties, none of them were successful. Turn 2 saw the summoning fail due to poor rolling, necessitating Ardath starting fresh on Turn 3. Meanwhile, LeDuc put Yousef out of action, and being shot at in turn by Professor Andoheb (no result) and Hossam (Wounding LeDuc).

Peter shot at Hossam, then moved towards the ruins on the right, where he was met and attacked by Al-Hazrat. The Russian bear was no match for Al-Hazrat's knifework; he was wounded, then wounded a second time while prone. Peter managed to struggle to his feet and swing his axe one more time, but Al-Hazrat's dagger found its way between his ribs a third and final time.

Beni threw a few dynamite bundles towards Al-Hazrat, leaving him shaken, but the cultist rallied and turned his attention to knifing Ibrahim, the sniper, killing him and then charging Beni. Beni slipped away and threw a final bundle of dynamite, which landed just short of Al-Hazrat. The two men stared at the dynamite as the fuse burned down; BANG! Al-Hazrat was put out of action by the blast!

LeDuc rallied to his feet and shot Professor Andoheb, who bled out immediately upon trying to stand back up. Moving forward across the battlefield as quickly as his injury would let him, he tried to shoot Hossam to eliminate the threat of rifle-fire; CLICK! A "1" on the die meant LeDuc went Out of Ammo!

Meanwhile, Ardath Bey spent turns 3,4 and 5 Summoning, and with what remained of the Hunters closing in, opted to call forth a demon there, instead of trying for one more round. A Veteran-level demon (with the traits Veteran, Large and Fangs and Claws) emerged onto the battlefield.

On turn 6, Ardath Bey turned his attention to the remaining Hunters; he cast "Dark Portal," flinging Major LeDuc across the battlefield into a wall, putting another wound (and a Shock token) on him. Barker opened fire with his SMG on the demon and Ardath Bey, putting a Shock token on the Demon and going Out of Ammo for using Burst fire. The Demon charged Barker, but failed to wound him.


On turn 7, LeDuc tried to stand but only managed to crawl a little bit; meanwhile Barker managed to beat the demon Out of Action using his empty SMG. Ardath Bey tried to cast "Dark Portal" on Beni but the spell failed, and instead, Beni got shot by Hossam. 


On turn 8, Ardath Bey cast "Dark Portal" successfully on Barker, hurling him into a rock outcropping and killing him instantly. Beni bled out from his wound, and LeDuc just couldn't get back on his feet. Seeing that the stars were no longer in alignment and satisfied with what he'd accomplished, Ardath Bey (and Hossam) slunk away into the darkness.

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Back of Beyond: Red Guards and Little Green Men

 I played a very quick solo game of Fistful of Lead last night, to celebrate getting a squad of Bolsheviks painted and varnished. Their opponents were some Saucermen from Recreational Conflict, who have some wonderful 1950s sci-fi figures, along with a line of Flash Gordon-style serial types. 

Eastern Siberia, 1921. Colonel Rokoff and a Cheka squad under his command were dispatched to the tiny, remote village of Ludovosk, following reports of a fireball seen falling from the sky in its vicinity. Fearing some new weapon in the hands of the White Army or that the British had made a move against the Revolution, the Comintern wanted details on what was going on in Ludovosk. 

As soon as they reached the edge of the ruined village of Ludovosk, Rokoff's men were attacked by a huge, burrowing insect-like creature. The sounds of battle brought a group of small, green-skinned humanoids with oversized heads and singular red eyes out from the ruins to the northeast. The fireball had been a crashing spaceship!

Things went very quickly and brutally from that point. The Burrowing Behemoth rolled abysmally, even using D12s, and was killed by the middle of Turn 3 by the Bolsheviks. I don't think I rolled above a 5 once for the creature, meaning it failed every Close Combat roll it made and every Armor roll to see if it soaked any damage. 

Meanwhile the dice were extremely hot for the Martians; they were armed with Blaster Rifles (except for the Leader), and even with the -1 to hit for being Inaccurate, they gunned down the Russians in very short order, with the +1 to Wound that Blasters have resulting in a lot of instant "Out of Action" results. 

The last of the Russians went down in the middle of Turn 5, having killed two Martians at range but failed to accomplish their primary mission of capturing one alive for interrogation. The Martians primary mission was making sure all the humans and the Burrowing Behemoth were dead, so they succeeded admirably.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

BATTLE SUIT ALPHA Pre-Order Sale at Wiley Games!

 So, as you probably know if you've been reading here for a bit, Wiley Games' Fistful of Lead ruleset is my go-to skirmish game and has been since around 2019ish. I use it for everything - Pulp, GI Joes, Post-Apocalyptic, Sci-Fi, some point I should paint up some cowboys and use it for its original purpose as well!


Well, the newest iteration of Fistful of Lead is BATTLE SUIT ALPHA, modifying the core rules to accommodate big stompy mech-suits duking it out. Now, I'm not a Battletech guy; I muddled my way through a demo game of CAV maybe 15-16 years ago at my alma mater's annual gaming convention. I never watched Robotech or any of the various Gundam animes. Outside of watching the movies Pacific Rim and Robot Jox, big stompy mech-suits have never been hugely on my radar. 


Seeing videos of some of Jaye Wiley's playtest games of Battlesuit Alpha, however, swung me.

The rules are currently up for pre-order at 10% off, and will remain so until mid-October, so now's the perfect time to place an order.

 Of course I've ordered my copy. And started examining Reaper Miniatures' current line of plastic CAV models...

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Back of Beyond: "By God, That's an Angry Yeti!"

 "I say, Mac, did you see this piece in the Gazette?" Blinky Alsop looked up from his paper. "One of those Abominable Snowman-types is being blamed for raiding a traveler's inn outside Kashgar and stealing kegs of the local lager. Might be jolly good sport to go bag one of these slobbering, hair-covered, knuckle-dragging brutes and bring it back to the Museum, eh?"

MacCurdy, Alsop's batsman, paused before responding. "No need to go all the way to Kashgar, sir," he said. "I've got a brother-in-law in Aberdeen who fits that description well enough."

"Always quick with a joke, aren't you Mac? I thought you Scotsmen were all dour types. Regardless, I could use a month or two of fun. I'll call Barton and see if he's bored with hunting tigers yet, have the staff make our travel arrangements."


"I'm sorry, sir, what was the assignment?" Captain Jonathan Hyde-Whyte blanched. He hoped he'd misheard.

"I don't care for it any more than you do, Captain." The Major frowned into his tea. "The fact of the matter is that Winfield 'Blinky' Alsop is here to hunt Abominable Snowmen, and his uncle's got pull in Parliament. I'm assigning you and some of the lads as Alsop's escort through the region. Try to make sure that young fool checks his boots before putting them on, won't you?"

The Major sipped his tea.

"Our boys in the field have reported that Richard Schweinhunde, a German air-ace who's been selling his services all over the East, was shot down over the region Alsop wants to check for Snowmen. See if you can't root out that Jerry weasel while you're there, eh?"


The Benevolent and Honorable General Chun Zhao looked up from the report he'd been given. "A British hunting expedition in search of the wild ape-man? They really do think we are fools, don't they?"

"This is clearly a farcical attempt to disguise a planned espionage mission," the General continued, "but in my wisdom I have seen through the British lies." The man seated opposite him said nothing. He hadn't been encouraged to speak.

"You will take your band of hired killers, Zhancang, and ensure that the Gobi swallows yet another unprepared group of Westerners." Still silent, Zhancang nodded understanding and rose from his chair.


I had another very enjoyable solo game of Fistful of Lead today, this time breaking out some Copplestone Casting and Pulp Figures for a Pulp adventure in Central Asia, somewhere between 1921 and 1936. I played around a bit with assymetrical deployment and hidden objectives, which was fun, though may need more fine-tuning. 

I designated five searchable areas, four of which might contain a lurking Yeti, and one hiding the German spy. Searching each area could be done once, utilizing one or two actions; a Task roll of 8+ revealed whatever was hiding in the area, with a bonus to the roll for using both actions. A roll of "1" meant something bad happened, and once an area was searched, pass or fail, it couldn't be searched again by another figure. It was entirely within the realm of possibility that nobody would find anything!

The Brits got one free turn to spread out and begin Yeti-hunting before Zhancang's mercenaries arrived on the table. 

Our crews were as follows:

The British Yeti-Hunters (Group Trait: Coolheaded)

  • Winfield "Blinky" Alsop (Leader; Dodge, Sixth Sense, Eagle-Eyed), armed with a Pistol
  • Barton (Specialist; Sniper, Deft), armed with a Rifle
  • MacCurdy (Regular; Steady, Ranger, Drunkard), armed with a Shotgun
  • Captain Hyde-Whyte (Regular; Deadeye), armed with a Pistol
  • Tommies (Grunt Group; Loyal), armed with Rifles

The Renegades of Kashgar (Group Trait: Killers

  • Zhancang (Leader; Veteran, Encouraging, Lucky), armed with a Bren LMG
  • Piers Buckley (Specialist; Brawler, Determined), armed with a Pistol and Saber
  • Major Baumgartner (Regular; Deadeye), armed with a Pistol
  • Dr. Herge (Regular; Medic), armed with a Rifle
  • Mrs. Mainwaring (Regular; Steady), armed with a Pistol


Things got off to a spectacular start as MacCurdy approached the first search point and rolled a "1" on his search; Something Bad had been triggered, and the sands shifted beneath the Scotsman's feet as a Mongolian Death Worm reared up! 


"I've eaten haggises bigger than you," MacCurdy growled as his fist connected with what passed for the Death Worm's chin. Blinky went to fire at the creature with his pistol and - rolled a "1"! Out of Ammo! Barton fired on the writhing horror, and then at the beginning of Turn 2, MacCurdy finished the creature off with a double-barreled blast from his shotgun. 

Meanwhile, Captain Hyde-Whyte searched the inn at the center of the table, coming up empty-handed. Major Baumgartner arrived on the table and searched the Woods, flushing a Yeti out of hiding, and the Tommies flushed out a second one hiding near the Roadside Shrine. 

Zhancang's mercenaries began to spread out across the board, with Piers Buckley making a bee-line for the Ruins that were the final searchable location, with Zhancang .himself and Mrs. Mainwaring following behind. Unaware of the Yetis on the far side of the inn, Alsop moved up towards the Ruins as well, with MacCurdy following.

Zhancang paused to address the Yetis in his immediate vicinity, getting charged by one and clubbing it with the stock of his Bren. Two of the Tommies took Shock markers as the other Yeti threw rocks at them. Barton and Hyde-Whyte joined in the shooting, as did Baumgartner and Herge, alternating between shooting at Yetis and each other. Hyde-Whyte rolled a "1" and went Out of Ammo pretty quickly trying to shoot at Zhancang. Despite each being wounded, both Yetis kept getting back on their feet, at least for another turn or two; the one that had attacked Zhancang charged Baumgartner and got pistol-whipped for its trouble. With the Yeti down, Baumgartner got shot at by the Tommies, wounding him.

Baumgartner got to his feet and shot one of the Tommies, and was immediately shot in turn by Hyde-Whyte, going down with another wound; the Yeti staggered to its feet and went running.

Meanwhile, Alsop spotted Buckley and shot him, killing the mercenary instantly; Zhancang, stunned by his encounter with the Yeti, attempted to shake off his shock, but seeing Buckley's body hit the dirt, Zhancang shook his head and decided discretion was the better part of valor (he rolled a "1" on his Shock Recovery test, I used his Lucky reroll, and got another "1."), and fled the scene.

Barton fired at the fleeing Yeti, killing it; Herge shot at the other Yeti, resulting in it having more Shock tokens on it than remaining wounds, causing it to route off the table. Alsop searched the Ruins, but came up empty-handed. Furious at Buckley's death and Zhancang's desertion, Mrs. Mainwaring fired a few shots at Alsop, missing on all of them; in response, MacCurdy charged into range and gave her both barrels of his shotgun, sending her Out of Action. 

Dr. Herge performed first aid on Major Baumgartner, getting the Major back on his feet; another bullet from Barton sent the Major Out of Action, and Dr. Herge surrendered. Barton and Alsop collected their Yeti carcass, pausing to be photographed posing with it; their return trip to the British Embassy would be spent entirely in arguing over whether the Yeti would be turned over to the zoologists of the British Museum, or stuffed and mounted in Barton's smoking lounge.

Once everyone had left, Captain Richard Schweinhund, formerly of the Imperial German Air Service, popped out of his hiding place. "What was all that?" he wondered, gagging down another mouthful of fermented yak's milk (he'd trade military secrets for a decent doppelbock, he thought to himself) before disappearing back into hiding.