Friday, December 11, 2009

Aliens Mission Book preview

Here is an update for the Aliens Mission Book. Just a few page shots to illustrate whats inside of the book as hinted by the contents page posted one week ago. As usual, click the images to enlarge.

Front Cover:

Random Pages:


The Mission Book contains additional scenario content to generate games beyond what is found in the campaign missions, allowing the player to have quite a bit of variance for perpetual re-play value:

Two of the twenty pages of background:
 Inside back cover and back cover:

 Thats the preview of whats to come. I hope you find it an enjoyable taste. The book still needs to have its design layout completed for a few of the missions, but otherwise its also complete.

Next for the Aliens game project is the paraphernalia book, containing all pieces necessary to play it (minus a few six sided dice) and allowing players to "Print&Play" the game. Everything from standups for the Colonial Marines and Aliens, to the maps used to play them on, etc. This bit will take a bit of time however, so the next likely updates to this blog will be the 3D models and board sections created to play this game.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Aliens Timer completed

"You have no chance to survive, make your time..."

These are timers for playing Aliens, or other science fiction games where a timer may come in handy.

It is a very portable solution, as this is just an MP3 audio cue timer.

The theme is meant to evoke the feeling that you are on a starship somewhere in deepspace, with the ship's artificial intelligence known as Mother alerting you with warnings of impending biological threats before your time runs out.

To add a bit more of the aliens element to the timer, one set has motion trackers chirping away in the background while to the timer runs out.

They only took about 4 hours to make. The rest of the story, and the timers themselves can be found here.


Aliens Rulebook preview

Gah! My post got eaten! Ok... lets try this again eh?

I just wanted to take this opportunity to show off a preview of a few pages of the Aliens rulebook I have been working on. (Click any image to enlarge)

Front Cover:

Inside Cover and Table of Contents:

Random pages:

The rulebook is 50 pages and very close to completion. I am only waiting on feedback from a few proofreaders before I release it as a final version for free download. There should be very few if any modifications required before its finalized.

The mission book will be 80 pages and is about half way finished. Here is a taste of what to expect in it:
Thats about it. I will update in a few days with more pics of the Mission Book contents.

As always, critique and witty reportie are welcome.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Looong over due update

Its been quite awhile since this blog has been updated and I am sure anyone who has ever read it believes I have forgotten about it. I assure you this isn't the case.

As we all know real life gets in the way of our hobbies and in this case this simple fact of life applies. From episodes such as switching jobs to having my camera stolen... this all makes updating a blog quite difficult as you may imagine.

Since April I have been quite busy modeling, so much so in fact that several more projects are in the works and some have gotten dropped with no hope of ever being finished.

The most popular of which (and the reason why this blog was started in the first place) is the Space Hulk project. This project is complete with the exception of many of the Hirstarts board sections still await completion. But all models and many board sections are done. I will update later with pics of the magnetized terminators and such.

BUT...I have lost interest in GW's idea of what Space Hulk should be using their background for the game. For the last couple years I have been working on making Space Hulk into the game it should have originally been, and that is Richard Halliwell's genius game design with background imagery from H.R.Giger's Alien and the Movie franchise that made it a pop culture icon for so many years. The movie "Aliens" did inspire GW to publish Space Hulk after all...

So, hereafter all Space Hulk modeling will be geared towards the Aliens theme.

Other projects in the past 8 months since the last update include:

  • War of the Rings This was immediately after my last update. During the casting of Space Hulk tiles I have been quite busy creating three separate armies for this very nice game. A Grey Mountain themed Dwarf army (3500 pts.), an all spider Misty Mountain army strongly themed to be the Children of Ungoliant (2000 pts.) and an Angmar army (3000 pts.) that relies heavily on the old Iron Crown Enterprises "Angmar, Land of the Witch-King" supplement for the Middle Earth Roleplaying game (MERPs to you older crowd who recall this gem). The Angmar army is the true labor of love since it relies so heavily on that background material, it will be the last WotR army that I complete due to the massive amount of detail required for the vision to be made reality.
  • Legends of the High Seas A local gamer by the name of John Stentz had organized a great group of players for this game for quite awhile until interest fizzled. At least I know if I want to ever get a game in I know that there are plenty of people willing and able to play.
  • Aliens themed Space Hulk This was the project immediately after my other Space Hulk project was completed. Nigel Brooks (a local gamer in the Minneapolis area) was nice enough to paint all the Colonial Marines for me, thus freeing time for me to persue other projects I needed to complete. Hirstarts, after the release of the 3rd edition Space Hulk, has also jumped on the Space Hulk bandwagon and has created new molds to use for such corridor games. These new blocks are actually superior to my earlier plans in one way, it allows a 3D feel to the board without having to resort to full walls in order to convey the dimensions. I have now made these newer tiles for space hulk a priority project, with the previous corridor project becoming a more longer term ideal.
  • The Hulk Archive This is my attempt at collecting every mission GW ever published into one tome for use with 3rd edition Space Hulk rules, using a new layout scheme to make everything cohesive, both mechanics and by graphic design. This project split into the need to create a new rulebook for 3rd edition Space Hulk as well due to the variant rules required to play these missions. This project is in danger of never seeing the light of day due to very recent draconian efforts by GW's legal department across the interweb (more on this development fully detailed later on this post).
  • Aliens As a natural development, the Hulk Archive project quickly brought me to modify the Space Hulk rulebook and mission book for use with the Alien themed space hulk project.
  • Hordes I swore off this game over a year ago, but since I was unsuccessful in ever selling my Legion of Everblight army, I figured since the announcement of the Hordes MarkII playtesting to begin late in November that I would give the game another try. Painting for this army has been quite furious in preparation for the field test rules release. I haven't met my goal of getting what I wanted painted, but it turns out I have enough painted to play rather than pushing around bare metal.
All of the preceding projects listed will have updates here in due time, pending a camera to take pics of the models...

Of what I did drop without ever looking back:

  • Warhammer Fantasy Battle The Tomb Kings have no hope of ever being finished. Ever. After playing War of the Rings, I have found that I can get my fantasy fix with a far superior game rather than resorting to playing a game like WHFB that is so fundamentally flawed that I will pull whats left of my hair out of my head. I do not regret this decision whatsoever. It actually makes me mad that GW can show me that they are competent enough to write good rules for a game, and yet they more or less snub their noses at their customers expecting them to ingest the garbage that is WHFB by the gallon. I guess that is why WHFB 8th edition will be making its debut in the 2nd - 3rd quarter of 2010. WHFB's failure is obvious to any but the most diehard, kool-aid drinking fanboy.
  • Ordo Sepulturum Dropping this project has arisen from the local gaming community. Frankly, most of the Warhammer 40,000 players here are the kind of people you wish were drowned as babies. The kind of people you wish you could kill their mother's for not doing so or for breeding in the first place. Dropping this very long project wasn't easy as I still love the models I have made for the army, but I prefer to play with people who at least know how to have fun, using a rules system not made of shit.
That about catches up with the modeling done since the last update I beleive.

The most recent event endangers my long time Space Hulk "Hulk Archive" project however. GW has recently gone on a rampage throughout the gaming community web sites to pass out Cease & Desist orders like they were parade candy.

While I recognize the right, nay need to protect their intellectual property, I find their methods to be quite over zealous in their execution. Board Game Geek has recently gone through a considerable amount of drama over this and I will just link you to the site rather than explain each detail:

Its rather depressing to think about all the hard work people do to promote the game through their own contributions only for the ability to share that hard work with others removed. Many of these old games wouldnt even be in existance if it werent for the diligent support given by the people who love these games. GW has basically taken the hard work that people have done, with products that they have paid for, and thrown their projects and loyalty in the trash.

Its just another reason whay I am glad that I despise the GW Space Hulk background and am using the mechanic for a much better property. It just makes it so much easier for me to not look back on that. For this reason, I am removing all Space Hulk links from my site. Its not much of a loss to the reader, as GW has already passed out C&D letters to those sites anyways...

So for any of you that still visit this horrendously delinquent page, thanks for reading and your interest!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fool's Space Hulk Rumour

New Space Hulk rumor from BoardGameGeek:

I have actually seen the prototype of the new version. They are testing it out here because it's a niche market and they hope the information wouldn't leak.. well, too bad they ran into a BGG'er.

Anyway, the new version involves the following:

- Plastic hallway pieces that stand on small legs so you can reach underneath with magnet sticks (explained beneath).

- Each miniature has a small magnet on its base. Addionally, genestealers are fitted with a small battery which makes them move their arms

- To reinforce the "realistic experience" (as stated in the manual), you are not allowed to touch the pieces directly but have to use magnetic sticks which you stick under the boards and use them to move the figures "remotely". This sounds ridicilous but actually works just fine. GW stated that if this catches on, they think about including "magnet sticks" in the Warhammer series.

- SH has a new ruleset that does away with those pesky " 4 action points" and "command points" and uses a much more elegant system: you throw a little 6-sided cube with numbers 1 to 6 on it; the number you see on the top when it stops rolling is the number of "action points" you have on the turn. Genious!

Anyway I would post some pics but I don't want to breach the signed "prototype test" contract too much.


Magnetic sticks and Genestealers waving their arms around. Heh.
Wouldnt it be quite sad if this actually turned out to be true?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Even more Space Hulk rumors

I have been seeing a few more sightings of rumors, but I got an email yesterday about a few interesting tidbits. But first some new rumors that have been floating around a few various forums.

  • Possibly an October release.
  • Possibly £60 or about $90 USD (this makes sense as it fits the price point of similar big box games such as Descent from FFG)
  • 10 Terminators, all differently posed (though the uniqueness of each pose may only vary slightly, much like Assault on Black Reach Terminators)
  • Terminator Captain with options for Thunder Hammer/Stormshield or Power weapon/Storm bolter.
  • Librarian who'll be 'descending a set of stairs'
  • Not sure about Genestealer stuff
  • The tiles are going to be card.

Stuff that was sent to me that does tie in somewhat to the above info:

  • Terminators will have 40mm scenic bases included, quite possible that they will be square. (the scenic bases rumor matches what we have seen regarding the Librarian's 'descending stairs' rumor)
  • The scale for the board spaces will likewise increase in size from the 30mm that Space Hulk has had for the past 2 editions to 40mm or 45mm square.
  • The card tiles are said to be 'embossed'.
I have no idea who sent me this, so take these rumors with the grain of salt that merits such anonymous info. If you have any info regarding the above please do not hesitate to comment and either confirm or dispute such rumors.

But if these do turn out to be true, then there are many things that these minor rumors do bring to light.
  1. The rules are seeming to be based more on 1st ed than it is on 2nd ed. This is deduced by the inclusion of the Captain and Librarian. The rules are also changing because we see the Captain can now be armed with a Thunder Hammer/Storm shield. This option was not previously possible in 1st ed in any of its expansions. So we have at least a very vague glimpse into what the rules may look like.
  2. The increase in base size for the Terminators and the possibility that they will be square makes sense if GW are to include scenic bases. Scenic bases for Terminators does not seem likely on a 25mm base, especially since the newer style of terminators do not exactly fit on 25mm bases to begin with. Also it makes sense because this is a standalone boardgame and square bases should have been included in the game originally anyways since facing is so important to the Space Hulk game mechanic.
  3. Genestealers may likely share this new basing scheme. This is important because Genestealers will no longer topple over because of their high center of gravity versus their comparatively small bases they previously had.
  4. The embossed card tiles may be a lackluster attempt at making the game marketable towards both the hobbyist and the boardgamer alike. Rumors about what the tiles are made of are so conflicting that it might be possible that the base game will include card tiles, but that there are plastic tiles made available through hobby shops or direct order for the hobbyists who play this game (which are GW's main bread and butter nowadays. GW makes games to sell models, not models to sell games. This is GW's frst attempt at an actual stand alone board game in over 15 years. I find it unlikely that GW will actually not try to make as much money off of this release as they possibly can. And that means making as much stuff for the hobbyists as they can).
  5. The 'embossed' tiles also might possibly mean that they are vacuformed plastic tiles, much like what we saw with the 40K 'moon crater' set.
So far, the only thing I am seeing that might affect my project is that the bases might possibly be square and perhaps the new options for the Captain. Pretty minor in the grand scheme of things.

Friday, March 27, 2009

GW Space Hulk rumors

Well, I have to say that the rumors for GW's re-release of the game gives me a bit of pause concerning my own project.

I am sure most of you have already read new rumors concerning the rerelease of Space Hulk, but I will quote the pertinent entry here:

Hi guys,

More whispers regarding the best Warhammer 40k boardgame ever made, Space Hulk.

Talk about the tubes is that when Games Workshop sets their mind on something they go all the way. Space Hulk is being described as a full bore rework with all the bells and whistles you could ever want.

Sources say to expect it in Q3 2009, and we have heard tales of modular plastic boards, an extensive set of large scale sprues with all the termys and genestealers you can shake a stick it, and all new fancy elements such as sliding doors and the like. There might even be a need for batteries (perhaps). Expect a full sized boxed game that will make all you cry with tears of joy.

~I was somewhat excited after our last Space Hulk rumor, but its looking like its not going to be just a simple re-release but a hefty overhaul. Now I'm excited!

Its an enormous cost expenditure to create a custom tile set like this and am quite curious to see how GW are going to visualize their Space Hulk Tiles.

My thoughts on this are to create the masters in anticipation of molding the tiles. But hold off on actually making the molds and casting the tiles until I see shots of what GW are going to do since making the molds and casting are actually quite quickly done. (A mere matter of a couple days of work, as opposed to weeks of work designing tiles and building masters.)

The reasons for this are because I have no idea what GW are going to be doing design wise for their game. Will they make corridors wide enough for dreadnoughts to be allowed for example? Are they going to do something different for rooms? etc.

While my tiles are 2.5" wide and are able to accommodate the widest arm span of any Genestealer, I think that models such as dreadnoughts will be a tight fit at best if they do intend on including such models in the newest version.

This is all supposition as we do not know what GW is planning, but this project is an effort to make it backward and forward compatible with all versions of the game. So in the interest of compatibility I will only work on the masters until such time as I have a better understanding of where this release is going.

This will allow for easier adjustments later on, instead of sinking an enormous amount of time and effort into an incompatible tile set.

If no changes are made by GW for tile design, then I can still cast the pieces needed and have the tiles ready to play with well before it is released to the general public.

The project isn't being canned by any means as the tiles I have already designed function quite well for 1st & 2nd edition. However, progress will be made at a more cautious pace until more in known.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Space Hulk concept work: 3D Tiles #4

Base set of Space Hulk tiles found in both 1st & 2nd editions of the game, again realized in Sketchup.

The amount is modified a bit however, as several campaigns later released depended on the players to own several sets.

3x3 Room - Entries 1 x1

3x3 Room - Entries 2 (90 degrees) x6

3x3 Room - Entries 3 x2

Corridor - Corner x10

Corridor - T-Intersection x10

Corridor - X-Intersection x10

Corridor - End x7

Corridor - Spaces 1 x4

Corridor - Spaces 2 x8

Corridor - Spaces 3 x10

Corridor - Spaces 4 x6

Corridor - Spaces 5 x6

Bulkhead & Door Frame x5

Door & Door Frame x23

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Space Hulk concept work: 3D Tiles #3

Update to show a few more board sections shown in Sketchup that are from the White Dwarf 2nd edition missions.

This one shows how the air duct corridors from the 'Defilement of Honour' campaign are incorporated into the 3D project.

The air duct corridors are only accessible by Genestealers or Blip tokens to allow sneak attacks throughout the Space Hulk.

And a full length shot underneath an air duct corridor section to show how they connect areas of other corridors/rooms in Space Hulk.

The bottom blocks are used to support and interlock the surface tiles of the air duct corridor section, and to give spacing for the 1/2" walls locking the air duct corridor section in place to prevent shifting during game play.

Rooms and corridors from the 'Bringer of Sorrow' campaign.

Paintwork progress has been made on Terminators, but I have misplaced my DSLR so photo updates of painted figs will be delayed for a short while.

Revealing past work I have done on this project gives me enough time to play catch-up in instances such as this.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Space Hulk concept work: 3D Tiles #2

This is just a quick update to illustrate a few things about the 3D tiles. First to show you how the doors and bulkheads interact with the tiles themselves and second to clarify the bits on the Sketchup tiles that look out of place.

Here is a pic of a hallway where I scaled the little guy (lets call him "Jervis") to be the same height as a new (2005) plastic Terminator without his base. As you can see, Jervis' head is approximately 1/4" below the top of the walls. The walls at this height will help the problem of visibility even while sitting at the table.

Next is a shot to illustrate visibility of Terminators at a relatively low viewing level as well as any areas in pink are to be considered excess and will not be on the finished tiles. This reflects what pieces I have have to make a custom mold for in order to fit in size requirements.

A bit more concept work is the Genestealer entry area tile. Normally in Space Hulk this is just an open ended area of the tile. But for the sake of visual style, I decided to make a tile for this purpose. It also gives you a place to set your blip counters that might be lurking outside of the entry area on top of the tile.

The wall will look as if the 'Stealers ripped open the side of the corridor to gain access. Hopefully my meager artistic skills in paint can convey this. :D

The design for this could very well change as this isn't a compulsory tile required to play the game. I welcome any suggestions on how this could be done.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Space Hulk concept work: TOKENS

Building a three dimensional Space Hulk board requires more work than that 'simple' task in order to play the game.

Rules and missions must be formatted if you do not already own a copy. Tokens must be made. Models must be built and painted.

Today, I am addressing tokens that will be needed to play all editions of Space Hulk.

I will first start by saying that creating your own durable and visually stunning tokens can be quite cheap and easy to do if you have good image files to work with and you have access to laser printable sheets of the 70's craze Shrinky Dinks. I estimate that you would need about 4 packs to do all the tokens you would need for Space Hulk due to how much the sheets shrink.

But that is not the route I will be taking for this project.

Litko Aerosystems has proven to be a good source of durable acrylic, laser etched gaming tokens (both pre-made and custom) for quite awhile now and only get better with each passing day.

The following is a list of suggested pre-made tokens made by Litko that can prove useful for Space Hulk:

Heavy Flamer Tokens
Out of all the flame tokens that Litko makes I like these flamer tokens the most because they add to the three dimensional quality I am striving for, they are small enough to fit on the same space as other models without having to move the models to place them like you do previously with GW's flame tokens and for $10 I can buy all the snazzy flamer tokens I may need.

Litko also has a larger selection of other tokens you may find use for in the game, but due to my use of a roster sheet to keep track of various game effects I find I will not be needing any more pre-made tokens that they offer.

And now for the list of custom tokens that will be needed.

One of Litko's first token sets they ever produced was the 'scanner blip token'.

Which is very nice except for one rather glaring problem. They are clear enough to see through. Those of you who play Space Hulk know that what is face down on the blip counter must be kept secret from the Space Marine player so that the element of surprise is maintained when you reveal how many Genestealers will be pouncing on him.

If I am going to be paying such a premium for tokens, then they better damned well work for what I need them for right out of the package.

I fixed this problem by asking Litko if they could reproduce this exact token in the following customized way;
Thirty one 30mm opaque green acrylic squares etched on the top in the scanner blip style face, 3mm rounded edges with the following numerals etched on the reverse face:
  • Nine tokens with '1' on the reverse
  • Four tokens with '2' on the reverse
  • Nine tokens with '3' on the reverse
  • Two tokens with '4' on the reverse
  • Two tokens with '5' on the reverse
  • Two tokens with '6' on the reverse
  • Three tokens with '0' on the reverse
Along with two 30mm opaque red acrylic squares etched on the top in the scanner blip style face, 3mm rounded edges with nothing etched on the reverse face. (These are for Ambush tokens. More on that later...)

Litko replied quickly and said it wasn't a problem. In fact because I was ordering 33 tokens, the price for this customization was barely more expensive than I would have paid to get non-customized tokens. $24.98 versus $23.96.

That takes care of the blip tokens but Overwatch/Jammed counters are also needed as well.

Litko provides both of these as pre-made items:
But it is unlike the original Space Hulk game where the 'Jammed' token was merely the reverse of the 'Overwatch' face.

Well, Litko is ever accommodating and I asked them to etched the word 'Jammed' across the reverse side of the Overwatch token set and it actually cost me less to do this than it was to buy two separate token sets. $9.99 versus $10.98

Grand total after shipping for the 43 tokens was $41.17. (I didn't order the flame tokens because my LFGS carries Litko products so I decided I would support my LFGS as much as I could by only purchasing custom items in this order.)

One might gasp at such a cost, but I think this is a pretty good deal when I take into account the durability of these tokens as well as the time and effort it would take myself to create an equitable product.

About the only (albeit minor) drawback I can see to this is that I can expect to wait 3+ weeks for this order to be made before it even ships due to the custom nature of this order. But I do not need these immediately so it really isn't a concern.