Sphyr Team Overview – Cetamere Centurions

These pictures make them look more the colour that I wanted. They're really a bit darker.The Cetamere system is unusual in that every planet has a large amount of water on the surface – the asteroids are mostly ice comets caught in the star’s gravity and even the moons of the planets are mostly water or ice.

The Sphyr were invited to colonise the system to provide a ready workforce for an enterprising group of Corporations working together to exploit the system, given it’s challenges for most citizens of the GCPS.

It didn’t take long for the Cetamere Conglomerate to elevate the worker’s off-duty activities to company sponsored events, with the aim of sponsoring a team in the local sector leagues.I normally don't do much with the guards, other than try and push a space on the 3-point zone.

I intended to have the Asterians all painted up, but got distracted. It’s very difficult to stay focussed on them when I have so many other, easier teams to paint. I’ve done more work with a wet palette on this team to try and practice mixing colours and getting smoother blends. The skin was a base of Calgar Blue mixed with Eshin Grey, highlighted with Dawnstone mixed with Calgar Blue, then a highlight with more Calgar Blue, and a final one with a little Pallid Wych Flesh.These guys are often defending with their back to the pitch, for their tail ability to make them a little more survivable.

The armour was Rhinox Hide mixed with Bestigor Flesh. Increasing amounts of Bestigor Flesh for a further three-ish layers. Straight Bestigor Flesh on the gems.

I wanted a more “sandy” colour for the armour but I think I started too dark (or didn’t go for a big enough jump in the middle coat). I’m still practicing with the wet palette and I think I learned a lot from this team, as simple as their colour scheme was.

Also on display here is the Gruba-Tek Coliseum pitch, a new toy and very nice for travelling

I have gotten along well with this team – high movement, slightly better-than-average Dodge, and lots of Strikers (or “Hulk insurance”) are nice. They can handle a pretty good passing game and they already start with a card to save me the trouble of buying one. I don’t know exactly what upgrades I would buy in an exhibition match, I don’t know that they need any coach benefits and ranks wouldn’t guarantee them the Skill boost that every Striker wants. Maybe they are a good team to fill up on coaching dice with, to help push for early scores and landslides.

Obligatory 'Strikers Run' pose

Tournaments and Painting Progress 2015

The dates for this years DreadBall tournaments have been announced – about a half-dozen Regional events around the country finished up with a National tournament in October, meaning a tournament season of around six months.

As well as the Regional events this year, some tournaments can be “qualifying” events with the same nice trophies and free entry to the Nationals for the winner. Information on these has been thin on the ground but there is one happening in mid-Wales hosted by the Mid-Wales Wargaming Society, which will be raising money for charity (the Wales Air Ambulance Charity).

The Bristol tournament organisation has changed – Bristol Vanguard will only be running one tournament this year. It will be an independent event outside of the official tournament circuit, around September time.

The Wales Regional has been renamed the Wales and South-West Regional, possibly in recognition of the fact that not only has every Wales Regional winner been from outside Wales, but every other player too! Rather ironic, as I believe this is the first year that a Welsh person is going to attend.

Looking at the calendar, it is possible for me to reach the MWWS event in Builth Wells, the Wales and South-West Regional, the South Regional (in Brighton) and possibly the London Regional in a single day-trip, although a lot of driving. Everywhere else is just too far away. We will still be making the effort to go to Nottingham for the National tournament in October.

I’m hoping to get some of the new teams painted in time for these tournaments. I’ll be trying to take something different each time (and my Veer-myn are on a well-earned vacation) but what those teams are will depend on how well I do. I can see myself bringing Martians to a tournament later in the year because they were just so much fun to play, even being totally useless!

On the painting front, I’ve been able to do a little bit of painting most evenings for the past few weeks. It’s not a lot, but it’s getting the main coats down on a lot of teams or doing a bit more work if I’m not too tired to concentrate. The Asterians are getting (frustrating) progress, the skin on the Sphyr and Grogans are finished, and I’m working on the Rebs uniforms before tackling their various skin tones. I was impressed when I realised that the Gaelian Jack (a centaur-like alien) was wearing a jumpsuit designed for it’s unique physiology – good show that designer!

As much as I love the Hobgoblins, I have no idea how to paint them. I don’t like the colour scheme in the book. I’m tempting to go for something yellow-brown and green without looking too much like the Veer-myn. Maybe if I use some of my new blending skills to make the armour transition from one colour to the other in a more organic style than solid plates. One of the downsides of the Xtreme Kickstarter is that there aren’t “spare” models for each team like there were in the original DreadBall Kickstarter, so I can’t experiment with a bold style and then throw it away if it doesn’t work. That would mean opening up the mint, untouched, brand new bag with the duplicate team in.

Another challenge in painting the Hobgoblins will be arriving at a good colour scheme that fits both the scrawny, pathetic, stinky players and the Hulk.

My painting table at the moment is very disordered – I have Convicts, Kalyshi and Rebels on it as well as DBX scenery. There’s still a few teams from Seasons One to Three unpainted (sorry Forge Fathers…) and a few that are practically finished but for highlights. I’m helping a friend out with a DreadBall demo day in a couple of weeks and I anticipate being able to paint between demo games so maybe I’ll get something finished off in that time. Even though I’m jumping around (a lot), it’s all progress and despite not really finishing any teams that I’m working on quickly, I know that it’s helping me get them closer to finished without feeling like I’m rushing anything in particular.

Why So Zeerious?

I couldn’t come up with a backstory for the Zees. I had so many ideas for them, drawing from many sources including my love of genetics and the Planet of the Apes series. I came up with something long and complex with pointless detail and it wasn’t even entertaining for me (and as you’ve seen elsewhere on this blog, my standards are fairly low). It occurred to me that the Zees are anarchic and unpredictable, they’re irresponsible and irreverent. They aren’t going to be honest about anything, much less their own history. They probably even stole their equipment, rather than look at all cohesive and organised. Every single one of them will end up giving a different account of who they are and where the come from, and laugh about the confusion caused.

For the Zees, I went for a colour scheme inspired by The Joker. I put more orange in than purple because I wanted to differentiate them from the Z’zor team I already painted, but I think the three main colours match well.

The skin is Khemri Brown with a Flesh Wash (ancient GW paint), another highlight of Khemri Brown and some have a Dheneb Stone highlight. I found Dheneb Stone a bit difficult to highlight with because it is so strong with pigment (being a foundation paint, I guess) that it doesn’t have anything between “covers everything” and “this is a wash”. The eyes were Eshin Grey. The orange was a practice run for my Nameless team – it works here, but I might need to do something else to get the effect I want on the Nameless. It was a Vermin Brown base with Squig Orange. The purple was Liche Purple with a Genestealer Purple highlight. Some of the models had a Tentacle Pink edge highlight, but I didn’t like the effect too much. The green was Snot Green, Orc Flesh Wash (again, an ancient GW wash), more Snot Green and Scorpion Green highlight.

It still needs to be finished off with a highlight of yellow on the visors, and Incubi Darkness on the bases to cover my sloppy boot painting.

This is the first team that I managed to name every member of it. It was always the plan to name the teams, but I find it a little difficult. This one was much easier! The line-up is:

  1. Benjamin
  2. Benchamin
  3. Benjummin
  4. Benzhamin
  5. Benchummin
  6. Benzhummin
  7. Benjimun
  8. Benchimun
  9. Benzhimun
  10. Benjamon

Zoatally Z’zorsome

Military psychologists have been experimenting for a number of years to find a way to condition Corporation soldiers for the challenge of fighting the Z’zor on distant planets. Many humans find it disconcerting, possibly due to the way they move, the noises they make, or the way they tap into the tiny, primal ape brain deep inside that holds an inexplicable fear of all insects, even those only two inches long. It could also be down to the totally valid fear of an insect seven-feet tall that could punch a hole through a car or slice a cow in two with their powerful pincers.

The Zoat corporation, a varied entity with a small foothold in many commercial industries both military and domestic, was one of the first to attempt to capture and breed Z’zor specimens for practice but still they found it difficult to break that psychological barrier. After a couple of years however, an interesting effect was noticed – the researchers and colonels overseeing the experiments had completely lost their fear of the Z’zor despite never having faced them. The fearlessness remained when the roles were reversed, and they were armed and sent against the captured specimens in a live-fire exercise. It seemed that constantly watching Z’zor in holo-vids, on screens and in slow-motion action replays nurtured a familiarity with the creatures, and familiarity breeds contempt.

A few short months later, and Zoat’s military training with the Z’zor had been cancelled. Instead, Zoat became the preeminent supplier of Z’zor DreadBall teams, making use of it’s military studies to secure funding from mercenary units and Corporation planetary expedition forces looking to employ a new generation of fearless human warriors ready to face the Z’zor in battle. This initiative has been so successful, the Zoat corporation now counts bioengineered Z’zor DreadBall teams as it’s most profitable venture. Second place is a product that appeared about the same time – the crunchy breakfast cereal with a unique taste, Zzorios.

First, a poem:

Mould lines on the Z’zor.
I hate them the most.
More than anything.

Hopefully that sums up how I feel about them!

As for paint schemes, I wasn’t sure whether to go with an old-school Space Hulk Genestealer scheme (deep blues and pinky purples), a more “chitinous” type of bone colour (which I’ve seen done well on the DreadBall Fanatics page on Facebook) or a sort of “Aliens” inspired black armour plates with a coloured highlight – either green, yellow or purple – in streaks and blobs, in a kind of organic insectoid patterning. I have settled on the bone colour for now, with the internal bits in bone and the armour plates in a dark, streaky purple. In the end, I didn’t trust my freehand enough for the patterning, and I prefer the contrast of the bone and purple rather than blue and purple/pink.

The bone was done with Zandri Dust, washed with a very old Flesh Wash then more Zandri Dust and a highlight of Bleached Bone. I think I overdid the Bleached Bone on a couple of the players. The carapace was Naggaroth Night, highlighted up through Liche Purple and Genestealer Purple in an imprecise, streaky sort of style. It didn’t come out as streaky as I thought it would, but I really really like the final effect. It was so simple, and just instantly added depth to the armour plates.

The eyes were done with red for a bit of contrast, the same way many people paint gemstones. My precise method was Crimson Gore, Mephiston Red, Blood Red, then a Bloodletter Glaze over the whole thing. I can only just tell the difference myself, but I do believe that there’s a very slight graduation through the eye, from bottom to top.

I decided to leave the numbers off of the models for now – I can’t think of any smart way to do it that would look natural enough for the rest of the model. If anyone can give me a good idea, maybe I’ll revisit them when I paint up my spare models.

I’ve taken them to one tournament so far (the 2013 Bristol Regional Tournament), and didn’t do greatly there – but I enjoyed playing a bashy team and I’m about to start using them in the next Vanguard league… watch this space!

DreadBall Kickstarter Season Three

The DreadBall Kickstarter is nearly over… I’ve received my final parcel, I have a big pile of plastic to clean, assemble and paint and all that is left is the ‘Creating DreadBall’ digital book and the backer MVP rules.

I’ve really enjoyed getting involved in the tournament ‘scene’ – I’ve taken part in four tournaments this year, winning one and doing acceptably in all of them. The National tournament has been postponed, but a second Open Day this year has been planned for the end of November. Oli, Jen and I are going to rock up there en masse and see what we can do. It’ll give me a little more time to practice for the Nationals too.

So far, I’ve played one game of Ultimate (my Veer-myn, Jen’s S1 Corp and Oli’s S2 Corp) – it’s a real blast, you’ve got to focus much more on scoring with the lack of actions but it’s a real shift from the familiar two player game. Having two players gang up to put threat hexes on a model with the ball is an interesting new tactic, as well as nearly having sudden death on us. I intend to break it out for our DreadBall day in January, I think our casual players will pick it up relatively quickly and enjoy it.

I’ve also played a couple of games with the Zees – one win and one loss. I haven’t got a clue how to play them, they are absolutely insane. They can’t score, they can’t slam, and they definitely can’t pass, but they can move around a lot and they can put out a lot of threat hexes. A few times, I managed to get all ten of my players on the pitch at once. The foul rules are neat and don’t feel like the game slows down at all, and the Zees do stand a chance of being sent off. The only thing is that while concentrating so much on fouling myself and trying to find an edge for the unpredictable primates, I didn’t notice that Jen had snuck on a extra player right at the beginning and was Sneaking for most of the game. My summary – no idea how to play them, but loads of fun. Can’t see them being competitive but they should be an awesome team for a laugh, maybe in a game of Ultimate…

After that, I tried a game with the Nameless against Oli’s Corporation. Just for a laugh, we upgraded our teams with 20mc and I chose to bring Dozer in, to see how giants work. It’s the first time I’ve played a game involving MVPs of any kind. The basic plan was to run in with a Sticky Guard, then slam with Dozer. Six dice slam with a 3 dice penalty on the target should have made it pretty lethal, right? Nope. I’ll have to try again to be sure but the luck was definitely not with me that game.

Then there’s the Mars Attacks Kickstarter. I wasn’t planning on backing, and on the morning that I wrote all of this out ready to queue up for the next scheduled update Mantic went and put up the rumoured Martian DreadBall team. I had a whole thing ready about how I think the cross-over is OK in my eyes but I could see myself getting disappointed if they appeared in Warpath if I were a Warpath player. However, Mantic beat me to it and explained that they don’t fit in Warpath or DeadZone, but that Mars Attacks love cross-overs and DreadBall is a suitable target for it. The renders don’t look particularly exciting, and they may never be legal outside of Mantic tournaments, but I like a bit of a laugh and they look pretty cool with the clear dome helmets. Should be a bit of fun to paint. Well done Mantic, you have my money – now give me a Martian team!

With so many models to assemble and paint, I’ve got to be organised about it. I’m planning on building the bare minimum Season Three teams and prone markers for the teams I have finished. Then I’ll be painting the Season One Corporation for Oli to take to the Open Day (with an extra Jack, because he prefers the Season Two team…) and hopefully, if there’s time, paint the prone markers for our three teams.

Next up, I think I’ll finish assembling everything I have. That way if a good weather day appears over the winter to undercoat them, I’ll be able to get out and hit those ready. Otherwise, I’ll be working on painting the Forge Fathers and finishing off the Season One teams highlights. Then I can put Season One to rest – finished. After that, I’ve nearly finished two Season Two teams (I just need to paint the last Z’zor Jack to make them legal) and have started the Judwan and Robots, so they’ll be a good place to go next. Based on my current painting habits (“wait for a tournament, pick an unpainted team, make sure they’re done enough on time”) I’ll probably be in the same place next year!

In the dim and distant future when all teams are painted I’d like to do the Keepers and prone markers next, followed by the Giants, Cheerleaders and MVPs. I’ve never used MVPs so I’m not in a great hurry to get them painted but I know that they’ll have to be eventually! I intend to paint the team-specific MVPs to match their teams, but the less restrictive ones in unique colour schemes. It’s going to cost me a fortune in paint.

Sordus Silage Scroungers

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The CPS Norvegicanne was an unlucky ship – some said cursed, others said haunted. Whatever the truth, it was certainly always in need of repairs and maintenance. The engineering crews worked round the clock but regardless of what the ship provisioned, it never had enough supplies or equipment – whether due to administrative error, logistics failures or shipping delays, the crew had to make do with bodges and temporary fixes that no-one had time to revisit and improve.

When the ship’s deflector arrays failed in a dense asteroid field, the Veer-myn who’d been secretly living on board finally made their move. Breaking out of the machinery rooms and ventilation ducts, they scoured the ship for food. The crew abandoned the ship, doubling up in what escape pods hadn’t deteriorated, and escaped to a nearby planetoid leaving the rats to the junk ship.

Six months later, the Norvegicanne reached a starbase at the edge of the star system. No-one could work out how they’d got the ship’s systems to keep them alive long enough, let alone travel and navigate out of the asteroid field to reach civilisation – indeed, all systems went off-line mere hours after arrival. The Corporation (Sordus Silage) immediately impounded and quarantined the ship, and while interrogating it’s Veer-myn occupants to discover their engineering secrets, discovered that they had formed an enthusiastic DreadBall team. After watching thousands of games played by the human crew, and analysing holo-vid recordings of famous games, they had formed their own teams and practiced for much of their brief rule of the ship.

Once it was clear which of the Veer-myn knew nothing about starship mechanics, Sordus Silage conscripted a DreadBall team from the rat’s ranks and entered them into the local league. Since then, they have made some great games, including an astonishing 5-rush landslide against a human Corporation team that contributed to their first tournament victory, the DGB Llamedos Regional!

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The Veer-myn were the first team that I painted. I didn’t have a clear idea of how I wanted to paint the other teams.

I started playing them when we first got the game, but began concentrating on the Marauders and Forge Fathers when tournaments came around – favouring the simpler, smashier teams over the more challenging Veer-myn. After the Vanguard DreadBall tournament however, I brought them back with new tactics and a new plan to take on the Judwan that I expected to face at the Welsh Regional Heat – I didn’t face any Judwan, but they did bring me the victory!

Colour-wise, I started with a Bubonic Brown base, Chestnut Ink wash to give them a bit of grime, and then more Bubonic Brown. The metal was straight Dwarf Bronze, and the skin was exactly the same as I do Dwarf skin – Tanned Flesh base with Dwarf Flesh highlights. I’m not entirely happy with the skin, but it does look great on the tails. The fur is Dark Flesh highlighted with Vermin Fur, and all the straps, bindings and glove mitts are Dark Angels Green highlighted with Snot Green. The claws were straight Dheneb Stone.

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I tried to freehand the numbers on the back, and used Calthan Brown. Some came out alright, some were a bit more wobbly, and the colour was far too close to the main armour to be easily visible. At some point, I may go back and try to hide the existing numbers and redo them with green, for a better contrast but I’m happy with them for now. I’d like to move to a different team with some other colours!

I’m planning on painting the team-exclusive MVPs in the colours of the team that they will play for, and also on tweaking their background a little bit to make them my own. I want to try and get my teams painted first though, since I have never played a game with MVPs at all, I’m happier to put them off for a bit so I can spend a bit more time on them when they come around.

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Radio Stars

Podcasts are fantastic. I don’t like media that isn’t on demand, like traditional television and radio. I don’t know why I let theatre off, maybe because it’s more of a conscious decision to consume theatre.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t like the content (although most of it is garbage) – I love DVDs and own a few television series on DVD so that I can watch it when it’s convenient (and pause it when the kids wake up), and I listen to a lot of podcasts. Since I started a new job in Cardiff and hence do a lot of commuting, I’ve been listening to even more – and here they are.

.NET Rocks

This is a good one to start with – it’s one I’m thinking of giving up. I started listening to it a few years ago as one of the first podcasts I picked up. It’s a technology podcast about .NET stuff, programming stuff and related fields. Unfortunately, it’s a pretty heavy schedule and puts out two shows a week of about an hour, and not all of the topics are relevant to me as it’s quite a broad range of subjects. They also seem to have quite a heavy bias towards Agile methodologies, and I’m not a fan of those yet. Although one episode did seem a little sceptical about them, so maybe they’re just playing up to whatever guest they have. I don’t think the value I get out of it is worth it.

On the other hand, it is good to put on in the background and mostly ignore when I am working from home – I’ll see how that goes.

The D6 Generation

The D6 Generation is a mammoth show about games – mostly board games, though they are familiar with (and less fanboyish than) tabletop wargames. There’s always a quiz, usually a guest, and the most in-depth reviews I’ve ever heard to give you an idea of playing a game. I’ve picked up a couple of suggestions for future additions to Games Night from this show, but so far not tested their reviews. I also love that they don’t blindly review things, they actually give negative opinions if they don’t like a game.

This is another one I listened to many years ago and dropped, because each episode is over 3 hours long and come out every 3-4 weeks. Now that I’m commuting over 5 hours a week, I have the time for this show again and I get an awful lot out of it.

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History

I’ve only recently picked this one up but gone back through the archive as far as the RSS feed goes. This took me back as far as an episode on the Age of Exploration and the whole of the Death of the Roman Republic series. It’s a fantastic podcast, although each episode is a few hours long they only come out every couple of months and I still have the whole Wrath of the Khans series to get through to keep me going. I try and keep these episodes as a treat to myself for having finished listening to everything else on the list, else I would just blow through them all in no time at all.

Hanselminutes

I think this is the only podcast that I’ve been listening to since the very start. It’s another .NET technology podcast, but occasionally branches into other areas like organisational skills, diabetes and disability, fitness and hobbies, but Scott Hanselman is an excellent host and as it’s only a half-hour show it’s very easy to fit in to the daily commute and learn a little bit about a range of subjects.

I realised how long I had been listening to this show when I met up with some developer friends, mentioned a Hanselminutes show about something we were discussing, and when I went to the archives to find it for them found it had been over three years before!

Webcomics Weekly

Technically, this is another one that I’ve been listening to since I started listening to podcasts – it may even have been the first podcast I listened to. But it stopped being weekly, then it stopped being… then it came back for a few episodes and disappeared again. It’s still on the RSS reader if it ever updates again, but I’m not holding my breath.

Heelanhammer

This is the first Warhammer podcast I subscribed to, and I thought it was fantastic. Unfortunately it’s ceased recording now, but at least (unlike Webcomics Weekly) they officially announced their end. Ironically, it was after a week where they joked about finishing up the show.

While writing this, however, they have announced that after a nine month hiatus, they are coming back in the middle of March! Hooray!

Bad Dice

The second Warhammer podcast I started listening to, I almost quit this one immediately. The first episode I listened to had three guests, and one didn’t play Warhammer and was just being a snarky, rude and extremely annoying twerp. The following week, it was announced that he and another of the guests would be co-hosts going forward, and he was marginally less annoying.

I stuck it out, and over the past year Gareth has been getting better and better and made the podcast really enjoyable. He’s an excellent counterpoint to the tournament-heavy bent of the other hosts, asking simple questions and getting used to things slowly just like people who don’t play Warhammer at least once a week. I’m glad I didn’t quit on it back in the beginning.

Bad Dice Daily

This is a spin-off from the Bad Dice podcast (the clue is in the name) where the main host (Ben Curry) talks for 15-20 minutes each day on a different subject. I don’t sync episodes on my phone every day, so I normally end up with a few to listen to all at once. It’s an excellent show, short enough to not get annoying if the subject is dull (most tournament results or White Dwarf news, for me) but long enough to impart useful knowledge such as the “How to Paint Black” or “How to Paint White” episodes.

Mantic Podcast

I’ve become a big Mantic fan in the last year – their Kings of War ruleset is interesting and if I had more time to play, I’d love to give it a go, and I’ve mentioned Dreadball on this blog a few times already. They put out an infrequent podcast also hosted by Ben Curry and since most of these recently have been about Dreadball, I’ve been listening avidly.

Garagehammer

I picked this one up when Ben Curry of Bad Dice was a guest on it talking about Dark Elves (my favourite army), their tactics, and the rest. I added it to the regular subscription list and figured I’d see how I liked it – and I did! They are more hobby focussed than Bad Dice, and they’re not serial tournament champions. Since Heelanhammer finished, they’ve definitely filled a void that Bad Dice doesn’t quite fit. Some of their best and worst episodes are their playthrough battle reports – during a game, they take breaks to describe the turn. It might be just that sometimes I’m not paying complete attention to the podcast (something I make sure to do with shows like Hardcore Histories), but I can’t always visualise the game and lose the thread of things, and at that point I just want it to be over and skip to the next bit.

Radio 4 Friday Night Comedy and Comedy of the Week

When I used to drive to work on my own, I got used to listening to the radio. I eventually gravitated to Radio 4 because Radio 1 is not for me, Radio 2 was hit and miss with the DJs, and every other station has adverts and I can’t stand adverts. Jack FM is best of a bad bunch, but I found that at the same time every Wednesday evening there would be Steve Harley Come Up and See Me, and that was the nail in the repetitive playlist coffin. Then we removed the car radio but didn’t replace it so that was the end of the radio for me.

These podcasts are (usually) hilarious and give me something that amateur comedy podcasts don’t usually do and in a British accent. Listening to too many American accents can get irritating and most of my podcasts now (or at least the longest podcasts) are American.

LRRCast

This podcast is put out by the LoadingReadyRun team and has changed over the last year – they used to go into some detail on how their videos are made, but since this is now handled by the Loading Time video series, they’ve reduced that content. The Ask LRR section is a bit hit and miss – sometimes it’s really interesting and other times it’s “what Magic card would you be if you were the opposite gender”. After a long hiatus, they’ve also come back with a new format – regular LRRCast once a month, a Magic podcast once a month, and a games podcast once a month. This is nice, because if I don’t feel like listening to a bunch of Magic: The Gathering stuff (and why would I? I don’t play!) I can just skip it. Similarly, I’m just not into computer games as much as I used to be, so that one is skipped too.

Penn’s Sunday School

Penn Jillette, the noisy part of Penn & Teller, puts up a libertarian, atheist music-loving podcast.

This is another podcast I almost dropped – before I had a big catch-up a couple of weeks ago, it was always the one I passed over for other things. The big problem was an episode a fair while ago that just had so many adverts it bored me – especially since most of the adverts were for American berry supplies, American postage stuff, etc. It’s just not relevant or interesting. I usually catch up on it to get to an interesting guest interview – the last catch-up was to get to an episode with Teller, and before that to get to one with George Takei. I won’t just skip to the interviews I want though, because that would mean missing things like an interview with Peter Noone. I had never heard of him before, but it’s one of the best episodes of Penn’s Sunday School they’ve done.

Meeples & Miniatures

I listened to a couple of episodes of this that discussed Dreadball – obviously – and decided it’s not really meant for me. I liked the podcast, but it was a bit long and didn’t really click for me. But apparently, the guys behind Meeples and Miniatures are going to be making a Dreadball podcast soon! That’ll be going straight onto the list. Since I can’t actually think of a reason why I didn’t pick this up (they’re like a calm, quiet, relaxing D6 Generation) as a regular cast, maybe I’ll give it another go.

The Diecast

Shamus Young of Twenty Sided is experimenting with a podcast – I haven’t listened yet, but I’ll try it out. I didn’t like the Spoiler Warning series (I barely got five minutes in), although I normally like commentaries and MST3K style things, I just found it annoying more than anything else. But the podcast will be worth a listen to see if I can add it to my list.

DreadBall Catchup

I got my first DreadBall package a couple of weeks ago, and I calculated that it contains over £150 of miniatures – an incredible deal, when you also consider that I’m getting another two packages next year.

So far I’ve played three games with the unassembled Marauder and Corporation teams (luckily, even without arms and heads their poses make the positions clear enough). The first was a half-game against Jen where she beat me with 3 points, in which I played the Marauders and tried to smash the humans into a fine paste.

The second game went better for me – I played against Lord Scree (one of our roleplay group, who plays a human Tollkeeper in the game I’m running and once used a Sunspear to devastating effect) and scored 3 points myself early on. Unfortunately, his Corporation team got two 4-point strikes thanks to awesome passing and learning to smack Orx in the back of the head (although this might have been helped by my misreading that Orx guards only have a speed of 5+). It might have also helped that I got excited on threw a strike with the first action on my turn, and in DreadBall when you lose control of the ball (including throwing a strike) your turn is over and any remaining actions that turn are lost, wasted, unusable. So again, playing as Marauders against the Corporation, I lost by 5 points.

My latest game was against Jen again, and I got to play as the Corporation. I won for the first time, but I can’t remember by how much. The extra power that Strikers have over Jacks is pretty impressive, and now that I have the Veer-myn team assembled, it might be a bit of a fairer fight in our next game until we work out how best to use Jacks (especially Goblin Jacks, who are next to useless at slamming). She had some terrible luck, missing throws and catches with her first couple of actions, or tripping up with the ball while evading,

I’ve definitely got the bug, and my two test opponents love the game too. My next mission is to make sure that the models get assembled and arrange a games night to show it all off. Once they’re all assembled, I can get them undercoated at the first opportunity, then I can begin painting in the evenings again. As they’re all nearly finished, I can be sure that they’ll be assembled by February although I’ll need a good day’s weather (or borrow my in-law’s garage) to spray-undercoat them ready for painting.

I originally hated the colour schemes in the book, but they’re actually growing on me. I think I’ll skip on the Corporation scheme of silver and blue, but I haven’t come up with anything else just yet. I think I’ll stick with the Marauders scheme exactly as is since red goes well with greenskins. I had an idea of reverse-shading on the Forge Fathers, where the deep recesses are white hot and the armour appears to cool as it gets nearer the edge. It might be difficult to pull off, but it’ll be very Forge-y and intimidating in a sports-team style of thing. My Veer-myn definitely won’t be orange and white, I don’t like the clean look for rats at all. I was considering a plaguey green and brown, but the concept art in the book with yellow armour covered in dripping grime and slime, oily and mouldy, also appeals to me. I’m not quite ready to make my mind up yet anyway so I can mull it over, get some feedback, and see what more motivated players are getting up to on the forums.

When the female Corporation team is released next year, I will probably paint them in the same colours as the male Corporation team (when I decide what colour scheme) so I can mix and match the models. I’m not a fan of gender differentiation, and one way to get my attention for an hour or more is to talk about girl toys and boy toys. Just don’t expect to get a word in yourself while I rant. I’d like to have two mixed teams – one using the Season 2 Corporation rules with whatever special agility rules they end up with, and one using the vanilla Season 1 Corporation rules. Perhaps, if it doesn’t look too discordant, I can give them a mix of Star Trek uniforms from Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, where some have a black uniform with coloured shoulders and others have coloured uniforms with black shoulders and trousers. Maybe I’ll try and get a picture editor and experiment before I crack open the paint pots.

When it comes to the MVPs revealed so far, I am tempted in most cases to paint them the same as the team they can play for. In cases like Buzzcut and John Doe who don’t have a single team restriction, I’ve not made my mind up. Even Slippery Joe, who can only play for Marauders, I may end up painting the same as the ‘official’ paint job because he looks pretty cool. Wildcard looks like she’ll have a different uniform to the Season 2 Corporation team, so I can let my imagination fly there. Buzzcut looks to be mostly undressed so he’ll stand out even if I put him in the Marauders colour scheme – he’ll be green where everyone else on his team is in red armour.

I’m not a fan of the colour schemes used for John Doe and Number 88 – they both have the same grey uniform, which for Number 88 means it’s almost a completely grey model. For such a sleek model, I’m thinking about trying some freehand designs on the armour. My favourite idea at the moment is a sort of swirly, sketchy blue – a bit like tribal tattoos but more flowing and less sharp – on a plain white. Now that I come to describe it, a little like a china plate pattern. The flowing pattern matches the ‘Mind Like Water’ skill that the character has, where it can use martial arts techniques and is difficult to really smash. The plain grey armour seems to fit with an assassin on the battlefield, but not a showy bright sports game, televised, vid-casted and advertised all over the place.

For John Doe, I think the deep purple colour is too dark and cartoony-alien coloured. I’m going to experiment with Earth octopi, with some fleshy-orange skin with a cream-white underbelly. It’ll be a nice test of my painting ability, and hopefully when I see the sculpts for the rest of the ‘Nameless’ team (though this won’t be until Season 3) I’ll see if it will still work. The armour I might try and do a slightly metallic blue-green to evoke the sea and marine colours. I’d like to save purple for the Asterians in Season 3 (incidentally, I really want to give them a Green Goblin style with metallic purple and green armour).

We haven’t tried a game with the ref or any event cards yet, since we’re all still learning but I’m looking forward to introducing them soon, in one of the coming games – perhaps after we’ve exercised all the teams a bit more. I’m definitely hoping to get better at the game and at least one team painted before another parcel of models arrives in May next year, with another 50+ models in it!