Friday, August 26, 2016

The Archives of Borom, Book 1: Xilos -- The Chronicles of Karyle, Ch. 1: "A Broken Campsite"

As an exercise of ongoing fiction for my Boromites from Beyond the Gates of Antares, I'm going to be publishing a series of short narratives here recounting the story of Karyle, an up-and-coming Overseer of Guild Bellicosum.

The entries for Book 1: Xilos will be, basically, a sort of "director's cut" of the battle reports posted in the Xilos Campaign run by Warlord Games.


A Broken Campsite

Karyle’s unit had been assigned by the Guildess to oversee the protection of a makeshift generator at one of the landing sites. They had been hired some time ago, leaving the asteroid belt they'd been mining for resources and traveling in the airy and unusual holds of the Arcadia, a space cruiser belonging to Vardo Pugnaran, until only recently.  Having secreted themselves alongside their Freeborn benefactors to the surface despite the Concord and Algoryn presence orbiting Xilos, the handful of Boromite Overseers such as Karyle were taking shifts at various control points on the  too-green world, their presence spread thin throughout the zone of control that had hastily been established.

The particular domari of this site had themselves had left on patrol on their Skyraiders, as they often did, and had told the Boromites little before their departure. In fact, they rarely spoke with the Boromites at all; the relations had been tense during the journey, and only their relative privacy from one another (with the sole exception of their daily assignments at the site) seemed to make it any better.  They'd been the lucky few to leave the ship, however, having been sent ahead to set up a forward contact point while the Arcadia remained on the fringes of the system.  The only briefing the Overseers had been given was that the Guild had been hired to accompany these Freeborn as muscle after an expensive tip had pointed the Freeborn mercenary company in the direction of Xilos. 

Karyle knew little of their mission, and he liked it that way.  Like many of children of Borom, simplicity was Karyle’s favored state of affairs.

Pacing the grounds surrounding the generator, Karyle heard the distant whine and the sharp sounds of air cracking, assuming it was the annoyingly carefree Freeborn skyraiders zooming back through the jungle toward the barren stretch of land they’d chosen as their site.  But as the whining grew louder and more distinct, with the air itself vibrating at the intensity, the alarm began to sound across the comm systems.

It wasn’t their Freeborn allies at all.

The Algoryn assault company’s capsules struck the ground around the immediate vicinity of the base with explosive force, the hail of their weapons' fire erupting from the pods immediately.  Operating with absolute focus, the bastards wasted no time; their momentum established, the Algoryn surged forward as Karyle’s forces came to attention. Looking across the chaotic scene to the most distant pod, Karyle spotted their leader, a noteworthy Algoryn assault commander named Kurar he had been briefed on while aboard the Arcadia as one the commanders likely to be found at Xilos.

Karyle's accompaniment consisted of only two small work gangs, the lavan trainer Leroy and his pack of lavamites, and two of the Guildess’s own sons, who had been practicing their skills with an X-Launcher and used their mother's influence to earn placement for the assignment. 

The boys could have earned the placement on their own, however, having been trained alongside the other Boromite youths and excelling in their studies on weapons of war.  They put their practice with the X-Launcher to work immediately, launching a direct hit onto the forward-most Algoryn squad, devastating it into inaction. 

Leroy and his lavamites were forced to sprint through the incoming fire to reach the generator, having been caught in the open field by the surprise assault.  During their rush they were struck by an overhead blast, turning a pair of Leroy's prized pets into smoldering heaps.  Howling with fury, Leroy called to the worker gang taking cover nearby for aid and surged with his lone remaining mite around the generator, meeting the Algoryn assault squad head on. 

The Worker Gang member bravely fights on with his Mass Compactor... but to no avail.

Rushing to meet the assault to the right side of the generator, Karyle and his bodyguards came around the side of the building quickly enough to witness the horror of an Algoryn assault squad at work; they saw Leroy's shattered remains on the ground, his lone lavamite fighting fiercely while the worker gang was cut down to shreds. Some distance behind him, the other work gang was simultaneously being blasted away by the enemy’s artillery, never having made it any closer to the generator than the landing pad.  Knowing that the day was lost, Karyle signaled the retreat icon to the young Boromite weaopn crew, ordering them to head for their lone shuttlecraft and escape. The stubborn Overseer himself loosed a roar of challenge at the silent Algoryn, barreling into combat with the enemy assault squads hoping to buy enough time for the boys to escape. 

The surgical precision of the Algoryn met the fury of the Boromites head-on, their vicious melee downing every warrior on both sides until only Karyle and the Algoryn assault squad leader remained.  Kurar, ever formal, stopped and watched the martial contest from a distance. The Algoryn commander knew the Boromites were finished, and had intercepted the transmissions of the Boromite leader; he would allow him the honor to finish his duel.

Karyle's duel with the Algoryn Assault Squad Leader, later to be known as Myrval.

The assault squad leader at last dealt a critical blow to Karyle, injuring him thoroughly enough to ensure he could no longer continue, though leaving him breathing. Glancing to his commander, the leader saw Kurar’s subtle nod, and stepped away leaving the Boromite broken upon the bloodied soil. Kurar signaled his weapon team, and watched without expression as the young Boromite weapon crew were shot down only a few steps away from the escape shuttle.  Only capable of watching in horror, Karyle could not even so much as yell to warn them.

Kurar walked patiently to Karyle’s side, silent as he watched his assault squads set charges on the generator and efficiently clear the field of their injured and dead.  Even their wounded were silent as they held their broken bodies together while being carried away.  Glancing down and seeing the Boromite’s remaining good eye open, though damp with resentful tears, Kurar spoke, “And now only you shall remain to speak of what happened here. You do not know that which you have stumbled upon, mercenary. Should we meet again… Know that the extent of my courtesy has been reached.” With that, Kurar signaled their homer drones, and began to walk from the field with his soldiers.

The Freeborn saw the explosion from a significant distance, on their return finding only the lone Boromite Overseer alive beneath a pile of debris.

Friday, August 12, 2016

The OmniGamer

It's become something of a joke, both that I make about myself and by friends that know me well enough, that I tend to spread myself a little thin when it comes to my gaming choices.  In the typical banter among friends that one can experience at the game store or on Facebook, there has been an interesting question posited in my direction multiple times in recent weeks:

"Is there a game you don't play/have models for?"

Well, yeah.  I mean, of course there is.  We tabletop gamers live in a time of plenty, where there are more games and lines of miniatures available than any sane person could even hope to be a participate in.  But I'll be damned if some of us don't try!

Actually, ironically, my wife and I were recently discussing personality traits and characteristics as defined by a book in our collection.  In this particular version, it uses the ennaagram types (9 total), and, as you might expect, we were reading it together and trying to classify each other. To make a long story short, everyone has a combination of different traits, but my main one is Number #7: The Enthusiast.  While there is a "good/healthy loop"  and a "bad/unhealthy loop" for each one, the basic idea for the Enthusiast is "a fear of being deprived or missing out" with the defining keyword being "Anticipation", which is definitely a simple explanation of my internal struggles.  I actually, legitimately stress myself out over my miniatures.  I need to assemble this, or I need to paint those to have them ready to use, or I need to acquire these to complete this list, etc., etc.  I'm never a person who "finishes" an army, nor am I one that can be content with a paint job on an army past a couple of years.  I'm hoping that now my painting skills have plateaued enough to prevent this, but who knows?  I'm clearly a crazy person. :P 

Primarily I'm writing this post to catalog/list my sickness, with the hopes that in looking at it in a compiled format I can tempt/shame myself to makes some cuts and lessen the stress I place on myself with my toy collection.  A wise friend told me yesterday, "The more games I get into, the less of each I get to play."  It's something I've known for quite some time, but having it verbalized back at me sparked in my mind the curious thought of how I must look to other people.

Pathetic?  Spoiled?  I honestly don't know, but I do care.  

When I stop to think about it, though, how can I actually be passionate about all of it?  Why do I feel like I need to belong to or claim every different game? 



This is my oldest game, and the genesis of my sickness.  Faction creep saw me build, paint, and play every single faction available at least once from the span of 2003 to 2011.  This is also the game that began my unfortunate backlog.  Once upon a time, I bought a model, assembled it, painted it, and played with it.  At some point I began trading on Bartertown, and I would get thrills by trading up, acquiring armies that had been nerfed or were at a downswing in popularity and then saving them for their inevitable swing back into high demand, acquiring more and more each time.  I actually haven't even played this game in a few years, having become disenchanted with the tournament mindset the game sets out to achieve.

Currently I'm sitting on a brand new Convergence army, waiting for the right inspiration to get to work on it.  A handful of other things are around from over the years (I always kept at least one model from each army I traded or sold off), but I don't really have any usable armies anymore that are assembled and ready to play.

Age of Sigmar:

Never being a Warhammer kid, I only got into Warhammer Fantasy in more recent years after reconnecting with a good friend who played it as his game of choice.  I built a small Ogre (now Ogor) army but only ever used it once or twice, and have since acquired too much of this stuff for any sane person that hasn't really even played it.  Age of Sigmar itself is very exciting to me, though, and I love pretty much everything about it.  This is one that I am very anxious to get a force together and play.  

STILL the coolest piece of art I've ever seen for a miniatures game

Warhammer 30k/40k:

Word Bearers with Mechanicum, some Dark Eldar, and Blood Angels.  Largely picked up stuff because everyone seems to play this, but the power gaming that tends to be the norm around here is definitely a turn off and honestly intimidating.  It's also one that seems empowered by peoples' negativity, and that gets old immediately for me.

Beyond the Gates of Antares:

My new favorite game to play, for sure.  My Boromites are my current favorite miniatures I own, and are spread across my workbench in various stages of assembled and painting this very moment.  I also have the two-player starter (Concord and Ghar) but I've not done anything with it yet besides put the rulebook and templates to good use.  This game isn't going away anytime soon for me.

Boromites are cooler than whatever faction it is that you like


This game... I don't know.  I really love it, I think.  This game suffers, for me, from being very complicated.  There are a lot of details to remember for this game, even just in what you can and cannot do, and it requires a lot of focus.  As evidenced here, I'm spread too thin to be any good at it!  It's only so much fun, both for me and for my potential opponent, if I'm sitting there trying to figure out how to do things for the whole game.  The models and the background are phenomenal, though.  Currently sitting on sizeable forces for both Aleph and Haqqislam, and a bit of Ariadna as well.  I have struggled with trying to make myself get rid of some of it but I can never make myself do it!

Dark Age:

This game is like a sickness, for me.  I really love it.  This game has maybe my favorite story/background of any miniatures game that I play, and it has amazing models all-round.  It's doubly difficult for me to rid myself of any of it because I'm a Legion member for the company produces it (CMON), and they pay for the time I spend demoing or running tournaments or whatever with more toys!  I have... well, I have a lot of it.  Stacks.  Boxes.  Wanna play some Dark Age?

Outcasts gunna wreck ya

Wrath of Kings:

What a damned cool game this is.  Also made by CMON, this is a more army-sized fantasy combat game where Dark Age is the sci-fi skirmish.  I Kickstarted this one, and actually have a nearly-fully-painted army of Nasier, as well as a work-in-progress Teknes army.  I will hopefully be playing a lot more of this game, I'm just waiting for the hype cycle to come back around on it and have my friends want to it play it again.  This kinda replaced Warmachine for me for a time, as it feels similarly sized on the tabletop.

"Fall of Oni's Bane"

Marvel Universe Miniatures Game:

Made by Knight Models, the game itself is a little goofy but the models are the 12 year-old comic nerd that lives in my heart's dream.  We've actually been playing this a bit, with intent to play more soon.  

My most recent project: Mr. Magnet Man

Batman Miniatures Game:

The other side of the coin to the Marvel game, but with much less super powers and more tactical decision making.  I'm sure we'll get back to it, but Marvel has taken its place.

Pulp City:

A unique super hero miniatures game, I picked up some of the models and the rulebook in a kickstarter.  Still haven't managed to play it, but we likely will really soon to see how the rules differ from the Marvel game.  If they're much better (which they kinda look like they will be), we'll use the Marvel miniatures and characters and mix them into this game's ruleset.

Relic Knights:

Kickstarted this, and actually managed to get rid of a lot of it because no one else was really interested.  I kept my stuff for the Paladin faction and the Speed Circuit faction, and would love to actually have a reason to assemble and paint and play it.  Maybe someday.  ;)


After a short-lived stint of a local revival of this game last year, my work schedule got in the way of us maintaining it and it kind of died. I'm still itching to get back to work on my Diggas because the modeling aspect of this silly game is just so much fun.  Check out some previous blogs for my crazy vehicles.

Just... mayhem.

Arena Rex:

I really should just buckle down and paint my stuff for this beautiful game.  A couple of good friends are all about it, but I've just never managed to latch on to it.

Judge Dredd:

I love Judge Dredd as a character and a comic book.  I have some of the models and the rulebook, but I've never gotten to play it.  That kinda sums it up. 


Models look awesome, I love samurai/Japanese culture stuff, and the game is a small commitment in terms of it being skirmish with a handful of models for each side.  I picked up a few models for two different factions and the rulebook on a whim in a clearance sale, but I've still not gotten to actually play it.  Really want to, though.

Guild Ball:

I only have a simple starter box for the Alchemists, but I am extremely curious about this game.  It seems like it might be amazing.  And I'm not even a sports guy. :/ Unfortunately the only other person locally who's invested *also* picked up Alchemists, and way more of them than I have, so I need to find a new faction.  Maybe Union?  (See how this addiction works?  SEE!?)

Lord of the Rings / The Hobbit:

I'm a fantasy nerd.  Can't be helped.  I enjoy collecting these as much as anything else, so they're really in the list on a technicality.  I'm hoping to play it with my sons at some point when they're a little older though, as the ruleset is pretty simple.  Plus GW is bringing it back as just the "Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game" so I'm glad I've kept it all!  


I've written past blogs about it, but I picked this up largely out of the inspiration it gave me in its creation.  The brainchild of a single man (all rules, art, sculpting, etc.) the game is super goofy and 80's, which I just love, so I bought into the kickstarter.  Actually haven't really gotten to play in any significant way yet, as only one person I know cared enough to also pick it up.  Very much a small, "indie" game.

I'm not even sure the little punk pig on the hood has rules, but he's my favorite of the ones I've painted so far!


Tiny little skirmish game that I've not gotten to play since it originally released years ago, but that might change soon.  At least it's fully painted!

Deep Wars:

Underwater setting skirmish game that we picked up starters for at Adepticon a few years ago, but only played a couple of times.  I like to think we'll go back to it because the models are gorgeous and the ruleset is really unique, but there are just so many other things to play.


I'm included this here because, as a part of my sickness, I don't want to play with any models that I didn't paint myself.  That means I repaint all of these things.  I'm a glutton for punishment.  I do love playing it, though, even if I hate the tournament mindset that a lot of people have about it.

Confetti Squadron, fall in!

Star Trek Attack Wing:

Star Trek version of X-Wing that I totally like better than X-Wing.  Yeah, I said it.  I like Star Wars more than Trek, overall, but I think the ruleset for this style of game is more fun with the way Attack Wing implements it.  Worth a note that I'm a faction purist, though, and only play all Federation ships.  I'm not a fan of the aspect in the ruleset where you can combine any ships from any faction incurring various points penalties, allowing some crazy combos which is how the tournament gamers play.  

Star Wars Armada:

Have the first wave of stuff from release, and have played it a handful of times.  It's definitely very good, but I'm just not sure that it can keep my interest.

Firestorm Armada:

I have a fleet of Terran ships that I've gotten to play once or twice, and this is basically the space fleet game I wanted.  It suffers a similar problem to Infinity, though, in its just a tad too complicated to be casual about it.  It needs some study.


Firestorm Planetstrike:

Sitting in the boxes, one friend and I picked up starters on the cheap during a clearance sale with idyllic dreams of playing out fleet battles with Armada and simultaneous ground battle with Planetstrike, but we've never managed to make it happen.


Man, screw Mantic.  Fooled me into kickstarting this game, acquired too many teams because of how they flooded the free stuff into the pledges, and then they ran the value of it in the ground and released ridiculous additions to the rules in multiple new kickstarter campaigns, outdating everything before I even got a chance to use it.  The base game itself is pretty fun, but damn did Mantic just trash it.  Plus the models kinda sucked. They even just did a Dreadball 2.0 kickstarter in the last week or so!  Never again, Mantic.  Never again.

Wild West Exodus:

Sigh.  I am remiss to even list this game, because I kind of don't want to give it any more attention for someone new.  Long story made very short, I kickstarted this game and got very involved with it, both in the sense of it taking over my hobby time and in my involvement with the community.  Turned out the owner was a horrific piece of shit.  I will never give that company another dime.  Unfortunately, the game is fun (if sloppy) and the models are really cool.  So... yeah.

Picture of the models I painted one time for a painting contest, won anonymously, then lost when they found out it was me.  Joy.

Konflict '47 (Bolt Action):

Just getting into this one, and currently waiting on the British starter box to release.  Some cool people are going to play it and I've grown to trust Warlord games, so why not? Plus I'll get to use that box of British Bolt Action soldiers I bought but then never did anything with! ;)

So I guess that kinda sums it up, aside from the random one-offs or boutique lines of miniatures that are just for collecting or proxying into a game, or board games filled with miniatures (Zombicide, Super Dungeon Explore, Myth, etc.).  I'm not sure if this has proven therapeutic, honestly.  Even just sitting here typing it I've been coming up with mental excuses to not let any of it go.

There is another aspect to this, though.  Have you ever heard of misery shopping?  It's basically the idea of being unhappy or frustrated or stressed, and then buying new things to make yourself feel better for a brief time.  There are times where my job has me very stressed, and I know I've scoured eBay or Bartertown for cheap deals on more than one occasion as a result.  It kinda feels like cheating on a diet at the time, because you know you shouldn't, that you probably won't be happy later about it... but you do it anyway.

Maybe I should just work on self control?


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Tale of Wrath - Post Numero Uno

I've been meaning to write about some Wrath of Kings for quite a while, now.

For real!  I'm serious!

This game has become my main tabletop game (aside from its older brother Dark Age) that I am able to play on the regular, with our group even establishing a once-a-week game night for it.  I've been getting curb stomped with my Nasier repeatedly since... garsh, like November or thereabouts.

Hey, I'm a painter, not a tactician.  Don't look at me like that.

ANYWAY!  Our group has somehow amassed around 8 people... but no Teknes players.  Having a few Teknes models laying around from the Kickstarter, I decided to take it upon myself and become our group's Teknes contingent.  Luckily for me, at the same time the folks over at SCREWED-UP-DICE have started up a paint and play initiative focused on Wrath of Kings, called "Tale of Wrath".

So, the good-news-made-even-better-news about your interest here on P.O.W.'s focus on Wrath of King's Teknes faction is that, should you decide you want to see blogs about the game's other factions (you traitor!), they are readily available on S.U.D.'s hub page:  Tale of Wrath Hub (  You could still even sign up yourself, should you want!

Okay, now, back to me.

The logo of the Teknes peoples of all shapes and sizes.

Teknes is a funny choice for me, because upon first looking at the game, they were easily tied for last place alongside the werewolf/vampire horde of Goritsi.  It's not that I didn't appreciate their fiction or their slice of the world, because on that front they're possibly my favorite.  It's that they're weird as hell.

In Wrath of Kings, each faction has a kind of... underlying aesthetic and theme.  Nasier are demon summoning, kabuki mask wearing samurai, mostly, and are aggressive individualists.  Shael Han are the Golden East, with lots of cool dragon imagery, and they are profoundly synergistic with each other in battle.  Goritsi are, as mentioned, vampires and werewolves and dark European aristocracy, lashing out with high speed and maneuverability.  Hadross are the ocean-dwelling children of the Old Ones, with anthropomorphized sharks, jellyfish, crabs, etc, ready to slow creep across the field in a dense group, take a punch to the face, and punish you for it.  And then finally, you have Teknes.  They're kind of like communist Russia, but with technology and mutants?  They're the mad scientist faction, and they wear armor, and... I don't even know.  They seem to be the median of everything else, nestling comfortably in the middle of the pack, jack-of-all-trades.  Their troopers seem decent, their specialists really good, and their leaders trying desperately to make everything else better than just decent.

Here is a good example of what I'm talking about:

Left-to-right:  A Union Worker, the C.O.R.E., and a Lineman
On the left, we have the regular trooper/infantry/grunt/whatever that is a Union Worker.  These pigmen are what I see typically associated with the Teknes faction, and what people tend to think of first.  They're cheap, they get better when they get hurt, and their leader is literally a dude named the Union Boss with a whip.  These pigmen were normal people once: criminals, "volunteers", and the like, before getting a large dose of Science.

In the middle, we have the specialist unit called a C.O.R.E., which by his being a specialist means he fits into a different slot of the army composition making him limited.  He's a funky robot who either just dropped a phat beat at the turn tables, or dissed yo momma, or was astounded by the lack of an opposing werewolf's fashion sense.  I mean, just look at that left hand!

And finally on the right, we have the regular, steampunk-armor-wearing infantry dude, simply called a Lineman.  They're cheap like pigs, but more of a defensive piece, with rules to "rescue" friendly models from engagements by moving them around.  These guys are going to be my bread-n-butta.

Oh, and there's these things as a troop choice, as well:

Floating psychic murder babies.  Yeah.
 So, like I said... weird.

I have to give credit where it's due, though, and say that the sheer originality of the Teknes is surprisingly refreshing.  Also, while I wasn't crazy about a lot of their models from seeing pictures, actually having them in hand makes a world of difference, and I think they've maybe become my favorite?  Stockholm syndrome, maybe?  I don't even know.  But now I think they're rad as hell.

So that brings us to this:

A faction starter box, and a heap more of the Linemen
Now I have to say, and not just because I'm a fan of the game, either... but I have to say, Wrath of Kings has the best faction starter boxes I've ever seen in a miniatures game.  They are affordable at a retail price of $70.00, and they are absolutely packed to the gills with models.  We're talking full field-able army at the mid-tier range (not the "intro" tier, but typical mid-tier game size).

So many models. So. Many. Models.
Now, like I said, the Linemen are my jam.  Wrath of Kings is a game with a slotted composition system, simply meaning you're allowed X number of "ranks" (points, essentially, but all models are either 1 or 2, respectively) of infantry, X number of "ranks" for leaders, X for specialists.  That's literally as complicated as it gets.  So you're able to slot in however you like, but paying heed to obvious bonuses of something like having the Union Boss on the table leading the Union Workers for the best effect.  I'm going to build primarily Linemen, with *maybe* a small group of unionized pig people.

Even just a box of infantry comes with tons of dudes AND two leaders!
Also of note, every model in these boxes comes individually bagged, making organizing assembly and storage of the remainder much more convenient (no big sprues to cut up, here).

Much convenient. Yes.
And that's, basically, an unboxing of one of these things, too.  Just a pile of those bags and a heap of bases.

And now... assembly!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

WASTEMAN... Let's talk about it.

THAT is one hell of a logo, right there.

WASTEMAN... Let's talk about it.

*setting the Way Back Machine to February 2015...*

Sometime in February of 2015, I became aware of a company called ThunderChild Miniatures (TCM hereafter, and for reference: by way of various ads that had popped up in my Facebook feed.  As a certified miniature junkie, such ads for various companies and impending Kickstarters are commonplace on my feed; in fact, that's basically all that I utilize Facebook for in the first place.  But these... these caught my eye.  They were bright, colorful, and absolutely oozing with style.  I had to know more.

How could you *not* be intrigued by a teaser like this?
One of MANY ads, this one showcasing the "Kritters" faction

Cut to March 7, and the Kickstarter for WASTEMAN, the premier game from TCM, launches.  I remember it vividly, in fact, because I was so anxious for the launch to begin I was actually the first backer.  I was, apparently, that crazy weirdo rabid fan.  I ultimately backed the project at a level that would get me one of everything available in the Kickstarter.

Now, you have to understand something about TCM and how it relates to me.  TCM is a company that is run by literally one man.  A single person with an idea and the motivation to make it happen.  A single person to create the game rules, the artwork, the digital elements (website design/maintenance, etc.), the sculpting, the photography, the marketing, the "studio" painting, the casting, the shipping, the paperwork... All of it.  This fact, all by itself, typically will get me on board with a project if only because I personally want to see a fellow artist succeed (assuming I believe they deserve to succeed based on the quality of the work, of course). 

The project was run tightly, with a myriad of updates and a flurry of posts at the end to bring the overall project well into the success column.  I was ecstatic, legitimately.  It felt like a personal victory, seeing something I felt so strongly deserved to succeed in this gaming climate we find ourselves in where big established companies with teams of people are running projects on the very same platform and making, literally, millions of dollars.

Over the course of the past year, TCM has been wonderfully transparent with updates about the creation process, letting the backers know each time a milestone had been reached.  Updates for the printing of the rulebook, the casting of the models (now in metal, cast by a third party due to the quantity), etc., were all posted up in a timely fashion to keep the project backers in the loop.

And now, nearly a year later, here we are.  The product (or at least most of it, Phase 2 will only be 5 models or so) is finally in hand.  Let the objective review begin!

I'm a wordy son of a bitch.  So sue me.

Now, the first thing to understand is that TCM is a company run out of Europe, and I happen to be an American (hey don't blame me, I don't like Trump, either; we're a bunch of crazies over here apparently).  This means that while TCM did manage to start sending out packages very close to the scheduled goal of November 2015, the first packages sent out were smaller bundles, and apparently the more local ones to the business.  Because of this, I've only just received mine, and you can read the date on this post as well as I can.  Am I mad/hurt/angry/thrashing in self-righteous despair?  No, not at all.  It was a brutal wait, certainly, watching other backers get their toys, but it was worth it.


All of the minis I've received thus far (not counting ones ordered direct from TCM's "Rad Town Ruins" line) are of the metal variety.  The minis themselves are 90%+ single-piece sculpts, with only maybe 3 or 4 having multiple pieces and needing to be assembled.  Because of this and the style of the sculpting, the minis only have a single mold line running up one side, across the top, and down the other, and it's usually very easy to scrape/file off.  I've not found a mini yet with any mold slippage offset.  They were cast cleanly and obviously inspected well for defects.

Now, I'm going to say something, and I want you to read it and take it in before you read the justification below it.  You know, just as an interesting social experiment.  See how it makes you feel.  Note your gut reaction, and what it inherently means to you.

These minis feel old.

Depending on how you read that, and your personal experience in the hobby, it could mean a wide variety of different things to you.  What that statement means to ME is a very good thing.

TCM's miniatures are all hand sculpted, and the artist's style is very evident in the sculpting itself.  These are not miniatures produced in painstaking, sterile detail on a computer screen, printed out and cast up in bulk in a Chinese factory.  These are individual pieces, sculpted at scale.  The robots have sometimes lumpy, sometimes inconsistent metal plating.  The humans having bulging faces and inconsistent weaponry.  The ladies are thick, and the men bulky.  They invoke in me a nostalgia not just for the miniatures of yesteryear, but for the time period they so powerfully invoke.

These are miniatures with a heart and soul.

And that's not to say I love all of the sculpts, because seriously, I honestly don't.  And that's a good thing. The range has a healthy variety, and I shouldn't necessarily think everything is equally wonderful.  But I appreciate every last piece, and I recognize what went into their creation, and I'm glad to put them on my shelf.  There are some miniatures in this line I will never put on the table, but at the same time, there are some that I will practically giggle with glee about every time I put them down to play.

The miniatures are rather large, as well, compared to the typical industry standards.  They are roughly 35mm scale if not a little larger, and many of what might have been humans at one time but can no longer claim as such are meant to stand taller.

A typical man-sized mini (roughly a bit bigger than your average Space Marine), and one of the Behemoth models in the line

The quality of these miniatures is apparent, and the craftsman's hand is obvious; these are not your everyday mechanical sculpts, nor should they be.


My actual rulebook, photographed in the midst of my unboxing.

The rulebook itself is of a surprising quality, I will be the first to admit.

I'm a harsh critic of anything written to be published, and sloppy writing is a huge buzzkill for me.  Needless to say, having never seen anything from TCM in regards to a rulebook or published material aside from the website, I was nervous.  Not because the website led me to believe it would be bad (quite the opposite, actually), but because I know that it's a sticking point for me and it could very easily kill the emotional momentum I had built up for myself.

The book itself is well put together, similar to a Warhammer codex/armybook from days past.  It's a softbound book, but large, and full color!

The writing inside is clean and concise, and while not much time is spent on the background of the game's world (but certainly enough to make the wheels start turning in your own brain), even the rule explanations play with a backdrop of in-world terminology and explanation.  This makes reading the rules *feel* better, and without a doubt more entertaining, than a simple list of do's and don'ts.

Model entries themselves are not listed in the book with the sole exception of Behemoths (the largest models in the game, all of which are played on the table in a different manner than the typical denizens of the wasteland).  While I personally would have loved to see more background for the individual characters, we do at least get base-line descriptions for the different "factions" of the game, helping a player put some motivation behind their favorite pieces on the table.

Why do all of my pictures involve the "Kritters"?  Is my subconscious trying to tell me something?

Lastly, I was pleasantly surprised to find a handful of very interesting and stylistically varied scenarios in the back of the book, giving players a good group of options to get started playing and a wonderful jumping off point for ideas on creating our own scenarios.

Also of note, the game itself plays with a deck of cards (called M.A.D. Cards) that add random elements to the game where players can accumulate them as they play and invoke dastardly circumstances to occur throughout the course of a game.  The rules written on the cards are easy to understand, and each card has its very own hand-painted piece of artwork.  Just incredible.

There are honestly quite a lot of different ones, too!


One of the important things about games being published on Kickstarter that I feel is too often ignored in reviews like this one is the simple question, "Well, that's all great... but where is this game GOING?"

According to the creator, WASTEMAN is a game that's not going to stop any time soon.  The final Kickstarter packages were sent only a few days ago, and already the community is seeing previews of brand-new models that will be added to the online store soon.

Cannot get these guys soon enough!
According to the creator, he also has started work on the follow up book in the WASTEMAN world, complete with new models, new story, and new game mechanics.  Here's hoping we see something from it later this year!

On top of all that, TCM is putting together a newsletter of sorts, designed not only to keep us "Wastefans" informed, but to slow-drip original fictional content, artwork, music, etc.

Did I mention earlier that WASTEMAN has a soundtrack?  One that was completely created by TCM, all original music, in fact.  All of the backers should be receiving it as a digital download in the coming months.  Yeah, I know.  Absolutely bananas.

Not really relevant... but fun.  :D


WASTEMAN is not a game for everyone.  It's a game with a unique and stylistic line of miniatures.  It's a game with a relatively simple rule set for tabletop play, but a rule set that inspires varied objectives and scenarios and seems to very much want for the gamers to form a narrative while they play.  It's a game mired deeply and un-apologetically in late 80's/early 90's styles with a hearty helping of metal music culture mixed in, yet manages to avoid the all-too-prevalent aggressively "retro" attitude some era entrenched properties showcase.

I repeat, WASTEMAN is not a game for everyone.  But it sure as hell is a game for me.

I mean, just look at this.  His name is LOWbot.  He's a little robot that punches things.