Wednesday 29 December 2021

LOTR SBG - Mordor Orcs & Trolls

 Here's this week's 24+cool stuff paint list. It was pretty dull and slow - drab colours, yet needing to be individualised as orcs aren't uniform. 

The depressing bit is the 32 orcs I painted are probably only 1/3rd of the base rank and file of Mordor orcs I own....   Way back, between LOTR and the Hobbit movies there was a lull where you could find plastics in job lots for for 50c each, and metals and monsters for ~$5-10. I kinda went wild and now either (a) I face an embarrassing unpainted mountain or (b) I can get rich off eBay - depending how you look at it.

 The trolls are terrifically heavy lumps of metal which I have concerns about on the table (a bit like some of the old top-heavy Warmachine metals).

Quite a few of the job lots had broken models in them. Given most plastic rank and file are $3.50AUD each now I have either repaired them with Perry/PSC bits or they serve otherwise, like this luckless man of Minas Tirith.

The paintjobs are pretty basic. I'm going to reward myself by doing more colourful Galadhrim and maybe the plastic Fellowship I have.  I have buckets of unknown metals and heroes (especially orcs - all orcs look alike to me!) so I'll be spending time in the unofficial collectors guide.

I haven't had much time in my shed due to rellies visiting so I'm quite pleased with my progress given it was snatched moments at my office desk.

I'll probably do another game design post soon - I'm thinking about "mental pressure" - this is not complexity, but rather unrelenting involvement and decision making which even a simple ruleset can exert. I.e. chess is simple but can have relentless mental pressure. Basically, you know those decision points (moments of player agency) I like so much?  I'm beginning to think sometimes you can have too many of them, especially if there are other layers (like magic or campaign rules) which are important to the game.


  1. Pet peeve: whole I will happily play with unpainted miniatures I can't stand people who bring orcs that are painted uniformly without a very compelling reason. Especially when they do a great job painting them to look drab and bedraggled - completely uniformly bedraggled!!!

    1. My wife did that. All 40K orcs nice and uniform. Well, mine are all unique although I often add a splash of red every 2nd mini. This way I can have separate warring orc warbands... (with the 100~ other orcs I have yet to paint - aaaagh)

  2. I recall you writing you believed solo gaming would be the new frontier of game design, have you read the Core Space rules? There's a free download for them and I'd love to read your critique! They have good solo play from the reviews I've read, but I don't trust anyone reviews as much as yours...

    1. I think I've seen them - the solo bits were merely randomised location of enemy/type, with a simple tree that made melee types move towards the closest human player or ranged types fire at the closest human player.

      It wasn't very revolutionary from what I recall. The hitpoints and way it was handled was clunky and it was more designed to appeal to boardgamers than having any innate value.

      My 10c: I kinda instantly dismissed them as basically a sci fi version of the many zombie wargames designed to appeal to boardgamers. If you play and enjoy those sort of games, go for it.

    2. I've never played a solo wargame before, what are the mechanics that make a solo wargame for you? I've seen a handful of "tactical" AI's and used them a couple times, what else is there to qualify as a solo wargame?

    3. Anything can be solo I suppose. But a dice for random npcs to spawn in and simply moving straight for the nearest human controller player isn't 'solo rules' - if I can describe in a sentence something that has been around since the 1980s I'm not that impressed.

      Nick Caldwell assigned objectives 'gravity' that pulled minis onto them, but then decreased the gravity so once the main objective is fulfilled, units move on to 2ndry objectives. That was clever.

      A more fleshed out co op might be assigning a series of stance cards (aggressive, normal, cautious) and rolling dice linked with modifiers say 1,2 =advance dead ahead, 3,4 = go left, 5,6 = go right, 7 = fall back to left, 8 = fall back to right, 9-0 move into nearest cover from nearest firer. Roll a dice and +1 if unit has been attacked (thus making units under fire more cautious)

      That's a example I made up on the spot, but you see you could have different stances which make units act differently. It's more solo rules than 'move straight for the nearest enemy'.