Saturday, 31 March 2018

Book Review 21 // Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago by Multiple Authors

I'm back dudes with book six in my series of Books of 2018. Sneaking in with book six on the very last day of March! I took a break from sci-fi for this read and headed in to the hot sweaty jungles of pirates, snakemen and ruined pyramids. I found this book whilst actually searching for Gav Thorpe novels are my local library. Based of a fantasy Wargame called Frostgrave I was intrigued by the idea of some pirate stories and the cover really aided.

Title: Frostgrave- Ghost Archipelago

Author: Multiple Authors

Publisher: Osprey Games

Format: Paperback

Page Count: 288

Commercial Fluff: The Ghost Archipelago has returned. A vast island chain, covered in the ruins of ancient and otherworldly civilizations, the Archipelago appears every few centuries, far out in the southern ocean. At such times, pirates, adventurers, wizards, and legendary heroes all descend upon the islands in the hopes of finding lost treasures and powerful artefacts. A few, drawn by the blood of their ancestors, search for the fabled Crystal Pool, whose waters grant abilities far beyond those of normal men. It is only the bravest, however, who venture into the islands, for they are filled with numerous deadly threats. Cannibal tribes, sorcerous snake-men, and poisonous water-beasts all inhabit the island ruins, guarding their treasure hordes and setting traps for the unwary.

This fiction anthology contains nine stories of adventure set in the Ghost Archipelago.

Review

First up I want to say it was nice to read a bunch of short stories instead of one long story. This had a two fold effect on me. One; if a story was dull/boring/bad, at worst it was only thirty pages long and I was soon onto the next tale. Two; if it was a good story it ended to soon and I felt cheated. I guess there was no pleasing me..

Ultimately the stories and I guess authors to a point lacked a depth of background. We just got thrown into a world and was expected to understand what was happening and what the different terms meant. I found myself relying on google to answer my questions and aid with the early stories. This came across as a recurring problem, as authors struggled to explain a characters past or why these different characters are all drawn to the region.

Throughout every tale you spent roughly ten pages learning names and then forgetting them by the end. I found myself not engaged to any hero/villain, instead I became more interested in the flora and fauna of each tale willing there to be more Snakemen, dinosaurs and temples fall of traps and pitfalls.

It felt like this book would have been better off by allowing fewer authors more page space to tell longer tales of adventure. For me there was two stand out tales the Serpent Engine by Ben Counter and The Journal by Gav Thorpe. These tales I would have loved to read more of and really get behind the cast of characters.

This was an average book at best, full of opportunity of bounty but instead left to flounder on the reefs shipwrecked.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Sector 102 // Character Fact File Johnny Alpha




Welcome Dreddheads to another JDMG update. Today we look at Johnny Alpha, the top Bounty Hunter of the Strontium Dogs.

++ Sector House 102 ++
++ Emergency status: Time portal anomaly ++
 ++ Subject: Johnny Alpha ++
"A Time Portal has opened in the Food Court of Dan Abnett block. Energy signature matches that of known SD agent Johnny Alpha. Use extreme caution and expect Dredd!" 


Known Background
The most famous and respected of the Strontium Dogs is Johnny Alpha, whose mutant eyes allow him to see through walls and read minds. He is responsible for such legendary achievements as destroying the Wolrog homeworld, leading the mutant uprising on Earth, and bringing Adolf Hitler to the future to face trial. His legendary career and his assistance to mutants in trouble - such as donating a large sum of money to the Milton Keynes ghetto - has made him an icon to Earth's mutants. He is a highly skilled and dangerous fighter, highly dogged bounty hunter, never giving up in the pursuit of his quarry.

He is the son of Nelson Bunker Kreelman, a bigoted politician who drafted the anti-mutant laws and gained power on the back of bigotry. Despised, abused and hidden away by his father, Johnny escaped at a young age and joined the Mutant Army, becoming one of its key leaders by age 17 and playing a major part in the mutant uprising of 2167. He never revealed the identity of his father, changing his name from Kreelman to Alpha.

Weapons/Abilities
Like all Search/Destroy agents, Alpha is armed with highly advanced technology including a variable-cartridge blaster, electrified brass knuckles, a short-range teleporter, a "time drogue" that can briefly "rewind" the last few minutes of time, and "time bombs" which can transport somebody minutes or hours forwards or backwards in time (by which time the planet has moved along in its orbit, so that the victim reappears in empty space).

Over the years, Johnny Alpha's white, incandescent eyes have provided him with several mutant abilities. Most frequently, the high-level alpha radiation emitted from his eyes allows Johnny to
see through walls and other solid objects, or to read people's minds. He has also used his piercing stare to inflict severe headaches on his opponents, guide small objects remotely with a kind of limited telekinesis, or to "suggest" illusions or hallucinations (e.g., while fighting the Necromagus, Sabbat, Johnny made Sabbat believe the Grim Reaper was behind him.).

Johnny Alpha

485 Credits
8 Psi
Move: 5" AG: +3 Shoot: +4 Melee: +2 Melee Dice: 3D 
Will: +4 Armour: +5 Hits: 15

Skills

Accurate, Brave, Close Combat Shooter, Crackshot, Crippling Fire, Inspire, Martial Artist, Rapid Fire, Parry.

Special Abilities & Weapons
Mutant Eyes (psi abilities): Danger Sense, Daze, Mind Shield.
Electronux (electroprod)
Time Bombs: Range: 10"/Shooting Dice: 1D/Damage: Stun/AP: 0
Special: Explosive 1, Weak, Time Jump....Model hit is removed from play for 1 turn. Afterwards model is placed back where they were and suffer a stun result. 

Variable Cartridge Blaster:  Range 15"

Cartridge 1 Standard: Dice 3D Dam 1 AP-1
Cartridge 2 Armour Piercing: 1D Dam 1 AP-4
Cartridge 3 High Intensity Tunneller Beam: 1D Dam 2 AP-3 Complex
Cartridge 4 High Explosive: 1D Dam 3 Ap-1 Explosive

There with it. What do you think? Are the rules to complicated or overpowered? Would you use him in your Dredd game? Let me know below and as always thanks.


Sunday, 18 March 2018

Craftworld Iyanden 15 // Spiritseer Iyanna


Heading back to the Craftworld for an update on my newest Iyanden character Spiritseer Iyanna. Here is her background fluff:

Hailing from the House of Arienal on Iyanden, Iyanna was destined for greatness when she first set upon the Path of the Witch. During the Battle of the Burning Moon, all of Arienal's family save herself were killed in the Chaos Cyclonic Torpedo attack. Thereafter, Arienal embraced the ways of the Spiritseer and her mind was ever connected to the Infinity Circuit to commune with those that she had lost. When Eldrad Ulthran brought warning to Iyanden of the Great Devourer, he also told the Iyanden Seer Council that the Eldar race's only ultimate hope against Slaanesh lay with Ynnead, the god of the dead. While most of Iyanden dismissed Ulthran, Arienal embraced this prophecy and in a brief moment received a glorious apotheosis where the spirits of living Eldar would become one with the dead. The resulting psychic backlash would stir Ynnead from his slumber, and at last defeat Slaanesh.

Arienal's followers have been no less active than the famed Prince Yriel, throwing their hopes into the ancient prophecy known as the Phoenix Arisen; wherein the Eldar race will be reborn anew. At Iyanna's direction, they have sought the Tears of Morai-Heg, gemstone fragments that possess ancient magic that Spiritseers say would see the rebirth accomplished. Their search for the tears has brought them into contact with humans, Orks, and other primitive races. Reclaiming these tears has proven a bloody affair, and taking possession of the first required a dozen worlds left in ruin. Within a few short years, Iyanna's followers had grown so influential that they had outgrown Yriel's.

After the Battle of Duriel, many assumed Iyanna dead as she had been alongside Taec Silvereye at the time of the planet's destruction. However, this fear proved to be unfounded as she was discovered among the wounded. She later reappeared to help save Iyanden from Daemonic invasion, allying with the new formed Ynarri.

In battle she is armed with a shuriken pistol, the Spear of Teuthlas, and the Armour of Vaul. She is also accompanied by a massive Wraithlord housing the spirit of an Aspect Warrior.

The model itself was pretty straight forward. The base unsurprising is a Spiritseer. The head was a spare I had from the Dark Eldar Wych kit and the Spear of Teuthlas was made using a witch spear from the Skyrunner warlock. For me this was a pretty simple conversion and I am sure others can do better. If you have a conversion drop me a link below.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Comic Review 26 // Mars Attacks Judge Dredd

It's been a while since my last comic review and for that I apologize. I have been heavily distracted by reading for my 2018 book review posts. But I'm having a short break from that to bring you this review. So let us dive in!
 
Publisher: IDW (the USA publishing rights owner)

Title: Mars Attacks Judge Dredd

Writer: Al Ewing

Artists: John McCrea

Pages: 104

Cover: Not as exciting as it could have been, showing a slightly worried looking Alien facing off against a stern looking Dredd.

Overview:

A cross-over between Judge Dredd and Mars Attacks (using the IDW franchise). The story has the main man Judge Dredd being called in to investigate a mega racket in the city. What he discovers is a racket being controlled by Aliens from Mars. With their plan rumbled the Aliens launch a full scale invasion of Mega City One. Only Judge Dredd, with the help of Judge Anderson's abilities, can put a stop to the Martian minds suppressing the Judges weapons, giving them a chance to stop the invasion.

Review:

Not the best cross-over I've seen or read. At points it was hard to workout who was meant to win with Judge Dredd nearly being killed. Worst still Dredd didn't even seem to care about it then to make matters worst Dredd is forced to pardon a Mafia don to get his help; but manages to arrest the Don for a different crime. Overall a ten switch off your brain read adventure, just remember Dredd fans this isn't cannon. Easy to forget so blame it all on a malfunctioning Dream Machine.

2 out of 5

Highlights:

Mafia Bosses: 
  • Don Schozzelli - Giant Nose with a diamond in it.
  • Don Mumbletti - Mumbles everything
  • Don Travolta - Does it need explaining?
  • Don Hooverbot 4000 - Vacuum Cleaner.
  • Don Uggie Apelino - Best character ever. May he rest in peace.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Book Review 20 // Alien River of Pain by Christopher Golden

Welcome to book number five of 2018. For this review I have the Grimdark of 40k and have instead headed to the Dark tunnels of the Aliensverse. Expect moody dark shadows, colonial marines and dreaded Facehuggers! Let us jump in!

Title: Alien: River of Pain

Author: Christopher Golden

Publisher: Titan Books

Format: Paperback

Page Count: 352

Commercial Fluff: When Ellen Ripley finally returns to Earth, she learns that the planet LV-426—now called Acheron—has been colonized. But LV-426 is where Ripley and the crew of the Nostromo found the original Xenomorph—the killing machine known as the Alien.

Protected by the Colonial Marines, the colonists seek to terraform the storm-swept planet. Two such residents are Anne and Russell Jorden, seeking a fortune that eluded them on Earth. On Acheron, Anne gives birth to the colony’s first newborn. Rebecca Jordan, also known as Newt.

The wildcatters discover a vast, decaying spaceship. The horseshoe-shaped vessel is of particular interest to Weyland-Yutani, and may be the answer to their dreams. But what Anne and Russ find on board proves to be the stuff, not of dreams, but of nightmares.

Review

Book picks up in the timeframe between the first film Alien and the second film Aliens. Since watching Ripley enter hypersleep we find out that a colony called Hadley's Hope has been built on LV-426 or as it is now called Acheron (which translates to "River of Pain"). To make matters more exciting for the reader is the birth of Newt, the young girl who is destined to be saved by Ripley.

The problem this story faces is the fact you know what will ultimately happen (unless you have never seen the films) and leaves the author with little options on how to progress the tale. Step One: Colonists find the derelict spaceship. Step Two: They disturb the eggs, get face-huggered (hope that is the correct term). Step Three: Badass Aliens emerge. Step Four: Death and destruction reign down on the colonists.

The other problem about is the fact that it takes the story more than half the novel before the aliens finally appear, and then everything goes into super fast gory death mode. Scenes that should have been scary are sadly rushed and left unfulfilling. Characters who you spent learning the names off die with barely a grand farewell, while others are just forgotten presumed dead. The only characters worth remembering are Newt, Newt's Mother Anne and the Colonaly Captain Brackett. The rest though semi interesting are just alien food. And when you are left with only twenty pages you just know it's going to be rushed.

For me as a fan of the Aliens universe, Alien: River of Pain was good read and got me watching the films straight after. It's also ignited my drive to seek out more Alien/Xenomorph themed books. So expect more.

Thanks for stopping off and reading my review. If you enjoyed please do comment below or better let follow me to stay up to date with more posts.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Beer Review 57 // Jelly King by Bellwoods

Well this week for work I was sent off to Craft Beer Market Ottawa for an event. The best thing about this night was the fact that they serve a permanent tap of Bellwoods beer. The beer on that tap constantly rotates depending on what they can get in, tonight it was Jelly King. As I sat there getting ready to work, I came to the shocking discovery that I had yet to review a Jelly King on the blog, worst yet I hadn't reviewed a Bellwoods beer at all. Now that has to change, so here is Jelly King.

Details

Name: Jelly King
Style: Sour
BreweryBellwoods
Country: Canada (Ontario-Toronto)
ABV: 5.6%
Commercial Fluff: "This mixed fermentation ale is soured with a 5-strain house blend of lactobacillus, and heavily dry-hopped with citra. The result is juicy, sour, and thirst-quenching. Lots of fuzzy peach, tangerine, and cedar hop aroma and flavours with very low bitterness."

Own Opinion

Pour: From tap
Sight: The pour is a hazy darker yellow with a crisp white head on top. The bar is poorly lit so sorry for the picture that fails to truly capture the colour.
Aroma: Sour and fruity. From the aroma alone you know it's going to taste sweet and tart and refreshing.
Taste: Fruity, lemon citrus comes through along with the tangerine. The finish is lingering and drying making you want to drink more.

Would I buy it again? Yes. In fact we ordered three more of them throughout the event. It's just a great beer and good example of the style. Nothing to challenging for newbies to the style whilst still being interesting enough for the long toothed beer drinker. If you can find it treat yourselves you will not be disappointed.


Have you tried it? Drop me a comment below and let me know your thoughts.

Book Review 75 // Legion by Dan Abnett

With this forced leave from work I am finding time to start working my way through some of the bookshelves of shame. It's crazy to th...