Wednesday 30 July 2014

D.I.Y. Zombicide Survivor Cards

Following on from the 'Savage Schoolgirls' post, Bob Kinnear, of 'Bob's Zombie Apocalypse' fame had asked how I did the Zombicide Survivor Card for 'Violent' Elizabeth.  I promised that I would try and put together a 'how to' for him and this is it!  I was aware that the blank cards were available to download from the 'Zombicide' website, but it wasn't until I saw the 'Dark Templar's' efforts that I felt inspired to have a go myself.  I should point out that his are done with photoshop and of course a considerable amount of knowledge and skill, but I am inherently lazy, not to mention mean, so were done using an online photo editing suite called 'Picmonkey'.  I do like Picmonkey and use it a lot* so have paid for the full package, but I believe that what I am about to demonstrate can be achieved without any upgrade, you just have to put up with the adverts. 

*the collaged photographs of my miniatures are done using it, for example.

First job is to download the blank Zombicide Survivor Card from here.  It comes as a PDF, but you will need to save it as a JPEG in order to work on it in Picmonkey.  Once saved on your computer go to and click on 'Edit', this will allow you to select your blank Zombicide Survivor Card from your documents, or wherever you saved it.

Select the Butterfly(1.)(Overlays) icon on the lefthand tools bar, then click 'Your Own'(2.), which should in turn direct you to your photograph album, or the like, where you can simply select the character you want to work on.  (Obviously if you haven't photographed your miniature this won't work!)

Click and drag the corner of your image(3.) so that it becomes the size that you want it to be, don't forget you will be adding text somewhere later, so bear this in mind. 

Once positioned where you want it to be, select 'Hardlight'(4.) on the overlay panel.  This is a personal preference and you can just as easily manage without it, I just like the way it looks.

Next select the 'Eraser'(5.) tool, but importantly change the 'Eraser hardness'(6.) to 0.  This is important as it helps to soften the edge when blending the two images together and is what makes this method different from the sharper, 'cut out' appearance of photoshop; it is also what makes it quicker! 

Now simply 'nip'(7.) away at the top layer, using a decent sized brush, bringing the two images together.

Once happy with the result it is time to add some text; simply click on the 'Tt'(8.) (Add Text) icon, then the 'Yours'(9.) button to discover the exact style font you need under the name of 'Cracked'.

All you have to do is press 'Add Text'(10.) and write whatever you want in the object box that appears on your picture.  You can also change the point size by again dragging the corners or using the 'Text'(11.) panel that opens when you highlight your text box; whilst here you can also change the colour too.  Once happy, simply drag the text to wherever you want it.

Time to save!  By pressing the 'Save'(12.) button at the top of the screen you will be guided through the process, including what quality you want, I would suggest the best (13.) as you are going to be printing these off.

That is very much that and once you've done your first one the subsequent cards will take no time at all.  One final tip or suggestion though, save a version after you have successfully positioned and named your character and before you start adding the skills or actions.  This is because when you save your card at the end of the process everything will be locked in, you won't be able to edit like you would a word document for example.  By having a saved copy at this stage you will be able to use it as a template in case you ever what to change the attributes of your character.  Good luck and let me know what you come up with!

The final card!

Monday 28 July 2014

Savage Schoolgirls!

Just the briefest of posts this morning to showcase the new additions my St. Trinians mob for '7ombieTV'.  Yes, I know they have nothing to do with 'Witchfinder General' nor for that matter Victorian warfare, but what can I say, I am that easily distracted!  In my defence, I had started these ahead of my visit to see Mike, the Dark Templar, Reynolds and our day of zombie shenanigans, but they didn't quite make it in time.  Not that it mattered as we ended up just playing Zombicide anyway.

Hugely entertaining sculpts from 'Cooked Dice' themselves, they owe more than passing resemblance to characters from the rebooted versions of the films and of course Violet Elizabeth Bott, from the Just William stories, immortalised by Bonnie Langford; craftily renamed 'Violent' Elizabeth it would appear that her special talent is to “thcweam and thcweam”!

So a fun distraction, these feral Fourth Formers join the ranks of survivors ready to take on the undead, perhaps they could even make up a Zombicide squad!

Ready for a Field Trip?

Maidens of St Trinian's, gird your armour on.
Grab the nearest weapon; never mind which one.
The battle's to the strongest; might is always right.
Trample on the weakest; glory in their plight.

St Trinian's! St Trinian's! Our battle cry.
St Trinian's! St Trinian's! Will never die.

Stride towards your fortune boldly on your way,
Never once forgetting there's one born every day.
Let our motto be broadcast: "get your blow in first!"
She who draws the sword last always comes off worst.

Saturday 26 July 2014

Fabled Realms Buildings

We it's been a quiet week here at 'Awdry Towers' on the hobby front, for every time that I sit down to start something, I am seemingly instantly disturbed!  This is clearly not as bad as I am making out and I have managed to cross off a couple of important jobs from the 'Saintly Mrs. Awdry's' summer chores list, but I must make amends from Monday.

That said a couple of miniatures were painted and I hope to showcase them early next week, but in the interim I thought I would share a couple of new buildings that arrived from '4ground'.  I first spied these at Salute 2014 and knew immediately that I would have to have some for my 'Witchfinder General' project.  They mark a foray into the Fabled Realms for '4Ground' and are timely addition to their range with all things Piratical on the horizon.  

Their slightly quirky look makes them perfect for fantasy gaming, but they have such a quality about them that I hope they might work for 17th Century England.  I plumped for two in the end, the grand, two story High Street House and the more modest Backstreet Hovel.  As with my previous purchases from '4Ground' these were a joy to put together, in fact I would suggest that is much of their appeal, particularly for a chap who loved putting Airfix model planes together as a boy; there is something intrinsically satisfying about following a set of instructions through to the completion of the project and then holding aloft your creation and saying, "I made that!"

Removable roofs as standard!
Working trapdoor to the cellar or smugglers' tunnel.

Patience and rubber bands are required, but such is the quality of the design that it all comes together superbly well, even the new fangled panelling. 

Paint Table Saturday#38

Meanwhile the paintable is still being patrolled by the hell hounds that have seen little progress apart from their bases and I have managed to unearth the damaged dry stone wall sections, so I hope to have those done over the coming week - we'll see!  

Finally, please remember that you can see many more 'Paint Tables' by popping over to Sophie fabulous weblog hereor by going in the fun at the Google+ community here.

Monday 21 July 2014

Zombicide Day

Saturday the journey up to the mighty metropolis that is Ashford to seek out the 'Dark Templar' and introduce him to the intricacies of Zombicide.  Having survived the storm of the previous night there was a pang of guilt as I waved farewell to the ‘Saintly Mrs. Awdry’ surrounded, as she was, with buckets of water and soaked towels*, but this soon dissipated as today was a games day!

 *it would appear ‘Awdry Towers’ had sprung a leak!

With the requisite parts of the original Zombicide, along with the Toxic Mall extension, all carefully packed off I went in search of a game or two.  Mike was the perfect host and after a quick sneak peak of the new man cave and armed with a cup of tea we settled down to a quick tutorial.  It is important to stress that I am still relatively new to this game and that I am not a Zombicide purist, insomuch that I have a tendency to mix things together and interpret the rules for the benefit of the games as opposed to the letter of the law – so to speak.  This was to become evident as the day progressed, but with our first tentative steps it was very much the blind leading the blind!  After  successfully completing what seemed like a suspiciously easy scenario, due to the fact that I had completely overlooked the rule about movement when faced with a zombie, we went for a more advanced set up.

'City Blocks', ranked as a Hard scenario saw us required to collect all the objective tokens along with at least one Canned Food card, one Rice card and at least one Water card before one member of the team, equipped with said provisions, escapes off the edge of the board.

For the uninitiated, I should point out that Zombicide is a collaborative game where the players have to work together in order to achieve their goals.  All seemed straight forward enough, buoyed as we were with our earlier success, but fate has a habit of dealing you a duff card, or two!  My first room search had left Wanda, fearlessly brandishing two frying pans, surely things would get better?

Well the answer to my question was a resounding 'No!' with the arrival of the Abomination so early in the game.

Things got even worse when Wanda faced with dispatching a single walker to end the survivors' phase threw a one - the dull metallic thud of a frying pan missing everything but the wall behind the solitary walker's head, meant that she started the next phase with a wound!

As the game progressed, fate seemed to shine a little brighter on our rollerskating waitress as she picked up some serious weaponry in the shape of a meat cleaver and an automatic shotgun.* Now armed to the teeth Wanda was to become our vanguard, but sadly this tactic came to an abrupt end…
*I warned you I wasn't a purist as these weapons should not have been available, oh well!

Opting for search on her final move Wanda discovers a zombie under a pile of rags, already wounded the result is unavoidable - and I was so looking forward to unleashing that automatic shotgun! 

It was fair to say that I wasn't having all the bad luck, with Mike's hapless Sheriff Phil opting to fire into  a crowd of walkers only to miss with every shot!

What followed was an heroic, but ultimately flawed stand off as Amy and Phil fought back to back trying to buy Doug some precious time as the hordes of shambling dead surrounded them...

It was to prove a futile move and the game was abandoned in favour of lunch!

Our enthusiasm renewed, due in no small way to the restorative power of tea and sausage sandwiches, we vowed to avenge the losses of the previous game by returning to the scenario with a new cast and a clear plan of action.  Mike was running Raoul and Elsa, whilst I set out with Josh and Ned.  It seemed that the bad luck of the previous game was continuing to haunt me in this as my two characters found themselves accompanied by the abomination in far too tight a spot!  With two actions remaining Josh was weighing up the option of leaving Ned to fend for himself when an inspired search turned up…

… the Concrete Saw, in one swift move Josh fired up the beast first time and despatched the lumbering mass that blocked their way.  Now seemingly unstoppable Ned, armed with matching .44 Magnums and Josh with his shotgun and the truly awesome concrete saw, opened another set of rooms before taking up a holding role in the street.  

The plan was a simple one, draw the hoards of undead towards them, buying valuable time for the others to collect the provisions and make a break for the exit point - yes we abandoned the objective tokens at this stage, but in the interest of the game you understand!  Although they went down fighting with the bodies of their victims starting to pile high around them, Josh and Ned succeeded in drawing shuffling mass of reanimated corpses to one side of the board, making enough noise to literally raise the dead.  Meanwhile on the other side of the board...

Mike had managed to unearth enough provisions to prepare a veritable banquet, but now had to find a way for Elsa to escape the whole length of the board.  What followed was a truly cinematic moment as the hoard descended on Raoul's position; they shuffled the entire length of the board as Elsa quietly waited, having garnered enough experience points to claim 'slippery' as a skill.

As Raoul emptied his sawed off shotgun in the swarming mass for the last time, the sound of the shots slowly faded as Elsa broke cover.

Although she didn't have it all her own way, the exit was eventually reached and so our session for the day came to an end.  A hugely enjoyable day, I am always impressed at how well this game works and throughout the day Mike and I were already mulling over possible custom scenarios - a St. Trinians field trip for example.  With so much more to explore within the Zombicide world, I think it is fair to say that we are both looking forward to the next encounter.  

Saturday 19 July 2014

Dry Stone Walls

A fairly self-explanatory post this morning as I head up the mighty metropolis that is Ashford for some zombie themed shenanigans with that splendid chap the 'Dark Templar'.  These are from 'Warlord Games' and were originally sold as part of their 'Rorke's Drift' set, something I still want to get my hands on! 

My first impressions were not favourable, particularly when looking at the amount of air bubbles that needed to be filled and excess plastic that had to be hacked away.  That said, it was clear that they were a good looking sculpt and I was hopeful that they might yet prove their worth.

Plenty of dry brushing and flocking later and they war complete, I just need to rediscover the damaged versions that I have put in a safe place! 

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