Monthly Archives: January 2022

Painted Omega Red

Here is Omega Red, another character for use in Marvel Crisis Protocol. He’s a nice tank in the game, with a small amount of control and a very much appreciated way to just hand out damage to nearby characters with the Poison condition (which he gives out quite freely) without the hassle of rolling dice. I’ve found him quite reliable at holding a side point against a couple of foes which is really all I need in the Criminal Syndicate affiliation; however he’s not been tough enough to resist a proper pounding in the centre against the full weight of the other crew.

I really enjoyed painting Omega Red. He’s not a character I’m particularly familiar with in any comics so it was an easy choice to follow the colour scheme from the card art. I used a sort of ‘partially metallic metal’ technique on his tentacles, by which I mean that I did most of the highlighting using greys before putting the final touches on with a silver paint. Omega Red also has grey skin and I’m not sure if this is meant to be representative of his poison superpower making him look a bit poorly, or if he just has grey skin in the way that Gamora’s skin is green. Either way, I did struggle a bit to get this to look ‘realistic’ and in the end I just had to accept that his skin looks a bit weird even in the context of superheroes and aliens.

Next on the painting table: Cassandra Nova.

Categories: Marvel Crisis Protocol, Painting and modelling | Tags: | 10 Comments

Painted Myphitic Blight Hauler

This is a Myphitic Blight Hauler for my Death Guard army in Warhammer 40,000. Like the Foetid Blight Drone, it’s meant to be a sort of tank that has been taken over by a monster which gives the whole thing a very creepy look – from the front a tank with teeth, from the rear more like a snail trying to get into a shell that is too small for it. I really enjoy Blight Haulers in the game; they bring useful anti-armour guns in the form of a multi-melta on one side and a missile launcher on the other. If anyone gets too close they can be more trouble than they’re worth in close combat as the teeth give them some bite (pun intended) against all but dedicated melee specialists.

I tried to keep the same kind of overall colours here as I did for the Bloat Drone. The armour is a deep red and I like the way it contrasts with the bright green of the squishy daemon inside. The Blight Hauler has the same issue for painting that I had on the Bloat Drone in that I wasn’t sure how best to do all the pipes and tubs hanging off it. I eventually went for a bright pink as it stands out adequately from the red armour without going too far away from the main red colouring; I consciously want to avoid using much blue on this project as I worry that they’ll start to look more like a circus and anyway I find that I get better results if I keep the amount of one primary colour to a minimum. The Blight Hauler was overall rather fun to paint, not least because it let me play with both organic and metallic surfaces.

Next on the painting table: Omega Red.

Categories: Painting and modelling, Warhammer 40000 | Tags: , | 7 Comments

Painted Marvel Crisis Protocol affiliations

I was inspired to take some family photos of my Marvel Crisis Protocol miniatures after reading a post on the excellent Candore Et Labore blog. Many Crisis Protocol figures are in multiple affiliations, so while it makes sense to group them by affiliation it does mean that quite a lot of these superheroes will appear in several pictures.

In the comics A-Force is a specific group of characters, several of whom don’t even have MCP minis yet. However, the very first run of A-Force has a section that is basically every lady hero in the Marvel universe fighting a swarm of zombies. In MCP, A-Force is basically all the female goodies with a couple of exceptions; notably Ghost Spider isn’t included and I’m never sure whether this is an oversight, a balance reason or a reference to some comic book that I’ve never read. She-Hulk is the actual leader in game terms, though in the comics there is a pretty amusing back-and-forth between her and Medusa.

The Asgardians in MCP includes pretty much everyone who comes from Asgard whether they’re a goodie or a baddie; I guess that since a lot of the Thor stuff is quite like a soap opera with the interplay between Thor and Loki it makes sense to keep them together. Thor is currently the only leader in the game, which is probably not a surprise to anyone.

Pretty much everyone who has ever been in a comic has been an Avenger at some point, so this affiliation is huge. There are also a few oddities in that heroes who I assumed would be affiliated, such as Spider Man, are actually not. I actually don’t think I’ve ever bought a character with the intention of using them as an Avenger, but since my friend Gareth uses my Avengers when we go to tournaments they still get a good workout. I’ve included Winter Soldier here even though he’s not actually in this affiliation as he has a really fun card called To The End Of The Line which he plays with Captain America.
Captain America is the only one of their three leaders that I own.

Black Order
I own all the minis released so far for the Black Order; it’s more restrictive than affiliations like Wakanda in that here only characters who are actually in the specific team are included so, for example, Nebula isn’t included even though she’s thematically linked to them. Thanos is the leader, of course.

The Cabal affiliation is a bit of an oddity in the sense that it’s just a bunch of the baddies, most of whom would normally be the big threat on their own leading a load of nameless thugs for the heroes to beat up first. Red Skull is the leader here, though Sin is also in the game. For some reason I’ve never really made much of an effort to try this team out on the table even though they always look quite fun.

The Convocation is the magic-using affiliation; I have to admit that most of the time when I see these in comics they’re just in the background of some Doctor Strange story. One of the Convocation gimmicks is that anyone can be the leader as the leadership ability in the game is granted by a tactics card. I’ve never played them as an affiliation in their own right; these are minis I’ve organically accumulated with the intention of playing them in other affiliations.

Criminal Syndicate
Criminal Syndicate are my current favourites and tournament roster of choice. Most of them are on the lower end of power as far as comics go (by which I mean that most of them are nominally just extraordinary humans rather than demigods, wizards, etc) and their motivations are more along the lines of getting rich rather than destroying the world. Kingpin is the only leader at the moment.

Defenders are a rather odd mix in MCP in that they cover both the Doctor Strange team of heroes who deal with mystical stuff and also the Netflix team of ‘street level’ heroes like Luke Cage (albeit I don’t actually own him). They have a really wide roster and I love Doctor Strange’s leadership power, which allows the attack typing to be changed when needed, but I never really got a chance to make the most of them in game before the recent balance pass removed some of the most entertaining jank. While this was probably overall a good thing, I will admit that I was really looking forward to Doctor Strange creating a magical portal in round one and Hulk jumping through it to beat everyone up. Doctor Strange is currently the only leader, and it’s the specific Doctor Strange in the picture, not ‘Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme’.

Guardians of the Galaxy
I only have these daughters of Thanos for the Guardians and I picked them up early when I was just buying minis that I liked for the sake of painting. That said, I’ve used Nebula quite a lot in various other affiliations and Gamora is quite amusing in A-Force. Star Lord is the leader as the affiliation is largely based around the films.

Like the Convocation, the Spider-Foes that I own are just collected haphazardly as a bunch of minis that I either wanted to paint or intended to play in a different affiliation. They’re also not really a team in the way that most of the others are, more a collection of villains who really don’t like Spider-Man. Green Goblin is the leader in the game.

The Wakanda affiliation is like Asgard in the sense that it comprises characters with any link to Wakanda regardless of whether they’re a goodie or a baddie. As far as I know I own all the currently released Wakandans and I don’t really know a great deal about them in the comics so I’m not sure if expansion is particularly likely. I’ve seen some comics where Shuri has become the Black Panther but for now she’s in her role as princess and T’Challa is the leader of the affiliation.

Web Warriors
Web Warriors are pretty much based around being some form of Spider-Man, which is a much wider net than I would have understood until a few years ago when the excellent Into The Spider-Verse film was released. It also includes a bunch of people who’ve met Spider-Man, like Black Cat and Venom. I feel like I missed a few chapters in Venom’s story where he stopped being an outright villain and became more of an anti-hero but anyway he’s included. Web Warriors have two leaders – Spider-Man (Miles Morales) and Amazing Spider-Man (Peter Parker) – and they both offer interestingly different options in that role.

The members of X-Force I own are basically X-Men who I picked up to use in that affiliation, plus Deadpool who I bought because Gareth loves him. They seem to be really popular so I guess I’ve just missed a lot of comics where they did something really fun. Cable is the affiliation leader.

This is my favourite team in the sense that I grew up reading their comics and watching their cartoons, and progressed to the (admittedly rather variable quality) films with Patrick Stewart et al. They’re very fun to play but I do find myself relying on unaffiliated options to fill the many gaps in their roster. Fittingly, both Storm and Cyclops have leadership abilities for the X-Men but I much prefer Storm’s ability so I really never choose between them.

I’m not including the Brotherhood of Mutants or Inhumans because I only have a single affiliated mini for each in Mystique and Beast respectively. I’m also not including Midnight Sons because (I think) all of the ones I own are also in Defenders.

Categories: Marvel Crisis Protocol, Painting and modelling | Tags: | 10 Comments

Painted Mordo

This is Baron Mordo, another miniature for Marvel Crisis Protocol. He’s mainly a support character and I plan to use him to hold back points and use the long range on his attacks plus his Ferocity of Cyttorak superpower to make allies hit harder. So far I haven’t actually managed to get him on the table; he’s part of the Cabal and Convocation affiliations but I reckon his skills would fit quite nicely with Spider-Foes considering that they tend to have pretty lacklustre builder attacks. Increasing the damage of allies would also go down very nicely in the X-Men but I think that they don’t really need to look out-of-affiliation for a long ranged support character.

Mordo, like the Ancient One, is clearly sculpted based on Chiwetel Ejiofor’s portrayal of him in the MCU Doctor Strange film. Others have pointed out that this implies that MCP exists in a setting which is neither the ‘standard’ Marvel comics one nor Earth-616 (which is their standard ‘whoops, it’s an alternative universe!’) nor the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the character sculpts aren’t solely from any of those. Not that this matters in the game, of course, but it’s a bit of an oddity.

As with most of the MCP minis, I’ve broadly stuck with the same colours as the card art. I really like the green and cream combination on Mordo and I think it works especially well when combined with the bright orange magical things that he’s using to jump off. Long-time readers of the blog will know that I’m a big fan of dynamic sculpts and Mordo certainly fits that bill, so much so that he’s up with Storm for miniatures that I’m always worried to transport anywhere in case they break in transit.

Next on the painting table: Myphitic Blight Hauler.

Categories: Marvel Crisis Protocol, Painting and modelling | Tags: | 10 Comments

Painted Primaris Outriders

Here are another trio of Primaris Outrider for my Adeptus Astartes (or Space Marines, if you’re old like me) army in Warhammer 40,000. In terms of performance in the game, I don’t have much to add from the first unit I painted. I find their output a bit uninspiring and I suspect that this is because they’re well suited to shredding swarms of lightly armoured enemies which I basically never see on the table in my gaming group. Nonetheless, there is something very fun about a bunch of armour-clad transhumans zipping about the battlefield on motorbikes and hitting fools with space-chainsaws so they’ll continue to make appearances for me whenever I play Space Marines.

In order to keep them consistent with the rest of the Space Marines, I’ve obviously chosen the same colour scheme of white, black and green for these Outriders. I’ve found it to be a bit of a drag for the first part of the painting process as it just feels like endlessly layering on thin white coats (and endless correcting my errors!) until I hit them with Nuln Oil. Then the magic begins and I really enjoy it after that. Anyway, I’m quite pleased with these ladies, and perhaps more importantly I’m down to just 6 Space Marines in my Pile of Shame.

Next on the painting table: Baron Mordo.

Categories: Painting and modelling, Warhammer 40000 | Tags: , , | 13 Comments

Painted Cable

This is Cable, leader of X-Force (at least in Marvel Crisis Protocol) and sometime Avenger and X-Men member. I don’t really remember him ever having had much to do with the Avengers but there are millions of comics out there that I’ve never read and to be honest just about everyone has been in the Avengers at some point. Cable leans more toward support and utility rather than pure damage output considering his high cost and I don’t always play him very well as a result. I think that he also suffers a bit within X-Men in that he wants to occupy the same board space as Storm in order to get good value out of his huge weapon range; since I’m always going to take Storm (she’s got the Leadership ability for X-Men) it’s a harder proposition to include Cable. That said, Cable has a lot of cool tricks for mobility and defence not to mention that he has a great throw available. I haven’t actually tried him in X-Force but perhaps he’d do better there as he would then not be competing with Storm and of course could bring his own Leadership ability.

I tried to make Cable’s blue suit a bit different from Cyclops’ by using a darker blue and I think that works out. I also wanted to give him a slightly dirtier look than the very clean lines of the classic X-Men and the ragged cloak plays into that. The force field he’s standing behind was quite interesting to paint; I wanted to give the impression that it was somewhat translucent without (of course) actually being able to do that with a piece of opaque plastic. In the end I think that the illusion works tolerably; I probably could have spent an eternity on highlights without ever getting the final result that I had in my head – plus in the end it’s pretty much just a piece of scenic basing. Now that I look at the miniature through the harsh lens of the camera I slightly wish that I’d spent more time on Cable’s facial scar and perhaps I’ll revisit that some day; for now I’m happy with the way he looks at tabletop distance.

Next on the painting table: Primaris Outriders (again).

Categories: Marvel Crisis Protocol, Painting and modelling | Tags: | 10 Comments

Painted Ancient One

Here is the Ancient One for Marvel Crisis Protocol. She represents a bit of an oddity within the game sculpts in that she (and Mordo, about whom more later) are clearly based on their appearance within the MCU films rather than their various comic book appearances. I actually love Tilda Swinton in general and her character in the Doctor Strange film in particular so this is a positive move as far as I’m concerned, but I’m sure that there are plenty of comic fans who would prefer a more ‘old school’ interpretation. The Ancient One brings a nice suite of control abilities and defensive tech along with some very tasty Mystic attacks. I’ve quite enjoyed her as part of a Web Warriors roster where Miles’ Leadership improves her defences still further and her Mystic attack typing is a very welcome option.

I think that the hardest part of painting the Ancient One was picking her colour scheme. The card art (and movie appearance for that matter) tends very much towards saffron robes all the time and I was far from confident that I could make that work at this scale. So I went for a more vibrant orange on some of her robes and also picked out a sash and her trousers in black to improve the contrast and I really like the outcome. I spent quite a lot of effort putting highlights on the Ancient One’s head but my photography skills are not really showing them very effectively. Unlike most MCP figures the Ancient One is simply standing on the floor with no tactical rubbish under her feet and I really loved the understated pose. I went back and forth on whether to include the little swathes of magic around her feet, regretted adding them for the entire painting process and finally came around to enjoying the touch of red that they bring to the miniature right at the end. Overall I loved painting the Ancient One and I’m looking forward to her calmly putting arrogant fools back in their place with regularity on the tabletop.

Next on the painting table: Cable.

Categories: Marvel Crisis Protocol, Painting and modelling | Tags: | 17 Comments

Marvel Crisis Protocol tournament report: The Bearded Card Trader Monthly 08Jan2022

Allan and I (without Gareth this time) travelled down the A1 again to Stanley to take part in a Marvel Crisis Protocol tournament at The Bearded Card Trader. The turnout was similar to the last time but with a different mix of locals which is probably a good sign of a healthy scene in the area.

This time I opted to play Criminal Syndicate. This is mainly because I recently acquired Omega Red and wanted to try him out, but also the scenario-focused playstyle of Kingpin’s leadership makes them a lot of fun to put on the table. Adding to the interest are the recent changes to Bullseye making him an in-affiliation two threat character, plus the presence of one of my favourite MCP characters (to play, I’m not particularly fussed about him in the comics) in the form of MODOK. The game plan is basically to sit on the Secure points and rack up VPs while either annoying the other team over the Extracts or, more likely, beating them senseless to cement an attrition advantage. If I lose Priority I can get it back with the All According To Plan tactics card which I’m aiming to play in round 3 if necessary. In terms of out-of-affiliation picks, I took Beast (has a cheap throw and I love to play him), Ant-Man (very mobile so I could use him to jump on an unguarded Secure late in a round), Okoye (another two threat, plus she’s disproportionately hard to kill in a brawl) and Black Dwarf (really hard to kill, has a cool throw and is quite hard to get off a point without special tech). I also borrowed the Research Station card from Allan to use as an Extract since it’s pretty much a Secure in disguise.

– Ant-Man: 3
– Beast: 3
– Black Cat: 3
– Black Dwarf: 4
– Bullseye: 2
– Crossbones: 3
– Kingpin: 4
– M.O.D.O.K.: 5
– Okoye: 2
– Omega Red: 4

[Team Tactics]
– Advanced R&D
– All According to Plan
– Brace for Impact
– Carbonadium Synthesizer
– Climbing Gear
– Cruelty
– Disarm
– Field Dressing
– Shadow Organization
– Tactical Analysis

[Extract Crises]
– Deadly Legacy Virus Cured? [C]: 19
– Research Station Attacked! [E]: 16
– Struggle for the Cube Continues [F]: 17

[Secure Crises]
– Infinity Formula Goes Missing [B]: 17
– Mayor Fisk Vows to Find Missing Witnesses [C]: 16
– Riots Spark Over Extremis 3.0 [D]: 17

Game 1 – Martin playing Midnight Sons

First round I got paired up with Martin. I’ve never played him before but I recall that he played Allan to a standstill at the last tournament so he must be pretty good. I win priority and, since I can live with all of his Secures I pick to select Extracts.

Extraction: Struggle For The Cube Continues
Secure: Demons Downtown! Has Our Comeuppance Come Due?
Threat: 19
My team: Kingpin, Omega Red, MODOK, Crossbones, Beast
My cards: All According To Plan, Brace For Impact, Carbonadium Synthesiser, Climbing Gear, Field Dressing
Martin’s team: Blade, Black Cat, Doctor Voodoo, Ghost Rider, Moon Knight
Martin’s cards: Bats the Ghost Hound, Climbing Gear, Medpack, Patch Up, Siege of Darkness

I figured here that if Martin wanted to meaningfully contest the centre then he’d have to commit far enough forward that MODOK could sit on my back point and zap whoever came in. Ideally I could pin Martin back close to his home Portal, score the centre one with either Kingpin or Omega Red (preferably the latter considering his own good range) and then just harrass with Beast. Crossbones got the nod on the basis of being cheap and being able to ignore the damage from any Cubes he happened to pick up.

Round 1: Beast zips forward and picks up the central Cube while Moon Knight and Crossbones collect the ones on the right. Ghost Rider and Doctor Voodoo zap Beast and MODOK bounces an ineffective shot off Ghost Rider. Kingpin and Blade collect the last two Cubes and the latter pings a damage off Omega Red who has come onto the central Portal. The score is 5 – 3 to me.

Round 2: Beast goes crazy and dazes both Ghost Rider and Moon Knight, picking up the latter’s dropped Cube. He’s going down this turn anyway so I figure I might as well make Martin work for it. Black Cat uses the Midnight Sons leadership to get in range of Crossbones and gives him Stagger – if ever there was a character who didn’t want to get even slower it is surely him. Omega Red uses Carbonadium Synthesiser to get rid of Incinerate and Bleed and pokes Doctor Voodoo for fairly minimal effect. Blade dazes Beast without much effort and scoops up those Cubes, then Medpacks Doctor Voodoo. MODOK sadly can’t finish Doctor Voodoo, sadly leaving him on one wound with Bleed; at least it’ll force an interesting decision from Martin on what to do with him. This also draws out Martin to use the Bats the Ghost Hound card to keep him in the game so it’s not totally worthless. He then goes on a rampage, dazing Omega Red from full in one attack then hurting Kingpin and making him drop the Cube fragment before finally dying to Bleed. Kingpin is in a bit of an awkward position in that he can either collect the dropped Cube or get into the action but not both; I decide to have him move up to contest Martin’s home Portal and he also applies Field Dressing to Omega Red on the way. The score moves to 9 – 6 in my favour.

Round 3: I play All According To Plan to get Priority back. Beast throws Blade into Black Cat to damage him since he’s been badly hurt by the three Cube fragment he was holding last turn, then KOs Moon Knight to get him out of my hair; he only has enough power left to collect one of the Cubes lying around. Martin plays a very effective Siege of Darkness with Black Cat and Ghost Rider teaming up to daze Kingpin and Doctor Voodoo easily dazing Omega Red. Ghost Rider then follows up by also dazing Crossbones. MODOK is clearly impressed with this show of power as he then does nothing whatsoever to Doctor Voodoo who uses this opportunity to collect a Cube and Black Cat collects another two. The score moves to 11 – 11.

Round 4: Kingpin fails to hurt Blade with his attacks but he does at least Stagger him and throw him off the Portal. Blade uses Patch Up to heal Black Cat and then nearly kills Beast. Beast goes after Black Cat but sadly can’t quite get her before he KOs himself by not clearing the Bleed condition. Doctor Voodoo throws everything he has at Crossbones but leaves him on a single wound (rather a theme for this game!) so Crossbones throws him off the Portal and KOs Ghost Rider. Martin passes, which I think is a mistake – I reckon that he should have activated Black Cat and had her run away. Instead Omega Red moves over and pulls her in with Ensnare, dazes her and collects one Cube before using Climbing Gear to get back on the Portal. Time is called before we go any further and we get to 15 – 12 in my favour so I get the win.

Wow, that was such a tight game. Martin was a tremendous opponent and pushed me at every step. As mentioned, I think that he made a mistake in not running away with Black Cat right at the end but that was pretty much the only thing that I could capitalise on. Most of my game went according to plan (rather fittingly for Criminal Syndicate) and I even managed to use most of my tactics card which is a bit of a change. MODOK’s performance was a bit of a disappointment but Doctor Voodoo is a hard target for him and he did keep my Portal safe and score 4 points so maybe I should give him the benefit of the doubt.

Game 2 – Sam playing Guardians of the Galaxy

Sam had just finished a very tight Guardians mirror match to beat Allan so I was looking forward to seeing how he played. Interestingly there were four Guardians players at the event, albeit one of them was dual-affiliation with Asgard. Sam won priority and, slightly to my surprise, picks Extracts. I choose the slightly lower threat on the basis that he has both Angela and Hulkbuster in his roster and I want to make it hard for him to use them.

Extraction: Struggle For The Cube Continues
Secure: Mayor Fisk Vows to Find Missing Witnesses
Threat: 16
My team: Kingpin, Omega Red, Bullseye, Crossbones, Beast
My cards: All According To Plan, Brace For Impact, Carbonadium Synthesiser, Climbing Gear, Field Dressing
Sam’s team: Star Lord, Ronan the Accuser, Nebula, Enchantress, Groot
Sam’s cards: Brace For Impact, Crew of the Milano, Loveable Misfits, Medpack, We Are Groot

I picked the same team here except swapping MODOK out for Bullseye to account for the lower threat. Kingpin and Crossbones are both fine with Cubes and I actually think that Criminal Syndicate don’t mind the Crisis anyway as they can stay ahead with the Secures and are happy if the other team take the chip damage from holding Cube fragments. I’m basically going to send Kingpin to stand on one Witness and Omega Red on the other and then send the rest to plug gaps as required. I put Bullseye and Beast in the middle; if Sam collects the Cube in turn one then I can try to start taking him down with them and if he doesn’t then I’ll send Beast in later on and cross my fingers.

Round 1: Star Lord, Ronan and Enchantress get Winging It tokens. Not very surprisingly, Star Lord zooms to the centre and picks up the Cube there. Bullseye saunters forward and casually rolls four successes to no blocks against him so this is looking quite spicy already. Groot, Crossbones, Enchantress and Omega Red collect the other cubes but only Omega Red actually bothers to move to a Witness token. Over on the right, Ronan, Nebula and Kingpin stand by the Witness; Nebula’s not actually close enough but since she doesn’t context objectives it doesn’t matter anyway. Beast moves up and dazes Star Lord, picking up his fallen Cube in the process. The score is 7 – 2 to me.

Round 2: The same three characters get Winging It tokens again. Sam moves the Witness tokens such that Crossbones, Kingpin and Omega Red take the damage and the stun. I’ve rather unwisely positioned Bullseye and Beast right next to each other so Enchantress dazes them both with her beam attack and picks up the Cube that Beast drops. Oops! Kingpin dazes Nebula to keep her out of my hair but can’t do much more than Stagger Ronan. Ronan then plays Crew of the Milano to get rid of that annoying Stagger, Medpacks himself and beats up Kingpin. Omega Red puts some nice damage into Enchantress and Star Lord zaps a few wounds off Crossbones, who in turn gets Ronan down to a single wound. Sam uses Lovable Misfits – Ronan does a bit more damage to Crossbones and Kingpin before Star Lord and Groot move. the score moves to 13 – 5 to me.

Round 3: Once again Star Lord, Ronan and Enchantress get Winging It tokens. The Witnesses get moved to do some slight damage to my characters, though Crossbones and Kingpin both pay to ignore it and they’ve all got Stun already. I start the round out with All According To Plan and Bullseye uses Hit and Run and his I Never Miss power to daze Enchantress, pick up her Cube (surely the most hotly contested in the game!) before moving to join Omega Red on the left. That’s basically the game right there as Sam doesn’t have anything remotely near that Witness and even if he did it’s pretty unlikely that he can deal with Omega Red in one go. Nonetheless we play on for the sheer pleasure of it. Ronan dazes both Kingpin and Crossbones, perhaps not surprising considering the pasting they’ve both taken. Beast uses Climbing Gear to get back in the action, hits Groot for not much effect and throws Nebula into Ronan to daze him. Sadly Ronan’s revenge strike hurts Beast pretty badly and Nebula has no difficulty KOing him. Groot collects a Cube lying on the ground and Star Lord moves over to see if he’s in range to deal with Bullseye, but can’t get there. We finish up at 18 – 9 in my favour.

Sam was a very nice chap to play with and I enjoyed the game a lot. I made a few positional mistakes, notably with Bullseye and Beast at the end of round 1 which let Enchantress pick them both off for free (though in fairness she could have used Siren’s Call to line it up anyway if needed) but Sam didn’t really use Groot at all and never even tried to tackle Omega Red for the Witness or Cube on the left which meant that I could just rack up points on that side.

Game 3 – Anthony playing A-Force

For the final game I get paired up against one of the two other undefeated players (the other one gets a pair down against Martin from game 1) with a nasty looking A-Force roster. I’d ideally like to keep the threat low here but I win Priority so that’s not likely to happen. I don’t fancy Anthony’s Secures much so I pick them.

Extraction: Alien Ship Crashes In Downtown!
Secure: Riots Spark Over Extremis 3.0
Threat: 20
My team: Kingpin, Omega Red, MODOK, Black Cat, Black Dwarf
My cards: All According To Plan, Brace For Impact, Carbonadium Synthesiser, Climbing Gear, Field Dressing
Anthony’s team: She-Hulk, Angela, Black Cat, Enchantress, Okoye
Anthony’s cards: Battle Lust, Blind Obsession, Follow Me, Medpack, Special Delivery

I did briefly consider going wide here but this is not going to be fast scoring game and if I take squishier characters then She-Hulk et al will just wreck them one at a time long before I can hope to eke out a scenario win. I put in Black Dwarf as his huge sack of hit point, Stagger on his spender and epic throw are likely to come in useful. Black Cat is a no-brainer for a single-extract scenario like this one, but when I see that Anthony has (not surprisingly) also picked her in addition to Enchantress I’m going to struggle to hold on to the Power Core. In deployment Anthony makes a mistake putting Enchantress next to She-Hulk instead of Angela which will prevent him using Special Delivery until the mid game – neither of us spotted this at the time but Anthony realised it early in round 2. I’m also a bit surprised to see She-Hulk all the way out on the left but Anthony is clearly a more experienced A-Force player than me so perhaps this was part of a cunning plan.

Round 1: Omega Red finds the Power Core in the very first turn all the way over on the right. This is a huge stroke of luck for me as She-Hulk and Enchantress are stranded all the way over on the far side of the board. Anthony’s Black Cat moves up very agressively and Black Dwarf beats her up a bit before MODOK leaves her on a single wound. Angela comes in and throws digger at my Black Cat who uses this extra power to Stagger the Asgardian. She-Hulk moves onto the left point and I decide that I’m quite happy to leave her there so Kingpin moves more centrally. The score is 4 – 2 to me.

Round 2: MODOK attacks Angela in teh hope of getting enough power to throw something at Black Cat but does no damage. Oh well, I attack Black Cat instead and fail to damage her either. Good work MODOK, only needed to do one damage to Black Cat. Predictably, Black Cat pinches the Power Core off Omega Red and hoofs it back up the board. Black Dwarf dazes Angela. Critically, we forget at the time that Black Cat will take a point of damage from the Power Core at the end of her activation, which would have dazed her. Since we’ve already rolled the dice on Black Dwarf, we agree to just play the game as it lies, so a grateful Okoye rushes over to pick it up. Omega Red can’t drop her so Okoye gets to keep it this round. Enchantress moves back to the back Secure and my Black Cat follows her. Kingpin puts a bit of damage on She-Hulk and throws her off the left objective but can’t get there to score it himself. The score moves to 7 – 4 in my favour.

Round 3: Enchantress dazes my Black Cat then MODOK does a bit more damage to She-Hulk and Angela before moving the latter away with Bow to the Will of MODOK. Okoye plays Battle Lust and moves to the centre so she can push MODOK off the back point. Kingpin applies Stagger to She-Hulk and moves to score the left objective. Angela now plays Special Delivery and drops She-Hulk on Kingpin but between the two of them (and including She-Hulk playing Blind Obsession) they can’t bring down the big chap. Black Dwarf fails to hurt Enchantress but does at least stand on my back objective since MODOK has been moved off it. Omega Red pulls Okoye in with Embrace but unfortunately she ends up close enough to use Martial Artist and he can’t drop her. The score is now a rather tight 9 – 8 to me.

Round 4: Kingpin Staggers She-Hulk and KOs Angela which is certainly a relief. Okoye flees Omega Red but this is probably an error on Anthony’s side as she walks right into range of my Black Cat who steals the Power Core and legs it up the board, using Grappling Hook to increase the distance from Anthony’s Black Cat. A bit of a possible mistake from me here too as I had enough power to use Climbing Gear to increase the distance still further and this turns out to be critical as Enchantress races over and uses Siren’s Call to bring my Black Cat into range of Anthony’s. Also critical though is that this move ends up with Enchantress within range 2 of Omega Red so she gets Poison. MODOK just moves back to his point and fails yet again to hurt Enchantress and She-Hulk finally dazes Kingpin. Omega Red puts some nice damage into Enchantress and the A-Force Black Cat races over and collects the Power Core off mine, but ends up next to Omega Red and gets Poison for her trouble. Finally, Black Dwarf moves to sit on the back point – note that I’d actually premeasured this earlier (when he couldn’t fit as Black Cat was standing in the landing spot) which I shouldn’t have been allowed to do, and Anthony very kindly let me away with it. The score changes to 12 – 11, still in my favour.

Round 5: I play All According To Plan, and Omega Red uses Death Factor to daze Enchantress and hurt Black Cat, then finishes off the latter and picks up the Power Core. She-Hulk hammers Kingpin but he survives on a single wound (and with Stagger) after judicious use of Intense Physical Conditioning. Black Dwarf tries to deal Okoye’s final couple of wounds but of course bounces off her, and he doesn’t even have enough power to throw her. Okoye makes a last desperate attack to finish Kingpin but I roll really well on defence and it doesn’t work, so Kingpin throws She-Hulk off the objective and stands on it himself. The game ends at 18 – 11 to me.

Well, that could have been the most intense game of MCP ever. The dice were very interesting in that we seemed to roll consistently no successes or a yahtzee of criticals; I don’t think it favoured one of us over the other, but it made the attacks very spiky. Anthony’s positional play (apart from his error with Okoye in round 4) was spot on – I constantly found myself millimetres out of range to attack his pieces. Otherwise, I think that our skills matched up well and the game errors (especially with the Power Core dazing Black Cat in round two) were not decisive. He was also considerably better than me at using his tactics cards while I yet again had a handful of them left at the end.

When the final scores come in, I’m the only player left undefeated as Martin won in the pair-down. This is probably greatly to the relief of tournament organiser JP as Longshanks (the tournament matchmaking and stats software) went down during round 2 and I’m sure that he was very glad not to have to manually calculate tie breaks. Once again I had a great time playing a very lovely group of people. Many thanks to Martin, Sam and Anthony for three very fun games of Crisis Protocol, JP for running the show very smoothly and of course to Allan for kindly driving us down to Stanley.

Categories: Battle reports, Marvel Crisis Protocol, Tournaments | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Painted Storm

This is Storm, iconic member of the X-Men and probably one of the most visually memorable superheroes in any comic book. I’ve long been a fan of the X-Men in general and Storm gets lots of good lines and action in their stories. The casting of Halle Berry in the X-Men films was just one of an inspired series of choices of actors that, for me, has rarely been surpassed when translating from comic page to screen. Storm is one of the two leaders of the X-Men affiliation and since she’s the only one with a good leadership ability she’s going to be the one seen first in every X-Men team. Apart from the leadership (which is excellent, giving both mobility and survivability), I’ve struggled to get the best of Storm and I think it’s been mainly because of how I’ve set up the rest of the team. Storm is best when she can keep the other team at arm’s length between her own long range attacks and her even-better-than-Stealth ability. However, I’ve also played her lately with Cable who also wants to stand off and use his superior range; since Cable is a bit stronger at range than Storm that tends to mean that I have to commit Storm to forward scenario elements, and that almost invariably means that she gets beaten up. So in this case, I think it’s fair to say that the error is currently mine. I also played a fun game lately in which Storm, Goddess of Storms, faced off against Thor, God of Thunder. That didn’t go well for Ororo!

I painted Storm according to her classic look with white hair streaming and dark clothing. I was a bit surprised not to see an alternative head come in the kit with a mohawk but I do really like the way that the hair shows the impression of swirling winds as Storm rises into the air. The hardest part was painting the lightning; I just couldn’t get a satisfactory look for it. In the end, I’ve gone with a very light blue and pure white highlighting on the basis that it looks good against Storms black costume rather than worrying about whether it actually looks like lightning. While I do really like the way that Storm is raised up on the lightning, it does give the mini a very worrying wobbliness and I’m sure that at some point I’ll be gluing her back together.

Next on the painting table: the Ancient One.

Categories: Marvel Crisis Protocol, Painting and modelling | Tags: | 12 Comments

Painted Domino

Here is Domino for Marvel Crisis Protocol; a member of the X-Men, X-Force and A-Force at least until more affiliations are created. Domino is a classic character that performs way better on the tabletop than she looks like she ought to on paper. Her main superpowers are that enemy Critical rolls against her don’t ‘explode’ (i.e. roll a further die) when attacking or defending with her, and that she can pay power to turn Skulls into Critical rolls. I like the way that this represents her luck superpowers but in game terms it makes her punch somewhat above her weight and also has considerable reliability. I’ve really enjoyed her as part of a core of X-Men along with Storm and Beast.

Slightly to my disappointment, the mini did not come with an alternative head to make Domino look like she does in the Deadpool 2 film. I looked to see if there were any 3rd party or 3D prints available and even briefly tried a bit of greenstuff sculpting work before realising that would just make a mess of the mini; so the kit is painted just as it comes from the sprue. I was a little nervous about the painting process for Domino for two reasons: firstly, she’s almost entirely black and white and secondly because she (like Amazing Spider-Man) has a tactical explosion for her base and I’m not confident on my skills for either part. For the explosion, I’m not quite as happy as I was with Amazing Spider-Man but it’s definitely good enough. I spent quite a bit of time highlighting in different shades of not-quite-black on Domino’s clothes and hair and I’m actually more than satisfied with the results. The ‘domino pip’ over her left eye was another potential pitfall but again I’m happy with the outcome. I feel like we all spend so much time and effort on these tiny details that will never be noticed on the tabletop!

Next on the painting table: Storm.

Categories: Marvel Crisis Protocol, Painting and modelling | Tags: | 10 Comments

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