New painted mini – Leonius the War Horn Bearer

This is a new mini I just finished painting this past week. So a bit of backstory. I had bought this figure way, way back (as I did with most minis) as part of a Warhammer Fantasy Dark Elf command group, because I liked the leader (who had a big two handed axe and was holding a severed head). As part of the command group I also got a standard bearer and musician. The musician sat unused in my “to paint” box for years, until recently I noticed him when re-organizing.
As you might have seen in the upcoming v2.6 rules, there is a new weapon added called the War Horn. This is a 1A-3D range weapon with the “Motivate” special ability (basically lifesteal). So for once a mini with a musical instrument was useful (outside of being a Bard in D&D).
The downside was, being Warhammer Fantasy, this mini had a sword. But I easily converted that by chopping off his hand and using an autopistol from my Necromunda parts. The best part is this particular Dark Elf mini is meant to have a reptile skin as a cloak, which is a perfect dinosaur looking skin.
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As you can see the arm conversion turned out quite well, I think. For the paint scheme I went with a traditional dinosaur skin color of green. When it comes to painting I generally do a few washes but very little drybrushing. Those are both painting techniques, with “washing” meaning adding water to a darker color and painting it on, and the watered down paint creeps into all the recesses and crevices of the mini. Drybrushing is using a lighter color than what you’re painting onto, wiping off almost all the paint from the brush, and then lightly stroking the brush over the top to pick out the raised areas. Basically think of washing as adding shadows, and drybrushing as adding highlights.
Anyway I normally prefer rich, basic colors instead of the style of drybrushing. However the dinosaur cloak for this mini was the perfect use case for both techniques, as the scales had lots of recesses between them, and I could also pick out the edges with some drybrushing. So I did a green base, then washed with a teal color, then drybrushed some bright green over that. In the end the cloak looks nice and realistic.
Otherwise a simple reddish pink and gold scheme, with the horn being a natural bone color, and the gun (for once) not having steel/metal coloring and instead just being wood and black. I opted to paint the helmet visor pure black instead of a flesh tone because I find it more menacing to look like a completely shadowed face (think of a cheesy 1990s cartoon villain).
All in all I’m happy with the result.
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Redone rulebook gameplay example art

As part of the upcoming v2.6 rules I ended up doing some re-organization of the table of contents/objects, which cleared up the following page and left me with a big blank spot. To fill that spot I put in a new gameplay image, actually from the recent Mountie Chase of Samurai Jack battle report.
This is the image:
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The problem is the existing gameplay picture in the “Game Overview” section has a lot of similar features, specifically a T-Rex and the road sections. I didn’t think that reflected very well on the game, to have such duplication, so I recently re-took a gameplay photo to replace the old Game Overview one.
This is the result:
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I made a concentrated effort to not use any minis or terrain from the Samurai Jack gameplay photo. The downside is I staged the photo, whereas the previous gameplay photos were taken during actual games. Either way I’m happy with the result, and I think showing the green table in the first and desert table in the second is a nice way to break them up.

So anyway v2.6 will get a nice facelift with these new photos. As I mentioned before, you can check out the latest, non-released rules on the Bleeding Edge Dropbox which is synced with my computer.

My attempt to get back into painting with an overwhelming minis purchase

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New-Minis-0001What can go wrong? Also there won’t be any April Fool’s shenanigans on this blog, so don’t get too excited. Anyway these two photos catalogue my recent trip to my local gaming store. I bought a total of 11 minis (although 2 of them are gifts), all of which are for Dinosaur Cowboys. They are also all from the terrific Reaper Mini Chronoscope line, which are inexpensive minis of various genres. They do a great job of copying popular culture and switching the names to get around trademark issues. For example Rudd Starslider, Space Smuggler who is very clearly Peter Quill aka Star-Lord from the recent Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Similarly Rex, Dark Future Hero who is Mad Max, right down to the torn sleeve (they even get a nice little nod to Game Workshop’s early road warrior style game Dark Future).
But I’m not complaining, merely highlighting the awesome range you can buy.

I’m going to base everyone up, fill in the gaps with puddy, base coat them all, and then have 9 minis lined up to paint whenever I feel like it. Otherwise I have probably ~15 more in a “paint for DC” box, collected from Ebay and various other sources. One day soon I mean to take a photo of all the minis I need to paint, and also all the minis for Dinosaur Cowboys I have painted.

This is a big purchase for me since after all I’ve probably bought an average of one mini per ~3 months for the past 5 years. My motivation is simply to get some specific DC minis based and undercoated so I can just sit down and paint them. I want to get back into painting a bit, since rank-and-file troops of mass battle games (specifically Warhammer 40,000) turned me off the hobby for a while. Basically childhood burnout that bled into losing focus on painting in adulthood. To me painting single minis like this is the peak fun-ness of the hobby. You can vary the paint scheme mini to mini, add a lot of characterization and uniqueness to each, and the look changes drastically between minis.
Since I started Dinosaur Cowboys I actually haven’t done too badly with painting new minis. I probably added close to 10 to my collection. So with luck in the next year or so I’ll have another 20 done!

Terrain: based cacti and small trees

Based Cacti
A while back I randomly stumbled across some model cacti (in a nearly empty hobby shop I had never been to before). They were great, perfect scale, prepainted, and so I picked them up immediately. The only downside was they had tiny bases, and some were quite top heavy and wouldn’t sit very well on my desert cloth for the gaming table.
So I glued the cacti to 1-cent pennies. Then recently I finally got around to filling in the gap with glue (to make the transition from old base to penny less visible), painting the penny bases, and spraying the whole setup with protective coating.
Here are the results, which you can expect to see in a desert themed game of Dinosaur Cowboy soon:
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Based Trees
Now this terrain goes even farther back. I’ve had these little model trees, the same as what were used in White Dwarf battle reports waaaay back in the day. The problem was they were meant to be stuck into foam terrain or the like. Initially I had done exactly that, but over the years the trees had fallen out (and left little holes in the terrain, a few of which you might even notice from previous battle reports).
So what I set out to do was properly base the trees on standard square mini bases, so they could be moved around freely instead of being stuck to the terrain. This involved cutting the metal stick at the center of the tree to shorten it. Then I drilled a hole into a series of bases and glued the trees in. I don’t think I’ll paint the bases, so after adding a second layer of glue (to ensure they don’t come loose with rough handling) I had 5 new small trees to use. They match the color of my larger trees, which is an added bonus.
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Quick recap of my weekend games

I played two games of Dinosaur Cowboys this past weekend with my friends, which were a lot of fun. Then we went on to play some local video games like Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm for a gross amount of hours, but at least we got some tabletop gaming in too. As a point of interest the two friends involved were the same guys from the “Four Player Madness” report almost exactly 3 years ago. Back then we used wooden tokens and the v1.2 rules, whereas now we had nice jungle terrain, plastic tokens, and the upcoming v2.6 rules to play with.
We used the desert looking table with a standard 8″ Edge deployment along the long table edges. There were a few different posses (built around the upcoming v2.6 rules):

DC-Friend-Rematch-0002The first game had a raised jungle ruin surrounded by crates. Whoever had more entities on top of the hill by the end of turn 6 (with a possible turn 7) would win. There was also a nearby wagon that had a cannon in the back, facing the hill, and the weapon could be used by an adjacent character with the stats of 2A-7D, 20″ distance.
The posses involved were the Horizon Unimatics Company (me) agains the Nashkel Miners (my friend). There was a lot of positioning and clever range band usage this match. Eventually the Thickskull ended up in melee in the middle against the T-Rex (you can imagine how that went). Although Horizon got the first kill, they had a lot of damage spread around their own posse and eventually the focus fire started enough to kill almost everyone off. Having a person sitting by the wagon cannon the whole game didn’t help the situation in the middle (which really acted more like a deterrent than anything, since I think the cannon was fired only once or twice).
In the end the Nashkel Miners were able to win, both by kills and by objective.

DC-Friend-Rematch-0001The second game we lowered the raised ruin section and replaced it with a patch of crates. The objective this time was to collect a smattering of dinosaur eggs, although the focus ended up being more on killing each other.
This time the Deseret Raiders faced the Nashkel Miners. There was a lot of nervous ducking behind hills and almost getting pot shots at each other, but eventually the Nashkel Miners rushed their T-Rex forward to force the issue. The Deseret Raiders tried to respond (and if they had hit with the Riot Grenades the game might have gone differently), but eventually the T-Rex got stuck in, tore the Deseret leader apart, and eventually brought down the enemy Horned dinosaur as well. There was a lot of damage spread across the Nashkel posse, but not as many kills, and eventually the Deseret Raiders surrendered when they had a single entity left.

As I played with friends there weren’t as many pictures, just the few scattered through this text.

Battle Report: Thermopolis Outpost Raid with Lego!

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Boom, it happened, I finally sat down and played Dinosaur Cowboys with Lego Minifigs like I’ve been meaning too since September (jeez has it been that long?!?!). I’ve had all these Lego buildings sitting around just waiting to go. So last week I set everything up, scrounged up enough vaguely weaponized Lego pieces, wrote two full 5 man + 1 dino posses, and played (using v2.5 of the rules). Of course the town used here is different than the one I took pictures of in September, obviously because I’m not going to leave the first town setup for ~6 months haha. I have a few Lego fences and trees that also made an appearance in addition to my normal terrain.

I focused on playing, not taking notes, but I’ll recall the general story from memory as much as I can.

Location, Terrain, Objective, Deployment
First of all the location is Thermopolis, Wyoming, which is fairly close to the Old Faithful geyser (and subsequent volcano) as well as the heart of the Neotechnoist empire: Haven, inside The Wall.
So I thought I’d do a bit of a narrative reversal, where Neotechnoist colonists have expanded to the outpost, outside The Wall. And then Duster locals see this as an enroachment and raid the outpost to try to drive everyone off.
Side Note: Funny how Neotechnoists are “colonists” when Dusters would be “settlers” or “pioneers”, and I call it an “output” instead of “town” or “hamlet”. Just the language that fits each Allegiance.
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Panoramic view of the town from the road and horizontally (note the various vehicles are non-functional). The jungle area with the ruined motorcycle and semi-truck I saw as a kind of rusted junkyard. Then a cool little dinocart (no in-game effect), and a view of the jail building.

So Thermopolis Outpost would be the center of the conflict, with the “Good Ol Raiders” being a posse of Dusters doing the attacking, and the “Thermopolis Outpost Residents” defending. The Dusters would try to steal food crates in the hope of shutting down the town and driving everyone out, while the Neotechnoists would try to hold onto their supplies.

DC-Lego-Battle-011To achieve this I used a custom mix of the Objectives of “Capture” and “Smash and Grab”. There would be 5 food crates (pictured right) scattered around the table, each could be picked up in the Action Phase (and would be dropped on death). Whoever had the most food crates in their possession, or the most entities within 4″ of crates, at the end of Turn 6 would be the winner. To add another element I made the jail building an objective, since it represented a place of strength for the Neotechnoists, so again whoever had more entities within 4″ at the end would get the same value as 2 food crates.

To continue with the slightly custom rules, I decided to do a “Diagonal” deployment, which mean each posse could deploy in a table half made by drawing a line from corner to corner. This deployment will actually become official in v2.6 of the rules (more on that release later) in place of the current overly complex and overly pop-culture-y “Clever Girl”. Basically this:
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And to add to the Lego flavor I will be using yellow 2×2 Lego blocks to mark Moved & Acted instead of my usual tokens. If the Lego block is right side up (bumpy part up) then they Moved & Acted, if it’s flipped then they just Acted without moving. This also highlights that I REALLY need to rebuy my Litko tokens to say “Moved” instead of “Move”…bah grammar mistakes!
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Similarly I “based” each Minifig with a color coded 2×2 block to help them stand up.

Posse – Good Ol Raiders – 150 IP, $1,500 ND, 4 Traits – DOWNLOAD PDF or View in Saloon
We’re back to the classic text-names-on-posse-image era. Terrific looking group! No real plan or structure to the design, just picking a bunch of neat weapons and stuff that matches the Lego. Both Posses went for a cheap Dinosaur, and the classic approach of Neotechnoists taking herbivores (Runner) and others taking carnivores (Ripper). Also a lot of the names are not the most serious thing of all time…so a perfect fit for playing an already silly themed game with silly Lego :) You can hopefully tell I tried to put in some thought to the character of each Minifig, such as the “grumpy old man” Leader in Old Anderson. Similarly the rough bandit looking Gogocha and his “Lucky” trait since he seems like he’d survive rough patches. It’s a bit hard to see but Cool Kid has sunglasses on his face, and obviously a hip hat, and the “Inspiring Shot” trait to match his big ego. One Handed Bernard is one of my favorites, since obviously he’s missing a hand (pulled him outta the Lego box like that), but has clearly been scarred by the experience and now wears a helmet everywhere and carries only a shield to desperately protect himself from further harm (and in the game is the only one in the posse who wears Armor).
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Posse – Thermopolis Outpost Residents – 150 IP, $1,500 ND, 4 Traits – DOWNLOAD PDF or View in Saloon
Again no real plan, sort of just went with weapons that seemed to fit the character of each Minifig. Usual smattering of traits, and only a few noticeably lower Hitpoint members compared to the Duster posse. And the “SP” for the Leader Drapkin and his wife Antoinette I decided off the cuff to mean “Sergeant Primary”, which sounds like a very Neotechnoist outpost kinda rank. And yes, Mr. The Plague is a Hackers (1995) movie reference. Similarly Hank “Mars” is because that Lego chestpiece used to be the Mars faction back in the 90s. Similarly Frosty is from the ice faction. In true Neotechnoist fashion almost everyone is wearing a sci-fi helmet. I also made the Leader look more supporty (and have traits to match) by having a walkie-talkie and a “stick of command” (which is a Variable Pulse Rifle in the game, but I imagine it as sending out shocking waves or pulses from the stick).
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Starting Ugly!
So everyone deployed, with the Neotechnoists taking the “north” half of the Diagonal deployment, and the Dusters opposite that in the south. I think the Diagonal was a perfect choice for this terrain setup, because a lot of people could start right in the town in buildings, instead of having to trudge forward. I actually could see the Dusters coming into town peacefully, walking around a bit, and then BLAM just starting to shoot and sow chaos.
Here’s a bunch of pictures of how everyone setup:
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Clearly some initial setup right by objectives with the intent to secure a food crate early on. Also with the Diagonal there were a lot of nearby enemies which should make the first turn intense (spoiler alert: it did! :) ).


Turn 1 – Let’s Lego Party!
The Neotechnoists managed to get the first Initiative, so Frosty moved back to the safe cover of a hill and bonus support of Hank Mars. Bernard shifted forward behind a wall, likely figuring to hop the hill next turn and attack.
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On the opposite end of the table the Neotechnoist Leader Drapkin, astride his Runner mount “Eggy”, grabbed a food crate and moved far into town, behind the cover of a building. But guess who was waaaaaiting for him behind the building? Keel Greenpants and his massively oversized gun!
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Back to the west side and the “duel at the hills”, the Duster dinosaur crept forward and tried to Charge 3″ into Frosty. Which meant of course that I ended up rolling a 2 for distance and failing to reach combat. Nearby behind the jail building, Cool Kid did a bit better and made his Charge (funnily enough ended up being 3″ distance as well) and started Scything ol’ Frosty. Those chainsaw thingies look hugely menacing. Also ironic because the Lego set they came from was the same ice stuff as Frosty is built from.
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Meanwhile in the center of the town a duel was emerging between Gogocha for the Dusters and Antoinette for the Neotechnoists. What was really interesting is both had non-traditional weapons of a Laserbow 60 and Big Blasterbow respectively. Should be a good one! Antoinette didn’t want to be the first to leave Cover so the food crate right outside sat untouched for now. This shootout makes me REALLY want to build some roofless (or removable roof) buildings for traditional 28mm miniatures.
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Turn 2 – Outpost Firefight
This turn started with the first death of the game, and that was thanks to Cool Kid slashing Frosty down. Thanks to the deployment melee was quite viable this match. Since Cool Kid uses his Action to attack and take Frosty out, he could still Move right into his next target: Hank Mars
But Mr. The Plague, after grabbing a food crate last turn, had walked down from his hilltop perch and now had a clear shot at Cool Kid. He managed to hit and force a Bravery Test from Cool Kid, which he failed (the punk!). Bernard, having heard the muffled screams from the other side of the hill, and remembering his own horrible dismemberment, climbed up and fired down into Hank Mars.
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Meanwhile in the middle of the town the Neotechnoist Leader moved in. First he motivated his Antoinette with the “Get Up” trait, which restored her from 2 HP to 7 HP (that Laserbow 60 hurt). Then he fired at Gogocha to even the odds. But Keel Greenpants was still nearby, having fired and dropped back down from the building rooftop (otherwise he’d have a Shot in the Back at Drapkin). After grabbing a food crate the Duster Leader Old Anderson was slowly truddling his way to the fight, and actually was barely in range this turn to fire at the Neotechnoist Drapkin or his mount.
(Apologies for the wacky spacing and sizing on the images, I’m just lazily doing WordPress Medium size so horizontal vs vertical clearly doesn’t match)
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And finally the Duster dinosaur Tangy Fangy, a Ripper, figured that One Handed Bernard had Hank Mars handled (bad pun). But Mr. The Plague would keep raining fire down from a distance, so that’s who Tangy Fangy moved to engage instead.
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Turn 3 – Wait Weren’t There Objectives?
Speaking of One Handed Bernard, guess who opted to Activate first after the Dusters won Initiative? “Say Hank Mars, what’re your Hitpoints at? Hmm, ever been hit by a 3GJ Auto Shotgun at Short Distance?”
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After killing Hank Mars, Bernard was very close to a food crate (somewhat stained with melted Lego Minifig).

On the other side Eggy wasn’t looking so good, nor was his passenger Drapkin (who had taken the brunt of the Duster fire). But wanting to protect Mr. The Plague, the pair rode forward and unleashed on the Duster Ripper dinosaur. First Drapkin shot, then Mr. The Plague fired his backup 1GJ Pump Shotgun, and suddenly Tangy Fangy the dinosaur had two Panic tokens and a sliver of health.
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But like a well trained bloodhound, Keel Greenpants was still hot on the trail. From beneath the reins of the dinocart he took an almost-out-of-range shot at Mr. The Plague and brought down the sharpshooter.
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Back in the middle, Antoinette was wounded and alone. She had backed herself into a corner of the building (thankfully without windows), which meant Gogocha and Old Anderson had to advance out of cover to try to eventually reach her. Gogocha could still reach a fence at least (and look awesome behind it).
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Here’s the state of the table at the end of this turn:
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Turn 4 & 5 – The Noose Closes
First of all the Neotechnoist Leader Drapkin continued his western run and ended up in the junkyard, hoping to have one turn without getting shot. At this point he had basically traversed the long side of the table.
Also I thought I’d mention the awesome orange semi-truck is actually from a new Lego set (whereas everything else I have is from my childhood). My wife bought a pair of 3-in-1 Creator sets recently as something fun to do, so this one is from the Sunset Speeder box. Being a fan of Euro Truck Simulator 2 a semi was obviously what I’d keep the set as (the other option being a convertible sports car and an F1 racer car).
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Knowing that her turns were numbered, Antoinette decided to risk a shot at Gogocha, which meant leaving the safety of her building corner. The “Get Up!” heal from Drapkin meant she likely wouldn’t get one-shot killed at least.
The shot paid off, as Gogocha needed a Bravery Test and failed, so he’d be Fleeing.
Her husband was in an even more precarious position as One Handed Bernard, the seemingly unstoppable shield wielding, helmet wearing, disabled man fired super accurately at Drapkin.
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As expected, the much shot Drapkin finally died. With his death a ripple of panic spread through the tattered remains of the posse (which at this point was Antoinette and Eggy the dinosaur). Antoinette actually failed her Bravery Test (necessary when a Leader is taken out of action), which is super important because she’s in a building. In the case of a Fleeing character NOT being able to move their full distance, they are Stunned instead. So basically she couldn’t run backwards through the wall, so she’d lose her Action instead. More or less a death sentence, and also a lucky save for Gogocha who would have died after another shot.
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Turn 6 – Where Do We Stand?
With fewer entities left alive the turns were just flying by.

Keel Greenpants focused on taking out the Eggy dinosaur, who was trying to snatch up as many food crates as possible to try to win-by-objective. Unluckily for Keel, he missed his shot AND had to Reload.
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Meanwhile Gogocha, confident in Old Anderson to finish off the Stunned Antoinette, moved backwards to secure the jail.
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Old Anderson was also confident in Old Anderson (even if he’s a bit senile and talks in the third person), so he strode into the building and shot point blank at Antoinette. To add insult to injury he actually did “Fan the Hammer”, so +2 Attacks AND Antoinette would be 2″ Pushed. Since she had backed into the corner (again) this would result in additional damage. Even with all that Old Anderson still barely managed to kill her, but a kill is a kill.
(Actually this was a slight rules error on my behalf, and perhaps something I should clarify in the rules text. You take 1 damage per 1″ Pushed, BUT that’s if you actually go that distance. If you’re backed up against a wall you don’t take the damage. Which meant Antoinette technically should have lived. She wasn’t carrying crates so the overall game outcome would have been the same though.)
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Feebly Eggy moved to the nearest food crate (dropped a while back when Mr. The Plague died).
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Outcome
In total the Neotechnoist “Thermopolis Outpost Residents” had 2 food crates (thanks Eggy!). But with the jail firmly in Duster hands, plus 2 crates on Old Anderson and 1 on One Handed Bernard (how fitting), the Duster “Good Ol Raiders” won the day! So in the words of a Duster: “Go hide inside your Wall, ya sissy Volkies! This here is our land!”

Anyway hopefully you enjoyed the report and visuals. I certainly had fun using Lego Minifigs and terrain. I think the flexibility of building and arming your Minifigs really helps for a “what you see is what you get” match to your posse. Also it’s a terrific gateway for kids to wargaming, since 28mm minis can be a bit intimidating (especially with the owner fussing over fingerprints or damage to their little pewter soldiers).

I think this match also highlighted that objectives need to DO something immediately beneficial during a standalone game, since otherwise everyone just rushes for them in the last turn and focuses on killing the enemy the rest of the time. I mention this same issue in the rules themselves, and recommend applying a Feature bonus. So I probably should have made it that you could re-roll 1 Attack die per food crate you’re carrying, or maybe re-roll Bravery Tests, or just use a normal Feature like “Ammo Container”.

Cowboy artwork by Frederic Remington

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“What an Unbranded Cow Has Cost” by Frederic Remington. He was a terrific artist from the late 1800s who did many paintings that evoke the loneliness and desolation of the wild west (at least in my opinion).
(From http://commons.wikimedia.org/)

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