Tag Archives: Ray Harryhausen

Osprey Adventures: Jason and the Argonauts Review

1 Mar


Cover of "Jason and the Argonauts"

Cover of Jason and the Argonauts

It might not seem this way, but I have always loved the myths and legends of the ancient Greeks. With that in mind, I jumped at the chance to review the upcoming Osprey Adventures book, Jason and the Argonauts.

Most of us are familiar with the tales of the mythical hero Jason and his brave crew, and their quest for the golden fleece mainly from the  classic 1963 movie, featuring the ground breaking work of Ray Harryhausen, this book sets right the discrepencies in the film and puts them in line with the more scholarly original tales.

The author, Neil Smith has managed to keep a balance between these sometimes dry, long winded stories and presents us with a streamlined and easy to read narrative, keeping as true to the original legends. As anyone can tell you who has read various versions of the stories, the Greeks were known for their fondness of adding additional dramatic dialog and tended to sometimes spend a fair amount of time introducing themselves to one another, plus their extended bloodlines, plus their ancestors bold adventures and any other titles they had! Rest assured the author has avoided this ancient tendency and concentrated on the actual story in a way thats easy to read!

Additions of extra historical facts, references to the legend in the media all add weight to this very well put together book, which is what we have come to expect from Osprey over the years. I suppose that you are thinking I approve of this book, and I would agree with that entirely! I admit that this is one of the first Osprey books I have read for a long time, and if they are all as good as this one I will say that I will be reading a lot more over the coming months. This is just part of the Osprey adventures Myths and Legends series, along with Dragon Slayers and the Wars of Horus and Set, I foresee good things from this range!!

The artwork in this book is top notch, it really helps bring to life the text and imagine each segment with full colour. the artist  Jose Daniel Cabrera Peña can’t be faulted, his works ranking among some of the best renderings of fine art on the subject I have seen in a long time. Together with photos from the various movie versions, these all add more to the feel of the book, if I had one criticism about them it would be that the book hasn’t got anymore! They really are great to look at, and inspiring to boot!

From a wargamers perspective, or a roleplayers one for that matter, there really is the meat for some great campaigns and scenarios based around the myth, I especially liked the information and pictures on the crew of the argo. It really makes me want to go out and get a load of historical ancient greek 15mm miniatures to go and replay scenes from the story (before you ask, yes I know which particular scene I’m thinking, and yes I know the earthborn aren’t skeletons, but I would have to do it with earthborn and skellies, otherwise it wouldn’t be cricket!!)

Ok, I’m going to sum this up. If you enjoy an easy to read, lavishly illustrated full colour book based around one of the most enduring ancient greek quest stories, then go get this book. There’s tons of useful information that would be suitable for any fan or curious casual reader. Buy it, read it and you’ll love it too. Check it out here Link

Right, now where did I put my other sandal…..


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News on RPG releases from Game Smiths LLC

6 Nov

I promised Hank Woon from the Game SmithsLLC I would blog about their new releases, so it’s a little late (Blame my internet access!) I thought of you dear readers when taking a look at some of the great stuff they have on offer! I really like the new Sinbad setting, I’m a big sinbad movie fan and that will really appeal to a great deal of folks like me who were brought up with the Ray Harryhausen classic movies!!

I’ll hand you over to Hank  to tell you more!!

Hello! I’m Hank Woon of Game Smiths LLC—a new indie RPG publisher out of Bellevue, WA. Quick intro: I’m a former Paizo intern, regular KQ contributor, former Earthdawn developer, published novelist, and produced screenwriter, whose day job is with The Pokémon Company International (alongside many former WoTC folks, such as Wolfgang Baur). 

There’s a podcast interview recorded the other day on LordKat Live! Television that delves a bit into who I am and what I’m about to say, too: http://www.twitch.tv/lordkat/b/336262964 

I just wanted to point out a couple new tabletop RPGs that we’re producing, and we’d love feedback! More info about these products can be found here: www.gamesmithsllc.com. Please also visit (and if so inclined, Like) our Facebook page atwww.facebook.com/Gamesmiths
The first is the N.R.G. System (an as-of-now with a gorgeous cover featuring the ever-awesome Wayne Reynolds. He really captured the classical-era motif we were shooting for. Several free downloads are available for you to check out, including our Light Beta Rules, our free adventure with premade characters, and our example combat, here:http://blog.gamesmithsllc.com/GameSmithBlog/free-downloads/The N.R.G. System is your key to worlds of epic adventures, fantastic dangers, and untold treasures! Within these pages, countless realms lie at your fingertips ready to explore, as well as rules for creating a band of adventurers to seek out lost artifacts, discover forgotten tombs, or battle strange and terrible monsters. Play an elven mage who manipulates powerful arcane energies; a human bladesman whose elegant swordplay leaves his enemies in ruin; a thrall warrior who devastates opponents on the battlefield; or countless other wondrous combinations.The lean rule system encourages strategy and is designed to keep players engaged during combat, rewarding them for clever tactics and Maneuver selections. Designing a character as he or she increases in power becomes part of the playing experience, allowing for endless customization possibilities and versatility. With the N.R.G. System, Game Masters are free to convert an existing campaign, create their own, or use one of our original remarkable settings, such as The Legends of SinbadTM or The Saga of Dragon StarTM.

The N.R.G. System core rulebook features 8 classes, equipment, and hundreds of player options for detailed customization. Join the adventure today!
More information can be found here: http://blog.gamesmithsllc.com/GameSmithBlog/products/n-r-g-core-rulebook/

The second is The Saga of Dragon Star, an epic fantasy western that will be available in N.R.G., Savage Worlds, and Pathfinder! (There is a possibility that the Savage Worlds version will be designed by Shane Hensley himself; for more information, please see this post: http://forums.gamesmithsllc.com/smf/index.php?topic=3.0Howdy partner! Come and join The Saga of Dragon StarTM, an epic fantasy western set in the dying world of Avanti, a troubled land under the oppression of the mighty Keln Dominion. As the immense, dark empire swallows realm after realm, refugees flee to the Frontier Lands, a vast, desolate territory of endless desert and prospect towns, free for the time being from the Dominion in the far north. In this wild expanse, the only law is the Dragon Stars, elite frontier sheriffs appointed by the Ember Council.
Countless inhabitants attempt to eke out a living in this unforgiving stretch of land, and disparate races are forced to live and work side by side. Play an elf Dragon Rustler and explore the Sea of Silt—an ocean of shifting sands, enormous sand ships, and obelisk cities; a gunslingin’ orc Drifter exiled to the Shattered Lands; or a dwarf Gambler, moving from town to town and saloon to saloon, leaving a string of empty pockets and fuming enemies.But never forget the threat from the North; as the Keln Dominion chops down the world’s forests to feed the gnashing teeth of their factories of industry, the magic of the world weakens, as do the ancient binding spells of the forgotten Aluvian Empire, allowing demons to sneak back into the world. Will you attempt to stake your claim in the Frontier Lands and pursue your own petty desires, or will you join the brave few who have banded together to face this threat and explore the ruins of the Aluvian Empire to find a way to stop the Keln menace and cast the demons back to the dark places of the world?If your nerves are steel and your steel is quick, then saddle up and join The Saga of Dragon StarTM!

More information can be found here: http://blog.gamesmithsllc.com/GameSmithBlog/products/the-saga-of-dragon-star/the-saga-of-dragon-star-n-r-g/


A little further out, we have a few more games lined up: Welcome to the year 801 C.E. and the world of Sinbad, a period of excitement and high adventure on the Seven Seas! Journey to a time of incredible magic and danger when brave adventurers battled foul demons and exotic monsters for golden treasures and personal glory! Travel the world encountering brutal pirates, evil viziers, vile sorcerers, and cunning sultans; bargain with bound genies while exploring lost islands and forgotten kingdoms; journey into the frigid wastelands of Hyperborea, battling pre-historic creatures and savage troglodytes; hunt beastly dragons with the knights of Charlemagne’s Empire; or reave coastlands with the proud raiders of the Norselands while avoiding the grasping tentacles of hungry kraken!In The Legends of Sinbad Roleplaying GameTM, players take on the roles of members of the same crew aboard a ship bound for uncharted waters, amazing dangers, and ancient treasures. Play a wily rogue from the Abassid Caliphate, a Grecian alchemist searching for rare ingredients for a new potion, an exiled sorcerer from the Eastern Roman Empire, a fierce barbarian raider from the frigid lands of the Norse, a vassal knight of Charlemagne sent out on a holy quest, or a treasure hunter from the Kingdom of the Moors. Chart your own course as you travel the world, working for the good of the crew and ship while also pursuing your own private quest. New merchant mechanics encourage you to chart new trade routes while investigating rumors of magic-shrouded islands, vine-choked ruins, and lost treasures, and new ship mechanics allow you and your fellow adventurers to gain a crew of followers and customize your ship.

The Legends of Sinbad Roleplaying GameTM provides you with several campaign and adventure ideas, dozens of new magical treasures and thrilling monsters, fully fleshed-out NPCs and organizations to serve as reoccurring antagonists, a map and information on the kingdoms and empires of the Seven Seas, as well as mysterious locations such as the City of Brass, the lost island of Lemuria, and the Fountain of Destiny!

Grab your astrolabe, sharpen your scimitar, and set sail for the Seven Seas in The Legends of Sinbad!

For more information about this setting, please visit http://blog.gamesmithsllc.com/GameSmithBlog/products/the-legends-of-sinbad/the-legends-of-sinbad-n-r-g/

And also a new board game & campaign setting, the Chronicles of Abakan! 

Board Game: 
The Chronicles of Abakan: The Titan Campaigns is a strategic and tactical boardgame pitting players against one another in an attempt to secure their dominion or their freedom in a merciless civil war set in humanity’s grim future. Based on the visual epic Abakan 2288 by renowned sculptor and artist Luca Zampriolo, The Titan Campaigns chronicle the early years of the Neo-Terrans’ revolution, where players battle for control of resource giving holdings in the Novan Sector, near Saturn. Moons, asteroids, and space stations serve as the battlegrounds, and players maneuver against each other by moving their fleets around the Campaign Map, building up shipyards, factories, and refineries and balancing their resources with expansion and military might.

When battle is engaged, players move to tile-based battlegrounds, pitting their HDMs (Hard Doll Machines)–giant weaponized mechs–against one another. These miniatures are based on Luca Zampriolo’s original designs, and the models themselves are sculpted by Luca Zampriolo himself, as well as Filippo Zanicotti of Dust Tactics fame. When a player conquers his opponent’s holding, he adds it to his own, thus increasing his 4 Resources: Labor, Oil, Iron, and Wein until only one player is left standing.
The board game is set to have two factions: The oppressive Weingart Dynasty and the Neo-Terrans. If we reach our pledge goal of $20,000, each side will have 3 miniatures straight out of the box: 2 HDM models and 1 starship. However, stretch goals will raise this number to the possibility of having 3 HDMs (Heavy, Medium, and Light class), a starship, a refindery ship, tank land vehicle, and HDM carrier land vehicle for each faction (14 separate model designs!). And as the more stretch goals are met, the more minis will be provided in each box!

And if we reach a high enough level, a third faction–the mercenary faction–will be added, with 7 more unique minis added to the box!
If you have any questions about this upcoming game, please visit our forums and let your voice be heard!

NOTE: The images displayed on the product page on our site are of our first sculpt to be included with this game–the SchnabelGun! This model was sculpted by Filippo Zanicotti, who has sculpted many minis for the popular tactical minis game, Dust Tactics! Standing at a towering 33 meters, the SchnabelGun is a Heavy Class HDM. Each faction’s Heavy Class HDM will be very resource intensive but be a dominating force on most battlefields. The Heavy is also the tallest mini in the bunch (average size of HDM minis for this game will be in the 28-32mm range).

Welcome to the dystopian future of The Chronicles of Abakan, a new tabletop RPG based on the visually stunning and evocative world imagined by the brilliant international sculptor and painter, Luca Zampriolo. Set in a resource-starved future, The Chronicles of Abakan centers around a world controlled by dynastic corporate families who rule through an apex of technology: HDMs (Hard Doll Machines), powerful mechas that serve as both industrial laborers and military enforcers.

The most powerful of these families is House Weingart, a tyrannical and fascist regime whose monopoly over advanced HDM technologies and, most importantly, the super-efficient refined fuel known as “Wein,” has granted them a long-standing and unchallenged authority…

…until now.

Deep in the solar system, where Wein is fueled on distant planets, the colony of Terra Nova has rebelled. Hailing mostly from North America, the Neo-Terrans have summoned the revolutionary spirit of their ancestors and successfully repulsed their Weingart overlords, and now an interplanetary Civil War has begun.

So choose your side and join The Chronicles of Abakan, a world of mercenaries and warlords, of bounty hunters and generals, and revolutionaries and military soldiers. Where HDMs drop from transport ships high in orbit around distant planets to do battle on strange and alien terrains, from the crumbling streets of New York City to the frozen tundras of Saturn’s moon Titan, and beyond.

Thanks for reading! We hope you check us out, and we hope to see you on our Facebook page and forums!

–Hank Woon

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