Sunday, 20 May 2012

So apparently I have no willpower or how I got into Empire of the Dead

I type this as I sit and paint models for yet another game. After demoing Empire of the Dead at Carronade and plans to demo it at further shows, I must admit I wasn't entirely sold on it. I like steampunk and was looking for a game of that ilk, and so was keeping an eye both on Empire of the Dead and Wolsung SSG by Micro art studios. However a week ago I was in my local game store, and noticed they had the full stock of Empire of the Dead they're. After toying with the box of Lycaon for a while, I eventually decided aye why no, and picked it up.

So what do you get for your £25

The contents of the box
As you can see you get 2 x Wolves, 4 x Wolfskins (humans who've joined up), a packmaster (the smaller of the two werewolves), and a beastlord. They're all single piece models and all pretty well cast. There was a few small mould lines on them, but they're pretty easy to take care of, though annoyingly some of the mould lines on the werewolves run through fur, which can make them a pain to remove. All fairly nice models, and should paint up well, so look forward to seeing them, at somepoint in the future knowing my painting speed.

So what about the game. The rulebook is £30 and for that you get a nice hardback book, with some generaly world background, told in the form of a diary kept by the manservant of a gentleman, background and rules for the various factions, the rules themselves and various scenarios and the campaign system.

What about the factions. Well there's four of them for now (whether they have plans to add more I don't know). There's the Vampire, who are out to spread their curse upon the world, and generally do evil vampire like things (none of your sparkly Twilight vampire romance stuff here), and they are considered an evil faction.

The Lycaon (werewolves) are rather than rampaging monsters out to eat everybody, are more into restoring the natural order of the world, and thus are enemies of the vampire (as they're undead), though will fight mankind as well as he pushes ever forward with technology and destroying the natural world as he marches forward. They're considered a neutral faction

The Brotherhood are basically the militant arm of the church. They have the usual Deacons and Brothers and what not, and are out to protect mankind from the things that prowl in the night. They are considered a good faction

Gentlemans clubs. Now they're a bit special, as you can just have a regular club, and generally they have the best access to all the weird and wonderful gadgets and they are generally considered a neutral faction. However what you can also do is affiliate them to one of the other societies. There are currently 4 in the world. The Sons of Empire are all about bettering the Empire and their fellow man. They are a good faction. The Darkfire club are all about nefarious black magic, and control through fear. They're an evil faction. The Wulfen Jaeger are monster hunters essentially, and can also hire on hunting hounds. They're considered a good faction, and lastly the Zendarian Officers club are swordmasters without peer, and are considered a neutral faction. If you affiliate, you gain slight stat changes, some extra rules and other things, though it does come at the cost of 10 shillings.

There are also various special characters, including Holmes, Watson and Jack the Ripper that can be hired, and the rules for them are available for free from Westwind.

Rules for Gentlemen & Jackanapes

The rules are pretty straight forward, nice and easy to pick up so they are. They are pretty much the same as in the demo rules, though they've been expanded for the full game, including a campaign system and a whole range of various weapons, both mundane and more weird and wonderful (steam powered exo-skeletons and pneumatic stakes to name a few).

The scenarios are nice, including the usual "having a fight" scenario (called a Fracas), rescue the prisoner, save the bystanders and what not. There are several locations as well, from residential areas, industrial areas, the countryside and the best yet being "The botanical gardens of Professor Julius Ford-Talbot", with a whole list of weird and exotic plants, all with various rules for interacting with your models.

The campaign system is a bit different, as rather than the usual experience based system that I was expecting, instead you use money to pay for advancement rolls, with every roll being 10 shillings. Means it's more of a balancing thing between buying new gear and people and advancing your existing ones. There's also rules for visiting the doctor for healing wounds, and going to the pawn shop to hock your old gear. 

Well I think I've probably rambled on enough about this, so I hope to see you all in the foggy streets of London sometime soon. And remember

"Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford."
— Samuel Johnson


  1. Don't you have a Blasters & Bulkheads 15mm not-Mass Effect force to paint?!?

  2. And a Merc force to paint, and a WFB Dwarf Army to paint, and a Tomorrow's War army to paint, and a Critical Mass army to paint and a Heavy Gear army to paint and....

    Well, tbh Matt I'd better just shut up. It's a near-miracle that he's painting anything at all.

  3. I'm actually painting quite a lot, for me at least which means I'm finishing things. Problem is I like Fran have a severe case of shinybloodyitis. I will get round to doing the mass effect thing, I'm finding I work on my 15mm stuff while waiting on washes etc to dry on other figs.

    @Fran I say do it, but I would say that. It's a good game, doesn't require many figures at all. In fact I got more figures in the box than I can actually use in a starting gang.