Greetings fellow Battle Brethren!
This week I’d like to talk about a game that just arrived after kickstarting back in 2017.
I don’t do these very often but when a new game arrives I do like to talk about it.
Before I go any further I would like it if you let me know what you think of these First Impressions and Unboxing posts because it’s always nice to see where I can improve.
I’ve been really excited about this one because its premise is to bring mechanics from roleplaying and skirmish games into a fantasy setting that is oozing fluff and creativity.
Before getting started just a little disclaimer: All art and pictures of painted minis are property of Last Bullet Games. I have paid for the game and have not been sponsored for this.
Congrats Last bullet Games
What is Circle of Blood?
“Circle of Blood is a miniature game that reproduces tactical battles of two or more squads of Adventurers called Brotherhoods. The players are in charge of a group of brave heroes or villains that come from different regions of Farenhell. These unalike Adventurers will have to defend the city from the dark events which surround it, or maybe take advantage of this chaos to provoke terror and crimes during the missions created by this game.”
The Great Elm, an inspriing centrepiece to make for future games.
I’m gonna start off by saying my Number 1 all-time game is Mordheim. City fighting in a fantasy setting with a party that grows with experience just gives me the perfect hobby buzz.
So Circle of Blood started off instantly with a really succinct hook with tactical battles between players in a dark fantasy city setting
Created by a small company Last Bullet Games, based in Spain Circle of Blood was the first time this team had brought anything to Kickstarter and it is a risk for those who decide to pledge.
What really caught me was how the campaign page was loaded with stories and art that really worked together with this introduction teasing roleplay and skirmish elements together in a very interesting way that had me cleaning my nostalgia goggles and looking into the game less as a comparison to Mordheim and more as a progression.
As the campaign went on multiple NPC’s were unlocked, papercraft houses were included and an AI/Coop Ruleset was also brought to the game.
So I decided this one is worth the risk and put some money down in support for Last Bullet Games to get the starter box due to ship in January 2018
If you aren’t a person who likes/understands Kickstarter a common thing that happens is a delay on shipping so last week the game FINALLY arrived a few months late.
But that isn’t a bad thing producing and sorting a large volume of orders for the first time would be a challenge for most startups and it’s here and I’ve unboxed it to have an inspection of the components and read the rules.
SHOW ME THE MINIS!!!!
The lack of protection on the package had resulted in damage to the beautiful box art. I know its a minor thing but I really love box art and its the first this that you see when you open the package up.
Some Lampposts came slightly damaged as well as a few limbs here and there.
On inspection of some parts, there were breakages in some of the resin casts, but they can be fixed with some effort and super glue.
Overall barring these niggles the quality of the components minis and printed support material is beautiful.
Houses fit for Papercraft Royalty
Images of the assembled buildings from the Kickstarter. I’ll probably mount them on foam board to keep them stronger for longer.
By the way, I have spoken to last bullet games and they are sending me a new box, plus some dice that got missed out so they are focussed on providing the best product possible.
Lady Nisbet one of the NPC’s in Gormaluk
The resin casts have a lovely detail and the metal miniatures are dynamic and unique to the theme and setting.
I haven’t said yet but there is a Samurai Dwarf!
Careful Mate! You’ll poke somebody’s eye out…
Some required instructions for assembly, which were provided after backers requested it. But would be something I’d normally expect in the Starter Box itself especially when Starter Boxes are normally something that attracts newer hobbyists to the scene.
I did find that the bases provided for some minis were not the right size, one actually has an extender on the base to fit him and his pet wolf on, which whilst being a novel approach could have been a larger base to make it easier. Especially with it now being half textured and half not.
Also, the dynamic poses have resulted in the majority of the metal minis posing in their toes leaving little surface area for glueing or pinning.
I’ll be saving some pennies for some cobbletone bases later down the road and transferring the minis onto appropriate base sizes. Some Gorilla Glue would also benefit the tip toes.
Overall though the sculpts and casting are lush. Details are smooth and the momentum on some minis are going to be really nice to have painted on the table. I like how creativity and originality have been a focus on the design side but again as a hobbyist who doesn’t assemble much anymore, sometimes it helps when the assembly is made as easy as possible.
I also spent a little extra on upgrading the cardboard components to 3d resin ones, because I do love terrain pieces and I can use them in other games.
Levers, traps, locks and markers are always useful.
A select few of the assembled Minis
Onto the Rules then.
Some lovely art work on both the rule book and the 35 page questbook.
The book itself is a really good tome of story, pictures and very well laid out. You can literally read the first chapter and understand how the game works.
As you read more you get to see more of the world and the intricacies that the game provides.
I’ve had a quick read over the basics and mechanics and it seems pretty solid.
Starting with a Brotherhood a player can build a team of individuals from any system, yes this is a game like Frostgrave where any minis can be used to build custom characters and enemies.
You can choose from a range of occupations that suit the background of your character, give them personality flaws and virtues that will provide character in gameplay. The equipment and levelling system is simple and well referenced.
There are around 20 pages of skills and spells to choose from on top of around 20 prebuilt classes or occupations to which can suit most standard quickplay scenarios.
Also, there is an aspect of stealth and skulduggery at play in the rules. This has me very curious, skirmish gaming is tactical, what you as a player can see dictates how your characters act on the battlefield.
Don’t worry old chums I’ll just be walking by nothing to see here…
I am curious how stealth will play out in games and I can see it either being thrown to the wayside or used so efficiently in a turn I may end up in trouble with my wife. But it’s nice to see that it is included as an option to bring a new layer of tactics that I personally haven’t played on the skirmish level before.
All in all, so far the rules look very fun and with coop, solo and vs modes it will provide a very flexible gaming night. Plus the low mini count reduces the rush paint job and the playtime.
It is expected that standard games last between 1 and 2 hours of play. I can see this happening eventually but to start I’ll be expecting to put a day aside for setup and rules checks as we get used to it.
This tagline is a goldmine of hobby and playtime for me because it has the potential to tick a lot of boxes that I’ve been looking for since getting back into painting with miniature board games.
Number one on the list is to play a skirmish game, most people who know me can tell you how much I love Mordheim. Even if you don’t but you have read some previous posts you can see more than an occasional ode to Mordheim and the denizens within who banded together on their quests for the magical substance known as Wyrdstone.
Additionally, I’ve been finding that the more games I play with my wife the more I’ve noticed how she kind of enjoys having a bit of complexity to her games, giving her the freedom to create unique stories and characters who she can grow and control.
Especially with the success of playing D&D, there is a chance this could be a winner.
I can see that it will be a while before we get to play a game because building scenery is something I’m still learning and I really want this to look good.
I would say that some of the components to require an extra thought just to make sure that sizes are right and that the minis are protected during future shipments saving time and superglued fingers fixing small parts together again.
Overall I am really looking forward to setting up something good and using it to focus my hobby a little bit in order to get things done for a specific end. I’d definitely recommend keeping an eye out on other channels if you are interested to find out more and seeing how the team evolves the game.
In the meantime,
I’m starting a new job soon which hopefully means more blogging and painting time and a little extra cash for the hobby fund which is always a bonus.
Have you picked up Circle of Blood?
Is there any information I’ve missed?
Let me know in the comments.
Fight On & Roll High for your Brotherhood!