Wednesday, 27 December 2017

How does it feel, to fulfil a Kickstarter...

Many times along the way, in the lead up to and a few times after the event I have talked about the project 'Purgatory' that we brought to Kickstarter way back in October 2016. I promised many people, along the way, that I would pen some closing thoughts, a review of sorts that describes our experience of designing, launching, completing and ultimately fulfilling a Kickstarter.

Here goes...

I guess a good place to start is to re-affirm what we set out to achieve. In the first instance, having recognised that the 'market' responded kindly to our products, we realised that we wanted to 'exist' in a greater vein than we did at the time. Secondly to that, we wanted to create a world that was fresh, different and full of possibilities. Coupled with a game that brought successful mechanisms together to give people a familiar yet fresh game to play, that was neither costly if you didn't want it to be but flexible enough so that each game, or experience was different. Finally we wanted to something that had longevity, where we could add new characters, scenarios and approaches to it, so to maintain a 'pulse'. It wasn't supposed to be a box it, play a handful and shelve. It is designed to create a community, where people can talk about their 'load-out', their optimised 'deck' and their reasons behind why they 'run' with whoever they run with.

We also made a very bold statement to ourselves at the start, which said that the kickstarter would be non-profit. It was designed to break-even because we desperately wanted to give value for money.

That's what we wanted to do. So we went to Kickstarter....

The Kickstarter itself was difficult. I can only liken it to watching your favourite sporting team. One minute you are beating your nearest rival 5-0, the next week you lose 3-1 to a 3rd tier team in the cup. Maybe foolishly we set our stool out too early, we figured letting folk know was the right thing, after all we wanted you to part with your hard earned pennies, but more importantly I guess we wanted to be punctual and deliver as we promised and not be fly by night and disappear if things looked less favourable.

We launched at a time when massive games like Star Saga and Deep Madness went live and we noticed the pull of those fantastic products. When one of these launched, we lost a huge amount of followers and well, we never really recovered to that level. We know why of course, and it's not just about value, it's also about trust. We had never done anything like this before, we had no pedigree if you like, so we were risky to some folk.

We thought we were unlucky. Truth be told, we've been told many times since that actually we were very lucky. There were many projects that failed in the wake of these large projects, some more experienced and with a greater history than we did, but yet we succeeded and as we have been told to have funded in amongst that is quite the achievement.

With the kickstarter being a success and funding, we immediately set to work, talking to our backers and letting people know what was going on, what pleases me in particular greatly post completion is the compliments we have had on the communication, we had to make some decisions along the way and well our backers were amazingly understanding

Problems in paradise. 

We experienced a few issues along the way that forced us to make changes, or ask backers for some patience or assistance.

In the first instance we didn't get all of the funds in from the kickstarter itself. This wasn't a mistake, just quite a few bounced payments. This is something we didn't consider and perhaps should have done, but if you need a figure to complete something and get less, often it makes it hard.

We offset this by retailing 30 of each item that was made, this allowed us to recover some funds to make sure that the project remained on track at the key points.

Brexit was tough on us, all of a sudden the cost of masters and casts became that bit more expensive. When you talk about a few models its ok, but when you are talking thousands of casts, it's a bit different and the little increases really do make it more painful. This was something unforeseen.

Moloch was very tough on us. We estimated the casting cost and even with experienced hands on board, giving us support and guidance, we all got it wrong and this proved costly.

The box was also an issue. The company that we had lined up got busy all of a sudden and couldn't make the boxes anywhere near the time frames required. This was quite frustrating and we paid a much higher premium for the boxes you got as a result.

There were other, notable problems as well but these aren't worth dwelling on. Ultimately when you think about a small project and how it will run, you look and think, "you know what, we think we have allowed for every eventuality" but actually, in truth, only now do we know where the pinch points can be and what the impact is.

We won't say just how much, but we invested more into Purgatory than we would have liked. We made a promise to deliver this to our backers and come hell or high water we were going to do it, and we did. We had heard of people waiting for months and years with still no sign or any communication on their investment and that wasn't going to be us.

Whats the worst that can happen....

The problems, extra expenses and everything else ultimately led to one thing and one thing only.


I was pretty down about being late. In fact, as this is an honest, laid bare account, I f'ing furious. Which I suspect any backer reading this will be pleased to hear. Honestly, I was so cross. It was down to one organisation just giving us the shaft, which meant that every penny we chucked in to overcome early obstacles was for nought, because control was out of our hands.


Now, it was only recently when a group of kind people pointed out something quite remarkable which was to say that yes we were late. But only by 4 months. Other large companies experience bigger more wholesale delays apparently, which according to our backers is more frustrating. That we have delivered, albeit 4 months late, is apparently not 'that bad' a reflection on our project, especially given our size and our first go at it.

Then we looked at it properly and the numbers looked a whole lot better.

56% of our Kickstarter was delivered early. Which is not something many folk can say.
13% was delivered on time and 31% was late.

It's easy to focus on the negative and forget the good work done before that. But that's a personal thing and it comes from being a perfectionist.

Does Purgatory Exist?

Did we achieve success in our three goals? I think we have. How can I tell? Feedback I guess.

The story that underpins the world itself has been highly praised. To yet, we have not seen or heard any person, organisation or other, criticise the content of the book. We have been told it is immersive and received feedback to say that people can't wait for the next part of the story and want to know what is coming next.

The game works. I have it on good authority that Purgatory was one of the most popular demo tables at Dragonmeet in December 2017, the table was full all day long people thoroughly enjoyed the game, in fact people were even waiting to grab a seat on the next game. For those of you that attended and have been reading what we have been saying, you may have been smart enough to put two and two together to realise that the rest vs. Moloch approach was in fact enlisting guinea pigs to play test on our behalf...  we have hinted at a solo or co-op mode after all...

We've also received compliments on people playing the game at other events but more importantly at home, which is really great if you are a game designer. Yes there are a few mistakes (2 at current count) in the rulebook which is acceptable for a first time, but not anything as much as a broken mechanic or unworkable aspect, which is really great.

People have really responded to the mix and match approach of building factions and decks which is great as well and there appears to be a community building slowly on the Fans of Purgatory facebook page, which is great if I am honest. Some lovely models have been painted and showcased by the people buying them and people have excitedly put up their pictures of receiving their pledges which is really great.

One of the comments that really sits nicely with us is that we offered great value. Asking a bunch of strangers for some stuff that isn't quite made yet, is quite tough to do. So you question the value in things, especially when some of the board games cram in so much. But we have to respect our size, liquidity and capability and to hear that people have been pleased or even overwhelmed in some cases with the quality and character of the models has been great, that alongside the content in terms of rules, story and particularly the art helps us to feel that value was offered, something we were worried about from the start.

We think that Purgatory exists as a result of this, which is why we will be going again.

28th February 2018

The Kickstarter was a challenge, but like anything that was hard work, you look back and you feel a true sense of achievement. Not only that, but on a daily, weekly basis I speak to a great many backers who I seek out to meet or vice a versa or contact on social media for all sorts, not all Purgatory related.

Because of the enthusiasm that we have had, we will be going back to Kickstarter in 2018. In fact it's quite early, simply because whatever momentum we do have, we want to make sure it carries, as part of our commitment to not be consigned to the shelf so to speak. We genuinely want Purgatory to become something common place and whilst mainstream might be too much of an ask, we want to it at least be recognised and known. This is part of the reason we invested in Cyan, to release another model into the game which can act as progress towards our goals. Along with the Christmas cards and the other Gods cards we have released.

We made a decision to release the Refugees of Religion and we have listened to our backers as well as other community people, which as formed a change in decision as this faction will have a common theme, they will have a uniformity to them, which is unlike the first two factions and the fourth faction, which will be Gangbangers.

The Kickstarter itself will be very basic on this occasion. It will be two options. Rulebook and Faction or Faction alone. The prices are set. Faction of 7, with inserts and all the cards will be £55. the Rules and faction option will be £65. Simple really.

All of the current models will be available for a less than retail price in the pledge manager as well.

The 'value' is in the stretch goals. But so is the respect for our previous backers. The purpose of the stretch goals is to grant each backer a free model, with each unlock, the 'price per figure' goes down. If you stretch all the way to 14 models, each model will cost you £3.92. Which with the quality of the models is really quite good, I am sure you agree.

We chose the RoR first up, because we respected that most of our previous backers already had St. Peter, Godmother and to a lesser extent, Cyan. So, we decided that as even fewer had Faith, that we would make these model free, alongside that of the other Gangbangers, meaning that for your £55, you aren't paying for something you might already have.

It will be a 2 week thing though, so you might want to get in quick...

We are nice like that....

What else is coming in 2018

In terms of events, we are back at Salute 2018, where we are hoping for a good show. If the Kickstarter goes well and funds, we plan to open the late backers / pledge manager at Salute with some unique offers at the show and online.

We are also hoping of doing our first trip to Essen in Germany, something we are looking into now and hopefully this can be something great for us as of our following, a large portion of it is from the German market.

We will be back at Dragonmeet, SELWG and maybe some new shows as well as we try to get out on the road to play some demo games near you.


Tomes are in progress at the moment. A Tome is a book that details a factions background and will give you the rules for the characters in any faction. It will also have unreleased characters that models don't exist for yet, that will be coming at some point in the future. These will give you much more for you to get your teeth into whilst having a place for all of your characters in one easy to get to book.

These Tomes will be made available in the pledge manager and it is likely that one, maybe even two will be ready by then. We shall see.


The reason why, I guess, we included 2018, the next kickstarter and tomes to this BLOG is because, despite the challenges, the road blocks and the issues experienced along the way, Purgatory does in fact exist. Not only that, it's 'pulse' for want of a better word, is becoming easier to detect with each fresh fulfilment or paint job.

We are now seasoned veterans. We completed our first Kickstarter, with at times, honest and sincere apologies as to our progress, but despite all of that we have one under our belt and whereas 12 months ago if you'd have asked: "would you do it again?" I'd most likely of chased you off, now the skin is thicker, the mind sharpened again and more importantly the energy and willingness to bring the next chapter to you is at the very front our minds.

We owe thanks however to many of our backers that are now very much part of the Purgatory family, some of which in particular just helped in ways that they either do already, or will never know.

We are ready.....

...... are you?

Team Purgatory

Monday, 5 June 2017

Creating backgrounds...

Hello and welcome back to the Purgatory BLOG!
Today we want to talk to you a little bit about creating the background and how some of the characters, mechanisms or the contributing factors on what the world is like and how we got there.
We have talked before about the creative process. How we take an idea, spin it, flip it and turn it inside out to bring something new to an existing theory or idea, but's delve into some detail...
... Why Purgatory?
Did you know, that Purgatory is barely mentioned in the bible? It is alluded to but never really spoken about. In addition, the 'War for Heaven' is only really spoken about in one of the books, Ezekiel (chapter 26, verse 20) - where in actual fact again, it doesn't say a lot. So when you receive the background book (which is part of the rule book) , weighing in at a sturdy 30 pages itself, you gain a sense of perspective of just how much thought has gone into our world. It's almost from scratch, but tethered to something that could, or could not exist.
Purgatory as a meaning is "a place or state of suffering inhabited by the souls of sinners who are expiating their sins before going to heaven." or "mental anguish or suffering."  It very much represents being stuck between two places, suffering because of previous sins.
When we designed the world and game some thing resonated with us, in that there were many takes on a futuristic existence, a post apocalyptic scenario or a fantasy setting. We were keen to avoid these settings because you can easily list a number that already existed.
Because of the limited number of angel products on the market, we went down this road and found that it enabled us to really explore the complete history of mankind, the texts within the bible itself whilst still having room to explore other worlds, races and civilisations. All of which were anchored into place by these beings that are littered through our up bringing as emissaries of a God. 
So what did Purgatory become?
It couldn't be back in the time of the Egyptians. If you look in the bible and compare timelines, the book of Ezekiel refers to a period where the Egyptians and Chinese Dynasties were in ascendance or growing quickly. To make it in that period would have given as a game that would be limited in capacity and if you think about it, short of making magicians (and creeping into a fantasy setting) the chances of humans with no armour, spears and slings didn't offer much prospect of standing up against the angels.
No instead, we stuck to the traditional timeline as shown in the bible and we used these civilisations as a starting point, where angels first met humans and vice versa. It anchored us to a timeline and gave us from that point onward to explore individuals and events since that time and apply our own take. The canvas was almost clean.
Because we wanted Purgatory to be unique, fresh but with a familiar feeling, having the angels on Earth for a long time, gave us scope to develop the angels themselves. Giving personalities to demi Gods is not easy but by mixing in a splash of the bible, conflict in the homeland and some bitter enmities we were able to start bringing these individuals to life. Creating feuds, back stories and reputations without the risk of getting it wrong.
Purgatory is set around 30 years from now. So technology has advanced but not so far that we have become cyborgs or that machines have taken over. We are in a period where the cataclysmic events have been building for thousands of years to this point, where in the current year, renegade angels have revealed themselves and are laying waste to our species.
War on Earth...
War is something synonymous with man. We excel at it and over the years every nation has warred at some point of another with fellow man. It can be for the simplest of slights or through the grandest of schemes however until recently, technology or the capability to build world ending devices has been limited. No matter Attila the Hun rampaged across Europe with a bunch of horses, it was never going to be the end of humanity. Though the clear and present threat of nuclear weaponry not only wipes out your adversary but also the entire eco system.
By setting it now, those threats can exist in our world but are not two a penny. Weaponry has advanced but guns still exist and have not been replaced by planet destroying lasers. Cars and transport is recognisable though the skies are busier as commuters have taken wing in order to get to work more swiftly.
Despite a number of years where the fallen angels rampaged and enslaved us by the million, the intervention of the counter point in our world, those angels still loyal, checks this in its tracks and though whole cities, towns and villages have been wiped off the map, large cities still exists and mankind has become the rodents around the feet of greater beings.
Not all of them do, but most of the main cities are home to one angel or another. They are the 'barracks' for gangs to dwell and scurry around whilst not attacking other angels or on some specific task. They are dens of depravity, disease, extortion and misery in most cases as the angels expend our miserable lives at the wave of a hand.
Humans, the new vermin...
Even vermin can kill the mightiest hero and designing a world where humans could exist and eek out a 'life' (if it can be called that) was fundamental. Angels vs. angels would be too much, making it no different to a superhero game where the person with the greatest powers (Hulk) would end up on top every time. No, instead we have a limited number of angels which adds some perspective. 
Rightly enough these beings are a cut above. They are demi Gods, but there are not immortal, nor invincible and humans can do some serious damage in the right circumstances.
Let's face it, we all love a good underdog story.
So the angels act as a centre point. A focus for your force, giving it an underlying theme or style that you can either go with or deviate as you see fit. The humans are then the vermin by their feet, running around and biting and gnawing at each other, expending each other lives as if it were a tap carelessly left to drip.
Mix it all up and what do you get?
You get a bag of cats. A very angry bag of cats. Jokes aside by setting a scene, that runs almost the entire course of recorded history, adding a pinch of the supernatural, a dash of superior beings, a glimpse of our future and well known individuals as a base you actually get something quite truly unique with limitless opportunities.
But that still had challenges. How, exactly, do you propose to bring a person back who is already dead? How can say Atilla, exist at the same time as Tut-ank-amun? This was a challenge and as with everything else that really can't be explained, we turned to good old fashioned magic and the unknown to find a solution.
Portals... Doorways to the answer....
How do you bring a person back from the dead, as a character? Simple, the gates of hell opened up.. vomiting forth all of those long dead... stereotypical answer here. Though in truth, we used an element of that, but we had to go deeper, because the same old nagging thought kept returning. "So if hell and heaven emptied like a nightclub in Ipswich on a Friday night, how many humans would that leave on earth?"
This prompted many calculations and significant levels of research into local birthing records across the UK and the world, seeking out registry offices for the most comprehensive data available..... yeah right. We didn't do that. That's a bare faced fib. But it did beg the question, if you were at a deli counter and the number you got represented your number, i.e. human number '1234....', what number would you get? How many humans have existed?
The best answer was quite simply. A lot. Certainly too many to have running around on earth at any one time. There's just not enough Panini stickers to go around, just think of all of those unfinished world cup sticker albums....arghhhhh!!!!
So we came to the decision that we needed a control mechanism to limit the number of humans on earth at any one time. This required serious thought, because unless we could counter it, it was back to square one, the whole premise might have to change....
.... and then, on the 7th day, the brain farted and God was pleased....
Portals - Gateways to the soul...
So what if, not all of the dead came back at once? Ok, so a new path was being explored but let's face it, it's not like the dead operate on shifts... "oi Joseph, put that atrocious technicolour nonsense down, you're up... " nope. that simply wouldn't do.
Ok, but what if the world had a limit. Maybe mother nature has a plan. Because let's face it, every time we cure a disease and grow older, some hairy badger like cancer comes along and restores the balance. So was it too far fetched to think that mother nature decreed that 17 billion and 3 people could only live on the earth at one time (the number was picked at random) and if it goes above, someone has to croak.... a simple 'law of balance' to an extent.
This thought had merit so it was explored some more. Ok, so basically a heap of people came back and then when they died, some others came back and we ended up on a huge cycle of rebirth.... oooh... this sounded almost professional.... and then buggar... "does that means you can die again and still come back? And if so, what happens when you die?"
Oh for the love of god, stop overthinking it! (ed: but nerds love to break theories....)
Before facing this fresh problem, we decided that a number of portals existed on the earth, which dumped the previously deceased back on to earth at random, with no pattern or predictable facet whatsoever. We had a start.
So what happens when you die?
It's a question mankind has sought the answer to since the first time it occurred. And we at Purgatory we have the answer! Well, we have our answer anyway.
So ok. Joe Bloggs died in 1823, angels rocked up, Purgatory happens and now he is back. What happens if he gets killed again? Well to state the obvious, he dies.
But, but, but.... when does he come back?
This question kept coming up over and over again. So we deliberately decided to be vague. Nobody knew. You could come back in 1 second, 1 minute, 1 week or 50 years. It was never the same. More importantly, you wouldn't always come back through the same portal in the same country, nor would you come back to our earth at all (ooooooohhh wall break!!! )....
This gave rise to a number of things. Firstly, it gave us some crowd control. Our version of sheeping, so successfully applied in world of warcraft. Secondly, it gave us a number of narratives.
Firstly it gave us the possibility of gangs waiting for 'long lost' gang members, as well as gang members accidentally turning up in a rival gangs zone.
Most importantly however, it gave life to humans trying to understand what the actual feck was going on. The scientists across the world combined to try and destroy the portals, then when that couldn't happen, they tried to understand them, to see if a pattern or mechanism existed to control or predict what was going on. More importantly, data was gathered on how many people came back, what era or age they came from and the frequency.
It also prompted people to try and walk through the portals....
If you throw a stone into the sea....
... it's never spits it back (unless of course you have met a mermaid, or ferocious which on second thought, I have met quite a few... anyway...) so actually, whilst humans don't know it yet, if you willingly walk though a portal, you don't ever come back. You don't 'die' automatically, no, though that might occur imminently, depending on where you end up, but you certainly go somewhere else..... giving birth to the other galaxies and realms within our ultraverse! more on that later....
So actually we are poking these portals with sticks and our curiosity, in order to overcome them, has led us to try and conquer or know them. To which we have failed. This narrative continues and is something we can pick up and drop off as an on-going arc that we can introduce new characters from and attribute to.
What's dead may never truly die...
So I borrowed that line from GoT for a brief moment, because with us it has some resonance. Ok, so we had our mechanism, plus some crowd control, added to a pinch of the unknown and to coin marvel, an expanded universe. We had options and we were pleased.
Then the stupid brain said again... "But what actually happens when you die...... again....?" Hmmm... you might be thinking, what does it matter. Logic states that if you die, you leave some remains. If people are culled by the million, then a million more arrives 5 minutes later and then they die, that's a lot of corpses and you certainly want to be at a crematorium, cos clearly that is where the money's at! holla! no...
No a new mechanism had to exist and in this we doubled knotted it into the game. When you die, you burst into nothingness. You are unmade. Completely. All that remains, at the point in which you died is your soul. a little firefly of glowing green light that sits in the spot that you perished until such time as it might them suddenly disappear.
Mankind doesn't understand these yet, they cannot explain why all of a sudden this ball of light is there one minute and then gone the next. What does it mean? Well, as the equivalent of a God for the purposes of this endeavour.... (yes! I can finally call myself a God and genuinely have some merit.... tick....) ... we know the answer.
The little green light. Your soul, will sit in place for a period of time. When you re materialise, the soul flees the place of your death and attaches itself to you when you return. This explains why there is no defined period of time and why sometimes scientists can't understand why the soul lingers or disappears immediately. Simply put, because you don't appear next to the point you died, but anywhere on this world of the next, there is no correlation.... oh my god.... it actually makes sense!
To go full circle, like that of life (how topical), there is a scenario in the rules, where you go around collecting the souls of the dead as objectives. It's like chainmail... so many links!
Did you say other worlds?
Yes. Though we won't go into too much of that right now. Yes other worlds exist, this will allow us to bring whole new races and creatures to the game and offer that 'expansion potential' and whilst a few races exist, they will come a little bit later because the story has only just begun on earth. So let's do some more of that first.
Needless to say, that if we can walk though portals to other worlds, unbeknownst of course, so can other races and civilisations walk through them to ours.
More importantly however, they act as a way for the angels to traverse the galaxy, because they do know what they do... because they made them! (spoiler alert)
What have we done?!?!
It's quite daunting but actually we have created the ultimate canvas, a world that is recognisable and limitless at precisely the same time. We have created an era that is easily relatable because it's set now and in 20-30 years, yet managed to bring large aspects of the unknown!
We have an anchor in religion, the bible and fantasy of angels, devils and creatures of legend which we can intersperse through our creation at will.
We have clear leaders and a story arc that takes us across thousands of years, capturing key personalities and era's but where a singular entity of strength underpins the dregs. The angels and the enmity that exists between them, as well as the familial too, focuses the game in something that is not just humans vs. humans. Though there is nothing wrong with that, the lack of celestial or higher beings restricts and limits the content.
Having angels not only allow you to soar into the skies and create new mechanisms, if shifts the power base so that humans are just grots and grunts. Mankind is literally the dregs of the new society and we are all of a sudden at the bottom of the food chain.
So much to enjoy....
The background book, which I have written, starts the journey. It tells you about how the Gods created life, how the angels were made and why and how they fell from grace and how heaven is on the brink of hell. It talks of the aftermath, intertwining key events from our history into the fortunes of the angels hidden amongst us, finally leading to the Age of Purgatory and the setting/background for our game and world.  
We hope you enjoyed this. I enjoyed writing it because it gives me the opportunity to share our passion and joy at our creation. I think it gives you a sense of depth, scope and detail that whilst we may have flirted with before, this represents a full on kiss on the lips experience, opposed to a coy glance across the room.
We are nearly there and we want to scoop you up on our magic carpet and take you with us, whooping and screaming with each ebb and flow as we careen into a world littered with hopelessness, fatigue and desperation. A world where demi Gods stalk the earth and where aliens are taking their first steps on a new world. We want to take you to a new age, an age that isn't borne of advancement but instead one that takes us to the brink... we want to take to you an age where we face our sternest test to yet.... we want to take you to the Age of Purgatory....
... and what will we call this?
Surely, there can be no better way of explaining the next chapter of something with the bible amongst it bedrock then by labelling it accordingly because this literally is....
.... a New Testament....
Enjoy the read folks, please, please, let us know what you think about this BLOG, we love to hear your thoughts!
All the very best
Team Purgatory

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Painting faded denim... A Purgatory 'Tutorial'

Hi, welcome to the Purgatory BLOG. In an unexpected twist, today we will not be reporting on the progress of the project (though that will follow as normal) but instead will offer some tips and comment on how we achieved the effect on Mike's denim jeans. (Yes a, how to make sequins, will follow soon...)

Firstly it is very important to consider what you are trying to achieve in advance. Purgatory is our world and as a decent painter, but by no means the best, I have to try and push my boundaries each time to bring that wow factor as we want people to be inspired by the characters and the paint job plays a big part in that.

So to 'set the scene'. Mike is a singer of the band. It is no small coincidence that his weapon, also happens to be a Mic (see what we did there?) but he is sometimes the front man, but Barry is the true star so where does that leave Mike? Mike is that edgy guy, the one that looks scruffy but kinda trendy, really following the fashion style of the moment. That moment is the 80's.... now I was quite young at the time and avoided the fashion faux-pas' of the time but I recall enough of denim jeans with holes, leather jackets and boots with buckles and zips.... So when we designed this guy, that Lux knocked out the park as a sculpt on Lorinda's art we considered what he WAS...

So when the model ended up in hand, I knew what and who he was, so it was quite easy to visualise how I wanted him to turn out. Soul Glow glistening afro, mixed race, white shirt, worn leather (that should be fun) jacket with zips and stuff, shiny black shoes to almost carry of that awesome monochrome look and of course, the faded denim. Initially I though about faded black, but with the jacket, shirt, hair and shoes, this was too much and the blue denim would catch the eye.

It sounds a bit laborious but I have learnt that it's best to know where you are headed before you depart, it's very much a method.

The next important part, before I even pick up the 'blade' is source material. I mean, I don't wear leather coats and whilst my jeans are faded, they are certainly not 80's. Have an ipad (or other non brand specific tablet) to hand and search what you are trying to achieve, as a friend of mine would say 'Google provides'. Look at images, study them and see how they 'behave'... ok the points of light and shadow on your model will be very different but it gives you something to think about and may stop you from going the wrong way.

Ok... so now on to the denim itself.

The paints I used are:

GW Black
GW Dawnstone
GW The Fang
GW Fenrisian Grey
Vallejo Ivory
Vallejo Dark Blue

Now the process: (note, you will find MUCH better tutorials with the likes of Ben Komets and Massive Voodoo (actually pretty much everywhere else) )

Step one. I typically use grey primer as a base. I don't have an airbrush, though I keep toying with the idea, I have still not dropped my balls into that basket so to speak, so this is all brush work. I know others swear by black primer and some others do the zenith lighting thing with white and black. For me and it is down to preference, I start with a grey primer. Why? It allows me to see shadow and highlight easier, though this won't be the same for everyone. Equally it allows me to go up in brightness and down in shade to create a depth in the areas without too much work.

Step two. Using a 60/40 Black/Dawnstone I use this semi watered down colour to start adding the depth. I don't always start dark first but it gives me something to glaze over later and gives me some indicators as to where I want the shadows to be. The image below, kind of shows that, you can see some lighter areas on the nearest leg by the knee, backside and top of the back trailing ankle.

You will also see in the image on the left leg (as you look at the image) that a blue shade has been added. this part of the jeans is very much in transition and is not the finished thing. You can see that in the difference between the detail of this and a later image.

The black/dawnstone mix is used around the inside of the legs, around the bottom of the crotch and around areas that 'point' downward and would therefore be shaded from light. This step does some of the zenith light work for you. I use watered down colours and repeat the process, pushing or pulling the paint into the recessed areas, this method grans the pigment and places the concentrated pigment in the darker areas, leaving a lighter 'residue' that can be glazed over for a smooth transition.

Step three.

This image shows you where I have placed the lightest areas of the jeans. I am effectively with this step choosing where the faded areas of the jeans are going to be. If you look at your own faded, 80's hand me down jeans (or research online of course) you will notice that the areas that are most faded are:

  • Bum, backside, buttocks, derierre etc
  • Knees in particular and gradually growing darker as you go up the thigh
  • Zipper or button fly, specifically the edges where they rub
  • Pocket edges or parts of the jeans that rub against something, say keys in a pocket
  • Bottom of the legs and the seams
Now, I found it important that actually you have to separate faded areas from areas that are lighter due to natural lighting so make sure you consider this. By 'placing' the faded areas, it made it easier for me to separate them. 

The faded areas where created using an 80/20 mix of Ivory and Fenrisian Grey. I really wanted to get that ultra faded look, but this really light colour allows me to glaze over at a later stage, so that actually more colour will be returned to it. So be generous with your faded areas as you will glaze over some of these later if you use this method.

Step four: I create the lighter areas. This I do in two stages. stage one. 50/50 Fang and Fenrisian, this picks out the raised folds and the higher parts of the raised 'flat' areas without many folds, like the thighs or maybe the end of the trailing ankle. Stage two, following where any fading or wear might be, I went pure Fenrisian pushing the watered down paint to the highest area or where I wanted the colour to be. This part takes time and I often (as a slow painter) will stop and regard the bits I do, to see if they look 'right'.

Step five. Using a really watered down Fang (like water or skimmed milk) I glaze this colour in the middle area between a shade and the highlight. This takes lots of time and will require a number of passes. If you want a smooth transition, this will help you achieve it. Drag the watered down Fang towards the recesses, being mindful not to let it pool there. I suggest loading the brush and then gently 'dabbing' (not the stupid FIFA celebration kids do) the brush onto kitchen paper to take the edge off it and minimise the chance of pooling. 

The purpose of this is to make the highlights look natural, the mid tone colour, being glazed over will help you to achieve this affect where it looks like a natural transition from one colour to the next. 

Part two of step five is using the same technique with the faded areas. Starting at the point where the painted 'fade' meets the darker colour, start glazing Fang gently over the 'join line' between the colours. With each pass of paint, let it dry and then depending on how much faded area you want, sweep the brush further over the faded area to what is the central point. So for example, on the knee, the top most part of the thigh, gradually down to the point of the knee itself. I then passed over the highest part of the faded area, because the jeans, despite being faded, do still retain some of their original colour. 

Step six is detail. When you do something like this, it can't be half-hearted. So you will need to think about the following things. 

Pockets: When you look at pockets of faded jeans, your will notice the edges and the point that comes into contact with surfaces regularly, specifically the backside are really faded. However, in the corners and in the seam of the stitching, you will see that the original colour, when dyed has gathered and pooled there is greater quantity and because this is a very slight recess, they don't come into contact with surfaces. 

The seam: The seam on my model was created using 70/30 Fenrisian and water. I then choose where the seam on the inner and outer leg and the very bottom of the leg would be. This was painted on, with a steady hand (I recommend locking your wrists against the table for these parts as it helps to keep your hands steady) in a straight line or to follow the natural angle of the leg. Again, if you look at the seams on jeans (see example below) you will see that as jeans are a thick fabric, some areas rub against surfaces or wash out easier than others, so within the seam you get darker parts.

Now, I did this the hard way was I am a fool. But you can see, especially along the bottom of the leg by the boots, that you get little 'squares' of darker colour. I painted these squares on, when technically I could have painted the bottom seam a darker colour and then drawn lines. It's 6 of one and half dozen of the other but we each have our ways I suppose. 

The fly or zipper clearly has a lighter edge, along with parts of the loops for where the belt would go, but if you look, where the stitching is, you can see the more concentrated blue colour where it is much darker.

As I say earlier, jeans are thick, dense fabric and don't bend or flow easily so it is highly likely that areas that are recessed will typically stay that way no matter how they are worn.

Intermediary step: I will 'tit' around at this point. By this I mean I will go around and throw some more colour in places. For example, around the lining of the pocket, I might add 50/50 black and Fang as a 'black line' where it is deeper in shadow. Or in the example below. I might add a false faded area because my character always carries a flick knife in his back pocket. This part helps you to make character and personalise it. You can create light or shade or add glazes to really make that model 'ping'. If you are going to do this, consider the consistency of your paint, make it heavily diluted as what can look good in your mind, might not on the 'canvass'. 

Glazing is key. I cannot emphasise enough that to achieve this effect you need patience my padawan. Glazing can be frustrating and slow but the results speak for themselves. They offer a more natural finish and if you are impatient, I recommend that you do two areas, not next to each other, at the same time, flitting between the two with the same palette so that you can allow the glaze to dry in one area whilst going back to the other. 

Step seven, the unmentioned colour. This is where Dark Blue comes into play. You will notice that this colour is a vibrant blue where as the Fang is quite a pinky/purple like grey. The fact that it is grey, lends itself to the faded approach we are looking for. Though without the Dark Blue it wouldn't work because ultimately jeans are blue! Well unless they are white (which should never be worn, ever) or black, grey or any of those hipster atrocities that you might now see (plum and petrol green etc)... 

The dark blue is watered down beyond measure, it is almost translucent and you, using the dabbing process, glaze this over the meaty areas, i.e. the areas where there is more vibrancy in the jeans, so the seams, the folds and creases, the darker ends of the transition between fade and the original colour. I would also recommend a 'sweep over' all of the jeans, this has to literally be that, nothing more than the finest and thinnest of glazes so that maybe the slightest amount of pigment is left, it should be almost unnoticeable. You should however be more liberal in the seams and areas where the vibrancy should be there. 

The image (I believe, along with all the people that requested this tutorial) reflects what I am trying to achieve. You can see the dark blue is there but not all over but clearly has a presence. The transitions are smooth and importantly, they look like jeans. You can see the different between stage one and the final stage between the two legs as the furthest most is in an early stage. 

You should be able to pick out the false faded area I spoke of earlier on the pocket, where the knife is in the back pocket. 

The last step. This is using pure Ivory. This is used to pick out areas in the edges, i.e. seam edges or the bottom of the jeans, where the fabric may even have frayed or is clearly in more distress than the rest. This should be 50/50 with water and glazed in the areas you want to apply it. They should be few and far between and should, if applied right really make the model 'pop'.

And so, the tutorial and rambling ended...

I hope you enjoyed this and that you found it helpful and useful. I think in the main a number of points spring to mind:
  • Water down your paints
  • Choose when to glaze
  • Know what you want to paint
  • Use reference material
  • Push the boundaries but have fun and don't stress out
You don't have to go to the lengths I have to get the effect you want. You might want something more workmanlike, dirty or even less detailed as the model will be used for gaming. But, remember that as a showpiece, the more detail you can cram in or even create, the more memorable it becomes. 

I'm to ponder deliberate pooling of watered down paint to create life like stains on jeans but before I do, I will say thank you (if you read this) for the kind words and for taking time to read my ramblings. 

Feel free to read the other nonsense about Purgatory and what we are doing and feel free to share this amongst friends or groups if you found it useful. 


Friday, 13 January 2017

The Purgatory BLOG is back, but how to deal with Jesus?

Welcome back to the Purgatory BLOG!

How are you all? Good we hope, recharged, refreshed and ready for the challenges of 2017! We certainly are and today we start the year on two very challenging topics that we have faced whilst making Purgatory. But before we get on to those, lets refresh you as to what has happened recently:

  • Katz, Faith, Bobo, Le Vulture, Godmother, Shaquanda and Death's base have been completed
  • Small Daniels, Stevie, Marilyn and Ebony are in progress
  • The GOTG cards are almost complete, with 80% done
  • The rules have been attacked again, they are now reduced by a massive 30 pages since the start, simplifying the rules and reducing alot of the unnecessary text
We are really pushing on with the game but the world itself is also getting a lacquer of paint as well as we turn up the dial on the background story and some of the characters that exist in the world. Keep watching this space, that will again become more regular over the coming months. 

We experienced many challenges along the way and we can't talk about all of them but two spring to mind that we have taken the decision to talk about today. 

One of them is fluffy. Just what do you do with Jesus Christ?!?!

With a strong biblical underpinning it is very difficult to ignore the 'elephant in the room', Jesus Christ himself. You don't have to go to church or even have a religious background to know who this guy is as he is quite simply one of the most iconic, revered and well known people on the planet. With that comes the added pressure that this individual is so important to so many people. That a person, that lived over 2000 years ago can still touch the lives of our generation stimulates a profound degree of awe. Jesus may have left this life but he also left a lasting mark. 

There are many that seek to disprove his existence, more commonly people refuse to accept his standing as the true Son of God. It's an argument that has started wars, caused political outrage and led historians and scholars to pour over the Bible countless times to try and discern new thoughts, translating texts over and over to see if there is an underlying meaning to the words that so many of us have heard at some point in our lives. 

With this comes the secrecy that is a bi-product of the suspicion that Mary Magdalene survived persecution somehow and that the blood line of Christ exists in us today still. Scholars and individuals of renown such as Da Vinci and Raphael have pledged their lives and committed their finest works to illustrating the possibilities and unwritten stories, chief amongst these The Last Supper. 

Jesus Christ IS history itself and with that as designers of a world steeped in existing lore have a very challenging issue to overcome, especially as we have an 'edge' to our game that has a more adult, humorous feel to it. The biggest problem however is not getting him right, it's getting him wrong. He means so very much to so many, if only indirectly as an individual and as we say earlier, has touched the lives of so many people that there is a very real chance to cause unintended offence, which is something we really just do not want to do. 

Even by making him an Angel, the most notable characters in the game, we run the risk of criticism because Jesus was a healer, an orator, inspirational to all around him. Which means that having him perform a Meteoric Strike on poor Noah, killing him dead, may well be a step too far. No matter how well the design was intended, its a war game which in our final opinion, has no place for Jesus Christ. 

That left us one option. To write him out. Which is not easily done when the premise of your world is that anybody, no matter the timeline, can come back in the world of Purgatory. So this left as a real problem and one that has been floating around in our minds for a very long time. But now, we know we have the answer.

In the backstory, we suggest that there is such a thing called the 'Celestial Games' a place, where the very best of the best are taken, they represent the realms from which they hail, performing in front of the Gods themselves as a means to earn glory and favour for any given realm. This is all part of the Great Wager and you will be able to read a great deal more about this in the background section of the Rulebook. 

This seemed a sensible route for Jesus Christ. Recognised as a special and unique individual and taken away to 'return' to the Gods so that he simply didn't feature in the world of Purgatory and was completely exempt. That said, we have applied a small measure of 'spin' on the story which has been finished now, so look out for a little page filler that will recount just what happened to Jesus Christ!

Now, to seamlessly link Jesus Christ to the next topic is quite hard, my poor attempt is quite literally that it makes me say "Jesus Christ, really?!!??!" whenever I encounter it. That topic? What girl miniatures wear...

The best way to start this off is with some facts:

  • Erishkigal, Siren and Jess are the fastest selling models in the Purgatory range, in that order. 
  • Erishkigal has sold over 130 models
  • The women from Purgatory are predominately purchased by women, 58% in fact are by female buyers
  • Godmother and Faith were the most sought after models in the design phase
  • Erishkigal, Jess, Siren and Hannibal were the only models that featured in the survey for "there can be only one"
We can only really talk about our range, because we have the data to back it up but we have encountered along the way a not insubstantial amount of criticism regarding what our female characters wear. Its very challenging to respond across a broad spectrum as everybody, quite rightly has a view and the male/female equality thing swiftly becomes a hot topic and draws alot of attention because everybody has a position on the subject.

So why am I talking about it now?

It is easy to be defensive and stand by your creation, something you would understandably be very proud of. What is intended as solid responses and thought out counter argument can degenerate as more comments come in and people get frustrated and misunderstand. This BLOG entry perhaps instead gives us an opportunity to explain why we do what we do.

Firstly, why aren't our women overdressed, military style or encased in armour? It's just not Purgatory, we don't want Sisters of Battle, we certainly are not Infinity, though equally we are not Kingdom Death which is very much on the opposite end of the spectrum. All of these have their qualities, in some cases exceptional ones as demonstrated by recent sales and popularity. 

All of our women are under dressed. It's a common misconception but no they aren't. Death certainly isn't. The common response here is that why make them completely overdressed or ugly when not a pin up? The truth here is that they are a direct reflection of their intended personality. Death IS an old granny, Siren is the temptress of the sea and Godmother was a prostitute. Simple enough perhaps. But there is more to it. 

Modern day women wear very little. Fashion goes through phases, things come and go in cycles as designers plot and scheme to get us to part with money for this years next best thing. The common denominator at the moment is that women's clothes are becoming more transparent and are made from a considerably reduced amount of fabric. 

We live in the age of celebrity magazines, coffee shops and healthy eating. The natural bi-product of these things is that people aspire to look like the people in magazines and when they achieve it they (quite rightly) want to flaunt it. On top of that, Sex Sells! It always has done and always will, the only difference here is that men can be sexy too. However, I am yet to see someone play a game with a catwalk male model in some boat shoes, tight top and torn jeans. ;)

The strange thing that most probably led me to pen this aspect of the BLOG, without having exact numbers to hand, was that in most cases (were I a betting man, i'd say 9/10) the criticism is from men, not from women. This surprised me quite considerably and in some ways it's quite pleasing to see there are these men that have this chivalrous streak within them that provokes them to defend the integrity and modesty of women. I think however a point has been missed and I would draw this entry to a close on one final thing, don't worry. As nice as it is for men to proactively seek to level the playing field and achieve equality in all things, something we are firm advocates of. Remember that women too have voices, they know how to use them, they just aren't choosing to. This can mean many things, one of which may very well be because they like the model and have no issue with it and in fact have bought it themselves. It's worth considering this before you launch into a defensive rant about the state of miniatures in the market place. 

Thanks for reading this BLOG. We hope that you enjoyed it. We are going to be publishing a newsletter in the coming days which will feature more artwork and some interesting updates on the game and background itself so please look out for this in the coming days. 

Until then, thank you again and all the very best.

Team Purgatory