Sunday, 30 November 2014

Cyber Monday at Proud Lion Outlet!

by Ben Fardon

Proud Lion Outlet is our discount clearance webstore, offering bargains on end of line items previously on sale in the store. This Monday 1st December, we're offering you a further 50% off anything on the webstore (not including gift vouchers, or shipping and handling costs),

Use the discount code DELETE at the checkout to qualify. The code will be valid for 24 hours.

Items can also be collected in store free of any shipping charge.

Here's a look at some of the items currently available on the Proud Lion Outlet webstore:

Ben Fardon is hoping the building doesn't collapse!

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Black Friday at Proud Lion!

by Ben Fardon

Black Friday at Proud Lion!

Open from 10am - 7:30pm

This Friday 28th November, Proud Lion is offering you 20% off almost everything in store (exceptions apply).

We'll be open from 10am - 7:30pm, giving you plenty of time to get in and take advantage of this one-day-only offer. It applies to anything on the shelves, including our fabulous range onboard games, graphic novels and comic books, plus any customer orders placed and paid for in full on Black Friday.

It does not apply to back issues, reduced items and any uncollected orders (including Reservation Service folders), though you can happily mix uncollected orders at full price, with new items chosen from the shelves which will receive 20% off at the till point.

Stay tuned for details of our additional Cyber Monday offer on our webstore...

Black Friday Open Gaming from 4pm - 7:30pm

In addition to our day-long special offer, Rae will be in store from 4pm with a selection of games, including King of New York, Cash 'N Guns and Munchkin for you to come on down and play, along with a few of our favourite small games as well.

Full details can be found on the Facebook event.

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide out tomorrow!

Not only is it Black Friday, but we also have the Early Release of the eagerly anticipated Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide tomorrow.

All copies of the DMG bought tomorrow - including pre-ordered copies - will receive the full Black Friday discount, bringing the book down to £24 for one day only.

Don't forget we'll be open until 7:30pm, so you have plenty of opportunity to pop down and save some money!

Please note, once this initial shipment sells out we won't receive anymore until December 9th.

Ben Fardon is thankful for the new heating!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Big Game Hunting Live - D&D Attack Wing

It's time for Big Game Hunting Live! This is a monthly gaming event that takes place on the second Saturday of every month. Players will get a chance to learn and play featured games all day long. This month we're featuring the brand-new D&D Attack Wing!

D&D Attack Wing is based on the popular Flight Path system used in Star Trek: Attack Wing and Star Wars: X-Wing. The difference here is that players will be flying dragons instead of spaceships! Players use numbered templates to move their models across a large play area, fighting to take down their opponents first.

The starter set we'll be using on the day contains three dragons: blue, red, and copper, each with their own unique abilities and cards to cater to multiple play styles. Future expansion releases will include more dragons as well as a series of ground troops to add more options to your legion building. For more details, check out the preview here.

During the day, we will have free play available from 10:30 until 5pm. We will have one table specifically for new players, where a demo of the starter kit will be available for people to learn how to play. We will also have a second table set up for people who already have the set and want to bring their dragons and play each other, either to test out legion builds or try out some of the included adventures!

See you Saturday 8th November!

All participants will receive a voucher that entitles them to 10% off all D&D Attack Wing products.

Rae can't wait to start adventures and campaigns for this game!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

New Beginnings - Avengers And X-Men: Axis #1

by Matt Puddy

This week we have a new main arc from Rick Remender and Marvel – Axis – and aside from the ambigram of a title on the cover it’s a fairly hefty comic for a first issue. This is partially due to all that’s packed into it but also all the history that it pulls on as well.

As stories go this is one that you where you have to pay attention to keep up. First of all this issue alone has a massive cast combining X-Men, Avengers, the Avengers Unity team from Uncanny Avengers, and then a few extra people to boot. It also helps to be aware of current and impending events in the Marvel Universe. Wolverine is no longer in ANY team and the Captain America baton has been passed onto Falcon. Even the Hulk is now known as Doc Green (currently waging war on all gamma-powered individuals) seems to be subdued and part of the gang. 

Remender has also built from a wealth of Marvel stories from the archives. The original Onslaught saga is a huge reference given that Red Skull is now dubbed Red Onslaught, after firstly receiving Xaviers’ brain (and subsequently his psychic powers) and then being killed by Magneto. Which is also the main crux of the plot. 

In his more human form, the newly awakened clone of Red Skull was always driven by the same motivation to create a new Nazi-styled utopia with the Übermensch taking wait he saw as its rightful place at the top. I’m sure you can imagine that given the immense psychic prowess of both Xavier and Onslaught, it's going to prove quite a large problem and one that will bring all of mutantkind together to stop the threat trying to wipe them out.

All of this was sparked into action by the most powerful psychic outburst that any of them had seen, creating outbreaks of violent acts all over the world. The hate and anger simply pouring off Red Onslaught in waves prompts action from Steve Rogers, directing his team of heroes into action from his afar, now too frail to enter the field.

Red Onslaught is huge, imposing and deadly. Reacting quickly the Scarlet Witch is influenced and taken to his side as a vessel, which doesn’t help things (although it is a convenient loophole to remove the main threat from the fight for him), and so the battle begins. The introduction of the X-Men as well rounds the group off well, only to find that their troubles have only just begun. On top of gaining access to powers beyond his station, Red Skull also gained information. Information that Tony Stark held on them all in case he needed it, and now the Skull then weaponised it (very similar to another millionaire playboy from DC), leading them to face the most powerful and developed Sentinels the world has ever seen.

The story that Remender has written is fairly straight forward, but for all its length I kind of found it a little irksome. As well as taking stories and ideas to build on from the past, it seems that a certain style has also been lifted. The whole comic kind of felt that it was a flowing piece from one fight into another to a sub-fight past in-fighting and via petty, poignant or brotherly conflicts. There’s a lot of fighting in there and not a whole lot of character development.

Page taken from Axis #2
Artistically, to support the battlefield, you have Adam Kubert who is well known in comic book circles like his siblings and father. He has put a huge amount of work into this comic to live up to the energy level of the story. With so much going on and so many characters to maintain this can’t have been an easy task. A lot of referencing has to have been done too; whether it is the new Cap or the Mjolnir-less Thor, keeping a great sense of continuity across a universe of characters - so hats off to him!

The style results in being full of work, images and ideas, but that does mean on occasion detail does have to give way; that is kind of understandable. There is also a good use of dynamic frames, away from the more conventional layout system, which keeps your eyes working throughout without necessarily being overwhelmed by all the information.

Put all together and this shows some real promise, but I think it does need to calm itself down a little and not simply be a continuous running battle. Equally the rare moments of Walton-esque family gathering and heart strings being tugged need to have some tempering as well, but the premise is still a good one and kind of keeping in line with all the teasers of Marvel reviving a lot of past storylines in 2015 (for example Civil War and House of M) making this is a front runner for further madness.

Matt Puddy doesn't quite get the whole American obsession with Halloween stuff.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Carrier bags and charity - United Nations System Response to the Ebola Outbreak

by Ben Fardon

Hi folks,

The last financial quarter finished a few weeks ago, and I've been mulling over what to do with our latest charitable donation from carrier bag proceeds. Then I read today's news reports and saw that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was appealing for more money to be donated to the Ebola trust fund and I knew what we had to do.

This was our fourteenth full quarter and together we raised £36.66.

Last time I donated to St Luke’s Hospice, an organisation that provides free end of life care in Plymouth, SW Devon & East Cornwall. St Luke’s has to raise £4.5 million year with 86p of every £1 that is donated going to patient care. St Luke's helped the family of a friend of ours earlier this year and he set out last month to trek 26.2 miles along Offa's Dyke, the ancient wall that once separated Wales and England. You can find out more by visiting his walking team's Just Giving page.

As I say, this time I'm making a donation to the United Nations System Response to the Ebola Outbreak. This trust was set up to unite efforts of the UN to stop the outbreak, treat the infected, ensure continuity within affected countries and prevent outbreaks in countries currently unaffected.  Our contribution will provide vital support to the United Nations as it works to halt the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and treat the thousands of people who have been infected with Ebola virus disease. Thanks to our contribution, the World Health Organization will be able to procure vital supplies, such as personal protective equipment and chlorine, as well as provide crucial technical assistance to the governments of Ebola-affected countries.

I won't grandstand or lecture you as to why this is important, other than to say this is something the rest of the world should have done something to help with far sooner.

The trust accepts donation is US Dollars, so I've converted the £36.66 and rounded it up to $60.00. If you'd like to make a donation yourself, you can do so here.

The next carrier bag donation should be in early January. If you have a charity you'd like Proud Lion to support, please email me at

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

New Beginnings - Alien Versus Predator: Fire and Stone #1

by Matt Puddy

And so another piece of the Fire and Stone puzzle to slot into the bigger picture. Born originally from a crossover of two strong franchises, Alien vs Predator was a geeky marriage in heaven which went on to spawn films, books, comics and video games.

Dark Horse has once again included it in the various threads of a bigger Alien story arc. But - and here is a slightly tricky aspect - its inclusion in the Fire and Stone continuity is not from the start of all hell breaking loose. Much like the weird aunt and uncle at a family wedding, it arrives late to the main event but well before the evening reception. Placed after issue #4 of Prometheus: Fire and Stone (and subsequently Aliens: Fire and Stone as a result) but completely before Predator: Fire and Stone  #1, this issue suffers quite a bit from leaving the reader in an occasional state of “what exactly has happened here?”

Now I do understand and appreciate that this style of storytelling can pique interest in readers, as it promotes so many questions about what has gone on in the parallel stories, but for me, on this occasion the leap made is too big. 

Loosely speaking the situation in the story is such that we can identify with the characters physically but their personalities in some cases are compromised to such a degree that they are different entirely. Francis is now a captive with an almost subservient manner to him, and Eldon is a completely different entity to how we first met him. Don’t get me wrong, I want to know how he got to be what he is now - with the new growths, protrusions and aliens in tow - but I can’t see him as the artificial human that started the trip in the first place. I also have no clue as to why he is so desperate to retrieve and reunite with Francis as well. (Some of that journey begins in this week's Prometheus #2 which Matt has yet to read due to a business trip, BF.)

The plot is primarily an aftermath explanation that goes out of control. While trying to escape with both Francis and an alien weapon in their custody, the inhabitants of the ship find themselves at the mercy of Eldon. He controls the Helios which in turn has power over their ship. However, as we are dealing with mercenaries here the options are simple. Stay alive by handing over Francis.

This would have all gone smoothly (and made for an awfully short comic!), had this simply happened but unbeknownst to everyone, sci-fi’s favourite hunters had also set their eyes on the ship as a hunt. The Predator's breach of the hull didn’t go unnoticed and the subsequent alarm sets everyone on edge, spinning matters out of control. A deranged android leading a group of xenomorphs on a hide and seek raid of the ship quickly ensues.

With the xenomorphs running amok on the ship, it’s easy for the stealth suited hunting party to make their advances as well. Everything culminates in a variety of face offs and preambles to fighting with poor Francis just hiding for his life. The apparent prize of it all.

Ariel Olivetti has done a cracking job of bringing Christopher Sebela’s writing to life. I really like the artwork. It has energy conveyed through the clean lines and sharp shapes, with the colouring adding more depth. There is even the odd frame that, conversely, does a lot with zero background or using a silhouette, instead of flooding the frame with details letting the readers mind fill in the rest.

Putting aside the continuity I really liked this comic and can envisage that I will like it more when I’ve collected them all and re-read them in a more structured fashion. Fire and Stone is shaping up to be a superb event series.

Matt Puddy had a tough decision between the first episode of Gotham and the start of the new series of The Walking Dead earlier this week.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Big Game Hunting - D&D Encounters: extra player spaces!

by Rae

Last Wednesday was our first D&D Encounters night. Several characters were brought together to engage in the beginning of an epic adventure. Combat was waged, townsfolk were rescued, and the heroes successfully accomplished their first goal: to get to their target location in one piece!

There was one major issue with our first Encounter, though - there weren't enough player spaces! We managed to fill every available seat very quickly, and unfortunately we had to turn a number of people away. I am happy to announce that we have a solution! We have recruited a second DM to accommodate the extra people, so everyone has a chance to play!

This does present us with a new challenge: location. While the new Proud Lion store can just about cope with one group of adventurers, two is a bit of a stretch. With that in mind, this week we will all assemble at Proud Lion for 6:30pm. From there, we will move to Boston Tea Party. This is a trial run to test a change in venue, and may not be permanent.

We'll be able to support 12-14 people with our second DM in action, so join us this Wednesday at 6:30pm!

New Beginnings - George Perez's Sirens ¢1

by Matt Puddy

You may have heard the name George Perez come up in relation to a comic or two in the past, for example the new 52 Superman launched in 2011 or prior to that Infinite Crisis or Teen Titans. Big titles for DC and more for Marvel in the past as well including a long and well renowned run on the Avengers with Kurt Busiek. If not - and you simply enjoy comics for the read regardless of who created them - then just know that Perez is a well established name in the business.

This is a brand new title written and illustrated by him, with Leonardo Paciarotti aiding with the colours. Perez even worked on the majority of the covers as well so this was a huge amount of work for him.

Sirens is a story that starts multiple times simply because there is a whole team to introduce quickly for this six-part series. Each one of them is spread across time amongst various tribes and groups of people, but all of them standing out as a strong warrior. In Rome, a violent gladiator and in Iceland, a mystic crone are just examples of who they are.

The time period seems to be inconsequential as these are powerful matriarchs and someone is trying to get them together. Why exactly isn’t so clear but when they are assembled in the same timeline (in the future), things aren’t looking so good. Firstly, not all the team appeared to come back in one piece, as they can’t exactly remember who they all are or where they are either. To top it all off they are also immediately in the firing line of Naida, a woman who has hunted and killed Sirens in the past and only sees them as sport. She's the top enforcer for Perdition and certainly has an axe to grind. 

Immediately as a reader you are aware of exactly who and what the threat is, complete with huge battle cruiser, and just as quick the issue ends with what could potentially be their firey space-born graves. Admittedly, we know it’s not or this is going to be a very short run (!) but what comes next?

The story moves very quickly but it has to so that all the scene is set as much as can be. This does have its downsides though as for all the pace moving through the book, some of the elements are lost. As a reader you only get to know that there is an intergalactic force enslaving the universe and that the Sirens are considered villains because of either the previews or the letters in the back. This does change the context a lot. 

All of the artistic style is very typical of Perez as well. There is a lot packed into every single frame and it has a certain late Eighties/early Nineties feel to them as is his way. That does mean that as a reader the amount of information you are given can sometimes overwhelm you and you find yourself concentrating on either the wording or the images, just not always both at the same time.

This fast first issue is full of intergalactic swashbuckling – alongside the historical issues, time travelling and also the potential time paradoxes along the way. Time will tell if this finds an audience, but personally I was a little underwhelmed when compared to George Perez's back catalogue.

Mat Puddy is ready to face another week!

Sunday, 5 October 2014

New Beginnings - Thor #1

by Matt Puddy

It’s certainly fair to say that when Marvel announced its recent changes to its established line up some eyebrows were raised. Aside from the news that the newest Captain America was going to be black there was also the gender flip in the identity of Thor. Across the internet many fans of the Nordic god expressed various opinions on this revelation and now in issue one of Jason Aaron’s new comic we get to finally see what is really going on.

If you are wondering “Has Thor died?” (again) or simply “What happened to Thor to make this change?” then fret not it isn’t what you might think. If you read the recent story of Original Sin (also written by Jason Aaron) then you would be aware that at the end of the eight part series, the band of heroes - including Thor - faced off against an aging Nick Fury. As part of this fracas Thor was essentially disabled when Fury whispered a few select (and currently unknown) words to him. Whatever he said had such a huge impact that Thor dropped Mjolnir and as such as not yet been able to pick up the fabled hammer. He is now unworthy.

This isn’t where the comic begins though. It’s the misadventures of those pesky beings from Midgard that opens the tale. Searching deep underwater we meet a team searching the black depths of the ocean. Instead of underwater treasures, they are stumbled upon by massive Frost Giants emerging from an oceanic trench, being somewhat lead by Malkieth the Accursed, a combination that is terrifying at the best of times.

It’s not hard to consider how that particular situation is going to go so I’m not going to spoil it for anyone who enjoys a bit of wanton destruction.

All the while the Asgardian citizens are being divided emotionally. On one hand their All Father has returned from self-imposed exile giving reason to be happy. But this is to the detriment of their All Mother who has been faithfully watching over them and guiding them. There is a growing schism between the Asgardians as allegiances are divided. To add to this they also worry for and watch over Thor who is now a broken man. Unable to comprehend why he cannot lift Mjolnir anymore, he is a shell of a man. Not eating, not sleeping and only really talking on occasion to his hammer, imploring it to allow him to lift it.

It may not be Thor that is the issue though as no one can life Mjolnir from its resting place, not even Odin himself. On the news of the invasion of Midgard by Jotunheim, the decision to step in is made and a hammerless Thor steps into the fray to much poorer results than required. Gleefully unaware of other events Malkieth seems to be happy that the end of Thor is nigh. He has no clue that meanwhile on the Moon a woman has just easily raised Mjolnir because there must always be a Thor...

As a first issue this is more about situational presence than blasting the reader with a new Thor. By waiting until the end there is a certain tension and mystery built. It also builds an idea that you may know who the new maiden is but also you’re not quite sure. You feel the new inadequacy of Thor as he rides into battle; also the happiness and mocking in Malkieth when he see the weakness that has been exposed. All of this goes a long way to change the concept of who or what Thor really is. As someone who is not really a fan of Thor on his own, my thoughts are fairly one dimensional. Thor is a god. He has a mythical hammer. He does hero stuff. 

Sounds simply, right? But this comic has challenged me to rethink that. Thor is an identity and an ideal, a reference of power almost. It’s about the worthiness and intentions, not just the man – or now woman. A fairly heavy shift for a first issue comic!

Artistically Russell Dauterman has provided a sturdy issue. I liked the huge double page spread to reflect the enormity of the Ice Giants, but when taking time over smaller beings there was a lot of work put into supporting Aaron’s story. Thor looks broke and damaged, Freya and Odin are both full of pride, power and in their own ways care and concern for their son. This is quite possibly one of the most emotive pieces of artwork I’ve read in quite a while. There’s also a good use of implied imagery  which leaves you as the reader conjuring up even more visual ideas so kudos for that.

As I said I’m not a fan necessarily of Thor as a character, however that said this was still an issue strong enough to grab my interest. New readers will certainly enjoy it and fans will no doubt discuss the identity and what will happen for a while too.

Matt Puddy avoided all the usual MC Hammer jokes.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Big Game Hunting - Games on the Horizon: D&D Attack Wing

by Rae

By now, pretty much every gamer has seen, if not played themselves, either Star Trek: Attack Wing or Star Wars: X Wing. These fantastic games both make use of the elegant flight path system, allowing gamers to move game models freely across the vast landscape of a 3' x 3' map. They employ easy-to-understand mechanics to introduce players into the gameplay quickly, but incorporate deck building to allow more experienced players to carefully construct the perfect fleet for their next encounter. Now this brilliant game system is taking on an entirely new theme: Dungeons & Dragons.

Coming to Proud Lion in October, the starter set for D&D Attack Wing brings players into the game with three stunning dragon figures: red, blue, and copper. The set comes with all the manoeuvre templates, manoeuvre dials, cards, and tokens required for a two- or three-player game right out of the box.

Of course, you can't make an army with just one dragon, so you may want to build up your troops with the other models being released as part of Wave 1. The expansion packs currently scheduled for release are the Green Dragon, Frost Giant, Sun Elf Wizard, Sun Elf Guard Troops (6 pack), Hobgoblin Troops (6 pack), Dwarven Ballista, and Wraiths (2 pack).

Still not enough for you? No problem, keep an eye out for Wave 2, currently expected in December! This wave currently includes the Black Shadow Dragon, Movanic Deva Angel, and Aarakocra!

Don't forget to also look out for D&D Attack Wing in-store events coming soon!

Rae needs the dragons. All the dragons.

Friday, 3 October 2014

New Beginnings - Aliens: Fire and Stone #1

by Matt Puddy

When Prometheus: Fire And Stone came out we looked at how the universe around humanity was changed after learning that the creators weren’t so benevolent.  We saw the good Doctor Shaw and her alien head inadvertently lead a new team of scientists in their quest for knowledge. This week we see the same foreboding planet but from a very different perspective. Although it's part of the same arc as Prometheus, the one thing to remember is that this takes place before last week's comic in the grand scheme of things. With that it also answers a few questions too.

Chris Roberson – an author who was essentially a late bloomer in the comic world – takes a trip from the ill fated LV-426 in the wake of the alien ship being discovered and the xenomorphs awoken and onto a strange new planet.

Opening in the midst of a crisis, you - as the reader - are given very little aside from a brutal death and a lot of panic. With barely a narrator to bring you rapidly up to speed ,you find yourself in a pivotal point in the struggle for life and hopefully an escape from arguably the most deadly species in the known galaxy.

Characters are fleetingly introduced and a plan is quickly formulated. It’s clear that staying in Hadley’s Hope is a death sentence and the local area is just as bad so the only option is space. Jumping onto a ship that will only just get them in and out of orbit, a hasty escape is made at the considerable cost of human life.

The nice thing I liked about this is that with a small bit of magic Roberson fits this story into current cannon. As fans of the film will know in Aliens all of the colonists were either killed or captured by the Xenomorphs before the USCM arrive. However, fans will then think back to the film and realise that this was only alluded to and never confirmed leaving this convenient gap to be exploited.

After a bumpy exit and an even harder arrival on the local moon provides more surprises instead of solace. A previously thought uninhabitable moon with no atmosphere now has a wild and thriving jungle. Unfortunately instead of having time to inspect the new and unexpected surroundings, all hell breaks loose as their makeshift escape craft not only saved them but it also brought stowaways.

On an alien moon, with a biosphere that shouldn’t be there, with limited supplies and a predatory race of creatures hunting them what is there to do? Well now we know how the xenomorphs got to that moon, this series sets to find out what happened next.

The writing moves fast, but it has to so that it provides a feeling of panic which is what the story requires, at least in the first act that is. The lull in the story when the metaphorical breath is taken is only the calm before the storm, as then the pace picks up once again. There isn’t really time for character development as a result though, except for the bare minimum in occasional cases. This in itself provides a good vehicle for highlighting the main protagonists in the story, developing their personalities for the readers in a high pressured situation shows them in the true light.

Artistically the style is what I would describe as typical Dark Horse Aliens comics. Reynolds is a Dark Horse veteran with his accolades covering some of their big titles like Hellboy, showing that he has a diverse range as well. The images are clear, although not clean, and full of detail especially with the mechanical aspects (I liked the ship even though it is very boxy) and the xenomorphs are very Gigeresque and true to their type, so my fanboy side was happy.

All together this is kind of what I expected from Dark Horse as a new title and I was happily impressed as a result. Fans of the series will follow suit I would hope. I liked how it’s already tying in with the other story and we still have AVP and Predator to go too. All of these titles already on my pulllist!

Matt Puddy is keen to find out what happens next and with Alien Isolation out next week, it's a great time to be a fan!

Monday, 29 September 2014

Big Game Hunting: D&D Encounters - On Creating Characters

As previously announced, D&D Encounters will be starting this week! D&D Encounters is a casual D&D weekly event, running every Wednesday at Proud Lion from 6:30pm, that allows players to drop in and drop out freely. Participation is on a first-come, first-served basis, and the event allows for a maximum of 7 players. If we find ourselves continuously oversubscribed, we will look to add a second game.

In our original announcement, we said we would only be allowing pre-generated characters provided by Wizards of the Coast. However, since receiving the materials for the first adventure, we have discovered that custom characters are allowed - with some limitations. If you wish to create your own character, you may, so long as these rules are followed.

Any characters that players wish to create themselves must be new characters at level 1. Rolling for ability scores is not allowed, and all characters must use the standard set of ability scores (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8) or the customising ability scores variant (as described in the Player's Handbook).

The most notable rule that players will need to be aware of is that of character alignment. For the D&D Encounters adventures, characters are not allowed to have a Neutral Evil or Chaotic Evil alignment. Lawful Evil alignment is only permitted if the character is a member of the Lords' Alliance or Zhentarim factions. (All characters have the option of joining one of five factions. It is not required, but does have benefits that may help the characters in their adventures!)

If you wish to read the character creation event-specific rules in full, please email us at and we will provide them for you. A hard copy of the rules will be available to read on the day. Pre-generated characters will still be available! See you all Wednesday.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Big Game Hunting: Dungeons & Dragons Encounters

by Rae

From October, Wednesday nights at Proud Lion are about to get a bit more adventurous! Starting 1st October, the shop will be open until 8pm every Wednesday, allowing us to invite players to join in for Dungeons & Dragons Encounters!

D&D Encounters is an ongoing event designed for casual play, allowing you to drop in and play whenever you like. Using pre-generated characters, players are able to take part in individual episodes that make up a larger adventure. While traditional D&D focuses on levelling up individual characters, in these adventures you will be building up a faction. The benefit of this is that, even if you miss a few weeks, you won't find yourself falling behind other players.

Each episode will run from 6:30pm to 8pm. As said above, we will be using pre-made characters, so please leave your custom characters at home for these events. Participation will be first-come, first-served. There are no sign up sheets, just turn up before the start time. More details can be found here on the Wizards Of The Coast store locator.

The adventure we will be featuring for the encounters will be Tyranny of Dragons! You and your companions will struggle against the Cult of the Dragon in their attempt to free the multi-headed dragon Tiamat from the Nine Hells!

See you in October!

Rae's obsession with dragons seems to be growing over time.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

New Beginnings - Prometheus: Fire and Stone #1

by Matt Puddy

Back in the days of VHS videos and slightly less than strictly adhered to film certificate laws, I came across a film that changed my appreciation of science fiction forever – Aliens. I quickly followed it up by finding and watching the original and then over the coming (I’m sad to say this) decades I have followed the Alien and Predator franchises in almost all forms of media including the games.

So now this week we have Prometheus: Fire and Stone. Following on from the renowned head-scratcher of a film (for both its setup and amazement at why one person couldn’t run sideways in the face of a crashing spaceship), the comic takes up almost where it left off and stays in canon.

Paul Tobin’s story opens prior to the Prometheus film, with a probe scouring an apparently dead planet only to see it smashed under foot of one of the Engineers. Skipping forward 129 years to a point not long after Aliens, scientific curiosity has once again got the better of mankind. Following up on the probe’s findings - and also the reports of a crashed and more importantly salvageable craft - a team are led to LV-233 with everything being chronicled by filmmaker Clara Atkinson.

After a brief introduction to all of the crew, and some of their peculiarities, the party heads down to the surface. Things are not right almost from the very beginning. What was considered a barren desert planet has a thriving jungle ecosystem, contrary to what should be there. Strange creatures and insects aside they continue their foraging in search of the ship. Stranger sights are still afoot, but eventually they find their prize - a completely intact ship, apparently from the ill-fated LV-426 (Hadley’s Hope). But they have no idea what is waiting inside for them. As the reader though, you can see exactly what lies behind door number one. A dormant but deadly batch of xenomorphs.

The story has a very familiar feel to it, and is written in a similar style to Alien and Aliens. There are a few scenes which could have been transplanted from either film; for example the meet and greet, which has overtones of both the dinner scene from Alien and the military briefing in Aliens.

From a scripting point of view the story is easy to read and flows throughout through the narrative lens of the filmmaker. What I did notice though is that this is almost an optical illusion, seeing as it doesn’t actually cover that much, although what it does it does well.

Artistically, Juan Ferreyra’s work is quite good. There is a gritty differential to the camera feed and equally a huge diverse appearance in the jungle. He also has a clear skill for new phylum in the xenobiology depictions. I liked his work overall but did feel that occasionally there could have been some more definition and detail as some of the frames were a little soft for my liking.

Overall this is exactly what I would have expected from a Dark Horse title continuing their good run with the Aliens and Predator franchises. I will caveat that by repeating I am a big fan of the films, books, comics and games (yes, even Colonial Marines) and so this was an easy choice for me.

For any other fans this is also a sure win, with three linked miniseries ready to bloom across all of the other brands.

Matt Puddy is looking forward to the new BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Good Omens.

Big Game Hunting Live - Shadowrun: Crossfire and Cash 'N Guns

by Rae

It's time for Big Game Hunting Live! This is a monthly gaming event that takes place on the second Saturday of every month. Players will get a chance to learn and play featured games all day long. This month we're featuring two completely different games - the co-operative deck-building cyberpunk game, Shadowrun: Crossifre and the competitive party game, Cash N Guns.

Shadowrun: Crossfire is a deck-building game in one of the most popular game settings of all time. Crossing cyberpunk with fantasy and plunging players into a world dominated by ruthless megacorporations, Crossfire gives players the chance to dive into the world’s shadows to see if they can survive. They’ll have weapons, spells, contacts, and gear to help them out, and they’re going to need those resources. If they play their cards right, though, they’ll do more than survive—they’ll become legends.

In Cash ‘n Guns, players will point foam pistols at each other and try to intimidate their opponents into letting them have the largest share of the loot from the big heist. Bullets speak louder than words and the bravest crooks enjoy the most money – but only if they live long enough to spend it!

During the day, there will be two main gaming sessions, from 10:30am until 1:30pm, and 2:00pm until 5pm. Both games will be available to try, though it's worth noting that Cash N Guns requires at least 4 players. Whether you're a seasoned player or need to brush up on the rules, drop in and have a game with us! If you've never played before and would like to give it a try, feel free to pop in, and we'll show you the ropes.

See you Saturday 13th September!

All participants will receive a voucher that entitles them to 10% off either of the games featured on the day. If an item is not in stock, we may be able to order it for you on request.

Rae can't wait for the weekend!

Saturday, 6 September 2014

BGHL Games Night: Calling All Game Designers!

by Rae

As board game enthusiasts, it has come to our attention that we have a fair few designers in the area! 

We've spoken to several people who have games they've created, but are in need of testers to play through them. On Saturday 13th September, we want to bring together game designers and potential beta testers. Creators are invited to bring their designs for open play at our Big Game Hunting Live Games Night, hosted at the Cheltenham Boston Tea Party.

To make this event possible, we do ask a few things of designers. If you have a game beta you would like to bring, please send a direct email to and provide us with the working title of your game and a brief description of the gameplay. Initial prototypes are perfectly acceptable, but the game must be fully playable! Please make sure you have tested your game yourself before the night.

We also have one thing to ask of test players. Any player testing a beta game will be asked to sign a simple non-disclosure agreement (NDA). This will be in place purely to prevent details of the game designs from becoming publicised and to protect the designers' creations. Please note this only applies to people involved in testing, and there is no obligation to be involved!

Feel free to email us directly at if you have any questions.

Rae is looking forward to seeing the games created by local minds!

Thursday, 4 September 2014

New Beginnings - The Names #1

by Matt Puddy

So when I picked up this new issue of Vertigo’s new title of The Names I thought “What’s going on here then?” On first inspection I saw a woman in a slinky dress with a knife. On second look I see the silhouette of a falling man and numbers... lots of number and even some equations. Even the cover of this comic is subtly saying that there’s more to this than at a casual first glance.

You know something is wrong the moment you start reading Peter Milligan’s tale, as you are introduced to a character who could be incredibly influential to the story, but is being coerced into a suicide note and then throws himself out the window. An unwilling scapegoat, perhaps, of the man known as the Surgeon.

Faced with the apparent suicide of her husband Kevin, combined with the new “revelation” that maybe her husband suffered with depression, Katya Walker starts to unravel a little. Her husband potentially wasn’t what she thought and she has a selectively mute stepson that she doesn’t know how to communicate with. Eventually all the frustration starts to seep out. It’s only the arrival of a strange phone - complete with a cautionary if not also cryptic message - that awakens a new side of Katya.

All the while the wheels are turning in the background.  A shadowy cabal, that the Surgeon is part of, plays with the world's finances on their individual whims. However, even this isn't going quite according to plan as they are even plagued by The Loops – a sentient program that is causing even them problems.

Behind another door, Philip (Katya’s stepson) is showing there is more to himself as well. Aside from bordering on mathematical genius, he also has a very soft spot for Katya. Hidden away in books are pictures of her and he feels an amount of remorse towards his father, as if he has done something or feels something he shouldn’t. You can’t help but wonder what his involvement is, or will be, with the bigger picture.

Desperate to get to the bottom of this mystery, Katya starts to use the information from the phone - even if it didn’t make sense - to entrap and drag information out of Marco, a man that is linked to it all. Will it open everything up, or will he just have a snippet of information that points her in the right direction? She’s not going to rest until her husband is avenged. Wall Street meets Kill Bill.

I like Peter Milligan’s writing, I’ve enjoyed his Five Ronin series, as well as when he started off the Red Lantern titles, so it’s no surprise I enjoyed this as well. One criticism though is that sometimes the direction changes in the story felt a little abrupt. The narrative jumps were jarring, with little or no connection to the previous section; there is little natural flow to the story. You still get wrapped up in each new section though, but it can throw you a little.

Leandro Fernandez has put a lot into this and through the letter at the back you got a brief glimpse at the consultative approach that creating this comic has taken. His style is fairly minimal, only using details when needed to highlight specific things when needed for the story. He’s also managed to create some interesting forms and archetypes. Katya is a strong female protagonist, but without being overly muscular or becoming super heroic parody of a human. The Surgeon on the other hand is gangly and creepy, the stuff corporate nightmares are made of. Even Philip gives off a very sombre feel that fits his implied character as well. Although it’s a little subdued for my normal tastes as well, it still looks really good and as I said the characters have a real feel about them.

It makes a nice change to have a story that isn’t revolving around superpowers or the supernatural. OK, so a secret syndicate of incredibly powerful and ridiculously immoral men running the world from the shadows isn’t anything new as conspiracies go, but it certainly adds a different dimension to the story when an apparently normal person has to break that, whilst also including the cyberterrorism angle as well.

Put all together it’s not bad at all. As you might expect form a Vertigo title, it is an adult (or at least teen) comic with realistic violence and partial nudity.  Plenty of things to come I reckon, including what the hell Kevin meant about Champion!?

Matt Puddy is packing up and heading to LV-223...

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

New Beginnings - Wayward #1

by Matt Puddy

Breaking away from the superhero mould that DC and Marvel so happily fit into is nothing new for Image and their newest publication is no exception. Wayward is written by Jim Zub (Samurai Jack, Archer & Armstrong and Suicide Squad), we are transported to the Far East onto the islands of Japan for the story to take place.

Our heroine Rory Lane is making her way to Japan to meet and live with her mother. It is a massive change for her; one that is welcomed, albeit a touch scary as well. On arrival she has to try to find her own way to her mothers’ house which, in Japan, is quite a feat in itself. However even now Rori feels there is something strange going on, when a path mysteriously opens up to her in the form of a glowing red line. Putting it down to simple jet lag she pushes it aside and goes about her way.

It’s with her next foray into the city that strange occurrences continue to happen around her. The plethora of cats following her is just the start, and when she has the misfortune of walking into a small street gang of thugs, the arrival of a stranger called Ayane only adds to the weirdness.

Of course Rori is grateful for the help, but when her would-be assailants' skins are ripped off to reveal that they are sword wielding turtle-like creatures – known in Japanese mythology as Kappa – things get crazier. Ayane - complete with yellow eyes and pointy teeth - seems to be enjoying the whole experience, all while Rori starts seeing the red lines again as a route of escape. Athletically leaping from point to point (after handing out a good few blows to the Kappa) the girls run from the scene.

All it takes is some strawberry milk to thank for Ayane saving the day – something which she handles with a very casual ease. But then, just as immediately as Ayane appeared she simply disappears into the night, once again leaving Rori a stranger in a strange land.

There is some really nice writing in this comic which makes it a really easy read. Once I got over the first page Americanisation (or spelling mistake?) of decent instead of descent, you quickly get used to the idea that over 90% of this issue is “written and translated” from Japanese for ease of reading.

Interestingly enough it is all interwoven with a small amount of Japanese fables and myths as well. To support this (and this is something I really liked) there’s a small edutainment section at the back as well, where readers are introduced to the full story behind the myths and legend of the culture from the land of the rising sun.

Artistically I know that Ben wasn’t impressed by Cover C (Jeffrey Chamba Cruz) for this issue - one of 11 variants in total - but I have to disagree a little. It’s bright, colourful and introduces three main areas of the comic without giving anything really away and keeping an air of mystery at the same time. (I definitely felt the other main covers were stronger I'm afraid, particularly Alina Urusov's cover B. BF)

Internally Steve Cummings artwork and John Rauch’s colouring (assisted again by Jim Zub) work really well. The line work is clean and smooth, as well as the shading and colouring. Equally there is a general American feel to the overall comic, but even in the drawing there are elements and a certain feel to it which are Japanese – Ayane in particular.

Overall this was a really interesting comic and one heartily recommended by many for fans of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. A girl taken out of her world and pushed into a new one, a strange new instinct or is it power? And a myriad of mythical creatures to tackle in the process. What can possibly go wrong?

Matt Puddy is ready to start taking names...

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Big Game Hunting - Games on the Horizon, part three

by Rae

Here's a preview of even more new games coming soon to Proud Lion! All games can be pre-ordered at a 10% discount from Proud Lion.

Shadowrun: Crossfire – RRP £40.00 (pre-order price £36.00)
Shadowrun: Crossfire Expansion Pack - RRP £13.00 (pre-order price £11.70)
Set in the fantasy, cyberpunk world of Shadowrun, this cooperative deck-building game has players taking on various jobs and fighting together to overcome tough obstacles in their way. With multiple roles to play and a handful of different scenarios to try, Shadowrun: Crossfire provides challenging gameplay in a setting where teamwork is vital to your survival.

Loot Letter – RRP £10.00 (pre-order price £9.00)
Ever wondered what would happen if you mixed the beautifully simple game Love Letter with a parody RPG adventure game like Munchkin? Me neither, but here it is! Rather than trying to gain the romantic favour of the princess, Loot Letter has players trying to get their hands on the greatest treasure before their opponents! Loot Letter is available as both a boxed edition and an unboxed edition, which includes a velvet bag for storing the game.

Munchkin Panic (RRP: TBC)
It's another Munchkin hybrid game – this time, it's being combined with the excellent semi-cooperative game, Castle Panic! In Munchkin Panic, you must work together to defend the castle from the onslaught of monsters. However, each monster carries a certain amount of loot, and only one can end the game as the Master Munchkin!

Warhammer 40,000: Conquest – RRP £34.00 (pre-order price £30.60)
Prepare your army, capture the planets, and claim their assets to strengthen your resources. In this living card game, players build their decks to create a powerful warlord who is able to dominate the planet sector – or is simply strong enough to destroy their only competition.

We'll be hosting a launch event for this game, in conjunction with Pork Chop Gaming. Full details TBC.

The X Files – RRP £50.00 (pre-order price £45.00)
Fans of the classic TV show will be pleased to see this release! Play as Mulder, Scully, and the rest of the X Files team to investigate paranormal mysteries. But be wary of the player in control of the Cigarette Smoking Man, who will be actively trying to manipulate the situations and steer the agents in the wrong direction!

XCOM: The Board Game (RRP: TBC)
Humanity is on the brink of destruction: an alien invasion has just begun, and time is running out. It is your team's mission to take down UFOs, discover the aliens' plans, and end the invasion – all without allowing the governments that fund your entire operation to collapse. This new board game comes with a companion app, which can be downloaded to a device or accessed online, which is integrated directly into the gameplay to make it a truly immersive experience.

Rae has had an idea for a new board game: you play as parents desperately trying to survive the school holidays...

Monday, 1 September 2014

Cheltenham Drink and Draw - September 2014

by Rae

Tomorrow night – Tuesday 2nd September – will be the next monthly Cheltenham Drink and Draw! This is held the first Tuesday of every month, and we invite all artists and otherwise to come down to Boston Tea Party and draw whatever they fancy.

Of course, for those so inclined, we also have a theme. In celebration of the Meet Rex exhibit at The Wilson, September's theme is dinosaurs! We look forward to seeing what you all will make of that!

As a side note, in previous months we have been collecting people's artwork with the intention of putting it online in a small competition. We have decided that we will no longer be doing so. There is concern that turning this event into a competition is putting some people off, and we don't want anyone to feel excluded. Drink and Draw is about encouraging people to draw and socialise with others who want to do the same, and we want to make sure that is the feeling we are promoting!

If you have submitted your artwork to us previously and would like it returned, please come and collect it from Proud Lion or tomorrow night's event. Any artwork not collected before October's Drink and Draw will need to be recycled!

Rae has not drawn dinosaurs in a very long time.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Marvel Comics celebrates 75th anniversary at The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 2014

Promotional Article

The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival attracts hundreds of the world’s leading authors, journalists, comedians, politicians, actors, broadcasters and more.

Joining this year’s Festival for a great celebration of the 75th anniversary of Marvel comics, X-Men and Fantastic Four writer Mike Carey (The Girl with All the Gifts), former Marvel editor Alan Cowsill (Marvel Comics: 75 Years of Cover Art) and The Hulk writer Monty Nero (Death Sentence) will discuss how Marvel irrevocably changed the face of graphic fiction when the first Timely Comic (Marvel's predecessor) hit the newsstands in 1939. With an examination of the iconic brand’s enduring success and influence, this will be a fascinating evening for Marvel fans both old and new.

In 1939, the first Marvel Comic hit the newsstands, irrevocably changing the face of graphic fiction. Fantastic Four and X-Men writer Mike Carey (The Girl with All the Gifts), former Marvel editor Alan Cowsill (Marvel Comics: 75 Years of Cover Art) and The Hulk writer Monty Nero (Death Sentence) discuss the iconic brand’s enduring success and influence.

SUN 5 OCT 2014 8:00PM - 9:00PM
£10 - MEMBERS 10% OFF

Tickets are already on sale to Festival Members.

Tickets go on sale to the public from midday, Monday 1 September.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Big Game Hunting - Games on the Horizon, part two

by Rae

Here's another round of new games coming soon to Proud Lion! All games are available to preorder from Proud Lion at a 10% discount (unless otherwise noted).

Walking Dead Dice Game – RRP £17.00 (pre-orders closed, due out this week)
This competitive press-your-luck game gives players the chance to play as one of four main characters from the hit TV show – Rick, Carl, Daryl, or Michonne. Roll your dice to fight off walkers and be the first to escape the location! (Preorders for this game have now closed. Look for this game on shelves this week.)

Smash Up: The Big Geeky Box – RRP £17.00 (pre-order price £15.30)
Fans of Smash Up will be looking forward to the release of the Big Geeky Box. This expansion adds a brand new faction, the Geeks, inspired by TableTop and Geek & Sundry and featuring Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day! Collectors will also be pleased to discover the box has been designed to fit and neatly organise all your original and expansion cards.

Doomtown: Reloaded – RRP £34.00 (pre-order price £30.60)
This will look familiar to those who played the collectable card game Deadlands: Doomtown. This version is an expandable deck-building style game. Utilitse the poker symbols on the cards to build your town, assemble loyal townsfolk, and keep control – but look out for the other factions trying to seize Doomtown, and be ready for the next shootout!

Dead Of Winter – RRP £50.00 (pre-order price £45.00)
This Plaid Hat Games release is the first in what will be a series of Crossroads games, focusing on pitting a small group of people against both external and internal conflicts in an effort to survive. Dead of Winter sees your group struggling in a world where humanity is becoming a race of flesh-eating monsters. This is a meta-cooperative game where you're all working together to survive, but you all have your own objective to achieve.

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Skull & Shackles Base Set – RRP £50.00 (pre-order price £45.00)
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Skull & Shackles Character Add On Deck - RRP £19.00 (pre-order price £17.10)
This stand-alone Pathfinder adventure throws players out into the open sea. Deal with rival pirates, fantastic sea monsters, and confront the Hurricane King in this deck-building RPG that will test your characters to their limits! You can also expand your character choices by picking up the Character Add On Pack.

Pandemic: Contagion – RRP £25.00 (pre-order price £22.50)
The original Pandemic sees players fighting to cure diseases before epidemics wipe out the world population. In this version, you are instead playing the diseases themselves – and this time, there is no cure. Be the first disease to take out humanity!

Stay tuned for even more Games on the Horizon, coming soon!

Rae may need to get a second bookcase for her growing game library.