Friday, June 29, 2012

Post Apoca-Thursday

When Lead-Addict called me to ask what we were playing tonight, I think he heard the weariness in my voice. He kindly offered to bring the toys and put on the game.

The Scenario was thus: 
"Archeologists(looters) from the Corpse of Engineers are missing on an expedition to what appeared to be a simple mansion of the ancients. Now rumors of a secret cache of the ancients run rampant through the camps and hovels of DigTown. The wastelanders say they know better than to try to unlock the secrets of the Ruin on the Hill. But they could be hiding secrets of their own.
Strap on your respirator and your Vomit Gun, its time to explore."
We used the Wasteland Warriors mods for Fistful of Lead. Everything on the table was searchable. When searched, the player got a face down card that was revealed on their next turn. Some people got loot, some weapons, most got junk and traps and Monsters from the wastes.
The Boy unleashed a mutant, Ugg-Lugg and the forestry mech by accident (and to his secret glee).
One player had his mini impregnated by giant Blow Flies. There were quakes and poison gas and freak weather patterns, all while the players blazed away at each other.
The group got to play on some great Terrain by Lead-Addict with some seriously old Citadel lead.
I got to sit back with a gin and tonic and a nice cigar and watch the mayhem.

Sure hope there's something in this dumpster besides my doom.

Dirty Muties

Digging in the dirt

A fight breaks out

Ugg-Lugg attacks the mutants

Aforementioned Forestry Mech

Ruins of the past.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


I took last week off. Didn't go anywhere, but as they say, "a bad day at home is better than a good day at work." Got some painting done and still squeezed in a GASLIGHT game with the rest of the Basement Generals.
Emboldened by their last victory and recovery of "the Visitor", the Germans (boo, hiss) pressed their attack. This time it was a small town. Could the outnumbered garrison hold out til reinforcements arrived?
As it turns out they could. A French Aeronef dropped marines and regulars just as the German Rokkittruppen assaulted the town.
The very thin red line

German troops advance

The French arrive

Artillery duels with Klankers
Another fun game. One of reasons I like these rules is the ease of throwing a game together. I'm never sure who's going to show week to week. So the ability to grow or shrink a game is a must. Plus, the rules themselves are a blast. Now, back to painting Swiss...

Friday, June 15, 2012

Delves Dark and Deep.

Last night we had the opportunity to play test Scott Pyle's newest edition to the Goalsystem family of rules: Goalsystem Delves. People who have read this blog know I am a big fan of the Goalsystem mechanics. Smooth, simple,  with just a enough luck to make things fun.
We had a new guy over who was completely new to the whole waragming experience. He picked up the game in minutes was yelling at the Ogre to "Die! Die you bastard!"
Over all, another positive experience. I will keep my comments and criticisms to an email to Scott later.
"Ladies, ladies. There's enough of me to go around."
The adventure was split up into seperate "encounters" spread around the board. I kept it sandbox style and let the players choose which places they wanted to go, but said the ultimate goal was to reach the entrance to the Caverns of Doom, located at the opposite end of the table. We had 6 players controlling single miniature of a mix of your usual suspects in a fantasy party (except the thief, who nobody wanted to play). Assisted by Lead Addict, I ran the monsters.
"Friend, have you heard the word of the Lord?"
The party first went to the Haunted Woods. There they fought a mad Druid, who had twisted himself into an evil ent. He was joined by a group of angry dryads. The mage failed a sleep spell and the fighters charged in. The battle was short, and the party escaped with a few scratches and some treasure.
Rygar just can't seem to fight one monster at a time.
Next, avoided the abandoned village crossed the bridge. There they fought the evil Mer-man.
The cleric went first, but did little. It took the Barbarian to bring the fish man down.
Then they came to Blood Pass. They were ambushed by Orcs and an Ogre. This time, a few of them actually took some hits. The Barbarian had to be healed and save vs death to survive. Meanwhile Sir Wulfric valiantly battled the Ogre. The Ogre snuck in a heavy wallop which almost brought the knight down, but in the end, the ogre was surrounded and overwhelmed.
Here, we had to stop because of the hour. I got lots of notes for the author, and had a night of beer, friends and monster bashing. Doesn't get much better.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Join the Imperial Army & see the Galaxy

Emperor Xorg is always looking for new recruits for his vast Galactic army. Here's some new troops.

These fellas are from the Dick Garrison line of Wargames Supply Dump. I decided to go the full on 1980s Flash Gordon route. Thus the gold guns and helmets.

Monday, June 11, 2012

10 games that define me

Prompted by Lead Addict and others who have done similar posts, I thought I I'd post 10 of the games that have got me where I am both as a player and a game master. They define the kind of game I want to play in and run.
Some are role playing games, some are wargames. All effect where I am now.
Dungeons and Dragons
The game that led many of us down the path to tabletop wargaming. I was twelve or thirteen when the definitive boxed set of D&D came. Talk about the right age, the right place the right time. When I wasn't playing or running a game, I was feverishly creating my own worlds and vast treasure filled dungeons. It fueled my creative writing, my drawing (I was the guy who drew everyone's PC) and my imagination.
Soon after I started playing, Grenadier released a boxed set of miniatures that came with painting guide and paints. We all know where this led.
It taught me how to share what was in my head.
Star Frontiers
I played the shit out of this game. The box and rules I still own in his held together with tape, stables and sheer will. Most sessions were fly by the pants, made up on the spot, free floating adventures. My wife once asked me if I could back in time to relive one day or night, what would it be. Without hesitation I answered. It was not the day we met, our wedding day, the birth of our children although those were close seconds. It was one muggy, summer night my eighth grade year. It was one of our free wheeling sessions that became epic. The adventure unfolded almost by itself. Space Pirates. A hidden base. An epic battle where heroes were created and lost. Try as we might later, that feeling was never recreated. It taught me what was possible.
Also, I think everyone was in love with the girl on the cover. Hmmm, that why I married a redhead? BTW I didn't get in trouble for my answer.
Villains and Vigilantes
I always loved superhero comics. So when I saw there was game where I could be one? Sign me up. The art was by Jeff Dee, and for years after my drawings aped his style. The group I gamed with expanded with V&V. I got everyone to play. More than once the high school football team wasn't at a party after a game. We were at my house, eating fresh from the oven cookies baked by Mom and fighting epic battles to save the earth. V&V taught me gamng could be for everyone.
Fistful of Lead
Moments after attending my first Wargaming convention I was pissed. KC has a large gaming community. Mostly great people, but some real dicks, too. I tried to play in a Wild West shootout game. The guy running it was one of the aforementioned jackasses. Rules can't be that hard, so I wrote my own. Thus, Fistful of Lead was born. It's pretty much unchanged since the first writing and has been a staple of the Basement Generals and local cons. For whatever reason there has been a jump in sales. Maybe people are tired of complex rules?
Ffol taught me I can write my own rules and also that a game can be easy and fun but still have depth.
Flower of Chivalry
I can't remember how I stumbled upon these rules from Canadian Wargames Research Group. I just know I'm glad I did. With a few modifications, it's become the rules we all love and hate. They give you plenty of frustration as those little guys just won't follow orders, and hillarious moments we still talk about. They're a subtle dance to me. You spend the first 4-5 turns jockeying for position, then 2 turns later, it's over. As you can see from our Campaign for the Kingdom, we play the crap out of these rules, of which the actual rules are 6 pages.
FoC taught me good things can come in small packages.
Fire and Fury
Missouri is steeped in Civil War history. The third most fought over state. And my family was right in the middle of it. There's still a few buildings in Lawrence, KS that survived the burning. Soooonnnn.....
Anyway, this is my go-to ACW set of rules. I think they give the back and forth of Civil War battles and the knuckle biting chance of failed orders. Often called Fire and Frustration, they're still one of my favs.
F&F taught me how to sit down and crank out some armies, and how to paint 15mm.
Thank you Buck Surdu and Chris Palmer. You were Victorian SciFi when Victorian SciFi wasn't cool. Hands down one of funnest games out there. Customize, build, let your imagination run wild. Want laser armed lizardman from Venus to fight steam powered unicycle Prussian lancers? We've got an app rules for that. Simple mechanics with fun results. This is definitely a club favorite.
GASLIGHT taught me you can mix historical and fantasy, and the sheer crazy joy of a well built game.
Commands and Colors
I was always a big fan of Battle Cry. It was rumored Richard Borg had originally pitched a Napoleonic game, but Avalon Hill thought the Civil War was more sellable. Soon after, a gamer hit town who had been part of Borg's original gaming/playtest group and indeed treated us to a Nappy version.
Now, I've always been fascinated by ancients, and much like Nappies have had zero interest in painting them. When I found out there would be a BattleCry-esque version for ancients I was very excited. And not disappointed. I love this game, but never seem to play it.
Taught me, you don't always need rulers and charts. A boardgame can be a tabletop game, right Cluck Amok?
Black Powder/ Hail Caesar/ Pike and Shotte
Just when I thought I'd never find a set of rules for some of my favorite periods, they showed up. We truly live in amazing times my friends. The rules lawyers, the debators and number crunchers will hate these rules. That's why I love them. Games that used to take days, now take hours. Something about these rules just clicked with me. Simple. Elegant.
Black Powder and its brothers taught me you can still kick it old school.
Super System 2
It's probably my love of comics and V&V that attracted me to Scott Pyle's SS2. His Goalsystem mechanics are, as you've seen me write above with so many other games I love, simple but elegant. A great core system, with endless layering. Our group never cared for the latest version. We still play this one at least 4 times a year.
SS2 taught me if you've got a great core mechanic that everyone gets, layering/fluff is easy.
Honorable Mentions
Crimson Skies- Two words: Flak Rockets
Blood Bowl- I've had every version since the players were card board and it took 8 hours to play.
Warhammer/40K- Taught me alot about what I don't want in a game
DBA- Same as above
Brink of Battle- Some Great Ideas here.
Anything by Sam Mustafa.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Campaign for the Kingdom 2.0 2nd Battle

Flush with his last victory, Oswald, Baron of Ock and Lord of the North Marches marched on the capital, assured by his hangers-on that he would be crowned KIng. But, barring his way was Roderick, Duke of Greendale. It seems Roderick, after watching his sovereign fall in battle, had taken up the standard in defense of the kingdom. He would fight for the people, and in turn they would crown him. So, Roderick was quite dismayed when he saw the former king's own son, Rutiger, marching with Oswald.
They met outside the walls of the Stone Keep.
Oswald's Battle line

We me again to decide the fate of the kingdom. As usual, each player started with a core of 3 units: dismounted knights, billmen and archers. From there we took turns picking 3 more (kickball team style) until each player had 6 units. Victory was set at 18 Morale points. Loss of a unit counted as 2 Morale points, and each terrain feature one.
Now the best part, rolling for Leader abilities. The contenders must of been tired from the march, because they both came up with a "Plodding". This would limit their Action Deck and their flexibility. All except for Lionel, Baron of Stonekeep. Defending his own lands, he operated at "Brilliant". This would allow him some freedom to operate outside Roderick's command radius.

Lionel's troops surge forward.
The battle started with Roderick's forces charging out the gate. All except Lionel, who stood firm. (Mostly because of a failed Maneuver roll, which caused his troops to go on "React" orders instead).This caused the ranks to become spread out, as the faster, lighter troops surged ahead.
On Oswald's side, much the same.
As the troops moved towards each other, most were able to readjust their lines. All except Edwin, Baron of Fennwyck, who's troops seemed to alternate between charging and holding. Charging and holding.
On the Claimant's left, Rutiger's troops were the first to clash. He and Lionel's troops went at it with gusto. Separated by the river, it was a battle in itself. Both battled around the bridge and adjacent woods. Soon, both had lost half their troops.
In the middle, however, was where the battle was decided. Finally coming to grips, Oswald and Roderick's troops hammered each other. This lasted several turns, but was soon over. All but Roderick's pikes fled or were destroyed. A stunning second victory for Oswald (18 to 12). On to the capital!
After the battle Roderick was captured and beheaded. Meanwhile, their was desent in the victor's ranks. Edwin, who had done his part to capture the village, feeling snubbed joined the ranks of the Contenders. Soon he would lead them
As usual, a very enjoyable evening of medieval mayhem. I need to sit down and write my version of "10 Games That Define Me", and Flower of Chivalry will be at the top.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Painting and thinking

I did just little painting this weekend where I actually finished something. Mostly repaints of existing stuff between coats of paint on those Dick Garrison troops I received a few weeks ago.
A repaint of Star Wars mini Yazzum. He will be Groth, companion to Lance Vortex, in my Retro SciFi game.
A Wood Golem repaint from Mage Knight. Suitable for Fantasy 15 or 25mm.
The rest of the time was spent digging out troops I've mounted and remounted. Pike and Shotte got me back into army builder mode. Two armies that sit unfinished are my Italian Wars and ECW/TYW troops. One of my few finished projects that we game with occasionally is my War of the Roses armies which generally gets used in our Campaign for the Kingdom battles. What I like about that army is the common basing. Each unit is a single 60 x 60mm square stuffed with what looks right. Pikes have 8-10 figs, billmen 8, and archers 6. If need be, they can be added together to form bigger units like Hail Caesar.
Thus, when it came to base up my Pike and Shotte era troops, it just made sense to do the same, even though these two armies will never meet on the battlefield. However, I come to two possibilities.
1- Some members of the group actually have minis for this period based another way. As I posted before, this basing takes up alot of space and not sure I want to go that way.
2- I have been very inspired by the work of Olicanalad. He's using a different size all together, 45mm frontage.
I took some pics to illustrate possibilities.
Gives the sense of mass for 24 figs.

Original 60mm basing. More figs and more dense for double the fig count.

and from above

Any thoughts/opinions from the blogosphere? I've decided most other non pike units will be 3 stands, so somewhere between 9-18 minis a unit. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

PIke and Shotte Playtest

I've read the rules twice. Now, time to give them a test drive.
I suspended all preconceived notions and played the game as is. As I don't have hordes of figs painted up for this (which is odd since its my favorite period), so I made some paper armies using the foot print/stand sizes in the book. P&S doesn't tell you what size stands or how many figs in a unit, but the pictures pretty much show a 40mm x 40mm base for infantry, 3 stands for shotte and 4 for pikes.
We had 6 players controlling a Battalia a piece except for the horse who got two Battalia. The infantry commanders had 3 units/regiments/brigades each of 2 shotte units and and a pike. Using the convention that the pike and shotte operate as distinct units, that meant each commander had 9 units. That meant a grand total of 31 UNITS ON EACH SIDE. Sound extreme for a first go?
We were done in 2 hours. Two.
By turn three I had to tell some players to slow down because they had picked up the mechanics and were essentially fighting their own battles in the middle while the rest of us were still moving around.
My biggest objection to the rules had been the pike and shot elements acting independently. In practice, no one seemed to care. As thing became jumbled up, it did seem weird some shot was wandering about without the protection of the pike. This was my fault, running the Horse. Mostly likely, still smarting from an earlier sound defeat from my opponent, I was rather rash with the horse. We both went careening headlong into each other. In two turns we were both combat ineffective. Both our Battalias were broken. So, the foot was allowed to run around blissfully free of danger from marauding horsemen. In fact, only one unit the entire game had to form "hedge hog".
A good game. A close game. Next round I'd like to try something with more mixed forces, and also let players mix up the battalias.

Pros: We did a huge battle in a decent amount of time, and the battle "felt right".

Cons: Space. Below is diagram of how big the units are vs how I've got a few units based up for Victory Without Quarter. A thirteen inch frontage is huge for pike and shot formation. Especially on my 6x 8 foot table, which is a little bigger than most people's 6 x 4. Even devoid of terrai for this playtest, things were really cramped. No room to manuever. This has been a complaint about the Warlord games before. Most people don't have the huge tables of the developers. After showing the boys my how my other units are based, they agreed not a lot of playability is lost with the larger bases but fewer. In fact, the only loss of have a one base unit is that of showing a unit in column. They also brought up the paim of moving the 4 pike bases as opposed to one.
I must ponder this.
From a purely esthetic point of view, the Foundry and Perry mins I have in abundance look too spaced out on a 40mm square. The newer, bigger miniatures, not so much.