Friday, December 14, 2012

On Vacation

Let the fanfare begin. Today begins my Christmas vacation. Seventeen days away from work. Five without children. Minis shall be painted, terrain shall be made, games played, alcohol will be consumed, cigars smoked and hopefully many toys will be received from Santa.
Posting will be non existent. Oh, but when I return.......
To everybody who stops by, thanks for all the kind words and comments over the past year. See you on the other side of the Mayan Apocalypse.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Pulp Alley

The Red Raptor-his motives are his own....

I have been looking for a set of Pulp-era rules for awhile. There's lots of good ones out there, and I have a ton of great miniatures for it. But most rules won't hold up to the 6-8 players I get every Thursday. So I was delighted to get a chance to try Pulp Alley by David Phipps while still its playtest phase.
Lady Dora Stanpipe-late of Madame Cheddar's School for Strong Willed Young Ladies

We gave it a whirl last week but I didn't take pictures because of lack of finished minis or terrain. Our brave playtesters looked past this and dug in. The game embraces the idea of pulp with Leagues or teams or stalwart heroes led by a Leader. The roster is then filled (in a very simple way) with Sidekicks, Allies and Followers. Your Leaders are, of course, the toughest. They get d10s and d8s to fight evil. Everyone else down the line gets progressively fewer sided dice.
Players must capture Plot Points while facing Perils, represented by a Fortune deck.
I found the mechanics very streamlined. The game easy to pick up, and most of all, handled our crew.
The pre-game and post game sequence is smart, with a campaign smoothly integrated.
Mr. Phipps has been very responsive to both questions and suggestions. I highly recommend this when it comes out. I'm painting away to form 8 teams.
One thing I have done is make character cards for the actual games. The rosters are good for the campaign aspect.

WIP: paint it black

I'm one of those black primer guys. Weapon of choice? Over the years, I've tried everything. The best so far hands down is the cheapest $0.98 flat black from WalMart.

Next: Base colors

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

WIP: ConFed troops basing

Normally, applying basing material is the last thing I do on a miniature. I use a product from Liquitex that's acrylic, making it durable, already has grit to it, and after I mix pigment to it, halfway done at application.
I wanted a more rocky texture to these bases so they looked like they were wading through rubble. My skirmish miniatures are always based on steel washers. I like the look of the thinner bases, and as I line my transport boxes with magnetic sheets, it keeps them from falling over or shifting. Granted, the walk from my storage room to the game room is about 20 feet, but they occasionally they take a longer trip.
I used tacky glue liberally apllied. Then used railroad tallus (sp?). I started using sand, but it was too fine, and switched to rubber in-fill for the final part. My wife used to work for an artificial turf company and I have not only a garage full of turf samples, but 5 gallon buckets of sand and rubber in-fill (the black rubbery stuff in the "grass" that keeps it up). Don't know how it will hold up to paint, but here goes nothing.
Also note, I had to use "greenstuff" to hold the heads on. Superglue wasn't getting enough of a purchase.
Next: Priming

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Distractions and Holiday plans

Christmas is about the only time I take any kind of consecutive day vacation. I've been steadily chugging away of my Renaissance armies and to me Christmas break is a great time to do odd one offs and side projects. After playing some 15mm SciFi with the group, combined with 28mm WW2, it got me thinking of 28mm SciFi skirmish. I've always liked Pig Iron's stuff, so this week I bought some.
I have a roughed out a  background that I think will give some fun games. Everything from the big Fleet battles to fights in the burned out cities of the future. I'm looking at a modified Victory Decison for the skirmish rules.
This will be a new Civil War of sorts. The oppressive rule of the United Systems Alliance has finally led to open war. The newly founded Confederation of Free Worlds has made it's first stand on the planet New Meridian. The brave little Browncoats (wink,wink) will have to face better technology and better trained troops to survive, but if they can just hold out, maybe new systems will secede to join them.

I plan to actually do a WIP for these fellas. Malicious use of Biological and Chemical warfare by the Union has forced the use of gasmasks across the battlefields. Union troops will be played by Pig Iron's System Troopers.
The other project (distraction) is Maurice. I have long been a fan of anything Sam Mustafe does. He's one of the few wargames rules writers that I often stop mid read to go "Yes! That is an awesome idea."
I have the free quick start rules and have read them. They seem to be a combination of two rules I love. The card driven command system of Commands and Colors, and combat mechanics of Might and Reason. A quick Google of reviews of rules will reveal I'm not alone in my excitement. Maurice is meant for the Age of Reason, but I've seen people using it all the way up to War of 1812. You'll just have to wait and see where I go with it. Unkerlant, or another place....

Friday, November 30, 2012

Battle thru the Boccage pt2 (Victory Decision)

New guy John brought over his fine collection of WW2 stuff for another round of Victory Decision. The Yanks would be battling their way through Normandy again against those pesky Huns. I sat this one out do to a nasty bug and just helped run it. Everyone got a squad and either a support weapon or a tank.
The aforementioned boccage acted (as it did in real life) as line of Sight blocker and heavy cover. This made maneuver important. Battle in VicDec is simple and deadly. Anyone out in teh open was dead or running away fairly quickly. Although the German Panzerschect team took a direct shot from a Sherman and miraculously survived (good rolls, Councilman).
This game really opened my eyes to use of Command units and their importance. Activating important teams and regrouping makes a huge differece. The Germans were able to take a quickly collapsing flank and through proper use of regroups and activations, rally and hold the line.
I really can't say enough good things about the ruleset. I HATED most WW2 rules. I sold most of my stuff. This may actually get me back. But, I'd have to do some obscure Front or army.
The Germans out in the open!

This commander seems to think everything is "Faaabulous!"

Airborne advance with the tanks.

I can't wait to try VicDec for Back of Beyond or RCW or near Future.
Next week: Some Victorian SciFi espionage!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

the Emissary arrives

While staying home trying to shake a nasty bug, I actually squeezed in some painting time. Meet the Emissary. In case you missed the GASLIGHT game I posted, "the Visitor", I'll mention the the storyline so far in our alternate history of the world.
I craft from another world has crashed in the middle of a nearly worldwide conflict being fought on 1880s Earth. This Visitor was first found by the German Empire. Since then he has been aiding the Germans with technological advances which has given them the upper hand in the conflict, much to the chagrin of the Nefarious Professor Nightshade, whom until then had been their main weapon supplier.
Little do the Germans and their allies know, but heir Visitor is actually an intergalactic space criminal and key player in a much wider galactic conflict. This Visitor did not crash, but was shot down by this little fellow (not little, he's about 38mm). He has now presented himself to the British Empire as the Emissary, and promised aid to battle the Visitor.
Be even the elated Brits don't know that a thousand year war has been fought between two factions and spanned most of the galaxy. Both sides have been drained of resources. Earth and all it's plentiful minerals and manpower are to play a part in a much larger drama.
New technology harnessing X-matter. The Destructo-Ray.

Monday, November 26, 2012

OK I'll play the Liebster game.

Both Scott from "Scott's Wargaming Blog" and Lead Addict nominated me for the Liebster blogging Award. Not sure where it originated from, but Thanks! and I'll play. The Liebster rules are 1) Link back to whoever gave it to you. 2) link to 5 other blogs with less than 200 followers that should be getting seen by more people. Number two puts alot of my favorite blogs out of the running.
Well, the first two are easy:
1- Scott's Wargaming Blog. Great painter with almost eclectic tastes as me. From LotR to Pirates and Victorian Gothic.
2- Lead Addict: Avid gamer, painter and bestest pal.
3- Cluck Amok: One of the first wargamers I ever played with. Helped get me back into playing. Great toys and all around good guy.
4- Jimbibbly: Have no words for how good this guys stuff is.
5- Take the High Ground: Great tips for terrain making. Always an inspiration.
Like I said before, there are so many great places out there. The web has turned our weird little hobby into a huge place to roam.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Boardgame night

Only 5 of us last night. The perfect number for all those boardgames out there we never get to play. First off: 1812: Invasion of Canada by Academy Games

© Academy Games
This is one of those periods I've read about, think is cool, but will probably never game. This was the next best thing. With five, each took command of a different army: British, Canadian Militia, US regulars, US Militia and me commanding the Indians allied with the Brits.
For those not familiar with the game, turn order is drawn randomly from a bag. When its your turn, you must play a move card from your hand of 3. If you move where there is an enemy, a fight happens using the special dice for each army. The dice sides have blanks, retreats and bull's eyes (hits). Militia have more retreats, regulars have more hits. Simple?
Th team with the most captured enemy cities by turn 7 or when one side has played its Treaty cards, wins.
The game started with a lot of combat, quickly became a stalemate, and then in turn 4 the US captured 4 Canadian towns and played their Treaties. Over. Bang! Just like that.
A lot of fun, and replay value. Also could work good for a campaign game for miniatures.
Next up: TransAmerica.
© Winning Moves
No not a game of trans-genders crossing the US. It was a simpler, but at the same time more compelling version of Ticket to Ride. Same kind of railroad building premise, but I think a sleeker game. Again, highly recommended.
We finished the night with an old favorite of mine: Condotierre.
© Euro Games

A game of bluff and risk to capture Renaissance era Italian Cities. I have the older (cooler) set with the weird shaped cards. Each player gets 10 cards. Most are mercenaries that have numerical value. There are also special cards that played in conjunction with the Mercenaries enhance the played cards. The player may place a card or pass. If you pass, you are out of the bidding for that turn. The player with the highest numerical value at the end wins the city.
The strategy comes in when you have to decide to live to fight another day, or keep going. No new cards are dealt until one player is the only one left with cards.
# games in 3 hours, and a lot of fun between. No game next Thursday. THANKSGIVING!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Basement-con 2 AAR: Friday

Compared to Thursday night, Friday's Basement-Con was fairly light. Only Lead Addict showed, which turned out to be cool because the blessing and the curse of the Basement Generals is there's a lot of us. Most Thursdays are, in fact, mini conventions. Its hard to find 6-8 player games we can do in 3 hours or less.
So, when I got a chance to do some games 1-on-1 I was excited.
We started with Black Powder: Pike and Shotte. I dug out my Italian Wars, work in progress troops. I had 4 cavalry and 6 foot units, split into two battalia a side. A relatively small fight by P&S standards, but the last battle we did, I used Hail Caesar, and wanted try these out small.
Pike and Shotte is closer rules-wise to Black Powder than Hail Caesar.
The battle opened with Cavalry charges on the flanks which quickly left us both horseless (I found out later my Gendarmes were tougher, but oh well).
When the pikes finally got to grips in the middle it was bloody and short.
The whole thing lasted about and hour.
Yes, the bases aren't finished...

The heavy horse charges forward

the push of pike
Despite the quick fight, I really liked how it played. We're going to have to be a bit more tactical and subtle. More historical tactics would have paid off better. We should have held the horse back for exploiting the infantry fight.
I was too liquored up to remember to take pictures....
With the evening still early, and the booze flowing, we tried out a game I've wanted to play for a long time: SAGA. I have a full 6 points of viking warband. Lead Addict was able to cobble together 4 points for the battle. My vikings became Saxons and using the intro scenario we began. Whomever kills the other guy's warlord first, wins.
Neither of us really had time to study the Battle Boards, which are the heart of the game. The actually battle mechanics are simple. It's the subtleties of the use of Fatigue, and Battle Board abilities that win the game.
Warlords are tough, but mortal. We found that out about turn 2. We ignored the Warlord's death and kept playing. It was all I hoped it would be. Multi-player would be hard. If we play on Thursday's it would mean setting up 2-3 battles simultaneously.
But over all, SAGA was everything I hoped it would be.
Next: Saturday.....

Monday, November 12, 2012

Basement-con -2 AAR: Thursday

Basementcon-con2, that mini convention in my basement is now over. I didn't take as many pics as I should have, but here they are.
Thursday: Gruntz 15mm SciFi
Lead Addict brought over his horde of 15mm Sci-Fi minis for a playtest with the group of Gruntz. I have read thru Gruntz a few times and marveled at how simple they looked. We had had a short playtest before that didn't go well. Lots of shooting and no results. We had to be doing something wrong. The Gruntz website has nice videos on game play, which helped.

Listening post Alpha 34

The Mercs

Merc mechs

Human leader
This was battle over a Hyperspace listening post. The opponents would be humans on one side vs alien mercenaries. The reviews I've read have Gruntz as small affairs. For this 8 players battle we changed the rules from single based 15mm figs to whole stands marking kills with a tiny d6.
After a brief explanation of the rules, (which turns out is very similar to a game I've never played, Warmachine) the fight unfolded quickly. You roll 2d6 adding your shooting trait trying to make or beat your opponent' armor rating. A successful hit means you roll 2d6 with your weapon's damage trying to match or beat your opponent's soak value. Easy.

Everyone picked up the rules by turn 2, but we found the missile rules devastating and changed on the fly. Vehicles and troops were dropping like flies. The mercs seemed to have the upper hand. Then the humans destroyed most of the merc's armor and things swung in favor of the humans. That when it ended. I think most found it fun. We might even try a moderns game with them.
The brews for the night's tasting. A Romanian pilsner Timisoreanna. Very smooth. Reminded me of Pilsner Urquell.

Then, the polar opposite. White Hatter by a New Holland. Wow this brew had a bite. Not a fan at all. It was hard to get anyone to taste it after they saw my face. Kinda like when the milk goes bad and you ask your wife, "hey, smell this?".
More AAR tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Basement Con 2

Yes, the convention in my basement returns this weekend! Well, not really a basement anymore. More of an actual game room, but still below the ground.
It all starts Thursday night with a second playtest of Gruntz, the sci-fi rules set. Lead Addict and I gave this a try awhile back, but figured we did something wrong. As the Basement Generals are very good at dissecting rulesets, let's see how it holds up
Friday night the Baroness departs for her gala tour of the countryside and I set up for either a GASLIGHT mega game or Boardgame depending on the crew that shows.
Saturday night, most likely the crew from Beyond the Wall departs once more for the unknown, or we head out into the irradiated Wastelands of the dark future.
Terrible food, good friends, a good cigar and plenty of booze. Pray for my liver, and I'll take lots of photos.

Friday, November 2, 2012

the Legion in Mexico-the Crossing

I slowly slog away at Fistful of Lead-Horse and Musket. I need a few playtests, not of the rules, but of the scenarios. Lat night's game was to try out the age old wargame favorite, "Take the Bridge". The hated Legion of that French Usurper Maximillian hold an important bridge. The brave Revolutionaries must take it for the advancing column behind them.
The odds were 4 to 3 in favor of the attackers. In hindsight 3-2 would be a better ratio, but we had 7 players, so there.
The Legion had an easy plan. Stay behind cover and pick off the insurgants. We knew this. We sent a few brave souls forward to make the Legion empty their muskets. It worked. There was a mad charge across the bridge and it looked like a quick game.
Then, we proceded to lose every melee combat. In FfoL hand to hand is very deadly but not always a given for the attacker.
Things look grim for the Legionnaires.

The bridge is taken

Forward men! There's only a guy with red pants to stop us!
At the end of hour two, it was "No mas". The Revolution was quelled for now. This was the first Legion victory since I painted them many moons ago. Due mostly to man named "Senor Pantalones Rojo". This Legion officer must have killed at least 5 guys single handedly.
To those patiently awaitng "Horse and Musket", soon my pets.......

Monday, October 29, 2012

Painting 28mm French...

...or "Now I remember why I don't paint Napoleonics".
The Holy Grail of all true Historical Wargamers is to do a Napoleonic Battle in 28mm. My pal Lead Addict has been hammering away at this project for awhile and has accomplished quite a bit. But, if we ever want to play in the near future, some of the Basement Gnerals have volunteered to help with the task. My simple part wast to paint 24 French infantry.
Now, I have painted a few of this era in my time, but never en masse. Now I remember why. There's a crap load of belts, lace, dangles, bangles and bits. It took me forever. Here's the results:
the "Lights"



your rank and file

The pom-poms, per Lead Addict's instructions were left unfinished. These boys are painted for the Peninsula, thus the "campaign" look of mismatched pants and shako covers. We are now one unit closer to playing.
No painting for awhile. I promised the Baroness a library a year ago. No, she's isn't bugging me to finish, I have no "Honey Do List", but it accomplishes two things:
1-Where the books are now take up much needed mini storage space. More space=more soldiers.
2- When Mommy's happy, everyone's happy.