16 August 2017

Star Dust Ground - Work in progress

I've continued work on the re-vamp of SD:G this week. I've been focusing on the QRS and unit cards and am pretty happy with the outcome. The cards are a bit more consistent and easier for players unfamiliar with SD:G to find the info they need and make sense of things.

The Quick Reference Sheet is a massive upgrade from the previous iterations. Sure, it's essentially the same information, but it is positively gorgeous compared to the previous "function over form" QRS. I've also made a page 2 which details infantry, vehicle and weapon special abilities. Page 2 isn't complete, but it'd pretty darn close. This SA sheet never existed in v1 - I took the idea from the many Spartan games I own except that I went the extra mile and jammed them all onto a single page.

 Ugly as home-made sin!

Dead sexy.

The version 2 rules re-write isn't done yet, but if you want to take a look at my work, it's shared here.

I'm hoping to run a full-sized battle this weekend. Ziggy's back on the left side of the Atlantic and he's a prime contributor.

13 August 2017

X-Wing Tournament Results

David, Mike and I all headed to Galactic Comics and Games in Statesboro on Saturday morning for an X-Wing tournament. There was a great turn-out, 22 players total. I didn't choose with squad to use until it came time to turn in my roster - and I handed in the Scum list.

My first game was against Nick, the tournament organizer.

His pair o' ships. A souped-up Poe Dameron and a souped-up Dash Rendar. This sort of pairing was extremely popular. I guess it's what s in vogue for competitive players these days. The things one learns playing at a tournament.

Nick was incredulous. He was obviously quite competitive and my rag-tag group completely dominated. I kept Poe ionized with the Moldy Crow, frustrating my opponent and preventing R2D2 from regenerating shields.

Setting up the coup de grace. I had just re-ionized Poe and the G-1 tractored Poe in front of that asteroid he's pointing at. The following turn, Poe drifted onto the asteroid and my group pummeled him into space dust. Dash Rendar ran and ran, but I eventually caught up with him and destroyed

My survivors. Wow - I had a terrific first game. Everything had clicked exactly as planned. I was truly surprised.

Game 2 was against a fellow named Max.
As you can see, a similar opponent - YT-2400 + a K-Wing this time. The K-Wing was (somewhat understandably) cheesed-out. Its bombs murdered me to death. Max was a really nice guy to play against and the match was a lot of fun.

Game 3... after lunch. Again, more Rebels, more 1 big 1 small combos.
The opponent this time wad Jared. a bit older - maybe my age, and a crochety  codger like myself. I had another terrible game. I was terrifically close to sinking that damned Millennium Falcon! The ARC-170 was rocking R2D2 so I felt shooting at it would be generally useless. Although it could have been a mop-up operation like what I did to Poe in game 1, the Falcon stayed close to his little buddy and they protected eachother. Really though, Rey was down to just one or two hull when I lost my last ship. These two pics pretty well sum things up at the end.



Finally - an opponent with a different list! My last opponent was Jim who was driving a Rebel group including an X-Wing, a T-70 X-Wing, an Auzi and a stolen TIE.

It was an enjoyable scrum, but in the end...

My Headhunter went out in a blaze of glory. C'est la vie. It was an entertaining game against a really interesting list.

I went 0-fer on maps featuring Death Stars. I joked with Mike after game 1 that "there's my one!" Prescient, no? I hate to blame dice, but I'm going to assign 70% of the blame for Saturday's disaster to my cursed dice. I finished DFL but did get a sweet consolation prize!
Hells yes. Didn't have one yet, so it's a welcome addition.

Mike also had a rough outing getting only one win. He finished 19th. His very old-school 2 E-Wing + 1 X-Wing had a real time keeping up with the new kit everyone was pushing.

And then we get to Super Dave. This stinker goes 3 and 1 and makes the top 8! His one loss was close and the game ended after 75 minutes. Although he lost in the first round of the playoffs, he had a brilliant day using the ONLY IMPERIAL group in the tournament.

Here he is in game 2 mauling two Firesprays (Boba Fett's ship) with his Decimator, Vader and a TIE. David destroyed the second ship 74 minutes and 58 seconds in. Time was called right after damage had been calculated. It was pretty awesome.

How does this happen?

Here he is smashing another Scum group.

These two slugged it out in the round of eight. The Deci eventually went down, but not without giving Dengar 68 minutes of fits.

I think this was Mike's winning game.

Mike's first match. That's a really tough first game pairing.

All in all, a terrific day of gaming. Records be damned, I got in four games against some great opponents and enjoyed it immensely.

10 August 2017

Something For The Weekend

So, the Space Cadets are getting together in Statesboro this Saturday for an X-Wing tournament. It's not our usual bag, but what the heck, right? I'm still on the fence with which force I'm going to use.The two in contention are a First Order TIE group with five ships and a Scum and Villainy list featuring what I like to refer to as "trash mobs."

The TIE list:

100 points

Omega Specialist (25) Special Forces TIE (25), Special Ops Training (0)
Valen Rudor (28) TIE Advanced Prototype (22), Expert Handling (2), XX-23 S-thread Tracers (1), TIE/v1 (1), Autothrusters (2)
Epsilon Squadron Pilot (15) x 2
“Epsilon Ace” (17)

The obvious benefits are having five ships, loads of maneuverability, and generally being a pain in the ass. Valen is a beast, as is the Special Forces TIE, which can fire backwards. IMHO, I regard this as a legitimately good list. Maybe not completely cheesed out like a 2-Defender list, but solid.

and the S&V list:

4 X 6
100 points

4-LOM (29) G-1A Starfighter (27), Lightning Reflexes (1), Collision Detector (0), Mist Hunter (0), Tractor beam (1)
Palob Godalhi (28) HWK-290 (20), Adaptability (0), Ion Cannon Turret (5), Moldy Crow (3)
Kad Solus (28) Protectorate Starfighter (25), Concord Dawn Protector (1), Autothrusters (2)
Kaa’to Leeachos (15) Z-95 Headhunter (15), Adaptability (0)
This group on the other hand is a lot more suspect. It's a blast to play with, but two ships with 1 Agility and being pretty reliant on sneakery, it's very risky. I did beat David's Decimator with it, but I have a hard time believing I could win more than one game with them. This lists best schtick is that all ships are pilot skill six, allowing me to move and fire with them in any order I choose - a very nice feature.

So the question I'm left with is, do I play for fun (the scum list) or try to be genuinely competitive (the Imperials)? It is a tournament and I hate to be a patsy for someone to just roll over. Hmmmm. Decisions decisions. I guess I have until 10am Saturday to make up my mind.

06 August 2017

Wrapping up a Good Week

I had a great week from a gaming perspective. Completed loads of painting, began a mechanical overhaul of Stardust: Ground and got in two quick playtest session of those changes!

First are those Aquan Prime walkers for Planetfall. I went with the camo legs. I think it came out looking pretty cool.

And then we've got the 15mm Space Marines I did up for SDG. I rather like the final result, although it looks like some of the Terminators could use a shave! I'll tidy them up soon enough😉

So... getting bitten by some bug that made me re-think how SDG played, I spent a lot of thought cycles re-considering game play. The only thing that ever bothered me about SDG was speed of play / turn length. The problem is endemic to alternate unit activation games - Dystopian Wars has a similar issue. With the new activation system (closely tied to morale), it also means fewer markers on the tabletop which I know some gamers strive for.

My first test of the new activation system was actually with 28mm sci fi models last Sunday during some solo playtesting.

After 45-60 minutes, it was apparent that the system was quite useable (although my skirmish system needs some tweaking). I wedged it into SDG during the week on paper and Saturday morning I completely re-designed my QRS, now version 2-compliant.

My nine-year-old, Cameron, agreed to help test. He's still a bit "flighty" for gaming so it was a weird parenting and gaming experience but in general, the game worked very well.

Sniper no sniping!  *blam blam*

As usual, the Khan's tanks are complete death machines.

I rather liked this die-rolling action shot. Cameron won the scenario.

We had dinner, then my bride and I played a second game. Same forces, same setup.

She thought the sniper looked cool up there.

It didn't take long for her to start killing my stuff - witness that one of the stands on the elevated highway is missing already, even with all of her crap still back in the deployment zone.  :/

My grav armor pummeled the enemy troops capturing one of the strategic points, but had a terrible time scoring kills.

A cool brawl under the highway. The Dawgs - who are quite nasty in close combat - kicked the Red Guards' asses. You can just see the sniper on the road above, still plugging away, kept alive by his stealth and cover.
So, two nice runs through involving infantry, special weapons and vehicles. Vehicle Close Combat is on the list of items to be addressed, then the dreaded rulebook re-write. Whaaaaa! I also need to re-visit the Robot and Bugs special rules and make required adjustments as they pertain to the new morale and activation system. Maybe next game the sweet Orange Marines will get a baptism of fire.

02 August 2017

More Space Marine Goodness

Major progress with the Salamanders in the last couple of days. The Terminators are done and the lot is based.

Step 1 - add bits of balsa to the bases so they aren't just flat slabs. I also spackled in the Battlefront "idiot holes."

Steps 2 and 3 - hose down the bases with some dark brown paint and superglue "Humanity's Finest" to their new homes. The Termies can be seen on the left with white(ish) helmets as befits their veteran status.

Step 4 - Apply Liquitex glop to the bases being very careful not to slop up the models.

The new glop takes a while to dry... my test wasn't solid to my satisfaction for 12 or more hours, so I'm going to let these idle for a while before hitting them with maybe some fine sand in places, then paint, flock, etc.

Oh, and after 25 years, I did it:

Instant Win! Too bad my pop wasn't there to see it - he really liked that game.

31 July 2017

15mm Space Marines - Progress!

The work on my Khurasan "Space Marines" is done. I had a rather productive Sunday evening of painting.

Next up is of course basing them. I'm going to try out Liquitex Modeling Paste to texture the bases instead of the usual wall-patch spackle on the advice of one of the Spearhead guys. There are also five "terminator armor" guys still queued up, but they'll be easy to churn through while basing the others.

30 July 2017

AAR - Rate of Fire with Soviets and Ze Germans

Mark and I got together for some Rate of Fire Saturday evening. It was kind of a last minute affair, so Rate of Fire was a natural, as was setting up Prelude from the Gross Deutschland at Kursk Skirmish Campaigns book. It's a small scenario that fits comfortably on a 3' x 4' space. We used the random game length option - the game would run for 8 + d4 turns but we wouldn't roll for the extra time until the end of turn 8.

Mark went for the Russians, leaving me to attack with the Germans. Our objective is to capture or destroy the building towards the upper right. The tan bit that I have so many troops in is a ravine, a few feet deep that works like a trench. Fairly safe to run around in unless some Untermenschen are at the edge with their submachineguns.

My plan was to run one squad, plus the platoon HQ up the ravine, take up firing positions across from the killing zone in front of the building. The other squad and flamethrower section would zip up the left flank, hidden by the woods, and get to work on the guys in the trees in the middle.

The Russian infantry squad in the woods. There was also a Maxim in the building and forward observer team by the house - running to the central wooded area in this picture. There is also an AT rifle team in the building.
March march march! Turn 2 and the ravine group begins its advance. They killed an unlucky slob at the far end of the ravine on turn 1 with some brilliant long-ranged machinegun fire.
My UAV flyover of the building.
Turn 3 - my boys get into firing positions. Although they'll be receiving a good bit of fire, the woods and creekbed should provide decent cover.
The machinegun in the building open fire at my assault team!
And four Fritzes are killed just that quickly! Nooooooo!
A turn later, the machineguns in the ravine are set up and dump a hail of bullets into the building.
And an equally deadly dice result finishes off the heavy machinegun team! It's already turn five and I'm still trying to figure out how to cross the gap "safely."
I catch a break as the FO team hits the retro thrusters and heads back to the building to help defend it now that the MG is gone. My machineguns take some opportunity shots at them as they bolt across, taking out two of the four.
My squad in the woods continues to take a beating - now down to just five guys. Their morale has held steady though.
Turn 7 - I prepared to assault my way into the woods but Mark, seeing my guys leave the comfort of the creekbed (and the machineguns going off-line) made a run-for-it with his infantry squad back to the building. The "assault" produced the desired effect anyway!
Turn 8. Two machineguns are set up for action in the ravine while the command team and other infantry squad do their best to advance and pour shots into the building.
I rolled to see how many more turns I'd get - 2. I had to hurry now.
I pushed the guys forward, knowing the Soviets couldn't produce enough firepower to kill them all.
By turn 10, the machineguns I had held back had really done a number on the Ruskies in the outpost. Only one remained; my command squad assaulted their way into the building and after a short fight, captured the charnel house.

A nicely fought battle with a few surprises along the way. Because the game was pretty quick, we set it up for a second go, swapping sides this time!
Mark's setup. Command squad in the ravine, infantry squad on the hill and the other squad and the flamethrowers running up behind the trees.
I didn't take a picture of my deployment, but the Maxim was at the end of the ravine, the AT rifle team was in the central wooded area, the FO team in the building and the infantry squad in the woods behind the building, towards the center.
A lucky early shot. Incredibly, the Maxim had no luck against the sitting ducks down the creek.
It took very little time for the godforsaken flamethrowers to get to me. The machinegun op-fired at them but of course whiffed.
Predicable results. The AT rifle group exchanged fire with other German troops nearby.
The Germans lined up for the assault which they won handily, although my brave boys took out a couple in the process!
While that was going on, I had pulled most of my infantry squad into the building, seeing as though it is the objective location and all. The clock was running out on the German plan. The flamethrower group is at the front while the accompanying command squad disastrously broke off and retreated after taking considerable gunfire from my troops.
This left the flamethrower team in the unenviable position as the only troops close enough to attempt the wipe out / capture. They charged in.
Two were gunned down. The lone flamethrower, rolling five attacks, hitting and killing on 4+, completely whiffed and produced NO kills. The game ended after turn 9. A tense affair at the end for me.

That second game was an avalanche of misfortune in the final couple of turns for Mark. Only getting one extra turn, a miserable failed morale causing the command team to retreat just when they were needed most, terrible attack rolls with the flamethrower... I got lucky for sure.

That was two quite entertaining games and it was very cool to play both sides of the same scenario back-to-back. I don't know if I've ever done that. RoF was a solid cheap investment for WW2 skirmish rules and I'm very happy with it. It always makes for a good game.