26 January 2016

Recently Painted - Firestorm Armada Ships

I finally finished up a handful of Firestorm Armada ships a couple days ago. They've been "in progress" since Christmas. They're for a new fleet I'm slowly working on - Relthoza - a "bad guy" alien race of giant arachnids. They have a very peculiar aesthetic and a VERY different play-style from my other FSA fleet of Alliance of Kurak ships. My first group of Space-Spiders: eight frigates!

So that's four Widow-class frigates (vertical) and four Nidus-class (horizontal). The Nidus carry fighters that they pool together and become a collective carrier. I know the small ships are a weird place to start with a new fleet, but there I wanted to work out colors and have found that you really can't have enough smalls in FSA - it was as good a place as any to begin.

21 January 2016

Recently Painted - Frostgrave Orks!

So, rooting through my very old figures a few weeks ago I come upon some fantasy-style orks in need of some attention. There was a good enough assortment to make a Frostgrave warband (sans Wizard) so that what they've become. My first completed models of 2016:

The lot

Some ridiculously awesome goblins. The poses and sculpts are top-notch. Cannot remember the manufacturer.

Classic plastic GW ork archers.

A handful of orc melee guys. No fancy armor, just clubs, maces and anger!

I said "no" to the traditional green for orks - it is way overdone and orks look good in other colors too. I need to dredge up a wizard and apprentice for this crew so they can have a crack at Frostgrave.

18 January 2016

Dystopian Wars AAR - Prussians and Royal Australians

Saturday evening Zig and I put Dystopian Wars back on the tabletop. We went back to the sea and played with some (for us) rarely used fleets. I used Prussians and Zig whipped out the Aussies. We went to 1200 points which gave us both enough points to include enough fun gizmos.

My list:
1 Emperor BB + Shield Generator
1 Imperium Sky Fort (5 ftr, 1 recon)
3 Hussar gunship
3 Reiver cruiser
3 Arminus frigate
3 Stolz destroyer
2 Pflicht scout zeps
2 Speerwurf annoyers
2 x 5 fighters

Zig's Royal Aussies:
2 Cerberus BB
2 x 2 Monitors
2 Sub Tenders + 8 mini subs
4 frigates
3 Kestrel scout fliers
2 x 5 fighters

My orders were to destroy 70% of the enemy fleet. Zig had to destroy 50% of mine, including all smalls (an easy order to be sure).

Plenty of scenery to hide behind on the left, not as much on the right. Zig bottled up most of his stuff in the corner, with the sub tenders and mini subs to my left. I kept the frigates and small fliers off as flankers (to my right) and Zig had the Kestrels and two monitors off as flankers.

Early on, I tried out something new (for me). Both Pflichts spotted one of the sub tenders and the Hussars blasted away with indirect fire from their primaries. Much to my surprise, I smashed the thing with a crit, starting a fire! Normally, I don't use fleets with much in the way of "primary" class guns so I very rarely use indirect fire in DW. 

Take that, most recently painted model!

No points scored for either side in turn 1. On to 2!

One of the battleships rips into a Reiver, causing three fires.

The Speerwurfs arrive from their flank move, spear the commodore's battleship and dart back up into the clouds!

The frigates zip in and zap the battleship with their Tesla weapons, but don't do much damage. The monitors get some kind of excited about the new targets.

And boom goes the dynamite. A Tesla generator accounts for the crew of another frigate.

The Prussian light cruisers lace into the damaged Australian battleship. The Reivers are glass cannons of the highest order.

My destroyers add more misery to the painted sub tender and it sank shortly.

The Kestrels swoop in from the flank and smack one of my Pflichts. Classic double-crit including a mag-explosion. One shot, one kill. B T Dubs, if you play Brits or Aussies in DW, you really should use Ospreys/Kestrels in every game. They are ridiculously good.

So, turn 2 was done and things are really getting nasty. The score was AUS 110, PE 115.

My early moves of turn 3 including pulling SAS back to the carrier and re-tasking them as bombers. The carrier embarrasses itself with its shooting.

Australian frigates prove their worth, sinking the damaged cruiser.

The the second battleship double-crits another cruiser. Gah!

Things look up on the other side of the table as the destroyers crit one of the monitors, but the situation takes a crap when I try to board the other monitor. My APs are wiped out!

The Kestrels bomb my destroyers, killing one and shoot at my Pflicht with hold out a lot better than its deceased squad-mate.

Terror on the high seas! The Crocs assault my battleship and are repulsed. My battleship is left with a mere two APs though. Not exactly safe in these waters... The battleship would return fire with CC and other weapons shortly thereafter, killing two of the Crocs. Hey, points is points...

The Aussies snuck into the lead, 290 to 210 during turn 3. The sub-tenders (easy targets) were gone but I was having trouble everywhere else.

The Emperor continues its drive to prop up my right side and sinks the Australian commodore's vessel. Z played a "Prepare my Personal Transport" card, moving his commodore to the other battleship but handing me 60 extra points. The monitors go bananas, killing a Speerwurf with AA and double-critting my battleship with their massive front cannons. Lesson sort-of learned. Their side guns also finished off the last of my frigates.

Not pictured are my carrier killing one frigate while dive bombers kill another.

My Prussians had a great turn, snatching the lead - 575 to 420. On to turn five!

The Imperium lights up the enemy battleship with its lightning gun and fries the defenses of one of the frigates with its Tesla generator.

Dive bombers descend on the big Aussie and thump it hard.

The gunships, Pflicht and Kestrels continue to antagonize each other. Two Kestrels are gone, one Hussar hangs on by a thread. The monitors finally kill off the last of my destroyers. They actually rammed two of them to death, saving Her Majesty's ammunition.

No picture of the start of turn 6, but the score going in was Prussians 650 (killed a Kestrel) and Royal Australians 460 (killed a Stolz). Zig had killed all of my smalls but still needed to hit 50% (600 points). I was on a tough uphill climb to 840 points. Ugh.

Ziggy started out with a damn four-run homer as the monitors slid up to by battleship and captured it easily with their 12 boarding parties. Four-hundred points + strategic value, just like that. Crap.

I responded by using the Tesla generator and a Stoke the Engines! card to move my carrier 11 inches towards the Cerberus in an effort to capture it, trying to even out the score. I fouled up the assault, leaving two alive. I pressed the attack with a No Quarter card but only managed ONE lousy kill! A quick sabotage later caused a Sturginium Flare, enough to kill the battleship but denying me the 160-point capture bonus. Oh well.

 There was a bit of back and forth between the remaining fliers as the Kestrel tried to board my Pflicht, only to have its boarders wiped out. My Pflicht captured the Kestrel in turn for a nice 150 points, but the monitors quickly took it back. Game over.

Final scores.... Royal Australians 1175, Prussian Empire 892. A brutal minor victory for the Australians.

What a crazy game. We played for about 4.5 hours. SIX turns. It was an absolute classic. Back and forth lead changes, loads of double-crits, ridiculous dice rolls, lots of TAC cards played... I want to say that the Australians are plumb nasty. I really hate those monitors. I also think their battleships need to have Strategic Value on them. Even though the mini subs' assault failed, they paved the way for my battleship's capture later in the game because I wasn't paying attention.

What went wrong? For starters I didn't concentrate my fire enough to KILL things. I damaged a lot, but spent a lot of energy not killing Kestrels and monitors quickly enough. In six turns I killed NO monitors. They, in turn wiped my destoyers, killed a gunship, three frigates, two Speerwurfs and a Pflicht and captured my &*$^^*& battleship. Those seven models ran me ragged. I think perhaps my fleet was too spread out and I couldn't focus killing blows where they were required. Next time I won't forget the Schwerpunkt!

Great game Zig!


Posts have been rather scarce here lately. The last few weeks have been pretty intense at work and I've got three more weeks of four-alarm craziness ahead.Apart from getting a promotion to department manager, I inherited all of the office-move coordination responsibilities the previous IT Manager volunteered for. Next weekend is go-time for move #1. The following two weekends will be other (different) office moves.

I have gotten in gaming in the meantime, and painting too! We played out monthly SFB game last week Sunday (the tenth) and I got in a game of Dystopian Wars with Zig Saturday evening that was an instant classic 6-turn, 4+ hour epic. I'll post AARs eventually.

I slapped that Gnomecon banner up there last week, but it seems that the Gnomecon leadership and coordination is in disarray. I signed up to host StarDust Ground, but haven't yet heard anything back. Not sure what's going to happen with Gnomecon... I'm disappointed. Well, if nothing else, me and the fam will head down and goof on board games for a couple days.

Be well!

04 January 2016

RP and X-Wing Capture the Flag Edition

I finished my first three minis of the year yesterday. Woohoo! Three re-paints for Frostgrave.

So there's a Creepy Freaks Crusty the Snotman, 10-15 year-old Reaper skele and another old Reaper (maybe?) Tiki construct. The Green Ooze will make an interesting and weird demon. The Tiki guy is just an awesome sculpt and worth rolling up an animator wizard just to include the in the warband.

Beyond that, David, Junior and I played X-Wing Sunday afternoon. Junior mentioned playing it as a Capture The Flag game. We're big fans of CTF in video games so we established a few ground rules and gave it a go.

We played with 150-point groups and banned large-base ships. David and I teamed up and used Rebels; Junior as usual played Imperials.

The action is under way! The flags are sitting atop coins on each team's deployment zone. The bases are one base-width off the table edge.

David and I agreed to let my E-Wing be the flag-carrier since it had better speed, agility and could heal shields with R2D2. Christian's Phantom takes aim at our flag. Blasted cloaked ships!

The E-Wing and Phantom race back to their bases!

A fuzzy picture, but fun either way - the Phantom has four bogeys IN HOT PUR-SUIT! My poor Y-Wing stayed stressed for three or four straight moves just trying to keep up with the blasted TIE.

Ding Ding! Winner winner chicken dinner! A nifty Barrel-Roll is all it takes to cap. 

Just for grins we played another turn to see if Junior could make it to base - he did, surviving an absolute storm of blaster fire.

CTF X-Wing will stay in the rotation. It's a great change of pace from the usual line up and shoot. It forces different thinking and tactics. I've always enjoyed X-Wing but a simple scenario change was really great.

03 January 2016

Probing the Defenses - Sabre Squadron AAR

Happy New Year, readers! Ziggy and I put together a game of Sabre Squadron on Saturday evening. I've been sad that my 6mm moderns sat idle in their storage except for just a few hours during 2015 so I thought they should get same play.

I put together a basic Hasty Attack scenario, a follow-on to our last mid-1980's WW3 clash on the Baltic coast. The Marines have maintained their beach head and the Soviets are probing the lines, looking for gaps and trying to reduce the defenders.

The Soviets would have three tank platoons and a BMP platoon. The USMC had four infantry platoons with attached TOW HMMWVs and a platoon of M60's. The Soviets may be a little ill-equipped for the task ahead, but this was a learning game.

A fuzzy picture of the layout. Lots of woods, but more would have been nice. My Soviets are advancing in from the table edge. Two of the USMC platoons begin deployed on the table. The other three platoons are deployed after my first bound since they're hidden in defensive positions.

My forces enter the battlefield. The T-62s moved at Transit speed, trying to get in behind the clumps of cover ahead of them.

The M60s waste no time and in a matter of moments, three of the T-62s are brewed up.

One of the T-72s hangs back and takes a pot-shot at one of the American tanks but misses the mark. The T-62s in the center drive into the woods.

The rest of the T-72s and BMPs more forward and right. The lead T-72 smashes a TOW vehicle which had fired earlier but missed. The T-72s trail smoke behind them, covering the BMPs from cross-table M60 fire.

My lead T-72 is knocked out by another TOW launcher. Grrr.

And casualties continue to mount for the Soviets as another TOW vehicle reveals itself, killing a T-62 and a Patton fires back at the "goalie" T-72 I'd left behind.

My last tank in the middle flees.

Another T-62 is taken out by a TOW. I had pulled that platoon out from behind the woods to get some shots at the Americans. I thought they were pretty safe with their positioning. I completely missed the missile vehicle in the back that claimed this tank.

FINALLY something positive. A T-72 takes out an M60.

And a BMP knocks out another Hummvee. The USMC platoon in the back begins to relocate. Their side of the battlefield has been resolved for all intents and purposes.

Needing to make some progress, I push the mechanized infantry forward and assault the Marine positions. Miraculously, I only lost one stand of infantry during the initial assault. I could havce done for better prep-fire on the American positions but I didn't have the time or resources for that at this point of the game.

A turn on and I renew the assault with the other two BMPs and better prep-fire. 

I kill a stand and didn't lose one in the process! Shocking.

But back on the other side, the Marine tankers had finally caught up with my T-62s which had been skulking. I had very purposefully been leaving those tanks there to draw Ziggy's tanks away from the assault on the far side. The plan worked rather well, all things considered.

The filthy American tanks got into good positions to finish off the T-62s and T-72s in one quick round of shooting and that was it for my company. Game over, Marines win.

I know it looks like a really one-sided beat-down, but it still a fun evening of toy-soldiers. As I said, we're learning the system and although I could have used twice as many units or a lot more cover, the game served its purpose. With the weapons we were using, hits instantly translated into kills. Only infantry had any sort of resilience to fire. Next time we'll be sure to clutter up the table more and we'll work in artillery and either helos or fixed-wing aircraft.

The system piqued Zig's interest and although Modern Spearhead is a top-shelf system, Sabre Squadron is easier to set up for and follows a more traditional game play system. I think this will be a good rule-set to bring out for a group game.