26 February 2017

StarDust Ground - Minor Update

As a result of last evening's game, I've made a couple of tweaks to StarDust Ground. I am not completely re-publishing the rules, but if you've already paid for  a copy, email me at stardustgame (at) outlook.com and I'll send an updated "rules only" PDF and QRS.

AAR - StarDust Ground Scenario Test

Zig and I got together Saturday evening for a game of StarDust Ground, my 15mm Sci Fi game. The scenario was a playtest for what I'll be running at Gnomecon next Saturday night.

It's a fairly typical meeting encounter with both sides getting only half of their units to start the game and the rest coming in as reinforcements. Ziggy drew the Dawgs and I was happy to use the Robot army.

There are two objectives and either side can win by taking control of both, or by reducing the enemy to being combat ineffective. As opposed to earlier games, this one is set in a thick jungle with restricted lines of sight.

My starting forces early into turn 2. I put that missile launcher up on the hill to the left to get good coverage over most of the battlefield.

First shot of the game - a 'bot heavy blaster scratches the paint on a Dawg Bruiser heavy tank.

And then things that slipping out from under my feet as a Bruiser rolls up into the compound and takes out one of by BigBots.

Followed shortly by the arrival of the Seer attack VTOL's arrival. Luckily for me, the humid jungle air seemed to be wreaking havoc on the missiles' targeting systems because the flier never landed a single hit!

 Turn 5 and my beleaguered bots finally get some reserves. You can see a squad of Warbots by the river.
The were followed quickly by two large tanks, gliding down the river and disgorging two swarms of small hover bots.

The battle is into turn 6 now. The Red Claws who came in as reserves (circled in red) assaulted and wiped out a squad of shut down Warbots. The Dawgs' Predator walkers had shot those Warbots up pretty badly just prior. I've got some Hovers moving into the woods just past the bridge. My tanks' shots at the Bruisers in the compound missed badly.

The Predators unleash a hail of cannon fire at my remaining BigBot, felling it. My anti-armor capabilities are rapidly diminishing.

That Red Claw squad assaults my Rocket Launcher squad and easily takes them out.

I move my quick hover tanks up next to the Bruisers (I had forced one to flee) but the armor of the heavy tanks again proves to be up to the challenge and I still am unable to cause significant damage!

The Preds make a jump-pack move, pouncing on one of my tanks and they tear it to bits. 😕

 My bots get involved with what they do worst! Ziggy's premier close combat squad assaulted a garbage squad of Hoverbots and rolls badly - my stupid bots win the combat! Sensing some sort of opportunity, I dump every robot within a hundred feet into the melee and eventually wipe them out! This was a classic "peasants versus samurai" situation where the weight of numbers eventually won out over quality.

Small victories.

While that was going on, the Predators were working on my other hover tank. My insane RepairBot, which had been doing a great job all game of keeping me in the game, assaulted one of the Predators and although it didn't destroy the filthy thing, it still won the combat at loaded it up with pin markers!

At the end of nine turns, I conceded. I had nothing left in the tank and Ziggy's forces still had a few cans of ass-whup left for me.

In retrospect, I need to smash my dice and buy new ones. My big walkers and the heavy tanks have equivalent guns and front armor. I repeatedly penetrated the front armor only to do minor "pin marker" damage rather than HOT EXPLODING DEATH. Ziggy on the other hand had a hell of a time connecting with shots, but when he did, the results were dramatic. Between taking out one of my heavy walkers early and Zig getting reinforcements right off the bat, I was on the back foot and it really seemed like an uphill challenge all game.

We agreed that the 'Bots should start with three BigBots instead of two and may add a sniper to the 'Bots force list as well.

Looking forward to the next running Saturday night at Gnomecon!

23 February 2017

New Stuff

If you know me at all, you know I don't espouse very many "glossy corporate" games with the notable exception of X-Wing. You could also lump Dystopian Wars in with that I suppose. So the other evening while perusing the clearance section of one of my favorite online stores I came across this for a mere $28.
It was in production for about a minute a year or so ago. I figured that the minis alone made it a "reasonably sane" purchase - there was certainly no intention of actually using the rules in the box.

And then my nine-year-old saw it. He was rather impressed and began asking questions. WOO HOO! After a quick trip through the rules, it looks easy enough for him to wrap his head around and I can't wait to give it a try with him. All of you gamer dads out there know exactly what I'm talking about. We've played some other games from time to time over the years but it's always been a one-off sort of thing. Maybe this one will stick or kindle some stronger interest.

And if it doesn't, the minis are very worth it - 10 endoskeletons and 17 resistance fighters.

19 February 2017

The Landing Pad

I was perilously close to buying a 15mm VTOL landing platform this morning when I talked my self out of the purchase and into making one myself. It may not be quite as fancy, but it'll work just fine.

Step 1 - the assembly. 4" X 4" balsa with a textured plastic sheet glued on. 1/4" balsa to lift it off the ground a bit.

Step 2 involved spraying it black.I found a cup with a nearly 4-inch diameter which conveniently helped me stamp a yellow circle on the platform. Oh, I also slapped together a ramp from some leftover scraps.

Step 3 - I did a light drybrush of some metallic shade and a heavy wash of dirty brown that doesn't show up well under flash photography. I also added some algae / fungus growing on the corner - suitable for it's jungle home. The Critical Mass Games VTOL looks perfect on it. I'm quite happy with the result.

13 February 2017

Recently Painted!

I was a good boy and painted the top three items on the lead/plastic pile last week. Yes, literally the three most recently purchased were the most recently painted. It's more of a stack than a queue.

First up, the Mini for Rubber and Lead.

Colors influenced by "Greased Lightning" from the movie Grease. I needed a "white" car. I like it lots. I've got one more car in the stack.

Next up are is a pair of T-34/76 tanks courtesy of Pegasus Hobbies. They're 1/72 and come two to a box, on the cheap.

They came out very pretty. Hope to get in a game with them after Gnomecon.

Last up are some 15mm Undead reinforcements for Dragon Rampant. OK, I just wanted to paint something different for a change.

Dead goblins riding dead wolves. Woot! A perfect light cavalry unit.

And as he's been dubbed, the Skelephant. David and I are thinking about getting in a game or two at Gnomecon and the horde needed some options. I despise using the same army list more than once.

12 February 2017

Rapier Con 2017

I had a great time at Rapier game con in Jacksonville Saturday. I only played two games, but both were a blast and I'm glad to have gone.

First up was Check Your 6: Jet Age, hosted by Mike Dubose. We played the "Gunfighter" Vietnam scenario out of the MRB. I drew a couple of NVA MiG-17s. My teammate also had a pair of 17s and a flight of 21s. Mike got the F-8s and his teammate drove the A-4s which were on a SAM suppression mission.

The setup. My Migs mead-on with the Crusaders and the Skyhawks very low. I liked the clear lego-peg stands, but they were a bit fiddly as things progressed.

We gave Mike the ol' Cincinnati-switch and left his Crusaders up in the clouds while taking advantage of the slow Skyhawks' predictable paths. One of the A-4s was down in short order, but there's photo of the drama.

Mike fires a Sidewinder at one of my planes. The nearby explosion hits my plane but the damage is superficial.

A good look at our firing opportunities for the turn. We managed to damage two of the Skyhawks.

A turn later and my rookie pilot takes another shot. A snake-eyes of sorts results in his plane being out of ammo. Nuts!

The MiG-21s fire a pair of Atolls and the Skyhwak trailing smoke is downed.

No pictures of our two Fishbeds getting shot down my Mike. My teammate's remaining 17 ran out of ammo and headed for home. My remaining plane chased and shot down another Skyhawk but was in turn taken out by a Sidewinder from the pursuing F-8s. Blast.

It was a very enjoyable game even though we got our butts kicked.

After lunch, I set up my game of Star Fleet Battles. The scenario was that a Tholian carrier is refueling when it is attacked by a Klingon PF tender. James and I ended up with the Tholians. I took the escort and fighters while James drove the tanker and the carrier. Mike Baker drove the PF Tender and new guy Mike drove the PF flotilla since he was new to the game and PFs have rather simple energy systems.

The carrier and tanker in the center while my escort heads over to meet the Klingons. The Tholians have two rows of web up forming walls astride the currently helpless carrier and tanker.

My disruptor fighters and escort put some pain on PF #3 early on. The PFs wise up and pull back a bit. My escort skulks away for a few moments.

My disruptor fighters continue their harassment of the PFs on turn 2, damaging another. The PFs had their way with the other fighters, using their ADDs to deadly effect. The Klingons eventually finished off the Spider-IIs but they served us very well.

A room chock-full of old men.

My escort grabbed one of the PFs (the phaser one) with a tractor to shut it down temporarily and break up the squadron. The carrier and tanker are making a run for it.

At the start of turn 3, we Tholians very generously allowed the Klingons a reinforcement in the form of an E4 escort. At this point, we'd really given them the business and the battle wasn't going to be terribly competitive.

The PFT and escort concentrated their fire on the Atom Heart Mother, knocking down the #2 and #3 shields and causing considerable damage, but critically, the E4's overloaded disruptor shots missed. The carrier still had enough power to get away!

The Black Widow-class carrier Atom Heart Mother, a few hexes from escaping on turn 4. I spun my escort back around into the Klingons to give them pause and buy my carrier some breathing room. The tanker is heading off the other way, tractoring a drone targeted on the carrier.

A good win for the Tholians. I think the Klingons could have coordinated attacks by the PFs and PFT a bit more closely. With a half-flotilla, the light PFT can be used as another strong source of firepower, especially against short-ranged stumps like the Tholians they were pitted against. I wasted my fighters, but was very happy with the performance of the disruptor fighters - those things are fun!

Rapier Saturday was a fun time and I'm looking forward to Gnomecon in a few weeks. Be well!