31 May 2017

2017 Memorial Day Bash - Part 2

After we tidied up the table, it was off to the depths of space for some StarDust! Coming up with a 5/6 player scenario wasn't easy but I think the concept I put together was good. We randomly determined who would use what, with the exception of Jason who we put on the Mechan team since it was likely that he'd have to leave early. My son joined us for this game since we needed an extra player.

The set up... a cargo ship containing some fabulous Unobtanium wrecked in this sector. A Mechan force (the scourge of all of the living races in the quadrant) moved in to collect the loot. A combined force of Solar, Elip, Khan and Pirates assembled to opposed the mechanical monsters. Not only was there a battle to be had but Unobtanium ore to collect!

The forces deployed. I apologize for the many fizzy pics. My camera hates the black background of the mat and gets weird. The yellow circles indicate objective locations.

Mark, Zig and a very rare appearance of me!

Nothing special, but the picture is clear! My two Cutters get behind some asteroids while Mike enjoys the Shield Tender employed by the Mechan Pawns.

Early on my Cutters abuse a Knight, hitting it with loads of ECM and fouling its engines with an Intertial Dampener.

While Christian and I had moved up to engage quickly, our lollygagging teammates, the Solar and Khan flotillas, are content to cruise slowly looking for objective markers.

Junior and Zig show some concern over the rapid engagement of Jason's forces.

The Watermelon Express gets pulverized! She's down to two Hull Points!

Yeah, see, the wide-angle shot reveals the "Oh Shit" moment of FOUR Knights and a squadron of fighters heading my way.

Junior's Interceptors on the left flank the crap out of the Mechan forces and pound the nearest Pawn (the small ship that's the endpoint of the red shield wall). Meanwhile, Jason's Bishops and Rooks surround the Elip heavy cruiser. Amusingly, the Mechan fire is terrible and the big Elip ship suffers nary a scratch!

A turn later, Jason had left and Mike was commanding the whole robot fleet. He pulled away from my side to concentrate his forces and to work on crushing Christian's ships which were causing complete havoc.

The Freedom finally goes down, but it takes out a Knight at the same time. The Knight that I had whittled down to one lousy Hull Point!

Junior gets some more revenge killing one of the hated Pawns with his Interceptor group. No more Shield Wall!

The Mechans converge on the Hornet-class Interceptors.

But Junior shows some real tactical acumen - his group flees - two of the ships move at full speed which prevents them from firing weapons. The heavily damaged one hangs back a tad and reverses its course to take a parting shot before it is destroyed. The allied fleet coalesces and is taking long-ranged shots at the Mechans. I've also been spreading the ECM love around, frustrating the hell out of Mike. Between my six ships I had six ECM, two Enhanced Sensors and the four Stealth on the Corvettes. I had also managed to pick up two objectives while waiting for Ziggy and Mark to get it in gear.

Christian II continues his domination of the robot forces killing off another Pawn.

Mike gets hosed. Ziggy and I shut down the King (battleship) with three ECM tokens. It now has a -3 to hit on all attacks! A Rook gets obliterated in short order by massed firepower from the combined fleet. Mike does manage to finish off the Watermelon Express with an attack by fighters from the Queen. Oh the tragedy!

At that point, we'd gotten to the scenario's endpoint - five Mechan ships destroyed. We tallied up the score and found out how much our objective markers were worth.

Christian Jr was the big winner on the Alliance side - FOUR kills and a ten-point objective. Yup, he managed four kills with just five ships. Ziggy managed two kills and a 15-point objective. Mark and I scored only objectives - no kills, but I did rather well with 45 total points. Mike/Jason got 79 points, easily enough for an individual win, but the Allies won the scenario.

Everyone had a really good time with the game. Jason and Mark were brand new to it and Mike and Jr hadn't played in two+ years. Although the scenario may not have been perfectly balanced, I stand by it. The Allies aren't able to get assembled right away, giving the Mechan side some time to overwhelm a nearby victim. The Mechan shps are MUCH strong than most of their opponents and although heavily outnumbered, they are not outmatched.

I really enjoyed playing the Pirates for the first time, Their ability to throw so much EW around was a lot of fun and a real game-changer. Although their ships are weaker, with a bit of cunning they are every bit as dangerous.

30 May 2017

2017 Memorial Day Bash - Part 1

Sunday May 30th I hosted the third annual Memorial Day Bash at my house. This year's games were Modern Spearhead, StarDust and the late addition of Epic X-Wing.

We kicked this off with MSH - a little 1973 Arab-Israeli War action. The scenario was a slightly expanded Hunting the Hunters from the MRB. The Egyptians gained one T-62 battalion and the Israelis padded out their second battalion to full strength + the three TOW stands. Both forces also got air support because, let's face it, everyone loves watching planes bombs tanks.

Our players! Ziggy and Mark took the Israelis while the Waycross contingent of Mike and Jason led the Egyptians.
Ziggy was the only player with MSH experience, and it'd been a looooong time since he and I had played. I GM'ed and was designated fighter/bomber pilot for both sides.
The Israelis, somewhat predictably, spread their forces evenly to cover the table. The sneaky Arabs however pile two battalions in far to the east with their other two in reserve.
This was the fighting debut of my Pico Armor forces!
Mark's battalion takes up defensive positions on the hill on the east. The Arabs pull up about a thousand yards away. The two sides have spotted one another.
The first of the reserve battalions arrives, again hugging the eastern edge. There is a lot of face-palming in the Israeli planning room.
An A-4 steaks in and in no time thrashes two platoons of T-62s! In the distance you can see the Egyptian mortar has gotten to work planting smoke in front of a platoon of M48s.
Zig's central battalion turns to face the threat and picks off a couple stragglers. The Israelis are holding tough so far!
A turn later and things go sideways for the Israelis! The Arabs have plotted a two-turn pause in their advance to take some stationary shots at what they'd presumed would be a held position. Boy did they guess right. All of those green tokens are "stationary" markers. Both sides' aircraft show up. The Super Mystere takes out another T-62 platoon but the Su-7 from hell takes out an M48 stand AND the Israeli AGC! That's going to leave a mark. Good shooting from the Egyptian tanks takes out another two M48 stands (even being Hull Down, the volume of fire was withering).
A successful change order gets Zig's battalion moving to provide some badly needed help!
Evil Mike brings in the last Egyptian battalion, much further west. Ziggy now is given the "Sophie's Choice" between helping Mark's beleaguered battalion or smashing this new threat.
The Egyptian's two-turn pause ends and they hit the gas pedal hard! Exploit the gap! Imshi! Zig's battalion pauses and platoons turn to face spotted enemy stands.
The battalion on the west flank gets pasted by the M48s in the center, losing three platoons. Mark's last fighting platoon on the hill takes out the sixth stand of the centermost Egyptian battalion. The stand that was killed was the battalion commander! Their morale failed and of course, this was the result....
Mark's BC calls in the last airstrikes of the day. The conveniently positioned ZSU-23-4 battery runs off the Super Mystere and distracts the A-4 pilot enough to make his attacks miss.
Ziggy a l m o s t finishes the job against the western tank battalion. One stand escapes with its life and passes a morale test! Akmed and friends continue north - ON TO JERUSALEM!
Mark gazes despondently at the waves of Arab armor roaring north. His battalion is in ruins on the hill.

Pharaoh Jason gives this battle a thumbs up! This of course is what winning looks like.

It's been way too long since MSH was played in my house. Even as a GM, that was damn entertaining. Mike and Jason were very quick studies. Plotting a halt in front of what they assumed would be a defended hill worked out unbelievably well as did the tried and true tactic of putting everything on one flank and overwhelming it. They also latched onto the reserve battalions right away and exploited their usefulness to the fullest.

Zig and Mark did well, but a couple of crushing shooting phases took all the starch out of Mark's battalion and Z's was just enough out of position to offer substantial help.

A fine game and a welcome return to Modern Spearhead.

Next up... StarDust 'til you puke!

29 May 2017

Recently Painted - Firestorm Planetfall

A few weeks ago I saw a copy of Spartan's sci-fi ground combat game Firestorm Planetfall on the cheap on FRP Games. Normally over $100, it was on clearance for $35. A quick text to Zig and we went in halfsies! Under $40 including shipping. Steal of the year! Zig got dibs on the Directorate forces so I got the Aquans. It wasn't long before I was working out a color scheme. Z and I decided we'd base our Planetfall with a winter theme to keep it a bit different from our usual stuff.

The Aquan Prime forces are ichthian - fish-like. All of the cannon pictures have them in a blue and green tones. Screw that noise! These hover tanks just scream high-tech and deserved an attention-getting coat of paint. With that, I present you with the first part of the Core Helix of the Orange Roughy Tide.

 The armored elements

Imzani Light Tan

 Sirsir Specialist Tank

A side view of the Sedna heavy tank.

Lamana medium tank

So, do I need another sci-fi ground combat game? Probably not. It was too good a deal to pass on though and I do like the models.

Oh, there was a LOT of gaming Sunday at my house. Pics and AARs later. Modern Spearhead, StarDust, X-Wing...

23 May 2017

A Quick X-Wing Repaint

After Junior's smashing victory last Saturday evening, I agreed to repaint one of the Z-95 Headhunters with the "Nashtah Pup" scheme seen on the card of the same name.

Ta da! Pretty decent color match and a pretty sharp looking ship! Junior approves. I think it took maybe 30 minutes all said and done. Worth it.

22 May 2017

Toot Toot!

Litumsian President for Life Johnson has picked up some reinforcements! A couple of riverine patrol boats to help keep the rebel scum in check.

The models are Battlefront from the Vietnam range. As usual, their models are very nice. At least they were discounted a bit - BF tends to be pretty proud of their toy soldiers. I like how they came out and the pair will add some real character to future games of AK47 and Sabre Squadron.

21 May 2017

X-Wing Saturday

We had a rather entertaining session of X-Wing Saturday evening. Ziggy has slowly been collecting Imperial forces and wanted to give them a whirl. I was more than happy to oblige. Junior got in too, with 100 points of Scum.


Early on, the Defenders and IG-88 mix it up.

By this time, Zig had lost Mauler Mithel and Junior lost IG-88. We were quite sick to death of the cheesed-out Defenders. Here, my YT-2400 and Luke get one pinned. It would be destroyed shortly.

The Houndstooth gets friendly with the YT.

A few turns on, it was down to the two big ships. I killed the Houndstooth, but Bossk escaped in the Nashtah Pup!

Bossk easily finishes off Leebo's freighter (I was down to one hull point). The Kid gets a win! Perhaps using ten flight pegs is good luck? Good game guys!