27 August 2017

X-Wing : Lessons In Space

David and I had a few free hours Saturday afternoon and got together for some X-Wing. He'd made a bit of a change to his rather competitive Decimator list he did well with in Statesboro. Conversely, I took the knowledge I gained  during that tournament and put a "strong" list together myself.

I decided upon two souped up Scum ships - Kath Scarlett and IG-88C. I paid very close attention to upgrade and ability synergies. Blah blah blah - all that crap the serious players harp on about. David's change was dumping Vader and replacing him with three low-end TIEs - more targets, more shots, more damage capactiy.

Early on, I thought I'd get fancy and hit the air-brakes with IG-88. The Decimator's chosen maneuver couldn't have been more perfect.

The Deci changed IG-88 into a corner. I managed to get out easily enough - the Aggressor is extremely maneuverable and fast. The Deci, on the other hand had to slow-roll it.

The downward spiral began; Kath Scarlett got caught on that asteroid between IG-88 and the Decimator, taking a point of damage. At range 1, the Decimator managed four hits, finishing off half of my group. Ugh. Not to be outdone, the Deci was then flown onto an asteroid to kill it off! 

The Aggressor and remaining TIE fought for a round or two, eventually the bounty-hunting robot finished off the Imperial lackey.

It was a very entertaining game and as it turns out, I can put together a very cheesey, competitive list. David's changes were solid - the three TIEs are a massive distraction from the effort of trying to kill the Decimator. Personally, I think it's better tool than a single Vader. I like the way my group performed. I to test them out against Ziggy - he's a very different player whose lists tend to be quite nasty.

25 August 2017

Well Dang!

Apparently Spartan Games is closing up shop. I've enjoyed Dystopian Wars for many years and Firestorm Armada / Planetfall more recently. Announcement Here.

It's sad, but this sort of thing happens. The original WarZone suffered a similar fate and really stung for me. FASA's Crimson Skies was a terrific airplane shoot-em-up that had a short run.

I'm sure Zig, Mike, David and I will continue to play. The games fit good niches and we've got enough stuff for a lifetime. That said, I did just order a Firestorm Armada box from Amazon - some ships I've had my eye on and just never picked up.

I'm feeling GREAT about having downloaded Firestorm Taskforce and Dystopian Wars Fleet Action, both faster-play rules for the flagship games, within the last few days. Having perused the rulebooks and Orbats, they're solid and will certainly get table time.

Farewell, Spartan. Your games were a blast, your models terrific and your customer service exemplary.

20 August 2017

AAR - StarDust: Ground - 'Bots in the Jungle

Ziggy and my brother in law Winston visited last evening. Winston and I used to play 40K a looooong time ago (1992-1995). He was my original gaming buddy where wargaming is concerned. He doesn't game these days but it wasn't difficult to twist his arm and have him push lead for a couple hours.

Having finished 95% of my SDG re-write, it was the game of the day. I put together a scenario and two OOBs and dressed the table. Zig and Winston chose their side and rolled for who would be the attacker and defender. Ziggy chose the Red Guard and was the attacker. Winston's Robots would defend.

The tabletop was split diagonally with 24 inch gap between forces. I placed three objectives (shown by the blue circles). Two objectives were in Robot territory while one was in no-bot's land (in the building). The attacker's mission is to take control of the objectives in short order. To control an objective, he must have a unit in good order within 3 inches of the objective, with no enemy also within 3 inches of it. At the start of each of his turns, he earns one point for each objective he controls. Ziggy had 10 turns to score 10 points.

The Red Guard's drop-inserted turret begins dueling with a trio of Hover Bots.

The Python briefly considers running the gap atop the large hill, then reconsiders throwing a smoke screen up.

The Red Guard is making progress. Zig started the game with very poor activation rolls. Winston's were very good to start, but weren't as useful being in a defensive position. He didn't have a lot of targets and was hesitant to put his Big Bots (the big silver walkers) in harm's way.

One of the Hover Bots is downed by a well-placed Lancer shot. Lancers are the Red Guard's heavy grav tanks. The Python rushes in on the Repair Hover Bot attempting to strike it down with his massive sword. Between the trees and the Bot's swift maneuvers, the big walker couldn't connect.

The Repair Hover Botr uns the gap, trying to get closer to the Big Bots but the turret's machinegun catches it and immobilizes it. The Lancers come around the back side of the hill and open up on the rest of the Hover Bots. Between the Python and tank squadron, this corner of the battlefield is in big trouble for the Robots! You can also see that Red Guard infantry have captured the objective building in the center.

The big walker and tanks have cleared the sector with little resistance.

The tanks head back to the central gap. The battlefield is really starting to shrink for the Robots.

In an amazing display of incompetence, the three Big Bots pounce on light grav tanks which have been skulking. Between railgun shots and close-combat attacks, one of the light tanks is immobilized!

The Red Guard commander finally gets in a position to make some hay. A nicely positioned barrage rains down on Superbots atop the large hill.

The Big Bots finally score a kill. Not a very important kill or a very impressive kill, but at least they weren't shut out.

Adding insult to injury, a second barrage goes off-target, but right on top of the still-hidden Warbots. When it rains, it pours.

At the start of turn 10, Ziggy and the Red Guard scored their tenth and eleventh points, securing the victory. The cost on oil and silicon was high for the robots, and now this section of the forest would have to be given up.... for now anyway.

Poor Winston - between a bit of indecision and extremely uncooperative dice, this battle really got away from him. I think a lot of it was simply being unfamiliar with stats, etc and not know what does what. When he finally did put the hammer down, the dice conspired to deny him.

Ziggy, although his dice weren't a whole lot better, kept pushing and gave himself more opportunities for something to happen. His turret deployment was rather good - I had him throw three poker chips at the table from about two meters away. He was allowed to place the turret on any one of them. All three landed within a foot of each other.

The game was well-received by Winston and the changes were very-well received by Ziggy who has played SDG as much as anyone. Morale is easier to decipher and speed of play is enhanced.

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.