19 February 2018

Gnomecon VII Plans

http://gnomecon.org/

Another Gnomecon is a little over a week away and again I'm getting myself committed to running a few games. For starters, Gnomecon is Savannah's game convention. It's actually out in Pooler again this year - that's fine, the venue is pretty good. If you're within a couple hours of Savannah, I strongly recommend it - it's a fun con. It's board game and dress-up heavy, but old farts like me keep the miniatures out and on the tables.

Friday I'll be debuting my new roller derby-inspired board game Rink Racers. I've had a full demo unit produced - custom dice, mouse-pad material game board, etc. Hopefully that'll generate some buzz. I really need "stranger feedback" on it. I'm also planning to lug the Wings of Glory WW2 with me for Friday evening / Saturday morning. Maybe both.

Saturday at 1:00PM I'll start the Second Annual Rubber and Lead Gnomecon Grand Prix. It was a hit last year and I hope it does as well this go around. As in 2017, it'll be four heat races then a final race with the four heat winners. Prizes include ribbons, trophies, game accessories, gift cards, etc.

At 8:00PM Mikey and I will co-wrangle a Cadet game of Star Fleet Battles. Nothing too serious, just a free-for-all with randomly assigned ships. If experience tells me anything, it's that long days and late nights typically result in very memorable SFB. Here's hoping 2018 is no exception to that!

18 February 2018

Painting

I wrapped up a handful of models earlier today. Some have been in the queue a while and others not so long.

First up are four Batman Miniature Game figures from the Suicide Squad starter kit.

 Those are the Grin Twins, Panda Man and The Eyeball Man. They're thungs in Joker's gang.


Fun models, to be sure. Others are being worked on.

The next group are part of Project R. They're roller derby girls from Impact Miniatures. I bought the "Trollcast" Resin models as opposed to much more expensive metals. The resin is hard and likely brittle - cleaning up ugly moldings gave me heart palpitations as I tried not to snap off limbs. I managed to not injure any skaters. The bases are small slotta-bases, 3/4 inch diameter, and I glued pennies underneath to make the finished models bottom-heavy. For information on Project R will be forthcoming, although one could say the cat's out of the bag after this post!

14 February 2018

Space Marine Vehicles

I have been painting, I promise I have. I picked up some additions for the StarDust Salamanders Space Marine army. Two "Rhino" APCs and two "Dreadnought" walkers, courtesy of Rebel Minis.










Nothing earth-shattering, but I'm very pleased with the outcome. Who says orange is a stupid color for armored vehicles? I think it looks amazing.

13 February 2018

Rapier 2018

David, Mark and I made the two hour drive down to Jacksonville early Saturday morning for our first game convention of the year at Rapier. Proper pronunciation is discussed here at the 1:10 mark.

First on our agenda was Blood And Plunder. I've got minis but haven't played so I was eager to swash some buckles. The awsome crew from Firelock Games had a very nice table set up and made room for a couple extra players. The scenario was "The Defense of St. Croix, 1650," in which a horde of Spaniards attempts to assault the British settlement on St. Croix and pillage their rum.

I was placed on the British team, in command of a group of Freebooters. David, sitting next to me, was given command of some Spanish-loving locals on a canoe and Mike was made commander of the entire Spanish force, since he'd played before.

Those are my boys near the building there. David's Indians are in the nearest canoe. We were determined to turn this into Omaha beach for those invaders!

Some more of our English defenders.

Early on, the Spanish knocked down one of the wall sections of our town center will well-placed cannon-fire.

They're ashore! Blast 'em!

The shore is now teeming with Spaniards! The English in the village get into buildings, though we on the other side of the table were not sure why.

The ship, laden with more Spanish heads toward "my" beach where I've been holding off the Indians quite handily.

Then the game goes right down the shitter for the Spanish. Mike and company failed repeated attempts to snag the canoe in order to offload reinforcements. All their troops were stuck on the ship with no way off! The wind was mercilessly pushing against the sails which the crew couldn't figure out how to take down. Fate was really sticking it to the Spanish.

The last of the Mohicans were now in deep kimchi - I'd only lost one Freebooter, to their three losses and the riders and militia reinforcements were quickly inbound!
 
Some player pics...
Some Spanish players as well as the Firelock host. Droves of Spanish casualties are circled in yellow.

Mark (in orange), our English Commander, and the funny guy who sat to my right.

Mike standing on the right, quite irritable by this point and David sitting on the left. The guy in the center was the GM who I thought did a good job of wrangling 8 players.

Eventually, the Spanish snagged the canoe and loaded up eight sailors (ahem, yes, sailors) to storm the beach!

Arrrrgh!

The sailors were savaged by the horsemen and wiped out in record time. That sealed the victory for the English!

It was a great game for the English and rather frustrating for the Spanish. That's wargaming! I'm looking forward to playing at home.

After lunch, Mike ran a game of Blitzkreig Commander, an Eastern Front encounter set in the late Summer of 1943 I think, judging by the tanks we were pushing.

The table layout. Tom (a fellow who had signed up to play) and I took command of the Germans while Mike and Dave ran the Soviet defenders. We Germans were supposed to capture the village.

Tom gets a Panzer III battalion moving quickly. Unfortunately, our other tank group with Tigers failed to arrive and since it was to shield our panzergrenadiers, they too were delayed.

But they did eventually arrive and assumed firing positions. The armored infantry hid behind the hill until it was safer to come out.

Our Pz IIIs are really getting worked by the Zis-2s. Their 50mm guns are not ideal for return fire either. Our Panzer IV reinforcements whoe were to arrive in the upper right corner where the book and phone are repeatedly failed to arrive.

'Con Selfie

David says "The German StuGs are going to kill us RIGHT HERE!" The StuGs watching our left flank performed admirably.

In the end, we wrapped it after 6 full turns. I failed FIVE attempts to get our reinforcements onto the table, the Panzer IIIs got held up for too long against two lousy AT guns and, well, it just wasn't our day. Tom was a great teammate and I enjoyed playing with him. David and Mike got a bit of revenge for their loss earlier in the day.

We milled around a bit then Mike FORCED us to play a board game with him. We played Terraforming Mars, apparently the "It Game" these days. It was quite enjoyable, if lengthy.

Here's my corporation at the end of the proceedings:




All hail MIGHTY APHRODITE! My corporation was absolutely printing cash by the end and I won, followed by Mark, Mike and Dave.

Mark and I were essentially tied for the lead the entire game, but I had a boatload of forests and VP cards that were the difference-maker.


We all had a great time and are looking forward to the next meet up at Gnomecon!

TEXT ONLY!

Hi all. It's been a distracty time recently for me but I have made time for game-related things. Last weekend, I went down to Jacksonville Florida to RapierCon with David and Mark and we met with Mike and others. It was a long, fun day of gaming. I've got pics of the games I played and will post a trip report soon.

I also put some effort into getting a new game together. More details on that later. Because I'm having game components made, I want to take some precautions. It's a board game that David and I kicked around ideas on last year at Gnomecon and this year it'll make its debut.

Speaking of Gnomecon, I'll be running the Second Annual Rubber and Lead Tournament this year on Saturday afternoon. Trophies, prizes, ribbons, etc. have arrived or are in the mail. I'm pretty excited. There have been a few tweaks to the game since last year's tournament that I think make for a better game. Now if I could just find an cost-effective way to publish it!

04 February 2018

AAR: StarDust Ground - The Bug Trials

Mark came over Saturday afternoon for some StarDust Ground.The bugs haven't been vetted under the second edition of the rules, so they were a shoo-in. Space Marines of the Salamanders Chapter would be their opponents - elite, outnumbered and a classic matchup for the Bugs.

The table was laid out with lots of hills and jungle. The Bugs would start from the near narrow edge and have to work their way down the battlefield.

The three objective locations are marked here around the jungle landing pad known as Camp Aquilla. The Bugs needed to capture all three.

My forces deployed. Generally focused around objective locations, but too few to solidly cover everything well.

The plasma cannon team atop the two-story building gets an early wide-open shot at the Inferno Beetle just appearing in the distance. Unfortunately, the shot went wide.

On the other side of the battlefield, the Marine Captain calls in a barrage on the distant flying bugs, killing one stand! The yellow worms in front of the fliers are burrowing and cannot be seen by enemy models at all from beyond 12 inches away. Mark was crafty to send them as his first wave.

The first groups of Space Marines and Bugs make contact. The worms and blues are easily repulsed by the adrenaline-fueled superhumans.

The Hive Lord starts moving up the second wave. More chitin for the grinder!

This time, the worms strike first, distracting the Marines, followed by an assault by the fliers.

The Salamanders lose two stands and must fall back! It seems that the Bugs are learning.

Wider view of the action. The Terminators moved up to support their brethren from the ridge. Fire Bugs skitter along the elevated highway as the Inferno Beetle wades through the lake. A large group of Blue Bugs has gathered opposite the Terminators.

The fliers charge into the Terminators on the hill and quickly regret their haste, losing a stand and forced to retreat.

Their blue and subterranean swarm-mates however finish off the Marine squad that had fallen back earlier.

The Big Bug crashes out of the trees atop the rise and belches plasma at the Salamander squad on the walkway, killing a fireteam. The Lascannon fires back, wounding the giant monster, slowing it down but nothing more serious.

A few moments later, the monster's attention turns toward the building with the Marines in it. It lurches forward, spewing bioplasma and crushing masonry with its claws. The Marines, though rattled, manage to remain intact.

Back on the other side of the field, the blue Bugs throw themselves at the Terminators. Although the massive armored warriors are pushed back, they remain viable, at the expense of piles of Bug warriors.

Big 'Un turns his attention to the Lascannon squad on the walkway, destroying them with bioplasma and claws.

The worms hit the position by the landing pad! Things are getting tight now for sure!

Not to be outdone, the Inferno Beetle crushes the squad in the building! That's two squads in two turns he's eliminated!

The Terminators have recovered and crank it up to ELEVEN, running off a powerful group of Blues. The Captain has also come out to assist.

But, winning a battle and losing the war seems to be the order of the day for the Salamanders. Another objective is captured by the Bugs.

The Worms hit their stride and eliminate a stand of Marines.

Followed by two more! DISASTER!

Captain Zeigmund hangs tough against the Fire Bugs and even manages to kill a stand while his Terminator brothers prepare to assault the Blues on the hill.

But the Bugs are ready this time and kill a stand of the mighty Terminators!

The writing is on the wall and it's curtains for the Salamanders. Their battle barge overhead teleports the few survivors up as Camp Aquilla is completely overrun.

And not a moment too soon.

Although it ended up a one-sided meatgrinder, that was a blast! The activation dice completely ruined it for me at the end as I was rolling two or three dice and only getting a single activation. Ugh! I was damn impressed by the Terminators' resilience, although I think the Captain could use a little CC buff. The close combat rules got a solid workout and we came up with a few rules tweaks that make "human" wave tactics viable under the new activation mechanics. We also came up with some good "special action" rules for the Bugs to give them some badly needed coordination. Poor action rolls were particularly damning for the one-note Bugs.

After the game, I ordered a few extras for the Marines, you'll see those on the blog soon enough!