30 June 2019

X-Wing Returns

I gifted Ziggy a X-Wing 2.0 starter box for his birthday a couple of weeks ago. He had not yet taken the plunge and it was my little act of encouragement to push him over the edge. To accompany it, he picked up the Rebel conversion kit. Last evening we put our kit on the table and gave it a go. Instead of the typical points-buy method, we went with the quick play option of selection up to eight threat levels of ships from a list of pre-fabbed options. Here's an example:

So for the Rebels, you could take a Luke Skywalker X-Wing with the upgrades shown and that counts as a TL3 choice.

I rolled with the First Order. I just got the TIE Silencer (Kylo's ship) a couple weeks ago and really wanted to give it a go. He was joined by a Special Forces TIE and a regular TIE/fo with an excellent pilot - "Midnight."

Ziggy remained true to form and used three X-Wings - Luke, Wedge and a schlub.

I made some terrible decisions early in the match that resulted in Kylo and the SF TIE to suffer considerable damage. This had the undesirable result of making me fly defensively.

Before long, Midnight was the lone representative of Law and Order left and although he fought valiantly, his luck couldn't hold out forever.

He's a bad dude and I'll have to remember to lean on him in the future.

I also made the common mistake of spreading the damage around entirely too much. I caused a total of seven damage, enough to kill an X-Wing for sure, but it was allocated amongst all of the X-Wings, not concentrated on one like it should have been. Oh well, we had a great time and Ziggy's quite happy with second edition. It really does address the crowd complaints of first edition, adds a few nice mechanics and by keeping the points system 100% virtual, Fantasy Flight has the ability to adjust / balance ships and upgrades on the fly. As irritated as I was when they released it, I have to admit that it's a significant improvement on what was already a great game.

29 June 2019

Paintery - Ze Germans

I had the urge to add to my 1/72 WW2 collection in the past couple of weeks so I placed an order for a few model kits. I picked up a Flak 36 "88," a 75mm light infantry gun (le IG18) and an 8-rad armored car.

Post assembly. I wised-up and magnetized the 88 and its turntable to both ease storage requirements and make it more model-rific on the game table. The 234 was a standard model kit from Roden. Being a model kit and not meant for gaming meant that it had loads of detail and fiddly bits. It was a fun build but the wheels and cow-catcher on the front were a bit challenging. The kit was actually the version with the big antenna over the vehicle, but it was so fiddly I decided against it.

The 88 and IG are both Zvezda models and were super easy builds.

The lot all dolled-up.

Always a favorite on the game table. My crewed weapons all have matching base-trim colors to make them easy to identify.

Bloody dangerous! I liked the kill-ring decal that was included.

The balkenkreuz decals were two-parters, separate white and black crosses. I used the white ones and to avoid extra frustration, simply painted the black crosses over them.

23 June 2019

Saturday Evening Infinity

Z and I pulled the Infinity stuff out again last evening. The last time we played Ziggy started using the Fireteams rules. They were certainly effective and useful, so this time the force I put together was set up to take advantage of them. I used my Ariadna Frenchies and had little trouble putting 15 troopers in a 300 point force. Ziggy of course used his Pan Oceania Knights. He's got some Japanese guys he's been working on but they're not quite ready for prime time.

We played a scenario out of the MRB - The Armory. It features an 8" x 8" building in the center of the battlefield with four closed doors, one in each side. When any of the doors are opened, all open at the same time. The objective is to have the largest contingent in the armory at the end of each turn and at the end of the game.

Out setup. The armory in the center looks a bit disheveled. I have a Loup Garou fireteam and some Briscards off to the right, a large Metros fireteam in the middle with a medic assisting. The left was a bit weak with a Briscard sniper and trooper holding it down.

The armory was considered to have solid walls, with only the doors providing any gaps. 

Early into the proceedings, my sniper pops a couple of shots at a knight. It was kind of a gimme. Although it was a nice way to get things started, no damage was done.

My right flank troopers, three Loup Garou with a Briscard medic and rocketeer.

The PanO hacker opened the armory door and was greeted by a hail of gunfire! The Metro machine-gunner sprayed shots wildly, clipping the hacker and the emergency services medic finished her off with a remarkable shotgun blast! (critical hit)

For their next activation, the Metros continued to lean on their machinegun who gunned down another of the knights - the only one visible through the narrow gap.

The downward spiral showed no signs of letting up for Ziggy's knights. His Crusader Bretheren dropped in from above with his jump pack, but a stiff south-western breeze pushed his landing spot well past what would have been advisable. Instead of landing in a relatively safe spot to ambush my big fireteam with his flamethrower, he dropped in right in front of them! He was gunned down and coup-de-gras'ed in short order. My Frenchies still have a lot of hate and anger towards that sumnabitch.

This is how turn 1 ended. I had snuck a single Metro into the armory, giving me a victory point. I also had two Para Commandos infiltrate deep on the left (circled in white). Taking out three knights in the first turn was huge for me and I had 'em on their heels now.

The Father-Knight takes control of the situation and bursts in on my trooper in the armory and takes her out with little trouble. Blast!

But in terrain like this, you've got to watch out! My Commando with the machinegun managed to find a suitable spot to take shots at the Knight's leader and gunned him down with some excellent long-range shooting! He's a real Frederick Zoller at that range.

We played a few more activations. I lost one more trooper while Z lost two more to my Loup Garou viral rifles who got very brave after the Father-Knight had been sorted out. Between the loss of the Lieutenant  and heavy casualties, the writing was on the wall and we called the game. Finally, a victory over the Knights!

Using fireteams really changed things for the Ariadna army. I was able to get a lot done and had a bazillion order markers to do it. It helped a lot that Zig's dice were atrocious and for a change his armor wasn't up to the task. Regardless, it was good evening of gaming and fine morale booster.

Looking forward to the next as always! Be well and good gaming.

17 June 2019

Saturday Game Day

A group of us met at a friend's house on Saturday afternoon and evening for a bit of group gaming fun. Wayne our host, and Mike set up the tabletop for Gaslands for game one. Mike was the only person in attendance with Gaslands experience and I've been interested to see how it works after putting together Rubber and Lead a year before Gaslands came out. The games are nearly identical in presentation and concept. Let's see how the fellows at Osprey did with their execution.

Our drivers and the table layout. Turns out I got no pictures with Wayne in them. The course was a figure-8, sort of. Cars were chosen from Wayne's large collection - he's set up a bunch of 25-point cars and we were told to use two each. I grabbed two without looking figuring that for a n00b game, what did it matter, really. The other guys put considerably more thought into their choices.

My two cars are circled. I got the pole position and the Red Devil pushed to the front of the pack early. Brinks was squarely middle-of-the-pack.

Alan's red car managed to spin out before it got to gate 2, which meant the Red Devil got there first. I ended up with a Slide on my way through the gate which was ridiculously fortunate - I was pointing right where I need to be!

Until this crapwagon decides to stop in front of me! Wayne is a bad person.

Gate 2 gets jammed up. My armored car gets hemmed in by Brad's 6-by Hearse.

A couple of cars dawdled in the back of the pack. Alan's blue car whips right in front of Mike's Bronco. I just really appreciated the offensive driving - it was truly inspired.

I managed to thread the needle of gate 5. Unfortunately, I was at gear 5, rocking five hazards and couldn't roll enough shifts to correct the situation!

No pics of my subsequent spin-out which gave Patrick's Blue Beetle an opportunity.

There's the Beetle almost to gate 3.

And there's the Beetle winning with me right behind him. He was at gear 5 for the entire home stretch and I had to speed up from 1 which is all he needed to get past me.What a bummer. Great job Patrick! Brad's hearse was in third, about 24 inches behind.

So, my thoughts? Without going out of my way to speak ill of a competitor's game, it's miserable. đŸ˜€Granted, it's got somewhat different goals and tries to be a lot more open and customizable. The result is entirely too many rules, counters, special dice, etc.

Of note are the impulse movement, which I considered early on in the development of Rubber and Lead. I pitched it directly in the bin the moment it became clear that it would slow the game down dramatically. I also struggled with the handling of collisions. It appears that Gaslands' creators did as well. The crash damage mechanic is remarkably similar but the handling of car positions is wildly different.

At the end of the game, we had spent three and a half hours driving two car each and didn't fire any weapons! Granted, the tabletop was probably way too big for the race, and two cars per player was twice as many as we should have had for an intro game, and having to hold fire until all cars were past gate 2 didn't help. The only significant tactical decisions to be made were the positioning of opponents' cars after they'd spun out / flipped. I'd give it another try, but it'd have to be a much smaller affair that better represents the typical game of Gaslands.

A bit later, the table was reset to Railgun 2100 - a sci-fi derivative of Fist Full of TOWs. Wayne and Mike supplied the armies.

Wayne, Patrick, Mark and I were on one side, while Mike, Brad and Alan formed the opposition.

My Flacon grav tanks get aggressive on the left flank.

It was very much a high-tech (us) vs. low-tech (them) affair. I left at 10:00pm after turn 4. We were solidly thrashing our opponents when I left, with perhaps a 12-0 kill/loss ratio. I don't know how the game ended but I liked the system. I think it may have been the wrong choice for a group of seven who had never played it at all though. I'd play it again in a much more tightly controlled situation.