31 January 2013

Update du Jour

I've been working on some MSH painting this week - an SU-7 and a MiG-23 for my Poles and some Dutch infantry. No WIP shots, I'll post pics when they are done. On that subject, I have to give props to The Last Square for their ridiculously quick shipping. I ordered last Friday and got the stuff Monday. I must also give high kudos to Wargame Accessories. I ordered some bases from them Saturday morning and also received them Monday. Wow. Just wow.

Looks like I'm going to get in a game of Star Fleet Battles on Saturday. I haven't played in ages. One of my favorite game systems ever. I am completely enamored by the overwhelming complexity. Who in their right mind designs a game like that? Either way, I'm looking forward to it, and I'm grateful to be "just a player" and not the person trying to explain everything to everyone.

Good Gaming!

27 January 2013

Sunday Shipwreck!

I met with James and Joe (from the Shipwreck Yahoo group) at Morningstar Games in Savannah Sunday afternoon for a game of Shipwreck. James set up the scenario and provided the ships. It was a modern day Aegean Sea mix-up, Turks versus Greeks. Here's a basic outline of the scenario:

The Turks are trying to reinforce their position on an island in the Aegean Sea. An LST escorted by a Barbaros class frigate are the quarry. There are also four civilian ships being controlled by the Turkish player. The Greeks have an old Knox-class frigate and a much newer Hydra as well as two civilian ships of their own. 
The scenario takes place at night and because of all the civilian ships, positive visual ID is required before weapons can be fired. The Turks must exit their LST off either the west or north edge. The Greeks are simply trying to prevent the LST from escaping.

It is worth noting that Joe and I didn't have any idea as to the force strength of the Turks.

I ended up with the Knox-class, the Ipiros. Joe drove the Hydra. James took the entire Turkish flotilla.

Joe and I decided to set up centrally so we could react in any direction. We dumped our helicopters out immediately. Both helos went south towards the nearest unknown contacts. Since his AegeanHawk was carrying a Penguin ASM, we decided to have my helo get close to spot a target first. 

My helo gets up close and personal.

The two ships were in a fog bank apparently because my helo was only able to ID the LST. The hidden Frigate locked onto my helicopter and buzzed it with its SeaZenith. My pilot didn't need any further encouragement and turned tail immediately.

About to get "real"

As the ships edged around the island, they were very close. Joe sent his helo to safe skies, figuring we needed better recon on the other four ships.

See, I wasn't lying.

The Turkish helicopter makes an appearance. It manages a visual on the cargo ship. 

A Stinger missile sends the helicopter on its way.

Moments later, we can see each other's ships.

No more cat and mouse games, it is go time! James and I launch a full salvo at each other's ships. His four are targeted on my frigate of course. I split my fire, two at the frigate and two at the LST. I really had doubts that my Harpoons would even make it through to the frigate, but the LST seemed like an easy, juicy target.

Missiles away!

Crappy AA defense all-around means there's no shots at short range! This is going to be a mess...

And at very short. His frigate knocks down one of my Harpoons. The LST avoids serious damage - two light hits. BAH! The frigate gets nailed with a crippled damage result.

Amusingly, the chaff from my frigate distracted two of the Harpoons onto the adjacent cargo ship. Boom, boom! Straight to Davy Jones' locker. The two Harpoons aimed at the frigate miss and go into the sea. What a disaster for the Turkish Navy!

A mess if there ever was one.

My frigate's engines roared to life as the ship went to flank speed to catch up with the transport. Captain James rolled his repair roll on the crippled Barbaros. A nine. Davy Jones gets some more souls. 

The LST and frigate exchange gunfire. My frigate takes a heavy damage result losing its gun and a Stinger launcher. The LST suffers three hits from my 5 inch gun and that's more than it can handle. Davy Jones is eatin' well tonight!

I told Joe to count me out for the time being since my offensive power was gone. He was just making contact with another pair of ships. James announced that there were no more Turkish warships and the scenario was over.

I had a good time which is easy when the dice are as good as mine were today. Joe had never played before  and I felt bad that he didn't get to blow up anything. And then there is James, his dice completely abandoned him. He did everything right, his two important ships were together and close to the edge. An even exchange of cruise missiles later and the whole thing goes off the tracks. 

I'm ready for a rematch any time! Thanks for the game.

24 January 2013

Mid Week Update **edit**

After a very brief text conversation, it looks like Modern Spearhead will be the game of choice for Gnomecon. I'm only going to be able to attend on Sunday because my sister has chosen that weekend to get hitched. No amount of crying on my part was able to get her to change to some other weekend. Oh well.

I spent a good bit of time yesterday on Google Maps looking at western Europe for an interesting patch of land to fight over. I've settled on a spot in the Netherlands. Standard late-80's cold war bash with Warsaw Pact forces heading west. The basic scenario goal will be for the Commies to capture a couple of bridges, with a rabble of Dutch, German and USMC troops to fend them off. Gives me an excuse to put together a battalion of Dutch mechanized infantry. I'll also have to get to work on making some prettier roads, canals, bridges, etc. I already started making some extra town sectors last evening.

That's pretty spot on 12 inch squares at 100m per inch.

Last Sunday's Shipwreck game fell apart because a recalcitrant Citrix server at work decided I shouldn't play. It's rescheduled for this Sunday and we picked up another player through the Shipwreck Yahoo Group, so that worked out rather well!

20 January 2013

Saturday Gaming!

I really needed a weekend like this - I haven't gotten this much gaming in quite a while. Ziggy came over early Saturday and we gave Infinity a go. He used Junior's minis - Junior was busy with other things and didn't mind. We used the basic starter rules and were simply trying to work through game mechanics. I'm not going to do a full AAR because we had some rules inconsistencies but the big point is that we enjoyed it and I think Zig is going to pick up a squad of guys for himself. A few pics...

The board setup

Down the alley

My left flank

Later in the evening, Dennis came over and we (including Junior this time) played a game of Shipwreck. Here's the scenario information:

June 1982
Sovremny and Krivak II escorting 3 transport ships to Tartus Syria. No more than 1 mile separation between ships. 60-70 miles from the coast, heading east. Speed 3. The Sovremny has 1 Ka-27.
Kidd and Perry are on blockade duty, 10 miles apart 10-15 miles from the coast, Heading any direction chosen by the player. Speed 3. Both ships have 1 SH-2F.

- Soviets will not fire first. Americans have orders to prevent re-supply to Syria and to stop the transport ships. 

- Helicopters may be launched by either side at any time.

- No ships may increase speed to 5 until weapons are fired.

- Transports are rated at 10,000-25,000 tons, are -1 on all damage rolls (lots of ammo on board) and have a max speed of 4. Transports cannot repair their engines on a Heavy or Crippled damage result. (THIS WAS ADDED AFTER THE GAME - PLAYTESTING MODIFICATION)

- Soviets have already been warned to turn around - the threats have been ignored.

Special rules - Cold War hesitation: The US and Soviet Captains are very nervous about firing on Soviet ships. Orders are orders, but this might start World War 3! At the start of his turns, the US player must roll a d10 to see if the Captain overcomes the hesitation and just pushes the button. On turn 1, the roll must be a 1  in order for the US player to fire weapons. The roll needed increases by one each turn until the situation goes hot, at which any and all ships may fire weapons without restrictions. This roll may be done in secret with a witness so the Soviets aren't really certain what the situation is.

Victory Conditions
Major US Victory - No transports reach Tartus, no ships sunk on either side. Damaged ships are  acceptable,
US Victory - No transports reach Tartus, some Soviet ships sunk.
Draw - No transports reach Tartus. Ships sunk on both sides.
Soviet Victory - Some transports reach Tartus. 1-2 Soviet ships sunk.
Major Soviet Victory - All transports reach Tartus and US fires shots.

We randomly determined who got which ships. Dennis ended up with the Kidd, Junior got the Perry. Ziggy got the Sovremny and I drove the Krivak. The transports were sort of on auto-pilot, bee-lining for Tartus.

Our cunning formation. My Krivak II in the lead, the Sovremny close behind and a herd of transports escorting us! Ablative armor at its finest.

Dennis rolled a "1" on turn one so the Americans had an itchy trigger finger from the get-go. Grumble grumble. Both sides sent their helos up and went fishing for detections.

On turn 5, Junior has enough detections to get the party started and looses two Harpoons. 

Dennis follows suit and releases all eight of his Harpoons.

Somehow, some brilliant dice rolls later, the incoming American missiles are all either shot down, distracted by chaff, miss completely or fail to damage their targets. All of the missiles had been targeted at transports.

The Perry had fired off two more Harpoons after its first salvo. One of those two did manage a hit on one of the transports and caused heavy damage, halting the ship.

One of my SS-N-14s gets a hit on the boy's frigate and scores a heavy damage result - but just netting the flight desk and a torpedo launcher. Bah!

At this point things got rather interesting because we were all out of cruise missiles. It was going to turn into a short ranged scrap. My frigate was the first casualty. I had raked the Kidd with gunfire but came out on the losing end when he turned broadsides on us firing one gun and two Standards at each Soviet warship. My Krivak went straight to the bottom after eating two Crippled results. Our destroyer fared much better and was not damaged. 

A turn or so later, the Kidd and Sovremny passed by eachother, only a few miles apart. And exchange of gunfire later, the Kidd was a smoking wreck and the Soviet was still in good shape, taking just two light damage results (torps and one of its guns). The American frigate headed slowly south for Israeli waters and air cover after getting power back. One of the transports was unharmed and made its way to Syria. The other two would require towing. 

So, all in all it was an entertaining game. I did make some changes after playing and discussing things with Dennis. The Americans had a hell of a time trying to damage the transports to halt them, especially with their rather limited numbers of missiles. I really did not expect the Americans to fire everything at the transports; I really thought they'd try to take out the warships first. The close-range gunfight was fun to watch, even though I had my ride shot out from under me right away. 

I'm going to meet James to Morningstar games later today (Sunday) for another game of Shipwreck, so lucky me! I'll take some pics and do an AAR (duh!). 

Good Gaming!

16 January 2013

Toy Boat Toy Boat Toy Boat....

Those ships didn't last long. I finished up the Soviets (and Libyan) yesterday - here are some pics.

I do need to hit the helo circles on the Moskva again - my first attempt was uglier than homemade sin. Some of these guys may hit the table Saturday if things go well.

Junior wanted to get his Infinity Yu Jing guys together so the last couple of evenings I worked on them. I'd have let him do the assembly but they have many small pieces and are certainly not for beginners. He'll probably start painting them this evening. I still have two Aleph guys I need to finish - the ships were kind of a distraction.

11 January 2013

Just an update

I've got a game of Shipwreck planned for next week Sunday, the 20th. Looking forward to that. The guy I've arranged the game with is bringing ships - it sounds like it'll be Turks v Greeks or Japanese v Ruskies. Either way, I'm stoked. I'm going to try to drag Ziggy along since Shipwreck is definitely a "the more the merrier" game. I wish my order from Skytrex would hurry up and get here so I'd have some boats to paint.

I've been working on Shipwreck scenarios this week. I don't like the idea of simply blowing up the other guy's boats. Ha - flash of inspiration just now! I'm going to go look at Star Fleet Battles scenarios and see what ideas I can steal.

I got a bit of painting done this week - finished up three of my Infinity Myrmidons. Here are a couple of bad photos:

It's my little guy's fifth birthday today and he wants to go out of town tomorrow so I don't think I'll get to play any games this weekend.


Got home and this was waiting for me. Yessssssss.

08 January 2013

Infinity - Painted Naga

Finished my Naga Sniper for Infinity. The rest of the Myrmidons are "in progress."

Since she's a sneaky sniper, I decided against a bright "hey look at me!" color scheme and borrowed a bit of German "ambush pattern" camo. I'm very happy with the results. FWIW, the Myrmidons have a very "hey look at me!" paint job - they are frenzied close-combat machines with no use for sneaking about.

I may take some more pics under sunlight to show the colors properly, but that'll wait until the rest of the guys are done.

06 January 2013

It's a Bug Hunt

Before I get going on this week's AAR, here's a shot of the youngest of the clan getting his paint on:

On with the AAR!

Dennis and Zig came over Saturday evening and we played a game of Mutants and Death Ray Guns. Dennis, after our previous two games, decided to go with the mega-cheesy tiny ultra badass squad; three terribly min-maxed over-the-top guys. I knew this going in and thought that some giant bugs would be a suitable foil for them - so I generated a brood of giant ladybugs. 

4 X Giant Ladybugs  Q4 C3 Heavy Armor, Long Move, Poison (50 points each)
1 X Queen Ladybug  Q3 C4 Heavy Armor, HTH Specialist, Long Move, Web Gun (98 points)

Dennis let Ziggy take the reins since he had never played before. Here's the setup:

We both advanced, Zig positioned his guys at the edge of the woods. I was completely snake-bit on activation rolls but managed to get my critters in to the following position:

On my turn, I selected the Queen to bee-line towards the MIB. Survey says...

That's a pretty good indicator of how the rest of the game went. Here she is in Bughalla:

The other two critters on my left got squashed without much fanfare. The exterminators and my two last bugs sort of swapped sides at this point. My bugs went into the trees and the cowards got out of Dodge to put distance between the glorious heroes of the Bug Empire and themselves.

One of the two bugs died almost as quickly as he showed his little bug face. The last survivor actually lasted for about seven or eight turns, surrounded by the three fiends before the dice caught up with him. Sadness.

Regardless of how one-sided it was (and boy howdy was it!) it was still fun. Against any more reasonably configured group, the bugs would have been a bit more competitive I think. Maybe I'll try them against his Plant Men next time.

Postscript - Ziggy was quite fascinated by the Infinity guys and I think he may have been hooked. Heh heh.

04 January 2013

End of the World Sale! AAR

So here's what I picked up on FRPGames.com during their end of the world sale last week:

That's some small tanks for Dystopian Wars, card sleeves, 0-9 Markers from Litko, 2 UW minis, 2 Infinity minis (both in one blister), 20 elves and an elf lord. About $40 including shipping. That's a damn fine deal. The elves are for my young 'un, the 4-year old who wanted something of his own to paint.

03 January 2013

Beginner's Guide to Playing an RPG

I was reading about the Deck of Many Things on SuperGalacticDreadnought and it got me thinking about D&D and RPGs in general. I have learned much from those games and have had a damn fun time learning it. I've decided to share some wisdom I have gleaned from hours spent at the table.
     Be prompt. DMs hate it when their players are late to a session. I know this because I have DMed as often or more than I have been a player. Late players end up rolling up new characters because their temporarily NPCed character was used as a trap monkey / canary. I understand that character death is a traumatic experience and rolling up a new character is a giant pain (Really? 3d6  X 6, sword, shield, chainmail. Simple. For variation try shortbow, shortsword, leather armor.). Truth is, there is only so much time for gaming so let's get as much as we can out of the three, four hours that we have. 
     Wizards die. Seriously, who the fuck thinks 1d4 hit points and shit for weapons and armor is a good idea? At least in Hackmaster you start with 20 + 1d4, but the monsters also get the 20 point bonus. Fighters are survivable as are properly kitted-out Clerics for you "role players" out there. Barbarians, Rangers and Thieves are acceptable, but don't expect me to heal your dumb leather-armor wearing ass if you go off and do something stupid like fall while tight-rope walking over a spiked pit. New character sheet, bub. Magic-Users, Monks, "Sorcerers," and the like are just asking for it at low levels. Hardly worth it. Illusionists may be the biggest waste ever.
     No problem cannot be solved with fire. More useful than the 50' rope and 10' pole. Fireball? Bah. Let me show you the Porcine Cruise Missile*. Fire is a great distraction. It is visible from a great distance. Fire is a powerful weapon that keeps going. An arrow does its 1d6 or 1d8 damage and that's that. A FLAMING arrow does that same 1d6 / 1d8 PLUS fire damage. And the fire keeps damaging the thing UNTIL IT IS DEAD unless the thing takes the effort to extinguish the flame. Have you ever almost set yourself on fire? I bet you didn't let it go for a few "rounds" until you were close to zero hit points. Any DM whose orcs do not immediately stop drop and roll should be called out immediately. Creatures that are specifically immune to fire damage are scary things.
     Joo-Janta Peril Sensitive Glasses. Reading books, seeing mirrors, viewing medusas, damn near anything in Call of Cthulhu. Your eyes are your enemies! I watched two friends kill themselves having to fight their mirror image clones in D&D. They were 9th level and had worked up since first. I felt bad for them and had their corpses carried to a healer for rezzing after I lightened their pockets and bags. I watched half the party go nuts and kill eachother in CoC. (That was actually pretty funny since I had gone a different sort of crazy and ran off in another direction prior to the wipe.) Let's review: NEVER LOOK AT ANYTHING! 
     Dice are evil. They are best used as a distraction while playing. Stacking, spinning and playing speed Yahtzee are acceptable. If you actually get to the point of having to roll dice to keep your character alive you're doing it wrong. I'm not saying that combat is to be avoided, but it is best kept for mindless drones that you can slaughter without a second thought. Beholders, Giants, Dimensional Shamblers and such should not be fought. Avoid or reason with them and you'll do alright. Some spells, if you end up using a character that does that sort of thing, are diceless. These are the best spells. Magic Missile. No Saving Throw! No Roll To Hit! Just INSTANT DAMAGE BABY! When the game gets to inevitable point of having to roll dice it is best to be superstitious and arcane. Bounce a few dice off the table. Get some results cocked on a book. Set your dice with the high number up. Remember, some dice indeed are cursed and will bite you in the ass at just the right moment. Other are cursed to roll shittily all the time. Determining which is which is a skill to be developed over years of playing.
     Pencils and paper. Have your pencil handy to take notes. Regardless of how much destruction and death you are causing, D&D or what have you is about getting through a story and taking notes is important. So is doodling.

I hope this helps a bit. I may add some more tips later on.

* A pig with a few flasks of of oil / Greek fire strapped to it. Just add something to use as a fuse and a slap on the porker's ass. Good for long hallways.

01 January 2013

Finished Urban War Minis

Well that was quick, for me anyway. It's been a long time since I did anything in a scale larger than 15mm. I have to say I enjoyed painting these a lot. I did the base colors over the last few days since Christmas and did the wash, drybrushing, details and basing today (NYD) since I was off work.

I went with a very Soviet color scheme that seems to suit them very well. They are a bit less cartoony than the box art.

I hope you like them!

The crew.

Stick men.


Sniper and hero.

Squad leader.

Stick men from behind,

Shooters from behind.

Sniper and hero from behind,

Say cheese! I suck at eyes. 

The business end of the sniper.

My, she's a bouncy one isn't she!

And there she goes...

All I have to do now is get junior to finish his Koralon guys and we can give this game a go. I hope ya'll nad a nice New Year's. Now, back to work with ya!