28 December 2015

2015 - The Gaming Year That Was

Another year in the books. 2015 has some great gaming memories for me and will be tough to top next year. I've tried out a few new games this year and done a TON of painting. I even managed some scenery construction. So, let me see what I've done hobby-wise:

Table-Top Games Played
1. Anima Tactics
2. X-Wing
3. StarDust
4. StarDust: Ground
5. Dystopian Wars
6. Star Fleet Battles
8. Megablitz
9. AK47 Republic
10. GHQ Micro Armor Modern and WW2
11. Check Your 6! Jet Age
12. Blue Sky Red Sun
13. Starfire
14. Strike Legion: Planetary Ops
15. Maurice
16. Firestorm Armada
17. Shipwreck
18. Flames of War Vietnam and WW2
19. Relic Knights
20. StarDust: Magic
21. Sabre Squadron
22. All Quiet on the Martian Front
23. Rate of Fire
24. Untitled 6mm Sci Fi Homebrew
25. Frostgrave
26. Harpoon

Not shabby! That's 26 rule sets over 52 weeks. I'm sad and surprised that Modern Spearhead didn't make the list. I'll have to rectify that next year. I can't think of any other games that I wish I had played but didn't.

It's tough to pick "fondest" memories of the gaming year, but a handful stick out...

     - Gnomecon 4. My wife and kids joined me this year and we all had a fantastic time. My game StarDust: Ground was well-liked which was a big thrill for me.

     - Tanksgiving at Mike's place in November. It was simply a great time. Who knew that Flames of War was an enjoyable game when it was played 4 v 4?

     - The monthly trips to Brunswick for SFB. It's sooo damn fun.

I managed to recycle a lot of minis this year; I repainted my Dystopian Wars Blazing Suns fleet and pulled out some old GW and other fantasy orks this weekend to overhaul for Frostgrave. That said, I had a LOT of additions to the collection too! I'm feeling good about keeping the lead molehill small. No mountains here! I also have not paid full retail or anything close to it for any of my DW or FSA purchases this year. Heck, the DW French have either been gifts or 40% off or more every time I've added something.

While my StarDust games are still works in progress, they are very solid and will get some play in the months ahead. SD:G will certainly make an appearance at Gnomecon 5. The Robot Army will get some play and I'll get some artillery called in!

So what do I want to change in 2016?

The Definitive List of What I Should Do 2016
Play Maurice
Play Modern Spearhead
Play Sabre Squadron
Make More Terrain

Where I Should Cut Back
1/3000, 3mm, 6mm, 15mm, 20mm and 28mm Purchases (I think that's all of 'em)
FSA / DW Purchases
Impluse minis just because I want to paint them  or they are on sale (a major issue)

2015 has been great year for me and my family - I hope next year is equally great. I hope the new year is wonderful to you all as well.

27 December 2015

Boxing Day Frostgrave

I hope all of you had merry Christmases! Mine was very good, although the house is still a cluttery wreck. Ziggy came by last evening for our first go at Frostgrave - a fantasy skirmish game. Each player's group gains loot and experience per battle, much like the old Mordheim / Necromunda game from GW.

We put together our groups together - my Wizard leader was an Illusionist, Zig's was a Summoner. I won't bore you with list details.

We set up the table for a standard hunt the loot scenario - the loot markers are circled in orange.

Ziggy's merry band - Clint Holmes and Associates.

My brave mercenaries - Gob Bluth et. al.

Early on, Gob makes my crossbowman invisible and he takes up a solid firing position overlooking the plaza.

Zig becomes enamored with the Wall spell, shielding his scum from my slings and arrows of misfortune. The wall goes both ways and my mercs too are shielded.

A real brawl erupts around the mudhole off to my left. My thug reaches the treasure first on the dry spot but I still need to drag it off the table!

Arrows and bolts fly back and forth across the plaza! My spearman (lower right) has grabbed my first loot marker and is making off with it.

Just as I start to make my get-away, the Lovely Assistant hurls a Bone Dart at Herk and downs him in the muck. BOOOOOOOO.

And moments later, she does the same to his brother, Jerk! My apprentice, Steve Holt stares on in amazement.

Meanwhile, one of Clint's swordsmen was getting up close and personal with my archer, Mallory trying to make off with some ill-gotten coin. Gob ran back and cast Push on the crook, sending him hurling! He'd have gone SEVENTEEN inches, except that he smashed into the edge of the tabletop first. 

Steve Holt stares down the fat man and the Lovely Assistant. A moment later, a crossbow bolt strikes Steve in the forehead, prematurely ending his career.

In the end, Zig's group captured four of the treasures while I got two. Ziggy lost one Infantryman KIA and my very expensive Apprentice also went KIA. Once the treasure was doled out, my warband was deep in the hole, financially speaking. I haven't got enough money to pick up a replacement Apprentice. Ziggy picked up enough cash and prizes to replace his loss, hire another hand or two, and advance nicely. Now I'm wondering if I should stick it out with this group or punt and start fresh.The next scenario is going to be tough without an Apprentice.

Frostgrave, once we figured out that we were resolving damage wrong, is a very nice game. It's quick and deadly for sure. I've got some questions about spells - many of which leave a lot of opportunity for abuse - but I'll hunt down a FAQ to see if that is addressed. If you've got a collection of 28mm fantasy minis and a regular opponent or two, it is a very worthwhile investment.

Oh, here are some pics of the fountain that I just finished up...

24 December 2015

Christmas Eve Eve, Star Wars Style

Awesome. That was on my ride home from work yesterday.

With fresh memories of The Force Awakens in our heads, David, Anson and Ziggy came by last evening for some rare mid-week gaming in the form of X-Wing! We played a 3-direction game, Imperials (Christan and Anson), Rebels (Me and Ziggy) and Scum (David). 200-points per side. Oh, and if you haven't seen the new movie, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!?! It's awesome.

You can see that the Imperial Kid Corps went kookoo for Decimators, taking two and two Phantoms. Z and I went rag-tag - 2 B-Wings, a K, X, HWK-290 and a Z-95. David had a Houndstooth, IG2000, two Z-95s and two K?!$%& (unpronounceable Scum ship).

My blurry son trying to avoid photocapture.

We Rebels went right, staying away from the twin Decimators long enough to see what direction they were heading.

Space Bus 1 and 2.

The Scum and/or Villainy horde. They fly in pretty formations.

After a couple of turns (I wasn't taking regular pics) we had a nice scrum developing. A Scum Z-95 had been one-shotted by Anson's Decimator, my Moldy Crow attracted a LOT of attention and got popped. David piled on Anson's VT-49 and blew it up.

A tighter shot of the mess.

David and Anson had to beat feet around 9:15, so we ended the game before we had determined a winner. The Imperials had lost a Phantom and VT-49 (carrying Vader), The Scum lost a cheap Z-95 and the Houndstooth was down to one hull point. The Rebels had lost Kyle Katarn and my B-Wing was down to a single hull point... we were all having trouble.

We all had a great time - it was a good chance for us all to get together before Christmas. Merry Christmas to all my readers!

23 December 2015

Shipping- FedEx "Smart"post

Does anyone else out there wonder what the deal is with FedEx Smartpost? How can it be as screwed up as it is? It is the least efficient, stupidest package delivery system available.

I ordered a thing from miniaturemarket.com recently. Let's see what it took to get to Savannah...

St. Louis to Savannah - about 800 miles driving. Google estimates a bit over 12 hours of driver, sans traffic. I'd expect 3-4 work days for delivery.

What really happened...

For a rough estimate of 1575 miles and 10 days of travel. Wow.

On a completely separate note, http://sodapopminiatures.com/ has some massive discounts going on right now on many of their minis - 60% off in some cases. I just picked up some Hell Dorado minis that'll work well for Frostgrave.

19 December 2015

Weekly Update - "Frostgrave" buildings

With the intention of using them with Frostgrave, I've slapped together a couple of buildings in the last week and a half. Obviously, they didn't take much effort to construct or paint - I simply haven't had a whole lot of time for hobby activities lately.

Notably absent is rubble. There obviously should be quite a bit, but I hate how it interferes with minis' stability, thus, no rubble.

What I have had time for is re-thinking my Frostgrave setting. My collection is very "Frosty" so I'm thinking of something more like Fallout meets Frostgrave. Reading about the Oklo natural nuclear reactor recently piqued my interest; I figured something similar, closer to the surface, could produce an interesting "Chernobyl" zone in and around a Fantasy town / city. In the short run, that's the excuse for the grassy, late-summer look of everything. I may take a run at making some polluted wells, fountains, etc. It also gives me an opportunity to work on some weird radioactive mutant monsters.

14 December 2015

December Star Fleet Battles - Jailbreak!

The Space Cadets met in Brunswick, GA on Sunday afternoon for another fun-filled game of SFB. We had a new player join this month, David Drake of Jacksonville. We now have two Davids in our ranks. In case you're wondering, that's lucky. Hi David, and thanks for joining!

The scenario was part of our new narrative campaign set in and around the Bundag Asteroid Field (my non-canon creation). Last game, David's pirate captain got himself captured by some Romulan reservists. This month's installment tells the tale of Captain Jalad's escape.

Makeel had been waiting for days for instructions on what to do next. The convoy raid had been a bust. A crewman from a tug that had just pulled in gave him the note. Black Sun was sending a ship to retrieve Jalad and the other employees with him. The plan wasn't simple. Not by any stretch of the imagination. The pick-up ship would slide in close to Twelve, and idle. At 0300 hours, the cartel members on Twelve were to break out Jalad and any other privateers in the brig and then the entire group was to head to a skiff waiting at the dock. Once aboard the skiff, they'd be given the coordinates to find the cloaked pick-up ship. Everyone on the skiff would be transported to the get-away vessel at which point they'd make their way to safety.

Things went sour just after the breakout from the brig. Makeel had been shot and killed, as had two security guards. Alarms were sounded. The pirates made it to the waiting skiff and got moving as quickly as they could. All ships in the area were instructed to pursue and intercept the fleeing criminals. The nearest reserve ship - Bundag 131 was also called in to assist.

The game picks up at this point.

Orion (David S)
     Security Skiff - B12-01
     Light Raider - Slippery Eel (cloak, 1 Ph-1, 2 Plas-F)

Romulan / Civilian (Christian, Mike, David D)
     Salvage Tug - Gerk's Deep Space Towing, Ship #55 (Christian)
     Free Trader - Loot & Pillage (David)
     Small Prospecting Freighter - Attemptare (Mike)
     Harbor Tug - Potestas (Mike)
     Gladiator SF Fighter - Pilum (David)
     Admin Shuttle - 1522b (Mike)

The Romulans also get a Small Auxiliary Cruiser (RRSS 131) at the beginning of turn 3. (Mine baby, all mine!)

Our starting positions. The transparent circles indicate asteroid hexes. The civilian rabble is pretty widely scattered to start with. We don't know exactly the LR is. David has secretly documented the pick-up hex. We have to just guess at where he's going. David's goal is to exit the LR off the near board edge. We simply need to stop him.

My ride, Gerk's Deep Space Towing, Ship #55. It's got a 360 Phaser-2! That's a big deal with the junk we're flying this game.

The end of turn 1. The stolen skiff was making a bee-line for my right side. The rest of us try to pursue, knowing time is short. The skiff had fired a drone at Mike's Harbor Tug earlier, but it had been tractored and swung into an asteroid hex, killing it the awesome way.

Another drone is launched, then in no time, the Slippery Eel is revealed! The escaped pirates are transported off the skiff and the engines of the Light Raider roar to life.

The brave Romulan pilot of the Pilum send a torpedo towards the Orion ship but is fired at in return. That's an F-torp!

The inevitable. First Lieutenant Graz earns a medal the hard way.

By the end of the second turn, the foolhardy crew of the Free Trader get right on top of the Orion and knocks a big chunk out of its #2.

Then, David made the game difficult for us. He cloaked. GAH! The Slippery Eel lives up to its reputation.Luckily for the good guys, the 131 and a couple other ships managed to retain their lock-ons. That's the 131 streaking towards the action.

Mike's Harbor Tug and Prospector (which actually retained their lock-ons) slapped tractors on the Orion scum slowing it down considerably. Once close enough, the reserve light cruiser fired off a type-F. Sadly, it missed due to the cloak. 

A little ways back of the action, the boys from Gerk's took an Orion shuttle behind the woodshed.

Turn 5 and David was a mere five hexes from glory! He dropped the cloak giving himself a lot more power and gunned it. 131 and Potestas kept their tractors on the Slippery Eel which bloodied the nose of 131 with its last Plasma-F, ruining my plasma launcher which was almost ready to fire again! In the end though, David had put just enough power into movement to allow his ship to exit the map, even with two enemies in tow! Victory to the David and the Orions!

What started out as an excuse to put a bunch of never-used ships into one scenario turned into a terrific battle! I couldn't happier with the balance and the way it played out. David, flicking the cloak off and on messed us up big time. It saved his ass mid-game, then shutting it off after we'd taken our best shots, he was still in the clear and able to get away. A Light Raider is usually a junker, but was the top dog by a wide margin in this fight. It was all we could do to jump on the LR with tractors and slow it down as best we could while plinking away with our Ph-3s.

Thanks for the game guys! I hope we can get one in during January.

12 December 2015

Off Topic - TSO

My wife and I took a short trip down to Jacksonville Friday evening to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra in concert. Wow. What a spectacle. If you get the chance - do it. Many lasers, massive video screens, six-zillion lights and more fire than you can shake a stick at. The musicianship and performance was easily a 10/10.

I'll leave you with two pictures... The first is Asha killing it on violin. The second was during the pyrotechnics at the end of their final song.

06 December 2015

Frostgrave Minis

A few months back I started collecting and painting minis with the intention of playing Frostgrave. Well, I finally finished painting the miniatures and still have not played a game of Frostgrave. It may be worth mentioning that the group includes a handful of miniatures from my Anima Tactics and Relic Knights collections. I've kit-bashed and converted a handful and even have one very old Blood Bowl player in the group!

The first three here are some Warlord Games minis that have been hanging out on the table for a couple of months. They got finished yesterday.

And then I've done two group shots of the collection thusfar...

Overkill? I think not.

05 December 2015

A Busy Hobby Saturday

I've gotten a lot of hobby stuff done this Saturday. It feels good to take minis out of the queue and into storage.

Fist, some Dystopian Wars tanks...

Three L'Aman and three R-6 tanks, much like those featured in my previous battle report post.

Next we have a gaggle of French ships - four Chevalier destroyers, two Toulon cruisers and the mighty Charlemagne dreadnought! 

Finally, the last item to make it off the painting table was the SEPECAT Jaguar I picked up for the Litumsian MCC rebel group.

It's a very nice little 1:144 scale Minicraft kit. It didn't come with any appropriate ordinance so I left the pylons empty, implying that it had just released its bombs on some government positions.

I also made some progress on a couple scenery items. Their both 6mm sci-fi oriented and basically made from trash.

First is a garage made from the plastic of an Energizer AA battery 8-pack.

OK, so nothing fancy, but it looks pretty cool. That's an Epic Space Marine in front. 

Next, and still in a very raw condition is this...
It'll make a cool liquid storage facility. I may add some pipes here and there too. Having two kids has resulted in us having zillions of medicine measuring cups - getting six of the same design was easier for me than most folks I imagine.

Y'all have a great weekend!