26 March 2017

Steampunk Skirmish AAR - Chapter 1

If a dimensional gate explodes in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
Doctor Krauss sure seemed to hear it. The old man doesn’t miss much, that’s for sure. Within hours a patrol of Automatons were on their way into Belgium, accompanied by Captain Vanderling. It would be easy to evade detection in the expansive forest and with any luck, remnants of the gate could be recovered for further examination and experimentation.
Captain Eric Vanderling wasn’t terribly keen on the assignment. A slog through the woods with little over a dozen idiot mechanical men wasn’t much fun in the best of times, but in late September, a cold wet hike is really miserable. He’d had his fair share of marches when he was in the Kaiser's Army. This wasn’t what he had in mind when he was recruited by Herr Doctor to join the Order of the Gear.
The Men of Letters also know about the gate. Henri Godot of the Paris chapter practically predicted it. Two squadrons of Legionnaires, already in Belgium, were sent without delay to recover anything useful from the anomaly. Lieutenant Lavigne was determined to get this mission over with quickly. The weather wasn’t making any friends this day.

The site of the encounter. The white spots are potential locations of the objective. The black area in the middle is just "scorched earth" while the other template areas are fog banks.

Bert fires off a burst from his Fusil Automatique, but the Automatons' armor is up to the challenge.

Both forces reach objective markers at the same time, but neither proves to be useful.
On my right, the other squad takes up a position on the hill.

But the advancing Automatons spot them, level their ray guns and kill three of the Legionnaires!

But on the left, things are going a bit better. Two of the Automatons have gotten lost in the fog. Henri easily blasts the lone metal man searching for the mystical relic.
A wider view of the left side. Lieutenant Lavigne sprints towards the central objective location. His opposite number, Captain Vanderling is also headed towards the middle of the scorched area.

One of the robots is taken out in close combat by a pair of Legionnaires.
Lavigne runs to the objective, blasting an Automaton with his pistol!

The two leaders begin their brawl but are evenly matched. Neither can gain an advantage.

At the end of the turn, we checked the objective markers. The one I had snatched from the Automaton on my right turns out to be the right one - number 3! Metallic cries of "shenanigans" and "cheater" emanate from the fog.

The smoke that Lavigne had created earlier was still sticking around and was still providing useful cover.

Brave Pierre runs to the aid of his commander.

A well-placed rifle shot fells another Automaton.
A robot joins Vanderling against Lavigne in the melee, while two Automatons sneak behind Pierre and shoot him from behind.

The casualties really start piling up for the Legionnaires as the OG's robots push hard to intercept!

The two heroic Legionnaires continue their run!

When a half-squad of metal men bursts from the other side of the ruined house!

Mon Dieu! The shots all miss or are ineffective against the Legionnaire's armor.
But then that dastardly Vanderling appears and heaves a grenade. It, too, is ineffective!
But just as they're about to get away, the pair are caught by the bots. Alain is cut down.

Edouard picks up the relic and makes his get-away! Vanderling shakes his fist and screams at the drizzling sky.

Wow, what a tense game! As far as the game itself, it's just a simple home-brew d20 based skirmish rules that borrow bits from GASLIGHT and WarZone. The models are Dystopian Legions that have been painted over the course of the last year. it's nice to get them into a proper game.

My wife took command of the Order of the Gear while I was the Men of Letters forces. She was absolutely killing me early on and really, it wasn't until I swapped out dice about 2/3 of the way through that it got competitive. She was so close to catching me at the end and if she'd split her fire between my last two guys running with the relic she might have killed both because of the five shots she took, two were killing hits but all were declared against the "ball carrier."

The heroes were suitably heroic and both proved to be tough as nails compared to the rank and file troops they were leading. Inspiration for the storyline comes from your usual Jules Verne, plus some Supernatural, X-files and Indiana Jones. We're both excited for chapter 2!

19 March 2017

Two Quick X-Wing AARs - New Ship Trials

Ziggy and I have picked up a handful of new X-Wing ships lately and just haven't had time to give them some play. Saturday, we committed ourselves to giving them a try.

Game 1 - A Stressful Situation

<< I misread a card which affected this game to a large extent. I feel bad about it and am making a public apology for it. I've also apologized to Ziggy. >>

I picked up Kylo Ren's Shuttle at Rapier in January an in the closet it has sat since. I decided to go with a theme list and use only "Force Awakens" ships, so I also had two TIE/fo and one TIE/sf (special forces) - with the tricksy rear-firing gun.

Across from me was the massive Ghost from the Star Wars Rebels cartoon and friggin' Biggs. The Ghost was carrying an attack shuttle that could be launched mid-game.

An action shot, just as the attack shuttle was launched. Biggs got caught running the wrong direction and my TIEs jumped all over the shuttle, killing it. My sweet black winged thing tailed the Ghost, all the while being dinged by its turret. In the end it paid off as the stress tokens that crew member Mara Jade was placing on the Ghost prevented it from being able to make a sharp enough turn to stay on the table. It drifted into oblivion. A sad end to ma seriously tough ship.

Game 2 - Outshined

After dinner we re-grouped and put together new lists entirely.
I switched to Scum and Villainy. I didn't recall using the IG-88 ship (with the large base) or the space van, so off I went with a trash list. No effort was made to coordinate special abilities or upgrades - this was just a collection of four ships.

They were of course pitted against three souped-up T-70 X-Wings, including the very tough Poe Dammeron. Although I held my own for a while; eventually the Mist Hunter (space bus) went away, then one by one, so did the others. The plucky M3A (the green and purple one) hung in there 'til the end and was the last to go.

So, at the end, it was one and one for us. I didn't notice my error until this morning. I really like the First Order TIEs and that Special Forces TIE. The Shuttle is fun, but an unwieldy bus. IG-88's ship, on the other hand, is a nimble sweet ride that is an absolute joy to use.

17 March 2017

Recently Painted - Shiny Metal Skeletons

Took a while to complete, primarily due to painting lethargy, but ten Terminator Endoskeletons are complete.

They were a lot easier to paint than the amount of time spent on the painting table would indicate. A quick blast of chrome spray paint, black magic wash, red eyes... Basing took the most time. The 17 Resistance soldiers from the box are, ummm, about 60% done. Block colors are done. Need a wash, drybrush and details picked out. And basing. OK, maybe 45%.

Happy St. Patty's Day. Although it's a huge deal here in Savannah, I'll be heading into work anyway. No rest for the weary.

13 March 2017

Recently Completed

I managed to complete one of two Elysium Sky Fortresses on Sunday. This is a Dystopian Wars model - a flying aircraft carrier as if you couldn't tell. It is used by the Honorable Eclipse Company mercenary faction. I picked up two HEC starter boxes on Amazon a few months ago for $30 each - typically they're $60 each. I also had a $10 Amazon credit, so yeah, two starters for less than the usual price of one. Massive win.

Perhaps it'll get to debut in a game sometime soon?

12 March 2017

AAR - Dystopian Wars in the South Seas

Ziggy has talked about running some Dystopian Wars narrative campaign games for a little while now so last evening we finally put resin to tabletop and made something happen. It'll be a series of battles between his British Empire forces and my Empire of the Blazing Sun forces. I'll be able to call on Eclipse Company mercenaries if we deem it necessary.

Our first battle was a small-scale surface action. In game terms, 800 points, mediums and smalls only. No SAS, no TAC, no special deployment.

We played on a 4 X 4 table. I have corvettes off to my left, frigates, gunships, destroyers and mini subs in the middle and light cruisers right. My newly minted "quick and easy islands" made their debut.

Captain Hamasaki started barking orders to his fleet. The Nakatsu squadron reacted quickly with a barrage of rockets easily sinking a British destroyer in the distance.

Attacker Sqn 512 pulled forward and concentrated fire on one of the Japanese cruisers damaging it, only to suffer return fire from the enemy destroyers.

Hamasaki's gunship group and Territorial Patrol Sqn 12 trade shots.

The British commodore, Admiral Hayes steams his personal Reinforced Cruiser Squadron forward and easily finishes off the Japanese gunship! Hamasaki would be picked up later, clinging to a length of timber.

So, after a turn, this is how the forces were arrayed. My snipers holding back with the brawler smalls quickly advancing. The fleet would carry on with Hamasaki's final transmitted orders.

The Uwatsu squadron pulls in close to the British command squadron and fires a mighty barrage, causing a fusion leak in the engine room!

The Nakatsu's get the jump on 512 Squadron, sinking a frigate and damaging another.

They are followed by a fine example of naval gun and rocket fire as the destroyers finish off British Torpedo Destroyer Squadron 1200.

And then things got very bloody indeed. My mini subs first surfaced and covered Hayes' Agincourt with corrosive fire. Fast Corvette Squadron Cricket with Hammer streaked in from the east and hit the lead Tribal hard, igniting the powder magazine. The ship was ripped apart from stem to stern. The massive explosion went on to sink several surfaced Zarigani subs, an Uwatsu frigate, two British frigates and caused further damage to the Agincourt!

At this point I had sunk more Japanese vessels than the British had!

 The remnants of the command group steer their ships into the corvettes which had caused so much trouble.
Both were sunk easily. They proceeded to blast away at the remaining Tanuki gunship.

A turn later, the gunship suffered a further round of heavy gunfire and went under.

The Nakatsus continue to perform well over on my right. Their assault marines boarding and derelicting the last of 512 Squadron.

The Blazing Sun frigate squadron takes the final shots of the battle, sinking commodore Hayes' Agincourt. The British hoisted the white flag and the two fleets began separating, looking for survivors amidst the wreckage.

Wow. That was a brutal and sad affair for the Brits. We didn't keep score - we agreed after three turns that the EBS had won handily. My dice were on fire and really made all the difference. I flat-out stopped at least three solid torpedo waves with amazing CC rolls and it seemed like every attack I made was a crit. Sometimes the dice just can't be stopped.

The next game will likely see a Japanese surface fleet being ambushed by British subs and/or aircraft, since the British surface forces in the Java sea have had to retreat  following this battle. It was nice to put DW back on the table - we haven't played in a few months and it really has felt like forever since I used the EBS ships.

05 March 2017

Gnomecon - Day 2 (Saturday)

I got back to Gnomecon around 11:30 or so and met up with David. I could have kicked my self for taking my Wings of Glory stuff out of my car, figuring I wouldn't have time to play, replacing it with Rubber and Lead and StarDust Ground. As we puttered around looking for something to do, we ran into one of Mike Baker's gaming buddies from Waycross who has with WoG stuff with him and we quickly put together a 4-player game.

Mark glares. He drew the P-40 Tomahawk. I drove a Japanese something or other, paired up with David in an Italian plane. Joe piloted a Yak-1. It was a simple Axis vs. Allies dogfight.

The final moments of Uncle Joe's plane. David was taken out next, by Mark. Mark and I duelled and eventually I shot him down - good vengeance from Friday night.

I retrieved my R&L stuff from the Avalon and got it set up. I worked on Heidi, one of the Gnomecon organizers, to give me a primo traffic spot. I figured Rubber and Lead would have a lot of visual appeal to passersby and really wanted that foot traffic.

A blurry shot of my wife, junior (far right), David (far left in orange) and two friends of my youngest son getting in a warm-up game before the tournament.

At 2:30 the first annual Gnomecon Rubber and Lead Championship began. It was to be four races, then a fifth race featuring the winners of the earlier four races.

Race one featured Heidi, James, Landon and I think his name was Jack. It went on for a good hour - easily the longest game of R&L ever.

Me in the StarDust shirt and Landon.

Landon's pickup ends H8 Team's day.

Heidi in the white Mini led for one and two-thirds laps, only to be overtaken by James going into the last corner!

She hit the oil, spun out and James' Pony took the checkered flag!

A serious man. Check out the 2017 Winner ribbon & medal.

Race two - Our drivers were Gabe, Ian, Ian's dad whose name I didn't get and Mark. This game was much more "traditional" - a bloody affair.

Ian and his dad take eachother out. BEAUTIFUL.

Mark's Flatbed is pursued by Gabe's Jack O Lantern but his lead is too great!

And Mark wins the second race!

The third race was the Kinderspiel. Gabe and Ian brought two of their buddies over. I think their combined ages is still less than my age. I was so happy to see kids this age enjoying a real game - not just video games.

The Flatbed's side flamethrowers were busy and poor Greased Lightning was hit early and often.

Gabe went on to win, driving the convertible.

The final heat race featured David, Alan (I think?) and Rich (in white) - a loooong time gaming buddy who I used to play Blood Bowl, Warhammer, etc. with. I was was very happy to have him play my game. Heidi came back for another race and was #4.

Poor Heidi who'd gotten snookered in the first race got T-boned and taken out early in this race.

So here's Rich in the yellow car about to win, followed by his buddy in Coppertop and trailed by David in Greased Lightning. It's a done deal, right?

Nope. Coppertop pulls in behind Ol' Yeller, killing it with a gun shot but also getting blocked! David's Mini sneaks past for the win!

Our four winners... on to the final race!

It's a close affair except for David's van in the back!

Kill of the day. David rammed James' convertible, shoving it into mines and the outside wall, then blasting it with his cannon. Perfection.

Mark's Mustang has a commanding lead as Gabe tries to get it together. David's van trails the pack.

David plots.

But wrecks his van against Gabe's Green Machine. Sadly, this halts Gabe's car, handing victory to Mark!

He'd taken no damage so the mines were of little concern...

Our champ with his prize package! Kindly vendors donated much of the loot. Congratulations Mark!

We played a few more screw-around games including one on the insane Figure-8 track. It was a blast.

By then it was 9:30PM and I was beat. I had been standing for nearly eight hours and talking for most of that. Rubber and Lead had been extremely well received in its first public showing and I couldn't be happier. People wanted to know how to buy it and how to buy into the kickstarter! Kickstarter... it gives me ideas for sure! I never even got a chance to pull out StarDust but who cares - R&L was a smash hit and the talk of the 'con on Saturday afternoon. I had board gamers leaving their games to come check out MY game! That's high praise. We found a few things to be tweaked but I'm confident R&L can go live very soon.

Wow. Highlight of my gaming career so far. A great con and a great day of gaming.