30 December 2019

2020 Gaming Goals (and 2019 reflection)

Haha. Like there is such a thing. Here, let me announce my plans for how I'm going to goof off next year.

Honestly though, there are a few things I'd like to make happen sooner rather than later, hobby-wise.

1) Play a game with those 20mm Napoleonics I've been working on and collecting. I've got enough done for a very small into game which would scratch the itch. I've got enough infantry in the wings to make it a much more interesting affair. Goal - First Quarter.

2) At least four more games of Batman miniatures. Once per quarter is doable, right? The games have been darn entertaining and the narrative campaign has been fun to keep alive.

3) Play Sabre Squadron at least once, either 6mm or 15mm. It's a good candidate for Memorial Day.

4) Play Modern Spearhead at least twice. I don't think it made it on the table at all in 2019. Truly sad.

5) Get in a game or two of Dystopian Wars. Zig, David and I discussed it but have yet to make it a reality.

So, where did it all go off the tracks in 2019? Well, Ziggy and I spent a good bit of time focusing on Infinity and X-Wing. I don't regret it at all. Infinity has been a great learning experience and now that we're more familiar with the nuances, it's a really good tactical skirmish. X-Wing is just fun, plain and simple.

Another tabletop distraction has been Dungeons and Dragons. Again, no regrets at all and I think (hope) we've got another session lined up for Saturday. If that falls through, maybe the minis will hit the table?

My best accomplishment for 2019 has been the Skirmish rules I developed for my X-Files game. They're simple and supremely functional! It's about as close to a Holy Grail system as I've cobbled together in ages. Everyone has their own ideas about "perfect" game systems and I think I checked all the boxes with SKIrmish:

1) No repetitive dice rolls - none of that GW-style HIT, WOUND, SAVE bullshit. One die = one result.

2) No nitpicking - do 45 degree arcs and fractional inches make games fun? F*** no! They make them nitpicky and give certain types something to wallow in. Nothing wrong with a range ruler, man.

3) Not in the rules, make it up - Oh what, you want to hotwire that car or create a distraction? Discuss with your level-headed opponent and make it so.

Another high-point was the Rate of Fire games played with Ziggy and then re-run at Tanksgiving. It's awesome to see a scenario play out excellently twice in a row. Both games we nail-biters and a complete blast.

Alright y'all, I'm out for now. Have a safe New Year's Eve and a wonderful 2020!

29 December 2019

Last Gaming Saturday of the Year!

I hope everyone had a nice Christmas. Things have been busy and I was surprised to actually get in two games yesterday (Saturday). Ziggy and I got together around lunch time for some X-Wing. I got to try out a Republic "swarm" I'd put together a month or two ago.

Three Naboo starfighters and two V-19s. Low-end ships to be sure, but as we all know, quantity can be just as effective as quality. Ziggy brought out the Ghost. It had a gun shuttle docked with it and it was escorted by two Z-95 Headhunters.

It was a great swirling dogfight. My nimble Republic fighters easily able to keep up with the Rebel ships. You can see here the Ghost doing its best to run away. 😁

Zig kept it on the board though. The trouble was, it was a very predictable maneuver and I had no trouble getting every gun in the group pointing the right direction.

Pew Pew. And she's done. The smaller ships chased each other around for a bit. I lost a V-19 and most of my ships were damaged, Ziggy lost a Headhunter and the shuttle was heavily damaged.

My lessons learned in my recent games with David were instrumental to my success. I was able to chase and "wolfpack" the large enemy ship while its escorts struggled to look after it. It took David some time to learn how to effectively escort a big ship (in his case an Imperial Shuttle). I suggested to Zig that he stick with the Ghost and try a faster, more nimble escort like a A-Wing that can really give enemy ships a headache. I hope Ziggy sticks with it - it's a neat ship and it'd be cool to see him get really good with it.

Later in the evening, my bride and I game Command and Colors Ancients a whirl. She gave it to me for Christmas and was interested in trying it. I happily obliged. ( Yes, I really enjoyed C&C: Medieval a month or so ago )

I set up the board for the first scenario, the Battle of Akragas. We kept it very simple for game 1. I removed all the "special" command cards so we could just concentrate on game mechanics and objectives. I took the Carthaginian side while my wife commanded the Syracusian forces. The Carthaginians are really disadvantaged in this battle and I didn't think my bride would appreciate being handed such a headache to learn the game.

Early into the proceedings. I'd only lost one unit of chariots at this point. 

Rocket rather enjoyed the game.

Late in the game... my poor guys are getting rolled!

My bride thought it would be funny to text me scoring updates as we played:
Brutal. The final score was five to two. We both had a great time and will certainly be playing more in the future. I need some revenge.

Everyone have a safe and happy NYE and best wishes for the New Year!

15 December 2019


I finished up another unit of the 20mm Napoleonics project yesterday. I can add French cavalry to the roster now. Models are from Newline Design, and are top notch. Next up will be some French artillery. Pics  were taken pre-Dullcote and were done with the flash on, obliterating the shadows and wash.

06 December 2019

Tanksgiving 2019

Last Saturday Mike hosted his annual Tanksgiving get-together down in Waycross. David, Ziggy and I journeyed down to be part of the day of gaming. Mike was setting up a game of Ogre miniatures using Dystopian Wars minis when we arrived. With six players, it looked a bit crowded, so I opted for and intro game of Command and Colors Medieval. I'd never played C&C and read so much about it so it was nice to get an opportunity to play.

I helped command the Byzantine Roman army with Randy (the game's owner and our teacher). Our Hun opponents were Wayne and Max. Max also has experience with C&C so we weren't facing two greenhorns.

Our opponents. Wayne and Max.

Randy and me, fumbling through a selfie.

We Yin-Yang'ed for a bit, both sides pushing on their left flanks and exchanging bow fire.

Then a bit of success on our right, although the marauding heavy infantry over there (with leader) eventually wound down. It's fine, they served well.

So we were dealt the card to make the left flank go bananas, and bananas we went. We out-Hunned the Huns and our cataphracts stormed forward.

Smash, smash, smash. Super Heavy Cataphracts + Leader + appropriate cards to lay down the smack = loads of dead Huns. General Flatus and company go legend.

Comidus Flatus clears the flank.

Towards the end of the game... We'd done a fine job of corralling the invaders from the steppe. I think our heavy infantry off to the right actually bagged the ninth kill kill for us. A resounding victory for Rome!

I rather enjoyed Command and Colors. It's easier to like a game when you have a very successful first outing but it does a fine job of ticking all the right boxes. C&C (any flavor) made it on my Christmas list after this outing.

The next game was Rate of Fire. This was a re-fight of the battle Ziggy and I played a few weeks prior. Mid-1943, Germans trying to capture a road intersection with plenty of Soviet resistance. I GM'ed. Wayne and Randy took command of the Germans while Max handled the Russians himself (with a little advice from me).

The German recce elements get a move on.

Amusingly, the 8-Rad gets hung up in the concertina wire, but does manage to locate the Zis-3 ATG gun the hard way! One survivor bails out.

Ze Germans appear in force. Stugs, halftracks and panzers, oh my! They're much more spread out than the way Ziggy played it.

The Zis-3 claims another victim! A Panzer IV is taken out. Towards the bottom of the frame, infantry begin exchanging rifle and machinegun fire. Wayne's hand of cheese commands the truck driver to park his Opel Blitz in front of the Russian machinegun position to block its line of sight! The truck and driver are disabled in short order.

The halftack in the center next to the Stug gets barbed wire wrapped up in it's running gear. Smirk. The Stug is smashed by a shot from the ATG and the gunner and assistant are killed. It can only move and spot now.

Max's first two reserve rolls hit paydirt and by turn five he's got two T-34s added to his mix, like he needs it!

And in no time, another Panzer is taken out! The driver survives.

The other T-34 immobilizes another Panzer IV. It's a bloodbath!

Many infantry reveal themselves. Gross. The Panzer driver (upper left) hails an Uber in the form of a Schwimmwagen.

The stationary Stug gets its act together and take out a T-34.

The craziest group of Germans you're likely to meet charges forward! The reds have four firing units that can blast away at the grenadiers. They only take a few casualties but of course are suppressed, preventing them from assaulting the machinegun position in the woods which was of course their goal.

The Panzer with the fouled running gear takes out one of the Russian tanks!

The Grenadiers on the left flank shoot up the Russian mortar team. Meanwhile, the Uber has arrived at it's destination - the Stug that's got no driver. The Panzer driver hops out of the Schwimmwagen and offers to drive. I allow it.

The lone survivor of the most recently destroyed Soviet tank gets his dander up and rushes the nearest German infantry squad. He kills one with his pistol and causes the squad to become suppressed! Chuck Norris, eat your heart out.

I didn't take any action shots, but the little Russian field gun killed a halftrack then got wiped out by angry return fire. The Stug pushed out of the wire and the Russian infantry that had been in the woods next to Stug ran towards the intersection.

That was the end of ten turns. The Germans had just run out of time, a Soviet win! The Russian infantry in the woods nearest the intersection were the squad holding the objective and I couldn't rationalize an unoccupied halftrack being able to contest it.

Wow, what an amusing game. I did allow a few Hollywood moments for the sake of awesome. The Poor German players made no friends of the dice and suffered some miserable fortune much of the game. German artillery was successfully called in ONE time in ten turns, needing a 3+ each time. Russian morale stayed reliable enough to eke out a win.

Everyone enjoyed themselves and it was nice being able to show off the 1/72nds to folks who've never played with them. Wayne may be a convert - he's been looking for a good WW2 skirmish scale and let's face it, 1/72 has EVERYTHING and is budget-friendly.

Thanks Mike for hosting and I look forward to returning the favor next Memorial Day!

29 November 2019

Recent Painting

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving (or Thursday of you're not in the US)! Mine was fantastic.

I picked up a couple of Hordes starter boxes recently primarily because they were dirt cheap and seemed like fun to paint. Plus side, they're starter boxes with rules, tokens, dice, etc. so technically I could play a game with them... perish the thought!

Anyway, here are the crew from the Skorne starter box that finished earlier in the week.

They turned out nicely and I'm very happy with the results. The sunlight pictures may not show it best, but there's a lot more dark shading than I normally do. A week off work gives you plenty of time for highlighting, shading and all that good stuff. I hope the opfor Trolls will be as nice.

26 November 2019

Y-Files Episode 2. Zombies!

It's Tuesday and gaming is in the house! There's little that can compare to a Tuesday morning 6x4 shoot 'em up. Mark can by today for a few hours of dice rolling entertainment. This installment of the Y-Files featured our FBI agents and Task Force Yankee  rolling in to deal with a horde of the wandering dead. This was primarily a play test of the zombie and werewolf units. The Zombies really just had to eliminate opponents and attempt to exit units off the opposite board edge. The living just needed to try to stop them.

The table setup. We've got a farm, gas station, house, cemetery and two creepy old houses in the woods. TF Yankee was in the Stryker vehicle entering on the road at the upper right in the picture. The FBI agents would arrive from the opposite end of the road. Many groups of zombies were at the ready.

Brains! You can also see one of the werewolves between mobs. The werewolves are much faster and tougher than the zombies. They give the creepers a bit of "oomf."

The FBI splits up, two left, two right of the house. The Hummers are new since the last game. I had a real problem finding suitable GMC Suburbans, but Walmart had a bunch of H2s on the shelf. Some gloss black paint, a few number decals to tell them apart, and job's done!
The hordes are immediately attracted to the armored vehicle and move towards it. They're greeted by (nearly ineffective) grenade and machinegun fire.

I decide that maybe the house and its hedges should be where I Alamo-up. The Hummers turn around. The Stryker continues to shoot into the hordes but still isn't very effective.

The two werewolves inside the perimeter are enough to make me reconsider setting up camp in there. The vehicles will serve as obstacles! Two trucks block the driveway entrance. The werewolves have very little trouble vaulting over and engaging the agents who just exited the vehicles. Gah!

The other vehicles are parked end-to-end and bam, instant fort! Task Force Yankee soldiers get atop the vehicles to fight the zombies. Meanwhile, agents and Lt. Dan duke it out with the werewolves.

It has officially gotten real.

Ballroom Blitz! A werewolf pops up behind our lines and make a beeline towards some agents. Scully and Mulder are firing at the hordes from the back of a pickup truck. On the left, a scantily-clad zombie has engaged TF Yankee in melee!

Agent Reyes, who'd gotten injured by the werewolf gets out of Dodge, presumably to get medical assistance. She notices more zombies incoming from around the house!

Four-player dogpile on the werewolf! Our heroes join the brawl.

Zombies are all over the trucks now! The army guys hold their own though.

Man, this is grim. The gunfire and other noise got the "flankers" attention so at least they aren't heading off the table, but they are heading for my troops!

A round of terrific gunfire wipes out a mob of attackers.

It's nearly over now! Just a few more zombies to go... the go-go dancer proves to be a formidable adversary; she's still fighting with the TFY trooper atop the Stryker.

And as quickly as it began, it ended. Three Task Force Yankee troopers will have to be taken into the custody of the Special Medical Advanced Research Team. Poor fellas. Scully and Reyes both have werewolf scars to compare. Four other agents were taken out along with a TFY soldier who turned zombie during the battle.

That was a heck of a game. Mark liked it, I liked it... what's not to like? Simple rules, simple scenario - just go for it and play. We came up with a few tweaks for the zombies and werewolves. The humans didn't need any adjusting after the previous game. We came up with some scenario-specific ideas that'll be interesting in future games but for now I'm content with it just as it was.