27 February 2019

"Recently" Painted Malifaux

I finished this crew up last weekend. They're typically fantastic multi-part plastic Wyrd miniatures, in this case "The Plague Cometh" box set. It says a lot about the minis that I continue to buy and paint them even though I still haven't played the game. Now that 3rd edition is close on the horizon, I'm not going to invest any time in learning 2nd since it looks like a significant overhaul. Anyway, on to the pics.

The lot.

Scraps. His eyes are a little tribute to "I Am The Walrus."

The Rats.

Orphans / street urchins. The poor girl is chowing down on a rat!

 She's a bit more enamored by the rats.

And here's boss man, summoning a truly hideous monstrosity.

Believe me, this great green thing was a challenge to assemble.

But I really like how it turned out.

My painting was inspired by the TV show "The Frankenstein Chronicles." It's a period piece set in London in the 1820's and 30's. Everything is very dreary, dirty and dingy and that seemed to suit these guys perfectly. I very purposefully muted all the colors I used with grays and browns to eliminate bright catchy colors. They're still colorful but not gaudy.

17 February 2019

Rapiercon 2019 - Saturday 2: Star Fleet Battles

My scenario "Jailbreak" was brought out of mothballs for Saturday afternoon's entertainment at Rapier. I made a few minor tweaks, based on the previous game's play, but nothing significant. The flavor text and setup.

Jalad, Orion captain of some renown had recently been captured by the Romulan police operating in the Bundag asteroid field. Jalad had a few inside contacts on the mining base in which he was being held until he could be transferred. They made arrangements to have a get-away vessel hidden nearby. Once it was in place, it was a matter of getting him out of his cell, to a skiff that conveniently was left with the engine running and on his way to the waiting ship!

Right on cue, the klaxons began blaring as soon as Jalad and his associates boarded the skiff. The base commander immediately requested that all nearby vessels assist with the apprehension of the crook. A few brave Romulans answered the call. This is what happened.

This go around, Mike got to assume the mantle of Jalad, beginning play in a fairly stock Security Skiff. Our other players were:
David D - Piloting a Small Prospecting Ship
Davis S - Piloting a Salvage Tug, an Admin Shuttle and a Gladiator SF fighter
Edward - Piloting a Free Trader
Tom - Piloting a Harbor Tug

With the exception of Tom, the other players have all played with us in Brunswick so it was great to have the gang all together. Tom hadn't played SFB in 20 years but it didn't take him much time to adjust and get his bearings - Mike would see to that!

The Orion starts on the blue hex. He needs to get to his cloaked Light Raider "get away vehicle" hidden in an asteroid hex of map sections B or E, and escape the map from the far map edge (the 01xx row). The civilians are fairly well scattered across the map.

The scenario gets under way! Energy Allocation is pretty easy given the scows our captains are flying today. Of course, in a sector of scows, the Light Raider is a real dreadnought.

The pirate immediately hits the thrusters and heads off starboard. Mike immediately starts Tom on a refresher course; a drone and phaser fire greet Tom's harbor tug which is plotting an intercept course. The harbor tug's phaser-3 knocks off a shield box or two from the skiff. Everyone else had begun moving to box in the pirate except David S! Has he turned traitor?

Here's a close up of that last shot. David's massive Salvage Tug is moving away from the action, perhaps he's going to play "goalie?" He is towing the admin shuttle atop the model.

A closer shot.

Turn 2. The pirate has made it to the Light Raider and fires up the engines. He surprises the entire table when he announces that he's going to plug along at speed 6. He's going through the asteroids!

The lumbering haulers slowly react to the changing situation. Fortunately for them, the situation is changing slowly because Mike didn't just gun the engine and run! This happens to be the final photograph featuring the Gladiator fighter. Mike would smite it with phaser fire shortly after this picture was taken. A moment of silence.

Mike's ship has emerged from the rocks and turn's David's Prospector into a canoe with an F-torp and phasers. Tom's Harbor Tug had also been savaged by the Orion. Keen eyes will reveal that David's big tug is honing in on the Orion position.

Turn 3... David hits a home run. He announces a tractor on Mike who hasn't got the juice to counter it. He's going to shove old mister "I plotted speed 16" into the asteroids. The pirate is now also dragging a heavy damn ship.

David did what we all wanted to see and let Mike go in the asteroids. Mike got lucky with the rolls and only took minor damage from bouncing off rocks. The anchor did give the others time to catch up though and you can Mike has some consternation going on. Also note that a Small Auxiliary Cruiser has arrived (controlled by David D whose first ship was most wrecked at the time). You can see it about five hexes into the map, up from those paired red counters.

Energy is plotted for turn 4. The noose is tightening but that Orion is a slippery customer!

David S slaps another tractor on the Orion, dropping him from the announced speed of 31 to a miserable 15! With no energy to counter the four that David dropped into tractors (he had very few systems left by now) Mike resigned himself to dragging the anchor around while the dealing with what the others had (which certainly wasn't much!).

The wannabe cruiser flings a type-F at the Orion. A game of "easily broken model Jenga" breaks out. Mike ends up having a shield crushed by the torpedo. Marines from the cruiser are beamed aboard the Orion vessel!

The situation at the end of turn 4. The boarding parties fought to a stalemate, no casualties on either side. Mike and David have a tractor auction. Mike wins with 8. He declares a high enough speed to get away if he can survive another round of shooting.

The Orion's rear shield is long gone. Two more boarding parties are sent over! The pirates are outnumbered on their own vessel 4:2! Shots continue to slam into the wrecked Orion ship.

But, it's got enough in the tank to make it out! Congratulations to Mike for toughing out a very difficult mission and getting the win. Those three and a half hours of Star Fleet were some of the best gaming I've ever been around. I was a "proud papa" in the GM seat watching my scenario unfold like a fantastic movie. The table was overflowing with humor, stress and great sportsmanship. I'd like to thank everyone who played for rising to the challenge of "when like gives you a Harbor Freighter, you may as well treat the enemy like freight."

We did roll the boarding party combat after the fact and indeed, both Orion BPs were killed, so the story's got a sad ending for the crooks, but it didn't diminish Mike's accomplishment.

We hung out for the Raffle. Tom won two prizes, as did David's son Anson. Mark and I split, both tired as hell. A great Con and looking forward to 2020!

16 February 2019

Rapiercon 2019 - Saturday Frostgrave

After a terrible night of not enough sleep, we convened for breakfast then headed over to the game hall for Frostgrave.

I used my Pink Ladies party. I had taken two with me since David hadn't time to get one together. He chose my Orks. I didn't have much preference either way and was quite happy with the way the Pink Ladies operated.

David's Orks. Lee (one of Mike's Waycross buddies) set up the table and scenario.Nominally, it was a "Well of Dreams and Sorrows" scenario, but with a ton of wandering monsters to keep us occupied.

The 3x3 play area way completely dominated by the enormous table. We all agreed the humongous "gutter" around the play area was the best thing ever since we had copious space for the gaming accoutrements that normally end up on the floor, another nearby table, etc.

In the early going, I sent half my group after a nearby Uruk. We needed some breathing room!

Meanwhile, Daphne and some others went right to deal with another Uruk. Daphne is the group's Wizard (an Enchanter, in pink).

My apprentice threw a Wizard Eye out next to the well-defended-well. I had hoped to start lobbing Grenade spells from it!

The obligatory selfie group shot.

As it turned out, thus Uruk seemed to be Darth Maul in disguise because it took five of my gang to get a hit on him! The player to our left was in charge of rolling "monster" dice against us. I felt pretty good about having Mike and his traditionally truculent dice to my left. As it turns out, the man only rolls seventeens and higher when he's representing the side of evil!

Eventually, we were able to smite the foul creature and concentrate on gathering loot.

My kills. I also got out with two treasures. David was the big winner. He scored three treasures (maybe four?) and was the only one of us whose wizard made it to the pool for a drink!

Frostgrave was a nice, low-stress game to kick off the day. We had lunch/beer then got ready for Star Fleet Battles.

Of course while we were doing our thing, there was plenty of other activity including this nice looking game of Gangs of Rome:

There was also an impressive table of Battletech stuff being assembled:
The real shame of that was that it was scheduled to start at 9:00am. The disorganizer didn't even show up until around 9:30 and wasn't done putting it all together until perhaps 11:00! He had a handful of very patient players, but while I was setting up SFB around 1:30, they'd only completed a single turn of movement and had broken for lunch. Then, crime of crimes, they had a lot of unpainted mechs on the table! I joked that they were fighting for control of a paint factory. I felt very good about playing FG and not Battletech as I had initially planned.

SFB will be in the next post. It was without a doubt one of the best/most entertaining games I've ever witnessed. It was Star Trek 2, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Blazing Saddles all rolled into one.

14 February 2019

Rapiercon 2019 - Friday

Last weekend I made the short trek south to Jacksonville for the 2019 iteration of Rapier game convention. All said, it was a terrific two days of gaming and hanging out with friends.

Your truly and Mark J (driving) on Friday morning. There's a lot to be said for driving to a game convention on a Friday morning and not being at work!

My plans for the weekend were pretty loose - only two commitments - a Blood and Plunder tournament on Friday afternoon and running a Star Fleet Battles game on Saturday afternoon.

Interesting development... the Firelock Games folks are working on a Great War skirmish game that uses some of the B&P mechanics. I'd keep any eye out for this if it's your cuppa... the company is top-notch and I'm very impressed with their product thusfar.

An interesting swashbuckling affair with a very nice layout.

My favorite layout of the weekend was this darkest Africa table. Forty-eight square feet of AWESOME! Sadly, they were playing during my B&P games so I couldn't join.

Blood and Plunder began at 2:00pm. There were only four of us playing which made for a really tidy three-game tournament! My first game was with Mark.

Belloq makes his tabletop debut! 

This dice roll neatly sums up the game. It was a one-sided slaughter in favor of me. We both learned a bit and it was on to the next round!

I didn't take many pictures of my second game. I played against a fellow named Joe who did nothing but complain about how unbalanced my chosen army was and that he was doomed and complain complain complain. I made the foolish mistake of electing to attack in a scenario that forces the attacker to rush across the battle field. As it was, we both dealt significant casualties to eachother's force and I failed to pass nearly every morale test I was required to take. In the end, I lost a close affair. The melee in the "Corral with No Gate" was a highlight.

Game three's opponent was Damien who was running a Canadian Milita force. We played a Control The Field scenario. The primary goal was to take possession of two of the three objectives to score points. One was in the plaza of the hacienda.

The Green Macaw boys went over the wall and were met by a hail of shot. It was as ugly as you think. We fought a bit more for a few turns. Eventually my Hovitos quit the field since failing morale tests was just what I was doing Friday afternoon!

Some of the fellas. Complaining Joe is wearing the red shirt behind Mark. All said and done, I came in third out of four... not great but it was a great way to kick off the con for me!

Meanwhile, Mike ponders his next move in the ACW game he was involved with across the room.

An impressive amount of lead is piled upon a table for a big Napoleonic battle.

A bit later, the other half arrived and it was quite a battle!

Some gorgeous 40mm FIW. They were playing Musket and Tomahawk using Sash and Saber Minis.

Mark had gotten involved with that during the evening session.

While Mark was skirmishing in the 18th century, Mike and I took to the skies over England for some Blood Red Skies!

Mike's been playing the game in Waycross for a few weeks and got me sufficiently educated to play a proper bombing run. I ran the evil Germans while Mike defended. I apologize for the unpainted plastic, but it was a new game, fresh out of the box! 

A Spitfire claims one of my bomb trucks.

It wasn't long before the RAF had taken out another. A Pyrrhic victory for the Brits! I actually did a remarkable job killing Spitfires. We did a few things wrong since multi-engine planes behave differently that single-engine ones, but had a great time either way. The game is very peculiar but I enjoyed it and it elegantly delivers the difficult-to-achieve goal of being able to manage a full squadron of planes without having to "manage" things.

It was about 11:30PM so we all went off to catch some sleep to be ready for gaming in the morning!