29 September 2019

Recently Painted

I finished up a couple more of the Teen Titans set this weekend. Starfire and Wonder Girl.

Starfire was a bit daunting at first blush... heck even assembly was a challenge! The hair / fire blend was a lot of fun really. I played around with three of four different "magic washes" on the flames just to give it good depth so the fancy bits would really pop. I tried a bit of orange glaze on the base; it wasn't quite the result I was after but you've got to start somewhere.

Wonder Girl was a lot simpler. She really should be bedazzled with white stars but I know my limits and without some decals or appropriately-sized dry transfers, it was a hard pass.

28 September 2019

Jailbreak - Batman AAR

Riddler timed it well. Nothing ever happens at 5:00am on a Tuesday morning.

The guards would be anything but ready. Since nabbing the security badges, he'd been able to keep tabs on their activity and now he was ready to spring Digger and Rose from the cells before they are moved to Arkham or worse.

Three guards.

That was fun. The crooks broke in and got away with nary a scratch. Ravager and Boomerang owe Riddler and Croc a huge debt now. The law is going to have to call in the big guns. The situation is getting out of hand.

22 September 2019

A Bit of the Old Star Wars

Chore day at the in-laws turned out to be a bit lighter than I'd anticipated so Zig and I were able to get in a couple rounds of X-Wing last evening. Ziggy has been experimenting with a broader variety of Rebel ships recently; on the other hand I had a couple lists that I've been kicking around for a while that I wanted to test.

First up was Rebels vs Scum and Villainy.
Didn't get a pre-game picture, but I used three ships I'd never used before. The Shadowcaster and Kimogila (the one furthest back to the left and the tan & purple one closest) both came off a 30% off table at Barnes and Noble a couple months ago. The Punishing One (the large odd-shaped ship) has been in the collection for at least three years and never made it on to the table.

Ziggy had a list comprised of a souped-up B-Wing, a Y-Wing, and two Z-95 Headhunters. The Y-Wing died very quickly - right place, wrong time. It is not represented in the photographs.

My Shadowcaster took a pounding but stayed in the fight. My other two craft methodically crushed the rest of the Rebels without taking any losses.

It was still early, so Zig started putting another group together. I put the S&V ships away and pulled out the fever-dream First Order list "Upsie Daisy."

Yeah, baby! TWO Upsilon-class shuttles! I picked the second one up on Amazon for eight bucks 6-9 months ago. Last night I was able to give it a go. They were joined by a bad-mother TIE/fo pilot who I'd use as a distracting mosquito.

You can see in the back there that my opponents were the Falcon and two X-Wings.

Didn't get a pic, but early into the proceedings, the Falcon got caught by both Blackbirds who hammered the tar out of Han & Co. The TIE nestled in behind the Falcon to provide that irritation as well. It worked beautifully.

I managed to catch up with the Falcon on a couple more occasions, just brutalizing the thing.

Look ma! X-Wing go BANG! The other Shuttle snap-turned and caught the Falcon by surprise, smashing the freighter and leaving it with a single hull point. The game ended moments later as the Rebel group evaporated.

The pair of Upsilons worked so much better than I'd imagined. I had very low hopes but if you pay attention to their actions and how things are unfolding / will unfold they are very usable. Coordinate and Reinforce, actions I NEVER use, are terrific especially when combined with upgrades like Advanced Sensors that allow you to take your action BEFORE you move and Pattern Analyzer that allow you to take your action BEFORE checking for pilot stress. I'll give this list at least one more go against another opponent - it was that much fun to play with. I don't often use the same group more than one time.

20 September 2019

Infinity: The Review

I figured I'd start a new type of post on my blog in which I review games I play / have played for anyone interested in giving it a try.

First up, Infinity by Corvus Belli.

Infinity is a very high-tech sci-fi skirmish game set in Corvus Belli's proprietary IP universe. A typical "full size" game will have 10-15 miniatures per side on a 4 foot by 4 foot play area. Games are not quick - three turns will fill up two hours easily. Minis are 30mm-ish scale and based on GW-style 25mm bases.

Rules are free via the website as is their Army Builder app. Miniatures are moderately priced - retailing for around $9-$11 each. Finding them on sale is usually pretty easy on many web stores. The cost of a "full sized army" is going to be around $100. You'll want to buy some acrylic flame templates too for $12-15.

- Inexpensive.
- Phenomenal miniatures. If you're a painter, you'll be very happy.
- Rewarding game play that's much more than just an I-go-u-go dice rolling contest.

- Weird dice mechanics that take a bit of getting used to.
- Ability for very powerful models to dominate a game.
- Tons and tons of "special equipment" for models which require game time to research if you're not completely familiar with their effects.
- Lots of markers.

My Opinion
I'm happy I picked it back up. When we first tried it back around 2013 it wasn't what I was expecting and it did not appeal to me. Years later once I wrapped my head around what they were trying to sell me, it became a lot interesting. "So, what are they selling," you ask? It's a fine-grained infantry skirmish. Each model has a lot of details and needs to be managed as such. You do not control a mob of 15 identical dwarf warriors, you control a group of uniquely-capable fighters that need to be managed appropriately. Certainly you're going to have some "grunts" and some "superstars" but you still need to figure out how to best manage your resources.

Each turn is made of of many actions per player - essentially each side gets as many actions as it has troops on the table. Multiple actions can be used on a single model during a turn - it's not really a "one per figure" situation, so a hero-type character could be doing a good bit of running around and shooting while his teammates watch on in awe. A typical game is going to also involve a lot of counters and markers on the tabletop - be prepared to delve into your collection for suitable tokens.

Specific roles are well-represented such as snipers, close combat-specialists, medics, and hackers. Walking out in the open in front of a sniper is stupid, as it should be. Close combat specialists will dominate less-capable foes and medics offer an easy way to keep casualties in check.

Oh yes, hackers. Instead of magic and spells, some models are "hackers" and can use cyber-attacks to affect enemy and friendly models. It isn't overly powerful but adds a boatload of flavor and charm.

Parts of Infinity feel clumsy at first but get better the more you play. Having a computer handy is extremely useful so you can look up rules on the Infinity Wiki as you go. I wouldn't consider playing without a handy internet device.

Infinity's complexity might make it a poor fit for novice gamers but otherwise I give it a strong endorsement.

One other consideration and don't take it lightly - TERRAIN TERRAIN TERRAIN. The more the better. If you don't already have a solid collection of 28-32mm scenery you'll need it.

15 September 2019

Saturday Night Infinity

Z and I brought out the Infinity guys again last evening for a bit of the old shoot-em-up. I used my Combined Army, having very recently added some minis and tweaking it to be all Shasvasti plant-people. Perhaps I was inspired by the Burger King Impossible Whopper from earlier in the day?

We played the basic kill-em-all scenario from the MRB and each of us had two secret objectives. Interestingly, we both rolled the exact same two secret objectives. For the terrain, I did 2/3 of the table using my interior hallway bits and the other 1/3 standard outdoor urban. Infinity inside corridors is pretty wacky.

The blue line is a solid wall / cliff face / hill side. Three doors allow passage from the interior to the outside.

Some of my troops just after deployment.

I had a sneaky hacker (the yellow character) deployed way forward. We got to play with antipersonnel mines a lot; Zig had a forward observer nearby who also had mines. Here's a shot of my hacker using "Redrum" on the Pan Oceania hacker. The PanO hacker was done after that.

Out in the street, the Crusader stalks one of my Cadmus troopers. I gave him fits all game long, able to dodge shots with the best of them.

Growing frustrated with the stalemate caused by the Knights, my leader makes her way to the front.

She rushes the Templar (the black mini two pictures up) and kills him outright. Moments later, the knight with the machinegun (the blue guy aiming his weapon at her above) would fall to a hail of gunfire from Smurfette.

My Gwailo sends a rocket down the street at the PanO rocketeer. My rocket's explosion kills the PanO trooper and causes his squadmate behind to check his shorts. Towards the front of the frame, one of my sneakers considers how badly she wants to check a smoke grenade out into the street in an effort to get that PanO Crusader.

OK, so not a lot of pics. We were both paying more attention to the game and our drinks than photo-documenting the proceedings. In the end, it was a 3-3 tie - I scored two points on kills and one point for getting my hacker to snoop an enemy trooper's bank account. Ziggy scored one point on kills and two for objectives - scanning a trooper's bank account and having his forward observer "designate" a high-value target twice.

So yeah... these two were painted up between Friday afternoon and Saturday afternoon. Some of the nicest speed painting I've ever churned out. Smurfette there was a bad mother and her presence was a game-changer. The Gwailo with the rocket launcher didn't have a lot to do this game but will be useful in the future I'm sure.

08 September 2019

Files of X - A Thorough Test

My bride and I played a thorough test game of my simple skirmish rules last night. It was also a nice test of some of the scenario ideas I've been kicking around recently. It also severed as a wonderful inaugural game on my new Frontline Gaming mat which took its sweet time getting to me! Ordered Aug 9, arrived Sept 7).

I got to use a lot of new scenery items I've been making and collecting recently including the fall trees, hay bales and rolls, corn maze and road tape.

I was very pleased with how the layout looked and my wife, a Halloween-ophile was equally excited.

So the scenario was this - the FBI and Army arrive at the farm to investigate a UFO sighting. Four alien saucers have also just landed at the farm. All the groups are hunting for the McGuffin Spores - the FBI for research, the Army to destroy and the Aliens to recover. There are six possible Spore locations on the battlefield and the teams would have to investigate them to find the correct location.

I've circled in yellow the exploration points on the map. The spacemen start near their saucers while the FBI begins in the parking lot in the center of the map. The Army dudes arrive in a AFV from one end of the road, in this case randomly determined to be the left side looking at the picture above.

The first few turns were fairly quiet as we both nosed around towards the objective locations.

The aliens used their giant robot to cheat the corn maze, stomping a path straight through!

A view from the end of the table. The Stryker has finally made it to the game (way down there just getting over the bridge). Tobor has made good progress stomping through the field, literally leaving a path of destruction.

Scully and Mulder plug the alien who made it to the roof of the gas station.

Meanwhile, Agent Reyes takes a look at the glowing stuff by the river. A couple of soldiers take up positions near them.

Feh. The aliens bum rush my heroes. One of their FBI agent brothers heads over to help. 

One of the alien commanders taking a lonely stroll through the woods in the dark. If that objective turns out to be the right one, I'm screwed.

Heh heh. Reyes actually found the thing by the river. She and Doggett head back to the parking lot to get out of Dodge! The Army dudes spy Tobor in the distance - "Sarge didn't anything about this!"

Blast! Mulder is knocked out. The unnamed agent takes his place in the tango.

Reyes and Doggett make good progress to the cars. Tobor is right behind though and the Army guys are doing their best to slow him down. I rolled a die to see which car this pair had keys to. Spoiler alert - it was the orange car. I also replaced the wooden counter with something a bit more appropriate.

Although things are looking good for me, the Aliens are not giving up and a large mob of them are getting close!

I do like how this scenery looks on the tabletop.

No time to admire the view! Tobor pushes past  the troops, hellbent on cathing up with the Spores.

The agents hop in the car while the robot makes short work of another car. The spacemen prepare to pepper the car with ray gun blasts.

The soldiers continue their pursuit of the mechanical monster, desperately trying to stop it before it catches up with the agents.

Moments later, blasts of electrical energy smash into the car with our heroic agents in it, destroying the car and taking out Reyes and Doggett. At nearly the same time, the soldiers finally manage to take out the robot. About 10 seconds too late!

The space men win the race to the Spores and have the numbers to enforce it! Scully's no wimp and gets into the mix.

The Aliens' numbers take their toll. It doesn't help that the Stryker's gunfire hasn't hit anything in recent memory! An Alien commander graps the Spores and legs it toward the nearest saucer.

The vile invaders also seem to be interested in carving a jack-o-lantern! The Stryker is all I have left.

The AFV's weapon fire FINALLY makes contact and the Alien commander is vaporized. A day late and dollar, pumpkin and extraterrestrial spore short. The other space men swiftly scoops up the Spores and are off, into their saucer.

The winners pose with their very hard-earned loot!

Oh wow. What a terrific game! I can't remember such an enjoyable playtest. Not only was it productive in locating rules tweaks but it was well-balanced, thematic and just a great story. I can't believe the stupid aliens won.