Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hasslefree and LOTR Dwarf Comparison and Rethinking Strandhogg

The Hasslefree dwarves I ordered arrived today. You can see one of them posed beside an LOTR dwarf warrior below:

The height and torso-to-leg proportion are similar, but the Hasslefree dwarf has bigger face and hands, and a bigger pot-belly. Most importantly, their armour is in Norman style as opposed to the earlier style of the other dwarves - but since I am using these as Thane figures, I guess it's OK.


Last night I realised that if I combined the command system in Strandhogg with the combat system from Warhammer it will mean that two types of dice will be needed during the game, which can slow things down a little (on top of the card-flipping).

After some thought I decided I will instead keep the current combat system, converting the WS stat in Warhammer into the base Melee score in Strandhogg, and break the melee resolution into two die-rolls instead of one. This means that the combatants will still roll 1d10 + Melee score + Modifiers and compare their scores, with the figure scoring higher winning the melee; however, instead of using the difference between the scores to determine the result, I will use a saving throw using the loser's Defence rating instead - this makes the process analogous to the missile resolution (one roll to hit, one roll to save), and allows the weapons to have different effects (e.g. a two-handed axe gives a -2 to save, but the wielder cannot hold a shield, so there is an element of trade-off there). In the event where the loser of a melee makes the save, he is pushed back 1", just as in the current system.

I hope to give it a try soon.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Robogear T-Rex

I guess at the back of my mind I have always wanted this kit since I first saw it, so when I saw it on auction I entered a lowish bid and I was actually a little surprised to win it. I had planned to use it as a Sentinel for a planned Imperial Guard army, but now that I have decided to build a Droids army instead, I guess this little fellow will be in storage.

So what do you get in the box?

There are two main sprues as you can see, plus a separate ziploc bag with the missile launchers and missiles - the missile launchers, which contain springs inside them, are pre-assembled, presumably to make them more kid-friendly. There is an instruction sheet showing you how to assemble the pilot, which is the same size as my Rouge Trader era Imperial Guards except for his longer legs, but since he is going to be seated, it doesn't really matter. In any case, there are two cockpit canopy - one with 'glass' and the other one without. The instructions for assembling the walker is on the back of the box.

What surpirsed me was the fact that the kit comes with 3 tiny pots of paint (a blue, a green, and a black, with their corresponding Humbrol (?) codes), and a brush!

Finally, there is the stat card.

There are, however, no decals or even stickers to go with it.

This looks like a fun and easy kit to build. There is some flash, but at least for the walker parts this is easily removable - the bits on the pilot may take a few minutes more. The parts are designed to plug together, and there are 4 holes on each side of the cabin to plug the weapons onto, and it seems you can mount the machineguns in two ways - with the magazine above the barrel, or below. You may want to omit or substitute the missile-launchers - here's where the bit box comes in...

The details are quite good, with rivets everywhere, display screens in the cockpit, and even wires in the engine compartment and at the joints - all in all a very 40K Imperial ethos. It can easily be used as a Sentinel, or with some bits, an Ork walker.

I'll post some pics if I ever get it built and painted.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Small things and taking stock

With the main armies either completed or yet to arrive, I thought it's time to paint up the bits that I gathered over the years.

From left to right, they are: two dwarven statues from the GW Battle at Skull Pass set barricades, a Celtic Cross and a gravestone (both from Ziterdes), and six resin barrels from Itar's Workshop.

They are all scaled for 25/28mm, but the Celtic Cross will probably serve for my 15mm Anglo-Saxon England games. They are all useful in a skirmish game to add colour and cover to the game, and I think the gravestone and barrels can in addition be used for my Blood Bowl pitch.

It's a busy week for me, but with some planning I can probably start work on them this coming Sunday.


It was a fruitful weekend. Not only did we complete the FPW campaign, I also managed to play a game of Strandhogg with Adrian - my LOTR dwarves against his Warhammer Night Goblins.

As much as I like the rules, I can see that the melee system is flawed. For example, under these rules wielding a two-handed axe gives you a +1 in melee vs shieldwall and mounted; however, a figure holding a shield (and a melee weapon) will get a +1 in melee vs all opponents, and get a +1 defence vs missiles - so while a two-handed axe sounds good, it is in all ways inferior to just a sword and spear!

I think what I will do is to port the melee system from Warhammer over to Strandhogg - after all, what appeals to me most about the rules are the fast command and morale system. The Warhammer melee system, while involving a little more maths and many more die-rolls, allows more differentia in the troop types, and adds to the narrative ("They score hit after hit on the troll, but the weapons just bounced off its tough hide!"). Under the Warhammer rules, two-handed axes come with advantages (+2 Strength, which increases your chances of wounding and bypassing armour) and disadvantages (strike last in melee unless you charged, and cannot hold a shield*) - that at least gives a reason for the huscarls to want to carry them.

(* - I have ordered some loose kite shields to glue onto the back of my dwarves holding two-handed axes so they look like they are being slung; I will house-rule that they count as shielded against missiles if there are no enemy figures within 6" - again, there was a reason why the huscarls carried them...)

Finally, I must confess that I have succumbed to the lure of plastics and ordered a box of Perry Plastics WOTR infantry. At 40 figures with a mix of melee, missile and command troops, it's perfect as a human/Bretonnian army for Strandhogg. The planned colour scheme is blue-and-yellow livery, so I am thinking whether or not to depart from my usual black primer and go with a white one instead.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

FPW Campaign Finale Redux

Well, we did it right this time, and the battle was a closer affair.

We kept the terrain placement and deployment from the previous game.

Once again the French Cavalry Division sacrificed itself to buy the Corps a few precious turns.

And once more they were destroyed and the Prussians began to mass.

But the funneling effect of the terrain meant that they still could not deploy quick enough to attack the fort. The final picture shows the Prussian troops taking the wooded hill to the south of the fort as the sun begins to set. From this position they will be able to shell the fort, but it was clear that they will not be able to take it today...

I think we all enjoyed the short campaign. Coming up next will be our Warring States China campaign, the test game which is scheduled in about 3 weeks.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Aren't you a little short for a dwarf?

'Civilian' figures are always a little harder to find than 'combatant' figures, but when a range has a unique scale and proportion, finding 'civilian' figures that will match the bulk of your force can be even more difficult.

I like the dwarves from the GW LOTR range, but I haven't had much luck finding dwarf figures that are compatible with them.

But I keep trying.

The latest addition to the collection is a 'Shireling' from Red Box Games, which I thought looked the part of a dwarf 'civilian'. Unfortunately you can see that while it can still pass as a wizened old dwarf next to the LOTR figure, it is decidedly dwarfed by the Reaper female dwarf, which can pass as a plus-size female next to the LOTR dwarf...

Well, such is life. I'll just have to keep watching for new stuff to be released...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Desert/Arid hills

A gaming session organised at the last minute meant I had to come up with some hills to go with my new desert/arid mat before the day's end. I spent half my lunchtime today looking for cork placemats but couldn't find any... I needed a plan B.

A quick visit to the local bookstore got me three large corrugated plastic boards and a roll of brown paper. Once I got home I spread the brown paper on the kitchen floor and dabbed splotches of off-white paint on the surface with a piece of sponge. After a jog and dinner, it was dry and ready for the next part of the project...

I cut the corrugated plastic boards into various hill-like shapes and stacked three together with alternating grains - in the fashion of a piece of plywood. After that it was just a simple matter of cutting a corresponding piece of the brown paper and wrapping that around the hill and taping it down.

The results:

I got one ridge, three medium round hills and two small round hills, all for less than S$15.

Not too shabby.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Space Marines Completed!

Well, it took almost 4 months, but here's everyone, I think...

That's the command squad atop the hill, and the Terminator squad and two Combat squads, as well as the Dreadnought in front of them.

I can't even recall when the first of these figures was bought - it might have been close to 20 years ago.

I quite like the limited palette - it sort of ties the whole force together.

Here's the command squad - now complete with the apothecary just finished today - posing together. There's actually quite a variance in height between the figures, but because they are all standing on pieces of rock and carrying or wearing long stuff, it's not that obvious.

I've actually ordered another non-GW figure to go with the force... a bit of a gag figure, but not everything has to be about the actual gaming, right?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

FPW Campaign Finale

Edit: We actually played the clock roll wrongly... a rematch has been scheduled in two weeks' time. I apologise for the error.

It's almost 4 months since we started the FPW campaign (the planning and purchasing of figures and rules preceeded the actual play by many months though) but this afternoon we fought the final battle in the series.

(This means that I've played three 3-person games, two 2-person games and three solo games this year, an average of one game every three weeks, which isn't too shabby...)

By the time the terrain was laid down, I thought the French would be eliminated before the second Prussian Corps arrives...

wahj placed the fort smack in the middle of the table, and Martin quickly placed clear squares from his side of the table towards it. This gave the Prussians a straight line of attack to the fort. wahj remedied the situation by placing a village on one side of the road, and a wooded hill on the other.

The French have suffered heavy casualties from the first two games, and to add insult to injury I have rolled very bad dice for them during the recovery phase, while the rolls for the Prussians were much more favourable.

The Prussian main line of advance will come down the main road, while the other Corps will arrive on the turn after the clock passes 20 - which by the laws of averages will be Turn 7.

However, as Martin forfeited the railway table/game, this meant the French 3rd Division and their Cavalry Division start the game at full strength. wahj capitalised on this by placing the entire French Cavalry Division on the road, ready to sell their lives dearly to save their country. The First Division was deployed at the village to punish the Prussians as they try to move towards the fort, while the Second Division was deployed to the far left, in anticipation of the other Prussian Corps. The bulk of Third Division was held at the fort, with its artillery and some elements deployed on the wooded hill in front of the fort, which overlooked the Prussian route of advance.

As the lead elements of the Prussian Corps arrived the Cavalry Division launched itself into an attack, and lucky die-rolls meant that the cavalry continued to harass the head of the Prussian column, buying the French several turns - we played the rules wrongly here, forgetting that a repulsed unit takes one full turn to recover, but in any case the French cavalry always managed to keep a unit in that square, and wahj managed to seize the initiative each turn.

Both players also rolled high values for the clock, which meant that even as wahj traded time for initiative, the clock ran faster than expected; by turn 4 the second Prussian Corps had entered the table!
After they finally eliminated the French Cavalry Division with concentrated artillery, the Prussians begin to envelop the village from both directions, but for by sundown the Prussians had not pushed a man beyond the middle-line of the table.

I am personally quite surprised by the outcome of the battle - even taking the rule-error we made (and extending the clock by 20 to make up for it) the French pulled off a remarkable forward defence. I suppose part of the problem was that the Prussians had only two routes of entry because Martin forfeited a game; this meant wahj could concentrate his forces and defend against only two sectors instead of three.

I enjoyed the campaign very much, from the rules, the figures, the terrain, and to the actual gameplay. We are quite taken with the grid system and our next project - Warring States China - will also utilise the same; well, wahj did spend quite a bundle on the felt sheets...

I also handed Martin the 15mm Mediterranean card buildings from PaperTerrain this afternoon; he seems rather enthused and is planning to actually put the monastery set on a hill! With the frequency which we play at, however, his handiwork might only see tabletop play around Christmas!

Looking back at the "work plan" I set our little group at the end of last year, we are about a month behind schedule. Next up is the Warring States campaign, the rules for which wahj and I have had many hours of discussion over. Hopefully we can get a test game done this month and move to the full 4-game campaign afterwards.

In the meantime Martin will have a few months to build the 15mm buildings and select a set of rules for our Peninsular Campaign, which will see us till the end of this year.

I am still not sure what project to take up when the baton comes back to me next year - like the guys said: who knows what new rules or period will hit the market by then?

I do have a complete set of figures painted for the Indian Mutiny (the name of the blog was originally chosen on account of this planned project), but I am not sure if we will want to play something just 50 years after our preceeding project... The number of paired armies we have in common give many possibilities: Hittite vs. Sea Peoples (wahj has been eyeing the Baueda Troy for years now...), Romans vs. Sassanids, Dark Ages Britain, First Crusade, Wars of the Roses... and in between we can always play filler games of Strandhogg (I am bidding on more dwarves - need more dwarves with shields if I am to capitalise on the Shieldwall rule, you see...) and FUBAR 40K (now that I have the droids I am looking for...).

Well, we'll just take it as it comes, what?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

These are the droids I am looking for

I picked up the Star Wars miniatures I ordered from Noble Knight Games from the post office during lunchtime.

Here you can see the battle droids posed alongside my Space Marines. The droids are a little taller than the Marine, but as the fluff has then at 1.9m tall, and they are skinny, they look quite all right (yes, I know by fluff the Space Marine is 2.5m tall...). These droids are numbered #28 and #30 in the Star Wars system; there are many more poses available, but I picked these two because they have the same colour as the other droids I decided to include in my army.

This is the combat droid, which I plan to stat as a platoon support weapon droid. Presumably the prominent antennae allow them to communicate with the frontline troops so they can direct their fire. I like their drum-like 'torso', which gives the impression that they are packed with fuel to power their blaster cannons.

Finally, we have the Huge Crab Droid, which I ordered by mistake - I actually wanted the smaller crab droid as a close-combat droid, but ordered this one instead. As you can see it *is* huge and looks like it can crush a Space Marine with a single blow. Its base is actually hard, rigid plastic, unlike the bases of the other two droid types, which are soft plastic - at this size a softer plastic will probably warp too much. I will probably keep one or two of these guys for myself and stat them up as heavy assault vehicles and pass the rest to someone else.

On the way to the post office I also picked up a box of these 'gems' from a nail art shop for S$3.90.

I figured I need a way to distinguish the squads for the droids, and thought these would do the trick. I plan to use the red, pink, and dark red gems for the squads from one platoon, and the blue, light blue and green gems for the other one.

The rest of the army will probably arrive over the next couple of weeks as I ordered them from a number of sellers. I'll post pictures of the 'normal' sized crab droid when they arrive.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

6mm Vauban Fort

The finale of our FPW campaign will be centred over this Vauban Fort from Paper Terrain.

This is actually their 6mm scale fort, but as it measures 7" per side, it's just the right size for our purpose - their 10/12mm scale fort is about twice that size.

The entire kit also gives you barrack buildings (intact and ruined forms) as well as a demilune, but the basic structure will have to suffice for now.

The whole thing probably took me about 6 hours to put together over 3 evenings in front of the television, and even though I am not too good with the knife it turned out "wargame standard" enough, I think.

The figures are painted by Realistic Modelling.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Strandhogg Fantasy Game 2: More pictures

A brave Thane faces off against a Troll

Arjun has already described the scenario, so here are some close-up shots from the Strandhogg game.

The charge by the Warg riders up the hill

At the midway point of the game, you can see the Goblins re-forming at the bottom right, while the mules are escaping from the top left.

The Troll was killed in single combat by a brave Dwarf ...

... who shall henceforth be called Trollbane!

Strandhogg Fantasy Game 2: Get to the boat!

Marty was unable to make the game today, so wahj and I played a game of Strandhogg Fantasy. I took only a few photos, but wahj should be along to post his better ones soon...

I borrowed the scenario from the Tabletop Teaser in one issue of Battlegames: the background is that the goblin scouts report that a strong dwarf column has been spotted escorting two pack mules to a ferry; guessing that the cargo they are carrying is precious, the goblin chieftain organised a dawn raid on the dwarven camp, before they can load the cargo...

As dawn breaks the dwarven sentry posted on the hilllock by the camp spotted a goblin warband heading their way, led by a band of warg riders, and supported by a troll!

The goblins enter from one corner; the dwarven ferry point is at the opposite corner, while the dwarven camp is in the centre of the table. Woods on the other two corners basically reduced the goblin approach to two: left of the pond, or right... or so I thought.

I deployed one band of rangers to the hillock, and despatched the other two to either side of the pond to block off the goblin approach, while the warriors formed to the left of the pond in a shieldwall, anticipating that the warg riders will come that way; the mule drivers headed swiftly for the ferry. I have planned the scenario such that it will take them about the same number of turns to reach it as it would take the warg riders, so time is of the essence here.

To my surprise the warg riders initially made straight for the hillock, but were repelled. They then turned to the dwarven left flank, bypassing the shieldwall and making straight for the mules this time.

I now made a mistake in my strategy - instead of driving the mules straight to the ferry, I moved them to the hillock on the left. I planned to deploy their precious cargo - a dwarven ballista, but before I could do so the warg riders have come dangerously close, forcing me to move them off the hillock again.

To the right of the pond the troll charged against a dwarven warband, was wounded twice by arrows, and finally felled in melee by a Thane.

In the centre of the table a goblin warbands fight a bloody melee with the dwarves rangers, who came off worse.

To the left the goblin chieftain leads the other warband against the dwarven warriors. Here the combat is more equal, and the two sides fight to a standstill.

Near the ferry the battle comes to a climax as the warg riders, now numbering only 3 out of the original 8, despatched the dwarven warband protecting the mule drivers and actually grabbed the reins of the two mules, but in the final moments the surviving Thane and a ranger from the centre warband slay a warg rider and caused the other one to flee.

The leader of the warg riders, himself wounded twice and seeing that it is not possible for him to drive both mules back to the goblin side of the table, decided to quit the field.

We called the game is a marginal victory for the dwarves, although if we carried on there was a chance the goblins could still win.

During the game wahj revealed that he too owned a few LOTR figures! I guess we may be playing Strandhogg again in the near future...

The rules used was Strandhogg, with fantasy modifications made by myself. The figures are all GW LOTR figures, with the exception of the troll, which is a Gamezone Troll, and the mules, which are from Mega Miniatures.

The mat and the hills are from GW. The building is from an ebay seller. The boat is a Zvezda Medieval Life Boat.