Thursday, June 30, 2016

Mid-Year Review

As we reach the mid-point of the year, I feel the need to take stock and see what the rest of the gaming year may hold for my little group.

The two Chain of Command campaigns are progressing at a reasonable pace: we are two games into each campaigns and I have almost all the terrain necessary for the upcoming games made.

On the 28mm skirmish front the Immortal rules are still in oblivion, but thankfully Tribal has stepped up to the plate. The photo above shows most of the figures I have painted for a Trojan faction, and they will be facing wahj's Trojans/Greeks and fg's Crocodile Games Amazons when they are painted. I think it says a lot about Tribal that it made me complete a project that has been stalled for over two years in just two months. In fact, I have ordered some Hittite Royal Guards from Newline so I can have another unit of melee troops. I have purchased the Olympus tarot decks, and once they arrive I want to start making up rules for using them.

The other event that we have been waiting for this year is the delivery of the Heavy Gear kickstarter, which will start shipping next month. What came as a surprise to me though was Martin coming on board with the project and getting himself a copy of the Horzion Wars rules and some Dropzone Commander figures too. But even before the Heavy Gear stuff arrive I should have painted up the Dropzone Commander stuff that I already have to be able to field a small Resistance force. With luck we should be able to play our first games in the last quarter of this year.

Two other side projects I hope to work on this year are for Empire of the Dead and Dystopian Wars.

For the first I am planning to paint up a 'not-Penny Dreadful' faction using the West Wind figures fg passed me. It may be some time before we have enough figures for a campaign, but I guess VSF is a period that we will come back to eventually.

For the second I am doing some terrain work. I have earlier planned to build an island fort based on a real-life Genoese fort in Turkey, but the construction proved to be beyond my skills. I used the buildings I bought for that project to instead build a harbour-fort based on a Turkish town I visited once, and hope to get that completed soon. Perhaps I will work on some other terrain project after that and gradually acquire the know-how to build the island fort eventually.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Chain of Command: Kampfgruppe von Luck Game 2, The Grizzled, and Three Cheers for Master

Panzergrenadiers making their tentative way through an orchard.
Martin and I played Game 2 of our CoC campaign this afternoon. The scenario required my Germans to cross the table dominated by a cluster of walled buildings on one end, and couple of hedge-enclosed areas. I did pretty well in the patrol phase, managing to secure a Jump-Off Point in the middle of the table.

The scenario called for a lot of vegetation... Those are all the trees I own.
Unlike in his previous game, Martin did not deploy his units early, forcing me to probe along the orchard with one section. This section was quickly engaged by a Vickers hidden in the attic of the building overlooking the road and orchard.

I sent another section up the other fork of the road and pushed into the woods. This section was then engaged by another section Martin deployed in response.

At this point I must state that Martin rolled incredibly well, managing to rack up three chain of command dice to my one, rolling several phases in succession, including four sixes and a random event that forced me to deploy another one of my squads before I intended, causing them to be exposed to enemy fire.

With my squads under fire (and one of them broken) I sent in my secret weapon: a Grille M proxying a Lorraine Schlepper (f). The big gun forced the Vickers in the attic to withdraw, whereupon I decided to push my luck: I sent the section on the left running towards the table edge, while the Grille put pedal to the metal and rolled down the road.

Martin quickly redeployed his Vickers and stopped my squad on the left, and with one of his (many) chain of command dice ambushed by Grille as it raced forward.

With my momentum lost and Force Morale low, I called a retreat.

Fg, wahj, Martin and I then played a couple of boardgames.

The first was The Grizzled, a WW1 themed co-operative card game where players take runs playing cards that represent either group adversity or personal psychological trauma. The aim of the game is to play through the deck and not accumulate too many of one kind of adversity during each round (whereupon the game is lost) - if you survive till the end of the deck, you have survived the war.

I generally do not like co-operative games, and this is no exception. The theme is pretty dark, and we felt that it can probably be re-themed to depict bomber crews during WW2 or infantrymen during Vietnam.

The next game we tried was Three Cheers for Master. This is a competitive tower-building/climbing game where foreminions make minions stack themselves atop each other so they can form the most impressive cheer-leading tower for the master.

I am not quite sure we got all the rules right, but the game looks like it has a lot of potential for strategic play. I would liken it to a game of Robo Rally where the cards you play stay relevant until the game's end. I would certainly like to give this game another try.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Redoubt Trojan War archers in tunic

Here is the last unit in my Trojan War project. I have a few casualty figures primed and started, but those aren't essential for the game.

With the painting out of the way, the next step is to come up with some rules so that we can use the major arcana in a deck of tarot cards to represent divine intervention and special events. This is perhaps best done by assigning a game event to the scene depicted on each card, but unfortunately there seems to be some trouble with eBay, Paypal, or the seller, and I cannot complete the purchase I made. Maybe I should consult the oracle for some advice...

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Redoubt Trojan War spearmen

Another week, another unit. The only good thing I can say about these figures is that at least I have only one more unit (of archers) to go and then a few casualty figures, which are really optional.

What is driving me is the fact that I love the Tribal rules and I think I will enjoy playing a Trojan War themed game (or games) with the appropriate figures. In fact, I am now wondering if it is worth paying for a couple decks of Greek mythology-themed tarot cards to use for the game, which will allow me to incorporate some themed special rules.

I am also thinking about terrain items which will add flavour to the tabletop. Baueda has some very nice Mycenaean buildings, but they are in 15mm. Any suggestion will be welcomed. Thank you.

The phalanx seen from the front

View from the figures' left, showing shield patterns. These guys must really have worried about being shot in the back...

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Redoubt Lukka Warriors

Five more figures done. These are Lukka swordsmen, and will serve as a short weapon unit for Tribal games.

Next up will be some Trojan infantry with spears. Slow and steady does it...

Monday, June 06, 2016

Heroic Maps Pharoah's Tomb and Finger and Toe Models Catacombs

I blame Netflix, I do...

After getting the rules, painting up the figures, and doing some terrain boards, our VSF/EOTD project stalled as we moved on to other genres. Now, after watching Penny Dreadful (excellent series - great acting, and the sets are just begging to be reproduced on the tabletop), I felt the need to do some work for the period.

As my faction is Egyptian-themed, from the outset I have wanted an Egyptian-themed headquarters for them, so this became the choice for my project. I imagined a Victorian mansion that looked Victorian from the outside, but had Egyptian decor on the inside.

Due to a lack of storage space, I knew I wanted something that can be taken down and packed more or less flat, but I also wanted it to be interesting from a game-play point of view.

I went to my usual source for 2D terrain: Heroic Maps. After looking at a few of their Egyptian offerings, I ended up getting their free Pharoah's Tomb - Upper pack (there is a - Lower pack which depicts the underground part of this pack.

The pack shows a pillared courtyard that rises in a few levels to lead to an interior.

The architecture of the area represented made me decide to try something I have always wanted to try: a 2.5D terrain. This would involve gluing multiple layers of materials on top of each other, and I knew that the material I would use is 1mm PVC foam sheets, which are now my favourite craft material. Instead of representing the pillars in full-height, I would use something that is about man-height instead.

For the interior, I decided to go for full-height walls. For the texture of the walls, I went for Finger and Toe Model's Catacombs pack. This pack provided walls and pillars "skins" for Egyptian, Greek, and Roman interiors.

After some calculations, I decided to get the foam sheets in 1mm for the courtyard, in 3mm for the walls, and in 5mm for the interior. I had planned on getting wooden thread spools for the pillars, but the art shop did not have them, so I settled for corks instead. To colour the sides of the foam sheets, I also bought a coloured marker.

After four straight hours, I managed to complete the project, shown here with the walls tacked together by removable tape.

Here is a more lateral view of the set-up, showing the elevations of the terraces.

The whole set-up is broken down into three parts: the courtyard with a platform in the middle, a terrace of steps, and the interior space. Broken down, the largest piece has the footprint of just under 28cm x 22cm.

I am quite happy with the result, except that the corks aren't tall enough to block a figure entirely; I might glue two corks narrow-end to narrow-end instead, or just buy some wooden spools from ebay.

(Added: Check out this large battle-board made with Heroic Maps' geomorphic tiles.)

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Sarpedon and friend

My Trojan War project is still progressing at snail's place. Today's addition depict Sarpedon and his chariot driver on foot. Or at least they are in my books.

They wield more substantial swords than Hector and his friend, but along with the five other Lukka swordsmen I have lined up next, they are poor casts and needed a lot of cleaning.

Nevertheless, I will for now continue to work at them with the aim of eventually painting the remaining two dozen figures I have. Hopefully by then the Tribal community would have come up with rules for chariots!

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

June Giveaway

(image from onthewaymodels)

This month, I am giving away a 20mm WW2 Soviet bundle.

A while back I bought the Italeri JSU-152 box set that came with two kits in it: one for a "standard" model, and one for a quick-build "wargamer's" model. After examining both kits, I decided to build the standard kit and give away the quick-build kit.

You get a complete kit in single sprue, depicted above, plus some decals that came in the box. To save on postage I am sending the sprue in a padded envelop, with the box collapsed.

I have also included a couple of sprues from Zvezda, being:

(image from plastic soldier review)

a single Soviet 45mm anti-tank gun depicted above, including the mini-diorama base but MINUS the crew figures. The sprue comes with parts to build the gun in tow position, so you can either use it for a towed gun model, wreck it for a wrecked gun terrain piece, or supply your own crew.


(image from plastic soldier review)
the two rifle-armed infantrymen on the left side of the picture above - two of the first and one of the second, a total of 3 figures.

Not nearly enough to recreate a Russian horde, but hopefully just what you need to round out that platoon. 

Let me know if you want the above by leaving a comment, and I will draw a winner on the 15th of the month. This is not a first-come, first-serve offer,

This offer is free; once I let you know you have been drawn, do let me have your email and mailing address, and I will mail it to you. You don't even have to pay for postage. I am doing this not to get some money back, but to give these toys a good home. If you want to pay back somehow, I ask that you make a small donation to a local charity, or consider doing the same thing I am doing and give some gaming stuff that you no longer need/use a new lease of gaming life.

Thank you.