Monday, May 13, 2019

First Bones 4 model painted

Yep, the ghost pirates from Bones 4 sucked me in.  :-)  Here's my first model painted from the ginormous plastic pile that was delivered a couple of weeks ago.  Pretty good for me to get this painting table so quickly.   Oh, and my wife and I are aiming for "tabletop good enough" paint jobs for these, so I haven't done anything with the basing.  We have so many to get through we just want to put paint to plastic and get gaming with them!

Saturday, May 11, 2019

New Terrain - Infinity Colored

I'm a huge fan of these Infinity Colored terrain pieces.  They have a nice retro-future look to them and most could be at home in fantasy and near-future as well as far future.  Looking forward to getting some good use out of them this year.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

A brief post about Warlords of Erewhon

A brief comment on Warlords of Erewhon

I'm a fan of Rick Priestly games and had a wonderful opportunity to chat with him at a GW Games Day in Baltimore.  In fact, he signed my WH40K softcover ("It's been a while since I've seen one of those!") and gave me a one-one-one demo of the system that would become Warmaster.

So when Warlord Games announced Rick's Warlords of Erewhon, I took the unusual step of pre-ordering it.  And I'm glad I did.  Why?  Because when I set up a simple 2 unit scenario to demo the games to my wife, it turned out to have a really interesting set of decisions.  Let's set the stage:

I put together a unit of 5 Roman Legionnaires using the Dwarf warrior stats.  My wife took her Amazons which actually do have stats from the Olympians army list.  I randomly put the units out and they turned out to be about 16" away from each other.  

I drew the first order and realized that I couldn't charge her unit.  So I just moved it 5" closer -- this put me at a disadvantage as the only way that I could get my charge in first next turn would be to draw my order dice first.  My wife had a much more interesting choice.  She could either hope that she would draw the first order next turn or go on Ambush this turn and wait for my attack.  I would have gone for the Ambush but she chose to trust in luck.  Unfortunately my luck held out.  

Turn 2, I drew the first order and charged in.   For this combat, we treated the Amazons as having spears and my Romans took a casualty on their charge in despite their high armor.  Then thanks to some abysmal rolling I ended up losing the combat and retreating.  In the following turn the Amazons were able to charge and auto-routed my Romans by getting more pin results.

And that was it - a very simple demo that left me wanting to play more.  I like the activation, the system is modern and clean with simple die rolls and simple modifiers.  My one complaint is that there is no insight into the points system.  I want to add the Shileldwall rule to my Romans but there's no advice on how to cost it.  It's a minor complaint, though.

All in all, a very solid set of rules and I'm looking forward to getting my skeletons finished and getting my goblins and orks to battle once more.  It's been a long time for those guys.

What happened to 2018?

This is becoming a theme, isn't it?  Well, a new baby (our second) coupled with some health woes kept me from returning to blogging.  I'm going to try to do better.  And I have good reason to -- Invasion:UFO is nearing completion and will be heading to Kickstarter along with at least 10 beautiful sculpts done by the talented Andrew May of Meridian Miniatures.  Final sculpts are done and I will soon have the first models off the molds.  In fact, I am looking for some professional painters to paint a few for the Kickstarter. Drop me a line if interested. 

Friday, March 30, 2018

Adventures in 3d Printing

I was lucky enough to receive from my lovely wife a Monoprice Mini Select v2 3d-printer for my birthday.  I remember very clearly sitting in the library in college around 1992 and seeing in a magazine an article about one of the first, if not the first, massive, multi-thousand dollar 3d printers and thinking, "In 20 years, I'll have one of these in my home."  Well, I was a little off on the timing but I couldn't be more pleased with this machine.  It just works and with a sale was under $200.

Now, it's not going to be producing any miniatures -- it has good resolution but the texture isn't there for miniature people.  But it works darned nicely for terrain!  Here's some wattle fencing I whipped up the other night.  Total design time -- 2 hours.  Time per print: 1 hour.

And yes, 3d printing still involves lots of experimentation and things do go wrong.  At the front is a perfect print and at the back is where the extruded plastic failed to adhere to the base and just made a plastic cobweb!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

SARGE release!

Today is pretty momentous as I'm releasing SARGE into the wild.  This is the first time I've released a set of rules of my own making into the general public.  I hope it sees some usage as I really like this system and I think others will too. 

SARGE is a relatively simple system that gives relatively complex results for a solo gaming opponent.  SARGE borrows a concept from computer gaming -- calculating a “weight” for the various objectives that the AI is trying to achieve – so that he moves purposefully toward objectives while still retaining enough randomness to the moves that the system can still surprise you.  And the weight calculation is a simple addition solution  so my brain doesn't hurt!

SARGE is the out-growth of my work on my solo "Ode to X-com" game Invasion: UFO.  While creating that game, I was encouraged by the Delta Vector game design Google group (particularly by TheEvilMonkeigh himself) to generalize the rules to fit any wargame that has hidden units that need to move intelligently.  Thus, SARGE was born.

Link to the SARGE page for current rules.

(Longtime readers will remember the first generation of SARGE from this post.  A lot has been streamlined and edited since then!)

If you try the rules and like them, please leave a comment here or on the page. 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Sellswords and Spellcasters in Mordheim

I recently tried out Sellswords and Spellcasters from Ganesh Games using the setting from Mordheim - a city destroyed by a comet centuries ago that is newly opened to exploration.  My players were: an 11 year old boy who wanted to play "that game from Stranger Things (ie, Dungeons and Dragons)", his mom with little gaming experience but great imagination, my 14 yo daughter with some gaming experience but not really a gaming enthusiast and my wife and I.

It went splendidly and everyone had a great time and wants to play again!

My wife and I did a moderate amount of prep work by just asking what kinds of fantasy characters they might like and then showing them a few of my painted models.  I then took that and created the characters.  I tried to also include an option for each one.  For instance, for the mom's character I offered the choice of taking the "Impulsive" disadvantage along with the "Fast" advantage.

Characters were:
Me: A con-artist witch hunter with the Leader, Cleric and Heavy Drinker traits (scarred by all the terrors he has seen in Mordheim)
Wife: A dual-sword wielding fighter with Whirlwind of Steel
Daughter: A thief type with the Greedy disadvantage
Boy: A wizard
Mom: Essentially a Ranger type with Archery, Impulsive, Fast, Forester
(Also 2 three year olds, one from each family, who entertained and interrupted constantly as we played)

Since we had 5 players, I built each type on 30 points each and each player only had one character.  This seemed to work pretty well.  It's not really possible to build a good Wizard with only 30 points so I fudged it a little and gave him two spells: Teleport Other and Magic Dart.  I chose Teleport Other specifically to get him into the idea that this is cooperative and and encourage him to think about how to help everyone else.

First scenario was the Wine in the Brambles -- it was easy to substitute a ruined building for a bramble patch.  We started off really rough as several of us failed 2 or 3 activations in a row.  This kind of spooked us and we started rolling only 1 or 2 dice, but that didn't help much either. Basically, we just had bad luck with reinforcements and ambushes popping off around us.  We didn't manage to get further than 12" into the battlefield, but we still managed to find 2 jugs of wine and get everyone off the board for a technical win.

Then it was a break for King Cake (it's Mardi gras, y'all!) and we went back for a second scenario to try again.  Everyone upgraded their characters (just adding 1 point to either Ranged or Melee was pretty quick) -- that might have been a violation of the campaign rules, but  wanted to keep the game going without bogging down in the campaign.

This time I chose the first scenario (the run through the wasteland) -- the story was that we had fled the city proper but still had to get through the ruins to find the merchant (so that I didn't have to set up all new terrain).  And I ruled that there could be casks of wine here, too, so if we searched the houses we might find some.  This game went MUCH better and we racked up quite a kill count. Nearly everyone was trying for 3 activations per turn and for the most part we were getting 2 activations and an event instead of the other way around like we got in the first game. We even had a great plan -- we would open a path and the wizard would run up the battlefield, then teleport us all up to him and we would start again.  It was a great plan until the wizard rolled a 1 and couldn't cast the spell!

Highlights of the second game were the Ranger using her healing skill to keep everyone healthy as we fought off hordes of goblins, the fighter with Whirlwind of Steel cutting her way through 9 goblins and 3 Orks over the course of the game, and the thief looting every dead goblin in sight.  Oh, and right at the end we managed to surround and kill the troll with archery and crossbow shots without ever having to face it in melee combat!

Everyone is excited to do the campaign turn and go shopping the next time!  It's a great little game.  I love how the characters are the only ones to roll dice and the risk-reward system of the activation and how it interacts with the event deck is just genius.

BTW, while I have several other Ganesha Games products, I haven't really played them.  This one is different.  It's elegant.  I'll be playing this one a lot.  And I knew I had a winner when, the night before, I set up a simple solo game and had so much fun that I couldn't wait to play with my friends the next day.

PS -- I would buy a science-fiction version of this in an instant!  This is the game I wanted Rogue Stars to be.

Some house rules we implemented:
I discarded arbalast and made the crossbow deal 2 damage.  Otherwise I can't see any reason to take a crossbow instead of a bow, and besides crossbows LOOK like they should do more damage.  That's my justification and I'm sticking to it. :-)

My daughter's thief character is holding a little hand-crossbow thing -- totally not a realistic weapon.  I gave it a 12" range, 1 damage and does NOT take a turn to reload.  And I told her that being a thief she can coat it in poison next game.  She was happy.  (Should I be alarmed that my daughter enjoys playing assassins?)

The Mana Fluctuation card -- I like this one -- the Boy was so disappointed after he rolled a 1 and couldn't do spells (without doing blood magic) that I ruled that if the Mana fluctuation came up as +2 afterward we could instead choose to let him cast spells again.  In other words, it would recharge his magical energy instead of giving the +2 to casting.

On a natural 20 to hit, you do +1 damage.  It just seems right.  :-)

Any questions, just ask.  Pictures to come!


Edit: Great discussion of using this game with kids over at Lead Adventure Forum: