Friday, December 18, 2015

Christmas Game 2015 - Christmas Present Pile On

Why yes, that snowman IS wearing a fez!
When I had a regular gaming group in Virginia, USA, a fiend and I decided to start a tradition of playing a Christmas game after we had read about some clubs in Britain doing the same. The games were light on rules so that it was more a social activity than a game, and the good guys always won.

The first few games used simplified Napoleonic rules with the Rat King attacking Christmas Village to steal the presents and ruin Christmas. The stalwart Teddy Bear Brigade (from Eureka Miniatures) defended the village with the help of the Bumble and reindeer and snowmen. Later a little adult cynicism crept in and I ran a game where the Rat King was a freedom-fighter trying to free the elves after Santa had sold out and forced them all to make cheap electronic toys instead of high quality Euro games.

Then there was the infamous game that another member ran one year involved Walmart mercenaries with automatic weapons arriving in 18-wheeler trucks to bust up the Toymaker Union after they went on strike for higher wages and more time for reinder games. This was deemed too cynical and poor Walt was laughingly banned from ever running the Christmas game again, but it was a lot of fun!

So as a tribute to the ghosts of Christmas games past, I present this year's Christmas Game which I will be running for my family. I'm making the rules and checking them twice, but there might be a few holes or confusing bits so feedback is welcome.

The game is totally free as my Christmas gift to readers.  As an experiment in self-publishing, I'm also offering it as a  pay-what-you-want title through the Paypal Donate button below. 

If you like it and play it with your family, please let me know in the comments!

Fimo snow people and presents and an igloo for home base

Christmas Present Pile On

The Rat King has discovered one of Santa's Pre-positioned Gift Depots and has sent his minions to steal the presents and ruin Christmas! Only a nearby village of friendly snow people can stop him. Get the pile of presents back to your base as quickly as possible. Running them back is safer (unless you get hit by a snowball!) and throwing them is quicker but more difficult. Throw snowballs at your opponent to force them to drop any presents they are carrying and send them back to base to warm up!


Download the game here for free. 

And if you want to give back a little ($5 suggested):   

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Havoc Game 4 AAR - Chapter 1 Finale

NOTE: UPDATED with pictures!  Dec 20, 2015
NOTE: I'm going ahead and posting this without pictures for now.  I hope to come back and add them.  As noted below, when this was written we were expecting a baby in two weeks.  Well, that was two months and two weeks ago!  It's taken me this long to find time just to write it up and post it and I'm afraid it might be another couple of months if I took the time to finish the pictures.  So here's the narrative and hopefully the pictures will follow. Enjoy!)


This game didn't turn out quite as expected (well, except for the part where I lost -- although my wife insists it was a tie. More on that later), so it provides a fitting end to this chapter of our ongoing Roman versus Amazon battles.  It introduces two new factions and I think the next games will feature one or both of them -- and might segue into a bit of Legends of the High Seas battling (I've had the rules for a while but have never actually played them).

All this being said, we also have a baby due in 2 weeks or so.  So gaming time might for a while. :-)  


One thing I like about Havoc is that it's so easy to slot in different miniatures and still have a balanced game.  My wife has had several mermaids painted up and recently added some Cthulhu-ish piratical types from Reaper Miniatures.  And also one neat figure that is like the figurehead from a ship.  From the desire to use these figures came the scenario and also a bit of a retroactive continuity applied to the previous games.

It turns out that this was not a Roman invasion of the Amazon lands.  It seems instead that the Romans were shipwrecked!  They decided to split their force -- fast cavalry rode ahead of a main body to try to cut through the land and back to civilization (the demise of this force was the subject of games 1 and 3) while a smaller band stayed with the sailors to try and parley with the natives and eventually repair the ship.  This led to game 2, where the desert nomads were trying to sell a Troll to the Romans and to the current game.

We open, then, on the following scene:  At a troglodyte village, the Roman prefect Cornelius "The Butcher" Tacticus and a small bodyguard are negotiating with S'slith The Destroyer for supplies and perhaps to gain some new recruits.  While the Butcher has never seen such creatures before, the advantages to the Empire of having troops who have natural armor and are at home in the marsh are obvious!  But how well do they fight?  Their negotiations are interrupted by a runner who throws himself at the feet of S'slith and rasps and hisses what is clearly a warning.  The Amazons are on the move and are about to attack the village!

Meanwhile, back onboard ship the crew is making repairs as best they can when suddenly the lookout cries from the top of the shattered main mast -- "Thar she blows!  Wakes spotted a-stern!"  


The small Roman legion and Cornelius "The Butcher" Tacticus start within the village.  Arrayed around them are 16 Troglodyte skirmishers with "The Rush" Named attribute.  S'slith the Destroyer, the magus S'stinky the Small and a standard bearer round out the force in the village.  Just outside, 3 heavy cavalry mounted on salamanders stand ready -- though, oddly, they seem rather small for a troglodyte...  

Out at sea, 9 sailors (count as crossbowmen) take aim at the approaching school of sea creatures -- mermaids, cthulhus, shark-men and other sea creatures -- and prepare to defend their ship under the direction of their Captain (a Fencer).

So there are 2 areas under attack simultaneously -- a land battle and a sea battle.  At sea, the Roman ballista mounted on the ship can fire to support the land battle.

Special Rules

The Amazons, since they were attacking, had +1 die to roll for Momentum on the first turn.

The Living Figurehead:  The Living Figurehead is a magical construct on the Roman ship.  When the ship wrecked in a storm on the coral of the Amazon island, the Figurehead sacrificed herself to beach the ship on a sandbar to ensure her sailors would live through the gale.  She now lies lifeless and inanimate, her wooden body frozen like the statue she started as.

Special Objective:  The Cthulhu Magus watched the ship die and is fascinated by the strange magic held within the Living Figurehead, Tempestia Pallentides.  He wishes to retrieve the Figurehead and take it for further study.  To that end, he has gathered a raiding party of mermaids, shark-men and other creatures of the sea.  His objective is to USE 4 AUGMENT TOKENS to bring the Living Figurehead back to life (as a Behemoth).  However, should this be accomplished, the Shark Knights will rise to bring balance back to the sea -- represented by 3 Shark Knight Heavy Cavalry.

In the Pre-Game Ritual, each player was awarded a token for having a finely painted army.

Turn One

Despite the advantage, the Amazons lose momentum and the Roman player (me) is kind of lost.  I've noticed that for our games I spend so much energy on setting up the scenario, re-reading the rules, getting army lists together -- that I usually get a bit lost when it actually comes to playing the game.   In this case, I started with a defensive move -- firing the ballista at the Amazon berserker line and narrowly missing both the aimed-at berserker and the standard bearer just beyond her.  In response, the Amazon Cavalry Archers volley-fired and hit the Troglodyte command squad -- in a nightmarish deja-vu scene from game 3, my main Named character, the Magus, and the standard bearer were all in danger on Turn One.  In fact, I spent a Havoc token to save S'slith the Destroyer, and the poor standard bearer went down with dozens of Amazon arrows piercing his scaly hide.   

After that, I quickly moved the skirmishers to form a defensive line and moved S'slith and the Magus into cover.  Not a good start.  

The rest of the phase was simply advancing other troops -- the only notable action came when "Rick the Eye" (this pirate figure was named for my friend Rick way back in 2005 - nice to see the figure back in action after a decade!) nailed the Deep One, Varag, with a fine pistol shot made as Rick dangled from the railing.

Phase Two.  The focus stays on the sea battle as the mermaids (light cavalry) and toad-man (heavy cavalry) are within charge range.  They swarm aboard and massacre 3 of the crew, though the Roman artillery crew manages to hold off the charge of the toad-man, Grogomon, long enough for the Fencer to join the fray and slay him (in the Assault phase) using a combined attack and 3 Havoc tokens.  Rick the Eye sets his sights on Captain Cthulhu the Destroyer (Z'ur'dri the Destroyer) who is shielding the Cthulhu Magus (Acthirralb Z'aiolko).  The magus is making a bee-line for the Living Figurehead and barely notices when Rick the Eye's shot rings out and ends the Captain's tentacly existence (despite Havoc tokens used in defense AND being in cover - really bad luck for the Amazon player).

On land, the Troglodytes close with the Amazon berserkers and MASSACRE them to a man -- er, a woman.  The Roman victory celebration is measured in micro-seconds as the Roman player (me) realizes that the Amazon player (my wife and mother to my child) forgot to add in the MAD die from being close to the Amazon standard bearer.  3 Havoc tokens are awarded to me for what becomes known as the Resurrection battle and that one MAD die makes all the difference as only 2 of 6 berserkers are taken down.  

The Amazon light cavalry archers, robbed of their volley fire targets, charge the troglodytes on the Roman left flank.  Carnage ensues as 3 troglodytes are taken out due to impact hits.

It's kind of at this point that I realize I made a big error in positioning.  My trogs are only going to be able to take on the Amazons in two-on-one battles -- and I realize with a sinking feeling that if I lose momentum next turn they are going to be cut to pieces in one-on-one battles before I can get them out of the way.  

The sound of the Amazon Musician "sounding the maneuver" brought me back from my reveries.    

An Amazon heavy cavalry and a Knight Furioso (a demon) charged into contact with S'Slith the Destroyer and the Troglodyte Magus (respectively).  This looks bad -- although the Magus does have 4 Augment tokens.  I realize he actually has a chance to win the battle if he spends the tokens on himself - but I really need him to help out S'slith as well.  

The Roman troll is charged by another Amazon heavy cavalry and the second Amazon Knight Furioso (Skyclaw, a harpy).  The remaining heavy cavalry cut effortlessly through the Roman Legion and by the time Impact hits and the assault phase are resolved, only 2 remain standing, effectively eliminating them as a fighting force.  The Butcher manages to stand his ground against the impact hit and in the assault phase lives up to his name as he butchers (with one Augment from the magus) the heavy cavalry who dared to charge him .

Of the battles in the assault phase not already mentioned, I prioritized the following -- S'slith had to live, it would be great if the Magus survived, and the Troll...was on his own, probably.  And that's pretty much how it worked out.  S'slith the Destroyer, despite spending his Havoc tokens, is taken down by his heavy cavalry opponent.  S'stinky the Small summons his  spellcraft and succeeds in sucking the life-source of the Succubus into his sorcerous sphere!  (Using all his remaining Augments to boost his own attack rolls).  And finally, the Troll kills the heavy cavalry he was facing but is in turn brought low by the Amazon Harpy.  (At least he managed to kill something before dying this game!  see game 2)

Turn the Last, also known as the Cleverly Named Turn Two

So to recap -- both players have lost their "Destroyer" Named characters and neither managed to actually do any destroying.  Both players spend tokens and the Amazons emerge victorious with Momentum for this turn.

And the Roman tactical error with moving the skirmishers ensures this will be a quick game.

The Amazons open up with more sea creature carnage as the deadeye crossbow shot of sea hag Zephyre Wavenhair takes out another sailor, and the mermaids (Meradwyn, Sealanna and Laenaya) run roughshod over the remaining sailors, including Rick the Eye whose eye was unfortunately distracted by the mermaid's great beauty.  Only Nimble Jack and the Fencer remain for phase 2, though not before a few more lesser sea creatures  are taken out by pistol shot.  

On land, the Amazon Behemoth (Medusa) charges the Magus only to be charged in turn by the Butcher.  (Some modern revisionist historians may claim that the Butcher was actually running away from the Harpy Skyclaw when he accidentally bumped into the Medusa.  Were the Butcher still alive he would have these historians put to the sword.  Regardless, this clever application of the Third Law did mean that the Harpy was left without a target for her fury).

The Cthulhu magus, Acthirralb Z'aiolko, hiding behind Skull Rock, charges up his magical energy and prepares to summon life back into the Living Figurehead.  

Phase Two

The Amazon Musician again sounds the maneuver and send the Harpy winging across the battlefield to charge the Roman heavy cavalry (the one bright spot for the Romans last phase)  The remaining two heavy cavalry cause more carnage amongst the cavalry archers and one manages to trample into the Harpy.  The Amazon chariot mows down the last two troglodyte skirmishers.

At sea, Nimble Jack kills the mermaid, Sealanna, but is ridden down by her sister, Laenaya.  The Amazon Cthulhu Magus unleashes his spell and the Living Figurehead comes alive.  

And while the Shark Knights rise from the depths at the stern of the vessel, who is to say whether it is the magic which attracts them or the blood in the water?

In the Assault phase, the Behemoth  unleashes an 11 MAD dice attack, boosted by Havoc tokens and 3 Augment from the centaur magus.  The Butcher and the Roman Magus are cut to ribbons. 

The Roman heavy cavalry with lance is just the thing to kill the Harpy, finally.  And the Fencer aboard ship kills the last mermaid, Meradwyn.

It's pretty clear how this game is going but we decide to play one more turn and it's a...


I force a cut scene and we take 2 last moves to end the game.  The Amazon Sea Hag Zephyre Wavenhair fires her crossbow to kill one of the newly arrived Shark Knight heavy cavalry.  The remaining Shark Knights chase her down and get their revenge.  

And in the final move of the game, the Fencer uses his last remaining Havoc token to leaps from the gunwales, slide down the broken mast and skewer Sharkey the Amazon shark-man (Zigmal the Tooth) before Zigmal even knows there is a threat.


So remember those "small" troglodytes?  The heavy cavalry on salamanders and S'stinky the Small ?  Turns out they are actually goblins!   One of the remaining knights raises his visor, looks at the carnage the Amazons have just wreaked upon their opponents and says in a suspiciously Bronx accent, "Well, that's the end of Stinky, boys. We better be's gettin' back to the Boss.  He ain't gonna like this.  He ain't gonna like this one bit."   
Outcome: The Amazons, in pursuing the Romans back to their ship, have inadvertently set off a turf war with the orcs and goblins, who consider this their territory.  They are now aware of two threats -- the Romans and the Amazons. The Amazons clearly have won the land battle ... for now.

At sea, the creatures of the deep have been awakened by the Cthulhu Magus.  This will no doubt lead to some naval combats, as my wife has a band of pirates painted to go with her sea creatures.  And I have a long dormant fantasy pirate collection of miniatures with Orc, dwarf and Pi-rat (skaven) pirates plus the conventional(?) skeleton and human crews. The Cthulhu Magus looks around at the carnage -- just about all of the sea creatures had given their lives to protect him, allowing him to get to the Figurehead and restore her powers, bringing her to their side. But what does Cthulhu care about a little bloodshed? He has what he came for. He sounds the signal and swims off in retreat with the Figurehead and last remaining sea creatures. The pirates, with their surprise shark knight backup squad, have won this front ... again, for now.

Tactical thoughts

I lost the game by not realizing my biggest strength -- mobility.  With 16 skirmishers, there should never have been a case where they were involved in a one-on-one battle.  But I got panicked by the early success of the Amazon heavy cavalry and the threat of the Knights Furious.  After that. it was all over.  

When we set up the scenario, I thought I'd have a decent chance at the land battle and would probably have trouble in the sea battle until the Shark Knights were released (who were 1/3 of my army points).  In the end, having so many missile units (I used the Crossbowman profile to simulate the pirate's pistols) and one good Named melee unit (the Fencer) worked way better than anticipated.  

The Amazons won the land battle handily and the Romans won the sea battle, so we tied there.  The Amazons gaining their objective of the Living Figurehead gave them one more point for the win.

House Rules

Momentum rule

We used the rule suggested by Brent Spivey (in a comment to a different AAR on this blog) of giving the player without momentum an extra die in the momentum roll for the next turn.  We like this rule, as it seems to force a better back-and-forth of momentum -- or if you really want sustained momentum, you have to spend the Havoc tokens to be able to keep it (or be really lucky!).  We'll be using this going forward.

Artillery no-guess rules

A discussion on Delta Vector led to my developing "no guess" artillery rules which were used here for the first time.  It worked splendidly and got rid of the one bit of the Havoc rules that I just really didn't like -- the "guess the distance" rule for artillery.

For this game, I used a RAT of 2 for artillery crewman because I didn't want it to be too overpowering.  It was actually a little under-powered.  My new recommendation is to use RAT 3 for trained artillery crew.  If that crew should be killed and then replaced by regular infantry, then the replacement crew only has a RAT of 2 (which was another niggle that I didn't care for - that artillery crew could be replaced by regular infantry and yet retain the same skill level - which was actually the skill level of the player at guessing distance).   

I also reduced the initial impact hit from 10 to 8 because I think the rolling to-hit will actually be more accurate for most players.  This needs a bit more play-testing, as I only managed a single artillery shot this game.  But my gut feel is that the slightly reduced hit is still scary enough.   It still feels right, so I'm going to keep it as is for now.  

Artillery with To-Hit rules

Artillery crewman now have an RAT of 3.  Should the crew be killed and regular infantry re-crew the artillery, then their RAT is only 2.

Reduce the initial impact to 8.    (Drop the 10 from the sequence, in other words. One "bounce" is lost)

Roll to-hit based on the target model RDF as normal.   

On a miss, roll 1d6.  On 1-3, the shot is short.  On 4-6, the shot is long.

Roll 1d6 and move the target back or forward along the path from the artillery piece in accordance with the results of the first roll.

Example.  I miss and roll 1d6, scoring a 3.  The shot falls short.  I then roll 1d6 again and score a 4.  I move the impact point back 4 inches from the target on the line which intersects the artillery piece. 

This does mean that the original target could be hit if you are lucky in your deviation and bounce rolls!


It's interesting how introducing my wife to wargaming has led me to re-examine my own relationship with miniatures.  She isn't interested in collecting armies -- she wants to buy neat miniatures and create her own theme that ties them together.  After years of collecting miniatures in the same pose and painted the same way for Warhammer fantasy, I was really quite envious when she just went to Reaper and bought all the cool miniatures that I never bought because they didn't fit the army list.   What was I thinking? 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Interlude -- Roleplaying "Inspectres"

In addition to my wargaming hobby, I'm quite fond of several indie RPGS.  Over the summer I had a chance to run Inspectres -- the "not-Ghostbusters" game.  It went off beautifully and the write up of our play has garnered some nice comments here:

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Havoc Game 3: Battle for the Temple - Part 1

  (Part 1 can be found here.)

Turn 2
Momentum: Amazons

The Amazons spend a Havoc token to retain momentum heading into Turn 2.  

Phase 1 - The damned archers and their volley fire are performing excellent area denial tactics.  Before the game started, I had planned to rush my skirmishers, cavalry and a behomoth around in a wide flanking maneuver.  The archers put paid to that plan in turn 1 and my only idea now is to let the Amazons advance on our side of the temple so that the Ballistae can act in support.  The skirmishers will hide for a turn and then re-emerge, hopefully catching some of the approaching Amazon light cavalry in the flank.  The first part of that plan works -- the archers volley fire on the turtling 1st Legion and there are no casualties.  But it's still a psychological effect -- I really want to get rid of those archers and I can't see how!  

Charge of the Knight Furioso!
Over on the Roman left flank, the purple winged Nefario Daggarius, Knight Furioso, flies over the woods and charges 2nd Legion in the flank and in Phase 2 the chariot joins in (luckily causing no Impact Hit casualties!).
Amazon Chariot charge against 1st Legion

Amazons advance under the cover of arrow fire
On the Roman right, the ballista manages a kill on the only Amazon cavalry figure that can be seen -- but this has the unanticipated benefit of splitting the unit in half, forcing the Amazons to spend a move to get the unit back into cohesion.  

At first I was thrilled to cause a ballista casualty, but then I realized it was slowing the Amazons down when I really wanted to get into grips with them (so to speak) with my behemoth.  This desire is made more urgent when the behemoth and Roman cavalry have to withstand another round of volley fire (which is tense, I tell you!) even though no casualties were caused (really bad luck here for the Amazon player).  

In the assault phase, any disappointment the Amazon player may have felt about the archer's performance was quickly dashed away as the Roman 2nd Legion suffered 50% casualties under attacks by Amazon skirmishers, cavalry, heavy chariot and the Knight Furioso. 

The Roman player (me) has not yet realized exactly how badly the game is going for him.


A tie on the momentum roll results in the first Cut Scene of the game.  Groan!  This is going to go badly for the Romans as the Amazon Named are perfectly poised to take advantage and the Roman Named are...not. 

Momentum is retained from the previous turned, so the Amazons move first and sure enough, Knight Furioso Daggarius starts the turns off by killing an elephant!  Single-handed!  And after the Roman Magus enhanced the elephant's already high armor roll with 2 Intervention tokens.  As an after-thought, she then flies across the board, off-handedly sends a Roman demon back to the hell it came from and then flutters safely to ground behind cover, completely untouchable.  Ouch!  (And OMG that was cool!)

On the Roman side, the Musician "sounds the maneuver."  Captain Claudius has finally figured out just how bad a shape his force is in and seizes on a desperate plan to seize the day.  He charges against Kezra Fairwind, the Fencer, hoping to bring her down with an Impact Hit.  He fails utterly and realizes the Fencer will cut him to ribbons if he attacks alone. So, spending his last Havoc token, he charges the chariot from behind...and fails utterly to kill it, too.  Sigh.  

Still under "sound the manuever" the ballista hits (seriously, this is way out of character for me with guess weapons) and kills an Amazon Spearwoman and scares an archer almost 5 feet away.  And finally the standard bearer joins 3rd Legion.

(Note:  We desperately need a cheat sheet for what you can spend Havoc tokens on during a cut scene)

Turn 3
Momentum: Amazons

The Amazons spend a Havoc token to retain momentum heading into Turn 3.  Sound familiar?  While the Roman luck with the ballista has been wonderful, it's been balanced by losing every momentum roll so far.  And after the disastrous cut-scene the Romans just don't have the Havoc tokens to spare.  

Sands are stained with the blood of Romans and Demons
On the Roman right, the Amazon berserkers charge into 9th Legion.  In the assault phase, this turns into an absolute massacre. 

War can do strange things to a man...
And Father Benedict seems to have lost his mind.  He bathes in elephant's blood to recharge his infernal powers.  (This time choosing augment instead of intervention tokens).

The archers are actually scared away by the ballista and with the Amazon advance on the left flank they don't have very many targets left anyway.  They start relocating toward the right flank.  

Last moments of the Amazon chariot
On the left...well, the less said the better.  A brief bit of inspiration by Captain Claudius kills off the Amazon chariot, but he only has two men remaining from 1st Legion.  2nd Legion and the last elephant have moved to a blocking position to protect him, but the Amazon behemoth is in position to charge next turn along with all of the Amazon Named.  

2nd Legion prepare to sell their lives dearly

Captain Claudius took one last desperate look around, the screams of his men echoing in his ears, and ordered the Musician to "sound the retreat".  



Ouch!  The Roman invasion was well and truly squelched.  Squelched like the sound of Roman sandals wading through elephant blood.  From turn 1 when the Amazon archer volley decimated the ballista crew and command squad, the Romans were left reacting instead of acting.  

There were a lot of new elements in this battle, despite our two previous games.  I don't feel like I used the demon skirmishers to their full potential -- but I'm also really not sure how to use them.  No, that's not true -- on further reflection, I needed to have them declaring combined assault maneuvers every turn.  I let them get split up and defeated piece-meal.  

My one bit of tactical brilliance came late in the game, when I had 2nd Legion split into a line with every model 1 inch from the next.  The Amazons weren't going to get through there.  The Romans would die, but it would give Captain Claudius time to regroup a little.  It wasn't much, but if the game had gone on (and we did end up playing one more turn the next day -- see below) then that delaying action would have been critical.

I'll admit that this game caused quite a conversation in our household.  Despite the Amazon's winning, my wife wasn't happy because it seemed like the game basically fell to whoever could keep momentum the longest. 

The player with momentum has two huge advantages:  1 - she moves first so can dictate (to some degree) which match-ups will take place during the Assault phase.  And 2 - she attacks first in the assault phase. 

It's that second part that we are particularly having problems with.  Defending against an attack has proven nearly impossible except for Swords and Shields who take the Total Defense mode.   Our declaration of melee attacks, which we once thought exciting, goes much faster as the momentum player declares "everything in attack" and the defending player responds "everything in defense".  Occasionally in this game I declared a single die or two in attack just for fun -- but the figures never survived the attack to respond so it seemed quite pointless. And while The Swing, where the non-momentum player gets to move units out of close combat, is a key part of Havoc -- I simply very rarely had any survivors to use it with.

So my wife posed the question -- does whoever have momentum win?

To test this theory, we actually played one more turn of this game on the next night and gave the Romans Momentum.  And the Romans then proceeded to annihilate the Amazons.  The game totally flipped.  So does that mean we're right?   It will take more games to find out.  We aren't giving up -- the next game is planned -- but it's making us think.  I'm hoping that we figure out how to counter the Momentum Advantage.

Amazons triumphant!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Havoc Game 3: Battle for the Temple - Part 1

Having whet our swords on two smaller games, my wife and I decided to have a blow-out, 2000 point game of Havoc with all the bells and whistles.  She took her standard Amazons and I took the Romans -- with the addition of a Roman cleric who had been trafficking with infernal powers and had summoned a demon behemoth and a Horde of smaller demons.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Havoc Battle #2 - Cavalry and Behmoths

We played our second "learning" game of Havoc last night.  In game one we learned the basics of using infantry and ranged combat, so this game concentrated on learning the rules for cavalry and magic.  Just for fun, I threw a behemoth into the mix - this lovely troll from the D&D pre-paints range: 
Nomads with Behemoth in tow

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Havoc First Battle

First Play of Havoc - brilliantly tactical

My wife and I played our first game of Havoc today.  It's really a shame that Brent Spivey went to such pains to write such an elegant game and yet there's very little talk about it.  And that's the word that kept coming back to me as we played - elegant.   It absolutely deserved the Origins Award it received.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Thoughts on Havoc

So for my fantasy games, I'm going to need a fantasy ruleset.  I was tempted to go Oldhammer but then I started reading about this game called Havoc by Brent Spivey.  So I decided to give it a try...and am I glad I did!  Here's an excerpt about the experience from a letter to a friend:

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Fantasy Terrain: Floating Castle

As I said in my previous post, Alien Dungeon's Fantacide setting has inspired me to start up a couple of fantasy terrain projects.  Of course, being me, I've started several and haven't finished any.  But I'm getting there - I'm working on one while another drys.  So here's the second big project: the floating castle.  This one was inspired by a battle report -- whose link escapes me now -- which featured a floating island (apparently theirs is made of acrylic).

My own is wood, foam, plastic egg, cardboard tube, florist wire and a fruit cup.  But I'm liking how it is coming along.  So is Apollo:

 And a side view.  Since mine isn't a nice acrylic bracket, I decided to go with a tripod design.  The two waterfalls (hardboard covered in paintable acrylic latex gap filler) support the rear and the front is a giant vine (beanstalk, if you will) made of twisted floral wire.  The whole thing is quite sturdy and I'm pleased with how it is progressing.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A bit of Fantasy

I recently picked up a used copy of Fanticide and while the rules don't do much for me the setting got me going. Fanticide boasts the kind of elves who steal your baby in the middle of the night and leave one of their own in its place.  And there's a grim whimsy to it that is delightful - it's like Neil Gaiman on a bad day (Neil Gaiman can write some very dark stories when he has a mind to).  The flying monkeys are evil and fun and the carnivorous unicorn is really emblematic of how they have taken fantasy and given it a sharp twist to wring out a new take on old fantasy tropes.  

So does this belong in the world of Colony 13?  Well, I won't be pitting elves with arrows against marines in power armor anytime soon because that kind of crossover just doesn't interest me.  But who is to say that if you walk far enough along the path leading out of the colony and into the terraformed forests some dread power lurks in wait for the unwary?  After all, any sufficiently advanced technology....

My first terrain piece is called the Blood Tree.   There's a bit of the Green Man  (yes, children, the Green Man existed far before Game of Thrones) and a lot of the hanging tree from Excalibur where Perceval finally fulfills the Grail Quest.   The tree itself is twisted florist wire and the base of the tree is florist wire wrapped around a cardboard roll and then covered in face tissue soaked with white glue.

(Elmer's white glue, hot glue gun, and Guinness -- and a supportive wife in the background -- are all necessary components.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Incoming Aurora dropships!

Yep, it's been awhile since Colony 13 has seen any new inhabitants.  Real Life interfered for a bit, but the natives have been getting increasingly restless and have burst forth now with all new adventures for Colony 13.  More to come.

In the meantime, my pre-order of the excellent Aurora dropship and Nemesis strike vehicle from ClearHorizon miniatures arrived yesterday!  Here's some unboxing pictures - can't wait to get these put together.  I ordered 2 of the Auroras after Mr. Harold posted an excellent corporate paintjob WIP. So one will get a stealth/camo paintup and the other bright corporate colors (*I need to come up with a fictional corporation.  Firefly has Blue Sun.  Alien has Weyland-Yutani.  Hmmm.  Something Gearworks perhaps with a gear logo?)

Note that since I pre-ordered I also received 3 sets of the 2 combat operatives -- I'll paint 2 sets to match whatever the Auroras end up being and the 3rd....hmm.  Not sure about the third yet.  Ideas welcomed in the comments.  :-)