Friday, January 9, 2015

We got a great big convoy

I never did manage to grab the Last War Set 1: Convoy back when Steve Jackson Games was  still producing miniatures for Ogre. But now, thanks to the great customer service at Dibble's Hobbies in San Antonio, I have some 6mm trucks to use with my three-dimensional Iron Mountain Map and other Ogre scenarios that require transport vehicles.
Dibble's, a local hobby legend, carries microarmor as well as other gaming minis, so I went there on the off-chance that the store would have some transport vehicles in 1/285 scale.  I thought about ordering online, but I want to support my local shops, and I'm also an instant gratification kind of guy.
I didn't find anything on the store's shelves, but when I told the owner what I was looking for, he went into the back and brought out a dusty old ammo box filled with a modern microarmor collection that someone had sold to the store some time ago.
Bingo! He and I picked through that container and found a number of transport vehicles, all painted, and for a very reasonable price. I ended up with two HEMTTs, six duce-and-a-halfs, and four larger trucks that I'm not sure what they are (in the center above).
These models came with a pretty nice paint job. All I need to do is paint the windshields and give them an ink wash, and they'll be ready to roll.
And they fit in well with the Ogre minis, which as you can see are pretty big compared to the trucks--which makes sense, because in-universe that Jaeger is a heavy tank compared to the MBTs of the early 21st century. And putting a duce-and-a-half next to a Mark V shows you how massive those cybertanks would be in real life.
So who wants to play out Iron Mountain and see if that convoy can make it across the map?  Big Ben, this here's the Rubber Duck, and I'm about to put the hammer down ....

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Dunes is here!

At long last, Slumbering Ursine Dunes, an old-school sandbox setting that Chris Kutalik, our creative DM, created as part of his Hill Cantons campaign and turned into a full-fledged adventure module via Kickstarter.  It has a distinct Eastern European/Slavic flavor to it, filtered through a sardonic Austin viewpoint that predates hipsters by a generation. And there's a whole lotta stuff in there that we tabletop players never saw during our games.  There are some great ideas in this adventure, so check it out.
Also in the package I received, Original Edition Delta: Book of War, from the author of Delta's D&D Blog--it's a medieval/fantasy miniatures wargame rules based directly on old-school D&D.  One figure represents 10 men, and combat is resolved by rolling d6s, allowing DMs to fight out those large battles without taking forever.  I like the simplicity of this ruleset, and I'm looking forward to trying it out.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Iron Mountain: Now in 3-D!

I haven't played HeroScape in a looooong time, but I've been thinking about how convenient that game's modular hex terrain system is for even longer.  The hexes that come with this now out-of-production skirmish game are about the same size as the map spaces in Battletech or Ogre--big enough to use miniatures.
So when the urge struck me yesterday, I put together a three-dimensional version of the map for the Ogre scenario Iron Mountain (found in The Ogre Book).  This battle involves an Ogre Mark III-B pursuing a convoy of trucks containing rocket fuel down a narrow mountain road.  The transports are guarded by a handful of conventional units; it's a race to see if the vehicles can get from one end of the road to the other.
This is the only Ogre/GEV scenario I know of that takes line-of-sight into account: the mountainsides block fire, and due to the narrow path, the Ogre can only shoot half of its weapons at any single target.
As you can see, the HeroScape hexes are roomy enough to fit this Ogre Mark III (I unfortunately don't own a III-B in metal) as it chases the slow-moving convoy.
I didn't actually play a game; time and space limitations forced me to break down this map after a short while.  But if I can spark local interest, I'll put this map together again and actually play out the Battle of Iron Mountain.  (By the way, anyone know where I can get some 1/285 trucks suitable for this setting?)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Gaming plans for the new year

It's time to get back to what inspired me to start this blog: Spaceships. 

I own more starship minis than I will ever be able to get on the table at the same time, so I don't plan on buying anything else.  I do have a few Entomalian ships that I need to get painted.  But my main goal for the coming year is to put on a large (eight-player) scenario using as many of those models as I can, along with all my set dressing: planets, asteroids, space station.  I want to playtest it, run it for the local group, and take it to a game convention.  I want to call it Operation Bug Tussle.

I also want to expand, refine, and run Siege of Monopolis for Ogre again.  I also want to play some D&D, and maybe run a skirmish campaign.  I want to play in a Hordes of the Things campaign.  But most of all I want to just game on a regular basis.

What do you want to do, gaming-wise, in 2015?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Adios, old year!

As the Dreadnought says goodbye to 2014, I once again look back on my gaming over the past twelve months. As usual, not as much as I'd hoped--a move, training for a marathon, and other issues got in the way, and there was no GuadaComaCon. Still, the year brought a few highlights:
I'm glad I got to run the games I did, and I hope to keep it up in the coming year. So how was your gaming in 2014?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmastime Ogre game

Who knew cats liked wargames?
Visiting my brother during the Yule season, I brought along the Ogre pocket edition. Joined by the family kitten, Precious, who took an interest in the proceedings, we played the Mark III attacking scenario.
My brother took the Ogre, I played the defense, and the cat got in the way. I took three heavies, four GEVs, a missile tank, and two howitzers, backed up by twenty squads of infantry.
It was a close game, and if my howitzers had managed a couple of hits on treads at the right time, I would have vanquished the Ogre, since I'd taken out everything but its AP guns.  As it ended up, he limped in at M2 and destroyed the command post in sector 0801, before I finally immobilized him.
So it was a marginal Ogre victory, which my brother had predicted from the beginning--even naming his tank provocatively.
We had fun, despite his criticism of my defense (telling me I moved my infantry the wrong way, leaving them out of position to stop the Ogre).  I told him that if he's such an expert, he can play the defenders in our next game.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Siege of Monopolis scenario

Here's the OGRE scenario that I ran at Millenniumcon in 2014, cleaned up for your gaming pleasure.  Siege of Monopolis uses Ogre minis, the Designer's Edition rules, a big hex mat from Corsec Engineering, and scratchbuilt terrain from model railroad/diorama supplies and parts from various editions of Monopoly games.  Note there are some special rules that deviate from the standard Ogre DE rulebook.
{I have included designer's notes in bracketed italics.}
INTRODUCTION

The peaceful City of Monopolis rises above the rubble of the Last War, a gleaming center of commerce and industry. But no peace lasts forever. Now invaders march to conquer the city while outnumbered defenders scramble to protect their home.  Join the Siege of Monopolis!

SPECIAL RULES
  • COMBINING FIRE: Units may not combine fire unless all the firing units are within a single hex of one another or the target is within the targeting range of a functioning command post.
    {This gives players a reason to destroy the other person's CP and protect their own.}
  • COMMAND POST: Allows other units to combine fire against a target within the targeting range of the CP.
    • MOBILE CP: D1, M2, targeting range 10 hexes.
      {I had a cool mini I wanted to use.}
    • STATIONARY CP: D2, M0, targeting range anywhere on the map. No terrain bonus. 
  • CRUISE MISSILE: The detonation automatically destroys all Town or Forest within three hexes and damages all Town or Forest four hexes away. It destroys or damages units according to the standard rules.
    {It slows down a game to roll to see whether hexes on the edge of a cruise missile blast are destroyed, so I just changed it to damaged--and besides, I like showing off the terrain I made. I shrunk the blast radius for the same reason, and because with four-inch hexes, my map doesn't cover as much territory as the Ogre DE maps.]
  • HIDDEN INFANTRY: A player may designate some or all infantry units as hidden infantry. They are not placed on the map during setup. Instead, hidden infantry deploy as follows:
    • On any turn, at the start of the defender’s fire phase, the defender rolls a d6 for each unit to be placed. On a roll of 4+, that unit may be placed in any Forest, Rubble, Swamp, or Town hex unoccupied by enemy units. 
    • Multiple hidden infantry units may be placed in the same hex as long as the rolls are successful.
    • Once a roll fails, the defender may not attempt to place any more hidden infantry until the next turn. 
    • Hidden infantry fire normally on the turn they are placed, and move and fire normally after that.
      {I like fog of war, but I wanted to reduce recordkeeping such as writing down which hex your infantry are hiding in (and my map doesn't have numbered hexes). This is a good way to have concealed units while cutting down on paperwork.}
  • LASER TOWER: D4. No terrain bonus. Otherwise uses standard rules.
    {Using a defense factor instead of Structure Points eliminates more recordkeeping and also gets rid of an exception to Ogre's combat resolution system, meaning one less rule for convention goers who may be new to the game, to worry about. Besides, it's fun to see what the attackers do after they've disabled, but not destroyed, the laser.}
  • MINEFIELD:  Covers one hex until cleared.  On-road: Automatically destroys a vehicle or infantry squad or d6 Ogre treads and blocks the road. Off-road: Destroys a vehicle on roll of 6 or d6 Ogre treads on 5-6; slows infantry to M1. If they don’t move or fire, three squads of infantry can clear a mined hex in three turns, six squads in two turns, and nine squads in one turn.
    {Again, less recordkeeping and no need for special units in a convention game. Each minefield is represented on the map by three tokens per hex, remove them as above to indicate progress in clearing the minefield.}
  • SKYSCRAPERS: Town hexes with BPC-reinforced skyscrapers have D8 and treat a cruise missile detonation as if it were one hex further away.  Other than that, they use the same rules as regular Town hexes.
    {I just think the skyscrapers should be a little harder to turn to rubble. And yeah, I like how they look on the tabletop.}
 
FORCES
  • ATTACKER
    • COMMAND GROUP (player 1)
       Mobile CP
       Cruise Missile Crawler x 2
       Mk V Ogre
      {I gave the attackers nukes to see if they would ever use them.  Every time I ran the siege, the attackers used their nukes!}
    • PANZER COMPANY (player 2)
       Light tank x 2
       Heavy tank x 7
       Superheavy tank x 2
    • ROCKET SECTION (player 3)
       Missile Tank x 6
       Mobile Howitzer x 3
    • LUFTPANZER COMPANY (player 4)
       LGEV x 6
       GEV x 8
    • INFANTRY BATTALION (player 5)
       GEV-PC (w/3 Infantry squads each) x 6
       Infantry Platoon (3 Infantry squads each) x 8
       Heavy Weapons Squad (1 infantry squad each) x 4
  • DEFENDER
    • HEADQUARTERS SECTION (player 1)
       CP
       Laser tower x 1
       Minefields x 4
       Mk V Ogre
      {This was a Mark III in the convention game, but I upgraded it here because the defense needs the extra help.}
    • ARMOR TEAM WITH ARTILLERY (player 2)
       Heavy tank x 5
       Superheavy tank x 1
       Missile Tank x 3
       Howitzer x 2
       Light Artillery Drone (w/hovertruck) x 1
    • COMBINED ARMS BATTALION (player 3)
       LGEV x 4
       GEV x 9
       GEV-PC (w/3 Infantry squads each) x 4
       Infantry Platoon (3 Infantry squads each) x 6
SETUP
  • DEFENDER sets up first on the eastern half of the map except for the following:
    • MINEFIELDS: The defender places minefields in six hexes anywhere on the map.
    • COMBINED ARMS BATTALION: These units enter from the eastern map edge on any turn desired by the defender.
    • HIDDEN INFANTRY: The defender may designate some or all infantry units as hidden infantry. 
  • ATTACKER sets up last, up to five hexes in from the west side of the map.  The attacker does not have to bring on all units on the first turn; they may enter on any turn. Units entering on a road get the road movement bonus.
DEFENDER'S ORDERS
  1. Preserve your forces.
  2. Defend the city at all costs.
  3. Keep the attacker from occupying skyscraper hexes.
  4. Keep your Ogre alive; it is needed for the war effort.
  5. Destroy the enemy Ogre to thwart their war effort. 
  6. Keep the road open to the west.
ATTACKER'S ORDERS
  1. Preserve your forces.
  2. Capture the city at all costs.
  3. Keep the attacker from occupying skyscraper hexes.
  4. Keep your Ogre alive; it is needed for the war effort.
  5. Liberate the prison (have one platoon of infantry spend one turn in that hex without moving or shooting).
  6. Destroy power plants (target the hexes containing them directly or through spillover fire).
  7. Occupy the House of Government (have at least one vehicle or infantry in that hex until the end of the battle).
  8. Keep industrial areas intact; do not allow them to become damaged.
 {I didn't keep track of victory points or have any conditions for one side or the other to accomplish. Instead, like in most battles, each side has a number of orders, some of which contradict each other.  I wanted to throw these orders out there and see what the players did with them.}