Monday, April 25, 2016

Ekranoplan work in progress

Some time ago I purchased a Thunderwolf helicopter from Kenner's old Mega Force line of military toys to use as a transport in my sci-fi combat games. I finally got around to working on this vehicle, removing the remaining rotor and some oversized gun turrets. As you can see, it scales nicely with Ogre (and other 6mm) miniatures.
Instead of a chopper, this piece now represents an ekranoplan--a cross between a conventional airplane and a ground-effect vehicle used for transporting large cargo, such as armored vehicles, more quickly than seagoing vessels.
This model took a spray coat very well, and the paint brings out the details on it nicely. The front cargo door still opens. In my games, it will probably serve as a terrain piece/objective at first. I can also see using it as an actual vehicle in an amphibious invasion scenario, but that's a long way off.
I also created a couple of cargo containers (not pictured) from spare game pieces. Now I just need to do some detailing on the windshields, engines, and landing gear. Then it will be ready for my Ogre miniatures to fight over.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Take a ride on the Reading Railroad

The Ogre Designer's Edition has a couple of scenarios involving trains (one of which dates back to the original publication of GEV). So I decided I want one for my Monopolis battles.
I found this Micro Machines bullet train and track on eBay. It's about the right scale for games of Ogre on my large hex mat. In the game, a train comes in two sections, each of which takes up one hex, so I don't need the three passenger cars.
It also has nearly enough track sections to span my entire map. All aboard!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Modern Appendix N: Your suggestions?

Dungeons & Dragons was heavily influenced by speculative fiction of the years prior to its creation--everything from classical mythology and folk tales, through the pulp stories of the early 20th century, to then-contemporary novels. These legendaria became known as Appendix N material, so named for the section of the AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide in which author Gary Gygax listed some of the many influences on his gaming.

There have been plenty of overviews of this source material--see here, here, and here, for example. And because that list of inspirational reading is decades old, folks have been suggesting additions to the literary canon.

Which brings me to my question: What are three relatively new (published within the past three decades or so) works that you would suggest to inspire fantasy gamers?

Here are my suggestions, all of which have great settings and, just as important, great characters:

  • The Deed of Paskanarrion series by Elizabeth Moon: A sheepfarmer's daughter joins a mercenary company, setting her on a path to become a paladin--but not before numerous battles with opposing armies and even creatures of darkness. 
  • Books of the Elements series by David Drake: Four citizens in ancient Rome Carce defend their empire from creatures of the Norse sagas, Native American legends, African mythology, and Indian folk tales, with pulp elements like Atlantean flying ships thrown in.
  • The Desert of Souls by Howard Andrew Jones: Two officials in medieval Baghdad team up to stop a plot against the Caliph in a swashbuckling tale that combines 1930s action with 21st century sensibility--and a djinn.
Your turn: Suggest three works (series or standalone novels) that are inspirational reading for you and your gaming.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

OGRE products update

In case anyone was wondering what's coming up in the world of new OGRE products, here's what I've been able to glean from various sources, along with some rank speculation:

ASSAULT PACKS
What: Small expansions for OGRE Designer's Edition containing new scenarios, new rules, new unit counters, and terrain overlays. Information on these is restricted to Kickstarter backers only, so I don't have much. The ones I know of are:
     Black Mamba Down (perhaps includes Ranger counters from the assault pack preview)
     Operation Rubicon (reportedly includes "Troll" unit and self-propelled gun)
     Rise of the Golem (maybe referring to Israeli cybertanks?)
     Storm Dragon (anyone have any idea?)
When: Not scheduled
How much: Unknown

DESIGNER'S EDITION EXPANSION
What: Large expansion to ODE promised as part of the Kickstarter campaign. Will have two new map (G-3 and S-3), one counter sheet (including one new 3-D unit--probably the Ninja), and scenarios.
When: They say late 2016
How much: Under $65

NEW OGRE SET
What: Standalone game in Designer's Edition scale with only the oriingal OGRE map and rules, with counters in new colors. Will include at least one new scenario, GEV Screen.
When: They say summer or fall of 2016
How much: Trying for $49.95

POCKET GEV (speculative)
What: Pocket sized edition of the sequel to compliment Pocket Ogre. No telling if this will actually be produced, but I have some suggestions on the counter mix.
When: Not scheduled
How much: Probably around $10 or $11

Anybody else excited about these new products? I plan on buying the expansions, but probably not the new OGRE box.

If you have any more information on any of these--especially the Assault Packs--please let me know.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Friday night D&D

Last weekend, I ran a game of Dungeons & Dragons for my wife. While she's played D&D before, adventuring with me in the Hill Cantons, I had never DMed for her. Using the Labyrinth Lord Advanced rules, she rolled up her character--Casandra, an assassin recently downsized from the Guild due to the economy (that's her in the blue cloak).
In need of work, she started the game at the Green Dragon Inn, in Portown. There, Casandra encountered rumors of a nearby dungon complex that was attracting adventurers, opportunities at a distant keep located on the borderlands, some sort of trouble at the palace in a not-too-distant kingdom, an abandoned hideaway of two famous adventurers, the missing son of a local lord (who would pay handsomely for his child's return), and treasure in the cellars of an abandoned sorcerer's tower located next to the graveyard and not too far from the sea.
She chose to investigate the corridors beneath the tower, but not before gaining a few adventuring companions: the hobbit Banker Baggins (no relation), Nestor the cleric, and Abercrombie (Abe) the dwarf. Their first foray brought them into a room with smashed coffins and a couple of hungry ghouls. They ended up defeating the pair of undead creatures, but Banker had fallen, so they went back to town to recover (but not before finding some platinum coins and a handful of gems).
On their return, they walked through a room they thought was empty, but which contained animated skeletons hidden in alcoves. A word from the cleric Nestor sent the figures clattering away, and they continued until they found a room with a man in robes accompanied by a bodyguard behand a table with all sorts of wizardly implements. A good reaction roll meant that instead of ordering the fighter to attack, the man conversed with the explorers and even mentioned that he had seen some idiot kid wandering around the dungeon, heading to the west.
The adventurers continued on, discovering a room containing a statue, the facing of which controlled which door would open, and defeating a giant snake in a circular room with a staircase leading up. Before they could explore any further, a group of wandering dwarves entered from the south. Although Abe tried to talk with them, a very bad reaction roll had them on the verge of hostilities, so the explorers withdrew. At that point, we called it an evening.
My wife had a good time adventuring, and she played smart. She had never mapped before, and she did a good job charting their route through the dungeon. I hope she decides to play again soon--after all, that lord's idiot kid is still down there somewhere.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

More minis for Hordes of the Things

At our last Hordes of the Things gameday, we talked about putting on a big battle scenario for HotT--Ragnarok--using larger-than-normal armies for the frost and fire giants. To that end, I purchased a bunch more Heroclix (and one D&D Miniatures figure) to add to my Sons of Muspel:
In addition, I saw some minis that inspired me to start working on a Frost Giant army to compliment my fire giants. I have enough figs here for about 8 AP worth of elements--probably Warbands--one-third of a standard HotT army:
Finally, while these models don't fit a current army, I like the translucent green. They might someday become part of a new force, the spirit of nature army.
Anyone else building new armies, for Hordes of the Things or any other game?

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Off defending the Commonwealth

You might have noticed my blogging has been sparse lately. I blame my wife, who got me a videogame system for my birthday. I've been playing Fallout 4 over the past few weeks, and I'm having a (nuclear) blast.
(image from Wikipedia)
If you're a videogame fan, you know what I'm talking about. For you old-school analog gamers, it's pretty much a sandbox, slightly less gonzo, Gamma World-style exploration game, where you roam across a nuclear-ravaged Massachusetts some two centuries after an atomic war. You gain skills and levels while making alliances with various organizations. Or you can go around just shooting things. Just like when we played GW back in the day.

Either way, Fallout has me craving some post-apocalyptic tabletop minis gaming. For rules, I want something a little more rules-light than Gamma World and a lot more miniatures-focused. Something like Mutants and Death Ray Guns from Ganesha Games, or maybe something adopted from one of Ed's Two Hour Wargames rulesets, like After the Horsemen.

I already have plenty of prepainted Heroscape minis I can use for skirmishes, and I'm sure I can track down some Clix prepaints for various purposes as well. And Gunbird's blog 20mm And Then Some has lots of inspiration regarding terrain for Fallout games

Anyone else doing some After-the-Bomb gaming? If so, what rules do you recommend? Also, what minis?