Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Defending an Ogre Raid

This past weekend when Holdfast came over to play Starmada, we also got in a game of OGRE.  We played the Raid scenario on the G1 map, with my opponent attacking with a Mark IV (code name: Shemp) and six GEVs.
He came up the west side of the board, stopping to lay waste to the towns along the way (the terrain overlays in the Designer's Edition are a great way to show this).  There wasn't much I could do to stop him at first, as almost all my reinforcements came in on the edge opposite from all the action, and he took out one of my Mobile Command Posts as well.
His delays proved his undoing, however, as my backup units were finally able to get close enough to take out his guns and slow him down.  Once I was able to keep up, I could strip away treads until the enemy was immobile.
We were very close on points scored, but he lost all his attacking units.  According to the scenario, that made the battle a decisive Paneuropean victory.  Hooray for our side!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Introductory OGRE

Weekend before last, a friend's son was over at our house.  We've played some wargames together, but he had never played OGRE, so I introduced him to the basic scenario of Mark III vs. CP.  He picked up the rules easily, and soon had the cybertank headed up the map, wiping my conventional forces off the board.
He did get distracted taking out all my units, losing almost all his weapons, and the game came down to whether my last defender, a Howitzer, could take out the last of the OGRE's treads.  The answer was no.
We played a second game using same units on the G1 map, with the Mark III entering through a lake hex.  We used the rules for terrain and destruction of hexes.
This time my young opponent quickly burned through my defenses for a straight shot at the Command Post.  With just one armor unit left, I conceded the game.
We had a good time playing, and I think I have a new convert to the world of OGRE.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

First game of Starmada

Saturday I had a chance to play the spaceship combat game Starmada Admiralty Edition and the Starfleet Battles conversion called Klingon Armada, which fellow gamer Holdfast brought over, along with some Starfleet Battles miniatures for some Trek gaming.
It was the first time for both of us to play the game, so we each took about 560 or so points of pregenerated starships from the Klingon Armada book.  I chose to play the Klingons, with two D-7 battlecruisers, the Razor Blade and the Knife's Edge.  Mark had two Federation light cruisers, the Hood and the Wasp, and a frigate from his Prime Directive roleplaying campaign, the Stauffenberg.  Since Mark didn't have exact models for each ship, and we're not Trek purists, we did a little proxying with a Clix mini. 
The rules are pretty straightforward, although the movement system takes awhile to get down.  The combat was very reminiscent of Warhammer, with rolling to hit, then rolling to penetrate shields, then rolling damage.  The two fleets quickly closed and started pounding each other.  My two D-7s unloaded on the poor frigate on the first turn, and since asteroids blocked line-of-sight to one of my ships, the other took the brunt of the Federation shots.
With preplotted movement, the two sides ended up at close range on the second turn, where we each managed to take out one of the other's capital ships.  All shooting in the game is considered simultaneous, and damage takes effect at the end of the turn, so each ship was able to get off its shots before exploding.
My remaining ship was mostly undamaged from the first two turns, so on the third, it unleashed enough firepower to vaporize the unfortunate frigate (the ship on which the characters in Holdfast's roleplaying game serve).  The Klingon easily withstood the fire from the remaining Fed starship, and we called the game at that point.
Starmada is a fairly simple set of rules that played pretty quickly, but we were using the basic game and (other than using shield facets) avoiding all the special rules that can bog down a spaceship game.  Still, I liked it and will play Starmada again, probably in the SFB universe.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The new guys

I decided my minis collection needed some filling out, so I purchased these guys along with the hobbitses.
They are all Mage Knight figures, and you may or may not encounter some of them when roaming the halls of my very own dungeon.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Watching The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (the extended version, of course), I  realized that I didn't have any halfling minis in my collection.  Looking around, the Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures prepaints and their Pathfinder counterparts were too expensive--and worse, the figures are all wearing shoes!  However, since the Heroclix folks produced minis for The Lord of the Rings movies as well as The Hobbit films, I found a bunch of minis that are true to the source material as well as easy on the wallet.
I ordered these figures from Troll & Toad, and they all cost less than a dollar.  Note that I removed these miniatures from their huge clicky bases, which look so big they appear to overpower the figures.  Instead, pennies are a handy and cheap alternative basing method (don't worry; I plan to cover and paint the coins.
These miniatures, once they've been rebased, make fine-looking short folk.  As you can see from the photo below next to a Heroscape knight, these hobbits scale well with my other 30mm prepainted minis.
Now, if a player in my D&D campaign wants to run a halfling character, I have several to choose from--and who knows, maybe there will be some non-player character hobbits wandering around the dungeon as well.

Monday, March 31, 2014

OGRE's missing Archangel mini

This post doesn't have anything to do with Steve Jackson Games' current moratorium on the sale of OGRE/GEV minis.  Instead, it's a look back to the halcyon days of this line of miniatures, when boxed sets sold for under $20 retail. 

Opening up my set of  Paneuropean Infantry from the early 2000s, I found a checklist for all the planned OGRE Miniatures boxed sets.  As you can see, in addition to the North American Combine and PE starter sets, SJG sold twelve boxed sets of NAC minis and ten sets of PE castings.
The company eventually stopped selling these sets, due to economic factors.  While most of the minis remained for sale individually (or returned with the Wave One minis reprint that was a Kickstarter goal), those from Combine Set 9: Laser Towers and Turrets were not available until the recent Ogre Minis Wave Two reprint.  And a couple of these boxes, Combine Set 8: Divisional Assets, and Paneuropean Set 9: Laser Towers and Turrets, were never even produced (although the Combine structures and the Paneuropean lasers eventually appeared last year with Wave Two).
But it's the last item on the checklist that intrigues me: Paneuropean Set 12: Archangel GEV-MCP and Escorts.  The idea for this unit evidently came from the Ogre Miniatures rules, which described this mobile command post as "a conversion of the massive Soviet transport hovercraft."  It had no attack capability, a defensive strength of 2, and a movement rate of 2/1 in boardgame terms.  GURPS OGRE named this vehicle the "Archangel" and noted that there were only six ever built. 
As far as I know, this ground effect mobile command post was never made into a miniature, and I have no idea what the escorts were supposed to be--judging from the points cost, I'm gonna guess it included at least a couple of hovertrucks, along with infantry and GEVs. 

I think such a vehicle would contribute to an interesting game.  The problem is finding a miniature to represent it.  This thread on The Miniatures Page has several suggestions, including using die-cast toys.  I think that's the route I'll go, if I decide to use a GEV mobile command post in a game of OGRE.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Kobold Konventions for HotT

Hordes of the Things is my favorite fantasy wargame, but like any set of rules it isn't perfect.  And while the new edition of HotT (available in the U.S. from this seller) made one major fix that had already been adopted by gamers for years (switching the movement rates for Shooters and Warbands), there are still some minor issues with the game.

Kaptain Kobold is a longtime HotT player whose now-defunct website The Stronghold was the go-to internet site for Hordes of the Things players.  His new blog, The Stronghold Rebuilt, covers HotT and other games.  And over the years, he came up with a few rules fixes or tweaks for my wargame of choice.

These optional rules, which I hereby designate the Kobold Konventions, give Sneakers a much-needed fix, merge Water Lurkers with regular Lurkers, let Clerics move into close combat with Gods, and have Paladins destroy Fliers just like Heroes can.  In addition, they allow elements to spend PIPs on multiple march moves in big battles.  Finally, there is random terrain placement to make the battlefields more tactically interesting.

These options seem like logical, well-thought out adjustments to make the game more playable and to make it adhere more closely to the various fictional sources that inspired Hordes of the Things.  I want to try the Kobold Konventions in my next game of HotT.