Tuesday, March 29, 2011

ChimaeraCon reminder

Don't forget, this weekend is ChimaeraCon in San Antonio.  It's not on the schedule yet, but I will be running a Galactic Knights scenario (crosslinked with a Future War Commander battle) Saturday evening.  Not only that, someone has a Firestorm Armada tournament on the schedule as well. 

Oh, and there will be Hordes of the Things too--including the Texas HotTHammer championship!  I'll be bringing my Nightmare Legion and the Sons of Muspel.  I'm looking forward to it, and I hope you get a chance to swing by.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Scenario: Clash of the Task Forces

(EDIT: I put a picture at the top of this post, and even though it shows up in other blogrolls, for some reason the pic won't show on this page.  SECOND EDIT: Click on the single pixel just above this paragraph, and the link will take you to the photo.)

This is another scenario I posted to the Galactic Knights mailing list some time ago.  It was inspired by a snippet of background from the GK rulebook:

"The Valiant GDNs often fly in pairs with Ranger CAs or other missile ships together in a task force.  It is not uncommon for one of these task forces to unload combined salvos of forty missiles at once."
-- Galactic Knights rulebook, p. 43 sidebar

BACKGROUND: A Terran hunter-killer team searching for targets of opportunity finds more than it bargains for when it encounters an Avarian carrier task force. 

FORCES: The Terran player gets two Valiant-class galactic dreadnoughts, accompanied by two Ranger-class cruisers.  The Avarian player takes a pair of Nest-class carriers and up to four Buzzard-class star bombers and/or Sparrow-class armored pursuit ships.

SETUP: The task forces should set up at opposite corners of the playing field, so that the Avarians are out of the 24-hex range of the Terran heavy particle beam batteries.  Ships should be 5 hexes ahead of their drift markers.

VICTORY CONDITIONS: Each side must destroy at least one capital ship (i.e. carrier or galactic dreadnought) belonging to the opposing task force to claim a victory.  If either side loses both its capital ships, that side suffers a total defeat.
It may be a little difficult to game without using proxies (not many gamers have that many capital ships), but I like the idea of a missile-heavy force going up against a fighter-heavy opponent. 

I haven't played this one myself, and if I do I'd probably cut the numbers in half, just for a shorter game and because I don't have two Terran DNs.  If anyone games this scenario, let me know how it went.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Battle report: Full Thrust furballs

Last month, I spent a weekend wargaming with Sting52jb, who came into town for some spaceship battles.  I played my first games of Full Thrust, which is a pretty fun buckets o' dice game.  We played a quick game Friday, three secorts against three escorts, just to learn the basics of the game.
I'd never played using preplotted movement, and I like how it forces you to think ahead, trying to anticipate where your opponent will be, instead of reacting to where your opponent is like in other games.
The first game was a little simplistic, in that we didn't use threshhold checks when the ships received a certain amount of damage.  The next day, we played a game using more ships and all the rules.  Threshhold checks proved an exciting way of simulating the randomness of combat damage, as you never know when a shot from a class 1 beam weapon might get through and damage a vital system.  Of course, my camera's battery decided to quit at that point, so I had to take pictures using my phone.  Still, the photos came out OK (if slightly fuzzy) with a little digital manipulation.
I used my Galactic Knights Terrans as proxies for a Federated Stats Europa fleet.  I was escorting transports to a planet defended by Sting52jb's New Anglian Confederation. 
We also used fighters and missiles.  As you can see from the photos, I now understand why some gamers refer to those rules as putting "crap on the map."  Although it makes the game table a little crowded, it also provides some excitement and shows how powerful attack craft and ship-to-ship projectiles can be.
Like I said, there's a lot of (six-sided) dice rolling in this game, similar to Warhammer or Flames of War.  It plays quickly, and the threshhold checks give the game a lot of flavor, as we had ships lose partial engine power or life support, as well as launch bays and weapons. 
My thanks go out to Sting52jb for teaching me how to play Full Thrust.  I had a good time learning this game, and I look forward to playing FT again sometime.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Galactic Knights at ChimaeraCon

Sorry about the short notice, but I wanted to let y'all know I will be running a Galactic Knights game at ChimaeraCon in San Antonio next weekend.  It's another planetary invasion scenario, but with a twist--it will be linked with a game of Future War Commander on another table. 

What happens in one game can affect play in the other game.  For example, orbital bombardments from the space board will land on the surface board, and ships launched from planetside will appear on the orbital map.  While I referee the space battle, Da Baron will be GMing the surface combat. 

We should have room for eight people total (two players on each side in both the surface and the space games), but if there's enough demand for more players we'll find room.  I'm looking forward to seeing how the linked games work out.  Hope to see you there.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Flying Roadshow

I finished painting my Star Frontiers scouts and freighter, and I figured out how I'm going to use them in my games--as one of the galaxy's most prestigious precision flying teams, the Galactic Knighthawks!
Comprised of seven stuntships and one support vessel, the Galactic Knighthawks travels from system to system, entertaining locals at airshows, planetary fairs, sporting event halftimes, and trillionaires' birthday parties.

The Knighthawks are one of the top three independent stunt-flying groups in known space.  Their pilots include former military officers, retired probability racers, and freelance corona surfers.
In its century-and-a-half of existence, the Galactic Knighthawks remains one of two acrobatic spacer teams to have employed citizens from all of the Five Powers, and the only group to allow a non-Turing AI to pilot one of its ships on a regular basis.

For Galactic Knights, I can use these guys as targets, obstacles, or objectives.

These ships are also the perfect size for War Rocket as Class Is and a Class II, so next time I play that game I'm bringing the Knighthawks.
As far as painting, I primed white, brushed metallic pearl white, and washed in metallic gunmetal gray.  I then added the color detailing to the smaller ships.
For the freighter/support ship, I didn't add any color.  I think the wash did a decent job bringing out the detail on this spacecraft.
I enjoyed experimenting with metallics, and thought they came out well, even though you might not be able to tell thanks to the glare from the flash.
I'm looking forward to getting these guys on the table!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Under the hood of the new OGRE

The upcoming update of the venerable sci-fi tank combat game OGRE has created quite a bit of excitement in geek circles.  Here's a quick summary of all I've been able to glean about the new version of Steve Jackson Games' iconic wargame:

From the initial announcement of OGRE 6th Edition:
From the sixth edition sell sheet:
  • Revised and reorganized rules divided into a rulebook, scenario book, and player reference sheet
  • Two of the three mapboards are double-sided
  • Photo shows what appear to be separate geomorphic terrain tiles for use on top of the maps 
  • Fourteen sheets of counters
  • Includes OGRE record sheets, dry-erase marker, and two dice
  • Vacuum-formed counter tray
  • Box weight: 12 pounds
Finally, I've dug up the following additional details that Phil Reed, the company's chief operating officer, has confirmed on SJG's message boards for OGRE/GEV:
More details as I uncover them.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Work in Progress: Freighter and scouts

I'm still working on the rest of the Star Frontiers ships I acquired.  The battleship remains bare, but the scouts and freighter are in the process of receiving their paint jobs, as you can see below.
Instead of painting the ships three colors via drybrush, I'm trying a different paint scheme for these guys.  I primered them white, then painted them with pearl metallic white (and metallic gunmetal gray for the canopies).  Here's a closer look at these minis:
I plan to pick out some of the details using different metallics.  Hopefully, I'll finish them up over the weekend and share the results with y'all soon thereafter.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Beanworld army for Hordes of the Things

One of my favorite comic books is the Beanworld series by writer/artist (and former Image Comics exec) Larry Marder.  The series started back in the 1980s, and Dark Horse is publishing it in hardback these days ( Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3 ). 

"It's not just a place, it's a process!"

It's hard to summarize the concept behind this comic, other than to point you to the BeanWeb and the Beanworld Wiki.  You can also take a look at the Beanworld creator's blog.

Anyway, I'm a big fan of this comic, and felt inspired to create a Hordes of the Things list for the beans' army (of course, I'd have to make the figures myself ...).  Anyhoo, here's the HotT army list for the beans of Beanworld:

Beanworld character      HotT element     points
Mr. Spook                Hero General       4
Beanish                  Hero               4
Professor Garbanzo       Magician           4
Boom’r Band              Warband            2
Spear Fling’n Flank’rs   Shooters           2
Chow Pluk’rs             Spears x 3         6
Pod'l Pool Cuties        Flyers             2
Stronghold: Gran'Ma'Pa
Now, I just need to come up with an opposing army.  Any suggestions?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Completed Star Frontiers ships

I finally got around to painting some of the Star Frontiers ships I acquired via online auction--seven Federation frigates and one Fed destroyer with broken-off engines I had to repair.
Although I already have a pair of destroyers, these frigates are the first of their kind to join my fleet.  With over a half-dozen, they'll make nice transports for games which need cargo vessels.
I drybrushed them metallic black, metallic gunmetal gray, then metallic silver to match my other Star Frontiers minis as well as my Stardate: 3000 ships.  Once I was done, I picked out port/starboard running lights in a bright red/green topped with a little duller version of the same hue.
Still on my to-do list: the Federation scouts and freighter.  I'm planning on going with a different color scheme for them.  I also have the Fed battleship, which I still need to clean (thanks to a little lead rot) and assemble.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Gallery: Asteroid outpost

Last month, I posted photos of some scratchbuilds I was working on: a spaceship and an outpost built into an asteroid.  Yesterday I primed and painted the asteroid with its emplacements.  The tube sticking out is a docking mechanism, or maybe a launch bay for starfighters.

The structure on top is an observatory, or perhaps a sensor cluster, or maybe even a biodome.  It was originally a hex nut I found laying around.

These boxy structures serve as power generators, storage, or living quarters.  They were originally extra bits that came with Citadel's old plastic beaky Space Marines boxed set.

The asteroid itself is a lava rock I found laying in my driveway.  After primering the assembly black, I drybrushed the rock with gray and brown paint.

I used metallic black, gray, and silver on the emplacements, with some metallic sapphire and pearl white for the dome.  I then picked out a couple of points in apple cider followed by true red to serve as warning lights/navigation beacons.

I'm not sure if I'm entirely happy with how it came out, but it should make a fun objective as a civilian scientific observation post, a pirate base, or an alien artifact.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

OGRE returns!

It's been a long time coming.
This just in: Steve Jackson Games has announced it will release a new version of the classic sci-fi tank game OGRE later this year.  Although it doesn't include any miniatures, the sixth edition of this venerable wargame does include constructible cardstock OGREs and large (1.5-inch) hex maps.  Good news for fans who have been frustrated in trying to find copies of this long-out-of-print game. 

For tread-head reaction, see the OGRE/GEV message board on the SJG website.  For more details, and pictures of the counters, check out this sell sheet the company put together.

Hat tip: This thread at TMP.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Three-player scenario: Peacekeeper

I realize it's been awhile since I posted; I just wasn't inspired.  However, I was looking through my materials and I found the following scenario, which I had posted to the Galactic Knights mailing list some time ago. 

Another member of the list who adopted the GK rules to the Babylon 5 setting needed a scenario for a game he was running.  He gave me the basic situation, and here's what I came up with:
FORCES: The Narn player gets several small military vessels (DDs and DLs) escorting eight to ten civilian ships--one escort for every two or three civilians. For the civilians, just take a cruiser or larger stat sheet and replace everything but sensors, engines, and jump drive (and a few light particle beam batteries if you want the Narn civies to have a little protection) with cargo holds.

The Centauri player gets three cruisers.

The human player gets one battlecruiser.

SETUP: Narn ships set up on the south half of the map, heading north with a drift of 4. Centauri ships set up on the west edge of the north half of the map, heading southeast with a drift of 5. The human ship sets up on the east edge of the northern half of the map, heading southwest with a drift of 3.

SPECIAL RULES: The human player cannot enter the battle until at least one civilian ship is destroyed. After the combat phase, the human player must make a successful aggression roll to join the battle by rolling a number on a d10 equal to or less than the number of Narn civilian ships destroyed so far; this represents the captain of the human ship having enough intervening to prevent the slaughter of any more innocents. The human ship may subtract one from the total of an aggression roll in exchange for two points of damage to a randomly rolled location; subtract two from the roll in exchange for four points of damage to a randomly rolled location; or subtract three from the roll in exchange for six points of damage. This represents the captain using the human vessel to shield civilian ships from Centauri fire, and the human ship takes the damage whether or not it makes its aggression roll. Until it joins the battle by making this roll, the human ship may not attack the Centauri and they may not attack the human ship.

VICTORY CONDITIONS: The Narn player gets one point for every civilian ship that leaves the map edge. The human player gets one point for every civilian ship that leaves the map edge after the human ship joins the battle. The Centauri player gets two points for every Narn military ship destroyed, one point for every Narn civilian ship destroyed, and five points for destroying the human ship if it has joined the battle. The player with the most points is the victor.
Of course, this scenario is easily adoptable to the standard Galactic Knights setting (or the setting of any other spaceship combat game, for that matter)--just substitute the force of your choice for each race.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Keep on the Borderlands for Hordes of the Things

Another classic D&D module, The Keep on the Borderlands is also one of the most well-known, having been packed into every basic set since 1979 or so.  And with everything from unnamed denizens of the titular Keep to various critters living monstrous timeshares known as the Caves of Chaos, this adventure is, as author Gary Gygax points out, a microcosm of the wider world around it (the kids today would refer to it as a sandbox setting). 

So it was fun coming up with Hordes of the Things army lists for this design. (Apologies for the monospace font, but it makes all the columns line up.)

Character(s)                 HotT element      points
Castellan w/Scribe & Assist. Hero General        4
Curate w/Acolytes            Cleric              3
Ballista/Catapult (2 crew)   Artillery           3
Guardsmen (cavalry)          Knights x 2         4
Guardsmen (crossbows)        Shooters x 2        4
Guardsmen (halberds)         Spears x 2          4
First-level Characters       Hordes x 2          2
Stronghold: The Keep (on the Borderlands)

THE WILDERNESS (allies available to either side thru gold/magic)
Character(s)                 HotT element      points
Mad Hermit & Puma            Sneakers            3
Bandits                      Spears              2
Lizard Men                   Warband             2
Fire Beetles/Giant Rats      Beasts              2
Stirges                      Flyers              2
Spiders                      Lurkers             1

Character(s)                 HotT element      points
Evil Priest w/Medusa         Magician General    4
Minotaur & Ogre              Behemoths           4
Bugbears                     Sneakers            3
Kobolds                      Lurkers             1
Orcs                         Warband x 2         4
Hobgoblins                   Blades              2
Goblins                      Spears              2
Gnolls                       Shooters            2
Skeletons                    Hordes              1
Zombies                      Hordes              1
Stronghold: Caves (of Chaos)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Here I am ...

It's a Scorpion, not the Scorpions, rockin' you like a hurricane, but still ...
 The Entomolian Scorpion-class Galactic Battlecruiser is noteworthy for its asymmetrical design--even more asymmetrical than the Hive-class Galactic Attack Carrier.

 This is one of the original designs for Starfleet Wars, with ship statistics in the first rulebook.

 In the Galactic Knights expansion Entomolian Invasion, it's just another battlecruiser.

 You can sort of see the underside of this ship, which I again painted with a reddish glowing effect.

 Not just the unbalanced design, but the pinchers at the front give this ship a very organic look.

Just four more ships to go, and all my Entos will be painted! (Of course, one of those ships is a super galactic dreadnought ...)