Friday, February 28, 2014

Kobolds: still progressing

Still working on my kobolds, from Reaper's Bones line of minis.  I added a little more detail (painted the horns) and gave 'em another wash, this time almost entirely ink.  I think they look acceptable for use on the gaming table; I just need to do a little drybrushing and paint the bases.  Of course, once they're finished, there's no guarantee the player characters will even encounter the kobolds in my dungeon--but I plan on having them ready, just in case.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Why I want BIG hexes

I alluded to scenery in my post about wanting a bigger map for OGRE/GEV.  That's because I found some conventional boardgame components that are perfect for what I have in mind.  I'm not looking for something in perfect 1/285 scale with the minis--I just want something to represent a city better than a two-dimensional rendering.
These buildings are from the Monopoly City game, and their relative scale meshes well with four-inch hexes.  This provides a decent-looking city hex, while leaving enough room for even an Ogre Mark V.  I can't take credit for this idea--I first came across it in this thread on The Miniatures Page (with more elaboration on the concept in this blog post).
This set includes other structures besides office buildings.  There's factories, power plants, water towers, even prisons and stadiums.  I plan on assembling them on the hexes to make a modular city.  I think I'll call it Monopolis.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Painter's progress

I got some more work done on the dozen Reaper Bones kobolds in my painting queue, giving them some detailing and an ink wash, which is still wet in these photos. 
Remember, I'm aiming for a tabletop standard. After this, some drybrushing, painting the bases, and clear coating, and they'll be ready for the dungeon.
It's a satisfying feeling to get a significant number of miniatures painted up.  I ought to do it more often.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

We're gonna need a bigger map

While the counters in the latest edition of OGRE look great, I like to use miniatures when playing with the boardgame rules.  And while the conventional armor minis fit comfortably in a hex, as you can see, the eponymous cybertank is way too large to occupy a single space on the game board.  So I'm going to need a map with larger hexes. 
At first I thought about making my own playing surface, but that's way too much work.  Instead, I'll fork over the cash for a professionally produced game mat with hexes.  But how big should they be?  I printed out some 3-inch test hexes, and while the Mark III has plenty of room, the Mark V is still busting out of the hex.
With 4-inch hexes, both Ogres have lots more room.  This is good, because I want to add some 3-D terrain to my games--and I need enough room in each space for the scenery and the vehicles!  These large hexes should give me enough room to place units as well as other visual elements to make the game look cooler.  And once I get some of the parts for what I want to build, I'll share it with you.
Meanwhile, I need to obtain a game mat with four-inch hexes inscribed on it.  I know of four companies that offer this kind of project: Corsec Engineering, Hotz Mats, Monday Knight Productions, and Terrain Mat.  Any recommendations?  Any other sellers I should be aware of?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Weekend OGRE/GEV gaming

After our game of Hordes of the Things on Saturday, I broke out my copy of OGRE Designer's Edition.  Instead of the traditional Toast the Post game on the orange map, we decided to play the Raid scenario on one of the GEV maps (G2, to be precise).  Rickey chose the attacking side, with 10 GEVs.  As the defender, I had 20 infantry squads and four armor units.  More importantly, I set up with my units camouflaged, and with a couple of dummy units as well.  I used numbered markers to indicate where my forces were set up; they were only revealed when they moved, fired, or were fired upon.  I also rolled for random reinforcements each turn.
While most of my reinforcements came into the game far from the action, from my edge of the map, I did have a pair of light tanks that showed up right next to the battle.  This armor helped support my infantry that was defending the towns to the south, but eventually those cities were destroyed by the attacker.  However, I had a nice surprise waiting as the GEVs headed north--a Howitzer set up in a city in the middle of the map.  I was able to take out more GEVs, but I also destroyed one of my own city hexes.  Still, I destroyed almost all the attacking force, losing a few infantry and a light tank for a decisive defender victory. 
We decided to replay the scenario, using the all-Ogre variant.  I had a lone Mark V in the middle of the board, and two reinforcement rolls each turn.  The attacker got a Mark IV (faster, and with three missile racks), and a half-dozen GEVs.  Poor Rickey had some terrible dice rolls--his Ogre fired all three of its missile racks at my cybertank, but didn't take out any of my weapons.  Of course, my dice were just as fickle--I expended all six missiles to destroy one of his missile racks, and had to take out the other two launchers with my mains. 

Meanwhile, he destroyed one mobile command post with his Ogre, and the other with his GEVs (I think those hovercraft were actually more effective than the Mark IV!).  This game, there was one reinforcement roll that was critical: I got a heavy tank that entered the town the Ogre was attacking.  With its defense doubled in the city, the armor unit avoided getting hit and added its firepower to my Ogre's, allowing us to take out its main and secondary batteries.
In the end, reinforcements from the North edge of the map fended off his GEVs, which were closing in on my final, immobile, command post.  They then sped south to assist my cybertank in destroying the enemy behemoth's treads, slowing it down and eventually stopping it from leaving the map.  Another decisive victory for the Paneuropeans.
It was a fun couple of games, for me and my opponent.  However, the losses taught us that in the Raid scenario, you need to focus on destroying objectives, and don't get caught up taking out defending units--use the mobility in those GEVs!  Additionally, I really liked the camouflaged and dummy units called for in the scenario--it gave a nice fog of war effect, and I will have to find ways to use that in more games.  I also liked using the terrain overlays that came with OGRE DE.  They make the terrain destruction rules easy to use, and I like the fact that the outcome of an attack can have an effect on the map.

I had a good time, and now I want to play some more OGRE!  Who's up for it?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Weekend HotT gaming

I'd hoped to run another session of D&D this weekend, but a gaming convention in Houston, illness, work, and other commitments left me with just one player on Saturday. So instead of bringing his D&D minis, Rickey brought over his army for Hordes of the Things and we had a go with those rules.
I brought out my Nightmare Legion, and my opponent set out his Order of the Scarlet Serpent, assembled from his existing historicals and a few new figures, such as a hydra for a Behemoth element and a mounted Pegasus as a Flyer.
He sent his cavalry straight at my Artillery and missile troops, who stood fast against the charge of the Riders.  They repulsed at least two charges from the horse troops.
Another element of Shooters lured the enemy Behemoth into some ruins, where hampered by the terrain it fell to the skeletal archers.
In the end, I destroyed 12 AP of my opponent's army without suffering a single loss.  It was a learning experience, and he told me that he now has a better idea of what to do with mounted troops in HotT.  I look forward to a rematch.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Kobolds work in progress

I'm working on a dozen kobolds from Reaper's line of Bones minis.  These will be used in my Holmes Basic D&D game, and possibly fantasy skirmish games as well.  I spraypainted them brown, and I'm coloring in the details.  FYI, I'm going for a tabletop painting standard here. Very tabletop.

Monday, February 10, 2014

X-Wing: Now with asteroids

I played another game of X-Wing last weekend, and at my friend's suggestion we placed asteroids on the map.  It was my first time playing the game with space debris, and I (playing the Rebels) only hit a space rock one time.  My opponent, who slammed a TIE fighter into one of the floating obstacles, remarked that it was true to the genre, as The Empire Strikes Back showed us that you should never take TIEs into an asteroid field.  These objects add tactical variety to the game, as you can use them to avoid opponents or to channel your foes a certain direction. 

My opponent flew a shuttle, Vader's advanced TIE, and three named TIE fighter pilots.  I ended up winning with my Alphabet Soup squad (A-wing, B-wing, X-wing, and Y-wing).  The game was fun overall, with both of us losing ships by carelessly planning maneuvers that took X-wing and his shuttle off the edge of the map.  I ended up winning with just my Y-wing and A-wing left.

I have the game mechanics down pretty good, so it's time to start playing some scenarios from the rules.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Dogfights & Dragons

Word of an interesting new miniatures game coming out: Dungeons & Dragons: Attack Wing.  This will be an aerial combat minis game by WizKids (which will also produce a new line of prepainted D&D minis), using the same game engine as Star Wars: X-Wing and Star Trek: Attack Wing.* 

Here are some tidbits gleaned from a Q&A with WizKids on Reddit:
  • "We can confirm that we are doing an Dungeons & Dragons Attack Wing game, which will use the same game engine as Star Trek: Attack Wing."
  • "Unfortunately, we can't give more detail than to say that it will have a similar product configuration to our Star Trek: Attack Wing game. We'll be revealing a bunch of information about our D&D Attack Wing game at the GAMA trade show in Las Vegas this March. Stay Tuned!"
  • "We're also doing a dragon-based dogfighting game using the same engine as our Star Trek: Attack Wing game. So yes, dragons of all shapes and sizes."
EDIT: Here's an article with prices for the game.

I definitely want to play this Dungeons & Dragons dogfighting game!

*FYI, WizKids publishes the Trek game, while Fantasy Flight Games publishes the Star Wars version that uses the same game engine. Not sure how that came to be, or who first came up with it.

New edition of Hordes of the Things

Hordes of the Things is my favorite set of fantasy rules.  It's short,  simple (if precisely written), and allows you to build any army you want with any figures you have (even Space Invaders).  So I'm thrilled to learn that Wargames Research Group will soon be publishing a new edition of HotT (see the cover above, which was posted on the Yahoo group). 

Version 2.1 of the game will have some new army lists, but no major rule changes.  Still, I will be picking up at least two copies of the new book to show my support for the publisher.  And I'm also glad it's coming back into print since it will make it easy to respond to new players who ask where they can find a copy.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

X-Wing batrep

On Super Bowl Sunday, I had a chance to play a little X-Wing before the football game at the starbase of Maj. Diz Aster (who posted his own account on his blog, Starbase Ares).  Since he'd never played the game before, we did a quick intro game with his two TIE fighters taking on my X-wing fighter.  Since  I had the experience of several games under my belt, I was able to take out his two ships fairly quickly.
With the first game out of the way, we brought out more fighters for a larger match.  He took one of his regular TIEs and an Interceptor, and borrowed my TIE bomber and TIE advanced (i.e., Vader's ship).  I took an alphabet soup squad: A-wing, B-wing, X-wing, and Y-wing.
The game quickly evolved into a furball as our fighters jockeyed for shots. The Sith lord was a tempting target that got taken out quickly (for plot purposes, we agreed he was able to eject from his ship to survive and fight another day), but served the Imperials by distracting me from shooting at the rest of his fleet.
However, after that, the Empire began to pay back the Rebels for the loss of their leader.  First the X-wing fell to the lasers of the various TIE craft. 
The battle wore on, and then the A-wing died.  Finally, the B-wing could take no more damage and erupted in a fireball as well.
At that point, my opponent still had three ships on the table, to my lone Y-wing.  It would have been pointless to continue, so with the kickoff taking place, it was time for me to concede.  It was a great game, and my thanks to the Major for having me over.  Let's do it again soon!