Saturday, June 30, 2018

Galactic Knights battle report

Spaceships! It's been a long time since I had a space battle. Last month, I played in a three-way match with a couple of members from our gaming group using the Galactic Knights rules.
I had a trio of Aquarian ships: Two Barracuda-class cruisers (the Ann Wilson and the Nancy Wilson) and a Shark-class battlecriser (the Jaws).
Joseph had his kitbashed his three Terran craft: the Ranger-class cruisers Lober and Sally-May and the Formidable-class battlecruiser Trumter.
Finally, Wes took the Entomalian Wasp-class destroyer, the Hornet of Viria; and two battlecruisers--the Scorpion-class Nemesis; and the Roach-class Minerva.
Not much of a scenario; just the three squadrons stumbling into each other as they explored an asteroid field. As I set myself up between the other two players, my small fleet quickly came under fire from Terran missiles and fighters.
I wanted to share the love, so I split my attacks between the Terrans (beam weapons) and the Entomalians (missiles).
The humans pressed the attack, and my amphibians could not repel firepower of that magnitude, and I lost the Nancy Wilson.
The battle continued, with the insectoids drifting close to my battlecruiser as we traded shots.
The same thing was happening with the Terrans and my remaining destroyer. While I scored some hits, I didn't take out any opponent's ship.
My squadron commander knew he was beat, and he ordered his two vessels to make their way out of the asteroid field. In the end, the other fleets were somewhat damaged, but still battleworthy. If neither one of them outright won, they did tie in defeating me. But I didn't mind--because spaceships!

Monday, June 25, 2018

Museum of the Pacific War

I recently had a chance to go back to the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas (hometown of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz). The museum is well worth the visit.
There's plenty of hardware on display--American, British, and Japanese.
In addition to land, sea & air vehicles and artillery, the facility displays weapons, uniforms, and equipment from the Pacific theater of World War II.
More importantly, the historical displays are detailed, and there are plenty of them. In particular, I found the background on the prewar interactions between the West, Japan, and China to be very interesting.
The runup to hostilities is well documented, and there are videos and interactive displays throughout the museum. There's even a Japanese mini-sub.
The museum documents all aspects of the war in the Pacific; while U.S. viewpoints are most numerous, the museum acknowledges the contributions of allies as well as the perspective of the Japanese.
There's a lot to see--you should plan on taking all day, or parts of two days, to make sure you absorb everything.
Also of interest to the gamer in me, a couple of models and dioramas.
I'm lucky that Fredericksburg is just a couple hours' drive from home. The museum is world-class.
If you ever have a chance to visit the National Museum of the Pacific War, I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Triplanetary has landed

Triplanetary is the grandaddy of all vector movement spaceship games, dating back to when Marc Miller (of Traveller fame) created it in the 1970s. I went in on the Kickstarter when Steve Jackson Games (which had acquired the rights to the game) decided to publish a new edition of Triplanetary. Well, today the game arrived: nearly a hundred counters worth of spaceships, a rulebook, and two maps representing the Solar System that cover my entire kitchen table when unfolded. I'm looking forward to trying out some of the scenarios in the rulebook and zooming around the planets according to the laws of physics.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Kickstarter for Escape the Dark Castle

Escape the Dark Castle is a fun, card-based, RPG-lite with a very old-school vibe and evocative black-and-white artwork. The game can be played most anywhere, including our local watering hole, as shown above. The original game sold out, but is now being reprinted as part of a Kickstarter for several expansions to the base game. The expansions add new cards and new mechanics to Escape, as well as a collector's box designed to hold all the components from the base game and the additions. If you missed out on this the first time, give it a look. It's a fun game that's ideal to play pretty much anywhere as you enjoy a beverage.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Run through the jungle

I haven't been blogging about Ghost Archipelago much, even though we've been playing that game on a consistent basis since January.
So here's a game from early April that involved our crews toting boats overland to a swamp in search of treasure.
Spoiler alert: What we found was mostly critters.
Yes, my Heritor and his crew are lizardmen. I like to be different.
And with a Wave Warden, I couldn't do much to keep the swamp denizens away, despite our common cold-bloodedness.
There were also other crews to deal with, although for most of the game we were content fighting the creatures and not each other.
A great game, and fantastic terrain by our resident terrain builder, Yosef.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Your monthly Monopolis game

We're coming up on this month's Ogre game, so it's time for a report on last month's Ogre game. The scenario was a counterstrike by the besieged Monopolis defenders, who sallied forth to take out the besiegers' command post and supply depot. I actually got to play in this game instead of just referee. My opponent was someone who had seen us playing a couple months ago and expressed interest.
Despite having revetments, the besiegers (a group of mercs calling themselves the Ravagers, whom the main attacking force despises) lost two light artillery pieces and nearly half an infantry company when the Monopolis Volunteer Militia opened up with its artillery on the outskirts of the city. The bombardment was the signal for the city's GEVs to make for their targets. Unfortunately, the Ravagers took out more than a third of the counterattackers, losing just one heavy tank in the process.
The tables quickly turned, however, as the Militia destroyed the attackers' supply dump. No more hot meals on this side of town. With casualties mounting, the city forces fell back, leaving the command post up and running. Meanwhile, the Ravagers headed toward the city, hoping to destroy the Monopolis artillery or laser tower with their own mobile howitzers.
While the besiegers did take out the laser tower, they were unable to destroy the city's howitzers and took casualties among their heavy armor--losing all three superheavy tanks and another platoon or so of heavies, along with one of their mobile howitzers. They wore down the defenders' infantry and GEVs in the process.
In the end, the attackers had to fall back as the city's reinforcements were due to arrive (the scenario ended after six turns). With the attackers losing a supply depot but retaining their CP, and both sides suffering massive armor losses, I called the battle a draw. But I got to play, and I got to get another player to the table, so I consider the evening a win.

Monday, April 30, 2018

A trip to Muspelheim

Recently the Heritors exploring the Ghost Archipelago heard of a possible mapstone located on a volcanic island far to the south, called Muspelheim. The mapstone was found in the body of the fire giant Surtr, who dwelled in the volcano, surrounded by the Sons of Muspel.
This was a scenario I came up with and ran for our group recently. There were three players (my warband sat out since I was running the game). While Surtr didn't leave the volcano, the Sons quickly set out to drive off the trespassers. And while Surtr remained on the mountain, he threw fireballs at the approaching crews, fireballs that ignited into fire demons if they missed their target.
Players also summoned some wandering creatures through spells, and the critters joined the Sons in attaching crew members. The Pool spell did take the steam out of the Sons of Muspel, who didn't get along very well in water.
While some crews engaged the Sons in hand-to-hand combat, it didn't go well for them.
Perhaps it was smart of them to keep their distance from Surtr himself, who was very powerful in combat. Instead, the crews volleyed arrow after arrow into the fire giant, finally bringing him down from afar.
I enjoyed getting these minis out on the table, and it was a good time running the scenario.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Monopolis resupply run

Almost time for this month's edition of my quasi-narrative Monopolis campaign for Ogre, so here's last month's battle report! The scenario this time was an attempt by a convoy with vital supplies to reach the besieged city to help them hold out until allies can arrive. Unfortunately, the transports blundered into an equally unaware occupation force guarding the road.
This was an infantry-heavy scenario: The occupiers consisted of an infantry regiment (27 squads regular infantry and 3 heavy weapons squads), with one howitzer in support, to prevent supplies from getting through. The convoy had two battalions of troops (20 squads regular and two HW teams) with an escort of 10 light tanks--plus the trucks, hovertrucks, and Oversized Pallet Parcel Engineering vehicle to get across the table.
Shout-out to my players, Albert and Wes, who gave me backstories for the forces they commanded. Albert's occupying force was Wayne's Irregulars (mercenary company, traveling circus, fortune tellers--pants optional). Wes's supply convoy was Bane's Blockade Runners (no motto). The convoy entered in waves, with the light tank squadron advancing on the infantry holed up in the small town near the start of a major road. While that infantry was taken care of quickly, the howitzer did a number on the armor units. A couple of turns later, and the last of the convoy entered on another road, mostly out of range of the artillery.
In game terms, the heavy transport had tread units like an Ogre Mark III, plus two antipersonnel guns. It was able to charge through the the infantry without losing too much locomotion, and even though there were still plenty of squads on the map, the enemy couldn't keep up--especially since the way I laid out the map left long, open corridors at both ends. I was thinking that in most of my games, the terrain at the edges never matters because most of the action takes place in the middle. Obviously, I thought wrong, because once they convoy got past the foot soldiers on this side of the board, there was no blocking terrain to allow the occupiers to catch up.
While the convoy lost more than half its infantry and 70% of its tank escorts, all but one of its vehicles made it off the map. The blockers lost less than one-third of their infantry, but overall they failed in their mission. Still the players said they had fun, and they provided helpful feedback on the scenario. Next game I will fix the terrain so that the convoy doesn't have a straight shot, and I will also have the convoy declare the map section the large transport comes in on, so the occupiers have some idea where to set up.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Ogre transport

This bad boy appeared on my gaming table last week. It's a Battletech mini (the O-66 "Oppie" Hazardous Material Recovery Vehicle), but it also makes a great tow truck for my games of Ogre.
As the photos show, this vehicle can fit an Ogre Mark III on its flatbed, or several smaller vehicles. In games, I give it the tread units of a Mark III, and two antipersonnel weapons for a little bit of protection.
It can also carry cargo pallets (my Ogreverse backronym for the Oppie is that it stands for Oversized Pallet Parcel Engineering vehicle), which it did in my most recent Ogre game. While I'm not a fan of most Battletech vehicles, there are a few that work great for other sci fi games. Any other BT non-mech casting that y'all can recommend?

Friday, March 16, 2018

Making our escape

We took a break from miniatures this week to play Escape the Dark Castle. It's an RPG-lite, beer-and-pretzels, semi-chose-your-own-adventure, cooperative, quick-playing, retro-looking, card-based game. It's also very fun. You are imprisoned along with your fellow players when you free yourself from your dungeon cell. You have a card depicting your character, with a corresponding die.
You and your fellow players work together to overcome one card-based obstacle at a time, trying to accomplish what it says on the box: escape the dark castle. There are foes to battle, choices to be made, items to grab--all in your quest to defeat the final boss standing between you and your freedom. We played three games, and even though we only reached the boss one time (where we died in combat), we enjoyed each attempt.