Thursday, June 13, 2019

Another HPB gaming find

The Heroscape line of boxed sets and expansions may have been discontinued, but the ideas from that game live on in Arena of the Planeswalkers: Shadows over Innistrad. Set in the world of the Magic: The Gathering collectible card game, Arena uses the concepts of heroes and squads, and even the interlocking hex tiles that HS is known for.
So when I saw the set discounted for their Memorial Day weeknd sale (on top of the usual markoff) at a local Half-Price Books, it was a no-brainer to grab this box. While the tiles are useful and the unpainted figures have potential, my main reason for grabbing this was the painted minis that came with it, which will make a nice addition to my collection for use as spell casters in games such as Melee and Wizard (a.k.a. The Fantasy Trip).
Arena of the Planeswalkers also comes with a two-sided, four-piece cardboard map, with hexes compatible with the 3-D Heroscape terrain that I can probably use for The Fantasy Trip battles. (And these hex mats could even be used for sci-fi tank combat in games of Ogre.)
A pretty good payoff for a $12 investment, even if I never actually play Arena.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Burrows and Badgers and battles

Back in May, my Burrows & Badgers warband had its best outing of the campaign. The scenario was Witch Hunt, and a combination of luck and profligate use of Fate Points made my creatures into killing machines.
I knocked six of eight opposing figures out of action in that battle, winning the fight and achieving my secondary objective, which was to take out at least four enemies. It was the first time I won a game by routing my opponent.
It was also the last. The next game was Defend the Camp, with me as the defender. By this point in the campaign, everyone's critters have all sorts of equipment and special abilities to make them deadlier. My leader hit my opponent's leader with a masterwork pistol, and various skills added up to 17 points damage, taking the commander out of action.
The other player's critters had all sorts of perks as well, meaning he one-shotted my guys a couple of times. Unfortunately, I only managed to eliminate one other figure of his, while he took out six of my creatures to win the game--a complete reversal from last week. Still enjoyable, though.
But that was the last B&B game we will be playing for some time, as we're going back to the game that got all of us together, Frostgrave sometime soon. I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Presenting ... the frankencar

Up until now, I've been pretty conservative with my Gaslands builds: A new paint job, maybe some figures or weapons, but nothing crazy. So, inspired by Mad Max: Fury Road and the kitbashes I've seen on the internet, I decided to cobble together my own automotive chimera. 
Thus, the frankencar, an amalgam of three or four off-brand toys found at the dollar store, all chopped up and smooshed together, like a wasteland mechanic might do. In particular, there's a large muscle car on the bottom, with its intake transferred to the hood of the sedan in the middle (from a pack of three), the cab of an ambulance atop the rig, with the motor from another hot rod in the rear.
It looks a little off to me. Maybe if I detail this vehicle a little more--especially the wheels, which look waaaaaay too new for a post-apocalyptic construct--I will be happier with it. Much like the war rig in Fury Road, I imagine this machine is basically a shell around some powerful engines, meant to haul heavy loads. I guess this means I need to kitbash a trailer next.
Or maybe I could use it as a standalone heavy truck. It's a lot messier than my extant Gaslands vehicles, but it will fit right in with some more units that I'm working on, aiming for a more Mad Max vibe. We'll see.
I don't know if I'm content with the way this came out--I'll have to weather it some more to unify the different vehicle shells before I can decide--but I am glad I attempted it. After seeing the wonderful creations on message boards, websites, and Youtube videos, it's nice to build one of my own, no matter how weird it looks.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Melee games

Over the holiday weekend I had a chance to introduce someone to Melee. We first played a one-on-one combat, then each took a pair of warriors against each other.
After that, we teamed up against a giant. Four fighters made quick work of the big, but slow, opponent.
It's always good to get some gaming in.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Fifth Frontier War continues

On a recent weekend, my gaming buddy Joe and I picked up where we left off in fighting the Fifth Frontier War. The Zhodani fleets continued their attacks throughout the Spinward Marches, devastating Imperial fleets sent to oppose them. Notably, as we resumed play, Consulate reinforcements entered the theater, let by Admiral Niurditlas and the elite 1st Assault Fleet. At the same time, the Zho 16th Colonial, 28th, 47th, and 67th fleets joined the 17th Colonial to bombard Efate, and the 68th attacked Alell before moving to Efate to take out the planetary defense troops. This was followed by the Efate guerilla uprising against a Tech Level 15 mercenary armored unit and TL 15 Imperial huscarles.
Fighting continued at Alell, where system defense boats failed to dislodge the Zhodani 17th Armored Corps. And with the Vargr fleets running around Regina subsector, the Imperial 193rd and 212th fleets landed troops on the Vargr world of Balent after bombarding the planet from orbit, quickly dispatching the native forces.
Fighting was also heavy on Vilis, with the Imperial 18th Fleet chasing the Sword Worlds Joyuse Fleet back to Mjolnir before landing Imperial 2151st and 840th armies to retake Vilis. The ground forces were locked in a long battle, with fleets from each side providing orbital bombardment, and the Imperial 840th eventually being defeated. The world, however, remained contested.
There were battles elsewhere in the sector, with Zhodani guerillas fighting Imperial forces on Ruie, the Consulate's 4th Guards (Psionic) Regiment joining the fighting on Uskye, and the Zhodani 65th Fleet bombarding the planetary defenses at Extolay. At this point, the Zhodani have made significant advances, but the Imperials are starting to get enough reinforcements to turn the tide--including a legendary Black Globe fleet!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Testing Test of Honour

I recently had a chance to try out Test of Honour, a skirmish game involving samurai and other feudal Japanese warriors. We didn't play an actual scenario from the rules, but an introductory game where the goal was to remain within a certain distance of the objective markers while keeping the opponent's troops away.
You draw chits to activate your units, with ordinary troops having one chit each and samurai having three; therefore, samurai can do a lot in a turn when compared to the rank-and-file. However, there is also a chit that will end the turn for everyone. And since the battle usually ends after a certain number of turns, this throws some uncertainty into the game.
The battle I played was very swingy--meaning that first my opponent had the advantage, while I was losing troops thanks to adverse die rolls. However, the combat reversed course when I had a string of good rolls and was able to defeat my enemy. It was an interesting game, and I would like to see how it plays using a scenario from the book.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Invasion: Earth board game find

I found this on eBay for a very reasonable price. Similar to Fifth Frontier War, the board game Invasion: Earth is based on the future history of the Traveller universe.
This box was complete, containing all components and unpunched counters. Note the chits for the U.S. 82nd Airborne and 101st Airborne: Now performing as jump infantry, able to make drops from orbit, just like God and Robert A. Heinlein intended.
The map is also cool, depicting Earth in the Fiftieth Century. I like turning the map into a flattened icosahedron so that you can depict movement over the poles.
Here is a detail of North America, complete with its starport. The red hatching indicates urban areas.
The game mechanics are very similar to FFW, and I bet some of the combat tables are identical. This looks like a fun game to try with Joe, once we're done with the current one we're playing.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Flaming out in Gaslands

Our most recent Gaslands game ended up with a big pile of burning metal in the middle of the table. I consider that a good thing.
When I put out the call to play the game of apocalyptic automobile anarchy, six people showed up. With me as the seventh, I decided to run a hounds & hares scenario, with a half-dozen teams (the players) trying to get points by running into the war rig or its performance car escort (me as the GM). Players gained points for contact, and lost points each time they lost a vehicle.
Several players had their own vehicles--from Al's and James' conventional Hot Wheels conversions to Yosef's all-motorcycle team made from Sons of Anarchy board game pieces. The rest used my vehicles.
Once again, the war rig proved easy to wreck, since it generated hazard tokes pretty much every time it moved. It started at one edge of the table, running a gauntlet with three teams on each side. Looking back, I should have started the escort car at the other end, to give the teams on the opposite side from me a chance to get in the game quicker.
As usual, explosions affected other vehicles, causing damage and adding hazard tokens. But the biggest danger was just from crewmembers' hand weapons--fire enough shots and some of them are bound to do some damage.
So both the escort performance car and the tractor-trailer rig itself ended up wrecked. And the war rig ended up making a nice obstacle as well, demolishing several other vehicles in the process.
The motorcycle gang also found out that flamethrowers can be deadly for two-wheelers. In the end, half the players were at zero points, and the other players were at negative two for lost vehicles (after gaining points for running their vehicles into the hare vehicles).
This was a good scenario for a large group of players. I will have to run it again sometime.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Raid on Monopolis

Week before last, I brought all my Monopolis gear to Dragon's Lair for a game of Ogre. We had four players (two each attacking and defending); the scenario was an all-cybertank force raiding the city for unknown reasons. The attackers consisted of a Mark III, a Mark V, and a Ground Effect Ogre. Each model had its own target to eliminate, assigned randomly, along with one objective that any of the attackers could claim. The attackers also got points for blowing up other things, like town hexes and enemy tanks and infantry.
The great thing about this game was that other players had their Ogre minis painted up, so with the exception of some specialized units, I didn't have to break out all my own castings. James and Walter played the defense, with James's green and blue conventional units. Wes and I played the attackers, with him taking the Mark V and me taking the Mark III and the GEO.
My III's target was the prison, Ghódurek Lítu Jail. A few shots later, and that hex was nothing but rubble, achieving our first objective. It paid a price, though, as revenge-bent conventional units soon shot off all the Ogre's weapons, forcing it to flee the battle.
The GEO's target, the House of Government, was further back and well protected by troops and artillery. It even had the Monopolis Emergency Response Department on hand. Some poor dice rolling and poor targeting decisions on my part meant that this objective survived the battle.
In addition to my kitbashed hover Ogre and the emergency response vehicles to put out fires (repair damaged hexes on a roll of 5 or 6), I had some armored boats on the map.
In previous games those aquatic units didn't make much of a difference, but they did in this battle. The boats ended up chasing down and destroying the GEOgre as it tried to escape back down the river.
Over on the other side of the city, Wes's Mark V blazed a trail of destruction through the outskirts of Monopolis.
The big cybertank clawed through defending armor to take out our side's main objective, the Electric Company, plunging the city into darkness (and raising everyone's rates to pay to rebuild it), as well as another neighborhood it had been programmed to destroy.
So with three out of four targets enrubbled, along with additional real estate and defending armor destroyed, the machines had a good day. However, they took a lot of damage, including the loss of the GEO, meaning the Ogres' victory was a marginal one.
Another exciting game, as you can see from the before-and-after pictures. It had been a while since I'd played, so I'm glad I brought Ogre out for a spin again.
Next game, I think I want to use the train as an objective. Time to start planning a new scenario ....

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Burrowing and badgering

Burrows & Badgers is a fun little skirmish game, and I'm enjoying using my friend John's figures to play. Over the course of our campaign, I acquired a new member of the warband, Linda Lou Shrew.
I got a lot of mileage with my spellcaster, Tommy Tu Toad, who served as the warband's second-in-command. He even learned a new spell!
My warband leader, Roger Rabbit, had trouble going against John's shrew knight mounted on a stag beetle (which uses the stats for a wildcat).
And after one game in which he was taken out of action, my poor toad failed his survival roll and ended up permanently dead! Luckily, I had enough treasure saved up to purchase a replacement: Tommy Tu Toad II.

Anyone else playing this game now?