Sunday, March 17, 2019

Wrecked vehicles

Some quick and easy scatter terrain for Gaslands and other post-apoc vehicle combat games, made from dollar-store die-cast toys.
These Hot Wheels knockoffs came in a package, three for a buck. Some disassembly, a little carnage with the cutters, and a light dusting of black spray paint, and there you go.
These burnt-out vehicles will make nice obstacles for various Gaslands scenarios or as wrecks for when a player's car gets destroyed. Given the carnage levels in this game, I need to make quite a few more wrecks.
Of course, given how inexpensive these were, I won't have any problem finding some more cars to mangle. It's simple and fun, and looks good on the table.
Not bad for 33 cents each!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Trying out Burrows & Badgers

Burrows & Badgers is a miniatures skirmish game of anthropomorphic animal combat. Think Frostgrave crossed with Redwall. You have teams of mice, rabbits, frogs, weasels, hounds, badgers, etc. fighting each other for treasure and scenario objectives. Most actions are determined by contested rolls, with the dice you use based on your model's stat versus another models stat. For example, one figure has a Strike of d8, and rolls that die against the opponent's block stat of d6. Add in modifiers, and the highest number wins. If it's the active model, then you do damage.
The neat twist to this game is the concept of the "perfect roll"--a result of the maximum for your die roll adds seven to the total. So if you roll a 4 on a d4, you then add 7 to your total (along with any other modifiers). This means that every now and then, even one of the weaker figures has a chance to hurt a much stronger opponent. Add in weapons, actions like hiding, and magic, and you have an interesting set of rules.
Our gaming group has started using these rules, and I was able to play last week. I took five models: A rabbit leader, his second, a toad magician, and three mice warriors. Since we didn't have figures for the leader and the second, we proxied with some human minis. My in-game rationale was that the rabbit and toad were cursed by a witch and turned into humans.
The opposed rolls with their propensity for big bonuses kept the game swinging back and forth, meaning neither side could overpower the other at first. In the end, my opponent did overwhelm me, taking my leader and then one of my rank-and-file out of action. At least in this game, most of the time your figures will come back for the next scenario. And rolling for secondary objectives as part of the scenario we played gave a nice fog of war effect, as neither of us knew what the other was up to (besides trying to kill each other). In fact, in our game, both of us were able to accomplish a secondary objective--meaning both sides got experience and treasure to apply to the next game.
And that's another great thing about the rules: the campaign system. You have a chance after the battle to roll for injuries for figures that were knocked out of action and then see what kind of side adventures each of your figures gets into before the next fight. There's a chance to buy new equipment and magic, and for characters to gain additional skills or stat increases. It was a fun time, and we're playing it again.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Monopolis in San Antonio

I'm taking my show on the road! I will be running games of Monpolis (Ogre minis on a big map with 3-D scenery) this Saturday morning and afternoon at the GaMExpo convention in San Antonio. The events schedule lists six players per game, but if more than that show up, I will try to fit in additional players. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Arena of Death

We played our second game of Gaslands last week: the Arena of Death scenario, complete with automated machine gun turrets. Since there were four of us playing, I had to come up with another team of vehicles. So I took a trio of Hot Wheels out of their packaging to make The Notorious RBG: Red Rain, Blue Monday, and Green Manalishi (with a two-prong crown), all with identical stats.
We also had Men At Work, with Overkill (dump truck) and Who Can It Be Now? (front loader).
Of course, we had The Blues Brothers, Jake (car) and Elwood (pickup), which I ended up playing. The one-vehicle Justice League consisted of the Batusi (renamed by my players from the Batmobile).
The Batusi had lots of marvelous toys, like nitro, a turreted machine gun, RC car bombs, and a smokescreen. Not enough to keep it from getting riddled with bullets by the Green Manalishi (does that make that vehicle the Riddler's car?).
The first turn was lots of maneuvering and shooting, but no kills. Shortly, though, we started damaging each other. Who Can It Be Now? unleased enough Molotov cocktails to set Elwood on fire (although the flames immediately went out, since the truck had no hazard tokens).
Overkill managed to live up to its name, taking out Jake for the first vehicle kill of the evening.
But the carnage was about to increase, as Notorious RBG had Men At Work in the sights of their front-mounted machine guns.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

5150: Fleet Commander AAR

Ed the THW Guy was kind enough to send me a copy of the newest game in his sci-fi universe, 5150: Fleet Commander. This game is at a little higher level of abstraction than the rules that I co-wrote with him, 5150: Star Navy, so I decided to run a largish fleet battle. With just four stats per ship (and only one stat that changes), it was easy to get a number of ships on the board.
My Star Navy had a capital ship squadron (Dreadnought and two Carriers) and two escort squads (Light Cruiser and two Destroyers, and Destroyer and two Frigates). The Hishen had their own capital squad (Planetary Conquest Ship and a pair of Motherships) and a couple of escort groups (each with a Slaver and two Patrollers).
The two sides launched fighters and missiles, and opened fire (all taken care of with one combat roll per ship). The Star Navy damaged one of the carriers on the first volley, but lost one of its frigates as the Hishen retaliated.
Other human vessels also took damage (meaning they could not return fire during the Hishen turn or initiate fire on their next turn).
With each vessel targeting its equivalent on the other side, the big ships were not doing much damage to each other. The smaller craft, on the other hand, quickly eliminated one another. Most of the smaller ships, however, made their rolls to remain in the battle, with just one human ship, the light cruiser, fleeing the battle after taking damage. All the rest stayed until they were destroyed.
Still, even after losing ships, neither side's commander wanted to leave the battle. C-beams glittered as the two fleets continued to exchange fire, with more escorts evaporating each turn. The large vessels, however, were hard to damage--and they could all take a lot of it.
Finally, the Star Navy carrier attacks got through to their opposite numbers. First one Hishen mothership erupted, then the other one turned into a rapidly expanding debris cloud.
With most of their fleet gone, the Hishen commander still refused to flee, and the Star Navy's ships were able to concentrate most of their firepower on the alien flagship. Only a few shots got through to do damage, but they were enough to send the planetary conquest ship into damage control mode--meaning its crew was too busy to shoot at the Star Navy.
Finally, a couple of shots made it through to demolish the remainder of the defenseless flagship's hull, destroying the final Hishen starship.
The Hishen fleet was completely wiped out, while the Star Navy lost two destroyers and two frigates (although severely damaged, the light cruiser is now fully repaired and ready for its next fight). It was a fun game, and it took me around an hour-and-a-half to play. Thanks, Ed!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Monopolis article is live

I am pleased to announce that my article on Building Your Own Monopolis for Ogrezine II (the online magazine for Ogre) is now up. While the subject will be familiar to most readers of this blog, the article goes into a little more detail, and it pretty much covers everything about my tabletop city. Please go take a look!

Monday, February 18, 2019

One more car for Gaslands

You might have noticed a new vehicle of mine in last week's Gaslands debut: This is a Batmobile from the DC Justice League line, with a pretty minimal repaint. 
All I did was take the car apart, spray everything but the wheels and windshield flat black, and then do a little drybrush work.
The body of this vehicle was drybrushed in a couple of shades of metallic gold, and I just hit the cannon on top with some metallic gunmetal gray.
I then glued everything back together, leaving the gun turret free to rotate. I made sure to glue the wheels, so the car won't start rolling off during a game of Gaslands.
In game terms, I will use this as a performance car, and give it enough equipment to bring it to 50 cans--typically the cost of an entire race team.
It will be interesting to see how a single expensive vehicle competes against teams of multiple (less costly) vehicles.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Some old-school Ogre

Every now and then it's fun (and a lot less hassle) to play some hex-and-counter Ogre. We did that a few weeks ago using my classic counters on old paper maps I have from when I first got some metal minis sets.
The first game we played The Black Knight scenario from the Ogre Reinforcements set (and also from Scenario Book 1, I think). I played the Combine forces, at the opposite end of the map from my opponent's PanEuropeans. In between, a renegade Ogre Mark III run by a third player. Since the Ogre was closer to me, it headed my way. I gave the cybertank a beating, but between the Ogre and the enemy humans, I was pretty much wiped out. And after I did all that hard work, the human player finished off the Ogre and won the game.
Our second game was the advanced Breakthrough scenario. Two of us took the PE defenders (white counters) while the third player ran the attackers (black GEVs). Note the Structure Point counters, which make ideal camouflage markers atop the other units--something hard to do with the variable-shaped tokens of Ogre Designer's Edition. In this game, the attacker remained spread out, and could never muster enough force (thanks to some abysmal dice rolls) to break through our defensive lines. He ended up losing all but one of the GEVs.

A good time, getting back to the basics of wargaming.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Dragon hunt

A few weeks ago, I brought out The Fantasy Trip (actually just Melee and Wizard) for a quick battle on game night. I decided that our four figures who had survived the Death Test last December got ordered to bring back a dragon. So we had our 37-point characters take on a four-hex dragon (the black spaces beneath it are so we can better tell the creature's facing; otherwise it gets confusing).

It was a hard battle, but in the in the adventures won because the dragon was in a cavern and couldn't gain altitude. Looking back, I should have had it charge and knock people down, instead of just using claws and breath. I may have to run this again sometime.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Gaslands getting into gear

After months of idling and a few weeks of spinning my wheels, I finally took it into overdrive and ran a game of Gaslands. There were six of us, all new to the game, so it took a while for us to start firing on all cylinders. We played the Death Race scenario, but since we were unfamiliar with all the weapons and perks, we just treated all our vehicles as cars with front-facing machine guns. We had four of my vehicles in the race: the car Jake, the pickup Elwood, the dump truck Overkill, and a repainted Batmobile. Another player brought his Arkansas hillbilly-mobile, and the sixth member of our group brought the green military-looking SUV.
It took a little while to get used to using the movement templates and the skid dice, but after a few gear phases we had the game mechanics down. There were a few collisions, and a number of wipeouts, but we were all bad shots, and no one actually wrecked. We liked the resource allocation decisions: Do you shift gears and add more hazard tokens so you can move again, or keep it slow and steady so you don't wipe out?
Unfortunately for this blog, I was so into the game, I neglected to take very many pictures. All in all, the rest of the players said they enjoyed Gaslands and will play it again. Next time, I plan on using teams with all the available weapons and perks. I also want to run a narrative campaign involving a war rig, so I need to get back to the painting table ....

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Of frog demons and space stations

A couple of recent purchases arrived in the mail this week, and I thought I would share them with you:
First in my mailbox was What Ho, Frog Demons!, an adventure for old-school D&D by my buddy Chris from the Hill Cantons (read more about this product on the blog). I don't think our tabletop group did much more than march past the pre-publication version of this dungeon, and the book itself has a lot more packed than even the campaign players saw, with some great art. My favorite is Preved!, the War Bear who likes to shout his own name.
I also received this Mace-class space station for the Terran fleet from Monday Knight Productions. This will make a nice objective for the next time I play a game of Starfleet Wars or Galactic Knights, and I'm looking forward to painting it up.

Anyone else get anything cool lately?

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

More Gaslands vehicles

A car and pickup for Gaslands or Axles and Alloys, made from dollar store die-cast vehicles and some spare bits from other toys or minis.
I drilled out the rivets holding these vehicles together, stripped the paint, added some spare parts, and then sprayed them a nice blue color and washed them with a black ink/paint/water mix.
The car, Jake, comes equipped with a machine-gun turret, a manipulator arm, and a spotlight. I sprayed the inside of the windows black before I glued everything together.
The truck, Elwood, has some sort of big, sci-fi gun in a turret over the cab, and a spotlight on the hood.
It's windows were already tinted, so I just detailed the big gun on top. I also glued the wheels so they don't turn--that way I don't have to worry about my gaming minis rolling across the table if it gets bumped.
These vehicles were a lot easier to finish than my first two Gaslands trucks, which each had miniature figures posed on them.
I realize that these are not your typical wasteland warrior vehicles, but I figure there are still pockets of civilization out there, making and maintaining new (or newish-looking) cars and trucks.
The completion of this second pair means I have enough vehicles for some team battles or scenarios from the Gaslands rulebook. Maybe the next bunch will look more post-apocalyptic.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

My first finished Gaslands rigs

My first completed miniatures of 2019 are a couple of vehicles for use with Gaslands (and other post-apocalyptic road combat games, like Axles & Alloys). This front loader and dump truck came from the same dollar store blister pack. Can you figure out the theme here?
I took them apart and sprayed the plastic components with a darker shade of orange. Since I didn't have any old Warhammer 40K bits to convert to weapons like other gamers tend to use, I decided to accessorize the vehicles with 1/72 figures from hobby stores or flea markets, painted like construction workers.
Inspired by the great Kaptain Kobold, I have decided to name all my post-apoc rigs after song titles. Thus, I present to you: Who Can It Be Now? This vehicle has a driver from a halftrack model and the shooter from a box of WWII Germans.
The dump truck shall henceforth be known as Overkill. The figures in the back are all German soldiers from the same sprue as the guy on the front loader.
Confession time: I wanted to get into Gaslands because I thought that painting die-cast cars would be a lot simpler than painting figures of people or creatures. So what do I do? Decide that the first vehicles I paint all need crew miniatures!
It took me all afternoon to get these figs painted to the level I'm comfortable with--that is, a tabletop standard. The photographs bring out all their flaws, but I think they look fine at arm's length on the gaming mat.
In addition to the soldiers, I placed some containers from Reaper's Bones to give the guys cover and something to stand on.
OK, that's two down, and another couple dozen to go. Who knows? Maybe I will get enough of these done to run a game of Gaslands before 2020 gets here.