Monday, September 27, 2010

Regulus IV: The early years

OK, it doesn't look like much now, but in a few billion years the planet should be really liveable ...

My upcoming Galactic Knights game on Nov. 12 at Millennium Con involves a planetary assault.  Therefore, I need a planet.  I figure a hemisphere placed on the playing surface would look better than an entire sphere; a half-globe will make the starships on the hex board look like they're orbiting around the planet's equator.

I had planned to get an ordinary educational globe, separate it into two halves, take one hemisphere and repaint it, but I don't have a spare one around the house, and globes don't come cheap. 

I found large styrofoam spheres at Hobby Lobby, but they were expensive and I don't have the proper tools to make an accurate cut.  I then went to Michael's and found this styrofoam hemisphere.  It's a little smaller than what I'd originally planned on having, but it's cheap and already in the shape I need.  Now I just have to paint it.  I'll post some pics when I get around to painting the hemisphere.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

September gameday recap

So yesterday saw a light turnout for our HotT-Texas monthly Hordes of the Things get-together at Dragon's Lair-San Antonio.  There were just four of us, so we ended up playing a 2-on-2 game: Johnny and Brian deployed 48 points of Johnny's Romans, while Chip and I took 48 points of Chip's damn elves.  (Apologies for the poor quality of the photos; I forgot my camera and took a couple of pics with my phone.)

The Romans defended, setting up both commands in an unbroken line.  The elves deployed in two groups in an attempt to get around the Romans' right flank and take out the stronghold.  The first few bounds consisted of each side marching toward the other, with the Romans sending riders out to attack my command's right flank. 

Once the Romans got in range, however, I attempted to ensorcell their commander-in-chief, a hero general.  He withstood my first magical attack, but on my second attempt I was victorius, turning his horse into a llama.  The rest of the Roman army didn't like that, and fled the field (i.e., they lost their commander-in-chief and lost more AP than the elves, who were unbloodied at that point), giving victory to the elves.  Of course, I didn't catch that right away and we played a couple more bounds before realizing the elves had won.

Even though we played just one game and I was ready for more HotT action, other people (who evidently have lives) had other things to do, so that was the extent of our Hordes of the Things gameday.  It wasn't quite the end of our gaming, however.

Brian showed us a recent purchase, a spaceship game called War Rocket with retro-looking minis by Hydra Miniatures.  He refereed a quick game between Chip and myself  Chips played the saucer ships (the agile Zenithians), while I took the aerodynamic but less-maneuvarable Imperials.  In our playtest with equal forces, I managed to destroy three out of four enemy ships and took no casualties.  However, I didn't win, as Chip was able to capture the objective and carry it off his side of the board, even after I blew up the first ship carrying the McGuffin.  The game has fairly simple rules and plays very quickly, and the minis have a great mid-20th century design aesthetic.  I look forward to playing it again. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Not Galactic Knights ...

... but they work pretty well as cargo vessels for that or any other game. 

The three largest ships are Federation ships from the old TSR sci-fi roleplaying game Star Frontiers (more precisely, from the spaceship combat game Knight Hawks): 

The big ship is a Federation battleship, and it weighs in at nearly half a pound!  I also have a pair of Fed destroyers:

The two small craft come from Citadel Miniatures old spaceships range.  The top photo depicts SCP4, the Asimov-Class Escort Cruiser.  The bottom pic shows SCP5, the John F . Kennedy-Class Cruiser

These spaceships should see some action as transports for ground forces in my GK game at Millennium Con in November, Assault on Regulus IV.  Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

HotT gameday this Saturday

This Saturday, Sept. 25, the Texas HotT gamers will be meeting at Dragon's Lair in San Antonio to play Hordes of the Things.  We should be there from 11 to 6, and people usually bring more than one army.  Now that the HotT rules are available for free (scroll down), there's no excuse not to play!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Darths & Droids: RPG satire and movie mashup

It's fair to say the Star Wars saga has inspired entire generations of geeks and gamers.  Of course, after the movie first came out, the main science fiction role-playing game was Traveller, which took its influences from the literary end of the SF spectrum.  I've read about a few obscure games that might have been more directly influenced by the movie, but I didn't know of any at the time. 

About a decade later, the first roleplaying game for that setting came out from West End Games.  After another ten years, Wizards of the Coast took over the Star Wars gaming franchise with its d20 version of the setting (WotC recently lost that license). 

I myself never had a chance to play any games set in the Star Wars universe.  If I ever did, however, I imagine it might be something like the game portrayed in the webcomic Darths & Droids.  This webcomic (from the creator of Irregular Webcomic, another series I highly recommend), uses screen captures from the film to portray the adventures of a sci-fi roleplaying game.  It takes the premise that the players exist in a world where the movies had never been made and imagines how that setting might come about from the interaction of players and game master. 

Darths & Droids was directly inspired by DM of the Rings, another webcomic which (successfully and humorously) uses screen caps from the Lord of the Rings films to protray a cliched group of fantasy roleplaying gamers.   The latter series is complete, having covered all three LotR movies.  The creators of D&D (get it?) plan to go through all six films; they've already covered Episodes I and II, and are well into Episode III.  It's a fun read, and you might see some players you know reflected in the characters in this webcomic.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Galactic Knights at MillenniumCon

I will be running a Galactic Knights scenario at MillenniumCon 12+1 in Round Rock, Texas this Novermber.  The scenario is one of my own devising, Assault on Regulus IV:
The invasion begins! The Terran Transolar Federation Navy has orders to get its transports to Regulus IV for pacification of the separatist planet. However, the Delta Sector Alliance occupiers have other ideas--and their own space forces. This simple-to-learn, quick-playing starship combat miniatures game involves warships, troop ships, and planetary defenses.
The game will take place Friday, the opening night of the convention (I'm playing in the HotT tournament Saturday morning, all the Saturday afternoon slots were taken, and Saturday evening is too late because I have plans for early Sunday morning--that day is out as well).  The scenario can acccomodate up to eight players, so please join me.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Galactic Knights blister packs

This may not come as a surprise to some Galactic Knights fans, but I just found out that Monday Knight Productions offered the ships in blister packs for retail sale.  Browsing eBay, I found an auction (now ended) for a lot of miniatures that included some GK ships.  When I looked at the accompanying photos (excerpts posted here with the seller's kind permission), I saw the ships were in retail packaging:
A closer look shows the package includes two Entomolian Locust-class transports and some bases as well:

The blister pack carries a suggested retail price of $12.95:

Looking at some of the earlier messages on the Galactic Knights Yahoo group, some members mentioned ordering GK minis through their local game store. I've ordered online from MKP, and the minis didn't come in a blister pack, so I just assumed the company didn't offer them retail.  I've never seen these for sale in a game store, but it would be neat to stumble across them.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Group portrait/self-indulgence (man, I have a bunch of ships)

Just for fun, I got out all my painted Galactic Knights starships* and put them on the table together.  (I also have a ton of fighters painted and based, but they're not pictured.)  I have ships from each of the five powers, but as you can see, I have enough Terrans for two paint schemes.
Unfortunately, I still have plenty of ships to paint, including a few more Entomolians, some Avarians (I could probably do the remaining birds in a different color, but I'm not sure what hues to paint them), and a bunch more Terrans (and lots and lots of fighters).  This pile of unpainted metal includes several Super Galactic Dreadnoughts and some miniatures from other manufacturers as well.

I need to get out the brush and start painting again!

* Bonus points if you can spot the non-GK ships in this photo.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Blogging past futures--Space: 1970

Over on my blogroll, you'll notice a link to Space: 1970.  In addition to the British series Space: 1999 the blog references in its title, it covers many more of the TV shows and movies from the late 1960s to the early 1980s.  It has entries on shows I vaguely remember from childhood: Japanese cartoons like Star Blazers, Saturday morning kid shows such as Ark II, prime-time series including Buck Rogers, and theatrical releases from The Black Hole to Logan's Run.  In addition to movies and TV shows, Space: 1970 looks at some of the science fiction-related music of the era, as well as the great promotional tie-ins (i.e., toys) that came out of the 1970s and '80s

Not only that, but the author was kind enough to link to Super Galactic Dreadnought on his blogroll. So I want to return the favor and encourage readers to go check out the Space: 1970 blog.  It's a wonderful walk down memory lane, and I guarantee you'll stumble across a television show or movie you thought you had forgotten.  From the mainstream to the obscure, you'll enjoy what you find, and you might even be surpised by what turns up--anyone else remember Quark?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Scenes from a HotT game night

So the LSHM-San Antonio group met up at Dragon's Lair to play Hordes of the Things.  When I showed up, they were in the middle of a 3-on-3 battle.  It was Johnny with 48 AP of Romans and Ralph's 24 AP of female Mage Knight figs vs. Brian's Mouse Guard, Mark's WH Empire, and John's AT-43 Therians:

Roman warbands head through the woods to contact the Mouse Guard.

Roman cavalry (Knights) back up the warbands.

Up top, Roman spears and Riders take on the Empire.

Romans close the door on the Empire shooters.

Mage Knight ladies take on the Therians.

In the end, the Mouse Guard, Empire, and Therians prevailed, eliminating more than half of their opponents' troops, including a general, for the victory.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Scenario: Last Mission of the Mainland

Hive-class carrier
BACKGROUND: Desperate times call for desperate measures. The war goes badly, with enemy forces invading Naha, just one jump away from the homeworld. Something must be done to disrupt the landing, so Fleet Command sends the Galactic Dreadnought Mainland to lead a small task force against the enemy fleet. With resources in short supply, the ships have only enough fuel for a one-way trip. The invaders, however, intercept the communication and respond with a carrier group to intercept the task force.

FORCES: The task force consists of one Galactic Dreadnought, one Destroyer Leader, and eight Destroyers. The carrier group includes ten Attack Carriers with standard fighter complements (for Terrans, that's 4 light fighter groups & 6 heavy fighter groups each--10 groups per carrier).

SETUP: The task force enters from the top of the map, each ship three hexes ahead of its drift marker. The carrier group enters from the bottom of the map with all fighters on board, each carrier two hexes in front of its drift marker. Fighters may launch during the first turn. Roll for initiative per the rules.

VICTORY CONDITIONS: The task force receives points for every vessel that exits from the bottom edge of the map as follows:
  • Galactic Dreadnought: 100
  • Destroyer Leader: 20
  • Destroyer: 10
The carrier group receives the same amount of points for each task force ship it prevents from leaving through the bottom edge of the map. It loses 1 point for each fighter squadron destroyed and 10 points for each carrier destroyed. Fighter squadrons that exit the map instead of landing on a carrier are considered destroyed. Carriers (with or without fighters) may exit any edge via the bottom half of the map.

If the carrier group obtains at least 100 points more than the task force, it wins.

PLAYTEST NOTES:  I have not gamed this scenario, which by now you have probably guessed is the final mission of the Yamoto with the serial numbers filed off.  It's another one I came up with and shared with the Yahoo group in late 2007.