Friday, June 24, 2011

Because I have no self-control, that's why!

Why, oh why, did I buy more spaceship minis?
I picked up another metric crapload of minis on ebay, including the 14 packages of Stardate: 3000 ships pictured above.  In addition to various Earth ships, including some I didn't have before, the lot includes some of the alien ships as well.  Still deciding on a paint scheme. 
Any idea of which line of miniatures these ships are from?
Not only that, but I also won an auction of a dozen ships from another fleet--which fleet, I have no idea.  (EDIT: RavenFeast has identified these as Star Raiders from Garrison Miniatures.  Thanks, RF!)  I like the design of these guys, but I hate the bright red paint job, so this batch is headed for a Pine-Sol bath sometime soon.  Not sure how I'll end up painting them, either.  Any color scheme suggestions, for either the Stardate 3000 ships or the red guys?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

HotT this weekend

I won't be able to make it, but if any of y'all are in San Antonio and looking to play Hordes of the Things, the guys are meeting at Dragon's Lair for some games this Saturday (June 25).

The games will use the usual shooter/warband movement rate swap and start around noon, running till about 6 or so.

So gather your armies and head over for some generic fantasy combat.  Painted or unpainted, we're generally pretty casual about it.  Don't have any armies based for HotT?  I'm sure someone has an extra army or two to loan you.

Have fun playing, and let me know how it goes.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Losing weight

I was searching various blog recaps of the Northwestern Historical Miniatures Gaming Society's Enfilade convention, hoping to find some pictures of the MAATAC and Galactic Knights scenarios that Monday Knight Productions ran at the convention.  No luck in as far as pics of those games, but Dave S., author of the blog Naval Gazing, did post photos of his acquisitions from MKP, including these resin casts of the GK ships:
Photo from the blog Naval Gazing.
That's right, it looks like Monday Knight Productions has started making the massive GK ships in a material much less dense.  Not only is this substance a lot cheaper than pewter, bringing down the prices of these models, but because it's so much lighter it will probably reduce shipping costs--or at least save postal workers from hernias.

Although MKP had these for sale at the convention, no word on when these are gonna be offered for sale on their website.  Also, I don't know if the company will switch to resin for the smaller ships as well, or if they'll remain metal.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Yet another great score from Half-Price Books.  Thanks to a tip earlier today from Sovereigneternal, I went to an HPB store in San Antonio, where there were a couple dozen boxes of sci-fi miniatures on sale for (wait for it) half price.  There were a couple of boxes of Noble Armada ships, over a dozen boxes of Star Wars minis from West End Games and boxes of starter fleets for just about every faction in Firestorm Armada
Although I was tempted to abuse my credit card and get everything, fiscal self-disipline held out.  I limited to one box and picked up this Aquan Prime fleet.  I like the smooth lines of these ships; quite a contrast from the greebly-encrusted vessels of the Starfleet Wars/Galactic Knights range.  Since they're compatible size-wise, I plan on using them in my games--probably as passengers ships.  You can see how they look compared to a SfW/GK Terran cruiser.
The Aquan battleship especially seems like it would work well as a massive superliner from the Whitestar line.  For paint scheme I'm gonna avoid my usual drybrush technique and go with a bright white base coat with maybe a few thin color stripes; I need to check out some photos of ocean liners for ideas.  I'll probably print up some decals instead of attempting to put those markings on with a paintbrush.
Even though I have plenty of bare metal in my game closet, I've been thinking about getting a Firestorm Armada fleet for some time, so I just couldn't resist picking these up.  Of course, no telling when I'll actually get them painted.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Con is On

As Chris announced over at the Hill Cantons, the South Texas Mini Con (for lack of a better name) is a go.  The official date is Saturday, August 20, and our little gathering will take place here in New Braunfels. 

It will be a day of as much RPG and minis gaming that we can fit into our conference room at the New Braunfels Convention Center.  We hope some of our fellow Texas gamers will be able to join us.

In addition to my Starfleet Wars, it looks like we'll have Empire of the Petal Throne from ckutalik and AD&D from Brad.  Other old-school possibilities include the original Chainmail rules and the more recent EPT prequel Humanspace Empires.  I'll see if I can get someone to run a Civil War game as well.

There's no entrance fee (but we'll gladly accept donations to offset the cost of renting the venue).  However, we're trying to get an idea of how many people to expect, so if you plan on attending, please let us know ASAP so we can get a head count. 

We're gonna have three or four tables set up at once, and we're still locking down the schedule.  We still have table space open, so if you want to run a game, let one of us know.  Here's what the place looks like:
Should be nice and cozy.  See you there in August!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Action in the Hill Cantons

I haven't posted in awhile, but I have been gaming.  Here's a snapshot from today's session of the Hill Cantons, taken from my phone:
The Hill Cantons crew takes on a giant and his prehistoric panther.  From left: Uma (thief), Rellus the Braggart (0-level NPC promoted to 1st-level henchman), Judah the Hammer (cleric), Demitros (fighter), Barbarella the Amazon (fighter), and Mandamus a.k.a. the Professor (magic-user).
Our group of player characters, henchmen, and NPCs took out a giant and a primitive great cat (above), made it to town, and went back with the intent to explore his lair.  That's when things got weird.  Long story short: we don't trust the skinny guys, our reward money got blown on healing--but we acquired a nifty metal tube that makes a big blue mess.  We sure could have used a druid.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Well, I guess it's official

So it looks like we're throwing a mini convention this summer--and in New Braunfels, of all places!

After some initial discussion about a possible local gaming get-together, the intertubes fell silent for awhile.  Now ckutalik (rather unilaterally, I'm afraid) has announced what we're calling for lack of a better name, the South Texas Mini-Con (how's Braun-Con sound?).  In celebration, I made the lame logo you can see at left.

The gameday is tentatively set for August 13 here in NB.  Looks like I will be running some obscure spaceship game, Mr. Hill Cantons will run some Tekumel for a change, and Brad, that crusher of skulls, said he wants to run an AD&D adventure.  And it looks like the town's RPG artist in residence will be there, too.

See y'all in August.  Maybe by then we'll have a better logo.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New MAATAC designs

Monday Knight Productions is offering some new models to accompany its range of MAATAC* minitures for the eponymous science fiction ground combat game.

According to the company's announcement on The Miniatures Page today, these are designs that were announced when the game was first published, but remained unreleased until now.  Check out the reactions in the announcement discussion thread on TMP.

These 6mm sci-fi tanks would make good proxies for some of the smaller cybertanks in OGRE/GEV.  I can also picture them in games of BattletechDirtside, or Future War Commander

Bonus MAATAC content: Miniature Review's comparision shots of MKP tanks with Progenitor and Dirtside vehicles.

*Multi-functional Armed & Armored Tactical Attack Computer

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Wandering monsters--in SPAAAAACE!

In brainstorming for the starship campaign I want to run, I've come to envision it as akin to a traditional roleplaying game.  However, instead of running a single character with numbers describing physical and mental attributes, each player will operate a single starship (with the possibility of acquiring additional ships similar to how RPG characters gain henchmen during the course of a campaign).  While the combat rules will take care of a ship's physical attributes, I devised additional rules to describe the intangible characteristics of the ship and its captain.

This got me to thinking about the background for such a game, which could take the form of a sandbox setting so beloved of many roleplayers.  In a sandbox game, the game master starts out with a map containing some interesting locations (and some idea of what each location contains), gives the players a brief background and maybe a few leads, and lets them wander about the setting in search of adventure.  The Hill Cantons D&D campaign I play in is such a game--our characters started out with a vague idea of their surroundings and wandered around the area stumbling into and out of trouble.

Of course, this kind of play is pretty natural for sci-fi games--Traveller was an old-school SF role-playing game that encouraged this kind of play; Stars Without Number is a more recent OSR offering in the same vein.  But while these games usually start out with each player controlling a single character with maybe one ship between them, I'd like to skip those intermediate steps and start each players out with his or her own spacecraft.  Such a mini-fleet could then travel from star system to star system, in search of loot and glory like its fantasy RPG counterpart.

Which brings me (finally!) to my point: how to adjudicate what the players encounter as they roam the spaceways.  I'm thinking about adapting the order of play from the old Tom Moldvay version of the Basic D&D rulebook (the one with the red Erol Otus cover).

The Moldvay encounter rules play out pretty wargamey for something we've come to associate with a more free-form sort of play.  Here's the steps a referee follows during a turn in Basic D&D:
  1. check for wandering monsters
  2. party moves, enters room, listens, and searches
  3. turn ends if no wandering monsters, otherwise roll number appearing
  4. determine distance between monsters and party
  5. check for surprise
  6. roll for initiative
  7. roll for monster reaction
  8. determine outcome (talk, retreat, combat)
  9. end turn
The Dave Cook version of the D&D Expert rules (blue book with Otus art) has a virtually identical sequence for wildnerness play, with the addition of checking to see if the party gets lost.  These rules for encounters should translate pretty easily to outer space.  However, despite the picture above, I don't think I'll include any spacedragons on my interstellar encounter table.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Another con I won't make

The North Texas RPG Convention starts this weekend, but I will miss out.  Although I didn't see any miniatures games, it looks like there will be plenty of old-school roleplaying events.

There will also be some big names from the early days of the industry--guys whose names appeared on the covers of some memorable games: Erol Otus, Frank Mentzer, and Jim Ward, to name a few.

I'm particularly jealous because I know some of our local gamers will be rolling dice in Irving.  All of you bloggers who are attending, I'd love to see some updates from the convention floor (or just leave a comment here).

Hopefully, next year I will be able to attend.  I wonder if Starfleet Wars is sufficiently old school to get me a table ...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Federation battleship

Still on a painting spree, I finally finished up the last of the Star Frontiers ships I acquired some time ago, a Federation battleship.
Of course, in my games this vessel was decommissioned as a fighting ship and joins the rest of my transport fleet as a cargo hauler.
Unlike my other Fed BB, which only has seven of its original eight engines, this model has the complete set of thrusters.
The completion of this ship bring me to an even dozen large Star Frontiers ships, in addition to the SF freighter and scouts.
Add to that the three Stardate: 3000 spaceships I also have painted, and I think I don't need to buy any more minis for use as transports.  At least until I spy another bargain on eBay ...