Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Lost Platoon (part 1)

Since February marked the 25th anniversary of the release of Warhammer 40,000, I thought I'd trot out some photos of my own Citadel Miniatures figures from that game.  My force was the Imperial Army (that's right, Skippy, these figures predate the Imperial Guard!) back in the day.
I bought these miniatures back in the late '80s and played a few games of WH40K with them until I moved away for school.  The figs sat gathering dust at my parents' house until a few years ago, when I rescued them from oblivion.  Because I don't play 40K anymore, I rebased these minis for use with Hordes of the Things.
As you can see in the top picture, my initial HotT army started out as nine stands of shooters (troopers, including general with standard bearer) and two artillery elements (heavy weapons).
Most of the paint jobs on these figs are from the 1980s; I just touched them up a little and maybe added a wash.
My dudes are not painted as well as this guy's figures (go check them out here, here, here, and here), but they look decent enough on the tabletop.
The in-game backstory for this unit is that a shot from a warp cannon blasted the force into another dimension where their weapons don't work as well as they should.
That and the desire to conserve ammo explain the now-limited range of the technologically advanced weapons of the shooters and artillery.
I also salvaged from my childhood home my original Rhino APC, which I had painted in a weird camo scheme for use of my Rogue Trader mercenary force, known as Bastard Squad.  I affixed it to a base to use as my Imperial Army's stronghold--it's out of fuel or the engine doesn't function in this reality, but even immobile it makes a good fortress.  I even added a couple of figures to this stronghold to represent support personnel.
After assembling this 24AP army, I had plenty of minis left over--enough to bring the Lost Platoon up to 48AP--and field elements besides shooters and artillery.  I'll show you those photos tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

One more vintage figure review found

I stumbled across an eBay auction for a June 1980 issue of Military Modeler magazine, a now-defunct periodical.  What articles did it contain?

Of relevance to this blog, among the World War II vehicles listed, one of the headlines on the cover mentions "alien and starship trooper 90mm figures."  The seller's listing describes the article as "90mm Figure Review: Superior Models Alien & Starship Trooper."  I'm assuming these are the Superior Models 100mm figures I've blogged about before.

I asked the seller for a fuller description, and he was kind enough to describe the article to me. He said the piece, headlined inside as "Shoot-Out in Space," is a five-page review (with two pages in color!) of an alien and a futuristic starship trooper.  He said the article was by Jeff Jonas, who assembled and painted the figures.

I didn't feel comfortable asking the seller for scans or photos of the article, so that's all the info I have on the it.  If anyone has this issue of the magazine, I'd love to hear more details.

Monday, February 27, 2012

My latest score from Half-Price

You should have seen the ones I left behind: S2, I1, the Slavers series, and more.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Starships: Avarian capital ships

I got some more Avarians painted today--this time, two galactic battlecruisers and a galactic dreadnought.
The pair of Eagle-class battlecruisers will see battle when we play out the next combat in the Chancellor campaign as part of a BC task force.
Before I painted this Condor-class dreadnought, I thought I might have a chance to get two Avarian DNs on the table at the same time. 
Unfortunately, the other dread was destroyed in the Battle of Vertex, so you won't be seeing two Condors on the table at the same time.
Still, might as well get it painted while I have all my stuff out.
Still up on the to-paint list: another Nest-class galactic attack carrier and the Gryphon-class super galactic dreadnought.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

OGRE 6th edition in 2012?

Image from Steve Jackson Games
Steve Jackson Games recently released its annual Stakeholders Report on the company's performance in the previous year and goals for this year.  No big surprise, the card game Munchkin, in all its incarnations, is driving the SJG bus (accounting for three-fourths of the game company's sales in 2011).  But I want to talk about the long-proposed sixth edition of OGRE.

As you all know, the new version of this venerable sci-fi tank combat game was put on hold last year.  Evil Stevie briefly mentions this in the report, under the Failures section listing "Things that didn't go as they should have..."  He notes the reason was a bandwidth problem--as in his own bandwidth--and promises to get the game out in 2012.  In fact, that's listed as #4 out of 5 in SJG's priorities for the current year: "Clean more out of the old pipeline.  Make Ogre 6th Edition happen."

Sure, we've heard it all before.  I'm not gonna hold my breath, but if OGRE 6E does show up on the game store shelf in 2012, I'm still gonna buy it.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Old campaign background detail

I found some old notes from the last time I played Dungeons & Dragons prior to my return to RPGs in the Hill Cantons.  During college some friends and I got together to play D&D, and I decided to help create some of the campaign background.  I think we only played one session before moving on to other things.  Although I rolled up a ranger for the campaign, I came up with some background for monks in the context of the AD&D game world.  Without further ado, my handwritten notes typed up verbatim (including misspellings):

3 orders of monks in the land:
   Red (LG), Yellow (LE), & Blue (LN)
Red:  Devoted to law & order as best way to enlightenment
Yellow: Iron rule is best way to power, but must have honor
Blue: Ultimat harmony of multiverse is balance between good & bad

Red: works w/ LG church & paladins & good creatures
Yellow: hires/ trains w/ assassins guild & LE dieties & humanoids
Blue: associates w/ druids & theives guild & animals

Each order has 3 monastaries, headed by the three 8th lvl monks
 each monastery has 2-5 monks of each level 1 thru 6

upon reaching 9th lvl, monks leave the monastery & go wandering

Monastery locations:
   BlueL in human city, in dwarven city, in forest (druid grove)
   Yellow: under human city, in badlands, on a ship
   Red: in human city, in paladins' castle, on mountain peak

I had considered writing up how other institutions (assassins & thieves guilds, mercenaries, monsters etc.) implied by the Players Handbook and Dungeon Masters Guide interacted, but the monasteries were as far as I got in our short-lived campaign.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Starships: More Avarians

Before I got sick, I painted some more Avarian spaceships--a septet of starbombers and a pair of stellar cruisers for Starfleet Wars and/or Galactic Knights
So far I haven't had a chance to use these Buzzard-class SBs in play.
The Avarian starbomber's outline reminds me of the U.S. Air Force's F-15 Eagle.
These Hawk-class stellar cruisers (along with their sister ships) saw action in the Battle of Vertex as part of the Homeworld Fleet.
I hope to get more ships finished and get in more gaming soon.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

OGRE units for Hordes of the Things

Over at The Stronghold Rebuilt, Kaptain Kobold has a post about basing Epic 40K models for Hordes of the Things.  The philosophy is that "firing happens at fairly close ranges and the game scale is such that base to base contact can represent troops shooting at each other over such a range."  It occurred to me that you could also use HotT for other 1/300 sci-fi minis, so I came up with this list for using OGRE/GEV units as Hordes of the Things elements.

OGRE unit  HotT element  # figs
MIL        Hordes        8-10
INF        Blades         3
HW-INF     Spears         3
LTK        Knights        2
HVY        Knights        1
SHVY       Behemoth       1
GEV        Riders         2
LGEV       Riders        3-4
GEV-PC     Warband        2
MSL        Shooters       1
MHWZ       Artillery      1
LAD        Artillery      2
OGRE       Hero           1

Stronghold: Command post with laser towers and/or howitzers.  One option not supported by the OGRE background would be an electronic countermeasures vehicle that would function as a Magician element in HotT.

I might have to give this a try sometime, just to see how the OGRE minis would look on HotT bases.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The return of The Stronghold

For many years, Hordes of the Things players visited The Stronghold, a website by a British wargamer going by the name of Kaptain Kobold.  The Stronghold held a great number of articles on the game's rules, strategies, alternate rules, army lists, and miniatures.  Unfortunately, the author moved from the UK to Australia, and his site eventually went dark. 

It was missed, and every few months some member of the Yahoo group would ask what happened to the Stronghold.  Another list member posted some of the old Stronghold material, but the original site was still history.

Well now Kaptain Kobold has rebuilt the Stronghold, this time in the form of a blog.  The Stronghold Rebuilt only has a few posts so far, but it looks to become a great resource for HotT, just like its predecessor.  I'm adding the remodeled version of the Stronghold to my blogroll, and I look forward to seeing it grow.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I'm back!

Up until last week, I was on a great blogging streak--a whole lotta posts in a row.  Then, the flu (or its nasty cousin) came and kicked me in the ass.  I was weak and feverish and missed work; at home I didn't even have the strength to work on the blog.  My fever finally broke last Sunday, and I made work every day this week, but I was still too drained to feel like blogging.  Now, I've finally regained the urge to start posting again.

To make this sort of geek-related, I thought I'd share one of my Valentine's Day gifts from my wife: a Battlestar Galactica (the 1978 version) ornament.  This Cylon bad boy is about 100mm tall and when you press the button, it speaks one of several phrases in that old-school mechanical voice, including "By your command."  Hearing that voice gives me flashbacks to watching that show when I was in grade school.  It was a fun gift from a wife who indulges her husband's nerd habit.

Anyway, I'm feeling much better, so expect more blog posts from me in the near future.  I also hope to get some painting in, and get back to work processing moves in the Chancellor campaign.  It's great to be back in the blogging saddle again.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

One last freebie

I'm sick as a dog today, and went home early from work.  I'm too weak to do much blogging, but I wanted to share one last free game: Chain Reaction 3.0, the latest and greatest version of Two Hour Wargames' combat engine.

This ruleset is the basis for THW products like All Things Zombie, NUTS!, and 5150.  It's a unique departure from the I-go-you-go mechanics we're used to; your figures react to one another, and firefights are quick and deadly.

Kudos to Ed the THW Guy for releasing this free of charge to everyone.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Speaking of free games ...

... it's worth mentioning again that the Hordes of the Things rulebook (sans army lists) is also available at no charge from the publisher, Wargames Research Group.

Not only that, but the publisher has uploaded two versions of De Bellis Antiquitatis, the historical game that was the basis for HotT.  Those interested in game development can check out the first edition of DBA, and anyone who'd like to playtest it can obtain DBA version 3.0.

You can find plenty of other historical rulesets from WRG on their website.  Have fun!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Another free game

I'm not feeling well today.  Here's a link to the free two-page OGRE Miniatures Lite PDF.  When I blogged about free versions of some high-profile games, I can't believe I neglected to include this one.

This document has everything you need (except miniatures) to play the classic sci-fi tank combat game.  It's a minis game, so you'll also need terrain.  If you want to play on a hex mat, just divide the ranges and moves by two.  The full version of OGRE Miniatures is more detailed, and it's available as a PDF as well.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Panoramic Starfleet Wars

Holdfast, one of the players in the Battle of Vertex, posted some panoramic photographs he stitched together from multiple iPhone snapshots:
Check out the full-size photos and his blog post about the game.  And check out the rest of his blog, too!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sunday Starships: Battle of Vertex AAR

The first battle of the Chancellor campaign, the Battle of Vertex, occurred last Thursday at my place, and the results were not what I was expecting.  Three separate forces--an Avarian transport convoy, an Avarian military task force, and the Terran super galactic dreadnought--all crossed paths in the same sector of space (here's the roster of all the ships involved).  We gamed the ensuing battle using the Starfleet Wars rules.  
Gatherer Flight Green V, commanded from afar by dathbain and locally by longtime gamer and brand-new blogger Holdfast, entered from galactic south.  The group included 10 small transports, 4 medium transports, and two large transports (played by various Star Frontiers and Stardate: 3000 models), along with a quartet of stellar destroyer escorts (the one at lower left proxied by an unpainted starbomber because I couldn't find my fourth SD before game time).  The convoy's goal was to reach the other side of the map, and the safety of the friendly starfighters in the Vertex system, with as many transports as possible.
The super galactic dreadnought Chancellor, pride of the Terran armada, entered from the southeast at the bottom of the map.  Under the strategic command of fellow space gaming blogger Matgc and the local control of gamer and artist Jason Braun, this gigantic vessel carried 30 Meteor-class starfighters to help it in its mission to destroy Avarian shipping.
Appro parallel to the Terran capital ship, but near the northern edge of the map, were elements of the Avarian Homeworld Flight, including the Flight Leader, a galactic dreadnought, and the Cruiser Wing of six stellar cruisers.  Starfleet Wars aficionado Gonalvo directed this force from a distance, while fellow Hill Cantons campaigner Brad held tactical command.  

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Trees

I added some flocking to the bases of the trees I converted from Christmas decorations.  I think the vegetation really helps--and these look much better in person, from above the table, than they do in these photos.
 I will use these as terrain Song of Blades and Heroes and Hordes of the Things.

Friday, February 3, 2012

GNN breaking news

Galactic News Network has just received word of a battle near Vertex.  Details are sketchy, but Avarian United Worlds inform GNN that a Gatherer convoy carrying food, religious texts, and medical supplies was ambushed just outside the Vertex system by the Terran Federation Super Galactic Dreadnought Chancellor.  Details are sketchy, but AUW officials state ships of the Homeworld Flight shot down nine Terran fighters and inflicted moderate damage on the Chancellor before it fled.
GNN has learned that AUW forces have driven off the Terran starship at great loss.  Homeworld Fleet command confirms the losses of the Stellar Destroyer Stormcrow and the Stellar Cruiser Falcon Crest.  In addition, GNN has received unconfirmed reports that the Galactic Dreadnought Phoenix was destroyed in the battle.  More details as they become available.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


In case you're interested: Ed is working on a pirate game.  It includes chase, ship-to-ship combat, and boarding rules, and plays very quickly.  There are also campaign rules. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Space stations in Starfleet Wars

Book 2 of Starfleet Wars added rules for modular star fortresses to the game.  In addition to the Star Fortress (pictured above), each section with its own weapons and defenses, the Observer's Directory & Identification Manual listed space station classes (with stats) for each of the Five Powers:
  • Terran Federation: Morning Star (sometimes listed as Mace)
  • Entomalian Empire: Web
  • Avarian United Worlds: Egg
  • Aquarian Alliance: Wave
  • Carnivoran Republic: Rat
Superior Models released miniatures for the Mace/Morning Star and the Web space stations, as well as the various parts of the Star Fortress.  You can see additional pictures of them in this old Galactic Knights price list on the Monday Knight Productions website.  While I can't find the Mace or Web for sale anywhere on the MKP site, the components to the Star Fortress are still for sale as "Generic Space Station Parts."

However, I can't find any evidence (other than the ODIM) that space stations for the remaining powers ever existed.  Has anyone ever heard of any additional space station models for Starfleet Wars?  Or did the line get shut down before they could ever be produced?