Saturday, September 29, 2012

Another Civil War Saturday

I haven't played any minis in about a month, so when some of the San Antonio guys put together a game day in a classroom at a local university, I was up for it.  The guys were playing a Civil War game using a variant of the DBA rules.  Blake was playing the Yankees, and I helped Johnny command the Rebels.  Blake supplied the miniatures and the terrain.
The battle wasn't any historical scenario, just a chance to put some brigades out there and get a feel for the period.  It played pretty much like DBA or Hordes of the Things, but required the use of markers (combat could result in a unit being shaken or badly shaken, which had an effect on further combat involving that unit).  All in all, I prefer games where you don't need some kind of tokens to indicate unit status--one of the beauties of HotT is that all the information regarding combat outcomes is indicated by just moving the unit--but sometimes they're a necessary evil.
One other nitpick: an unfavorable result against artillery caused the gun battery to become shaken and to recoil, something that didn't seem right to me.  Whenever we play Johnny Reb, I recall artillery units dueling against each other, and when one got shot up the crew might abandon it, but the unit itself didn't back up.  Still, it was an enjoyable game, and I'm glad I got the chance to play.  Anyone else get to roll dice and move around minis this weekend?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Days of projects past

Ever get an idea for an army--and even start buying miniatures for it--and then abandon the project?  It's not just the usual buying something that looks cool and never getting around to painting it, but just giving up on the idea altogether.  That's what happened to me some time after picking up these beastmen from a vendor at a game convention last year. 

I have a couple of elements for Hordes of the Things (which I had previously won in some tournaments) that wouldn't look out of place in a chaos army.  So I had the idea of picking up some appropriate minis on the secondary market, along with converting some mythological-themed toys from a hobby store, and building a full-fledged Army of Chaos.

Since then, I've got distracted by other things, such as expanding my already-existing HotT armies to 48 AP.  So the chaos idea has fallen by the wayside.  Have you ever done something like that?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The future of gaming?

Image from Formlabs.
I saw this story on WIRED about a new 3-D printer that uses light instead of heat to create objects.  The Formlabs company's Form 1 is a high-resolution, low maintenance device that allows users to print three-dimensional objects like wargaming miniatures.  The company's doing a Kickstarter to get the device into production.

Coincidentally, on The Miniatures Page, there's a discussion about 3-D printers.  Putting aside the intellectual property issues, I see these home-office fabrication devices as a boon to miniature wargamers who happen to be early adopters.  While it will be easy to scan and copy existing sculpts, I know that gamers and artists will also use this type of device in new and imaginative ways--and since electronics get cheaper every year, I can see this gadget soon costing about the same as a laser printer.

Right now, there are a number of designers who sell wargaming figures on Shapeways.  Soon more of us will be creating our own at home.  How do you see 3-D printing affecting gaming?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

On the beach

From the first raft and reed boat, ambatche and catamaran, the waters have beckoned men to come and explore.
-- Dungeon Masters Guide, p. 53

Yeah, I got to hang out at the beach last week when I went to a conference for work.  Life's rough, I know.  So turning this photobrag into something game-related, anyone do games (roleplaying or minis) set mostly on or around the beach?  Or what about sea battles or adventures?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Walking Dead

I'm just now viewing the second season of the AMC cable series The Walking Dead, thanks to video on demand.  Gotta say, it's a great show, and I'm enjoying it.  I'm also noticing how it makes me want to play All Things Zombie, especially since that game is so true to the zombie apocalypse genre, as a recent playtest showed.  Or maybe, with the way the survivors are screwing each other over in season 2, the TV show is a good emulator of Ed's wargame.  Either way, I'm looking forward to watching more of The Walking Dead.

By the way, have you noticed how TWD never refers to the undead as "zombies"--the characters refer to them as "walkers" or "geeks."  It was the same way with the movie that launched the whole genre, Night of the Living Dead--that film refers to the shambling corpses as "ghouls."  Likewise, in the Will Smith version of I Am Legend, the in-movie newscasts reference "darkseekers."

So in your own games that utilize the undead overrunning the modern world, how do you refer to them?  Just zombies, or something else?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Furball flight stands

I got these Furball Flight Stands from Ed the Two Hour Wargames Guy before he moved away.  Although I already have my starfighters mounted on bases, I can use these for missiles.  I just need to prime them black, and they'll be good to go.
There's a space for a die to indicate the number of missiles remaining in a salvo, which will come in handy for some space combat games.  Which brings up this question: Do you use minis to track missile salvos in your games, or is it easier to just use counters?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday Starships: Stardate 3000 aliens WIP

Up next on my production schedule, some of the alien faction's starships from Valiant's Stardate: 3000 line of miniatures.  There's a battlecruiser, some destroyers, and some hyperspace submarines.  Not pictured are a battlecruiser and two escort cruisers, which are still in their packaging.  There's also one (human) Federation escort cruiser (pictured on the far right)--which will serve as a tug in my games, since it just looks like a tug to me.  I'll paint the Fed ship in my usual civilian livery, but I'm still trying to figure out what paint scheme I'm going to use for these aliens.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


This image is brought to you by GuadaComaCon.  Because my brother sent it to me and it looks cool.  It's from the first Clay-O-Rama game we played at the mini-con last month, and I thought I would share it with you.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Revised wandering monsters: one-page document

Formatted for your pleasure, in that old-school font, my revised wandering monster charts for levels one through nine for the Holmes basic Dungeons & Dragons set:
Hope these tables fire your imagination.  They're meant for the blue box game and The Holmes Companion, but should work for any version of D&D.  If you end up using them, please let me know how they worked for you.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Revised table for the tables

Finally, a chart to determine which of my revised wandering monster tables to consult.  When playing Dungeons & Dragons, you need a table to figure out which level of monster you encounter.  This, of course, depends somewhat on which level of the dungeon you're on at the time.  Extrapolating from the Holmes basic set (which only has charts for levels 1-3), here's what I came up with:

Dungeon        Consult Monster Level Table Number         
Level  1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9 
One   1-8   9-11   12    –     –     –     –     –     –
Two   1-4   5-9  10-11   12    –     –     –     –     –
Three  1    2-4   5-9  10-11   12    –     –     –     –
Four   1     2    3-4   5-9   10-11  12    –     –     –
Five   1     2     3     4    5-9   10-11  12    –     –
Six    –     1     2     3     4    5-9   10-11  12    –
Seven  –     –     1     2     3     4    5-9  10-11   12
Eight  –     –     –     1     2     3     4    5-9  10-12
Nine+  –     –     –     –     1     2     3    4-8   9-12

I realize this is hard to read; I will work on a formatted version in that Century Gothic font we all know and love.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Revised wandering monster tables: Levels 7-9

Here's the last of my revised charts, based on my expanded wandering monster tables for Holmes basic from last year.  My thanks to Zenopus Archives, whose comment sparked this revision and whose blog is a treasure trove for enthusiasts of the old blue box basic Dungeons & Dragons set. 

So here are the wandering monster charts for the deepest dungeon levels.  Note these include some new monsters for Holmes basic:

Seven Levels Below Ground         Die 
Champions*/Pilferers* (2-5/1-6)    1
Enchanters*/Lamas* (1-3/2-5)       2
Brass Dragon (1)                   3
Hill Giants (1-3)                  4
Black Dragon (1)                   5
Griffons (1-4)                     6
Anti-Paladin** (1)                 7
Trolls (2-12)                      8
Rangers**/Paladins** (2-8/1-6)     9
Black Pudding (1)                 10
White Dragons (1-2)               11
Hydrae (1-2)                      12

Eight Levels Below Ground         Die 
Vampire (1)                        1
Hill Giants (2-7)                  2
Black Pudding (1)                  3
Black Dragons (1-2)                4
Chimera (1)                        5
Djinni (1)                         6
Stone Giants (1-4)                 7
Super Heroes*/Rogues* (2-5/1-6)    8
Warlocks*/Patriarchs* (1-3/2-5)    9
Red Dragon (1)                    10
Purple Worm (1)                   11
Brass Dragons (1-2)               12

Nine or more Levels Below Ground  Die
Chimerae (1-2)                     1
Storm Giant (1)                    2
Vampires (1-3)                     3
Frost Giants (1-4)                 4
Red Dragons (1-2)                  5
Fire Giants (1-3)                  6
Cloud Giants (1-2)                 7
Purple Worm (1-3)                  8
Evil Wizard*** (1)                 9
Evil Lord*** (1)                  10
Evil High Patriarch*** (1)        11
Master Thief*** (1)               12 

*Character class: see the rulebook and The Holmes Companion for details.  Assume standard weapons and armor.  Check for magic items as for high-level types under the Bandit entry in the Monster List in the rulebook.  Characters of level four and higher will sometimes (50%) employ 2-12 first- or second-level monsters as guards (choose or roll randomly).
**New monster: see Super Galactic Dreadnought blog for details.

***Character class: see The Holmes Companion for details.  These denizens will always possess consummate magic items and have appropriate underlings accompanying them: e.g. a Lord will direct his guard of lower-level fighting men and perhaps trained war dogs or an owlbear; a Wizard will have an apprentice or two and a summoned/captured creature such as an elemental or a djinn; an EHP will command hordes of undead or possibly a demon, while a Master Thief will call upon fellow guildmembers or even poison-wielding assassins. 

We also need a new chart to tell you which level to roll on for the wandering monsters (the last one had a typo).  Look for that next.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Revised wandering monster tables: Levels 4-6

The revision of my expanded wandering monster tables for Holmes basic Dungeons & Dragons continues, at the behest of Zenopus Archives and as a nod to the early versions of the wandering monster tables, which included character classes among the lists of possible roaming creatures. 

In that spirit, then, here are the wandering monster charts for the middle three dungeon levels, which also employ some of the new monsters I statted up for the blue box edition:

Four Levels Below Ground          Die 
Assassins**/Samurai** (1-4/2-5)    1
Blink Dogs (2-7)                   2
Doppelgangers (1-3)                3
Gargoyles (1-4)                    4
Gelatinous Cubes (1-2)             5
Medusae (1-2)                      6
Heroes*/Burglars* (2-5/1-6)        7
Theurgists*/Vicars* (1-3/2-5)      8
Wraiths (1-3)                      9
Giant Spiders (1-4)               10
Ogres (2-7)                       11
Wereboars/Werewolves (2-5/1-3)    12

Five Levels Below Ground          Die
Hell Hounds (2-7)                  1
Cockatrice (1-4)                   2
Druids** (1-3)                     3
Monks** (2-8)                      4
Ochre Jelly (1-4)                  5
Owl Bears (1-6)                    6
Rust Monsters (1-4)                7
Weretigers (1-4)                   8
Mummies (1-3)                      9
Thaumaturgists*/Curates*(1-3/2-5) 10
Minotaurs (1-4)                   12

Six Levels Below Ground           Die
White Dragons (1)                  1
Displacer Beasts (2-5)             2
Myrmidons*/Sharpers* (2-5/1-6)     3
Spectres (1-3)                     4
Werebears (1-4)                    5
Basilisks (1-3)                    6
Manticores (1-4)                   7
Trolls (1-6)                       8
Rangers**/Paladins** (2-5/1-4)     9
Magicians*/Bishops* (1-3/2-5)     10
Hell Hounds (2-12)                11
Hydra (1)                         12

*Character class: see the rulebook and The Holmes Companion for details.  Assume standard weapons and armor.  Check for magic items as for high-level types under the Bandit entry in the Monster List in the rulebook.  Characters of level four and higher will sometimes (50%) employ 2-12 first- or second-level monsters as guards (choose or roll randomly).
**New monster: see Super Galactic Dreadnought blog for details.

Don't worry; I redid the charts for the deeper levels as well.  Up next: Levels 7-9+.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Revised wandering monster tables: Levels 1-3

When I first posted my expanded wandering monster tables for Holmes basic Dungeons & Dragons last September, Zenopus Archives noted he'd "like to see more human NPCs on the lower levels. This was a feature of early D&D Wandering Monster tables, including the two different tables in the Holmes 1st print and 2nd print (removed in later prints)." 

I replied at the time that I might revise the tables to include some of those characters, and hey--it only took me a year to do it!  So here are wandering monster charts for the first three dungeon levels:

One Level Below Ground            Die 
Gt. Centipedes/Gt. Rats (2-8/2-12) 1
Veterans*/Apprentices* (2-5/1-6)
Kobolds (3-12)                 
Skeletons (1-6)                
Elves/Dwarves (1-4/2-5)        
Goblins (2-8)                  
Bandits (2-5)                  
Mediums*/Acolytes* (1-3/2-5)   
Hobgoblins (1-4)               
Gnomes/Pixies (1-6/1-4)       
Stirges (2-5)                 
Orcs (2-5)                    

Two Levels Below Ground           Die 
Large Spiders (1-2)                1
Fire Beetles (1-4)             
Warriors*/Footpads* (2-5/1-6)  
Giant Ants (2-8)               
Ghouls (1-4)                   
Gnolls (1-6)                   
Orcs (2-12)                    
Troglodytes (1-4)              
Seers*/Adepts* (1-3/2-5)       
Zombies (2-5)                 
Lizard Men (2-8)              
Berserkers (2-7)              

Three Levels Below Ground         Die
Shadows/Wights (2-5/1-3)           1
Giant Ticks (2-5)              
Gray Ooze (1)                  
Harpies (1-3)                  
Witches** (1-3/1-3) 5
Shriekers (2-8)                
Wererats (1-4)                 
Huge Spiders (2-5)             
Swordsmen*/Robbers* (2-5/1-6)  
Conjurers*/Priests* (1-3/2-5) 
Bugbears (2-8)                
Carrion Crawlers (1-3)        

*Character class: see the rulebook and The Holmes Companion for details.  Assume standard weapons and armor.  Check for magic items as for high-level types under the Bandit entry in the Monster List in the rulebook.  Characters of level four and higher will sometimes (50%) employ 2-12 first- or second-level monsters as guards (choose or roll randomly).
**New monster: see Super Galactic Dreadnought blog for details.

Don't worry; I redid the charts for the deeper levels as well.  Up next: Levels 4-6.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Starships: hyperspace subs

I wrapped up the rest of last week's painting project: two pair of hyperspace submarines from Valiant's Stardate: 3000 line of miniatures.
These Scorpius-class vessels have a streamlined look with a lot of visible engine work.  I painted them the same colors as my Slannish Treasure Fleet, to serve as escorts for those transports.
The Pegasus-class ships seem to go better with my other Stardate: 3000 spaceships. They can serve as smaller cargo ships or even escorts.
If those Pegasus models look familiar and you're wondering where you might have seen them, here's a hint:

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Worth a read

While perusing the Dragonsfoot thread bitching about blogs that I linked to recently, I came across a link to the Grumpy Grognard blog (motto: "If I only had magic to dispel bullshit").  One DF poster speculated GG might have prompted the original post that asked if blogs are destroying our hobby. I don't know about that, but the Grumpy Grog has some entertaining commentary.  GG comments on the OSR portion of the hobby, categorizing issues as good, bad, and ugly.  He praises some of the noteworthy people and products, while calling bullshit on the douchebags when he needs to.  Go check it out.

Should I run Star Navy at Millcon?

At first, I hadn't planned on making Millenniumcon this year--I didn't feel like driving up to Round Rock for the game convention and then the other way to San Antonio for the marathon all in the same weekend.  However, an email appeal for people to run games at Millcon has me considering it.  So I'm asking y'all: Should I put together a game of 5150: Star Navy to run at the convention?  Is there enough interest to fill a spaceship game at Millenniumcon?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Two more rocks

Here are a couple more asteroids, made from lava rocks I found in the back yard (interestingly, I don't actually have any garden or flower bed that contains lava rocks, so I have no idea where these originally came from).
I drybrushed these in the usual way: gray and then a little burnt umber.  In the background are the Stardate: 3000 spaceships I need to get painted.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


"The appearance of a rainbow is a definite statement from a deity.  Its appearance means either that the deity wants to converse with a mortal, or that the deity wants the mortal to undertake a quest.  In Norse legend, men and women of power could travel to Asgard merely by touching a rainbow (part of the bridge Bifrost) and wishing to be there."

-- Deities & Demigods, p. 10.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Not yet, but we're working on it

"Are bloggers destroying our hobby?" asks a member of Dragonsfoot.  A couple of gems from that thread:

The first:
Bloggers are really only narcissists that cannot get enough response to a post on a forum.
The second:
I can see only two reasons why someone would write a blog instead of posting to a messageboard. Neither are flattering.

1) They've started a blog to make money. ...

2) They've started a blog because they want to lead the discussion in their chosen direction ...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Pocket version of OGRE returns

Image via SJ Games
As one of the bonuses for its super-successful Kickstarter project, Steve Jackson Games is bringing back the micro-sized version of OGRE.  That's right, no minis, no 3-D cardboard counters, just the original version of the game, with the little half-inch black & white counters on an 8.5" X 11" paper map. 

This version will be a lot more portable than the 14-pound Designer's Edition.  Maybe if this edition sells well, they'll produce a pocket-sized version of the sequel GEV as well.

Not only are the components retro, but so's the price: $2.95, just like when OGRE first came out.  Who's planning on picking up the OGRE pocket edition when it comes out in 2013?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunday Starships: completed Terran escorts

Since some friends canceled their plans with us on Saturday, I had a productive day of painting, as you can see.  I painted six Mars-class starbombers and four Swiftsure-class stellar destroyers, all from the Terran faction in Starfleet Wars/Galactic Knights.

Since my Terran White Fleet is understrength when compared to my Red Fleet, I painted most of these guys to augment the smaller force.
I also have plenty of these vessels painted in an assortment of different paint schemes, so I wanted to give the Red Fleet some starbombers in their own livery.  Therefore, I painted the rest of the Mars craft in the standard Terran crimson.
 With all these ships finished, I'm gonna have to update my group photos of the Terrans.  I guess that goes to show, your minis collection is never actually complete; you just get caught up every now and then.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Painting goals for the weekend

Here are all the things I want to get painted this weekend: a quartet of Terran Swiftsure-class stellar destroyers (from the Starfleet Wars/Galactic Knights line of spaceships); a half-dozen Mars-class starbombers (also for SfW/GK); a pair of Federation Scorpius-class hyperspace submarines (part of the Stardate: 3000 line); two Fed Pegasus-class h-subs (ditto); and a couple of homemade asteroids (from some rocks I found while mowing the yard).
I don't know if I will be able to complete all these in the next couple of days, but it will give me something to do while I'm watching football.  Anyone else painting over the weekend?  To paraphrase that credit card commercial: What's on your workbench?

Friday, September 7, 2012

This week's gaming score--

--but not from Half-Price.  Instead, Ed the Two Hour Wargames Guy was downsizing his collection before the moving van arrives.  He was gracious enough to offer a few rulebooks to me before taking the lot to sell at HPB.

I went home with Song of the Splintered Lands, a campaign sourcebook for Song of Blades and Heroes. This book should provide me with plenty of scenario ideas, and maybe even get me to run a SoBaH campaign.  I also snagged an actual print (as opposed to PDF) version of the second edition of Full Thrust from the early '90s.  Even though I have an electronic copy, and it's been superseded by all the sourcebooks, it's a cool artifact of miniature spaceship gaming.  Finally, I picked up the rulebook for Noble Armada, a spaceship combat game set in the Fading Suns universe (which I don't know anything about).  I've just skimmed the rules, and it has a vector system and what looks like pretty detailed damage and weapons.  Unfortunately, this was part of a boxed set, and I don't know what the ship record sheets are supposed to look like, but I like reading different rulesets.

Thanks, Ed, for letting me have these rulebooks.  They should entertain me, but not as much as our weekly game nights.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Playtesting All Things Zombie-Final Fade Out

This week was my last game with Ed the Two Hour Wargames Guy, who's moving out west.  We playtested his revised zed game, All Things Zombie-Final Fade Out
We picked up where Ed had left off, with the adventures of Jim Bob Joe, a Rep 4 Grunt.  A random event came up: cell phone ringing nearby, so Jim Bob went to answer it (no one was on the other end).  He then went into a nearby building to search for loot.
He found food, but because he got distracted eating Snickers, he forgot to lock the door, and a couple of undead followed him into the building.
Melee against zombies is pretty easy if you have a friend with you, but with a solo character there's no room for error--one bad roll with no backup and you're history.  Jim Bob made some poor rolls and ended up getting chomped on by the pair of zeds.
I quickly rolled for another grunt, a Rep 4 ganger.  Unfortunately, she ended up in a room in hand-to-hand combat with four or five zombies.
It was easy to roll for another character, this time a Rep 5 ganger grunt.  He found a Rep 3 survivor in another building, and they scored some good loot before making it off the board.
 It was a fun test drive of the new ATZ rules; you can tell a great story using the dice and the FFO rules.
It was great getting one last chance to game with Ed.  I'm lucky I got to know him over the past year or so, and I'm sorry to see him move.  Still, we'll keep in touch via the internet, and I wish him and his wife the best in their journey to their new home.

EDIT: Here's Ed's after-action report of this game.