Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Starships: 5150 fleet action

I turned over the bargain Directorate fleet (above) to my brother over the weekend.  Since I also had a Firestorm Armada starter fleet (Aquan Prime, below), I brought it along for a battle.  Of course, instead of using that ruleset, we used 5150: Star Navy.  The models went on the table unpainted, but please don't hold that against us.
Both boxes contained the same number of spacecraft: one battleship (Class 5), three cruisers (Class 4) and six frigates (Class 3).  We quickly adopted them to Star Navy, my brother taking the Zhuh-Zhuh and me going with a Free Company.
Since All Ships Must Have Names, I christened my mercenary force as the Rampage (battleship); Steadfast (heavy cruiser); Standard and Striker (light cruisers); Fearless, Fang and Fortress (frigates), and Defiant, Deadly and Dreadful (destroyers).
 My brother went with a simian theme: the King Kong (assault ship); Curious George and Clyde (interdictors); Jane Goodall (cutter); and the Koko, BJ Bear, Albert the 1st, Donkey Kong, Tarzan and Heston (missile boats).
Long story short, I blew up or chased off a couple of his ships, and he was unable to do much to me at first.  However, once he eventually got into missile range, the missile boats kept chipping away at my battleship until he took the last hull point.  But I let him win.  ;)
Oh, and it was pretty cool seeing a hardcopy of the game I helped write.  My brother even asked me to autograph his rulebook.  All in all, a fun battle.  Until next time then, may the Zhuh-Zhuh prevail!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Treasure of Dragons

Dragon magazine, that is (or The Dragon, as it was referred to back in the day).  Apparently, just about every print issue of this periodical is available online at the Internet Archive.  You can browse the issues on the website, and even download individual issues.  The collection also includes the Best Ofs and Dragon Annuals.  Polyhedron, the magazine of the Role Playing Gamers Association, is also there in digital form.  That's quite a trove!

Personally, I bought my last new issue of Dragon back in the '90s.  Lackluster articles and a lame letters section with fanboy debates on casting for an imaginary Dragonlance movie led me to believe that the magazine had jumped the shark.  Besides, I had been out of gaming for several years, and even though I would pick up the occasional find at a used bookstore, it would be years before I got into the OSR and back into gaming.

But I still look back fondly on those days of my youth, when seeing the issue in the magazine section at Waldenbooks at the local mall sent me thumbing through the pages and fumbling through my pockets for allowance money to buy the mag.  Now I can relive that thrill of discovery of some new gaming goodness.

(Hat tip: the d20 Dark Ages blog.)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Another mini for my wife

When I was at the game store on Saturday, in addition to the bargain spaceship set, I also picked up another miniature for my wife.  I'm trying to get her more interested in gaming, and one good way to do that is to purchase figures that will pique her interest.  She's a martial artist who likes to read books and watch movies about strong women kicking ass (her D&D character is named after the actress who plays the lead in Kill Bill), so I'm always on the lookout for minis that fall in that category.  In that vein, I found "Human Ranger Michelle" from the Bones line of plastics by Reaper, sculpted by Jeff Grace.  It was a bargain at $2.49, so I didn't hesitate to snatch it up. 
My spouse appreciated the fact that I was thinking of her while I was geeking out at the game store.  She also liked the design of the miniature--the combat stance, the weapons, and especially the fact that the woman is fully clothed.  It can be off-putting for some women gamers to see minis of females wearing chainmail bikinis.  And I'm not just talking about the ridiculousness of some of the stripperiffic designs out there.  There's a practical aspect to consider as well: While cheesecake is great to look at, it's very inconvenient for for fighting.  So my black-belt bride is happy with this miniature, and I'm excited to have another figure to paint. Now, if this will just entice my wife into gaming some more ...

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday Starships: Directorate fleet bargain

Dragon's Lair in San Antonio is having its annual clearance sale, and I was able to pick up this Directorate starter fleet for 50% off.  This faction is from the Firestorm Armada game, which I've never played.  I do have some Aquan Prime minis, though.  This box contains six frigates, three cruisers, and a battleship--all for the low, low price of $30!
While I'd like to keep this great deal for myself, I told my brother I'd pick it up for him, since he doesn't yet have any spaceship minis, and we're gonna be playing some 5150: Star Navy in the near future.  So I guess I'll be nice and share my toys.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

My battle board

Some wargames, like Hordes of the Things and Song of Blades and Heroes, don't require a whole table to play on, just a 3'x3' area.  So no need to drape the entire table with green felt or a gaming mat; instead you can just bring out your own battle board to delineate the gaming area.  This can be as simple as a square patch of carpet or as detailed as a wooden board, complete with attached terrain features.  Me?  I tend toward the less complex end of the spectrum.
My battle board was pretty simple to make.  I bought a 3'x4' display board from a crafts store.  They come in several colors: red, black, blue, yellow, green, and white.  I purchased a green one, then went over it with several shades of green paint, along with a smattering of yellow and tan.  I dabbed the colors on with a large brush, blending them across the surface.
The paint did cause the cardboard to warp, as you can see.  This can be remedied by painting the other side with water, so it bends back into its original shape, but I haven't bothered.  This works for me.  Even though it's a foot longer than needed for my games, the creases where it folds make it easy to limit the battle to a three-square foot area.  And the fact that it folds over makes it easier for transport.  Does anyone else use a cardboard surface like this, or do you prefer a more durable game board?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Thought for the day

Posting any form of the phrase, "Nuke it from orbit; it's the only way to be sure" in a thread on The Miniatures Page is the moral equivalent of yelling "Freebird!" at a musical performance.  Discuss.

Monday, February 11, 2013

So what's everybody working on?

I have a whole bunch of new Galactic Knights spaceship minis to base and prime.  I need to play out another 5150: Star Navy mission and blog about it.  I also want to work on the expansion for Star Navy.  I should start thinking about what to do for the next GuadaComaCon and figure out whether I'm going to any other game conventions this year (signs point to yes).  What's on your to-do list?

P.S.  For those of you with a significant other, don't forget this Thursday is Valentine's Day.  C'mon, at the very least, make sure you come home with a card and flowers.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday Starships: On patrol with Beta Squadron

Sunday I decided to take the role of the namesake faction in 5150: Star Navy.  I wanted to play some capital ships, so I chose a Beta Squadron from the Star Navy fleet list, a Class 5 battleship commanding the patrol and two Class 4 heavy cruisers.  The flagship I christened the Breaker, and the two escorts were the Berg and the Bolt.  I decided to play out a patrol mission, and I determined that the enemy for this campaign was the Hishen.  Getting out the campaign map, I generated PEFs that were way too close to the planet Madraz II, so I set out to investigate.
This first contact was a big one--five bogeys, including two Class 5 Capital Ships, a Class 4 Overseer and a Class 4 Slaver, and a Class 3 Monitor.  My Long Range Scan successes put me at an angle on an intercept course, but outside optimal gun range. 
Although it might have been prudent to break off the fight before those Capital Ships could open up on me, I wanted to teach the Hishen not to come snooping around Gaea Prime worlds.  The Breaker unleashed its guns on one of the Capital Ships, but it inflicted only superficial damage, and the Hishen craft remained in the fight. 
Then the Berg shot at the smaller Monitor.  The Star Navy vessel's barrage tore through the hull of the unlucky Hishen, destroying the vessel before it could respond.  The remaining Hishen craft ignored the destruction of their little brother, and replied with their own guns.
One Capital Ship hit the Gaea Prime battleship with half its guns, but the Star Navy's shields held.  The Slaver's guns couldn't breach any opponents' shields, and it had to wait to get into missile range.  The second Capital Ship missed the Breaker entirely, but the Hishen Overseer scored a hit against the cruiser Berg, knocking out one of its shields.  The Star Navy then decided to break off the fight.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Star Navy now out on video

Alexander Williams of the Operation BSU blog likes 5150: Star Navy enough to have formed a Google+ community devoted to his campaign. 
From Star Navy: Assault in the Heavens community.

Star Navy: Assault in the Heavens chronicles the travails of a Zhuh-Zhuh force in Hishen space.  Check out this post on playing out the Zhuh-Zhuhs' first mission.  To quote from the report:
Last night's descent into ape-fueled lunacy was what I would term "a success." If you weren't there for it, what you missed was +Eric Thompson taking a reconnaissance patrol of Zhuh-Zhuh ships directly into the jaws of the Hishen fleet, probing at the defenses of the planet Xon. 
The heavily reinforced with very annoyed, extremely well-armed Hishen planetary defense.
Alexander and Eric played out the game over the internet using an electronic tabletop.  He even recorded the on-screen action and posted a video of the gameplay.  It's two-and-a-half hours, but it covers most of the rules used in Star Navy.  Thanks, guys, for sharing your campaign.  I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

New Arrivals

Ah, times are good!  I passed 2d6 on the post-mission reinforcements table, and here's what I got to augment my fleets:
  • Up top, we have the Entomalian task force: a Mantis-class galactic dreadnought escorted by a Mandible-class stellar destroyer leader and a squadron of Wasp-class stellar destroyers.
  • In the middle, you can see the Carnivoran Tiger-class galactic dreadnought (right) and Tomcat-class galactic battlecruiser (left) accompanied by a Puma-class stellar destroyer leader and five Cheetah-class stellar destroyers.
  • Finally, at the bottom of the picture there's a Leviathan-class galactic dreadnought patrolling with a Tigershark-class stellar destroyer leader.
  • Not pictured are the 50 starfighters I also received: 30 Gnats for the Ents and 20 Bobcats for the Carnies.
These are all brand-new minis from the Galactic Knights line by Monday Knight Productions.  They were originally designed for the Starfleet Wars game, and MKP now offers its own rules for the ships, the eponymous Galactic Knights.  I plan on using these models for both of those games, as well as with the new set of rules I co-authored with Ed the THW Guy, the fleet starship combat game 5150: Star Navy.

Speaking of rules, I also picked up a few books to round out my collection: the Entomalian and Carnivoran expansions to Galactic Knights, as well as a reprint of the oringinal MAATAC* sci-fi ground combat game: 
Let me give some kudos to Monday Knight.  They were great about communicating with me regarding my purchase, and they were willing to work with me on the details of my order.  It did take some time to fill my order, but they post this notice on their website, so I knew it going in. All in all, some good customer service from MKP.

Now we wait to see how long it takes me to get all of these painted.  I'm not willing to put any money on when I'll finish, but y'all are welcome to wager amongst yourselves.  Let the betting begin!

*Multifunctional Armed and Armored Tactical Attack Computer

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Memories of OGRE

Interesting news on the OGRE front--not directly related to the game, but still noteworthy:  Daniel Jew, the recently hired editor for the OGRE/GEV line by Steve Jackson games, is now blogging about that game.  Go check out his first post, on how he first encountered OGRE.  The author then asks readers for their first experience with the giant tank game. 

I can't really remember how I came across the sci-fi microgame; I think I bought it from a game store in a Denver mall while on a church ski trip.  I had OGRE through high school, but never really played it that much.  About 8 years ago, I bought the minis version (Deluxe OGRE) from my local game store, and collected additional miniatures from ebay.  Now I'm looking forward to seeing the Designer's Edition, more for the maps than for the counters.  I want to play this game some more ...

Saturday, February 2, 2013

What size game?

Question for all you spaceship gamers: What sort of battles do you like to fight?  A one-on-one starship duel, like something out of The Original Series?  A massive clash of fleets like the battle over the forest moon?  Or something in between?

Me, I like 'em all, depending on the scenario.  My favorite, though, is to have multiple players commanding a medium-sized force, each with their own, sometimes conflicting objectives.  What about you?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Star Navy: Here's how we do it.

Image from 2 Hour Blog
Over on his blog, Ed the Two Hour Wargames Guy has posted a two-part series on how a game of 5150: Star Navy plays out:
Go on, check it out!

For further reference, check out these battle reports from yours truly:
And finally, a nice example of play from The Governor General of Sector Six:
Enjoy, and be sure to let me know if you come across any more Star Navy batreps!