Wednesday, June 26, 2019

New game of Escape

We played some Escape the Dark Castle recently. This game has become a great substitute when our miniature wargaming plans fall through. While the game's old-school medieval fantasy theme is fantastic, I'm excited that the publishers have launched a Kickstarter for a new, sci-fi game called Escape the Dark Sector. Go check out the KS campaign, but don't wait too long--the Kickstarter closes on July 1.
The new game looks great, with new characters, items, and combat tactics. It's still the same black-and-white line art, but In Space! And if you missed out on the original game, it's available through this Kickstarter as well. Anyone else planning to get Escape the Dark Sector?

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Fifth Frontier War concludes

At the beginning of the month, Joe and I finished playing the old Traveller universe wargame Fifth Frontier War. Picking up where we left off last time, turn 20 saw more Zhodani Consulate reinforcements begin to make their way toward the front: The 2nd and 3rd Assault Fleets and the 14th Colonial Fleet. Meanwhile, the Zho 1st Assault Fleet destroyed the last of Extalay's system defense boats and planetary militia and landed the psionic 2nd Guard regiment to defeat the Imperial colonial corps and capture the planet. However, despite heavy Zhodani bombardment from multiple fleets, the Imperial subsector capital of Regina held fast, and the Consulate ships moved on to other missions.
As the war progressed, the ZC captured Roup and held off Imperial fleets trying to retake Jewell (subsector capital) and Ruby. And in the Sword Worlds territory, at Joyuse, the Swords' low-tech 1st Infantry Corps and 7th Armored battled the Imperium's high-tech 823rd Armored Cavalry Regiment and several brigades of low-tech infantry levies--with neither side able to drive off the other.
Just across the border in Imperial space, the 18th Imperial Fleet tried to recapture Vilis from a Zhodani army supported by guerrilla units. At the two Sword Worlds fleets, Gram and Joyuse, accompanied by the ZC 35th Fleet, defeated the 18th Imperial Fleet, which lost its admiral in the battle. That success was short-lived, as the Imperial Corridor Fleet then eliminated the Zho 35th, including three battleship squadrons and an admiral, but the Imps could not retake the world. However, they did manage to keep the Zhodani from capturing the neighboring system of Garda-Vilis.
Battles continued as Zhodani fleets crept further and further into Imperial space:  Rech, Uakye, Frenzie, Pandrin, Ruie, Lyse, Inthe, Denotam, Enope, Arkadia. The naval squadrons were aided in their efforts by the elite Fulacin Battalion, which established a secret base to capture Kinorb, all the way in the Ryhlanor Sector (not to be confused with the system of Kinorb in the Regina subsector).
By this time, the Zhodani reinforcements were well on their way to reaching Imperial space, and the Sword Worlds and Vargr fleets were still active (although the Imperium had captured all the Vargr systems). We decided to call the game at this point and tallied up the score. My Zhodani forces had captured thirteen worlds, including a subsector capital (Jewell). Joe's Imperials had taken all four Vargr planets, along with one Sword World system (Gugnir) and one planet of the Zhodani Consulate (Farreach). Calculating the victory points based on tech levels of captured worlds, plus certain bonuses, the Zhodani eked out a marginal victory. However, I think the tide would have turned soon enough, once more Imperial reinforcements made their way to the front.
It was a good time, evocative of the space opera I devoured as a youth. However, with eyesight not as sharp as back in the day, the map was a little hard to read, and the stacks of counters sometimes difficult to handle. So Joe and I discussed making the map a little bigger, so we can fit more counters into a single hex, and so that all the information about each system is contained within the hex, instead of in the boxes on the map's edges. So yes, I want to take the lessons I learned here and play again (but maybe try out Invasion: Earth first!).

Monday, June 17, 2019

Some scatter terrain

Some scatter terrain for Frostgrave and other skirmish games. I like these pieces because they are easy for me to paint. We have an altar, suitable for all your evil rituals.
A bookcase, suitable as set decoration or as a scenario objective. I liked using various colors on the volumes filling these shelves.
A statue of Cthulu. Inspired by a couple of mentions on Chris Palmer's All Bones About It, I sought out some color-shifting paint to cover this abomination.
I used color-shifting red and color-shifting blue over a black base and gray drybrush. It may not be as evident in the photographs, but I think this type of paint looks really good on this figure.
Finally, I attempted a greenish marble look for this sarcophagus. It came out very dark, so I drybrushed some lighter green and a linen shade as well.
The lid is removable for your scenario (and looting) convenience.
I hope to get some of this on the table this week, as our group returns to Frostgrave. Anyone else still playing that game?

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Another HPB gaming find

The Heroscape line of boxed sets and expansions may have been discontinued, but the ideas from that game live on in Arena of the Planeswalkers: Shadows over Innistrad. Set in the world of the Magic: The Gathering collectible card game, Arena uses the concepts of heroes and squads, and even the interlocking hex tiles that HS is known for.
So when I saw the set discounted for their Memorial Day weeknd sale (on top of the usual markoff) at a local Half-Price Books, it was a no-brainer to grab this box. While the tiles are useful and the unpainted figures have potential, my main reason for grabbing this was the painted minis that came with it, which will make a nice addition to my collection for use as spell casters in games such as Melee and Wizard (a.k.a. The Fantasy Trip).
Arena of the Planeswalkers also comes with a two-sided, four-piece cardboard map, with hexes compatible with the 3-D Heroscape terrain that I can probably use for The Fantasy Trip battles. (And these hex mats could even be used for sci-fi tank combat in games of Ogre.)
A pretty good payoff for a $12 investment, even if I never actually play Arena.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Burrows and Badgers and battles

Back in May, my Burrows & Badgers warband had its best outing of the campaign. The scenario was Witch Hunt, and a combination of luck and profligate use of Fate Points made my creatures into killing machines.
I knocked six of eight opposing figures out of action in that battle, winning the fight and achieving my secondary objective, which was to take out at least four enemies. It was the first time I won a game by routing my opponent.
It was also the last. The next game was Defend the Camp, with me as the defender. By this point in the campaign, everyone's critters have all sorts of equipment and special abilities to make them deadlier. My leader hit my opponent's leader with a masterwork pistol, and various skills added up to 17 points damage, taking the commander out of action.
The other player's critters had all sorts of perks as well, meaning he one-shotted my guys a couple of times. Unfortunately, I only managed to eliminate one other figure of his, while he took out six of my creatures to win the game--a complete reversal from last week. Still enjoyable, though.
But that was the last B&B game we will be playing for some time, as we're going back to the game that got all of us together, Frostgrave sometime soon. I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Presenting ... the frankencar

Up until now, I've been pretty conservative with my Gaslands builds: A new paint job, maybe some figures or weapons, but nothing crazy. So, inspired by Mad Max: Fury Road and the kitbashes I've seen on the internet, I decided to cobble together my own automotive chimera. 
Thus, the frankencar, an amalgam of three or four off-brand toys found at the dollar store, all chopped up and smooshed together, like a wasteland mechanic might do. In particular, there's a large muscle car on the bottom, with its intake transferred to the hood of the sedan in the middle (from a pack of three), the cab of an ambulance atop the rig, with the motor from another hot rod in the rear.
It looks a little off to me. Maybe if I detail this vehicle a little more--especially the wheels, which look waaaaaay too new for a post-apocalyptic construct--I will be happier with it. Much like the war rig in Fury Road, I imagine this machine is basically a shell around some powerful engines, meant to haul heavy loads. I guess this means I need to kitbash a trailer next.
Or maybe I could use it as a standalone heavy truck. It's a lot messier than my extant Gaslands vehicles, but it will fit right in with some more units that I'm working on, aiming for a more Mad Max vibe. We'll see.
I don't know if I'm content with the way this came out--I'll have to weather it some more to unify the different vehicle shells before I can decide--but I am glad I attempted it. After seeing the wonderful creations on message boards, websites, and Youtube videos, it's nice to build one of my own, no matter how weird it looks.