Sunday, 19 July 2009

Black Reach

Saturday saw me lug all the 40K stuff over to a friend's house in order to run an introductory game.

Battle of the Dining Table

As you can see, a fairly typical kind of game-at-home with a too small table and a lot of unpainted stuff. I supplied the Space Marines for S. to use, his son the not-only-really-a-nephew-nephew hung around and rolled the odd dice while T., the nephew's cousin commanded his own Orks.

The game went on for about 8 turns, more than usual but I think the dense terrain slowed things up. I GM'd as nobody present had played before. Marines won a convincing victory mainly because of T. assaulting Terminators with 20 Boyz (not one of his best ideas) and leaving his Nobz for several turns away from the main battle before assaulting with them when it was probably too late. Dice rolls were a bit marginal as well, with 2+ Saves on Terminators, S. rolled a lot of low 2s and 3s to scrape it and T. didn't manage armour penetration with his 'copters against the Marine Dreadnought despite several opportunities where he needed a 4+.

Assaulting seems deadly with the assaulting side getting to double it's A score - so that A2 troops end up rolling 4d6 each.

All seemed quite enthusiastic about it and we are planning another Saturday game in a fortnights time.

Crimson Fists advance through alien flora

Monday, 13 July 2009

Games, Games, Games

Political Assassination On The Battlefield

Friday saw a small, fictional action of the Iran-Iraq war fought out at Stourbridge. The rules were Cold War Commander, the scale was 6mm, the toys were from the microarmour collection of James W (who acted as a Gamesmaster) and yours truly faced up against the might of Alex and an Iranian command.

Something really weird happened in the game due to the Warmaster-inspired command rules. I moved up a column of Iraqi T-72s (of about battalion strength) and spotted Iranian BRDMs on a woodline. So I declared my intention to open fire upon them and rolled the obligatory 2d6 for a command test, attempting a 8 or less. Double six. Command mishap.

Consulting the mishap table, I ended up with blue-on-blue fire on the armoured battalion's command. D6 hits. 6. Bugger. Not too bad though as dispersed targets like command take hits on 6. Oh no they don't. The mishap table specifically states 4+ for this mishap. 5 hits. Saves only on 6 on d6. Battalion command only has 4 hits. Buggerfucktwat.

So in the game world, T-72s advanced past the edge of a wood where their battalion commander was sited, received the order to engage enemy troop carriers, immediately ignored the enemy and opened fire upon their own Colonel who, to add insult to injury, was nowhere near the intended firing zone being located behind and to the left of his men and killed him first volley.

Then the C-in-C took direct control of the decapitated T-72 battalion and they obeyed his order to bombard the distant enemy with no problems. In fact Iraqi command held up well for the rest of the game (good dice) with plenty of double ones which grant a "free" command action.

We justified this as a pre-planned political murder of an politically undesirable commanding officer. No doubt Uday Hussein fed the rest of his family into the wood-chipper after hostilities ceased. Fun game, look forwards to playing modern microarmour with these rules again in the future.

MOAR DAKKA!!!1 (at last...)

Saturday should see the introduction of the not-really-a-nephew-nephew and his cousin to 40K at my friend's house. His cousin has the Black Reach set and is building an Ork army so I will provide the Marines which are about 95% painted. I might put the Great War stuff on hold for this week in order to try and finish off the three-and-a-half Terminators that I still have to do. I think we will be playing on a small dining room table so will take along the vac-formed GW "Moonscape" crater set along with some irregular off-cuts of green material for woods (comprised of lichen) for a cheap and easy to put together battlefield of an arboreal planet struck by orbital bombardment. If I can crowd the table with terrain it should help compensate for the small footprint.

Back To The Netherpit

A week next Friday we have The Netherpit session 2. Specially requested by von Mike no less. Once 40k Saturday is out of the way I'll have to come up with a couple more One Page Dungeons, certainly a Level 2 underneath the Catacombs of the Green Meteorite at the least.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Great War, Very Tiny continued...

There's nothing better than getting home on a Friday evening and discovering that all three mail-order packages that you have been waiting for are lying on the doormat. Well there are better things, but on Friday I couldn't think of any. So I got a chance to make a start on the Irregular Miniatures 2mm Great War armies.

This is an early start with a couple of experimental pieces, trying out the best way of painting the infantry strips starting with the British/Empire/Dominions troops. Bases are 1" x 1.25" (25mm x 32mm). I painted the infantry matt black, then drybrushed with Revell Light Olive, added a few oversized dots of flesh to hint at faces (something I learnt while painting my Thirty Years Wars armies - makes a huge difference to the animation of the castings) and painted the bases of the castings with Revell Khaki Brown (not as green as it appears here). As it happens the Revell Khaki Brown that I have plenty of turned to be exactly the same colour as the Vallejo "English Uniform" that I ordered specially for this project! And I've lots of the Revell paint in the stocks.

Bases are critical when painting 2mm. Essentially you have a paradigm shift (I apologise unreservedly for use of that grotesque phrase but it's the only one that fits) and you move away from painting figures with a scenic base added afterwards to painting "footprint" areas of the battlefield with figures located within it. It's essential to get the groundwork right to convey a correct impression of scale.

I've settled for using the Khaki Brown paint being dipped into brown flock when wet - this produces an uneven coverage which is textured but not so coarse as to overwhelm the figures and destroy the illusion of scale. Further detailing can be added with grey paint under the flock to hint at water-logged ground and also trench-lines painted on top of the flock with matt black paint. Once everything is spray-varnished matt I may go back and gloss varnish the water-logged ground.

Two tiny Mark IV tanks at a nominal 1:900 scale. Very fast to paint, black undercoat, drybrushed light olive and then a steady hand to mark in the red-white-red markings that British tanks carried up front in the later part of the war. Base is 40mm x 20mm and hopefully the grey circles look like the flooded shell craters that they are supposed to be. Mark VIs worked in pairs (so-called Males armed with 6 pounder guns hit hard targets and fortifications while paired up with a so-called Female armed only with MGs which protected the Male from enemy infantry). So the paired basing convention fits in with real life quite well.

Infantry base. For Bloody Picnic this represents a company (4 companies to a battalion), for Canuck Commander's WW1 lists for Blitzkrieg Commander this represents a platoon (3 platoons to a company).

All that I have painted so far. Plenty more to go.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Great War, Very Tiny

I did something this evening that took me back a few years - I wrote out a cheque, put it in an envelope with an filled in order form (hand-written) and walked down to the end of the street and posted it to Irregular Miniatures.

Remember doing that? Irregular don't seem to be in the 21st century yet, never mind the fag-end of the last one! Anyway I did something that I've been meaning to do for ages (and probably would have done ages ago had they had online basket ordering) and picked up two 2mm armies - WW1 British and German.

Hopefully then, once painted, I too can join alongside this chirpy Highlander and defend Bag End from the Hun. Honestly, while my native Black Country does have some nice rural enclaves, I'm not sure the foundry workers of West Bromwich looked at this poster and felt "Yes, that's the homeland I hold dear!".

On the subject of The Great War (I know I used the term WW1 above but I strongly dislike the phrase - the terms WW1 and WW2 sound like Hollywood sequels and this has always struck me as somewhat disrespectful) the Commonwealth War Graves Commission contacted my Mother last week asking if she would donate a DNA sample to help with identifying remains found in the recently-discovered mass graves from the Battle Of Fromelles.

We had no idea of a relative killed there but it looks like they have found her Great-Uncle, a man we knew nothing of, and traced her via parish records or similar.

Interestingly my parents have been busy over the last couple of years tracing the war record of my Mother's Grandfather so this has potentially added another name to research.

Dear God No!

WFRP 3? Sounds good...,guid,24ed7843-8f78-48b7-a2cc-507afc907eab.aspx

Action Cards, Hybrid Boardgame/RPG? Sounds like 4e. Oh no...

The relevant section of that blog ends with a quote that not only gets right up my nose, but settles down and makes a home amidst the nasal hairs and particles of pollen

"...and there’s a clear desire to make it fit properly with the Warhammer World, where a lot of the previous edition’s books, with the best will in the world, just didn’t."

Bollocks. Pure and utter bollocks. WFRP had the WFRP World designed for Grim and Perilous adventure. Warhammer Fantasy Battle had the Warhammer Fantasy Battle World designed for mass battle. Blood Bowl had the Blood Bowl World designed for zany American Football stuff. They may share the names and the geography but they are different settings.

So WFRP3 will be another horrid little combat simulation boardgame and it will be set in a world designed and contrived for figure wargames en masse, not roleplaying.

What the fuck is happening to the RPG World? With this and 4e are we going to need another niche in the Old School Renaissance, for roleplaying as it used to be, but slightly after all that sandbox stuff and before it went all skirmish wargaming/CCG/MMRPG hybrid? Middle School Renaissance?

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Upcoming Games and Projects

1 - I have a game of Cold War Commander scheduled against James W. on Friday, depending upon what armies he brings along it will ever be Iran-Iraq war or Angolan war, both in 6mm.

Modern warfare was a period that I used to have zero interest in after a few ill-advised encounters with the monstrosities that were 1970s-era "ultramodern" rulesets but after being eased into Future War Commander I can see that I'd be happy playing a game with modern armour and technology using the same rules. I'm looking forwards to this.

2 - I finally bit the bullet and spent £35 on a Citadel Figure Case having given up on trying to fabricate a home-made solution to the problems of carting around individually based 28mm figures (to whit - the 40K Crimson Fists Space Fascists). One of the rare instances where the GW price is actually pretty much the going price everywhere else.

3 - There was a game of Pirates of the Spanish Main being played at Stourbridge last night when I got there, I'd forgotten what a good little game that was. I have several fishing tackle boxes full of the stuff and am tempted to get that out of storage and play it again. The game has been discontinued now but some of the Stourbridge lads are having success finding it in various remaindered bookstores and poundshops.

4 - I paid a flying visit to the other wargames club that meets locally. They are 90% a GW club so pretty much outside of my gaming sphere but I did get into a conversation with some chaps playing Blitzkrieg Commander. What interested me about their game was that instead of using micro-scale figures (6mm, 10mm etc.) based on element bases they were using regular 20mm figures all individually based. To represent a unit they simply clumped 5 figures together. This got me thinking about the practicalities of using my 40k stuff to play FWC and try and get a game together that looks a bit like 40K apocalypse but without the crappy 40k rules by doing roughly the same stuff - clumping 3 Space Marines together (probably on a 3" square base) and calling it a platoon. This might work well. Keeping this idea in the back of my mind for now.