Monday 28 February 2011

Terminator/Necron army for 5150

With ArabianSquire starting to paint his own Space Marines and his eyes lighting up when he saw a 40k battle (with all the minis painted for once) I thought I'd better prepare for a game using his new figures. Now I don't play 40k and have no interest at the moment in doing so. I do, however, have Two Hour Wargames 5150, and as we've played and enjoyed playing the last couple of Chain Reaction games (the reaction game system 5150 is based upon) this makes it an easy choice. An added bonus is that the wee lad will get his squad of 5 marines into action alot quicker with a skirmish ruleset, and fan made 40k stats are available on THW's yahoo group.

Now I've fancied fielding some sort of "Terminator" style force for ages (who hasn't since seeing those scenes in the original film!) and have had a few Necron sprue sitting in a box for a year or three waiting for the day of activation to come. A nice quick easy paintjob as well for a quick turnaround. Which is just as well as I hadn't banked on them being so painfully slow and fiddly to put together!

More for my own future reference then anything, the paint scheme was base coat black, GW Boltgun metal, wash in GW deblan mud, drybrush Miniature Paints Chainmail. Shoulders painted GW Terracotta and quickly wiped with a finger (for a worn look) and eyes in Mini Paints Plum Red. Same for the Scarabs.

Now away from the main troop force we may want a bit of heavy support. I've had an issue with the Necron figures. The not-terminators are nice, nearly all the other pieces are horrible! A piece called a Destroyer should make me envisage an intimidating spectical with awesome firepower. The Necron one somehow always makes me think of a hover version of Family Guy's Joe with a gun! Similarly the Tomb Spyder is a bit of an anticlimax. Fortunately the beauty of playing an open game like 5150 is that you can use any figures you have/want. So I've dipped into the Star Wars miniatures catalogue to provide some pieces to my liking!

Heavy Destroyer
Tomb Spyder
Mobile Artillery
Support Mother Ship?
(a Final Fantasy VII Shera model)

Wednesday 23 February 2011

First D'n'D session at last

A late attempt by fate to sabotage the evening (via the underhand tactic of project deadlines) was cast aside for us to finally get a Dnd 4e session played (albeit one player down). It's taken 2 years of trying for our DM, David, so congratulations must go to him.

The party consisted of my Gnome cleric and Half-Orc paladin (don't ask!), a Human rogue, an Elven ranger and a Tiefling wizard. The experienced and eagle eyed among you will have spotted a weakness in this party - the distinct lack of melee fighters. Something which we were about to find out first hand. As long as we could manouver ourselves into space, keeping some distance between ourselves and our foes we should be fine. So obviously the DM put us in an encounter in the twisting tunnels of a dungeon!
Non mook kobolds bobbed, weaved and stabbed their way round corners whilst we fumbled our way round characters sheets and newly aquired feats. Everyone at least settled down into the spirit of the game with the male elf being refered to in the feminine throughout, short-arse jokes aimed at the gnome and everyone laughing as it was pointed out that the rogues attempt to sneak across a room in full view was really him just lightly tiptoeing towards a fully aware enemy. Another learning point in this game that the non-mook kobolds were easily capable of surviving several of our mighty first level attacks.
Anyway the party emerged slightly worn and sticky but intact from our encounter, and we look forward to taking on our second room next session (this could be a looooong dungeon adventure at this rate!).

Monday 21 February 2011

Character Rolls

One face to play them all...

Firstly apologies for the lack of posts over the last week. School midterm break knocked me from my usual routine (or as close as I have to one). Talking of sources of discontent is my static painting total. I've been painting a Cryx Reaper and Slayer in tandem (being so similar), and they are bogging me down with fiddly painting and making dispiriting progress. I need to press on and get them done (at least to the pre-rust effect stage) and have a breather with something smaller and quicker. Anyway, enough whinging and onto the proper post.

A couple of weeks ago we finally managed to get the Dungeons and Dragons 4th Ed ball rolling, after many delays. Well, when I say rolling, perhaps a fairer description would be we mounted the tee, pegged up the ball and addressed it. Yup, that old chestnut, the character creation session was had. And with 2 DnD newbies in the group and only one set of player manuals progress was pretty slow. We all hold DnD as the standard archetypal fantasy roleplaying game so it seems strange that, despite playing several other systems, creating a character is such an unfamiliar and complicated procedure. So many racial, class and sub class options are available that you almost feel that you have to be an experienced player to really create the character you want. Pease note that I said character you want and not the most powerful character possible - that's another well trod topic for "discussion" for another day...

After some debate I've volunteered to play 2 characters to help make up the party numbers. This usually means one main character and one supporting actor. This is a bit more tricky in 4th Ed as the number of skills and feats each character has means that you can't just forget the support troop and bring him in for battle, d20 vs weapon skill a few times then pack him back into the gaming table bag of holding until the next combat encounter. Paying him/her no attention will lead to much "what's this feat do?" delays mid game or missing out on skills that could have been used. Unfortunately this also means that I was faced with the prospect of fumbling through the character creation process twice.

Thankfully I found an old install of the Character Creator from a couple of years ago (the last time we tried to get a game up and running). So a few race, class and autofill button clicks later I have a Lawful Good Cleric Halfling and Paladin Half Orc team ready to face the big world. I know this is cheating a bit, but call me old school but I like to think that as long as I have a character with stats vaguely suited to the their class I can try to roleplay the rest. I find there's nothing like finding interesting ways to work round character limitations to getthe most connection, and ultimimately enjoyment, from an RPG.

Now to find the figure(s) to use on the table,and a couple of character defining quirks to make the DM's life tricky (although we all know that in practice it'll just make my time more tricky).

Sunday 13 February 2011

Warmachine - more Cygnar proxies

Way back in the sands of time (last November) I flung up a post about proxying Cygnar trenchers.

As promised (surprisingly) I managed to carve out a few more.

First off we have the Trencher Officer and Sharpshooter Unit attachment. Looking at it now I think the sniper scope is a tad long, but hopefully it'll look better once painted.

Next up in the Trencher Master Gunner. Blunderbus, knife and head from a GamesWorkshop Empire set.

And lastly the Trencher Rifle Grenadier.

All these figures came in at the spookily familiar price of 41 pence, totaling £1.64, instead of the retail of the official figures of £19.85. I think I've pretty much done the trenchers now with these plastics (barring repeats to take advantage of field allowance). 

Any further proxying will have to come from a different figure source.

Thursday 10 February 2011

Who made these Sontarans & Cybermen?

The excited waiting for the cover figures on the Doctor Who Adventures magazine #204 is over. As a certain Mr. Ian Fraser Kilmister would sing, "The chase is better than the catch".

The general consensous on the previously released new Dalek figures was that they were pretty good (even if no-one likes the actual design of the new Daleks). These new figures however are not as good.

The better first. The Sontaran sculpts are well sized if not quite stocky enough. For some reason they are also un-armed, which is a bit disappointing. The plastic used is quite soft, but not as soft at that used for my recently purchased Airfix soldiers, so I'm at least hopeful that they will hold paint. I'm not a fan of the look of the new TV Sontaran's helmeted look, so I still don't like the look of the figures. Accurate then!

Citadel, Micro Universe and new DWA. Cybermen.

The Cybermen are awful. They look like they've spent the entire festive period sitting in a comfy chair,and  watching telly eating cake. Non stop. The sculptor also seems to have interpreted "emotionless" for "featureless" when it came down to the head.

So what now? I'll probably get another copy for more Sontarans. No idea what I'll do with the cybermen...

Monday 7 February 2011

Unreal CR3 Tournament

Sometimes it's better to
not pop round the corner

Halo*Star came visiting for a game. The brief was simple. The game had to be 3 player (Halo*star, Arabiansquire and myself) and the request was "something Necromunda-esque".

Now I have the latest Necromunda rulebook and it's all fine and good, but this was to be a one off game, so the gang advances which make the game so interesting were not an issue here. We'd all played a couple of Chain Reaction games and enjoyed the system, so I thought we could beef up abit to a 5150 game. But the inexperience of us all meant that I decided to keep the gangs generic and simple so everyone was running off the same rules, rolls and weapon lists. Armour was alse left out, meaning the higher impact energy weapons should be left out for balance. By this time I realised that I'd ended up back with CR3! Not a problem.

Arabiansquire's Heavy
takes one step too far.

Three identical 5 member squads were made up:

  • Rep 5 Leader armed with BA pistol and high impact melee weapon
  • Rep 4 "Heavy" armed with a chain gun or similar
  • Rep 4 ganger armed with a shotgun,
  • Rep 4 ganger armed with BA pistol
  • Rep 3 "juve" armed with a pistol

As an objective I decided to run  a varient from the Domination mode in Unreal Tournament. 4 hotspots were located at various parts of the board. All are neutral at the start of the game. When a gang member stands on the hotspot it changes to their squad colour and their squad is awarded 1 point. If a member of another gang moves over the hotspot it changes to their squad colour and that squad gets a point (the previous team still retaining their earlier point). At the end of the alocated game time each squad is awarded 3 points for each hotspot in their colour. Any killed figures were not re-spawned, although in a larger game with more player controled squads this might be an idea. All other rules as per CR3. Simple. 

I threw down a load of scenery to keep the table busy and try and avoid the dullness of long range heavy weapons dominating the table (something that seems to happen too oftern in the Necromuda games I play!). Looking at the table I could really do with at least one more (preferably two) levels higher in terrain - ah well another project rears it's head!

And the boy becomes a man.
I'm not going to go into a full report but give a couple of key actions. Poor Halo*Star , (starting mid table) got off to a poor start and had to wait a couple of rounds to activate. Unfortunately his first "actions" were for losing his Heavy and making reaction rolls. ArabianSquire (starting at the top of the table) moved most his squad down the eastern side of the terrain, with a side squad  looking to pick off some of Halo*Star's figures and maybe get a point from a hotspot. Unfortunately he lost his Heavy to In Sight reaction fire as he tried to get a bead on some of them. my forces split as well. The majority looping round to the east picked up a hotspot and killed H*S's Heavy early doors before moving inland under the cover of the last remaining Heavy of the board. A splinter group also move up the western edge to counter A.S.'s main force. They managed to take down ArabianSquires leader as he ran round a corner, but eventually both fell victim to a plucky juve who recovered from a duck back, toughed out a received fire test and then "lucky shot" his way to clearing the opposition. Good Work!

Despite the carnage some points were scored and the game finished in 3 close scores (with me winning). We all agreed to was good fun, and the rules were beginning to sink in. We also all agreed that we needed to start picking up some gun based game tactics as tactics were generally in short supply!

Friday 4 February 2011

WWII - inside the box

With the arrival of my Rapid Fire rule book, thoughts have turned to what figures to field. As mentioned previously I have already bought the Airfix WWII British and German boxes, so I sat down with the sprues, knife and a glass of wine to see what I had and how the contents lined up against the expected force lists.

First off the British: (Click the picture)

As You can see the breakdown is :
  • 15 Rifles
  • 3 Rifles throwing grenades
  • 12 Sub machine guns (Thomsons?)
  • 3 Prone (with what look like Brens)
  • 2 PIAT
  • 3 Vickers MG Teams
  • 1 Radio Operator
  • 2 Officers
  • 4 Character/diorama/marker figures (2 carrying wounded man and 2 using rifle butt as club)
Now I have 2 rule sets I am going to use. The aforementioned Rapid Fire, and Two Hour Wargames Nuts!.

The example 1944 British Infantry Battalion lines up (relevent figure wise) thus:

Rapid Fire!

As you can see for Rapid Fire! If we ignore the vehicles I'm at least 2 rifles short of the 4 Rifle Companies ( assuming a can use the SMG figures in there, as RF shooting appears to be by squad), a 2" mortar and 2 figures short of the HQ. I can easily convert the prone Brens to make up the PIAT teams. For NUTS!, the fighting sizes are more randomly generated, but BA Rifles and SMGs are seperately considered, so I'm way short of the required 18 - 27 rifles needed for 3 companies.

And now onto the Germans:

Firgue breakdown:
  • 13 Rifles
  • 9 SMG
  • 4 prone with rifle
  • 3 grenade throwers with rifle
  • 3 flamethrower
  • 3 MG teams
  • 1 Officer
  • 6 casual marching (3 MG, 3 rifle)
  • 3 Character/diorama/marker figures
The books say:
Rapid Fire!


For Rapid Fire! I am OK for infantry (assuming rifles = SMG here again) but have no Panzerfaust. For NUTS! I am potentially 5 rifles short of the 3 squads.

Now the two games are aimed at different levels of combat I know, which is why both rules are being adopted. But I am obviously still short of rifle numbers on both sides and a few specialists on either side. NUTS! needs less figures, to start with, but I could still do with more numbers and a variety for scenarios. This is a new setting for me and also my first historical genre, so I'm still learning/deciding how set the numbers and make-up of the forces on each side have to be.

The big question is: buy more airfix, or find another compatible manufacturer?

Rulebook images used with permission. Thanks guys.

Wednesday 2 February 2011

A Year of Open Accounting - January

cross-posted with A Year of Frugal Gaming

Let the excuses begin...
We'll start with the cold hard facts first, then flannel out figures afterwards.

The month started off on the wrong foot, spending wise, with a ream of Warmachine purchases. Now I had always maintained that there wasn't going to be any more purchases for my Warmachine Cryx until I had finished painting what had already been bought and I was half a Death Jack away from fullfilling that pledge. However the proposed start of a Warmachine league at my Local Store brought forward some purchases that had been anticipated for later in 2011 (namely a unit of Mechanithralls and a second Warcaster). Also on the list of ideal next buys was a Cryx Warjack. I had thought about the new plastic Warjack kit and using magnets to give me 3 different options, but I ended up with 2 Ebay bargains of the same model types for less total cash spend. I don't know if "ideal" purchases count as frugal, but it was a bargain (dangerous words to use I know) and as they were pidgeon holed for 2011 purchases anyway I can give myself a pat on the back for being ahead of schedule. Sort of.

To coat these new purchases I also needed so spray primer. I sometimes use Grey Auto Primer from Halfords but I wanted black for the Warjacks and they don't do black Auto primer, so Army Painter is was (that's what the Local Store sold)

After all these outgoings on the account books I was starting to get nervous and guilty. So the Hobby Shed clearance sale was put into action. Items were targeted with bulk and space taken up as priorties, so a few games were put up for sale (shelf hogging boxes) as were a vaste array of Cthulhu RPG books I had sitting around to sell for someone else (for a % cut). It's been a while since I've sold on Ebay, and I'd forgotten just quite how much work it can be. Searching through ebay and finding their Turbo Lister software helped though. The old debate of how long to run an auction and what day to finish on reared it's ugly head as usual. In the end I plumped to finish on a Saturday night, as that would give me some time to pack the wins (hopefully) on the Sunday and get them out. All a bit of work, but the ball is rolling now, and with more modest auction numbers to come hopefully it'll take up less time over the coming months. More importantly I brought some money in to cover the Warmachine purchases and provide a nice buffer for the next couple of months.
All this has somewhat curtailed my painting time and energy. My six purchased Mechanithralls were done before the Ebaying started but there has been a distict lack of brush cleaning sounds comng from the painting corner of Arabian Towers since then. That and the progress of my DeathJack has been tortuously slow. That beast may have to have another brief hiatus to get the "numbers painted" count up.