In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Spanking the Powder Monkey at Broadsword 4

The Hamilton Tabletop Gaming Society meets weekly at the Hamilton Legion, Light Infantry branch. The Legion lets them use the room for free, so Barnaby of the HTGS runs the Broadsword game days 3 or 4 times a year as a fundraiser for them.
Usually I can't make it but this weekend I had an opening in my calendar. So I picked up Mikey at 0700 and we made the 90 minute drive.
In the morning I got into a demo of the Cold War gone hot version of Flames of War, Team Yankee. Very pretty toys. Our squadron of Chieftains stopped the Soviet hordes at least for a few hours.

After a not bad bacon sandwich and a beer I tried the new pirate game Blood & Plunder!
Got a good taste for the rules. Lovely production values. Very detailed; your ship's crew is divided into four units  and with drawing cards and manipulating your hand you are deciding in which order to activate them for firing guns or managing the sails to control your speed. Keith and I closed the range and played our cards right to get a good broadside in leaving the enemy deck awash with blood. But then they rammed us, pushing us onto a shoal.

Mikey then spent some time with the GM (who is new to tabletop games) discussing ways to make better sails and knot tying  (Mikey has been a Scout Master for about 50 years so he knows his knots).
Of the two dealers, the one was sold out of the one thing I wanted so I didn't buy anything except food.
All in all, a fun day and worth the $10 admission.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Elven Light Troops

Wave 2 of the Army of Hollin begins to arrive.

I bought these Vendel Elves in the winter from someone on the Lead Adventures Forum and got them in April when my friend Peter could collect them during a trip to England.

During clean up I noticed a lot of problems associated with worn out moulds; heavy flash and several frightening holes in the cloaks on the archers. At first I thought to make it work for me, giving the cloaks a worn out campaign look. But the hand maidens of Naleth weave better stuff than that so I filled them in with epoxy I already had mixed for gluing on spears. Some of the flash at the face and cloak I couldn't remove and just covered in paint to make it part of their camouflage.
Can't see the holes now

16 archers and 8 light spearmen give me a second unit of light missile with sharpshooter upgrade and a unit of light foot with missiles. So now the smaller Ral Partha "Scottish archer running" who have been fleshing out my elvish firepower can return to the armies of the Northern Kingdom. Or I can field a really big, very shooty army with three units of elite bow.

For the light foot I used a grey blue and ochre to do a low visibility version of the blue and yellow shields carried by the armoured spearmen.

I finished the bases with the new excellent flower tufts from Shadow's Edge. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

How Does Your Garden Grow?

In my on going efforts to make my medieval village look more real and lived in, I wanted to make some vegetable gardens for the cottages.

From Richard Clarke on the Too Fat Lardies blog I got the idea to use miniature paper roses for cabbages. Now just try to find some. I've been looking haphazardly for a couple of years now with no luck.

The opening this weekend of a Michael's craft store helped out. So yesterday I bought a pack of roses for $8 and some thin wooden shapes.

 I covered the roses with green ink.
While waiting for ink to dry I prepped some bases.  Sand, burnt umber brown and then a lighter brown dry brush.
Then it was a quick job of gluing on cabbages, clump foliage, flower tufts and green tufts then flocking around the edges.

Here a couple of the ladies check things out:

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Flash Ride for HVTs

SUVs pop up in reading about Afghanistan a lot. So I'd been keeping an eye out for one for my Taliban field commander or local Drug lord to ride in. A big Ford Escalade would be nice, and I could get a 3D print for 12.00, but I spotted this Matchbox Landrover for a dollar in the local sprawl-mart. 

Sweet ride!

I got it home, opened the package and found this very naff roof with out of scale luggage (that Jerry can is pretty huge).
What's with the see through luggage?
What to do? Cover it? Remove it? Paint it?

So it sat on the table for a month or more until I settled upon "go big or go home" and added even more luggage from my left over stowage.

There, all set to be targeted by my SF teams.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Strange Doings!

Had a nice games day with the Hotlead crew this past weekend.
The day was organised by Dave and Pete, who prefer games involving steam tech, odd characters and the supernatural. Or Star Wars. Whatever rolls your dice.

First up Patrick and I were test subjects for Pete to run through a game of Strange Aeons. 

I was busy playing and didn't take any pictures. My three Threshold Agents successfully defeated the party of Cultists and retrieved the 4 relics (although one turned out to be useless, an ancient recipe for hummus probably). But it was a bit touch and go as the Priestess put Harpul Singh my tough as nails Indian soldier (who took out half the cultists himself) under a spell and had him fighting with my party leader for a bit.

But nifty game. Lots of charts and pages etc. (really needs a better QRS) but an interesting campaign built right in. I could see one using it to play games with Sam and Dean Winchester from Supernatural or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Just have low level vampires as cultists and go heavy on the hand to hand and less shooting.
Related image
Gratuitous picture of Buffy, because well....
After we trooped over to a local bar for burgers and beverages, Dave set up his Victorian London for a seven sided game of In Her Majesties Name. I'll let the pictures (which aren't as good as I'm used too, I was using my phone) talk for me:
Dave's city contains many nice details, like this public loo

View from one end of the table, the fountain can actually work if he installs a battery and adds water!

Other end

More detail, lots of these news pillars with amusing posters and ads. They're made from thread spools with craft domes on top.

The Flashman Monument!

Mrs. Lovett's Pie Shop, note the arterial spray inside the sky light

Complete with Sweeney Todd. Parties coming too close run the risk of losing a member.

The Pub. Named after Pete, who's nom du net is "Sterling Moose" on the Lead Adventure Forum

Rooms and stairs and details inside

Flashy again. Dave is a big fan.

More details

The objective; rescue HM the Queen. Who is apparently on the roof trying to summon the Torchwood Institute or Batman... that's Keith in the background

Strange Foreign Johnnies wandering the streets

Sneaky Buggers/Special Branch/Dave's Vampire Hunters
It was apparently Take Your Son to Work Day at Special Branch. The figure is named "Van Halfling" (Dave's Vampire Hunters are naturally lead by Van Helsing)

Big Game Hunters and Mounties

Prussians even!

The brave lads of K Division lead by the Consulting Detective and his friend the Doctor
I won the foot race to the building with HM trapped at the top. But it was a shoot out with the Big Game Hunters and the Mounties (caught between me and the hunters). But then Special Branch arrived and we had a big fight around the door, with my electro-truncheons giving me the edge in the brawl.

Brawling with Special Branch, as you do. Meanwhile the Consulting Detective is running upstairs to get the Queen.

Foreign Johnnies attack!

H Division arrives to clear the Foreign Johnnies from the square with volleys of carbine fire. Apparently still upset that they had lost the inter-Division tug of war and pie eating contest to K Division, they didn't care that my chaps were in the way!

Timmy goes down! But not after fighting the Dragon Lady for several turns.

With two Special Branch Agents covering me from the lads of H Division, Benedict Cumberbatch the Consulting Detective helps HM make an undignified escape out a window to safety.
Silly fun, lots of laughs. Although I don't like IHMN. I don't like how the mechanics work and the way modifiers are applied. I actually think good old Warhammer 5th edition would work better for a game like this. But the guys like it, so I just roll the dice and keep moving.

Then it was 10 o'clock and time to hit the road with my head all done in.

All in all a fun day.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Goblin Scouts

As noted in earlier posts my Orcs are lacking in maneuver and firepower.

Some wolf riders and swarms of goblin skirmishers seemed to me to be the way to go to fill this gap. I was bemoaning the closure of Sergeant Major Miniatures and the Mad Padre's and mine inability to get a last order in to a gaming friend at work. He says "I've got goblins. I could let you have some."

So the next week he brings in a big bag of Moria goblins that had been given a basic 3-colour paint job and some sand. For 10 I picked out two 6-figure scout groups, going heavy on the Brian Froud style helmets because they amuse me. I also included two spear carrying goblins in each unit because of the scouts Frodo and Sam encounter in Mordor.

In an evening I finished the painting (especially covering the green skin!) and basing.
This I hope will give the Angmar side some more tactical options. Now I just need wolf riders.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

A Firefly in the Expanse

Image result for babylon 5 earth force destroyer

My relationship with Science Fiction, and particularly Science Fiction Gaming, is complex like a jilted lover. We used to play it a lot as a group; Star Fleet Battles, Dirtside, Star Grunt, Epic 40K, Full Thrust.

But it went rather sour for me. A combination of factors came into play. Overly gritty rules for SFB and Dirtside, being unable to break out of the background fluff for Epic, and ship min-maxing with Full Thrust. At the time I wanted to play games inspired by Falkenberg's Legion and Frezza's A Small Colonial War with maybe a bit of Babylon 5 thrown in (those Earth Force destroyers just look really cool),  and wasn't getting any satisfaction. Of course trying to share an imaginary world with others is fraught with disappointment. That must explain why all of the popular SF games come with a backstory and factions. But buying into the factions has made me shy away from games with intriguing sounding mechanics like Infinity or Firestorm Armada or Halo Fleet Battles.

But I still like Science Fiction, or at least good Science Fiction. There's a lot of bad stuff out there too, especially in the military sci-fi sub-genre, so I went away from it for awhile. Recently I started reading The Expanse novels (starting with book 4 because it was there) because I was intrigued with ideas about how society and humanity would change when we push out into space. As much as I think that Firefly is brilliant, the Old West with laser pistols is amusing, but how realistic? The Expanse is equally good, combining well thought out technical details about life in space with good characters and a ripping story. The space battles are cool too.

So this has got me once again brain-storming on SF games as my next project. So bear with me as I think out loud.

  • Space ships or figure skirmish games? Or both? Or bigger?
  • What scale? 28mm? Expensive. 20mm? (Elheim Figures do some figures that could work nicely in a low tech Firefly setting.) 15? Loads of choice there. 6mm? Believe it or not, 6mm skirmish games were recently suggested to me! I guess you could do a reasonable station or space ship interior at that size.
  • Background? Warring states? Rebels and pirates vs. a central authority? Corporate special forces operators hitting rival facilities?
  • Setting? For ground action are we in hard vacuum on asteroids or a colony world? Are we in the tunnels of a colonized asteroid? Desert? Jungle? Urban? Arctic? How do I make it different from my Afghanistan stuff?
  • Space ships? Make or buy? How big? The big capital ships from Ground Zero Games just seem too big to me, plus they are hard to keep balanced on the base. I think maybe a maximum of 4-5 cm for a big ship, so what is called "fleet scale." I like blocky ships too like Brigade Games British or Neo-Soviet, rather than the more spread out 'flat' ships like these
  • These ships from Shapeways  (all by Irrational Designs) are cool too. ISN Light Cruiser 3d printed All the ISN ships so far.Federal Gunship 3d printed Gunships with the Federal Light Cruiser.Image result for the expanse ships
  • I also like the idea of scratch building my own. My space balls of doom were crude but unique back in the day when they did battle against the wall anchor fleet. Next time I'm thinking of using craft beads for smaller hulls.
  • Aliens? Yes? No? How do you make them truly alien but still gameable?
  • FTL: easy (Think Star Wars where a single seat fighter is capable of interplanetary travel) or hard? (only big ships have the power for the warp drive so FTL carriers deploying sublight gunships are important)
Obviously I think too much and keep letting ruinous logic get in the way. But for me things have to make sense or it detracts from the story.

So after a few days of pondering while reloading my anodyzing machines at work I've come to some tentative thoughts:

  • do both fleet scale ships and 15mm figure skirmishes (going heavily with Ground Zero Games, he's got quite a variety of looks and has most things thought out)
  • the background will be heavily influenced by The Expanse; so a couple of states, rebellious Belters, pirates and several large corporations with private security/special forces
  • perhaps with some Firefly thrown in and colony worlds of varying climates (I can do desert and temperate, jungle is quick enough with some Dollar Store aquarium plants and a glue gun)
  • the idea of doing the interior of a ship/station and fighting boarding actions really appeals. A friend recently purchasing a set of 3D printing files will help with the furnishings
  • I'll let much of the outlying stuff grow organically as I add forces and terrain, but I'll start with hardsuited types shooting it out in a ship or on an asteroid because it's different
  • Aliens; leave them out for now
OK, so the initial planning is done. Now to wrap up Middle Earth.