Friday, August 29, 2014

Very Brief Future War Commander AAR

Last night my friend, Randy, and I planned to played another game of Future War Commander.

It was a basic Encounter scenario between Marines and Hunter Scavengers.  I used Epic 40K Space Marine and Ork models to represent these forces on the table.  I got the orks painted.  I have not had a chance to paint my own as I have been working on finishing the marines so please forgive me.

The Marines took a core of 8 infantry platoons mounted in Rhinos.  They had 5 support dreadnoughts, 4 Predator tank killers, and 4 HQ sections and 1 CO.  A total of 2,075 points.

The Hunter scavengers took 20 units of scavengers, 18 assault wagons, 4 support walkers, as well as 6 HQ sections and 1 CO section.  This was a total of 2,430 points.  They get 20% more points due to the primitive technology level.

The table was dubbed Spaceganistan because of the ridged terrain and the "poppy" fields.

The Orks split up their forces into three sections and spread out in their deployment areas.

Ork's left flank
Ork's center.

Ork's right flank.
The Marines split into two forces.

Marine's right flank.

Marine's left flank.
Turn 1 started with the marines taking the initiative as they started moving their forces forward.  The Walkers on the right flank pushed forward and made several move action before being halted by a failed roll.  A few bad rolls and the advance halted with the Rhinos unable to advance at all.
Walkers advancing through the tank field.

The orks had some awful command rolls and the center was unable to move at all while the flanks were only able to make 1 move action each.

Turn 2 is where all the action happened for our game.  The Walkers moved up some more and started shooting at the ork wagons.  They were not able to do much damage however and the orks only lost 1 wagon.

The tanks on the  right flank pushed forward and opened fire on the ork wagons in the center.  A few shots connected and another wagon was knocked out.

On the Marine's left flank the Rhinos finally got moving and advanced a little before deploying the tactical squads.  The tanks here also advanced and turned into the ridge line to face off against the orks here.  A few shots hit home, but at the end of the day only 1 wagon was suppressed.

The Ork wagons on the left flank used initiative to assault the walkers that had gotten a bit to close.  This was the first assault we have had in our games so it went slow as we looked up rules and tried to make sure we handled it correctly.  I wasn't sure at the time, but after re-reading the rules I think we did a pretty good job with it.  The 5 wagons that assaulted took a bit of fire closing in and 2 were suppressed and all took some hits.  However, suppression doesn't keep you from continuing the assault so they pushed in and prepared to smash the walkers under the treads of their wagons.  Ummmm, then I rolled my dice.  Let's say it didn't go as planned.

The orks did suppress 2 of the walkers, but didn't destroy any of them.  The orks lost 2 of the wagons that had assaulted and the remaining one fled.
After the ork assault
Some damage was done from the assault so a little shooting added on top of that was able to knock out 1 walker.  So not a total loss, but it did hurt.

On the left flank the walkers were ordered to advance and the command roll came up a 2.  Bonus!  So they were able to make 2 activations without need to pass a second command roll.  No enemy units where visable so both orders were movement orders.  They failed their next command roll so still had no enemy in sight, but were getting closer.

The center split forces and one side headed into the ridge line and the other headed up the road.  The units heading into the ridge line were able to get into range and opened fire on the enemy tanks and managed to score a couple of hits, but not much else.  On their next order to fire, though they also rolled 2 on their command so were able to take 2 activations.  After the smoke cleared both tanks and 1 infantry unit had been knocked out.

The orks heading up the road also got a few shots off at the infantry that had just deployed from their vehicles, but not enough to kill any and none were suppressed.

Turn 3.  There wasn't any.  We had to call the game.  :(

Randy is one of the owners of Gauntlet Games and was working while we played our game.  The store was pretty busy (which is a good thing) so the game played pretty slow.

Sorry for the abbreviated report, but such is life.


This is my first time using Orks.  I like the large number of units, but the leadership is awful.  It is very hard to get many activations.  I took lots of commanders for that reason, but still failed lots of rolls.  I enjoyed them and will be painting up a force at some point.  Probably after my tyranids get built up a bit.

Our first experience with assaults happened in this game.  Close combat rules are always something I worry about in a game system as they go wrong so often (IMHO).  These seemed okay, but in truth it was only one small assault.  I think I might set up a few assaults on a table and play through them just to get a better handle on the mechanic.

I'm still digging these rules and will probably try one of the lopsided scenarios next.  By lopsided I mean the attacker/defender gets twice as many points as the other force.  Those are always fun and can be challenging.

Are my army builds reasonable?  What do you include in your forces?  How many points is your typical game?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Epic 40K Tyranids - Test Models Part 2

After getting some feed back on my Tyranid test models, I've decided to make some changes and try a little different approach.

The original test models didn't have enough contrast.  I like the grey and purple scheme and the ash waste basing, but when I get 50 or 100 bases painted up with that scheme, there won't be much that stands out.

I order to add a bit more contrast, I decided to paint the plates bone and then wash them with GW Agrax Earthshade and then highlight with a little bit of bone.  I also painted the claws red to add a little more color and contrast.  The results are distinctive.
Original test

Red claws and Bone armor plates.

I like the look, but I still don't think there is enough contrast.  The models kind of get lost in the basing.

Next up is to try a different basing color.  I decided to try the colors that I have used for my Space Marines.  Just a basic brown base, dry-brushed with a lighter color brown and some flock added.

Used flash on the camera for a little better light.
I think these have enough contrast now and will stand out well.  I liked the idea of the ash waste basing, but I don't want the army to be hidden in the basing.

What do you think of these?  Better or Worse?  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Star Realms Review

A few weeks ago, I picked up a deck game called Star Realms.  I am impressed with the game and have several games so far.  This is a non-collectible deck building game for 2-6 players that can be played in about 20 minutes with 2 players.

The box costs $14.95 and comes with rules for 2-6 player games, but there are only enough cards for 2 players.  If you want to have more players, you need to buy more boxes.  That seemed a little odd at first, but I like it.  If you only want to play 2 players then you only have to pay the minimum.  If you want to upgrade to more players you are dropping $45 which isn't all that bad for a good 6 player game.  There is also at least one expansion pack with a solo play and cooperative play variants as well as new ship cards and a variety of bonus cards.

There are several rule variants.  You can play head to head or cooperatively with the expansion pack.  When you add in more players, you have different options for the games you play as well.

Most of my games have been 2 player head to head battles.  The idea is that you are competing with your opponent for control of an area of space.  Both players start with identical starting decks and use that to purchase additional ships and bases to expand their deck, while using their attacks to reduce the enemy's authority (health) to zero before they are defeated themselves.  Cards can offer bonuses to other cards, so getting a good combination of cards can be devastating as the game progresses.

The art work is nice and the quality of the cards is pretty good as well.

Setting up for a cooperative game at my local game store; Gauntlet Games.

Overall, I think this game plays very well and is a great game to have if you only have time for a quick game.  If you have more time, you can play several games or add in more players and try some of the variant rules.

The company has also released an app (and web) version of the game.  The free version is not all that bright, but the full version is only $4.99 and has a harder AI, more campaign modes, and on-line play.  I have not purchased the full version yet, but likely will in the very near future.

Have you played Star Realms?  What about other non-collectible card games?

Monday, August 25, 2014

6mm Building and accessories

I put in an order with Shapeways for some of my designs and I got them in the mail today.  I thought I would share some pictures of the models.

Here is the original design image for my windows.

And a picture of the finished models.

A few of the windows have blast shields in place.

And here is a picture of the door designs.

And here is the final product.

Here is one of the doors next to my building design and an infantry stand for scale.

Last, but not least is my original building design.
And the printed product with an infantry stand for reference.
Building Front

Building rear
I like the result.  I want to put the building next to a few more units for comparison, but overall I think it looks good and I like the results.

I think I need to make a few tweeks and I will have a design that I can cast and start making resin copies available for anyone that is interested.

What do you think?  I would love to hear your thoughts and input.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Bolt Action - First Game Summary

Last night I was able to play a game of Bolt Action (by Warlord Games) hosted/run by my friend Bill.

I was given command of a Russian force and my friend Randy took command of an opposing force of Germans.  I was ordered to stop the Germans from advancing down the road.
Russian Forces
 My forces consisted of a T-34, 3 units of regular infantry, 1 unit of inexperienced infantry, a medium MG, and a light mortar.
German Forces
The Germans had a STuG, a Hertzer, a light MG, and 3 units of veterans.

This was a game to learn some rules so we didn't worry a lot about balanced forces.  Bill just picked some units that would allow us to try out the different unit types and to have an enjoyable game.

The Germans set up on the left side of the table around the road.  The tanks both started on the road with the infantry in the open around them.

I set up mostly on the right side of the table with a few units set up at the close end in the woods.  We also ran some barbed wire across the road in an attempt to slow down the advancing force.  I don't know how much it would slow a tank, but it is all we had available.  I had my tank hidden in the fenced area behind one of the buildings and my inexperience infantry unit hidden in some trees in attempt to flank the Germans.

The Germans start advancing up the road with their tanks.  They fire at some infantry in the open, but don't do much.  Since this was our first game, we had a lot to learn.  Randy was only firing the main guns at first.  The MG could have done more damage, Randy will add their fire soon.

 I pulled my tank out of hiding to take a shot at the lead tank.  I fail to get a good shot and the round flys high.  I had hoped to take out a tank on that first shot to even the playing field a little; failing that, this might not go so well.

 The inexperienced Russians rush out of hiding trying to add their fire to the battle.  However, being inexperienced they run out in front of the German MG and come under heavy fire.  They will end of being pinned down in the open until they suffer enough casualties and get enough pin markers to wipe them out.
 The T-34 got assaulted by some infantry which added a pin marker and caused it to go "down".  Thus losing its activation.  The Germans took a couple of shots at it before getting a solid hit and destroying the tank.
 The infantry supporting the MG fire from the tree line on the advancing infantry and score a few hits.
The infantry see a unit flanking their position so are forced to leave the MG to fend for itself and deal with this new threat.
 After a few rounds of fire the flanking unit is destroyed.  This protect their position, but leaves the MG with no support.
 This unit of infantry moves in order to engage the German infantry, but get caught in the open by the Hertzer and its MG.  They take some casualties, but keep moving.
Without any AT support these Russians do their best to hold their ground against the tank while trying to do some damage to the infantry.

In the end, the Russians held off the German advance and did quite a bit of damage to the German infantry in the process.  However, they suffered heavy losses in return.  The German tanks remained undamaged, but with limited infantry support they were unwilling to continue their advance until more infantry could be brought up.

I enjoyed the game quite a bit.  Thanks to Bill for putting it together, providing all the models and terrain, and walking us through the rules.  Thanks to Randy for providing command to the opposition forces.

What I like about the rules:  
I like the activation mechanic in general.  It is a little frustrating when the Germans get activation after activation, but that means I will get a bunch later.  I like how the orders work too.  You can go "down" when you are shot at to make it harder to hit you, but then you won't get to act later in the turn.  You've got to decide if staying alive is more important than acting.  

I also like the moral mechanic.  I like that the number of pin markers make things harder for you.  I think it does a good job of representing moral and how it is harder to get your men to do what you want (or anything at all) once they have suffered a few loses.  Obviously more experience troops tend to follow orders more often.

What I don't like about the rules:
My only real complaint after this first is the shooting rules are a bit fiddly.  It will likely become much easier after a few games as we were getting better with them as we played.  We didn't really do any assaults (other than one infantry assault versus my tank), so I won't pass any judgments on those.

This game was played with 20mm models.  I have quite a few 15mm models as I used to play Flames of War so I might put together some forces using those.  Generally, this game feels like early editions of 40K with some variations.  That isn't necessarily a bad thing.  

I'm sure with a few more games under our belts, the fiddly bits will work themselves out and it will play fairly quickly.

I think these rules would work well for lots of settings.  I might do some sci-fi games using these rules. 

Have you played Bolt Action?  What did you think? 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Epic 40K Tyranids - Test models

My starting Space Marine force is nearly complete, (you will be seeing some pictures in a post in the near future)  so I am thinking about my next project.  I think it will be Tyranids.

I have put together a few models and they hit the paint table.  I would like to hear some thoughts on them before I start knocking these out in volume.

Here is a unit of genestealers and a unit of hormogaunts.  The painting is pretty straight forward on these guys; a wash and then a few details picked out in grey.

I wanted the basing to be kind of an ash waste feel. I might add a small patch of brown flock to add a little detail.  I'm a little worried that the models blend in too much with the basing, but haven't decided on that for sure.

I like how the carnifex has turned out.  Him and his friends will tear apart the enemy.  Same painting as the little guys, but he has more armor plates that are grey.

I have mixed feelings about the Hive Tyrant.  There will only be a few of these guys floating around, so I guess he is okay.  If 40K the Hive Tyrant really stands out, but I don't feel like in this scale he will.  Maybe I need to put him on a bigger base with a few of the smaller guys on the same base.

What do you think of the colors?  Do the bases need some flock or are they good as is?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Armorcast Buildings 28mm

Buildings are a great addition to any table.  The background of the game you are playing will play a large roll in dictating the size, style and number of buildings you will want.

Many years ago, I got a few Armorcast Buildings.  I just did a quick search of their website and see that these buildings are still available.  Which is good to know if I ever decide to expand my collection.

These were painted with a very basic color palette, but I like the look.  I need to add a little bit of detail to the roof tops at some point.

One of my favorite features of these buildings is their modular construction.  I really like that they have a pack to add levels to a building and I like that you can stack a smaller building on top of a larger building to add variety and height.

These have seen the field of battle in a variety of games and could be used in many more.  40K, (of course) Necromunda, G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T., In Her Majesty's Name, Infinity, Bolt Action, Future War Commander Skirmish, Tomorrows War, etc.  I have even used them as adobe (not perfect, but works) buildings to expand my old west town for large games.

What do you use for buildings in your games?  Do you prefer ruins or whole buildings?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Lord of the Rings Cave Trolls

"They have a cave troll."  No, they have two cave trolls.  I acquired a couple of cave trolls from GW's Lord of the Rings miniature line.  One is plastic and the other is metal.  I like the look of these models and am please with the final results.

I've been thinking about painting up an LOTR army for use as proxies in some SAGA games.  I already have a full Rohan force that is ready for the field and with these trolls ready for action, I could paint up some of the goblins I have and field a second army.

I've seen some rules and boards for LOTR SAGA, but I think I might just use the SAGA boards as is and substitute LOTR models in place of the Vikings, Anglo-Danes, etc.

I would probably use these to represent hearth guard.  Say each models counts as 4 men.  As they take wounds that would be like loosing models in the unit.  I might have to give that a try sometime.

Have you used SAGA rules for other backgrounds?