Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Blood Bowl Games 5 and 6

After a planned game of Federation Commander fail to materialise on Sunday, fg and I had to think of a game to play in the afternoon. We were both too lazy to set up a full miniatures game, and too lazy to learn a new boardgame, so we defaulted to Blood Bowl.

We managed to find our team rosters from some 20 months ago, and continued the series where we left off. The great thing about Blood Bowl is that the game can picked up at any point if the records are kept; this applies to both a campaign, as well as each individual game. It's a like a chess game, in a way.

It took us only a couple of turns to remember how the game goes, and we managed to play two games (well, sort of...) in one afternoon.

The first half of Game 5 was a scoreless one as my Chaos Dwarves failed to reach the end zone in time. In the second half fg's Orcs managed an easy touchdown in six turns, but a long pass followed by a Sure-footed, Sprinty bull centaur allowed me to draw the game.

Game 6 went really bad for me. A series of casualties left my team unable to put up a reasonable defence, or defend themselves for that matter. At the end of the first half I was down by two points (one score after an interception!) and had only seven players standing. I decided to concede the game.

The Orcs win the series.

With this series concluded, we are thinking of our next teams. Fg is thinking of a Skaven team, while I am looking for something better at passing... like a Wood Elf team, but less... elfy. I will probably end up using the Wood Elf stats, but again I will proxy with some other figures.

Monday, August 28, 2017

A Trio of Heroes for a Lone Wolf Campaign

Despite a lack of posting this month, I have in fact been doing a quite a bit of gaming. We concluded our Space Opera campaign (I plan to write a series of articles on the lessons I learned from GMing the campaign, when I can find the time), and I have been reading, making purchases, and painting in preparation for our next RPG campaign.

The setting of the next campaign will be Magnamund, the Lone Wolf world, using Cubicle 7's Lone Wolf Adventure Game rules. The combat rules in this system are a little different from other fantasy RPG rules, as the authors wanted to stick to system in the original gamebooks. This meant that only the players roll during combat, and damage to combatants are decided by referring to a combat result table. As the original gamebooks were solo adventures, this meant some tweaking was required in a multi-player RPG. I think the solution they came up with is reasonable, and I plan to run a combat during our Session 0 to try it out. There are also combat options players can take, which spices things up a little.

I bought several figures especially for the campaign, three of which are seen in the first photo. They represent three of the player characters: a dwarven gunner of Bor, a Brotherhood of the Crystal Star mage, and a Sommlending Knight.

The knight is a Reaper mercenary warrior figure. I had a rather clear idea of what kind of armour I wanted the figure for the knight to be wearing, but as it turned out finding the exact figure to match is not an easy task. This figure was the closest I could find, but I would have preferred a heater shield to the round shield. I used a decal from a Bretonnian set.

The figure has an "adventurer" look, with a backpack, various bags, and even a scroll/map case. I imagine this is a how an adventuring knight looks like.

The figure can be rather plain besides the shield, but fortunately he wears an amulet, which serves as a way to introduce a highlight to the figure.

The second figure is a Red Box Games figure, which I am using as the mage. Again, he has the "adventurer" look. I painted him in the traditional blue of the Brotherhood, but decided not to paint all the stars that are supposed to be decorating the robe. I guess I am trying to go for a more realistic look here.

The figure carries a bedroll, which again highlight the "on the road" look.

The third figure is a Citadel dwarf thunderer figure. There are many different poses and looks in the range, but this one comes closest to what I imagined the gunners of Bor to look like. The details on the gun mechanism are amazing considering the age of these figures.

There is even a powder horn on the figure's hip, which is a nice touch.

There are two more figures to be painted before we have the whole party" a Kai Lord, and a Border Ranger of the North. These are also Red Box figures, and FG has agreed to paint them for me. They will be clothed in green - a break from the monotony of blue on these first three figures.

I have also painted a couple of NPCs, but I won't post them here yet so as not to spoil the surprise for my players.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Warhammer 40K 8th Ed game

Fg and I tried our hand at the 8th Edition of Warhammer 40K on Sunday. He drew up two lists of just below 50 Power points, which he told me was equivalent to around 1000 points in conversion. This still gave more than 70 figures on the side of the Imperial Guards, and around half that on the side of the Space Marines.

The Guard position from the Marines' point of view.

We played a Blitz scenario, which had the guards defending two defensive lines across the width of the table. This was a chance for me to lay out my sci-fi shanty town terrain, plus all the barricades, crates and oil drums we had between us. The result, as you can see, is a rather formidable position.

Ratling snipers take up position at a vantage point.

The Commissar standing at the front, inspiring the guardsmen.

The rules weren't difficult. Weapon Skill and Ballistic Skill are now expressed as number needed to hit, which takes away one byte of brain function. Calculation of the "to wound" number is also made easier, and in a game where most figures on each side have the same Strength and Toughness, it became easier after a while. Calculating Saving Roll was also easy. Morale too was simple to adjudicate.

However, with more than a hundred figures on the table, and with most of the Guards figures able to shoot due to their well-prepared position, this meant more than a hundred die-rolls per turn. The game took less than three hours, but felt longer.

Assault Marines reach the defence position.
Over all the rules do seem easier that those of 7th edition, but 50 Power points does seem a bit much for beginners like us. I imagine a 750-points game to be what we should be aiming for.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Spartan Scenics Warehouse Accessories

I use battlemaps and miniatures for my RPG games, and a couple of sessions back I realised that I needed more cover for my battles. A bit of googling found the Warehouse Accessories set from Spartan Scenics. It was expensive (28 GBP) but it looked good, so I decided to get a box. After all, it can also be used for whatever sci-fi skirmish game we play, and we all know that sci-fi worlds all have random crates lying around when a firefight starts.

Thank goodness the umpire placed some crates right where I needed them.

The pieces are resin, and very well-cast. The lines and straight, the details sharp, and there is flash only at the bases of the pieces (where the "bottom" of the mould is, or the top, but you get the idea). The crates are just tall enough to give 28mm figures half-cover, There are also six biohazard containers in the set, but the yellow spray paint I used gave a very uneven coverage of the pieces, so I decided to leave them aside to be fixed another day.

I sprayed the pieces with a grey primer, and then sprayed the base colour for the pieces. The olive drab military-looking ones got some white decals I have left over from some WW2 German kit and some light weathering with black paint, while the beige, civilian-looking ones got black decals and moderate to heavy weathering with brown paint, as did the yellow pallets.

I am very pleased with the quality of these pieces, and if you are looking to give your guys some cover in your games, I recommend you pick a box up too.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

August Giveaway

I was going through my box of starships stuff looking for a model to use in my Space Opera RPG when I came across these.

They are supplements for converting Starfleet Battles ships into Starmada Admiralty Edition which I bought a long time ago but never ended up using - Starmada Compendium was the last iteration of the rules that had the Shockwave weapon which I used for my Lyrans, and in this conversion they had it as a purely defensive thing. Pathetic.

Anyway, seeing them again led me into thinking about starship battles again, and I bought the Federation Commander Reference Rulebook and a couple of Ship Card Packs for the Klingons and Lyrans... at least they are all electronic and won't take up space (heheh).

Anyway, if you want these items, do leave a comment and I will draw a recipient on 01 Aug. This is not a first-come, first-serve offer.

The offer is free: once I let you know that you have won, do let me have your email address and I will send them off to you. You don't even have to pay for postage.

Good luck!

Also, there were no entries for the July Giveaway, so I am repeating that offer again this month and making the draw on 01 Aug too.

And, will Michael Mills contact me so I can send you your prize from the June Giveaway please?

Thank you.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Federation Commander

I was digging through my box of starship stuff the other day looking for a model to use in the next session of my Space Opera RPG campaign when I found my SFB-Starmada conversion rulebooks. I bought those hoping to use them with my collection of models, but as they didn't give the Lyran ESGs the respect they deserve (relegating them to a purely defensive role), I never ended up using them. So the three books will go up in my August giveaway, which will be announced later this week.

The encounter prompted me to finally buy Federation Commander and try the rules out. I played Starfleet Battles almost 30 years ago, late to the party in a group with a few dedicated players, each of whom specialised in a race. The Lyrans were the only unclaimed race at that point in time, and as it turned out it suited my temperament, and I have been playing Lyrans (exclusively but not expertly) since, even when I started playing Starmada (Compendium edition, where their Shockwave rule sufficiently replicated the effect of the ESGs).

As anyone who has played the game will know, SFB isn't an easy game to learn or play, but back then we had the time and mental capacity to assimilate large amounts of information. I actually learned the rules by watching and playing, and never actually read the rules myself.

When Federation Commander came out several years ago I looked at the reviews, but ultimately decided to stick with Starmada Compendium (never moving on to the other editions of the Starmada franchise because they dropped the Shockwave and did not replace it with anything replicating the effect). But despite the ease of play and the ability to handle a larger number of ships, we stopped playing after a while, and once in a while I still felt the itch to allocate energy and do movement by impulse...

So I bought the Federation Commander compilation rules, a few ship card packs, and wahj and I played a game of it yesterday.

We got some of the rules wrong (as usual when playing a new set of rules), but while some aspects of the rules are vastly different from SFB, there was enough of the elements that made SFB what it is to make it familiar yet new. A game between a Heavy Cruiser and a Battlecruiser took 90 minutes. A lot of time was saved by not having to allocate all the energy in advance, but things like deciding where to move, rolling to hit and rolling for damage still took the same amount of time as it did in SFB.

I liked the rules enough to want to play again; it is also very easy to set up, which is always a plus. wahj plans to buy a few more ship packs to cover some of the other races, in particular the Romulans (who under the FC Cloaking rules look rather nerfed). As for me and my household, we will continue to play the Lyrans.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

RPG Day 2017

Yesterday I attended my first RPG Day event. I was originally scheduled to GM a Savage Worlds game in the morning, but with only two players a week away from the con date, I decided to cancel it so the players could sign up for another game.

So I spent the morning sitting at the various tables to watch the other GMs at their craft. The first 40 minutes or so were slow as many of the players were new to D&D and RPG indeed, but after that everyone got into stride and there was a nice buzz in the hall.

It was interesting to see how different GMs used different tools and styles. Some stood, others sat throughout the game. Some used markers on blank mats, some printed battlemaps, while others used "theatre of the mind".

Curiously, almost all the players looked like they were in their twenties or older. There was a teenager at my game in the afternoon, but he was perhaps the only one there. I spoke with another player over lunch and he thought maybe it was because teenagers tended to play with their schoolmates and so were not represented at what was primarily an Adventurers League event.

The game I played in was quite fun, even if my character went to 0 hit points at least twice. We had a good mix of classes and co-operated well, allowing each character his or her moment to shine (except my paladin, who simply could not hit anything!).

Still, I feel that the format of AL means that each game is essentially a one-shot with strangers. While you kept your character and his XPs and gear, there was no shared memory between members of a party, which I feel is an important part of the whole RPG experience. It is a concession to the reality that for many people, getting a regular group of players together week after week is simply not possible; I am glad I have a regular gaming group.