Friday, 31 January 2014

In Ze Navy.... can sail the zeven zeas!!

Just a quick one. I work on the North end of London Bridge just opposite HMS Belfast which often has visiting vessels moored up next to her. This week it was the turn of F216 of the Deutsche Marine, the Schleswig-Holstein which is based in Wilhelmsaven.

Always of interest is how a modern Frigate is only a touch smaller than a WWII Cruiser that reguarly made the Northern supply run to Russia. Makes you think about what really went on back then!

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Ruining Games with Maths since 1978

Evening people,

Bit of a tongue in cheek one tonight, which probably isn't too much of a shock. Last night at Enfield Gamers Rich C, aka Shado, kicked off his idea for a rolling  Zombiecide campaign. Basically there's 30 scenarios and 25 survivors, can we make it through?

As it had been a while we had to knock off a bit of rust and we got a few bits wrong but nothing major as we successfully shuffled through the first two scenarios. Main issue was forgetting to to take all of the restricted weapons from the items deck (combined from all three box sets) allowing us to blow away two Abominations far too easily. We spawned the first one almost immediately and that initial panic attack was all too easily dispelled.
As a co-operative game it's important to co-ordinate the group's actions but it did end up running to an extreme with Mr C and Shado forming an impromptu statistical analysis committee to the eventual barracking of the rest of us, "play the GAME!!" and "you're ruining the GAME with maths".

Rather amusingly Scenario 2 quite literally bit back at Mr C. Having carefully calculated a safe point for himself a flurry of zombie bonus action cards saw him in deep trouble. Rob jumped in to the rescue but luck just wasn't with them and another set of bonus action cards saw them chewed up and spit out!
28 missions remaining, 23 survivors!
For further context and hilarity the evening's entertainment came on the back of myself and Mr C having a number of nerdy STAW conversations about fleet lists. The first was how to defeat the Fed Anti-Proton Mine list, it was sort of impressive to see how "focused" he became.

The second was use of the Flagship card, which I have to admit was down to me. To get the best use you might want to put them on a small, cheap ship with high agility, the RIS Vo for example (8 defence dice when cloaked). Hmm that's impressive so what could you have it deliver offensively? Nuclear Warheads or Additional Weapons Array. Not bad, especially with points left over for two Valdores with Counter-Attack.

See! It's a slippery slope and all too easily done. That's where it got left it for me, don't do maths-hammer, but Mr C became "focused" on whether he would be better off with the Romulan Flagship for re-roll on attacks or the Independent Flaghip for +1 attack. To work it out he put together a scarily impressive EXCEL spreadsheet to work it our and mailed it round to a few of us.

All this after admitting the on the Facebook Big Bang Theory character test he came up as Wolawitz as the first thing he'd do with a new game is flick to the "how to win" section!

His signature,....Ruining games with maths since 1978! Had to chuckle :)

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Meat' Back on the (SAGA) Menu

Evening people,

Standard Sunday night "What I painted this week" post as I wrapped up Bolg (Warlord) and the three units of Uruks (Hearthgaurd) for my LOTR SAGA project. That's 26 PPs in the bag for a big tart to the New Year. I kept the Uruks green-skinned but lightened it up for contrast as well as the armour and shields. I wanted to keep Bolg more ugly mo-fo human, the Mordor Orcs will go the same way.

Better photo as I finally found the correct camera charger though I seemed to have slacked lightly with the set-up. I do now prefer a black background rather than white but I know that soaks rather then reflects, will try and experiment a bit.

Next up are the Mordor Orcs (Warriors) and the Hasslefree Moderns for some variation. Feet in both camps to keep the motivation up :)

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Hairy Muscle

Evening people,

A couple of evening's gaming and its Thursday which will be the first chance to put the brushes to work this week. The Uruks are calling and its a good idea to pay attention when they do!

Tuesday night at Enfield Gamers Sails of Glory rolled in for a couple of run outs with the basic rule. Card driven in the same way as Wings of War wind direction has a major and expected effect. To be honest the basic rules seem to be pretty much a straight port (ooh er) not that there's anything wrong with that, hopefully the advanced rules add some extra grit and detail.
Last night saw the second session of Star Wars EotE. Last time out was a little slow so it was good to pick up the pace as the boys headed out on enquiries. Unfortunately we were a couple short due to pesky work commitments. Ian's Duros Pilot ended up providing tech-support from the other end of a com-link while Rich's Wookie, the much advertised Hairy Muscle was still having a few "hair-ball" issues after  such a long bacta-soak.

Heading on down to Tinson Town Tech with something actually vaguely approximating a plan the lads first conned some info on the place,  Jared Tinson and Kanto, out of a local tramp before checking out the specials board, including the K-23 telescopic sniper sight, and heading in.

Greeted by Jared the questioning strategy wandered along under the guise of Rob's Gand Big Game Hunter telescopic needs whcih quickly took over. Mr C's protocol droid tried, and failed some outright deception, before going back to an attempted shopping trip on HI-HI's account which quick failed at the hurdle of a cost centre code. Even in a galaxy far far away you must put in the correct requisition form!
Thankfully the Trandoshan Smuggler got things back on track with Jared, his suspicions raised that the lad wasn't quite the full ticket (strangely empathic?) and Kanto's unwitting patsy. Eventually establishing that Kanto had headed "down-below" in the shop speeder, along with it's description and reg number, the chaps set off after him while tasking Ian to check out the traffic reports. Arriving in the roughest neck of the station's woods Ian had turned up a RTA report and a recovery contract awarded to Silas Waste Disposal.

Rocking up at said local beauty spot Trandoshan empathy and general fluffiness only served to rub up the Bothan officer manager entirely the wrong way and induce a pin-drop moment of obvious violent intent. Mr C, 7-UP-0, camply / calmy stepped up with expectations of simply employing his impressive Charm ROLL to the situation. I insisted on a far larger element of ROLE, to modify difficulty, at which he grovelled most impressively and also came up trumps with a Triumph.

At this point Silas himself, a vaguely corpulant Rodian, hauled himself from his seat and calmed things down with a burst of faltulence and a cackle. So impressed was Silas with UP-0s brown tounging he offered up the fact the the RTA was a cover with the Speeder picked up from Ronson Heavy Chemicals. The lads do owe him a favour for another day, but I'm sure that will come up in the fullness of time.

 Rolling up the session with a spectacuarly unsuccessful search of the smashed speeder, Tranny sliced a hand up pretty badly only to have UP-0 deploy his special groinal medical "dispense" at worrying speed, the lads readied themselves to move on to Ronsons. What was warming, as GM, was the (mainly) self generated paranoia levels within the party who were constantly conducting anti-surveillence on thier own shadows.

Come on lads, who do you think you are exactly?? ;p

Sunday, 19 January 2014

A Good Day to Die

Evening all.

It's been a good 24 hours of gaming with another Firefly session Saturday night before the OP4 ST: Attack Wing event down at TTN which was another sell out event.

Running my Sons of Moggh Klingon fleet I was running two K'Vorts with Worf and Martok plus Gowron in a B'Rel. Goals for the day were to have fun, pick up a win and trial Advance Weapon Systems. Glad to report that success was achieved on all three fronts. As for the games themselves;

First up I was against a two ship Fed Enteprise-B / Excelsior Flagship build with Khan and Picard generating more actions and cards than you could shake a stick at. Even  my opponent had trouble keeping track. I slammed Enterprise hard early on but he side-stepped away and I didn't manage to concentrate properly damaging both but not killing either. I dropped cloaks too early for other actions, red mist, which was something of a mistake. Lesson learned. 0-1.

Second up was against a K'Tinga swarm. Prioritising keeping the cloaks up worked well and proved the difference between two scarily similar fleets. Gowron's B'Rel came in for a lot of attention and died just as quickly as game 1, when it couldn't roll an Evade to save it's life. Quoted to me as a "glass gun" I might need to rethink this one. Big win to go 1-1.

Third up was two Excelsiors with Kirk, Picard and something new to me, Anti-Matter Mines. Managing to clobber Kirk, only for him to cheat death, I was Hyperdrive buzzed within about 2mm to be liberally showered with the Mines which took out my entire fleet on turn 3! Something of a situational one trick pony but it did the job big time for 1-2.

To be honest game 3 almost took the shine off by my opponent was a decent guy and I'm happy that I've learnt a lot from the day. To round out myself, Ian and Mr C played the three-way co-operative Scimitar scenario, twice in fact as the first time round we got smashed!

So, good day, don't even seem to mind that it's Monday tomorrow :)

Friday, 17 January 2014

Mutant Chronicles??

Hello people,

Back from the wonders of the week-long work training course this pile of shrink-wrapped geek-goodness was waiting for me. It's about bloody time as there were some "issues" with delivery resulting in a re-send, direct from the States thus incurring Import Duty, and a previously un-mentioned product split. Annoying but at least it's here, unlike Heroes of Normandie which is delayed further than the second front it represents!
Tomorrow night a few of us are getting together round at Rich's for another run-out with Firefly before heading down to TTN on Sunday for their most recent ST-AW Organised Play event. So, this seems like the post to expand my recent musing about "hybrid board-games" (Rich J's phrase), especially given GW's 25% share-price nose-dive following the announcing of their half year financial, though I appreciate that this is a relatively tenuous link.

Meanwhile, back in the room, the thought process works something like this;
- "Traditional" wargames take a lot of time and effort to get going, building and painting armies, scenery etc
- For new gamers this can be something of a barrier, though naive enthusiasm usually sees them through
- Veteran gamers, or at least the ones in my group, tend to have time as their most limited resource, as demonstrated by the number of abandoned projects that litter the bits boxes
- Wargamers are all about the toys, the figures. We tend to be somewhat disparaging towards "pure" boardgames and those that play them. Where's the "hobby" in that we ask?
- Boardgames with "proper" figures are apparently far more acceptable, they scratch the required itch. Thus the rise of the Hybrid-Boardgame

The Hybrid-Boardgame has a number of major selling points; 
- Everything you need to play the game comes in the box, it's (potentially) a self contained project
- You can get to playing the actual game very quickly
- There is still the possibility / necessity for figure painting
- The game tends to play quickly, 2hr max making campaigns far quicker
- The games themselves are well crafted being fast, fun, furious and even true to period / genre
- Less of an investment in respect of both time and, often, money

For myself, my apparent conversion has snuck up on me somewhat, starting with Blood-Bowl and Space Hulk whilst still playing 40K and Fantasy as my main games. I suppose that as my gaming has moved towards skirmish then its become less of a leap to make. The important point here is that I'm not complaining, I'm more than happy to be a Hybrid-Boardgamer!

As much as I'm still not a fan of pre-paints, painting my own figures is a big part of "my" hobby, the figures themselves have improved no end in terms of sculpt quality, material and re-paint potential, just look at the Zombiecide offerings! Speaking of ZC the rise of the Hybrid-Boardgame seems intrinsically linked to the rise of KickStarter within the hobby. The nature of Hybrid-Boardgames lend themselves to KS particularly well to the point of being almost self funding, they form Mantic's entire business strategy, and in some cases an apparent license to print money.

The offerings available have simply exploded over the past 18 months or so. Dreadball, Deadzone, Mars Attacks, Kingdom Death, Descent, Hero-Quest, Incursion, Dust Tactics to name but a few. Then you've got X-Wing, Attack Wing and Wings of War as various birds of feather competing for our Geek time and money. How about Spartan's Uncharted Seas, Firestorm Armarda and Dystopian War, tha tmuch different?

So is this doing real damage to the 6"x4" plus wargames community? GW's aparrent woes are likely far too circumstantial but the rise of KS and it's effects on the wider community have been well documented. Plenty of hobby wedge is being hoovered up in this manner and there is surely only a certain amount to go around. We've certainly noticed an effect in and around the club.

A bit like Marmite the reaction seems to be love or hate but whichever camp you're in I'm sure the Hybrid Boardgame is not only here to stay but likely to keep growing. The question is where and when is the saturation point?

Sunday, 12 January 2014

State of Play

Evening All,

Got a few bits done this weekend mainly STAW as Mr C picked up the club order on Friday, which for me was a pair K'Vorts. These are the real definitive Klingon Birds of Prey for me, they're just super cool and remind me of The Voyage Home which was always one of my favourites.

Game wise I like the whole Sons of Mogh thing and with my OP B'Rel I can run a whole fleet of them. Some good cards in there, including Worf, but no whale storage tank :)

Kind of shows my current focus that I got them Friday night to paint them Saturday (3 PPs) AND get them out on the table as Mr C and I played through the Fed Excelsior mission, which is basically the rescue from Undiscovered Country. Trying out Photon Torpedoes and not cloaking up so much I quickly worked out that neither are a Klingon strength.

The game eventually cam down to me chasing after a souped up Defiant. With Sulu to pump its agility and a turbo-charged warp drive is wasn't too much of a contest though I almost spaced ol' slaphead which is no bad thing!

I also did a bit of work on Bolg, getting him up to washed, and FINALLY picked up some PVA, £3.50 for about half a liter GW!!! Grrrrrr...........

Moving on, I'm away oop Midlands for a training course next week which will limit the geekery somewhat. I shall be taking a stack of Megazines with me to catch up on and  the EotE books, plus notebook, to start coming up with some general fiendishness to unleash at some point.

Bwaaa Ha Ha Haa Ha Haaaaaaaaa Ha :)

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Out with the Old, in with the New

Hello people, almost the end of the week and I can hear the brushes calling along with the lure of the Heineken Cup :)

Wednesday night saw the first roleplay session of the year with something both old and new as we tore the seal off the Star Wars EotE campaign that I'll be running.

Old because we've picked up from where the previous group left off, regaining consciousness in bacta tanks after a mission gone badly wrong. New as we've moved from Saga Edition to EotE. 

We've lost Aaron's Ilthorian crime-lord and Jon's horribly pesky Gand force adept(some would say gratefully!) but gained Ryan's Trandoshan smuggler and Rich's Wookie bounty hunter, who should make a fine pair :)
Additionally Rob's scout has morphed slightly from Mon Calamari to Gand Big Game Hunter and Mr C has made the leap from Quarren soldier to Medical Droid colonist.

Last time out the chaps had left the main colonised planet in the system, Khronos, at a rate of knots and headed for the asteroid shadow-station of Persephony. Sent on a salvage mission to earn docking rights everything went horribly wrong resulting in Total Party Unconsciousness.
Regaining said ability inside a number of bacta tanks the boys were introduced to their salvationists, also new employers / masters, Hyabuusa Intergalactic Heavy Industries.

Cautiously emerging from what turned out to be a three month soak paranoia was a bit of a high especially as their new benefactor addressed them through a holo projector whilst helmeted and stony chinned herded them about the place. De-gunked and dressed the next stop was a briefing room for the standard HI-HI indentured worker induction video, at which point they discovered that they've made it back to Persephony, and a quick rendition of the company song.

On it's heels was the chaps first assignment. HI-HI have been contracting a number of "technincal computer" services through Tinson-Town-Tech, a workshop on the light freight deck. Origininally run by the Tinson family it was taken over by a Toydarian, Kanto, after Tinson Snr had an accident with an ore processing, with Tinson Jnr his assistant. Kanto has gone missing and the HI-HI hierachy want him brought into "protective custody".
Settling into the barracks there was something of a montage, in fact a training montage as the chaps picked up some bonus XP, due to their relative reincarnation, chatted with Team Alpha (their designation is Zeta), picked up their kit and picked their bunks.

We did manage to roll some dice and get the narrative juices flowing for those that hadn't had the pleasure previously. Getting the security feeds from the camera near the shop and the occasional security drone the lads picked up a bit of intel but were left with Kanto entering but not leaving the shop three days previously. There was also the discovery of a speeder, registered to the shop, sat out by the rear loading door, not covered by a camera.

A bad roll saw that data corrupted which brought the session to an end at an opportune moment.
All in all a good enough start, next session in  a fortnight :)

Thursday, 9 January 2014

A Game of Two Tales

Evening all,

Back to the grind for three days and rather looking forward to the weekend and reacquainting myself with the brushes.
An oasis of geekdom I got in a game of Dreadball with Ian last night down at Enfield Gamers. Niffing  of varnish I dug out my Nameless while Ian opted for his beloved Forge Fathers. 

As it was thier first game I took two of each position, Striker, Sticky Guard and Hard Guard to give them an equal run. As the Away team I paired up the Sticky and Hard Guards in anticipation of laying some serious smackdown leaving the Strikers to scuttle about after the ball...except it didn't quite work out that way!

In short my Slam rolls were somewhat poor while the Fathers gave my lads something of an "lesson" which soon saw my injury box packed tighter a tin of John West. The Fathers were going full on with some big assists, Slams in the back and plenty of Stomps involved.
It didn't help that I forgot that Hard Guards have Can't Feel A Thing but it wouldn't have made a lot of difference. I was lucky to be avoiding multiple deaths! What also helped was the Father's total inability to handle ball while the Ref rolls pretty much all went my way.

So around about rush 6 I had a Sticky Guard a Striker left the pitch total, who thankfully manged to scuttle through for a 4 pointer. Speed and Skill 4 left them vulnerable to Gang-Slams but gave them good ball skills.

Around rush 10 the Slam game began to even up a bit as I put both Father Strikers off the pitch and grabbed a 1 pointer to leave Ian chasing the game a bit too hard. Managing to fend off the stumpys, despite a Striker kill a piece, I took the Landslide on the final rush and breathed out hard. It certainly didn't feel like a walkover!

As I'd thought Nameless are something of a combo team, with the ability to both hit hard and move the ball quickly, and refreshingly different to the Jack-tastic Z'Zor and Terratons I've been playing recently. Potentially able to take on most other teams effectively I think they could be vulnerable to specific targeting by Slam teams. I've seen it suggested that you need to target the Sticky Guards but I think it's the Strikers you need to go for.

Having said that next time out ill try a single Sticky, sprinting around to assist, with both Hard Guards and three Strikers. I think they might struggle against Striker spam and maybe the Asterians if they get some good Foul rolls. 

Looking forward to finding out :)

Sunday, 5 January 2014

The Twelve Days of X-Mas - Day 12

Had a lie in and played footy this afternoon so very little extras before going back to work tomorrow.

On the way home I had 10 minutes spare to pop into GW for a couple of paints........and managed to also pick up Bolg, aka Gundabad Orc General, for my Mordor force. He's finecast.........£15......FIFTEEN QUID!!!
Yes I paid it, once I eventually managed to let go of my card, as much as on the excuse that I haven't experienced Finecast before.......

Digging him out of the packet there were no obvious holes or gaps and the flash came off easily enough. His doubled handed mace was surprisingly soft, somewhat spongy in fact. As such the fit was somewhat "fluid", I needed green stuff to be happy with it. Not quite earnt the price tag just yet, I'll see how he paints but for that price I rather expect him to help out!!

So that's £15 of figures so far for 2014 and £9.50 of paint. Chatting STAW this evening I've noticed Star Wars 1-6 for £18...... ;)

So, a fair result for the 12 days in two completed projects and a bit of prep, about what I would have honestly expected. Meanwhile here's the view from the painting station:

Saturday, 4 January 2014

The Twelve Days of X-Mas - Days 10 & 11

Evening All,

Well yesterday was somethign of a bust but today has been better. The Mordor SAGA chaps are coming along nicely with the two Orc warrior blocks drybrushed various browns and the dozen Uruk hearthgaurd having recieved thier first wash. I've kept the Uruks simple and close to the movie scheme, though mine have to have green skin.

Otherwise Mr C and I got in a couple of games of STAW playing a couple of the scenarios that come with the various ships.

First up was a field test for a new Romulan cloak on a pair of science vessels. Trying out the Neg with a pair of Vor'Chas I went straight for the small ones ignoring their escorts. It was a fairly close run thing and I crippled my fleet in the process but score one for the ridge-heads.
Next up was the Klingon Assasination mission which gave Mr C the chance to run his Feds. Beaming a pair of brave Klingon warriors down onto the planet they continuously failed to plug Picard as his taxi finally arrived. Thankfully my pair of D7s lasted just long enough for the K'Tinga to pchase down the Defiant and blow it out of the sky.

Running the scenario again Data and Sulu appeared to provide an extra bit of Fed swerve at which point the Defiant clung on to its final Hull Point just long enough to escape to critically damanaged victory!

All in all the scenarios work well and produced three close games. More of the same please!

Thursday, 2 January 2014

The Twelve Days of X-Mas - Day 9

Bit of a mild slump today, otherwise known as Red Dead Redemption, and then supply issues have struck.

I HAVE, as well as numbering The Nameless, sorted out a 6 point Mordor SAGA force consisting of three groups of Uruk Hearthgaurd, two groups or Orc Warriors and one of Goblin Levy, which all seems to work well enough. All but the Gobbos have been cleaned up and stuck to bases.

The Gobbos haven't felt the love as I've run out of tuppences to stick them to. I also use the phrase "stuck to bases" as it would seem that my big pot of PVA is hiding somewhere in storage. That would also mean that in 2013 I haven't gravelled a single figure.....that would be a lot of Dreadball (8 teams plus MVPs and extras in fact) and the Dark Heresy figs on clear bases. Hmm....

I was thinking that the Hasslefree Moderns would be mounted on clear bases but was a bit torn. It appears that decision as know been made. I have dug out a few AT-43 exiles but their mates are hiding in an oversize case at the club!

All rather irritating as I was planning to get well stuck into a lot of Mordor browns tomorrow but not the end of the world I'm sure :) Lets build some Moderns before bed-time!!