Wednesday, 31 December 2008

January? WHAA!

Happy New Year, thrifty gamers.

So, it is January now. As I wrote last time, Steve and I decided that we would aim for a game of Warrior Heroes: Armies and Adventures at the beginning of February. Therefore, my primary objective for January is to paint my remaining goblins to provide an enemy for Steve's Teutonic knights. Steve is going to paint his Teutonic knights and then we shall have a scrap; no unpainted figures may be fielded so getting the figures painted is important. I am looking forward to getting started on these and will try to get pictures as I go along so that you can see the progress.

Objective 1: The Goblins
As I wrote before, this is one of my half-finished projects. It does not look like many figures to paint, but I always find that these things take longer than expected.

Objective 2: The Normans
More figures for the WHAA project, as well as being useful for other rules that I enjoy, like Retinue and Montjoie.

Regarding WHAA, I have also updated my wiki with some notes on WHAA and the first entries in my own warband's diary. The diary, Ragnar's saga, follows the adventures of the youngest son of a Viking jarl in his quest for fame and fortune. Pretty much standard Viking fare then.

As part of getting ready for the thrift, I have had to clear the decks, so to speak. This has resulted in me finally completing the painting on my Warrior Heroes 6mm armies. Warrior Heroes was the original THW fantasy massed battle game. It uses element bases and I have chosen to base all my figures on 40*20mm bases with a view to also using them with Warmaster Ancients. The two armies that I have produced use Baccus Wars of the Roses figures but are based on Hundred Years War armies. So, my project-based approach has already had some benefits since it forced me to put in the work on these figures. I am planning on getting in a game or two with these figures over the next month now that they are painted. Hopefully I shall also manage to get their bases done too.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Back to basics

Today we played a game of Laserburn. It is a long time since I have played Laserburn, probably about 12 years now that I think about it. I chose to umpire Assault on Bunker 17, which is the first Laserburn scenario that I ever bought. Steve was the unfortunate rebel stooge, who had to enter the bunker, kill General Yates, reprogram the sector computer and rescue the traitor from the bunker. Steve supplied four character figures for his side. I supplied all the other figures.
I have had these figures for more than twenty years now and the whole game was really nostalgia-filled for me. The rules held up well, although both of our brains hurt by the end with all the maths. Laserburn is the predecessor of the game that became 40K and its age shows in some respects, but it is still fun to play. So, how did the game go? Well, to be honest, rather poorly for Steve. His troops entered the bunker successfully and dealt very quickly with the door guards. They then advanced into the bunker and were forced to fight their way through the garrison's quarters to the computer and security areas. Unfortunately, about half way through the traitor was spotted doing something odd by the chief security officer. He managed to fake a systems malfunction but that meant he could not monitor his rescuers any more and open the bunker doors for them. With casualties mounting the rebel forces managed to reach the computer room but were forced to retreat before they could achieve their objectives. The elite assassins they had escorted in were dead or captured, the rebel troops were dead, one of the characters was dead and one had been captured. Steve chose wisely and his two remaining figures scarpered, leaving their companions to their fates. We did find that most of our shots actually hit characters in the legs, which is fairly typical. We get the same in .45 Adventures. This game was also characterised by a high number of guns that got hit and destroyed. Half the figures in the game had two-piece guns by the end!

This game of Laserburn was good on several levels.
  1. It embodied the spirit of thrifty gaming because we already had the figures and used a cheap-to-build terrain set
  2. It did not require purchase of anything that we did not already have
  3. It was great fun to play

We both already had all the figures that would be needed. Although we had planned this game for some time, it used figures that I had bought in the eighties and that had remained unpainted until now. I could have used already painted figures for the whole game but chose to use the game to spur me on and clear up a bit of the old lead mountain. The floor plan used for the bunker is a scaled down print-out of the WorldWorksGames Mars Station set. The doors come from Ebbles Miniatures' Guncrawl set. If you are interested, there are more pictures of this game in my Photobucket album, some of which have added commentary. The only disappointment about the game was that I had hoped to make a lot of paper furniture for the set too. Unfortunately that fell victim to a lack of desire to make much paper terrain. Still, we plan to play more Laserburn in the future, which will lead to more of my old Laserburn figures getting painted.

Regarding Mission: Ooh Shiny, we have now decided what our January project will be. [pause for drum roll and blow the fanfare. January will be WHAA month. I bought Warrior Heroes: Armies and Adventures when it first came out. Since then I have played a couple of solo games with my Vikings versus a variety of D&D miniatures and Steve bought some Teutonic Knights with a view to using them in it. I bought some Normans from Black Tree Designs that I planned to use with it (May they rot in the bog of eternal stench for taking 3 months to send me half my order and never having sent the rest 6 months later). I also supplemented my D&D miniatures with some Chronopia goblins. These goblins are sold as Blackbloods and I really liked the idea of giving my goblins giant chickens to ride instead of the more usual wolves. Unfortunately, as so often before, I prepped and undercoated the goblins and Normans but never got any further. So, we have the first scenario for Mission: Ooh Shiny.

Primary Objective: Goblins on Ripper Beasts and Chariot drawn by Ripper Beasts (2 VPs)

Secondary Objective: Norman Soldiers and Knights (1VP)

I am not certain how much time I shall have to paint figures in January, so I have set myself two objectives. The primary objective (Goblins) is the one that I must achieve. That should be fairly manageable (did I mention that I paint slowly?). The secondary objective is one that would be nice to achieve, but I shall not be overly disappointed if I do not manage it. Still, it would be nice to have the VPs for achieving it. I am not sure what the VPs will translate into when the year is over, but I suspect that Steve and I shall decide on a system for rewarding ourselves by the end.
I am looking forward to playing WHAA in February.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

What's it all about, Alfie?

M'buddy, Steve, and I are easily led. We both suffer from the Ooh Shiny Complex. This is when your mind alights butterfly-like on a new project and you instantly take it to heart. It is shiny and new, so you want to do it immediately. All the old projects are forgotten, possibly even discarded, in the excitement of this shiny new one. Unfortunately, newer, shinier projects appear with depressing regularity. The internet makes this worse because it gives you access to so many obscure ranges that are appealing, but which you would never have discovered if the internet were not there. A typical conversation over the gaming table might go like this:

Me: "Hey, Steve, you know what would be really cool?"
Steve: "No, what?"
Me: “What would be cool would be gaming the Gran Chaco War in 1:39 scale.”
Steve: “Hey yeah, that’s a great idea! We could even have little miniature guinea pigs as messengers.”

Two hours later, the credit cards have taken a hammering and we have bought a vast number of new figures. We begin painting the new figures with great gusto for a week or two, but then at the next gaming session …

Steve: “Hey, Ruarigh, I have had a great idea.”
Me: “Oh yeah, what’s that?”
Steve: “Let’s do a game based on a lost tribe of pygmy Vikings in central Australasia.”
Me: “Hey, that’s brilliant. We can convert CheapMiniatures™ Dwarves to use as the Vikings, but we shall also need an albino U-Boat Crew and some wheels on the U-Boat so that they can take it overland.”
Steve: "Yeah, and we need a Doug McClure figure."

Two hours later the story begins to repeat itself. The miniature guinea pigs lovingly crafted from fur left behind by my cat now languish in the drawer beside the half-painted Bolivian army. No doubt the pygmy Vikings will go the way of all lead and find their way into the storage in the attic. The story repeats ad nauseam like the remains of last Christmas' turkey. But then suddenly, like a bolt from the blue, Dave over at A Year of Frugal Gaming posted about his quest to reduce his lead mountain on TMP and on his blog. I saw in his quest one that parallels my own needs. Times are hard (well maybe not that hard but the old wargaming budget is diminishing rapidly) and the lead mountain needs scaling. Time to cut back, methinks.

Me: "Hey, Steve, I have had a great idea. See, there is this guy, Dave, and he is blogging about his attempts to buy less, play more and paint more. Why don't we try something similar?"
Steve: "That's a great idea. How are we going to do this?"

You see, this idea, even though it does not involve buying figures, is a shiny new idea. Therefore we both became immediately attached to it. Our goals and New Year's Resolutions are:
  1. To spend less on figures in 2009;
  2. To paint more of the lead we already own; and
  3. To play games using our newly painted lead
Therefore, we are resolved to try to complete one pre-existing project per month over the course of 2009. Each month we shall agree one project to complete for that month. At the beginning of the month we shall announce what we propose to do for that month. Each project will be chosen with a view to being achievable and realistic. I do not have much time for painting and the projects must take this into account.
Our first game of the following month will use the newly painted figures and preferably a rules set that we have not used before. We shall post a battle report for the battle on the blog and get on with painting the next project. Hopefully, by posting our aims on a blog, the threat of public humiliation will spur us on to complete each project and reduce the lead mountains. I look forward to seeing how it all works out and if we can sustain the effort required. Thus begins Mission: Ooh Shiny.