Saturday 10 December 2011

Crikey, the island's about to explode!

We played Tusk ages ago and I have been meaning to post pics from it but never seemed to get around to it until now. The game involved two groups of Victorian explorers trying to get from one side of the board to the other, where their ship is waiting, before the volcano erupts and tears the island to pieces. Between the explorers and safety is a herd of Tyrannosaurs.
We both set out as fast as we could. I shot at the Tyrannosaurs in a bid to drive them towards Steve's group, but failed miserably in my goal of getting him eaten. He shot at the Tyrannosaurs and managed to kill three of them with his elephant gun, although brave Sir Harry did rather end up on the wrong side of one of them (its inside). As the countdown to doomsday continued, we both raced as fast as we could and managed to get two stands each off the table. My group consisted of hunters with my poor porters being left behind. I cannot remember what Steve's consisted of, only that I exited more points of troops. Still, it was a draw because we both got two stands off the table. Frantic stuff all round and great fun.

Figures: Irregular Miniatures 6mm

Wednesday 14 September 2011

12 Thaumont 1000AC - Eviction Begins

The group sneaks up to the back door under cover of the fog and lurks in the bushes there until Elias has scouted the room beyond it. He finds a kitchen with old tables in it. A rusty stove and a rusty pump complete the ensemble. On the tables lie a variety of pieces of crockery. None appear to have any value. Against one wall lie some old sacks, their hessian exteriors rotting while the goods that were once inside have rotted away or been taken by rodents. Other than these items the room is empty. Wooden doors lead out of the room in all directions. A quick examination of them shows that they are not locked and nothing can be heard through any of them. A circular staircase leads up to the next floor.

Thursday 8 September 2011

12 Thaumont 1000AC - To the Castle

The group gathers outside Janacek's Inn at the first grey dawning, stamping to keep warm in the chill morning mist. The three new recruits are all waiting and ready. Judging by the straw in his hair Bogdan stayed in the stables last night to make sure that he would not miss the departure. After the usual fussing and fettling all is ready and the journey begins with a quick trip to the town hall to collect weapons.

It is fourteen miles to Antilles Castle, which means that it will be late evening by the time the group arrives there.

As the morning progresses the sun comes up and burns off the mist. The day looks set to be fair and the journey passes comparatively quickly along the road with a pause for lunch, at which point Breccia reveals that he only has a couple of dead rats left to eat. It looks like he will be scrounging food from the others tomorrow.

Shortly before turning off the road into the mountains, a large merchant caravan passes by heading for Threshold and possibly points north. The guards on it are well-armed and plentiful and there are easily a dozen or more wagons loaded with goods. The group leaves the road and heads into the mountains, following the ancient and unused trail that was once a major road leading to Antilles Castle. They arrive near the castle shortly before dusk and set up camp. There is still enough light to scout the castle. A quick check reveals two entrances: the main double doors and a smaller door that is hidden in the shrubbery at the opposite end of the castle.

The group watches the castle until night falls and then sets up watches for the night. The guards not only keep look-out for the camp but also watch the castle for activity. It is not long into the night, on Breccia's watch, that four Goblins are seen entering the main doors of the castle. Later in the night Shalander sees three small dog-like humanoids about 3' tall entering the castle, again by the front door. No other activity is spotted.

The following morning a great fog has rolled in and everyone is hard-pressed to see more than twenty feet in front of them.

Monday 5 September 2011

11 Thaumont 1000AC - Later that same day

The group is sitting down to a pre-dinner ale or three in the evening when a burly warrior approaches them. He greets Lacrimos first before addressing the rest of the group.

"I am Bogdan Malkovich and a warrior. I seek adventure, fame and glory and ahve heard that this may be had from your leader, Lacrimos. If you will accept me into your company, I shall bring my trusty two-hander to your service. All I require is my fair share of any treasure and rewards that might be gained while I am in your service."

A little later on a balding young man with a long but wispy beard approaches the group. He has a nose like an over-ripe potato and one eye higher than the other. To call him plain would be to insult plain people all over Mystara.

"Greetings, noble ones. I am Vladimir Pushkin, wizard extraordinaire. Your leader, Breccia, put out the word that you sought henchmen and I have come to answer your summons in the pursuit of knowledge and power. Take me into your service and I shall put my not inconsiderable mystical prowess at your beck and call. I require only a full share of the treasure and rewards that we gain while I travel with you and gift you with my powers."

The group responds in the same way to each, telling them to return a little later for a decision.

At this point Breccia states that he would like the magical shortsword. He would willingly pay for it out of his future shares of the treasure but only has enough to pay for half of it right now. What says the group?

9-11 Thaumont 1000AC - In and about Threshold

8 Thaumont - after dinner
"If only we could tell if any of these items in our treasure is magical," muttered Lacrimos over a buttered hotcake.
"Do you think some of them are?" queried Callinicus.
"I don't know," said Lacrimos, "but it would not hurt to find out. The problem is that we don't have a tame wizard to check for us."
"You mean you want someone to cast a spell to see if they are magical?"
"Well, why did you not say? Our gods should be willing to grant me that spell. I shall pray for it tonight and see what we can do in the morning."

9 Thaumont
Breccia mutters something about seeing if his contacts in Threshold can provide any extra muscle for the group and disappears off straight after breakfast.
Callinicus arrives shortly after. He, Lacrimos and Elias all head for their room, where Callinicus calls upon the gods and then points at four items.
"That sword that the Bugbear zombie was wielding, that ring that the skeleton was wearing and that studded leather belt are all magical, as is that blue liquid," announces Callinicus.
"I'm sure I saw that Elf in the common room just now," says Elias, "Shall I see if he can identify any of these for us?"
Elias rushes off to the common room, where he finds Shalander. After a quick discussion, Shalander returns with Elias and announces that he can identify the items for 100 Royals per item, but that he can only identify one item per day. The group decides that the shortsword should be the first item. Shalander chants for a while and then picks up the shortsword. After holding it and concetrating on it for a short while he puts it down and sits down, pale and out of breath.
"This sword is certainly magical but has only a basic level of enchantment on it. Still, that is enough to prevent it rusting and ensure that it maintains a very sharp edge."
[+1 Shortsword identified]
"You want that potion identifying too, eh?" he asks. When he gets a positive response, he sips it carefully, smacks his lips and announces that it is a Potion of Healing. "You can identify potions by sipping a little of them if you have some knowledge about these things. It's a skill I can teach you as we travel."

Following this, Shalander must wait until the next day before he can identify the next item, but the group discusses with him whether he would be willing to join them. He agrees in return for a full share of any treasure and rewards gained. With that he departs to rest and the others get on with their preparations for the next expedition. The first thing on the agenda is selling the treasure. Then it will be time for a shopping spree. The first batch of treasure, including the magical shortsword, nets 838 Royals. Ten percent of this goes to the Church of Karameikos. 100 Royals are paid to Shalander. The rest is divided between the group.

10 Thaumont
Shalander identifies the ring as a Ring of Translation. It grants the wearer the ability to speak a language without learning it first. This particular ring enables the wearer to speak Goblin. He agrees to take this ring as part payment for his services in spell-casting.

11 Thaumont
Shalander returns once more and this time identifies the studded leather belt as a Belt of Lifting. Although it does not increase your strength, it does make anything you are carrying feel lighter.
[Belt of Lifting - reduces encumbrance by one level]
With the items all identified and sold, and shopping done, the group is ready to head for the castle on the morrow.

Friday 2 September 2011


In a fairly recent blog post I showcased the Saucy Sue, a mobile den of scurrilous iniquity, or so the authorities would tell you. The Saucy Sue is a landship for our forthcoming Lacpunk game. She has some crew, but I thought she needed some extras and had these 28mm Black Scorpion pirates hanging around from an impulse purchase at a show. So, onto the painting table with them and slap some paint on. I don't think they look too bad, although my photography certainly still needs work and I have still not learnt to like painting 28mm figures:

Tuesday 30 August 2011

8 Thaumont 1000AC - A Rainy Day

With the Tor cleared and confirmation of the reward for dealing with the castle,the group kicks back for the afternoon of the 7th in readiness for an early start on the 8th.

The following day dawns overcast and very quickly turns into an early spring storm. Lightning flashes, thunder crashes and the group decides to stay by the fire in the common room of the inn for the day. The only exception is Callinicus, who joins the group ready to travel but returns to the temple when the group tells him that it is not a good day for adventuring.

The common room has a wet fug in it today as newcomers enter and dry off with ale, pottage and the fire. A group of four such, three humans and an elf, enter about mid-morning. Soaked to the skin and muddy, they nevertheless contrive to appear satisfied with themselves. Clearly they have done well this morning. Their clothing is mostly new and each wears a scarlet cloak that is ragged at the base, a clear indicator that they have recently been Sheared. As they seat themselves in a corner, they talk excitedly among themselves and look around, their eyes pausing as they alight upon the group and then moving on. Two of their number are spectacularly ugly, although it is unlikely that many would say this to the face of the tallest, a man who is as high as he is wide and not in the slightest fat. The other ugly one has a sly look about him. The elf, by contrast, is very pretty, but the longsword at her side might deter some from getting to know her better. The last human is a cleric in the Church of Karameikos. She bears their symbol on the shoulder of her cloak and wears another on a leather thong around her neck.

With the hubbub of these newcomers' arrival dying down, the common room settles in to the low hum of conversation that preceded their arrival. Shortly after lunch another notable newcomer enters the common room. This time the newcomer is a male elf. He is dressed in rich clothing, is clearly wealthy and is carrying a small, black, wooden chest that is padlocked with a brass lock. He looks around and pauses as he does so. The elf in the red cloak shouts across to him, "Sindar, over here." Sindar, for presumably that is his name, quickly goes over to the group and hands them the black chest. He talks to them quietly but urgently and hands over a pouch before leaving.

The day progresses quietly once more until early evening when another elf enters the inn. He is drenched from the rain and covered in mud from the road. As he enters he takes he looks around for a while undecided. Then he strides over to where the group is and parks himself in a chair as close to the fire as he can get. He looks over to the group and says in their general direction, "Blasted awful weather. A person could catch their death of cold in it." Without waiting for a response he continues, "You've the look of a hardy company. Would you be looking to hire a companion for your journeys? If so, I am the elf you need. My name is Shalander Feadiel and I am newly come from Alfheim in search of adventure. My skills include this longsword at my side, the longbow and some arcane ability. I'm planning to be around for a few days should you decide I may be of help."

The rest of the day passes uneventfully and the group retires to bed hoping for a better day on the morrow.

My Love-Hate Relationship with GHQ

It cannot have escaped the keen-eyed reader's notice that I use GHQ Terrainmaker tiles in a lot of my games. These are 4" across flat-to-flat polystyrene tiles of varying thickness according to need. The basic tile is 1/2" thick. Negative features, such as rivers, streams and ditches are constructed using two 1/4" tiles, while hills are constructed using 1" tiles. The whole system provides a fantastically flexible terrain system that is perfect for my normal games, which are fought on a 4' by 3' table for the most part.

I love this flexibility and I love the facility for making my own terrain as needed. You can do as much or as little with the tiles and they generally look fairly good even at the basic level of terrain-making that I do. Some people out in internetworld have done fantastic things with their tiles and make them look really good. For an example of this, check out Tom Stockton's website. His work is brilliant and an inspiration to me. Now if only I had the patience to do all that sort of work myself, but I do not, because I am a gamer more than I am a modeller.

However, I also hate the system. Why is GHQ's quality control so poor? The hexes I bought from Chiltern Miniatures when they were manufacturing them under licence over here were great. They were exact and fitted together well. The GHQ hexes that I have are occasionally squashed on the corners. They are not true hexagons and are often not precisely 4" across as they are meant to be. Some of the hexes I have are an eighth of an inch out in one dimension. It's a pain in the bum and ensures that my terrain often has fairly large gaps in it. I noticed this when photographing the Vikings earlier today. The 1/4" tiles that form an iced over river are smaller than the normal land tiles. They don't feature in any of the photos because of this problem with means that I had gaps in the terrain of 1/4" and more. Worse yet, those tiles then swum around within the terrain frame I was using because of the gaps. Bah! And Grrr!!

If only someone produced individual tiles like this that were precisely 4" across and were always perfect hexagons. Until then I shall soldier on, because I have rather a lot of the GHQ stuff and don't like the idea of all that wasted effort if I get rid of it. Of course, I suppose I could see about setting up producing stuff like this myself and trying to sell it. Might be a laugh. Anyone care to give me the start-up costs? I doubt I could manage it with the pittance I currently have in the bank.

There, I feel better for that whinge.

Some 6mm Vikings

This is the first part of my Baccus 6mm Viking army. These are enough stands to cover their use in our Rally Round the King campaign. All units are based on 40mm frontage by 20mm depth while the heroes are on 20mm by 20mm stands. This means I can easily use the same forces for Warmaster Ancients, should I choose to expand the army that far. At present I am undecided and shall probably just crack on with producing a 6mm Viking army for Impetus based on 60mm by 30mm stands. Perhaps I shall produce the full WMA army in the future or it may just happen naturally if the Rally Round the King army is successful in the campaign and expands to that size.

Thursday 18 August 2011

Castle Caldwell - a couple of CC3 images

I've been playing some more with CC3 and came up with the following image of Castle Caldwell (Basic D&D module B9). It is based on a revised floorplan that I found online somewhere.

The adventure map:

The castle on a bright spring morning:

I forgot to switch off the text from the player's plan of the area, but that is not too much of a problem. Time to switch to a scale bar, I reckon. I've also just noticed that the trapdoors on the towers are casting shadows so I shall have to move them to a different sheet from the rest of the symbols I used, but overall I am rather pleased with the effect and usefulness for our Labyrinth Lord game. I reckon I am going to get some nicely atmospheric maps out of this package. Yay! Money well spent, and I don't even have to paint it!!

I have produced maps of the interior and the dungeon beneath the castle, but I shall not post those until my players have battled through them, just in case they actually read this blog.

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Antilles Castle

Antilles Castle is a fortified manor rather than a castle. The Antilles family owned it from its construction in the reign of Queen Katarina Radu in the early eighth century AC until their demise in the mid tenth century AC. At the time of its construction the Antilles family had a controlling interest in the settlements, mining and logging operations of the area. Their demise was not the result of enemy action but rather a simple matter of lack of fecundity. The family produced no legitimate heirs and just died out. Since the death of Vaclav Antilles, the last of the Antilles line in 947 AC, the castle has lain vacant. Duke Stefan Karameikos took control of it, once the lack of heirs had been established and sought to sell it to raise funds for his other ventures. Unfortunately the area is no longer as prosperous or as safe as it was under the Radu dynasty and few have even considered buying the castle. That is, until an outlander merchant called Clifton Caldwell bought it in 999 AC. Since buying the castle he has realised that it is in need of repair and that it currently has unwelcome denizens in residence. He is seeking to have the residents evicted and plans to settle in it near his main mercantile interests. 

Antilles Castle in the morning sun:

Tuesday 16 August 2011

The Old Antilles Castle - Plan View

Here is a top-down view of the Old Antilles Castle. Each square is 10 feet across. The castle stands two storeys high (ground floor and first floor) and is clearly roofed. The double doors at the front are open, as is the single door at the back. 

Click the pic for a larger version.

A Map of Northern Karameikos - More Adventures with CC3

Ok, spent a bit of today fiddling with a map for our Labyrinth Lord game. The end result is this map of the area around the town of Threshold (Click for a larger version):
Looking at it displayed on the screen I notice some areas where I need to 'feather' the edges of the woods to give a less blocky feel. I could probably get away with fewer mountains in the mountainous areas too and the glow around the edge of the text needs fettling slightly to make the text more readable. Still, it gives the adventurers a visual aid, and I can fettle the map and add things they discover as I go along. The more I play with CC3, the more I wish I had this sort of technology in the late seventies when I first started playing Basic D&D.

Beyond the Threshold - A Map

Through his contacts with the merchant Caldwell, Miroslav has been able to obtain a map of the area (click the image for a larger version):

Miroslav warns that the map may not be wholly accurate. Much of the area is still wilderness and the cartographers probably did not actually venture into every place depicted.

I picked up Campaign Cartographer on Sunday and have been experimenting. You lucky adventurers get to benefit from this.

Wargods and CC3 - Version 2

Ok, a couple of instruction videos down the line and I think I am beginning to understand a few more things. Here's the next version of the campaign map. Have I made any progress? I think so. CC3 seems simple enough to get the basics quickly but probably has a lot more subtlety to it that I may well manage to learn later. Hmm, Steve's a CAD wallah. Perhaps I should just point it in his direction and see what he makes of it.

Monday 15 August 2011

Mapping Aegyptus with Campaign Cartographer 3

I have been considering putting together a Wargods of Aegyptus mini-campaign recently. It would be the first episode in a series that ideally would see the harbingers rise from lowly Ka1 wannabes all the way to Ka10 and possibly one of them becoming Pharaoh or restoring Osiris to the throne. The basic campaign idea is a simple one. The Harbingers must find the clues, which are located at significant named spots. Once all the clues have been found there is a climactic big battle. Each clue will add a bonus to the warband that finds it, so finding lots of clues will give an advantage to the warband that does this. So, I wanted it to be a map campaign and had drawn up a simple grid on paper. Then yesterday I weakened and bought Campaign Cartographer 3, primarily for mapping my Labyrinth Lord campaign but I produced an Aegyptus map first. This is the result, my first warts and all CC3 map using the basic package and no add-ons.

I was very surprised at how easy it was to produce this map. A quick whizz through the basic tutorial followed by a quick run through the CC3 Essentials pdf manual. A trip to the forum yielded a couple of clues about approaches and techniques too, as I read a few posts by first-timers getting their own work checked out, followed by looking up the topics in the main manual. So, that was Sunday afternoon filled up. I then spent an hour knocking this map together in the evening. I've tinkered with the settings a bit more today, in between running errands for my wife, but a small investment of time has yielded a perfectly usable map. It's not brilliant but I am quite pleased with it as a first effort. My next task is to try the same map using a different basic map type and see how that works. The range of icons available in the standard Vector style map is not as great as in the standard bitmap fill map, so let's see what I can do with the latter.

Overall I am very pleased with the basic CC3 package and how easy it is to use. I am not a great digital artist and have only sporadically used CAD packages in the past, so I am not an expert there. I use Photoshop Elements a bit, but this is not the same style of package and I am no great digital artist with PSE either, but I reckon that with a little bit more practice and thought I could be churning out competent maps for my games quite happily using CC3. I also suspect that I shall be spending a small fortune on the add-on packages too once I really get going!

Friday 12 August 2011

6-7 Thaumont 1000AC - The Old Antilles Castle

With the Tor cleared of monsters and treasure, the group decides to scout the Old Antilles Castle. It is but a few miles to the south-west and a quick look could yield valuable intelligence before finalising the agreement to clear it. 

The march to the castle is easy enough through the rolling hills of the area. As they crest a rise, suddenly the castle lies before them. It lies atop the tallest hill in the immediate area and shows few signs of having been maintained properly. The trees and scrub on the hill around the castle are evidence of that. Clifton Caldwell will have to spend a lot more money if he wishes to restore the castle properly.

The castle is a square structure some 200 feet on each side. It rises to two storeys with circular turrets on each corner. The main entrance is reached by a steep ramp and the large double doors that once closed this entrance lie on the ground in front of it instead.

There are few windows in the ground floor. Those that are present are mere arrow slits, while the first floor contains more and larger windows. The obvious route in is through the front door.

Observing the castle for an hour or so reveals no obvious guards and there is no movement observable at all. Certainly no one enters or leaves in this time.

After this the group returns to the Tor where they make themselves comfortable for the night. Guards are set but the night is uneventful and the following morning the group returns to Threshold and to their rooms in Janacek's Inn. They arrive just in time for lunch.

Miroslav quickly confirms that the fee for clearing the castle will be 100 Royals and any treasure still in the castle and then retires to his room, announcing that he will not be accompanying the group on this mission, but that he will require 10% of the reward for brokering the deal.

Wednesday 10 August 2011

6 Thaumont 1000AC - What's more superlative than deadest? Deaderer?

Having examined the sarcophagus for traps, and being satisfied that there are none there as far as they can tell, Elias moves to the doorway and loads his crossbow. While he does this, the others question Callinicus about the sarcophagus. 

I'm sorry," says Callinicus, "I know nothing about this symbol. I can only presume that it is a representation of mortal remains left behind while the soul flies to the lands of the immortals, but I cannot be sure. Perhaps it means that the deceased in the sarcophagus was a particularly evil person. Who knows? I'm only a novice in the Church of Karameikos and am here to learn as much as to help you. I could pray to the immortals but they do not speak directly to me, so I doubt that I would get a suitable answer."

Lacrimos and Miroslav move to the ends of the sarcophagus and prepare to lift the lid off while Breccia steps back to join Elias. Callinicus moves to the side so that he will not be in the line of fire but is ready to smite should smiting be needed.

Lacrimos and Miroslav count to three and then heave. The heavy stone lid slides slightly. They strain against its weight again and suddenly it is sliding free, crashing to the floor with a thunderous thud and raising a huge cloud of dust that makes everyone's eyes water. Had the group not been holding their collective breath, they would be choking now.

The silence after the lid falls is deafening, as everyone grabs their weapons just in case. As well they did, for a skeleton rises from the sarcophagus with a sword in one hand and an old rotting wooden shield in the other. It is dressed in rags that must once have been fine clothes. Reacting instantaneously Miroslav swings his axe at the creature, cleaving and smashing bone as he does so. Elias then fires his crossbow barely missing Miroslav. The bolt smashes against the wall behind the skeleton. The skeleton then launches a flurry of blows at Miroslav but he is able to fend them all off. By now Lacrimos and Callinicus have joined the fight. Lacrimos' sword smashes into the skull of the skeleton, crushing the bone and causing the creature to fall, lifeless and unlifeless to the floor. Callinicus practically sprains his wrist as his mace thumps into the floor nowhere near the now completely dead skeleton.

With no further threats, there is time to search the room. It is empty. The only saleable items are the skeleton's sword and a small silver ring that it is wearing on its finger. These are quickly stowed in Pushka's pack, along with the other items that were found. Further investigation of the Tor shows that the whole tunnel system has been explored. It is now mid-afternoon and any journey back to Threshold will see the group camping outside the town walls, because they have arrived too late to be let in.

Tuesday 9 August 2011

6 Thaumont 1000AC - Dead, Deader, Deadest

Lacrimos moves into the room and takes a quick step to the left, keeping his back to the wall. Miroslav does the same but steps to the right.Elias and Breccia take cover in the entrance to the chamber with Callinicus just behind them. As the group moves, the body on the plinth stirs and sits up. Lacrimos and Miroslav react simultaneously and without hesitation, both charging forward to attack the slow-moving creature. Disturbed by the nature of the undead creature, both warriors miss. Breccia throws one of his daggers at the creature and also misses, while Elias looses a crossbow bolt that tears a large hole in the creature's throat. Callinicus holds up a twelve-pointed star that he wears on a chain around his neck.

"In the name of Zirchev I command you to rest again, creature," he bellows. 

The creature hesitates briefly before drawing the sword at its side and attacking Lacrimos. However, it is too slow and the shining steel of its blade just scratches Lacrimos' shield. Breccia throws his second dagger at the creature striking it a glancing blow, while Elias hastily reloads his crossbow. Miroslav grits his teeth and puts all his strength behind his swing. His axe carves into the creatures neck and takes its head off. Its body slumps to the ground. A quick survey of the room shows no further immediate dangers, so Elias and Breccia have a quick look around. The room and its contents do not appear to contain any traps, so the group searches the room. While they do this, Callinicus places the body back on the plinth and puts its head between its knees before saying a prayer over it.

There are six clay pots at the foot of the plinth. Five of them are empty, but contain traces of old wines or foods that would have sustained the creature on its journey into the afterlife. The sixth contains treasure and the group counts out 90 tarnished silver coins of an unknown king, whose face resembles the bearish cast of the creature. Also in that same pot are three golden arm rings, a small gold torc, a silver finger ring and several hammered strips of silver. The sword that the creature was using also seems serviceable. Despite its age it has not rusted, but it is unremarkable in any other way, being a well-used shortsword with a few nicks along the edge that attest this usage.

With this treasure stowed in packs, the group returns up the passageway to investigate the one remaining passage. It leads to a single chamber containing a sarcophagus. Carved into the lid of the sarcophagus is a death's head design with bat's wings extending from the skull. There is no other ornament or decoration surviving in this chamber. Elias and Breccia check the room and the sarcophagus and are certain that there are no traps present.

The Chambers under the Tor:

Friday 5 August 2011

Bwendi Aerospace Navy Gets New Fighters

The Bwendi Bugle
Blowing the Bwendi Trumpet Since 1984 Old Earth Time

Gladcorp is very pleased to announce the development of the new Dendrobates Fast-Strike Interceptor. The Colonel's own Azureus Squadron took delivery of the first of these new fighters and may be seen here testing them above the Bwendi night sky.

Colonel Throckmorton P Gladiolus himself leads this squadron into battle and it is reported that he is very pleased with this new interceptor: "The flight was so smooth that I was able to perform combat manoeuvres while drinking my tea and I did not spill a drop. I can't wait to take a pop at the ADF in this beauty."

Figures: 1:300 Amrep Eagle by Brigade Models

Wednesday 3 August 2011

6 Thaumont 1000AC - Return to the Tor

As dawn breaks the group are on their way to the Tor once again. Breccia's optimistic desire to be there at breakfast time was just that: optimistic. It is half a day's travel to the Tor and the group breaks its fast about half way there, arriving at mid-morning outside the entrance to the cave. The day is overcast but not raining. Quickly the group prepares to enter the Tor. Armed with torches and lanterns for light they quickly progress to the chamber at the end of the long passage. It is clear that there has been little disturbance, although the bodies left by the group's previous foray have been chewed upon by various creatures but there is no sign of these creatures at this time. 

The room where Breccia smelt gold lies just ahead. The light from the torches reveals a chamber with a large stone plinth in the centre about eight feet long by five feet wide. A large humanoid creature lies in its last rest atop the plinth wearing the rotten remnants of clothing resembling a modern knight's. It's tabard is brown with age and disintegrating and it has dry leather belts around its middle. A scabbarded sword lies on its chest and a rusty shield by the plinth itself. This was clearly once a person or creature of status. However, they are now just as clearly dead, with dried flesh being all that clings to their bones.

The creature looks familiar to Breccia but he cannot quite remember.

At the foot end of the plinth there are several sealed clay jars, probably grave goods for the creature. Other than these there are remnants of wall-hangings that have crumbled and browned with age but little else of interest in this room.

Saturday 9 July 2011

Avast Behind! or The Saucy Sue Sets Sail

Dave Graffam produces a nice range of card buildings for printing out and building. They use layers in the pdf so you can customise them and produce quite a variety of models from just the one download. At no more than $5 per pdf that makes them very good value, although you do need to factor in ink and card costs.

Anyway, I was browsing his stuff at Wargame Vault last night looking for some cheap retail therapy when I spotted his Patrol Boat model, which looked interesting. Then I spotted his Abandoned Wagon model. Well, that was it. Three quid for two models with many uses. I was sold.

Better yet, I could combine the two models. Steve has been talking about playing a Lacepunk game set on a lost continent in the mid-eighteenth century for some time now. I admit that I too have talked this one up. It sounds like fun to me. One of the ideas with this world is that it has a vast flat plain at its centre and the denizens thereof use landships to get around. Naturally, my group in the game will need their own wheels, so here is the Saucy Sue. She is a small cutter-like vessel, being swift and manoeuvrable but with not much room for crew. The next question that we need to answer is whether to raise the jolly roger or not.

Wednesday 6 July 2011

Tarting up the Troops

I mentioned tarting up my troops in the last post. Here is a before and after shot of Austrian (left) and Russian (right) stands from Irregular miniatures. In the background is the Russian general's new car, which I found in the bits box. All figures are Irregular miniatures and show how the WW1 infantry come based (three figures to a stand). I rather wish they did their WW2 infantry this way too. For some reason the modern infantry that I have is based similarly to the WW1 infantry but not WW2 stuff. Odd.

Tuesday 5 July 2011

Orange Blossom Special?

Train, trees, track and village by Irregular Miniatures
Hexes by GHQ and all flocked up by me

I started a Red Actions play by email campaign recently. I am umpiring it and my players (one in Australia and one at the opposite end of England) are busily plotting and counterplotting against each other. Steve and I are refighting the battles for them. You can read how the campaign is progressing on my Red Actions blog, but more importantly, this campaign has inspired me to revisit my WW1 6mm figures.

I have Russians, Austrians, Germans, Italians and British forces available to use but have not played anything with them in ages. These chaps are now proxies for the Estonian and Freikorps forces in our campaign. Railways are important in the campaign and I realised how bad our table looked without proper railways on it, so I ordered an armoured train pack from Irregular Miniatures and some track for making railway tiles. I ordered on the Thursday afternoon and the figures arrived on the Saturday morning. By Sunday they were all painted and I could start fixing railway track to hex tiles. I did the final basic work on the hex tiles this morning.

I chose to keep the train's paint job generic because I have not decided if I am going to choose one particular force to field and I currently want to be able to use it with all the forces available to me. The village and trees are from Irregular Miniatures too. I have had them for years and it shows. I really should get around to repainting them all. The hex tiles are GHQ. It is frustrating that they are not precisely cut but I still like the overall effect and flexibility. As my eyesight deteriorates with age I should become better able to ignore the gaps between the hexes! I also need to return to the hexes I made first and do more work on them because I am not happy with the colour of the scatter material. It is too dark.

Here is the result. An armoured train steaming through the countryside. Let's hope the village and woods do not contain partisans bent on blowing the train up!
(Click the pics for larger images)

Thursday 30 June 2011

Massacre at Umbobo Station [Laserburn]

The Bwendi Bugle
The Truth Shall Make Ye Feer

News is just coming in of an assault on Umbobo Station in Mpele Province. Two gangs of Albion Symps have attacked the station, massacred the police troopers stationed there and stolen a consignment of valuable organs worth thousands on the black market. The whole are was littered with bodies. Initial reports say that four of the five troopers were found dead at the scene. Sergeant Friendly of the Police Sentinels lived long enough to tell a terrible tale of murder and treachery before she too died.

The perps drove up in two trucks from Natongo town and immediately murdered Officer Nicey, who was on guard. The other officers sought to arm themselves before confronting the villains, who were busily searching the supplies for their loot. Officer Lovely was first out of the door and managed to immobilise two of the gang members before being gunned down. One of the villains then burst into the barracks and gunned Officer Smashey down before he was immobilised by Sergeant Friendly.

Sergeant Friendly and Officer Super leapt out of the barracks to confront the remaining villains, only to find the villains firing on each other. Between them they accounted for two more of the villains before themselves being gunned down.

Forensic officers at the scene report that military spec technology was used including a Vortex Grenade that demolished a building and a tree. With such weaponry being used the perps must have been sponsored by the Albion Defence Force and it is odd that they seem to have turned on each other when they could. Investigators hope to find out more from the one living perp that was left at the scene. This man has been identified as Ezra Betterware a small-time crook. He is currently in intensive care at Sea Prison and will be questioned when he comes to. Two of his known associates, Esther DeVries and John Waldorf, were also found dead at the scene. A worldwide manhunt is now on for their other associate John Statler, who is thought to have been driving one of the trucks. If you see this man do not approach him. He is armed and dangerous.

Satellite imagery shown below shows another gang of four people, all of whom escaped in a stolen militia truck. They have not yet been identified. If you think you know them call our tips hotline on 5150-BAG-A-PERP.

(Click the images for larger versions)

The Scenario:
Mpele province is a real backwoods area of Bwendi Prime. It is sparsely populated and is known mainly for the logging industry in that area. As a result, it lacks many amenities but is generally peaceful. What it does have is a widely scattered series of automated hospitals staffed only by a small security team and a doctor whose function is mainly to keep the Autodoc in good repair. Each month new supplies are flown in to the hospitals and these include valuable organs that could be sold on the black market for a small fortune. You have decided that this sort of easy target will provide you with easy pickings and a means to improve your social status. So you have chosen Umbobo Station, which lies nearest to your hometown of Natongo and you have stolen a truck to get you there. Now all you have to do is intimidate the half dozen security guards and steal all the good stuff before police reinforcements can show. Next stop the big time. No more tagging and casual vandalism for you.

The Gangs
Each gang has 2000 Credits to spend on troops and equipment. You can only take four or five figures in total, because you need space in the truck for the supplies that you are about to steal. You do not have to pay for the truck.

The Police
One officer starts standing guard at the gate to the compound. The others are in the barracks building. No police officer will do anything until after the first shot has been fired, at which point they may now act freely. The points value of the police should be based on how many gangs there are. If there is only one gang, the police get 2000 Credits to field 4 or 5 officers. For each gang over one, add 500 Credits to the police budget. In a multi-player game the police are there to be an annoyance more than anything else. It is expected that the gangs will provide the main opposition to each other. We used the basic equipment listed for colonial police in Forces of the Imperium.

We used a 4' by 3' table for two gangs. 4' by 4' would probably work well with 3 or 4 gangs. All gangs enter from off the table.

The table should have a lot of cover scattered around. Umbobo Station should be in the centre of the board, equidistant from all starting points. It has 6 piles of supplies lying around it. To find the organs, the gangers must search the supplies. It takes one full turn of uninterrupted searching to be allowed to roll to find them. Roll 1d6. If it is a 6 then the organs are in that supply pile. If the organs have not been found and only one supply pile remains, then they will be in it. There are four crates of organs in the pile. Each crate is equivalent to carrying a heavy weapon and requires two hands, so figures must drop the crate if they wish to shoot or melee.

Winning the Game
The winner is the gang that escapes with the most crates. Each crate is worth 500 Credits. Experience is awarded normally.

The Truck
Acceleration: 5m per turn
Deceleration: 10m per turn
Turning circle: Half current move distance
Armour: Mesh
Carrying capacity: 1 driver and 2 passengers in the front. 6 spaces in the back. Each space holds either one figure or one crate.

Thursday 23 June 2011

Day 1 Vatresh- Miroslav

My initial feelings on re-entering the ancestral Traladian city of Vatresh were not admittedly good. Having to hand over my weapons to some city guard is a sorry situation and demonstrative of the yoke that the Thyatians have over my people. Our backs are so bent to these people that we think nothing of these oppressive laws that lessen our rights to protect ourselves and make us reliant on foreign laws and customs rather than our own metal. But such are the days that we live in and so the gods have decreed we must live- we must have offended them deeply at some point in our past! Ha!

Despite this I was grateful for the inn, good food and the comfy bed to rest my head on. Sadly I was too weary to find the company of a soft woman and beauty of the Traladians to share it with!

Come the next morn I was eager to take care of some affairs and so bind farewell to my companions, who also had their own chores that day. I went to the local bath house and took the time for a good cleaning and relaxing. These are the areas the local business class does their business and I hope to make some contacts there. I was fortunate enough to make the aquaintance of a small group of such men- Boris Borisov and his son Boris, Bardus Tadmor and some foreigner Clifton Caldwell. I seemed to have made a good impression as they invited me to dine with them later tonight at the Grey Unicorn. Tadmor was a Thyladian timber merchant and seemed a good enough man. Caldwell was new to the area but obviously a man of means and a possible good contact to have as he has contacts from outside the area and thus access to rare or unusual goods. It offended me that he had bought up some manor house/castle in the area, probably one of the old Traladarian nobles buildings fallen into disrepair through heavy taxes or stolen from it's rightful owners. I held my tongue however and took it as a further example of the need to build a fortune as this is what gives a man power with these dogs not the true character of a man or strength. Still they were good company and decent men. Caldwell offered the group a job clearing this castle, which I said that I would consider and ask my companions.

Following this meeting and with promises to meet up to dine in the evening I retired to see if I could get this blue liquid we had aquired in the Tor looked at and identified. I went to see one Kasmira Milosava as she had a good Traladian name. However I was not impressed by the lack lustre way of her household or the prices she wanted for identifying- 100 Royals seems a tremendous amount for an item given that the money Caldwell had offered to clear his castle was 100 Royals! Quite possibly this would even go over the value of the liquid itself! Either she clearly does not want the business or Caldwell is underchanging for his job. I shall make further enquiries around Vartesh in the meantime for now however I prepare myself to dine this evening, putting on my finest clothing.

Sunday 19 June 2011

Breccia in Threshold

After a rather interesting few days with my new companions in a Tor outside of Threshold, I feel that we can be a good set of companions given the time to get to know each other. My companions seem willing to risk themselves for each other, a trait I was not aware Humansd really understood, (they do not live underground were looking out for others is second nature otherwise the earth takes you).

Lacrimos is a snorer another trait I was not aware of. Dwarves make no noise at night we sleep like the grave.

I have done my errands in Threshold and am happy to see such a busy place though I do miss my mines and people. It seems we may have a job offer. I think this will be a good idea as we need the money at the moment. I will leave the glands to be prepared and collect5 them later.

So with employment in the offing I am content to explore the town and listen to the town folks' gossip

Saturday 11 June 2011

Characters of Threshold

Slug - an alchemist on Fogor's Isle
Clifton Caldwell - an outlander merchant who has purchased the Old Antilles Castle
Boris Borisov - a haulier
Boris Borisov - Boris Borisov's soon-to-be-sheared son
Bardas Tadmor - a timber merchant
Kasmira Milosova - a magic-user living in North Threshold
Vladimir - Kasmira Milosova's apprentice, a gangly and awkward-looking young man
unnamed - Kasmira Milosova's servant, an elderly Traladaran lady
Janacek - an inn-owner
Sergeant Arthol - head of the town guard
Sindar - an Elven merchant

Friday 10 June 2011

5 Thaumont 1000AC - a day on the town

Right after breakfast the group splits up and heads off to different parts of Threshold. Miroslav is dressed like a moderately wealthy merchant as he departs. The others fare abroad in the town wearing rather battered but still acceptable clothes. The day passes without bumping into each other and all return to Janacek's in the early evening. When they do, Lacrimos introduces everyone to Callinicus Burtzes, a novice of the Church of Karameikos, who has agreed to travel with the group in return for the group tithing 10% of its loot to the Church of Karameikos and paying him a fee of 4 Royals per month plus his bed and board while travelling away from Threshold. Callinicus seems very keen to travel with the group.

Monday 23 May 2011

2-4 Thaumont 1000AC - On to Threshold

It is almost midday by the time the group has strapped Breccia to Pushka and loaded all the gear up. Still, the sun is out now and the world looks fresh and new after the storm last night. Battered but still alive, the group sets off along the Windrush Road. The road is muddy but passable and makes the journey through the forested hills much easier than it might have been. At one point it runs right alongside the Windrush River, which runs from Lake Windrush, beside Threshold, all the way to the sea in the south.

The route from Verge to Threshold:

The journey is uneventful and the group arrives at the gates of Threshold in the early evening. The palisade around the town stands ten feet high and is of rough-hewn logs, as is the gate. Wooden towers dot the wall at regular intervals and surmount the gate. You can see guards stationed in the towers. There are also guards on the gate. The gate guards are polite but insist on the group giving up all weapons bar swords, staves and daggers. Lacrimos and Miroslav must hand over their axes while Elias' crossbow is also taken. Each of them gets a receipt for the weapons and will be given their weapons back upon return of the receipt to the gate guards when leaving town. The guards are in talkative mood, presumably because it has been pleasant weather and a quiet day for them. They talk about the town and fill in some of the main details about the place (Click here for background to Threshold)

Once inside the town walls, it is time to find an inn. The guards have suggested that the group try Janacek's Inn, which is a mid-range inn in the Old Town with not too many bed bugs. At 6 crona per night for a double room, it should at least be affordable. The rooms are private, unlike cheaper inns, where accommodation is often just one large dormitory with space for a bedroll on the floor. The inn also has stabling for Pushka which will cost 15 kopecs per day. Since you intend to stay for a week, it is possible to book a weekly rate, which is slightly cheaper than the daily rate (35 crona per week for a double room. 9 crona per week for stabling).

The group heads for Janacek's Inn and books two double rooms for a week, initially. By sharing, the group is able to split costs and save money so this appears to make sense until Breccia begins to complain that sharing a room with Lacrimos is causing him to lose too much sleep. Apparently Lacrimos snores loudly enough to shake the walls of the room! The inn is clearly popular with local adventurers and mercenaries, as well as the less well-off merchants. There are not huge numbers of these, but the few that are there in their battered leathers with notched swords by their sides seem to have seen a fair bit of action. Despite this, the inn is a quiet place. Troublemakers are encouraged to take their trouble outside by the bouncers Jan and Hus, twin brothers with broken noses and bulging muscles. The proprietor, Janacek himself, is a talkative fellow, who likes nothing more than to discuss what his clients have been up to, while the food is wholesome pottage with bread and is more than adequate for the money.

In one corner of the inn is a notice board with adverts for jobs on it. Many of these are for caravan guards and some are more dangerous jobs that the very skilled or desperate might apply for.

The group rests up for the first two days, slobbing out in the common room of the inn or sleeping in their own rooms. By the end of the first day, Elias is back on his feet at last and everyone is feeling a lot better. By the end of the second day, the group is all fully recovered, with only scratches showing where they had been bitten, stabbed and slashed before. The whole group is now ready to explore the town or do whatever they need to do.

Sunday 15 May 2011

Threshold, a logging community on the frontier

The original Traladaran name for the village of Threshold is Vatresh, the name being replaced by the Thyatian conquerors in AC 910. Many of the Traladaran locals still refer to the town by its original name. The Ivanov family were once the major Traladaran noble clan of the area but now Baron Sherlane Halaran rules the area.
(click picture for larger image)

Threshold is a frontier community on the Windrush (Wufwolde) River near Lake Windrush. Originally a simple logging community, it has grown into sprawling settlement of nearly 5000 people since the coming of the Thyatians. Despite its large population, Threshold is not a squalid, crowded town due mainly to a law passed by Baron Sherlane Halaran that forbids any building to be built within 50' of each other.

On arrival in Threshold visitors are asked their profession and business by the town guards, who also explain town rules and regulations. Directions will be freely given and any illegal weapons will be confiscated, with receipts given for their return upon departure.

In the centre of Old Town is the Town Hall, a very large building used for storing confiscated weapons, town meetings, public declarations, trials and entertainments.
Outside the town walls there is a fishing village half a mile away from town and a large logging community encamped on the east side of the River Windrush.

There are six districts in Threshold - Docklands, Fogor Isle, Old Town, West, North and South.

Fogor Isle is the seamy side of town and is not patrolled at night. On the north end of the island is the blackened ruin of the Old Mill, burned 15 years ago. The building often becomes infested by giant insects and has to be cleared periodically.
Tarnskeep is a small sturdy fortress located approximately half a mile north of town, the home of Baron Halaran.

A dam across the mouth of the lake keeps large boats from travelling upriver while a weir is present that can be opened to allow lumber to float downstream.

Friday 6 May 2011

2 Thaumont 1000AC - Spider venom

Breccia reckons his odds and then springs forward to attack the spider. As he does so, he yells at the top of his lungs, "BIG SPIDER, POISONOUS!" The shout reverberates along the hall and stops Lacrimos and Miroslav in their tracks. As they turn, Breccia is thrusting at the spider with his short sword. It chitters madly and dodges out of the way of the thrust, darting in to try to bite Breccia, who manages to dodge too. 

Lacrimos immediately breaks into a run and heads for the chamber where Elias lies helpless. Miroslav turns and sprints towards Breccia.

Breccia tries to hit the creature again but it dodges his clumsy swing once more and sinks its fangs deep enough that the blood spurts down Breccia's arm (6 damage). Breccia's shout of pain echoes down the halls of the tor.

Miroslav redoubles his efforts to reach Breccia.

Wiht pain lancing up his arm and blood spurting down it, Breccia struggles on. Gritting his teeth, he steps in close to the spider and thrusts hard. His sword slices into its lower mandibles and out of the top of its head. The spider slumps to the ground and twitches uncontrollably for a second and is then still. Breccia steps back, breathing hard. By the time that Miroslav reaches him twenty seconds later, the spider is dead and he is trying to bandage his wound.

In the light from Miroslav's torch, the pair can see that the room is covered in the half-eaten corpses of rats and that the spider, although large, seems emaciated and ill-fed. A whole dwarf must have seemed like a feast to such a creature.

Seeing that Breccia is still mostly in one piece, Miroslav begins to search the chamber. It is singularly lacking in anything but bits of rats and rocks from the ceiling and walls. There is no treasure and no spider eggs are to be found either. One can only surmise that this poor male spider became trapped and has had to live off anything else that got trapped in here.

Lacrimos bursts into the chamber where Elias lies unconscious muttering about rats in a garbled and feverish manner. All is peaceful there.

Thursday 5 May 2011

Oh what a tangled web we weave ...

Breccia bravely tells the others to return to Elias while he scouts the area. His infravision works better without the interference of other light sources, so this may be a sensible move. While they return the way they came, Breccia looks around. Ahead he can make out a room and the cold stone of a large table in its middle, with a cold figure or carving atop it. He can smell bits of gold in the dust around the table. As agreed, however, he sneaks down the longer chamber through ancient dust and bits of stone. Within five minutes he has reached the edge of another, smaller room. The floor of the room is covered in small lumps making an uneven surface. Bending down, Breccia investigates and realises that they are the corpses of rats. He is about to step further into the apparently empty room, when a shape detaches itself quietly from the shadows, emerging out of a previously unseen hollow in the floor. A giant spider! And not 15 feet from Breccia!! 

So this is what the world looks like through infravision!

Wednesday 4 May 2011

Squadron Commander: Reheat - First Impressions

Rules: Squadron Commander: Reheat
Producer: Brigade Models
Type: 1/300 starfighter combat

Squadron Commander: Reheat is a reworking of Squadron Commander 3600. The rules are available as a free download from Brigade Models so the first thing to say is that the price is right. Apparently there will be a printed edition that includes points, campaign stuff and other bits not included in the pdf. The pdf edition of the rules contains the basic rules for play and the stats for the existing range of supporting miniatures so you can get started immediately.

The Rules - Table of Contents
Game Set-up
Sequence of Play
Resolving Damage
Damage Control
Leaving the Battle
Starfighters and Missiles
Squadron Generation
Designers' Notes

So, how does this game play?
The game shows its hex-based origins very clearly and is written as if the default position is to play on a hex grid. They also include a section on playing without a hex grid (read 1 hex as 1 inch and measure appropriately). We played without a hex grid and it works absolutely fine. The only thing we thought would come in handy was a turning key to help fighters turn, because turns are measured in increments of 60 degrees exactly if playing on hexes or up to 60 degrees if not. I shall get around to making one of those at some point soon.

Each fighter has its own data card with all the information on it and space for writing in its missile payload, damage received and current speed. The data card contains most of the information you need to play the game and is probably the main reason why you would not field a vast number of space fighters in this game. We're not sure on practical maxima at the moment, but the starter sets are a good clue to a base game size (two flights of four fighters on each side).

Normal movement is in straight lines or turns of up to 60 degrees. You set your speed at the start of the turn and then move when your turn comes. You have to move a set distance in a straight line, based on your speed and manoeuvrability, before you can turn. There are also options for side-slips, hard turns and barrel rolls if you want to get fancy. Fighters also have acceleration and deceleration limits so you do not have a totally free choice of speed.

Sensors are used to identify enemy fighters and can also be used to scan the enemy for damage or other information. Normally you cannot view enemy data cards and this is how you would find out just what damage has been done. Of course, fighters also carry jammers so your scanner has to beat the enemy jammer before you can get a lock and find stuff out. This same process is used for getting a lock on the enemy to fire missiles at them.

Fighters all carry cannon. This is a generic term for blasters, lasers, etc. Cannon are fairly short range and cause less damage than missiles but there are fewer ways to avoid cannon shots, so it probably balances out in the long run. Fighters can also carry missiles. The basic fighters may carry one missile per hardpoint with fighters having either two or four hardpoints. To fire a missile you need to get a lock on the enemy fighter. Once the missile is launched, the enemy fighter gets to drop decoys if it has any and use ECM to divert the missile before it hits, so there are plenty of opportunities to stop missiles, which might make them seem not much use. On the other hand, they have longer range than cannons and do a heck of a lot more damage when they do hit.

Some fighters have shields. These prevent a lot of damage completely and can recharge between turns. Other fighters have more armour, which reduces the amount of damage taken but does not completely stop it, unlike shields. It's a trade-off in design that played a large part in our game. A lot of games just give the figures damage points that are reduced when they are hit. SC:R uses a system of critical hits instead. This results in components of the fighter getting damaged or damage being taken to the structure of the fighter. If the structure is reduced to 0 then the fighter is destroyed. You can also cause a nice fireball by hitting critical components. This makes the game very interesting, because reduction in capability is not incremental. You either have a system or you do not. The number of critical hits inflicted is equal to the damage done divided by the armour rating of the fighter. So, as you can see a heavily armoured fighter will take fewer hits, while one with shields will take more hits once its shields are gone but no hits up to that point.

One final point to include is that you also roll for pilot skill and abilities before the game. Pilots can start with weakness such as being poor with scanners or strengths like being a Marksman. Presumably in the campaign game pilots can improve in skill and skills. That would be really cool.

The question is, how does this all work in practice?

Our Game
We decided to just play with two fighters on each side. I chose my Hornisse Interceptors while Steve chose a pair of Folgore multi-role fighters. My ships carried lots of armour but no shields while his had shields but little armour. I think it would be fair to characterise my fighters as great lumbering brutes, whiles Steve's were lighter, faster, stealthier and better in almost every respect except armour and ability to absorb damage.

We rolled for set-up and it turned out that my lumbering brutes had got the drop on the Eurofeds (Steve rolled a 1 and I rolled a 12). We deployed behind him, trying to get in close enough to tail him, but his fighters, being more agile and faster quickly turned around and were speeding towards us. Each of us tried to get position on the other but it was not going to work so we wound up in a head-to-head pass. As the fighters flew into range, my two ganged up on one of Steve's. There was a brief exchange of fire that stripped Steve's fighter of its shields and then I launched a couple of missiles right at him. He wanted to do the same but unfortunately I had shot his missile racks off that turn with my other fighter. His ECM failed to stop the missiles, but his decoys did take one of them out. Still, that was enough. Twelve critical hits later his pilot had ejected and the fighter was a brief fireball in the firmament. Steve's remaining fighter then came in to try its luck. One shot caused my rookie pilot to lose control of his craft as Steve did some damage to the main structure but the veteran pilot on the rookie's wing then fired a blaze of blasters at the Eurofed machine and blew it to pieces with a reactor hit. Job done, my boys went home to a well-earned cup of tea.

We enjoyed the game. It was nicely crunchy, allowing for a small game that is still engaging. The critical hit system and the design of the two fighters is sufficiently different to require different tactics, which is great. The game play went smoothly enough. There were questions about the rules but we were able to resolve them based on my incessant interrogation of the chaps at Brigade over the past week on their forum.

If starfighters is your thing then I would recommend downloading the rules and giving them a shot. I really like the fighters from Brigade too, so buy them while you are at it! :-) I am now looking forward to more fighters for my faction, although I am tempted to buy a flight of the AmRep ones for an elite squadron. I am also hoping that the published rules are not too far off because they should include a points system, a design system and a campaign system. Then it will be time to add SC:R to our Bwendi versus Albion campaign properly.

Friday 29 April 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

This Stylish Blogger Award is doing the rounds and Donogh has been kind enough to nominate me for my documentation of my losing battle with the shininess of wargaming stuff. Wow, well, I am honoured and would like to thank my mother and father, without whom this would not have been possible. I must also thank my wife, who tolerates my addiction and my cats, who keep me on the straight and narrow and my buddy Steve who feeds the addiction and goes along with all my madcap plans and ...

1. Thank and link back to the person giving you the award.
Donogh of Land War in Asia nominated me as I mentioned above. Thank you and I am well chuffed that he appreciates my blog enough to nominate me.

2. Share seven things about yourself.
  1. I started gaming because of my father. He saw his friend's children playing this game called Dungeons and Dragons and decided that we should play it. I'm not sure if he did me a favour or not, but I have had loads of excellent enjoyment from it.
  2. When I was 16 and 17 I rode amateur flat racing with the Arab Horse Society.
  3. I am a Norwegiophile. Not sure if that is a word, but Norway is very much my spiritual home.
  4. Anyone that knows me will tell you that I am a total fanatic about Vikings. This extends to doing a PhD on Viking berserkers and trying to correct every nineteenth-century misconception that survives.
  5. I like cats. I have two cats, both of whom dote on me. I think it is because I feed them.
  6. My other hobby is growing orchids. I currently have around forty in the house.
  7. My mother-in-law actually likes me!

3. Select 10-15 blogs who you think deserve this award.
This list reflects those blogs that I follow that are most often updated with material that interests me. I was going to try to avoid blogs that have already received this award, but then it struck me that multiple awards just show that a blog is popular. If I like it enough to send the award its way then so be it. The blogger should be rewarded for appealing to a wide range of people. So, on with the awards. In no particular order:

Frugal Dave at A Year of Frugal Gaming got me blogging when he started his frugal year. I liked the idea and it has worked to some extent in that my expenditure actually has reduced. I know it might not seem like it from some of my posts, but it has, and various projects have been finished. Thanks, Dave.

Steve Blease of Bleaseworld has actually been responsible for a lot of my expenditure over the past year in particular. Stop tempting me with 'nefs and Land Ironclads, dashitall!

Andy McMaster is a decent chap and keeps reminding me on Another Slight Diversion that I am not alone in my constant distraction by shiny things.

Jet at Geektactica writes most excellent battle reports and is partially responsible for my interest in Impetus. Great set of rules but I was not planning to buy the full version. Ooh shiny ...

Steve at Little Legions is the main person responsible for getting me into Impetus. Thanks a bunch, mate! :-) Mind you, I did enjoy playing it. His beautifully painted Crusader army is tempting me to get a Crusader or Arab army for the first or second crusades, even though I have more than enough to paint in my lead pile. I have resisted so far though.

Javier at War feeds my need to read other people's Warrior Heroes: Armies and Adventure reports. They are good fun to read and his figures are very well painted. We are planning a crossover between our adventurers at some point. It will be like Grendel versus Batman or something equally cool and epic.

The Gruntz guys along with Mark at Dropship Horizon feed my need for 15mm sci-fi goodness. I've been into 15mm sci fi since the early eighties when I first picked up Laserburn and some of the Laserburn figures from Bob Connor at Tabletop Games. Now there was a bloke that gave good mail order service.

Tactical Miniatures Gaming has a large number of most excellent battle reports. I want to move in over there because they always seem to be having such good fun.

Another blog that inspires me is Victoria's Boys in Red. It keeps reminding me that I have Martians still to paint for our Soldier's Companion games. I really must find time for that, although this month looks like being a write-off already. Also, while on the topic of VSF there is no way that I could leave out Yours in a White Wine Sauce.

I could pick more blogs but these will have to do for now.

Thursday 28 April 2011

Infinity Games UK

I just joined the Infinity Games affiliate scheme in the hopes of boosting my spending power with them. I hope this will not put any of you off reading this blog. Basically, if you click through to IGUK from the box on the right of the screen, then it registers on my account and I get 5% of the total purchase price of anything you may buy.

I like IGUK because I have had excellent service from them. They were prompt to deliver my games and the website tells you if everything is in stock, so no waiting around to find out later that what you want is not available. They also sell most games with 10% or more discount off the RRP and include postage in the cost quoted, so you know up front what you will be charged.

I have put a link to the Age of Conan boardgame on the right at the moment. They currently have it at £31.89, a discount of 47% off the RRP, which is pretty good IMO. It was certainly good enough for me to buy a copy for Steve after he painted a bunch of figures for me. I really need to get around to writing a review of the game so it must be time to play it again, assuming that Steve is willing. After all, I beat him last time so we may never play it again! ;-)