Tuesday 31 January 2012

January Project ... Success!

The January project is complete. I now have enough 6mm Vikings for a 200 point Impetus army. I did not achieve my secondary objective of painting enough for a 300 point army, but that is not particularly surprising given how the Real World(tm) impinges upon my time. On the other hand, I did manage to paint a whole bunch of casualty markers for the Vikings. So, without further ado, here is the Viking army:

Figures: Baccus 6mm
Bases: ERM 2mm mdf
Basing: Baccus basing system
Overview of the whole force
Viking axemen (used as veteran and guard huskarls)
Viking spearmen (ordinary huskarls)
Viking archers
Viking javelineers (basically spearman strips cut up)
 And, just in case the worst happens, here are the casualty markers, based on plastic 20mm dia. slottabases:

The next part of this project will involve expanding the army and adding more casualty bases. I also need to sort out some disorder markers, but am undecided quite how to do these last. Casualty bases differentiated by having a red edge might be one way. Alternatively, a few 'live' figures cut from strips and placed at random and facing in all directions on a round base might be the way to go. This could require buying more figures though. Still, I met my target so I am allowed to do this by the terms of my agreement with myself. I shall wait and see. Now to sort out the February project.

Friday 27 January 2012

Aeronef over the Aegean - Photo-Report

We played this game absolutely ages ago and I have been promising myself that I shall publish it here, but I have never got round to it until now. Both Steve and I enjoy Aeronef and we both bought the Aeronef over the Aegean supplement when it came out. Steve also bought the scenario pack from Brigade Models so that he would have all the right figures for it. Because Steve had the Turks, I chose to use an Italian 'nef from my fleet as the raider. We gave it exactly the same stats as the Austro-Hungarian 'nef that is written into the scenario and just assumed that the Italo-Turkish War happened a tad earlier than in our timeline. I have been interested in this particular war for some time, particularly because it was the first war to feature aerial bombardment.

Anyway, you don't want to read me blathering on, so on with the pictures. I apologise in advance for the vividness of the Mediterranean in them. Steve produced all the terrain for this game and his ground cloth was rather bright!

Scenario 1
The Italian raider must navigate across the Med to Turkish held areas in his quest for revenge. Turkish 'nefs are in the area and may escape to warn the others back home, unless the Italian 'nef can get there before them, either by blowing them out of the sky or by just being quicker.

Four Turks went to fight an Italian raider:
 And then there were three:
 And then there were two:

The Italians made mincemeat of the Turks and crossed the Med easily with minimal damage.

Scenario 2
The Italians must bomb the town into submission so that the mayor will tell him where his target is.

An unsuccessful bombing run. Turkish reinforcements are already arriving:
 The Italians attempt to withdraw to reload and return again tomorrow:

The Italians return to try to succeed on the second go, but are met with even greater Turkish reinforcements:

All too soon the poor Italian raider is overcome. This picture was taken moments before the Italian 'nef plummeted burning to the sea:

The poor Italian raider suffered heavily from the war balloons. This things are nasty! We never got to the third scenario but are going to try the mini-campaign again with a few rules amendments:

The campaign supplement suggests using inches instead of cm for movement but retaining the standard weapons ranges. This would make some aspects of the campaign easier for the Italians.
Discussion with the supplement's author informs me that the scenarios are designed for a 6' by 4' table using the above movement change. We shall do that next time too.
Bombing the town should be done using the rules from The Captain's Handbook. This would make it more feasible to actually succeed at the bombing run, so we shall use that too.

I am really looking forward to trying this mini-campaign again with these rules changes. It was fun before; I bet it will be a proper hoot next time.

Saturday 14 January 2012

What is Traveller?

There was a recent discussion over on TMP about Traveller and what it actually was/is. With the discussion of our forthcoming campaign, that discussion triggered thoughts in me about what Traveller actually is, so I thought I would ramble on here about it. I hesitate to engage in the TMP discussion because, for the most part, people seemed to be digging into their positions and hunkering down rather than actually discussing the options. So, what follows is my view on this topic. It is not sacrosanct and it is not intended to convert anyone to my point of view, but it does relate to how I am approaching designing our science fiction campaign.

Traveller was originally just the three rulebooks and presented a particular type of hard science fiction environment. It was background free, but presented an easy way to generate your background. To this was added all the Third Imperium material. I first encountered Traveller when I bought the Traveller Deluxe edition in the early eighties. Those were great days as the players roared through the Spinward Marches creating chaos wherever they went. The ship's locker was awash with Battle Dress and FGMP-15s and I had a great time designing scenarios around all the Jack Higgins novels I was reading at the time. This gave the players plenty of opportunities to use all the hardware they had. Most excellent! Oh yes, and I really liked the idea that characters could die during character creation. :)

Looking back on Traveller I now find myself associating it more strongly with the background rather than the rules. The rules were a vehicle for exploring that background, but it was the background that we loved. What this means is that for me Traveller is more about the background than the specific rules. It is all about the organic growth of that background through the many publications that followed and it is about continuing to help that background grow within our campaign. As a result, when we start our new campaign, we shall be playing Traveller, regardless of the fact that we shall not be playing an RPG with the Traveller rules. We shall certainly be using elements of those rules for the metagame, but the rest of it will be played out with Laserburn, Tomorrow's War, Striker 2, 5150 and FutureWarCommander, among other rules sets. I can't wait.

I think that makes sense and, if you will excuse me, I now need to make sure that my air/raft is serviced and that the Type S Scout Ship Aurora is ready to fly. I'm off to survey the Spinward Marches for the IISS. Who knows what adventures I shall encounter on my twenty year mission to chronicle the development of this part of the Sprinward Marches?

Saturday 7 January 2012

January is ... Vikings

Figures: Baccus 6mm
Rules: Impetus

My target for this month is a 200 point Viking army. This consists of:
  • 2 Guard Huskarls
  • 5 Huskarls
  • 2 Skirmish Archers
  • 2 Skirmish Javelinmen
  • Casualty markers

I had a bit of time free at the end of last week and also this morning so I was able to paint the Guard Huskarls, the Archers and the Javelinmen. I also painted a bunch of casualty markers. It's amazing how quickly you can paint 6mm figures if you just sit down and focus on painting. The figures are now glued to their bases and awaiting varnishing. The remaining Huskarls and some more casualties are sitting on the painting desk awaiting my tender attentions. Pictures will follow when the army is finished.

For the record, I still have a bunch of unpainted Vikings that are not allocated to the army yet. This pile consists of:
  • 2 Veteran Huskarls
  • 3 Huskarls
  • 12 Hird (as the lesser Vikings are called in Impetus)
If my progress on painting continues at the current pace without distracting from my PhD then I shall add some of these to the painting desk and aim for a 300 point army. Looking at the pile of figures, I reckon I can field about 450 points of figures. I would like some more of the axemen to use as Veteran Huskarls and maybe some more ordinary Huskarls so that I can field a full 500 point army with some options for variety, but that will have to wait until the current batch of figures has been used a few times and I have painted their opponents.

Wednesday 4 January 2012

Into 2012

The year is only a few days old and it seems appropriate to comment on my plans for 2012 and review 2011.

2011, Done and Dusted
I have not written on this blog for a while largely because I burned out with the Rather Large Towton Project. The amount of painting and organising required to get this game to various shows was enough to put me off gaming for quite a while. Nevertheless, it was worth it. We had largely positive feedback for the game and I was rather impressed with the visual effect we achieved. I just wish our terrain had been up to the standard set by groups such as Bert Fegg with their ACW game. That would have really made it a satisfying project to have completed. The fact that we succeeded in fielding around 17000 to 18000 figures on the table and still completed the battle once per day at every show we attended was a great feeling. My other major gaming commitment of 2011 was our Talomir Tales campaign. This is our ongoing Rally Round The King / Warrior Heroes: Armies and Adventures fantasy campaign. It lurches along with games every so often and benefits for a lack of pressure. We play the games when we have the time and feel like it. That is a great way to proceed and it means that the campaign remains enjoyable. I particularly enjoy the interaction of the massed battle rules with the skirmish rules in the storylines that we run. I have some ideas for new adventures for Brother Cedric in this campaign and am also considering some Olde Skoole adventuring for both him and my own skirmish character, Ragnar. I reckon it could be good fun. Just for kicks I looked up my stats on BGG and this is how last year looks in terms of games played and how often. I'm not sure it presents a wholly accurate picture, because I feel sure that I have not logged some games, but it may just be that some of these games took several sessions to complete, so my recollection is faulty.

Played 4 times:
Odin's Ravens
Rally Round the King

Played 3 times:
Wings of War

Played 2 times:
Red Actions
Small World
Tomorrow's War (second edition)
Warrior Heroes: Armies and Adventures

Played 1 time:
Age of Conan: The Strategy Board Game
Warrior Heroes

To 2012 and Beyond ...
I hope to keep 2012 a quiet year in terms of new purchases. The only guaranteed purchase will be some more 15mm and 6mm sci-fi stuff from Ground Zero Games, because I have a discount voucher for them and science fiction is very much on the cards for this year. Terrain may well be on the cards too, because I could do with more and better terrain than I currently have. Other than that, I plan to limit purchases to those figures that are absolutely necessary for any given project. In terms of painting I am also planning a quiet year spent finishing a variety of projects that are currently stored in the attic. I do not plan to put any great pressure on myself because I have to finish my PhD this year, which is rather more important than painting little lead soldiers ... honest! This year will see the return of the project-a-month initiative. I shall set myself small targets each month and seek to achieve them. No miniatures purchases may be made in any month following one where the monthly project was not achieved.  

January is Vikings Month
My plan for January is to complete a 200 point Baccus 6mm Viking army for use with Impetus. This should not prove too arduous. My plan is to assign months later in the year to the production of additional elements for this army to build it up to a 500 point army. I also have a Norman army that will be a project for a later month too.

Other Projects
The main focus of my gaming this year will be:
  • Talomir Tales - painting additiional skirmish figures and playing both skirmishes and massed battles.
  • The As Yet Unnamed Science Fiction Campaign - a 6mm and 15mm science fiction campaign set in the Traveller universe. The details have not yet been finalised but the basic idea is to play games that are set against the Traveller background using a variety of skirmish and massed battle rules. The individual games do not need to be directly linked but will provide the backstory for later games.  
  • 6mm 18th Century - Steve is planning a Lacepunk game that will use our 6mm GNW and SYW armies. I am also planning some historical battles that I need to paint figures for. No campaign is currently planned, but it may evolve as we get figures painted and play games.  
  • Impetus - As mentioned above, I shall paint a small Viking army for Impetus in January and have a Norman army in the wings awaiting time for it. I also have the same armies in 15mm and a Viking army in 28mm. These may well become the focus of the monthly projects at some point this year. At the very least, 15mm Basic Impetus armies would make a nice change of visual appearance.  
  • Terrain Building - I just never seem to have enough terrain. I need 6mm and 15mm terrain suitable for my science fiction campaign and I need to get more terrain built for our 28mm fantasy skirmishes. Terrain building will be the focus of my efforts at some point in the year too.