Last Friday Grab Bag of 2017

December 30, 2017

Well, it has been a good year in gaming.  I managed two conventions and several games with my son as well as the regular DnD game I attend a couple of times a month.  Painting has been sporadic with equal time being pent between 1/72 scale fantasy and 1/72 scale WW2 as well as a bit of card modeling.  There was even a bit of Portable Wargame being played in between it all.  In all it was a satisfying if not a bit slow year.

An observation for advertisers and gamers.  I have noticed over the years that bloggers, whether they are gamers or game designers, don’t seem to give enough details for the reader.  I will often see a battler report or even a review of a game or period I am interested in.  At the end of the report, I am left puzzled as to what was being played or, in the case of a designer or reviewer, how some of the game mechanics work.  A simple detail like what game you are playing can go a long way to clarifying how and why a battle went one way or another.  When reviewing a game, most people want to know WHY this game is the best game since sliced bread.  Tell us about the game mechnics.  Give us some vital derails like how combat works or something more than “It’s definitely not IGO-UGO.”  Most of these little nits can be answered in a few sentences.  It really isn’t too much to ask!

This year, TMP and I parted ways after 17 years of participation.   I’ve found a new community with The Wargames Website.  Much of the advertisement and content at large leans more toward home grown and indie style games.  I like this a lot.  Many of these games get back to the spirit of wargaming, back in the days when the games were simple and straight forward.   I think this is the last I will speak of TMP.  TWW is hear to stay.

Finally, for a Christmas present , my friend gave me his old 3D printer.  The Da Vinci Jr is not a high end printer and will not print figures all that well.  However, have found it will print buildings and vehicles reasonably well.  A bit of sanding and fill are definitely required.  The smaller scale of the vehicles mean you won’t really want to use filler primer as you might bury the fine detail of the model.  I’ve been using krylon plastic primer alternating sanding and priming to fill in the ridges.  So far, so good.  I’ll post the final models in a week or so.

So this is it ’til next year.  May everyone have a fabulous New Year celebration and may 2018 bring us many fun games and much progress on the old lead pile!

Happy New Year!


3D Quick Update

December 23, 2017

Here is a better picture of the Marmon-Herrington company.

You can see the waves and lines pretty clearly. In person, with aging eyes, it is not so bad. 😉

When you look at the vehicles up close, with glasses, you can see many of the imperfections that 3D printing does.  However, when they are observed from 3+ feet away, the vehicles do look quite nice.  Now, I just need to figure out the Caunter pattern.

3D Printing: What’s the Fuss?

December 22, 2017

A friend of mine gave the kids and I (OK, my wife too if she is so inclined!) a very generous present this Christmas.  He gave us his old Da Vinci Junior 3D printer.   Now, this is an entry level printer aimed at beginners, which I am!  I’ve been testing it out, trying to see if it is a viable option to print even larger wargaming stuff such as terrain and vehicles.  I decide on a Marmon-Herrington scout car that was used during the early war in the desert in WWII.  I must say, the results are really nice!

Two scout cars “hot” off the press and another ready to be sanded.

Like most models, these still need plenty of work.  When you print such models, they are often printed stood up like the two in the rear.  Gun barrels especially need this as they will droop if they were printed on their side.  There are also supports that need to be torn off as even printed straight up as they are, plastic will still droop.  It is not a slow process.  One model took about 4.5 hours.  Printing two at a time saved a little bit of time.  When I went to bed, the estimated tome was about 8 hours though as the models narrowed at the top (less surface to print) the  printer probably slightly sped up.

So, this minimalist printer does a good enough job to at least print vehicles.  Whether it can do wargame figures is anyone’s guess.  I have seen the question posed before if 3D printing will change the way we acquire wargame figures and items.  I was once on the fence about this.  I can tell you now, the answer is absolutely YES!


Starship Combat

December 14, 2017

I was reading a 1 page rules set I got from Wargame Vault.  It is based on the old computer Star Trek game.  You go from quadrant to quadrant, killing enemies until your patrol is complete.  It  looks like a simple and fun game.  More importantly, it got me thinking about some simple rules that I’ve never been able to articulate until now.

The basics go like this.  Each ship has a set damage track.  The total number of hits each ship can take before being destroyed is based on the class of the ship.  Escort 4, Destroyer 8, Cruiser 12, Capital ship 16.  The attack modifier is also based on size at 0 through 3 respectively.  Movement is 6 through 3 respectively.  Finally, defense is 3 through 6 respectively.  When one ship attacks another, a single die is rolled.  If you roll above the target’s defense, you score that many hits to the target.  When a target reaches 25%, it receives a -1 for all functions.  At 50%, it receives a -2, at 75% it receives a -3 and at 100% the target is a hulk.  Every time the target takes damage over 100%, roll a die.  If you don’t roll over the deficit, the target explodes.  Thus a target is 2 points below 0, a roll of 3 or more will destroy the target.

Some ideas for special weapons:

Torpedoes which always attack at +5 but subtract the target’s top speed for a modifier.  Each point of damage caused does double damage.

Fusion guns might have shorter range but get a bonus to hit on top of the normal attack bonus.

Ion cannon hit on a 4-6 but don’t cause any structural damage.  Instead, they cause -1 per hit.  These hits can be repaired on a 4+ checked at the beginning of the turn.

Fighters come in two styles.  Interceptors hit other fighters on a 5or 6.  They have no effect against ships.  Bombers can attack adjacent ships and count as a normal attack with a +1 per fighter left in a group.  Normally 6 fighters per group and -1 per fighter hit of course.

I’m sure I can come up with other ideas.  Each ship should get a basic laser attack plus one other weapon type.  The attack number  is the basic number of attacks in the case of an ion cannon.  And the attack number +1 is the number of torpedo attacks that ship can make in a game.  Thus an escort can carry 1 torpedo while a capital ship can carry 4.  If a ship is to carry fighters, it can carry the attack number in fighter wings and the type must be determined before the game begins.  Thus a destroyer can carry 1 fighter wing and a capital ship can carry 3 fighter wings.

Finally, there should be some modifiers for a ships style.  A wedge shaped ship like a Star Wars star destroyer would get a bonus of 1 to hit when making an attack dead on.  It would get a 0 for the front arc and -2 for any other arc.  A broadside style ship would get a 0 out of the broadside arc and a -1 forward or aft arc.  A wide sweep style ship would get a 0 through 3 arcs and a -2 to the rear arc.

Movement would be on hexes or free form with an observance of 60 degree turns.  It would be non-inertial style movement to speed play along.  Some standard rules for turning and side slipping etc.  I think it could be a workable system.  Now if I only had some ships!

Battles of WWII by Osprey Publishing

December 7, 2017

I found two great books from Osprey Publishing this past fall at Southern Front in North Carolina.  The books are reprints from a set of older titles.  The first is on Libya in 1940, dealing with the Italian invasion and subsequent retreat to the Libyan frontier.  The second covers Rommel’s opening moves and carries the reader through Operation Battle Ax.

As usual, the books are well illustrated with maps and period photos though with fewer artist illustrations than more current Osprey Titles.  The summaries of the fighting are well written and very easy to read and follow.

In the section illustrating the armies, there are some fairly detailed orders of battle for the various combatants.  These OOBs are book specific with the Germans only appearing in the Tobruk book.  As an extra surprise, the bok on Libya has a small section in the back with wargaming ideas for gaming the campaign.  Both enjoyable reads and well worth picking up.