Friday Grab Bag #8 – More Odds and Ends

January 2, 2020

I went to the local hobby shop and was determined to buy  a can of primer knowing very well that it would likely be GW and the cost would be $14.  As it turns out, GW primer has become prohibitively expensive at $19 for a 10oz can!  I remembered a friend of mine was using a primer called Krylon Brite Touch.  It is an automotive primer but can be used on metal or plastic.  The cost is a whopping $3.50 for a 10oz can.  It can be had in the USA at most autoparts stores or even W


Friday Grab Bag a day early

January 2, 2020

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts but I do rather like writing them.  Mainly, it’s been time, life ad the complete lack of energy that’s been keeping me from writing these as well as other items.  My back/leg is feeling much better.  I still have a small amount of numbness in the bottom of my foot but each day, the feeling has returned more and more.  Most of the time I can walk without a limp.  I’m pretty happy about this.

PCS has a game and line of miniatures called Mortem et Gloriam for pre-order.  The first release will include a line of miniatures that will cover the failing Roman Empire of c450AD.  Romans and Goths and Huns! Oh my!  The figures look quite nice from the couple of photos I’ve seen.  They are plastic so maybe they won’t be for everyone.  The associated game seems to ustilize cards and chips.  It is not really my thing but may be of some interest to someone.  The miniatures, while I have no desire to pre-order, are of interest to me.  One day, I’d love to put on a game of the Battle of Chalons.

Hunnish Nobles, I presume. Courtesy of PSC Games.

I think I’ve figured out a way to keep a project from stalling.  It requires 4-5 projects to be going at one time.  For instance, I’ve stopped painting AWI right now and have been painting some ships for the Russo-Japanese war.  Well, I am a little tired of that too.  So, I do have a bunch of Elves and Orcs I’ve been planing on using for the Battle of Five Armies.  I think I shall bring those fellows out and paint them some.  When I get tired of that, I still have my WW2 Western Desert project.  That one  is close to being usable for small game scenarios.  Then, if my instinct is correct, I’ll circle back to one of the other projects, hopefully the AWI.

 

 


My Favorite Rules Pt2

January 1, 2020

In my last post about my favorite rules, I said that I would work on combat in the next post.  Well, I generally like to write rules in order of sequence of play.  Movement comes next, so today I shall talk about movement.

Like everything else, I like to keep my rules short and sweet.  Infantry can move 6″ and cavalry can move 12″.  Remember, this can be modified by morale results.  Sometimes, a morale result can allow only a half move or even no move at all.  Other times, the unit might fall back or route 1 or two moves, which counts as the unit’s move for that turn.

Formed units typically turn about the center  with a turn consuming half a move.  Skirmish/light units may turn about the center up to 45 degrees for free.  Optionally, a unit may wheel and spend movement for each inch moved measured from the outside corner.

A formation change costs a unit a half move.  Formations can be line and column.  Columns can be march column or field column.  March column is 3 figures wide with multiple ranks lined up behind.  Field column is 6 figures wide with multiple ranks lined up behind.

As mentioned, infantry moves 6″ and cavalry 12″.  A unit in column gets a bonus move of +3″.  A unit in march column may gain an additional bonus of +3″ if it moves entirely on a road or path.   Finally, skirmish/light units get +3″ for being in skirmish formation.

It should be noted that a unit that is afforded a half move because of a morale result would only be able to move, change formation or turn as it only has a half move available to do one of the three.

As a final note, morale plays heavily on a unit’s movement ability.  A player may typically move their units as they see fit, within the rules of course!  When a unit starts taking casualties, morale rolls are typically required and this can slow a unit or even force it back.

So there it is!  Short and sweet!  Next time, I shall provide rules for combat.  This time I mean it!


The IJN of 1905

December 26, 2019

I’ve been printing out ships on my 3D printer over the last couple of months and have even put brush to plastic!  I based them on some artist matting board and painted in the sea foam.  The masts had to be added to most of the ships.  I used a bit of Plastruct plastic rod 1mm radius.

Battleships and 2 armored cruisers by thingiverse designer “marcusmole”.

Armored cruisers by thingiverse designer “bigwig_mark”.

The ships were all 1:5000 scale but I enlarged them to 1:2400 scale (208%).  The battleships road a little high so I dropped them below the print bed by 1.5mm.  That is a common trick to shorted the height without actually knowing how to design a 3D model.  The armored cruisers were designed too wide so I ended up narrowing the model by 20% (I think).  I also shortend the model (Z-axis) because I did not know I could just lower the model below the print bed.  This left the funnels too short.  So I ended up replacing them with my own funnels with tiny bits of plastic rod.

The Fuji (2nd from the left) was also designed way too wide.  In reality it was not any wider than the Mikasa (left). I narrowed it by 25% and it looked spot on.  I am quite happy with the way these turned out.  I’ve got some cruisers, destroyers and torpedo boats to paint and then it is on to the Russian navy.  I already have 3 Russian ships for the action off Ulsan.  They need primed and painted though.

 


My Favorite Rules Pt1 – Initiative, Turn Sequence and Morale

December 13, 2019

It’s  been longer than I intended to get this thing rolling.  I pinch my sciatic nerve and I aggravated it  to the point where I had to head to the doctor for some medicinal help.  I am well on my way back to full strength now and am ready to get going.

Initiative, turn sequence and morale seem like quite a lot of ground to cover but frankly, it really isn’t.  For initiative, it should be a matter of a head to head roll.  If one side has a better commanding general, then they get to add 1 to the roll.  A tie goes to the side that one the initiative last turn.  If it is the first turn of the game, a tie goes to the attacker.  The winner chooses to move first or second during the turn.  If they choose to move second, then they are surrendering the initiative to the other side.  This means that the initiative winner becomes the other side for tie breaking purposes.

The turn sequence is as follows:

Side A moves all of its units

Side B moves all of its units.

Both sides shoot with the following priority.

  • Units that did not move shoot first both sides simultaneous
  • Units that moved shoot next both sides simultaneous

Close combats are performed.

Units that took casualties are marked with a marker indicating that they will take a morale check before they can move in the NEXT turn.

Morale checks are made immediately before a given unit moves.  Sometimes it will be better for a player to move units at risk of routing first while other times you can wait until later in the turn.  Morale checks can result in a unit retreating, routing or even skedaddling off the board.  They can potentially shrug off the effects and move normally that turn or even go out of control and advance aggressively toward the enemy as a result of a morale check.  Nearby commanders can influence the die roll up or down by 1 or even 2 for army commanders but they will risk being killed.

0-   Unit dissolves.  Remove from play.

1     Unit routes 2 moves.  D3 casualties.

2     Unit retreats 1 move.

3     Unit may not move and remains disordered.  Check again next turn.

4     Unit rallies with consuming all movement.

5     Unit rallies consuming half movement.

6     Unit rallies without loss of movement.

7+   Unit rallies.  Cavalry and impetuous units make an uncontrolled advance toward the enemy attempting to make contact.

-1 for 25% casualties, in contact with an enemy, charged in flank or rear

-2 for 50% casualties

+2/+1/0/-1/-2 Army Commander nearby or  -1/0/+1 other general nearby.

For standing against an enemy charge, a 6+ and the unit will fight first, 5 or 4 unit fights simultaneously with charging unit, 3 unit disorders (morale marker for next turn) and fights simultaneously but at half effect.  2 or 1 unit retreats 1 move and fights second if contacted anyway.  0 or less unit routes 2 moves taking D3 casualties.  Also does not fight back if contacted anyway.

When a commander is used, roll a die.  On a 6, the commander is hit and may not use his influence.  1-2 horse shot.  Commander is out for the next turn.  3-4 commander is wounded.  Out D6 turns.  5-6 commander is mortally wounded or killed.

Notes:

It seems to be a trend these days where designers go for simplicity in much of their design and then muddle up the rules in the name of command and control.  They constantly try to go for near simultaneous play.  To me, this is a huge mistake for a number of reasons.  1) it often very hard to explain these rules to new players and even players who are more used to IGO-UGO.  Having both sides moving within the same phase and then resolving combat with a few simple priorities works wonders for keeping the game flowing and it still allows both sides to get into the fight.  The morale checks right before the unit moves will ensure an amount of uncertainty and that commanders can influence the die roll allows for a simple command and control system.

Units should be allowed to move as the players wish (within the rules!) until they get stuck in.  It is a rare occurrence that a formation would sit idly by for no apparent reason at all.  They are not under attack and likely will move toward the front when ordered to go.  Once stuck in, it will become increasingly difficult for a commander to control the units until it becomes unengaged.  The morale rules do an excellent job of enforcing the latter.

There is nothing difficult to explain here.  It is fairly linear in concept.  Both players remain engaged in game play throughout the turn.  I’ve used this system many times and have blted it onto my Featherstone rewrite, which you can find on my “Old School” page at the top of this blog.

Next time, I will go through the combat rules.  I’ll be changing them up some, moving away from the Featherstone style combat mechanisms.  I’ll even give some options for those that like saving throws and for those that prefer to do without them.


A post Turkey-Day Post

November 30, 2019

Gaming is not something I do over the holidays except for the odd computer game or maybe a game of checkers.  Holidays do give me time to ponder what it is I want to do in gaming over the next year.  One of those things, of course, is to finish up my considerably large project for the American War of Independence.  I plan on using “A Gentleman’s War” for head to head smaller games.  It does provide a fun wargame for both players but does not really lend itself well to multiplayer games.

I’ve been gaming long enough to know exactly what game mechanics work for me and what don’t.  Often I write games as an experiment and use one game mechanic or another.  Sometimes it is just to provide a more codified game system.  But it occurs to me that I’ve used enough of these mechanics and definitely favor some over others.  So I’ve decided to write a rules set that, in theory, would be my perfect rules set.  So, much like I did with Charles Grant’s magazine game “Battle”, I plan on going through the various phases in a series of articles and coming up with something (not so) unique that appeals to my taste.  With some luck, I hope that you will find it appealing too.

Other than designing yet another wargame, I do plan on continuing with my AWI project.  I also have some 3D printed pre-dreadnought ships that deserve some attention.  I am planning on using White Bear, Red Sun (Manley) for the rules.  I have some 6mm ww2 figures already painted and based looking for a rules set to play.  Playing a double blind game of Crossfire (Conliffe)  is quite approachable and my son might even put down his Pokemon deck to play.

 


A Quest into the Bad Land Part 2

November 11, 2019

Continuing from part 1.  Bertie had made his escape.   The rest of the party would follow up.

Things were getting hot. 13 new minions were reinforcing the enemy. They all seemed to be coming from one tribe now. This would be a tight escape.

Drastic measures he said. Roll three dice he said. And this is how a second reinforcement card was drawn…with another 15 minions, this time blocking the path ahead.

Maynard gets his act together and throws a well aimed fireball despite the -2 manaflux.

A couple of arrows from Jack’s bow, another fireball and Sir John had mop-up duty.

Stepping over the chard and hacked remains, the rest of the party made it to safety.

The party escaped a surprisingly tough fight.  One member was knocked down but his wounds proved superficial.  In the end, with some loot from bodies and the treasure cache, the party ended 97 coins and a total of 5 XP, 1 from finding an item of interest and 4 for completing the mission.


And now for something completely different…

November 11, 2019

A couple of figures from Dungeon Works.  One death knight and 1 lich/skeletal mage.  I found that these figures print bigger than the figures from Fat Dragon.  For 1/72 scale I’ve been scaling down to 75% size for FDG figures.  For DW figures, I found 67% is more appropriate.  I guess FDG is true 28mm while DW is more like 30mm.

Left to right: Death Knight, Lich

Figures were printed on a Creality Ender 3 Pro.


Progress so far…Braddock’s Defeat

November 11, 2019

I’ve decided to put some armies together for the French and Indian War and the American War of Independence.  For scenarios I am using the book Seven Steps to Freedom by Charles Wessencraft.  It outlines 7 phases of the American Rebellion starting with it’s roots in the F&IW.  The first scenario is Braddock’s Defeat and the Battle of Turtle Creek/Braddock’s Field or simply Braddock’s expedition.

The rules used in my games will be A Gentleman’s War.  Normally this is a head to head game and the card play really only lends itself to that style of play.  However, if  I get a number of players around the table, I will probably use a card system more similar to The Sword and the Flame.   The Wessencraft book game rules use a low figure count per regiment at around twelve figures per similar the A Gentleman’s War so this has turned out to be an excellent purchase.

Here is a couple of shots of the first few regiments.

Two English regiments. Each has 12 figures.

Two French battalions lined up as a single regiment. 20 figures total.

This is how I can normally get a lot of figures painted and on the table.  I plan on painting to the scenario.  So I have 4 Indian Warbands to pain, another 3 English regiments and 3 continental regiments.  I also need one or two light cannon depending on how I decide to crew them.


A Quest into the Bad Land Part 1

October 25, 2019

I’ve been working on a random scenario generator for Sellswords and Spellslingers.  It’s really a series of tables with some scenario ideas for each aspect of a scenario.  In this scenario, I rolled a “recovery” mission.   Of these types of scenarios, it could be a single item or as many items as the party can find.  I gave it a 50-50 and ended up with recovery of 1 item.  There are D3+1 search locations.  I ended up with 3.  When a character searches the first location there is a 1-2 on a D6 chance of finding the item.  For the second location searched, there is a 50-50 chance.  If it is not in the first 2, then it is in the last one, of course.  I rolled hilly terrain and for a special location I ended up with ruins.  So there are 3 major ruined buildings the party must search.  The character spends an action.  The die is rolled.  Regardless of whether the item is found or not, D3 minions jump out and attack.  The party entered via the road that lead directly into the city.  As they advanced, Maynard the Wise (Wizard) noticed something of value on the statue near the main road.  Sir John and Bertie Wainwright moved ahead to scout out the first building.  Hordes immediatly spotted the advancing party and attacked Maynard and Jack the Swift.  Jack was equal to the task and easily dispatched all three hordlings.  He also spotted the Orc brute in the town and put 2 arrows into him.  5 consecutive hits!  At this point, the scenario event was pulled which revealed a rival Orc faction.   2 Hordes and 1 brute.  3 hordlings have bows and immediatly fired at Bertie scoring 1 hit.

 

The scenario event occurred already. Rival faction including 3 Orc archers. Bertie is hit once.

Sir John had already gone into the first ruin and fell on his face tripping over a trip wire (Trap).  The wounded brute charged after him.  His trusty squire Bertie jumped in and over Sir John delivering a knife throw to the Orc Brute’s throat.  Outside, Maynard causes some mayhem of his own.

Maynard uses his trusty fireball and kills 4 hordlings and badly wounds the brute.

Despite the successes, Maynard is ambushed.  He dispatches this foe.  He is then beset upon by 3 more (They are at our back!) and dispatches those in turn.  This guy is pretty good!  Jack the swift is also ambushed and fairs worse taking 1 wound.  The wounded Orc brute advances and knocks Jack down!   Things are not looking good!

PCs keep failing activation and the hordes advance.

Finally the Orc brute advances on Maynard but Maynard is not impressed and finishes the Brute off.  Maynard moves back toward Jack and finds he was only unconscious and had only 1 wound.  (At this point I found an error in the book.  18 on the out of action table is not covered.  I made the best result an 18-20 but maybe I should have made the next lower result 15-18 instead.  Whatever)

Back in the ruined temple, Bertie and Sir John managed to get there act together.  As Bertie finished off the last hordling, Sir John found something.  3 Orcs.  A wild melee ensued.  Bertie took his second wound as Sir John finished off 2 of the Orcs.  The last one fell to Bertie’s short sword.   Not a moment sooner the party heard the blast of Orc war horns.

More hordes appear on the horizon. 13 to be exact!

At this point, I called it for the night.  Tomorrow shall be the conclusion of the Search for the Lost Treasure.