Monday, February 25, 2019

Quick Post of Gundam WiP

As I prep for running these guys in a convention game at the end of March, here are some pics of the ready teams of Zeon Mobile Suits and their Earth Federation Forces opponents.  With some WWII buildings and Brigade Models UK Martian buildings thrown in for scale.  Also some 6mm (Z-scale?) model train figs I picked up ages ago.  One group looks suspiciously like a bunch of meddling kids...

Friday, June 29, 2018

CanGames 2018

Ok, this is going to be a long one (albeit a late one) as last month I was in Ottawa for CanGames 2018 and played in 7 of the 8 timeslots, only skipping the last session Sunday evening for dinner with family.  A very good dinner from the famous So Good Chinese restaurant.

I used a day and a half off work to get to Ottawa in good time Thursday so I could be bright and bushy-tailed Friday afternoon when things started.
As in my recon run to last year's CanGames, I pre-registered for all my games, just to make sure I had a slot.  It seems like only about 1/3 of the slots get filled that way, a lot of folks seem to wing it, but given I was coming in from Peterborough, I wanted to make sure I got into something.  This year I met a fellow in from Saskatchewan who had the same philosophy, and I know one other gamer also pre-registers for one particular game.

My first game was a old West skirmish using Legends of the Old West rules, each of us starting with 3-5 figures in a 4v4 game in a nicely set up 28mm town.  Our host, Mike, has more up on his blog report
My dead pile, soon to be joined by the rest of my guys!
I don't really remember now what my objective was, we were the side of law and order, so it may have been to clear the town of the bad guys, dead or alive.  But spiritually I feel my goal was to get to the other side of town to chase off the mariachi band.

In between games I caught part of this sweet collection of chariots for a racing game that evening that used about 4 tables in a square:

I was playing a game of Blucher, which I'd had fun playing in Chatham with the KEGS guys a couple of years ago, this time re-fighting Quatre Bras, one of my favourite Napoleonic battles.  Somehow this turned out to be the only photo I took, looking across the table at the dastardly French commanders.
We won a razor thin victory, thanks to Bob holding onto that hill on the left of the pic.  Pro Tip:  Don't refight Quatre Bras based on what you remember from Sharpe's Waterloo.

While hanging around Saturday morning, in between bouts of shopping, I got a few pics of Mike's great Helm's Deep set up:

More pics and the game story are also up on his blog I linked to above.

I however had my eye on another prize, getting into Rex Brynen's Trump Tower Zombie Apocalypse game, which follows on last year's game (that I watched a bit of but didn't play in) where the Donald was bitten by a zombie and became the Zombie King.  In this Saturday morning sequel, four factions - Team Mueller (Sean and I), Team Saunders, Team Clinton, and Team White House (who had a ridiculous amount of "Fake News!" cards to play and make us re-roll things) - fought over a zombie-ruled New York City.
My part of Team Mueller:
The Zombie King in his Tower at the start of the game:
You know this showdown had to happen:
Things are hot all over the old town tonight:
Team Saunders had acquired an ambulance, and were using the speakers to promote free health care for all - including zombies!
The last stand of the FBI, as we kept drawing zombies from everywhere.  Guess we should have been quieter.  Our highlight was subpoenaing Sarah H. Sanders out of her barricaded hideout and into the waiting arms of the zombie horde.
Nearing the end of the game, with Team Saunders just hustling off the table with enough victory points to beat Team Clinton (Team Mueller finished last, for the record!).  Unfortunately it was a bit of a pyrrhic victory for them, as a child zombie bit Bernie just as he was escaping.
The afternoon game, which I didn't play in but got an update on later, had four new teams, including North Korea and the Travel-Banned!  My teammate Sean has his take on our game on his blog here.

Saturday afternoon and I got back into the horse and musket period, and the 1762 Battle of Wilhelmstahl, in the Seven Years War, hosted by Nick and the Ottawa Miniature Gamers.  I played in their WAS game last year and had a great time, one of the best tactical battles I've ever personally fought.  This year I didn't fight nearly so well (who said I should be in the role of Frederick the Great!?!?), though things didn't go well for our side in many places on the table.  I would also like to officially blame my dice rolls for slowing my troops down.

As always, the table was huge and impressive, these are my forces in the middle.
My opponents across the table (although Duncan on the far right was on our side):
Our left - I was pretty busy with my guys in the middle, so it was hard to check in on this, it was basically a separate battle, but things didn't go well!
My lines are always beautiful and perpendicular.
Beautiful lines on the left, if not quite as straight as mine:
Just before our lines finally went head-to-head, as Bob's troops deployed to join Robert's against me.  Meanwhile my guys in the centre are still trying to actually move forward!

Saturday I got into a renaissance game of Lithuania/Poles vs. Russia, using the Fire and Sword rules, also hosted by OMG (Tod and Martin this time).  Beautiful figures on a Cigar Box mat, poorly managed by my teammate and I.  I lost control of the Winged Hussars, and hadn't quite figured out how the other troops played out, and my teammate somehow thought our artillery was better on the move than shooting at the stolen wagon train and Cossacks.
My Wing Hussars on the left, before they broke through the Cossacks and never really got under control again...

Sunday morning I brought my nephew Theo out for a game of Mobile Frame Zero, which uses Lego mecha and terrain.  As you'd expect, Theo's first attacks were launched at me, until the rest of the sides got closer and things turned into a free-for-all.  My guys are the two closer ones here:
Theo's mecha:

Theo enjoying lunch!  He also got engaged by a RPG GM and now he wants to try those out too, though I'm not sure how much he really understands about how the games are played!

Great looking pirate-ish game, possibly with monsters, in the Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago setting:

After dropping Theo off, I got in one final game, the 1918 Battle of Megiddo using Great War Spearhead rules.  Originally this was going to be played with TooFatLardies' If the Lord Spares Us rules, which I wanted to try, but as I also want to get into GWSH (more for early war or the eastern front), this worked too.  Rex Brynen and I were the British, with Rex taking on the cavalry to be the hammer while my infantry was to be the anvil.  Despite taking a beating to hold off the Germano-Turkish force while my second division got into position and across the river, we were able to win in the end.  

The starting positions:
The battle as the British lines get formed up - that's one of my divisions in a beautiful line between the river and hill, with Rex's cavalry going in on the attack on our left.  Further to the left, on our side of the river, the New Zealanders (or Australians, or both) are attacking Turkish fortified positions.  In the bottom centre is my second division, finally getting turned around as we realize where the Germans are coming from (the top right).
Cavalry jumping barbed wire, what could go wrong?
Finally getting ready to cross after most of the first division has evapourated.

So that was it, a pretty intense seven games over 2+ days.  I think next year I'll look at bringing a game for one of the less frantic timeslots.  I'll also try to get Theo out for more than one timeslot, so he can enjoy a full kids' day on the Saturday.

In terms of shopping, somehow I accidentally bought some stuff.  Some fancy fiery-looking d6s, some 20mm odd tanks - Canadian Ram, some Ram Kangaroos, Dad's Army one-offs - for Chain of Command and/or What a Tanker.  And some Ospreys.  Like 8.  They were on sale, it wasn't my fault.  I also bought some Essex landknechts figures without really looking at them (they were like $7 for 7-8 packs) from the Crossed Swords mystery bins, but then when I checked out the codes I found out they were weirdly sculpted Mike's Models figures, which really only go with themselves.  Guess I now have something for the Bring-and-Buy at Hotlead next year!

I've been a bit burnt out on prepping or painting miniatures through June, but now I'm looking at putting something together for Broadsword 6 in August, so I'm starting to get my mojo back.  Will post pics as things develop.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

15mm Samurai Kickstarter

Just a heads up that a cool Kickstarter has launched recently for 15mm Samurai, sculpted by Chip Mann who has done a lot (maybe all) of the Battle Valor sculpting.  There are a lot of figures in this KS that we don't have yet for 15mm, particularly the ronin (aka casually dressed samurai), bandits (haphazardly dressed samurai), and (wait for it) undead samurai!

Make sure you scroll down to the add-ons too, as there's stuff available there (ninjas!) that isn't included in the four sets.  And the stretch goals have some great potential too.  I'm in for a few sets and a bunch of add-on packs.

The KS is here, please think about checking it out:
15mm Samurai Fantasy Skirmish

My current 15mm samurai project has some Lancashire and Museum Miniatures, with some armed peasants and working peasants, but not much else for colour.  These KS figs will be great for bringing some of the legendary samurai movies to life. 

My rules of choice are Busho No Yume, which uses the Song of Blades and Heroes rules system, but Ronin and Daisho and several others would also work, there's even been a variant for Sharp Practice set in Japan.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Broadsword 5

I hadn't realized it'd been so long since my last post, but I blame Twitter :-) Since I changed jobs at work in the new year, I haven't been responsible for a work Twitter account which has let me get my own personal one that I devote to hobbies (gaming and Canadian football), so my instant gratification for game reports, painting successes and mad purchases goes there.  I'll try to catch up, though I see I still have photos from conventions in 2014 that haven't made it here!

Anyway, this post is prompted by my attendance at Broadsword 5 in Hamilton last Saturday.  I had committed to host a game in the afternoon, a new scenario for Song of Drums and Shakos, and then in my enthusiasm for Toofatlardies new What a Tanker rules, I convinced my friend Mike to bring his tanks and we'd use my terrain in the evening to put on a game and learn the game ourselves.  So that left the morning for me to play in a game, more on that in a second.

First though, some photos of some of the new terrain and scenics I prepped for the SDS game, another 1812 in Russia scenario.  These are 15mm MDF sleds from Things From the Basement:
Obviously the one on the bottom left will also be used for Christmas scenarios in Fear & Faith games (Monster Hunter International), when snowmen go bad!

Next up are some Novus Design Studios 15mm pieces, two livestock pens and a rickety wooden bridge.  I did one pen for the winter (below), the other for the summer (still needs its flock), and the bridge in the middle is sort of generic, not committing itself to a season.

The night before the con all of southern Ontario was under a wicked wind storm - one brother in the eastern part of the province lost a good chunk of his roof, another in the same city had nothing happen.  My mother lost a tree (actually her neighbour did, it landed on her property though!), and another brother in the western end of the province lost a few shingles but his neighbours got hammered).  I kept my car far away from any trees till the winds blew down, and otherwise avoided any damage, though my town got beat up pretty good.  The point of this aside is my gaming buddy Ron, who was going to come with me and run his own game in the evening, lost a chunk of roof and a 40' pine tree that landed in his neighbour's driveway (not sure if cars got crushed or not), and therefore had to bail on coming.

So I had a solo drive from Peterborough to Hamilton and got there in plenty of time to kibbitz with the fellows.  I also got a good parking spot to make my haulage distance bearable.  The extra time did cost me though, as I ended up buying a couple of t-shirts on offer, one of the Hamilton Tabletop Gaming Society's flagship "Peace Through Superior Firepower" club shirts, and a cool faux "Drink Coca Cola" Cthulhu shirt.

For the morning session I played Dux Bellorum by Dan Mersey (Osprey Games) for the first time, one of the few rulesets of his I don't have.  Working from my 1/8th Welsh heritage, I chose to play Welsh raiders making their way back with some cattle liberated from those filthy Anglo-Saxons (possibly 1/8 to 1/4 of my other heritage though - these decisions are so complicated).  The game was set up as basically two side-by-side battles, two of us Welsh (Howard and I), with Howard facing John and me up against Alex.  It was a very congenial game, and the rules were pretty simple to pick up, though it took me a while to sort out a good use for the skirmishers.

And we'd obviously forgotten to milk the cows before we made off with them, because they were bloody slow!  I only got 2" of movement out of them on the last turn, otherwise it was 1", 1", 1", 1"...

Some of the intense early fighting as the battlelines met:

Reinforcements for the Welsh!  After about 500 messages begging for them...
Pretty fun game with good company.  Not sure I have any ready projects that I could use the rules for, at least until maybe someone makes some 3mm Dark Ages (looking at you Magister Militum).

Then it was a chicken salad sandwich and buying some MDF bases for my Anglo-Zulu Wars / The Men Who Would Be Kings project (Dan Mersey again) and possibly 3mm samurai (Chrysanthemum Throne / The Pikeman's Lament (uh, Dan Mersey) / Irregular Wars).  I wasn't sure 3mm bases would work for 3mm figures, but since this will be truly big battles, with 30-64 figures per base, when I did a test set-up later they looked ok.  I also picked up some resin craters, all from 6 Squared Studios.

After the food, I set up my Song of Drums and Shakos game, this scenario being the "Thin Sled Line", where retreating French infantry have barricaded most of the table but Russian infantry have flanked them.  Also playing a part are Cossacks and French Hussars.  I'll do another post with my last playtest game later, as I only got this one shot of my game Saturday:
Not sure why it looks snowy maybe my phone's camera was suffering from condensation, the room was getting a bit muggy.  Hopefully some of the other attendees with cameras will do a full recap for us, I'll post a link later.

The game itself went ok, it ended with a fairly quick convincing French win, which I'd never seen in playtesting.  Oddly the Russians had one returning player and the other has the rules and read them, and the newbies whipped them despite a suspect initial set-up that left potentially lots of gaps for the Cossacks if they'd been bolder.  It was only an ok game for me as GM as I had one player struggling to get the rules; I was rushed at the start and didn't bring out my "So It's Your Turn" intro guide, and I think that was a mistake.

For the evening timeslot, I'd asked my local friend Mike to bring out his HO scale-ish WWII tanks to go with my 15mm terrain for a game of the new Toofatlardies rules "What a Tanker!".  Both of us were interested in them, but other than a few solo games by me in 6mm to get myself ready for Broadsword, neither of us had played.

I set up a bigger 6x4 winter mat and brought out all of my Russian village and most of my road pieces and winter trees to fill the table.  We opened it up to another four players to sign up for, for a full game of six (all I had the tokens for).  It was a Long Ball/King of the Ring scenario, so no real objectives other than blowing the enemy up.  Mike's tanks weren't really balanced, so we started with a Pz.IVB (me!), a IVG, and a StuG III on the German side, and two T-37/76s and a Lend Lease Sherman for the communists.  As tanks died, better tanks could come up - Tigers, KV-1, SU-152.  And tanks died...

A few pictures to tell the story:
The long view of our table.  The river was fordable, didn't want to make the Russians go over that bridge! 

The side view of the table, Germans coming from the left, Soviets from the right. 

The first kill of the game, Brian in the StuG IIIG took out the Lend Lease Sherman - oddly it ended up being Brian's only kill, but then he was also the only player to survive the entire game in his original vehicle, so he claims to have been the biggest tanker. 

The line-up of Brian's shot. 

Alas, I was the second player to have his tank deaded, killed by a T-34.  I almost had a wicked shot on one of the other T-34s, but after getting to rolling my damage dice with 3 sixes out of 4 dice, I realized I'd been buttoned and didn't have enough acquisition dice to walk through the acquire-aim-shoot sequence, so I had to take all that drama back! 

I did, however, eventually get one of T-34s when I came back as a Tiger (handy trick, that), and then as the game was winding down I got a second kill on the SU-152 when it kindly decided to stop facing me off and gave me a flank.  Here's the view with my Tiger carefully concealed behind a shrubbery and the 152 in the distance.

And here's the close-up from another side of the table, just so the reporters wouldn't miss this news:

In the end, two of us had two kills, but both of us lost tanks; Brian had one kill and no losses, and Keith (the other German) had one kill and one loss.  Both Keith and I got our first kills by finishing off guys Brian had damaged, but that's the way the cookie crumbles...

With that I attempted to escape Hamilton, which was harder than usual as the bridge over the harbour was closed for construction and I had to drive through most of the city to get out.  Got back at a solid 2:30am and that wrote off most of Sunday for me...

Broadsword 6 is in August and I'll be back with at least another SDS game.  A few other things are in the near-done pile and we'll see how my focus holds up over the summer.  I'm off to CanGames in Ottawa the weekend after next, just to play games though!