Saturday, December 31, 2011

Run Through the Jungle

Before I head out for the evening, here's an AAR for game two of my Blasters & Bulkheads Star Wars experience. This was a variation of Scenario 3 (without a vehicle), where one side has to go from corner to corner through a forest/jungle.

The Imperials were the runners, the rebels were the ambushers. Since Chewbacca was knocked out, and (in my head) declared captured, the rebels also wanted to capture or kill an Imperial officer in order to find Chewie's whereabouts.

The table at game start. Luke, Han, Leia, a Wookie, and a squad of troopers are in hiding, awaiting the arrival of two Imperial field officers, a stormtrooper officer, stormtrooper NCO, and a squad of scout troopers (upper right corner). The yellow poker chips denote potential hiding spots for the rebels. They're labelled 1-10, and the five rebel characters/units are off-tabled marked 1-5. They'll be revealed either of their own volition, or if the Imperials successfully spot them. Three of the markers are in the tops of the big trees (fancy tea light holders).

Two main trail options were given to the Imperials, with one of them branching off into another side trail. Their initial plan was to get to that side trail and take it, based on where the potential ambush sites were.

Billy the Bronchosaurus is in the upper left corner, and he was supposed to wander randomly (and placidly) through the scenery, but he randomly ended up off table and I gave up on him after a few turns.

The end of Turn 1. The wookie was spotted on the Imperials second attempt (by the NCO) but wasn't initially hit. On his turn he popped out from behind the tree, shot down three scout troopers, and got in behind the tree. Unfortunately the rest of the Imperials dropped him in turn.

Luke was also revealed, in his perch in the big tree. He put a few hits on one of the field officers, then escaped down the tree to get into the action (despite being on the table in this picture, I ruled it'd be two turns to get down the tree, so he's in mid-slide at this point).

The end of Turn 2. The rest of the scout troopers have been wiped out by Luke, and the Imperials have made their initial choice of what trail to take. The rebels got their troopers on the move, to get them into a new position.

The end of Turn 3. The Imperials are progressing down the trail, spotting as they go (the other two big trees have been found clear of targets, and Princess Leia has been outed). The rebel troopers are getting into position behind a downed column of the Ancients, and Luke is trying to catch up but is hampered by the slow terrain. The red marker near Luke was the impact point of a stun grenade thrown by the stormtrooper NCO.

The end of Turn 4. Han is now in the game, and Leia has moved to her backup position (behind one of the planet's plentiful purple rocks). The stormtrooper office is prone behind some bushes, and the rest of the Imperial survivors are playing leapfrog behind terrain. You can see where the rebel troopers flurry of grenades landed (red marker between stormtroopers), but no one got hurt!
The yellow markers just indicate who moved first or second in the turn, as in the game they get bonuses. Eventually, with better (permanent) character sheets, there will be a way to do this off-table.

The end of Turn 5. The table's really getting busy now. Leia is hurt badly, Han has taking some burns, and the Imperials are still dodging from shrub to shrub. Way in the back, Luke is finally about to get free from the forest terrain.

The end of Turn 6 - we have a princess down! Now Han is really mad, and is charging along the side trail the Imperials decided not to take when they found Leia and Han in wait down it. All four Imperial characters are still in action.

The end of Turn 7. But now there aren't four surviving Imperials. The stormtrooper officer was taken out by the rebel troopers repositioning themselves, and one field officer was shot in the back by Angry Han. He's exposed to the stormtrooper NCO, but he's also going after that last officer before he can escape off the board.

A nice "movie" view of the same scene.

The end of the game (after turn 8). The officer got off board, and the NCO pretty much got surrounded and I ruled he surrendered, since he knows rebels don't shoot their prisoners. Of course, after some subsequent counselling from Han, he gave away Chewbacca's location...

And here it is, a teaser for my next game. The rebels are launching a boarding action on the Imperial customs frigate "Rabid" before it goes to hyperspace. Chewbacca is in one of the frigate's cells. The tiles and props are from Fat Dragon, with some Worldworks and Micro Tactics thrown in. This game will have Luke the Jedi Apprentice make an appearance, so I can get in some Essence (Force) powers.

The bridge of the "Rabid".

Tomorrow I'll post a review of my 2011 actual production vs. my resolutions, and a plan for 2012.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Battle at Starport Omega (Blasters & Bulkheads)

Had a chance to try out the Blaster & Bulkhead rules yesterday, after getting some paper terrain (Micro Tactix's Starport Omega) made last week and statting up some Star Wars characters and henchmen after Christmas. Statting everyone up was rather straightforward, although I'll need to think if there's any real difference between say an Old Republic soldier and a Rebel trooper and a New Republic soldier (probably not). I still have more to do, but will be doing that in an Excel spreadsheet rather than by hand, albeit not a spreadsheet that calculates things automatically, just one that will be neater than my handwriting!

I played out Scenario One from the rulebook, a simple three turn stand up fight. I didn't use any Jedi or Sith, just to keep things simple while I learned the rules, and things like grenades, vehicles, and mounts are for another day.

I made one miscalculation during set-up, since I don't currently have space for my larger terrain mat, I used a 3'x3' mat instead of the 4'x4' recommended for larger figures (I'm using the collectible pre-paints). However, I didn't then reduce the point totals by 25% to account for the smaller space, and the table was pretty crowded. The battle ended up being a bit of a bloodbath, rather than seeing much maneuver or brilliant generalship.

I also made a couple of slips during gameplay, usually forgetting to give a side their Attack or Defense re-rolls, but I think it balanced out. There may have been other rules I didn't catch here or there, but it went pretty smoothly for a first game.

The scenario had a force of Rebels, led by Han Solo, Chewbacca, and two NCO's, square off against an Imperial detachment under an Imperial field office, stormtrooper officer, and stormtrooper NCO. The rebels had four squads of five henchmen, one with a heavy repeating blaster, the Imperials had three stormtrooper squads, two squads of naval troops, and a scout trooper squad (all of five). One Stormtrooper squad had a missile launcher.

Both sides were basically out to inflict as much damage as possible, although I had tasked Han and Chewie to get into the starport office and up to the balcony, to get a height advantage on the Imperials. One squad of naval troops was assigned to get into a hangar and surprise the rebels from in there. We'll see how those two tactics faired...

Anyway, here are some pics:

The table at game start. While most of the terrain is Micro Tactix, the crates are from Worldworks. The vegetation is Xmas trees converted for warmer weather, fake grass mats, and some homemade stuff using aquarium plants. I also had three civilians around the shuttle in the middle, and another two in the starport office (middle left building), and I'd control them randomly (basically, they'd either run away or drop prone, maybe to crawl away later).

The rebels are to the bottom, the Imperials at the top.

A close-up of our heroes as the game began. The squad with them was supposed to provide cover as they charged towards the offices, then get out of the way and let the HW squad own the firing lane. We'll see how that worked...

A close-up of the Imperials, the naval troops in a line across the back were assigned to get in through a back door in the hangar and come out the front, surprising the rebels. We'll see how that turned out...

The end of Turn 1. Han and Chewie, with their squad, are charging towards the office door. The Imperial HW squad was blown away, except for the guy with the missile. They'll pay for missing him... The rebel NCO on the right (behind the beacon, in a brown uni) also single-handedly took out a squad of stormtroopers, leaving the Imperial field officer all by his lonesome (in white jacket, to right of hangar). The other rebel NCO, hiding behind the crate by the shuttle, took some damage from the other naval trooper squad, however. He would get his revenge.

Meanwhile, behind the other hangar, a Mexican stand-off was developing.

Big hole here for the Imperials, with most of a squad gone, the office, NCO, and second squad are rushing up to fill the game. The second naval squad is also taking some hits.

End of Turn 2. We have a Wookie down! The lone HW team member still had the missile launcher, which he fired and managed to not do any damage to the rebel squad he was aiming at. However, both Han and Chewbacca were in the blast radius, and took the max. 2 hits. The other stormtroopers then pummelled them with blaster fire, not doing any more damage to Han, but KO'ing Chewie. For cinematic reasons of course he had to live, but he ain't going anywhere at the moment.

The rebel squad on the far right also took damage, losing three team members behind the hangar. With things in a bit of a mess, and their firing lane not clear, I decided to bring out the rebel's HW squad, coming up behind one of the NCO's to offer some support.

You can see more clearly here that the naval squad that ran through the hangar sprang their surprise...but without a real target. For simplicity's sake I removed the hangar once the Imps opened all the doors, exposing the interior.

By the way, the civilians lying down are just prone, not dead, although the one near the beacon (green shirt) has taken 5 hits for his troubles (being too close to the rebel NCO behind the crate). He crawled out of the way this turn.

The dead pool after Turn 2. Looking good for the rebels so far...

The table at the end of Turn 3. Not sure who won. The rebels had the squad in front of the office wiped out, a second squad is down to one man, and Chewbacca's on the tarmac for the surviving stormtroopers to pick up. On the other hand, the naval squad in the hangar is toast, and the last surviving stormtrooper squad has lost a couple of its members.

And Han has made it into the office, and is about to get into the elevator to take him up to the second floor, giving him a nice shooting perch. The two civilians here are hiding under their desks.

The final dead pool. Twenty dead Imps, 12 dead rebels, plus a downed Wookie. Probably a very minor rebel victory in terms of points.

All in all it was a fun game, and I look forward to getting into it more for Star Wars, and maybe some of my other sci-fi projects (15mm Traveller/Firefly/Starship Troopers, 25mm Star Trek). I'm working on the character sheet spreadsheet and a QRS, there's a lot of page flipping going on right now. I had only a few questions about the rules that I'm going to ask on the Goalsystem mailing list.

In particular it was nice that B&B is already weighted towards Star Wars, there wasn't any heavy thinking to stat anybody up based on the movies (the original ones!) and literature.

Even though I have a few rulesets I'm happy with for pulp, retro sci-fi, and Victoriana, I think I may pick up the other Goalsystem rules for those eras.

Next up is a foot-bound version of Scenario 3, a running gun fight through a forest (don't have a vehicle to do the proper scenario). I'll try out grenades during it, then next up is a fight aboard a spaceship using Fat Dragon's Starship Tiles. For that I'll bring Luke the Jedi Apprentice out and try Force (Essence in the B&B rules) powers.

Works in Progress

Well it's still been a while since my last post, and I'll be returning to Star Wars again shortly (like tomorrow), but with some time off between the holidays, here are some pics of what's on the painting table.

First are yet another set of old (1980s) 25mm fantasy figs that have been waiting 25+ years for their moment of glory. Instead, I'm using them to practice my big fig painting skills, trying out different techniques I've read of. The one exception is one of Parroom Station's Earthmen on Mars (the daft looking one), who's getting another couple of painting techniques tried on him.

Swirlin, the magician in purple, was one of my first two D&D characters, he died on his first adventure, and was replaced by Zerlin, who also died on his first adventure. Twirlin and Verlin were subsequent replacements, all dying on their first adventure. D&D was hard on first level mages!

In the purple fez is Ordant Five-Hands (the latter name coming from an angry barmaid), a later magician who actually survived several adventures. His greatest claim to fame was when the party was surprised at night by orcs. While the rest of the party was arming up, he cast his one ready spell and killed the orc leader. He promptly got clubbed unconscious and awoke to find the battle over and the orcs in retreat. His interpretation of events left him as the hero, which he re-told, and re-told, and re-told to his rather annoyed companions.

My other first D&D character was Rolstun Goldaxe, a dwarf, who survived everything, became wealthy, and was retired before something bad happened to him. I have his figure, but am saving it until my skills are better and he gets a worthy paint job.

Here are the rest of the guys I'm working on, sorry for the crappy photo but the "mostly white" paint jobs don't show up well in the flash. You can see the Liberace on Mars character with his flesh painted, a lizardman (who looks really good in the photo, better than I think of him in real life), a priest or prophet, and a guard. All are still in progress, it's slow painting characters rather than armies, it's always requiring switching paints and brushes.

I picked up a lot of Xmas trees last year from craft shops, department stores, and dollar stores. Most are winterized (i.e. coated in snow), but these ones weren't other than a white base. So I painted the base up to make them spring/summer/fall trees, and will add some flocking later. They'll crop up again in my next few posts.

I picked up some paper mache craft houses last year, and am working on these two (I have about four more of the same models) as 15mm village pieces. Rather simple looking, but they'll do cheaply for now until the rest of my stuff gets proper treatment. They'll also work nicely for Splintered Lands (anthropomorphic animals) gaming.

I also have a bunch of Creatology's tudor house wooden puzzles on the table. The three on the left are for 15mm gaming, the first two as Tudor houses, the third as a stone church. The one on the right will be a 28mm stone house (it has space left for a bigger door). A fifth one isn't here, it's going to be a 15mm wooden block house (sort of North American in style, for FIW gaming).

The roofs (rooves?) of the same from a different angle. I tried different techniques on them.