Sunday, March 13, 2016

Playtesting new Galleys & Galleons material

I've volunteered to help playtest a new supplement - "Fayre Winds & Foul Tides" - for Ganesha Games' excellent Galleys & Galleons ruleset for games of pirate ships and other age of sail (and age of oars) battles.  The supplement is intended to add more fantasy elements to the game, running from our now "traditional" fantasy of orks, elves, dwarves, magic-users and the undread, to more ways to portray ghost ships and sea monsters, to "lacepunk" contraptions (e.g. steam-powered ornithopters).  There are also new "terrain" types (not sure what naval terrain is supposed to be called!) and a ton of ship profiles, including additional ancient and Asian ships (e.g. turtle ships).

So while I can't give away the meat and mechanics of the supplement, I can say it gives you options for all the standard fantasy tropes and then some, so steam-powered ironclads and brutal (literally - there's a trait called Brutal) taskmasters and more.  For me, I'm particularly interested in (and testing) the rules for advanced ghost ships, sea monsters, and magic-users (specifically voodoo kings, maybe necromancers).  So ghost ships can now be Spectral and hard to hit, and your voodoo ships can have a Mindbender to take over the opposition's crews; on the other hand, you can now have Inquisitors (or your local name for them) and Blessed Ordnance to counter those traits.

Sea monsters get the option of having an Alpha creature, sort of like a monster hero and leader.  Some of the new terrain includes icebergs, fog, seaweed banks, maelstorms (whirlpools), and the big S, Scylla, herself. 

So here are some pics from my initial playtests, I won't get into too much detail other than to set the scenarios and give the results.

First up was a massive Ghostly Galleon (called here the Ghost) with a Mindbender on board up against three pirate brigantines (called brigs henceforth for brevity's sake) and an Exaggerated Pirate - who has a fearsome reputation that can cow not only merchants but all ships, but is also under pressure to live up to that rep by his (potentially Mutinous) crew.  This is one of the ship types pre-created in the game.  The Ghost (top left) had to run the blockade the pirates had thrown up across the sea.
The Ghost herself:
Yellowbeard's jacht:
Shortly after the pivotal action of the fight, before the Ghost was able to slip through the blockade and off the board - a gust of wind had blown one of the brigs into the side of the Ghost, and the brig took all the damage.  On her turn, the brig decided to Swashbuckle (grapple and board in one action, a pirate thing) and were promptly routed, surrendering the ship. 
The Mindbender didn't get much chance to do anything in this battle, one failed attempt at a spell, so I set the Ghost up against a Spanish ghost hunter, the Argonauta, with Blessed Ordnance and an Inquisitor aboard, negating part of the Ghost's powers (the ghost had a pyromancer aboard this time).  Icebergs were also on the table (you can see some in background below), but didn't play a role.  I'm saying the battle was in the South Atlantic.

The battle, however, was brief.  The Argonauta was able to close quickly under favourable winds and a calm sea, but after her initial attack, the Ghost was able to get in a full broadside at close range.  This is what it looked like:
And this:
The broadside delivered two damage dice and a critical hit to the Argonauta.  The critical hit roll was a 12, so up blew the Argonauta.  The next day I remembered I needed to check for the Ghost, but she was ok.

I wanted to change things up for my next test, so the Ghost and Argonauta went away, and back out came Yellowbeard and three Pirate "pinnances" (call 'em sloops this time).  On the map was an island (top) with Scylla there to attack any wayward ships, and three banks of seaweed.  The smaller one in the middle also hid vicious mer-creatures that would attempt to board any ship crossing into the bank.
The pirates were a'hunting great sea beasts - two giant sharks (Sea Monsters from the core rules), one of which was an Alpha shark.  The sharks had great mobility and turning ability, and attempted to sucker the ships in to where the ships were be burdened by trying to avoid the seaweek.
The plan mostly worked, the top two ships below did an end run to the right, but one ship wasn't too careful and did get attacked by Scylla, taking a die of damage.
Just after Scylla's attack:
The fight was a long one, maybe 20 turns, but it ended fairly quickly.  The pirates didn't help themselves with rolls like this on short-range full broadsides...
The Alpha shark did a Jaws re-creation on Yellowbeard, ramming the rear of his ship and damaging him, prompting Yellowbeard to grapple the Alpha and attempting to board the great beast.  Despite using their Derring-Do advantage, the Alpha ate most of the crew in the first round of fighting, and the rest of the crew on the next, leaving an empty ship floating around the sea.  The other three pirate ships lasted longer but the end, when it came, was quick.  The three red markers show where the ships went down from ram attacks by the Alpha (helped by some earlier damage by Shark 2).  Two ships were sunk on the second last turn, as the Alpha rammed, turned, and rammed in a flurry of actions.  The final ship was taken down on the last turn, after one final ram by the Alpha.
I plan to get some more gaming in this week, testing out the magic-users further with some other terrain types thrown in.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Reaper CAV-mass

Ok, so this post isn't about dinosaur scale issues like I promised in the last post, in part because I've done some research and I think I can resolve the issues (actually, I don't have any issues as it turns out), so now I need to do a highly scientific fact-checked post on the sizes of dinosaurs and my models.

The other reason is that it was Christmas in March yesterday when my Reaper CAV Kickstarter package arrived yesterday!

Over 90 stompy 10mm mecha, aircraft and tanks, plus bases, all in one box of joy.  Here's the mass of mecha and tanks unloaded on a spare bed:
And here's all the bases for them - the mecha come with small integral bases that slip into the slightly bigger hex bases:
I got every ID'ed and counted last night, and I had my entire order, it sounds like one tank type was in short supply and is being sent later to some backers, but I had mine (ducks!).  Interestingly, while my add-ons and stretch figures were in the grey Bones plastic that is the production material, my core set of mecha are in the original run white Bones.  The models seemed flash and mold-line free from my initial inspection, so other than some droopy gun barrels that need to be given the hot water-cold water treatment, they should be good to go.

My planned project for these will use Ganesha Games' Samurai Robots Battle Royale, with Mech Attack being my backup rules if I want something crunchier - I'm using them for my faux-Battletech project with 6mm BT stuff.

My setting is a post-apocalyptic Earth, that fell apart with a whimper as oil and water resources disappeared, and North America collapsed in part to Chinese invaders, in part to warlordism (my invented word of the day), but still retains some remnant nation-states calling themselves the USA and Canada.  Mexico is also a player, and the United States of South America, Japan, India (why? because), and the UK will also show up, as allied mecha.

More on this later, right now I'm rolling around with my toys!