Saturday, June 26, 2010

Workbench Update: Citadel Gaming Hills

I haven't been quite as active in either the painting or blogging departments lately. Truth is, my wife is ready to give birth and with all of the baby preparations I've had neither the time nor inclination to do much of either. However, my parents gave me a couple of citadel gaming hills for my birthday and I've finally gotten around to painting and flocking them.

Here they are; one gaming hill (on the left) and one modular hill (two pieces on the right). There's a 28mm model in there for scale.

The one-piece gaming hill was obviously sculpted with gaming in mind. The green portions slope gradually so there won't be any issues with models tipping over.

The modular hill is also a practical piece and can be used in three different ways - as two separate corner pieces... a narrow long piece,..

...or as a short wide edge piece.

The rocky bits are nicely detailed. A quick drybrush brought the detail to life with little to no effort.

Here are some of my 15mm historical models. As you can see, the sculpting is not scale specific, so these hills will find their way into all of my games.

I'm a big fan of these products and, considering I ordered them from Maelstrom Games with free shipping, they came to the door at a very reasonable $20.00 CDN each. Furthermore, being hard plastic, they will last for the rest of my gaming career and will stand up to multiple coats of paint and flock. A solid 10 out of 10!

Thanks for reading,

P.S. Wish my wife luck as we wait for my unborn son to get things moving.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Impetus Battle Report - A Camp Overrun

Stockwood's army was in disarray. Rodger of Lynn, his nephew, was being held captive in Milan, the rest of his cavalry were headed north to muster fresh recruits, and his current standing army was understrength and worn. Stockwood had underestimated his opponent, the Austrian general Karl Von Dertflinghan, and had suffered a decisive defeat because of it. It was during these ponderings that one of his outriders galloped hard into the camp and came straight away to the general's tent. The news was grave. The Milanese army was less than two hours march from the main mercenary camp. It was a raiding force of primarily cavalry and light troops so it wouldn't take long for them to move into attacking position. Stockwood made a snap decision - he would form up the bulk of his infantry to stop the advance while the rest of his men headed into the Swiss hills with the most valuable supplies in tow. Hopefully his disposed employer's relationship with the Swiss would see Stockwood and his men welcomed, warmly or otherwise, and out of the Milanese army's reach.

The Battlefield:

The main camp was located in a narrow pass at the edge of a great wood. The mercenary infantry deployed at the edge of the hills to await the Milanese charge.

The Battle:

Light crossbowmen and handgunners ran ahead of the Milanese knights, skirmishing and drawing fire from the English archers and the French crossbows.

The confusion caused by the skirmishers allowed the main cavalry line to come dangerously close to the archers while maintaining good order.

In spite of the archers' best efforts, Italian knights crashed into the line and instigated a brutal melee.

The knights chased down fleeing archers and confronted Stockwood's personal guard.

Realizing that his centre was collapsing, Stockwood begrudgingly gave the retreat order.

Von Dertflinghan and his knights smashed the mercenary left flank.

The remnants of the mercenary camp were in reach and within less than an hour of coming onto the field of battle, Italian knights engaged in full-fledged plunder.

It was a dark day for Stockwood, his men, and their employer, King Rene. After the battle the mercenary army moved into the Swiss countryside with the hopes of finding safe refuge. What happens next? Only time can tell.

It was so great to finally play some
Impetus again. Marc and I played some 6mm Roman vs. Parthian action over the past few months, but nothing is quite as satisfying as breaking out the 15mm armies. Marc will be painting a 15mm English army himself this year, so our 15mm historical battle gaming should be less sporadic. This was a fun and fast game, and it has to be said, I misplayed my army, and it showed. Maybe I learned something; something that I can remember and apply to the next game. Who knows?

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Warmachine Action: Nemo vs. The Butcher

A long overdue geek day was upon us again, and with my new baby due to "arrive" within the next few weeks, I'm not sure when exactly I"ll be attending another one, so I was itching to play. Yet again, Keir made the 650 km trek to St. John's to partake in the geektivities, and the first throw-down of the day was his Khador against my Cygnar. This was my first 50-point game and, it must be said, it felt good to deploy three heavies and three lights.

I spent the bulk of the game hovering around these ruins. I figured that the Khador army would have to get up in my grill. It turns out (as you'll see) that I was wrong.

The Ironclad spent most of the game as an inefficient and expensive piece of terrain. I place him here so that no shots could get through to Nemo.

I started the game with a bang. A combination of Sentinal shots and multiple arced Chain Lightening spells killed a couple of Great Bears, a Widowmaker, and the Wardog. Sadly, this was to be the height of my game.

Keir advanced the Butcher with a Behemoth, a Spriggan, and a Destroyer.

I had completely forgotten (in the span of 5 minutes) that Keir had taken Kossite Woodsmen. The little shaggers came on in turn two and failed to take anything out.

In an over-zealous (and embarrassing) maneuver, I arced Chain Lightening at them. I took out three of the woodsmen... and my Gun Mage and a couple of Gobbers. Oh, the Humanity!

Even though the Centurion had lost its movement system, I used Locomotion to get it into combat. At this point, I was working very hard and getting nowhere. I was pushing ahead but had no idea how I was actually going to kill the Butcher.

The battlefield before Nemo's timely demise.

Nemo was visible in the ruins, so his defense including cover was 17. Nevertheless, Keir moved the Butcher up, cast Obliteration, and then followed with a bombard shot. And that was that. Nemo outspelled by the Butcher... shameful!.

It was a good game all around, although we did tend to dance with each other a little in the beginning. The only problem with the game was its duration. We played for two and a half hours which, in my experience, is about twice as long as a game of Warmachine should be. I'll leave you with what I said to Marc as we ate our most excellent take-out lunch.

I don't really enjoy playing Warmachine when it's played without a timer. There's a certain grittiness that is lost when players have the luxury of pondering every move and every consequence. Without a timer, it's the other player who suffers for his opponent's indecision. With a timer, it's the player himself who suffers for his indecision.

It was a fun and relaxing day out. I can't wait to play more 50-point Warmachine. But not without a timer ;)

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, June 6, 2010

When the Dead Come'a Knockin

As promised, Chris and I tried out some Weird Wild West gaming last night using the Chaos In Cairo rules. If the idea of playing a Western game with 1920's Egyptian Pulp rules offends your geekly sensibilities, then perhaps you should read my explanation in the previous post first. Either way, it was a fun time.

I fielded Big Sal and his men while Chris put down a posse of recently risen zombie gunfighters with a score to settle. As predicted, the Goal System rules, as well as the CinC warbands, did a sterling job of representing the models in play. We played "The Package" scenario which meant that six buildings contained items for the characters to find. When the scenario had ended, each player rolled to determine who had found the actual objective in amongst all of the fakes. Although my human gunfighters scored the most KOs, it was the zombies who walked away with the actual objective in hand. Here's some of the game highlights in photos.

It proved to be quite an enjoyable romp and I'm sure we'll play again. Frankly, I have enough painting, playing, and writing projects at the moment, so I don't anticipate turning this game into an online epic as I've done with some of the others. However, "Never say never," as the saying goes. In the meantime, hope you enjoy the pics and only time will tell.

Thanks for reading (and looking),

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Playing Weird Wild West with Modified Goal System Rules

Once in a blue moon a geek comes up with a great or particularly twisted idea (which in the geek world amounts to about the same thing). I had one such brainstorm this morning as I drank my tea and read my email. I have lots of Old West terrain and models painted. I want to use my collection more often. I also peruse the Chaos In Cairo rules quite regularly and would love to try them out. And then it occurred to me... why not use the Cairo rules to play a Weird Wild West skirmish game?

If you're still reading, here's what I've come up with so far. As it turns out, there would be very little modification at all since most of the skills and abilities are generic enough to be transferable.

CinC warband WWW Equivalent
Archaeologists Good Ole'Fashioned Human Beings - Lawmen, Outlaws, Trailblazers, and out of necessity, Hunters of the Arcane and the Undead. These folk are just trying to survive in a world that has gone horribly wrong.

No modifications needed.

Cult of Set Evil Humans - The Cattle Baron or perhaps the Small Town Politician with big dreams. Some folk truck with demons and magic and, one way or another, they always pay the ultimate price.

No modifications needed, although, converting a few cowboys with daemonic gifts would be fun.

Mummies Zombie Gunfighters, Daemonic Creatures, and the Supernatural Horrors that the Native Tribes have always known to be real. As if the Wild West wasn't unforgiving enough to begin with.

No modifications needed, however, one would do well to avoid optional upgrades that are desert-specific.

Swords of Ra First Nations People in any and all incarnations. Just like in the CinC background, the warnings of these tribal people were ignored, and now true evil has found physical form in the world of men.

Minor modifications needed - Allow Chieftain, Warriors, and Tribesmen to swap Combat Attack x2/Crack Shot x1 for Combat Attack x1/Crack Shot x2.

Starting Warband - Big Sal's Boys

Big Sal is rich. Filthy rich. He owns Lucifer's Rock and pretty much everything in it. Which isn't much as it turns out, so perhaps "filthy rich" is a relative phrase in these dark times. The few surviving citizens do what they can to squeeze a living out of their desolate surroundings. Now that most men have dropped their quarrels with each other and banded together, Sal has surrounded himself with a motley bunch.

Sheriff John Weston and Justice Montgomery Mills are still his most-trusted companions, but his main muscle is provided by Brice and McTavish, two outlaws who Sal would have seen hung before all hell broke lose, as well as the mysterious foreigner Jet Fhang.

L to R: Brice, McTavish, Fhang, Weston, Big Sal, Monty 

Big Sal (expedition sponsor)
MV: 5 | DR: 4 | Str: 3 | Agl: 2 | Mnd: 3 | Res: 3 | Fate: 6 | Vit: 3
abilities: combat evade x 1, crack shot x 1, gypsy's luck, resources, scholar x 1

Justice Montgomery Mills
MV: 5 | DR: 3 | Str: 2 | Agl: 2 | Mnd: 4 | Res: 3 | Fate: 3 | Vit: 3
abilities: combat evade x 1, dodge, hunch (1), scholar x 3, sharp senses x 1

Sheriff John Weston (expedition leader)
MV: 5 | DR: 4 | Str: 3 | Agl: 3 | Mnd: 3 | Res: 4 | Fate: 4 | Vit: 3
abilities: combat attack x 1, crack shot x 2, combat evade x 1, leader x 3, scholar x 1, sharp senses x 1

Jet Fhang (guard)
MV: 5 | DR: 4(1) | Str: 3 | Agl: 3 | Mnd: 2 | Res: 3 | Fate: 3 | Vit: 3
abilities: combat attack x 2, combat evade x 2, knife-fighter, tough, dodge, sharp senses x 1

Brice and McTavish (guards)
MV: 5 | DR: 4(1) | Str: 3 | Agl: 3 | Mnd: 2 | Res: 3 | Fate: 3 | Vit: 3
abilities: crack shot x 2, combat evade x 2, tough, dodge, sharp senses x 1, combat attack x 2 (McTavish only), Shootist (Brice only)

Chris has the Zombie Gunfighters from Foundry painted up, so we've decided to try it out and see where it leads. As with most adventure-type games, a little imagination goes a long way. Although the Mummy warband lists entries such as "Royal Mummy" and "Soldier Mummy," they become "Ghoul Leader," Zombie," or whatever else the monster player can dream up. As long as the skills and abilities match something plausible (and what isn't plausible in this setting, I mean really), it can work.

Of course, when I looked at some of my other Old West miniatures, painted and unpainted, I noticed a western doctor (CinC: doctor), my preacher (CinC: holy man or woman), a newspaper boy (CinC: Street Urchin), and even a reporter with his head under a camera hood (CinC: Journalist). Recycling the miniature collection was always one of the great drawing cards when I first discovered adventure gaming. It's nice that I'm finally getting the chance.

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Curse of the Dertflinghans: Chapter Five


22 April. Old West Road - Tonight we take well-deserved rest. Our camp lies in a small hollow near a trickling brook and, according to our guide, we should reach Dertflinghan tomorrow evening if our journey continues without anymore incidents.

We awoke this morning and made ready to depart the abandoned church in which we had barricaded ourselves the night previous. Mannleigh seemed no worse for wear and so, when the supplies were packed and divided, we struck out on the Old West road again. However, we had scarcely walked twenty paces when Rutter, typically a loyal and well-controlled hound, leapt over the churchyard wall and into the shadows of the dark trees that populate the more overgrown portion of the cemetery. He ignored the commands of his master and so we were left with no choice but to strike out after our faithful canine companion.

After running through the undergrowth in the direction of Rutter's bark we finally found him hovering over the ruins of a small collapsed mausoleum. It was the good Egon who noticed what caused Rutter's excitement - a small opening amidst the rubble, perhaps the size of a loaf of bread. Although too small to allow passage, it was apparent that the opening led to a large underground space, and so, owing in no small part to Rutter's instincts, we all pitched in and slowly began shifting pieces of rubble as to allow a proper investigation. (I should mention that Ms. Poundwood assisted us in this endeavor, which solidifies my admiration for American ladies with their straightforward air and propensity for physical labour.) By noon, we had cleared enough to get a clear view of the pit and, when the sun shone down the opening, saw a narrow stair winding down into a chamber of dressed stone.

We decided to have a quick rest and to take tea after our labours. When all were fortified and armed, we began our descent into the darkness. The tomb (for the malodorous atmosphere could point to no other possibly) seemed as though it had not been disturbed by human feet for hundreds of years, and indeed, I felt confident in dating the construction at no later than the 15th century.

After a few minutes stroll through the dark passage we came to a mighty door, reinforced and locked. It took a few attempts but, in the end after a concerted effort the door gave way to reveal a small dark chamber. Ms. Poundwood and the trustworthy Johann began searching the room. As the rest of us waited outside the door, Rutter began to growl. We were not alone.

Mannleigh held the good Rutter back and kept him calm while the Austrians and myself drew our weapons.  For a moment I felt as if a great bat flew overheard, but I swept my torch and it seemed as if it were gone.  We waited still longer, every second seeming an eternity, and then, with superhuman speed,  a dark figure burst through the door at the end of the hall and seemed to glide through the air towards us. It was the same monster who led the hell-spawned children from the previous evening.  Within a moment we were embroiled in a bitter melee with the creature, and as one of the girl-spawn did the night before, he seemed to transmutate into a great wolf beast right before our eyes.

I'm not certain how it happened, but after delivering a most vicious blow to its torso with Flasher, Mannleigh seemed to send the creature to flight. More specifically, it was as if the monster dissipated into a black mist and then floated away into the darkness.

We ran out through the doorway by which the monster had charged us and found a large and dusty tomb. Growls from the darkness revealed the presence of the hellish children. We pressed our advantage on the foul horrors in spite of our fears but, through various forms of trickery, they all escaped our lethal intent.

Upon returning to the small antechamber, we found Emma standing over an old broken chest holding an aged tome.  The first yellowed page bore the title, "The Curse of the Dertflinghans," but the rest of the book seemed to be written in some form of incomprehensible code. Until I can discover the cipher its contents shall remain a mystery - RA.

Game Talk:

This was the first game we played using my simple dungeon tiles and re-painted Heroquest furniture. It worked quite well, and besides the infinite number of possible layouts, the entire terrain set fits in a small box, so it's great for transporting to and from geek night. I took some shots of the game to give an idea of how the pieces layout. In short, most of the furniture represented searchable locations where characters could use a special action to find treasure by passing a TN:4 Mind + Sharp Senses check.

The crypt in all of its glory.

Bella wasted most of the game trying to break down this door.

The hunters prepare to meet the vampires.

Chris atmospherically held up extra tiles when I was taking close-up shots.

Near the end of the game.

The tiles aren't as fancy as many products out there but, for the cost of around six or seven bucks with no painting required, I think they serve their purpose well enough. I'm hoping to use the tiles for many other genres of gaming in the future.

Thanks for reading,