Thursday, July 31, 2014

Legends of the Old West: Playing with New Objective Cards

Some of you might be familiar with the Secret Objective card system I developed for Chaos in Carpathia. I decided to try a similar (yet completely different) idea for Legends of the Old West. Marc and I have tried them out a few times and they really add a lot to the game, even if I do say so myself.

A selection taken from the deck of 40 Private Objective cards.
The six Public Objective cards. Each player may choose a maximum of one before the game begins.
The purpose of the cards is two-fold. First of all, as with Chaos in Carpathia, they remove the need to choose a scenario. Instead, the cards each player chooses and plays creates a unique scenario every game. Secondly, the cards give players something more strategic to aim for, as the cards represent the fickle and varied priorities of their characters.

I chose the High Noon Public Objective. This meant that both leaders started in the middle of the table and had a shoot-out before the game began. Half-breed Bob was too elusive so I discarded the card halfway through the game.
Marc's Outlaws chose the Robbery Public Objective card. These three characters were deployed in an agreeable location and each was assigned a Loot counter at the beginning of the game. 
As always, where ever you find Marshall Mills, the Assumption Vigilance Committee is never far behind.
The game in full swing. The outlaws, slowed down by loot, made their way towards the edge of town. Meanwhile, the Lawmen stormed the corral and ended up driving the outlaws out of town. Sadly, not all the Loot was recovered.
Another great game, I have to say. Marc and I agree that the card system adds a lot of flavour and ultimately makes the game more tactical and unpredictable. We will continue to tweak and play this objective system over the next year or more. Count on seeing more game reports in the future. And for the record, my Lawmen won. Just sayin'.

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Wrath of Brother Abelard

We haven't played a great amount of Chaos in Carpathia in the last six months but it is still one of mine and Jason's favourite games. I snapped a few shots of last night's game for all you Gothic Horror fans.

Grossmeister Abelard fends off the Vampire Lord as his dark minions encircle the brothers.
We played one game - my Brotherhood against Jason's Nosferatu. Since we both have six warbands each for CinC, one never knows what two foes will end up on the table for any given game. The Brotherhood are quite a different warband from my European Monster Hunters. Although they lack the pseudo-super characters available to the monster hunters, there's the ability to spread skills around the warband in a much more balanced fashion.

For this game we used my new-and-improved objective system. It's similar to the one I posted a couple of years ago except now there are separate objective decks for Human and Monster warbands. The Brotherhood drew the Duel, the Search, and the Task. The Nosferatu drew the Duel, the Invasion, and the Kidnapping. Of course, we didn't know what our opponent's objectives were until after the game was over.

Father Athanasius inspires the brothers to greater acts of courage.
It was one of those rare games where a player can end the game early by earning all 6 VP before the time is up. Things started going right for me early on after my leader charged the master vampire and killed him in two turns without any help from his fellow brothers. Doing the job himself earned my warband the maximum of 2 VP for the Duel. With two less combat-oriented objectives remaining (i.e. the Task and the Search), I concentrated on a couple of key characters finding things and solving puzzles while the rest of my warband held the monsters at bay. It worked out in my favour and early in turn five, I announced that the game was over and that I was victorious!

Brothers Ephrem and Ambrose protect Sister Benedicta from the night creatures.
When the game ended, Jason had 3 VP and I had 6 VP plus 9 Investigation Points to add to my campaign sheet. More importantly, we got to roll lots of dice while insulting each other with horrible Transylvanian accents.

I'm not really painting anything for Gothic Horror these days. I'm trying to focus (which is hard in Summer) on painting a new posse for Legends of the Old West and some other odds and ends that I'm trying to get finished before the Fall. However, Jason has purchased models for two new warbands - French Monster Hunters (which he has started) and Romanian Vampires. I'll keep you posted.

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Avar Noble Cavalry

The Heart of the Avar Army - The Noble Bow-Armed Lancers.

The Avar Nobles were true medium cavalry who could ride in loose order and use bow fire to disrupt the enemy...

...however, they could also form-up into a solid line and deliver a formidable charge.

As the Avar wave crashed westward, many Steppe peoples joined their conquest.
Impetus Unit Type: CL
Base Size: 8cm x 6cm
Special: none
Manufacturers: Essex & Old Glory 15s
This collection of miniatures is a true hodge-podge of codes and nations. I've attempted to combine and paint them in such a way as to give the impression of a melting pot of nations united under (more or less) one banner. I really had to scrounge the collection I was given to put this part of my force together - literally every available and suitable cavalry model I had was pressed (and bent, and forced) into service. It's one of those few projects where I have no left-overs. It's a good feeling actually.
The three main units are played as VBU:6 CM Lancers with Comp Bow C. In essence, this means that, as Impetus units, their primary purpose is close combat with their missile capability being more of a bonus to take advantage of when the opportunity arises. The last photo are also bow-armed (you can't see it from the photo) but these are fielded as VBU:5 CM with Comp Bow B. In other words, the bows are more of a primary weapon. Ideally, melee engagement would only take place after a couple of volleys of bow fire.
Combined with the four units of light cavalry in the previous post, this really is the heart and backbone of my Avar army. When I manage to mount a unified attack with all of my cavalry in one turn, the outcome can be quite unsettling for my opponent. In my opinion, every Impetus player should have a fast-moving, bow-armed cavalry army in his collection.
Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Avar Skirmishing Cavalry

Scourge of the Steppe: The Avar nation was really a conglomerate of many different nomadic peoples.
Impetus Unit Type: CL
Base Size: 8cm x 6cm
Special: none
Manufacturers: Khurasan & Old Glory 15s
So, I was going to take individual photos of all four units from multiple angles... but I didn't. These units function as light cavalry (CL) in my Avar army for Impetus. I should specify that there are a fairly even mix of horses from Khurasan and Old Glory. Most of the riders are from Khurasan's Huns range and their Avar range. Please take my advice and don't buy the Avar cavalry. They are very poor models and the horses were ridiculously huge (i.e. I threw them in the garbage). It's funny because, on the contrary, their Hun models are the nicest 15mm Huns I've ever seen. I was also forced to twist and bend riders to fit on unmatched horses - such is the mish-mash nature of these units. I really had to scrounge through the collection to get enough minis for four units.
I had originally planned to use four riders per base. However, when it came time to start painting I decided to try three, just to get the extra unit. With the Impetus-style diorama basing I think it turned out OK. Although sparse on the base they actually look "correct" galloping out in front of my more densely-based Noble cavalry. And let's face it, one of the cool things about Impetus is that we don't have to use the same basing conventions as our opponents.
I typically field them on the flanks in my secondary commands and use them to harass the enemy and, when possible, to flank slower moving units. The great thing is, if you play them right, you can cause some disorder and a little damage to the enemy and then have them flee before they are taken out themselves. 
Thanks for reading,

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Workbench Update: Avar Horsemen and Old West Citizens

Before my blogging hiatus, I always found that organizing my thoughts in the form of a blog post was very beneficial. For one, it helped cleanse my cluttered mind and keep me focused on the task at hand. Also, as a blog reader, I enjoy reading about what others are plotting and painting as it would often give me a chance to live vicariously through projects that I would likely never take on myself. So here we go.

A Unit of Avar Light Horse for Impetus. The chap on the left is the last one to be finished.

My Avar/Slav army for Impetus was in its infancy when I stopped blogging a couple of years ago. However, I'm pleased to report that my painting carried on even though my blogging didn't. The horsemen pictured above are the last unit of cavalry for that army (thank god). Although I love the 15mm scale and I enjoy painting 15mm projects as a whole, cavalry at this scale can get particularly monotonous. To do a nice job, one must pay attention to certain nit-picky details such as the horse's barding and saddle, not to mention the belts, scabbards and quivers sported by the rider. For a complete 500-point army, all I have left to paint is two units of Slav Javelinmen (FL). Contrary to the cavalry, I find these light infantry types go much quicker so I anticipate having the full army ready to go by the middle of June. This completion date will coincide with Stu receiving his Frankish army, a commissioned painting project that will just so happen to provide historical opponent for my Avar. Can't wait!

This "I don't particularly enjoy painting 15mm cavalry" realization is quite timely in one way and a little inconvenient in another. I have enough 15mm miniatures poked away to paint a full 500-point, all mounted Alan army. They will stay in storage for now, but if I knew then what I knew now, I likely wouldn't have purchased an all-horse army in the first place. However, it's not all bad - I backed my first Kickstarter project this year. I will be getting one of the new Westwind 15mm ancient armies in the Fall. Although we are still figuring out which era we will pursue, I've already made up my mind that I won't be choosing a horse-heavy army.

More citizens for Assumption in various stages of completion. Eli Mason (far left) has already joined the posse.
The above photo shows the Old West citizens I am currently painting. These are all from Dixon miniatures. I bought them years ago and never got around to them. I must say, it's quite liberating to finish projects that have lain dormant for so long. I have another half a dozen that have just been primed. I'm aiming to have them all finished before my Foundry cowboys and my Renedra buildings arrive in the mail.

To Dip or Not to Dip?
I am at that stage of geeking where I have more or less stayed focused on a few main projects - Gothic Horror, Old West, Pulp, and Impetus. Both Gothic Horror and Impetus are pretty much finished (as much as any project is ever finished) and the Old West and Pulp projects will be clued-up by the Fall. With a new 15mm army on the way soon and looking to next year, it will soon be time to try some new things I think. As I get older, and as the miniature cabinet starts filling up with painted figures, I feel less need to make every project the best I can do. With that in mind, I've been starting to develop a curiosity concerning dipping products. Specifically, I would love to buy a box of 28mm plastic something-or-other (from Warlord Games, for instance) and try my hand at priming the main colour, painting on the other base colours, and then dipping/inking/washing. I don't expect the same level of quality as with a traditional paint job, but I would like to experience the thrill of mass painting 30 or 40 models at once in a week or two.

I have ordered a dropper bottle of Army Painter's Strong Tone wash. When that arrives I will experiment on something I have lying around. I shall post photos of my successful or failed results here.

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Legends of the Old West: Sly Bill Settles A Score

After the last couple of games between Marshall Mills and the 4:20 Gang, the latter were in rough shape. Sly Bill, after being dealt with in a particularly shameful way by the Marshall, decided that he was heading into town to settle the score. After a few bottles of whiskey, the rest of the gang didn't take much convincing and, before you knew it, the dastardly bandits were sneaking into the town hoping to catch the Marshall off guard.

The 4:20 Gang move up through the storage yard hoping to get the drop on Marshall Mills and his men.
The Assumption Vigilance Committee spots the outlaws and moves fast to drive them out of town.
After a vicious shoot-out, the Marshall moves in to fisticuffs range.
Bud Masters stands outside the hotel and surveys the scene after the violence has come to an end. 

As it turns out, the Vigilance Committee had spotted them advancing through the fields (drunk men are rarely as stealthy as they imagine themselves to be) and tried to cut them off at the edge of town in order to reduce the danger to innocent civilians. Unfortunately, the lawmen were beaten back rather handily - sometimes the drink makes a man a little more daring than he would normally be. The entire engagement culminated in a duke-out between Sly Bill and the Marshall himself. Although neither man went down, the Marshall's men were lying scattered in the streets beaten and bruised. Feeling that they had made their point, the outlaws withdrew amidst a chorus of triumphant whooping and yelping.

So, there you have it, Marc's outlaws finally had their revenge against the seemingly unstoppable lawmen. No matter - now the Marshall and his men are even more determined to see the villains behind bars or preferably, hanging from a tree!

In game terms, Marc managed not only to win but to do so without suffering any casualties. With more heroes in his posse (read: income earners), Marc is at a turning point I think. There was a point where his outlaws were on the line and I wondered if they would become so depleted that he would be forced to disband them and start over. It seems he is past the worst of it now and I fear my lawmen will have to work double-hard to drive them from the county once and for all.

Thanks for reading,

Monday, May 26, 2014

Legends of the Old West: Marshall Ambrose Mills and the Brave Citizens of New Assumption, Oklahoma

My gaming group is at the beginning of a second Golden Age of Old West gaming using the Legends of the Old West rule set. After my first Lawmen posse was annihilated, I started a new one and, I must say, they are coming off pretty strong out of the gate. So here they are:

(L to R) Deputy L'il John, Marshall Ambrose Mills, Half-Tonne Carl
(L to R) John Black, Casper, Bud Masters, Old Gabe, Wendell Hobbs, Reubon Drummond, Willy Dicks, Eli Mason

I've been playing a Lawmen posse ever since we first got into LOTOW years ago. I guess it was only fitting that I play the town defenders since I built the entire town and all of the supporting terrain in the first place. We "wrote" quite a story during our first campaign around the fictional town of Assumption, Oklahoma. We decided this time around to keep the same general location and have renamed the town New Assumption.

My Lawmen consist of two groups, both visually and functionally, My heroes consist of Marshall Mills (Sheriff) and two Deputies - L'il John and Half-Tonne Carl. The bulk of the posse is made up of the brave citizens of New Assumption. They have pooled their money to hire the infamous Marshall-for-hire with the hopes of driving the outlaws from their land.

There are a number of players in our group right now but I suspect that Marc's Outlaw posse will be my main opponent, Here's how they look at this point in the campaign:

(L to R) Will McGraw, Bull Tucker, Halfbreed Bob Kickingcrow, The Philadelphia Kid, Dutch, Sly Bill

A creature of habit like myself, Marc has also only ever played one posse-type for LOTOW, his treacherous band of outlaws. They are currently known as the 4:20 gang, "on account of how they done robbed the 4:20 express from Bluff Creek, Arkansas." You might notice that Marc has far fewer models in his posse, only half as many as me, in fact. The truth is, since Marshall Mills and his Deputies arrived in town, Halfbreed Bob has lost some of his best men. Marshall Ambrose Mills would rather shoot an outlaw on sight and save the time and expense of a trial. Hopefully, the Marshall's vigilante-style won't come back to bite the citizens who brought him to town in the first place.

The Campaign So Far...
Marc and I have probably played about half a dozen or more games so far. I'm already on my second posse since, as I mentioned earlier. Marc's outlaws annihilated my first posse. So, he generally has more experience characters but I greatly outnumber him. I've included a few pictures of some of the games we've had so far. 

The 4:20 Gang advances on Hackett Farm.
Marshall Mills and his men drive the outlaws back to the forest.
The Marshall and his men track the outlaws to their hideout. Better take cover Will McGraw!
Sly Bill and Bull Tucker creep up through the turnip patch. Shoulda turned back when they had the chance.
Casper and John Black ready themselves before rounding the corner with guns blazing.
Stylized Counters
There's something to be said for a project the second time around. For instance, you often find yourself completing all the smaller details that you never found time for initially. Case in point - I printed a colour pdf of the counters from the original rulebook and mounted them on 25mm square bases. Then I colour-coded the bases to really make them stand out on the table. Marc and I found them to be a very attractive addition to the table.

The plan is to take this project to the same level as my Gothic Horror project. I already have a solid collection of Old West terrain and buildings, but my painted collection of models had only reached 25 strong by the end of our first campaign some years ago. I've recently ordered some new miniatures - specifically, enough to paint up two new posses. My first new posse will be cowboys. I've always wanted to do a cowboy posse. Can't beat henchmen with repeating rifles. The second posse,,, actually, I'll wait on that one. Nothing wrong with a surprise now and then.

Thanks for reading,

P.S. After some experimenting with different blogging platforms, I've decided to continue using the old site. Expect to see some changes and "spring cleaning" in the near future. I should mention that, although I haven't been posting for the past couple of years, I have been painting and playing. I have lots of new models and terrain to post in the coming months. I hope you stick around and enjoy.