Wednesday, December 29, 2010

And So It Begins

The battle has begun! The forces are set.

The Forces of Evil: Moria Goblins with Saruman and a Cave Troll, Easterlings, a Mumuk, Uruk-Hai with Lurtz, Haradrim with Suladan and a Hashiri, Orcs, Warg Riders and Haradrim Raiders with 3 Nazgul spread through the line.

The Forces of Good: Rangers of Gondor with Faramir, Soldiers of Gondor(units spread through the line) with Gandalf, Rohirim with Theoden, Gamling and Eowin, my newly painted Ent, Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas, Riders of Rohan with Eomer, and finally some Dwarves.

A close up of the Mumak and Ent
 The first couple of turns did not bode well for the Forces of Good as their shooting was terrible. By the time the sides started to engage good had lost 12 to the evil loss of 3.

This is the end of turn 2 as indicated by the blue die in the foreground. The Troll is knocked down by Gandalf's magic. Note Aragorn and Gimli charging at the Mumak while the Ent throws boulders at it, but quite literally cannot hit the broad side of a barn.
By the end of turn 4 things where evening out though a series of poor die rolls started to make the commander of the Forces of Good rather irritated. I didn't think it was statistically possible to roll 6 ones in a row!

Turn 4: Casualties or mounting(the evil cavalry in the corner are part of the pile) Good has taken 21 including Aragorn while evil has taken 30.
Note that only Gimli remains as rocks were hurled on Aragorn's head from above and he could not roll a single fate to save himself!
 And it continues....

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Gaming

The preparations for the Christmas battle are slowly taking shape, the table is set up and although I did not finish my terrain projects as hoped for they are at the stage where I can at least put them on the table. The army lists are ready so the next step is "TO WAR".

Tristan and I have continued our game of Deathwatch RPG and this session went much faster as I get used to the rules and was lots of fun. One more session should finish the scenario and then maybe I will recruit some more members for the team.

I also got in a few games in the last couple of days of games received under the tree. Pandemic once and Summoner Wars twice. 

Tristan and I Playing Summoners Wars which Santa brought Tristan for Christmas. He really liked it, its a fun fast game.

The battlefield waiting for the troops to arrive. Those are the new hills but they have to be flocked and finished off. The big hill under the ruins can be separated into 3 hills-2 corner hills and 1 table edge hill. 

A close up of the ruins, originally built as Weathertop a few years ago.
Some of the newer Osgiliath ruins from GW

These are the bases for my forests/rough area terrain. They have yet to be textured and I will make plugs in which I will base trees for forests are rocks to represent rough area terrain.

These are the trees based, I need to get more though.

The trees placed in the cut out areas of the base.

Me with a couple of my Christmas presents, actually Pandemic was a family gift from Santa.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Grand Theory of Terrain Unification

I am slowly making preparations for the Christmas battle as mentioned in the last blog and I've been looking at my terrain and I believe it's time for a terrain redo.

Over the years I've made different types of terrain for various scales. I've had a 4' by 8' board with the standard hills. I've had a board painted with chalk board paint on which we drew  rivers in blue, roads in brown etc. and then placed hills on the board. This was mainly for micro armor. I've had 2' by 1' by 1" thick modular terrain on which I modeled the towns, rivers and roads again for micro armor. I made a bunch of 1" thick foam hexes to fit together forming rivers, hills etc.

Currently I am gaming on 2' by 2' sections with some depressions modeled into the 1" foam and then I place hills, trees and use felt of various colors for area terrain. This works well enough and I've stayed away from modeling anything scale specific. But looking at my collection of hills and trees I have noticed a problem. Over the years I've gamed in 6mm to 40mm and some of this shows in the terrain. Now I game almost exclusively in 28mm(WWII, 40k, Warhammer, Lord of the Rings, Malifaux) with some 15mm thrown in(Flames of War, Napoleonic) and once in along time 6mm(Epic Armageddon). Most noticeable my hills are made from 1' foam which is not high enough to block LOS for modern 28mm figures and then just other niggly stuff that bothers me.

So once again I've decided on a plan, "The Grand Theory of Terrain Unification" mark 4.12
-I am going to make maybe a half dozen hills with 1.5" foam
-I am going to make forests out of thin board which I will texture and place the trees on. In this way I can use the trees individually or on the board as area terrain. Without the trees on the texture board these areas can represent rough terrain.
-I will make river sections about 6" wide. I can then make different bridges to match the game scale.

I have some other ideas like roads and I can still use my fences and walls for the appropriate scale but  I really want to stay away from scenario specific terrain. Sure it looks cool and then it sits in the basement for years. What I am aiming at is a collection of terrain that I can use over and over and will not be so big that it will be hard to store. Sure I am going to have a box for stuff that will just be for 40k or WWII but if all goes according to the grand plan I will go to the generic terrain and set up all the natural stuff and then haul out the 40k box for some specific pieces which will make the board look different to say the Lord of the Rings battle I just had 2 weeks ago or something like that anyways.

I am going to try to get the first batch ready for the Christmas battle and that will consist of the new hills and forests and I will post pictures up with the battle report.

The battle is scheduled between Christmas and New Years so I had better get a move on but it really shouldn't take that long just for some hills and forests.

I hope everyone has a good Christmas and I will return in the new year.

Good Gaming everyone.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I'm Back

Well I haven't been very active in the hobby for the last little bit on the account of life.

Before the break I did get in some games though my memory is a little hazy now. I did get in a game of Firestorm Armada by Spartan Games with my son in which I was victorious! I concentrated fire on his battleship and managed a critical hit which destroyed it after which he withdrew his fleet. We are using card board cut outs downloaded from their website until we figure out which fleets we would like to invest in. A good way to try out the game without spending money on models.

I also picked up a copy of Deathwatch by Fantasy Flight Games. This is an RPG set in the Games Workshop 40k universe in which you take on the role of a Space Marine. It is a great read for the background. I started the introductory adventure with my son and it was a little slow mainly because it has been awhile since I GM'd and longer since I ran a similar game system which is based on the old Warhammer Roleplay game.

I played another game of Ravenloft with my son and a friend of mine. We successfully completed scenario 3 from the scenario book though at first we thought we had lost till we checked a rule, backed it up a turn and replayed the last turn correctly. A problem I find with co-op games is that players aren't keeping as close an eye on other players moves so even though people are not cheating sometimes you go "hey wait shouldn't this have happen this way". Still a fun game for a D&D fill in.

Modeling wise I have started some work on my 40k Orks which when completed will bring the force up to 1500pts. My son is agonizing over which Warhammer Fantasy army to start; Lizardmen, High Elves, Dwarves, Tomb Kings. So far he keeps returning to the Lizardmen even after buying the High Elves army book, so who knows. I guess I will have to dust off and update either my Orcs & Goblins or Empire armies.

Preparation is just starting for the annual familly Christmas battle which has become a tradition between my son and I. We have done it for the past 3 or 4 years and I believe this year I will have to show no mercy. So far every year we have done Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game by Games Workshop and this year will be no different. My son will command the forces of evil led by his Mumak while I will defend with the forces of good(bolstered by a surprise unit). I will post the army lists as they are finalized and the battle report when the game is finished. This game usually takes a few days as we battle when the Christmas festivities allow.

That's it for now, I plan on getting a few more games in, continue working on the 40k Orks and working on my 28mm WWII Canadians all while patiently waiting for the Ultramarines movie to arrive.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


The past couple of weeks have been busy but I still managed to get some gaming and modeling in.

The French fleet is ready to set sail, I just have to get the cowardly French commander to join me in battle, and at that point the reality of my poor tactics and /or luck may make me rethink all these comments. I love making army lists or building a new model, imagining how it will perform ideally on the table, and then getting the cold slap of reality in the face as it all goes up in flames.

So now I am going to start working on building up my 40k Orks and painting up a 28mm WWII Canadian platoon that me and a friend are going to field together.

As far as games go I've played Chaos in the Old World by Fantasy Flight Games and Space Hulk Death Angels Card game also by FFG over at a friends house and a game of Space Hulk board game at home vs. my son. Lost all games. I lost Chaos by not playing the right strategy for my chaos god. It was the first time I played and it took a couple of turns to figure out what I needed to be doing, oh well next time. Death Angels was cooperative so it wasn't all my fault, honest. Space Hulk was funny because I haven't played in such a long time I forgot to keep action points to unjam my stormbolters, and as my luck would have it I jammed up fairly early and I got mobbed by the geanstealers, end of game.

I want to talk briefly about the miniature game Malifaux because I've been meaning to. This is not a review or detailed game description but a few words about what I like about the game mechanics. Malifaux is a skirmish game set in a gothic, steampunk, western, magical, alternate history. The number of miniatures is generally less than a dozen per side and closer to half a dozen usually. The game uses a deck of cards per player instead of dice to resolve actions. The scenarios usually have multiple victory conditions which are different for each player and is usually not the elimination of the other team.

So, what do I like about it. Well as my luck is frequently not the best I really like the card mechanic because each player has a hand of cards which they can use to off set a bad draw when determining results of attacks etc. Basically a card is flipped from your deck and the number is added to a model's characteristic. This is compared to the target model's defense characteristic plus a card flip by your opponent from his deck. At this point the loser of the "duel" can play a card from their hand to win the duel(there is some other details but this is the basic flow). Anything that can counter bad luck is great with me and it adds a level tactical thinking about when to use your good cards. Also because the model count is low I feel I can spend some extra time painting the figures.

The main down side to the game is the amount of errata for the main rule book. Each model has a list a abilities and powers which is what makes the games very tactically diverse but you have to check every listing for errata which is very annoying. I can't wait for a 2nd edition or at least another print of model cards.
So you ask, why don't you win at this one. Well I do sometimes and I know why I am losing when I am so I will learn as I play. My friend who I play against is very good at looking at the various powers and working out a good synergy of powers within his crew. I on the other hand am a trial and error player so it takes a little longer to get things figured out so I will keep fighting with my Nicodem crew until I pull off a win(all my wins are with the Ortega's).

Overall I have a blast playing the game and depending on the crews fighting, each game can play very differently. I am hoping to build some purpose built buildings and terrain to add to the feel of the games.
Till next time
 The completed French fleet
 The French 120 gun flag ship
 The Canadians
The 1st squad ready for a fight

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Fickle Fates of Dice and Cards

I organized my hobby station and found that it actually inspired me to get some models done. I finished off the 4 Space Marines that have been staring at me for the last year or so and it really didn't take that long. I believe in painting everything to a war game standard, so as long as it looks good from 2-3 feet it is good enough for me. That leaves very little unpainted SM left  for a 2000pt list, mind you that 2000pts isn't an optimized list but seeing as I'm not a tournament player and I usually make an army to some theme I have(locked away in my head) that's also OK with me.

The French navy is coming along after a bit of a delay(must be the strikes!). Two 74's are rigged and they just need the rat lines, pennants & flags and then based. One 74 is partially rigged and then on to the 1st rate.

I managed to get a few games in since the last post and thus the title for this post. The 1st game was Wings of War against my son. This is a great game. Quick, easy and  fun and the miniatures add the "cool factor". We had 2 planes each, a single and double seater each. On the first exchange of gun fire my double seater was shot down in a brilliant explosion(I picked the explosion damage card) after that I tried to concentrate on one of my sons planes to even the score but alas I could not cause enough damage before being shot down.
Win/Loss 0-1

Next I went over to a friends place and tried a couple of new games. The first was Summoner's War, a cool little card/war game. How many times can you roll a 1 on a d6 in a row? (when all you need is a 3+), well at least 5-6 times. My friend even grabbed the die, said "let me try" promptly rolled a 6 and gave it back to me so I could roll a 1 again(curse you for using up my 6). That turn was hard to recover from and though I enjoyed the the game it was another loss.
Win/Loss 0-2

So, lets try a co-op game. We tried Castle Ravenloft next. Guess what, I can roll badly with a d20 as well as a d6, and we pick a raft of heavy hitting monster from the monster deck. Another fun game and another loss to which my friend said "wow, I've never lost at this before". To him I say(he is a DM), my bad dice rolling isn't so funny when your on my side is it?
Win/Loss 0-3

Oh well, all the games were fun and at least I don't throw my dice in uncontrollable rage, hitting my friends in the neck with small pointy polyhedrons....well at least not any more.(sorry about that)

So maybe I will get to talking about Malifaux next time. It has a great card system  and doesn't use dice which helps to offset bad luck...but hey, my win/loss ratio isn't much better, what gives!
My Malifaux crews
The Ortegos                                                                        Nicodem

Monday, October 11, 2010

Picking Rules-Napoleonic Naval Gaming

My plan was to post every 2 weeks but seeing as it's the Thanksgiving long weekend and I am trying to digest the two turkey dinners I've had so far this weekend I thought I would do an extra one.

I haven't got much gaming in and it looks like October is going to be a write off for gaming between Thanksgiving(family time), a wedding(more family time) and all the other things life throws at you.

A couple of weeks ago I finished Dragon Age Origins which I really enjoyed playing and is probably the first RPG video game I have actually completed, mind you I dialed the combat down to easy. I was more interested in the story and nothing gets me frustrated more than being stuck trying to get past a combat to continue following the story and it still doesn't compare to playing a real RPG. So now I am starting to play Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising a FPS/Squad command game. A steep learning curve and one shot can kill you so you have to be careful. I like it so far but the squad command takes some getting use to.

Now onto "real" gaming. As I haven't actually played anything this is mostly some stuff I have been working on. The French fleet is coming along. There was a color screw up on the hulls so I had to do a repaint-agh, but I am back on track now. I have three of the 74's painted so now on to the assembly and rigging and then onto the 100 gun which I will work on between rigging the 74's as rigging can be tedious.

I said in the last post that a friend and I are planning on using the Trafalgar rules from Warhammer Historical, so let me tell you how we have come to this rule set.

First let me state what I want any set of rules to accomplish for me and this has changed over years.
1. I must be able to finish a game in an afternoon. When I say this that means the game is actually finished as apposed to the players saying "well if we played this out(for another 2+ hours) I think this army would win".
2. The turn sequence and mechanics must be smooth, which helps with #1.
3. It has to be fun, fun wins over historical accuracy though I do want a level of accuracy which hopefully is written into the core mechanics as apposed to extra add on rules.
4. Finally I want to be able to use tactics of the period so I know it's my fault when things go wrong (or the few times I get it right).

So back to Napoleonic Naval wargaming. I started years ago with Wooden Ships and Iron Men by Avalon Hill. This is actually a board game but can be used with miniatures. This was/is a great game that me and a friend played the crap out of but it does show its age by the number of charts used during play and really a player can only run 2-3 ships.

I then bought Close Action by Clash of Arm Games another board game that can be converted to miniatures. Very detailed game in which a player can run 1-2 ships at most. I only played a couple of times. I enjoyed it but it was a little to slow moving for me and I want to be able to command more ships. The scenario book I am sure will get some more use though.

I picked up a copy of Signal Close Action by Langton Miniatures which I am sure is a good game if you can learn it from someone who already knows how to play. The rules are very detailed and I could not get the flow of the game from reading through the rules and I probably need more knowledge of the fighting era to make sense of some of it. These were a no go for me after reading them a few times and much head scratching.

So now onto Trafalgar which I am sure is not the most historically accurate but is easy to understand, can be played to a resolution in a reasonable time and so far is fun. I've only played 1 solo game so I will report in later after I have smashed the French!( I love talking up my armies before the reality of a game shatters my hopes for my latest army list)

I actually was going to talk about Malifaux which I have been playing quite a bit of but I think I have gone on long enough so perhaps another time.
 The three French 74's
Close up of one of the 74's

Good gaming,
Rob H

Friday, October 1, 2010

The "Cool" factor

So I've just taken a look at my very crowded work center and seen the various projects I have on the go which gives a very quick sample of the way my mind wonders through the gaming hobby dabbling here and there and once in awhile actually finishing something. On the desk I have (insert drum roll) three 1:1200 Napoleonic ships, five Warhammer 40k Space Marines and a Chaplain, four 28mm British Napoleonic Rifleman, one 28mm ECW figure, and some other 40k terrain. All are in different stages, from just primed to almost finished and I know I have other projects on the go which have been put on the shelf that means "I will get back to you when my interest is re-ignited".

And that is what I like about the hobby I can bounce around as much as I like, as my interest is peaked by something I've read or watched or just seen in the store and gone "now that's cool"

So now let me tell you what has peaked my interest lately. Its the Napoleonic ships which I am actually building for a friend who has a similar habit of bouncing around the hobby, which is a bad influence to have around. We bought some Langton miniatures awhile ago now and after some time I got my small British fleet together, two 74's, a 100gun and a Frigate while his French fleet got lost among his various projects. We want to try out the Trafalgar rules published by Warhammer Historical and after some ribbing from me along the lines of the cowardly French not wanting to put to sea he suggested I could build them and perhaps he would help out on some future miniature purchase of mine. So here I am putting some French vessels together, hopefully I won't get distracted before I finish. I learned a lot putting mine together so these should get to sea with much less hassles as long as I remember everything I learned the first time.

Besides modeling I am hoping to get in a game of D&D this month with some friends and my son in one of my friends very irregular campaign , no fault of his, that would be me again.

And of course some video games in on the PS3, mostly racing which my youngest forces me to so he can watch and I picked up RUSE so I will play that when I can get time on the system between my oldest son and my wife, why did I buy Star Wars LEGO!

I think I am going to grab a beer now and kick someone off the PS3.

My crowded work station with my projects and some of my sons.
 The Royal Sovereign
 The British fleet
 One of the French under construction