Monday, December 9, 2013

Return to the WWII 28mm Canadians

Awhile ago I painted up a few WWII 28mm Canadians by Black Tree Designs. One squad and a command unit a Sherman and a Sherman Firefly to be exact. Since then I have picked up the Bolt Action rules and would really like to give them a try. Previously we had been using Disposable Heroes by Iron Ivan Games and they work reasonably well though the infantry/vehicle rules are not the most seamless. The Bolt Action rules read well but you can only really tell how easy they are to play once you put the armies on the table!

I already have a good size Soviet force and my friend has a good size German force and I know a few other people who might like to give the Bolt Action rules a try so having a second army ready to play would be nice.

So I checked my painting note book in which I keep sporadic notes on the paint colours I use to paint various armies and I had actually written down the paint colours I had used which was a pleasant surprise.

From my initial painted group I am adding another squad, a MMG, a mortar, artillery spotter, a sniper team and a 6pdr AT gun which still leaves another squad, sniper team, LMG team, 2 PIAT teams, and a few assorted soldiers.

I mounted all the figures I wanted and then primed them except the squad which my friend had previously mounted and primed.

So there is still work to do but at least I have gotten a good start. I will finish off the base colours and then shade and highlight. I also have a couple of jeeps and a M5 halftrack I can dig out if I want. They are slightly older models and do not compare to the new models for detail(and scale for that matter!) out now but they will do in a pinch.

Canadian rifle squad primed and based.

6pdr AT gun. I have since glued the crew directly onto the base removing their individual bases allowing me to trim a little off the gun base.

The MMG.

The mortar.

The teams

The book with my colour guide.
The 2 main uniform colours mixed 1:2

The sniper Team

Mortar team.

MMG team.

The infantry force under way. The soldiers on the right are the original completed ones.

The new squad.

Artillery spotters.
And the 6pdr AT gun.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

And Here I Go Again

The last little while has been busy with real life stuff getting in the way of my hobby time so I have been doing a little bit of this and that as time permits but no major projects under way.

I've been very slowly putting my 15mm Flames of War German mobile AA together and also putting together a 28mm 6pdr AT gun for my WWII Canadian force I am building. Hopefully soon I am going to give the Bolt Action skirmish rules a try with either Eric, who has Germans, or Chet in which case it will be my Canadians vs my Russians.

This last weekend I went to Halcon in Halifax for my 3rd year as a volunteer on the gaming floor. This time I went for all three days. Chet and I did game demos for Malifaux, X-Wing and Zombicide. It was fun though I hardly had any voice and Chet had pinched a nerve in his neck so Chet did most of the speaking and I did the reaching! I met some nice people and put some faces to people I only knew by name. Unfortunately I used my phone for the picture taking at the con and they didn't turn out that great.

Eric and I are planning on getting in a game of 15mm Napoleonics soon using the Lasalle rules and we are getting our respective armies together.

Another activity that has been sucking up my time is playing Mass Effect on the PS3. I have had ME2 for some time but about a month ago I gave it another try and it sucked me in, playing it through multiple times and for a recent birthday my wife bought me the trilogy so I am starting with ME1 and going to play through the whole story with 1 or 2 characters.

Well that is about it for now and hopefully I am back on a semi regular posting schedule once again.

Monday, November 11, 2013


Just a quick note to say between work, colds and computer troubles I haven't been able to post as you can tell but things seem to be getting under control so soon I will put up a post Hal-con 2013 report were Chet and I demoed X-Wing, Malifaux and Zombicide.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Star Wars The Edge of the Empire

After three play sessions and having incorporated the full rules here are my thoughts from a game masters perspective of the SW:EoE from Fantasy Flight Games.

The book layout is very nice but sometimes particular things are a little hard to find. They also have these grey boxed text areas that contain some important game information (like how to manage a chase) but when I am reading  rules I tend to read the main text and don't look for rules in these aside areas so that took some getting used to. Also the equipment section seems a little weak.

The game mechanics themselves are very easy and if you can't find that particular rule you were looking for it is very easy to make up a ruling on the fly that will work perfectly fine without taking players out of the game. I have played Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3rd edition which uses a similar dice pool mechanic so I had an idea how it would work. The tweaks they made for SW:EoE make the system streamlined and fast but if you are looking for a system that gives precise measurements on a grid or anything like that this is not the system for you. I have incorporated maps and figures in play and will probably be doing it even more so in the future but you don't need them and I use them to show where the PC's are relative to terrain and other characters not to measure distance(at least not in a precise way). That way the players know exactly what is going on.

The Dice. You play with a set of special dice and pick out the dice to match the ability of the PC performing an action as well as dice that determine the difficulty of the task then you throw in some for situational bonuses or difficulty. Green dice and yellow dice are your skill dice. Green represents your basic ability and then you replace a number of the green with the better yellow dice for your skill level. Purple is the basic difficulty. The more difficult the more purple dice. Sometimes these are replaced by red dice to represent your opponent's skill. Then you can throw in some black dice for negative modifiers like fighting in the dark or blue dice for positive mods like "I have night vision goggles". Once you have this in your hand you roll the dice and look at the symbols. Successes cancel Failures. Threat cancels Advantage. If you have more Success than failure you succeed. And then there may be a good benefit if you have some extra Advantage (you see garbage compactor door you could escape through)or something not so good if you have some left over threat(maybe you cannot contact your droids to stop the compactor). This system is actually very quick to use during play which makes for a smooth running game and also I find that it keeps you in the game, in character, in action because it's fast to do and you are not doing math no matter how easy it may be. Just the statement of saying you have to roll a certain number on a certain type or number of dice tends to break up the narrative just a bit. The problem with the dice mechanic is thinking of the good and bad side effects that come up from the Advantages and Threats. There is a chart of some basic effects to help out. There is also two symbols, one on each of the yellow and red die which means something really good happens(yellow die) or something really bad(red die). These can be fun but can take some creative thought.

If you want to run a Jedi character you are out of luck, you can run a minor force sensitive character but the force won't be filled out till the next core game and probably not a full Jedi till the third core book in a year or so. 

I played the first session using the beginners rules and scenario. The full scenario took us two and a bit sessions and by the second session we had switched to the full rules. Everyone got quite comfortable with the dice mechanic within the first session and I was comfortable enough as the gm by the 3rd session to(hopefully) put more energy into describing the action and environment.

We are continuing the adventure with the online adventure "The Long Arm of the Hutt" and the players are going to convert the pre-generated characters provided with the quick start game to full game rule characters.

The players range from one with only a little rpg experience, two with mostly d20 experience, one with lots of experience but mostly as a gm and one player with extensive knowledge of the Star Wars universe and all seem to be enjoying the game.

So I would say if you like Star Wars(and who doesn't) this is probably worth giving a try, if you like a sci-fi 
you will probably also like this unless you want a hard science game or if you just want a fun and fast game this should hit the mark as well.

As a quick note I got back into the painting mode a bit so bashed out some fantasy figs which I haven't done in a very long time before I switch into continuing painting my 28mm WWII Canadians.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

More Edge of Empire and Some Good Old Games Workshop

My modelling has sort of ground to a halt lately do to a lack of interest but I find the various aspects of the gaming hobby always keep me involved and right now I am not in the model building/painting frame of mind. I have been getting some models on the gaming table though and playing a few games which is always good.

So before I went camping with the family for a week in PEI Tristan and I got in another game of good old Warhammer 40k. This game I pulled out my Space Marines and we fought another 1250pt game. I did do a little painting here in that my Landraider Crusader had been built but never painted so I put on a quick coat of paint so that it at least wouldn't stand out in my army as the one unpainted piece. Let me just say I expect my Orks to consistently fail their army saves but my Space Marines...oh well that's how it rolls I guess.

While camping we played a few short games I brought with me which were  Munchkin by Steve Jackson Games and Once Upon A Time by Atlas Games. These are games the whole family can play including my (almost) 5yr old(with help). I think he may be a rpg enthusiast as he really likes the story telling games like Once Upon A Time or just the old around the campfire taking turns telling a story game. I also brought Gloom but we didn't get time to play.

Tristan and I are preparing a game of Warhammer Fantasy now. This will be another 1250pt battle and we have played the latest edition before but not in quite a long time.

I ran the second session of Star Wars: Edge of the Empire and have pretty much integrated the full rules into play now. We finished off the basic scenario that came in the beginners box and started the downloadable adventure from FFG. The core rules are pretty fast which makes the game fast to play allowing more time for role playing so now I have to polish off my understanding of some of the more common rules like starship combat, healing and repairing so I can concentrate on role playing the NPC's. I have to say that as of right now I really like the system but the equipment section is a little sparse but has enough to get through. I am hoping that this will be expanded on fairly soon.  

I also started to run a game of Dragon Age RPG be Green Ronin for my son Tristan and Michelle. This system is very easy to get into. I started them off with the free Quick Start adventure and will be finishing it up the next session and starting the adventure that comes with Set 1. I am not sure how this game will run in the long term and it seems hard to track down the second set that takes the PC's to level 10 and I assume fills in some more details. I had wanted to pick up the set before I started to run it but could not find it.

My 1250 pts of Space Marines. My Crusader just has a base coat of paint.

The battlefield.

The enemy, IG perhaps unwittingly tainted by chaos.

The setup, Vanguard Strike. The mission, Purge the Alien.

The units close. The Predator and Leman Russ exchanged inconclusive fire for a number of turns.

Still early in the game. The IG holding their positions and waiting for me to close.

My Crusader and Terminators enter play. The Terminators did some damage but were taken out by the IG gun line.My Space Marines engaged the IG infantry but after failing 4 out of 5 armor saves in 1 round I could see the writing on the wall. So my Company commander issued a challenge to try to redeem some glory. he failed to hit once and then failed all his armor saves and was pounded into dust. My SM must have got a hold of some Stormtrooper armor from Star Wars! The game ended in a 7-3 loss.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The First Edge of the Empire Session and More 15mm Preparation.

Well it wasn't hard to find a group interested in trying the Star Wars Edge of the Empire RPG by Fantasy Flight Games. In fact the group that played the Call of Cthulhu campaign transferred straight over to the Star Wars game with me taking over the GM position with Shawn becoming a player(previously the GM) and a new player(a big SW fan) joining in for a total of 5 player characters taking part. We started off playing the adventure out of the beginners box with a few additions to make the adventure a little more open. The players picked up the game mechanics pretty quick and the first adventure is pretty action orientated. The next session will finish off the starter adventure and we will continue with the free online adventure that extends the story. The players seemed to enjoy the game and liked the narrative aspect of the dice mechanics.

We went camping last weekend near where my friend Chet lives so he came out for the evening and I passed on some Flames of War materials I had picked up for him from Gametronics in New Minas. We also all played a fast, fun game of  Forbidden Island which we lost.

My son Tristan and I have been dusting off (literally in my case) our Warhammer 40k miniatures and trying a few games of 6th edition. 1250pts of Orks vs. Imperial and the games are pretty fun though there is some frustration playing the Orks!

I have been working slowly on trying to get my Flames of War Germans finished off and they are coming along pretty well with the hopes of doing a beach landing game soon.

Works in progress:

10.5cm German battery.

The battery all together. Finishing details and shading still required.

Spotters, HQ and staff.

US spotter plane.

StuGs from the Open Fire starter set.

Tiger 1's from Plastic Soldier Company.

7.5Pak40's from the starter set as well.
First 40k battle:
The setup, scenario is Big Guns Never Tire with Dawn of War deployment.

The bulk of the Orks.

My Deffcopters advance on the flank.

and are quickly taken out, a general advance as the Imperial Guard stays put.

Closing on the other flank.

My center has been destroyed.

Nearing the end, my Deff Dread tore apart the Punisher but the IG got a 7-4 win.
 The Second Game.

The second game. Scenario: The Relic, deployment: Hammer and Anvil.

The IG line.

The Orks pile in, moving on either flank. While the IG squad in the center drop the relic and run after the Killa Kans charge them.

The IG Chimera is destroyed while the Leman Russ blows up taking some IG with it.

The carnage at the end. The Orks won this one 2-0.

The Ork pile of dead.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Traveller5 and Star Wars Edge of the Empire

I have been continuing the preparation of both the American and German forces for my 15mm D-Day games for Flames of War and as far as gaming goes I played a game of X-Wing Miniatures Game from Fantasy Flight Games.

But the bulk of this post is going to be something a little different. I purchased two rpg games recently namely Traveller5 and Star Wars: Edge of the Empire and though I have yet to read them cover to cover I will give a first impressions of both games being a long time player of Traveller since the original black box set and a Star Wars fan in general with some gaming experience going back to the West End Games edition.

First though modelling and games. Work continues on the German forces with the painting of a German 10.5 battery and I pulled out the airbrush again to put some camo on my StuG's and Tiger tanks. For the US I put together a spotter plane and will next finish off the bases for the infantry. I am trying to get enough paint on the figures that I don't mind putting them on the table! Pictures to follow next time. As far as getting in more D-Day games it may be early fall just judging by everyone's summer schedule but we will try to get at least one in before that.

The X-Wing game was another nail biter of a game. I played against Tristan and commanded the forces of order(The Empire) against the rebel scum. I had 2 TIE's, an Advanced TIE and a Firespray-31 against 2 X-Wings and a Y-Wing. This was a 100pt engagement and we played a straight up fight to the death. We closed quickly and after a good bit of dogfighting the Empire saved the galaxy from anarchy. Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures of the fight but it was a good game, I lost 2 TIE's and the others were both heavily damaged before the last rebel was blasted.

So the rpg games, I have played rpg's quite a long time though I don't play that frequently now but I do collect quite a few(ask my wife) mostly because I like reading the backgrounds and the game mechanics, it's what I like to read to relax, sort of like reading a novel.

First up, being the order I bought them, is the Star Wars Edge of the Empire game by Fantasy Flight Games. 

Initial impression: a very nice looking book, high quality full colour paper and binding, nice art work, table of contents and index. The book reads well, I haven't read it cover to cover but I have skimmed enough that I could easily play the game. The book is laid out well and logically so that you can read from page 1 to 443 or jump around a bit like I do and still understand the flow of the game. The game is backed up on FFG's website with downloadable character sheets and a few other things and the GM screen is out as well. One downside is that is uses custom dice so you either have to buy them, download the dice roller app or use regular dice with the numbers representing the different effects-and I don't think that would work very well.

Now for Traveller5.

The book is huge at 656 pages and seems to have everything in it. It is well bound and printed on high quality white paper with black print. I liked the cover as it looks like the traditional Traveller covers but my wife said it looks like a math text. Ok, so I was excited to see this book but I am a little disappointed. There is a table of contents but no index-656 pages with no index, come on. The art varies from some nice clean drawings to art that has been used since the 80's and is showing the age(and a robot drawing that looks like it belongs in a steampunk book not a hard sci-fi game). It doesn't read well and is broken up with pages of charts, acronyms galore which you have to keep finding the meaning for and some which are just plain dumb and/or unnecessary. The core game mechanics seem good and solid but there seems to be a lot of stuff put in because...well just because. I also can't find some things like character sheets on line or downloadable world map pages which would be very useful. I really like the world building chapter and the ability to build anything with the chapters GunMaker, ArmorMaker and VehicleMaker but would have liked to have seen a better section on predesigned guns, armor and ships.

Now I know FFG had more money to sink into this but it is not the physical quality of the book I am put off by which is top notch it's the lack of clear organization. I want to like Traveller5 but I am excited to play Star Wars and Traveller5...well I will make up a character, build a world and maybe, just maybe give it a try with some people that love Traveller.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

D-Day Begins

The D-Day preparations continue but enough has been done to start the fight!

I played a Flames of War game with my son Tristan. This was unrelated to D-Day and was more to get Tristan re-acquainted with the rules and also his first full size battle at 1500pts.

And he did quite well. He played a US armoured company from the book Blood, Guts and Glory while I used a Panzergrenadier company. He managed to hold up one flank and push onto the objective on the other flank for the win.

The other FOW game I played was for the world wide D-Day campaign, Operation Overlord, being run by WWPD (What Would Patton Do).

Here I commanded a Grenadier company against a US airborne company commanded by Chet and Tristan in the Seize and Hold scenario. Having never played the scenario before I made a few tactical errors in set up. The game played quite long as the fighting bogged down over an objective around some bocage. After a few turns of some high attrition assaults the US were able to push the Germans away from the objective for the win.

Other games I played were a few games of Forbidden Island and a game of X-Wing. We managed to win the co-op game of Forbidden Island while I lost the X-Wing game to Shawn though the game was quite tight with only one ship left on the board at the end. Some rule errors were made during the game though and a rematch is in order!

A few pictures of the first FOW battle followed by a short battle report of the airborne landing.

The US armoured company.

German Panzergrenadiers

End of turn 1. The StuGs and Shermans at the top of the picture ended up trading shots all game without destroying a single vehicle.

From the POV of the US M10's on the ridge, 1 Panther goes up.

The P-47 harasses the Panthers in the town.

And another Panther gone.

The StuGs and Shermans still slugging it out.

Near the end, the P-47 has taken out the infantry on the objective and the US armoured platoon moves in for the win.

 D-Day Battle Report.

The US airborne forces using the full Easy Company rules.

The German Grenadier company.

The battlefield with Carentan on the right.

Turn 2. US has entered with1 platoon occupying the lower field and 2 platoons coming through the bocage on the upper right. The Germans occupy the town with 3 grenadier platoons and some AA guns. The objectives are in the white building near the centre of the board and the other 1 is in the bocage by the tree line.

The US approach the town and take some fire, it is still dark. The red die is marking the platoon that fired giving away their position.

The US are nearing the objective in the bocage, no German reserves have come in yet.

The 1st of the German reserves come in behind the advancing paras who turn around. Meanwhile more US glider troops show up near the Germans. Note: here is one of my big set up errors. I had the mortar platoon held in reserve thinking they would be coming in on my side of the board and then read the reserve rule for the scenario and realized I had no side of the board and they would come in on a random location.

The beginning of the contest for the objective. The Germans move out of the town to stop the paras from controlling the objective.

Finally my reserves are all in. The Tigers are trying to double time it to get into the fight before it is too late while the P-47 tries bombing them. My AA guns cover their advance.

More Germans are thrown in as the HMG platoon moves into position.

After fighting off numerous assaults from the airborne the Germans are getting too thin.

And finally they have had enough! The US wins a Major Victory.