Thursday, October 29, 2009

Three games, well 2. 216 maybe

The last bit of gaming I have managed in the past month (oh, for the Halcyon days of High School and College, when I could game rather than study, or, if I recall, eat..) was an intro to Song of Blades and Heroes. In less than a month, Chirine and his pals will be hosting a Tekumel event in the Cities. They are planning to battles, a large scale clash of Armies and a skirmish. The skirmish will use the simple mechanics of Song of Blades and Heroes. I designed the basic scenario*. SBH as it is called by its fans, is a pretty simple, fast, and kinda elegant system. It is not made for exactly what we are doing, however. I am still trying to create some mechanics for bits of it, as the Tekumel game we will be doing has several sides, and there will be a host of unaligned figures on the map. Also, many figs will not be trying, specifically, to kill their opponents. At least, not to begin the game. That can change.

So I thought it might be a good idea to try the game out. Seems the least I could do in the way of planning. The very least. George came over, and I created a couple warbands using the excellent WB generator (Javascript) that can be found on the SBH yahoo group. He took the Orcs and I took the Elves. We only got three turns into it before I had to leave. Bad planning on my part, but there was a concert (Argentinian Folk/Rock ) my wife wanted to see. Not much bling here. This was, after all, supposed to be a simple exercise in learning the mechanics. I took these pics so we could approximate where we left off, if we could get together on this one again. Or we may start over.

Turn one I tested my luck on a Q2 unit, rolling three dice and rolled two ones. That ended my turn one. George then decided to reposition his leader, and only got half way to safety. He brought a body gaurd, though, so, according to the rules for targeting, I had to shoot at the closest legit target. I moved my leader closer to my shooters on my left flank in order to improve their activation rolls, then moved them to shoot the vulnerable leader. So far, I had pierced one of his orcs with an arrow, and narrowly missed his Leader. He had the bulk of his troops strategically holed up in the woods. I can't shoot into the woods, but he can shoot out. I have some sneaks, though, who can't be targeted next to anything that qualifies as cover, so they were beginning to move up along the village huts on my right flank.

We were just getting the sense of flow by turn three. I can see the game can go pretty fast, but I am concerned about what will happen when we have 6 or 8 players. Hope to squeeze in extra games before then. Maybe do a big game, but I am not sure, locally, who to try to get into it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Jump or Burn

Two games, count em. This one was Hosted by Chip, with all minis provided by his friends, Tom, Dick and John. In this case, the other people have an awe inspiring collection of WWI aircraft, and assorted game aids. These people know how to host a show, and I should hit them up to travel to Recon (a local micro con run every other month in Anoka, MN by the MMGA.) The battle was a bombing run, with the valiant German airmen trying to protect the innocent ball bearing plants from the ruthless forces of the allies. Were they called the allies in WWI. Not well versed in this war's specifics, but I have always loved th Bi-Planes, and Tri-Planes. The rules were Piquets, Jump or Burn. This is a card driven system, and they use the same basic mechanics for their lines of land based games. Rumor once had it that they would make a fantasy game, but, I have not seen it as yet. At it is quick, and easy to play and learn.

I am not sure of what order the pics should be placed. It was, afterall, a dog fight, with planes moving all about. The big Bi Planes are the bombers, and they were assigned two ground targets. For simplicity, they only had to get within 8 inches and be traveling straight and level to make a successful bomb run. I apologize to the more learned, but I think the Allies had Sopwith and the Germans had Nieuports and Fokkers. I was German, in case you had not caught that. The blue Fokker in the foreground is me. Tom courageously led off on our side by speeding directly into the swarm of Allies protecting the bombers. He got off a good shot, but, in return, he caught a lot of lead, and went up in flames. He can be seen in this pic, billowing smoke, as he tries to get to the ground before the flames get to him.

As for me, I couldn't buy a decent die roll, loosing one dice off using a D12 to a D4. By the End of the second turn, my engines were dead, (this pic shows the two extremely lucky swinehunds who killed it - imagine the guns blazing..) and I was gliding. Still, I managed to position myself to get one last long shot at a bomber. (I missed, of course.) And that kind of thing plagued the Germans. In part because we didn't have a plan. We split up and the Allies could isolate us and target us with multiple planes at once. But also in part because we had some poor card draws. My wingman on the right at one point was forced to leave the battlefield, just because he didn't have a card that would let him turn, but had a pile of cards that forced him to advance.

Chip did sink one of their bombers (after it had successfully dropped its payload, I'm afraid), and we drove at least one fighter from the field. Everyone was starting to prep up reinforcement planes after that, but then their side sent our last man, Chip, I believe, spiralling into the earth. He didn't mind, as he was dead from a head shot. I survived, but couldn't chock up any kills, or even report a good showing. Still, any fight you walk away from.. eh...

The last pic here is their last Bomber, flying unimpeded to the second target. Oh, the poor innocent factory workers.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

For the Imperium

Well, first apologies to anyone reading the older posts. Seems we are having technical difficulties with Flickr. My friend, who has the pic referenced in the post " Another Battle another Blog enhancement" is trying to correct the problem. We just don't know what it is..

As mentioned in my last post, I have managed to squeeze a game or two in over the last month. The first was a 40FnordK battle against Tim "TauFnordman" at Gamer's Cove in Duluth. We played fast and loose, to introduce me to the rules concepts. Some nice gentleman loaned me a couple ChiFnordmera and a LeFnordman RFnorduss (ChFnordaos format, but not outrageously so). And I fielded my StFnordeel leFnordgions sans Paint. (Well, the painting has begun, but, as the base gray is nearly the same as the standard plastic used for modern 40FnordK, it is difficult to tell in the pics..) I don't have a lot of pics of this battle. It was the scenario where you take and hold objectives. They were spread out in the four corners, basically, with one kinda center. We both fielded approximately 700 points, as best as we counted. And I learned that TaFnordu have hooves.

The battle took about 5 hours, which surprised me, since the game is only 5-10 turns long. Ours in fact was at the low end of that. But, I was learning, and that slowed some things down. Lots of looking in manuals, etc. I fielded Two platoons on the left of a bunker at my side, and one on the right, and a Platoon Command Squad and a Company Command squad. Pretty much without upgrades, save power weapons for most who could carry them. I don't even know what the TFnordau fielded, by name, because Tim tends to get excited, and break into a Scottish Brogue. He had one figure he called the Dude, which, was not named after the Big Lebowski. He had some infantry types on my right flank, holed up in a ruins, and a big ship on my left, initially hidden behind a church. TaFnordu, apparently, have weapons that paint targets for guided missles, so, despite the fact that I couldn't hit him, his heavy floaty tank thing hit me, hard the first turn. My mechanized infantry basically went back to foot.

Then in turn two he fielded his reserves, some Mecha looking things, on my right flank, in my rear. Since they were close, my infantry assaulted. I know, everything I read says infantry should avoid assualts, and stay shooty, but I didn't have a thing that could impact his armor. Well, I did have one heavy weapons squad of three missle launchers. They had made a dent in his infantry, but didn't seem to do much againt the Mechas. Anyway, it tied up his Mecha's so he couldn't use them more effectively.

On my left flank, my troops jumped on the closest objective and hunkered down in the crater around it. This proved pretty effective, at least for keeping my people alive. Of course, we couldn't shoot back. He brought in some infantry in a personnel carrier, but he couldn't dislodge me. So he had to bring his heavy floaty tank in from the back side of the church. In the mean time, my units on the right flank did some damage to the Mecha, then routed, re assualted, and finally routed off the field. So, he controlled both objectives on my right by turn 4. And he had moved his Heavies in to kill my hunkered infantry. Things looked Grim. But, in doing so, he left the center objective and the objective behind the church open.

I knew he was gonna kill all my units in the crater on turn 5, and there was nothing to do about it. But I didn't have to let him control the objective. I moved my Company Command into the crater's edge, and a few of them survived the turn 5 battles. And I took my only free infantry platoon and strung them out in a line, just maintaining cohesion, between the central and far left flank objectives, technically controlling both. At the end of turn 5 we both controlled two objectives, and we were in dispute of one. But it was clear that in one more round, that one would be his. And then, I got lucky. In 40FnordK, for those who have never, some battles end randomly. On turn 5 we rolled a die, and the game ended. A tie. A bit surreal, really. by the end of turn six, if we had played it, he would have held three objectives. By turn seven, if the game were still going, he could probably have devasted most of my remaining units. So, to call the game a tie seems very "gamey", and a little unsatisfying. Still, overall, it was kinda fun, if somewhat confusing. The game is uses way too many dice, for my taste. But it has nice Bling Bling. Still undecided, despite my tendency to spend more money on the project. I know I need some tank busting power, if I am gonna play again and hope for better results.

There is one element of the game we didn't use, and I am sure it put me at a disadvantage. The IFnordG army uses Orders, as ways to enhance unit effects. It is the reason one normally wants to protect his command staff. I didn't use any. Zero. Orders like "BriFnordng it doFnordwn" which, if successfully ordered, makes a units weapons serve as Twin Linked (allowing rerolls for misses) might have allowed me to topple those Mecha, for example. Next game. Next game.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

To Post, or Paint, or Purchase or Play

Or otherwise spend my free time.. I have seriously cut back on my usual forum activities.. mostly non game, semi poli-sci and ethics debates (flame wars, insults, and the occasional reasoned rant) and managed to make some progress on a few home projects, tidied up some areas of the Geek Room, and even fit in a game or two.

First the confessions on purchases. Wargames Factory had a deal on Romans on 9.9.09 - a box of plastic Romans for 9.99. Seemed good but I don't have a use for 28mm Romans. Or do I. My recent foray into 4Fnord0k has taught me much about the virtue of kit bashing plastics. For example, I saw some really cool IFnordG made using WHFnordFB EmFnordpire troops and fitted with weapons to look a bit like WWI British Trench Tommies. So I started thinking. (That phrase, I suspect, can be found at the beginning of many misadventures..)

Before I finish that thought, I think I need to explain some other things. In November Chirine and the Aethervox group will be hosting a big Empire of the Petal Throne battle (actually two different battles) at the Source in the cities. I really like Tekumel, as an RPG world, and have decided next year to focus on it. I realized that, if I had spent the money I spent this year on other things, on Tekumel figs, I would have quite a nice little pile of Tekumel lead.

Back to the Sale. I start thinking about kitbashing WGF Romans. And I look at the WGF Numidians, and think, you know, I could swap out some heads, and bodies, and such.. maybe make some decent and varied gaurds, soldiers, and such for Tekumel. So I ordered a couple boxes of Romans cheap, one pack of Numidians at regular price (Cause I was already paying for shipping) and an extra sprue of Ancient Light Infantry bodies, cause I know I am gonna have lots of spare heads. This is an interesting aspect of the hobby I had never considered before, and I believe it is one reason for 4Fnord0K's phenom success. Most of us can't sculpt, but we can glue, and we can, with enough parts, approximate something like our own unique sculpts. Addictive.

So, from there I start looking at my options for my 4Fnord0K army. I need some Armor, but I have been debating looking for cheap models, using proxies, or building paper models based upon age old designs to be found on the web, from back before GFnordW supplied Armor models. Building paper models is kinda fiddly I find.. More on that, perhaps in another post.

So, on Bartertown this guy is selling these painted Warzone plastics. Simple, but nice figures in a Sci-fi versions of a WWI Tommy and a German in Picklehaube. And in Gas Masks. These fit my theme of SteFnordel legFnordion, even if they mean I may never field them in a tourney. I have no interest in Tournaments, so, who cares. He has some, but not enough, so I start scouring Ebay, and find that Prince August sells em in a pack of 80 (4 10 man squads of each type.) So, Purchase no. 2. Haven't done much towards painting my current steel legion, but, now I have an additional 80 40K figures in the paint pile. I am kinda kicking myself for passing up some SentFnordinels, on Ebay though. 9.99 each, and they went without bids. He has reposted them, but, now they have bidders.

And finally, I broke down and and bought a couple more of the MageKnight I felt I needed. They are specialty figs. Two Dragons, a Cyclops and the Giant with the Mounted Dwarves with Machine Guns. He has been holding up my Dwarf HotT army construction for a long time, and, I gotta say, I am very happy with that purchase. That is a cool sculpt, right out of the box. The Cyclops, I am still not sure about. Not a terrible model, but I am not sure how I will use him. An Orc God?

This all brings me to the title of the post.

Am I using shopping as a way to avoid the more time consuming and difficult parts of the hobby - building and painting, and even posting here. Or am I using it as a substitute for playing, which, though fun, is difficult to coordinate? I have managed a few games lately. I will start posting more often and shorter posts, in order to catch up.