Thursday, November 2, 2017

Tears for Arusage - Redux

This past TravellerCon/USA, I needed a Traveller-themed miniatures game for the Sunday morning slot, and decided to give "Tears for Arusage" another go.

To prevent the game from descending into the bogged-down slug-fest from LAST TIME, I took a page from DirtSide II and assigned objective markers to various spots in the encounter zone. These represent abstract victory conditions met, so even if a side didn't recover all four missing nukes, it might be possible, through reconnaissance, to find clues where the nukes might be.

Unfortunately, Player #1 (Dan - Condor Legion) took a lucky (or unlucky) hit on the first turn, and it threw his game off permanently.

PWND! Condor Legion debus and take cover:
the card disk is mortar searching fire.
Player #2, Beta Quandrant Security (aka The  BQS Mercs aka David) won the initiative and deployed their weapons team (mortar) and disabled the Legion's leading APC, incidentally scoring 2 - 3 casualties as well.

The surviving Legion decided to debus ("Call the shop!) and take cover beneath the ornamental-yet-sturdy Vilani-built fortifications. They also were "suppressed".

This is StarGrunt; naturally they were suppressed.

Player #2 (David) had his BQS mercs occupy the housing block and motor pool. A simple quality roll would activate an APC (originally abandoned by the Viliani withdrawal and virtually identical to the Legions vehicles. The objectives (4 abandoned nukes) must be exited from the table on a vehicle.

David kept his mortar team behind the ramparts and used his officers as artillery spotters - not very accurate, but effective in keeping the pressure upon the Legion.

Centre: the Khikkei/Vilani Cenotaph, while at top, the
2nd Legion Squad occupies a block house.
Turn 3 - 4: As an additional stroke of undeserved good luck, the BQS Mercs found one of the missing nukes in the back of a salvaged APC.

Jammy B*ggars.

Meanwhile, the Legion commander decided to debus his troops from their TL10 mortar-magnets and move to cover, while using the APCs (armed with single .30 cal MGs) as infantry support.

Condor Legion troop occupy the missile silos - are the
warheads still there?
The Legions gambit was pretty effective, in that his two APCs, aided by unexpected reinforcements (more on that in a moment) tied up the BQS Mercs long enough to recover two nukes.

Unfortunately, both Legion APCs were destroyed/disabled by RAM grenades or the LAG AP rifle of the weapons team.

The arrival of a Condor Legion recon team in TL10 air/rafts did cause some trouble, as they arrived on the rear flank and immediately threw fire on the mortar team.

The mortar and accompanying security dashed into a nearby block house and returned fire - suppressing the recons.

At this point, as we were running out of time, the Condor Legion player conceded the game.

Post Game Thoughts:

Rough game for the Condor Legion. Due to an error (third person) in setting up the map, the Legion was given an extended approach, while the BQS Mercs arrived on board and "Bobs yer uncle!" they were in cover. This doesn't mean Dan had to drive straight down the road, but, to his credit, he was acting according to his briefing, in that no opposition was expected.

The objective markers did help a bit in preventing a huge "pit of suppression" at the silos, and I will use these again in the next re-fight.

I think Dan's counter-attack was more-or-less sound, and if he hadn't lost the first APC, he could have carried off at least 2 - 3 nukes and won the game.

The Beta Quadrant Security Mercs also had a slight quality advantage, being Veterans to the Condor Legion's Regular status. This gave them the initiative advantage about 2/3rds of the time.

Rules, no matter how well written, can't compensate for bad luck....Ω

Friday, June 30, 2017

Another Excellent NJ-Con Has Come and Gone...

This year's NJ Con excelled itself for attendance, organisation and general coolness.

While I was only able to attend the Friday session, I still had a rollicking good time.

NJ-Con 2017 marked the last run of "The Wreck of the Fafnir Alpha" and it went out with a bang and not a whimper.

Three long-time gaming pals signed up for the final fight, so I removed the Archer/Kane team to maintain balance. It would be the United Radionics troubleshooter team against the allied Rebellious Workforce/Industrial Spies Team.

The Rook (aka "the Mad Bomber what Bombs in Broad Daylight" decided to liven up the game by sabotaging the main derrick machinery. The cheery blaze uplifted the hearts of all who could see it, as it crept towards the main oil storage tanks.

Derrick on FIRE!

The Troubleshooters must have just knocked over a Gypsy Bodego, because the poor guy rolling dice was obviously under a curse.

"I TOLD you, I can roll six "ones" in a row! I'm AMAZING!"

The Rebelious Workforce, with a combination of dogs, robots and socialist slogans, was able to drive the troubleshooters back to the helipad and off the burning platform, leaving control to themselves.

"Who let the guard dogs out?"

That showed'em...
Three Amigos and a detached onlooker...

Excellent way to end the season...Ω

Sunday, February 19, 2017

15mm Zhodani Lift Infantry Platoon - GZG

After nearly 30 years of gaming, I've decided it's time to update my 15mm Zhodani Lift Infantry.

Originally, I had started with early resin Ground Zero Games vehicle mini's back in the 90's, with a combination of Martian Metals and Laserburn 15mm for the infantry. The rules were the original Striker and occasional Ashanti High Lightning for GDW.

Times and tastes have changed, and inspired as I am to do some Fifth Frontier War scenarios using StarGrunt II, I've returned to GZG for the vehicles (and Denizen/Darkstar Ventaurans for the infantry).

Reinforcements Have Arrived - Models by Ground Zero Games

For a Consular Guard Lift Platoon, I used 3 x GZG V15-56A, 1 x V15-58A and 1 x V15-57A for point defense. In retrospect, since I had to heavily modify the 57A, I could have used another 56A and saved the gun for future use. Live and learn.

GZG V15-57A

For the point defense sled, the 57A hull was used, and a new deck was created from bits of styrene sheet, with a turret from Combat Wombat.

New Deck and Turret (Turrest from Combat Wombat)

Combat Wombat turrets are nicely shaped, but suffer from a near-future look with too much reactive armour cast onto the turret, so I had to dremel the beggar to far-future standards. Then added some GZG greebles.

Miniatures included for scale: Citadel Traveller Zhodani (OOP), GZG NAC, Laserburn Ships Crew.

I plan on putting together another platoon, plus company assets (CP, EW, FDC, MRL and PD sleds), for either a large convention game or a Dirtside II game.

I suppose this means I also have to update my 15mm Imperial Marines...hmmm - I should have better thought this through....

Thursday, November 17, 2016

7TV - The Fafnir Operation

The Vegemate; Salty-Good Lurker in Darkness
Since this past Cold Wars, I have been working on a Secret 7TV project,  which I revealed at Fall In! this past weekend. The project involved a grass green Shoggoth from RAFM, a super-spy codenamed "Duchess" and his "quadroon" companion, Agent Kane, an Industrial Spy with No Face, a Violent Sadist, a Promising Middle Manager and a dozen or so armed corporate minions...oh, and a 28mm North Sea oil platform.

It was "The Wreck of the Fafnir Alpha".

Taken whole-cloth from the 7TV 1st Edition "United Radionics" Programme Guide scenario "The Fafnir Operation", I ran this game twice (as is my wont). The scenario revolves around an experimental oil platform suffering from an insurrection, provoked by the Faceless Industrial Spy, actively under suppression by the Promising Middle Manager, aided by the Violent Sadist, with the Super-Spy & Friend seeking an advantage, all whilst being menaced by the Grass Green Shoggoth.

UR Corporate Troubleshooters dig in. Figures by Crooked Dice
As the reader may judge, attempting a play-by-play AAR would be nigh-impossible. The result of the first game was the Faceless Industrial Spy was able to escape through his ability to morph his features and the judicious use of an event card. The Super-Spy and Friend were captured by the Middle Manager and Violent Sadist (oh, DEAR!). Many robots and minions died, and the Grass Green Shoggoth went off, sulking and hungry.

In the second game (in which we ran out of time) many robots were destroyed, only to re-appear on the rear edge of the Troubleshooters by a despicable exploitation of an event card's text (brilliantly done, BTW). The Super-Spy and Friend did Somewhat Better, the Faceless Industrial Spy did not escape, many minions died, and the Grass Green Shoggoth AGAIN went off, sulking and hungry, and vowing never to play these naff rules again.

"Ah. Ms. Kane. What a nice set...of pistols."
In both games, the Corporate Troubleshooter team (led by the Middle Manager and Violent Sadist) won with the most VPs.

"Duchess": Beat down by John Chalice and Ian Ogletree
Other high points - using an event card to remove a stairway, thus forcing the Super-Spy and Friend to jump. Nice. Another card (Re-shoots) called for shifting several extras a few inches, resulting in several robots tumbling off the platform and into the North Sea (and you wondered why an occasional Dalek is found in a bog every now and then...)

Robot Bites Dog
Post Game Thoughts:

Fun Scenario, Fun Rules. One of my players (Ed W.) also runs 7TV in 15mm, using the 2nd Ed. While I have been resisting changing the rules, at Ed's encouragement, I will give 2E another look.

"BOSS! Behind us!"
Also, I plan to run this again at Cold Wars, with some Mods.

There will be objective tokens, some mobile, some not, to encourage the Corporate Troubleshooters off the helipad and into the scrum....Ω

Monday, November 7, 2016

TRAVELLERcon/USA 2016 Miniatures

This year's TRAVELLERcon/USA had a smaller number of miniatures games played, but there was still a nice representation.

Pictures below are from Bill P.'s Aslan Vs Centaurs game. I did not get to play - from what I heard, it was a great deal of fun. Bill also has some very nice buildings that he doesn't deserve that he's fortunate to have, and they add quite a bit to the past-future mood.

Bill uses his own home-brew rules, called "Bill's System" or "B.S." which makes me want to publish my "Keith's Rapid and Point-based System" or KRAPS. Time will tell.

Also notable is Bill's use of the same model grav tank as I use for the Aslan - for more of Bill;s work, HIE THEE HENCE. Bill's aesthetics are excellent and coincide precisely with mine...Ω

Monday, October 31, 2016

Return to the Cargo Deck...of DOOOOOOM!

This year's past TravellerCon provided a great opportunity to break out the Cargo Deck of Doom, a generic setting for 28mm Traveller (or indeed, any Sci-Fi) miniatures, and I was able to run two games with rather different results.

The cargo deck itself is composed of cross-stitch mesh, painted gray, on foamboard. with various bits of cargo, and platforms (by Dwarven Forge) providing cover and points of interest. The card-stock raised walkway is from an Italian company (Century XXXI Barricades) and is OOP. I'm sure a resourceful gamer could contrive the equivalent with something in MDF board.

This is essentially a bug hunt scenario, except, as in Soviet Russia, the Bugs Hunt YOU.

To keep it interesting, the boarding party (in this case, the lousy, stinkin', dirty Zhos) are instructed to search the cargo area for a hidden diplomatic pouch (or Cosmo DNA, or Ruby Slippers, etc.) The referee can mark the cargo to indicate the desired goal, roll randomly, or, as I did, use a small bingo/poker chip.

"3 metres is IN THE ROOM!"
The scenario is on with which most old Travellers can empathise - a bug hunt featuring the Chamax horde. The last time I played with the Chamax, I used the 1st ed 5150 rules set. This time, I used Full Metal Anorak, a beta-version of the scaled-down StarGrunt II rules from Ground Zero Games. StarGrunt II is free for downloading - buy some miniatures from Jon at GZG if you like them.

I recommend interested readers use their solid skirmish rules of choice. FMA was never released commercially, as a result, IMO, of "too many cooks". I suspect, someday, there will be a free PDF available. Hope springs eternal...

Even in it's old beta-form, FMA was more satisfying that 5150. Both groups said they really enjoyed the game. That gave me a happy.

Post-Game Thoughts

I ran an encore game the second night (Saturday). The first group had been fortunate in their rolls, the second group somewhat less so. Being psionic, the Zho command was ably to pass actions outside of the normal FMA command radius. It was also amusing to watch the Zho commander telekinetically lift a cargo barrel and slam it down on a chamax - the resultant acid burst killed two adjacent bugs as well. Nice.

"Err...Mr. Rico?..."

For future games, I'm going to make the chamax slightly easier to kill - death on serious wounds or better. It would also be fun to add some Imperial opponents, marines and navy crew, to give the Zhos something else to worry about...Ω.

Monday, October 24, 2016

GZG 15mm Vilani Imperial Officers and Staff

Between phases of building my next 7TV extravaganza, I was able to finish some Vilani Imperium officers, staff and gunners.  Included in the photo is an old Force XXI ACV Infantry Carrier.

Miniatures by Ground Zero Games and Force XXI

These are from GZG # SG15-J14 and SG15-J15, being part of Jon's new updated Japanese Corporate release. They are smart little figures, and I'm looking forward to deploying them as part of my Imperial 484th "Nusku" Infantry Brigade.

Miniatures by Ground Zero Games and Force XXI
Animation: 5
Detail: 5
Proportions: 5
Variety: 5
Overall: 5 out of 5

Miniatures by Ground Zero Games

The two chaps on the single "squad" base are from the initial, pre-2014 GZG release. They are fully compatible with the new sculpts - though they lack some animation...Ω