Friday, May 4, 2018

Brigade Games "Spies and Patriots" Kickstarter

I'm quite looking forward to this. The fellow in the long coat and open shirt would make a great Adam Kismet for 7TV. The agent next to him would make a good John Major...Ω

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Mats by Mars - Product Review

After Cold Wars, I decided to dress up my 7TV/Doctor Who game map with a mat, designed to simulate the concrete surfacing of an old WWII air base.

Sadly, my normal source - Hotz Mats - has been developing a less-than-stellar reputation at The Miniatures Page, so I cast my browser about and stumbled upon Mats by Mars.

Their website seems well done, and the prices were reasonable, so I ordered a 36" x 36" light Koncrete-pattern, and was well pleased by the result.

The new mat arrived in less than two weeks, preceded by a shipping notification, and rolled up in a sturdy tube, which included a "care and feeding" sheet explaining what NOT to do to my new mat. I thought this was very considerate.  Also, the colour was very pleasant and complimented my airbase nicely.

Market Weatherby RAF Station

Quality:: 5 out of 5
Shipping: 5 out of 5
Communication: 5 out of 5

Mats by Mars overall rating: ««««« 5 Stars. Well Done!...Ω

Friday, April 13, 2018

Doctor Who and the Mist from Mars

The Mist from Mars...has arrived.

This past Cold Wars, in Lancaster, PA, saw Megz and I run a 7TV 1st ed. game: "Doctor Who and the Mist from Mars", adapted from the Rogues Gallery programme guide by Crooked Dice.

We ran two sessions, Friday and Saturday, in the 1:00 PM time slot. One of the advantages of running at a convention is we usually have a full game, and this year was no exception.

Three weeks had elapsed since the initial playtest and the convention, and I was able to complete the barracks and medical hut, paint the crates, paint the Third Doctor in his plaid/tweed cape, and add additional forces for both sides.

For an additional UNIT player, I added Sgt. Benton and a Heavy Weapons Team (HMG), in a Landrover.

For the additional Mist player, I added three guards  - unfortunate RAF airmen, who have since been assimilated by the Mist. I also added Captain Gray, a human victim/servitor of the Mist who has retained her personality but has gone over to the dark side. The character is reminiscent of Captain Black, agent of the Mysterons, which I like very much.

Another Victim...hypnotised.

There was a great deal of hypnotised victims, captured Doctors, Boffins building insidious alien tech, companions screaming, and players doing their best Donald Gray impressions.

Victory was fickle, once favouring the Mist, and once favouring UNIT.  The Doctor was taken out of the former game - cue an early Tom Baker regen.

 An amusing game to referee. Megz has come along quite well as a ref, and was able to run the game herself, with me relegated to fetching the tea and the occasional rules interpretation. Good stuff...Ω

Third Doctor...captured.


Saturday, March 31, 2018

Doctor Who Playtest

Megz and I had the opportunity to playtest my next convention game: Doctor Who and the Mist from Mars.  This is based on the 7TV 1st Edition "the Mist from Mars" as printed in Crooked Dice's 1st Edition resource, Rogues Gallery.

To start, I'd like to apologise for the condition of the scenery - with all the unfinished barracks and black tarmac, it looks like it's waiting for the CGI team to finish. I actually had planned to run the first go at our local club, but thought the game too unfinished for public display.

Without going into the details too deeply, the Villainous Side consisted of three Servitors of the Mist, and three unfortunate human technicians who had been possessed by the Mist.  The Heroic Side consisted of the Third Doctor, Jo Grant, Capt. Mike Yates and four U.N.I.T. soldiers.

Mike Yates is Dominated

On turn one, the lead Servitor approached the Doctor. "You can't be serious," I said to Megz. "The Doctor has four luck - nothing your single servitor can do will hurt him."  Whereupon, the servitor open his visor, revealing himself to be a future incarnation of the Doctor, and hey ho! Swapped his single luck point for the Doctor's four. A well played event card, Megz.

As one might imagine, this dread revelation threw the Doctor for a loop, and it took him a turn to recover his shock.

Then the Servitor approached Mike Yates, and after making an opposed INT roll, hypnotised him into switching sides. Hmm - this is beginning to all look a bit dodgy.

The Doctor fails his
Meanwhile, the three techs been working on a device to assist them in the fight. Once constructed, it provided extra power for the Servitors Energy Blasts, and UNIT trooped began to drop like poorly paid extras.

After a desperate effort to stun the scientists failed, the Doctor and those few UNIT survivors had the flee the scene. The Mist from Mars had gained a foothold on Earth.

Post-Game Thoughts:  Adding the elements of the Doctor, Jo Grant, Mike Yates and U.N.I.T. added a degree of depth that I felt the scenario, written as-is, was lacking. All of the Rogue's Gallery scenarios are "Kitchen Table" setups, playable in a little over an hour, and intended to be run at conventions in Britain as introductory games between two players.

This last concept doesn't work as well at US cons, where the pitch "bigger is better" and games vie competitively for players. Hence, I usually expand the map and increase the number of forces, and will do so before taking this game to a convention...Ω

The Doctor and Companion attempt to flank

UNIT Rallies, to no avail.

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....