Thursday, December 31, 2015

Road trip recap

In the previous post I mentioned that I made a road trip to Michigan to celebrate Christmas with my family.  My brother and I have been working on a fantasy gaming project most of the year, with the intention of running some games at conventions in 2016 using our vintage miniatures collections.

This was supposed to have been a simple operation, but was complicated this year by the Ral Partha/Ironwind Metals Kickstarter to revive Chaos Wars and put a lot of the Fantasy Collector Series elves and orcs back into production, and by a related urge to go into collector mode and recreate the armies that I owned and/or longed for as an adolescent gamer back in the mid-1970s with the help of eBay.

Because my brother lives in Indiana and I live in Maryland, our opportunities to put games together have been limited.  He visited here in May, and we met at Gencon in August.  We started discussing the possibility of doing some gaming around the margins of the Christmas visit, and things started falling into place when my aunt offered to let us use the game room in her basement, so we had a 4x6 table available without having to bring folding tables.  At that point we decided that we could play Chaos Wars, but that we would not reasonably be able to put on a Ringbearer test game.

My brother offered to bring the terrain, based around a Cigar Box Battles ground cloth, and some troops, and I packed up my travel kit as well.  I've showed pictures of elements of this before.  I did some research and concluded that a 12 liter Really Useful Box was the largest that would fit under the seat in a typical airline cabin, so I built my 1/72 scale fantasy skirmish project to fit into one.  It is all ready, just "grab and go", and I brought it this time to provide the basis for scenery for a 25mm skirmish game, just in case.  For this trip, I also added the original edition paper copy of Chaos Wars.

Since I was driving, not flying, I also loaded two 6-liter Really Useful Boxes with a selection of multiply-based vintage Ral Partha figures from my collection.  I strapped the whole assembly together with a couple of lengths of nylon webbing and a "Strap-a-handle".  The final dimensions were about 11x17x12 inches.

Most of my mass fantasy armies are based on 60mm square wood bases, with flexible steel bottoms (from Litko).  My boxes are then lined with sheet magnets.  As can be seen from the photo below, the 60mm square bases do not tile the box with 100% efficiency.  I can fit 18 bases per box, which leaves some extra space.  I filled that with figures on individual steel washer bases, or some of the newer Aurora Project bases, which are one inch wood circles with Litko flexible steel bottoms.  This seems to hold pretty well.  The two box pictures were taken at the end of the return trip, after an eleven hour drive, and everything is still holding.  I did deliberately leave home one or two taller figures that past experience as shown to have insufficient "grip".

I also had to leave at home a couple of units of lancer cavalry whose lances are a little too tall to fit in the 6-liter boxes.  Eventually, I expect to have a 12-liter box with the magnet sheets for overly tall figures, but the dimensions will limit that to road travel rather than air.

In the previous post I gave a link to a battle report on our Chaos Wars battle, which I posted to the Ral Partha forums.  Since my brother had brought troops and had a scenario plan, we only ended up using about half the units I brought with me, but the package is easy to carry once all loaded and assembled, so it wasn't a big deal.  While we didn't end up playing an individual figure skirmish game, I will note that I chose the individually-based figures with an eye toward that, just to keep options open.

With all of the figures showing up from eBay, and with the expectation of the imminent arrival of the Ral Partha Kickstarter box with 200 more, I have been trying to keep up with painting at any opportunity.  I took my full travel paint kit with me (rather than the TSA-compatible flying kit), and had a couple of mornings to work on things.  I only finished two figures, though.  The left-handed elf archer is a Tom Meier sculpt from the old Ral Partha 98-006 Dungeon Party boxed set, an eBay acquisition, and the female on the right is an H-21, a warrior woman (looks more like a rogue to me) from the Royal Armies of the Hyborean Age range, one of three figures from that range that I stripped and repainted this year that have been in my collection since they were new.

Basing is still in progress on those two.

I bought a copy of the Osprey wargames rules Lion Rampant when they were released, but time management got away from me, and I still have yet to try playing them.  They have received some good buzz online, though, and we have a couple of HAWKs members who are working on retinues. When it was announced that Osprey would be publishing a fantasy variant, I went ahead and pre-ordered a copy on speculation.  One of the club members sent out a link to  a review of Dragon Rampant just before Christmas.  It looked like this was going to be something I would play. Unfortunately, my pre-order copy was due to arrive after our departure on the day we drove to Michigan, so I splurged on a Kindle copy and was able to read it on the trip up, during the periods when it wasn't my turn to be the driver. (Thank you, Irene!)

My older son was also staying at my aunt's house, where we had staged the Chaos Wars game on Saturday, and was kind enough to assist me on Sunday morning in playing through the rules, with a couple of warbands I built with what was in my travel boxes.  He is not a fan of games using activation rolls, so I knew that he would be a bit dubious, and we did have a couple of turns where we passed the dice back and forth as we each failed to activate anything.

Dragon Rampant uses a freeform system for representing things on the table.  In the medieval/historical version, units have either 6 or 12 figures (generally corresponding to mounted/foot), and casualties are intended to be removed.  In the fantasy version, units have 6 or 12 strength points, and you are free to depict the unit with whatever seems appropriate.  If the unit does not have 6 or 12 models, casualties/damage are shown by markers on the table.  Since I didn't grab my gamemaster box for this trip, we made do with dice.  This ends up reminding me (favorably) of Hordes of the Things, in that you can generally find some game category (with the possible addition of special abilities) to allow you to assign values to pretty much any miniature you might wish to use.

I took a band consisting of a dragon (greater war beast with optional flame attack and flying), a land dragon captain (heroic elite cavalry, depicted as a single figure), some lizard riders (javelin armed rather than bows, with reduced range and a cost break), and some goblin infantry (being green-skinned, they were deemed to be a sort of reptile-man for the day).

Norman's warband had six units, a heroic single-figure heavy rider leader, some heavy foot elf pikes, some sharpshooting elf bows, a spell-slinging single-figure elf princess using the "scouts" profile for stealth and ranged attacks, and allied centaur heavy and light warriors (using the heavy and light rider profiles).  As expected for a trial game, we had to flip through the rules a bit (difficult with the Kindle edition, I'm afraid) and I'm sure that we missed some options as far as our actions went.  There is a quick reference sheet in the book, so I expect that having a couple of those on the table will reduce the need to flip pages considerably.  In fact, I tend to expect that one will be able to play this from memory and your warband profile sheet by the end of the first game.

I'm looking forward to trying this out with the other interested club members soon.  I note that there is a (joke?) rule in this game giving a glory (victory point) bonus to warbands consisting entirely of pre-1984 miniatures.  My centaurs in this game are right on the borderline, but everything else on the table was well within that, so I expect that will not go over well with the rest of the club when I try to (habitually) claim that bonus...

We drove home on Monday, and I was pleased to find that my Ral Partha/Ironwind Chaos Wars Kickstarter box had arrived while I was away, so that made for a nice post-Christmas surprise. (OK, not that much of a surprise--they were very good about keeping us updated on shipping.)

Mine was full of all manner of Chaos Wars goodness.  I'd ordered the large version of the starter set, a package of additional command figures, a unit of elf pikes, an elven colossus, and the new figures sculpted for the Kickstarter.

They threw in samples of skeletons and dwarves, which will apparently be the next Kickstarter.

We also got a handful of bonus figures, originally all from the Personalities and Things That Go Bump in the Night range.  The winged panther is new to me.

The elven colossus, shown here with the new sculpted Tom Meier elves, was originally sold in the early years of Ral Partha as part of a small series of 54mm painters' figures, and resembles, in larger scale, the earliest of the Ral Partha elves.  They suggest using it as a giant animated statue with the 25s, and I think that I'll do mine in verdigrised bronze, a technique that I'll being trying out on some Bones designated as Frostgrave statues before I try it on this.

I'll try to post some New Years project thoughts tomorrow.  While I am really enjoying this revisitation of fantasy gaming, I also want to make time for the Not Quite Seven Years War again in the new year.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Road Trip

There will be a longer trip report later, but we had the opportunity to get together on the 26th for a Chaos Wars game. Here is a report on the Chaos Wars game...

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Another Vintage Minifig

I think that I mentioned in my Huzzah report, back in May, that I had picked up a horde of old figures in the flea market.  Most of them were Hinchliffe Byzantines (and allies), but there were also a couple of dozen Minifigs, some Mythical Earth (ME) Dunlendings, some Alexander Nevsky figures, and some NS (Norman/Saxon) figures.

I have, perhaps, gone a little overboard on the vintage fantasy project which has been occupying my attention this year.  In any case, I had a chance to pick up a couple of lots of figures off eBay which included some ME figures and some Sword and Sorcery (SS) figures.  Somehow, the marginal rational part of my mind took over and I thought that I had better try painting a few old Minifigs before I sank a lot of additional money into looking for more.

So, I dug through the eBay lots and the Huzzah figures and came up with a group of a half dozen to try.  The goblin from the previous post was the first finished, and yesterday I completed this NS25, presumably Saxon, spearman.  I've still got a Hundred Years War foot soldier with an axe, an armored Norman swinging an axe, an NS crossbowman (presumably Norman, but without the distinctive Norman haircut), and an ME Gondorian swordsman to go.  I found this spearman to be easier to paint than I had expected, so perhaps additional Minifigs are in the near future.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Vintage Tolkien figures

I have been continuing to play around with some vintage figures lately, and finished these two off this morning.  The goblin on the left is an old Minifigs ME50.  I used to have a horde of 40 or more of these guys back in the day, but they went to a friend in a trade deal long ago.  He still has them, by the way, so perhaps I will see them in action again one day.

The figure on the right is a Ral Partha E551 Southron spearman, from 1976, an early Tom Meier sculpt.

I am hoping to get all of the recent vintage individuals into a skirmish game soon...

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Chaos Wars Elf Archer unit

I put the final varnish coat on the last five members of this unit today, a mix of several old Ral Partha elf poses. These are all vintage figures scrounged from eBay; the new production Kickstarter figures should arrive shortly...

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Frostgrave day

Chris Palmer hosted a Frostgrave day yesterday, so several of us gather to build scenery for the morning, and then play a quick game of Frostgrave.  This isn't the time for a full review, but Frostgrave is a fairly simple fantasy skirmish game along the lines of Song of Blades and Heroes, involving treasure hunters in a ruined city.  It's published by Osprey.

Just for fun, I put together a warband of the various vintage figures I've been working on the past few months.  They looked a little hobbit-sized compared to the mostly Bones in the other warbands, but i enjoyed seeing them out anyway.  

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Works in Progress

I'm on the road this week, trying to get a few things done with a limited selection of miniatures and supplies. I've got a handful of old Heritage figures and some Ral Partha wood elves. Some progress has been made...

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Recent Vintage Figure Painting

I finished these two figures yesterday. The one on the left is a Ral Partha 01-005 Winged Gremlin, and the one on the right is a Heritage 1088 Ent, from their first Lord of the Rings range. Two of the latter were part of a recent eBay lot; this guy has all his fingers, so he got finished first. He's destined for a game of Ringbearer next year...

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Gencon After Action Report

I mentioned in a recent post that I was having trouble with my blogging software, and found that an update was available. I  hoped that would address the issue, but it has not, and I had to improvise a bit to get this posted.

To roll back time a bit, I had the opportunity to go to Gencon again this year. Family planning for this started back in the winter, and we registered for events in May, so the trip was a while in the making. Four Deans made it to the convention this year, and we elected to just stay with my brother, who lives in Bloomington, so each day was bounded by a commute. To keep all of this straight, son Norman put together a schedule spreadsheet to share with the rest of us, using Google Docs.  It was a work of art by the time we were ready for the convention.

My brother Norman started off with the unofficial Wednesday, running his first convention game ever, a fantasy miniatures game using the Ral Partha Chaos Wars rules. As I would expect, based on long experience in running games at conventions, only half of the preregistered players showed, and he was able to replace them with enough walk-ins to play the game. He had a good time, and is ready to try again next year. While he was doing that, my son Norman and I were flying west from Baltimore, and he met us at the airport.

As with last year, Indianapolis greeted us with figurative open arms.

The convention officially started on Thursday. We got there bright and early, so as to have a chance at a good parking space. Therefore I had time for a quiet cup of coffee with my brother before kicking off the convention with a Games on Demand session. GoD is a network of gamemasters running a variety of small press roleplaying games throughout the convention in two- and four-hour blocks. Players essentially draw randomly for a position in line, and choose a game to join when it's their turn. This works best if one has an open mind about what one is about to play. I thought it would work well to do a two-hour session while the crowd for the exhibition hall cleared, and ended up in an anime-style mystery game. We solved the puzzle without getting into any fights, to the surprise of the GM, but which was fine with me. It got me off to a good start for the rest of the convention.

The initial crush in the dealers' hall was over by the time I got there, so I spent some time wandering around, checking out some vendors on my Kickstarter list and just taking it all in.

My SO still finds the dice hard to believe. There were a number of vendors with their color-coded dice displays sprawled over multiple tables.

Gencon is well set-up for food. In addition to the walkable downtown and the on site food options, we availed ourselves of the variety of food trucks that appear for this event. We had pierogis one day, Indian vegetarian another, and turkey Reubens another, and had to pass up quite a few interesting looking ones, or ones for which the lines were too long.

I had signed up for a seminar on Impro for Roleplayers on Thursday afternoon, which turned out to be a lot of fun. It was run by a WotC guy, Ryan Millner (sp?), and was very well attended. I was happy to find that it was a participation event; it had been possible that it might have just been a lecture, but we were all up playing theater improv games ten minutes into things.

The gaming spaces were enormous; of course, to play giant Catan might need some room.

My brother, being local, led us out to dinner at a nice place (which I won't name to keep the crowds down...) just beyond the typical walking distance from the convention center. While there, we received the bad news that our fourth team member, my son William, was going to be delayed by at least four hours in his flight in Thursday night. We had to hastily rework our plans for the evening so that we could pick him up and still get enough sleep to be safe. He ended up having to nap at the airport while waiting for a dawn pick-up, which was less than optimal, to say the least. As part of the rework, my brother and I had to drop a fantasy miniatures game we were both preregistered for, so I understand entirely how it is that people end up not showing up for games...

We picked up a tired William from the airport around 0700 and went for some breakfast. After that, my first event for the day was a little change of pace. In addition to gaming, my other hobby is ballroom dancing. An outfit called Dancing and Dragons has been doing a ballroom track of events, so I dropped in for a tango session, just to see how this shaped up. I really wanted to know how they were going to teach a beginner Viennese Waltz in an hour, but that didn't work in my schedule. The dancing was well attended, with near gender parity. I went from there to a live recording of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff podcast. Unfortunately for posterity, they ended up having recording difficulties, so it was live, but not recorded.

All four Deans were signed up on Friday afternoon for a Chainmail game with a Tolkien-based scenario, The Cleansing of Tyrn Gorthad. Yes, this is the Chainmail that had the fantasy supplement that formed the basis for the original Dungeons & Dragons, not the later WotC game of the same name. The four of us ended up as the forces of the Witch King of Angmar, running down a Dunadan/Elvish allied force on the Barrow Downs.

From left to right in this shot we have me, my brother, and William, who was pretty well exhausted.

In a final climactic encounter, the Witch King rode down Glorfindel, so we scored a decisive victory for the forces of darkness.

My brother was very pleased; making sure that we all got into this game had been a major effort back in May, and he thought it time well spent when we were finished.

After the Chainmail game we headed back to my brother's house so that William could finally get some sleep.

Everybody was a little groggy on Saturday, and we had a little mishap involving a forgotten badge that caused us all to arrive later than planned. My brother and I ended up reworking our schedule slightly, and played a Chaos Wars demo with the team from Iron Wind Metals. I had to watch the time, because I was signed up for a 5pm speed painting competition. Speed painting is sponsored by several different companies at Gencon, and the only one that worked for my schedule was sponsored by Wyrd Games, the makers of Malifaux, a steampunk skirmish game I don't actually play. Each participant gets the same miniature, assembled and primed, three brushes (one to keep and two battered communal brushes), access to about twelve colors of paint, and 45 minutes.

In my round, we ended up painting this undead dog. Much to my surprise, I was rated first in the round, out of sixteen painters. In retrospect, except for the bad communal brushes, it's a lot like how I paint at lunch at work sometimes, so it's possible that I might count as well practiced for the conditions. The win got me a $10 gift certificate from Wyrd, and a place in the final round on Sunday. Add that to a free sable 0 brush and the miniature (which we got to keep), and that was a pretty good haul for a $2 entry fee.

As can be seen from the picture below, everyone was dragging a bit by Saturday night. However, it was time for the Dean family pick up game. We were joined by a couple of Iron Wind Metals staffers for another game of Chaos Wars. Now that we have done pick up fantasy twice, it is a tradition. I think that I explained in last year's AAR that it goes back to the other Gencon that my brother and I attended, back in 1980. One day at that convention we passed a fantasy miniatures game taking place on a table in a hallway, and the players looked like they were having more fun than anyone else we saw that day. So, when we went last year (after a mere 34 year gap in attendance), Norman told me that he wanted to make sure we had a fantasy miniatures game in reserve. This year, since he's been spending time working on his own games, we were able to pull this together as a collaborative event. He provided the scenery seen below, and I brought two 6-liter Really Useful Boxes (see on the table to the right of the game) with a selection of classic Ral Partha fantasy miniatures to fit the Chaos Wars theme. Since we had extra players, we also rolled in a couple of units from the Iron Wind demo kit, in true Stone Soup fashion. Our mat, by the way, is a Cigar Box Battles product. They turn out to be extremely handy for this sort of rapid set-up pick up environment.

Norman (son) joined me on Sunday morning for a return visit to Games on Demand. We both ended up in a session of the indie game "The Quiet Year", a collaborative map drawing game of post-apocalyptic community building. Since Norman is a serious cartography enthusiast, this turned out to be right up his line, and he scurried down to the dealers' hall after the game to buy his own copy.

My last event was the final round of the speed painting competition, with the only change in conditions from the previous round being a 60 minute painting time, rather than a 45 minute time.

Unfortunately for me (though unsurprisingly), the miniature this second round turned out to be more challenging than the undead dog. We got this fire-ball throwing lady with a mechanical wing set, and I was having trouble with the face due to the lack of my customary magnification and the smallest brush being a 0. I also should have stayed as monochromatic as possible, doing the cloak and the rest of the clothing in the same color. That would have left me with more time to fuss with the face. Anyway, they only officially score the top three, but it looked like I ended up in the middle of the pack of 16. Still, 6th or 7th out of the original 80 in the five qualifying rounds isn't too shabby...

I still haven't finished this figure up to my satisfaction, but I will sometime soon. I'm not sure how she'll appear in a game. Speed painting will definitely be on my schedule next year, if I can make it work at all.

After the speed painting finals, it was farewell to Gencon and back to the airport. Happily, the trip home was uneventful, leaving us to start thinking about what we would do next year, if we get the chance.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Eastern Border Raid

I wrote up a report on this battle, with some pictures, for the Ral Partha forum, so I'll post a link to it...the gaming has been pretty good lately, even if the blogging has been an issue.

Chaos Wars

Both sons were home this weekend, so we set up a quick Chaos Wars game. Unfortunately, technical difficulties with my iPad blog software are still preventing me from uploading pictures, all of which is discouraging me from blogging a bit.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A Shortcut to Mushrooms, as fought

William and I sat down to fight the encounter yesterday. Unfortunately he needed to get back to his summer job, so we rushed a bit and I didn't take as many pictures as I had planned.

William took the elves, and I took the goblins. After one false start, in which the entire group of goblins entered on the mushroom grove side of the stream and were unable to catch the fleeing elves, we started over, dividing the goblins into three groups and randomizing the entrance for each group. I ended up with one team of two goblins (one an archer) and a wolf entering near the mushroom grove, and all of the other figures entering near the boat.

I decided that I would try to use one wolf to attempt to reach the ford on the boat side ahead of the elves, and sent a few goblins to back him up. The rest of the goblins made an (abortive, as it turned out) rush for the boat, hoping to overwhelm the three boat guards.

The raiders attempting to reach the boats were swiftly shot down by the carefully aimed archery of the elves.

However, one wold did reach the ford ahead of the elves, and stood blocking the exit. An elvish guardsman came forward to scuffle with him, the princess crowding close behind.
After dispatching the wolf on the grove side of the stream with a well-aimed arrow, Orman the hero ran to assist the guardsman. Unfortunately for him, his uncertain footing in the stream was his undoing, and the wolf swiftly ripped out his throat...

Gamely, the guardsman fought on, but the fall of the heroic Orman must have unnerved him, as he too was slain in turn. At that point, the princess fled back to the safety (?) of the grove, pursued by the wolf. Hearing her cries for help in the distance, two of the boat guard leapt from the boat and raced toward the ford. The fall of another goblin put the raiders below half strenght, and their morale was not good. Two more goblins fled immediately rather than face the wrath of the avenging elves, and the wolf released the princess and fled as well.

The princess hurried across the ford, only to be accosted by the one remaining orc. With a swift kick, she drove him back for long enough to resume her flight to the boat.

The two guardsmen turned on the orc, and swiftly lopped off his head. With that, the remaining goblin and the wolf fled, considering it a moral vicotry that they had brought down a hero of the elves, even if the princess did escape unscathed with the mushroom spores.

Overall, it took a little more than an hour to play out. We remain confirmed in our view that the SBH point system does not really balance two forces of disparate quality. The goblins were never able to achieve enough activations to make good use of their superior numbers, so a balanced version of this scenario would probably require more goblins, even with the elves' relatively difficult tactical situation. The mechanics give a nice fast game, though, so developing a tested scenario library would probably be the way to go.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

A Shortcut to Mushrooms, Preview

I'm attempting to take advantage of a visit by William to get a few of the recently painted figures on the table. Therefore, I've set up a little encounter this morning between the elves and the goblins. The Rules will be Song of Blades and Heroes. Past experience has shown that the quality rating 2 troops, such as most of the elves, seem to be under-costed in the point system, so my thought today is to give the elves a problem.

So, the elves are sailing down the river, when they note that a special mushroom has popped up in a mushroom grove not too far from the river. Putting their boat ashore at the only practical landing point nearby, they leave a guard with the boat and send a team with the princess to collect mushroom spores.

Here's the order of battle with SBH ratings and abilities:


Orman, Elf Hero Q 2+, C 3
Hero, Shooter (long)
Erialla, Elf Princess, Q 3+, C 2
2 Guard Archers, Q 2+, C 3
Shooter (long)
2 Guards, Q 2+, C 3

Goblins and friends

2 Orc warriors, Q 4+, C 3
4 Goblin warriors, Q 4+, C 2
2 Goblin archers, Q 4+, C 2
Shooter (medium)
3 Wolves, Q 3+, C3
Animal, Long move

For deployment, the elf player will split his figures between the mushroom grove (A) and the boat (B), after which the goblins will roll to see where they enter. The stream is impassible except at a ford (just left of the nubmer 5 below). The goblins can capture the princess by defeating her in melee, after which she can be moved at slow speed by the goblin player as long as accompanied by a goblin. More goblins will arrive eventually, so they can also win by killing or driving off the boat guard and firing the boat.

We'll see whether that seems too easy or too hard after a run through.

The boat, by the way, is a Dave Graffam paper model.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Recent Fantasy Painting

In anticipation of Gencon, and of the eventual rerelease of the Ral Partha Collector Series fantasy armies, I have been combing eBay for a starter batch of old elves. I posted the first three wood elves a few entires back. I finished the next nine last weekend. I was a little delayed by the need to wait until it stopped raining for a day or two before I could spray the final varnish coat on them. So I had 20 or so figures ready by the time the weather finally cleared.

These sea elves are the vanguard of a force of about 25. I've got five more elves with greatswords primed and ready to start. That particular figure is not part of the first wave rerelease, so I'm going to be limited to what drifts in from eBay. I've got 11 elves with lowered pikes (i.e. front rank) in progress, with some hope of finishing them this weekend.

I've been interspersing the unit blocks with a few individuals, like the princess posted last night. The "Earth Demon" looked like he would be acceptable with a farily simple rock scheme, so here it is. (Original catalog identifier: ES-45.)

I've got one more figure I want to finish before I run a little elf/orc skirmish with Song of Blades and Heroes for a bit of encouragement.

Speaking of orcs, by the way, I've accumulated a lot of the Collector Series orcs from eBay, including a handful that were almost painted acceptably. I decided to go ahead and do a quick rehabilitation job on those, basing them like the rest of my figures and touching up the paint, particularly evening out the orcs' skin tones to something closer to what I intend to use when I tackle the never painted figures.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Work in Progress

I've been working on some classic fantasy figures; here are a Ral Partha elf princess and a Heritage knight.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Magnetic boxes simplified

I store most of my miniatures (which are on steel or plastic steel bases) in magnet lined boxes. The slow part of any expansion has always been gluing the magnet sheets down without getting bubbles or having the corners curl up. I had a blinding flash of the obvious the other day: some sort of double sided tape would probably work well enough, since it doesn't have to hold especially firmly. However, a little searching around led me to pick up some carpet installation tape. We'll see how permanent it is, but at least sticking down a sheet was a task of only a couple of minutes.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Frontier Raid fought

Click on the pictures to view them properly; my blog management software is acting up with respect to the thumbnails.

As mentioned in the teaser shot yesterday, we set up and fought a battle using our developmental old school fantasy rules yesterday. Ross has posted the most recent version of the test rules. For the purposes of yesterday's test, we tried using personalities. Basically, they stayed attached to units. If two units with attached personalities were in melee, the personalities could fight. Personalities did not generally affect the unit level combat except by spells, or if they were a mid-sized monster like the wyvern, which gave a unit an extra die in combat. What they did have were skills/attributes, which modified how the units worked. This didn't turn out to have quite the flavor we were looking for, so revision 2 will make them more powerful/important.

Here are the orders of battle, with the numbers being, in order, combat strenght front/flank, armor roll, hits per stand, and movement in increments. For personalities, they just have a single Combat rating, used against other personalities. Each magician had a list of spells, each of which took the whole turn to cast and was then used up. We ended up using two inch increments, but the plan is to make movement sticks with the increments equal to the base width.

Empire of the Great City and Allies

1xGeneral Constantius and bodyguards 5/3, A:2, H:4, M:5
3xArmored Cavalry 5/3, A:3, H:4, M:5
1xArmored Cavalry Archers 4/3, A:3, H:4, M:5
1xAllied Horse 5/3, A:2, H:4, M:5
4xSpearmen (City and allied) 3/3, A:2, H:4, M:3
1xFoot Guards 4/2, A:2, H:4, M:3 (Reduces armor by 1)
4xSkirmishers 2/1, A:0, H:2, M:4
2xFrontier Guards (Archers) 3/1, A:0, H:4, M:3
1xTreemen 4/4, A:4, H:4, M:3

Cyrus Ironhoof, Inspirational C:3, A:3, H:2, M:6
Elar Autumnleaf, Cunning C:2, A:1, H:2, M:5
Aralon Longspear, Prepared C:2, A:0, H:2, M:4
Earaina, Magician C:2, A:3, H:1, M:4
Spells: Restore, Restore, Ward, Ward, Hurry

Orcs and Allies

1xWarlord Snarg and Bodyguards 4/2, A:3, H:4, M:3
4xShock Orcs 4/2, A:2, H:4, M:3
2xOrc Archers 3/2, A:1, H:4, M:3
3xGreater Goblins 3/2, A:1, H:4, M:3
6xLesser Goblins 3/2, A:0, H:4, M:4
3xWargs and Riders 4/2, A:1, H:4, M:6
2xLizard rider archers 3/2, A:1, H:4, M:6
1xGremlins (flying) 3/2, A:0, H:4, M:6
1*xWater Demon 4/4, A:3, H:6, M:3

Wraith of Khan, Inspirational C:2, A:3, H:1, M:4
Gorlak the Assassin, Stealthy C:3, A:0, H:2, M:4
Wyvern, Monstrous C:4, A:1, H:2, M:6 (flying)
Raffem and Tiny, Magician C:2, A:2, H:2, M:4
Spells: Frenzy, Frenzy, Restore, Summon

The personality skills were used as follows:

Inspirational: Add a movement increment to the unit when attached
Stealthy: Can move through enemy units and opponent can't refuse a fight
Monstrous: Big enough to add a die to unit combat
Cunning: Add 1 to the unit's attack factor
Prepared: Add 1 to the unit's armor rating.

The spells:

Frenzy: Add 1 to the unit's attack factor for 1d3 full turns
Restore: Recover lost hits for roll of 1-4, 4 dice worth
Ward: Add 1 to the unit's armor rating for 1d3 turns
Hurry: Double a unit's speed for 1d3 turns
Summon: Cause the Water Demon to appear in the river

Above is a shot of the board again. The Imperial forces had three garrisoned locations, two walled hamlets and the watch tower. The Orcs, approaching from the left (north), were attempting to seize those strongpoints, before they reached break point of 2/3rds of their army out of action. (So 7 units remaining was below strength). The orcish units were individually not as good as the Imperials, but there were more of them, and the Imperials had a 50% break point (9 units).

My son William was recruited to play the orc general, and Ross commanded the Imperials, with me acting as the mostly impartial referee and as Ross's hands and eyes. I recently broke my tablet stand, so Ross was forced to put up with a somewhat unsteady handheld view, and I got my exercise panning and zooming by hand.

William's plan was to use his mounted and fast forces on his left to grab the tower quickly, and to bore up the middle with the great mass of greenskin infantry to take the first hamlet. Ross is represented in the shot above by the iPad propped up with a Magic card box. The tower garrison inflicted a few hits on the approaching wolves and lizard riders.

On the orcish right, allied elves and treemen left the woods to assist the hamlet.

As the battle developed on the orcish left flank, the first assault wave rolled up to the hamlet in the center. The frontier guard archers had given a good account of themselves, shooting down a probing attack by the flying gremlins and wyvern, but orcish numbers began to wear them down. General Constantius threw a company of regular spearmen into the hamlet to assist the hard-pressed frontier guard, and a long, grinding melee ensued.

The surviving lesser goblins eventually withdrew from the fight, and were replaced by the heavy shock orcs, encouraged by a frenzy spell. Imperial luck finally ran out, and the regulars were ground down and eliminated.

On the orcish left, the coup de main against the tower was unsuccessful, and the survivors of the fast troops were all driven off. Snarg threw his last reserve, the greater goblins and orc archers, into the fray on his left, hoping to salvage the situation.

Constantius, sensing that the orcs were wavering, impetuosly charged the advancing reserves, hoping to tip the balance and drive the entire army from the field.

Unfortunately for him, the orcish archers were far tougher than he imagined, and he fell to a goblin sword as reinforcements entered the fray. The goblins threw themselves on the remaining cavalry, and Cyrus Ironhoof, the centaur hero, as senior officer on the imperial side, sounded the retreat.

Just as the battle was concluding, Earaina was confronted and slain by the assassin Gorlak, so it was a grim day for the Imperials.

Overall, it took us about three hours to fight this out, including a certain amount of telecommunication friction time and rules discussions. Heroes/personalities will probably have a more significant effect on the game in the next playtest, and, as far as scenario specifics went, Ross noted that it would have made sense to have the objectives count against the Imperial break point. William's commander morale almost broke at one point, as he had little luck in attacking the town, but Ross's early amazing die rolls eventually averaged out. The 40 stands we had on the table were about a third of my current fantasy total, and about half the total of the pre-1980 vintage figures (although the orcs are not part of the pre-1980 collection), so scaling up to scenarios for 6x10 convention games next year shouldn't be a problem.