Sunday, May 17, 2020

Death on the Nile, in Remote DBA

During the current  difficulties, I have been keeping in touch with the hobby by playing games remotely.  Happily, years of practice left us ready for this.  Yesterday, my sons had their turn, as I hosted a game for the two of them, separately remote.  Since younger son William acquired DBA 3.0  fall, we have had a resurgence of interest in the game, and older son Norman and I (well, mostly Norman) have been at work reshaping and extending an earlier 1/72 Bronze Age project to cover more of the possible armies of the 13th century BCE.  For yesterday’s game, we pitted the ancient Libyans (DBA Army I/7b) against the New Kingdom Egyptians (I/22b).

 I set up the iPad on a tripod, having recently acquired a tripod mount for it, and laid out the reversible 3x3 ground cloth on the desert side.

Norman elected to command the Libyans, and William was therefore cast as the Egyptians.

We had to use a spare Egyptian chariot on a sabot base in lieue of the as-yet-unbuilt Libyan chariot, and the camps were also improvised.  Of the choices that we could make, Norman elected to take an element of Sea Peoples “blades” rather than a second chariot, and William elected to deploy his Sherden guards as “solid” (rather than “fast”) blades.

The terrain system gave us a waterway along one edge (as the Egyptians, a “littoral” culture, were defending).  William chose to use his amphibious capability to land two elements, some Nubian skirmishers and a renegade Libyan warband, behind the Libyan line in a bid to capture the enemy camp.

The battle then commenced.  William’s amphibious force won an early advantage by destroying two of Norman’s right flank skirmishers, but faltered in their attack on the camp.  After a single attempt, the situation in the main battle demanded all of his attention and command pips.

There was a good deal of pushing and shoving along the left end of the Libyan line (the Egyptian right), and eventually Norman’s Libyan “warbands” came screaming down off the hill in a bid to destroy the Egyptian infantry (against which they had a quick kill capability).  He was in the unenviable position of attempting to hold off chariots with skirmishers while hoping for some luck with the warbands, and the dice were not with him.  A couple of turns into the main fight, William finally overcame his cold dice situation, and killed two elements out on his right flank for the win.  

The video quality was still a little underwhelming, so we supplemented it by taking and texting pictures of the situations on demand.  As a result, the game took rather longer than it would have face to face.  However, if there’s one thing that most of us have these days, it’s time on the weekends.  With side discussion, set up, and the like, we were at it for about two hours.  We all agreed that we need to gain a little more familiarity with the rules, as extensive play with the first edition of Hordes of the Things was tripping us up fairly regularly.

Next time, perhaps we shall dig out the 2nd Punic War figures; they haven’t seen a battle in several years...

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Catching Up a Bit — Scenery and Remote Games

I haven’t done well at updating my blog the past couple of weeks, but all is still well here under lockdown.  I am still finding myself too distracted to paint as I would like to, but I have gotten the big brushes and craft paint out and had a go at some scenery.  First up is another of the resin village buildings I’ve been working on, the “Trader’s Shack“ from Apocalypse Miniatures.     
Apocalypse Miniatures “Trader’s Shack”

I am looking forward to getting the village into a game; at three buildings plus the outhouse, it’s starting to look like something.  A fourth large building, the Apocalypse “farm house” is on the painting desk with some paint on it.

Last weekend I pulled out all of the 25mm scenery boxes, sorted, consolidated, and labeled, so I now have an empty 12 liter Really Useful Box earmarked (and labeled) for transporting scenery for away games, and all of the scenery pieces have a labeled box to call home, so that can be sorted back after use.
Scenery Organization in Progress
In the upper right corner of the organization picture, a tan ruined tower can be seen.  I think I acquired this from a dealer at Huzzah a couple of years ago.  The manufacturer had already gone out of business, so I couldn’t get one in the grays I usually use for scenery.  Since I found it while organizing, I was reminded that I should try repainting it.

Wartorn Worlds ruined tower repainted...

...and with a little vegetation added to enhance it.
Happily, the recycled tire material seemed to take paint well, and I am pretty happy with the enhanced piece.  Now that it looks like it fits in with the rest of the scenery, I hope to have it on the table soon.

Following the scenery sorting, I set up a game of Burrows and Badgers.

My brother joined me remotely, seen in the upper right where a clamp to mount my iPad to a photographic tripod had arrived to make remote gaming easier.

We ran B&B last year at Gencon, so I used two of the war bands I had statted out, printed, and laminated.  I took the unlucky Reynard the highwayfox with his new-fangled pistol, and Norman took Sir Caradoc, a noble dog of the old school.

Reyanrd’s camp about to be attacked; ruined doorway by Reaper
A roll for scenarios brought us an ambush of a camp, and Reynard was elected to be the ambushee.  While he actually had some success with the pistol, for a change, Caradoc personally managed to bring him to justice.  I was reminded that I have an unfilled appetite for some detailed skirmish gaming; I should do something about that.

Just before everything locked down, I ordered a Hot Wire Foam Factory kit and picked up some 2’x2’ sections of pink insulation board from the Home Despot to work on my scenery upgrade.  The first warm day we had, I took the foam cutter outside and sliced up a few test hills.

Hot Wire Foam Factory test output
I recently acquired a neoprene mat from Frontline Games to be the usual basis for miniatures in the gaming table.  I hoped that Woodland Scenics flock would be a reasonable enough match; otherwise it’ll be post-lockdown before I can use the sand and house paint technique.  When I flocked the first test hill, I found that I had misplaced the reserve stock of flock, so I needed to reserve what I had for miniatures.  It was close, but I thought that it might be improved with some mottling of other flock shades. 
Small test hill with a rocky section
Eventually the flock supply arrived. (Thank you, USPS, for continuing to work during this!)  I tried again, and thought that would probably do.

Multiple flock colors
With the remote game this weekend, I was able to open up the table, which has generally been in use as my partner’s work-at-home space, and set up a game, including the test hills.

Corner hill...2.5” will be the limit if I want them to be flush with the top of the well.

You can judge the overall results from the set-up picture.

Terrain layout for this week’s game
This week’s remote game was played by Chris Palmer, who volunteered to help me out by taking one side in a pending battle in my Northlands (usually solo) campaign.  I shall hope to get a separate battle report up for that, but the short version is that the defenders of the kingdom of Darmis defeated a detachment of raiders from the neighboring kingdom of Verdance.  The small encounter was played out using the Dragon Rampant rules, and the “Crystal Gale” scenario from the rule book.  With that out of the way, I can figure out what the other pending battle looks like, and then get on with the next month’s worth of map movement.

The leaders of the two forces meet in battle, with the local cavalry sending the raiders packing
  At least with a solo campaign, nobody else is inconvenienced if it takes a while to resolve the next event.