Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Board game day makes me(eples) happy

(post title inspired by e.e. cummings)

Board game day!

Last weekend I traveled back to my old stomping grounds in the southbay to see my friend Mr.C (who used to be a neighbor of mine in the southbay area before I moved to the Sacramento area, it's terrible when you move away from nearby gamers with similar tastes).  Last weekend was something we've been planning for awhile, and finally got our schedules to match up!

so I arrived late on Friday and had a night of catch up ad conversation, and stayed over so that we could get a full day of game fun on Saturday.  Scarfed down breakfast and rushed off to the board game area.

 Mr. C. has a, shall we say,  LARGE selection of games.  So we could be playing anything...

First up Mr C picked was a space dungeon crawler called "level 7 Omega Protocol"  by Privateer press.  Boardgame geek says it's like SpaceHulk but with some more options, but as I've never played SpaceHulk (but have often heard about it) I'll take their word for it.

The setting: Govenment has a secret laboratory / facility to study and experiment on the Aliens, who inconveniently break loose and take it over for their own alien nefarious ends.  Aliens everywhere!  so enter the commandos from Disco team (I was told that they're called Disco team because they're "stayin' aliiiiiiiiiiive")  to kick ass and chew bubble gun, and guess what?

Best Sci-fi movie EVER!

we played the first scenario; 3 commandos go in to get some intel and get out alive with half their number at least.  I played the commandos and should of done more Schwarzenegger impressions from Predator..

if you want more info on the game there are better sites for that, but some thoughts:
If you like dungeon crawl game then you'll like this one.  I find these games kinda same-y in that you do this process over and over: 1) prepare/position everyone to open the door 2) open the door and deal with whatever mind blowing horrors are in that room, 3) secure the area / flank and brief search for loot, heal if needed 4) prepare/position everyone to open the next door....

game table

Close up shot: Mr C went to the trouble of painting most of the game pieces because...actually I have no idea, but they look cool!

I happened to kit out my commandos perfectly; what? poison gas?  here's a guy whose immune.  what? tons of aliens?  here's the guy with the machine gun with a bunch of stabilizers and strafing fire.. Oh no we're all bleeding?  No worries as everyone has a med pack.

however the mechanics are great!  There's a great swapping mechanic that's one of the major crux of the game: Every time the commandos do something they get 1-2 'adrenaline' tokens (to a max number) placed on that character, and at the end of the turn all those markers are given to the alien player as resources to use against the commandos... neat!

took about 4 hours, and we stopped when it was obvious that the all three commandos were likely to leave intact and with the intel.

break for lunch and then on to one of my favorite games; StarWars rebellion, again playing with the expansion as Mr. C. had yet to experience that joy.  We did the mandatory 'playing the SW movies in the background.'  I played the rebellion as Mr. C. is a dictator at heart...

"The Rebel fleet near Sullust is of no concern"  

Gosh, I do like that game.  However it does require a bit of poker face / bluff to it, and there are moments with high drama that have to be down played in order not to tip your hand; usually when the rebels are about to complete an objective but the empire does something unexpected and prevents it.  The rebel player can't let on that his plan was RUINED because it'll tip the Empire player off to watch for it in the future.  Or when the Empire has a force big enough to wipe out the secret rebel base if only they knew where it was....

Play it cool Stew, Play it cool...
(might need to enlarge the pic to read the text)

and after two games with the expansion I'm not sure those green dice are worth anything.  They rolled A LOT OF BLANKS in our game...  : )

Game ended with the rebel base moved to a new secret location, making me 2-0 for the day.
And with that it was too late and we were too tired to start another game, so it was time to pack up and head off, back to responsibility and respectability. 

Thanks Mr C for the fun day!

so enough blabbing about Sci-fi board games and back to painting historical miniatures for me.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

General updating: Vietnam and ACW progress

Gooooood Morning Vietnammmmm!

As you might of gathered from reading the blog; I really like wargaming with a few good people, some nice terrain, a good scenario, and at my place.  In fact the only thing that comes close to that is wargaming with a few good people, some nice terrain, a good scenario, and at SOMEONE ELSE'S house who lives nearby; thus having minimal travel time and NO clean up.   : )

Such was the case last weekend when my buddy Mr. G who lives conveniently on the other side of town invited me to a wargame set in Vietnam, using the Charlie Don't Surf rules from TFL.

Of course, this was ruined slightly because in the same morning I also had a birthday party for a 4 year old I wanted to attend; you go to other kids bday parties so that parents feel obligated when it's time for my kids bday parties.... nah, I'm just joking, I actually like little kids bday parties, but it does demonstrate how little kids ruin wargaming.   But Mr. G allowed that I could come in late with no problems so I jumped at the chance to squeeze in some more wargaming.    So the game started at 10 and I didn't get there to about 1.  But I was hoping that the game would follow the usual gamer pattern and I wouldn't miss much; someone who was supposed to be on-time would be late, there'll be some hanging out, then explaining the rules, and then typical TFL feature that all of their games take some time to get off the ground and take awhile to play:  So that being 3 hours late would mean only missing like 3 turns.

Not quite; the game was going strong when I arrived but the players Mr. K, Mr B, and Mr. O whom I know from the MWS club were humming along and allowed me to join Mr O on the Viet-Cong side and took over a platoon.  So far no-one had made any 'Good Morning Vietnam" quotes.

No detailed Batrep and I came in late and was playing catchup.  but here are some shots of the table.  The figures are 15mm.

It's amazing that patches of artificial grass and aquarium plants can look so much like a jungle.  Though our western hemisphere bias was evident as we kept referring to the jungle as 'woods.'

I've never played Charlie Don't Surf or any Vietnam game, but even with only playing a couple of turns thought the rules went well and the game fun.  Plus it was fun to hang out for a bit afterwards and talk wargaming.  And I even helped with clean up.

In other news: Some ACW plans and more Paint'em if you got'em.

Still not buying anything for the remainder of the year and like most wargamers this is actually not a problem, as the lead mountain has plenty stashed away for such an event. And after acquiring the CSA force from Dai, I was SHOCKED and HORRIFIED to see that my CSA force now outnumbers the USA force in both artillery and infantry.   This had to be rectified.  

So started a project to add 20 more USA infantry bases and 12 guns, all of which I had lying around already. 

raw materials that I had laying around...

Yes, I am one of those weirdos that bases the miniatures first and then paints

I also started some more cornfield bases for use in upcoming scenarios. 

Some more raw materials, see the post on DIY cornfields for a detailed description of the process.

I have some BIG plans for ACW in the new year so need to get cracking on.  I've the new Brigade and Fire rules and am itching to try them out, but I'm new to brigade level games and the scale of 1" being 45 yards is strange to me.  Anyway, for the BFF rules I want to try a scenario featuring the dawn attack through the cornfield at Antietam, and the 2nd day assault of Longstreet at Gettysburg.  I'm also working on a scenario for Barlow's Knoll for RFF.  

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Set Sails III: added 2 more ships, both 74's

seems like forever that these have been in a state of almost done.  There was always just one more thing here and there...

But complete now.  Here are two 3rd rate 74 gun ships; 1 for the British and 1 for the French, so it seems rather fair.  These are also my 3rd and 4th ships ever!  Overall; I think that I'm getting better at these models.  The rigging gets more complex, the paint job better, etc... I mean gets better for me; others with actual talent and skill can and do make my stuff look like the amateur effort that it is.... though wargame modeling is like golf in that you don't have to be good at it to like doing it.  Though for the life of me I can't think of any reason why anyone would like golf....  but I've also heard the same phrase about sex...


I've also learned that it's easier to see the details when I place a white background, so I tried to follow through with that with a very expensive light box that I made out of holding up a sheet of paper in the background when I could.....
These are also 1/1200 Langton models.

So first, here's the British 74.  The color scheme is 2 small dark yellow lines on the hull.

And now for the French 74.  Somehow, I always think the French ships come out looking just a little better than the British.  Not sure what that implies, but everyone knows that the French are more attractive than the British.

And now, for the fleet and the future:

And lastly, here are a few photos of "the fleet."  as in the 4 total ships (each side has a 1st rate and a 3rd rate).  And this is where it'll have to stop for now, as I don't have any more ships and I'm not purchasing any wargame stuff till next year.  Though 2 ships each is enough for a good game of Post Captain.  It will also give me some time to ponder how far to take this project.  I really don't have a strong desire to recreate the Battle of Trafalgar so I don't need 30 ships per side.  In fact I still don't know the history very well either so don't really have a solid grasp on any other historical action I'd like to recreate; and most of my reading so far is the Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O'Brain (I'm on book 7 now).

on a side note, I did finish reading Sam Willis "Fighting at Sea in the Eighteenth Century: the Art of Sailing Warfare."  It's a nice book about how war at sea was done, the issues and challenges that went into it.  It's NOT a summary of specific battles, though there is a timeline in the back of the book which puts major battles in chronological order which is helpful.  Some parts are very interesting, and some parts are quite dry.

I also don't yet have a rule set that can handle large amounts of ships anyway (though Form line of Battle looks promising).
So, I see myself just running generic AoS scenarios for the time being; small actions and such.  probably a lot of variations on the "the British are on blockade and the French want to break out" and just having different starting positions, wind direction, crew traits, etc...   To which I see about 8-10 ships to be the max needed.  plus markers and such that I'll be devising for things like fallen masts and such.

I'm also planning to purchase some magnet bases from Shogun Miniatures to glue to the bottom of the sea bases.  I like Shogun as the magnet can be the same size as the sea base, and this will allow for storage on something magnetic, and will provide a thicker base to handle the miniature with.

For awhile, I was contemplating getting a longer magnet base than the sea base by about 10mm  and printing a label and putting it behind the stern.  Ultimately I decided against it though so that the ships can be more generic.

Thanks for reading and comments welcomed!

Happy Halloween

A real post about wargaming is in the works, but for now, I hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween.