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Monday, January 15, 2018

Mini Monday: Mech Madness II, the Big Battle!





So yesterday, we, the Alpha Strike Battalion Battles Atlanta, ABBA, finally got a chance to earn our name, by running a multi Battalion Mech battle at Discover Games. This after  months of playing, tweaking and painting. Terrain had been slowly added over 2017 till we had enough for a 10x5 foot table. Each player brought 36-40 mechs each. Truly a team project. The hardest part had been to schedule a day were we could all show up and have some 6 hours to play.

Game note: Alpha Strike is a very streamlined version of Battletech the Mech game. Truly designed to run multi company actions. Play is usually with 6mm.

Scenario: 3039, the FedCom campaign against Kurita is grinding to a halt. Armed with ComStar intel and material support, the Dragon is striking back. A 5th Sword of Light battalion with companies from the 8th Sword of Light and  the 51st Dark Panzer Jaegers,
launch a counter attack on a battalion each of Wolf's Dragoons and Kellhounds, mercs in FedCom service. "These Mercenaries have no Honor, thus they will fold before us!" declares Commander Frangamato. The Dogs of War, just smirked for they had danced this dance before with the Dragon.
4 players each with 1200 points.
5th Sword of Light 10 lances
8th Sword of Light and 51st DPJ 10 lances
Wolf's Dragoons 10 lances
Kell Hounds 9 lances
156 total mechs
Game Notes:
We opted for a move on setup. And took a few moments to take pics, none of us had ever seen this many mechs on a gametable before.
To keep the game moving each player alternated moving 2 lances.
Victory Conditions consisted of 1 or 2 points for each urban area
and 3 points to whichever side inflicted the most damage.






Early Phase
By this time it was apparent that the Kurita players were pursing a very aggressive course of action with both battalions concentrating forces on Centerville against the Kellhounds. 
Game Notes: each player randomly selected 'logistical cards' at the start of the game allowing for such things as Air/Artillery Strikes, ECM support to win the initiative, Ambush/flanking cards etc. Various events that always appeared in the novels, that we wanted to add for game flavor but without complicated rules. I mean we got 150 some mechs to run!



Mid pics
The 51st DPJ are causing a stir on the right flank. Kellhound coms are full of chatter about 'Fleas everywhere' and the ThunderHawks com goes dead.



The Dragoon offensive is running out of time which allows the Dragons to concentrate on the Kellhounds and challenge the Mercs hold on the urban areas.




End pics

8-3 a Kurita Victory! A very fun game indeed! Well fought Dogs of War, well fought indeed!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Mini Monday: dealing with Scale Creep


Today's topic, Scale Creep. For those who have not heard this term before: Scale Creep
in general, refers to miniatures  becoming bigger over the years but labeled the same. Example, you buy some 25mm French infantry from a fairly new company to go with your older 1990's French. You get the new figures and they tower over the older ones. Scale Creep. Bigger miniatures seem to be the trend. It can be a bother when ordering blind.

Italian Wars inf  Ral Partha(L) and Redoubt (R)
ECW and TYW cav Warlord(L) and Old Glory (R)
Same WWII Tank Battlefront(L) and Forged in battle (R)

I find that the easiest way to deal with the issue is to just keep the figures in different units. At a distance of 2-3 feet on the game table it's not that noticable. Some people mix them and just point out that real people come in all sizes and shapes. I've also seen gamers complete their army using only one company, no mixing allowed.

Recently I've run into slightly  different Scale Creep issue with my Wierd WWII, in that several companies prduce minis but they can vary in size quite a bit. Now some may say that this is a decision on the part of the company to keep gamers from buying from other companies. Cough, cough ,Wild West Exodus and Dystopian Legions.
But back to WWWII.

AT-43, Warlord, DUST, DUST
Warlord, DUST, West Wind, DUST, DUST

Now the Mechs don't really matter since WWII tanks can come in all sizes so why shouldn't Mechs.. And really how big is a modified Werewolf or gorilla suppose to be. Exactly. But the various infantry I will be keeping seperated because that just bothers me.

Of course now I find that Fantasy Flight Games has decided to make their new Legion figures 32mm plus, which makes them bigger than the existing Imperial Assault figs.
Ah Scale Creep will it never end.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Mini Monday: How do you Scratch the Itch?



Okay get your mind out of the gutter; this is not about that kind of itch. I'm talking/rambling about, hypothetically of course, watching the new Star Wars movie, and now you want to somehow game it. You wanna save the Rebellion or, more likely, crush it, but how should you go about it?
Not ever having done any Star Wars gaming I was a bit out of the loop, so I did a little perusal of what's out there.

RPG; Well you have plenty of choices from the old West End games to the newest offer. Get some friends together, who are also probably equally excited, and run a quick scenario,
Miniatures: Well no lack there. We have X-Wing, Imperial Assault and Armada, just to name a few.



And there is even a new miniatures game on the horizon called Star Wars Legions.
All look like good games that many players are enjoying. Or in the case of Legion, seem to be very excited about.
So now comes the crunch, at least for me, what do you do if you want if you want to play really large games? Let's say the Battle of Hoth.
Will they be producing big walkers for Imperial Assault or Legion? Most likely not, and then if they did, I can only imagine the cost.
You can still get the old Micro Machine and Revell AT-AT Star Wars Imperial Walker, but both would oblige you to play in smaller scales like 15mm or 6mm.

Of course some may ask Why? Why not be content with a small skirmish? Well that's just a personal jinn on my back. I almost always have to keep adding minis till the original rules break down  and then new rules have to be added. Because I just love the feel of 'Epic'. Besides I'm watching Clone Wars Animated, big battles.

But after looking at mock 15mm and 6mm I come back to the wonderful Legion models which seem to be in 32mm, ie larger than the Imperial Assault figures. Not that big of a deal for us that had to deal with the 25m to 28mm scale creep over the years.

So now I'm back to Star Wars Legion, with holes being filled through Imperial Assault models and maybe some from the old Wizard of the Coast vehicles.
Terrain is easy, I probably have enough arid Tatoonie style stuff to fill a 12 x 5 foot table. Thus of course I'll need enough figs for that size table.


Hmmm,
So there you have it, how a small itch can grow into a complete body encompassing addiction!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Mini Monday: Beware! An analysis of a Game Project



Recently I posted a link to a new army box soon to be released.
There were the usual remarks 'So Tempting!' 'What a deal!', but there was also a
'I'd have to get more than an occassional game to get my investment back' comment. So today I have decided to do a little investment anaylsis. Now before I start let me warn you that you should never ever let your spouse see this if she questions your hobby budget both in time and finance. Also let me point out that the following  has nothing to do with whether I buy into a project or not. If I can afford it and it's shiny enough, it's mine!

So item to be considered, Warlord Games soon to be released Pike and Shotte Samurai Army box.

$120 for 124 figs (cavalry counts as 2), a metal mounted General and decals, trust me you want those decals! Less than a $1 a fig, certainly a good price. I've personally assembled and painted the Warlord, ie old Wargames Factory figs, and though a bit tedious at first glance they come out fairly nice. So pricewise the Army Box is sweet.

Now Assembly time,  now of course this is relative to your style and speed. If you have to clip every bit off the sprue and sand down every flash it will take you longer. Also as you get familiar with the models you will get faster as well. I suggest test assembly of 5 ashigaru, 2 samurai and 2 cavalry to get the feel first, then go on and do 10 or more at a time.
My estimate is about 5 min per fig. 5 x 124 figs, 620 min or about 10 hours. Have I ever mentioned that I love plastic figs but simply hate putting them together.
10 Hours Assembly




Painting time. Certainly varies by the painter. For instance,I taught my wife how to paint minis years ago and now she paints better figs but in twice the time that I do, roughly.
Thus this is nothing but shear guesswork on my part.
First up you have the Ashigaru, which you can paint in a uniform scheme thus saving you much time. Let's say 20 minutes each, 20 x 80, 1600 minutes or about 26 hours.
I suggest playing any movie by Kurasawa in the background for motivation.
26 Hours Ashigaru

Next up we have the samurai on foot. 20 figures. Gotta give these bad ass boys  some extra love, shall I say 40 minutes each. So 20 x 40, 800 minutes or about 13 hours. (roughly I say roughly)
13 Hours Samurai on foot

Now we get to the Mounted Samurai, certainly your most stunning unit or so you should plan. The horses really won't take as long as the samurai themselves so let's just say an hour a fig.
12 Hours Mounted Samurai

pic
Last up is the Samurai General, Well you  gotta look the part so let's say 2 hours.
2 Hours General

Doing the math, we're looking at some
53 Hours Total

Whew that was a lot of math! 53 hours, does seem like a lot. That would be about 25 movies or prime time TV watching or 12 football games or 6 novels. But if you  break that down with 3 hours during the week and 4 hours on the weekend, 7-8 weeks or about two months to get the whole force on the table. Not so bad.

Now figure 4 hours for a Pike and shotte game, so about 13 games to get your hourly investing back out of it.

But and it's a big But, This all assumes that the only pleasure comes from actually playing the game. That there is no joy in planning or painting your army, that you are just a gamer and not a hobbyist. But I doubt that because, a true gamer only type would be playing boardgames, cardgames or just video games. Only a gamer hobbyist spends $125 on a Samurai army, because the thrill starts when you open that box.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Mini Monday: The New Year Itch


Now I know that it is a little early to talk about the New Year, but with all the sales going on it's time to bring up the Itch, the New Year's Itch to be specific. Throughout the year we are constantly fighting off or indulging in urges to start  a new project. But the New Year's Itch is by far the worse. Companies seem to be bringing out new releases or posting great sales daily. Plus a new year is just around the corner and you want something 'fresh' to play. Some people make resolutions, gamers take on projects!

So what will your new project be? RPG, Skirmish force or an army? What historical period or genre are you feeling for the new year? Considering a new convention game to host?
Of course it doesn't always have to be a new period or genre; some of us long-time gamers start running out of new options after a while. You could be looking at finally building a nice town for your Wild West games, or perhaps restaring a project in a different scale. (Yes some of us have the same period in as many as 5 scale) Or perhaps a new force for your Bolt Action or 40K games. Tired of Marines, tempted by the new bugs?

There is just soooooo much out there!

So welcome to my little New Years Itch Madness, in which Sabrina, tries to figure out which way I'm leaning so as to get me the 'perfect gift'. It's quite a trying time for her considering that I'm changing my mind almost daily!

But here are some possible projects I'm taking under consideration:
Necromunda, yea GW's newest revamp is  a thought, probably just my excuse to build more terrain.

Gangs of Rome, Warlord Games new venture coming in 2018, Allen is already hinting pretty loudly.

Back of Beyond, Madness in Russia in the wake of WWI , everyone seems to be involved, Chinese Warlords, Whites, Reds, Japanese, Czechs on trains etc and Copplestone has some great castings. Been thinking about this one for years. Did I mention Armored Trains!
Launching Konflict 47 in the Pacific, another of Warlord Games newest releases. Japanese in powered armor!
Of course I've just finished off another of Joe Abercrombies books and now I got the urge for some low magic fantasy with hard hitting heros in a Kurasawa style action. (By the way I highly recommend Abercrombie's fantasy novels if you like Kurasawa films) So I've been looking  at some of the skirmish fantasy rules and Gripping Beasts Viking box.
But the Kurasawa theme has sparked a look at Test of Honour and Samurai battles.


And of course the New Flames of War release. Late War armies and cards has me looking at some British armor.


Much goodness out there and still weeks to decide! So what's your new project to scratch the New Years Itch?

Monday, December 4, 2017

Mini Monday: Chess or Chaos, How do you like your Wargaming?



So how do you like your Wargaming? Stelios, of Word of Stelios once touched upon this subject. Do you prefer it to lean towards Chess, with each unit having set abilities and you in total command. No random surprises just clear tactics. Or do you prefer a bit of Chaos with movement being random and having to roll dice to see if your units carry out your orders. Of course, most rules are a blend of both, since just the addition of dice moves us from Chess towards Chaos.

After years of running your army as you see fit, many newer rule systems have dropped a wrench in the general's plans. Lion Rampant and all it's variants have you dicing to see if your units will take any action that turn. Black Powder does the same but also has random movement distances. The lack of total command can be a bit of an irritation for many players, especially if you see yourself as falling under the cloud of 'bad luck' more often then not.

Now, those that have gamed with me know that I am certainly enchanted with Chaos. I love uncertainty on the tabletop. How many shots will I get with my cannon before the enemy reaches my line? Will my peasant horde have the nerve to charge those knights when I give the signal? Can I trust my wizard to mumble the spell correctly every time? Aye, I like the general to constantly stay on his toes adjusting plan as the battle proceeds.

Even now I am typing up 'mission cards' for our Alpha Strike games to add more flavor and shake up the boring old slug match. You can draw a card that has you lose victory points for taking too many casualties, I call it the 'replacements are limited' card. Another has you lose points if your force doesn't advance to at least the center of the table,  you may be cautious but your superior is not and he/she is watching! Of course your opponent won't know about these orders till the end of the game. The intent is to give one the feel that this battle is not in a vacuum, but part of a larger scheme.

I'm hoping to play Italians in Flames of War next year, seems you have to roll their initial morale rating as well. Elites or Green troups? More to worry about!


Monday, November 27, 2017

Mini Monday: The Big Table


Mini Monday: The Big Table

When Discover Games was being set up, Eli and I were asked if we would like a permanent big table. "Oh Yeah!" was our reply, "A 5x16 foot table would be great!" As things turned out that 5x16 foot table soon became a 5x20 and finaly before the store opened it was increased to a 5x24! Think about it guys and gals, 5 feet x 24 feet of continous table to run a Big Big Big Game! So in the year since the store has opened we've run many games on the big table, with the biggest being 5 x 16 feet.

16foot Fantasy Siege


Well this past week Eli put on a Tankgiving game at Discover games. A 15mm Flames of War WWII game with over 300 tanks and terrain that stretched 20 feet! Eleven gamers took part. So a big shout out to Eli!

Start of game, many reserves to enter later
End of game. Soviet win
Now Eli spent at least 5 hours setting up the game and probably another 5 organizing the forces and preparing lists for each one. He has also been collecting forces, table sheets and terrain for years. So as we can see it took no small effort to put on this 20 foot show. But then Eli is, as Stelios once put it, a Master Gamer.

But now as the New Year approaches, thought turns to finally conquering the Big Table. What extravaganza will finally reach the goal of 24 feet?
Yes, Eli and I, as Troy likes to put it  suffer from the go big or go home disease, and no amout of skirmish games will ever cure it.
Mind you it takes a lot of terrain to cover that much space. And mind you I'm always talking about nice terrain and painted minis. No WOW factor in hodge podge terrain and unpainted minis.
Well here are some potential games under serious consideration, from most likely to still in the daydream stage.

Operation Market Garden FOW 15mm, really just a matter of when everyone can make it.
(Remember, one of the biggest obstacles to big group games is finding a perfect date that everyone can make, especially the players with the key forces)

Martian Empires: 15mm Colonial Battle for Mars, just a question of when everyone can make it. Terrain is ready.

Operation Kharkov, Konflict 47/DUST game in 28mm where the Germans must break out a besieged force. Over 30 Mechs and tanks.
(Urban parts being finished up)

The Thirty Years War, 28mm using Pikeman's Lament, with Pike and Shotte games hitting a bi monthly phase next year it should not be much of an effort by late summer to put on a huge game. More terrain, yes Glen more terrain, is still being planned. 

Battle of the Saragossa Sea, 28mm Pirate game, various factions will battle on sea and land to capture the great treasure. (Ships and Islands under construction)

1917-18 The Western Front, 15mm WW1 with Flames of War in 15mm, Kurt has something in mind, and he's talking big! So I'll leave this spot for him because if anyone can build that much terrain it'll be Kurt Braunsroth.

Quest for the Holy City, Lion Rampant 28mm, Crusaders fight along the coastline capturing towns as they seek out the Holy City itself. Played down the 24ft side.
(Terrain and figures still under construction)