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Monday, January 29, 2018

Mini Monday: Gotta Paint Terrain

So today's post is going to be pretty short since most of the day was spent on paintng terrain for some upcoming games.
First up is the Discover Games, 'King of the Hill', demo piece for Gangs of the Rome. And in case you've been away from the computor for the last 4 months, and Allen at the store hasn't personally told you. Gangs of Rome is a new skirmish game being sold my Warlord Games and developed by Footsore miniatures.  It has some very interesting mechanics and wonderful terrain. I've heard nothing but good things so far.
So the 'Hill/Ancient Temple' had to be done today and had been primed black. Note: do not spraycan pink foam unless you want parts of it eaten away. Though the rough shape can look nice it usually has a lot of deep groves that have to be painfully painted in. Set one was to paint the rest black so the color would be consistent. Usually I wait hours or even the next day before putiing on the next color layerbut time was of the essence so I ended up using a heater and blow dryer to speed up the drying process inbetween coats of paint.

Allen's arena that he put together last week.
4 coats later I finally have covered up most of the black
Finally have all the layers in place. terrain on top is movable.

pulled out some of mty Spartacus figs for the pic
The next fighter is ready to go in when one goes out.

Last up is some 15mm MDF buildings that I knocked out this morning. Both are from TTCombat. I can;t say I was a fan of MDF builings when they first came out. But... having painted a few and watched my wife paint a bunch, they are starting to grow on me. Discover Games got a bunch in from TTCombat and I have to say I love them! Whoever planned the template is a genius. Very easy to put together, Almost a joy! Highly recommended.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Mini Monday: Regularly Scheduled Program?

So last Saturday I was chatting with some gamers about how it
seemed easier in the 'Old Days' to get the guys/group/club to all
play the same game. When I first joined the Atlanta wargames group,
Napoleonics, ACW and Age of Sail were played pretty consistantly
every two months, if not every month. And the group stuck to the same rules: Empire, Miniball and Ship of the Line. You painted Napoleonic units knowing that they would be on the field in just a few weeks. Things changed over time as club membership changed; kids appeared, weekend work schedules appeared, and the days between gaming increased.
    And then the Internet appeared.
    Use to be that 'New Game Products' only appeared in monthly magazines, your local store, or at conventions. I remember heading to Nashcon with plans of buying this or that but returning with a different project after seeing some new rules or figures in play. You flipped through the most recent issue of the Courier or MWAN reading reviews of figures and often ordering them sight unseen. Nowadays we see miniatures and rules released  almost daily. So while you wait for the next regular game with the guys, you are being bombarded with potential projects on the internet. Thus those of us who suffer from the 'magpie' syndrome of 'oh shiny and new,I want' can rock the boat of consistant games. I stand and admit 'I am a Magpie'.
     Last year, however, with the opening of Discover Games, I started playing pretty regularly on weekdays with some friends. Flames of War mostly with a rotation of Alpha Strike later in the year. The time between games was lessened, and I found it easier to concentrate on the same game. It's been quite fun.
    This year, the weekday games are staying, but we're going to try and keep a regular rotation of ACW/wBlack Powder and ECW/TYW/w Pikeman's Lament.  We have a good number of players committed to both periods, and the plan is to play these periods every 6-8 weeks. Of course this still leaves room for shiny and new! Maybe we can have the best of both worlds.

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.

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

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?