Saturday, August 5, 2017

Cat City in Carcassonne

Tonight my wife and I played a quick game of Carcassonne.

I started out quickly, completing a bunch of small cities. Meanwhile, my wife was working on a large, meandering metropolis. As a result, I built up a nice 30 point lead. Elizabeth was at the point of conceding, feeling that she could never complete the city.

Well, she managed to finish it. My 30 point lead turned into a 6 point deficit.

She called it Cat City because she said it looked like a cat.
Elizabeth's "Cat City" (circled)
We then were in a neck-to-neck race for the rest of the game. However, I had one more farmer than her and racked up 12 points from him to pull out the victory.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

July Update

Six by Six
Thanks to the long Independence Day weekend, I got a good start to the month, so I was able to get in 5 games! I have now completed 27 games (average of 3.75 a month).

Here is a list of the games played during the month:
I suspect that my pace is going to slacken because I am so close and won't feel pressure to play. I doubt that I will finish DC Rivals (my wife lost interest in the game) but expect to finish the others.

The Generic Army Project
For my initial Slipstream ground battles, I used 2mm and 3mm ancient figures. I noticed that I could not tell what they were. At normal game ranges their weapons are nigh on invisible;  I can only see their formation and primary colors (shields are even hard to see). This led to a revelation. the actual figure is not discernible therefore a figure can stand in for any period. In other words, I only really need 2 generic armies to cover all of history and beyond.

To this end, I started working on 2 generic armies (red vs. white although I am tempted to add a third blue army). Each army will consist of 4 units each of heavy infantry, light infantry, and cavalry supplemented with some elite infantry, artillery, and perhaps some war machines (tanks or whatever).

In the past, I've tried to distinguish unit types based on strip type or supplemental colors (e.g. shield color). This doesn't always work at the micro-scales, For the generic project I plan to differentiate based on formation, perhaps supplemented by flag colors.

I started this project but stalled because of . . .

A New LARP Kingdom
I am a devoted LARPer (live action roleplayer) but often find myself dissatisfied with the state of LARPing. It's not so much the local group as it is dealing with national organizations that dictate rules to the local groups. I would prefer local autonomy so that my realm (local group) can develop its own customs, especially with regards to knighthoods. Well, I recently discovered a cure for my frustrations. The High Fantasy Society, a national organization based in Texas, actually allows each local group to rule itself. I am in the process of creating a chapter of the HFS in South Florida; this involves a lot of organization in its own right (writing bylaws, creating a rank structure, developing heraldry, scheduling practices, recruiting, etc.)

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Spandau in Space

One of the nice things about science fiction gaming is that you can easily encapsulate ideas from other periods. For example, I've always enjoyed the "dogfights in space" approach of Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, et. al where space fighters duke it out in a futuristic version of World War II air combat. Although it is admittedly unrealistic, it is great fun!

Anyway, I ginned up some crude rocket ships for my Slipstream project. I had a little time this morning so I decided to have a go at a dogfight. What rules did I use? Spandau and Lewis!

Three war rockets (red) of the evil queen Anathraxa are looking for renegade Theophilians (background for my campaign is on Tales of the Templars). They discover two Theophilian rockets.

Game Note: The Queen's rockets use the stats for the Fokker EIII while the Theophilians use DH-2s. The lead Theophilian is a veteran pilot while all others are experienced.

Battle is joined. Red Two takes a long range shot and hits, inflicting minor damage.

The Theophilians catch a Royal rocket in a crossfire. Critical hit! It explodes.

Blue One gets another rocket in his sights. He misses (throughout the game, Blue One rolled horribly for shooting).

Here is an initiative tracker that I whipped up. Crude but effective.

Blue One has another shot, and blows it again.

Blue Two gets into the action, inflicting heavy damage on one of the enemy rockets.

FINALLY, Blue One hits, finishing off the damaged enemy rocket.

The remaining Queen's rocket tries to escape. The Theophilians pursue.

Blue Two takes it out.

Virtue has triumphed over the forces of evil.

Game Evaluation
Despite re-skinning the pieces from World War I planes to rocket ships, the game worked. I also enjoy air combat games because they are so easy to set up.

Six by Six - Game 3-5 complete!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

More Ticket to Ride

Last night my wife and I wanted to play something patriotic to celebrate Independence Day, but we don't really have anything appropriate. So we played Ticket to Ride with the US map.

First we had to survive a Cat-zilla attack.

Here is the final board. My wife (the brown trains) completed 9 routes for 83 bonus points. She also got an extra 15 points for completing the most routes. Needless to say, she handily defeated me.

6 by 6 Challenge - 6.4 complete!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Massacre at the Foaming Flood

With the long weekend, I am able to fit in another game! I decided to do a one-off battle in Anarendor (my fantasy campaign world).

The Royal Army of Anarendor has received word that a large horde of orcs has disgorged from the mountains. A defensive force consisting of 2 companies of Royal Infantry, a company of Rangers, and a band of local levies stands ready at the river called the Foaming Flood. Both crossings are guarded. With more troops in reserve, the men of Anarendor are confident.

On the right, the accurate archery of the Rangers cuts down one band of orcs.

Orcs try to cross the river, with support from goblin archers on the far bank.

The Royal Infantry cuts down the orcs, but more appear. (My rules have a horde provision - any horde unit has a chance to respawn and re-enter the battle).

 The Royal Infantry wipes out another band trying to cross but disaster strikes. The goblin archers destroy the levy. In the south (lower right), two orc warbands and a troop of cavalry surprise and overrun the reserves,

The newly arrived invaders race toward the river.

The remaining Royal Infantry fend off attacks. Those pesky goblin archers now wipe out the Rangers!


After a long, hard-fought battle, the Royal Infantry destroys the enemy cavalry. Alas, on the other flank, the infantry succumbs to a flank attack.

The orcs set the village aflame, then attack the remaining infantry.

The combined attacks are too much. The Royal Infantry falls!

Game Notes

  • The scenario was taken from One Hour Wargames. It is scenario 19 - Blow from the Rear. The attackers (orcs) must remove all resistance within 6" (I used 1 space) of the river while the defenders must hold on.
  • This is game 6 of the Anarendor portion of the 6 by 6 challenge. Achievement unlocked!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

June Update

It was looking to be another lull month - I had only completed one game (a Spandau and Lewis scenario) and was not motivated to play anything. However, I had a burst last week when I started experimenting with FU rules in the Slipstream universe. I completed 2 games in a day. However, I lost a game because I dropped my Zirconia campaign. Thus, I only netted 2 games, below the pace I need to complete the challenge.

I did not complete any of the board games on the list. I am behind schedule for DC Rivals (2 games in 6 months). I suspect that I won't finish it. I am OK with Ticket to Ride (3 games).

I have a long weekend coming up so I hope to crank out a couple of games.

Kaptain Kobold's Six by Six page is up-to-date for my challenge.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Slipstream Six by Six

Over this past weekend I began the Slipstream campaign I've been discussing over the past month. I have completed scenarios 1 and 2. Here are links to the battle reports (which are on my Tales of the Templars blog):

The Scenarios
I'm not using any formal scenarios (i.e. these are not One Hour Wargame Scenarios). Instead, I came up with the context - Queen Anathraxa wants the Sunstone from the Theophilians. So how would she get it? Sneak attack, of course! Bam, I had my scenario. I then just plopped some figures and terrain down and went at it. The second scenario just built off the first and I already have another in mind for the third. In a way, it's sort of like a Mythic session; each scene just flows naturally from the prior one.

The Board
I played the scenarios using my boxed portable wargame set-up. 


The board is 8 by 8 inches, divided into 1 inch squares. Because I don't have any figures specifically representing the combatants, I improvised using my 3mm Magister Miliitum ancients that I painted up for my fantasy Anarendor campaign. Orcs stood in for primals, the Iron Legion served as Handmaidens, and Anarendor infantry became Theophilians. It worked for me!

The Rules
As I mentioned, I plan to use a modified version of FU (Freeform Universal) RPG rules. I really like its action results system. Essentially you ask a yes-no question and then roll a D6 to find the answer. Here are the possible results:
  • 6 = Yes, and
  • 5 = Yes
  • 4 = Yes, but
  • 3 = No, but
  • 2 = No
  • 1 = No, and
This system is very flexible (not surprisingly since it was designed for freeform roleplaying). A character can try anything and the system can handle it.

The system handles better or worse odds by adding dice for each advantage or disadvantage. If you have an advantage, for example, you would roll 2 dice and use the higher. A disadvantage would involve 2 dice, taking the lower roll.

The "and" and "but" results also add interesting twists. For example, a "Yes, but" result means that you succeed, but something unexpected (and undesirable) happens. Perhaps your blast takes out the charging primal but the pistol's energy charge ran out.

I did not have any formal rules on using the results matrix but in general I would roll when combat occurred. a "Yes but" meant that the enemy was defeated but they retreated in good order. A "Yes and" meant that the enemy was defeated and wiped out. On a simple "Yes" I would reroll to determine if they enemy was eliminated.

Advantages / disadvantages depended on terrain (for example, the Templars are defending a building in the second scenario so they got a bonus dice when defending). Also, in FU, characters can have descriptors, which give bonus dice in applicable situations. For example, if a character has a descriptor of Strong then he would get a bonus for lifting heavy objects. This concept can be applied to a wargame, with units getting descriptors. I did not give formal descriptors, but the visitors were weak in combat while the Templars and Handmaidens (due to their training as warriors) had advantages.

Note that I rolled against the matrix in the following situations:
  • To activate a unit
  • To make an attack
  • To save against an attack
Appraisal
Overall, the rules worked, albeit a bit vaguely. I did not apply rules consistently throughout. For example, early on I eliminated a unit when its attacker rolled a "Yes." Later, I began to roll saves if an attack succeeded. Nevertheless, the games were quick (~ half an hour each), involved plenty of decisions, had plenty of suspense, created good stories, and ultimately were fun.

I plan to codify the rules a bit (e.g. define what "and" or "but" means in certain situations) so expect more experiments.