Saturday, April 21, 2018

Attention Span of a Gnat

Like a gnat, I've been flitting around with various projects.

The First New Minis Project
I mentioned last week that I ordered some miniatures, which I would reveal when I unboxed them. They're still not here, but I can't wait any longer. I made my first foray into Shapeways and ordered these:

They're V-2 rockets. I wasn't happy with my 2-D rocket tokens (when I zoom in the photos, the wood grain becomes visible). I wanted to order some retro sci fi rockets but I couldn't find any. Then I had the idea to look into historical rockets. The V-2 looks sufficiently old school.

Distracted by Another Project
Then during the week, I got the bug for a project from November that stalled. At the time, I was using THW's Machinas for post-apocalyptic vehicular mayhem. I was using my wife's Hot Wheels but wanted to go smaller. Well, this week I ordered some 6mm bikers and various cars from Microworld Games. Here is a photo of some of the cars (photo from their website)

I am experimenting with some new mechanics that streamline the game for solo play. I like what I have so far; just need some tweaks.

And Yet Another Project
Recently, the various forums and blogs I frequent (including Stronghold Rebuilt) have featured quite a few posts about gladiator games. This has piqued my interest and I want to do my own gladiator project. However, I plan to do it with a twist. It won't be historical but instead will be a post-apocalyptic death arena. For combatants, I ordered some of Microworld's Wastelanders, such as these mutants.

I'm not sure what to do about rules. I haven't found anything specifically for space gladiators so I am reviewing rules for Roman gladiators. The issue I foresee with gladiator rules is that in a 1 on 1 fight there is not much scope for maneuvering, which leads to a simple dice off. I would like to see some player decision points, perhaps a choice of attacks and/or defenses. However, I don't want to see too much complexity in case I want to run team battles. The search continues.

And This Makes 500!
I just noticed that this is my 500th post on this blog!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Some Space Dogfights

I spent some time yesterday morning fiddling around with dogfights on a grid. To keep things on the grid, I reduced movement to 3 and allowed a turn after 1 space. I also tweaked the maneuver chart to 1-3 = 60 degrees, 4-5 = 120 degrees, and 6 = 180 degrees. These changes worked much better on my small board.

Dogfight 1
A Federation rocket (blue) spots a sinister Imperial

Both ships turn toward one another and shoot (I use a 60 degree arc of fire). The Fed gets an excellent shot (a 12) and blows up the Imperial.

Well, due to a lucky shot, the first game was quick. Of course, these rules are really designed for multiple craft. Let's try another dogfight.

Dogfight 2
This time, I have a lone Federation rocket, with superior agility, taking on 3 Imperials.

Our Federation hero spots the Imperials.

The craft turn toward each other. The Fed tries a long shot, which rattles his target.

The Fed gets a good shot at another Imperial but misses. Two Imperials take shots but miss.

The Fed gets a tail shot and damages an Imperial.

A close pass, with an Imperial on his tail.

Oh, oh! They have a bead on him.

He survives and turns the tables on his foes.

And getting into position, the Fed damages another Imperial.

This one decides to turn for home! The Fed maneuvers into position again and another Imperial is hit!

It also turns for home. The remaining Imperial has no wish to tangle with the Fed pilot and also flees. The Fed pursues and manages to blast one of the Imperials.

Victory for the Federation!

The changes worked well enough. Both sides were able to maneuver into position for some shots. I may be wreaking havoc with the granularity of movement and the ability to model different aircraft, but that's not so important when I play with rockets.

I'm generally pleased with the combat rules, though I may still tweak the results table a bit. Nevertheless, I just love not having to keep a roster! And the Hero roll paid off; the Fed pilot was able to avoid a Damage result.

Teaser - Although I swore off miniatures a few months ago, I couldn't resist and recently placed an order. I won't say what I bought yet; you'll have to wait for the unboxing. :)

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Some Random Thoughts

I am a fan of gridded games because you don't have to fiddle with a ruler. As I was playing Spandau and Lewis yesterday,  I wondered if I could adapt it to a grid. I tried an experiment this morning with a couple of my rockets. Using a hex grid, I had to change the maneuver chart (turning in S&L uses 45 degree increments; I had to modify it to 60 degree increments).

Here are a few shots of the action:

The two rockets approach

They zoom in for head-on shots. Both ships are damaged.

Trying to turn around

The red rocket gets the advantage and tried a deflection shot. It misses.

After some more maneuvering, the rockets find themselves separating. They decide to break off.

I ran into a few issues:

  • I used a smaller board than usual. This board was 8 x 8 inches. Yesterday I used a 10 x 16 inch board.
  • My grid uses 1" squares whereas I use a scaled down ruler (20 cm to an inch) for my S&L games. As a result, the craft moved further on the board.
  • The modified maneuver table drastically affected maneuverability. Here's a comparison of the allowable turns based on a die roll:
    • S&L - 1-2 = 45 degrees, 3-4 = 90 degrees, 5-6 = 135 degrees, 7+ = 180 degrees
    • Modified - 1-3 = 60 degrees, 4-6 = 120 degrees, 7+ = 180 degrees
Thus, for rolls of 3-6, the craft turns less than standard S&L.

As a result of these issues, the craft were far less maneuverable and tended to fly away from each other and off the board. I'll have some work cut out for me if I want to hexify S&L.

Pirate Plunder
My wife and I have been a bit lazy with gaming lately, We've been reluctant to pull out games, especially those with hefty set-up. As a result, we've been tending toward card games lately. Alas, I miss dice sometimes.

Anyway, I've been toying with the idea of designing a simple game using cards and dice. Last night I had an idea for such a game with a pirate theme. It takes some ideas from One Deck Dungeon. On the table, there will be 3 cards representing locations (such as a town, a deserted island, a fat merchant ship, etc.) Each card has a challenge that requires rolling dice. Win the challenge and you can draw from a treasure deck. There are 5 special treasures; get 3 to win the game. When a location is defeated, it is discarded and can be replaced by another from a locations deck. Players keep taking turns until someone gets 3 of the special treasures.

I'm currently working on the rules.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Furball Over Lucrania

I recently picked up the free starter rulebook of Warlord Games's new WW2 air combat game, Blood Red Skies.

I don't plan of picking up the game itself (too much $$$$) but I was intrigued by the mechanisms. I especially liked the way the game simplified record-keeping. You don't track hit points; instead a plane is either advantaged, neutral, or disadvantaged. Getting shot reduces your advantage state, but if a plane gets shot when it is disadvantaged then it goes down in flames. One thing that this simplifying does is allow a player to handle more aircraft - an appealing thought.

This got me thinking if there was a way to simplify record-keeping for my air combat games using Kaptain Kobold's Spandau and Lewis. I started jotting down some ideas:

  • Because I'm playing solo I decided to give the "bad guys" a standard roll of 3 for initiative. I only roll for the "good guys." This streamlines the initiative phase.
  • I got rid of tracking hits to the aircraft. Instead, a plane that gets hit will either be damaged or shot down. I then got rid of the dice pool and instead used a simple 2D6 table. Later, I added another state, Rattled, that indicated a near miss that shakes the pilot's nerves and affects initiative and maneuvering in the following turn. Good guys also get saving rolls if hit while bad guys have to make morale rolls to stay in the fight.
I then ran a test game with 2 heroes against a swarm of "bad guys." Here is a short report, set in my Aetheria imagi-nations.

Dirk Daring (the red, white, and blue plane) and his wingman Pip run into two flights of Imperial Raptors (red planes)

Dirk and Pip turn on the the flight to the right. Pip and a Raptor exchange shots, with both pilots getting rattled (indicated by the black puffs).

Dirk zeroes in on an wandering Raptor and blows it from the sky.

Dirk and Pip get "stuck in." The sound of bullets rattles quite a few pilots.

Dirk destroys another enemy.

Then he goes head-on versus one of the Raptors. Dirk is a cooler hand, however, and his shots shred the enemy plane. Dirk is unscathed.

After this, the unnerved Imperial fighters break for home. (I ran out of time for the game).

Some Thoughts
  • I felt that these rules did exactly what I wanted - sped up solo play by reducing the need for tracking. This allowed me to get more planes on the board. I managed to get in 6 turns in about half an hour!
  • The change to initiative worked fine, even though it favors the good guys. Despite this, Pip often found himself moving first (losing initiative). Because Dirk was an ace, he often had initiative (though he did lose once). It was nice not having to roll and track initiative for a bunch of enemy planes.
  • I'm not sure if I need to tweak the combat results table. I did not get as many damaged results as I expected but got far more shot down. It could be because Dirk was an ace.
  • I have morale rolls if a bad guy is damaged but otherwise the enemy side operates without concern that its comrades are falling from the sky. I'm thinking of adding a group morale roll as well.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Nostradamus Did Not Foretell This

The planet Nostradamus that is.

Following up on their attacks on Omicron, the Aquians seized the planet known to the Federation as Nostradamus. Finding it heavily fortified, the Federation decides upon a series of raids to soften up the Aquian defenses.

First up is a raid on the outer orbital defenses. In the lead is the torpedo rocket Betelgeuse Betty.

Betty experiences little resistance on the way in. She collides with some debris that damages the tail turret, but she is able to make repairs.

The torpedo run is successful. Anti-rocket fire misses and Betty scores 3 out of 6 torpedo hits.

She turns for home, but gets bounced by a bunch of Aquian scout ships. Fighter escorts drive off a few, then Betty's gunners go to work. They manage to destroy 3 and drive off the rest.

In the next zone, 2 heavy fighter attack. They miss and break off.

They are followed by a lone scout. It breaks off when it sees the Federation escort.

As Betty approaches home, she is surprised by an Aquian drone equipped with anti-rocket artillery. Its salvo damages the shields and destroys the nose turret.

Nevertheless, Betty clears the enemy defenses and makes it back home to the Federation carrier Polaris. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

Game Notes
  • I managed to salvage my files for my Star Raiders game, which I mentioned last week. I decided to run a quick scenario.
  • I am going to do a 5 game campaign with Betelgeuse Betty. Normally, I roll D6+2 for the target zone. For this campaign, I am going to start with D6 and work up to D6+2. The idea is to start with some short missions and get longer as the campaign goes on. For this game, I rolled a 3.
  • Since last time, I added a repair roll and escorts. Both paid off. I lost a turret on turn 2, but was able to get it back into operation. Escorts were able to drive off a number of attacking rockets.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

He Is Risen Indeed!

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. 
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. 
Matthew 28: 1-6 (NIV)

Happy Easter! 

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Missed Target!

On TMP and Wargames Website there have been a few posts about the Target for Tonight miniature rules, which have just been republished. I'm waiting for them to come out in e-reader format.

From the 1941 documentary
If you are not familiar, TfT models Avro Lancaster raids against Germany in World War 2. It sounds a lot like B-17, the venerable Avalon Hill game. The Devon Wargames blog has an excellent battle report.

Anyway, when the reprint was announced a few months ago, I got so excited I could not wait. I ended up creating my own version, set in space. Well, all the posts about TfT gor me interested in playing my version. I decided to pull it out, and ran into a snag. I never printed out the rules; they are still on my laptop. Alas, my laptop is malfunctioning (it won't recharge) so I can't use it. Instead, I'm borrowing my laptop from work. Unfortunately, this means that I don't have access to most of my rules. So instead of playing a game I'm typing this lament.