Saturday, February 25, 2017

More Portable Adventures

Last week I showed a couple of pictures of my boxed, portable adventure set for Four Against Darkness games. I made a couple of modifications and ran through another module this morning. Here is the latest set:

The right side of the box contains the tactical board, where I run through combats (I expanded on 4AD by putting battles on a grid. I roll for movement on the grid but combat works the same). This time, I am using a couple of meeples for my heroes. I actually like the look and may use them for the time being.

On the left are some papers.

I printed out a page with the characters sheets. One page can actually fit 4 characters but I only have Khamen and Candorra filled out.

Finally, I created an adventure sheet. It includes simplified/streamlined versions of the encounter tables. Rather than use the full 4AD tables, I prefer to customize the encounters for the specific module. I start by choosing a main boss. I then choose vermin, minions, events, etc. that go with the main boss. For example, in today's session, I choose a vampire as the main boss. I then decided what other encounters would make sense in a vampire's spooky castle. I then fill in the encounter table on my sheet.

There is also a grid on the sheet so that I can map out the dungeon. It is smaller than the size recommended in 4AD but I prefer a shorter dungeon anyway. Sometimes I use the 4AD random room generation but other times I don't bother. Since today's adventure was set in a castle, I just used regular sized rooms and randomly rolled for doors.

Here is a closer look at the map. I jot notes about the encounters on the map and in the margins of the sheet.

One enhancement I have in mind is to create a sheet with the adventure's monsters' stats. I was still using a computer to reference the stats. Nevertheless, I was pleased with today's session and I like the progress I am making.

By the way, I finished another 4AD session toward my 6 by 6 Challenge. I still need to do the write-up (which will be on Tales of the Templars). I'll update this post with the link when the account is ready.

EDIT: As promised, here is the account of the adventure.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

And Another 6 x 6 Game

And another 6 x 6 game complete. This time it is our first game of the year for Ticket to Ride (my late entry to the 6 x 6 list of games).

It is a very close game. We were running neck-and-neck all game. Elizabeth (the brown trains) ended up with some long routes with high point values. I (with my red trains) completed more routes but with less points.

However, I gained an additional 25 bonus points (for most routes and longest path). I ended up winning by 10 points.

A Portable Adventure

Although I am very satisfied with the Four Against Darkness rules, I have been less pleased with my set-up for it. For the most part, I've been running and recording adventures on my computer. For example, here is an illustration of an encounter in a previous adventure.

Khamen and Candorra take on the evil priests
Sometimes there is just no substitute for physical components. Therefore, I want to create a boxed portable RPG. Today, I ran a 4AD scenario with an experimental box.

I created a battle board using the same technique as my portable wargame boards, but with gray paper. For today's experiment, I used tokens (hearts = heroes) instead of miniatures. I recorded the game info in my Hobbit notebook.

The page on the left has character notes while the right has a rough map and notes about the adventure.

Obviously it's very rough right now but I'll work it out. I was debating about getting miniatures but I am actually leaning toward creating counters using the paper flats I've downloaded (such as the ones in the encounter above). In today's adventure, I also needed to refer to tables on my computer. In the future, I'll print them out and keep them in the box.

By the way, I recorded the first part of the adventure on Tales of the Templars. The second part will be forthcoming. Together they form a complete game for the 6 x 6 challenge.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Raid on Presteria

While Presterian warriors prevented the main Swartherian army from crossing the pass into the kingdom, scattered bands of raiders were able to sneak in.

One sizable force tried to press deeper into Presteria, with only a band of native bowmen to stop them.

Two bands of barbarian riders swept past the bows, unimpeded by the meager volleys sent their way.

But reinforcements arrived, blocking the road that led deeper into the kingdom.

A company of royal infantry advanced against the raiders.

But were cut down to a man. The road appears open!

One troop of raiders raced down the road. Some native warriors moved to block the path of any other raiders. Meanwhile, more Presterian reinforcements arrived just as Swartherian barbarians overran the bowmen on the hill.

The reinforcements raced to the rescue while the native warriors held the road.

A wild, swirling melee broke out.

Raiders defeated some of the reinforcements. The native warriors faced attacks from the front and flank.

But they held, and even destroyed a band of raiders.

Now reinforced, the native warriors engaged the last band of riders. The barbarians on the hill destroyed another band of defenders.

The last of the horse was eliminated. Seeing that they were outnumbered, the barbarians decided to withdraw.

Once again, the defenders of Presteria emerged victorious!

Game Notes:
  • Taking the day off for my birthday (which actually was yesterday) so I decided to squeeze in a game.
  • This is another One Hour Wargame scenario - #25 (Infiltration)
    • The raiders need to get 2 units off the board from the road exit at the bottom of the board.
    • The Swartherian raiders consisted on 3 units of cavalry and 1 of archers. The Presterians had 4 native warriors, 1 infantry, and 1 archer unit.
    • I was worried about this scenario because of the force composition. With its preponderance of cavalry, I thought that the Swartherians would be able to ride around the defenders. Early on, it seemed like that would happen. Good activation rolls (and a little gambling with 3 dice) enabled the reinforcement infantry to get into the fray in time. In addition, the native warriors holding the road made excellent defense rolls!
  • The Presterians are now leading the campaign 2-0
  • And another 6 x 6 challenge game (medieval fantasy) is complete!
On another note, my fantasy boxed portable wargame is pretty much complete. Here is the box, now with a cover page!

And here is the open box. On the back of the cover page I printed a rules quick reference sheet. My 2mm troops are in little tins (I glued magnets to the bases so they won't rattle around)

One final note - today marked the debut of my latest casualty markers. I had some spare auxiliary infantry. I glued them lying down on a thin base. I painted the base brown (mud) and the figures white. Then I added some scattered red (blood). They fit into the squares and stand out from the "live" troops. I'm quite happy with the way they came out and plan to make more.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Battle of Pogo Pass

Battle 1 of the Presteria Campaign
(A 6 x 6 Fantasy Scenario)

Far to the south of Anarendor, lay the kingdom of Presteria. Nestled in the mountains, Presteria features lush jungles and fertile plains, and its people live in plenty and harmony.

Surrounding Presteria are the southern deserts, wherein dwell tribes of barbarians and beast-men. All cast covetous eyes upon the bounty of Presteria, and occasionally they will hazard attacks on the kingdom. However, they strong forces of the Presters (the rulers of the kingdom) have held back the tide of barbarism.

On this occasion, barbarians from the Swartherian tribe try to force their way through a pass in the mountains.

 Swarms of Swartherian riders (coming from the top) try to force the pass but are met by Presteria tribal warriors.

But the warriors are forced to retreat.

Presterian knights counterattack and sweep a band of riders from the field.

The knights get locked into a melee with more riders.

 Disaster! The knights are overrun. As the barbarian swarm through the pass, Presterian archers unleash a volley, skewering one of the barbarian warbands.

Presterian infantry plug the gap and hold of the swarms of the enemy.

Alas! They are also overrun.

A band of riders descends on a little village, where the native warriors have taken refuge.

The warriors hold the village!

 But are in turn overrun by a Swartherian warband.

The warband rushes Presterian archers (who have left the cover of the jungle). The archers mow down the warband.

The Presterian archers seize the village. Swatherian bows approach. A desultory exchange ensues.

Night falls with the Presterians still holding the village. Victory for the kingdom!

Game Notes:

  • This is scenario # 24 from One Hour Wargames. The invaders (in this case, the Swartherians) must clear the road of all opposition within 15 turns. Any defenders within 6" (i.e. 1/6th of the battlefield width) will prevent the invaders from winning. I interpreted this as 1 square (which is actually 1/8th of the board).
  • The forces are:
    • Swartherians - 3 cavalry, 2 warbands, 1 shooters
    • Presterians - 1 knights, 1 infantry, 1 native warriors, 1 native archers
  • Thomas's map has the road passing between a forest and a lake. In keeping with Presteria's terrain, I changed the lake to an impassable mountain.
  • The village is purely there for aesthetic purposes. To prevent from skewing the scenario, it does not provide any combat bonuses.
  • This represents the start of a new fantasy campaign. The Presterians now lead 1-0.
  • Even though this is set far south of Anarendor, I would like to count it as one of my WISER fantasy games for the 6 x 6 challenge.
Portable Wargame Notes:
  • This game was played with my boxed portable wargame set-up, using my WISER rules.
  • Here is a view of the box:
  • Today's game marked the debut of my new 2mm fantasy armies.
    • Each army consists of 10-12 units (of varying type).
    • Each unit consists of 1-2 strips of Irregular 2mm miniatures mounted on a single 20mm x 13mm base.
  • As I began playing today, I realized I needed a way to count casualties (each unit can take 2 hits). My circular casualty tokens are too big for this board so I needed something different. I improvised with some craft sticks; I thought they worked well. I plan to paint them so they blend in with the board. I also want to make some casualty markers to show when a unit is overrun.
  • I've been trying to figure out a way to store the armies. I tried an Altoid's tin but it did not fit into the plastic box. I bought some smaller tins from Amazon. They fit into the box but don't quite hold a complete army. I guess I'll just make do with them (perhaps putting an army into 2 tins).
  • To keep the stands from rattling around in the tin, I glued very thin magnetic sheets (from refrigerator magnets) on the bottom of the bases. I'm very happy with how they work out.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Ambush at Antarea

Word came from the border system of Antarea. An Imperial cruiser dropped out of hyperwarp and was drifting aimlessly in space. The Federation Fleet scrambled, sending a squadron consisting of the cruiser Providence and two escorts.

The destroyers approach the Imperial ship. It appears to be derelict.

Suddenly, a swarm of space saucers drop out of hyperwarp and engage. One of the escorts is severely damaged.

It flees the battle. The second destroyer manages to evade damage. The Providence opens fire on one of the mother ships, to no avail.

The second destroyer flees.

And it slightly damaged. With the odds against it, Providence decides to withdraw.

It also takes damage before it can escape.

The Federation Fleet took it on the chin with the alien ambush. Three ships were damaged (one severely). But it could have been worse - no ships were lost.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Status Update

Well, January has ended and it has been very productive.

Six by Six
One month in and I have completed 7 games (complete list here), far more than I expected.
(Note that Kaptain Kobold's list is missing my latest 4AD adventure, which I posted on Tales of the Templars)

I'm not going to get too excited. I have a history of starting strong in January then petering out, as shown by this graph of average blog posts per month.

I'm not sure why there is such a lull in August. Summer in South Florida is when one wants to be inside, away from the heat and humidity. I would think that the weather would promote more games.

Portable Wargame
One reason for my success in playing games is my boxed portable wargame project. Inspired by Bob Cordery, I am endeavoring to put together games that can fit into a plastic box. I have found that I often will not play a game, even if I have time, because I don't feel like setting it up. A portable wargame makes set-up a snap, so I am more motivated to pull one out.

To fit it all in a box, I had to shrink down the battlefield (along with the armies, terrain, etc.). In a fit of madness, I made 4 boards - grass, desert, sea, and space. I'm still compiling components so I don't have one completed one yet. Still, I have made progress.

New Forces
I was concerned that I would not have room in the box for my current 3mm armies so I decided to put together some new forces specifically for my box.

I started by ordering some Irregular 2mm. Here are the (rather blurry) new armies:

A medieval fantasy one for the southern kingdom of Presteria (inspired by Prester John).

Ironically, I had the idea for the Presterian army but shelved it. Then Kaptain Kobold posted about his HoTT version which piqued my interest again. Then, when I decided to go with 2mm, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to create my own Prester John army.

And here is their sworn enemies, the desert barbarians of Swartheria.

I still have some touch-up to do and there are some archers still on the painting table. But these armies are close to done.

As I waited for these troops to arrive, I began building my battle boards. I made ones for sea and space, even though I didn't have miniatures that would fit the smaller board. I decided to rectify that situation, starting with my space fleets. Here is the result so far (another bad picture):

The blue ships are from the Federation fleet (the good guys). I chose to use the same paint scheme as their ground forces. The big ship (bottom of the picture) was meant to be a battleship but now I'm calling it a cruiser. It is about an inch long. I had some small wooden circles and ended up making some flaying saucers (with the help of some lentils). The smaller saucers are just lentils. I also started an Imperial fleet (the red ship). I recently got these ships into action and will post the report tomorrow.