Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Valley of Death AAR

Friday, while my wife was participating in Black Friday shopping madness, my daughter and I had another small battle involving the humans of Yogurt Town and the xenomorphs (i.e. Aliens). The same very simple rules that we used in a previous battle were again used. In this game, the xenomorphs were allowed to be resurrected back at the opposite end of the table until the humans reached their objective. The humans' objective was to make it to the outpost building on other side of the table. Just before the battle started, my daughter decided there should be additional goals in the form of "secret maps" that were placed in various places and had to be recovered by the humans. Here is an overview of the gaming table:

22.7.234: Outpost 24 had failed to report in for last 48 hours. Militia Command, based in Yogurt Town, decided to send out a patrol to find out what the situation was at Outpost 24.

Peering down the road that that led through the valley, things looked very quiet:

The unit proceeded down the road. Captain Joe and Sergeant Sue was in the lead, followed by two sections of four troopers each. Accompanying the unit was a mysterious rock-like being known as Rocky. He (she?) was their guide for this mission. Rocky's weapon was an organic laser on top of his head. For gaming purposes, he got 2 shots.

The first encounter took place just before entering the valley. Two xenomorphs popped out, but they were quickly dispatched by weapon fire. This will be the best shooting for the militia the entire game. My daughter consistently rolled misses much of the game.

As the militia unit pressed on, more xenos waited in ambush, waiting for the signal by the xeno perched on top of the giant skull rock carving on top of the opposite hill.

Not only was the xenomorph a spotter, but it also was the guardian of one of the secrete maps.

The xenos sprang out! It was a fierce fight. Bad shooting rolls allowed for the xenomorphs to quickly close for hand-to-hand combat. One militia trooper went down.

Rocky and Captain Joe seemed to score the best rolls. The attackers were finally defeated.

After a lucky shot that knocked off the xenomorph from its perch, Rocky, Captain Joe, and Sergeant Sue climbed up the steep mountain.
After defeating another xenomorph hidden behind the skull carving, Sergeant Sue retrieves the secret map hidden in one of the eye sockets.

The militia then moves toward the outpost where more xenomorphs spring out.

It was another fierce fight, and another trooper went down. Sergeant Sue manages to find another secret map hidden underneath the scout car parked next to the outpost building.

Captain Joe and Rocky search the outpost, but there's no sign of anyone! No bodies to be found, no signs of struggle. Where did they all go? To be continued.......

Rocky was sculpted by my daughter. Here he is after the battle, posing by some shrubs.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thoughts on Solo Mechanics


As I get closer to the point of gaming the first land battle in the Gambusian campaign, I need to start thinking about the mechanics of a solo game. For rule sets, I have several in mind. They are:

A Fist Full of TOWs version 3 (FFT)

Cold War Commander (CWC)

Modern Spearhead

Pz8 1975-2010

I am not going to review any of these rules, but more than likely, I will probably use one of the first two, simply because I have studied them more. However, the Pz8 series of rules are pretty simple and straight forward. Plus, this recent version of their modern rules have been expanded a little more in terms of weapon types, so I might consider them, too.

None of these rules are really set up for solo gaming. One could argue that the rule set that has the most potential for solo gaming is Cold War Commander. So, I am going to use one of these rules, but in conjunction with some sort of solo mechanics. I need the solo mechanics to do the following:

1. allow for a random sequence of events

2. allow for units to react to circumstances

After reading a number of solo websites, articles from the Lone Warrior, and looking at various mechanisms of rules (not necessarily microarmor rules) that supposedly can be used for solo gaming, I felt like throwing up my hands! Actually, I've come up with three possible systems. They are:

1. I Ain't Been Shot Mum! system (IABSM).

2. Two Hour Wargames' reaction system (THW).

3. A overly complex algorithm of my own design, which I am no where near finished making.

I have studied the THW reaction system quite a bit, but recently I have been looking at various aspects of the IABSM system, particularly the use of activation cards. What I am working on now is to merge parts of IABSM and THW.

The Plan:
I plan to use unit activation cards and blinds similar to what is done in IABSM. Each activation card will represent a company. Within each company are platoons. In both FFT and CWC each stand of infantry and each vehicle represents a platoon. As each company gets activated, the members of the company can do various things, move, shoot, whatever. In CWC, units can keep doing things until they fail a die roll. I could do that, but my goal is to remove as much of my own control over things. This is where the THW reaction system will come into play. Based on the situation, the units will react in different ways. I have not worked out the reaction system, but here is an example of what I am thinking about. Lets say there is a recon company ahead of the main body probing for enemy units. The recon company comes near a blind (a hidden enemy unit). There is a table to determine if enemy units are spotted or not. I look up the appropriate numbers and roll the dice to see if it spotted the enemy. Based on success or failure, I then consult the algorithm below:

If nothing detected, then on a D6:
1-3 move half move forward
4-5 move full move forward
6 halt

If enemy spotted, then:

If spotted at close range:
1-4 fall back to nearest cover
5-6 engage enemy

If spotted at medium range:
1-5 fall back to nearest cover
6 engage enemy

If spotted at long range:
1-4 fall back to nearest cover
5-6 halt

The reaction system in addition to using the activation cards, will allow me to have less control over the various units and keep me from being biased.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

More 15 mm Medievals

Other than painting up a few figures from Splintered Light, I have not done a whole lot of work on my fantasy/medieval figures recently. I found some more shots of various 15 mm figures that I painted about four years ago:

Above are some late Medieval/early Renaissance heavy cavalry from Mirliton. They are from their Later Swiss and Burgundian Wars series, but I can't remember which catalog number. As I said before, I am not really into Renaissance figures, but these guys have a sort of Albrecht Dürer thing going on and spoke to me saying, "scruffy, battle-weary lancers for hire," especially the guy on the left. Mirliton puts in a lot of detail in their sculpting. The unfinished base is made from polymer clay.

The laddies above are Feudal Castings Highland archers with claymores. Feudal Castings are now produced by QRF Models. My historical knowledge of Feudal Castings is now fuzzy, but I think they came out in the early 90s. They don't have quite the detail that we see now in a lot of 15s. None the less, they do the job. I like the idea of having archers that can both shoot and be willing to mix it up in hand-to-hand combat. The claymores come separately. As I recall, they were very, as the British say, fiddly to get them glued onto their backs.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Housing for the Masses and Other Terrian Pieces

I completed these a couple of weeks ago.


Closeup of Huts

I am trying to get things together for the first major battle of my Gambusian campaign. I needed a bunch of huts to make a large town. They are the same design as those that I posted way back in 2009. I think scale creep might have set in. I tried to make them the same size as the originals, but they look a lot bigger. It may be the acorn tops. These are a lot larger and steeper than the original ones.

I also made stab at an improved defensive position and barbed wire obstructions:

Improved Position with Infantry Stand

Section of Barbed Wire

I like the way the barbed wire section turned out. Its easy cheesy to make, too! The improved position...not so much. I wanted to make some sort of infantry defenses that are a step above foxholes, but not as permanent as trenches or bunkers. Something along the lines of the dreaded German machine gun nest that is in the final climatic battle scene of many a WWII movie. The idea is to be able to insert an infantry stand in it. My first criticism of it is that the sand bags are way bigger than I wanted them to be. The Sculpy was just not in a cooperative mood. Second, I am not too crazy about the squared look, but I sort of accepted that is how it would have to look, given that I wanted to put an infantry stand in it. Also, the cardboard base warped a little, but that is not a big deal. If I could do a better job on the sand bags, I would be a lot happier with how it turned out.

I am still trying to figure out how to make a marker for foxholes and for mine fields. I don't think it will be hard to do the mine fields. The foxholes may be another story. I've received some good suggestions on the Yahoo! Microarmor Group and on the Angel Barracks forum. One suggestion is to stick some figures into clay. It sounds good, but I don't feel comfortable about "sacrificing" some figures to represent a foxhole markers, nice as it might look. I might just end up using little markers that say "foxholes" on them. Boring, but they would get the job done.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day, the real 11/11

This is just a quick post to thank all of the veterans out there who, through their sacrifice, allowed us to remain free. Although I have never had the honor to serve in the military, I am proud of my father, uncle, and grandfathers who served.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

11/11/11: Mark Your Calendar!

I'm sure you've seen it on CNBC, FOXNews, and read about it in the NY Times, but in case you haven't, November 11th is Solo Wargaming Day. Unfortunately, I will have to delay my celebrations a day. Too many family happenings occur on the 11th. The big question now is, what to game on this holiest of holy days?

Happy to be Home

I got back Sunday night from my paleontology meeting in Las Vegas. It was a very good meeting. There were a lot more interesting talks than I expected. Over the years, there have been fewer and fewer fish talks at SVP, but this year there were a good number. There were several symposiums that were interesting. The best part was that I got see a lot of old friends.

From a gaming standpoint, there isn't much to say. Its been 20 years since the last time I was there. Besides being incredibly expensive (I paid $10 for a hamburger), it seems now that a lot of casinos are linked by underground walkways. You don't need to go outside at all! It would make for a good sci-fi, dungeon-crawl sort of game. Also, the place has a slight feel of a sunnier version of Bladerunner.