Friday, April 29, 2016

Nerd Fest: the Convention

Despite the many forces working against me for the last three weeks, I managed to pull off my contribution to Nerd Fest 2016. I ran one game. I only had two participants, but there were a number of onlookers that stopped by. Part of the problem was that there were few in attendance this year. They booked it too late in the semester and got a weekend with other, more "official" events going on.

I arrived on time, but it took me a while to set up. I had a few more unit cards that I had to print off in addition to unpacking the armies. The game didn't get going until about 2:00.

I set up the game in one of our biology labs. We have nice big tables, in fact, they are probably a little too big. I wrote on the chalkboard the rules, which was often ignored by both me and the players.

To be read from right to left
Several students who stopped by took a look and said, "it looks too complicated." But a student named Chad, and a friend of his (I can't remember his name) decided to give it a go. Chad's friend had played Warhammer 40K, so his was both interested and familiar miniatures games. This helped him a lot during the game.

The Battle
Once again, it was Medieval Humans and Dwarves vs. Human Barbarians and Orcs. I did use my road of human flesh, which a colleague who popped in said that it was fitting as it lead to the armies of evil. As I said in a previous post, I used Dragon Rampant! with some modifications for big battle, formed units.

Opening moves: 
Both sides slowly slogged along. Units routinely failed their activation rolls. We deviated from the rules that when a unit fails activation, the other sides goes. A lot of deviations from the rules were made throughout the game. The medievals were particularly bad at passing activation rolls.

The barbarian giant sprints out to meet the slow-moving medievals.

Dwarves attempt to maneuver around the farm. Orc chariot off to attack.

View from the Orc's side.

Orcs progressing nicely.
The giant leads the barbarian attack.
Medievals slowly moving along.
Knights seem determined to move through the forest.
Armies clash:
On the one side, the barbarians with their mighty giant smack into the medieval spearmen that had advanced past the knights. I added a bonus for flank attacks which was a little too powerful.

The knights were still trying to negotiate the forest while their foot brethren took a beating.

Meanwhile, the Orc chariot, way out ahead of the rest of the Orc units, plows into one of the Dwarf units that had finally maneuvered around the farm.
Orc suicide chariot doing a lot of damage before
second Dwarf warrior unit could arrive.
The thick of battle:
The knights finally get their act together. One unit finally gets into the battle and attacks the giant. At the same time, the medieval archers moved up and ran off one of the units of barbarian skirmishers. Chad was overly concerned about these skirmishers even when his friend showed him their stats. His undue attention to them, kept his archers from supporting his spearmen.

Both sides bring in support to the ensuing melee.
Over by the road of flesh, a second clash between the medievals and barbarians occurred. With it was the first use of magic. Each side had two magic-users. Each magic-user was allowed two spells that they picked randomly.

Second melee between knights and barbarians.

Chad's wizard cast a Sudden Retreat spell that caused the barbarian warriors to turn around and run. Chad had hoped that his knights could pursue and hit them from behind, but on his next turn to move, his knights failed to activate. The barbarians managed to shake off the spell and turn around to face the knights. Then, it was the babarians' turn at magic. Just as the knights caught up the the barbarians, their shaman cast the dreaded Weapons to Noodles spell that turned the knights' weapons ineffective for two turns!
Slingers in action
Barbarian skirmishers ran down the road o' flesh and started pelting the knights in support of the warriors. A unit of Dwarf crossbows were down the road but were still out of range of the skirmishers.

The Dwarves managed to destroy the Orc chariot, and after some fancy maneuvering, the other Dwarf warrior unit hooked up. But two Orc warbands were now approaching. Another Orc warband and a unit of archers were close behind.

Dwarves starting to get their act together. The high command
seems very content to stay as far away from the action as possible
Things are about to get down and dirty between the Orcs and Dwarves.
The end:
At the one end of the table, the giant went down, but he took the spearmen more-or-less with him. The barbarian shaman threw a healing spell on the warrior unit and it was back up to almost full strength. The battle in the middle of the table was going in favor of the barbarians. Maybe Chad had good reason to fear the skirmishers. The second unit of knights were starting to get hurt despite having Prince Valiant in their midst. The Dwarves couldn't seem to get their crossbows up to aid the knights. Things could have gone either way at the other end of the table between the Dwarves and the Orcs, but one Dwarf unit was hurt due to the chariot battle, and there were two more units of Orcs that were moving toward the scene. Chad called it quits on the count that Nerd Fest had officially finished a half hour ago.

Post-Game Analysis
About half way through the game, I realized that we weren't testing for courage. I brought it up, but the two opponents seemed content to ignore it. I didn't feel like making a fuss over it. I think things would have gone differently for both sides if courage tests had been used. Also, I need to re-read the rules with regards to units of one, i.e., heroes. They seemed awfully tough. I am not sure if we were using them right. So often the case: you can read the rules a million times, but you don't know how they really work until you play them.

Unfortunately, Chad didn't really know what he was doing (he admitted that). His friend, on the other hand, figured out the stats on the cards and knew how to use them to his advantage. Both players said they had fun. That was the main thing. They even thought it would be cool to start a wargaming club. I won't hold my breath, but who knows? I am think of running two games next year. One will be another fantasy battle, and the other will be a bug hunt using my 15mm sci-fi troopers and xenos.

Now, I can get back to my moderns.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Nerd Fest: the Road to Hell

This didn't work very well...


...unless the battle takes place at the 9th level of Hell and this is the road leading to it is made of Caucasian human flesh!

Should I still use it and pretend nothing is wrong with it?

Monday, April 18, 2016

Nerd Fest: I'm on a Road to Nowhere

Nerd Fest is coming up this weekend and I am so far behind! Ah-h-h-h!!!!

I've sort of checked out mentally from work and spent my afternoon making roads in my office:

They are about 50mm wide. I probably need another set of these. I hope that they are not too thin. I used a lot more caulk than I thought. It's the fast dry stuff that I've been using for my 6mm projects but at this size, it is difficult to spead. I do have some larger, cheaper tubes of caulk, but I couldn't find my caulk gun and I didn't feel like buying a new one at Walmart. I sprinkled some sand on them. Tomorrow morning, I'll paint them and put a brown wash on them.

I have not been able to find a scenario that I like, so I just decided this will be a big bash between armies.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Battle Valor Games Miniatures

Battle Valor Games is a new company in the world of 15mm fantasy. They have a number of lines that have yet to be produced. I was not overly impressed by the photos of them, but they are the only company I know of that makes peasants in 15mm. I thought, why not, lets gets some and maybe use them for my upcoming Fantasy Rampant game at my school's Nerd Fest. To justify postage, I also ordered a Frigian Character pack.

This isn't meant to be a review (OK, maybe it is), but this is some quick impressions. I just got them, so all these pictures were taken right out of the box in my office. Also, being a little pressed for time, I didn't photograph all of them. First, I have to say that they are much better looking than the photos I've seen! They are on par with Splintered Light Miniatures.

Human Peasants
Some Frigian Characters
More Frigian Characters
Frigian Character Rider
Many groups ("Dwarves," "Elves," etc.; the names of their various races and peoples are altered so fit their fantasy universe) have a background story to them; the Frigians do not. Based on the pictures on the website, they look sort of Dark Age-ish (Anglo-Danes/Viking). The figures in the character packs would work well in any dungeon crawl game. Included are two mounted characters with corresponding foot figures. One is on a horse; the other rides a pegasus (not photographed).   Both riders come with round shields.

The peasants also look very nice. There does not appear to be any duplicates. There are both men and women who are going about their business. Many of the men hold farm implements.

There will be a rules system that is supposed to go with them, it seems to be a work in progress.

Will I buy more? Maybe. I have so much unpainted lead in the fantasy category, I don't know if I'll ever whittle the pile down. I like their "Dwarves" but I've got so many painted units already, plus I am sure there a bunch still waiting to be painted that is silly to buy more. I think I will wait until more of the lines become available and then decide.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Nerd Fest: Unit Cards for Dragon Rampant

Here is a rough draft of some unit cards for Dragon Rampant.

Not sure if those will be the final pictures. I reorganized some of the unit stats in an attempt to make them clear. I plan to print them on cardstock where I can get four cards per sheet of cardstock, and then laminate them after cutting them.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Nerd Fest: Rules Choice

I spent the last two nights pouring over rules. These included Armies of Arcana, Dragon Rampant, One-Hour Wargames, Warmaster, and Rally Around the King, as well as some really oldies like Chainmail, and Royal Armies of the Hyborian Age. The winner: Dragon Rampant! There is a little bit of tweaking to be done, but for the most part, I think it will work. I think the students will be able to learn the mechanics pretty quickly, and not be bored by it. Maybe I am over-generalizing, instant gratification is a big concern of mine with regards to the students.

Next step is to come up with a scenario, and start making up stat cards for the various units. I want to make this as easy for the players as possible.

On a side note, as I was going through my bookshelf looking for appropriate rules books, I thought, my goodness, I've accumulated a heck of a lot of rules over the years! There were some that I didn't remember even buying.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Nerd Fest is a Go!

I found out yesterday that I have been officially slated to run a game at Nerdfest, my school's micro-convention. I also got the green light from the boss that we have nothing scheduled for that weekend. Now, all microarmor activities have come to a screaming halt (so-o-o-o close to being done!). I have about two weeks to:

1) Figure out a scenario. I'll probably use something from Thomas Neil's One Hour Wargames.

2) Opponents and their size. It will probably be Medieval Humans and Dwarves vs Orcs and Barbarian Humans. Unlike the game that I had five years ago, this one will probably be much smaller in numbers.

3) Rules. This is a tricky one. It more than likely end up being my old standby, Armies of Arcana, BUT I am seriously considering Dragon Rampant. I've read them over and I like what I read. The rules that will make the game move along faster will the determining factor as to which one I pick. I will make up my own magic rules to go along with whatever rules I end up using.

4) Terrain. It will have to reflect the scenario, but being that this is sort of showcase game, I want to make it look as visually appealing as possible. I have most of what I need, but I am thinking of building a few extra pieces to spruce up things.

Bottom line, I am competing against a videogame culture where you have fast-paced action games that have high visual graphics. Two weeks to get it all together along with work and family activities. I can't see any problems...


In other news, I found scribbled notes from a long ago campaign pitting early WWII Soviets against early WWII British, fighting over Iran...Crusaders versus BT-7s. Recently, PeterFritz, over at his Shapeways shop, has been putting out British interwar tanks in 1/285 scale. I remember many of these from Ian V. Hogg's Tanks (1987). Unfortunately, I no longer have that book, but those odd interwar tanks are still stuck in my mind. Several other shops, of which I cannot recall, sells interwar aircraft in 1/300 scale.

I was thinking of re-igniting the campaign, only now to include some of those interwar tanks. That is definitely on the back burner, but it has the advantage of not necessarily starting from scratch. The Five Core rules would definitely fit the bill for this campaign, or even pull out my old copy of Jagdpanzer rules.