Archive for Games

All Quiet on the Martian Front – First games!

Posted in Battle Report, Games, Uncategorized with tags , , on December 25, 2014 by stingersix

Finally got to play this tonight with my friend Stephen. We decided to do the intro scenario, where you basically just beat each other senseless without the fancy rules for hidden movement and ambushes and whatnot.

The board has some Flames of War buildings on it. Not quite in scale but not too far off – all good.image

In this scenario, you just fight until the other guy loses half his units and breaks. The humans and Martians went at it hammer and tongs!

image image image

This tripod scooted up the road and then showed why it’s a good idea to spread out and avoid the nasty sweep template of the Martian heat ray!

 

 

image

 

Despite their power and durability, the tripods can only take so much. This guy is steadily losing his armor and taking more and more damage. Critical hits had him moving out of control and losing control of his weapons, and the game has a fun way of handling this (you dice off with your opponent).

image

The Doughboys are most effective against the Martians in assault, but this is also the most dangerous way to attack the aliens! A squad hurls itself into action!

image image

They knocked off a couple more points of armor, and the ‘Pod actually retreated! But on it’s next movement, Stephen won the roll to control it, and the Martian warmachine staggered back in among a horde of enemies! Both infantry squads in the picture there assaulted (after the MG squad and the tank softened it up a bit more. However, if you roll well enough when you damage a Tripod, it can explode…

image

Before…

image

After…

image

Yes, the explosion of the destroyed ‘pod’s reactor took out all of the human units around it (everything within 6″ takes hits)! This actually broke both our forces at the same time! The humans and Martians both pulled back from the carnage with a bloody tie!

For the second game we got a little more involved and the Martians had to cross the board lengthwise and exit as many pods as they could off the opposite table edge. The humans had to stop them. This time we tried hidden movement, ambushes and some Martian special weaponry (Green Gas). Stephen deployed almost all his infantry hidden in the farm compound. His MG squad is in ambush, somewhere in his deployment zone. His MkIII tanks are in reserve.

image image image

The Martians have at most, seven turns to get across the board, most likely six. Moving their full distance every turn, they could just make it if they didn’t slow down for anything or spend too much time picking their way through difficult terrain. They reached the road as the human tanks fired away and the infantry scrambled to redploy to the center. The Rough Rider motorcyclists are moving in.

imageimage

Just as the humans’ best armor is lining up their shots, Martian heat rays deal out death, routing tanks and infantry moving in to assault.

image image

As the terrified infantry flees for the rear, the human MG team waiting in ambush in the cornfield finally opens up at nearly point blank range…and destroys a Tripod with a lucky shot! The alien machine crashes to the ground.

image

The humans mount a desperate last-ditch assault, but fail to stop the Tripod, which routs and destroys them, and then does the same to the retreating MkIII unit.

image

We called it there, as the human army had been broken. But, had the game continued, I would not have been able to get more than one Tripod off the board, even had the game gone to Turn 6.

Overall, I enjoyed the game a lot. It played better than I thought it would. I first thought the Martians would easily sweep aside the humans but that was not the case. I can see that with some shrewd tactics and effective use of the weapons available, the U.S. Army can definitely turn back the Martian tide. There is some complexity, but the basic die rolling mechanics are very simple and go really fast. There is little to no chart referencing during play, and once you get the basic systems down, I can see where this game plays quickly compared to many other minis games.

I really want to get some of the Forlorn Hope minis for the U.S. Army – they’re a couple of figures dangling from a rope and you can hook them on to a Tripod so it looks like they’re climbing up. The Forlorn Hope is an upgrade for infantry squads and they pop out when assaulting Tripods, climbing up to plant TNT and grenades. They’re a one use thing (they’re assumed to die in the assault) but they give a hefty bonus to the infantry’s assault roll.

I also like the look of the Martian Scout Tripods, and I’d like to get some Lobototons (lobotomized human captives made into mindless slaves for the Martians).

So far, I haven’t seen anything about All Quiet on the Martian Front I don’t like. I have a couple more games planned next week and I’m looking forward to them!

Advertisements

Chain of Command

Posted in Games, Historical, Uncategorized with tags , , , on July 28, 2014 by stingersix

Played my first game of Chain of Command today. Finally got to use those G.I.s I painted a few months ago. Bit of a learning curve but a fun and interesting game. My Yanks vs. Chris’ Krauts. The pre-game positioning and movement to contact is very unique and cool. I like the way this game does deployment.

Started off with a couple squads in the woods there. Another squad is in the back out of the frame. This was a basic patrol clash. I had three rifle squads and a 60mm mortar. Chris had the same plus a halftrack.

image

These Germans here shot the hell out of me the first few phases, but  I gradually wore them down with mortar and rifle fire til they broke at the end of the game.

image

A lot of the game was a medium range shootout between these squads here in the woods and the Germans. The Jerries and their MG42s put out ungodly amounts of fire. This was really hammering my squads here until my Lieutenant showed up to bolster their morale and keep them shooting. Think of the scene in Band of Brothers where Winters and his men are at Carentan and have to hold off the German assault, and Winters was yelling at his men to keep firing. Like that.

image

This halftrack rolled up and started spraying my G.I.s with bullets.

image

 

My mortar team is in the ruins back there. It did good work, and I kept it focused on the central German squad. The rifle squad there made it into that house, exhorted on by Sgt. Savales.image

The filthy Nazi commander shows up with his briefcase full of god knows what and keeps his men fighting. The mortars managed to knock him down wounded for a few phases.image

 

I eventually got these guys into a full firing line and began trading shots with the Krauts in the roadhouse.

image

The halftrack passes the roadhouse. The other German MG squad I was tradinf fire with the whole game is in that building.

image

 

The guy in the knit cap there with the grease gun is Sgt. Telly Savales. He had to boot these grunts in the ass to get them going, and they got going!image

Cinematic moment here. The bazooka team took three shots at the advancing halftrack, narrowly escaped a bunch of fire thrown at them, and then had to rummage around looking for more bazooka rounds. Finally knocked out the halftrack on their fourth shot!

 

image

The Jerries that were here finally had enough and bugged out!image

It was good to finally get a game in of this. The historicals crew has been playing for a while and their games always look pretty good. It was the first WW2 minis game I’ve played at 28mm scale and I did enjoy it.

 

 

When Mars attacks!

Posted in Games, WIP with tags , , on July 13, 2014 by stingersix

Lately, I have become enamored of this game, All Quiet on the Martian Front. I’ve actually gone quite mad for the minis, although I haven’t played the game yet. I do have the hardcover rulebook and it really does look fun. It’s designed by Rick Priestly and Allessio Cavatore, contracted to Alien Dungeon, so it does have a solid design pedigree. The idea is that 10 years after the Martians from H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds destroyed London, they have returned in force for a full-scale invasion of Earth.

Set in the period from 1906 – 1914, the creators have expanded greatly on the idea, positing that this time, the Martians landed in the remote areas of the world, built up their armies, and then attacked. They’ve conquered most of the planet, and humanity is now just holding on. In the U.S. the Martians have advanced to the Mississippi River, where the U.S. Army finally managed to hold them. Undergoing a massive emergency mobilization, the U.S. is devoting every resource to fighting the invasion. Tanks, infantry and artillery are the primary weapons used. Because of the great urgency of this desperate situation, tanks are powered by steam engines, a proven technology that is easy to implement and mass produce quickly. Internal combustion engines exist in this period, but are not yet advanced enough to drive these big tanks (and they are BIG), and are mostly used in trucks and lighter vehicles.

The British have dispatched the BEF to the U.S. to help, and due to their being the first nation to fight the Martians, they have reverse-engineered some of the Martian tech and put it into use. Thus, the British equipment is more advanced than everyone else.

Bwah! This game has got me fired up! I love the idea, and the aesthetic. There are a lot of cool things going on in the background of the setting – President Teddy Roosevelt leads the nation in its darkest hour, Major George Patton is a hero character you can use, Nikolai Tesla and Thomas Edison are building mobile lightning cannons, all kinds of stuff.

Where did this game come from? It was a Kickstarter that funded last year and has finally made it into distribution this year. I usually don’t bother with Kickstarters but this is one that I wish I had! There are so many cool things coming for this, particularly the huge Land Ironclads! They’re also apparently working on other human armies, including the French, German and Japanese (I can’t wait to see those!) and some more alien armies, including the Venusians (!), Selenites (Moon Men) and the Underdwellers (the Morlocks, of course!). I really dig this blend of alternate history and science fiction (by H.G. Wells no less)!

So, I got myself the starter set and I’m working on the models now. The kits are easy to assemble and they have a lot of character. I don’t know what it is about them that has me so involved. A friend suggested they have a sort of whimsical Hayao Miyazaki feel to them and maybe that’s it. I’ve assembled them all and got a basecoat down on the tanks. It won’t be long before I have this game on the table! I can’t wait!

photo1

This is the MkII Steamer Tank. The mainstay fighting vehicle of the U.S. Army.

 

photo2

And the next step up, the MkIII tank.

 

photo3

Doughboy infantry. The motorcyclists are called Rough Riders. They use tow cables to entangle the legs of the Martian tripods to bring them down! Awesome!

photo4

There are also heavy machinegun teams. These are the human forces you get in the starter set.

 

 

photo6

These are the Martian Assault Tripods in the starter set. Armed with the deadly Heat Ray, they are nearly unstoppable!

 

 

photo5

The kits come with some weapon variants for the Tripods. In the middle is the Green Gas Grenades and on the right is the Black Dust Launcher.

Ah, sooo cool!

 

DZC Lessons Learned

Posted in Dropzone Commander with tags , , , on January 8, 2014 by stingersix

Had another great game of Dropzone Commander with Stephen Bajza last night. As I get more games under my belt, I’m feeling more confident with the rules and understanding the tactics and flow of the game. It really is a good game that sets up a lot of tense situations. Steve called it ‘structured chaos’ I think was what he said. Because the initiative can shift each turn, and with the alternating turn order, things on the table are constantly changing and you have to stay on your toes, prioritizing your moves and targets.

A few general things I’m getting so far:

  • If you win the first initiative roll, letting your opponent go first allows you to see where the focus of his effort will be, and lets you deploy your infantry last (and hopefully outside his AA envelope). There is something to be said for going first on T1 though, especially if you’re the Scourge, because it is often possible for you to be inside a target building on T1. There’s a lot to be said for making your opponent react to you with an aggressive move that is hard to counter.
  • UCM in general don’t need to close with the enemy. They out-range the Scourge with almost every weapon they have. They are slower though, and need to watch out for fast-moving enemy.
  • Scourge want to do the opposite and close as fast as possible. If you’re going to do this, go in with numbers to present your opponent with multiple targets to spread his fire. Attacking with massed forces in general is a good idea.
  • Don’t forget you do an extra damage point if you roll 2 better than you need on the damage roll!
  • If you find yourself spread out too much, or out of position, call for dustoff, get the dropships in, and move them. You can wrongfoot an opponent that isn’t expecting you to pick up a whole battlegroup and move it. This is one of the main features of DZC in my opinion – the ability to rapidly redirect the direction and focus of your maneuver is powerful and an awesome part of the game!
  • Protect your dropships and transports! You’re utterly crawling without them. That said, once the units they transport are gone, that orphaned dropship can at least put fire on enemy units (unless you need to keep it alive to save kill points). Flying on the deck when you move isn’t as risky as it sounds I think (this coming from the guy who rolls 1’s like a champ), and protects from potential reaction AA fire.
  • Infantry in buildings can be dug in like Alabama ticks. But if they move to the windows to fire at you, fire back! Most infantry have no countermeasures so you’re at full range – even machine guns can do damage in this case, so light ’em up! You’ll need 5’s and 6’s because of soft and body cover, but if you’re volleying a whole squad, that’s a lot of dice.
  • If you’re going to try to take down a building, you’ve got to mean it, since they’re usually pretty tough, so if you haven’t got any better target, hit a structure. They have no countermeasures and so you can shoot at full range and always hit on a 2+. You should have a decent chance of doing Falling Masonry damage to infantry cowering inside. Scourge players! Don’t forget your MBTs have the Demolisher special rule! Nasty!
  • If you’re doing an objective search with infantry, keep your APC and dropship nearby and hidden. Ideally, you don’t want to have to move either the APC or the dropship toward the infantry they’re picking up. The grunts should be able to pile straight out of the building into the APC, which rolls right into the dropship, which punches it and hightails it for the board edge.
  • When it looks like you’re gonna have to engage in CQB, try to outnumber the enemy. This is not new news! One-to-one fights are going to come down to who rolls better. Bring numbers, quality or preferably both.

I’ve only played with the units and the scenario in the starter set so far, so I expect things to change as I expand my familiarity with the game, but these things seem to be decent basic strategies to stand on.

Dropzone Commander = Win!

Posted in Battle Report, Dropzone Commander, Games with tags , , , on October 23, 2013 by stingersix

Dropzone Commander is, in a word, fun! The Dropzone was commanded!

(Scroll down for pics)

I got my first game in last night with Ian Chadwick. We used the models in the starter set – I played UCM and Ian took the Scourge. DZC was exactly what I was hoping for in a sci-fi minis game; it was dynamic, fast-paced and engaging.

First of all, it looks awesome all set up! The cityscape that comes with the starter set is an inspired bit of design. You get two poster maps, which are different and these fit together to form a grid of city streets. On top of this, you set up 10 card building that are also included. They fold out and are ready to go in no time at all. I usually don’t play without fully painted minis but Ian and I were so hot to try this game we just put them together and went for it. I did manage to get a coat of color primer on them and painted one dropship but even without paint, they looked awesome on the board! When we have our armies fully painted this game is just going to be brilliant! As a longtime Epic Space Marine fan, the larger scale is very appealing to me. You definitely get a greater sense of looking at an entire battlefield, of being in command of an entire operation instead of a smaller tactical engagement.

Any wargame that even attempts to predict the battlefield of the future needs to take the effect of technology on combat doctrine into account. Games like 40K are simply WW2 with lasers. Even Stargrunt (which I still love) is really Vietnam in space. DZC may not hit all the buttons but it certainly feels like it’s hitting a lot of them.

First off, all armies are entirely airmobile, or at least highly mobile (one race, the Shaltari, teleport around the battlefield). This means that the battlefield is a constantly changing environment as units can rapidly redeploy where needed and the game mechanics reflect this. For example, a UCM APC can move 4″ which isn’t horrible but a dropship can pick it up and move it up to 9″ in one turn. Since all units can do this, it means that simply driving forward on the ground is more of a last resort – you only really do it unless your dropships are gone. In the game we played, the APCs drove on the ground the last few inches to their objectives after disembarking from their dropships (which then pulled back into cover somewhere, waiting on station for the call for dustoff).

Many minis games I have played feel very static compared to DZC. Even mobile armies in 40K don’t move like DZC units do (of course the different scales make a difference here). In DZC, if you find that things are happening somewhere else on the battlefield, you really can redeploy all the way across the map in very short order. Early in our game, I flew in with an infantry unit, occupied and objective building on T1, located the objective on T2, then re-embarked and got it off the map! Granted I was lucky on the search roll, but man it was fast!

After that it looked like things were developing on the opposite side of the map, so I started picking up units and flying them over that way. Later, when I found my heavy tanks a bit out of position, again I picked them up and flew them where they needed to be. The ground units did drive around some of course, but when they needed to cover longer distance, they could call in the dropships to pick them up.

So, the game makes the dropships and transports extremely important. Lose your mobility and your chances of success drop rapidly. Late game, one of Ian’s APCs was hauling ass for the board edge with an objective. The only units I had in range that could stop him were my AA tanks, which are fortunately also effective against ground units (unlike Scourge AA tanks). I took out his APC, but his infantry survived (luckily for him). I wasn’t able to stop him from scoring for holding that objective, but there was no way he was getting off the board with those infantry, which wound up diving into a building to hide until game end.

The dynamic game play also means that the momentum and initiative can shift rapidly. I had the lead early on, but Ian was in position to score late game. As unit attrition wore me down, it became clear that Ian was set up for an end run, which he managed to pull off for the win (barely – had I killed his infantry in the destroyed APC, we would have been tied on objectives). The sequence of play uses alternate unit activation, which I vastly prefer over Igo-Ugo systems. Since you roll for initiative every turn, this has a big effect on tactics and your choice of what units to move and when. It also means you’re never sitting around waiting for your turn for very long.

Many weapons have infinite range (basically LOS) unless firing at a unit with active countermeasures, which brings the ranges down to 36″ or (much) less. This feels right as a railgun or laser should have no trouble engaging something it can see. Infantry in the open are thus extremely vulnerable as they have no countermeasures (usually). The best they can hope for is to be ignored. But since they are the only units capable of entering buildings where the objectives often are, they’re priority targets. On foot, they only have a 2″ move. Once they’re inside a building, it’s often better to try and take the building down to kill the infantry (though some buildings are quite tough).

This brings another element of the game into play – CQB (Close Quarters Battle). Infantry vs infantry fights usually are going to happen inside a building, and the game makes this go very quickly. One side or the other will be wiped out or broken in one round. My dice crapped out me (rolling only 3 hits on 12 dice needing 4+ – I rolled 5 1’s and the rest 2’s and 3’s!) and Ian’s Scourge warriors killed two squads and broke the other one. Despite that, I like this – the image of two opposing platoons fighting like vicious rats inside a building captures the tension and terror of CQB quite well.

So, all that put together made for a very fun game. Even though we were stopping often to look things up, I can see that once we have the rules down, this will go much much faster. Understanding how units embark and disembark their transports, the way units move and the possibilities that opens up is the key to DZC.

On top of all that, the story and background is also cool. It has shades of Mass Effect and Babylon 5 running throughout. I like the idea that although humanity lost the Earth, it has recovered and is now launching a massive counteroffensive to take it back. In that regard it is a universe where there is still hope, as opposed to the relentless grimdark of other game worlds. There is also room for more new races in the future, beyond the four already in the game. I understand the Hawk Wargames is working on a rebel army list, allowing you to play the stay-behind survivors of the Scourge invasion, and these guys roll out in these awesome looking Mad Max style trucks and whatnot. The aliens are well thought out too, and the armies really do play quite differently.

To sum up, I’m super happy with the DZC starter set! You get a ton of great stuff for about $100. Just go check it out on the Hawk Wargames website. Ian and I are already looking forward to picking up some of the other units and expanding our armies!

Pics below!

20131022_193755 20131022_193802 20131022_193831 20131022_195241 20131022_195248 20131022_201659 20131022_201721 20131022_202423 20131022_204301 20131022_204320 20131022_213934

Catching up – Landspeeder, Scouts, campaign games!

Posted in 40K, Minis with tags , , , on November 14, 2012 by stingersix

Whoa, no posts for over a month! Sorry folks! I have indeed been busy.
On the painting and modeling front, I finished a Landspeeder and a squad of Scout Snipers. Check out the slideshow for the pics!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Landspeeder is magnetized to switch out the bow and gunner’s weapons, and the side panels can be removed and the Typhoon missile launchers attached.

The scouts are a mix of the plastic snipers and a handful of the old metal snipers, which I quite like. I knew I wanted to do camouflage cloaks, and I knew it would be a bit tedious to paint (and it was) but once I figured out how to do it, it went fairly smoothly. It’s three colors, grey, dark green and a mix of dark green and brown. The pattern is not exactly like the digital camo pattern you see on modern military uniforms, but a patchwork of square shapes. At the size they’re painted on the mini, they do make the pattern look right at normal viewing distance. I painted on the grey layer, then the green and then the green/brown mix. This was then washed with a very thinned out mix of black, brown and purple. Fortunately, it came out looking okay.

The Sgt. Telion mini serves as Sgt. Oda in my Rising Suns army. This was actually my first Finecast miniature. There were a few tiny little air bubbles but I took care of those with liquid green stuff right quick. I also filed off all the Ultramarines markings, which is very easy to do with Finecast.

At the moment, I have a Vindicator assembled on my painting desk awaiting priming this weekend. I just got it the other day and until then, I’d been working on some Tactical Marines with special weapons, just to use as fillers and to spend my painting time on while I waited to get the Vindi. I should have this one done by the end of the month.

In other news, I have been involved in running a very fun narrative 40K campaign at EndGame. We had our third game last Saturday and it went really well. You can check out the story thread here. There is another thread with pics from the event here. We will be running our next game in the series in January. It’s open to everyone, but space is limited and sign-ups are on a first-come-first-served basis. But, if you’re in the area, we’d be happy to see you across the gaming table.

My wandering eye – DUST Warfare, Dropzone Commander

Posted in Games with tags , , on May 24, 2012 by stingersix

I feel I may be reaching a “saturation point” with my 40K stuff. While I still want to paint things for my Rising Sun Space Marines, new games are beckoning to me. DUST Warfare is looking more and more attractive. And I have to say I’m highly intrigued by Drop Zone Commander. I’ve got enough Space Marines for a 2,000-point army now, though I do have some holes in the roster I’d like to fill. Still I can play 40K easily enough with what I have and that means I may very well head into DUST territory and see what that looks like.