Saturday, 14 April 2012

Blitzkrieg Commander

I thought, in honor of having been given some awesome Birthday (21 this year, honest!) gifts, I'd put up a somewhat brief review of one of them. As the title states, today's subject is Blitzkrieg Commander (BKC).

It's one of a couple games that use a very similar ruleset, the others being Cold War Commander and Future War Commander. BKC focuses on battles ranging from the Spanish Civil war through WW2, covering dates of 1936-45. The rules themselves only cover about 40 pages and are very clearly laid out, with a good selection of pictures and diagrams. The lightness of the rules, combined with the plentiful diagrams, combine to give a very quick and relatively painless path to learning the game.

The game works perfectly fine, from what I read in the rules, with virtually any scale from 6mm (or less!) up to the 28mm style, so whatever your preference the game covers it great. The system runs exclusively with six-sided dice, although it also uses a directional die - this being a six-sider with arrows on the facings - Games Workshop players might know it better as a scatter die - but instead of a die it's trivial indeed to play with a coin or other circle of card marked with arrows instead.

The big gem, at least for me, is the enormous swathe and variety of 'army lists' available in the back of the book. Lists cover so many different factions and forces that, to be frank, any war gamer should be able to find something to give them their war gaming wood. The typical size of lists, too, allows for a relatively quick and cheap assembly of forces for a game, this is going to encourage me to build up some tank forces. Because, after all, with how quickly (HA!) I paint, I really, really need another 100-200 6mm minis.

Overall, I'm really looking forward to getting some games of this in alongside (or, dare I say, instead of!) Ogre. Rest assured, you usual suspects, you're going to be hearing a little more about this as we set up more meets!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Northy in painted stuff SHOCKER!

That's about as much tabloid enthusiasm as I can stand, so back to my usual acerbic (lack of) wit.

January 30th to March 28th. That's a bloody long time to go without posting anything, isn't it? Ah well, fear not, I've made great use of my time to get some things done. Mostly not painting, admittedly, but I have completed a couple prototype pieces for some armies (Erseta and/or Greyhawk based) with a few more "on the way". Learned a few things about the painting of 15mm stuff, and considering these are the first ever finished (and based) 15mm chappies I've done, I'm still fairly happy with how they turned out.  Actually, I finished some of these a good week ago, but I'm truly terrible at taking pictures and even worse at uploading things in a timely manner. Still, pictures!

Do the clicking voodoo doodoo to embigggen the view!

First off, back and front pictures of the (18mm not 15mm) Dwarfs I painted quite some time ago. Finally based, this is actually the battlefield look if/when I get the other bases ready for a battlefield confrontation of some variety.

Next up, we have a base of spearmen. Ostensibly they're Vostlander town militia, but they'll do well enough as pretty much any moderately trained spear types in a fetching red and black motif.  This base is the one that I learned the most from. Primarily, the learning focused on the need for layers rather than a panacea one-hit ink wash.  The inking I used here is far, far too weak for the final result, and it doesn't make the detail hit nearly as well as the figures actually deserve.  Sure, they're "good enough" for the battlefield, but I'm certainly going to be doing things slightly differently for the next batch (which might just lead me to revisiting this base to make them match up a tad better to their comrades, we'll see).

 Lastly, a stack of stakes to hide the masses of troops that I have (yet to paint) behind. Based in the FoG 15mm style, I bought some thin rigid dowel (roughly the size of matches, only round) and went to down cutting them to length with cutters then whittling the tips to points and bases to a flat angle. I found that applying some green stuff to the metal bases helps seat the stakes more solidly and also gives a better looking surface rather than the oddly two-dimensional look of plain metal. Still, let me tell you, these bastards work VERY well as caltrops versus my feet.

Next most likely to be finished is the prototype heavy gun base that's 90% done, or, muse permitting, possibly a 28mm D&D figure of my darling wife's superstrong fighter, or even a Wehrmacht-themed Ogre Mk.III.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Go love a book!

Not strictly a post of real substance with regards to minis or gaming, but this was passed on to me by a very dear friend and I felt it was worth handing down the line.


The volume is a little extreme in parts (I recommend turning it down somewhat), but it's really an exceptionally touching piece about how powerful the written word, when used to inspire and entertain, can be.  I'm rather tempted to go and write a story now...

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

I have no wish to...

...turn this blog into anything other than a rarely-updated place to post pictures, writing, general works or stuff "wot I has done".  But very occasionally something comes up that makes me really want to say something. This is one of those times.  I doubt it will actually earn a great deal of extra momentum from my posting, but sometimes the smallest of stones can help create an avalanche.

If you have any interest in the internet remaining a useful resource for the free and legal exchange of information, free from governmental or corporate interference, go there and sign the petition.  Thank you.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

RIP Dennis Ritchie

I make no secret of my distaste of the glorification of lesser men that succeed wildly (yes, I refer to Steve Jobs there). So, as I doubt it will be so widely blogged or cried about, nor will reams of books and "biographies" of his life be mentioned and discussed for months afterwards, I'd like to pay sincere respects and best wishes here to Dennis Ritchie.

A genuine technology pioneer, he was one of the fundamental technologists behind, in my opinion, the entire world we know today. With Unix and C, what Dennis Ritchie's hands touched have very literally shaped almost every aspect of life through the emergence of personal technology and computing power.  He will be fondly remembered here, at least.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Minis. Well, two of 'em.

I've been embroiled in real life. Wrestling with the government, tending sick kitties and summer weather can really suck out all desire to do anything hobby-like out of me.

First off, sorry about the disappearance of the Armies of Greyhawk progress.  It's still there, it's still waiting to be posted, I just have to put a few finishing touches to it before I can move on.

Now, onto a minor update. A picture of my first fully-completed 'mech miniatures.  Yes, Joe, I SHOULD be painting more Pan-Euro minis (and they'll get done at some point) but I wanted these mean ladies on the field in full dress. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

To Gary. Cheers!

I'm not the most eloquent of people, indeed I can be downright tongue-tied at times, but I cannot let today go by without a few words and a gentle prod towards something that sits fairly near to the heart of the legacy of our hobby.  July 27th marks Gary Gygax's birthday, and in recognition of that fact I want to direct attention towards the Gygax Memorial Fund.

There's a few things that the various people behind the GMF are doing to assist in the further developments of the project. In particular, is their attendance at GenCon, the convention that Gary Gygax began, between August 4th and August 7th. At their booth (number 1541, the Old School Renaissance booth, for those interested), Gail Gygax will be talking about conversations she had with her husband before his death about how he wanted to be remembered, the resulting vision for the statue, and the goals of the Memorial Fund. Gail will also be presenting the ENnie Awards on Friday night.  They will also be taking donations, and offering donator rewards of various treasure types.

There's also talk of a Kickstarter project to aid in fundraising for the statue.  $500k across everyone who's ever played D&D in it's many iterations, or any of the many facsimiles that came after seems like an incredibly achievable goal. If you can, PLEASE head on over to the Gygax Memorial Fund website and do your bit, even if it's only the cost of a d20. Every drop in the ocean adds up in the end and this is a worthy cause. Also, keep in mind that the GMF has already achieved it's goal of becoming an officially recognised 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation, with all the tax-deductable goodness that that entails.

In closing I want to quote Paul Hughes from the introduction to "Cheers, Gary.", because I think this line gives us an apt and genuinely fitting way to mark Gary's birthday.

"...since Gary enjoyed a fine cocktail, let me lift a Bombay Sapphire martini and propose a toast: "To Gary. Cheers."

So at dinner today, or afterwards wherever you are, please raise your glasses and toast the birthday of one of the fathers of modern imagination very simply, but with feeling.  To Gary. Cheers!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Swamp prototype, with pics!

Finally, the first (of hopefully, many!) swamp terrain piece I've done is complete.  It's not perfect, and I'd surely like to add more 'depth' to it, but I fudged somewhat to allow it to scale reasonably well across Ogre, Battletech and even stretch to 15mm 'Armies of Greyhawk' scale.

Considering the compromises, I think it's turned out quite well. I've also learned a LOT about the process, and think the next few pieces will only look better and better with each iteration.  With the swamps done, then I'm left considering whether it's lakes and river features next, or more trees. Whatever I choose, terrain wise, I'm just glad that my table is gradually getting populated. That being said, I DO have a number of rather sexy looking terrain pieces I picked up at Dexcon that need basing and painting... Then there's the half-built wreckage markers I'm putting together for Ogre minis... Or I could finally get to painting a few more Canopian 'mechs... Or finishing off the Marik colour testbeds for my wife's 'mechs... Or the character sketch of my newest AD&D character...



Anyway. Enjoy the picture of the swamp prototype and glamour shots of Caroline the Fencer and some Pan-Euro forces modeling the latest in red "swamp camo".

Monday, 11 July 2011

Armies of Greyhawk 10 - Irongate and the Iron Hills

A double post today, as herein resides the lists for both Irongate and the demihumans of the Iron Hills. Happy gaming!

Armies of Irongate and the Iron Hills (.ods file, hosted by Mediafire. IrongateIronHills1.0.90.ods).

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Baby's first US Con.

Okay, okay. By baby I mean me... Of course, given the games I lean towards I usually am the youngest player so -technically-... ANYWAY. As it's all the rage, and thoroughly fashionable, I figured I'd toss up a few words about what I did, how it was and what I brought home from Dexcon. 

Thursday was my first trip into the dealer's room.  From that voyage came four 1e modules. Originals of Against the Cult of the Reptile God, the Secret of Bone Hill, the Isle of Dread and the Keep on the Borderlands are all now mine!  I also picked up an original copy of Grimtooth's Traps for the princely sum of $1. Thursday also brought a game of Nuclear War, actually two, because we blew through the first in about 20 minutes...  I was crushingly destroyed both times, alas!  After the game, it was decided to get an early exit as nothing seriously called enough to make a stay until midnight worth it, especially considering the busy next two days.

Friday began with the Old School Revival seminar, which was very enjoyable, although with it's timing being horribly placed against every other morning event by the con organizer, it lacked a large assembly. The fact that it had been incorrectly advertised on the con handouts as being Thursday night didn't help any either. That was no doubt some evil sabotage by the 4e crowd.

Nevermind though, as the dealer's room called once more and two new sets of dice (one Game Science set in amber and one lovely polished solid pewter set) became mine. I'm a dice fiend, and I didn't have the like of either, so they rather drew me in.  I also snagged a fill-in at the end of a game of Ghost Tower of Inverness almost immediately after leaving, by virtue of luckily coming across the game which already had a good friend of mine playing in it who asked if I could take over the role of the MU who had departed just minutes earlier.  It was run by a really great DM, though I swear he had the powers of Graviton when calling for 1's on our saves (and kinda looked a little like him too, hmm...).  Needless to say, we suffered a humiliating TPK against a medusa, with my mage (being the possessor of Stone to Flesh) being the first to go with the aforementioned roll of a 1 even before initiative had been rolled. Curses!

After food and a wander with friends, I sat in on a generously gifted 'over number' spot for I6 - Ravenloft run by the same DM that had been so merciless with that medusa...  All ends well, though, as we paid back his devious ways with a thoroughly brutal slaughter and thus victory over Strahd!  Woo!  Just before the decapitation and victory in Ravenloft my wife finally arrived and caught up with me at the con - I'm quite certain that it was this fact that changed my luck, because my dice almost miraculously improved at this point. No, I'm really not kidding!

The third game I squeezed in was a minis game; Battletech: Operation Little Hammer. Though as TEN players showed up, it wasn't so much a "Little" game after all. The planned scenario was expanded, and a full 35 'mechs took to the field of battle in a massive brawl.  I was placed in command of a Steiner "Recon" lance, including a Rakshasa, a Hercules and a Maelstrom. Typically, I forget what the fourth 'mech was. Despite being all 75 tonners, I was the lightweight on the field. Thanks to some fortunate initiatives and the ridiculous luck of my dice brought about by my wife, I was able to cap four enemy 'mechs, including the first and second kills, and was elected MVP of the victorious Steiner assault force. As has been said on Solaris: "Not bad for a rookie!"  By this time, it was after midnight and I headed home for a night of not getting any sleep...

Saturday dawned bright and early for me... On Friday.  So, Saturday felt a little like the longest day.  Still, it was a good time!  Dashing in at something like 1:58pm, I made my spot for Ogre - good thing too, as I was bringing terrain for it.  The game was a Combine assault on Pan-Euro defending forces.  Without going into a deep breakdown of tactical choices and such, I will say that I managed to win (again, with astonishingly lucky dice rolls) mostly due to being able to concentrate my Ogre III-B with my wife's III-B in one spot and ruin the enemy as they came at us one by one. Two III-Bs firing at a regular model III can really ruin it's day, and we stripped the enemy III and the Fencer of all weapons in one turn each. 

Following game cleanup and a trip to the dealer's room... Again... (whereby I came out with a cheap copy of the Fiend Folio, two FASA-era Battletech source books, some minis and a couple pieces of terrain) Myself, my wife and three fellow Grognards made their way to a little Columbian place a block away from the convention for a real sit-down dinner... It was AMAZING.  I think the place is called "Casa del Pollo", and damn. My recommendation is if you go to Dexcon, you MUST go there at least once during the weekend for food. Seriously.

With full bellies and a song in our hearts we returned to the con for the last game of the day (and, for a few of us, for the con). The game was White Plume Mountain, run by the Greyhawk Grognard.  Now, while we didn't manage to get too terribly far through the mountain, we did manage to avoid being completely destroyed. The group was good, but I think fatigue helped make a few of us less than imaginative when coming up with solutions to problems.  Thus, with one party member sadly deceased, and only a minor haul of gold, electrum, gems and what we suspect was magic chainmail, we made our way from the mountain to end the game.

Overall, I had a fantastic time and I am sure as eggs are eggs that I'll be going back again next year.  With all the positive feedback that all the "old-school" games I was in got I'm sure the OSR in general will be back in force, too.  I have tentative plans to run a few games myself, but it's a year away, so let's not get counting chickens just yet.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Armies of Greyhawk 9 - Onnwal.

Gentlemen and Ladies! Please be upstanding for the newest of the Armies of Greyhawk project army lists. Today's subject is Onnwal. I wish you happy gaming and good luck with all those dice rolls!

Coming soon are the forces of Irongate and the Iron Hills.

Armies of Onnwal (.ods file, downloads from Mediafire. Onnwal1.0.90.ods).

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Armies of Greyhawk 8 - North Province.

Huzzah and yay, it's time for another of the AoG posts. About time, I know. So, here we have details for the forces of the North Province. Up next will be Onnwal, and Irongate soon after that.

Incidentally - I've noticed there's been a spew of blogs going offline lately, including the most excellent Axe n Hammer blog . If anyone has any information or insight into that, I'd be most grateful for a mail (silent(spam)silver(spam)hawk(spam) or comment. And yes, you'll have to remove the appropriate cans of spam from that to make it work.

Armies of the North Province (.ods file, downloads from Mediafire. NorthProv1.0.90.ods).

Friday, 1 July 2011

Female Armour?

In honour of my lovely wife's recent addiction to playing angry fighters:


Thursday, 16 June 2011

Armies of Greyhawk - Commanders.

Someone asked me, "what about fortified camps and commanders for the lists?".  To begin with, all the fortified camps and commanders cost the same amount across all the various army lists so that takes the decision out of my hands, as, frankly, I've tried to stick with their own formula for costing troops, therefore their values are fine with me. A player familar with Field of Glory (the system for which the Armies of Greyhawk lists are built) and in possession of any of the source books will see the exact same options for the Fortified Camp and the commanders in the various officially published army lists.  I didn't think it was necessary to include the commanders and Fortified Camp options in every list, as they're universal across all of them.  I also didn't feel that it was really in my purview to dictate which armies could or could not have a Fortified Camp - I would rather leave the option to each individual player and each particular scenario that they wish to partake.

However, I suppose I should include something here just as a self-important indication of how I personally add command and camps to my lists. That and in the hope of converting a few more players to the Field of Glory/Armies of Greyhawk fold.

Inspired Commander / Field Commander / Troop Commander      -   80/50/35 points 

Sub Commanders:
0-2    Field Commander       -    50 points
0-3    Troop Commander     -    35 points

0-1    Fortified camp             -    24 points.