Monday, June 18, 2018

Battle Report: Super Systems 4th Edition- Showdown in the Sands


The Black Hearts had completed the job easily.  The museum had a state of the art security system to protect the artifacts they had collected over the years.  However, those security precautions were no match for villains with the capabilities of the Black Hearts.  Guards, alarms, vaults…. All of it was for nothing when the Black Hearts came to collect.

What exactly they collected was unclear from the video The Union of Semi-Professional Heroes had been provided.  The Black Hearts had easily penetrated the security and made their way to the Hall of Ancient History and moved into the South-East Asia wing.  There they grabbed a variety of artifacts and made their way out. 

“What are these miscreants up to?” Mr. Amazing turned to the Riverine.  He knew that his companion had a long history with that region of the world, not all of it good. 

“I can’t be sure….but that was the region where I received my powers.  There might be a link,” Riverine responded. 

There was a quick blast of red light, and then Red Streak was there with Mr. Amazing and Riverine, “Those goons were spotted out in the desert by a park ranger.  He called it in, and the local police have asked for our help.” 

Mr. Amazing nodded, “Well Riverine, let’s go ask them what they are up to!”  With that, the three heroes rushed out of their lair to intercept the Black Hearts out in the desert. 

************

Forces  
The Super System 4th Edition book has a few Archetypes to help you get some quick heroes together.  I used them to come up with my two sides.  The Black Hearts are the “villains” while The Union are the “heroes”. 

The Black Hearts
Metalhead- Brick- Immovable Object
Nihilist- Mentalist- The Empath
Troll- Blaster- Blaster- Fates Gunner



The Union (of Semi-Professional Heroes)
Mr. Amazing- Brick- Mr. Stupendous
Red Streak- Speedster- Speed Demon
Riverine- Brawler- The Shield Slinger



I took those archetypes and made a couple of character sheets with notes to refer to during playing.  You can find out more about these heroes and villains in a previous post.   

Set-up
This game will be played on a 4x4 desert board.  I am using my classic wasteland table cover.  I then scattered some rocks around.  I also placed a dirt road across the center of the board.

The Black Hearts are placed within three inches of each other in the center of the board.  They are in a triangle within 3 inches of each other.  The Union can be placed on any table edge.  Mr. Amazing and the Riverine are blocking each table edge at the end of the road.  Red Streak is supporting the Riverine. 



Mission
One of the Black Hearts is carrying the “Loot”.  It is being carried by Troll.  The Black Hearts are trying to get the “loot” off the board.  The Union is trying to recapture the “loot”.  As a secondary objective, they will want to apprehend one of the Black Hearts for interrogation.    

At the edge of the board waits a Black Hearts burrowing machine.  If they can get there with the artifact, they can escape. 

Mr. Amazing slowly lowered himself to hover a few feet from the ground.  He smiled his pearly white teeth, “Going somewhere?”

Nihilist snarled behind her mask, “We need to get to the burrower, we can go around or through them.”

“Through!” Metal Head shouted and charged forward.

Turn 1:
The Black Hearts under Nihilist win the initiative easily.  They go first. 

Metalhead sees Mr. Amazing hovering and blocking their path and rushes forward his full AP the engage.  The Riverine runs up towards the fleeing villains to get in close enough to fight them. 

The Nihilist Mind Flares the Riverine, but he manages to resist its effects.  Then, she hastily follows Metalhead.  Meanwhile, Mr. Amazing moves closer to engage the fleeing Black Hearts next turn and get the angle on The Nihilist as she has the loot.

Troll turns and tosses a Flame bomb at the Riverine who fails to dodge.  He is hit for 4 Vitality loss!  The Riverine is knocked back 4 inches and flips back to his feet and shakes it off. 

Red Streak races ahead and catches up to the Black Hearts, but does not have enough AP left to engage them. 


Turn 2:
The Nihilist helps the Black hearts win Initiative again. 

She flares Red Streak, but he shakes off the mind attack.  Then moves away.  The Red Steak then  buzzes around Metalhead to get in close with the Nihilist and launch an attack.  However, Metal Head uses his Bodyguard ability to get in the way.  The Red Streak’s punch just makes Metalhead laugh.

Metalhead then triggers his Density Increase and haymakers Red Streak, which he barely manages to dodge with his speed.

The Riverine runs forward and gets behind cover as he approaches, wary of Troll’s flame bombs.

This time, Troll launches at Mr. Amazing who is hovering in the way.  He tags the flying man, and reduces him 6 Vitality with a blast to the face.  This knocks him tumbling back 6 inches.  Mr. Amazing steadies himself, but can only fly closer to the fight and can not engage this turn.




Turn 3:
This time The Riverine manages to outlead the Nihilist.   The Union will go first.   

Mr. Amazing charges at the Nihilist, but Metal Head is there with his Bodyguard ability to get in the way.  Mr. Amazing charges forward, but Metal Head snatches his from the air and holds him up and away from Nihilist.  He then grabs Mr. Amazing and holds on. 

The Riverine comes up behind Troll, and throws his Trident at him.  Fate intervenes and Troll manages to dodge out of the way of the attack. 

In return he runs past and tosses a Flame bomb into the melee of Metal Head, Nihilist, Red Streak, and Mr. Amazing looking to hit Red Streak.  The Red Streak easily avoids the blast, but the Nihilist is singed in the attack. 

“What are you doing idiot!” she yells.  In response, the Troll just shrugs, “It is what I do!” 

Despite the blast, she manages to Mind Flare The Red Streak.  This leaves him “Stunned”.  She is then able to move past and away from him towards safety.  The mind flare causes The Red Streak to stumble after Nihilist, but he can not catch up to her yet.   



Turn 4:
The Nihilist shouts at Troll, “Get The Red Streak now, while he is disoriented!” 

Troll smiles wickedly and tosses his bomb with great accuracy.  It easily hits the disoriented speedster and blasts him back 5 inches and leaves him with 1 Vitality left. 

The Riverine rushed up and grabbed his trident and launched an attack on Metal Head.  The Trident slammed across the back of the brick’s head, and the shock of contact bounced it from the Riverine’s hands.  Metal Head slowly cracked a smile. 

Metal Head squeezes Mr. Amazing, but fails to damage the hero.  However, he is also unable to free himself from the thugs grip. 

The Nihilist makes it to the burrowing machine at the end of the road and jumps in with the stolen artifacts from the museum. 


Conclusion:
The Nihilist jumped into the open hatch of the waiting burrower.  She turned and the rest of her team got the hint, get in or get left behind.  Troll scampered after her with his shambling ape-like gait.  Meanwhile, Metal Head tossed Mr. Amazing aside and ran for it. 

Riverine dashed to his friends aid and crouched beside him to make sure he was okay.  AS he did so, the engine of the burrower rumbled to life, and the great machine tore into the ground with a rumbling screech.  The red Streak covered his ears as the machine descended into the ground.  
“Looks like they got away,” Mr. Amazing said.  He clutched the side of his head in pain. 

“This time,” the Riverine responded.    

Well, I am sure I messed up a lot of rules in my first play through in a long time.  Using the archetypes in the book was much easier than trying to design my own characters.  They came out pretty well balanced.  When I designed characters on my own before the results did not work as well as the arch-types. 

The villain of the match was definitely Troll.  He caused havoc with his Fortune powers.  He was tagging people left and right and easily did the most damage.  However, Metal Heads bodyguard ability combined with Density Increase was really helpful as well.  He was right there to keep anything from happening to his boss.  Nihilist’s mind flare worked when I needed it to and allowed her to escape at the end. 

The Heroes turned out to be underwhelming in this game.  Part of that was the fact that they were poorly matched up.  Red Streak ended up fighting Metal Head, a fight he could not win.  Mr. Amazing was a much better match for him, but by the time he got involved it was too late.  Riverine also ended up being too far away to be much help in this mission.  Oh well, I can see where the Heroes powers could be really tough to beat, but today the combos did not work.  Perhaps because of their needs for haste early it left them a bit unorganized when the fighting happened.

I really like the opposed GOAL roll system, even if sometimes it felt a bit dice heavy.  It is also pretty tough to take someone out of action leading to drawn out combats.  This fits with the ethos of Super Hero fighting, but would not work with all genres.  I also like the “tool box” nature of the rules as they give you plenty of things you can add and use as you progress in skill with the game such as special attacks, powers, vehicles, Henchmen, etc.  Anyway, you can read a full review of the rules here if you want.        

I look forward to playing more of this game and these characters.  I mean, who do the Black Hearts work for?  Why did they steal artificats from South-East Asia, where the Riverine found his Trident?  Who will The Union call in to help them track down the Blakc Hearts? I am excited to look over the Nano Metal guys I have left and start assigning them some powers and having them join the conflict.   

Monday, June 11, 2018

Wargaming on a Budget: Toys for the Superhero Genre


Recently, I posted about using toys for gaming purposes.  I think there are three major genres that lend themselves well to toys as game aids.  The first is dexterity based games, the second is car combat, and the third is SuperHero games.  Typically, there are plenty of toys out there that can be used in these genres.  A case could probably be made for other genres such as Mecha/Giant Monsters or Sci-Fi spaceships too. 

To prove that I wasn’t all hat and no cattle, I decided to put my money where my mouth was and show some examples of how this could be done.  I have had the Super System 4th Edition rules for some time now, but have only run through a partial game using statted up Skylander toys.  That was the original reason I picked up the rules, so that I could use all those silly Skylander models on the tabletop instead of just for the game.  I will probably still do this, but I feel like my window for relevance on Skylanders as a wargame has closed. 

Anyway, I was at the local discount retail chain store (Target) and saw something called Nano Metal Super Hero figs in packs of 5.  I looked them over and bought 3 for about $15 or a dollar a figure.  I have also seen people take cheap Heroclix models and repaint them for Super Systems too.



The first thing I did was use the rules to set-up some basic teams.  Thankfully, the rules have some “arch-type” pre-made characters that I applied to my teams.  They were:

The Union (of semi-professional Heroes)
The Union represents a body of “amateur” heroes that have banded together for mutual support and aid in their fight against crime and evil villains.  They are not technically part of any government, military, or police force and are free-lancers doing their own hero work when they can get time away from their normal lives.  Generally, they are the good guys and have some basic ethical and moral guidelines in order to join.  However, the key part is the collection of the dues in order to fund their retirement and benefits package.  In addition, there is some mentoring and support from other more experienced heroes.  That is the main perk of being part of The Union.
Here is a group shot of our current Union heroes: Mr. Amazing, The Red Streak, and The Riverine.


The Red Streak, The Riverine, and Mr. Amazing

The Red Streak-  The Red Streak became a hero when a lab experiment he was part of involving a super-collider went wrong and he was exposed to trace amounts of an unknown element.  This increased his ability to move very fast, and in some cases extra-dimensionally.  The exact physics is still up for study by the scientific community.  The red Streak is a young physics Grad student.  He wants to live a mostly normal college life.  However, he looks up to the Riverine and sees him as a hero and mentor.  The Red Streak is a Speedster arch-type with the Warp ability.     

The Riverine- The Riverine was a private during the Vietnam War and spent most of his career serving on Patrol Boats.  On a mission, he was deployed off the boat with his fire team.  They promptly got lost deep in the jungle.  They were attacked by Rock Apes and his companions were killed.  He was thought to be dead, and dragged by the apes through the jungle until they came to a ruined South Asian temple.  There, the former Private found a trident.  When he dragged himself to it, he felt its power and energy course into and transform him.  From then on, he was known as the Riverine, and found his way back to civilization. 


Disgusted with the Military and government of the era, the quit and was a founding member of The Union.  The Trident seems to have slowed his aging and allowed him to live an unnaturally long and healthy life.  In addition, he gained extra strength and speed beyond a normal mans.  Over the years he has become a skilled fighter and tactician with his trident.  I used the Shield-Slinger Brawler arch-type for this character.   


Mr. Amazing- Formerly Captain Amazing, he changed his name when other heroes accused him of “Stolen Valor” as Mr. Amazing had never actually been part of the military.  Therefore, he respectfully changed his name to the more civilian friendly Mr. Amazing.  Mr. Amazing has a day job and identity that he keeps secret from his peers.  He is actually a CPA that mostly does tax returns for blue-collar folks and middle income folks.  He gained his powers when he was exposed to bizarre radiation from a meteorite that landed near his home.  Since then, he has the ability to fly, is very resistant to injury, and super-strength.  He uses the Mr. Stupendous arch-type for a Brick.   

  
     
The Black Hearts
The black hearts are a gang of mercenary, powered villains.  They will do dirty deeds for cash, cut diamonds, or other rewards.  Their code is power, wealth, and material comforts.  They are aligned as long as the pay is good enough and it keeps coming.  They are not a complicated bunch, but they know that when the Heroes show up, it is better to work together than try to go it alone…. Most of the time.
Troll, Nihilist, and Metal Head

Troll- His upbringing and childhood closely match that of the Nihilist.  His family life was in constant turmoil and struggle with incarcerations, narcotics, and foster families filling it.  He was a bitter and angry child prone to violence and sarcasm.  He became a petty gun runner and drug dealer and slowly rose through the ranks.  However, a drug lab raid went bad and left him horribly disfigured in an accidental explosion.  From there, he was recruited by an evil organization who outfitted him with armor, weaponry, and gear to match his twisted visual persona.  From there, he became an enforcer and eventual criminal mercenary.  Troll is the Fate’s Gunner Blaster Arch-type.

The Nihilist- The Nihilist developed her powers at the end of her high school career in a dramatic reveal at her graduation.  She had mostly be an outsider her whole life, and developed a malicious streak.  Most of her life she felt persecuted by the ‘Haves’ and now she strives to show them all the pointlessness of their materialistic and status chasing ways.  The Nihilist uses the Mentalist Empath arch-type. 

Metal Head- Metal Head was a blue collar worker who developed his powers when he was accidentally exposed to an irradiated mix of hazardous chemicals at the plant he worked as an electrician.  This gave him super strength and toughness and the ability to turn into a metal form.  He has a love for Heavy metal music and wants nothing more than to tour the world seeing and discovering rock bands.  However, such a lifestyle is not cheap, and the Black Hearts and their mercenary ways have allowed him to finance his nomadic lifestyle.  Metal Head is the Immovable Object Brick Arch-type.  


 All of these models were from the Nano Metal toy line.  Once I had the general idea of who each figure was, it was a simple matter of doing some easy re-paints to make these well-known characters into my own heroic or villainous creations.  Soon, we will see these Toys on the battlefield as they face-off in comic book action.  



Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Battle Report: Castles in the Sky- Raiders of the Storm- Balkan Uprising Campaign


After the Ottoman League’s victory destroying the Balkan Leagues main radio relay, the Ottoman attack on Thasos proceeded as planned.  The Balkan League fleet was unable to coordinate a counter-attack and the landing went in unopposed.  Thasos fell quickly back into the hands of the Ottoman forces. 

With the loss of Thasos in the Aegean and so close to the mainland, this essentially put pressure on the frontlines as the Balkan forces attempted to break through to the Dardanelles and push the Ottoman’s out of Europe.  However, Admiral Ivanov was still aggressively pushing eagerly trying to achieve Russia’s goal of access to the Mediterranean.  The Ottoman League Admiral Al Reis was also buoyed by their recent victory.  Both Admiral’s decided now was the time to go on the Offensive. 

Both Admirals chose their orders, and revealed them to be Offensive.  Admiral Al Reis rolled the dice and found that the next scenario would be a Raid, with the Ottoman’s again attacking.  They rolled up a scenario and it was to be a Raid, and Admiral Al Reis coordinates his attack to occur during a storm again.

Forces:

Ottoman League- 21 Armor Points
Sultan Mehmed II- Fatih                                               Captain: Seyid Al Reis                     Command: 3- Flagship
Class: Sultan Osman-I Evvel                         Category: Battleship                       Armor: 9
Experience: 15- Disciplined Crew

Barbaros                                              Captain:  Murat Pasha                                    Command: 2
Class: Berk Efsan                              Category: Torpedo Boat                                                Armor: 4
Experience: 7

Italians:
San Bartolomeo                                                Captain: Paolo Revel                                       Command: 1
Class: Vettor Pisani                          Category: Armored Cruiser                          Armor: 8
Experience: 12- Airship Handling

Balkan League
Imperator Pyotr                                               Captain: Pavel Ivanov                     Command: Flagship- 1
Class: Imperatrista Mariya            Category: Battleship                       Armor: 8
Experience: 6

Pallada                                                  Captain: Matija Yumashez            Command: 1
Class: Bayan                                       Category: Cruiser                             Armor: 7
Experience: 2

Albatros                                               Captain: Feliks Golokov                 Command: 3
Class: Krasnoye                                 Category: Gunboat                         Armor: 5
Experience: 5

Kondor                                                 Captain: Nikolay Konovalov         Command: 3
Class: Krasnoye                                 Category: Gunboat                         Armor: 5
Experience: 3

Sova                                                      Captain: Vladimir Greig                  Command: 1
Class: Krasnoye                                 Category: Gunboat                         Armor: 5
Experience: 6

French:
Brennus                                               Captain: Theo Aube                        Command: 4
Class: Charles Martel                      Category: Heavy Cruiser                               Armor: 8
Experience: 14- Blow Smoke

Primauguet                                        Captain: Jean de Vienne                               Command: 4
Class: D’iberville                               Category: Cruiser                             Armor: 7
Experience: 13- Marksmen
 
Mission:
After the success of the Ottoman Raid on the Balkan radio tower Admiral Al Reis wished to keep the pressure up on his enemy.  He received word that the Balkan Fleet was beginning to amass near Salonika in order to begin their own operations.  Admiral Al Reis quickly assembled a strike force of nearby craft in order to launch a Raid to disrupt the Balkan plans to assist operations near the front. 

The Ottoman Forces skirted the Aegean at low altitude to avoid detection.  They then loitered over the horizon until a forecasted storm rolled into the region.  They simply followed the storm in and began their attack.  The Ottoman Forces would be out-numbered but they put their faith in surprise and a quick strike. 

The Ottoman’s  must do more damage than they take.        

Set-up:
A storm is raging across the board at Altitude 5. 

The Balkan League is placed in column heading towards one of the short board edges.  The Russian Flagship leads the way with the French Heavy Cruiser acting as the rearguard.  Between these two solid pillars is the rest of the fleet.  Therefore they form a rough line:

·         Imperator Pyotr
·         Albatross
·         Palada
·         Sova   
·         Primauguet
·         Kondor
·         Brennus

They are travelling at speed 3 and altitudes of 6.  This puts them above the storm. 

The Ottomans are approaching from the rear of the Balkan column at Altitude 5, through the clouds.  They are closing at Speed 6.  Their column is:

·         Sultan Mehmed Il-Fatih
·         San Bartolomeo
·         Barbaros 

Turn 1:
The Ottoman League wins Initiative with one success for 1 potential command.

Moving:
The Ottoman forces press forward, with the Torpedo Boat accelerating to speed 9.  Meanwhile, the Balkan League forces speed up to 4 and stay in formation.  They are blissfully unaware of the approaching enemy ships through the storm.

Shooting:
None, no one has the range. 

Turn 2:
The Ottoman’s again win with 2 successes and the Balkans with 1 Command success.  

Moving:
The Ottoman’s elect to allow the Balkan forces to go first.  The Ottoman’s continue to close the gap, they are in Long range, but decide to stay in the storm to get even closer.  It is a risk that they will not be able to hit the enemy ships enough before they can escape.

Shooting:
The ships in the storm only allow Close Range shooting of 0-8 inches.  Therefore, no shots are fired as Line-of-sight does not exist. 

Turn 3:
This time, the Balkans win the roll-off with 1 Command success.  They opt to go second so they can respond to an Ottoman attack. 

Moving:
The Ottoman Torpedo Boat maneuvers to stay out of sight.  Meanwhile, the larger Ottoman ships continue to move in, and do not reveal themselves.

Shooting:
None still as the Raiding fleet stalks closer to her prey for a devastating alpha strike.



Turn 4:
This time, the Ottoman’s get what they were looking for, and win Initiative with 3 Orders.  The Balkan ships get 0. 

Moving:
The Ottoman burst up out of the cloud bank and press in on the Balkan forces!  The Battleship and Cruiser come to height 6, while the Torpedo Boat goes to 8.    The Balkan ships continue to move forward.  Next turn the lead elements will leave the edge of the storm and off the board.  It is now or never for the Ottoman fleet. 

Shooting:
The forward guns of the Ottoman Flagship roar as the battle ensign is unfurled.  The shells burst against the hull of the Pallada.  The San Bartolomeo joins in with a spread of air torpedoes that crash into the Russian cruiser.  Two are destroyed by Point Defense guns, but two burst in weak points in the ships armor.  Finally, the Barbaros fires and the PD gunners on the Kondor take out the torpedo. 

The Balkan fleet is quick to respond!  The Brennus fires on the Sultan Mehmed Il-Fatih and causes a burst against her hull.  The Pallada returns fire on the Italian ship and manages two bursts on the hull.  Finally, the Primauguet surprises the Turkish torpedo Boat by being equipped with side firing Air Torpedoes of her own, and blasts into the smaller vessel with 2 hits!  

End:
Apply Damage- The Barbaros has her Rudder jammed, and a fire has started on board.  The crew rush to put it out.  The Pallada loses two armor from the opening salvo. 

All Friction is removed as both admiral’s roll a 6 to remove friction.


Turn 5:
The Ottoman Admiral wins with 3 command successes to 1. 

Moving:
The Sultan and San Bartolomeo move to try to parallel the Balkan fleet and use their broadsides to good effect on the Pallada or other weaker ships. 

The Russian flagship manages to break through the edge of the storm and leave the battle.  Meanwhile, the Kondor and Pallada try to dive into the storm and out of danger.  The Albatros and Sova go up to try and catch the damaged Turkish torpedo Boat.  Finally, the French ships move to engage the enemy.  The Primauguet uses the 1 Balkan command to re-load her torpedoes.

Shooting:
The Sultan can no longer get a read on the Pallada as the storm is blocking their vision.  Instead, Admiral Al-Reis orders his men to lock-on to the Brennus.  However, they are slow to react to his commands.  The Brennus takes a pasting with 10 friction markers from Heavy and Light batteries, but non-managed to cause damage.  The San Bartolomeo manages to Lock-on and hits the French Primaugaet cruiser with 6 bursts from various guns.      

The shots leave the French ships in tough shape, but they return fire.  However, the French cruiser can not return fire with her torpedoes due to friction.  The Brennus blasts the Sultan back with 8 friction bursts of various calibers in a short range slugfest.  1 hit manages to penetrate.    

The Albatross and Sova need to gain 1 more altitude to be able to get the range on the Barbaros. 

End:
Apply Damage- The Sultan loses 1 armor point. 
Repair- The Barbaros fails to put out the fire, and loses 1 more point of armor. 
Friction- The Ottoman’s can remove 1 from the Sultan and the Balkan ships remove 6 friction from the Primauguet. 


Turn 6- Final Turn:
The Ottoman’s win with 2 command successes to 0. 

Moving:
The Barbaros tries to flee as fast as she can.  Meanwhile, the Sultan and San Bartolomeo get ready to light up the Brennus one more time. 

The Breenus is immobilized by Friction.  Meanwhile, the Primauguet and the Kondor escape fromt eh storm and the battle.  The Sova and the Albatross continue to pursue the burning Ottoman torpedo boat, and look set to finish her off.  The Pallada continues to flee in the shelter of the storm.

Shooting:
This time, Admiral Al-Reis gets his men to lock-on to the Brennus.  The Italians also lock-on.  A barrage of fire hits the Brennus, and racks up 20 total friction points, but only causes 2 damage!

The Albatross and Sova fire on the Ottoman torpedo Boat and annihilate the ship, causing it to explode spectacularly with all hands due to overkill.  The Sova gets the credit for the kill.

The Brennus pastes the Sultan with return fire, and lands another friction storm but fails to penetrate her armor.  Both ships are essentially immobilized by friction. 

End:
Apply Damage- The Brennus had her Rudder jammed and lost an armor point. 
Friction- The Ottoman’s take three off the Sultan, while the French remove 1 from the Brennus.  They still have combined friction of 30 tokens!



Conclusion:
The Balkan forces win this round of the Campaign, earning another campaign point.  The Ottoman forces took 5 hits, while the Balkan League took 4.  This is another battle where the attackers in the Raid mission lose.  I think I will need to re-work this scenario. 

I also am not satisfied with how Friction is working.  It is stacking up to too high of numbers on the ships and making them useless.  This is stagnating play instead of leading to tactical considerations and choice.  I will need to revisit this mechanic as well.  Perhaps only 1 Friction marker per attacking ship or battery no matter the number of hits? So, a Heavy Battery with 8 shots where 6 hit, the ship would only take 1 Friction.    
                                                                                        
Lastly, in the last few battles the small ships have been completely useless.  In fact, they have caused players to lose the battle.  Why would a player take anything other than a Battleship in this current environment?  These are some core issues I will need to address as I continue to re-work these rules.  Feel free to give me any ideas in comments below.

In this battle, I should not have used the Torpedo Boat so aggressively and kept it back until there was a damaged ship to finish off with the Air Torps.  It is a challenge with the fast ships to not rush out and instead to hold them back for when their shots can count.  Other than that, the storm really helped me get close before launching my attack.    

Campaign:
The Balkan League wins the Raid by damaging 5 armor points to the Ottoman’s 4.  The Ottoman’s needed to outperform the Balkan League in this battle.  These leave the Campaign Points at 4 to 2 for the Ottoman’s still in the lead in a first to seven race.  The Ottoman’s are 1 decisive victory away. 

Damage:
The Pallada’s crew repairs 1 point of armor. 
The Sultan Mehmed il-Fatih repairs 1 point of armor damage back to full
The Brennus also manages to fully repair herself

The Ottoman’s have strategic assets for a value of 14, however they use 8 to call in reinforcements which leaves them with 6.  The Balkan League uses one to completely repair the Pallada and banks the last 1 to bring them to 4.  No one loses any Strategic Assets in this battle. 

The Ottoman’s call in Reinforcements using their Strategic Assets in the form of an older model of battleship that had been guarding the Dardenelles in case of a Balkan breakthrough.  With the Balkan forces pushed back Ottoman High Command feels like they can release the Resadiye class ship the Turgut Reis into action with Admiral Al-Reis forces. 

Experience:
All ships gain experience but only the following levelled.
San Bartolomeo +3 (12)- Airship Handling
Primauguet +5 (13)- Marksmen

With night fall, the two fleets eventually lose each other in the darkness over the edge of Greece.  The Ottoman’s are unable to search for any survivors from their lost torpedo boat, and a glum mood hangs over the crew and officers as they make their way back over the Aegean. 

Meanwhile, the Balkan fleet continues its withdrawal back to Salonica as the Balkan forces on the ground begin to stiffen their resistance to the new Ottoman reinforcements.  The Brennus has again seen the worst of the enemy fire and is shaken by it.   Captain Aube is convinced that Admiral Ivanov is an idiot and a madman.  Tension grows between the two officers and the coalition but the war has stabilized into another stalemate. 

You can see all the Balkan Uprising Campaign reports here: 


Enjoy!

Monday, May 28, 2018

On the Painting Desk- Men of Bronze

I have sent all of the final documents and photographs to Osprey Games for the publishing of Men of Bronze to move forward.  I will keep you folks in the loop as it progresses.  In the meantime, I thought I would share a few photos of the three armies I am building for future battle reports and demos of the game.

All models are from the Victrix range for Greeks or Macedonians.  They are assembled and painted by my friend Nick.  They are from my personal collection and (poorly) photographed by me. 

The first army is a classic Spartan army.  When complete it will have:

2 Elite Hoplite Units to act as the Spartiates
1 Drilled Hoplite Unit to act as Perikoi
2 Psiloi as armed Helots

Spartiates and Psiloi
   
The second army is from the city-state of Corinth, the second largest naval power in Greece.  After Athens lost the Peloponnesian War to Sparta the Spartans established a hegemony across Greece.  After some time, the Spartan yoke began to chafe and an alliance of Corinth, Argos, Athens, and Thebes rose up and challenged Sparta with Persian backing.  This is known as the Corinthian War. 

The Corinthian Army is anothe rclassic city-state army.  When complete it will have:

2 Drilled Hoplites from Corinth
1 Militia Hoplites from local allies
1 Archer unit
1 Peltast mercenary unit recruited in Thrace
1 Psiloi unit of local light infantry

Corinthian Hoplites in Phalanx

Greece would eventually fall to squabbling between City-states after Thebes replaced Sparta as the dominant City-state in Greece.  However, to the North in Macedon a new power was rising.  King Phillip the Second of Macedon was reforming and building an army of his own.  He made various reforms to the formations and style of his forces bent on capturing Greece and beyond.  However, his southern neighbors paid him little heed until it was too late. 
 
The Macedonian Army represents Phillip's forces as they move towards the Battle of Chaeronea.  It will have the following:

2 Macedonina Phalanx units
1 Drilled Hoplites from Thessaly
1 Cavalry squadron of Macedonians
1 Unit of Psiloi light troops

Macedonian Phalanx

So far, completed I have the following:

1 Spartan Hoplite unit
1 Corinthian Hoplites
1 Macedonian Phalanx 
1 Peltast unit
1 Psiloi unit
1 Archer unit

Archers and Psiloi in Loose Formation
There is still plenty of painting to do, but with my photos done and submitted for now, I can relax abit.  I won't need these for battle reports and Demos until Mid to Late 2019 now.  Osprey has long lead and production times since they are part of a much larger publishing company.  However, these three armies will stand ready to take the field before then.  

These three armies, cost me ~$250 from Victrix.  They will form the basis of my Men of Bronze armies.  However, I will also be using them in Broken Legions as the Argonaut Faction and Of Gods and Mortals as the basis of a Greek force.  I will only need to add a God and a Hero or two.  Plus, they can double up for a variety of other ancient games.  Who knows, maybe I can even get a game of Warhammer Ancient Battles or Hail Caesar in with these guys?   

No matter what, I am sure you will see more of these guys on this blog in the future.  

Spartans hold the Gates against the Corinthians
        
 


  

Monday, May 21, 2018

Wargaming on a Budget- Toys


For a long time, my hobby was limited by my budget.  This was actually a blessing for me as it forced me to decide if I was really into wargaming, or just kind of into it.  I discovered I was really into it.  Thankfully, this led me to do much more rules writing and creation.  However, when you have a limited budget wargaming can be challenging since a big appeal to it is the tactile and physical nature of it. To get that feel you need models! 

I have talked about some of my work arounds to this problem in the past.  The first was Paper Templates.  The second was Making Your Own Models.  Those are great ways to do it, but there is another fun path to follow.  That is using inexpensive toys on the battlefield.

As a designer, I have been fascinated by the idea of “Toys” as the main instrument of driving wargames.  I especially see this as valuable for beginner gamers.  This idea first started after playing Skylanders: Spyro Adventures as a video game.  I wanted to use those figurines for somethings more, and have indeed used them in Dragon Rampant, Super Systems 4th Edition, and started some initial work on my own Skylanders themed tabletop game.  Sadly, it was never finished, but some of the ideas migrated to my other “toy” based games such as Total CARnage and Green ArmyMen: Plastic Men, Steel Resolve.

To successfully use toys in your wargames, you need to think of the following:
1.       What do you need for your game
2.       Where do you source the toys
3.       Making them ready for the tabletop

Combat! Starring Vic Morrow


What Do You Need for Your Game
This is the easiest step.  You need to understand what you need to play your game.  That way, when you go out to get the toys, you know what you are looking for.  I have generally used toys in two major ways: models or terrain. 

1.       Models- This is using the toys to actually stand-in or work as the replacement for the models. 

2.       Terrain- The toys become obstacles to move and maneuver around. 

Which do you need?  Terrain can take all sorts of forms and shapes based on what you need.  I have used toys for fences, buildings, ruins, etc.  For models, I have used them for Star Wars gaming, Sci-Fi gaming, Car Combat, Super Heroes, World War II, and even beasts in Gladiator games. 

Total CARnage

Where do you Source the Toys
There are all sorts of places to source good wargaming toys from.  Of course, the Internet is the easiest answer but only if you know exactly what you want and need.  Most of my wargaming toys come from the dollar store, goodwill, or garage sales.  On rare occasions I will get them from actual chain stores when I am wandering through.  Whenever I go, I find myself strolling the toy aisles and glancing at what is available. 
Tomorrow's War

Making Them Ready for the Tabletop
This can be the easiest or hardest part, depending on what you have managed to find and what the purpose is.  In many cases, the models are ready for the table immediately.  In others you need to at least hit them with a wash, others require a quick re-paint, and in the most extreme case you will have to strip them and start from scratch.  Terrain pieces tend to need the most work, as you want to hide its original purpose as a toy.

Most toys are made of soft plastic or die-cast.  These can be striped with the conventional methods, but soft plastic can melt from heavy duty striping agents.  In some cases, it might just be better to paint over existing colors. 

Aeronautica Imperialis


Conclusion
Toys are a great resource for finding budget friendly alternatives for terrain and models.  They can be acquired cheaply and sourced relatively easily.  Even a budget conscious/strapped gamer can make use of them with minimal fuss. 

Now, you have a reason to go garage saling with your Mom.    

Rampant Stars