Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Random: Da Deff Island Skirmish

The ongoing Photobucket Saga has left me with some good and bad news.  The Bad news is some of my pictures for Jugs: A Game of Big Stompy Robots, The Games: Blood and Spectacles, and All Quiet on the Martian Front games appear to be non-recoverable due to the way Photobucket has divided some pictures into Recent Uploads and Library.  I can download my Library, which I have done.  However, I can not seem to download any pictures stuck in the Recent Uploads bucket.  The funny thing is these pictures are in no way "recent" unless you have a really bizarre definition of recent.

However, on the plus side I have recovered some old photos of my family, old games, and projects that I only dimly recall.  This walk down memory lane has prompted me to post some of these old photos.  Sadly, I don't recall anything that was happening in the games so these will not be my "Traditional" style battle reports, but I think they can still be fun.

First up is a game that my daughter and I played a lot about 7 years ago.  It is basically a re-skin of Gorkamorka.  However, instead of being set in the dessert, it was set on a world mostly composed of water.  I think it was called Da Deff Island Skirmish and it was set in the Battle for Ammoris campaign system from the Ammobunker forum.  The game had ork gangs of scavengers fighting with human criminals and pirates for scrap in the shallows of the Deff Island chain on the planet Ammoriss.  It is a skirmish campaign game with all the usual stuff like XP, Injury, gang building, etc.

You are probably wondering why there are Flamer templates behind some of the boats.  As they moved, the flamer template represented the wake that they created.  Boats passing through wake had modifiers for shooting and moving.  Here we see Da' Lucky Gitz approaching the Eagle Eye Pirates in the Shallows to do battle.
You can see that the Eagle Eye Pirates are a mix of Necromuunda and DemonBlade models to represent the pirates.  The boats themselves were homemade from cardboard and various found items.  The water matt is simply a blue table cloth with a second different blue coat sponged on. The islands made the same way using a brown and green tablecloth, than cut and layered together.  The whole seascape cost less than $10 and is highly portable.
Here you can see a few key aspects of the game in action.  The first is ramming other boats, the second is boarding other people's boats with your crews, and the third is tossing models into the drink.  They can then swim at reduced speed.

Here is the Eagle Eye pirates attacking a fort of Da' Lucky Gitz in the shallows.  The fort is made out of card and found materials.  To this day I still have not finished painting it up!

Despite being a game about boats and there crews.  You still can make landfall.  Often key pieces of scrap is found on islands or the shoreline and you need to get your boat over to it before your enemies.  

That pretty much covers some of the basics.  The game played well in our campaign, and we got about a half dozen games or so under our belt.  Like all campaign games, sometimes things just don;t go right for one side or the other.  However, there is an "Underdog" metric that can be used to help a flailing team.  Again, it is pretty much just a mod of Gorkamorka so you will want a copy of those rules to fully play Da Deff Island Skirmish.

There are also rules for Planetary Defense Force Troopers in the game as well, found in the Operation: Hemlock booklet.  Those play a bit differently but I have never really had a chance to try them myself.  These were some of my first foray's into game design, so try them out and let me know what you think.  If you like Gorkamorka or Specialist Games in general I think you will like it.      

Monday, July 17, 2017

Aeronautica Imperialis: Battle Report- Recon Sweep the Valley of Ruins

This battle took place as part of a stand-alone mini-camapign in 2015.  It uses custom aircraft and rules that can be found in my Aeronautica Imperialis review here.


Under the employ of Mistress Merciveaux the Cabal of the World Walkers participated in her assault on an Ork-held world in Wilderspace. Her spies indicated that the planet had once been the center of an ancient civilization that had powerful warpcrafters. The Mistress intended to scout the ruins and locate any artifacts of value.

Her flagship, The Scorned Lady; slipped into orbit over the planet. The Orks below were relatively primitive and could not stop her warship. However she did not wish to risk an orbital bombardment as she wished to capture the ancient civilization's artifacts intact. Instead, her sorcerers located likely locations of warp power. She then deployed scouting aircraft to sweep the area and report any warp signatures that were detected. 

Recon Sweep

Cabal of the World Walkers
1 Hell Driver Recon Plane- Hy'wok

1 Hell Blade- Ry'Zor

1 Hell Blade- Spar'Ow

Da' Skrapperz
1 Fighta- Grimtoof

1 Fighta- Drillsnik

1 Fighta- Bomma- Snikgit 

We rolled up 4 potential recon targets. If you get a plane within one altitude and 6 inches you roll to see if they are worth doing further recon. WE placed them in a somewhat straight line in the middle of a shallow valley that was angles slightly off the center line of the table. 

The Cabal entered the board high and fast to represent them coming out of Orbit and racing down towards the planet to complete their missions. The Hell Diver was in the right, with the Hell Blades paired up next to it. 

The Ork defenders were at mid altitude and medium speed. The Fighta-Bomma took the center, while a fighta took each flank. The targets were ancient ruins situated in a valley between a series of altitude 1 and 2 rock outcroppings. 

Turn 1:
Initiative: Orks 

Moving: The chaos planes race forward trying to bleed off altitude so they can actually perform their mission, they don't even vector towards their targets yet. The Orks look like they want this to be a low-level dogfight and drop down a bit and fly over the Valley of the Temples where most of the Recon targets are. 

Shooting: None

Turn 2
Initiative: Orks

Move: Fighta 1 wings-over to stay in the valley and drops down lower confident that he will be safe from the Chaos planes. However, he underestimated their speed and agility as they power dive down and rocket towards him. Hellblade 2 has an angle on him, but his wingman is still too high. 

Caught by surprise by their aggressiveness, the remaining Orks are out of position and broke hard to the left, expecting them to continue to move straight to slow down. The Hell Driver dives low, but its lower speed means it is trailing her escorts considerably. 

Shooting: Hellblade 2 opens fire on Fighta 1, but his shots go high over their mark. Consider it a warning shot! 

Turn 3
Initiative: Chaos 

Moving: The Hell Driver takes a high-G turn towards to cross the Valley of the Ruins. Fighta-Bomma 2 cunningly completes a wing-over to try and chase the recon plane down. However, Hellblade 2 anticipated the move spiraled around to intercept.

Hellblade 1 went after the Fighta-Bomma, but a Half-loop took the Ork plane above his foe and almost made the hunter the hunted. 

Hellblade 2's auto-cannons stitched Ork Fighta 2, but failed to hit anything useful. Instead, a bunch of bolt-on plates and debris fell away from the scrap plane. 

The Hell Driver was just out of short range and an altitude level away. However, a couple loose shells found their mark, but failed to do anything other than scratch-up the paint. 

Turn 4
Initiative: Orks

Fighta 1 and 2 turn to go over the Valley of the Ruins, but they overshoot the action and end up out of position. The Hell Driver breaks hard right after skirting the Pyramids and the final temple in the valley. Neither seem to have any warp signature to speak of. 

The Fighta-Bomma roars over the top of the valley walls and power dives in, its fuselage just cresting the top of the jagged rocks by inches. Despite his impassioned flying, he comes up just out of position on the Chaos Recon plane. The HellBlades circle back into the action, with the aggressive flying of H3llblade 2 letting him line-up another shot, this time on the Fighta-Bomma. Can he make it stick this time?


Per the request of the Ork player, we take a closer look at the attack vector of the Fighta-Bomma, and it is judged to have an angle on the Hell driver after all! 

Despite the close range fusillade of shots, none damage the Hell Driver. Too bad he is too close for Rokits. 

Hellblade 2's firing tone solid, and he opens fire on the Fighta-Bomma, this time causing the Ork craft to blow smoke! However, he only has one burst of ammo left.

Turn 5
Initiative: Orks 

The Orks realized that they could not stop the Hell driver from scanning the last temple, so moved to try and stop it from circling back to the arch ruin by crossing back to the opposite side of the Valley. The Hell Driver completed its can of the final temple and found nothing of interest and broke hard to begin circling back. 

Fighta 12 tried to shake the pursuing Hellblades and broke away fromt eh battle, but Hellblade 2 used his superior handling to easily follow him. 

Orks have no shots. Oh no!

Hellblade 2 uses the last of his ammo, and causes Fighta 2 to blow smoke. Tzeentch works in mysterious ways as Hellblade 2 is out of ammo. Despite some excellent flying he will have to go home empty handed. 

Turn 6
Initiative: Orks

The Orks moved to try and intercept the Hell Driver, but the Chaos craft cut behind them and powered past their trap. Meanwhile, Hellblade 1 cut in and got the interior line on Fighta 1 and the the Fighta-Bomma. 

Hellblade 2 raced away from the battle. His controller gave him permission to break, and then return to the Scorned Lady in orbit. 

Orks have none! Oh no!

Hellblade 1 opens fire on Fighta 1, but only manages to spark his shells across the fuselage. 

Turn 6
Initiative: Chaos

This time the Ork Fightas were able to swing in on the Hell Driver as it raced past the final ruins. Again, no warp energy was detected, so the entire Valley of the Ruins had been a wild goose chase! 

Hellblade 2 was bale to move in behind Fighta 1, and hopefully he would be able to take him out before he could fire on the Recon plane. 

Hellblade 2 prayed to Tzeentch and opened fire. His burst ripped the wing right off Fighta 1 and the plane plummeted into the Valley below taking its pilot with it. Boom! 

Fighta 2 saw his wingman go down just as he fired on the Hell Driver. Most of his shots went wide, but a few managed to harmlessly go through the tail fin. 

Turn 7
Initiative: Ork

The Hell Driver Half-Loop caused the Ork Fightas to break away to the head of the Valley. However, it wasn't far enough as Hellblade 1 managed to cut across and come in perpendicular to the Fighta-Bomma. 
Oh No, the Orks have no shooting!

Hellblade 1 riddles the Ork aircraft, but again nothing seemed to stick. Perhaps the smoke from the damage craft had thrown off the Hellblades firing. 

Turn 8
Initiative: Chaos

The Orks decided to call it a day and tried to disengage. Fighta 1 managed to while being pursued by the Hell Driver. Hellblade 1 tried to chase the Fighta-Bomma but it dived away. 

The grot in the Fighta-Bomma ball turret opened fire on the Hellblade as a parting shot. The Grot was lucky and the Hellblade disintegrated in mid-air and the pilot was killed. 

Turn 9- Disengagement Turn
Initiative: Chaos

Now the game was in doubt, and the Hell driver moved to try and intercept the Fighta-Bomma. However, it wasn't enough and the Ork plane gleefully raced off the board. 


Grumble, grumble, grumble. I won the game, but the victory was marred by a last minute lucky Grot shot. I should have just let the filthy savages go, but I got greedy. 

Anyway, on VP,s it was a narrow victory, but Mistress Merciveaux had learned that eh Valley of Ruins was just that. No valuable warp artifacts would be located there. Perhaps elsewhere on the planet had yielded better results. 

As for the Hell Driver, it did its job just fine. No complaints here. As for the mission, I was disappointed that none of the targets of the Recon Sweep proved to be anything worth using the Glyphs of Scrying on. So, it really was just an elaborate dogfight after all. However, the mission objectives made sure it didn't just devolve into a straight up furball.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Wargame Design: Redline- Car Combat Game in W.I.P.

Car Combat games have been on my mind a lot for the last year or so.  I attribute this mostly to the Delta Vector Blog and their chat group.  They started talking about them late last year, and their discussion really got me to start thinking about the genre.

My last Car Combat Game, Total CARnage, focused on using Dexterity based mechanics for a quick game that anyone could play.  There the vision was to eschew traditional wargaming mechanics and do everything with found materials.  Therefore, it used no dice, rulers or templates.
I enjoyed the design, but I couldn't stop thinking about Car Combat.  Total CARnage came about after playing a few games of Flick'Em Up.  However, my next game came about after playing and reposting battle reports for one of my favorite games; Aeronautica Imperialis.  I began to think about how aircraft games possessed many of the same traits you would want in a Car Combat game.
Here were some things I thought would be essential for a Car Combat game:

  1. Manuever would be critical
  2. Positioning would be a big aspect of the game
  3. Ramming 
  4. Going out of control and crashing
  5. Fast game play
After looking at the old Car Wars, I was turned off by the more simulationists aspects of the game.  That was not the style of game I wanted to play.  I wanted something where the emphasis was on turning and burning and riddling enemy cars with machine gun bullets. 

I turned my attention away from Car Combat games, and instead started to look at other aircraft related games.  They all had a relatively similar basis, but captured the aspects of combat that were needed in Car Combat.  High speeds, maneuver, positioning, and firepower.  I looked at the following games:
  • Aeronautica Imperialis
  • X-wing
  • Check Your 6
  • Bag the Hun
  • Wings of Glory
  • and many, many others.....
Then, I started to put font to electronic page I decided that I wanted my game to accomplish the following things....
  1. Maneuver and position would be the core of the game
    1. Shooting would have limited range 
    2. Shooting would be a limited resource
  2. Speed in game play
  3. Long movement distances (to represent speed)
  4. Simple mechanics

The first draft of Redline was born from these considerations.  It is now at a stage where the core mechanics can be used and tested on the table.  There are still plenty of things to evaluate such as weapon balance, points for building vehicles, if the core mechanics even do what I set out to do, etc.  However, it is at a point where I think I can add it to the Work In Progress section of the blog.  Once the core rules have been balanced and worked out, I will move onto adding scenarios and campaign play to the main rules.  You do not need to wait for those parts to give it a try.  

Feel free to give it a test.  I have added a thread in the Messageboard so you can add your feedback and thoughts.  Enjoy!  

Monday, July 10, 2017

Aeronautica Imperialis- Battle Report: Ship Attack

This battle took place as part of the Curse of the White Wyrm campaign in 2014.  It uses custom aircraft and rules from the campaign that can be found in my Aeronautica Imperialis review here.


The Orks of Arddab Da Obzezzt hit Arbos like a hammer. However, after making landfall, they were relatively quiet. As war torn across Arbos, the Orks went about building up their strength. The Kaptin knew that the beasts of the White Wyrm seemed to be concentrated around St. Abelgard's Island. The best way to get a lot of his boyz over there was to build big boats, so that is what he did.

However, as he began to ferry his troops across the oceans, the Swarm of the White Wyrm descended on the craft, eager to keep them away from their base. 

Ship Attack
Warzone: 4- 

Swarm of the White Wyrm
3 Hags

2 Virago with Synapse Link

2 Harpy with Synapse Link

2 Spined Harridans (Bomber Variants)

Da' Skrapperz
1 Dakkajet- On Your Six
+ Ace

4 Fightas

1 Fighta- Bomma
-Grot Bombs

1 Fighta- Bomma

Destroyer Warship
6 Hits
2 Hydras
1 Manticore

Per the rules, I used a group of Ork warships from my Aquanautica Imperialis fleet to act as the Destroyer. I didn't have a suitably large template, so I spaced the fleet out to cover the same approximate area, and placed one ship for each hit the Destroyer could take. My opponent placed it close to the east edge of the board as close as he could, putting it in the corner. 

Flying cover were a pair of his Fighta-Bommas at mid-range and low speed. Then flanking them was a clump of Fightas at low altitude and mid-speed. Finally, at the center of the board and anchoring the flank was his Ace in the Dakkajet. I knew that guy could be pretty deadly. 

I lined up my Harridans to head straight for the target at high altitude and max speed, a whopping 3! Escorting them were the Virago. The Harpy were behind a screen of Hags, all at mid-altitude and max speed Tyranid speed. 

Turn 1:
Initiative: Tyranids

For the most part, the Tyranids fly forward and maintain course, content to see what the Orks are up to. The Orks begin to shift towards the ships and move to intercept head-to-head. The Dakkajet and 1 wingman fighta go out wide the opposite way. 


Turn 2:
Initiative: Orks

The Main ork force and the Tyranid bombing force looked like they set-up to go head-to-head.

The Hags turned slowly to try and screen the Harpy's from the flanking Dakkajet and Fighta. 

Fighta-Bomma 1 popped their Grot Bombs, but has no other shots due to altitude. Harridan 2 finds that the closest Ork fightas are still just out of range. That means everyone is still out of range since both sides tend to lack long range firepower. 

Turn 3:
Initiative: Orks

A chaotic furball shapes up where the Orks either swooped in or half looped to try and get behind or to the side of the oncoming swarm. Notably, the flanking Ork aircraft swoop in behind the Hag defensive screen, but are put into danger by the Harpy. Fighta-Bomma 2 half-loops into a good position on the Harridan, but they Harridan 1 furiously beats its wings and rises above the Ork craft. Meanwhile, Fighta-bomma 1 swoops in and is swarmed by a Virago and Harridan 2 up close. 

Fighta-bomma 1 is base-too-base with Harridan 2 and desperately opens fire to survive! The short range blast rips into the great beast, and it screams in pain and rage as it begins to weep blood. 3 hits out of 4 down! 

Harpy 2 uses its Venom Cannons on Fighta 4 but misses. In return Fighta 1 opens fire on Harpy 2 and takes it down at mid-range with an accurate burst of fire. First blood to the Orks! Fighta 1's victory is short lived as Harpy 2's venom cannons rip him from the sky, killing the pilot. 

Fighta 3 fires a burst and blasts through the last damage point on Harridan 2 and it tumbles from the sky like a brick. It splashes into the waiting ocean below. That could be a problem for the Nids as 2 of their 4 bombers have been shot down. 

Virago 2 tears Fighta-bomma 1 from the sky with its Talons. The pilot is eviscerated in the attack!

Fighta-Bomma 2 opens fire on Virago 1 but fails to cause any damage. Fighta 4 targets Harpy 1 but fails to damage anything. 

That is all the shooting. Pretty brutal turn overall. 

Turn 4:
Initiative: Tyranids

The Hags try to dive towards the hard deck and head towards the Ork ships. Fighta 4 moves to intercept, but finds himself engage up close by Hag 2, and in the sites of Harpy 1 and Virago 1. Gulp! 

The other Orks move to intercept the Harridan and have a great angle and staggered altitudes. A terrible power dive by the Harridan puts in a terrible position, with Fighta-Bomma 2 in a trailing position. Things look bad for the harridan too. Grot Bomb 1 tries to angle in on it but just overshoots the target and will go off the board harmlessly next turn. 

Hag 3 tears and beats at Fighta 4 causing it to blow smoke and oil, but not enough to bring it down. In return, the Ork opens fire desperate to snag the beast, and blasts its wing apart. Hag 3 plunges from the sky screaming in rage. 

Fighta-Bomma 2 opens fire on the Harridan, but the beast manages to evade them all! How is that possible! 

Virago 1 tears Fighta 2 from the skies and kills the pilot. 

Dakkajet Ace and Fighta 3 fire at mid-range and fail to cause damage on the Harridan as well. 

Harpy 1 fires on Fighta 4 and misses with its Venom Cannons. Virago 1's devourers also miss the Ork plane. 

The Ork Warships open fire on the Harridan and manage to take a point of damage from it! Something all those big shootas failed to do! 

Turn 5:
Initiative: Tyranid

Tailing Fire:
Fighta-Bomma 2 gets Tailing Fire on Harridan 1. This time taking out one more point of damage from the beast.

The Very High maneuverability of the Harridan pays-off as it manages to dodge behind the pursuing Ork aircraft to try and survive long enough to get to the target area. 

The Hags move to strafe the Ork ships, while the harpy closes in on Fighta 4. The Viragos flap around trying to get the bead on the pursuing Ork fightas. 

Harpy 1 manages to snag Fighta 4 with the venom cannons and sends him spiralling down into the ocean below. Another dead Ork pilot! With that, it brings them below half! 

The AA from the ork ships manages to hit the Harridan again! Reducing it to one hit left!

Virago 1 misses Fighta- Bomma 2 with its Devourer. 

Grot Bomb 2 falls harmlessly from the air and into the ocean. 

Turn 6:- Disengagement Turn
Initiative: Orks

The Ork air cover bugs out leaving the Ork ships to weather the Tyranid assault. The Nids all close in on the Ork ships, but the Bombers can't get over them. 

The first AA Hydra opens fire on Hag 3 to try and fight off its Talon attack, but misses. In return, the Hag causes 1 point of damage to the ship with its talons. 

The Next Ork Hydra AA brings down the battered Harridan with a salvo of shots. The big beast crashes into the ocean with a giant splash! 

The final Manticore misses the Harpy. 

Game Over!

The Tyranids failed to sink the Ork ships so this one is going down to the Victory Points.

Orks killed- 48 points worth of Tyranid Critters
Tyranids Killed- 70 Points worth of Ork gear

The first victory for the Tyranids! A narrow victory but a victory none-the-less! 

Now, let's talk about how the Tyranid aircraft performed. As I expected, the Venom Cannons are much better at killing things than the Devourers. 

The Grot Bombs let the Orks pretty much match me in numbers and neutralized some of my swarming tactics for a few turns which was a surprised and allowed my friend to get some good positions on my Harridan bombers. Only a few bad rolls kept the Ork aircraft from downing it earlier. However, if they can't find a target you are giving away free VP. I'm not sure they are a good investment or not. 

The Harridan's slow speed is a liability when you are trying to get to a target defended by AA. It gives the ground defenses plenty of time to hit it as it closes in. However, with four hits they proved to be fairly resilient. Its ability to do Very High maneuvers also allows it to shake enemy fighters in a pinch. 

The Harpy did surprisingly well. Again, the killing power of the venom cannons help it. However, it was pretty fragile to enemy fire. 

Talon attacks again proved to be useful and possible! The only thing I messed up was getting in front of Ork craft for a Talon attack when they had the Initiative. That allowed them to shred the attacking Tyranid at close range. 

Overall, a fun game and an interesting scenario from the first Airspace Campaign; The War Over Zephyrus. I'm glad I finally got a chance to try it out. Plus, it gave me an excuse to bust out those Aquanautica Imperialis models I made a few years back.