Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Total CARnage: Battle Report- Thanksgiving Massacre!

Over Thanksgiving break, I spent time with my family.  I am sure this is not unusual for most of my gentle readers.  My daughter asked if we could play Total CARnage.  Thankfully, my in-laws still had a box full of old toy cars and a bunch of wooden blocks. 

My daughter and the other young ones quickly picked cars and set-up a board.  I set-up the gangs and we gave each of the cars silly names.  I then explained the rules and we got playing.  I didn’t expect much, just a game or two and then off to other things.  We had several video game rigs (including VR) and a number of board games.  Why would we want to play Total CARnage for very long. 

I was in for a surprise.  The kids couldn’t get enough of it!  We probably played for about two hours the first day, and as soon as I woke up the next day they were asking to play more!  We probably played another three hours.  I guess they liked it.  Even some of the adults rotated in.  I know what I am going to do for the kids Christmas presents this year, a box of Hot Wheels cars, some pennies and a quarter, and a print-out of the Total CARnage rules PDF. 

I didn’t get a chance to get many pictures, but here are a few below.  Notice the festive table covering to verify it must be Thanksgiving!  We played several sceanrios including Kill’em All, Get the MacGuffin, Convoy, and Race to the Finish.  

Some of the car names included: 
  • Deathtrap
  • Coffinmaker (Which we kept calling Coffeemaker as a joke)
  • Duece
  • Dragonhood (Which we called Dragon Bonnet as a joke) 
  • Moneymaker
  • Turbo
  • Speedline
  • Barbie Basher (It was a neon pink car) 

There were some innovative tactics too.  The kids would try to shoot blocks to get them to fall on rival cars, ram cars into other obstacles for extra damage, and once someone hit a ramp and jumped on top of the other car and immobilized them.  It was pretty insane.  

My daughter recommend I make a similar game, but for Green Army Men before Christmas.  I think I have been given a challenge! Stay tuned. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Wargame Design: New Title: Turf War

The astute reader of this blog will have noticed that the number of Free Wargames has grown on this page!  When I first started there were 6 games available for free there.  That selection has grown a lot in the past year and a half.  It is now a whopping 11.  Not bad productivity for 18 months or so. 

The newest addition to the Blood and Spectacles fold is Turf War a game of 1930’s Gangster battles.  I like this game since it is a skirmish game that allows for campaign play and RPG-lite style scenarios.  It uses the Combat Pool system for combat found in The Games: Blood and Spectacleand Tournament Pageantry and Pain.  However, it also uses pools for other non-combat actions such as smooth-talking, safe-cracking, and other RPG-lite options.  Not everything has to be solved by a flurry of Tommy Gun fire…. but it can be.   

In addition to the Core mechanics of everyday gang warfare Turf War also has a strong campaign system built on the model of some of my favorites such as Necromunda, Strange Aeons, and TheGames: Blood and Spectacle.  Lowly gangsters can gain experience to earn skills, get injured, or improve their abilities.  In addition, the game uses a Turf bidding system prior to games to represent the give and take of territory based on the results of a game.  Resources for your gang are managed such as Reputation, Take, Turf, and Favors.  In addition, the Boss has to manage the recruitment and retention of his gang too.  The game also uses a Most Wanted rating to gauge relative gang strength that allows for catch-up mechanics for those just entering an existing campaign or who have had a run of bad luck. 

Overall, I wanted the game itself to force decisions making, and reward good gameplay.  Sometimes, campaign games focus too much on the campaign and bolt the gameplay on as a secondary concern.  That is not the case with Turf War.  I wanted the game to be full of decisions.  The theme of Turf War is to try and force decision making on a risk vs. reward continuum.  This is primarily accomplished through resource management of dice pools for combat, non-combat, and even activation.  Combat Pool is bid and used to attack and defend, but it will not be replenished until the following turn.  Therefore, as the player you have to decide when is the right time to use it, and how much of it. 

Activation is also a push your luck system as a model can only do one thing per activation such as move, shoot, perform and action, etc. You can risk trying to chain activations together as well.  I used a similar activation system in Combat! Starring Vic Morrow as well.  Failure to activate multiple times risks losing the initiative and allowing your opponent to start activating.  Therefore, additional activations are another risk vs. reward decision point.

The biggest sticking point in completing these rules was coming up with interesting Scored (scenarios) to play.  In the end, I used some “generic” wargames style scenario with some added period flavor.  Inspiration came from StrangeAeons, Mad Dogs with Guns, Pulp Alley, Rogue Trader, and Rogue StarsHowever, there is room to combine or modify the scenarios in the rules and adding more RPG-lite elements is strongly encouraged.

To help kick-off the game, I of course made some paper templates that you can use to get your gangs started.  I also put together a couple of gangs for playtesting.  These should give you a good quick start into games.  They can be found Here on the Messageboard.  

Of course, I have also started picking up a few gangsters here and there to paint.  You probably recognize these Pulp Alley figures from the Painting Desk.  Well, I have one doen to get a start on one of my gangs! 


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Random: Aeronautica Imperialis- Tree Campaign

In my last post I talked a bit about what is on the painting desk.  I also opined about how I dislike painting as it is my least favorite part of the hobby.  That hasn’t changed.  However, painting does get my thinking about how I plan to use the models and excited to play again.  This is what I have been working on first, the Varingyr aircraft. 

You can find the rules for these aircraft in the Airspace Rules Compilation.  As I was reviewing the rules for the Warlord Super-Heavy Airship and the Strike Eagle ground support fighter it got the wheels turning.  I think I could string together a few games into a mini-campaign? 
For those familiar with the Blood and Irongard campaign you know that the Varingyr(Squats) have a rich history and a developed setting in the Galactic Core.  I admit, I haven’t kept up to date on the “Dark Imperium” setting of 8th edition so I have no idea if the Galactic Core even still exists or was replaced by a warp storm or some such.  However, in the Blood and Irongard campaign we are introduced to the Belt of Varin, a section of the Core that was once home to the Varingyr empire.  However, they fell victim to Imperial aggression and then Genestealer Infestation which led to civil war and destruction on a society shattering scale. 
Since those dark days, the Varingyr that remain have been slowly trying to re-build and recover their lost Strongholds.  The enemies were Tyranids beasts, Ork marauders, and even human Rogue Traders.  However, the worst enemy of all was the Genestealer Infected Varingyr held sway by the Ancestor’s Curse.  The idea of reclaiming a lost Stronghold held interesting possibilities for a campaign.

After per using the mission ideas in the Airspace Rules Compilation I started to sketch out a branching campaign.  In this Campaing, the Varingyr have located a former Minehead that has been overrun by Orks.  However, you could also use Rogue Traders, Tyranids, or other opponents.  Naturally, the Varingyr want to reclaim their homeland and launch an attack.  The campaign will determine the success of failure of their forces in reclaiming the Minehead from their foes.  There is still plenty of room for me to fluff the background out if I wish, or leave the basic skeleton in place. 
Of course, this campaign is designed to allow me to use my Varingyr aircraft from the humble Iron Eagle to the mighty Warlord Airship.  Feel free to play through it yourself.  The Missions and unit profiles are in the Airspace Rules Compilation and the Cleansing of Grex Silex books.

Oh, by the way I got those Varingyr aircraft models painted up too.  Finishing them inspired me to start putting a campaign together to use them in. 


Monday, November 6, 2017

Random: On The Painting Desk

On this blog I rarely talk about the painting or modeling side of things.  Of all the aspects of wargaming it is one of my least favorite aspects.  Clearly, it is not imperative to me as I am more than willing to use Paper Templates to play a game.  However, I am also attracted to the spectacle of wargaming and prefer to have actual painted models when I can.  Sadly, for that to happen that means I have to paint them.  I am no great shakes at painting and do not really enjoy it.   

Recently, I re-read my Goals for 2017 and the progress I had made on them up to July.  I have been making good progress on my playing and designing goals.  The main things that had been holding me back on my 2017 goals were the painting side of things.  With only two months left of the season, I had better get cracking on with some painting if I wanted to improve from July!

Suitably motivated, I went online and finally ordered those Victrix Limited Greeks I was going to need for Men of Bronze.  I ordered enough models, bases, and transfers for 1 Spartan army, 1 Corinthian army, and 1 Macedonian army.  I told myself that had been one of my 2017 Goals, so I was helping get me closer to finishing them!  The second reason I had to act now is that I needed to get 30 digital photos of Greek Hoplite miniatures to Osprey prior to May 2018 for my deadline

With that out of the way, I decided to head into the old Game Cave and find some of those projects that I still needed to paint.  Many people have a dedicated painting area where they keep all of their projects to work on.  I do not do that.  Instead, I keep everything stored and packed away.  I only pull it out when I actually intend to paint something, and when I am done I tend to pack it all away.  Thanks to this approach, I do not have many “On The Painting Desk” type moments.  This is very different from how I handle wargames, as I will get them all set-up and leave them set-up to play until I play the game, and then switch out the table for the next game I intend to play.  That is why the Messageboard has threads dedicated to what is ‘on the table” to play, but not to paint. 

So, here is what I pulled up out of the gaming area and set-up to work on this weekend,  we will see if any of it even has a brush applied to it before it ends up packed back away. 

First up we have a Spartan Games Prussian air ship.  The actual name escapes me, but it is a big one.  I will be using this for games of AeronauticaImperialis as a Varingyr Warlord Super-heavy aircraft.  You can also see four Steel Crown Valkyrie Gunships that I will also be using for Aeronautica Imperialis as Varingyr Iron Eagles with ground attack weapons.  I have painted a usable force of Varingyr using Steel Crown models, and you can see them in a number of Battle Reports on the blog.  This will just fully round the force out.  Sadly, I think Spartan Games and Steel Crown are now defunct. 

Next up, I have some Mobile Artillery Steam Tanks for All Quiet on the Martian Front.  As you can see, these still require some assembly of the metal parts.  I will need to go get some super glue for this project.  I look forward to adding them to my Minnesota Volunteer Army to help push back the Red Menace in the Minnesota River Valley campaign.  I have had these since the end of last year and I assembled the plastic parts of the kit early, I did was put off by the metal components.

Lastly, I have a few models for Turf War.  These are models I picked up when I ordered Pulp Alley.  I think they are called DA Thompson and the Red Queen, but I am not 100%.  Either way, they looked like they would be great models to get my gangsters started for games of Turf War.  I figured I could also use them in Strange Aeons, Pulp Alley, or Mad Dogs with Guns pretty easily.  That will make them nice versatile models once I get them painted up.

That is what I have on my desk for the weekend.  Typically, I tend to have more than one painting or converting project going at once so as one dries I can rotate to the others.  I normally only have a scant few minutes to paint so I try to maximize any time I can sit down and get to work.  I am hoping I can lavish some attention on these models and show some results soon.