Monday, November 26, 2018

Wargame Design: Profiles and Chrome

Through this series, we have been exploring the '”evolution” of a game system from the initial concept, to filling out the 4Ms, to the turn sequence and activation process. The Concept and design parameters are the heart of the game. The 4Ms are the skeleton while the activation process is the muscle and sinew.

Today, we are going to be talking about the next step which is building out the units profiles and then adding the chrome. To extend the the metaphor, Unit Profiles are the nervous system of the game. Meanwhile, the Chrome is all the additional elements that make your game stand-out and give it that special hook, that “little something” that make people really want to play it.

Putting Together the Basic Profile
If you go back and re-read the section on the 4Ms and the Activation process, you will see that the basic unit profile is pretty well sketched out for us. All the building blocks are there as every profile needs to be able to talk through the stat lines to make the 4M's possible. So, let's break down a unit profile for Only the Strong Survive from there first, and then we can talk through filling it out.

Looking back, we can see that movement was going to be based on a movement template process where a Dinosaur can be Slow, Normal, or Fast. Therefore, we all ready know the first step on the unit profile is the Dinosaurs speed. In addition, I want to add a shorter band to the template called engagement range, dinosaurs at or inside this distance can fight. The initial 4M's were unclear on this process.

We also talked about a dice pool that would deplete as it was used. There were three main needs from this dice pool, Attack, Defense, and Reactions. Players could allocate dice into these areas, but once used they were gone until they replenished at some point in the game. Therefore, we will probably need a maximum number to be allocated per turn. That means we have 4 stats for the stat line all ready.

The 4Ms also referenced an Armor value where hits needed to exceed this amount to stick on the dinosaur and reduce its damage track. Therefore, we need two more stats for the Profile, armor and a damage track. Our desired Act/React system was predicated on rolling reaction dice and successes would allow you to react in certain ways. Therefore, we need a reaction chart four our profile as well.

Lastly, we talked about dinosaurs have different attacks in different arcs. After all, a T-rex can not chomp on something behind it. That means we will need to list out some unique attacks and their combat arc at least. Therefore, the basic profile would look something like the following:

  • Dinosaur Type:
  • Speed:
  • Instinct Dice:
  • Attack Max:
  • Defense Max:
  • Reaction Max:
  • Damage Track:
  • Reactions:
  • Attack Types:

The profile was all driven by the needs of the 4Ms. Therefore, without the understanding of your games 4Ms, you would not be able to make the profile. In addition, we verified earlier that the 4Ms we discussed align with our design goals. Good.
Via Wikimedia Commons- Indroda Fossil and Nature Park
Adding Shiny Chrome
Now, before we go further, I want to shift our attention to Chrome. Chrome is essentially that little something special that takes your mechanics from yahtzee to something a little bit more. They are additional decisions or hooks for players and often take the form of special rules or situational items. Only The Strong Survive has places for Chrome built into the core 4Ms, it is now a time for us to think about how to exploit them. First off, let me take a moment to identify the built in locations for some chrome. Then we can talk a bit about how to make chrome work.

I left space for chrome in the rules in three primary areas. Those areas are the Damage Track, Reaction successes, and in the Attacks section of the rules. How did I identify these areas for chrome? Well, the exact outcomes were not clearly determined in the 4Ms. We know a successful target number result on the Reaction die allows a reaction, but what kind of reaction? We know attacks can reduce the Damage track until a Dinosaur is dead but what happens when it is only injured? We talked about an attack doing damage by successes above the Defense and reduced by armor, but different Dinosaurs have different specialized attacks, what are they? As you can see, some gray area around results can allow for space to add Chrome.

So, now that we have identified opportunities for Chrome, let's talk a bit about how chrome should work. Ultimately, Chrome should be a result beyond the the basic mechanics, but still in alignment with the concept of the game. Typically, it does one of the following things:

  1. Provides an attack modification
  2. Allows a defense modification
  3. Perform some special or additional movement
  4. Improves or reduces abilities (In this case Instinct Dice, Armor, Speed, etc.)
  5. Allow some unique interaction with terrain
  6. Allow some special action not normally part of the rules

Now, chrome is a dangerous business. If you are not careful it can lead to If This/Then That rules which lead to confusion rather than interesting game play. Typically, chrome should be a balance of risking something versus a potential greater reward. For example, a special attack might have a higher target number to be successful but when it does potentially inflict more damage. It could provide a different advantage than just straight damage, like a push back or knock down. It is a chance to create a decision point for a player, and is another way to try to build in some Tactical Play. Try to use chrome sparingly and make the same general chrome apply to multiple units. This way you avoid chrome actually breaking your game either unit by unit or entirely.
Via Wikimedia Commons

Building the Allosaurus
One of the mantras I have been spouting off about during this whole series has been to do your research. I know almost nothing about the Allosaurus. As I have mentioned, I am not a paleontologist or scientist. My knowledge of Dinosaurs comes from my younger family members, the internet, and the MST 3k episode of The Beastof Hollow Mountain.

Yeah, so after that inspiring clip I decided to set out to make the stats for the fearsome Allosaurus.

Here are a couple things of note about Allosaurus from my research:
  • They are carnivores and predators
  • They are two-legged theropods
  • They have small frontal arms
  • They have a weaker lower jaw than alligators
  • Probably used their teeth in a hatchet like attack to tear flesh away
  • It is most likely they were lone hunters
  • They had small horns and ridges on their head
  • They may have been scavengers
  • Allosaurus was up to 15 feet tall, lived 28 years, and could run 21 MPH.
  • There is evidence of Stegosaurus and Allosaurus fighting each other!

There you go, now let's compare this to the our basic profile and start to put something together for “Big Al” for Only the Strong Survive.

Name: Allosaurus
Speed: Normal
  • Instinct Pool: 10
  • Attack Max: 8
  • Defense Max: 4
  • Reaction Max: 4
Armor: 1

Damage Track:
  • 4 Boxes for Light- Reaction Max reduced to 3
  • 3 Boxes for Medium- Reduce speed to Slow
  • 2 Boxes for Severe- Reduce armor 1 to 0
  • Dead

1 Success- Dinosaur can pivot as desired on the spot to reposition
2 Success- Dinosaur may choose to push back itself out of engagement range
3 Success- Dinosaur can attempt an immediate Body Block
4 Success- Dinosaur can attempt to make a short move

Bite Attack Front Arc TN: 4+ Special: None
Tail Whip Rear Arc TN: 6+ Special: None
Body Block Front Arc TN: 4+ Special: No damage, Push Back, Knock Down
Hatchet Bite Front Arc TN: 6+ Special: Tearing Attack

Push Back- Target Dinosaur is pushed back slow Distance
Knock Down- Target Dinosaur maybe knocked down if it fails to make any success on a Reaction test
Tearing- Dinosaurs with armor of 1 count as armor 0.

There we have our first Dinosaur combatant! All of that could fit nicely on a small card.

Via Wikimedia Commons- The Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Creating a Stegosaurus
I know even less about a Stegosaurus than I do about the Allosaurs since they weren't in an MST3K! Well, at least that I recall. I do know from my research on Allosaurus that the two were Jurassic time period enemies, so it makes sense to make an opponent for play testing the basic game rules.

So, let's see what we can find out about good old Stegosaurus:
  • Steggie's were herbivores
  • They were not very bright
  • We have no idea why it has plates
  • They were really good at eating low plants and ferns due to having cheeks and swallowing small rocks
  • Its back legs are longer than the front, so it moved slowly
  • It had a very weak bite, weaker than humans!

Now you know, and knowing is half the battle. The plates probably were not armor, but instead used to radiate heat or for display. However, I think they are more fun in this game as armor plates. I get to make the final call for Only the Strong Survive.

Name: Stegosaurus
Speed: Slow
  • Instinct Pool: 8
  • Attack Max: 6
  • Defense Max: 6
  • Reaction Max: 3
Armor: 3

Damage Track:
  • 4 Boxes for Light- Reduce armor 1 from 3 to 2
  • 2 Boxes for Medium- Instinct Pool is reduced by 1 to 7
  • 2 Box for Severe- Attack Max is reduced by 1 to 5
  • Dead

1 Success- Dinosaur can pivot as desired on the spot to reposition
2 Success- Dinosaur may choose to push back itself out of engagement range
3 Success- Dinosaur can attempt an immediate Body Block

Tail Whip Rear Arc TN: 4+ Special: Pierce
Body Block Front Arc TN: 4+ Special: No damage, Push Back, Knock Down
Tail Sweep Rear Arc TN: 6+ Special: Knock Down

Push Back- Target Dinosaur is pushed back slow Distance
Knock Down- Target Dinosaur maybe knocked down if it fails to make any success on a Reaction test
Pierce- Any Attack rolls of 6+ cause 2 damage instead of 1

There you go. We know have some combatants to play around with.

You can see how the previous work we did at each stage built on each point to allow us to build profiles for our units quickly and easily. However, once you have some profiles created, the real work is just beginning. Now, you have to start actually hitting the table and seeing how the units interact with each other in different combinations over and over again. This process will let you see where your basic model works, what chrome is too powerful, and other small items you will have to go back and tweak a bit. At this stage, you are looking for big time game breakers and flaws more than intimate balance.

The big rocks of the game are now done if you want a playable one-off game. Time to start getting some of this stuff written down someplace! The only elements left for a complete game are what I like to call the Value-Adds. We will discuss those in the next installment.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Blood Bowl: Princess Owayanna Tournament Report- Dwarfs vs. Chaos

Lord Summervale: Welcome Blood Bowl fans and devout followers of Nuffle! This is Cabalvision IV's coverage of the semi-final match in the Princess Owayana Bottled Healing Spring Waters Touranment. Today we have a classic match-up between the Dwarf Rock-N-Rollerz and the Chaos Goat Herders.

The Dwarf Rock-N-Rollerz beat the experienced GridironGravedigggers, another Chaos Team, to advance in the play-offs. Meanwhile, the Chaos Goat Herderz dismantled the Skaven Cheez-Ballerz to advance to this round of the tournament.

Mad Johan: Rock-N-Rollers team captain Harry Harryson agrees. I got a chance to sit down with him and talk about today's game.....

Harry Harryson: Stupid, filthy scum. That said, you have to be wary of scum. It can stick to your boots and make you slip on the astro-granite.

Lord Summervale: Well, it sounds like he didn't have much nice to say about his opponents.

Mad Johan: Even though both of these teams are new to the Deep North League- Southern Regional Conference they have some sort of rivalry going. Winston Azhander, the lead blocker for the Goat Herders also shared some thoughts with me.....

Winston Azhander: …. kill, maim, crush. Kill, maim, crush.... I'm sorry. Did you ask me something?

Lord Summervale: Well, it sounds like he understands the fundamentals of Blood Bowl to me.

Mad Johan: Azhander was a one man wrecking crew along with the beastman Murder against the Cheez-Ballerz. It will be interesting to see if he and his team mates can keep it up against a much tougher Dwarf team.

Lord Summervale: Well, Asquith Kneecapper the Goat Herder captain has gone to the center of the pitch, as has Harry Harryson. They have exchanged the customary pre-game handshake, after the grot ref bent over to act as a stool for the dwarf. It looks like the Goat Herders have won the toss, and they have elected to get the ball first.

Mad Johan: As the two teams take the field, Strom Rocksmelter was questionable for this game, but he is in for the Rock-N-Rollers.

Lord Summervale: The beastman Murder is in the Goat Herders back field ready to receive the ball. Boom! There is the kick! As the ball is in the air, the Dwarf team quickly re-sets their formation. It looks like they are going to make a play on the near side.

Mad Johan: It looks like a planned maneuver as the kick is short on the near side, giving the Dwarves a chance to get there quick.

Lord Summervale: Murder retrieves the ball and the Chaos team quickly makes a cage of runners around him to protect him. At the line, the Chosen have begun to push the Dwarfs back.

Mad Johan: Led by Crazy Ivan the Dwarfs go to work starting to dismantle the cage.

Lord Summervale: Gore is able to sprint ahead and open a lane by taking out Roz Shaft, the Dwarf Blitzer. Murder has ducked around and looks like he might have found a gap in the Dwarf line play.

The Dwarf team tries to close the gap, but the Goat Herders are not making it easy. However, the gap seems to be closing.

Mad Johan: A nice block by Crazy Ivan allows Ferro Ironbreaker to smack down Murder and send the ball loose!

Lord Summervale: There is a mad scrum for the ball, and somehow the beastman Arson bounce out of the pile-up with it and circles around to open field.

Mad Johan: Brisbane Skullthumper lays a powerful block up field to try and clear a lane for Arson.

Lord Summervale: Mad Oleg managed to lay a hand on Arson, but it isn't enough to bring the Beastman down.

Mad Johan: Grafitti lays Mad Oleg out for his trouble!

Lord Summervale: I'm not sure what exactly happened, but Asquith Kneecapper goes down and out on the far side of the field. That leaves a couple of Dwarf Blockers undefended. They have a beeline on Arson the ball carrier.

Strom Rocksmelter and Drago Earthenwall pound Arson into the dirt and the ball pops-up. However, Brisbane Skullthumper brings it down in his hands! He manages to dodge away from three Dwarf defenders and barrel his way into the end zone for a touchdown!

Mad Johan: I thought the Rock-N-Rollers had this one handled. I guess I was wrong!

Lord Summervale: The Rock-N-Rollers don't have much time on the clock, but look like they are going to the near side. Both runners are in and ready to receive the kick. Boom!

Mad Johan: Oh no, the Dwarf fans look particularly unhappy with how the game is going. They have surged over the fences and are heading straight for the two teams! The chaos fans are happily jumping in and joining them!

Lord Summervale: The pitch is flooded by fans and players alike all hitting, scratching, kicking, and biting. Things are completely out of hand here in the Chaos Wastes. We are going to cut to commercial until this mess gets cleaned up!

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

Lord Summervale: Thanks for rejoining us here in the Chaos Wastes. The fans of the Rock-N-Rollers and the Chaos Goat Herders just stormed the field. It took about 30 minutes to get it all cleared up, and the game is back on.

Mad Johan: This looks like the Rock-N-Rollers chance since most of the Chaos team is down! Will there be enough time to score?

Lord Summervale: Harry Harryson picks up the ball and crosses the line of scrimmage. However, he ssems to get tripped up on debris on the field from the pitch invasion and tumbles to the ground, with the ball going loose.

Harry Harryson picks himself up. A block from Ferro Ironbreaker spring shim and he makes for the end zone. However, he runs far short as time runs out for the first half.

Mad Johan: This game has been hard hitting so far. I thought the Rock-N-Rollers had them all bottled up, but it just goes to show that fortuen sometimes carries the day.

Lord Summervale: It's not over yet Johan. The second half the Rock-N-Rollers start with the ball.

Now, I will send you back to the Cabalvision IV studio for an update on what is going on around the Olde World. Remeber, today's coverage is brought to you by Guillotine Razors, head and maybe shoulders above the rest.

** ** ** ** **

Lord Summervale: Welcome back to the scond half of the semi-final Princess Owayana Healing Spring Bottled Water Tournament between the Dwarf Roc-N-Rollers and the Chaos Goat Herders here in the Chaos Wastes. So far, the Goat Herders are up by 1, but the Rock-N-Rollers will start the half with the ball.

Mad Johan: Again, the Dwarf team is going with both runners on the field and Drago Earthenwall in reserve.

Lord Summervale: The Goat Herders are also going with a different formation and have put their Chosen out wide, and letting the beastmen man the line.

Boom! There goes the kick. It looks like another short kick to the far side of the field. It lands in front of Ferro Ironbreaker. The Dwarf line starts pushing on the Chaos team and forces them back from scrimmage. The Dwarf offense looks to be focusing on the far side.

Mad Johan: The two lines are just pounding on each other, and it doesn't look like the Dwarfs are making much headway!

Lord Summervale: Some tough blocking up front has allowed the two Runners through the gap.

Mad Johan: A hard hit at the line by Igneous sends Payne the beastman to the Dug-out.

Lord Summervale: Gore lowers his horns and knocks the ball away from Harry Harryson. It is a loose ball on the Chaos side of the field. However, Murder runs up and manages to recover it and dodge away from Papa Kasr.

Mad Johan: In the scrum at the line, Arson sends Alexi Bridgekeeper off to the dug-out. Line play has been the key to this game so far.

Lord Summervale: Murder looks like he is going to swing around the near side, but Igneous Stonebreaker has some other ideas and puts the hit on the Beastman runner. The ball again flies loose! In the scrum for the ball, it looks like the Roc-N-Rollers may have recovered.

Mad Johan: It is too early to tell.

Lord Summervale: You are right as the ball is still bouncing around between players like a cat with it's tail on fire!

Mad Johan: Pow! A huge hit by Mad Oleg sends Asquith Kneecapper off to the apothecary! He is going to feel that in the morning! That is going on my tournament highlight reel!

Lord Summervale: Harry Harryson somehow ends up with the ball and trudges towards the end zone. However, he is blitzed from behind by Murder and sent sprawling. The ball comes loose again, but a second Beastman fails to recover it. This time it is even deeper in Chaos territory.

Mad Johan: I can't help but think it is now or never for the Rock-N-Rollers.

Lord Summervale: Papa Kasr gets the ball and is supported by several of his team mates as they go against two defenders. The Goal line is very close.

Mad Johan: Oh no, Mad Oleg in his frenzied state completely misses his block and goes down!

Lord Summervale: Malice dodges away from Harry Harryson, and lays a powerful block on Papa Kasr and sends the ball loose once more! Murder flattens Igneous Rocksplitter and sends him to the dug-out.

Mad Johan: It has all gone pear-shaped for the Rock-N-Rollers!

Lord Summervale: With that phenomenal goal line stand, the Chaos Goat Herders beat the Dwarf Rock-N-Rollers as the half comes to an end. What a disheartening loss for the Dwarf team! They were so close to tying it up.

Mad Johan: It just goes to show how every play counts. If Mad Oleg would not have missed his assignment, we would be going to overtime right now.

Lord Summervale: Indeed! Our sideline grot is reporting in on the condition of Asquith Kneecapper, the Chaos Goat Herders team capatin who left the game with an injury late in the second half. Sounds like he was badly hurt, but the chaos sorcerers claim he will be back in time for the finals!

Mad Johan: I am sure the Goat Herder fans are glad to hear that! Meanwhile, let's talk about the Roc-N-Roller MVPs for this game. Sure, they lost but it wasn't for a lack of effort. I think you have to look at Igneous Stonebreaker for being involved in many of the Swarf key plays, Ferro Ironbreaker for some big hits, and Mad Oleg who was critical in the last derive, even if he ended up blowing the game. Despite the disappointing finish, I am choosing Mad Oleg. He had a good game with only one bad play.

Lord Summervale: I believe he was also the MVP in the qualifying round against the Gridiron Gravediggers.

Mad Johan: Sounds like he is on his way to be a star of the Blood Bowl pitch.... if he doesn't get himself killed first.

Lord Summervale: How about on the Chaos side of the ball today?

Mad Johan: Good question. The Rock-N-Rollers did a good job containing Winston Azhander today, but I have to nominate Brisbane Skullthumper for a surprisingly acrobatic touchdown, Murder the Beastman for his sure hands, and Arson who had some impressive ball handling skills. However, I am going with Murder again this game. He was a key part of this win!

Lord Summervale: That leaves the Skaven Rat Packers to go head-to-head against the Chaos Goat Herders in the championship match in the Princess Owayana Healing Spring Bottled Water Tournament. I look forward to seeing you there Johan, as well as all of you at home!

That wraps up today's Cabalvision IV coverage of the Deep North Legion- Southern Regional conference during the Princess Owayana tournament. Remember, Princess Owayana Healing Spring Bottled Water; it cures what ails ya.

This is Lord Summervale and mad Johan signing off!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Blood Bowl: Princess Owayanna Tournament Report- Humans vs. Skaven

Lord Summervale: Welcome Ladies, Gentleman, and other assorted gribblies to Cabalvision IV's coverage of the semi-final match-up in the Princess Owayanna Bottled Healing Spring Waters Tournament. Today is a semi-final battle between the Human Nottingham Nobles and the Skaven Rat Packers.

The Nottingham Nobles are coming off a convincing win againstthe Khemri Forever Jackals led by their team captain, Rick Priestley. Meanwhile, Da' Rat Packers and their high-powered triple Gutter Runner offense defeatedthe Ork Skulsmash Reeverz in a close run match.

Today, I am joined by my colleague Mad Johan. Mad Johan, what do you think the keys are for today's match-up?

Mad Johan: Both of these teams have demonstrated their will to win and the ability to score touch downs. It is going to come down to who can put the most points on the board. For the Nobles, look for the key connection between Rick Priestley and Gav Thorpe. Meanwhile, on the Rat Packer side of the ball Favre Da Cheese-monger is going to be looking to Sneaky as his go-to receiver down the field. Both teams can score early and often.

Lord Summervale: Da' Rat Packers only Blitzer Bashy is out with a broken arm. How do you think this will impact the game?

Mad Johan: Da Rat Packers relied on Bashy to lead the effort to make a hole in the opposing sides line. With him out, it will be tougher for the Gutter-Runners to break out into the back field of the Nobles.

I went to talk with Jervis Johnson, or as I like to call him J.J.; about the Noble's strategy for the game. Here is what he had to say....

Jervis Johnson: We always had a bit of the physical edge against these guys, but so did the Skulsmash Reeverz, and they ended up losing. You can't just rely on your strength, you need to neutralize their threats early...

Mad Johan: … Of course, he is exactly right. The key will be if they can hit and take out those Gutter-Runners before they can become a nuisance. You know what I say, if half the enemy team is in the dug-out it will hard for them to score points. J.J. Also had this to say about his team captain....

Jervis Johnson: …. these Skaven teams can get into the back field and harass your thrower pretty quickly if you aren't careful. However, I have been teaching Rick a few things and I think they will find him a bit tougher to take down than they expect....

Mad Johan: …. my sources tell me that Priestley has been training hard with the Blitzers coach to get tougher.

Lord Summervale: So, it sounds like you think the Nobles might have the edge?

Mad Johan: Well, talking about taking out Gutter-runners is a lot easier than actually taking them out. I talked to Sneaky about their high-powered offense and he had these comments.....

Sneaky: <Squeak, squeak, Sqeeeeeeeak, Squeak.>

Lord Summervale: Wow. He sounds pretty confident to call out the Nobles defenders like that.

Mad Johan: Indeed, Favre and his team seem to think the difference will be in dodging past opposing lineman and blockers and then using speed to rocket into the back field. That has worked well for them in the past.... but this isn't the qualifiers anymore. There is a lot more at stake.

Lord Summervale: Indeed. The two captains have gone to the center of the beautiful Citadel arena for the coin toss. Favre and Da Rat Packers have won the toss and are electing to receive the kick-off first.

Mad Johan: They used this strategy last game against the Orks, and it paid off with an early score. That left the Orks on the back foot the rest of the match.

Lord Summervale: With that, both teams take their positions and get ready to play some Blood Bowl!

Rick Priestley is in the dug-out, while Andy chamber tries to pin the Skaven deep in the backfield with a solid kick. Favre goes over and retrieve it. The Rat Packers had stacked the line while the Nobles tried to defend in depth.

Mad Johan: A big hit by Pincher leads the way as the Rat Packers blast through the line of scrimmage and penetrate into the secondary.

Lord Summervale: Jervis Johnson moves up to fill the gap along with Andy Chambers.

Mad Johan: It's not enough as Nipper puts a punishing hit on J.J.!

Lord Summervale: Right, and Pak has done the same on the near side. Oh no, Sneaky and Squeaky, two Gutter Runners have gotten into the Nobles back field. However, a big mid-field collision sends Fodder off the field K.O.ed.

Mad Johan: Mat Ward the Blitzer sees his chance to off a Gutter-runner and takes it. It pummels him into the ground, but fails to take Squeaky out of the game.

Lord Summervale: Krunch! Another big mid-field collision sends Andy Chambers tot eh dug-out knocked-out.

Favre and Pak work together and send Paul Sawyer to the ground. This opens up a lane. Sneaky puts on some moves and dodges away from and around Mat Ward. Favre dumps him the ball, and the Gutter Runner turns up field and turns on the speed.

Mad Johan: Those were some amazing moves by Sneaky. Just like I said, Favre was looking to dump it to him for a scoring connection and they did.

Lord Summervale: Da Rat Packers Touchdown!

Despite being down by one, as Rick Priestley takes the field, the crowd here at Citadel Field are starting to chant.

Mad Johan: As a player, that is such a great feeling!

Lord Summervale: Boom! There is a short kick. Rick Priestley retrieves the ball just behind the line. The Nobles linemen go to work. A big hit up front by Adrian Wood lets Gav Thorpe into the flat.

Mad Johan: I am guessing that is where Priestley will look to throw.

Lord Summervale: Favre moves up and hits the lead blocker for Thorpe out of the way with Squeaky's help. The rest of the Gutter-runners move up to contain him.

Mad Johan: Another big collision on the far side of the field sends Nigle Stillman to the Dug-out! I expected a more finesse game than we have seen so far!

Lord Summervale: Indeed! Jervis Johnson puts a big hit on Favre the Cheesemonger and clears a path. Rick dumps a pass to his outlet receiver Alessio Cavatorre who takes the ball up the middle. It doesn't look like anyone can stop him!

Mad Johan: Not so fast, Squish-Squish is coming streaking from an uncovered position, but Cavatorre manages to stiff arm him away!

Lord Summervale: Alessio dodges away and goes in for the score! That means we are all tied up!

Mad Johan: Wow, I knew this was going to be a high scoring game, but this looks like it is going to be a shoot-out!

Lord Summervale: It looks like the Nobles plan on flooding the line of scrimmage to get penetration and come off the edges. The Skaven are still short handed as one of their lineman is still unconscious. They are going with a weak near side set-up.

Boom! Another strong kick by Chambers puts the ball in the near side corner by the end zone. That is going to be tough for the Skaven.

Mad Johan: Don't under-estimate their speed.

Lord Summervale: The Skaven try to push back the far side and are making progress, but a mis-step by Nipper sends him to the dug-out! Mat Ward comes up the weak near side and takes shot at Squeaky who manages to stumble away from the block.

Favre is drifting to the far side, as Sneaky tries to get around the near side edge, and Pokey gets set-up to try to break across the line of scrimmage. The Nobles are sensing blood and moving in for a sack.

Mad Johan: J.J. Snakes through the line and manages to come to grips with the Gutter Runner Pokey and send him to the turf!

Lord Summervale: Time is running short for the first half, but Favre has run across mid-field. Pokey was sprung by a strong block from Bucktooth on Jervis Johnson. They are both streaking down field. Favre tries to dump it to the Gutter-Runner, but he fumbles it!

Mad Johan: Rick sees his chance and zones in on Pokey and sends him to the dug-out with a K.O.! What a big hit by the Noble's team captain!

Lord Summervale: Mat Ward takes a shot at Squeaky again, but fails to connect in a meaningful way.
There is the half time buzzer! The score is tied 1-1. This is still anyone's game! Now, enjoy a few words from our sponsors as we send you back to the Cabalvision IV halftime report!

** ** ** ** **

Lord Summervale: Welcome back. Now you have all the updates from around the Olde World. This is the second half of the semi-final match-up in the Princess Owayanna Bottled Healing Spring Water tournament. The Nottingham Nobles are tied with the Skaven Rat Packers 1 to 1.

Mad Johan: Right now, Favre is probably questioning his coin toss choices now as they are kicking to the Nobles to start the second half. Let's see if the short handed Skaven defense can stop the rampaging Noble line.

Lord Summervale: Indeed! It looks like the Nobles are skipping the subtlety and just plan on using a Human wall to smash the smaller Skaven out of the way. Team Captain Rick Preistley is back to receive the kick-off, flanked by his two catchers.

The fans get a bit rowdy up in the stands. Skaven and Human fans are known to not like each other, but this is taking it to another level! It looks like the clock is running as the teams cheer their fans on for a change. Eventually Ogre security steps in and restores order.

Mad Johan: A few fans are going to regret their choices tomorrow!

Lord Summervale: Boom! The kick is up! Priestley goes and retrieves the ball on the near side. The Human line starts pushing their way past the Skaven. On the far side, Jervis Johnson blasts Nipper off the field and into the dug-out, opening up a lane.

Mad Johan: Space McQuirk follows J.J.'s lead and sends his rat to the dug-out too! The Rat Packers won't have much of a defense left!

Lord Summervale: The Nobles let Jervis Johnson lead their drive as he knocks Favre out of the way. He is followed by Gav Thorpe in the flat. Rick steps up in the pocket to throw, but he fumbles the ball instead.

Mad Johan: That was odd, but it looks like the Skaven are in no position to recover it.

Lord Summervale: Oh? Sneaky dodges around the line and manages to scoop it up! His fellow Gutter-runner Squeaky manages to follow and break out. Sneaky dumps the ball to him, and they try to stretch the Nobles back field.

Mad Johan: That is why you need to take those Gutter-runners out of the game early!

Lord Summervale: Squeaky did not run far enough as Rick Priestley manages to chase him down and knock him over. The ball pops loose again! Gav Thorpe drops back and scoops it up.

Mad Johan: A big collision at mid-field causes Paul Sawyer to leave the game unconscious.

Lord Summervale: Bucktooth dashes ahead and smashes Gav to the turf. The ball again is loose. This time, Sneaky dodges over to the ball and scoops it up. Sneaky breaks away from Rick and stumbles into the end zone. Sneaky tosses it to Squeaky for a touchdown.

Mad Johan: Favre better look out or Sneaky is going to be taking his job!

Lord Summervale: The Human fans fell silent after that Skaven touchdown. I don't think they expected that to happen!

Mad Johan: It all stemmed from a bumbled pass by Rick behind his own line of scrimmage. Tough break.

Lord Summervale: As both sides line up for the kick, the fans are starting to get unruly again. This time, it doesn't look like Ogre security can hold them back!

Mad Johan: A Pitch invasion! During a semi-final match like this! They should be ashamed.

Lord Summervale: The fans are surging across the field and Ogre security is having a terrible time trying to gather them up and herd them off. I have lost track of the players in the mess, and it is clear the Human and Skaven fans are fighting fiercely with each other.

Mad Johan: The inhumanity of it all!

Lord Summervale: As the Ogres forcibly eject fans, it is clear that many players were caught up in the melee. Almost all of the human players are down! However, some key Skaven players are down too!

Mad Johan: The refs just whistled play to begin, but most of the players are still down!

Lord Summervale: Boom! The kick is up. It is a short kick, and Rick scrambles to retrieve it. He is not going to get much help out there as the only Noble left standing is him and Adrian Wood!

The Skaven swarm Rick with warm bodies and toss him to the ground. The ball flies up and is pulled in by Pincher. Adrian hits him in the back, but the linerat manages to hand it off to Sneaky. He easily dodges past a flailing Priestley and runs it into the endzone for another Skaven score!

Mad Johan: I can't help but think some Skaven shenanigans were behind that pitch invasion! It allowed them to take a commanding lead late in the game!

Lord Summervale: Perhaps. The fans have been pretty rowdy all day. However, now Citadel arena is quiet. Maybe as the home team is down by two late in the day; or because the Ogre security force kicked out half the crowd. It is hard to tell.

Mad Johan: As this Noble team lines up, you can tell they are still a bit stunned at this turn of events.

Lord Summervale: Boom! The kick is up and it is very, very high. This should let Rick easily grab it.  Which he does, but it is deep in the Nobles' zone. The line starts to push forward.

Mad Johan: Warwick Kinrade still has some fire in him, as he sends a Skaven to the dug-out!

Lord Summervale: Rick Priestley dumps off a quick pass to Alessio who moves up behind the line.

The Nobles jab and push to the Skaven secondary, but it will be too little too late. There is not enough time and the clock brings the game to a close. The Nottingham Nobles have been eliminated from the tournament by Da Rat Packers in a score of 3 to 1.

Mad Johan: What a daft second half! According to our sideline Grot, there are no serious injuries from this match. However, it was surprisingly hard hitting.

Lord Summervale: Indeed. Despite the loss, who do you think the MVP was for the Nobles?

Mad Johan: It is a tough call, but I think Adrian Wood did a good job being where he needed to be and standing tall, J.J. of course, and then Rick. However, the late fumble on a blown pass makes me question if he should be the MVP. Despite the fumble, he kept his team in the game. I think Rick has to be the Noble's MVP!

Lord Summervale: Interesting choice? I am sure you will hear about it on the after match fan line! How about for the victorious Rat Packers?

Mad Johan: Bucktooth was a big presence and had some key blocks late in the game that allowed or made scoring drives possible. Sneaky of course has to be a candidate considering he had more completions than the thrower and was all over the field. Lastly, his buddy Squeaky turned a Nobles possession into a Skaven scoring drive that really stuck the boot in. However, the MVP for this game is going to be..... Squeaky.

Lord Summervale: Well, there you have it folks. The Skaven Rat Packers have defeated the Nottingham Nobles. The Rat Packers will move onto the finals to face the winner of the Rock-N-Rollers and Chaos Goat Herders game that will be played later this week.

Until then, this is Lord Summervale and Mad Johan signing off of Cabalvision IV from Nottingham's Citadel Arena! Bye-bye!

Monday, November 12, 2018

On the Painting Desk: Nano-Metal Figs Superheroes

A player of war games should never let things like lack of miniatures get in the way of gaming. I am not averse to using paper templates, proxies, and toys in order to get a game in. I think some genres are especially suited to this approach. I have made it no secret that I think the Super-hero genre is ripe for using toys, especially in 2018 when super-heroes are all the rage. There are plenty of low-cost toys out there that can be used with minimal repainting. These can be used with games like the Batman/DC Miniature games, the defunct Marvel Miniature games, Super System, and more.

One thing I like about the Super-hero genre of wargames is the ability to do some light Role-play as you play. You can have your heroes or villains spout one liners, act heroically, or perform despicable deeds. It is all part of the fun! The fact that you can start into them so cheaply is just a bonus to me.

To this end, I have been working my small collection of Nano-Metal figures. I bought 3 5 packs for about $15 at a local large retailer. That averages out to about a $1 per figure. I then give them the barest of re-paints and a wash. Just like that, my own Super-heroes are made at about the 32-36mm scale. Conveniently, about the scale may skirmish war games are going. When you look at my efforts it will probably be very easy to tell who was who originally.

I have two main groups. The first is the Union of Semi-Professional Heroes and the second is the villainous Black Hearts. I will be using these guys with the SuperSystem 4th Edition rules. I have used these rules a couple oftimes, and enjoyed them.

The Union is composed of amateur, free-lance super-heroes who are not aligned to any government, corporation, or organization. However, each member has dedicated themselves to helping uphold peace, justice, and the law. The Union was founded by The Riverine after he split ways with United States government over his role during the Vietnam War. The Union has been an active organization since 1968. Typically, a the more senior members act as role-models and mentors for younger heroes to help them learn to live as a Super-hero in the modern world. Each member pays monthly dues and agrees to help their fellow members. One of the main benefits is their group health plans, liability coverage, and retirement packages. Afterall, unless you are artificially kept young by an ageless, mystical artifact like the Riverine, you want to retire eventually.

Here you can see the latest roster of the Union.

From front to back, left to right is Mr. Amazing, The Riverine, and Red Streak. The next row left to right is The Duelist, Rampart, and Safeguard. The back row from left to right is The Shark, Oni, Hotness, and Kata.

Mr. Amazing- Mr. Stupendous Archetype
The Riverine- The Shield Slinger Archetype
Red Streak- Speed Demon Archetype
Duelist- Terrible, Swift Sword Archetype
Rampart- Immovable Object Archetype
Safeguard- The Guardian Archetype
Shark- He Just Won't Stay Down Archetype
Oni- Unstoppable Force Archetype
Hotness- Death from Above Archetype
Kata- Lucky Striker Archetype

The Black Hearts are a mercenary bunch of powered individuals. Each has their own nefarious goals and objectives, but they are united in a common understanding that they can not stand alone against heroic groups like the Union. There best chances is to band together in their own evil, yet enlightened self-interests. The individual members of the Black Guards often dislike or even despise each other but they are willing to work together for mutual gain and profit. Many of the Black Hearts members simply want to get paid, while others have more far reaching and grander schemes. However, unlike the Union; the Black Hearts are not afraid to get their hands dirty and cause collateral damage for their cause. Of course, their cause is determined by the highest bidder.

In the front row, left to right is the Nihilist, Black-out, Troll. The second row is Sock Puppet, Metal Head, Brainstorm, and Vampyre. The last row from left to right is Buzzard, Titan, and Cayman.

Nihilist- Empath Archetype
Black-out- Machine Gun puncher Archetype
Troll- Fate's Gunner Archetype
Sock Puppet- Dominator Archetype
Metal Head- Immovable Object Archetype
Brainstorm- Brain Burner Archetype
Vampyre- He Just Won't Stay Down Archetype
Buzzard- Death from Above Archetype
Titan- Mr. Stupendous Archetype
Cayman- Unstoppable Force Archetype

Each character has there own back simple back story, origin, and motivations. However, I will introduce those more in any future battle reports I use these guys in, like I introduced Safeguard and Buzzard in the Smuggler's Run!battle report.

You can look forward to seeing these guys as we finish off 2018 and move in 2019.