Monday, June 24, 2019

Battle Report: Rampant Stars- Mecha Battle on Mundos

On the wooded planet of Mundos, the mercenary company of Polanski’s Lancers had been contracted by Lacstar Incorporated to disrupt the operations of their rival firm.  The Lancers had limited success in their efforts.  However, incomplete intel provided by Lacstar made operations difficult.  The CEO of the Lancers decided to perform a recon in force to try to explore and more completely map Mundos to help plan appropriate operations to meet their contractual obligations. 
Of course, Volsaab Incorporated did not want their operations disrupted.  They contracted out with the Rose Guard as general site protection.  Once the activity by Lacstar surfaced, they contracted out with Thor’s Hammers to provide additional punch on Mundos.  The two CEOs would have preferred the contracts for their respective merc companies, but a shared contract was better than no contract. 
Electronic snooping and surveillance tipped the two allied Merc groups to the 14th Uhlans of Polanski’s Lancers activity.  They managed to deploy to counter their reconnaissance efforts.  The Rose Guard and Thor’s Hammers objectives were to deny the vital information to their enemies and destroy as many of them in the field as possible.   
It was InternationalTabletop Game Day, and my family decided to celebrate with some tabletop gaming!  I was as surprised as the next reader of the blog was.  To that end, I had to come up with a game for us to play and right quick!  With that, I pulled out some old sheets I had made to use Battletech models for games of Rampant Stars.  I fluffed out a few additional units, and in a few short minutes we were ready to play with my wife and daughter teamed up against me.  I think we all know how this is going to turn out all ready!

I am not going to go over them completely, but on Team: Family they had 8 Mecha.  For the most part, they were classed as Irregular Infantry with their Command mechs as Regulars.  They all were up armored to armor 2, with the Dragon and Cyclops up armored to armor 3.  Two had the either Rapid Fire or Armor Piercing Upgrades.  Then, the Hunchback had a Heavy Weapons upgrade to make it the most powerful weapon system on the board.

On my side, I had about 10 mechs.  They were all Regular Infantry.  I had three light mechs that were not up-armored, but had rapid movement.  I had 3 mechs with rapid-fire or Armor Piercing upgrades.  The rest were line mechs with armor upgrades to 2, and I had 1 mecha that was up armored to 3 armor points.

We randomly rolled up the “explore” mission.  This means there were 6 tokens scattered across the board.  You could collect a token by getting a model within 1 inch of it.  Once collected, it was removed and placed on the players’ side of the board.  The team with the most tokens would win. 

We played on a 4x4 board.  The edge of the board was a river with brush on the shoreline.  The opposite side of the board had a large forest with jagged rocks projecting out into the board’s center.  This made a bit of a clear valley between the river and the forest.  The markers were placed at various random points along the center line. 

I placed a couple of light mechs near the edge of the forest to rush in and try to grab the objectives there.  The center was my heavier mechs, led by my assault mech with the best armor.  He was going to take the hits while a light mech got ready to dodge beyond and grab objectives.

My opponent set up with one of their command mecha to go into the woods supported by the Hunchback.  The rest were going to storm across the center and shoot me to pieces. 

The Game:
Sadly, I was to busy playing and did not have the best notes from this game.  I do not have turn by turn specifics.  However, I have enough of an overview. 

My light mech heavy force was advantaged by the scenario, and I expected to grab objectives early.  However, this early advantage was off set a bit by poor Command Checks that left some of my faster mechs at the start line.  The same happened to my wife’s light mech as well, so the heavier units took the lead on the advance early. 

Like I suspected, I was able to get my lighter mechs going and grab an early lead, going up 3 objectives to two.  The main formations closed in the valley and traded shots.  Most of it was a side show holding action while my commander, and two light mechs dashed for the last objective in the woods.  In the meantime, my families’ had a Dragon and Hunchback trundling into the area and closing fast. 

The Hunchback hunkered in and provided devastating cover fire despite the cover and speed of my lighter mechs.  One of my light mechs was blown to pieces without firing a shot.  In addition, my Command mech took a beating.  I was further hampered when my remaining light mech failed a critical command check. 

Despite taking a beating of its own, the more resilient Dragon mech managed to grab the last objective.  The Dragon command mech was then torn to pieces and destroyed by fire from my Commander and a light mech.  Too little, too late.  We finished off the shooting, a couple mechs were severely damaged in the valley as well. 

The battle was technically a draw, however my lighter forces took a beating in the process.  I lost 1 light mech and took twice as much damage on the rest of my force.  I had to withdraw two other light mechs to avoid destruction.  However, it was a bit of a moral victory to take out one of the enemy joint Commanders in the battle, take that Thor’s Hammers!  

In an odd twist, two of my opponents mechs only left the baseline in the final turn due to Command failures.  1 of their lights and a line mech never got into combat….. and I still took the worst of the fighting! 

Overall, RampantStars makes for a quick, brutal, and fun mecha game too.  The entire game with set-up and takedown was about 90 minutes.  The longest part was setting the board up and statting up the mecha.  The game itself went very quickly with a mad scrambled followed by an intense firefight. 

Monday, June 17, 2019

Battle Report: Operation: Hemlock- Strange Aeons

With their cover likely blown, the Throne Agents of Inquisitor Xanatos had a difficult decision.

  1. Trigger the recall signal and retreat back to the pick-up point. Doing this would probably be the safest course of action, but they would be no closer to unraveling the mystery of the smuggled Adaconite.
  2. They could delve to the source of the mining operation and try to discover what all these rounded-up mutants are actually mining. They had been working under the assumption that the mutants were mining Adaconite, but that assumption may have been a false flag operation to cover something even more sinister.
  3. Finally, the team captured several members of the smuggling gang in the last encounter. They can interrogate them and discover the location of the gang's hide-out and drop in for a little discussion with the leader of the Smuggling gang and who he works for.

Led by Sgt, Major Bathory; they decide to use the direct approach and raid the gang's hide-out. At the safe house, Father Robertus and Twist lead a long and successful interrogation. Ultimately, they find out what they needed to know and administer the Emperor's Justice to the perpetrators. The Inquisition is not know for their mercy.

Soon, the trio of Throne Agents finds themselves making their way through the cramped, ill-kept, and dark zones of the lower mine works deep in North Ammoriss. They locate the back entrance to the gang's hide-out. Normally, it is used as an alternate escape route for raids and attacks by rival gangs.

Immediately, the team realizes something is wrong. There are no guards stationed at the doorway as a show of force. The group quickly and silently accessed the entrance and made their way down the spirally, rock carved stairs and into the den of the beast. Again, nothing was right as the group closed in on the lair.. A determined silence hung over them. As they approached the main chamber, a far to familiar smell greeted them. The smell of carnage.

Someone, or something had gotten their first. The room bore the marks of a fierce battle, The scent of ozone and bloodshed was strong. Corpses were strewn across the compound where they fell. As they searched the team quickly realized everyone was dead. However, there was no sign of theft and looting like normal gang warfare. It was obvious that someone was tying off loose ends.

The team quickly realized this was a dead end and withdrew the way they had come. Their nerves were not settled by what they had uncovered. As the throne agents emerged, they realized their fears were not misplaced. Around them in the mine works were shadows, shadows that moved unnaturally. Red eyes glared at them. Tattered red robes hung around glittering silver webbed bones.

Murder servitors were closing in on them.


The Throne Agents

  • Father Robertus- Agent
    Wrecking Hammer, Holy Book, .22 Handgun*
      * .22 Handgun= Stub gun
    • +1 Constitution
  • Sgt Mjr Danyg Bathory- Agent
    Rifle, Knife, Light armored vest, Tight Boots, Firearm cleaning kit*
      * Rifle, Vest Tight Boots, Kit= Las-gun, Flak, Veteran Guardsman
  • Sebastian Twist- Civilian
    Cleaver, Lucky Charm,
    • +1 Attack

Murder Servitors

  • 6 Murder-Servitors
    * Ancient Warriors

The Agents need to escape the board on the opposite side as the Murder Servitors close in. The Throne Agents are positioned within 2 inches of the entrance to the Gang's Lair. The Murder-Servitors are positioned anywhere between their board edge and the center of the board. This uses the “Escape Into Danger” scenario from the main book.

The Throne Agents have one of the board edges that is sealed by an Ad-Mech support wall. In the center is the entrance to the gang's lair. This is where the Throne Agents will be deployed. The board is 3x3 and scattered with rocks outcroppings, a slag heap, and a few refuse pits for cover.

The Murder-Servitors are coming in a loose circle. 2 are coming from each board edge.

Turn 1:

The Sgt Major sprung into action on years of combat training in warzones across the sector. Survival instincts began to dictate his movements, as he called Twist to move forward. He quickly pulled his las-rifle into his combat stance and fired on the nearest …. “thing”. His shot was true and sizzled into its chest. However, the abomination just stumbled onward. In fact, they all closed in with their glowing red eyes remorselessly cutting through the darkness.

Turn 2:

Sgt. Major Bathory continued to lay covering fire with his las-rifle. He breathed a sigh of relief as his aim was true and shattered the skull of the thing he shot. It stumbled forward and fell over, it's limbs twitching obscenely.

Father Josephus and Twist moved up under the Sgt Major's covering fire, but it was clear he would not be able to kill them all at range. Father Robertius readied his iron clad staff, his symbol of office as a Drill Abbot at the Schola Progenium. Twist drew out his large knife and got behind the Father.

Turn 3:

The Deptartmento Munitorium issued las-gun flared to life once more, and another of the beasts was seared. However, it pressed on wards and crowded in on Father Robertus and Twist. His fellow creature joined him, with his clawed razor, skeleton hands swiping at the Throne Agents.

Turn 4:

With battle joined, Father Robertus chants a litany of Hatred and weighs into his opponent. The flashing skeletal blades fail to find their mrk, and the good Priest lays the abomination low with a mighty blow that shatters its skull. Twist is less fortunate, and the murderous claws send him to the ground with multiple slash wounds.

The Imperial Guard veteran burst fires his Las-gun at one of the oncoming skeletal machines, but fails to do anything more than scratch it. The wade into Father Robertus and try to bring him down with numbers.

Turn 5:

This close, it is obvious to Father Robertus that these abominations are simple Machine-God puppets. They are nothing more than murder machines built off the rotting corpses of fellow humans. They are affront to the God-Emperor given form of Man. A righteous hatred fills him as he smashed another of the foul things into the dirt, its body smashed asunder.

Sheltered by the whirling maul of the preacher, Twist manages to regain his feet. The Sgt Major moves to evade, and fires into one of the Murder-Servitors. Again, a true shot fails to stop the creature.

The last two mechanical assassins shamble into combat. The Sgt. Major draws his bayonet in the nick of time. Meanwhile, Twist prepares for combat again.

Turn 6:

Combat is swirling and furious. The God-Emperor guides the strikes of Father Robertus as he flattens a third murder-servitor in combat. Twist manages to sweep the legs out from under one and causes it to fall to the ground. The Veteran guardsman is not so lucky, and the murder-servitor knocks away his guard and clubs him along side the head, causing him to fall unconscious.

Turn 7:

Father Robertus knockls downs the last Servitor he and Twist fighting with. Twist leaps upon it and stabs it repeatedly until it stops moving. His own blood dripping down his face.

Leaving the fallen body of Sgt. Major Bathory, the last murder-servitor rushes in to engage with Twist and Father Robertus.

Turn 8:

Father Robertus smashes the last skeletal machine to the ground. Again, Twist finishes the job with a flurry of blows tot he servitors vitals. The light slowly goes out of the machines eyes. The entire cavern is plunged into a cold, silent, after battle stupor. It is then that Father Robertus and Twist realize that their comrade has fallen.


Twist and Father Robertus rush to tend to the wounds of their friend. They are relieved to find him unconscious but relatively unharmed. He wakes up a few moments later with a splitting head ache, and some choice words for the God-Emperor, the Machine God, and the forsaken planet of Ammoriss.

Meanwhile, Father Robertus investigates the Murder-servitors closer. He is dismayed to find that they bear the mark of the Red Tower of Ammoriss. In addition, they bear the marks of a fresh, recent combat before this one. The only logical conclusion is that they were involved with destroying the Gang hide-out and those within. Father Robertus gave thanks to the Emperor for surviving.

The Throne Agents manage to sneak back through the tunnels and back to their safe house. The connection between the smuggling Adaconite gangs and the Red Tower of Ammoriss leave them wondering who they can trust.

After the Game, Father Robertus gained 1 Clue (Map Piece) and 1 new skill. I chose Surly (Word of the Emperor) that can be used to cause fear. Since the Throne Agents won, I selected Sgt. Major Bathory to get the upgrade for free and I pick the skill Firearms Enthusiast for him.

I didn't manage to get any agents off the board, but I did manage to kill all the Lurkers. Father Robertus was a man possessed today! His wrecking hammer was owning these Ancient Warriors, and they are tough SoBs. He is a murder machine worthy of the Drill Abbotts from Inqusitor.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Battle Report: Men of Bronze- Battle at the Black Sea

After Phillip II's reforms, the Macedonian army was a fearsome fighting machine. However, this fearsome fighting force did not immediately displace the tried and true Hoplite model of combat. Many Greek mercenaries still used and adopted the Hoplite Phalanx as their main fighting style.

After the Macedonian victory at Charonea, Macedonian dominance of Greece was a given. However, the Greeks were always a fractious and quarrelsome country. The independence of Greek City-States was always a hallmark of Greek society. Therefore, Macedonian forces had to “mop-up” various resistance groups.

Eventually, contingents of Macedonian soldiers reached the edges of the Greek world, especially around the Black Sea. Here, they met independently minded Greek colonists who were not so eager to bend to Phillip II's yoke. With the help of hired Spartan mercenaries, they were ready to test Phillip's resolve in the region.

A group of Greek Mercenaries sponsored by the Milesian (Ionian) colony of Panticapauem were there to challenge the oncoming Macedonians. Panticapauem tended to align themselves with the Ionian rather than the Doric Greeks, and had a loose association with nearby Black Sea cities in the Bosporus region. They intended to use plausibly deniable Mercenaries to test Phillip's resolve in the region before determining if they needed to bend their knee to him. The Macedonians had marched a small force into the region to act as standard-bearers and pacify it. The hostilities of the Greek Mercenaries hired by the natives was unexpected.

Clearly, this is another “ahistoric” battle or possibly an encounter lost to history. It is based on only the thinnest of pretexts and historical background. I have some generic Greeks painted, a unit of Macedonian Pikeman, and some assorted light units. Therefore, I had to make armies that fit what I had painted.  Of course, you can get your set of rules from Osprey


Greek Mercenaries
1 Elite Phalanx- Spartans
1 Militia Phalanx- Eager Panticapauems
1 Psiloi- Mercenary Greeks
-22 points

1 Macedonian Phalanx
1 Light Phalanx- Thessalian allies
1 Peltasts- Thracian Mercenaries
-22 points

This will be a standard pitched battle scenario.

The Greek Mercenaries choose their ground carefully at a pass between craggy, forested rocks and a river. The Macedonians will not be able to bypass them easily, and the area is just wide enough for a battlefield. The battlefield is a 48x48 base widths table, with 1 base width equally 1 inch.

The Greek Mercenaries place their elite Phalanx of Spartans on the shore near the river. Their flank I anchored by the river. They stay in open order for rapid deployment or re-deployment as needed. Next to them is the Militia Phalanx from Panticapauem, who are also in loose formation. Finally, their line is ended with a group of mercenary Psiloi near the woods.

The Macedonians also anchor their flank on the river, with the main Macedonian phalanx stationed there in phalanx formation. To their left is the Thessalian light hoplites in open order. Finally, next to them is the Thracian Peltasts.

Turn 1:
Both forces collect their 3 Arete Points. Neither side bids to go first. The Spartans win the roll off. They move forward unopposed and stay in loose formation. The Psiloi take a position in the woods and use a Arete Point to skirmish in.

The Macedonians slowly move forward. The Peltasts dart across the front and start to form a skirmish line in front.

Turn 2:
Again, no one bids to go first. Instead, the Greek Mercenaries win the roll-off. The Psiloi skirmish again and move tot eh edge of the woods in a position to provide flanking fire to a Macedonian advance. The Militia and Spartans move forward. They stay in open order.

The Peltasts finish their skirmish line as the Macedonians and Thessalians follow them slowly and cautiously.

Turn 3:
The Macedonians bid 1 to go first. The Macedonians want to get their main Phalanx in combat with the Spartans, but the Peltasts are in the way. The Peltast drop back between the two, ready to support. The Spartans try to interrupt, but fail. The Thessalian light Hoplites move up to support the Macedonians and form Phalanx.

The Militia from Panticapauem move forward and form phalanx. They are at a slight angle and ready to support the main Spartan push. The Spartans move up as well, but stay in Open Order to taunt the Macedonians into a charge. The Psiloi hold their position in the woods, ready to hurl javelins from the protection of the woods edge.

Turn 4:
Neither side bids for initiative and the Greek Mercenaries win. The Spartans and Militia Phalanxes move forward. The Spartans finally form up. The Psiloi move from the woods and behind the battle line looking to support as needed.

The Macedonians also rejigger their lines. The Macedonians themselves advance slowly, trying to judge the distance. Meanwhile the Peltasts hold the center, with the Light Hoplites on opposite flank.

Both sides begin to chant the Paean expecting a clash to be imminent.

Turn 5:
The Greek Mercenaries win the initiative by bidding 1.

They use an Arete Point and charge into the Macedonians, who also use one Arete Point to counter-charge. The two phalanxes crash together with the bang of spear on shields. Both sides lose 1 Courage in the initial pushing match.

The Macedonians try to use an Arete Point to steal the initiative but fail. This allows the Ionian Miltia Phalanx to charge in the side of the Macedonians as they struggle with the Spartans to their front. The This causes them to lose additional Courage. The Psiloi hang back in the back field.

Seeing the battle going against their Macedonian allies, the Thracian Peltasts hurl themselves into support their fellows. The Thessaliens break into open order and move to set-up for a flank charge into the main melee next turn.

The Macedonians are pushed back in the main melee.

Turn 6:
No one bids for Initiative and instead save their Arete Points for re-rolls and charges. The Spartans win the roll-off. The Spartans push in the main melee with the help of the militia. They reduce the Macedonians with their Thracian allies to 1 Courage, and they start to waver. However, the Spartans took casualties in the process, and they are also reduced to 1 Courage.

The Psiloi use an Arete point and make an unlikely charge into the Open Order light hoplites moving to attack the flank of the big melee. They manage to hit the flank harder than Psiloi should, and reduce the Thessalians in open order two courage! The Thessalians are pushed back and start wavering!

Turn 7:
Again both sides hold onto their Arete Points since everyone is involved in Melee.

The Macedonians win the roll off and decide to start with the big melee between the Spartans and Militia allies and the Macedonians and Thracian Peltasts. In the battle, Arete points are used for re-rolls and both sides are reduce to 0 Courage.

Onthe flank, the Light Hoplites manage to push back the Psiloi and reduce them two Courage, despite wavering. However, they are reduced to 1 Courage themselves.

In the end phase, the bulk of both forces flee. However, the Psiloi and Light Hoplites both manage to pass their collapse tests!

Turn 8:
Each side only has a single Arete point, and they both hold on to it for re-rolls.

The Light Hoplites can not form as they are wavering. Instead, the two sides viciously hack and slash at each other in open order. The Psiloi loose 2 Courage and the Thessalian Light Hopites both are reduced to 0 Courage.

Both units flee the field, leaving it for the crows. No trophies will be erected this day.

They say that in war, there are no winners; only losers. That was true today as both sides fled the field as they lost their courage to keep fighting. That means the battle was a bloody draw.

The elders in Panticapauem were uneasy. They had made their point to Phillip II but at great cost to themselves. They sent word to the Greek cities in Ionia as fast as they could to recruit more mercenaries to bolster their defenses. They also sent emissaries to Phillip II to offer terms. They were willing to bend the knee, but only on favorable conditions.

Perhaps fortunately for the Elders, Phillip II was soon assassinated. His son Alexander was the new leader of Macedonia. He had his sights set elsewhere and on a greater purpose than Greeks city-states around the Black Sea.

Monday, June 3, 2019

On The Painting Desk- Gladiators, Gangsters and Greeks.... Oh My!

If you recall my ambitious plans for 2019, I had a lot of painting goals on the list.  I have not been completely idle on that front.  I started the year very strong with a number of Blood Bowl teams and a few old Inquisitor models painted.  Since then, my painting has been a little bit more…. Eclectic.  There was even a point where I thought I had painted all the models in my collection! Thankfully, that did not last long and more came in the mail.  That was close!  You know the old saying about wargamers that paint everything in their “To do” pile….. they die!  I narrowly escaped death!

My first order of business was to finish off painting some old miniatures that were leftover from the Gladiator range.  These were from Crusader and I painted all the other Gladiators in my collection.  Only two were left.  They were modeled off the movie Gladiator and I think they were supposed to be Emperor Commodus and Tigris of Gaul from the movie. 

I plan on using these guys for The Games: Blood and Spectacle of course, but I also will be using them for Broken Legions as an Argonauts warband.  Commodus will be the leader, and Tigris will be the Herculean Champion.  In a pinch, I can use Commodus as a leader for Men of Bronze too. 

Here they are finished.... not great shakes but again I used all cheap acrylics from my local big box retailer.  I really need to get a new set of actual miniature paints, but they are just so darn expensive!  

Also on my goal list for 2019 was to paint some gangs for use in Turf War.  I plan on updating all the artwork with pictures of these models and other Wikimedia Commons stuff.  That way I can get it up for sale on my Wargame Vault page.  To do this, I ordered some of the Copplestone Gangster range from Brigade Games.  They arrived very promptly and I am very happy with their quality. 

I had previously written up some previous gangs and I soon selected the models to make up one of them.  While traveling for work I managed to get them painted up.  1 gang down, and 1 more to go for full games of Turf War.  Plus, I can paint up some extras for expansion, replacements, NPCs, etc.  The craft paints worked okay on these guys with a helping of dark wash. 

Then, I put together a bunch of Victrix minis for Men of Bronze and Heirs to EmpireThese gentleman are here to fill out my Macedonian and Successor Pikeman blocks and a unit of Hypaspists. If you squint closely, you can see a Corinthian Hoplite unit in there too.    

I went to town painting the Corinthians so I can get some new Men of Bronze battle reports up.  Again, I used the local craft paints.  This time I was very displeased with how they turned out.  The white did a terrible job, and I was not happy with the metallic paints either.  These guys are going to be in the background of the shots.  On the bright side, I only broke one spear while painting them!  Can you spot it? 

After painting these guys, I am going to wait to paint up my Pikeman and Hypaspists until I get some better paint.  I want them to look much nicer than these guys turned out.  I gave the rest of my Spartans and Corinthians back to my friend to finish painting since he does a much better job.  Just look in the Men of Bronze book to see the difference.  

Next, I got a ton of 6mm miniatures for the successor period from Baccus.  I also got some 60 x 60mm bases.  I have never painted 6mm before so if you have any recommendations I am glad to hear them!  I am going to wait to paint these until I get some decent basing materials and actual mini paints.  I don't think the craft paints are up for the challenge.  Plus, I need these guys to do some more playtesting and pictures for Heirs to Empire     

Finally, I have 1 MKV All Quiet on the Martian Front Tank that I found hiding in a cabinet.  That is probably the miniature that kept me alive!  It was undercoated but not painted.

As you can see, there is a lot on the go now.  Hopefully, I can knock some of these out before the  season goal review.  Right now, things are looking a bit sparse on the number of goals completed!  I mean, that post is right around the corner!