Friday Post – 18th of November, 2016

Well now, haven’t the months flown since my last post? It’s been quite an unproductive winter this year, none the less I’m starting to do things again. I’m not sure when I will have an after action report again, but for now I am sorting out a few wordy-picturey posts as I paint things, plus some various thoughts posts.

Today I’ve just a quick overview of what’s been happening. I might try fit some pictures in to make it more interesting.

Get out of Here, Winter

Winter was Very Crazy.

You may or may not be aware that the entirety of my state (South Australia) lost power for about eight hours (for those of us in the metro area, it took days to restore power to some regional areas) in late September. The outage occurred when a series of tornadoes (not something that occurs here and certainly nothing those in the US would have experienced) ripped across the state and took out something like 22-29 high voltage transmission pylons, brining down two out of our three high voltage transmission lines. As a result of the ensuing voltage collapse, power generation went into safety shutdown, ditto the interconnector with Victoria. And so the state was plunged into a blackout. Making my way home from work, I’ve never seen the CBD so busy as I made my way home. Also it was pissing with rain.

On the whole for this winter, the rain was incessant, the wind incredible. We are well above average rainfall and I can say that everyone is thoroughly sick of the wet and cold weather. Spring has finally arrived proper though (only two months late) and with it my enthusiasm to paint things, play games and maybe make some more terrain.

I’ve not been wholly ideal however. My mate Dan and I are finally playing X-Wing regularly. We’ve been playing weekly for at least three months now. It’s also encouraged me to expand my X-Wing collection, mostly with for my Rebels (Dan mainly plays Imperial, but is building up a Scum collection too). X-Wing is a fun game and maybe I should try some after action reports for it some time. Though personally I find it better suited to video reports. Below is my X-Wing collection, less my two ARC-170s which I picked up the other month. also my second X-Wing T70 (I think the other is somewhere in the X-Wing mass there. If not, I have two).

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I’ve finally started on my American Civil War stuff and have nearly completed my first infantry battalion. It just needs to be based. Unfortunately because of the way I’m basing my stuff I’ll need an extra box of infantry and an extra box of zouvaes. Also an extra box of artillery because of the gun I’ve misplaced (which annoys me greatly).

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The above lot was actually done bay in May. Blimey…

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I got the SDKFz (above) done in September, but I knocked the right headlight off and blowed if I can find the bugger. It’s probably been vaccumed by now. I’m also missing the top hatch – which annoys me more – I don’t ever recal it being packed with the model, so that’s annoying.

I’m also slowly painting my Guild Ball minis. I picked up a couple of starter sets earlier in the year and I’m slowly working through those. I might try find some opponents soon to learn the game. Not so sure about that but. Pictures in the future when everything is done.

Finally, I’ve painted a few things for D&D. We’ve been playing very regularly (for me) and I can safely say 2016 has been the year I’ve played the most D&D (approximately fortnightly). Playing regularly has really spurred my enthusiasm for the game and I’ve now got a second group going through Curse of Strahd. I’ll endeavour to do a post with some pics and tales in the future.

Next Time

I’m considering what to prioritise painting, but first will definitely be Siren for my Fishermen and basing the first battalion for my Union army. Next I am likely to (finally) tackle my Welsh starter force for SAGA because once that is painted, I’ll have two 4pt forces and will be able to play a game against my brother or mate Tom (my opponent in my Bolt Action and Flames of War AARs).

In the meantime I’ll see about using my downtime at work to whip up a few short progress posts to put up on a regular basis for the rest of the year. So until then, happy wargaming.

New Years Eve Update

And with that the last week of 2014 is behind us. We are on the cusp of a new and exciting future. What wonders will 2015 hold? I think “more of the same, but slightly different” is a pretty good bet. Not too much has happened over the last week. I have done some FoW terrain work though, had a game of Infinity and considered an old hobby…

Flames of War Terrain

On Boxing Day I cracked open my new hot wire cutter and got to work carving out some ridges and a hill from one of the sheets of XPS (Extruded Polystyrene) foam I picked up from Bunnings the other month.

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I’m not sure how clear the images above are – I probably should have taken the photographs on the floor (the tiles in my hall and kitchen/living area are dark grey). I’m pretty pleased with the results. Now all that needs done is sand and rocks to be glued on and then to paint them. I shan’t bother gluing them to MDF, though I might find that to be advisable. Trial and error, here we come!

Infinity Game

So I don’t have an image of the table for the game, unfrotunately, but I played a singled 300pts game, JSA VS Nomads on Sunday against a mate. I’d been hassling him to make some time for a game for ages, so it was great we could all head around another mate’s place (the Tohaa player I usually VS) and get a game in.

The mission was Emergency Transmission – there are 6 consoles in a circle around the central point of the table at a distance from the centre. In the very centre of the table is a single antenna. Objectives are to connect to consoles, send the transmission from the antenna (which can only be done if you’ve activated two consoles) and then hold the antenna. I had first turn and deployed first. My force was split into two groups of six: Group 1 was a kempeitai (chain of command), domaru butai (Lt), tokusetsu eisei, keisotsu butai (HMG), raiden seitobutai (hidden deployment) and oniwaban (hidden deployment). Group two was two aragoto senkenbutai (one a hacker, the other Asuka), a linked team of three keisotsu butai (two forward observers and a light GL) and a ninja (hidden deployment). I’m not sure my mate’s full list, but there was a TAG, a hellcat and a mobile brigada on the field, plus some Nomad line troops and other things.

My first turn my bikers, being impetuous, gunned up my left flank. His hacker tried to hack my hacker, but ended up frying his own brain and passing to unconcious. I then moved in and activated the left console on the centre line. My Keisotsu then activated a second console on my starting line. Asuka zipped up and opened up with her assault pistol on two enemies, downing a medic. My HMG then popped a line trooper. I should point out at this point that the Mobile Brigada missed a total of three ARO shots with his multirifle in this turn: two on the bikes, one on the HMG (if I recall correctly). This becomes a bit of a thing for him. The final thing to happen this turn was the kempeitai getting himself taken down while trying to make it to the central antenna – this did not please me, he was only unconcious though.

Mate’s first turn the Hellcat came on and turned Asuka’s body into a bullet cushion. His sniper then popped my HMG (just). His TAG laid surpression down on my right flank (we were playing N2, not N3). He then spent three orders (all the rolls were bad, so bad) to activate a console with his last specialist.

My second turn and I used all my available orders for group one (reduced to two with the HMG and kempeitai being unconcious and the other two miniatures being in hidden deployment) to move my Domaru Butai up and try pull off a long shot speculative E/M grenade on the TAG. It failed, no surprises. I then went rambo with my hacker. She gunned through the centre of the field, avoiding or saving against a couple of AROs. She then hacked the mobile brigada, immobilising him, then shot at him and wounded him, then went into close combat and shanked him. This put the Nomads in loss of Lt. His turn two and he used his two orders to pop my hacker with his sniper. I was disappointed because I wanted to hack his TAG, but I’d already won, so I wasn’t bothered.

My turn three and I tried to E/M the TAG again, and failed. I revealed the Raiden ‘just cos’ and then spent my remaining orders (all group 2) on lobbing speculative light GL fire over a wall at his sniper (failed), then his last specialist (failed) then his last specialist again (crit, killed her). My mate used his last turn to pop my Raiden with his sniper.

In the end I had connected to more consoles that he had (2VPs) and completed one of my classified objectives (hacking one, 1VP) to be 3VPs to his 0. Victory to the JSA!

It was a pretty fun game, though the dice were against my mate pretty big. I learnt an important lesson about placing camo markers rather than using hidden deployment too. I’ll have to keep that in mind for next time.

The Old Hobby

We all start somewhere, and like (probably) most of us out there I began with Warhammer and Warhammer 40k. While clearing out a case to transport my Infinity on Sunday I ended up setting up my Blood Angels army on one of my cardtables.

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Looks nice set up like that. Too bad GW are pricks and I find their game wanting! Still, it was nice to reflect on hobby years gone by and see an old force set out in all its glory.

The Painting Pile

So that brings us to the end of this update and the end of 2014. To finish, I’d like to share the following image:

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This is my pile of Infinity blisters and boxes that require painting – plus two more minitures which I’d already got ready for painting and have now started on (AP HMG line kazak and dozer engineer with MUL control device). That’ll probably keep me busy for a good two or three months I reckon! I hope to get the Flames of War terrain done/done-ish this weekend though, so perhaps an update on that next week?

Until then, enjoy the last fleeting moments of the year that has been and don’t get yourself on the front page of the paper. Happy New Wargaming Year!

This Post is Just a Wall of Text

I am afraid there will be no pretty pictures in this post. It is just a general update and some random musings. Things covered are what I did today, thoughts on Flames of War and thoughts on D&D 5e.

Things I Did Today

I finished drawing up my North Africa buildings, walls, another shipping container and four tech crates. The latter two items are all cut out and ready for assembly and painting too. In addition, I cut out three bits of MDF for some scrub patches for my North Africa battlefield.

The bad news is, none of these things are likely to get done this weekend, because I’m at my parent’s for lunch tomorrow (my uncle is over from Victoria). This is somewhat disappointing, but I’ve been going pretty hard on the hobby things, so an easy weekend is not unwelcome.

Other things to report here are that now that I have finally acquired a hot wire cutter, I hope to get some hills going soon. With this now in my possession, I think I might focus on getting the scrub, some rocky ground and a few hills done. That will be the quickest route to a small North Africa battlefield – I’ve really wanted to see my DAK in action 😀

Some Thoughts on Flames of War/WWII Gaming

I like Flames of War, but I haven’t played many games – only about half a dozen in the (over) three and a half years I have been building FoW forces. This disappoints me, I’d like to play more and get a better feel for the game. Luckily a mate who lives nearby is doing a North Africa force with me, so once I’ve the terrain together I’m hoping we can play often enough (i’d be happy with a game every 4-8weeks.

There are, however, some things I’ve noticed in the few games of FoW I’ve played, things that I didn’t have at the forefront of my mind, but when I stumbled on a couple of “Why I don’t like FoW” blog posts the other day, lept into my conscious. The primary criticisms focus on the game being a too much “Napoleonics but WWII”, the issue with distances (those arty pieces you have on the field realistically could be shooting from two-three tables away) and the wheel-to-wheel tanks issue (something I especially had noticed having Soviet forces).

All of these criticisms resonated with me. The first is interesting, because that is certainly what I consider Warhammer 40k to be – Napoleonics in spaaaaaace(!). I feel that it is less the case in FoW, but personally I fear it is really a systemic issue with “you go, I go” wargames. The “always your turn” mechanic that Infinity employs, or the order dice system of Bolt Action are excellent developments for tabletop gaming and, personally, I think greater deployment of these mechanisms or new incarnations of these sorts of ideas will really enrich wargaming further. As for the other two points, well, they are what they are. That all said, I’ve still had very enjoyable games of FoW, but it has left me wanting something more.

The result of this is that I hope to, in the new year, give I Ain’t Been Shot Mum! a go. The ideas behind the rules really intrigue me and I read good things, so I’d love to test it out myself. The best part is, of course, they don’t cost an arm and a leg!

Thoughts on Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition

Although my WordPress is a dedication to my passion for wargaming, I also enjoy tabletop RPGs – as you can see from an earlier post with our Pathfinder character models. Next year I will be running a D&D 5e campaign, and mate of mine might do the same. I’ve only just got the books and read through the first part of the Player’s Handbook, but I’ve some thoughts and observations I want to share.

The overarching comment is that I am really impressed with what Wizards of the Coast have produced. I think it really streamlines the game (bear in mind I am coming from 3.5e/Pathfinder and have no experience of 4e) and puts a great emphasis on roleplay.

Compared with 3.5e I notice a couple of quite significant changes that could be considered to cut down your choice and the customisation options for your character (this isn’t quite accurate, but I’ll get to that). The first is that prestige classes are now built into classes as “archetypes”. So instead of getting the feats you need, putting the necessary points into the right skills and getting to whatever level for the base attack bonus and saving throws you might need, it is all something that is unlocked normally through class progression. The good thing is this makes things a lot more straightforward and creates an inbuilt mechanism through which players decide how they want to specialise their character’s class. The bad, I feel, is that you can’t do whacky things where you’re playing a class that wouldn’t ordinarily prestige into something, but you do it anyway because you’re a high speed, low drag, T1 operator.

The second thing is that feats are now an optional thing. At the DM’s discretion players can take a feat when normally they would get +1 on an ability score (these are now built into the class tables and vary from class to class). The feat list is significantly shorter now too – although this is just the PBH, I’m sure more will pop up. So feats take a much, much less prominent place in character customisation and will force players’ to make the choice between a better stat, or a feat.

Balancing this out, players can now take backgrounds at character creation that give players an excellent guides on how their character manifests itself in the game – this is a great benefit for new players, unfamiliar with tabletop RPGs, but also handy for more experienced players. These backgrounds also have real ingame impact through bonuses on particular skills and so forth. Through this mechanism, and a much more detailed description chapter, the character creation system now has an inbuilt system of backstory creation and roleplay prompts, great for players of all levels of experience to guide their roleplay to ensure continuity.

The simplification of the class system, while a the same time adding much greater depth within each class (choices are often involved, e.g. fighter combat styles), set starting gear (starting gold and purchasing gear is opitional) and the greatly improved description chapter all mean that getting into the game, regardless of experience, is quicker and easier than ever. The focus also shifts to roleplay and interactions, rather than pouring over tomes to min/max your feat and skill combinations and so on. Oh, also, multiclassing no longer makes you a god. This a very welcome change.

The End

Anyway, this has been a bit of scatter brain post, but I hope you found something interesting in it. I’ll make sure to have lots of nice pictures next post (which may not be Friday because work Christmas lunch, which might turn into drinking to more than I usually do these days, i.e. more than a glass or two of wine).

L is for Lazy

So I’ve not done much wargaming related things these past two (three?) weeks. Primarily this is a result of me not knowing what to do next. The list is quite long: I’ve things to paint for Bolt Action; I’ve Norman knights to paint; I’ve plenty of terrain I could make, including more buildings for Infinity, things for Bolt Action etc; I can paint the buildings I already have for Infinity; and the list goes on. The problem is, I’m not sure where to start.

This problem is amplified by my day dreaming at work for the past few weeks about my plans for my Infinity desert table. I have always had a habit of dreaming up grand new things when previous grand things have yet to be completed, which is Problematic. The Infinity terrain I have at the moment is just generic light urban stuff – commercial/residential type things (I guess? They’re really just Generic Buildings). What I’d like to do, though, is have a table that each of my forces go with. Currently this means I’d like a desert board for my Japanese Sectorial Army and a snow board for my Ariadna (the boards being determined by how I have based/painted my miniatures).

The main thing nagging me to move on to these projects is that I’ve learnt more about making terrain, some “do”s and “don’t”s etc and I want to make things that are bigger and better than what I already have. A secondary consideration is that Infinity is the game I play the most (even if I’ve not had a game in a few weeks) and it is something my non-wargaming mates are willing to subject themselves to when they are round for D&D/Pathfinder/Shadowrun/Whatever.

The Plan

So it is that I have begun my desert board. I’m starting with the desert board for my JSA because they are what I consider to be my primary force – they are my largest force and the force I preference to play games with.

The premise of the board (from WWII wargaming I’ve learnt that battlefields are so much better if they have a purpose/meaning/function – if they didn’t, why bother fighting for them?) is the field is an oil processing installation, possible on the frontline of Yu Jing/JSA claims, in an arid area of some unnamed planet.

The board is a 1200mm square (4ft square) – your standard Infinity table size – a blank one of which I have had for quite a while (I purchased two 1200mm square 5mm thick MDF boards last year, the first I’ve painted dark bluey grey on one side and functions as my generic city board). Onto this I have now glued a patchy layer of sand. The fact that it is patchy was deliberate as it matches how I’ve done the bases of my miniatures. this afternoon I also put down the first coat of paint, which is a Beasty Brown colour Dulux house paint (a 500ml tin of which I purchased years ago for just this sort of project, but never ended up getting around to using). My next steps will be to put on a heavy dry brush type layer of Desert Yellow (again, I purchased a 500ml tin years ago) and then dry brush with Unbleached Titanium (craft paint, but I’ll be brushing this on and focusing on the sand while going much lighter or even sponging the patches where the sand hasn’t glued).

For my terrain I’m drawing inspiration from the Battlefield 3 map Operation Firestorm. If you do not know it, it involves an oil processing facility/filling station, plus warehouses on one side of the map, which is what I want to replicate. I want terrain enough to make a significant compound feature oil storage tanks, piplines spanning the map and high, razor wire topped fences (a mix of wire mesh, concrete walls and half and half). In addition, I will make black bitumen roads to cross the field and probably weave through the oil processing installation. Finally, I’ll likely make some hills, rock piles and scrub for outside the installation and scatter terrain like steel I beams (out of coreflu), crates and maybe some planters for inside the installation. The materials I will use are primarily foamcore (walls of buildings),and 5mm MDF (for floors and bases), with small PVC pipe for the pipelines and XPS for the hills/rock piles. Finally, I also hope to acquire some diecast vehicles or plastic kits in 1:64 scale (I believe this will suit Infinity best) of oil tankers to use as terrain pieces too.

Other News

While I am kicking on with my grand new Infinity terrain plan (I should add, I do have enough straight foamcore buildings made that I can do a whole City Generica field for Infinity with easy, even if they are unpainted) I have also put in a very large order of new Infinity things. So expect to see some updates in the future as I get those models painted (when they arrive), including things for both my forces. In addition, I’m also getting myself into boardgame mode. Over the past two weeks I’ve added four games to my collection (Pandemic, Cosmic Encounter, King of Tokyo and The Resistance) and will likely add at least one more within the next fortnight. The perfect thing to stock up on and get stuck into with Christmas and the new year fast approaching. Hard to believe that 2014 is less than two months from over!

Until next time, however, happy wargaming and I hope to be updating in the near future with more exploits of my desert table and new Infinity models.

The Weekend and What Next?

The Weekend

So the bad news is that the FoW battle I promised (and was very much looking forward to) never eventuated. My mate had a Big Night on Friday night and wrote himself off for the Saturday. Meanwhile I had a Big Arvo on Saturday and wrote myself off for the Sunday (been a long while since I’ve done that!). So good and bad really.

What I did do on the weekend, however, was get myself some Norman knights, some new brushes, a can of dark yellow Army Painter spray and some Nuln Oil (G Dubs black wash, I like inks and washes in pots rather than dripper bottles, the only time I’ll buy G Dubs paints these days).

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The Norman knights I grabbed were a box of the Conquest Games ones (these are available on Warlord Games website too). You get 15 hard plastic knights, plus bases – except these are four singles and four doubles, luckily I had some singles laying around for other reasons so I’ve enough for each rider to be based solo. You get four of the above sprue, plus one other sprue with three horses (and the bases on another). The models look nice, with good detail. There are four body variants, three with mail hauberks, one unarmoured. In the above image I’ve used my dark yellow Army Painter spray to undercoat (they were out of grey, but stuff it, I’m really taking to yellow after my DAK).

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I’ve assembled eight so far. They aren’t glued to their mounts and their shield arms are separate (for ease of painting purposes). I plan to assemble the rest over the week, fill out the bases and be ready for painting on the weekend. I’ll probably do a bit of reading on painting Normans too.

What Next

Other than the the task of assembling my knights, I’ve also got my Soviet Bolt Action blisters ready for undercoat: maxim MMG, 82mm mortar and the command blister (which contains two officers of different rank and a medic) – as you can see below.

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Again, I intend for these to be painting ready come the weekend. Not sure what I will start painting first though. So in terms of what next, I’ll probably post something about painting these things in the next week or so. This weekend I am thinking of doing a little project I’ve been thinking about for a while and making some trees, except that I don’t really have the paint for it, so I might head to Spotlight and pick up some more tubes of cheap craft paint. We’ll see how things go and report back in Friday’s post.