at Home and On Campaign

at Home and On Campaign

27 August 2013

The Kingdom's Arms Dealers Have Been Busy...

The Kingdom of Colores has completed the contract sale of a composite Air Wing of obsolete Imperial designs to the planet of Rilti.  These units have a long illustrious service history (documented at this LINK ) and the contract included an overhaul and avionics upgrade to keep them in service for the forseeable future.

They will be missed.

However, the motivation for the sale was to maintain Colores policy of continuous technological development. Sector Six is far too dangerous and Colores far too backward.  The War Department has used the funds to purchase SkinSuit technology from the Gis. The "Skins" are an essential component of a new unit, the 8th Special Actions Team (or "8 Ball").
8 Ball will be tasked with running down any and all information to locate the hidden enclaves of the 4th Reich and destroy them.
So this time I'm putting the "real world" info at the end.  Stop here if you want to stay in the world of Sector Six....
Years ago, I scratchbuilt 4 GW Thunderbolts and 2 GW Marauder Destroyers.  2 of the Thunderbolts immediately went to my gaming buddy, John King (Godspeed John, we all miss you).  Using our air force, we fought an unholy number of Apocalypse Battles (many of them before there were "Apocalypse" battles) some of which are documented at the link above. Those planes shot down, blew up, napalmed, and obliterated more of the enemy than the War Gods can count.  These days, I continue to build and purchase more futuristic models, and they will be replaced by my own designs.  So I sold the remaining venerable warbirds to another buddy, Wayne who is in the middle of an Apocalypse campaign and in need of some air support.

 For the short term, I just purchased "Pulp Alley", and the Minions from Crossover Miniatures seemed to be just the thing for a high tech Special Forces Unit.


21 August 2013

Ocrade: Endgame

It's all over but the cryin'.  Forces of the 4th Reich have overrun the Nusland facilities on Ocrade.  They have looted all useful hardware and technology and enslaved "suitable" workers.  The last wave of transports have just finished loading and are breaking orbit when the Imperial Task Force arrives..
The Nazi escort consists of 5 Light Cruisers with accompanying Fighters and 2 Frigates spread evenly across the perimeter of the jump limit
The Imperials jump in with a tight formation, 2 ancient Battleships, 3 Heavy Cruisers, and 5 Fighter Squadrons.  Sub-Ambassador Sulla Tigh's plan is simple and direct, blast straight through and stop as many transports as they can. In Sector Six, no one has ever been recovered from Nazi captivity.
The closest raiders dive straight at the Imperial ships, executing their duty to protect the transports.  The first exchange of fire is brutal.  Beams and Missiles fly thick and furious. The Imperials lose a Cruiser and its Fighters while the Nazi's suffer the loss of a Cruiser and a Frigate.
Undaunted, the Task Force bores in
The Imperial Fighters suffer heavily and the survivors are forced to break off their run. It becomes clear that the Battle Line will be too slow to cut off the transports from the jump limit.
But as they close the distance, more Nazi ships fly at them and fight with the spite of  the most bitter of adversaries.  The carnage is extensive.
At the last, one transport is disabled, and those will be the only Imperial citizens spared captivity.
Except, if you looked closely, a Colores Destroyer slipped unnoticed through the chaos
and quietly returns to New Cypress with a few more of the fortunate.
That brings the Ocrade Campaign to a close. The Imperials will bring relief supplies to the few survivors on planet and the Nusland Corp will begin salvage operations.  The Nazi's will continue to plunder the Sector and are a growing menace.

16 August 2013

Ocrade: We Can't Save Everybody, but...

The organized defense of Ocrade has failed and the Nusland facilities are in chaos.  See this post: LINK HERE
But the Kingdom of Colores has inserted a small team to rescue a Rhodian propulsion scientist,  Sker Da’Ourii before the raiders locate his remote research station.  He is being held "for his own protection" by Nusland Corporate Troops who are under ambiguous orders to "keep the Dr. from being captured".  The rescue team, led by Maj Guiscard, will have to proceed carefully as the orders to the Nusland Troops could be interpreted to kill Da'Ourii.

Unsure of how well equipped the Nusland defenses are, the Colores Assault Boats use a small landing pad screened by mountains. The team will proceed following a road to the station and attempt to rescue Da'Ourrii.
The Team is organized into 4 elements
There are several potential contacts marked on the board, and when they pass into the LOS of Colores troops they are resolved as ghosts or as Corporate Soldiers
The landing goes smoothly and no enemy forces interfere
The team proceeds without incident until the road turns back toward the Research Station
As the Snipers move through cover, gunfire explodes...
After a brutal fight, the Corporate soldiers are eliminated by coordinated fire, but the Snipers have taken serious damage.
The team clears the turn and gets a good look at the Station defenses. The last of the unknown contacts are resolved showing 2 remaining units.  A squad in the woods to the left of the Station and a Heavy Weapons team in the tower.  Smoke is dropped in to cover the assault.
The Sniper Team is closest, so they are sent in first.  They run into a buzz saw of fire and are cut down
The Assault Element follows right behind and eliminates the last enemy squad outside the Station
Corporate troops are not "to the last man" types, and negotiations are opened.  In exchange for transport off planet, the Nusland troops agree to surrender
Although it seems like the overall Ocrade Campaign is destined to go down as a major tragedy, this limited rescue is a win for Colores.  Da'Ourii is agrees to continue his research on New Cypress, and a huge amount of scientific knowledge has been acquired. More could not be done for the other residents of Ocrade, but perhaps the Imperial fleet can accomplish something...
Stay Tuned for the Last Episode of  "The Ocrade Campaign"

07 August 2013

My Take on Scale and the Table - and a CHALLENGE to you...

I'd like to take a post to talk about scale regarding vehicles, structures and space issues on the battle table.  Please accept my apologies in advance if my writing in this post seems absolutist.  For brevity, I am stating my opinions as "the way things should be".  My approach is no more valid than anyone else's, and most of my best ideas have been inspired by my influences, not conjured out of thin air. I sincerely invite your commentary on the subject. Sooo.....(keep reading, the challenge idea didn't occur to me until the end)

Where I am coming from and the kind of game I like:
I have never been a fan of the 40k ruleset or the universe (too dark) even when I worked for the company.  BUT, I was a huge fan of Apocalypse. The Battle for Hoth and the opening battle for XXX Corps in "A Bridge Too Far" are 2 of my favorite movie battlescenes.   I am heavily influenced by the Major General's page (see this wayback machine link: majgen ), and to paraphrase the General: Table space is at a premium, so objects should be as small as possible without seeming ridiculous. I would elaborate in a slightly different angle.  Tabletop models should be "bathtubbed" leaning in a "toy" direction from their "model" origins. 

Buildings For Example
As a kid my parents would never buy me the Marx "Guns of Navarone" playset.  So, obviously in response to their outrageous injustice, I am obsessed with building the perfect supergun/mountain terrain piece.
I love this piece.  I built it about a decade ago and have fought countless battles using this and its accompanying set here, but as my views have evolved I realize it has a serious size problem
1. It is over a foot in width and depth. 18" wide! The table footprint is just too much.
2. It is just the gun itself.  I have separate models for the barracks , missile silos, and fire control buildings
This arrangement is great for fighting "through" an Orbital defense facility, but that means players are picking up the story AFTER the perimeter has been breached.  I prefer to game the attack from earlier. More "Hoth" than "Navarone".
So look at this really old GW paper bastion compared to my builds:
Put a space cannon on top of the tower, and inside of 12" it has everything.  Its simplicity "suggests" all (or most) of the other elements.  So now there is more table for the approach and outer defenses to fight over.

The paper model is far too minimalist (not to mention "skull-zy") for me, so my next project is to re-create the look of my facility onto the footprint of the bastion. I have to bathtub the Space Cannon, Barracks and Fire Control.  Hmmm... (maybe a Landing Pad as on)

Ok, back whenever the Bastion was made by GW, they seemed to have a grasp of what I was talking about.  I posit, that the common complaint that their vehicles were too small was actually a design nod towards more table space.  However, after the current incarnation of the Land Raider they clearly discarded that asthetic.
Above are various models, and clearly the GW flyers are HUGE.  The Bomber is honestly as big as the Mechwarrior dropship in the background. Heck, the Valkyrie transport pretty much takes up a 12"x12" footprint. Compared to the grav tank, that takes up roughly a 3.5"x5" area, you might as well put a blanket out there.  Unhappy with my airforce, I have begun rebuilding it. I snuck in a new build, the bare wood model between the Valk and the Vulture. It is only slightly larger than the tank and more rationally fits with my motorpool and terrain features. I'll feature it in a post soon.

Spacing and the Role of Hexes/Squares
If you follow this blog you will have noticed that I use hexes.  Aside from quicker games, I have noticed one other major benefit.  Only one unit can occupy a hex, so it keeps a reasonable distance between tanks.  No more track to track tanks walls.

I am interested in your thoughts.  Wait, ...better yet,
What if we pulled a publicly available scenario, like a Grant Table Teaser or one of the free scenarios from the Skirmish Campaign guys that comes with terrain and orbats (but non-game specific and universal) and each did a setup on our respective blogs.  We could see how much difference (or sameness) our styles brought to a game from the exact same source material.

Anybody In?