at Home and On Campaign

at Home and On Campaign

25 January 2017

Donny'K Mods

Can I make “Donny’K” a thing?

This is the follow up to the previous post… (Linked: HERE )

On the suggestion of airbornegrove, I purchased  the Donnybrook rules. They are in a word, fantastic. I have no interest in the pike and shot era, but after one read through the book, I was ready to collect up my matchlock and march off to shoot at the Civilian Mob. It is really great stuff.  However, for deep and personal reasons that absolutely no one cares about, my heart is set on Sci-Fi, so I began fiddling.


1. This might be skirmish level for the period written BUT…
in the batrep, these were the smallest armies (4 points) that could be chosen.
for a Sci-Fi (Oldhammer 40k) game, that looks like forces ready for battle to me.  OUTSTANDING!

2. The card driven turn system…
If used with the “Turn Over” card, the rules makes an Army list with distributed lethality much more attractive than an Army list built around one killer unit.

What I mean is, in 40k, the IGOUGO system ensures that if a player concentrates killing power into one unit, that killer unit gets to act every turn to full effect. Donnybrook’s card driven turn system removes that guarantee that any given unit will act in a timely manner. On a bad day, a unit will not act for a couple of turns (and conversely, some units seem to act over and over). Players are rewarded for distributing killing power among all units, so whichever cards come up, you can be dishing out the carnage. This appeals to me a lot.

3. Random Events…
Certainly the chart for this game adds to the battlefield chaos and to the narrative aspect I enjoy.

So what did I modify?
I don’t know.  Stuff.

The base engine of the game plays fast: stuff blows up, crazy sh*t happens.  I was very reluctant to touch anything fundamental.  I really just worked in a few special rules around the edges for the genre and put in some rules for APC's and Tanks.

These are choices made to suit my own preferences, and any other mods could be just as valid. I don’t know the authors (but I’d sure like to shake their hands), so I cannot claim any special insight. However, Clarence Harrison was kind enough to comment on the batrep, and his input, plus reading some of his own batreps and design notes, leads me to believe I lean toward a little more abstraction. 

I don’t designate special or heavy weapons within a Unit.  Those are absorbed into a Unit's overall dice throw. I chose instead only to separate characteristics for Heavy Weapons in Units where they would be concentrated for a fire support role. 

I started with with some basic infantry unit profiles:

-Imperial Guard, d8, 8 Figures, Rifles -24” Range
-Space Marines, d10, 4 Figures, Armored (5+ Save), Rifles -24” Range

…and worked everything else relative to that
There are no Armor Values or changes to game mechanics for shooting or attacking Vehicles.
The idea is that there is a basic Anti-Tank capability built into each Infantry Unit (this is the corollary to what I wrote above about abstracting a Unit's integral Heavy Weapons) and when firing at (or Assaulting) a Tank, the Infantry Unit is simply using these organic Anti-Tank weapons.
For example, when a Space Marine Unit throws its 4d10 against an enemy Tank, it’s not shooting bolters, it has a Missile Launcher and/or Anti-Tank grenades.

Special Rules

Tank (or, for the snobby, Armored Fighting Vehicle)
The Special Rule "Tank", always includes the Special Rules "Wounds" and "Heavy Weapons".

Tanks can move 12” normally and still fire, or can move 6” through difficult terrain and still fire. If moving through Difficult Terrain, a Tank must also make an Ability roll.  If the Tank rolls a 1, it fails to penetrate the obstacle and stops its movement at the edge (or fails to move if already in difficult terrain) until it's next activation.

Unless equipped with “Tank Close Combat Weapons”, Tanks can never Assault or Strike (or Strike Back) in Close Combat. Tanks can be Assaulted, and if any unsaved wounds are inflicted on the Tank, it loses the combat and must make a morale check.

A Unit that assaults a Tank is not locked in combat and can be targeted as normal.  A Tank may move out of contact with a Unit without penalty.

 A Tank cannot move through an enemy unit, and the Tank’s path must stay 1” from an enemy unit’s table footprint.  If moving away from a unit that is in contact from an assault, the Tank must move a path that minimally violates the rule in the previous sentence.

I didn’t want to add Armor Values, so instead I added “Wounds”.  A Tank has multiple “Wounds” and is fully functional until all wounds are gone, and then it is destroyed. After a couple of run throughs, 6 wounds combined with the Armored special rule (“Armored” as defined in the rulebook) for a Main Battle Tank seems a good combination. If you wanted to represent a Light Tank, or some other less robust Vehicle simply lower the Wounds and/or take away the "Armored" special rule.

Heavy Weapons
In the Donnybrook Rules, there are no blast templates just a dice roll for how many figures could be hit.  Sooooo how to model a Tank’s or other Heavy Weapons into a unified attack?

It’s not Oldhammer 40k without breaking out the SUSTAINED FIRE DICE

When firing, a Unit equipped with Heavy Weapons rolls 2 Sustained Fire Dice. The total result is the number of Ability Dice rolled to hit against the target.  Additionally, when executing a shooting attack, the unit’s Ability Dice are upgraded one die type (to a max type of D10) due to the power of the weapons employed. If a jam marker is rolled, that die cannot be used again until the “Reload” card is drawn from the deck. Range 36”

An infantry Unit (called a Battery) can be given the Heavy Weapons special rule with the following additional rules:
1. The Battery cannot move and fire
2. Whatever the total model count for the Battery, two of the models should be modeled with Heavy Weapons (Heavy Bolters, Auto-Cannons, whatever).  Each Weapon rolls a Sustained Fire Die for firing.
3. The Unit has no other firing weapons. No double dipping.  Additional figures standing around with rifles are just wound markers for shooting purposes.
3. At least one figure is needed to man each weapon, so if the Battery is reduced to one figure, only one Sustained Fire Dice is rolled.
4. The Battery cannot Assault, but if Assaulted, eligible soldiers can strike back

Tank Close Combat Weapons
This can be any type of close combat weapon, from giant robots with mighty swords to explosive belts or massive electrical charges on the hull.  The tank may initiate or participate in an assault following the standard process in the rulebook. The Tank Unit uses its Ability die type and throws the number of dice associated to that type. Meaning: 12D6, 8D8, or 4D10.  The number of dice thrown is not reduced by wounds taken. A Tank throws the full number of dice until destroyed or it routs from the field.

An Infantry Unit can be upgraded with this Special Rule.  A Mechanized Unit can move up to 6” and still fire, or it can move up to 12” but not fire.  Mechanized Infantry use the standard Infantry rules when moving through difficult terrain and Assaulting. 

I depart from usual convention on how a Mechanized Infantry Unit is depicted on the table. There is no “mounted” or “dismounted” designation. A Mechanized Infantry Unit is trained to work with their vehicle. They are aboard when needed, and dismount when needed.  On the table, the infantry are placed as if a regular infantry unit, and their APC is placed anywhere conveniently nearby. The vehicle itself is treated like a status counter. Purely an indicator that the unit is equipped with extra mobility, it has no effect other than to confer the “Mechanized” designation. The APC should be re-positioned if it obstructs  firing, an assault, the destination of another moving unit, or any other gameplay.

Jump Packs
As a guide, a unit with this rule behaves almost like Cavalry in the rulebook. An Infantry Unit equipped with Jump Packs can move 12”, but is reduced in model count.
D6 Quality = 9 Figures
D8 Quality = 6 Figures
D10 Quality = 3 Figures
1. Characters created from this Unit during Army construction are also equipped with a Jump Pack. Characters that later “attach” themselves to the Unit are not equipped with a Jump Pack.
2. Units may leap over difficult or impassible terrain without penalty. 
3. If a Unit moves 6” or less, it treats rough terrain just like any other Infantry Unit. If the Unit moves over 6” and ends its move in rough terrain, an Ability die is rolled for each figure in the Unit.  On rolls of a 1, a figure becomes a casualty and Characters must roll on the Character Wound Chart.

I’m gonna play about 50 games with my “OFFICIALLY OFFICIAL SUPREME EXPERT RULES EVALUATOR”, also known as my son Robert. He is a big fan of the “Grey Knights” and currently building ORKS. So, I’m sure some thoughts about Psychic Powers, what does a “WARGH!” mean in Donnybrook, and crazy Ork contraptions will be forthcoming.

Again, these rules hit my gaming sweet spot for detail vs abstraction, and I’m sure everyone leans a little more than me either to one side or the other so take them as suggestions. Constructive discussion is welcomed.

Here are some sample profiles we’ve been using:

Space Marine Tac Squad, Sgt Blackfist
Special Rules - Armored, Vet. Sgt. w/Power Weapon

Alpha Battery
Special Rules - Heavy Weapons, Targeting Drone

3rd Platoon, Lt Mboye
Special Rules - Officer

Wun Wun, Imperial Combat Construct (he's a robot)
Special Rules - Tank, Tank Close Combat Weapons, Armored, Wounds(6), Heavy Weapons
Using Wun Wun soaks up TWO Character/Upgrades for an Army

Eight Ball
Special Rules - None
...actually, they spend their upgrade to create the special Character below

Sgt Q'Taupa, Eight Ball Sniper
Special Rules- Character, Poacher (from Civilian Mob Faction), Long Rifle (Range 36")

Honschu Mercenary Riders, Cpt. Paulus
Special Rules - Cavalry, Vet Sgt., Inferior Rifles (roll down one die type from Ability when shooting)

Stormy McStorm Storm (with Storm Cannon)
Special Rules - Tank, Heavy Weapons, Armored, Wounds(6)

22 January 2017

Trying Donnybook for 40K...

I got into the Northstar pre-order of Rogue Stars.  I bought the hype so hard, that I ordered an ebook of the rules to read them right away.  Well, not my thing at all. Totally took the wind out of my sails. I expressed my disappointment to airbornegrove and he suggested I give "Donnybrook" a try.

Sooo... Donny'K?
Can I make that a thing?

The game reported below is assembled from an almost uncountable number of sources. The Universe is (sort of ) 40k. The scenario was rolled up from the Rogue Stars Rulebook.  The rules played were Donnybrook. (well, Donny'K). Let's not even get into the minis and scenery.

Spies for the Kingdom of Colores have discovered that a copy of plans for the construction of warp imploders are located in the “Remote Imperial Archive Station 881” on the planet Sca..(REDACTED BY DISNEY/LUCASFILM). The Kingdom of Colores would like to get the plans and deny them to the Imperium. The Imperium has spies of their own, and is aware of the Colores plot.

Additionally, a Trader in the secret employ of the Navigators Guild is at the Archive pursuing unrelated (but equally proscribed) research. All this attention directed at the Archive threatens to expose the Guild's research to the Inquisition.  The Guild explained to Colores that since this whole donnybrook was instigated by Colores spies, if their clandestine Merchant is arrested, Colores will be held responsible. 

Both forces arrive at the Archive at almost the same time.  The plans are located in the main building at the center of the map.  The objective is to get to the plans and transmit them to the HQ. A secondary objective is to recover/arrest the Navigators’ Guild Trader.


Space Marine Tac Squad 1,  D10, Armored, Vet Sgt
Space Marine Tac Squad 2, D10, Armored
Space Marine Tac Squad 3, D10, Armored
Wun Wun, D10, Tank, Armored, Heavy Weapons, Close Combat Weapons
Captain Marsupial, D12, Hero, Armored, Pwr Sword

Kingdom of Colores

Honschu Riders, D8, Cavalry, Vet Sgt (Cpt Paulus)
1st Squad, D8, Officer (Lt. Moybe)
Weapons Squad, D8, Heavy Weapons, Targeting Drone
Eight Ball, D10
Sgt Q’Taupa, D10, Sniper
Major Guiscard, D12, Hero, Pwr Sword


Cpt. Marsupial did not see any of the enemy forces yet. It was possible his unit had arrived first. Suddenly however, there was a loud booming as Imperial Combat Construct “Wun Wun” opened fire on the main building of the Imperial Archive Complex.

Cpt. Marsupial
“Wun Wun, what are you shooting at?” the Captian radioed to the giant robot.

Wun Wun
“The complex, Sir. You said it was full of ‘Rogue Traitors’”,

Wun Wun blasted the building again.

Cpt. Marsupial
“A Rogue Trader! dammit!  I said ONE,  just a single ROGUE, WUN!”

The construct fired again. The blast was so enormous, Cpt Marsupial was knocked off his feet and little Rogue Stars danced across his vision.

Cpt. Marsupial
“STOP doing that!”

Wun Wun
“Yes, Captain” and his guns went silent

Unfortunately the building was already ablaze… 

Meanwhile, hidden on the other side of the Archive...

Sgt. Mannesmann 
“Well Major, I guess the Imperials are here.” He said dryly.

Maj. Guiscard
“Destroying their own sh*t again…  typical.”
then keyed his comms.
"Everyone move out.  Weapons, cover the main bulding. On the way back, we will scoop up this Merchant / Spy requested by the Guild”
As the Colores Heavy Weapons Squad moves into line of sight, a chastened Wun Wun exchanges fire

while the Honschu riders spring forward to try and come to grips with the Tac Squad in front of them.

The view in the center is obscured for both sides by the burning Imperial Construct and Archive building, so Eight Ball moves cautiously toward the hiding place of the Merchant and the main objective.

Cpt. Marsupial radios back to HQ,
“The objective is burning and the whole area is overrun by fleeing Imperial staff.  We cannot assess enemy strength or intentions, because our targeting sensors cannot discriminate between our staff and the enemy. Can we get an overflight by a Stormraven?”

Imperial Comm Tech Jones
“A Stormraven is primarily a transport craft, Sir. Do you mean a Stormtalon?”

Cpt. Marsupial
“Yeah, Stormtalon, whatever  …. can it overfly our position and deliver some ordinance into the far treeline?

Comm Tech Jones
“Well Sir, delivering ordinance is done really well by a Stormsurge, but a stormsurge is a Tau weapon and it can’t fly.”

Cpt. Marsupial
“Storm friggin whatever!!! Hang on... let me check the database myself”

Cpt. Marsupial
 That’s it, I’ve had it! I’m done! We’re supposed to be the most elite fighting force in over forty one THOUSAND YEARS of human history, and we have the vocabulary of an eight year old!
Here's an idea...maybe, just maybe if I go over to the enemy, SOMEBODY over there will share a THESAURUS!"

Space Marine Private Smith
“Sir, you can’t say that. It’s heresy”

Cpt. Marsupial
“Shut UP!”

Marine Cpl Johnson
“You’re a heretic!”

Cpt. Marsupial

and Cpt. Marsupial is shot very..very...very dead.

Ok, so I HAVE to break the fourth wall here:
In the middle of the game we pulled the event card and rolled on the table.
The result is called “I gotta be me!”, and it states that a “prominent member” of the squad says: “I can no longer fight for a lie!” and declares his intention to join the enemy.  (you then roll on another chart to see what the unit does)
The result of that roll?  His unit immediately turned and summarily executed him!

LOL, How 40k is that????

I don’t care if that result ever happens again.  Seriously, that’s one of those hysterical moments in gaming that will stick in your memory forever. I am totally hooked.

I think all I need to write from here is a summary.  I mean really, is anyone going to be paying attention?  'cause I'm not.  I'm still replaying that madness in my head. 

... Colores got a unit to the burning building (Eight Ball) and they lost 3 out of 4 guys to the fire before the last guy made his rolls and transmitted the files to the rebel fleet above Scari(REDACTED BY DISNEY/LUCASFILM)

So About This Crazy Game...
Donnybrook is a card driven set of rules described by the authors as skirmish level for the pike and shot era.  It is a great rulebook by layout and execution. The author explains that the rules are derived from his homebrew set that he uses pretty universally. There is even a batrep online where the rules are used in a battle between Nazi’s and a combination of zombies and other monsters. (The Link is here: LINK)
So the ability to modify is there. 

The deck you build for a Donnybrook game includes a card that triggers random events. The first card drawn for the game report above was, of course, the event.  We rolled on the chart, “A random building catches fire.  Any figure in the building when their card is drawn, must roll 5+ on their ability die, or be wounded. The fire remains for the rest of the game.”

Guess which building ended up being on fire?
…and this was just the havoc caused by the FIRST event. Then the next time we drew an event,  complete insanity …

What a great time. If anyone is interested, I can do a follow up post that will run through the mods I used for sci-fi.

10 January 2017

KCS Mary Shelly: Manning the Rails

It is an old Naval tradition, that when arriving at a port, the crew of a warship stood in formation near the edge of the main deck.  Though now simply ritual, the original intent of “Manning the Rails” was to display to port officials that an arriving foreign vessel had no hostile intent. (If the crew was on deck, they couldn’t be loading the cannons and preparing the ship for battle.)

The current complement for the Shelly is:

3 Senior Officers – Captain, Chief of Flight Ops, Senior Intelligence Officer
2 Navigation Crew - Navigator, Attendant
1 Flight Controller
4 Fighter Wing Techs
7 Ship’s Security – Team Leader, 3 Team Members, Corpsman (2 on detached duty to the Tartarus Rim, not pictured)
15 Able Spacers


I have a few pilots and Flight Ops crew still waiting for paint. I tend to do them in breaks between 
projects.  The sources are:
Captain: Hasslefree “Not Adama”
Senior Intelligence Officer: Colony 87 “Archivist”, I think that’s the name
Chief of Flight Ops: GW
Flight Controller: Heroclix, Nova Corps Officer
Navigator: Colony 87, but I don’t know what she’s called
Navigator Attendant: some OOP GW mini I acquired a few while I was working there
Ship’s Security: The Assault Group, Cops
Fighter Wing Techs: Colony 87
Able Spacers: Heresy Inspectors, Zombiesmith Aliens, Reaper Bones Grey Aliens

I am looking for more sources for Able Spacers.  I like the Heresy Inspectors, but they are limited to 5 poses.  I need more variety, but with the same sort of low detail coverall. Also, I am looking to replace “Not Adama” as the Captain figure.  I would like a sculpt with a little more personality.  Maybe one of the new Astropolis figures from Lead Adventure, but they seem a little too far in the other direction.

Thanks for looking!