Monday, February 14, 2011

Terrain Building Project

So, it has been some time since we built a terrain board, so Ashley and I decided that we wanted a project as we have far too much free time on our hands.  I easily had 5 minutes a week that I needed to fill in with something to do, can’t have that kind of downtime without the wife trying to utilize it!

We decided to chronicle the process as we always get questions from people about how we did certain things on other boards that we have created.  This is a work in progress, and will run for a few months I would guess.  We may also need to go back and correct things as we go, we make this all up as we go along, and sometimes don’t get it right on the first try…

We settled on stealing an idea from a friend of ours, Patrick Lebeau.  At Johnny Con last year, he ran a Squad Leader game.  He had taken a cloth, and drawn on hexes in magic marker.  Said he almost passed out from the fumes as well, so good times for all!  Ashley and I decided to take his idea, and step it up a little.

We decided that we would run some winter scenarios utilizing some of my 20mm WWII figures.  Patrick had used 15mm, which is probably a better scale for this, but since we already have some much 20mm, it is my favorite scale after all, and because it ties into my product line, we didn’t really want to re-invent the wheel. 

After some careful thought, hex counting, and comparing vehicle sizes in 20mm, we ended up going with 90mm hexes.  This allows a Sherman to fit in a hex, while the big cats may hang over just a touch.  The final decision for this size was made by practicality of gaming space.  Most scenarios use two boards; therefore we needed to be sure that two boards would be wider than 6 feet for ease of reaching the center of the table.  In the end, it looks like for 2 board scenarios, our miniatures table will be 6’2” by 8’5”, or somewhere close.

We considered a few different options in making the board.  We have a friend with a computerized routing table, but his table has never been leveled, as he only does small projects on it.  This means that if we had used it to cut a hex pattern into a sheet of foam or MDF, the machine would likely have cut too deep on one end of the board, and maybe not at all on the other end.  He didn’t have any plans to work on leveling the thing out, at least not this year as he is pretty well booked up on other work, so we needed to come up with something else.  We bought some cookie cutters in hex shapes with the hopes of cutting out foam hexes.  Alas, this didn’t work either, as it had a tendency to crush the foam more than cutting through it.  In the end, we opted for hex shaped MDF bases as manufactured by Gale Force 9.  I sent them an e-mail, and they were very accommodating in making me a special order.  So, I ordered up a few hundred for starters.  As this project grows, I will likely need to go back for more.

The nice thing about these hexes are that they are all machine cut with a laser, so they are, for all intents and purposes, exactly the same size.  In addition, they are hard.  When we were going to make our hexes out of foam, we were worried that people leaning on the board with elbows would be leaving too many marks.  This won’t happen with a base of MDF.

We opted to do the boards in sections.  Because the length of the finished board is over 8 feet, we decided to build in halves.  Therefore what would normally be a single board in Squad Leader will now be 2 boards in Miniature, but that will fit together and play just like the original game.  Therefore for our game table, we will have 4 terrain boards.  This will make transport much easier, as the MDF can be heavy when you have too large of a board.

The next thing was to start gluing the hexes in place.  Our original plan was to use toothpicks to separate the hexes so that they would remain clear during games.  This didn’t work too well, they were hard to get out once the glue dried, so we ended up using some other small bases from Gale Force 9, giving a nice separation to the hexes as can be seen in the pictures.  We went with 2 Inch insulating foam as the base, and used Liquid Nails Panel & Foam adheasive to lock them in place.

1/2000 Scale Napoleonic Sailing

Sunday, February 13, 2011

We played another round of Napoleonic ships this past weekend.    Alex ran the scenario, and the players were Ashley, Chris, and myself.  Chris and Ashley played the British, while Alex and I played the French.  This was an historical situation where the French were trying to escape a British blockading force, while also escorting supply ships taking small arms to Ireland. 

Things didn’t go too well for the French.  Our crews were mostly green, while the British were mostly Crack and Elite.  I tried to break the British line, but my flag ship ended up colliding with one of the British ships.  In a comedy of errors, and piss poor dice rolling, there ended up being 3 French and 2 British ships involved in the collision…

The Brits decided to grapple and board the French flag ship, a smart move as their crews were worth 3 times as much as the French in the boarding action.  I added the crew from my second ship into the scrum, but to no avail, two ships lost to the Brits at a cost of very few factors of British Marines.  Another of my ships was de-masted just at the end of the game, washing up on the rocks, and being lost before the British could board and claim her as their own.

On the other end of the fight, Alex managed to sink one of Chris’ ships, but Chris was left in a position with favorable winds, allowing him to overtake the supply ships, and seal the scenario as a British victory.

The game was fun, even though we had to sail quite a few ships per player.  Alex had made some changes to the rules, and they seemed to work well.  We discussed several other changes that we thought would improve the game play.  We will try it again soon with the changes made, and see how it plays.  One day, it will be ready for convention play!

Newest Releases

3 new packs available this week.  All three are now active on the store site, and will be available at Cold Wars in a few weeks. 

Pulp 06  Survivors / Civilian Rioters

Pulp 15  Nuns with Guns

Pulp 16  Monks with Guns

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

20mm WWII, Crete ‘41

Saturday, January 29, 2011
20mm WWII, Crete ‘41

Tony ran this game, and it was a playtest for the Williamsburg Muster in February, and Cold Wars in March.  He used my figures, Sgt Major Miniatures (plug, plug).  He built some great terrain as well.  In the pictures you will note that the terrain is not yet complete, Tony prefers the pressure of finishing the terrain while the players are gathering around the table at the convention.  I will try to get some photos of the finished game at the Convention.  The game was attended by Ashley, Bill, Chris, Rich, Steve, and myself.

The scenario is based around an action that took place at the airfield on Crete, and came from one of the scenario books from Skirmish Scenarios.  We used Soldat rules, another plug!  Tony had played Soldat once or twice, but had never run the game.  I was drinking beer, so I am not too sure that I did a very good job in training him, but I will be there at both cons to help him out, so all should be fine!

The scenario is set with the Anzacs trying to take a hill from a group of Fallschirmjager.  The Fallschirmjagers are dug in behind rocks, and in trenches.  It is a pretty hard fight for the Anzacs to be sure.  We saw a few things during the test that we will be running differently at the convention, but for the most part, the scenario will be the same.  Sadly, it is a very static game for the Germans, being dug in and all, there isn’t too much to do but roll dice.  This comes with the territory though, hopefully the convention games will not mind too much.

15mm Napoleonic’s

Monday, January 7, 2011
15mm Napoleonic’s

For this game, Patrick came down and ran Age of Eagles.  A few of the guys had played before, most hadn’t, but everyone was familiar with Fire & Fury, so it was easy enough to fall right in.  Attendees were Alex, Chris, Patrick, Roxanne, Steve, Tony, and myself.

The scenario was a historical fight, but not being big into Napoleonic’s, I’ll be damned if I can recall what it was!  It was something in the Peninsula, Brits, Spanish, Portuguese, and I think there were even some Irish out there!  I played on the left flank running the British and Portuguese there.  My opponent was Chris, who was playing with us for the first time.  Hopefully he returns, we tried to be on our best behavior!  Honest!!  I don’t think I rolled more than a 3 but maybe twice?  Luckily for me, Chris nearly never rolled better than a 4…  It was a very sad day on our end of the table; I put some heavy losses on Chris, but took heavy losses in return, and failed to take the bridgehead that was my objective.

The day went better for the Brits on the right flank, and the center, and in the end, Patrick ruled the contest a draw, with a slight advantage to the British, being in a position to cut off the retreat of the Spanish army.  I have my doubts about whether or not it was really a British victory, but who am I to argue?

This was my first time gaming Age of Eagles.  When Chris, other Chris, runs Naps games for us, he normally uses a set of his own creation, based on Fire and Fury, but done years before AoE came out.  We have done a lot of changes to the games over the last 5 years, and I think we have added some good stuff.  We pretty much took out the combined arms ability of these games where you can pin someone into a formation with one troop type and hit them with another when they are in the worst possible formation.  We added fatigue rules as well, keeping Cavalry from being able to run around the board and charge every turn with little care to wearing out their horses.  The one part of AoE that I like better than our home rules is that the firing can do more damage.  In Chris’ game, you almost never do better than Disorder when shooting.  In AoE we were doing 1 and sometimes 2 or 3 stands loss, depending on the situation and roll of course.

All in all, a great game, enjoyed by all.  Patrick is already hard at work creating a new scenario for our next gathering.  It will also be in the peninsula, I believe he is using an old Donald Featherstone book for the OOB and maps, which I am pretty sure is what he used for this scenario.  I need to take a look for this book; he says it is a brilliant primer on the Peninsula.  I think I prefer the Russian stuff, but learning something new in this hobby is never a bad time.  I think this is the book:

Campaigning With the Duke of Wellington and Featherstone:
A Guide to the Battles in Spain and Portugal, With Donald Featherstone, the Duke of Wellington, and All the Others, 1808-1814 and 1973-1992

1/2000 scale Napoleonic Sailing

Saturday, January 8, 2011
1/2000 scale Napoleonic Sailing

Alex ran this game for Ashley, Chris, Steve, Tony, and myself.  The rule were a combination of other games, the sailing rules were Heart of Oak while the combat rules were Wooden Ships and Iron Men.  The ships used were from Valiant.

The scenario included British, French, and American ships, and a bunch of British merchantmen.  The scenario began as a heavy morning fog was burning off, and one of the French ships found herself mistakenly in line with a bunch of British ships of the line.  Steve was running that French ship, and I was running the Brits, and I quickly took to battering the hell out of it as quickly as I could manage.  Unfortunately, I never did sink that darn thing!  Still, much fun was had trying…  Tony arrived late, and was quickly given this gimp of a ship, and outnumbering him 4 to 1, I was still unable to take him down.

At the end of the game, the other three French ships of the line were just making contact with my 4 British ones, but we never got much of an engagement off before called it a night due to the game being pretty well over on the other end of the table.  I must say that trying to sail 4 ships was a bit of an attention grabber, and therefore I can’t really speak to what happened on the other side of the engagement, other than knowing that the Americans were apparently kicking my fellow British Admirals back side…

All in all the game went well.  The rules were easy to learn, and fairly intuitive.  We had halved movement at the beginning of the game, but in hind sight, decided that full movement would probably have been better.  Alex had been afraid that the table wasn’t wide enough to allow full movement, but I think it would have been fine.  Also, while the sailing rules were not terribly complicated, they were a bit too involved to comfortably sail 4 ships.  I would suggest no more than two per player.  We will definitely be sailing again soon!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

20mm Winter Germans

Below are greens of two new packs of Sgt Major Miniatures 20mm WWII German Winter Troops.  These figures should be available on the SGMM web site sometime in February of 2011.

This is an HQ pack, from left to right:  Radio Operator, NCO, Officer, 2 medics.

This is the machine Gun Pack.