Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The HAWKs Travel to Nashcon

    This past weekend, a group of five of the HAWKs: Buck Surdu, Geoff Graff,  Greg Priebe, Don Hogge, and I, headed down to Nashcon in Franklin, TN.  We rented a mini van to carry us, our figures, and the terrain we would need for 6 games.  It was a bit of a challenge squeezing everything into the vehicle, but we managed it somehow.  Part of the plan was that we would re-use the same two sets of terrain for the 5 different games.  Thursday afternoon we headed out and arrived at the con Friday morning.
Figuring out how to fit it all in, so no one had to ride on the roof rack!

Our first game, Friday afternoon, was Don Hogge's (In the blue shirt) "Island Raid Pt 1"  game, using Battleground rules. This game featured American Marines and Paratroopers trying to seize a Japanese radio installation. 

A close up of the game as the Americans approach a Japanese emplacement.

Here's a long view of Don's table, and a general look at the main gaming hall. In the end, the American's won, having destroyed the Japanese radio hut with a white phosphorous round.

After Don's game, Buck Surdu (in blue shirt) ran "Island Raid Pt 2" on the same table using the same terrain.  This time it was a Japanese counterattack into the compound that the American's had just captured, using Combat Patrol rules.   The American troops were left in the general positions they had ended the game in the first session.  

A close up of the table at the start of Buck's game.   You can see the radio hut and bunker are still burning from the first game. 

Saturday morning. Buck, Greg Priebe, and I ran a large "Battle for Paris, 1814" game using Fate of Battle rules.  In theis game, and allied coalition of Russians and Prussians are attempting to seize the Montmartre Heights outside the city of Paris to force a French surrender. 

A close up of Russian troops charging the French hasty fortifications.  Their initial success put the whole French line in jeopardy, but stiff French resistance eventually drove them back. 

Buck (in blue shirt) helps players with a melee as the Russians desperately try to maintain their foothold on the heights. In the foreground, the Prussian troops can be seen putting pressure on the French right flank. 

Saturday afternoon, Buck, Greg, and I ran "The Battle for the Elven Capital", using the same terrain and basic troops deployments as the "Battle of Paris" game.  This time though, Elves replaced the French, and an alliance of Insectmen, Dwarves, and Beastmen were the attackers.  We used Bear Yourselves Valiantly rules

A look at the Allied left, as Beastmen prepare to storm the Elven right flank.  A force of Elf Knights desperately tries to hold the bridge over a canal. 

In the end, the Insectmen, and Dwarves drove a deep wedge in the Elven lines, and had reached the second level of the heights.  With very little left to stop them, the game was called as an Allied victory.

Saturday night we re-set the "Island Raid" terrain from Friday for Greg's "The Lost Soldier" game using Dr Who Miniatures Rules.   In this running, it was 15 years after the battle featured in the earlier games, and now a developer is set on turning the island into a luxury resort.  But all is not as it seems, and the Doctor and his companions have arrived to investigate. 

The game was a lot of fun, and I was lucky enough to get to play.  There were Daleks, Autons, lost Japansese soldiers and all kinds of baddies lurking on the island.  Also Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Dorothy Lamore happened by, as well as some lost boy scouts, and perennial HAWK Pulp hero, Duke Morrison. 
The HAWKs had a great time as always at Nashcon.  It is a really well run show with a lot of great folks attending.  We look forward to our next trip back to Tennessee!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

10mm Scourge Tank Battalion for LSNC: Sci-Fi

   We are slowly gearing up to begin work on our latest rulebook in the "Look, Sarge, No Charts" series of rules.  This will be geared towards Near Future and Science Fiction battles.   Therefore, I have been busily working on assembling some forces to use during playtesting; and have just completed my first full tank battalion.
The entire battalion
    I used tanks from the Scourge faction from Hawk Wargames Dropzone Commander range.  Since I didn't see needing a ton of Anti-Aircraft vehicles, which came with the Scourge Starter Sets I purchased,  I converted them to be HQ tanks for each company and the battalion.  I chose the Scourge becuase I like hover tanks, and I felt they had a cool alien look about them.
The Battalion HQ stand.
     I organized the battalion in a basic 3 by 3 arrangement of three companies with three platoons each.   I will probably eventually create an actual AA platoon stand to attach to the Battalion HQ once we start working on the aircraft support rules.
A company of three platoons and an HQ. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

10mm Sci-Fi Wrecked Battle Mech Terrain Build

     This past week I completed a new terrain piece for my ongoing 10mm Sci-Fi project.   I have a bunch of leftover Mechs from the clicky Mechwarrior game, and I got it in my head to construct a destroyed one  that was all rusted out; like it had stood for decades or centuries in the same spot where it had been knocked out.

   I began by slicing the mech from its clicky base, and then I used a pair of pliers to rip the arms and head off.  I then used a drill to make a big hole in the torso to look like where a missile had hit, knocking out the mech.  I also used the drill to enlarge some of the  holes where the arms and head had been connected.  I used my hobby knife to pry open the cockpit, and then cut down a 10mm Warmaster skeleton figure and glued it into the cockpit to represent the mech's  long-deceased pilot.
      Next,  I cut some small sections of thin wire and glued them in the holes with superglue to look like cables that had been ripped apart when the mech was destroyed.  I glued the parts with hot glue to a 3-inch plastic base that I had beveled the edge of with a hobby knife; and then covered the base with Tacky glue and applied a coating of sand.

      My next step was to spray the piece with flat black paint
   I then began applying some splotchy brown paint to achieve the rusted look.
     I finished painting the piece, and then applied some static grass here and there to the base.  Afterwards, I sprayed the whole thing with Testor's Dullcote varnish.
     I'm very please with how it turned out.  I think it will make a nice little vignette to decorate a battlefield, and perhaps provide some rough terrain and cover for units in play.
Shown here with 10mm Dropzone Commander Scourge infantry and a tank.

It's funny, as I was making this, the famous poem, Ozymandias, came to mind:

     by Shelley 
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Frostgrave Campaign: Game 4

   This past Saturday we once again gathered to have our monthly Frostgrave Campaign game.  We had 5 our 7 players in attendance.  I set up the table to be 8.5 feet long with a 3 foot wide playing surface.  The plan for this game was to do both The Living Museum" (Or in our case, The Living Museum District), and The Worm Hunts scenarios.  We decided to go with a full compliment of 15 statuesone to accompany each treasure; and two Giant Worms.  We also agreed to use the standard wandering monster rules, though surprisingly we only ended up with one armored skeleton appearing (out of 15 treasure rolls!).   Which was just as well, as with 15 living statues (Medium Constructs), and two Giant Worms, there was plenty of carnage to go go around.
For the write-up for Game 3 of this campaign, please see: Game 3.
For the report from the following game, see: Game 5
A view of the table as the players ready their troops.
     My Illusionist, Kodak, once again found himself and his warband down by the Frostgrave waterfront.  He hoped his luck would improve this time after his last outing, where he only managed to cast two successful spells; and his old friend, the Templar  Elissa, was killed.  Elissa's twin sister was with them now; a Templar herself, who carried a magic +1 fight sword.
Kodak and his party prepare to enter the city.  From left to right: Bash the Man-at-Arms, Sister Riessa the Templar, Agamemnon the Thief, Danlin the Marksmen,  Kodak, Jack Two the Treasure Hunter,  Cadwalleter the thief, Cherowyn, Edel the Archer,  up in the ruin is Weiss the Archer, and just below on the right is Linesse the Thief.
    To Kodak's left, he heard the Druid (Witch), Knabe, entering the city. The growls of the huge bear the Druid always seemed to travel with, echoed off the walls of the ruins nearby.   Across the way,  on the cliffs overlooking the docks, Kodak could make out some men from the Necromancer Lingzhu's warband entering the city.  In fact, he saw the Necromancer's knight standing near the cliff's edge; so the Illusionist concentrated and cast a spell of Mind Control on the knight.  The knight could not resist the spell, and Kodak bade him to attack the Necromancer's nearby warhound.  The warhound did not take kindly to being attacked by one of his own party and savagely bit the knight, shaking him out of the spell.  Kodak cursed under his breath.
Kodak peers out from his cover in a stairwell, and sees the Necromancer's Knight standing up on the distant cliffs.
    Shortly after that all hell broke loose for the Illusionist.  Just as the thief, Linesse, made her way onto a wrecked ship at the dock, the copper statue onboard the hulk sprang to life and moved towards her.  Almost simultaneously,  as the thief Agamemnon made his way toward the treasure by another statue, a Giant Worm erupted from the ground beneath the treasure.   The worm attacked the thief, throwing him against the wall of a nearby ruin where he fell unconscious.
Linesse fights the statue and pushes it back, giving Jack Two, (at the top center of the photo), room to run across the dock and leap on to the ship's deck in between her and the statue.
      Kodak then saw the Necromancer himself come into view, and he quickly cast Glow on the unsuspecting wizard.  Suddenly, the befuddled Necromancer was covered with  greenish-yellow light. The archer, Weiss, taking the cue  from her employer,  let loose a true shot from her position in a nearby ruin, striking the Necromancer.
A Giant Worm appears at the feet of the Thief Agamemnon, as the startled Sister Reissa looks on. 
      While Jack Two, the Treasure Hunter, ran to the aid of Linesse on the ship; the new Templar, Riessa, ran forward to deal with the Giant Worm, while Bash, the newly-minted Man-At-Arms, followed close behind.  Meanwhile, the Thief, Cadwalleter, crept forward to steal the treasure out from in front of a statue which stood on the dock. As he picked up the treasure, he was pinged by one of the Necromancer's crossbowmen.
A view of the action as Jack Two prepares to leap on to the boat, and the Worm (at the top of the photo) battles Agamemnon. 
       At this point disaster struck, as Kodak's apprentice, Cherowyn, was struck squarely by a Bone Dart from the Necromancer. She fell to the snowy ground, and lay there motionless.  Kodak, hardly had time to worry, as Cadwalleter came limping past him, carrying a treasure and being pursued by an angry statue.  The Wizard had time to reach out and heal the thief, before ducking out of the way of the approaching statue himself.  The Marksman, Danlin, put a bolt in the statue, as Cadwalleter moved further way.  Danlin, now found himself the closest to the statue, and a melee between the two started that lasted until almost the game's end, when one of the Necromancer's missile troops killed the statue.  Danlin tipped his hat at the distant marksman and made his exit.
Kodak heals Cadwalleter as he passes by carrying treasure, pursued by a statue; as Danlin the Marksman takes aim. Cherowym lies in the snow nearby.  
    Meanwhile, Sister Riessa had rushed forward to the Giant Worm.  The Giant Worm struck her a mighty blow and she swayed a bit but kept her feet.  Then the Druid's crossbowman but a bolt into the worm, badly wounding it.  Bash made it up to help Riessa, and with a mighty blow he killed the worm.    He then made his way to the nearby treasure to pick it up, as the gravely wounded Templar imposed herself between the nearby angel statue and the treasure carrying Man-at-Arms.  Almost immediately the statue jumped down at the Templar, as Bash moved as quickly as he could towards the table edge.   With just one hitpoint left, the Templar fell to the statue's first blow, but she had bought enough time for Bash to get far enough away that the statue wouldn't pursue.
    On the ship, Jack Two had reached the statue in time to allow the thief, Linesse, to escape and make her way down the deck to retrieve the treasure that still lay there.  She grabbed it and hightailed it over the far railing of the ship, and headed across the frozen harbor.  Almost immediately, the Necromancer's warhound charged round the stern of the boat after her.  She struck it once, and it fell back only to come at her again.  This second time her blow killed it, and she headed for safety at the harbor's edge. Jack meanwhile had been laid low by the statue, before Weiss up in her ruin perch could finish the metal terror off.
Bash defeats the Worm! 
    Kodak saw the Necromancer's knight come into view again, so he turned his thoughts to controlling the enemy solider's mind once again.  This time he could feel the Mind Control spell take firm hold (He rolled a 20).  The knight lumbered forward, and spotting the Necromancer's Treasure Hunter and charged.  In a spectacular simultaneous landing of blows they each struck each other down at the same time, and lay there piled one on top of the other in the snow.
The Necromancer's Knight, under Kodak's Mind Control spell, attacks his own Treasure Hunter.
      Kodak realized it was now time to cut his losses and leave the city for the day.  He gave a nervous glance back at Cherowyn who still lay there motionless in the snow.   With the Necromancer's Crossbowman and Marksman still up on the nearby cliffs, he dare not venture forth to check on her, but he just had a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach.   He called her name, but got no answer;  then turned, and followed the remainder of his warband as they melted away into the outskirts of the city.
       Back at their inn later that evening, Kodak paced nervously just outside the doorway, bathed in the golden light from within.  Edel, who had fallen from a shot from the Druid's warband during a mad dash for an unclaimed treasure toward the end of the day, had made his way back to the inn shortly after the rest.  Though he had been hurt and badly dazed, he suffered no lasting harm.   Riessa, and Jack Two, had followed an hour later, bleeding  and weak, but sure to heal in a couple days.  As the sun set, Agamemnon had come staggering towards the inn barely able to stand.   The Giant Worm had apparently done some serious internal damage and the hike back to the inn hadn't helped.  It looked like the thief would be off his feet,  healing, for a long time.  
   It was dark then,  and there had still been no sight of the Apprentice.  Kodak had a nauseous feeling in the pit of his stomach.  Elessa's death was too fresh in his mind, and he couldn't bear the thought that Cherowyn might be gone too.    He kept watch late into the night, holding out hope that she still might return; knowing in the back of his mind that very few survive a night alone in the frozen city.
     Riessa found him the next morning, slumped over and fast asleep on an old log stool by the front door.  The sun was cresting the nearby fir trees as she spoke his name softly to wake him, and saw the haunted look in his eyes as he slowly lifted his head.  "Did she come?",   he asked hoarsely?   The Templar shook her head, and the Illusionist cursed. He stood and kicked over the log stool, and the Templar watched as the door of the inn turned pitch black, as did the Illusionist's cloak.  
   Kodak cursed again.  She had been a good apprentice; a quick study, and an attentive student.  But he reflected that there had always been a bit of bad luck about her, though she had always maintained an optimistic attitude; and he realized he had known on one level that this day would eventually come.  He took a few steps in the direction of the distant city, thinking, then turned and walked back towards the inn.  For a few moments the sun passed behind a cloud and all around the inn turned dark.  Riessa looked at the wizard and contemplated whether it was the Illusionist at work, or just the goddess above sensing the mood here below.  She dismissed the thought and followed Kodak into the shadow of the Inn's interior.
     Kodak distracted himself with totaling up the treasure from their expedition and meditating on the experience he had gained from the recent trip.  He had managed to successfully cast seven spells, which helped build his experience, as well has the information Bash had given him about the Giant Worm that the Man At Arms had killed.  The party had also retrieved three treasures consisting of:  80 GC, a Staff of Power (3), a magical +1 fight Dagger,  and a Grimoire which contained the spell "Push".  He new this spell already, so he planned to sell the Grimoire to help finance the hiring of a new apprentice.   There was just enough gold left to buy Agamemnon the gear he would need to become a full-fledged Treasure Hunter.  When he told the badly wounded Thief, the recovery was amazing.  It was as if Agamemnon was a new man as he hopped out of the bed and tried on his new sword and scabbard.
    Over a week had past since the fateful trip into Frostgrave, and Kodak knew he would need to start interviewing aspiring apprentices soon to find someone  just right before their next outing into the city.  He did not look forward to the task, but he found that he already missed having someone with whom he could talk about the magical arts. He picked up his new Staff of Power and walked outside where he saw Riessa and Jack Two deep in conversation.  He smiled; the new Templar seemed to be fitting in quite well.   He looked up at the sky and noticed the sun was shining.
To read an account of the game from the Necromancer's view, please see: Tower of the Archmage

To read an account of the game from the Druid's view, please see: Wargaming Notes

Monday, May 9, 2016

Frostgrave Demo Game

   Saturday I helped my friend Don run a Frostgrave demo game at the local game store.  We got two walk-up players, and one of our regular Campaign Game players, Buck, came to play as a make -up game since he will miss our next campaign session.
 Since we had three players, I jumped in as a fourth to balance the table.  I took a Thaumturge warband to try something different.  As usual my spell casting rolls were miserable.  I did have fun however casting Shield (+2 armor) which turned my dwarf templar into a little tank. :), and then also used "Blinding Light" a lot (reduces target's fight to 0, and move to 1).
My warband, in the foreground, heads out to snag some treasure.
    I experimented with a tactic of using Blinding Light on my neighbor's soldiers who were heading to the table edge with treasure, and then sent my templar after them.  It would have worked, but the wizard, a necromancer, kept raising zombies in my path to slow me down!
My templar hacks through another of the necromancer's zombies!
   All in all, a great time was had by all.  I only got 2 treasures, but had a lot of fun. And at least one of the new guys bought a copy of the rules.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

HAWKs Attend HAR-CON Gaming Convention

    This past Saturday, the HAWKs attended the HAR-CON gaming convention put on by the game club at the local Harford Community College.  This con is a mixed gaming con, with video games,  role-playing games, card games, board games, and miniatures games.
A group of us posing with the French & Indian War table before the con started.
    The HAWKs presented three games: a large French & Indian War extravaganza using Muskets & Tomahawks rules, a Chaos Wars mass-combat fantasy game, and a Mobile Suit Gundam game.  While the Chaos Wars and Gundam games were somewhat standard, with set start times and number of players; the club designed the big French & Indian War game a little differently.  The game was set-up on a large "T" shaped table, and featured two forts, two villages,, and an Indian settlement; and about a dozen commands of troops ready for any gamers to walk up and play with.  The idea was that the game would run all convention, and interested gamers could come to the table at any time, be assigned a command and a mission, and enter into the game with one of the HAWKs to help tutor them in the rules, and then leave whenever they wanted..
The Fischer brothers' Mobile Suit Gundam game.
     This plan worked out really well, with convention-goers coming and going from the battle the whole day.  It was a lot of fun for the club and for those who came and took part.
The HAWKs help some convention-goers  play in the Muskets & Tomahawks game.
Our game was located right under the upper-level balcony, which allowed for some neat aerial shots of the game.  
A close shot of the action, as French Cour-De-Bois attack a British-held fort.
      I was fortunate to have the opportunity to play in a couple games at the con.  First I helped fill an empty seat at Rob's Chaos Wars game, which I had never played before.  It was a fun set of rules, and Rob's figures and table are always beautiful and a treat to play with.
Rob explaining the rules to my opponent, Zeb. 
   After lunch, I was one of the panelists, along with David "Zeb" Cook and Buck Surdu, in a Game Designer's  Q&A session.  The event was a lot of fun, and we were all pleasantly surprised that around 25 folks turned out to listen to us, and ask some interesting questions about our experiences with designing games.
David "Zeb" Cook, Buck Surdu, and myself prepare to begin our Game Designers panel discussion. (Photo by Greg Priebe.)
        Later, I joined in with a group of the other fellows from the HAWKs on the patio outside the school's student center to play a game called Johann Sebastian Joust, hosted by Markus Mabson. The game is a non-graphics, digital outdoor game in which each player holds a motion-sensitive hand controller and attempts to not move the controller too much, or it will internally vibrate and then lock the player out of the game.  The game master plays music, fast or slow, from a base station that the controller is linked to, and the faster the music is the less sensitive the hand controller is, and the slower the music is the more sensitive the hand controller is.  As the music plays, each player tries to move around, not disturbing the motion-sensitive hand controller in one of their hands, while at the same time trying to use their other hand to knock the arm of the other players to trigger their motion sensitive hand controller.  Much hilarity ensued!
Playing Joust with the HAWKs.  
Lastly, I played in a card game called "Gloom", run by Emeril Getscher.   In the game you play a dismal and eccentric Victorian family, and each player attempts to be the first to kill off their family in the most depressing ways.  The game was fun and had some interesting tactics to work through.
Myself, at the far end of the table, with some of the HAWKs, playing Gloom.  (Photo by Jamie Colopietro.)
I had a great time at the HAR-CON as did the rest of the HAWKs.  It is a great little one-day  gaming event, and we look forward to returning next year.