Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Fallcon 2013

Over the last weekend I went to Calgary for my second Fallcon visit, and it was a blast!

This year, there seemed to be fewer miniatures games and more boardgames, but I still managed to get my fill.  I also met all the old Calgary crew again, along with Mark W., who moved there in this past year.

Friday night, there was a Saga game run by Mike Johnson.  At first, I thought it was some kind of tournament, so I brought my own Saga warband.  However, it turned out to be a loosely depicted version of the Battle of Brunanburh, with all the miniatures provided.

Here both armies were arrayed against each other, and I was on the Scottish/Viking side.

I took control of the Scottish King Constantine's warband and faced off against the Anglo-Saxons.  It was a pretty standard Saga warband with a leader, a couple of groups of hearthguard, and a couple of groups of warriors.

There really wasn't much room for maneuver, and I charged through one of the Anglo-Saxon warbands facing me, managing to break them in cooperation with the Viking players on my side.  The battle ended up with the Anglo-Saxons losing, having something like three of their warlords killed.

On Saturday morning, I played in Sean's GASLIGHT game, a Victorian Science Fiction skirmish using 1/72 scale miniatures.  The objective was to collect a bunch of blue crystals, and their collection triggered monsters.  The players also could cooperate or backstab each other.

Here was the board setup showing Sean's excellent terrain.

I took the role of the Ethiopian prince Haile Unlikely (clever eh?), commanding a bunch of warriors on camels and on foot.  Sean had some very nicely-painted 1/72s.

There were all sorts of interesting units, like this Italian steam tank controlled by Mark.

A lot of monster-killing fun was had by all.  Here, my leader attacked a giant spider by himself.

Mike Johnson's Fez Patrol was attacked by a giant sandworm.  He managed to kill it though.

Eventually, the players all had to turn on each other.  I prematurely attacked the Highlanders next to me and got a lot of my warriors wiped out for my troubles.  Here, my lone camel rider bravely charged the remnants of the Highlanders.

Later on Saturday, Don Ray's Calgary DBA group put on a friendly introductory tournament of ancients DBA, set in the time of Alexander the Great.  I participated and put my ancient Spanish army in there as a stand-in for Thracians.

I played a couple of games with an Alexandrian Macedonian army against other people who used my Spanish, and I managed to win both times, even in bad terrain.  This was more due to bad luck on the part of both of my opponents than anything else.

Most of the armies were actually Alexandrian Macedonian, provided by the club, but there were several other interesting armies too.  Here, a Persian army faced off against their historical enemy.

In this one, the aggressive Macedonians attacked an Indian army.

On Sunday, I participated in the Alberta Open DBA tournament with all the usual suspects.  My army of choice here was the Komnenan Byzantines.

My first game was against Mark S's Carthaginians, and it was really bizarre.  I attacked with my knights, including my general, on the right wing against his warbands in the open.  Even though I had quick-kills on his units, my general died without killing any of them.  This ended the game with 1G-0 against me!

The next game was against Mark Wall's Spartacus army.  In theory, I should've been able to take any of his units (mostly warbands and blades) in the open with my knights.  Knowing this, he cleverly positioned his warbands in rough terrain and drew up his blades to support each other.  It ended up being a grinding match, with both of us losing units until he won out 4-3.

In contrast, the next game was rather quick.  My opponent had a mostly blades army and deployed on a gentle hill.  His general and one other unit got run down by my knights very quickly, ending the game.

There were quite a few nicely painted armies in the tournament.  The brightly-coloured Sassanid Persian army here was a good example.  The tournament ended with everyone having a lot of fun, and Don gave away prizes (mostly donated by Mark W!) to almost everyone.

This year's Fallcon was an enjoyable experience, and I'll definitely be back next time!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Mayday 2013 Events

On this Saturday, I attended Mayday, our annual local gaming convention.  This year, we had quite a turn out, and there were more games than last year.

Various hosts ran individual games, and there were also two big tournaments, for Warhammer 40k and Warmachine.

I ran a Tomorrow's War scenario, where a hi-tech security company has to escort a convoy of important cargo through an area controlled by insurgents.  The asymmetrical game setup of the Ambush Alley game engine allowed an excellent game to be played.

The convoy started at one end of the table and had to reach the other side against opposition.  The enemy could pop up in various hotspots around the table, and outnumbered the smaller but higher-quality security teams.

However, the game went badly for the convoy from the very beginning - one of the vehicles was immobilized, and the other had its weapon destroyed.  From then on, the convoy had serious problems going through the town.

The vehicle that still could move tried to forge ahead, but was demolished by a large IED.  Only the foot security teams could protect the convoy now.

The men pushed on though, and managed to cause some casualties to the insurgents due to their high quality.  However, eventually they got beaten back and were overwhelmed by superior numbers.  Here, a shot of one of the last turns had one of the security teams all wounded and captured by the insurgents, while the other one was pinned with casualties.

The game ended with a major victory for the insurgents, and the scenario might need some more balancing.  I'll probably add a sniper team for the security company, to add some firepower and coordinate the beyond line-of-sight fire capability of the vehicles.

There were quite a few other games going at the same time.

Dave C ran an El Cid game using I believe War and Conquest rules.  It sure looked great with crusaders painted up in all their glory.

There was a Victorian Sci-fi game run by the guys from Calgary, and it looked quite fun.  I saw a funny looking steam tank, a dinosaur, and some sort of summoning of a giant spider.

There was of course the 40k tournament, which provided a lot of opportunities for nicely painted models to get shown.

There was also a nicely done WWII game, Command Decision I think.

Later in the day, I played in the DBA tournament, where all of us used armies that were historical enemies of Rome.  I had the ancient Spanish.

The first game, I faced off against the Seleukid army of Don from Calgary.  This was a slow game where we both maneuvered for position most of the time.  We only started engaging near the end of the time limit, and I eked out a win by killing his general from some lucky rolls.

The second game was against Dave's ancient Britons, and I was not so lucky.  The fairly open terrain didn't suit my army, and I deployed poorly, allowing his chariots to smash against a weak flank.  Add some unlucky rolls to that and I suffered several units destroyed, losing the game.

The third game was against Stu's version of the ancient Britons army, and I did better.  I managed to hang onto edges of steeps hills and attacked his army from a location of advantage.   This ended in a win for me.

I think Mark won the tournament at the end, winning all three of his games.

In the evening I played in a 15 mm sci-fi game using the Gruntz rules.  I played aliens trying to attack some human colonists protected by marines.
The aliens started in a power plant and had to attack humans on the other side of the board.

I eventually overwhelmed the marines through relentless alien attacks.  Here is a shot of the aliens breaking into the human settlement.

Gruntz is an interesting game system, where you roll two D6s for each figure, in order to beat a target number to hit and wound the enemy.  It played quite quickly even with a fairly large number of models, so it can be another rule set for me to try out.

All in all, this year's Mayday was a great success, and we all had a lot of fun.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

1/72 Sci-fi Infantry

Finally, here's the infantry component for the Mayday game.  They are Caesar's modern special forces miniatures that I've painted in an urban camouflage pattern, and they are meant to represent soldiers working for a security company guarding cargo in my science fiction game.
Since these are regulars in an Ambush Alley/Tomorrow's War game, there are only a few of them, and they'll be facing much lower quality opposition.  Basically there are two teams of four, plus some specialists.  I mostly painted Caesar miniatures just as they are, with only a few conversions.

The miniature in the middle is the original Caesar pose, and I like that it has a very sci-fi appearance, with the night-vision goggle in one eye.  I converted the same pose by adding different legs to produce the other two poses.

For this leader figure, I did a bit more work.  I gave him a beret head from the Caesar WWII partisans set, and a cybernetic eye piece over his left eye made from a styrene rod.

This one is painted as is for use as an electronic warfare specialist.  He is from a Caesar modern American set and has some sort of tablet in his hand.

I also made some markers for bombs and IEDs.  These represent medium-sized bombs that can destroy armoured vehicles.

These are small IEDs made from mortar shells.  They will be a pain for the regulars.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

More 1/72 Sci-fi

Finally, I'm back on 1/72 scale miniatures!  For this year's Mayday, I'll be hosting another Ambush Alley/Tomorrow's War game, and I've completed a few vehicle models for it.

These are the left and right sides of a Revell Fennek reconnaissance vehicle.  Like a lot of ultramodern vehicles, it looks very sci-fi, and I'm using it as an advanced scout vehicle in the game.  I've painted an urban camouflage pattern similar to others I've seen online.

Here is a 1/72 scale Caesar modern special forces soldier for size comparison.

To accompany it, I've built this old ESCI Morris Quad tractor.  For a WWII vehicle, it sure looks futuristic when it's painted in an appropriate camouflage and has bits added to it.

The same Caesar soldier showing the size of the truck.  It's a good size for a Humvee-style utility transport.

Finally, I've painted the mechanical mules shown previously.  They can act as fairly large transport robots for 1/72 scale miniatures.

I've got more stuff coming too, some infantry and various terrain and markers, so stay tuned!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Assembled Storm Troopers

I've assembled some of the storm trooper models from the other day, and they look great so far.  There are a lot of pieces to put together, especially with the mechanical mule, but the results are excellent.

This is the front and back of a standard storm trooper.  You can see that there's a lot of detail all over the model, and I especially like the helmet and mask.  It looks like the standard storm trooper rifle is some sort of MG-42 derivative.

This is Ada, the female storm trooper that came as a bonus for the Kickstarter order.  Again, there's excellent detail matching the regular storm trooper from above.  Plus, there's a ridiculously large gun involved. :)  At least that's the only thing big on her, and she doesn't have her own floatation devices that are all too common on sci-fi/fantasy female figures. :P

One of the cool pieces of equipment that came with the accessory pack is the mechanical mule, which is a Big Dog style walking robot cargo carrier.  There are three of them in the pack, and although there are some fiddly pieces, they add to the sci-fi atmosphere quite a bit.

I immediately thought of using the mule for 1/72 scale sci-fi, so I took this picture with two figures from that scale.  It looks like the machine can definitely fit that purpose.  It's just more of a robotic ox instead of a mule, being quite a bit larger.

Here's a comparison shot of the two storm troopers with a converted Games Workshop Cadian trooper.  Dream Forge's sculpting style is much closer to actual human proportions than GW's "heroic 28", so these models are taller and thinner compared to the Warhammer figure.  They're probably better off used separately from the GW stuff in 28mm sci-fi games.

All in all, these are great models that can really add to any gaming experience.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Storm Troopers!

No, not Star Wars.  I just received my Kickstarter package for DreamForge Games' plastic sci-fi German storm troopers.  These are very nicely made hard plastic 28mm figures that are based on DreamForge's current metal range of sci-fi Germans.  I ordered one 20-man pack of storm troopers, which came with an accessory package as well as a couple of bonus figures - the gun-totting "Ada" female storm trooper and the "feral Shadokesh" alien with an alien handler.

To my surprise during the Kickstarter campaign, the plastic miniatures were all going to be manufactured by Wargames Factory.  Now this company has gotten a bad reputation for poorly made products with soft detail.  However, none of that is evident in this batch of miniatures!  So it seems the problem was more with their original design side rather than the manufacturing side.  With DreamForge's excellent sculptors and designers, WGF can obviously make an excellent product.

These are the sprues that come in the 20-man storm trooper box.  There are pieces for all the storm troopers, alternate weapon selections, as well as enough bases for all the soldiers.
A close-up of the storm trooper helmets.  The detail is pretty amazing, a far cry from the poorly rendered "Greatcoat Troopers" from WGF's previous sci-fi set.

A close-up of some storm trooper legs.  There are some nice animated poses.

These are the sprues from the accessories pack.  As you can see, there's a ridiculously large selection of alternate heads, arms, hands, and weapons, far more than actually needed for the 20-man pack.  These sprues will fill up the bits bin for years to come.

In addition to the extra human parts, there are three "mechanical mules" in the accessories pack, which are Big Dog type walking machines that can carry cargo.  The picture above shows the detail in the body section of the mules.  When I put them together, I'll have to see if they can be used for 1/72 scale sci-fi somehow.

This is a great new product for 28mm sci-fi, and all in hard plastic to boot!  It looks like 28mm sci-fi is getting a surge in plastics just like 28mm historicals.