Thursday, May 31, 2012

Classic Battletech Template & Battle Report Teaser...


Last night Hive Angel came over for a game of Classic Battletech. For some odd reason I had forgotten about it till my dog Molly starting going nuts signalling his arrival. We didn't quite make it to the halfway mark when we had to call it on time, so we decided to leave everything in place and shall resume combat this evening. Personally I don't see myself pulling out a victory, however I thought much the same when I bitched my way to victory in the extraction scenario some weeks back. So who knows...

 One thing we've had trouble with is determining firing arcs. After some discussion last night, we figured that a template of some sort would make things a bit easier. So I scaled the diagram from the quick start rules up to actual hex size & slightly altered the wording as you can see at right. We'll give this a try tonight and see if it helps. It doesn't cover things like side torsos, but I'm concerned that if I add too much more to it, it'll become cluttered and do nothing but add confusion rather than reduce it.

 With that done, I figured I'd give you a quick 'state of my forces' description. I'm not going to going to go into specifics as Hive Angel is working on a battle report for his blog which he'll post following the game's conclusion this evening (so keep an eye out for it).

My force's condition is as follows:

Cicada CDA-3C - One enemy PPC hit took out it's own PPC, leaving it with just 2 machine guns and a pair of legs. That said, there's still one enemy harasser light hover tank to kick to death.

Grand Dragon DRG-1G (x2) -  Both are currently locked into two separate point blank medium laser and kicking slugfests with larger mechs. They are quickly losing these contests...

Stalker STK-4N - My commander has finally decided to grace the combat zone with his presence now that his lance mates are all beat up (though so is the enemy). Currently the Stalker is undamaged and is in the 'sweet spot' for its vast array of weaponry (for which the enemy's Thunderbolt has suddenly become painfully aware). It may be too late to turn the tide, but killing some shit makes for a nice consolation prize.

Maxim Hover Tank (standard) - The school bus is looking a little worse for wear. It's turret is locked to the left and the air skirt is sporting a few holes which is slowing it down some (hover tanks in urban terrain, surely you jest?). Currently I'm pondering on how to maneuver it into a nice left side broadside position.

Conventional Foot Infantry Platoon (Laser) - They haven't done shit! Aside from having a nice little picnic at a city intersection for a while. They've also been running the propaganda machine by continually broadcasting 'they're baby killers' across all known radio frequencies to try and turn the local populace against the enemy. If this is working, it has yet to have any effect...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Stirland Captain complete...sorta.


With Memorial day weekend's temperatures pretty much staying @ 90+ degrees Fahrenheit (that clarification is so as to not totally shock those reading outside of the US) I decided that this would be mostly a 'painting weekend.' Despite that I did go on a 17 mile group bike ride on Sunday, though painting was done all three days. However Saturday the only paint that was applied went into the walls of my bathroom and I must say that while I love painting minis I hate painting walls, and I still need to do the trim.


Anyways, in between nodding off (due probably to a mild case of heat exhaustion) Sunday afternoon, and then for the better part of yesterday afternoon, I did manage to get my Empire captain mostly done, as well as a pair of Empire/Mordheim archers a little further along.

He's  mostly complete only in that the base needs to still be done. I didn't have my other (few) finished Empire/Mordheim minis with me and its been quite some time since any have been painted. So I couldn't recall what color their bases are painted. Turns out its Scorched Brown (or whatever it's been renamed as now) rather than Goblin Green. However I'm all out of that color so the base will stay green till I can get to the FLGS to restock. Given that the shop is 25ish miles away, I probably won't get there till next weekend at the earliest. Anyways, I'm pretty pleased with how he came out and its a lot more detailed of a model than I first expected. I dirtied up the bottom of the cloak (perhaps a bit too much) to make it look as though its been dragging thru the mud. My other Stirlanders (and pretty much all of my other armies), are a grubby looking lot.

Also I dare say that were his pistol real, then pulling its trigger would be suicide! Not that guns were all that safe in the days of flintlocks to begin with. True, its a little warped (ah yes, resin...) but the barrel is kinda flattened out! He'd be better off to go to the nearest stream bed to find some skipping stones to fire from it rather than to try bullets (though I guess they wouldn't fit down the barrel as they're round...). I just figure on the rare occasions that it is fired, it'll miss by default.

I also tweaked my (proposed) order of battle from my last post, switching the free companies to a small block of swordsmen. I figured that as meager as my force is, there's no room to waste on expend-a-troop supporting units. At some point I need to get another box of militia. That box will be spread across my 3 regiments in the form of four more greatswords, three more halberders, ten more swordsmen (shields will be purchased separately as none come in that box), and whatever is left probably going towards a few more archers. There's no time frame for that purchase at this point though.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Looking off in the wrong direction...again.


For whatever reason, lately I've been in the mood to paint stuff that I really don't use, for games that I rarely (or in this case, don't) play. Last week was BFG and this week I've started basecoating an Empire Captain. No pics yet as not much has been done, but he's been started. Perhaps next post...

Now, he was purchased for use with my Stirland Deserters Warband for Mordheim, but he looks a bit too nice for that (plus I like my Skaven for Mordheim far more than I do my Stirlanders). Then some ways back Neverness pitched a fit when he found that I had sold off my almost fully painted O&G horde cause he was thinking of getting back into WHFB. I had no idea that he actually played that game, but he has most everything in a box somewhere's so I should have known. He mentioned his empire here & again, but didn't think it was more than a few random minis & a conceptual idea (something we're all probably guilty of). Anyways I bought some more stuff to make a Warband-turned-Empire army (i.e., before some of them deserted to Mordheim). But it never has really gotten anywhere. No one locally was playing 8th ed., and when asked Neverness still hadn't touched any of his Empire minis with a brush (btw, how's that new year's resolution of your's coming?).

Then more recently, Madival restarted playing WHFB again and was looking for opponents. He asked what I had and the answer was 'not much' though I did at least put what I had left on sprues together to get a look. Just for the hell of it, I came up with a diagram of the army based off of Admiral Drax's orders of battle, behold:

Its almost laughable to call this an army!

Amusingly, were I to remove the 2 magic items I had selected from the old army book (I have neither the new one nor the 8th ed rulebook for that matter) I could actually call this a historical army, lol! Totaling somewhere between 500-600 points, and failing to meet (or rather not exceed) the point percentage limits of the new system, even just using the old army book one can see that this is a decidedly weak formation. I have no desire to go competitive with this (assuming it goes anywhere) and thus am not interested in dealing competitive armies either, so Madival don't get your hopes up (in general I've never liked the concept of undead armies anyways).

There's no BSB, wizards, artillery (just a crummy Engineer with  a blunderbuss [assuming they can still have those] meaning that if anything, he IS the artillery), no knights, the list goes on... Furthermore the costs of correcting that (even before the next price increase which is imminent) is somewhat horrifying. So odds are this wont change anytime soon. Hopefully though, these ragged few souls will have a pretty new commander (as opposed to a primed black one who's arm isn't glued on) by the end of the long weekend.

We shall see...

Monday, May 21, 2012

A long history ramble and a few spaceships at the end...

Yes apparently...

I highly recommend these!
So, I'm not sure where the inclination quite came from, but recently I've become rather quite interested in naval deign & history from prior to WWII, yet after the American Civil war. Honestly I think it came out of Wikipedia searches on ship's names for my space ships in EVE online of all things. So after digging around online, I bought these two books which are way out of print, yet still available via Amazon (cause everything is on there). Brand new (if even available) they're priced to the point of ridiculousness whereas used, I was able to find them at fairly reasonable prices.

Now, if you're not interested in this sort of thing, they're probably as dry as a high school textbook (as this post may also be, if so just skip down to the space ships). However I am, so they are in fact quite entertaining to me. The state of naval warfare in those days was almost comical (unless you were in the engine room or just about anywhere inside a ship where it was literally hellishly hot). The US congress ignoring actual naval opnions and instead demanding the biggest guns, heaviest armor, and putting it all on the smallest (i.e. cheapest) displacement and short range (so as not to offend foreign powers) resulting in many of the same errors being repeated in designs, and as a result a fleet of  absolute mediocrity.

The earliest of US battleships were more or less copies of one fielded by Brazil, which at the time had the biggest guns in the western hemisphere! That thought scared the hell out of the US governemnt when they realized it could bombard coastal US cities and there wouldn't be a thing we could do about it!  The best we had were antiquated river monitors (which were only meant for rivers yet we periodically  would send across the pacific to guard far flung US interests, how they didn't sink enroute is a mystery to me) and obsolete Civil War designs.

 Instead of listening to what the Navy wanted the goverment kept building ships with features like terribly low free board,  torpedo tubes that never worked right, casemate guns that were all but unusable in anything but flat & glassy seas, ram bows that sent waves over the tops of the bows & straight into the turrets & casemates that they could never seem to waterproof (powder doesn't fire when wet!). Super imposed turrets (which mounted an 8" gun turret on top of a 12" gun turret...think about it) were just plain stupid yet even when they started to realize that the concept was a mistake, they added them to a second class of battleships because they didn't want European nations to think that we didn't know what we were doing! They were already well aware is it turns out...

BB-1 USS Indiana
 While built before the debacle of superimposed turrets, I'll use the Indiana for example. It was the US's first real Battleship in the modern sense, and boy did it show!  Built without any kind of keels & unbalanced turrets,  when the turrets were turned for a broadside,  the ship would list heavily to the side. Thus, rather than arcing their shots at maximum elevation for better range, the guns would instead just be firing on a flat trajectory! Worse yet in a storm once, the turrets broke their locks and were swinging uncontrollably from one side to another (like a said eariler, comical) till the crew was somehow able to tie them down with ropes. Later they had to repeat the process in the wee hours of the morning when the ropes snapped, how they didn't drown anyone in that process I don't know. After that incident the Indiana would make a hard turn towards the nearest port when any storm seemed to be on approach.

The only real victory we had in those days was the battle of Santiago de Cuba which ended the Spanish American war. While they were effective in that these ships, despite their flaws won the war. That victory also had a lot to do with the Spanish ships being even worse than ours.

 When ordered to Cuba's water, the Spanish admiral said it the state of his fleet made it suicide, the Spanish government said to go anyways. Built along the same sad lines as ours (more or less) the Spanish flagship's main guns weren't even fitted but rather had wooden mockups, and budget cuts meant several of the Spanish ships were firing 'training' rounds filled with sawdust (guess how well that worked). Its no wonder that between the first ironclad engagements in the Civil War and the arrival of the HMS Dreadnought, this period of naval history is kind of ignored. The Battle of Tsushima is about all that is ever really mentioned, and even then rarely.

Anyways, what the hell does all of this have to do with space ships I hear you ask (assuming you haven't already closed the page)? Well, not being a historical gaming player, the closest thing to this kind of setting that I have in my collections, is Battlefleet Gothic (which could easily be played using actual naval ships rather than space ships when you think about it). So when purchasing my Rangers a few weeks back, to get to the $50 needed for free shipping I bought a box of Imperial cruisers (and then the rangers were out of stock, so all I got from GW was the cruisers & the free shipping, go figure).

I ran out of black primer for the other 2 bases.

So I painted those two ships up as well as an old Spacefleet cruiser that I intend to use as an Endeavor class light cruiser (which is impossible to find these days). I also have a blister of frigates, so toss in an admiral & a reroll or two & it ought to make for a 750 point fleet or so. True, in the time period discussed above, there were no carriers, I had to make at least one carrier as you can't play BFG with out them. I've mentioned playing games without carriers & always get the same response:

 'Why would you want to do that?'

I dunno, I always thought it was supposed to be a game about spaceships, rather than the stupid little fighter & bomber card stock tokens. However given that we rarely ever play BFG, it doesn't matter much really. At least they look good on the shelf!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A curious replacement.


As mentioned in my prior post, the box of Eldar Guardians that I  was assembling, was missing a sprue. So I contacted GW, apologies were given and a replacement I was told would be sent right out. Perfect, no complaints with their customer service as always. Now, GW used to just send you the replacement parts required back when they had their old (and much loved) Bitz service.

Then there was a warehouse collapse of some sort, the inventory clerks were driven to heavy drinking due to keeping track of something like 30,000-40,000 UPC codes, and in short, the bitz service was gone (or rather, gone to the aftermarket retailers). So whenever you were shorted a sprue, GW would just send you an entire box of whatever it was. This only happened to me once, with the GW rep telling me to make the partial Basilisk kit into terrain or something (note the blue Rhino with the Earthshaker shoved thru it). So, I figured I'd be getting another box of guardians and was pondering what I'd do with 4 extras. Already having 30 Guardians (erm...Gardeners), I really don't need anymore. However the point is moot:

I just got the missing sprue, that's odd?

Now, I SERIOUSLY doubt that GW is bringing back their Bitz service, but it strikes me as curious that (as a cost cutting measure I'm sure...) they're tearing open boxes to find replacement parts. I've seen of quite a few complaints on the 25th anniversary model's quality, with people getting sent (and in a few cases summarily sending back) the entire boxed sets. Whereas Bob over at the Lesser of all Evils just got the marine's helmet sent to him. That kinda struck me as odd, then, but I guess not now. Makes me wonder if I should start checking ebay to see if GW is now selling partial boxes...

Speaking of my Eldar, after the recent demonic incursion, the Exodites went back to cleansing the Mon'Kiegh blight from their home world last night.  However there are still some vermin that have yet to be exterminated that are still praying to their dark gods, and unfortunately for the Exodites the followers of the Blood God arrived. Hive Angel will insist that they're Blood Angels, but come on, we know who they really worship...

While the Dragon Knights proved once again to be the mother-of-all-tar pits (eventually succumbing to attrition something like 3-4 turns after their initial contact) the Exodites in the end got pasted. However one of the more comical moments was me trying to figure out how far my Autarch on his Gryphon turbo-boosted (or rather super...flied? flew?) over the course of the game. He went (quote): 24, 48...72..uh...lots.


I really shouldn't be required to have to figure up all those numbers after 8 o'clock at night. Hell, I already suck at math during daylight hours!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Gardening in the Grim Dark?


I'm back from my vacation in DC and I must say that I had a lot of fun while there! I got back home Saturday afternoon and have been trying to get all caught back up on everything since. Sundays are often my 'painting' days (unless @ a 40k tourney), however yesterday I spent a good chunk of that painting time showing my grandparents my gazillion photos & telling them about my trip.

I did manage to get in some hobby time, and rather than paint I decided to assemble the box of Guardians I had bought...last summer I think. I had some more Dark Elf leggings to make them into Exodites, however after opening the box, I found that a sprue was missing, meaning I could only make half of the basic grunts (and a call to GW's customer service will be following this post). As such I only managed to get four assembled, which you can see below:

Nothing fancy, just some more bulk for the army. I'm hoping to get them up to the 1500 point mark soon as I can then take them to the 40k tournies in Morristown. Eldar (aside from the 'Dark' kind) are completely unrepresented there, which i think needs correcting.

When I played this army as mentioned in my last post, Neverness asked if these were called 'Gardeners'. lol! Considering that many Eoxdites are farmers to some extent, I rather liked that name, and will be updating their names to that in my Exodite field guide. He also suggested I get some Rangers. Rangers fit in well with the Exodites, and as my trip came in under budget, I ordered a half dozen from GW. I got the old styled ones, as while I like the newer models more, I didn't want to deal with them as they've been rereleased as FAILcost models.

When I get my Gardener replacements & Rangers, I ought to be able to field the Exodites at the 1500 point mark. Effectiveness is debatable, however for an army that was only ever supposed to look pretty, its been able to generally hold its own.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Minotaurs, Dragons and...a Demonic Cow?


I didn't have a whole lot of time for painting this week, though I did get one point of Minotaur Protomechs painted with a second point started. They're rather small, so the paint jobs are decent, though nothing special as you can see:
I figured that numbering the bases was the easiest way to tell them apart.
On the 40k battlefront, Saturday night Neverness came over for a small game with his Demons attacking my Exodites who (up until that point) had been in the process of cleansing their world of the Mon'keigh blight. Apparently, forsaken by the almighty Emperor, the Mon'keigh started praying to whichever gods would listen, and the demons arrived as their...salvation? One of which was apparently the 'demonic cow' mentioned in the title of this post.  Neverness took several photos and posted a battle report which you can find here, and it was a damned good game if I do say so myself!

 My forces were as follows:

Spinifex Exodites: 1223


Autarch                                                                          70       
    Griffin - Counts as:
Jetbike w/Twin-Shuriken Catapults                              30
Laser Lance, Mandi-Blaster                                          30
(Note: Laser Lance will only be used in HTH combat)       
                                                                                      Total: 130
Farseer                                                                            55
    Runes of Warding, Spirit Stones                                35
    Doom, Fortune, Guide                                               75
                                                                                       Total: 165
(6) Dragon Knights - (Wraithguard)                              210
    Warlock w/Conceal, Singing Spear                           43
                                                                                       Total: 253
(7) Dire Avengers                                                           84
    Exarch w/Blade Storm                                               27
                                                                                       Total: 111
(10) Guardians                                                                80
    Warlock w/Singing Spear, Embolden, Spirit Seer      39
Missile Launcher                                                            20
                                                                                        Total: 139
(10) Guardians                                                                80
    Warlock w/ Embolden, Spirit Seer                             36
Scatter Laser                                                                   15
                                                                                        Total: 131
Fast Attack:

 (5) Mosquito Warriors (Swooping Hawks)                    105
    Exarch w/Sun Rifle, Intercept                                     42
                                                                                        Total: 147
(5) Mosquito Warriors (Swooping Hawks)                    105
    Exarch w/Power Sword, Intercept, Sky Leap             42
                                                                                        Total: 147

(sorry on the weird alignment of the point values, it all looks just fine in the preview/layout.)

This will be my only post for the week, as tomorrow I'm heading off on vacation. I'm going to Washington DC, to visit the Smithsonian Museums & the various monuments on the National Mall. It should be a lot of fun I think!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Death by a thousand laser cuts: Part 2


Screech wanted to stumble thru a game of CBT the other night, and as such that gave me an opportunity to try my Protomech horde out. Not having any map sheets of my own (Screech's plasitcard hexes are too big for a map sheet anyways), we used 'regular' terrain (mainly my Heavy Gear paper buildings as I don't have any other terrain in the CBT scale). Converting one hex into 2 inches, as we used to do in days of old. Personally I think 1 inch per hex would be easier, but as he's still new to the game, I went with what he's most familiar with to make it easier.

Using the master unit list for our forces which the limit was set to 9k points per side. Having only 3 actual mechs in his inventory with decent pilots (no stats were lower than a '3'), it wasn't hard for him to reach that number. Our forces were as follows:

Screech's force:
1 Mad Cat Mk II
1 Vulture
1 Puma (not sure which configuration, other than it had 2 PPCs)
2 points of Motorized Clan Infantry

My force:
1 Corvis 2 with a 3/4 pilot
5 Centaurs (standard)
10 Minotaurs (standard)
5 Rocs (standard)
(all protos had base stats)
1 Point of Motorized Clan Infantry

A note on the infantry, they're just 'filler' using up leftover points to get as close to 9k as it was possible. Mostly they wandered around, mine never go to shoot, his fired a few times & finished off an already beaten up Roc.

This is pretty much where things ended due to time constraints.

Casualties/damage on my side was:

Corvis suffered moderate armor damage with no critical hits (its not seen above as its hiding behind the top most building)
4 Centaurs destroyed
1 Roc destroyed with a second in bad shape
1 Minotaur destroyed with a second in bad shape

Screech's losses:

The Puma's left arm was gone and the left torso was almost gone as well, and he was suffering from heat issues.
The Mad Cat & Vulture each had moderate armor damage peppered around their hulls, but no internals/criticals.

So, despite having to call it due to time,sounds like I lost right? Well, all game i was hearing cries & complaints/comments of:

'OP! OP! Damn that's a lot of shit! Wow they're fast! I should've turtled up in the corner and waited for you to come to me. 

and so on...

So, the question is, are Protomechs over powered? While it sounds like I lost, had we gone just one more turn, the remaining Minotaurs and their 18 ERMLs would have been in optimal range of the Mad Cat & Vulture, while the Puma would have been surrounded by the rest of the bunch. It didn't look like it would end well for Screech in both of our opinions.

It kinda brought to mind my old PAK army from heavy Gear, in which Murl had 1-2 turns to try & do some damage before turtling up as hover tanks strafed him from all directions  (I sold that army as it really wasn't any fun playing something that really was so overpowered).

Rather than using their hit location chart, I was using the standard BM hit chart (and fudging torso/leg hits as necessary). I didn't use the proto hit chart as I couldn't figure out why the numbers 3 & 11 were missing (neither of us had the total warfare book on hand). Reading online yesterday, I found that those locations are considered 'near misses' and if rolled, no damage is applied to the Proto. Those numbers popped up a time or two, so odds are one or more of those dead protos wouldn't have been.

Granted, had he had a full star of mechs, rather than just the three, it would have been easier to deal with the horde, but in all likelihood, the Protos would have a lot better pilots (after point level was increased), so maybe not. In various forums Opinions range from 'Protos totally suck!' to 'OMG they're OP!!!' I've even read of them being banned from leagues! However the most common consensus is that they're just plain ugly & so most people don't use them. True, most of them are, but then again, so are most mechs, so what the hell?

It'll take me a few more tries to really get the hang of them, but I'm wondering if the easiest way to balance them (if indeed that are OP) is to have them on both sides of the engagement...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Let's get excited for more of the same!!!


Yeah, yeah, I'm hating on GW this morning. Everyone else does it so worst you can do is accuse me of hopping on the bandwagon...

Normally, I don't post anything on the GW SPAM...erm, hobby announcement emails that they send me. Instead I glance thru them if they interest me, I might even read the marketin--sorry, the descriptions beneath before deleting. Sorry GW, but your 'regular' emails aren't nearly as interesting as your 'Forgeworld' email offerings. However this morning I received the 'For the Empire!' email and felt the need to comment.

 Behold, the (apparently new) Empire battalion!!! 

No, I didn't ask GW permission to use this for my rant.
Now,  From what I can see above, there's nothing new. NOTHING! Same old minis, not bad minis, just old minis. So why is it on 'advanced order'? There are boxes just like this collecting dust on store shelves all over the world right now...

No I didn't ask to use this one either.
....ahh but wait, the box itself is new! Huzzah!!! As someone who works in the packaging industry, I should appreciate a pretty new box! However I'd be more appreciative of it were it not printed in China...

The price lists this shiny new box full of old minis for $100. Now, I've never bought a battalion box before, but I was under the impression (and correct me if I'm wrong) that battalion boxes were about $90. True, even at $100 you're saving something over buying these units individually (though not as much as before apparently), but really GW? You're going to give me the option to pre-order something I can just go to the store and buy right now, and were I to do so, all that I can get over the already-in-store model is a shiny new box?

Now I ask, while it is a nice shiny new box, did that really warrant an email to all of their customers to show it off? After all, the point of repackaging old stuff is to make it jump off the shelves as it looks like something new. Whereas informing me beforehand that it's the 'same old, same old' kinda defeats the purpose...