Friday, 19 October 2018

Middle Earth

Ken has recently discovered the GW Middle Earth game, and fancied giving it a go when he passed through Wollongong this week. So he brought it down to the club and Caesar and I had a game each.

Caesar had never played it, Ken has played a couple of games and I played it a few times back when it first came out - more than 15 years ago I reckon. That's a way of saying that we kept it simple and probably made a lot of mistakes because none of us really knew what we were doing.

ken put together an Elven force led by Elrond and some Uruk Hai led by Saruman. I took the Elves in the first game.

We each had a couple of warbands led by a minor (or not so minor) hero, and then a single big personality figure. Both Elrond and Saruman could use magic.

Early approaches ...

First combats. Elrond gave the Elves an edge here, using a spell which knocked the Uruk Hai flying just as the lines engaged.

Elven archery thinned out the Uruk Hai warband ...

... before the lines closed.

The Uruk Hai had crossbows, but got very little chance to use them.

One of the Uruk Hai heroes did a great job holding off Elven attacks.

Saruman posed dramatically, but a lack of familiarity with the magic system meant that Ken probably didn't use him as effectively as he could have done.

Lurtz and Elrond got stuck in, with the Uruk Hai hero coming off worse.

Even Saruman got into close combat.


It ended much as you'd expect, with the white-robed wizard being chopped into little pieces.

More fighting ...

... and some uneven fights.

With the death of Saruman, and eventually Lurtz, Ken conceded this first skirmish. The Elves lost a single archer.

Caesar took over the Elves and Ken played the Uruk Hai again.

This fight seemed more even, with the Uruk Hai inflicting a few casualties.

But once again the forces of evil where whittled down, until a lone Uruk remained. He did a sterling job, and even held off Elrond, but eventually he was polished off.

Ken's got some lovely figures, and the game ran fairly smoothly even if none of us quite knew what we were doing. We could have done with a quick-reference to check the Strength vs Armour thingy, and more knowledge of what spells we had available would have probably given the Uruk Hai more of a fighting chance.

Thanks to Ken for hosting a fun evening, though.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Frocktober 2018 - Part Two

And so the annual Frocktober charity fund-raiser continues. Every year I don dresses in October to raise money for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation to do research into detection of, and a cure for, this hideous disease. This year I have set myself the target of at least ten different frocks during the month.

This will be a long post with virtually no gaming-related material. So rather than make you read to the end if that's not your thing, here's the link to my donations page: IT HAS POCKETS

This is Frock Four. It's by Laura Ashley. I have quite a soft-spot for Laura Ashley; they were very 'in' when I was an impressionable teen in the back in the 1970s and I vowed that if I ever ended up with a wardrobe of my own, it would feature some of their outfits. I have four.

Maya and Catherine popped on frocks on the same day.

This bout of frock-wearing saw our team reach the very modest donation goal I set for it. Given that we're not even halfway through the month, this was fantastic, and we'd like to than everyone who has donated so far. The team page allows us to increase our goal, however. So we did.

Frock five is actually two frocks, since I wore one outfit to a couple of art shows we went to, and then another in the evening for a birthday party. This is my art show look:

Catherine went for something less flouncy, and warmer. The weather didn't oblige and was lovely and warm.

The high point of the day was meeting Dr Susan Hayes, the facial reconstruction anthropologist who worked on Homo floresiensis (the famous 'Hobbit').

The 'party look', and my friend Diane.

Given I run a gaming blog I was criminally negligent in taking photos of the boardgames we played (for it was that kind of party), but I did get this one of us playing Rhino Hero.

And so, finally, the last of this particular batch. Frock Six. A bit dressy for work, but sometimes you have to Go Big or Go Home.

Finally, that donations link again: IT HAS POCKETS

Monday, 15 October 2018

Cruel And Unusual Punishment

Mostly the prisoner-crews of Warden-sponsored cars can earn freedom in the arenas of Gaslands. But some prisoners have committed crimes so heinous that no mercy or pardon is possible*. They are simply sent into the arena as a form of execution. Maybe if they can win the race or entertain the mob, their families and loved-ones will receive a reward. That's all they can hope for.

I modelled and painted the cars for this team yesterday afternoon and evening. As you can see there's not a lot to them. The team consists of five prison-cars fitted with either a box of grenades or molotovs and the Powder-Keg perk. That's it.The cars have no colours and no names. Just a number. They may not have much in the way of combat power, but if you destroy one then you better make sure you're not too close, especially if one of the others is also within the radius of the almost inevitable explosion.

True Gaslands gamey gamers will quickly see that this team can, in theory, win the Saturday Night Live scenario in Gear Phase One of the first turn if they collide with each other with enough force to set of a chain reaction of explosions, each earning the team 3 Audience Votes.

Modelling Details: I picked five cars from my 'bland and boring' pile. I added metal-plate made from the waste rafts from my 3D printing. I painted them. That's it.

*Talking in the quiet carriage on the train, for example. Or wearing leggings as trousers. Or saying 'doggo and 'pupper'.

Friday, 12 October 2018

Another Gaslands Death Race

A member of our group was interested in trying Gaslands after his sons had played it at MOAB, so we gave it yet another go last night. We randomly determined a scenario using our D6 table which gives less emphasis to races and we got ... a race. But that's OK; a nice Death Race is a good way to learn. I gave Drew - the learner - the option of a simple Rutherford team based around fearsome forward firepower on two cars, or a simple two-car Idris team with fewer guns but faster, more controlled cars. He opted for the latter. The other teams were:

Dave - A couple of Slime cars; not heavily armed but good generalists.
Ed - A single rocket-festooned Rutherford helicopter.
Jason - A pair of Miyazaki buggy-sized rally-cars
Me - A Warden prisoner team, consisting of two cheap, nasty cars rigged to explode, and a badass ute with an excavator welded to the back.

Here we all are at the start. My first car has just moved. Yes, it's Max's V8 Interceptor. I forgot to bring one of the vehicles I'd intended to use and had to make a last-minute substitution.

This was the track - a tricky field involving weaving through lines of containers. I need to work out some pre-defined basic layouts to choose from, as after setup we worked out a few ways we could have made the circuit more interesting.

In a Death Race there is a dash for the first gate, as this is where a vehicle's weapons become active. Up until then only collisions - and rams - are allowed. Surprisingly everyone was very considerate and avoided colliding with their opponents. In the case of my vehicles it was because they were rigged to explode in an apocalyptic fireball if they were destroyed, so needed to be treated with caution.

There were some near-misses though.

Approaching Gate One.

Drew got one of his vehicles across the line, and then spun around, partially because the optimum route to the next gate was back the way he'd come but also because it meant he could bring his machine-gun to bear.

Drew's second car passed the gate, smashing into one of Jason's delicate rally-cars.

Ed's helicopter crossed the line and the carnage began, with its rockets dishing out damage on all sides. Helicopters in Gaslands can carry a decent payload, but can't take much in the way of incoming fire.

Intermission - a word from our sponsors ...

Ed's helicopter spun around and fired more rockets. This destroyed one car, which exploded, destroying another, which exploded destroying another ... and so on. Even the helicopter itself was almost shot down by one of the chain of explosions it caused.

My ute had been plodding slowly forward, and caught up with everyone just in time to receive a volley of rockets.

Drew and Jason had each lost both of their vehicles and were waiting to respawn, whilst I soon lost the ute and ended up in respawn territory as well (albeit with a serious pile of Audience Votes; viewers like seeing the Warden's team explode). Even Dave was wrecked.

As people got back into the running, Ed's helicopter did another attack run before being shot down (ready to respawn almost immediately).

We all struggled to reach Gate Two but kept taking damage and losing our vehicle, having to respawn them again and again.

We reached a point where there were no running vehicles left on the field, at which point we agreed to call it a five-way draw. We'd all had a great time even without a clear winner.

I rather liked the makeup of my team. The cheap Warden prison-cars make for great expendable vehicles, whilst the digger on the ute has a lot of potential as well, using the new Grabber-Arm weapon. However I am rather drawn to a team of five cheap prison cars with plenty of explosives on board. As each one dies it will damage and destroy opposition vehicles, but with five of them one is sure to outlive all of the other vehicles on the field.

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