Sunday, 26 October 2014

Hang On Lads! I've Got A Great Idea

Last week a well-spent $2 got me another vehicle of gun-toting doom to take onto the post-apocalypse roads of Unanderra!

However I otherwise paint it, that Union Flag is staying on the roof.

Here it is with the other vehicles I currently have in my 'to paint' pile.

Some of the other vehicles ...

Friday, 24 October 2014


This is a wargames blog. I don't generally post stuff here that doesn't have some kind of game-related content. But I'm going to make an exception for this post about - Frocktober!

Every ten hours, one woman in Australia dies from ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer is an insidious disease, often known as a “silent-killer” as symptoms are vague and often strike without warning. Unlike many other cancers there is no early detection test. Consequently ovarian cancer is often diagnosed in its late stages and only 20%-30% of women will survive beyond five years of diagnosis. In comparison, survival rates increase to 80-100% when ovarian cancer is detected and treated early.

The Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation is Australia’s pre-eminent ovarian cancer research body. Their goal is to raise ovarian cancer awareness and vital funds for the development of an early detection test that will save women’s lives.

They receive no government funding and rely on the support of community and business supporters to assist in driving their research forward.

Frocktober is all about raising funds and awareness. You can wear a frock just once, or do what many are doing and wear a different frock every day in October. In doing do we can help support the OCRF.

Last week I had an opportunity to pop on a frock, flounce in front of a camera and do my bit. I don't have a specific page set up, but I have been promoting and supporting fellow blogger Kim-Marie and her Team Kimba Likes. If you want to contribute just visit this site:

Thank you.

And here's the photo:

As for the technical details,  the lovely Rachel is today wearing a brown and turquoise dress from La Redoute, teamed with high-heeled boots from Rubi Shoes. She is posing in the E.G.Waterhouse National Camellia Gardens in Caringbah, Sydney. The picture was one of many taken by my long-suffering wife.

And my arms really are that skinny.


It's not often you fight an action where the name of the rules and the name of the battle are the same, but that's what we did tonight, two days after the 209th anniversary of Trafalgar. And we used the 'Trafalgar' rules.

To be fair, we didn't fight the whole battle. Ralph devised a scenario which pitted the lead ships of Collingwood's column against the Allied ships they were matched against in the actual battle. It can be assumed that other ships were around; we just focused on a subset of the ones present.

Both sides had six ships. Peter and mark took the British, whilst I took the Allies. Ralph umpired and Dave watched. Caesar wasn't there, as he's spent the last three weeks building the chicken-coop to end all chicken-coops.

Here's the Allied ships. Their objective was to get more ships off the end of the table (where Dave is sat) than they lost to the Royal Navy.

Here comes the Royal Navy.

The Royal Sovereign engages two Allied vessels. Being ahead of the rest of the British line, the Royal Sovereign took a fair amount of fire and was rapidly dismasted by surprisingly accurate French and Spanish gunnery.

A long-view of the game. With the objective to get ships to safety I didn't hang around and fight the British; I piled on sail and ran for the edge, reasoning that the bulk of my ships could escape unengaged, thus fulfilling the victory conditions.

The Royal Navy gave chase, but with no speed advantage were never going to be able to do much.

Two ships didn't make it. The French Algeciras lost a couple of masts, and was given a right pounding ...

... but not as much as the Spanish Bahamas, which was a shattered wreck by the end of the game.

The Royal Sovereign was knocked out of the fight early on, but otherwise most of the British ships took relatively little damage. However the action was about the Allied ships escaping to Cadiz, not destroying the Royal Navy so for me this wasn't an issue.

I'm still not sure about 'Trafalgar' as a game, but I can't quite put my finger on what the issue is. Possibly it's that the rules I've mostly played ('Hearts of Oak' and 'Form Line of Battle' tend to keep they gunnery rules fairly simple, and concentrate their efforts on the sailing and management of the vessels, whereas 'Trafalgar' is the other way around with simple sailing rules and a more involved firing process. I'm also not really sure that the firing mechanisms emphasise differences between ships of different sizes or, it has to be said, crew quality. Perhaps I need to organise a game of 'Form Line of Battle' fairly soon, so we can do a comparison whilst this game is still fresh in or minds.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Running With Scissors

I painted a new gladiator today - so new that he doesn't even have a name yet.

Victor and I are always trying out new ideas for Munera Sine Missioner, and Victor recently came up with some ideas for the Arbelas gladiator type - he of the cone and blade in his left hand. My rules for the cone were pretty simplistic, and Victor wanted to try something more interesting. We also felt that the same mechanisms could be applied to the twin-bladed scissor sword which may or may not have existed. Victor had a couple of these weapons, converted one of his gladiators to wield it ad gave me his spare.

I added it to an old Black Tree figure I had which I'd never painted because (i) he's lost his sword and hand in a horrible accident and (ii) the pose was awkward and bizarre, and I didn't like it. But a spare figure is a spare figure, and a new Milliput hand covered up the small piece of wire I used to attack the scissor sword to the arm.

So here he is - the Scissor.

And here's the old Gladiator Miniatures 'Contra-Retiarius' who now gets called an Arbelas, because it sounds better.

Victor's rules for these weapons assume that they were used to parry, but only longer, slower weapons. Both the Cone and he Scissor have the Parry trait. This allows the gladiator to attempt to disarm their opponent. When they are attacked by an unwieldy weapon which is attacking at two or more hexes, and does not have the Ranged trait, a parry attempt may be declared. Roll a D6, and apply the Attacker's attack modifier to the roll.

A score of 3 or less means that the Attackers attack is blocked and that they drop their weapon into a random adjacent hex.

A score of 4 or 5 has no effect, and the attack is now resolved.

A score of 6 or more means that the attack is resolved, but that the Attacker now gets an additional +1 as the Defender's failed parry attempt has left their guard wide open.

(The Attacker's modifiers make a lot of difference to this roll. I am inclined to treat an unmodified 1 as a 1 and an unmodified 6 as a 6, and only apply modifiers to rolls of 2-5. In that way there's always a chance of parrying and always a chance for the Attacker to get a bonus.)

Reading the rules, you will see that the weapons this trait can counter are the long spear, the trident, the net and the lasso.

The Cone is also treated in all other respects as a small shield. The Scissor is treated as a sword, but always counts as disadvantaged.

The Arbelas and Scissor make interesting opponents for the Retiarius and/or Hoplomachus types.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

The Pons

I thought I'd try something a little different with my gladiators today. I say today, but I've been planning and executing it during the week, and just played it out today.

I made a Pons.

This is a wooden bridge structure, on which a Retiarus would stand, to be faced by two Secutor type gladiators. As well as his net and trident the Retiarius had a pile of stones he could use to fend off his opponents.

I staged this to see what the setup looked like. Nice, huh? It's made from card and matchsticks.

Then I played a game. I used Munera Sine Missione v2.3, of course.

The Pons consists of five hexes in a row. The three in the middle are the Pons proper, and on each end are the ramps. The Pons is two levels above the floor os the arena, whilst the ramps are one level. A gladiator can attack from or onto the Pons, but if they are on a lower level they subtract the difference in levels from their attack roll, and if on a higher level they add the difference. So a Secutor in the arena attacking the Retiarus on the Pons would suffer a -2, whilst the Retiarius fights back at a +2

The Retiarius must remain on the Pons, so cannot be pushed back. There's a small rule change which helps this, which I'll cover later.

The Pons can only be entered through the two hexsides at each ens of the ramps. It costs +1AP to move from the arena onto a ramp, or from a ramp onto the Pons.

The Retiarius has an unlimited supply of fist-sized rocks. These are a ranged attack (4 hexes), but count as disadvantaged (double disadvantaged at 3 or 4 hexes).

I pitted Cupido the Retiarius, against Hero (in the green loincloth) and Ostorius (in red).

Ostorius charged straight in, trying to hold Cupido in combat whilst Hero moved into position. He managed to wound Cupido, but the Retiarus's height advantage soon began to tell.

Hero reached the end of the Pons.

He charged up the ramp and attacked Cupido, who was still engaged by Ostorius.

A single trident thrust finished off Ostorius, and Cupido turned to face Hero.

Hero drove the Retiarius back, dodging the swinging net.

A single sword thrust, and Cupido went down.

I need to play this out again a few times to sort out the balance. I really started the Secutors too close to the Pons - Ostorius reached it on his first turn, and that pretty much held Cupido in place before he could really do anything to prevent it.

In terms of optional rules, I can't see the referee working with this setup (unless he's forbidden from being positioned on the Pons itself), but I did use Working The Crowd.

As for the rule change, it's something more general I'm looking at in order to fix a small bug in the game. Ordinarily, if you miss a gladiator, they jump back one hex. If they can't do so, because of another gladiator, the arena wall, or being on a Pons, they are knocked over. If they are knocked over whilst down, then they are beaten. So if you back a gladiator against the arena wall, your best strategy is to use weak attacks that won't hit, so the misses knock him down once, then twice.

Te fix is that a gladiator that can't jump back, doesn't. However if they are attacked from a position where a jump back isn't possible, then the attacker gets a +1. If you can't effectively dodge, then you are easier to hit. I will work this change into the next release of the rules.

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