Tuesday, 6 October 2015

What's That Coming Over The Hill? Is it A Monster?

I finished painting my excavator on a truck for 'Machinas last night. It looks delightfully impractical, but should be fun to use in a game - once I've worked out the rules for it.

Here's where I started from.

As you can see, I armoured up the cab of the excavator, and wrapped some heavy chains around the tracks. I also added a piston to the excavator arm just to bulk it out a little.

I actually used the base colours of the original vehicles, but applies washes and highlights to add a little depth and, to some extent, weathering.

As you can see, the excavator rotates, although I have glued the arm into a fixed position as otherwise it flopped around in a rather unaggressive manner.

The total cost of this beauty was $5 - $3 for the truck and $2 for the excavator.

Here it is in action, chasing one of last week's purchases (now called 'Dark Hydraulic') across the post-apocalypse landscape.

Monday, 5 October 2015

MOAB 2015 - The HOTT Tournament

(It's only a model)
I have returned from the final day of MOAB, having played in the HOTT tournament there. I bring pictures and accompanying wordage!

There were eight of us taking part, using 15mm armies built to 36AP. To compensate for the larger armies we used boards that were the correct width but which, at 80cm wide, were 25% wider than normal. We'd actually used normal 2' x 2' boards for our practice games, but other groups had found the battlefield width too restrictive. These boards certainly gave plenty of room for maneuver, as well as plenty of chances to move troops out of command.

I took my Sumerian mythological Spawn of Tiamat army, expanded to 36AP with a couple of ringers from Asag's stone allies (some rockman hordes), a new knight element, a couple more beasts and a behemoth.

The final army was: Magician General (Tiamat), Hero (Qingu, her consort), Dragon, Behemoth, 3 x Knights, 4 x Beasts, 6 x Hordes. The Dragon was a waste of time; n all of my practice games and all four tournament games I didn't deploy it once. Generally this army is too starved of PIPs to be able to squander a '6' on the Dragon.

My first game saw me up against Greg, who I'd played last year. He was using a beautiful Arthurian army - my choice for best army of the event - and defended.

He placed his paladin and some knights far out on one flank. I made them my primary target.

Arthur, Lancelot and Merlin were on the other flank. This made his command and control tricky.

The lines approached, with my behemoth tasked with engaging and destroying Sir Galahad.

The armies engaged all along the line. Slowly I ground the Knights of Camelot down.

In the centre my beasts - a varied crew - mauled Arthur's archers. At the other end of the combat, however, Qingu, my hero, found himself outflanked and surrounded by mean at arms. Against the odds he held them off for several bounds, whilst the rest of Tiamat's army racked up the casualties. The battle finished when Lancelot strayed too close to Tiamat herself, and was magically seduced. That Lancelot is such a pushover. His loss was enough to break the army, and give me a win.

My second game saw me facing Geoff, who was also using a medieval army, although not one with a specific theme. I'd beaten this army on Thursday - twice - so was feeling confident.

I shouldn't have done. Geoff wiped me out pretty efficiently, killing both the behemoth and Qingu. Although I had a plan which could have seen me rack up a load of kills in the last bound or so I didn't get the PIPs to implement it, and Geoff polished off my army not long afterwards.

At the halfway mark I was sitting halfway down the table. Geoff and Caesar - the other Wollongong players - were riding high, with two wins each.

After lunch I faced a very nice Greek mythological army, commanded by Mark, who is experienced in DBA but new to HOTT.

Look at those lovely hoplites!

He pushed his cyclops behemoth forward to menace my beasts whilst they were still in the open. The cyclops was supported by his general, who looks like a spear element but was in fact a hero. I saw an opportunity. The behemoth had an open flank. I swung Tiamat through her own troops onto the behemoth's flank, then broke contact with the beast fighting it to the front. This forced it to turn to face and, when it lost the combat, its initial recoil took it over the hero general, squashng him. The first casualty of the game was the winner.

 My final game was against the front-runner, Caesar. If I beat him, it would leave us equal on points, but I would gain the tie-break advantage, and win on that basis. There was everything to play for.

Unfortunately Caesar's army wasn't one I was thrilled to face, consisting of a core of four - yes, four - behemoths.

He massed them on one flank, opposite my rather vulnerable knights.

I moved Quigu over from the centre to support them. For a couple of bounds I was surprised to survive the combats, although one of my knights seemed to be incapable of riding down some supporting warband either.

In the centre Caesar's warband faced my esoteric collection of beasts. Who would have won? We'll never know ...

... because the battle was won and lost back with the behemoths. Caesar's general was riding in his beautiful wooden horse. Qingu faced him directly and, in one lucky round, got an overlap on each flank. Caesar rolled a '1' in the combat. If I could roll a '5' or '6' in response then I would destroy him, and win the game.

Sometimes, when you need a good roll, you get it. A '6' saw the wooden horse destroyed, the Greek general killed and the rest of the army fleeing the battlefield in panic. It was the first casualty of the battle, again.

This gave me three wins, putting me equal with Caesar and Geoff. But I had the best of the tie-break, so took first place, with Caesar in second and Geoff in third. A clean sweep of the prizes by the Wollongong contingent. 

The event is part of the international 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly' tournament as well. This is assessed on the first three rounds, so Caesar was our local winner there.

I can't deny that it's great to win MOAB for a second year in a row, but I feel a bit bad for Caesar losing on such an unlucky roll so early in the game. There's no doubt that in the normal run of things he would have defeated my army with little difficulty; I had no real advantage anywhere, and was very much on the back-foot. But that's how HOTT pans out sometimes. 

Here's a few pictures of some of the other armies. 

Another shot of Camelot.

Geoff and Greg finished their day with an almost historical looking medieval clash. Apparently victory was achieved when Geoff's paladin cut down Merlin (or, at least, forced him to flee into his cave for safety).

Here Victor's Carthaginians face a lovely undead army. I would have enjoyed facing both of these, just because they looked so nice. But you can't play against everyone, sadly.

Thanks to Victor and the other Southern Battlegamers for organising another great HOTT tournament, and another great MOAB generally.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

MOAB 2015 - The Saturday

Once again the Southern Battlegamers organised a great day of gaming up in Sylvania. Victor and I, assisted by Martin, ran what is now our traditional gladiator games using Munera Sine Missione They seemed to attract a fair bit of interest in the rules from people looking for something quick, simple and fun.

 As ever the referees were busy.

Thanks to Victor's kindness and generosity I now have a pack of arena officials, so will be retiring my venerable paper referee once they are painted up.

Critical hits were a common feature of the games we played. One bout saw four consecutive criticals; an attacker broke his sword, but then managed to knock his opponent's weapon away. His opponent then knocked his helmet off, before smacking him over the head with his shield, causing a lethal wound.

The last couple of years have seen us running Charioteer in parallel with the gladiatorial combats. But since neither of us really has a setup designed for the visual appeal of a wargames show Victor suggested that this year I bring along Machinas. I statted up vehicles for a road chase, and ran it a couple of times. In this picture the Red Barchetta finds itself pursued by a range of enemy vehicles, from motorcycles to a big digger.

In this game the player chose the big bus, and was pursued by a ram-car and the digger. He evaded them both for a number of turns. The digger gave up, but the ram-car didn't until an incident with its brakes saw it skid in front of the bus and get chewed up by the big ram on the front.

Back to the gladiators. Victor and I tried out the pons scenario, with a retiarius defending a platform against two secutors. We tried a number of rules tweaks, but I still don't feel we quite got there with the scenario.

Martin, Victor and I finished up the day with a race - three player cars and an NPC car to make up the numbers.

Victor had the metallic Clockwork Angel, Martin took the pink Lola whilst I took the Black Dog (one of the new cars from yesterday, now named). The purple Villain of Science was the NPC. Martin and Victor spent the early part of the race bickering at the back, whilst I tried to stay at the front by virtue of my massive racing engine.

However events saw me slip back, and it took all of my bonus dice efforts to get back into the front before the end of the race. But Victor just pipped me at the post for the win, whilst Martin wrecked Lola on the last turn trying to bash Villain of Science out of the running.

In this race three of the four vehicles had the Saboteur special ability, which allows the driver to force other drivers to make a control roll under certain circumstances. So every car went into the race with cut brake-lines, slow punctures and similar damage, and it was amazing all got as far as they did. The effect of the ability is not so much that it causes cars to crash, but that it forces them to burn bonus dice in order to avoid crashing.

Machinas seemed to pick up a fair bit of interest; people seem to love remodelled Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars.

Finally here's Ralph. With a burning tank.

On Monday I will be back again - for HOTT.

Friday, 2 October 2015

More Machinas Cars

I have a day off work today, partially so I can get stuff ready for MOAB, and partially because it's a long weekend anyway, and I wanted a longer one.

My plans for the day involved putting together all of the game stats and play-sheets for a game of Machinas tomorrow. What I actualy did was have an enormous cooked breakfast at my favourite local cafe, then paint some more cars, which I probably won't even use tomorrow.

Here they are.

First up is an off-road VW Beetle, which cost me a massive 50c in a charity shop. The weaponry will pass as a grenade-launcher or a flamethrower. Or just a chunky gun.

I liked the unusual lines of this one - another 50c purchase. Aside from armouring up the windows and completely repainting it in a dull brown from it's original Hot Wheels blue I have left it as I found it. It looks like the kind of vehicle that travels the roads of the post-apocalypse and avoids fights by out-running them.

This beauty is a racing vehicle, pure and simple. I couldn't resist the art-deco look and have again left it pretty much as I bought it aside from some repainting. Most of the black is the original paintwork.

None of the vehicles have names yet.


Geoff and I got in a couple of 36AP HOTT games last night in order to prepare for the HOTT competition at MOAB on Monday. Geoff is taking some kind of Medieval combo, made up mostly of knights and blades, whilst I am using my newly expanded Spawn of Tiamat army.

I used the Spawn in the first game. I defended and got Geoff to attack through a gap between two patches of bad going.

On my left I attacked with beasts against Geoff's archers. He didn't concentrate his fire in order to break up the line, allowing the beasts to attack with no overlaps. A few good rolls over a couple of bounds saw his shooters swept away. The other flank saw no activity; I covered it with hordes, and Geoff opted not to push past the bad going in order to take them on. This left the centre as the main fight; my knights and a behemoth against a line of blades. We both took casualties, but in the end Tiamat's spawn prevailed.

For the second game I used a combination of my Squidmen - mostly warband and knights - backed up by 12AP of riders and blades from my Elephantmen. Again I defended and again we ended up with a terrain where the battle would be in the gap between tow pieces of bad going; woods in this case. I used warband in the woods to cover my right flank and centre from breakthroughs. Geoff kept his shooters outside of teh woods, waiting for me to come out, something I didn't do until near the end of the battle.

Whilst there was hard fighting in the centre, my left flank saw the most interesting combats, with Geoff's riders holding a hill against my Elephantman blades. We both fed our reserves into the fight, and generally Geoff had the upper hand in factors, but couldn't convert them to kills.

Once again his army accumulated losses faster than mine did, the winning kill also accounting for his general.

Once again the 36AP games gave a hard fight, although the setup does favour certain types of armies over others; ones which are PIP intensive tend to struggle. But we will see how it all plays out on Monday.
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