Monday, 21 July 2014

Paper Royalists

Having photoshopped and printed off five A4 pages of figures yesterday, I put together the Royalist infantry and cavalry this evening. The artillery I will do another day; the basing is fiddly, so I'm going to do the three elements I'm making for both sides at the same time.

And here it is:

That's fourteen elements of infantry and four elements of cavalry, plus a general (in Liberated Hordes generals can attach to any element, so are just represented by a marker).

Here's a closeup of the cavalry. Something went wrong with the scaling, and it's fractionally too small compared to the infantry. It doesn't look too out of scale though.

The infantry.

The infantry in closeup.

The massed effect looks good, and I will complete the Patriot army, plus the other bits I have printed off, and try them all out in a game or two. But the truth is that I'm not sure they are quite looking the way I hoped they would. There's too much white surround in relation to the figures, and at present I'm finding it distracting. Further down the line I may consider printing the whole lot off again, but in 15mm, giving eight infantry and four cavalry to a base, but with larger figures and a lower percentage of 'white space'. Obviously I'd lose some of the massed effect I was after, but they should look reasonable good.

(Yes, I have considered 15mm figures on a 60mm frontage, but I want to be able to play games on a 2' x 2' HOTT board.)

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Liberation By Paper

For the last year or so I have been thinking about Doing Something with my South American Wars of Liberation figures. These are 6mm Irregular miniatures blocks, based one block to a 1" wide base and originally organised into units firstly for Principles of War and then Rocket's Red Glare.

I then settled on using a HOTT variant for the conflict, but didn't really have the bases to do anything more than one base = one element. So I could play games, but they were small - very small. Here they are in action:

They look OK, but are fiddly to use.

What I'd really like to do is use four blocks on a standard 40mm HOTT element. This would look awesome, and give an excellent-looking game on a 2' square board. But I'd need to by at least as many figures as I already have. And paint them. I really don't fancy doing that; not in the short term anyway.

So I had a think about alternative solutions. And I wondered if I might be able to cobble together some proxies from the Junior General paper figures collection. Imagine my surprise when, trawling through the 19th century lists, I found that since my last visit an extensive collection of South American Wars of Liberation figures have been added to the site. HERE THEY ARE.

Obviously it was a sign.

So I'm working on assembling two sizes for a 12-15 element Liberated HOTT game. And the first stage is deciding on the best look for everything. Junior General figures are, be default, sized to about 20-25mm, but I didn't want to go that big. I wanted a decent block of figures on a  40mm frontage, with two ranks of infantry. But I'm a dab-hand with Photoshop, so chopping and resizing was easy enough to do.

What I've gone for is this:

That's two strips of six infantry per base - each element is 40mm x 20mm. The figures are about 10mm tall. I used a high resolution, so you can see all of the original detail if you care to look.

I painted the bases of those elements (which are Royalists, by the way), but here's some Patriots with unpainted bases. One is another infantry unit (obviously), whilst the other is my cavalry test base. Cavalry is always done sideways on, which means it has to be based as individual figures. I went for six cavalry on a 40mm x 30mm base. The density looks OK with the infantry. I haven't painted the bases on these.

Artillery. I'm not that happy with how this looks, but an army generally only has one or two elements so I shan't worry about it too much.

The test bases convinced me that it's worth producing two whole forces, so I have assembled and printed two sheets of infantry - one Patriot and one Royalist. There are twelve elements of infantry on each. Tomorrow I'll put together and print some sheets for the cavalry and artillery.

What I'll probably do is get some green mounting board to put them on. Then I only have to paint the matchstick pieces I'm using to support the figures and the edges of the base. I'm looking forward to seeing and using the completed armies.

I do like Junior General.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Machinas Team-Up

A lot of the club membership was either absent, absent without leave, or sucked into the Special Project That Cannot Be Named this evening. This left Cei, Marco and I up for something easy and low-prep. Since we've done HOTT the last couple of weeks, it was obviously time to play some more Machinas.

We tried something slightly different, in that each player ran two cars, allowing for team tactics and for keeping players in the game. With three players that gave six cars, but we added a team of two NPC cars as well.

The cars were:

Marco - Clockwork Angel and Pigs On The Wing. The two fastest cars in my collection. One has guns at the front, the other guns at the back.
Cei - War Pig and Lola*. Two of my newest vehicles. Lola was a difficult choice as she's massively overweight. But well armoured.
Me - Hand Over Fist and Villain Of Science. These are both bashing cars with gadgets to make them difficult to overtake.
NPC - The Anarchist and Mary Jane's Last Dance. One with a flamethrower and the other with rockets. Nice and shooty.

(You'll notice that I've widened the source of my car names)

Here's the pack as they raced from the starting line at the start of the three laps. War Pig took a lucky early lead, followed by Pigs On The Wing and Clockwork Angel. Villain Of Science, The Anarchist and Hand Over Fist were in the middle, and Mary Jane's Last Dance and Lola brought up the rear.

Things went badly for my team in the very first lap, when a random event induced collision wiped out Hand Over Fist. It bounced off Mary Jane's Last Dance, who survived.

Marco got his cars into position, using the tail-gun toting Pigs On The Wing to hold off challenges, allowing Clockwork Angel (just out of shot to the bottom-left) to run unopposed and build up bonus dice.

As we went into the second lap, this was the position. My surviving car, the purple Villain Of Science, was fast enough to challenge Marco's vehicles, but I couldn't get past War Pig as well. Marco had both his cars in front, and was fending off all-comers.

A couple of turns saw some extensive wide passes.

War Pig briefly recaptured second place, but Pigs On The Wing aggressively took it back. I hung back at this stage; a couple of attempts to run Pigs On The Wing off the track had failed by a whisker, but had used up my bonus dice supply.

The winners. Clockwork Angel won the race with little difficulty, having so many bonus dice in hand that he was unstoppable. War Pig managed to sneak a second place - holding off other cars had worn down Pigs On The Wing. I came third with Villain Of Science. I'd tried to do better using a final nitro boost, but an event allowed War Pig to move across one lane and block me from taking second place.

Pigs On The Wing came fourth, with The Anarchist, Mary Jane's Last Dance and the unlucky Lola bringing up the rear.

Marco chose two good cars and used them well. Clockwork Angel can be put under pressure in a normal race, but no-one could reach it because Pigs On The Wing was there to provide cover. I made three serious attempts to bash Pigs On The Wing out of the game, but they all failed by one success.

So a good race with some interesting tactics. Lola was the most awkward vehicle to play, as she's slow but relies on having other cars behind her to bring her strengths into play. Possibly a good one for a road-chase scenario.

The new rules seemed to hold up OK. An adjustment to Luckless was a complete pain, whilst the new Saboteur trait was useful, but still relies on the player having good luck at the right time. Nitro could have clinched a second or first place with more luck, but timing when to use it is critical as you only get one shot. The obvious move is to use it on the last turn, but as this game showed getting blocked is a danger. There's something to be said to using it to take the lead earlier, then using the bonus dice it saves you using to hold off the challenges.

*Looks like a woman, but drives like a man.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

The Pig And The Villain

I completed two more vehicles for Machinas last week, but today was the first chance I've had to take pictures of them.

First War Pig, a large buggy armed with a gatling.

I didn't do too much to this vehicle; mesh on the windows and a piece of sprue on the bonnet to create some kind of engine gubbins and to break up the lines a little. The vehicle came with the gun. Actually it came with a gun on both sides, but I removed one and added it to another vehicle.

The other new vehicle is a little siller, although I have modified the concept to fit in with the world of Machinas.

The original vehicle is, of course, the Batmobile from the 1989 movie.

For the look and colours, though, I was inspired by a vehicle from a certain race-related cartoon series from the 1960s

The driver may look familiar, and I'm sure his green (mutant) dog will ...

Both of the cars made their debut in a game I played this afternoon. War Pig is fairly conventional. but for Dick and his doggy chum I tried out a couple of new traits. The first was Nitro, which allows a car to gain a hefty bonus in auto-successes when passing on a straight, but only once per game. The second is a new driver signature, Saboteur. This is linked to the random events table; if you have Saboteur and you roll a '5' on the table, then you can pick another car in the race and immediately have it make an Out of Control check. However you can only do this to a given car once per game. It got used once. Dick was in second place and got the roll of '5', choosing the lead car to make the roll. This had a low Tech and no bonus dice, so, inevitably, failed it, becoming a wreck. In Machinas, cars that wreck flip back one space - in this case right on top of Dick's lovely purple car wrecking him as well*.

As the smoking wrecks were towed from the track, you caould hear a snivelling voice say "Drat. And double-drat!"

*They both almost took out the car I was driving as well, but I survived, and it gave me the lead. I still didn't win the race.

Friday, 11 July 2014

The Wildlings Debut

Tonight the Wollongong Wargamers had an evening of HOTT and Black Powder, and I had a chance to try out my new 'Game of Thrones' inspired Wildlings army.

In their first game they took on some kind of Arabs under John. Here's my mobile wing:

And the infantry line.

John's Arabs looked very nicce indeed, although the two Knights were going to be a bit dangerous.

John screened my mobile wing with a couple of Riders.

The armies get stuck in. I got lucky; the Shooters took out a couple of elements with stunningly accurate archery, whilst a Warband destroyed the Knight opposing it.

And a 6-1 split always comes in handy, when you're warband fighting an enemy Knight general. It also gave the Wildlings a victory in their first game.

In their second game I attacked some Dwarves under Geoff. This was a straight Warband vs Blades fight in the centre. I lost.

The giant and some archers held my right flank, but failed to prevent a defeat.

Geoff and Dave had already played a game with the Dwarves against a Medieval army, but I didn't get any pictures of that. Dave and John played each other in another games, with the Medievals facing the Arabs. I'm not sure who won, but at the point I took this photo it didn't look like it was a good day to be wearing a turban.

The Black Powder games were of the 3-2-1 format being tried out locally - small 'teaser' type games, with three units of one type, two of another and one of a third, such as three Infantry, two Cavalry and one Artillery. Each scenario presents a specific challenge to the players over preset terrain.

In this one two armies fight for the control of a central hill.

Meanwhile Peter and Bryan played a game in which the armies were trying to take the standards of the units opposing them; a tricky game where your best fighting units are also the objectives of the opposing player.

Both games used 25mm Napoleonic armies, of course.

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