Wednesday, 4 December 2019

One-Hour ECW

Last night I had a bit of a yearning to revisit my heavily modified adaptation of the One-Hour Wargames rules for the ECW. Over the past couple of years I've been pretty much exclusively using the Portable Wargame for this, but I fancied a change.

I decided to avoid the OHW scenarios, and set up a simple action with eight vanilla units a side - three foot, three horse, dragoons and artillery. Objectives were a village close to the Royalist edge and a hill close to the Parliamentarian edge. To make things interesting I randomised the entry of troops. Both sides tested for each unit at the start of their turn with a D6; horse needed a 4+ to enter that turn, foot needed a 5+ and artillery a 6+.

Parliament started with a strong force of foot and horse, and even their artillery. The Royalists got some horse and dragoons.

The Royalist dragoons rushed along the road to grab the village, hoping to hold it until their main force of foot arrived.

On the other half of the field the horse of both sides approached each other, with the hill as the objective.

The dragoons ensconced themselves in the village, as Parliament advanced to attack them.

More horse arrived for both sides as the lead units fought over the hill.

A furious cavalry melee developed. Both sides lost units, but the Royalists slowly gained the upper hand.

The dragoons doggedly defended the village as Parliament's dragoons added their fire to that of their infantry.

The Royalist foot began to march onto the battlefield.

They deployed on the flanks of the village. Parliament's troops were now deployed in the enclosures beyond the village, though, and would prove tricky to winkle out.

Out of ammunition, the Parliamentarian foot charged the dragoons in the village, who held them at the barricades.

On the other flank the Royalist horse had triumphed, although both sides had suffered considerable losses. The Parliamentarians had deployed their artillery in support, but nothing was supporting the artillery, which was charged and swept away.

Near the village the Royalists were suffering badly, aside from the dragoons in the village, who held out bravely, and drove off the foot attacking them. Added to the loss of their horse and artillery, this prompted Parliament to withdraw their forces.

The game ended with Parliament conceding the battle; once a side has lost half of its units it tests at the start of each of its turns needed a 4+ on a D6 to continue. They failed the first roll.

I tried a different approach for leaders in this game. A leader is not deployed on the battlefield at the start. Once during a turn a leader may be used to reroll one D6, either for shooting or for close combat, but you have to keep the new roll. The leader is placed with the unit making the roll, and stays with that unit. If the unit the leader is with takes any hits, roll a D6 and on a 6 the leader is lost. A lost leader cannot be used in that side's next turn, and is then replaced.

The OHW rules have a very brutal all-or-nothing approach to terrain and cover modifiers; units can either enter terrain with no real movement penalties, or they can't,  and all cover/terrain modifiers effectively halve the effectiveness of combat. This makes being uphill in a close combat as good as being in a town, and gives enclosures/hedges the same fire protection as towns too. I'd like to move towards a soft cover/hard cover approach to terrain effects and maybe, if possible, eliminate the save rolls as well. I included the save rolls as an alternative to the OHW halve hits rule because of the smaller number of hits being inflicted in my variant. I shall have to consider my options.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Deep Blue Sea

Regular readers of this blog will know that I play my naval games of a rather boring blue felt cloth.

However, inspired by Peter at Grid-Based Wargaming, I got hold of some cheap oil pastels and had a go at tarting it up a bit. I reasoned that if I cocked it up, the cloth was easily replaced at little real cost.

This was the result. Three different blues and some white for the wave crests. Took about an hour to do the whole 3' x 3' area.

I was impressed with how it turned out. Visually, anyway. It was only after I did it that I realised that oil pastels never dry. If I touched the cloth (stop laughing at the back there) then the colour came off on my hands. Not ideal at all.

Fortunately a good spray with sealant seems to have fixed that issue. But it needed a good spray.

Anyway, I haven't played a game with the new look cloth, but I have taken a picture.

Obviously I need to do something about the bases of the ships now.

Monday, 2 December 2019

Fantastic Cat

I painted a new car for my Gaslands / Machinas garage over the weekend. Fantastic Cat is a high-tech hovercar, so would suit either Miyazaki or Mishkin in Gaslands.

The model is a 3D print from the prolific DutchMogul on Thingiverse.

I chose not to arm it, although those vents at the back could pass as something if I felt that way inclined.

Gaslands doesn't cover hovering vehicles, so the closest trait to give such a car is Tracks, as this allowes it to ignore nasty terrain, and things like oil-slicks. It's not perfect, but it works.

Another Small Gaslands Race

I tried another small race using Gaslands this afternoon. I used the same 30" square board, but made the terain less dense. But I also ran six cars.

The track was ased on a design I saw in the facebok group for the game, where you could pass through most of the gates in either direction. This helps break up the pack a little, but also offers opportunity for mayhem as vehicles head towards each other at speed. The 'Gate 2 or 3' section should be obvious, but basically if you treat one gate as Gate 2 then the other must be your Gate 3.

This strangely orderly arrangement is what the vehicles looked like straight off the grid.

Going into the first gate.

And ... chaos.

I didn't take many pictures after that. A couple of vehicles wiped out or wrecked early on and never really got back into the race. Vehicles going in both directions ended up as front-runners, with some collisions as they passed, and a lot of gunfire (more so than in the last game).

Bad Blood ended up the winner, which was nice after its poor performance yesterday. I changed its design a little, keeping the front and rear machine guns (which were useful on this track design), but changing the Headshot perk for Madman, which allowed the driver to dump Hazard Tokens on other people. It was able to do this twice during the game to wipe out opposing vehicles.

The rest of the board at the finish - two wrecks and two blown-up vehicles awaiting respawn, and one car still struggling through the third gate.

The designs were:

All You need Is Love - Truck with 2 x Blunderbus and Molotovs
Dreamline - Car with Front Ram and Armour
Natural Born Killer - Car with Tracks and Front Ram
Red Barchetta - Performance Car with SMG
Perfect Day - Performance Car with Delicate Touch and Rear Drive
Bad Blood - Car with Front and Rear MG plus Madman and Crowd-Pleaser

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Desert Race

I set up a solo game of Gaslands yesterday afternoon, to see how it played on a smaller table, but also to see how a race played out with less complexity in the vehicles. I know we did this in our first couple of games, but since then we've generally used the full rules for sponsors/perks and so on.

So for this race I put together five cars at 20 cans each. I didn't use sponsors, but did give some of the cars perks, limiting each one to a single class though. I used Audience Votes, but with no sponsors you could ony generate them because of other vehicles passing through gates, or by being wrecked.

These were the vehicles:

Rear Row (L to R)
Red Barchetta - Performance Car with Hot Start and a Shotgun
Back In Back - Car with Front Minigun and Handbrake Artist

Perfect Day - Performance Car with Delicate Touch and Rear-Drive

Front (L to R)
Natural Born Killer - Car with Tank Tracks and Front Ram
Bad Blood - Car with Front MG, Rear MG and Headshot

And this is the track I used. It was about 30" square. The 'hills' are dunes; not impassable, but they count as treacherous terrain, and cover if a line of fire passes over them.

The vehicles on the starting grid.

And the start. Back in Black nosed ahead thanks to a spin and slide. The ulldozer, Natural Born Killer also managed a slide-based lead. The racing car Perfect day was forced to hang back rather than collide with Natural Born Killer.

On the approch to the first gate Natural Born Killer was able to bring its ram to bear on Back in Black, which took damage and wiped out.

And so we reached this position - Perfect Day had made a poor start and got left behind. Bad Blood had spun into some dunes and was stuck trying to extricate itself. Back in Black had wiped out and was motionless across the gate. Red Barchetta had passed through it all and was ready to run on to the second gate. And Natural Born Killer ...

... piled into Back In Black again, causing it to wreck and explode, then hit Red Barchetta as well. The red sports-car evaded the worst of the damage and sped away, riaking the dunes as it did so.

A new turn enabled Back in Black to respawn almost immediately. It moved off, used its minigun to shoot at Natural Born Killer, and then got rammed again.

Red Barchetta was well ahead now, Perfect Day was moving off and poor Bad Blood was still in all sorts of trouble.

Red Barchetta was now at Gate 3. But it had got there by fast, reckless driving that not even the higher handling of a performance car could sustain for long. It flipped and crashed into the gate. Audience Votes would bring it back, but the other vehicles now had a few moves in which to catch up.

Back in Black wrecked again, whilst Natural Born Killer and Perfect Day built up some speed.

Gaslands is fun, bu not what one would call realistic. Ever seen a bulldozer do this? It was fun though. The pool of water was treacherous terrain, but tracks allow a vehicle to ignore that. The slide took Natural Born Killer past the wreck of Back in Black.

Bad Blood was still blundering around. In trying to stay on top of its hazards from the dunes it wasn't getting a chance to go up in gears, so kept getting left behind on each new turn. Perfect Day and Natural Born Killer negotiated the second gate.

Red Barchetta got back into play as Natural Born Killer reached the third gate. The race looked like it would be between the fast sports-car and ponderous bulldozer. But with a very tight turn ahead Red Barchetta couldn't rev up to full speed just yet. Both vehicles exchanged fire, but evaded each other's shots.

Perfect Day was also making good running.

On the tight turn to the finishNatural Born Killer went up over the dunes, but was T-boned by Red Barchetta. Both vehicles chose to evade the collision, which just meant hazards, but hazards were not good in the position.

Back in Back and Perfect day were also closing up fast; a dramatic finish was on the cards.

Natural Born Killer misjudged its line, and sideswiped a shipping container, wiping out. It now looked like Red Barchetta had the race sewn up.

Perfect Day and Back in Black blundered on the final turn, and pretty much put themsleves out of the running. But what's that? Natural Born Killer out in front? Yes. It had wiped out near the end of a turn, so got to act at the start of a new turn. And rolled really well; with a straight line to the finish it could afford to put all of the shifts it rolled into acceleration, with no regard for hazards, and roared ahead in a cloud of dust.

Red Barchetta was also going at high speed, but the only way it was going to finish ahead of the bulldozer was to throw in every risky manuever it could. Like this.

Natural Born Killer crossed the line in first place.

The rest of the field were nowhere to be seen. Bad Blood did finally make it past the first gate though.

This was surprisingly good fun, concentrating on simply racing rather than the technicalities of all of the different perks and ailities sponsors dole out. I possibly should have made some of the track less cluttered, and use of that many dunes somewhat favoured the bulldozer's tracks, but overall I didn't think the small space really hindered the game too much.
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