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.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

New Gladiators

After the excitement of MOAB the other week, I finished off some gladiators which had been languishing, half-completed, on my painting table since May. They are mostly types for which I didn't have proper figures, and which I wanted to try out in 'Munera Sine Missione'.

First up are a couple of Provocatores, with their distinctive cardiophylax breastplate. I did one with a large shield and one with a small(ish) shield, for variety.

Secondly, a gorgeous Crupellarius, the tank of the gladiator world, in heavy armour and with a large shield. Slow, but difficult to wound.

The Provocatores and the Crupellarius are both from Crusader.

The company in Australia which stocks the Crusader gladiators also does Warlord figures, so I had a quick look through their ancients range to see if there was anything I could use. There was - these figures from their Gallic Celt range. The poses are fantastic, and I thought they would make worthy additions to my stable of gladiators.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Frocktober 2018 - Part One

I can sense you reeling in horror from here. Yes, you're used to there being an annual Frocktober post on this blog. Each year you steel yourself for it, safe in the knowledge that there won't be another one for twelve months. Well, this year there's going to be more than one.

In previous years I have thrown on a frock or two during October, and then used platforms like this to direct people to the donation pages of other participants. However this year, buoyed up by my increased confidence and comfort with my crossdressing, I have decided to participate in Frocktober properly, in my own right. My wife, daughter and I have formed out own team - It Has Pockets - and you can donate directly to us.

It Has Pockets

So what is Frocktober? Well, here in Australia it's an annual charity event where those of us who like to wear a nice dress from time to time put them on, show them off and encourage people to contribute money to the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation. Ovarian cancer is a gynecological cancer that's particularly hard to detect, and the foundation's researches are focused very much on making detection easier. Because early detection makes the likelihood of an effective treatment higher. And effective treatment is what we want; an Australian woman dies of ovarian cancer every eight hours.

The hardcore Frocktober participants will wear a different outfit on each of the 31 days of October. Some even do themed challenges. If you're on Instagram or Twitter you can follow the hashtags #Frocktober2018 or simply #Frocktober and see what they're up to. My goals are more modest. Wearing a frock every day for 31 days isn't really viable for me, so I have set myself the challenge of at least ten frocks during the course of the month. And that's why there are going to be multiple posts, because it'll be frocks all month and I need to spread the pictures out.

So here's the first update.

I started off with this retro-style classic.

Perfect for a day at work pointing at things on my screen

But it's not only me donning frocks. Catherine (who is not one of the world's most frequent frock-wearers) slipped on this beauty for a family dinner.

This was my second outfit; a little ensemble I put together for a Friday at work.

Fans of 1980s UK kids' TV might appreciate the brooch.

Into the second week and I went for this cute op-shop number.

And, that team name again - IT HAS POCKETS

 Three down. Seven to go.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Atteint! Is A Hit

Millsy at 'Canister and Grape' has given my jousting rules a try, and seemed to enjoy them. So much so, that he did a blog post which you can read HERE. I lifted this picture from the blog post. His knights are ... not quite what I intended the rules to be played with. But they work.

The post has given me a few things to ponder as well, so thanks Millsy.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Arena of Death

We played more Gaslands on Thursday. I still haven't painted my terrain.

Anyway, I used a modified table for determining what scenario we'd play, which gave better odds for the non-race scenarios, whilst still making the Death Race more likely. We felt that this would encourage the design of teams that weren't just organised for racing on the basis that there's a better than 50% chance of the scenario being a race.

So we rolled and .. we got The Arena of Death!

This is a pure combat scenario. There are no respawns, so once a vehicle is destroyed it doesn't come back. And victory goes to the player who has the last functioning vehicle. That's it. Dotted about the field are gun-turrets which inflict a small, but annoying, amount of damage on anything that passes within a certain distance of them.

Vehicles start at various points on the edges. Caesar had an Idris team of two bikes and a car, built for a combination of speed and firepower. He was set up close to Jason's Mishkin team, featuring the obligatory experimental nuclear reactor.

I was trying out an interesting 50 can 'Last Of The V8 Interceptors' build from the Gaslands Facebook group. It seemed to have an interesting combination of abilities, although brutal combat isn't high on its list of capabilities.

Elsewhere Dave was running a couple of cars sponsored by Slime, and mostly equipped with hand-weapons, whilst Ed was running a Batmobile, sponsored by Idris and featuring a turret-mounted laser.

Jason pushed his big truck into the centre, whilst his car became entangled with Caesar's motorcycles.

He rammed one of Caesar's bikes, destroying it, but wiped out in the process, ending up facing Caesar's other bike. The ensuing, unavoidable head-on collision destroyed both vehicles, mainly since Caesar, seeing no escape for his bike, pushed it up to full speed before impact. Because this is GASLANDS!

I'd been playing it safe with the Interceptor, but came under fire from Jason's big truck, taking a fair bit of damage. I returned the favour with some cunning use of my ability to manage hazard tokens, and Jason wiped out.

Unfortunately I then decided that destroying a gun-turret by ramming would be a great idea. It wasn't.

Weakened, the Interceptor strayed into range of Caesar's rocket-armed car, and I was wrecked, putting me out of the game.

Having wiped out, Jason was slowly trying to get back into the action. Dave rammed him head-on, eliminating him.

Dave had played a quiet, safe game up to this point, but now Caesar an Ed were quietly cruising the edges of the table building up audience votes for their high-speed hi-jinks, and Dave went hunting for them.

Dave's red car engaged Caesar, but Caesar's rockets finished him off.

Meanwhile his other car was chasing Ed's Batmobile.

Some cunning use of audience votes, followed by a grenade attack, saw the Batmobile destroyed.

This left two cars in play - Dave's car loaded with pistol-armed lunatics with far too many grenades and molotov cocktails for their own good, and Caesar's rocket-armed performance car that was, by this stage, very low on ammo.

Caesar fired the last of his rockets, reducing Dave to his last hit. In this state Dave would actually accumulate audience votes fairly swiftly, thanks to his team's special Live Fast ability.

With no viable options left, Caesar rammed Dave, only needing to inflict one hit, and hoping that the collision damage on himself wouldn't be too excessive.

It wasn't. Dave crashed, and amazingly didn't explode (there was only a one in six chance of this). The explosion would have taken Caesar's car out as well, although in fact he would still have won as, for the brief moment before the explosion, he would have been Last Man Standing.

This was a fun scenario, even though it does leave players knocked out of the game, possibly from early on. We did forget one small rule to do with audience votes, which would have kept some players invested, a mistake we won't make next time.

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