Thursday, 31 October 2019


I'm making more ships for Galleys and Galleons. These are the beginnings of a couple of galleasses; a glorious combination of oared galley and a broadside vessel. If they come out OK I might put together some contemporary galleys as well (gun-armed as opposed to the ancient ones which are ram equipped).

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Monster Island

'Monster Island' was the first giant monster game I owned and played. After the timer I've spent recently messing around with 'Mighty Monsters' I got nostalgic for its old-school charms, and dragged out my copy to see if I could remember how to play. It's a much simpler game both in terms of monster design and mechanisms than either 'Mighty Monsters' or 'Giant Monster Rampage', so I picked it up again quite quickly after a read-through. I also found the notes I'd made about fifteen years ago (when I last played it) in which I tried to clear up various issues with the balance of certain combat moves and the costing of some movement abilities.

Anyway, I took a Godzilla design from the book, a giant plant-monster design I found from an old game and put together a new design for Crimson Typhoon, and tried a quick game last night. It was kind of a 'score points for being near the pagoda' type of game, but that wasn't really important.

Here's the protagonists - Godzilla, Metacrinus and Crimson Typhoon. Monsters have four characteristics (Strength, Agility, Health and Mind) from which are derived a number of secondary characteristics (Life, Toughness, Daze, Move and Evade). A monster has 30pts to spend, with characteristics costing 1 point per point. Special abilities are also bought out of the 30pts. So Godzilla is:

STR 8, AGL 5, HTH 8, MIND 2, Swimming 3" (1), Atomic Breath 6D6 (6) - 30pts
(Life 40, Toughness 8, Daze 10, Move 7, Evade 15)

I apologise for the poor-quality pictures. The light wasn't very good, and I was tired and not concentrating when I took them.

The three monsters closed on each other from the corners.

The plant-monster Metacrinus attacked first, with its pollen spray causing some damage to Godzilla. Constant ranged attacks are discouraged in this game by monsters only being allowed to use them every other turn. Combat consist of rolling 3D6 to hit - you add your own agility, apply modifiers and have to equal or beat the opponent's Evade score. Damage is scored by rolling a handful of dice, with anything beating the target's Toughness being subtracted from their Life. If the damage taken exceeds the target's Daze score, then the target is stunned.

Godzilla closed up and used his atomic breath on Metacrinus, who shrugged off the considerable damage using its one-off Hardy ability, which allows a monster to ignore all of the damage from one attack.

Crimson Typhoon had closed up now. The jaeger's attacks were not as powerful as those of Godzilla or Metacrinus, but it could attack twice per round to make up for it - in 'Monster Island' a figure can only make one attack per activation. A couple of strikes with the mech's bladed arms seriously injured the plant-creature.

Godzilla's atomic breath finished off Metacrinus. The plant was an obvious first target for sustained assault because it could regenerate, so there was no point in half measures when it came to damage. In addition it had a dangerous venom attack, which needed to be avoided if possible.

One quirky but fun feature of 'Monster Island' is the fact that if you take down an opposing kaiju, you are required to spend the whole of your next action bellowing your triumph/celebrating. So whilst Godzilla was doing that over the fallen Metacrinus, Crimson Typhoon moved round for a sneaky rear-attack.

Fortunately for Godzilla, he managed to get the initiative on the next turn, and was able to face his attacker. But Crimson Typhoon had spent a round intimidating the giant lizard (another move allowed in 'Monster Island'), and had a nice combat bonus lined up even without the rear-attack.

The jaeger attacked, with the first blow damaging and stunning Godzilla. The second attack was a mighty kick which sent Godzilla sprawling.

And that was really the beginning of the end. Crimson Typhoon had the edge on initiative, and was able to keep up sustained attacks on Godzilla, who couldn't get into a position to retaliate. He made one more attack with his breath, but missed.

And that was it. More attacks from Crimson Typhoon saw Godzilla defeated.

In terms of defence Crimson Typhoon isn't that tough, and had a decent attack connected, Godzilla would have probably got the edge. But the jaeger is hard to hit, and in this game that's what counted.

I enjoyed the game, but there are some areas that need tweaking and house-ruling. I've mentioned the combat moves above - some of them are, quite simply, better than others, making certain moves pointless. There's an issue with initiative in that a kaiju with a good initiative score can hold its action, but it doesn't really cover what happens if more than one monster does this. And whilst there's a bonus for doing a rear-attack, there's not much more information of facing or even how you determine the 'rear' (this is a real peeve of mine with a number of rules - giving bonuses for flank/rear attacks whilst not defining flank and rear). These are not insurmountable problems, though, and I might have more of a fiddle with the rules sometime.

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Cats and Conmen

I haven't managed much wargaming this weekend, owing to various burlesque and Frocktober commitments, but Catherine, Maya, Satvik and I did a game session this morning.

First off we tried 'Hook, Line and Sinker', a game of con-men from Invincible Ink. 

The game consists of a mere 18 cards, and you play with a hand of three, which are kept concealed even from the owning player. Most cards are either a Hook, a Line or a Sinker, and each has some other special ability as well. Game-play allows you to look at individual cards, and swap them out of your hand for cards in a rotating pool in the centre of the table. As the game progresses you will learn more about your own hand, and even that of other players. At some point one of the players will decide to declare a Heist, and all hands are revealed. Only a hand which contains a complete plan (consisting of a Hook, Line and Sinker) gets to score; the player declaring the heist may not even have one.

For the first couple of plays it all seemed a bit random, but as we played more games (they can last as little as five or ten minutes) we started to see some tactics developing. And it's a game which rewards a good memory. It's not a great game, but it is fun. As with all Invincible Ink games, though the rules are a bit vague in places, and we had to house-rule how a couple of the cards worked because it wasn't clear.

We then played three team games of the terrible, but stupidly fun cat-themed Pictionary game 'The Cat Game'.
We played in pairs, and swapped partners around each time. I was in the winning pair in each of the three games, so can claim to be the family Cat Game champion!

Who is this singer?

Clue: It's not, as my son suggested, Ed Sheeran.

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Mechanical Mayhem

I continued my testing of some of the changes to special rules in Mighty Monsters last night, but took the opportunity to test some changes to the damage system for mechas as well. This is mostly tidying up some grey areas that occur when you have multiple pilots, as well as making a knocked out pilot less of a show-stopper. However I have also tweaked the damage effects so that all of the malfunctions can be recovered by spending actions, instead of some of them automatically lasting for a whole turn. This is firstly because 'one turn' is harder to adjudicate in multiplayer games, where the turn sequence is a little more random, and secondly because being disabled and vulnerable for a whole turn is pretty much game over for a mech. Essentially a damaged mech will now have to waste some of the actions it gets repairing and resetting systems, which kind of makes perfect sense. It gives some purpose to parts with no attacks or even a game use (some mechs have a head which does nothing in game terms, for example); you can now use the actions from those parts to reset things and avoid wasting actions from essential body parts.

I set up an all-mechanical game - two jaegers (Crimson Typhoon and Gipsy Danger) were defending an oil-refinery against an attack by Mecha Khan and Kajutiajuq. I'll post all of the stats below.

The first couple of turns were slow; both sides pretty much failed their activations on the first roll. However Mecha Khan drew first blood, damaging Gipsy Danger with its long-range missiles.

Kajutaijuq is uniquely designed to do well in this scenario, having high-speed hyperflight. As all the other mechs bumbled around railing activations, it slipped round their flank and attacked the oil-refinery, destroying it.

However the scenario also requires the attackers to destroy at least one defender, so a fight was inevitable. Crimson Typhoon moved quickly, grabbing Kajutaijuq and then attacking it with its numerous blades. Kajutaijuq responded by breaking the grapple, and catching Crimson Typhoon in one of its own.

Kajutaijuq tried to maneuver Crimson Typhoon to where it could throw the jaeger at Gipsy Danger.

Meanwhile Gipsy Danger was under fire from Mecha Khan's lasers, and took some more hits. Gipsy Danger still hadn't really got its act together.

The problem with grappling Crimson Typhoon is that Crimson Typhoon is all arms and close-combat attacks, and grappling someone doesn't stop them attacking you. Kajutaijuq was soon looking very poorly indeed, and had to eventually let go and take to the skies to stay out of Crimson Typhoon's reach.

Of course this left Crimson Typhoon free to assist Gipsy Danger. They very quickly took down Mecha Khan

Then they both turned on Kajutaijuq. The flying head was so badly damaged that its flight systems were malfunctioning, and it couldn't get the activations to move. It did get off a shot with its concussion blaster, however, hurling Crimson Typhoon into some ruins. This actually killed one of the pilots, and knocked the other two out, but they quickly recovered (aside from the dead one) and got the jaeger back into action. The two then jaegers fired their plasma blasters at it until they ran out of power, inflicting so much damage that whilst Kajutaijuq was still active, it was obviously out of the fight.

So despite losing the oil-refinery, the jaegers had won, with both of them still standing at the end. Here's all four combatants with their final damage dice - blue dice are the starting dice, yellow the first level of damage and red the serious damage.

The damage rules worked well; all I had to record were how many actions each mech needed to spend reactivating things, and what the effect was if they didn't. Changes to the pilot rolls meant that unconscious pilots did get to recover, keeping the mechs in the game. Playing mechs now becomes a more of a game of managing activations, instead of standing around being vulnerable for long periods of time.

The stats (all 300pts):

Mecha Khan

Head Q4 C2 - Reaction
Body Q3 C4 - 2 x Missiles C4L (Single Use)
Arms Q3 C2 - Elbow Thrusters x 1, 2 x Lasers C3M Linked
Legs Q3 C3 - Amphibious
Tail Q3 C3 - Blade


Head Q3 C4 - Force Shield 3, Reaction
Body Q3 C4 - Concussive Force Blast C3S, Hyperflight, Light Armour (All)
Arms Q3 C3 - Claws

Gipsy Danger

Head Q3 C2 - Reaction, Two Neural-Net Pilots (1 x Heroic)
Body Q3 C4 - Spikes (One Use)
Arms Q3 C3 - Blade, Blaster C3S, Elbow Thruster x 1
Legs Q3 C3 - Amphibious

Crimson Typhoon

Head Q4 C2 - Three Neural-Net Pilots, Reaction
Body Q4 C3
Arms Q3 C3 - Plasma Cannon C3M, Block
Arms Q3 C3 - Blade
Legs Q3 C3 - Amphibious, Kicker

(Block is a new ability I'm testing as an alternative the Martial Arts in 'Mighty Monsters'.)

Monday, 21 October 2019

Mostly Monsters and Mechs

I tried a third game of 'Mighty Monsters' yesterday to try out rules changes. This time I added mechs into the mix as our game on Thursday showed that some of the damage effects are a bit ragged around the edges and very much advantage monsters (mechs and monsters take damage differently in this game).

I played the same teleporting crystal scenario, and used Armordax and Terra Khan again. The first mech to enter play was Mecha Khan.

Despite appearances, the second mech was not called Lord Snooty's Giant Poisoned Electric Head. But maybe it should be.

I call it Kajutaijuq. It flies and has mechanical pincers.

Terra Khan and Mecha Khan exchanged fire and basically used up their ranged attacks. Indeed pretty well all ranged attacks got used up in their first or second shots.

Kajutaijuq had a real advantage in this scenario, since its high-speed flying meant that it could chase the crystal around the board, and the ability to go to high altitude made it harder to engage in combat. I did house-rule that points for the crystal were only scored if an flying monster was a low altitude (where close combat is possible).

Everyone jostled for position in the middle for a while.

Armodax chased the crystal, whilst Terra Khan and Mecha Khan got stuck into close combat. I awarded a couple of points for each monster or mech defeated, so taking out an opponent was an alternative to chasing the crystal every turn.

Kajutaijuq dodged attacks from Armordax. The pink counter shows that the mech has its force-field raised.

Terra Khan eventually grappled his mechanical counterpart, and a serious of powerful bites wrecked the cockpit, disabling it. But the mighty monster's legs had taken damage, and Terra Khan was limping.

Meanwhile Armordax had brought Kajutaijuq to battle. The mech had some bad activations, which Armodax was able to exploit, smashing it to pieces over a couple of turns, and leaving it wrecked with an unconscious pilot.

This left Armordax and Terra Khan fighting out over the crystal. Armordax was slightly ahead on points, so simply avoided chasing the crystal and concentrated on keeping Terra Khan in place until the scenario timed out.

Armordax won on points, with the destroyed Kajutaijuq second. Terra Khan came a close third and Mecha Khan a distant final place, having never really got into the game.

I do feel mechs are a little disadvantaged vs monsters, although this obviously depends on design and scenario objectives as much as anything else. Mechs get reaction moves, which are useful, but I don't think they are quite as useful as the Berserk ability monsters get as their equivalent 'freebie'. In addition the damage effects mechs take can knock them out quite quickly after a couple of hits; I may need to tone down their effects a little. On Thursday we discussed making as many of them as possible recoverable by spending actions.

Anyway, here are the stats for the two mechs in this game.

Mecha Khan

Head Q4 C2 - Reaction
Body Q3 C4 - 2 x Missiles C4L (Single Use)
Arms Q3 C2 - Elbow Thrusters x 1, 2 x Lasers C3M Linked
Legs Q3 C3 - Amphibious
Tail Q3 C3 - Blade


Head Q3 C4 - Force Shield 3, Reaction
Body Q3 C4 - Concussive Force Blast C3S, Hyperflight, Light Armour (All)
Arms Q3 C3 - Claws

Frocktober 2019 - Part 2

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 once again 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

Last year I wore a couple of  Laura Ashley frocks, and I trotted a new one out this year. It was a little light and summery for the cold wet day on which I'd chosen to wear it, but I didn't let it stop me - some tights and a denim jacket did the job. Here I am at the Illawarra Festival of Wood (where I got the burls I've been using as hills/islands in the past week).

So here's Frock Four without the jacket.

I'd intended to wear Frock Five later in the month when our club was planning a Waterloo refight - it has a bit of a regency look to it, and I thought with a suitable hat and some gloves would look suitably 1815ish. But the game has been postponed to November, so I decided to simply wear this pretty Tree of Life dress to work instead.

See the brooch? That was another purchase from the Illawarra festival of Wood.

Here's Frock Six. Polka dots seem popular with my followers, so I gave them polka dots.

I got this brooch at Supanova back in June.

In the evening I tried some different makeup. Which brings us to ...

... Frock Seven - a silk and chiffon concoction from Monsoon. I wore this as my post-performance outfit for the Halloween edition of Burlesque basement, at which I was performing as part of a troupe from the Muse School of Burlesque.

There's that makeup again. I'll post pictures of the makeup in context in a future Burlesque Update post. It's ... bewitching.

Anyway, I'm now well on target to do ten frocks this month, so how about a donation, eh?
That link again: IT HAS POCKETS

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