Monday, December 30, 2013

The Redgrave War - Part 4

The next target of the Redgravian offensive was the port of Southcoast. Expecting an attack, Lester sent a contingent of Marines by ship to help the beleaguered Imperial garrison. Commodore Plotkin of the Redgravian navy, attempted to intercept Admiral Netherbottom’s relief force.

Plotkin had four ships: Mako, Barracuda, Narwhale, Moray (flag)
Likewise, Netherbottom had four ships: Tiramisu, Schnitzel, Escargot, Tarragon (flag)

The van of the Redgravian squadron descends on the Imperials
Once the squadrons were in sight, Plotkin raced forward to intercept his enemy. Netherbottom steered away, but the weather gage favored the Redgravians. Mako and Tiramisu engaged first and the Imperial vessel was subjected to a pounding broadside. Barracuda sailed up and added to Tiramisu’s misery. Soon, the Imperial vessel was a floating hulk. Other ships joined the fray and a general melee ensued.

As gun smoke obscured the battle and the warships swirled about each other, Netherbottom realized that he now had the wind advantage. He signaled to his fleet to break off the engagement.  His flagship, Tarragon, and Escargot managed to slip away. Schnitzel was not so lucky. The heavy pounding had taken down a mast; she could not outrun the Redgravian. Alone and outnumbered, Escargot had no option but to strike her colors.

Plotkin had won a significant tactical victory, taking two enemy ships while only sustaining minor damage to his fleet. However, Netherbottom managed to get reinforcements to Southcoast.
  • Redgrave (Comm. Plotkin) – Mako, Barracuda, Narwhale, Moray*; minor damage to 2 ships
  • Imperial (Adm Netherbottom) – Tiramisu, Schnitzel, Escargot, Tarragon*; Escargot heavily damaged, Tiramisu crippled

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Wizard's Tower

We decided to do Board Game Night last night so we pulled out an old favorite, Castle Panic, which I have described before. This time, we added the Wizard's Tower expansion (a recent addition to our inventory thanks to a Christmas gift card).

Box cover for Wizard's Tower
Wizard's Tower adds a slew of new and more powerful monsters (including a dragon) that replace the weaker goblins and orcs. The Dark Lord is really gunning for your castle this time! Of course, if you've got a dragon you also have to have flames, and the expansion includes tokens and rules for fires. How are you able to survive this onslaught? Never worry, you now have a wizard's tower!
Our castle taking a beating. A few walls are gone and a tower is in flames.
Note the wizard's tower (the tall one) on the far side of the castle.
 The wizard's tower grants you access to powerful magic (in the form of new cards) that can help stem the monster army's advance. Be careful, however, for if the wizard's tower is destroyed you can no longer use magic! You do get some new, amped-up castle cards to help as well.

The game plays similarly to the original Castle Panic. Hordes of monsters advance on your castle, intent on tearing down your towers (and presumably annihilating the inhabitants). The game is cooperative; you work together to stop the invasion. Nevertheless, there is a competitive component as each player tries to be the master slayer (by killing the most points of monsters).

Last night turned out to be a success. It looked dicey earlier, especially when we lost the wizard's tower. By then, however, we had managed to wipe out most of the really powerful monsters and just had to clean up a few stragglers. Ultimately, Elizabeth killed the last two monsters in one round, and we survived with three towers intact.

Our castle in the background with our trophies in front (Elizabeth, me, and Jimmy).
Can you guess who was the master slayer?
All in all, it's an interesting twist. It makes the game more challenging, although it seemed to take a bit longer to play (probably because the new monsters have special rules so I had to keep checking the rule book).

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Year End Reflections

I planned to wait until the 1st anniversary of this blog to post some reflections on my experiences since I started blogging, but I have some time now.

If I had to describe this last year gaming-wise, it would be GADD (Gamer's Attention Deficit Disorder). At the beginning of the year, my plan was to resurrect my Francesia horse-and-musket campaign. I ordered figures (15mm Irregular) but never painted them. I picked up a couple of air war games (Down in Flames and Eindekker), which I haven't touched in months. Instead, I veered off in multiple directions. I did some solo role-playing. I went on a brief medieval kick before I ventured into sci fi. I kept getting sucked into video games (e.g. I started a new Skyrim character recently).

Let's take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of 2013.


  • Board Game Night - It has become a fairly regular feature in my household. We picked up some fun games (Castle Panic, Zombies!, and my wife's favorite - Ticket to Ride) and enjoy playing together.
  • New genres - Last January, I did not even conceive of starting sci fi or rpg projects, but I have enjoyed them (even though I play so infrequently). This is the positive aspect of GADD.
  • Discovering the History of Wargaming project - available on my nook are these reprints of classic wargaming books. Highly recommended.

  • Unfinished Projects - From Francesia to Dux Brit, I have drifted away from numerous projects. This is the negative aspect of GADD.
  • The Lure of Video Games - I still find myself getting sucked into video games, which takes away time from my other wargaming projects.
So what does 2014 have in store? I think I will wait and post that in early January.

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Yesterday, I toyed with the idea of running a sci fi rpg adventure. Unfortunately, I have no minis to take pictures and I'd really love to illustrate my adventures for my Tales of the Templars blog. I spent part of the day looking for a 15mm figure to serve as a Space Templar. Once I got frustrated, I played Skyrim instead.

One of the cool things about rpgs is that you don't need minis so I should not let my lack stop me. After all, I don't game for the benefit of my blogs; I blog for the benefit of my games.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

3mm Experiment

I painted and based the 3mm Napoleonic infantry blocks ordered from Pico Armor and they look rather decent. Here is a shot next to some 2mm bases. The first thing you can notice (other than my horrible photography) is the size discrepancy. At this scale, 1mm is a huge difference. With the 3mm blocks, each soldier is distinct, rather than being all lumped together. This is a blessing (it looks nicer) and a curse (it seems harder to paint, although they still paint up pretty quickly). This will

Note that I still have some work on these stands. The base of the figure blocks and the edges of the cardboard stands need to be painted green to blend in with the ground.

This picture shows my 3mm infantry next to handmade 2mm terrain. The figures look OK compared to the hill (right) but seem a bit large for the wood (left) or farm (middle).

Saturday, December 7, 2013

GADD-zooks! Another Project!

Yes, GADD strikes again.

I recently got the bug to re-start my horse and musket Francesia project, but in a new scale.  I've read about the Oddzial Osmy 3mm figures before but recently my interest was piqued to the point that I ordered a sample pack from Pico Armor.

Here is the sample pack. Sorry about the poor quality photo, however these guys are small!
Cannons with limbers (top row)
Artillery crew (2nd row)
Infantry (3rd-4th rows, with command stand on bottom row)
Cavalry (right hand column)
If you look at the photos on the Pico site, you can discern the distinct headgear. Well, those are super close ups. With the naked eye, I could not tell the difference. Nevertheless, they can look very nice en masse, as these pictures attest. I think I will order some more and build up some Francesian armies. I plan to mount 2 blocks of infantry to a 20mm x 10mm base. I hoped to distinguish between elite and regulars with their different headgear but I don't think that will be possible. I'll have to find another way. Anyway, before I place an order, I will test paint the sample figs to see what they are like to paint. I have them primed now and will paint them soon. More pics then.

Because I had my paints out, I worked a bit on my sci fi figures. Here are my space marines.

And here are the black widows. They still need their faces and hair painted (yes, one has blue hair - she'll be the punk one).

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Busy Day

After my complaint about gamer ennui yesterday, I roused myself and got a lot done.

Here we see some starships and space marines getting a coat of spray paint. I finished the fighters and made some additional progress on the space marines.

Once my starfighters were done, I wanted to see them in action so I played out a scenario (detailed below).

I also started thinking about my long delayed Francesia project. I suck so much at painting that I have dragged my feet on painting the 15mm figures I bought earlier this year. I've been toying with the idea of using a smaller scale (such as the 10mm Risk figures). As I pondered, I decided to check out this range of 3mm figures. I have been aware and interested in them for some while. When I saw that they have a sample pack, I decided to try them out by ordering a pack.

Finally, I played Ticket to Ride with my wife and brother-in-law last night and secured a victory!

Aquians Attack (Part 1) - A Starfighter Game

Previously, I recounted the exploits of Lts. Ray Gunn and Ty Rowe of the 501st Starfighter Squadron (the Blue Genies). Yesterday, I gamed another encounter.

The devious Aquians have been eyeing the Omicron system. Aware of their interest, the Federation has sent a flotilla, including a carrier with the famed 501st Blue Genie starfighter squadron, to the system to resist any incursions. Previously, Lts. Gunn and Rowe encountered and destroyed a scouting party sent by the Aquians.

As our heroes were out on another patrol, the Aquians tried to slip a small force into the system. Consisting of a torpedo boat and two escorts, the attackers hope to surprise and cripple the Federation carrier, thereby taking the Blue Genies out of the fight. As luck would have it, Gunn and Rowe crossed paths with the attacking party as it approached the carrier.

Gunn and Rowe spot the Aquians. Attack!
Note: Today was the first outing of the star field hex board (using black foam core and a lot of dots!) I made last month. The star field is a little misaligned in areas, but it worked.

Lt. Gunn hits the afterburners in pursuit of the enemy torpedo boat (the flying saucer). It leaves him vulnerable to the enemy escorts and he takes some damage.
 Note: The red and orange flame markers indicate the throttle setting of the spacecraft. Red = afterburners, orange = normal speed, none = slow speed. The gray "asteroids" indicate the initiative order of the craft (rolled on a D6).

Gunn catches up with the torpedo boat but it manages to slip to the side. Meanwhile, an escort has taken a bead on Lt. Rowe, who suffers minor damage.
 Note: I painted the noses of the Federation fighters blue to indicate their squadron. I also painted a couple of red nosed fighters. I keep track of the pilot by colored dots on the wings. You can somewhat make out the 2 dots on Lt Rowe's ship in this picture.

One of the Aquian escorts rushes to the defense of the torpedo boat, but Lt. Gunn takes it out with a heavy burst of blaster fire.

Gunn pours fire into the torpedo boat, but it continues its run toward the Federation carrier.

Oops! Lt. Gunn overruns the torpedo boat. Fortunately, no collision this time.

A Federation interceptor joins the battle. Meanwhile, Lt. Gunn has fixated on the torpedo boat and does not notice the enemy fighter taking aim at him. The accurate fire breaches his hull; Gunn has no choice but to eject. His escape pod is jettisoned just before his ship explodes.
 Note: I wasn't sure if the heroes would be able to catch the TB so at the beginning of the scenario I decided that an interceptor would arrive on a roll of 6. In this turn, it finally arrived. After the destruction of his ship, I allowed Lt. Gunn a survival roll. Because he was my "star" (an idea borrowed from 5150), I decided he would survive unless he rolled really low. He rolled a 3 so I decided it was sufficient.

The interceptor gets some shots on the enemy TB but it maintains course for the carrier.

The enemy torpedo boat flies within range of the carrier's anti-craft guns, which open up. The fighters break away from the barrage. Will the torpedo boat manage to launch its payload or will the anti-craft guns finish it off? Stay tuned for more.
The goal of the game was to prevent the enemy TB from leaving the far edge of the board. Obviously, Gunn and Rowe failed their mission. Still, the TB was pretty beat up and probably would not be able to withstand the anti-craft fire. I'm thinking of gaming out the torpedo run - I just need a carrier stand in!