Sunday, November 29, 2015

Star League Season 8

I've been cranking through games and have finished season 8. I made one big change; I extended the season to 20 games per team. To simplify the schedule I play 2 game series, otherwise the schedule works the same as prior seasons.

Galactic Division
The defending champion Blitz started off slow. After 8 games, they posted a losing record. Meanwhile, the Knights rode a 4 game winning streak to take a 7-3 record and the division lead. The Dynamos were also in the hunt and were tied for 1st place after 14 games. Then the wheels fell off for the division leaders. The Knights went 2-4 and the Dynamos went 1-5 to finish the season. This opened the door for the Blitz, who won their last 6 games to take the division crown.

Stellar Division
The Electrons were the talk of the division. After starting 7-1, speculation arose whether they could be the best team ever (could they tie the 9-1 record of the season 1 Canopans and season 8 Knights). They fell in game 9 then lost 2 games in week 7, allowing the Helix to draw closer. A loss in week 9 allowed the Helix to tie the division with 13-5 records. The rivals played each other in the final week. Because the Electrons held the head-to-head advantage, the Helix needed to sweep the series to win the division.

In the first game, the Helix took an early 1-0 lead. In the waning seconds of the half, the Electrons scored to tie the game. They added another goal early in the 2nd period and then held the ball for most of the half. With time running out, the Helix gained possession, pushed up court, and shot. Blocked! The save preserved the Electron victory and clinched the division. The Electrons won the next game in overtime to finish the season 15-5.

Star Cup
The Star Cup featured a rematch of last season - the Blitz (13-7) vs. the Electrons (15-5). This time, the Blitz were the underdogs. They looked it in the first half as the Electrons jumped out to a quick 3-0 first half lead en route to a 3-1 victory.

The Blitz fortunes changed in game 2. They scored twice before the Electrons answered with a goal to close the margin to 2-1 at the half. The Blitz played tough defense for the 2nd half. With time running out the Electrons managed a shot. SCORE! The game went into overtime but the Blitz scored early to tie the series at 1 game each.

In the final game, the Blitz again took the lead. The score stood 1-0 at the half. Early in the 2nd, the Electrons scored. A few minutes later, the Blitz set up a shot. Goal! They now had a 1 goal lead. The Electrons pressed but the Blitz stole the ball, rushed down court, and shot. Goal! Now up 3-1, the Blitz defense tightened and the Electrons could not respond. The game and series went to the Blitz, who avenged their upset from the previous year.

Historical Notes

  • After winning the first 3 Star Cups, the favorite has now lost 4 of the last 5.
  • Although the Electrons set a record for wins (15) in the regular season (due to the longer season) they are only 8th in winning percentage.
  • The Blitz have now tied the Knights for most division titles (3) and are second in Star Cup championships (2 vs. the Knights' 3).
  • Despite their recent success, the Blitz still have the worst all-time record with a .406 winning percentage, The Knights lead with a .694 winning percentage. The Dynamos (.550) and the Helix (.506) are also over .500.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Battle of White Cloud Pass

Battle 2 of the Lucranian Campaign

After conquering Osmar Mountain, the Empire of the Iron Fist pushed deeper into Lucranian airspace. In order to proceed their air forces needed to maneuver through a narrow mountain pass.

The Lucranians had a surprise for the invaders. They had gathered reinforcements for a a counterattack. Furthermore, they knew the way through the cloud-enshrouded mountains on either side of the pass. They hoped to use these secret passages to sneak around and smash the Imperial forces.

Once again, I am adapting one of Neil Thomas's One Hour Wargame scenarios to a high level air battle. This time, I am playing Scenario 18 - Counterattack. In Thomas's version, the invaders are trying to take a bridge across a river, but they are unaware of fords that allow the counter-attackers to circle around their forces. I emulated it using a cloud banks as impassible for the Imperials, but the Lucranians could cross them.

To win the scenario, one side needs to hold the airspace over the pass and over Osmar Mountain (on the Imperial baseline)

Opposing Forces:

  • Imperial squadrons - 3 pursuit , 1 attack , 1 bomber, and 1 dirigible
  • Lucranian squadrons - 4 pursuit, 1 attack, and 1 dirigible
I assumed that each unit had a Quality Value of 4.

Battle Report

Apology Time - I forgot to put the SD card back in the camera so now this battle's pictures are stored on internal memory until such time as I figure out how to transfer them. Sadly, a written-only report will have to suffice. :(

As the Imperials advanced, one lone Lucranian squadron circled in the pass, ready to interdict any intruders. Imperial pursuit squadrons engaged, and a swirling dogfight ensued.

Meanwhile, the Imperial attack and bomber squadrons circled, waiting for the pass to be cleared so they could engage their next targets.

Then, the Imperials were taken by surprise. A pair of Lucranian pursuit squadrons zoomed out of the clouds. Those mountains were supposed to be impassable! These unexpected squadrons engaged the Imperial reserve squadrons. The bombers fled to a nearby cloud bank for cover.

A stalemate continued in the pass but the Lucranian flank attack pushed on toward Osmar Mountain. Then, a series of attacks broke open the center. The Lucranians held the airspace over the pass and the mountain.

But the Empire would not easily relinquish its gains. A variety of its craft swarmed around Osmar mountain and destroyed a Lucranian squadron. The other flanking squadron fled back to the pass.

Despite its efforts on the center, the Empire could not break the Lucranian defense. Their control over the pass continued/ As night fell and the opposing forces broke off, the situation remained as it was in the morning. The Empire held Osmar Mountain but the Lucranians had protected the pass.

Back in the Imperial capital, Air Marshal Gruber slammed down his telephone receiver. "Idiots!" he shouted. "How could they let the puny forces of Lucranian defeat them?!" He slumped back into his desk chair with his head in his hands. If this invasion failed, the Kaiser would have his head. After a few minutes in that position a smile broke out on his face. Perhaps this is a blessing in disguise, he thought. The Lucranians were focused on Osmar Mountain, but there were other routes into Lucrania. Perhaps he could use Osmar as a decoy and then slip a force into the heart of Lucrania elswehere.

Game Analysis
Technically, this battle was a draw, so the score stands as 1 Imperial win and 1 draw.

This was a very quick game, largely because I kept failing activation on the first unit, ending that side's turn. According to the Song of Blade and Heroes mechanic that I use, 2 failures ends the side's turn. I typically roll 2 dice for a unit. The odds are that I will roll 1 success but my luck was bad this game and I kept rolling double fails. It was only after a few turns when it dawned on me that I could roll 1 die, which I did often for the remainder of the game!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Update

It's Thanksgiving in the US and I am off work for the extended weekend. I'm thinking of getting out some miniatures and doing some gaming. However, the dark side is calling me. OK, maybe not as dark as WoW. I have been doing a lot of video gaming, however. My latest addiction is:

 I'm not sure what started it but I got on a post-apocalyptic kick so I pulled out Fallout: New Vegas. I had started it a while back but let it lapse. I'm now back in and making progress.

One flaw with Fallout is that my wife and I cannot play together. So I have been thinking of making a post-apocalyptic themed miniature/board game. Characters represent Vault Dwellers who have been tasked to venture into the Wasteland in search of precious commodities to help the Vault survive. Although I plan to make the setting a bit generic, it will be inspired by my home state of Florida, featuring locations such as the National Space Center and the Magic Land theme park. I'm still sketching out details.

Anyway, I wish all a wonderful day, whether you're stuffing turkey in your mouth in the US or it's just a regular day in your neck of the world.

Fallout Boy wishes you a wonderful day

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Star League Season 7

I mentioned last week that I have been playing a lot of Star League. Well, I have completed Season 7. Here is an overview

Galactic Division
Despite an early defeat in game 1, the Knights continued their winning ways. Halfway through the season, they were in first with a 4-1 record. However, they were matched by the Avengers. Then both leaders began to stumble. The Knights lost 4 in a row and the Avengers lost 4 of their last 5. This opened the door to the other teams. The Dynamos surged into the lead with 6 wins in a row. One game behind were the Blitz, winners of 5 in a row.

In week 10, the Blitz and Dynamos met. The Dynamos scored a quick goal, and looked like they would clinch the division. But the Blitz struck back, scoring 2 goals late in the 1st half. The second half was a defensive struggle, and the Blitz managed to quell the Dynamos attack. With the win, the Blitz tied the Dynamos with a 7-3 record.

Star League tiebreaker rules are based on head-to-head match-ups. In this case, both teams won 1 game in their series, so a playoff game was in order. This time, the Blitz opened up the scoring. Then, the game settled into another defensive struggle. At halftime, the score was 1-0. Early in the 2nd, the Blitz broke open the game. First one then another shot found the goal. The Blitz controlled the rest of the game for a 3-0 victory and the division crown.

Stellar Division
Early in the season, none of the teams in the Stellar division distinguished themselves. At the midpoint, 3 teams were tied for the division lead with a 2-3 record. The Electrons then pulled away with 4 straight wins, enough to clinch the division in week 9. A loss in the last week left them with a 6-4 record, the worst record ever for a division winner.

Star Cup
The Electrons did not pay much attention to the criticisms leveled at them for winning with such a paltry record. In Game 1, their offense came out blazing. They controlled the ball for most of the 1st half, allowing them to build a 2-0 lead. The Electrons continued to dominate in the 2nd half (the Blitz only managed 1 shot) en route to a 4-0 victory.

Game 2 looked like more of the same, as the Electrons raced out to a 2-0 lead. However, the Blitz showed some life early in the 2nd half, scoring a goal to pull within striking range. From there on, the Electron defense dominated; the Blitz failed to get off another shot. With their 2-1 victory, the Electrons brought home the Star Cup.

Plans for Season 8
I'm toying with some ways to simulate a game without playing it all the way through. I can complete more games that way. As a result, I'm thinking of expanding to 20 games.

Friday, November 13, 2015

A Tribute to a Special Veteran

In honor of Veteran's Day, my brother posted a picture of my Dad, Richard W. Kearney, from his Air Force days. It is my pleasure to share it on this blog.

He served during the '50s, flying B-57 Canberras like the one pictured below.

I am grateful that he is still around so that we can enjoy his company. I don't visit as much as I would like, but I appreciate it when I can.

Anyway, here is a picture from a few years ago. My parents were celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2011.

Thanks Dad for your service to our country, and for all you've done for our family!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Lazy Gaming

Sometimes I just want to roll dice but I don't want to set up a game. That's how I've been feeling lately. As a result, I have been playing a couple of computer dice-rolling games.
  • I've been hooked on an online Yahtzee game.
  • I have also been playing a lot of Star League (my pseudo-soccer, sci-fi sport game)

When I last reported on Star League a few weeks ago, I had just concluded season 5. Since then, I finished season 6 and am well into season 7.

Season 6 Report
The Avengers started off as the hot team in the Galactic division, winning their first 3 games. However, the Knights were hot on their trail. in week 6, the Avengers lost a defensive struggle to the Gravitons (who won 1-0 on a last second shot). With their 2nd loss in 3 weeks, the Avengers fell behind the surging Knights. The Knights sealed the division with an easy 3-1 victory over the Avengers in week 9.

In the Stellar division, the Fury started hot with a 5-1 record. Then they lost 2 in a row to allow their arch-nemesis Gravitons to tie (with the Helix 1 game behind). In week 9, the Gravitons lost 2-1 to the Helix, giving the Fury a little breathing room. The Fury then clinched the division with a dominating 3-0 victory over the Helix.

The Star Cup featured the 9-1 Knights vs. the 7-3 Fury.Game 1 was a wild one. The Fury took a quick 2-0 lead but the Knights roared back with 3 straight goals. The Fury tied then the Knights took the lead again. With time running down, the Fury scored to tie it up. The game went into overtime before the Knights scored, pulling of a 5-4 victory.

Game 2 was another thriller. In the first half, both teams traded goals. The score was knotted at 2-2 at halftime. In the second half, the Fury scored 2 quick goals. The Knights responded with a goal of their own. Down 5-3, the Knights pressed hard, but the Fury defenses tightened, managing to keep the ball away from their opponent. The Fury victory tied the series at 1-1.

The Fury started game 3 in fine fashion, crafting a 2-0 lead at halftime. The Knights scored in mid-period to whittle the lead to 1. The Fury defense tightened again, but with time winding down the Knights stole the ball. They rushed down court. With time running out, they shot. GOAL. The game then went into overtime, but the Knights were regenerated and scored the winner early.

With their victory in the Star Cup, the Knights completed one of the finest seasons in Star League history (their 9 wins were matched only by the Canopans in season 1).

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Halloween Gaming

We had a little Halloween party last night. Not a big thing, just a few family/friends for some gaming.

Elizabeth and I got into the spirit.

We had fun scaring the trick-or-treaters. Some of the parents enjoyed watching their kids' reactions. One lady even took our picture.

Like last year, we started our night with Zombie Dice and Monster Fluxx. Then, because some of our guests weren't gamers, we went for something completely different - Dixit. It's just easier to explain to non-gamers.

Anyway, we had an enjoyable game night / fright night.