March 27, 2014

Star Trek Attack Wing - Dominion War Concludes

Last night we played our Star Trek: Attack Wing month 6 Dominion War event at Trilogy Games. After a quieter month 4 and 5 we returned to a full six-player group to close out the series. I had double-checked all of the previous month results to make sure that there were no mistakes, but before we got started I opted to keep those standings hidden, in order to add a little drama to the event.

The truth is there was one player way out front, and I was the only player with a chance to catch him. For that to have happened however he would have had to lose all three rounds, and I would have to win all of mine and I knew that just wasn't going to happen.

All that aside, the turnout was very good and I think everyone had a great time. I played a revised Dominion list, which I had come up with the day before to play against Teri in a preview game of the upcoming "Tholian Web" scenario. You'll have to keep an eye her YouTube channel for that video, and while you're waiting you can check out all of her other excellent Attack Wing videos!

Breen Dissipator Fleet (99 points):

- Rav Laerst w/ Thot Pran and two Energy Dissipators
- Gor Portas w/ Thot Gor, Energy Dissipator and Photon Torpedoes
- Hideki Class Fighter Squadron

The first time I played this fleet I had only one dissipator on the Rav Laerst, with Boheeka and Invaluable Advice instead. The situational nature of those two cards helped me get a energy disruption token out, but it was an expensive way to do it. Thot Pran already allows a re-roll when using the dissipator, so I dropped those two cards in favour of a second dissipator. The Gor Portas originally had the Breen Aide on it, but I had to make room for the second weapon on the Rav Laerst and he was the only thing left to cut.

Game 1 was up against a 3-ship Klingon fleet of Chang, Gowron and Martok. Things started out a little shaky as I flew the Gor Portas too close to the station and took some shield damage. During some of the early shooting the Gor Portas was destroyed by Gowron. We forgot that he would get to shoot back before being removed from the table, which likely would have been the turning point. My remaining two ships were able to destroy Chang and Martok, but I simply couldn't take Gowron down in the time allotted. If I had remembered to fire back with my Gor Portas, I likely would have successfully disrupted his ship, as I was in range and he was uncloaked!

Game 2 put me up against the Sutherland and Defiant. There was some crazy defence dice shenanigans going on with the Grissom-commanded Defiant, nine dice or something like that! I had very good initial maneuvering and was able to drop an EDT on the Sutherland, dropping Sisko's shields and making him unable to attack. I forgot to follow up with my free attack, but the Hideki fighter squadron's 7 attack dice at close range did the job anyway. It took a bit of cat and mouse work, but with the Defiant outnumbered 3-to-1 I was able to make short work of it in a few rounds, taking no losses.

Game 3 saw me facing off against another Klingon fleet. Worf, Gowron and Martok appeared again, but this time Gowron was oddly captaining the uncloakable Somraw. Some poor maneuvering slowed me down a bit and I ended up taking more damage than I'd have liked. Both Worf and Gowron suffered from EDTs, while I sent the fighters after Martok who made an attempt for the station. Not realizing he couldn't beam down while his cloak was up left him vulnerable to well...death. With Martok out of the picture it was a short mop up to clear the field.

So far I have really enjoyed my Breen fleet and might play it again in the future. I made a few minor mistakes with range limitations on the fighters, and have to keep in mind that the energy dissipators don't roll a bonus die for short range, which does make them tough to hit with. On the other hand they are devastating when successful. I realized after the event that I could have easily protected myself from DS9 by hitting it with an EDT, as it can't perform the 1-white maneuver required to remove it!

To finish up here I just want to extend my thanks to Trilogy for providing the prize kits and hosting the events at their shop. Thanks as well to all the local players who came out to join in the events. Finally, huge congratulations to Lewis, the winner of the whole Dominion War organized play event!

March 24, 2014

Calgary Dreadball League - Undefeated After Five Rounds

"Boom Can't Halt the Horde"

The Etherian Horde took to the field against Cosmic Boom in a Sunday matinee game yesterday. Being the underdogs by 28mc, the home-team Horde brought in two Orx guards from the free agent pool to bolster their ranks against the speedy and lithe Judwan team.

Having extra players was a first for the Horde, and so their coach decided to deploy the two Orx guards in his starting six. The Boom lined up in an extremely offensive stance across the launch line, obviously looking to capitalize with an early goal. When the ball launched the Horde Orx laid out some hurt to start the game, knocking down several opposing players. Transforming into striker mode, the Horde's #06, Hexatron, picked up the ball and ran in a two-point strike to end the rush.

The Cosmic Boom were unable to reply immediately, having to dust themselves off a bit in their first rush. The third rush of the game saw more slamming (and a stomp) from the free agent guards, the ref called the foul and ejected one of them for two rounds in the sin bin. Unperturbed and unopposed, Hexatron ran cross-pitch and scored another two-point strike.

This time the Boom players weren't going to stand idly around, and replied by picking up the launched ball with their second action of the rush. The carrying striker made his way towards the three-point Horde strike zone. Horde player #01, Mobil-1, ran interference, causing a minor hiccup in the Judwan plans, but ultimately failed to stop a three-point strike to put the Cosmic Boom within 1!

Rush five saw another Horde player jump off the subs bench to protect their three-point zone and help tie up the two strikers in their zone while Hexatron crossed the pitched again, scoring his third two-point strike, putting the Horde back up by three points!

In rush six the Cosmic Boom tried to regroup and cover some more of the open space, but failed to adequately cover Hexatron. In rush seven, with an extra action granted by doubling on the ball pick up, Hexatron made a beeline for the Boom's three-point strike zone. Stopping in the bonus hex and pausing to survey the empty zone, Hexatron lined up a beautiful 4-point strike, causing the crowd to go berserk with a dazzling display of scoring prowess to win the game in a landslide for the Horde!"

Post-Game Thoughts:

It was a really fun match to play. I think that without those Orx free-agents I would have been in some serious trouble trying to out-score the Judwan. I've also never played against the Judwan before, only played a few games with them before the season 3 book came out. They were too powerful then before the speed reduction. I think the Judwan made a few costly mistakes:

1) Lining up along the centre line was a huge gamble; one that ultimately failed to pay off. I had already put my two Orx guards up front, so the starting line-up should have taken that into account. It proved far too easy for me to clear a path through them on my first rush.
2) My striker was left unmolested the entire game. Locking him down with a few players should have become top priority after my first strike.
3) Defending the strike zones (especially the 1-point zones) would have slowed me down a lot.

I do have to say that I've never played a game where a single player scored that many points. I've come close with a season 1 human striker, but 10-points for a single player, in such a short period of time was a lot of fun (very lucky, but fun nonetheless).

The largest mistake I think I made was forgetting that the Judwan couldn't score bonus points on their strikes. I deployed Mobil-1 at the top of the three-point zone, which allowed the Cosmic Boom space to get in around behind, and eventually score a three-point strike.

Rolling 5 dice for income at the end of the game was really what I needed, as I *finally* have the cash in my coffers to buy a seventh regular player. While my team still isn't the one with the highest value, I'm a prime target now. I'm the only team with a perfect record, so I'm pretty sure my opponents will be gunning for me. It's good to be the king, but people do envy the crown...

I'm off to paint more robots now. That seventh player is going to come in mighty handy for the next game!

March 18, 2014

I Forgot About These!

With spring rapidly approaching I started cleaning up around the house, and happened upon a pile of stuff I ordered way back last fall. I ordered these with the plan to use them as a basis for some 3D models that I could animate. I haven't yet got a 3D scanner, so that's likely why they were piled up in a corner and forgotten.

Looking to maximize space (and have some fun), I set about opening them all so that I could give them a nice spot on my shelf together somewhere. I've never purchased any Diamond Select toys before and I have to say that they're very nice! I'm sadly one piece short (I think?) of having a complete Atlantis stargate. :(

The two characters I'd really like to add to my collection seem to be very difficult (or at least expensive) to find. Rodney is reported a short-packed figure, and I think he came with one of the gate pieces I'm missing. Ronon was a Previews exclusive, so it's extremely unlikely I'll find one. I'm certainly not willing to pay $100+ for one.

Nonetheless, these look pretty good on the shelf. I'll keep a watch around for the two missing SGA characters, and I might even expand my collection to the original SG-1 team. I'm in no hurry at the moment however, but if you have stuff you'd like to part with, feel free to let me know!

Makes me start thinking that I should do some work on my 28mm Stargate project...all those primed Jaffa need some paint.

March 11, 2014

Calgary Dreadball League - Robot Thoughts...

Back in January of this year we started playing a new league setup, organized by Zac. I'd run a short league the previous year and had tried unsuccessfully to garner interest in a new one late in the summer. Since starting up things seem to be going quite well, and there are eight regular players signed up, with a few more looking to join in from what I hear.

This time around I decided to try playing one of my season 2 teams, The Etherian Horde. I've only been able to paint four of my twelve teams, and didn't really fancy playing my S2 female team (The Synergy City Holograms). I was looking for something a little different and I thought the females wouldn't be enough of a departure from the S1 humans.

I had played a few one-off games with the robots and knew that my core game strategy would have to change. The starting roster is six players only, so I'm immediately left at a disadvantage: I have no substitute players to bring onto the pitch during the match! This means that my positioning is of utmost importance because I simply can't afford to have my players languishing in the sin-bin, or worse...killed during the game.

The second factor I had to consider is both a pro and a con: transforming players into different roles. While helpful, it eats actions. Doubling on a transform roll doesn't allow me to do anything other than transform MORE. In six total games I have yet to need to change from striker to guard, or vice versa. I find that I spend at least two actions in my early rushes changing a player to a guard and one to a striker. Having to do so means a slow start to my offensive playmaking options.

With all that said, things in the league have actually gone very well! My first two matches (vs Z'zor and Orx respectively) went to overtime. On both occasions I was able to score the winning strike. My third match was against a S1 human team and I hit strategic gold with a solid passing game, resulting in the Horde's first-ever landslide victory. My fourth round match was a much harder-fought affair, which you can read about over on Zac's blog (click here).

My team's value has gone up due to my cash winnings and adding experience to my players. I have however, lost a player. In round one, Johnny-5 was put offline and I had to revive him on the cheap due to lack of funds. The result of which was a reduction in skill. In round four poor Johnny-5 suffered the same fate. This time however I was forced to recycle him entirely. The recycling fee provided me enough money to replace him, but I'm still unable to expand my roster. Making enough cash to do so has proven difficult. Were I to do things over again I may have opted to save my money early until I could afford a player before investing in a second card and coaching die.

A 4-0 record for a new team is certainly nothing to sneeze at. Or, maybe glitch about...since we are talking robots here.

Now I just need to find myself a model to use for "Coach Hordak!"

March 07, 2014

Operation Squad WW2 - First Game

Finally had a chance to try out the rules for Operation Squad WW2. It's, as you might expect by the name, a squad-level skirmish game set in World War 2. Shocking right? Anyway, we set up a basic table and just tried a straight-up fight, rather than using any of the six scenarios from the core rule book.

We played using my Tamiya 1:48 scale Panzer Grenadiers and Russian Infantry sets.

Rick chose the Germans, won the initiative and started setting up first. The deployment of your figures is done in alternative order. Once we were all set up we rolled for first round initiative and started declaring our actions and reactions. Without duplicating the entire rules here's an example of how it works.

The player with initiative can decide to go first or second, and then we make declarations. Say my opponent decides to go first; he picks a figure on the table who hasn't acted and says what he'll do. Maybe he's going to run into the trees over to his left. The miniature doesn't move yet, it's just a statement of intention. I think pick one of my figures and do the same. I'll have my heavy machine gunner run up to the stand of trees to the north, trying to get a good spot in cover.

You do this until three figures on each side have declared intentions (or less, when it gets near the end of the round). After this, each figure rolls two dice and adds their tactical value to the total; this determines their priority. Now the figures perform their actions, in descending order. It might sound a little complicated, but after you try it out it's actually very simple, and leads to some really interesting situations.

Being our first game we made tons of mistakes regarding whether or not figures were hidden, spotting tests and even choosing targets to shoot at. We also had to quit before either side had lost enough troops to require morale tests. I had lost more soldiers, but Rick was in trouble with four wounded, so we called it a draw based on time constraints. All that aside however, it was good fun! I'd really like to try it again to see if we can get some melee assaults, play the rules closer to correctly, try some different squad configurations and test out a few of the scenarios.

Painting up an American and British squad just moved quite a ways closer to the top of my to-do list...

The game itself is definitely worth a try. I got mine as a PDF download from Ganesha Games. If you're so inclined there are also two expansions available adding more vehicles and tons more squad lists.

March 05, 2014

Deadzone: Plague figures constructed

Over the family day weekend I was able to get some time to myself to catch up on some TV. I've been using my Sunday (well, in this case it was actually Monday) evenings to plunk down and do some multi-tasking. Next up for construction were the Plague figures for Deadzone.

The basic box game comes with eleven plague figures total:

- 1x stage 1A
- 3x stage 2A
- 4x stage 3A
- 1x stage 3A with heavy machine gun, and
- 2x stage 3D "hellhounds"

With the Kickstarter level that I pledged at I got some bonus troopers as well:

- 4x stage 3A
- 2x stage 3A with heavy machine gun

I do wish that a few of the bonus figures had been hellhounds, or even an extra stage 2A instead just to add some more variety. Here are a the hellhounds and some knife-waving stage 3As.

With the bonus figures I essentially ended up with triplets of three different figures. Since the main bodies are one piece, and the arms are keyed to a specific body, it's a little tough to modify them very much without some work. I ended up doing some arm and head swaps (a sharp hobby knife was my friend here). As well, I did some hot water repositioning of one set of bodies to vary them up just a little bit. See below for all the sets of triplets. Considering that there are only three different figure designs total here I think they turned out very nicely.

The stage 2As went together smoothly although I was concerned about attaching the jumping guy to the barricade. Pleasantly the super glue I'm using creates a very strong bond with the resin-plastic material of these figures. I'm pretty sure he'll stay attached through regular gaming and transport. I do wish I'd worked out a little more dynamic jumping pose, but it'll suffice I guess. I have to say that these three figures were probably the easiest Plague models to clean up and construct. If I were to acquire another set of them however, they might prove to be a challenge to re-position easily into different stances.

As with most of the Mantic Games figures there were some spots where it crossed highly detailed areas. On the other hand they seem to improving in their casting process. Additionally, I'm getting a lot faster at cleaning up my models for construction. The worst spot ended up being across the right palm of my stage 1A figure. There is a deep line crossing through (not flashing) that I should have done some putty work to cover up. After priming however it's hardly noticeable. Hopefully that will remain true during the painting stage.

At the moment the plague models outnumber my Enforcers by a good margin, but I think that'd be true in the game as well. The Enforcer basic troopers appear to cost a fair bit more than the standard plague trooper.

One can never have too many gribbly monster dudes, and since the second survey is still open for the campaign backers I added a plague booster bundle. I'm also slated to receive a resin 1A figure in my second shipment, and the booster bundle would add several more troopers, another set of 2As, a plague teraton, more hounds and some worm creature things.

I received the Rebs booster bundle with my first shipment, and the Enforcers will be getting lots more troops in the second because I already ordered theirs. I added the Asterians bundle (since the bundles are buy-one-get-one-free!) and that only leaves the Marauders out. I'm not terribly enamoured with the Marauders at the moment and I have plenty of 40k Orks anyway. They'll be easy enough to swap in as reinforcements should I decide I need them.

I'm not sad that I skipped out on the Forge Fathers entirely. I've seen some very well painted figures online, and I do like my Dreadball team but I'd rather buy the fantasy Dwarfs from Mantic over their sci-fi ones. I'm sure there are other folks in my area who will have a Forge Father army for me to destroy, er...I mean play against.

March 04, 2014

Deadzone: Enforcers and Scenery

The box that I received containing my first shipment of Deadzone items was second in size only to my Zombicide Kickstarter package. What I mean by that is simply...holy crap more stuff. As I've mentioned previously I'm a fan of Mantic Games, even if their resin-plastic model material isn't fabulous to clean up.

After spending several hours (far too long really), sorting out all the contents for Deadzone I was able to get all of the items into the base game box barring the scenery sprues. Those I sorted, labeled with sticky notes and wrapped with an elastic band each. I clipped all the connectors from the sprues and dropped those into a bag for later use. I know that I could have primed the connectors on the sprues first, but it didn't seem to be worth the effort. The shipping box barely survived mailing so I cracked it down and threw it out. Less wasted space, but the scenery will need to be stored in something eventually.

Out of curiosity I clipped all the stuff off one of the accessory sprues. It takes up a lot less space this way. Two of the pieces here did need glued together: the lamp post (technically three pieces), and the square crate. I don't think I'll clip any more stuff off the sprue until I prime them all. It'll be much faster with a spray can than my airbrush.

There were some stretch reward scenery bonuses (air scrubbers and heat exchangers?) that I received, and I bought the Antenociti scenery packages as well. This stuff is all resin and will take some time to get sorted. Between all of this stuff and the Sedition Wars scenery pack from last year, I'm set for building pretty much any sci-fi table imaginable!

With all of the clerical work done I decided to start putting the Enforcer figures together.

- Good mix of figures and weaponry
- Cool sci-fi trooper / armour design
- Dynamic poses (with a little work)
- Sentry Guns!

- Could be a few less parts
- Detail is a little soft
- Basic 5 troopers a little picky to construct

Maybe I'm just used to the casting quality and material Mantic uses now, but I really didn't find cleaning up these figures all that bad. Yes they have mould lines, yes you need to cut them off with a knife rather than scrape or file, and yes the bases are a little different. One of the integrated bases (on the rocket launcher dude) was way too big to fit into the cutout on the base and required a large amount of trimming. Otherwise it was a standard exercise in trimming off the mould lines and gluing them together.

One of the main selling points of Deadzone for me, was actually the Enforcer faction. I know a lot of people out there find them to be rather generic sci-fi troopers, but I very much like their design. I think they're close enough to the Vanguard from Sedition Wars that they could almost be mixed in as elite troops, and you could certainly proxy a full army of space marines in 40k with the two. They are a little larger though, so you might not mix them in as regulars but they could serve as terminators or devastators nicely enough I think.

I have already got plans for a white armour scheme for the SW Vanguard figures. I plan on using small splashes of red, green and blue to split them up into squads. As a fan of the Mantic studio scheme for the Enforcers, I will be using yellow splashes on them to do the same. While it's unlikely that I'll be adding them together in games, they'll probably all be displayed together.

I'm not sure when I'll get around to painting these. I've already constructed the Plague miniatures, and I'd like to build some scenery first so that I can do a few run-throughs of the Deadzone rules. So many games, so many figures, so few people I can talk into playing...

--Transmission End--

March 03, 2014

What I Built In February

For some strange reason I got it into my head that I was going to build as many figures as I could from my awaiting lead and plastic pile in February. I still haven't had a chance to set them up for photos but it's finally on my to-do list tonight.

Anyway here's a quick run down of what I was actually able to put together. I was pretty happy with the total!

- Deadzone: Enforcer starter pack (12 figures)
- Deadzone: Plague starter pack + bonus models (17 figures)
- Project Pandora: Veer-myn squad (10 figures)
- Project Pandora: Corporation squad (10 figures)
- Dwarf King's Hold - Ancient Grudge: Ghouls x7, Dwarfs x2 and Elves x2 (11 figures)
- Sedition Wars: Keegan, Dekker?, Jade Lily, Akosha, Vade and Dead Space dude (7 figures)

So in total it looks like 67 models put together in February. I've also primed the Deadzone figures, so I'm actually doing pretty well with getting that game on the table to some 'figure out the rules' games.

I'll be slowing down that pace but I do want to get the rest of the Sedition Wars figures built and primed, as well as the rest of my Deadzone models. That will likely not all happen in March, because I have a special project on tap this month. I can't say any more than that until it's finished. Once I get that off my table I'll return to my ever-massive to-do list!

Pictures of the Deadzone models I've completed will be following a little later this week, along with my thoughts on them so far.