November 2010

With these figures I finally complete this year’s The Guild’s Project Build. It was a long and hard road, but I’ve got two gorgeous War of the Ring armies to show. Not bad at all.

And the complete project, Misty Mountain goblins and Khazad dwarves.

These past few days I’ve been having a blast trying out Ganesha Games’ Flying Lead. I’ve created profiles for troops and weapons, made some new sci-fi scenery and put on the table figures that have not seen any action till now.

The first couple of games were played using Topo Solitario’s urban mat, which you can download freely from his site. I’ve also built the ISO containers from his site, and I’m putting together another set right now but this time I’ll beat them up a bit. For the rest of the scenery, the low walls and big plastic container are from AT-43, while the rest of the stuff (ruins, barricades) are GW’s.

I’ve found the vehicle rules a bit heavy to begin, so the squads we’re only infantry. My Snow Guard on one side and some U.N.A. troops on the other. During the games we added a few figures to make things interesting. The profiles I’ve created for the troops and their weapons are listed below. They were straight skirmishes, to the death. But let me tell you this game plays different every time, interesting no matter the scenario (or lack of).

Snow Guard

Sgt Athos – Personality
Points 92
Quality 3+ Combat 3
Laspistol, Leader

Crazy Argos
Points 63
Quality 4+ Combat 2
CQB Specialist, Fanatic, Laser Rifle

Breather Nikolas – Personality
Points 53
Quality 4+ Combat 2
Crack Shot/Marksman, Laser Rifle

Loud Petros
Points 54
Quality 4+ Combat 2
Eager, Laser Rifle

Scout Alexandros
Points 53
Quality 4+ Combat 2
Laser Rifle, Sprinter

Snow Guard weapons

Laser Rifle
Points:22 Combat +3, Range: Long

Points:16 Combat +2, Move & Shoot, Range: Short

U.N.A. Scouts

U.N.A. Leader – Personality
Points 98
Quality 3+ Combat 2
Laser Carbine, Leader

U.N.A. Steel Trooper
Points 62
Quality 4+ Combat 2
Fragmentation Grenades, Laser Carbine

U.N.A. Steel Trooper
Points 77
Quality 4+ Combat 2
Missile Launcher

U.N.A. Steel Trooper – Personality
Points 56
Quality 4+ Combat 2
Crack Shot/Marksman, Laser Carbine

U.N.A. weapons

Missile Launcher
Anti-Tank 7, Combat +2, Priming Needed, Range: Long

Laser Carbine
Auto Fire, Combat +2, Move & Shoot, Range: Medium

The warbands were made somewhat balanced. In the case of the U.N.A. there were several of the regular troopers (the ones with the grenades). The board was clear ground, the low walls were reinforced cover and everything else was hard cover. The first couple of games were played solo while the others were against my girlfriend (you can see the different colored dice and the D3 in one of the pics below, and the rules for solitaire SBH/FL can be found here).

I taught the game in a little while. It’s not the simplest game to teach, mainly because of the activation roll and all it implies. It’s something that can be only seen on the table. In fact, a lot of the subtleties of Flying Lead cannot be noted from reading the rules alone. It is not hard to teach, just a bit weirder than most. After the first few long distance turkey shots you will find yourself running for cover like a madman.

I played the Snow Guard and in the last few games I was outnumbered. The few times I split my leader from the group it was just a little while before he was running fast towards his troops. The activation bonus and the group orders are essential for any plan to work. Hide, give orders, and let the grunts do the work.

The first game was quite incredible. I activated and moved forward. My girlfriend failed and pretty much stayed still in her deployment zone. After that I activated Scout Alexandros, with his Sprinter rule that allows him to move twice the distance with one of his movement actions. He ran, took an aimed shot at the U.N.A. leader, gory death on a 6, triples the score, and the morale tests near the edge of the table took care of the rest of the U.N.A. troops. It was over in just 2 turns.

That’s when I noticed the Sprinter and the Eager. I really added those rules to the figures to add a bit of variety and character. Now if you check the profiles, the Sprinter guy costs the same points as the Marksman, and the Eager dude is actually more expensive! It was amazing how useful those rules were. Alexandros moving around like a madman, using cover the best possible way, while keeping Loud Petros near the Leader meant activating him on a 2+, almost always getting 3 actions to do as he pleased.

Cover is everything, even a low wall can save your ass, making the enemy’s shot harder and also keeping you alive (tieing any score by 1 or 2 points depending on the type of cover). On the last game, only the U.N.A. leader was still active and well protected, but had an Out of Action guy nearby. I took a run around the cover the guy was laying behind and took an awful aimed shot at the OOA guy on the floor. The roll was a 6, any hits are Lethal, and the leader had to roll Morale with a -3 because of being the last man standing. He came to his senses and rapidly abandoned the battlefield.

It’s one of those games that works perfect for the scale. You don’t need to play with just 3 figures a side because of a ton of special rules or record keeping, and you can probably play with 20 figs a side if you’ve got time and the rules well learned. But playing with 5-10 guys a side (and maybe a vehicle/walker) just hits the perfect spot. Some guys will do more, some will do less, your opponent will always be engaged. It’s not the same to see that enemy coming along in a game where he can move and shoot, than in FL where he can roll one, two, or three actions, which means completely different things. Moving around cover is vital, morale rolls due to seeing your friend blow up in pieces can win the game, and all fire can be used for suppression purposes if you order your guys around, not only the Overwatch or Speculative fire rules.

Overall an amazingly fun game, a lot more subtle and deep than it seems at first read, and with the basic mechanisms of SBH which means my girl won’t have to learn yet another system to play some fantasy and historical skirmishes.

A+ for Mr. Jones and Mr. Sfiligoi. Now go get this game (and no, they did not endorse this report)

So I decided to turn this into a small article because you’re not always a lucky bastard like I was with this model.

Had this chimera tank for quite a number of years. You have seen it primed black in many a battle report. So far it’s the only one I’ve got (I love this model and will get a few more) and decided I wanted it for my Snow Guard force (AKA IG Valhallans). But I had never painted winter camo on a tank before, so the experimentation began.

Do not ask why, just follow the course of events. Covered the tank with a very dark grey color. Then I used some toothpaste with and old toothbrush, and put all that on the edges of the model. I thought that stuff would dry in a few hours. Well, it took a few days.

Now, the thing didn’t REALLY dry, ever. I still grabbed and old brush and started messing the thing up with white paint. Very messy. Take a look.

When I tried to remove the supposedly dry toothpaste, I thought it would be like peeling out PVA glue. It was actually like removing buggers from the model. If I used a blade to clean it, it would have taken me forever and also remove the grey color (even the black primer). So it was really a bad idea. I decided to cut my losses, I took the model under the faucet, and with the old toothbrush went on with the cleaning. Removed all that crappy stuff, and let the model dry.

Now… that is not half bad right? Instead of a recently painted winter camo model I had one that looked like it’s been campaigning for a couple of years. I’m cool with that, so with a rush of blind faith I carried on. My family passed near that table and saw that model transform so much over the course of a week.

Tidied it up with some drybrushing, metal on the tracks and guns. Applied some simple transfers. Then messed it up with lots of rust (Tamiya powders) and a lot of dirt. After a few more washes and rust dripping down the metal plates, a coat of varnish and voila.

All is well that ends well.

Ok, been a while, but here you’ve got some new LotR troops. Some Iron Guard dwarves, the great Balin, and the obscure orc chieftain Golfimbul. The dwarves add to my Khazad project (not The Guild’s one, the one before) and I’ll paste the current status below the pictures. On the other project, I’m painting a new batch of goblins and then a couple of formations in which every dwarf is converted. Fun!

Note: Golfimbul is hosted in the Misty Mountains gallery for lack of a better place. Categories in the current LotR line are based on location, and there’s none for the invaders from Eriador that The Scouring of the Shire depicts. However, there he will be with his wild warg pack 🙂

Dwarf heroes

Balin (painted)
Durin (painted)
Mardin (painted)
Murin (painted)
Drar (painted)
Dwarf king with 2 handed axe (painted)
2 Dwarf captains (painted)

Dwarf troops

3 Vault warden teams (painted)
4 Rangers with throwing axe
4 Rangers with bow
4 Rangers with two-handed axe
10 Warriors with shields (painted)
9 Warriors with bow (painted)
8 Warriors with two-handed weapons (painted)
2 Standard bearers (painted)
6 Iron guards (painted)
9 Khazad guards (painted)
2 Dwarf ballista (1 painted)

Goblin heroes

1 Balrog (painted)
1 Dragon
1 Goblin captain (painted)
1 Goblin captain with bow (painted)
2 Goblin shaman (1 painted)
1 Wild warg chieftain

Goblin troops

2 Goblin prowlers with shield (painted)
2 Goblin prowlers with bow (painted)
2 Goblin prowlers with two-handed weapon (painted)
16 Goblins with shields (painted)
16 Goblins with spear (painted)
16 Goblins with bow (painted)
2 Cave trolls (painted)
3 Giant bats
1 Goblin drum (painted)
6 Wild wargs (painted)

With my Song of Blades and Heroes drive, I got to read Song of the Splintered Lands. I had bought it a long time ago and never got to read it. I heard it was pretty good, but when the time came to read about talking animals and elves in some kind of conflict, specially considering the figures from Splintered Light minis are 15mm, I always found something else to do.

Well, I got around to read it, and all I can say is: go get your copy. It is an amazing piece of fiction and wargame scenario design. The universe is rich, lacks most fantasy clichés, it’s deep and scary and makes you want to learn more. The conflict between the Druid, the elves, his “awakened children” (the animals), the dwarves of Mountain Home allies, and the Moonglade goblinoid empire is just amazing. The book sets three different campaign paths, completely different from each other, with clear rules, objectives, fun mechanisms (which I’ll use with other SBH material) and amazing narrative. I mean it, it made me go out to SL minis site and realize the designer for most of the figures is the great great Bob Olley (you already know of my obsession with his Dran figures!). The fact that they kinda match Lord of the Rings figures well (for big, talking animals) as shown in the SL minis blog does not help my burning pocket.

So after playing a few solo SBH games, thinking hard on either adapting SSL or simply getting my paws, I mean hands on the SL minis range, I thought it was a good time to try the always interesting Rich Jones’ set based on SBH, Flying Lead. Yeah, that set probably got more good press than all the others together, but the first supplement didn’t get my attention and I must have misjudged it. It is pretty amazing as well. It’s really good how someone can get a good, fun ruleset, keep all the fun stuff intact and add to it that extra twist to make firefights fun, unpredictable, and deadly as they should. I’m not one to enjoy generic games, meaning I like period flavor a lot. But who can argue with SBH’s base rules? With the Flying Lead basis, and the original system of simple, clear, fun special rules, I can see myself playing sci-fi and WW2 skirmishes the way I was hoping to for some time.

And no, before you ask, Ganesha did not pay me to write this stuff. In fact, both rulesets are written by freelance designers rather than Andrea, who obviously scored a big hit with his basic game. There’s some very interesting wargames material being created all over the place as of late, and some amazing new designers doing their stuff thanks to the internet possibilities for publishing. Now, if I could only get my head around the price tag for Rich’s new samurai skirmish game…

EDIT: Made some kind of mistake evidently. Bushi No Yume’s price tag is the same as most Ganesha Games rules. Yeah, I’m off to get them now.