Sunday, 13 August 2017

In Defence Of Liberty

In the near future the last Beacon of Liberty is under threat, and protected only by a forcefield and a small force of tanks and soldiers.

But the enemy is advancing. A simple-minded AI war-machine, controlled by a series of 140 character messages, the Tremendous Robotic UnManned Pulveriser Mk 1 is advancing on the Beacon of Liberty, bristling with  missiles, auto-cannon and a plasma gun.

The defenders spread out.

The TRUMP-1 advances. Slowly.

First shots. The tanks fire, but can't penetrate TRUMP-1's impervious armour. The cyber-tank returns fire and destroys one of the defenders.

More fire is exchanged. The TRUMP-1 AI pauses to consider its options.

Wary of using up all of its ammunition, TRUMP-1 uses it's great bulk to simply crush the opposition.

And again.

A single shot destroys the fourth and final tank. But TRUMP-1 has now used up its auto-cannon ammo.

Missile launchers open up from the hill. TRUMP-1 returns fire with its own missiles, using them up as well, but failing to destroy the valiant defenders. It now only has the massive plasma-cannon remaining.

TRUMP-1 continues to advance.

The defenders rush infantry forward. TRUMP-1 elects to ignore them; they are too puny a target on which to waste the plasma-cannon, and running them down would divert it from the main target.

The Beacon of Liberty is now in sight. One missile tank withdraws, out of missiles.

The other missile tank fires, inflicting a hit on the cyber-tank. As it pauses to reset its weapons systems, the infantry attack, but can't score any damage.

TRUMP-1 moves into close range and powers up the plasma-cannon.

BOOM! Liberty's torch is extinguished forever.

Well, I said in another post that I wanted to try a single cyber-tank against a horde of defenders using Mighty Monsters/Samurai Robots Battle Royale. This was a pretty small game in terms of points - approximately 220pts a side. The tanks and infantry were lifted from the book. The missile tanks have the same stats as the regular ones, but are fitted with C3L missiles and cost 35pts each. Finally, here's the stats for TRUMP-1

Head Q4 C3 - Autocannon (Twin-linked, C2M, Unlimited Ammo), Plasma-cannon (C4L), AI Controlled, Light Armour
Body Q4 C4 - Missiles (C3M), Heavy Armour
Tracks Q4 C3 - Slow

To be honest the C4 on the Body, linked with the Heavy Armour made it near impossible for the army units to hurt the cyber-tank; I'd look at a redesign to balance things up before playing this again. However in principle the game worked out how I wanted it to and whiled away a pleasant hour.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

The Musketeer's Lament

Having played Lion Rampant and Dragon Rampant in recent weeks, we've been keen to complete the trilogy and give The Pikeman's Lament a go. However at present none of us really have much in the way of suitable figures. Caesar decided not to let that stop us having a go, and put together two suitable forces from his Napoleonic Austrians for a small-scale hypothetical Hungarian Uprising kind of game. Whilst we know that people have done Napoleonic and black-powder variants for the Rampant games, we wanted to play the rules as written, even with a game set well outside of the period.

Both sides consisted of 24pts:

2 x Veteran Shot with Plug Bayonets (Line Infantry)
1 x Veteran Commanded Shot (Light Infantry)
1 x Gallopers (Cavalry)
1 x Regimental Gun

For the first game Daniel and I played the Ga Pa scenario, which is a straight head-to-head fight. We had intended to include special missions, but we forgot in the excitement of setting up and determining leader characteristics. However we decided to keep going, since really we were just trying to get a feel for the different troop types.

Daniel's troops had a nice 'fortress' of stone-walls before them, and a leader dedicated to getting his men to shoot well, so I decided to hide my infantry behind a hill until I had secured an advantage elsewhere.

To this end I used the cavalry and light infantry on my left to try and turn his flank. Daniel countered with his cavalry.

Our first fight! It ended in a draw.

As Daniel's cavalry fell back, my light infantry took out a few with musketry. Daniel brought up some line in support. These drove off my cavalry and managed to take out the lights as well, leaving me in a rather exposed position.

He also sent his own light infantry around my flank, to pester my hidden line.

Then he advanced.

My officer was a duellist, and since we weren't playing the rules with any changes, I was able to challenge my opponent. He fell, but it didn't cause a single unit in Daniel's force to waver.

A fumbled activation did see the leader's unit fall back. We reasoned that they'd forgotten to check the pockets of their fallen commander for small-change.

Daniel deployed his cannon on the hill.

I was then just overwhelmed by firepower, followed by a close-order bayonet charge. Daniel picked up a convincing win, mostly through excellent activations when he needed them.

For the next game Caesar played Daniel, and we randomly determined it would be the River Crossing scenario. Both sides are patrols trying to get more of their force onto their opponent's side of the river than their opponent manages to their's.

(We didn't have any river with us, so used the road pieces)

Daniel went for the obvious rush across the bridge in the middle.

It ended badly, as Caesar cut his men down.

However this opened up a subtle chance for a win for Daniel. The victory conditions are that the game basically ends when one player has all of their troops on the opposite side of the river. It's then scored on their points value. With a lot of his force gone, Daniel was well-positioned to get both his infantry across (12pts worth) whilst Caesar had still only crossed with 4pts of cavalry.

Caesar countered with a devious move, bringing his light infantry into the open and using the enemy proximity limit to block Daniel's troop from advancing out of the river. Obviously they could attack, but it bought him time.

And time was all he needed. Daniel's bold crossing stalled, whilst Caesar got more of his troops across to secure a win.

We were really impressed with how well the game worked; firing is deadly, but sometimes hard to activate, whilst the 'plug bayonets' rule allows infantry to switch from shooting to close combat fairly readily. As a game of 'conventional' Napoleonic-era skirmish it would probably exclude too much of the chrome people would expect from such a game, but for low-intensity warfare, or actions in eras or theatres where troops were a little more irregular or poorly trained we thought that it might work quite well. I'd be inclined to drop the officer duels, which would mean a tweak to some of the officer abilities and special missions, but it wouldn't be hard to include ideas from some of the other sets.

That said, we're keen to put together forces for the actual era for which the game was written.

Thanks to Caesar for putting the

The Rampant system is an addition to my Six by Six Challenge.

6x6 - Game 3.1

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

The Original King Of The Monsters

I had a home-based web-meeting this evening for work. Fortunately it was audio only, so I was able to paint whilst I did it (don't tell the clients) and finished off this big tank I'd printed the other day. I wanted to try out both army units and an AI-controlled cyber-tank in Mighty Monsters, and after the meeting that's what I did. On one side, a massive cybernetic tank, and five conventional AFVs

Their job was to protect an oil refinery.

And attacking them? The original 1954 Godzilla!

One of the first pieces of news I saw when I got up this morning was that Haruo Nakajima had died. Now his name is not one that springs to mind when you're thinking of famous actors, but from 1954 until 1974 he was Godzilla. He was the man in the suit. This was a passing that demanded a game in his honour.

Basically I played one of the scenarios from the book; Godzilla had to inflict 50% casualties on the army and destroy the refinery.

He advanced. Some of the tanks took up position in the cover of a wood.

Godzilla continued to advance. The tanks fired, but inflicted no damage.

The cyber-tank slowly moved into position.

The problem with mechas controlled by an AI is that they have low Q values. I made the mistake of activating the cyber-tank first, and the failed activations kept causing turnovers before the conventional tanks could act. This allowed Godzilla to deftly slip past them. He used his atomic breath on the cyber-tank, damaging its power systems.

Whilst the tank tried to restart its power systems, Godzilla advanced on the refinery. Basically the defenders did nothing; failed activations saw none of the tanks move of fire for two complete turns.

Godzilla destroyed the refinery.

He then turned on the tank, but his teeth and claws couldn't penetrate the armour.

The tank was finally mobile again, and backed off, but couldn't manage a shot.

Godzilla attacked again, grabbing the cyber-tank this time, allowing his deadly bite more purchase. This revealed a flaw in the design of the defending force; with no melee attacks, the tank couldn't break free of the grapple, and neither could it shoot whilst in close combat. Basically Godzilla could destroy it at his leisure. The smaller tanks cold engage, but had a 50% chance of hitting the cyber-tank, so this was a risky strategy. I decided to give Godzilla the win.

With hindsight I should probably have just taken the risk with the other tanks, hoping that one shot would finally break Godzilla's hold. But it was supposed to be Godzilla's day and I was kind of disappointed in how the designs had failed me.

After a cup of tea I played the scenario again, having read the rules properly this time; Godzilla is required to destroy the refinery with close combat attacks. This time I also prioritised the activation of the conventional tanks before the cyber-tank. The result was a better balanced game, but I didn't get any pictures. Godzilla took hits from the tanks, before a run of terrible activation rolls saw both sides stand and look at each other for a couple of turns. Godzilla got his act together and destroyed two of the tanks, before running into the firepower of the cyber-tank. In a couple of rounds, the giant lizard and the giant tank both used up their ranged attacks, leaving the latter with just some relatively ineffective auto-cannon. Godzilla closed in and managed to seriously damage the cyber-tank with a single bite, but it managed to back off out of harm's way and when Godzilla tried to pursue he found that his wounds were too much for him and collapsed, giving humanity a victory.

It occurs to me that running the cyber-tank against a horde of conventional troops would make for a great game. I wonder if anyone's done it before?

Update: I forgot to include the stats.


Head Q3 C3 Fangs, Radioactive Breath Attack C5L
Body Q3 C4 Regeneration
Arms Q4 C3
Legs Q3 C3
Tail Q4 C2


Head (Turret) Q4 C3 AI Controlled, Twin-Linked Autocannon with Unlimited Missiles C2M, Plasma Cannon C4L, Light Armour
Body (Hull) Q4 C3 Missiles C3M, Heavy Armour, Light Resistance to Godzilla's breath attack.
Tracks Q4 C3 Slow

Monday, 7 August 2017

Six By Six - A Change

I have decided that I'm going to make another change to my Six By Six Challenge choices, even at this late stage, with less than five months to go.

My original selection included Black Powder, which I quickly abandoned; a good job, since our club seems to have mostly abandoned it these days as well. I swapped it for the new Nordic Weasel 'Scum of the Earth' rules. These had potential for the kind of small-scale game I like to play, as well as being versatile enough to cover a range of periods.

However, you will know from reading this blog that I have recently become entranced by the Lion/Dragon Rampant system. These are similar in scope and style to Scum of the Earth and, I confess, I prefer the way they do things. So I have decided to drop Scum of the Earth (and the two games I've already played as part of the challenge), and replace it with The Rampant System. However, to be fair, I have decided not to retrospectively count any games I've already played as part towards the challenge. In fact, doing so would actually conclude that particular entry straight away, which is hardly the done thing.

So: out goes Scum of the Earth. In comes Lion Rampant, Dragon Rampant and Pikeman's Lament.

The loss of those two games I'd already played now means I have to fit in at least two games of something else this month in order to maintain my pace in the challenge.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Maya For DBA

Twenty years ago I bought some Mayan warriors in order to do a HOTT army. My then newly-born daughter is called Maya, and I just happened to be thinking along the lines of "Wouldn't it be fun to have an army named after her." Sleepless nights. I wasn't thinking straight. And I have an Alan army for DBA as well, in case you're wondering. But I digress.

Anyway, I painted this army, and it's popped out for the odd game of HOTT every so often. Several years ago I improved the paint job and rebased it.

In an earlier post I showcased my new Mound Builder American army for DBA. In it I noted that I had a HOTT Aztec army which would convert to a DBA one to become an historical opponent for it. The other day I realised that if my Maya could be brought into line with their DBA list, they could be an opponent for the Aztecs. I'd have three 15mm DBA armies!

So I checked the lists, dug out some suitable (if not perfect) figures, and tried to match their painting and basing to the older troops.

Here's the result. The Mayan army is split into four sub-lists, but only the last two overlap with the Aztecs, so I just made sure I had the troops for those. At the back are the auxilia which make up the bulk of the army, plus some blades or solid auxilia in the centre. In the foreground are bows and psiloi.

The general's element (left) and another blade element. In the earlier of the two list these are solid blades. in the later list you only get one of them and it's solid auxilia instead. The later general can be normal auxilia as well, but I didn't do a three-figure element for that. It's the one option I can't do.

The rest of the auxilia - eight of them. This is the core of the army.

The earlier list is allowed a four-figure bow element of mercenary archers.

One of the figures is removable, and can be inserted onto a psiloi element for the later list, which has elements where the option is three-figure bows or psiloi.

Both lists have one psiloi element, and the later list can field two elements as either bow or psiloi. These are the necessary figures to do that. In actual fact one of the psiloi elements should apparently be hornet-nest throwers. Maybe I'll do those at a later date.

For HOTT purposes I have an aerial hero. Mayan accounts of one of their battles against the Spanish include heroes who turn into eagles or lightning and fly into the attack.

I decided some suitable scenery was in order, and printed off one of the many Mayan pyramids available for download on Thingiverse. Five minutes research in Google showed me that apparently they painted their pyramids red.

It's slightly underscale compared to the figures, but will make a nice stronghold for HOTT or an edifice BUA for DBA.

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