31 August 2009

Big Brutal Battles! Part Three

On to the final report from last Sunday, with the Cold Dawn facing the Brotherhood of Sorrow.  These gangs are both on the small side, with eight men in each crew, but rest assured they fought like mad.  The game started simply enough, a Gang Fight with no Treacherous roll, with Mike's Brotherhood deployed in a dispersed formation with a couple 2-man groups to begin, and Darien's Cold Dawn split roughly in half, with his Heavy and two support gangers on one end, and his leader with four other gang members supporting a push at the opposite flank.

The first turn was pretty quiet as both gangs moved ahead towards a cluster of ruins and old industrial buildings at the center of the board, but Darien found a commanding field of fire for his gang's heavy bolter beneath the arch of a gate watchtower.  The Orlock heavy took down several Cawdor gangers through the rest of the game, prompting our group to start calling him "Lawnmower," and much to Mike's chagrin, Darien's first several rolls to hit (as well as his sustained fire and ammo rolls) contained an inordinate number of sixes, while Mike's rolls tended to the lower end of the D6 spectrum.

The Brotherhood's heavy and one juve were taken out before they could get to grips with their Orlock rivals, and the Cold Dawn capitalized on their advantage by sending up some hand-to-hand fighters from the leader's group.  Meanwhile, the support fighters alongside the Orlock heavy moved to suppress a team of Brotherhood members picking their way through cover towards the Lawnmower's position.  Just as the BoS fireteam moved into sight of their targets, and the flanking team neared the Orlock heavy bolter team, Darien's luck started swinging into the low end of the D6, as ones started popping up with unsettling frequency - shots missed targets or failed to wound, and Mike seemed to have found the perfect opportunity to turn the tables on the Orlocks.

Unfortunately, the Cawdor Brotherhood of Sorrow found their opponents to be much more fierce than they expected.  Orlock gunfire cut down the melee team in the ruins near the gate, while the lasgunners were caught out and engaged in hand-to-hand, and subsequently routed after fierce close combat.  At this point, Mike decided he'd better run while some of his gangers could still do so, and quit the field.  Fortunately though, his casualties were fairly light, and more importantly, the Brotherhood found themselves hosting an unexpected guest!  Shivers from the Cold Dawn woke up in shackles at the Brotherhood's home territory, and enjoyed (or endured) some kind hospitality from the Cawdor, until Darien offered a new Infrared Gunsight and Hotshot Power Pack in exchange for his ganger.

27 August 2009

Big Brutal Battles! Part Two

The battle between the Concrete Chaos Queens and Delaque gang was no less intense. The Gang Fight was set in an area full of Methane Gas Pockets, which made it risky to fire from cover. Each gang spread out into smaller groups, with the Queens sending a melee team along the right flank, with their plasma cannon set up near the center of the board edge, and a small fire team moving up the right.

To counter, Matt sent his Delaque flamer along with some juves and gangers to push against the fireteam, and his heavy stubber almost immediately proved its worth. As the Queens' melee team led by "The Witch," moved up onto a gantry headed toward the Delaque line, the heavy stubber opened fire, rolling up 4 shots in sustained fire and cutting down three of the four melee girls. The only one left standing wisely judged the situation to be hazardous and dove for cover, sheer terror leaving her incapacitated for the time being.

Unfortunately, the leader of the Delaques was so emboldened by this decisive and nasty counter-flanking measure that he sorely underestimated the remaining Escher force. As he moved from cover, the Queens' heavy hefted a huge plasma cannon, switched the toggle to Max Power, and fired. I got called away from my game to help govern the shooting phase, as Steph hadn't ever brought so much firepower to bear. Next Steph sorted the Damage roll (possible D10 wounds) and ... the whole group sort of groaned as we saw the result. The shot was so powerful it inflicted the FULL TEN WOUNDS possible on the Delaque leader and left him as a smoldering pile of pain. Needless to say he went OoA. Several times over.

Afterwards I am unfortunately a bit lacking with regards to the game's outcome, as I returned to my game which had just started to get bloody. I know for a fact that the Methane pockets had some hilarious results, and that the balance of the game swung a bit to both sides before ending. Matt and Steph's game wrapped up a couple turns ahead of mine and Jeff's, and so I will try to get a bit more information from them about their memorable moments, and I will be editing this report a bit to add in new recollections.


26 August 2009

Catwalks! Variant A

By request of KRUG and as a pretty decent way to segue into the WIP aspects of this blog, I'm posting this tutorial on my method of making one of two types of catwalks featured in the Big Brutal Battles reports.

Click the images for larger versions!

This particular type uses the following materials:
  • 3/16" or 1/4" thick foamcore
  • 1/16" thick cereal box/thin card
  • Plastic embroidery mesh AKA "granny grating" - any density
  • PVA/White glue
  • Cyanoacrylate glue/Superglue
  • 1/4" styrene L-channel
  • Basing material of your choice (sand, misc. bits, etc.)
And the following tools:
  • Exacto knife
  • Box cutter/Craft knife
  • Cutting mat
  • Hot glue gun (will be used in future constructions)
Okay, let's do this thing!

First, cut your foamcore to a size that seems about right for your needs. My SketchUp example shows a 2 1/2" x 12" piece as a base. Make your cuts as square as possible.
Next, cut a piece of granny grating to the same dimensions as your foamcore base, perhaps a tad smaller if needed. Take your white glue and coat the foamcore's top, and set your grating on top, being sure to press it into the glue. I often use superglue at this point to "tack weld" the grating to the foamcore, then set it under a few books or magazines to insure even pressure while the glue dries. It is also good to omake these in batches, as the glue-drying phase can take some time.
The next step is to cut some card to cover the long exposed edges of foamcore so they don't react adversely to spraypainting. Cut them to the same length as the foamcore, and wide enough to end up flush with the top of the granny grating, then white glue them to the long sides of the foamcore.
Now you'll get a piece of 1/4" L-shaped styrene channel (I use Evergreen products as they are readily available in town), and cut two pieces, each equal in length to the foamcore plus the pieces of card to each side ( foamcore width + about 1/8"). Coat the exposed foamcore in white glue and score the styrene in a cross hatch pattern, then superglue them to the white glue-coated foamcore. Hold them in place while the superglue sets, then get ready for more card cutting.
Cut two pieces of card to strips, measuring 1/4" by 12" (or whatever length your catwalk is. You'll then use white glue and superglue "tack welds" to secure these to the top of the granny grating, so that you create the long sides of a "frame" over top of the mesh. See the example pic to clarify:
Next cut two more strips of card, this time 1/4" wide and long enough to finish the "frame" (in this case 2-1/16" long) around the mesh. Again, the example picture will help to clear up confusion:
And there you have it! Add basing materials like sand or pieces of discarded gear to your catwalk, or leave them clear of debris (you obsessive clean freak, you!). I've also done heavily damaged catwalks partially destroyed by explosions, using bits of paper clip stuck into the foamcore to represent reinforcement bars, and I am toying with adding pipe and conduit to new pieces to add variety.
The great thing about these catwalks is their ability to span pretty impressive distances without needing a whole lot in the way of reinforcement. The foamcore creates a sturdy base and all the card strips and such help to build up that strength. One thing I would recommend is that if you go a whole lot further than 12" in length, is to add bits that suggest structural upgrades, even if they aren't practically necessary. It adds many things: aesthetic detail, a bit of cover, and a sense of character that can become quite impressive.

So anyway, that's one variant of my catwalks, I'll look at posting the "tiled" version soonish, if I don't get distracted or think of a better idea. Please let me know if this was helpful and if there are other ideas or things I can improve upon. I'll try to get actual WIP shots when next I build something, so I don't have to point to a screenshot.

Cheers, and good luck trying your hand at some new catwalks!

23 August 2009

Big Brutal Battles! Part One

EDIT: Fixed it!


The new campaign started off quite fiercely with three games played between the six players in the group (the seventh apparently decided not to join up after all), and there was a lot of blood shed on this fateful day.

The three matchups were:
  • My Orlock Iron-Forge Union (Orlock) v. Jeff's 7th Ash Waste Rifles (Van Saar)
  • Steph's Concrete Chaos Queens (Escher) v. Matt's Delaques
  • Mike's The Brotherhood of Sorrow (Cawdor) v. Darien's The Cold Dawn (Orlock)
Each game was pretty intense and everyone had a chance to get a full game in, and what games they were! the OI-FU/7th AWR matchup was a Gang Fight, with our Treacherous Conditions roll setting the battlefield deep within swirling clouds of thick fog, limiting our vision to 16" for the game. I rolled for first turn and gave it to my opponent which in retrospect, given the fog, was a crap idea - it ended up giving a decent tactical benefit.

Our board setup featured several three-story towers with 12" long catwalks, as well as some secondary towers, wrecked Chimera hulls, and old ruins of habs mingling with ad-hoc fences and guard towers. I deployed the OI-FU in four groups; a static fireteam including my heavy at the edge center, two juve/shotgun ganger teams at center and far left, and a leader/lasgunner/juve team to the right, with a single lasgunner taking to the gantries above the ground as well.

My brother came on strong and moved to very advantageous positions. A team of autogunners and his heavy repelled the OI-FU's right-flank push, while his bolt pistoliers quickly took up position at the central area of the board, and a lasgunner team moved to repel my left flank push. My heavy and his backup found themselves out of visual range for much of the game (damn fog), but eventually made a difference towards the fourth and fifth turns.

Fortunately for me the 7th AWR suffered from some of the worst accuracy and worst firearm maintenance I've ever seen in a Van Saar gang, and I only started suffering bad casualties in the fourth turn. Once we both closed to within the 16" "nucleus" everything got real bad real fast, with gangers and juves going down left and right. Thankfully my Orlocks don't suffer the same klutz factor as my Cawdor, and they almost always kept their footing around platform/gantry edges.

The endgame finally rolled around on my third bottle test. I ran for it, voluntarily, as at that point I had 6 men OoA and 2 more Down, out of 12 total.

Yep, 75% of the gang could not fight anymore, and if I'd left it to chance, it was likely to be a total shutout, with all my gang bleeding on the floor trying not to die. As it was, I only had a couple injuries worth mentioning: a juve with an Arm Wound, a ganger with a Chest Wound, and one man Captured. The 7th AWR had a man Captured, and one man Dead, with a Chest Wounded juve. In his post-game territory rolls, my brother had a Chem Pit incident and ended up with a Horribly Scarred ganger. I could only work three territories, so thank goodness for my two Settlements and Drinking Hole.

I'll be posting up more accounts soon, as well as pictures but to be honest I have had a bit to drink tonight and my camera's gone missing (I hate moving...)!

Cheers all!

20 August 2009

A Year in the Hive

Quick update!

After several weeks of summer heat and occasional (incredibly inconvenient) thunderstorms and rain, the moving ordeal is over. Boxes are being emptied and their contents organized into their proper places with surprising efficiency; the hobby desk is populated with paints, reference materials, toolboxes, and WIPs; the house is quickly becoming a home (AWWW).

I've sent out a confirmation notice for our gaming group and it looks like we will have a crew of seven in attendance on Sunday, myself included. I am really excited, we're all ready to get some gaming in, and it's been tough to wait for so long after getting some newly-interested gamers involved.

On the other hand, a really interesting coincidence has come to my attention; it has been little more than one year between the start of our first camapign (1 August 2008) and this new campaign (23 August 2009). It has really been interesting to look back on what I've worked on and how far along I've managed to make it on my ever-changing laundry list of projects and ideas. Some aspects of the hobby have improved for me greatly, others have not been developed as well as I'd like.

For instance:

Terrain: 30+ pieces either table-ready or WIP. 6 or so pieces awaiting a finished build. Very happy about this one, lots of challenge and a really great practical and aesthetic boon to the games we play. Also allowed me to have a good time working on pieces with gaming buddies.

Games Table: 2 built, one for myself and one for Steph, again we got a chance to hang out and discuss gaming and other aspects of life whilst getting some real work done. I think I can stand to improve my design and provided things keep going well at work, etc. I am thinking about maybe doing up some modular 1'x1' board sections for a future project. We'll see...

Models: I feel the most simultaneous ups and downs from this aspect, I think. On the one hand, most of my models were built very quickly before the first campaign started and while I've done a goodly amount of work to finish the rougher edges of these models, I've had terrible problems with staying focused and getting work done efficiently. To break it down:

Okay, I guess:
  • Roughly a dozen models in a gang primed, no paint (We are 138).
  • A half dozen WIP hired guns.
  • Roughly a dozen models in a gang awaiting painted bases (NMI).
  • 2 dozen zombies WIP.
  • Roughly a dozen models in a gang completely revamped (OI-FU).
Gaming: Our group has played a lot but a regular schedule has never really been established. That's been frustrating but totally understandable: people have obligations, emergencies, changing schedules, etc. However, I really hope that more of us in the group will mean more value placed on getting a regular game schedule in place and more gained from time spent gaming. I personally have learned a lot of strategy and changed some of my worse habits as more games have been played. With new players this can only get better and I look forward to new challenges and ideas for playing.

Hobby: Despite my sometimes flaky approach to the hobby there's been improvements in the way I work and how I approach projects. I've tried new ideas and methods of construction, and have a better sense of my abilities now than I have ever before. I've expanded my sources of inspiration (read: I expanded my post-apocalypse film collection and my zombie book library by at least 200% each) and have an easier time creating playable terrain derived from books or film, while still providing a strong visual/aesthetic link to the source material. Overall very pleased with my last year.

So at any rate, it's been a pretty good year for gaming and hobby for me. Take a look at your last year and see what you've done well, what you'd like to improve, etc. Or don't, it's your choice. However, it can be pretty fulfilling to take a step back and see what you've created and how your work changed.

Cheers, all.

17 August 2009

Changing gears

Hey again.

The transition has passed a big milestone - the old apartment is now back in the hands of the rental company. We dropped off the keys last night, and now its just a matter of getting the new place all unpacked and ready for the big meetup this coming Sunday.

Last weekend (August 8-9) my dad brought a saw and other tools over and we shortened the shelving so it would fit in the new house, and they look pretty damn good all laden with terrain, miniatures, and hobby supplies. It show me that I clearly have more work to do, as there's many empty shelves still waiting for something to be stored.

That said, there are still a couple of big items needing to be set up - my printer and its accoutrements, my record player, and a few other things that just need to figure out what little bit of floor space they will live in (for now anyway).

I also recently learned that a friend of mine is in pretty dire straits, in ICU for at least the last four days, and that's been a big distraction lingering about in my head. As callous as it may or may not sound, I am looking forward to the distraction of unpacking and arranging the house, this bad news is a bit much to bear. I hope it turns out better than I keep imagining it could.

Anyway, things continue and I hope to be back at my desk putting together new stuff and finishing WIP pieces by the end of the month. Thanks for reading, and I'll be sure to post up some pics of our meet after this weekend!


05 August 2009

The Ongoing Transplantation

Hello again everyone,

I've been busy moving and it's going well! We're living at the new place already and though there's a still stuff that needs to be moved, it gets more and more manageable each and every day. I've sorted out my hobby gear (went over on the first trip!) and brought over one of my workshop desks, only to find out that the ceilings in this new house are about 2 or 3 inches shorter than the shelving. Crap! Thankfully it's just a matter of breaking down the shelves and chopping off the offending lengths, then I'm back in business.

This weekend we hope to be completely cleared out of the old apartment and have our utilities transferred over to the new place.

In related news, the camera charger cable I had lost was quickly located, and it was ALMOST in plain sight the whole time. Ugh. I'm glad I found it, though; I didn't really feel like buying a new camera.

That's it for now, I'll be making a cleanup/packing trip tonight after work so wish me luck.


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