Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Halo Micro Ops size comparison

Hit the Target today, and lo and behold, the toy aisle contained the new Halo Micro Ops toys. I was looking forward to using some of the pieces for terrain or what have you, so I picked up the Wolf Spider vs. Ghost pack, and took a couple pics. (I also picked up that plastic ruler for the sole purpose of taking these comparison pics.)

Wolf Spider turret, Khurasan Kontrol soldier, HALO dude. (I never played the games.)

Ghost vehicle, Kontrol soldier, alien dude who won't stand up.

HALO dude, GZG civilian, poor lighting, Ghost with alien carjacker, Kontrol soldier, Wolf Spider turret, extra plastic bit?

So, yeah. Some of the vehicles and terrain might work, but the figs themselves are clearly closer to 20-25mm than 15. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Historicon 2012 - day two

Bow before the Conqueror!

When signing up for conventions, I am always a little iffy about how many games I want to register for beforehand. My internal batteries can get depleted, and I know there will be a lot of distractions (vendors, demos, pickup games, food.) during a busy day of walking around. But I'm a gamer! It's what I do!

Friday was noticeably more crowded at the show. One of the games I specifically wanted to try out GASLIGHT, and my first game of the day had the very eye-catching name "The Conqueror Worm of Mars, 1889." Ten players, including Mr. Whitehouse. I ended up playing the Conqueror Worm death cult, revolutionaries against the decaying Martian aristocracy; we had unearthed an ancient and arcane machine, the eponymous Conqueror Worm. Teamed up with other Martian rebels and some Earthling allies, we were breaching the city (and secretly trying to reach a mystical artifact statue near the American camp.) Truly, though, my goal was to raze the city. Only from the ashes of our enemies could we rebuild a new, better Mars. The death cult and its high priestesses were aided by the rebel Earthling 'Konnorai,' unknownst to all an Irish anarchist whose red diaper was filled with various explosives. The first turn of the game, Konnarai took position hidden in some vegetation on a hill, the better to throw his bombs. (This detail will be important later.)

As happens throughout history, though, it turns out our revolution was a rebellion. Mighty airships crashed from the skies! Mr. Tesla and his terrifying lightning machines pushed back on our allies' advances. My High Martian forces, who to the Earthmen resembled 'flying monkeys,' had great fun dropping their 'biological bombs' from up above the expatriate British troops. Nonetheless, things were looking bad for us. I mean, as a death cult, we were very successful at the 'dying' part. It's the other half that we hadn't worked out yet.

Well, that looks bad.

In the last turn of the game, we managed to get one of the Martian shamen up to the mysterious statue. The necessary ritual performed, and a fierce black tripod emerged from its slumber deep under the Martian sands. Turns out these ancient cephalopods were psychically manipulating the cult to free them and their machines to reclaim Mars for their own! Oops, sorry everyone! The tripod crushed friend and foe alike, until it was destroyed by a lone Earthman with a brave heart and a speech impediment.

Oh, and I mentioned Konnorai above? Yeah, after deploying him in a great position to start tossing bombs... I completely forgot he was there. That's how effective his camouflage was! I doubt he could have turned the tide, but I do regret the chance to do a terrible Sean Connery accent.

GASLIGHT is a fun system. Scales well and plays quickly. I don't think it's something I could sell the local gaming group on, but the setting is a treat, and I could definitely find myself picking up the rulebook at some point. 
The gamemaster for the above, Jeff Wasileski, has his own report on the con, and the battle above on his blog: Oh My Ruritania! His photos even capture yours truly, striking a pose.

Lunch was salad. Such salad. Even one day of mostly fast food fare was a tasty but unwelcome change of pace. Speaking of food, also, I note this is the first convention I have been to where you can buy a turkey leg and a glass of wine. I didn't. (This time.)

One of my gaming dreams is still to own a nice dungeon like this setup I passed in the big hall.

The mechanised infantry suits pictured center above were rather popular.

The gents went off to their evening BattleTech Arena event, and I tracked down my next game: a playtest of the upcoming Battle Science: Secret Science rules by veteran game designed Bob Charrette. Titled "Code Red, Doctor Moreau," I took the part of one of the mad scientists, part of some secret council, sent as part of the 'punitive expedition' to punish Dr. Moreau for 'mixing the secret sciences' in his experiments. My force was steam powered automatons. I got the impression each of the 'secret sciences' would have their own style of forces, depending on their chosen fields. We also had some Minions on our side. Yay minions!

The steamtech elephant, a converted Zoid toy, was also a hit.

I won't go into too much detail on the rules, as I know they are a work in progress. There are definitely some interesting features, and I look forward to the finished result. The turn flow was a little different, breaking up movement into two parts which affected the rest of the actions. I did like how certain head scientists were Dominators, which meant they could try to sway enemy models to their side, and threaten enemies, and give grandiose speeches. Very evocative of the genre. And if the models are up to the Parroom Station's usual quality, and the ones on the table certainly were, they will also be tempting fare.

One last note from the game: the pics above and below were from just one unused corner of the table, and man, if that terrain isn't better than the stuff I game with regularly. Sigh. So much lovely terrain at the con.

Up next time: the Saturday finale. I win free stuff!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Historicon 2012 - day one

Initially, I was going to return for my second Gencon this year. But as the registration time approached, for a few reasons, I wasn't feeling it. And coincidentally enough, Historicon was downright convenient, at their new site in VA. Our brief trip to Cold Wars earlier in the year was a rousing success, so plans were re-routed, games were pre-registered, and Historicon was on.

Left at early a.m. on Thursday morning from my Maurice's place in VA; he had an early appointment with a Flames of War tourney, and we knew DC area traffic was something not to be ignored. After a brief detour to a McDonald's with no drive-in (seriously, it's the 21st century, people) we made it to the convention site in Fredricksburg.

With some time to kill, Aaron and I snuck in a game of Super Dungeon Explore at an empty table near the food area, attracting a couple passers-by while we did. I ran the heroes, and it was a brief tale of woe. Never made it off the first tile, and when the Dragon popped up and I'd already lost two of my four heroes, I raised the white flag.

Next up was the first tour of the vendors hall. I had a couple orders waiting for me to pick up at various booths. Basically I'd put off buying any gaming things for the past couple months, and now I will be stocked for the next couple months, easily. I will pretend this is like saving money. Snagged a couple bits from Eureka (their 15mm samurai are very nice.) Finally grabbed the Pulp Figures She-Wolves pack I'd bee wanting for a while also. And, as predicted, found myself buying the Flames of War templates and a few boxes of Germans from the Plastic Soldier Company. The big pickups from Rebel and Old Glory would be later.

Among the other eye-catching booths was a demo of an upcoming game called Fanticide. The models are lovely (depending on your definition) and the mechanics certainly looked interesting. But I freely confess, I am a fan of gorillas with wings. Call me crazy. (I also found out that Otherworld has a lovely fig for the hook horror, and I am a goofy fan of that monster too.)

 Positively inspirational.

After the vendors hall tour, we check up on Maurice and checked out the lovely Flames of War boards. I never spend enough time on terrain, and wow, some people poured a lot of effort into doing these up right. A whole section of winter boards, and whole section of desert boards. Some other fun scenes, like the ruined airfield above.

Nothing complex about it, but just clean and coherent.

So yeah. Did I mention I bought a Flames of War army this trip? More on that in future posts.

OK. Apropos of nothing, this van was parked in the lot all weekend. Heard more than a couple people discussing it.

Not pictured: the mech 'sneaking' up on my right, about to jack me up.

With yet more time to kill before my evening game, I learned to play this hot new game called BattleTech. Well, actually, I distinctly recall when I bought my first boxed RPG back in the 80's (Paranoia!) they also had this Battletech game for sale, but it's one of those classics of the industry that I never got into. It was a free-for-all scrum with everyone getting a mech, very little terrain, and lots and lots of shooting and getting shot. I started with a Commando, which didn't last long due to some poor planning on my part. Thereafter I picked up a Trebuchet, and made some better tactical decisions. By which I mean I snuck up on two mechs already in a knock-down drag-out fight to the death, and just fired into their mess. The game is fun, if a little too much book-keeping for my tastes, but I can certainly see why it's been so popular over the years. I might pick up a couple pretty ones to paint in the near future.


After a quick dinner, I headed over to my first game. Del Stover and the WNGA.org was running a skirmish game of Sherlock Holves vs. Jack the Ripper, using the Doctor Who Miniatures Games rules, i.e. the predecessor to the 7tv rules. I played the mysterious 'Professor' who, along with 'Lady Arsenic' and some incompetent thugs, were trying to help the Ripper reach the church and hold off both Lestrade and Holmes. 

A better view of the layout.

Mr. Stover ran a great game, and everyone had fun. Action cards flew fast and furiously. The Ripper ran at top speed, and faced little resistance getting to his destination. Lestrade and his men, originally frustrated about getting in position in time, broke down the back door of the church, and ended up saving the day. One of my thugs spend  the majority of the game facing off against a single bobby, never landing a single shot (thanks to some amusignly poor dice rolls on my part.) The Ripper was stopped at the last moment, as is appropriate for games like this.

It's these big scenarios like this that really made me want to attend the con, I confess. I'd wandered by them before, with lots of players, many figs on the board, an attentive and creative GM, and lovely terrain. So when the time came to sign up for this event, I signed on without hesitation, and so glad I did.

If you can listen closely, you can hear the theme music playing.

And did I mention lovely boards with carefully thought-out terrain? Next to our board was the Indiana Jones-themed board, for the other DWMG scenario. Just, wow.

Bottom-left corner: one jerk of a turret.

After the Holmes game, caught up with the guys who were finishing up their BattleTech 'King of the Hill' event. Amusing! Turrets were the bane of everyone. I learned a whole bunch about the BattleTech background (it's always the story that sells me on games, and I walked into the room knowing very little) and at some point I am sure I will pick up a handful of mechs to paint up and throw down in friendly games. I'll just find attractive ones, since that's really what it's about.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

back safe and sound

Historicon was a great success. Old Glory, Rebel, and Plastic Soldier Company now have lots of my moneys. Detailed posts to follow, but let me just mention that I now own a Flames of War army, and apparently our gateway drug into 15mm fantasy will be... Pride of Lions. Hopefully will get time for many posts this week.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

set sail for victory

As we speak, packing up for three fun-filled days at my first Historicon. Have tickets to try out three systems I've never tried before (hello, GASLIGHT,) and picking up a mighty mountain of minis, with at three orders already placed and waiting for me at various vendors. Fingers crossed the flea market Saturday will treat me well also, and I'll be able to sell off a bunch of gaming toys I don't need anymore (at dirt cheap prices!) and recoup some of those costs, too.

While I'm gone, you can dig this fine article on the best military tactics to lay siege to Cinderella's Castle at Disney. Seriously. Because wow.

Friday, July 6, 2012

cruel, cruel summer

Summer has hit like a punch in the face here in DC, and I'm going to use that as the excuse for my lack of actual gaming recently. Shadowrun almost broke out last Saturday, but we ended up playing the (delightful) Battlestar Galactica board game instead. As noted elsewhere, Shadowrun has always been a favorite setting of mine; this makes the ClearHorizon Shadowrun pics all the more attractive in my eyes.

Preparations for Historicon start in earnest after this weekend. Hoping to make some money from selling off un-needed minis in the flea market. All that money will, of course, go right back into buying more minis. Such is the way of our lifestyle choice. And wow, the list of vendors attending is intimidating. Old Glory and Rebel are likely to get the bulk of my gaming bucks, but I know I will see many tempting treats from Acheson, Brigade, and more.

I have been working on the off-nights, of course. Basing more sci-fi miscellanea, mostly for the Department. Finished assembling and basing a trash-bashed building, will get pics up once it's primed. The wife just picked up the new Lego Batman video game, so I will be getting extra nights for painting in the near future. (She loves those Lego video games. Loves.)

Still dithering over Flames of War. These deliberations take time! Leaning towards Germans, as there's not a lot of Axis armies in the local group, and those Plastic Soldier Company boxes look like a great deal. I suspect my dream of a WW2 Cobra Command army might be an excellent example of my ambitious ideas meeting the cold light of reality, here represented by what would be a lot of work for a game that I am only so-so invested in. Time will tell. I will note that the idea of running Hungarians came up recently, which lead to me reading a lot about Hungary in WW2. So, there's that?

Speaking of dithering, I've also read the first two books in David Wellington's zombie trilogy, which of course gets me thinking, 'man, I'd love to get in some zombie apocalypse gaming.' I have the No More Room in Hell book around the house, so I'd probably start there. Everyone loves zombies. Might be time to pick up some preliminary figs at the con...

Oh, and: the guys behind the Department and Blasters & Bulkheads have a new Kickstarter up for a fantasy game, Goalsystem Delve, and I am in. They have a track record of easy, clean rules with enough meat to keep you interested but not too much to bog things down. Marrying that to a classic setting like the dungeon crawl and that's an easy sell in my book. Check it out and ponder coughing in a few bucks for the PDF.