Monthly Archives: April 2014

Random Enemy Generation

Buck

I have written a number of blog posts about my use of cards for a new skirmish system I have been developing.  I was reading a recent article in Miniature Wargames about generating enemy forces for solitaire play.  Now, I’ve never done much solitaire gaming, as I’ve generally been lucky enough to find or build a gaming group whenever I’ve moved to a new area, but this idea intrigued me.  The author of the article had some really interesting ideas.  I did enjoy Ambush some years ago.  I was thinking, however, that I could replace the use of charts and tables to generate enemy units, locations, cover status, and activities with cards.  The US Army has something called a SALUTE report (Size, Activity, Location, Unit or Uniform, Time of report, and Equipment).  If we eliminate “U” and “T,” it seems to me that you could divide up the card by the other letters.  Then you could use a series of card draws to generate enemy forces.

First draw:  Is there a new enemy unit?

If so, second draw:  What is the size of the unit?  A vehicle?  A squad?  This would cover both the size (“S”) and whether they have any special equipment (“E”), such as a machinegun, flame thrower, etc.  I think the results in this section of the card would need to be made generic so that a player would be able to select something “about right” from the figures and vehicles he has on hand.

Then make the third draw:  What is the enemy’s location?  (Yes, this is out of order for SALUTE.)  I see a dial of some sort like I use in G.A.M.E.R.  It seems to me that the randomly-generated enemy should be sort of cover, but perhaps not.  I guess I just don’t like the idea of a lots of enemy units popping up in an open field at short range.  It can happen, of course, but shouldn’t be the norm.  (By the way, just because they’ve been put on the table doesn’t mean that friendly forces have spotted them.  Normal spotting rules would still apply.)

Fourth draw:  What are they doing?  This might be dependent on the location draw.  If the enemy is in cover, then they are …  If they are in the open, then they are …  Options might have then fire at a nearby player unit, moving toward a player unit, defending something, etc.  This needs to be fleshed out.  Thought experiments while running will only go so far.  I’ll need to put this on the table many, many times to come up with a good list of options.

When do you initiate this process?  Is there a maximum number of enemy units that can be placed?  Lots of questions, but it seems worth fiddling with at some point.

I have too many other irons in the fire just now to spend a lot of time on this, but it will keep me busy on my next few runs.  I am thinking about this as a companion to G.A.M.E.R.

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Last Days of the First Empire Released!

Buck

On Military Matters released Dave’s and my scenario book over the weekend.  See their announcement here.

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Big Scorpions Converted with 10mm Goblin Mounts: Figures 89 & 90

Chris Palmer

Last week I worked on the two big scorpions from the Vermin set.  When I first looked at these after they had arrived last year, I had begun to consider the possibility of using them  as mounts for some sort of 10mm riders for use with my 10mm armies for our soon to be published mass fantasy combat rules, “Bear Yourselves Valiantly”.  So, a couple months ago I sat down with the scorpions, and a couple of riders commandeered from a pack of Eureka’s 10mm Elves Riding Stags that I had; and I began to fiddle with seeing how they looked mounted on the scorpions. I ended up having to trim the bottom of their boots off to make their legs fit down in between the legs of the scorpions, but in general I was pleased.  

I knew two wasn’t going to be enough, so I ordered another pack of the scorpions from Reaper, and after they arrived, I fixed them up with riders as well.  I decided even though the castings were of Elves, I was going to paint them up as Goblins, so I could use them in my already existing Goblin army.  I ended up trimming off the fancy crested helmets a couple of them wore, that can be seen on the rider on the left in the photo above, as I felt they were a bit much for Goblins.
 So, to back track a little, before I started putting any of the riders on the scorpions I soaked them overnight in some water with a little dish soap in it, and then gave them a light scrub with a soft toothbrush and rinsed them.  When dry, I began gluing the riders on using Gorilla brand super glue.  I then glued the figures onto a 3”x1” steel base (the standard unit sized base for BYV) using Aleene’s Tacky glue and then sprayed everything with the Krylon Fusion flat black. I subsequently had to go back and use black craft paint to paint in between the little scorpion legs to cover some areas the spray paint missed.

I now gave the scorpions a coat of Ceramcoat “Maple Sugar Tan”, and then  went back and painted the central part of their body with DecoArt “Cinnamon Brown”.

Next, I gave them a wash with GW Devlan Mud wash, and then added highlights to all the legs and tail with the “Maple Sugar Tan” mixed with a little Americana “Buttermilk”. Now I drybrushed the two riders wearing chainmail with  Ceramcoat “Metallic Pewter”, followed with painting all the Goblins’ skin with Folk Art “Hausser Green Medium”.

I then proceeded to the shields, painting them Americana “Cadmium Red.” Their tunics I painted with Apple Barrle “Burnt Sienna”, and their boots with GW “Scorched Brown”. Next I did the spear shafts with Americana “Mississippi Mud”, and lastly the wolf skin the one Goblin is wearing I drybrushed with Folk Art “Medium Gray”.

Lastly, I painted the spear tips and the sword with Ceramcoat Metallic Pewter, and I added some scary face decorations to the Goblins’ shields with white. When everything had time to dry, I then gave it a coat of Ceramcoat “Matte Varnish”, and when this was dry. I flocked the bases.  I actually had to flock then in two steps; first using a very fine brush to paint my glue/paint mix between all the legs and the front claws and then flocking those areas, and then going back when that had dried and painting and flocking the larger areas with a larger brush.  After all the flock had time to dry, I then sprayed the base with Testor’s “Dullcote”. 
     I’m pleased with how these turned out. I think they make a perfect mount for the 10mm figures, and I am considering getting some more to expand my Goblin scorpion-cavalry force.
Figures 89 & 90: Complete

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Sammy Completes a Project for Duncan

Buck

Sammy shows off her handiwork

Sammy shows off her handiwork

My daughter, Sammy, has been painting terrain pieces for members of the HAWKs for some time now.  She doesn’t enjoy painting figures, but she seems to really enjoy painting terrain.  She is relatively inexpensive, so it’s been a win-win.  The HAWKs get something painted that was deep in their painting cue, and Sam gets a few dollars to spend on whatever teenage girls spend money.

This was Sam’s most intricate project to date.  Duncan had asked Sam to paint this building he found in a flea market.

We think the building is from Grand Manner.  If you have never gotten buildings from Grand Manner, you’re missing a real treat.  They are fully sculpted inside and out.  The detail is fantastic!  They are premium priced, but worth the money.

Some years ago I bought several of their ACW buildings during a sale, where you could get a set of ACW buildings for a set price.  They painted up really nicely.

I think Sam did a terrific job on this building.

As usual, she did the entire thing herself.  I bought her a nice box for her paints, but she has been using her painting profits to get more bottles of paint, brushes, etc.

Sometimes she’ll ask me for suggestions on colors, but largely, she does this independently.  In this case, I suggested green shutters to give the building a little color.

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A Beholder and a Hydra

Buck

The A Team versus a Hydra

The A Team versus a Hydra

I finished these some time back but didn’t post any pictures.  These are Bones figures.

Dorothy and the Gang versus a Beholder

Dorothy and the Gang versus a Beholder

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1/72 fantasy project: buildings

Rob Dean

I will take a proper picture when I have the last three buildings I’ve planned, but as an interim, here is a shot of my fantasy village in progress. These are Dave Graffam buildings printed at 65% of their original size, the recommended reduction for 20mm. At that size small details such as chimneys are becoming a little difficult for me to work with, so I prioritized buildings without too many extra parts, and those with smaller footprints. The latter allows some additional visual compression when grouped as a village. The buildings to be built will include another one story hovel, another two story building, and one larger footprint low building for some visual contrast.

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The Beetles! – Figures 87 & 88 of 265

Chris Palmer

Last week I painted the two big beetles from the Vermin set.  I prepped them in the usual way; soaking overnight in some water with a couple drops of dish soap added, and then giving a light scrub with a soft toothbrush and rinsing, then drying.  Unfortunately, I ran out of my usual Krylon Flat Black Camouflage with Fusion spray paint, and I was unable to find a replacement can of it. (I hope Krylon hasn’t stopped making it!) So, I got a can of Krylon regular Flat Black Fusion, which I hoped would be the same as the Camouflage variety, but it turned out it wasn’t.  I sprayed these guys with it, and it left them tacky, even after a few days of drying.  You can see they’re still a bit shiny in the photo below.  Anyway, I’ve heard reports of folks having success going ahead and painting over the tacky primer paint, so I thought I would forge ahead, and give it a shot.  I glued the figures to 1 inch black-primed fender washers, and glued these to a tongue depressor for ease of handling during painting.

     I  decided I didn’t want to paint theses just boring brown or black, so I thought I’d try a more vibrant color.  I figured green would be a nice icky color for a bug, so I did a quick Google image search for “green bug” to get some ideas.  With those images in my mind, I began by giving the front end of the beetles and their legs a heavy dry brushing with Folk Art “Hauser Green Medium”.

I then went back and filled in the areas where the drybrushing hadn’t quite gone on heavy enough.  I then added highlights to the body and legs with Americana “Olive Green” (which is actually more of a light lime green despite it’s name.)  Next, I painted the back of the body with Folk Art “Metallic Emerald Green”, and then did a little band of Ceramcoat “Metallic Copper” around the edges of the front segment of the beetle.

  Lastly, I painted the pincers and the eyes black, and then gave the pincers a light drybrushing with Folk Art “Medium Gray”. I also added a tiny white highlight dot to each eye.  I painted all the textured surface of the figures’ integral bases with Americana Mississippi Mud, and then let them dry overnight.  I then gave them a coat of Ceramcoat “Matte Varnish” and let them dry a few hours.  Finally, I flocked the bases.  The next day I sprayed them with Testor’s “Dullcote” varnish.

  I’m pleased with how these turned out.  And, so far I’m happy to report there has been no return of the tackiness.  Due to family visiting for Easter, there will probably not be a write-up for Thursday.

Figures 87 & 88: Complete

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Thinking About Vehicles without Turrets

Buck

The other day, when we played the vehicle-only game, I started thinking about how to handle vehicles without turrets.  I wanted to avoid modifiers to the cards.  I had a “rule” that said that turret hits on vehicles without turrets were hull hits.  But I thought that didn’t take into account the lower profile of these vehicles.  So I changed to rule to say that hits on turrets were misses.  That didn’t seem to account for the fact that these vehicles couldn’t really go “hull down.”  It seems to me that an even greater portion of these vehicles is exposed in order for the gun to be able to fire, since the body of the vehicle is typically wider than a turret.

    In G.A.M.E.R. there really isn’t the same notion of “hull down” as in other rules.  If the part of the vehicle hit is behind cover, such as a wall or hill crest, the vehicle is protected — just like for infantry.  I’m thinking about using laser pointers, because in G.A.M.E.R., the terrain is its actual height on the table.  (In other games terrain is often some abstract elevation.)  So if the laser is blocked by something between the shooter and the hit location on the vehicle, the vehicle is protected.

    This is the long way around saying that I don’t want to add any modifiers, but I want to account for the unique characteristics of these vehicles.  What I’ve decided to do is color the hull section yellow on half the cards that indicate a turret hit.  If you draw one of these cards with the yellow, a turret hit is converted to a hull hit.  If you draw one of the other cards (with no yellow), the turret hit is a miss.

Sample Card

Sample Card

Before I make a final decision, I want to try this out in another vehicle-only game.

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Looking Ahead: Huzzah Preparations

Rob Dean

(It’s my turn for technical difficulties…the pictures are posted as separate blog postings…)

For the past couple of years, my long-time collaborator Ross Macfarlane and I have split the difference in the distance between our homes, and met at Huzzah in Portland, Maine. I hope he’ll be able, some day, to return to a Cold Wars or a Historicon, hauling his horde/hoard of Not Quite Seven Years War figures for another megagame. In the meantime, though, Ross has us signed up to run an American War of Independence game using his With MacDuff to the Frontier rules. I haven’t played a MacDuff game in a couple of years, having been distracted with other periods, and Ross has been tinkering with the rules in the meantime.

Thus, I was glad to have the opportunity to virtually drop into Ross’s gameroom yesterday for a playtest session of the convention game.

Yesterday turned out not to be a particularly good day for the Internet, and we had some technical difficulties with the videoconferencing capabilities of Google Hangouts (rather than Skype). This left me with a bit of fog of war, as can be seen from the screen capture above. Neverthess, Ross was a good sport about moving the camera around as necessary.

The scenario involved two groups of settlers racing for a fort in an attempt to avoid Loyalist and Indian raiders, reinforced by some Hessian jaegers and grenadiers.

In case any potential Huzzah players are reading, I will not discuss the scenario too much. The key to the game, as far as I can tell, is that it is more likely to go well when your troops actually arrive on the table… The scattered raiders attempted to intercept the wagons, but never achieved local superiority and were eventually driven off piecemeal.

Remote games run a little more slowly than live games would, not counting the technical difficulties, but it still makes for a pleasant experience, and I’m rateful to Ross for hosting this time around. My turn next time…

Inspired by the game, I combed my French and Indian War collection for my contribution to the Huzzah scenario and mustered them in a Really Useful Box, in preparation for the trip. The figures, as usual, are a mix of Irregular, Sash and Saber, Prince August, and Nuernberger Meisterzinn.

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Cassie, Gnome Wizard: Figure 86 of 265

Chris Palmer

Over this past weekend, I finished up Cassie the Gnome Wizard from the 30 New Bones set.  Let me start this write-up with an apology though, because as you will see when you scroll down, I accidentally deleted a few of the in-process painting pictures for this figure.  😦   So, you’ll have to infer a lot from picture 2 to picture 3. 🙂
   Anyway, I began in the usual way; soaking in a dish of water with a couple drops of dish soap added, then giving a light scrub with a soft toothbrush, and then rinsing and drying.  I then glued her to a 7/8” black-primed fender washer with Aleene’s Tacky glue, and then glued this washer with a couple drops of Elmer’s glue to half a tongue depressor.

 I looked up Gnomes in my trusty old D & D Monster Manual, and read that they have skin that is wood brown, an they have white hair.  Their clothing is leather and earth tones, and they like jewelry. So, to begin, I selected a nice “wood brown” paint and started on her skin, painting it Americana “Sable Brown”.  Next I painted her leotard (?) with Accent “Real Umber”, and her leggings with Americana “Khaki”

Now I did her coat with Accent “Mustard Seed”. I then proceeded to all her belts and straps, painting them DecoArt “Cinnamon Brown”.  Her boots I painted Americana “Asphaltum”.  Next I worked on the staff, painting that Folk Art “BarnWood”.   I followed up then with painting the scroll she carried with Americana “Buttermilk, and the Jug with GW “Terracotta” with a GW “Graveyard Earth” cork.
   Next I did the stone in her staff.  I wanted it to be a red gem to add a splash of color to an otherwise drab figure.  While I’m good at painting ornamental rounded gems, I still have a problem with faceted ones.  I started by painting it GW “Blood Red”  I then shaded the thicker parts of the upper facets with  Apple Barrel “Apple Maroon”, the lower facets I shaded with Apple Barrel “Yellow”. I then added some white highlights on the faces of the upper facets ,and along some of the edges.   I didn’t really get the gem look I wanted, but it turned out looking like some kind of cool fire-rock.
   I worked now on the metal bits using mainly Cermacoat “14K Gold”.  Here again I wanted to spiff up a drab figure, and the Monster Manual had said they liked jewelry,  so I applied gold decorations and trim liberally on the figure. I also used this color for all the buckles and the fittings on her staff.  The scroll caps I painted with Ceramcoat “Bronze” just to add a different metallic tone.
  When all I had done so far had a couple hours to dry, I gave the whole figure (except for the fire-rock) a wash with thinned Winsor-Newton “Peat Brown” Ink.  I then went back with some of the base colors and added highlights here and there.
   I finished up by painting her hair.  I first painted it all white, then, when that had dried, I did a light wash with some heavily thinned black ink. When this had dried, I then went back over and added some pure white highlights.  Lastly, I painted her eyes white, and added pupils with  Americana “True Blue”
  When the figure had overnight to dry, I gave it a coat with Ceramcoat “Matte Varnish”  When this had dried, I flocked the base.  The next day I sprayed it with Testor’s “Dullcote”

    I’m pleased with how this figure turned out.  It was a nice change of pace to paint a Gnome, which I don’t think I have ever done before.
Figure 86 of 265: Complete

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