More Alien Hunting

Over the last couple of weeks, including a pretty intense gaming weekend, our S.A.N.C.H.E.Z Alien game has seen a lot of action. A couple of new squads have set out on their (if they survive) 10-mission tours of duty, drawing tough assignments, kicking Alien ass, and receiving some much-needed enhancements.

There have been plenty of near-death experiences and nervy moments, and the games have provided a lot of fun. Some rules clarifications and simplifications have been applied and we’re pretty much there now with a finished game. The last addition was to include elevators, presenting a rather daunting challenge when you have to divide your squad to change floors in 2 groups!

All the playing bits and pieces are done too, although I do fancy painting up a couple more squads with different types of figures.

A bit of atmos:

 

Something nasty always seems to turn up just when you’re trying to activate a Tech point:

 

A smaller, early-tour, game underway:

 

What not to roll when you’re about to be mobbed (oh, and don’t stand in front of the flamethrower guy):

 

What definitely not to roll when you’re the rearguard and have a flamethrower:

 

Newly-added giant space radiators, courtesy of Jase:

 

This project has got me back to my 15mm Sci-fi generally, so I’ve been assembling some GZG vehicles for my next force for Sci-fi Rampant. Hopefully I can get something finished over the next few days/weeks.

 

 

 

Rorke’s Drift Refight

This weekend half a dozen LAW members were royally hosted by Gary in darkest East Anglia, who presented us with a tremendous 28mm Rorke’s Drift game. Aside from some additional Zulus painted up and brought by Jeremy, Gary provided all the figures and terrain, as well as an excellently run scenario using the Black Powder 2 rules. The table was 10 x 6 feet and looked superb.

The starting set-up:

Four of us played the British, and I drew Lt Chard. We looked at the lengthy perimeter and the few redcoats, and weren’t sure we could hold. The scenario had plenty of characterisation and some excellent special rules that were designed to follow some of the key events of the film, rather than just the historical battle itself. This made it a very engaging experience, and excerpts from the movie soundtrack provided some extra atmosphere too. Gary has walked the battlefield, and is very knowledgeable about the Zulu Wars, so there was no shortage of genuine background and information either.

The game seemed well balanced, and although the British certainly had the advantage in shooting and in the first round of melees, the Zulus had the opportunity in the wargame to hit us from several sides at once, which they didn’t really do in the actual battle.

Every newly arriving unit, and every charge, was a tense affair. In the end we just held on, despite losing the same number of men as they actually did on the day (17), with some desperate fighting and lots of heroic defending. We managed to defeat just enough of the Zulu force to send them packing and everyone agreed it was a brilliant day’s gaming. Thanks to Gary for everything, and it was great to see the guys and share a meal and some beers afterwards.

Hopefully the pictures give a decent impression of how intimidating 600+ Zulus look!

Aliens-Style Game – 15mm Sci-fi

A few chats over a few beers with my mate Jase recently led to the idea for a new game. It’s a derivative of our dungeon crawl game, but this time in a near future/sci-fi setting, with Alien-esque baddies creeping up on our gallant little band.

It’s a much simpler game than the fantasy one, with fewer enemies, no complexities like magic, and less character progression. It’s more of a beer & pretzels game, focusing on a special forces squad undertaking perilous missions into overrun facilities. Get in, do some stuff, and get out again while taking as few casualties from the very sneaky, very vicious, aliens as possible. Like Space Hulk, but with smaller, cheaper components.

Naturally, apart from painting a handful of GZG and Pendraken figures, we scratchbuilt everything… Cork tiles, mdf doors and features,  equipment and other tokens, printed squad sheets, mission and layout cards, etc. It took about 4 weeks to get enough done to start playing, with each of us producing a share. Now we’re back-filling the missing bits so we each have a full set of everything.

We recently got together and played 5 games, all tense and challenging, but good fun too. Since then we’ve defined some more mission types and tweaked a couple of things based on what we learned from the initial games.

Like the dungeon game, its a 2.5D game in that it uses figures and some 3D scenic pieces, but there are no walls. The last thing I want from this type of game/project is fiddling around trying to reach and see the figures, let alone make dozens of feet of walls in all shapes and lengths.

Some more pics…

Escorting a xenologist through the complex so he can carry out a crucial bit of DNA collecting:

There are things to see and do…

A whole mission site set out – a fairly long way in, and then back out again.

A squad is made up of ‘characters’ and basic grunts. They get attributes, skills (characters only) and kit. Keeping track of ammo is important too of course.

Never be the rear gunner, even if you’ve got a flamethrower:

Covering all the angles:

A bit more to do to finish off my set, but it’s been a really enjoyable project and the game itself plays how we envisioned it.

 

 

 

Critters

I haven’t managed to paint much recently but have tinkered with a few more 15mm fantasy bits and pieces.

I say ’15mm’, but actually these were mostly either 10mm or 28mm, but that’s the beauty of fantasy! I put in a couple of small orders, to Element Games for some Reaper Bones figures, and to Pendraken for some of their fantasy range.

The Bones figures:

Giant rats done:

I’ve also painted the scorpions, along with 3 from Pendraken, which are a good match size-wise. The bat swarms and 3 of the spiders are also Pendraken, all nice figures, and the bigger spider is actually from a 15mm range (Demonworld):

I still have more to do – you can’t have too many nasties in a dungeon crawl can you?

Ruins, Generously Donated

The very kind Count Belisarius sent me these plastic ruins that were surplus to requirements. They’re going to fit in very well with my 15mm Frostgrave setting.

They arrived as assembled kits, in shiny black plastic. I based them on cork tile and added some rubble and patches of plaster to blend them in with my existing scenery. I also covered over a couple of electrical cables, presumably they’re originally designed for W40K or similar.

They then received a matt black undercoat, followed by dark grey, light grey and white dry-brushes. This was very quick to do, so they’re all finished within 48 hours of arriving.

Thanks Andy! 🙂

Sarissa Outpost

This is a nice cheap kit from Sarissa Precision that a lot of people seem to have picked up. It can fit into a variety of settings and periods, and basically just looks good on the table.

Mine has been painted with my usual colour pallet, with sand added to the base to blend into my terrain boards. I did add some roughly-cut card strips to the roof to rough it up a bit, as the standard look was a bit too neat!

Quick to assemble, quick to paint. What’s not to like?

 

Sharp Practice Game – Destination Bakhala

This weekend 4 fellow-members of the LAW forum came for a big game of Sharp Practice, set within my early 19th century fictitious colonial background.

The plot was that a sepoy mutiny, aided by the notorious corsair El Kebab, had occurred at the Fleurian trading colony at Bakhala. Naturally the Fleurians wanted it back, and roped in their French allies to help. The Medetians turned up too, wanting to deal with El Kebab. Finally, the newly self-proclaimed Maharaja just wanted to see off all-comers and keep hold of his new domain.

LT’s very generous offer of some amazing Indian mutiny buildings provided the inspiration for the table set-up, which saw 3 arrival points for the European forces, and 2 major buildings to be held by the Maharaja and Corsair leader respectively. Naturally there were some slightly conflicting objectives for the players, and some side missions to attempt too – such as finding loot and releasing prisoners. El Kebab needed to escape on his ship, taking whatever ill-gotten gains he could with him.

The forces were:

  • The Maharaja and his mutinous sepoys – played in Hollywood bad guy style by Goat Major

  • The Fleurian expedition under Major Villard, played with impeccable tactical finesse by Jamanicus

  • The French colonial troops under the ultra reactionary Major Chevauchee (accompanied by his mobile guillotine), played by the young Napoleon,  Jeremy

  • The Medetian naval detachment under Commander Nero, played by old sea dog Levied Troop

  • The despicable El Kebab, terror of the high seas, with his vicious crew, played in a scurvy cove style by me

The general scene, as shown in the player’s briefings, was:

Here’s Bakhala itself, with the government building and Governor’s mansion, before all hell broke loose:

As well as the buildings, LT brought some additional jungle bases which fitted in well, and GM’s Frost/Sandgrave ruins and other features really added flavour to the setting. The table was 9 x 4.5 feet, the biggest I’ve ever set up and about the maximum possible for the space available. I managed to finish my jungle bases, as well as some additionally needed terrain boards, just in time. They were long overdue and it’s great to get them done. I also assembled and painted 2 bridges and 3 sampans for the game.

There were a total of about 350 figures in use, although taking early casualties and late arrivals into account, not all were on the table at the same time!

On arrival, the attackers were handed their orders which told them which of the 4 approach routes they’d be taking. The Medetians came by boat via the swamp, the Fleurians came through the hills and the French through the jungle. The Maharaja and El Kebab deployed a third of their forces on watch, and each placed 2 (apparently myopic) sentries further out to give early warning of any approaching enemies.

Everyone gathered their forces, selected some support options, and placed their deployment points. Then the first activation chip was drawn and we were off, with all the usual excitement and consternation of random arrivals and unpredictable events. Nevertheless, everyone formulated a plan and did their best to stick to it, trying to use their command options to the best advantage. The rules always give an excellent game and we used a few house rules to handle the multi-player apect.

The fortunes of the various leaders and their forces went something like this:

The French battled their way forward from the jungle, confronted by increasing numbers of corsairs. The guillotine rumbled into view, causing fear and shock (1 point per group) to all enemies who saw it. Major Chevauchee led from the front, directing his men to crush all opposition and personally fighting in several bloody melees.

His men liberated loot from the Governor’s house (though sensibly refrained from heading upstairs when they spotted the glint of many scimitars – El Kebab’s dreaded Red Blades were lurking in ambush), and then pushed on to be on the verge of crossing the river and cutting the corsair leader off from his ship.

Their actions at Bakhala certainly added lustre to the reputation of the French army.

The Fleurians came from the hills in fine style, Major Villard commanding contingents of line troops, grenadiers, voltigeurs and artillery. Then they bumped into El Kebab’s defences, in particular an ancient artillery piece that did considerable execution.

Steady volleys and steady leadership, despite Villard picking up a wound, finally saw off the enemy and only the arrival of darkness prevented a final assault on the key government building across the river. Fleurie would have to try again to recover it’s colony.

The Medetians – sailors, marines and army regulars under Commander Nero came by boat and were in the thick of it from the start. Erratic oarsmanship resulted in a piecemeal assault, and the mutineers’ cannon balls splashing down among (and sometimes into) the boats didn’t make things any easier.

Numerous landings took place, some only to be met with bayonets and scimitars and cut down or pushed back to the boats. Under a hail of sepoy fire it was to be a hard day for all of Medetia’s brave units.

Despite these challenges, and losses among their officers, they were still battling hard at the end, closing in by boat on El Kebab’s escape route. Most dramatically one group very sneakily managed to gain entrance to the rear of the government building and set it alight from within! Back home for tea and medals then, and to plan another hunt for the slippery corsairs.

The Maharaja, resplendent in his gilded armour and helmet, managed affairs from atop his new ‘palace’. His previous career as a lowly sepoy sergeant had taught him how to lead men, and his little army gave a bloody nose to any who dared challenge his rule.

He even launched a late cavalry charge at the French, which caused a lot of alarm, if not actual results. His prized elephant was kept in reserve as an escape vehicle, but wasn’t required!

Marvellous parade-ground marching by the Maharaja’s newly-loyal sepoys, lovely converted figures by GM:

That man knows how to defend a building!

At the end, he still held his palace, but there was the small matter of it being on fire and his victorious men were soon ordered to the river to get water!

El Kebab’s day had already involved putting out a fire – his mansion had attracted a burning cinder from the nearby fighting and required him to urgently order 2 units to form a bucket detail!

However, with the fire out, his problems were only just beginning. His forces, handy in a fight but no real match for trained regulars, were being hammered from all sides by the French and Fleurians. Despite a brave stand around the gun, and some frenzied charges into the French columns, things were crumbling and only his ferocious reputation kept his men’s morale from collapsing. The loss of several of his key henchmen also contributed to El Kebab’s misfortunes.

By the end, he was forced to charge out of the mansion at the head of his Red Blades to push back the French voltigeurs. Nearly killing Major Chevauchee in the melee, he then wheeled his men left and headed for the bridge and his ship. The night would be spent groping their way in the dark downriver to the sea. It was another close escape!

So, that was how ‘Destination Bakhala’ played out. Everyone got stuck in and saw plenty of action, and everything was done with an excellent spirit and a desire to make it an enjoyable day all-round. Well done guys, and you’re all cordially invited to come back for a follow-on game if you fancy it.

After all, there’s a lot of unfinished business in the jungle and on the high seas…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blotz Mausoleum

This is another simple kit, with some nice detail. It didn’t take any time to assemble, but undercoating it black did – due to all the nice detail!

I left the roof pieces loose as it has an internal tomb feature that’s worth being able to see.

Although designed as a 28mm piece I think it also works fine for 15mm, so into the Frostgrave and general fantasy scenery pile it goes 🙂

Those jungle bases definitely have to happen next…

Blotz Minaret

This is an MDF kit I picked up at Partizan, which I decided would fit well into my Frostgrave scenery collection. Blotz offer the same model in 15mm, 20mm and 28mm. I went for the 20mm one as I thought it would make a more impressive piece for 15mm.

It was relatively easy to assemble, and the online instructions gave a useful tip about putting some weight in the bottom section for ballast. I loaded it with 2p pieces. I may base the model at some point to give it some steps up to the door and a bit more stability.

Some of the upper section needed painting before final assembly, which I realised just in time. It’s the sort of thing I usually spot just after I’ve applied the glue!

A couple of Battle Valor 15mm figures give it a decent sense of scale.

 

 

 

 

 

A Couple of Temples

It’s been a bit slow on the figure painting and gaming fronts lately so I’ve tried to keep going with a few other bits and pieces.

I am working on some base boards, which need to be ready for a big Sharp Practice game at the end of July. They’re not exactly picturesque while being prep’d for painting, but I’l post pics when they’re done.

Meanwhile, I have managed to knock together a couple of pieces that will serve as monuments or temples for various settings. They’ll be nice and big for 15mm Frostgrave, and about right for hiding a few 28mm figures in a skirmish.

They’re made from wine corks, cork tile and styrofoam, like a lot of the other scenery I’ve made this year. The domes are the finials from a recently retired curtain rail. I had my wargamer’s eye on them as I took it down!

Before pic:

Now to finally finish off those jungle bases I’ve been putting off for so long!