Friday, November 28, 2014

Polish NCO

The main problem I have with the two producers of 6mm napoleonic armies I use is their opinion about necessity of NCOs in the army.

While Baccus never even tried to produce NCOs, Adler is making figures armed with  halberds, claiming that NCOs armed with muskets were dressed the same way as the ordinary troopers. The problem with that claim is in the fact that during marches (and marching pose takes 80% of 6mm army), NCOs held musket under right arm, while troopers under left. This is a feature visible even in 6mm.

To overcome this problem I am usually doing conversions. The easiest way is to convert spare eagle bearer into NCO, by cutting eagle and painting remaining part of the pole as musket, with some simple bending to create bayonet.

But recently I started painting unit of Polish foot by Adler. The eagle bearer from the Polish command strip is made in a really nice and unusual pose, but this makes it impossible to convert it into NCO.

Then, I noticed drummer from the same strip. It's right hand is raised to the lips to use whistle, while his left hand rests on the drum. Right hand has some molding problem, so on all models I have there is a small gap between arm and whistle. Thanks to that, this arm can be slightly bend into lower position, good to transform it into musket holding hand.
So, I cut off the drum and whistle, changed position of the right arm and glued musket taken from ordinary trooper.

The result is quite satisfactory, especially on the tabletop.

Next picture shows original drummer and one transformed into NCO side by side.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Old guard painted

French old guard grenadiers unit painted - models by Adler Miniatures.


Now, just to add some flock.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

SM screen

And so, I got tired of turning pages of several books looking for the table I need, so I decided to make a Solo Master Screen :)

I printed tables I use most often from several RPG PDFs I own like Scarlet Heroes, Ruins of the Undercity, and so on (even some from free PDFs from D&D 5th edition), and I glued them all on one peace of cardboard, added what was necessary by hand, and here it is....

Now I always have all my favorite tables in front of me, I just need to roll...


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Dungeons of the Undercity

Recently I purchased a solo playable setting called Ruins of the Undercity,  by Kabuki Kaiser.

It is basically set of random tables with goal to send your character(s) into dungeon crawling quest.
The book is supposed to be used with Labyrinth Lord rules, but it can be easily adjusted for everything else, so I decided to test D&D 5th with it (OK, and using LL here and there).

Therefore, I rolled a Half-elf Bard called Loneflute, with Sage - Librarian background and neutral alignment.

As soon he arrived to the city, Loneflute looked for the first entrance to the underground and went directly into dungeon.
After some wandering through empty corridors leading north and then west, bard entered a 30x30' chamber with a statue in the corner. There he was attacked by two bats. Bats were flying, so he had disadvantage against them. Finally, Loneflute killed both bats, but he lost 2 HP. On the ground, half-elf found 375 ep and a jet gem.
Bard checked the statue, but there was nothing special about it.


Room had 3 exits. One was closed by door, one was a dead end, and one was leading to a smaller chamber. 5 gibberlings were guarding the stairs down. Loneflute retreated before they could see him, avoiding the contact with the more numerous enemy.
Bard checked the corridor leading north, but it quickly ended. Furthermore, he was attacked by Rot Grub, nasty little parasite that enters a living body and kills the host if the bite location is not immediately treated by fire. Loneflute performs the treatment and loses 5HP in the process. So, he takes a short rest to heal rolling his HD, and restores to full health.
Then, the bard goes to check the corridor leading east into T shape. But T shape had dead end to the north and a door to the south, so my hero decided to return to the city, take prolonged rest and maybe hire some henchmen, considering the fact that these dungeons are dense populated even so close to the surface.

As first impression, Ruins of the Undercity is a product full of tables. Some are really useful, and some just add flavor, and can be omitted during solo play. Once you learn which table to roll on, and which to skip, using this tool can be quick and really fun.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Carnage time

Some 3 years ago, inspired by this blog post, I purchased a PDF of the game 3:16 Carnage Amongst the Stars.
I printed the game immediately, but I never got to read it.
Recently, for the reasons unknown I remembered about it's existence, so I started digging through my paper mountain until finally I emerged with the book in my hand. 

3:16 walks the uncharted territory between RPG, wargame and boardgame. The play is  highly narrative, but at the same time it depends 90% on combat, since there are no dice rolls when you are out of danger zone.
Game can also be easily adjusted for solo play, and it's re-playability is high thanks to combinations of several factors like Alien Activity level, planet type, alien type and alien special characteristic.

I decided to test the game playing 3 soldiers: Sargent Grim Reaper (fighting ability 3, Non-fighting ability 7), Corporal Joe (FA 7, NFA 3) and trooper Kid (FA 5, NFA 5).

Mission briefing: Team will be deployed on second planet in the Caravaggio system with goal to check if the planet can be cleansed from the ground. Caravaggio 2 is a high humidity planet. All lend on the planet is covered with water at least 1 meter high and that is on surfaces that can be called "land masses". All that water is  affecting soldiers equipment (house rule - at the beginning of each encounter, roll d6 for each soldier. In case of 1, tick armor box, if not already ticked. If already ticked, reduce effectiveness of one weapon of your choice by one step in one range). Planet is populated by artificial life forms (small intelligent steam ships floating on the surface of the planet, called Steamers by Tera Soldiers) with Alien Activity level 6. Ships have no reproductive system, but they can repair their fallen comrades, so order is to make every kill destructive one, beyond repairmen possibility. Considering this, Steamers care for every unit they have, and they will most likely run instead of fight (Flee special ability -  after aliens attack, ALL soldiers move one range further from them. This is automatic ability, not powered by threat token. Also, I will introduce house rule - in case aliens are to act first, they will not attack, but first cancel all remaining successes and then move all soldiers by one range back. If during domination phase aliens are to set range, they will always select far).

The first mission was really interesting one, with lots of tactical movement.
On first encounter Sargent Grim landed his squad close to the alien nest with 3 threat tokens, but all soldiers failed to activate, so Steamers managed to score a kill on everybody and than run away into near zone. Corporal Joe then fires from his Heavy machine gun, removing one threat token and killing 11 Steamers. He also moves closer to aliens. Steamers act next, score a kill on Grim and Kid, and run away. Grim and Kid are now crippled in far zone and Joe is a mess in near zone.
In next combat round, aliens are to act first, so they cancel all successes. They just run away, out of range for Grim and Kid. Finally, aliens score one more kill on Joe, who also becomes crippled, and then run away out of his range also. Troopers find themselves alone and unchallenged, so they use they time to heal. They are all mess now. 14 TT remain on the planet.

Second encounter - 4TT, no water influence. Joe wins dominance test and sets range to Close.
After some dancing, 3 TT are removed, with Joe scoring 6 and Grim 7 kills. All soldiers were crippled again, when Steamers managed to run away. 11 TT remain. All troopers heal into mess.

Encounter 3 - 5 TT. Water starts influencing the equipment, so both Grim and Joe are forced to tick the armor box. Grim wins dominance test, and he decides not to risk. Grim uses his strength flashback - like fish in the water. Making his way through all that water, he remembered how he liked to be wet on Terra, when he was walking through the rain. Only thing he missed now was a sign of the rain beating on the windows - tap, tap, tap... So he started shooting his pistol to simulate the sound... .And in the process he removed all 5 TT (but killed only 4 Steamers). Prolonged rest made all troopers healthy again. Grim will be eligible for promotion if he survives:

Final encounter - 6TT.  Grim's side arm jammed, so he will be able to kill just 1 alien with it in near range. Joe wins the dominance test and sets range to close.
Kid scores his first kill in the mission. Joe also removes one TT (1 kill for each of them). Grim takes a kill and becomes a mess. Range changed to near.
In next combat round everybody succeed.  Joe remove TT and scores 9 kills. Than he moves forward into close range. Aliens and Kid act at the same time. Kid removes TT (6 kills). All move one range to the back. Grim removes TT (5 kills). Just one TT remains.
In next combat round, Aliens and Joe are to act first at the same time. If this would happen, Grim would take a kill and die, so he decides to use Weakness - fear of fair fight. When last Steamer moved towards him, Grim remembered that he was always beaten in one on one combat during military training. So, instead to engage alien, he ducked under water. Steamer passed over his head and was soon lost in the dense planet vegetation. In this way, Grim removed last Threat token on the planet, and will get a medal for it, but everybody have seen that he did not killed the last alien, but he let it get away. this will spoil his relationship with the troopers.

According to the report from this scouting mission, higher command decided that conditions on the planet do not favor land invasion, so the system was destroyed using Starkiller.
Grim failed his promotion roll, so was called for demotion by Kid, but there was nothing Kid could offer the military court as prove that Sargent chickened. Joe and Grim leveled up, and Kid got Power Claw directly from Captain, partially in order to protect himself from angry Grim.

To be continued....

Monday, November 3, 2014

Scouting the Village

I finally have enough painted 6mm Napoleonic miniatures to go on the proper scouting encounter using Muskets and Shakos rules by 2 Hour Wargames.

Captain Andrzej Niegolewski from Polish Lancers had orders to scout a small village in northern Spain. He took with him two cavalry regiments, his Polish Lancers and some French Hussars, both Rep 5.

Also, General Chłopicki offered him use of one foot artillery brigade Rep 4 (one section of howitzers and 3 sections of guns).
Poles arrived in the area in the early morning. Heavy fog was covering the countryside, but as they approached, fog lifted giving them good view at the village (weather condition, but lifting on first doubles, and that turned to be on very first activation roll).


Niegolewski sent forward one section from both cavalry regiments, to check out welcoming comity.
Two PEFs were resolved. Lancers encountered  Highlander Rep 5 infantry battalion stationed between buildings.
Hussars noticed Rep 4 British line infantry battalion in defensive position - inside one of the village houses. British had 6 skirmishers guarding the parameter outside.
Since they were just scouting, lancers decided not to engage the enemy. The forward section returned and formed line with the main body, protecting right flank of the guns.

Guns unlimbered and started firing. Howitzers missed skirmishers, but two of them got scared by explosion and left the battlefield. Remaining guns fired at the house, scoring one hit.

The main body of hussars fast moved towards the hill on the left, with goal to scout area behind buildings from elevated position.

On British turn, Highlanders moved into Big building, and started shooting at unlimbered guns. They scored one hit, and than guns received another hit and Silenced result due to the Receive fire test.
In next activation guns limbered and moved out of the Highlanders fire range. Hussars moved up hill, but could not reach required position.
Hussars are finally able to scout section 3. The last PEF turns out to be unit of 6 independent skirmishers from 95th Rifles Rep 5.
Mission accomplished, time to go home.
But British had something else in mind. They received reinforcements. Unit of Spanish guerrillas, accompanied by brigadier and a section of guns appeared on the worst possible place AGAIN.

Niegolewski knew that he can do little to help the hussars, so his lancers retreated from the table to report to superiors. Artillery also limbered and fast moved out, through my own board edge.
Separated section of the hussars changed facing and charged guerrillas, but charge failed, and section suffered 3 hits as result of guerrilla muskets (and all tests).
Main hussar body could not reach 2 inch from enemy, so they just moved.

British rifles were in range, so they started wounding my hussars. Luckily, officer was unharmed.
Guerrilla took their time to reload, and this was good news for my hussar section. Gun fired, but missed, and hussars passed Receive fire test with flying colors.
This allowed my bigger cavalry unit to flank guerrillas. Spaniards got afraid, so they run away, taking brigadier with them. Seeing the leader running, gun section also decided to retreat.

So, hussars reformed into one unit, and fast moved out of the reach of menacing rifles, and then out of the table through southern edge.
At the end, scouting was successful. My losses counted for 3 hussars dead and 2 wounded, and one dead and one wounded gunner.
I managed to accomplish my objective and to frighten British and their allays, although they walked away without bloodied nose this time.
Full scale attack of my troops is in order, but for that more preparation is needed (I have to paint at least one more French infantry brigade).

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mobile infantry

Recently I was reading again Heinlein's Starship Troopers, so I got urge to go for some bug hunting. 
For this, I used 5150: Battalion Commander by Two Hours Wargames.

Battalion level games are the point where, in my opinion, 2HW games really shine, and therefore 5150: Battalion Commander, Warrior Heroes: Warbands and especially Muskets and Shakos are my favorite titles from this publisher.

At first, I wanted to drop one platoon of mobile infantry (ISS) on the bug controlled planet, on the patrol mission. I had one Rep 4 (blue) one Rep 5 (yellow) and one Rep 6 (red) squads, Rep 4 Rocket launcher and Rep 5 Plasma Gun. Platoon leader was a Rep 4 rookie.

Bug controlled planet with activity level 5 made chaos from the very start, as I was immediately faced with opposition that outnumbered my forces six times. So, I decided to pull back and try again, this time on human controlled planet.
 Too many of them - pull back!

I used the same set-up, but with Bugs activity level 3 and things looked much better. First PEF resolved as Something out there, and second into Bug hole, with forces equal to my on. The In Sight started, and all units moved, since the bugs were out of range.
 I rearranged my troops to better receive first wave of bugs.
One bug unit charged blue squad and send it on Spiral of Death until remaining soldiers left the battlefield.
I missed one In Sight here, since when the blue squad was destroyed line of sight opened between command stand and bugs. But I noticed this too late.
Than, low scoring doubles were rolled for activation two times,generating two new PEFs. Bugs are moving into offensive...
Bugs are finally in range, and human firepower starts counting, destroying one unit of bugs.
But that is where everything went downhill.
Unit of bugs charged the red squad. Just one bug reached melee, but it passed Crisis test with 2d6 and than send complete Rep 6 squad down the Spiral of Death until I finally rolled 6 and allowed surviving soldiers to leave the battlefield.
Also, new Bug hole opened just south of the forest, with lots of warriors pouring out and killing command stand.
With two more PEFs unresolved, Blue Squad and support weapon teams decided that they have had enough, and retreated from the battlefield. Next, Defend mission is in order....

So, what have I learned from this game:
1. Remember In Sight checks!
2. Bugs are terribly dangerous, even single bug can eliminate previously unscratched elite unit. They should not be confronted directly. Some other tactics is in order, maybe decoy unit to move them around table, while other squads pick bug by bug with firepower....
3. Command squad should not be in the open. And if it comes in the open, it should duck back as soon as possible..

Let see if I can implement this in practice in my next game....