This area of the website is my hobby blog, it contains articles about games that I have enjoyed playing together with paining and model making articles.
Yesterday (28th April 2019), Doug and I had our first game of 'Seven Days to the River Rhine' the new 'Cold War gone Hot' ruleset published by Great Escape Games. Both Doug and I had played 1980's Cold War games before wusing Cold War Commander, WRG and Cold War Commander rules amongst others so we had the miniatures and the terrain all ready to go. Seven Days to the River Rhine (7DTRR) is a battlegroup level set of rules. A model vehicle represents a single vehicle and a stand of infantry represents a section of infantry or a support weapon such as Milan or a Mortar.
We played using 6mm miniatures, I think they are from Heroics & Ross, from several decades ago. We played on a 6' x 6' gaming area. I like 6mm scale for Cold War gaming as I feel it gives a good representation of troop density and ranges.
My cold war miniatures are mounted on 40mm square bases. Each bases has a 10mm x 40mm info strip on it that gives the type of unit, weapon and armour stats, breakpoint and morale values. I find that this helps to make the units stand out,. This is quiet important with small models that are camoflaged to blend in with the surrounding terrain. The bases is also used as reference point for the direction that unit is facing and arcs and flanks.
The mission was quiet ambitious for an introductory game. 2 QUEENS Battlegroup were tasked with holding the two towns (top left). To achieve this mission they fielded 2 Platoons (6 bases) of Infantry, 1 Troop of Chieftan 5 (3 x MBT), 2 x Milan Posts, 2 x Stricker & 1 x Scorpion from Brigade Recce.
3 Guards Motor Rifle Regiment had a primary objective of capturing the towns with a follow on objective of capturing the road exit points. To achieve this they deployed a Motor Rifle Company (10 x Infantry mounted in BTR70) and a Tank Company (10 x T72A) with a Platoon on Regt Recce (3 x BRDM).
2 QUEENS Battlegroup OC located his command post in main town. Armoured element deployed at front edge of woods. Infantry and Milan posts dug in around edges of wood and built up areas across the Battlegroups frontage.
One of the key strengths of 7DTTRR is its command pool / activation mechanism. Each fighting element in your force (apart from attach helicopters) gives you a command point. Both sides role off for initiative. The winner goes first. You spend a command point to activate a unit or to perform a morale check. The first activation of a unit happens automatically. You can attempt to activate a unit multiple times, but for each subsequent activation the unit needs to roll more than the number of command tokens already allocated to that unit. In this case, the Chieftan to the left would need 3+ and the one on the right 2+ on a D6 to activate. Once you declare an activation, your opponent can spend a command token to attempt to interupt. There chance to do this is dependent what they are reacting to and how many tokens they have. This is rolled on a D6. a 6 is always a success and also makes you the active player.
In order to be able to play the game I made myself a set of NATO & WARPACT Command and hidden deployment tokens, which I have added to our tokens & templates page in case anyone else is interested in them.
3 GUARDS MRR advanced on 3 axis with a platoon of tanks in lead followed by infantry in APC's. This attack is looking stalled. First two T72's are destroyed and the 3rd has two morale markers on it. When you fire against an enemy target you roll to hit. This is based on quality of unit and tactical modifiers. If you hit you inflict a morale marker automatically as long as your weapon was capable of penetrating armor. You then roll a D10 and add your weapons penetration value. If your score is equal to armor the target gains maximum number of morale tokens, if it exceeds armor value the vehicle is destroyed.
On 2 QUEENS left flank heavy casualties are sustained by the relentless Soviet attack.
3 GUARDS MRR also suffer casualties, particularly when caught in the flank by a well sighted Milan detachment sighed on the spur of the hill.
Our first game ended with a marginal British win. The Soviet attack had suffered heavy losses and had not entered there primary objective.
Both Doug and I are looking forward to playing more of this game in the future. Our first game was pretty slow as there was a lot of rules reading, discussing and checking stats. The key part of the game is deciding when and how to spend your limited supply of command points to most influence the battle, and speed with this will come through playing the game.
Race Against Time
For the 2nd game in our Vice Alley Old West campaign we moved out of town to a small mining settlement down by the creek.
It was a race against time, following a tip off that illegal moonshine was being distilled down by the creek my vigalante leage were determined to gather enough evidence to close the operation down. It looked like they had arrived at just the right time as a large wagon was being unloaded in the centre of the settlement. T o gather sufficient evidence my leader Marshall 'Leather' Durham needed to overcome three sets of perils and challenges. My league was made up of four sidekicks, so Marshall Durham was nominated to act as the leader for this game.
Four minor plot points were deployed around the table more than 12" away from other plot points. These included a nervous youth a fiesty old woman, a mysterious envelope and a leather bound journal.
The settlement was home to a number of critters that provided some movable dangers. These included snakes, geese and dogs. Each random plot point moved D8" in a random direction each turn.
The Marshall starts a careful investigation of the wagon and its contents while Wilson 'WIld Hog' Hurley, Ralph 'Wild Boy' Hicks, Bernard 'Glory' Barnes and a young fellow who said he was handy with a 6 gun that they picked up in a bar, fan out to provide a defensive perimeter.
Once the lead started flying, the young lad from the bar was the first to take a slug. 'Aint it always the way, that the nameless minions die young!
Hicks heads off towards the creek to have a word with the nervous youth, who seems to have attracted the attentions of a snake of truely epic proportions.
The flock of geese head towards 'Wild Hog' Hurley, while the Marshall is struggling to make much progress on evidence collection. This is a tough assignment for a league made up of sidekicks without a leader level character.
Down at the creek, Hicks is in good form, after beating the giant asp into submission he turns his attentions on the nervous youth who is all to happy to tell him everything he knows.
Dougs criminal syndicate closes in, a fierce gunfight develops and his henchmen approach the wise old women (with the blunderbus) in the hope of some extra information.
Despite using the tethered horses as cover, Hurley goes down in a blaze of glory.
... and as if the assignment was not hard enough already both the gianst snake and the flock of geese are unexplainably drawn to the Marshall, the wagon and the clues.
Six turns came and went and unfortunately the vigalantes failed to gather the evidence that they needed.One victory point was gained for solving the 'nervous youth' plot point, bringing there influence / reputation up to five.
However, as always Pulp Alley was a great game to play, however badly you do, it is always a lot of fun and it works very well in a western setting.
Links for further details:
The terrain boards are all made using Sally 4th Terra-Formers. These are 12" modular terrain tile kits with a wide range of profiles for hills, streams, roads and many more features together with strong rare earth magnets embedded in the sides to hold them firmly together. Click here for more information on Terra-Former terrain.
Pulp Alley is a set of skirmish rules that can be used for encounters between 2-30 figures per side in any enviroment from the stone age to the space age. Click here to find out about Pulp Alley.
Artizan have a great range of 28mm Western miniatures. Click here to take a look.
This blog is showcasing some of the amazing painting done by Hanno Barker on some of the ACP164 Albedo Miniatures game models.
Hanno has a great depth of artistic knowledge that he has used to bring these models to life using an acrylic base coat which then is built upon using oil paints in the manner of the Renaisance Masters.
If you would like to learn how Hanno has acheived these rich tones, he has posted a very useful article on the Albedo Patrol Forums, click here to take a look.
On Sunday I started working on some terrain for gaming set in the Arctic inspired by movies such as 'Ice Station Zebra.
The project is going to consist of enought 1' square terrain boards to cover a 6' x 4' table. These will have features on them such as thin ice, pressure ridges, rubble ic and crevaces.
Features will include an arctic research station on stilts, some Jamesway huts, an ice-bound ship and a submarine conning tower breaking through ice,
Submarine Conning Tower
This is the image that I used for inspiration. I wanted the conning tower 'bridge' to be big enough to take 3 miniatures mounted on 25mm bases and I wanted an open door with a gangplank.
I started off by designing a frame which was cut from 3mm MDF.
Two pieces of thin card are then glued in place to make the steel plate skin.
The rivet, plate and ladder detail was then added using self adhesive, textured 3-Decals which are made by N-FX.
The conning tower has been given a quick base coat of grey household emulsion. Eventually the masts, periscopes and other details will be added as resin castings and the model will have a decal for ID number.
To give an idea of scale it is photographed with some miniatures that have been sculpted by Mark Fuller. These will be available as part of Sally 4th Classic Movie range later this year.
The second piece to be modelled was the iconic Jamesway Hut. These look very much like the Nissan or Quonset hut but they are not covered with corrugated sheeting. Jamesway huts are always covered with a rot proof and vermin proof fabric that holds insulation in place.
This model is of the smallest version of this hut. I've modelled the hut with its internal frame so that it can also be depicted as a hut being built or a ruin with fragments of fabric left attached.
OK, I did not do all of this on Sunday! When we develop a model kit, one gets built as I design the kit. Once it is completed and fretted out, we need to make another model from scratch to photograph for the instruction leaflet, so I had a spareTramp Steamer kit, 95% assembled that had been gathering dust on the shelves for a year, so I decided to use that to model a ship stuck in the ice.
The terrain that I am building is based on 12" square terra-former modular terrain kits, sometimes terrain features like this do not fit into a 12" square so I combine 2 sides from a 2' square tile kit with two sides from a 1' square tile kit to make a 2'x1' tile.
It was very easy to draw around the hull with a whiteboard marker and then remove a hull shaped cavity with a cheap hobby knife.
I've then used some Sculptamold (paper reinforced plaster to add a bit of texture to the tile and fix the ship in place.
Arctic Terrain Tiles
The other progress for this weekend was to assemble enough 12" square Terra-Former tiles to make an initial 4' x 4' area. This will later be extended to 4'x6'.
Terraformers are MDF modular terrain frames with embedded rare earth magnets to hold them closely together.
.... To be continued over the coming weeks as Iwork on the project!
D&D has got to be one of my favourite games of all time. I started playing at school at about 15, around the time of the Red Box edition and just before AD&D was released and those early campaigns such as Against the Giants and Expedition to the Barrier Peaks and Tomb of Horrors still create a wave of nostalgia. I played a lot of AD&D at college and then it tailed of a bit due to lack of enough players to get together at any one time. A couple of years ago I started playing 5th Edition, and had a fantastic campaign that lasted about a year before scheduling became an issue. At the moment our RPG group is playing a campaign using Fate set in the world of Harn, which is a whole lot of fun. Nick & I have often talked about the feasability of using D&D as a 2 player skirmish system, so that we can enjoy the richness of the game system and build up familiarity with the core rules at times when we can't get four or five playres together for a game.
A couple of weeks ago, we gave the concept a trial, it worked well and was a whole lot of fun. We used one of the encounters from the first module from Defiance in Phan, The Goblins Lair.
Many months back I made a set of 3D printed terrain for earthy cave's and lairs using the excellent terrain tiles from Dungeonworks. I tried out a new approach to painting the tiles. They were all given my usual terrain undercoat of Sandtex Chocolate Brown. I then used real earth from my garden for colouring and texture. The earth was prepared by drying out on a baking tray in the oven and then sieving through a fine sieve to remove stones, twigs and larger particles. The dryed and sterilised soil was then mixed 4 parts soil to one part chocolate brown tile grout. The terrain pieces were then painted with pva glue and the earth mixture was sieved on to it. When it had dried I then sprayed watered down PVA glue and Isoproponyl to seal the finish. Rocks and tree stumps were then drybrushed up from black. I'm very pleased with the results, as you can't really get anything that looks more like earth and soil than real soil!
Our group of adventurers enter the lair. The party consists of an Elven Mage, a Dwarf Fighter a Human Fighter and a Halfling Rogue.
The sneaky Goblins have some hidden arrow slits that they use to open fire on the party. The mage hurls a fireball at the wall, hoping to catch the goblins through the slits. The 3/4 cover save however saved them from any harm.
The Dwarf makes it through the passage way and charges the goblin archers.
The party set of a trap in the entrance way. Although it did not cause any harm to the party, it did alert the rest of the Goblins to intruders. Two Goblins head off to charge the intruders, while the third heads to the wolf cages to unleash there fiercesome pets.
The two wolves charge the Mage and bring him to the ground unconsciouse. Unfortunately he fails two death saving throws before the Halfling is in a position to attempt first aid, which he failed and the Mage passed away.
The Dward fighter, heavily outnumbered holds his own long enough for the rest of his party to coome to his assistance. Eventualy the Goblins are dispatched and the three remaining companions, bloody and weary push forwards down a narrow corridor towards the waiting Bugbear and his minions.
This worked very well and we are looking forward to playing some more.
Links for further information.
The Dungeon Tiles are 3D printed from designs from Dungeonworks
The Bugbear is from Otherworld Miniatures
The clear bases are Sally 4th Clear Bases
The Dwarf & Elf Mage are miniatures from Mantic Games Dungeon Saga
The Human Fighter is made from Gripping Beast Saga Plastic pieces
The Goblins are from Games Workshops Middle Earth range
The Wolves are from North Star Miniatures
The next fantasy miniatures gaming article that I am planning to write will be a first try out of Saga - Age of Magic, the eagerly awaited swords and sorcery supplement for the well established Saga game from Studio Tomahawk. We've got our pre-order in so hoping that we will have a copy by the end of next week.
Albedo Combat Patrol:ACP164.
The Defence of Science Station Z1430.
A couple of weeks ago, my good friend Patrick had an unexpected free afternoon so we decided to have a go at the introductory ACP164 scenario - Defence of the Science Station.
Set on a planet, many light years away from Arras Chankra an ILR Planetary Invasion Fleet has recently landed and plan to annex Ralon186 to the Republic,
Taken by surprise, the planetary HomeGuard were quickly overthrown at the starport and main population centres, however there are many pockets of resistance that need to be cleared before the ILR can claim a complete victory.
Science Station Z1430 was a biological research station, engaged in valuable research to determine if cultivated plants could be used to supplement the critters mainly synthesized diet. A single section of 8 HomeGuard had been tasked with its defence, however the platoon HQ was also located in the building and an additional section were close enough to support if reinforcement was neccessary.
The left flank was secured by a fast flowing stream and number of dirt tracks led to the science station.
The EDF split there section in to two fireteams. Alpha Fireteam positioned themselves behind the sturdt walls of the plazza.
The LMG from platoon HQ was set up on the roof of the research building with a commanding field of fire.
The defenders did not have to wait long for the first wave of planetary assault troops to advance through the light woods and move towards the cover of broken ground to the left of the building.
Long range fire, particularly from the defenders LMG thinned out the attackers, but did not prevent them from making it to cover.
The HomeGuards Bravo Fireteam had positioned themselves amongst some rocky outcrops to the right of the research station. It was not long before they had multiple targets to engage.
Although the ILR took heavy fire, and lost some good rabbits that day, it was not long before a second quad joined them to consolidate there position.
Eventually a second squad of HomeGuard arrived as reinforcements and started to move forwards.
Alpha Fireteam had born the brunt of the ILR assault for many turns, casualties were mounting and cohesion was beginning to break down. Here we see a critter failing a morale test and heading for the next piece of cover...inside the building.
At this point, the Republics finest decide to settle the issue by close assault
The ILR win the melee after two turns of bitter fighting.
Charlie Fireteam, part of the reinforcing section counterattacks, but they are also overcome by the aggresive ILR Troopers,(who are quiet handy at close quarters).
Delta Fireteam move forwards, but are too late to prevent the science station falling into enemy hands.
As always, an exciting game of Albedo. The scenario was pretty well balanced with a platoon attacking a reinforced section. Up until the last turn I had felt that I would get my reinforcements into the battle and that they would make a difference, but it was not to be and Patrick and the ILR won a well deserved victory.
Links for further information:
Last year we added a number of packs of miniatures to our Classic Movie Miniatures range based on favourite films and TV shows. These were figures which we felt would work particularly well with Pulp miniature games such as Pulp Alley and 7TV. One of my favourite packs is 'Everything but the Goose' based on Tales of the Gold Monkey. The pack was named as it had all of the main characters, even a model of the Gold Monkey to use as a plot point but was lacking the main star of the show, 'Cutters Goose'
Cutters Goose was the Gruman Seaplane operated by Jake Cutter to run a cargo delivery service around the Pacific Islands.
On Monday I had a day off as compensation for working the weekend at Salute, so finally got around to building the kit that my good friend Buck Surdu had kindly brought over for me from the States when he visited us last year.
The kit went together very easily, the pieces were a good fit. I have given the model a basic paint job which is inspired by the 'Goose' from the show rather than a direct copy.
I think that at this point it is good enough to use in a game, so I now just need to put some character cards together for a Pulp Alley league based on Jake, Corky, Sarah and Jack.
I am planning to make some decals at the weekend for the registration number and the 'Cutters Goose' logo, and hopefully will be posting a games report based on 'Tales of the Gold Monkey' in my hobby blog very soon.
The Goose Kit is the Lindberg OA9 Goose Kit
The Miniatures are 'Classic Movie Miniatures' Everything but the Goose pack
The Terrain is built using Terraformer 12" terrain tile kits
The clear bases are Sally 4th Clear Bases
The Pier is the Terraformer Quayside Pier kit
On Monday, as a bit of a change the Ripon RPG group came round for a miniatures based fantasy skirmish game. We normally play 'Fate' set in a Harn setting as a narrative game without the distraction of miniatures or other props. I've been playing Pulp Alley for the last five years in the 'Pulp Era' setting but also for a huge variety of other periods and genres including WW2, Pirates, Western, Judge Dredd, Star Wars, HP Lovecroft themed Horror, Post Apocalypse, Zombies, Scooby Doo, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and many more. One of the genres that I had not tried to date was Swords & Sorcery themed fantasy.
Over the last couple of months I have been busily working away converting a wide range of miniatures from Frostgrave, Perry Miniatures, Wargames Foundry and many more manufacturers to anthropomorphic fantasy miniatures using the heads and tails Critter Conversion Kits from Albedo Miniatures. I created enought characters for four leagues using the Pulp Fantasy rules from the Pulp Alley Rulebook and some renaming of abilities to make them fit better with the genre, so for example the 4th level ability 'Inspiring' became the 'Bless' spell and the 2nd level 'Burst Fire' ability became 'Fireball'.
The scenario that we played was 'The Four Faces of Dr Fang'. I've played it a couple of time now in different settings and it is always fun. The city, Kingsport is being plauged by a run of gruesome murders and the adventuers, being outsiders are under suspicion. There mission is to solve the plot to uncover who or what is behind the murders to clear there names.
The investigation is represented by solving the first four plot points. Each plot points gives the league a clue token (The Means, The Suspect, The Connection and the Motive). The investigation is hampered by the attentions of the City Watch'. These were represented by 5 spear armed rat soldiers in blue and white quatered livery. Until the suspect was revealed these acted as semi-randomly moving perilous areas.
If a character activated within three inches of a City Watchmen they had to overcome a 'Peril', if they failed they could not act that turn. If they took a wound and went 'Down' they were arrested by the WAtch and taken off the table into custody.
Unlike many scenarios for Pulp Alley a plot point stayed in play once it had been resolved to allow other leagues to attempt it. The first league to resolve it got the reward and a clue token but every league that subsequently resolved it also got a clue token. Once a league had solved four clues the last plot point became 'The Catch'.
As the adventuring leagues were under suspicion and the city watch were patrolling and paying particular attention to them blatent acts of aggression on other leagues such as combat were not allowed, how ever we allowed leagues to use other less tracable means such as playing Fortune cards to hinder the competitions progress or even the odd 'Spell' that was not tracable!
As this was the first time that the playres had tried Pulp Alley, there was a learning curve around considerations for plot point placement and subsequent league deployment. Some plot points were placed in difficult and perilous areas which made them very difficult to reach.
In fact, one player decided that looking for clues was going to be difficult so elected for his league to surround the last plot point, that was going to be the catch and to then link arms to prevent anyone else getting into contact with it.
Once a challenge had been revealed for a plot point, it remained the challenge for the whole game, but the peril that had to be overcome first was revealed by a card draw from the Fortune Deck and was a new threat for every attempt.
On the top of the ruins surrounding the sorcerors tower, the last clue is solved and the culprit is revealed. From the sewer grate in front of the ancient shrine a green vapour formed and took shape, revealing a foul many tentacled beast from the abyss.
This was a little disturbing for the characters who had linked arms around the shrine. The horror rules came into play, so any character of level 3 or below needed to take a horror check before activating. Many allies & followers fled screaming. However, in the end it was not as difficult as expected to dispatch the beast. Although tough in melee, a few well placed 'Fireballs' were played, The creature failed the associated peril and subsequent health checks. This weakened it, reducing it's health to D6. A number of Fortune cards were then played to add complications to the wound before it was finished off by a volley of bow fire.
It was an exciting game. I think everyone enjoyed it and are looking forward to playing another scenario with the same leagues in April.
The terrain boards were constructed from Terra-Former modular terrain tile kits.
The rules used were Pulp Alley
Yesterday Ann & I visited Lewis at University across in Hull, after catching up on news and going for a walk we settled down for a really enjoyable game of Pulp Alley.
As we had received printers proofs of the new 2nd edition Pulp Alley rules a couple of weeks ago, we decided to use them and to play one of last years 'Scenario's of the Month', 'The 11th Guest'.
The 11th Guest finds visitors stranded in a creepy hotel in a thunderstorm while all manner of unpleasant events unfold. The central area represented the hotel, The area 12" in from the edges was an area of difficult terrain, so no problem walking up to 6" per turn, but if you ran over 6" you needed to pass a random peril. We used a Fothrington Hall kit to represent the hotel.
Each player controlled one level three (Sidekick) character and a scenario event deck was used to drive the storyline along. The game duration is 6 turns and the player with the most clues at the end of turn 6 is the winner. Some of the event cards such as old photographs and press cuttings gave a single clue, but most clues were saved as a reward for solving plot points. Plot points were various bodies, of guests who had come to a grizzly end at the hands of the 11th guest. One card is entitled 'Unexpected Twist' if you drew this card you were the murderer and the other guests could then attack you.
On the 2nd turn, Ann drew the 'Unexpected Twist' card, and her character, Beths secret was out. Knowing that she was now a target she hurried outside to try to destroy any evidence left on the bodies.
My character Baron WIlfred hurried out in pursuit and a protracted cat and mouse shoot out developed,, however, Beth somehow always seemd to find time between shooting to rediscover her victims and destroy any evidence remaining (i.e solve the plot point and take the clues).
As we were playing at Lewis's uni digs, we had to bring everything with us so we did not have our usual range of plot points and accesories, hence these Lord of the Rings Petrified Hobbits had to stand in for 'Drowned Lawyers' and other murdered guest plot points.
Lewis's character 'Davidson' had initially had some success nunting for clues at the back of the Hotel, but once he had heard the gun shots at the front he rushed round to try to help aprehend the murderer.
What ever we did, Beth stayed two steps ahead off us, dodging bullets and solving plot points. At the end of turn 6 Ann's character has a significant lead with 7 clues to Lewises 5 and my 2!
Pulp Alley 2nd edition is available to pre-order on Kickstarter until 24th March 2019
Sally 4th are running a 10% discount deal on Pulp Alley products until trhe kickstarter ends, click here to view our Pulp Alley Store. The discount code is 'PULPALLEYKS2', just enter it when you go to checkout basket.
While I was at Hammerhead last month I got chatting with the guys over at Pig Iron Productions, they have some great stuff in their range and they are another independent 28mm Sci-Fi manufacturer based like us in North Yorkshire.
I had shown Alex some conversions that I had done a while back using Albedo ILR bodies and Frostgrave Barbarian heads to make some Sci-Fi freedom fighters and we got to wondering how the Albedo bodies and weapon systems would match up with Pig Iron Heads.
I went home with two packets of different Pig Iron heads, and promised to put some conversions together and take some photographs.
The top three miniatures are built using EDF Heavy Infantry bodies armed with LAKW 1-56 Assault Rifle, MAKW 3-60 Light Machine Gun, and Officer Data Pad arms together with Pig Iron System Hunter heads.
The Albedo range contains four sci-fi / near future AFV's (2 x light tank / 2 x APC ).
The optional vehicle crew set contains single piece resin castings of hatch with crew shoulders allowing and head to be glued in place to customise the vehicle.
I used a set of Pig Iron System Commando heads to convert the Albedo AV8B APC.
Here we have a converted Heavy Weapons team using Pig Iron System Commando heads and Albedo ILR bodies together with ILR Light Machine Gun and Loader arms.