Tuesday, February 26, 2008

AT-43 Terrain Project: how to make your own Hyperlink Antenna!

Edit: Just a quick note. When I first posted this I put it as an "On the Cheap" feature. Why? Was there mysterious motive behind my actions? Or was it simply gross negilgence on my part? I claim the former but suspect the later. In any case, it is now a "Terrain Project" as it should have been all along. And now back to your regularly scheduled blog...

In Cry Havoc #14 Rackham introduces the Therian Hyperlink Antenna, a special device that can be added to any Therian army and produces an extra 3 Leadership points when it is turned on. Included in the issue is a card to represent the antenna, both when it is turned on and off. This is all fine and dandy except that I don't have that issue of Cry Havoc and more importantly (at least to me anyway...) this is a terrain feature. It should be something real, something three dimensional! With this thought burning in my mind, I set out to to build my own version of the hyperlink antenna.

The first step was to start collecting the items that I would use for the antenna, the most important which you can see below.

Starting from the top left is a lid from a container of Floam. "Floam?", you say? Yes, Floam. You can find this in most major large department style stores in the kids arts and craft section, or even at Michael's. Next to this is a transparent orange ice cream cup that I picked up at our local Walgreens. By a total fluke, they only charged me 8 cents for it instead of the 33 cents it should have cost. Needless to say, I rushed back to get some more... : ) Below this the lid to a pink lemonade mix from the grocery store, easy to find and the whole container has a sci-fi kind of look to it. Lastly is the to go lid from a Ritter's Custard sundae. It is a little hard to see right now (it is transparent after all) but the shape is perfect.

The first step in constructing the antenna was to trim down the edge of the orange dish. It had one of those wavy edges on it and it was about 1/2" too tall, so out came the Dremel and off came the edge. A word of warning though; cutting thick plastic with a Dremel creates quite the stink and can gum up the bit in melted plastic. Still, once I recovered from the fumes it looked quite nice.

Below is a picture showing all of these pieces assembled in a "dry run" so that you can get an idea of what the antenna will look like when it is completed.

The only thing that was lacking at this point was some way to show whether it was on or off. Another quick trip to Walgreens turned up the solution; Stick N Click lights! As seen on TV being sold be that really annoying guy, but the perfect solution for my problem.

The only way to get the light to fit was to actually mount it in the bottom section of the antenna, meaning that I had to cut a hole in the lemonade lid for the light to shine through. Some quick work with an hobby knife and I was well on my way.

Next I needed something to fill in the space on the lid from the Floam container, which was easily done by tracing it onto a piece of foamcore and cutting it to fit. Once this was in place, I traced the orange dish onto the foamcore in the lid and cut the openning for it.

This gave me a good start toward making my antenna, though I obviously still was not yet finished. More on that soon. : )

Be sure to come back for the next installment: A-Tis Phone Home!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

AT-43 Unit review: Therian assault goliaths

Meet the new bad boys of physical comedy... .larry, .moe, and .curly!

Seriously though, the assault goliaths are the latest addition to the Therian army and one that I just had to buy as soon as I saw them. They just look too cool in my opinion! Then again looks are not everything (even in a miniatures game), so the real question is how do they play? I recently had a chance to find out firsthand.

The game that we played featured the Therians against an alliance of Karmans and the Red Blok. With the way that the units moved onto the board my Goliaths wound up being paired off against the strider-heavy RB faction, in particular a Sierp and Urod. Once they were able to move into a position that they could draw line-of-sight, they opened up on the Sierp but honestly they were not very effective. It's armor was too high for the sonic cannon to be effective and though the nucleus gun was able to inflict some damage, it was not enough to really make much of a difference before all of the goliaths were destroyed by a barrage of fire from Urod.

A dismal first performance for them but I think that it is largely a case of not really being on par with what they had to face. With a strider heavy force such as this, I would have been better off fielding a unit of bane goliaths. The dual nucleus guns that they are armed with would have had a much greater chance of being effective which could have helped swing the battle in my favor.

Still, the question remains: are the assault goliaths worth it? Personally I still think that they are in the right situation. With their mixed armament, they have a versatility that the banes simply don't have against a force with a more balanced mix. For example, when used against units with lighter armor such as infantry the assault goliaths can potentially eliminate 12 targets compared to the 6 that a bane goliath unit will eliminate, enough to seriously cripple even the largest RB squads. It is just against striders that they seem to have some difficulty, though since the last battle did include the near-indestrucible Urod it is perhaps still too early to say.

Overall I would say that the assault goliaths are a nice addition to any army but if you are going to be facing a large number of AFV, you might want to put the points into bane goliaths instead.

Monday, February 18, 2008

AT-43 Battle report 17022008: the Mighty Therians vs the Red/Monkey Alliance

/send_hello.overseer.***
Hello, overseers! Welcome to the EMI grid!
/end_hello.over

/sending_report.17022008
/Force_composition.Therian
/Assault golem unit
/Storm golem unit
/Grim golem unit
/leader: Alpha Atis
/Assault goliath unit
/Wraith golgoth: Nimit-Urash
/company leader: Sigma Urash

/Force_composition.Red.Blok/Karman.combined.arms
/Red Blok
/Hetman: Urod
/company leader: Odin 0-1 and Manon 0-2
/Dragonov Kommandos
/Sierp
/Karman
/Anakonga unit
/Kaptar unit
/Easy trike armored fighting vehicle

/synopsis_report.17022008
/Both factions began the conflict by moving their units onto the field of battle. Cover was plentiful so most units were able to quickly move into defensive positions.

/Once the enemy units were sighted, Alpha Atis activated her teleport routine and moved into melee with the Anakonga unit. Three of the Karmans were quickly dispatched for their treachery against the consensus, but in her exuberance for combat Atis put her unit and herself into an untenable position. The remaining Anakongas were able to quickly neutralize her unit and her own frame was quickly disabled as well.

/The Hetman unit designated Urod quickly moved into position and fired on the assault goliaths but to no avail. The Sierp unit proved to be much more troublesome as it began firing mortar rounds at the advancing Assault golem unit

/The Easy trike unit fired against Nimit-Urash, causing minor damage. Nimit responded by attacking the Sierp inflicting minor damage which was subsequently repaired by the clone twins designated Odin and Manon.

/As our units continued their advance the Sierp proved to be an ongoing problem. This unit has armor strong enough to resist most standard infantry weapons and the fire launched from the mortars proved to be more troublesome than anticipated. In addition, the unit designated Urod also proved to be much more difficult to damage than had been anticipated due to the mechanical abilities of the clone twins piloting this strider unit.

/Ultimately the combined arms of the two factions proved to be too much and the remaining units disengaged.
/end_synopsis_report.17022008

/analysis_report.17022008…
/DONE

/Recommendations_report.17022008
/A larger number of strider type units must be fielded to counter Red Blok striders and possibly more type 3 infantry units. All fire should be concentrated on these units to eliminate them as quickly as possible. Any remaining opposition infantry units should be easily eliminated by our own supporting infantry units.

/Better use of the combat routines is necessary. Until the battle was already joined the overseer seemed uncertain of how to use best use these costing him valuable time and forfeiting a stronger position on the battlefield.
/end_recommendations_report.17022008

/send_goodbye
Have a nice day and thank you for your information!
/end_message

Now if only I had brought the camera...

Ah well, this gives you some kind of an idea how the battle went from my perspective. Overall, the three of us had a good time and I managed to learn a few things about the Therians that I had not really had to face.

1) The routines are the key to victory. Ignore them and risk defeat! I spent the first turn or two just trying to get my head wrapped around the game again and in doing so I overlooked by combat routines. Big mistake let me tell you! The Dash routine in particular would have been perfect on the first turn to get myself into much better position, and I have also decided that I need to get a handful of type 1 striders. I might not like the Hekat that much, but I think that being able to create a couple of those would have help me tip the game back into my favor.

2) The faction is crucial. Choose wisely! I ran a list that just used the basic Therian platoon structure. Big mistake in this case. If anything I really think that Cyphers would have been the way to go as it would have given Urash a lot more versatility. Mounted in Nimit, he is limited to using strider routines which are not very useful when there is only one strider and four infantry units. If he had access to all of the routines, he would have been much more of an asset on the battlefield.

3) Striders, striders, striders! Do not ignore the striders! I have put off buying any of the type 1 striders since I wanted to wait until the Succubus is released, but really I am convinced now that I need to have some just so that I can create them during the game. I know that there was a lot of debate about the Creation routine that I will need to go through to make sure that I play it right but I really think that it would be worth it. A Hekat or two running around today probably could have taken out the Red Blok Sierp which would have made life much easier. Plus it would have made Steve and John really think more about picking their targets with more and more striders simply appearing on the board. Needless to say Hekats have moved way up on my list now; in fact I will probably pick up one or two of those next.

Even with all of my blunders with both my own force and just trying to remember all of the rules, I really enjoyed myself and I am looking forward to playing some more larger games in the not-too-distant future.

And next time, I will remember to bring the camera.