Saturday, June 30, 2012

Do You Want To Live Forever Apes?!?

With my Centauri fleet ready to go it's time to check out figures for the other big event of the day; the Starship Troopers Miniature Game, also by Mongoose Publishing and also long out of print which is a shame in my opinion... but I'm getting ahead of myself.  First lets look at the minis.

And here they are in all their glory, MacFeegle's Marauders of the Mobile Infantry.

"Do you want to live forever apes?"
The scary thing is that this is not all of the MI that I own.  Heck this is less than half of all the apes I can field but this is the portion that is fully assembled and painted so I'm going to focus on them.

These are two different types of walkers used by the MI; M9 Chickenhawk on the left and the M8 Ape on the right.
For those of you who might not be familiar with the SST mini game setting, it actually follows the CGI series The Roughneck Chronicles more than either the movie or novel.  This series was released in 1999 as a Saturday morning cartoon which means that they had to tone down the violence and gory from the movie.  Even so I still think they did a really good job with the series and I'd definitely recommend checking it out if you haven't already.

Unlike the novel (which features heavy exo suits) or the movie (which features flak vests and helmets), the Mobile Infantry in the Roughneck Chronicles are equipped with a form of light power armor that also has a built in jump pack.  This gives them some protection and greatly enhances their mobility without having them all look like lumbering anime mecha gunning down the bugs.  Mongoose Publishing did eventually incorporate the other two styles into the mini game but from the start it was the CGI power armor that really held center stage and were the focus of my own collection.

The miniatures for the suits were done as multi part plastics which gave you lots of options when you assembled them... once you figured out where all the bits went anyway.  Each 28mm trooper consisted of no less than thirteen pieces, some of which were ridiculously fiddly.  Still, I loved how the minis looked and honestly the game system was a lot of fun as well.  Rather than the typical "I go, you go" mechanic, SST has a more dynamic feel as you had the opportunity to react to your opponents actions during their turn.  For example, lets say you are being charged by a swarm of bugs looking to rip your head off.  Are you just going to stand there and wait for them to kill you?  Heck no!  Beating feet or opening up both seem like much more viable options to me and this game let you do either of those.

Unfortunately this was a game that eventually went the way of the dodo.  Between problems with the factory in China and problems with their license from Sony there were just too many things stacked up against them in the long run.  Mongoose officially pulled the plug on the game in early 2008 but it does still see some play at various conventions around the country and rightly so.  This was a game that deserved much better than the ignoble end that it received and I can't wait to get it back to the table again, even if it is just a one time thing.  Until next time... 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Battle Of Kitchenus Four

With Desert Wars rapidly approaching I decided that in addition to reassembling and painting my Centauri fleet I should probably brush up on the rules a bit too.  Of course one of the things that I don't currently have is an appropriate space gaming surface so welcome to the little mentioned system of Kitchenus!

Yeah, when all else fails its time to just clear off the table and throw down some minis!  For this battle I decided to go with the appropriately named Call To Arms scenario which features two fleets meeting head to head in empty expanse of deep space to duke it out.

With the fleets deployed it was time to roll for initiative for turn one.  The Centauri (aka the sneaky bastards) won and it was time to begin the assault.  Speeding forward the Centauri lined up the the Centurion and one of the Vorchans against the T'Loth while the other Vorchan headed straight for one of the Ka'Tac destroyers.  The movement phase ended with the Narn fighters moving forward to support their respective ships.

The Centurion opens fire first but is only able to get range on the T'Loth with its matter cannon.  Unfortunately the supporting Frazi fighters are able to provide enough interference to protect the T'Loth from any damage.  The return fire proves to be much more devastating as the T'Loth's plasma cannons rip into the Centurion's hull and also the bridge!  Meanwhile the Vorchan on the right lets loose volley after volley of cannon fire into the Ka'Toc facing it and inflicts a devastating amount of damage, leaving the ship crippled but still in the fight.

The Ka'Toc on the left opens fire on the Vorchan it is facing but only manages to inflict minor damage while the Vorchan that was targeted opens fire on the T'Loth.  The hail of fire damages the giant warship and also temporarily disables the fire control to the port side of the vessel, creating a potential blind spot that might be exploited next turn.

Stunned by the Centauri betrayal (though you'd think they'd know better by now) the Narn again loose the initiative roll to the Centauri again and this time are forced to move first.

The crippled Ka'Toc on the right limps forward while the Vorchan on the same side swings around to try to exploit the blind spot on the T'Loth.  The captain of the T'Loth responds by declaring the All Stop! special action which leaves the Vorchan just inside the forward arc.  The Centurion edges slightly forward to get range with the rest of its arsenal but leaves itself open to the undamaged Ka'Toc on the left that sweeps around to get a bearing on it.  Finally the last Vorchan moves in close to the T'Loth while the Frazi fighters from the two Narn destroyers move to engage the Vorchans.

After trading some minor salvos, the Vorchan on the left is able to inflict a devstating blow to the T'Loth, critically damaging its reactors and taking its starboard weapon offline!  Now blind on both sides, the T'Loth tried to direct fire against the Centurion and the other Vorchan but only managed to inflict some minor damage.  The opposite was not true however as the Centurion let loose a devastating volley in return.  The already damaged reactors are again ravaged which resulted in an implosion ripping apart a portion of the ship.  Fires then broke out causing even more chaos on the rapidly dying vessel.  As a final touch, the Centurion opened fire on the crippled Ka'Toc and annihilated it.

With chaos reigning, the Narn again loose the initiative as we head into turn three.  At this point there is some minor maneuvering but with the T'Loth crippled and the Ka'Toc damaged the outcome of this battle is pretty easy to see at this point.

All and all, this little scenario was a good refresher and it definitely reminded me why I enjoyed this game so much; it's very cinematic.  The way that the mechanics work especially for combat really capture the feel of the Babylon 5 universe.  From the slicing beam weapons to the rapid fire banks of pulse weapons, the rules really do a great job recreating all of it.  Unfortunately this version of Call To Arms is no longer available but Mongoose recently released their Star Fleet version as a joint venture with Amarillo Design Bureau.  That's right, its Star Fleet Battles made easy!  I haven't had a chance to try this ruleset out yet but maybe I'll take a look at Jason's copy of the rulebook when I have some down time.  Then I'll need to buy more miniatures, maybe get some space terrain...  I'll have to work on that.  Until next time...

Saturday, June 23, 2012

For The Glory Of The Republic!

With Desert Wars fast approaching I have started digging out some of my old minis to get them ready for the big day.  First on my list is my Centauri battle group for the Call To Arms game and do they need a lot of work!

The fleet adrift in the endless void of the tabletop...
As you can tell from the picture the first thing to do is get them mounted on bases since having my spaceships sitting on the tabletop just wouldn't look right.  This is also kind of the problem; just how the heck am I going to base them?

For any of you not familiar with space minis and their flight stands these are some of the most fragile pieces you could run in to which is not too surprising.  After all we're taking a big chuck of metal and balancing it on a tiny post so of course its going to break if you're not careful.  Mongoose Publishing recently came out with some new bases that are supposed to help alleviate this problem but for right now I've decided to dig out some old bases that I have lying around so I can get these things up and running.

The first thing to do in a situation like this is drill out the mounting hole on the mini and insert some brass rod into it.

This is the easy part of the drilling done...
This will be much more durable than the little plastic stub that tops most flight bases though you still need to be careful with them.  And speaking of being careful, you also have to be careful when you drill the hole into the plastic post so that the brass rod has where to go.  Since this is a very fiddly process I've found the best way to center the whole in the post is to cut a small X into the top of the post (once the plastic nub is removed of course).  This gives you a good idea of where the center of the hole needs to be located.  Just to be on the safe side I usually use the tip of an x-acto knife to cut a small guide hole for the drill bit and then proceed with the drilling.  This part can be especially tricky since you have little room for error as you drill the post so make sure you take your time.  Still with a little bit of patience I was thankfully able to get them all mounted and ready for paint.

The fleet in drydock...
The next step was deciding what color to go with.  In the TV series, the Centauri ships are a combination of purple and grey with some gold trim.  As you can see I had used this scheme from a number of my ships but I'd kind of like to do something different but what?  While pondering this I decided to go ahead and do them with a black base coat and work from there but once I got the black on them I kind of liked how they looked.  Add in some Ironhull Grey (from the P3 line) and some Shining Gold (from one of the really old GW lines) and voila!

The fleet ready for action!  Well, almost anyway...
This is a pretty basic paint scheme but I think it looks more menacing than the purple and gold so I'm gonna run with it.  There is still a little bit of work to do on them as far as detailing especially on the Primus battle cruiser in the back (plus the other two ships in the battle group).  So that's one project down and three more to go before Desert Wars!  More resurrecting of the dead is coming soon...  not to mention the other projects that I'm working on as well but more on that later.  Until next time...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ground Pounders In The Third Millenium!!!

Ground Pounders?  In the Third Millenium?  Yep, that's right folks, it more Traveller talk!

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, the Traveller game that I'm going to be playing in is starting to sound somewhat more combat oriented than I had originally thought so I decided to throw the dice again to see if I could make someone slightly more suitable to combat.  Honestly Tobias is pretty handy with various kinds of weapons but other than that... not so much.  Sneaking?  How do you do that?  Melee combat?  Is that French?  And so it was that Randall Stanton was "born".

Randall Stanton (yet another re-purposed Star Wars mini)

Unlike Tobias, I don't have quite as detailed a background written up for Randall so I'm just going to give a quick overview.  Keeping in mind his characteristics and my goal of trying to get a more effective fighter, I headed Randall right into the army.  Amazingly enough four terms and three promotions later I wound up with a very well rounded lance sergeant who mustered out of the at the ripe old age of 34.

Again there is a lot for me to build his background around as well but because of his military nature I want to find some more specifics about the region of space that we will be in so I can figure out system names and such.  As an added plus I also lucked out and not only did he get a suit of combat armor when he left the army, he also was given several combat implants and a weapon of his choice as well!  Overall he has a completely different feel from Tobias and that was with an even shorter char gen (Tobias went for five terms while Randall only served for four) but I was still able to more or less guide how he shaped up even with the random system.

I'm really excited to get either one of these characters to the table as I'm sure Jason is going to have some kind of crazy adventure in mind.  Before then though, I have to start digging through some of my old minis as its time to resurrect the dead.  No, I'm not talking zombies just old minis and dead game systems... but more on that next week.  Until next time...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

And They Call Him The Traveling Man

As I mentioned last week, Desert Wars 2012 is just around the corner here in Vegas.  The day is promising to be filled with miniature goodness but the fun doesn't end there.  After the day at the Fort its time for the monthly Traveller game run by Jason Coffey of the Las Vegas Wargamers.  This is a game that he has run for quite a while now so its going to be interesting to get thrown right into the middle of things to see what kind of mayhem I can get into.

For those of you who might not be familiar with it, Traveller was the first sci fi rpg ever released and hit the shelves all the way back in 1977.  The current version was released by Mongoose Publishing in 2008 but from what I understand the mechanics are almost identical to those used in the initial release thirty years earlier.

One of the interesting things about this game is the character creation system which has been described as a game all on its own because it is somewhat random.  Sure you can choose a career path to head down but one bad dice roll is all it takes to send your character heading off in a completely different direction.  Even with this potentially random nature it still gives you a solid background to work with right off the bat.  To give you an idea here is my intrepid explorer and adventurer, Tobias Jenkins.

Tobias Jenkins (mini is the Elite Rebel Commando from the Star Wars CMG)

"Tobias was born in an densely populated asteroid colony.  Life was hard there but he quickly learned how to survive not only in the dense urban center but also the dangers of the vacuum.  When he was finally old enough he signed on with the Imperial Navy to escape the rigors of his home and explore the stars beyond.

During his first tour he took part in a major engagement on the Imperium borders as the vessel he was stationed on hunted down a group of Vargr pirates that were running rampant.  The experience quickly honed his abilities with the ship sensors as they picked though various asteroid fields searching for their hidden lair.

His second tour proved to be much quieter until an unexplained accident in one of the maintenance bays.  Tobias was the most injured of the crew in the bay as the shrapnel devastated his right eye but he was able to make a full recovery and return to duty.  Even though further investigation into the incident indicated the accident was nothing more than that, he decided to leave the Navy at his commanders recommendation.

Still the lure of the void called to him and it was not long after his discharge that he joined the Imperial Exploratory Service.  Together with a small crew of other scouts, he set off to the edges of the Imperium to explore unknown worlds and uncharted space. 

Again his luck was with him as within his first two years of service they found a previously unknown resource rich system and the Scout service was quick to promote him to the rank of a full Scout.  His career continued on smoothly for four more years as he continued to explore the fringe until he disappeared with his vessel during his sixth year while on a solo mission.

After being overdue to report in for six months, the Service declared him officially lost but seven months later he was discovered on his scout ship adrift on the edge of one of the frontier systems.  His vessel was unharmed as was he but he had no recollection of what had happened to him on his last expedition and all of his computers records of the flight had mysteriously been purged.

Tobias spent some months trying to piece together what had happened and then decided to leave the Scout service to try to find out why a year of his life had disappeared.  In recognition for his exemplary work with the service he was given use of his old Type S Scout ship and he headed off to the fringes again to try to find answers to his questions."

Now that's a background that you can really sink your teeth into!  Tobias is not just generic red shirt x but instead has a solid framework of a background to build on and the crazy thing is most of this background came right out of regular character generation system.  I choose his initial career in the Navy but it was by luck of the dice that he only managed to make it through two four year terms. 

Next I decided to try for the Scouts since his characteristics gave him a good chance of making some headway there (and I was really hoping I could get a Scout ship...) but again it was the luck of the dice that saw him leaving the Scouts after his second term.  And the fact that I actually managed to get a Scout ship when I left the career was purely luck but I'm hoping it will make it easier for Jason to just slot my character into the adventure since I can effectively come and go as I want.

The only downside that I know of with Tobias is the fact that he's not really a combat character.  Sure he has some combat skills but when I had last heard anything about this Traveller game Jason had said it was very Firefly-esque.  That must have been from further back than I remembered because in our emails after I'd rolled up Tobias he told me that I could have combat armor, a gauss rifle, grenades, and a 10mm pistol from their ship's armory if I needed weapons.  Sounds slightly more combat oriented than I'd originally thought so I've actually rolled up another character who has a slightly more combat oriented angle which goes to show that while the chargen system is random it is still possible to nudge it in the direction you want.  But more on that later.  Until next time...

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Desert Wars 2012 Is Coming!

Summer is here in Vegas which means that its time for Desert Wars!  This is a local games day organized by the Las Vegas Wargamers and held in the Visitors Center of the Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort right here in downtown Las Vegas.  And I bet you thought all we had was neon lights downtown...

This year the two scheduled events are both sci fi blasts from the past, Starship Troopers and Babylon 5 A Call To Arms, both produced by Mongoose Publishing.  Having a little bit of history with both of these games (I used to run demo games for Mongoose years ago) I am really excited to dust off some of my old minis and get them back onto the table again.  Well "dust off" is an understatement in some cases since my B5 minis especially need some major overhauling but you get the idea.  But more on all this will be coming at you soon.  Until next time...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

What's In The Box Man? What's In The Box?!?

It looks like an innocent cardboard box doesn't it?  But the question is...

What's in the box?

That's right, it's Super... Dungeon... Exploooooooore!!!

That's right, after months of being out of print this little gem of chibi fantasy goodness is finally back!  The Munchkin and I have already started gluing the figures together and I'm hoping to be able to get it onto the table soon.  Won't be painted of course but that gives me yet another project to work on, right?Until next time...

Saturday, June 2, 2012

If You Don't Like My Book, I'll Rip Your Lungs Out

These words are just some of the kind pleasantries lavished upon you when you read Grimtooth's Traps produced by Flying Buffalo.

Originally released way back in 1981 I still have fond memories of this book and its sequels.

So just what is it?

Well it's a book of traps, hence the name.  Go figure, right?

Unlike traps that you might find in rpg source books elsewhere, these traps are virtually guaranteed to kill any party down to a man.  Of course this limits just how useful the book is as a game-aid, but everything is written with such a lighthearted bloodthirstiness that it hard not to enjoy just giving it a read through.

What's even better about this is that its now available on PDF from No need to go trolling around eBay or the Amazon used book section to get hold of this little gem!  So get on over there and pick it up... or Grim is going to be very upset with you.  Until next time...