Monday, March 18, 2013

Workbench: Let Loose The Cards Of War!

Not too much has been happening around here lately but I was able to get some work done on cards for Sharp Practice.  In the game, cards are used to determine player order in the turn and also give you various bonuses throughout the game.  Sky Captain had thrown together some on his own but most of them were for the original Napoleonic setting so I decided to whip some together for our Colonial game.

To make these I used the Magic Set Editor program and just went with the MtG 8th edition format to keep things easy.  They are still lacking artwork but for now the rules are the most important part for now.  Now I just need to get a new color cartridge so I can print up the rest!  Until next time...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Workbench: I Say Professor, That Looks Smashing!

After some toiling away I managed to finish off my Gauntlet light tractor for my Colonial troops (this is my own name for the Crusader from Zombiesmith that I reviewed last week...) and I have to say that I'm really happy with how it turned out.

Of course I realized that I'd missed the inside of the tracks when I took this picture.  Whoopsy!
I know that I'd mentioned adding more weapons to this little armored beastie but while I typed up the battle report I realized that I'd made a pretty drastic mistake that seriously nerfed its effectiveness in the game.  In fact played correctly it would have been quite a bit more potent so I decided to leave it the way it is for now.  I might change my mind after the next game but that will all depend on how it fairs in the next battle.

In the meantime I am also planning on adding some "self motivating artillery pieces" to give my troops some additional support but more on those later.  Until next time...

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sharp Practice Battle Report: The Boxers Are Rebeling!

Last Saturday we gathered our Colonial troops at the table and launched ourselves into our new campaign setting of Turkistan!  With the political maps drawn up and brief write ups for all the powers involved it was time to get down to the business at hand!  In this case, troops led by myself and Sky Captain were moving in from the southern end of the board to relieve American troops in the north that were cut off by Chinese and German troops.  Meanwhile, the White Russian forces of the exile Tzar held position on the east side of the board with their guns (and cannons... can't forget the cannons...) at the ready.

The game is afoot!  (aka deployment is complete)
 For the first turn the card was flipped and my British troops sprang into action!  Well actually they more orderly marched into action but you get the idea.  In this case, my troops consisted of two sections of Kings Rifles led by my Captain on east side of the road and two supporting sections of Indian Sepoys on the far side of the road.

Right after my Big Man's card the card for the infernal devices was flipped and we got to see the iron behemoths grind into motion.  In addition to my light tank, we also had a Rolls Royce with a turret and a half track mounting with two turrets supporting the British troops.

Meanwhile, on the northern end of the board the German infernal drove up next to the American position and opened fire with its turret cannon and two side mounted machine guns! (This is part of the reason for my earlier post about my tank needing more guns.  Guess you could say I had a little machine gun envy going on.)

Thankfully the cover served them well and they were able to withstand the fusillade of fire with little ill effect.

Next in the flip was the Warlord Terrence with his motley mix of regular troops and Boxer rebels.  The Boxers charged the American position but managed to fall just short of their mark.

This left them in the perfect position for the Americans but there was little he could do to protect them at this point.  Meanwhile his two sections of regular troops moved over onto the hill overlooking the road to get themselves into a better position.

As luck would have it the Americans were next!  Captain Aaron was quick to have his troops open fire on the Boxers in front of him and was able to land an couple of devastating volleys though the Boxers remained unbroken.

The other American Marines tried to do anything to damage the German armored truck nearby but none of their weapons were able to put a dent in the steel monstrosity.

With this, the second tiffin was drown with ended the turn.  At this point any troops that had not activated yet had the option of firing.  This only left Comrade Alex with his sleeping bear to the east and Sky Captain with the remainder of the the Indian Sepoys but they were both content to see how things continued to develop.

Turn two opened with the infernal devices activating first so our little armored column continued its way down the road toward the Americans.  I was not liking the look of all the Russian forces overlooking our progress so I did the only logical thing; I jabbed the sleeping bear with a stick!

My Gauntlet tractor opened fire but due to cover I was barely able to have any effect on the two cannons on the roof beyond pissing them off royally (afterward we realized that this shouldn't have been the case but more on that later...).  Meanwhile the Rolls leading the charge took a cannon blast that sheared off the turret and the gunner's head with one shot!

The Americans then followed things up by loosing a withering volley against the Chinese forces.

One group of Boxers was broken and driven back while the other group and the regular troops were both badly shaken by the onslaught.

Next the Indian Sepoy under the command of Sky Captain were finally able to move and move they did!

Charging up the western side of the board, they quickly headed toward our actual objective of relieving the besiege American troops.  You know, the troops that were in the process of routing one of the attacking forces?  The poor Yanks definitely needed saving, let me tell you!

In another first for the game, Dastardly Dan finally got to activate his German minions!

They quickly moved along the eastern side of the road into cover and positioned themselves to bolster the crumbling Chinese front.

Next the mighty bear stirred in the east.  Quickly turning both of the cannons in my direction, the Russians let loose a volley that utterly decimated my tank!

The Indian Sepoy sections on the western side of the board moved next, continuing their rapid advance toward the American position and managed to set themselves up in an ideal position to deal with the remnants of one of the sections of Chinese rabble.

After this the second tiffin was drawn bringing turn two to a close.  With only the disorganized Chinese forces and my own British troops who were without a target, there was little that could be done as far as shooting so all we could do was brace ourselves for the next turn.

Turn three opened with the Russians activating first and who should arrive but the Russian cavalry!

Charging at a full gallop, both sections wheeled to the south and smashed right into one of my infantry sections.  Faced by the full brunt of twenty four cavalry men, my troops did the only logical thing; they ran!  As this happened, all of the Russian infantry also advanced and then opened fire on the remaining section up on the hill so they did the only logical thing; followed the first section off the board!

Next the Sepoy on the western side of the board opened fire on the already disorganized Chinese Boxers which broke them and sent them running for the hills.

This was followed by the second unit of Boxers charging toward the American position but once again they managed to have little effect on the entrenched Marines.

The Marines did not take this threat lightly though and responded with force!  The Marines on the roof and by the road drove back the rabble and the regular Chinese troops while the other half of the Marines broke cover and began moving south to meet up with the Sepoys.

This lead to the Chinese forces being devastated once again as the infernal devices activated next and Sky Captain did the only thing he could with the Rolls; plowed right into the Chinese regulars.

The regulars decided at that point that they'd had enough and headed for the hills as well, leaving the Americans with a clear path down the western edge of the board.

There were a few more volleys fired between the Sepoys and the Russians on the southern end of the board but at this point the battle was basically over.  And the victor was...  the American Marines and the British Empire!  Even with all of my British troops routed from the board and the White Russian forces swarming like angry bees we were able to achieve our objective of freeing up the Marines.

Overall, this game went much smoother than our attempt at the Big Hunt.  It really seemed like a lot of the kinks in the rules that were causing problems were hashed out between the two games and it seemed like we all really had a great time.  Heck, halfway through the game my face was hurting from laughing so much!  I am definitely looking forward to the next game which unfortunately isn't scheduled until May but I am hoping to be able to pick up a few smaller games in between now and then.  Until next time...

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Miniature Review: Damn It Man, We Need More Guns!

In addition to the regular troops that I was assembling for our Colonial games, we are also branching out into the Victorian Science Fiction genre as well.  For me the first thought was "Ah... steampunk!" so off I went to scour the interwebs to find something that would fit my needs.  A quick search turned up more than I'd expected but in the end I decided to go with a company I've purchased from before, Zombiesmith Miniatures.

While better known for their very cool Quar miniatures, they have also expanded their line to include some vehicles to go along with their 28mm troops.  Currently the choices are somewhat limited in this regard (okay, so there are only two choices but that's still a choice, right?) but the Crusader Light Tractor quickly caught my eye.  One paypal purchase later and it was on the way!

Kind of.

It did come and it was in good condition but unfortunately it took about two weeks to actually get here.  Then again I did order it at the tail end their annual sale so I'm sure that played into the time it took for them to get it shipped out to me.  Once it arrived I was quick to rip apart the package to see just what this little beastie looked like and see how its size compares to my British Troops.

Throwing down my Gauntlet! (aka Crusader light tractor by Zombiesmith miniatures)
The figure itself consists of four pieces of resin (two treads, one housing to attach the treads to the body, and the turret/body itself) with some metal detail bits as well. The resin casting is pretty clean though the underside of the tracks had some pretty bad flash on them and there was some bubbling on the bottom of the turret/body as well.  Even so the flash was easy enough to clean up and it was all on the bottom of the figure as well so its not like it was a glaring problem.

Attaching the metal bits (rungs on the side, the hatch, the cannon...) proved to be a little bit of work as I had to drill out some holes to get a solid attachment but even so I really like how it looks once it was assembled.

So why does it need more guns?  Well, that's more a comment from my experience with the tractor in our Sharp Practice game rather than a complaint about the miniature.  The figure only comes with one weapon mounted on it (some kind of small cannon mounted in the front of the turret/body) so I'm probably going to add a machine gun or two to the front as well just to supplement its firepower.  Even with this minor quibble, I'm really glad that I decided to pick this one up and I can't wait to paint it up and get it back to the table.  Until next time...

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Game is Afoot!

We had our first real Colonial game yesterday and it was a blast (in a few cases quite literally...).  As an added bonus, there are even pictures!  Huzzah!  Now I just have to type up the battle report and a review of the Crusader Light Tractor from ZombieSmith miniatures.  All that and more coming this week!  Until next time...