Monday, July 22, 2013

1/72 Bolt Action!

First I have to say that Bolt Action is a really amazing game.  Having been a little late to the party with the system I know this has probably been said 10 million times now out on the net but in my experience it is true.
For a historical wargame the mechanics are clean and easy yet provide that fun wargame crunch that some of us who entered the hobby through gateways like Warhammer 40k or Warhammer Fantasy or Warmachine tend to appreciate.  I would say the game is far less robust in terms of stats for various pieces of artillery, tanks, etc. etc. when compared to say Flames of War.  But in my group we found that refreshing.  We have been playing this game as a company level skirmish game generally on 4 x 4 table setups.  We are still all in the "test"/honeymoon phase with the game still though with less than 10 games each under our belts.
What we like about it is how quickly the game plays first and foremost, but also how intuitive it seems to be to us.  Which is not a big surprise given it is a game designed by Rick Priestley and Alessio Cavatore ... the game to us feels sort of like Warhammer 40k meets WWII.  Which in our group we like. 
Still just in the primed stage but given that I just got the models on Friday
that is a good pace for me.  My hope is to have them done within a week
or two (just depending on how teaching/family stuff goes).
I started out working on British Paratroopers and Americans but as a few of our Axis players got a case of the summer "busy" for some reason I had to switch gears and focus on getting a basic German force together and painted.  Once my Germans are completely painted I'll go back to the Brits and Americans and get them rolling as well. 
My hope is to be able to have a few "house" forces for people to use for campaign play even if they aren't motivated enough to get their own forces painted up.  Sadly these days with the extra 20 hours of facebook/youtube/college humor/mindless media that people are consuming the one thing that seems to get cut from the time budget is getting one's minis painted :(  I have myself been afflicted by this in times past but honestly this year I have worked really hard to cut down my internet time waste.   Which that alone is paying big dividends for gaming in terms of getting terrain and mini painting projects rolling.  My garage-game room has never been as organized and I am still moving on getting it even more efficient.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Bolt Action and Song of Blade and Heroes Build up and some eBay housecleaning (Nids go bye bye)

My Tyranids go bye bye.  A long time they have sat unused ... so it is high time to set them free and use the funds elsewhere!
So its been a week since my 4th of july micro con and I've had a busy time since then working on models, dusting things off and getting stuff up on ebay. 

I am working on a 1/72 scale German force for use with the bolt action rules.  Our group is looking for some light company level style gaming set in World War II.  I was initially going to be focused on Brits and Americans but a few players in our group have sort of been a little too busy (or just lazy) lately and we need more Axis so I'm going to switch gears and get a standard German force rolling.


I'm shooting for 3 half-tracks, a few medium and heavy mortar teams, some medium machine gun teams and a couple full reinforced platoons (mostly rifles with a few SMGs mixed in).

The next project I am working on is a continued buildup towards a full on Song of Blades and Heroes campaign.  I'm focused on getting some larger forces put together so I can have several players run "the bad guys" on mini game night so they get used to the mechanics of the game. 

So I'll have 25 orcs, 25 goblins, 25 kobolds, 20 zombies/ghouls/flesh golem to start with.  Vs. about 20 humans, 40 dwarves, etc.  Obviously all those models won't see the table at once but if 4 players decide they want to try the orcs or undead or dwarves all at once, I could accommodate the game.  Later as we scale the game up and start playing 500 point games having that many models to draw from will be a benefit I think.  I can also handle climatic big end campaign battles/wars/etc.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Song of Blades and Heroes + Dungeonworld = am I crazy or an evil genius??

The Reaper Bones Orcs with Kobolds in the
background.  I have more orcs, a ton of
goblins and more Kobolds in the works.

So what do you do if you happened to buy in on Reaper Miniatures Kickstarter last year at a insane/epic level?  (2 vampire level buy ins + almost all of the add-ons).

Well the idea this summer has been to combine two systems that our group has been tinkering around with together into one campaign. 

So really why are we doing this? 

The over arching goal is to A) give some motivation to paint up miniatures for use with an RPG for me (the GM) as well as players.  B) To have a very story driven game where the party can play in a big open world sandbox style game.  A game where they can have major impacts on the world, a game where they can have heavy narrative participation.  In general we hope to create a campaign world in which we can game long term.  A few years back we talked about doing that and pulling that off with anything other than big complex games like Burning Wheel, Legend of Anglerre  etc. seems sort of challenging.  We talked about doing a house system of our own, etc. but that stuff just fizzled because none of us really are keen on 100% house rule games. 

Enter Dungeonworld.  Many things seem very possible now chiefly fun old school games and without most of the hassles of 1st/2nd ed. D&D (which I don't mind but some of the players likely would).  Quick, clean character creation that focuses on the story rather than the crunchy, min-maxy "how much damage can my tri-bladed minotaur war axe crossbow do" kind junk. 

Some of our other motivation just comes from where we are as a group and as individuals with our gaming preferences. 

Several reasons that I could go into great detail about but in short we do not care for grid based RPGs, we'd rather just play a game like descent than any of the grid based RPGs or fat simulator games (like Gurps, Palladium, etc.).  Another preference we have is story driven games where individual combats are quick, cinematic and part of the story as opposed to being a separate almost stand alone experience as they tend to be in grid based RPGs.  The concept here is to actually do just that for the large "boss fight" type combats and then leave the standard encounters in the game to be resolved quickly and without pulling players out of the emersion of the game with the abrupt stops for the grid, and all the non-game meta talk, sideline BSing, etc. etc. that goes along with the grid.

As for mini games its a little more involved.  Some of the primary motivations for moving towards Song of Blade and Heroes is that Warhammer Fantasy and even Kings of War are just too big and involved.  The games take a couple hours, the cost of fielding an army in either of those systems (properly anyway) is substantial.  The time cost of painting all of those miniatures is well beyond what most people in my gaming group are willing or able to spend, etc. etc. 

Collectively the group has come to the conclusion that we all just prefer small scale skirmish vs. large scale battalion level engagement games like Warhammer Fantasy, 40K, Flames of War, etc. Also before anyone dings me and tries to say those are "company" level games ... I would heavily beg to differ.  Based partially on the actual size of the engagements, but also based on the types of units that are involved in the game.  Everything from massive siege weapons to armies that run into the hundreds of figures.  That makes something a battalion level game in our book.  Anyway I digress there.  The main point is that those games really aren't our cup of tea anymore, we are constantly looking for skirmish options to replace the old games we used to love like Warhammer 40k.

Anyway I will try to make some posts about this experience as we get into it.  Right now I am feverishly painting up some bad guys for Song of Blade and Heroes.  I'm starting out with large groups of orcs, goblins and kobolds and then I'll move into undead and encounter type stuff like dragons.

I don't plan to do really any of our RPG sessions with miniatures as in more narrative games I prefer no-minis on the table to distract from the RP side of things.  Don't get me wrong I firmly believe that one can run an amazing hack and slash style game with minis on the table.  For me I am trying to sort of bifurcate the game into two segments that occur separately from one an other.  Skirmish encounters that players can play out mini game style and RP story driven stuff that drives the game and essentially builds our campaign setting, develops characters and NPCs, etc.

The idea with my game is going to be running standard dungeon world sessions with a combined party then allowing players to go off and do side Song of Blade and Hero missions here and there on another night during the week.  Most of those sessions will probably be little 20-45 minute small level engagements.  10 figures on the table total, with a small 2 x 2 board and an interesting scenario.  Thought we will also have the option of staging climatic battles as well (though those would be rare, maybe once every dozen RPG sessions or so).

So we'll see if its pie in the sky or evil genius ... time will tell

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Long time no post ...

View from the Wasatch Front overlooking the Great Salt Lake off in the distance. 
Many hikes this summer have pulled attention away from gaming!! Argh! Evil nature!

Greetings from wonderful northern Utah!

It has been an age since I have posted!  I've been busy with school (both teaching and taking classes) a big family a pretty busy gaming schedule and all of the other daily struggles each and every one of us deals with.

So to focus in on how gaming has been busy for me.  I am a lone wolf gamer, I do not like stores, I never have.  Perhaps I am a bit arrogant in that regard.  I do not like gaming with anyone who is a bad sport, immature, stinky, or just a jerk in general.  In my experience at gaming stores in Las Vegas and Utah.  There are far more that fall into the stinky/immature/jerkish powergamer category than not.  So I find that store play is not an option at all for me.

So when I moved to Utah I tried to avoid the inevitable time at the stores to recruit new home gaming group members.  Instead I relied on pen and paper games,, etc. etc. and slowly found decent people to game with it took nearly 2 years as I'm in a lightly populated suburban area with about 250,000 residents spread out over a 20 mile radius.  Utah also has all sorts of quirks in terms of demographics. By that I mean I reside in a heavily Mormon state, which in my area is about 60% of the population and that is significant because Utah Mormons tend to stay with their own, almost exclusively. 

So long story short I was successful in building that 6-8 person gaming group.  People who generally just want to get together, socialize, have fun enjoyable games and leave it at that.  We have done a dozen or more different RPG campaigns.  We've played 40k, Bolt Action, a little Flames of War, etc. We have also played hundreds of different board games, non-collectible card games, etc.  People have come and gone from the gaming group but I've managed to hold the line and keep us solvent despite the occasional loss of a player.  In that regard I've lost a player every six months and gained 1 to 2 back.  So we've had slow growth.

Yea Olde Game Room in all its glory ...

This summer though I've had some major gaming projects, got the game room back in order, managed to acquire a solid amount of 1/72 WW II minis, a dragon's horde of 28 MM fantasy figures (seriously nearly 1000 figures, mostly the new reaper bones stuff but also a smattering of classic citadel models, etc.).

Our plans are to continue on with a solid, very fun foray into Warlord's Bolt Action WW II miniatures game.  Though we are using 1/72 scale minis instead of 28 MM, which we all like due to price and just the satisfaction of having a larger scale battlefield in the same amount of space.  The next move for us is going to be in using Song of Blade and Heroes in conjunction with Dungeonworld to have some hack and slash fantasy blended with small scale skirmish.  We are all really stoked about that. 

Also a fourth summer micro-con has come and gone (second since I was last active on this blog to be honest), the 4th annual LARRYCON we just completed over the 4th of July weekend.  Decent attendance, many games were played and much fun was had.  We played entirely too much 2nd edition Descent but it was a blast, the new Star Wars game saw the table, we conducted a demo of bolt action, a few dozens board games made it to the table, BBQing, boozing, etc. etc. good times indeed.
LARRYCON cigar stock, all gone now >:(

Anyway I have some ideas for some posts in the coming months so perhaps I'll keep a steady stream of posts rolling ... or not ... we'll see.
Just a little of the bones stuff that came in the mail this week
I went all in with 2 vampire level boxes and most of the
add-ons.  It amounts to years and years of stuff to paint.