Thursday, 30 December 2010

Gut Check! 1.1 Uploaded

Click Here or hit the button on the top of the page to get to the latest version of the rules I'm working on. I made a pass over the document and stripped out some redundant terms, cleaned up the layout and generally made it easier to understand.

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Enemy Tactics Rules for Gut Check! available

Just a quick note.. I finished the draft of the Enemy Tactics rules and linked to them from the Gut Check! page. They are determined by rolling a variable handful of dice at the start of the enemy turn and looking up a result on a chart.

Solo Rules Progress

8 large sections assembled into a mini-game table.
After a lot of painting (Calthan Brown, homebrew future polish wash, 2 stage drybrush) I finished painting enough of my heroscape large board sections to build a small game board.

I'm quite pleased with how it's turned out. It's durable, easy to store, modular.. Very nice.
So with no more excuses, I decided to test play the 1.0 version of my solo rules, tentatively called "Gut Check!" The document is far from complete and is written for myself to understand at the moment.  The simplest description of the rules is "Chain Reaction meets FUBAR". Some CR concepts are used, there are some completely different ideas replacing the bits I found troublesome, and the FUBAR ideology of simple, clean procedures using a single d6 roll for most activities. Important to mention is that you only ever roll 1d6 with modifiers, where higher results are better. I think this is pretty important for a solo game, where I want to have as few things to remember as possible.

This was mostly a basic combat mechanics dry run.. The rules for driving the enemy models are much less developed, but I was hoping to get some insight from playing.

I pit 5 UNSC troopers against 5 Octopods.

UNSC Squad, including 1 model with Leader ability.
Guts 3+
Shoot 3+
Fight 4+
Armor 1
4xAssault rifle- Range 3/8 Fire Factor 3/2 Kill Factor +1
5xGrenades- Range 3 Fire Factor 2 Blast
1x SAW- Range 6/10 Fire Factor 4 Kill factor +2

Octopod Squad, including 1 model with Leader ability.
Guts 4+
Shoot 4+
Fight 3+
Armor 1
2x Carbine- Range 6, Fire Factor 2
2x SAW- Range 6/10 Fire Factor 4 Kill factor +2
1x Cleaver- Range Assault, Kill factor +1

I set up a bunch of terrain, placed the forces in opposite corners and started playing. It's amusing how quickly your assumptions are challenged once you begin using something for real. The very first thing I discovered was that having the average trooper activating on a 4+ made for some pretty awkward turns. I quickly added a +1 to activation for troops adjacent to a leader model and began again.

This worked a lot better. It instantly created some good player choices about which activations to attempt first and how bunched up the team should stay.

The relatively high activations (2+ for the UNSC) meant that in the first turn they all activated and moved much as in an IGO-UGO game, but once the lasers started flying the turn order became much more chaotic as Shock markers and troops away from the leader mixed it up.
The Octopod's two SAWs ended up making a big difference.. More so than the relative stats. I made a lot of changes to the way I was handling terrain as a result. I also came up with a suppressive fire rule that I will trial in the next session. On the other hand, rushing a position where there are two SAWs had a fairly realistic outcome.. The UNSC got shot to bits.

I'm happy with the way shooting and damage works. I had a system in mind for rolling dice to determine enemy actions, but I think the game already has pretty intensive dice rolling and I want to come up with a more elegant (ie: easier to remember) system. At the moment I'm thinking about a card deck with enemy behaviors that you draw from each turn.. Possibly with outcome determined by a either a single Gut Check roll by the enemy leader, or by totaling up the number of shock markers on the enemy force.

If you are interested, please download the current version of the rules in PDF form from the Gut Check! page on this blog.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Garn Flesheater

Jon from Khurasan sent me some top-secret very exciting new models. I can't spill any details, but they are pretty special and will hopefully be revealed soon. Knowing what a Garn freak I am, he very kindly sent along the new Flesheaters set too. I had some time today so I painted one of them up as nicely as I could.

Left view

Rear view
Right view
Size comparison to GZG Human..
 This is about the level to which I can paint a 15mm figure before the point of diminishing returns, where the work is no longer visible in anything but a macro photo. I hope you like him, he was great fun to paint.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

WIP GW Resin Hex ruins and a Kark

First of all, here is a test-paint I did of a Khurasan miniatures Karkarine.

 He's painted mostly in GW Shadow Grey. I like these figures a lot and wanted to get one done.. But I think the rest of the squad will have to wait for the rest of the Luhrgg to be finished before I get to them.

I've used him for scale in these WIP shots of GW resin barricades (packet of 6 costing £12) being used as 15mm ruins on hex-bases for my heroscape terrain. The ruins scale quite well especially with the addition of some GZG crates.

They still need some extra color in the form of rust, brown dirt and grass.. But I thought I'd put up some photos anyway.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Custom Hex Terrain

Ive just had my first go at repainting Heroscape hex tiles and making some terrain to fit them.
I painted them with GW Calthan brown, washed with a future-wax and tobacco ink mix, drybrushed with Vallejo light brown, sealed with matt varnish. They are a little bit chalky and I think some of the paint will come off with repeated use.. But the plastic underneath is almost the same color so it shouldn't be a big problem. (I had to use my iPhone to take the photos, so excuse the slightly wonky colours.)

Basic Heroscape tiles repainted. Rebel Minis Titan Marines for scale.

I glued some of my twist-tie trees to plastic sheet cut into hexes to use as foliage/light cover hexes. I'm not 100% satisfied with these.. The twist tie trees shed paint if bent at all and I want to try something more durable. In the short term they look fine though.

Hand made plants on foliage sections

 Next, I cut some larger hexes and carved into the edges to make some urban rubble/hard cover hexes. This was a lot of fun. I used some bits from GZG and Platformer to add interest.

I'm especially pleased with how the rust turned out. It reminds me a bit of Killzone 2 on the PS3. I tried painting each of these terrain pieces with the care I'd spend on a character model. I think it's worth it.

Here are all the bits arranged together. I really like how easy and quickly an interesting and attractive game board can be put together with just these few pieces.

All together with Titan Marines for scale.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Special Forces by The Scene

Get to the choppah!

These arrived in the mail this morning and I had to post a picture of them. They are 15mm "US Special forces" figures that closely resemble Dutch, Billy, Blaine, Paco and co. from the moofie about the hunter from space. The characterization and sculpting is just outstanding.. And all for the incredible bargain price of £2.60 for the pack.

They are on the large side of 15-18mm, like other figures Ive bought from The Scene. (In fact I've bought all the figures they have made so far and have been pleasantly surprised each time.)

I'm not going to get distracted by painting them yet as I want to concentrate on a first draft of my solo rules and Hex terrain. When I do though, I'm going to go for 'moofie canon' look as much as possible.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Khurasan Lhurgg

These models are available now from the very fine folks at Khurasan

On the weekend I made my return to the painting table. I got stuck into the Lhurgg that have been patiently waiting all based up since October. These are lovely models with tons of character and are so detailed that I almost wished I'd eased back into painting with something easier. They were a lot of fun though and I'm looking forward to finishing the rest.

The colour scheme was originally going to be Hyena-like, but I decided at the last minute that dark muzzles would not be a good use of the face detail, and that the models had hooves, which wasn't very Hyena-ish. There are a few tiny fixups I need to make, like the feathers on the armbands (not visible in photo) but it's about time I uploaded some actual content on this blog so here they are.

Base colour:Army Painter leather spray, washed with Devlan mud and highlighted with Foundation Iyanden Darksun.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Solo Rules

I recently discovered the FUBAR ruleset and had a look at what people were doing with it on the Yahoo group. I was really impressed with Craig Cartmell's idea of writing a free, flexible, one page set of rules. Brilliant!

As the various contributors to the Yahoo group demonstrate, the first thing a nerd wants to do with these rules is to mod them to suit their own taste. This got me thinking about finally writing down my own set of rules specifically for solo gaming.

I'd come up with various ways to solo existing 2 players games but I think the solo game is a different design challenge to the 2-player game. I don't think "Bolt ons" are a good solution.

Having made several false starts on this in the past, I made a more determined attempt to settle on what the rules were setting out to achieve before I began. This helps stop sidetracking or giving up based on tangential ideas. Firstly, these rules were going to be for me and my requirements which are as follows:

  • Skirmish level. A game of shootouts, not wars.
  • Should have fast but enjoyable rules for customizing forces.
  • Needs to be playable in a very small area (half the reason I started into 15mm at all).
  • Needs to have as little book keeping as possible- Preferably none.
  • Should have all information needed to play either on QRS cards or counters.
  • As a solo game, should provide moments of suspense and surprise..The game should be unpredictable.
  • Be easy to wrap up into short sessions.

The last game I played was the one I posted here a few months ago, using CR. There are a lot of things I love about CR: Single stat characters! Simple but open ended task resolution! Narrative campaigning! Unpredictable turn sequence!

...But also a lot of things I don't like or require too much referring to a chart during play. Overall, I think the concepts in the THW rules are absolutely revolutionary.. But the rules themselves make them hard to use. In short, I have to work too hard to play this great game.

What I have so far is in brief:
"A points-free, hex based FUBAR with an enemy reaction system, player special abilities, action point gambling all using sigle D6 rolls."
As always, more later.. Presuming I don't get sidetracked one again, which is pretty much an even bet.

Monday, 6 December 2010

New Terrain Project

It's been months since my last post, but what can I say.. There are time that toy soldiers just aren't my first priority. Ive still been too busy with other things to paint anything, but in the back of my mind Ive been thinking about a lot of stuff.. Lets talk about terrain first of all.

I had been going over the pros and cons of various terrain solutions and eventually realized I had something that ticked all my boxes sitting right in front of me.. Heroscape hexes.

I thin i paid about £30 for my Heroscape master set. I had one a few years ago and enjoyed playing it with work friends, but my new set has gathered dust and I was meaning to ebay it. But wait! What if I used the hexes for playing 15mm games? Here are some good reasons why I decided to switch to this (for the time being anyway)
  • Inexpensive. One master set is plenty for the small 10-20 models a side games I like.
  • Stacks and stores in a small box very well 
  • Well sized for 15mm action
  • Very Flexible layout options
  • Will look very nice painted

I plan to do some very minimal texturing on the hexes and then spray them brown, wash and drybrush. Sourcing the right shade of spray paint will be the only challenge here. Once I get going, I think this is going to be a really nice looking set of gaming terrain.