Thursday, 24 March 2011

Sculpting bases for Micropanzer figures

Decking Bases
My order from Micropanzer arrived during the week and I'm very pleased with the figures. Lots of character, HUGE blocky guns (I love them) and a different look to the other minis in my collection.
In my 'favorite human soldiers' catagory, they are a close second  to the UNSC figures from GZG.

I have been too busy to paint or set up my work area at all lately, but I have a few minutes here and there during the day so I've been grappling with the problem of basing figures for starship interiors.

I bit the bullet and decided that I'd just have to make a different base style for interior games. If this meant I had to buy some of my favorite minis again then so be it.. I'll do a better paint job the second time anyway.

I initially decided to sculpt a single universal spaceship interior base then mold it off using instant Mold. The I decided that I was going to have to do putty work to blend the mini into the cast base anyway.. And I didn't have any instant mold. So I just got to work individually adding bits f green stuff to the bases when I had a spare minute.

The Base in the middle was the original, and the other two were experiments in faster sculpting. I think the one on the right looks the worst in the photo, but a bit of shaving and it will come up OK when painted.

Looking at the results, the details are far too soft for my liking. I think the next step is to get some proper thin metal rod and plasticard, maybe some plastic diamond plate sheet, and build proper masters. Some good lessons learned though.. Don't bother trying to sculpt nice sharp corners on the bases.. Cut the putty after it's cured for example.

I have ordered some Oyumaru from (much cheaper than getting Instant Mold form OS.. And it's exactly the same stuff) am considering some ProCreate putty and have visions of a new era of indoor spaceship basing.

What am I going to do with all this spaceship based stuff? I'm going to play some of this game:

Small, Solo, Elegant.. Ticks all the boxes!
It's got really great reviews, has solo play rules (woooo!) and can be played out of the box (bag actually) with 15mm minis. It was also written by Chris Taylor.. You know, from a little PC game called "Fallout"?

Full review and plans for pimping out my set when it arrives. (It shipped yesterday so I'm excitedly watching the post again).

It just occurred to me I *could* build a little "factory ruins" board with dry-brushed sand and static grass clumps.. making all my existing minis usable.. Oh well. Project no. 2,026 I guess.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Cinematic Skirmish Gaming Rules

Most gamers have varying degrees of what they consider "cinematic" rules vs realistic. For me, it's pretty simple.. I am not interested in realism. In real battles people get hurt and the whole thing is pretty horrible. Also, it's often not very exciting to watch.

My favorite type of action movie is Hong Kong action, but there aren't any miniatures specific rules written for this. Understandable given how at odds with reality they are, and how the majority of wargaming grognards seem to enjoy protracted debate over such things.

In my eternal search for innovative rules I eventually happened across Crossfire, which seemed revolutionary to me as it eliminated many of the rules that caused arguments in my GW era days. Chief amongst these was measuring. Crossfire did away with measuring entirely. The only other game I discovered that didn't use measuring was a free set for swashbuckling from Eureka called "And One For All".

These rules were designed to go with Eureka's range of 40mm Three Musketeers figures and is without a doubt the most interesting and completely cinematic set of rules I have ever read. 

But don't take my word for it, download them for free Here

They are only a few pages long and written in a very easy to understand flowchart style.

Aside from the usual niggling problem of how to decide what the enemy troops do, the rules work very well for solo gaming for one important reason: You don't have to keep track of which models have acted.
As long as you hold the initiative, you may activate any of your models you wish INCLUDING ones you have already activated (although they will lose all their swashbuckling dice). In practice this means you only have to worry about resolving the actions of one model at a time, which is a real load off the brain for the solo gamer.

I have been thinking about ways to convert these swashbuckling fencing rules into bullet-time John Woo insane gun battle rules. Here's what I have so far:

Cinematic Gunfight mod for Eureka’s “And One For All”

Dueling now refers to an exchange of gunfire and is called a Gun Duel. In this game, guns are only fired in Duels and kung fu or other hand to hand combat constitutes a Stunt.

If a model does not have a gun and is attacked in a duel, then it still takes part in the duel but may not harm the other model.

Swashbuckling becomes a Stunt.

Terrain should be plentiful and littered with loose objects. A fight inside a Hotel kitchen, a busy tea-room etc will be much better suited than in an open field. These battles are epic Hollywood/HK Cinema set-pieces, not an ignominious military encounter. The fancier the setup the better.

Stunt Hits table (Same as AOFA)
1st- Pushed back
2nd- Stunned
3rd- Drop weapon
4th- Wounded

Gun Duel hits table
1st- Dive for cover*
2nd- Wounded
3rd- Dropped weapon
4th- Wounded

*Dive for cover is a compulsory move into the nearest place that that breaks LOS to the attacker. This is like a duckback move in THW games. Imagine your figure dodging and sprinting to this point while bullets tear up everything around him.

A model may absorb as many wounds as it's Rating before dying.

Guns do not have individual characteristics as such. The stunts and awesomeness of the gun's wielder is far more important, as in action movies. (eg: Han Solo is far more deadly armed with only a pistol than a stormtrooper with a tripod mounted laser cannon. Arnie is more deadly with garden tools and improvised weapons than whole squads of henchmen with assault rifles.)

Gun Duel modifiers:
 Elevation:   +1 dice
Opponent Weaponless:  +1 dice
Impetus:  +1 dice

Opponent taking cover: -1 Dice 

Gun Stunts:

Double shot- If a 1 is not rolled, may duel any 2 visible targets simultaneously.  (must be carrying 2 guns)
Blaze away- May add an extra dice in a Gun Duel, but gun will be empty afterwards and require a reload stunt before firing again.
Bullet Dive- May attack or Gun Duel DURING next move.
Reload- Reloads any empty weapons
Gun Spin- Looks cool. Intimidating.
Take aim- Sweating and squinting optional
Shoot it up- demolish a piece of scenery. roll an opposed attack vs the scenery's size in dice. If you win, it explodes into bits. Any models nearby (radius equal to size unless otherwise specified) are attacked by the item's dice in size.
Kick over- turn an open piece of scenery into cover. (eg: table)
Take Cover- reposition yourself touching the piece of scenery. You are now "In cover" from models on the other side of the scenery, but can make no more moves this turn.

Other ideas

Armor saves and various special rules to cover aliens and sci-fi goodies.. But in some ways that is againsy the spirit of the game. I think writing customized exclusive stunt lists for different archetypes may be all that is needed to add some differences between models without slowing the game down.

For solo games, perhaps choosing a number of unique stunts equal to your model's rating would do the trick.

For enemy actions I have just been playing both sides using logic. However making some automated enemy system might be preferable. Having the mooks be "Predictable but plentiful" fits the genre quite well anyway.

When it is the enemy's turn, start with the model nearest to the player's forces.
Roll a D6. This is how many stunts the model will attempt before initiating a gun duel.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Making Modular Plastic Spaceship Tiles

I've been quiet lately, and also had my DSL go out for a few days so have fallen behind a little on the blog.

In line with my recent obsession with Eldritch Horror, I started looking at building a modular indoor board like the ones people make for Incursion. Many distractions later, I changed my mind and started trying to figure out a simple way to do space corridors in 3d, as I'm currently working on some 15mm sci-fi furniture minis.

After several internet quests, the options seemed either expensive or extremely labor intensive. I decided to try the frugal route and build with what I already had lying around. It turned out that I had a lot of Platformer and Hexagon Metropolis/Imex sprues left over from my early terrain builds.

Ignoring walls was my first decision. They look cool, but get in the way for handling figures and vastly increase the scope of the project. Here are some step by step pics of what I did.

Rooms and double width corridor

First of all I clipped pieces together to make rooms and corridors. The Platformer and Hexagon pieces are slightly different sizes, but I used pipe halves as borders. This gave the floors some uniform elevation so they all sat at the same height, while also hiding the size differences.

Small corridors

I chopped the tops off some of the triangular pieces to make doors. When I ran out I made some single square pieces to represent heavy locked bulkheads. I glued magnets into the door bases so I could remove the door when it was opened. Because the magnets in the doors themselves are not very big, the hold is not much, but enough to keep them upright during play. I'm quite pleased with them.


All in all, very easy. The only real work was cutting up the plastic bases out of my leftover perspex sheet. Next, I sprayed them all with army painter black then drybrushed them gunmetal, slapped on some devlan mud and ogryn flesh for grime, and drybrushed silver. Very very easy. I may go back and add some detail, but for now they look good enough for me.

I have now run out of bits to make any more, and it seems the sets I used are now out of print, but I'll see how I get on with this set before I go spending any money.

My intention was to use Ganesha Games: Flying Lead combined with the dungeon rules from Song of Gold and Darkness. I think this would work well for an entertaining game.