My blog about my wargaming activities. I collect a lot of 15mm miniatures for the American War of Independence and so collect a lot of rules for this period. I started miniatures with Napoleonics, so I have a number of armies in 6mm and 15mm figures for skirmishing. I have15mm WW II figures that I use for Flames of War, Memoir '44, and someday, Poor Bloody Infantry. Finally there is my on-again, off-again relationship with paper soldiers that I sometimes write about.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

C4ISR

C4ISR is the modern US military acronym for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (and is actually C4ISR, but I am too lazy to superscript the '4' each and every time) and is an appropriate name for a science fiction variant of the Command and Colors family of games as it hints at the command and control aspect of those rules, in a modern setting.

I played my first test game today – if it really can be called that, as it was basically an all infantry fight – just to see what sort of kinks I needed to get out of the system, and areas that I needed to think about. Although I am strongly looking at the Memoir '44 style of dice symbols1 for combat, I like the Command and Colors denotation of Red, Blue, and Green for Heavy, Medium, and Light. These designations seem to fit well with armored protection and hitting power, and I think these aspects of science fiction combat will come through.

I am considering using six combat ratings for each unit (yes six): speed, ranged firepower against soft (anti-personnel or AP) targets, assault power against soft targets, ranged firepower against hard (anti-tank or AT) targets, assault power against  hard targets, and ranged firepower against aerial (anti-aircraft or AA) targets. These will be reflected as a series of colored dots on the back of the unit's stand. The values would be:

RatingWhiteYellowGreenBlueRed
SpeedNo movement allowed.Move 1 or battle.Move 2 and battle.Move 1 and battle or move 2.Move 1 and battle.
Ranged APNo ranged fire allowed.1 die2 dice3 dice4 dice
Assault APNot allowed to initiate assault. 1 die otherwise.1 die2 dice3 dice4 dice
Ranged ATNo ranged fire allowed.1 die2 dice3 dice4 dice
Assault ATNot allowed to initiate assault. 1 die otherwise.1 die2 dice3 dice4 dice
Ranged AANo ranged fire allowed.1 die2 dice3 dice4 dice

Here are the initial values that I used for the Legion (not-Tyranid) troops.

UnitSpeedRanged APAssault APRanged ATAssault ATRanged AA
Flying BugsGreenGreenGreenGreenBlueGreen
ProwlersGreenWhiteBlueWhiteGreenWhite
Overseers with SwordsGreenWhiteRedWhiteGreenWhite
Overseers with GunsBlueRedBlueGreenBlueGreen
Mantis Beast2BlueWhiteRedWhiteBlueWhite

I am using four hits for each infantry unit (with the Mantis Beast being an exception with having a single hit) and three hits for each armor unit. Infantry fire at a range of three (too short for the scale, in hindsight), but with no diminution in dice with range. (Note, however, that the Grenade symbol only hits when in Assault (adjacent).

Here are the stats for the Kraytonian soldiers.

UnitSpeedRanged APAssault APRanged ATAssault ATRanged AA
Light MonitorsGreenGreenGreenWhiteGreenYellow
Medium MonitorsBlueBlueBlueGreenGreenYellow
Heavy MonitorsRedRedBlueBlueRedYellow

Please note that all of these are preliminary values. They need playtesting.


1 Memoir '44 uses two Infantry symbols, one Armor symbol, one Grenade symbol, one Flag symbol, and one Star symbol for its six faces.

2 The Mantis Beast is like a Tiger tank in Memoir '44 or a Creature in BattleLore in that it has a single hit, but requires that all hits scored against it be confirmed by rolling a Grenade/Sword on Shield symbol in order for the hit to take effect. Any other result on the confirming roll results in no hit being scored.



Playtest Game

Okay, the pictures are pretty ugly (as the miniatures are not painted), but it shows the concept as well as any Command and Colors game, and gives an idea of what it would look like with 6mm miniatures. Of course, you can always go for a game mat with larger hexes and figures and better terrain.

I flipped through the numerous Memoir '44 scenarios that I have, looking for an interesting terrain setup. Ironically I picked The Battle of Villers-Bocage just from the terrain before I recognized what the scenario was about. Villers-Bocage was an ambush by German Tiger tanks, led by the famous Tiger Ace SS-Obersturmf├╝hrer Michael Wittmann against a British armored column. (I have a few books that are tactical studies of WW II battles, and The Battle of Villers-Bocage is one of those few.)

I thought that this would be a good scenario to convert to science fiction only I did not want to jump into armored combat yet, and I wanted to use the Legion figures ("the Bugs") from Onslaught Miniatures. So, the Bugs became the Tigers and the Kraytonian infantry (from Dark Realm Miniatures) became the hapless British.

In the original Memoir '44 scenario there were two less German units, but as they were Tigers, they were pretty powerful. I gave the Bugs two extra units. I substituted ½ of the British armored forces for Heavy Infantry and the remaining ½ for Medium Infantry. The British infantry forces became Light Infantry.

Originally the scenario called for a six-card German Command hand and a three-card British Command hand. I increased the Kraytonian Command hand to four and left the Bug hand at six. Also, the Germans needed to achieve only five Victory Points while the British only three, but I changed this to both sides requiring five Victory Points for this game. The Bugs would move first, just as the Germans do in this scenario.

One other key point of this scenario that is unusual is that all woods and building terrain are considered impassable. Where the Bugs start in woods, they can move out, but once out they cannot move back in.

One final note: I did not treat the Mantis Beast as indicated in the rules above for this scenario. I simply treated them as a four hit infantry unit.


The picture above shows the initial deployments. The Kraytonians (blue) are strung out along the road across the entire board. There is no left flank security whatsoever. The Bugs (red) are attacking from the top-left corner.


Turn 1: The Bugs start off with a great card, able to move all of their units on the left side of the board (their right flank). They quickly engage the Kraytonians on the road, sending one unit fleeing, leaving another crippled.


Turn 2: The Bugs continue to press on the left, getting their Overseers with Swords in amongst the rear of the column. The cripples Kraytonian Medium Infantry is eliminated, making the score 1-0 for the Bugs.


Turn 3: The Bugs attack starts to peter out under the massed fire of the Kraytonians. The Mantis Beast is felled under a hail of slugs from the Heavy and Medium Infantry in the center. The Light Infantry in the center is badly crippled forcing a second Light Infantry unit to jump into the fray with the Overseers with Guns in order to cover their retreat. The score is now tied at 1-1.


Turn 4: The Overseers with Guns back off and blast the Kraytonian Light Infantry while on the other flank the Overseers with Swords fall under a hail of slugs from massed Kraytonian fire. The score is now tied at 2-2.


Turn 5: A massive push (using the Infantry Assault card) by the Kraytonians brings a huge amount of firepower to bear, eliminating another Bug unit (the Overseers with Guns) and pushing a Prowler unit to the baseline. This ambush is not quite going the way expected… The Kraytonians lead 3-2.


Turn 6: As the out-numbered Bugs try to regroup, the Kraytonians continue to hammer the Bug units. Of the four units, one has three hits, one two, and one has one hit. On the other side, four Kraytonian units have three hits, but as the Bugs just cannot move through the wall of slugs coming at them, they cannot eliminate any of the weakened enemy units.


Turn 7: The Bugs continue to struggle and make no headway. Ironically, the Kraytonians make a heroic effort (they play the card Their Finest Hour, allowing them an extra die in combat) and eliminate the two weakest Bug units, winning 5-2.

Analysis

Until I put bigger Bugs on the board, I will probably use the Mantis Beast like a Memoir '44 Tiger unit or a BattleLore Creature. In BattleLore terms, the Mantis Beast should be something like the Giant Spider: fast, great in the woods, but not very hard hitting (relatively speaking).

The problem with the Bugs, of course, is their lack of ranged weapons. Part of that is my collection. Time to send an order to Onslaught Miniatures and get the rest of their line, which happen to be the ones that have ranged weapons. I need to find or make a Bugs leader and base up the huge Skyth so I can use them as artillery pieces and add a new component to the game.

I like Command and Colors, of course, so as a game it felt a bit better than Memoir '44, which is probably the simplest of the rules (we are speaking of the simplicity of the core mechanics; Memoir '44 has added a lot of rules in all of their expansion), but still very simple. That was largely because I was using all infantry, and a small attacking force at that. Further, using the cover of terrain was not allowed.

I don't want to change too much based on this one play. After all, it played all right, although I have to re-think the ranges. Of course, extending the ranges will make it even deadlier for the Bugs, so I may need to up the speed of the Bugs or just understand that I will need a lot more of them on their side.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Draft Inca Battle Board

Two Milestones Hit

Well, I finally made it to 250 posts! Not only that, but I hit the 100th blog reader milestone too!

So welcome to new reader Howard, who put me over the top. I hope you enjoy the "eclectic" style (read: "schizophrenic") of the subjects, and as alway, comments are always welcome. (By the way, I like your profile icon; very Tekumel looking.)

Here Come the Incas

Ralph (Bowman) has been hard at work drafting up the Incan faction rules and Saga abilities and I finally got some time to make the battle board. As always, remember this is a draft and it all needs to be play tested.

I decided to put some effort into this one, as I wanted to move away from the template provided by Tomahawk Studios and come up with a more "Mesoamerican" themed board. Also, I started standardizing fonts and element positioning. It was a lot of work, but the board looks a lot cleaner. (I dread going back and redoing the Aztec, Tlaxcaltec, and Conquistador battle boards in the same way.)

I started with searching for an Incan textile pattern. In hindsight, I probably should have blown the pattern up, making it larger, rather than using the smaller pattern and repeating it. As it is, you really have to look close to see the repeating, as so much of it is covered by the abilities.

On to the faction rules!

Saga: Inca


  1. All Inca (Apu, Huaminca, and Auqua) are armed with a champi (a 5-starred stone or metal warclub) or a thrusting spear (the original Quechua term is not known), with a canipu (metal breastplate) and a polcana (shield).
  2. The Apu (Warlord) may be on foot or carried in a War Palanquin. If in a palanquin he is considered Mounted. Due to the large size of the model, use the body of the palanquin for measuring. This corresponds roughly to a large Warlord base size. The figures carrying the palanquin are only for decoration and have no effect in the game.
  3. You may take between one and two Huaminca (Hearthguard) units. If you decide to take two units then one unit will be from the Upper Huaminca and the other from the Lower Huaminca. (Upper and Lower pertains to the neighborhoods in Cuzco City.) These units are very competitive and antagonistic and they suffer from the Animosity Special Rule.
  4. Animosity Special Rule: If during the game the two Huaminca units finish their turn within M of one another, both units instantly accrue a FATIGUE marker.
  5. Huaminca soldiers are armed with a yauri (halberd), which is treated as a two-handed Danish Axe.
  6. The Auqua (Warriors), in addition to the equipment listed above, are also armed with the huaraca (sling). They may fire with their slings if they do not move in their turn. (Note that not being able to move on a turn they fire is their penalty for having both ranged and melee weapons and combat values.)
  7. A unit of Auqua may be exchanged for a unit of Cunti. They have no slings, but carry a two-handed macana (sword). Treat the macan as a two-handed Danish Axe.
  8. Auqua may use the "Bolas" SAGA ability. A single Bolas shot strikes two foot figures or one Mounted figure within M range. Against Mounted figures, the bolas is -1 to shoot. (Note: I need clarification from Ralph on exactly what this means.) As with a sling, the bolas cannot be used if the unit has moved in the turn. Further, the unit cannot move after firing the bolas. As with a sling, using the bolas for more than one Shooting activation accrues a FATIGUE on the second and each subsequent Shooting activation.
  9. The Inca warband must take at least 1 unit of Anti or Chuncho (Forest) Indian Levy.
  10. A guanca (or huaca, or waka, depending upon the source) is a collection of stones that had magical and spiritual qualities that Inca soldiers could draw upon in the battle. Make some rocky terrain that is based on a Warlord-sized base (about 40mm). At the beginning of battle, before any troops are deployed, the Inca player may place the guanca on the battlefield.
Now if only I had some 25mm Incas to try these rules out with. (I do have some unpainted 15mm Incas that I received as a gift, however. No 15mm Conquistadors, however.)

Update on C4ISR – Science Fiction Command and Colors

I decided that, to start, I am going to have to use the Command deck from Memoir '44, if I want to get a game going in some reasonable amount of time (i.e. this weekend or next week). I am also probably going to have to use the Memoir '44 Combat decks, and their attendant rules, until I come up with my own science-fiction themed events and combat buffs. Not that either of these is a problem, it just won't look as good until I have it all done. (As the figures are not all painted, the cards are actually the least of my worries.)

I have been developing a list of differences between C4ISR and Memoir '44 and other Command and Colors games.

  • Units will represent far smaller units, probably platoons or squads/sections.
  • Units will be allowed to move through friendly units, although they cannot remain in the same hex. (There are exceptions, such as a transport unit transporting a foot unit.)
  • Aerial vehicles will be units, not abstract cards.
  • Aerial vehicles can be eliminated by anti-air units (whether ground- or aerial-based), eliminating the ability to call in further aerial attacks.
  • Support will allow a unit to ignore one retreat.
  • Artillery and Command units can provide support from farther away; they will not be required to provide support to a unit by being adjacent.
  • Artillery will be easier to eliminate by direct attack.
  • Close Assault will be deadlier. Actually, ranged fire will be less deadly than in Memoir '44. I am going to allow the Grenade to hit only in Close Assault, rather than always.
  • Units can only ignore one Retreat, or all, depending upon circumstances. Command units, support, digging in, etc. will each grant the ability to ignore one Retreat, but unlike other Command and Colors variants, they will not stack. Other elements, like fortifications, however, might allow you to ignore all Retreat results. So it will be one, all, or nothing.
  • Foot units will be able to mount transport units, which allows them to move faster and may change the unit type from Infantry to Armor or Aerial (depending upon the transport type) while being transported.
Let me know what you think, or if you have any ideas of your own.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Draft Conquistador Battle Board

First off, welcome to new reader InChigh74. Your 20mm WW II figures look really nice. Other might want to check it out on his blog, 1914-45. As always, I hope you enjoy the writing – even if the subjects are all over the place – and comments are always welcome.

Ralph Krebs (Bowman) has been working on some Saga battle boards for our A Mesoamerican Saga project. I drafted up a graphic from his specifications, but have not had a chance to try it out (mostly as I have no figures for them). Comments are welcome, as always, and discussions can be found on the Mesoamerican Saga Forum.

I need to create a template for the faction rules, but here they are for now:

Conquistadors

  1. The Capitano (Warlord) may be on foot or mounted. (See the Mounted rules from other factions for the effects on a Warlord's stats.)
  2. The number of units (not points) of Hildago (Hearthguard) you may have depends upon the theater of operations. If you are playing the Caribbean, Mexican, or Floridian theater you may only take one unit of Hildagos. They may be on foot or mounted. If you are playing the South American theater you may take up to two units of Hildagos, one of which must be mounted. (See the Mounted rules from other factions for the effects on a Hearthguard's stats.)
  3. If you are playing the Mexican theater you must take at least one unit of Tlaxcaltec Yaoquizqui (Native Warriors) and at least one unit of Tlaxcaltec Macehualtin Archers (Native Ally Levy).
  4. If you are playing the South American theater you must take at least one unit of Incan Auqua (Native Warriors) and at least one unit of Anti Indians (Native Ally Levy).
  5. If you are playing the Caribbean or Floridian theaters you may take no Native Warriors or Native Ally Levy. Use Conquistadores for Warriors and Slave Archers as Levy. You may not use the Advance the Allies ability.
  6. Any remaining points are to be made up of Conquistadors (Warriors).
  7. One unit of Conquistadors may be armed with crossbows or arquebuses. These two weapons have the same specifications; just field the figures you have handy.
This board definitely needs playtesting. With five of the ten right-side abilities requiring two dice, two of them require two rares, this will be a tough faction to play. Let us know what you think.

Other News

I have enough 6mm science fiction figures based (but not painted) for a test game of C4ISR; now I have to work on the Command cards. I will probably just use the Memoir '44 deck to start though. Part of the concept was to have specialty cards embedded into the single card deck, then having rules to allow a player to make sure his hand was not clogged with them. Really, it was about having to manage only one hand, and this came from a complaint that some of the complexity of BattleLore was in having to manage two hands and a token pool. As I think about Memoir '44, however, we sometimes manage two card hands (Command and Combat), but no tokens to "spend". So maybe the line is that two hands and a token pool are too much to handle but two hands are not. In any case, moving to two hands removes a bunch of rules designed to make sure you don't end up with an unusable hand.

Part of this has come about by playing Samurai Battles. In that game you get a spendable token each time you roll the "miss" symbol (the "Honor and Fortune" symbol in Samurai Battles, the "Lore" symbol in BattleLore, the "Star" symbol in Memoir '44, etc.), but you can also get either two tokens or one "Dragon" card (equivalent to a "Combat" card in Memoir '44 or a "Lore" card in BattleLore) every turn. If you get "lucky" with your misses, that means you can rack up quite a hand with "Dragon" cards, something not possible with BattleLore (which imposes a limit on the number of "Lore" cards held) or Memoir '44 (which limits your ability to draw "Combat" cards). As all of these cards represent combat buffs and game changing events, games of Samurai Battles tend to be a bit more raucous than the others in the Command and Colors family. I want something with more impact than "Combat" cards, less than with "Dragon" cards, and more like the impact of "Lore" cards, but without the token pool management.

And therein lies the problem. Lore strategy centers around the cost of playing Lore cards (i.e. do you play a lot of low-cost, but low-impact Lore cards or do you play fewer high-cost, high impact ones). So if you take out the token pool management aspect, you reduce high- and low-impact cards to the luck of the draw. I am not sure I like that, so it requires a little more thinking.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Munchkin - The Cure for Stress?

It looks like I am getting close to two milestones: my 100th reader and my 250th blog post. Hopefully I will hit both of those soon. For now let me welcome new readers Michael (a.k.a Angel Barracks) and Carpet General (I like the sound of how you game, Sir). I hope you enjoy what you read, and as always I encourage comments, even though the blogging medium is not really conducive to a conversation.

A little news: Ralph (Bowman) and I continue to plug away at "A Mesoamerican Saga", my Saga variant for Aztecs and their enemies. I played one test game (partially written up on my Solo Battles blog) and have come back with some changes and new ideas. Ralph had a good idea for the Flower Wars, based on a Skraeling ability. You can find out more on my Saga Variants forum (see the link below this post).

I have started writing up a new science fiction variant of Command and Colors that I call C4ISR. I already have a few ideas brewing that will make this a little unique from other variants in the family. It will also be at a lower scale than the others, probably a squad or platoon for each unit. I already have my 6mm Science Fiction figures based (but not painted) for a game. Now all I need to do is created the card deck.

Munchkin

Today, for the first time, we tried Munchkin, a card game from Steve Jackson Games that parodies fantasy role-playing games, particularly those with power-gaming players and "Monty Haul" style dungeon masters. It is well know for funny art and bad puns.

I purchased a copy of Munchkin Fu – a Kung Fu/Chop Socky themed version of Munchkin –  probably four years ago at an annual 50% off sale at a local gaming store, and it sat on my shelf read, but unplayed. Although I was interested in Hong Kong action/martial arts films, the game mechanics just did not grab me. I could see they were relatively easy to play, but somehow that simplicity was lost on me. I then got a copy of The Good, the Bad, and the Munchkin – a Western-themed Munchkin game – for free, from someone who no longer wanted it, about a year ago and it too sat there read, but unplayed.

Then one day I was scrolling through the gaming podcasts in the iTunes Store, looking for some interesting material to listen to while I paint or commute to work when I came upon a podcast called Munchkin Land. I have always wondered what gave Munchkin such staying power, enough to give Steve Jackson Games reason to make a dozen variants and probably two dozen expansions. So I downloaded a single episode, the first, which promised to explain the rules. After downloading it and listening to the first part of it, I realized that these guys were going to actually play a game as the podcast. (Apparently this is a new sort of podcast where people record their gaming sessions – usually role-playing though – and other people are duped into listening to them. Count me in as duped!) I was pretty sure that I was going to dislike listening to people play a card game, but I figured at least I would get a better idea of how the game played and what was fun about it.

Don't get me wrong, I had two different variants of the game and I could see the cards were funny – jokes, puns, and funny pictures – but I figured that would wear thin pretty quickly. There had to be more to it than that. No one is going to play a $25 game three times or so (or until the jokes become stale), then buy the next one for another $25 worth of jokes.

So I listened to the podcast, laughed a lot, downloaded all the rest, and decided I needed to get the original Munchkin. (Actually, I bought the Deluxe version, which contains a board, six miniatures, and all the rest of the stuff that comes in the normal Munchkin set. As it is only $5 more for the Deluxe treatment, it seemed like a deal. (It is.) You get a game board and miniatures for the players, which is really a large, visual way to easily see what level everyone is at (very important in the game), plus a big box to carry the cards and expansions you are sure to buy.

The game itself is pretty simple. The goal for the player is to be the first to reach 10th Level. Each turn the player plays their cards, kicks in the door (to see if their are monsters or traps in the room), kills any monsters he finds there, loots the treasure from the dead monster, or loots the room if there isn't one. Every time you kill a monster, you go up a level (some big ones are worth more). You must win your 10th level by killing a monster; you cannot go up by buying a level or playing a level up card.

That description above is why it did not sound all that interesting to me. But this is a game about playing interaction, card combinations, working together with other players when it makes sense, and turning on them when it does not. The tremendous variety of cards available in the series is what makes these interactions interesting. It really is hard to describe it all in short, simple terms.

I strongly recommend the Munchkin Land podcast. They play each of the base sets, so you get an idea of what each is like, and they use some of the expansions so you can see how, well, it expands the game. As time goes on they promise to mix games (i.e. use more than one base set, such as Munchkin Fu and Munchkin Impossible to get a martial arts spy game, or Space Munchkin and Munchkin Cthulhu for Cthulhu in Space, etc.) so you can see what that is like. I honestly did not think I was going to like listening to other people game, but these guys are funny, and for the most part remember that we cannot see what they are doing, so explain the cards they play and read the text off of them.

The good thing about this game is that I was able to drag in a buddy that I used to play role-playing games with, about 20 years ago, away from his MMORPG computer games and I could see that with eye rolls, laughs, and cackles, he was starting to have some fun. In fact, I sense another game when we can get four (or more) people again. Things have been getting a little frustrating at work of late, and some good back-stabbing fun with a lot of laughs was pretty much what I needed. I am strongly considering inviting co-workers next weekend for a pizza party and some "blowing off steam" fun. That will help me see how much fun it remains, after a couple of plays.

All that said, I am still unsure about playing the game with people you do not really know, or have not gamed with. At its heart it is a game of ganging up on the leader and backstabbing people so you can win, and I think that goes down better with people you know and like than with those you don't know at all. If you have played Munchkin in such a setting, or even at all, I would like to hear your thoughts and comments.

Samurai Battles

I am involved in a tournament in Samurai Battles using Vassal to play online and I have to say that the game has some interesting new ideas. As part of the Command and Colors family it is probably closest to BattleLore. It allows the player to collect tokens from die rolls (Honor instead of Lore, however) and use them to play special cards (Dragon instead of Lore) which affect the battle. What differs in Samurai Battles is that Honor is spent on one more thing: retreating units. When units retreat, it costs you Honor tokens. If you do not have enough Honor to pay the cost, you take four dice in damage to your force.

This one little fact makes for quite a different game. You cannot spend Honor without worrying about whether you will run out after a particularly bad roll. This is further exacerbated by the fact that leaders can spend an Honor to add a battle die to an attack (or battle back), so you have that much more of a reason to run low on Honor.

In the practice games and tournament round I found my opponent liked to play it very close to zero, so it prompted me to press the attack hard in order to roll those Flags, force a retreat, and cause a catastrophic loss of Honor. In two games, in particular, my opponent had to have his leader commit seppuku in order to avoid the Honor loss.

All in all, a very flavorful game.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I've gone 6mm Sci-Fi crazy

Welcome to new reader Eric. Hope you enjoy the posts.

So, I've gone a bit 6mm science fiction crazy at the moment. The figures from Onslaught Miniatures came in and I really liked them and they spurred an idea that had been brewing in my mind. I am not so wedded to the GW Warhammer 40,000 universe and fluff1, but I think it makes for a good basis for games. I would probably add Space Elves, Space Dwarves, Space Orcs, and Bugs no matter what.

The idea is to use Richard Borg's design for Battle Cry! (his American Civil War variant of the Command & Colors game family) – one of his simpler designs – and make a science fiction version on it. I am not going to focus on the rules this post mostly because a big – well, actually, small – package of miniatures. I am making up an order of battle still so it is not Onslaught Miniatures this time, but those from Microworld Games (MWG). MWG not only has the Dark Realms Miniatures (DRM) line, but its own science fiction and fantasy 6mm lines. Although I think the fantasy line looks very nice, one thing at a time.

MWG Foundationists

Actually, I did not buy any of these as the basic infantry were sold out.

MWG Lizard Riders

I did not buy any of these either. They are an interesting play on the Feral Orks, and their use of beasts in war, but I was not interesting in figures of dinosaurs with battle cannons strapped to their butts.

MWG TEF

I did buy some of the TEF figures, but they were vehicles, not infantry. I will include vehicles photos, with comparison to the GW vehicles, in another post. I may try out some of their infantry later.

MWG Kreen

First up is the Assault Infantry.
The figures have nice little wings and interesting weapons. Most figures have light weapons, but there are a few heavy ones. As you can see they are a bit chunkier than the GW figures, but not terribly so. At 40 figures for $7.50 they are still more expensive than Baccus, but less than Onslaught.

I did not get any of the other Kreen infantry.

The MWG figures seem to have a lower tin content, thus the figures are duller and less crisp. But for 6mm, they are fine.

DRM Pax Arcadia


First up are the Light Infantry. Interesting figures, sort of US Infantry with padded chest armor. Still compatible in size with GW infantry.


Next up are the Scouts. These guys definitely have the Eldar Ranger look going on. Nice figure with cloak and draped camo on the weapon. The Scouts come in packs of 20, not 40 like the rest of the infantry, and thus are only $3.60.


Next are the Regular HQ troops. It consists of officers and special weapons troops, like grenade launchers or shotguns (it is hard to tell in 6mm, or better yet, it is what you say it is!).


Here are the standard infantry. I must have pulled out the officers, with their two pistol weapons. Either that or there was a mix-up in packing. I also seem to have lost my comparison picture, but they are basically the same size as the rest of the Pax Arcadia infantry.

Unless otherwise noted, the Pax Arcadia infantry are in packs of 40 figures, and are $7.20 per pack.

DRM Kraytonians

First of the Kraytonians are the Heavy Monitors. Basically this is a reptilian race, but the monitors are so heavily armored and suited, you cannot really tell. They have some heavy weapons and ar very chunky. Nice for a difference.


The Medium Monitors are a little less bulky, but not much. Their squad weapons are more like under-slung automatic weapons.

Finally, the Light Monitors are less bulky still, but not by much. Honestly, it would be hard to distinguish by looking at just the figures; you would need some marker on the stand. (In fact, I am not sure whether the figures without the special weapons are not actually the same!2)

The Monitors are 30 figures for $5.60.

The above figures are labeled Karrok II and Guard, so it appears to be some leader and the bodyguard. These are the bodyguard figures, with the very large swords on their backs. (Maybe reptilian is not the right word to describe their race…)

This pack contains 39 Guards and 1 Karrok II figure for $7.50.


Adding yet more diversity to the Kraytonians, they have the Torakk Riders. You can see these are nice, tall figures, but still to scale with the GW figures. Torakk Riders come in packs of 4 for $6.50. At $1.62 per figure, they are a bit on the expensive side I think, so I probably won't be buying hordes of them. Then again, I cannot be them being an especially effective weapons platform either…

Of course, I bought these figures for this one:


When I saw this figure it just immediately reminded me of the movie Wizards. The rider is probably a little too big.

DRM Andrayada

These looked too much like Power Armored Space Marines of a different flavor, so I skipped them, for now. They can always fill in as Chaos Space Marines, to give my figures some variety.

DRM Skyth

I mainly bought some of the Skyth figures to see how well they would mix with the Legion figures from Onslaught. The quick assessment is that they will not look good mixed in a unit together, but as larger creatures in a Bug army, they look fine.


The Claw Beast makes for an interesting two-armed not-Carnifex. (I am not a Tyranid expert, so maybe it looks like something else too.) As you can see, the figure is not as tall as the Onslaught Mantis Beast either in the body, or when "stretched out". You get ten Claw Beasts for $12.60, so at $1.26 apiece, they are a little on the expensive side (all things considered, in 6mm land).


Last but not least – of what I bought; there are a number of other Skyth figures you can buy – is the Skyth Beast. I was hoping to use it as a not-Hive Tyrant, but it is too big for that. Instead, this makes for a good big, ugly bio-Titan. I am looking forward to painting this in the same paint scheme as my Legion figures, but with a glowing ice blue plasma look in the gun and the head.

Well, I hope you found that useful. I'll show some of the DRM vehicles I bought next time. Maybe something will even be painted!


1 Which means that I can change it when it does not suit me, such as when I want to use figures or races from other manufacturers.

2 I did look at the pack descriptions later and the Medium Monitors were 18 Light Monitors and 12 Medium Monitors, so the latter appear to be "medium" because they carry the Squad Automatic Weapon. The Heavy Monitors pack come with 12 Monitors with heavy weapons and 18 with light weapons.

UPDATE: Chief Lackey Rich on TMP asked for a comparison shot between the medium Skyth Beast (I assumed the Claw Beast) and a 15mm figure. Here is the Claw Beast threatening a cringing Battlefront WW II German infantryman. How's that for Weird War II?

Friday, March 08, 2013

More Onslaught Miniatures

I painted up a stand of Onslaught Miniatures' Prowlers with an Overseer. I thought it would look good to have an Overseer with the whip "leading" the Prowlers into battle.


I used the same technique as I did with the Mantis Beast. I painted them white, washed them with purple, then picked out the white (flesh), red (bone), and purple (chitin) areas with a spotter brush.


Basing is a little white glue on the base, coarse sand/fine volcanic rock, then a heavy coat of Matte Medium or Matte Varnish (both about the same consistency) to fill in the cracks (but not too much). I then painted it with craft paint (Cocoa), washed it with Army Painter's Strong Tone (the new inks, not the older varnish – I cannot stand the smell of the latter) before flocking it.


Here you can see a comparison shot with the GW Epic Space Marines and Eldar. The Prowlers are shorter, because they are stooped, but a bit chunkier. The Overseer is definitely taller.

The proof in compatibility will be when the not-Tau are released. Those should be the same size as the newer Eldar sculpts, hopefully. Maybe Don Carr (owner of Onslaught Miniatures) will comment and tell us!

UPDATE: Here are more comparison pictures, using unpainted miniatures. In all of the photos:

  • A – Ork Stompa.
  • B – Space Marine/Imperial Robot
  • C – Chaos Dreadnought
  • D – Chaos Minotaur
  • E – Space Marine (new sculpt)
  • F – Space Marine (old sculpt)
  • G – Eldar Guardian (new sculpt)
  • H – Eldar Guardian (old sculpt)

Prowler
The Prowler is 8mm to the eye line (9.5mm overall, not counting the base). The Space Marines are 7.5mm (8mm overall) and the Eldar 8mm (10mm overall).

Overseer
The Overseer is 9.5mm to the eye and 10mm overall.

Mantis Beast
The Mantis Beast is 15.5mm to the eye and 27mm overall. The good thing is that if you are careful, you can bend the scythe 'arms' into other positions.


New Idea

As if I did not have enough projects on my plate…

I have a lot of GW Epic figures. I started collecting them in one of my 6mm collecting binges and I will break them out every so often and wonder what to do with them. I used to play Epic Armageddon, but I did not like the tournament-style play, nor the "capture the flag" style victory conditions of the rules. Everyone I played would not deviate from that style of play, it quickly got very boring (especially as I had a Eldar Jetbike army, and mobility is King), so the figures went into a box and languished.

I tried Baccus' Command Horizon, but was not really a fan. Future War Commander was out because I do not like the Warmaster-style command and control rules. Really, until In the Emperor's Name (ITEN) came out, I did not find a use for them. Of course, something wasn't right with ITEN: it did not use enough figures! What was I going to do with my multi-figure based troops? (Please, no recommendations. … Ah, what the heck. Go ahead.)

I saw a blog post of a gamer using 6mm figures for Command & Colors: Napoleonics – he was using based figures directly onto the game board, nothing fancy – and it really looked good. As I have been playing a lot of Command & Colors-type games of late I thought: why not make a Sci-Fi version of Command & Colors? I could use my standard 40mm wide basing (fits in the 50mm/2 inch hexes of the boards) and use tokens with numbers on it for strength points, the way that Lee (of the Napoleonic Therapy blog) did. Either that or use blast markers to show hits.

Of course, as I have pointed out in previous blog posts, there are a number of "variants" to the Command & Colors rules that Richard Borg has come up with over the year. (And I have not even take Samurai Battles into account in that old blog post.) So, I have to figure out which bits and pieces I want to take from each game.

I know that support and formations will be a part of the game, but I do not want really high troop density, so I have to think about that one a bit. My main gaming buddy does not like managing a lot of different resources – one of the primary reasons he says he does not like BattleLore and the reason I think he will not like Samurai Battles – so I think I want to mix non-command "combat tactics" cards into the main deck. Of course, is a player gets his hand clogged with non-command cards that could be problematic, but I think I have an answer for that too. Mixing those cards in one deck – and in the single hand the player has to manage – will make it less cumbersome to manage.

The main change I want to make is the scale of the game. I am almost thinking a 1:1 scale (i.e. one figure on the stand is one man or vehicle), but will have to think about that too. It could also work with one stand (unit) as a platoon. The main thing is it would allow a little more detail, such as allowing an infantry unit to mount up into an adjacent transport (altering its defense profile), flyers (moving over enemy units), and other crunchy details like that. I think it will also make scenario creation easier, as you can simply take any number of commercial historical scenarios and convert them.

What I want to get away from the the GW math. Space Marines have a certain level of power and resilience in Warhammer 40K and I don't think I want to maintain the balance (or perfect imbalance, as was discussed in a Second Founding podcast) as it would require I buy all the books, which sort of defeats the purpose for me!

So, expect some ideas to float around every so often.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Onslaught Miniatures 6mm Sci-Fi Figures

There was a post on The Miniatures Page about a "new" company making 6mm sci-fi figures: Onslaught Miniatures. I took one look at their "Legion" line (not-Tyranids) and thought: "okay, I need to pick up some of those." I have a bunch of 6mm Games Workshop Epic Space Marines, Orks,  Chaos Marines, and Eldar and the one thing that has always been out of reach for me have been Tyranids. Seems like every time they come up for sale the price just goes too high for my taste.

But Onslaught has some figures that will definitely stand in for them. Here are their Gashers (not-Hormagaunts), Stalkers (not-Termagants), Prowlers (not-Genestealers), Winged Stalkers (not-Gargoyles), Overseers (not-Tyranid Warriors), and Mantis Beasts (not-Lictors):
As you can see these little guys look pretty cool! Well, the figures came in pretty quickly and darned if they don't look better in person. I quickly started basing some up for a new game (don't ask!) and for some In the Emperor's Name skirmishing. I got to finish painting one of the Matis Beasts (which is really quite tall) and it painted up very nicely. Next will be the Prowlers, which are quite small. We will see if those continue to be as easy to paint. I am fairly certain they will as the detail is very crisp and well raised.


I painted the figures white, then washed the figure entirely with Citadel Purple Wash (the older stuff, not the new ones). I then picked out the white areas with a small spotter brush, leaving the purple wash behind in the crevices. As you can see, the deep recesses of the figure make this quite easy to get a decent effect. I then painted the armor plates purple and the claws red. I make use a brighter red at the very tips (I am still thinking about it).

Note that this figure is about 10-12mm, as it is a giant in 6mm scale. But all in all, very detailed, quick and easy to paint, and a fun looking sculpt. To get a sense of scale, here it is beside GW Epic Eldar (new sculpt) and Space Marine (old sculpt) figures:



What has me drooling are the not-Tau:


The not-Crisis Suits:


The not-Dark Eldar:


And the not-Vespids:


They all look very fun to paint!

At $7.50 for 25 figures (of the smaller models) they are certainly more expensive than Baccus 6mm (you would get about three times as many figures for the same price), but I think the quality is better.

So, if you are an GW Epic 6mm fan, head on over to Onslaught Miniatures and check them out!

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Huachuca City, Arizona, United States
I am 50 yrs old now. I bought a house in Huachuca City, AZ (although I have a townhouse in Houston, TX and a small home in Tucson, AZ) working on a contract for "the next two years" that is going on five years now. To while away the hours I like to wargame -- with wooden, lead, and sometimes paper miniatures -- usually solo. Although I am a 'rules junkie', I almost always use rules of my own (I like to build upon others' ideas, but it seems like there is always something "missing" or "wrong").