Thursday, August 18, 2016

Painting Zombicide Black Plague

I have been merrily painting away at the Zombicide Black Plague minis and what wonderful minis they are! I thought I should share some pics with you.

And on top of that, it is a marvellous game, even better than its predecessor!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Three En Garde scenarios for Barsoom

Squashing the Ladybug

The British Empire stretches her greedy fingers to the Martian kingdoms and their riches. Only recently arrived on Mars, they establish a bridgehe d and decide on a reconnaissance-in-force on Helium territory. The British gunboat HMS Ladybug will sneak into Helium and gather intelligence.
She enters helium at low altitude, maneuvering through –and shielded from curious eyes by- the hills guided by a trio of Green Tharks on Thoats.

The table is a narrow valley, flanked by rocky hills. HMS Ladybug glides along just below the hills’ crest. She is heavily armed for her size with a heavy 2lb gun, two medium Hotchkiss quick-firing guns and two Nordenfeld machineguns. A captain and three crewmen (helmsman, stoker and bosun) serve as crew, a lieutenant and 6 soldiers man the guns and serve as Marines. The three Tharks ride in front of the ship, having refused to board such a hellish contraption. Tharks Do No Fly!

The Heliumites lie in ambush in the hills left and/or right from the Ladybug’s path. They have three light skiffs. Each one may carry three troopers and a bomb. They start in the sky and from the table edge and are assumed to be able to clear the hills with one action, leaving two for movement in their first turn. The Heliumites number 18, including a Jeddak, a Jed and 4 veteran troopers. All are armed with rifles, pistols and swords.

How it played for us: 
The helmsman of HMS Ladybug taken out, she was momentarily out of control ans the skiffs sprung their trap, all from one side. The Hotchkiss guns proved deadly, taking out all the skiffs despite the fact the Ladybug herself became grounded during the battle. Boarding Red warriors were dispatched by the Marines and the Tharks did some slaughtering of their own in the hills. So after a tense hour, Ladybug's crew watched the Reds withdrawing. 

Saving the Princess, Martian style

A Barsoomian Red Princess’ yacht has been shot down by wild Green Tharks, her companions slaughtered and she herself captured. The Tharks have secured her in a hidden temple and are demanding huge ransom. Secretly, she has activated her locator enabling her compatriots to find her.
A small party of 12, armed with rifles, swords and pistols and including a Jeddak and a Jed have located the temple and will attempt to free her.

The temple is situated in the middle of the table. Two Thark guards patrol on the outside. Four Tharks including a Jeddak skulk inside. After the Tharks are deployed, the Reds start hidden in ambush in the terrain all around the temple and may be positioned at will. 

The Thark guard start outside each others line of sight and move randomly on a scatter die+D6” each turn. They will spot any Red within line-of-sight in their forward 180 degree arc. The Reds have Initiative in every turn until they are discovered and may choose to move before or after a Thark guard moves.  As soon as shots are fired or a Thark guard spots a Red warrior, the alarm is sounded and the Tharks inside are alerted.

Misson objective:
Reds: save the princess and escort her from the table alive.
Tharks: prevent this by any means necessary.

How it played for us: 
On both attempts the Jeddak managed to enter the temple and reach the princess. The first time is companion fell and alerted the Tharks. The Thark leader stormed into the cell and killed both the Red Jeddak and the princess. The second time was even more tragic. The princess escaped through the roof, only to fall to her death outside when failing both here climb rolls......

The spy that came in from the dawn

A Zodangan spy has obtained some valuable information from Helium and has arranged a rendez-vous with a Zodangan warship to transfer this info to her masters.

Heliumite security has caught the warship entering Heliumite territory and follows her in the hope of catching the spy. Having spotted the ship near an abandoned watch tower they decide to lie in ambush and wait for the spy to emerge.

Zodanga: The ship is hovering at low altitude and awaits the spy. It is a lightly armed ship with a crew of 12. 
Half the crew is below decks. The rest mans the deck and bridge. The ship will need a manned bridge and a full turn to come into action and plot moves.

The spy arrives riding a Thoat and suddenly emerges from the dark of dawn, two Moves away from the tower. She moves toward the tower, dismounts and climbs toward the ship to hand over her secrets. That is, if nobody intervenes.

Zodangan troops: 1 Jed, 2 veterans and 9 ordinary troopers, armed with swords, rifles and pistols. The spy is a Jeddak and armed with sword, rifle and pistol. The ship, the Last Shadow is armed with four medium pulse cannons. These are loaded from the start of the game.

Helium: the Heliumite troops have three light skiffs. Each one may carry three troopers and a bomb. They start in the sky and from the table edge and are assumed to be able to clear the hills with one action, leaving two for movement in their first turn. The Heliumites have a medium cannon hidden in the hills, ready to fire. There are 18 Heliumites: 1 Jed, 5 veterans and 12 ordinary troopers, armed with rifle, sword and pistol.

Zodanga:             Obtain the secrets and escape: 1 point
                              Evacuate or save the spy: 1 point
Helium:                Prevent the exchange: 1 point
                              Eliminate the spy: 1 point

How it played for us: 
The spy was shot down from ambush and the skiffs attacked the Zodangan ship. However, its guns proved deadly for them and all were shot down. The Red ground troops failed to reach the spy before Last Shadow activated and moved for perfect shooting positions, negating their cover. The Reds withdrew...

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Barsoom Project: Sky ship rules! Boarding rules added!

Just to share and to inspire. All feedback is welcome!

Sky Ships of Barsoom
These rules are written with Witchfinder General or En Garde! in mind, but are actually quite generic. They assume ships are ponderous moving pieces of terrain, from which the figures take their actions. For nautical ships, simply ignore all rules regarding altitude, descending and ascending.

Turn sequence:
Ships move before all figures in the Ship Phase, giving these the chance to react to their movement. Ships roll for Initiative, the highest result moving first. Ships execute their Movement options alternatively, starting with the player with Initiative and his first option, then the second player with his first option, then the Initiative player with his second option et cetera until all are executed. After all ship movement is done, the standard WFG phases start.

Ships may execute three movement actions from the following options: Ahead, Reverse, Turn right, Turn left, Stop, Descend or Ascend. The players must plot these in advance for a turn, by choosing Movement Cards from the deck and revealing these in turn. The card deck contains:
- 3 x Ahead (move Speed number in inches forward)
- 1 x Reverse (move Speed number in inches backward)
- 2 x Turn right (up to 45 degrees)
- 2 x Turn left (up to 45 degrees)
- 3 x Stop
- 3 x Descend (lose 1 level of altitude)
- 1 x Ascend (gain 1 level of altitude)
- 1 x Extra Ascend (for small ships)

Ships are free to choose these options in any order with the following restrictions:
·         A ship may only Ascend once per turn, unless specifically stated otherwise in the ship’s stats
·         A ship must precede any turn with a Ahead of Reverse move, unless specifically stated otherwise in the ship’s stats
·         A ship may only Reverse once per turn, unless specifically stated otherwise in the ship’s stats
·         A ship must make a stop between Ahead and Reverse moves and vice versa.

Ships may descend to ground level and thereby Land. However, if a ship involuntarily hits ground level, it is a Crash (landing). Crashed ships roll a d10 on the Damage table for every preceding consecutive Descend move.

Ships that move into unintended contact with another ship Collide. Colliding ships roll a d10 on the Damage table for every preceding Ahead move leading up to the Collision. Ships Colliding with each other head-on add up their Ahead/Reverse moves.
Ships that move their bow or stern into intended contact with another ship Ram. Ramming ships roll a d10 -2 on the Damage table for every preceding Ahead move leading up to the Ram. Ships Ramming each other head-on add up their Ahead/Reverse moves. The Rammed ship rolls a D10+2 on the Damage table.

Ships which are Out of control due to steering damage, incapacitated helmsmen or other reasons will execute two random Movement options per turn and then Descend one level.

Ships may get in each other’s way without colliding, due to altitude differences. In that case move both bases aside until the bases will fit into contact on the table.

In terms of combat, ships are terrain over which figures may move within the restrictions of that terrain.
Ship-borne weapons fire in the Activation Phase of the figures that operate them.
Figures may freely cross over to another ship when and where:
- the ships make contact
- the ships are no more than 3 inches apart lengthwise and/or heightwise
In all other cases figures may attempt to jump on the other ship. Roll an extra D6 for movement. If the distance rolled is insufficient, the figure will either miss his target and fall to the ground level or (when jumping down on a ship directly below) take a hit when landing.

Ship's armament
Ships carry armament of three types: Light, Medium and Heavy. All fixed Guns have a 45 degree up and down elevation.

Range modifiers for En Garde!:
·         Under 18”                     +0
·         Between 18 and 36”      -1
·         Between 36 and 54”      -2
·         Over 54”                       -3

·         Heavy weapons can harm all ships and may fire as normal on ships. A Heavy weapon hit on a ship may result in 1 or more rolls on the Damage table, depending on the weapon. Firing heavy weapons on crew comes with a -2 To Hit modifier and any hit results in a Kill. Heavy guns always need to reload for one turn. Examples are 2-pounder cannon, Martian shock cannon and all heavier stuff.
Range 72”

·         Medium Weapons get a -2 modifier on the Damage Table against ships. They may fire on crew as normal with a +3 benefit to the Wound roll. 

Roll all to hit rolls for automatic weapons (use multicoloured dice to avoid confusion) at once. Two or more results of 1 mean the weapon must be reloaded/unjammed for one turn.
Examples are Bombs, Quick firing cannon and Martian Pulse guns.
Range 60”

·         Light weapons cannot harm ships and may fire as normal on crew. E.g. hand weapons and normal machine guns. Roll all to hit rolls for automatic weapons (use multicoloured dice to avoid confusion) at once. Two or more results of one mean the weapon must be reloaded/unjammed for one turn.
Examples are Gardner or Nordenfelt Machineguns, grenades and all hand weapons.
Range 48”

Bombs and grenades:
Grenades may be thrown as per the rules. Bombs (+2 Wound benefit) are too heavy to throw and may only be dropped straight down. A succesful To Hit roll is still required (+2 on all stationary targets).

All damage to ships is determined by a d10 roll on the Damage table. Damage is rolled if called for at the end of the Ship Phase and during the turn. Apply results immediately. For En Garde, determine hits as normal: roll 2D6 – 6 +/- modifiers. Ignore all movement modifiers. A positive result is a hit.
·         Stunned           : roll one DED and apply results immediately
·         Light Hit           : roll 1D10 on the Damage table and apply results immediately
·         Grievous Hit     : roll 2D10 on the Damage table and apply results immediately

·         Critical Hit        : roll 3D10 on the Damage table and apply results immediately

Damage Table

1 No Effect
2 Descend one level. If already on the ground: roll again. Ignore a second result of 1.
3 Lose the ability to Reverse. Discard the Reverse option. May be Repaired. Roll DED.
4 Lose the ability to ascend. Discard the Ascend option. If already on the ground, the ship is stranded. May be Repaired. Roll DED.
5 Turning ability impaired. Discard a random Turn option. May be Repaired. Roll DED.
6 Control damage. From now on the ship has one less Movement option per turn. May be Repaired. Roll DED.
7 Speed loss. Discard one Ahead option. May be Repaired. Roll DED.
8 Lose one weapon on the side the damage was caused from. Ship owner’s choice. May not be Repaired. Roll DED.
9 A Fire breaks out on board. Succesfull Repairs will extinghuish it. A Fire causes one roll on this table per turn. 
10 Only valid when rolled twice in the same turn: the ship’s hull integrity is destroyed and it is wrecked crashing to the ground. May not be Repaired.

Optional rule 1:
Make a Damage Effect Die (DED) with 2 Stops, 2 Arrows and 2 Turns. Roll in addition to Damage Effects 3 to 8. Result dictates immediate (additional) move of the ship on top of the plotted Move of that turn. Roll DED.

Optional rule 2:
When manoeuvering, ships may opt to ignore Movement restrictions. This however comes with risks for the ships construction. A ship may only ignore ONE restriction per turn, execute the Move, immediately roll a D10 for Damage and add its effect to the Move.

Crews may board other ships and may Grapple with them within throwing range. This will connect both grappled ships. Appoint crewmembers as (un)grapplers. Roll 1D6 per crewmember. A 6 is a successful (un)grapple. (Un)grapplers may not do anything else in that turn. Grappled ships of equal size may only execute 1 Movement option, which the other ship must follow (but may counter with its own Movement Option). Countered moves (i.e. 1 Ascend vs 1 Descend) cancel each other. In all other cases the smaller ship simply follows the larger ship.

In addition to side-by-side boarding boarders may also grapple ships no more than 3 height levels below it by dropping down the distance with no risk of damage by using abseil or vertical grappling lines. 

Some Damage results may be Repaired. Select a number of crewmembers for the Repair crew and move them to a central location. Roll 1D6 for each crewmember selected. As soon as three results of 6 have been rolled the damage is repaired. Repair crews may do nothing else during the turn that they are repairing. Crew members may leave or join the Repair crew during the repairs. Rolled 6s are saved.

Ship classes:
Ships may be divided into three classes:
·         Capital ships: Speed 4. May descend 2 levels in one turn before landing without having to roll for damage, due to their heavy construction. May carry D6 bombs and all the crew that will fit.
·         Medium ships: Speed 6. May carry D3 bombs and all the crew that will fit.

·         Small craft: Speed 8, Ascend 2 levels/turn, 2 Turns/Forward. Light weapons may damage them (-4 on the DT). All Heavy weapon hits are +1 on the DT. May carry 1 bomb and all the crew that will fit. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Save the Princess; Barsoomian style & En Garde adaptations for Barsoom

Last night we played a great little game of Barsoomian En Garde! The scenario started as a simple raid on an ancient temple of Issus full of Green Martian Tharks with a hostage princess. 

The temple was truly ancient, since I must have made it sometime before 2000 when I still used cardboard and plaster. The thing has languished in my shed for at least 15 years and even smelled suitably mouldy for an old temple! 

This turned out very dull, as the Tharks were simply shot down when they exited the temple and the final Thark inside killed the hostage. Duh.  

So we turned it into a  tense sneak-and-stab scenario. Two sentries were placed outside and moved every turn on a scatter die + 1d6" movement. 

The Red Martian troops laid in ambush and a select few tried to sneak into the temple through a hole in the roof to extract the princess or protect her during the raid. The Red Martians had Initiative as long as they were unnoticed. The Green Tharks inside the temple did nothing as long as the sentries did not raise the alarm. 

The second game used this adapted approach. One of the two Red leaders (a Jeddak) and a trooper evaded the sentries and tried to climb into the temple. The Jeddak succeeded but the trooper fell and alerted the sentries. 

While the Reds stormed the temple, the Thark leader ran upstairs to the hostage and was valiantly met by the Red Jeddak. Who was subsequently cut inhalf in the following duel. Duh....

The third game showed some improved tactics. Red Martians ambushed all around the temple en the two Red leaders snuck and climbed into the temple. 

Succesfull this time, thanks to their higher Initiative. Once inside, they decided to extract the Princess instead of defending her during the attack and they succesfully made it out of the temple and unto the roof again. As it turned out, a fateful decision....

Unfortunately for the Martian Red royalty, the princess failed to make her climb rolls during the descent (twice!) and plummeted to her death. Damn!

Again, the En Garde rules proved perfect for playing Barsoom with only minor adaptaions shown below: 

En Garde rules adaptations for Barsoom: 

En Garde! Barsoom Rules

These rules are intended to take the player to the wastes of Barsoom as written about by the great
late Edgar Rice Burroughs. In these stories, Mars is a dry and dying planet populated with exotic and
warlike human and alien races, ancient civilizations and bizarre wildlife. In recent decades these
stories have spawned a lively VSF background which unfortunately is not very compatible with the
original JC stories for various reasons. Therefore there will be some suggestions to stick to one of two specific canons.

Victorian Science Fiction Canon:
This is the most versatile of the Martian universes. Here, like in the Space 1889 backgrounds, Mars is
essentially an unexplored territory where European peoples boldly go where no one has gone before.
They fly to Mars in Aetherships and explore the surface of the Red Planet in caravans and liftwood
skyships, encountering the native civilizations much as European explorers did in the 16th to 19th
century in Asia, Africa and Meso- and South America.

Humans in this universe have no special powers on Mars, beside the fact that they might be
technologically more advanced than most of the Martian natives. These natives are mostly humanoid
beings, some bipedal, some winged, living in city states or tribal structures. Their level of civilization
and technology is comparable to Late Medieval/Early Renaissance Earth. Wargaming on VSF Mars is
essentially a fantasy kind of colonial gaming on another planet.

John Carter or Barsoom Canon
True to the ERB stories, here Mars, called Barsoom by its inhabitants, is much like in the VSF canon.
The Martian races are mostly humanoid, divided into red, white, black and yellow humanoids. Next
to these live the giant six-limbed Green martians, originally constructs of the ancient White Martians,
the current Therns. There are however some essential differences compared to the VSF canon.
First, Mars cannot be reached by space, but only by very rare and inaccessible portals which
transport one’s energy form to Barsoom and transform this into a human body. Few humans manage
to make this crossing, the most famous of whom is American Civil War hero John Carter. Earthlings
on Mars are therefore rare. If not unique.

Second, due to Mars’ light gravity Earth-born humans’ muscles gain greatly enhanced strength that
essentially turn an Earthling into a minor superhero, capable of making huge jumps and other feats
of strength. This effectively prohibits playing with lots of Earthlings, since what fun would playing an army of superheroes be?

Thirdly, the human civilizations of Barsoom are technologically more advanced than contemporary
Earth civilizations. They are centuries old, aided by the much longer lifespans of Martians who can
easily reach over 500 Earth years of age. They employ enormous flying ships, energy sources of
unparalleled power and even have found a way to provide the dying planet with an artificial
atmosphere on which all life on Mars is dependent.

All Martian races are very warlike and adhere to warrior’s codes of honour that proscribe chivalrous
behavior in combat.

Red Martians
The technologically advanced red-skinned inhabitants of the moderate regions of Barsoom populate
a number of city states, among which Helium and Zodanga are the most powerful (and rivalrous).
Red Martians have mastered flight and energy-powered firearms.
Red firearms are semi-automatics and count as rifles and pistols in En Garde! They need never be
reloaded, as they employ tiny, highly energized radium bullets that explode on impact and do a
disproportionate amount of damage to their size.

Red Martians basically folow human stats as used in En Garde!. Red Martians may never choose armor. May be mounted on a Thoat (+10). May use skyships.

Green Martians
The 10 feet tall green-skinned and four-armed barbarians of the Barsoomian wastes and deserts are
feared all over the planet. Massively strong and tough and ferocious in combat they are literally bred
for war, as the ancient white Martians constructed them as artificial warriors and laborers. They
roam the deserts as nomadic tribes on their big Thoats and inhabit the ruins of old abandoned cities
that litter the surface of the dying planet. They war with everyone, including each other, with
barbaric customs like torturing and eating their defeated opponents. They should be viewed as
fearsome adversaries in combat.

Having an inbred knack for military technology and combat medicine, they employ surprisingly
advanced weapons for their barbaric demeanor.

Green firearms are more primitive than their Red counterparts. Rifles are powerful singe-shot breech
loaders that need to be reoaded. Due to their size, they are even able to damage flying ships with a -2 modifier. Pistols are simple revolver designs that do not need to reload and are comparable to a red pistol.

Green Martians use human En Garde stats with the following changes: 

Combat Pool +1
Movement Fast
Initiative +1
Shoot +1
Traits: Powerful, Extremely Tough. 

Green Martians may never choose armor. May be mounted on a Thoat (+10). All Green Martians are Extremely Tough. Green Martians never board or use skyships.

Extremely Tough:
· Green Martians gain a -1 on the roll to discard Stun counters.
· They ignore the effects of Light Wounds. Two Light Wounds still make a Grievous Wound.
· Grievous Wounds only cause an effect normally seen with Light Wounds. Any Wound on top
of a Grievous Wound still causes a Critical Wound.

· Critical Wounds have the normal affect.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Building two Martian Sky Galleons part 1

I made some more progress in my Barsoom project. Inspired by the magnificent models by Tre Games I decided to build my own. The TG models are 15mm scale (except for one, heftily priced and sport a LOT of deck buildings that severely restrict the playing space on the decks.

As usual I started with some sketches.

Based on my experience with the Aphid class gunboat I would build the entire hull and wings out of MDF.

The outer hull would be made out of thinner MDF or foamcore to save weight without sacrificing the sturdiness of the hull. This mainly because the paper outer hullskin of the Aphid obliges you to think before you pick it up to prevent crushing the hull.

I proceeded with many sketches, struggling particularly with the wings and the bridge.

I wanted as much deck surface as possible to move figures around, but still enough detail to look impressive. And of course there would have to be guns on the deck, railings and other fittings that you would expect on a ship's deck.

Then I drew all the parts on MDF plates and started sawing away with the electric saw.

That provided me with A LOT of parts....

After sawing and sanding the fitting and glueing could start. Here the underside of the decks is shown with the ribs for the outer hull sticking upwards.

The tailpieces as well as the bows were supposed to be able to come off. This would greatly shorten the model's length and would ease storage (and painting). Below is one of the two tailpieces I made showing the fit.

 Below is the other tailpiece, which also slots into the rear hull.

Below is the pipe that will eventually hold the entire ship suspended on the steel rod of the standard. This way, the model can "fly" over the tabletop and easily adjust height as per my skyship rules.

Here are the two hulls, clearly showing most of the wooden parts in place and showing the hole in the hull to fit the standard. 

The first fit after glueing however showed a serious flaw in my designs. You can clearly see the ships tilt backwards, because the weight of the wings, bridge and tail drags the rear part down. Not only put this great strain on the standard fitting in the hull, but also permantenly tilted the deck. Darn.....

So a re-design was in order. The bridge was removed, the standard hole moved some 10cms to the rear (after carefully figuring out where the balance actually was, like I should have done in the first place....) and everything was glued in place again. Leaving me with a great big hole sitting in the middle of the deck....

What to do about that? Time would tell. But as you can see the balance was greatly improved!

Below the hull is covered with foamcore parts and bits of ye olde coffeestirrer. 

The railings were made by Pat's Laser Cuttings, as no electric saw can rival a fine detail laser cutter. Ordered to length they fit perfectly!

The bridge will be covered by a dome made of unbreakable Barsoomian sun-crystal (blablabla) which started its existence as the transparent part of a big plastic Easter egg. The 28mm figure is showed for scale.

The model so far scored approving looks of my better half

Then I started on the many details that were to cover the decks. The bit box yielded more than enough futuristic stuff to make some convincing cannon. Can you already guess what I will do with that surpluss hole in the deck? Here are the heavy Shock Cannon. Each ship will carry one.

Something that is apparently a Dark Eldar Star Cannon (who ever knew?) provided the lighter Pulse Guns of which each ship will carry four. 

The gun mount was made from those little triangles that came in abundance with the railings and were meant to prop those up for sturdiness. There were so many however, that I just had to put them to some more use.

That's all so far folks. Keep posted for part 2!!