Monday, December 28, 2009


Kurita light lance(l-r): Spyder, Panther, Assassin, Jenner

WARNING: Some of my photos came out blurry. Tough.

Brother David and I tried a game of BattleTech today. Dave's been keen on playing this for a while, and got a nice scenario put together to try this out. His miniatures came from the Introductory Box Set and we were using the Quickstart rules. The basic scenario is that Kurita forces are building up an invasion force on one of their planets. To keep the local Comstar force from getting word of this out from the planet, Kurita military has been jamming communications. Comstar technicians have figured out a way to overcome the jamming and have sent a small ship upriver to a communications station to install the fix. Guarding the station is a Comstar light lance of Commando, Hermes, Clint and Cicada. The boat must navigate a tight river and moves only 5 inches per turn. Once within 5 inches of the station, they only need three complete turns to upload the software and the station may attempt to broadcast. If the Kurita forces destroy the boat or tower they win.

Comstar Lance defends the comstation.

Kurita lance in the deployment zone. Deployment markers by Litko.

Comstar boat moves upriver.

The Comstar boat is a toy model of a Norwegian stealth vessel Dave found on eBay. The plastic minis were just fine, although they have trouble on hill slopes.

Battle begins. Kurita left flank starts gunfighting with Comstar units. The Panther takes the hill position.

The basic Quickstart rules did not include close combat, so we battled it out. My Kurita mechs took the worst of the initial fighting.

Right flank. Panther potshots the Cicada as Spyder prepares to run for the boat.

The Panther was a slow mech for a light lance, but had the powerful PPC cannon. Each hit would score 10 damage points, but moving the Panther brought movement penalties. Arrrrg.

Left flank. Each side loses a mech. Litko explosion and smoke markers.

At some point I remembered I had an objective other than blasting away at medium range. I moved the Spyder at a run for the boat, but his rapid speed kept him from hitting the target. The Cicada went after him while the Hermes tried to stop the Panther.

Overall view. The boat is closer to the station now.

So close! The Spyder misses the boat, and Cicada misses the Spyder!

Spyder turns and fights. Scores a headshot on the Cicada, but it's not enough.

Finally- Hermes goes down and Panther is free to back up the Spyder.

Arrg! Assassin has had it, but at least immobilized the Clint. The Spyder moves up to the tower.

The boat is damaged but is still uploading software. One turn left for it to finish, and the Cicada is closing...

Pyrrhic victory. The boat is destroyed, the scenario won, but Spyder is shot in the back and destroyed...

Kurita forces succeed in stopping the Comstar mission. Left alone and badly damaged, the Panther calls it quits and retreats to pick up reinforcements. There might be a political price to pay for aggression against Comstar, but the secret buildup of Kurita forces continue to be kept quiet.

Fun game. We'll be playing Battletech again.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Space Hulk action

It's vacation time, and with both myself and my brother off work for a while we decided to get in a game or two or Space Hulk. We played it down at GAJO so that any interested store visitors could see what the game looks like when played. It just so happens that Chris was busy painting one of the Space Marine Terminators for the store copy.

Set-up for scenario 1: Suicide Mission

We started with the first scenario, Suicide Mission. It was aptly named. A squad of five terminators have to fight their way down the spaceship corridors and reach a control room, where the heavy flamer must destroy the controls before the Genestealer aliens could activate the escape pods and get away to infiltrate a nearby planet.

Squad Plasticus prepares to attack. Heavy Flamer in the middle.

The Space Marine player gets 5 marines. The Alien player gets two reinforcement counters each turn, which could be converted into 1, 2, or 3 aliens each. There is an endless supply of aliens for this scenario, so the marines really have to hurry to get to the control room before being overwhelmed. No one is coming back from this mission...

Uh-oh! Trapped!

Once the heavy flamer figure is killed, the scenario ends, and both David and I lost as we took turns playing this scenario. I got a little closer to the room but that's all. This really is a suicide mission. Can the Terminators ever win this one? I don't know.

Flame on! 4 Genestealers are about to be barbecued.

The key is to learn how to use the heavy flamer to incinerate aliens and block their passages as you move forward. Alas, the flamer only has 6 shots available, and no reloads.

Third game. Scenario 2.

For our final game we tried out scenario 2, Exterminate. The marines have a much better chance in this scenario. Unfortunately, they are spread out all over the tiles, and have to plan carefully what areas to defend. In this game, there are a set number of genestealers available, and it's a simple matter of wiping out the marines, or getting wiped out/sealed off by the marines. This scenario introduced the Assault cannon (oh, yeah!!!) and the sergeant armed with thunder hammer and storm shield, who is deadly wicked in close combat. I won this scenario by just strategically placing the marines along open lines of fire and shooting the aliens dead. Finally Dave got a bunch of the aliens tosneak down a corridor while I was clearing a storm bolter jam, and the sergeant had to risk everything by wading into the bunch of them and smearing alien guts all over the corridors. He eventually fell, but the aliens were hunted down and killed.

This is a super fun game. It's pricey, but this is a high quality set of tiles and the best minis they've done for the game. After seeing how Chris painted up one of the terminators, I can't wait to get mine painted up.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

More Grande Armee

Grande Armee does Aspern-Essling. Aspern in foreground. Notice the carefully disguised gaming paraphenalia.

Grande Armee seems to be a favorite choice for grand tactical Napoleonics among some of our Napoleonic 15mm supporters. After the Waterloo game, there was a game scheduled for Dec. 12th. This time: Aspern-Essling 1809. This was the first time Kai got out his 15mm Austrians, who clashed that Saturday against Will's French. I arrived late, not expecting to play, but eventually wound up commanding the troops around Aspern.

Multi-brigade clash. This one's gonna hurt.

Chris at GAJO has prepared many metal 3" x 3" bases to which he attaches identification labels. The nice thing about GA is that you can use other basing to fill in the brigade bases as you wish for visual effect.

Austrian and French brigades clash before Aspern. Dave plots French destruction in the background, to no avail.

The Austrian artillery seemed to be everywhere. I made some successful assaults with my cav brigades, really focusing on combined-arms attacks, but I could never quite catch theose yellow guns. Meanwhile my strength was being steadily sapped.

The Dead Zone.

Another item I like about GA is the concept of reorganization. Dead Brigades are assumed to have pulled back to reorganize if possible. Sometimes they don't which means the brigade really was destroyed as a unit. Those which do return are placed in a corps' rear areas with lesser strength than they started with. In this game, attrition was taking a terrible toll.

After several turns of attrition, the lines reform. The French still hold Aspern.

After several exciting turns, the Austrians and the French beat each other to death around Aspern. I had reached the point of having no possible offensive options. The Austrians were in the same boat to my front. Action continued around Essling until both sides had to pull back and catch their breath. By that time we had to quit the game. So the results were similar to the actual conflict.