Friday, 4 September 2015

Arkham Investigator - Beta testing a new boardgame

First off, i'd like to thank the designers of this game for making a beta available on Boardgame geek. If you find this article interesting, I highly recommend popping over there and downloading the demo set. 

So what is Arkham investigator?

Put simply it's a deduction game. One that can be played in a group or alone. In a lot of way's it is like an old school "fighting fantasy" book, asides from you a never told what the next entry will be and the choices are not binary. 

The backdrop of the game is HP Lovecrafts Arkham, a city any reader of this blog will be familiar with. You are graduate students at Miskatonic university investigating a series of unusual events in the city, with each event being a separate case. 

You are given a briefing of what the case is, a map of the city, the local newspaper and a phone directory. You must move from encounter to encounter solving the case.

This is the meat of the game, there are virtually no "mechanics" and no dice rolling whatsover. You read the encounter, make notes of each one, and then decide where to go next. The locations of the game are in the directory and each location pertains to an entry in the case file.

For example, say you come across a package that was dropped on the street. You see a mailing address on it, deciding that this is your best clue, you go to the directory and look up the address. That would inform you of what the next entry is. 

You can go to as many entries and locations as you feel you need to, but the game is a race against the clock and the goal is to solve the case perfectly. 

At the same time you are investigating, Professor Armitage, your mentor, is also solving the case, and he will do it perfectly. He ask you questions about the case when you feel you have solved it and your score is based on how long it took you to solve the case, and how many question you got right.

Armitage will then tell you exactly how the case was solved.

If this all sounds a little familiar, it is because the game borrows it's core system from a Sherlock Holmes game. 

Normally, i'm not kind to games that lift systems from other games and reskin them. But in all honesty, the system is a tiny part of the creative effort in this game. The real work is in world building and creating the cases and stories. 

How it played

Normally in co-op games, i try not to be too vocal, but I couldn't help myself this time. In future i'll dial down my insistence at doing things my way :)

We divided up responsibilities so that one player had the casebook and read the clues, one had the directory, another the map, and the fourth the "list of allies" page. Each turn we rotated the components clockwise, so that the same person was reading each time. 

The rules say the current "lead investigator" makes the final call for what passage to read, but that really didn't become an issue. We, after some banter and debate normally settled on one or two primary targets each turn. And decided as a group where to go. 

The bit that tripped us up was knowing when to stop. We felt we had a pretty clear idea of what had happened and the last two entries we went to added nothing much asides from making us feel we had gone on to far. I guess, that because the game doesn't have a fixed ending, knowing when to call it quits takes some experience. 

I'd also say that each case has very little replay value, so while the game will come with 10 cases or so, once you've played a case, it would be very difficult to replay it.

Still, it actually felt like we were solving a case and that clues were being followed. And while we didn't score the perfect 100 points on our first outing, 65 seemed like a good first effort. Especially as we missed out on a 25 point question that we had deduced from partial information, but gotten slightly incorrect.  

The team enjoyed the experience, and feel a second attempt would be warranted.

Although one of our players is a designer, and was critical of the fonts in some sections being quite difficult to read. I concur, while gothic fonts are probably timely to the game, they are a pain to read. 

Spoilers below, How our case went. (highlight page to read)

Don't read this if you wish to play game one. 

We started out by going to the crime scene. Big mistake, while criminology 101 might say going to the crime scene is the best plan for starting a case, that doesn't take into account that the victim was screaming "the trees are alive". We encountered a Dark young and freaked out.

As a first encounter, this had the team saying "well that escalated quickly", it was a little bit too much mythos in the face for a first entry, or first case for my liking. Dark Young are a big bad, revealing them in an entry that would be quite logically the first one read was a distraction. I would have preferred if it was hinted at, rather than shown so dramatically.

From there, we went to the hospital to talk to the victim, who was in bad shape with something cracking her open from the inside. We then went to the forensics guy, found the victims address, went to her place, and found the offenders address. Discovering the evil seeds and ritual blade. Finally, we went to the diner and missed the exchange but rushed to the train station. Feeling the last clue we spent was a waste, we then wanted to checkout the library about some goo, which also told us nothing new. So we called it closed.

What we thought was that the offender had attempted to put a seed in the victims chest, but had chickened out and redressed her. We got the order wrong, but were definitely on the right track, but those 25 points hurt our final score a lot. We got implantation, instead of extraction. So close. 

Saturday, 15 August 2015

A murder mystery in space - Talathen sector campaign RPG update.

Instead of the normal "mission report" style for RPG reports, i'll talk about this session a little differently. 

When we created the setting, I asked my players for four "events" they really wanted to see happen. They were

  • A massive tech breakthrough
  • A plague or epidemic to occur
  • The "second battle of the boneyard"
  • A classic "whodunnit" mystery
This roleplaying game session was the "whodunnit mystery" and borrowed from a few sources heavily, mostly "cluedo" and the Blakes 7 episode "Mission to Destiny"

I essentially took this episode and rewrote it for the setting. Major core elements of the story, the stun gas, an inside job, the dead pilot, a missing crew member and missing life rocket were shamelessly stolen. Where I changed the story was in the framing, instead of the crew stumbling on to a random ship in space, it was a preset meeting. And instead of a valuable commodity being the "MacGuffin" I made it a high ranking Luxon officer who had gone rogue and was contemplating joining the rebellion. 

I also added in considerably more complexity to the clues as well and removed the really obvious pointers in the story. So while I used the episode as the story core, i wanted to up the difficulty in the mystery and cut out a lot of short cuts (Personally, the letters written in blood clue in the original is so obvious I had to bin it as my players would see right through it)

The premise

Our crew were asked to meet with Oleg Thrax, hero of the first Battle of the boneyard and a major Luxon leader in exile. His camp lost the political struggle that allowed Kallista Vox to become the leader of the Luxon militia. In recent times, after viewing the successes of the rebellion, he decided he might return to help. Although well known for his ruthless military style and discipline, he is a hero in the sector and a man people can rally around. 

One of our player characters is Kallista's older brother, a combat surgeon and veteran solider. He was picked to represent the alliance as he knew Oleg personally, and Oleg hates diplomats and "soft" bureaucrats. 

The team was asked to rendezvous on Samoth, on a remote island. There they were asked by a protocol droid to enter a shuttle and be taken to pre-programmed coordinates. The shuttle was heavily modified and it's navigation and hyperspace systems were locked down and wielded shut. 

The Ship

The ship they were visiting was an unusual design I came up with. The left side of the ship is a massive deployable storage area and the engineering section and habitats. The right side is the entire command and services area, including the bridge, medbay, armoury and hangar. 

The ship was dead in space when the team arrived. Nominal lighting and power on, and not responding to communications, although the hangar doors were open.

Our force sensitive player got a terrible feeling about the hangar, so they docked at the auxiliary airlock on the left side of the ship

Stepping on-board I had the doctor roll medicine to detect the smell of "anaestathen gas" in the air. One triumph later, the good doctor smelled the gas, found an oxygen mask sotrage unit by the airlock and had handed them out. They then began to explore the dark and empty ship

The Crew (Cluedo)

Coming up with names for characters that people can remember is pretty tricky. So what I did was cheat. Each character wore an old luxon uniform, with branch of service in a coloured band on their shoulders, similar in style to star trek Voyager, as shown here. 

The names were borrowed directly from Cluedo, as we were doing a "whodunnit" it seemed perfect :) People remember names like Colonel Mustard a lot easier than normal Star War names.

The crew were as follows

Oleg Thrax, the Beast, the Hero of the Boneyard, Captain. 

Oleg is intended to be a recurring character, so he got a real name. He was found unconscious in his captains ready room with two puncture marks in his neck.
While everyone else was unconcious from the gas in the air, he was doubly drugged with an additional heavy duty drug that could only have come from med bay. Dr Vox examined him and decided that waking him up early might kill him. (And, with such a forceful personality in mind for this character, I did want him out of the picture while they investigated, and the offender really, really, didn't want him waking up early)

Commander Scarlet, Chief Flight officer and 2IC

Scarlet was a middle aged red headed women who was found asleep in her quarters in her bed. I described her as looking a lot like Beverly Crusher from Star Trek, but less "Professional and maternal" and more "Commanding and overtly sexual".

Lt Pink, Flight Officer

As a junior flight officer, the hue of his rank colours was a pinker red that the bright scarlet of his commanding officer. Pink was found on the flight deck, bludgeoned to death by a fire extinguisher. He had not fallen asleep during the gas attack, because Scarlet closed the vents as she didn't like the "breeze" on the flight deck.

Lt Colonel Mustard, Ship Security

Colonel Mustard was found in a very suspicious place and position. He was found, unconscious with a pillow, magazines and some vials of narcotics. His ID and security cards were missing.

Although initially a top suspect, it was revealed that his drug use for pain had become a problem, and that he occasionally "shot up" in private on his off hours. While his failure as a security officer allowed the offender to his security credentials, he was ruled out quickly as a "sad case" more than a criminal mastermind. 

Commander Green, Chief Engineer

Green was found inside an access panel in engineering unconscious. He was near where the gas bottle pumping gas into the air system was located. Green was an unusual chap, when revived he seemed strangely calm and matter of fact about things. He answered every question honestly,but in a way that left our investigators feeling uneasy. The rest of the crew suggested he was a loner and a recluse. 

Digging into his character revealed some giant traumas during the battle of the boneyard. Green was a recluse due to PTSD and his reclusive nature was due to losing his entire engineering crew there.

He remained a top candidate during the investigation, due to his access, detachment and where he was found. 

Dr White, Medical Officer

Dr White was found unconscious on the floor in medbay, which looked like it had been ransacked. When revived, Dr White proved herself to be quite an arrogant pretentious perfectionist and martinet. She claimed that medbay was not ransacked when she fell unconscious, and that she had passed out while searching for her rebreather when she smelled gas.

White pointed the finger first at Lime, who was missing and then Green because he was "weird". The team discarded her as a suspect, mostly due to the mistake made when injecting the commander, which she considered "sloppy and imperfect" and the team agreed. 

Lt Blue, Communications Officer

Lt Blue was found in her quarters on her bed fully clothed. Lt Commander Plum was found in her quarters sitting at a small dinner table by a half eaten meal. Lt Blue said that Plum and her were in a "discrete liaison" and were having dinner during their off hours. She said she felt very sleepy, but does not remember going to her bed.

As Communications Officer, she also mentioned some irregularities in the comms system that she hadn't reported to the Captain. She said that due to her relative lack of experience she had kept it quiet as she tried to figure it out, so as to not appear incompetent. 

Although the team did discover the Communications irregularities, they didn't dig deep enough to discover that it was her login that made the changes to the system. 

Blue was a reasonable suspect as, under pressure, she revealed that her relationship with a senior officer was for self-advancement. That, and she had the skills required to do the job. 

Lt Lime, Engineer

Lt Lime was the top suspect for the first half of the investigation for one major reason. He was missing, and an escape pod was missing. Lt lime had the skills to sabotage the ship, but the crew were adamant that he was "A fine young man".

Suspicion was removed when his body was found in the cargo hold under a tarpaulin (It's a tarp!), a short distance away from the door to engineer. A detailed scan of the area found tiny traces of blood and his injuries were consistent with a short range blaster bolt to the back of the neck.  

The Droid

Not long after Lime's body was discovered, the team began to suspect that there was a stowaway on-board, so decided to investigate the crawl spaces of the ventilation system. During this investigation, they found a small armed hover-droid floating through the vents.

This droid escaped capture for a while, moving all over the ship, before finally being cornered and destroyed. But not before it delivered a small package to the offender. 

Commander Plum, Third Officer

Commander Plum was a science officer by trade but also a generalist. In his role as third officer on the ship he manned the sensors on the bridge, and also acting as a backup medical officer.

He was found in Blues quarters and admitted feeling drowsy when Blue passed out, he placed her on the bed before passing out himself.

He admitted being in a relationship with Blue and mentioned that he was separated from his wife and family. A detailed study of the captains personnel files revealed that while he was separated from his wife, they were still close and that he kept in contact with his son.  

During the confusion involving the droid, Plum managed to get into the security room (which had been locked) and bolted himself in. 

How it was done

Plum was being blackmailed by the Empire. They had taken his estranged wife and his son and had threatened to kill them if he did not deliver the Captain to them.

He used his personal relationship with Blue to get superuser access to the communications system, and put a coded transmission to repeat the ships location on a sub-channel. 

He took White's rebreather from medbay while she was off duty and stored it in his work bag.

He then placed a sedative in Blue's drink and waited for her to pass out. So she was asleep before the gas was delivered. 

Knowing that enginnering was not on a 24 hour roster, he picked a time when both Lime and Green were off duty and placed the gas bottle in the air filtration system. He was surprised by Lime wearing a rebreather when he left engineering and, when Lime was talking to him, his droid his shot him. Lime then began to drag his body away.

The Green appeared from his quarters so Plum had to hide quickly. He hid Limes body in the cargo bay and followed Green to engineering but found him passed out in the ventilation shaft. 

Plum then found Mustard in the Storage Shed where he knew he would be and took his security pass.

From there he went to Med bay and got the drugs needed to dope up the Captain. Due to Mustard's drug use, White had moved their location so he had to search quickly to find them, making a mess in the process. 

From there he went to the bridge, finding Pink still conscious. Without a blaster of his own, he had to use the fire extinguisher to beat him to death. He then trashed the bridge controls. 

After that, he went to the captain's room. And while he was medically trained, his hands were shaking violently from the brutal murder he had committed, so he made a mistake giving him the strong sedative, leaving two marks on the Captains neck.

Knowing the player characters were on the way, he went to the armoury and grabbed explosives. He wired the hangar doors to explode when they closed once a ship docked.

Having some time, he changed uniforms in the shower/laundry to remove the blood spatter from killing pink.

Seeing that the player characters had not used the Hangar, he panicked and took his dirty uniform and placed it in the escape pod and fired it. he then returned the mask to medbay and quickly rushed to Blue's quarters to pass out from the gas. 


When the Captain woke up, he was not pleased. 

A fake "Imperial boarding action" was staged to convince him to leave the security room, where he was apprehended. The Beast wanted to execute him immediately, but negotiated with the characters to have him stand trial instead.

Oleg Drax agreed to join the rebellion on the condition that the people of Luxon receive a referendum on joining a New Republic or being independent if they win. He brings with him a Nebulon B frigate and two Corellian Corvettes.

Friday, 31 July 2015

"He was the best of us" - Round 3 Battles - Talathen Sector Campaign

The last few weeks have gone a bit slower than expected due to my players being ill, so it's been a while between updates. However, here are all three battle reports from the last two weeks. 

Korvas shipyard raid - Fleet action

The empire has been converting a civilian dry-dock into a military drydock. The implications for the rebellion were quite dire, as it would mean faster turn around time for Imperial ships, and therefore, more patrols in the sector. 

The drydock was also big enough to handle Imperial Class Star Destroyers, and Fleet Command wanted it blown up at all costs. The first attempt, a sabotage run was blown almost immediately as the empire were waiting for them and the operative was nearly captured. Throwing all caution to the wind, Fleet command threw everything they had, and everything they could borrow at the problem. 

As our sector fleet is quite small, everything was a Borrowed Assault Frigate from The Alliance Fleet Command, 3 Cr-90's and 8 stands of Z-95's. 

The objective was represented by the space station with 6 shields. That could take any amount of damage after that point, but would be destroyed on a single critical hit. 

Opposing them was one Victory Star destroyer, and 6 stands of tie fighters.

Sounds like a horrible mismatch right? The rebels were deeply suspicious of the table deployment, of the fact they had initiative when they didn't buy it, and the fact i'd asked one of them to bring his spare gladiator. 

The rebels came in fast, faster than I initially anticipated, and went straight for the objective. Then i revealed the hyperspace markers under the debris fields and deployed my gladiators behind them using hyperspace assault. 

A classic tactic, with one massive flaw. I brought them in too slow, so they got one round of shooting before the rebels darted away from them. 

However, in that one round I annihilated one Cr-90 and badly damaged the Assault Frigate. The Captain of the CR-90, Anto Salamon, went down with the ship and was presumed dead.

Although recent information suggests he was captured alive. Poor Imperials, Anto is known for being a pompous arrogant jerk and will no doubt regale them with stories of how the Rebellion will be diminished with his loss, as in his mind he "Was the best of us". 

Things look grim for the rebellion until turn 3, when the whole mission changed on a single dice roll. Taking his pile of red dice, Airen Cracken commanded the damaged assault Frigate to open up on the drydock. And in one volley of fire, all 6 shields went down. The Imperials were very concerned, until his second volley failed to produce the kill shot.

However, two CR-90's were rapidly moving into range, and a volley of turbolaser fire from those two ships produced the critical result needed for victory. 

Slow to respond and turn, the Imperial fleet could do nothing to stop the high speed rebel force from disengaging victoriously. 

This was probably the best mission of the campaign, as it felt like the rebels were doomed when the Gladiators appeared and ripped into them, but they stuck to the plan, kept on moving, and punched a whole through the defences, killed the target and fled with the loss of only one ship. 

Stealing Fighters - Ground command assault on Zenith Storage facility

This mission took place at a hidden hangar facility near the polar icecap of Zenith.

The Alliance received intelligence that a small number of Republic era fighters and other contraband was being stored in this hangar.

The plan was to infiltrate a special forces team into the base, clear the way of resistance and escort pilots to the fighters and have them escape with them.

This was our very first "two-part mission", as we also played out the escape from the planet using X-wing.

The same special forces team participated in this attack as the last Special forces report.

It's worth noting that the picture above is at turn 4 (I forgot to take pics earlier). By this time the rebels had got very busy and had gunnerd down a rather high number of Stormtroopers. 

Yep, 13 models taken out in the first 3 turns. That's some busy killing going on. 

The Special forces team split into two groups. Hallarn (Commander), Keel (Sniper) and Fenn (Himself) acted as a firebase, coming in from the north entrance on turn 1.

Gooda (Gunfighter) and Gaxx (Wookie) come in through the side entrance on turn 2, with the pilots following behind them on turn 3. 

Virtually every shot was a kill by the rebels, it was uncanny. I expected the sheer number of troopers to slow them down, but it really didn't. And while I managed to wound two characters, this mission never looked like it was going to be anything other than a rebel victory after turn 2.

I cam quite close to killing/badly wounding Fenn When he didn't take into account my officers moving the E-Webs and their double shots. But ended up 2 points short (The amount his new armour protected him by.....)

The conclusion from this battle is a minor rules change. Due to Rebel characters being able to heal themselves easily when the pressure is off, I am changing the "no reinforcement" option to "delayed reinforcements" for Imperial Assault.

The Rebels got all their pilots to their ships, picking up 9 Y-wings (including a couple of the version with locked forward turrets) and a surprising 3 X-wings. In Addition, the astromech droids assigned to the ships had been left installed and had all developed unusual personality quirks. (Each of the unique R droids for X-wing was unlocked as a unique card) 

Stealing Fighters - Space Combat with new fighter squadron

This mission wasn't for high stakes, it was like a "bonus round" for the first 3 rounds of the campaign (the first quarter if you would as the campaign will last 12 rounds............ oh wow...... John Cena reference).

The Rebels massively outgunned the Imperials, and the idea was a mini-competition to see who could kill the most Tie-fighters.

Each player got 2 identical ships from the following options, once one option was gone, a player had to pick another, and they picked in "reverse glory" order

  • Grey Squadron Y-wing with Ion Turret
  • Gold Squadron Y-wing with Ion Turret and Proton Torps
  • Rookie X-wing with Proton Torps
  • Gold Squadron Y-wings with blaster turrets locked in forward position. 
I preplanned the Tie Fighter squadrons moves before the game. Fly forward on turn 1, turn in on turn 2, and cross on turn 3, k -turn back on turn 4.

Very tidy formation playing if i do say so myself. 

Still, the idea was to give the guys a final "hit-out" for this section of the campaign, let them experience the new fighters (and cheer for making the Z-95's obsolete).

Final kill totals

Luxon Militia (X-wings)  - 3
Basra Consortion (Y-wing variant) - 3
People's movement  (Y-wing gold) - 2 
Republicans (Y Wing Grey) - 0

A 2 to 1 points differential in a game makes for a really funny and quite different experience. 

Round 3 will conclude with one and a half roleplaying session, followed by the end phase. Then the campaign will take a break for a month or so. 

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Mansions of Madness - The Monsters complete

Mansions of madness is a unique game. Its mix of dungeon crawling, horror themes, exploration and unique scenarios, make it a really different experience to other games, and I feel it is the Arkham series game that best captures the feeling of the short stories. Usually, you cannot win by fighting the monsters and the game is best played when the investigators hurriedly run around in a panic to desperatly stop the horror before it overwhelms them.

And as you know, I paint my boardgames just to make the gaming experience cooler. My mantra with boardgames is to paint them well enough that they look ok on the table, but simple enough that it doesn't take a lifetime to paint. After all, they are paying pieces first and foremost.

However, for this project I had an extra set of criteria. Monsters in mansions have little data cards that you are mean't to slide in and out when you deploy a new one, as each card has different stats and specials on it. I find sliding those cards a pain in the butt, so I wanted every single monster in a group to be virtually indistinguishable from the others. 

Note, I left the Mansions monsters box open and they got dusty. I'll sort that out at some point. 

Take these maniacs as the first example. Yep, they are in a slightly different body position. But I did my absolute best effort to make sure the models looked as close as possible, right down to the blood spatter. 

Also, another plug for GW's "blood for the blood god", it's simply the best "blood" material i've worked with in painting by miles. I love how it looks on the denim jeans, as that is how blood looks on jeans. 

The cultists were painted as identically as possible. Normally I mix up race in my models, as I don't like seeing a swarm of white dudes only in all my games. But the setting, and the concept of "matching" didn't really work this time around. 

The Shoggoth's got fully covered in a glossy sheen, but asides from that, they are basic black with a tiny bit of highlighting. The eyes are only real "painting" on the figures. It goes to show that even minimal effort can yeild fine looking models for table top play. You don't need a golden daemon sword quality figure for a boardgame to look a lot better. 

I'm so so on these guys, but i'm really happy with how the human heads turned out. The key idea for the monsters, along with "matching" was to make them colourful and easily differentiated from other monsters. This is why I went with quite a vibrant colour palette over the whole series. 

Of course, to balance out those bright colours, other figures got more homely looking schemes. The nightgaunt's in particular, are mentioned in the stories as being featureless. So i thought painting them a dull grey would work. 

The zombies were another large batch that needed to match. I used some of the GW corrosion technical paint to give them a dirty look as well. A hate how they are all waving like gormless fans though. It's not a pose I would have chosen for them. 

The wizard was my least favourite model in the range. He's just a bearded dude standing with his mouth open. I wanted him to be a little bit cooler, so I custom made some tentacles and put them growing out of his mouth. This way, instead of standing there gormlessly, he looks like he's about to explode and become a Dark Young. 

 Finally, my favourite models in the set, The Dark Young and the Crawling ones. The Dunwich Horror itself is an odd figure, the face and the tentacles are kinda cool. But the Dark young is such a nice figure, it feels very solid, as the plastic they use is a bit floppy on thinner parts like arms and weapons. He's just a big ball of awesome. 

The crawling ones had more effort put into them than many of the other figures, because i like them so much. I used wet-blending on the torso to tentacle section, so it looks like the humanoid torso is organically growing out of the sludge at the bottom.

Total paint time for these figures was low, and the key was making them functionally good, rather than works of art. Virtually anyone can paint to this level with a small amount of practice. So I say again, don't be dissuaded from painting your games, even an average to mediocre paintjob is 100 times better than bare plastic. 

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Round 3 - A hero falls - Talathen Sector Campaign

The rebellion has had it's first real tragedy on the conflict, with one the of heroes of the rebellion falling in battle. There was much wailing and sorrow, and glasses raised in honour of their fallen comrade.

Round 3 - Planning Phase

No major changes occurred in the "job review phase" and the command team looked the same as it did on turn one. I suspect this will change in the near future. 

Logistics Phase

We tested the new logistics system, and it seemed to work pretty well. Even though i forgot a couple of the rules. A few more tweaks will be made and I'll publish the full rules and card set for it shortly.

Logistics managed a good haul of resources, enough to easily power the planned operations this turn. Here is the new board that includes manufacturing.

At the end of the round, the rebellion now has 1 production in all resources asides from Covert Networks and Safe Transports, and income is 8. I made some tweaks and gave them additional resources to make the system work.

Smuggling was a mixed bag. Roark managed to make a safe run to Naboo for supplies, Gran Dravis failed in his mission and was wounded (after losing some fighter escorts) and Oledeshu failed as well, before rolling the "snatch victory from defeat result" on the fail dice.

So with enough resources to plan out our attacks, we moved onto the next phase

Intelligence Phase

A concerted effort was made by intelligence command to get as many intelligence points as possible for this turn to support combat actions. Both Nibb Nibb and Sly rolled well, generating a whopping 16 intelligence points.

Ged'Ruh was sent on a sabotage mission at Korvas, which was a trap. Resulting in a failure. Intelligence spent intel points to reroll the failure dice, and he ended up escaping unscathed.

Diplomacy Phase

The diplomatic core tripled in size due to new postings, meaning Lianna isn't working alone anymore. She successfully established ties with Solitude X and Gidd Lonn did the same for Cahn. The results of these new diplomatic ties will be mentioned in the end phase.

Our friendly Ithorian hippy force user, Jah, was sent to meet with a mysterious contact who had hacked into Alliance communications networks. He successfully met with this individual, who has maintained absolute secrecy, speaking through droids only. He has arranged a "conference call" with the leaders of the rebellion so that this mysterious source can explain why he wishes to ally himself with the republic, and why he is being so secretive. 

Fleet Command

Hearing of Ged's failure to knock out the Drydock at Korvas, Fleet Command decided to go with the backup plan. Hit the Imperial fleet facilities with everything they have, and some borrowed ships. 5 points of fleet favour were spent to obtain the services of an Assault frigate, and 8 stands of Z-95's and 3 Corvettes sent in. 

The rebellion threw intelligence points, and additional resources from logistics to make this work. And the planning roll was...... barely a success. For their efforts, they get to deploy 2nd. 

Squadron Command

Full of Blountism's, fighter command decided to do a very dangerous mission. Blast through the blockade on luxon, hit some imperial ground targets, buzz by the cities to show the flag, and escape.

A reasonable roll on the planning made this very dangerous mission potential winnable. With Initiative, deploying 2nd, and enemy reinforcements cut off. Still, with no less than 6 victory Star Destroyers in system, this was going to be tough. 

Ground Command

Del Kern decided to personally plan this mission after the People's Movement voted to remove him from command and replace him with their man, Hallarn Yarn.

The mission, hit a storage facility on Zenith that is holding old-republic era fighters, rumored to be an entire squadron of Y-wings. The plan requires them to infiltrate the facility, eliminate the guards, and get the pilots to the fighters for them to escape.  Another reasonable planning roll see's the rebels with initiative, deploying 2nd and flanking, and the enemy with no reinforcements. 


Recruitment gained three successes, and wants to recruit Pilots, Smugglers and Fleet Officers. 

Training got 12 points to spend on training skills

R&D got 8 points to spend on Fleet research. 

Intelligence also wants to research other temple sites on Axamar. 

X-wing - The raid on Luxon

This mission was a tricky one, and gave the Rebels some hard decisions to make. While they did their flyby of Luxon easily enough, as they were leaving a group of civilian ships, attempting to flee the bloackade, followed them. 

They could flee at any time, but that would leave the civilians at the mercy of the Empire's fighters, mines and Star Destroyers.

The civilian ships were simply tokens with hitpoints on them. They could only move 2 ahead, or bank 2. Until the Commander gave the "all clear" order, in which case they could move ahead 4 or bank 2. 

Victory points would be awarded if the civilian ships got within range one of the markers past the imperials and escaped. 3 for the GR-75, 2 for the YT's and 1 for the smaller ships. The Imperials only got VP's for killing freighters. 

The mines in the picture were heavy duty anti shipping mines, that would only explode if a large base ship came within range 2 of them. Doing 2 dice damage per range band. What I didn't tell them, is that the Decimator could detonate them if it was within range 3 of them as an action.

The rebel fighters raced ahead and punched a hole in the minefield, but the decimator detonated one they didn't kill, taking out a headhunter and badly damaging another. At this point, the star destroyers began closing on the escapoe channel, represented by a pair of "targeting icons" from one of the large ship expansions. They started from the board edge, and moved in one range band each turn. (3 dice attack against anything in range)

The Rebels "broke and attacked" in an attempt to direct fire onto themselves and break up the tie formations. 

In previous battles, the decider had been the concussion missiles on the headhunters, but in this battle, they were a non factor.

It was at this point that Blount was shot down by Imperial fire.

With the rebels slightly scattered, the right Tie squadron focussed on the YT-2400 and destroyed it. 

From here on in, the rebels were outnumbered, and the focus became clearing lanes for the freighters. 

It's worth noting that in this scenario, the Imperial's couldn't block the freighters movement, we used "Armada" style rules that allowed the player touched to move out of the way. We figured it was better than just "blocking" and it made the Empire have to focus fire. 

It all came down to last round, as the Empire fired relentless on the GR-75 as it tried to escape. It limped accross the line with 2 damage boxes of its 13 left. 

And while the rebels won 6-3 in victory points, they paid a heavy cost. 5 Z-95's shot down. And when we made the casualty rolls for those pilots, Blount rolled last. 

Blount rolled a despair, which results in final character death. Blount was a real character in the campaign, a reckless foolhardy squadron leader who would shout "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead". I guess this means in our game reality, he won't be the door gunner on the Falcon at Endor. 

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Round two end phase - Talathen Sector Campaign

Well, we reached the end of round two and have started on round three.

The map is updated on the right, and you may notice a 4th influence colour, as a new, as yet unknown faction has appeared on Nimbala.

Mission reports

The Boneyard - Cresh squad has set up there and encountered pirates involved in a scavenging operation. Initial intelligence suggests that are looking for something of value in the boneyard.

Selano -  Rebel Operatives sucessfully bombed the site of the imperial base construction. In response, the Empire has given up building the base on the ground. 

Deep Space - The Rebel Fleet engaged two Victory Star Destroyers on a training mission. The Fleet managed to destroy one of the Victory destroyers before the other escaped. No casualties on the Rebel side, this victory has left the Imperial Fleet stunned.

Fraxan - Rebel fighters ambush a training flight at the Imperial Flight school on Fraxan, inflicting heavy losses. Imperial flight school is later relocated to Talathen Prime. 

Nimbala - Rebel Special Forces conduct a long campaign on Nimbala against Czerka assets. Esh and Besh squads are involved in different missions against Czerka infrastructure and liberating slaves. 

Axamar - Aurek squad discovers giant walking mountain monsters, and sucessfully nullify an Imperial excavation mission to ancient force ruins. 

Others - The Blockade of Luxon continues, the Empire is taking crystals from Sloitude X, A mysterious cargo docked at Axamar station, the Empire is building improved drydock facilities at Korvas and continuing a PR campaign on Talathen Prime. 

End Phase

R&D: Purchased 4 munitions failsafes and 1 engine upgrade. Also spent points on reseraching the "behomoth rock monsters" of Axamar. 

Training: Got 2 rookie pilots, upgraded 1 pilot to veteran, Purchased Tactician, Marksmanship and Weapon Liason cards. 


As head of recruitment, The people's Movement used 10 clout to preview all 6 recruits in this pool. 

First up Lt Telsij, and Excellent pilot and scientist was recruited by the People's Movement for 14 Clout. 

He was assigned as a Squadron leader. 

Gidd Lonn was next up. And while Gidd is an excellent diplomat, he does have some noticeable drawbacks. He has difficult gaining glory for being grandiose and debts make missions against crime groups more difficult.

The Luxon Militia recruited him for 15 clout and he was assigned to be liason with Rebel HQ.
Jah Doza was introduced in Operation Downfall, and is a force sensitive "hippy". A caring pacifist, he has no time for combat operations.

He was recruited by the Basra Consortium for 13 Clout and put to work as the Senior Diplomat. 

Andil Thorne was also introduced in Operation Downfall as the Chief of Staffs personal logistics officer.

A capable, if not flashy officer, he was recruited by the Republicans for 14 Clout and appointed as the new head of manufacturing in logistics. 

Jaina Koral is a capable smuggler, and a passable fleet officer as she comes with her own named CRV-90. 

A deal was struck with the people's movement that allowed the Basra Consortium to procure her services for 10 clout. She was assigned to fleet command. 

Finally, Occuddeshu is an excellent smuggler or diplomat. Outraged with the deal in the previous round, the Republicans and Luxons pooled their clout to drive the cost of her up. 

The People's movement obtained her services for 15 clout and she was assigned to the smuggling pool. 

Glory updates. 

We have a clear leader in Glory, with the Republians on top with 34 Glory. Holding both ground and fleet command has allowed them a steady stream of good Glory results. In second is the Luxon Militia with 30. 

The next update, in the next few days, will include the first battle report from round 3. Where the Rebels suffer their first tragedy. 

Friday, 10 July 2015

Idiot burns Warhammer Fantasy army in protest of Age of Sigmar (Video)

Well, I've said some unkind things about Age of Sigmar to my friends and on forums. Mostly revolving around the delibrate efforts not to provide any form of balence to the game and the silly childish rules around dancing and staring contests.

Personally, I think AoS will make or break GW and I am interested to see how it works out. It looks like it could be a fine game for casual play between friends, if a little shallow for anything else. As a product, that's fine, not my cup of tea as I prefer my casual games to be a bit cheaper and require less effort (see Smashup), but I get the appeal it will hold for others.

But I quit Warhammer Fantasy a while back, and do you know what I did with my army? I gave it away free to a friend who was looking at getting into the hobby. I gave him 3000 points of vampire counts and said, "I ain't using them, you might as well have fun with them".

I also did this with my 30,000 point epic army, hadn't played in nearly 10 years, split it up and gave it to two people who still wanted to play (it was half marines/half imperial guard)

What I didn't do was set fire to the models while ranting for 20 minutes about Games Workshop.

Seriously, this is arguably the most infantile response I have seen to Age of Sigmar. Don't like the rules or that Warhammer Fantasy is being written out, that's fine. Sell your figs online and get some of the money you sunk into the hobby back, play old editions, get kings of war and play that, or just park your figures in a box in case Warhammer Fantasy makes a return later as a deluxe version of Age of Sigmar. Who knows what the future holds for that line.

Burning your models won't teach GW a lesson. They already have the money you spent on those figures. The only person losing out in this is the person burning the figures, hundreds of dollars up in smoke. 

Skip to 8:49 to ignore his jabbering and watch this idiot literally burning money, in a protest, that no one will give a shit about.

It's his right to burn those figures, but the only message he's sending is that he's a spoiled douche clown.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...