Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Napoleonics: Russia versus France

 This past Saturday I got to meet my friend Abel and engage in a first play of Song of Drums and Shakos: Large Battles. We had settled on a structure of two 40x40mm stands of soldiers per battalion and regiment and a single cannon of course. 

I did not have the models to make the brigade as it was detailed in the rules so I had to make shift. My opponent had to use a British cannon crew, shameful!

Here we see a view of the Russian lines from the East. In the far back is a battalion of Jagers on the hill with LineInfantry moving to support. They are opposed by French light infantry and line infantry.

A view of the Chasser a Cheval from the French side. Thankfully they spent most of the battle unsure of their course and in the rear of the enemy lines. 

An overview of the battle early on. The Russian lines (to your left) have lost one battalion of Grenadiers but continue to march on the enemy none the less even under artillery barrage. 

A view from the French General's point of view. In the trees to the left are Line Infantry supported by more of the same. Grenadiers to the right are about to make a brave assault on enemy to try to roll up the line into their cavalry. 

A view of the early battle, you can see the Chasseur a Cheval in the rear while the infantry engaged. The cannon made several barrages through the battle but was mostly ineffective. 

A close up of the cannon firing a barrage.

Another angle of an earlier photo. You can see my general in the middle holding command of the brigade fearlessly while the French general mostly yelled orders from his back line. 

I was surprised how well the rules played in relation to how they read. I am by no means an expert of anything at all but they read very, well, very blandly but in execution played well and with excitement. The proximity rule is FANTASTIC and I cannot express how valuable it is to create the spirit of the period well. Also the forces were slightly unbalanced by numbers but in rules the French were more powerful soldiers, as they should have been. The saving grace of my battle was that the Russians were respectably represented with the "Drilled" rule allowing me to recover the disorder while close to the foe.

I did lose the battle, it was close though. Frankly I lost the battle on my own turn with a failed contact with the enemy on the West hill. It gave me 1 disorder that pushed me into shaken and moved me into 3 Divisional Break Points thus ending the game at the end of my turn. 

I am already painting more of my many Russian soldiers though and look forward to another game soon!

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Ultramarine Units

 My first war game love is the Ultramarines. Which is strange indeed because my first war game love is also fantasy war gaming. These things apparently are incompatible but I would argue no greater band of knights exist than the fine upstanding Ultramarines! Truly noble, fine warriors, defenders of the defenseless, and academics most fine!

But anyway I blather, here are some recently completed models in my terrible photography.

Fourth squad of Third Company, Squad Relios, Assault Intercessor Squad. To their left stands the current iteration of Captain Acheran in his Indomitus Crusade glory. On his shield is the reliquary of Saint Hemitorus a loyal servant of the Imperium.

Close up of the Captain, also you can see the decal work on the marine beside him. I took some car to double decal and use set and lots of patience to do my best. 

Close up of the squad.

A close up of Captain Acheran's Relic Shield with the remains of Saint Hemitorus.

Close up of Sergeant Relios and his tilting shield. No iconography yet as they've not taken to the field yet. I rarely do it but I like to go back and adds stuff to models as they are played. 

Friday, January 22, 2021

54mm 3D Printed Soldier

 My friend has a filament printer. My other friend has a resin printer.

I have friends with 3-D printers and I like exploiting them. They seem okay with it as I pay them for the stuff plus a little more. 

But my point is...look at this!

Love 54mm figures but they aren't really readily available. There are a few manufacturers but frankly for the 5 dollars I paid for this it's hard to compete. I just need more designers to make 3-D models of medieval knights and men-at-arms for me to do. 

That is all, just a cool miniature. Thanks for looking :)

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Roleplaying Alignment (Text Heavy)

 I have been getting to play a decent amount of D&D during the pandemic and I've become more comfortable and familiar with the fifth edition of the rules. I now have five rules sets in my memory so sometimes I get them mixed up and make bad calls or confuse rules but its a game so that is fine. I'm the kind of DM that focuses on fun instead of strict rules adherence and those players tend not to roll so well with me anyway, we get into petty argument over little rules and I should be better. 

One aspect of roleplaying games that has always been a strange point for me when it comes to how I view the game and how everyone plays it is alignments and actions as they can be interpreted by alignment. I have reached a point where in the law to chaos / good to evil x/y axis that I view one representing nature and the other representing actions, respectively. 

Some good old 1st edition table work for you here

So in my games a character is inherently lawful or chaotic (or neutral of course espousing neither dominantly but this is more reserved for monsters or NPCs). So a lawful character would be orderly, prefer structure, value intrinsic social structures, and civilization in its orderly aspects. On the converse the inherently chaotic character would prefer more organic and disorganized structure, a social organization based off other ideas besides social ranks, and would take actions more on the context of the moment rather than a subscribed moral structure. 

On the other axis the good and evil, which I define as actions, or "acts". So an inherently lawful character can perform an evil act and a good act but it doesn't not change his nature. Neutral acts are possible, and in all truth the most numerous. Eating a sandwich is neither good nor evil under normal circumstances although in the correct context it could be seen as either. 

This means within a role playing environment the game master, and how they define the gods of the game, define what is "good" and "evil" but law and chaos are inherent within nature. It is easy to draw the X axis within many dynamics; civilization vs. wilds, law vs. anarchy, social hierarchy vs. rule of the strong, and so forth. Good and evil though must be defined by the predominant gods and demons. This will almost always fall into the classic acts; murder is evil vs. self defense being good, paying for something is good vs. stealing something is evil. Those are very basic ideas of course but more complex ones are easily found. I feel the best way to exemplify what I am trying to describe is to use an in game event that actually happened. If you will permit...

While scouting out the cave where monsters may be, raiding monsters, they capture a kobold sentry. Binding it they question it, use some intimidation, and successfully gotten their information one of the player stated they would kill the kobold. I pointed out that would be an evil act. They whole heartedly disagreed saying that the kobold was an evil being and therefore killing it was not evil but good. I tried to explain that the nature of the victim is not a factor in the nature of the act; if you murder an evil kobold or a good farmer you are still murdering. 

This devolved quickly as the player would not concede even though we were discussing only a fantasy  setting with good and evil defined by the game master. In the end the player did not want to return and I had to think about that a lot. I had no interest in pushing away players but at the same time I felt it is the game master's responsibility to establish the game world's nature. With most frpgs you will get a pantheon that gives you a lot of guidance, and we can go straight to that for this event.

In the 5th edition of the game the primary game world is Faerun, and we have a nice full pantheon for reference. We can go straight to a particular diety npc: Bhaal the "god of murder". Classified as neutral evil in alignment we can easily draw the correlation that murder = evil action. The next step down the rabbit hole of defining moral actions is "What is murder?" which gets more difficult. Again you have to take responsibility as a DM to define this in a way players can digest and either exploit or conform to according to their play style. Saving a lot of text I will sum up my view within a frpg context: Killing any defenseless creature that is intelligent is a murderous act. This makes it simple, gives feasible loopholes, and lets the DM (me in this case) work within a game world that is not burdensome. 

To revisit the bound kobold there were solutions to the evil act to make it neutral or good. The could have unbound it and armed with for a duel to the death. Admittedly that would be a weird response but it would have been more neutral and less evil for sure. Perhaps even good. They  could have freed the kobold and sent it packing. Clearly a merciful act and therefore good. They could have left it there, bound up, until they had cleared the cave and rescued the villagers. An ambiguous act that would be more neutral and undetermined until after the rescue effected. Ultimately the definitive desire of the player to kill a bound intelligent being was evil without question within the context of the game world.

From my view, as the Dungeon Master. Which ultimately is what must be considered in a game.

Obviously there is a lot of room for discussion as morals and ethics usually generate such but I feel that ultimately this is a game and a game needs rules that can be used for structure. I would like to hear your opinions though if you are an frpg enthusiast and hobbyist, or just have an opinion. 

Thanks for taking the time to read my post, and may your dice always roll to your favor. 

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Project Completed: Blood Angels Collection

 It is uncommon for a hobbyist to look at a project and go, "Well that is done and I am not going to add to it." But shockingly I have reached that point. At the beginning of the pandemic I took a model kit, the Blood Angel's Tactical Squad, that I had laying around and decided to try some new techniques in both painting and modeling. Pushing my skills some but not going over the top, just fun and exploratory. That single model kit grew into more kits, friends donated kits to the purpose, and before I knew it there was an entire army of models waiting to be given paint. I took the challenge and faced it head on looking to do my best model by model and complete it before the end of the year. The last model was finished mid December and now I've had a chance to take pictures of them all. Please allow me to share them with you here and I hope you find them pleasant to look at. 

Brother Adamantus, Librarian Dreadnought 

Cassor the Damned, Death Company Dreadnought

Captain Karlean, 1st Company Captain

Lieutenant Caseyus, Death Company Lieutenant

Squad Raphaen, Death Company Squad

"Deliverance", Rhino Transport

"Furious Retribution", Baal Predator

Squad Eladinaeus, Tactical Squad 

Lexicanum Varsinus, Librarian in Terminator Armor 

Squad Alphaeus, Terminator Squad

Squad Gideon, Terminator Squad

Squad Lorenzo, Terminator Squad
The collection consists of models from Games Workshop of course including the models from the Space Hulk Board Game (fourth edition, 2014) and models from the Deathstorm battle box (2014) creating a very elite force within context of Warhammer 40,000. One of the models, the Death Company Lieutenant Caseyus (named for my common battle foe Casey) is a custom kitbash model, a very low level kitbash but still within that realm. 

Regarding painting techniques I tried three different methods for the various wings on the models by varying wash types, dry brushing and detail painting feathers. Also I varied scroll colors, washes, and dry brushing with edge highlighting. I tried to add mild weathering, something that showed activity, but didn't over whelm the model. The red armor color was achieved by priming the models white, painting them completely with Model Color red, washing with Carroburg Crimson from Citadel, then over brushing with Mephiston Red from Citadel. I was really pleased with how the color came out and the pictures don't really do it justice. As a final application I gloss coated them, literally something I have never done for another army. Normally I only flat clear coat but this was all about experimenting.

I mixed up the base work myself with a blend of spent tea and ground oregano that was glued over a black back ground then later a mixture of glue and water (about 1 to 4) soaked over it to secure it well and remove some of the softness to it. It turned out to make it look like ground after a heavy rain, nice bonus. 

Modeling wise I took the time to drill out all of the barrels of any firearms, remove mold lines well, and drilled out the exhaust stacks of the armored vehicles. A few of the models were recovered from bad condition and it took some love but eventually I got them to a point it was acceptable. 

Game wise it comes to just under 100 power level at 97 and 1,945 points making it a large army to play with. Strategically it is a terrible army >lol< really all elite and suicidal units with a single standard tactical squad to do the scoring work. On one side it's hyper aggressive with three deep strike capable terminator squads, three deep strike capable heroes, and a deep strike (well low orbit strike) capable death company. It has a lot of psychic power but none of the battle clergy which would benefit the Death Company. The armor is just as aggressive with a flamer heavy battle tank and dreadnoughts. It is a lot of alpha strike that if it fails to soften or scattered the enemy enough for scoring units to do their job it will be hard fought.  

Completing this collection was a pleasurable endeavor and I am thinking about doing another such challenge to my skills. Nothing so large and probably fantasy oriented. 

More battles coming soon. All of January will have Adeptus Titanicus titans marching across Casey's basement, pictures will be provided, an accurate account? Probably not. :)

Friday, December 18, 2020

Fantasy Warfare and Science Fiction

 Starting to explore the game of Age of Sigmar. I lamented the death of Warhammer Fantasy Battles within the context of the publisher and my own game community. People here have an aversion to orderly combat and feel they are getting more out of running two collection of models directly into each other. Meh, I mean I like that too, but it would be nice to have some maneuver on occaision. 

I digress. 

I've been collecting Age of Sigmar because the models are still primo and I am a sucker for fantasy war fare. Age of Sigmar is strange for me to play, it is more similar to Magic the Gathering than war gaming maybe, I don't know, I'm just old.

Anyway here are some photos of my recent game, again in no specific order. I only took photos of deployment and a few in game. We tended not to move about once we were set in battle so it was not much to photo. 

As you an see my friend has a Karadron Overlords collection and he is quite the painter. His collection is just a little over 700 points but it is hard to fight. I'm finding nurgle plague bearers are not as tough as you'd think and the gunships are strong for their points. It didn't help that of 10 spells I only cast 4, one unbound by him, and 2 were mystic shield. None of my offensive magic worked. I'm working on painting terrain pieces to add to the table as we go and he is going to be adding some new model.

I really need a great unclean one!

Also recently I have begun exploring Eve Online, something I haven't gravitated towards mostly because I find paying high monthly fees to play not good for my life style. No shade on the process, I just know I won't pour a hundred hours into it a month. Eve Online is a high science game and I am enjoying the nature of it's play. I'm not a fighter pilot and I don't have to be and it's very soothing. That isn't much to say but in case you were wondering about it there is some feedback from an old war gamer. 

Friday, October 16, 2020

War...war is eternal

I am finding the ninth edition of the Warhammer 40,000 rules most enjoyable. But frankly I attribute this more to my opponent, Casey, than to the rules. I am a firm believer the players make the game not the game makes the fun. I will also give some credit to the rules that enable us to play an easy game and well enough written it doesn't devolve into a war of attrition always. Below is a collection of photos from two battles. No real order I just enjoy looking at war game photos and figure others are the same. Sorry for a lack of battle report, I just didn't have time to take notes or write one. Please enjoy my collection of photos and the feeling of the game being played. Also, should you have any feedback please feel free to do so :)