Thursday, October 25, 2012

BattleFleet Gothic Report: Tau vs Ork

Last week CB and Skywatcher took to the void of space to do battle in classic Battlefleet Gothic. This game doesn't get alot of playtime, but it is a favorite of mine. We set the limit of 750pts. Here are the forces brought to bear...

Orks by CB
Gorbag's Revenge w/ a Warload abord (GR)
Terror Ship (TS)
Kill Kroozer (KK)
Ravager (RA)
Extra Reroll
Total Points: 745

Tau by Skywatcher
Explorer Gal’Leath Bor’Kan (EX)
Merchant - Il’Fannor Dal’yth (MR)
Hero - Lar’shi Tolku (HE)
(3) Defenders (D1-D3)
(3) Orca (O1-O3)
Total Points: 740

The Premise
The Tau fleet were on an exploratory mission (because it's for the greater good, right!) to planet Doton within the Eastern Fringe. Long thought a dead planet, the Tau detected signals emanating from the surface and sent a small task force to investigate. After entering the planets vicinity, a fleet of dirty Orks emerged from behind Doton to ambush the approaching Tau. "We are on a diplomatic mission from...."

The Ork forces began clumped together to maximize defensive turret strength. The Tau started in two groups as far back as possible to take advantage of their advanced ordnance. The dice rolled poorly for the Tau's leadership, and this would haunt them for the rest of the game.

Tau torpedoes launched from all available bays along with bombers. This is what they do best! The Orks countered with what they had.

A few lucky guided torpedoes snuck past the Ork defenses and slammed into the Kill Kroozer. Two of the Tau Orcas were destroyed by Ork ordinance. Boom!

Unfortunately, a wave of panic and fear spread amongst the crews of the Tau vessels and the fleet commanders desperately tried to rally them back. (The ordinance rerolls failed for the Tau) The left flank of the Tau fleet also ran into a problem with the planet and the Merchant cruiser broke off his engagement in order to attempt to avoid the oncoming Kill Kroozer. The Hero and Explorer maintained their distance. The Ravager was vaporized by the Hero's weaponry. The Orks flagship and Terror Ship maintained course towards the biggest threat. The Kill Kroozer pursued the small Tau detachment.

The Ork Kill Kroozer closed in on the Merchant to almost within boarding range. It was able to fire at close range bringing massive damage to the craft. Gorbag's Revenge and Terror Ship were able to easily eliminate the last Orca ship and land some damage on the Hero.

Tau failed their reload ordinance rolls again, and were stuck without torpedoes or bombers. With no rear armament, the Merchant was left with little else to do that attempt to outrun the Kill Kroozer. The Merchant was all but lost and the other Tau ships needed re-enforcements. The Tau commanders issued commands to the Defenders to focus on the main two Ork ships. They unloaded their railgun batteries into the aft of Gorbag's Revenge dealing some damage.

The Kill Kroozer successfully caught up with the Merchant ship and swarms of greenskins attacked. The other two Ork ships consentrated their firepower and destroyed the Hero ship. A massive explosion rocked the area as the Hero's hull collapsed. 

When the communications from the Merchant ceased, the Tau commanders weren't surprised. There was little hope for them once the powerful Orks got that close. Shortly after, a large explosion was seen emanating from behind the planet. The Merchant was reduced to a hulk. The combined firepower of the Defenders did rock the Terror Ship.

The Terror Ship boarded the Explorer ship as Gorbag's Revenge flew by.

The last turn ended as the Explorer attempted to defend itself against the boarding attacks by the Terror Ship. The Defenders fired a few last battery shots at Gorbag's Revenger, as the Kill Kroozer emerged from the other size of Doton.

Report Wrap-up
The matchup between Ork and Tau is an interesting one. They both seem to have the opposite strengths of the other. 

The Tau's obvious advantage lies in their cheap ship cost and advanced ordinance. What they have in long distance, they severely lack in close combat and speed. Tau boarding strength is half of a normal ship! The Ork ships are sturdy, have great armor and offensive weapons. They are susceptible to ordinance attacks because they do have lower than normal turrets and are less maneuverable.

In this particular battle, the initial rolls for Tau leadership were very low and caused an ongoing problem with special order rolls. Only one reload ordinance roll was successfully made after the first turn. And having a fleet very dependent on one tactic and then not having it available the whole battle, was a huge challenge. At the advice of CB, I will add in a re-roll into my next list.

Needless to report, the Orks did win on point totals after turn 8. Good game!

And when I asked the Ork's for their side of the story, they added.... WAAAAAAAGH!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Future Wargame Predictions of the Future

Today I make some wild (or maybe somewhat obvious) predictions on where tabletop miniature wargaming is headed. Over the years there have been many different changes it has gone through. Scale has varied from 6mm up to 54mm. The build materials have evolved from pewter, white medal, resin and now a large movement towards plastics. But overall, we are still doing the same things; We buy, assemble, paint, and then move these little men (and women) around a board and try to kill the other guy's army.

What will be the norm in 10-20 years for miniature gaming? It is hard to predict, but gauging by the advancement of technology and newer generations getting into the hobby, things will evolve. Below are some ideas that I see.

1. Powered by Computers
I might start with the most obvious one. Hey did anyone notice we are using computers more? Of course this also includes smart phones and tablet technology. Computers are getting more powerful and becoming smaller. We see them being integrated more and more into everyday items. Microsoft's Surface project is a great example of computers merging with our everyday. Here they took a tabletop and laid a touchscreen display under a glass surface. Users can interact with the screen using touch controls. I've seen demo versions of boardgames and even RPG sessions using the MS Surface. This will be a natural progression, as the newer generations of players jump into the miniature wargaming hobby with well established roots in video game.

And just think how cool it would be to move your soldier model up within range of an enemy, select who your attaching with your smart phone and click fire, and all the combat is resolved on the smart phone. Plus you'd get graphic and sound to enhance the attack made.

2. Physical meets Virtual
The Skylanders franchise is a great example of using physical objects to interact with the digital world. Last Christmas a Christmas frenzy was started with their release. Now a year later, over 30 million toy figures have been sold. This XBox & Playstation game allows kids (their target audience) to buy a toy figure and once they set their model on the game console's portal (RFID reader) they can play that character in the game. One of the most interesting features allowed kids to take their character to a friends house and continue playing their character with all the gained experience. Due to the ongoing success, they are releasing an expansion this Christmas called Skylanders: Giants.

This technology could be adapted to embed RFID chips into the wargaming models we build. Combine this with a MS Surface and you've got yourself a formula for success.

 3. Holograms
Do you remember watching R2-D2 and Chewbacca play the hologram game in Star Wars? Who didn't think that was a cool idea? This one is kind of a wild shot, since there have been many attempts at bringing holograms to gaming specially in the arcade, and it hadn't met with much success.. Holograms most likely will be overshadowed by Augmented Reality. I still hope to see little projected men battling it out on a tabletop near you.

4. Minis-R-Us
Why wait for shipping when you can print your own models right now? With the development of rapid prototype machines and 3D printers this is coming to reality. Ideally a player could purchase a 3D file from his favorite game development company and load it into his own 3D printer. 10 minutes later, open the door and there is your new 28mm soldier. Prices have dropped significantly and quality has also increased dramatically. This will open the door to digital piracy, but hopefully if the gaming companies embrace this technology it can be limited. Another benefit is building your own stuff. Design software will no doubtingly get easier to use and the ability to design your own pieces (if not complete models) is fantastic.

5. Co-Location Gaming
Our lives and schedules tend to get pretty busy. One of the biggest challenges for any local gaming club is getting people to meet at any particular time and place. Technology can help with this. Vassal is the current king of remote gaming. It allows people to play their favorite miniature games online. I predict this will become much more prominent and supported more by established gaming companies. With the merger of miniature games and computers this will become a natural choice for many.

6. WarGamer Score
XBox Live and Playstation Network track players as they play through their favorite video games. It tally's success, failures and rewards ongoing play with unlockables or trophies. This is a natural match for miniature gaming. All the games that each miniature gamer plays would be tracked and scores kept. Do you want to know your record against your best friend using X army. Just look in your account. How about a quick glance at your opponent's record just before a tournament match. I predict that individual game companies (GW & PP) will release these initially, but an open-to-all-games platform become the predominate tool. Let the bragging rights commence.

How'd I do?
Do you think I missed any major or minor ideas? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

How did they do that?

Enjoy a little (43min) documentary about boardgame production. This focuses on Ludo Fact, a German company, and what it takes to put a boardgame and all it's components together. A neat watch for those who want to know how they did that.

Video: Made for Play: Board Games & Modern Industry

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

To Brand or not to Brand...

  So I had an idea. That's the cue for those who know me to run away screaming. I thought of a concept for a cross genre game to run at KublaCon next year. One that would bring the various groups of gamers together and sow harmony between the Miniatures Wargamers, Pen and Paper Roleplayers, Card Gamers, and LARPers. Then, over the course of the weekend, tear them apart with backstabbing and treachery. It would sort of be a cross between a LARP, those Button Wars (or Button Men?) games and a Games Workshop Global Campaign. Players would be free to participate as much or as little as they choose and the game would have minimal interference with playing in other games. It would be loosely based on a currently popular fiction series.
  So, here is my question: Should I go ahead and just use the Names and Locations from the series in the game? Mind you, its loosely based, the outcome will be unscripted, and players will be free to make any alliances they choose to make. However, if "Branded" the game will for better or worse, have the added emotional impact of pre-existing characters and concepts, as well as be much easier for me to write.
  Would you be more willing, or less willing to play in a game with a familiar "Brand?"

Sunday, July 1, 2012

But I'm the Dragonborn...

This is too nerdy for Facebook, but I thought you guys might find it funny. I spent 45 levels "Sandboxing" in Skyrim, mostly buffing out my Smithing and Enchanting skills, and killing bandits and taking their stuff. Moral questions about stealing from stealers aside, I just started getting into some of the campaign quests. The ones intended for lower levels are now quite funny, as the characters question your prowess, and equipment. They gave me a steel sword that does 70 damage, to replace "whatever that is." "THAT" is a dragon bone sword that does 206... oh, and it siphons health and fills soulgems. They challenge me to a fist fight after I just saved their village from an Elder Dragon. Calling me names and trying to intimidate as we are literally fighting amongst the bones of a dragon I killed before their eyes.
I wouldn't deign to give Spooktalker tips on using inks as I'm helping him carry his painting contest trophies out to the car, nor would I, with my bum knee and vans try to go long distance running with Skywatcher (during a Con mind you, the guy is kind of a badass). I do sometimes try to match wits with DoomsDay, but only to keep my Daedric Sarcasm (Epic) sharp.
Pretty stinkin' nerdy.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Level 7 from Privateer Press

The gates are opening for the new Level 7 game from Privateer Press. We didn't know if it was to be another miniature game, a board game, or what. But the word is out now. It's a semi-cooperative survival-horror board game. Demos were given at the Lock and Loaded event last week.

Box Art with Alien eye!

Press Release Description:
"You are a captive of Subterra Bravo, imprisoned in the facility’s deepest laboratory, the hall of nightmares known as LEVEL 7. Your singular goal is to escape, but to do that you will have to evade the human and inhuman denizens of this subterranean labyrinth before the entire base is locked down, sealing you in for the rest of your short, tormented life. Will you work together with your fellow prisoners to endure Subterra Bravo’s endless perils, or will you use them to secure your own escape? Ultimately, your chances of survival will depend on how well you manage your greatest weapon, which is also your greatest threat: fear itself."

Here are some details:
  • 47 Map Tiles
  • 138 Cards
  • 4 Character Sheets
  • 133 Tokens and Markers
  • 28 Stands
  • 8 Special Dice
  • Rulebook
  • Scenario Guide
  • 1-4 players

  • Price: $54.99
    Available Summer 2012

    Game components

    Game demo from nqmagazine

    game demo from nqmagazine

    Game Demo from nqmagazine

    Well.... I was looking forward to another gaming universe developed by Privateer Press instead of a one-off board game. But I can go with it. It is very interesting that this game type is getting alot of attention right now. Zombicide took Kickstarter by storm, and Sedition Wars looks to be doing very successful. Are there too many survival tile board games coming out?
    One thing in Level 7 that is obviously missing are miniatures. How could they think of releasing this with cardboard models? I hope that there are minis coming. What do you think?

    Monday, June 4, 2012

    Community Showcase: The Chaos Manifesto

    What is better than 1 Panda? 200 Pandas! The Chaos Manifesto blog (run by HotPanda) is celebrating their 200th post to the blog and wanted to celebrate with a great giveaway. Check em out if you get a chance.

    Here are some cool links he has shared on his blog that are also worth checking out...

     CHRIS RYNIAK: Night Critters

    Wednesday, May 30, 2012

    Axles & Alloys 2 at KublaCon 2012

    KublaCon 2012 has come and gone, and with it much gaming was had. On Saturday, Spooktalker hosted a story telling based RPG, then our Op-For Overlord ran an awesome Necromunda scenario game in the evening. I hope he posts some shots and the low down on the game. I placed second of the starting 8 players. (so close, it came down to a couple last shots that could have turned the tide) Be sure to chalk it up to my noob status. This post will cover the game I ran on Sunday.

    Axles & Alloys 2
    @ KublaCon May 27, 2012

    Download Quick Rules Sheet | Download Car Sheets

    Download Full Rule Set (I changed up & removed some of the rules for the con)

    We had a full turnout with 8 players signed up. I setup the board with terrain and briefly gave a run down of the rules. Everyone seemed ready, grabbed a car and we were off. (Mental note for next time, bring a tan/brown sheet to lay over the white table for better visuals)

    Game 1
    Scenario: Speed Bumps

    I picked a scenario called "Speed Bumps" pitching everyone against each other with pedestrians that randomly spawned around the table each turn that awarded bonus points for killing. One point for each car kill and 2 points for each pedestrian taken out. At the beginning of each round, I rolled and randomly spawned 3 new pedestrians at 6 different possible points around the board. It was great fun to watch everyones plans adjust to were the people showed up. A few times right in front of an oncoming car. Once the game got underway, everyone quickly realized that it was best to go after the pedestrians than the other cars. But we did have, I think, 2 cars destroyed during the 8 round game. Victor picked a winner Kubla Pin and second place got $10 KublaBucks. After the game wrapped, we still had plenty of time and everyone wanted to go again (cool!), so we took a break and got ready for another game.

    The rules are light, but tactics are still king
    Cars dance around the table

    Game 2
    Scenario: Ambush!

    For change of pace, I picked a scenario that would form 2 teams and pit them against each other. One team was in charge of escorting a semi truck (Semi with two escort vehicles), their victory condition was to drive the semi from one end of the table to the other. The attacking team of 4 cars drove in with the sole purpose of destroying the semi. Each team deliberated over tactics, then charged into the fight. With the escorting team being alittle too aggressive and over taking the semi and driving to the other side of the board, leaving the truck to fend for itself. With a huge deluge of well placed dropped weapons (spikes, mines and napalm) the semi was left in a pickle of a situation. It narrowly avoided the deadly path left by their adversaries, but was plinked away round after round until it eventually was destroyed before reaching the half way mark on the table. Victory and $5 KublaBucks went to the attackers. All to easy.

    2nd turn of game 2
    Escorting vehicle drives by semi
    Witness the impending path of this semi through napalm, spike stripes, and then mines to finish the job!
    By luck (or terrain adjustment) the semi cranks the wheel enough to detour from disaster

    Final Thoughts

    All but two players had never played the game before. Everyone unanimously agreed that it was a great game to run at the con, with easy to learn rules and quick turns, plus fun cars. From the feedback, the truck was both underarmed and should have used the same targeting method as the cars for taking fire. I personally had a great time running the games. I can also say that the game ran very smoothly because we had a great group of people at the table. Thanks for those who came to play!

    Be sure to visit the creator of this rule set at

    Thursday, May 10, 2012

    Tuesday, April 24, 2012

    Anyone else wish 40k didn't suck?

    I love everything about it, except the game. This is a photo of I manipulated. Its a battle scene featuring a Slaanesh Hell Strider I scratch built, its featured in BoLS's Lords of Battle.

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

    He's a big fan of Three Dog Night

    Silver and green were colors unworthy to adorn the triumphant visage of not-Cobra Commander. So I whipped some paint on him. Still needs a bit of touching up and more work on the Cobra logo. My eyes were giving out, past my bed time, trying to use magnifiers, and watch Zulu at the same time. Give it another go tomorrow, hey what?

    Chin chin, and carry on with your mud-pies.

    Thursday, April 5, 2012

    Vehicular Combat at KublaCon 2012

    Join us at KublaCon in Burlingame, CA on May 25-28, 2012. I have scheduled to run the vehicular combat game of Axles & Alloys 2 on Sunday at 10:00am.

    "Come focus your pent up road rage in our radioactive desert landscape. Axles & Alloys 2 is fast paced and easy to learn car combat miniatures game. Rules are a homebrew adaptation of Full Thrust, with cars rather than Spacecraft. Rules are quick to learn (fit on 1 page) and don’t take themselves too seriously, and are designed for jumping in and playing. Free for all battle and scenarios planned."

    I will be bringing my custom modified hotwheels/matchbox car miniatures. I have some scenarios we can try or just royale rumble style. Join us at the Khan of Cons!

    Sunday, March 25, 2012

    Work in Prog-Rock

    A few weeks back Spooktalker, celebrating my arrival on your planet, gave me a set of Grindhouse Games Dogface Combots from their tennative JUNK line of miniatures. The Dogfaces are currently out of production, but Spooktalker was able to get his hands on a previously owned set. The previous owner had severely neglected the poor 'bots. Shoddy assembly, lack of clean up, sub-standard primer, and improper handling had left them in a sad state.

    So with a 2 week soak in Simple Green and a little tlc, they are starting to look like the crack team of metal militants they were made to be.

    I made a few minor alterations to establish some character, for instance the CQB Combot with his auto-shotgun would be in the thick of the fighting and ought to have a few more scrapes, dents and blown circuits than the basic model. So I used round and leaf-blade needle files to add some realistic battle damage.

    The set also included a boonie hat, designed to fit snugly over the 'Bot's camera eye. While test fitting, I found the slouch of the hat combined with the roundness of their domed heads to give a overly comical cartoon hobo appearance. Not the sort of thing that causes hardened Martian Commandos to quake in their grim, skull shaped gasmasks. Determined to rise to Spooktalker's challenge of, "I know you'll put this to good use," I thought of a picture of Carlos Hathcock wearing a boonie hat tipped back on his head. Probably protecting him from the harsh South East Asian sun while he rested after shooting yet another top NVA sniper straight down the scope into his no-good commie eye.

    I also made a minor conversion to his left arm and hand, in order to give him a scouting "Hold, Contact" pose. An homage to several classic Perry Brothers Imperial Guard minis.

    Monday, February 20, 2012

    Work in Progressssssssss.

    Been working on a birthday gift for a friend, the very pulpy Kol. Zanzibar from East Riding Miniatures. He comes with a Not Cobra Commander alternate head, but what he real needs to take over the world is a good cape. How could he boogie to Three Dog Night without one? Besides, there is a technique for sculpting capes I've always wanted to try.

    I had cleaned assembled and based the miniature before hand. I used Green Stuff, it has a predictable set time and is stiff enough to span gaps unsupported. After mixing I rolled it out as flat as I could, then put it in between to sheets of plastic. I used a sandwich bag. Then I pressed it between two hard cover books, standing on them in order to get it even flatter. I let the putty set for 20 minutes before removing it from the sandwich bag, then cut it into the size and shape I needed. The putty was stiff enough to hold its shape, yet still workable. Once stuck to the miniature, I used a rubber tipped shaper to smooth folds and curves, and a metal blade tool to create the smaller wrinkles at the top of the cape.

    There were a few unwanted wrinkles from the sandwich bag as well as from the shaping. I plan on touching these up with some more putty. Here is the cape from the front:

    Saturday, February 4, 2012

    BTW My Solo Project

    At least a couple of you must have seen this already, but I realized I get up to Op-For HQ so infrequently these days (deep cover covert ops, etc, you know how it goes) the word has probably not got around. But for the past six months now I've been doing a blog called Belched for the Depths—check it out!

    The low-down is, now that my new career is in full swing and I've shelved the commission painting gig I've finally got the time to throw myself into my own projects, and BftD is for those projects.

    Don't worry, though, I'm not leaving the band and you can still find me around here on the Op-For blog. I know you were all panicking there for a sec. ;)

    Monday, January 9, 2012

    Miniature Review: St. Nikolaus by Tor Gaming

    Let's do a product review. Have you heard of Tor Gaming? If not, go check them out. They produce 28mm scale miniatures and have created two gaming systems they work with (Relics and Unbridled Fury). We will talk about their Relics game which they coined "stitchpunk." They have developed three factions within the game. A Britanan and two monster type groups. The models in the Britanan are sorta cute, stitched together, dolls bearing weaponry and clothing from the early days of Britain's army. They have just posted up their rules and are beta testing at this time. A great time to get into the game! Reviewed here is a promotional piece called St. Nikolaus, themed after jolly old St. Nic, but in stitchpunk styling...

    What's in the Box? (or blister):

    This blister pack included everything to assemble on St. Nikolaus model. And was easily opened, no cutting or sharp plastic edges! Blister was labeled with part number TGRBESN1
    • One St. Nikolaus body
    • One bag of holiday goodies
    • Sprue with piping and bone pieces
    • One 40mm round plastic slotted base

    Sculpting/Casting Notes:

    This model is on the small size compared to others I've worked with. The quality of the casting is very good. With very little mold lines and the flash was almost not existent. This model is only a few pieces so it should be easy to assemble. Pose options are limited. The model stands about 16mm to eye level.

    Here is a size comparison to some other models.


    A very nice model. If your on the lookout for a little more light hearted skirmish game, maybe Relics is your ticket. Thanks again to Tor Gaming, and I am looking forward to checking out their gaming rules and how they develop more.

    Click here to order on Tor Gamings website

    Monday, January 2, 2012

    2012: Resolutions

    The clock struck 12 and 2012 is here. As are traditions, we made a few resolutions last year and now is the time we reflect on them. How did you do? Good, or not so much. For myself I made 6 hobby gaming resolutions. It looks like I completed 3 of them. For the first time I attended a gaming convention, KublaCon. It was a blast. 3 days of hanging out and living the gamers life. I definitely plan on going again. I also upped my postings for this blog, looks like I posted at least 2 posts a month last year. And I only started one new gaming system, Bloodbowl (Thanks to Op-For's generosity). Now for 2012... comment and share yours too.

    1. Complete my playable Bloodbowl Chaos team
    2. Complete my Mordheim Carnival of Chaos warband
    3. Host a game day at my house
    4. Create a diorama piece
    5. Continue actively posting to this blog (a repeat from last year cause its a good one)
    6. Organize my collection of miniatures, supplies and tools better