Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017 thoughts.

Many Blogs do this at the end of each year. I look back to mine from last year and see how I missed out a section and had hopes and dreams that never materialised. So here goes, in no particular order:

PC gaming
I never finished Xcom. I nearly finished it, and meant to complete it, but haven't loaded it since March/April. I bought Northgard and played it a couple of times, but again nothing since February. I bought Starcraft 2 Legacy of the Void in n attempt to complete the narrative of that game. I completed a few missions over the summer holidays and haven't touched it since.  Worst of all, I bought Galactic Civilisations 3, having loved the 2nd one. I do not know when I will ever have the time to play that game. It is not something you can drop in and out of. It is also only playable on my gaming rig, which requires me to sit in my dining room, alone. Not what I want to do. Skyrim? I enjoyed it for a few weeks back at the beginning of the year,  but again haven't touched it since. All in all, I feel like I am at a stage in life where gaming is not a prime concern. I should sell my rig and upgrade my laptop for the odd game on the sofa.

6mm WW2
This project has completely stalled. I based a squad of each nation but the rest remains unfinished. I feel as though I have neither the time or terrain to want to move further along. But at the s me time, WW2 is my first love, and I want to take my Battlegroup rules for at spin finally, or A Sergeant's War, or Bolt Action, or Flying Lead. My brother is building a 15mm WW2 collection with which to play Flames of War, so this has inspired me slightly. I own a handful of buildings that I can finish, but again I can't be bothered.

20mm WW2
This is being mentioned only because I brought some miniatures out to use for a stop motion film as an example for my students. I made a 6 second video of an Airfix jeep driving along. Not super interesting. This project will stay shut down until I have a larger house, or a dedicated wargaming club to attend.

6mm Sci Fi
This is where all the action is. Admittedly I have had only 4 games this year, 3 of Horizon Wars and one of Starport Scum, but I have had breakthroughs with terrain, figure basing and the further development of the Tranquil Stars universe.

I am very excited about Horizon Wars.  After purchasing Laserstorm for my after school club, I will probably end up starting them off with Horizon Wars because I still don't have enough miniatures to form larger armies. I also have a narrative I want to stick with for a little while, which will help me get games in. I also discovered that I can just lay out a game on my lounge floor to get a large battle in. Again, will help me get games in.

Starport Scum: I have a shopping list with multiple expansions of this game on. I haven't bought them yet. Until last night I hadn't played since November 2016. But again I have characters and some storylines I want to explore, which will help me get games in. The rules are great, although last night I had a sudden  panic that I wasn't enjoying them anymore. But I feel like it was ,ore to do with my lack of proper campaign preparation than anything. I have been really thinking about the role playing elements of this game and hope to implement more of those also.

So all in all, I am happy with where my 6mm journey has been going.

OTHER NOTABLE THINGS that don't fall in the remit of this blog:
I became a dad again. That was amazing.
My marriage has matured to a very happy place right now.
I have lost 2.5 stone through Slimming World.
I am feeling more settled at work having been there a year.

This year has been a roller coaster and has ended in a very good place. I look forward to next year.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Edge of the Storm part 1: Youbos: The homestead.

Youbos is a dustball. On the edge of UCS space, the government presence is minimal. The sector Govenor is out to enrich himself, and as such cares little for the plight of the average citizen. On this planet, there is the barest minimum of regular UCS military forces, found in a small garrison on the planetary capitol city.

One of the only ways to make a living on Youbos is to farm moisture from beneath the desert, or from the air. It is on one such farm we find ourselves now: another evening, another shakedown by local "law enforcement".

Pleasantries exchanged, the lawmen get down to business. Sara wants none of it. She has hired some help to disuade the uniformed thugs from bothering her again. Failing to reason with the men, she gives the signal to her help.

Corde Tane leans out from behind one building and opens up with her shotgun, pinning one thug and missing another.

Ulrich Nolan pins another with a shot from his Lenherr rifle. The Lenherr rifle is designed to be used by large game hunters. It can punch through the armoured hides of some of the toughest creatures the galaxy can throw at you. This attribute has not gone un-noticed by those who would shoot at other humans though.

The squad leader opens fire on the farmers, wounding Jane.

The squad's backup open fire, one being armed with an assault rifle. Jane falls in a hail of bullets, Sara looking over, unable to hide her emotions.

Corde opens fire again, pinning some of the lawmen, bullets flying everywhere.

Sara and another lawman exchange fire, the lawman falling to the ground, hit by a shot to the head, dead before he lands.

The lawmen keep Sara pinned down while they seek better cover.

Having backed off, the lawmen decide to advance in order to end the firefight and loot the premises.

Caught in a crossfire the squad leader takes a few rounds, takes a few steps, then keels over bleeding. There is nothing his men can do for him. Shaken, they decide to fall back, return to town and regroup.

On their way back, Ulrich manages to take down another with a pinpoint shot.

Sara looks over the carnage: Jane is gone. Was it worth it? Three lawmen escaped and will surely be back in greater numbers. Ulrich and Corde forgo their fee, this is less about making money than it is about helping those in need.

"I could use some help packing. I won't be staying here" announces Sara.
"Sure thing, we will do what we can" replies Ulrich.
"We will need to go into town and get a flight offworld" says Corde. "We have another conract surveying potential colony sites in the Khalla sector. We could probably help you get work over that way, further away from the arm of UCS law?"

Sand coloured felt?

I went into town yesterday, alone. It was lovely being able to go without having to worry about my girls or having the boss wanting to go in her shops. I picked up a few new tops that aren't like tents (I have lost just over 2 stone since july), some paints to help me make a good white, and a sand coloured sheet of felt. I think it is perfect,  but what do you think?

 Another evening, another shakedown by local law. The protection rates have increased year on year, making it harder to make ends meet.

The moisture farmers come out to meet the lawmen...barely more than uniformed thugs enriching themselves and the often crooked UCS governor. 

But this time the farmers have had enough. Hiding out of sight hired help is assessing the situation.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Christmas progress.

My wife was lovely and bought me a south African army from Brigade models. I love the infantry with their hats and was excited about the rhino tanks which I have ummed and ahhed about for ages.

Last night I based a few and primed them this morning with the last of my white spray.

I also put the final dry brush highlights on my terrain.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Terrain Blitz

Finally getting some old bits of terrain nearer to being finished.

Fidget spinner packet stuck to a floor tile.
A bunch of resin buildings from eBay ages ago.
Lid of wet wipes to be a bunker.
Two McDonald's Angry Birds toys which will be orbital cannons.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Satomi part 1 - A Horizon Wars AAR

A few points before the AAR: this was the largest battle of Horizon Wars I have played in both army presence and also table (floor) size.

UCS forces: 24P

P3 CHQ Mech. M4 F5 A6 D2
P1 Mech x3      M4 F3 A2 D2
P3 Heavy Cav x3
P1 Light Infantry x9

Collective of Independent Systems: 24P

P3 CHQ Mech. M3 F6 A6 D2
P3 Mech           M3 F5 A5 D2 Extended Range 12.
P2 Mech x2      M6 F4 A2 D2
P1 Mech x3      M4 F3 A2 D2
P1 Light Cav x3
P1 Light Infantry x8

The cold war had lasted 50 years. The first war for independence had taken the United Commonwealth of Systems (UCS) by surprise, and the political fallout had been disastrous. There had been so much factional infighting and other small scale rebellions that the decision had been made to let the Collective of Independent Systems exist and just insulate the rest of the Commonwealth from the failure to defeat the Collective rebellion. Since then the UCS had been unable to penetrate the Collective and was unaware of what was going on there. All that could be done was fortify bordering system, and hope for the best.

The town of Wessington Springs on the planet Satomi. It sprung up on a natural hot, underwater spring and became a natural, renewable power supply town. Now, however, it is the chosen point for the reopening of hostilities for the Collective of Independent Systems as they try to move UCS control out of this particular solar system.

UCS forces rush to defend the town as Collective strike elements approach from the east.

Collective Light cavalry and strike mechs speed along the north flank in an effort to circle around Wessington Springs.

UCS infantry and command mech advance behind the woods. Experimental mechs advance on the north flank.

Collective command mech and infantry secure the outskirts of town.

Spotting a mech out in the open, a Collective cavalry officer takes his chances, causing light damage.

Inspired, a strike mech rushes forward and in a stroke of luck, discovers the gods are with him. The enemy mech is completely obliterated in a hail of armour piercing rounds. It looks like there might be a speedy breakthrough for the Collective.

With the threat lessened, the light cavalry blast their way through the pipeline,  it can always be repaired later.

The second strike mech charges into the fray exchanging fire with the remaining UCS mechs.

Taking the initiative, the UCS mech surprises the strike mech, destroying it in the process, leaving scrap metal and body parts strewn across the ground.

The command mech uses its powerful weapons to inflict more damage. The threatened north flank looks like it may hold. The Collective commander is beginning to worry. The potential breakthrough is looking less and less likely.

Rallying, one of the damaged UCS mechs engages in a firefight and destroys the remaining strike mech.

The Collective MLRS mech opens up with a salvo of rockets. Destruction and carnage reigns down on the infantry,  hugging any cover they can find. Enough men survive to fight on, but hey are weakened.

Weakened enough to become combat ineffective under a hail of fire from opposing infantry. Things are looking better for the Collective.

Losing the strike mechs was worrying, but the large mechs in the Collective centre are wiping out infantry units, meaning the UCS commander is having to stretch her forces out.

The tactical situation for the UCS continues to deteriorate when light cavalry engages and destroys another mech on the north flank.

Aerial images show the UCS clinging to the edge of Wessington Springs, while Collective forces continue to encircle the town. Intercepted UCS transmissions indicate problems contacting their reserve elements. The Collective commander is currently feeling no need to call on his.

Gaining the initiative again, the UCS sends in their final mech in an attempt to stem the tide on the north flank. This gamble backfires and in the ensuing gun battle the mech is blown apart by a lucky shot to its ammunition storage.

Garrisoned UCS infantry mange to get a bead on some Collective infantry in the open, unleash a hail of fire and completely destroy the unit. If their officer had survived, he would most certainly be facing a courts martial.

In retaliation the light cavalry close on the UCS command mech, peppering it with fire, blasting off bits and pieces, damaging it.

At the same time, Collective stormtroopers assault some UCS infantry who have garrisoned themselves in the power station. In and bloody battle fighting room to room the UCS survivors fall back but are not in a fit state to continue the battle.

Unable to raise the reserves and with only two combat effective infantry units in Wessington, the UCS commander decides to fall back to fight another day.

The cold war was over. The UCS had underestimated the combat prowess of the rebels, and their ability to field large, conventional ground armies.

Wessington Springs sat in Collective hands, the battle for Satomi was underway, and the second independence war had begun.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Battle for Satomi - Horizon Wars Preview

I played my largest game of Horizon Wars yet tonight. It is too late to post an AAR but I will leave you with a furious firefight that occurred along the right flank.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Eytor. The prologue

The planet Eytor is riddled with places like this. When Sunspoke Mining Corp attempted to plant an immediately self sustaining mining colony onto the planet they knew there would always be the risk that the resources might not be able to sustain a long term operation. Eytor is an example of the aftermath of when this happens. Sunspoke abandoned the planet a few years ago, but many people stayed regardless. 

This is a small hydroponics operation, growing a few exotic fruits to help improve the quality of living among the settlers. It is run by a couple of families a who trade their wares with a few nearby farming operations. Many of these people came to Eytor with Sunspoke and chose to stay when the mining operation left.

Two former Sunspoke Security officers doing the rounds. A few of these folks remained behind to form the local law enforcement agency. 

Two flatbeds pull up, armed civilians jump out and open fire indiscriminately.  Before they can even react the officers lie on the floor, along with the facility owner.

As the gunmen advance the hydroponics technicians flee for their lives.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

UCS and Collective infantry reinforcements.

Last night I sealed my new UCS and Collective infantry. This means I now actually have Collective infantry that fit the colour scheme of their mecha and other vehicles, as I had previously been using some generic grey infantry who I didn't exactly like.

I have 12 stands of Collective infantry which is more than enough for Horizon Wars and will be a good start for Laserstorm. Collective infantry are Grund Zero Games USNC marines? Something like that.

I also have 13 or 14 stands of UCS infantry. He's guys are Brigade Models PAC infantry.

You will see these have 4 figures per base while I had previously been using 3. I prefer 4 because they look more powerful, but obviously I will get fewer stands out of any pack of infantry now.