Friday, April 27, 2012

Heavy Gear: three games!

So while I didn't get to play last night, it was totally worth it to be there for three simultaneous games of HG.  I did a tiny bit of modeling, a tiny bit of officiating, and a tiny bit of new player outreach.  All while defending the honor of my SRA loaner list, which everyone (myself included) agrees will work a lot better at 1000TV than it does right now.

Anyway, I don't have an HG AAR to offer (I do have a Battlefleet Gothic AAR, two actually, which will hit the blog later this weekend) but I did snap a few pics.  I'm hoping some of the folks that played last night will chip in with AARs, recollections, or 'yay/damnit' moments from their games!

Britt using my loaner SRA vs Brandon's CEF (or were they PAK?)

Justin's Norlights vs Paul's MILICIA (or are they SRA?)

Rory's freshly-painted SRA vs Tyler's MILICIA

Personally, I'm willing to call three simultaneous games (and we could have done four if I'd brought another army, honestly) a great turnout.  Many thanks again to Dale who got this whole thing rolling with a lot of perseverance for a few years before things really started to click.  We miss you Dale! Hope you can make it back out sometime soon!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Betrayal and Conspiracy, Sacrilege and Heresy

I feel alright - I feel alright tonight
-Steve Earle, "Feel Alright"
And that's them, from left to right - the Word Bearer cruisers Betrayal, Conspiracy, Sacrilege and Heresy (named for four of the Virtues of Chaos, and also from the Steve Earle song I've been riffing on in my titles for these BFG posts).  Escort squadrons are the "Conjurers" and "Concubines"; the "Conquerors" were not on the table tonight.  Battlefleet Gothic, GO!

For our starter game, I fielded the Sacrilege and Heresy with the two "Conquerors" as escort ships.  As a Chaos fleet, I had to spend 50 of my 500 points on a Warmaster with Leadership 8 and one re-roll, not a great bargain at this small a price, and doubly annoying when I actually rolled a Ld 9 for my flagship which the Warmaster (frothing at the mouth about the Will of Chaos, no doubt) actually reduced by one.  Not an auspicious start.

For our first game (for both me and Rory) we figured we'd fight on an empty board, just to get the hang of moving, shooting, etc.  Oddly enough when we placed astronomical features in our second game they wound up having no real effect, but I'll cover that when we get there.  In any event, we both basically went straight in on each other from turn one, which was probably a better idea for Rory's Imperial Navy fleet than for my longer-ranged Chaos list.

We got caught up in both the fun of the game and the need to keep looking things up in the rules, so basically I didn't get many more pictures of our first game.  Just as well, as Rory beat me pretty badly.  In the picture below you can see that he's managed to split my two cruisers with one of his. The triangle 'blip' counter is what we were using to indicate that my flagship was already crippled (lost half of its hits).

From above you can see that Rory actually winds up only being able to broadside my less-damaged cruiser.

After delivering a real pounding with that broadside, Rory moved his Sword-class escorts in for the kill.  The best thing that happened for me in this game was that when the Heresy exploded, it vaporized one of the Swords as well.

At this point I took a few minutes and found the rules for disengaging, which the Sacrilege appropriately did.  A total beatdown, but we basically felt like we had a handle on the rules.  So we went to dinner, came back and figured out how many points everything Rory had was worth, then I slapped together an equivalent amount of points. Basically this meant adding the Betrayal to the fleet and swapping the "Conjurors" for two of the "Concubines."  Conspiracy had the night off, I guess.

I do think we need to go to the 'one person places, other person picks deployment' method of setting up the battlefield, because basically we got a whole bunch of nothing as far as I was concerned.  Then again, maybe with larger fleets we'd have had the time or inclination to try and use the asteroid fields and planets a bit more.  As it was they just wound up being a neat box that we fought inside.

Anyway, the furball you see in the next picture was probably as close to doing well as I got all night.  The two blast markers on Rory's cruiser indicate that his shields are down; unfortunately if memory serves all I got for this effort was a single hit.  Meanwhile you may notice that I'm already down one Concubine.  Hard times for an honest Chaos Warmaster.

The purple die set to six pips is what we were using to indicate crippled ships. That should tell you how things are working out for me.

Unfortunately by now we were running late and trying to finish so Ron (our friendly store owner, of The Game Connection) could lock up, so no more pics.  Which means that the amazing final turn - where Rory took my healthiest ship (the Betrayal) from barely hurt to dead with a massive barrage of fire and a lucky boxcars on the Critical Damage table - or the final Ordnance phase, where the Betrayal's now-orphaned bomber flights did the exact same thing to one of Rory's cruisers!

All in all we had a blast, and have basically both agreed that a campaign (using the rules right there in the basic BFG rulebook) is the next order of business.  Battlefleet Gothic is a really wonderful game; it's a shame that GW has sidelined it like all the other 'Specialist Games.'  Both of us and Ron felt like a re-release of the old BFG box set - four each Imperial and Chaos plastic cruisers, rulebook and cardboard gubbins - would have sold far better than the beautiful but intimidating Dreadfleet did.  Again, without trying to fish for compliments or pity - I'm a pretty bad, or at least inexperienced, painter.  But these minis just pop to life with the simplest of treatment - three layers of drybrush and a tiny bit of detail, and you're ready to fire up the Geller Fields and brave the perils of the Warp. What a great way to get people into a minis game; what a shame they don't sell the box anymore.

EDIT TO ADD: halfway through this writeup I started getting my Chaotic Virtues, and my ship names, scrambled up.  I really need to make nameplates for them.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I'll bring you precious contraband

And ancient tales from distant lands.
-Steve Earle, "Feel Alright"

Two 500-point 'learner' fleets for Battlefleet Gothic. These guys are Chaos, painted up to be part of a Word Bearers fleet.

The paint scheme is painfully simple, since I'm a painfully bad painter. Basically a three-layer drybrush (Mechrite Red/Red Gore/Blood Red) over black primer, details in silver, engine glow and ports in Iyanden Darksun (GW's now-obsolete yellow foundation paint). After these pics I went back and put some dots in white, red, yellow and blue on the bases to give them a 'starfield' look and hopefully make them a bit less drab. The real problem will be getting the names on these guys; instead of trying to freehand them on the bases I may make nametags for the ships and tack them to the base with a dab of PVA glue.

CHAOS 1: 495
Devastation-Class Cruiser "Betrayal": 190
-Warmaster (Ld 8, one re-roll): 50
Slaughter-Class Cruiser "Conspiracy": 165
Iconoclast Destroyers x3 "Conjurors": 90 (30 each)

CHAOS 2: 500
Carnage-Class Cruiser "Sacrilege": 180
-Warmaster (Ld 8, one re-roll): 50
Murder-Class Cruiser "Heresy": 170
Idolator Raiders x2 "Concubines": 90 (45 each)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Fresh Meat, -5 Threat Value

Which is a totally unfair title, as our new player Zach (pictured below, Doing Stuff) took to the rules like a duck to water. I did what I could to help demo the game, but our eager player base (several of who know the rules a bit better than I do) made my job a bit redundant. Still, I think it was going well - unfortunately I had to leave before he and Justin finished their game (and I had to leave the WFPA "Skyfallers" I'd lent Zach; thankfully Justin has promised them good temporary quarters in his bag).

As mentioned, Zach took my WFPA list and faced off against Justin's NAF Blue Meanies.

While there were criticisms leveled against my list (grr, Tyler) I was pleased to see that Zach used its minimal ECM capabilities much better than I tend to. He used the two Strike Cheetahs to disrupt several (but not all) of Justin's attempts to forward observe for his Grizzlies.

When Justin rolled these triple sixes for his Hunter (the white gear) to grenade Zach's Strike Cheetah and Jaguar, the consensus was that Zach was screwed. That was before Zach rolled trip sixes of his own....

As I said, we kind of threw Zach into the deep end for his 'learner' game, but he picked it up very quickly and was doing well when I left.  Hopefully he, Justin, or one of our other regulars can post the outcome here?  Meanwhile, Zach is wanting to get Heavy Gear on the table at Sci-Fi Genre in Durham; hopefully sometime in the near future we'll work out a day for some (less ambitious) demo games there!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

I've been stuffed in your pocket/For the last hundred days (with apologies to Monster Magnet)

And I guess actually it's been more like fifty-five days.  Anyway, I slipped again on the blogging; too much gaming, and a recurring leg injury, have meant that when I was in the mood to do game stuff I was gaming, not writing, and when I wasn't in the mood to do game stuff I wasn't in the mood to do much of anything else either.

So here's another lightning recap of all the minis gaming I've done since my last post:

I literally have no memory of this game, but I see my SRA 35th Combined Arms Regiment, "Les Somnambules" (The Sleepwalkers) on the top side of the table, squaring off against Britt's protean Northern list.  There's a decent chance Rory borrowed the Sleepwalkers for this game; gents, do you remember if this is the case? Any reminiscences of this matchup?

This was a match between me, running my WFPA 44th CAR ("The Skyfallers") against Justin's Northern Lights Confederation army (at least I think it was - I seem to remember some Chaplain re-rolls, which indicate a Norlight list).  We rolled up a 'Surrounded' mission, and I took the center.  One of my objectives was to get my Aller tank safely off the board, which I did - although I might have done so too early, as its firepower would have been helpful in the last round.
Just off-screen to the left and right are Justin's intermixed Recon and Fire Support squads.  My Dragoon gears are scattering to try and grab some kills, and my infantry are basically screwed due to the lack of buildings or good cover.  Notice my Aller tank casually getting the hell out of Dodge at center left.

The three smoking wrecks you see here are 60% of my Dragoon squad.  To the upper right you can see my Aller engaging some of Justin's Gears, having knocked one down to its last armor box.  If memory serves I may have actually even killed it, although it didn't make a difference in the long run.

Again, if I remember correctly, my infantry did some damage to Justin's Gears as they closed in, but it was too little, too late... this picture neatly illustrates (cool billboard signage courtesy of my friend Keith, who I will convince to play a game of Heavy Gear someday).

Another matchup between the Skyfallers and Justin's Norlights.  Playing beside us on the same table are Brandon's CEF and Tyler's something-or-other - his new MILICIA list, I think?

Here's what happens when an Aller stops a couple of Anti-Tank Missiles the hard way.

"He's the one with one arm, but I'm the one who's dead? Bogus."

At this point Britt and I started what was supposed to be an epic Flames of War campaign, using their older 'Axis of Attack' ruleset and (loosely) re-creating part of the Axis thrust in the Ukraine in 1943.  Unfortunately it turned into a three-up, three-down rout for my Hungarians, no doubt due to their lack of paint and not due to my inept generalship or REALLY inept Battlefront Hungarian dice (which are legitimately evil, I think).

Mission One: Looks promising, doesn't it?  It all goes downhill from here, though.

Actually at this point it's still going sort of ok. My Pioneer infantry have jumped into the buildings on their side of the street, preparing to attack the Soviet hordes on the other side.  Similarly my tanks have moved up with no losses from Britt's guns thus far.

Haha, ok, never mind. Things are already terrible and his reserves have just flooded the backfield. The bottle of generic Aleve by the roadbed is for my leg, not for the giant pain in the ass that is Soviet artillery.  Dumb ol' Red God of War.

Mission Two: since Britt's Soviets won, instead of the Axis pushing forward deeper into Mother Russia, we fought in the same village again.  This one we fought at Ron's store (The Game Connection), with Josh and Rory along to watch us play and pick up the rules; later that night they'd fight it out with different forces in the same town.

Here we go again.  I deploy a bit more aggressively; however I've also not put my objective anywhere near close enough to the front because I still don't remember that they're not actually scenery and can in fact go in the damn river. Basically the same thing happens as did in our first game, which is fortunate since I don't have any other pictures from this match.

I do have some from Rory and Josh's matchup, however.  In the interest of something approximating impartiality, I made up Josh's Soviet list and am offering him some advice, while Britt is advising Rory's Germans.  I think this was a good idea on Britt's part, as it made us a bit detached since we were advising our enemy; this helps cut down on the 'backseat driver' factor.

Rory, seated at the top edge, has something like six tanks in his list. Josh is starting out with only brave Soviet infantry and a single T-34 tank as his army HQ.  However, in reserve he has a heavy mortar company, some anti-tank guns, and ten more T-34s. He just needs to hold on long enough to get them on the table.

Which he does. Josh winds up holding the objectives for the win.

In the middle of the FoW campaign I got in another Heavy Gear game with Rory - he borrowed the Sleepwalkers, I ran the Skyfallers (I really need to get a new army or three painted up; I have four and a half HG armies primered and ready to go, I'm just a terrible procrastinator which certainly has nothing to do with the just-short-of-two-month hiatus this blog just suffered).

Setup. We played on a large (for 800TV worth of HG, anyway) board of 4'x6'.

That silver thing that's on fire at middle left only looks like an unpainted German Panzer 38(t), it's actually a Northern Jaxon missile tank.  Or it was until Rory's Huns smoked it, anyway.

My army commander, being a simple farmboy from the great prairies of the WFP, isn't sure he's buying all this United Mercantile Federation propaganda; he's never even seen the UMFA in the field!

Here's what one motivated Jaguar toting a Snub Cannon (with the Block 40 upgrades of the Dedicated Tankhunter Initiative) can do to two Southern Huns.  A better combat photographer would have actually gotten a picture of said Jaguar, but you take what you can get.  Despite all this carnage, Rory still won, as I brilliantly forgot to give myself enough time to complete my Scout mission (who knew it took two turns to do that?)

And then Britt and I played our final game of the FoW campaign.  Great ruined city terrain courtesy of Britt; great paintjob on most of my armor by Rory.  Hamfisted strategy was mine and mine alone, however.
This is what it looked like from Britt's side of the table.  This actually wound up being a fairly good game until a turn of bad results (and the cumulative effects of about a million failed "Bog" checks due to an early thaw) broke the back of my final offensive.

 The little green triangles you see next to four of my tanks are "Bog" markers, indicating that my tanks have gotten stuck in the horrible Ukrainian mud and are going to be useless for the current round.  I had thirteen armor units in my list, and four of them bogged down was probably the average result each turn.  You do the math.

One of my Toldi I recon tanks has brewed up, blocking the relatively good terrain of the railroad for my Nimrod AA tanks (which are being pressed into service as infantry hunters, since the weather has canceled air support for both sides).

My company 2iC, riding in a Panzer 38(t) looks through the walls of a ruined Soviet tractor factory as his tankers come under fire from Soviet 45mm AT guns.

"The clock on the wall says three o'clock.
Last call."
I throw my Pioneers and all my tanks forward in a desperate push.  My artillery has been only partially effective all game, and things are getting bad.  As this is turn 3 Britt will start rolling for his reserves, which means they will only get worse.  


Britt's batallion commander looks on as his brave frontoviks rush forward, victorious.  I don't think the commissars even had to shoot anyone.  That's a good day in Uncle Joe's army!

Whew! All caught up. Let's not let that happen again.