Monday, May 19, 2014

Just Another Bughunt, Drums at the Rapids 2014

This past weekend was the HMGS-GL convention Drums at the Rapids. Organized and run by Doug Johnson and the Colby Street Irregulars group, and held at Fort Meigs in Perrysburg Ohio. It is, in my opinion, one of the best small conventions I have ever attended.

The HMGS-GL guardian on duty outside the Ft. Meigs Visitor Center.
My contribution this year was my newly finished "Just Another Bughunt" game.  The rules are simple and the players really only need a 3x5" roster sheet to play.  Loosely based on the Aliens franchise using Khurasan Miniatures' 15mm Space Demons, Federal Defence Force "Exterminators", plus a mix of 15mm figures from Rebel Minis, a few RAFM, and even some old Martian Metals figs from way back for civilian/Merc types.  The terrain is mostly home made or free card buildings from Toposolitario along with one one of Blue Moon's fine buildings, and craters generously provided by The Plastic Guys.  See my earlier post on how I made the mining facility.  There were five human factions with more or less similar objectives (some more, some less) and loads of "bugs" (unlimited really).  Designed for six, I ended up with  seven players total. We had five for the humans and two for the bugs. With players wanting to play the bugs I was able to focus entirely on my GM duties!  

The situation: Marines have landed near the Prin-Gles Mining Co. on mining planet LV-4347. It is a routine mission to re-establish contact or retrieve civilians if the situation dictates. At worst they are expecting just another bughunt. Unknown to them, there are other human factions who want to retrieve what is at the Prin-Gles Mining Co. research facility. Meanwhile, the miners, Sheriff Ric and his deputies, along with the other civilians, just want to survive.  
Everyone carefully watched the opening moves of the others.

Things went well for the human factions as the bugs got eliminated (as planned) almost as soon as they spawned.

The WY Corp. Operatives and the Colonial Marines form an unholy alliance as bug spawns increase.
Now things begin to come unhinged.  Bugs seem to be coming from everywhere (no one checked any buildings!) and shots start to fly between the human factions. Human casualties mount, as more and bigger Bugs arrive. 
The commo tower, only link to the orbital extraction ships, is ready to be breached as bug numbers continue to increase.
At this point, the WY Corp. operatives were wiped out due to poor tactics, and the Marines were down to just a few men. Still, the surviving PG Security relief force, PG Lab security, and the civilians managed to work together to fend the Bugs off.  If the remaining groups could negotiate their way to fulfill at least some of their objectives, they might all survive.
The Queen appears, leaps the power fence and attacks the gate while hordes of bugs gather.
In the end, the civilian survivors ran for the refuge of the lab building, while the scattered PG Security teams fought for their lives.  Unfortunately for them, the lone Marine Corporal (yes really), reached the now deserted commo tower and announced his plans to call for extraction and nuke the planet from orbit.  As he put it: "It's the only way to be sure."

I had a nice mix of enthusiastic players who all had a great time.  They all grasped the basic rules, if not the tactics, well.  But then, tactics take time to learn and we had some young players. Even the young lad who got wiped early ran off to get a hot dog and returned to watch the outcome of the game!  

Drums was a great event as usual this year with many outstanding games, run by great GMs. The only game I played was the 15th Annual Toledo War.  This is a "what-if" game based on the actual "war" of 1835-36. Played with some of  Doug Johnson's elegantly simple Home rules, this annual game is always a bloody affair.  It can literally come down to the last man!  This year it did, for Michigan!
My Ohio Militia on the right.

My Ohio Militia on the ground, while our cavalry flanks the Wolverines as the rest of our boys close in!
The lone surviving Michigander was then run down by the Ohio cavalry before his initiative came up.  It was a resounding victory for the glorious Buckeyes! So, the record stands at: 
 Ohio 10, Michigan 5!!!

Monday, April 7, 2014

International Tabletop Day

Saturday 5 April 2014 was the 2nd annual International Tabletop Day. Doug Johnson and The Colby Street Irregulars hosted an event at Fort Meigs in Perrysburg Ohio.  There were about 15 different games played, several of which ran more than once. Approximately 50 gamers were in attendance which is not bad since this was the first tiome this event was held at this location. There were a few miniatures games but the focus was on board games that are fun for the whole family.
Doug Johnson (R) runs a game of Wings of War for a young gamer.

 I ran three three games of Twilight Games' Zombies!!!  throughout the day. One short demo game and a longer more intense game in the AM, then a cutthroat game that I joined in, for the afternoon session.
Things start out well enough in the Zombie apocalypse.
Then things start to get devious!

In the end it was the quiet, non-confrontational player who made it to the helicopter!
There were two historical miniature games also. A World War Two game using the Bolt Action rules run by Jim Wonnacot, and a Dark Ages game using the Johnson Brothers home rules Viking Battles.
Steve Johnson (L) ran a free for all Viking raid scenario while Doug took photos and played.

Jim Wonacott (R) ran an interesting Bolt Action Pacific Theater scenario.

Everyone had a great time playing games and enjoying each others company! This makes the third yearly event at the fort for the Colby Street Irregulars and HMGS-GL.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Prin-Gles Mining Co. LLC

Here is part of the facility that will be a central part of my new 15mm bug hunting scenario. The structure was made as generically as possible. The towers could either be living quarters, storage, processing plant, or all three. Access to the mine can be through the towers or from another location. The small structure to the right, and the stacks of drainage pipe will be covered separately.
The main part of the Prin-Gles mining facility on T 372
Here is how the facility was made. Planning consisted of a rough concept sketch on a scrap of paper. Then I  gathered a bunch of different materials and, using my patented "seat of your pants" construction techniques, pieced things together until something vaguely resembling my sketch was achieved.

Materials: 
3 Pringle cans
A little Foamcore & cardboard
Hardwood base 6x16 inches
Plastic canvas of various sizes
Coffee stirrers (Dunkin donuts?)
Various items from the bits box

Tools:
Knife & X-acto
Scissors
Hot glue gun
Pencil and ruler

I started with some Pringles cans, one taller than the rest.  There are always plenty of them laying around since they are one of my favorite gaming snacks.  Then cut out a wood base, and a foamcore octagonal to be used for the landing pad.  The lids to the cans were used as tops to the towers. The plan was for 3 levels and 6 different interchangeable tower tops: landing pad, antenea structure, and 4 dome varieties. Lids were left unglued so the tops can be swapped.  I'm thinking of adding another lid with a crane structure and maybe some different tech looking stuff.  Looks like I need to eat more Pringles! 

Positioning the towers and playing with various tops
Sheets of plastic canvas.
Plastic canvas was used for the walkway and for the railings and ladders. This is a great material to have around, especially for 15mm projects. First I made decking out of the smallest sized sheets. I simply laid out the canvass on the base and traced around the cans to get my deck shape.  You can see in the next picture I had tried priming the white sheets with black, but after a false start, realized I had to clean the paint off so the glue would hold. The larger grid canvass, size 7, makes quick and easy railings.  Two squares for 15mm looks about right.

The basic deck shape.
Once I had my basic shapes, I cut coffee stirrers to make supports for under the decking, as well as for the uprights. You could use many different materials for the support system including model railroad girders. I had these coffee stirrers lying around and liked the shape so used them.
The coffee stirrers have an x-shape to them.

The supports were left long to fit holes made in the cans.

A finished deck section. Two of these were made.
The first upper deck takes shape.
Break time!!!
Once the decks were done the cans were glued to the base and the decks added.  The elevator was made from plastic canvass with a cardboard floor. It is attached to a round piece of plastic cut from something I found in my scrap box. It was a thin plastic tube that was apparently part of some sort of packaging. Just so happens it fit around the can nicely, so with a little tinkering I actually got the elevator to move up and down as well as spin around!  I made this a feature of the landing pad instead of making a third, more problematic, upper deck.
A close up of the railing, supports, and elevator. Khurasan Space demon Queen for size.
Construction is almost complete.
A foamcore support in the center became necessary when I ran out of coffee stirrers. I also added some safety netting around the flight deck with window screen and toothpicks. As you can see, the finished product is rather rough. The hot glue does not make the smoothest of joints, but it is extremely quick and reasonably strong once you learn the best application methods.  Hot glue is cheap, works on most materials and can come apart relatively easily if you make a mistake (just add heat).  I love it for making quick easy terrain pieces, especially those using mixed materials like this project.
Here is the entire Prin-Gles Mining Co. facility ready for action.
Marine Recon Team A arrives on the flight deck scouting for trouble.

Looks like trouble found them.
This is not a highly detailed structure. Some will find it crudely made, but I don't need or want my gaming structures to be highly detailed models or take a lot of time to make. I am not a diorama artist, I am a wargamer! For me, terrain pieces need to be usable, versatile, tough, and look OK from a few feet away.  Overall this project took only a few hours to assemble once I figured out how to make the concept sketch come to life with the materials available.  All that is left to do now is some final detail work, and finish the base.

The Marines are here!

 Here are the intrepid  Marines that will hold off the Space Demons and save the civilians!

Alpha section.
Bravo section.
Hostile Eviron Team
Marines, move out!
These fine lads are Federal Defense Force "Exterminators" from Khurasan Miniatures.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

More Xenomorphs!!

Some more pics of the alien army!  This is truly a golden age for 15mm Sci-Fi.  Back when I first started collecting Traveller miniatures I would have given anything for the selection we have today!
Warriors advance on the base after taking out a vehicle.

A Titan Scout by Rebel Miniatures Vs Hammerhead Space Demons!
The Great Queen and her minions.

A lone Marine stands up to the alien Colossus.
A Space demon Drone leads a wave of warriors.
The building in the second photo is from Blue Moon, and the crashed buggy is from Rebel Minis.  Between those two and Kurasan Miniatures that is where most of my hobby $$ have been going lately.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Xenomorphs!!!

Here is my latest acquisition: Khurasan Miniatures Space Demons.  I have had the Khurasan
Federal Defense Force "Exterminators" (not Colonial Marines) for some time now, but received a whole army of these guys, including the new Space Demon Trolls, Colossus, and the King and Queen for Christmas.  I received the Great Queen and some more Exterminators for my Birthday so now I am all set!  

Here is the whole lot, plus some older figures (upper right) from Outpost Games I believe.

The Great Queen!
Space Demon Trolls with ordinary warrior for scale.

Space Demon Colosuss (rear), King (L) and Queen (R) with ordinary warrior in between.



These are great figures and they paint up very nicely with a minimum of effort.  That is good for me since I am interested in all aspects of Wargaming (especially playing) and have never devoted a lot of time or effort to painting.

Next I need some terrain for these beasties to inhabit!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The World at War Game Day at Ft. Meigs


The World at War Game Day is a fun little event that is held the first weekend in November at Fort Meigs in Perrysburg, Ohio. It is a one day mini-con with a strong family focus.  Rusty, Ted, and I from the Black River Area Wargames Society  ran "Looking for Bigfoot".   The Toledo Blade was there and took some photos of the event.  Here are a few shots we took of our game.

Players chased Bigfoot with a civilian figure of their choice.
We tried to make the terrain as diverse as possible
"Looking for Bigfoot" is the brain child of Ted who is a really big Bigfoot fan.  No, I mean he's really big and looks kinda "Squatchy" (sorry Teddi couldn't resist)! The rules were a collaborative process between those two, their children, and myself.  Initial game development took place on the car ride to and from Historicon.  I was taking notes and could barely keep up with all the flying ideas!   When we got back I worked the notes into the semblance of a game and we started play testing.

At one point we had 3 Bigfoots running around!
 The action was fast and furious as the players searched for, then chased Bigfoot all over the place!  According to the feedback we got, from kids and parents alike, I think we succeeded in our goal of making it a kid friendly, challenging, fun game.  Everyone had a great time including us!