Thursday, April 30, 2020

Star Wars: Legion - Intercept the Transmissions play-test


Recently played game two of my ongoing play testing of a narrative campaign for Star Wars Legion, designed for the Conscripts.

I used version 1.1 of Crabbok's AI rules [ ] to run the Imperial side.

Imperials (500/500 points skirmish level)
Darth Vader leads the defense of a HoloNet relay station, which is helping to coordinate Imperial anti-partisan operations in this sector of the Outer Rim. He had with him some Stormtroopers and a couple of units of Biker Scouts.

  • Darth Vader (190 + 20 = 210) - Force Choke (5), Force Reflexes (10), Saber Throw (5)
  • Stormtroopers (44 + 26 = 70) - DLT-19 Stormtrooper (24), Recon Intel (2)
  • Stormtroopers (44 + 26 = 70) - DLT-19 Stormtrooper (24), Recon Intel (2)
  • 74-Z Speeder Bikes (75 + 0 = 75)
  • 74-Z Speeder Bikes (75 + 0 = 75)

Rebels (497/500 points skirmish level)
A mixed force of Rebels, led by Luke Skywalker, were trying to disrupt these transmissions.

  • Luke Skywalker (160 + 32 = 192) - Force Push (10), Force Reflexes (10), Emergency Stims (12)
  • Rebel Troopers (40 + 22 = 62) - Z-6 Trooper (22)
  • Rebel Troopers (40 + 22 = 62) - Z-6 Trooper (22)
  • Rebel Pathfinders (68 + 38 = 106) - Pao (22), Duck and Cover (4), HQ Uplink (10), Recon Intel (2), A-300 Short Range Config (0)
  • AT-RT (55 + 20 = 75) - AT-RT Laser Cannon (20)
  • Commands: Sabotaged Communications (1), Son of Skywalker (1), My Ally Is the Force (2), Push (2), Return of the Jedi (3), Assault (3), Standing Orders (4)


This is basically like the SWL “intercept the transmissions" scenario, with two on-table commo arrays as the objectives. Victory Points are scored if a side has the most unit leaders in proximity to an objective in turns 2 and 4, and at the end of the 5-turn game.

The Imperial forces started the game with several advantages. The commo arrays were shielded (like a Republic-era Droideka), so only Imperial forces in proximity could score until the shields were brought down. The Empire had an armoured gun turret defending the arrays. The command bunker near the arrays could be used for setup (thus protecting the occupants from Rebel fire), if the Imperials chose the appropriate setup area. These advantages were NOT figured into the Imperial forces’ points cost.

The events of the last game affected this one. The destruction of one generator brought down the arrays’ shielding. The damage on the second generator caused damage on the turret, and its weapon would fire at half effect (dice).

The setup areas would be basically a 12” semi circle centered on the middle of each table edge. In SWL Skirmishes, ANY of the 4 sides are choosable for initial setup. Accordingly, the Imperials chose the side nearest the bunker, with Vader and some Stormtroopers within the bunker (the Imperial droid and the holo emitter also in the bunker were just for local colour, and added no on-table effects). The Rebels setup opposite, with elite Rebel Pathfinders infiltrating into a building just outside their setup zone, to provide long range suppressing fire.




The terrain on this table is a mix of GF9 and Urbanmatz pieces. The desert themed 3'x3' mat was specifically ordered for SWL skirmishes from Mats by Mars.


The game started strongly for the Rebels. Some Stormtroopers advanced towards one array, and went into over-watch (“Standby” in SWL parlance). As Luke moved forward they fired at him; he deflected their blaster fire back with his saber, defeating one model for their trouble. Luke then Force jumped forward and cut through the laser turret’s armour with one stroke of his lightsaber, destroying it! Vader then came out and tossed his own lightsaber at Luke, slightly wounding the former farm boy.







The remainder of the first couple of turns both sides jockeyed around, inflicting a couple of casualties here and there and each side scoring a single victory point in the second turn.



Things got more serious after that, as the Rebels tried to eliminate Imperial units. Luke even set up a neat move where he used his Jedi powers to force one Imperial bike squad to shoot at the remaining single biker of another squad. Biker defense dice suck, except when they don’t; the lone biker was completely unscathed by that close range barrage. Luke had to waste an activation cutting the biker down with his lightsaber.



Again, the AI deck diluted sometimes the Imperial tactics. A couple of Rebel units were reduced to only one or two models. The next Imperial to activate could have tried to eliminate one of the reduced squads, but the AI card deck directed their focus onto units with a higher point cost, or within closer range. Luke, being stuck into the middle of the fight, suffered the most from such treatment, and was reduced to only two wounds. He had combat drugs to keep him going for a turn if he suffered potentially fatal damage.



By the end of turn 4, the Imperials were down to only three units on the table. Luke and the AT-RT ran towards the second commo array, spoiling the Imperial chance to score. This gave the Rebels another couple of VPs, but left Luke dangerously exposed in the middle of the table, with no cover.


The AI forces responded as you might expect. Luke went down finally in a flurry of lightsaber blows from his own father. However, the rest of the Rebels either hunkered down in place, or concentrated fire on the remaining Imperials, avoiding Vader like the plague. Loaded up with Dodge and Aim counters and Force powers, and having 7 wounds left, he would just Deflect fire back at them or absorb the damage anyway.



This strategy worked. By the end of the game, only Vader and a single Biker with one wound left remained on the Imperial side. They were unable to score, and the final game tally was Rebels 5 VPs, Imperials 1 VP, for an overwhelming Rebel victory.









The Imperial incursion into this sector has been severely set back.

Darth Vader, shaken by these reverses and by the knowledge that BOTH his children have allied against him, has started to re-think his role within the Empire.

The Wonder Twins, after months of bacta tank immersion, prosthetic enhancement, physical therapy, and martial arts practice, will be raring to team up together against their dear old dad.

Stay tuned for game three...

Some New Warhounds - WITH Magnets!

New Warhound titans from GW's Adeptus Titanicus - spare weapon options seen at the feet of the bases.
Some more machines for GW's "Adeptus Titanicus" - these are Warhound-class titans, multi-part plastic kits from GW. Each side of the Horus Heresy gets a new machine here - the grey and yellow titan serves with the loyalists of Legio Gryphonicus, while 30k fans will probably already be familiar with the purple and red colours of Legio Mortis, who fight for the cause of the Warmaster.

Legio Mortis engine sporting twin plasma blast guns - these weapons are hard on the Warhound's reactor, but also very deadly to an enemy engine that has lost its void shields.
A mixed weapon load...mega bolter on the left "arm", and a laser blaster on the right "arm".
Twin flame cannons...probably an ineffective weapon loadout, but in the Horus Heresy there are some problems which can only be solved with lots and lots of fire...
The Warhound is the "smallest" of the battle titans that serve in the ranks of the Titan Legions of the Horus Heresy. They are sometimes called "scout titans", which is conceptually hilarious, but these machines are (relatively) lighter and faster than the other city-crushing titans. They can maneuver more deftly, and while their weapons are (again, relatively) "lighter" than those carried by the Reavers and Warlords, they are still dangerous - the Warhound is a real threat to enemy machines, even the larger chassis.

Legio Gryphonicus Warhound.
Warhounds are particularly dangerous in groups, and they can cooperate groups, sharing their void shields and joining their firing together to cause serious damage to their enemies. I already had two Warhounds for each Legio in my collection, but a third Warhound for each side will help the "pack" reach a nice critical mass.

Twin mega bolters...this weapon variant is very, very dangerous to enemy void shields, although the weapons cannot do much damage once the shields are down. That's where the "pack" part come into play...
There is one special thing about these models that is a different from the Warhound models I built previously - I managed to magnetize the weapon mounts on these! I was inspired by Dallas to figure this out. Dallas is very smart with his use of magnets, but I am so clumsy with them. Magnets are an old hobby foe of mine, and efforts involving magnets often end in frustration and swearing. I constantly, constantly screw up the polarity on the magnets.

Some of the new Adeptus Titanicus models from GW are designed specifically to accommodate small magnets, and I usually manage OK with those. The Reaver and Warhound kits, however, were not designed specifically to use the magnets, they use a kind of ball joint instead. So you either had to glue the weapons on, or come up with your own solution that worked with/around the ball joints on the weapons.

Here is a photo with the loyalist machine sporting the flame cannons.
Confronted with the option of doing some of my own hobby engineering, I chickened out at the time and I glued the weapons into place on my previous models. But Dallas, Curt and others have shown that, with some clever modifications, the magnets can be used on the ball-style weapon joints of the Warhound and Reaver models. I copied Dallas' approach, and I managed to get the little magnets to work!

This is great as these machines now have different weapons options - choosing weapons in a big part of the fun for the game. As you would expect, different weapon load outs offer different choices in tactics - for example, a Warhound equipped with "mega bolters" (i.e. huge, heavy calibre machineguns) on both weapon mounts will be very useful for bringing down enemy void shields. Or, perhaps a player will prefer to mount twin plasma cannons...not so great at shields, but more than able to deliver a killing blow once the shields of an enemy are down.

Magnets are also the only way I would ever bother with the giant flamethrowers - I'm not sure what value these weapons would really have in a game of "Adeptus Titanicus" - as opposed to a game of "Epic", where they could obliterate entire infantry companies in one pass - but thanks to the magnets, the players can choose to use them or not.

The newly expanded Warhound pack on the shelf with the rest of my loyalist collection...
The expanded Warhound pack of Legio Mortis...
I didn't have quite enough spare weapons to cover every possibility for both sides...the Legio Mortis side is short a laser blaster and a mega bolter, something I'll look into later. For now, it's great to have these new machines joining the ranks. Now if we could just get a game in somehow...

Thanks for reading, and stay safe out there!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Epic 30k Land Raiders

Some Land Raider tanks for Epic 30k action - these are "Armoured Proteus" variants.
I've been keen to get some more 30k stuff off of the painting desk, and not just titans, so here is a detachment of Land Raiders for Epic 30k. These are "Armoured Proteus" variants, and they are painted in the livery of the 14th Legion, the "Death Guard".

I tried to do the embossed legion logos on the doors some justice...was a bit tricky.

A view of the not-at-all-carbon-neutral emission systems.
These had been sitting in the "primed and basecoated" pile of shame for about a year or so...anyway, I thought it best to get them finished off, as I have not painted much Epic 30k stuff for some time, and I feel like it might be time to change that up!
The Land Raider is an iconic piece of Space Marine kit.
Lascannons and heavy bolters galore, plus some troop-carrying capacity.
Not a lot to add in this poost...the painting approach was pretty basic, but it was nice to get some practice in on these sorts of models again. Thanks for reading, and stay safe out there!

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Painting the hydra!

The Consul Saboteur doesn’t look like he follows orders very well.
The pandemic has been a nightmare for many, but one bright ray of light has been the increased level of painting productivity. Just a quick glance at the blog will show that Dallas, Greg and Dave have been cranking out the models recently. I have not had the same production boost. My job as a first responder means that my work schedule has not changed and with all discretionary and vacation leave being cancelled indefinitely, I will be spending a lot of time at work. I’ve been fortunate to be in this position as many have lost their jobs and others are not sure if there will be jobs to go back to...some day. I’m not complaining, it just explains part of the reason why I haven’t posted anything in a while. The more significant impact to my painting has been the cancellation of school. Trying to teach and entertain a 6 year old on my days off and before I go to work is definitely not conducive to painting.
With this all being said, I finally managed to complete my first batch of Horus Heresy Alpha Legion. Above are two tactical squads, a praetorian in terminator armour and a consul ‘saboteur’. Paint colours are stegadon scale green base, sotek blue layer and temple guard blue highlight. I used drakenof nightshade for the wash. The saboteur is a conversion using various space marine bits and I tried to go for an anarchist look. Next up I’ll be going back to the Imperial Fits to finish some Rhinos that I started before he painting challenge.

Friday, April 24, 2020

More 10mm FPW - Prussian Artillery

10mm Prussian artillery, ready for battle - models and figures from Pendraken.
Some more FPW progress to share - a bunch of 10mm Prussian artillery pieces and crews.  There are two Krupp "4 pounder" guns, and six Krupp "6 pounder" guns. The guns and figures are all from the excellent Pendraken. It's a Prussian artillery park!

Divisional guns - Krupp "4 pounders" - there were four batteries equipping each Prussian division.
The steel breech-loading artillery of the Prussian army hit very hard during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. The artillery was far from the only reason the French lost, but it was a major difference on the battlefield and, as you might expect, accounted for a significant proportion of French battlefield losses. I use air quotes around the "poundage" of the guns as I believe this rating was a theoretical one, the supposed size of roundshot that might fit in the barrel. The actual shells fired by these guns were heavier, had a much better range and hit harder than the equivalent roundshot. Bruce Weigle has an excellent overview of the artillery and firearms from the war in his rulebooks, which are 150% worth buying even if you never intend to play the games...

The BIG GUNS...Krupp "6 pounders", six batteries in a Prussian corps' artillery reserve.
It will be a tough thing for the French player if/when this lot deploys on the table...
The "4 pounders" were divisional guns for the Prussians, with four batteries equipping each division. The "6 pounders" were corps-level reserve guns, with six batteries available to each corps.

Another view showing the great details on the models and castings - Pendraken is fantastic.
Painting artillery is always tricky. Curt summed it up well for me with two words - "spoked wheels".  He is right, that is probably the worst part, but just in general I struggle to paint artillery and crews from any "black powder" era. I'm just not very confident about what the guns themselves "looked" like, or any of the equipment that went with them.  These were no exception, so it's great to have them out of the way, a nice mental hurdle to have overcome. 

I don't enjoy painting artillery, so it's great to get this bunch of it finished!
This lot will round out the artillery contingent for the Prussian side of the Wissembourg OOB - the German allies will have 18 batteries of artillery they can bring to bear on the poor French! My brushes now must turn to Prussian infantry and a few more command models in order for me to finally reach my goal of completing all of the models necessary for the battle in 10mm. I suspect, however, that there may be a diversion to different subjects along the way before progress on my 10mm FPW project resumes...

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

10mm Bavarian Infantry for FPW

Here come the Bavarians! 10mm castings and flag from Pendraken.
More 10mm Franco-Prussian war figures have come off of the painting desk recently.  This post shows five bases of Bavarian infantry - the castings are all from Pendraken. Not much to say beyond repeating what I have said before - 10mm is great, and Pendraken provides the best 10mm stuff I have come across.
Close up of the Jagers.

Another view of the Jagers...great castings.
There are four bases of regular Bavarian infantry, and one base of Jagers.  The Pendraken castings are all outstanding, but I was particularly blown away from the Jagers, which somehow managed to have the marksmanship cords and plume on the helmets on 10mm castings. My brush skills were not the strongest in terms of picking out those details, but wow - just great stuff.

For my initial attempt at "1871", each base will represent a battalion. But of course you can scale things up and down, depending on the scenario, and what rules are in use.

View of the regular infantry from the rear.
As with all of my recent 10mm FPW work, these figures are part of the build up to do the Battle of Wissembourg - some day when we can get together to have a game.  A division of Bavarians took part in that engagement, and with this lot completed I have now finished painting the initial Bavarian contingent in the OOB for that scenario.

The final bits of the Bavarian contingent for the battle of Wissembourg.
The entire Bavarian division awaits orders while massed on my shelf...
The French are already completed, and now that the Bavarians are finished, it is time to focus on finishing the rest of the Prussian contingent for the game. That will involve another eight batteries of artillery, a few more command bases, and another 12 or so infantry bases.  This will take some time to finish, particularly as I still get distracted by other projects and scales, but the Quarantine Challenge is helping me to focus, that's for sure!

Thanks for looking everyone - I hope you are safe and healthy, wherever you are.