Tuesday, 29 January 2013


Title says it all really. A bit obvious, but at least you know what you are getting... I have finally painted all my Khurasan bugs and while my use of the word 'all' should not lead you to think I have covered my table in them, I feel it is still an achievement to have painted all of anything!

As those who have seen previous entries will know, I am using these as part of a 15mm Starship Troopers project. As an aside, I recently got the Skinnie, Arachnid, Mobile Infantry and Roughnecks army books from the author on ebay and he kindly went to the effort of signing them for me. I mention this mainly as he has more available for anyone who is interested and, if you are lucky, you can get them for about £2 each.

But anyway, onto the show!

First up are the Warrior Bugs. 24 of these, which will form two groups of twelve in my games, or perhaps 4 of six depending on how flexible I need them to be:

Next is the 'Ogre Beetle', which will be used as a Tanker Bug in SST. I like this figure mainly as it looks quite effective with a simple paint job!

Finally the Hopper Bugs. Part of me would like it if they all came with open wings, but I quite like the variety in the pack. In SST they will make two units of four to outflank the Mobile Infantry.

Lastly, a group shot showing the hoard in all its glory. It makes up approximately 1000 points in SST, without any additional assets like bug holes which I would probably want to use in a game.

In terms of growing the army, more Warrior Bugs will be next on my buy list. I will paint more as 'regular' warriors, but can use different paint schemes to donate workers, tiger or guard bugs as I wish. I will probably just use alternate painting to distinguish blaster and blister bugs too.

That's all for now. Hopefully the next entry will be my Light Mobile Infantry.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Babylon 5 campaign - First Battle

Following on from an uneventful first turn, the Centauri launched an assault on the only industrial world in the system, hoping to gain an early advantage in resources by capturing it. The Narn were not prepared to stand by and let this happen, so launched a counter strike. Now, this is where things got messy.

When a battle is to be played out, three things are initially determined. The Scenario, the Priority Level and the Fleet Allocation points. The Priority level effectively sets the cost of the ships, so it is cheaper to buy the heavy cruisers and battleships at 'Battle' or 'War' level, than it is at 'Skirmish' level, for example. Within this framework, the fleet allocation points determine the size of the game. This is a novel points system which means players won't always be buying the biggest and 'best' ships.

The only downside was that, for the first game in my campaign, I rolled that it would be 9 points at War Level. Given that you only start with a fleet worth 10 points and Battle Level, it meant that every ship on both side would be involved. From a narrative perspective, I guess that both sides were really keen on seizing this planet! The scenario rolled was 'Call to Arms', basically a straight up fight.

So, following on from the swift capture of the important jump gates, the stage was set for an initial battle that would no doubt have repercussions for the rest of the campaign...

Initial deployment (well, most of it)
Two Narn Bin'Tak class dreadnoughts formed an anchor point at the centre of the line. To their right were a long range destroyer and three G'Quan cruisers. The left was where the lighter ships deployed: three patrol cruisers and two missile frigates (out of shot).

The Centauri deployed five Primus battlecruisers in the centre while their flagship, an Octurion class battleship hung back, defending two fleet carriers. The other flank again had lighter ships, consisting of destroyers and attack cruisers.

Both sides deployed all the fighters they could and the stage was set...

The lines break up in a general melee
 From the beginning it looked like the Narn were outclassed on their left flank and they soon sustained the first losses of the game. Their other ships held their own, but seemed unable to make a huge impact on the Centauri forces.

An inconvenient critical hit.
 Soon after, one of the Bin'Tak dreadnoughts had its jump point generator knocked out, closely followed by its engines. Suddenly, instead of fighting to win, the Narn were fighting to survive. With the bulk of the Centauri cruisers swinging round to converge on the G'Quan heavy cruisers, the Narn were left with no real option but to create jump points and hope the Bin'Tak dreadnought could repair it's engines in time to move through the jump point created by the Narn flagship.

The Centauri have no qualms over destroying a fleeing Narn Vessel
 Before the remains of the fleet could escape, three Primus cruisers opened fire on the trailing Narn cruiser, obliterating it.

The rest of the Narn fleet jumped to safety, but the battle had been an absolute Centauri victory. The Narn were left with four of their initial eleven ships, while only three of the Centauri fleet had been destroyed, leaving them with 9 ships. And to add to the defeat, the industrial world was now firmly in Centauri hands.

All in all, it was a good game with the only downside being it was a lot larger and took a lot longer than I was expecting!

Babylon 5 Campaign - Intro

Feeling inspired by my recent foray into space gaming (see last post), I pulled out my copy of the Babylon 5 version of A Call to Arms and played a couple of games. It went well, so I decided to take a step up and play a campaign using the rules included (note, at this point I am using the Revised 1st Edition, not the 2nd Edition).

I decided to set it during the Narn - Centauri war of 2259, as that was where we were pretty much up to in rewatching the show.

Using the tables in the rules, I rolled up the "Mi'Tal system", which I decided was at the border of Narn occupied space. There were 7 points of strategic interest:

  • Gas Giant
  • Industrial Settled World
  • Dead World
  • Jump Gate Alpha
  • Agrarian Settled World
  • Jump Gate Sigma
  • Agrarian Settled World

I drew a small map for reference, but have yet to name all the planets.

Then I selected 10 Fleet Allocation points worth of ships at Battle Level, which I would have listed here, but I've already rubbed out the ones which got destroyed in the first battle!

The first moves saw the Centauri and the Narn each take control of a Jump Gate, making it easier for them to call for reinforcements as the campaign progresses. The second turn saw the first battle take place for control of the Industrial World in the system.

I will add links to battle reports to the 'Babylon 5 Campaign' page and update information on locations held by each side there.

The last thing to mention is that all games will be played using the absolutely vast number of counters supplied in the Revised Edition box set. This is an absolute blessing given that the ships are now out of production and the ones that appear on eBay seem to be going for around £10-£20 each....

Friday, 11 January 2013

Playtest rules in White Dwarf? Get outta here!

Back in the day when Games Workshop was a distinctly slicker operation than in the early years, yet only just starting on the path to the state of 'so slick I'm avoiding it in case I slip and break my neck', they published White Dwarf Issue 225.

This issue was notable for the two sheets of perforated card it contained. One sheet contained two dungeon tiles and twelve counters for use with the Dungeon Bowl rules for Wharhammer Quest/Blood Bowl. The other sheet contained all the counters required for playing the playtest rules of what would become Battlefleet Gothic. Now, I was fortunate enough to acquire this issue from a good friend who was having a clear out. It took great force of while to take a 15 year old, mint condition sheet of counters and punch them out, but I managed it and report my findings here...

Issue 225 - Cover shot

The glorious counter sheet
 As you can see above, the sheet of counters contained 4 Imperial ships and 4 Chaos ones. Both sides had two each of two difference classes. The other counters are torpedo markers, blast markers and two markers for determining the orientation of ships relative to one another.

The fleets deploy
 Mechanically, the rules are fairly similar to Epic 4,000. Having played this set of rules a bit, I have to say I feel they are actually better suited to space battles between hulking ships.

Each ship has the usual kind of stats you might expect, including damage points, speed, turning ability, shields, armour and weapon stats. Weapons have a range and fire arc and typically a firepower rating, which, when cross referenced with the orientation of the target, dictates how many dice you roll to hit. Exceptions include 'lances' which have a straight 50% chance of causing damage per strength point and torpedoes, which move each turn until they hit a ship or leave the table.

Most attacks have to try and knock down the enemy shields before they can cause damage, and each point of damage has a chance of causing a critical hit. One interesting rule sees blast markers placed when shields are knocked down, representing, shockwaves, plasma, radiation clouds etc. These stay on the table once placed (1d6 are removed at the end of each turn) and provide cover and movement penalties. This means there is effectively some kind of varied terrain during the game, not something I have come across in a space game in this way. I quite like it!

Chaos warships smash through the Imperial line.
It should also be mentioned that ships can attempt to take special orders on their turn, such as reloading torpedoes, performing sharper turns or locking on to a target. These add a variety of options and detail to the game.

All in all I was quite impressed by these, especially for a free set of test rules complete with counters. For those who don't know, you can download the full rules from the GW website, but the test rules are enough for a game which provides an interesting diversion.

One thing I was reminded of afterwards was how similar the rules are to the Call to Arms rules by Mongoose Publishing. Owning the Babylon 5 revised set, I was prompted to pull it out and remembered how good it was. As a result I am embarking on a Bab5 campaign, which I will no doubt be reporting on in the future.

Monday, 7 January 2013

From the man cave

Happy New Year everyone! It may be somewhat belated, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who has been busy over the last few weeks.

Recently I've been playing a fair bit of Saga at the club and so far have been thoroughly enjoying it. As an added bonus we have played a couple of Lord of the Rings games using battleboards found on the internet and it has worked well for that too.

I have also had a little go at This Very Ground by Iron Ivan. No pictures as I was just using counters at the moment, but I really needed to try it out somehow. I'm a little on the fence after a quick first game as there seemed to be a far few omissions or unclear points in what would other wise have been a fine set of rules. I am playing Muskets and Tomahawks at the club this week, so I will be interested in comparing the two.

So, on to the cave. I was going to wait until I had more to blog about, but it became apparent that what I had completed was just taking up space and stopping me from painting more, so I took a few pictures and then moved them into their boxes until they get called to duty.

First up was a nice eBay fine. Empire handgunners and spearmen. I paid about £8 for 32 figures, which suits me just fine. The paint job on them was less than attractive, however I did not feel inclined to repaint them so I decided to see what would happen if I added some wash and flocked their bases, nothing more. The end result is one I am happy to have on my table given they are just regular troops and I didn't have the hassle of painting to go through!

Now onto my own handiwork and a 'classic' 4th Edition Warhammer Skaven Doomwheel. This is one of the reasons why I am leaning more to playing 4th edition rather than 3rd, as the character (and sheer mentalness) of the Warhammer world really starts to come together.

One thing though... please let me know if you have any suggestion for storing this model! Between the banner pole on the back of the chair and the other sticky-out bits, I really don't know how to safely store it, except maybe a lot of bubble wrap and its own small box...

Finally, I wanted to see if I could paint 6 Orks in 30 mins (or thereabouts) and managed to surprise myself by thinking they were adequate (if majorly lacking in detail!)

These chaps will be fighting it out in Gorkamorka, which I now have enough vehicles and figures for to play a simple game. Hopefully that will happen quite soon.

That's about it really. Now the painting area is clear again I'm aiming to paint some more Skaven and have a good game of 4th Edition Warhammer. I also need to paint a set of docks from Aintsy and return to my Starship Troopers project. Oh, and carry on with Lord of the Rings and do more zombie gaming and... well, you get the idea...

Happy New Year to you all.