Saturday, February 23, 2013

Savage Considerations

I've been leafing through my Savage Worlds book recently, and I've given some thought to trying it. I could use the game as-is, but have also considered their tabletop miniatures adaptation Showdown. My first thought was to do do something in a genre that I have no other rules to match. Spies and modern adventure came to mind. At the same time I had this idea, I was reading the Danger Girl comic collection. Say no more, my concept had arrived!

I planned to create my own team of Danger Girl operatives and use Savage Worlds to play these as a tabletop game. I didn't need to look too far for suitable models. Reaper's Chronoscope line has plenty to fit the bill.  So I ordered five blisters and painted them up.

Painting these models was a refreshing break from military drab colors. I seem to be endlessly painting military models these days. Anyway, the green and black model is my homage to the team's Danger Girl origins.  Otherwise, I just did whatever felt right at the time.

I've cooled off a bit on the original idea of getting these on the table. But now I have models ready for whenever I pick up again. The biggest challenge I have is collecting appropriate terrain and other models to be the "bad guys."  Since Danger Girl faces the neo-Nazi Hammer Empire, I thought my Dust Tactics Axis models could fit the bill. That gives me some incentive to get painting those too.

Well, back to military drab!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Bolt Action Painting Challenge, Part Two

As promised, I'm back with my February installment of Bolt Action Russians for the 1,000 point challenge.  It's getting a little dull, as the army is nothing but infantry, a few support weapons, and a tank (which I've yet to buy).

This month was easy, since I basically painted two squads.  I finished off my seconds squad for 90pts, and painted an SMG squad for 143pts. This leaves me 17pts to carry over to March. Here's what they look like today.

So the top is the rest of seconds squad and the SMG squad. The detail shows second squad's LMG team.  You'll also note for the SMG squad I rimmed the base of one model in yellow. I don't have an SMG NCO figure left, so I just colored the base to indicate he's an NCO.

The army is coming along, and next month will look at lot like this month, only I'll have a MMG and AT rifle team to go with my rifle squad.  The mortar and tank will see me through the final stretch in April.

Here's what I've got done so far.  They're sharing storage space with my Dark Ages warband for now.  I've got to find a new home for the Dark Age models soon.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sergeants Miniatures Game Overview and Report

I've had my eye on Sergeants Miniatures Game (SMG) by Lost Battalion Publishing for a long while. The only thing that held me back from buying it was the likely lack of other players and the cost. However, a friend of mine got into this over Christmas and I immediately volunteered my services as a player!

Having played a few games now, I'm thoroughly impressed.  This is a great game, a perfect blend of board game and miniatures game, with the individualization of an RPG -- all set in my favorite historical gaming period, WW2! Cost is no longer a factor now that I've seen what this game has to offer.

The game parts are excellent.  It uses 20mm figures, real metal that are painted to a high quality tabletop standard. The figures are mounted on a special base, with a dog tag and serial number for your specific man. You play on a board of heavy, interlocking card stock with nicely done art much like a game mat used in RPGs or board games. All cards and markers provided are sturdy and good quality.

The game play is deep. It's a man-to-man level of combat, really a rifle team with possibilities for support weapons. The turn is divided into three action phases, where actions you can take are randomly determined by story cards. You also have a hand of cards that are linked to the men you've chosen for your squad. These cards drive just about everything, and managing your card choices makes for some really tough decisions. Each soldier also has a stat card that interacts with the board as well, either enhancing or hindering actions you want your soldiers to take.

It's a dice free game, with your deck managing everything for you. It's really an ingenious system. On top of this, you don't have any charts or tables to look at and book keeping is not an issue for the level of detail the game achieves. The rules are straight-forward.

Objectives are randomly determined at the start of the scenario. Random events can trigger, which can also change your objective. This happened twice in the last game I played. The scenario gives you a certain number of turns to complete your mission. Ultimate victory is done by totaling victory points, from killing enemies like many other games, and bonuses earned and objectives achieved during the game.

The most amazing aspect of this game is each soldier is unique. I mean... really unique. If you buy the game, you won't have the same soldiers I do. Each one has his own stats and cards. Your squad is truly unique to you and no one else will ever have it. I believe the starter box is the only box with the same troops, but even with the same names the stats are different. Talk about individualizing a game!

To give you an idea of the flow of the game, here's a quick write up of a game I played recently.

Currently the game is Americans versus Germans (Brits are in Kickstarter right now). I'm a sucker for playing the US, so I chose that force. First step was to determine a scenario and find out what was required. I had to take two soldiers, Harrison and Fields, plus 12 points of other men.  Harrison is the leader, and I could've upped him to a Staff Sergeant or dropped him to a Corporal (or something like that) but I took him as a sergeant. I added a few more men for a total of five for this mission.

Meet Sergeant Harrison 022-210, PFC Fields 092-795, PFC Campbell 381-300, PFC Andrews 885-777, and PFC Carter 065-271. (I just like throwing in their dog tag numbers for fun. There's a minor game function for the number, but otherwise they're for flavor.)
 Camera flash is making them look crappy. But they look really nice in person. Note the numbers in the field in front of them. There are four actions you can take: move, hide, look, and shoot. Those colored boxes are modifiers to all those actions in a certain square.

OK, so the squad is assembled and the scenario begins. We're in France shortly after D-day. Sgt Harrison and PFC Fields decide to go scrounge food from a farmhouse up ahead. Andrews, Campbell, and Carter decide to tag along in case they find anything good!  What they will find are Germans in the area.

Here's a shot of the whole board. It's actually late in the game when I took this picture, so the models are all over the place. The Germans have taken some casualties, too.  But this gives you an idea of where we played.  The board is very small, and actually you can play games on boards twice this size. Since we're still learning, we kept it small.

My mission card, drawn before turn one, is for me to enter the board from behind the farmhouse on the right (the picture is from the US side of the board) and exit from the road on the left about 2/3 down the board. It's a simple recon patrol, with the hopes of getting some food from the farmhouse.

Turn one draws a random event. An old lady runs out of the farmhouse and starts shouting at all the soldiers to leave her farm. All soldiers start the game as spotted. This is huge, since your soldiers start hidden from enemy view, and they must be spotted first. It can be tricky to do, and if the cards are against you, you might not be able to spot. If not spotted, you can't be shot at.  So we're all in the open thanks to the angry French grandma.

The Germans, seeing the old lady cursing the Americans, open fire from across the board. Despite good cover between the farm house and fields, the Germans wound Sgt Harrison right at the start. Being wounded means a soldier's stats are all cut in half. This seriously hampers my leadership from turn one!

The Americans hunker down in cover and try for return fire. But with Sgt Harrison wounded and Carter carrying a short range Thompson, we're not doing so well. Soon, we draw another random event and this has us change up our mission.  So the US mission becomes to survive the encounter and count their own models as VPs.  Quite thematic!

As the game progresses, the Germans push the Americans into the corner. It seems like they're going to crush us, but luck turns and we start pinning and wounding the Germans. The American's make a tentative push out of their corner, and take out a German! One of the Huns moves through the house, and PFC Fields rushes to engage him. The hand to hand lasts a few turns, but ultimately Fields succumbs and is taken prisoner! (The Huns must be looking for intel and trying to capture prisoners.)

Unfortunately for the Germans, I draw some hot cards that let me move up and engage the German holding Fields captive. PFC Carter rushes in, and now he and Fields are on the German. They beat him, opting to kill rather than capture. In the meantime, Andrews and Campbell take out more of the Germans, pushing them back. Come turn eight, the Germans have only two men who are pinned (which reduces their stats as well) and no leaders left to rally them. We call it, and it's an American victory.  Sgt Harrison lives to fight another day!
Carter has rescued Fields in the farmhouse, killing the German captor

Poor Schulze and Koenig are trying to hold on in the trees after their squad has been depleted of manpower
I'll be playing a lot more of this exciting game. I really like the story driven element along with the game play itself. There are a lot of expansions available, and I think 3d buildings have been released recently, adding to the visual appeal of the game. If you have an opportunity to try this game, I highly recommend it.